• Published 31st Oct 2016
  • 896 Views, 46 Comments

Inside the Forbidden Room - EverfreePony

What misadventures await Intern Cheerilee and her collegues behind the door of a school staffroom?

  • ...

Calm Before the Next Storm

"Miss Cheerilee, is there anythin' wrong with your face?" Gauge turned to the still grinning intern and rubbed his temples.

"Uh, oh, no. Of course not. Follow me." Cheerilee exited the room, blushing slightly.

"Take good care of her, Chart!" Gauge chuckled before heading out the door, looking down at his colleague.

The Geography teacher lay sprawled on the floor, pinned down by the sleeping inspector. She was still nuzzling his tie, occasionally mumbling something. He broke the mask of his unamused expression only to stick his tongue out at his superior and friend.

"So show off what you have." Gauge caught up with Cheerilee before the secretary's office.

"Well, I have a theory..."

"Ah, a theory! Really?" He nonchalantly pushed her away and opened the door, revealing the tiny space behind.

Dozens of papers littered the floor, the desk, the chairs and the chandelier. Some were curled into scrolls, accompanying the many quills in the penholders. A few found their way between the unorganized army of inkpots and some trinkets in the cupboard. Another bunch of scrolls sat impaled onto the fireguard of the long unused fireplace. A postal pigeon perched in the corner gave a happy hoot at the sight of the newcomers and expectantly held its empty feeder in its beak.

That was the ordinary look, except the feeder was usually a little bit fuller.

However, the dozens of glasses and a few pots, all filled to the brim with liquids of various brown hues were a new addition to this tight room.

"Now I can see why Lady Mush Dishwasher was so furious." Cheerilee stared agape at the room.


"That pesky mare from the school canteen. She looked like she'll fry and serve you to the students if we don't return the stolen dishes."

"Ah, typical Muck. At least I don't have to worry about that anymore. Let's assume that all this is little Dashie's work. But that still doesn't explain the strange effects of the coffee."

"She also mentioned that some bottles of cider went missing."

"Cider? Do you know what cider is? It's nothin' more than a fancy name for apple juice! Are you tellin' me that mixin' it with coffee would create some sort of weird poison? Nonsense, Miss Cheerilee!"

The mare lowered her ears, pawing at the ground. Disappointment was clearly written on her face. "Hey!" He gave her a nudge in the shoulder. "We still need to find the cause.”

She gave him a hesitant nod, sniffing at the various liquids and scanning the sacks and bottles.
Opening up one half-empty bottle of cider, the stench nearly knocked her over. She gagged and threw it away. Gauge caught it in his magic before it could break, deeply inhaling the vapor.

"Gah, it went stale. Rotten apples sometime have weird effects..." He tapped his chin, eyeing the bottle floating in his magic. "I'll take it to Brassy for analysis... I think we are done here. Seems like you were correct, after all."

Cheerilee stopped filling the pigeon's feeder, following him to his office with a grin on her face, bracelets and ear rings clinging madly.

He sat down to his table, setting the bottle next to him and pulled out a crystalline orb from one of his drawers. Lighting his horn, he tapped its tip to the orb. Taking a deep breath, he started speaking. His voice thundered from crystalline speakers in every room.

"Good mornin', everypony. I have a short organizational information for all teachers. Please be present for a briefin' in the staffroom the next break. Thank you and have a nice day!"

"So... are you trying to tell us Colon's little niece poisoned the inspector?" Parable raised an unbelieving eyebrow.

"More or less, yes," Spark replied without the slightest hint of emotion.

"What are we going to do with her?! The Inspection Office will sue our flanks for this!"

All teachers turned to the mare in the creased suit lying limply on the table between them. It looked like a depiction of medieval griffons ready to start a feast. Ms. Harshwhinny missed only the apple crammed into her mouth.

"Not if they don't find out." Gauge looked each of them in the eyes. "I have a plan.

"Brassy, I want you to take this..." He rolled the peculiar bottle to the chemist. "Examine it in the lab. What is it and what happened to it. Take young Miss Philharmonica--"

"Miss Melody," Spring Symphony interjected.

