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MLP: The School Years

        The bus rolled to a stop in front of a large building, doors opening and letting in a rush of noise from the crowd outside.  Tori stepped off of the bus, straightening her skirt.  She looked up at the large sign above the doorway.

        “School of Equestria,” she read.  “I wonder if we’ll like it here?”

        “Don’t look so down Tori,” said the boy standing next to her.  He was a bit on the shorter side, wearing a purple hoodie with a green undershirt and jeans.  His hair was short and spiky, sticking up in places.  “I’m sure you’ll fit right in.”

        “I don’t know Spike, everything seems so…” Tori looked around at all the people walking to the doors, “…different.  It’s nothing like the city at all.”

        A bell sounded and the people lingering outside began to make their way into the building.  Tori turned to Spike, looking a bit nervous, “Let’s go…We don’t want to be late on our very first day in a new school.”

        “Yeah…” mumbled Spike, sounding disgruntled, “we sure wouldn’t.”

        Tori walked through the doors, walking with the crowd and being followed closely by Spike.  “It says on my schedule that my first class is in Room E-201.  I wonder if anyone knows where that is?  Spike, do you have any idea…” she trailed off as she realized that Spike had already walked off.  Sighing, Tori looked around for the closest person to ask directions.  That person happened to be a girl of about her age, with very poufy and curly pink hair.  She was wearing a bubblegum pink shirt and jeans with balloons bedazzled onto them.  She was flitting around the entrance, humming to herself.  Tori walked up to her, “Excuse me?  Can you tell me where…”

        “Ohmygosh!” the girl shouted, jumping and turning to face Tori.  She was a bit shorter than Tori, and smelled like a bakery.  “You must be new here!  No one else but a new kid would ask where something was!  My name’s Penelope, but you can call me Pinkie, ‘cause I love pink!  And baking, I love baking cupcakes and real cake and pastries and just about anything that you can bake.  This one time, when I was baking…”

        “Hang on just a moment!” Tori cut the girl off short, “I’m just looking for Room E-201.  Do you know where that is?”

        The girl, Penelope, took a deep breath, “Of course I know where it is!  I know where almost everything is in this school!  Why, are you lost?  Do you need help?  I’m going there too, so you can walk there with me.  What’s your name, by the way?”

        Tori blinked.  “My name’s Tori, and did you say that you were going to E-201?”

        “Yeah…didn’t you hear me?  I was all ‘I’m going there too…’ and you were all, ‘Really?’ and I was all, ‘Yeah.’”  Penelope smiled at Tori, “Come on slowpoke!  We’re going to be late!”

        Penelope set off at a brisk walk, leaving Tori to scramble to catch up with her.  As they walked, Penelope bombarded Tori with questions.  “Where’d you move from?  Was it nice there?  Do you like it here?  Where’d you get your hair done, I love that purple stripe!  What’s your favorite subject?  I like home ec the best.  We get to cook in there…”  It was a relief when they finally arrived outside of the classroom.  “Yay!  We made it here early!” said Penelope, jumping up and down.  She bounded through the door, leaving Tori standing outside.

        “Well,” Tori said to herself, “that certainly was odd.”  Adjusting her bag, Tori walked through the door into the classroom, drawing the eyes of several groups of people who were sitting inside.  Nervously, Tori looked around for somewhere to sit.  She caught sight of Penelope jumping up and down, waving at her to come over.  Sighing, Tori walked over and sat down next to her.

        “Yay!  I thought that we’d be in the same class!  I mean, why else would you be going to the same classroom as me?  Isn’t this going to be awesome?  Oooooo…I can’t wait for all my friends to get here and meet you!”

        “Um…excuse me…sorry to interrupt,” came a small voice from behind them.  Both turned to see a girl sitting behind them, wearing a light yellow turtleneck sweater and light blue jeans.  She saw both of them looking at her and glanced away, trying to hide under her long, lilac colored hair.  She shot a quick look back and seeing that they both were still looking at her, squeaked and looked away.

        “Oh, Phoebe!  Hi!  I didn’t see you there, this is Tori!  She’s new!”

        “Hello,” said Tori, “pleased to meet you.”

        “Oh…yes…I guess it is nice to meet new people…would…would you like to be friends?”  Phoebe looked down again, “I mean…if that’s alright with you…”

        Tori was about to answer when someone placed a hand on her shoulder.  “Now who thinks they can just sit in my seat?  Only someone as cool as I am can sit here!”  Tori looked up at the owner of the hand and saw a mess of rainbow colored hair hanging over her face.  She moved her head so that the ceiling light wasn’t in her face.  Standing above her was a taller than average girl wearing a sky-blue shirt with a cloud and a tri-colored lightning bolt in the center.  Her hair was all colors of the rainbow and stuck up in random places.  The girl absent-mindedly brushed her hair over her shoulder.

        “I’m sorry,” said Tori, standing up.  “I didn’t realize that there was assigned seating in this class.”

        “There isn’t, I just like this seat ‘cause I can slack off without the teacher seeing me,” said the girl, flopping down onto the seat and sighing.  “Name’s Dash, captain of the track team and coolest person that you’ll meet.”

        Tori blinked.  “Well then, pleasure to meet you, I guess…My name’s Tori.”

        “She’s new here!  She moved from the city!” said Penelope, bouncing up to them.

        “Oh…was it nice there?” Phoebe asked in a quiet voice.  “Um…that is…if you want to talk about it…” she seemed to close in on itself while asking the question.  “Sorry…”

        Tori suddenly became aware of Dash staring at her.  “Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?”

        Dash blushed and quickly looked away.  “Nothing…just looking.  I like your hair.  It looks pretty.”

        “Well hol’ on there sugarcube,” came a voice from behind Dash.  Tori looked over and saw a girl a bit shorter than Dash standing next to her, wearing overalls and a tan and brown plaid button-up shirt.  She wore a large cowboy hat over long, straw-blonde hair, which was held together at the end by a small, red ribbon and thrown over her shoulder.  She had on work boots that looked well used and dirty.  “Don’ be scarin’ the poor thing on her first day here.”

        “I wasn’t scaring her AJ.  I was just looking at her hair.”  Dash sat up in her chair and looked at Tori.  “Did I scare you?”

        “No, you didn’t.  It’s just that I haven’t ever been stared at like that before.”

        Dash blushed again, “Do you want me to keep looking?”

        Tori looked taken aback, “Are you hitting on me?  Sorry, but I’m not into that sort of thing, no offence.”

        “Oh…” Dash slumped and looked away, still blushing.

        Tori leaned over to the girl who just walked in, “Was Dash really trying to hit on me?”

        “Probably,” the girl whispered back, smiling.  “She’s tried that ol’ routine on all’ve us before.  Didn’t catch yer name, by the way.  You can call me AJ, or Jackie dependin’ on yer mood.”

        “My name is Tori.  I guess you’ve already heard that I’m the new kid.”  Tori cut off as AJ reached out and grabbed her hand, shaking it roughly.

        “Pleased t’meetcha!  Welcome to the school.”

        “Oooooh!  Are we having a welcome party?!”  Penelope came bounding over, pulling out an uninflated balloon from her pocket.  “I really want to have one now!  Let’s do it!”

        “Easy there sugarcube,” said AJ, planting her hand on the top of Penelope’s head, holding her on the ground.  “We can’t jus’ go an’ have a party in th’ middle of the classroom.  Wait ‘till school lets out a’least.”

        “But, but, but, but, but, bu…” AJ covered Penelope’s mouth and shook her head.

        “After school.”

        “What’s going on after school darling?”  Tori looked in the direction of the new voice and saw a girl walking towards them.  Her violet hair sat in long, flowing curls and was kept out of her face by a couple of fancy hair clips.  She was wearing a dress that was a beautiful shade of blue on the bottom and white on the top.  Over it she wore a cardigan that matched the blue on her dress.  Her nails were painted to match her hair, and she wore a ring with an amethyst in it on her middle finger.

        “We’re having a party!” said Penelope with glee.

        “So soon?”  The girl set down her handbag on a desk and sat down.  “School’s just started, there’s hardly anything to celebrate.”

        “Tori, this here is Rachel,” AJ leaned closer to Tori and whispered, “Don’ let her looks fool ya, she’s not as vain as she looks.”

        “Ahh, Audrey!” said Rachel, walking over to AJ.  “I see that your fashion sense hasn’t improved since the last time I saw you.  Those boots are simply horrid and your hair could use brushing.”

        “I told’ja not t’ call me that.  My name’s AJ, Jackie if ya must.”  AJ looked angry, so Tori stepped in.

        “That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing there Rachel.  I’ve never seen anything like that in stores.  My name’s Tori, by the way.”

        “What, this old thing?”  Rachel looked down at her dress, “This is just something that I threw together.  It’s nothing really.”  She glanced at Tori’s clothing and grimaced.  “You, on the other hand, look like you need serious work.  Purple and black just doesn’t cut it for you, that outfit looks ridiculous.  If you want something to work with your hair, which looks quite good darling, love what you did with that stripe of color, try wearing white instead of black.  It will bring out your natural complexion.”  Tori unconsciously played with the hem of her skirt.  Was her fashion sense really that bad?

        “I heard that we’re having a super mean teacher this year!  Do’ya think that’s true?” Penelope cut in, leaving Rachel looking disappointed.

        “D’ya know the teacher’s name a’least?” asked AJ.

        “I heard that it’s Professor Luna…you know,” Dash leaned forward and lowered her voice, “I heard that she hates teaching kids.”

        “Are ya sayin’ that we’re kids?”  AJ crossed her arms.  “I know Penelope over there might be a kid, but I sure ain’t.”

        Another bell rang and everyone began to sit down.  Tori found herself sitting in between Dash and AJ.  The door flew open and in strode a young looking woman, with raven-colored hair.  She was wearing a dark blue coat with a light purple button-up shirt and a blue scarf.    She didn’t look that tall, but her outfit made her look intimidating.

        She set a stack of papers down on the desk and walked over to the windows, lowering the blinds on each one.  Tori heard AJ scoff, “T’aint no reason t’be doin’ that.  It’s a beautiful day.”

        The woman grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote “Professor Luna” on the board.  She turned to the class, “I am Professor Luna, you may call me ‘Professor’ or ‘ma’am’.  This year I aim to make you into the best group of students that this school has ever seen.”  She picked up the stack of papers, “To see where you all stand, I will be giving you a test.  You have forty-five minutes to complete it.  No talking.”  The class groaned as Luna handed out the tests.

        Tori looked down at the first problem, “Describe the process of photosynthesis.” This will be easy, she thought to herself.

        She had just started writing when Luna spoke, “You there, Audrey is it?”

        “Yes ma’am?” AJ asked, looking up from her paper.  “And please, call me AJ, ma’am.”

        “Take off your hat; it’s distracting to the other students.”  Luna turned and walked away.

        AJ grumbled and removed her hat, placing it under her desk.  “T’aint botherin’ no one,” she said under her breath.  Tori heard Dash snicker.

