• Published 10th Aug 2015
  • 2,782 Views, 147 Comments

Lost in the Mirror of Worlds - Meadow_Dawn

Four legs and magic. What kind of mess have I gotten myself into? I only wanted a full length mirror for home, and now I'm in a strange world with no friends or family. Who's this dark horse in my reflections and why is it blocking my trip home?

  • ...

The First Full Day in Equestria

A sharp rapping sound echoed around me as I awoke abruptly, feeling sluggish and groggy.
“Madam Dawn?” A voice called, “Princess Celestia and Princess Luna ask for your company for breakfast if you're awake.”

“Huh?” I groaned, getting ready to answer as the previous night’s events came back to me in a fog. Preparing to step out of the bed, I suddenly fell off it instead! Faster than I could react, I landed flat on my back with a loud ‘smack’ as I started to groan, trying to get back to my feet.

“Lady Dawn?!” the voice said alarmed. Before I could voice my protest or protect my modesty, the speaker opened the door and stepped in, seeing me still on my back with all four limbs floundering in the air like a tipped cow.

“Ow.” I managed to say from my perspective as I tried to tuck in my legs and roll over, still feeling shy in front of this guard. He helped me roll over onto my legs so I could stand, though it didn’t stop my face from blushing heatedly.

“Are you alright?”

“I’ll live.” I say as I struggle to my feet, “What's this about breakfast?”

“I was wondering if you would like to join us.” Celestia’s voice came from around the corner before her head peeked inside to see us both. “And you, gentlepony, were supposed to be off duty.”

I looked between Celestia and the guard with renewed interest. Somehow seeing the princess here helped solidify this as not a dream, and now to know that this guard went out of his way to help seemed odd. I looked him over, but the only thing distinguishing his white coat and blue mane from any of the other guards I had seen was his own mark on his hindquarters. I barely got a glimpse of something that looked like a tower and a shield before his response garnered my attention.

“I, well,” He stammered with an embarrassed smile, tail flicking and a hoof bending impossibly to rub the back of his neck, “I figured I would just get here first is all!”

I stretched my legs and stepped forward past the guard before realizing how rude it was not to recognize his efforts. I paused and turned back to him.

“Thank you for the help.” Turning to face the princess, I replied, “If you would like me to be there, I'll join you.”

“We would be happy to have you.” She chuckled lightly, “Perhaps a hot breakfast will help with making you more of a morning pony.”
I walked along with her to the stairs, still feeling not quite awake in spite of my fall. It was clear my coordination was not what it should have been as I kept stumbling over my feet, looking down to catch myself and keep seeing the lack of feet. It was strange to refer to my hooves as anything else, at least for now.

When we reached the dining room I was taken to last night, I took up the seat I had before and rested my head on the table. I still felt too tired to really function, and even if it wasn’t polite, I needed the rest. Once I heard the sound of hooves on the floor coming up the stairs, my ears perked up and I raised my head from the table. Rest time was clearly over for now.

Luna walked into the room, appearing as regal, perhaps more-so than her sister, and sat at her place I saw her at before. I looked between the two of them patiently, wondering what will happen for breakfast or when the waiter pony would come in, when another set of hooves came up the stairwell.

I looked intently at the doorway, confused at the idea of having another visitor. I was not prepared for having another guest, it was far too likely I’d gaffe something else up at this rate. My heart jumped when I saw a pony that was clearly not a guard. He was muscled and had a medium sized frame, not like the more well built guards, his muzzle was greyed while his body was a muted white. As he walked in, I noticed he had no horn, but he had wings! I couldn't remember if anyone else have wings in the castle, I was still reeling from everything, but couldn't help but wonder if it meant anything special or if the princesses having both a horn and wings meant something instead.

He looked around the room and inevitably saw me. I felt a little shy, almost embarassed and looked away from him as I moved my forelegs to between my seated rear legs, trying to play with the carpeted rug a bit before looking back to him. His gaze turned back to Celestia before he sat to my right, between myself and Luna.

“And who do we have here?” Celestia gazed toward the guest, despite her head turned toward Luna.

“A new guest, sister.” Luna smiled lightly, almost appearing smugly pleased with herself.