"Simply that filly with a bowtie from the first grade and examine her too. She was exposed to that liquid for a while... Before you do so, please brin' me some of those fish and other dead pests you are hiding in the refrigerator. Oh, and a bottle of laughin' gas," Spark continued with his demeanor unchanged.

Brassy gave him a slow nod, exiting the room.

"Now... Ruby, look up the last inspection report in the archives and brin' it to the art class--"

"Spark, that'll be a problem. My class is still unusable after the model-making project from last week." An earth pony mare rubbed her neck, her eyes seeking solace behind the veil of paint-covered mane.

A sigh and a cocked eyebrow bid her to continue.

"You see, the second grade decided to make a life-size model of the classroom from hay straws woven together. But they forgot to include a doorway in the model..."

"Did they at least stay outside while buildin' it?" Gauge massaged his temples. "Then go to some other room... Rubicon will deliver the report. I want you and Fluffy to imitate the style and phrases. Include some minor issues, but otherwise stay positive."

A cacophony of gasps echoed through the room.

"B-but the laws--" Constitutie fainted, taking the sleeping Dashie in her embrace to the ground with her.

"I know we are breakin' a few rules with this--“

“More than a few,” Parable huffed.

Gauge glanced and her and continued, “But there is no other choice. This mare of great initiative,” he pointed to the slumbering inspector, “would be able to close our school just because we don't wipe the blackboards crystal clear."

"I do!" Parable opened her mouth, only to be silenced by Chart stuffing a sponge into her throat.

Spark pressed on, "However, that was true before this little... mishap happened. Now we will be all dead once she wakes up. That's why we will put on a little act. Are you three able to have the report done by this afternoon?" He turned to the newbie-falsifiers at the door.

They eyed each other for a moment. "Spark, what about our classes?" Fluffy spoke up.

"Don't care about them, I'll inform the students. You'll still get your pay for this." They all nodded in response, immediately galloping after their tasks.

Spark Gauge turned to face his colleagues at the table. "While they are busy, I want all of you to brin' your best formal attire for this afternoon. And please somepony wake up Constitutie and give her something calming to read. Code of law, for example. All clear? Dismissed!" His words were emphasized by the ringing bell marking the end of the break.

The teachers swiftly gathered their things, swarming around the door and rushing to their classes. A few pegasi among them decided to take a shortcut through the windows. Gauge caught one of them by tail with his magic, dragging him back to the room. "Vaultin' Pommel?"

The tall lean stallion descended back to the ground, listening. "I want you to help Miss Cheerilee and escort the inspector somewhere more private," Spark stated.

"Wait, why me?" Cheerilee inquired.

"You are about the same age, so I figured you'll know how to take care of her. Also..." Spark raised his head to Brassy who battled her way through against the lessening crowd. She hoofed him a box of fish and the bottle he wanted, curtly trotting away. "If she wakes up, send her back to sleep." He rolled the laughing gas over to Cheerilee. "And please use the fish to mask her as if she broke her head on the stairs or somethin'..." Gauge finished, levitating the box to her.

Cheerilee took it in her teeth, nostrils scrunching at the smell. Vaulting Pommel dragged Ms. Harshwhinny on his back. They both trotted out the room.

"So, how are you liking the teaching trade so far?" Vaulting grinned at her, his lack of teeth clearly illustrating why one should wear a muzzle-guard while supervising any ball games.

Cheerilee twitched a little, shrinking back. "I expected it to be... uh, different?" she proposed, praying to Celestia to have this over already. Silence nestled between them, disturbed only by the occasional shouts from classrooms they passed by. Ms. Harshwhinny happily snored.

"Does this suit your tastes?" Vaulting Pommel asked as they stopped before a broom closet. Someone pinned a chunk of paper to the door, reading “Harry Trotter was here” in a messy hoofwriting.

"Yeah, I think it will do." Cheerilee stuffed the limp inspector inside, waving her hoof. She crammed herself between the buckets and brooms, closing the door.

"B-by the eleventh addendum to the section 968G of the second inspection ordinance, I make a claim to inspect if your cleaners use the prescribed detergents!" Ms. Harshwhinny slurred.

