• Published 20th May 2017
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Brightly Lit - Penalt



The village of Brightly, British Columbia is a small, isolated place where everyone knows everyone, with a strong sense of community. A community that starts to include colourful little ponies.

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Chapter 3: Believe it or not

Fifteen minutes after the ball of light appeared over the mirror, Archivist Frozen Quill skidded to a stop in front of the pair of guards protecting the entrance to the throne room.

“Halt, stallion,” said one of the guards. “State your name and business.”

“I’m Archivist Frozen Quill, and I have to see the princess right away!” Frozen Quill said. His anxious tone of voice underlining the fact that he wanted immediate entrance.

The guardpony held up a hoof and in an apologetic tone said, “I’m sorry, Archivist. But both princesses are currently in talks with the Saddle Arabian Minister of Trade. Unless it’s a full scale emergency they are not to be disturbed.”

“Look, I know you’re under orders, but this is important,” Frozen Quill said, as his mood and voice switched from anxious to aggravated. “The princess needs to hear my message and she needs to hear it now.”

“I’m sorry, Archivist,” the guard said, in that same apologetic voice. “But I am under orders that the Princesses are not to be disturbed.” Normally, Quill would back off and be understanding of the guard’s position. After all, a royal guard who didn’t obey their orders to the letter was soon an unemployed guard.

But all the guard’s patient voice did now was to ratchet Frozen Quill’s aggravation up yet another notch. Putting his muzzle an inch away from the guard’s, he growled, “You need to get in there and tell Princess Celestia that one of Discord’s Children has woken up, and you need to do it right now.”

“Discord’s what?” the guard asked, his face a mask of confusion.

“It’s a code phrase, you idiot,” Frozen Quill said, as he dragged a hoof down his face in frustration and wondered if trying to break down the door was worth it. “Look, just please give Princess Celestia the message immediately.”

“Very well, wait here,” the guard said, more than willing to get away from the seemingly insane archivist. Nodding to his companion, he opened the door and quietly headed into the room. He came back out a minute later, shaking his head.

“I don’t know what that phrase meant,” the guard said, as he resumed his position, “but it sure meant something to the Princess. She said she would be out in a few minutes, and asked me to tell you to wait for her.”

“Was that so hard?” Quill asked, as he sat down and awaited the arrival of his princess.

“Thank you for being so reasonable about this, Minister,” Celestia said, bowing her head toward the pony opposite her.

“It’s not a problem at all,” the Saddle Arabian said with a smile on his face, gathering up the last of his documents. “I well understand the pressures of government, and that sometimes situations arise that need to be dealt with immediately.”

“Hopefully, I can have the issue resolved quickly, and tomorrow we can pick up where we left off,” Celestia said.

“Tomorrow then,” the trade minister said, bowing to Luna and Celestia in turn. “I look forward to it.” The dignitary left the throne room, escorted by a guard to ensure he didn’t get lost in the massive complex that was the castle.

“Sister,” Luna said, after the visiting pony had left. “What did that guard say that made you end the meeting early?”

“Walk with me, sister,” Celestia said, descending from her throne and her dark hued sister followed suit. “It seems that one of Discord’s Children has stirred from its slumber.”

“Wait,” Luna said, eyes widening in surprise. “Discord...has offspring?”

Celestia gave a merry, tinkling laugh and said, “Not as such, Luna. The term refers to a group of magic items whose effects are so strange they could be from Discord himself.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Luna said, opening the door for Celestia and the guardsponies on either side of the door snapped to attention as she did so. So too did a pony Luna did not recognize. He was a middle-aged unicorn stallion whose cutie mark was a writing quill frozen into a block of ice.

“Ah, Frozen Quill,” Celestia said warmly. “Thank you for coming so quickly. I will assume that the lack of screaming means things are under control for the moment. Which item has become active? The lead balloon? The singing tea set?”

“The hoof mirror, your Highness,” Frozen Quill said, in a voice that managed to find a balance between respect and annoyance. “The notation on the item says to contact you immediately, but these...” he waved a hoof towards the guards, “these myrmidons insisted that you couldn’t be disturbed.”

“You both were doing your duty, Frozen Quill,” Celestia said, still smiling but with a hint of reproof. “The guards found a way for your duty and theirs to co-exist, and all it cost was a little time. You should thank them for their willingness to be flexible.”

“I...Yes, Princess,” Frozen Quill said, face and ears drooping, and he turned to the guards. “My apologies, noble guards. My sense of duty caused me to be somewhat abrupt with you, and for that I’m sorry.”

“Not a problem, sir,” the guard said. “We’re used to it. But it is nice to get an apology.”

“My apologies to you as well Princess,” Quill said, turning back despondently. “I’m sorry to have disappointed you. I’ll just head back to my duties now.”

“Not at all, Archivist Quill,” Celestia said, placing a wing around the saddened pony. “I could never be disappointed in a pony as conscientious as yourself. Besides, I have another task for you.”

“You do? You aren’t?” Quill said, visibly brightening.

“Of course,” Celestia said. “I need you to go to my majordomo’s office. Tell Kibitz to send an urgent message to Princess Twilight Sparkle. I need her here in Canterlot as soon as possible, and she needs to bring Granny Smith with her.

“Sister,” Luna said, watching Frozen Quill hurry off, having watched the entire exchange in silence up to this point. “I can understand why you would summon Twilight in regards to a magic item, but why Granny Smith? She is a fine old mare, but this would seem to be out of her depth.”

“Granny Smith is intimately connected with the situation,” Celestia said, as she began to walk down the corridor. “Come with me and I’ll tell you the story of Twilight’s ancestor, Gloaming Gleam and his failed courtship of Granny Smith...”


