• Published 19th May 2013
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Pony Und Panzer! - Diceman



Cutie Mark Crusaders pilot Silly weapons of war.

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Chapter I:Early Vacation!

Chapter I: Early Vacation

The scent of heated chalk dust assaulted Apple Bloom's nostrils as she entered the early morning extra credit summer shop class. The room had a few ponies that had failed their last science test, including her two best friends, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. The room was set up with a chalkboard up front, sets of five tables that seated three students each and a door on the far end that connected to the wood shop where they would spend the entire week before being let go for summer vacation, most likely making towel racks.

"Over here, Apple Bloom!" Scootaloo yelled, waving and patting the empty chair beside her. As she made her way over to the chair in-between Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle she noticed someone she never expected sulking in the back of the classroom. Diamond Tiara sat at the back table, alone, mumbling to herself angrily about having to work in a filthy shop for the next week. Apple Bloom took her seat between the overly excited orange Pegasus and the clearly bored Sweetie Belle.

"So" Said Sweetie Belle in a bored tone "I guess you two failed last weeks science test too, huh?" Apple Bloom and Scootaloo nodded, although Scootaloo did so more energetically, as if working in a shop was something to be proud of.

"You know Scootaloo, ya think with how yer actin ya wanted to be here" Apple Bloom said as she pulled a book out of her saddlebag and set it on the table. "I mean, yer no good at buildin stuff, so why are ya excited?"

Scootaloo could barely contain her eagerness as she yelled "Power tools! Why else would anyone be excited about shop class?" The other two members of the CMC rolled their eyes as Scootaloo continued to ramble about how amazing cordless drills are.

"Scoots, it's not as cool as you think it is, we use em on the farm almost daily. They make a lot of noise,vibrate and get the job done faster but that's about it. You almost sound like you wanted to fail yer science test." This statement did little to dampen Scootaloo's spirits however as she continued to twitch and babble excitedly, as if the poor filly drank the entire contents of the espresso machine in the faculty lounge.

*creek*

The four fillies stood at attention as the door to the classroom creeked open. I hope it's not Mr. Knocks, he will make us run laps after shop Apple Bloom thought to herself as the door finished opening. A familiar grey rose mane popped out from the edge of the door, followed by a pair of bright emerald eyes and a cerise coat.

"Good morning students!"

Scootaloo's face drooped into a frown as the other three fillies responded "Hello miss Cheerilee" in a almost robotic manner. "Oh well, don't get all excited to see me now" Cheerilee said, smiling sarcastically. Scootaloo's hoof shot up into the air, waving it frantically to get Cheerilee's attention as she sat down.

"Yes Scootaloo?"

"Miss Cheerilee, I don't mean to be rude but wheres Mr. Knocks? Are you running the shop class today?"

Cheerilee set her saddlebags on the front desk and pulled out a set of science books with her teeth, setting them on the desk next to her bags. "Mr. Knocks has been called to Canterlot palace on important business. I'm afraid the extra credit shop class is cancelled for the next week."

A cheer of elation erupted from the back room from Diamond Tiara. "Yes, no dirty shopwork for me!"

Cheerilee stared at the elated unicorn, grinning to herself. "Oh, all of you are not getting off that easy. All of you will read this one hundred page text book front to back and then take a quiz to make up for your failing grade last week."

"But..but miss Cheerilee, can't you run the shop? I only failed the test so I could get a chance to learn how to use power tools." Both of Scootaloo's friends looked are the orange Pegasus unsurprised.

"Called it!" Apple Bloom whispered out of the side of her mouth at Sweetie Belle.

Cheerilee stared at Scootaloo quizzically for a moment. "So you failed my test to intentionally do the extra credit course? You could have just done it without failing the test. In any case I am not qualified to teach shop class dear."

"I bet shes afraid of power tools" Sweetie Belle whispered.

"Ahem, Sweetie Belle" Cheerilee said sternly. "I am not afraid of them. It's just if any of you get hurt while I try to teach you without proper qualifications, I could lose my job as a teacher." Cheerilee's eyes shifted nervously to the large table saw though the window in the door.

Who is she trying to fool? Us or herself? Sweetie Belle thought as the watched Ms. Cheerilee's eyes shift nervously, a big fake reassuring grin on her face.

"Anyways, I will pass this book out. When you feel you have read enough, you can raise your hoof and ask for the test." Cheerilee picked up and set a stack of three books and took a third textbook to Diamond Tiara in the back of the room. No sooner had Cheerilee sat down and pulled out a copy of "Fabulous Flowers" magazine had Scootaloo's hoof shot into the air.

"Yes, Scootaloo?"

"Can I take the test now please?"

"But you haven't even opened up the textbook." Cheerilee said with one crooked eyebrow

Scootaloo flipped quickly though the pages, skimming bits of passages as she went, almost as if she was that famous performer from the city; Dr. Whooves. "Yeah, there's nothing in this book that I don't already know. Can I do the test now please?"