“Oh really? And what is your name then?”

“My name?” he hesitated, sunlight glinting off of some of his feathers on his wings as he squirmed, then looked toward Luna, “Ch- uhh... 'Silver Wing'”

“A fine name.” Celestia nodded.

“A fine name.” he echoed, looking back at Luna.

“Well then, I am Princess Celestia. Have you met our other guest before?” She says, gesturing toward me.

“Oh! I'm,” I paused, trying to remember last night. I glanced subtly toward my flank, and on seeing my mark, I replied with a small bow, “I’m Meadow Dawn.”

One of the ponies outside walked in, bowing before asking, “What would you like to have today?”

“I'll have some warm oatmeal please.” Celestia smiled.

“We would enjoy the apple salad with tea this morning.” Luna stated. Her matter of fact, almost regal tone made me smile, if only because I could appreciate her directness.

“Uhh,” Silver wing paused, clearly thinking before quietly answering, “I'll have the apple salad too please.”

“Did you want a drink too?” the server pony asked.

“Sure, tea'll be fine.” He said, looking back to Luna again.

He seemed to look over to Luna quite a bit more than Celestia, making me wonder what happened between them that has his interest. She was clearly more like a ‘princess’ I would have expected, being more proper with her posture and direct about what she’s wanted so far. On the other hand, she was less approachable than her counterpart.

My musings were interrupted as a small clearing of a throat brought me back to looking at the server pony, and I realized I had yet to order my food as well.

“Whatever works best for breakfast here then.” I reply, feeling too caught off guard to properly think of a breakfast item I wanted to eat. He looked confused at me and then at Celestia for guidance.

“Oatmeal would be a fine start for her then as well. We'll fetch either of you if we need anything more thank you.” Celestia bowed in his direction, inciting shame in my chest as I realized I must be acting ungrateful or inappropriate if a princess is bowing to someone.

“Of course, Princess!” He said eagerly, bowing his way backward yet again and moving briskly down the stairs

“It would seem you both are here not by your choice, and I will say again how sorry we are for your trouble.” Luna stated somberly, eyes closing as she bowed her head to where her chin almost touched her neck before looking up and continuing, “It would be our hope that you find happy and productive lives in Equestria.”

I looked over at Silver in surprise and focus, his own face clearly surprised as well. I doubt he was from here as well, or else she wouldn’t have introduced us as living in this land together. Now I had to wonder how he came to enter this place. It shouldn’t be possible he came from my home, it was locked while I worked on the mirror and I lived alone.

“You came through the mirror too?” He asked, voice sounding confused and somber.

My eyes narrowed as I realized he must have come through the mirror I had. I certainly saw no other portals in that room last night.

“Yes,” I say quietly, and then with a hint of accusation, “and my home was locked.”

“Do not be hasty Meadow Dawn.” Luna interrupted, “There is more than one mirror that is connected to Equestria. And more than your two worlds share that connection.”

“Ah!” I say snapping out of my intense staring at Silver to look at Luna in surprise. I looked back to Silver, blushing as I realized how quick I was to judge, “I apologize.”

“No worries,” he casually replied, appearing unbothered, “but why can't you go back? Did your mirror break too?”

“Too?” I looked back in horror and surprise. ‘Had he broken the mirror portal back? Am I stuck here?‘ I tried to reply, stammering, “No, no, I'm afraid it's a bit more... complicated. I'm being blocked. Something's blocking my way every time I tried to step toward the mirror”

“You could say that, though it is not quite right.” Luna nodded.

“What do you mean?” Silver asked, also turning to face Luna.

“I'm afraid that is something Dawn will need to find for herself.” she replied quietly.

“Though that does not mean she will be without help.” Celestia offered.

I was glad Celestia just offered me help, though I had no idea what Luna meant by ‘something’ I’d need to find for myself. They were both being too cryptic. Deciding against confrontation on it, I tried to move onward.

“What kind of help then?”

“I'm glad you asked.” Celestia said, pausing as hooves started to grow louder until the familiar tray and server appeared.

“Breakfast is served!” He said cheerfully, Using a hoof much like how I would have used my hands to place each pony's food in front of them, ending with oatmeal in front of myself.