For the group of five friends and siblings, the past two hours had been a wonderland of discovery and delight, as they began to learn the potential inherent in their new forms. Romy wasn’t as strong as Billy, who could knock down trees just by kicking them, but she could feel what was in the earth several feet below her hooves. Zak, as a pegasus, was incredibly maneuverable on his wings, zooming between trees just for fun.

His sister, Kylara, on the other hand, was steady and strong in flight. She had even been able to let Romy and Rowey ride on her back, so powerful were her wings. As for Rowey, the sole unicorn of the group, she could make a shield strong enough to stop a falling tree or pick up one of her friends with her magic. But little else. Eventually though, the new ponies ran out of energy and stopped for a break in the clearing where it had all began.

“So guys,” Rowey said, as her breathing slowed, “I’ve got a really important question for you all.”

“What’s that?” Billy asked, as he tucked his legs underneath himself and sat down a few feet away.

“How, and what do we eat?” Rowey asked, cocking an eyebrow. “I mean, we’re ponies now. I get that, and it’s actually kinda cool. But are we gonna be stuck eating hay and grass now?”

“I don fink fo,” Kya said, from the opposite side of Rowey, as she munched on a peanut butter sandwich.

“What the?” Rowey asked, utterly astonished at the sandwich seemingly held by a hoof. “How the heck are you holding that sandwich without fingers?”

“With my hoof,” Kya said, in a matter of fact tone, as she took another bite. She chewed, swallowed, and said, “Seriously, just reach in and grab a snack from my backpack. Don’t think about it, just do it.”

“Okaaay,” Rowey said, as she dragged out the word. Zak and Romy drew close as well, as Rowey dragged Kylara’s backpack over and reaching in a hoof, drew out a granola bar with her hoof just like she would with her hand.

“How?” Romy asked, eyes wide as they all stared at the granola bar.

“I have no idea,” Rowey said, taking a bite of her snack. “But it works!” The group sat down and munched on the few snacks they had brought with them. As they did, they all experimented with picking up and putting down things with their hooves. Lots of giggling ensued, as things went up and things fell down again. Again, it was a learning process and the group of ponies learned that their hooves could lift small weights, but nothing heavy or large.

“Um, guys,” Billy said. “You realize we’re all superheroes now, right?” The other four disagreed, vociferously.

“Seriously guys, this is like the origin story of tons of superheroes,” Billy said, trying to convince the others. “Think about it. Awesome kids in a sleepy small town are transformed and given incredible powers when they find a magic book. It’s like every origin story ever.”

“What about Green Lantern? He’s got a ring, and Doctor Fate has a helmet,” Zak argued back.

“Ring, helmet, book...it’s all the same,” Billy said, firing right back. “Every hero starts from something.”

“Us?” Romy asked, her smile getting wider. “Superheroes? Like Wonder Woman?”

“You bet,” Billy said, smiling widely, now that his friends were becoming convinced, “and she has a magic origin too.”

“We need a superhero group name,” Zak said, putting a hoof to his chin in thought. “What about ‘The Superfriends’?”

“Ugh, that’s a horrible name,” Billy said, dismissively. “Besides, it’s taken by some ancient show my dad made me watch on DVD.”

“How about ‘The Power Rangers’?” Kya asked, quietly. “We’ve got powers, and we’ve been ranging all over the place.”

“Sorry Kya,” Rowey said, softly so as not to hurt the gentle girl’s feelings, “but that’s taken too.”

“Power Ponies,” Romy said, smiling. “We’ve got powers and we’re ponies. Power Ponies.”

“I like it,” Billy said, and he extended out a front hoof. “Who’s with me, Power Ponies?”

“It’s better than anything I’ve got,” Zak said, putting his hoof against his friend’s and looking at the girls “Whaddya say, Power Ponies?”

“Power Ponies, “ Romy and Rowey said together, as they touched the boys joined hooves with their own, and the four looked at Kylara who froze as she looked at the other four. She bit her lower lip a bit as she tried to decide what to do.

“It’s okay, Kylara,” Zak said quietly to his sister. “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

“No,” Kya said, as she came to a decision, and laid her hoof on top of the other four. “The book turned us all into ponies, so it wouldn’t be right of me to back out. So...I guess we’re ‘The Power Ponies.’ Oh, and you can call me ‘Angel.’”

“Oh good thinking, sis,” Zak said, hugging his sister with a wing. “We should all have our own superhero name. Um, call me ‘Darter.’ What about the rest of you guys?”

“Iron Hoof,” Billy said, as he blew on a forehoof and buffed it against his chest.

“I can find stuff,” Romy said. “Tho call me ‘Seeker.’” She looked across to her sister, who said nothing for a moment as she thought on the idea.

“Well, we did that stuff on Vikings in school a couple of weeks back,” Rowey said. “So, I guess you can call me ‘Shield Maiden.’”

“So, now what?” Billy said as he brought down his hoof and began to trot around. “What do we do next? Do we practice stuff, find a place for our secret HQ, or what?”

“Um, I think we need to start on our first mission,” Rowey said, as she looked through the trees, and noted the position of the sun, in relation to the hills Brightly was nestled in.

“Cool!” Zak shouted, taking to the air and flapping around the clearing in a circle. “What’s our first mission?”

“Getting home and telling our parents what’s happened,” Romy said, as she too noticed how low the sun was.

“Uh-oh”

Author's Note:

So, yes, I went there. The Power Ponies are a thing. And they are charging straight into their most dangerous adventure. Telling their parents.

As to ponies, both on the show and here, picking things up. I've been doing some research and I am going with the idea that ponies in both cases have small hairs on their hooves and exploiting the Van der Waals force in the same manner that geckos, spiders and ants do.


This chapter is brought to you through the assistance of my current patrons:

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Canary in the Coal Mine
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