• Published 26th Feb 2017
  • 2,209 Views, 73 Comments

Scattered - MythrilMoth



While attending the Regional Science Fair, Twilight Sparkle must work with her former schoolmates to battle an unexpected foe.

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She Blinded Me With Science

The hot June sun burned down on Canterlot.

Two weeks ago, seven friends had taken a class trip to Camp Everfree and had come away forever changed. Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity had spent the past two weeks adjusting to the new magic they'd gained while at Camp Everfree.

Now, however, the girls were returning to their usual, non-magical routine. A hot Thursday afternoon found them gathered at Rainbow Dash's house, holding an impromptu sendoff/good luck party for Twilight, who would be leaving for Baltimare the following day to compete in the Regional Science Fair at Everton Engineering Academy.

"I really wish I could go to Baltimare with you to cheer you on," Sunset said. "The girls need my help here."

"Yeah, it's gonna be a grade-A country-fried debacle if Sunset ain't around t' pitch in at th' farm," Applejack said. "Granny's down with a busted hip, there's a blight spreadin', we got caterpillars all up in th' north field, an' ain't none of our kin can come down t' help out. It'll be mighty tough keepin' th' farm from goin' straight t' hell with jes' me, Big Mac, Apple Bloom, an' Sunset."

"I'll be out of town for a while," Pinkie said. Her hair was nowhere near its usual level of poofiness, and she was far more subdued than the others were accustomed to. "Granny Pie's sick. She...she doesn't have long. We're going up to Holder's Boulder for..." Her voice hitched. "To say goodbye."

Rarity laid a consoling hand on Pinkie's shoulder as the girls all made sounds of sympathy and words of comfort. "And I'll be in Manehattan until July," she said. "There's a fashion expo, I've...I've been planning the trip for months."

"I'm stuck tutoring my dipshit brother," Fluttershy muttered sourly. "He got held back a year. Mom and Dad are...well, they gave him the 'it's okay, these things happen' speech, so it's up to me to keep him from failing even worse next year."

Everyone looked at Rainbow Dash. She blinked. "Umm...sports stuff," she said lamely. "Not as big a deal as all that other stuff, but...captain of all the teams, y'know? Can't get away."

Twilight smiled. "It's alright, girls," she said. "It's not like I'll be the only student from CHS at the Regional Science Fair." She swallowed. "It's just...this'll be my first time away from you all since I transferred here. I admit I'm a little nervous."

"You'll be fine, darling!" Rarity assured.

"Yeah, you'd better send us lots of texts and pics!" Pinkie said, trying to show some of her usual cheer.

"Yeah, keep in touch, sugarcube."

"Bring home the gold for CHS!" Rainbow said.

Sunset smiled. "You'll do great, Twilight." She chuckled. "Heck, you've built magic trackers, magic sucking devices, a ray gun, and I don't even know what else! You'll knock 'em dead."

Twilight smiled at her friends. "Thanks," she said. "I hope...I hope you all make it through your summer okay."

"Oh, we'll all be fine," Rarity said. She glanced at Pinkie. "Well...I hope we will."

Pinkie sniffled and forced a smile. "I'll be okay," she said. "Granny Pie won't let me be sad. She'll cheer me up and say..." She swallowed. "Well...she always knows how to make me smile."

"I just wish there were more of us going from CHS," Twilight said with a frown. "I mean, Crystal Prep always sends at least five people for this thing, but we've only got three going."

"Quality over quantity, darling!" Rarity said dismissively. "Why, if we only sent you we'd still outshine all the other schools!"

Twilight blushed. "W-well, I don't know about that," she said. "I'm...not good under pressure..."

"Are you kidding me?" Rainbow asked. "You saved our butts at Camp Everfree! If that isn't pressure, I don't know what is!"

Twilight smiled. "I guess you're right." She sighed. "Still, I barely even know the other two."

"Yeah," Sunset said with a slight frown. "Micro Chips is even more socially awkward than you are, and Vinyl Scratch..." Her brow furrowed. "Does she ever talk?"

