• 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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Chap... Interlude 7.2?: Nothing to See Here

Author's Note:

Nothing to see here.... Move along.

Spring Rain knew it was only a matter of time until her well ran dry. Governments took a dim view of circumvention of the law, even if justice were served. Still, it was incredibly rewarding to do well by doing good.

The origins had been modest. With no means of support, the herd had agreed to have one member attend the Ministry-mandated acclimation course while the other two secured their financial base. With a borrowed owl, she had sent her mother a bit of muggle rubbish. As she suspected, one mare’s trash was another’s mare’s treasure. Her mother had exchanged the bits and bobs for the small gems that were her seed money. The goblins had been more than happy to give good galleons for the craft store supplies.

It had been foal’s play to recruit a Ministry witch who had been helping the refugees settle in. With a few muggle repellent charms, some apparation, an owl with a pony-carrying pouch, and a good bit of ingenuity, Spring Rain had everything she needed to export the commodity that no number of bits could buy. Now, however, those bits were being exchanged for gems for which goblins gave good galleons. The bits were flying in on one side while galleons poured in on the other. Everyone involved benefitted; clearly, it couldn’t last.

They waited for their next commission as they sat by an open doorway that the muggles ignored and avoided. Thankfully, they didn’t have a long wait.

“There he is,” Velvet Bridle said, pointing at one of the young human males walking by in an orange jumpsuit. “Grab him.”

Their witch companion did not waste time and waved her wand in what was becoming familiar patterns. The male in question peeled away from the pack and wandered into the room without drawing the attention of those with whom he had been walking and conversing. He was a fine specimen, something the young human mares would drool over, if they had access to him. Circumstance saw fit to see that wouldn’t be happening for nearly a decade. He was a perfect candidate to show circumstance could just bugger off.

“Adam Smith.” Spring Rain smiled from the comfy chair their witch companion had transfigured for her. “Good morning. Please come in and have a seat.”

Adam blinked as if just coming back to his senses. He took in the fact that he was in a room with three women. Two had hair with differing shades of black while the one offering him a seat had vibrant green.

Rudely, he berated them for interrupting his routine.

“There is no need for such vulgarity.” Spring Rain tsked. “We are all friends here, after all.”

Adam noticed the folder sitting on a small table next to Spring Rain. “Another shrink? I ain’t got anything else to say, so sod off.” With those words, he turned to leave.

The witch in the room waved her wand and said, “Sobrietate.” The young man flew backwards across the room and landed in the offered seat with and expulsion of air from his lungs.

“I insist that you hear my offer,” Spring Rain said, picking the folder up off the table to peruse the contents. “So, do us all a favor and drop the act. You’re not fooling anythree.”

“Anyone,” the witch corrected.

“But there are three of us,” Spring objected.

“Are you an idiot?” Adam demanded, trying to stand up, but finding himself firmly anchored to his seat.

Spring ignored him and read from the folder. “Your life is in shambles,” she informed him. “As things stand, you are not going to see the outside for a good long time.”

“Sod off!” Adam said again, not impressed by the observation.

“Why do you insist on being disagreeable?” Spring asked. “We are here to offer you a way out. Give you a second chance. Improve your lot in life, even.”

Adam sneered but gave up struggling as a lost cause.

“You see, we don’t consider protecting your older sister from your loathsome father as a compelling reason to remove you from society. In truth, we think it adds to your desirability.” Spring thumbed her way through the papers in the folder. “No one . . .” She emphasized the word “one”. “. . . can dispute that you were excessive with the use of an iron poker, but we all know you had ample motivation. We also understand that you won’t get a fair shake anymore if you choose to stay in the system.”

“It ain’t like I have a choice.” Adam said, his tone wasn’t as hostile as it started.

“You have the choice to leave this world behind, start anew with some loving wives, and forget your past.”

“You must think I’m stupid.” Adam snarled. “There ain’t no way you’re going to get me out of my sentence and give me a harem to boot. All from the goodness of your heart too, I’d wager.”