“Thank you very much.” I say, trying to make up for my lack of thanks earlier, to follow the princess’ example. He grinned in reply and headed out the door, trolley in tow.

I heard a mutter of thanks to my right, likely from Silver Wing, but hunger hit me and the smells were too appealing to ignore this steaming cinnamon scented breakfast. I start to wonder how I could use the spoon to eat without hands when I remember that I didn’t need hands last night. I tried once again to picture lifting the spoon up to the bowl to scoop up some of the oatmeal.

To my relief, the spoon did exactly what I hoped for it to do, and at my will, it lifted itself to in front of me, letting me blow on it to cool it down before taking a bite of what the earthy sugary breakfast. I suddenly felt very warm metal and goop on the bridge of my nose-muzzle, and I gasped in surprise, looking down at the spoon. My grip on it faltered, clattering down to the table.

Quickly, I lifted a limb up to my face to rub the oatmeal off before it could start to sting, and took a deep breath as my face heated from embarrassment. I tried to eat it again, only to repeat the mistake, letting out another small sound and trying to wipe off my nose yet again, deeply embarrassed.

“Wait, how are you doing that?”

I looked up in dread, realizing I was noticed, and a glance at Silver confirmed he was looking right at me.

“I,” I paused, trying to think about how I was trying. I realized I had to shrug it off, “I don’t really know”

“Unicorns often can use magic Silver. Just as pegasi like you can fly.” Celestia said, wiping her muzzle off with a napkin daintily.

“They... they can?” Silver Wing replied with surprise. I looked over to her in surprise as well. Wings didn’t mean that you could fly, that’d mean penguins or emus could fly here too!

“Yes, you can.” Luna reinforced.

I looked over to Silver Wing intently, seeing how his wings started to flutter in place. I tilted my head to get a better view while avoiding the glinting sunlight he moved around the room off of his Silver feathers. It was no wonder he has that name! I feel confusion rising as I wonder why he can’t just open his wings. After a few more attempts, he stopped moving his wings and resumed eating his food, eating undignified straight from the bowl.

I couldn’t blame him, he had no hands like I was used to, and I wasn’t coordinated enough this morning to manage eating properly either. Deciding to follow suit, I used my mouth to lift the whole bowl and tipped some of the oatmeal into my mouth. It tasted wonderful, full of an earthy tone but still quite sweet without being overpowering.

“I know it may be difficult to adjust,” Celestia stated once she finished her meal, “but you’ll both come along just fine I’m sure.”

“Now, you must realize very few ponies know that other worlds exist.” Luna stated seriously, “It would be greatly appreciated if you did not speak of this to anyone.”

“Naturally, this means we'll need to find you both a way of getting along here in Equestria. What things were you good at where you were from?” Celestia asks.

“You mean like... My job? Or my hobbies?” Silver Wing asked, and on seeing Luna gave him a nod, he continued “Well, I was in law enforcement…”

“I was in customer service,” I stated, feeling it appropriate to say my occupation during his pause, adding “ but I always liked technology, or games. I didn't have the talent to put my imagination to work in other ways.”

“Well, I always liked sword fighting, writing, video games,” he paused and chuckled, “old history, and mythology.”

“And what brought you to that line of work?” Luna asked Silver wing, both princesses staring at him intently. I could almost hear a hint of caution on her voice, but I wasn't sure if I was imagining it.

“Someone has to uphold the peace and keep people honest. If not, there wouldn't be anything worthwhile to come home to.” He replied with a shrug.

Luna nodded, her shoulders seeming to drop down subtly as she and Celestia looked over to me. It was clear they expected me to answer that question as well.

“I just like helping people.” I shrugged, “I didn't have the ability to make anything anyone liked so I just worked on helping people be happy, or understand something they didn't before.”

"You both seem to have very helpful pasts. I'm sure you'll fit right in here in Equestria. But first, I think it would be best if the two of you learned how to be yourselves here." Celestia turned to face both of us in turn, “A unicorn isn't a unicorn unless she can use the magic her horn grants her. And a Pegasus that can't fly simply will not do. My dear sister, where do you think they would be best off learning about themselves?"

