"If there's nothing else, then I welcome you to Canterlot High School."
"Thank you, Principal Celestia."
The new student, after shaking her hand, left the principal's office and headed for his first class of the day.
Not that he minded, seeing as he could do it.
Looking at the map of the school, he quickly made his way to the science labs. Along the way he attracted the attention of the other students, many of whom began whispering amongst themselves at the sight of him; immediately recognising him as a new student.
Finally finding the room, he saw that the rest of the class were waiting outside. Rather than mingle with them, he instead leant against a wall and tried to mind his own business.
Tried, being a key word.
"Hey there! My Pinkie Sense sensed there was a new guy in school! My name is Pinkie Pie! What's your name?!"
The new student looked to see another student, a girl with white skin and purple hair, pull her away.
"What have we said about scaring new students?"
Pinkie groaned, "You said not to do it."
"But how would I introduce myself and welcome them to CHS?!"
"You can do that without jumping in front of them and yelling in their face."
The purple haired girl walked over and extended her hand, "Please forgive Pinkie, she just gets excited at meeting new people. I'm Rarity."
The new student shook Rarity's hand, "Axle Rod."
"Pleasure, darling. You must be new around town, I don't recall ever seeing you."
"I'm from out of town, I'd rather not go into detail. It's not important."
"Fair enough. Would you like to meet my other friends?"
"I'd rather to keep myself to myself. I prefer being alone."
"Oh," Rarity replied, stunned at the rebuttal.
"Don't misunderstand," Axle replied, "I'd just prefer to settle in first."
Rarity seemed to brighten a bit,"I suppose that's understandable. You are new here, after all."
She began to rummage around in her bag and soon pulled out a blue plastic headband with what looked like yellow cat ears.
"Errr, what are they?" Axle asked.
"Pony ears," Rarity replied, "The school mascot is a horse and these are sometimes worn by students, every student owns a pair. It's sort of like an identity of sorts, something that identifies is as Canterlot Wondercolts."
Rarity noticed the hesitation in Axle's behaviour and was quick to reassure him, "You don't have to wear them darling, but no one will mock you if you do."
To prove the point, Rarity donned the pair she had in her hands, and got another out of her bag, "Take them darling, consider them a welcoming gift."
Well, I suppose there's no need to be rude, Axle thought.
"Thank you," he replied, taking them from her.
"You're welcome darling."
The door to the lab opened revealing a bearded man in a tweed mustard jacket, red tie, beige trousers and brown shoes.
"Enter into my realm of chaos, little children."
The students filed into the lab, with Axle trailing behind. As he passed the lab professor though, he eyed Axle with a curious, suspicious look.
Axle tried to ignore it and walked into the lab, quickly finding a seat next on his own while the teacher left in the opposite direction.
Getting out a notebook, Axle became very aware of many pairs of eyes looking at him and whispering things amongst themselves. He could make most of it out but the bits he did hear where nothing beyond 'Must be the new kid'.
Everyone quietly sat down just in time for the teacher to walk in.
"Good morning, everyone."
"Good morning, Professor Discord," they chorused back.
Discord looked at his papers and remembered the memo from Celestia informing him of the new student. Discord looked around the room and it didn't take long to spot him. The pony ears on the desk signalled him out.
"As you can see we have a new student," he began as everyone looked at Axle, "And as I'm sure all of us welcome our new Wondercolt to CHS."
The students in the room cheered and Axle could hear things like 'You rock!' and 'CHS RULE!'.
"Yes Miss Heartstrings?" said Discord as he noticed her hand in the air.
"I just thought that CHS's newest Wondercolt should introduce himself."
I'd rather shave my pubes off with a rusty razor blade than stand up and speak in front of people.
Discord seemed to realise Axle's reluctance and pounced, "What a wonderful idea Miss Heartstrings. Do come on up young man. Indulge us with your life story."
"Come on now, don't be shy," Discord added.
Axle hesitantly got up and walked to the front of the class, consciously aware of the many pairs of eyes watching him. He stood in front of the whiteboard and turned around and was about to introduce himself when the classroom door burst open.
"Sorry we're late."
Axle watched as a blue skinned girl with rainbow hair, and another girl with light amber skin and bacon hair burst in.
