Tempest Poppins

by PresentPerfect

Chapter 1: A Spoonful of Punching

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Tempest Poppins
by Present Perfect

Part 1: A Spoonful of Punching

Melon Bright stared up at the tall, purple mare staring back down at him and knew true fear. The scar over her eye made his knees shake. Her broken horn made him want to barf. She was so muscular, he figured she beat up the whole world every day before breakfast.

Also, she was wearing a frilly smock. Under black armor. With a wide-brimmed hat. And carrying an umbrella with a parrot head handle. Somehow, the incongruity was not enough to relieve his terror.

"You the one who wrote the letter?" she asked, in a voice that could crack mountains.

"W-what letter?" he croaked.

She reached her head back along her side, the hat flopping and fluttering with every movement. From a saddlebag that looked like it was made out of his grandma's ugly carpet, she produced a piece of paper. Well, more like a whole bunch of little scraps of paper that had been taped together into something rectangle-ish.

"And I quote." That she was holding the paper in her mouth didn't matter; her steely voice made him just want to pass out already and end the torment.

"'Dear Anypony, I don't want to get a cutie mark because everypony at school who doesn't have one that's dark and mean gets beat up. I don't want a mean cutie mark, but I also don't want to get my face turned into playground pudding like Bee Feeder said he'd do. Please help, sincerely, Melon Bright.'"

An intense, critical eye roved over him. "You are Melon Bright, right?"

All he could do was nod.

The mare sucked the letter into her mouth, chewed a few times, and swallowed.

"I'm Tempest Shadow. I'm here to help." She narrowed those soul-rending eyes. "Bring me to Beef Eater."

The largest pony in the entirety of Manehattan West Elementary, a gray earth colt, sat in a corner of the school's hallway. He laughed to himself as he tossed a hoofful bits up in the air and caught them. Said bits had minutes before been a filly's lunch money, and since there were more than two coins, Bee Feeder had to content himself with tossing and catching the coins instead of counting them.

He was jolted from his simple enjoyment by the approach of two ponies: one green and shrimpy, the other purple and...

Bee Feeder swallowed.

"Are you Beef Eater?" asked the statuesque mare, glaring down at him with an eye radiating hatred and the promise of an early demise should his answer displease its owner.

"Huh-huh-who wants to know?" he gasped, eyes flicking over to the shrimp. Steeling himself, he said, "I mean, y-yeah, that's me." He mentally applauded himself for only stuttering once that time.

"I hear you think you're tough stuff," the mare said, as though she did not believe the idea for an instant.

In a flash of misplaced hubris, Bee Feeder stood and puffed out his chest. "You bet! I'm the toughest pony in the fourth grade!" He smirked. "You wanna join my posse?"

The mare raised an eyebrow. "Posse?"

Bee Feeder put both hooves in his mouth and blew. At piercing whistle, nearly a dozen little ponies, all of them meaner and uglier than the last, slunk forth out of the hallway shadows. They grinned wickedly, or stumped over to Bee Feeder like whipped dogs, ready to do their master's bidding. Their cutie marks were morbid, ranging from Bee Feeder's own angry bee to knives, skulls, explosions, and those funny symbols they put in comic books when they don't want to print the swears.

"This is my posse," Bee Feeder said, leaning confidently against the wall.

"Are these they?" the mare asked the colt next to her. He, quite gingerly, nodded.

The mare cracked her neck and smiled. "Good, you're all in one place. Thanks in advance for not making me find you all."

"Uh," said Bee Feeder, and that was all the time he had to speak before he became the signatory of one sound beating of his life from one Tempest Q. Shadow, Esq., D.B.A.

Melon Bright edged away from the carnage as foals cried out for mommies who didn't love them. But as he gazed upon the brutality unmatched in his lifetime, the memories of a hundred beatings of his own flashed through his mind.

These ponies had tripped him. They had stolen his lunch money. They had ground his face in the dirt. He'd had his flank drawn on with permanent markers, he'd been force-fed worms, he'd even had to enter the fillies' room unaccompanied, lest his favorite cards be chopped to bits. They had been flushed regardless.

It had taken him ages to find that booster pack.

Now that this one mare was single-hoofedly laying into a dozen ponies half her age, he realized, things would be different. He could rest easy at night, knowing that, whatever cutie mark he got, it wouldn't lead to either becoming a bully or remaining their victim. The blood and bruises were his seal for a bright, shining future.

"Thank you, Tempest Shadow," he whispered. A single tear tracked down his cheek. His cards were avenged at last.

Author's Notes:

Points if you can guess what "D.B.A." stands for. No, it's not "Doing Business As".

Next Chapter: Sister, Suffer Yet Estimated time remaining: 19 Minutes
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