• Published 8th Jan 2018
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Equestria Girls: Reimagined - Candle Light



A rewritten and more fleshed out version of Equestria Girls

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Chapter Eight

Equestria Girls: Reimagined
Chapter Eight
by Candle light
based on a story by Meghan McCarthy

Twilight slept like a log that night. She had pushed her sleepiness to the side for so long, she had completely blacked out the moment she pulled the blanket over her.

It was no wonder, then, that she overslept. When she checked the clock on her phone, her eyes shot up, the fog in her mind swept away. “Ten past eight?! Oh no, I’m late! Rarity?”

“Whaaat?” came Rarity’s sleep-saturated voice. “Just a few more minutes…”

“We’re ten minutes late for school!” She practically shoved the phone up to her face.

“Wha? Ten past…?” Finally, she got up. Rarity slept in a silk night gown that, even half-asleep, made her look elegant as ever. “Oh dear, guess that is a bit late. Not to worry, my classes don’t start until nine.”

Sense returned to Twilight. She wasn’t actually a student at CHS, and the only reason she wanted to be there early was so she could better fit in. But really, more than likely nobody cared, and if they did, they would assume she was too busy working on her bid for Fall Formal Princess to go to class. “Oh, right…”

“But I suppose we’d better get up.” She sat up and stretched her arms. “Did you sleep well?”

“Oh yes, very,” she told her, pulling off the pajamas Rarity had lent her and started putting on her regular clothes.

“Uh, not to be rude or anything, but how long have you been wearing those?” Rarity asked, pointing.

“A couple of days…?”

Rarity got off the bed, picked up the shirt and gave it a quick sniff. “Hm, not too bad. It’ll have to do for today; after all, you’ll be wearing my extra special dress for tonight.”

“Maybe I could borrow something from you in the meantime?” Twilight suggested, feeling suddenly embarrassed.

“Well you could, but then it wouldn’t have your mark on it.”

“You mean my cutie mark?”

“Exactly. You don’t want to go to school without being able to show your mark, would you? I suppose I’d be willing modify some of my own clothes, but then we’d really be late.”

“That’s okay, I’ll just wear what I have.” So cutie marks don’t appear naturally on the body, but it’s something people want to wear? Like, on instinct? But since Twilight couldn’t think of a way inquire further without sounding like she really was from another dimension, she pushed the thought aside.

Once teeth were brushed and Spike woken up, they were on their way. Rarity’s house was about a ten minute’s walk from school, so Twilight took the opportunity to ask Rarity, “Is it true what Rainbow Dash said? That you don’t care about your academic career?”

“I’m not the only one,” she replied with a dry voice. “I’m lucky to have found my passion, and that it’s something I can practice at school, because when it comes to the usual curriculum, I suspect I won’t be getting a graduation diploma anytime soon. I do show up, otherwise they would toss me out, but I spend most of my time in class doodling and coming up with new designs. It’s more common than you might think at this school, and Sunset Shimmer hasn’t exactly made it any better.”

While perusing the articles on the internet, Twilight had studied up on the school system of this world. It seemed these people put a great deal emphasis on scores and diplomas, companies often judging new applicants based not on what they were instinctively good at, but how well they had performed during their school years. In other words, cutie marks over here didn’t grant that same instinctual guidance that ponies got from theirs. And if that was the case, one might say that adolescence in this world was one, long cutie mark crusade.

“Won’t they hold you back a year?”

“Not at Canterlot High, they won’t. Ever since they got into debt, they simply can’t afford to. But I know I’ll be okay; as long as I have my expert needlework and a sense for all things fabulous, I have a bright future ahead of me.”

“If you say so.” As horrifying as having to stay in school, even though you’d all but given up on it, seemed to Twilight, it wasn’t her place to question the rules and ethics of other cultures. Though it did baffled her that, around these parts, Rainbow Dash was the one who cared about her academic achievements, and—

“Students of Canterlot High,” Sunset’s voice resounded, coming from the direction of the school. She was using the school speakers, loud enough that it most likely sounds across the whole town. That sweet, silky but obviously fake enthusiasm was grating to Twilight’s ears; it was as if Sunset considered everybody in school to be babies compared to her. “The Fall Formal is tomorrow night, and as you all know by now, this year sees the bid between myself and the newcomer, Twilight Sparkle. I understand she has already made a positive impact around campus, and that some of you are no doubt considering casting your vote for this new blood, but I have a few simple reminders to all of you as to why voting Twilight Sparkle might come with a few problems down the line.

