A Wild Pony in Equestria

A Ranma ½ - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossover fanfict by Tangent

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DISCLAIMER: 'Ranma ½' and all characters therein belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogagukan, Kitty and Viz Video. 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' and all characters therein belong to Hasbro. This fanfict has been produced for my own enjoyment and to pass on without profit. Other characters that come into play in this fanfict may or may not be pulled from other sources (including other fanficts, RPGs, manga, anime, literature, or possibly even *GASP* American comic books!).

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR: To answer a point brought up by Spicarus in the reviews - Ranma has no formal religious education, and most of what he does know is a mixed bag of what he was exposed to during his ten year training trip. He has personally met (and fought) spirits, ghosts, monsters, people claiming to have past lives or stating that they are hundreds of years old, people claiming to either be, or be descended from, dragons, gods or whatever else, and Saffron the Phoenix King, who may as well have been the real deal god-wise.

My stance on this (as far as this story is concerned anyway), is that on the most basic level, Ranma's religious views would seem to tend towards amalgamated indifference for the most part: He knows there's something out there, but he's not terribly inclined to bother paying any attention to it unless it directly effects his life. He has a 'take it as it comes' attitude towards life in general, and is not terribly inclined towards philosophical thinking.

Will he continue to believe that his Pony self is a reincarnation? Maybe, maybe not. It's even possible that Ranma will completely forget that he even concluded that this is his next life in the first place. It's not like he has a vested interest in the idea either way, as most of his pondering of the matter had occurred while he was in an altered state of consciousness due to A): really good painkilling drugs, B): residual manticore venom, C): blood loss, or D): any combination thereof.

CHAPTER SIX: Laying Foundations…

Princess Celestia took a moment to organize her thoughts while she waited for Twilight Sparkle to arrive for the day's lessons. Twilight was a truly gifted student in many respects: well read, studious in nature, good research habits, and an extraordinarily potent capacity for magic in general. Which wasn't to say that she didn't have her own flaws. Everypony did after all, even Princess Celestia herself would admit to not being perfect if anypony bothered to ask.

For example, having lived as long as she had gave Princess Celestia a tendency towards gentle manipulation as she took the long view and planned ahead while still trying to let everypony have as much free agency as possible to live their own lives. While a certain amount of this was necessary for a variety of reasons, one of which being that it helped her to avoid the trap of gradually micromanaging everything and becoming a tyrant, she tended to overlook times when more direct and upfront approaches would be more appropriate than long term plans or contingency scenarios. She was, after all, a sovereign ruler, and her preference towards hands-off guidance didn't always produce the best results for somepony in her position.

Fortunately, recent events caused Princess Celestia to ponder whether or not to try to fit them into her plans, which in turn reminded her to examine her own motivations and realize that she was perhaps once again being too subtle when being more direct would probably be better.

Especially since Twilight Sparkle showed none of the hunger for inappropriate power that she had once hoped that Sunset Shimmer would grow out of.

And, as if summoned by the thought, the lavender unicorn with purple main, tail, and eyes entered the room and approached Princess Celestia, bowing as she drew near.

"Rise, Twilight Sparkle. We have much to discuss today." Waiting a moment for her student to compose herself, the Princess continued. "Tell me, are you aware of the events occurring in Ponyville?"

"Um… No?" Twilight suddenly became nervous. "Should I be?" Was this a test? Did she miss something important? What if she failed? What if…

"Relax, Twilight," Celetia admonished lightly. "You are not in any trouble. Although this is perhaps a sign that you should broaden your studies a bit to account for current events. Great things are happening, and events that are greater still draw nigh, and it is best we prepare for them."

"What do you mean, Princess?" Twilight asked curiously.

"Recently, I have received reports regarding certain events occurring in Ponyville that I believe may have great significance in the times to come. One pony, a Pegasus by the name of Rainbow Dash, has been confirmed to have performed a sonic rainboom."

"A sonic what?"

"A sonic rainboom, perhaps more properly noted as a transonic aura wave-front, supposedly occurs whenever a pegasus breaches the speed of sound, causing an explosion of sound and color. Only two have ever been officially documented, although there are unconfirmed tales of an unknown pegasus having performed one at least once in ancient times. Pegasi, and indeed many flyers regardless of their species, hold the sonic rainboom to be a great achievement and an ideal to strive for."

