• 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 44: Thus Spake Zarathustra

“Tia! Look!” Luna exclaimed, frantically waving a hoof as she paused in blasting her magic at the ceiling of the shaft.

“What is it?” Celestia asked, side-slipping over in her hover to see what her sister was pointing at. “Is that… metal?”

“It’s half of a rail line,” Luna replied, before firing a judicious blast of power a bit to one side of the heavily rusted shaft of metal. “Look! There’s the other rail. We must be very close indeed.”

“I think you’re right, sister,” Celestia said, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. “You know, if this is a mine tunnel we might make faster progress by following it instead of continuing to bore straight upwards.”

“That’s a wonderful idea,” the dark alicorn enthused. “And if we follow a tunnel we can walk and give our wings a break.”

“I’m feeling the strain as well, Luna,” Celestia admitted, her golden power starting to cut their shaft into a ninety degree horizontal bend. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been drawing magic from home to bolster our reserves.”

“Will that harm the Apples?” Luna asked, settling onto the small ledge her sister had just made. “It is the collected power of their family line that holds open the portal, is it not?”

“Unless I try to force the portal wider, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Celestia responded, before carving herself her own landing niche. “Hmm, perhaps a note to Twilight is in order.”

“Thy former student is not the Element of Magic for nothing, dear Sister,” Luna said, a fond smile on her face. “Not to mention a dear friend.”

“She truly deserves the title of ‘Princess of Friendship’,” Celestia commented, a trifle absently as she penned a message and teleported it away.

Dear Twilight,

Could you please check on Granny Smith and Applejack? Luna and I are drawing a lot of power here from Equestria and I would like to make sure that it isn’t affecting either of them or their family in any way.

With Affection,


The reply came almost immediately in a swirl of green dragonfire, and Luna hunched to read over Celestia’s shoulder.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Applejack and Granny Smith are fine. I noticed yesterday that something on your side of the portal seems to have established a thaumic link with the Tree of Harmony here. The link seems to have taken up the strain of holding the portal open. Granny Smith says she is ‘feeling as spry as a square dancer on their second cup of cider.’ I think that’s a good thing, but I’m never sure with countryisms.

On a personal note: WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK??

I’ve only been a minute or two late raising the sun and the moon and I’ve already got the Royal Astronomers and Timekeepers pretty mad at me. Plus, I have six different petitions from various nobles calling for my immediate abdication in favor of a “Council of Nobles” and two demanding that I seal the portal behind you and take over myself.

On top of everything else, Cadance wants me to take an afternoon off to introduce me to something called “shipping.” Considering the glee in her eyes when she talks about it, I don’t think it has anything to do with transporting goods.

Your somewhat desperate former student,

Twilight Sparkle

“She does sound a trifle desperate,” Luna commented, wincing a bit in sympathy.

“One day that mare is going to lead Equestria,” Celestia stated, a smile ghosting her lips. “This is good practice for that day.”

“I think she will do well,” Luna added, before turning to the rubble-filled passageway before them. “Onward?”

“Onward,” Celestia confirmed, her horn wreathing in golden power once more and the joy of magic banishing her aches and pains. “It’s going to be very interesting to meet the leaders of a whole new world.”

The CH-149 Cormorant helicopter winged its way through the clear skies over the north coast. Although the helicopter was moving at high speed, the nearby CF-18 fighter jets escorting the rotary-wing aircraft were hard pressed to slow down enough to perform their mission of escort and protection.

“Mr. Prime Minister,” called the helicopter’s flight engineer. “We’re just about to cross back over land. We should be over Brightly in about ten minutes.”

“Not yet,” Justin Trudeau replied, shaking his head. “Take me around the area a bit first. Show me a few of the sights to see around here.”

“Sir?” asked the engineer, not sure if he had heard correctly. “You want us to fly around a bit? But we can have you on the ground any minute now.”

“And once I am on the ground everyone’s focus will be on me,” Trudeau replied, leaning forward to generate a sense of closeness with the engineer. “The focus will be on me, and not on the people in the town down there.”

