• Published 13th Nov 2012
  • 4,453 Views, 207 Comments

Zapfilly - a3V

Sweetie Belle gains a wholly useless magical ability.

  • ...

Zapfilly Begins

In the minds of certain ponies, a mark of an established hero would be a base of sorts—a secret lair from which to prepare and plot to thwart the dastardly plans of those who would prey on the weak or cause chaos. Unfortunately, all of these things are associated with both wealth and a taste for justice... neither of which a certain young unicorn filly had, nor desired. Indeed, their lack of plans drew them to their clubhouse the day after Sweetie Belle's successful mastery of the Zap.

"So, what do we do now?" Scootaloo asked, tipping a pencil on her hoof.

"Well, obviously, we go show it off! As far as I can, anyways. I want to try it out and see if I get my cutie mark!"

"Well, what about us? We can't just go around helpin' ya out! How are we gonna get our cutie marks?" Apple Bloom put down her juice box. "And I think that Zap o' yours could be used to help pretty up the town. We should go talk to Mayor Mare!"

"And get stuck Zapping a bunch of old fences? No way! I say we Zap our equipment, and ride around in it! It'll be totally awesome!" Scootaloo slammed a hoof down onto the table. "We'll be the talk of the town! Imagine the look on everypony at school when we get there with our awesome rainbow stuff!"

"I don't know, Scoots. Seems kind of like asking for attention. It'd be like if Diamond Tiara got snooty over some new gold thingy her father gave her." Sweetie Belle idly pushed around a pencil. "There's gotta be something we can do with the Zap."

"Well, obviously it changes appearances. Maybe we could do something like... like..." Sweetie Belle sighed. "I got nothing. Again. Let's just do our usual stuff, and I'll try to think about it at school."

"Okay! Today on the list is this here box." Apple Bloom dropped a box onto the table, landing with a suspiciously light thud. "Applejack says she needs it opened. I dunno what's inside, but I figure that maybe we can try openin' it. O' course, I don't think any of us are good with pickin' locks..."

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Scootaloo looked at the other two fillies at the table, before their chorus rang out.

"Cutie Mark Crusader Box Smashers!"

"Well, that could have gone better."

Scootaloo dragged herself out of the mud puddle, bits of wood among the wreck that was the wooden box. It had started out innocently enough; three little fillies kicking a wooden box in an attempt to obtain whatever was within, to accomplish a task for the Apple family. Hooves, unfortunately, were not enough to break the sturdy receptacle, which led to a rapid escalation of tactics.

"Remind me to never try this again." Sweetie Belle pulled herself out, covered from head to hoof in mud. "Why do we still have that catapult? It does the strangest things sometimes, like throwing us up, too!"

"Remember when I asked if we had a cannon? That was the reason why." Scootaloo grabbed a towel off the little cart and dried herself off. "I'm really getting tired of landing in mud, or trees, or more mud."

"Seems all we ever end up landin' in is mud," Apple Bloom observed. She was the only one of the trio that elected to stand a safe distance away from the catapult, although the bizarre "magic" that surrounded the catapult meant that the safe distance was, unfortunately, highly variable. "I think maybe we should just give this thing to Pinkie Pie or somethin'. She'll probably find a way to launch cupcakes across the town, or somethin'."

"Well, at least we broke the box open. Let's see what's in here." Scootaloo picked up an odd purple garb on the ground, holding it up into the light. "Hey, this looks kind of familiar."

"Yeah, it does. I remember Rarity was making a bunch of fabric that looked just like this. Dark purple-y, and stuff. Hey, look at this hat!" Sweetie Belle placed the headwear on her mane. "I say, Jeeves, this mud is awfully unsophisticated. Take us away, so that we may enjoy the more cultured mud near the spa."

"Imitating your sister now, Sweets?" Scootaloo chuckled.

"You should have seen when she was reading about that Fancy Pants guy," Sweetie Belle moaned. "Oh, Fancy Pants! So handsome! The star of Canterlot, the pony that everypony knows!"

Apple Bloom giggled. "That sure sounds like your sister! Anyways, Applejack said she needed this here fancy watch, so I'm gonna go give it back to her. I'll see y'all at school!"

A short scooter trip later, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo arrived at the Ponyville schoolhouse. Snips and Snails were up to their usual shenanigans as usual, which apparently attracted the attention of one Diamond Tiara as she stomped her way across the schoolyard to the two oblivious colts.

"What in the world are you two doing?! You got mud in my mane!"

"Really sorry about that, Diamond. You know how it is, right? Wait, Snails! Stop! Don't—"

A sudden explosion of mud sent bits of debris flying all over the the schoolyard, causing general pandemonium and panic as foals took cover behind anything they could. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo stood far away enough to avoid most of the mud, but Diamond Tiara ended up covered from head to hoof. If it weren't for the fact she was covered in brown mud, she would have been red with rage.

