• Published 21st Nov 2019
  • 5,167 Views, 123 Comments

Lost Faculty - FanOfMostEverything



Starlight realizes she's about to inherit a school with no teachers. It's not that she doesn't panic. She just panics productively.

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A Class Struggle

Starlight Glimmer was a pony of many facets: Charismatic leader, supportive friend, daring mage...

Right now, she was showing the facet best known as "nervous wreck," pacing behind the desk in what she still thought of as Twilight's office in the School of Friendship. "Come on, come on, where are they? Don't they know how important this is?" She glanced at the other being in the room. "And don't you even start."

Phyllis waved her leaves in a chiding yet conciliatory way. Or maybe that was just the air currents from Starlight's motion.

"Right. You're right. I'm headmare now. I need to be strong. Confident. The rock upon which the school can stand."

The door opened, and Starlight's gaze darted to it in a way almost entirely unlike a rock. "You wanted to see us, Starlight?" Sunburst said as he and Trixie entered the office.

"Finally!" Starlight cleared her throat and drew herself up to proper, rocky dignity. "I mean, yes. Yes I did. The rest of the faculty is retiring with Twilight. As much as they can retire when they're focusing on their other jobs, anyway. Do you realize what this means?"

Trixie gasped in delight. "We'll be running our own school! With blackjack! And snooker!"

Sunburst hummed to himself. "I've never played blackjack."

"Don't worry, Trixie has." Trixie extracted a deck of playing cards from the depths of her hat and began shuffling them in increasingly elaborate ways.

Sunburst moved to the opposite side of the desk from her, eyes bright with the chance to learn something new. "When?"

"Grandpa Greedy Pot always made Hearth's Warming fun." Trixie gave one last riffle shuffle, lifted her hooves to reveal nothing there, and pulled the entire deck out from behind Sunburst's ear. "Now, Trixie is the dealer, which allows her to draw two cards—"

"What did Greedy Pot do?" said Sunburst.

Trixie rolled her eyes. "Obviously, he—"

"Hey!" Both turned to see Starlight glaring at them. She magically grabbed Sunburst by his cape and all but threw him next to Trixie. "I called you two in here for a reason. Trixie, you can bilk Sunburst out of his dignity later."

"Trixie intends to." Trixie leered at Sunburst. "She likes her stallions naive and helpless before her."

Starlight raised an eyebrow. "I seem to recall your preferences running along different lines."

"Trixie repeats," Trixie repeated, expression unchanging, "she likes her stallions naive and helpless before her."

"Do I get a say in this?" said Sunburst, looking back and forth between the two mares.

"No," said both.

"Oh." He thought about that for a moment. "I probably shouldn't be okay with that."

Starlight rubbed her temples. "Sunburst, we can work through your thing for powerful mares later. Right now, we need to find replacements for literally every actual teacher on the staff or we're not going to have a school in the fall."

"Don't we have more faculty than that?" said Trixie. "Sweepy Belle, Scuttle Loom, and Apollo?"

Starlight gave her a flat look. "They are literal foals, Trixie."

"Bah. Trixie was younger than them when she first set out on her own. At a school, no less!"

Sunburst tilted his head back in thought. "Hang on, were you the one crying for her mother that first night in the dorms at CSGU? I heard the wails all the way from the next building."

"That might not have been Trixie."

"Guys? Again, we need options here." Don't mind control your friends, Starlight, she told herself. You wouldn't get any ideas you didn't give them first. And it would be wrong.

Trixie stepped forward, sweeping back her cape and holding her head high. "As you know—"

"Why say that if we already know?" said Sunburst.

That got him a glare that could peel paint. "As Starlight knows, Trixie has already acted as a Great and Knowledgeable teacher here when Twilight and her friends went on that bogus friendship mission. Why don't we bring in the other substitutes?"

"Well, Maud might work," said Starlight, "but Spitfire only came in because she owed Rainbow Dash a favor. And Discord's suggestions..." She shuddered. "No. Just no."

"You could call in the other candidates for vice headmare," said Sunburst. "They may have been poor fits for an administrative position, but they could still teach."

Starlight shook her head. "Octavia wants to focus on her own career, Spoiled Rich is Spoiled Rich, and Big Macintosh..." She winced. "I know they say they don't hold grudges, but I still indoctrinated Sugar Belle into a cult and I still hit Big Mac with Logorrhea Sesquipedalia."

Sunburst raised an eyebrow. "You mean Lengthy Lexicon's Enforced Erudition?"

"Spells sound cooler in Pony Latin!"

He rolled his eyes. "Maybe if you say them correctly. You sound like a Harriet Pinto book."

Starlight reared up and slammed her forehooves onto the desk. "Oh, you want to talk Harriet Pinto? Which one of us was living in a giant crystal wizard hat a moon ago?"

A sharp whistle made both turn to Trixie. "Hey. Nerds. You can nerd-flirt later. We're getting off-topic, and if Trixie has to be the one to get us back, you know it's bad."

Starlight blinked. "That's both true and unusually self-aware of you."

"Trixie is aware of her faults. She just ignores them most of the time."

"That's more like it. Well, at minimum we can at least see if Dr. Whooves is willing to teach science. Anything else?"

Trixie winced. "Trixie hates to say it, but if we know what will happen if we don't at least consider Discord himself."

Uneasy as it made Starlight, she had to nod. "I'll ask Fluttershy to ask him, but I don't expect a yes. After the Battle of the Bell, he might at least try to keep the students sane, but I doubt he'd enjoy sticking to a regular schedule or predetermined syllabus."

"We could certainly lend a hoof in the classroom," said Sunburst, "paperwork permitting."

Starlight looked at her inbox. Sure, there wasn't much in there now, but it was late July. "That's a pretty big condition."

Silence fell on the office for a few moments, broken by a thoughtful hum. "You know," said Trixie, "it's not like Celestia and Luna are doing anything..."

"Luna's still watching over ponies' dreams," said Starlight. "Celestia... How about we give her more than a moon of retirement before bothering her?"

"Trixie doesn't consider an entire moon of doing nothing a very enjoyable retirement."

"I hope the mare who raised the sun and moon for a millennium is a bit more mature than that."

———

Sunset Shimmer fidgeted. "Um, Princess—"

Celestia held up a hand. "Not anymore, dear Sunset."

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter, either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

———

Trixie sighed. "Well, Trixie's out of ideas."

Sunburst adjusted his glasses. "We could always ask the others."

"Oh. Huh." Starlight nodded. "Yeah, that is an option."

"It almost feels anticlimactic," said Trixie.

"Not everything needs to escalate to the brink of disaster before we learn a friendship lesson." Sunburst looked to each of the mares. "Really, as teachers at the School of Friendship, shouldn't we have moved past that sort of thing?"

Starlight sighed. "You'd think. Remind me to tell you about the time Rainbow Dash and Applejack competed with one another to be voted Teacher of the Moon. On a related note, I'm dropping the Teacher of the Moon vote."

"What!?" Trixie reared back, cape billowing. "How dare you deny the students a chance to voice their favor and shower the greatest and most powerful faculty members with the accolades they deserve?"

"Counselors aren't eligible."

"Oh." Trixie dropped back down on all fours and nodded. "Yeah, dropping the pointless popularity contest's a good call."

Sunburst looked back and forth between the two of them, looking as bemused as Starlight felt. "So, shall we go ask?"

Starlight nodded. "Let's."


Applejack was the perfect pony to start with, easy to find and close by. By this point late in the morning, it was just a matter of heading to Sweet Apple Acres and listening for the impacts of hooves on trunks and apples in baskets.

She'd smiled as they came to her, at least until they explained the situation. "Shoot. Didn't mean t' leave ya in th' lurch."

"It's entirely understandable," said Starlight.

"But it still means we're down a professor of Honesty." Trixie glared at Starlight after getting nudged. "Well it does."

Applejack nodded. "It does. No use sugarcoatin' it. I'm guessin' y'all came here 'cause ya want my picks for a replacement."

Starlight managed to keep her nod at sub-Pinkie speed. "It would be very helpful. We're... kind of out of ideas."

"And we should probably have more than half a dozen teachers anyway," added Sunburst. "Not the best ratio to students at the moment."

Applejack shrugged. "Well, it ain't like me or th' others short o' Twi are gonna be in Canterlot full-time. We'll be able t' lend a hoof if'n ya need us."

Starlight gave a sad smile. "Just not on a regular basis."

"True." Applejack heaved one of the baskets onto a waiting cart. "Walk with me, y'all. I do my best thinkin' while I'm workin'."