“I believe,” Luna started to say after thinking for a moment, turning her attention to Silver first with the same smirk that Celestia had, “I believe learning with the aerial pegasi guard would be best for this one. We are curious as to the techniques used in his world. But as for you… It is probably best if you learned the basics of magic before we taught you how to handle bigger magics such as your other-self. A visit to magic kindergarten perhaps.”

I felt a lump in my throat as I swallowed, not entirely sure if I’d look forward to going to school with children, ponies or otherwise. On the other hand, if I didn’t try to work with these ponies, what were the odds of me getting back home again? Suddenly, it dawned on me what she just said.

“Wait, before you teach me?”

“What a wonderful idea Luna.” Celestia said with a broader smile, possibly teasing her sister, “I've always been telling you you've been in need of an apprentice.”

“It was not apprenticeship I had in mind. Very few in Equestria are suited to teach the proper handling of that kind of magic.” Luna protested.

“I'm just glad you're willing to help. Thank you both.” I say nervously, hoping to stem any potential quabble. “I'm looking forward to seeing just what magic can do, and by extension, what I can do with it.”

“An admirable goal, provided you remember the reasons why you choose to wield it.” Celestia said sagely.

I nod, starting to think. Being in a new yet familiar place, magic existing, and having someone else in the same boat I’m in is all surprising and a bit overwhelming. Soon after Silver and I finished eating ourselves, Celesta stood up, Luna following suit.

“But,” I add, trying to hide my rising embarrassment at the question I’m about to ask, “why kindergarten?”

“It is the place that all unicorns have to learn their trade. And you may yet learn other things there that we might not think to teach.” Celestia said.

It made sense, but I felt a sense of foreboding as I realized I was being put out into their world already, knowing very little of it. She must have been quite confident this is the right choice, but it didn’t mean I wouldn’t have my doubts. I looked over to Silver Wing, curious about what he thought about everything. He was quiet for a while before he looked up from his staring spot.

“When do we begin?”

“Right away, both of you should start your schooling as soon as you can.” Celestia said.

I felt a weight coming off my shoulders as I realized she was starting us both in school at the same time. It would be comforting to have someone who’s in the same boat as me take classes too.

“Might as well start now, I guess.” Silver wing shrugged, “Nothing else to do really” He laughed, voice shaking a little.

“Well, nothing else that we know of anyway.” I corrected. Just because these were the options presented to us didn’t mean there weren’t other options.

“I'll take you both there myself. Come, it's not far, and if we go now, you'll arrive right at their play time.” Celestia said as she walked over to the tower stairs.

“I hope you rest well then Luna,” I said, hoping to recognize the end of her day before following Celestia quickly. I did not want to fall behind.

I caught up to the side and just behind Celestia like before, almost sensing that Silver was soon coming before hearing his hoofsteps come down to meet us. It was a strange feeling of deja vu, but I shook my head briefly to clear my mind and focused on walking without tripping down the stairs.

“So, what do you think of all this Dawn?”

“Well,” I thought out loud, “It's definitely strange to be walking on four legs, I miss my hands, and my books, and my games… I'm still trying to figure out why horses or ponies or whatever, and I don't know what to expect.” I then quietly muttered realizing the emotion I was feeling right now, “I’m scared.”

I felt myself slow down but tried to keep moving forward. My life’s motto had been “I will not let myself be ruled by fear” and I wasn’t about to let that change now just because of the unknown. It’s always best to keep moving forward and focus on what you can do than what you wish would be anyway.

“It'll be alright,” He replied, sounding cheerful, “just try to roll with it. By the sounds of it, you'll be able to get home eventually. So just try to stay positive till then.”

I looked over to him as he paused, and saw a contorted smile that I could only interpret as him trying to put on his own ‘brave face.’ It was a kind gesture, even if it wasn’t very reassuring.

“Though,” he added, “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not having hands.”

“And by the sounds of it,” I replied quietly, “It's unsure whether I'll end up wanting to go back.”

“If that were the case, wouldn't that mean you would be happier in the end?” Celestia asked, overhearing my comment

“I suppose so.” I think out loud, still feeling unconvinced. I start to feel my stomach twist as I think of home, so I turned to ask Silver “What about you, what would you do since you can't go back then?”