“First and foremost, why change what has worked so well in the past? Let us not forget that it is because of my dear uncle Rich that we all get to enjoy going to high school in this small suburb. Could you imagine having to commute all the way to Crystal Prep in the city, only to be kicked out by their ridiculously high standards? Why, we would be a town of imbeciles! Vote Sunset Shimmer, and I can guarantee the school will remain funded for years to come, long after my own graduation.

“My second point is something I think will speak to all of you personally. Very personally. After all, personal secrets are so easy to find out these days, what with cell phone being wide open for hackers, not to mention your lockers being anything but locked to a skilled thief. And don’t we all hate it when some embarrassing fact you happened to have scribbled down on a piece of paper in the depth of your backpack—which you thought was safely stored away—becomes public knowledge? For example, did do you that a certain student—not naming any names, of course—made a triple sugar croissant to give to one of the Principles, and that it made her sick for days? The poor students was given a week’s worth of extra homework. You get my point. Vote Sunset Shimmer, and all of your secrets will be safe forever.

“Remember, Sunset Shimmer cares about Canterlot High. She knows the school inside and out. Twilight Sparkle does not. So vote for the one you feel deserves the title.”

By the time the broadcast ended, Rarity and Twilight had reached the school. Twilight stared into space, the temperature in her head rising. “She… she’s blackmailing them!” she exploded, throwing her arms into the air. “She’s holding people’s secrets at ransom?!”

“This… might be bad,” Rarity agreed with a worried tone. “Everybody’s got something to hide, and I’m sure Sunset Shimmer and her goons has been collecting them for years. A good many people are going to be affected by this threat.”

“And that bit about funding,” Twilight said, head reeling. “That made it seem as though she would shut down the school if she didn’t win!”

“I’m sure she won’t go that far,” Rarity said, “but this could mean we can no longer count on the Principals for support.”

“I’m sure that was the plan,” Twilight said, still fuming. “Well, if she thinks that’s all it takes to douse the school spirit, she’s got another thing coming!” She opened up her bag—borrowed from Rarity—and extracted the clip-on ears and tails. “Time for the Wondercolts to get to work!”

***

The drama club held their activities in what looked like a big storage room by the gymnasium, converted to fit a stage. When Twilight Sparkle entered, the rehearsal in play stopped. She hadn’t meant to draw so much attention, only have a word with the one in charge, but now all six of the people present were staring at her.

“Hello,” she greeted. “My name is Twilight Sparkle, and I’m here to—”

“We know why you’re here, Twilight,” some guy with red hair and a purple vest said from the stage. “And we’re sorry, but you’ve already lost our votes.”

“B-but I haven’t said anything yet.”

“Sunset already did,” a green-haired girl with a beret spoke. “And we’re the drama club. You get what we’re saying, don’t you?”

“I’m not sure I do…”

“She’s saying we’re the school weirdos, geez,” said a blue-skinned girl with striped hair of white and turquoise. She seemed awfully familiar. “Out of all the people in CHS, who do you think has the most ‘embarrassing personal secrets’? That’s right, us!”

“Oh,” Twilight said.

“Well spoken,” the red-haired guy remarked. “‘Oh’ sums up exactly how we feel. We’re really sorry; we’re probably the ones who’d want to get back at Sunset Shimmer the most, but she’s got us by the collar.”

Twilight was afraid of this would happen. Today was going to be a a bigger challenge than what she’d hoped. Fortunately, a straight-up begging for votes hadn’t been part of the plan to begin with; this just meant she had to wiggle a little. “I understand. Of course I won’t ask you to do anything that would put your own happiness at risk.”

“Yeah, sorry,” the beret-wearing girl said. “You seem cool, though. I like those ears; wanna join the drama club? You haven’t joined one any club yet, right?”

“I’ll pass for now. Actually, the Fall Formal wasn’t the only reason I came here. I was told you guys were short of costumes?”

“It’s not so much that we’re short, just that everything we have is old and and ragged. We’d love to get some new ones, but the guys and girls over at the northwest wing charge way more than we can afford.”