“That word is so amusing.” Spring closed the folder. “I love the way you young stallions think it means you’re making out like bandits. No, what I am proposing is that I marry you off to a group of wealthy young mares who will delight in having you for the rest of your life. It might be a gilded cage, but would you rather be bound by matrimony or by cold iron? From what we have observed, all sides are happy with the arrangement. You get your freedom, they get a willing husband, and your government doesn’t have to worry about rehabilitating you. Of course, our families back home are paid handsomely for our services.”

Adam looked at Spring with mistrust. “You’re just damned slavers!”

“We prefer the term ‘matchmakers’.”

“What’s the catch?”

“Aside from having to adjust to a new body, we have yet to find one.” Spring shrugged. “I’d be lying if I said everyone involved wasn’t waiting for some other horseshoe to drop. So, we are all laying low and doing our best not to draw the attention of the authorities from either world.”

Adam’s eyes went wide at the implications. “What if I say no?” he asked after wetting his lips.

“Then our friend here removes the memory of this conversation, and you make your way to breakfast none the wiser.” Spring said. “We provide only the best for our clients, meaning we don’t have to settle for those your psychiatrists don’t think are redeemable or those who would be troublesome because they want nothing to do with the deal.” Spring leaned back in her chair. “You may find it remarkable that we are willing to share one male among many. The thought of having a harem excites you. But please realize, we find it wonderful that one of you is willing to be with seven of us at once. Heck, we’ve found that we have to limit it to seven since human stallions are enthusiastic enough to try to manage even more than that. Truthfully, seven may be too much as it is.”

“What are you?” Adam demanded. “Some hideous bug-eyed monster?”

“Hideous?” Spring pursed her lips in displeasure. “No, those who have come before you have stated that they needed an insulin shot to protect them from the cuteness overload that is our true form. If you wish to insult, there is nothing stopping you from saying ‘no’.”

“Spring, look; it’s William,” Velvet Bridle said, peering out the still-open door. “It looks like they beat him up again. We need to help him.”

Spring sighed. “He’s already turned us down.”

“I don’t care.” Velvet Bridle sobbed. “We need to try again.” She turned to the witch. “Bring him over.”

The witch nodded and performed the necessary spells. Soon Adam watched another wander into the room with a dreamy expression. The newcomer was limping badly with one eye swollen shut. His face was more a purpling bruise than not.

“What?” he asked hesitantly, scanning the room.

“Here, let’s make this easier,” the witch said. “I only obliviated you the other day. I can clear that up easily enough.”

Two words later and William had tears in his eyes as he said, “I want to go with you, but I can’t leave. I’m all my younger brother has left.”

Spring smiled. “I think something can be arranged.”

Dexter couldn’t believe his luck. The heavy snows had made his morning walk treacherous, but he wasn’t willing to break his routine. How else was he going to keep up with his hobby? The decision was turning out to be the right one. The luscious blonde that had moved into the apartment building just down the block was out in front of the structure, scrabbling to retrieve the items that had escaped from her ripped grocery bag. With a jovial smile, he sauntered over to help her.

“Here, let me help you.” Dexter smiled as he picked up a can of tomato sauce.

“Why, thank you.” The blonde flashed him a dazzling smile that frankly should have been illegal. “Whoever you are, Ah have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Dexter smiled back at her, feeling his confidence surge. “Well now, there’s no need for us to be strangers. My name is Jack.”

“My now, aren’t you just courteous as well as strong and handsome,” the blonde said seductively. “You may call me what mah friends call me, OB.”

“Your friends call you OB?” Dexter asked, collecting the last of the wayward groceries.

“That they do,” OB said with a move that hiked her skirt to show more skin than was modest. Grandfather Winter would have been displeased at the blatant disrespect for his season. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate your help in getting these things up to my apartment. I’m sure karma can be persuaded to put in an appearance.”

“I’m looking forward to that.” Dexter smirked, hungrily eyeing what was so willingly being put on display. There may have been other words exchanged on the way up, but he, frankly wasn’t paying to much attention to what was said.

“Here we are,” OB said, opening the door to her flat. It seemed to be decorated with shadows. It didn’t appear as if any of the curtains were open, and she had to have some thick ones, judging by the lack of sunlight filtering in. Dexter followed OB inside, noting that she didn’t bother to turn on the main lights and was instead relying on a soft green ambience that filled her home. The exaggerated seductive swinging of hips as she sauntered over to the counter separating the kitchen from her living room clearly displayed what she had in mind.