"Are you absolutely sure? there will be questions about air currents, volcanoes and such on the test."

The fuchsia maned Pegasus pointed to her small flightless wings. "Ahem, Pegasus here, we know all about air currents."

Laughter erupted from the back of the class, Diamond Tiara holding her sides as she spoke."HA! I don't see how. it's not like you can fly anyways" Diamond Tiara said mockingly from the back of the classroom.

"That will be quite enough Diamond. I will not have you berating your classmates in front of me."

"Yeah it's not like you're a failure at farming or anything" Apple Bloom added sarcastically.

"At least I am not a poor, worthless, parent-less country yolkle!"

"Diamond Tiara!" Cheerilee shouted. "You will see me after class young filly! Comical jabs are bad enough but attacking others family disposition is inexcusable. You will be doing Detention time for that remark."

"But Ms. Cheerilee, she started it!" Diamond Tiara whined.

"And I finished it. Apple Bloom you will give me twenty pushups after class for baiting Diamond Tiara."

"Yes Ms. Cheerilee" Apple Bloom said, faking disappointment.

"The rest of you, get to reading. Scootaloo come up to my desk please." The Orange Pegasus hopped of her chair almost with gusto, running over to Cheerilee's desk as if she was giving out free ice cream. "Scootaloo, I want you to answer all these test questions on the page in front of me at my desk." Cheerilee lowered her voice "I would rather not have the others copy off you, you know the drill."

Scootaloo picked up the pencil Cheerilee had set in front of her by the test and went to work, quickly marking off answers as if she had a cheat sheet right in front of her.

"As for the rest of you, get reading. I will test you in two hours." Cheerilee pulled out a copy of "Picture Perfect" magazine and propped her legs up on the desk as she folded out the magazine on her lap. "Oh, neat daisy circlets are in this year." She said as she turned the page.

Scootaloo watched her teacher closely as she marked off questions on the test. She noticed that Cheerilee's magazine was just a ploy, her eyes were looking right over her though a crack in the center of the magazine, almost daring her to send tail or wing signals to her friends. Sorry girls, can't help ya out of this one. She quickly marked off the last two answers on the page and set her pencil down on the desk.

"Done already Scootaloo?"

"Yes, Ms. Cheerilee."

Cheerilee put her magazine down and pulled the test towards her. Watching Cheerilee's eyes dart from left to right quickly, Scootaloo started to have second thoughts about some of her answers. "Umm, miss Cheerilee, I think the last answer on that test should have been option B and not C, like I put down."

Cheerilee looked up from the paper with a smile on her face. "Oh, don't worry Scootaloo, you have a perfect score."

"YES!" Scootaloo yelled. "I mean, may I be excused miss Cheerilee. I want to get right into my summer vacation."

"Yes you may Scootaloo. Have fun and I'll see you in august" Cheerilee gave a big smile and a pat on the young fillies head. Scootaloo could barely contain herself as she rushed for the door, only stopping to wave at her friends. "I'll be at the arcade when you guys finally get out of here."

The other two CMC members smiled and waved at Scootaloo as she left the room with a grin on her face.

"So...Sweetie Belle, how much do you know about volcanoes?"

***2.5 hours later***

"Wow this is boring without the others" Scootaloo said as she beat yet another arcade game. "This Battle Frogs & Double Diamond Dogs game is boooringly easy, It's not even worth the bits I put into it. It's nowhere near as mind numbingly hard as the original Battle Frogs" Scootaloo walked out of the arcade grumpily only to hear something like a guitar riff in the distance.

(~Come on, come on, come on, lets go!~)

Scootaloo followed the sound around the corner.

(~Come on, come on, lets go!~)

Running through a alleyway between Sugarcube Corner and another building she could hear the sound getting louder.

(~Come on, come on, come on, lets go!~)

Scootaloo could feel the vibrations in her hooves, just one more turn around the bend.

(~Come on, come on, lets go!~)

Scootaloo rounded the last corner and into the main street of Ponyville to find to her surprise a line of ponies. With the exception of Pinkie Pie the rest of them were classmates. At the front of the line was Sweetie Belle and behind her was Apple Bloom carrying a boombox on her back. Scootaloo ran up to the side of Apple Bloom just as Sweetie Belle started to sing.

"~Vacation, need a little sun, gonna get my friends together and have a little fun. Ain't nobody gonna tell us what we're gonna do. Because today, it's up to me and you.~" Sweetie Belle pointed at Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom picked up where Sweetie left off. "~Temptation coming up to me. A little relaxation and I'll be great to be, Come on and weeky weeky loo at the, believe it's gonna start now.~"

Feather Weight interjected, putting on a pair of shades."~ Kick it back, kick it back, kick it back to the track. Kick it back, kick it back, kick it back to the max!~"

"Everyone!" Sweetie Belle shouted.

"~Vacation's where I wanna be. Party on the beach where the fun is free. We don't need a holiday to start to celebrate!~"

The rest of the crowd stopped when Sweetie Belle lowered her voice in a oddly sensual tone "~Cause I need a break, I need a vacation.~"

"Scootaloo!" Apple Bloom pointed at the fuchsia Pegasus.

