• Published 28th Dec 2016
  • 7,238 Views, 701 Comments

Welcome to Batstralia - Damaged

A mare and her foal. A human family. A buck-load of magic. They are all coming to a sleepy little town.

  • ...

Learning Anew

Language check. Anything wrapped in < > in this chapter is spoken English, everything else is in Equish. Yup, back to four-legged denizens.

"This place is really cool."

Her twin-sister's voice encouraged Marble to look around a little more. "Mmhmm…" She looked around, spotting nopony else. "The trees look strange."

"Where's Maud? Maud!" At Limestone's shout, Pinkamena and Marble both stopped and looked back at the cave. All three knew exactly where their sister would be. Sure enough, slowly walking out, holding a small chipped piece of rock in one hoof, Maud Pie looked completely distracted. "Maud, you're going to make us late."

"These rocks are really old." Maud barely looked at her sisters. "Really old."

Pinkamina rushed back to the middle-sister of the family. "Come on, Maud. You can bring your rock with you." She stared at Marble until her twin moved to bracket Maud.

"I heard there are strange creatures here." Marble looked at the rock her sister carried. "Look at the layers in it." She tried to help her sisters keep Maud moving, but the rock really was interesting. "How old do you think it is?"

"Can't be as old as Holder's Boulder." Limestone took a moment to look at the rock too. "Ha, see this," she gestured at a repeating pattern of sediment, "can't be too old, no other old rocks I have seen have that much sediment like that."

"Uh, Limestone?" Pinkamena's voice seemed to have an odd twinge to it, excitement and shock blurred. "Hey, uh. I think we're here." The three sisters who were focused on the rock looked up. "What is that thing? Is it a minotaur?"

Marble moved and took up a brave position behind all three of her sisters. 'They're big and dressed funny. I wonder what they're… one is coming!' She wanted to run and hide, in the end it was Limestone who saved her.

"Hey, back off, give us some room." Limestone's eyes were only at the height of the creature's waist, but being smaller than something had never reduced her attitude before.

"Sorry!" The strange creature's voice sounded deeper than a mare's, so it was easy to assume it was a stallion of whatever his species was. "Hi, my name's Mike, pleased to meet you."

"I found a rock. Do you know how old it is?" Maud stepped forward, a complete lack of worry or distrust on her face.

Mike blinked a few times and looked between the sisters. "I don't speak Equish so great. Uh, you want the rock's birthday?"

It was almost impossible not to grin, and Marble wasn't the exception among the siblings. "She wants to know how many birthdays." When she realized she had spoken she went to hide behind Limestone again, but stopped. The creature crouched down, getting closer to her level.

Rubbing his hair, Mike held out a hand for the stone. "I don't know where everypony found it." He waited for Maud to pass it to him, before he looked it over. "We could ask Miss Candela, she is the teacher here." He pointed behind himself.

Maud took the returned rock and looked at the building Mike had pointed to. "This is the school?"

"Why is it mid-morning?" Pinkamena was looking around, clearly a little confused at something. "When we left home it was early morning, but when we came out of the tunnel here, it is closer to midday."

"Miss Candela said there's something strange with that, so we starting school late." Mike stood back up straight again, towering over the ponies, and turned. "Coming?"

Limestone stared at Mike, one of her harder stares. "I only brought my sisters to school, I," the emphasis on the word was heavy, "am too old for this, and have to work on the farm." Mikes seemed to recoil a little from the tone. "If I hear any of them get in trouble, I'm going to blame you." With her speech delivered, Limestone turned and stalked away.

"What… is that about?" Mike watched as Limestone Pie walked away from the school.

"She is reaaaaally protective of us. She is our big sister." Pinkamena shared a smile with Mike. "I'm surprised though, she must really like you."

"Pinkie," Marble poked her sister in the shoulder, "you shouldn't say that." She sighed and looked up at Mike; up and up and up. "But she is right. H-H-Hi, I-I'm Marble Pie." Her nervousness was a little worse, having to talk to Mike, but not as bad as if there was a crowd around her. And right on cue, a crowd did form. A pegasus filly about the same age as Marble, as well as another creature like Mike—but shorter—arrived. "Eep."