"Of course, we got this new pest remover. If you'd be so kind and inspected if it's not stale..." Cheerilee pressed the laughing gas bottle to the inspector's muzzle. She went back to her dreams almost immediately.

There was a tug on the door.
"It's occupied," Cheerilee called mindlessly, wrestling with the fishbox.

"Oh." The door opened, revealing an unamused older filly. Persistent click-clacking filled the room. "Pardon, I'll just pick up the uraninite I have stored here and leave you to your business," she said, fishing a stone from one of the buckets and sealing it away into her bag, along with a strange little device. The clicking ceased almost immediately. The intern just stared, dumbfounded.

Turning to leave, the filly noticed Cheerilee losing a fight with the box. "Anything I can help you with, miss?"

It was a mixture of simple dresses and ordinary black suits. All the teachers stood aligned along the walls of the staffroom. Even Cheerilee somehow unfrazzled her mane and got rid of her "jewellery". She approached the deputy head, still slightly confused by the absence of clinging around her.

"Spark Gauge?"

"Yes?" he wheezed, strangled by Brassy and Fluffy attempting to fix his tie, quarelling about the right style.

"Would it be possible to get some official praise of the headmaster for Miss Maud Pie? She helped me a lot."

"H-how? Ouch, Brassy..." he grumbled, glaring at the mare nearly piercing his chest with a tie bar.

"She found much better make-up than pieces of frozen fish. A blood-red stone she calls hematite. Though we still used a small chunk of fish for the main wou-"

"Watch out, they are coming!" Vaulting galloped through the door. Everypony immediately straightened up, hooves shifting on the floor to form one perfect line. A few dry gulps resounded thorough the room.

Three unicorns entered the room, all dressed in snow-white shirts and suits as dark as the blackest night. Their stern eyes were concealed by dark shades. With a gulp--that in the ears of the present teachers seemed so loud that even Celestia had to raise her head from her afternoon cake, startled by the sound--Gauge approached the tallest stallion. His messy mane and ill-shaven face contrasted with the perfectly groomed sleek mane of the head inspector.

"Welcome to Clover the Clever's Academy in Canterlot. I'm Deputy Headmaster Gauge."

"That's nice, Mr. Gauge, but why did you call us? It's not very common to summon the chief inspection council, especially not before the inspection report has been hoofed in," the stallion announced, bending muzzle to muzzle with Gauge.

"I summoned you because the inspector was unable to perform her duties and to finish the report. This is what she has already written before the... accident happened." He levitated the fake report over.

"An accident, you say?" The inspector lowered his glasses, gazing at the scroll. Unfurling it, he motioned to his two colleagues. They started marching along the teachers standing at attention. Occasionally, they dropped a few words with the teachers, otherwise everything was silent.


"Yes?" The head inspector glanced from the report at his subordinate.

"Seems like the earth ponies here don't use the required hygienic mouth contraptions. This one has bits of sponge between her teeth!" He pointed a hoof at Parable. Chart fought the urge to rub his sweating neck.

"I dare to disagree. I, and all my earth pony colleagues too, use all the tools prescribed. From high-friction horseshoes to mechanical sponge holders. The sponge in my teeth is just a leftover after my regular teeth cleaning. I apologize for the imperfection of letting tiny bits of it stay in my mouth," Parable said in the sweetest voice possible, carefully pronouncing every syllable.

The air stood still as nopony dared to breathe. All eyes turned to the head inspector. "Sufficient, barely, but sufficient. Pay more attention to your hygiene the next time.” He glanced at Parable. Turning to Spark, he continued, "It is clear from Ms. Harshwhinny’s report that your school does well in many aspects. I'd reproach the creaking chairs and too scarce palette of choices in the school canteen--five different meals to choose from are not really sufficient. However, I'll be so generous to close my eyes and ignore that part, but only if you tell me about that 'accident'."

"Yes, the accident..." Spark rubbed his neck. "Please escort Ms. Harshwhinny here." He motioned to Chart and Vaulting. Both trotted away with a nod, soon returning with a stretcher between them.

