• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 1,167 Views, 86 Comments

Champion's Road - OmegaPony11



Aria Blaze lost everything when the Dazzlings tasted defeat thanks to the Rainbooms. She escapes the winter into a gym where she is given a chance to become a pro wrestler. The road is hard, but with friends, love, and suplexes, she can be a champ.

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I Walk Alone

Chapter 3 – I Walk Alone

“Awkwaaaaaaard.”

Aria broke eye contact with Sonata to see the poofy pink girl standing next to her with a shocked expression on her face. When Aria glared at her, the girl simply smiled and resumed her seat with her friends. With that out of the way, Aria confronted Sonata.

“What are you doing here, Aria?” Sonata stepped forward with her arms outstretched as if to embrace Aria. Scowling, Aria pushed Sonata back.

“I should be asking you the same question.” Aria crossed her arms being none too pleased to see Sonata with the Rainbooms. “And what are you doing with these losers?”

“Losers?!” The rainbow haired girl stood up, only for the girl in the cowboy hat to hold her back.

“Aria… you have no idea how happy I am to see you!” Sonata continued to smile despite the rebuke of her hug. “I know we left on bad terms, but I always hoped to see you again. How have you been? You look good! What happened when you left? Oh, I have so many questions, but only have a half-hour to talk until lunch is over. Thursday is Half-off hot dogs! We can go get some and talk if you like!”

Aria turned her back on Sonata. “I’m fine, no thanks to you or Adagio. I see you’ve replaced me with six new friends. Not only new friends, but also the same group that stole our powers, destroyed our voices, and ruined our lives! It only makes sense for a ditz like you to cozy up to the people who beat us. I’m surprised you made it this far. You could hardly function without me and Adagio around.”

The orange-red haired stood up and walked between Aria and Sonata. The latter’s eyes welled up and she looked like she was about to cry. Aria felt a pang of regret at making her fellow siren cry, but her anger overruled any other reasoning. She smirked at the sight. She didn’t need Sonata. She didn’t need Adagio or anyone.

“Have you considered that maybe because of your cruel treatment of Sonata that she left with Adagio?” said the girl Aria remembered was Sunset Shimmer. “She’s staying with people who care about her now. She’s trying to get her life back in track, going back to school, and making real friends who can help her become a better person. What have you done, Aria?”

Aria sneered. “I’ve done plenty!” she lied, “I’m doing great by myself, just like I knew I would. I walk alone, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”

The poofy pink girl leaned in uncomfortably close to Aria. “You don’t look happy,” she said, “You still look like the Dazzling’s frowny face. I know what will turn that frown upside down? A Pinkie Pie patented party palooza!”

“As if.” Aria focused her attention on Sonata. Before she could continue, Sonata gasped and pointed at Aria’s head.

“Your sparkly starpins!” she cried, “Did you lose them? That’s so sad, they looked so pretty in your hair. Your pigtails looked so cute, especially when you were scowling.”

Aria felt her frustrations mounting. “They’re gone, OK? They’re as gone as you and Adagio when I left you. Listen to me and listen good, Sonata. I don’t need you. I don’t need Adagio. Unlike you, I don’t need friends. I’m just here to get the freaking diploma so lay off me, Sonata. I don’t need you. I never needed you. I’m going to follow the lead I should have followed from the beginning. My own. So have fun with your stupid friends. I’m out.”

Before she could even step away from the table, Sonata grabbed Aria’s arm. Aria turned to look Sonata in the eye and yank her arm away when saw tears well up in the other former siren’s eyes.

“Please…” Aria begged, “I missed you, Ari. I know I got on your nerves a lot, but I still considered you my bestie! Please?”

Aria did pull her arm away. She made her anger clear in her eyes. “Go. Away. Sonata. You made your choice, and I’ve made mine.”

Sonata started to weep as Aria walked away. She heard Sunset Shimmer try to calm Sonata down while she felt the icy daggers from the eyes of their friends. Unable to concentrate on picking courses, Aria decided to leave Canterlot High. She did not make eye contact with anyone else in the school as she made her exit.

