Disclaimer: I don't own My Little Ponies or anything related to it. That belongs to Hasbro or whoever it is that owns it.
Twilight looked down at her schedule, then back up to the building in front of her. Bright red letters spelling “Equestrian High” stared back at her, and she resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Who had even come up with a name like that? Were all other possible options so overused that the school had to be named after an ample activity involving horses? The idea seemed to border between idiocy and stupidity, and the more she thought about it, the harder it became for her to keep from snapping at the ridiculous name.
That small irk aside, she couldn't believe that she was actually standing outside the prestigious school. After not receiving any replies regarding her application she had thought the worst, but now here she was, ready and eager to begin. Not even the school's odd choice for a name could take away from her excitement.
Folding the paper containing her courses in half, she took the time to examine herself before stepping inside the school. She plucked a thin piece of string that had somehow landed over her vest and carefully pressed both hands over her skirt, making sure that there were no wrinkles on her school uniform. Using the front door as a mirror she checked her hair and, satisfied, took a deep breath, reached for the handle, and pulled the door open.
Cool air greeted her upon her entrance, the school’s central air conditioner working at full power even in the early hours of the morning. She was surprised to see so many people already crowding the halls. There were still around forty minutes to go before the first bell rang. Back in the other school, the halls would have remained empty until five minutes before classes began, when a sudden throng of students would have come rushing through the main doors, toppling anyone in their path as they hurried to the different homerooms. Yet it seemed as though here everyone took a more responsible approach and arrived early. The brochures her parents had given her about the school had not been lying when they stated that discipline of the student body was Equestrian High’s most revered factor.
Twilight made her way through the crowd, but she did not get far before two girls crossed her path. She instantly became tense, but relaxed as they greeted her and formally welcomed her to her new school. It surprised her to see that one of the girls had dyed her hair two different colors, and it cascaded down her back in a clashing wave of pink and dark blue. The other girl had short, fair hair, with a bright streak of white running down the side. Both were honorary students, they said, and it was their pleasure to welcome Twilight to Equestrian High.
When Twilight asked their names, the long-haired girl laughed.
“Here in Equestrian High,” she said, “students are encouraged to create their own identities. I ask everyone to call me Bon Bon.”
“You can call me Lyra,” the shorter-haired girl said, grinning from ear to ear.
Twilight smiled against herself and, finding no other words to say, settled for, “That sounds nice.”
“You can work on creating a new name for yourself, too,” Bon Bon told her. “You can let us know once you come up with one.”
“My name is Twilight.”
“That’s a good one!” Lyra said. “How did you come up with a new name so fast like that?”
“I didn’t-” Twilight began, but stopped when she heard Bon Bon chuckling.
“I think you can do better, dear. That sounds so dark and depressing.”
“It’s a cool name,” Lyra shot in Bon Bon’s direction, her tone taking a sharp edge. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“I was just saying that she might want to come up with something that sounds a little more cheerful.”
“Like what, something that sounds like candy?”
Twilight remained silent as the argument became more heated. She turned to the other students around her. They had all remained silent, seeming to ignore the conversation and carrying on with their own activities. Discussions between Bon Bon and Lyra were nothing new to any of them, or so it seemed.
After a while Lyra turned back to Twilight and, seeing her hesitant expression, began to laugh. “Sorry about that, Twilight. The two of us end up fighting over just about everything.”
“Don’t tell her that!” Bon Bon cried. “She’ll think we’re weird or something.”
“Anyways,” Lyra continued, “we’re supposed to welcome you to Equestrian High and make your first day as easy as it can be. Is there anything you might need?”
Now that Lyra mentioned it, Twilight thought, she could use some help finding her locker. She had memorized her assigned locker number and the locker combination, as well as the number for all her classrooms, afraid that she would look like the biggest dork in the world carrying her schedule on her first day. Now that someone had volunteered to direct her, she would do well to take the offer. On the other hand, asking for help from the two girls would mean being around them longer, and even though deep down they seemed nice, she would rather not be stuck in another argument again.
