• Published 1st Apr 2015
  • 5,402 Views, 115 Comments

Embracing Chaos - Smjames

Twilight Sparkle's is now the headmistress of her very own school and is ready to help mold the young minds of the next generation. But then Discord signs on as a teacher and she finds herself just as much a student as those she's leading.

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Chapter 2

Embracing Chaos Chapter 2

In one of the many hallways traversing the massive Castle of the Two Sisters Rarity and Applejack trotted along, following the signs on the walls pointing them to the office of their long-unseen friend and soon-to-be Headmistress. Both mares had traveled to the castle together along the newly built pathway leading from Ponyville through the Everfree Forest, a far cry from the harrowing journey they had taken to gather the Elements all those years ago. By appearances they were the first in their circle of friends to make it to the Academy, which was a bit odd given that Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie had left town before them. Neither of them was worried though, as they were too focused on being excited to finally see Twilight again.

“I’m just so worried about her, dear.”

Well, mostly excited.

“What are you on about this time, Rares?” AJ said with a resigned tone. Here we go again.

“Oh come now Applejack, surely you are just as familiar as I am with Twilight’s usual reaction to stress?” Both mares shuddered a bit as they recalled the ‘Want-it Need-it’ incident.

“Kinda hard to forget about that,” Applejack agreed. “But what’s that got to do with anyth’n now?”

Rarity stared at Applejack very seriously, her eyes brokering no argument. “That… spell was Twilight’s reaction to possibly being late on an assignment from Princess Celestia. One that didn’t even have a time limit! How much worse do you think she’s doing now that she’s on the precipice of leading her own school? The sheer amount of stress she must be under… I shudder to think of it.”

AJ sighed, understanding why Rarity was so worried about this. After all, she often put herself in the same situation with her dress-making business, taking on far too many orders at once because she couldn’t say no to a needy client. She’d been getting better lately with Applejack’s pushing her to slow down and relax a bit, but the urge was always there. “I know you’re worried about her, sugar cube. Hay, when I first heard the news, I thought the same thing would happen. But I stopped worrying, and yah wanna know why?”

Rarity nodded, gazed fixed upon the orange mare.

“Because we didn’t hear about it. If Twi really was having a breakdown like that, then Spike would have let us know ages ago.”

Rarity blinked in thought as the two rounded a corner. “I suppose you’re right darling. Spike wouldn’t let poor Twilight suffer alone if that were to occur.” She bit her lip for a moment before saying, “You don’t think he’s still upset at me do you?”

Applejack stopped walking forward so she could smack her hoof against her forehead. “Oh for Luna’s sake, not this again!”

“Well pardon me Applejack but this is a valid concern,” Rarity said with a huff. “Spike had a massive crush on me for the longest time and then I end up falling in love with one of his sister’s best friends! If it were me I’d still be absolutely furious about being shut down after being misled for so long.”

“But Spike ain’t you,” AJ replied reasonably, having had plenty of chances to practice this conversation. “I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again now. He’s forgiven you. A pony’s heart will follow its own path. He knows that. Yours just happened to go in a different direction then his wanted. It’s not your fault.”

Rarity sighed and nodded, but Applejack could hear her sniffling slightly. “I just didn’t want him to get hurt.”

Before the other mare could react Applejack wrapped around her in near-crushing hug. “I know yah didn’t Rares. You’d never want to hurt anypony, least of all one of your friends. Spike knows that too. That’s why he forgave you.”

Rarity held still for a moment as she let Applejack’s words wash over her before returning the hug just as strongly. “Thank you love. I really needed to hear that.” She pulled out of the hug and gave Applejack a quick peck on the check, causing the farm pony to blush happily. “You always know just what to say.”

Applejack chuckled a bit as the two ponies started walking forward again. “Eh, I just say the same stuff that Granny told me when I was a filly. It usually works.”

Rarity looked at her out of the corner of her eye skeptically. “Your grandmother gave you romantic advice when you were still a child?”