"~Vibrations, need to get me some and drive out all my complications and turn them into love. Ain't nobody gonna tell us where we gonna be because today, today it's you and me.~"

"Pinkie Pie!"

Pinkie Pie began to sing the next line but was slightly off key from all the excitement."~Vacation's what I wanna do. Party on the beach, fun for me and you. We don't need a holiday, it's time to celebrate. Repeat after me, I need a vacation!~"

"Vinyl!" as the crowd passed the home of Vinyl Scratch aka DJ pon3 she started scratching her records to the beat as Sweetie Belle took over the Lead.

(Lets go, lets go, lets go, lets go!)

"I wanna...beee ...where the fun is...freeeee, so come with......mmeeee.~"

"Everyone!"

"~Vacation's where I wanna be. Party on the beach where the fun is free. We don't need a holiday, it's time to celebrate!. Cause I need a break, I need a vacation.~"

"Again!~"

"~Vacation's where I wanna be. Party on the beach where the fun is free. We don't need a holiday, it's time to celebrate!. Cause I need a break, I need a vacation.~"

Sweetie Belle lowered her voice. "~Repeat after me, I need a vacation!~"

(I need a)

"~Vacation~"

(Come on and)

"~Vacation~"

(I need a)

"~Vacation~"

(Come on)

"~Vacation~"

"Let's Go...whoa whoa!" Sweetie Belle stopped suddenly and the buildup from behind her knocked her into a muddy hole. Shaking her head to get the mud out of her hair she noticed a no swimming sign on the far end of where the swimming pond used to be.

"Hey! What gives? Wheres all he water gone?" Snips protested.

"Maybe someone got really, really thirsty and drank it all." Snails said.

Scootaloo looked around the edge of where the pond once was and saw a construction pony pulling a large hose into the back of a cart. Scootaloo quickly ran over to the large barely shaven pony and asked panting. "Hey mister! Where did the swimming hole go?"

The gruff Pony took off his hard hat and said in a apologetic manner. "I'm sorry kid. Celestia ordered this water to the Equestrian reservoir for use by the Canterlot errr...armor guild."

"Armor? You mean metal n' stuff?" Apple Bloom asked already knowing the answer.

"Does Celestia need the worlds largest plate to eat the worlds largest pie?" Pinkie Pie added.

"She needs you, Pinkie?" Snails asked.

"No silly. I wouldn't...hmm actually." Pinkie Pie swished her tail up to her mouth and started to nibble on it. "Nope, I wouldn't make a very good pie. I taste too much like hair."

"You mean she tastes like insanity" Scootaloo whispered to Apple Bloom.

"I heard that! I don't suffer from insanity." The rest of the fillies and colts stared at Pinkie quizzically, as if she was lying somehow. "I enjoy every moment of it!" Pinkie shouted, quickly bouncing away towards the town, other ponies shaking their heads in confusion.

"Crazy pink ponies aside, why does Celestia need that much water?" Apple Bloom asked.

The gruff construction pony scratched his mane. "Sorry kid, I don't know myself. I was told an announcement would be posted this afternoon in the town square. Aside from that I'm just following orders." The gruff pony finished rolling up his hose and lifted it into the back of his cart. "I'm sure there's some privately owned swimming spots you can use somewhere, somepony in Ponyville must have a pool." The Construction pony hitched up his cart and rode off, leaving the group of fillies and colts to their dilemma.

Sweetie Belle sat on her haunches, a somber look on her face. "So, anypony else know of any other swimming spots?" The other ponies in the crowd shook their heads but one pony, Apple Bloom was nodding her head excitedly.

"Oh, oh I know. Fluttershy has a large pond on her property. Maybe we can ask her if we can use if for the afternoon."

"Or we can ask some of the weather patrol Pegasus to empty a few clouds for us to fill this swimming hole back up." Featherweight interjected.

"Or we can go swimming at Foggy Bottom Bog" Snails shouted. The other ponies stared at him, some muttering "ewwww" and others face-hoofing themselves.

"Snails, do you have a death wish? Nasty swamp water, snakes, biting bugs of all kinds." Featherweight was pawing a line in the ground with each mention of a reason why they should avoid foggy bottom bog.

"And Pinkie Pie said hydra's live in that swamp too" Sweetie belle added.

"Hydra's huh? The sun's a bit hot today but not enough for me to risk being eaten. Besides there's probably a river or something feeding into the bog that's safer to swim in." The other ponies in the group nodded at Scootaloo's assertion. "I have a idea. Featherweight I need you to do a flyover of foggy bottom bog, see if any usable rivers further down feed into it." The cream colored Pegasus gave a little salute and took off in the direction of foggy bottom bog. "Apple Bloom, I need you to ask Fluttershy if we can use her pond."

"Will do partner." Apple Bloom ran past Snips & Snails towards the edge of the Everfree Forrest.