She didn't say anything for a few more trees. Further nudges ensured Trixie didn't interrupt her thought process, though Starlight had to admit she was growing impatient as well. Just as she was about to say something herself, Applejack spoke. "Ain't exactly easy t' pick who I'd want in my place. Couple names come t' mind, but I don't wanna impose on 'em."

One of Trixie's eyes started twitching. Before she could fully process her frustration, Starlight gave Applejack a wide smile and said, "Hey, we'll be the ones imposing. Just tell us who your picks are."

Applejack's mouth twisted in uncertainty, but her eyes widened when she looked in Trixie's direction. Starlight kept herself from looking through willpower alone. Whatever Applejack saw, it got her talking. "I know Rara will love th' chance to spend plenty o' time with schoolponies if she ain't busy recordin' some new album."

"Uh, who?" said Trixie.

"I wasn't aware Rarity recorded music," added Sunburst.

"Rarity? No, I meant—" Applejack shook her head. "Right, that was a mite bit before Starlight turned over a new leaf. Y'all ever heard o' Countess Coloratura?"

Trixie made several noises that sounded more like a choking ferret than anything a pony might make.

Sunburst frowned in thought. "Is she famous?"

Starlight considered her own patchy knowledge of Equestrian popular culture. "The name does sound familiar."

"You. Know Countess Coloratura," said Trixie, disbelieving eyes on Applejack. "You."

Applejack grinned. "Know 'er? Filly, for a while she was my best friend. Trust me, if I ask, she'll come if she can. She loves workin' with young'uns, and she's got plenty o' experience being true to 'erself and what happens when she ain't."

Starlight smiled in kind. "That's wonderful!"

"That's unbelievable," said Trixie. "What's next, Sapphire Shores walks your dog?"

"Nah, you'll wanna talk t' Rarity 'bout Sapphire."

Trixie all but vibrated with repressed anger at that. As she stuffed her hat in to her mouth to muffle the screams, Sunburst said, "What happens if Coloratura can't come?"

"Good point." Applejack tapped her chin as she thought. A few moments later, she nodded to herself and said, "Tell ya what, make Plan B Autumn Blaze."

Starlight looked to Sunburst, who shook his head. "Uh, which pop singer is that?" she asked.

Applejack's muzzle crinkled in amusement. "Nah, Autumn's more musical theater."

"If you're seriously telling Trixie that you have Bridleway connections, she's not going to muffle the next one."

"Nah, that's Rarity again."

"Foal of a—!" Starlight shoved the hat back in.

"Autumn's more off-off..." Applejack stomped a hoof half a dozen times before settling on "Way off-Bridleway. She's a kirin, only one what had th' guts t' be true to 'erself when all th' others sealed away their emotions."

"That sounds... disturbingly familiar," Starlight said as she tried to ignore the new pit in her stomach. "I think we'll want to contact her first. Plus, it'll be good to have some nonpony representation in the faculty as well as the student body."

"It's good t' see y'all out gettin' fresh air." Applejack swept a glare from Starlight to Sunburst. "You two've been cooped up in that school fer weeks. Don't be strangers now; y' know we're here t' help with more 'n pickin' out substitutes."

Starlight nodded. "We will. Thanks, Applejack."

"Wouldn't hurt t' get out fer th' sake o' gettin' out neither." Applejack nodded to Trixie. "One thing Trixie gets right is usin' th' legs she was born with."

"Trixie chooses to interpret that as a compliment," said Trixie, who'd finally managed to extract her hat.

"Besides, all y'all could stand t' get closer with most folks in Ponyville. Yer runnin' a School o' Friendship; go make some friends!"


After taking the scenic route—which was to say actually traversing the physical distance involved rather than simply teleporting—the trio found themselves at Fluttershy's cottage just in time for lunch.

"We wouldn't want to impose," Starlight had said.

"Trixie would."

And so the three of them told Fluttershy what they were dealing with over sandwiches and tea in her living room.

"Oh." Fluttershy looked into her teacup for a few moments. "I'm terribly sorry, but between Twilight and the sanctuary and—"

"We understand why you're doing this, Fluttershy," Starlight said soothingly. "We just wanted to see if you had any suggestions for a replacement professor of Kindness."

"Well..." Fluttershy bit her lip. "You have asked Discord, right?"

A bite got stuck in Starlight's throat at that question. She choked it down and gasped out, "We're getting to it. Eventually."

"Don't do me any favors."

Starlight blinked, then very slowly looked down into her teacup. Trixie sometimes read tea leaves, but even Starlight could tell where this was going. Which was why she went slowly.

Still, she eventually looked into...

Tea. Huh.

"What are we looking at?" Discord said from right behind her.

"Gah!"

He wafted about the table like a silk scarf in a breeze. "In any case, don't worry, I've had my fill of academia for the century, heroic or otherwise." There was no doubt a reason for the baggy, green jumpsuit he'd conjured onto himself, but Starlight knew better than to ask.

"Well, the question's open to both of you," said Sunburst, bless his heart. "Any ideas for who can fill Fluttershy's position?"

Discord vanished and reappeared next to Fluttershy, knitting something out of Sunburst's suddenly elongated goatee. "Well, the Smooze could... Wait, no, the vacant crystal eyesore is right there. He'd probably consume the place, and then it's Dream Valley all over again." He considered the scarf he'd made, depicting a castle with pink walls, blue-topped towers, and purple slime everywhere. "He always swore he'd never end up like his father, but there's no need to rub the temptation in his face." The scarf vanished, leaving Sunburst desperately feeling his chin.

Trixie cleared her throat, which she'd kept occupied with lunch up until now. "O... kay. Disturbing allusions to the Paleopony Period aside, any other ideas?"

Discord shrugged. "I'm afraid most of my address book is either in this room or specializes in other Elements of Harming Me. The rest consists of beings who'd be better suited to attending those classes than teaching them, assuming they didn't try to atomize the place."

"Tree Hugger might work," said Fluttershy, "but I don't think she'd like a structured, academic setting very much. She's more about personal, one-on-one exploration of the soul."

"That's certainly one way of describing her," Discord said with a snort.

A memory came to mind. "Don't you have a brother?" said Starlight.

"Absolutely not," Discord and Fluttershy chorused, and her tone was even harsher than his. She went on to add, "Letting Chrysalis out of the statue and hiring her would be a better idea than making Zephyr a teacher."

More thoughts came together. Starlight brought a hoof to her chin. "Hmm..."

"Um, I wasn't actually suggesting—"

"I know. But you've given me an idea." Starlight got out of her seat and made for the door, Sunburst and Trixie scrambling to follow her. "I'll need to write to Thorax. We can bring the feelings forum to the School of Friendship."

"Oh." Fluttershy gave an uncertain smile. "I'm not entirely sure what that is, but it does sound nice."

"It will be. It will be."

As Starlight left, she couldn't help but hear Discord grumble, "Now why can't I get away with that kind of casual menace anymore?"


"Hmm..." Rarity hmmed.

Starlight didn't say anything. She'd learned it was best not to interrupt the intricate engine that was Rarity's thought process, lest the whole thing collapse into ice cream-fueled melodrama mourning lost inspiration.

Also, she was wearing a half-assembled dress, which meant she was surrounded by pins held in Rarity's magic less than an inch from her skin. She wasn't entirely sure how she'd gone from knocking on the Boutique's door to serving as a living ponnequin, though she suspected some form of time magic. Regardless, one wrong word and Rarity's concentration wouldn't be the only thing that suffered as a result.

Finally, after several adjustments that presumably made a difference in Rarity's eyes, the designer said, "This is tricky, isn't it?"

Trixie looked up from the hoofball magazine she'd been reading in the boutique's waiting room. "The dress?"

Rarity gave Starlight a look that spoke volumes of both praise and commiseration. "No, that's going quite well."

"If you say so," said Trixie, muzzle already back in the issue of Tackling Up.

The next look spoke more of eventual pain and suffering before mellowing out. "I am referring to the position we've put you in, Starlight, and for that I apologize. But the fact remains that Twilight has expressly asked us to lend our aid. Not that we wouldn't offer it in a heartbeat, of course, but one does not simply deny a royal request."

Starlight nodded. "Totally understandable, like I've been telling the others. But that still leaves us without a professor of Generosity."

"Indeed, and most if not all of my contacts are so thoroughly enmeshed in the fashion industry that they wouldn't be much help themselves." Rarity sighed. "Even the local up-and-comers I helped push into the business are all occupied. If not in my stores then in Hoity Toity's. Or, well, Rarity's."

Sunburst frowned from next to Starlight, where he was similarly trapped in a partially made tuxedo. "Um..."