Instead, she chose to walk back to Haven Gym rather than take the bus. It gave her time to think.

She needed a lot of time to think.

***

Aria walked into Haven Gym and then towards her locker, where she changed into the workout clothes Roza provided her. Once changed, she exited to the main floor when Roza emerged from her office. She yawned and stretched, waving a groggy greeting.

“Welcome back, kiddo,” Roza said, “Did you get all the Canterlot High stuff done and over with? Pick some cool courses?”

“I did well enough,” Aria said. She headed over to the stretch apparatus and began to loosen up before she began her training. She started with her legs, stretching out her hamstrings and quads and then moved on to her arms. She knew one of the most important parts of physical training was to stretch before any major workout or activity to avoid injury. The last thing she wanted was an injury this early in the training.

Roza did not press the issue, only instead preparing some machines. Once Aria finished her stretches, she walked up to the ring in the middle of the gym and climbed the steps. She was about to enter the ring by crawling under the second rope when Roza shouted her down.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Roza called, climbing onto the apron. “I told you, before we start in-ring training, we have to get you in shape. You won’t be able to take five bumps before crying uncle, much less start doing suplexes. Also, we need to get one thing out of the way, are you dainty or short?”

Aria blinked at the rather random question. She was not super tall like Konstance Paine but liked to think she had some height to help intimidate other women. She also was not dainty in the slightest. “No?”

“Then get into the ring by stepping over the second rope.” Roza demonstrated, stepping over the second rope with authority as she stood in the ring. “Only small people and non-wrestlers step under the second rope, which, as you will learn, is a commentary about what I think of some of the ACW roster.”

Aria followed Roza’s lead, stepping over the second rope and into the ring. Roza looked about the ring with Aria in it and shrugged. “Might as well do some basics then, since we already made our way in here. All right, we’re going to run the ropes. It’s a simple but fundamental exercise inside the squared circle. You run across the ring, turn, and then bounce back. You use the momentum to help with some techniques, or to simply prevent you from spilling out onto the floor. I’ll show you.”

Roza stood in the middle of the ring as Aria took a spot against one of the turnbuckles. She watched as Roza launched herself towards the rope, turning on her foot and then bouncing off the ropes before return to the opposite side of the ring and repeating the process several times. Aria smirked. It looked easy enough.

“Think you can handle it?” Roza asked before giving the ring to Aria. With a nod, Aria took up a starting position against one of the side ropes before launching herself full tilt to the other side. By the time she reached the other ropes however, she turned too late and hit her side on the ropes, bounced off them, and landed face first into the mat. She reached for her back, moaning in pain all the while Roza offered her hand. Aria ignored it and got to her feet on her own.

“Ring ropes look like they have a lot of give, but to the rookie, they leave their marks.” Roza smiled and pointed at Aria’s arm. She turned her head to see a large red welt on her arm from her failed attempt. “What you want to do is this; when you are about a foot from the ropes, you are going to stop, pivot on your lead foot, and then fall back onto your shoulder blades with a little momentum, allowing the ring ropes to push you back. Start from the pushback position. Just fall back onto the ropes for now, run to the other side, stop, and then push back again.”

Aria nodded, getting back to her feet so she could try again. She started slowly this time and fell back to the ropes, focusing the impact on her shoulder blades. She did as Roza instructed, stopping on one foot, pivoting, and then falling backwards.

After a few go’s at the ropes, Aria collapsed in the middle of the ring, breathing heavily while her back felt like it was on fire. She knew training was difficult, but never imagined it to be this bad. Now she was starting to regret her decision if this was merely “lesson one.”

Forty-five minutes later and Aria started to feel the wear this supposedly simple lesson gave to her body. Her shoulder blades burned from the constant impact from the ring ropes, but she felt confident that she figured out how to run the ropes. She took her time exiting the ring, the very act of bending over shooting pain across her back. Once on the floor, Aria turned to see Roza flip herself over the top rope and land feet first onto the floor.

Show-off, Aria thought, though she did wonder if she could pull something like that off one day. It looked far cooler than stepping through the ropes.