"That does sound very impressive, Princess Celestia," Twilight conceded politely, "but what does that have to do with me?"

"You are a student of magic, are you not?" the Princess asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, yes! Of course!" Twilight responded automatically, wondering what that had to do with anything.

"Then you should be aware that pegasi have their own magic, expressed in their own way."

"Such as their ability to walk on clouds and manipulate the weather," Twilight nodded.

"As well as their ability to fly. Pegasi, griffons, most dragons… indeed many of the larger winged creatures, such as manticores and sphinxes, do not share the trait of hollow bones that birds have, instead compensating for this and other aerodynamic aspects as needed through magical means. This is mostly done on the subconscious level, but some of the best flyers can purposely tap into this effect in order to improve their performance."

"Making it a form of directed magic!" Twilight exclaimed. "Oh, and I bet that their weather magic is much the same, mostly subconscious but occasionally directed through skill and training?"

"Precisely!" Princess Celestia agreed in a congratulatory tone.

"And as a student of magic, you would like me to study what Rainbow Dash has done in order to not only improve the understanding of pegasus magic, but magic in general!" Twilight Sparkle concluded adroitly.

"Yes, and earth pony magic as well."

"Earth ponies have magic?" Twilight asked, flummoxed at the concept, as she had never thought about the possibility before.

"Yes, they do," Celestia confirmed. "Although I cannot say that I am entirely surprised that you had not yet learned of their capacity for magic in your independent studies as general awareness of earth pony magic tends towards specialized interests and documentation is sparse..."

"I'm sorry, Princess," Twilight started to apologize for her shameful transgression, only to be interrupted by Princess Celestia holding up a hoof.

"There is nothing to apologize for, Twilight. Your studies are proceeding apace, and I'm positive that you would have eventually come across the subject in your own time. To be truthful, earth pony magic tends to be fairly subtle in nature, and is rarely performed on a conscious level. For the most part, it typically expresses itself through improved physical attributes and perhaps a greater tie to the land, which is why a great many of the best farmers around happen to be earth ponies."

"And I bet that was how Chancellor Puddinghead and Smart Cookie could tell how fertile the soil in Equestria was when they discovered it," Twilight guessed, thinking of two of the six leaders that founded the nation.

"Perhaps," the princess conceded, "although earth ponies were well versed in agricultural sciences even then, albeit they did not call it such. So it may have just been knowledge, skill, and a good eye instead. It's hard to say since neither of them recorded the reasoning behind their conclusion. Or, if it had been written down, the record has since been lost to time."


"The more relevant reason I bring this up is that an earth pony by the name of Wild Pony recently fought off a manticore on the outskirts of Ponyville."

"I hope he's alright," Twilight interjected. "I don't remember my brother ever mentioning him by name though… Is he retired or from another division?"

"I rather doubt that Shining Armor would have heard about Wild Pony before today, Twilight, as she had been petrified for a considerable length of time prior to that fight. In fact, according to the report I read, she had allegedly been mistaken for a statue and had been in somepony's front lawn for the past three years. No one knows how long she has been stone prior to when she was first found in the Everfree Forest."

"That's horrible!"

"Indeed it is, and I am currently having auditors go over all records of documented statuary, while also discreetly having experts in petrification recovery check all realistic statues just in case." Celestia did not mention that a certain statue of a rather… chaotic… nature was being purposely left out of this survey.

"That's good to know," Twilight nodded, relieved that something was being done now that the possibility of a problem has been brought to light.

"In any event, what makes Wild Pony's petrification so remarkable is that she reported being at least partially aware of her surroundings while she was a statue, albeit her sense of time was greatly distorted and she had complained of having had difficulty even forming thoughts unless other ponies were around."

"That's…" Twilight stopped herself before saying that it was impossible, since apparently it wasn't since it had happened. "That's unprecedented! As far as I know, anyway…"

"Indeed it is, Twilight. And even more impressive is the fact that even as a statue, Wild Pony was able to form bonds of friendship powerful enough to enable her to break out of her petrified state without assistance in order to save the life of the pony who found her!"

