• Published 23rd Apr 2017
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Magic School Days - Dogger807

When the CMC asked Discord to help them attend magic school, he pulled an owl out of his hat. Only he didn't exactly have a hat. Which was okay, since their new school had a singing one laying around. Where the hay was Hogwarts anyway?

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Chapter 59: Through the Mildly Reflective Plate Glass

The bespectacled man sat behind his desk, confident that the security measures that had been added after the attack earlier in the year would keep away anything capable of penetrating the armored glass of the windows. He had not yet served a year as Prime Minister, but he already could recognize the signs of what promised to be a relatively peaceful Monday. He skimmed the morning briefing, humming softly. An MP from the opposition party had passed away suddenly at the end of the last week, but there were others who would handle the arrangements on his end. If this were the worst the day had to offer, he would count himself lucky.

He cursed himself for tempting fate when green flames erupted from the fireplace. From painful experience, he knew it would be futile for him to call for help. Besides, if the promises made during the last occurrence held, no harm would come to him from this encounter.

Grimacing, the Prime Minister witnessed a rather eccentric-looking gentleman with full-length business robes and shoulder-length white hair emerge from the green flames. The visitor stumbled slightly before righting himself, and he grinned broadly when their eyes met.

Cheerily, the visitor called out, "Good morning!" He walked toward the desk with his right hand extended.

"Good morning," replied the Prime Minister in a guarded tone. "You're not the same bloke as last time."

"No, he's not," interjected the portrait of a froglike little man wearing a long silver wig. From the far corner of the room, it continued, "And, I should remind him that it is my job to announce his arrival."

“Did I break protocol?” the man asked as he picked up the Prime Minister’s hand and shook it vigorously. "My apologies, I'm rather new to all this; all I got was the floo address. My secretary just scheduled 'meet the muggle Prime Minister sometime today', and I guess this qualifies as sometime. Now that I think about it, that was actually on a note he had on his desk while working on my schedule, but that's practically the same thing."

“I see.” The Prime Minister reclaimed his hand with more force than strictly necessary and gestured to a seat in front of his desk. He didn’t choose the one with front legs an inch shorter than the rear, deciding to give the stranger the benefit of the doubt, for now. “Been a change of power, has there?”

“Yes,” the man said, taking the seat. “My predecessor is currently sitting in a cell awaiting a trial. He’s taken a substantial number of bribes, and the bookkeepers are finding more than just a little embezzlement as well.”

“I see,” the Prime Minister repeated. “That sounds like rather nasty business.”

“It is indeed,” the man agreed. “But where are my manners? I am Xenophilius Lovegood, Minister of Magic.”

The Prime Minister reciprocated by giving his own name, already liking this man better than his predecessor. He then started fishing. “So, you led a political coup against Mr. Fudge?”

“What?” Minister Lovegood looked genuinely startled at the suggestion. “No, I got roped into politics after he had already been arrested. A Miss Alice Rutter was the one who produced evidence of the bribes. Finding the embezzlement came later.”

“I see, so, roped into?”

“Yes, a paper with my name came out of the Goblet of Fire.”

Worry creased the Prime Minister’s eyebrows. “You were chosen at random?”

Minister Lovegood shook his head. “The goblet is a magical artifact that is given a list of qualifications. It is up to the wizards and witches to deposit a slip of paper with anyone’s name. When the time comes, the goblet will select the most qualified candidate from the nominations, binding him or her to the position regardless of what they may think of the whole thing.”

“That sounds rough.” The Prime Minister let some pity leak into his eyes. “I assume that could cause some resentment from the unfortunate victim.”

“Not so much,” Minister Lovegood corrected. “The goblet’s magic takes that into account.”

“Sounds like a perfect method for electing government officials,” the Prime Minister conceded.

“It does have its flaws,” Minister Lovegood said.

“Such as?”

“The goblet uses only the criteria it is given to make its selection.”

“Oh. That doesn't sound so bad.”

“Well, the Wizengamot has already decided to add ‘is sane’ next time we need a new Minister.”

The Prime Minister chortled at the joke; he was going to like this fellow a lot better than the last one. “They threw you in the deep end without a life preserver, did they?”

“A deep end with nargles and blisterfins,” Minister Lovegood agreed with a nod of his head.