"Sweetie belle you...find something to keep everyone entertained. Sing something from I dunno... Red Scurry perhaps." Scootaloo said drolly."

"But I only know Bohemian Rhapsody from that artist."

"Mix him with Twisted Cinnamon Sisters or something. I have a certain rainbow maned Pegasus to hunt down."

"Why would you need to hunt down Blossomforth?" Sweetie Belle said, missing Scootaloo's intentions by a country mile.

"I said Rainbow maned Pegasus not 'way too flexible for her own good' Pegasus. You know the fastest mare to ever come out of Cloudsdale?"

"Thunderlane?" The rest of the ponies said together.

"UUggg, Never mind. Just sing a song or play monopoly, something to keep yourself entertained until I get back."

"Okay then, who wants to play twenty questions."

Scootaloo sighed as she headed for the outskirts of town, keeping her eyes on the clouds for a certain flash of rainbow colors. "I hope we find a swimming spot soon" she said to herself as she wiped her brow. "The sun is brutal today."

***

Featherweight glided majestically over the clouds, following the shallow rapids that fed into Foggy Bottom Bog below. Despite looking incredibly inviting, almost enough to make him swoop down for a quick dip. The only problem was down the sides of the river large bushes of poison joke were in full bloom, not a problem for a Pegasus but would be problematic for his friends to walk through. To make matters worse Sweetie Belle was right on her warning of Hydra's as Featherweight spotted more than couple in the rapids during his flight. All of them possibly babies or teenagers due to only having one or two heads but where there are possible babies there are definitely mothers, angry mothers that wouldn't think twice about making a small filly or colt lunch for her kids. "Well this isn't going to work" he said to himself,sighing. A few more minutes passed until Featherweight spotted a large blue bulge on he horizon.

"Jackpot!" he yelled smiling as he came down from the sky to investigate. As he swooped under the clouds to get a better view of the object his ears folded back in disappointment. "Great, Scoots was right about it being fed but It's too risky to go swimming in the northern ocean." He remembered from class about how the northern sea had terrible undertow and was pot marked underneath with small volcanoes. Only a handful of spots were a safe to swim but required many pegasi as life guards, none of which were on duty during early summer.

"Great, back to town I guess.Turning mid-flight Featherweight caught a warm air current and headed back for town, a few hydra below blowing him raspberries as he passed overhead. "I wonder if the others are fairing any better."

***

"Fluttttershy~" Apple Bloom yelled loudly, trying to find where the shy Pegasus ran off to. "Where is she, she's normally doin her afternoon rounds about now." Apple Bloom walked around the house and to the chicken coup, a grouchy Diamond Tiara following her.

"This is a big waste of time, just two bits per filly is all I ask in return for using our pool."

Apple Bloom pulled her head out of the coup, blowing a feather off her snout. "Why are you of all ponies followin me around anyways?"

"Hrmp, I am trying to make a sale. I would think even a simpleton like you could get a grasp on such a simple concept" Diamond said haughtily. "I mean really only two bits and you can stop searching for a swimming hole and have the best in town, ours."

Apple Bloom turned her head in a barely contained snort of laughter. "I don't want anything yer peddlin Diamond, so why don't you skedaddle. I would rather swim in that mud-hole than take up yer offer." Apple Bloom yelled for Fluttershy again, this time towards the edge of the woods near her property.

"Umm...one bit and a silver shilling then?"

"Ah said no Diamond, why are you even followin me anyhow?"

"Because miss Cheerilee said I can only get out of detention early if I hang out with you for the rest of the day and" Diamond Tiara shuddered as she uttered her next few words with a clear look of disgust on her face. "Be friend-like with you."

"Then why are ya trying to sell me a pool ticket? Real friends don't charge just to hang out by the pool."

"Are you sure? My dads economics book said "The best friends are those that pay."

"Well that just means yer dad is...err what did Scootaloo call it... A douche-waffle, whatever that means."

"My dad is...wait what is a douche-waffle?"

Apple Bloom shrugged and trotted towards Fluttershys pond leaving Diamond Tiara dumbfounded. "Hey wait for me, if Cheerilee sees me without you I'll get detention for a month." Diamond ran up behind Apple Bloom as she reached the pond.

"Fluttershy~"

"Stop wasting time blank flank she's not anywhere on thi-" Suddenly a large pink and green weed monster rose up from the pond wearing a snorkel and mumbling.

"It's Swamp Beast! Rich and powerful ponies first!" Diamond Tiara took off running towards town, her tail between her legs. "Sorry Apple Bloom, hanging with you isn't worth getting eaten." She yelled as she ran out of sight. Apple Bloom stared at the strange creature for a moment before giggling to herself.

"Fluttershy is that you?"

The beast mumbled and nodded at the filly, pointing at all the pond weeds on her wings, legs and face.