“She gave me and Big Mac all kinds of grown-up advice. It was how she sent us to sleep when would get restless in the summer.”

Rarity laughed and said, “Sounds just like my father. He would go on and on about all the different places he’d been to and only list the most boring parts to get me to stop pestering him about getting more fabric or gems.”

Applejack smiled and laughed as well. “Guess lots of parents end up doing the same thing with their kids no matter where they’re from.” The two fell into a companionable silence for a while as they made their way through the hallway.

They were just about to turn another corner when they heard a shout from behind them and paused to see who it was. All they ended up seeing was a pink blur flying right at them like a meteor. The group rolled and tumbled backwards a dozen feet before they came to a halt with a familiar party planner sitting on top.

“Hi girls! Boy, I am sooo glad we caught up with you. I mean, we left like ten minutes before you but Fluttershy wanted to look all around the path at all the new stuff and I was like ‘Okay!’ and we wandered around for a while but then we got to the castle and we wandered around some more and now we’re here and I’m just so excited to see Twilight! Aren’t you excited?”

Rarity and Applejack stared up at their friend blankly. No matter how many times they heard the pink mare rattle on with her endless run-ons they would never get used to it. “We’re, um, most excited dearest,” Rarity said hesitantly.

“Uh, yeah Pinkie. Real excited,” Applejack agreed. “Can’t wait to see her.”

“Me neither!” Pinkie said with a carefree grin, still standing on top of the two.

The two trapped mares looked at each other and decided to be a bit plainer in their speech. “Pinkie?”

“Yes Applejack?”

“Could you please get off,” AJ asked as politely as circumstance allowed.

Pinkie looked down and realized where she was standing, then giggled and said, “Oh, sorry.” She then hopped off, helping Rarity and Applejack back up on their hooves.

“You never change, do you Pinkie?” AJ said as she straightened out her hat on her head.

“Nope,” Pinkie stated before hopping around in a circle humming to herself.

Rarity only watched her friend’s movement for a moment before turning to peer down the hall. “Pinkie, dear, where is Fluttershy?”

Pinkie paused in her jumping to look back at where she’d come from. “I don’t know. She was right behind me last I looked.”

“I’m right here,” a quiet voice said from above.

All three ponies fairly leaped out of their fur in surprise, Pinkie in particular flying up and coming back down on top of the other two again. While the trio worked to disentangle themselves from their pile a soft laughter could be heard nearby. Eventually Pinkie managed to get her cotton-candy mane separated from Rarity’s curls and Applejack’s ponytail and they all stood to see who had startled them.

Standing a bit apart from the trio was Fluttershy, shyly giggling at her friends’ situation. As usual she wore her green nurse’s frock, her standard attire from her veterinary business. “Sorry if I scared you. I didn’t think you’d be so startled.”

“That’s fine Fluttershy,” Rarity said reassuringly. “I suppose we’re just a bit jumpy right now. But I am curious as to why you were flying. You never fly indoors.”

Fluttershy blushed a bit but smiled proudly. “Normally I don’t, but some of my butterfly friends have told me I should practice my flying so I can get stronger. It’s going pretty well. I actually flew all the way here.” Her smile practically lit up the hall and she squealed gleefully.

“Well Ah’ll be Flutters, that’s one heck of an improvement.” Applejack trotted up and patted the pegasus on her shoulder. “Rainbow Dash would be impressed.”

Whatever resistive strength Fluttershy had built up with her pride faltered under the praise as she hid her eyes behind her hair. “It’s… it’s nothing. Twilight’s probably a better flyer than me still.”

Rarity waved away the distracting statement with her hoof, saying, “That doesn’t matter darling. What matters is your personal growth, which I would say is outstanding.”

Fluttershy almost shrunk down even further into her hair but dredged up enough willpower to look at Rarity directly to say, “Thanks.”

Rarity smiled back at her and said, “Think nothing of it dear. But really girls, enough of these distractions and delays. We’re here to see Twilight after all.”

