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(Woe: Age of Heroes) The Academy Opens! (Open to All apped and accepted Hero Students)

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The Day was only just beginning... The sun was high in the sky warming the earth as per usual. A group of mages in a secret complex in the making the celestial body pass above with the combined forces of magic and technology. Things in this world had changed so much in the last twenty four hours. The return of the Moonlit knight by a group of heroes had brought back on of the world's greatest champion's (albeit one who was still acclimating to all the changes in the last thousand years) And this had only happened shortly before the scheduled opening of the Sunlight Academy for this semester. 

Despite the damage of that night down by the powers of Nightmare Moons massive army of moonlight constructs that had popped up across the land the night of her return. Life went on as usual. In a world where monsters, rogue experiments, psychics, speedsters, uber mages, and ponies who could multiply... You'd be surprised how much time and effort wound up going into repairs of the damages.

 

The streets of Canterlot City were bustling with the activities of hundreds of ponies and other species who inhabited it. This place was always beautiful, well maintained and a testament to the greatness of Equestrian world. Tall skyscrapers reached for the heavens as monuments to the work and ingenuity of the inhabitants of this massive berg. Despite all the luster...

 

*CRASH!* 

 

There was always some sort of crime commited. This time it was the robbery of a Jewelry store in the upper east side, fairly well executed. A gang of diamond dogs hurriedly gathering a as many gems as they could while their leader shouted to hurry along! "We gotta move fast 'fore that Sun demon gets..." The robber's leader's impassioned cries dissipated as he noticed the shifting of his shadow to in front of them. That sign, combined with the sight of the all of the masked robbers he was bossing around staring behind him with their eyes wide as saucers... He didn't even want to turn around. 

A weary sigh came from the heist leader... followed by a soft laugh from behind him, "Gentledogs... Can we make this quick? The academy is opening soon and I can't be late again." Immediately one of the dogs dropped his sack full of gems and threw up his paws, followed by everyone else in the store. A few minutes later the Police had arrived, An excited looking officer showing up before the rest of them to lay the cuffs on the misbehaving mongrels. "Thank you, Officers. I must be off. Today's the big day!" A streak of gold soared into the sky and took off above the clouds. 

 

When she emerged from the clouds, The sentinel smiled warmly down on the city, casting her golden gaze to the academy, flying high above the city and shielded by Alicorn spatial phasing technology. Only those who had a special magical signature granted by the owner of the structure could enter... well those who had that and the sentinel herself. Thankfully this was going to be the year the Sentinel wasn't going to be late for the opening ceremonies. Already behind the protective 'bubble' that shielded the academy from harm there were many students awaiting her arrival along with the staff. The crowd of the next generation of heroes roared with glee as the hero arrived, Soaring high overhead before landing carefully behind a podium. 


The Alicorn's characteristic shining aura of magic made it look like there was series of spotlights right behind her as she spoke. Her voice was a powerful Contralto, one that spoke with nobility and warmth like her namesake gave the world each day. "I would like to personally say to all of you... that is truly wonderful to see so many excited individuals today. When I first started the academy I could only hope that it would grow to the point it has today." The off white Alicorn at the podium continued on with her speech. Many students listened almost enraptured. Others had the more jaded reaction of the eyeroll to her words, and a great deal were honestly just amazed to see her in the flesh. Even then there were variants between all the reactions... one particular pony was looking a mix of excited and irritated. 

 


 

 

--- Meanwhile in the crowds---

 

 

"Darn it all! I finally enrolled and I can't even see the one who started this 'ole thing!" Growled a mare in a wide brimmed hat. In its band there was a feathered quill. Her face was mostly covered by both the shadows of her hat and a domino mask that laid on top of a white coat. The mare's mane and tail was a dusty brown from what could could be seen on her. Her outfit covered most of her form. All four of her legs were covered by boots, her forelegs having long sleeves that cut offjust above where her fetlocks would be and fluttering lightly with each mare, stallion, or other that rushed by or floated upwards to get a look at the mare of the hour. 

 

The Trottingham Hero, Avant Garde had enrolled in the academy not long after the events of Nightmare Moon's (and by extension the Moonlit Knight's) return. Her efforts in holding off the Moonlight construct army that had swept over the land to subjugate citizens was far from perfect. Power's Like AG's were unconventional and in the category of raw destructive power not good for fighting armies, especially with her current limitations of using Ink and paint as -for lack of a better word-  ammunition. Already the words of the Sentinel's speech were being drowned out by the buzzing of excited heroes for the unicorn. 

 

"Well this is started off on a Right downbeat." She looked to the Student closest to her and rose her voice as loud as she could muster. "Oi, Mate!" Said the irritated mare. "Can ya hear a bloody word she's sayin'?"

 

--- The podium ---

 

"With those words of encouragement! I know you shall all live up to the fullest of your potentia---" A small hovering orb buzzed something out to the Gallant mare at teh podium that made her grimace. "Sorry to have to leave you so soon! There's something that needs my attention. For now I shall tell you one of the first and most important lessons about being a hero... Get to know those you will fight beside! Trust the staff here and work with them to make yourselves the best heroes you can be!" The Mare's mane began to lift upwards and soon resembled a flame melded to her head along with her tail. Her wings spreding outward at light shined from her form, "Remember... The sun shines upon everyone!" With those last words she took off into the sky with a strong gust of wind coming from her point of departure and leaving a fleeting streak of golden light across the sky.

 

---exit the Sentinel... for now---

 

Spoiler

Just want to tell those watching this not to bring in a villain

 

 

 

Edited by Pretzelpony
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Dolor wasn't sure what to think at this point, she was simply gazing around at the crowd as a loud voice competed with the crowd. Honestly, she couldn't really make out any voices at this point, focused more on the fact she was on some kind of floating rock. She was wearing her armor and was resting her weapon on the ground, the handle sticking into the air. 