"Oh, do you want me to help get ya untangled?" Fluttershy nodded again trying to move her legs out of the water. Apple Bloom grabbed onto the weeds covering Fluttershy's back legs with her teeth and gave a mighty tug. The weeds came off with a little extra effort, perhaps too much as Apple Bloom stumbled back, landing in the water with a splash. Fluttershy managed to get the rest of the weeds off of her body, pulling Apple Bloom up in a panic.

"My goodness, are you okay?" Fluttershy said with a hint of panic in her voice as she pulled a drenched and weed covered Apple Bloom from the pond.

"Taint nothin Fluttershy, I needed the dip anyways." Apple Bloom shook herself off, kelp-like weeds flying from her back and mane as she did.

"Whats with all the water weeds Fluttershy?"

"I umm, well you see the otters and seals were complaining about the pond having a bit of a entangling problem, so I decided to take a dive and check it out for myself." Fluttershy held up one of the Weeds for Apple Bloom to examine. "This is the culprit, a invasive species of fresh water strangle kelp."

"How do you get rid of it?" Apple Bloom asked.

"It's not easy, I have to drain the entire pond before I can start the eradication procedure."

"Oh, darn. I was hopin we could swim today. The local pond has been comen..comen...err."

"Commandeered, Apple Bloom." Fluttershy corrected.

"Yeah, that word. It was commandeered by princess Celestia for the Armor guild in Canterlot or sumthin."

"Oh, they took half the summer reserves as well this morning." Fluttershy added as she made her way to her house, Apple Bloom following closely behind. "I had no idea what for, but Rainbow Dash set off this morning in a huff becuase of it. She has to bring in snow clouds from the northern ranges to make sure we have enough reserves in case of an emergency."

"So there's no swimming at all?" Apple Bloom asked, already knowing the answer.

"Until Rainbow Dash, Cloud Kicker and Thunderlane get back from the range the entire town is on strict water conservation."

***Elsewhere***

"Bah, stupid Apple Bloom. With any luck that sea monster will eat her and we will have one less failure blank flank to deal with." Diamond Tiara opened up the gate to her back yard , her head held high and her eyes closed.

"At least MY parents had the good sense to build a in-ground pool so I don't have to deal with any boring blank flanks at the pond." Diamond Tiara set her crown on the steps by the back door and walked onto the diving board, keeping her head high and not paying attention to her surroundings.

"And a one and a two and..." Diamond Tiara jumped from the diving board only to open her eyes midway and grab onto the edge of the board. "What the hay! Where did all the water go!?" Diamond Tiara pulled herself up back onto the diving board, her father rushing out the back door.

"Honey bun are you okay?"

"I'm fine but where did all the water go?" Diamond Tiara demanded.

"Honey bun, there's a water conservation law in effect. It will be a few days before the Weather Patrol can refill the reservoir. Until then all non-essential water has been put back into the reservoir."

"But dad, I want to swim, it's hot as a frying pan out here." Diamond Tiara whined.

"Well, we can always play shuffle board together. And I can still make some cold lemonade."

"No dad, no old pony games."

"Ohhh." Mr. Rich seemed disappointed, bowing his head in defeat as he sulked back inside.

***Elsewhere***

"But Fluttershy, can't we swim in yer pond before you drain it out?" Apple Bloom pleaded.

"Absolutely not! You saw how tangled up I was and I'm a full grown Pegasus. What would happen if you or one of your friends got tangled up while swimming, they could get waterlogged or even worse *gasp* drown..." Fluttershy shook her head, trying to rid herself of the mental image of Apple Bloom drowning.

"Maybe we could get a life guard?" Apple Bloom suggested.

"I'm sorry but no is no, but if you want to keep cool you can always go to the beach."

"Ah guess that's and option but none of the life guards will be on duty for another week or two." Apple Bloom sulked. "Ah guess we are out of options."

Fluttershy put her hoof on her chin. "Oh, I know! Maybe I can talk Twilight into conjuring water out of grass or something. We can use that as a pool."

"Would ya do that for us?" Apple Bloom said with a mile wide smile on her face.

"Sure would, but I need to finish my rounds for the day. Meet me at the library in an hour."

"Will do!" Apple Bloom said excitedly. Apple Bloom gave Fluttershy a hug before running off back to town to tell the others.

"This is gonna be great. Twilight can do anything, maybe even make two pools!"

***

"Where the hay is she?" Scootaloo was zipping around the edge of town, trying to spot a certain rainbow maned adopted sister. She had already checked all the usual spot Rainbow Dash liked to sleep. The cloud by town square, the tree by the park, even inside the bell tower in town which Rainbow hadn't used since the the 'ringing' incident.

"Maybe she's at her house, but I can't fly to reach Cloudsdale." Scootaloo stared up somberly at the distant Pegasus capital. "I guess I need to find...somepony." Scootaloo watched as a local pony; a very muscular, white coated, red eyed loud pony affectionately referred to as 'Horse Power' and unceremoniously nicknamed 'Roid Rage' by others lift a few tree trunk from the ground and bench pressed it.

