One day in the Everfree, trying to get their cutie marks, the Crusaders receive THE POWER OF SHAZAM!
One day while out in the Everfree trying to earn their adventuring cutie marks, the Cutie Mark Crusaders find themselves chased by a hydra into a small cave. With no where else to go, they begin exploring and find the entrance to the rock of eternity, where they encounter an ancient and renowned wizard who bestows upon them his own power. THE POWER OF SHAZAM!
Showcase Presents: The Secret Origins of the Crusaders of Shazam!
Once upon a time...in the magical land of Equestria...
There were two regal sisters who ruled together and created harmony for all the land.
To do this, the eldest, used her Alicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn...
The younger, brought out the moon to begin the night...
Thus, the two sisters maintained balance for their kingdom and their subjects: all the different types of ponies.
But as time went on, the younger sister became resentful...
For the ponies relished and played in the day her elder sister brought forth, but shunned and slept through her beautiful night...
One fateful day, the younger Alicorn refused to lower the moon to make way for the dawn...
The elder sister tried to reason with her, but the bitterness in the young one's heart had transformed her into a whicked mare of darkness, Night Mare Moon!
She vowed that she would shroud the land in eternal night!
A massive battle ensued in which both sisters fought each other using much of their awesome power that devastated much of the land. However, because of the elder sister's love for her sibling, she held back through much of the fight and was defeated by the evil pony her sister had become. One who held no qualms with unleashing her new and unbridled fury upon the other Alicorn.
Luckily, the elder sister managed to flee and rally the various forces still loyal to her against the armies of Night Mare Moon. During their final battle atop the peak of the largest mountain in all Equestria, the eldest, reluctantly, harnessed the most powerful magic known to ponydom. The elements of harmony!
Using the magics of the elements of harmony, she defeated her younger sister, and banished her permanently in the moon...
...However, all was not well. For while the citizens of Equestria rejoiced in the defeat of the monster the younger Princess had become, the eldest...was dying.
The fighting between her and Night Mare Moon was strenuous and had left her with many wounds, physical, magical, and mental. This, coupled with the taxation using the elements demanded, meant that she, had unfortunately, mere hours of life left.
When her subjects discovered this, the previously jovial mood was halted and replaced by one of somberness. Now, both of their beloved rulers would be gone and without them, who would rule Equestria? Who would defend it from all who would see it wiped from the map? Who would raise the sun and the moon?
Before her untimely demise however, the remaining pony sister did her best to ensure the future of her little ponies. With her remaining power, augmented by the elements, she made the sun and the moon rise and set naturally and predictably over the lands of Equestria and the rest of Equis. She decreed that a counsel of ponies comprised of equal parts Earth ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns would be established to rule ver Equestria in her absence with one head that that would share equal power in important decisions made for the country.
And, she decreed that a total of five military branches should be established and maintained to protect Equestria's borders and hopefully, prevent the devastation caused by Night Mare Moon and Discord's reign from ever happening again in future conflicts with future enemies.
And so, with a final farewell to her subjects, the Alicorn of the sun was no more.
In memory of her, the ponies of the land built a Castle around the spot where she had fallen, a mausoleum of sorts that would stand as a reminder of the Eldest sister and all she had done as well as the seat of those that would govern the nation. Soon, a city that would serve as Equestria's capital blossomed around this palace, and the ponies of the land set about the final tasks their sovereign had asked of them.
The Triumvirate of the Tribes, as the pony counsel came to be known, took on responsibility and harmony has been maintained in Equestria for generations since...
It was a hot, sunny day in Ponyville as three fillies roamed through the Everfree Forest. One was a yellow earth pony with a red mane and a large hot pink bow on her head. The other was a white unicorn with a grayish mulberry mane and green eyes. The final member of the trio was an orange Pegasus with a purple mane and eyes. They, were the Cutie Mark Crusaders!
"Scootaloo! Why are we out here again?" The unicorn filly whined to the pegasus.
"Yeah! Ya'll dragged us out here without even tellin' us what fer!" The yellow filly asked in an annoyed tone.
Scootaloo leaped up on an old stump and said, "Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, last night I came up with the best idea ever! We're going to get our cutie marks in adventuring!"
At this the other two Crusaders' eyes widened before yelling, "YEAH! CUTIE MARK CRUSADER ADVENTURERS!"
Scootaloo hopped off the stump she was standing on and high-hoofed with her friends.
"Yep! This is gonna be so easy! We'll be just like The Flash!" The Pegasus filly said as she took out a comic book from her bag that possessed a cover with a mare with a tan coat and monochromatic grey mane wearing a metal helmet with golden wings and a red shirt with a lightning bolt going down the front.
"Where'd ya get that?" Applebloom asked as Scootaloo put the comic back into her bag.
"Borrowed it from Rainbow Dash." The Pegasus said as she then started walking deeper into the forest. "Come on Crusaders! ADVENTURE HO!"
With that she, Applebloom, and Sweetie Belle started running. After about an hour of this however, the trio's enthusiasm had begun to wane.
"Um, how does walking around a forest get us our cutie marks again?" Sweetie Belle asked in a tired tone, the heat sapping her energy.
"Yeah Scoots. How 'bout we try somethin' else?" Applebloom suggested, ready to turn back as well.
"Try something else?!" Scootaloo asked in shock. She leaped up onto a rock that was sitting in a nearby pond.
"We've only been out here an hour! Would The Flash give up trying to stop the evil Shade?" The Pegasus asked, receiving confused looks from her friends. "The answer is: hay no she wouldn't!"
Scootaloo then stomped the rock she was standing on for emphasis. However, said rock began to move, causing her to fall to the ground. It rose up, as did several others, revealing that it was, in fact, a Hydra.
"AAAAAAAAAH!" The Crusaders screamed as the beast roared and began to chase them through the forest.
"IS IT TOO LATE TO TURN BACK NOW?!" Scootaloo yelled in terror.
"YES!" Applebloom and Sweetie Belle yelled in unison. Soon, the trio reached an old cave and ran into it. The Hydra was unable to follow or stick its head in, but waited outside for them to come out.
"Okay, so maybe this wasn't the best idea." Scootaloo said breathlessly.
"YA THINK?!" Applebloom snapped at the Pegasus. Before anymore could be said, the faint sound of a train horn could be heard echoing throughout the cave. Soon, at the back, a massive train with many ancient symbols carved into it appeared. A door opened wide on it, revealing a bright white light coming from its interior.
"Let's go in!" Scootaloo exclaimed.
"ARE YOU CRAZY?!" Sweetie Belle shouted at her friend, her voice slightly squeaking.
"I'm with Sweetie Belle. You just want to get on a weird train that came out of nowhere?" The earth pony said only to be ignored as Scootaloo ran into the train.
"Hey! Get back here!" Applebloom called, running after her friend to stop her, Sweetie Belle moving along side. However, they crashed into the orange Pegasus, causing them to tumble into the train. Suddenly, the door slammed shut and the locomotive took off at incredible speeds, slamming the three fillies to the back wall as they screamed out in terror.
Soon, the train stopped and the door opened, leaving the Crusaders dazed and confused as they tumbled out of the door. After a brief period of silence, they finally noticed their surroundings and slowly looked around before cautiously standing to their feet. They then saw an old pony, a unicorn Stallion, sitting on a throne before them, looking off into the distance as though reliving an old and powerful memory.
After some minutes of anticipatory silence, Applebloom decided to make the first move.
"Howdy there! I'm Applebloom. This here is Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo." The young earth pony said, smiling as she pointed to each of her friends respectively. The old stallion sat there, craning his head to stare at the young fillies for several long moments.
