• Published 17th Sep 2017
  • 1,319 Views, 105 Comments

Aggro-Culture: The Story of the Brave Little Bug - kudzuhaiku

Jitterbug, daughter of Junebug, goes off on an adventure of awesome epicness. But first, she has to gather supplies, because she read that adventurers have to do that sort of thing first.

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A fairy godspider appears

The city of Ponyville… Jitterbug knew what a pony was—she was one after all—but she had no idea what a ville was. There was also some confusion on how to pronounce it too, after learning a bit about language in school. Ville could be pronounced with an ‘el’ sound, sure, but there were plenty of other words that didn’t have that sound, like ‘tortilla.’ What if everypony was saying the name wrong and had been for years and years and years?

Was everything a lie?


Bearing a face-aching grin, Jitterbug pranced through Ponyville, her pigtails bouncing, and her eyes gleamed with mischievous curiousity as she headed towards the west side of town. The White Tail Woods would be thoroughly explored today, every available inch, every tree, every mossy boulder, every rotten log… well, some of them. She planned to walk the full route that was taken during the Running of the Leaves, which was quite a long walk by her standards, but it was okay because she packed a lunch.

She wished that she had a butterfly net, but she was still saving her allowance, which was slow going because she kept skipping out on her chores… such as working in the garden. Having a butterfly catching cutie mark might be fun, but it was also a bit ho-hum, because really, catching butterflies wasn’t that hard if most foals could do it. Such a thing just wasn’t all that special. A cutie mark for magic and spellcasting might be interesting, but that would mean many boring hours of study with dusty, sneezy books, and boring stuff was just so… boring.

There was a whole wide world to see and it was hard to see it from inside of a classroom or a library. Sitting still was hard and she was always catching trouble from Miss Cheerilee because of how squirmy she was. Jitterbug, as her namesake suggested, was a creature of energy. She was a high-strung frenetic filly finally free to find frenzied fantastic fun.

The great unknown awaited.

A dragonfly buzzed around the bridge and Jitterbug followed after it, wide-eyed and curious. Why was it called a dragonfly? Did it breathe fire like Spike and Boomer? Would it burn down the woods? Why was it so colourful and rainbowy? What made it shimmer, glimmer, and shine? Her hooves clopped against the stone bridge as she ran around in circles, trying to follow after the dragonfly, which seemed to have a problem making up its mind about which direction it would go.

Chasing bugs was certainly better than digging around the dirty dirt-filled garden. Sure, the garden had bugs too, but they were gross bugs, like slugs. Were slugs bugs? Was a slug a bug? Jitterbug came to a skidding halt—her hooves scraping over the stone—and recoiled in disgust when she thought about the glistening snot trails that slugs left behind. Snails were gross enough, but slugs were super grosstacular things. When one thought about it, without shells, slugs were just really homeless snails—hobos—and her mother insisted that hobos were disgusting and dirty. Not garden dirty, but untouchable dirty, the sort of awful dirty that one just didn’t talk about, like bathroom habits and politics. Ew.

Blinking, Jitterbug tried to remember what it was that she had been doing, and it took her a moment to think of the dragonfly. It was gone now, nowhere to be seen, and try as she might, she could not spot it flitting about. Three ponies approached the bridge, ponies that Jitterbug knew. Conk, Twisty, and Knick-Knack. Good ponies, and sometimes Jitterbug helped her mother foalsit Knick-Knack. They were trusted ponies, ponies that she had been told to go to and find in the event of an attack or disaster, should she get separated from her mother.

“Hiyas!” she cried while she jammed one hoof up in the air to wave. “I’m going on an adventure!”

“You stay safe,” Twisty said in return and beside her, Knick Knack began waving.

“Remember to come home before dark-thirty,” was Conk’s wise, helpful words of advice.

“Sure, you betcha!” Pronking away, her spatula and shield clattering, she began following the gravel and dirt path that wound along the river. “Look at me, I’m a big filly off on an adventure!”

“Toodle-woodle-woo-woo!” Knick-Knack called out in parting, sounding a bit like a train.

