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Stranger than Reality [Incomplete]

Dracononymous Jun 22nd, 2017 (edited) 783 Never
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  1. >You are Anonymous, the wholesome, family friendly hero.
  2. >The good citizens of Canterlot wave to you as you walk the streets, clad in your blue and gold onesie.
  3. >”Oh my god, it’s Captain Canterlot,” shouts an eager fangirl as she runs up to you.
  4. “Good afternoon, fellow citizen.”
  5. >Her hand extends to rub your bulging pectoral.
  6. >Briefly, you perceive this sudden intrusion of space as an attack and plan out eighty five different ways of dislocating her shoulder, but then you remember she’s half your height and a third of your weight.
  7. >No threats here, Anon.
  8. >As she strokes your chest, her cohorts take out their cellphones and beg for a photo shoot.
  9. >Oh, kids today.
  10. >You humbly agree and pose, but they don’t want the standard puffed-out chest and jaw to the sky.
  11. >The shortest of them insists you let her climb on your shield, which you allow, and hoist her into the air.
  12. >She sits on it like a chair as the cameras flash.
  13. >After a minute of squealing and hugging, they spill out their thank yous and leave.
  14. >All in a day’s work, Anon.
  15. >Now, back to patrol.
  16. >With the shining sun beating down on your armored cap, you keep a sharp eye out for any crime on these beautiful streets.
  17. >Nothing seems too out of place today.
  18. >Just a few homeless people who you make some beans for and help to a shelter.
  19. >Yep, everything seems nice in the suburbs.
  20. >Nothing terrible is happening in downtown.
  21. >As far as the town square is concerned, everything is--
  22. >Egads!
  24. >This is not alright. This is not alright at all!
  25. >The road is blocked off by police cruisers.
  26. >The boys in blue have the whole area blocked off, keeping all bystanders at bay so that none may approach the city bank.
  27. >With your keen 20/20 vision earned from eating carrots every day and avoiding direct sun exposure, you peek in through the enormous, totally see through, really not good for defense, just super poorly designed glass doors of the biggest bank in the next hundred miles.
  28. >Inside are several armed men surrounded by gagged and tied citizens.
  29. >You make way through the crowd, eliciting shouts of joy from your peers.
  30. >Upon reaching the police chief, you lay your hand firmly on his strong, muscular shoulder to get his attention.
  31. >The grizzled man turns sharply and brightens up as your eyes meet.
  32. >”Thank goodness you’re here, Captain Canterlot.”
  33. “I’m always here when the city needs me, chief.”
  34. >”Of course you are. Look, this is a dangerous situation. Those men in there have military grade firearms. We wouldn’t be able to go within fifty feet of that building without getting shot to Hell.”
  35. “And then there are the hostages to worry about.”
  36. >”Right. I’m at a loss, Captain Canterlot. They want one gazillion dollars in unmarked bills.”
  37. “That’s preposterous, it would shatter the economy! Not to mention all the trees that would die printing such an obscene amount of money.”
  38. >”That’s precisely why I’ve delayed further negotiations. I got them to think I have split personalities that switch off every ten minutes. Right now, I’m supposed to be Herman Shatterhorn, a Swedish pastry chef with a love of dance. I only have two personalities left until they try to contact Chief Blowhard again.”
  39. “Then we better solve this fast.”
  40. >”Chief,” shouts a rookie officer next to a complicated phone setup. “It’s the robbers. They want to talk about lesbian dance theory with some guy named Herman!”
  41. >”Blast it! Captain Canterlot, you’ve got to get in there now! I can only ramble so long about interpretive dance.”
  42. ”Don’t worry, chief. Leave it all to me.”
  44. >As you walk past the police barriers, you prepare yourself for an onslaught of bullets.
  45. >Relative invulnerability is nice and all, but that doesn’t mean getting shot doesn’t hurt.
  46. >In fact, it hurts a lot. You would go as far as to say getting shot is one of your least favorite things.
  47. >You begin to close the distance between you and the doors.
  48. >You see several guns aimed right for you, and a few more at the hostages inside.
  49. >Alright, Anon. Let’s see here. Planning...planning...got it.
  50. >Twisting back, you let all the built up energy from your cocked super muscles release and throw your mighty shield.
  51. >The second it leaves your hand, you break into a dead run and propel yourself across the remaining sidewalk, then bound up the stairs and follow your shield through the shattering glass doors.
  52. >The metal disc whizzes through the huge, expensive looking room and smashes into the chest of one robber handling the hostages, then bounces off him and hits the other in the gut.
  53. >Both go flying onto the ground in the time it takes you to disarm the four robbers guarding the door.
  54. >The falling glass acted enough like a shroud that your hidden form could make it by without getting shot.
  55. >By the time the glass hits the tiled floor, you’ve taken down the four men, leaving them in a pile of beaten, unconscious bodies.
  56. >Police officers swarm the bank and handcuff the n’ere dowells.
  57. >You concern yourself with untying the hostages, most of whom thank you profusely.
  58. >Some decide they want to go home after having guns pointed at their heads. That’s understandable.
  59. >The last person you visit is a little yellow girl with her hair done up in a very...unique way.
  60. >It’s not ugly. No, it’s just...yes, unique was the best way to put it.
  61. >Her red locks tickle your face as you get close to undo her bindings.
  63. >The poor thing is so shaken up she doesn’t even talk.
  64. >Of course, that’s probably the best thing that could have happened.
  65. >With her being quiet, you’re able to hear the faint ticking of what you can only assume is something unholy in the works just beyond the wall you’re both squatting next to.
  66. >You grab her and turn so that your back is facing the blow point.
  67. >Just in time, too.
  68. >The very instant you maneuver her away, the wall explodes, throwing the both of you several feet away.
  69. >You manage to twist so that you land on your back, softening her landing.
  70. >Quickly pulling apart her bindings, you pass the sweatered woman off to the police and ready yourself for whatever is behind that cloud of dust and drywall which totally was not up to code.
  71. >From the haze come two bright lights and the roar of an engine.
  72. “Everyone, watch out!”
  73. >A car erupts from the whole in the wall.
  74. >Its heavy armored form barrels through the wrecked lobby and makes its way out of the bank with a trail of money being left behind it.
  75. >You holster your shield on your back and break into a run, zooming out of the bank and keeping on the heels of the vehicle.
  76. >Horns blare as tiny cars and pickups swerve out of the way in desperate attempts not to be run down by the hulking monster-like car speeding down the street.
  77. >On the bright side, it’s going so far over the speed limit that it can’t realistically turn without risking flipping.
  78. >This means you also don’t have to worry about turning, so you put the pedal to the metal so to speak and barrel on, keeping hot on the thing’s heels.
  80. >Just when you thought you would catch up, everything changes.
  81. >From the right side of the vehicle, a spike emerges and stabs into the pavement.
  82. >The car stops there and turns on a dime, pivoting around the metal anchor.
  83. >You don’t have enough time to react and slam into the body of the car, flipping over it and landing none too gracefully on the other side of it.
  84. >The wheels burn rubber as you right yourself, and when the spike returns to its holster inside the car, it’s gone again.
  85. >You try to catch up, but it had too much of a head start this time.
  86. >Even at full speed, you can’t hope to reach the robbers.
  87. >Darn it, if only you were faster. If only--
  88. >You’re caught off guard as a black streak whizzes by you.
  89. >In the span of a second, it’s next to and then far ahead of the car.
  90. >There seem to be someone on top of it now.
  91. >Some small girl in a white suit that leaves very little to the imagination starts patting the vehicle in all sorts of places.
  92. >Those areas she touched glow brightly.
  93. >Her pink mouth widens into the most joyous, heartwarming smile you’ve ever had the good fortune to see.
  94. >”Alright, Zap! Ready for pickup,” she screams.
  95. >The black streak returns, circles around the car, and then they’re both gone.
  96. >In another few seconds, the car explodes in a bright pink flash.
  97. >It flips over and lands on its side, screeching along the pavement until ending up in an intersection.
  99. >With vigor you didn’t know you had, you speed up in an attempt to redirect traffic before anybody can crash.
  100. >Before you reach the danger zone though, huge diamond-shaped force fields appear around the destroyed vehicle, and all the cars driving to and fro avoid them easily, aided by some purple light.
  101. >Your eyes widen as you slow down, approaching the scene just as some woman in a red jumpsuit shows up to turn the car back on its wheels and rip the doors off with her bare hands.
