The next morning, a few days yet remaining before the Friendship Games, another assembly was called in the gym. This time, it was to reach a consensus regarding a very recent change in plans. Backstage, Sunset waited with her friends, the Dazzlings, and Vice Principal Luna, who eyed the prospective cheerleaders with unmasked suspicion.
"You are certain about this, Sunset Shimmer? With the task already put to you, I would have imagined a move such as this would only add to your workload."
Sunset only smiled. "Don't worry about a thing, Vice Principal Luna. If you can trust me, you can trust them." Several heads whipped her way, but the statement was not amended, let alone rescinded. Sunset felt good.
The sirens, waiting until Luna had gone to see if the student body had gathered yet, kept their voices down.
"Man," whispered Sonata, "Sunset's like, SUPER trusting! If we'd just pulled the we're-good-guys-now card sooner, we could'a suckered her good!"
Adagio chuckled. "Indeed, it's almost a shame we'll be doing nothing of the sort here." She got two slightly uncertain looks, which she met with a stern glare. "Yes, it would be gratifying if we pulled it off, no, it would not be worth the risk. We may have our voices back, but there's nothing to say they can't take them again if we don't cooperate, so we play by their rules until this thing is over."
Aria smirked a little. "And then?"
"Depends how all of this turns out, just stay alert until our end of the deal is done."
There was a hint of disappointment in Aria's face, but she nodded, not in a hurry to get rainbow-blasted again either.
Not far from them, five rainbow-blasting girls huddled together while Sunset peeked through the curtains at the gathering crowd.
"Okay," began Rainbow Dash, "so Sunset actually pulled it off and got the sirens on board, but does anyone else think it's just a little weird that she trusts them that much right after they learned to sing again?"
"Just a smidge," concurred Applejack.
Rarity wore a worried frown. "You don't think they've hypnotized her somehow? They couldn't do it to any of us before, right?"
If anyone could smile while exchanging suspicious thoughts, it was Pinkie Pie. "Maybe whatever she did with their magic changed the rules? I wonder if they feed on something sweeter now. Gasp! Do you think their new songs are powered by frosting?!"
Rainbow rolled her eyes. "It won't matter if they're still bad guys!"
Fluttershy frowned. "Does that mean you don't trust Sunset?" That won her everyone's slightly shocked attention. "She said that if we could trust her, we could trust them. If you don't trust them, that means you don't trust her, your friend, who you know would never do anything to hurt us. Right?"
A slight sense of shame descended on the others, Applejack in particular looking guilty. "Awright, awright, we give 'em a chance, no matter how often they whisper to each other-"
"Like we're doing now," interrupted Pinkie.
"...Right. Or what crazy, evil faces they make at us. And none of that "we totally beat'cha" talk like we kept givin' Sunset before, okay?" There were four simultaneous 'okay's before the group broke to see Sunset addressing the Dazzlings.
"I think we'll be starting pretty soon, are you guys ready?"
Nodding once, Adagio rested a hand on a hip. "As we'll ever be." She heard Aria whisper behind her.
"But if anyone starts throwing crap, we're outta here."
Luna approached the groups a moment later and ushered the sirens out to the stage, where Celestia was apparently wrapping up a short speech.
"...so at the urging of certain parties, we have decided to ask for your input on this matter. Here to cheer on the Wondercolts in the upcoming Friendship Games are-" she sounded less than spirited, and all present noticed, "...the Dazzlings."
Looking out over the largely familiar crowd that had gathered in the gym, the trio thoroughly noticed the less-than-warm reception they were getting, but it was nothing unexpected. Nobody was throwing anything yet, either!
Adagio stepped up to the mic. "Good day. My companions and I were asked to partake in the competition between your school and Crystal Prep, specifically as moral support. Whatever your qualms about the three of us, know that we lose nothing should you decide that you don't want us here. I'll ask that you allow us this part in the event not for our own sakes, but for the one who invited us to offer our assistance." She glanced over her shoulder at Sunset, who stood by the curtain behind her with a hopeful smile. Looking back out over the students that had once booed her group off the stage, she saw at least a few contemptuous faces replaced with obvious surprise or confusion. The first blow had been struck.