 

The minotaur looked towards the podium just in time to catch the end, in which the mare said to get to know the others. Looking around, she figured that the mare nearby with the hat was a good place to start, so she approached, slinging her hammer onto her shoulder and smiling. 

 

"Me Dolor! Who you?" She asked the mare, still not really understanding the point of the masks. "We be friends?"

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Well… it was definitely a long time coming. And who knew that the greatest heroes in Equestria would ever require help to build an academy? Ok… to be fair, that should honestly be expected. After all, you would never expect most heroes to have a very high technical knowledge. And speaking of a hero with a high technical knowledge, a stallion who goes by the moniker “Machina” stood by the stage. His gaze looking off wistfully beyond the crowd from behind his blue visor.

His lips were pursed together in a thoughtful line, and occasionally his eyes would flick off to the side of his visor’s screen to watch the video feed back of the crowd. Well… it looks like the sunshine crusader will be late… again. Honestly, it almost felt like she had very little regards for time management. The stallion is actually starting to feel sorry for her… oh wait… here she is. Just barely on time.

-

And once again… the stallion was off in his own little world. Even with the best seats in the house, he just allowed his thoughts to wander off into space. Occasionally wandering what he should make for dinner. Sometimes wandering, and checking, to see if he replaced his energy cells this week. And even fretting over something as small as forgetting to brush his cat.

 

Sadly, his mental vacation had to come to an end. ARID’s, his suit’s AI, voice had rang softly into his ear – thus gently bringing him back to reality.

“Sir. Bad news. I’ve detected an anomaly with drone “Dough”.”

The stallion’s eyes flicked over to the new viewport that opened up on his display. The video feed back was blury, and he could barely make out whatever it was.

“Uh…. ARID. Did you crash it?”
“No sir, I believe there’s something extraordinary in the primesis disorienting the drone’s signal.”
“Ah… is it near us?”
“No sir.”
“Can it wait?”
“No sir.”

The stallion let out a low sigh, gave a brief nod, “Go ahead and relay it then,” he mumbled. Faust knows that the last thing Celestia wants to do, is go off to play hero once more.

Once the larg mare took off, Machina slowly lifted himself off of the ground and made his way to the podium.

His metal legs clicked loudly on the wood with each step he took. And once he reached the podium, he extended a right hoof. Metal digits unfolded from the legs by near instinct to grab hold of the microphone and adjust it down to a more suitable height.

“Alright… while the words were unspoken. I am sure that without a doubt you are all welcome to the Hero Academy! I am Machina, one of the many contributors to this lovely school. And I will be happy to help assist those that requires some form of accommodation.

But… before you all go off to your own devices. Allow me to address the elephant in the room. Which concerns your safety, and that of others. Roaming the campus, primarily near the border are large magical golems called Custodians. Please do not engage them, or do anything that may provoke their wrath. They are charged with defending the school’s property as well as it’s students. And any perceived threat…” The pony quickly mumbled the next bit, “will likely have a new mud hole stomped into them… or be deep sixed.”

“With that said! Enjoy yourselves! And if you need a copy of the speech, please stop by the magitech-lab!”

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Mighty though this crowd of would-be heroes may be, they certainly weren’t an observant bunch. All those uncanny ponies had their eyes set towards the sun, and not a one noticed a group of fifty (yes, fifty!) slip into the assembly unannounced. One or two at a time these mystery ponies crept in, fanning out to surround the academy students. Their faces were hidden under little more than hoodies or under hoofball caps, with barely any poofs of pink peeking from under their disguises. This small army was blending in far too easily. Not a soul suspected a thing.

 

Oi, Mate!” Can ya hear a bloody word she’s sayin’?”

 

Okay. One soul. Maybe. But that’s fine! A ninety-nine is still a passing grade! One pony looking her way wasn’t a breach of security! But it sure would be nice if Machina could finish and let somepony else have a chance at the microphone! Quite a few others in the secret gathering were anxious as well, a few unable to help but fidget.

 

Only after talking about… playing in the mud (she was pretty sure that was it) did the mechanized marvel stepped down from the podium.  Finally! That was only the longest two minutes and nineteen seconds EVER! 

 

Showtime”, one of them said with a grin. All the while, ever so discretely, she was reaching into the frumpy brown overcoat she wore, finding the tiny remote control she had hidden. A button was pressed and her grin got wider. Time to start the school year off with a bang.

 

Her override software worked! The PA system was hers! And instead of yet another boring welcome speech, the speakers played her a sick beat. Fifty rear hooves kept perfect rhythm, stomping the ground on tempo to break the cacophony and shake some souls. As the track continued and both a bass guitar and the vocals of Sapphire Shores hit the crowd's eardrums, off came the disguises. Yes, it was Flash Mob. Who else would it be? A bright pink Earth pony in blue and gold spandex was hard to miss. Even harder when there were a lot of them. And there were always a lot of them.

 

Spoiler

 

 

And the lot of them were giving all the new recruits the performance of a lifetime. Hooves moved quick as a hiccup. Hips rocked to and fro. There were spins and jumps and splits and even a couple backflips. The sudden use of pom-poms provided a veritable explosion of color. A chorus of sopranos singing along topped everything off.

 

Saturday night and we in the spot!

Don't believe me, just watch!

 

As the final chorus began, so too did the clone army's finale; one by one, the Pinkies vanished in a puff of pink smoke and sparkles until only one remained. She was at the podium, very out of breath.