If one stared hard enough, wizened, wrinkled faces could be seen in the trees of the White Tail Woods. Knots made for interesting noses, or eyes, and warped hollows made for somewhat spooky mouths. Looking for faces made Jitterbug shivery, but she still did it because it was fun to. Finding shapes in clouds was fun, but finding the faces on the trees felt more meaningful somehow, but she had yet to find an adult that understood what she meant when she tried to explain her reasoning.

Perhaps she had been talking to the wrong adults all along.

Overhead, just above the tops of the trees, Fluttershy went flying past with a collection of songbirds swooping around one another behind her. Fluttershy was another safe, trusted pony that she could go to in times of trouble, but she had trouble getting along with the shy, yellow pegasus, who did not like sudden, excitable, explosive outbursts. Jitterbug was a filly just brimming with sudden, excitable, explosive outbursts which had to come out, sort of like sneezes, but far more verbose.

The path wound away from the river and lead into the wood. A natural archway formed in the canopy overhead and one side of the rutted road was deeper than the other. The mossy trees on either side were wise, patient guardians, and Jitterbug paused for a moment to find their faces. It took some time to see them, but they did have faces and she took the time to look each of them in the eye before stepping into shadow.

Pronking, she clicked all four of her hooves together and then vanished into the woods.

The sun had problems piercing through the thick, green canopy, but when it did it produced spectacular, radiant, crepuscular rays that speared through the thick thatch of leaves and left puddles of beautiful sunlight on the forest floor. Jitterbug bounced from puddle to puddle, as if she was attempting to splash in the sunlight, and she felt as though she was making good time on her journey.

“A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Princess Celestia wants me for a sunbeam,” she sang to herself as her school bag slapped against her side. “A sunbeam, a sunbeam, I’ll be a sunbeam for her. Princess Celestia wants me to be loving, and kind to all I see… showing just how pleasant and happy her little sunbeam can be. Hmm hmm hmm, this little horn of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… and I’ll show the world just what sort of sunbeam I can be!”

“Truly, an illuminating performance—”

“Who’s there?” Jitterbug demanded, disturbed by the sudden, unexpected voice.

“A friend,” the voice replied.

“Show yourself!” Igniting her horn came easy for Jitterbug, and she pulled her spatula free.

From the underbrush at the side of the road a spider emerged, but not just any spider, no: this was an enormous spider, bigger than Jitterbug herself, which left her feeling quite alarmed. Rather than give into her fear, she did the only reasonable thing she could think of and waved her spatula at it in the most menacing manner she could muster.

Alas, the spider did not seem impressed.

“You should be careful with such a weapon,” the spider said as it drew closer, speaking with a strange, unknown accent. “You could poke an eye out!”

When Jitterbug looked at her trusty spatula, it was a spatula no more, but a sword, sharp and gleaming. She almost dropped it when she let out a startled cry, but somehow, she managed to keep her grip on her weapon. Backing away, she waved her spatula-sword at the spider as it approached.

“Who are you?” Jitterbug demanded once more brandishing her weapon.

The spider’s big gross pedipalps waved around beneath what almost appeared to be a mustache. “Why, I am your Aunt Nancy… and you… you are Jitterbug.”

“I don’t have an Aunt Nancy!”

“Oh yes you do!” The spider made a polite wave with one giant hairy leg. “All beings that are good, brave, and true have an Aunt Nancy. And you… you are good, brave, and true. So you must have an Aunt Nancy.”

The spatula, which had become a sword, was now a spatula once more, and Jitterbug’s telekinetic grip made it tremble as she held it aloft. “For an Aunt Nancy you have a deep voice, Miss Spider.”

At this, the spider let out a boisterous, rollicking laugh and danced a little jig. “How little you know, silly filly, but suffice it to say, I am the most masculine aunt that you will ever meet. Most likely, anyhow. But right now, you need an aunt for guidance because destiny will soon have its way with you.”

“Who are you really?” Jitterbug asked as she put away her spatula. There was no sense in being rude, and for some unknown, inexplicable reason, this spider felt trustworthy.

