• Published 4th Jul 2022
  • 630 Views, 56 Comments

The Nail - Boltstrike58



In which Fizzlepop Berrytwist, the Element of Magic, must face her greatest challenge.

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Prologue

Alone.

That was all Fizzlepop knew right now. Being by herself, where nopony would ever look at her again.

Her broken horn let off another few sparks, causing some of the grass to burn at her hooves. She didn't care, because it didn't matter. Nothing mattered.

Fizzlepop turned her head around, taking a look at the small town behind her. She remembered playing with Glitter Drops and Spring Rain as though it were yesterday, when in reality it had been months. Months since she'd gone to retrieve the ball from that cave, since the ursa minor scarred her, months since her so-called "friends" had begun to fear what her now broken horn could do. Months since Fizzlepop had realized she would never be accepted into Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. Fizzlepop jerked her head back, refusing to give the past anymore thought. It was time to move on.

As she trotted across the grass, her sensitive ears picked up a faint sound. Instinctively, Fizzlepop dived behind a fallen tree off the path, fearing another animal attack. When no creatures appeared, she cautiously poked her head out, looking for the source. The sound seemed to come from behind a few trees, so Fizzlepop squeezed her small form in between them. The sight that awaited her was shocking.

It was a pegasus chariot that had landed in a small clearing in the forest. However, it wasn't just any pegasus chariot. There were two white royal guards, both pegasi, standing around, apparently attempting to fix the chariot. It looked like part of the harness had snapped off. That wasn't what drew Fizzlepop's attention. What did was the passenger, Princess Celestia herself, who was currently standing off to the side.

"Sorry about the stop, Your Majesty," said one of the guards. "It appears there was just a loose nail in the harness. We'll have it fixed as soon as we can."

"Don't concern yourself with it, Thunderbolt," replied Celestia. "I don't mind having to wait a few minutes."

Fizzlepop felt afraid of the princess for reasons she didn't fully understand. She decided to simply sneak around the carriage and continue running away. But as she stepped back, she made the mistake of stepping on a branch, which snapped beneath her hoof. The sound immediately alerted the royal guards.

"What was that?" asked Thunderbolt. "Some kind of animal?"

"Possibly," replied his comrade. She called out, "If anypony's out there, show yourself!" Princess Celestia perked up, taking an interest in the disturbance.

Fizzlepop quivered from her position in between the trees. She used one of her forehooves to clamp her mouth shut, terrified she'd make more noise. Mentally, she debated simply running off, but she probably wouldn't be able to outrun two full-grown ponies. And if they caught her, she feared what they'd do. Finally, she simply obeyed their command and stepped out of the trees into the clearing.

The two royal guards relaxed. "It's just a foal," said Thunderbolt. "What are you doing out here, kid?" Then he took a closer look at her. "Oh my goodness..."

Fizzlepop winced. No doubt they'd noticed her broken, useless horn.

The guards moved to approach Fizzlepop, but Princess Celestia called out, "Wait." The alicorn took a couple of steps closer to Fizzlepop, causing her to shut her eyes. Fizzlepop was barely fighting back tears. She forced herself into a bow, but a hoof carefully pushed her back into a standing position. "Are you alright, my little pony? What's your name?"

"F...Fizzlepop Berrytwist," she squeaked out. Steeling herself, Fizzlepop looked up at the princess's face for the first time, fully expecting her to be repulsed.

However, Princess Celestia had a soft smile on her face, and her eyes were filled not with pity, but compassion. She reached over and placed a single hoof on Fizzlepop's shoulder.

"That's a lovely name," she said. Her voice never shifted from its kind, gentle tone. "What are you doing out here all alone, Fizzlepop? Where are your family and friends?"

Fizzlepop's lips quivered, and a single tear dripped from her scarred eye. "I-I'm running away," she answered, truthfully. "They don't want me back there anymore. Now that my magic doesn't work..." She indicated her broken horn.

Princess Celestia looked at the stub. She also seemed to notice the scar over Fizzlepop's right eye for the first time. "I'm sorry that you have suffered. Can you show me your magic?" The princess's own horn lit up with gold light, and she levitated over a small rock. "Try lifting this."

Fizzlepop swallowed, certain that she'd drive Princess Celestia away just like all the others. However, she saw no other option but to obey. So she focused, channeling her magic into her horn like she used to. A few sparks of loose magic leaped out of the stump, and electricity began to surround the rock. A bolt leaped out of her horn, blasting the rock and knocking off a few pieces of it, but it did not float.

Princess Celestia thoughtfully placed a hoof on her chin. "Your magic isn't broken," she said, after a few moments of consideration. "It will be hard for you, but if you could learn to control it-"

"I can't!" Fizzlepop cried out. "I tried, I can't use magic like I used to!" She was now crying harder than ever before, even more than after the ursa attack. She looked into the princess's deep purple eyes. "Oh, Princess Celestia, can you fix my horn?! I'm begging you! Please, I'll do anything!"

For the first time, Princess Celestia's smile faltered. "I'm sorry, little one," she replied, "but that is beyond my power, even. If I could, I would bring back your horn in an instant."

Fizzlepop was crushed. Even the princess couldn't fix her. She tried to mumble something out, but she gave up and simply collapsed into a crying fit. However, she felt a soft hoof stroking her mane.

"I cannot restore your horn, Fizzlepop," said Princess Celestia. "But I can help you. How would you like to become one of my personal students?"

Fizzlepop's eyes snapped open. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her head lifted up once again, looking into the princess's eyes.

"Do you...really mean that?" she sniffed.

"Of course," Princess Celestia replied. "I can teach you how to use your magic in ways you never knew. The road will be long, and I'm sure it will be difficult for you, but I will do everything I can to help you. What do you say?"

For the first time since the ursa attack, Fizzlepop actually had a reason to hope that things would be okay.

"Yes," she answered, before burying her face in the princess's leg, crying again, but this time from happiness.