*        *        *

        Forty minutes later, Tori sat staring at the last question.  It was a difficult one, but she could easily solve it.  A quick tap on her shoulder made her jump.  She looked to see Dash discreetly holding out a piece of paper under the desk.  Catching her eye, Dash motioned passing the note to AJ.

        Tori raised an eyebrow and Dash motioned towards AJ again.  Tori sighed and took the note.  She was about to pass it over to AJ when she heard Luna get up and start walking around the classroom.  Tori quickly wedged the note under the desk and began writing again.  The footsteps stopped directly behind her.

        Luna stood there for a couple seconds, then said, “Time’s up.  Pass your papers up to the front, anyone still writing will be counted as cheating.”  

        Tori put her pencil down and stacked up her papers, sighing.  That had been a bit difficult for her first day, but there was nothing there that she didn’t know how to do.  A bell rung outside and the class got up to leave, but found Luna standing in front of the door.

        “You are only allowed to leave when I dismiss you.  Now sit back down so we can do this right.”  The class groaned and reluctantly sat back down and waited for Luna to finish collecting all of the papers.  After she had picked up the last one and set them on her desk, she turned to the class.  “Now you may leave.”

        As soon as they were outside, Rachel said, “Can you believe the nerve of that teacher?  Giving us a test on our first day back.”

        “T’wasn’t that bad,” said AJ.  “I think I might have passed…maybe.”

        Dash looked at Tori, “Didja give AJ that note?  I saw you take it, but then Professor Luna got in the way and I didn’t see what you did with it.”

        AJ cut into the conversation, “I didn’t get anything from her.  She was too busy workin’.”  AJ frowned, “How hard was tha’ test to ya?”

        “Oh, not that hard at all.  That last problem was kind of difficult, but I was able to figure it out after a while.  I think I might have missed a problem, but that’s probably nerves talking.”  Tori looked at everyone, who looked flabbergasted.

        “Wow…You must be super smart!  Like, really really really reeeaalllyyy smart!  I barely got half of those questions!  You should help me with my homework, I’ll be we’ll get lots done!”  Penelope smiled at Tori, “You will help, right?”

        “What did you do with that note?” asked Dash, stepping closer to Tori.  “Did you just leave it in the classroom?”

        “Oh…hey…” Tori took a step back from Dash, nervously, “Look at the time, I need to…uhhh…check to see…I’ve gotta go.”  With that, she started walking in the other direction.  Everyone watched her go.

        “Was it something I said?” asked Penelope.

        “I dunno…” said AJ, looking after her.  “Think we should go after her?”

        “You guys can,” said Dash, leaning up against some lockers and sighing.  “I really don’t feel like doing anything right now…need to save up my energy for track practice.”

        “Um…if you don’t mind…I’m going to stay here too,” said Phoebe quietly.

        “Whatever,” said AJ.  “Come on the rest of y’all.  Let’s find out what upset her.”  AJ, Rachel, and Penelope followed after the direction that Tori had gone, leaving Phoebe and Dash alone by the classroom.

        “What to do now?  We’ve got another ten minutes before we’re needed back in there…How’re things going with you and your veterinary studies?”

        Phoebe seemed to brighten up a bit, “Oh…they’re going great.  I really love working with all of the little animals.  It makes me feel good that I can help them out.”

        “Well, well, well…look who we have here,” came a voice from across the hall.  Dash looked up and saw three boys standing and laughing at Dash and Phoebe.  “How’s it going, ‘Rainbow Dyke’?”

        “Shut up!  That’s not funny.” Dash looked angry.  “And what are you, three?  Calling people names isn’t very mature of you.”

        “Oh look,” said one of the boys.  “We made her mad.  Look out, wouldn’t want to catch gay from her.”

        “Leave her alone…umm…that is, please?” Phoebe shrunk as the boys turned their attention on her.

        “Now the silent freak is speaking up, huh?  Well, let’s hear what she has to say.”

        “Oh…I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to…”

        “You leave her alone, she hasn’t done anything!” Dash stepped in front of Phoebe.

        “What, is that your girlfriend or something?  You two are both freaks, so it’d be natural I guess.”  The other boys laughed.

        “You’d better shut up right now,” said Dash menacingly.

        “Or else you’ll do what?”  The boy who said it walked over to her and laid a hand on her shoulder.  “Cry about it?”  He gave her a shove into the locker, making a noise.  The people around them began to crowd around, looking on.

        “Touch me again and find out.” Dash said in a cold tone.

        The boy laughed and went to push Dash again, but Dash was ready for it and moved out of the way.  She then followed up with a solid punch to the nose.  The boy went reeling back, shouting in pain.  The classroom door flew open and Professor Luna came striding out.

        “What is going on here?” she demanded.

        “Dash hit me for no reason!” shouted the boy, rubbing his nose.  The other boys with him nodded in agreement.

        “That’s not true!” Dash shouted back.  “They antagonized me!”

        “I don’t care who started what,” Luna said.  “Miss Dash, you will report to my office after school for detention.”

        “But…but…I have to attend track practice,” Dash stammered.  “If I don’t attend practice today, I might not make the team!”

        “Then you should have thought of that before you went and acted up, shouldn’t you have?”  Luna smiled and began to walk back into the classroom.

        “Wait…” came a small voice from behind Dash.  Luna turned and looked to see Phoebe peeking over Dash’s shoulder.  “Um…sorry…but Dash isn’t to blame here.  Those boys started it…sorry…”

        “Is that true?”  Luna asked the boys.  They all shook their heads no.  “Well then, I guess you can join Miss Dash this afternoon for detention.”

        “But…what for?”  Phoebe asked, looking sad.

        “For lying to a teacher, of course,” Luna smiled again and addressed the people standing in the hall.  “Now all of you run along to class, you wouldn’t want to be late on your first day.”

        As soon as the door closed behind Luna, Dash turned to the boys, who were laughing.  “I swear, you ever make fun of Phoebe again and I’ll do more than punch you.”

        “I’d like to see you try, ‘Rainbow Dyke.’  You’ll get a lot more than a detention if you hit us again.”  They walked away laughing.

        Dash was simmering with anger when Phoebe grabbed her arm.  “Don’t…um…you don’t want to get into any more trouble, do you?”

        Dash sighed, “I wish they wouldn’t call me that.  I’m not different from anyone else.”

        Phoebe gave Dash a quick hug, “I know…”

        “Hey Dash!”  Dash looked up to see AJ, Rachel, Penelope, and Tori coming back towards them.  “Is somethin’ up?  I saw three boys runnin’ away faster than a dog after a bone.  Somethin’ the matter?”

        “Phoebe and I got detention with Luna,” said Dash, looking down.

        “What?  However did you get detention Phoebe?  I can’t imagine someone like you even getting close to trouble.”  Rachel walked over and gave Phoebe a hug, who was on the verge of tears.

        “It was awful…those mean boys started to make fun of Dash and she kinda…hit one of them.”  Phoebe looked away.

        “What’d they do to ya, sugarcube?” asked AJ.

        “Called me ‘Rainbow Dyke’.”

        Tori looked shocked.  “That’s awful!  Did they get in trouble at all?  That sort of thing is inexcusable!”

        “Yea?  Try telling that to ‘Professor’ Luna.  She didn’t even say anything to them.”

        The bell rang and the people still lingering in the hallway began making their way to classrooms.  The gang walked into the classroom to see Luna sitting at the teacher’s desk, reading through all of the papers.  She looked up as they walked in and gave a little grin.  “Calmed down, have we?” she asked.

        “Yes ma’am…” said Dash through gritted teeth.

        Behind her, AJ and Rachel were arguing quietly about something.  “I swear Audrey, if only you would take care of yourself then you’d look much better.”

        “I toldja sugarcube, call me AJ, and I don’ need to take care of m’looks…looks don’ get ya anywhere on a farm.”

        “All I want is for you to try and look nice for once in your life.  Is that too much to ask?”

        “Yes.  It is,” AJ said, raising her voice.

        “Excuse me, ladies, but fighting is against school rules.”  Both AJ and Rachel jumped as they noticed Luna had gotten up and walked over to them.  “Whether it is physical,” she motioned at Dash, who glared at her, “or verbal.  You both will meet me after school along with these two for a detention.”  AJ and Rachel both looked at Luna slack-jawed.

        “Detention for jus’ talkin’?  That’s crazy talk.  We didn’t do anythin’ wrong.”

        “Back talking a teacher?  You’re asking for more than just a day of detention if you keep that up.”  Luna walked back to her desk and resumed sorting through the papers.  She motioned for Dash, Phoebe, AJ, and Rachel to all come over to her desk.  When they got there, Luna gave each of them a yellow sheet of paper.  “Make sure to show up or else I will have to get harsher in my punishments.”

        Penelope bounced up to them, “Ooohh! What are you guys doing?  Is it something fun?”

        “If you count detention fun,” said Dash under her breath.

        “You guys must have been having a lot of fun to get yourself detention on the first day!  I wish I was there with you!”

        Dash grabbed the slip of paper and walked back to her desk, flopping down in her chair and pulling out her notebook.  Tori walked over to her.  “Are you alright Dash?  You look really down.  Is it the detention?”

        “Nah…those kind of things don’t bother me.  As captain of the track team I have to attend the practices or else risk losing the position.  This would be the first time I missed a practice, and I need all of the practice I can get if I’m going to break the school’s record.”

        “Do you want me to try and talk to the teacher?  I’m sure that it wasn’t your fault that you hit that guy.  After all, he did call you…”

        “I don’t want your help!” said Dash, raising her voice.  Everyone in the class turned to look at her and she blushed, sinking down in her seat.

        Tori looked taken aback.  “I’m sorry,” she said, taking a step back, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

        “Well you did.  Now just back off, okay?”  Dash looked out the window.

        Tori sat down, looking upset.  AJ walked up and sat on the other side of her and turned to her, “Don’ take it personally, sugarcube.  Dash gets moody sometimes, so it’s best to steer clear of her when she does.”

        “I wish I knew that beforehand.  It’s hard being new to a group of people who’ve known each other for a while.”  Tori pulled out a notebook from her bag and set it on the desk.  “What do you do after school is done?  I know Dash does track, but what about the rest of you?”

        “Most of us work.  I help out on my parent’s farm, Sweet Apple Acres, when school lets out, but that’s only during harvest normally.”  AJ smiled.  “What about you, where do you go after school.”

        “The library.  There’s an apartment above there that I’ve rented along with my friend Spike.”

        “Attention class,” said Luna, standing from her desk holding the papers.  “I have the results from your tests, and let me say that I am very disappointed.  We are going to have to work very hard if we want to live up to the standards I am hoping to get from this class.”  With that, she began to pass back the papers.  Tori saw each person flinch as they got handed the test and broke into a cold sweat.  What if she failed?

        Luna walked up to her and handed her the test.  Tori flipped it over and saw a ninety-nine written in a small, precise hand on the top of the paper.  Penelope looked over her shoulder to see her grade and gasped.  “Wow!  That’s a really high grade!  I wish I did nearly as good as that!  Now you really need to help me with my work Ms. Smarty-Pants!”

