"Mom, I'll look dumb if I comb my hair." I groaned as my mom took a brush out of her purse and passed it back to me, urging me to brush my crimson-red locks.
I wasn't particularly excited for today, and by that I mean I was trying not to open the car door and hop out of our SUV. It was the first day of school at The Equestria Academy of Magic, and, to be honest, I was a little gobsmacked by the sudden change in scenery. I was so used to the picturesque landscape of the Crystal Empire, the towering precipices of quartz in the streets and the looming mountain range to the west. It was my home for almost sixteen years... but it's far behind me now. Canterlot seemed... a little less serene. Sure, you could put it on a postcard, but it just wasn't the same.
Dad was a lawyer, and a good one, or so he says. And back in the Crystal Empire he used to- well, he defended people, no matter how cruel. He got transferred to a firm in Canterlot out of the blue during the summer. Thankfully, it wasn't during the school year, otherwise I'd be a fish out of water. He wanted me to take up a career in law- "Inherit the family legacy", but I wasn't really interested his "legacy", and I'm still not. Mom didn't want that for me either.
"Oh, Jonathan! You'll look so handsome if you brush your hair to the side!" Mom, why did you always have to be difficult? I told her countless times before that I like my hair the way it is, but she wouldn't have it.
Mom was a wizard once, but when she was a lot younger- before she had my sister and me. You see, on my mother's side of the family, we're related to Regulus Star, a well-known wizard that used to serve Celestis Solare, the ruler of Equestria. But that was a very long time ago, back when my family was a little less detached, I suppose. My relatives are scattered around, but at one point we used to all live in Canterlot, or rather, that's just what my mother says, and they all used to go to go to the E.A.M before I was born. I watched the trees go by as we drove through the heavily wooded Everfree Hills, the twists and turns in the road kind of made my stomach churn, and to my displeasure, I didn't bring any nausea medication.
The E.A.M is a co-ed school, which was a big change. Back in Crystalline Academy, it was all boys, so I knew the concept of co-ed would certainly baffle me for the next couple of days. I let out a sigh of relief as the road began to straighten out, but then my body tensed up as I realized what that meant. The car began to slow down.
"Johnny, Johnny look!" My sister Beth pointed out the window, and I looked to where she was gesturing to reluctantly. Sure enough, there it was, The E.A.M.
Beth was pretty young at the time, about nine, and she had the whole little girl get up. Yeah, that's right, we're talking pink and purple bracelets, heart shaped necklaces, and frilly skirts. She was certainly a firecracker, and well, I loved her for that. What? Were you expecting that I hated her guts like most quintessential teenage boys would hate their sisters? Well... I do sometimes admittedly, but that's rare. She was really the only thing that kept me moderately sane on the way to The E.M.A, three excruciatingly painful hours of trees, a road with no center lines, and my own crazed, sleep-deprived thoughts. I was roused out of bed at five in the morning, five! You can only imagine how mind-numbing it was spending three hours listening to dad's unbearable pop from twenty years ago; hearing him talk about this one crappy dance tune that was 'All the rage back in his day!'.
"Geez..." That's really the only thing I could say as I gawked at the unnecessarily massive campus and humungous entranceway.
The front door was fit for a king; extravagant and ridiculously expensive looking. And to be honest, the crowd I was met with as I exited our vehicle blended in nicely. Every student wore a uniform, which didn't surprise me (In fact I think that was the only thing that didn't surprise me. We wore them back in Crystalline as well.), but they were white and decorated with gold embroidery, and the girls wore short skirts under their jackets. Their jackets had various nonsensical laurel designs that made their outfits look more like what you would wear to a ball, and it kind of sickened me in a way. It was like they were boasting about how rich they were without even speaking. Well, they were rich in my opinion. This is coming from the son of a wealthy lawyer, the typical father to a cliché boarding school student, so take what I say with a grain of salt... I tend to blow things out of proportion quite often.