  102. >She pulls out the robbers, roughened up from their accident, and ties them up with a glowing lasso from around her waist.
  103. “Great galaxies,” you mutter.
  104. >When you reach the red-suited woman, your agape mouth makes it clear that you’re quite shocked.
  105. >”Whale howday thar, pardner. Maghty fahn day we got’ere, ain’t it?”
  106. “What?”
  107. >”Ah said mahty fahn day pardner. Ah reckon yew better git that there corn out’er yer ears ‘afore it clogs up yer head too.”
  108. “...What?”
  109. >”She said thanks for the help,” proclaims a blue girl with a very special idea of proper coloring techniques for hair.
  110. >”Thayt is not hwat ah said an yew know it.”
  111. “Well, I’m, uh, glad I could be here. I’m sorry, who are you?”
  112. >”I’m Zap!”
  113. >”Ah’m Miss Marevlous.”
  114. >”And I’m Boom Baby!”
  115. >Ah, the white one from before.
  116. >Er, pink.
  117. >The white one is the one in the blue suit who walks out from behind the car.
  118. >”Radiance,” she claims, touching a finger to her chin.
  120. >By Lady Liberty, there’s so many of them.
  121. >Another three happen upon the scene faster than you can count to that very same number.
  122. >”Masked Matterhorn at your service.”
  123. >”I’m the Vet.”
  124. >Finally, the last one whose white and red suit hugs her curvaceous form announces herself proudly.
  125. >”Miss Conception. Nice to meet you.”
  126. >She holds her hand out to shake, which you hesitantly accept.
  127. >”We’re the Power Ponies.”
  128. >You raise an eyebrow.
  129. “Ponies?”
  130. >You eye them curiously, looking for any hooves or tails you might have missed upon first inspection of them.
  131. >”It’s a work in progress.”
  132. “I see. Well, the pleasure is all mine, Miss.”
  133. >It’s then that police arrive and surround the area.
  134. >Boys in blue flood the scene and collect the robbers, throwing them into cruisers with abandon.
  135. >”Great work as always, Captain Canterlot,” sounds the chief, slapping your back.
  136. “It wasn’t me, Chief Blowhard. It was the, uh, Power Ponies.”
  137. >His reaction matches your initial one as he sizes up the girls.
  138. >”You ladies did all this?”
  139. >”We dun took these here crooks down faster’n a mongoose beats down a rattler with a sack ‘a hogs.”
  140. >”What?”
  141. >”She said yes.”
  142. >”Well slap my bottom and call me Sally,” he proclaims. “If that isn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard, my name is Herman Shatterhorn! And it’s not.”
  143. >He turns quickly and points a finger at a group of rookie officers.
  145. >”You two, I want contact with the mayor pronto. We’re going to throw a festival for the Power Ponies. I can see the headlines now. Power Ponies Stop Major Robbery.”
  146. >He looks at you from the corner of his eyes and begins walking away.
  147. >”And Captain Canterlot Helps Too. Let’s put that in size twelve.”
  148. >After a moment of thought, he shrugs.
  149. >”Eh, eight.”
  150. “I’m glad I could...be of service.”
  151. >Miss Conception releases your hand at last and giggles to herself.
  152. >You didn’t even realize you were still holding her.
  153. >”Really though, thank you, Captain Canterlot. My friends and I have been following your exploits for years. You’re a true hero, and we hope we can help you in cleaning up this city.”
  154. “Well, it’s like I always say. The city could always use more do-gooders.”
  155. >”And now there’s seven more! Seven times the fun,” shouts Boom Baby.
  156. “Right. Seven times the fun, seven times the heroics.”
  157. >It’s good that Canterlot will have more heroes.
  158. >This city deserves all the justice it can get, even if that justice comes in the form of seven tiny girls in skin-tight uniforms.
  159. >Oh boy.
  161. >The girls depart quickly after your meeting.
  162. >You’re not sure exactly what would be more important than patrolling the city streets and safeguarding Canterlot’s citizens, but then again you aren’t a girl so whatever.
  163. >You help the police move the car into the impound lot and get on your merry way to continue watching for crime.
  164. >Nothing particularly big happens the rest of the day. Just some more homeless people, a cat stuck in a tree, and a handful of muggings, all of which you avert.
  165. >It is quite late into the night now and the streets are quiet enough that you head home.
  166. >Well, almost.
  167. >You stop by a little mom and pop shop in the corner of downtown for a quick bite to eat.
  168. >Super bodies need super fuel, don’t they?
  169. >You push open the door to the brightly colored brick building and are assaulted by a cacophony of tints and shades that you never would have tried to put together.
  170. >The air reeks of sugar and spice and everything nice.
  171. >A smile spreads across your face as you approach the front desk.
  172. >It takes a minute before anyone arrives to help, likely because you’re the only customer in the store right now.
  173. >When they do arrive, it’s an excited pink girl who looks shockingly familiar.
  174. >You could have sworn you’d seen her face before. Like, the whole face, just right there and not hidden at all with a little poof of pink hair showing too.
  175. >Darn, you just can’t put your finger on it.
  177. >”Hi there! Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! I’m Boom Ba--I mean I’m Pinkie Pie!”
  178. “Good evening, young woman. I know it’s late, but I was wondering if you might have any cupcakes in cold storage.”
  179. >She giggles and shakes her head violently.
  180. >”Nope!”
  181. “That’s fine. Thank you for your time. Have a good night, fellow citizen.”
  182. >Before you can turn, she reaches out and grabs your arm, squeezing the thick, dense bicep.
  183. >Her other hand dives into her hair and rustles around before pulling out a cupcake.
  184. >”We don’t do cold storage at Sugarcube Corner!”
  185. “Oh. Um, thank you, but I uh, you know, hair isn’t really a sanitary place to--”
  186. >She practically shoves the cupcake in your chest.
  187. >You reel back and grab it before the creamy frosting can rub against your suit.
  188. >”On the house for Captain Canterlot.”
  189. “I really appreciate it, but I, uh...thank you. I’ll cherish it.”
  190. >”Aren’t you going to eat it?”
  191. “Eat it. Yes! I will, you know, at home. I’ll eat it at home.”
  192. >She moans and hangs her head in defeat.
  193. >”I wanted to see if Captain Canterlot liked my cupcakes.”
  194. >Oh darn, there goes your heart.
  196. >You look at the cupcake, cringing internally at all the hair stuck in the frosting.
  197. “Delicious,” you push out.
  198. >Holding it up to your face in a way to hide your mouth from her, you make an exaggerated biting noise, filling your mouth with only air, and begin to “chew”.
  199. >Her face lights up when you swallow and give the thumbs up.
  200. >”Wow, I can’t believe Captain Canterlot actually likes my cupcakes! This is great news! I have to tell all my friends and the whole school and my parents and then we’ll get posters for the shop and then everyone will know that these are best, most justice filled cupcakes in town!”
  201. “That’s a great idea! You keep up that spirit, young lady. Good night now.”
  202. >”Goodnight, Captain Canterlot!”
  203. >Faster than you arrived, you leave and speed back home.
  204. >Oh jeez, that was a close one.
  205. >Once in a dark alley blacker than the pits of hate, you disrobe and stuff your suit in a cleverly placed backpack.
  206. >Finally you can enter the dirty apartment complex, making sure to jiggle the knob three times and step over the hole in front of the door.
  207. >Also, you have to walk close to the wall to avoid falling through was you traverse the hallway.
  208. >Well, except for one spot of the wall that’s covered in some black, hairy substance that you don’t want to interact with.
  209. >Entering your apartment, you’re met with a treadmill, a power cage, and a bed, the last of which you collapse onto and roll up in.
  210. >Gosh, you sure met a lot of strange girls today, like Boom Baby and that oddly named “Boom Ba--I mean Pinkie Pie”.
  211. >You sure are glad your parents gave you a normal four-syllable name like Anonymous.
  212. >Can you imagine writing Boom Ba--I mean Pinkie Pie out on all your tests?
  213. >Why, that’d be silly.
  215. >Sirens wail in the distance.
  216. >A woman screams, her shrill voice breaking the night.
  217. >Fire crackles all around.
  218. >Footsteps of the mobs of people running frantically blast into your eardrums.
  219. >The world is a mess of noise and chaos, but nothing is more clear, more focused than the barrel of your gun.
  220. >She, sprawled out on the ground, looks up at you with wide eyes.