“It’s rather dark in here,” Dexter said, closing the door behind himself. Doing so brought to his attention a layer of unusual tacky substance covering the door and wall. “What’s this stuff?” he asked.

“It’s dark because we won’t be needing much light.” OB purred. Then, when she noticed what he was asking about she added. “That is just some useful substance that my family produces. It has many attributes, like sound dampening. Something that we’ll demonstrate soon. We wouldn’t want to disturb the neighbors.”

The phrase “too good to be true” slipped through Dexter’s consciousness. An evil smile crossed his lips as he watched OB start to put away her groceries. “Is this where we make some small talk?” he asked. “Like, ‘what do you do for a living?’.”

“Oh, Ah help maintain the quality of the food supply,” OB said, her skirt definitely hiked up higher than it had been before, showing something black and lacey. “My part of the family has been doing it for generations, culling the bad apples.” A knowing giggle escaped her throat. “Celestia thinks that everything has gotten better solely on the merits of her ponies alone. She doesn’t know of the work that goes on behind the scenes.”

“Ponies?” Dexter asked, placing his burden on the counter next to the bag already there. “Are you one of these ponies they were talking about on the news?”

“Heavens no,” OB said.

Dexter let a sigh of relief escape; that was a complication he could do without. “So? Maintain the food quality?”

“Yes, this orchard needs pruning, so to speak.”

“Sounds tedious.” Dexter said, reaching toward the knife rack sitting on the counter. A wickedly sharp chef’s knife was soon in his hand.

“It is rewarding work, Dexter,” OB said, not turning to see what he was doing.

“What exactly does it entail?”

“Like Ah said, getting rid of bad apples, individuals who harm the collective and are a direct threat to the food supply.” OB shrugged. “Today, the first target is a serial murderer who has managed to avoid capture.”

Dexter stiffened, halting the inspection of the blade in his hand. “Really, are you a policewoman? How do you go about finding and capturing a murderer?”

“Oh, I have family members who can sense those who need to be pruned and, well, you are here aren’t you?” OB still didn’t turn to look at him. “Don’t worry; a Dexter shall be leaving the apartment soon enough to lead a much healthier and productive life. Pity it won’t be you.”

Dexter sucked in a breath and took a firm grip on the knife. “Lady, I don’t know what you are playing at, but I’m not amused.”

“Obvious Bait,” a voice behind him hissed. “Stop playing with the food.”

Dexter whirled and stared into the shadows only to find a dozen pairs of glowing, green, pupilless, eyes staring back at him.

Outside the flat, no one could hear him scream.

Accounting was supposed to be steady work. It was supposed to be nine to five, five days a week. He was supposed to be home on this frigid Saturday, not in the office after a triple-length commute through knee-deep snow.

The initial investigation had been swift and damning. The issue seemed damned trivial. There were no missing funds. There was no shrinkage in stock; in fact, the opposite was the case. The corporation yard had been blessed with tonnes of unaccounted soil. Building material didn’t spontaneously appear by magic, even though magic was real. There had to be a logical explanation. It had to be an accounting error.

All fingers had pointed to him. Now, he was stuck at his desk, bundled up like an eskimo, shuffling through receipts by torchlight. He sincerely wanted to strangle the bean counter who insisted that all anomalies had to be reconciled immediately. He sincerely wanted to strangle the idiot who insisted the department should save money by cutting off the utilities during non-working hours.

The weather in Canterlot was perfect for the Hearth’s Warming holiday. The city was covered in pastern-deep snow, and there was just enough of a chill to keep it from melting. Everypony should have been in the holiday spirit, but trouble knew no season. Still, this situation seemed to be trivial, if not simply annoying.

In the living room of the modest mansion, a lemon-colored unicorn with three-toned hair sat on a large cushion and reflected on her worries. Had her mane been real, the intruder at the school would have been causing her to go prematurely gray. Technically, it violated no covenant. Technically, it posed no threat. The intruder was not even a member of a rival hive, and it was feeding on friends that had arrived with her instead of exploiting indigenous resources. However, the fool had been sitting on a wellspring of sustenance, much more than any one ling could manage. It was appalling how much she wasted. Her infiltrators had reported that the intruder was treating precious food like vomit and was literally flushing it down the drain. The situation was an affront to sensibilities.

