• Published 7th Nov 2014
  • 4,533 Views, 66 Comments

The Swan Song of Adagio Dazzle - Pony Professor

After losing their magic, the Dazzlings are hit hard by shame and sadness. None are more hopeless than Adagio Dazzle, who loses all light in her life and begins to sing a swan song. For sirens, this is suicide.

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A Rare Etude

The girls took the liberty of excusing themselves from class for the rest of the day to focus on helping Adagio.

“So if I understand correctly, we have three days to stop Adagio from finishing her swan song, right?” Sunset Shimmer asked Sonata Dusk as she and the others followed the siren to where Adagio was singing.

“Two days, eighteen hours, and forty-six minutes to be exact, but who’s counting? I’m not! It’s not like every second Adagio sings is a second closer to me losing my best friend forever!” Sonata’s eye twitched. Applejack put a calming hand on her shoulder,

“Calm down, sugarcube. We can figure a way out of this.” Sonata stopped and took a deep breath.

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but,” Rarity put a cautious finger to her lips, “When you say ‘best friend,’ well… I was under the impression that you and Aria Blaze simply, er, rolled with Adagio, seeing as you’re the only three sirens in this world.”

“Are you crazy!?” Sonata whipped around, “The three of us have been, like, inseparable for hundreds of years!”

“Hundreds of years?” Rainbow Dash repeated, “I thought you were sixteen or something! Plus, you’re all, y’know—”

“Stupid? I know I can get confused at times but that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything.” Sonata sneered at Rainbow.

“I-I’m sorry,” Rainbow apologized.

“It’s fine. I’m stressed. I just don’t know how Adagio got to where she is. She had so much passion, so much fire. Sure, she got a little misguided, but she was always so sure of herself, which is why we still followed her even when she wanted to take over the school.” Sonata began sobbing, “The more I think about it, the worse I feel. You all are so happy… how do you do it? What is there to live for?”

The girls exchanged looks. They felt guilty. At face Sonata’s observation was correct. They were happy, relatively speaking, and none of them had any pressing issues that could derail that—certainly not anything close to what the sirens were going through. But it’s not like they had never known pain. Perhaps the best way to find out how to help Adagio was to first connect with Sonata. It would mean digging deep and opening up scars that were still healing, but this was blood they had to share for Sonata’s sake, and for Adagio’s.

The bond of friends is enough that this was communicated among the six girls with no words. They all mentally braced themselves and attempted to muster up the courage to share their sadness. Rarity was the first to speak.

“Some time ago, I was not the girl I am today…”

A sixth grade girl clung to the fringes of her olive denim skirt. It was the first day of the school year, and little Rarity was entering the throes of middle school. Moments ago, she had seen off her bouncing younger sister, Sweetie Belle, to the third grade of the nearby Fillymore Elementary School. She felt like a proud and responsible elder sibling then, but the walls of Saddlebrook Middle School were far more daunting than she had imagined. All the confidence she had woken up with that morning escaped through her feet and acted as a puddle of super-glue, refusing to let her take a single step forward. She could feel her heart beating hard and fast in her chest and in her clenched fingers. This was a nervousness she had never experienced before. It was as if the entire universe was telling her to turn around and go home.

The hands of the giant clock on the front of the building hit eight o’clock, and as the first chime rung, a hand slapped Rarity on the back of her bookbag, causing her to stumble for a moment. The hand’s owner was a spry looking cowgirl—or at least that’s what Rarity assumed she was, given the boots and Stetson hat (which was a tad too big) she was wearing.

“C’mon, sugarcube! You’ll be late if you’re just standin’ there all day!” The cowgirl called as she ran ahead. Whatever modicum of nerves that were still left in Rarity jump-started, and her fears subsided. It was just another school. A bigger one, but still just a school. She hurried after the student who had slapped her on the back with a smile on her face.

It was the last genuine one she would show for three years.