“Your form is a bit shaky, but after a couple months, you’ll be running the ropes like a pro.” Roza noticed Aria scowl at the mention of months. “Listen kiddo, this is going to be a process, much like your regular schooling is divided into lessons to teach the overall subject. The ropes are just the first part. You’ll be running them for the rest of your career so you never get rusty. It also makes for a great but simple cardio workout. Once you have this down pat, we’ll move on. Think of running the ropes like addition in math class. Sure, it’s easy, but it’s fundamental to math. If you don’t know how to add, how can you hope to subtract or multiply?”

“I got it,” Aria responded, “And I’ll be fine. I’ll run the ropes a hundred times a day if it gets me what I want.”

“That’s the hunger I miss seeing.” Roza smiled and then checked the clock on the wall. “Hey, looks like Fluttershy will be here any moment for her appointment, so you can have free reign over the equipment unless I say so. Why don’t you two train together? It’s always good to have a partner to spot you.”

“No.” Aria walked away from the ring to the back to get some water. She did not feel the need to explain to Roza her disdain for Fluttershy or her friends. All she wanted now was a drink of water and some ice for her back. Once she took hold of both, Aria laid against a chair and allowed the soothing chill ease her aching muscles.

She let her eyes drift closed while she rested and visualized herself running the ropes all over again. She would practice more later, but conceded that Roza had a point. She would need to get some proper conditioning for her body later.

The door of the gym opened which revealed Fluttershy walking in. She tightly clutched her duffle bag as she made her way to locker rooms. The two locked eyes shortly, with Aria scowling at Fluttershy while the latter ducked away with some measure of haste. Aria shook her head only to turn her head and see Roza standing nearby with her arms cross.

Though she said nothing, Aria could feel disapproval from Roza’s gaze. Instead of meeting it or saying anything to justify, Aria walked off, her back feeling much better. She retreated to the back to get some dinner, which consisted of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes chopped up into a haphazard salad. Still, it beat what she ate before coming to Haven: a whole plateful of nothing, hold the plate.

Once satisfied and with a new bottle of fresh, cold water, Aria sat down and looked over her course choices once again. She chose the perquisites needed for a diploma, though to attain the much-needed credits, there was not exactly a lot she could choose from, especially this late in the school year. Thus, she chose classes that could be of use in the future. Canterlot High offered a great assortment of classes, and as such, Aria took on many that piqued her interest. Mathematics, language arts, social studies, and physical education were needed, but she also took home economics and finances. The last thing she wanted was to be broke on the street again, especially now that she ranked among the employed peoples.

Her paperwork complete, Aria returned to the main floor and headed for an elliptical machine for a basic cardio workout. She chose a machine the furthest away from Fluttershy, who ran on a treadmill, her ears covered by small pink headphones. Ignoring her, Aria focused on her own work, moving on the elliptical and generating a fine sweat. She never realized how slight she became from long months of not eating, and the very sight of her body being mere skin and bones upset her. Aria admitted only to herself that she was a bit of a diva, and she liked having a pleasing physical form. Since draining negative emotions was no longer an option for the former siren, hard work in the gym would take its place.

After an hour of going at a good pace, Aria felt her legs buckle from beneath her. She took deep breaths as she walked to the showers. She looked back over to see that Fluttershy moved on to some light calisthenics. Again, they did not meet eyes while Aria walked past her and soon Aria was inside the locker room alone.

She took a quick shower and noticed the time showed seven on the clock. Closing time loomed, so Aria put on some fresh clothes and walked out of the laundry room. As she opened the door, Fluttershy appeared on the other side. They simply stared at each other until Fluttershy broke the silence.

“Um… hello Aria,” Fluttershy said in a voice barely a whisper. Aria scowled and did not return the greetings, choosing instead purposefully bumped into Fluttershy with her shoulder.

However, Roza stood nearby and saw everything. Her arms crossed, she said, “Well now, think you’re a tough cookie pushing my client in my gym, huh?” Roza walked over to Aria, and for whatever reason appeared far bigger and stronger than earlier. The glare from her piercing blue eyes made Aria feel small in comparison to the ring veteran, but somehow she found some nerve.