"The human Rarity," said the pony Rarity as she turned her attention to him, or at least microadjusting his outfit. "Technically, she's still working for that world's Prim Hemline, but we're working on that. And Coco, why, you can barely even say her name without feeling exhausted yourself. That mare must cover half of Manehattan on a daily basis."

"Can—" Starlight eeped as a pin grazed her and tried not to flinch into six more. "Can you think of anypony who isn't occupied?"

Rarity hmmed again, looking up at nothing as she thought. "I am a bit overspecialized, aren't I?" She jutted out her lower lip in a way that Starlight had learned to never point out. "Although..."

"Although?"

"Prior to Twilight opening the school, Big Macintosh and I were part of this delightful little a capella group, the Ponytones. I can't guarantee they'll go along with the idea, but I can certainly get in touch with Torch Song and Toe-Tapper. They know a thing or two about harmony in every sense of the word." Rarity gave a rueful grin. "And goodness knows they put up with a great deal from a member of the group who had to keep gallivanting off to answer the call to adventure."

"That'd be a huge help, Rarity," said Starlight. "Thank you."

"On the contrary, darling, thank you. I'd been letting them drift away until now; most unforgivable of me." Rarity snagged a dozen more tiny metal skewers and started moving them into position. "Now hold still, this is the dress's tricky bit."


The sun was going down by the time the garments were fitted to Rarity's satisfaction and the trio was able to leave the Boutique.

"It's a lot smoother today," Sunburst said, watching the shadows move without any of the jerkiness from earlier in the week.

"Twilight is a quick learner."

Trixie snickered. "Or she asked Celestia to take it over again."

Starlight swatted her with her tail. "Be nice."

"Trixie is merely proposing logical scenarios based on the evidence before her."

By the time the trio got to Sugarcube Corner, Mrs. Cake was replacing the pastries in the display case with fresh ones for the small but growing Ponyville night shift. "Why, hello!" she said. "What brings you all in so late?"

"Is Pinkie in?" said Starlight. "We need to talk to her about filling her position at the school."

"She said she'd be expecting company. You can just go up to her room."

Starlight had seen Pinkie's cupcake penthouse before. She knew to expect decorative touches that took Sugarcube Corner's gingerbread house aesthetic to its logical conclusion. She knew that the staircase occassionally went down, doors came and went, the place was bigger on the inside, and investigating any of that was a good way to drive herself insane.

She didn't know it came with blackout curtains and a spotlight, and yet when she opened the door, Pinkie sat at a low table in a circle of light surrounded by impenetrable darkness. At least, that was probably Pinkie in the fedora and trenchcoat. "Glimmer. I've been expecting you."

"Uh..." Starlight stepped inside. She heard the others follow... and the door slam shut behind them. An orange light began to build, presumably from Sunburst's horn, but it cut out with a pained gasp. Starlight swallowed against the lump in her throat, doing little against it. "Good evening, Pinkie."

Pinkie gave a neutral grunt and pulled a silver cigarette case out of her trenchcoat. "If you say so." She opened it with a flick of her hoof, selected a lollipop, and stuck it in her mouth with no sign of enjoyment.

"Is all of this really necessary?"

"You're trying to get me back in the game, Glimmer." Pinkie leaned back, forelegs behind her head in a way that hurt to even look at. "I told you I wanted out. If you want to drag me back in, we've gotta play by my rules."

Starlight sighed. "I'm not asking you back, I just wanted your input on who would make a good professor of Laughter."

"Oh!" The curtains on every window snapped up even as the unseen spotlight switched off, bathing the room in the late sunlight. "Why didn't you say so?"

"Was it really necessary to flick my horn?" said Sunburst.

"Trixie may not like the pink one, but that doesn't mean she'll let some rube ruin a good bit."

"Yes, but was it necessary to flick my horn?"

Starlight rolled her eyes. "So if you have any suggestions—"

Pinkie produced a passel of personnel packets. "I may have a few ideas."

"Remind Trixie again why we didn't just ask the pink one to help with all the staffing issues?"

"That would have been too easy, silly! You're already skipping the part where you panic until you learn the friendship lesson." Pinkie punctuated that with a glare at Sunburst.

"Um... sorry?"

She shrugged. "Eh, your way probably works better when no one's watching."

Starlight knew That Which Pony Was Not Meant To Know when she heard it. "So! About those staffing suggestions!"

"Certainly!" Pinkie flipped open the first folder to a dreadfully familiar blue stallion. "The first one that comes to mind is Party Fa—"

Starlight snapped the folder shut with her magic. "Not Party Favor."

"Are you sure? He's already your friend."

"Pinkie, I'm barely comfortable with going to Sweet Apple Acres since the wedding. I'd really rather not have a former Ourtowner as a direct subordinate."

"Okay, if you're sure. But if you want to keep a party pony presence in the school, then there's really only one option." Pinkie opened a different folder and smiled as wide as the photo therein. "Cheese Sandwich!"

Trixie gasped in horror, rushing to Starlight's side. "Cheese Sandwich? The Cheese Sandwich?"

"Well, definitely not a cheese sandwich." After a moment, Pinkie added, "Unless Discord made it; that might work."

Sunburst moved to Starlight's other flank. "What's wrong with Cheese Sandwich, whoever he is?"

"Whoever he..." Trixie's mouth moved silently for a few moments. "Cheese Sandwich is a legend among traveling entertainers! He makes Ponyacci look like Mudbriar!" She turned back to Pinkie. "You can't force that sort of free spirit to settle down. It'd be like pinning an exotic butterfly to a display case."

Starlight nudged her. "You turned out alright."

"Trixie did not settle down. Her show is merely on indefinite hiatus."

"Don't you worry your Great and Powerful head," said Pinkie. "Cheese and I have plenty of experience with keeping his spirits up. Besides, new classes every period will be like the different towns are coming to him! You know, unless Cheesy Sense triggers." She shrugged. "But hey, field trips!"

One of the dossier folders that had gotten jostled to the edge of the table in all the excitement chose that moment to fall onto the floor. That might not have been a big deal had a golden hoofband with a diamond the size of a peach pit not slipped out of it in the process, clanking against the floor like a poorly thrown horseshoe.

All four ponies stared at the jewelry for a moment. "Pinkie?" Starlight said gently. "Do you have any ulterior motives in suggesting Cheese Sandwich?"

Pinkie's grin took on an air of desperation. "Maaaaybe?"

Starlight patted her hoof and smiled. "Well, we can use all the help we can get. Good luck."

The tension released so fast that Starlight could almost hear it. "Thanks! You too."

"Yeah, tracking down Rainbow Dash is going to be a bit complicated."

"Oh yeah, and that."

Starlight might have asked what else Pinkie had meant, but she was getting dangerously close to her maximum daily Pinkie exposure and felt it best to end the conversation there.

As the three unicorns left Sugarcube Corner, Trixie said, "Trixie envies the pink one and is not sure how to feel about that."

Starlight nodded. "I know how you feel."


Getting in touch with Rainbow Dash was tricky, not least because of all the duties that had made her resign from her professorial position in the first place: Practice, Wonderbolts shows, the occassional bit of volunteer weather-work, tortoise care, and what she cryptically referred to as "fan club duties."

Even when Dash wasn't busy, she still usually wasn't at ground level, whether that meant in her house or just napping on a cloud somewhere. Starlight was only able to spot her doing the latter the next day at lunch, and only Trixie was with her, Sunburst having stayed at the School to contact all of the prospective new teachers.

"Rainbow! Hey!"

Nothing. Starlight turned to Trixie, who was still focused on what she called a salad and what most ponies called an ocean of peanut dressing with the occassional bit of greenery poking out. She was the only mare Starlight knew who ate salads with a spoon. A nudge and a nod towards the cloud got a smirk in return, along with a magical firework launched directly over Rainbow.

"Gah!" Dash thrashed, reducing her napping cloud to shreds of mist before realizing she was in public. She then proceeded to hover and wave like that had been her plan the whole time. "Hey girls, what's up?"

Starlight wrapped herself in her magic and pushed against the planet. Autolevitation came into play a lot when dealing with Rainbow Dash, even when the goal wasn't trying to ruin her destiny. Once Starlight was at Dash's eye level, she said, "Right now? You. Care to join the rest of us?"

"Ugh, fine," Dash said, rolling her eyes. "But only so you don't cast that dumb butterfly wing spell on Trixie again." She spiralled down to their table at Le Pâturage.

Trixie turned up her nose at the landing mare. "You're just jealous that Trixie performed feats of aerial dexterity that made your precious Wonderbolts look like a bunch of spandex-wearing chickens."

