• Published 21st Apr 2017
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Cross Reference - Eyeswirl the Weirded



Following the events of the Friendship Games, various parties adapt to their new lives.

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Chapter 3: First Days (Part 3)

Following another round of classes that reminded Aria she would need to brush up on quite a few things, she and Sonata had found themselves drafted into lunchtime by the five Shadowbolts they'd met at the Friendship Games. Sugarcoat's idea, apparently, Sunny Flare having said something about not letting Aria and Sonata get mixed up with 'the wrong crowd' while they were here. Once all were seated, Sunny asked with a hint of apprehension.

"So, how soon should we expect you two to start up your own cheerleading squad?"

Aria and Sonata shared a look, answering in unison. "Uhh...?"

"...You aren't? I mean, I kind of thought that was why you were admitted here. It's not like you come from a wealthy family, so it's gotta be either that or your good looks, if you're in one of those industries."

The two weren't sure how to respond to any part of that statement, but despite the compliment, they again reached a consensus in feeling like some part of it was at their expense. It was hard to tell through her unchanging expression, but Sugarcoat may have noticed.

"What she said was not intended as a form of class warfare, it is just the understood norm of Crystal Prep. This is the most prestigious school in the state, but the open secret is that just about everyone only gets in through being really good at something or having a lot of money, ideally both. If you two had the former, you'd have been here sooner, whereas if you had the latter-"

"I'm sure I'd have heard of you," Sunny finished. "I mean, unless your family just never gets invited to upper... class... parties..." It was only on the tail end of that statement that she started to realize she might be saying something offensive, contrition immediately showing in her face. "Uh... s-sorry?"

Again, Aria and Sonata shared a look, the former raising an eyebrow. "Is the tuition really so steep that nobody but the rich can pay it?"

Because if so... damn, Dagi, where'd you get the money?

"That's not really it," Sour Sweet said with a smile, "it's just that getting in is one thing, but sticking around is another! Like, any normal kid that got in and didn't have money for a private tutor or something they were really good at-" She went Sour. "-would stink up the place by sucking so hard, then either flunk out or transfer to somewhere that everyone didn't know they were losers." Sweet. "So which one are you guys?"

On the surface, Aria did her best to keep a cool, passive expression. Internally, she was screaming at the top of her lungs. Just the classwork she'd seen so far had mostly left her stumped (math was the same, but she always hated math!!), and if she didn't get better fast, not only was Sonata (who wasn't even sweating despite hearing every word Sour Sweet had said, just vacantly smiling as though she weren't the least bit worried) going to pull ahead of her, but everyone at this prissy little school would look down on her, she'd never have a chance at reaching the top, she'd never win Adagio's respect, and she'd spend the rest of her life in someone else's shadow! It was as she scrambled to think of something she could do to secure her place here that Indigo spoke up.

"Uh, hey," she offered with a little grin, "like Sunny said, you guys still have cheerleading going for you. When I asked Dean Cadence why CeePee's never had its own squad, she told me Principal Cinch always thought just 'having your own drive,' whatever that means, should be enough, but that she'd go for it if the students did."

Ooh, Aria thought, there's that. Come to think of it, I'm a pretty fantastic singer, too, but Sonata can do both of those right along with me...

She shrugged in a practiced effort to look nonchalant. "Maybe. Figure we'll get familiar with this place first, see where it goes from there." She looked to Sonata for a comment and disappointed herself for having expected anything other than to see her stuffing her face. Sonata looked back at her.

"Whuh?"

Sunny scowled. "Don't talk with your mouth full!!"

Amused though she was that Sonata actually closed her mouth, chastised, Aria made the mental note that manners really were a big deal here. She was going to have to completely master politeness if she was going to dethrone Sunny Flare as the local queen.

I mean, I'm guessing it's her... Haven't seen anybody else that acted so stuck up so far.

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

Walking out of the lunchroom, the group was stopped in their tracks by an incoming, regal voice.

"I'm coming for you, My Deeeeeeear~!"

Sunny Flare paled. "Ohh, no," she muttered as she ducked behind Indigo for security, "hide me!!"