        “Ms. Penelope,” said Luna, walking past her.  “If you have another outburst like that in the middle of class, then I’ll have to give you a detention along with the rest of your friends.”

        “Sorry, I just can’t help it!  If you’re going to give me detention for being loud then I might as well stay after anyways!”  Penelope giggled, “After all, if we’re all together then it can’t be that bad, right?”

*        *        *

        The bell signaling lunch rang and the students in Luna’s class sat and waited for her to finish her sentence before dismissing them.  Students streamed into the halls, talking and laughing about their days so far, except for Tori and the others.

        “I can’t believe that you volunteered to join us darling,” said Rachel to Penelope as they walked towards the lunchroom.  “Why on earth would you give up your afternoon to sit in a stuffy classroom and write lines?”

        “I already told you, silly!  If we’re all together, how bad can it be?”

        “I think it’s nice…” said Phoebe, walking behind all of them.  “Oh…sorry…I didn’t mean to interrupt…”

        Tori turned to the group.  “Sorry guys, but I need to go this way for a bit.  I’m looking for my friend Spike, but I’ll try and come back and find you guys before class starts again.”

        “Okay!  You should bring him back with you!” said Penelope happily.

        “I’ll try; I don’t know how much he’d like hanging out with a lot of girls though…no offence.”  Tori waved at them and walked away.  After several minutes of walking, however, she found herself completely lost.  Turning a corner, she almost ran into a woman dressed in a white suit.  She had long blonde hair that fell nearly below her waist and was taller than Tori by about half a foot.

        “Oh, I’m sorry…I didn’t see you there.” said the woman.  “Are you new to the school?”

        “Yes ma’am,” said Tori, embarrassed.  “I’m sorry too; I didn’t mean to almost run into you.  How do you know that I’m new?”

        “Not many students come over here to the offices that often, unless they’re here for official business.  I’m the principle, Cassandra, and you are?”

        “Tori, ma’am.  Pleasure to meet you Principle Cassandra.”

        “Please, just call me Ms. Cassandra.  Are you looking for something that you ended up down here?”

        “Just my friend Spike,” Tori looked around.  “He’s a freshman here and I thought that I’d find him and have lunch with him.”

        “Well, you probably won’t find him here.  Might I suggest the lunchroom, or maybe the freshman hallway?”  Cassandra pointed down the hall towards another part of the building.

        “Thank you, ma’am.”  Tori was about to leave, when a sudden thought popped in her head.  “Ms. Cassandra?  I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but a few of the people in my class have gotten detention that I don’t think they deserve.”

        “Oh?  Is that so?  Can you tell me the circumstances that the detentions were assigned for, and for what teacher?”

        Tori took a breath, “Professor Luna was the one who gave all the detentions.  Dash was given detention for getting into a fight, but she was antagonized by a group of bullies, and Phoebe only got it because she was trying to explain what happened to Professor Luna.  AJ and Rachel got detention for getting into a friendly argument about looks before class started, and Penelope volunteered to join them all.  I just feel like the professor was being far too harsh on them.”

        Cassandra stayed silent for a moment, then motioned Tori to follow her.  She walked up to the loudspeaker and pushed the call button.  “Would Professor Luna please report to the main office?  Professor Luna to the main office.”  She then turned to Tori, “We’ll have a chat with Luna, shall we?”

        A couple minutes later, Luna came walking into the office.  She saw Cassandra sitting, talking to Tori.  “You needed me, ma’am?”

        “Drop the formalities, sister.  You needn’t be so formal with me.”  Cassandra motioned to Tori, who looked confused.  Luna was Cassandra’s sister?  “This girl told me that you were giving out harsh punishments again.  Do we need to have that little talk again, about how you need to lighten up?”

        “Those girls were completely unruly!  One of them started a fight, for goodness sakes.  If I leave them undisciplined, there’s no telling what kind of trouble they’ll wreak on the class.  I am only laying down the law, setting an example for the rest to turn them into good citizens.”

        “Sister…I think you forget as to who has the final say in things in this school.  You need to be nicer to the students, then they’ll act nicer to you in turn.”  Cassandra walked over to Luna and put her hand on her shoulder.  “I want you to cancel those girl’s detentions and give them a second chance.”

        “But…”  Cassandra held up a finger, cutting off Luna.

        “That’s final.  Don’t make me place you on probation again, especially for something as trivial as this.”

        Luna glared at Cassandra, “Fine.  I’ll cancel their detentions.  Anything else you want from me, sis?”

        “No, that is all.”  Cassandra waved her hand, dismissing Luna.  After Luna left the office, Cassandra addressed Tori.  “Sorry you had to see all that.  My sister sometimes gets a bit power-hungry.  If she ever acts like that again, please come and tell me and I’ll set things right.  Now go and run along, wouldn’t want to miss lunch with your friends, would you?”

        “No I wouldn’t,” Tori got up and began to walk out of the office.  She turned when she reached the door, “Thank you, for letting my classmates off.”  Cassandra smiled and Tori left, almost running to the lunchroom.

        She saw everyone sitting at a table, so she went over and sat next to them.  “Guess what?” she asked everyone.

        “Ooo!  Is it a surprise?  I love surprises!  Let me guess!  There’s going to be a surprise party in class!  No, we’re going to have fire drill!  No…” Tori cut Penelope off before she could ramble on anymore.

        “I got you all out of detention!”  The group looked amazed.

        “How’d ya do that?” asked AJ.

        “I ran into the Principle and talked to her.  Guess what else I found out?  Luna’s the principle’s sister!”

        “You got us out of detention?” asked Dash.  “Like, for real?”  Tori nodded and suddenly found herself enveloped in a hug from Dash.  “Thank you!  Thank you sooo much!”

        “Group hug!” shouted Penelope, grabbing everyone and dragging them into the hug.  They all laughed and sat back down.  “I told you this would be more fun with friends!” she said to Tori.

        “What do you mean?”

        “Well, we’re your friends…right?”

        Tori looked at them all and smiled.  “Yes, yes you are.”  Everyone cheered and broke off into the conversations they had been having before Tori walked in.  Tori listened to all of them, still smiling.  This is going to be a fun year, she thought to herself.  

MLP: The School Years

Part II: After School Shenanigans


        “Ughh…” Dash leaned back in her chair, running her hands through the mess of rainbow colored hair.  “Is class over yet?”  She looked around the circle of desks surrounding her and her group members, who happened to be her closest friends in the world.  One of them, with a purple streak in her long, black hair, spoke up.

        “No, it isn’t, Dash.  We still have another ten minutes left, and we all need to get focused and make sure we know what we’re doing on this project.”

        “Yea, whatever Tori.  What’s this project supposed to be on anyway?” Dash asked, looking out of the window.

        “Weren’t you paying attention at all for the past hour?”  Dash shot Tori a look that clearly said that she hadn’t been.  Tori sighed, “We’re supposed to be doing a project on local history.”

        “I know ‘bout the history of my farm…” AJ spoke up, “Can I write about that?”

        “Alright class,” Luna stood up from behind her desk, “I’ve finished grading your tests from the other day, and I have to say that I am disappointed.  We have a lot of work ahead of us this year if we want to become the best class this school has seen.  Please get back in your rows so that I can pass back your tests.”  The class grumbled and the sound of scraping desks and chairs filled the room as they moved.  Luna moved between the rows, handing back the tests.  Tori could hear people groan as they saw their grades.

        “I can’t believe that she assigned us another test so soon after the first.  We’ve barely learned anything,” AJ grumbled under her breath.

        Luna walked past Tori and placed her test face down on her desk, then gave Tori a little smile.  Tori flipped over her test and saw a 100, written in a neat, precise hand in red ink with a little circle around it.  Tori quickly flipped the paper back over and looked around to see if anyone had seen her grade.  It seemed no one had, Dash was looking out of the window like always and AJ was quietly arguing with Rachel about something, probably AJ’s apparent lack of care about her appearance.  They quickly stopped as Luna walked by and handed each of them their tests.  They both grimaced when they saw their grades.  Phoebe thanked Luna in a quiet voice when she got her test back, and showed little emotion as to what her grade was, whereas Penelope didn’t even look and shoved the test into her backpack.

        The bell rang and Luna walked to the front of the class.  “You all are dismissed; don’t forget that you have a project due next week.”  The class stood and gathered their things, talking about what they were going to do with the rest of their day.  Most mumbled about the grades that they received, complaining that the test was too hard, or was on things that they hadn’t learned yet.  

        Tori stood and turned to her friends, who were all putting their things away.  “We should meet up later today to work on that project.  We can use my loft above the library, so we’ll have someplace to work.”

        “If we do,” said Dash, standing up and stretching, “it’ll have to be after five…Practice runs until then and I can’t skimp out early.”

        “Yea…sorry, sugarcube,” AJ plopped her hat back onto her head.  “I’ve got a bit o’ work cut out for me on the farm today.  Might be able t’ show up near the evenin’ tho’.”

        “Is there anyone who can show up sometime before the evening?” asked Tori, sounding exasperated.  She looked around at the group, who all were looking down and shuffling their feet.  Tori sighed, “Fine…I’ll start researching while you all are out doing your things.  Just show up if you can.”

        “Lighten up…” said Dash, patting Tori on the shoulder.  “You shouldn’t keep yourself cooped up in a stuffy old library all day.”  Her face brightened up as an idea blossomed in her head.  “You should come and hang out with us as we do our after school stuff!”

        “Yeah!” said Penelope enthusiastically.  “It’ll be great!  I can show you the bakery where I work and you can get free samples and help me make cupcakes and everything else!”  She started bouncing up and down before AJ put her hand firmly on her head, forcing her to the ground.

        “I could always use an extra hand on the farm, what’dya say about helpin’ out?” AJ looked at Tori, smiling.

        “Well…” Tori took a step back, “I don’t know…I mean, Spike will be wondering where I went if…”

        “Can’t you just give him a call, darling?” Rachel looked Tori up and down, “Also, your body type is simply perfect for the dress I’m designing.  I simply must have you model for me.  You can bring your friend Spike along too, of course.  I don’t think that we’ve met him yet.”

        “Fine…I guess I could take a quick break from studying.  After all, there aren’t any tests coming up in the immediate future.”  Tori pulled out a small cell phone and dialed a number.  The phone rang twice and then someone picked up on the other end.

        “Heya Tori!  What’s going on?” came Spike’s voice from over the phone.

        “Hello Spike, I’ve had a slight change of plans.  Instead of going straight back to the library, I’m instead going to…hang out…with my new friends.  They say it’s fine if you show up too…”

        “Yea, sure.  I really didn’t want to spend all day at the library anyways.  Where should I meet you?”

        Tori looked at her friends, who shrugged.  “I guess you can meet me at the track, we’re going to watch Dash practice for a bit, and then we’ll find out what we’re doing from there.”

        “Alright…I’ll start heading over right now.  See ya there!”  The line went dead and Tori put away the phone.  Everyone waved goodbye to Tori and began to walk their separate ways, headed off to wherever they went after school.  Tori hurried to catch up with Dash, who was walking out to the track.