Twilight was flummoxed yet again. Even so, she started drawing ties between the two ponies she had just been informed of, each uniquely powerful in magic in their own right despite not being unicorns, and then drew a possible comparison from her own past. "You want me to meet them…"

"Very good, Twilight," Celetia nodded approvingly. "May I ask what reasoning led you to this conclusion?"

"Well, you mentioned two ponies with very strong, and presumably untrained, magic who just happened to not be unicorns, so I started comparing them and wondered if there might be a similar example among unicorns, and… well…" Twilight scraped at the floor with one of her front hooves in embarrassment. "While I don't think of myself as being particularly powerful, I couldn't help but think back on my entrance exam, when I accidentally aged Spike all the way from his egg into a full sized wyrm…" Her voice dropped to low, almost inaudible levels as she miserably mumbled the next part, "and turned my parents into plants…"

Princess Celestia sighed, then nuzzled her student comfortingly. She had recently become worried about this. While she was happy that Twilight Sparkle was not driven to power for its own sake like Sunset Shimmer had been, she had lately started to suspect that there was something holding her latest student back, as her practical application seemed to lag inordinately behind her theoretical knowledge. Not enough that her other instructors had caught onto the matter, as such gaps between knowledge and ability were actually common in spell casters, and even Celestia herself had failed to make the connection until recent events in Ponyville reminded her of Twilight's initial bout of undirected excessive thaumatic expression. Twilight had demonstrated such tremendous potential as a filly that said gap should have been in the other direction, at least until she had learned to control it.

Instead, what Celestia had once taken as Twilight's rapid development in bringing her magical reserves under manageable control was probably her student holding herself back subconsciously from fear of being overwhelmed by her own power.

So instead of telling Twilight Sparkle about Princess Luna and the Elements of Harmony as she had intended, she changed her plans yet again in order to help her beloved student.

"I am sending you to Ponyville to meet them. I would also like you to talk with them, and find out how they are dealing with their abilities and recent events, as I believe they may have some insights that you may find helpful. And more importantly, while you are continuing your studies in Ponyville, I would like you to make some friends."

"Friends?" Twilight tilted her head to one side in incomprehension.

"Yes, friends. Everypony needs friends, Twilight. You and I are no exceptions, and your brother has expressed his worries about your lack of a social life outside of studies."

"But my studies are important!"

"Indeed they are, Twilight. But so is setting aside time to be yourself and discover who you, Twilight Sparkle, are as a pony, for it is our connections with others that define us, and friends are among the best connections a pony can have."

"I'll try."

"That's all I ask. There is more to tell you, but there is still plenty of time yet in which to do so, so I'm going to give you some time to adjust to life in Ponyville first. Having something in common, however tenuous it may be, with Rainbow Dash and Wild Pony may provide an opportunity to make friends with them, but actually doing so isn't required. It is better to let friendships happen than to force the issue after all. Still, I would like you to at least try to make some friends, even if it is not with either or both of those two."

"Okay." Nevertheless, Twilight decided that she should at least make an honest attempt at befriending those two specific ponies. Not actually being required to do so took a lot of the pressure off since she didn't have to worry about failure or negative results.

"And on that note, I believe today may be a good time to go over the Principles of Ancillary Sympathetic Connections and How they Relate to Thaumatic Energies, by Rosetta Stone. While a great many scholars consider this to be the definitive practical study of why translation and transformation spells work the way they do, I believe that they may be too dismissive of the theories concerning other potential applications…"

The award ceremony honoring Wild Apple (formerly Wild Pony before being adopted as an honorary Apple) and Rainbow Dash, originally planned to be held inside the Town Hall due to the cold winter weather, had changed venues to the surrounding veranda at the last minute. Apparently, not only had most of Ponyville's residents wanted to attend the event, the cause of the occasion had drawn enough attention from certain circles that the town's population had almost doubled for the day. The bulk of the visitors were composed of pegasi and griffons, most of which being either racers, couriers, or stunt flyers interested in seeing the pony who had done the impossible for themselves.

