• Published 5th Aug 2019
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 9 - SuperPinkBrony12

The ninth installment of a What If series that involves the rewriting of episodes. This one covers two Season 2 episodes, one from Season 4 as well as 6 and 7, and five from Season 8. (Warning!: Rewrites based on personal opinion. Please respect it!)

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S8 E1: School Daze, Part 1 (What If?)

Despite a surprise invasion by an evil creature called the Storm King, the first ever Festival of Friendship was a roaring success! And the joint kingdoms of the hippogriffs and seaponies had been added to the list of Equestria's allies (after some tense negotiations between Princess Celestia and Queen Novo).

As Twilight and her friends prepared to return to Ponyville, Twilight's thoughts turned briefly to Tempest Shadow. The very pony to whom Equestria unknowingly owed a great deal of thanks for ultimately bringing down the Storm King for good. "It's probably for the best she doesn't come to Ponyville right now," Twilight thought to herself. "She needs time to get her life back on track and make amends for all the wrong she's done. Besides, I already have two students, I don't know if I can handle three all at once."

It was on the subject of students that Twilight started to think. True, she had dipped her hooves into the water with teaching a few times before. Twilight Time with the Cutie Mark Crusaders had been a success, but after a while she had ended the sessions as she sensed the fillies no longer had anything they could learn from her (and given that they had turned their club into a business per Diamond Tiara's suggestion, that seemed to be the case). And Diamond Tiara had been an enjoyable, eager student despite still sometimes getting into trouble.

And the recent journey outside of Equestria's borders to uncharted territory had given Twilight room to think. It seemed like friendship could do a lot for so many civilizations if they only knew of the magic behind it. The elements that went into making it work.

However, it wasn't until Twilight arrived home that she truly had a chance to consider her next step. She, Spike, and Starlight Glimmer were all amazed to discover that the throne room's table map had expanded considerable. A fact that did not go unnoticed by the others.

"I can't believe it! This happened while we were gone?!" Applejack remarked. "Just when I think I've seen it all, somethin' like this comes along and proves me wrong."

"But why would the map choose to expand now of all times? We've been outside Equestria several times before." Rarity pondered aloud.

"I guess maybe it decided that the Storm King's invasion was a wake up call," Rainbow Dash declared. "Which means we're gonna get called on even more adventures!"

Fluttershy shook her head. "I for one certainly hope not. After everything we went through during the invasion, I think we could all use a break."

Starlight sighed. "Ain't that the truth? I can't believe we survived that. I'm gonna have nightmares about the invasion for weeks."

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie had picked up a hard hat and some measuring tape as she commented. "You know, it seems like the map gets bigger every so often because of what we do. At this rate, how many more friendship missions do you think we'll need to go on before we have to expand the throne room?"

"What are you talking about, Pinkie? And we're not expanding the throne room, it's in my castle after all." Twilight quickly shot down the idea.

Pinkie, undeterred, kept pressing. "Whaddya mean? Of course we can expand the throne room. It's easy! Just gotta knock this wall down, get some paint..." She brought over a jack hammer and a bucket of paint.

But Twilight shook her head. "No, no, no. What I mean is, it would be foolish to try and go all over Equestria and beyond to solve every friendship problem that comes our way. What if there was a way we could bring the friendship to the problems and fix them before they start?"

Spike looked at Twilight, observing the grin on her face. "I know that face, Twilight. Just what are you thinking about this time?"

Twilight gestured to a spot on the map not far from her castle. "I was thinking, we could open our very own School of Friendship, right here in Ponyville! After all, I've always wanted to be a teacher." Everyone reluctantly agreed to the idea of a school. Not one of them suspected that the school was going to become a magnet for trouble as a foe long thought defeated would return to cause havoc.

Even though it was her dream, Twilight knew that she couldn't just open a school overnight and expect everything to work out. And as luck would have it there was already a pony with lots of teaching experience in Ponyville that Twilight could call on for free advice. A pony whose students Twilight had already tutored on a few occasions (at least a couple of them anyway). None than Cheerilee.

The mare was quite delighted to have a one on one audience with the alicorn, which took place the day after Twilight and her friends returned to Ponyville after the Festival of Friendship. Cheerilee took the news of Twilight's planned school quite well. "A School of Friendship? I must say, that sounds like a promising idea, Twilight." She happily commented.

Twilight nodded her head. "I know, at long last my dream can come true! But there's so many things I never realized went into the planning of a school! Even to an organized pony like me it's a lot to take in! And I have so many questions! That's why I wanted to talk to you, Cheerilee. I figured if anypony could give me the advice I need on how to run a school properly, it'd be you."

Cheerilee blushed ever so faintly. "I'm flattered you think so highly of me, Twilight. I like to think I've been a great teacher in the time I've been at this schoolhouse," She took a moment to compose herself before she added in a serious tone of voice. "But if I'm being honest, it's really your teachings and your friends who've made such a big difference. Not to mention the Cutie Mark Crusaders, they were the ones who got through to Diamond Tiara and got her to change. I only regret that I didn't do more to stand up to Spoiled Rich, that let her and her daughter gain so much control over me."

"You were only trying to keep them on your side for the sake of the school," Twilight replied to Cheerilee. "Besides, Diamond's a much better pony now and Spoiled's been kicked off the school board. Though I have to ask, do you think my school is going to end up competing with your school for students?"

Cheerilee shook her head. "Your school seems more specialized and advanced, a way for ponies to continue their education even after I've taught them all I'm allowed to teach."

"That's good to know, I really don't want to make you into an enemy." Twilight breathed a sigh of relief.