“That’s kinda what I came here to talk to you about. People have told me it’s been a while since you last performed a public play. The fashionistas wanted me to tell you that, if you’re willing, they fix up everything you need, free of charge, as long as you name them as sponsors.”

“Did they now?” the red-haired guy said. “Well, we have been thinking about getting back into the game… although, as I recall, last time we tried to collaborate with them, they told us it wasn’t worth their while. Said it wouldn’t be profitable. Why would they change their minds now? Are you sure this isn’t a campaigning trick?”

“No no; it’s just that I know Rarity personally, and she agreed it was a good way for her club to reach out to new potential customers. This isn’t about the Fall Formal.” Well, mostly, but a little white lie never hurt anyone…

“I’m still skeptical,” the blue-skinned girl said. “If they wouldn’t listen to the Great and Powerful Trixie, why would they change their tone for you?” Oh, that’s where I knew her from! “Why, I’m practically the number two dog at this school. I’d so be Fall Formal princess, if it wasn’t for Sunset.”

“Then why don’t you run?” the girl with the beret commented. “The door has opened up for competition; now’s your chance.”

“W-well, this isn’t Trixie’s time,” Trixie dodged.

“Just admit it, you’re afraid of Sunset Shimmer, just like the rest of us.”

“Okay fine, I admit it! If people found out where I’m from, and what I had to do to get here, I’d…ahmph,” she cleared her throat. “Not that it’s of any concern of yours… Twilight Sparkle, was it? While we appreciate your playing the mediator, I’m afraid you’re wasting your time. Maybe you don’t have any embarrassing secrets, but us normal suburban folks have more than a few skeletons in our closets. Regardless of your intentions, listening to anything you have to say right now is too much of a risk; and and mark my words, it will be the same everywhere you go.”

“W-we’ll be happy to consider the offer after the Fall Formal,” the beret girl said. “And I’d totally vote for you, if my hands weren’t tied. You understand.”

***

“While healthy snacks for our long work sessions would appreciated,” a glasses-wearing purple guy, introduced as Micro Chips, told Twilight during her visit to the computer hall, “it’s obvious to me you are merely trying to score points for the upcoming Fall Formal.”

“I dunno, Chips,” said the other person in the room, a short, yellow girl with poofy orange hair, also wearing glasses. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to grab something to eat because I’ve been too absorbed into the screen. Having a bowl of apple snacks at the ready would help us out a lot. We could design that website for the cooking club in no time; it doesn’t have to have anything to do with the contest at all.”

“Oh no, Scribble Dee,” Micro Chips said. “I know what you’re thinking, but this time, we’re playing it safe. As the head of the technology club, I need to do what’s best for the future of our members. Aiding in Sunset’s opposition, in any small capacity, seems like just the kind of thing that would result in in a sudden influx of viruses.”

“But we’re always dealing with viruses and stuff,” argued Scribble Dee. “Like every other week; it’s like Sunset’s hired her own team of elite hackers just to mess with us. And don’t try to pretend it’s not her sending those; why else would she be doing all these ‘routine visits’ that none of the other clubs have to deal with? I’m telling you, she has it in for us.” Twilight had a suspicion she was right. From the sound of it, hacking seemed like it was similar to magic—much like Sunset had ‘hacked’ the anti-teleportation field—and as a high level student of magic, there was no way she would resist testing the boundaries.

“All the more reason to keep our heads low,” Micro Chips insisted. “There’s nothing we can do against power and influence. She could have us shut down like that.

“Not if we put our minds together and start working on that firewall,” Scribble countered. “Y’know, like I’ve been saying for years? I don’t understand why we’re still cowering in the shadows when we could do some good around here, like I dunno, protect people’s phones from being hacked?”

“And I don’t understand why you feel the need to go poking the bear, Scrib? If you want to give your vote to Twilight, that’s on your head; the technology club is officially backing away. Tell the cooking club we can’t accept their offer.”

Scribble Dee let out a groan. “Well, Twilight, looks like that’s how it’s gonna be. I’m sorry, I guess you’ll have to settle for my own measly vote.”

“Don’t worry about it; I’m grateful for your support,” Twilight replied, and though she meant it, she hid her underlining disappointment reasonably well.

“I guess I shouldn’t blame the others too much, I understand that she’s a dangerous bear to poke, but I can’t help it, she just makes me so mad! Anyway, I’ll do what I can to talk it over with other members, but I think we can expect the same answer as Micro over here.”