“Yeah, Twilight! Woohoo!” Pinkie cried before barreling down the hallway, dragging AJ and Fluttershy with her. “Come on Rarity, hurry up!”

Watching with a roll of her eyes Rarity sighed and sprinted after them. By the time she caught up AJ and Fluttershy had freed themselves from Pinkie’s grasp and were moving under their own power, Applejack running with an easy grace and Fluttershy gliding along above them. “Are you sure this is the right way Pinkie?” Fluttershy asked as she glanced at one of the passing direction signs on the wall.

“Sure is,” Pinkie said confidently. “I memorized the map at the entrance.”

“Wait, you memorized that giant map back at the entrance?” AJ asked incredulously. “That thing was taller than Princess Celestia. How the hay do remember that entire thing?”

Pinkie giggled. “I’m just really good with maps silly.”

“But you only looked at it for five seconds,” Fluttershy objected with a whisper.

“Which was two seconds more than I needed,” Pinkie said while continuing to pronk down the hall. “Now come on slow pokes it’s right down here!” With that Pinkie began to put on some speed, becoming a pink blur that left the others completely in the dust.

Rarity stared at the pink contrail the party mare had left behind before asking, “Remind me again dears, Dash is faster than Pinkie correct?”

“Only when Pinkie lets her be,” Applejack said flatly.

Eventually they all caught up to the party planner at the end of the hall, a massive and elegantly carved wooden door standing in their way. AJ could hear her marefriend coo appreciatively at the craftponyship but was herself more interested in the dull thumping noise that she could hear repeatedly coming from inside the room. “Does anypony else hear that?” she asked as they came within Pinkie’s (nominal) earshot.

“What do you think it is?” Fluttershy asked while pressing an ear against the wood door to hear better.

“Only one way to find out,” Pinkie said happily. She cheerfully knocked on the door and received a muted ‘come in’ as a response. As soon as the invitation was given the door slid inward on its own, letting the four friends trot through.

The room they entered was absolutely huge, possibly as big as the throne room in Canterlot Castle. In fact, this place was the throne room for the ancient castle, with long lines of pillars running along the walls and a series of raised steps at the far end. That role had apparently subsumed under its new owner. Long rows of heavily laden bookcases lined the walls while much of the open space was taken up by chemistry labs, complex machinery and reams upon reams of research notes piled upon tables all over the place. The girls all looked around in amazement at everything as they continued further and further into the room. Eventually they approached the place where the Sisters’ thrones had once sat, replaced now with a large and ornate desk. And sitting behind it was their dear friend Twilight Sparke.


Smashing her head against her desk…

“Oh hello everypony,” she said in a strained yet happy voice, a bright red bruise resting in the middle of her forehead. “Nice to see you all.”

Pinkie was the first to speak, saying, “Hey Twilight, whatcha you doing?”

“Testing out a punishment technique,” she said before smacking her head against the desk again. “Preliminary results show an excess of facial nerve stimulation with no real evidence of cognitive damage.” Another smack. “Unfortunately.”

“And why are you testing this technique on yourself dear?” Rarity asked delicately.

A frown marred Twilight’s face as she felt at her bruise. “Because I did something really, really, really stupid.”

“Oh balderdash!” Applejack cried. “What the hay could you have possibly done to merit you trying to bash your own brains out?”

Twilight stared at AJ blankly and said, “I made Discord a teacher.”

The orange mare blinked a few times before saying, “Well, sorry for distracting yah, Twi. Go ahead and get back to it.”

Twilight moved to do exactly that but was stopped by a cloud of blue magic. “Really Applejack,” Rarity admonished while using her horn to keep Twilight from smacking herself again, “there’s no need to be encouraging that kind of behavior. I’m sure Twilight had a good reason for hiring, eh, Discord as an instructor.” Rarity glanced at the purple alicorn uncertainly and asked, “What exactly was your reasoning dear?”

Twilight’s face somehow became even flatter as she said, “He asked and I said yes.”