“I'm not sure...”

“I think both of you will find more here in Equestria than you will have bargained for.” Celestia smiled as she turned back to face us, “Then again, what you two do with yourselves now is another story.”

Celestia opened the doors to the outside when we reached the front gates, guiding us down the street toward the main town. A larger building with a decent sized lawn outside was ahead in the distance, where small little dots of color seemed to be playing with the supervision of a couple larger ones. I could only assume they were all ponies as well, though I wondered just how and why there were so many color varieties.

“Will I be able to walk to school?” Silver asked, “I mean, I can't fly... I don't even know how to open my wings yet!”

“Don't worry,” Celestia chuckled, “you can still use the stairs.”

I looked over at Silver confused, head tilting to try to gain his attention. If we’re going to school, and the school was in front of us, why would we need stairs when it’s a gentle slope down this hill? It wasn’t a straight shot from the castle, but it’s not like there were stairs we had to go down yet.

Looking down at the School until other buildings obstructed our view, I felt my heart start to race as we grew close. I felt questions start to enter my mind that needed answering.

“So just what kinds of things can magic do?”

Celestia smiles a bit through eyes that are half closed, leading me to wonder if she is searching for something or maybe rethinking her opinion of me. I find myself hoping she doesn't end up thinking less of me for asking such a question.

“A great deal many things. It was magic that brought you here, and various magics are used to build our homes, clean our waters, control our weather... the bigger question to ask I think, is what do you want to use your magic to do?”

I almost stopped moving, the weight of these concepts hitting me like a ton of bricks. Controlling the weather? That was immensely powerful if in the wrong hands. I wasn’t quite sure I felt ready for trying to answer a question for a source that seemed to be able to accomplish so much!

“Well, I don't know yet,” I barely manage to say, hesitating heavily as I try to keep myself walking, “perhaps I'll find my own way to use it to help people... somehow?”

““Take your time. Not everypony knows what they will do or how they will do it. Some of the latest bloomers of magic have done the greatest of things.” Celestia chuckled, the sound easing my fears.

I looked over to Silver, who for all his laughter was starting to lose his facade, showing some nervousness in his own posture and pace. Clearly, he needed to be cheered up too, and what better way to encourage him by doing what he did earlier?

““So, flying huh? Think you'll get the hang of it by tonight?” I try to say with a grin.

I watch as he gave a heavy sigh, head starting to droop and I see just how distraught he really has been.

“I'm not really sure to be honest,but I guess I'll figure something out.” He laughed again, and I felt my heart twist as I realized just how empty his laughter had been

“Don't worry, we'll stick through this and we'll try to figure something out together.” I said, pausing for half a moment before getting an idea, “Who knows, maybe I could figure out a way to fix your mirror?”

I only realized after I said it just how difficult such an idea must be. I haven’t learned any basic magic at all, and now I’d need to find out just how long it’d take to learn how to fix someone else’s magical item. Clearly those things weren't easily made. If the mirrors we went through were ancient here, and they have numerous ponies with magic, what would the odds be that I could actually do what someone else did years before, no matter how long ago?

Before Silver could reply, we were in front of the school doors. I gulped and prepared myself mentally for the uncertainty, trying to calm my now racing heart. It wasn’t long before a yellow coated pony with an orange mane came through the door.

“Celestia! How wonderful to see you! The children will be so excited to see you too!” She says.

“I am sorry, but I'm only able to spare enough time to introduce you to your newest pupil. Meet Meadow Dawn.” Celestia says, nodding in my direction as I try to step forward nervously.

“H-Hi.” I stammer, attempting a slight bow, noticing how my front leg started to shake slightly from nerves. I put it back down so i could hide my nervousness and took a deep breath to calm myself, even if only a little bit.

“She's new to Equestria, and comes from a village where she was the only unicorn. She'll need to be taught how to use magic since they did not understand it.”

“I understand, say no more. Come with me... It was Meadow right?” She asked in a nice enough way, clearly meaning business but wanting to come across as gentle.