  221. >Your weapons blocks out her face from view.
  222. >The sound it makes when you pull the trigger silences the madness.
  223. >Suddenly the world falls apart.
  225. >You shoot up out of bed, throwing your covers off yourself.
  226. >Panting madly, you lean over and wipe the sweat from your forehead.
  227. >The beige fabric is dark with dampness and the sheets stick to your skin.
  228. >Swallowing, you turn to the side and toss your legs off the hard bed, planting your feet firmly down on the floor.
  229. >Golly, that sure was a nasty one.
  230. >To refresh yourself, you give your face a few sharp slaps before getting into your morning routine.
  231. >Starting off is a nice hour jog to really get your blood pumping.
  232. >You hit a new personal best on the treadmill today--ten miles in as many minutes at the end there.
  233. >Even the bench saw a new record. Wow, it’s hard to believe what you used to lift. Two plates was two thousand pounds ago.
  234. >Ah, yes, it’s going to be one of those days.
  235. >Following your vigorous workout, you visit the bathroom and unload yourself both physically and metaphorically.
  236. >Some doctors will argue that primal scream therapy doesn’t help, but there’s a good reason you haven’t pulled out your hair yet.
  237. >Lastly, to finish the routine, you stuff your face with a couple thousand calories’ worth of chicken and rice.
  238. >Your stomach groans in protest as you shove more meat into it.
  239. >Sorry, little guy, but there’s just not enough time in the day to waste eating lunch and dinner.
  240. >Not when the city needs your help, at least!
  241. >Although, with the Power Ponies around, that might start to change.
  242. >Maybe you could slow down, enjoy a nice steak at noon, and sip a glass of orange juice in a warm field.
  243. >Or you could keep on the streets and beating down any bad guys you happen across.
  244. >Yeah, you like that idea.
  245. >When breakfast is done, you wash the plates thoroughly and go to get dressed for the day.
  246. >That is, get dressed for “Anon”s part of the day.
  248. >You toss on a loose tee and some jeans and rush out the door, still careful to hang close to walls while avoiding the black spot.
  249. >Oh man, you can’t wait to get outside!
  250. >You burst out into the open air and inhale deeply, then bend over to cough up a lung.
  251. >Your chest desperately tries to force the exhaust out of it as a rather rotund gentleman in a buick speeds down the road.
  252. >”Keep on, asshole!”
  253. “And a fine good morning to you too, sir!”
  254. >He’s probably just having a bad day.
  255. >Now, speaking of keeping on, you make way for the same alley from last night, amazed at how it manages to stay pitch black even in the bright morning light, and enter the darkness to change into your real daily wear.
  256. >In goes Anonymous, out goes Captain Canterlot, and so, at about nine in the morning, you begin the battle for justice.
  257. >Once more you walk along the city streets, taking time to greet and chat with any civilians who want a piece of your time.
  258. >”Oh my gosh, Captain Canterlot, please sign my chest,” squeals an excited high school boy.
  259. >You shrug and accept the pen he offers you, then scrawl down your name on his fair blue skin.
  260. >”Oh shit, dude!”
  261. “Language, kids. Remember, the only people who use swears are those too unintelligent to think of words to replace them.”
  262. >”Yes, Captain Canterlot.”
  263. >”Totally righteous.”
  264. “Righteous indeed, young man. Now scram, the lot of you. You don’t want to be late for school.”
  265. >”Thank you, Captain Canterlot.”
  266. “And thank you, fellow citizens.”
  267. >The group of boys scamper off toward Canterlot High School, home of the best and brightest young minds this wonderful city has to offer.
  269. >In the herds of children, you spot one group that catches your attention.
  270. >Seven girls, all of whom seem very familiar, hang around near a massive marble horse statue.
  271. >You rub your chin and squint, examining them.
  272. >Boom Ba--I mean Pinkie Pie stands out in your memory.
  273. >You’ve never met the others before, but you can’t help but feel like you’ve spoken with them all.
  274. >Especially the one with the red hair.
  275. >Your focus shifts from the entirety of the group to just her.
  276. >Her leather jacket, her red and yellow locks, and the baby blue oceans of her eyes all become the focal points of your world.
  277. >What is it about them?
  278. >What is it about her?
  279. >Suddenly, you hear the screeching of tires and a loud crash.
  280. >You rip your attention away from the group of pubescent girls and look in the general direction of the noise.
  281. >It came from down the road, just two blocks from the school.
  282. >Faster than one could pull a goat’s tail, you’re darting down the sidewalk.
  283. >Buildings are blurs in your peripherals as you zoom to the scene of what is surely a crime.
  284. >Once on the corner of Jefferson and 9th, you skid to a halt, amazed at the display.
  285. >Several candy colored cars have been flipped over on their roofs.
  286. >One is crumpled, squished up against the very sturdy brick wall of a department store.
  287. >In the center of it all is a truly dastardly foe.
  288. >His dark grey skin is covered by shining silver armor and accented by a crimson cape that waves in an imaginary breeze behind him.
  289. >The fiend lets out a joyous laugh and throws his arms into the sky.
  290. >”Good morning, Canterlot! Did you miss me?”
  292. “Sombra, you slimeball! What are you doing out of your cell?”
  293. >”Being evil, you fool. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to work on turning these wonderful civilians into even more wonderful crystals,” he snarls.
  294. “Not on my watch.”
  295. >You unholster your shield and let it rip.
  296. >The metal frisbee soars through the air, narrowly passing several running bystanders as they flee the scene.
  297. >Sombra smiles as his body turns into a dark mist, allowing your shield to pass right through him.
  298. >You run after it, and when he turns solid again to gloat about how your misguided attempt to harm him proved futile, you sock him in the jaw.
  299. >The villain goes flying into the side of a pickup truck and dents the door.
  300. >Darn, that one won’t buff out. You hope the owner’s insurance can cover the damage.
  301. >He growls, digging his claws into the lime green metal of the door he hit, and pulls himself onto his feet.
  302. >”That wasn’t very nice of you.”
  303. “I don’t think you’re in any position to complain.”
  304. >The armored villain rubs his chin and flashes his fangs at you.
  305. >”I’ll eat the flesh from your bones.”
  306. “Flesh doesn’t rest on bones, muscles do!”
  307. >With that, you charge and use said muscles to ram him into the door once more.
  308. >You produce enough force to push the car several feet, moving it out of the way so that you can run on, Sombra in your arms, toward a wall.
  309. >Before you can make impact, he phases out of your grip.
  310. >You close your eyes to keep his foul mist out of them and end up slamming your head into the tough exterior of the building instead.
  312. >”Nice try, Captain Canterdunce, but you can’t get me that way!”
  313. >Curse that Sombra.
  314. >His mist form circles around a flipped Ponetiac and hoists it a dozen feet into the air.
  315. >The tornado of blackness lurches, throwing the tons of metal and plastic at you.
  316. >You dive, dodging under the vehicle as it crashes into the spot where you once stood.
  317. >It crunches on the pavement and turns over, knocking a fire hydrant over.
  318. >Cringing, you helplessly watch as the city’s water supply drains through the broken fire-stopper.
  319. >Wait a second, that’s  a good thing!
  320. >Yes, you can use the water to help you against him!
  321. >All you need to do is trick him into hanging around the water long enough that his intangible form collects enough condensation that it forces him to solidify.
  322. >Now, if only you could--
  323. >”Now ah do say that’chu better stop yer evil doin’ saylf raght there yew varmint!”
  324. >”What?”
  325. “What?”
  326. >”What she means is you’re under arrest,” proclaims a dainty, very dignified voice.
  327. >Suddenly, all around Sombra appear transparent, diamond shaped force fields that lock together and trap the villain.
  328. >”Blue is definitely your color, darling.”
  329. >You track down the source of the voices and spot none other than the Power Ponies.
  330. >”Matterhorn, do be a dear and deal with this creatin.”
  331. >”Got it, Radiance.”
  333. >You stand slowly as the purple girl extends her hand.
  334. >A purple light wraps around it and seeps through the air, reaching for Sombra.
  335. >The mist man shakes in his energy prison as Matterhorn’s power bleeds through Radiance’s shield.
  336. >The lavender aura constricts Sombra’s entirety and seems to squeeze him, that being his mist, back together and forcing a transformation.
  337. >Neat.
  338. >And also super dangerous.
  339. >You can’t help but wonder what that process might look like in reverse.