Rarity was silent for a moment or two as she processed this then smiled as sweetly as she could while saying, “See Applejack? Perfectly reasonable. Now Twilight I’m sure you miss Ponyville after being away for so long and quite a few changes have occurred while you were busy. If you are free perhaps you should join me in visiting the hospital. I’ve heard that they have added an entire wing for the therapy department.”

“Don’t bother,” a male voice from behind them said, prompting everypony to turn and see who had spoken. Standing at the foot of the steps was none other than Twilight’s adopted son/brother/who-even-really-knows-at-this-point Spike, several antiquated-looking scrolls tucked under one arm. His year traveling with Twilight had been good to him, his height having more than doubled so that he stood as tall as even Applejack along with at last growing a pair of wings. His frame was now rather lanky but still very clearly strong, while the spines on his back had grown sharper and more defined.

On the whole he looked far more the part of a youngling dragon, though his ‘been-there-done-that’ smirk kind of ruined the image. “Twilight already tried to get a therapist to diagnose her but he refused. He said that making a single crazy mistake doesn’t make you insane. If it did everypony in Ponyville would be certified bonkers.”

“Spike!” Pinkie yelled excitedly before launching herself at him with her patented tackle-hug. The dragon steadied himself and caught the pink mare with his free arm, using his tail to keep himself upright against the pony projectile’s speed.

“Hey Pinks,” Spike said while looking down at her hugging his chest. “How’ve you been?”

“Great!” Pinkie said as she let go of Spike and started hopping in a circle around him.

“You’ve gotten much bigger Spike,” Fluttershy observed while eyeing the young dragon’s wings with interest. “What was learning to fly like, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Spike grimaced and a blush crept onto his cheeks. “In a word? Crashy. Very, very crashy.”

AJ laughed as she walked down the stairs. “Like brother like sister huh? I’m sure a big, tough dragon like you could handle crashing just fine.” Once she was next to Spike she reached out a hoof, which he matched with a bumped fist.

“The injuries sure,” Spike agreed. “The embarrassment not so much.” He then turned to the last visiting mare, and said plainly, “Hello Rarity.”

The unicorn jumped slightly at hearing her name before nervously stuttering back, “Oh, um, yes. Hello to you as well Spike.” She looked off to the side and rubbed her hoof in circles on the floor.

Spike noticed her nervousness and rolled his eyes. “You’re not still worried about that are you? That was like two years ago. I’ve been over it for ages.”

“THANK YOU!” Applejack cried loudly. “Ah’ve been tell’n her yah don’t care for weeks but she just won’t listen.”

Spike just laughed and said, “It’s Rarity. Freaking out about little stuff is practically her special talent.”

Rarity huffed at the two of them and said, “You are aware that I am standing right here?” Applejack and Spike both had the grace to look guilty for a second while Fluttershy and Pinkie laughed at their expressions. Rarity waited for their giggles to subside before looking intently at Spike and asking, “Are you sure you’re alright dear?”

Spike stared back at her, seeing the deep underlying worry in her tone and said seriously, “Yes, Rarity. I let it go a long time ago.”

Rarity sighed with an obviously deep relief. “Thank you Spike. You have no idea how worried I was about that.”

“Yeah sure,” Spike said casually. “Hey, you guys do remember you came to see Twilight right?”

The purple alicorn took that as her cue to teleport in the center of the group and drag them all to her with her magic into a group hug. “I’m sorry girls,” Twilight said as she let them go after a few minutes. “I was so wrapped up in my worries about Discord that I didn’t greet you all like you deserve.”

“That’s okay Twilight,” Pinkie said. “We know you’re, like, super-duper busy right now with everything. I mean you’ve got teachers and classes and lessons and lunches and cleaning and fixing and students and…”

Twilight magically shut Pinkie’s mouth for a moment to ensure her friend wouldn’t drive them all crazy with words. “I get it Pinkie. Yes, I am very busy, but I am never too busy to enjoy a visit from my friends.” The girls all went in for another hug at the heartwarming words, Spike hanging back and pretending to gag at the display of sweetness.

