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Metool Bard


A weaver of tales who enjoys a good story. What more is there to say, really?


E

This story is a sequel to Reformation Buddies


After the Friendship Games, a cold war of academic ideologies has sparked at Crystal Prep Academy. While Dean Cadence pushes for a new student exchange program and a more friendly environment, Principal Cinch is instituting stricter rules and more drastic measures to keep her students in line. There are even rumors of a No Magic rule being enforced, though the details are sketchy. With so many mixed signals being thrown around, no one really knows what's in store for the prestigious institution.

Over at Canterlot High, meanwhile, the Sirens have their own problem. Sunset Shimmer's research has shown that music isn't the only way to tap into the magic of friendship. It comes out when those that wield it are true to themselves. Only problem is none of the Sirens know what that means. This is especially disheartening for Adagio Dazzle, who hasn't even regained her powers at all.

After hearing about Dean Cadence's student-exchange program, Sunset decides that she can help the Sirens and the Shadowbolts in one fell swoop by signing them all up for the program. For one week, she and the Sirens will be attending Crystal Prep, discovering their true selves while unraveling Principal Cinch's draconian schemes. Sounds simple, right?

Well, now add Discord into the mix, along with a dash of distrust from Adagio and just a pinch of the Shadowbolts not exactly being a united force. Yeah, Sunset really has her work cut out for her.

Takes place before Legend of Everfree.

Special thanks to Bookish Delight for inspiration and help with conceptualization.

Cover art provided by the amazingly talented GemiNiah.

Chapters (16)
Comments ( 245 )

SO AWESOME :rainbowkiss:! I never would have thought this would happen, but it did! Your 'Reformation' stories are so great. I can't wait to read this story. I'm sure it's going to be great too. Don't take too long on that next chapter, hear? :raritywink:

Absolutely did not expect to ever see a sequel to this story, but I'm sure as hell glad it's here! Looking forward to see it unfold :twilightsmile:

Sequel to Reformation Buddies?! Awesome. Especially one involving the Shadowbolts, they were pretty funny in FG. I'm kind of worried that we'll find out whether that magic absorber thing will work on Discord though, but it'll certainly make for an... interesting exchange program. Go Sunset, she can handle it (probably).

Takes place before Legends of the Everfree.

The title is Legend of Everfree. Not Legends, not 'the'.

Dean Cadence

Cadance

nodded and opened the door with a ghastly creek.

Ghastly Creek? Isn't that where they drowned Sticky Joe the Hobo?

(Creak, not creek.)

Principle

Principal

Tracking, obviously.

7858105

Cadance

Potato, tomato. :derpytongue2:

Otherwise, thanks for catching those. :twilightblush:

I really hope we get to see Discord mess with Cinch. A lot.

A reference to Dexter's Laboratory, a Naruto reference, AND a reference to the Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa crossover all in one chapter?!

Charming storytelling as ever. Have a like, my friend!

On a somewhat related note, Adagio, who refuses to give up her "true" villainous self, would have been a perfect character for a "deal with the Devil" story. Her, or Chrysalis back in Equestria. But so far I've only seen one such story. I guess it's really hard to do dark and keep it in the spirit of MLP.

7865368 Hard, but not impossible. My Mare-Do-Well Files series is a testament to that. :ajsmug:

Although I'm not entirely sure if I want to go down that road for Adagio here. We'll have to just wait and see. :raritywink:

7865558 Yeah, I figured this story wouldn't go there. But allow me to sing a lullaby!

His smile fair as spring, as toward him he draws you
His tongue sharp and silvery, as he implores you
Your wishes he grants, as he swears to adore you
Gold sliver jewel, he lays riches before you
Dues need be repaid, and he will come for you
All to reclaim, no smile to console you
He’ll snare you in bonds, eyes glowing afire
To gore and torment, you till the stars expires

Excited to see this. It looks like Discord has learned to be more subtle. I also like your rather original take on Sunny Flare.

That said, it's a bit harsh to blame Cinch and the other Shadowbolts for "almost destroying the world." It's not a realistic outcome to expect magic to shatter reality if you've never seen it used before, except when the other team used it to their advantage in competitions. Really, I've always felt that Luna and Celestia, who knew they had certain students who benefited from the equivalent of unpredictable magical steroids and chose to enroll every last magical student they had in the Equestrian Games, should shoulder a fair amount of blame as well.