Thinking it over quickly, she said, “If you could just point me in the direction of my locker, I’d appreciate it. I should be able to manage everything else on my own. I don’t want to take up any more of your time.”
Lyra smiled at Twilight. “Nonsense, we live to help new students. Here, let me see your schedule.”
Sighing inwardly, Twilight reached into her bag and handed Lyra her schedule.
“It’s kind of odd that you use a suitcase for school,” Bon Bon stated rather bluntly.
“It’s called a school bag,” Lyra replied in a dry tone. “Don’t go starting another argument.” She returned to the list, her eyes darting from side to side as she scanned through it. Her mouth split into a grin. “Cool, we take Biology together. That class is going to be so awesome!”
“We’re studying mammals this year,” Bon Bon told Twilight, “and Lyra here has a thing for ponies.”
She’s not the only one, Twilight thought as she smiled at Bon Bon. Who names a school after horses?
“I’m on the school equestrian team,” Lyra stated proudly, causing Twilight to snap back to attention. “Hey, you should think about joining, Twilight!”
Twilight smiled weakly. “I’ll think about it. About my locker…”
“Oh, right, it’s just around the corner to the left, you can’t miss it. Your homeroom is down the hall, second door to the right. The first period bell rings in ten minutes, so don’t be late.”
“Right,” Twilight said, taking back her schedule and starting to walk away. “Well, thanks for the help. I’ll see you girls later.”
“We should eat lunch together,” she heard Lyra call after her. “We can talk more about the team then!”
“Honestly, Lyra, leave her be. Can’t you see that you’re embarrassing the poor girl?”
“Look who’s talking. You’re the one who made fun of her name.”
Ignoring the quarrel behind her, Twilight hurried on her way. Other students around her were offering her sympathetic looks, causing her face to grow warm. Turning around the corner, she quickly spotted her locker and hurried to it, wanting nothing more than to blend in with the background and forget the odd encounter with the other two girls. Lyra and Bon Bon had seemed friendly enough, and deep down she had enjoyed their company, but she would rather go through her first day without any further embarrassment.
Opening her locker, she placed all of her school materials inside except for the books she would need for her first class. As she emptied her school bag she noticed everyone around her begin to move away, no doubt making their way to their homerooms. Not wanting to arrive later than the whole classroom, and making sure that she wasn’t forgetting anything, she closed the locker, jumping in surprise as a new smiling face popped up next to her. Two cerulean-colored eyes shinned bright with excitement as a new, shorter girl with pink hair leaned close to her.
“Hello,” Twilight began, taking a step back and laughing nervously. “Can I help you?”
“You’re the new girl, aren’t you?”
Twilight hesitated, and then muttered, “Yes,” in a weak voice. The next thing she knew, the breath had been taken out of her as the other girl enveloped her in a crushing hug.
“You’re finally here! I’ve been waiting forever for the principal to assign someone to the locker next to mine. Now we can be locker buddies! Isn’t this exciting?”
Unable to breathe, Twilight merely gurgled in response. The other girl suddenly released her and turned around, and Twilight took the opportunity to catch her breath.
“Hey Dash, come here for a second!”
No longer seeing bright spots in her vision, Twilight shook her head and turned just as another girl walked up to her. If she had been worried before that Bon Bon and Lyra were violating the student code with their dyed hair, she had yet to see how far some of the other students were willing to push their luck. This “Dash” had taken just about every color in the world and applied it to her hair, the end result being that she now sported a rainbow over her head.
“What is it, Pinkie?” Dash asked, stifling a yawn. “I was busy.”
“Sure you were, you little sleepyhead,” the pink-haired girl all but sang. “I want you to meet my new locker buddy.” Turning back to Twilight, she let out a squeal as she hopped from one foot to the other. “She just got here!”
Dash looked at Twilight with a bored expression. Yawning widely, she wiped against her eyes and said, “Does the new girl have a name?”