Dash changed course so she could sneer at Trixie from point-blank range. "More like I don't want you clinging to my tail and crying for your mom again."

Starlight sighed as she got back into her seat and telekinetically pulled apart the giant blue egos, all but tossing Dash into a vacant seat. "Trixie, behave."

"Trixie makes a point of treating ponies how they deserve to be treated."

"The only reason Rainbow Dash isn't a princess is because she doesn't have a horn."

"Not yet, anyway," added Dash.

Starlight gave her a look half as nasty as the one she then directed at Trixie. "Behave."

Trixie just rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to slurping up her salad.

"So I'm guessing you called me down for the whole 'professor of Loyalty' thing?" said Dash, leaning back in her chair.

Starlight blinked. "You heard?"

"Yeah, AJ brought it up last night at dinner."

Trixie smirked over her bowl. "Oh really?"

"Oh, you're one to talk." Dash tilted her head towards Starlight.

"Trixie won't even pretend she doesn't know what you're talking about." She draped a foreleg over Starlight's withers.

After a beat, Dash shrugged her wings. "So, you want my picks for who should take my place?"

"Precisely," said Starlight. "Though we actually did have a few promising ideas for your position. Do you think Spitfire will be available?"

"Well... She'd definitely be willing. She's gotten a lot more comfortable working with foals since that time in Cloudsdale." Dash's uncertainty gave way to wide-eyed excitement. "I didn't even need to whip up any distraction tornadoes for her last time!"

Starlight tried to make sense of that and, as with most Wonderbolt-related concepts, completely failed. "I have several concerns."

"It's a long story. Point is, the captain's willing, but not able. 'Cause she's, you know, the captain."

Trixie nodded. "Your precious jumped-up bluebirds may not impress Trixie, but she can still recognize the amount of work that goes into all that choreography. Especially in three dimensions."

"You're telling me. I have to do that choreography."

"Trixie wishes to reinforce the point that she isn't impressed."

Dash groaned and turned back to Starlight. "Point is, Spitfire's not going anywhere for the next few years at minimum. Plenty of life left in those wings. Even if there weren't, I'm pretty sure she's waiting for somepony to get between her and Soarin' in the chain of command. He's a good stallion and a great flier, but nopony wants him leading the 'Bolts, him included. Though if you ask me, I think you should just stick with the Crusaders."

"Maybe after they've grown up a little. Without using the last petals of a wishblossom."

"Hey, Scoots is more responsible than both her parents combined."

Starlight gave Dash a flat look. "I was there during the whole Crusader Appreciation Festival thing. That really isn't saying much."

"Your loss. Still, I'd hate to leave you hanging like this. Let's see..." Dash tapped her hooves against the table as she thought. "Who else would work... Gilda's still doing her best to drag Griffonstone out of a dark age single-taloned, and Lightning..." She winced. "Yeah, half of our letters are swears, and that's going in both directions."

Trixie nodded. "Trixie is familiar with that sort of friendship."

"I got it!" Dash leapt into the air and stayed there. "Spitfire's not available, but I can still get you a Wonderbolt. Thunderlane's more disaster relief than demonstration; they won't miss him too much. Plus, he's already knocked some sense into his little brother."

Starlight blinked. "Sorry, Thunderlane?"

"Dark grey stallion, not the brightest scarf in the string, seven out of ten," said Trixie.

Starlight turned to her. "How do you know that?"

"Audience participation. Trixie never forgets a volunteer."

Dash crossed her forelegs. "You forgot he's a pro athlete and can cook."

"Eight out of ten, then. Trixie still prefers unicorns."

"Well, he'll be there to teach, not to date," said Dash.

Trixie smirked at Starlight. "The two aren't mutually exclusive."

Starlight just rolled her eyes. "Thanks, Rainbow."


Twilight was at once the easiest and the hardest member of the faculty to contact. There was no doubt as to her whereabouts, but actually getting to her...

"This is highly irregular," said the royal seneschal, scowling at her clipboard.

"It's a scholastic emergency, Ms. Inkwell." It took all Starlight had not to trot in place, especially after she'd already restrained herself from teleporting directly into the throne room. Of course, the last time she'd tried that, she'd gotten dogpiled by a dozen guards. Still, so close, and yet... "I'm sure Her Highness will want to know about it immediately."

Raven adjusted her glasses with the air of loosening a sword in its scabbard. "Knowing Princess Twilight, you are likely correct, but what she wants and what she needs are two very different things."

Starlight sighed and, not for the first time, wished she'd brought Sunburst and Trixie for this one. But somepony had to help the new teachers acclimate to the school as they came in. "Please, I just need the one question answered and I'll be out of your mane."

"There are many things in my mane at the moment, Miss Glimmer. Right now, I would appreciate it if you could pick a different day to tangle yourself in it."

"I keep offering to help you optimize the schedule," said a third voice.

"And I keep telling you, Your Highness, I..." Raven trailed off and turned to see Twilight poking her head out of the throne room, smiling at her. On anypony who hadn't saved the world a moon ago, it might have been a smirk. "Your Highness."

"Raven."

"We're in the middle of a court session."

"We seem to be in a bit of a lull." Twilight nodded at the notable absence of other ponies in the entrance hall. "I was going to see if we could get something else done with the time, but I couldn't help but notice one of my friends had come to see me. During court hours." World saved or not, that was definitely a glare. "When I gave explicit, written instructions that they be given priority."

Raven met her gaze unflinchingly. "Putting the Princess of Friendship on the throne has already sparked countless rumors of nepotism running rampant, Your Highness. I simply wanted Miss Glimmer to follow the proper channels to keep those rumors from worsening."

"Raven, those rumors were sparked when I got my wings. Pardon my bluntness, but they're going to persist for as long as Celestia's reign remains in living memory. Ponies fear change; it's equine nature. Right now, Equestria has lost the symbol of stability and continuity it has known for over a millennium. I realize this has meant a great deal of work for you, especially given Kibbitz's choice to retire with Celestia and Luna." The glare reached levels Starlight had only seen after shooting herself in the hoof with an especially bad idea. "And your refusal to appoint an assistant."

"Your Highness, I am more than capable of—"

Twilight held up a forehoof. "We can continue that argument later, Raven. The point is that neither you nor I nor Starlight needs you venting your frustration on her. And that's what you're doing."

After a moment, Raven coughed into a fetlock and said, "May I speak frankly, Your Highness?"

The frown melted away into a serene smile that Celestia had definitely taught Twilight. "Always."

"I prefer Celestia's method of providing vague bits of wisdom that I only understand a few weeks later at the earliest."

"I see. And how often would she provide you with them?"

Raven tilted her head in confusion. "Every two or three moons. Why?"

"Imagine a decade-long lesson plan consisting of nothing but."

"That explains so much," said Starlight.

Twilight nodded. "Come on in, Starlight."

The throne room was... well, still under reconstruction. Even after Twilight had delayed her coronation, the millennium-old majesty of the place wasn't easily restored. Few of the stained-glass windows had been replaced, the throne was currently one of Twilight's favorite reading chairs borrowed from Namepending Castle, and flaws in the shadows on the back wall made Starlight suspect it was actually an illusion cast over plywood.

Still, Twilight settled into her makeshift seat of power with all the grace and dignity of Celestia on her best day. "I believe your exact words were 'scholastic emergency'?"

Starlight nodded. "Everypony left the School of Friendship along with you. We need a professor of Magic, and I don't think I can handle it and headmare duties at the same time. Frankly, I have no idea how you managed both."

"With support from you and the others. Still, you're making a wiser decision. Any ideas?"

That got a helpless shrug. "I wouldn't be coming to you if I didn't need your help."

"Much wiser." The royal mask slipped a little, enough for Twilight to give a sheepish smile. "Looking back, it's a miracle we didn't run the place into the ground."

Starlight chuckled. "I wasn't going to say anything, but..."

"I do have a few potential candidates in mind. Just a second." Twilight lit her horn, and a vast spherical array of lines in all manner of colors and thicknesses popped into being, layers upon layers moving within one another like Discord's orrery. It vanished just as quickly, and Twilight gave a satisfied nod. "Moondancer has studied pretty much everything under the sun, including friendship. It's about time that she puts it all to use."

"What spell was that?" said Starlight.

"A compatibility matrix Cadence taught me. Just..." Twilight's ears folded back as she looked away. "You know, checking on something."

"Really, now? I'm not terribly familiar with Princess Cadence's spellwork, but I can make some guesses..." Starlight let the sentence trail off and left the rest to Twilight's imagination.