Brutal, if behavior was compared to temperature, would equate to absolute zero on the thermometer of animosity that Rarity experienced from students at Saddlebrook. Only the cowgirl delivered any amnesty throughout Rarity’s entire middle school career. She always had different classes and a different lunch period, though, so she was rarely present to assuage the onslaught of bullying that Rarity endured.

“Does she get dressed in the dark?” she would hear in the halls.

“My gosh, her hair is, like, purple puke!” she would hear in the bathroom stalls, well aware that the offenders knew she was there.

“I can’t believe she tries to make friends around here. So hopeless!” To her knowledge, Rarity had done nothing to make other students dislike her. No, dislike is too polite of a word. They hated her. They hated her as if she had burned their homes and stole their money and kicked their pets. A convicted murderer would receive better treatment if they walked the same halls as Rarity.

She never wanted to worry her parents or sister, so when she went home she would always put on a brave face and make up a story or two to make it seem like things were going all right at school. Rarity got really good at making things up. She would pretend to go out some weekends to feign a social life. She might catch a movie on her own, or go shopping on her own, and she’d even gone to a couple concerts. On her own, of course. Occasionally she’d think of inviting the cowgirl someplace, but the few times they got to talking it always seemed like she was busy with her farm on all their days off.

Maybe not even she liked Rarity.

One day in seventh grade during the midterm exams some of the students in Rarity’s class hatched a terrible, awful, horrible idea. They were going to leave this girl behind and finally show her how beneath them she was. They were going to make it so that she would always be a step behind everyone she knew. They were going to make Rarity fail the seventh grade.

No school in the county had a stricter policy on cheating than Saddlebrook Middle School, especially when it came to the standardized midterm and year final exams. Rarity did decently in sixth grade—she had been alone, but studious, and managed to pass easily. During those tests, though, no one was out to get her like they were the next year.

a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared is known as what theorem? The question read. Rarity knew this one easily and was about to bubble in “c” for “Pythagorean.” She just had to crick her neck once. It had been an hour into the test, after all. A face turned her way caught her eye, though.

“Psst,” the boy whispered. She looked to her left and right ever so quickly, so as not to attract the attention of the proctors. Rarity had never attracted anything but negative attention before, so even this rather neutral call to alertness was enough to freeze her.

“What did you get for number forty-two?” the boy said very softly. That’s not an insult, Rarity thought. She uttered an involuntary “duh” as the shock of being spoken to (a) by a boy, (b) non-threateningly, and (c) during the midterms temporarily disabled her thought not to speak.

“’Duh’ isn’t an answer! Forty-two! What’s the answer to forty-two!” He hissed, more urgently this time. Rarity snapped her head down and scanned her paper for number forty-two. Her entire middle school life depended on it. If she could provide this kid with the answer to this question, perhaps his attitude might change toward her. And if his attitude changed, perhaps other students would start talking to her, too!

There! Forty-two! Now Rarity could see why he asked. It was a difficult problem on the slope of a line that she had some trouble on as well.

“The slope is three!” she whispered back. The boy put his hand to his ear, signaling that he had not heard her. “Three!” she said again, “The slope is three!” The boy leaned out of his desk slightly to beckon Rarity for her answer once more,

“I’m telling you the answer to number forty-two is—WHOA!” What began as a sharp whisper ended in a loud yelp and a crash. Rarity had leaned over toward the boy just as he had to her, but her desk was missing two feet, and the imbalance combined with the sudden extra weight compromised the structural integrity of it, and it toppled over with Rarity in tow.

“RARITY!” the proctor yelled, storming a beeline straight to the fallen student.

“What in the world are you doing?”

“I fell!” Rarity answered. All eyes in the room were now on her. Many students were attempting to stifle their laughter.

“I can see that. How did you fall when you’re supposed to be sitting still taking a test?” the proctor asked. A paper fluttered down from the crash at the teacher’s feet. He picked it up and read it over for a few seconds. His scowl went from bad to worse.