“I hope you’re not having a hard time adjusting,” the Prime Minster said, thinking of his first days on the job.

“It hasn’t been too bad so far,” Minister Lovegood said. “The most remarkable thing was the party with the extradimensional ponies.”

“Extradimensional ponies?”

“Yes, the pink one hosted an exceptional affair. You should try some of her cupcakes, very tasty.” Minister Lovegood nodded his head.

“Cupcakes?” The Prime Minister blinked.

“Yes, she’s a wonderfully talented baker.”

“A pink pony baker?”

“Yes,” Minister Lovegood confirmed. “I do believe her name was Pinkie Pie.”

The Prime Minister kept a straight face.

“Admittedly, the party was for one of my daughter’s friends and was unrelated to my new job.”

“I see,” the Prime Minister said. As much as he liked his wizarding counterpart, the polite version of the Prime Minister's assessment of Lovegood's sanity could be condensed into two words: oh, fudge.

In the throne room in Canterlot Castle, a winged intruder breached the wards that were supposed to keep Princess Celestia's meeting private. Smiling, she studied her guest's shocked expression as the owl perched on the back of her throne and offered a scroll. The solar princess retrieved the scroll with her magic, unrolling it at a comfortable reading height.

Her guest asked, "Auntie, what's an owl doing in your throne room?"

"Delivering a message from your favorite foalsitting assignment."

"They're all my favorites."

"Twilight is out visiting somewhere near where the Cutie Mark Crusaders are going to school, without Spike." With a hint of an evil grin, Celestia asked, "Cadance, would you object to giving Twilight one of your tail hairs?"

Cadance blinked at Celestia in disbelief. She looked back at her tail, holding it against her body protectively, and then looked back at Celestia. The pink alicorn relaxed. "Suuuure. I don't see why not. Let me go get my brush. . . . EEK!" Cadance massaged her dock with a wingtip. "Or, you could just pluck one. That would work just as well."

“Thank you,” Princess Celestia said as she placed her booty in a parchment tube and sealed its ends with wax.

A visitor to Olivander's shop would have been greeted with a sight often repeated before the beginning of the term at Hogwarts. Open boxes were everywhere, their contents strewn about haphazardly. Heedless of the mess, the shop owner was grinning like a mad man. “Silver lime. Eight inches Welsh heartstring,” he said, handing an elegantly-carved wand to the green-haired woman. “A trusty, well-rounded specimen.”

Lyra enthusiastically flourished the next test subject, causing a small sputtering yellow orb of light to fall from its tip.

“No.” The wand maker snatched it from her hands. “You are a difficult one, aren’t you?” he said, relishing the challenge.

“I don’t mean to be,” Lyra replied, also enjoying the experience.

“It’s refreshing to have a riddle. Try this one.” Olivander, unperturbed, presented another wand. “Twelve and three quarters inches. Hornbeam with unicorn hair. Not a wand for someone who likes to leave doors unopened.”

This time, when Lyra waved the wand, it radiated a golden glow that enclosed her hand like a glove. Finally, a satisfied look crossed her face.

“Perfect.” Olivander beamed. “You’ve been chosen by a particularly loyal wand. Not as notable as your friend’s, but extremely loyal, nonetheless.”

Punctuating his words, Olivander’s owl flew into the room and landed next to Twilight. Its return was a complete surprise since the woman had only asked to borrow it ten minutes prior, and he hadn’t expected for it to return for a good amount of time since she said she was sending it to her homeland. He sincerely did not want to upset her by denying her request.

Twilight accepted the scroll from the owl. “Thank you.” she said, politely acknowledging the bird. She slipped the clip from the scroll and read the message as she held the tube it contained. When she finished, she smiled and handed the clip and the tube to the wand maker. "This tube has a replacement hair from Princess Celestia, so you'll still be able to complete your commission for Scootaloo. It also contains a hair from Princess Cadance. Princess Celestia offers you this clip and Princess Cadence's hair as a gesture of goodwill. By the way, Cadance is the Princess of Love."

Olivander gave a sigh of relief as he accepted the offerings. He was a wizard of his word, but he could not stand to separate a wand from one it had chosen. He had been explicitly instructed to return any surplus reagents from the construction of Scootaloo's wand, so making two wands from it would have been unthinkable. With a substitute provided by the original source, he could now satisfy all parties, including himself.

