• 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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A New Day

Chapter 4 – A New Day

Aria stepped into her first class of the day: math. She groaned as she approached the door. Even before she took the whole schooling thing seriously, she simply did not get math. Sure, she could add and subtract easy enough, but when she tried to throw in trigonometry and weird angles, she thought she could feel her brain frying.

Instead of focusing on the numbers, Aria kept her sight on simply surviving her first day of school. She arrived early in the morning to hand in her chosen courses and to her surprise Vice Principal Luna told her all of the classes still had room. As such, today would be her first day back at Canterlot High as a regular student, not as a potential world conqueror.

She opened the door and stepped inside, seeing that everyone was already in his or her seats and ready for the day. Only one seat remained, front and center, with two familiar faces sitting at that exact spot.

“Ooh, ooh! Rarity, look!” Pinkie Pie bounced in her seat. “It’s Aria! Hey! Aria! Over here! We have a nice spot right here, just for you! Prime real estate right here, and property tax is very cheap! We just need one smile a day.”

Rarity looked up at Aria. Unlike Pinkie’s warm welcome, she gave a cold look. “Aria.”

Aria did not reply and only begrudgingly took the last seat in the class. She ignored the pair as she pulled out her books and a pencil to get to work immediately. She would have to speak with the teacher, a Miss Cheerilee, after class to get her catch up work.

The dream from last night returned to her, and her desperate plea to escape from the nightmare Konstance echoed in her head. Aria sighed and forced a smile on her face. She turned to Pinkie who clapped and whooped.

“Now that is a fine first installment for your smile tax,” she said, “Trust me, you don’t want to miss a payment without a good excuse. The ISA will be on your butt like frosting on a cake. Ooh, that sounds so good right now. Mind if I have a snack?” Pinkie then reached into her bag and pulled out a full chocolate cake with reach strawberry icing. Aria blinked as Pinkie began to slice it up, looking between her, the cake, and Pinkie’s bag.

“How…? ISA? What?” Aria simply balked at Pinkie. Rarity shook her head.

“It’s best not to ask,” she said, “The more you try to understand how Pinkie Pie works, the more you will develop migraines. Just smile and nod.”

“I always like the smile parts!” Pinkie slid a slice of cake onto a plate. “Do you want some, Aria? You are looking kinda skinny.”

Aria stared at the cake and felt her mouth water at the sight of the decadent dessert. Her stomach rumbled, demanding that it be fed delicious chocolate cake right now. She looked up at Pinkie, utterly confused. “You’d offer me cake after the way I treated you and Sonata?”

Pinkie nodded. “Cake makes everyone happy, whether heavenly angel food, tantalizing cheesecake, or, for the cake aficionado on the go, portable cupcake versions. Besides, everyone is a bit grumpy now and then. You probably just had a frowny day.”

“Thank you,” Aria said, her gratitude genuine. Now was as good enough time as any. “I know I was a bit of a bag yesterday. Things haven’t been easy since I split from Adagio and Sonata. I suppose I was just angry and let that run my mouth. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m sorry.”

Rarity spoke up, her harsh gaze lightening up. “Well, I can accept your apology for your words yesterday,” she said, “and since Pinkie offered you cake, consider that her acceptance as well. Though I really think you should find Sonata and apologize to her.”

“I will,” Aria replied, “I have a lot to apologize for.”

She ate her cake quickly if only because she did not want to be caught eating food on the first day of classes. Fortunately, she finished and cleaned up right on time as Miss Cheerilee entered the classroom.

“Good morning class!” Miss Cheerilee announced, “I know it’s Friday and you are all eager to get this day going, but we still have a lot to cover! I would also like to announce that Aria Blaze has joined our class, so please let her feel welcome and help her should she be struggling.”

Aria looked around to see the rest of her classmates. Many of them did not bother to smile back, not that she could blame them. A few, however, decided that they needed to mimic choking gestures as a reference to the Dazzlings last performance. Aria shot them a glare that screamed bloody murder and the class clowns quickly stopped.