 

Hello, Sunlight Academy! My-” GASP “My name is Flash Mob and I've-” GASP “-been in a student here ever since I was only itsy-bitsy teeny weenie! I-” GASP “-love it here and I know you all will too! I'm in the-” GASP “-welcoming committee and the-” GASP “-cheerleading team and I-” GASP “-know this school like the back of my hooves!” GASP “So please oh please-” GASP “-Come and find me if you have-” GASP “-any questions or concerns or-” GASP “-even if you're just feeling lonely and-” GASP “-need a big warm group hug! I am literally everywhere! And-” GASP “-And I know that you all and I will be the bestest of friends in no time!

 

With her dance routine and speech now completed, the marvelous multiplying maiden of mystery promptly fell over exhausted.

 

Somepony get the nurse.

 

 

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The Rainboom Centurian sat up on the stage, utterly bored by the proceedings.  You'd think that after so much time spent doing all that boring research work, she'd have more patience.  But nope.  She fidgeted a bit, adjusting the swept-back rainbow-colored helm with the golden trim.  Making sure the cape with the lightning bolt on it was straight.  The whole uniform was just as 20% cooler as she'd asked for.  Except for the cast on her right rear leg.

 

The cast had been a concern for her safety - but with so many injured across the whole city, it was easily explained away.  And with the power of her green light, she was able to change the colors of the bandages, turning a potential secret-identity-breaker into something that helped separate herself from her mousey secret identity all the more. That, and the fact that her hero identity had some sort of weird techno-floating chair instead of the wood-and-wheels chair that her other side used.  It had even provided a useful cover for getting away from A.K. Yearling - no way could Rainbow Dash, injured and meek, hope to help A.K. cover the opening of the new school.  She wondered where A.K. was.  Had to be in that crowd of reporters somewhere.

 

Instead, the Rainboom Centurian was up on stage with a variety of heroes.  The Sentinel foremost among them, but also that weird robot, several other of the teachers, and over at the other side of the stage was Daring Do.  The Centurian wondered what she was doing here.

 

And the cast ITCHED!  She couldn't stand it!  Her mane shifted from the bright yellow hue she usually liked to keep it at into a vivid violet.  Underneath the cast, her telekinetic touch scratched across the otherwise unscratchable itch, a soft rainbow glow surrounding her rear leg.

 

Ahhhhhh...

 

Well, to be honest, the speeches weren't that boring.  She wished Machina would go into more detail about the Custodians.  They were pretty fascinating devices!  Bet they'd make a kick-tail sparring partner!

 

But instead, the speech-givers were were getting interrupted.  Well, her own comm unit hadn't given her any alarms, so she wasn't being called in.  Looks like it was her turn to speak.  She stood up a little straighter, her hind legs held up in the float-chair, and declining to limp, just flapped her wings idly to float over to the podium.

"Good morning," she said into the microphone, but her words weren't carrying past the stage.  The speakers were completely compromised.  What was going on?  Was this an attack?  Where was that music coming from?

 

Last night, the whole fight with Nightmare Moon and her duplicates had been a real mess.  But the brief team-up she'd been a part of had been just the thing.  Near the climax of that fight, the pink participants known collectively as Flash Mob had multiplied into a runway of ponies a hundred long, all running towards Nightmare Moon.  The Rainboom Centurian - using her favorite power, that of the yellow light of the Rainbow Force, had rocketed down that runway, stealing the kinetic energy of a hundred sprinting ponies, the yellow light crackling along the whole length of Flash Mob's line of ponies like lightning, propelling her forward faster and faster.  She'd hit Rainboom speed halfway down the line, scattering dozens of Flash Mob's component members before they'd disappeared in a puff of pink smoke, and she hadn't stopped accelerating there.  She had been starting to wonder if the stories of a 'Double Rainboom' were about to be proven true - but then she'd reached Nightmare moon a tenth of a second later, swinging around to deliver the great-granddam of all epic bucks right to Nightmare Moon's jaw.

 

That'd been where the broken leg had come from, and The Rainboom Centurian was hardly going to forget the hero whose teamwork had made it possible.  Not that she held any animosity towards the plentiful pink pony, but goodness, wasn't interrupting an official ceremony the worst possible time for this?

 

Her mane shifted back to its usual yellow color, as the last remaining Flash Mob gave her bit of a speech and then collapsed.  Still, it'd been pretty awesome prank at the same time!  She gave a grin and a laugh.  "Thanks for the welcome, Flash Mob!  And as, of course, you all know, I need no introduction as the Incomparable Rainboom Centurian.  What you didn't know is that this year, I'm going to be your gym coach!  I started out very young as a sidekick to the amazing Wonderbolt, so I've been training for this gig for most of my life.  I'm going to bring all that experience to bear on making sure all of you are ready for whatever goes your way.  Trust me, it's going to be awesome."

 

She leaned forward over the podium, her wings lifting her higher for a better loom, and her mane going to a bright red color as flames literally appeared in her eyes.  "Because I am going to make a stint in Tartarus seem pleasant before I'm done with you all!  By the time dodgeball alone is over, you all won't fear any of the superpowered threats or natural disasters out there, because none of it'll be as scary as I am!"

 

Her mane shifted back to yellow, the fire disappearing, and she cheerfully announced,  "So hey, lookin' forward to seeing you all there!"  Then she resumed her seat so the next teacher could introduce themselves.

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Shifter had never wanted to be a hro or heroine. Simple dreams had been in her head when she was Valen Orange. But that was not in the cards, not for her, not now. Instead she was one of the many heroines or heroes attending the Academy, one of the incoming ones whose hopes and dreams were supposed to be as wide as the sky. For her however, there was trepidation and worry. Every breath was foreign. Every heartbeat a reminder. Every glance and sound and contact with everything and anything was a reminder and a warning. It didn't feel bad. It felt strange. Her life was strange now. Her life didn't even feel like her life, but here she was now. Gilded Lilly, not Valen Orange. Living and physical and not whatever you would term being more of an aetheral concept than a living creature. Yeah, better than that.

