Cutie Mark Crusaders: Manehattan Chapter
The Pony Express made its way towards the city of Manehattan. Among the passengers was a young Earth Pony filly named Babs Seed. She was returning home after staying at her cousin's place in Ponyville. It had been an eventful experience, to say the least.
Immediately after getting off the train, Babs had been enthusiastically welcomed by her cousin Apple Bloom and her friends Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. The three fillies had wanted her to join their club, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, even offering to let her ride their float in the upcoming Summer Harvest Parade. Before Babs could give her answer, the group was accosted by two rotten fillies named Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, who wasted no time in pointing out her "blank flank".Those two words cut Babs to her core. Back home, she had been ruthlessly victimised for her lack of a Cutie Mark. The whole reason she had come to Ponyville was to get away from such bullies, but it appeared the likes of them were everywhere. Not wanting to go through such torment again, Babs resorted to joining Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in picking on the Cutie Mark Crusaders, causing the destruction of their float with a single kick. This act impressed the prissy fillies enough for them to invite Babs to hang out with them, which she eagerly went for. Wanting to stay on her new friends' good sides, Babs relentlessly bullied the Cutie Mark Crusaders at every turn.
Babs knew what she was doing was wrong, but it just felt so good to inflict some of the torment she had experienced on others. It wasn't until the Cutie Mark Crusaders had saved her from taking a nasty spill into a mud pit that Babs repented. She apologised for bullying them, and accepted their invitation to join them. Before her return home, Babs had sought to make ammends for her bullying, first by starting a Manehattan chapter of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and then putting Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in their place.
Finally, the train pulled into Manehattan station, in the late afternoon. Babs stepped off the train to see the welcome sight of her older sister, Bev. Bev had the same brownish coat and eyes as Babs, and a dull green mane and tail. Her Cutie Mark was a trio of apple seeds.
"Bev!" Babs cheered, as she ran up and embraced her big sister.
"Hey, kiddo." Bev hugged her back. "I missed you."
"I missed you too, big sis." Babs grinned.
"How'd ya like stayin' at cousin AJ's?" Bev asked.
"It was awesome!" Babs beamed.
"What's with the fashion statement?" Bev asked, stroking the cape Babs had been given by her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders. "You become a superhero, or somethin'?"
"Nah, that's just a present from cousin Apple Bloom and her friends." Babs chuckled. "I got it when they inducted me inta their club, the Cutie Mark Crusaders."
"Cutie Mark Crusaders, huh?" Bev tilted her head quizzically.
"Yup." Babs nodded. "It's for ponies who ain't got their Cutie Marks yet."
"I see." Bev nodded back.
"An' speakin' a' Cutie Marks..." Babs hesitated for a moment, then pressed on. "Sis, I've been gettin' bullied, back home."
"Bullied?" Bev asked, shocked. "For how long?"
"A while, now." Babs sniffed. "All cuz I don't have my cutie mark yet. I couldn't tell ya before, cuz I didn't wanna be a snitch."
Bev hugged Babs tightly.
"Hold on to that thought, hon." she said supportively. "You can tell me all about it back home. Now, let's get going."
Once the sisters had returned to their house, Babs told Bev everything, even about how she had become a bully herself. Bev was a little disappointed at hearing this, but she still supported her little sister.
"Don't you worry, sis." Bev ruffled Babs' mane. "I'll be lettin' those bullies' mothers knew exactly what their kids have been been up to. Now, how about some dinner? You can have anythin' you want."
"Anythin'?" Babs asked. "Even Famous Tony's Hay Pizza?"
"You got it, kiddo." Bev smiled.
After a delicious dinner of hay and dandelion pizza, Babs went up to her room, ready to go to bed. She took off her cape, now her most cherised posession, and draped it carefully over her chair. After brushing her teeth and bidding Bev good night, she climbed into bed, and enjoyed the most peaceful night's sleep she had experienced in weeks.
The next morning, Babs was in the middle of breakfast when there was a knock on the front door. Bev went to answer it, and moments later called out to Babs "Sis, it's for you!"
Trotting over, Babs spied her best friend and fellow "blank flank", Bright Lights, on the stoop. She had a yellow coat, an orange mane and tail, and light blue eyes.
"Hi, Babs!" Bright Lights smiled.
"Hey, Brighty!" Babs grinned back. "Great ta see ya!"
"So, how was Ponyville?" Bright Lights asked. "Not too borin', was it?"
"Nah." Babs chuckled. "It was actually kinda interestin'."