"Argh! You stupid, simple-minded, idiotic colt! Look at what you've done! I have to wash this all out now, out of my pristine coat! Is this a bug? A bug?! Ahhh!"

Sweetie Belle giggled as she saw Diamond Tiara run for Cheerilee, who had just emerged from the schoolhouse to address the panic and confusion. Scootaloo nudged her companion and pointed a hoof towards the babbling and sobbing Diamond Tiara, hiding her own laughter with a hoof to the mouth.

"Scoots, I think I have an idea," Sweetie whispered conspiratorially.

"What's that? I bet it has something to do with D-T, right?"

"I have a plan. After school, we'll go talk to Snips and Snails to set up a distraction, and when she's not paying attention, I'm gonna Zap her tiara!"

"Oh, that's good. Really good! Totally harmless, too."

"I think Diamond Tiara needs to get brought down a notch. Wait, who's that?"

A small dark blue colt walked up to Diamond Tiara and tapper her shoulder. Diamond Tiara turned to the new colt and stared at him for a while, before flamboyantly falling into his hooves and crying. The colt turned his snout up with an air of arrogance before trotting away with Diamond Tiara in tow.

"Whoa. Who's the new colt?" Scootaloo watched the duo sit down on the far side of the schoolyard.

"That's Monocle." Snips walked up next to Sweetie and Scootaloo. "He's some new guy from Canterlot. As if his gold monocle wasn't enough of a clue, pfft."

"Yeah, and it's not much of a surprise that Diamond Tiara tried to befriend him." Snails walked up next to Snips, covered in mud. "His Pa just moved into town, right next to Sugarcube Corner. Really wealthy and stuff."

"So that's who that was!" Scootaloo said. "When I went to get Twilight yesterday, there were so many ponies in town moving boxes. I thought Mayor Mare had us stocking up for stallion week again."

"Nope! Was that nice stallion and his son who moved in?" Snails wiped a bunch of mud off of his face. "Top Hat's his name. Said he moved here to enjoy the scenery and to find somepony for his job."

"Gosh, we're early." Scootaloo looked up at the sky. "I think we're almost fifteen minutes early."

"Where's Apple Bloom?" Snails looked around, sending bits of mud all over Snips. "Doesn't she usually get here with ya?"

"I'm right here, you know." Apple Bloom was beside Scootaloo in an instant. "Hi, girls! And Snips. And Snails. Did I miss somethin'?"

"Yeah, Diamond Tiara totally got covered in mud. She's over there." Sweetie Belle raised a hoof to Apple Bloom's ear as she whispered. "And we're gonna need your help to pull off a prank."

"All set?"

"All set!" Snips hung by a rope around his barrel from the ceiling of the now-empty schoolhouse, and waved a hoof in readiness.

Scootaloo waved back, before she looked at the window and nodded to Apple Bloom outside, who in turn waved a hoof to Sweetie Belle. The plan was simple—to lure Diamond Tiara into the schoolhouse, and have Snips redirect Sweetie Belle's Zap with a magical reflection mirror, and Diamond Tiara's namesake on her head. A rainbow-colored tiara would be sure to freak the filly out!

"Diamond Tiara!" Sweetie Belle began to act on their plan.

"Hmm? Oh, it's you. What do you want, blank flank?" Diamond Tiara threw a haughty glance at Sweetie Belle before passing a grin to Silver Spoon, who snickered. "Don't you have blank flank things to do?"

"Snails said he wanted to apologize to you for the mud thing this morning." Sweetie batted her eyelids in an attempt to look more innocent.

"Hmph. About time he decided to! Come along, Silver Spoon. Let's see what that idiot colt has to say to me."

Sweetie Belle joined Apple Bloom next to the window, giving a glance to Snips inside, who was holding the mirror in his two hooves. They had rehearsed this beforehand, and knew exactly where to position Diamond Tiara to engage in their surgical strike. The door burst open as Scootaloo trotted out and the pink and grey fillies entered.

"This is going to be good." Scootaloo brought out a bag of popcorn and sat next to Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom as they observed the conversation inside.

"So, what do you have to say to me, hmm?" Diamond Tiara turned her snout up in pride as Snails kept his head level. He angled his head just enough to see where Diamond Tiara stood, and smiled as he saw her hooves on top of the taped 'X' on the floor.

"I really like your tiara." Snails smiled dumbly.

"I certainly am the most— wait, what?"

"Your tiara. It looks really nice." Above him, Snips bit his lower lip to prevent himself from laughing.

"Sweetie Belle told me you wanted to apologize! Is this a joke?" Diamond Tiara nearly growled at Snails.

"Uh, kinda?" Snails smiled again, this time out of nervousness.