“So? They should be happy to see you,” the engineer replied, still confused. “You’re the Prime Minister.”

“Yes, but today is their day,” Trudeau explained, trying to make the man understand. “If I land now, I take that away from them. It becomes my day in the spotlight, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of those.”

“Okay,” the CAF veteran answered, chewing on his lip in thought. “I think I get what you’re driving at.”

“One of the larger parts of politics is timing,” Trudeau said, continuing the explanation. “If I time my arrival until just after the awards ceremony, then I add to it. I make this day something even bigger in their lives than it would be otherwise, and they will remember me alongside of those events.”

“That’s a little… “ the engineer trailed off, not sure how much leeway he had in the conversation.

“Cold-blooded? Calculating?” responded the Prime Minister of Canada, with a gallic shrug. “When you’re in public life, you have to measure each of your actions in the spotlight with how they will be perceived. Otherwise, you won’t be in public life long because perception is politics. Besides, the election was a lot closer than I liked, and this gives me a chance to try to do something about western alienation.”

“I voted NDP,” the engineer said under his breath before turning to lean toward the flight crew to relay the instructions of the leader of their nation. Together, the three aircraft in the skies turned away from a direct heading to the small community that was their destination and instead, began to follow the coastline for awhile.

“British Columbia is a wide and varied place,” John Horgan said, from his place on the podium. “We have deserts, high plains, vast mountain ranges, river valleys and one of the most incredible coastlines in the world. But for all of that natural splendor, what truly sets BC apart is her people...”

“What was with that formal ‘compact’ speech earlier?” Iron Heart asked his love, whispering as the two ponies watched from an equipment nook that was hidden off to one side of the stage. “You didn’t really sound like… you.”

“Not sure what it was,” Foxfire murmured back, her white head leaning against Iron Heart’s deeply furred chest. “Some part of me wanted it to sound like that, and it felt right, so I just went with it.”

“Okay,” Iron Heart replied, accepting the response as they continued to listen to the speech. “Wow, he’s really talking us up, isn’t he? Are the kids ready to do the big reveal?”

“Romy and Zak are both chewing at the bit and ready to go,” answered the ivory unicorn, a half-smile on her muzzle. “Kylara is more than willing to try to keep hiding in the background, but she’ll follow the lead of the others, and as for Billy and Rowan—”

“The future Mister and Misses Kye,” Iron Heart interrupted with a smirk.

“As for our two pre-teen children,” Foxfire continued, rolling her eyes at her stallion’s attempt at humour. “They’re ready, but cautious. If things go badly Iron Hoof intends to kick out a wall while Shield Maiden holds the crowd off.”

“Damn, they’re that scared?” Iron Heart asked, frowning as the Premier droned on. “Maybe we should call the whole thing off.”

“It’s too late for that, and you know it,” Foxfire reminded the big black pony. “They’re just being smart. Planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. Oh look, they’re calling up Ernie and the others.”

“Yeah,” Iron Heart replied, suppressing the urge to step forward as he heard his human name called. “Kind of surprised Father Addison isn’t here. This is a big day for Brightly.”

“He’s delivering his usual Sunday morning thing,” Foxfire replied, leaning back against Iron Heart in unspoken understanding of the pull between two worlds she knew he felt just then. “It’s due to end right when the kids reveal the Power Ponies.”

“...and let us not forget the example of the Apostle Peter. Who noted that God is not partial, and that any who follow his commandments are acceptable to him. And what are the greatest commandments?” Father Addison asked his congregation, who were fully enthralled by the priest’s passionate and profound preaching. “Love God with your whole heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

“My friends, my neighbors, we have been witness lately to some truly good and faithful examples of this love,” Addison declared forcefully. “Neighbors who may not look like us, who may not be of our faith, or of our colour, or even of our species. But who have demonstrated their love for us through the goodness of their hearts and their deeds.”

“To reject them, simply because they are different, is to reject God.” Addison pontificated, thumping the lectern for emphasis. “We must always look beyond what we see with our eyes, and be like God, who sees hearts. No matter how strange someone may appear to us, it is the content of their character that should be our guide. Never the form they wear on the outside.”