“It’s because of Fluttershy and her stupid friends I ended up on the streets in the first place,” Aria said. Roza shook her head.

“That is something I cannot believe.” Roza turned her back on Aria. “Listen here and listen well. I gave you a job. I gave you an opportunity to make something of yourself and when you abuse my clients, you might as well be spitting in my face. Haven Gym’s number one rule is that this is a safe place for any who step through my doors and that includes Fluttershy or anyone. I don’t care what she did or what you think she did, if you step a toe out of the line I draw in the sand, your ass is on the asphalt. I am taking as much of a gamble as you are, Aria. I don’t have to do anything for you, but like I said, maybe hanging out Fluttershy has rubbed off a little kindness on this heel heart of mine. Now you go to the back and you apologize before I start getting upset.”

Aria did not know what an upset Roza looked like but as the trainer’s muscles seemed to tighten before her eyes, she knew the only thing she could do was go and make amends, even if she did not want to. Grumbling, she made her way to the back where she heard the shower was still running. Aria took a seat on the bench when she noticed Fluttershy not only left her bag wide open, but some of the contents spilled out of it.

Not wanting to get into any more trouble with Roza, Aria ignored the contents in the bag. Only mundane items like pens, pencils and books poured out of the gym bag. However, several photographs peeked out from a binder. Her curiosity getting the better of her, Aria opened the binder and felt surprised at pictures within.

Many of the pictures showed what Aria considered rather banal scenes: images of Fluttershy hanging out with her friends in the park during summer, to another of a pair running through a path during fall, while another showed them all having a grand old time under a tree with a roaring fire nearby. That picture, however, showed not six smiling, happy high school seniors but seven.

Sonata sat among them, her bubbly smile radiating through the photograph.

Aria grimaced at the sight and put the picture away. How easy was it for Sonata to buddy up to those Rainbooms? Did she turn her back on Adagio as she did to Aria? Show a little bit of kindness and Aria was putter in your hands, and that’s what Aria knew they did to her. Yet try as she might, she could not look away from the picture. Sonata honestly looked happy, and instead of enraging her, Aria felt her heart sink at the sight. Sonata did move on from the Dazzlings. From her.

Fluttershy emerged from the change room looking ready to leave when she spotted Aria with her photos. She approached Aria cautiously, not wanting to upset further the former siren. She did need to pack up her things and leave. “E-excuse me,” she nearly squeaked, “But…”

Aria stood up quickly, dropping the photo with the tree. “Oh, uh…” she struggled with the words, not wanting to say them. “Listen, I… I’m sorry for bumping into you like that. I promise it won’t happen again.”

In the gym at least.

“Oh… it’s OK.” Neither of them made eye contact as Fluttershy collected her things. Aria tried to make the ceiling the most interesting thing in her life right now, but a provocative question remained.

“Hey,” she said without the usual edge in her voice. “I’m sorry for going through those photos. I couldn’t help but see Sonata was in them. How… How is she?”

Fluttershy blinked in surprised. Aria sighed. Having a conversation with her wasn’t that difficult, was it? “Well,” she said, “She’s… good. Her grades are… good. So I guess she’s doing really… good?”

“Oh. Well. Good.” Aria found the ceiling to be marvellous once again. “Uh… I was just wondering… if you know where Sonata is now. We weren’t exactly in the best financial situation.”

“Well, um…” Fluttershy looked unsure how to answer. Aria softened her expression to coax Fluttershy into answering. “Well… Sonata is staying with Sunset Shimmer right now.”

“What about you, Aria?” Fluttershy asked, “Sonata always wondered where you were. Adagio too. If you’d like, I could send a message to her when I see her at school tomorrow.” Fluttershy offered Aria her most sincere smile. Aria broke eye contact and looked away, though she had to give Fluttershy credit. After blowing up on Sonata at school, she likely guessed that Aria was not about to mince words with her soon.

“Tell her I’m fine,” Aria replied, “I’m fine and I’m doing great. Now don’t you have a ride to catch?”