"I suspect that the primary concern," said Luna with a raised eyebrow, "is use of your 'talents'-" the almost mocking tone on that word wasn't missed, "-in the previous event the three of you attended. We specifically seek to reduce the involvement of all things magical as much as possible this time around, and if you are to act as cheerleaders...?"
Arms crossed, Aria rolled her eyes. "Couldn't do that stuff anymore if we wanted to. Need a demonstration?"
All eyes were on Sunset, but her grin stayed strong as she gave an encouraging little nod.
The Dazzlings collectively let out a short, simple note, to an immediately startling effect on several members of the crowd. However, when they stopped, nothing was happening. Aria snapped her fingers and pointed at a random audience member.
"Hey you, bring me a sandwich."
Bulk Biceps blinked twice, but felt compelled to do no such thing.
"'Kay," Aria said while pointing to someone else, "you bring me a sandwich."
Photo Finish glanced around, but made no move to procure food loosely trapped in bread.
Starting to have fun with this now, Aria made a vaguely seductive pose as she stretched an arm to indicate someone else, even sing-songing her command for emphasis. "Go get me a sandwiiiich~!"
Trixie scowled, crossing her arms. "Go get it yourself!"
Several people in the crowd giggled, more-so as Aria pantomimed an almost hurt sort of expression, her palms raised defensively. "Ouch," she said with a little smile. Pointedly looking over the audience, it looked like the message was sinking in as many began to whisper amongst themselves. Their armor was cracking.
"So," Flash Sentry called out, "how do we know they just aren't trying now?" Murmurs of agreement resounded through the gym.
Sonata shrugged. "We can't do the brain-magic thing at all without the gems," she said while tracing a fingertip over her collarbone, "and those got smashed to bits." The last part was added quietly. "I'm pretty sure they were heirlooms, by the way..."
Rainbow Dash approached them with an expression that wasn't hostile, but clearly concerned. "Why'd you guys ever use that stuff anyway? Doesn't that kinda magic seriously mess with your head to start?" She wasn't sure how it all worked, but Sunset + Bad Guy Magic = Big, Crazy She-Demon, that she knew.
Smiling almost sadly over her shoulder, Sonata giggled. "Well, it's not like we had a lotta choice, y'know?" Snatching the mic in one hand, her smile widened as she started to sing, in lively and energetic fashion.
Emergency Author's Note: I've been told before that colored text can be hard on the eyes, which makes for unpleasant reading. To mitigate this, the best I could think of was to change the color of the page to something darker for the duration of the song. To do so, click on the button labeled 'Formatting' in the upper-right corner of your screen, select the drop-down menu next to the little color wheel (should read 'light' by default), and adjust the page's colors as per your preference. This can be done at any time by mousing over the top of the screen without needing to scroll all the way to the top of the page.
I hope that helps, please enjoy this parody!
Dear folks of Canterlot High,
you've gotta understand!
For all our very long lives,
we've been dealt losing hands!
Our choices they were des'prate
our luck it was so bad!
If you ask me, all of us were had!
The Dazzlings began to sing together, though no one in the room felt any different than a minute ago.
Oh, Canterlot High School, don't throw us out yet,
We thought you guys were all about 'forgive and forget!'
We aren't just monsters,
Give us a chance and we'll be good!
We'll be good!
We'll be good, we'll be good,
(As much as the rest, we'll be good!)
Looking at Sunset, Rainbow frowned in sympathy. "Well, I guess I can kinda see that..."
Sonata beamed. "Does that mean we're in?"
"Uh..." Rainbow turned to Luna and Celestia. "What do you guys think?"
Celestia tried to answer. "Well, I-" She was cut off by Sonata sliding up to her on her knees, hands clasped in a begging fashion.
Dear Principal Celestia,
our time here has been rough!
Feeding on just dark magic,
it was never enough!
