• Published 15th May 2012
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Be Human: the All-American Girl Sidestories - Shinzakura

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Hazy Jane II
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Hiya, Mister! We don’t see many humans around this part of Canterlot. I know, most humans visiting Canterlot go to Northside, where all the stuff catering to non-ponies are. But I can tell you’re the adventurous type, likes to travel, see the worl—

Hey! Want a muffin? I like muffins. They’re kinda special to me. Really! Especially the blueberry ones. Would you like a blueberry muffin? Okay, here ya go!

See? I knew you’d like the blueberry muffin!

So what am I doing here? Oh, I’m…well, it’s kinda complex. My job’s to take care of the seno…sena…senerta…. Yeah, cenotaph! That’s the word. Hey, you’re pretty smart, Mister, knowing a big word like that. Oh, but what do I do here? Mainly I wash it twice a week, take care of the flowers, bring muffins by for everyone – the muffin part’s the best, let me tell you!

My name? Oh, it’s Hazy. Hazy Jane, but everyone just calls me Hazy. Yup, it’s my job to watch over the cenotaph for the House. Yeah, my house. House Campolina. I’m a nobbel…nohbul…noblemare! Lady Hazy Jane, Daughter of the Steward of House Campolina, at your service!

Would you like another muffin? Try the banana one this time. It’s my favorite!

Oh, my eyes? You want to know a secret? They’re special eyes. I know there’s a name for them…strabby…strawbis…. Strabismus? Yeah, that’s the word. Gee, you’re really smart, Mister! But yeah, I’ve got special eyes, because Mom says I’m just like her. No, not like her, like her her. Uh-huh, the one the cenotaph’s about.

Yes sir, it is shaped like a giant muffin! Muffins are very important to House Campolina! Some people even joke and call us House Crumpet, but I like House Campolina better, not that I don’t like crumpets or anything like that.

Yup, that’s a teslec…teco…telescope by the cenotaph! We put it there so that when you look through it and it’s a pretty day just like this one, you can see the graves from here. Why would you want to see the graves? Because that’s where they’re buried, Mister! House Lipizzan pays for the telescopes and always makes sure there’s some out here. They usually have someone from their House come by to help with the cenotaph or the graves when I can’t make it down there. They’re really nice, and this place is important to them too. Oh! There was this one time that the Duchess herself came down and spent all day with me, just passing out muffins! Duchess Rarity is really nice! You should meet her sometime!

Why muffins? Why not cupcakes or cross-an…croysa…croissants? Because they always loved them, and as a result, House Campolina always keeps the Muffin Promise! What’s the Muffin Promise? Oh, when you make a Muffin Promise and break it, you can’t eat muffins anymore for the rest of your life. It’s really serious, and that’s why House Campolina always keeps the Muffin Promise, so the Baroness Campolina will always have muffins at the grave and the cenotaph.

I miss her. I miss them all.

Who? The Baroness Campolina, of course – my Aunt Derpy. My cousins too: Sparkler and Dinky, both Ladies Campolina. They’re gone now…they’ve been gone for nearly twenty years now, and I’ve missed them every day and Mom does too.

You wanna hear the story?

You do? Oh, that’s great! I always like talking about Aunt Derpy and her daughters. Sparkler was like a big sister to me and Dinky was more than just my cousin, she was my best friend. But I guess I should start at the beginning, huh?

Well, Mom – her name’s Ditzy Doo, in case I hadn’t mentioned that – and Aunt Derpy were born in Detrot. They’re twins, so they looked alike, ‘cept Mom doesn’t have special eyes. Anyway, Gran-Gran always said that Mom got the looks while Aunt Derpy got the brains. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t think so at the time, she told me when she was younger she was always ashamed that Aunt Derpy used to fly into walls and be clumsy an’ stuff. Just like me, really.

But the thing is, Aunt Derpy was smart. Real smart. How smart? Well, one of Aunt Derpy’s friends is the Archmagus, Twilight Sparkle. She’s gotta be the smartest unicorn ever! Wrote lots of books and spells, head of the mage guild, Princess Celestia’s protor…protoss…personal apprentice! Anyway, Twilight said that Aunt Derpy was the smartest non-unicorn she ever knew and that had other ponies understood that, they would have treated her the way she deserved.