Scant moments later, she broke. "Okay, look, Moondancer is a case of 'There but for the grace of Celestia go I.' Literally. If Celestia hadn't sent me to Ponyville, I could've easily become as much of a shut-in as she did for a while."

Starlight tilted her head. This wasn't what she'd expected. "Okay, so?"

"So, if she ended up in a relationship with Sunburst, odds are they'd end up in a marathon study-cuddle session until at least one of them died of starvation. It's a big part of why I never made any advances on him." After a moment, Twilight added, "That and your unresolved feelings towards him."

Yikes. Even Twilight can tell. Out loud, Starlight said, "Can you even starve to death?"

"He can, and I don't want that on my conscience." Twilight looked away and muttered, "No matter how impressive his study skills are."

"So we're clear with Moondancer?"

"In theory, though you may want to pop the question sooner rather than later."

Starlight blinked. "I'll... get back to you on that."


Starlight sat in a chair that was finally starting to feel like hers, deep in thought.

Sunburst poked his head into the office, a look of concern on his face and several sheets of paper in his magic. "Uh, Starlight?"

"Sunburst! I was just thinking about you. Remind me, when did we schedule the wedding?"

He blinked, the paper bobbing in the air as his concentration wavered. "I, uh, believe your exact words were 'a week after we get our collective horse apples in order.'"

She slumped down onto the desk. The desk still felt like Twilight's. "Right, so never."

Sunburst walked up to her and kissed her on the cheek. "Personally, I estimate the end of the next semester."

"That's a nice thought."

"And..." Sunburst cleared his throat. "Well, Trixie's offer of just going to the mayor's office and filling out the group marriage certificate stands. She even offered to have her mother come down from Canterlot to witness it."

Starlight shook her head, a bemused grin on her muzzle. "I still can't believe Trixie is in favor of the option with the least spectacle."

"She's also planning a ceremony with enough fireworks to count as military action, but that's for everypony else."

"Mostly our parents."

Sunburst nodded. "Mostly our parents." He gave a warm smile. "Knowing we're with you officially is for us."

"I may just take her up on it." Starlight took a deep breath and let it out as one long sigh. "Sorry, Twilight left me with more to think about than she realized. Anything wrong with the new teachers?"

"Not... exactly." All of the tension that had drained out of Sunburst came flooding back in. "They're all fitting in quite nicely, and there aren't any immediately apparent interpersonal issues."

Starlight frowned. "I'm sensing a 'but.'"

"Well, part of the way the School of Friendship was able to open and operate before the EEA assessed it was through some... creative accounting." He shuffled the papers, sprinkling the floor with confetti. "Very creative accounting. See, Twilight and the others all had alternate income, and even you've been drawing from a 'royal student' stipend."

The frown deepened, as did the pit in Starlight's stomach. "What are you saying?"

"Nopony's ever gotten paid to teach here. We don't actually have a payroll."

"Ah. Well. I see." Starlight slammed her face into Twilight's desk and did her best not to collapse the building.

She settled for screaming.

Author's Note:

I would apologize for Greedy Pot, but that would imply I regretted it. Besides, I've been trying to find a place for him for a year and a half.

Stomping seems like the appropriate pony counterpart to counting on your fingers.

Rainbow Dash really did make a distraction tornado in the comics so Spitfire could get out of interacting with foals. Yes, sabotaging the weather factory wasn't even the first time Dash personally imperiled Cloudsdale.

The Ponyville crystal tree palace will forever Namepending Castle in my heart. It's not like they ever called it anything else beyond "Twilight's castle."

No one refused the call, since this is both an incredibly prestigious position and, again, it's not like they actually need any qualifications. Of course, nopony told them the last teachers worked pro bono.

And Startrixburst is an incredibly fun dynamic to work with. They deserve each other, and I mean that in every sense of the phrase.

Comments ( 123 )

Rated Teen for more risqué innuendo than the show could get away with.

Heheh, nice.

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter , either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

Always bad when then parent moves in with the kid

Starlight didn't say anything. She'd learned it was best not to interrupt the intricate engine that was Rarity's thought process, lest the whole thing collapse into ice cream-fueled melodrama mourning lost inspiration.

At least she manages to burn all those excess calories

"Trixie did not settle down. Her show is merely on indefinite hiatus."

I'd be rather disappointed if she didn't resume touring during summer vacation

"The only reason Rainbow Dash isn't a princess is because she doesn't have a horn."

You'd think being able to do sonic rainbooms on demand would qualify

Gilda's still doing her best to drag Griffonstone out of a dark age single-taloned,

Yeah, because Gabby's too busy feeding Spike her cherries ;p

I thoroughly enjoyed this fic. I loved loved loved the 'Startrixburst' dynamic and all the perfect little details strewn in on how the system works (or, y'know, doesn't work). Also, Twilight's line "Looking back, it's a miracle we didn't run the place into the ground." made me chortle. Very fun story! Thanks for sharing!

Sunset Shimmer fidgeted. "Um, Princess—"

Celestia held up a hand. "Not anymore, dear Sunset."

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter, either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

Y'know, that retired princess stipend could do wonders to change Sunset's mind.
I'm not opposed to shipping either :pinkiecrazy:

That was a hilarious story, their dynamic's just spot on and Twiggles reaction was wonderful.
Now I'm just curious how Starlight's going to deal with the budgetary concerns, to put it lightly.

A sharp whistle made both turn to Trixie. "Hey. Nerds. You can nerd-flirt later. We're getting off-topic, and if Trixie has to be the one to get us back, you know it's bad."

Starlight blinked. "That's both true and unusually self-aware of you."

"Trixie is aware of her faults. She just ignores them most of the time."

Oh yeah. That's some good Trixie.

I'd quote at least 20% of the story if I tried to pick highlights, so I'll just put in a thumb and a favorite. Excellent work, wonderful dynamics all around.

"Don't worry, Trixie has."

Anyone who actually plays Trixie in cards with a deck she produced deserves exactly what they get, nevermind letting her be the dealer.

You wouldn't get any ideas you didn't give them first. And it would be wrong.

But it would be so easy...

Anyway. To be honest with all of their busy schedules I really don't know how the Mane-6 were ever teachers in the first place, and it was the only serious problem I ever had with the School of Friendship. Pinkie Pie at least seems like she could quit her job at the bakery to be a teacher and/or continue being Pinkie Pie and do whatever she wants because she's Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy's time is basically her own to do with as she pleases, and Twilight as she lacks any real Princess responsibilities basically has nothing BUT free time...

...but Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity? None of them should have been able to perform their jobs and be teachers at the same time. Not if they want to also sleep, anyway.

Like, normally I'm fine with suspending my disbelief, but not really when the writers are all but looking me in the eye and saying "this cannot possibly make sense, but don't let that bother you."

Autumn Blaze

I definitely support this choice.

"Absolutely not," Discord and Fluttershy chorused

I really do love how there really is one pony for whom Fluttershy has basically no patience, and Zephyr is that pony.

Torch Song and Toe-Tapper

I...guess? Wow, Starlight really doesn't have a whole ton of choices available, does she?

"Trixie may not like the pink one, but that doesn't mean she'll let some rube ruin a good bit."

THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

Cheese Sandwich

See, I can't help but feel that, like with my issues with the Mane-6 taking up workloads, this is just kind of backsliding. Like, Applejack learned all the way back in Season 1 not to take on too much work at a time, and then she goes and gets herself a teaching job which any teacher will tell you is the OPPOSITE of what you should do if you don't want too much work.

And the same thing with Cheese Sandwich. He learned he has to be a free spirit wandering Equestria rather than tied to one place, but now he's just going to apparently backslide into a school position. I hear Pinkie's justification for it, but, well...

"Not yet, anyway," added Dash.

:trixieshiftright: "Whereas Trixie was once queen of an entire prosperous nation! Trixie-1, Rainbow Dash-0."
:rainbowdetermined2: "I seem to recall you literally begging me to get you out of that gig."
:trixieshiftleft: "Trixie recalls no such thing."

Moondancer

I can see it.

We don't actually have a payroll

Ooooof course not.

This was fun. I liked it.

Love this story. It’s going into my head canon.

Don't mind control your friends, Starlight, she told herself. You wouldn't get any ideas you didn't give them first. And it would be wrong.

“And it would be wrong“ is the second reason, lol.

Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation.

Yeah, I can see her reduced to squatting. Not out of necessity, of course.

He'd probably consume the place, and then it's Dream Valley all over again.

Daddy Shoggoth got no love.

Starlight knew That Which Pony Was Not Meant To Know when she heard it.

She’s developed the Sgt. Shultz defense against eldritch horrors, she sees NOTHING! NOTHING!

Can you even starve to death?