"I know who you are, young ones." Spoke the old pony in a surprisingly powerful voice. "I have been looking for you for...some time now."
"You have?" Sweetie Belle asked, an eyebrow arching more in confusion than surprise.
The old stallion nodded his head gravely before sitting straighter in his stone chair and staring a little closer at the fillies.
"Yes, I have. I am known as the Wizard, Shazam. I have been the guardian and keeper of the power of magic since before time had officially begun. I hold residence here, at the Rock of Eternity, to watch vigil over the world and to keep the Seven Deadly Sins from running amok and ravaging it. I have seen ponies rise to dizzying heights, only to be struck down. I have seen ages of heroes come and go, until only legends remain of their deeds. I am extremely powerful and even the gods themselves respect my name and mingle their power with mine, just as mine is mingled with theirs. I am simultaneously the world's greatest mortal practioner of the arcane arts and its oldest resident." He told the Crusaders, earning looks of amazement from all of them as they sat in silent wonder.
"For reasons you shall soon come to understand, I must ask that when you address me, not to call me by my name. Though it may seem rude for the moment, I would ask that you simply call me 'Wizard' for now."
"Uhhh…all right Mister Shaza--Wizard, sir." Applebloom hesitantly replied. The Wizard just chuckled.
"Now, I trust you have some questions for me? Let's hear them then, if you please." The three fillies stepped a little closer to the old wizard.
"Um, why are we here?" Scootaloo asked.
"Where are we?" Applebloom questioned.
"What do you need us for Mr. Wizard?" Sweetie Belle queried.
"As I mentioned, this is the Rock of Eternity. Suffice it to say, it does not exist on Equis, but rather outside of space and time altogether. It serves as a refuge for magic and a prison for the Seven Deadly Sins as well as my home.”
He looked at the ground and let out a short and exasperated sigh.
“Now we come to the very difficult question of why you are here." Shazam said as he shifted in his seat before taking in a deep breath. "I am old, little ones. Older than I look, which should tell you something right there. While appearances are not everything, I am so far past my prime, am running on so much borrowed time, that I am quite literally…on my death seat here.”
The three crusaders widened their eyes in surprise and sadness.
“However, I hold a position of power and authority in the Grand Design and my position must be filled. There must always be a Supreme Wizard. It is the nature of things and maintains the Balance."
The Crusaders may not have been the brightest bulbs of the bunch, or gotten straight A's in school, but they could take a hint and were most certainly not stupid.
"Whoa! Wait a minute! I think you have the wrong ponies here, sir!" Said Scootoloo, waving her forhooves about frantically in unison with her friends.
"You don't understand little ones.” The Wizard Shazam whispered, before chuckling darkly. “After all, how could you? There wasn't enough time, never enough time to do things the right way. That's the one thing everyone, pony or not, always regrets you know. Being tardy, neglecting what should not be put off, not finishing things before it's too late to do anything. So much left unfinished...
“I did not wish to place this burden on you young ones, but things are progressing faster than expected, and we are out of time. Great darkness is on the horizon. I have faced such darkness before, but I can no longer defeat it. I am too weak and my time is nearly here. Unopposed, it will lay waste to the entire world, magical and mundane alike, with only a care given for power and not the innocents that will stand in its path, giving neither quarter nor mercy. Only you can stop him...my successors."
The Cutie Mark Crusaders looked to each other with various looks ranging from incredulity to amazement, all pondering the same thing.
"Why us?" They asked in unison.
"It has always been you, Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo. Together, you all possess the qualities needed to bear my power. I...wanted to wait until you were older, more prepared…more ready…” The wizard said, seeming to shrink in on himself as the fillies watched on. “But there is no time. Never enough time."
"Sir?" Applebloom asked before the wizard began to fade from existence, speaking his final words.
"When the moment comes, say my name." Came Shazam’s final words, the trio of fillies suddenly becoming teleported out of the Rock of Eternity.
The Crusaders found themselves outside the cave they were just in, only with the entrance gone. However, the hydra was still very much there and it roared once more as it towered over the fillies. The words of the wizard echoed in their minds and they shouted, "SHAZAM!"
Three bolts of lightning came down and struck them. The hydra stopped in surprise as three fully-grown ponies, each one of them Alicorns, now stood in the places of the three fillies that were just eclipsed by its shadow. The former earth pony of the trio wore a red costume, a white cape with gold trim, and had a lightning bolt symbol on her flank in place of a cutie mark. The Pegasus wore a blue version of the earth pony’s get-up and the former unicorn wore a white version whose single other difference was the addition of a moderate length skirt.
"Wow! That felt cool!" The Pegasus said in a much deeper voice.
"Hey Scootaloo! You're all grown up!" The unicorn also said in a much deeper voice before gasping. “And you have a horn!”
Scootaloo gasped much like her friend and exclaimed, “So does Appleboom!”
"We all do!" The adult Applebloom said as she rocketed into the air. She didn't come down however and instead, remained stationary in the sky, flapping a new pair of large and powerful appendages. “And we all got ourselves some wings too!”
"You can fly?! So not fair!" Scootaloo complained.
Applebloom looked down and said, "Maybe ya'll can do it too?"
The Pegasus attempted to lift off the ground with her now fully developed wings and found she could indeed fly. Sweetie Belle soon joined them in the air. However, the hydra had finally gotten over its shock and attempted to swallow her in one bite.
"This is great!" the flying unicorn exclaimed, unaware of the imminent danger.
Before her friends could warn her, she threw her forelegs out to her sides, accidentally striking all four of the hydra’s heads. The beast then went sailing backward from the force of the hit, landing back in the pond it came from.
"What was that?" The unicorn asked, craning her head backwards as her friends just floated, mouths agape at her.
"APPLEBLOOM!" The yellow alicorn's grandmother called.
"SWEETIE BELLE!" The light grey alicorn's sister called as well.
"Uh oh!" The alicorn Applebloom and Sweetie said as they and their friend flew down to the ground.
Thinking quickly, the former earth pony shouted, "SHAZAM!" Instantly, she was transformed back into her filly self.
Following their friend's cue, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo did the same and just in time too; for it was at that moment that Rarity and Granny Smith came through the bushes.
"There ya'll are! Me an' Miss Rarity been lookin' fer you three everywhere!" The elderly pony said, her eyes narrowed in aggravation.
"Indeed! Don't you girls know it's dangerous to go gallivanting around the Everfree Forest by yourselves!" Rarity scolded the three fillies as the two older ponies took them back to Ponyville. “I mean, here I am, coming down all the way from Star City to watch my little sister and spend some quality time with her only to find out that she decided not to wait for me by the school house and instead, waltzed off into the most dangerous place in town without anyone to look after her at all save for two of her friends that are as small as she is!”
For the rest of the trip, Rarity and Granny Smith took turns scolding the crusaders for their recklessness. At some point, while the two of them were both talking furiously, Scootaloo managed to duck behind a tree and ran off elsewhere, much to the chagrin of her friends. The two remaining crusaders were then taken to their individual homes with their individual guardians. At the door, they were both told that, for doing something so foulish, they would be grounded and forbidden from going outside for an entire day. Any protests they would have been quickly died in their throats when the glares from Rarity and Granny Smith came at them at full force, being replaced instead by whimpering acknowledgements as they both looked at the ground.
As the rest of the afternoon passed into night and all three of the Crusaders went to sleep in their individual beds though, they did so with smiles on their faces. Indeed, for although they had witnessed the passing of one of the greatest ponies ever seen on the face of Equestria and were yelled at by their authority figures, how could they not? For now, theirs was power that they had never dreamed of before. Power to help anypony in need. Power to change the course of not just pony history, but that of all races living under Celestia’s sun. The power of ancient and long dead gods, the POWER OF SHAZAM!