"Wait isn't he on the weather patrol?" Scootaloo rolled her scooter over to the pony and waited for him to finish lifting before asking him a question. "Mr umm... Horse Power. Do you know where Rainbow Dash is by any chance?"

The short winged muscular pony tossed the tree aside like it was a twig and snorted. "Rainbow Dash is out to the northern mountain range with most of the weather patrol."

"Oh, how long will she be?" Scootaloo asked.

"Dunno, three or four days at least while they round up clouds."

Scootaloo sighed in disappointment. "Can I ask you to take few rainclouds over to the pond and empty them by chance?"

"No can do kid, there's barely any in the sky right now and all weather patrols are on standby by royal order. "

"Then why is Rainbow Dash out collecting clouds?"

"Because Rainbow Dash is a REAL PEGASUS AND TAKES ORDERS FROM NO PONY, YEEEEAAAHHH!!!" Horse Power was flexing his muscles proudly. Scootaloo staring at him in confusion, not quite knowing what to say. "S-sorry. I get carried away sometimes."

"Oh..." Scootaloo wings drooped. "I wish I knew what was going on, it's hot as a oven out here, no cloud cover and barely any water."

"I know what ya mean kid, I ain't got nothin to do myself, that's why I'm out here, lifting to relieve stress." Horse Power picked up a log and began lifting up and down like it was made of straw.

"Okay then. I'll make sure to tell the others. Scootaloo set off on her scooter towards town.

"I sure hope the others had better luck than I did."

***

"Absolutely not!" Twilight stomped her hoof in agitation.

"But Twilight, it would only be for a day." Fluttershy said nervously.

"I know but I would be violating Celestia's directive, also if I did change it when it finally changed back everypony's coat would have nasty green stain for weeks. I would get fallout from Celestia AND Rarity if I did that. I would need to be in the witness protection program if she found out I turned her little sister's coat green."

"But Twiilight~" Apple Bloom said while presenting her puppy-dog like eyes. "You could make the water out of ummm...hay or sumthin, couldn't ya?"

"That could work, why don't we borrow some hay from your sisters barn." Fluttershy suggested.

"No, No you don't get it. All resources are on rationing mode, food, water, building supplies. You name it, it's rationed." Twilight pulled a book from the top shelf. "I don't understand what it means exactly, maybe she's preparing for a disaster or a disaster has struck and we haven't heard about it yet." Twilight's eyes went wide. "Or even war!"

Twilight pulled another book from the shelves and flipped though the pages with blinding speed. "Hmm...Spike!"

The young dragon came running down the stairs. "What Twilight? I'm not even done with the fiction section yet."

"Do you know if the copy of Equestrian history volume five was loaned out?"

Spike sighed and pointed at the bookshelf. "Dead ahead of you, two books to the left."

"Oh, silly me. Thank you Spike." Twilight said while blushing.

"Whatever, I got books to sort" The baby dragon walked back upstairs, grumbling to himself in what oddly sounded like "you think living in a library she would understand sectional sorting already..."

Twilight turned through the pages until she found a entry on past Equestrian wars. "Of all the wars Equestria has fought the worst was the griffon war of 1925 CY. While injuries were minimal the war lasted nearly two decades as both sides fought for the 'fields of plenty' a region with very rich soil, perfect for planting crops. It was won with a coin toss after both sides fought to a standstill. Equestria won the flip but promised to share the gains of the land with the griffon empire." Twilight turned the pages and began reading aloud.

"During times of war, even mock war, Celestia orders the rationing of all resources until a reasonable estimate can be made. This procedure is usually automatic and may have a couple week to a month of less than comfortable living for its citizens."

"Do you really think it's war Twilight, that sounds scary." Fluttershy said as she looked over Twilight's shoulder at a picture of some kind of armed vehicle.

"It doesn't make any sense though. War declarations on Equestria would trigger all kinds of thing aside from just resource rationing. Drafts, increased security and a wide scale personal announcement from Celestia herself." Twilight took a deep breath. "Maybe we are over thinking this."

"Yeah I mean, aside from like...what were those things, changeling? No one wants to fight us." Apple Bloom said while looking over Twilight's shoulder at her book.

"That's becuase changelings fight with subversion, sabotage and mass number surprise attacks. Physically they are not very strong in their natural form." Twilight pulled a book from the shelf. "I have a book on their hive structure here if you want to read it."

Apple Bloom shook her head. "Nah, I'm out of school for the summer. Last thing I need to gum up my fun is more study'in"

Fluttershy nodded her head at Apple Bloom. "Is there anything we can do? The towns practically an inferno with no swimming. Can you maybe ask Celestia to you know...hire the lifeguards early this year?"

Twilight rolled her eyes and sighed. "I can do that but I don't expect good results."

Twilight walked to the bottom of the stairs. "Spike! I need you to take a letter."

The purple dragonling poked his head out the door. " Gimme a second, I'm almost done."