I know, that really doesn’t say how smart she was. But let me tell you how smart she was: in her spare time, she invented things. Things like microwaves, portable tape players, computers and stuff. But because other ponies didn’t know how they worked, they just laughed at it, called them junk. It wasn’t until we found your Earth that people started taking her seriously. There’s a computer keyboard – the Hoovesboard, they call it – that’s based on a design Aunt Derpy made. They’re calling her a genius now, but she deserved that while she was still alive.

But no one ever knew at the time. All they saw was how pretty Mom was and how clumsy Aunt Derpy was and that was that. Mom said at the time, she thought it was proof that looks were better, that being brainy didn’t matter if you were nothing but a dumb klutz. But she also told me that Aunt Derpy never paid attention to her, because she always had a smile and sunny outlook on life. They also used to fight a lot because of their differences, and Mom said that Aunt Derpy always forgave her though she never really deserved it; at the time, she just thought her younger twin sister was stupid and weak. It only got worse after Mom decided to skip going to college while Aunt Derpy got a full scholarship to MIT – you know, the Maresachussetts Institute of Technology! It’s almost entirely nothing but a unicorn school just like the Magic Academy, and Aunt Derpy was the first pegasus in generations to go there.

But that’s when things really changed for both of them: Mom met Dad – his name’s Autumn Mist – while working at the Rainbow Factory in Cloudsdale, and Aunt Derpy graduated with honors from MIT, but nobody wanted to hire her because she was clumsy and had her special eyes, so they couldn’t believe that her degrees in science and engineering were real. But Aunt Derpy wasn’t going to give up – she moved to a small town named Berryville and got a job as a mailmare while she worked on her own inventions. I think she was going to try to become an entrap…enterprise…self-made businessmare.

A few years went by and then I was born; I was the third of Mom’s kids. I…I really shouldn’t be talking bad about my Mom, but she admitted it herself: she, well, she said she tried to sleep her way up the corporate ladder, and I think Dad knew that some of my brothers and sisters really weren’t his; he loves them just the same, though. But Mom and Dad fought often, but Dad stuck by. Even with all the things Mom did, Dad stayed there for us. Mom said, though that at the time, she just kept it up because she thought Dad was being a pushover, not because Dad was being strong for his foals – whether they were really his foals or not.

Around the same time, over in Berryville, Aunt Derpy lived next door to this unicorn couple and their older daughter always looked injured or had strange burn marks; supposedly the rest of the ponies weren’t bothered because the unicorns made fireworks for a living. But Aunt Derpy wasn’t going to stand for it; she heard all the fights and like and when she got the chance, she got the town sheriff to investigate. Turned out that the parents were fighting and to calm down, they were abusing both the filly and her newborn sister. Aunt Derpy stepped in and got the mayor to get the court to have their parental rights taken away, while the parents were sent to jail for abuse. And then Aunt Derpy opened her house to them because they had nowhere else to go and nopony else to turn to. And a couple years later, she adopted Sparkler and Firecracker – that’s Dinky’s real name, by the way; Aunt Derpy just nicknamed her ‘Dinky’ because she was so tiny and cute and the name stuck.

Around the time when I was old enough to attend school, Dad got a promotion and became a shift manager for the main Rainbow Factory over in Cloudsdale. At the same time, the Royal Postal Service promoted Aunt Derpy to the Postmaster position at nearby Ponyville – the job paid more and she got the old Postmaster’s home just outside of town. It was just about that time, though, that Mom and Dad’s fights got worse, and eventually the three of us that could fly – me, Flutterwonder, an’ Orange Box – took the two that couldn’t – Morning Dew and Sunset Splash – and stayed with Aunt Derpy a lot. I know that just made Mom that much more angry and Dad said there were whole weeks Mom wouldn’t come home, but he knew where she was. I’ve never asked, but the look of shame and embarrassment Mom’s face has when they talk about it tells me everything.

