• Published 15th Jun 2021
  • 203 Views, 26 Comments

Back to School - Coyote de La Mancha

Along with being Princess Twilight's apprentice, Sunrise Shimmer hopes to become Ms. Cheerilee's teaching assistant. The first day is often the most challenging.

  • ...

Chapter Two: Recess.

Sweetie Belle stared. “You’re not serious.”

“Nope,” Sunrise said, shaking her head. “I never heard of buckball before.”

“Hey, be nice,” Diamond Tiara said, nudging her friend good-naturedly. “Not everypony’s as well-traveled as you and Rarity.”

“Yeah. Applejack says it’s mostly a city game now,” Apple Bloom added.

“I suppose that’s true,” Sweetie Belle agreed, considering. “Now that you mention it, I’ve only seen it played in Appleoosa. It was just so popular there, I guess I just assumed it was more wide-spread than it is.”

“I’ve sure never heard of it,” Scootaloo shrugged.

“Well, city game or not,” Sunrise said apologetically, “I obviously can’t referee a game I don’t know. And anyway, I’m supposed to keep an eye on the playground, and I don’t think I could do that and still watch the game closely enough to judge plays. Sorry.”

“And we’ve got too many players, anyway,” Pipsqueak said. “Buckball calls for teams of six. If we play buckball, somepony’s gonna get left out.”

“How about kickball,” Sunrise offered. “You guys have that here?”

“Yeah, but… we still need a ref. And whoever’s ref can’t play,” Snips pointed out. “An’ Miss Cheerilee’s busy getting stuff ready for next period. So, who’s it gonna be?”

The foals looked at one another for a moment, then Diamond Tiara stepped forward with a slight eyeroll.

“Fine,” she said. “I’ll be the ref. Come on, let’s get started before recess runs out.”

While the players took their places, Sunrise grinned.

“Then I shall execute the Law,” Sunrise recited quietly to herself she moved to the edge of the playground. “I am of no tribe, and no one will be offended.”

Pipsqueak paused, glancing at her. “Huh?”

Sunrise shook her mane, still grinning. “Nothing.”

It was towards the end of recess. The teams had changed places multiple times, and Sunrise had been quietly keeping score in case of argument. She stole a glance at the window of the school. Cheerilee was contentedly working away at her desk, probably making last-minute adjustments for next period.

Looking back, Sunrise saw there was suddenly a cloud of dust settling, with one colt obviously having just slid into home, and another holding the ball against him.

“Out,” Diamond Tiara said.

The prone foal stared at her, then said, “What? But I was safe!”

Diamond Tiara shook her head.

“Sorry, Snips,” she said. “Snails tagged you just before you hit the base.”

Snips looked at the only grownup present for help. “Miss Sunrise?”

But Sunrise also shook her head.

“Sorry, guys. I didn’t see it,” she said. “And anyway, you’ve got a referee right there.”

“Yeah, but she’s wrong,” Snips insisted.

“If the referee’s rulings aren’t accepted, the whole game breaks down!” Diamond grumped. “Will you please just stop arguing? We’re running out of time, recess is almost over!”

“Aw, don’t sweat it, Snips, that’s just Diamond Tiara,” Snails said to his friend offhoofedly. “She always has to have things her way. Just take the out and let’s play.”

Snips started to say “Yeah, okay—” when Diamond Tiara whirled to face both of them, wide eyes hurt and angry.

“What? No, I don’t!”

Snails and Snips both flinched.

“Now, hold on a minute,” said an approaching Sunrise. “Everypony calm down. What’s going on?”

“Okay, everypony take a breath,” Miss Cheerilee called as she trotted out of the schoolhouse.

“Um, but yeah, ya kinda do…” Snips pointed out.

“I do not!” Diamond insisted.

“I mean,” Snails added, “you do say ‘please’ an’ ‘thank you’ more…”

“…Yeah, but you do still hafta kinda boss ponies around…” Snips offered.

“Everypony, let’s calm down…” Cheerilee tried again, trotting a little faster.

“We can work through this…” Sunrise started, looking uncertainly from Cheerilee to the students and back.

“What? No!” Diamond Tiara cried. “I’m not like that anymore! I’m not!”

Snips started to say, “But—” only to find himself engulfed in Diamond Tiara’s shadow. She towered over him and Snails both, a juvenile paragon of rage.

“Take it BACK!”

The playground fell silent. Snips and Snails cowered before Diamond Tiara, while the latter stood over them, staring down in anger and misery. Even Miss Cheerilee stopped, seemingly stunned into silence. In the distance, Silver Spoon looked on, triumphant.

Snails managed to almost look up at Diamond, saying in a hesitant voice, “But, um… aren’t you kinda…”

Snips finished, “…doing it now?”

There was a heartbeats’ pause. Perhaps two. Still staring at them both, Diamond Tiara took a step back. Whirling around, her face an expression of pure hurt, she looked around at the faces of her classmates, all staring back at her.

Then, the filly simply burst into tears, fleeing from them all.

Immediately, the playground exploded into action. While various students began yelling and milling amongst themselves, Cheerilee made as mad a dash through them as best she could, calling for everypony to stop.

But somehow, the Cutie Mark Crusaders were there first, running past the two colts, calling in unison, “Diamond, wait!”

Cheerilee paused, her own cries for her charges to halt having been ignored… if they’d even been heard at all. She knew that the Cutie Mark Crusaders were certainly more capable than their age implied, and they’d been part of helping any number of ponies over the last couple of years. It was possible that they were exactly who Diamond Tiara needed right then.

On the other hoof, she was also well aware that they were still the CMC: three young mares with far more energy than wisdom. And their plans, when they went awry, were infamous for doing so in a spectacular fashion.

Plus, there was the matter of Snips and Snails, both staring after the fleeing filly with identical expressions of growing horror. She could hardly just abandon them. Not to mention that the rest of the class still needed watching.

Then, her eyes landed on Sunrise. She was rapidly glancing from the direction of the fillies’ flight to Cheerilee and back again, plainly torn and on the verge of taking off after them.

Not all decisions are made on a conscious level. Nor should they be. There are times when intuition reaches a conclusion much faster than slow, plodding reason ever could. And sometimes, there is little time for anything else. Especially when the future well-being of a foal is on the line, her young heart and recently-found resolve balancing upon a razor’s edge.

Cheerilee nodded. “Go!”

Whether the other mare had been waiting for permission or not, Cheerilee couldn’t say. Sunrise was in motion before she’d finished speaking, already vanishing into the trees surrounding the playground.