In the week following the conclusion to the Friendship Games, the statue in front of CHS was repaired with the combined masonry know-how and research of Sunset and Twilight, with help from friends to actually build and sculpt the thing. There were hurdles and difficulties for which they needed a bit of extra help, but the job was done. Though not directly involved in the effort, the sirens proved surprisingly good at moving heavy objects when needed.
Twilight integrated into CHS quite easily (give or take no longer having her own little private room to flee to during scary moments), surprised and quietly ecstatic to find herself immediately welcomed by just about everyone!
Whether it was because she'd helped fix that statue, or because she looked like the other Twilight, however, was an insecurity she didn't verbalize.
*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*
Over at Crystal Prep, Twilight's loss was... not really felt all that much, actually, because nobody really spoke with her anyway. Five Shadowbolts felt the absence of her presence, but even for them, life moved on. Ironically, the one who most felt the loss was the one who had stopped caring what happened to her. Of course, she'd known from the start that Twilight was leaving them no matter what she did.
Principal Cinch sat at her desk, reflecting on Crystal Prep's 'win' in the insanity that was the most recent Friendship Games, and... nothing really came of it. Their reputation was intact, the school remained in outstanding shape, but, was it because of their reputation that they always won, or did they always win because Cinch had long prepared to in order to uphold that very reputation?
Certainly, the school's high standing made it easier to pick out the most talented kids in the state (Fluer De Lis being the daughter of a famed model and sure to carry the same standard for beauty, Indigo Zap having gotten in on her athletic prowess, polished by that determined attitude, Lemon Zest and her outstanding knowledge of sound systems, et cetera), provided their families could afford the higher tuition or had some means of earning their place (it was truly amazing what kinds of scholarships she'd seen cross her desk). Was this just to be expected, or was Cinch alone the reason that Crystal Prep remained at the top of most every field since she took the office? What did a reputation mean if one had to go out of their way to keep it?
Probably about as much as a 'star student' that moves on to 'better things' when already at the best school she'd ever set foot in. The arrogance of the thing had infuriated Cinch at the time, Twilight not even willing to wait until she'd graduated from Crystal Prep before going for the Everton Study, but clearly her time here meant nothing to her. In that spirit, it was so much easier to be cruel with Twilight; callous disregard for callous disregard, each of them a tool to the other to be used and thrown away when its purpose had been served.
However, as she understood now that it was not a matter of hubris, but of obsession, with wanting to learn all she possibly could, no matter the cost, perhaps some kind of explanation to Twilight was in order. The letter was already as composed as it was going to be, the only thing left to do being to send it. While she mulled that over, she pondered the other papers on her desk concerning what were now CHS students. Tuition was accounted for and everything.
She didn't recognize the names, so they almost certainly weren't among the competitors in the Wondercolts. Perhaps that was for the best, because with her thoughts on the exact magnitude of importance of Crystal Prep Academy's reputation, the question arose of whether or not all the skills, all the prowess, all the talent in Crystal Prep actually mattered. Surely, she would think, it did, for it was the abilities of her students that made Crystal Prep what it was, but if that was true, then what was Crystal Prep without students who could already prove themselves in one way or another? The purpose of an educational facility was not to boast minds that already knew, but had grown to learn. With her current approach, could Cinch say a single one of her students had done that?
She wasn't sure. No one would know, and no one would likely care, the school would keep its reputation, its abundant finances, everything they had here, but was it performing its function as a school to the utmost? She didn't think so.
That in mind, how would ordinary students perform here? If she accepted these two, these...
Blaze... Dusk... There's something of an ominous ring to those names.
If she accepted them to her school, would they excel with the resources the school had to offer, or be crushed under the high expectations? Two was a very small sample size, but small was a safe place to start. Two ordinary girls, two ordinary students from an ordinary school. If they could come to the most prestigious school around and do well, then she could be certain that the entirety of her work these last fifteen years had amounted to something more than so many glass cases full of metallic cups and columns.
For now, she would fill out these papers.
And at least with these two, she thought as she diligently went about her work, I won't have any more magic to worry about.
Fucking. Magic. That was a factor over at CHS, but not here!
Just two ordinary students at her school in exchange for the one incredibly bright one at theirs. Perhaps Twilight would even write her back to cooperate. She of all people could appreciate a will to experiment, after all.
*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*
In the Sparkle household, Shining Armor answered the door.
"Cadence? What are you doing here?"
Smirking, she reached out to tickle his chin. "You know what I'm here for..." Grinning with delight at the way he blushed, she brushed past him. "To see Twilight of course!"
"Oh, yea," he said with abashed giggle, "right." He was startled when Cadence stopped, looking askance at him over her shoulder. "What? Everyone knows she's a smart, talented, adorable girl, who wouldn't want to spend time with her?"
Turning to face him, Cadence lifted the front of her shirt, smiling brightly at the shade of red her boyfriend of three years took on.
"C-Cadence," he sputtered as he covered his eyes, "What are you doing?!"
"Just making sure!" That I'm not losing to your little sister.
They found Twilight, as ever, at her desk in her room.
"Hiya," she greeted with a peppy smile. "Mail call, Cinch asked me to give this to you."
Twilight held the envelope, glancing at Cadence as though asking permission to open the postage addressed specifically to her. Getting an encouraging nod, she opened it, looked it over, and smiled. "It, it says she pushed me because I was leaving Crystal Prep anyway, and that she regrets the animosity sewn in doing so. And, that if I'm not completely finished with that school, she'd like to keep in touch to know how I'm doing in CHS, how-" Twilight giggled. "She has 'how the highest-calibur product of Crystal Prep' crossed out here."
"Heh," Cadence said with a wry grin, "she must be out of Wite-Out again. I'll have to pick some up tomorrow morning."
"-how I fare in an ordinary school, academically and in general."
Shining crossed his arms, a note of disapproval in his voice as he looked at the letter with a raised brow. "I think you've done more than enough for Principal Cinch."
Twilight just smiled. "Maybe, but I've already picked up a lot about letting bygones be bygones at CHS, so why not? She says she's letting some CHS kids into Crystal Prep too, so if we compare findings, we might even learn something interesting!"
Shining wasn't sold, but one of those 'Let her do this? Please?' smiles from Cadence overrode his protective, brotherly instincts. "Well, I guess just sending letters would be okay."
One more reason Cadence didn't worry too much about Shining being more interested in his sister than her? Twilight might have blushed a little, but she smiled and giggled when Cadence kissed him on the cheek.