7866297 I don't think Canterlot High really used their magic to get an edge in the competition. The only example of that I can think of would be Rainbow Dash, and she mainly used her powers to save Sunset, Sugarcoat, and Indigo from becoming plant food. While it's true that Sci-Twi shouldn't have been experimenting with magic in the first place, it was Cinch that pressured her into unleashing it all in the last event. That's just how I see it, anyway. :duck:

Also, you can thank Bookish Delight for the interpretation of Sunny Flare. Check out the story Better Late Than Never linked in the Author's Notes to see what I mean. :raritywink:

7866590 It's tricky IDing use of magic. Was Pinkie Pie able to bake the Mona Lisa into a cake because she's Pinkie Pie, or because she had access to magic? Competitions require not just fairness and a lack of performance enhancing substances (like magic), but the perception of such as well. I can't blame Crystal Prep for seeing CHS start winning for the first time in 40 years, then see one of the athletes sprout wings, and assume magic had been responsible for the entire performance of the Wonderbolts up to that point.

But I do agree with you that Sci Twi is isn't to blame. Heck, I have zero problem with her trying to study and experiment with magic, that's really on Sunset Shimmer and Celestia/Luna for keeping magic a secret from the rest of the world. If Sunset and the Principals had shared information about magic openly, Twilight would never have had to skulk around the school with a home-brewed magic sensor. When you enter into a conspiracy to hide away the fundamental nature of the universe from the public and yet still run an active high school in the middle of the magical equivalent of a nuclear testing facility, it's your responsibility if curious people show up and start poking around, and the consequences of their actions ultimately fall at your feet.

I hate the nickname "Dagi" so much, it's almost as bad as "Tia".

OK, to be honest? The whole security guards at Crystal Prep thing is a massive overreach. I appreciate you want to do a little world-building here, but the EG world just isn't fucked up enough to necessitate the kind of bullshit our real world has. Inserting something that only makes sense in our particular hellhole is just...unnecessary and jarring.

There are myriad ways to demonstrate how cold, heartless, and unwelcoming Crystal Prep is without this security guards and turnstiles mess. It just doesn't work, and the whole scene just feels anathemic to the nature of the story.

*The darkness is calling to you, Adagio...Bow, and its power will be yours. The Earth will be in your grip*

I love your Sunny Flare. I think you got her absolutely right -- a dramatic actor.
http://uotapo.deviantart.com/art/A-SHORT-PERFORMANCE-544195918

This needs to be a consensus in the fandom, like Sour Sweet being a schizo.

7876513 Hmm. That's actually well worth exploring. I'd argue that the fact it's out of place is kind of the point, and you'll see why in later chapters. :ajsmug:

Cadance: "..."

Cinch: "What was that?"

Cadance: "Oh, I said, 'Go tuck yourself in.'"

Cinch (thinking): '...?'

Don't forget the Protestants!
Get it? Protestant Reformation? Anyone? Well, shit. I'm sulking in history jokes and no one gets it. :(

Sunset Shimmer, this is Fanny Slitherquick.

*DIES LAUGHING*

That NAME... :rainbowlaugh:

"Well, if you hurry, you should be just in time for Zesty Gourmand's home economics class. It's in Room 609."

Bring a barf bag!

7866590 Agreed on all fronts on this. Trouble is that Cinch didn't see it that way.

7876657 Sunny Flare being a drama queen? Perfectly fine. Sour Sweet being clinically insane? No thanks, not for me.

Though I'll admit, my headcanon is that she's afflicted with borderline personality disorder (albeit without an official diagnosis). Still, that's treatable.

...okay, this is gonna be fun. We've got a control freak who's obsessed with power and superiority, right about to run straight into the master of chaos.

Cinch is gonna be a screaming mess before this is said and done.

The Shadowbolts' banter in this chapter was nicely written and did a good job in establishing their characters in line with Friendship Games whilst adding a bit of depth to them. I loved 'Reform Buddies' so I'm looking forward to this.

Principal Cinch? A creature that goes so far beyond your imagination as to be humorous has just taken a personal interest in you and in your school. Beg whatever god you revere for mercy for Discord, the Lord of Chaos, will have none.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Cinch is sure to fail (aside from the fact that Discord is likely going to enjoy tormenting her and driving her literally and irreversibly insane for the evlulz). The Shadowbolts were always friends; the Magic of Friendship is already there, not the result of any 'infection'.

I'm wondering if Indigo and Sunset are going to finish this program with the same conclusion about a leadership role: It's kind of like herding cats but with more scratches, bites, property damage and poop on the cushions.