“We feel the same way darling,” Rarity affirmed, “and we will always be here for you if you need help.”

Twilight could feel her smile stretching across her face at the words. “Thanks girls.”

“You’re quite welcome.” Rarity pulled back with the others to give Twilight some personal space. “Now, perhaps you could be a dear and explain a bit about Discord.”

Twilight sighed, retreating back up to her desk while using her magic to bring out six chairs. “Might as well have a seat everypony. This could take a while.”

Over the next few hours Twilight began to describe to the girls her journeys across Equestria, Spike excusing himself to get some food and drinks. By the time he got back Twilight was well into her rant about the castle’s trap system, with everypony save Pinkie heartily agreeing with them being shut down. Each of the girls made comments at various points, asking questions that Twilight gladly answered and adding in some suggestions she added to her mental list. Eventually Twilight got to her current source of irritation and explained the situation leading to her accepting Discord.

“And you couldn’t find anypony else besides him?” Fluttershy asked.

“Not with this little time left,” Twilight replied, waving a hoof towards the calendar sitting on the wall behind her. “I have too much to do to focus on finding a replacement unless I want to delay the class for weeks, which simply isn’t an option. Too many students have already signed up for it.”

“So you’ll just hafta trust him Twi. Ain’t nothing else for it.”

Rarity nodded at her marefriend and added, “At the very least you should impress upon him how upset you would be if he did something wrong. And what happened to the last supremely powerful being who upset you in such a manner.”

Twilight blushed a bit as she recalled her battle with Tirek and the damage she had caused. “I wouldn’t go that far even if I still had that much magic. Anyway I already warned him to be on his best behavior and made him Pinkie Promise, not that I think that will stop—” Twilight was suddenly cut off by both Pinkie and Fluttershy loudly gasping in shock.

In less time than it took to blink Pinkie was standing in Twilight’s face atop her desk shouting, “HE MADE A PINKIE PROMISE!

Twilight shrunk back in her chair under Pinkie’s gaze and hesitantly answered, “Yes?”

Pinkie’s eyes narrowed further as she leaned in closer to Twilight. “Has he broken it?” she asked in a deadly serious voice.

“Not as far as I know.”

“Oh okay then.” Like a light switch being flipped Pinkie immediately become her normal, not terrifying-beyond-rational-thought self and hopped off the table with her usual cheer.

“Did he really make a Pinkie Promise Twilight?” Fluttershy asked intently.

“Yeah,” Twilight answered. “Went through all the motions and everything.”

A look of marvel came over Fluttershy’s face. “Oh my. He’s really serious about this then.”

“What makes you say that sugarcube?” AJ asked.

Fluttershy cringed for a moment. “Do you remember your first anniversary? The one where you and Rarity were managing the Summer Sun Celebration?”

Applejack’s eyes narrowed with remembered annoyance while next to her Rarity’s face started twitching at the memory. “Yah mean the one Discord wrecked by messing with everyponys’ coat colors?” Applejack asked. “Ah admit, it was kinda interest’n looking like metal and all, but nopony could focus on the party’n while they were busy running around like a chicken that had lost its nest.”

“He made me green,” Rarity said in an almost dead tone. “The most awful, dead, unattractive shade of green I have ever seen. I have never felt so ugly and unkempt as I did that day.”

Applejack put her hoof over Rarity’s shoulders and pulled her into a comforting hug. “Yah looked fine Rares. The green looked kinda like the leaves on mah apple trees, and to be honest I really liked the shade of red your mane had. Reminded me of the color of the sky in the early mornin’.”

Rarity looked back at her marefriend with a grateful tear leaking out of the corner of her eye. “You really think so love?” At AJ’s nod Rarity burst out into melodramatic sobs and fairly tackled the Earth pony to the ground in a smothering nuzzle, causing the others to glance away awkwardly.

“I thought it was really fun,” Pinkie said with a bright smile. “Me and Dashie switched colors so I was blue and she was pink and my mane was all rainbowy. Dashie didn’t like it as much though.”