        “Dash,” said Tori, catching up to her.  “What do you do at practice?  Is it just running, because that doesn’t seem that hard…”

        Dash scoffed, “Not that hard…I’d like to see you try the workout that I put myself through almost daily.  I run at least a couple miles every day, almost all of it sprinting.  There’s a reason that I’m the fastest in the school…no, the country.”

        “Wow…you sound really confident about your ability.  How fast can you run?”

        Dash stopped in front of a large board posted on one of the walls in the athletics wing.  “This is the records board; I hold most of them for the events that I run.”  She pointed out some of the events which, sure enough, had Dash’s name on a small plaque next to them.  “So far no one’s even come close to them.  I think that they’ll be safe long after I leave.  Is that an answer as to how fast I can run?”

        Tori scanned the board and saw one name that was different in the sea of Dashes.  “Who’s Serena Muse?  It says here that she still holds the record for the 400-meter dash.”

        “Only the coolest person I’ve ever seen!” said Dash.  “She was the one who really got me interested in track after I saw her run.  I’ve been trying for most of my track career to get as good as she was.  Now I only need to beat her record to prove that I’m just as good.”

        They walked out of the building, talking about Serena’s track records and Dash’s attempts to be just as good as she was.  It was a warm day out, not overly hot, but pleasant.  Only a couple clouds in the sky marred what was otherwise a perfect day.  Tori looked around for Spike and saw him waving at her from the bleachers.  “Over here Tori!” he called out, drawing the attention Tori and Dash.  Dash gave Tori a little wave, then headed over to the locker room.  Tori walked over to where Spike was sitting.  He had taken off his purple hoodie and had it balled up next to him, using it as a cushion.  “Where’s everyone else?”

        “They’re off at their jobs, or wherever they go after school.  I guess we’re going to go visit all of them.”  Tori sighed and sat on the bleachers next to Spike.“Why can’t I just go back home and study?  I really don’t want to be roaming around town all day.”

        “Aww, cheer up Tori.  You always look at the worst of things.  It’ll be fun, plus I can’t wait to meet all of your friends.   So where are we going to next?  I don’t think that Dash expects us to stay here all of practice.”  Spike looked at Tori questionably.  “You do know where everyone is, right?”

        “Of course I do Spike.  I just hope that Dash won’t mind us leaving before her practice has even started.  I think that we should stick around at least until she starts running.”  Tori pulled a small book out of her backpack and began leafing through it.  Several minutes passed before Dash walked back out of the locker room, wearing a light blue tank top and a pair of athletic shorts with a thunderhead on the side.  More people followed her out, talking and laughing, all dressed in workout clothing.

        Dash’s voice rang out over the crowd.  “All right everyone!  Warm-up!  Gimme four easy laps then we’ll get to work.”  Everyone began jogging around the track, some going faster than others.  Dash, of course, was at the head of the group, jogging and looking bored.  After the warm-up laps were completed, Dash lead everyone in stretching.  Tori was surprised at the amount of leadership and control that Dash had over the team, they all seemed to listen to her and respect her, even the larger and older boys.  An adult who must have been the coach walked out onto the track and addressed the team, assigning different groups different workout schedules.

        “Why’s everyone getting different workouts?  I thought that all they had to do was run…” Tori mused out loud.

        “It’s ‘cause there’s different events in track,” Spike said.  “For a smart person, you can sure be oblivious sometimes, Tori.  Where to next?”

        “Well…we are going into town, so I guess we should stop by AJ’s farm.  It is on the way, after all.  If we hurry, we can still catch the bus there.”  Tori gave a quick wave to Dash, who nodded goodbye, then she and Spike took off at a run to catch the bus.

*        *        *

        A short bus ride later, Tori and Spike found themselves standing outside of a wooden gate with a sign posted above it reading, “Sweet Apple Acres.”  Tori looked around, awkwardly.

        “Do we knock, or just go right in?  I’ve never been to a farm before so…”

        “Tori!  Y’ showed up!” came AJ’s voice from a distance.  Spike and Tori looked and saw her running towards the gate.  AJ unlatched it and pushed it open, letting them in.  “Glad to see ya made it sugarcube.  This here must be Spike, right?”

        “Yes, this is my very good friend Spike.”

        “I can introduce myself…” grumbled Spike.

        AJ laughed, “Well okay then…Let me show ya around.  You’re in luck, most o’ my family’s in town, so ya get to meet all’a them too!”  AJ beckoned them to follow her, beaming.  “We’ve just gotten done with most of the bakin’ for tomorrow’s festival.”

        “Festival?  What festival?” asked Tori, confused.

        “Don’cha know?  It’s the official start of fall tomorrow, can’t believe that a bookworm like you wouldn’t know somethin’ like that.”

        Tori scoffed, “I did know that fall began tomorrow, I just didn’t know that this town celebrated something like that.  It always just kinda…went by where I used to live.”

        “Yeah,” Spike added.  “There wasn’t really that much celebrating back where we used to live.”

        “Well…that don’ sound fun at all. We sure do celebrate a lot down here.  Anyway, let me introduce ya to the family.”  With that, AJ walked around the farm, introducing Tori and Spike to each family member.  By the end of it all, Tori’s head was spinning.  She didn’t know that AJ had so many relatives.  AJ looked around, slightly confused.  “Now where in Equestria could Mack and Annabelle be?  Can’t seem to find them anywhere on the farm.”

        The sound of a truck pulling up behind them made them all turn to face it.  An older boy, with the same straw-blond hair as AJ and wearing blue jeans and a red shirt, stepped out of the truck and walked up to AJ.  He was much taller than her and well muscled, his skin tanned from years of work out on the farm.  “’Lo there, sis,” he said in a deep southern accent.

        “There ya are, Mack.  I’ve been looking everywhere for ya.  This here’s Tori, and her friend Spike.  They were just visitin’ and seein’ the farm.  Do’ya know where Annabelle is?”

        “Here I am!”  Mack grunted as a small girl ran up and jumped on his back.  She had medium-length, red hair that was tied back with a large pink bow and wore a plain yellow shirt with denim overalls.  She smiled at Tori and Spike from over Mack’s shoulder.  “Howdy y’all!  My name’s Annabelle, pleasure to meetcha!”

        “It’s nice to meet you too,” said Tori.  “Is there anything else you wanted me for here?  I still need to visit everyone else and get back to work.”

        “Aww, come on sugarcube.  Ya still need t’ try some’ve our delicious apple products.  Stuff like apple pie, apple fritter, red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, and apple cakes.  Y’know, good stuff.”

        “I really can’t…” said Tori, looking around for a way out.

        Annabelle looked sad and hung her head, “Aren’tcha gonna stay an’ try some?  Pleeassseee?”  She gave Tori puppy dog eyes and sniveled a bit.  Tori sighed and looked at Spike.

        “I guess we can stay for a bit after all.  It’s not like everyone is going to go anywhere while we’re here.”  Annabelle brightened up immediately and jumped down from Mack’s back.  She grabbed Tori’s hand and led her inside, with Mack, AJ, and Spike following closely behind.

*        *        *

        “Ugh…” Tori moaned softly on the bus ride into town.  “I think I ate too much pie.”

        “I don’t know…I thought that it all was really good.  I’m just upset that we couldn’t stick around for seconds.”  Spike looked out of the window of the bus and pointed, “Isn’t that our stop right there?”

        Tori looked out of the window at where Spike was pointing and saw a store with a large sign over it reading “Carousel Boutique”.  The bus rolled to a stop and Tori and Spike hopped out and walked up to the store’s entrance.  A small bell chimed as they both walked into the store and a voice came from the back.

        “Be with you in a second, darling.  I just have to finish up something.”  After a minute, Rachel walked out of the back of the store, pushing a rack of clothing with her.  She stopped when she saw Tori standing there, looking at the different dresses put up on display.  “Tori!  What a wonderful surprise, I wasn’t expecting you until later.”  She looked at Spike and frowned.  “And this must be your friend Spike, right?  I have to say, your choice of colors seems to match very nicely.  Nice to see that someone in this town has fashion sense.”

        To Tori’s surprise, Spike looked down and shuffled his feet, blushing.  She had never seen Spike blush like that before.  “So…now that I’m here, what are we going to do?” she asked Rachel.

        “Well…I guess I can help you out with your fashion sense.  Goodness knows you need all the help you can get.”  Rachel began to walk to the back, motioning for Tori to follow her.  “Come along, darling.  We’ll get you suited up into something more proper for you.”  Spike got up to follow them, but Rachel held up a hand, stopping him.  “And just where do you think you’re going?”

        Spike looked flustered, “Well…I…uhhh…”  He shrugged, “With you and Tori, I guess.”

        Rachel shook her head.  “Goodness no, you can’t be back here while we’re changing and trying things on.  Just wait out here and we’ll be out in a while.”

        Tori looked at Spike and smiled sheepishly, “Sorry Spike, but Rachel has a point.  I don’t think that we’ll be that long.  Read a book or something while I’m gone.”  With that she followed Rachel into the back room, leaving Spike alone and grumbling.

        The back room was littered with mannequins and fabrics of all sorts, with half finished dresses and clothing draped over chairs and tables.  Rachel had no trouble finding what she needed, however, and soon pulled out a long sleeved, light purple shirt and a darker purple vest to go over it.  “Try these on; they’ll help bring out your beautiful hair.  Where did you get it done?  I simply must know.”

        Tori stepped into a changing room and began to change.  “My hair?  I got it done in Canterlot.  I lived there until I moved here.”  Suddenly Rachel’s head poked into the room, causing Tori to squeak with alarm and try to cover herself up.

        “You lived in Canterlot?  You must tell me all about it there.  I’ve always wanted to go and visit…” Rachel trailed off and realized that Tori was standing in the corner, still looking alarmed.  “Sorry, darling.  I didn’t meant to barge in on you like that.”  She withdrew her head from the room and continued the conversation.  “So, what’s it like there?”

        “Well…” Tori said, pulling the purple shirt over her head and adjusting it.  “It was busy, that’s for sure.  There were a lot of people, but I really didn’t know anyone that well.  I was too busy with my studies.  The parks were great; there was this one tree that provided some of the best shade to read under.”  She stepped out of the dressing room and let Rachel look her over.  

        “Much better.  I’m glad that I was able to do something about that.”  Rachel folded her arms and looked at the vest, frowning.  “That’s rather plain, I think I can do something to spruce it up, however.  Maybe an emblem or something…yes, that’d work fine.  What do you like that I could sew onto that vest for you?”

        Tori thought for a moment.  “Well…I love to read, so maybe a book?”

        “No,” Rachel said immediately, “that’s far too corny.  Pick something else.”

        “What about stars?  Stargazing was one of the things that I loved to do back in Canterlot.”

        “Stars…yes, that could work.  Tell you what; give me that vest and I’ll make something work for it.”  Rachel held out a hand and Tori pulled off the vest and handed it to her.

        “What about the shirt?  Should I get changed back into my old clothes?”

        Rachel laughed, “Of course not.  You can hang on to that, it was just taking up room back here anyways.  Consider it a welcome gift from me.”