 

Before she was Gilded she was Valen Orange, a well-to-do colt who had been kidnapped by some thugs and sold to a rogue group of scientists. Gilded didn't want to think about what her parents had been told but she could only guess that the Oranges would recover- eventually. Hopefully. After what those scientists had done to their son it wasn't lie he had really survived in a traditional sense. They were obsessed with creating Empowered through science and he was one of many experiments. One of them had destroyed Valen Orange on a molecular and magical level, removing him completely from existence- except for scattered remnants of his psyche which existed, stranded in the aether. He saw everything and nothing. He was everything and nothing. Time and space held no meaning to him. It took several weeks- may as well have been seconds and centuries- for him to gather up coherency. He had studied one of the scientists and eventually took his form, led a breakout. With the help of Gilded Lilly, a little street filly, he had escaped- but only at the cost of her own life and, indeed, physical and metaphysical being.

 

But in the dark there was light. He couldn't be Valen- that would spark interesting from the scientists, not to mention publicity. And he wasn't sure if he even could anymore. He couldn't still be the scientists for very obvious reasons. Instead, he picked the form of the pony who had saved him and had fallen in the effort- and who nopony appeared to be looking for, Gilded Lilly. But he wouldn't just take her form and run away. He was going to honor her sacrifice and use this power from good. He wasn't Valen Orange. He wasn't Oculus the Scientist. She was Gilded Lilly, or as she would dub herself, the Shifter. And she was going to be a heroine, as uncomfortable as she was in any form or not.

 

So she had decided to attend the academy with the agreement of the Sunlight Sentinel. She was one of the few who knew the full story, and so Gilded made sure to listen to all of the speech. It inspired hope in her- well, what she could hear, anyway. Like others around her Gilded could barely hear a word. She strained herself but she didn't have super hearing or anything! Others around her jostled for position or murmured with a bit of bitterness about not being able to hear. Gilded was pushed around through no fault of anypony else's. "Yeah, kinda hard to hear...but I think it'll be okay once we get inside the Academy. I'm sure they've got it all organized and we'll all become better heroes for it," she said, barely above a whisper, only belatedly wondering if anypony would even hear her. Drats.

 

Suddenly everything that ever was happened at once, making Gilded concerned that they were under attack right after the speech by the Armored One Himself. She sunk down for a second- until she realized who it was, anyway. Flash Mob, another famous heroine, was here as well. She was a ball of energy divided but not undimmed dozens of times, seemingly being everywhere at once- because she *was* everywhere at once. It was hard to imagine a heroine like her coming from any sort of controlled system, but it spoke very well as to the type of education prevalent at the academy that they could take such unrefined ability and make sure to harness it so well. She was a legendarily friendly heroine and she spoke herself and danced herself into unconsciousness. Well, she was bound to be a hoot.

 

Then finally the Rainbow Centurian spoke. She was a heroine of some renown due to recent events. Most importantly, she seemed to be one of the heroines working more closely with the students. This was a very good thing. The Academy would live and die based on the quality of education it gave to would-be heroes and heroines. And with somepony like her WHY IS HER MANE ON FIRE OH NO. Gilded's eye bugged out as Rainbow got intense. Listen, she wasn't going to be able to do the sorts of things that other heroes could. She didn't have super speed or super strength of super lasers or- oh, good, oh very good, she turned back to yellow. And not flaming. "Haha, that was...that was, umm, intense," she said to those around her, trying to prepare herself for a very interesting education.

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Zelda felt very silly.
 
Which was hard for someone who could not feel a single thing due to her present condition. It had been almost a year ago when the black griffon’s life nearly came to an end. She had been working on a new project for a bunch of eggheads when something went wrong. Now she was floating in some tank full of what she had heard that looked like pink pudding. And somehow she was now controlling an robotic version of herself. This was not like the funky monsters one would see in a comic book, but an exact replica of her real body down to everything. It could do everything her original body could do and much more. She was stronger, faster and could heal much quicker than any living creature outside of science fiction. However, due to the severe damage her body suffered, she was unable to feel anything while controlling the body. There were little lights she could see in the corner of her eyes when something was going on. A simple tap would register a green light, while actual damage would get a red one. The darker the color, the worst things were.
 
She glanced down at the ridiculous costume the think-tank had got her to wear. White tights with blue highlights covered her body from her neck down to her back legs. Her claws were cover with blue gloves, and big blue pirate-y boots with big cuffs. A version of her trusty smithing hammer hung from her belt. Normally, if she were to hit a living creature with her working hammer, there would be nothing but a rather nasty mess to be seen. However, the Brainiacs managed to create another modern miracle of magic and science. Her new hammer could smart like a dickens, but it created some sort of 'kinetic energy field’ around its target causing them to bounce away like a big ping-pong ball. It would smart a bit, but her target would not be permanently harmed as heroes do not kill!
 
And while she would have preferred to have gone back to her job as a blacksmith, she was told that the group had not spent all the time, resources and magic to 'waste' it all on some metal worker. Zelda needed to pay her fare share and use her new abilities to protect Equestria! So here she was, hanging around with a bunch of other be-tighed 'heroes'. There was some sort of speech going on, but the android did not pay attention. She stared at her suit for a moment longer. It looked like the same as tights a circus performer would wear, down to all the clingy goodness, but like her body and hammer, it was more science/magic geekery. It was some sort of magic Kevlar. It could heal just like her body.
 