The wand maker weighed the clip in his hand. The disk embossed with the sun symbol was solid gold. The real treasure, however, was inside the parchment tube. He peeled back just enough of the paper to inspect the contents. He could feel the power radiating from both. "These fit the bill nicely," he said. "I accept the replacement material and the compensation. I shall not be requiring that oath after all."

This was one of Professor Flitwick's favorite parts about teaching first-years. He smiled encouragingly at his class as the first half of double charms neared its end. Like every class before them in every year that he had taught, these students were predisposed to taking to the second charm like fishes to water. There was just something about the mischievous charm that made its mastery effortless.

The time had come to let the students practice their new-found skill. Feigning concentration, Flitwick turned to his desk, pretending to study the titles as he presented his back to the class. Like clockwork, the stinging hexes started flying, and there was more than one "OW!" in protest. Students never changed.

Suddenly, something sailed over his head and landed on his desk with a heavy thump, knocking several of his tomes off the workspace.

Flitwick checked on the poor Ravenclaw girl who had had the wind knocked out of her. He turned to glare at the rest of the class. “Well?” he demanded.

“She cast that spell at Draco,” Silver Spoon explained.

“But I missed,” the girl on the desk wailed, regaining her breath.

“Which is why you didn’t go out the window,” Silver Spoon replied with a smirk.

“Ten points from Slytherin,” Professor Flitwick snapped, “and detention.”

While the rest of the students marveled at Professor Flitwick’s ability to channel Professor Snape, Silver Spoon retook her seat with a nod of acceptance. She had made her point with her perfect overhoof lob.

The Gryffindor herd watched as Hagrid set down a heavy-lidded barrel in an alcove of the hallway. They had passed several similar containers on their way to their second class and discovered no clue to what they may contain.

“Hello Hagrid,” they intoned when the load was on the floor.

“Hello Harry, an’ company,” Hagrid said, wiping his hands on his trousers. “Staying out o’ trouble I hope?”

“Yes,” they replied with their hands behind their backs.

“Hagrid, what’s in the barrels?” Harry asked.

“Oh, this?” Hagrid said, prodding the barrel with a foot. “This here be tree sap. Th’ headmaster thinks it wouldn’t be a bad job to have some handy, what with that prophecy Professor Trelawney done give th’ other day.”

The others held their ears as Sweetie Belle demonstrated the Royal Canterlot Voice.

After the other girl’s outburst, Parvati turned to Sweetie Belle and said. “You know, that is starting to become your catchphrase.”

“Which reminds me,” Hermione added, “don’t forget you have to issue a formal apology at supper tonight.”

“What’s the matter with you two?” Dean asked, nudging Apple Bloom then Scootaloo. “You look like you’ve seen a . . .” He stopped to review his words. “You know what? All things considered, I have no idea how to finish that sentence.”

“Juxbird.” Luna helpfully suggested. "Definitely juxbird."

Arthur Weasley had barely passed beyond the marble steps of Gringotts when a shock of mint green hair caught his attention. The dark purple hair next to it was further confirmation that he had spotted his quarry. As he moved to intercept, they turned toward him. It seemed that he had timed his exit perfectly. "Ladies," he greeted.

“Hello Mr. Weasley,” Emma said. “Tag, you're it. If you wouldn’t mind showing them the bookstore, I have something I'd like to check on in the bank.”

“Where would you like to meet when you’re done?” Arthur asked as he studied the disquieting smiles that Emma's companions gave.

Emma shook her head dismissively. "Don't worry about me. I know you'll still be in the bookstore when I'm finished."

“Are you sure? There was a long line.”

“Trust me,” Emma replied. “It’s a safe bet.”

The prospect of avoiding Professor Binns kept the Gryffindor herd relatively quiet as they waited at their desks for Ms. Weiss to arrive. Somehow, studying history with a live teacher seemed more attractive than living history with a dead teacher. A familiar owl seemed to come from nowhere and make a perfect two-point landing on Sweetie Belle's desk.

"Owlowicious?" asked the girl.

"Who," confirmed the owl as he dropped a scroll in front of her.

Sweetie Belle unwrapped the missive and absently stroked the owl's head before the bird left in the same manner in which it had arrived.