"Hey, Babs." Came a voice from down on the street. It was Bright Lights' older brother by two years, Big City. He had a gray coat, a black mane and tail, and deep, blue eyes.
"Nice ta see ya again." Big City smiled.
"H-hi there, big guy." Babs stammered, for she had long held a secret crush on her best friend's big brother.
"Hey, guess what?" Big City smiled. Leaning to the side, he showed his flank, which bore the image of a skyscraper.
"Ya got ya Cutie Mark?" Babs asked, surprised.
"Yup." Big City grinned. "Got it just the other day. Turns out I'm pretty good at buildin' stuff."
"That's great, Big." Babs smiled. Inwardly, she was thinking 'Aw, rats! I was hopin' ta get 'im to join the CMC!'
"Me n' Big were gonna go down to the park, play a little ball." Bright Lights chipped in. "Wanna come with?"
"Hang on." Babs turned in the direction of the kitchen. "Bev! Is it okay if I go play with my friends?!"
"Fine with me." Bev replied. "I have some... errands to take care of, anyhow. Just be back in time for lunch."
"Will do." Babs nodded. "Come on guys, let's go!"
The young ponies travelled to Central Park, where they enjoyed a bracing game of hoofball.
"Heads up!" Babs yelled, giving the ball an almighty kick. The sphere went practically halfway across the park.
"That's some kick ya've got, Babs." Big City smiled.
"Guess it runs in the family." Babs said modestly. "You should see cousin Applejack buckin' apple trees over in Ponyville."
"I'll get it." Bright Lights trotted across the green, then suddenly stopped. "Oh, no."
"Well, well." Came a voice from a short distance away. "Looky who we have here."
The voice belonged to Mean Streets, the worst bully in Manehattan. Her coat was midnight black, her mane a poisonous purple, and her Cutie Mark was a skull and crossbones. She was flanked as aways by her partner in crime, Dark Alley, whose coat was a neon green, and her mane and tail a bright orange. Dark Alley's Cutie Mark was that of a dimly lit lamppost.
"Hey, check it out, Meanie." Dark Alley pointed out Babs. "Our favorite blank flank is back."
Babs instinctively swept her tail over her flank.
"Been wonderin' what happened to youse, blanky." Mean Streets taunted. "Thought ya might have moved. Imagine m'joy at seeing you here today. Now we can make up for lost time."
"Leave her alone, Streets." Big City stepped forward.
"Mind yer own beeswax, pal." Dark Alley smirked.
"Just 'cuz ya gotcha Cutie Mark now don't mean we're gonna let youse get away with talkin' to us like that." Mean Streets sneered.
Mean Streets and Dark Alley moved ever closer. Usually, this would have terrified Babs, but she had learned some things during her stay in Ponyville.
That's enough, Streets." She declared.
"Ooh!" Mean Streets mocked. "When'd you grow a spine?"
"I grew a lot more then that." Babs declared. "I know a lot more about bullies like you then I did before. In fact, not too long ago, I was a bully."
"You... what?!" Bright Lights gasped.
"Yep." Babs declared. "And I learned something. Bullies do the things they do because there's somethin' up in their own lives. Somethin' they use as an excuse to pick on other ponies. Anythin' wrong with your lives, girls?"
"Well, it's been kinda rough for me since my dad left-" Dark Alley started, before getting a kick in the hoof from Mean Streets.
"Zip it!" Mean Streets hissed. "Yer little psychobabble garbage ain't gonna work on us, blank flank."
The two bullies advanced on their prey.
"I can help ya get a mark on that flank a' yours." Mean Streets slapped her front hooves together menacingly." A hoof mark, that is!"
"Mina Streets!" A shrill voice rang out out. "What is going on here?!"
A pair of adult mares trotted across the park, their faces full of anger.
"Mom?!" Mean Streets gulped. "What are you doin' here?"
"The real question, young filly, is what are you doing here?" Mrs. Streets growled.
"I didn't want to believe it, but it's true!" The other mare gasped dramatically. "My little Alley Way spends her free time bullying defenceless fillies!"
"B-but I..." Dark Alley babbled.
"No buts!" Mrs. Way interrupted.
"I raised you to be a proper young lady." Mrs. Streets admonished her daughter. "I'm ashamed of you, Mina! You are coming home right now, missy!"
"Alright, which one of you brats snitched on us?" Mean Streets snarled.
"It wasn't any of them, Mina." Mrs. Streets sniffed.
"Then who?" Dark Alley asked.
"That is not your concern, young lady." Mrs. Way said bluntly. "You should be more worried about the grounding you're about to get."