She glanced up at the stage when some sort of entertainer got onto the stage. Or was she one of the senior heroes? "Erm.", she muttered to herself as she watched the rather entertaining show the pink mare had put on. She wanted to smile, but the nasty funk she was in kept a frown on her beak. What could she do? Two of her most favorite things to do were out of her reach. Once the show as over, another mare appeared. Rainboom Centurian? This reminded the griffon that she had yet to come up with her own 'super' name.  A few floated around in her skull. Glooma? Cranky Beak? Sour Puss? Ebony Gloom?
 
She turned her attention to Gilded, "Yep.", she croaked back. Hurray! She was socializing! It was a baby step, but it was one in the right direction!
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---Avant Garde---

 

The mare in the crow with the hat was already a bit soured by the missing of the speech's body... but not much she could do about it now. Chances are even if she'd been lucky enough to get one of those temporal manipulation powers it wouldn't make a difference cause she'd just be back to the point of the loud crowd's cheering and bustling over the Sentinel's words. The one pony she'd tried to get the attention of earlier had more or less brushed her off, not the best start to her attempt to further her hero... education. 

 

A ray of light came in the form of somethi-- er, one- she'd never seen before. A minotaur! She's only heard stories of them , "HOOOOLY CROP!" She shrieked out with an excited jump in the air at the sight of the newcomer. The mare's eyes were wide as saucers, "D-dollar? O' course we can be friends! Can yeh tell me about yerself!" She said circling the minotaur as if inspecting her from every angle. It seemed already that the art hero of trottingham had found her latest muse for today in Dolor for the time being, so much so that she was mostly ignoring the following speech and warning about the custodians. 

 

Then came the music... and reveal of the many mirror images dancing like nopony's business. The rhythmic swaying of the hips, the tapping and stomping of the hooves all in unison. It was absolutely incredible! Scratch all of those negative thoughts in her head from earlier, first a minotaur then a mob of marvelous cheer-leading mares! This place was going to amazing! Once all the members finished their dance, they all dissipated in puff of magical smoke. If she wasn't sure about this being a power before there was no doubt now. "Now that's one o' the mares responsible fer takin' out Nightmare moon right? Flashmob, right. I've gotta talk ta her some time!" She looked back to her bipedal friend behidn her, "Whaddya think, Mate?"

 

Oh... the Rainboom Centurion. Now there was a hero to learn from at least for some... that attitude was just the kind that got the painter excited to meet andsometimes even confront. Maybe it was all the times she'd run into a villain back home who seemed to think they could beat her in a contest of boisterousness. Almost as if on reflex a voice from the crowd (with a distinctive Trottingham accent) shouted out, "SAME HERE! I'LL BE LOOKIN' FORWARD TA SEEIN' A LOOK O' SHOCK ON YER FACE LATER!" 

 

"Haha, that was...that was, umm, intense,"  said a filly in the crowd to those around her, trying to prepare herself for a very interesting education.

 

"I know right! This place is gonna be so bloody cool!" she said to the voice beside her, "Oh are you in the hero program too? don't take this the wrong way, mate... but aren't you a little young? or is tha' a sorta byproduct o' yer powers?" 

 

---The Newest Member of the Faculty---

 

The talks did not make stepping into this new world any more difficult. A strange sort of calm fell over the room as the sounds of hoofsteps from behind the podium seemed to overtake all the noise. A light seemed to glow from the halls, brighter and brighter with each resounding step until it filled the archway. A suit of heavy ivory armor emerged into the room until it was behind the podium. A visor hide the face of the pony underneath it but a carefully crafted guard protected the creature inside the armor's horn from harm. The visor's opening was mostly shadows but two bright blue eyes that almost glowed looked from behind it. Wings Flared up wide and proudly... A cape that looked like it was cut from the cloth of the night sky rustled behind her: stars within it twinkling faintly with each movement. Then came the words that the alicorn had been wishing deep down to say since she'd returned were spoken. 

"Good Afternoon. I ... am the Moonlit Knight."

 

She was sure that many in the audience would have something to say about her arrival so she remained quiet for a few seconds before raising a hoof as if to signal a hush, "Foremost... you all deserve not only an apology but much more for what I had done upon my reawakening. I do not expect forgiveness, but please know as a member of this school's faculty I put all that is in my being to helping this place prosper." The armor's head turned to the centurion and her cast... it was bittersweet to notice: It was both one of the blows that brought her back to her senses. but her jaw still ached from the attack. Her gaze averted a moment to return to the crowd and speak again, "I have... brought harm to many brave heroes and trouble to innocent civilians. My repentance will be long, but it -WILL- be done. Do not fret as at best I shall be your vice principle and all things I do will be monitored by my- um... The Sentinel as per the conditions set by the Equestrian triumvirate." The knight stood back from the podium and gestured for one of the smaller spherical drone golems that hovered about the halls to get the school's nurse. "With that I shall leave things up to the rest of the faculty... I hope this year will be one of the most enriching for you all." 

 

"Can you stand, Flashmob?" She asked whileoffering a hoof to the winded mare. "The sentinel told me you're not the type to be exhausted for long." Some rings of white-blue light helped the mare up to her hooves again. She still couldn't bring herself to look at the centurion yet but hoping to voice her worries, she spoke up and looked at the mare in a sidelong glace, that while filtered through her visor made it look... a bit more menacing than it was meant to come off as, "How is your leg healing?"

 

Edited by Pretzelpony
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Dolor smiled at the mare's response. A new friend already! A good start!

 

"Me protect friend, crush enemy. Hammer and light." She said, standing proudly as she watched the mare circle her. "What friend do?"

 

Before any answer could be made though, the dancing started and very effectively distracted her from anything else. She happily stomped one hoof in time with the beat, reminded of her tribe's dances. 