"<Whoa, calm down you two>." Mike looked between the new arrivals. "Robin, Misty, this is Marble Pie, and…"

"I'm Pinkamena Pie. And this is… where's Maud?" Pinkamena looked around herself comically. "Oh, there she is, talking to the nice pegasus."

"That's my mom!" Misty bounced a few times. "Don't be scared of the hoomans." She gestured to Mike. "He is really nice!"

"Misty, hey, back out a little and let them have some space." Mike crouched down and put his arm out, holding the boisterous filly from dashing up to Marble.

Both Pinkamena and Marble stared at Mike, the former giggling, the latter blinking in surprise. Marble was too slow to react, and Pinkamena got her words out first. "She doesn't like having too many ponies around her."

"I figured." Mike looked at Misty, seeing a sad pout forming on her face. "Aww c'mon, squirt, I wasn't being mean, Marble just doesn't like too many ponies getting close too quote. I had a friend in my last school like that."

"Quick." Marble surprised herself by saying it. It was obvious, after listening to Mike for a bit, that he was still learning. "You said 'quote' but meant 'quick'?" She couldn't stop a smile from pulling at the corner of her mouth when she saw the consternation on Mike's face. "But it was okay, y-you were understandable… j-j-just a few words wrong."

A clanging sound echoed across the little town, and everyone turned to see Miss Candela ringing a bell. Wandering closer, Marble could see the class was nearly a dozen students. There was her and her two sisters. Mike, Misty, and Robin. There was at least one more of the hoomans as tall as Mike, as well as another smaller one, and two more foals from the town near their farm.

"Everypony please come inside." Candela gestured to the door with a wing. "<Could everyone please come inside>."

"Is that your language?" Marble kept close to Mike and Pinkamena, using the two as a shield against the rest of her class. Inside, she saw Maud had already taken a seat and had her rock on her desk, examining it carefully.

Mike seemed to instinctively pick a desk at the back, already walking past the first two rows to find a seat. As he turned to take his seat, he spotted Marble practically right on his heels. "Hey, are you doing okay?" He crouched down.

"Y-Yeah, there's just so many here…" Marble peeked around him, spotting all the other ponies and hoomans. "W-W-Wait, where are you going?"

"Relax, Marble." Pinkamena caught her sister's eyes and held her attention for a few moments, long enough that Mike was back before she realized he was gone anywhere.

"Marble, you can sit at the same desk as your sister, and I would sit in front of you, okay?" Mike crouched down and was immediately caught in two hugging ponies' grip.

"Class, <class>." Candela's voice was firm. "Please take your seats. <Please be seated>." Despite the firm voice, everyone present saw a smiling, happy face. "Things are going to be awkward at first, some of you understand both languages we will be using, but most of you only speak Equish, or Human." Candela repeated the speech in the other language.

They were split off into groups, with at least one English speaker, and one Equish speaker each. Little cards were passed around. Mike, of course, was grouped up with Pinkamena and Marble. Looking at the cards, and with her new friend and her twin with her, Marble could relax. She picked up the cards that read "Equish."

"Ah, okay, these are basic greetings." Mike held one card up. "<G'day, I'm Mike, how're you going>?" He couldn't help snorting, and putting on a heavier drawl to say the words.

Pinkamena and Marble, both, had to hold Equish cards up to their faces to hide their giggles. "Me next." Marble cleared her throat. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, my name is Princess Silly Pants." She waved her hoof in a tight circle.

"We should posting do this properly. I think I'm meant to repeat that back, and you try with do the English ones." Mike's words had Marble snorting even more, tears starting to roll down her cheeks. "Okay, what did we mess up?"

"Well, I think you meant 'probably,' instead of 'posting,' " Pinkamena saved her sister from trying to answer, "and 'to' instead of 'with.' Lastly, 'I' instead of 'we.' " She started giggling too.

"Okay. I'm pleased to mark your acquaintance, my name is Princess Mike." Mike had only seconds before there were two little ponies rolling around on the floor. "What did I say?"

Pinkamena looked up, schooled her features into a normal look. It gave Marble a chance to stop laughing too. Leaning in closer to Mike, Pinkamena lifted a hoof and booped him on the nose. "Princess."

