Adventures in Speedfiction

by SaddlesoapOpera

Chapter 2: Tank with Propeller, a Manticore, and the Schoolhouse

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Characters: Tank with Propeller, a Manticore
Setting: Ponyville Schoolhouse

The sound of a deep, bellowing roar shook the gold stars from Ponyville Elementary’s Smart Cookie Board.

Miss Cheerilee ducked under her desk, narrowly avoiding the Manticore’s swinging stinger-tipped tail. The venomous needle-tip left a foot-long scratch in the varnished wood.

“Recess, everypony!” she said in a loud but carefree tone, leaning out from the side of the desk to be heard. She smiled reassuringly.

The assembled students, their desks pushed back to the corners of the class to make room for the massive hybrid beast, sat for a moment in stunned silence.

“NOW, class!” Cheerilee barked, a crack forming in her friendly tone.

The students jerked in surprise and then crept out, shimmying along the walls to stay out of reach of the ornery creature as they exited.

Once the last of the students was gone, Cheerilee’s smile dissolved. She bit her lower lip and crouched down lower under the desk.

The Manticore rumbled in bored irritation and smashed an unoccupied desk with a casual swat of its paw.

Cheerilee stifled her yelp with a hoof. She started shaking.

Not like this! She silently begged. Oh, Celestia, PLEASE don’t let it end like this!

The circumstances leading up to her present predicament had seemed so innocent. So typical.

Only in hindsight did the chain of events leading to an upset Manticore being corralled in her classroom seem so perfectly obvious that it shamed her to even think about them.

“Should have known,” she whispered harshly. “Stupid!”

The Manticore turned at the sound and let out a low growl.

Cheerilee whimpered.

The beast reared up and brought its meaty paws down on top of the desk; the old wood cracked.

Cheerilee gritted her teeth; she tasted salt as a stray tear slid between her parted lips.

The Manticore clawed at the desk again, tearing a large chunk away. Miss Cheerilee’s bolthole was about to break.

The pulse pounding in her chest finally squeezed a shout out of her lungs:


An instant later, Cheerilee heard the classroom’s back door burst open.

The Manticore turned away from the ruined desk to face the new arrival.

Still mostly hidden as she was, Cheerilee couldn’t see the battle that ensued, but the sounds suggested a whirling melee.

A high rhythmic hum filled the air, along with hollow raps like a great weight bashing against armour. The Manticore’s thudding footsteps suggested that it was lunging to and fro across the classroom.

Cheerilee dared to let herself hope she might live to hear another morning school-bell.

At length there came a sound like a lawnmower cleaving tall grass, and the Manticore yelped in surprise. It shuffled about a moment longer and then crashed out through a window, widening the hole considerably. Its footfalls faded into the distance.

Cheerilee counted a dozen heartbeats and then shakily crept out from under her former desk. The adrenaline still surging through her system made her clumsy, and she almost fell as she turned to lay eyes on her saviour

A fine specimen of smooth-shelled turtle - no, Cheerilee corrected herself, tortoise - stood proudly on top of one of the desks. He wore a magi-technological propeller device on his back and a dashing pair of goggles on his eyes. He was surrounded by a pile of freshly-shorn bright-red mane-fur. Other shreds of lost mane rested on top of his head, giving the impression of a pair of bushy eyebrows.

Cheerilee’s eyes widened; a blush imperceptibly coloured her magenta cheeks.

“You live with Rainbow Dash, don’t you?” she asked. “I’ve seen you at the park. Tank, right?”

The tortoise very, very slowly smiled and nodded.

Miss Cheerilee giggled bashfully.

“You know,” she said, lowering her voice as she trotted closer to her hero, “I have a history of falling for strong, silent types.”

She rested her front hooves on either side of Tank and lowered her mouth to his.

Tank waggled his borrowed eyebrows and craned his neck to meet her.

* * *

Meanwhile, outside, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon squealed in fear and galloped around the schoolyard pursued by a tonsured Manticore.

“MISS CHE-E-E-RILEE!” they screamed together. “HE-E-E-L-LP!”

Atop the creature’s back, a trio of blank-flanked fillies held onto the rope slung around its shoulders and shared a triumphant shout:


THE END: ~41 minutes

Next Chapter: Madden, Hard Knocks, and the Badlands Estimated time remaining: 14 Minutes
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