I wasn't really the average wealthy kid. I hated over-the-top designer clothes, I hated the whole social structure of the rich kid world, and I hated it when I was looked down upon by the snotty little brats for not bending over backwards for them. As a matter of fact, I don't really consider myself to be "rich kid" material, I'm quite frugal. Back at Crystalline Academy I would often get my meals off campus at cheap fast food restaurants to go, usually curry, and eat it on a campus bench outside; feeding some ducks in a nearby pond with my naan bread as they passed by.
The campus was practically sparkling, in fact, it almost blinded me as I walked closer to the entrance with my family. Although, my parents didn't seem to mind (there I go again... exaggerating). As we walked up the steps, we were stopped by two young men who were probably in their senior year; they wore purple badges that read "Prefect", and the one on the left held a clipboard in his right hand.
"Hello, we are here to drop off our son, Jonathan Star?" My mother told the prefects. "This is his first day at school."
"Welcome. Your son will enjoy his time here, I can promise you that." The prefect without a clipboard smiled as he shook hands with my mom and dad. "You're just in time, Jonathan. We're about to begin breakfast shortly. We're having a buffet."
Before my parents could take another step towards the academy, they were halted by the prefect with a clipboard, who blocked our way. "I'm sorry, but you must say your goodbyes here."
"What?" I protested.
"At The E.M.A, we encourage independence," The prefect on the left stated. I could tell he had recited that line a thousand times before us based on his overly cheerful tone. "In order to fully absorb you into E.M.A environment, we have to let you take charge of your experience."
"My sincere apologies, sir. We must have overlooked that on the rules and regulations." My father remembered as he put my suitcase back down.
"It's not a problem, sir." The prefect on the right insisted.
"But, we can phone him, right...?" My mother chimed in, a layer of worry in her voice.
"Of course you can!" The prefect on the left replied as he adjusted his glasses. "We encourage independence, not abandonment."
I turned to my parents and stood silent for a moment; it was all so sudden. I expected to spend at the least a couple more hours with them, and the realization that this was it felt like I was a smoker going cold-turkey, completely numb and agitated. After a few seconds of quiet, my mother broke the silence and hugged me tightly. I felt her soft black hair rubbed against my head as she held me tight, and tears began to fill her sapphire blue eyes. Her voice cracked as she spoke "Your grandparents would be so proud of you right now..."
"I know, mom. Thanks." I muttered to her as she let go of me.
My dad wanted to look dignified in front of the prefects, which was understandable. He put his hand out to me for a shake, and as we shook he gave me a wink, signifying his yearning to hug me, like my mother did. "You behave, Jonathan. We'll phone you later tonight, okay?"
"Alright." I nodded, then turned to my little sister, who was beginning to cry as well.
"Johnny... when will I see you again?" Beth wept as she hugged my legs (she was far too short to hug me like a regular person).
"Don't worry, Squeak. I'll see you when Hearth's Warming Eve comes around!" I smiled as I looked into her emerald eyes and patted her on the head, ruffling her short brown hair a little. She smiled and wiped the tears from her eyes, handing me my duffle bag filled with school supplies, binders, and my laptop. As she backed away, I gazed at them all huddled together, with a big hole in the middle where I always stood when we got our pictures taken. "I'll phone you guys later, I promise."
"Bye, Johnny!" Beth hollered over to me as they walked back to the car; her right hand in mom's and her left in dad's. As she hopped in, I gave my mother one last glance; a tear rolled down her cheek as she peered out the window, and our SUV left the crescent shaped driveway near the entrance.
"Bye," I said with a shred of doubt in my voice.
The prefects told me to leave my luggage in a pile in the entranceway with the others, and I complied, although I wasn't too keen on the idea of leaving my laptop unattended. It was pretty dead, though, pretty much everyone was outside gathered in the center plaza. As I sped down the grand corridors towards the exit, I read some of the banners. Most of them were of the soccer team, The Rainbolts. Their symbol was, well... a multicoloured bolt of lightning and the banner read "Go Rainbolts Go!" like a roaring fan in a stadium. I scoffed a little as I remembered back when I was six when my dad painted himself purple and we went to an Equestrian Royals football game, and I was laughing at him the whole time. Remembering dad made me miss him more, and I kind of sniffled a bit as I power-walked down the wide corridor.