“Well, one time,” the spider began and he dropped into a polite little bow, “I was the keeper of wisdom, and I collected all of this world’s wisdom and I put it into a jar so that I could keep it safe from the foolish and the unwary. I tried to store it in a big, thorny tree, but ran into some trouble trying to climb it, and eventually my own son chastised me about my foolishness. I got so frustrated that I dropped my jar, which broke, and all of the wisdom I had collected spilled out. Now, every creature that talks and thinks is wise because of me.”

Jitterbug’s mouth pressed into a tight, tiny pucker while she thought about the spider’s many words. That wasn’t an answer, but it was intriguing, even if it was probably a lie. Eyes narrowing, she had herself a good long look at the spider, which was decidedly friendly, though she could not say why.

“Really, I am your Aunt Nancy, and I am here to help you. The Aranea Covenant has been torn asunder and is no more. A spy for the Spider Queen lurks in these woods and I have come to find a champion. You seem brave enough, so you’ll do.”

“Why not a responsible adult?” Jitterbug asked.

“Responsible adults have a hard time seeing me,” the spider responded, “and even when they can see me, they have a hard time listening to me, because I am a spider. One simply does not talk to spiders, you see. At least, adults believe this. It is far, far easier to appear to one whose mind is still open to the possibilities of the world around them, no matter how improbable.”

“Are you an imaginary creature?” Jitterbug took a cautious step forward and began to examine the spider, trying to determine if it was real. “You seem real enough to me, but I might be wrong. If I close my eyes, count to ten, and tell myself that you’re not real, will you still be here when I open my eyes?”

“I draw power from imagination,” the spider explained in a patient voice. “You have a strong imagination, so I am very, very strong right now. Stronger than I’ve been in a long time. Strong enough to help you, I think. I was able to turn your spatula into a sword, wasn’t I?”

“That was a neat trick.” Jitterbug found herself nodding, and she sort of understood what her Aunt Nancy was saying. Her mother was always saying something about her overactive imagination. “So there is a spy?”

“Yes, in violation of the Aranea Covenant—”

“What’s that?”

“The Aranea Covenant was a promise made long, long ago. After a fierce battle was fought, the giant talking spiders agreed not to eat pony flesh and the Royal Pony Sisters agreed not to exterminate the giant talking spiders from the face of the earth. The giant spiders, unable to eat talking, smart, magical beasts, many of them became stupid and lost the ability to converse. Many lost their magic. But now they have returned, they have reclaimed their magic, and many of the giant spiders talk again. They are coming for you.”

“You talk.”

“Indeed I do, but I am not actually a spider. I am something else, something beyond your comprehension. I only appear as a spider because my true form is incomprehensible.”

“Oh.” Jitterbug shuffled on her hooves and wished that she had paid a bit more attention in school. “So you are my imaginary Aunt Nancy. Are you like my fairy godspider?”

“Sure, why not.” The spider shrugged, using four of its eight legs and something about it’s almost-mustache sort of seemed like a smile. “The Aranea have aligned themselves with Grogar, who has promised them quite a feast. The ancient elders have crawled out of their hiding places and now lay their eggs. Not long ago, one such elder was killed in your city of Baltimare.”

“So what do I need to do?” Jitterbug asked.

“I need your imagination to flow like a mighty, mighty river, so that I might have magic again, and we must go and deal with the spy. We must capture her alive, and you must take her to the one called Twilight Sparkle. Then, you must tell this Twilight that the Aranea Covenant is no more. Twilight should tell the Royal Pony Sisters, and they will know what to do. I have heard that Twilight is quite smart.”

“She is,” Jitterbug agreed, nodding her head. “She’s an egghead know-it-all and she saves the world all the time and she is the Princess of Ponyville and a super-nice pony.” Smiling, she decided to press her luck once more. “What are you really?”

“I am almost like a spider… I suppose. I exist on a weave of magic that stretches between worlds… other wheres, other whens. I have learned to travel along the ley lines that stretch between the stars. Everywhere I go, I create foolishness and fun. Sometimes, I lure children… or foals into having an adventure with me, like now.”

“Right.” Jitterbug was already feeling the itch, the urge to keep going. “So, where is this spy and how do we find her?”

“Walk with me,” Aunt Nancy said in a smooth, buttery voice of kindness, “and let us go on an adventure.”

Author's Note:

Hobo slugs...