Pinkie Pie was, naturally, super excited about the increase in attendance, as it meant that there were a great many new ponies (and griffons, hippogriffs, and even a winged sphinx or two) for her to meet and entertain. There were, in fact, so many visitors that Pinkie was running herself ragged trying to meet as many of them as possible so she could be a good party host. In her wake were a great many visitors who were left with an impression of a hyper, blue eyed, frizzy maned, pink mare who babbled cheerful incoherence at them and left them wondering what had just happened.

Oh, and where their drink and cupcake had come from.

Somewhat less expected had been the small contingent from the Wonderbolts, the premier elite flying unit of the Equestrian Sky Guard. However, once the mayor had spotted them during the last minute set-up, she just had to ask them deliver the awards, a fact that had thrilled a certain multi-colored pegasus to no end when she was informed...


"Excited much, Skittles?" Wild Apple asked, amused at her multicolored friend's excitement.

"Buck yeah, I'm excited! I can't believe the Wonder… Wait… What did you call me?" Rainbow Dash's tone indicated that she wasn't sure whether or not she should feel insulted.

"Skittles," Wild answered, blithely ignoring the warning signs. "It's a type of candy that comes in a variety of colors and flavors."

Rainbow Dash relaxed a bit, seeing the apparent relevance of the comparison and deciding that Wild's teasing wasn't meant to be deliberately provocative.

"In fact, I believe their main slogan was 'Taste the Rainbow.'" And on that note, Wild leaned over and licked Rainbow's cheek.

"Whu.. Buh…Uh… HEY!"

Applejack sighed in exasperation as Rainbow Dash started chasing the madly grinning chestnut mare around the room they were waiting in. As in all around the room they were waiting in, as one could fly and the other was demonstrating a general lack of respect for gravity by running along the walls and ceiling as much as she was the floor. Getting up, Applejack waited for the pair to pass her again and caught a polychrome tail in her mouth, stopping the chase.


"Now hold on, Sally," the orange mare admonished without letting go of the tail in her teeth. "Y'know Wild's jus' yankin' yer chain, raht?"

"Yeah, I guess," Rainbow grumbled as she settled her hooves to the floor again.

"An' you," Applejack let go of the tail as she faced the instigator, who had just dropped to her hooves from where she had stopped on the wall (unable as yet to support her full weight with her 'grip' for very long while not moving). "Would it kill ya ta behave? Y' know darn well that bein' civil is for more than jus' when yer around Granny Smith or Fluttershy."

"If you say so," Wild Apple replied in an off-hoof manner as she got up and shook her legs one at a time to make sure she hadn't inadvertently strained something. Still, Applejack took what she could get.

"Now, if'n y' two 've burnt up enough energy, do y' think y' c'n stand still fer five minutes 'n' git through th' award ceremony?"

"Maaaaaaaaaaaybe," Rainbow Dash shrugged

After a few moments of no other answer, Rainbow Dash and Applejack looked at Wild Apple.

"What? I'll be good!"

"Ah c'n only hope," Applejack replied under her breath.

Twilight waited patiently for the award ceremony to start. She was very glad that she had come to Ponyville the previous evening, as Princess Celestia had arranged for her to be staying at the Golden Oaks Library as the head (and as far as she could tell, only) librarian. Quite frankly, she was glad for the break since she had spent most of the remainder of the evening and a good portion of the night reorganizing all the books in a sensible manner. Frighteningly enough, the previous method had apparently been obnoxiously haphazard, with no separation between fact and fiction and only a few groupings by author. And even then, they hadn't been consistent about it. A prime example of this had been the Daring Do novels filed, variously under 'A' for adventure, 'B' for biography, 'D' for Daring Do, 'F' for fiction, and 'Y' for Yearling, A.K.

In any event, the shelves were now properly sorted (mostly by her), the room she and Spike shared had been set up (mostly by Spike), and there were plans to convert part of the basement into a lab. Sure, that's where the extra copies and accumulated out of date periodicals were currently being stored, but the library already had a volume expansion spell array in place, so all Twilight had to do was file the request to modify it and present her credentials so she could apply the modifications herself. She had yet to find out what kind of budget she'd be working with, and she'd hate to contract for work only to later find out that she couldn't pay for it.