No matter how much we ate,
the hunger drove us mad!
Leapin' lizards, that's why we're so bad!
Celestia smiled a little, addressing the student body.
Canterlot High School, I see the problem;
keeping fed has been an issue for all three of them.
Hunger can make people do terrible things,
and these three girls have been starving.
Been starving, been starving,
(If you don't count real food, we're starving!)
Sunset noticed that Sonata was starting to glow faintly. None of them were ponying up or getting longer hair, or even those thin, membranous wings, but she made a note of the occurrence anyway.
No one noticed, but Luna gave Celestia a suspicious look in regard to where the cake in the fridge disappeared to the other night. Regardless, she addressed the Dazzlings. "You didn't answer the original question; If using such magic cost you so dearly, why would you employ it in the first place?
Sonata briefly searched her memory. "Well, y'see-"
Singing was our devotion,
our magic once was good,
but the floor of the ocean,
is a rough neighborhood!
We needed extra power,
and that stuff was the best!
Now we know that black magic's a mess!
Picturing an upbringing of the cold, dark, depths of the sea, Luna frowned, but she hadn't forgotten that these three bewitched her and her sister.
Canterlot High School, I am not so sure,
We cannot know for certain their intentions are pure.
Who is to say this is not one of their tricks?
Even now, they may be sick.
May be sick!
May be sick, may be sick,
may be sick, sick, sick!
Yes, for all you know we are still sick!
Luna, Celestia, the student body, and most of all Sunset Shimmer looked particularly surprised at this. Luna crossed her arms. "So you confess that you aren't trustworthy?"
The Dazzlings didn't look worried, Sonata letting out a girlish giggle. "Well, no more than anybody else, I guess, but can you blame us? Like I said, we just wanted to sing, but not a lot of people outside our home town appreciated it back then. You know what that's like, VeePee Luna?"
Luna's mouth opened, but no words came as she felt a little tug in her chest.
Glowing a little brighter than before, Sonata pretended not to notice. "Okay, I'll sum up:"
Our songs, they were beautiful,
they were our heart and soul,
but if I'm being truthful,
nobody liked our role.
Sonata's face and tone hardened a little.
Some told us we were useless,
they didn't like our work!
Drove us crazy, that's why we're such jerks!
This, Luna understood. By the way she was lightly hugged from behind, she guessed Celestia remembered too.
I'm sorry, Dazzlings, forgive my mistrust,
it is my duty to make sure your motives are just.
If you three promise to behave as you should,
we'll give you a chance to be good.
We'll be good!
We'll be good, we'll be good!
we'll be pretty good,
if they're giving a chance we'll be good!
Taking a step forward, Sunset smiled.
If they can prove they mean well!
So did Rainbow.
And if they help us win!
Then it does no good to dwell!
Then they'll be forgiven!
Aria and Adagio whispered to each other.
They're giving us a shot now!
I knew they'd come around!
The trio sang aloud.
Trust us and we will not let you down!
Oh, Canterlot High School,
just you wait and see!
You won't regret taking a chance on the likes of we!
Oh, Canterlot High School,
let us make your day...
Hey, Canterlot High School!
The three winked and struck cute, flirty poses.
And the student body cheered.
With the song concluded, the ethereal light around Sonata quickly faded, the Dazzlings only just then appearing to take notice. They exchanged glances and shrugged.
"Well," announced Celestia to the gathering, "if there are no objections, I believe we've found our cheerleaders for the friendship games. Thank you all for coming, dismissed." They hadn't exactly been looking for cheerleaders, but three pretty girls might at least help boost morale, and CHS needed all the help it could get.
Everyone began to clear out, most of them lacking a reason to hang around. Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow, and Pinkie quietly exchanged thoughts relating to how at least nobody looked all mind-controlled, but Rarity turned to Sunset on her way to the door. "It appears that those outfits won't go to waste after all. I'll be in my workshop, send them to me in a bit, would you?"
Sunset nodded, focusing her attention on CHS's new cheerleaders.