“Yes ma'am. Meadow Dawn, but Dawn is fine too.” I offered, stuttering a bit less as I heard her voice. I hoped that by hearing a name similar to my home, it would ease my nervousness.

“Interesting...” She replied, walking me inside as I realize Silver wing and Celestia turn to walk away from the school, “You can call me Lemon Bloom, or perhaps just Bloom-”

“Hey, isn't Silver coming with?” I ask nervously, looking behind me as they walked out of sight. I almost fell over as I saw the length of my back, a strange feeling, but catch myself before I started to fall or falter.

“Oh heavens no,” She says with a laugh, much to my dismay, “That stallion would have gone to a pegasus school, not a unicorn school!”

“Oh.” I say, sounding as disappointed as I felt while we walked down the hallway.

“Oh? And why did we think he was coming to school together?” Lemon asked gently, then with a sneaky looking smirk she asked, “Do you have a crush on somepony?”

“No, nothing like that!” I looked at her in surprise, then see her smile and snort as I look away at the familiar brick walls of a school building, “He’s… I only knew of him today and what little I hear is that he’s like me. He can’t go home easily either.”

“Nothing to fret about my dear.” Lemon replied dismissively. “I'm sure you two will meet up again and be back home before you know it! You’ll be the first pony there to use magic! Isn’t that an exciting thought? Come to think of it, play time is just about o-” Her thoughts halted as a church bell-like sound rang out, catching me by surprise “Ah, here we go! Time to go into class!

I nod and follow into the room, only to realize I don't know where I should sit. Looking at the inside of the classroom, I quickly decide I should stand toward the front far corner of the room, and wait for everyone to arrive.

As silly as it felt in hindsight, I couldn't help but smile a little at the little horses that came into the room. While the occasional one stopped for a moment or stared or both, they all went to their seats. As the stragglers entered, I noticed a lone desk near the back that was unoccupied.

“Everyone had fun outside?” Lemon Bloom called out to her class, receiving plenty of affirming voices and smiles. “Good, I want to introduce your new classmate, Meadow Dawn!”

I take in a deep breath as I walked my way to the front of the classroom and stood near Lemon Bloom’s desk. I saw all their eyes trained on me, and despite my shyness threatening to make me want to cower, I bowed my head gently toward them.

“Morning everyone. Nice to meet you.” I said, feeling my voice shake unbidden as some of them started to whisper to each other.

“Now class, she just came a very long way, and there was no one to teach her how to use magic. Dawn, if you could take the spare seat please, we'll go ahead and continue our lesson.”

I nod and walk down the slightly narrow aisle down the middle to the back, where the empty seat was. I heard a couple giggles as I pass some of the foals, ignoring the growing urge to confront them or tell them to just speak to me directly. The chair was very clearly too small, so I carefully moved it aside, using my mouth in lieu of a hand, up against the wall. I sat on the floor at the desk, at attention while many of the ponies turn back to the front.

For the next half an hour, with plenty of interruptions and raised hooves for involvement from the children, we all learned about Starswirl the Bearded and Crescent Bell. While magic wasn't explained on how it worked, I still paid a great deal of attention to the variety of magics they were attributed for creating, from the potent spells of Starswirl to the more creative musics of Crescent. Ideas came to mind from these examples just how much could be accomplished with magic, and my nervousness at the new surroundings gave way to excitement.

It was also amusing to watch everyone else's reactions. The idea of magic was commonplace here, and they were more interested in learning how to imitate than be lectured to, which suited my preferences. I was here to learn magic just as they were.

The remaining time used the built up energy of the children, wherein I learned their 'title' was fillies and foals. Everyone practiced with their magic, from trying to shine lights from their horns to moving around soft colorful objects. I was curious about the light trick more than moving objects, since I managed it earlier today with a spoon. I wasn’t clear how I was supposed to make a light like the dim points on the fillies around me, but it seemed like concentration was the key.

I closed my eyes, and I tried focusing on the horn much like I had with the spoon. I focused on feeling like I was putting energy into the tip, and pictured it making a light. I opened my eyes, trying to keep my focus and hoped that intent and effort was all that was needed.