"But first, say you're sorry to those poor little ones." Mrs. Streets demanded.
"You too, Alley." Mrs. Way added.
"Sorry." Mean Streets and Dark Alley said in unison, neither one meaning it.
"Now, home." Mrs. Streets ordered.
Once the bullies and their mothers had left the park, Babs and her friends cheered.
"Can you believe it?" Bright Lights smirked. "Guess we don't have to worry about them for a while."
"That was pretty impressive, Babs." Big City smiled. "The way you stood up to those bullies was really brave."
"Oh, uh, thanks." Babs blushed.
"Did you really mean what you said back there?" Bright Lights asked. "About being a bully?"
"Yeah, I ain't proud of it, but it's true." Babs sighed.
Babs explained her experiences in Ponyville, including her induction into the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
"Cutie Mark Crusaders, huh?" Big City asked.
"Yep." Babs grinned. "And I'm gonna start the Manehattan chapter. Wanna join up, Brighty?"
"No doubt." Bright Lights smiled.
"Great, cuz we gotta spread the word to every pony without a Cutie Mark we can find." Babs said in determination.
"I can help with that." Big City grinned. "I may have my Cutie Mark, but I'd still like to be a part a' this."
"Consider youself an honorary member, Big." Babs grinned. "Okay guys, let's spread the word: Every pony without a Cutie Mark meet at my house tomorrow afternoon."
After spending the rest of the morning spreading the word, Babs returned home to Bev.
"So, how was your day?" Bev asked, a smile on her face. "Anythin' interestin' happened."
"Actually, yeah." Babs nodded. "Mean Streets and Dark Alley, ya know, the ponies who've been bullyin' me? They showed up at the park. Then, their moms showed up an' grounded 'em. You don't happen to know anythin' about that would ya?"
"Let's just say, my 'errands' went pretty well today." Bev winked.
"Thanks, sis." Babs hugged her.
"Anytime, kiddo." Bev hugged her back.
The next afternoon, a good half dozen ponies arrived at Babs house, to Bev's surprise.
"Friends of yours?" Bev asked jokingly.
"You could say that." Babs shrugged.
The young ponies gathered in Babs room.
"Yer probably wonderin' why I called youse here." Babs declared, wearing her CMC cape proudly. "This is an open invitation to join the Cutie Mark Crusaders."
"Cutie Mark Crusaders?" One colt, by the name of Broadway, asked. "What's that?"
"A special club for ponies who don't have their Cutie Marks yet." Babs clarified.
"And what exactly will we be doin' if we join up?" Asked a filly named Apollo.
"We'll be helpin' each other discover our special talents." Bright Lights chipped in. And havin' fun while we do it."
"Not just that." Babs added. "Bein' together will help us deal with Mean Streets and Dark Alley. If we all stand up to 'em, they won't be able to push us around."
The assembled youngsters murmured amongst themselves.
"I'm in." Appollo smiled.
"Me too." Broadway smiled.
"One question." Asked a green filly named Liberty. "Will we all be getting one of those cool capes?"
"Sure, why not?" Babs smiled. "My big sis'll probably be able to whip up a few, if I ask real nice."
"Then I'm in, too!" Liberty smiled.
The rest of the kids agreed to join also.
"Okay, so we'll get together tomorrow morning, to brainstorm talent findin' ideas." Babs smiled. "That sound good?"
The new CMC members voiced their agreements.
"Okay, then." Babs slammed her hoof on her dresser. "Meetin' adjourned."
The Manehattan branch of the Cutie Mark Crusaders filed out of Babs' home, bidding each other good night.
"So, how'd it go?" Bev asked.
"Pretty good." Babs smiled. "We're meetin' again tomorrow."
"Never hurts to have more friends." Bev smiled back.
"Speakin' a' which." Babs mused. "How's yer sewin'? My new pals'd like capes like mine."
Bev eyed Babs sceptically.
"Pleeease?" Babs asked, putting on her best puppy dog face.
"Oh, alright." Bev sighed. "I'll get started first thing tomorrow."
"You're the best big sister ever!" Babs hugged Bev.
And so it was that a new branch of the Cutie Mark Crusaders was born. The Manehattan branch, true to Babs' words, stuck together, helping and supporting each other. Over time, they each found their special talents and gained their Cutie Marks. By then, word had spread of the organisation among the members' own friends and family, and, with their blessing, more branches sprang up all over Equestria, creating a legacy that talent-seeking fillies and colts would embrace for years to come.
(My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all associated characters are the property of Lauren Faust and Hasbro.)