The girls looked at each other, blinking. "I...don't know," Pinkie said. "I don't think I've ever heard her talk."

"Well surely she must speak in class when called on," Rarity said.

"Oh, she talks," Fluttershy said. "I mean, we talked quite a bit at Camp Everfree when we shared a tent. It's just that most of the time she has her headphones on..."

"Yeah, now that you mention it, she never takes those things off," Sunset said.

Twilight ducked her head. "I just...I hope I'll get along okay with the others. I'll need the emotional support. With...y'know...my old schoolmates being there and all."

Again, the girls looked around awkwardly at each other. "Hmm...yes," Rarity said. "Well, if any of those Crystal Prep students give you any trouble, just call or text one of us, alright? We'll do our best to be here for you."

"Yeah, gimme a call if you need a boost!" Rainbow said. "Don't let those Crystal Prep jerks knock you down!"

"I don't think they'll be that bad," Sunset said. "I mean, the ones we met lightened up a lot after the Friendship Games...right?"

"I guess," Twilight said uncertainly.

"Well, enough about all that!" Rarity declared. "Let's give Twilight a proper sendoff!" She glanced at Pinkie. "Are you...are you up for it, darling?"

Pinkie gave a half-smile. "Yeah, I'm...I'm okay. I can put my own problems aside for a little while. I...I actually think I need to."

Fluttershy scooted over and pulled Pinkie into a soothing hug. "It'll be alright," she whispered.

The rest of the afternoon was equally divided between cheering up Twilight and cheering up Pinkie.

* * * * *

The next day, Twilight's parents drove her to the train station, where she met up with Vinyl Scratch, Micro Chips, and their physics teacher Time Turner. Time Turner smiled broadly. "There's our ace!" he said cheerfully, clapping his hands together. "Well then, are we all ready?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," Twilight said.

"All systems go," Micro Chips said.

Vinyl gave a thumbs-up.

"Right then, our train should be arriving shortly."

Twenty minutes later, the three students and their teacher found seats on an express train bound for Baltimare. Another five minutes later, the train departed. "So, are you kids nervous?" Time Turner asked.

"A little," Twilight admitted.

"I'm looking forward to this," Micro Chips said. "This is the first time I've been out of town ever! Well, except for Camp Everfree."

"Really?" Time Turner asked curiously. "Never a vacation even once?"

"My family...really isn't the vacationing type."

"Huh." Time Turner turned to Vinyl. "How about you?"

Vinyl shrugged.

"I must admit I'm a little surprised to see you here," Chips said to Vinyl, pushing his glasses up with his index finger. "I mean, you're a DJ, not an egghead. You're always hanging out with the cool kids."

Vinyl frowned slightly.

Time Turner snorted. "You've never seen her car, I take it."

Twilight chewed on the corner of her lip, then turned to Vinyl. "That...that crazy car you have that...that kinda transforms. Don't tell me you..."

Vinyl grinned broadly and nodded.

Twilight's eyes widened. "Whoa."

"Transforms?" Chips asked, leaning forward. "Transforms into what?"

"A mobile DJ booth with an insanely powerful subwoofer," Twilight said. "She used it to help us deal with that Manticore. Remember after the Friendship Games, when all those monsters from the other world got loose at our school?"

"Oh, right," Chips said slowly. "I remember the school shaking like there was an earthquake."

"Yeah, that was her subwoofer."

Vinyl frowned. She leaned forward suddenly, removing her glasses, and gave Twilight a serious glare.

"That's bass cannon," she said. With that, she leaned back again and put her glasses back on.

Twilight blinked. "Uhh, sorry?"

* * * * *

Three hours later, the train arrived at Baltimare. The group from Canterlot High took a bus to their hotel and checked in; after the kids put their luggage away in their rooms, they took another bus to Everton Engineering Academy, the venue for the Regional Science Fair. As they neared the school, Twilight began to fidget nervously with the hem of her blouse. Time Turner noticed. "What's bothering you, Twilight?"