"Late again Miss Dash, Miss Shimmer," said Discord, unamused at their tardiness.
"Sorry Professor," the bacon haired girl replied.
Axle watched as Rainbow went to sit down next to Rarity while the bacon haired one went and sat at the table he was at.
Axle looked to his right and noticed Discord motioning for him to start talking.
"Errr yyyes. Hi people. My name is Axle Rod and as you can probably guess, I'm new here. I've been told this school is a friendly and welcoming place."
The students clapped a small bit including Discord. Axle felt a mix of embarrassment and relief. Embarrassment at having to stand up in front of people and speak but relief at not making a tit of himself.
"Wonderful Axle, wonderful," clapped Discord, "Though I must ask, since your accent is noticeably different,.....you are not actually a Prenchman, are you; and disguising your accent?
"Err, no. I'm definitely not a Fr-Prenchman."
"Oh good," Discord replied with a sigh of relief, "I do hate Prenchman, particularly bald ones with a penchant for giving speeches on how superior they think they are."
Axle ignored the odd remark and went back to his seat, next to the bacon haired girl, unaware how lucky he was to sit next to one of the most desirable and well liked girls in school.
"Hi, I'm Sunset Shimmer," she said, extending a hand.
Axle took the hand and shook it, "Pleasure."
Now sitting next to Sunset, Axle got out pen and paper like the other students did. Discord approached with a science textbook that is given to each student at the start of the year. A brand new copy as well with no rips, scuff marks or anything. It was in pristine condition. He wrote his name in the cover in the allocated space and waited for the lesson to begin.
"Today the topic of the lesson is space, the final frontier."
There was a murmur of excitement at the topic. The students knew that while Professor Discord was a highly respected theoretical physicist and cosmologist, his true passion was teaching and Discord had his own unique way of doing it. Professor Discord's lessons were never boring.
"Axle, what is space?" asked Discord.
Axle shrugged, "An area that isn't full?"
Axle felt a little tense at seeing the Professor's stern expression.
Which then morphed into a hearty belly laugh.
"I like you Mr Axle Rod. I foresee you doing well in my classes."
Discord left the room momentarily leaving the students alone. As he went outside however, he stopped as as thought crossed his mind.
Why do I feel like I've done this before? he wondered, Oh well, it's probably nothing.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom, Axle looked around the room expecting blood curdling glares due to seemingly becoming teachers pet; but as he looked around he saw everyone giving him the thumbs up and smiling at him.
"Way to go Axle," some of the students said enthusiastically.
Axle looked at them confused, "You're not all angry at me at getting praise from the teacher?"
The students looked at each other and shook their heads.
"What made you think we'd be angry at you?" asked Lyra.
"Well at my old school if a student got praise from a teacher they usually got their shins kicked or hit with a hockey stick in P.E."
"Well that's totally not cool," replied Rainbow Dash, "Besides, Professor Discord is the coolest teacher in school."
"Really?" asked Axle.
"Yeah, totally," Rainbow replied coolly.
"So I'm worrying over nothing?"
The students nodded and murmured affirmatives. Discord re-entered the room with what appeared to be a DVD in his hand.
"To start off with," he began, "We'll be watching a short documentary on the Universe, specifically black holes. Afterwards there'll be a worksheet with a few questions for you to answer."
Discord switched on the TV and put the DVD in the player. The whole class watched with keen interest as the documentary played, even Rainbow Dash showed an interest. The documentary was quite informative and well put together, if a little short at forty five minutes. During the documentary Discord went around the room putting a worksheet in front of each student.
The documentary finished and the students began filling in the worksheet. The questions weren't too difficult, not for Axle anyway. Questions included 'How large must a star be to become a Black Hole?' and 'What is the Electron Degeneracy Pressure?'
Discord allowed the students to talk to their desk partner, he didn't mind it so long as the students completed their work to a satisfactory standard. Axle and Sunset decided to help each other out to which she was grateful, even calling Axle 'egghead'.
Every student finished the worksheet in time for the bell sounding for morning break. The students packed their bags and made their way out of the room, handing in their worksheets on the way out.
As they headed out, Pinkie, Rainbow and Rarity caught up with Sunset and Axle.