        “Thank you,” said Tori, giving Rachel a quick hug.  “Thank you so much!”

        “It was nothing.  I just don’t want to see you running around dressed horribly again, or else I will personally come over to where you live and redo your wardrobe.”

        Tori laughed, “All right, you have yourself a deal.  I’d better get going, Spike must be bored out of his mind by now.”

        Sure enough, Tori found Spike slumped down in a chair in the front room, staring blankly at the far wall.  He perked up when Tori walked out and stood.  “There you are.  I’ve been waiting for hours!”

        Tori looked at her watch.  “It’s only been twenty minutes Spike.  You need to stop exaggerating so much.  Do you like my new shirt?  Compliments from Rachel.”

        Spike shrugged, “I don’t think it looks much different.  It’s just a different color.  Where are we going next?”

        Tori walked out of the store, followed by Spike.  “I don’t know, let’s just walk down Main Street and see where we end up.  I think that Penelope and Phoebe work around here.”  A breeze brought the smell of fresh baking to Tori’s nose.  “On second thought, let’s go and visit the bakery, I haven’t eaten since lunch.  Plus, I seem to remember Penelope saying that she works there.  This would be a good time to go and see her.”  Tori poked her head back into Rachel’s store and called, “Rachel, do you know how to get to the bakery?”

        “Down the street and to the left.  Give Penelope my regards,” came the reply.

        Tori thanked her and began walking down the street, following the smell of baking.  The smell led them to a small store with tons of pastries and cakes in the window, through which Penelope’s mess of pink hair was clearly visible.  Tori walked through the door and was almost immediately set upon by an older woman wearing an apron.

        “Hello there!  Welcome to Sugarcube Corner.  How can I help you today?” said the woman.

        “Uh…well,” Tori said, taken aback by the woman’s enthusiasm.  “I’m here for…”
        “TORI!!!” came a shout from behind the counter.  Tori looked up just in time to see a mass of pink hair come hurtling towards her.  She soon found herself engulfed in a huge hug, with Penelope babbling away in her ear.  “I’m so glad that you came over!  I have soooo much I want to show you!  Ohhh!  You can help me bake some stuff, I don’t know what yet, but I’m sure that we’ll think of something!  Why’d it take so long to get here?  Did you visit other people before me?”  Penelope stopped to take a breath and saw Spike standing awkwardly nearby.  “Is that Spike?  He’s sooooo tiny!  What grade’s he in?”

        “I’m not that small!” said Spike, puffing himself up.  “And I’m in the 8th grade, for your information.”

        “Yes…anyways.  Who was that who greeted me when I walked in?”  Tori glanced towards one of the entrances, where the woman had walked out of.

        “Oh that?  That’s Mrs. Cake!  She and her husband own the shop!  They’re really, really nice once you get to know them!  They taught me a whole bunch of stuff about baking, and by that I mean almost everything.  But I think that I’m better than them now at it, just don’t tell them!”

        “Okay?”  Tori looked at Spike and smiled, “What did you have planned for us to do?”

        “We’re going to bake, silly!  We’re making a cake!  It’s gonna be sooooo tasty!”  Penelope grabbed Tori’s arm and dragged her back into the kitchen.  The ingredients needed were already laid out on the counter, as well as the bowls and other cooking utensils.

        Tori looked at everything, then turned to Penelope.  “This all looks nice and well, but there’s still the problem that I don’t know how to cook at all.”

        “That’s no problem!  Just follow my instructions and you’ll make the best cakes you’ve ever tasted!”  Penelope grabbed an apron and threw it over Tori’s head.  She pulled a pink one with balloons embroidered on the front over her head and tied her hair back, so it wouldn’t get in the way of the cooking.  “I’m not sure what your favorite color is, so I’m just giving you a white apron, is that okay?”

        “Yea, sure.  I don’t see a problem with that.”  Tori pulled the apron on and looked around.  “And it’s purple, just so you know.  Where do we start?”

        Penelope began to direct Tori on how much of each ingredient to put into the different bowls, and soon Tori found herself having a blast.  Penelope made cooking fun, singing and twirling around the kitchen all the while mixing ingredients and directing Tori.  This must be what it feels like to be Penelope, thought Tori, laughing as Penelope cracked a joke about cooking.  Just having fun all the time.

        Soon, the mixture of ingredients was cooking in the oven, and Penelope and Tori were sitting at a table, enjoying some cupcakes that Penelope had prepared the day before.  Penelope was in the middle of a story of how she had thrown a huge party when her cell phone went off.  Checking it, Tori saw a message from Spike.  It read, “Got bored, went to go wander around town.  Call me if you need me, or when you get done.  Whichever works.  Spike.”

        “Poor Spike,” said Tori, looking at the message.  “I keep leaving him to sit around and do nothing the entire time.”  She looked up at Penelope, who had half a cupcake lodged in her mouth.  “I’d better get going, I still have to visit Phoebe and then catch up on the studying I’m missing.  I’ll come back tomorrow or something to help finish the cake.”

        Penelope swallowed the rest of the cupcake and smiled at her, “It’s fine!  Phoebe could use some visiting, and I’ll finish the cake.  I’m making it for someone special anyways, so I don’t want anyone to see the icing that I’m going to put on it, or else it’ll be ruined!”

        Tori looked taken aback.  “Oh…okay.  If you’re sure that you don’t need any help.”

        “Don’t look so glum!  I promise the next cake that I bake you can help ice!  Anyways, that’s the most fun part, ‘cause you get to make the cake look all pretty and colorful and you said that your favorite color was purple, right?”

        “Yea, but what does that have to do with…”

        “Nothing!  I just love knowing everyone’s favorite color, like Rachel’s is white and purple, Phoebe’s is yellow…” Penelope began rambling on to herself about everyone’s favorite colors, so Tori gave her a little wave and walked out of the store, saying goodbye to Mrs. Cake on the way out.  She pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed Spike’s number.  After a few rings, he picked up.


        “Spike,” said Tori, walking down the street, “Where are you?”

        “I’m in our flat above the library.  It was really messy from your studying spree, so I’m just cleaning it up.  Where are you?”

        “I’m headed over to where Phoebe works, you can meet me there if you want.”

        “Yea, sure.  I’ll be right over.”

*        *        *

        Tori found Spike waiting for her outside of a small building with the silhouette of a person and a dog on the front.  There was writing over the picture that read, “Veterinary Clinic.”  Tori gestured to the door, “After you.”

        The inside of the building was relatively empty, with a line of chairs along the wall for people to wait on and a couple plants.  A bored looking man was sitting behind the counter, idly flipping through a magazine.  He looked up when Tori and Spike walked up to the counter.  “Can I help you with anything?”

        Tori glanced around the room, “We’re just here to see Phoebe, she told us that we could come in and say hello.”

        The man sighed, “She’s in the back.  Just don’t cause too much trouble.”          

        Tori walked past the counter and into the back.  There were cages lining the walls with all sorts of animals in them, even a small section of tanks for fish.  It was pretty quiet from what Tori knew about vet offices, and soon Tori saw why.  Flitting from cage to cage was Phoebe, softly speaking to each animal and administering aid where it was needed.  She was so caught up in her work that she didn’t notice Tori and Spike approaching from behind.  Tori reached out and tapped Phoebe’s shoulder.  “Hey, Phoebe, we just dropped in to say hello.”

        Phoebe leapt into the air and dropped an empty water bowl onto the ground with a loud crash.  The noise startled the animals, which in turn startled Phoebe even more.  She squeaked loudly and backed up into the cages, trying to curl up and disappear.  “I’m sooo sorry Phoebe,” said Tori.  “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

        “Oh, it’s just you.”  Phoebe breathed a sigh of relief.  “You startled me is all.  I was just looking after the animals.  I love being with them all and helping them out so much.  I want to become a veterinarian one day, so I figure that working here is the best way to get practice.”

        “Well, I guess that this is a good of a way as any.  I’ve only read about veterinary studies.”  She looked at all the cages and suddenly had an idea, “Hey!  Since I’ve only read about vets and what they do, do you think that you can give me a real life example?”

        Phoebe’s face brightened considerably.  “Oh I would love to!  That is…if you really want me to.”

        “Yes, please!  What are we going to do first?”

        The next hour flew by as Phoebe showed Tori the ropes of her job.  They both had a blast feeding and walking the various animals that Phoebe was taking care of.  It was like Tori was seeing a whole new side of Phoebe that she had never seen before.  It wasn’t like at school, where she was quiet and withdrawn.  Here with the animals Phoebe was confident and happy.  “You must really love it here,” Tori mentioned offhandedly as they finished locking everything up.  “I’ve never seen you act so happy and outgoing before.”

        “Oh, yes, it’s so much fun looking after them all and helping them get better.”  She glanced down at her watch and gave a start.  “Oh, dear, I’m afraid that I’m late for something.”  Phoebe grabbed her bag and ran to the door.  “I guess I’ll see you around…I think.”  With that she dashed out of the door, leaving a flummoxed Tori standing in the waiting room.  Spike walked up to her.

        “Why do you always take so long doing everything?  I almost feel asleep waiting for you.”

        “You could have come with us,” said Tori, walking out of the door.  “In any case, it’s starting to get late; we should probably head back to the library.”

        Spike sighed.  “I really don’t get why you had to rent a room right above the library, Tori.  There were rooms in the dorm so we wouldn’t have to walk as far or catch the bus.”

        “I like the library, Spike.  Plus, I’ve heard that life in a dorm can be…distracting.  You wouldn’t want me to be distracted from my studies, would you?”  Tori began walking in the direction of the library.  “Come on Spike, I need you to help quiz me on what I learned today.”

        “Can’t I just do what I want for a change?” grumbled Spike under his breath.  “It’s not like I’m your servant or anything like that.”

        After a short walk from the veterinary clinic,  Just remember that this is a library too.  I don’t want too much noise or anything.”Tori and Spike stood outside of the library, which was a large three story building with a small flat on the third floor.  It really was a nice library, just not as good as the one that she was used to back at her old home.  As she walked through the entrance, the head librarian looked up from some paperwork on her desk.  “Ah, Miss Tori.  I wanted to speak to you about something.  Some people stopped by earlier and asked about you.  They said that they were your friends, so I sent them up to the flat.         “All right…” Tori said, confused.  What was going on?  Walking up the stairs to the entrance of the flat, Tori thought that she heard movement inside her room.  Opening the door slowly, she called out, “Hello?  Anyone there?”

        “SURPRISE!” came a loud shout from inside the room as the lights were flicked on, revealing Penelope, Phoebe, Dash, AJ, and Rachel all standing the room, smiling.

        “What’s this?  A party?”  Tori asked, looking around at everyone.

        “Of course it is silly!”  Penelope came bouncing over to her and dragged her into the room.  “Didn’t I say a couple of days ago that I was going to throw you a party?  Sorry it took so long, I just didn’t know where you lived or what your favorite color was or anything really about you so that I could throw this super special welcome party!  Oh this is going to be so much fun!  I’ve already set up everything, you know, like party games and the music and food.  Ooooo, you’re going to love the cake that we baked today!  I even decorated it with the stuff that you love!”  She stopped to draw breath and Tori cut in.