All three inspectors bent down to their colleague.

"She slid on a puddle of drink some unruly student left after a break and sadly fell down a flight of stairs. I deeply apologize for this inconvenience."

The head inspector gently run his hoof along the sleeping mare's cheek. Her fur was sticky, glued together with dried reddish-brown substance. Large smear of it snaked from her forehead to her muzzle, coating her blond mane and well-kept eyebrows. A spongy scab could be seen under her fringe.

"Oh, Softy... Haven't I told you that school inspections are the most dangerous and arduous? You're one of our best, I won't risk your health anymore. From this day on, you'll be tasked only with safe sport inspections, I am going to ensure that." The tall stallion bent over, hugging the mare. One would even say there was a tear shimmering behind his glasses.

Brassy stepped forward. "It may look awful, but she'll be okay. It's just a scratch, nothing broken and no signs of concussion if my magic could be trusted. Albeit there might be a small memory loss."

The inspector straightened back up, extending a stiff hoof to Gauge.

"That is really an inconvenience and it will surely reflect in the final rating. However, I have to thank you for the care shown to my colleague. In the end, I think you passed. Deputy headmaster." They shook hooves, the tall pony exiting with a nod. His colleagues followed, Ms. Harshwhinny floating in their magic.

"Do you think we should forbid liquid drinks in the next ordinance?" one of them started, only to be cut off by the closing door.

The teachers stared at each other for a moment, then broke into a wild cheer.

There was a knock on the door. The cheer died almost immediately. Rubicon stopped dancing with Spring Symphony on the table, poor mare nearly falling over.

"Good afternoon, did I miss anything?"

Everypony stared at the creature in the door, mouths agape. It was something presumably the shape of a pony. A pony wrapped up in a dozen thick coats and scarves that fell into the river of Cant and then tried to clean himself with an old rug borrowed from a chariot mechanic. The overall look was topped with half-broken goggles.

"The train from the Crystal Mountains conked out... in a snowstorm!" the pony exclaimed, removing his goggles with hooves still blue from the cold.

"Weiss Bumblebee? Did the school excursion go well?" Spark approached the now revealed elder stallion.

"Not as planned, but everypony is safely home now. Did the awaited inspector already arrive?"

Spark eyed his colleagues for a moment, then turned back to the headmaster. "It's a longer story... Let's take a seat and we will explain. Brassy, please bring back the hard cider bottle; it could be of use later."

Cheerilee cleared her throat. Spark gave her a questioning look, his eyes lighting up after a moment. "And I think we need to debate granting one student the official praise of the headmaster.” He chuckled.

Author's Note:

A little bit longer than usual (and far more bizzare), but I didn't really feel like splitting it. With this chapter, the inspection arc reached its terminal station. However, it's still a long run before the school year ends!

To aid your orientation, here's the list of yet revealed characters.

Fluffy Cotton - unicorn mare, Equestrian language

Spark Gauge the Deputy Headmaster - unicorn stallion, Physics

Chart Globe-Trotter - unicorn stallion, Geography and Math

Brassy Heron - unicorn mare, Biology and Chemistry

“Ruby” Rubicon - unicorn stallion, History and Equestrian language

Spring Symphony - pegasus mare, Music

Parable Parallel - earth pony mare, Math

Constitutie the school counselor - pegasus mare, Social sciences

??? - earth pony mare, Art

Vaulting Pommel - pegasus stallion, Physical Education

Weiss Bumblebee the Headmaster - ???

Scribble Colon - secretary
Muck Hogwash - head of school canteen

Questions, comments, remarks?
Please report typos in the form of PM.
My earnest thanks go to Boulder for editing.

Comments ( 8 )

I never knew old and stale apple juice can be used as a sleeping potion mixed with coffee... Note taken :pinkiecrazy:

I can totally understand the... desperate measures that are taken. I like this plan that the Headmaster cooked up. GENIUS (well it's your story so YOU're the Genius :rainbowwild: )

And Aww that was cute, proves that even ponies like that have feelings. I like how he embraced the unconscious Harshwhinny :pinkiesad2:

Over all, amazing and really good chapter, my personal favorite right now :raritywink:

7923634 Actually, mixing alcohol ("stale apple juice") with other drugs such as caffeine or nicotine can cause quite a harm... please don't use it when you are feeling sleepless.

