“Spike, I have some things that I need to take care of. Will you be alright on your own for a while?” Celestia asked Spike, letting the door of the gem store swing shut behind them.
“Sure, I have things that I can do to keep busy. I guess I’ll be seeing you later?” Spike responded, giving Celestia a questioning look.
“I’ll see you around dinner time.”
With that, Celestia spread her wings and awkwardly fluttered towards the main campus of her school, with some choice words in mind for the dean. At least that’s what she planned, but as she got sight of her school, she started feeling out of breath. This is what I get for not exercising in the last three hundred years, and not needing to fly for the last two hundred and fifty… But I’m not fat. My personal nutritionist says that I’m possibly in the healthy rate range for a pony of my height. And the Royal Wheelbarrow hasn’t been used in centuries! Not since I accidentally caused the Great Cake Famine of 285 C.E..
Needless to say, Celestia was winded by the time she reached the outside of the school grounds, and landed with such force that a slight tremor could be felt throughout Canterlot, sending her beloved ponies running in hysterics thinking another snowslide was going to cover their town again. Celestia cringed at the thought, but decided that it would make good cover while cantering into the dean’s office.
Celestia gave a dainty cough to grab the attention of the secretary, a neon pink unicorn mare with a dayglow mane so bright that it almost hurt Celestia’s eyes. And this was an alicorn who looked at the sun on a daily basis! The mare stopped trying to hide herself behind the fern behind the desk to see one of her two sovereign rulers looking at her with barely contained mirth and blushed mightily. A mare that pink shouldn’t show a blush that profusely. Although it would be funny if I didn’t have a reason for being here.
“Please don’t bring the end times to Equestria your Godessesship,” the mare whimpered.
Don’t facepalm Celestia, the Royal Treasury can’t afford it on top of the one this morning. “It’s quite alright …”
“Bright ‘n Early.” Bright offered.
“Miz Bright, I am not about to bring the endtimes anytime this eon,” Celestia chuckled, hoping to diffuse the tension in the room, “What we’re experiencing is a simple force of nature, nothing more. Now, I really need to see the dean about an important matter.” Thank Faust I’m not the Element of Honesty, although technically an alicorn is a force of nature.
“A-alight, let me get a hold of him,” Bright ‘n Early pressed a green button on the side of her desk, activating a remote communication spell, “Sir, the Princess is here to see you.”
“Is she full of fire and brimstone?” Cracked the voice on the other end..
“No sir… Although she does have a twitchy eye.”
“Oh… Let her in then. I’m almost ready to see her.”
Celestia gave a nod, and once it was pointed out felt her eye twitch harder. Taking a deep breath, she steeled her features and walked into the Dean’s Office.
I’m going to need a five-tier triple-chocolate cake with fudge filling and a quarter tonne of sprinkles after this. Maybe a side of jelly doughnuts… And a 40 oz jug of hot cocoa with marshmallows. When this is all over. Celestia thought to herself when she walked in on the thirty fifth most strangest things she had ever walked in on.
The dean was wearing what could only be described as giant, clunky, metal armor that was several times to big to be practical, with numerous glowing leylines radiating from a magic crystal in his back. The lines stretched across the armor, mystic runes along the lines pulsing as magic ran past them.
“Dean… What in all that’s good and holy are you wearing?” Celestia asked.
“It’s something we borrowed from the Canterlot Institute of Technology. I think they called it power armor,” The dean replied, muffled by the bulky helmet on his head.
“Does this borrowing include not letting them know it was borrowed?” Celestia asked.
“Well, according to their charter, and various school rules, it is a legal acquisition between schools for emergency purposes.”
“I think I remember you asking to throw the School For the Arts’ dean in jail for the same legal acquisition for when their Experimental Food Department created a golem out of cream filled snacks, and needed to use disenchanter stones?”
“Yet you said it was perfectly legal,” the dean rules lawyered back.
That didn’t stop you from throwing a tantrum, now did it? Celestia grinned a wide predatory grin and replied, “Yes, I did. I’m glad to know that you’ll be allowing other schools to use your equipment in the future without complaint. It’s about time that all my schools started sharing with one another, rather than fighting over who owns what. And you will be returning that later today, correct?”