Before Aria could ask why none of the other Shadowbolts were reacting at all, she caught sight of a young, muscular blonde man with pallid skin coming down the hall at a brisk pace (not running, but you probably weren't allowed to do that here), wearing what kind of looked like a tuxedo in Crystal Prep's dark-red and purple colors with the exception of a blue bow-tie around his neck. Aria didn't have much interest in guys, but even she knew he was pretty good-looking. And not just because Sonata was making that face like she'd just found a big bowl of candy.

"Good day, ladies!"

Smiling a little, Indigo casually waved at him. "How's it hangin', Blue?"

"We have been over this before, Lady Zap; my bow-tie does not 'hang' in any particular manner, as it is fixed in place!"

"Heh, right on."

As those two made small talk, Aria leaned toward Exposition Gir- Sugarcoat. "Who's this?"

"Prince Blueblood," she whispered back, as though having been waiting to be asked, "son of Principal Cinch and most sought-after bachelor of Crystal Prep, been pursuing Sunny Flare for a few years now. She is not receptive to his advances, despite him striving to be every bit the gentleman she claims every man should be." Sugarcoat smiled with what Aria interpreted to be just a hint of malice. "I enjoy watching their interactions."

"He's the principal's kid? Is that allowed?"

"Yes. While nepotism is greatly frowned upon, she has as little to do with him as possible during school hours, a relationship she is suspected to have fostered since his youth, likely for fear of exactly the accusation of coddling and/or pushing him too much, which would be all too typical for the woman in control of Crystal Prep. Few friends, no hobbies, and while he is one of the top students in most every field, if not for his infatuation with Sunny, he would probably be a sad bastard." She glanced at Aria to see a slightly incredulous face. She shrugged. "That is my take on it, anyway."

Blueblood briefly glanced around. "Have any of you seen Lady Flare? She is almost always accompanied by at least one of you."

Indigo immediately thumbed over her shoulder. "Right here." Her hair was blown around from the sheer force of Sunny's screech.

"TRAITOR!!"

Rubbing one ear, Indigo winced. "When was I ever on your side with this?"

She didn't get time to answer, Blueblood having already gently, but firmly seized her hand as Indigo stepped away from the two of them. "Good day, My Dear! I had hoped that we could resume our discussion regarding our agreement prior to the Friendship Games, in which I have most decidedly kept my end of the bargain!"

Even if a handsome young man delicately holding her hand was something she'd once fantasized about, Sunny blushed. Gently trying to pull away, she found that Blueblood's grip wasn't quite delicate enough to slip out of. "Y-yes..."

"I dropped out of the Friendship Games to ensure that neither of us would be distracted by the other's presence, as per your request-"

"Tearful request," smirked Indigo.

"Desperate plea," added Sugarcoat.

"Pitiful begging," growled Sour Sweet.

Sunny shot all three a glare that made them take a step back. "I hate all of you!!"

"No you do not," Sugarcoat corrected, "you just dislike that we draw amusement from your predicament."

"Grrr..." Flushed crimson, she looked back at Blueblood. "Y-yea, I said that, but, uh..."

"And," Sugarcoat added with just a hint of a grin, "it would be veeery poor form if a lady were not to honor her agreements." Sunny's enhanced death-glare made her smile a little wider.

"Yes," Sunny hissed through clenched teeth before taking a breath, letting out a sigh, and looking back at Blueblood, "I did say that, so... I guess I'll see you at the dance...?"

Blueblood smiled. "I look forward to that distant evening, Lady Flare." He closed the statement by kissing her hand, not reacting to the way she shivered and blushed in response, then turning away. "Well, the day's last round of classes begin soon, so I shall be off. Have lovely day, ladies!"

And away he went, never having given Aria or Sonata a sideways glance. Aria took that to mean that this guy was some kind of weirdo, but more importantly, a plan was coming together. As he walked past her, Lemon Zest squeaked, blushed, and ducked behind Indigo, who looked at her over her shoulder.

"Still can't talk to boys?"