I think if you denied her access to books, she would wither and die.

Ri2

This was wonderful.

Seriously though, how are they going to deal with the budget?

Clearly, Greedy Pot's special skill allows him to re-explain obvious game mechanics to ponies, even if they should already know them.

You somehow manged to completely sell me on the name Namepending Castle. It's just the right amount of stupid that it completely works. I now pretty much always refer to it by that name.

As for the School of Friendship, I have now idea how the damm thing even exists in the first place. Who paid for the construction? And there's no way the Mane 6 would have been able to juggle teaching AND their already full time jobs, at least, not without irresponsible use of time magic...

Phyllis waved her leaves in a chiding yer conciliatory way. Or maybe that was just the air currents from Starlight's motion.

Given that this is Equestria, it could genuinely be either one... and it's the former that makes more sense.

Not everything needs to escalate to the brink of disaster before we learn a friendship lesson.

Fanfiction of children's shows will usually make more sense than the original series because its writers actually care about making sense. Unless they don't and you end up with thirty Hs as your entire title and still have that be the sanest part. (Yes, that's a real fic.)

"In any case, don't worry, I've had my fill of academia for the century, heroic or otherwise." There as no doubt a reason for the baggy, green jumpsuit he'd conjured onto himself, but Starlight knew better than to ask.

I understood that reference, even if it took me a couple seconds.

A nudge and a nod towards the cloud got a smirk in return, along with a magical firework launched directly over Rainbow.

Aside: one of my headcanon scenes has Trixie stealing Usopp's "I used to lie a lot more" speech and then unveiling an entire battery of fireworks built into the school, which is then used to repel... well, bonus points if it's an Ursa but it doesn't really matter so long as it actually warrants that kind of force.

I like how you took time to make logical picks and work in the things we see in the last episode. Working as a Teacher does seem to fit on getting Cheese to settle down in Ponyville with Pinkie, and Autumn Blaze was a great call, getting Kirins out of isolation. As for accounting why not Silver Shill? Also yes I also think Luna would keep Dream walking while Tia went almost full retirement, speaking engagements on occasion.

"Don't we have more faculty than that?" said Trixie. "Sweepy Belle, Scuttle Loom, and Apollo?"

Starlight gave her a flat look. "They are literal foals, Trixie."

"OH NO SHE DIDN'T!"

Scuttle Loom was approaching her late sixties, and yet it was only Sweepy Belle's supreme earth pony strength, remarkable grip on her tail, and some incredible anchoring that kept her from charging into the headmare's office, slapping Starlight silly, and punching her into next week (literally, thanks to a time travel spell). And she was still digging at the floor strong enough to leave gouges in the crystal with her bare hooves.

"DOES SHE HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO HAUL AN ENTIRE LOOM ACROSS EQUESTRIA?!" roared Scuttle. Her voice hadn't diminished in the slightest in her old age. "IT HAS DIRT IN PLACES YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE! I ONLY DID IT AT PRINCESS TWILIGHT'S REQUEST! I AM GOING TO KILL THAT STOT!"

"Fcuvvuh, yuh muh tuh cuh duh," opined Sweepy around the tail in her mouth.

"AND THEN I'M GOING TO LEARN NECROMANCY SO I CAN BRING HER BACK TO LIFE SO I CAN KILL HER AGAIN! AND AGAIN! AND AGAIN!" Scuttle's horn buzzed like a swarm of angry hornets and light bent around it in peculiar ways.

"Upuu'u, Uh muh suh huh," said Sweepy.

"Yes, some angry rants aren't worth watching," said the Greek god. A small fraction of divine power, and Scuttle's strength and magic left her. She slumped limply to the ground as her horn winked out. She was still vocal, unfortunately.

"I'm not a foal! I'm more than twice as old as her! I was going to teach Loyalty!" Scuttle screeched. "And she turns me down because of a clerical error she can check with her eyes! You think I brought that loom here for fun?! I had a perfect metaphor of how threads reinforce each other, and- I AM GOING TO LEARN PLANESWALKING! I AM GOING TO LEARN PLANESWALKING SO-"

"Scuttle, we're all disappointed," said Sweepy. "That doesn't mean murder is the answer."

"-I CAN GO TO ANOTHER DIMENSION AND SUMMON HER THERE AND-"

"She's gone past murder," said Apollo. "And if she must overreact, I approve; problem-solving via murder is so banal and cliche."

"-LEAVE HER TRAPPED THERE FOREVER!" Scuttle banged her hooves on the ground one last time, panting heavily.

"Scuttle, Apollo came here from another world after Princess Twilight jumped through all sorts of hoops to get him, and you don't see him complaining about being called a foal."

"I might've come to this realm anyway," admitted Apollo. "My father's powers are largely good for shapeshifting bestiality. You can imagine the awkwardness when he brings home his latest one-night stand. Every day. For centuries."

Sweepy tilted her head, her ears twitching like gears were pushing them. "...Not really, no."

Scuttle and Apollo both inched away from Sweepy.

"I mean, really," Sweepy said with a shrug, "if-"

"Perhaps we should go inside anyway?" Apollo said hastily. He pointed at the door. "Perhaps our letters simply got lost in the post."

"No," snapped Scuttle. Still lying on the ground, she pointed angrily at the door. "I am not going to work for somepony who can't even double-check her applicants. Did she learn her managerial skills from a sunblasted blender?"

"Very well," said Apollo. "I can understand that sentiment, at least. Then shall we find something to do? This is quite the lovely little town."

"I saw a bakery on the way in," said Sweepy. "Let's get cupcakes." She leaned over to look Scuttle in the eye. "You wanna get some cupcakes?"

Scuttle sighed and stared at the ceiling. If looks could kill, the school would've been a radioactive wasteland by now. Then she said, "Yeah."


Charming. We need to see more Trixie-Rainbow competitiveness.

Sunset Shimmer fidgeted. "Um, Princess—"

Celestia held up a hand. "Not anymore, dear Sunset."

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter, either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

You know how things work, Celly. Either pitch in with the rent or you get pitched out.

Still a hilarious story nonetheless. I love Starlight's reaction at the end of everything. It seemed entirely appropriate

"Hey, Scoots is more responsible than both her parents combined."

Harsh. It's totally fair to criticize them over priorities, or maybe calling them irresponsible parents (even if I personally think it's debatable). But this makes them sound like they're lazing around like teenagers and Zephyr Breeze, or are distracted by bright objects like children and Pinkie Pie.

I'm not sure how to feel about the group marriage idea. I can definitely see the dynamic between Starlight and Trixie, or Starlight and Sunburst (myself being a believer of much more the former). But even though I see Trixie and Sunburst as friends, I don't see that kind of desire between them. And although I'm not a counselor or any kind of expert, isn't the idea of a group marriage loving each other, and not just having a common link with one person? That seems closer to a harem for an anime protagonist. I actually regret making that joke, I don't think anything you've written comes anywhere close to being as bad as a harem anime/light novel. I just thought the polyamourous angle to their relationship came out of the blue.

"If you say so," said Trixie, muzzle already back in the issue of Tackling Up.

Not sure if risque fashion or if Trixie brought a clop magazine to Rarity's shop. That sounds like BDSM monthly.

Starlight shook her head, a bemused grin on her muzzle. "I still can't believe Trixie is in favor of the option with the least spectacle."

That's a healthy attitude towards marriage.

"She's also planning a ceremony with enough fireworks to count as military action, but that's for everypony else."

Considering that I don't think the Royal Guard have any material explosives that doesn't take much... I wonder if she got Tempest on board for it.

Tempest for gym teacher?

9953584
“Tackling Up” is hoofball, what you’re thinking of is a letter off with “Tacking Up.”

A nice bit of silly fun in answer to one of the many outstanding questions left by the finale. Still, this got me thinking as to what Discord actually could do for a career, and I think I have the perfect idea: Game Design. He has the imagination and the experience, both IRL and in O&O, presumably. And roguelikes are very popular these days. What's more chaotic than an entire world that scrambles itself every time the player fails?

9953603
yeah, I missed the l in that when I read it.

Back in the first scene I wondered who was flirting with who and suspected the answer was ‘yes’... and then we end in confirmation that they’re not only already together but engaged. It’s a great dynamic, I want more of it.

Though personally I go Starmaudtrix. I wonder what it is about Starlight that draws poly shipping.

I always love when Applejack’s childhood in Manehattan comes up. There’s a lot of potential there that normally gets ignored.

Discord, you don’t get permission to use casual menace until everyone is mostly sure you won’t casually cause a disaster. Not doing it out of malice doesn’t count for this purpose.