But it was those times that Aunt Derpy became a second Mom to me. She said I looked almost like her, and I do, kinda: I got my gray coat from her and Mom and those special eyes, while my light pink – Dad calls it ‘dawn pink’ – mane, tail and my magenta eyes come from his side of the family. I think. I kinda get the feeling sometimes I’m one of the foals who’s not really Dad’s, but he’s the only Dad I have and he’s always been there, so even if I’m not he’s still my Dad. But anyway, I spent a lot of time there with Aunt Derpy, Sparkler and Dinky and it became my second home. There were whole weeks at a time that us five foals would live with them, and then Dad would come pick us up and said things were going to get better, but they never did and a couple weeks after that, we’d get sent to live with Aunt Derpy and my cousins again.

By that time, I’d earned my cutie mark and found I’d inherited Aunt Derpy’s skill with tech stuff. It’s funny: though me, Mom and Aunt Derpy all share the same cutie mark, Mom says hers means something way different than ours. Mom said at the time she thought it meant she had a cute and cuddly personality; now she says all it really meant is that she was an airhead. But Aunt Derpy once told me that hers meant that she saw things differently than other ponies and not just because of her eyes: when someone looked at a bubble, all they saw was a ball of soap holding air in temporarily. But Aunt Derpy saw the bubble’s construct, the air pressure needed to keep it in, the circumference, all that. Physics. Science. Albreg…agelbr…advanced mathematics. And she showed me how to do the same.

I have to also thank Aunt Derpy for making sure me and my sisters and brother got our education. Mom always thought education was a waste of time for fillies; after all, everything we ever needed in our adult lives was behind our tails as far as she was concerned. As for Dad, he was so tired from either fighting with Mom or working to cover two households – he maintained the one at home and helped Aunt Derpy with the costs for watching us all – that he never had the time. Fortunately, Aunt Derpy was a kind but firm taskmistress, making sure that we did our homework, studied for school and the like. It was enough to get Fluttsy into art school and now she’s a professional painter.

And then the day came when I was old enough to leave. By that time, Fluttsy left to go live in Seaddle, Orange moved all the way to Hoofalulu and Dewie and Splashie went to live with Dad’s sister over in Whinnypeg, just so Aunt Derpy wouldn’t have to deal with so much. As for me, I’d graduated from high school and decided to take Aunt Derpy’s advice. I applied to several universities and got accepted to San Caballo University. They have one of the few climatology schools in the realm. I mean, most pegasi can work on the weather patrols or the cloud and rainbow factories, but the climate – that’s where all the really exciting things happen. Imagine planning the weather patterns years and decades out, or suggesting to the princesses when a solar eclipse is needed, or a solar flare or the moon coming closer to the world to raise the tide higher than normal…it’s really exciting stuff, and that’s what I wanted to do. And because Aunt Derpy drilled that into me, I got accepted into the program.

And all the time, Mom just kept getting worse. I had another baby brother born, and Dad finally lost it and wanted to divorce her. Fluttsy, Orange and I all agreed that if something happened, we’d all back Dad – it didn’t matter if we didn’t know if he was really our father, we all felt he was. And as for Mom, well…Fluttsy said a bunch of things that I don’t think I should say in polite company, but Orange and I completely agreed with it.

But it was Aunt Derpy’s death that changed everything. Even nowadays, I don’t know the full reasons behind what happened to her. Dad said it was a rogue magic storm that hit their house by accident, but something tells me that there was more to the story. He wrote us all letters asking us to come back, because Mom needed us. At first I didn’t believe it; I don’t think my sisters did either. But we came back anyway. For Dad, and for Aunt Derpy and our cousins. They were always there for us no matter what, and we had to do the same.

The funeral…I really don’t wanna talk about this. No, I’ll be okay, thanks for asking. Mom was heartbroken. Funny that you don’t ever understand what you lose until it’s gone, and now that Mom’s greatest rival and twin sister was gone, she seemed to have nothing left. She kept crying for her sister, for everything that she’d lost. It was a shock to her that for someone who had lived for nothing but her looks and personality it was my Aunt Derpy who had true friends. And not just friends, important friends, VIPs – the kind Mom now sadly admits at the time she would have had sex with a hydra to have.

But it was Princess Celestia who had shocked everyone – in reward for paying the ultimate price to save an innocent, my Aunt Derpy earned a just reward. And at that point, the Princess put a hoof on the casket and announced my aunt to be Baroness Campolina, my cousins to be Ladies Campolina and that when the mourning period was over, the members of House Campolina would have to choose a new baron or baroness. I wanted to scream to the Princess that she could keep that title if I could have my aunt and cousins back and I know my sisters and brothers were thinking the same thing. I almost think that’s what Mom wanted to say to the Princess.