“What is it?” asked Hermione.

"A letter from my sister," replied Sweetie. "Apple Bloom, Fluffy was terrorizing everypony at the schoolhouse this morning.”

“Doh!” said Apple Bloom.

“Oh no,” Sweetie said as she continued to read.

“He didn’t hurt anypony, did he?” Scootaloo fearfully asked.

“No,” Sweetie said, digging in her bag for a blank scroll, “but Rarity overheard Berry Punch complaining about somepony drinking all fourteen bottles of her private reserve.”

“You don’t think . . .” Neville started to ask.

“I don’t know, but I’m not taking any chances,” Sweetie said as she started to pen a letter.

Dylan found himself flummoxed by what he assumed was his latest customer. With all of the questions she was asking, he wasn't sure whether the woman was there to purchase a trunk or to petition to be his apprentice. He stole an occasional glance at Arthur Weasley, who had escorted both her and her green-haired companion. The shrugs he received in return did nothing to clarify the situation.

It soon became apparent that both women had solid grounding in magical theory, albeit from a school whose teachings were somewhat skewed. Several of his answers had elicited cries of surprise from the purple-haired woman and her green-haired companion. If he were completely honest with himself, he was learning as much as he was teaching. Their questions and infrequent answers sparked new ideas that he would have to test.

Taking in her purple and pink hair, a sudden thought crossed his mind. “Would you happen to be Mrs. Rarity Belle by any chance?” he asked when she stopped for a breath.

“No,” she said. “My name is Twilight Sparkle. Rarity is one of my good friends.”

“Ah, so that’s how you’ve heard of my wares and why you are so curious. You’ve seen the trunk I made for her.”

“Yes, I am well acquainted with George.”


“Her chest,” Twilight answered.

“She named her trunk ‘George’?”

“Yes,” Twilight confirmed.

“Seriously?” Dylan asked skeptically.

“Where?!” Twilight loudly demanded pivoting to scan the entrance of the shop.

“Relax, Twilight.” The green haired woman coaxed. “He said 'seriously', not 'Sirius'.”

“Oh.” Twilight visibly wilted.

“She is obsessive,” Arthur noted, joining the conversation for the first time.

“No, she’s Twilight,” the green haired woman corrected. “Obsessive Compulsive was a classmate of ours, though.”

“Seriously?” Arthur asked, taken aback slightly.


“Twilight, knock it off. Yes, she used to go around and rearrange every desk in the classrooms. The messier you left yours, the more likely she’d have a fit and rush to organize it.”

“You can't be serious.” Arthur smirked.


“You did that one on purpose.” Arthur received a scowl from the green-haired woman.

“I’m not going to fall for that one again.” Twilight pouted.

“Seriously? You’re not?” Dylan ventured, only to receive a scowl from Twilight. He was spared a retaliatory comment by a ball of flames appearing in the middle of his store.

“Hello, Philomena,” Twilight greeted while Dylan gaped at the firebird. “What brings you here? We’re not ready to go home quite yet.”

Philomena trilled her own greeting and offered a tightly rolled scroll held in her left claw.

“Is that for me?” Twilight asked.

Philomena shook her head.

“For Arthur Weasley? Lyra? The shopkeeper?” The last received a nod.

“For me?” Dylan reached hesitantly for the scroll.

“Are the girls staying out of trouble?” Twilight asked while Dylan read the missive.

Instead of nodding or shaking her head, Philomena tilted her head to the side and gave an ambiguous trill.

“At least tell me there haven’t been any large explosions.” Twilight sighed.

Philomena nodded her head happily.

“Well, this is problematic,” Dylan said, rolling the scroll back up.

“What’s wrong?” Lyra asked.

“Sweetie wants me to buy fourteen bottles of the best liquor I can get and send it to a friend whom she says she owes it to.” Dylan grimaced. “I’m not going to supply alcohol to children.”

“Which friend?” Arthur asked cautiously.

“Someone named Berry Punch.”

“Berry Punch?” Twilight said, “She’s an adult.”

“Why would the Crusaders owe Berry fourteen bottles of booze?” Lyra asked.