"I hear giggles, which is good, but what is going on here?" Candela was beside their little group, looking between the two almost "rolling in the aisle" ponies, and Mike. "I did try to make the cards a little fun, but what did you say to them?"

Mike looked at the two fillies, then up to his teacher. The two sisters were frozen, staring at him with anticipation. "I'm pleased to mark… make?" He got a nod from Candela. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, I'm Princess Mike."

"I see." Candela closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and smiled. "You told them you were a princess. <Oh, you don't get it, that word you said before your name, means a female ruler, in Equish>."

"Did I get the rest right?" Mike was trying not to lose his own fight with some giggles, and soon lost.

"You did." Candela looked at the three. "Please keep going, you gave me the idea for this, after all." Mike blinked in surprise, and both the sisters stopped their giggles to listen. "Your little games with Misty are what I built this on. You're speaking quite well after only a few weeks." She smiled brightly and moved on to the next group.

Mike seemed to spend more time helping Pinkamena and Marble than repeating their cards himself, mainly because each time he did both fillies collapsed into gales of laughter. They were so focused on doing them that all three jumped when Candela announced their lunch break.

Maud rejoined her two sisters, raising an eyebrow at Mike still being with them. "Sorry about earlier. I got a little overexcited at that rock. Miss Candela explained, things work really different here."

Marble pulled out her lunch, which was a thin piece of slate. Lifting it up, she licked her lips before biting down into it, her eyes half closing at the taste of her favorite food. As she went for her second bite, she spotted Mike staring at her. A blush stole onto her face.

"Is that… rock?" Mike sounded amazed, stunned, and a little shocked. "How can we eat that?" Holding out his sandwich, he offered it to Marble.

Marble held her slate out and sniffed at one edge of the sandwich. 'That smells really nice, I'll only have a little.' She took a dainty little bite and started chewing happily. At the same time, she spotted Mike trying to eat a bit of her slate, and failing horribly. "You need to really bite into it."

"I'm trying, but it really is rock!" Mike drew back from the offered food, lifting his sandwich back up to bite.

"Slate." Maud stuck out her tongue at Mike. She didn't have slate, she didn't like slate. Maud Pie preferred crunchy pebbles. "And while it is a type of rock, you really should be more specific."

The four sat in silence for a while, each eating their own food, until Pinkamena giggled and looked to Marble. "Princess Mike."

"Are they okay?" Maud looked at her two sisters, the fillies rolling around laughing.

"Give them some time." Mike grinned at the cute laughter.

The rest of the school day rushed past Marble in a blur. They got a new set of cards each, these ones with more complex phrases, and somehow Mike still managed to get her giggling again and again. Not that Pinkamena didn't make her laugh too. All too soon Candela was collecting the cards.

"That was a good day, students." Candela had planned her lesson well, all the students knew the words and she saw each pink face spread into an excited grin as they recognized what she said. "Same time tomorrow, class dismissed."

"Wait, we're coming back again tomorrow? Back home, mom only gave lessons every week." Marble packed up her cards into a neat stack, and followed Mike, Pinkamena, and Maud outside. Her heart sped up and she rushed forward, directly at Limestone. Words weren't needed between her and her big sister, she hugged the solid mare tightly.

"Hey, you." Limestone squinted at Mike. "You didn't make Marble cry, did you?"

"Limestone! He was nice all day! He made me and Pinkie laugh so much we did cry!" Marble felt honor-bound to defend Mike to her big sister. "You leave Princess Mike alone!" She saw her sister's constant frown pull a little at the edges.

"Well, he can't be all bad if he made you laugh. But you shouldn't spend all day in school laughing. You're here to learn." Limestone ruffled Marble's mane a little. She gave one more glare at Mike before turning to escort her sisters home.

Author's Note:

So I do this "Ask x" thing, x can be any pony within the story. You can ask them anything and I they will definitely hopefully reply. Keep the questions appropriate to the age-rating of the stories and of course, I they will answer the best question(s) in the author notes of the next chapter. The more votes a comment has the more likely I will get it to the right pony to answer, try and keep it to one answer per post! I They will pick one question per chapter.

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