  340. >”Good job, girls. Now Radiance, release!”
  341. >On Miss Conception’s command, Radiance drops the barrier.
  342. >Sombra falls and lands hard on his bottom.
  343. >He shouts in pain as Miss Marevolous lassos him.
  344. >Her golden rope tightens around his form and begins to glow.
  345. >You can see the villain try to phase out of his new constraints, but it just doesn’t seem to go as he planned.
  346. >”What have you done to me? Why can’t I mist up?”
  347. >”Ah dun dere wrapped’chu in mah magical rope’a wonder. Yew’s more stuck’n a possum rastlin’ a bear.”
  348. >”What?”
  349. >”She means the power of justice is keeping you in check. Now, I think you have a date with a jail cell,” says Miss Conception, proudly placing her hands on her curvaceous hips.
  350. >”Darn it! Foiled again!”
  352. >Sombra wrestles with his new fibrous prison as the police arrive and cart him off.
  353. >They throw that gray goon into the back of a cruiser and speed off, completely ignoring a red light and two stop signs.
  354. >It must have been that rookie Jimmy driving. You’ll need to talk to him about following traffic laws.
  355. >After all, those who enforce the law should be the most scrupulous in observing it.
  356. >Chief Blowhard saunters over, pulling his pants up to his midsection.
  357. >He slicks back his thinning brown hair and, before reaching the girls, combs his bushy mustache.
  358. >”That was some fine work you ladies did out there.”
  359. >His eyes trail up and down their bodies, likely looking for any damage they might have received in the fight so as to administer medical care to them.
  360. >”Fine indeed,” he finishes with a whisper and furiously licks his lips.
  361. >”It was nothing, chief. All in a day’s work.”
  362. >”I couldn’t agree more, young Vet.”
  363. >”Actually, I’m Matterhorn. That’s Vet.”
  364. >”That’s what I said.”
  365. >After collecting your shield from beside the wall it struck, you jog over to everyone and give a celebratory thumbs up.
  366. “Mighty fine heroics out there, Power Ponies. You sure showed that Sombra character the error of his ways.”
  368. >”Yeah, it was pretty awesome. Sick shields, Radiance.”
  369. >”But not as impressive as Marevolous’ simply divine lassoing skills.”
  370. >”Ah dun did hwat any farm hand worth’er salts ‘ould do, ain’t nothin’ special’er ‘n a hog backflippin’ o’er a spahder web.”
  371. “What?”
  372. >”She means thank you for keeping Sombra busy until we got here.”
  373. >”’At ain’t hwat ah said an’ yew know it.”
  374. >Oh, yeah. Keeping him busy.
  375. >That’s...one way to put it.
  376. >They sure are creative.
  377. >”Well, I talked to the mayor and we have that festival all but organized,” interjects the chief, stepping in front of you. “Won’t that be nice?”
  378. >”Sure.”
  379. “Wow, a festival after two days. You girls sure are lucky.”
  380. >”Actually, the festival will be in two weeks. I know that’s pretty far away, but I have a different sort of reward in mind for your heroics. In fact, we could even do it tonight!”
  381. >”Thanks chief, but that won’t be necessary. Keeping the streets clean is its own reward,” says Miss Conception, waving him off.
  382. >He reaches out and latches onto her hand.
  383. >”I insist. It will be fun. And wet.”
  384. >”Oh, like a water park?” shouts Boom Baby excitedly.
  385. >”There will be squirting.”
  386. >Hey, wait a minute…
  387. >Your eyes shift to Boom Baby.
  388. >Pink face, pink hair, blue eyes, excited…
  389. >Boom Baby...Boom Ba--I mean Pinkie Pie…
  390. >No. It couldn’t be.
  392. “Hey, Boom Baby, thanks for the cupcake last night.”
  393. >”You’re welcome!”
  394. >Her eyes become as wide as dinner plates, and she covers her mouth.
  395. >”You gave him your cupcake?” cries the chief.
  396. >Oh no.
  397. >Oh merciful Liberty no.
  398. “Chief, I think it’s time for you to go.”
  399. >”Like Sombra it is!”
  400. >You place your hand firmly on his shoulder and pull him back against you, speaking lowly into his ear.
  401. “Now.”
  402. >The man tenses up in your grip.
  403. >When you let go, he slinks away, muttering something or other about “next time”.
  404. >You cross your arms and glare at them, waiting a minute until you’re sure that you’re all alone and no bystanders might hear you.
  405. >”What’s up, Captain Canterlot?” asks Zap.
  406. “Why don’t you ask Pinkie Pie?”
  407. >Their mouths drop.
  408. >Suddenly all eyes are on Pinkie.
  409. >”Oopsie?”
  410. >”Pinkie, what did you do?”
  411. >”I gave him a cupcake! Honest!”
  413. “Do your parents know you’re out here right now?”
  414. >The girls hang their heads.
  415. “I’ll take that as a no.”
  416. >You sigh and pinch the bridge of your nose.
  417. “I can’t believe it. A bunch of high school girls are out fighting A-list villains. Are you even of age?”
  418. >”Of course we are,” says Matterhorn defensively. “Well, except for Dash.”
  419. >”I’m twenty nine,” claims Miss Conception.
  420. >Her friends look at her with shock and confusion.
  421. >”How are you still in high school?”
  422. >”Am I not supposed to be?”
  423. >You’re beginning to wish you never asked the initial question.
  424. >”Captain, please, you can’t tell anyone,” begs Matterhorn, grasping your hands.
  425. “Do I look like the kind of man who would spill the beans on a secret identity?”
  426. >Some civilians start to fill the scene back up.
  427. >Many of them have tears in their eyes and collapse on their knees beside their wrecked cars.
  428. >”I still had payments on this!”
  429. >The discussion at hand is not one you’d like to continue in the presence of prying ears.
  430. >You take your justice filled fist out of her hold and cup her chin with a finger.
  431. “You’re all going to be late for school if you don’t hurry on out of here. We’ll continue this conversation later.”
  432. >”Yes, Captain Canterlot,” mumbles Zap as she drags herself away.
  433. “I assume you’ll all be at Sugarcube Corner later tonight.”
  434. >”We will be now,” states Miss Conception, following Zap.
  435. >”Oh goodness, my first boy discovering my secret identity and it’s Captain Canterlot. How divine.”
  436. >They all disappear, having gone off to school, and you’re just standing in the middle of the intersection like a jerk.
  437. >Oh, Anonymous, what have you gotten yourself into?
  439. >You spend the next half hour helping people flip their cars back over and pulling out any dents you can with your bare hands.
  440. >At a few points, you have to throw in the towel on quick repairs.
  441. “Sorry to say, son, but that one’s not coming out without a tool.”
  442. >”Aw shucks, that sure does stink. Thanks for your help though, Captain Canterlot.”
  443. “I can do a lot of things, but I can’t conjure paint from my hands. You need to visit an auto shop for this one.”
  444. >”Gee, that’s not so bad. I appreciate the hand, Captain Canterlot.”
  445. “If you had some duct tape on hand, I could help you piece this back together.”
  446. >”Sorry, Captain, but my husband has the duct tape. I’ll just drive it like this, thanks.”
  447. >Other than those sorry citizens you couldn’t help, everything went better than you expected.
  448. >With the intersection all cleared up, traffic can continue on as usual.
  449. >You mosey on out of the street so as not to disturb any moving vehicles and get on with your usual patrol.
  450. >Birds chirp as you walk the sidewalks, keeping a sharp eye out for crime.
  451. >Nothing seems too out of the ordinary.
  452. >There are a few loiterers, but a stern look is all it takes for them to get on their way.
  454. >It’s not until about two hours later that you come across a real crime scene.
  455. >Well, that’s not to say that loitering isn’t wrong. It’s just not as wrong as mugging someone, if that makes sense.
  456. >Look, all crime is wrong in its own right, but some crimes carry more weight than others.
  457. >So while something may be wrong, relative to another wrong, it may be right. Or, not right, but, you know…
  458. >Ok, you’re getting off track.
  459. >The point is you found a mugger.
  460. >Your tip off was a womanly scream from a block up.
  461. >You zoom ahead and make a sharp left, pass by a little hardware store, and arrive at a deep alleyway.
  462. >It’s populated only by a dumpster and a, you guessed it, a crime in progress.
  463. >Near the end of the alley is a big, burly black man with a hoodie and pants that wrap nearly around his knees.