"So did you enjoy your first lesson at CHS?" asked Sunset.
"Yeah it was good," he replied modestly.
"Good?" repeated Pinkie, "Professor Discord was really impressed with you, he has an odd sense of humour and it's really rare he laughs at another person's jokes."
"So what you're saying is that on my first day, I've got myself in the good books of the coolest teacher in school?"
"Yeah, that's pretty much it," summed up Sunset.
"So, where to now?" asked Axle.
"Next is break, then third period then lunch."
Lunchtime came fairly quickly and Axle was stood in line in the canteen, eyeing up what was on the menu. There was a reasonable amount to choose from but Axle settled on a simple choice of sausages and chips with a glass of water. Paying for his meal he quickly found an empty table, preferring to keep his own company rather than mingle with the students.
It wasn't long before his blissful peace and solitude was disturbed.
"Mind if we join you?"
Axle looked up to see the girls from earlier, as well as some newcomers. Despite being asked, he didn't get a chance to answer before the six girls sat down anyway.
"Go ahead," Axle replied. "Make yourselves comfortable."
"So, Axle" Rarity started, "How are you finding CHS so far?"
"Well enough. Who are you lot anyway?" he asked, motioning to the others.
"My other friend," replied Rarity, "Applejack and Fluttershy."
Axle looked to the girls, "Hi."
"Howdy partner," Applejack replied, extending a hand.
Axle took the hand but wasn't expecting the iron grip of the farm girl. His hand felt like it was being crushed in a vice.
"Pleasure," Axle replied, trying not to show signs of pain, "And you must be Fluttershy."
"Erm, yes.....it's nice to meet you," she replied timidly.
"What are your plans after school?" asked Sunset.
"I live there."
Axle looked up to see the girls all giving him unamused, deadpan expressions.
"What?" he asked, not sure what had gotten them miffed.
"There's no need to be like that," Sunset replied, "I was just asking what you were doing after school, you didn't have to be all snarky with me!"
"I wasn't, I was just being straight to the point."
"I was going to ask if you wanted to join my friends and I as we're going to the cinema after school but if you're going to be a jerk you can forget it!"
Sunset grabbed her tray and stormed off, soon followed by her friends; most of whom were giving him stern glares also.
Axle could only watch in bafflement as the girls found another table to sit at, leaving him alone once more.
The end of the school day finally came, much to Axle's relief. Word had gotten around about his spat with Sunset and the others and several other students were giving him the cold shoulder or 'accidentally' bumping into him. It was nothing he couldn't handle though, and he guessed by that by the end of the week they'd have forgotten all about it and moved on.
Walking outside of the school and into the courtyard, he passed the Wondercolt statue and onto the pavement leading into town.
Students were still giving him cold glares and muttering probably unpleasant things about him, but he paid them no attention as he had business to attend to in town.
He hadn't seen the girls though since fourth period, as his final lesson P.E. was a boys only group; where he met Flash Sentry.
Jumped up little prick, thought Axle, thinking back to meeting him and being accused of being rude to Sunset.
Before he could get far however, he heard a distinctively familiar voice.
Axle turned around to see a fuming Sunset approach, her face as red as her hair and clenching her fists, "Why did you hurt Flash in football?!"
"He says you deliberately tackled him hard on the shins!"
"He had shin pads on."
Sunset was almost beside herself in fury, her face becoming almost as red as her hair, "What difference does that make?!"
"If he didn't have them then his legs would have been severely bruised rather than quite bruised, so wearing shin pads made that difference."
"You're a jerk! I don't know why we bothered trying to be friends!"
Before Axle could respond, Sunset stormed off back to her friends who had heard the commotion. Amongst the things he heard from the girls included 'arsehole' and 'uncouth brute'.
Unfortunately, they were headed in the same direction as him.
As he walked into town, he could feel the eyes of the girls burning into his back; no doubt they were thinking all manner of unpleasantries about him.
The journey into town felt like it took longer than it did, no doubt to the girls following him, but once they reached the shopping district he could easily lose them in the maze of roads and alleyways. He just hoped that he wouldn't run into them again, at least not until school again tomorrow.