 

"What mean?" Dolor asked, bringing her attention back to her friend as the dancers turned out to be one mare and she collapsed. The minotaur blinked in confusion, only knowing Flashmob due to what just happened and not at all aware of what she had helped accomplish. And then another unknown mare took the stand and quickly introduced herself. 

 

"ME BEAT CHALLENGE!" Dolor bellowed out, punctuating it by pounding her chest once after her friend had yelled too. Her attention was a bit too focused on the pegasus to notice the new conversation near her, and that attention soon turned to the armored mare that approached the stand next. She seemed... Sad...

 

------------

 

Liviel smiled as her eyes scanned the crowd, not that anyone could really tell through the mask of Shui Seng. She was happy to see so many faces for her to train, especially the diversity of them. There were ponies, griffons, and even a minotaur! So many new faces. 

 

And then, of course, there were familiar ones. Despite it possibly being an inappropriate place for such a display, the instructor enjoyed Flashmob's dance and following greeting. The collapse was a bit worrying though...

 

The dog waited for the Moonlit Knight to finish her introductions before moving up, pausing near Flashmob to look her over a bit. 

 

"I would not worry too much, Ms. Knight. She simply appears to be tired after her display." She said, looking at the armored mare for a moment before turning back to the pink mare. "It is wonderful seeing you again, Flashmob." She said, patting her on the shoulder gently and heading up to the podium. 

 

The dog patiently waited for the crowd to quiet down a bit before she spoke, and when she did it was with a voice that was gentle but drew you in to listen, a voice she had practiced during her time teaching in both her lives. 

 

"Greetings to all of you. I am Shui Seng, and I shall make this brief. I am your fighting instructor, whether that is with powers or not. I look forward to teaching you the art of combat." She punctuated her introduction with a small bow before she moved away from the podium and back to her spot. 

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More members of the faculty stepped up to the plate to give their introductions. Though possibly none left an impression as severe as Rainbow Centurion… whom apparently swapped between emotions faster than a bipolar hornet. That’s definitely an interesting quirk though. However, it’s not much for Machina to write down quite yet… he hasn’t had a chance to see either of these heroes on stage in action. No… during that fight against Moonlit Knight, he’d been busy in Japony using a giant robot to fight a giant weird moth monster that shoots laser silk. That’s right… laser silk.

That was a surreal day though… Machina thought to himself. He’d never thought he’d be popular anywhere, nor intended to be popular to begin with! Instead once the fight was over, and only an additional damage of the city had been damaged after his arrival had been kept to a minimum, he had been greeted with banners of “Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto”. Even before that, he was popular when he noticed that the toy shops had him as a popular action figure among a few other heroes! Even a fanbase.

Sadly… Machina is quite a recluse to the public eye, and bugged out immediately the moment he was no longer needed for emergency aid. All those happy cheers and praises were quite suffocating to the pony.

 

Once the Centurion was done, the pony approached her with a soft chuckle. “I hope you’re not planning on maiming the poor students. I don’t think any of them will be too thrilled about the idea of becoming like me after a month or two of what feels like suffering in tartarus.”

The stallion then looked down to Flash Mob, whom had burned herself out like a lightbulb. A nervous sweat drop ran down the stallion’s chin as he issued an order for one of his roaming drones to bring the poor mare a bottle of water.

“Loooooooooooks… like you’re already hitting that point though…” Machina nickered as his red drone drifted down. A cool bottle of water was floating in front of it’s lens and was being offered to the exhausted hero.

 

The stallion did think about giving the mare an encouraging jolt of electricity though. Not enough to hurt… but just enough to jump her off. Yeah… a good ole treatment of electrotherapy. In fact… if the mare did prove to be unresponsive after an amount of time the stallion would treat her to such.

He’d give her a few minutes. Once the time is up, he’d lift up a hoof, and allow his mechanical talons to unfold from the leg’s chassy. All but one would close. The remainer would have it’s claw flip out from the underside of the digit. Machina looked down to it, and began to test the spark. First it was a visible arc of electricity. But after a few tests, he dialed it down to something that was definitely not harmful. And just merely a flash of light in appearance. Once that was taken care of, he’d give the mare a friendly prod in the side and a small jolt to get her moving.

Machina is the best impromptu nurse!

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EEK!

 

That tiny little shock went right through the pink party pony, sending her more than a few feet off the ground. Not exactly the friendliest of wake-up calls, but it did fine in a pinch. When she officially came to, and saw no less than three sets of eyes watching over her, Flash Mob's face got even redder, if that were possible.

 

Heh heh... sorry, everypony. Guess I overdid it. Again. But that was good, right? The girls and I rehearsed nonstop all week to get it right! Did you like it? Did you? Huh huh huACK!

 

Apparently, her throat was just as sore as the rest of her. The offered water bottle was snatched in an instant and emptied just as fast. A loud and rather unladylike burp was her unofficial thanks.

 

Scuze me. And thank you, Machina! Boy, did I need that! Oh, hi Moonie!

 

Just as graciously, she took the hoof of the darker pony who was the superiest of supervillians not too long ago. As the Magnificent Multiplying Mare of Mystery or (“MMMM for short!”) pulled to get back on four feet, she couldn't help but notice that the Night Watchpony didn't budge from that extra weight. At all. Heck, if memory served (and it probably didn't, as she took a lot of blows to the head that weekend), this is a pony who wouldn't budge from the weight of a suspension bridge on her withers. Having seventy-five of her sisters trying to try her down with ropes and chains certainly couldn't halt this pony's advance. Moonlit Knight's rampage was almost unstoppable! And we're just supposed to trust that she's all better now?

 

Duh! Why wouldn't we? Don't be silly!