  464. >”Please, just take the money, it’s all I have,” cries some small, hundred pound girl from the wet ground as the man’s hefty foot presses against her chest.
  465. >All he replies with is a sickening laugh.
  466. >The man begins to twist his heel into her.
  467. “Hey,” you shout and march for him.
  468. >The mugger looks up. When his eyes land on you, they nearly pop out of his head.
  469. >”Aw shit nigga! It’s tha fuckin’ Cap!”
  470. >Getting closer, you note that you’re about the same in height, and although he probably has fifty pounds on you, his is all in cushioning rather than muscle.
  472. >”Captain Canterlot, please help me!”
  473. >The woman shakes out from under the mugger, knocking him off balance.
  474. >Her teal fingers claw the concrete as she drags herself over to you.
  475. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to hit girls?”
  476. >The man takes a few steps back, but he doesn’t escape.
  477. >You shoot your hand out, grab hold of his shirt collar, and throw him.
  478. >The man flies through the air, smashing into a wall some feet away.
  479. >He seems to be down for the count after that blow.
  480. >You bend down and take hold of the sobbing woman.
  481. >She latches onto you and buries her face in your chest as you readjust to sit down, cradling her.
  482. >”Oh Captain,” she weeps, “Thank you. Thank you. I don’t know what would have happened if you didn’t show up.”
  483. “Try not to think about that, Miss. He can’t hurt you now.”
  484. >Her nails dig into your suit as she uses it to wipe her eyes.
  485. >Her running mascara stains the chest, but your suit washes really well so it’s not even an issue.
  486. >Reaching up, you stroke her curly locks and rest your head over hers.
  487. “It’s ok. You don’t have to worr--”
  488. >You don’t have one fraction of a second to react.
  489. >There’s a noise, deafening in itself, but the implication of it silences your entire thought process.
  490. >Everything in your body shuts down except for the nerves, which fire all at once, forcing your muscles to move before you can even think about it.
  491. >You thrust yourself in front of the woman, covering her as best you can with your body, and hold her tight.
  492. >She squeals as you squeeze her form.
  494. >Your head lights up in pain.
  495. >Rather, one part of your head. It’s centered around the base of your skull and stings like a mother...hen pecking at your scalp.
  496. >Mother hen.
  497. >You groan and turn your head, glaring at the mugger.
  498. >His shaking hand holds a smoking gun which promptly drops as his arm falls to his side.
  499. >”I’m sorry,” he stutters.
  500. >You let go of the woman and stand, turning slowly to face him.
  501. >The mugger shakes violently and tries to crawl away, but his back is already pressed up against the wall.
  502. >No exit.
  503. “Come here, you slime.”
  504. >You snatch him up by his neck and slam him against the stone wall, cracking it.
  505. “Not only do you go through the effort to mug a defenseless woman, but you do it armed? And even worse, when you’re bested, you take fire on her when her back is turned?”
  506. >His hands grab onto your wrist and try to pry it away.
  507. >In response, you tighten your grip, restricting his airway further.
  508. “I should personally escort you into the darkest cell the justice system can find and throw away the key.”
  509. >”Yeah, get him, Captain!”
  510. >His eyes turn red and begin to shut.
  511. >That’s when you let him go.
  512. >He crumples onto the ground, gasping for breath.
  513. “Miss, please call 911. I’ll guard this unjust bucket of filth.”
  514. >”S-sure thing, Captain.”
  516. >She whips out her cherry red flip phone and shakily dials the correct number.
  517. >The police arrive in a short twenty four minutes, all geared up and ready to apprehend the sorry criminal slime.
  518. >The blaring sirens of their black and white cruisers assault your ears.
  519. >Subatomic Sam rolls up along the street.
  520. >Little Johnny, the adorable rookie he is, is leaning out the passenger window cheering about another bozo off the street.
  521. >”Another one for Captain Canterlot,” he shouts.
  522. “Good afternoon, boys.”
  523. >You reach down and grab the black man by his wrist.
  524. >He groans as you drag him along the damp alley ground and toss him to the feet of the police.
  525. >They cuff him up and none too gently shove him into the back of the cruiser.
  526. “Another day another crime stopped.”
  527. >”That’s right, Cap. Hey, you’ve been working hard. You want to grab a drink with us after work?”
  528. “Sorry, fellow citizens, but this Captain doesn’t drink.”
  529. >”That’s fair.”
  530. >”I drink a lot. My wife says it’s a real problem.”
  531. >”You can’t just drop that kind of stuff on someone, man.”
  532. >”I can’t drop the bottle either.”
  533. “That is quite the burden to carry. I know a few self help groups that could lighten the load on your shoulders. Why don’t you come on with me, son?”
  534. >”Gosh, you mean it, Cap?”
  535. “Alcoholics Incognito is just around the corner. Let’s go; I’ll put in a good word for you.”
  536. >Subatomic Smith holds out his hand.
  537. >You grab it and give him a firm shake, then pull him close against you.
  538. >The both you wrap your arms around each other and begin the short stroll, leaving Little Johnny with the newly apprehended scum.
  539. >Soon enough, you reach Alcoholics Incognito.
  540. >”Wow, it really was just around the corner.”
  541. >Subatomic Scott makes way for the front door.
  543.  >After forfeiting his twenty seven bottles of various alcoholic substances to the suited man guarding the building, Subatomic Sean enters and disappears from your sight, leaving you with nothing but a thumbs up before the doors shut.
  544. >It’s starting to get late now, so you ramp up your pace to cover as much of the city as you can before the night comes.
  545. >Several times, you happen upon small time crimes. All it takes to stop them is a stern talk and a slap on the wrist.
  546. >Finally, the sun sets and delivers the city unto darkness.
  547. >You didn’t mean that how it sounded.
  548. >All you mean is that school is definitely out by now and most people are making their way off the streets.
  549. >A large number of businesses have closed up for the day too, leaving only a few night clubs, the pharmacies, the corner store, an adult video shop, the McDonurado’s, and of course, Sugarcube Corner.
  550. >The dull blue street lights lining the path keep you company as you trot along the cracked sidewalks of Canterlot.
  551. >The center for confectionary creations stands tall, pink, and waiting.
  552. >Its doors hide nothing of the inside from you.
  553. >Beyond the glass, you can see the herd of teenage girls chatting absently about something or other in the back corner.
  554. >It’s probably boys or schoolwork if you remember your high school days well enough.
  555. >The poor things are probably stressed about their finals.
  556. >You push open the door and enter, chest puffed out.
  557. >”And then he just cut its neck open with an axe. It was pretty cool.”
  558. >”Wow, Sunset, you sure went on some neat adventures in Equestria.”
  559. >”Don’t even get me started on what he did to the hydra. That was something else!”
  560. >Ah, it’s not schoolwork.
  561. >They’re talking about video games.
  562. >Whatever one they’re on about though sounds pretty violent.
  564. “Hello, ladies,” you announce so as to alert them to another presence in the room.
  565. >It wouldn’t be right to stand there while they talked about their personal lives, oblivious to an extra ear.
  566. >The group, collected on a small sampling of chairs and couches resembling a coffee shop from the early 90s, jerk their heads in your direction.
  567. >”You’re earlier than I expected,” shouts Pinkie Pie, scrambling off the fluffy looking couch and for the kitchen.
  568. >Metal bangs against metal just beyond the wall.
  569. >A large part of you wonders what she’s doing back there.
  570. >An even bigger part mulls over what to say next.
  571. >Now, you came in here knowing full well what you were going to talk about.
  572. >Of course being in the situation is different.
  573. >If they were kids or adults, it would be easy. They’re so simple.
  574. >Teenagers are a different story entirely. It’s been a while since you were one, but even you remember how chaotic their minds can be.
  575. >Look, just ease into things.
  576. >They seem to be moderately intelligent on the surface, and given the types of people that this beautiful city can run through its school system, they’re probably even smarter and more vibrant on the inside.
  577. “So, tell me. How did you all come across these powers?”
  578. >”Magic.”
  579. >Oh, well that answers that. Moving on.
  580. >Wait, magic?
  582. “Silly girls, magic isn’t real. You must be mixing up pseudoscience and alien technology with the forces of fantasy. So what was it? Is there a chemical spill I should know about or did Dr. Van Schliffenstein get out again?”
  583. >”No, it was magic.”
  584. >You can’t help but let out a hefty laugh.
  585. >Ah, the stories teenagers weave.