That was the worse of it. The intruder didn’t know any better, and educating her was a needless and considerable security risk. Even though the hive wasn’t losing anything, it was being denied access to an amazing new resource. It was grating that everyling had to be ordered to give the intruder and her friends a wide berth. Centuries of security couldn’t be risked over something so trivial.

It was bucking annoying. There had to be some way to tap into the bounty. There had to be some way to get her to share.

She was broken out of her brooding by the arrival of a scout.

“My queen,” the red pegasus said, entering the room, “I have news.”

The lemon unicorn sighed. “Good news, I hope.”

“The hive is completely empty, my queen,” the pegasus said. “Not a ling to be found.”

“They finally starved out?” The unicorn grimaced, glad that it wasn’t her subjects.

“No, my queen, there were no bodies. They are just gone.”

“A hive that large cannot just pack up and leave unobtrusively,” the queen mused. “There are still no reports of population surges anywhere in the known territories?”

“No, my queen.”

“This is worrying,” the queen said to herself. “Chrysalis could not have just vanished off the face of Equestria.” Then, she commanded the drone. “Triple the patrols; the last thing we need is for a desperate army to suddenly appear on our doorstep.

“Yes, my queen.” The pegasus backed out of the room, bowing.

The cage was a gilded one, but it was still a cage. If her gaoler hadn’t provided some distraction, she would have gone mad long ago. The books were fascinating. The prisoner had more time on her hooves than she knew what to do with, so she read. Imagine, a whole new society populated by mythical humans. Their literature was captivating, with untold new ideas to explore.

Runes alone were well worth her scrutiny. They didn’t take much mana to initialize, and they could do so much, things she couldn’t do in her weakened state, things she couldn’t do with the inhibitors blocking her connection to magic.

A gentlemouse and scribe was her inspiration. What he could scrawl with his finger, she could scratch with a hoof. She could scratch the runes into the walls of her cell and cover with dust and decorations.

The ambient mana would be more than enough to power her constructs, but she couldn’t make them obvious. She couldn’t give away her scheme until she was ready to escape. Nopony, noling would be able to stop her once everything was set.

Such painstaking preparations would take time. Such time would try the patience of a saint. Such time was all she had.

Sighing, she turned the page.

What had he gotten himself into?

The woman who had entered his room hadn’t been anyone he had known. She hadn’t been introduced by his foster parents. She had just wandered into his room as if she owned the place with a look of pity on her face.

The woman had known exactly what to say. He had leapt at the chance to see Will again. There hadn’t been even a of hint of hesitation when he had reached for the flap on the pouch worn by the owl the woman had been carrying.

Now he was trapped in an enclosed space that shouldn’t exist, hoping beyond hope that he would be allowed to see his brother again.

Thankfully, the wait wasn’t long. The pouch regurgitated him onto a pile of cushions, and there was his objective, landing right beside him alongside another bloke wearing an outfit exactly like his brother’s. That didn’t matter; his brother was here.

“Will!” the eleven-year-old boy exclaimed, throwing himself at his last remaining family.

“Max!” Will said, wrapping his arms around the boy, tears evident in his eyes.

“That is so touching,” a female voice said sarcastically.

“Hush, Inner Radiance,” another female interjected. “You have no sense of sentiment whatsoever.”

“Whatever,” Inner Radiance sneered. “I don’t like the idea of such a young colt being involved. Just get them changed. I have mares waiting for their purchases.”

The other female snarled, “They’re ponies, not purchases. Or, they will be.”

Both Will and Max turned to see two unicorns looking at them. One had a pleasant smile and the other just scowled at them.

“You are cute,” the bloke who had come with Will said, taking in the appearance of the two miniature horses as he stroked the smiling mare’s withers.

“Flatterer,” the unicorn bearing the smile said, a blush marring her creamy coat. “Welcome to your new lives.”

“Get on with it.” The scowling unicorn snapped, “Time is money.”

“Right.” The smiling unicorn rolled her eyes before her horn lit up. “Brace yourselves; I’m about to send the change message, and the process is more than a little disquieting, but not painful.”

“Will, what’s going on?” Max managed to get out before he shrank, still holding onto his brother.