"How much longer before the ceremony, Twilight?" Spike asked from where he sat on Twilight's saddle. The young dragon wasn't particularly bothered by the freezing temperatures. He rarely even noticed such things, as opposed to his difficulty seeing the veranda of the Town hall, where the ceremony was to take place. Which was one of the reasons Twilight even had a winter saddle to begin with, as opposed to a simple woolen cloak. Spike was just a baby dragon after all, and still a bit too small to have to deal with trudging through deep snow over any real distance.

"It shouldn't be much longer. Apparently the mayor made a last minute decision to have Spitfire speak, since the Wonderbolts are in attendance. You know how hard it is to come up with a speech on short notice."

"Twilight, some ponies have thesis papers shorter than your speeches."

"Hey! I'm not that bad!" the lavender pony huffed before reconsidering her response. "Am I?"

"Maybe not, but you did put most of the class and Professor Omnibus to sleep during your presentation last year on the subject of Thaumatic Effects Relating to Suspended Consciousness."

"I don't remember… HEY! I never wrote any such report!" Twilight complained, causing the tiny dragon to chuckle. Ruefully, she decided to retaliate. "Although, now that you mention it, that does sound like a neglected field of study."

"Sounds dreamy."

"Smart ass," Twilight shot back, deciding that she had lost this round. All of a sudden, all of the pair's attention was focused on a hyperactive pink pony who rattled off what sounded like a somewhat rambling general greeting as might be performed by an auctioneer.


"What just happened?" Twilight asked as the pink pony somehow moved through the crowd to pester somepony else.

"I have no idea," Spike replied, just before taking a bite out of the chocolate, frosted, confection he had found in one of his hands. "Good cupcake though…"

"Y' know, if'n y' really want ta go, Ah c'n look after myself," Granny Smith stated encouragingly. "Been doin' that jus' fine fer years now. Ah aint quite that old yet."

"Well… um… if you're sure…" Fluttershy shuffled her hooves hesitantly. She had wanted to go to the ceremony to support Ranma and Rainbow Dash initially, and had originally left the farm with them, Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Big Mac, but had gotten intimidated by the sheer size of the gathering crowd and turned back. Ranma and Rainbow had both said that they understood, and perhaps they did, but she could tell that they were disappointed and that had been eating at her ever since she had gotten back to the farm.

"Ahm sure," Granny Smith nodded. "Now git yerself movin'! If'n y' head out now, y' c'n still make it over ta th' Town Hall in plenty of time ta give 'em a nice surprise!"

Spitfire was a bit annoyed with Ponyville's mayor, as she, Soarin, Blaze, and High Wind had only come to the award ceremony to check out one of the young mares being honored. She certainly hadn't expected to be called upon to deliver a speech, and hadn't had much time to sort out what she was asked to say, what she wanted to say, and what she couldn't say.

The truth of the matter, and what she couldn't announce publicly, was that Rainbow Dash was one of several pegasi who had caught the eyes of various interests and had been under discrete observation ever since she was a young filly. Pretty much right after her first sonic rainboom in fact, although the lack of adult witnesses had kept that feat from being confirmed until very recently. Had she stayed in Cloudsdale, Spitfire expected that Rainbow Dash would have become either a racer, stunt flyer, or a courier before eventually being approached by either the Equestrian Sky Guard or even directly by the Wonderbolts.

As it was, Rainbow dash had inexplicably moved to Ponyville for reasons unknown once she was old enough to live on her own, and had joined the local Weather Team. Granted, given Ponyville's proximity to the Everfree Forest, which had an untamable wild weather system all its own, the local weather service merited a higher rate of pay than would be normal for a relatively small community. And Rainbow Dash had quickly proven herself to be one of the best weather ponies Ponyville had ever had, and was among the youngest in all of Equestria to have become a Weather Captain.