***

Though she had failed her appeal to the club, at had at least secured one vote. This shouldn’t be downplayed; if anyone knew perfectly well how a single new friend could turn the tide, it was Twilight. Still, Operation Helping Hoof was going nowhere fast. If nothing else, she now had at least one person from every club on her side. Minus the dramas…

Don’t be discouraged, Twilight. You are making progress, step by step. All you need to do is keep banging your head against the problem until cracks start to appear!

The moment she stepped into the greenhouse that was the ‘club room’ for the eco club, the aroma and calm nature helped untangle her nerves. She took a deep, soothing breath.

“Hey, I know you.” A sudden voice made her yelp. “You’re that Twilight Sparkle! Fluttershy has told us about you.” A girl with long green hair and a hat approached her. “She usually keeps to herself, but yesterday, she was more talkative than I think I’ve ever seen her, and she’s been giving you glowing reviews. The name’s Sweet Leaves, by the way.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” she replied. Sweet Leaves then held out a hand, which Twilight stared at for a moment, unsure of how to react.

“Oh, you’re more of a fist bump person?” She clenched her hand into a fist, and held it closer.

Fist bump… oh, hoof bump! “Uh, yeah, hehe.” She bumped her clenched fist onto hers, which actually kind of hurt. Hands were no substitute for hooves. “I-I’ve heard heard good things about you as well,” Twilight said, trying to remember what she actually knew about these people. Which, she quickly realized, was nothing at all, so she took her best guess. “You’ve been doing a great job keeping the school yard clean.”

“Thanks.” Phew, bingo. “You wouldn’t believe how many people think the yard is just another trash can. If only we’d get money to install more actual trash cans around campus, it wouldn’t be a problem. But, as you know, this whole place is strapped for cash. Just imagine all the good we could do if we had a decent budget.”

“Such as?” Twilight asked, sensing this was a prompt.

“I’m glad you asked,” she said, her face suddenly beaming. “The plumage is super old and leaks in several places; new ones would cut down costs as much as 12%. Not to mention the whole issue with the power supply still being hooked up to the old fossil fuel grid.” Ah yes, fossil fuel; the articles had mentioned those, how they polluted the air, and could result in long-time changes in the the world’s eco-systems. “That’s like 80% of the power costs gone right then and there if we could install solar power instead, which we already got several lying around, by the way! Oh, and don’t get me started on all the ‘broken’ equipment we could fix up; I had to fight tooth and nail to convince them to keep the old heaters around.”

“You, uh, seem well versed in economics,” Twilight said.

“Duh, we’re the eco club. That’s ecological and economical. You’d be surprised how much one depends on the other. So how about it, Twilight? Wanna join up with us?”

“I-I might consider it later,” she told her. So that was her angle. Still, it was vindicating to see how little impact Sunset’s shaming video had really made. “I might consider it later,” she told her. “But as for now, I might have a suggestion for you. I’ve talked to Pinkie Pie and Applejack from the cooking club, and they’ve both agreed to the idea of hosting a bake sale to raise money for clubs that might need it. And it sounds to me that helping this club will end up freeing up money for us all.”

“They’d do that for us?”

“Yup, and that’s not all; the music club’s getting in on the action as well; they’ll be playing some tunes during the sale. It’ll be a ‘come for the food, stay for the music’ situation.”

“Twilight, you are a genius! Let’s see, the average successful bake sale racks in somewhere around $400, and with the music, that might get bumped to to $600; then we could pay the techies to install the solar panels, then use the rest for professional pluming…” She was muttering fast, no doubt doing precise calculations in her head. “…and we’d have money to spare for for some quality trash cans! When can we get this show on he road?”

“As early as next week, I’d imagine.”

“Neato! Seriously, thanks for this… but now I kinda feel like a jerk.” Twilight’s heart sank, because she knew what was coming. “I get it, you wanna get our votes for the Fall Formal, but I’m sorry. You heard what Sunset Shimmer said: she’ll cut the schools budget like that, and then we’d have to start making bake sales just to keep the lights on.

“Yeah… that’s alright,” Twilight said. “And really, this isn’t just about the Fall Formal; I really do want to make the school better place.”

Sweet Leaves gave her an apologetic smile. “We need more people like you around. Again, I’m sorry. Between you and me, I’d really like to see you win that crown.”

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