        “So this party’s for me?  Just for arriving in town?  I really don’t think that this is necessary…”

        “Aw don’ get like that.”  AJ clapped Tori on the shoulder, causing her to wince.  “Jus’ sit back and enjoy the festivities.  Penelope worked mighty hard to get all o’ this set up.  Ya might wanna thank her fer all this.”

        Before Tori got a chance to talk to Penelope again, Rachel interceded, holding a small bag with the Carousel Boutique logo on it.  “Here,” she said, handing the bag over to Tori.  “I finished that vest you left at the store, and I have to say it looks simply marvelous.  Go on, try it on.”

        Tori pulled the vest out of the bag and held it up to look at.  Emblazoned on the upper right of it was a beautifully sewn light purple star, with other, smaller purple stars surrounding it.  Tori pulled it over her head and smiled, “Thank you so much!  This looks amazing, I’m just surprised at how fast you got it done.”

        Rachel scoffed, “Oh it was nothing, darling.  Just a simple bit of stitching.  Next time come to me with something a bit more…difficult.  I could use a challenge.”

        “How’d you land yourself with such a swell apartment, Tori?  All of us are stuck in the dorms.”  Dash said, poking around the room and staring out of the window.  “Quite a view you got up here.”

        “Oh…this apartment isn’t mine.  I’m just renting it for the time being, but thanks for the compliments…”

        “Is this a party, or just time to talk?!” interrupted Penelope.  “Let’s play some music and have some cake!  Let’s party!!”  She flicked a switch on the stereo, and music came blasting over the speakers.  Penelope began dancing with herself in a space that she had cleared in the middle of the floor and was soon joined by AJ and Dash.  Phoebe was talking to Rachel out of the way and Spike was eying the cake hungrily.

        “Girls!” said Tori loudly over the music.  Everyone looked at her.  “Listen, I appreciate this a whole bunch, it’s just that...we have school tomorrow and I have to study.  So can we make this kinda…quick?  Plus the librarian said that we have to keep it quiet for the people who are still in the library downstairs.”

        “Well then looks like we’ll have to cram a whole night of partying into a short amount of time!”  Penelope bounced over to the cake.  “Here, I want you to have the first slice, seeing as you helped bake it and all!  Look!  I decorated it with your favorite color and other things!”

        Sure enough, it was the cake that Tori helped bake earlier that day, decorated with heaps of purple and pink icing and lots of sugar stars.  Tori took the offered slice and bit into it.  Surprisingly enough, for something that she had baked it wasn’t that bad.  Everyone else seemed to think the same, offering compliments and praise for Tori’s baking.  After the cake was finished, they all gathered in the middle of the room and showed off dance moves to each other.  Then dancing eventually wore into talking, all of them gathered in a small circle on the floor, sharing fun stories about their lives and work.  With a start, Tori realized that their quick party had worn on well into the night.

        “Wow…look at the time.  I think that we should call it a night and just meet up again tomorr…”  A sudden knock on the door to the flat made all of them jump slightly.  Tori got up to answer it and found herself facing the head librarian.  “Oh, hello, ma’am.  Is something the matter?”        

        “I just got a call from my daughter.  She got kicked out of her apartment and needs somewhere to stay, so I’ve told her that I’m going to clear this flat out for her.  I’m sorry, but you’ve got one week to find a new place before you’re evicted.”  With that, the librarian closed the door and made her way back downstairs.

        Tori stood in the doorway, shocked.  “Who was it?” asked Rachel.

        “The librarian, and my landlord.”

        “Well, what did she want?”

        Tori turned to face everyone.  “I’m getting kicked out in a week so that the librarian’s daughter can have a place to stay.”

        AJ stood up, angry.  “Well she jus’ can’t do that!  You own this place, don’cha?”

        Tori shook her head.  “I’m just renting, and it’s well within the landlord’s right to evict tenants if they so wish.  It’s just…I don’t have anywhere else to stay.  I don’t have any family in town or anything to stay with…”

        “Hey!” said Penelope, a smile plastered on her face.  “There’s that empty room on our floor at the dorm!  You can move in there with us!”  The rest of the group murmured their agreement.  “Please do it Tori…We’ll have lots of fun together!”

        “Well…what about Spike?” asked Tori.  “I mean…I think it’s a good idea, but you gotta keep in mind that Spike’s a boy, and he can’t sleep in my room.”

        “Oh there’s bound to be an open room in the boys’ dormitories.  He can just stay there.”

        Tori smiled, “Well, it’s good to see that this crisis was so easily averted.  I just hope that I can get that room and live with you guys.  In the meantime, however, how about one last dance before the night is out?”

Author’s Notes

        Hey y’all.  Thanks for being so patient with by overly long writing time for Part II.  Just puttin’ it out there that Part III is underway, and I have plans for Parts IV-VI at the least.  But I need ideas, scenarios and whatnots to put into this…piece of work.

        That’s where y’all come in.  As people who have put the time and effort into reading this…piece of work…please, comment on what you’d like to see in upcoming parts.  Or just comment on what you liked or disliked, I can take criticism.  Enclosed is a list of things that I have planned out, to save somepony out there the trouble of commenting or requesting something that’s already in the works:

Gilda:  She’s showing up, so is most of Griffon the Brush-Off episode.

Zecora: Don’t have any plans for her yet.  With my setting and all it’s kinda hard to work her character in.

The CMC: They will all show up.  Do not fear.

Shipping?: Yes.  There will eventually be shipping done.  I’m just going to put out that Dash will be involved in it and it will be light shipping at worst.  And by light I mean nothing past second base…wherever that stands nowadays.

The Ticket Master: It’s a thing and will happen, along with the Gala.Winter Wrap-Up: As much as I love this, it just doesn’t work out with my story’s setting and whatnot.  There will be Running of the Leaves tho’.

        If there’s anything else that y’all have questions about/want to see included, just let me know and I’ll take it into consideration.

Until next time,


MLP: The School Years

Part III: On Pranks and Friendships

        “Dashhhhh!  Oh Daaasshhhhhh!  Dash where are you?  I need your help with something!”

        Dash sat bolt upright in the common room, where she had been lounging and avoiding homework.  The voice belonged to Penelope, and while she was usually loud and boisterous, whenever she shouted like that trouble normally followed, and Dash wanted no part in it.  Dash quickly left the common room and ran to her room, locking the door behind her.

        “Dash!  Just the person I wanted to see!” came Penelope’s voice from behind her.  Dash jumped and spun around to see Penelope sitting on her bed.

        “How…Where…But…” Dash stammered.  “How did you get in here?”

        “I just walked in the door silly!  I thought that you were in here, so I checked but you weren’t and then you just walked in so I guess I don’t have to look for you anymore!”  Penelope smiled broadly.  “It’s a good thing I found you too!  I need your help with something super important!”

        Dash sighed, “What is it?  I know that you aren’t going to leave me alone until I agree to help you.”

        “Come with me!  This is going to be really fun; I know that you’ll love it!”  Penelope grabbed Dash’s hand and pulled her out of the room, leading her somewhere.  That somewhere turned out to be the school’s library.  Dash made to walk inside, but Penelope stopped her.  “No!  You’ll blow our cover!”

        “Are you going to explain to me what we’re doing?  This is kinda weird even for you.”

        “Just wait, and when I say, jump out and shout Boo!!”  Penelope giggled, “It’s going to be sooo great!”

        They sat outside of the library; Penelope in eager anticipation, Dash in obvious boredom.  She was just about to ask Penelope what they were doing again, when Penelope suddenly stood and motioned Dash to follow her lead.  The door to the library opened and Spike walked out, carrying a large pile of books.  Penelope jumped out and shouted loudly, “Boo!” followed closely by Dash.  Spike dropped the books he was carrying and let out a high pitched scream, then immediately began to hiccup.  Penelope and Dash looked at each other, then began to laugh uncontrollably.

        “Hey…” said Spike in between his hiccups.  “That (hic) wasn’t very (hic) nice.”

        “Oh,” said Penelope, stopping laughing.  “Are you alright?  You aren’t hurt are you?”

        “No, (hic) I’m fine.  It’s just (hic) annoying.”  He looked down at the pile of books around his feet.  “I guess (hic) I’d better start picking (hic) all these up.  Tori’ll (hic) be mad if I don’t (hic) get all of these to her soon.”

        “Well, if you’re okay…” Penelope dissolved into laughter again, and soon Dash was laughing too.

        Even Spike was laughing between his hiccups, “I guess that (hic) was pretty funny.”  He finished picking up the books and walked away, still chuckling and hiccupping.

        Dash turned to Penelope.  “I had no idea that you were into practical jokes Penelope.  That was pretty funny.”  She looked mischievously at Penelope.  “Do you have any other ideas on who we can prank?”

        Penelope grinned broadly, “Oh don’t worry, I have plenty more planned out where that came from.”

*        *        *

        Tori sat in the common room of the dorm, curled up in one of the chairs and making notes in her journal about a book she was reading.  It sure was different living in a dorm than living on her own in an apartment or with her parents.  Yawning, she put her pen and notebook aside and stood, stretching.  Maybe she had better take a break from working, after all, it was the weekend.  She walked over to the window to check the weather, maybe she could work outside if it was nice enough.  Sadly, it was cloudy outside, so sticking in the common room was the order for the day.  She sat back down in her chair and picked up her pen to jot down a few notes she had thought of.  As she began writing, a noise made her glance up from her writing.  Was that giggling?  Paying it no mind, Tori turned back to her writing, only to find that what she wrote down had disappeared.  Stunned, Tori tried writing something else, only to watch it disappear before her very eyes.  Examining the pen, Tori noticed that it had been switched out for one marked “Invisible Ink Pen”.

        Penelope and Dash burst out from around the corner, laughing.  “Good one girls,” said Tori, laughing along with them.  “I wasn’t expecting something like that.  Now can I have my real pen back?  I need to get some work done.”

        Handing back the pen, Dash turned to Penelope.  “Who are we going to get next?”

*        *        *

        Rachel sat in her shop, bored out of her mind.  There hadn’t been a customer all day and she was still stumped on her latest dress design.  Her little sister was out with friends, so she couldn’t even try and teach her how to sew or design.  Why couldn’t anything interesting happen today?

        As if to answer her call, a knock came at the door.  Rachel snapped her head up and out of custom said, “Hello and welcome to the Carousel Boutique.  How may I…”  Rachel trailed off as she realized that there was no one in the store.  She curiously opened the door and looked around.  There was no one out there, but there were a bouquet of flowers sitting on the doorstep.  Sitting on the flowers was a small card saying, “To Rachel.”

        “Well this is an unexpected surprise.”  Rachel delicately smelled the flowers and smiled.  There was nothing like the smell of freshly cut flowers.  She took another smell and then rocked forward with a massive sneeze.  Another followed, then another and another.  It was then that she noticed a fine powder over the flowers, and the laughter coming from behind a tree.  Rachel sneezed again and saw Penelope and Dash fall out from behind the tree in fits of giggles.  Clearing her nose, Rachel walked over to them.  “Are you two responsible for this?”