Snips held the mirror steady as a rainbow beam bounced off the glass surface and zoomed straight for Diamond Tiara. The pink filly noticed too late and attempted to shield her head, and waited several seconds before bringing her hooves back down.

"What in the world was that? Did you just attempt to assault me?"

Snails was guffawing, as was Snips above him. Diamond Tiara's face froze in shock when she realized what had happened. The Cutie Mark Crusaders had set her up to get pranked, although she wasn't sure of what they pranked her with—

"Nice tiara, D-T!" Snails resumed his laughter, and Diamond Tiara could hear the laugh of three fillies from outside.

She brought her hooves above her head and hesitated for a second, before bringing her tiara down slowly. As it entered her vision, the bright colors of the spectrum met her gaze, and she looked upon her newly rainbow tiara with a mix of horror and disgust.


"Got you good, Diamond Tiara!" Scootaloo was in the doorway, wearing a triumphant grin on her face. "It's just an alteration spell, it'll wear off eventually. You literally walked right into that one, though!"

"UGH!" Diamond Tiara grabbed Silver Spoon and ran out of the schoolhouse. The latter wore an expression of slight confusion, and a hint of amusement. She couldn't help but smile at Snails as she followed her friend back to Ponyville.

"That was awesome!" Scootaloo dumped the empty popcorn bag into the trash bin next to Cheerilee's desk. "I wish I had a camera, the look on her face was priceless! Next time, we should totally do that!"

"Well, I say there shouldn't be a next time, Scoots. We only need to do it once. Any more than that is just... petty." Sweetie frowned as she looked upon the four foals with her. "I felt a bit bad for doing this, but Diamond Tiara needed to get knocked down a notch."

"I'll say. She hasn't been that angry since... just now!" Snails lowered Snips from the ceiling, as the rotund pony levitated the mirror onto Cheerilee's desk gently. "I hope she'll be a bit nicer from now on. When she gets all shouty, it makes me uncomfortable."

"What in the blazes was that?"

The foals turned their heads toward the newcomer, Monocle. He stood in the doorway with a piqued expression, and looked towards Sweetie Belle. "I assume that she is the cause of this ruckus?"

"Uh, yeah. That's me. My name's Sweetie Belle! You're Monocle, right? Snails told me a bit about you."

"Ah, Snails. Greetings, fellow unicorn." Snails merely nodded his head in return. "Indeed, I am the one known as Monocle. I'm rather new in town! Just arrived yesterday, as a matter of fact."

"Where'd you move from?" Sweetie Belle motioned for them to move outside, as their business in the schoolhouse was concluded.

The six foals moved outside to one of the tables, and Snips and Snails took the opportunity to begin drawing the playground. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom sat and listened attentively to Monocle's recent happenings.

"I moved here from Canterlot, actually. Father needed to move to Ponyville due to his job, which leads me to why I'm here. You see, Sweetie Belle, we are looking for somepony who has talents. Specifically, your talents."

"My talents? What can I do that makes me special?"

"Indeed, I wonder. Are you capable of producing a magical beam that can change the color of objects?'

"W-well, yeah."

"Then I do believe my father would like to speak to you."

"Sweetie Belle, what's going on?" Rarity sat in the living room of Top Hat's residence as the six foals entered the building. "Did you get into trouble again, with this Mister Top Hat? Honestly, he hasn't even been in town a day and you've already broken something?"

"Rarity, I don't know why I'm here either, but I'm not in trouble. That much I know for sure." Sweetie Belle looked to Monocle for assistance.

"Indeed, Miss Rarity. My name is Monocle. Top Hat is my father, and I hope you will at least hear him out."

"Well, where is your father then? I must return to my work, since the rainbow ensemble did not turn out the way I hoped it would." Rarity huffed as she looked at Sweetie Belle. "Perhaps it wasn't prudent of me to take it for granted."

"Sorry, Rarity. It was an accident, but Twilight helped me control my magic!" Sweetie Belle beamed at Rarity, who returned a smile.

"Oh, I know, darling. Twilight told me all about it yesterday over tea. I'm so very proud of you, and I'm sure mother and father will be as well!"

"Excuse me? Miss Rarity?" A gruff voice from down the hall caused everyone to turn their heads. "If you could bring your little sister in here, that'd be great. Monocle, take all my mail, and tell Jeeves to stop putting cream in my coffee!"

Rarity and Sweetie exchanged unsure looks as they trotted down the hall towards an open door at the end, surrounded by blue banners with a rainbow circle on them. The filly looked back at her friends, and they all gave her encouraging smiles and waves, with the exception of Snails, who was busy observing a spider that was suspended in front of him.

The two entered the darkened room, and the door shut behind them. A single light illuminated what appeared to be an office, with a trail of cigar smoke coming up from the tall wooden chair in front of them. Two cushions laid on the ground before the desk, each with its own spotlight above them, and they took that as a cue to take a seat.