  586. >Next they’ll be telling you their phones run on magic.
  587. >Oh, no, it’ll be a set of journals magically connected to one another so that whatever is written in one appears in all of them.
  588. >”What’s so funny?” prods the blue one.
  589. >”Do you doubt us?”
  590. “No, not at all. I just think it’s pretty gosh darn funny how well you’re sticking to this joke. Why, with the serious looks on your faces, I might have thought it was true if I weren’t absolutely 100% sure that magic doesn’t exist.”
  591. >”She’s a horse from another dimension and I have a split personality that wants to rip apart the fabric of the universe,” states Midnight.
  592. “Oh, so it was interdimensional shenanigans again. Darn those space pirates. How many times do I have to tell them to stop messing with the space-time continuum?”
  593. >”No, it’s not the space pirate hordes from Planet 9. It’s magic.”
  594. “You keep saying that word.”
  595. >Just then, Pinkie Pie reappears from the kitchen.
  596. >In her hands is a tray of some golden brown chocolate chip cookies, still smoking even.
  597. >”Sorry I’m late. I didn’t have long to prepare them!”
  598. >Oh gosh.
  599. >Yesterday was your cheat day, but those cookies do look good.
  600. >”Help yourself, Captain!”
  601. >Her smiling pink face gets scarily close to yours as she shoves the hot pan against your chest.
  602. >Well, she is offering.
  603. >As a guest, it would be rude to refuse.
  605. >You lift your hand and scrape a little morsel off the baking apparatus.
  606. >Its heavenly, sugary smell wafts into your nose.
  607. >The scent grabs you and pulls you forward until your open mouth closes around the crumbly yet gooey treat.
  608. >Your eyes widen as the full taste hits you.
  609. >Melted chocolate combined with perfectly mixed dough assaults your tongue.
  610. >”Do you like it?”
  611. “Like it? Why, it’s…”
  612. >Magically delicious…
  613. >”Yeah, you see now?”
  614. >The smugness on Zap’s face, no matter how pure and filtered it is, cannot detract from the wizardry that is this cookie.
  615. >You could melt right now if this skin tight spandex suit wasn’t holding your chiseled muscles together.
  616. >”So that answers one question, I guess.”
  617. You have to finish chewing before you can answer Miss Conception.
  618. >Actually, before that, you have to take that tray of cookies from Pinkie Pie.
  619. >She’s happy enough to hand it to you and goes back to sit next to her friends.
  620. “I have many questions about magic, but let’s continue on with the initial probing first.”
  621. >They all nod as you pick up another cookie and hold it close to your lips.
  622. ”I’d like to know your reasons. Why are you engaging in heroics? Why would a bunch of high school girls throw on such revealing suits and march right out into danger like you lot?”
  623. >Their answers better not be fame and fortune.
  624. >You can roll with a lot of motives, but the type of selfishness inherent in those hungering for fame and fortune always leads to tragedy.
  625. >A few of them shrug.
  626. >”Wayll shee-oot, ah dun didn’ e’er think y’all wah gonna ask ‘at sorta question. Ah jus’ dun diddy thought ’at people ‘a go’n do this sorta thang ‘cus it’s the raght thang ‘a do.”
  627. “What?”
  628. >”She means that with great power comes great responsibility, and because we’ve all been chosen by the magical stones of the great forest from beyond, it’s our duties to protect others.”
  629. “Well why didn’t she just say that.”
  630. >”Ah did, more ‘r less.”
  631. “I appreciate the translation, Midnight.”
  633. >”Please, Twilight will do. Twilight Sparkle.”
  634. >”And I’m Rainbow Dash, but you can call me your number one fan.”
  635. >”That’s Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy. I’m Sunset Shimmer.”
  636. “And I assume that your motives, young ladies, match that of Applejack and Twilight.”
  637. >”Sure do!”
  638. >You take a bite of another cookie, soon realizing that half of the dozen is now gone.
  639. >Curses. You’re going to have to run an extra ten miles tomorrow to burn this off.
  640. >Well, they didn’t get their powers from some shady deal with otherworlders, they’re all in the game for selfless reasons, and everyone is of age.
  641. >That’s about all you wanted to cover.
  642. >Yep, nothing else at all.
  643. >You scarf down another cookie as you scan over the girls.
  644. >Your eyes land on Zap, er, Rainbow Dash, and you squint.
  645. >Something is off about her.
  646. >Great galaxies, how could you forget?
  647. “Rainbow Dash, you’re underage.”
  648. >Her gaze drifts to the floor.
  649. “By how much?”
  650. >She mumbles something, toying with the furs of the carpet her keister is planted on.
  651. “My power isn’t super hearing. Speak up, young lady.”
  652. >”Three months.”
  653. >”Rainbow Dash.”
  654. >”Three and a half,” she snarls at her friend.
  655. “Oh, well that’s not so bad at all. Three and a halfs months is child’s play.”
  656. >Your eyebrow dance doesn’t lift her spirits.
  657. “Look, I’m not saying you have to stop crime fighting. You just have to postpone it. In another three and a half months, feel free to join your friends.”
  658. >”But why can’t I do it now? Manehattan has, like, eight teenage super heroes!”
  659. “Manehattan is the farthest thing from an example of good ethics. As long as I’m on these streets, there shall be no costumed minors putting themselves in harm’s way. The second you’re old enough to vote is the second I trust that decision to you. Until then, you’ll just have to listen to the Back Alley Boys while your friends are out beating up muscular fellows twice their age.”
  661. >”But that’s not fair!”
  662. “It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. What matters is that it’s right and as long as it’s right, it’s the only reason you need.”
  663. >The other girls nod as-a-matter-of-factly.
  664. >Pinkie even taps Rainbow Dash on the nose, covering it in frosting.
  665. >With the essentials settled, you remove the shield from your back and set it down on the floor, bulge up, so as to sit down on it.
  666. >Criss cross applesauce, of course, as is the most polite way to sit.
  667. “Now that that’s all out of the way, I must admit I’m rather curious about magic. I have a few minutes before bedtime, so please, do enlighten me.”
  668. >Apart from small anecdotal bits thrown in by a few girls, the only ones to really speak at length about it are Sunset and Twilight.
  669. >Twilight seems to have it down to a science, breaking down the most complicated magical theorems into numbers and probabilities.
  670. >Sunset, on the other hand, is much more romantic with her approach.
  671. >What comes out of her mouth sounds more like what one would find in a children’s book.
  672. >In a cute way, though. You didn’t mean it as an insult.
  673. >You understand how some people may take it as such, but all you meant was that she’s very passionate in the same way that a children’s book filled with fantastical pictures paints a whole world for any wide-eyed young boy sitting in a cardboard box for a bed wondering why his daddy won’t stop drinking for one night to take the time to congratulate him on winning the school art show and instead threw the whole thing away and sent him into his room without dinner or a hug again for the twelfth week in a row.
  675. >And on that note…
  676. “I think it’s time for me to go.”
  677. >You place your hands firmly on your knees and stand up, wiping yourself off in the process.
  678. >”Oh golly gee, already?”
  679. >”Gosh, that sure does stink. I almost had the second batch of cookies done.”
  680. >You smile and pet the pink poof on her sticky, sugary head.
  681. “Next time, young lady.”
  682. >”You mean you’ll come back?”
  683. “Well, I meant when I see you on the stre--”
  684. >”No way, we get to hang out with Captain Canterlot again?”
  685. “No, that’s not what I--”
  686. >”This is the best day ever!”
  687. >”I’m going to wear my good shoes!”
  688. >”I’m going to change my shoes!”
  689. >”Ah maght jus’ haft’a hootin’ hog tah mah Winni-fred ‘n bring’er along one naght jus’ so y’all ‘ken hoe down hee haw rattler snakes doggie.”
  690. >”What?”
  691. >”She means she’s excited Cap will come back.”
  692. “I never said that…”
  693. >You scan their starry faces.
  694. >Oh gosh, they do look pretty happy.
  695. “I never said that...I wouldn’t come back. Because I will.”
  696. >”Awesome!”
  697. “Yes, full of awe. Well, goodnight, young ladies. Justice never rests, but we fleshy mortals must, even those with skin as tight as mine.”
  698. >Before they can say anything else, you dart out the door and book it for your apartment.
  699. >Oh, Anonymous, what have you gotten yourself into?