 

Thank you again! Thank you thank you”, she kept repeating, dusting off any scuffs that may have gotten on her stripes or ruffles or worse; her bowtie. But nope, clean as a whistle.

 

Oh, and thank you, Sensei!

 

There was a pause. Because she hadn't quite processed exactly the words that came out of her mouth.

 

SENSEI!

 

Faster than Rainboom all hopped up on a tredecuple espresso, Flash Mob was at attention, ignoring any and all fatigue or soreness or urges to fall down and take a nap. Off came her mask and down went her face, bowing to her teacher and showing him the utmost respect. Shui Seng taught her everything she knows! Well... not everything. Mostly. Maybe half. Half-ish. Maybe a quarter. Look, it's quality not quantity! And she owes Sensei her life.

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The Rainboom Centurion was glad for the loud response from the students.  At least one of them was fired up, and she was sure there were more!  This was going to be a great year to pass along all her knowledge on how to be awesome!  She grinned proudly, and nodded approvingly to the Moonlit Knight.  "Ha!  This?  Pfft.  This is nothing.  I've gotten hurt way worse!  I'll be back up and in full fighting trim in no time!"

 

OK, so maybe her injuries were a little more serious than that, but like she was going to admit it?  Even with one broken leg and in this fancy floating chair, she could buck any supervillain's flank in ten seconds flat!  Unless maybe it was a second round against the Nightmare, but that was unlikely to happen.

But then it was Machina's turn to get in a snarky comment.

 

"Ha!  Not gonna try to maim them, no, but I do have to make them ready for threats that will."

 

The humor faded from her face, and she seemed to droop a little, her voice shifting a little towards the emotionless side as her mane shifted from yellow to blue.  She looked soberly at Machina.  "I can't fail them and let them get maimed or killed out there because I was too easy on them, too worried about hurting them."

 

Then she smirked and winked, her mane flashing back to yellow.  "But hey, as long as they don't know I'm not going to maim them, right?"

 

It looked like the teacher's speeches were pretty much over by this point, and the Centurion sighed.  Looked like it was up to her to take over what the Sun Sentinel had been going to do.  As she organized the day's requirements in her head, her mane shifted from its customary yellow to the dark purple again.  She flapped her wings lazily, hauling that hovering chair up to the podium again.  "And that's it for our speeches, I guess!  We had more, but those emergencies pulled most of them away. Time for a short tour of the campus, and we'll end up in the cafeteria where there'll be snacks and the teachers will be answering questions from the press.  Please head to the front doors over that way, and I'll be joining you shortly there."

 

She left the podium with the audience starting to move towards the school, and instead went to tap the pink form of Flash Mob on the shoulder.  "You did not forget to leave yourself well rested and in position for the tour, correct?"

 

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Good question! Let me check!”, Flash Mob replied, right after letting out the mother of all yawns. She had been holding that doozy in for a while now; for manner's sake. But all those late night rehearsals were catching up with her. So, either she was going to get some precious Methyltheobromine into her system and fast, or she would be hopping onto the next train to Sleepytime Junction.

 

To answer the aforementioned question, the pink party pony pulled from the pleasantly piled poofs sitting atop her head a portable radio transceiver, prized for its power of push-to-talk.

 

This is Blue Leader”, she said, dropping her voice an octave to sound more authentic. Also because she likes funny voices. “I repeat, this is Blue Leader. Gold one and gold two, please come in. What is your twenty? Over.

 

This is Gold two reporting in, Blue Leader”, said what was obviously another copy. “Gold one and Gold two are in position, ready to escort the payload. Over.

 

That's a big copy, Gold two. And don't forget to smile! Over.

 

There was a merry giggle over the walkie talkie before Gold two dropped the faux-military gag all together and let her natural soprano shine through. “We never do! Over.

 

See? All taken care of”, she said to the Rainboom finally. Nothing to worry about. The walkie was then shoved back into her hair; back with everything else she might have hidden in there.

 

Say, are you hungry?” Her mask also went back on, to keep up appearances. Because her civilian identity was such a big secret. “I know I skipped breakfast this morning, but if you are, I know this great little place not too far from here. Get this, they have this dish where they put a six scoop banana split on top of three fresh made waffles! Waffles, Dashie! And then they pile on all these toppings, like candied pecans and dried cherries and peanut butter cups and crumpled up snickerdoodles and-

 

And it went on like this. Dashie could hear, just under her fangirling over a dessert of unusual size, the rumbling of of a tummy.

 

-topped with a mountain of whipped cream and drizzed in this blackstrap and maple syrup and the lightest of dustings of cayenne pepper. Oh it is so good!

 

There was a dreamy twinkling in her eyes. She was talking about this achievement in gluttony as more sensible ponies would talk about a lover.

 

They said I was the first pony they've seen to finish the whole thing! I got a T-shirt to celebrate, and they took my picture and hung it on their wall! Oh oh oh, and I even signed it for them! And then guess what happened! Come on, guess!

 

Except Flash Mob gave her friend no time to actually guess.

 

I ordered another one!

 

~

 

While on the subject of food, the Pinkie clones under codenames Gold one and Gold 2 were in position as promised, ready to receive the influx of guests. These two were dressed to the nines; both in tuxedo and top hat, one white and one black. Behind them, meanwhile, was an explosion of color; balloons and streamers and confetti adorned every last inch of Sunlight Academy's main doors. And to get to this lavish entrance, each hero had to run a proverbial gauntlet of Pinkies (designated as Reds 1-20), each one holding a tray of snacks and Hors d'oeuvres, with each one seemingly more delectable than the last. There was something for every pallet, from a sweet Vol-au-vent to crackers topped with hummus to deviled eggs to marshmallow squares. And in case anypony got thirsty, Red 9 brought several kegs (“Bottled is for chumps!”) of craft root beer.