Fluttershy squeaked and dashed off towards the entrance. She ran by Roza who entered the locker room with a quizzical look. “Since she’s not bawling her eyes out, I assume you apologized and didn’t dig a deeper hole for yourself.”

Aria nodded, her focus more on what Fluttershy said about Sonata rather than what her trainer said to her. Roza shook her head and took the keys to Haven out of her pocket.

“Well, I’ll be locking up now,” Roza said, “See you in the morning.”

With goodbyes said, Aria went back into Roza’s office, took off her socks, and fell back onto the bed. Mixed emotions ran through her head and the options to deal with them seemed limited. On the one hand, Aria was still angry over Sonata choosing to go with Adagio instead of her. She made friends with the enemy, with the girls that ruined their lives.

On the other hand, Aria could no longer deny that she missed the ditz. Sonata both calmed and enraged her at times, and Aria missed her very presence. Once again, Aria needed to make a decision, to swallow her pride and admit she was wrong. She punched the mattress in frustration. Things would have been much better if Adagio followed her lead. They would have been adored by the masses. They would still have their siren powers.

They would still have their voices.

She would still have the silver star hairpins Sonata gave her.

Aria shut off the light in Roza’s office and climbed underneath the covers. Her shoulder blades ached as she tried to find a comfortable position to sleep in, but eventually she would drift off into slumber, though it would not be peaceful.

***

“Here is your winner, Aria Blaze!”

The official raised Aria’s arm in the air as she won the biggest match in her young career. Her opponent now lay as a heap on the mat, moaning and rolling about in pain. Not that it matter as Aria focused on the screaming masses who chanted her name. A championship belt appeared around her waist and in celebration, Aria climbed the turnbuckle to show off the gold.

The elation felt magical. For the first time in a very long time, a massive crowd stood up on their feet, clapping and cheering for their champion. Aria raised the title belt above her head and gave the fans a good look at their champion and her gold. Money, fame, and the love of the fans; everything was hers now and she did it all without the help of anyone.

DING DING DING!

Aria fell of the turnbuckle and onto her back at the sudden sound of the ring bell. She clamoured for the ring ropes to help her up. In the middle of the stage stood seven shadows, each with glowing eyes and wide, eerie smiles.

All of the arena’s lights began to shut off one by one, each with an audible boom shaking the very ring. The crowd became silent until it seemed they were no longer present, with the only lights being the one on the ring and the light on the stage. Despite the light, the seven girls continued to grin widely until one with a large ponytail picked up a microphone.

“Aria Blaze!” she cried out, “Look at you! A big, bad, champion for realzies! At least, that’s what you think. You know the truth, don’t you? That you are just a very small, insignificant little ant in the grand scheme of things. You have nothing, you are nothing, and the name Aria Blaze will be little more than dust in the wind.”

The ring suddenly became a lot larger than before, or maybe Aria shrank. Either way, the eighteen foot ring suddenly shared the dimensions of a football field and the turnbuckles became like skyscrapers. Scared out of her wits, Aria ran as fast as her legs could carry her to the edge of the ring, only for a wall of flame to explode in front of her, barring her path.

“Look who’s the loser now!”

“Dang yellowbelly think she can get away.”

“What do you expect from such a boorish young woman?”

“She doesn’t deserve a second chance!”

“Let’s have some fun with her! See how loud she screams!”

“BURN!”

Aria turned to the stage as another explosion of fire burst from the floor. Stepping out of the flames was the giant Konstance Paine, her theme music twisted into a disturbing cacophony. The seven girls stood to the side, their evil eyes and grins never once looking away from Aria while Konstance slowly made her way to the ring.

“Making her way to the ring!” The ponytailed demon shouted into a skull-tipped microphone. “Standing a height that makes elephants shake in terror. All the way from the depths of hell, the mistress of fear! The harbinger of flames! The source of all. Your. Nightmares! Konstance Paine!”

With both hands reaching for the top rope, Konstance pulled herself up and stepped inside right through the fire that blocked Aria’s escape. She hyperventilated as the masked menace stared at her, the doll face mask shifting to that of a fanged demon with empty voids for eyes. Aria screamed and tried to get away as she now stood no higher than Konstance’s knee.

