• Published 6th Jun 2018
  • 3,690 Views, 45 Comments

School Recruitment - Calliope Pony



Before opening her School of Friendship Twilight needs to recruit students from Equestria and beyond. Luckily, her friends are there to help.

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Recruiting in the Dragon Lands

Twilight's saddlebags bulged, not only with school brochures, but with a generous supply of parchment, ink, and spare quills. She didn't often get an opportunity to visit the dragons, and she wanted to be prepared to take as many notes as possible.

Spike sat on her back as she flew down towards the mountain where Dragon Lord Ember lived. She banked to the right as the entrance came into view, flanked by two guards. The guards glared intimidatingly as she came to land.

"Good afternoon, sirs. I am Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria, here on a diplomatic visit to Dragon Lord Ember."

The guards only continued to glare at her. One snorted a puff of smoke.

Feeling awkward, Twilight tried again. "Could one of you please let Ember know that I'm here?"

The guards' stony expressions didn't change.

Twilight heard a small sigh from her back, and Spike hopped down. He strolled casually forward and greeted the guards. "Hey, Sulfur. Hey Char. Is Ember here?"

"Hi, Spike. She's here. Come on in."

As one of the guards led them inside Twilight bent her head to whisper, "How do you know Ember's guards? How'd you get them to let us in?"

Spike just smiled smugly. "There's a lot you don't know about me."

***

Ember sat on a massive and impressive throne that had been formed from glassy volcanic rock. The cavern that served as her throne room was very warm, and the edges were ringed with little streams of lava. The ceiling soared high above in a spacious dome. Large torches were mounted on the walls around.

The Dragon Lord looked pleased to see them as they entered. She jumped down from her seat and flew forward to greet them.

"Hi, Spike! It's great to see you. Hello, Twilight."

"It's great to see you too, Ember!" Spike hugged her. She gave a weak smile and patted him on the head.

"Hello Ember." Twilight bowed her head respectfully for a moment before stepping forward.

"So what brings you guys to see me? Are things all right in Equestria?"

"Things are fine, thank you for asking. In fact, I'm starting up a new school, which is why we wanted to come talk to you."

"What's a school?"

Spike knew immediately that that had been the wrong question for Ember to ask. Twilight's eyes grew wide.

"A school is an institution where students go to be educated by teachers or professors according to a predetermined curriculum in accordance with district and federal regulations regarding educational standards. The student body is typically divided into classes by age, aptitude, and/or area of study. Testing-"

Ember cut off Twilight's explanation by calling over her shoulder to another dragon, "Coal! Get some food for me and my guests. Make sure you bring something ponies can eat. I feel like we're gonna be here for a while."

***

Twilight talked at great length about the Equestrian education system as well as schools in general and the history of formalized education. Ember thought the concept of a place devoted solely to learning was interesting, but she tuned out for most of Twilight's detailed explanations and descriptions. She was relieved when the pony's speech finally wound down and ended with a question.

"And dragons don't have anything like that?"

"Nope. We have some old dragons who are respected for their wisdom, but they don't have students like the teachers you were talking about."

Before Ember had finished answering the question a quill and parchment roll had levitated out of Twilight's bag, and the alicorn was recording the new information.

"Then how are young dragons taught?"

Ember shrugged. "Parents teach their kids about pretty much everything they need to know."

"Ah. That's called homeschooling. Some ponies do that, though the practice isn't very common in Equestria. So homeschooling is the norm for dragons?"

"I guess so."

"Would you be willing to try sending some young dragons to a school?"

"It does sound like an interesting idea, but we don't have anything like that here."

"But remember I told you that I'm starting a new school. That's why Spike and I came to see you. This school is going to be open to students from many different nations, not just Equestria. I'm hoping that by having young creatures from different backgrounds learning together we can foster international friendships and greater understanding of different cultures. Our curriculum will be specially geared toward lessons in friendship."

Spike asked, "So do you know anyone who could come to the school?"

Ember shrugged again. "There are plenty of dragons the right age that could go. I don't know how much good this school of yours will be, but I'd be happy to send someone to help you out. The problem is that most of them just won't be interested. I can order them not to make any trouble for you, but that doesn't mean they'll want to cooperate with what you're trying to do."

"Can you think of anyone who might be willing?"

Ember considered carefully, running through candidates in her head. At last she smiled and nodded. "I'll send Smolder."

Twilight could barely contain her excitement at the prospect of a dragon student hand-picked by the Dragon Lord herself. "Who's Smolder? Does she want to learn about friendship? Does she like to study?"

Ember snorted. "No and no. She's a quick learner, but I don't think she'll have much interest. I picked her because of all of them she's the least likely to cause you any problems. She's pretty non-confrontational as dragons go. She's small for her age, and she's smart enough not to pick fights she can't win. Actually she reminds me a little of myself at that age."

"Oh." This wasn't as good news as Twilight had hoped for. "Well, we can tell her all about the school and what a great time she'll have. I'm sure she'll come around and be willing to give it a try."

Ember wasn't listening to Twilight. The Dragon Lord flew up the throne where the Bloodstone Scepter was held securely in a bracket from which only the Dragon Lord could remove it. As she lifted the scepter it glowed momentarily. She placed it back in its bracket and rejoined Spike and Twilight.

"Smolder should be here soon."

Indeed, they had only a few minutes to wait before an orange dragon, not much bigger than Spike, flew into the throne room with her scales glowing.

"You wanted to see me, Dragon Lord Ember?"

"Yes, Smolder. This is Princess Twilight of Equestria, and this is Spike, the dragon-pony ambassador. Spike, Twilight, this is Smolder."

Smolder looked unimpressed. "Hey," she said flatly.

"Hello, Smolder." Twilight had to exercise all her self-control to keep from gushing. "It is so good to meet you."

"Smolder," Ember spoke in a commanding voice, "Twilight and Spike are opening a school in Equestria."

"What's a school?"

"It's a place where young creatures go to learn new things. Twilight's school is going to teach creatures from different countries about friendship in order to build stronger international relationships."

"So what does that have to do with me?"

Twilight stepped forward. "Smolder, please let me tell you about-" Spike elbowed her hard in the ribs and gestured to not interrupt.

"You're going to be the dragon representative at the Equestrian school. You'll live there for several months, listen to what they teach you, and you're not going to make trouble for anyone there."

"What! No way! Why should I go to some stupid pony place?"

Twilight tried again. "I'm sure if we sit down and talk about it-" Spike silenced her again. This time he hissed under his breath, "Don't interrupt the Dragon Lord when she's making a proclamation."

Ember ignored Twilight. "As Dragon Lord, I command you to go study at the pony school!"

Smolder opened her mouth, closed it, glared at Ember. She flexed her claws and ground her teeth. Finally she stamped her foot on the floor. "Fine! I'll go." And with that she stomped out of the throne room.

Ember smiled at Spike. "There you go. One dragon student for your school."

Twilight was still staring after Smolder with a dazed look on her face. "Well… umm… that was… efficient."