 

Welcome to Sunlight Academy, you, the new age of heroes!”, Gold one and Gold two said in unison.

 

As you probably guessed, we are also Flash Mob! And we'll be your tour guides today! Before we begin, please help yourselves to the yummy delicious treats we've prepared! Seconds and thirds are also totally okay, so no feeling bad if you've got one of those super-duper metabolisms!

 

Now, before we officially begin, we'd like to direct you to the doors themselves!” And they were absolutely massive, tall enough for a giraffe to scrap her head! “I know they look like gold, but guess again! These doors are actually made from the giant key that once unlocked the Sentinel's secret sanctum! This is the very same enchanted Impervium, each of the two doors weighing in greater than a blue whale! And laced with a magic down to the molecules so that anyone not aligned good on their character sheet can't touch it without receiving a nasty shock!

 

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"It is wonderful to see you are as excited as ever, Yūjin Flash." Liviel said, returning the bow before the conversation turned to the pink pony being hungry. The dog giggled lightly at that, watching the young mare. 

 

"That sounds like an enjoyable time, would you two mind if I joined you?" She asked the two mares. 

 

--------

 

Dolor looked around at the many mares that looked the same, grabbing a bunch of food as she went. She was hungry, and being as large as she was meant she ate more food than most. 

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Adventivia's journey to Canterlot from Trottingham hadn't been an easy one. It had been hard enough for her to slip out of the city while it was on alert, but the journey was a whole new challenge entirely. She first tried using back roads, knowing that the main roads would be too dangerous for her, but even the back roads seemed to be too much. The first ponies she encountered that way turned and ran away screaming, forcing her to travel along the countryside. She didn't mind too much though. It was nice to enjoy the nature and see the changing scenery.

 

Though it was a long journey, she had been making steady progress, preferring to travel at night to avoid as many ponies as possible. However, the closer Adventivia got to Canterlot, the more and more ponies there seemed to be everywhere, even during the night. It also began to dawn on her that if she couldn't walk around freely out here, how was she supposed to get into the city, and more so to the academy? But, she had a plan.

 

Stopping off at a clothesline in the dead of night, she took the liberty of borrowing a rain cloak. It wasn't much, and it probably seemed out of place, but it hid her body well. She only hoped that the pony she took it from wouldn't miss it too much. With this on, she could travel down the main roads relatively easily, as long as she made sure to keep her face hidden.

 

A few days later and she was in the gilded city. She awed at the massive buildings and bustling ponies that at one time would've only existed in her dreams. Careful to not draw attention to herself, she made her way to the academy. As she approached the school, she noticed many other unusual ponies, and a multitude of other creatures, all gathered in front of a stage. Even in her raincoat, Adventivia didn't feel out of place among the crowd. She only hoped that no one here had been among those at Trottingham.

 

There were many speakers up on stage. The first was a beautiful pony that had both wings and a horn, which was strange to Adventivia because she'd only seen ponies with a wing or a horn, and some without either at all. It was hard for Adventivia to hear her over the crowd, but based on the reactions of those up front her speech was inspiring, before she took off anyway. 

 

Next up was a pony covered head to toe in some kind of suit. He introduced himself as Machina, and seemed to be no-nonsense, and made sure to mention the golems guarding the place, saying how they would attack anything that threatened the school. It made Adventivia nervous, keeping an eye on the nearest golem. She figured since it hadn't done anything yet that she was safe. It reassured her, in a way.

 

Just as the suited pony had finished, there was a sudden sound over the intercom. It was....music? Then, seemingly out of nowhere, dozens of costumed pink ponies appeared in the crowd and began dancing. It made Adventivia jump when it all started, but when she saw that everyone else was enjoying it she calmed down. Was this normal for ponies around here? One of the ponies got up on stage and the others began to disappear. She introduced herself as Flash Mob, and made sure to let everyone know to come to her with any problems. Adventivia wondered if she could count herself among them.

 

Once the pink pony fainted, another speaker stepped up to take her place. This one was a Pegasus, one that seemed to change colors often. She introduced herself as the Rainboom Centurian, and she seemed very enthusiastic, especially when it came to training. When her mane flared up, it frightened Adventivia, even at that distance. She made sure to make a mental note to never make that pony angry.

 

After the Pegasus came another pony with wings and a horn. What she said resonated the most with Adventivia. She introduced herself as the Moonlit Knight, and admitted to the crowd that she had done wrong, and moreover done great harm to them and innocent ponies. She reminded Adventivia of herself, and what she, or rather her clones, had done in Trottingham. She hoped one day she'd be able to make amends for what she'd done too, and be accepted by everyone.

 

There was one more speaker, a dog. He introduced himself Shui Seng, the academy's combat instructor. He seemed like a very wise dog, whose words made Adventivia listen closely, even though not much was said. Beyond that, a few shenanigans happened on stage before Flash Mob resurrected and Rainboom Centurian telling everyone to head to the front doors of the academy, where there were more Flash Mobs. With one last glance at the golems guarding the academy, Adventivia moved towards the front door, accidentally getting mingled with the large crowd. She listened to the Flash Mobs talk about how the doors will zap people that aren't good, though she didn't know what they were talking about a "character sheet". Either way, she figured it'd be best not to touch it.

 

She walked down the line of Flash Mobs, but since she only needed water and sunlight she didn't partake in any of the snacks or drink. The main room was huge! So big, that Adventivia had to tilt her head far back to see the ceiling! She was so in awe, the hood of her coat fell off without her noticing, revealing her body and mane of vines. With luck, she wouldn't stand out too much in a crowd of misfits.

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