“I’ll explain later,” Will said, his features melting away.

“A pair of unicorns and a pegasus,” the still scowling Inner Radiance said. “I would have preferred all unicorns, but the pegasus does look yummy.”

The pegasus looked at his hoof before saying. “This isn’t so bad. Now, where is that harem I was promised?”

“It still amazes me how agreeable you human stallions are,” the smiling unicorn said. “If he were one of ours, he’d be whining over how much work we were going to impose on him. Most dream of only having one mare.”

“Funny definition of work, that,” the new pegasus stallion said.

“Whatever it is you are charging for this one isn’t enough by far,” the smiling unicorn said to Inner Radiance, nudging her with a knee.

“The trick is not to get greedy,” Inner Radiance berated, clearly getting impatient. “The longer we keep this operation out of the limelight, the more money we make in the long run. It’s not technically illegal, yet, Summer Frost.”

“I think you completely missed my meaning.” Summer Frost pouted as she traced her frog on the new pegasus’s croup. His wings snapped open in response.

“I know full well what you meant. Need I remind you to keep your hooves off the merchandise?”

“You’re no fun.” Summer Frost continued to pout.

“I’m not paying you to have fun. Get back to scouring those assessment records. I want a pair of stallions who are willing to share the same herd. I have no idea how those fillies pulled off having five, but I want at least two. I could charge five times the going rate with just that.” Inner Radiance turned to leave. “Follow me, it’s time for me to fulfill our half of the agreement,” she said to the males in the room. “You are going to get what you were promised. The mares are going to get what they paid for. And I’m going to get my bits.”

“I don’t like her,” Max said to his brother in a whisper, wobbling slightly on his new hooves.

“We don’t have to put up with her for long,” Will said. “Come on, we were promised a new caring family, and despite her attitude, I think she’ll deliver on the goods.”

“Hurry up now,” Inner Radiance called out over her shoulder. “I do have a social gathering to get ready for.”

The three new ponies climbed off the cushions and did their best to follow.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Max asked his brother as they trailed after Inner Radiance through what could only be described as an extravagant mansion.

“It gets me out of the Queen’s resort and you out of the foster home,” Will said. “Shouldn’t you be asking about why we are no longer human? I would have thought that would be your main concern.”

Max shrugged. “All they are talking about on the telly is ponies this and ponies that. I figure, if you can hack into a bank’s computer, you can hack into whatever’s needed to take care of us.”

If ever there were a perfect example of “money pit”, this was it. The Stuart Era manor had seen its prime long ago. Its plumbing had been put together by grace and by God, and its wiring was an arsonist’s dream. HVAC wasn’t even a distant dream. Where most saw disaster, others recognized opportunity. The manor grounds included meadows and woods, and the site was within walking distance of a quaint village, a perfect place to raise the children who would eventually be brought there to live.

For what they wanted, the place was practically perfect. They had plenty willing to invest the sweat equity needed to shape the manor to their needs. Soon enough, the land would be brimming with love. Their benefactor had already committed to the endeavor, and the solicitor had promised the paperwork would be filed on Monday.

Two men stood in front of the building, surveying the property.

“We sent out two more loads this morning,” one said casually. “I think we may need to find new places to dispose of the material; our current recipients are starting to think it’s mating season for the soil.”

“Who would have thought it would have been such a hassle getting rid of excess rock and dirt?” The second sighed. “Do what you need to; the tunnels must be dug. Just remember to be discreet.”

“I do know what I am doing.”

Another sigh. “I am aware. I just can’t help worrying that something will go wonky, as the locals say.”

“How much longer will the Queen be staying under the princesses’ noses? It seems like an unnecessary risk.”

“Not much longer. We have our hoofhold and won’t be going back. All that is left is to dig in.”

“You need to stop fretting. Everything is going exactly as planned.”

“I know; that’s what worries me.”

In another place, there lay a wide-open field covered in white, snow as far as the eye could see. Jack Frost and Grandfather Winter must be vying for the attention of Ice Queen here. Bleak and barren, no feature could be seen, except for the white — and one small speck of black? Was that a thumbnail-sized crystal? Wait, was that the shadow of a house nearby? No, I guess it was nothing.

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