“Of course she does, silly. Everyone has a name. It’d be pretty hard to know who she is if she didn’t have a name.”
Dash rolled her eyes, not seeming to take in a word of what the pink-haired girl had said. She nodded in agreement, saying, “Right, Pinkie,” without paying attention. “So what’s her name, then?”
“My name is Twilight.”
“That’s a good one,” the pink-haired girl said, echoing Lyra’s earlier sentiment. “How long did it take you to come up with it?”
Twilight sighed in annoyance. This again? Sure, it was not the most common name, but did everyone have to assume that she had made it up?
She took a deep breath, prepared to explain to the overexcited girl that it was her real name, when a voice behind her caught her attention.
“Are you Twilight? Twilight Sparkle?”
Turning around, Twilight found another girl, one with shoulder length blonde hair, waiting for her to reply. She was about to answer when she suddenly stared into the other girl’s eyes. One of them was focused on her; the other one was clearly staring off into space in the complete opposite direction. Struggling not to show her surprise and insult the girl in the process, Twilight merely nodded in silence.
“Ooh, she’s good,” Twilight heard the pink-haired girl say to Dash. “How did she know her full name?”
Had things been different, Twilight would have closed her eyes and sighed in exasperation. Instead, she kept her gaze locked on the other girl, fighting to keep her face composed.
The blonde-haired girl did not seem to notice her unease, smiling broadly at her and moving closer to Twilight. “I’m supposed to bring you to the principal’s office,” she said, her voice seeming to bounce off the walls as she spoke. “The principal wants to have a word with you.”
Dash began to laugh. “You’re in trouble on your first day before first period even begins? That must be a new record.”
Ignoring her, Twilight frowned at the blonde-haired girl. “But I haven’t done anything, and the first bell is going to ring any minute now! I have to get to class!”
The other girl did not seem to hear her. She grabbed Twilight’s hand and yanked her away from the other two girls. Twilight struggled at first, but the surprising force on the other’s hold made her quickly give up and she let herself be dragged away.
“Bye, Twilight,” the pink-haired girl said, waving frantically after her as Dash continued to laugh. “We’ll see you at lunch!”
Great, Twilight thought, blushing furiously as the eyes of the few students still in the hall fell over her. From somewhere overhead the bell began to ring and she groaned out loud. I’m embarrassed to death and tardy, both on the first day. Could things be any worse?
Disclaimer: I don't own My Little Ponies or anything related to it. That belongs to Hasbro or whoever it is that owns it.
The school office came into view and the blonde-haired girl let Twilight go as she knocked on the door. Hearing a voice inside telling them to pass, she held the door open and Twilight stepped inside.
It was a small office, with a few chairs in one corner of the room and a desk resting on the other. On one side of the desk stood a tall stack of papers that had been placed over a tray, the word IN embedded on it. A woman sat behind the desk, peering down through her spectacles and slowly typing into a computer. She looked as though she were in her late thirties to Twilight, and yet her hair seemed to have lost all color, reflecting a bright silver hue and seeming completely gray. She must have had bright auburn hair at one time, Twilight reasoned; upon closer inspection she could make out a few red-colored strands mixed within, as well.
The woman turned to the door, saw Twilight standing there, and gestured for her to come in.
“Can I help you?”
The blonde-haired girl stepped into the office and moved next to Twilight. She smiled at the woman and said, “Here she is, Miss Mare. The principal sent me to get Twilight Sparkle, and I brought her back as soon as I found her.”
Seeing the blonde-haired girl, the woman hesitated before offering her a smile. “Thank you for your help, dear. Why don’t you go off to class before you arrive late? And remember to stay out of trouble. No more cutting in line just because you want to buy muffins, okay?”
“Okay, Miss Mare!” The blonde-haired girl turned to Twilight, reached down, and clasped both of her hands, shaking her enthusiastically. “See you later, Twilight!” she shouted, leaving the room and slamming the door behind her.