Twilight grimaced. "I've been forcing myself not to think about it, but...I'm about to run into some of my old classmates," she said. "You know, from Crystal Prep. I just...I'm nervous. My friends said it'd be alright, but..." She sighed. "I don't know how they'll...how they'll react to seeing me again after all this time."

"Oh, I'm certain it'll be fine!" Time Turner said cheerfully.

"Really? Because the last time I saw anyone from Crystal Prep, I turned into a magical monster and nearly destroyed reality," Twilight said morosely.

"Hmm. Yes, well...there is that. Still! Bygones and all, I'm sure. Watch, you'll see!"

The bus arrived; the quartet disembarked outside the front entrance of a sprawling campus with shining white stone walls. Most of the buildings were tall, with slanted architecture and tall, deep-set slit windows which were coated with a dark, glossy reflective surface. From the street, four such buildings were visible, towering up above the tall black iron-barred fence which surrounded the campus. Climbing vines grew thick and lush along the length of the fence, making it look more like a wall of greenery. Front and center was a broad, squat building with covered walkways that branched out, connecting it to the other buildings. Above the metal double doors, a plaque mounted to the front of the building boldly proclaimed:

As the delegation from CHS looked around to get their bearings, Twilight's eyes landed on a familiar purple bus with yellow side panels and the Shadowbolts emblem emblazoned on the sides. Her eyes shrank to pinpricks. "Oh no."

"Well, if it isn't Twilight Sparkle!" a syrupy voice said. "It's so good to see you again!" The voice then turned bitter and sullen. "Stay away from me, you traitor!"

Twilight turned to see Sour Sweet standing behind her, dressed in her Crystal Prep uniform, a fierce scowl on her freckled face. "Uhh...hi?" she ventured.

Someone suddenly tackled her from behind. The breath left Twilight's lungs as a pink arm snaked around her neck and long neon-green hair fanned out in her peripheral vision. "Hey Twilight! Long time no see! Love the new hairdo!"

"Uhh...thanks, Lemon Zest," Twilight wheezed, extricating herself from her former classmate's grasp. She turned and looked around.

Like a murder of crows, her five teammates from the Friendship Games had descended upon them: Sour Sweet, Lemon Zest, Sugarcoat, Indigo Zap, and Sunny Flare. Twilight took a step back reflexively. "S-so...you're all here, huh?"

"Principal Cadance thought it'd be good for our morale," Sunny Flare said, crossing her arms. "Something about we were most directly affected by the events of the Friendship Games, she expects us to be student leaders in her new direction for Crystal Prep..." She blew on her bangs.

Twilight blinked. "Principal Cadance? What...how?!"

"Cinch was forced to retire," Sugarcoat said. "Everything that happened at the Friendship Games got back to the school board, then they found out she blackmailed you. That wasn't cool, by the way, you shouldn't have taken that from her."

"Yeah, if you'd spoken up about it, I'm sure somebody would've had your back," Indigo Zap said.

Twilight raised an eyebrow. "Really? Anyone at Crystal Prep other than Dean—I mean Principal Cadance sticking up for me?"

The Shadowbolts looked at each other, cast their eyes down, and shuffled their feet awkwardly.

"Anyway," Lemon Zest said, "the school board decided Cinch was past her prime, so they told her she could either retire with her dignity intact or be fired in disgrace. Then Cadance got her job."

"Awesome!" Twilight said. "I bet Crystal Prep will turn into a much friendlier place with her running things."

"Well, she's trying," Sunny Flare said. "The problem is, well..." She looked away. "You know how everyone at Crystal Prep is. Us included, I'm afraid."

"Which brings us to why we're all here instead of relaxing on the beach somewhere," Sour Sweet said testily.

Principal Cadance rushed up to the group breathlessly. "Sorry girls, looks like there's going to be an orientation before we can register, and—oh! Hello, Twilight!"