“Is this your exam?” he asked.

“Y-yes, sir,” Rarity replied, hanging her head.

“Wrong. This is the state’s exam. With all the correct answers on it. I don’t know how you got it, but you’re busted now.” Rarity’s world stopped. Her stomach flipped and her heart sank.

Hold on, she thought. I don’t have the state’s exam. How could I? I would never—

She glanced around. It was clear now that she had been played from the beginning. Over to her right was a girl trying particularly hard not to look in her direction. Her backpack was open, a clear violation of the test-taking rules but in the midst of Rarity’s “accident” no one would notice. That girl must have planted those papers while Rarity was distracted!

To her back left was another boy. He quickly scooped something from his desk into his lap. It was only for a second, but Rarity saw that it was the missing feet to her desk.

The boy who had asked for answers now held a face of fake confusion to blend in with the other students who had little to no idea what was going on.

“I-I didn’t… it was them… they were the ones who—”

“No excuses, young lady. All the teachers told the students the consequences of cheating on the exam, and you’ve done so in the worst way possible. You’ll be lucky if you get off having to repeat this grade.”

Rarity lost it. She had no way of defending herself. Even if she tried to explain she’d just stutter and blubber her way through it making herself look guiltier. She wasn’t brave enough to stand up to the kids who had been tormenting her for the last year and a half, and today they’d delivered a death blow. She bawled on the floor, nearly choked on her own tongue, and she was sure she felt her panties wet a little earlier.

“Come on, none of that here. It’s your fault this happened in the first place.” The proctor pulled Rarity up by the wrist and began dragging her out of the room. As she caught the faces of several students through her bleary eyes on the way out, she resigned to the fact that if she had any smidge of anything that could be called a reputation at this school, it was irreversibly negative at this point. That is, until it all turned around.

SLAM! A pair of hands smashed onto a desk, drawing everyone’s attention and the girl who had been sitting behind Rarity stood up. It wasn’t just any girl, though. It was the cowgirl, and she looked none too happy.

“No! I ain’t lettin’ y’all get away with this!”

“Applejack! Do I need to invalidate your exam, too?” the teacher said.

“Do what you want to my test! I’ve watched for too long while so many of y’all ripped this girl to shreds! I mean, come on! What are ya, wolves?” Rarity’s hysterics halted, and everyone in the room watched as Applejack snatched the desk feet from the boy who had taken them and emptied the test-planting girl’s backpack, revealing several more copies that she was using for herself.

“There’s your cheaters!” Applejack yelled, “If there’s one thing I hate more than treatin’ others with such disrespect it’s dishonesty! Mr. Straightedge, Rarity’s innocent!” her gaze turned to Rarity and her intense face immediately softened,

“She always has been.”

“After that my life just got… better. Applejack’s now one of my very best friends and all that creativity I was using to lie to my parents now goes into the clothes I make.” Rarity smiled.

“And what about the test?” Sunset asked.

“I got the chance to take it again, as did Applejack for sticking up for me. The kids who tried to get me to fail were punished harshly. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I didn’t see them ever again starting in eighth grade.”

“But what does this have to do with Adagio?” Sonata asked.

“It means that even when everything seems hopeless and the entire world’s out to get you, if you just push on, you’ll find your light, often in the form of a friend. Adagio is in a dark time, Sonata Dusk. You have the power to be that friend that pulls her out of it,” Rarity answered. For the first time since she ran into the cafeteria, Sonata seemed less tense. She stared into Rarity’s eyes for a moment, contemplating her words, then nodded, letting out a long sigh.

Unfortunately, during the telling of Rarity’s story, the seven girls had forgotten to pay attention to where they were walking, and ended up very off course, and further away from Adagio. Fluttershy was the first to point it out,

“Um, girls? Where are we?”

Author's Note:

Whee! It's chugging along, and I like how it's going. Brace yourself, because the feels only get feels-ier from here on out.