Twilight paced patiently for a few moments while her dragon assistant finished sorting the books upstairs. "Okay Twilight, tell me what ya need me to write." He said as he poked his head out the doorway, parchment and quill in his claws.

"Ahem" Twilight cleared her throat. "Dear Princess Celestia, I am writing you to request that you open the ocean and hire the life guards early this year. The town has been in a bit of a slump becuase of the emergency rationing and many of it's citizens would enjoy a nice trip to the ocean to cool off. Thank you for your consideration. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."

Spike rolled up the parchment, took a deep breath and breathed green fire over the parchment. The paper caught fire and then disintegrated into glittery smoke, flying out the window with the utmost haste.

"Give it a minute, Celestia's usually really fast about thi- hic!" A red laced parchment popped out the dragons mouth before he could finish his sentence. "See what I mean? Like clockwork." Spike began to unfurl the letter, clearing his throat before reading aloud.

"My dearest sisters student, I am currently answering her mail as she is predisposed in a meeting. I do not know how my sister runs things during the day and it may not be my place to order such a thing but I assure you I will speak with her clerks about hiring life guards earlier for the year. As it stands the rationing will remain in effect until we have an idea of how to proceed with the situation here in Canterlot. A announcement will occur in Ponyville town square this afternoon, assuming your towns less than accurate mail carrier reaches her destination on time.

Protector of dreams,

Princess Luna"

Twilight hovered the parchment over to her to read it herself, noticing the lunar seal of approval on the bottom of the page. "It's legitimate, but I wonder why Celestia would leave Luna in charge of answering mail. Normally if she's busy I'll get the response later or one of her clerks will handle it." Twilight stared at the response, Luna's royal seal glittering at the bottom of the page. "I'll have to look into this, this is just too weird."

"Well, Ah guess I should go tell the others, thanks for all the help Twilight, you too Fluttershy." Apple Bloom gave each of them a quick hug before heading out the door.

When Apple Bloom was well out of earshot Fluttershy walked over to Twilight and whispered. "I know you were withholding info. Why didn't you just tell her the truth?"

Twilight's ears folded back. "Because I really hope it isn't true. Her generation doesn't deserve to endure such a thing."

***

"So...*huff* huff* Any more requests?" Sweetie Belle said while trying to catch her breath.

"Nah, I'm bored. Anyone wanna play a board game or something?" Thunderlane's younger brother Rumble pulled out a board game from his backpack called "Risk-y".

"Hey!" Sweetie Belle turned her head to watch a a familiar fuchsia maned Pegasus come over the hill leading up to the pond.

"Hey Scootaloo, any luck on getting us some rainclouds?" Sweetie Belle said as she danced in place.

Scootaloo pulled up to the group of ponies hanging out by the empty pond, a glum expression on her face. "No such luck, Rainbow Dash and most of the Ponyville weather patrol are far north collecting clouds for a storm. The only one of them I found was Horse Power and he's been grounded until further notice."

"Ahoy!"

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle looked up to the skies to find Featherweight swooping down on them for a landing.The others running up to him excitedly.

"I have good news and...terrible news, everypony." Featherweight declared. "There are a whole bunch of streams heading to the north all the way to the ocean but...there a slight problem."

"Which is?" Scootaloo asked.

"There are hydra's almost everywhere, parents and their kids are all over those waterways. I don't think we will be swimming in those streams anytime soon."

Sweetie Belle sighed as she wiped her brow. "I think it might be their errr...what did Cheerilee call it...spawning season?"

Scootaloo and some of the others Shrugged their shoulders , all except Peppermint Twist who nodded her head. "Yep, hydras spawning season is the first couple weeks of summer. It's one of the reasons the coast guard isn't out yet, the baby hydras can and will attack ponies if given the chance. As babies they kind of act like sea lampreys but way worse."

"It's just a snake thing right? We can handle those!" Snails said as he stood tall.

"You're silly snails. Let me show you what they look like and what they can do." Peppermint Twist pulled a book out of her backpack and set it on the grass, turning the pages until she found the page with the sea lamprey documentation. "Take a look, things are creepy."

Snails took a look at the page but quickly turned away holding his mouth. "I seen some gross things but sucking out organs? That's a horrible way to go."

Peppermint Twist picked the book back up. "Hydra's are serious business, even the babies are dangerous. That's why the coast guard has to give the all clear before any pony can swim for the season."

"Creepy critters aside I wonder where Apple Bloom is..." Scootaloo looked into the town, a large crowd of colors were congregating in the center of town. "Hey, somethings going on in town, maybe Apple Bloom is there?"

The group of colts and fillies made their way into town only to find a sea of ponies blocking a stage with a guard sitting at the very top on a podium.

"Sweetie Belle! Scootaloo! Over here!" Apple Bloom frantically waved her front legs, motioning the crowd of younger ponies to her, Apple Jack and Big Mac.

"So, how did Fluttershy's go? Can we swim in her pond?" Scootaloo asked excitedly.