Celestia couldn’t see the dean’s face, but from the silence that followed, she knew that she turned his habit of rule lawyering against him.
“Of course, Princess. So… What brings you to this school?”
“Oh, a number of things. But first, I am curious, what does the Power Armor do?”
“I don’t know all that it can do. But I do know that, without the enhancements I placed on it, it was able to withstand several tonnes of force, and temperatures almost as hot as the sun.”
“Ah, and how did you find out about it?”
“Well, I like to keep an eye out for those schools that… Don’t have the history this school does.”
“Hmmm.” Celestia hummed, sighing inwardly. Maybe a seven tiered cake. I already burned off the calories from the doughnuts with Spike. What with all that running, the accidental releasing super villains into the world for a while, then the flying, I did enough exercise for the next week.
“Well, I came here for a reason, and there have been some things brought to my attention that I’d like to speak with you about.” Celestia finally said. She had arrived to give him a good speaking to, but seeing him in this ‘power armor’, as he called it, had thrown her original simmering anger through a loop. In the back of her mind she knew that she was going to have to talk to CIT about making military-grade weapons at their school. It was a safety hazard, and next thing she knew, they would probably be making artificial ponies.
“How can I help you, Princess?”
“It’s about Spike, and his schooling here.”
“What’s the matter? He did graduate, even if he isn’t a unicorn.”
“Yes, but what’s this about him only receiving honorary diplomas? Did he not go through the same courses as the unicorn students?”
“Well, yes , but he wasn’t able to complete all the courses that this school has as mandatory classes. Seeing as how, as you put it, he isn’t a unicorn.” The staticy voice replied from the speaker in the helmet's muzzle.
“Was he able to do classes outside of unicorn magic to make up for the lost credits?”
“He was, but that’s beside the point.”
Celestia felt her eye twitch, “And what, good sir, is the point?”
“The point is that he wasn't a unicorn, in a school for unicorns, as whatever pet project he was supposed to represent, and thus, while he did do courses for a field of expertise, he wasn’t the race our school accepts. As you put in our original charter eight hundred and sixty years ago.” He stated, letting out a harrumph.
Today seems to be the day my past comes back to bite me. “So you’re saying that he passed all the courses he was in, and did the work of any competent graduate, and he still isn’t given the full benefits of a unicorn graduate?”
“Even though his schooling was paid for by the crown. Money that, may I remind you, your school gladly accepted?”
“But he did complete. And he was given the courses that he applied for, so the money did go into his schooling.” The dean replied.
“I see. You want to know something dean? A little secret of Alicorn physiology?” Celestia asked coyly. Seeing his head nod, she continued, “When alicorns sneeze, we can accidentally cast spells.”
“Yes. It’s quite unfortunate.”
“That your room’s so dusty.” With that Celestia, gave as realistic a sneeze as possible, teleporting the dean to the top of Mt. White Warrior the largest mountain in Equestria, which thankfully was on the opposite side of the continent. So not only do I need to replace the dean, but I need to make a total overhaul of the school system if I’m to rectify Spike not getting the treatment he earned here. And I’m going to have to look into other ponies to see whatever damage I might have caused in the past.
… Just like I would have done to Scootaloo, now that I think about it. I was fully prepared to look past Scootaloo as a potential student because she wasn’t a unicorn … What kind of pony does that make me? Celestia somberly shook her head, quite the day for introspection indeed.
After the tumultuous day Diamond Tiara had yesterday, she slept more soundly than she had all week. So soundly, in fact, that she slept through the earthquake and avalanche created by Celestia’s facehoof. But when Celestia landed with the force of a herd of falling elephants near the school, the tremor woke her up from a rather weird dream in a screaming fit.
The dream itself was already unusual. She was dreaming that Pinkie Pie and her were leading an army of graham cracker bears against the evil Dentist and his toothbrush army, when Luna appeared and told Pinkie that invading other’s dreams wasn’t a good thing. Pinkie just laughed, replying that she did it all the time with her friends in their dreams. Luna was about to reply, when the whole world started shaking, and Diamond Tiara fell into a chasm of darkness.