I’m sorry. I can’t help but cry. Thank you, you’re very kind – I appreciate this. I loved Aunt Derpy. She was my second Mom, the one I could always turn to when I could never deal with my real one. My cousins were family, but more than that. And I know I told myself plenty of times that I’ve gotten over it, but it’s still so painful. I don’t think I ever will.

No, after all these years, we’re still in mourning. I think Mom just doesn’t want to face that Aunt Derpy’s gone and that by choosing a new head of the House, she’ll truly be gone. But I think Aunt Derpy’s death had one good side to it: it made Mom realize that there were more important things in life than getting promoted at your job by sleeping with the boss. Since then, she’s tried to be the mother we wanted. It hasn’t been easy. Fluttsy, in particular, doesn’t want to forgive. Orange is trying, but I’m not sure she can. Dewie and Splashie are trying as well, and Firewire is the luckiest of us all – Mom is actually being a mom to him. As for me? I just don’t know what went wrong – between all of us, I mean. But I’ll try, for Mom.

Well, I’ve got to give out more muffins – I have to keep the Muffin Promise! I hope I’ll see you around again!


FROM: “Hazy Jane” <hazy.jane@campolina.org.eq>
TO: Gartside, Daniel <dannyg@theelectronicpostman.co.au>

SUBJ: Help

Danny,

I’m sorry I missed our annual vacation together. Things have been so crazy the past few weeks, and I…I just want to crawl into my bedroom and cry my heart out. You’ve been my best friend since the day we first met at the cenotaph, and I…I just need someone to talk to.

Do you remember when I told you that I often wondered if I was Dad’s real foal? That I loved him no matter what and he’d always be my Dad?

Turns out he really is my Dad. My mom, however….

I should probably explain. After twenty-five years of mourning, Mom finally took Princess Luna’s suggestion that it was time to find a new person to lead House Campolina, a true baron or baroness and not just a vague steward. Mom finally pulled all of us together and told us she would not become Baroness Campolina, because she hurt her sister so many times…and that the title should go to the person most deserving of it.

I’m still shaking from the news. After all these years, all those times I spent with her, my real mother was Aunt Derpy. About a year before I was born, Mom pissed off Dad fierce, and while she went off to go have another affair and basically live with the guy for a few months, Dad dropped my older sisters off at Gran-Gran’s and went off to talk to my aunt in the hopes that she could talk some sense into Mom. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, they spent three weeks together before Aunt Derpy realized she was backstabbing her sister and just couldn’t do it anymore. She loved my father, had always done so from afar and was secretly angry with Mom’s callous attitude regarding him. But at the end of the day, he was still married to Mom, and not her. So she had to let go.

A year later, I was born. Since it was a period that Mom and Aunt Derpy never spoke, Dad had a dumb idea: Mom barely knew how many kids she had from other stallions; one more wasn’t going to hurt, right? But Dad’s stupid idea worked, believe it or not. And it worked right until the day Mom really got a look at me and knew. She just knew. But she couldn’t say anything, because to do so would have exposed all her trysts. So she reluctantly became my Mother.

She told me she was proud of me and that she loves me like her real daughters. But my brothers and sisters aren’t really my brothers and sisters. My aunt, the one I loved like a second Mom, was my real Mom. The times she wanted me to succeed in school wasn’t the maternal actions of a loving aunt; it was the maternal actions of a mare guiding the daughter she could never have.

I’m mad at both Mom and Dad right now. I don’t even know if I should call Mom “mom.” Or do I call Aunt Derpy that now? Were Sparkler and Dinky my cousins or sisters?

I need a friend I can trust, someone that I know will be impartial. If you can take time off from your band, I’d appreciate the visit.

Always your friend (Muffin Promise!)
- Hazy Jane, Baroness Campolina


FROM THE DESK OF
BARONESS CAMPOLINA

Danny,

Last night scared me.

You. Me. The diamond dogs.

I can’t believe they tried to do that. I can’t believe you tried to do that! Why? Are you crazy?