After spending all of Saturday inside their homes and staring longingly out of what must have been every window in their homes in between performing chores and the monumental pile of homework Ms. Cherilee had assigned them, Rarity and Granny Smith had allowed Sweetie Belle and Applebloom to go outside once again. Meeting up on the latter’s farm, the two were currently busy trotting along slowly towards the clubhouse the three of them had managed to build one summer afternoon under the supervision of Big Macintosh of course, who had come down to visit from Maretropolis.
Applebloom’s big time reporter big brother, however, was not the pony currently on both of their minds. That spot was reserved for a certain orange coated, fuschia maned pegasus friend of theirs. A so called ‘friend’ who had abandoned them and sent them both off to face the music of their decision to venture the Everfree alone, despite the fact that ‘they’ were not the masterminds behind that little trip, and she was.
This ire felt toward’s Scootaloo held even after they got over the initial shock of finding her in the clubhouse ahead of them, reading another comic book entitled, “Dial H for Hayro” that she had, undoubtedly, also borrowed from her Rainbow Maned idol.
“Scootaloo!” The two of them yelled out indignantly, causing the Pegasus filly to leap out of her seat and land unceremoniously on her back on the floorboards.
“Hehheh.” She chuckled nervously, wearing her comic book on her head as well as a forced smile. “Hi girls.”
The death glare she received from the two of them made her shiver.
“Look,” She began, rubbing her neck with a hoof and taking an interest in everything in the room but them, “I’m sorry about ditching you two the other day. I just remembered that I…uhhh…had to turn in an overdue library book or get fined fifty bits, so, I had to bolt lickity split, ya know?...”
The other crusaders continued to glare at her, eyes ever narrowing. Sweat now threatening to cascade down the fur of her face like Neighagra falls, Scootaloo quickly said, “Sooo…I felt so bad about doing it, that I went out yesterday while you two were stuck at home and got you something.”
The fuschia maned filly got up and quickly shuffled over towards a nearby windowsill, grabbing the saddlebag there with her teeth, bringing it down, and spilling out its contents onto the floor for the other crusaders to see. Said filly’s eyes widened in wonder.
“Whoa!” Said Sweetie.
“No way!” Said Applebloom.
“Way.” Said Scootaloo, allowing herself a smile and holding her chin up high.
The two other crusaders walked closer towards what lay on the ground, and held what articles pertained to them in their hooves.
“These are real, genuine nun chucks and Chineigh Mare’s hat!” Said Applebloom.
“And these are a real, genuine, Prench couture scarf and beret!” Squeaked Sweetie.
“But…how?” Asked the white unicorn.
“Yeah! There aren’t any shops I can’t think of in Ponyville that carry nothin’ like this, Canterlot’s a train or cab ride away you can’t fly, and you’re always so tight on bits!”
The orange filly smiled knowlingly. “Oh it wasn’t so hard. I just took some time out from my mourning routine to take a little visit to Prance and Haysia. Nothing big.”
The eyes of the other two widened even deeper than before.
“You don’t mean—“ They said in unison.
“That’s right!” Interrupted Scootaloo with a snap of her hoof. “I just shouted Shaza—the wizard’s—name, turned into an Alicorn, flew as fast as I could east, made a few stops, kept going, and made it all the way back to Equestria right before dinner!”
They eyes of the other two, having widened to their deepest, remained the same. Their mouths however, dropped to the floor.
The eyes of the other two, having widened to their deepest, remained the same. Their mouths however, dropped to the floor.
“No way.” Said Applebloom, quieter than before.
“Way.” Said Scootaloo, allowing herself another smile and holding her chin up again.
“But…that’s impossible.” Said Sweetie, putting a hoof up to the side of her head in thought. “In order to go all around the world that quickly, you would need to moving WAY faster than the speed of sound. Even faster than a Wonderbolt jet! Even faster than Rainbow Dash before the…you…know…”
It was Scootaloo’s turn for her own eyes to widen to their limits and for her own mouth to drop to the floor. “You…you really think I was going that fast?!”
“Maybe even faster.”
For a good long minute, Scootaloo blanked out, remaining unnaturally still and stiff as her friends tried desperately to break her out of the trance she had fallen into by waving their hooves in exaggerated fashions before her eyes. Afterwards though, a beam so bright graced her face that Equestria’s long departed monarch would have been impressed with had she been there to witness the event. Her friends though, were still rather concerned as evidenced by the manner in which they glanced at each other.
“Uhhh…you okay there Scoots?” Asked Applebloom, worriedly.
“Okay?” Asked Scootaloo. “OKAY!?”
Faster than a streak of lightning, she grabbed both of her pals and held them in a tight embrace, crushing them with the utmost sense of friendship. “I’m better than okay! WAY better! I’m—I’M—“
“—Ec…static?” Interrupted Sweetie, in between gasps for air.
“Yeah! At least…I think.” Scootaloo said, putting a fetlock to her chin in thought. “What does that mean again?”
“I…think...it mean…so happy…you can…barely…errr…breathe…” Said Applebloom.
“Oh.” Said Scootaloo. “If that’s true, then YEAH!”
Dropping her close friends unceremoniously to the floor, the fuchsia maned Pegasus put on a determined look on her face, threw a hoof high into the air and proclaimed, “Girls! We’re going to spend today seeing just how far we can go in our new bodies! Cutie Mark Crusader Alicorns, away!”
Rearing up on her hind legs, Scootaloo galloped as fast as she could out the door, leaving behind Sweetie and Applebloom to catch their breaths on the floor as ragged heaps. A few moments later, the over-eager filly stuck her head through the doorway and said, “I hope you guys still aren’t ticked off about what happened on Friday. I really am sorry that I had to leave you two like that.”
“Uhhh…” Moaned Applebloom, adjusting to her cheeks returning to their normal, non-bluish color. “Long as you don’t ever hug like that again, I think we’re fine.”
“Great!” Beamed Scootaloo. “Then get up and let’s roll out guys! Times a’ wastin’!”
With that, she zipped out the door again. Not far behind her were two rather exhausted looking ponies, letting out one sigh of exasperation each in perfect synchrony.
NOT LONG AFTERWARDS…
After a few minutes of trotting (which, in reality, was more Scootaloo galloping and her friends slowly trying to catch up), the trio was far enough into the Everfree that they felt secure enough that no pony would be around to hear the thunder and see them transform.
Bouncing gleefully up and down around her rather pooped looking fiends, Scootaloo said, “Alright! Let’s do this!” Stopping, she turned towards the sky, barely visible beneath the leaves and branches of the enchanted forest and shouted, as loud as her little lungs could carry, “SHAZAM!”
The consequential and literal bolt of lightning struck and transformed her into her older, goddess self. Two more shouts, and the other crusaders joined her in Alicornhood.
“Alright girls!” Scootaloo said, slapping her two front hooves together in a commanding manner. “First things first: we’re gonna start by seeing just how strong we are!”
She swiftly pointed a hoof at the former earth pony of the group and barked out, “Applebloom!”
Taken slightly aback by her friend’s tone and volume, the yellow mare replied, “Yes?”
“How much can you lift normally?”
“Uhhhmmm…” Began Applebloom, racking her brain with a hoof to her chin. “…Twenty pounds…I think?”
“Good! Sweetie Belle!” She said with a snap of her hoof, turning it slightly to the right.
“Uhhhmmm…that depends.” The White filly responded.