She got a sheepish nod in reply.

"So," Aria asked, "what was that about a dance? There a party coming up soon?"

"Not for a few months," answered Sugarcoat, which made Aria turn to Sunny with an incredulous look on her face.

"...You wanted him to skip out of the Friendship Games in exchange for taking you to a dance that isn't happening for months?"

"Nooo," Sunny corrected, arms crossed, "I agreed to an arrangement made several weeks in advance with the condition that he not be around to embarrass me in front of our competitors."

Aria almost asked why, if she didn't like him, she didn't just tell him off, but that wouldn't have worked out as well for her new plan. She glanced at Sonata, whose hungry stare as she watched Blueblood disappear around a corner became another piece of the puzzle for how she'd dominate this place.

On the way to their next class (gym, finally, which Aria and Sonata had together), the two nearly bumped into someone, but Aria didn't listen to the ensuing sounds of displeasure and Sonata's gibberish as she kept walking, just resisting the urge to grin like Adagio at her Adagiest as she pictured the 'most prestigious school in the state,' all these rich kids destined for positions of power and influence, firmly in her command.

And then she'd work out how to do stuff with magic again, and none of that harvesting crap this time!

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

With the end of the school day, Twilight stepped out into the hall with a healthy sense of caution, and did not bump into anyone! That hadn't happened since her unfortunate moment with Adagio that morning, but being careful could only pay off if she didn't want to be known as-

How had Sunny Flare referred to me? A rampaging beast or something? With how many times I've already collided with her, Adagio probably thinks so too, but it's not like I'm trying to-

Cold fear gripped her heart as she bumped into someone, but to her immediate relief, she did not initiate another embarrassing contact, just harmlessly stumbled back as the other person whirled around to face her.

Sunset chuckled. "Hey, Twilight. My turn now?"

She blushed. "N-no, sorry."

"Sorry you bumped into me, or sorry you're not groping me?" She snickered at the spastic noises Twilight made before gently touching her shoulder. "Okay, okay, calm down, I was just kidding."

Twilight let out a breath. "Half the school must think I'm a crazy pervert by now."

The urge was strong, but Sunset refrained from saying 'Oh, it's much more than half!' or anything like that. "I'm sure they don't. You might be surprised just how forgiving this school can be." She closed the statement with a wink, which won a tiny smile.

"That's... reassuring, I guess." The smile faded. "Uh... does that include Adagio Dazzle, or...?"

"Umm..." She kind of wished Adagio hadn't already gone home for the day, erasing worries about hard feelings between people was always much easier if all parties were present. "well, she might rib you a little harder than most would, but a little teasing between friends is normal, and if she did bear a grudge, I'm sure you would know it. Want to go see Rarity for that makeover?"

Twilight wore a worried frown. "Is there an emergency escape button?"

"It won't be that bad," Sunset said with a giggle while leading Twilight toward the workshop, "and if it is," she grinned wider and raised the hand not on Twilight's shoulder to make squeezing motions, "you can always just-"

"Sunset!!"

"Hahahahahaha!"

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

Sitting on the bus and heading home, Aria wrestled with her pride against how badly she needed to know something for her plan. The one with the important details was sitting right next to her, in her own little world as she watched the world go by through the windows.

Aria snickered. Must have been nice being so spacey that just riding a bus felt like some kind of magical journey. As luck would have it, this got Sonata's attention.

"What?"

She still hadn't perfected the way she wanted to word this thing, but she had a vague idea of how to get Sonata to spill how she was doing in class. "Was just thinking about what Adagio said this morning," she lied, "how we'd have to try about half as hard as we did back home?"

Blink. "Try what?"

Right, guess that would have been too easy.

"With the classwork, that stuff they made us do for like six hours today?"

"Oh, that."

And then, much to Aria's ire, Sonata didn't say anything. Just kept smiling, not a thought in the world. That such sweet silence annoyed her for once was infuriating by itself. She needed to know if, somehow, Sonata had a better handle on this than she'd have ever thought, because who was getting better grades was something she had to factor into her plans. Even if they both had a good handle on Gym, acting as though the rest was a breeze for her would backfire if Sonata learned she was still rusty, so she couldn't say she was doing great even just to gauge Sonata's reaction, but maybe if she-

"So, how're you doing in class?"

