"Princess Mi-Amore Cadenza? Are you with us today?" Miss Silver Hoof of the Pony Princess Academy was the strictest teacher in the whole school. Princess Cadence snapped to attention, then shrunk back in her chair and squeaked, "Yes Miss Silver Hoof."
"Good. Now, as I was saying--" A loud voice blared into the classroom, announcing that there would be a school fundraiser and a contest to see how mant bits everypony could produce in the course of a week.
"All fillies attending the school absolutely must participate," the principal said in a polished accent. There will be several ways to earn bits, which your parents have been informed of, and will tell you in which category you have been placed when you return home."
A quiet rush of whispered comments rose from the princesses like steam from a kettle. Only Cadence was silent, as she thought worriedly about which awful thing she would be forced to do.
"Hush, fillies," Miss Silver Hoof said loudly. The girls quieted down guiltily.
"The filly who earns the most bits will be awarded a student of the year award, as well as two weeks of no homework." The announcement ended, and the rush of excited babble began again. Miss Silver Hoof had to stand on her stool and pound the desk with her hoof to get everyone to quiet down.
"Now, girls, we will have foalsitting, a craft fair, a play, and a talent show as the events." The fillies turned to their friends to inquire about who wanted to to what, and Miss Silver Hoof had to raise her voice slightly to continue. "As the announcement said, we have already notified your parents as to which category you have been assigned."
The fillies groaned and Princess Cadence glanced at the clock in the back of the classroom. Only five more minutes. She quietly began to gather her things, not bothering to listen to the teachers final words on the subject of the contest.
"Goodbye, class, it is time for you to go home now."
The princesses rose with a great scraping of chairs and chanted tonelessly, "Goodbye and thank you Miss Silver Hoof." before making a mad dash for the door, chattering and giggling all the way.
As usual, Princess Cadence was the last out the door. She carefully walked down the stairs to the exit and scanned the crowded road for her coach. It was painted white, gold, and purple, her family colors, and it shone brightly in the sun due to the generous polishing the driver gave it every day. At last she saw it, weaving through the traffic to meet her.
The coach pulled up and Cadence hopped in, pushing her saddlebag ahead of her in a cloud of magic.
"Hi, Florence," she said amiably to the light brown stallion who always pulled her carriage. "Anything exciting happen to you today?"
"Sorry, Princess," Florence said. "Unless you like listening to stories of me being stuck in traffic with your grouchy Prince Daddy griping at me the whole time."
Cadence giggled. "Is he really that bad?"
Florence gave her a wink as he continued to trot towards home. "Just awful, sometimes. You should see him when he's late for some important meeting."
Cadence laughed and tried to imagine her grumpy father ever doing anything but grousing at people. She'd seen a picture of him and her mother once, from before they were married, where he'd been laughing, but usually he just stayed in his study now, only coming out to shout at the servants or tell Cadence goodnight.
"We hef arrived at yewr distineshun mileddy." Florence said with mock formality. He swept a low bow as she hooped out of the carriage and handed her the pink saddlebag with a flourish. Cadence giggled and hurried toward the house, and Florence broke into a grin and shouted "See ya later, Kiddo!" as she skipped through the door.
Cadence sat in her favourite comfy chair in the living room, only half listening to her mother read the scroll which had just come from the school, announcing the students categories in the fundraiser.
"... And, because of this, we have decided that your daughter, Princess Mi-Amore Cadenza is best suited for the foalsitting category" Cadence snapped back to attention.
"WHAT?!" Surely she had misheard. Foalsitting? That didn't sound very good.
"You've been appointed as a foalsitter," her mother calmly repeated. "No, don't look at me like that. You'll love foalsitting. I did."
But you weren't the shyest pony in the world, Cadence wanted to tell her mother. And besides, you had to. you had younger siblings. She stared reproachfully at the pale yellow mare, as if it were her fault.
"You're first clients are... let's see... aha! The Sparkles! The only live a few blocks away. I think I might have known a Sparkle in middle school." Cadence stared at the floor. "Come on, Cadey, it'll be fun."
"I'm going upstairs," Cadence said, sliding out of her chair. "I have a test tomorrow." Of course, that wasn't true, but it was an excuse to leave to leave the room and do something else. Cadence trotted up the stairs, careful not to make too much noise because her father hated it, and went into her sunlight-filled room. She flopped onto her bed, humming a frustrated little tune, and absent-mindedly stroked her pet cat, Snowy, who was sleeping busily on her pillow.
"I'll bet you never had to babysit," she said to Snowy. Snowy opened one eye, flicked his tail, and went back to sleep.
"Oh, well. I guess I'd better do my homework," Cadence said to herself. She trotted downstairs to get her saddlebag, then moved to her desk and began struggling over her maths.