“Whattya mean” Asked the yellow Alicorn.
“Well…are we going by Equestrian, Griffonian, Minotaurian standards or metric?” She asked at a rapid fire pace, placing a hoof to her chin in thought. “Because I think I can lift fifteen pounds, twenty-three point five, six, six, six, one yuons, zero point one musclepowers, and six point eight, zero, four kilograms respectively.”
Staring at their Unicorn friend with their jaw dropped so low to the ground that a frog found refuge into each of their mouths, Applebloom and Scootaloo shook their heads, spit-out the slimy amphibians, appraising Sweetie with confused looks.
“Whoa! Since when do ya know all that?” Asked the yellow Alicorn.
“Yeah! I mean, I knew you were a bit of an egghead, but THAT was sometimg…A LOT…uhhh…MORE eaggheadier.” She said, mulling it over, before stomping a hoof on the ground, powerful enough to crush the small rock lying there, with certainty. “Yeah! Sounds about right.”
“Humph! It’s just the wisdom of Star Swirl. Don’t you possess it?” Said Sweetie, crossing her forelegs over her chest and keeping balance by fluttering her new found wings. “Furthermore, I prefer to be referred to as a mare of great sophistication and not an “egg-head” like you’ve so rudely suggested.
“Pfff…more like a dictionary…” Said the orange Alircorn with a roll of her eyes.
“Come again?” Asked Sweetie Belle, hoof around her ear. “It sounded like somepony’s a bit jealous that they don’t seem to be as easily able to access the vast repository of knowledge bestowed to us.”
Gritting her teeth, Scootaloo said, “Nooo…I’m just angry that somepony’s transformation seems to turn them into the biggest, heaviest, and most boring dictionary I know.”
“Mare of sophistication.” Said Sweetie, humorlessly, eyes narrowing.
“Dictionary.” Responded Scootaloo just as humorlessly, eyes narrowing.
“Mare of sophistication.” Said Sweetie again; voice raised slightly, eyes narrowing even more.
“Dictionary.” Said Scootaloo again, voiced raised slightly and eyes even more narrowed.
With a sense of detached morbid curiosity, Applebloom watched the back and forth exchange between her two dearest friends, head and eyes swiveling back and forth as though automatic, as it grew increasingly more heated.
“Dictionary!” Yelled Scootaloo, right into the unicorn’s face.
“Mare of sophistication!” Yelled Sweetie Belle, right back into the Pegasus’s face.
The two butted heads with a “boom!” powerful enough to create a shockwave of air that blew away debris for a good ten or so feet and scarred a dozen or so birds out from their perches on nearby trees. Maintaining the teeth-bared press against the other’s forehead, both Alicorns were so tunnel-visioned by this point, that they didn’t notice Applebloom move right next to them and cough into her hood, until the cough sounded like a serious illness that should probably have a look taken at by Nurse Redheart.
“WHAT!?” The two infuriated Goddesses exclaimed towards their yellow friend in unison, heads turned to face her.
“Ummm…when do we stop the arguing and get back to the training? This whole trip into the forest was fun and all up and till that there point.” She said, a confused expression on her face.
The other two sighing out their frustrations, Sweetie Belle said, “Fine. But let this be the final time I ever listen to the words “dictionary” EVER be directed towards me as an insult from her.” She said, fore hoof snapping in Scootaloo’s direction. “I get enough of that particular adjective as well as others from Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiarra in class as a normal, not as sophisticated, unicorn filly. Right Scootaloo?”
“Yeah sure, whatever. It’s cool.” The orange Alicorn said, casually dismissing her friend’s concerns with a few waves, much to her apparent chagrin. “Anyways, like I was about to say before somepony here went on a wild and crazy tangent—“
Sweetie Belle silently and gracefully face-hoofed.
“—I can lift a good fifty or so pounds with these nine inch pythons—“ Said Scootaloo, before standing on her hind-legs and placing a quick smooch on both of her forelegs. “—As my normal, loveable, and athletic self.” She finished with a satisfied smirk on her face.
“Yes…before she falls down to the ground and has to have somepony help her back up I suppose…” Muttered the white Alicorn under her breath.
Not hearing her friend’s jab (or at least, pretending not to have heard it), Applebloom said, “Golly Scoots! How’d ya reckon that much? I’m an earth pony, and even I can’t lift that much weight normally!”
“Eh, it’s nothing big. I just have the best trainer in the whole wide world.” Said Scootaloo with faux humility.
“Iron-Will?” Asked Sweetie Belle with genuine curiosity.
“No…” Said Scootaloo with a playful shift of her eyes to the right.
“Roid Rage?” Asked Applebloom.
“No…” Replied Scootaloo with another such shift.
“Oh oh oh! I know!” Replied Sweetie Belle, bouncing up and down excitedly, waving her right fore hoof around in the air as though she were in class.
“Uhmmm…yes, Ms. Belle.” Said Scootaloo, in an imitation of their teacher that would have made Ms. Cheerilee proud.
“Is it famed Europonyian body builder, Arnolda Schwarzagermane? Ten time winner of the Ms. Universe award and famed multi-million bit action star!?” Asked Sweetie Belle with excitement in her voice.
“Tsk—tsk—tsk…” Said Scootaloo, shaking her head with a smile. “My trainer isn’t any of those ponies slash plus one Minotaur. My trainer is a three time winner of the best young flier competition, two time receiver of a junior Olympic medal, made the Wonderbolt’s draft pick, AND has the totally epic honor of being the fastest flier in all of Equestria!”
“Spitfire?” Asked Applebloom, dumbfounded.
“Soarin?” Asked Sweetie Belle, equally so.
After making her hoof meet her face, Scootaloo said, “You guyyysss! Rainbow Dash!”
Blinking owlishly, the other Alicorns said, “Ohhhhh…” in realization at once.
“Must have been before the accident at the weather station…” Whispered Sweetie into Applebloom’s ear.
“Quiet! She’ll hear!” Whispered back the yellow Alicorn.
Turning back to face their friend, Scootaloo took stock of their large and incredibly forced looking grins and said, “Anyways…yeah. She and I have been workin’ on my fitness for about a month now, and I gotta say: though the cardiovascular exercises with her are killer, I’m getting into the best of my life,” with another satisfied smirk. “Now that we all know what we can do without our powers, let’s see what we can do with them!”
Turning around and facing an oak tree with such grim determination that it would have shied away were it to possess a face and legs, Scootaloo wrapped her now enormous forelegs around its trunk and, in a single motion, pulled the massive piece of foliage out from the ground, snapping up some of its roots and kicking up a surprising lack of dirt as she managed to balance, quite easily, on her hind legs.
“Whoa!” All three of them shouted out all at once.
“Hey Sweetie Belle!” Called out Scootaloo. “Think you can use that ginormous brain of yours to figure out how much this thing weighs just by looking at it?”
“Hmmmm…let me see…” Pondered Sweetie, placing a fetlock to her chin.
With her other hoof, the white Alicorn made motions as though a chalkboard was right in front of her, floating leisurely with her wings. Finally arriving to a conclusion after all of five seconds, she said, “I believe that tree to be in possession of a mass equal to five tons Equestrian, give or take a few ounces.”
“Really!?” Asked the other two.
“This thing doesn’t even feel like what a foam ball would to me as a filly!” Said Scootaloo, excitedly.
“Ooo Ooo! Let me try!” Said Applebloom with equal enthusiasm.
With a heave that would seem mighty to an onlooker ignorant of her true strength, but that was really as casual as lifting up a can of soda, Scootaloo tossed the great oak towards her friend, who managed to catch it easily on her own fore hooves.