"Nothin doin, she has to drain the entire thing to get rid of some kinda invasive weeds at the bottom of the pond. She said it's gonna take awhile."

"I'd offer y'all to take a dip in our watering hole for the farm but with water rationing in effect we need that fer the trees." Applejack said while taking her own hat off and fanning her face with it.

"Eeyup." Big Macintosh added.

"What's all the hub-bub about AJ?" Sweetie Belle said.

"Sweetie Belle darling, ladies do not say such uncouth words such as 'hub-bub' we say proper words like 'commotion' or 'congregation'." Sweetie Belles older sister, Rarity walked up to the crowd wearing copper tinted shades and what looked like a white fedora with a Pegasus feather in it.

"Hi sis! Hows work at the shop going?" Sweetie Belle said with enthusiasm.

"Dreadful, I got an order from Canterlot to hold off on dress making. I been bored out of my mind all day, but I did manage to finish my new Fedora. Do you like it?" Rarity said as she pointed to her white fedora with a sky blue feather.

Sweetie Belle stared at the fedora for a moment. "I like its ummm, feather?"

"Hey yee! Here yee!" The crowd went silent as the ponies of Ponyville all turned their attention to the guard at the podium at the front of the crowd.

"Presenting Princess Luna." The guard stepped off the stage as a swirl of glittering black smoke appeared, quickly taking the form of the Princess of the night. Luna walked up to the microphone, adjusting it for a brief moment before speaking.

"Fine citizens of Ponyville, you are all wondering why such severe rationing has been put in place."

The townsfolk all whispered among themselves.

"I come to you today with good news and bad news. The bad news is that the Queen of the Griffon empire, Walarah has declared war against Equestria." Before Luna could open her mouth again the crowd broke out on a torrent of whispers, some crying and a obvious aura of fear.

"You hear that y'all, war." Apple Bloom said with worry in her voice.

"But a war means a draft, there gonna send off my big sister to...*gasp*" Sweetie belle hugged Rarity tightly around the legs, Rarity doing her best to comfort her.

"I'm too young to lose my new big sister!" Scootaloo cried.

"Ahem" The whispering from the crowd stopped as Luna cleared her throat to catch their attention. "I was not done with my announcement. The good news is that; in her wisdom Queen Walahra has decided to forgo traditional warfare. She has challenged our sovereignty to the large plains to the north. While we do not know what she wants these it can be guessed that they plan on growing winter berries in that region. There will be another announcement in a few days when we figure out what kind of competition she requests, she wants to tray and take that land from us fair and square."

The crowd broke out in whispers again.

Princess Luna waved a hoof over the crowd. "As the rationing measures were a knee jerk reaction, all of them will be lifted as soon as tomorrow morning." Luna looked at Apple Bloom directly. "Now if you please I need to have word with a little filly."
Luna stepped down from the podium, the crowd making a path for her to the red maned little farm filly.

"Ah, Scootaloo. It has been awhile, I take thy dreams are pleasant?" Luna said as she walked by the fuchsia maned Pegasus while looking at her from the corner of her eye.

"I am to understand that you, the younger sister of Apple Jack sent a request via Celestia's student Twilight Sparkle, yes?" Luna was starting right at Apple Bloom, as if peering into her very soul.

"Y-yes, your majesty. It's gonna be a couple weeks before we can go to the ocean. I was hoping we could get our pond water back."

"I see. My handmaiden notified me that becuase of hydra spawning season the waters are unsafe until two or so weeks after summer officially starts. I do however have an alternative solution." Luna gave little wink and lowered her head to whisper at Apple Blooms level. "I want you to gather up your friends and meet me at the edge of Apple Acres tomorrow just afternoon. I have a surprise waiting for you all."

Luna stood up nodded her head to the older Apple Sister. "With your permission of course."

"Oh, sure. I suppose me and Mackintosh can handle the chores for a day. Sure, y'all make sure to pack a lunch though."

"Then it is settled, I will see you all tomorrow." With a puff of night blue smoke, princess Luna was gone.

The towns people began to slowly disperse although some of them with worried expressions on their faces. The local fillies and colts on the other hand were elated.

"You hear that? We get to hang out with Luna tomorrow." Apple Bloom said excitedly.

"Oh, I wonder if Rarity minds me going?" Sweetie Belle looked up at her older sister who nodded in approval, although trying to disguise a hint of jealousy behind her shades as she did.

"This is awesome, Luna is like, the best Princess ever." Scootaloo said exuberantly.

The crusaders and their entourage of fillies and colts ran off, chattering amongst themselves about what was in store for them tomorrow afternoon.

"They do know that if we lose that northern field it's going to hurt us something fierce. A large quantity of our best gems come from that region." Rarity said as she frowned at Apple Jack.

"Our Pegasus get storm clouds from that area on occasion too, no to mention the soil is good for berry growing in any season. I guess there's no use worry about it now though. We should take a leaf outta their book and just have fun while the gettin's good."

Rarity sighed and adjusted her fedora. "Oh, to be young and naive again."