Twilight rubbed her aching arms as she turned to the woman behind the desk. Seeming to read her thoughts, the woman said, “She might be overenthusiastic, but she means well, and she’s a very sweet girl. She’s always willing to help whenever she can.”
“Right,” Twilight said, brushing herself off. Looking down on the desk she saw a small plaque with a name written on it. Reading it, she frowned.
“It says Marie.”
“Pardon, dear,” the woman said. “I didn’t quite catch that.”
“Your name,” Twilight said, pointing to the plaque. “It’s Marie, but that’s not what she called you.”
“Oh, yes,” the woman replied with a laugh. “She started mispronouncing my name one day and it seemed to stick with her, so I don’t really say anything. Now,” she added, standing up and moving towards the opposite door, “why don’t you make yourself comfortable while I let Celestina know you’re here?”
“Celestina?” Twilight asked, blinking in surprise.
“She’s the school principal. Miss Celestina has been in charge of running the school since its foundation. Her sister was also a part of the school administration for the longest time, but she’s no longer with us.”
For one brief moment, the woman’s good-natured expression became somber, but it quickly changed as she laughed once more. Motioning for Twilight to sit down, she said, “I’ll let you know once she’s ready for you.”
Twilight sat on one of the empty chairs as the woman moved to the next room. Now alone, her mind began to recall the events of that morning. She had been introduced to more people than she had expected before classes had even begun, and she didn’t know what to make of all of them. From Lyra and Bon Bon, with their bickering couple behavior, to the pink-haired girl’s giddiness, Dash’s indifferent attitude, and the blonde-haired girl’s overwhelming enthusiasm, all of the girls she had met seemed rather peculiar in their own way. It made her wonder if the entire school was full of students like that, or if it had just been a coincidence and she had attracted all of the odd students on her first morning.
Thinking it over only reminded her of how much embarrassment she had been subjected to in such a short amount of time. Pushing the thoughts away, she began to wonder what she was doing in the principal’s office in the first place. Had she really done something that was against the rules? She had originally thought that the pink-colored stripe running down her hair would have been unacceptable and was sure to get her in trouble, but after meeting all of the girls, she rationalized that it would be more than permitted within the school regulations.
What, then, had she done to warrant the principal wanting a word with her?
The door across from her opened, startling Twilight out of her trail of thought. Marie had returned and was beckoning her with a wave of a hand. Almost instantly Twilight stood, accidentally kicking the chair in the process and knocking it over. Blushing furiously, she knelt down and picked it up, then walked up to the secretary, who had a small smile on her face and was holding back laughter for the young girl’s sake. Not daring to meet her eyes, Twilight quickly walked by her, stepping into the other office and coming face to face with Celestina.
There was a moment where the woman sitting behind the desk feigned ignorance of Twilight’s presence, her eyes trailing over the documents on the table as she continued to write over them. Then she lowered her pen and raised her gaze, and Twilight felt everything around her come to a sudden halt. Her eyes remained frozen on the woman before her, who seemed even younger than the secretary outside, but radiated an air of grace and maturity well beyond her apparent years. Two amethyst-colored eyes caught Twilight’s gaze as the woman smiled, the light shinning in through the window illuminating her features and refracting through her hair, giving the impression that it was many colors at once.
“You must be Twilight Sparkle,” Celestina said. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you. My name is Celestina, and I’ll be your new principal here in Equestrian High.”
Twilight remained silent, her mouth hanging slightly open as she gaped at the woman before her.
“Twilight,” Celestina mused, tapping her chin with a finger. “That is a very interesting name. You must tell me how you came up with it on your very first day.”
At her words, Twilight snapped back to attention. The awe she had felt upon first seeing Celestina suddenly disappeared and anger came rising to the surface as she clenched her hands and furrowed her brow.
“I didn’t come up with it!” she screamed. “That’s my real name! Why does everyone keep asking me that stupid question?”