“Wow! You were right there Scoots!” Said Applebloom, experimenting with her strength by tossing the five-ton hunk of wood a few feet into the air with but a single hoof. “This thing’s even lighter than what an Applebloom would be to me if I was filly right now!”
“Hey Sweetie Belle!” Said Scootaloo, turning towards the white Alicorn. “Just how tough are Alicorns supposed to be, anyways?”
The former unicorn blinked once, Owlishly.
“Really? You don’t know?” She asked, confused. “I would have suspected that even an academic slacker such as yourself would have stayed awake for that part of Ms. Cherilee’s lecture a few weeks ago, given just how many of those kiddie books you indulge yourself in.”
Ignoring Sweetie’s back hoofed comment about one of her favorite past times, Scootaloo said, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?” as calmly and nonchalantly as she could.
“Because, in that part of class, we learned historical accounts about how Luna, Celestia, and Nightmare Moon had supposedly been capable of casually defeating flights of elder dragons single hoofedly and bench pressing entire mountains off the ground.”
“No way!” She Scootaloo, fore hooves pressed against the sides of her face.
“Well…some of those accounts are a bit…iffy to be polite about it, but, at the very least, it can be deduced that the average Alicorn can hurl around boulders the size of school carriages all day without getting tired, and can withstand the force of such objects colliding with them all day without serious injury occurring.”
At this, a devious smirk slowly spread to encompass Scootaloo’s face.
“Reallyyy…” She said, head turning back around towards Applebloom, still tossing up the oak, leisurely. “Interesting.”
Eye’s suddenly widening with the realization of what her orange coated friend was about to do, Sweetie Belle said, “Scootaloo…don’t…you…dar—“
Faster than she could finish, Scootaloo flew towards the nearest oak, ripped it from the ground and, like a baseball but, used it to hit a clueless Applebloom from right under the tree she was playing with, and send her smashing into the trunk of another, upright one, a dozen or so feet away.
“What did I just—“ Began Sweetie, with a look of indignation on her face.
Before she could finish however, Scootaloo swung right back around and slammed Sweetie Belle herself into the trunk of a tree with the oak she had rooted out.
Spitting out splinters that had managed to enter her mouth, Sweetie, firmly embedded in the trunk, said, “Oh! It! Is! ON!” prior to removing herself and ripping up the tree she was slammed in with her for hooves, holding it over her head like a hammer ready to bring down divine vengeance upon her friend’s head.
“Uh oh…” Muttered Scootaloo out loud.
“Uh oh is correct, Scootaloo.” Said Sweetie Belle, icily.
“Wait!” Cried out the orange Alicorn, dropping her tree and waving her hoofs up defensively. “Can’t we talk about this!?”
Her answer coming in the form of an increasingly growing, tree shaped shadow obscuring her, Scootaloo managed to role off to the side just as Sweetie Belle’s weapon came down on the spot she used to be, hard, with sufficient force to cause the tree to ‘explode’ for lack of a better term, as well as plant poor Applebloom (who was caught in the radius of where the large oak would land) a few feet into the ground.
Hearing the yellow Alicorn’s half yelled, “Ah!” moments before her attacker struck the ground, Sweetie Belle put both of her fore hooves to her mouth in shock and said, “Oh my gosh! Applebloom! Are you okay!?”
Coming from some distance behind her, she heard another voice say, “Eh! She’s probably fine!”
Turning around just in time to see Scootaloo flying at her with a rather large boulder in her hooves from deeper in the forest, her ears picked up the orange Alicorn say, “But you won’t be when I’m through with you!” with a wicked grin on her face.
Making a small and timid, “Meep!” Sweetie Bell dashed off to the sound just quickly enough to avoid Scootaloo’s boulder toss, grabbed her tail with her teeth, and threw her far into the morning sun.
“I could say the same thing to you, you little ruffian!” She yelled out with a smug smile.
Said smile however dropped from her face the moment she heard Applebloom free herself from the splintered wood she was underneath and uproot another nearby tree with her fore hooves, yelling all the while and fixing Sweetie with a stare as she hovered above the ground.
Frantically trying to calm her enraged apple picking fried by waving her fore hooves and shaking her head well…frantically…Sweetie cried out, “Applebloom! Wait! I was trying to strike Scootaloo, not y—“
The sound of whooshing air filing her ears as she ducked Applebloom’s swing with her makeshift oaken bat cut her off. Realizing that trying to talk reason into the yellow Alicorn at the moment would lead to her getting a mouthful of splinters, Sweetie Belle did what any sensible person with the power of flight would do in this situation, and flew as fast as her godly wings would allow her, which turned out to be much faster than she had anticipated if the fact that she quickly managed to break the sound barrier was any indication.
So surprised was she at this most sudden of accelerations, that she barely managed to avoid Scootaloo’s buck from impacting upon her forehead. Looking back though, she did manage to make out her two friends colliding with each other in the air with looks of surprise on their faces. Feeling the resulting shockwave blow her mane back and cause every tree for hundreds of feet around sway violently in the hurricane like gust, she closed her eyes and shouted, “Ha! Let it not be said that my powers do not grant me grace to rival that of Sele—“
Her boasting came to a sudden and abrupt end when she looked back to her front and saw a rapidly approaching Cliffside. Only having time enough for her eyes to grow as wide as dinner plates, she crashed against the rock, embedding herself within for all of three seconds before the series of spider-web like cracks she had caused grew prodigious enough for gravity to allow her to fall back down to the ground with a colossal chunk of stone close above.
“Ouch...” She muttered, the lower half of her body pinned down beneath the rock she had managed to shear off from the cliff.
Using her hind hooves for leverage, with surprisingly little effort required on her part, she managed to haul off the debris from herself and stood triumphant…for all of about five seconds before her knees became like noodles and she found herself back on the ground once more, her world spinning.
Shaking her head clear, she managed to prop herself up against the chunk and mutter out, “Oh! I think I require apt medical attention…”
She was soon brought out of her daze when she saw Scootaloo drop from the sky and land so gracefully amongst the grass that not a single blade was disturbed until after she had landed before her. She wished she could say the same for Applebloom, who crashed through the tree line shouting, “Look out below!” before cratering the ground where she landed rather undignified next to the orange Alicorn.
Quickly leaping to her feet and shaking off as much dirt as she could, Applebloom and Scootaloo looked at Sweetie Belle, the cliff, exchanged glanced with each other, and looked back to her.
“Did you do all that?” Asked Applebloom, pointing a fore hoof to the cliff.
“Do you feel ok?” Asked Scootaloo.
“For the most part, aside from some rapidly retreating dizziness…yes, actually.”
At this, Sweetie Belle’s oldest friends, her most trusted and dearest of compatriots exchanged sly looks at each other that they mutually shot her with.
“Great!” They said in unison, before picking up the nearest fragments of the boulder Sweetie had found herself beneath with their teeth, that look of theirs never once faltering.
Sighing and mentally preparing herself for the onslaught to come, Sweetie placing a hoof to her cheek and said, “Darn. I was afraid you’d say that.”
For the eightieth or so time, Scootaloo extracted her muzzle from the ground spitting out copious amounts of dirt, leaves, and more dirt in a staccato burst not unlike that of a machine gun.
“That was one cheap-shot Applebloom!” She shouted towards the yellow Alicorn floating above her, fore-hooves wrapped around the splintered stump of an oak.
“Hey! At least I seem to have the flying thingy down now!” She replied, cheekily.
Taking this as a personal challenge, Scootaloo asked, “Oh really?” with a quirked expression.