At the same time, Rainbow Dash was hot-headed, immature, reckless, full of herself, and a bit lazy when she wasn't pushing herself. All traits that Spitfire hoped would be at least somewhat tempered before she applied to the Wonderbolts Accademy. Hmm… Lightning Dust seemed to be pretty much the same, and she and Rainbow Dash would both be reaching service age at about the same time, were known to have expressed an active interest in trying out…

Spitfire sent of a heartfelt prayer for whichever poor Wonderbolts officer ended up in rotation as an instructor if those two hit the academy at the same time.

Wild Pony (or rather, Wild Apple - seriously, this was the reason census reports in Equestria were such a headache) on the other hoof, was a bit of an enigma. All that was actually known about the earth pony mare was that she had been found in the Everfree Forest roughly three years ago by one of the local residents, a pegasus by the name of Fluttershy (who was an animal caretaker of some sort - an unusual occupation for a pegasus), and had been mistaken for a decorative statue. A condition she had remained in for at least three years prior to somehow breaking free of her petrified state and fighting off a manticore in single combat!

Granted, Wild Apple had almost died as a result, but that kind of fighting ability did not just come from nowhere. Spitfire was actually glad that Wild Apple wasn't a Pegasus, because she heard several complaints from archivists searching new and progressively older and older rosters and census data for anypony at all matching the Wild Pony name, description, and cutie mark. Sure the name and cutie mark popped up from time to time, as well as brown earth pony mares with blue eyes and red manes and tails, but the closest match so far had been a green-eyed mare who otherwise had the same name and rough details who had died of old age some twenty years ago, except her Cutie Mark had been a orchid in bloom rather than a sword on a shield.

As far as Spitfire knew, the search for any records at all on Wild (Apple) Pony had currently reached some sixty or so years into the past, and had yet to produce any valid matches…

And none of this was helping Spitfire think of a suitable speech on short notice! Oh well, may as well wing it and hope for the best…

Rainbow Dash could hardly contain herself! The Wonderbolts were here! In Ponyville! Giving a speech in her honor!

Well, okay, not all of them. But Spitfire, Soarin, Blaze, and High Wind were here, and Spitfire was giving the speech!

And Wild Apple was being honored too, mustn't forget that. Only the coolest, bravest, most awesome earth pony ever! And she was into martial arts too, so Rainbow Dash would finally have someone she could regularly spar with once they were both fully healed! That was going to be awesome!

"…so, without further ado, I present Rainbow Dash and Wild P-Apple! Heroes of Ponyville!"

Wait, what? Spitfire's speech was over already? When had it started? Had Rainbow Dash missed it all already? Yes, dammit, she had. Still, it was oh so very cool to be here, standing beside Wild Apple as Spitfire presented her, and then Wild, their medals before saluting them and resuming her station with the other Wonderbolts.

Oh yeah… Rainbow Dash was supposed to say something now.

Stepping up to the podium, the polychrome pegasus began to speak. "I'd like to say something about how awesome I was, or that I had practiced for years trying to repeat the achievement I performed so long ago as a filly, but while both of those are true, they never even entered my mind that morning as I raced death itself to get that precious antivenin from Canterlot in time to save the life of a hero…"

At that point, Rainbow Dash saw a familiar yellow Pegasus timidly approaching the back of the crowd, and waved. "Hey, Fluttershy! Glad you could make it!" And then the polychromic mare winced as her now distracted friend stumbled and bumped into a griffon…

Gilda grumbled as she found herself at the back of the crowd. Ordinarily, she might have just bulled through to a better spot, but there were enough older griffons in the crowd who were pointedly not causing a ruckus that younger hotheads such as herself were catching a clue and behaving themselves for the most part. That, and she didn't want to embarrass herself by causing a scene on Rainbow Dash's big day.

Sure, it sucked that she hadn't gotten a good spot, but unlike all the other out-of-towners who would most likely be gone again by tomorrow, Gilda figured she could stay in Ponyville a few days in order to catch up with her old friend and congratulate her personally for her accomplishment. However, that did not mean that she wasn't grumpy or frustrated from being stuck way in the back of the crowd.

Still, Gilda tried to reign her temper in and be proud for her friend. And she was! Rainbow Dash had not only performed a Sonic Rainboom, incidentally making it more plausible that her claims of doing one back in flight school were valid, she was now officially the fastest known long distance flyer, period! Heck, Gilda herself had stopped by Canterlot first, and found that she could only push her flight time from there to Ponyville to just under an hour. According to the papers, Rainbow Dash has completed that part of her roundtrip flight in minutes!