  701. >You make it to your special alley and disrobe, stuffing Captain Canterlot into the bag and once more donning the title of Anonymous, your average everyday citizen, inconspicuous in every way.
  702. >Once inside your apartment, you toss your bag into the corner of the dusty livingroom and make a beeline for your bed.
  703. >The stiff collection of springs and stuffing beckons to you.
  704. >”Anonymous,” it whispers. “Come sleep. The city needs you tomorrow.”
  705. >Yes, little bed. It is time for sleep indeed.
  706. >You collapse onto it face first, not even bothering with the blankets.
  707. >Your super body needs super sleep to function, so in the next three or four seconds, everything begins to shut down.
  708. >The tenseness in your muscles leaves you in the form of a hot and heavy breath.
  709. >As you loosen up, darkness closes in around you, enveloping your sculpted form and wrapping you in its own cool blanket.
  710. >Lady Sleep steps up to your bed, her mallet of slumber in hand.
  711. >She raises the weapon high over your head, her head, and swings it down, sending you into the land of the unawake.
  713. >It stinks in here.
  714. >You hate it.
  715. >You snarl, bringing a green bottle to your lips.
  716. >It’s the only thing in here not painted red.
  717. >Tipping it back, you guzzle down the last of the golden elixir.
  718. >Once empty, you throw the bottle across the room, shattering it against the red, dripping wall.
  719. >Its shards land on the corpses of this bar’s patrons.
  720. >Outside the establishment, police sirens blare.
  721. >”We have the place surrounded. Come out with your hands up.”
  722. >Hands up?
  723. >You grab a knife and the ex-bartender from behind the counter.
  724. >They want hands? You can arrange that.
  726. >Your eyes shoot open and you push yourself off the bed, sending yourself flying across your tiny bedroom and slamming into the already disheveled wall.
  727. >It cracks against your back, and some of the ceiling falls out from above you, conking you on the noggin.
  728. >Your whole body is covered in sweat that sticks your clothes to your skin.
  729. >You can’t seem to catch your breath either.
  730. >The air passes in and out of your lungs so quickly you almost choke on it.
  731. >Grabbing your chest, you squeeze it tight.
  732. >The iron-like nails of on your fingers cut through your shirt and dig into your flesh.
  733. >It hurts. This isn’t a dream.
  734. >Closing your eyes, you try to form some words and begin to count down from ten to take control of your breathing.
  735. >Your body calms down, and when you reach the number one, you take a deep, cold breath, and exhale, draining your body of the stress.
  736. >It’s fine now, Anon. You’re not in danger.
  737. >Everything is fine.
  738. >Golly, that dream sure was a doozy.
  739. >It must have been all those cookies before bed.
  740. >You know what they say about taking in large amounts of sugar before sleep.
  741. >...Ok, well, you don’t actually know if they say anything about it, but you’re sure that somewhere, someone made the connection and said something.
  742. >If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s at least one person having done something at least once.
  744. >You examine your form and are immediately disgusted by the sweat soaking through your clothing.
  745. >You brush the drywall off your shoulders and begin to strip, pulling the sticky cloth off of your rippling muscles.
  746. >In the safety of your own apartment, going in the nude shouldn’t be a problem.
  747. >After tossing the dirty items into the corner of your bathroom, you begin the morning ritual.
  748. >Another bathroom break, another shower, another personal record, another marathon, another breakfast, another walk out the door, another costume change, and finally, another day on the streets.
  749. >Every single day for more years than you can count on two hands, you’ve done the same routine the same way.
  750. >It’s as simple as breathing. At least, it should be.
  751. >You thought you had settled down from waking up, but you just can’t seem to get comfortable in this skin.
  752. >Maybe you’re just not drinking enough water.
  753. >”Hey there, Cap,” shouts a familiar voice.
  754. >It comes from behind you, so you throw on the biggest smile you can muster and turn around.
  755. “Why hello, Subatomic Simon! How do you do?”
  756. >The uniformed officer breaks into a jog and holds his hand out, which you firmly grasp and give a manly shake to.
  757. >Subatomic Seth uses his free hand to point to a small little badge on his nipple pocket.
  758. >You squint and lean in, getting a better view of it for your super eyes.
  759. >It’s a golden piece of tin with “AI1” written on it.
  760. >”The guys at Alcoholics Incognito gave it to me for my first day. They said I was the worst case they’d ever seen and that I need all the help I can get!”
  761. “Hot dog, good on you!”
  763. >You slap the badge and laugh as he reaches into his pocket.
  764. >The man pulls out a small bottle of whiskey and pops the cap off.
  765. >Your eyes widen as he brings it to his lips.
  766. >Before you can snatch it out of his hand, he stops and looks at you curiously.
  767. >”What’s wrong? Oh, do you want one?”
  768. >Subatomic Stephen rummages around in his other pocket and pulls another, slightly smaller version of his current drink out.
  769. >”Here you go. I’ve got plenty.”
  770. >With your hands on your hips, you give him a stern glare.
  771. >He raises an eyebrow and unscrews the top on the new bottle, then brings that to his mouth too.
  772. >You grab them both and close them up, then put them right into a nearby, city-sanctioned trash receptacle.
  773. >”Hey, what was that for?”
  774. “The badge, my friend.”
  775. >”Oh, right. Silly me.”
  776. “You have to stay on top of this, Subatomic Spencer. Alcoholism is in itself a very dangerous addiction, but what’s worse about it is that it can also be genetic. You have to set a good example for your son, lest he start on the same path. You never know what bomb may be ticking away in his DNA.”
  777. >”Gosh, you’re right. I’m going to go to Alcoholics Anonymous right now and tell them about what just happened. Thanks for saving me, Cap.”
  778. “All in a day’s work, fellow citizen.”
  779. >Subatomic Stan waves to you as he walks away, heading for the very same center of addiction you took him to yesterday.
  780. >What a stand up guy.
  782. >Such a great start to your do-gooding day takes all the negative Nelly emotions from this morning right out of you.
  783. >Your chin, raised as high as your hopes, carries you on down the streets.
  784. >Today, like any other, you stop a few small time crimes and rescue some kids from texting drivers.
  785. “Always look both ways before crossing the streets, kids,” you tell the beaming youngsters.
  786. >The say their thanks and make way back to the sidewalks, leaving you free to chase down that car.
  787. >Not soon after you start, the driver notices you catching up to him and slows down his tiny beige box of a car.
  788. >The window rolls down, revealing a--oh, isn’t that funny?
  789. >”Morning, Captain.”
  790. “Keep on, huh?”
  791. >The round gentleman in the seat tilts his head.
  792. >The entirety of his slicked back hair follows gravity, but not one strand falls out of place in the motion.
  793. “Do you know why I pulled you over, son?”
  794. >”No, I can’t say I do.”
  795. “We both know that’s a lie. I don’t know about you, but I don’t quite like being lied to.”
  796. >Sweat begins to bead on his forehead and his eyes dart to the uPhone 11S sitting in his cup holder.
  797. >The screen flashes, showing a new text message.
  798. “Oh, don’t let me stop you. Go ahead and answer that.”
  799. >”Are you sure?”
  800. “Totally sure,” you draw out. “As long as you’re alright with telling the mother of the next child you hit that you weren’t paying attention to the road because you couldn’t pull over to answer a text.”
  802. >”Aw, gee, Cap, thanks. You’re the man.”
  803. >He reaches for the phone as the buick rolls forward.
  804. >This is some kind of joke, right?
  805. >You grab the door and hold the car in place as the ball of a man leans on the gas pedal.
  806. >”What’s up with the car?”
  807. >He tears his eyes away from the screen long enough to see your hand denting the metal as you keep the roaring vehicle under your control.
  808. >”What’s the big idea, Cap? I thought I was free to go.”
  809. “And I thought sarcasm was a universally understood language. I suppose we were both wrong today.”
  810. >”Oh, so you don’t want me looking at my phone.”
  811. “That’s right. And can you tell me why?”
  812. >”It’s bad for my mileage?”
  813. “It’s a public hazard. You almost ran down two children back there. If I hadn’t been around, you’d be in store for a new red paint job you wouldn’t be able to see for the next ten years.”
  814. >”No way. Really?”
  815. “The law is important, but nothing is as important as a human life. Mind the rules before you end up taking one, or else our next conversation will be in the back of a police cruiser,” you state.
  816. >The man hangs his head and nods.
  817. >”I understand. Sorry for the trouble.”