“Aria, come see me after class so we can figure out how to get you caught up on the curriculum.” Aria nodded to Miss Cheerilee. Satisfied, she turned to the white board and began her lesson.

“Alright class, let’s review rational functions again. This will be on your final exam…”

***

The next class was social studies with Mr. Doodle taking the reins. Aria did not see any of Sonata’s new friends in this class. The class went by quickly and once again, Aria stayed behind for a little bit to get the needed work required to catch up with her grades. The math workload seemed daunting enough but piling all of her social study homework made the task of catching up seem impossible. Worse, she did not have a lot of time to get everything done.

To her great relief, the lunch bell rang after the second class, giving some respite from the day. While Pinkie’s cake helped her hunger, Aria did want a real lunch. She walked into the noisy cafeteria and paid for her meal with the advance to her pay that Roza gave her. Nothing special advertised on this Friday in the cafeteria and Aria chose a simple bowl of chicken noodle soup with some bread.

Aria walked down the cafeteria to find a seat when she spotted Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and their other friends already seated and chatting. While her math classmates smiled and welcomed her, the other two did not. Fluttershy appeared indifferent to the whole affair, or at the very least, she decided to divide herself from any confrontation by looking at her salad as if it were the most interesting salad in the world.

Sunset Shimmer did not sit with the group. Much to Aria’s surprise, neither did Sonata.

“Where’s Sonata?” she asked, “I wanted to talk to her. To apologize.”

“Sure as shootin’ right you need to apologize,” Applejack replied with narrowed eyes. “Poor sugarcube cried her eyes out after yesterday. Took Sunset a long time to get her to calm down. So when she does get back on Monday, you’ll have your chance to apologize to her right here in front of us.”

“Monday? Why Monday?” Aria wanted to apologize as soon as possible, not wait three days.

Rainbow leaned back and rested her feet on the table. “Dunno if we should tell you why,” she said, “After all, we’re just a bunch of losers. I’m sure you don’t want to associate with us.”

Aria already felt her temple pulse in frustration. She wanted to shout at Rainbow to knock it off and just tell her where Sonata was, but knew that anger would just get them to push back against her. Instead, she slackened her shoulders, set down her lunch, and looked towards Applejack and Rainbow.

“Look, I know I wasn’t that friendly the first time we met. And I wasn’t exactly the perfect angel after you stopped us from…”

Applejack raised a brow. “Taking over the world.”

Aria sighed. “Don’t remind me. Even now, it seems like a weird dream. Or maybe a nightmare. The point is, I’m sorry. About the whole battle of the bands, about calling my astral siren projection forth in an attempt to destroy you, and for calling you all losers.”

Applejack and Rainbow looked to each other in silent contemplation. Rainbow shrugged and then looked back to Pinkie Pie and Rarity. Pinkie giggled, stood up, and wrapped an arm around Aria’s shoulders. “Come on, we gave Sunset Shimmer and Sonata a second chance, and their super fun! We should accept her like we did Sunny and Sonny. With open arms and chocolate cake!”

“Pinkie, your answer to everything always seems to be cake.” Rainbow rolled her eyes, shook her head, and then smiled at Aria. “She does have a point though. We did forgive Sunset after she turned into a demon and did forgive Sonata and she did the exact same thing you did, so I guess we can forgive you too. As long as you never call anyone, especially me, a loser ever again.”

Aria nodded. “Alright, I promise. No more calling anyone losers. Or taking over the world.”

Rarity beamed at the sight. “Wonderful! Now sit down with us, darling, your soup is getting cold.”

Aria joined the others, though she felt hesitant to do it. They were so accepting and friendly despite everything she did to them that it confused her. Was friendship this easy to them that they would forgive her? Still, Aria was not one to complain. She picked up her tray and sat down with the others. While she did not feel comfortable calling them “friends”, she did feel a sense of appreciation for their acceptance. Maybe it was the same feeling Sonata and Sunset felt after their downfalls.

Aria ate her soup very quickly, almost devouring the meal without a second thought. When she did look up, she saw everyone was staring at her. “What?” she said, looking about, “is there something on my face?”