        “Run!” shouted Penelope, between fits of giggles.  She and Dash sprinted off, leaving Rachel standing by the tree with the bouquet of flowers.  She shook her head and smiled, sneezing again as she did.  Those two can sure cause trouble, she thought.  At least it’s all harmless fun.

*        *        *

        AJ wiped her brow and repositioned her hat on her head.  Even though it wasn’t fully sunny outside, it was still quite hot.  The main harvest wasn’t for another couple of weeks, but AJ liked to get a head start on things, as to lighten the load when the main harvest rolled around.  She put down her basket that she was using to pick up the apples that had already fallen and walked over to the barn to grab a bottle of water.  Out of the corner of her eye, AJ thought she saw two people whiz around the corner out of the barn.  Paying it no mind, she reached for a bottle of water and suddenly found herself drenched with water.

        “What in tarnation?”  It was then that she noticed the string attached to the water bottle, which in turn was attached to a bucket that was lying on its side in the rafters. Obviously it was a simple little booby trap designed to pour water on the first person to pick up the water.  From around the corner, AJ heard laughing.  Going to investigate, still dripping water, AJ found Dash and Penelope collapsed on a bale of hay in hysterics.  “Was this your doin’?” AJ didn’t sound angry, and was actually quite amused by the prank.  At least it cooled her off.

        “We got her!” said Dash, hi-fiving Penelope.

        “Now see here, missy.  Ah ain’t going to be th’ only one affected by this here prank.”  AJ began to uncap the water bottle and Dash’s eyes got big.  She scrambled off the hay bale and sprinted off, leaving Penelope still laughing on the hay.

        “Dash?  Where’d you go?  Why’d you run off like that?”  Penelope looked up to see AJ standing over her with the open water bottle.

        “Sorry sugarcube, but business is business.”  With that, AJ turned the water bottle over Penelope’s head, flattening her poufy tangle of hair and soaking her.  Penelope was quiet for a moment, then began laughing again.  AJ laughed along with her, smiling broadly, “You sure got a knack for prankin’, glad t’ see that you can handle them as well as you can dish them out.”

        Dash poked her head back around the corner of the barn, “Is it safe?  Did she use up all the water?”  Her answer came as a splash of water to her face.  “I’ll take that as a no.”

*        *        *

        Phoebe sat by the edge of the pond, admiring the beauty of her surroundings.  The sun had just started to come out from behind the clouds and it was casting the most marvelous shadows.  There were even some ducks swimming around merrily, today was turning out to be such a nice day.  She hummed to herself as she tore some pieces of bread up to feed to the ducks.

        From across the pond, Dash motioned Penelope over to her.  “Okay, wait till you see this one.  It’s going to scare Phoebe so bad.”

        “You can’t prank Phoebe!” said Penelope.

        Dash looked at her, “Why not?  We’ve gotten everyone else.”

        “Phoebe’s too emotional to handle a prank.  We really don’t want to upset her or hurt her feelings.  I’d feel bad.”

        Dash sighed, “Fine.  Who else can we get?  We’ve gotten all of our friends, minus Phoebe.”  She thought for a second.  “We need to get someone tough, the toughest in the town.”

        Penelope nodded and began giggling again.  “Oh don’t worry, I have someone in mind.”

        “Are they tough?”

        Penelope nodded again, “Oh, they’re the toughest in all town.  In fact, I think that I see them right now.”

        “Oooo, where?” asked Dash excitedly.  Penelope held up a pair of binoculars and pointed off into the distance.  Dash pressed them up to her face and looked intently, but didn’t see anyone.  “Are you sure that they’re there?  I can’t see anything.”  She lowered the binoculars and frowned at Penelope.  “Where are they?”

        Penelope pointed at the water of the pond, “Just look there.”  Dash, confused, looked where Penelope was pointing and saw her own reflection with a slight addition; a black ring around her eye where she had pressed the binoculars.  Penelope was holding back giggles, “I told you that I got the toughest person in the town.”

        “Yea…I guess you did.”  She held out her hand for Penelope to hi-five, but pulled it away at the last second.  Penelope tried again to hi-five and missed again.  She caught Dash’s eye and saw that she was trying to hold back laughter herself.  They both collapsed on the ground, hardly breathing between the peals of laughter.

        Once they had both calmed down a bit, Penelope asked Dash, “What were you planning to do to Phoebe anyways?  I mean, we could get someone else with it one day, just not Phoebe.”

        “Oh yea…You know those fake ducks that they use for hunting?  I hid a speaker in one so that I could scare her when she tried to feed it.  I was going to say something like, ‘I don’t like bread’ and see if she jumped.”  Dash began laughing again and soon Penelope rejoined her.

        Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Phoebe knelt staring intently at a duck that hadn’t moved for the entire time she had been there.

*        *        *

        The next morning, Penelope skipped merrily over to Dash’s room and knocked loudly.  “Oh Dashie!  I’ve got a lot of new fun ideas that we can prank people with!”

        The door opened and Penelope was about to step in when she was suddenly stopped by someone holding out their arm.  To Penelope’s surprise, the arm did not belong to Dash, instead belonging to a severe looking girl with short cut blonde hair and wearing a white tank top and pajama bottoms.  The girl rubbed her eyes and glared at Penelope.  “You’d better have a good reason for waking me up, pinkie.”

        “Oh hello!  My name isn’t Pinkie, but you can call me that if you want to!  I mean, I do wear a lot of pink all the time, cause that’s my favorite color.  I think that your favorite color is white, but you can’t choose that color because that’s Rachel’s favorite, but I don’t think that she’d mind sharing.  My name’s Penelope and I like to bake things and party and just generally have a great and wonderful time!  What’s your name?”

        The girl blinked, taken aback by the sudden torrent of noise coming from Penelope.  She looked back into Dash’s room and called out, “Dash!  I think one of your annoying friends wants to say something to you.”

        Dash walked up to the door, yawning and rubbing her eyes.  Seeing Penelope standing at the door, Dash brightened up.  “Oh hey Penelope, what’s up?  Have you met my friend…well, more than my friend…”  She put her arm around the girl’s waist.  “This is Gilda, she and I have known each other since forever.  I hadn’t seen her since before I moved here, so I invited her to stay for the weekend.”

        “That’s cool!  I can’t wait to have fun with you both!”  Penelope reached for her bag, “Dash, I have some really cool stuff I want to show you!”

        “Can it wait just a second?  Let me get dressed and I’ll be right with you.”  Dash retreated back into her room leaving Gilda standing in the doorway.  Gilda glanced after Dash, then turned to Penelope.

        “Listen here.  Dash is my girlfriend, and I don’t want anyone else trying to steal her away from me.  You seem to be a bit too friendly with her and I don’t like that.  So buzz off, y’hear?”  Gilda turned and slammed the door in Penelope’s face.

        A few minutes later, Dash and Gilda walked out of the room, chatting and catching up.  Penelope sprung up from where she had been sitting in the common room.  “Oooo!  Are you ready to hang out now?  I’ve got a lot of fun things planned out for today!  Just wait until you hear all the awesome pranks that I’ve planned!”

        Gilda glanced at Dash, who grinned sheepishly at Penelope.  “Sorry Penny, I’ve promised Gilda that’d I go for a nice, long run with her.  After all, we haven’t been running together since forever ago.  I’ll hang out with you afterwards, promise.”  Dash began to walk out of the room with Gilda following her when Penelope had an idea.

        “Wait!  I can just watch you both run!  I really find it amazing how you guys can just run forever, plus I love to watch it when you all go really fast!”  She smiled at Dash and Gilda.

        “Hey Dash,” said Gilda.  “Why don’t you go on ahead?  I think I forgot something in your room that I need to grab.”  Dash nodded and walked out of the room, leaving Gilda and Penelope alone.  As soon as the door closed behind Dash, Gilda turned to Penelope, “Listen here.  I thought that I made it perfectly clear that I don’t want you ‘hanging out’ with me and Dash.  After all, Dash has me now, so why would she need to spend time with you?”

        “Because we’re friends!  And friends hang out with each other all the time and any friend of Dash’s is a friend of mine, so therefore we’ve gotta hang out!”  

        Gilda blinked, “Okay, look.  You can’t hang out with us.  Period.  Now scram before I get mad at you.”  She walked out of the door after Dash, leaving Penelope standing alone in the common room clutching her bag.  As the door closed, Tori walked into the room, still dressed in her pajamas.

        “Oh hey Penelope, what’s up?”

        Penelope threw herself onto one of the chairs, sulking.  “Have you seen Dash’s friend Gilda?”

        “Yes, we met last night.  She seemed like a nice enough person.  I think that she and Dash make a cute couple.”  Tori stopped and thought for a moment.  “Wait…if Dash was already dating someone…why did she try and hit on me?  I guess I can ask her later, but I don’t want to seem awkward or rude.”  Tori trailed off as she caught the look on Penelope’s face.  “What’s wrong?  You don’t seem like yourself today, are you okay?”

        “It’s just that Gilda’s acting like such a meanie!  She told me not to hang out with Dash and her because Dash doesn’t need to hang out with me because she’s here and that means that I can’t hang out with them.  It’s just not fair!”

        Tori smiled knowingly, “Oh come now.  You’re just overreacting.  I’m sure that Gilda just wants to spend some time alone with Dash to catch up.  I think that you’re jealous that someone else is hogging Dash from you.  The best thing that you could do right now is try and improve Gilda’s attitude and make her want to spend time with you and Dash at the same time.”  She glanced at her watch and started, “Oh dear, I’m almost late!  I promised Spike that I’d meet him at the library to help him out with some of his schoolwork!  I’ll talk with you later, promise!”

        Penelope sighed.  That wasn’t what she wanted to hear at all, but it was good advice.  Maybe she really was jealous of Gilda for getting to spend time with Dash alone.  Granted, she was Dash’s girlfriend and should be allowed to spend as much time as she wanted with her, but it wasn’t nice to just blow people off the way that she did.  Maybe some time to think the situation over a nice milkshake was in order.

*        *        *

        Penelope sat outside the Sugarcube Corner, sipping a chocolate milkshake that she made herself.  It was about noon and foot traffic around the square outside of the shop had begun to pick up.  Penelope noticed Dash and Gilda run up to the square, both out of breath.  “That was really fun!” she heard Dash say.  “I haven’t been pushed like that in ages!”

        “That’s because your wimpy team doesn’t challenge you enough.  When are you going to come back to the Speedsters, where you won’t automatically be the best?”

        “There are too many rules there.  Plus, I can’t just leave all my friends on the team.”  Dash looked around the square, “Hey, do you mind just chilling here for a bit?  I’ve been needing to run some errands and since we’re in town now’s the perfect time to do them.”