“I’m positive I don’t want to know,” Twilight answered. Turning to Dylan, she said, "I can authorize the purchase so long as you can ensure it goes directly to Berry Punch. Anyway, I’d like to commission a trunk. Then, we can go to the bookstore.” The last was said with more than a little enthusiasm.

To Emma's dismay, the line in Gringotts was every bit as long and slow as any nightmare from the DVLA. She had resorted to her old trick of chatting with the other customers and subtly promoting her practice. When she finally made it to the front of the queue, she found herself in front of the same goblin who had served Twilight earlier.

“Hello,” she said, flashing a smile.

The goblin hesitated before responding, puzzled. This was the second time today a witch had greeted him cordially that morning, and he recognized her as a friend of the one who had done so earlier. “May I help you?” he said neutrally.

“I’m not sure,” Emma said. “I was told to inquire at the bank regarding any claims I may have to the Lestrange vaults.”

“You are a Lestrange?” Despite her unfamiliarity with goblin facial expressions, Emma clearly read disgust on the teller's face.

“One of my ancestors was,” Emma said with a pleasant demeanor that only a dentist accustomed to surly patients could achieve. “I have no idea how close of a connection I have.”

Without taking his eyes off the witch, the teller waved a runner forward. “Take her to see Marbletoe.”

“Thank you for your time,” Emma said politely.

“You’re welcome,” the teller replied. After a small pause, he added, “May your vaults overflow with the gold of your enemies.”

Emma also paused before saying, “May you enjoy the spoils of many hard-fought battles.”

“Close enough,” the teller grunted with a fierce smile. Goblins had more than enough pointed teeth to make a shark look friendly. The word "pleasant" could not honestly be associated with them unless prefixed with "un".

Once again, Emma found herself following a runner into yet another office. This time, she was ushered in without the runner following.

“What do you want?” the goblin at the desk demanded as he looked up from the paperwork he was scrutinizing.

“If I may have a moment of your time Mr. Marbletoe,” Emma said, “I would like to check on any claims I have to the vaults of my ancestor.”

“Time is money. Which ancestor?”

“Lucinda Kirkland, née Lestrange,” Emma replied.

“Reactivating that account would be profitable,” the goblin said, getting out of his chair. He walked over to a cabinet. Inside, Emma saw a large array of small crystal vials, one of which Marbletoe retrieved. He then went to a stone basin mounted on a short pedestal where he poured out a pale blue fluid from the vial.

“Put some of your blood in,” he commanded, handing Emma a small golden dagger.

“How much?” Emma asked.

“A few drops, or slit your wrist. Either works.” The pointy smile he gave would give a barracuda nightmares.

Wordlessly, Emma ran the edge of the surprisingly sharp blade over the tip of her index finger before squeezing a few drops of blood into the basin. After looking in the vessel, Marbletoe snorted before marching back to his desk. After sitting, he opened a drawer and removed a key. “This is your yearly stipend.” He said placing it on the desk for her.

“So, I have some claim?” Emma ventured.

“You wouldn’t be receiving a stipend otherwise.”

“What’s the extent of my claim?” Emma asked.

“Are you married?”


“Your husband will have to come in for that conversation.”

Emma winced. “Isn’t that misogynistic?”

“Yes.” Marbletoe said, dismissing her.

Under the best of circumstances, a student visit to Professor Snape's office was not a pleasant experience. This was far from the best. “I do not appreciate being summoned to deal with a disciplinary problem in the middle of the day.” Professor Snape loomed over the student his prefect had escorted into his presence. He was pleased to see that despite the menace he was radiating, the first year was not backing down even as the prefect noticeably shied away. “On top of that, you have managed to anger the most easy-going professor in the entire school, on your first day, no less.”

“She was trying to hurt Draco Malfoy,” Silver Spoon said defiantly.

“With a stinging hex.” Professor Snape sneered.


“Wouldn’t you say you overreacted?” Professor Snape hauntingly asked.

“It got the message across, Silver Spoon answered.

Professor Snape pinched the bridge of his nose. “Should I anticipate a similar message for the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors?”

“If the Hufflepuffs try something funny, yes,” Silver Spoon said. “Absolutely, not touching any of the Gryffindors, though.”

Snape cocked an eyebrow. “Why discriminate?”

“I would have put that girl through a window if she hurt Draco Malfoy.” Silver Spoon shuddered. “If I hurt one of hers, Apple Bloom will put me through a wall, and those stones look thick.”