His destination was a supermarket to get some more food for the week, having not done a proper shopping trip, only recurring visits to the corner shop. Grabbing a trolley, he went inside and quickly worked his way around the store filling up the trolley with various foodstuffs including chicken breast, bacon, beef steak, chips, beef burgers, ice cream, crisps, biscuits, crackers, cheese, chocolate, ham, pasta, bread, milk, pizza, toilet roll, tea bags, assortments of vegetables and fruit amongst other things.
Pity I can't buy booze again.
As he was going around the store however, he caught a glimpse of red and yellow hair from behind some bakery shelves.
The creepy fuckers are following me!
Rather than confront them, he decided to feign ignorance and continue his shopping, deciding to grab a copy of a Blu-ray film that had peaked his curiosity.
"Daring Do and the Quest For The Sapphire Stone: Extended Edition. Sounds like Indiana Jones."
He put it in his trolley along with a copy of The Equestrian Times, a broadsheet newspaper, and a TV guide magazine.
Deciding his shopping was done, he headed for the checkouts and once again spotted one of the girls, this time Rainbow, hiding behind a display shelf.
Those girls must think I was born yesterday if they think I don't know they're following me.
He once more decided to feign ignorance and headed for the most empty checkout he could find and quickly unloaded his shopping onto the conveyor bet, eager to get home and get out of sight of the creepy stalker girls.
Paying for his shopping and bagging it up, he checked to see if the coast was clear before heading out.
Not seeing them he made his way to the exit, heading for home. The girls stalking having unnerved him and out him off wanting to look around a little more.
What he saw next though quickly turned annoyance into delight.
Rainbow, Sunset and Applejack were being spoken to by store security guards just beside the reception desk. Fortunately for him, the girls had their back to him allowing him a clean escape. He didn't know where the others were and didn't care, he just wanted to get home and have his tea.
"Tomorrow is going to be interesting."
Half an hour later, he was finally home having walked all the way. He unlocked the door to his apartment and went inside, locking the door behind him. His apartment was in a newly built block and featured a combined kitchen and living room, two bedrooms and bathroom. The living room also had access to a small balcony with views of the city centre and its towering skyscrapers, all lit up in their illuminated glory.
Now to put this shit away, he thought, looking down at his shopping.
Within a few minutes though, the shopping was put away and a quick shower later he began making his tea. A jacket potato loaded with grated cheese. Simple but tasty.
Before he could start though, his phone rang.
"Hello?" he said, answering it.
"Hi Axle, it's Shining."
"Hey Shining, how's things at the station?"
"Things are going OK. How about you? Are you settling in well?"
"I'm sensing something is bothering you."
"Just some teenage girls. Nothing I can't handle."
"Well if they keep causing problems then just give me a call and we'll sort it out."
"What else is troubling you? You sound aggravated."
Axle sighed, "I'm just not used to being in this situation again, dependant on others, having less control over my life."
"I understand, I'd feel the same way. But be rest assured that we will do everything we can to help you, but for obvious reasons you need to play your part."
"Yeah, I guess. Anyway, how's Twilight?"
"That translates to she panicking over Everton."
"Pretty much, you know how she is."
"Yeah, she a nice girl is Twilight."
"Nah, she's too young for me."
Uproarious laughter could be heard down the phone, "Only I and a few others would get that joke."
"A privileged few, though I get the feeling that the girls I mentioned are going to start poking their noses in. They were following me around earlier after I left CHS."
"Where did they follow you to?"
"The supermarket, and they followed me around inside but as I left they'd been collared by security."
"Good, you think they'll give you stick for it tomorrow?"
"If they had any intelligence they wouldn't bring it up, but that Rainbow Dash strikes me as someone who acts before she thinks, and that Sunset Shimmer I've discovered has somewhat of an interesting history herself."
"You're telling me, certain reports about that school have been sealed by people on a far higher salary than me."
"I take it you know nothing then, or can't tell me."
"I've only heard rumours, but I'd rather not discuss it given my job."
"Well, if there's nothing else, I'll leave you to settle for the night. Goodnight Axle."
Shining hung up and Axle put the phone back in his pocket.
At least I have some allies here. Tomorrow is going to be fun though.