Twilight nodded at that. Rainbow had been particularly put out about her color swap, complaining that the Wonderbolts would never let her fly on their next tour if her best trick was turned into a Sonic Pinkboom. “That’s nothing. Did you girls hear about what he did to the Princesses?”

The others shook their heads in answer while Spike had to cover his mouth with his hands to suppress a sudden onset of giggles.

“While nopony was looking he completely switched the Princesses’ looks around so the Luna looked like Celestia and vies versa. Even their voices were switched.” Twilight chuckled. “I have to admit, seeing Celestia say stuff like ‘Wherefore art that prankster?’ was pretty funny. They actually decided to just roll with it and kept up the switch all night without telling anypony except me and Spike.”

“So that’s why Celestia was talking all funny that night,” Pinkie exclaimed. “I was wondering why she wasn’t upset that Luna stole all the cake for herself.” They all laughed for a bit as happier parts of that night came to mind.

“I suppose Discord’s prank that night wasn’t truly that disruptive,” Rarity said after they’ll all calmed down. “Even if he made a mockery of every fashion I’d tried to make for the celebration. But what was the point you were trying to make Fluttershy?”

“Oh, right. Um, before the celebration I asked Discord to not prank you that night so you and Applejack could enjoy your anniversary in peace. I even had him Pinkie Promise not to.”

“Well that was right kind of you there, Fluttershy,” AJ said appreciatively. “Didn’t really work but that ain’t your fault.”

“Thank you,” Fluttershy said with an embarrassed smile. “But I was still really upset with Discord for doing that when I asked him not to. He tried to get around it by saying he wasn’t pranking just you girls, but everypony in town, but I told him he still broke his promise. When he didn’t apologize I told Pinkie Pie about it and she… Um, did something and he apologized right after.”

The girls all turned to the pink party mare while Twilight asked, “What did you do Pinkie?”

Pinkie just calmly sipped some of the tea Spike had brought earlier, her body unnaturally still as she said, “He broke a Pinkie Promise. Nobody breaks a Pinkie Promise.”

Suddenly any curiosity the girls had about Pinkie’s actions disappeared as if they had never been. “Okay,” Twilight said slowly as she tried to force her mind to stop being terrified, “So, Fluttershy, you’re saying that Discord treats Pinkie Promises really seriously now?”

The yellow pegasus nodded resolutely. “Oh yes. Ever since then he’s kept every single one he’s ever made. It’s why I trust him to look after my cottage while I’m working at the clinic every day. He’s actually really responsible when he wants to be.”

Twilight slumped back in her chair in visible relief, some of the stress weighing down on her mind fading away at Fluttershy’s reassurance. Something still nagged at her mind though. “It still doesn’t really make any sense though. Why would Discord want to be a teacher? He’s never shown any interest in educational matters before now. What does he stand to gain from it?”

“Maybe there’s nothing to gain dear,” Rarity supplied. “Maybe he just felt a sudden need to teach. He’s had phases like that before has he not?”

Applejack whinnied mockingly and responded, “The only phases he has are how disruptive he makes his pranking. No, Ah think this is somethin’ else, somethin’ bigger than just him playing on a whim. Just keep a close eye on him Twi. You never know when he might try somethin’.”

“He won’t do that,” Fluttershy argued gently. “I think he’s really serious about this. Discord has been really quiet lately and I’ve seen him watching the night sky sometimes. He seemed to be muttering to himself but I couldn’t tell what he was saying.”

“You think Discord is sad Fluttershy?” Pinkie asked. “Maybe I should throw him a party to cheer him up!” In an instant she had pulled out her party cannon and started stuffing different items in the barrel, including but not limited to a banana, six brightly painted eggs, fancy brass pottery and a live chicken. None of the girls dared to try and question where exactly Pinkie was getting all those things or how she was fitting them into her cannon.

“That’s okay Pinkie,” Fluttershy said. “I don’t think this is something a party will be able to fix. Sorry.”