Trixies casual seething jealousy of Applejack and Rarity’s contacts is hilarious.

I LOVE Pinkies bit there. Good on Trixie for keeping the mood. I thought for a moment Pinkie was channeling eldritch powers of absolute night for purposes of dramatic lighting.

Only being MOSTLY sure the fedora-wearing pony was Pinkie... in her spying on everyone back in the villain days did she stumble on the secret of the continuing mirror clone?

Celestia bumming on Sunset’s couch is SUCH a thing that should happen. Does Principal Celestia know her dopple is in town?

9953472
It’s a perennial problem.

Sunset Shimmer fidgeted. "Um, Princess—"

Celestia held up a hand. "Not anymore, dear Sunset."

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter, either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

Yup. That's definitely how Celestia would spend most of her retirement. :rainbowlaugh:

Right now, she was showing the facet best known as "nervous wreck," pacing behind the desk in what she still thought of as Twilight's office in the School of Friendship. "Come on, come on, where are they? Don't they know how important this is?" She glanced at the other being in the room. "And don't you even start."

Phyllis waved her leaves in a chiding yet conciliatory way. Or maybe that was just the air currents from Starlight's motion.

"Right. You're right. I'm headmare now. I need to be strong. Confident. The rock upon which the school can stand."

Oh come now Glim-Glam, you're already channeling Twilight's neurosis and Pinkie's crazy. It's like a third of the Elements never left.

Sunset Shimmer fidgeted. "Um, Princess—"

Celestia held up a hand. "Not anymore, dear Sunset."

The scowl Sunset had been holding back broke out in full force. "Okay. Hey squatter, either go home or get a job. Either way, get off my couch and my GameStation."

Princess Celestia, not only are you squatting, eating Sunset's food and using up her valuable air, you're also interrupting her cuddle time with her favorite purple, glasses-wearing snuggle pillow. Its not like there are separate rooms in her loft to keep you from hearing them when they're having "late night study sessions".

Discord vanished and reappeared next to Fluttershy, knitting something out of Sunburst's suddenly elongated goatee. "Well, the Smooze could... Wait, no, the vacant crystal eyesore is right there. He'd probably consume the place, and then it's Dream Valley all over again." He considered the scarf he'd made, depicting a castle with pink walls, blue-topped towers, and purple slime everywhere. "He always swore he'd never end up like his father, but there's no need to rub the temptation in his face." The scarf vanished, leaving Sunburst desperately feeling his chin.

Trixie cleared her throat, which she'd kept occupied with lunch up until now. "O... kay. Disturbing allusions to the Paleopony Period aside, any other ideas?"

Its true. You just don't tempt addict with their vice like that.

Starlight had seen Pinkie's cupcake penthouse before. She knew to expect decorative touches that took Sugarcube Corner's gingerbread house aesthetic to its logical conclusion. She knew that the staircase occassionally went down, doors came and went, the place was bigger on the inside, and investigating any of that was a good way to drive herself insane.

That's the problem with applying nth dimensional math that incorporates zorth axis cartography into your building's architecture.

"Nopony's ever gotten paid to teach here. We don't actually have a payroll."

"Ah. Well. I see." Starlight slammed her face into Twilight's desk and did her best not to collapse the building.

She settled for screaming.

Awww, its okay Glim-Glam. Just let the madness take hold. You'll find you life is much easier if you just give in.


Well, you had me cackling like a mad-being with this. Thanks for the morning pick-me-up.

Delightful! :pinkiehappy:

"Nopony's ever gotten paid to teach here. We don't actually have a payroll."

Behold! The premise for a sequel!

9953682
Unfortunately, the next story is locked in as Ditzy Doo's Adventures in Bablovia. Because you need a spectacle for the big one-oh-oh.

Wrong Red-Black faction, Harold.

Quiet, Opera.

Tagging 9953617 because I'm pretty sure they'd appreciate the joke.

This was a hoot! I'd never considered that the others might retire from their professor positions alongside Twilight—with the Council of Friendship only meeting once a moon, it's not like it was a major addition to their schedules. Still, I understand the rationale, and it made for a really fun premise!

Not only was it hilarious throughout, but having a bit of a trip down Memory Lane was also nice. Just seeing all of those characters' names again as they discussed their replacements brought me the best kind of nostalgia. You did great with this one! Thank you so much.

Actual footage of Trixie playing Blackjack with Sunburst.

Also, our own school with blackjack and snooker needs to be remembered.

And Trixie likes her STALLIONS naive and helpless before her... again, the perennial problem of wanting to quote the entire story.

Why didn't I ever think of StarTrixBurst? It's just so perfect...

Well, I hope the school goes well for all involved. This sounds like a wonderful group.

You know, unless Cheesy Sense triggers." She shrugged. "But hey, field trips!"

"Please let this be a normal field trip," Gallus pleaded.

"With the Cheese?" Smolder replied.

"No way!" the classroom chorused.

"Well... She'd definitely be willing. She's gotten a lot more comfortable working with foals since that time in Cloudsdale." Dash's uncertainty gave way to wide-eyed excitement. "I didn't even need to whip up any distraction tornadoes for her last time!"

COMICS! COMICSCOMICSCOMICS *cough*

Anyway, this was a good read and a look at the future. Notably heavily headcanon heavy, but you know, that's just what you do. :raritywink:

There were a lot of things I wanted to comment on, but uh, only the above thing actually prompted me to jump, hit quote, and jump down here. All the others kept piling up until I forgot half of them.

Strange, how this feels almost, like the show when I read it, but then there's a thing here and there that tells me its clearly not. Hmm...

...Nah, I don't have time to try to make something like this show-style...

-GM, master of hiccups.

Hopefully, being able to talk to other Kirin has gotten Autumn Blaze to mellow out a little. Otherwise, it's going to be quite a pain for the students to try and take notes on whatever she's talking about.

Also, I both dread and look forward to what will happen when something makes her go nirik.

So many fun details, as is typical of your works. I especially liked Pinkie's "your way probably works better when no one's watching". Good job addressing a conundrum that has yet to be explored much in fanfic so far (at least that I've seen).

There is nothing about this story of which I do not approve. Sure hope Starlight can figure something out for the whole payroll issue. Great job as always.

I’m surprised Star Swirl wasn’t brought up. He went on a big personal quest to understand friendship and the finale shows he succeeded when he contributed to the Ultimate Rainbow Of Doom.

"Eight out of ten, then. Trixie still prefers unicorns."

...Thou hath no taste, mare. Nothing beats a mare with a nice pair of beautiful wings.
...Though coupling the wings with a horn does nothing to detract from their beauty... Luna is proof of that much...

Surely Celestia’s been on the job long enough to have a pension. Or perhaps currency exchange still hasn’t been worked out.

"Don't you worry your Great and Powerful head," said Pinkie. "Cheese and I have plenty of experience with keeping his spirits up.

And that's how Little Cheese was conceived

What no Daring Do? Now she's no longer adventuring and apparently the writing gigs gone south she should be able to teach geography, history and literature.

As soon as Starlight gets the school running right.. instant Alicorn. Cause I definitely think it's an ascension worthy deed.

"Trixie is aware of her faults. She just ignores them most of the time."

Trixie to a T, all right. :rainbowlaugh:

Trixie made several noises that sounded more like a choking ferret than anything a pony might make.

Sunburst frowned in thought. "Is she famous?"

*choking ferret noises intensify*

Trixie sometimes read tea leaves

But just how many of her predictions are in any way accurate? :trixieshiftright:

"Trixie did not settle down. Her show is merely on indefinite hiatus."

Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Trix...

...thus far I've only commented on things pertaining directly to Trixie...darn it, Trixie, stop upstaging the others! :rainbowlaugh:

"Hey, Scoots is more responsible than both her parents combined."

This I will not argue. I mean, it was great to even get to meet her parents at all, but that episode really wasn't doing them many favors on the quality of their parenting skills.

"In theory, though you may want to pop the question sooner rather than later."

Starlight blinked. "I'll... get back to you on that."

Not even gonna be subtle about it. Okay then. :rainbowlaugh:

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Ask Twilight for a raise. A big one. :rainbowlaugh:

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Having been a die-hard Magic School Bus fan back as a kid, I approve of both of these comments. :pinkiehappy:

This was very fun to read! I must admit the ship at the end was... surprising (I prefer boring, two-partner heterosexual ships myself), but getting there was a treat! You got the character voices and personalities down perfectly, and their banter was a great deal of fun to read. I also liked the ponies you picked as substitute teachers--had almost like a "next gen" vibe to it.

Now you have me questioning my own writing a little, trying to figure out how to make the prose, not just the scenario, interesting!