As I opened the door leading into the central park area, I heard a few voices whispering, and as I listened in, I could hear the malice in the tone of whoever was speaking. I turned back around and followed the voices, which led me to an intersection where I turned left towards the sounds. At the end of the hallway was three people, two of them were tough-looking teenage boys (both at least a head taller than me), and the other was a small, cute girl with a white wool scarf around her neck that cradled the lower portion of her face (which was odd, seeing as how it was still early September and still fairly warm), and she looked my age. The much bigger boys leaned her up against a wall and were violating her personal space by stroking her blue hair.
"Hey, cutie. Wanna hang out sometime?" The ginger-haired boy smirked as his face drew closer to hers.
"No." The girl covered the lower portion of her face with her scarf.
"Hey!" I yelled over to the bullies, and sure enough, they turned to me.
"Who the hell are you?!" The black-haired boy growled as he approached me menacingly.
"The name's Jonathan Star," I bellowed heroically, although, truthfully I was soiling myself. "Step away from her!"
"Heh, we ain't takin' orders from you, pretty boy!" The ginger-haired boy joined up with the black-haired boy and ganged up on me. It didn't look good at first, until-. "Yow!" The two boys wailed in pain as the blue-haired girl grabbed them both by the ear and twisted, a crunching sound echoed in the hall as she crushed their ears.
"I'm going to give you until the count of three to apologize to me," The girl whispered to them; a murderous look in her eyes. I cringed a little as I watched her tug a little harder. "And if you don't say sorry... I'm pulling them off."
"We're sorry! We're sorry! Please, don't rip our ears off!" The ginger-haired boy cried.
"Yeah, what he said!" The other boy agreed as he shook his head.
"Thank you." The girl muttered to them as she let go of their ears, and they ran off in a cowardly fashion; fleeing outside through the exit leading into the plaza. As she slowly drew closer to me, she looked up; her scarf still covering most of her face. "Thanks for distracting them."
"No problem, happy to help." I grinned at her, but my jolly mood didn't really register with her, and she ignored me; walking down the path I tread to get to her without a word. I called out to her. "Um- uh, hey! Wait up!"
"What?" She stopped and turned her head.
"Do you think you can, you know... be my guide? I'm kind of new here..." I said with a degree of shame as I looked into her amber eyes.
"Okay. Come." The blue-haired girl ordered me. She wasn't really shy, she was more contained than timid. But regardless of how weird she was, I followed.
"Hey, what's your name?" I asked as I walked with her.
"It's Mura Muranaka." The girl replied sharply as she turned the corner. Her speech was fast-paced and to the point. "Everyone calls me Murmur."
Mura and I gathered in the plaza along with the other students, who all huddled up beside a big statue of Regulus Star and conversed with one another. Mura and I didn't really do much talking, and she moved closer towards me as the gathering began to morph; creating space to accommodate the elite staff who were parading into the center of the group. They all looked like interesting characters, but... there was one that stood out to me. I heard a lot of things about her before moving here, and the name was on the tip of my tongue. She was average height, and she looked like a very knowledgeable person. Her rounded glasses were thick and clunky and her bangs just barely reached her eyebrows. I could definitely sense a theme to her, a very purple theme. Her long hair was purple, her ruffled blouse was purple, and her high heels were purple. In fact, the only thing not purple about her was her magenta highlights and black denim jeans. She approached the center of the gathering with a walk that screamed 'I'm on a mission.'.
"Hey, Mura... who is that?" I lowered my head to her height as I kept staring at the woman.
"She's Twilly Sparalk, the headmistress of The E.A.M."
"Welcome! Welcome to The E.A.M! If you do not already know, I am Twilly Sparalk, your headmistress." Headmistress Sparalk shouted to the student body as they backed away to make more space for the four other teachers who were lining up for her to introduce them. She stepped aside and pointed to each teacher individually. "On the far right we have Professor Chryssa Lee. She will be your Biology teacher, and she is the housemistress of Spriggan House."