“Yessiry bob Scoots!” Replied Applebloom with the utmost certainty, closing her eyes in triumph. “Why, I reckon I could—“
Before she could finish that sentence, Scootaloo shot up into the air at dazzling speeds, bit down on Applebloom’s cape, wrapped it around her face, and spun her around like a top. Dusting off her hooves with no small hint of satisfaction as Applebloom began tumbling through the air as though she had failed to get enough shut-eye, she landed happily on the ground.
After Applebloom crashed into her third tree from the action and finally ceased her movements, the orange Alicorn said, “Alright everypony: as much fun as rough-housin’ it with you two has been, I think it’s time we got back to—“
Sweetie Belle chose that moment to leap out of some nearby bushes like a bat out of Tartarus and hold Scootaloo in a half nelson that managed to plant her muzzle right back into the same spit in the ground it was in moment’s earlier.
“This will teach you to cut me off by throwing scat at me you haughty hooligan!” She yelled out, responding to her friend’s struggling by slamming her face repeatedly against the ground. “In fact…this will teach you to throw scat at ANYPONY! EVER! AGAIN!”
Using her mouth to grab Scootaloo by the rough of her neck and toss her, horn first, into a nearby tree, Sweetie Belle vented audibly for a few second. Coughing into a hoof, she asked, “Now…you we’re saying, Scootaloo?”
Not even bothering to try and un-imbed her horn from the trunk, Scootaloo spat out more dirt.
“Like I was saying—I think it’s time we got back to the manner—“
“Matter.” Interrupted Sweetie Bell.
“—matter—“ Continued Scootaloo, with a sigh. “—at hoof.”
Trying to steady her spinning head (and eyes), Applebloom, sprawled out on the ground on her back asked, “What was that again? Mah head don’t feel so good.”
“I believe she was referring to the original test of physical strength from which our Brobdingnagian bout of play fighting can be circled back to.” Said Sweetie.
“Yeah. What the diction—er—mare of sophistication over there said. I think.”
Placing a fetlock to her chin in order to better contemplate whether he friend’s words really did ring true, caused Scootaloo’s horn to pop from the trunk. Extricating her muzzle from the ground for the eighty-first or so time, she placed a fetlock to her chin again.
“Now, what do we do that, exactly?”
For about a minute or so, her friends joined her in pondering, before the proverbial light bulb went off over the white Alicorn’s head.
“Eureka!” Sweetie Belle proclaimed.
The other two shot her perplexed looks.
“We ah course Scoots reeks. She did have to throw that dung at ya with her hooves ya know.”
Face hoofing hard enough to cause birds in the nearby trees to flee in abject terror, Sweetie Belle said, “No no no girls! Eureka! It means I’ve got it, as in, I’ve solved our dilemma!”
“Sure Smelly Belle. Whatever you say…”
Scootaloo said with a roll of her eyes, eliciting a giggle from Applebloom and he briefest hint of a smile from Sweetie.
“Yes…well…moving aside the fact that I will need to take three showers to get the smell out, would the two of you care to know what my solution is, precisely?”
Applebloom and Scootaloo exchanged looks and, at the same time said, “Sure.” with the latter adding in, “What’d you have in mind?”
Soarin was as patriotic an Equestrian as they came. Like every member of the Wonderbolts, he loved his country to the death and would rather be sent to the deepest level of Tartarus than see it fall to any hoof, hand, claw, or paw that was foreign and/or malicious in intent.
Despite this though, he felt his unassailable sense of dutiful fervor fading to the point where he just had to ask himself, “Just what the heck is Auntie Samantha doing with everypony’s bits?”
To him, that was a perfectly legitimate question. For, here he was along with another Wonderbolt, Fire Streak. Both were world class pilots with thousands of flight hours logged under their belts who were not only trained in how to operate every conceivable aircraft under Celestia’s sun, top secret or otherwise, but also in how to conduct special forced operations without any million bit equipment and just using their wings, which, they could use to fly almost as fast as their jets. Not to mention, both had extensive experience in dealing with the public, which given the dual nature of their jobs, was a useful skill indeed.
Yet, here they were, flaks firmly planted on vinyl covered computer chairs that had long since grown past the threshold of uncomfortable for the thirty whole minutes they were forced to sit there. Before them were half a dozen displays each that showed everything from a map of the Canterlot area, the position of various aircraft inside that area, data tags that included aircraft identification, speed, altitude, and, of course, today’s hoofball game.
Soarin’ wasn’t sure which was worse: that he and Fire Streak were stuck down here in the dark like underground air traffic controllers, that they were still being paid an unseemly amount for such a gig, or that the Trougham Knights were down two to eleven against the visiting team.
“And Byrne scores another touchdown for the Metros!” The sports announcer said.
Fire Streak looked towards Soarin’, and extended out his hoof, “Alright buddy, you know what that means.”
Grumbling, Soarin pulled out ten bits from his pocket and, begrudingly, parted with them by giving them to his grubby bud. Scratch that. For suffering such an indignity, he was grateful that he still had bits to spare. Plus, at least it wasn’t as boring as regular air-traffic controlling since they both had televisions down here. In high definition no less!
So long as he and Fire Streak had that, they might survive this temporary stint and get back to being actual Wonderbolts worthy of the title.
“So, is this a recording, or is it live?” Asked a voice in between them.
Soarin and Fire Streak turned their heads to the side to find the owner to be none other than a butter yellow Pegasus with a pink mane in formal attire, aviator sunglasses, and a red barrette on her head. She was bigger, larger, and more muscular than either of them.
“Live, fortunately for me—“ Said Fire Streak with a gleaming smile.
“And unfortunately for me Executive Barricade.” Said Soarin, glumly.
The two turned back towards the game. It took the wheels and gears in their heads a few seconds (five to be exact), but, eventually twin light bulbs went off and as one, their eyes widened to saucers. Swiveling their computer chairs around towards her, Soarin blurted out, “Madame Executuve!”
“Sir! Er…Stallion! Er...Mam! Yeah! That’s it!” Stumbled out Fire Streak.
The both of them got out of their chair with enough force that the seats were sent racing across the marbled floor a ways before falling over. They quickly came to attention and saluted, as was military custom in the new presence of an officer. With their right hind hoof, they kicked their television monitors off and put on the largest, most forced grins they could muster.
“So, was seeing who was gonna make it to the Megabowl part of your duties down here, gentlecolts?” She asked.
“Uhhh…sir no sir!” Fire Streak blurted out. Barricade swerved towards him and was up in his grill so fast that he thought she could have secretly been The Flash for a moment. She was close enough that their noses were almost touching and he was certain that she could see the beads of sweat pour down his forehead like miniaturized cataracts. “Errr…I mean…mam no…mam?”
Seemingly satisfied with this response, Barricade backed up and said, “I thought as much. So, tell me then, why is it that you’ve decided to breach military protocol by looking at the game when, instead, you’re supposed to be giving these monitors a good monitoring?”
“Because this job would be unbearably boring without something to keep us busy, mam!” Soarin blurted out, much to his immediate regret.
“Boring!? Keep you busy!?” She questioned within the Soarin’s personal space this time. “Boy! Is the aerial safety of our great nation’s capital not exciting or busy enough for you!? For BOTH of you!?”
Her head backed away from Soarin’s and she began circling the two like a lion would a pair of helpless zebras. “I should have you two clean your barracks for the next three years! I should have you two go through basic training again three times with an even tougher drill instructor for this willful act of insubordination! I should have you two court marshaled for this!”
The two gulped audibly at this tirade, silently praying to Celestia that they had decided to just play Dodge Hold ‘Em instead as sweat was now soaking every part of their uniforms…trickles of some other, much more yellow bodily fluid threatening to do so as well.
