• Published 4th Jan 2016
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Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead - Rune Soldier Dan



The faculty of Canterlot High battles otherworldly horrors with style

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The Littlest Vampire Hunter

“You had a question, Miss Shimmer?”

Celestia gave her best, most reassuring smile to the girl seated before her. As troubled as Sunset’s past had been, she was a precious student of Canterlot High and deserved nothing less than her full attention. It was especially true now – the girl had saved them all at the Friendship Games, and had emerged from her shell wonderfully ever since. No longer a bully or a nervous doormat, Sunset had matured to a confident, kind young woman that any principal would be proud of.

“Uh… yeah. Yeah I do.”

Uncharacteristically for her modern outlook, Sunset seemed hesitant. The yellow redhead glanced around the office, though it was entirely unchanged since her last visit. Luna sat at her own desk, eyes on some papers as she quietly gave Celestia the lead.

“It’s a little weird. But I really have to ask.” Sunset seemed to take strength as she went on. “And I’m not trying to make fun of you or anything, but you guys are really, really strange.”

Celestia gave her traditional melodic laugh and glanced to Luna. The bluehead remained fixed on her papers, giving no sign that she even heard.

“You handle this, Tia,” was the unspoken comment. And the tiny strain in Celestia’s laugh told her sister, “Gee, thanks for the support.”

“I mean, I know I’m not one to talk.” Sunset went on, even though Celestia was too polite to state the obvious. “Being a magical pony, and everything. But that’s the thing – when I came clean about all that, neither of you so much as blinked.”

Celestia blinked at that, more from the verbal cue than anything. Luna did not.

Sunset was picking up steam. She leaned forward in the chair, gesturing with her hands. “A few months later, three sirens mind-control the school, including you guys, in an evil bid to turn the world to their will. We beat them with the power of friendship and rock, and the next day your first announcement is to remind us of the chess club tournament!”

“AND THEN!” Sunset shouted, interrupting as Celestia made to reply. “Then we had the Friendship Games! A giant tendril… plant… whatever ran rampage on the motorbike track. But did anyone call the police? The army? Did you even dismiss the school, or cancel the freaking tournament? No! We went right on going. Then our universe’s Twilight went mad with magic power, and the next thing I hear is that you’ve accepted her transfer!”

“Going mad with magic power is not grounds for barring someone from Canterlot High.” Luna noted in a deadpan voice, giving the first sign she was listening. Blue-green eyes glanced pointedly at Sunset. “We checked after the Fall Formal.”

“Right, and then there’s me.” Sunset planted her fingers on her chest, looking to Celestia with fevered certainty. “Seriously, there’s something wrong with you two.”

“Sunset…” Celestia began.

“No, let me finish! This has been eating me for a while.”

“Obviously,” Luna noted, earning a, “Weren’t you going to leave this to me, Sister Dearest?” glance from Celestia.

Sunset went on, ignoring the jibe. “More than all that, even: look at me! Demon succubus queen? Check. Mind controlled the student body? Check. Would have destroyed the world? Check. And what did you do when I was defeated? Not call the police or government, or even demand I go back to my freaky pony world. Do you remember what you did?”

“We made you help clean up,” Celestia said, smiling at the memory. Truly, friendship was a wonderful force that could make even a bad egg like Sunset redeem her ways.

“And you sent me home at eight!” Sunset rose from her chair, arms flailing with the words. “Eight o’clock! All, ‘A growing girl needs her rest, Miss Shimmer.’”

“It was a school night,” Celestia replied with ease.

“But what about the rest!?” Sunset shrieked. “Demons! Magic! Ponies! Magic ponies! Suspiciously-fast redemption!”

“Sunset.”

A hard edge entered Celestia’s voice, reserved for her rowdiest students. The effect was immediate – Sunset silenced her rambling, though she remained standing, and looked expectantly for Celestia to continue.

The principal would oblige – but on her own time, not Sunset’s. Celestia rose, stretching her long legs with an honest smile. Sitting suited her poorly. She was a fidgety pacer, a thing that got her into plenty of trouble at Sunset’s age.

She stepped around the desk and settled a hand on Sunset’s shoulder. The act itself was normal – Celestia wasn’t shy about touching, be it a high-five in the hallway or a warm embrace for a crying student. Sunset didn’t flinch, but her incredulous look remained.

“I hope this doesn’t discourage you,” Celestia began. “And I hope it doesn’t sound condescending. But Sunset… unnatural threats to the people of this world didn’t begin when you came through that portal. And they won’t end with the Friendship Games, either.”

Celestia wasn’t sure what Sunset had been expecting, but that clearly wasn’t it. The girl’s face swept from bemused indignation to shock.