Gah!!

"Uh-" Fastanswerquickthinkthinkthink! "the, material's based on stuff from this world, so, y'know, just processing all that first."

She had practically just admitted that she was doing badly, but just when she thought Sonata's giggles meant a really long bus-ride home followed by Sonata ratting her out to Adagio, she heard it.

"Yea, I got no idea what that crap was about! We'll get it, though, how hard can it be?"

"Uh-" Aria found herself smiling, and maybe not just because she'd heard what she wanted to. "-yea, we've handled worse, right? Remember that class about Crystal Leyline Reconfiguration?

Tinting green, Sonata made a miserable face, put her hands over her ears, and groaned. "Stooooop!"

Aria chuckled, even if, in the back of her mind, she felt a little stupid for having worried.

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

Tempted as she'd been to pick up with that morning's performance, Adagio didn't know where she'd find knitting supplies with which she could sit in the recliner, pretending to be knitting a sweater when Aria and Sonata got home. It was a shame, she was sure the looks on their faces would have been priceless.

Oh, maybe if I had gone with Rarity for the...?

Then again, it was clear that Rarity took her hobby very seriously, so perhaps asking for props wouldn't be taken well. Maybe if she had asked Pinkie Pie?

I've still barely spoken to any of those girls, or much of anyone but Sunset. I may not need anyone else and I doubt all of them would prove as trustworthy, but having more people to talk to, more people to confide in, can only be a benefit when something goes wrong.

She was probably going to have to make some friends.

Where to start? Do I just go around convincing people to join the cheerleading squad and use my resulting authority over them to learn more about them, or take a more subtle approach and investigate random students to find the best candidates, entice those few with quick motions and passing glances in the hallways until they can't resist a chance to talk to me, and use their interest to-

"♫Da-gi, we're hooo-ooome!♪"

Putting those thoughts aside, she smiled. "Living room." The two came in, and she took the relaxed, almost pleased looks on their faces to mean that their first day was a success.

Or that they'd completely skipped school to go fool around somewhere, but she knew what she'd do if she heard they hadn't been attending.

Even so, she asked. "How was school?"

"Fancy," Sonata answered right away as the two came in to sit on the couch, "the walls and floors were all super shiny, the place totally makes CHS look like it's made of drywall painted with barf! When you go in, there's even bushes and stuff growing on the building so it feels like you're walking into a castle, only there's no freaky-headed dog guys or rent-a-cops telling you you can't go places!"

Adagio nodded. Disney World had been interesting, if nothing else. "Same for you, Aria?"

"I went to the same place, so, yea."

"And no one mistook you for Twilight?"

"What?"

Next question! "Did the cafeteria charge anything?"

"Uh..." Not wanting to risk one of Adagio's teasing mind-games, Aria just moved on. "Nah," she answered with a little grin, "we were worried for nothing; they still let students eat free, even there."

"Ah, good."

"What about you? Anything interesting happen?"

The memories of being pushed down by Twilight and Sunset's sentiment to her during lunch sprung to mind, but they weren't quite worth sharing. "Nothing much. No problems on your end, I hope?"

Glancing away, Aria shrugged. "Not really." She looked right back at Adagio to gauge her reaction, and not seeing any open suspicion, pushed forward with a smile. "We met those five girls again, by the way."

Adagio's amused grin said she was sold on this topic. "Oh?"

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

Letting her hair fall in a wide spread as usual, Adagio settled into her place in the middle of the bed, shortly followed by Aria and Sonata nestling into place at her sides. She spared each a glance as she pondered what she was doing, whether or not it would work, but she knew one thing without a doubt: If the two of them ever learned, ever remembered, what happened to them before the fall of Coltlantis, they were going to be in desperate need of help, and she needed to prepare the means to abundantly offer it.