"Twilight, this schoolhouse was around long before I ever started teaching here. It's almost as old as Ponyville itself," Cheerilee commented. "It was already up and running for countless years when I became the next teacher. I'm afraid that I can't offer much advice on how to get a school up and running. There's an entire process that every school in Equestria has to go through, but I know nothing about it. Princess Celestia might know though, after all she has a school in her name."

Twilight's face morphed into a smile. "I'm already looking forward to going there!" She quickly regained her composure. "But I wanted to talk to you first since you're here in Ponyville, and you've got more hooves on experience as a teacher. Princess Celestia only taught a few classes whenever she could find the time, mostly on magic," Then she offered. "Would you be interested in working at my new school, once I get it up and running of course."

Cheerilee shook her head. "Oh no, I couldn't possibly find the time for it. Being a teacher is a very big responsibility, Twilight. Even bigger than being a princess. You're responsible for shaping hundreds if not thousands of young minds, and ensuring their safety and well being. And as I can personally tell you, sometimes it's a thankless job," Then she offered. "Still, if you should ever need my advice, I'm always available for a chat. And who knows? Maybe if I'm lucky I could find time in my schedule to be a substitute teacher?"

"I'll consider that. But right now, I need to focus on finding out what I need to do to make my dream a reality!" Twilight declared. "Thanks for the talk though, Cheerilee. You've been a big help."

"Don't mention it, Twilight. That's what friends are for." Cheerilee insisted.

The very next day, Twilight was in Canterlot to meet with Princess Celestia and get some more advice on her dream school. Princess Celestia was quite impressed by the idea and expressed her support in no uncertain terms. "A school of friendship sounds like a wonderful idea, Twilight! And if there's anypony who could it pull it off, I'm sure it would be you. I'll be glad to help you any way I can."

Twilight immediately gestured to Spike to start taking notes, and she began to fire off all sorts of questions. "What time does school start every day? What's the ideal length for class? Do you test regularly? What about class projects? How do you do seating? Are you involved with meal planning? Do you give hall and bathroom passes?"

Celestia couldn't help but giggle at her fellow alicorn's enthusiasm. "Twilight, relax. I know you're really excited about opening your own school, but these are all questions that I can't really give the answers to. Besides, you were my star pupil and in many ways you've learned more than I could've ever imagined you would learn. I'm confident you have what it takes to run a school and do it your way."

Twilight shook her head. "I may have attended your school, and I may have tutored students from another school, but that's not the same thing as running an actual school. And after I just got through an entire experience of learning I don't always know what's best for everyone, I don't wanna make that same mistake again if I can help it. Besides, it's not like there's a rule book I can follow," She gave a nervous laugh. "Because if there was it would probably help me a lot."

However, Princess Celestia chuckled a bit before she explained. "Actually, Twilight, there is a rule book. More specifically, the EEA guidebook. It has specific instructions on how to run a school successfully. I'd be happy to loan you a copy."

Twilight blinked. "Wait, there's an actual rule book? And more importantly, what is the EEA? I don't believe I've ever heard of that before," She gulped. "Should I have?"

Celestia lightly shook her head. "Of course not, you've never had to run a school before so you and the EEA have had no reason to cross paths," She displayed a symbol depicting three horseshoes inside a circle seal. "The Equestria Education Association is a board of learned ponies that oversee every school in Equestria. If you want to make your school a reality, it's the EEA you should focus on and not me."

"Really? Even your school is ruled by the EEA? But it's in your name, and I thought you were a princess." Spike commented in astonishment.

Princess Celestia simply replied. "Not even a princess can do whatever she wants, Spike. No one is ever to meant hold absolute power. And when it comes to things like shaping young minds, many ponies feel it's best if princesses like me stay out of decision making. The EEA ensures that whether it's unicorns studying magic, pegasi learning weather, or earth ponies researching agriculture, all schools are held to the same high standards. They'll need to approve your plan before you can move forward," She paused and seemed to hesitate as she nervously cautioned. "The EEA obtains a new head every so often, some are more... difficult to work with than others."

"And I'm guessing the current head is one of them?" Spike questioned.

The princess of the sun let out an unhappy sigh. "I'm afraid so, Spike. Currently, the EEA is headed by Chancellor Neighsay. And let's just say that he has a very 'specific' way in which he sees the world," She turned to Twilight. "Your school isn't going to be for ponies only, is it?"

"How did you know? I haven't even told my friends yet, I didn't want to get their hopes up or risk rumors spreading." Twilight commented in surprise.

"I suppose I've been thinking the same way you have since the Storm King's invasion," Princess Celestia explained. "We have gained many powerful allies, but there is much about the world that they don't know. And just as we can learn from them, so too can they learn from us. The magic of friendship is what brought us all together, and it shouldn't be something confined to us ponies. Even if some feel it should be that way."

"Then I guess we'll need to make some adjustments to the presentation." Twilight looked across to Spike.

Spike waved a claw and scoffed. "After everything we've been through, how hard can that be? Even Neighsay couldn't possibly say no to something like this, right?"

The presentation to the EEA took place a few days later, in a massive domed building in Canterlot. There were few lights, and all the board members sat high above in desks, looking down at all potential applicants.

A lone spotlight shone down on Twilight as she tried not to be intimidated. She cleared her throat, preparing to make the best pitch she could. "Hello, distinguished members of the EEA. My name is-"

"Princess Twilight Sparkle. Yes, we know," A voice spoke up and Twilight's attention was soon drawn to a tall, lanky unicorn stallion clad in a dark red robe. He had a very light grayish-white coat, a dark gray mane and tail, and stern moderate turquoise eyes. "Now please allow me to introduce myself. I am Chancellor Neighsay, head of the EEA. Equestria owes you and your friends a great debt of thanks for your many acts of heroism and bravery. Including the recent defeat of the wicked Storm King and his army."

"Well, I can't take all the credit," Twilight blushed. "We had help from some very unexpected allies. Which brings me to the reason for my visit."

Chancellor Neighsay spoke up. "There is no need to beat around the bush, princess. We all know the reason for your visit, Princess Celestia sent word this morning that you would be here," Then he cautioned. "But regardless of the reputation of you and your friends, the EEA does not do favorites. And princess or not, we here at the EEA expect you to do things by... the... book! No excuses, no exceptions!" He slammed down a heavy rule book to demonstrate his point.

Twilight was deterred but for a moment before she levitated over her own heavy book. "I think you'll find my curriculum meets all your requirements, Chancellor. Even if it is a School of Friendship and not a traditional school."

The board members examined the detailed notes within the pages of the book, and all nodded in approval. It seemed to have been thoroughly crafted and written by an expert on the subject material. "Seems to be in order," Chancellor Neighsay commented. "But can we trust you to follow through on this detailed plan of yours? Can we trust that you and your friends will be available to teach with your busy schedules? I hope you don't plan to leave the school unattended to go galloping off on your little... 'adventures' as it were. Because if so, I'm afraid I cannot grant approval."

"I'm well aware of those concerns, the thought definitely lingered in my mind as I considered the school," Twilight reassured the chancellor. "But I've already lined up several candidates to serve as substitute teachers for any and all classes. The map has been quiet and even if it should flare up again, I've got provisions in place to handle any emergencies. I even hired a vice headmare to take over for me if necessary."

Neighsay nodded his head. "Ah, you've clearly done your homework, princess. I like that. If there's one thing I despise, it's those who come here without a plan and expect me not to notice," Then he questioned. "But why, may I ask, are you so interested in opening a School of Friendship? Especially in Ponyville of all places considering there's already a suitable EEA certified school there?"

"The Storm King's invasion of Canterlot was a wake up call, Chancellor," Twilight warned him. "In order to repel him my friends and I were forced to travel beyond Equestria's borders to recruit allies. The journey taught me many things, one of which is that the threats out there are greater than we imagined! Who knows how many other threats like the Storm King are lurking just beneath the surface?" Several members of the EEA started to speak in hushed and frightened tones of voices as Twilight continued. "If we want to keep our land safe and create a friendlier tomorrow, we need to teach the Magic of Friendship far and wide. Expand it, rather than keep it to ourselves."

Neighsay grinned. "Ah yes, a school for ponies to learn how to protect themselves. I like the way you think, princess."

But Twilight protested. "It's more about respecting differences and fostering healthy relationships, not to mention establishing communications with the outside world. We can't risk being caught off guard again, next time we may not be so lucky," She concluded her pitch by calmly but somberly stating. "My school is what is needed to ensure the future well being of Equestria. I know it's a risk, there's never been a school like it. But it's a risk I think is worth taking."

There was a long and uncomfortable pause as Neighsay let the words slowly sink in. After glancing around the room, the chancellor finally spoke up. "Very well, princess. You make a fine point, and the EEA concurs. Every pony should be prepared to defend our way of life. And what better way to do so than by teaching the very values that hold our society together? So, if your work is all in order, provisional EEA approval is hereby granted. We will need to observe your school up and running before it can be fully accredited, however. Note the date and time, and I shall come round to see the final product for myself."

Twilight bowed her head as she offered. "Then please, join us for Friends and Family Day. It'll be the perfect time to see our progress! And I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you see." And with that, the EEA gave its stamp of approval, allowing for construction of the school to commence.

But as Twilight and Spike left the building, Spike looked at Twilight and commented. "I don't think Chancellor Neighsay was pondering what you're pondering, Twilight. He had a very 'strange' appearance about him, and I don't like it."

"I know, Spike. And I feel guilty for tricking him like that, but he'd never approve of the school if he knew what it involved," Twilight confessed. "I can only hope that when he visits on Friends and Family Day, I can convince him to accept the school for what it is. Not what he wants it to be."

Construction of the school was started soon after Twilight returned from Canterlot. It actually took less time to build than Twilight had been expecting, within half a year the school was finished. It was built into a nearby mountain with a waterfall that cascaded down and split apart, gathering into a large pool. It consisted of two towers and an entire upper level, and hung high above was the symbol. It depicted the six gems that the Elements of Harmony had originally been, all inside of a shield. The inside was a relaxing bluish-green in color for the walls, and an earthly light brown for the floors.

The school was ready to open. But not everyone was excited about it. "It's too much! Too much!" Rainbow Dash complained.

"Ugh, you really think so?" Rarity replied. She wore a modest reddish-brown gown and a pair of dark blue glasses, making her look not unlike a teacher. "I had hoped that dressing the part would help me feel the part."

"No, not your dress, Rarity," Rainbow protested. "This! Us! Teaching?! The Wonderbolts are gonna think I'm an egghead!"

Applejack seemed to share Rainbow's concerns. "Ya know, this time I think you've got a point, Rainbow Dash," And she turned to Twilight. "Not that we aren't grateful, sugarcube, but are you sure you really want us to be teachers? We've never exactly been in a classroom before, well aside from you and Rainbow Dash."

"And I hated it! Teaching is not my forte!" Rainbow grumbled as everyone around her blinked. "What? Twilight's rubbed off on me, the more I hang around her the more I start copying her."

Pinkie Pie just grinned. "Hey, cheer up, Rainbow Dash! Teaching could be fun! In fact, you might say it's a blast!" A shower of confetti poured out of her party cannon.

But Twilight frowned, looking at Pinkie. "Sorry, Pinkie, but the EEA rule book is very clear. No party cannons in class!"

"Awww. Not even a teeny-tiny cannon?" Pinkie commented as she held up a miniature party cannon in her hoof.

"Not even that," Twilight insisted. "If we to get this school EEA accredited, we need to make sure we follow their guidelines."

"Uh, but those guidelines don't sound like they're a lot of fun." Fluttershy nervously remarked.

Twilight sighed. "I know they aren't, but this isn't like one of our big, world saving adventures. We're not doing this for our sakes, we're doing it for the sake of every young mind that walks in through these doors. I promise, once the EEA signs off and makes the school accredited, we can make whatever changes are necessary. In the meantime, we need to do our best to follow the EEA's rules and guidelines."

Spike blinked as he looked at Twilight. "Really? You're gonna suggest that? And you're not the least bit worried? Okay, that does it, just who are you and what have you done with Twilight Sparkle?"

Twilight giggled. "Come on, Spike, you know it's me," She proceeded to tell her friends. "None of you have to teach if you want to, once the school is up and running we can hire ponies to take your place. I've got plenty of notes from Cheerilee and Princess Celestia, but I know they can't make up for hooves on experience. I don't want to pressure any of you into doing this, but it would mean a lot to me if you stayed on. I know it's not some big adventure against the forces of evil, but this could be the most important thing we've ever done. So, are you in?"

"Certainly, darling," Rarity declared. "Mother always said it's healthy to be open to new experiences. Who knows? I might come to like teaching even more than sewing."

Rainbow sighed. "Oh, what the heck? Call me Professor Egghead. I'm in!" Everyone else nodded their heads in agreement.

"Good," Twilight smiled and then started to pace the floor. "Now where is that photographer? It's not like her to be late."

"Photographer?" Starlight Glimmer questioned.

Twilight nodded her head. "I invited the Canterlot Historical Society to take pictures so the school's opening is well documented. I also needed somepony to take yearbook pictures," She glanced up at a clock. "They said they'd send somepony over, and they said the photographer would be here by now. I hope whoever it hasn't gotten lost, I gave them very specific directions to follow."

"Well until the photographer does get here, I suppose now would be a good time to ask why you chose me to be vice headmare?" Starlight asked her former teacher. "I thought I was just gonna be guidance counselor."

"I had planned to give the vice headmare job to Spike, but he refused. You were the next best candidate, Starlight," Twilight reassured her former student. "I know you'll make me proud. Even though you're not technically my student anymore, you never cease to surprise me with all the progress you've made."

Before Starlight had a chance to reply, the front doors to the school burst open and the familiar form of Photo Finish came panting up. "Ach, Princezz Twilight and her friendz. I, Photo Finish, have arrived!" She declared with dramatic fanfare.

"Photo Finish? I didn't know you were with the Canterlot Historical Society." Rarity blinked in surprise.

Photo Finish shook her head. "Ze Canterlot Historical Zociety wishes to apologize for ze absence of their head photographer. They zent me in her place so zat that I could create 'Da Magics'!"

Twilight wasn't concerned, she just motioned for her friends to come closer. "Okay, everyone, let's try to look our best. This is gonna be on record for all time."

But Photo Finish frowned as she stepped forward. "No no, nine! You are ruining 'Da Magics'!" She proceeded to push all the mares around, occasionally yanking on a strand of mane hair (in Fluttershy's case even causing her mane to briefly turn curly and poofy like Pinkie Pie's). "Zere we go!" She declared at last. "Not a hair out of place! Now, zay 'Cheese'!"

"Cheese!" The seven mares (and the dragon) all said at once as the camera flashed.

Photo Finish smiled and bowed her head. "I zhall be back later for ze yearbook photos. But for now, I go! These photos vill not develop themzelves!" She then left as quickly (and mysteriously) as she had arrived.

Rarity couldn't help but be perplexed slightly by this. "I don't know why, but Photo Finish didn't seem to be herself. I don't remember her being quite so... pushy."

"We can't worry about that right now, Rarity. It's the first day of school and we need to be ready to greet our new students!" Twilight firmly insisted.

Unknown to anyone inside the school, "Photo Finish" was actually just a disguise. A disguise that a certain former queen had used to get closed to her sworn enemies. And now that she safely out of harm's way, her eyes glowed green as she dropped her disguise. "Excellent! All too easy!" Chrysalis boasted with a cackle. "I've got everything I need! Soon and very soon, I will have my revenge! And I'll make Twilight Sparkle, Starlight Glimmer, and all their friends rue the day they ever crossed my path!"

Back at the school, the bell rang to signal the start of the school day. And countless ponies and other creatures poured through the doors. Excited chatter could be heard among the young and old alike. All amazed by what they saw.

Twilight quickly flew to the front and cleared her throat, speaking to the gathered crowd. "Welcome to the School of Friendship, students! I'm Twilight Sparkle, and I'll be your headmare," She gestured a hoof. "Please follow Guidance Counselor Starlight to sign in and get your class assignments. Then we can show you your living quarters. Please remember to work hard and not pick fights with other students. Together, we can this environment a place to learn and a place to have fun."

It didn't take long for the students to get in line, but it also didn't take long for some of the foreign students to run into problems. The first of them was a blue feathered griffon with a light yellow underbelly, hints of green on the top of its head, moderate cerulean wings, and moderate azure eyes. "Can't believe I have to be here," He grumbled as ponies stared at him. "What? What are you looking at? You've never seen a griffon before?"

"Gallus? What do you think you're doin'? Stop slackin' off, sonny!" The familiar, raspy voice of Grandpa Gruff called as he walked up to the young griffon, a cane clutched in one of his claws. "These ponies wouldn't shut up until I let one of our own attend this here school, and this way I don't have to watch over ya. Ain't runnin' a daycare center, you know."

Rainbow Dash quickly flew over, greeting the griffon. "You must be Gallus."

Gallus remarked. "You call me that if you want, every griffon in Griffonstone does. I didn't really wanna be here, but Grandpa Gruff made it clear I don't have a choice," He looked up at Rainbow Dash as he commented. "So, you're Rainbow Dash, huh? Gilda told me about you. I gotta say, I kind of thought you'd be... cooler."

Rainbow just groaned. "Very funny, Gallus. Now come on, stop making a scene and get in line."

Just as that crisis was dissolved, the doors swung open with a loud slam! Prince Rutherford eagerly shouted! "Ponies! Prince Rutherford graces you with yak's presence!"

Pinkie Pie rushed up to meet Prince Rutherford. "Hiya, Prince Rutherford. Long time no see," Then she eyed a female yak with moderate olive eyes and pink bows in her long, flowing hair. "Ooh! Who's this?!"

Prince Rutherford smiled as he gestured a hoof. "The pride and joy of Yakyakistan! Prince Rutherford pleased to present, Yona Yak. She come to pony school, eager to make new friends and make school better."

Yona had a bright smile on her face as she stomped forward! "Oh boy! New place! Yak can't wait to meet ponies, and tell all about Yakyakistan! Yona have so much to talk about!" Unfortunately, her long hair proved to be a problem as she tripped over it and started to tumble, knocking a few statues loose. Fortunately, Pinkie was there to snatch them all up before they could fall and shatter.

Yona blushed as she stood up. "Yona need to work on that. But Yona not clumsy."

"Of course you're not," Pinkie grinned. "Now come on, Yona. Classes are about to start. Just watch your step, and try not to break anything."

Pinkie led Yona away just as Ember came by, dragging with her an orange scaled and winged dragon that looked to be the same size as teenage dragons like Garble. Said dragon had moderate orchid spines, and moderate cyan eyes. "But Ember, I don't want to go here! This school is lame!" The dragon frowned.

Ember just groaned as she tugged the dragon along. "For the last time, I'm Dragon Lord and you will do as I say! You're the only dragon I can trust not to burn the whole place down!"

"Don't give me any ideas. Besides, you're not my mom." The orange scaled dragon protested as she blew smoke out of her nostrils.

Ember just sighed. "I'm the closest thing you have to one and you know it," Then she called out. "Oh, hey Spike. Sorry you have to see this. I was hoping for you and Smolder here to meet on nicer terms, but Smolder just wants to be difficult."

"This place stinks of ponies! I don't like!" Smolder complained.

Spike simply came over and offered a claw to the dragon. "Hey, don't be like. I've been raised by ponies my whole life. Heck, the headmare of this school's my mom."

Smolder blinked in surprise. "Wait a second, how does a dragon have a pony for a mom? I thought ponies didn't lay eggs."

Spike just giggled as Ember blushed. "Smolder, you've got a lot to learn about ponies. No wonder you're coming here to this school. You're exactly the kind of creature who could benefit from our classes," He gestured a claw. "If you'll kindly step this way."

"Whatever, just don't get all 'touchy feely' with me. You're not my type." Smolder frowned.

"Great!" Spike spoke up, before he noticed what appeared to be another Smolder. "Uh, am I seeing double? Did you clone yourself somehow?"

But at that very moment an angry Thorax bellowed. "Ocellus, what did we talk about?!" A flash of magic caused the imposter Smolder to disappear, replaced by a grayish-green coated changeling with moderate cyan eyes, a glossy light pink mane, and wings a beautiful two shaded red that were currently tucked to the sides. "I told you to stay in your regular form, no copying other creatures!" Thorax arrived on the scene a moment later, introducing the changeling. "Sorry for the confusion. This is Ocellus, my new student. She's really shy."

"Why? Everyone knows the changelings are nice now, or at least most everyone." Spike questioned.

Thorax explained. "Ocellus was one of the few changelings who actually stood up to Chrysalis when she was our queen. Because of that, Chrysalis did... things to her, things no child her age should ever have to be subjected to," He stood beside Ocellus. "Still, give credit where credit is due, Ocellus didn't give in."

Ocellus nervously greeted. "Um... h-hi. I... uh... don't feed off of love if that's what you're worried about."

Just then, a shrill cry of joy split the air! "Oh my gosh! What is that?!" A light grayish-pink coated bird/pony hybrid creature with a light blue and light grayish-blue mane and tail, and moderate blue violet eyes flew towards Ocellus, prompting the changeling to transform and hide behind Thorax. "Ooh! I didn't know ponies could turn into... um... What are you?"

"A changeling." Thorax told the creature.

"Wow! I didn't know ponies could turn into changelings, I thought it was the other way around!" The bird/pony hybrid exclaimed! "The name's SIlverstream, Queen Novo's niece! Long story short, I'm a hippogriff who used to be a seapony but now I'm a hippogriff, and... oh my gosh, everything is so new and exciting! Are those stairs?!"

A creature similar to Silverstream came walking forward, except he was taller and had a pale, light grayish-indigo coat, a light and pale opal mane and tail, and light aquamarine eyes. "Silverstream, behave yourself! Your Aunt Novo wants you to be on your best behavior!" Then he put a paw up to his chest. "I am General Seaspray of Her Majesty Queen Novo's navy. And as you've just heard, that is Silverstream, the queen's niece. She has never left the confines of her coral reef home before and is quite curious to learn how the surface world works. Please do your best to ensure she stays out of trouble," He glanced at Silverstream. "Not that you ever get into trouble, Silverstream."

"Who me?! Nah, you've got it all! My brother's the troublemaker." Silverstream insisted as she waved a paw.

Twilight simply smiled, watching all the students come forward. "Well I can assure you, they'll be all provided for here and we'll do our best to teach them," To the leaders she suggested. "I hope you'll all join us for Friends and Family Day to see the amazing progress your students are making. Looks like school's in session!"

A month and a half passed, but not all quickly for the students. While Twilight and her friends tried to find a good middle ground between following the EEA's guidelines and doing their own thing, more often they found that friendship and its values weren't really something that could be taught in a traditional classroom setting. And when the teachers couldn't be bothered to get invested in what they were teaching, the students were all but falling asleep.

It didn't take long for complaints to start seeping out, and the five foreign students (who had more or less started bonding over their mutual distaste for the classes) did so in a way that was going to guarantee they'd be overheard. And not by someone they would've expected to ever run into.

Silverstream was the first one to speak out. "Is this some kind of punishment because I spilled squid ink on Aunt Novo's desk one time? This school is so boring!"

"You mean to tell me that these are the same ponies who defeated the Storm King? The heroes of Equestria?" Smolder questioned. "Color me not impressed."

"Given the choice I'd rather be back in Griffonstone, fending for myself on the streets all day. At least then I'd have something to do." Gallus grumbled.

Ocellus nervously commented. "Our teachers are a little bit... different than I expected. I mean, I like to learn, but I don't see how this is supposed to help me 'come out of my shell' as Thorax would say."

Yona loudly complained. "Ugh! Pony school is waste of time, Yona not belong here! Yona should be in traditional yak school! Yak school teach how to braid yak hair! Braiding yak hair is best!" But as soon as she finished speaking she lost her balance and tumbled forward, knocking into Smolder.

Smolder wasn't hurt, but she was annoyed. "Watch it, Yona! Are you always this clumsy?"

"What did dragon say to yak?!" Yona bellowed at the top of her lungs! "Dragon take back what she say about yak this instant!"

"Uh, guys, I don't think we're supposed to be fighting. Our professors wouldn't like it." Gallus nervously commented as he looked all around, afraid of being caught.

But Smolder pressed forward. "So, Yona. Can I ask you something: Is there anything in Yakyakistan that isn't the best?"

"Yes!" Yona shouted loudly, before realizing what she was implying and she quickly tried to correct. "Wait, yak mean no! Er, yak mean... yaks best!"

Smolder laughed. "Really? You got no wings, no claws, and no fire. So tell me, what exactly is it you're proud of again?"

"Whoa, dude, that's not cool," A male voice unfamiliar to the group spoke up. "No need to be harshing on Yona's love for he heritage. What's wrong with being proud of where you come from?"

"Ocellus? Was that you?" Smolder questioned. "Is this another one of your disguises?"

"Uh, I'm over here." Ocellus blushed, revealing that she had not transformed.

The rest of the group, meanwhile, turned to look as an earth pony colt who seemed to be roughly their age appeared before them. He had a pale grayish-yellow coat that looked like sand on the beach, light sea green eyes, a shaggy mane and tail that was a two shaded blueish-green in color, and a cutie mark depicting three turtles.

"You a new student or something? Or have I seen you somewhere before?" Gallus questioned the colt.

The colt blushed as he sheepishly admitted. "I've been here since day one. My name is Sandbar, this is actually the first time I've been to any kind of school."

Everyone else blinked in surprise as Yona commented. "But Sandbar pony, why Sandbar not go to pony schools before?"

Sandbar seemed to nervously massage the back of his neck with a hoof. "I've had a hard time fitting in, it's hard when you don't know anypony. I've mostly just been home schooled, but my parents felt this was the perfect opportunity for me to meet new faces and make some friends," He smiled a tiny bit. "I've been watching you all from afar. I gotta say, you're all quite interesting."

Smolder just frowned. "Well, Sandbar, no one asked you to intervene. Yona and I were just having a little talk. We're both tough creatures."

"Yaks tough, just not nasty. Not like certain other creatures." Yona snarled as she glared at Smolder.

Sandbar stepped forward. "Whoa, whoa, easy! I don't like seeing anyone fight, especially not creatures who are supposed to get along."

"And who says we want to get along?" Smolder snorted. "Maybe dragons and griffons are too tough for friendship? Maybe we're just not friendly enough for your tastes, pony."

The earth pony colt wasn't deterred by Smolder's behavior. "You like to act tough, Smolder, but the truth is you're actually a sweet gal underneath those thick scales. Why do you like to act the way you do? Is it really gonna hurt you to lower your guard?"

"I'm a dragon, it's in my nature to be tough. And since when did you know so much about me?" Smolder protested.

Sandbar grinned. "Like I said, I've been watching you and the others from afar. I think you'd all make good friends if you could learn to not always be so hostile and different to each other," He commented. "I especially think you and Gallus would get along pretty well, Smolder. Same goes for Yona and Silverstream, you're both so much alike. It's almost like looking in a mirror."

"Sandbar really think Yona could be friends with other creatures despite her clumsiness?" Yona questioned.

"They say friendship is one of the most magical things in all of Equestria, so I don't see why not," Sandbar declared with a faint blush. "Now come on, you're all gonna be late for Professor Dash's class. It's gym, the only class in this entire school that isn't boring! I heard we're gonna play buckball today!"

But as Sandbar was leading the other creatures along, they rounded a corner and happened to bump right into Starlight Glimmer. Or at least, it looked like Starlight Glimmer. Her coat color seemed dulled a bit, and her cutie mark appeared to be upside down. "Oh, there you are you..." Starlight paused. "Six?"

"Uh, Counselor Starlight?" Sandbar waved a hoof. "You okay? Did something happen to your cutie mark?"

Starlight nearly jumped back in surprise! "Er... uh, yes. A slight magical mishap, nothing any of you need to worry your little heads over," She spoke in what sounded almost like a condescending, sinister tone of voice. "Now why don't you all come with me?" She gestured a hoof down the hallway.

"Uh, classes are that way." Sandbar corrected as he pointed a hoof in the opposite direction.

Starlight snarled and grit her teeth for a few seconds, then her face slowly morphed into what seemed like a smile. "Yes, I know that. But what you don't know, is that there's a secret short cut that I happen to know about. You don't wanna be tardy for your next classes, do you?"

Ocellus shuddered and her wings bristled. "Guys, I think something's wrong. This doesn't feel right."

But before any of the students had a chance to react, they were suddenly surrounded by a wall of green flames that encircled and ensnared them! Then, who should step forward but Queen Chrysalis herself? "Well done, Starlight Glimmer. It seems I made the right choice cloning you first."

Ocellus let out a gasp! "Chrysalis! I should've known!"

"No! Not the Chrysalis!" Sandbar gulped! "I heard stories about her, but I thought Headmare Twilight and her friends defeated her. Twice no less."

Chrysalis snarled and grit her teeth. "They may have knocked me down, but I'm not out! And you six will play right into my plan to humiliate Twilight, Starlight, and everyone else who dared to humiliate me! You'll make fine prisoners!"

"And you think we'll just go along with you? Because if so you've got another thing coming, Queen Cheeselegs!" Smolder declared as she took a deep breath and unleashed a breath of fire! But although it made Chrysalis jump back, it didn't do anything to stop the green flames that held the six students and prevented them from escaping.

"I'd love to stay and chat, but I've wasted enough time here!" Chrysalis firmly insisted. "You six are coming with me whether you like it or not!" She proceeded to make the green flames envelope them, forcing them down through the ground before she sank into as well and disappeared. "Come and get me, Twilight Sparkle! I'm waiting for you!" She thought with a sinister grin.

But Twilight was currently facing her own problems. It was Friends and Family Day, and just as he had promised Chancellor Neighsay had shown up to conduct his inspection for EEA accreditation. His calling card was a magic portal of what appeared to be blue flames. And in the tangelo glow of his magic he held a clipboard and a quill.

Twilight nearly jumped in surprise. "Chancellor Neighsay! You're here! Er... I mean, of course you're here!"

The chancellor nodded. "Indeed I am, princess, as we previously agreed upon. And you seem rather unprepared, not a good first impression," He wrote a few things down on his clipboard. "I couldn't help but notice you were unusually vague about the nature of your school. That doesn't fit with your detail oriented nature. Is there something you're not telling me?"

"Who me? What would I have to hide? Everything is being done in accordance with EEA guidelines, I assure you." Twilight insisted with a nervous laugh.

"It had better be for your sake, princess," Neighsay cautioned. "I have no patience for those who waste my time."

Twilight waved a hoof. "Relax, Chancellor, everything is under control. I can't wait to show you around. If you'll kindly follow me," She led Neighsay along on a tour of the school, taking great care not to elaborate on who was attending. But she was surprised when Rainbow Dash suddenly came flying up to her. "Rainbow Dash! Why aren't you in class teaching?"

The brash pegasus spoke up! "Because some of my students are gone!" But when she saw Chancellor Neighsay, she quickly corrected herself. "Er I mean g-gone somewhere else. You know, loyalty lesson. A sort of field trip. And-and I was just going to grab, uh... this pencil! Because they need it. Wherever they are. Which I know, 'cause... I'm the teacher! Nothing to worry about."

"Yes, I see," Twilight nervously replied and turned to Chancellor Neighsay. "Well, Chancellor, we have lots of other classes on other aspects of friendship. So why don't we just-"

But Neighsay, sensing that something was up, simply protested. "By all means, let's follow the professor wherever she may be headed. I'm quite curious about this lesson in loyalty she spoke of."

"Right..." Twilight slowly commented and turned to Rainbow Dash. "Uh, lead the way."

Rainbow gulped (a detail that did not go unnoticed by Neighsay). "Uh... sure... this way, please."

Twilight, meanwhile, opted to explain more about the school to Neighsay. She didn't yet know about the missing students or where they were, but she knew that if one of her friends couldn't find them it was going to look bad in the eyes of Neighsay. "Of course, we want to instill a sense of loyalty towards others. We encourage acts of generosity and kindness, so that students can work together and learn to get along. Laughter and magic are key classes as well, a good learning environment needs to educate the students and make sure they enjoy their time here. And of course, we strive to teach them that it's important to be honest in any situation."

Neighsay looked up from his clipboard. "Yes, honesty is one of the most important virtues. So tell me, princess, are we going in circles? It feels like we are."

"Oh, would you look at the time?" Twilight quickly answered, avoiding the chancellor's question. "Let's just head out to the lake for Friends and Family Day. I'm sure all the students and faculty will be there."

But when Twilight arrived at the lake, she found all the leaders of Equestria's allies yelling and shouting all at once at her friends. Even Sandbar's parents did not look happy. And soon Twilight knew why. "Our student is gone!" They all said at once!

"What?!" Twilight gasped in horror.

"It's true," Starlight glumly confessed to Twilight. "I've looked all over the school and I can't find a trace of them anywhere. Those six students have vanished."

Twilight's eyes grew wide! "But, how?! How could that happen?! Who could've done such a thing?!"

Meanwhile, Neighsay's eyes fell upon the leaders of the other nations, and he was anything but pleased! "What is the meaning of this?!" He bellow at the top of his lungs. "What are you all doing here?! I thought school was for ponies only, as it should be!"

The young alicorn rushed up to the chancellor, hoping to calm him down. "I invited them, Chancellor Neighsay. My school never was just for ponies. A school of friendship should be open to everyone and anyone, not just those who share our thoughts."

"You lied to me!" Neighsay accusingly gestured a hoof.

Twilight stomped her hoof down and glared into Neighsay's eyes! "You're right, I did! Because I knew you would never sign off on the school if you knew from the start what it involved! I couldn't let you ruin my dream, my chance to make a lasting contribution to Equestria!"

"And yet you've invited these dangerous creatures here, to our very doorstep!" Neighsay snorted as steam billowed out of his nostrils.

"Dangerous?! Do you even hear yourself, Chancellor?!" Twilight questioned. "Have you forgotten all they did for us?! The hippogriffs came to our aid when the Storm King attacked, the yaks and the griffons are some of our best trading partners, and the dragons and the changelings have given us valuable information we never could've achieved on our own."

Neighsay wasn't convinced. "Yet it was the changelings who attacked us not once but twice! The yaks and dragons have threatened to go to war with us in the past! Even the griffons and the hippogriffs never lifted a paw to help us until we begged and pleaded for them to do so! You claim your school teaches friendship, so answer this, princess: How do you know that these creatures won't take what they have learned here and use it against us?"

"Because that's not how friendship works!" Twilight protested to the chancellor. "Friendship isn't just for ponies!"

Neighsay simply snorted. "It should be. If it were up to me, it most definitely would. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are fools to trust these nations, because I certainly don't."

The stallion's comments were, needless to say, not received well by the leaders. Prince Rutherford was the first to voice his displeasure. "Unicorn think yaks no need friendship? Well maybe yaks no need pony school! Maybe Yona better off without pony school, when ponies find her!"

"Then perhaps maybe you should return to your kind." Neighsay insisted as he pushed Prince Rutherford away.

Ember's eyes narrowed. "'Your kind'?! That's it, I'm officially pulling Smolder out of this school when you've found her! She's better off at home, at least the other dragons wouldn't tell her she doesn't belong here."

Grandpa Gruff walked away next. "Well this place seemed lame anyway. When you find Gallus, make sure to tell him he's to come right home to Griffonstone. No ifs, ands, or buts."

"Mark my words, ponies, Queen Novo will hear about this!" General Seaspray angrily cautioned. "And she'll be anything but pleased. We entrusted you with ensuring her niece's well being, but it seems you have again betrayed our trust."

Thorax was the last to depart. He said very little, but his look of shame and sorrow spoke volumes. "It's okay, it was probably asking too much for everyone to accept the changelings so soon," He sighed. "I hope you find Ocellus. But I think she's going to come home with me, that way I can make sure she's safe."

Twilight immediately spun around to face Neighsay when all the leaders had left (Sandbar's parents didn't speak a word, but it was clear from the looks on their faces that they were not pleased). "Princess Celestia helped me reach out to all of those kingdoms, Neighsay. And now you and your big mouth have ruined years of carefully crafted diplomacy. She won't be pleased."

"I simply stated what many ponies besides myself believe," Neighsay declared. "If Princess Celestia has a problem with that, she can take it up with me. The same goes for any other princess. I didn't get to where I was because I played nice and bent to the will of princesses," Then he added. "Besides, even if we put aside who was attending your school, the school itself was a disaster! I've seen some sorry excuses for public education in my time, but yours takes the cake!"

"Neighsay, I think you're being a little too harsh." Twilight pleaded.

Neighsay was not persuaded for even a second. "Am I? It occurs to me that even though you did talk with Cheerilee, you made little effort to consult with her after constructing this school, and the same goes for Princess Celestia. Your friends are not qualified in the least to be teachers, despite the experience you think they have. Even your former student is ill fitted to serve as a vice headmare, let alone a guidance counselor. And not only did six of your students vanish, one of whom happens to be a pony, but you did not know about this. Nothing is more important in the world of academia than ensuring the safety and well being of the students, which includes knowing where they are at all times!"

"But Neighsay-" Twilight protested.

The chancellor shook his head. "I've seen enough, princess. Not only will your school not receive EEA accreditation, it will not be allowed to continue to operate," He lit up his horn after touching a brouche on his robe. A series of magic, blue colored chains enveloped the school, with a magic padlock appearing on the front doors. "By the power invested in me as head of the EEA, I, Chancellor Neighsay, am shutting this school down!" He stomped his hoof down as he finished that sentence.

All Twilight could do was gasp and whimper, her dream had been shattered before her very eyes. And all she could think was. "Where did I go wrong?"

Author's Note:

Now we're into the Season 8 rewrites, and coincidentally four of them involve the season premiere and season finale.

"School Daze" is definitely a hard to defend premiere in light of all the missteps of Season 8. Many people still say the school was a terrible concept that never should've been implemented. And the student/young six are lackluster replacements for the mane six/seven/eight that we've come to focus on.

Admittedly, this two parter did seem like it was addressing (or trying to address) a lot of complaints people had about the concept going into it. But there are still problems with it beyond what it leads into. The biggest of them is Twilight glossing over her friends concerns and insisting they do things by the book, even after she's told that this isn't working. While it's a nice change up from the usual two parter formula of Twilight freaking out or becoming obsessed, it doesn't paint her character in the best light.

The student six's introductions are alright, but Sandbar is just thrown in without any establishment before hand and it would take until "The Hearth's Warming Club" to even reveal where he lived or that he had a family. And even then we still never learned why he's attending the school.

I decided to introduce Sandbar later on, and implement the very first thing of Season 8 that was shown to fans: Queen Chrysalis in disguise. I'll explain more in part two, but I have a sneaking suspicion that her return in Season 8 was originally meant to be in the season premiere, before the school was ever dreamed of (of course it's all just speculation, I have no sources to confirm or deny this).

The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well (Redo)
Ponyville Confidential
Daring Don't (Bonus Chapter)
Dungeons And Discords
Once Upon a Zeppelin (Bonus Chapter)
School Daze Parts 1 and 2
The Maud Couple
School Raze Parts 1 and 2