• Published 21st Apr 2017
  • 2,352 Views, 101 Comments

Cross Reference - Eyeswirl the Weirded

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

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Chapter 6: Rivals (Part 2)

In the same building, Aria wandered the halls as she thought about how best to approach this domination thing, Sonata in tow.

That whole 'specific achievements' thing Sugarcoat told her about sounded like a huge hassle, and one in which she wasn't even guaranteed to win anything if she succeeded. She said that just being in the top ranks of a class or two would get her recognized, and this dance Blueblood was taking Sunny Flare to was the place to nab as much attention as possible, so she'd need something by then.

Unfortunately, every time she started to get a good grip on the material, classes moved right along to the next thing, or added new stuff to the old thing, so she could never even feel like she was getting good enough to snag top-tier grades! The homework alone was completely kicking her ass, so if she didn't come up with something before the big-time test rolled around, she might have to come up with something for-

Before Aria knew it, she was headed straight for the floor, barely extending her arms in time to not mash her face against the tile. She still got a cheek smushed against the cold linoleum when Sonata fell on top of her, but at least nothing was broken.

"Wow," giggled an unfamiliar voice, "might wanna watch'yer step there, these floors can hurt!"

Looking up, Aria saw a smiling girl with long, straight, purple hair, so dark it was almost pitch-black and meticulously styled to stop just above her waist in a perfectly even line. There was nothing remarkable about her choice in uniform; the standard blazer and skirt with tights, but her face, in some kind of contrast with her hair, was such a pale green that it almost looked white, containing the gleaming, yellow eyes that looked back down at her. Aria couldn't place it, but there was something she really didn't like about those eyes.

"Yea-ha," chuckled another voice, "bruises aren't a good look for anyone!"

The other girl wore short socks, a normal skirt, and a standard blazer, but with the top button of her shirt undone. That and subtle make-up on her pink, smirking face were the only deviations Aria saw from the CP uniform, though the thick, deep-red ringlets hanging just over her shoulders looked like they took an hour to style.

Aria knew an attempt at intimidation when she saw one, and tripping her so that she'd be looking up at them was definitely deliberate, so she denied them the effect by waiting until she could shove Sonata off and stand up before replying. "Good tip." To her annoyance, neither of them looked at all bothered that she hadn't responded the way the victim normally would in this situation.

"Now that we have your attention," said the pale, peppy one, "I'm Powder Glitz," she gestured to the other one, "and this is Glitter Spark."

Remembering Politeness™, Aria restrained herself to a dull glare. "Nice to meet you." She'd expected that this would force them to look deferential to her by having to ask her name or have Sonata say it for her, like she was too important to introduce herself, but the pink one Glitter just gave her a deadpan stare.

"We've met before. Twice."

"Oh yea," chirped Sonata with her usual, vacant smile, "we bumped into these guys on our first day here!"

One of Glitter's light-grey eyes twitched. "And when we tried to introduce ourselves last week, you shoved us out of the way."

Knowing that she was in a serious Politeness™ deficit right about now, Aria shrugged and took interest in some nearby architecture. Crystal Prep really did have some pretty interiors. "We were in a hurry."

Sonata idly scratched along her jawline as though trying to remember yesterday's weather. "I think it was more like a push anyway."

Now Glitter really did look angry, glaring daggers as she spoke with cold contempt. "I knew I hated you. Like 95% of students here are arrogant as all get out, but most of them have done something to earn that attitude, not just waltzed in like they already had a place here. I know you're both from CHS, and I know you didn't stick around there long either, so if-"

"Woah, wait," interrupted a shocked Sonata, "why do you know this stuff?! Are you stalking us?!"

"Wha-?! No, you idiot, this is Crystal Prep! The first thing anyone learns to do here is their homework!"

While slightly impressed with that snappy word-choice, Aria didn't let it show on her face. "So you think you've got dirt on us?"

Looking more tired than angry now, Glitter sighed, softly facepalming. "'Dirt'? No, it's normal to want to know who you're dealing with."

Glitz kept her passive smile. "Especially the competition!"

That word wrapped around Aria's throat like a snake. These two considered themselves competitors to her in some way, which meant they were a threat.

"Anyway," continued Glitter, "if you think that just showing up and looking pretty will get you everything, you're in for a rude awakening!"

Try as she might, Aria couldn't think of a good way to use 'rude' against these two in any way. Luckily, she had something just as devastating. "Well whatever you think you've got going on, I bet it's not working for you, because in the week or two since we got here, I haven't heard anything about you guys." She smirked with satisfaction as Glitter's eye twitched again.

"And your point is?"

"That if you weren't nobodies, I'd have at least heard your names somewhere. I know who all the top-ranked students are in their respective classes, and you two aren't on that list. Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing you guys compete in the Friendship Games, either, and seeing as how I'm already hanging with the girls who did make the cut every day, I'd say I'm already way ahead of you."

"Uh," Sonata cut in, eyebrow raised, "don't you mean 'we'?"

Aria ignored the question as Glitter seethed in silence, Powder Glitz raising a question of her own as she scratched her head. "Ahead in what?"