Just Sunset was enough for Adagio, as she had been living with the knowledge for decades, had time to quietly stew during the period in which she and the others were under the control of the four kings, but for Aria and Sonata, ignorant of their treatment in that time, it would all come as a shock for which they didn't have the option of lashing out in bloody vengeance, not if they didn't want to risk something worse than another dose of the rainbow beam.

So she'd prepare; find some pleasant, reliable, comforting people to be around, win their companionship, and if the time ever came, beg their help when Aria, Sonata, or both most needed it. She knew they weren't weaklings, she knew they had experienced some horrifying things in all their time together, but given her own reaction even after her years in The Hadal Zone? Maybe they were stronger than normal people, but they weren't as strong as her, and if they needed it, she wanted something to cushion the blow and bandage the wounds.

Lying comfortably beside her, Aria again went over the details of her plan in her head. She would start with either establishing herself as someone to fear and respect, or taking down Sunny Flare so her position would be open for the taking. Probably better to start with the first one, gather more info in the process. Then she'd get Blueblood to fall for Sonata (should be easy enough, Sonata's over-inflated water balloon tits doing half the work for them) to take him away from Sunny (because whether she wanted him or not, there was no doubt he was a status symbol. Sunset lost a lot of points when Flash dumped her, right?), and when Sonata was distracted with her new boy-toy (who might just so happen to see some embarrrasing side of Sonata that gets her dumped too), she'd dazzle amaze the whole school with some awesome show of greatness!

...Okay, obviously she didn't have all the details together yet, but on her checklist was proving herself to Crystal Prep, removing Sunny Flare from the top, inserting herself there, and making sure Sonata was too busy with something else to care about taking the lead.

Little did she know that Sonata, cozily lying by Adagio's opposite side, was barely keeping her grin from erupting into crazy, full-on, No-seriously-do-you-need-to-see-Dr.-Chrysalis-again giggles. She didn't know what Aria was doing or going to do, but she hadn't forgotten that they were in a fierce battle for the rank of Top Bitch!

The first order of business when that role was picked would have to be to name it something less... S&M-sounding, maybe...

Anyway, she'd let Aria do whatever she was doing, wait until the hard work was out of the way, then swoop in, nab it all for herself, and be The Best of the three of them from then on! She didn't know how yet, but that was sorta Aria's job in this plan, and Top Bitch Working Title had to be able to think on their feet anyway. She'd bide her time, have fun at Crystal Prep whenever possible, and let Bestness come to her at its own pace.

None aware of the others' thoughts, the sirens cuddled together, thinking of what tomorrow might bring as they drifted off to sleep.

Author's Note:

I settled on just getting the first day written, letting that be a vague indicator of what was to go on from here, and giving everyone else (CMC, Flash, those girls Aria and Sonata brushed aside, Diamond+Silver, maybe the flower trio, Maud+Trixie, Principal Celestia, etc.) their time in the limelight in future chapters. The original plan was to have a little of everyone for this first cluster, but that went about as well as trying to shoehorn everything in to the afterparty in the previous story. :derpyderp2:

I love having Sugarcoat around, she's like Aria and Sonata in terms of exposition, but without anyone needing to say something stupid. :pinkiehappy:

And while we're talking about the Shadowbolts, I don't know what the general Wondercolt-Shadowbolt rival consensus is, but I think Lemon Zest is actually Fluttershy's opposite number. Where Flutters is quiet, Lemon is noisy, but still keeps to herself, having maybe two lines in the whole movie. That was where I got the idea that she might be shy in her own way, hiding behind her noise to keep from having to deal with people.
That, and with all the others taken, I sorta got the impression that Sour Sweet's insanity was meant to be a slightly disturbing mirror to Pinkie's. Process of elimination and stuff.
That said, it's ambiguous enough that at the end of the day, I'm just guessing. :twilightsheepish:

"Dr. Chrysalis," because for some reason, I imagine the human Chrysalis as either an actress or a shrink. A shrink that, in this story, Sonata has had to talk to at least once before. I made that up on the spot, so don't ask me what happened. :twilightoops: