• Published 29th Jun 2019
  • 2,711 Views, 61 Comments

The More Things Change... - SugarHoneyIceTea123



The School of Friendship is having its annual reunion! And while Gallus is ecstatic to see his old friends again, he may have to deal with some changes he wasn't prepared for.

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The More They REALLY Change...

“The more things change, the more they stay the same…”

“These words were famously said by the Praetorian era General Gearfried, in response to the recent renaissance of griffon architecture having a profound effect on griffon culture. Now, can anyone tell me whether the Praetorian era came before, during, or after King Grover’s reign?”

Professor Gallus looked around his classroom. Eager young cubs with a spark in their eyes Gallus was overjoyed to see in the new generation of griffons.

One young Griff in particular, a girl with black feathers and white fur, thrust her claw up in the air immediately. Complete with a quiet little “Ooh! Ooh!”

Gallus smirked. “Anyone other than Gyldie? Who has answered every other question today and I’m sure would love to give her classmates a chance to answer.”

Gyldie slowly lowered her claw, looking sheepish as her classmates gave a slight laugh.

Another Griff, a boy who was wistfully gazing at Gyldie, caught Gallus’ attention.

“Gan! You seem to have such a rapt interest in the topic.” Gallus said, immediately drawing the attention of the lovestruck tom, who sputtered a pitiful excuse.

“Once again, was the Praetorian era of griffon-kind before, during, or after the reign of King Grover?” Gallus asked.

Gan looked away towards the ceiling, trying every mnemonic device he taught himself to try and not make a fool of himself in front of Gyldie.

“Um… Okay, it can’t be after cause that was during the Dark Age of Griffonstone.” Gan surmised.

Gallus nodded. “Good, keep going.”

“Um… well… we had other griffon kings before Grover. They just didn’t have as big of an empire. And Praetorian refers to…” Gan was visibly wracking his brain, screwing his eyes shut.

“You’re on the right track, Gan.” Gallus said, smiling at his student. “What does the word Praetorian refer to?”

Gallus ignored Gyldie raising her claw again as Gan continued thinking.

“Praetorian refers to… Oh! The Council of Praetors! This was back when griffons were separated into city-states. And each city-state had a representative called a Praetor who served in a council together.” Gan finally surmised, flashing a smile at Gyldie who happily returned it.

‘Ah, young love.’ Gallus thought to himself.

“That’s absolutely correct, Gan. The Council of Praetors was the closest thing to a singular leadership griffon-kind had during the Praetorian Era. Though in practice, all they really did was give each other the courtesy of a warning whenever they went to war over trade disputes.” Gallus explained.

A second later, the school bell rang, marking the end of the day. Gallus quickly called out to his students who were already milling out the door.

“Just a reminder, I’m going to be taking the next week off on vacation. So if anygriff has any questions or concerns for me, talk to me before I leave school today. Otherwise, have a great weekend, be nice to the substitute, and I will see you all the week after.”

A few of the students called back, wishing their Professor Gallus a great vacation. Gyldie was about to leave with Gan when she held up a claw, asking him to wait for her.

As Gallus was putting away his effects in his bag, Gyldie came up to him with that same spark in her eyes Gallus had come to love seeing in all of his students.

“Professor Gallus? I just wanted to check in with you about that potential extra credit assignment we talked about?” Gyldie asked.

“Why you would want to do more schoolwork when you’re already a straight A student is beyond me, but yes, I have given it some thought. Personally, I think it’s a great topic for an opinion piece. Historical Rediscovery is still a relatively new field for Griffonstone’s academic community, and I know your paper is sure to make those old gizzards ponder for a good long while.” Gallus said.

Despite that, Gyldie seemed a little worried. “Are you sure it’s not too… controversial? I mean, King Grover holds a lot of reverence in the historical community in Griffonstone, and not without good reason. I’m just worried that a more negative view into his reign might be taken the wrong way. Especially by some of Griffonstone’s more… conservative historians.”

Gallus nodded. “Well, look on the bright side. They’re so old that they’ll croak in a few years. Then you won’t have to worry about them complaining.”

“Professor Gallus!” Gyldie said, giving the older Griff an admonishing glare.

Gallus raised his hands in defense, chuckling at Gyldie’s reaction. “In all seriousness, you can’t be afraid to challenge griffons who might be stuck thinking a certain way. How do you think Primarch Gilda got her title?”

Gyldie looked downwards in thought. “That’s… true.”

Gallus nodded. “Gyldie, I say this with absolutely no hyperbole or boasting: You are one of the brightest and most insightful griffons I have ever met. You cannot stifle or restrain how you see our past because I can’t even bear to think about how that would affect how you see our future.”

Gyldie sighed. “You’re putting an awful lot of pressure on one Griff, sir.”

Gallus shook his head. “I have the same expectation for every young Griff your age. You are the future of our kind. You have to remember, when I was your age, Griffonstone was a corpse of what it was. And the entire griffon race were the maggots infesting it.”

Gyldie looked a little green in the gills. “That’s… a colorful analogy.”

“But not inaccurate, sadly.” Gallus said. “Point is, this paper of yours will be important going forward. Knowing the mistakes of our past will better prepare us for the future. Heck, that’s pretty much the entire point of history!”

Gyldie gave another look towards her Professor, before throwing her claws around his neck, embracing him in a hug.

“Thank you, sir.” Gyldie said before letting go. “You really have no idea how lucky we all are to have you.”

Gallus smiled. “Kid, you have no idea how backwards you got it.”

---

“So, where are you going again?” Greta asked Gallus, who was enjoying his last coffee of the day before heading home.

“Oh, that’s right. This is your first year here.” Gaster said, his butt currently sticking out of the faculty lounge’s fridge as he rummaged around it. “Yeah, this is something he does every year. Guy went abroad in Equestria when he was a kid and went native so hard he goes back there every year to prance with the ponies.”

Gallus shot Gaster a look. “Okay, one, I kind of had to go ‘abroad’ as you call it since formal education in Griffonstone didn’t even exist when we were kids. Two, It’s an annual School Reunion. I’m an alumni at the School of Friendship, so I get an invitation every year. It’s not like I’m gonna turn down free food.”

Gaster let out a boisterous laugh. “You hear this, Greta! ‘School of Friendship’. What was your senior project? Flower crowns?”

“Lay off, Gaster.” Greta said before turning her attention back to Gallus. “So, the Reunion lasts a whole week?”

Gallus took a sip of coffee. “Well, no. The event itself is only a day. But some old school buddies of mine like to use it as an excuse to take a week off and just catch up, y’know? It’s a great way for us to stay in touch with each other.”

Gaster snorted. “Yeah, I bet you and your pony pals are gonna have a gay ol’ time singing and dancing and picking flowers-”

“Oh, for sure.” Gallus said, shutting Gaster up. “And when we’re done with that, I can bring them back home to Griffonstone. My dragon friend can set fire to your house, my yak friend can smash the charred remains, my changeling friend can devour your soul, and my hippogriff friend, who’s a princess I might add, can call for your execution. But don’t worry, my pony friend will sing a nice song to cheer you up.”

Greta and Gaster looked gobsmacked at the smug, blue griffon… before Gaster started heaving with laughter. “Bwahahahaha!!! Oh my Grover, Gallus! I had no idea you had such an imagination!”

---

Gallus could not get out of Griffonstone fast enough.

Oh sure, his homeland had improved by leaps and bounds since he left to attend the School of Friendship, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Primarch Gilda and the few griffons crazy enough to actually follow her civil restoration plans. But it was still Griffonstone at its core, still filled to the brim with jerks and swindlers who wouldn’t understand the concept of basic decency if you shoved their beaks in a dictionary.

That said, what Gallus said to Gyldie was true. Griffonstone would be a better place once her generation took over, maybe even something resembling Grover’s reign. Griffonstone was on its way to being something wonderful again. Gallus was just a little impatient, wishing it could happen now rather than later.

‘What was that one line from that Kirin musical?’ Gallus thought, riding the train towards Ponyville. ‘A legacy is a garden you never get to see? Sounds about right…’
Sometimes Gallus resented his friends for giving him hope for the future. Trying to remain optimistic about a utopian peace that he would probably never get to be a part of was exhausting.

Still, Gallus allowed himself to forget all those woes, at least for the time being. It was Reunion Week! The next nine days were going to be spent doing nothing but hanging with his old buds and generally get into nonsense just like when they were kids.

Just with a few changes made along the years.

---

The School of Friendship had hardly changed, of course. Why fix what isn't broken? Despite Gallus and his friend’s many many attempts to break it. All accidental, of course, regardless of whatever Counselor Starlight said.

Oh gods, Gallus hoped he wouldn’t bump into her. He liked Counselor Starlight as much as any other student, but that mare could hold a grudge.

So Gallus considered himself lucky when the first familiar face he saw was his pony brother from another mother.

“Hey, Sandbar!” Gallus called out, drawing the lime green pony’s attention away from the smalltalk he was in with the other alumni.

It took Sandbar a millisecond to register Gallus’ voice before he charged straight towards the griffon, scooping him up in a big bear hug.

“Gallus! Dude, it’s been way too long!” Sandbar said, clearly not caring about the stares at their display.

“Gah! Dude, I am feeling the love but your crushing the merchandise!” Gallus said, happily returning the hug all the same.

“Oh! Heh, sorry man.” Sandbar said, letting Gallus go.

Gallus took a deep breath, letting the feeling come back into his lungs. “I swear man, you’re becoming more and more like a yak everytime I see you. Pretty soon, you’re gonna be sprouting horns!”

Sandbar kicked the floor sheepishly. “Heh, well I do kinda have to be a little Rough and Tumble these days, what with-”

“UNCLE GALLUS!!!”

“Oh no…” Gallus face sunk as he heard his doom approach. Thunderous stomps echoed throughout the main hallway as alumni and faculty alike quickly spread out to the edges of the hall, giving a wide berth to two tiny green balls of fur and horns.

Who were charging straight towards Gallus.

“Nonono! Kids! Stop!” But Gallus’ urging fell on deaf, hyperactive ears as the pony-yak hybrids charged straight into dear ol’ Uncle Gallus, pinning him to the ground.

“Uncle Gallus! We missed you SOOOOO much!” Sorrel said, nuzzling into Gallus’ chest.

“Did ya bring us anything from Griffonstone, Uncle Gallus!? Did ya!? Did ya!? Did ya!?” Nettle said, bouncing on Gallus’ stomach.

‘So this is it.’ Gallus thought as he struggled to breathe. ‘This is how I die. Honestly, it’s a lot more dignified than I imagined.’

“Okay, kids! Okay!” Sandbar said, grunting as he plucked his children off the broken griffon. “Let’s pump the brakes before you put Uncle Gallus in traction. You aight, G?”

Gallus let out a huff. “Oh yeah. On the plus side, I can skip my next visit to my chiropractor.”

Gallus struggled as he got up to his feet. He shot a glare at his honorary niece and nephew before his face softened. “Ah, I can’t be mad at you little cannonballs. Come here, gently!” Gallus said, opening his arms for a much more pleasant hug with his niece and nephew.

Gallus looked up from the curtain of fur that was currently embracing him. “So where’s their mother?”

“Yona’s already with Ocellus and Silverstream in the library. They asked me to stand watch out here and wait for you and Smolder so I can take you straight to them.” Sandbar said, picking up Sorrel and placing her on his back.

“Makes sense.” Gallus decided to ease his friends burden a bit as he placed Nettle on his own back, his legs buckling under the weight just a tad. “Does that mean Smolder hasn’t arrived yet?”

Nettle put his forehooves on top of Gallus’ head. “Nu-uh! We’re still waiting for Auntie Smolder!”

“Well, I guess I can wait with you guys. Can’t imagine she’ll be much longer.” Gallus said.

“I’unno…” Sandbar said. “Smolder was never the most punctual out of all of us.”

“Heh, true.” Gallus said. “Still though, I’ve always kind of admired her for, y’know, ‘keeping it real’ the most out of us.”

“What do you mean ‘keeping it real’?” Sandbar asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Ah, you know, just how she’s changed the least. Whatever the rest of us go through, or however much we change, Smolder’s always been that sense of stability for the rest of us. That she’ll always be the same old Smolder, no matter what.” Gallus said, thinking back on old reunions.

No matter how many years had passed, Smolder always had the same story for them.

“Been kicking around the Dragon Lands, building my horde, doing whatever. You know how it is.”

And then she would just get lost in whatever shenanigans the six decided to do that week until their adult obligations called for them to split up again.

In a weird way, Gallus appreciated how Smolder’s life never really got any more complicated after graduation. She was just… Smolder. Purely and completely.

A reminder of simpler times, Gallus assumed.

“Hey, fellas!” A scratchy voice called out. Speak of the dragon.

Gallus and Sandbar looked over to the voice back at the entrance… and stopped gobsmacked as their jaws hit the floor.

There was Smolder, alright. Looking about the same as ever, except maybe a head or two taller then when they were kids.

But what was different, really different, about her was the bundle of yellow scales and white tiny nubby horns Smolder was currently cradling in her arms.

Smolder waved at the two boys with her free hand, seemingly oblivious to the massive red flag currently nestling into the crook of her arm. “Long time, no see guys!”

Gallus didn’t respond, still staring haplessly at the baby dragon she was carrying.

“Well!” Sandbar finally said. “That’s a change!”