Guardian of Light.

28 Years Ago.




Mint stood her ground. There were three of them. She'd watched these three all week as the new school year had started. One by one, they'd picked on the other foals in the class, making sure every pony knew they were the ones in charge. Bullies. Plain and simple. Mint had kept as calm as long as possible while they'd blackmailed the others. They made it quite clear, anypony telling a teacher was in for far worse then just being pushed down. She'd stayed out of it as they'd taken the other ponies bits for lunch.

And now, here they were. Her number had come up, and the three colts towered over her, smirking down at the filly, the tallest laughed, "Well, runt. You know the drill by now. Ya gonna pay up?"

Mint shook her head, but her eyes remained trained upon the lead colt. She didn't back down, didn't lower her gaze. The other two laughed, but the one in front frowned. He didn't like being denied. He stepped forward to lower his head towards Mint's, a snort blasting Mint in the face, "Don't even think about being a hero, twerp. We're bigger and older then you. And if you tell a teacher, we'll just find you after school."

Mint shook her head again slowly, looking forward as her eyes narrowed. She looked between the three colts carefully, not really sure what she would do, only sure that she would not give into the likes of these. The big colt growled. He was clearly not enjoying her resistance. A small crowd had begun to turn towards them, watching carefully. He lifted a hoof, "You think you're tough, don't you. Listen, twerp, there's a reason nopony else has put up a fight." He started poking at Mint's chest to emphasize his words, voice low, "Maybe you're just asking to be made an example of. Been awhile since we've had to do that. Probably be good for the others to see the conseq-Huh?" The bully stopped as Mint's hoof suddenly moved, blocking his from poking at her.

Mint's eyes were focused, a fire blazing within her, "You're nothing but a bully." she batted away his hoof forcefully, her legs falling into an imitation of the stances she'd read about in her dad's books. "Nopony should ever have to listen to you."

The bully growled again, looking to his two flunkies. "Well? What are you two waiting for?" One simply shrugged, the other, stepped back slightly. "Idiots! She's just a little second grader! She's jus-" He didn't get to finish as Mint rushed in, attacking with the flailing ferocity of an unpracticed youth. The bully toppled at the unexpected assault, falling over backwards on the clouds.

Mint buzzed her wings as she leapt atop him, forehooves darting in and out in a tiny blur of green rage, striking the colt's face repeated as she screamed. His friends had fled, the other foals watching in a mixture of awe and horror as Mint vented her righteous fury.




Mint sat in the principal's office. Her coat still matted with sweat and dried blood. It hadn't taken long before she'd broken the colt's nose, and not much longer then that when he'd stopped shouting. Soon after, the teacher's had arrived, fetched by the colt's two friends. They'd managed to pry her off, the bully completely unconscious, and as she began to calm down, she saw the crumpled form of the pony who only seconds before had seemed so threatening, and she started to cry as well.

Now, she waited, replaying the encounter in her mind over and over again. She stared down at her hooves and shivered at what she'd done, on the brink of tears again. Agonizing minutes later, the Principal walked in, closing the door behind her and trotting behind her desk.

She sighed, "Mint, what are we going to do with you? That poor colt is going to the Clinic, you broke his nose... hopefully you didn't do anything worse then that."

Mint's resolve returned as she raised her head, "He had it coming."

The Principle shook her head, "If that's true, you could have told a teacher."

Mint frowned, "Why? Nopony else did."

A different voice, one whose tone was far too familiar to Mint sounded from behind, "Is that so, Private?"

Her eyes went wide and she threw herself from the chair, standing at sudden attention and throwing a salute. "S-sir!"

The stallion returned the salute. An older pony, but one who wore his age well, he stood before them in the uniform of the Solar Guard. He carried himself with the bearing of one in charge of any situation. He was her father, Noble Light, the pony she least wanted to see here, because he was the pony Mint least wanted to disappoint in the world. His presence seemed to fill the room, a quiet dignity that would not be denied. He nodded to the principal, "Please let me know if you need me for anything further, Ma'am. I'll see to Mint's punishment."




Noble led his daughter out of the school without saying a word, stepping through town. Mint followed in close step. They headed towards one of the designated drop points, and Noble nodded to his back. Mint climbed up, afraid to ask what her father had in mind, a question he seemed to predict. "We're going to Groundsdale, Mint. You're not in trouble. Not really. But I need to show you something."

Mint nodded, holding tight as they flew down, watching as the ground grew closer. She'd not been down to the ground more then a hoofful of times, her Mother had taken her and her sisters down on occasion to buy fresh vegetables. But that hadn't happened in a while, little Di wasn't quite old enough, and Spring was still just a newborn, really.

She hopped off as they landed, looking about the field of greenery and the ponies trotting around her with awe. Noble began to trot forward, head held high. "This is a mint field. One of the biggest in Equestria is here in Groundsdale. Your mother loves the taste of it. One of the first things she ever did for me was to bake a delicious mint pie for me. It's one of the reasons we named you after this plant, and in honor of the ponies who work so hard to harvest it."

Mint nodded, she'd heard this before, but the way Daddy told it... "So... you want me to pick the plants? As punishment?"

Noble laughed, shaking his head, he turned and leaned down upon his forehooves to look at his daughter, "No, my dear little Mint. I want you to understand. This is what I fight for." He directs a wing, standing again, "I fight for these ponies, so that they can live their lives however they choose. I don't seek out fights. And I don't want you to do that either."

Mint stomped a hoof, "But I wasn't!" she looked up at her Dad, "That jerk had been picking on ponies all week... and none of them had stood up. I couldn't help it! I fought for..."

Noble leaned down, wrapping his wings around his daughter. "You fought for what, Mint?"

Mint blinked, hugging close to her Father. "I fought for my friends. To protect them. Just like you."

Noble nodded, "Just like me." He glanced down at Mint and chuckled lightly, "I'm so proud of you Mint. Take a look." He poked at her flank. His daughter tilted her head, looking back. There, on her flank, was a shield, just like her father's, two leaves bearing the likeness of the mint plants surrounding them. She gave out a squee of delight and lunged for her Daddy, wrapping her hooves around his neck.




Mint stepped into the playground the next day. Everypony stared at her from behind the playground equipment, unsure, afraid, the same looks they'd given that colt bully just the day before. And now, those fearful eyes were turned towards her. She looked about, looking to anypony that would look her in the eyes, but none would. She trotted softly across the clouds. Keeping her eyes towards the others. She continued to move forward, face falling until her hoof suddenly struck something hard. She tripped forward, careening head first into the cloud, her rear legs flailing as she tried to right her self, instead, flipping over her head into a clumsy somersault.

The ponies laughed suddenly, and Mint blushed. She started to pull herself up, sitting upright in the cloud and looking towards them once again. They hushed. But then, Mint smiled and started laughing as well. And as she laughed, the others started laughing again too. The fear left their faces, her friends coming forward to help her up, asking about her cutie mark, wanting to play again. And Mint smiled and laughed along with them, confident in her destiny.