"I'm sure you're both wonderin' why I called ya here." The gruff voice spoke up from behind the chair. It swung around to reveal a massive stallion, almost as big as Macintosh. He wore a white collar and blue tie in a style similar to Filthy Rich, but also wore a beret and sported the aforementioned cigar.

Rarity cleared her throat. "I assume that you are Mister Top Hat?"

"That'd be me, and don't call me mister. That's for professionals and nobility."

"Well, Top Hat. What have you called us here for?"

"I'm glad you asked, Miss Rarity." He inhaled the smoke and puffed it into the air above him. "I work for an organization called the Chromatic Coalition. Ever heard of us?"

"Well, no."

"Of course ya haven't. We're a pretty low-key organization that deals with certain things that the Princesses don't really need to be bothered with. Ya see, we deal with... dealing with things. Deal with 'em good." He narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, deal with 'em real good."

"And what threats may these things be that you required the services of Sweetie Belle, of all ponies?"

"I didn't say 'threat', Miss Rarity. The nature of our job is actually quite safe, despite my demeanor. Bet you expected some sorta noblepony sittin' on this chair? Well, yer wrong. I'm here 'cause I can get things done, and Sweetie Belle just so happens to be the right filly for the job."

"What in the world can she do that falls within your requirements?" Rarity couldn't help but raise a brow in skepticism. "She's just a foal, for Celestia's sake!"

"She just so happens to have a certain alteration ability obtained from one Zap Apple harvest not too long ago. Aside from the fact that I absolutely love the jam, I moved here because I have been tasked to investigate a recent incursion of... the Grey."

"The Grey?" Rarity looked over at Sweetie Belle, who fell asleep on the cushion. "What in the world is the Grey?"

"It's exactly what it sounds like, Miss Rarity. It's an unexplained magical phenomenon that can be caused by ponies and we have reason to believe that somepony in Ponyville is causing the Grey to happen, intentionally or unintentionally."

"So, why do you need Sweetie Belle?"

"She'll be acting as a temporary agent for the Chromatic Coaltion in Ponyville. We've got operatives working 'round the world to stem the tide of the Grey, but with this small incident her abilities will prove enough to stop it from spreading."

"What does the Grey do, exactly?"

"Nothing, really. It's perfectly harmless! However, if you let it sit unopposed it turns everything around it into monochrome, and Princess Celestia thinks that would clash with the royal banners."

"So that's where Sweetie Belle comes in? Sweetie, wake up. I think you should hear this!" Rarity nudged Sweetie Belle in the barrel, stirring the filly.

"I'm awake, I'm awake. I sorta heard a bit of everything." She rubbed her eyes with her hooves and yawned. "So what you're saying is, I'm going to go around fighting this Grey thing?"

"Indeed, little missy."

"Like a superhero?"

"Uh, sure. Somethin' like that." Top Hat reclined in his chair. "Since we are a royal organization, we actually have a base and everything under this building. It's like a hideout, almost. Our local agent graciously provided it when we moved in. The agent is actually right next door, actually."

"You mean Pinkie Pie is the agent?"

"Hmm? Who's that? No, Agent Gummy is the one provided this home and tipped us off to the Grey here."

"... Gummy?" Rarity exchanged another look of skepticism with Sweetie.

"Indeed. He'll handle all of your assignments, should you choose to accept them."

"Totally!" Sweetie Belle bounced up and down from her cushion. "I'll be Zapfilly, defender of Ponyville!"

"Naturally, we'll need to work around your school schedule. I'll have somethin' next week, Jeeves is still scouting around with Agent Gummy. We'll have intel by the end of today."

"I do have a question, Top Hat. Why are you named 'Top Hat' if you're so, well..."

"Uncultured? Uncouth? Gruff? Rough? Down in the mud?" He cackled. "Let's just say my cutie mark being a top hat refers to organizational things. Now git, you're disturbin' my zen time."

"Well, that was strange." Sweetie sat in the foyer of Carousel Boutique, across a table from Rarity. "Do you think he'll let me have my own costume? I'm going to be Grey fighting! Woohoo!"

"Now, darling, let's not get too ahead of ourselves. We've not any real evidence of this 'Grey' yet, and it's quite possible it could turn out dangerous! Remember when I told you about my fight with Discord?"

"Oh, yeah. I guess it could get pretty dangerous."

"We'll have to just trust this Top Hat and his Coalition, and hope everything turns out alright."

"Doesn't that seem kind of dangerous, Rarity?"

"What harm is there in trying this out? He certainly made no move to conceal his presence, and I've already notified Twilight and the rest of my friends about him. If anything happens, we'll be ready."

"Well, I just have one more question, Rarity..."

"Yes, darling?" Rarity smiled at her sister, ready to respond.

"Do you still have that Mare Do Well costume around? I want to see if you could adjust it for me..."