  818. “Don’t say sorry to me. Just be glad you didn’t hurt anyone yet.”
  819. >”Yeah, yet. That’s it.”
  820. “Alright, then. Have a good day, fellow citizen.”
  821. >You unhand the car, letting him roll along without a worry.
  822. >Before he makes it far, you hear screams in the distance.
  823. >With hairs standing on end, you break into a run toward the sound.
  825. >As you reach city center, you begin to pick up on a lot of oddities.
  826. >For example, you never noticed that stop signs were shaped like giant, upside down cherries.
  827. >You’re also pretty sure that mail boxes were never--
  828. “Wow!”
  829. >Your feet come out from under you as you fall onto your back and slide several feet down the soapy road.
  830. >No, not soapy. Soap.
  831. >Boy, these city planners sure are getting creative.
  832. >That, or evil is afoot!
  833. >You scramble to stand back up and topple over again.
  834. >Clearly walking isn’t going to work, Anon.
  835. >Laying down flat on the ground with shield in hand, you jam it into the soap road and pull yourself toward it.
  836. >Continuing on like that, you reach your destination in only a minute.
  837. >Good golly, if you thought the road on the way here was bed, town square is something else.
  838. >You gasp, taking in the unholy sights.
  839. “What happened here?”
  840. >The poor citizens of the city are huddled into several small pockets of screaming masses as large, bodybuilding bunnies close in on them.
  841. >The furballs bare their razor sharp fangs, pushing the people even closer to the new candy colored walls behind them.
  843. >You set your shield flat on the ground and use it as leverage to pull the rest of your body up into a handstand.
  844. >From there, you shove off the ground and launch into the sky, high above the roof line.
  845. >Your shadow looms over the bunnies, and they turn away from their potential victims long enough to see you reeling your arm back and throwing your shield.
  846. >It whirrs through the air, colliding with one of their heads and bouncing off it and hitting another.
  847. >Like a fleshy game of pinball, your weapon makes its rounds through town square, clearing the path.
  848. >From your vantage point in the air, you’re also able to spot one man in a very bright suit with more patches sewn into it than a boyscout’s sash.
  849. >He stands behind a flipped bus, laughing maniacally and stroking a rather large, glowing fun with “Super Dooper Fun Ray” written on the side.
  850. >Yep, that’s all you need.
  851. >As you descend, your shield flies back up to you and you snatch it out of the air.
  852. >Once you land on the soap road, you spin, digging your fingers into it to give you some traction, and release your shield once more.
  853. >It cuts through the air like a hot knife through melted I Can’t Believe It’s Still Butter.
  854. >The man’s eyes almost pop out of his head when he sees you and your shield.
  855. >He scuttles away before it can hit him.
  856. >Instead, it clangs onto the ground and bounces away, out of reach of you.
  857. >”Nice try, Captain, but that won’t stop me!”
  858. >You can’t stand without risking falling, so all you can do is snarl and hope that he doesn’t make any sudden moves with his cleats.
  859. “I should have known it was you, Discord.”
  860. >”Should’a, would’a, could’a. But let’s not worry about that, Captain. Let’s worry about what kind of animal I can turn you into today!”
  861. >He aims the gun at you.
  862. >The glass tubes on either side of the barrel glow intensely as a bolt of pink lightning fires from it.
  863. >Egads! If you’re hit with that, it’s game over!
  864. >You flatten yourself against the ground, letting the energy fly over your head and strike a lamp post instead.
  865. >The metal lighting fixture turns into an oversized twizzler and begins to sing in unison with the other talking street appliances nearby.
  867. >”You know, I was worried you would show up today, but now I think I’m pretty happy about it. After all, this is the best chance I’ll ever have to get rid of you!”
  868. “If this is the best Lady Luck has to offer you, you better never set foot in a casino, villain.”
  869. >He pulls the trigger again and fires.
  870. >In an instant, you spread your limbs out and make a star out of yourself, then push off the ground with them all at once.
  871. >You’re able to jump high enough to avoid being hit once more.
  872. >Instead, one of the bodybuilding bunnies is hit.
  873. >Their muscles seem to deflate as every other violent trait leaves it.
  874. >Its red eyes turn back to black and its fangs retract halfway and begin to broaden, forming a single square in the front of its mouth.
  875. >Its small, puffy tail elongates and curls, growing bushier and bushier.
  876. >What’s left is a little brown squirrel that, when its senses come back to it, scampers away.
  877. >”Stop dodging me!”
  878. “Alright, Discord. I’ll stop dodging you. Go ahead and turn me into an animal, but answer my question first.”
  879. >He raises an eyebrow and lowers the gun.
  880. >”That sounds easy enough. What do you want to know? How I keep my white hair so silky smooth? My tailor’s name?”
  881. “I want to know your plan.”
  882. >”Oh, well that’s easy,” he laughs. “I’m going to take over the world.”
  883. “How?”
  884. >In that moment, Discord looked as if he had been stabbed.
  885. >”How?”
  886. “Yes, how? How are you going to take over the world?”
  887. >”I,” he starts, “Well, I’ll…”
  888. >He begins to stroke his beard.
  889. >”I guess I didn’t think that far ahead.”
  890. >The suited man lowers his weapon and begins to walk away.
  891. >”I’ll have to get back to you on that. See you later.”
  892. >Perfect! With his attention off you, you remove your gloves and use your nails to drag yourself over to him.
  893. >Before he can round the corner of town square and vanish, you close the distance and grab his ankle.
  894. >”Mother?”
  895. >You heave, throwing him across the street and sending him crashing into a local bike shop.
  896. >He smashes through the window and lands, defeated, on a pile of tires.
  898. >His gun sits directly in front of you, which you grab and fire at the road.
  899. >The soap evaporates and leaves good ole’ concrete in its place.
  900. >You sigh in relief and stand up, confident that your own two feet can support you now.
  901. >One by one, you turn his twisted creations back to normal, bringing beauty back to this technicolor city and putting the citizens at ease.
  902. >Just like clockwork, the police arrive on the scene and apprehend Discord.
  903. >He’s stripped down to his skivvies to make sure there are no other weapons hiding in his pockets.
  904. >Of course there aren’t though. With all the work that went into this gun here, he must have felt confident that it would be all he’d need to take over the world.
  905. >Shrugging, you raise it up and then break it down over your knee, snapping the cursed thing in half.
  906. >”Not a bad show, Captain.”
  907. >Someone’s hand lands on your shoulder and pulls you around.
  908. >Your eyes meet the shining blue orbs of none other than Sunset Shimmer.
  909. “Young Miss, what are you doing out of school? First period has already started, hasn’t it?”
  910. >”Yeah,” she groans.
  911. >Your eyes trail down and find your shield in her hand.
  912. >Her veins are bulging out as he shaking arm slowly lifts it up to you.
  913. “Let me help with that.”
  914. >You reach out and take it out of her grip.
  915. >After giving it a flip, you holster the thing on your back.
  916. >She wipes her forehead and huffs.
  917. >”Jeez, that thing’s not light.”
  918. “You’ve yet to answer my question.”
  919. >The woman crosses her arms and turns her gaze to the ground.
  920. >”First period started for students. Apparently I’m not allowed to go to school anymore. There’s some law against people over twenty five being allowed to go to high school.”
  921. “Ah, yes. Civil Schooling Code Article IV section VIII, subparagraph two. What a fun read.”
  922. >”I can’t believe it though. I thought all humans went to school until they found a job.”
  923. “I have no idea why you would ever think that.”
  925. >You place your hand on her shoulder and give it a firm squeeze.
  926. “Don’t be too down, Sunset. You’ll find something to fill your time. Maybe you could be one of those people to get a job.”
  927. >”Maybe.”
  928. >She looks up at you again with her shimmering eyes.
  929. >You’re locked in place, unable to turn your gaze away.
  930. >”Say, could I follow you for today? You know, go on patrol?”
  931. >Go on patrol with someone else?
  932. >The thought never crossed your mind.
  933. >What would that even be like?
  934. >You know other heroes go out on the streets with partners all the time.
  935. >It seems to work out well enough for them, but for you?
  936. >It’s odd, but…
  937. >Maybe it would be nice.
  938. >Yeah, having someone to talk to while cleaning up the city doesn’t sound so bad at all.
  939. >Coming to this decision was easier than you thought.
  940. “Sure,” you answer at last. “I’d be happy to have some company.”
  941. >”Cool, I’ll go get changed.”
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