The sirens, for their part, looked fairly pleased, but they could neither feed on arguments nor approval anymore, as voiced by Aria while the trio walked out of the gym.
"I'm gonna go grab a bite. Figure this makes us students again, so maybe we can snag a free meal or two."
Sonata lit up. "Ooh, joining that!" She and Aria looked to Adagio, who only offered an apathetic shrug. "Suit yourself, later!"
Watching the two walk off as she stood alone in the hallway, Adagio ignored the niggling fear that her idiots were off to make a big mess and ruin their efforts up to this point. Speaking of, the realization that she didn't actually have any kind of plan to be enacting crept in, making her feel like a bit of a dolt for standing here like this. Not really sure what else to do with herself, she took an almost sheepish step to follow their lead, but Sunset's voice sounded from behind her.
"Was any of that true?"
Adagio stopped, but didn't turn around. "Of course not. We just said what we had to to get them to trust us, now we can fulfill our end of the deal." She raised a hand to sassily snap her fingers where Sunset could see. "Still got it." She took a few more steps before being seized from behind. "Ah! Wha-?! What? You never said we couldn't-"
It was about now that Adagio realized Sunset was hugging her. "What's 'okay'? And, let me g-"
"Everything, I guess." Sunset had to turn her head to not be muffled by the massive tufts of fluff. "Hunger, wanting more, feeling unappreciated, everyone feels those things sooner or later, so I want you to know that you aren't bad people for what you ended up doing in response to them."
Adagio managed to deadpan. "I tried to strangle you not too long ago."
Sunset, against all logic, giggled. "And I forgive you, because I understand."
The poofiest siren tried to wriggle free. "Then understand that I'd rather have my personal space!"
Her head hovering over Adagio's shoulder, Sunset smirked. "Sorry, obligatory friendship thing. No choice!"
Uncomfortable though she was, Adagio suspected that the magic that destroyed the gems was, somehow, powered by acts like this. If she was lucky, maybe she'd be able to make a rainbow beam of her own by enduring it. It was an extremely loose back-up plan, but it was something.
Sunset let her go a minute later, allowing Adagio to turn to face her. "I was a little surprised at the song back there, it was completely different from your usual number."
Resting a hand on a hip, Adagio raised an eyebrow. "You're assuming we never change things up in the slightest?"
Blinking once, Sunset smiled sheepishly. "I dunno, I just, kinda thought you'd always do the same thing. The slow, hip-swinging routine was pretty effective the first time, and it couldn't have all been the gems making it work."
Unable to resist a little smirk at the sentiment, Adagio gave a quick, haughty toss of her hair. "Good of you to notice, but everyone has their style, Sunset Shimmer. You know mine already, what we just did was Sonata's."
"Upbeat and just a little silly?"
"More or less. Helps that people will happily buy that face of hers as the picture of innocence." The less the world knew of the wicked grin that 'innocent' face made while setting anthills on fire and discreetly cheating at certain arcade games to get more tickets, the better for all three of them.
Sunset mentally braced herself for the inevitable duet between Sonata and Pinkie. "And, Aria?"
"Her taste is more suited to what we'd have sung had we been victorious at the Battle." She shrugged. "I suppose that if your team triumphs in this... sporting event, you may yet get to hear us playing on Aria's terms." There came a rare, earnest little smile. "If you lose, never hearing it will be the real tragedy."
Eyes widening a little as her interest was piqued, Sunset smiled. "Oh?"
Adagio winked coyly, turning away. "Sorry, no spoilers."
"Wha-? Oh, come on!"
"Well," the slightly smug siren said while walking in the direction Aria and Sonata had gone, "if you really want to hear us at our best, I guess you'll just have to win. Not to worry, we'll be rooting for you!"
Grinning wryly as Adagio departed with a borderline maniacal laugh, Sunset lightly shook her head. She is such a... Oh, well. With any luck, maybe their cheering will help shed some light on our new magic situation.
And with that in mind, Sunset set off to Rarity's workshop. At the rate she worked, the sirens' new outfits were probably finished already.