        “Yea, sure.  I guess I’ll find something to do.  Hurry back tho’, I’m going to get bored easily.”  Dash ran off and Gilda looked around, already looking bored.  She noticed a produce stand with a  few people standing around it and walked over, standing behind the crowd.  Without warning, Gilda screamed “SNAKE!”  The effect was immediate, sending everyone around the cart scattering in panic and fear.  

        Penelope glanced up over her milkshake, but didn’t see any snake.  Gilda had just pulled a trick on them, and a pretty nasty one at that.  No, no…she thought.  I can’t judge her like that.  Remember what Tori said, I’m still just feeling jealous.  Penelope noticed Gilda eyeing an apple sitting on the top of the cart.  She watched as Gilda glanced around to see if anyone was watching, then swiped the apple off the cart.  Gilda was stealing!  No!  No judging.  She might pay for it later.

        Gilda walked along the square, munching on the apple she had taken and laughing to herself.  She didn’t notice Phoebe, who was walking along the same path watching a bird or something up in the sky.  The two collided and fell to the ground, Gilda dropping her apple in the dirt.  “Why don’t you watch where you’re going, huh?!”

        “Oh…I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to bump into you like that.  Are you okay?”

        Gilda scowled at Phoebe.  “You made me drop my food!  Now I’m going to be hungry thanks to you!”

        “Oh my, I didn’t mean for anything like that to happen.  I’ll get you a new one…if that’s what you want.  I’m so sorry…”

        “’I’m so sorry’” mocked Gilda, imitating Phoebe’s shy tone of voice.  “Instead of trembling why don’t you just get out of the way next time and save me the trouble of yelling at you?!”


        “’I…I…’  You’re so pathetic!  I don’t know why Dash even hangs out with losers like you!”  Tears began to well up in Phoebe’s eyes.  Gilda laughed, “Oh, is the little baby going to cry now?  Does the little baby want to run home to mommy?”

        Phoebe burst into tears and ran off, with Gilda laughing at her as she did so.  “That does it,” said Penelope to herself.  “It looks like I’m going to have to handle things my own way.  Penelope Style!”

*        *        *

        Gilda and Dash both stood outside of Sugarcube Corner, where they had been called by Penelope.  “What’s this all about?  Why did that annoying girl call us here?”

        “If I know Penelope, I have a very good guess as to what’s in store.” said Dash, smiling.  She grabbed Gilda’s hand and pulled her through the door, “Come on!  I’ll bet that you’re going to love it.”

        Inside the shop was decorated with all manner of party supplies; balloons, cake, presents, even pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.  “You made it!!” shouted Penelope, grinning from ear to ear.  “I was unsure of what to do for a while, but I finally came to the decision to throw you a giant welcome party!”  She held out her hand for Gilda to shake.

        “So…this party’s for me?  That’s kinda cool.”  She reached out and grabbed Penelope’s hand and screamed as an electric shock ran up her arm.  Penelope giggled and flashed the joy buzzer she had been hiding in her hand.

        Dash laughed, “The old joy buzzer trick.  Very well done Penny…I wouldn’t have thought of that one myself.”  Dash motioned for Gilda to follow her, “C’mon Gilda, I need to introduce you to the rest of my friends.”

          Gilda rubbed her hand and glared at Penelope.  “Don’t think that I don’t know what you’re up to.”

        “Well that’s good!  This wasn’t supposed to be a surprise party or anything!”

        “That’s not what I mean.  I’m keeping an eye on you.”  Gilda turned and walked over to Dash, putting her arm around her and leading her away from Penelope.

        “Umm…Penelope?”  Penelope turned to see Phoebe standing behind her.  “I know you’re just trying to be nice, but was all this really necessary?”

        “Don’t you worry your silly little head off Phoebe.  Just let your Auntie Penelope take care of things.”  Penelope strode off to join the festivities.

        “But I’m a year older than you…” Phoebe said to no one in particular.

        Meanwhile, Penelope was gearing up to make an announcement to everyone in the room.  “Attention everyone!  This is Dash’s very dear friend Gilda, who’s in town for the weekend to visit.  Let’s all give her a huge welcome and make this the best welcome party that she’s had!”  She noticed Gilda eyeing the treats and confectionaries and bounced over to her.  “Help yourself, everything here is set out for you.  It is your party after all!”

        “Well then…Don’t mind if I do.”  Gilda grabbed a few sweets from a jar.  “Vanilla lemon drops, my favorite.”  She popped them into her mouth and immediately gagged.  “H-H-HOT!!”

        “Gilda, the punch!” said Dash, trying to contain laughter.  Gilda rushed over to the punch bowl and grabbed a glass, guzzling down the drink quickly.  Or at least, she tried to until she realized that it was all dribbling down her front.

        “What do ya know?  Someone replaced the lemon drops with spicy jawbreakers and put the punch in a dribble glass.” said Penelope, observing the scene.

        Dash burst out laughing, “Priceless!  That really is a priceless joke right there!”

        Gilda wasn’t amused, and was visibly starting to get angry.  Penelope, noticing this, hopped over to the cake and lit the candles, “Hey Gilda, wanna blow out the candles?  Then we can all enjoy the cake!”

        Everyone gathered around the cake to watch as Gilda blew out the candles.  She took a deep breath and knocked out all the candles in one shot.  Gilda smugly smiled and acted like it was nothing, then looked surprised as the candles burst into life again.  Frowning, she blew them all out again only to have them spark back to life.  This happened a couple more times until Gilda was gasping for breath, winded.  Penelope looked at the candles, “Re-lighting birthday candles, huh.  Wonder who could have done that?”

        “Yeah…” said Gilda, grumpily.  Her voice was ripe with irritation. “I wonder who could have done that.”

        “C’mon Gee…You aren’t down over a few little pranks, are you?”  Dash clapped her on the shoulder.  “Let’s get some cake, shall we?”

        “Who’s up for some party games?” shouted Penelope, holding onto a blindfold and a felt tail meant for pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.  “I think that we should let Gilda go first, seeing as it is her party after all.”

        Gilda, trying to regain her cool, sauntered over to where Penelope stood and grabbed the felt tail from her.  She was about to start walking over to the poster they were supposed to be pinning the tail on when Penelope slipped the blindfold over her head and began spinning her around in circles.

        “Hey!  What are you doing?  Get off me!”

        Penelope stopped spinning Gilda.  “But this is how you play, silly!  Now just walk straight ahead, the poster’s right there!”

        “Now just walk straight ahead,” said Gilda, mockingly.  “This is probably another prank, isn’t it?  I’ll show you, I’m going the other way.”  Gilda turned amid Penelope’s protests and forged on in the opposite direction of the poster.  Because she had the blindfold on, she didn’t notice a small patch of wet floor from where someone had spilled a drink.  She stepped on it and slipped, falling to the floor with a crash.

        “Uhhh…Gilda?”  Penelope pointed at the felt tail sticking to Gilda’s nose.  “I think you pinned the tail on the wrong end.”  Everyone laughed except for Gilda, who tore off the blindfold and got to her feet, angrily.

        “So this is your idea of a good time?!  I’ve never been to a lamer party before, especially with a group of people as lame as you are!  But Penelope, you are the Queen Lame-o with your weak little party pranks!  Do you really think that you can just make me lose my cool with pranks as lame as that?  Dash and I are ten times cooler that all of you put together.”  She turned to the door, motioning Dash to follow her.  “Come on Dash, we’re blowing this pathetic party.”  Gilda noticed that Dash hadn’t moved and was standing with her arms crossed.  “I said let’s go!  We’re leaving.”

        Dash frowned at Gilda, “You know what Gee?  I was the one who set up all of these party pranks, not Penelope.  I guess that makes me Queen Lame-o.”

        “Come on Dash, you’re kidding me, right?”

        Dash shook her head.  “They weren’t all aimed at you, of course.  It was just sheer dumb luck that you managed to set all of them off.”

        “No way!  This was all a set-up by that annoying Penelope!  She was trying to trip me up, trying to make a fool out of me!”

        “Who, me?  I just threw this party to try and cheer you up is all, I had no idea that Dash set up so many pranks!”

        Dash walked up to Gilda.  “You know what, you really didn’t need anyone to make a fool out of you.  You did a wonderful job of that on your own.  This really isn’t how I expected one of my old friends, my girlfriend specifically, to treat all of my new friends.”  Gilda tried to say something, but Dash cut her off.  “Listen, these guys are my friends, and if they aren’t cool enough for you to hang out with, then I think that you should go find some new cool friends somewhere else.”

        Gilda was silent for a moment, then turned on Dash.  “Yeah?  Well, consider us through!  You’re such a flip-flop; cool one moment then lame the next!  I can’t believe that I even considered dating a loser like you!  We’re over Dash, and unless you feel like ditching your lame friends over there and coming with me then I don’t ever want to see you again.”

        “Well I guess this is goodbye then.”  Dash walked over to her friends, who were standing slack jawed at the exchange between the two.  Gilda looked at Dash, then let out a frustrated noise and stormed out of the bakery.  After the door had closed behind her, Dash spoke up, “I’m sorry everyone, I didn’t mean for things to happen like this.  Sorry for ruining the party.”

        “It’s not your fault Dash,” said Tori, putting her hand on Dash’s shoulder.  “You didn’t know that Gilda was going to react like that.  Are you going to be okay?”

        “Yea…of course I will.  I mean, I am the toughest in the entire school.  It’ll take a lot more than that to keep me down.”  The group all cheered and the party started back up in full swing.  Everyone was having a blast, except for Dash, who was wrapped up in the events that just took place and what it meant for her.  Did she do the right thing by breaking up with Gilda?  Sighing, Dash excused herself from the party and began the long walk back to the dorm.  Where was she going to go from here?

Author’s Note

        Alrighty then…got Part III out of the way in record time!  Hope it’s as good as the other two.  Anyways, down to more serious matters, i.e. Part IV.

        This one might take me a bit longer than this one did because I don’t have an episode to base it off of, not saying that I need one but still…


        This next Part will be entitled Rain on the Farm, so you can guess what that’ll be about. Things I can say will happen in the next two or three parts:

-The Great and Powerful Twixie will be showing up, so she might be a recurring character.

-The CMC will show up, just not entitled as such.  For naming purposes, AppleBloom=Annabelle, Sweetie Belle=Serenity, and Chicken Scootaloo=Summer.

Also:  I am taking requests for OC’s to show up, nothing too big, mostly background ponies, but as pointed out by the comments, this is lacking in males, so if anyone wants to suggest a pony to show up (that’s not Doctor Whooves…trust me, I’ve tried), then just leave a comment with a link to a bio or just post the bio altogether.  I can’t guarantee that anyone will make it into the story, but feel free to suggest some!

Anyways, now that that’s all out of the way, I hope that y’all have a fun time…wait…I can’t say have a fun time reading this, you’ve already read it...Uhhh…look!  A distraction!


P.S.:  I’m sorry to all of you who didn’t like this one because it is Griffon the Brush Off almost exactly like the show, but it’s necessary for certain points in later plots.  The only other episodes I’m planning making like this will be Ticket Master and possibly The Best Night Ever, but seeing the feedback for this part I will not be doing it in the same style that it’s done here.  Promise.