I've got a feeling that we've met the villain of the week. Cinch, if she's smart, will let Flypaper be the public lead and, when it all explodes in his face (quite possibly literally, taking a wing of the school with it), she will make a show of publicly cutting him loose to dangle in the wind with a comment about "inappropriate conduct around students" and "reckless experimentation with improperly-understood machinery". Naturally, she'll have written proof that she knew nothing about his plans and that had already on several occasions instructed him to not under any circumstances toy with the Sparkle Equations until the girl herself could be persuaded to explain them in more detail.

Meanwhile, Adagio needs a hug. Desperately. I'm wondering if Lemon Zest will be the one who ends up doing it!

Principal Cinch, I strongly advise you to go to the library and look up all information you can find in the library about a literary character named 'Puck'. I strongly suspect that you have the real one running around your school with about ten orders of magnitude more power and a sociopathic personality disorder to boot.

What Cadance should have said: "Miss Slitherquick. As you doubtless know, school policy is that discussion between the Dean or any counsellor and a student is confidential unless the student's safety or wider school policy is impacted in any way. You can tell Abacus from me that she will be notified immediately if anything Miss Shimmer says meets these critera and she thus has a need to know. Otherwise, I would thank you to remember the very narrow limits of your role so that this does not turn into a formal complaint to the Principal of you interfering with the staff performing their duties. Good day."

"Well said, Smittywernerjäegermanjepson," said Discord.

I don't know why, but that line broke my sides. I love it, keep up the fantastical work.

Okay, who else wants to see Discord drive Cinch off the deep end? Show of hands!

7902371
Actually, I'm waiting for that supposedly all-important Magic of Friendship to win some hearts and minds, something that has nothing whatsoever to do with tormenting people and driving them insane. Call me crazy. :applejackunsure:

I get that Discord is literally the polar opposite of that pretty much from birth, but it sends really, really dark messages if the force that converted him even partly turns out to be inferior to wanting to make people suffer, especially if the entire point of Keep Calm and Flutter On, and perhaps the show as a whole, is to be considered.

Like, it's funny that Aria gripes on Adagio to just shut up and accept what's being pushed on her (even if she might feel better by the end) when, in the first story, Adagio was the only one of the three putting any effort in at all, and still got cheated out of everything. All Aria had to do was admit she had a soul. Must have been so hard for her. Here, she's just hoping someone else will handle all that pesky Empathy stuff for her, which seems to fall to Sunset alone.

Does it make sense if I say that that combined with the people hoping and praying that someone suffers horribly aren't good signs? :fluttershysad:

"Well. That wasn't so bad," said Lyra, placing her hands behind her head. "A lot better than the last time we went to Crystal Prep for the Friendship Games."

Umm.

This group of students? Has never gone to Crystal Prep for the Friendship Games.

The Friendship Games happen every four years. It says so in the movie. High school, last I checked, is a four-year thing. Unless Lyra and Bon Bon got held back a year or two, they've NEVER BEEN to Crystal Prep for the Friendship Games. And Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara have to be freshman, so they've never really taken part in any regular school activities in prior years because...they weren't there.

Now maybe they went there for like, a tennis tournament or something. Anything that would actually justify the CHS kids' attitudes toward Crystal Prep in the movie.

Nice jab at how everyone was expecting human Sombra in Friendship Games, by the way.

7902834 Wait, then how do you square that with the Rainbooms knowing about them in the first place? Aren't they juniors or something? I mean, I see your point; I'm just wondering if there's more to this.

7902917 Again, if you'd rewatch the movie, you'd see the Rainbooms going through yearbooks showing Crystal Prep beating them at various things, including golf. The Friendship Games happen every four years, which is ALSO stated plainly in the movie.

You...should probably rewatch the movie, since you keep making these mistakes. ^^;;

I have to admit that the Shadowbolts did better with Discord than I thought they would! Maybe they are tougher than they look!

As for the Dazzlings...? I'm getting a vision of Adagio getting hold of the magical collector and going postal. One Rainbow Friendship Laser later, there is a hole where Crystal Prep's courtyard used to be.

7902995 Ah, right. Fair point. I'll make the necessary changes. This is what I get for waiting so long after the movie to write this thing. :twilightsheepish:

7903041 I often have to rewatch episodes/the EG movies to double-check myself on things I'm not 100% on. Or at least look up transcripts.

wonder how much days Sonata will resist without a taco, wonder what kind of nasty and hilarious event will prepare DISCORD to that school, as long there is no rain of fire dogs and chesse appear for eveyone (thats Sheogorath thing) i hope he will hanged out with the Shadowbolts specially Lemon and Sour and her bipolar personality I will like to se how Cinch will react to Discord

7902732 This is also the same show that demonstrates that some hearts and minds simply cannot be won with the Magic of Friendship. Cinch has, thus far, failed to demonstrate any redeeming characteristics - she blackmailed Twilight into participating in the games, demonstrated anger with her students for falling short of her expectations, and I'd argue bullied her into releasing the collected magic and tearing down the walls between the human world and Equestria. And not once did she take responsibility for her actions.