Father Addison paused for a moment to take in the reaction of those listening to his words. All of them were locals and knew about the Power Ponies, but they didn’t know about the changes both he and his wife were experiencing. Their forms were changing as well, and who knew what new and strange things were yet to come. As a spiritual leader of the town, it fell to him to help prepare Brightly for the future.

“What’s this?” Luna asked, as she cleared some rubble away to reveal a stone-like wall of grey material with a pebbled surface. It looked like some vast boulder had been shoved into the passageway her and her sister had been clearing out as they made their way to the surface.

“I think it might be a form of cement,” Celestia replied, pausing to take a deep drink of water from a canteen. “Earth ponies are quite good at forming it into shapes as it sets to make some very lovely things. But this… this is just ugly.”

“Indeed,” Luna commented, sending a hint of her power into the obdurate wall in front of her. “According to my delving not only is there sand and lime here, but a great many small stones as well as an impressive number of iron rods.”

“Reinforcement, I think,” the formerly white, now grungy grey alicorn responded. “I think this might be some sort of deliberately formed barrier to keep ponies from entering the mine.”

“Or exiting,” Luna tossed back, taking a deep drink herself. “Could somepony other than Lee Ung know about the portal?”

“I doubt it,” Celestia replied, as she stepped up to face the grey wall of reinforced concrete. “It’s more likely that this barrier was put in place to keep foals or other innocents from wandering into the mine. It is very old after all.”

“You are most likely right, sister,” Luna said, nodding. “One last effort then?”

“One last push,” Celestia answered, gathering up her magic. “Then, I’m going to sleep for a week.”

“Sleeping while meeting new ponies,” Luna replied, giggling a bit. “I never knew you were so adept at multitasking.”

“Ha ha,” Celestia deadpanned. “Let’s get this done, Luna. We have new ponies to meet.”

It was almost time for them to take the stage, and the five youngsters were feeling the stress of the moment. Floods, storms, bullies and plane crashes were all things they took in stride, but getting up in front of the world to show who and what they were had them sweating. Even Zak’s usual grin was somewhat fixed with a clenched jaw.

“Hey guys, it’ll be okay,” Rowan whispered to her sister, brother and friends. “We just go up there and do it like we planned.”

“But what if people don’t like us?” Kya whispered back, with a distinct tremor in her voice. “What if they freak out?”

“It’ll be okay,” Zak told his sister, putting his own worries aside to console his sister. “We’re awesome, and everyone is gonna know it.”

“You sure?” Romy asked softly, her eyes flicking about until they found the spot where her mother was hiding. “Mom says it’s gonna be okay, but this is kinda scary.”

“It’ll be fine,” Billy chimed in, from the other side. “And if not, there’s always ‘Plan B’.”

“Plan B?” Kya asked, perking up a bit.

“Yeah,” Billy replied. “‘B’ for ‘Blast a hole in the wall and book it’.”

All five children giggled at that for a moment and then sobered as they realized that there was a very real possibility that blasting their way out of the town hall might be their last resort if things did go poorly. The five youngsters looked at each other, on the verge of breaking and running for the door, when Rowan addressed the other four.

“Guys, I just want to say that no matter what happens, I’m proud to call you my friends,” she said, looking each of them in the eye. “I can’t think of any other kids I’d want up there with me.”

“Even me?” Romy asked, eyes a little wide. “I’m your sister, not your friend.”

“You’re my sister and my friend,” Rowan answered, giving her younger sister a sideways hug. “Power Ponies forever, that’s us.”

“Power Ponies forever,” Zak replied, nodding his head, grin cocky once more.

“Power Ponies forever,” Kylara confirmed, the steadiness of Skylark coming to her.

“Power Ponies forever,” Billy said, taking a deep breath that filled out his young chest.

“Power Ponies forever and ever,” Romana finished, her bi-coloured eyes twinkling.