I know why – because they were trying to dig up Aunt Derpy’s and my cousin’s graves for the jewels Spike buried with her as his farewell gift to her. But I wasn’t expecting you to attack those…things…with your guitar! I mean, their jaws alone! They could have snapped you in two like a twig!

Did you really mean what you said? No, not the part about “Derpy deserves better than that!” That meant the world to me, that you’ve never even met her and here you were, trying to protect my aunt…my mother…I’m still not entirely sure how to phrase it. Maybe I just imagined it. Did I?

It’s good having a friend like you. I know, Mom teases me and keeps saying, “that human’s nice, and you could use a consort” but she’s just kidding. I think.

Oh! I wanted to ask you last night if your band would be willing to play at the opening of the Derpy Hooves Memorial Science Institute next month. It’d mean a lot to me. I wanted to give pegasi and earth ponies the chance to be inventors and entrepreneurs, too. The human world is changing us. We ponies have to keep up with our fellow sapients, or else we’ll be nothing but a drag on the world stage – two worlds, in fact. I’m hoping DerpSci (yes, that’s what I call it for short; I know the dean of the institute doesn’t like it, but hey, he didn’t pay for the whole thing like I did!) will let that pegasus or earth pony – even ones with strabismus and are clumsy – be the next Tesla. Yeah, I read about him, and it’s funny how much Nikola Tesla and Derpy Hooves were alike. I think they would have been great friends.

Heh. Fluttsy says if you let her know ahead of time, she’ll bake a huge amount of cupcakes for you all. I told her about the time Eric stole all those cupcakes I made for you, and she just laughed.

Um…Mom says she wasn’t kidding about what she said.

Well, we’ll talk when you get here.

Love always,
- Hazy


I had a dream last night. I dreamt Aunt Derpy told me everything. Funny, in the dream she said that maybe I wasn’t dreaming, that maybe she’d invented a machine that could send a message to my mind after coming up with one that would let her see my future. I know. It was weird.

But in the dream, she told me the truth. That she’d been in love with my Dad since the day she first met him and never told him so. That she was always jealous of Mom and how she treated Dad, when she would have treated him with the love and respect he deserved. And when she finally had him in her forelegs, she had to let him go, because she made a Muffin Promise to herself to treat him with that love and respect – and that meant letting him go and not getting him the cheap way.

She told me that she was proud of me, both as my aunt and as my mother in secret. That she wished she could have told me so while she was still alive, how Sparkler and Dinky deserved to know. And that she was proud that I’d taken in her shoes as Baroness and did what she couldn’t: the school and the patents for the things I’ve made over the years. I…unless it was a dream, how could she know about that?

And then just before the dream ended, she said that you did say what I thought you said: that you loved me. And that I needed to tell you the truth: that I’ve been in love with you for these seven years we’ve known each other.

So, I guess the question is: will you marry me? I’ve heard that with humans, females are usually the ones who get asked, not doing the asking. But, I’m the daughter of Derpy Hooves – so I know I can get away with being a little different.

Now get going on stage and show ‘em how it’s done, science-style. Meanwhile, I’m going to go talk to Scootaloo over there. She and her beau just tied the knot two months ago, so she might have a few ideas.

I mean, it’s not too early to plan, right?


FROM THE DESK OF
DUCHESS LIPIZZAN
MINISTER OF THE ARTS AND SCIENCES
KNIGHT ELEMENTAL, GENEROSITY

Dear Mr. Gartside, Baron Consort Campolina (you should get used to that address)

Thank you for making her happy. Hazy was beautiful up there today in her bridal gown, and I daresay you looked quite dashing yourself.

I’ve always wanted her to be happy. Her mother paid a dear price for me once, one I cannot go into detail about. But I have done my best to watch over Derpy’s daughter (she confided in me about it and made me both Muffin Promise and Pinkie Promise!) both for what her mother did for me and because Derpy was a very dear friend. Today, I am glad to say that my friend’s dearest wishes for her first daughter were fulfilled.

You’ve given me hope for your species. Now go kiss your wife and enjoy your honeymoon – Hoofalulu is quite the experience.

Kindest Regards,
Rarity, Duchess Lipizzan, KE-G
Minister of Arts and Sciences

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