That just seemed to make Pinkie even more determined, her hooves dipping in and out of her mane as she grabbed item after item in search of the thing she thought would lift Discord’s mood. While Pinkie all but disappeared into her own mane Twilight turned to the other girls and asked, “So you girls don’t think I made a mistake hiring him?”

Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity looked amongst each other for a moment before Fluttershy nodded with unusual confidence while Applejack just shrugged. “As much as Ah want to say it was, it wouldn’t really be honest to say so. If he really wants to be a teacher then it may be best to just let him. It’s a risk, but some of the best fruit comes from the most untamed ground.”

Rarity shuddered with delight, saying, “Oh I do love when you speak so eloquently dearest.” Applejack blushed but smiled at the compliment. “I must say that I agree with her, Twilight. As much as I personally distrust Discord I would be a horrible hypocrite to deny him the chance of working where and how he wants. Besides, if he is busy teaching here he won’t be such a bother for us in Ponyville.”

Twilight nodded at the two then turned to Fluttershy for the true deciding vote. As Discord’s first and oldest friend Fluttershy often ended up being the main voice for suggestions on how to deal with the chaos entity, as well as the pony they all complained to after whatever latest trick he had pulled. “What do you think Fluttershy?”

The yellow-coated pegasus was silent for a moment as she gathered together the words she wanted to use. “Yes Twilight. I know Discord can be disruptive and annoying, but I really do think he means well for the most part. Ever since Tirek was defeated he’s been trying so hard to find some way to make up for what he did. Twilight, I think your willingness to forgive Discord for his betrayal and sacrifice yourself to save him really changed him. If you just give him this chance I’m sure he won’t disappoint you.”

“Wow,” Twilight said, marveling at Fluttershy’s speech. “You really think so?”

Fluttershy gave one of her trademark gentle smiles and answered, “I do.”

Twilight turned to each of her other friends and saw their confirming nods in agreement. Even Pinkie took a moment out of her searching to add in her certain grin, though the seriousness of the look was a bit suspect given the starburst-patterned towels hanging from both her ears. “Alright girls, I guess you’re right. Maybe Discord will be fine as a teacher after all. So now that that’s settled lets see about getting some proper food. The cafeteria should be serving lunch soon and I could use some outside opinions on the menu.”

The girls all agreed and made their way to the entrance, Pinkie scooping up some of her fallen items and stuffing them back in her mane. The group had barely made it halfway across the room when they all suddenly felt their cutie marks pulsing faintly.

“Whoa nelly,” Applejack said as she craned her neck backwards for a closer look. “Where in the hay did this one come from? Ah ain’t heard of nothing goin’ on round Equestria that’d need all five of us to fix.”

“This doesn’t feel like a friendship problem,” Twilight argued. She lit up her horn to try and amplify the sense coming from her cutie mark. “Actually I think it’s trying to tell us something else.”

Rarity’s face drew tight as she concentrated hard on the sense she was receiving. “It feels like… Rainbow Dash!”

“DASHIE!” Pinkie cried in boundless joy, a veritable prism of confetti exploding out from all around her. “She’s coming here! She’s really coming! Oh I can’t wait to ask her about the Wonderbolts and—“ Pinkie was halted before she could start as her tail started to vibrate violently. “Oooh, twitchy tail. I wonder what’s falling.”

Twilight’s eyes widened in a sudden panic as realization struck her like a lightning bolt. “Spike, window!”

Spike nodded and shouted, “On it!” before zooming in the direction Twilight was pointing. He quickly pulled open the giant windowpane just before a multi-colored blur blasted through the space it had previously occupied. The ground shuddered slightly as the cause of the blur slammed down onto the carpet. Everyone in the room watched as Rainbow Dash casually set her wings against her side, a lazy grin sitting lopsided on her face. “Hey guys, you miss me?”