The words were followed by a deep silence. Celestina merely stared at Twilight in surprise, and it was not until Twilight had taken a few calming breaths that she realized she had just shouted at her new principal. Now Celestina was gazing at her with a slight frown on her face, and Twilight felt her heart stop as a growing numbness began to spread through her.
“That was…I didn’t…I mean, I’m sorry…”
But the more she struggled, the more pronounced the frown on Celestina’s face became. No longer able to find words to aid her, Twilight lowered her gaze and fell silent.
You really did it, Twilight, she thought. Way to go. This is going to get you expelled for sure.
Seconds ticked by as she waited for Celestina to respond, sure that her days in Equestrian High had quickly come to an end before they could even begin.
The sound of someone stifling their laughter caught her by surprise, and Twilight dared to lift her eyes and look at the woman sitting behind the desk. Sure enough, her new principal was trying to suppress her laughter and failing, and it began to ring in the office around them as Twilight held her breath.
“Goodness,” Celestina said, wiping a tear from her eye, “I didn’t think you would get that upset from a simple joke.”
Her laughter continued, and Twilight felt her cheeks grow warm. Still, she let her body lurch forward, feeling as though all of her energy had been drained as she stood rooted on the spot. Celestina was laughing. That meant that she wasn’t upset, right? A part of her registered the change in mood, but an even bigger part began to wonder if it was normal for a school principal to play pranks on their students.
“I’m sorry,” Twilight said, mustering up as much dignity as she could. “I didn’t mean to shout. I’ve just been hearing those words all morning.”
Celestina nodded, her laughter dying away with a few last chuckles as she composed herself. “Yes, I quite understand. Here in Equestrian High we encourage our students to find a name that they feel comfortable for others to recognize them with. It began as a kind of joke among students, but over the years it’s become a school tradition, and we’ve allowed it up to now because it instills freedom of choice in our students. I regret to say that you will probably continue to be on the receiving end of such questions, at least until you manage to create another name for yourself.”
Twilight nodded. It all suddenly began to make sense to her.
“Would it be alright if I just keep my real name?”
“Well, you would be the first student in Equestrian High to do so, but it’s your choice,” Celestina said. “However, most students will still believe that to be your new name. Twilight Sparkle isn’t the most common name around here. Now,” Celestina continued, reaching for a folder that lay over her desk and opening it, “if you would, please have a seat.”
Twilight obeyed, taking one of the chairs in front of the desk and holding her breath as she turned to Celestina.
“Relax,” Celestina said, noticing how tense Twilight was. “You’re not here because you’re in trouble.”
“I’m not?” Twilight asked, surprised.
“Of course not. As a mater of fact, I’ve actually been looking forward to meeting you for quite some time.” Letting her gaze drop to the folder in front of her, Celestina's eyes darted through the document. "You have an excellent grade point average, high even among our standards, and your aptitude tests were on par with some of the best students that have graduated in the last few years. You’re just the sort of student that we’re looking for here in Equestrian High."
The praise would have normally caused Twilight to glow. Instead, she frowned.
“I don’t understand. If that’s true, then why didn’t I receive any message from the school back when I first filled out my application?”
“Yes, that was a mistake on our part,” Celestina said, giving Twilight a sad smile. “We had been going through a…difficult situation at the time.” Her voice suddenly choked and her eyes trailed to the side, the bright amethyst color within dulling over as her features became somber. Twilight, who had seen a similar reaction on Marie, believed that she knew the cause for the sudden change, but before she could ask about it Celestina seemed to come to, turning to her and smiling once more. “Your application was lost within a flood of mail the school received that week, and we didn’t get the chance to see it until just a few days ago when we made the necessary arrangements to bring you here. Of course, if you would rather return to your old school, I’d understand.”
“No!” Twilight said at once, her small outburst causing Celestina to draw back. Composing herself once more, she shook her head. “No, that won’t be necessary. I would like to remain here in Equestrian High.”