Gilda could also respect the other pony being awarded as well. Wild Pear, or whatever she was called. Going hoof to claw with a starvation-maddened manticore was something that a fully armed and battle hardened griffon would find daunting. And somehow breaking herself out of being literally petrified in order to fight the beast was just plain nuts! Still, she had figured that Wild Pony would be a giant bruiser of a mare rather than being sleek and petite like Rainbow Dash.

Dammit! Gilda could barely hear the speech over the crowd from way back here! Not that she had cared what the mayor had to say, but she had barely heard Spitfire, and was now missing out on Rainbow's acceptance speech! Holding her temper in, the griffon leaned forward and tried to focus on what Rainbow Dash was saying. Oh, cool! Rainbow had apparently spotted Gilda and was waving in her direction!

And then some inconsiderate buffoon had to spoil the moment and bump into her from behind!

"Oh, I'm sorry," Fluttershy apologized meekly as the scary griffon spun around and glared at her. "You see I… um… was in a hurry to get here… and tripped…"

"Sorry, huh?" the griffon replied angrily. "You're sorry alright!" And then she roared, causing Fluttershy to run away in tears.

Gilda huffed at the fleeing Pegasus and turned back around to find herself beak to muzzle with a set of the angriest sapphire blue eyes she had ever seen. It took her a moment to register that those eyes belonged to a pony, and another moment for her to realize that this particular pony was the same one that had just been up on the stage next to Rainbow Dash. On the far side of the same crowd that Gilda had found too dense to force her way through. The same crowd that pointedly did not have a path suddenly cleared in it, leaving the griffon wondering how the heck the earth pony had gotten through it. Gilda couldn't help but scurry backwards as she remembered that Wild Apple was being awarded for fighting off a manticore.

It did not help the griffon's nerves any when Wild Apple stalked after her. Not like an angry pony at all, but more like a griffon would, or another big, cat-like predator. Literally! The pony stalked like a cat! Hooves all in a line and not making any sound at all (and Gilda could tell, as the crowd had fallen into an eerie hush), and it was freaking Gilda out big time!

The griffon kept backing up nervously, every instinct screaming at her to run, but knowing from hard won experience that turning her back while this close to an apex predator would be a bad thing. And despite the fact that her foe was, at best, half her size, there was no doubt at all in Gilda's mind that she was facing an apex predator in pony form.

"Whoa whoa whoa! Chill out you two!" Rainbow Dash called out as she dropped between the two, breaking their eye contact. "Wild, I know what Gilda did was uncool, but I think you should let me handle it, okay? Why don't you go check on Fluttershy?"

"I…" Wild struggled to reign in her anger, then huffed. "Fine. I'll go find Fluttershy. But she," the chestnut mare pointed a hoof at Gilda, "had better be ready to apologize to Fluttershy when we get back!" And with that, Wild Pony galloped off in the direction Fluttershy had fled, her hoof beats still eerily much quieter than they should be.

"Whew! Thanks, Dash, I…" Gilda trailed off as she saw her friends irate expression.

"Yeah, you better be thanking me, Gilda!" Rainbow Dash stated angrily. "It's great to see you again and all, but what you did was seriously uncool and nearly got you a world of hurt! I've seen Wild Apple fight! Trust me, you do not want to piss her off!"

Twilight Sparkle could only gape as the award ceremony suddenly devolved into a confrontation between one of the speakers and some griffon in the back of the crowd. The first pony being awarded, Rainbow Dash, had been in the midst of her own somewhat self-aggrandizing speech, during which she had started waving to somepony named Fluttershy in the back of the crowd that she had ostensibly just spotted. Followed by one of the attending griffons roaring in anger for who knew what reason, and Wild Apple (and what was with the name change? Who did that these days?) launching herself from the stage and crossing the crowd in a series of impressive bounds.

"Wow, That was awesome…" Spike declared breathlessly as he watched the red maned earth pony finish her series of leaps. Then he seemed to realize something, and rather huffily called out, "HEY! Why don't you watch who you jump off of!"