“I’m sorry!” Aria screamed, “I’m sorry! I’ll make peace with the Rainbooms! I’ll beg Sonata for forgiveness! I’ll do anything! Please! Please!”

Despite her pleas for mercy, Konstance continued to walk towards her until Aria pressed her back against the turnbuckle. Aria screamed and screamed, but no one would come to help her. Konstance loomed over her. With her leather glove, Konstance reached out and took hold of Aria, who was little more than a doll in the mitt of a giant.

Aria struggled to break free, punching and kicking at the great hand of Konstance to no avail. The more she struggled, the more the hand tightened around her. As she grew closer to Konstance’s mask, Aria saw the mouth suddenly open, an abyss to darkness waiting for her. Her screams echoed throughout the throat of Konstance as she fell…


Right off the bed and onto the floor of Roza’s office. Aria stood up on shaky legs and leaned against the bed, taking deep shallow breaths. “Just a nightmare,” she said in a quaking voice, “Just a nightmare. Dreams can’t hurt me. I’m fine. Everything is fine.”

Aria got to her feet and walked out of the office, needing some sleep. She looked at the clock and saw that it read eleven-thirty. Groaning, Aria walked around for a bit, her bare feet padding across the dimly lit floor of Haven Gym. Having nowhere to go at this time of night, she walked to the steps leading to the ring. The moment her foot touched the cold steel she recoiled from the chill. She took a deep breath and let her foot rest on the stairs for a moment. Once ready, she climbed the stairs and entered the ring, just as Roza showed her.

Once in, Aria rested against one of the turnbuckles, her arms crossed as she replayed the vivid nightmare repeatedly. Those shadows looked too much like the Rainbooms, with the one summoning Konstance appearing to be Sonata. Aria had nightmares before of course, but nothing so vivid. She also remembered what she said in the dream, about asking for forgiveness. It seemed like a bad idea to go against what one said in a dream, but on the other hand, it was just a dream.

“Just a dream,” Aria said to herself, “Just a stupid dream.”

Unable to sleep, or perhaps unwilling to deal with another nightmare, Aria stayed in the ring and mulled over her upcoming training. Running the ropes proved hard enough. Only Roza knew what lessons were to come, but Aria knew that they would only be harder on her body and on her mind.

“Do I have what it takes?” Aria said to the darkness. “I didn’t have any real goals before. All we wanted was to steal negative energy. Then Adagio got it in her head when Equestrian magic appeared in this world that we could take it over. What good did any of that do us? We’re not sirens anymore. We don’t have any power.”

Maybe she needed to stop thinking like a siren. Maybe she needed to start thinking like a human. Maybe she needed to get a hold of her life and try something new. Being a hardass worked when she had magical powers accentuated by her fellow sirens.

Maybe, just maybe, she should listen to her dream and try to talk to the Rainbooms. She definitely needed to talk to Sonata, at the very least.

“If Sonata can do it, I can too,” Aria told herself.

The longer she looked at the ring ropes, the more Aria wanted to run them one more time. She got to her feet and stood in the middle of the ring. She took a deep breath. Once ready, Aria ran towards the ring ropes, pivoting on her lead foot, and slamming her shoulder blades into the top rope. She winced at the sudden impact and the pushback from the ropes, but continued to run to the other side of the ring. She bounced off the ropes and continued the motions, a smile growing on her face. She was doing it! She was running the ropes.

Granted, she could not run them for very long as the sudden sprints made her very tired in short order. After the tenth bounce, Aria took a breather, rolling out of the ring and back to the floor. She made her way back to the office and back to bed. While her back screamed for respite, Aria felt some measure of pride. She knew she could do it. All she needed to do was get her life back on track. Perhaps her siren magic was a crutch that she needed to cast aside. Adagio could have been the same way, though it pained Aria in no small way to think such. As angry as she was with her, both Adagio and Sonata were like sisters to her.

Aria went back to sleep, knowing that tomorrow was going to be a challenging day. The first day back at Canterlot High. The first day actually working at Haven Gym. The first day she swallowed her pride and acted like a decent human being.

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