Snape sighed before turning his attention to the waiting prefect. “Go to class.” He waited for the door to shut behind the seventh-year before turning back to the first-year.

“Are you telling me you’d kill someone over hitting Draco with a stinging hex?”

Aghast, Silver Spoon exclaimed, “No!” She emphatically shook her head.

“You said you’d throw her out the window.”

“Yes,” Silver Spoon answered.

“You were on the third floor,” Snape stated.

“Yes, I know.”

“What do you suppose would have happened to her when she reached the ground?”

“She’d bounce?” Silver Spoon guessed.

“How long do you think it would take her to recover?” Snape demanded.

“Even a unicorn would only take minute, tops, but she’d have bruises to remember the trip.” Silver Spoon's bluster lost some of its bite.

“She would have been hospitalized if she survived the fall,” Snape corrected.

“It’s only three stories,” Silver Spoon objected.

“It would appear that witches are more delicate than ponies.” Snape firmly said, “Unless you intend to kill, the display you put on in Charms class is the upper limit of any and all hostilities. Keep your responses reasonable and proportionate. A stinging hex for a stinging hex would have been appropriate. What you did was threaten to kill anyone who looks at Draco crossly.”

“I . . . I didn’t mean to,” Silver Spoon stuttered.

“You will make haste and offer Professor Flitwick and Miss Abrams each a sincere apology.”

“Yes, sir,” Silver Spoon sniffed.

“Draco is not a glass doll. Cease being so aggressive.”

“You just told me humans are more fragile than ponies. I have to protect him.”

“Cease being so aggressive, or you will be sent home where you will not be able to protect him. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Silver Spoon relented.

“In the future, I expect more subtlety. Do not make me think you should have been sorted into Gryffindor.”

“Yes, sir.”

“After your detention with Professor Flitwick you shall be serving detention with me every night for the rest of this month and all of the next.”

“Yes, sir.” Silver Spoon sagged.

“You have to let him make his own mistakes. You have to let him fight his own battles. Otherwise, he will never grow strong. Now, go to class.”

“Yes, sir.” Silver Spoon said and fled the office.

Snape looked at the closed door and sighed. He needed to have a talk with Minerva before he could return to his own class.

Emma wandered into the zone of silence that Flourish and Blotts had become and made a beeline for Arthur. “How’s it going?”

“They’ve got the poor witch shrinking half the store so they can carry it with them.” Arthur pointed at the overworked witch working on stacks of packaged books.

“Only half the store?” Emma inquired.


“Then I have some time while they get started on the other half. I’m going to go see about buying an owl.”

Mid-morning in Ponyville's marketplace was generally a quiet time between the onslaught of early birds and the lunch rush. A bird of a more nocturnal nature came on scene.

“Is that an owl?” Carrot Top craned her neck around to look at the bird that had just landed on her back.

“Sure, looks like one to me,” Rose Luck said peering at the bird. “It’s got a package.”

“For me?” Carrot Top asked.

“No, it looks like it's for Berry.” Rose Luck said, squinting.

“For me?” Berry Punch echoed Carrot Top.

“Yup, that’s what it says,” Rose Luck confirmed.

“Grab it for me, would ya?” Berry prompted.

“I’m not putting my face anywhere near those claws.” Rose Luck informed her.

“Applejack did it without any problems,” Berry Punch reminded her.

“Get your own package.”

“Coward.” Berry said getting the package on her own.

“Make that coward without a scratched face.” Rose Luck retorted.

“I wish you wouldn’t say that when it's on my back.” Carrot Top whined.

“Who,” the owl said, turning its head to look Carrot Top in the eye.

“You really know how to make a girl feel warm and fuzzy,” she snarked.

“Now what?” Berry Punch placed the package on the ground.

“When Applejack got a package from an owl, she had Rarity tap it with her horn.” Carrot Top suggested as the owl lifted off her back.

Berry Punch looked around at the ponies watching her and her friends. “Minuette, come here a sec.”

Minuette cautiously walked forward. “Is that a chest?”

“Looks too square to be a chest,” Rose Luck observed.

“Just so you know. If it’s a chest, I’m running for it,” Minuette informed everypony.