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(I prefer heterosexual ships myself)

There are two different heterosexual ships in a mixed-gender threesome, so you're in the clear! :trollestia:
(Trollestia is there because the obvious center of the threesome is not the member of the outnumbered gender)

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Cruisin' on down Mane street you're relaxed and feelin good!...

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Amended my previous comment for clarity.

I just find certain relationships to be a little more difficult to read than others, though I try really hard to be supportive. Chalking it up to personal failings. :twilightsheepish:

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Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography...

Unlike Prof. Jones she won't be bored in her civilian life. It is, after all, Ponyville.

Delightful. As several others have said before me. :pinkiehappy: And you caught me in a quoting mood, with an eminently quotable fic... oh dear...

"Guys? Again, we need options here." Don't mind control your friends, Starlight, she told herself. You wouldn't get any ideas you didn't give them first. And it would be wrong.

She's been working on remembering the "it would be wrong" part. It still doesn't occur first, but it's at least made it onto the list now.

I was going to quote the Sunset moment here, but so many people already have that there's nothing left to say...

"Oh." Trixie dropped back down on all fours and nodded. "Yeah, dropping the pointless popularity contest's a good call."

I laughed out loud at this and quoted it to my wife, who also deemed it fantastic. Trixie is on top form in loads of places here :twilightsmile:

Discord shrugged. "I'm afraid most of my address book is either in this room or specializes in other Elements of Harming Me."

That is a magnificent Discordism.

"You're trying to get me back in the game, Glimmer." Pinkie leaned back, forelegs behind her head in a way that hurt to even look at. "I told you I wanted out. If you want to drag me back in, we've gotta play by my rules."

While the new teachers that Starlight found are a great set, part of me really wants to see the version where Starlight takes Pinkie up on this offer. :pinkiecrazy:

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At least you understand that it is a failing, and not How Things Should Be. Too many people pick the latter and enforce it with literal murder (and then aren't convicted because the "justice" system is run by people who agree).

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I'd be rather disappointed if she didn't resume touring during summer vacation

She'll certainly be able to when the school isn't in the middle of a regime change.

You'd think being able to do sonic rainbooms on demand would qualify

Clearly Dash needs to go so fast that she clips through reality and ends up in the Astral Plane by accident. Twilight may or may not have already composed a song for if/when that happens.

Yeah, because Gabby's too busy feeding Spike her cherries ;p

Gabby and Gilda's argument during the Blue Moon Festival may well have been over whether there's anything in Griffonstone actually worth saving, or if they should just abandon the ruin and start over elsewhere. Like Ponyville.

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I'm thrilled to see how many people got such a kick out of a joke I added at the last minute. I was worried that the cutaway gag wouldn't work well; very glad to see I was mistaken there.

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A magician has to know what's really here if she's going to direct the audience's attention away from it.

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None of them should have been able to perform their jobs and be teachers at the same time. Not if they want to also sleep, anyway.

Agreed. I've made it work in several of my stories via time shenanigans, but the logistics involved are just absurd.

I...guess? Wow, Starlight really doesn't have a whole ton of choices available, does she?

Nor does Rarity. As she said, her social circle is cripplingly overspecialized. If her contacts aren't locked in the trend cycle, then they're deep in politics. Thank goodness "Filli Vanilli" gave her some kind of hobby.

And the same thing with Cheese Sandwich. He learned he has to be a free spirit wandering Equestria rather than tied to one place, but now he's just going to apparently backslide into a school position. I hear Pinkie's justification for it, but, well...

Several points:
1. One of the big reasons why he suffered in the laugh factory was because he couldn't see the fruits of his labor for himself. Not an issue with face-to-face teaching.
2. Pinkie outright says she has ulterior motives for the pick. (And after all, Starlight didn't ask for the best choice, she asked for Pinkie's personal preference.) Ponk is using this as an excuse to reel in her horsebando, and she's doesn't care who knows.
3. No one said this would last. Cheese might love teaching, or he might skip town in less than a semester and only stop in Ponyville a few times a year as he resumes his nomadic existence... for a while. Because...
4. We know that at some point between now and Luster Dawn getting sent to the Ponyville Friendship Reeducation Facility, Cheese does settle down long enough to help raise Li'l Cheese. Hopefully. So yeah, that backslide has to happen at some point to avert a time paradox... assuming these two don't just party their way out of the conventional time-space continuum.

No one tell Trixie she's an alicorn in Good King Sombra's world. Especially not that she's the Princess of Humility.

Glad you enjoyed it!

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No one tell Trixie she's an alicorn in Good King Sombra's world. Especially not that she's the Princess of Humility.

Possibly also in at least one other world if the Nightmare Knights comics are to be believed.

Great and Powerful Twilight: "Princess Trixie?"
Trixie: "I'm choosing to ignore that!"

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“And it would be wrong“ is the second reason, lol.

At least it's on the list.

Yeah, I can see her reduced to squatting. Not out of necessity, of course.

:trollestia: You say "reduced." I say "enabled."
And I say one good banishment deserves another!

I think if you denied her access to books, she would wither and die.

Books and friends. She could get by with just one, but without either, why even live?

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Greedy considered it part of the patter. Those who didn't know how to play actually listened, those who did let it wash over them as background noise.

Always glad when I can influence someone's headcanon. :twilightsmile:

And irresponsible use of time magic was half of why Starlight was a member of the School of Friendship faculty in the first place.

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Given that this is Equestria, it could genuinely be either one... and it's the former that makes more sense.

As long as Phyllis doesn't describe herself as a "mean green mother from outer space," we should be fine.

Fanfiction of children's shows will usually make more sense than the original series because its writers actually care about making sense. Unless they don't and you end up with thirty Hs as your entire title and still have that be the sanest part. (Yes, that's a real fic.)

I understood that reference and I sincerely wish I didn't.

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Silver Shill certainly could work as a way to salvage the School's financial situation. Of course, the question is where he's been all this time. I doubt he's just been living on his sibling's couch for years, even if his niece and her friend Diamond Tiara like him.

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Magnificent. Absolutely going into Never the Final Word this weekend. Thank you for it! (And poor, poor Scuttle Loom. She's getting too old for these horse apples.)

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But this makes them sound like they're lazing around like teenagers and Zephyr Breeze, or are distracted by bright objects like children and Pinkie Pie.

Replace "bright objects" with "exotic animals" and you've hit the nail on the head. The two of them are good people, but their prioritization is a bit skewed, to say nothing of their sense of empathy and their capacity to recognize Scootaloo as a person and not just a piece of luggage Lofty and Holiday have looked after.

As for the Suntrix issue, their bond definitely has shades beyond friendship, though that's largely physical at the moment. No one said the whole marriage was going to last, but they're certainly willing to give it a try.

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Tempest for gym teacher?

Pretty sure Twilight called first dibs to get her to revamp the Royal Guard. That could take a while...

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Just so long as he doesn't set up microtransactions in the future. Just 0.03% of your sanity for all the cosmetics you can think of! ... For this character.

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Though personally I go Starmaudtrix. I wonder what it is about Starlight that draws poly shipping.

There are so many good options! Having to pick just one borders on impossible. Though Maud's already taken.

Trixie's casual seething jealousy of Applejack and Rarity’s contacts is hilarious.

The fact that the Mane Six have direct connections to most of Equestria's entertainment industry is rich with possibilities. Especially possibilities that drive Trixie up the wall.

I LOVE Pinkies bit there. Good on Trixie for keeping the mood. I thought for a moment Pinkie was channeling eldritch powers of absolute night for purposes of dramatic lighting.

It is Pinkie we're talking about. Not outside the realm of possibility.

Only being MOSTLY sure the fedora-wearing pony was Pinkie... in her spying on everyone back in the villain days did she stumble on the secret of the continuing mirror clone?

The idea was that most identifying marks were covered by the outfit. I'm pretty sure Starlight would've recruited Manehattan Pinkie had she encountered her.

Celestia bumming on Sunset’s couch is SUCH a thing that should happen. Does Principal Celestia know her dopple is in town?

She will when I drive this nag to her front door!
:trollestia: "It's like she never left... and I'm not sure if that's a good thing."
Sorry. I get testy when somepony eats an entire bag of baby carrots in one sitting.

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Princess Celestia, not only are you squatting, eating Sunset's food and using up her valuable air, you're also interrupting her cuddle time with her favorite purple, glasses-wearing snuggle pillow.

Given that I'm writing this, that's probably true.

That's the problem with applying nth dimensional math that incorporates zorth axis cartography into your building's architecture.

:pinkiecrazy: Problem? Or benefit?

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