Thank you for all the kind words, I'm glad you enjoyed this crazy creation :twilightsmile:

Interesting story so far. I do feel that mix of fast pace and so many OCs is a bit too much for a reader unless he gets used to it. I feel that this would work better as tv series, like say Spin City, than as written story. Characters are likable though I am still unsure if Spark Gauge or Cheerilee are primary protagonist or more likely that story simply focuses on whole staff and few students. At least I assume that Octavia and Maud will get more attention since they are tagged.

Regarding apple cider I will forever be confused why is it non-alcholoc in USA and yet almost everywhere is else it is alcoholic drink. Of course show version is non alcoholic so here it is also. Still it is just one of many things Americans insist to do differently than rest of the world.

Oh and didn't want to post multiple times across several chapters but I am curious why did you pick violin for Octavia. Wouldn't viola be bigger and easier to use as Contrabass/Double-bass. And yeah I stopped wondering why Octavia in show plays Cello as a Contrabass standing up when normally (but not always!) you would play Cello sitting.

8019102 Thank you for your honest words. Octavia will get more attention in the next chapter which will be hopefully up soon... As for the fast pace, those are nearly stand-alone short random comedy stories, really don't expect anything epic. To be honest, I started writing this to try my hand at different characters and surroundings than just the nature of Everfree.

Actually, I don't really care about the nomenclature of (non)alcoholic drinks.
We've seen the Apples squeeze the juice from apples, put it in a barrel and then serve almost immediately. There was no time for it to ferment. I rolled just with the word 'cider' because the show uses it, but I share my opinion with Gauge. "It's just a fancy name for apple juice."

I picked violin exactly because it is not easier to play it as a contrabass. Again, wanted to be a little bizzare... Also, another subconscious reason was that the recolor of Octavia, I think she's called Fiddly Faddle, plays violin.
As for why is she always standing... maybe we can find the answer in pony anatomy.

Both humans and ponies have (mostly) the same bones, but they vastly differ in length ratios. Let's take a comparative look:

The hoof itself is in fact just a nail of the middle finger. The 'wrist' of the hoof is the joint of this finger. The 'elbow' is wrist and so on. That's the front leg. However, the true troublemakers are hind legs.
Again we have the hoof-nail. Then there is the long part going all the way to the weird curved and indented place. This part is analogous to our instep. The 'weird curved and indented place' on the leg is actually the knee and ankle, being really close to each other. That's the crucial part. From that part up, the thighs and joints are similar to human.
If Octavia sat down on the ground, she'd be below her cello nearly. If she used chair like normal cellists do, I reckon her long 'insteps' would be an obstacle to play comfortably as they'd stick forward to the cello. Or simply the show animators had trouble drawing it.


8020184 Heh well the characters are the strongest point of the story so it makes sense. I know I too enjoy experimenting with wide selection of characters.

And apple cider thing was just me musing out loud. I mean the real thing is only partially apple juice and strong as beer. Of course the show is using literal apple juice because Sweet Apple Acre's apples are magical fruits.

Hehehe funny I would say that Fiddle Faddle/Sticks would be playing a "fiddle", but that would be pretentious nitpicking (like I am doing now... oops?). Actually think Octavia also played violin at least in the Hearthswarming Carrol episode. Ah well still adorable to imagine lil Octavia playing it, I just thought violin would be too small.

Kinda thought a pony would play sitting by placing the instrument besides the chair and not between legs. No, I am actually wondering if cello is that big then how big must be contrabass? What is it about this show that makes me overthink things >>

8020408 Ah, I see.

Nitpicking is completely okay :raritywink: I'm glad to learn something new, especially in those areas I don't really understand (I'm the definition of being musically deaf...).

Are those Mrs. Cheerilees school years?

Well, sort of. Early teaching days as a mere intern :twilightsmile:

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