Only to feel that the quaking was very much real. Take into account that she was in a rather strange room made of onyx and dark granite. Illuminated by blue glowing crystals she was rightfully freaked out. Looking around she saw a sighing Luna perched over a mountain of paperwork, and bolted for her.
“Oh, you’re awake,” Luna commented.
“Wh-where am I?" Diamond Tiara asked, "Why’s the earth shaking? Wh-what’s going on?”
“No need to fret, my little pony. You’re in my quarters. I brought you here after you passed out last night, since we haven’t shown you the Servant’s Quarters. As for the shaking, I believe my sister is being foolish again. Hopefully she’s managed to squash a noble or two,” Luna commented wryly.
“I’m not fretting. I’m a brave p-pony,” Diamond Tiara said, quaking from her safe position under Luna’s barrel.
“Of course you’re brave, I don’t know how I could have missed it,” Luna quipped, her smile turning more humorous as she looked at the filly.
Diamond Tiara pouted, crossing her forelegs as Luna continued, “I’ve told her that it’d do the nobles some good if she were to squash a few, let them know who’s boss, but she’s never been keen on taking me up on that.”
“Why do you want to squash nobles?”
“Well… They are like a bunch of little foals, each wanting what the other has, but unlike a foal, they have a lot of wealth and power to take what they want, or complain for all to hear when things don’t go their way. Quite different from before.”
“Back in the day, they actually had some respect for us princesses, and spent at least some of their time and wealth helping those under them. Today’s version of noblesse oblige is as much a shell of what it was as are the nobles who use it… Not to say that all nobles are bad,” Luna lectured. Diamond Tiara raised her hoof, as if in a classroom. Luna almost chuckled, “Yes, Diamond Tiara?”
“Ms. Princess Luna… What’s noblesse oblige?”
“You’ve never heard of that before?”
“Have you ever heard that those of privileged birth have a duty to act nobly, as an example to those of lesser privilege? Or about the responsibilities of the powerful and wealthy?”
“Oh, I heard my mom say that it was our duty to take from those of lesser birth, and that those beneath us were born to serve their betters,” Diamond Tiara said.
“That sounds as if you’re quoting her… Do you agree with her thoughts on the matter?” Luna asked, her left eyebrow raising imperiously.
“Well… I used to. But there’s a lot of things she taught me before she left me and dad that I don’t agree with… So I don’t know,” Diamond looked at the floor and scuffed her forehoof at the ground, her mind going back to all the foalhood lessons that had recently turned her life upside down.
She lifted her head when she felt a large, comfy, wing wrap around her in a gentle hug, “I take it that she taught you many things, and some of those things are what brought you here in the first place?”
Diamond nodded, sniffling.
“Well… I guess on top of being my junior-assistant in training, and my ‘go for’, I’ll be helping you learn about true nobility.”
“Of course. You’ve met our youngest princess while she was still a unicorn, correct?”
“And did she seem anything like how most nobles present themselves?”
“Not really. But I haven’t really talked to her… Like, ever.”
“Truly? But from what I’ve gathered, your family is quite influential.”
“Yes… But what does that have to do with Twilight?”
“She was a minor noble, before she became a princess from her brother marrying Princess Cadance. Now she’s a princesses in body as well as name.”
“Oh, those things. I don’t know, my father just never dealt much with her outside of her shopping at our store for Hearth’s Warming gifts.”
“The point I’m making is that Twilight is a noble, and her actions reflect what it means to be truly noble, rather than being born into privilege and thinking that is a justification for acting however one wishes due to an accident of birth.”
“Okay… I’m still going to have schooling?” Diamond asked asked, nestling closer to Luna.
“One never stops learning, my little filly. Even ponies as old as me. So yes, schooling, in a sense of the word.”
Luna with Diamond tucked under her wing, glancing at her lighting crystals, and sighed. Spoiled Rich, if you were here, I would throttle thee for corrupting such a filly with thy filth. I see much good in you, Diamond. Hopefully it’s early enough that I can help it shine..