“I—want you both to tell me who’s in the lead.” She said, every word after I, being spoken in her indoor voice. The two of them looked unsure as to whether or not they should be relieved or even more terrified at this. They wore something that alternated between both emotions as well as alternated between looking at each other and the leader of ponies in between them. “Well? I’m waiting!”
“The Manetropolis Metros, Mam!” They both shouted out at the first sign that she was raising her voice again.
She smiled and turned around towards the hallway that lead into the room. “See! I told you they’d be in the lead!”
From one of the corners at the end of the hallways, right before the elevator and the two staircase that flanked it on both sides, emerged non other than the leader of the Wonderbolts herself and their commanding officer (at least, when Barricade or another big time politician like her wasn’t around).
“Captain Spit Fire!” The both of them saluted.
“You two forgot to tack on the word mam at the end of that salute, gentlecolts.” She said, as she walked down the hallway all professional like. “But that’s alright. From what I’ve seen here just now, that’s the least of the mistakes you’ve made.”
“Ah, give them a break Spittle. You know darn well that if you suddenly got assigned here, you’d be doing something similar to help pass the time.” Said Barricade.
Fire Streak leaned over towards Soarin’ and whispered, “Spittle?” to which the blue Pegasi just shrugged.
“Yeah. When I was still a hotshot young rookie just starting off who thought she was the best but didn’t have the sort of discipline to back that claim up.” She replied, sternly.
“Speaking of claims you couldn’t back up, I do believe you owe me thirty odd bits.” Barricade said, cheekily, her hoof extended towards Spit Fire.
Sighing, the Captain reached into her pocket and pulled out the exact amount of money the Executive had said, placing it begrudgingly onto her grubby hoof. “This still doesn’t change the fact that they shouldn’t get off easy for what they did...Executive Barricade.” She said, the word Executive coming out like it gagged her to say it.
“Oh I agree completely. If I were you though, I wouldn’t treat them too harshly for it.”
The eyes of both of the stallions in the room widened in realization. “Wait…so that means…we’re not going to be court martialed?” Asked Soarin.
“Nope.” Said Executive Barricade.
“Dude, did you hear that!?” Soarin turned to Fire Streak excitedly.
“Yeah! We’re not going to jail!” His bud replied, happy as can be.
“Bro hoof!” Said Soarin before both of their hooves bumped against each other.
“Up high!” Said Fire Streak before both their hooves bumped against each other, this time high enough that use of their wings was required.
As the two landed, they noticed the looks both the Captain and the Executive were shooting their way and put on their widest and most forced grins again. “You’re still in a world of trouble for this though.” Said Spit Fire, not amused.
“Before you sentence them you may want to scramble the jets, Captain.” She said, mocking the way that Spit Fire had referred to her title earlier.
“Huh?” The captain and her two subordinates asked, looking her way with the same expression.
“While I was by those monitors, I noticed three unidentified blips entering the Canterlot area at super-sonic speeds. You may want to get on that, as in, now.” Barricade said as she walked over by the monitor where she saw what she did.
“What!? Three unidentified Bogeys!? Where!?” Spit Fire said as she rushed over towards the monitor, nearly trampling over one of the three leaders of their country if she hadn’t fluttered out of the way before-hoof. Just as barricade had said, three unidentifiable objects were skirting along the edges of the Canterlot city area, and fast. The sound barrier already having been broken by them kind of fast.
“Like I said, if I were you, I’d get eyes in the sky there, pronto.” Barricade said as she made towards the stairs.
“Sweet! That means we can finally get out of this place and see some real action!” Soarin said, brohoofing with Fire Streak triumphantly once more.
“Nooo…that means that the two of you are going to stay here on monitor duty while I and anypony else I say gets to see some real action.” She rectified, shooting them back down along with their hopes of escape from their dismal fate. “You two are lucky that Executive Barricade over there decided to drop by the base for a surprise inspection, or we might have missed this little event and the regular air-force might have gotten to it first!”
She huffed and pressed the button for the elevator. While she waited, to turned her head around and said, “When I get back here, we’re going to continue this little talk and I’ll have figured out just what I’m going to do with you two!”
The door opened and she promptly entered it and took off elsewhere above. The two stallions let out several breaths they had been holding, brought their chairs back in front of their respective set of monitors, and slouched back into their respective chairs. For a while, they sat there, relaxing, before they swiveled back around towards their respective televisions and back to the game.
“And Shuster passes it to Siegel and he takes it all towards to the end of the field for a touch down!” Soarin sighed and reached into his pocket to appease Fire Streak, who was doing a little jig in his seat.
“There it is girls!” Sweetie Belle proclaimed, pointing a hoof down below.
Applebloom and Scootaloo followed her gaze. They saw hills and gnolls of ancient cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, RV’s, School Buses, City buses, a few tanks that looked like they belonged in a museum about the Griffon wars, and, their personal favorite, miscellaneous scrap metal tinged with the fine velvet of rust. They could make out a large sign that read Unicorn Range Scrapyard.
“Ummm…Sweetie Belle…not to be rude or nuthin’, but—“ Began Applebloom.
“—Just how in the hay are we supposed to test out what we can do over there?” Interrupted Scootaloo.
Sweetie Belle ignored their skepticism and instead of answering their question, dove towards the center of the yard at break neck speeds and somehow managed to reach the ground gracefully, as though she weighed a feather. She was soon followed by Scootaloo landing with a slight thud, but otherwise, only displacing some loose dirt to her left and by Applebloom landing hard enough to form a crater that nearly knocked her and the orange Alicorn down. She certainly did crumble about five mountains of surrounding junk though.
“Now, to assuage both your fears, I do believe a demonstration is in order.” Sweet Belle said as she trotted over to the nearest jalopied car. She pulled up the hood and looked at some faded lettering on it before picking up the entire car over her head with a single hoof. With a wide smile, turned around to her friends. After Scootaloo managed to pull Applebloom out, the both of them regarded their friend by looking like they did whenever Ms. Cheerilee tried explaining her fancy mathematics to the class and scratched their heads.
“Uhhh…three times the square root of five?” They both asked.
Sweetie Belle tilted her head backwards and sighed at her friends showing a complete lack of comprehension…again.
“You guys! We’re in a junk yard!” She said, as though the answer was right in front of them, slapping them in the face hard enough to do the impossible and shatter steel. “As in, a place with lots of heavy objects made by sapient being who measured everything about them before tossing them over here, including how much they weigh? Objects that we are quite familiar with and will help us to paint a better picture of how much we can lift?”
The two stared at her. They blinked, once, twice, and three times owlishly. After the fourth time, instead of blinking, their eyes widened in realization and they said, “Ohhh…we get it!”
Sighing once more, Sweetie Bell said, “Well, better late than never I suppose. Now, would the two of you please be dears and fetch me more heavy objects, preferably ones that have their weight labeled on them like this two ton vehicle here, if you’d please.”
Complying, Scootaloo and Applebloom zipped off to find the biggest, heaviest, junked vehicles they could find following Sweetie Belle’s specifications. Within the next two minutes, they dumped wreck after wreck, scrap heap after scrap heap, and ton after ton atop their white-coated compatriot. Their mouths slowly began to drop the more and more weight they added and, at the rate they were going, it took little effort for their childish minds to imagine that, pretty soon, the entire Scrapyard would rest precariously on their best friend’s fore-hooves.