I thought Professor Lee was definitely easy on the eyes. She wore a single strap black dress that went past her knees with black high-heels, and her blue-green hair looked like a tranquil lake at midnight. Her jade eyes complemented her sapphire necklace nicely, lighting up her tanned face and making it glow like a fireplace. A prefect raised a flag next to her. It was the house emblem; a green, woodland fairy on a circular wooden shield with a blue background.
"Next to her, is Professor Sombi Rasheer. He will be your teacher for Mathematics and Arcane Sciences, and he is the housemaster for Crystal House" Headmistress Sparalk pointed to a handsome and organized looking fellow.
Based on the infatuated expressions of the girls in the crowd around him, I could tell he was that attractive. He had flowing ebony hair that was brushed back- a windblown look, and his skin was a warm caramel colour. He had a five o' clock shadow that worked well on him, and he dressed stylishly, a buttoned-up grey vest over his black dress shirt, and a blood red tie that matched his burning, scarlet eyes. He wore grey dress pants and black shoes that were definitely made by a designer brand, ergo, they were way too expensive for my taste. To be completely honest, I was pretty jealous of the guy, and I'm sure every boy watching the girls pathetically moon over him were as well. Another prefect raised a banner next to Professor Rasheer, it was... well, a crystal of course. It was a black gem, and behind it was a grey shield with a red background
"And next to him is our Magic Self-Defence teacher, Professor Spencer Dragoon," Headmistress Sparalk motioned towards a casually dressed teacher- or rather- he looked a lot more like a student than a teacher. "He shall be this year's housemaster for Dragonflame House."
Professor Dragoon wore an untucked white dress shirt with a plain purple tie. His spiky, unkempt hair jutted out in odd directions but primarily went forward. He wore blue jeans with purple loafers, and as a matter of fact, the only thing I could see that distinguished him from a student was the patch of green hair under his lower lip.
"And next to me is Professor Shirman Armorè Sparalk. You may call him Professor Armorè to prevent any confusion." Headmistress Sparalk gestured to the tall and stoic man next to her. "He shall be your housemaster for Valiant House, Magic History teacher, and aid Professor Dragoon in Magic Self-Defence class."
I thought for a second about his name, then turned to Mura."Wait, Shirman Sparalk? Is this guy-?"
"He's Headmistress Sparalk's brother." Mura cut me off to deter conversation, and I shut up; not wanting her to try and rip my ear off.
Professor Armorè's hair was a sea blue with cyan highlights, and he was dressed in an all white outfit with the only exception of his cyan tie and gold pocket watch attached to a chain on his pea-jacket.There was an air of nobility to him, and he kept his hands firmly attached to his sides, it was obvious this guy was of some high social ranking- more than just a teacher. He was pretty good-looking too, which of course, made all the boys instantly jealous. Another prefect placed a flag with an emblem; a magenta sword over a blue badge-shaped shield with a white background.
"Now that we've introduced you to your housemasters and mistress's, I believe it is time to assign the newcomers a house. New students, in the inside pocket of your uniform, is an enchanted slip of paper with your name on it. The slip will be sucked up by this sphere in my pocket and your house will be decided once it has calculated the perfect house for you." Headmistress Sparalk explained as she reached into her pocket and lifted a crystal ball high in the air. "New students... raise your slips!"
I raised my slip along with the other new students, and in the blink of an eye, the crystal orb inhaled them all like a vacuum. It was pretty impressive, considering the fact that there were dozens of the sizeable pieces of paper, and the sphere fit in the palm of her hand.
"Your house will be chosen after breakfast." Headmistress Sparalk motioned to the house flags, and the prefects took them down. "Thank you all so much for joining us in our wondrous world of magic. I hope you learn, and most of all... I hope you build strong bonds that last a lifetime. New students, follow a prefect or pupil to the main dining area in the west wing."
"Awesome, I'm famished." I thought to myself. I guess being lonely and without sane friends makes you kind of hungry.