“No,” Applejack replied, “just the way you’re eating reminds me of Sonata when she came to us. The way she ate made it look like she never saw food before. She said she lived on the streets with Adagio until she got tired of living on scraps and came back to CHS. Care to share about the way your holding up?”

Aria took a deep breath. “Like I said yesterday, when you stopped us and destroyed our magic gems, I had an argument with Adagio and decided to go my own way. I wanted Sonata to come with me, but she went with Adagio instead. I lived on the streets alone until recently. I found a place to stay, a job, but my employer said that I needed to go back to school and get my diploma if I’m going to keep said job. So, here I am.”

She neglected to mention that she not only lived in a gym and trained to be a professional wrestler in that same gym. A part of her still thought the whole turnaround in her fortunes to be some kind of magic, though she was not about to complain about such.

“Well, that’s cool,” Rainbow said, “I couldn’t live on the streets. Not a place for awesome people like me to be. I guess I can tell you where Sonata is now though. She’s taking a work experience course so she can have a good resume and make a little moolah on the side. That’s why she isn’t here. She also works weekends, which is kind of lame.”

Aria felt surprised at Sonata’s current enterprise. She did not think Sonata capable of such. “Where does she work?” she asked. Maybe she could see Sonata at work, depending on the circumstances.

“Ooh! She’s a waitress at Tres Carnales Taqueria!” Pinkie’s eyes glazed over as she daydreamed. “Oh, just the thought of those yummy enchiladas make my mouth water… mmm…”

Aria shook her head. Sounded like a place with tacos. Now that sounded like the Sonata she knew. She took down the address of the restaurant from Rarity and made a plan to visit Sonata over the weekend if work, training, and the mountain of homework allowed for it. She needed to speak to Sonata as soon as possible if only for her own mental health.


They ate in relative silent, though mostly on Aria’s part. Once lunch was done and the bell rang for afternoon classes, Aria went to her last class of the afternoon: a double block of biology. She entered the class to see that she would be sharing it with Fluttershy. As before, Aria sat next to Fluttershy as class began. Unlike Rairty and Pinkie, Aria and Fluttershy did not speak much. Since the two not only share words often, but the lesson quickly began without allowing any discourse.

When class did end and Aria collected her homework and assignments to catch up, Fluttershy looked at Aria. She seem to try to say something, making little “ums” and “uhs”, with Aria’s only reply being a raised brow of curiosity. “You can say something, Fluttershy,” Aria said, “I don’t bite. Anymore at least.”

“Oh, well…” Fluttershy stammered a bit as she walked with Aria. “You didn’t tell the others that you were living in Haven Gym.”

Surprised, Aria stopped in the middle of the hallway. “How did you know? It’s not like I told anyone I was living in a gym.”

“Roza told me when I went for my sessions.” Fluttershy looked a little apprehensive, yet continued. “She said if you had a problem with to tell you, ‘It’s my gym and I can do whatever I please.’ Um… she added a few expletives I chose not repeat. I hope you understand.”

Aria rolled her eyes. “Sure,” she said. Roza did have a point, even if she decided not to tell Aria directly. She did not openly complain, as the last thing she wanted was Fluttershy to say something, whether inadvertently or not, to Roza and make her out as a complainer. Yes, she lived in a gym and only wore gym clothes, but it was certainly a step up from the cold streets.

They exited the school together, and Aria found it nice to be walking with someone again. She had grown accustomed to the presence of Adagio in the center of their little trio with Sonata and while the two argued and bickered over the direction they went, there was a comfort in numbers. Aria did not realize how much she missed it until that moment. Now she wanted to apologize to Sonata even more than ever. She then decided on her next course of action.

After that, she would find Adagio.

“You must have been very lonely, Aria,” Fluttershy said as they made their way to the bus stop. “Living alone in the cold, I mean. I hope you don’t mind me saying so.”

“A little, I guess.” Aria tried to maintain some veneer of toughness. She did not want to lose her edge after all. She would need it in the ring. “Are you going to Haven tonight?”