“RAINBOW DASH!” was the resounding reply as the girls all pony piled their friend. The next several minutes were spent with group hugs, tears of joy and plenty of failed attempts at avoiding sappy feelings. Eventually they all calmed down enough to let Rainbow stand up on her own, the cyan mare taking a moment to shift all her feathers back into place.

“It’s so good to see you Rainbow,” Twilight said. “I know you must be really busy with that Wonderbolt tour. I means so much to me that you made time to come see me before school started.”

Rainbow tittered hesitantly and rubbed her mane with her hoof. “Yeah. Wonderbolts. Really busy.” She shook her head and gained back her bluster as she said, “But never too busy for you girls. No matter what’s going on I’d never leave my friends hanging.” She paused for a moment, a look of uncertainty on her face. “Hey, can I talk to Twi alone for a sec? It’s kinda important.”

“Of course dear,” Rarity answered. “We were just heading off for lunch. Feel free to join us once you’re done conversing.”

“Yeah sure, no problem. We’ll be there in a bit.”

“Don’t take too long Dashie,” Pinkie advised. “We have to catch up on our pranking plans later.”

“You know it Pinkie.” Twilight and Dash waved to their friends as Spike led them out. Once they were gone Dash turned to the purple alicorn next to her and said, “Sooo… School principle huh? How’s it going so far?”

“Just fine Rainbow. Once we turned off the castle’s traps everything settled down rather easily. So what did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh, heh heh, nothing major,” Rainbow said unsteadily. “Just got a few questions. You’re teaching pegasus magic here right?”

“Certainly,” Twilight replied with a smile. “Everything from the basics to advanced cloud building techniques and flying styles. Why do you ask? Did you want to take a class?”

“No, no!” Rainbow said quickly. “I just… did you have any openings for pegasi classes by any chance? For the teacher positions I mean.”

Twilight tilted her head in thought for a moment as she considered the question. “Not really, but I could possibly split a class or two into more specialized areas. Why, did you have someone in mind for the position?” Rainbow mumbled lowly to herself as she drew a circle in the floor with a hoof. “What was that Rainbow?”

Rainbow groaned and said out loud, “I said ‘could I be a teacher?’”

“You?” Twilight asked with visible surprise. “But what about the Wonderbolts tour? I thought it was going to go all the way until fall.”

“It is,” Rainbow answered. “But I’m… I’m not going to be a part of it.”

“But why not?” Twilight gasped as she started examining Rainbow all over her body. “Did you get injured? I don’t see any marks or bandages.”

Rainbow shook off her friend and said in frustration, “I’m fine Twi. I’m not hurt.”

“Well than what is it?” Twilight asked insistently. “What’s stopping you from flying in the tour?”

“I…” Rainbow’s voice failed as her eyes started to tear up.

“Rainbow whatever it is you know you can tell me. I won’t ever think any less of you for whatever it is.”

Dash could feel several streaks of water running down her cheeks before she rubbed them away. “Thanks Twi. I needed to hear that.” She took a deep breath to center herself. “Okay, here goes. The reason why I’m not flying in the tour is because I… I quit the Wonderbolts.”

Twilight stared sightless at her friend for several seconds before her brain caught up with her ears and she shouted in the Royal Canterlot Voice, “Wait WHAT?!”

Unbeknownst to either pony a tiny fly shifted back and forth in its place on one of the walls. Oooooh, Discord thought to himself in the confines of his bizarre mind, I so very love plot twists. I just wish I could eat popcorn this small. Wait a minute, I can! And so the fly continued to sit and observe the two mares from far above them, sloppily eating out of a minuscule popcorn bag and enjoying the show.

Author's Note:

Guys... I am so sorry it took me so long to get this out. Like, I really just feel awful about this, leaving you guys thinking I was just going to let this thing languish at just one chapter forever. I could try to explain it away with any number of excuses, like I had other stories to focus on (mostly true), limited access to a computer (slightly true), and the fact that I just suck (so true it hurts). I'm pretty sure it's mostly the last one though. Mea Culpa. Anyway, here is the long overdue second chapter to this story with the third (hopefully) not too far away.