I saw nothing to the top of my vision, and a quick look over to the window showed no reflection. I stopped my efforts, feeling self-conscious as I start to raise my hoof. Lemon bloom looked up from her desk and called my name.

“Yes Dawn? What is it?”

“How do you make a light?”

The room quieted to half its volume, several heads turning my way as they giggled. I refused to back down from my question. None of them could make a light either, and if this was the first step to learning magic so I could be closer to getting home then I’m not going to waste time guessing at how to do it when I can ask the expert in the room.

Lemon bloom walked over and started to tell me what I need to do, and I tried to pay attention despite some of the whispers in class.

“Calls herself dawn but can’t make a light? Lame!”
“Big adult can’t use magic? Ha!”

The end of school bell rang none too soon. The day lasted much longer than I had ever imagined. Between learning several different spells, each one needing a different thought controlling the spell, I only had the bare basics started for lighting my horn, moving objects like I had before, or manipulating things like the schoolbooks that we referenced a couple times through the day. It didn't help that I had to ask where the faculty restroom was as the ones the fillies used were too small. In the end, while I was mentally drained trying to keep everything remembered. I felt feeling hopeful at where it might lead, despite the effort needed. After all, intellectual work was always better for me than physical.

As the fillies all filed out in a rush to head home with their friends or to play some more, I hung back and waited for everyone to go before approaching Lemon Bloom.

“Yes dear?” she asked before I could open my mouth.

“I just wanted to say thank you, for helping me out like this.” I started to say. I was about to add more about what I really wanted to ask when she chimed in.

“Oh it's not a problem dearie, it's what I live for! I love to teach young fillies how to use magic and the world around them!”

“And that is a great talent to be sure.” I say, acknowledging her slight brag before asking, “and just how long does it usually take to be able to do just what we tried earlier today?”

“It takes as long as it takes. It can't be rushed, and not everypony is good at every magic you know.”

“I know, I know, I just...” I say, hesitating and shuffling my hooves, “I just know I've always been able to complete anything I've set my mind to, and... Let's just say I won't let myself accept failure here.”

“Meadow.” she said, almost sternly, but continuing more gently like before, “Everyone's allowed to fail at something.”

“Yeah... tell that to-” I start to say before thinking better of it. “Fine, then we'll say I won't accept it. I know I can do better. What should I be working on? I didn't hear you assign any homework.”

“Homework?” She asked slightly confused, “Well, if you're trying to get better, just practice where you can on things around you. That's what all the other fillies have done, and I'm sure it'll do just fine. Just remember, don't worry about doing everything perfectly... just do your best.”

Lemon gathered her things into her bag and moved it onto her neck, walking toward the door. She stood just outside waiting for me to leave, so I took the hint and headed outside.

I let myself get so deep in thought I almost completely missed the tap on the shoulder that someone was giving me as I exited the school. Oddly enough, it was that guard I've already bumped into twice!

“Excuse me miss Dawn, but I thought you might want someone to help you get back up to the castle.” He said, acting a little shy. I looked him over curious after what he said sunk in.

“Oh? Well that was rather thoughtful of you. Are you sure you weren't supposed to be doing anything else?” I ask inquisitively.

“Nope!” He said eagerly, “My shift at the castle isn't supposed to start for a little while longer anyway!”

“Oh really?” I say with a small smirk, eyes half closing as I confront that tidbit, “and how did you know I was here?”

“W-well I... look,” he said, pausing nervously before becoming really confident again, “My name's Stalwart Shield, and I'm asking you to walk with me to the castle! Please?”

“Very well Stalwart, lead on!” I laughed curious about this particular guard's interest in me. Afterward, I hoped it wasn't an unkind laughter, but with my smile being as wide as it was from that laughter, I doubted he'd misinterpret my intent.

He smiled and turned around to walk toward the castle, looking very proper and official. His movements seemed very deliberate and over the top. I almost thought it was adorable that someone, pony or otherwise, would put that much effort into being an escort, so I walked closeby. If nothing else, it’d be hard to get lost with a guide back to the castle room.

As we walked toward the castle, I wondered about if I’d like this world. After all, if I get to meet entertaining,nice, pony-people in this world, maybe being stuck here temporarily might not be a bad thing.

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