“...Some of you may have noticed that there are five medals still unawarded,” Horgan said, continuing his speech after awarding all but one member of Brightly VFD their medals. “That is because there are five names yet to call. Five brave citizens of this province and this town, who when disaster threatened, gave their all.”

“Is this it?” Martin MacCrae asked John Wilcox, keeping his voice low and even. “Is this where he introduces the aliens?”

“Sort of,” Wilcox replied, and MacCrae shot a look questioning look at his former subordinate. He studied the face beside him and came to a realization.

“You aren’t telling me something,” MacCrae stated, keeping his voice low, even as he calculated how far away his issued Tikka T3X rifle was, and how hard it would be to get to it. “You lied to me, didn’t you?”

“You wouldn’t have believed the truth,” Wilcox said, gesturing toward the stage. “But I promise you, what you’re about to see is something completely alien to anything you ever thought possible.”

“Give it to me straight, John,” MacCrae ordered, realizing the Premier was on the verge of ending his speech. “Are we in danger?”

“No,” the former soldier replied, his voice firm. “No one here is in any danger from what they are about to see. My word on it.”

“When this is over, you and me are going to have a long chat,” MacCrae promised, turning his attention back to the podium.

“And so, my fellow British Columbians,” Horgan said, at long last. “It is with distinct pleasure I call up the five without whom, the miracle at the Carmanah Dam would never have happened. Would Rowan and Romana Pedersen, William Kye, Kylara Harding and Zak Harding, please come join me.”

While the gathered press looked on in surprise, the assembled townsfolk of Brightly clapped and cheered loudly as the children they knew to be the Power Ponies made their way up to the stage. As they reached the Premier, he shook their hands in turn, as camera flashes went off in an array of dazzling flares.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Horgan told the group, holding his hand over the podium mic. “There’s no real need for you to reveal your identities.”

“We kinda promised the town we would, Sir,” Rowan replied, taking point. “It was either promise to show ourselves now or let everyone talk about us when they all found out a few days ago.”

“And you intend to keep your promises,” Horgan finished, nodding in understanding. “Do you need any room for what you’re going to do?”

“Anyone within about six to seven meters will be affected, Sir,” Rowan answered, looking up at the big man. “You might want to back up a bit, unless you want to become a pony too?”

“Not today,” Horgan replied, taking his hand off of the podium mic. “If everyone would clear the stage, my young friends here would like to demonstrate what they did to help prevent a terrible natural disaster. Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, I give you ‘The Power Ponies’.”

“The what?” was the collective response from the assembled reporters. The collective response of the citizenry however, was to snicker and smile at the confusion that was plain to see on the faces of the outsiders to their town. Those city slickers were about to see how a small town took care of itself.

In Nomine Sol,” Rowan began, the amethyst about her neck coming to life with lavender fire. “In Nomine Luna.”

“And now my friends,” Father Addison said, concluding his sermon. “Let us all rise and bow our heads as I ask for the Lord’s blessing upon us all. In Nomine Patri...

“Luna!” Celestia called out, excitement in her voice. “It’s giving way! We’re breaking through!”

The spell was cast.

The prayer was finished.

The Sisters broke through.

And in a wave of rainbow coloured light, the world changed forever.

Author's Note:

And so ends "Brightly Lit"...


Not much more to go however, so I hope you all stick around for the conclusion. This chapter was pretty hard to write considering I had to bounce between three different perspectives. I tried to keep things from being too jarring and before anyone asks: Yes, Father Addison's viewpoint is critical because of what happens next.

I'll do my best to have the next chapter out soon.

If you want to drop me a line I can often be found hanging out on the Discord server run by Damaged. Here is a invite link to it. Just be aware, the entire server is considered NSFW and is very much restricted to 18 years of age or older

If you like this and other stories of mine, you can support me on Patreon for as little as a dollar a month. Patreon is probably one of the best things ever for keeping content creators like me in keyboards, coffee and chairs. Your support is what keeps me going.

A big shout out to the ongoing support through Patreon by:

Canary in the Coal Mine
Jamin P Rose

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