All and all, Twilight was surprised that she didn't have a concussion as the chestnut mare had used her head as one of her leaping platforms, but other than a somewhat forceful shove from above, the unicorn had hardly felt even a fraction of the impact that she should have experienced. If anything, Spike was more upset about it than she was, though he seemed to be equally torn between being outraged and awestruck.

"Oh, Darling, are you all right?" Twilight suddenly found herself being fussed over by a gleaming white unicorn mare with blue eyes and a meticulously styled purple mane and tail.

"I'm fine, really," the purple unicorn straightened herself out and shook her head lightly. "I'm more surprised than anything else. That felt more like a sudden shove than an impact."

"Well, even so, she should know better. Still, I can hardly say I'm surprised she leapt to Fluttershy's defense so readily. The two have practically adopted each other as sisters, the dears…" Then the white mare blinked and shook her head. "Oh, where are my manners? I am Rarity, seamstress, fashion designer, and owner of the Carousel Boutique, where everything is chic, unique, and magnifique!"

"Pleased to meet you. I am Twilight Sparkle, the new administrator of the Golden Oaks Library, and this is my number one assistant, Spike!"


Both mares glanced at the young dragon and giggled at his dreamy expression.

Wild Apple trotted fairly quickly in the direction that Fluttershy had run, keeping an eye on the snow on either side of the cleared street in case the pony she had come to see as a sort of older sister had found a 'good' spot to hide. While she had great respect for the pale yellow Pegasus, it wasn't because of her tactical thinking abilities.

Case in point: One frightened pegasus with a preference to stay on the ground and hoof tracks leading down the bank from the street to under a sturdy stone bridge.

Sure, it might not be Fluttershy, but Wild Apple checked anyway.

"Hey, Fluttershy, you down there?" the chestnut brown mare called over the railing.

"Umm… yes?" a barely audible but familiar voice squeaked adorably. That was Fluttershy alright. Wild Pony flipped herself over the railing, landing gracefully in the deep snow - where her hooves found the ice covered creek and promptly went in four different directions.


"Oh my! Are you alright, Wild Apple?" Fluttershy asked as she tentatively made her way out onto the snow covered ice.

"I'm fine. Nothing hurt besides my dignity. Stupid ice…"

"Oh dear, we can't have that…" Fluttershy gently helped Wild regain her footing. "After all, it's such a little thing to get hurt…"

Wild Apple blinked, hardly believing that the mild pony beside her had delivered a zinger like that. Then, just as Fluttershy was having second thoughts and building up the courage to apologize, Wild broke out laughing, causing herself to lose her own footing again.

"Hehe… Good one, Fluttershy. Feeling better?"

"I think so…"

"Wanna go back?"

"Not really, but…"

"But nothing. I already have my medal, and Rainbow has hers. Let's just head home."


"Um… How much longer do you think it's going to be before the little monster hunter gets back?" Gilda asked as the crowd surrounding the Town Hall started to thin out.

"I dunno," Rainbow Dash admitted. "So… Just here for the day, or will you be in town for a while?"

"I was planning on staying for a few days at least, so we could catch up."

"That's cool. Got a place to stay yet?"

"Not yet, no."

"Well, with this many visitors, it's a safe bet all the hotel rooms, inns, and apartments are booked solid. Why don't you stay at my place until a vacancy opens up?"

"Really? Even after scaring that mare and all?"

"Hey, if we drove away everypony who ever scared Fluttershy, Ponyville would be a ghost town. Don't worry about it."

"What about Wild Pony?"

"Okay, maybe you can worry a little. All the more reason for you to stay at my place though, since she can't cloud walk. And she's going by Wild Apple now..."


And so Twilight Sparkle has moved to Ponyville almost half a year ahead of shedual.

And she's even met Wild Apple!

Sort of…

I wonder if Wild Apple is aware that she's supposed to use intelligent ponies as springboards for ideas, not as actual springboards…

Oh yeah, and Ranma's pony name changed to Wild Apple when the Apples started calling her that. He might go by Long Drink as a Stallion though, since that's what Big Mac calls him due to his size.