Twilight smiled happily as Cadance walked up to the group. "Cadance! It's so good to see you!"

"You too, Twilight!" Cadance smiled as she walked briskly forward and hugged Twilight. "I should've known you'd be here. How are things?"

"Great!" Twilight said. "I've been making new friends and having a lot of fun, and..." She paused. "Well, a few crazy things have happened..."

"Surprise surprise," Sour Sweet muttered.

"But I can honestly say I've never been happier in my life!" Twilight said cheerfully, and her nervous tension evaporated completely as she realized that she really, truly meant it. She looked around at the Shadowbolts, as though daring any of them to object to her happiness, to call her out on betraying them...

"Sounds awesome," Indigo Zap said with a grin.

"Way to go, dude!" Lemon Zest added.

"You're not as awkward anymore, so I guess CHS was where you needed to be after all," Sugarcoat said.

"You wear self-confidence rather well," Sunny Flare put in.

The four Shadowbolts turned to Sour Sweet. She folded her arms, rolled her eyes, and looked away, her cheeks puffing up. "Whatever," she grunted.

"So I heard you're Principal over at CPA now," Twilight said. "Congratulations!"

"Thanks," Cadance said. "To tell the truth, it's a bit overwhelming. We'll have to find time to catch up."

Two other buses pulled up, and two more groups of students disembarked. As the small crowd of students milled around and their supervising teachers conferred, Sugarcoat cast an appraising glance over the other two students from Canterlot High. "So there's only three of you from your school?" she asked.

"Yeah," Twilight said.

"Well that's nice," Sour Sweet crooned. "I guess those amazing new friends of yours couldn't be bothered to be here for you!"

Twilight scowled at her. "My friends have their own stuff going on, alright? Everyone's busy. They wanted to come, but they couldn't make it."

"Uh-huh."

"Be nice," Sunny Flare said with a tired sigh. "Still, I hope you didn't bring any of that weird magic stuff with you," she said. "That's kind of the last thing we need right now."

"Aheh..." Twilight laughed nervously, rubbing her arms. "That...shouldn't be a problem?"

"Welcome, Science Fair participants!" a voice crackled through a megaphone.

A woman emerged from the school. She had light pinkish-purple skin, bright violet hair in an elegant wave at the back but with razor-straight bangs at the front, and bright blue eyes. Her hair had two straight aquamarine stripes down the center. She wore a dark blue suit with a knee-length skirt, dark pantyhose, and dark blue heels. A glistening pin depicting the Everton Engineering Academy logo was affixed to her lapel; in the harsh light of day, it looked like a glossy onyx equal sign. Four teenagers emerged behind her, two boys and two girls, each wearing the uniform of Everton Engineering Academy: White button-down shirts, black neckties with lavender and aquamarine stripes, black slacks for the boys, knee-length black skirts for the girls, and glossy black shoes with white socks. Each student had the same pin affixed to the collars of their shirts. One boy had white skin and short, wavy white hair; the other had pale blue-grey skin and short, curly cobalt blue hair. One of the girls had carnation pink skin and long, curly magenta hair held in a loose ponytail with a turquoise scrunchie; the other was dark blue with short, backswept flyaway white hair. They all stood rigid, as though at attention, with identical blank expressions on their faces.

"It's so good to see such a lovely group of bright young people!" the leader of the group said in a bright, cheerful voice. "My name is Starlight Glimmer. I'm the head of the Applied Sciences Department here at Everton E! I'd just like to thank you all for coming today, and I hope to see everyone put forth their best effort over the next week!" She clapped her hands together briskly. "You represent the best and brightest of the top schools in the region, so I'm looking forward to seeing what amazing, innovative projects you come up with for our little science exhibition! Now, if you'll all follow me, I'll give you a tour of the facilities..."

Starlight Glimmer turned briskly and marched back toward the central building, her students turning sharply and matching her stride. The students milling around at the gate formed up into two loose, uneven lines and followed them into the halls of Everton Engineering Academy.

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