“I’m glad to hear that. We only accept the very best students here in Equestrian High, and I believe a student of your caliber is exceptionally rare. I am expecting great things from you, Twilight.”
This time Twilight allowed herself to relish in the praise. “Thank you, Miss Celestina. I’ll do the best that I can.”
Celestina smiled. “I know you will. And please, call me Celestina. I’d rather the students were as comfortable around me as possible.”
She stood, and Twilight, realizing that their meeting was over, did the same. Celestina reached across the desk and offered her hand, and Twilight, beginning to redden, slowly grasped it. She did not know why, but she felt strangely drawn to Celestina. It was not infatuation; Twilight had never felt such things for anyone before, and she wouldn’t even know it if she was bitten by the love bug. No, it was the familiarity of standing before Celestina, desiring nothing but the woman’s praise and doing all she could to earn it, that seemed to overwhelm her. It was as though she had lived this moment before, perhaps in another time, and had just been reintroduced to an important aspect of her life.
It was a crazy thought, Twilight knew, and she brushed it aside as Celestina’s ability to reach out to her students and command their admiration. There was something awe-inspiring about her - from the way she seemed to carry herself to the comforting look in her eyes - that made Twilight feel at ease. She felt as though she could trust Celestina with anything, and a desire to prove herself began to grow deep within Twilight, if only to be able to again relish in the smile Celestina was now giving her.
“Well then, Twilight Sparkle, it is my pleasure to officially welcome you to Equestrian High. Now, hurry off to class, and the best of luck to you.”
“Thank you, Celestina,” Twilight said. She moved towards the door and reached for its knob when she suddenly stopped, remembering the saddened look that had crossed Celestina's features. Turning back to her new principal, she said, “Marie told me about your sister. I’m sorry for your loss.”
Celestina blinked twice, her features reflecting confusion. “My loss?”
“She told me that your sister was no longer with you," Twilight explained, pausing slightly before continuing. "I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it-“
“Oh my,” Celestina said, raising a hand to her cheek. Her lips parted into a smile as she began to laugh once more. Twilight fell silent at once, surprised at this sudden change. Needless to say, this was not the reaction she had been expecting.
Okay, she thought in bewilderment, I guess that’s one way of mourning for loved ones.
“I am very sorry, Twilight,” Celestina said between chuckles. “I know how horrible this must look, but you misunderstood. My sister is not dead, bless her soul. She left the school after desiring to alter the established curriculum. We didn’t see eye to eye on the subject, so she decided to leave rather than cause a larger conflict. Many parents weren’t happy when they found out, but the whole situation has cooled down considerably these last few weeks.”
“Oh,” was all Twilight could manage to articulate. Needless to say, she had made a fool of herself once more. Reaching behind her, she tried to grab the doorknob but it seemed to fumble in place, refusing to open the door and let her escape her current humiliation.
“I thank you for your concern, though” Celestina said, her tone still jovial. “I’ll be sure to tell my sister you send her your best wishes the next time we speak.”
Feeling her face redden once more, Twilight continued to fumble with the knob, relieved when it finally turned and she heard the faint click of the door unlocking. “I’ll just go,” she said, smiling tensely as she opened the door. “First day of class, don’t want to be late.”
Not waiting for a response, she turned around. Walking past Marie, she stepped out of the office and into the now empty hall the blonde-haired girl had dragged her through just minutes before. Now finally alone, she closed her eyes and groaned. How many embarrassing moments did that make now? She thought it was five, but she had already lost count. It didn’t help when she remembered that first period had only just begun, meaning that the whole day still lay ahead of her. How many more times was she going to make a fool out of herself before the day came to an end?
Continuing down the hall, all she could do was hope that her luck began to change soon.
A/N: Thank you to everyone who has read this story and/or favorited it. Never did I believe that this story would have an audience, even a small one, but the amount of people who seem to have taken an interest in it leaves me astounded. I hope you've all enjoyed this chapter and look forward to the next one!