Fluttershy nodded. “I go to Haven every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, since I’m at the animal shelter every other night except the weekend. Oh, and if the shelter needs more help, then I call Roza and tell her I’ll come in and make up for lost time another day.”

“If you don’t mind me saying, you don’t seem to need a personal trainer.” Aria looked Fluttershy over and noted that Fluttershy looked incredible, likely due to Roza’s influence and training. She could hope that when her training was done, she could look as good as Fluttershy. Of course, it would be best if she looked incredible. Aria regarded her thin arms, a sign of her malnutrition.

Fluttershy blushed profusely and looked to the bus floor as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. “Um… thanks…” she muttered. “My mom was worried that I wasn’t getting proper phys. Ed., so she called a friend from her high school days, that being Roza. I’m… not exactly confident around a lot of people, especially in the gym when people are watching you and relying on you and the stares from the boys just…”

Fluttershy sunk into her chair to make herself as small as possible. “Sorry,” she said, “Even the thought of people looking at me is frightening.”

Aria rolled her eyes. She will never get how this shrinking violet helped to stop the Dazzlings’ plan for world domination.

They arrived at the Haven Gym and walked in to see Roza helping another client on a treadmill. The large rotund woman huffed and puffed on the treadmill while Roza kept up her encouragement. Aria could not help but snicker at the sight of such a fat woman on the treadmill, but when she turned to the locker room to change, Fluttershy glared at Aria. The sudden shift in attitude within Fluttershy took Aria completely by surprise.

“You shouldn’t be cruel to someone who is obviously trying to do their best to better themselves and stay healthy.” As Fluttershy stared at Aria, she felt a compulsion to back down immediately. Aria was no fool, but she never thought that simple eye contact would make her feel ashamed of her actions, especially from Fluttershy.

“Alright, I’m sorry, you’re right,” she quickly said to the typically meek girl. “It is good she’s getting some help. Roza helped me, she helped you, I’m sure she can help that woman make all her fitness goals.”

Fluttershy’s eyes eased in their intensity. “Thank you,” she said, bringing back her small yet comforting smile. “See? Isn’t it nicer to be kinder to others than to be cruel? I’m sure you’ll love the warm feeling inside you when you give someone a helpful hand a warm smile.”

As long as I don’t feel the immense pressure of your deadly gaze, yes, yes it is. Aria and Fluttershy split up to change when she noticed a small package waiting for her. Once she locked away her schoolwork and textbooks, Aria opened the package to discover coveralls with the logo of Haven Gym embroidered on the back and her name on the front. A small note fell from the package.

Hey Kiddo, it read, this is your working uniform. Wear it, love it, and grab a mop. Day one begins now. Your boss, Roza.

Aria stifled a snort as she put on the coveralls. She also found a ball cap with the Haven logo on it as well and once she put it on with her hair through the hole, she looked at herself in the mirror. She looked the part of a janitor. She did not give a great celebration.

Instead, Aria did as instructed. She grabbed a mop, a bucket of water, and began to work by swabbing the locker room. While she detested such manual labour, she could not help but find some small comfort in it. Work meant a job and a job meant money. Since Roza did not state that Aria needed to pay rent for staying in her gym, she gathered that all of her earnings belonged to her and her alone. Sure, she would have to pay for the bus and food, but she had funds to actually buy things.

Aria knew the first thing she was going to buy. She would find her silver stair hairpins and get them back. The thought of being somewhat financially independent made her smile and despite the dirty mop in her hand, she worked diligently.

Time passed rather quickly as Aria exited the abandoned men’s locker room and moved on to the main floor. She passed Fluttershy on the way while Roza began to lock up Haven. “Hope the locker rooms are clean as a whistle,” she said, “gonna stop your clock around nine-ish, so you have the rest of the night to yourself. I’d suggest you start hitting those books. They don’t hit too hard. Sometimes.”

Aria nodded as she took off her ballcap. “Alright,” Aria replied, “I’ll get on the mountain of homework I have to deal with. Can I ask you a couple of questions before you go?”