“You and everypony else,” Carrot Top agreed.

“Remember, you don’t have to be the fastest pony, just not the slowest,” Berry Punch commented.

“You’re not making me want to help you,” Minuette said.

“Just tap it with your horn please.” Berry prompted.

Minuette lowered her head and prodded the small object with her horn.

“Rarity tapped the last one repeatedly a couple times,” Rose Luck noted.

“You want to do this?” Minuette growled.

“No horn,” Rose Luck reminded her.

Sighing, Minuette pretended to be a woodpecker, rapidly striking the package with the tip of her horn.

“That did it,” Carrot Top said as the package started to grow.

“Well, it’s still too small to be a chest.” Berry Punch tugged at the rope wrapping the package. “Anypony have a pair of scissors?”

“Pinkie’s not here,” Carrot Top said.

“Step back.” Minuette aimed her horn at the rope and a thin stream light leapt out, neatly cutting the cord.

“Wow, I didn’t know you could do that.” Rose Luck whistled.

“Twilight wasn’t the only one to attend Celestia’s school,” Minuette said, watching Berry unwrap a sturdy wooden box.

“Is that a chest?” Carrot Top asked worriedly.

“It’s just a box,” Rose Luck said. “No hinges or lock.”

“Is it a pony eating box?” Carrot Top asked.

Everypony took several steps backwards. They spent the next five minutes watching the box for movement.

Carrot Top poked Berry Punch. “Well, go on. Open it.”

“Don’t wanna,” Berry Punch said.

“Who’s the chicken now?” Rose Luck asked.

“Bagawk!” Berry replied.

“Get over there!” Carrot Top shoved Berry toward the box. Berry would have shot her a dirty look if it didn’t mean she’d have to take her eyes off the box to do so.

Carefully, Berry Punch reached out and tapped the box with a hoof. Luckily, it didn’t move. Feeling more confident, she tapped it harder.

“Open it already,” somepony from the watching crowd called out.

Sighing, Berry tried to lift the lid. “It's nailed shut,” she said.

“Are you an earth pony or not?” Carrot Top chided. “Put some effort into it.”

Berry Punch stood on her hind legs and pried the lid off with her forehooves. “What have we here?” she asked once the lid was clear. With those words she plunged her head into the box and pulled out a bottle.

“Are you telling me we got all worked up over a box full of wine?” Carrot Top asked, trotting over.

“No.” Minuette squinted her eyes to read the label. “This is McCartin’s Finest and Most Potent Firewhisky.”

“What’s that?” Rose Luck asked.

“I don’t know,” Berry Punch said around the bottle she was holding in her mouth, “but it has the word ‘whisky’ in it so it can’t be bad.”

“There’s just over a dozen bottles still in here.” Carrot Top looked in the opened box.

“Welp, let’s see what we got.” Berry held the bottle in her forehooves as she tugged the cork out with her teeth. Once it was clear, she took a cautious sniff only to pull away quickly, closing her eyes and scrunching her muzzle.

“That can’t be a good sign,” Minuette said.

After she recovered, Berry Punch saluted to the bottle and said, “Bottoms up.” She then proceeded to take a pull. Her next action was to gasp and drop the bottle, which miraculously landed upright without spilling a drop.

“I think steam is coming out of her ears.” Carrot Top observed.

“Yup, that’s steam alright.” Rose Luck confirmed.

Abruptly, Berry Punch started running around in a circle, spewing flames from her mouth. “IT BURNS BURNS BURNS! IT BURNS BURNS BURNS!” The mare looked much like a jalopy on its last legs as steam spewed from every orifice and an assortment of pops and bangs came from her body, including a few backfires. Then, just as abruptly as she started, she skidded to a stop and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Berry? Are you okay?” Rose Luck anxiously asked.

“Wow.” Berry Punch exhaled loudly. “That is goooooood. Like really really good. You have got to try it.”

Carrot Top and Rose Luck looked at each other, looked at the open bottle, then looked at Minuette.

Minuette shook her head.

Carrot Top nudged Rose Luck with an elbow.

Rose Luck returned the favor.

The two looked at the open bottle then stared at Minuette again.

Minuette shook her head a second time.

“Oh, what the hay,” Carrot Top said reaching for the bottle. “You only live once.”

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