For a split second, Aria felt like she'd been duped; made to reveal her true intentions for this school without realizing it, but she hadn't said anything that could be used to turn anyone against her, right? "In, securing my place at Crystal Prep. As like, one of the big dogs, the ones Cinch would pick to represent the school for... stuff."

Her rage slowly ebbing away, Glitter gave Aria a look of baffled disbelief. "...Are you, saying you just want to be a... representative? One of the school's 'top students'?"


A weird, but infuriating little quirk in her grin, Glitter snorted, then started laughing, loud and long as Glitz joined in while Aria and Sonata stood there feeling like it was an entire hallway cackling at their expense.

An angry pout on her face, Sonata eventually spoke up. "What the heck's so funny?!"

Wiping away a tear, Glitter did her best to reign herself in. "Ma-ha-ha-haan, you guys are rich! Hey, by all means, keep shooting for those high scores, because being a top student-" Aria caught the extra mocking emphasis, "-is great and all, while you're still here, but what happens when you graduate Crystal Prep?"

Silence. Glitter's smirk approached maximum smugness.

"Haven't thought it through, huh? Okay, it goes like this: While you might get a tidy scholarship related to whatever you were good at, sooner or later, you're just going to end up mediocre again, because most graduates hit stiff competition in college from others that take their field just as seriously, if not more, and end up working just as hard as an ordinary person from a 'lowly' school pursuing an ordinary profession, even if they do make it big. Having 'came from Crystal Prep' in your resume isn't the ticket to easy street Cinch wants people to think it is, being 'The Best' isn't living a high, comfortable life above lesser plebeians like people act like it is, and that's if nothing goes wrong."

Still grinning, she touched a hand to her chest. "What I want is to become as popular and influential as possible," she admitted with no shame or hesitation, diminishing, but not destroying Aria's worries about being found out and ousted about that, "so that when the hard-working success stories of Crystal Prep look back on their school days, they'll think of me-" A genuine smile on her face, she leaned close enough to Glitz to nearly touch their heads together, "-and my best friend," Glitz shot them a smile, a wink, and a peace-sign before Glitter returned to a normal stance, "from the day they graduate onward.

Being the most popular girl in the best school around means being close to societal big wigs for years after, and all I'll have to do is secure some easy (that is, easy for a Crystal Prep graduate), but well-paying job until I hook a billionaire, use my influence from my time as a student to keep and expand my social circle, and essentially be the Most Popular Girl In School for life among the rich and powerful, all without having to bust my hump like a normal person would!"

"And because I'm totally down for this plan," Glitz chimed in, "I'll be helping out!"

Glitter gave her an amused smile. "Thanks."

Aria clenched her jaw, not because these bitches were making fun of her, but because that sounded almost identical to her plan. There was a little more detail, but it was still 'win adoration of future big dogs, exploit for personal gain,' which meant that these girls really were her biggest competition. Glaring, she took a step forward.

"You girls are way out of your league. I know a thing or two about turning people against each other, so if you don't wanna end up with everyone in Crystal Prep hating your guts, you'll stay out of my way."

Eyes widening in surprise for a second, Glitter scoffed. "If you could just sing your little song and make everyone do what you wanted, you'd have done it by now." She responded to Aria and Sonata's shock by regaining her smug smirk. "That's right, when our team came back from the Friendship Games, they had some stories to tell. Have you heard the one about the army of zombies? Or the teleporting cupcake girl? The weird, sudden moments of people zoning out? The bumbling dork who grew wings and started ripping holes in time and space was the most popular story, but maybe you know the one about three witches who took up cheerleading?"

"There weren't any witches," Sonata said with a blank stare, "just me, Aria here, and our boss-slash-kinda-sorta-mother-figure."

There was a pause as Glitter stared at Sonata and a facepalming Aria, her own expression unamused as she answered in complete deadpan. "Wow. Really? I had no idea."

Sonata proudly crossed her arms and raised her chin as though she'd made a salient point. "Well now you do!"

Glitz leaned closer to Glitter. "The dumb one doesn't get sarcasm, remember?"

"Right, forgot."

Remembering that crack about homework, Aria could see that she badly needed to fall back and learn just who these girls were before going any further, so she rolled her eyes and started walking away. "We've got a lot more than just songs at our disposal, so don't do anything we'll make you regret."

That Aria didn't hear any kind of comeback as Sonata followed her felt like a good sign, at least in the sense that those two weren't as witty as Indigo. Speaking of whom, Aria now knew that she'd been mistaken twice about who her greatest adversary was, because while both were very driven and pretty competitive when it came to stuff they actually cared about, neither Indigo Zap nor Sunny Flare showed any interest in the idea of ruling anything, of being in control.

Still, it was weird that Aria hadn't even heard anyone mention either of these new previously unremarkable girls at all, and if they normally acted like that, there had to be a reason. Maybe that reason was something she could use to her advantage.

Author's Note:

And at last we meet the rival characters I've been planning for Aria and Sonata pretty much since the previous story ended! In all that time, I originally intended Glitter Spark's name to be Glitter Shard, but only when I was finally writing the introductory scene did I decide that Spark sounded a little better.

Join us tomorrow for the reveal of the new guidance counselor, a peek into Cadence's love life, a chat between former villains, and the end of the Rivals chapter!