Celestia rubbed the shoulder, getting a good grip in case Sunset fainted. “This city has the misfortune of being built on a Ley Line. I don’t know if you have them where you come from, but they make the area a wellspring of magic that draws dark things to it like moths to a flame. They prey on the people here – innocent bystanders, even the families and students of Canterlot High.”

“Wait,” Sunset managed. “Go back. How? I mean… you?”

“Not just me,” Celestia said. “Luna, too, along with much of the faculty. Redheart, Iron Will, Cranky Doodle, Nagatha…”

“Nagatha?”

“Miss Harshwhinny. Do you know her?”

The breath caught in Sunset’s mouth, and departed with a hiss. “Yes. Definitely.”

She shook her head. “Okay, I can accept that monsters exist here. But what do you guys do? Write them referrals?”

Celestia had never quite grasped the nuances of sarcasm – she had a calm, honest reputation because that’s exactly who she was, and it took her a second to see the disguised wit. Another gentle laugh, and she gave what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “No, of course not. We kill them.”

The smile dipped as she realized it wasn’t calming at all. Sunset had startled at the words, and stumbled out of her grasp.

“Oh, don’t worry!” Celestia called, her mind finding an answer. “We won’t kill you, of course. I know you’re a nice girl, and I’ll do everything I can to protect you. I just want you to understand that if we seem calm in the face of strange events, it’s because they’re not strange for us. Again, I don’t want to belittle you. I know that the Fall Formal was a terribly exciting day for you. But for us…”

She shrugged, at loss for a better way to phrase it. “…It was Thursday.”

“Friday,” Luna corrected.

“No, definitely Thursday.” Celestia nodded. “It was a school night.”

“Ah. So it was.” And Luna returned her attention to the papers.

Sunset wobbled on her feet, but waved off the balancing hand Celestia offered. “Okay… I’m sorry, but you guys seem crazier than ever now. You’re Celestia – ever smiling, ever offering second chances to losers who don’t deserve them, and don’t get me started on what you’re like in my world!”

Celestia caught something in that last sentence, but Sunset gave her no chance to interrupt. “You’re the goodiest of goody two-shoes, and now I hear you hunt monsters? By killing them? How can you be both?”

“Hunting monsters doesn’t pay the bills,” Luna noted unhelpfully from her desk.

“Or nurture the youth.” Realizing that her bigger smile was perhaps a touch creepy given the circumstances, Celestia let it fall. “I see your point, Sunset. From my perspective, though, there is no difference. As principal, it is my joy and duty to guide, support, and protect my students. Hunting vampires falls in the final category, and thus into my realm of responsibility.”

“Vampires?”

“They’re our most common enemy.” Celestia shrugged. “They, ah, tend to favor preying on high school girls, and so–”

“I’m in.”

Like a turning key, Sunset had changed. Her frustrated, confused expression was now one of intensity, her green eyes meeting Celestia’s without fear.

Luna laughed. “No you’re not.”

“Well I’m not ignoring this!” Sunset stood straight and ready, defiantly casting her lot.

Celestia’s smile returned. She was proud of Sunset, and so said nothing as the girl went on.

“There is no way, no how I’m hearing all this and doing nothing about it. If these things are a danger to my friends, you bet your bottom bit I’m going to protect them. Heck, I’ve already saved this world twice!”

“This is a bit different,” Celestia said, hoping to talk her down gently. “Things… get violent.”

“I can do violent.” Sunset grinned savagely. “I did violent my first two years here. Now I’d just be doing it to undead perverts instead of innocents.”

“Ooh, I take it back.” Luna set down the papers, seemingly interested for the first time. She looked to Celestia, a smile dancing on her lips. “Let her in. We’ll see how it goes.”

Sunset nodded. “Principal: I’m in, and that’s that. If I didn’t and something happened to Applejack or Pinkie or someone, I’d never forgive myself. And I’ve studied a lot about magic, so maybe I can help from that end. You can’t possibly already have someone like that on your team.”

“We… don’t,” Celestia conceded. Luna’s rare note of support had left her outvoted. And if Sunset was this determined, maybe it was better to bring her in. Who knows what trouble she’d get into on her own?

“Alright, Sunset. Meet us here after school, and please: don’t mention any of this to your friends.”

“I don’t think they’d believe me.” Sunset chuckled and turned to leave. “Thanks, principals. I promise you won’t regret this.”

As her hand fell on the doorknob, Celestia’s voice stopped her. “And Sunset?”

“Yeah?”

The warm smile was back in place, greeting the girl as she looked back. “You aren’t a loser.”

Sunset opened her mouth, then closed it quickly with a grateful nod.

“Thanks,” she said. The five-minute warning bell rang, and she was out the door before it was done.

Author's Note:

You ever have an idea where you're like, "This isn't gonna be Hemingway, but it's gonna be fun?"

Yeah.

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