The Shadowbolts themselves at least have shown some basic decency when they helped to save lives during the games, so them learning about friendship and forming better bonds with others I have no issue with. Discord I'm even willing to forgive, as I tend to see his actions prior to "Keep Calm and Flutter On" as those of an immature child who needed to learn some discipline and empathy. Cinch, however, is a grown adult, perhaps even close to being a senior citizen, and I find it unlikely that she's capable of becoming a better person.

7903263
The sirens and Discord himself showed no signs of humanity in their first appearances either, and saying 'some people just don't get Friendship' is an admission that something else is even stronger, completely antithetical to the treatment people like Sunset got. The only person that can be confirmed to be a 'child' to be redeemed so far is Diamond Tiara, so saying someone just 'isn't capable' of changing sounds more like an attempt to justify wishing them harm. :applejackunsure:

"Make that three hard boiled eggs," said Sonata quickly.

There was one more honk.

"And one duck egg."

With Discord, there ain't no Sanity Claus. :pinkiehappy:

7903341 Perhaps. Still, I'm strongly discouraged from thinking that Cinch is inclined towards change, given her actions in the film. After all, she put winning a competition over the lives of her own students. That says a lot about her character right there.

7903802
Discord put his own entertainment above the lives and sanity of the entire world, Sunset put her pride before the stability of her home nation and whatever she had to do to the human population to get her way, and Luna put her pride before the lives of the entire world.

Were any of them tortured when they were stopped for someone's gratification? Were any of them left screaming messes or driven off the deep end? Should they have been? Was that how anyone was convinced to stop hurting people and learn to get along? Because Adagio got nothing but pain and misery in the first story and seems no happier for it. In fact, it seems to be the crux of why she's still bitter and resentful.

If you just want to see someone suffer for sheer schadenfreude, putting your own satisfaction above empathy and compassion, even, you can admit that. It's kind of wrong (what feels good at any given time is not necessarily the right thing to do) and goes against the message of the show and, I would think, the title of the story, but you can just say so if that's how you feel about the subject.

I don't think Aria would put herself down with "I'm not smart enough" again and again. I find that slightly out of character. She is a pretty proud person regardless of the changed outlook. Also, with all the crap Adagio keeps giving them, I'd expect Aria to punch her already.

7903851 ...okay, you've got me there. Still, the sorts of things that Cinch did can and do happen all the time in the real world, and while I'm satisfied with what karma she got in the animation, I don't see her changing her attitude anytime soon.

And as much as I'd like to see her suffer, me being a rather petty person, I look forward to this story satisfying me through other means. Plus, no suffering I'd want to see her go through would involve her being physically harmed.

7903954
Friendship is Magic, whether Cinch comes to see that this time or not. :pinkiehappy:

7903857 I'd argue that her pride has been tempered since accepting friendship into her life. Thus, she's willing to acknowledge when she doesn't know something that Adagio would. As for her punching Adagio, well, considering the Sirens have been living together since who-knows-when, I'd say her tolerance for this kind of thing is rather high. However, that's not to say a threshold can't be reached. :ajsmug:

7903802 That's a complete misintepretation of what she did. She never expected lives would be in danger (she expected magic would help them, which was admittedly rather stupid), and she made it obvious in her very first scene that maintaining a perfect rep for CPA is kind of important, so it's not just about "winning a competition" at all.

7905776 ...are you forgetting about the killer plants that showed up in the previous round? And the fact that Sugarcoat, one of Cinch's own students, was attacked by one of them? Cinch certainly didn't acknowledge it - she was more concerned about CHS cheating than she was the fact that one (let alone all) of her students had their life put in danger.

And before you pin the blame on CHS for that, let's also acknowledge that the portals leading to the appearance of said killer plants was a result of Sci-Twi's actions. And when Cinch put two and two together, instead of trying to present it as proof of CHS' cheating, she had Sci-Twi release it so that her school could win, thus leading to everything with Midnight Sparkle.

I don't care what anyone says, the woman is not a nice person. And bare minimum, her priorities are pretty damn skewed.

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