However, this was not to be. For, after the last train car and last bi-plane Scootaloo and Applebloom put onto the pile Sweetie Belle was carrying, the sweat that had been building up on her face as the weight increased began pouring downwards like geysers in reverse and with the addition of two more medicine balls, her muscles could no more handle the strain. She collapsed, the pile above her pushing her into the earth below, the childish minds of her friends no longer filled with their previous fantasy, a newer, darker, and more probable one taking its stead.
“Sweetie Belle!” The two of them shouted.
The zoomed back towards the ground and, after planting herself uncomfortably into the dirt once more, Applebloom joined her friend in tossing away the junk in a furious frenzy of hoof and teeth, praying to Celestia that it would not serve as Sweetie Belle’s headstone. The deceased former sovereign of Equestria seemed to smile upon them that day for it was soon after that their friend burst forth from a spot right in between them and hovered in the air above. She was panting, covered in dirt, and sweating like a Caribou in Saddle Arabia, but hey! She was already like that back in the Everfree and so were they! The only difference was that there was a bit more rust caught in her mane (as well as less scat). A difference that, while wiping their foreheads and sighing, they showed gratitude for.
“Boy howdy! You sure had us worried there fer a second Sweetie Belle!” Applebloom beamed.
“Really? Huh? I was worried there for far longer than that.” She said, stretching out her legs and wings. “Well, if there’s any sort of lesson we can acquire from this little accident in order to make it happy, it’s that, even as Alicorns, we three still have some sort of boundaries and limitations.”
“The more you know. Brought to you by the Sweetie Belle institute for eggheads.” Scootaloo whispered into Applebloom’s ear, who fought back a smirk.
Ignoring whatever so-called clever rebuttal Sweetie Belle suspected her orange coated friend of saying, she said, “Now, speaking of which: exactly how much tonnage did you happen to procure before I…had my little tumble?”
At this, the two let out dumbfounded stares and Uhhhs before nervously scratching their heads and avoiding eye contact with their friend. “You didn’t even bother to count, did you?” Sweetie Belle asked, dryly.
Scootaloo said, “Did too!” right as Applebloom said, “Nope!” Looking at each other, Scootaloo said, “I mean nope” right as Applebloom said, “Did too!” Afterwards, the two managed to get down something right in unison. “Errr…”
Sweetie Belle sighed and let her fore-legs droop down towards the ground. “Uhhh…why do I even—“
For the better part of the following five minutes, Sweetie Belle meticulously went over every heap that was placed upon her as impromptu exercise weights, scanning them up and down for any sort of marking that denoted their exact mass. After adding it all up, she flew down towards her friends (who she noticed were discussing the finer points of how to use their new found gift to get back at a certain pair of bullies from their school, much to her juxtaposed dismay and approval) and beamed, “All right girls! After tallying it all up and subtracting that bi-plane Scootaloo said was the last thing she placed, I do believe that the maximum allotted weight I can carry is around two kilotons of the short persuasion our great nation is so fond of using and teaching.”
“Pfffttt…Only two? Lightweight.” Scootaloo said, rolling here eyes.
“…You are aware of what the prefix kilo means, correct?”
“Uhhh…light…weight?” Scootaloo said, grinning a little too widely.
“No. It means a thousand. As in: a thousand tons. As in: I just lifted TWO thousand tons over my head.” She said at half speed so that the halfwit before her could get it, hopefully. Maybe. Probably not.
“Like I said there Sweetie: Pfffttt…” Replied Scootaloo without missing a beat. “I bet I could lift a bajillion times more weight than that before I become buried under a pile of junk!”
Taking this as a challenge, Sweetie Belle’s eyes narrowed upon her friend. “Really now?”
“Does Ponyville have a law against cars?”
For a while, Sweetie Belle maintained her look while Applebloom’s grew steadily more confused. “Wait…it does? I just thought nopony could afford one!”
“Alright Scootaloo…Since you seem sooo assured of yourself…Applebloom! Follow me would you? I saw something interesting as we were making our way here that I think our friend here shall find most…interesting.”
With that, the two took off elsewhere in the yard. It was not long before they returned with a rather large and scuttled looking vessel. It was an old destroyer that at one time might have been a proud seaworthy asset to the Equestrian Navy, but now, like everything else here, was just so much deadweight looking for the right buyer to be apart of something living again. “Hehe. Dead.” Scootaloo nervously chuckled inside her head at the sight of it.
“Alright Sweetie Belle: nice and easy, right?” Asked Applebloom with a sly look, holding up the bow with her fore-legs at her stomach as though she were a mover lifting a couch.
“Correct.” Said Sweetie, with an even slyer look, holding up the stern with her body in the same position. “Nice…and…”
With promptness, the two let go and the destroyer fell rather noisily on top of their friend below, who yelled even more noisily with a face that spook of impending and hilarious doom. As the dust began to settle, her friends laughed heartily at this, snapping their knees as they hovered back down (or, in Applebloom’s case, crashing back down) and rolled on the ground, laughing.
After about a minute or two, Applebloom wiped away the tears from her face and said, “Oh boy! That look she had on was darn near priceless!”
“I concur Applebloom!” Agreed Sweetie Belle, also wiping tears away from her face. “And that yell? If the ancient Minotaurians saw that, they’d have no choice but to make it the very definition of what comedy is!”
The two held back their laugher for a second, looked at each other, and in stereo, imitated the, “AAAHHH!” Scootaloo had shouted. They subsequently broke down, giggling fits once more.
After another minute or two, Applebloom stopped to a slow snicker and said, “Ya know…she’s been down there an awfully long time. Are you sure she isn’t, ya know, hurt?”
“Oh, pee-shaw Applebloom.” Sweetie Belle said, casually waving a dismissive hoof. “All of that weight isn’t entirely focused on her and, even if it was, the only lasting effect would be like driving one rock into wet sand with another rock. Just like what happened to me not too long ago.”
“Are ya sure?”
“Believe me Applebloom, she’s fine. Though she might have overestimated her strength in comparison to yours truly, she did in fact manage to hold her own against you and myself back in the Everfree, remember?”
“Hrrrmmm…well…I guess there is that.” Applebloom said, hoof to her chin.
“I bet right now, she’s just a little busy contemplating on what she said earlier.”
“Yeah. I bet, right now, she’s eatin’ those words, for real.”
“You mean, literally?”
“That too. Oh! I also reckon that she’s a little busy trying to dig herself to Chineigh!”
“Ha! While that is a good one, I do believe that I can best you yet! For, I think that—“
Their musings as to Scootaloo’s current predicament were silenced when what sounded like the creaking of steel behind them perked their ears up. Turning to face it, they saw the destroyer slowly begin to rise out of the earth it had plowed into, as though by some vast and unseen force. Looking at the bottom of its hull, they saw that the source behind its being lifted, while certainly not unseen, was still the former indeed. For there stood Scootaloo, on her hind-legs, holding up the vessel with her fore ones, her face every bit of a mess as Sweetie’s was earlier, and then some.
“How…much…?” She asked with teeth gritted so hard that if the force was set free and allowed to roam wild, it could flatten a house.
Being the first to get her jaw back from the ground, Sweetie Belle stammered out, “Uhhh…three…thousand…tons…?”
“Good. Now…do you mind…getting out of the way…? I think…it’s…Applebloom’s…turn…” Scootaloo said, a smile that was like the aforementioned red maned Alicorn’s and Sweetie Belle’s one from when they dropped the ship on top of her earlier.
Not needing to be told twice, Sweetie Bell took several steps outside of the shadow looming over her and Applebloom and said, “Of course! She’s all yours!”
Not long after, said shadow descended quickly on Applebloom, who had time enough to mutter out an odd curse she had picked up from her family over the years. “Aw, horse apples.”