Roza nodded. “Shoot, kiddo.”

“First, do you know a restaurant called Tres Carnales Taqueria?”

The question seemed to surprise Roza. “Suppose I do,” she answered, “It’s about ten blocks south, three blocks east, by the art museum. That place is not exactly on the cheap. You have a good wage, kiddo, but don’t burn it all quickly.”

Aria shook her head. “I’m not. There’s just someone who works there that I really need to see. I was wondering if I could get another advance on my pay, so I don’t get kicked out for loitering or something.”

Roza sighed, reached into her bag, and pulled out a couple hundred dollars in twenty-dollar bills. “Here,” she said as she handed the money to Aria. “A full advance for the next week. Go see your friend, have a nice meal, and buy yourself some decent clothes. As much as I like idea of you being a walking billboard, it probably doesn’t help your social situation if you keep showing up at school with only one outfit. Sometimes I wonder how people function with the same get-up day in and day out.”

Aria did not reply to that, considering most of the student body at Canterlot High only seemed to have one outfit, save for Rarity.

“However!” Roza raised a finger a hand to stop any reply from Aria. “I expect you to be here every night with your homework done, Haven spotless, and you ready for some serious training. I’m putting a lot of time, effort, and resources on you, kiddo. Consider my expectations sufficiently raised.”

Aria smiled at the wad of cash she received. She had not seen this much money in a very long time. Before, she and the other sirens would sing to make people buy what they needed. One could say they literally sang for their suppers. However, this was money freely given on a promise based on trust between herself and Roza. For some reason, Aria wanted to show Roza that she earned such an advance. While not a thousand dollars, it certainly eased Aria’s mind.

“Thanks a lot, Roza,” Aria said, smiling at her trainer. “You won’t regret this. But… why take a chance on me like this?”

“Like I said before, kiddo,” Roza replied as she turned to leave the gym. “I see a lot of myself in you. In a lot of ways. Get yourself ready, tomorrow we’re getting you into shape. The sooner we get you into proper training, the better. Have a good night.”

Roza waited for Fluttershy to leave before locking up. The meek girl gave Aria a small wave, which Aria replied in kind. Once they were both gone, Aria walked around the lonely gym for a moment before sitting down on a bench. She thought back on her day and realized the stone cold truth of it all: she was being friendly with the same people that rainbow beamed her powers away. Whether it was simply to get rid of the nightmares or not, Aria began to ponder if this was a good thing or not.

She liked being tough. Whenever Sonata got too airheaded or Adagio became too bossy, Aria was there to keep them grounded. Granted, she did not stop Adagio and her plan for global domination, but desperation made people do strange things. Like deciding to become a professional wrestler.

Impatience got the better of Aria as she sat alone in the gym. She wanted to see Sonata now, but it would not do to take a walk at night to a restaurant she did not know in less than presentable wear. She wanted to find Adagio as well. Despite the two often clashing, Aria admitted to herself that she cared for Adagio and wanted to make sure she was all right.

Antsy to do something other than study, Aria walked up to the ring, stepped over the second rope, and began to run the ropes just as she did the night before. She counted her steps as she ran and felt the rebounding force of the top rope against her back. She ran the ropes for several minutes, taking a moment to only to start running again when she felt ready.

How rapid did change come to her life? One moment she hated Fluttershy’s guts and pushed her around in a gym. Next, she was waving goodbye and being cordial. She cursed Adagio’s name when she lived out in the cold, yet now she wanted to find her former fearless leader.

She recalled something she read once and subsequently blew off. “To live is to change,” she said aloud, “and to be perfect is to change often.”

Those words warranted consideration now. She changed a lot in such a short amount of time, and she felt it was for the better. Now she needed to make the changes mean something to her.

Aria took a deep breath as she finished running the ropes. Tired, she rolled out of the ring and headed to the office. Shoes and socks off, Aria slipped under the sheets and pulled out her biology textbook. Day one of her new life ended, but the next would come with new challenges.

“One thing at a time,” Aria said, “one thing at a time…”

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