• Published 14th Nov 2020
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Diary of a Pasta Pony - Miyajima



Excerpts from the term-time diary of Penne Pasta, the first unicorn in the pasta family for generations, as she learns the ropes in Canterlot.

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02/10 - 13/10

02/10/998

Dear Diary,

It’s Spook Month! Guess who just bought her first bag of Nightmare Night candy way too early? This gal!

Guess who scarfed down the whole thing and now feels really sick? THIS GAL!

Mare. I am NOT going to last another twenty-nine days. They should totally ban all sales of candy until the 30th. Some ponies can’t be trusted not to throw all their bits away on candycorn.

School’s already putting up decorations, and it’s been another opportunity for Farm Soc and Garden Soc to have a go at each other. Garden Soc was preparing some lilies and magnolias – you can preserve the blooms with a spell, apparently! There’s just so much I don’t know about magic, it’s really embarrassing – when some of the ponies from Farm Soc came by and well, they don’t have any lilies or magnolias anymore. It’s kinda hard to make a decent (and spooky) flower arrangement out of bright pink peonies.

Turns out while Garden Soc has the Flower Power Squad, Farm Soc has their own ‘special unit’ they call the Reapers. Bit sinister sounding, if you ask me (but oh mare they had really cool badges totally spooky). It was those guys who ruined the flower display. One of them, Sweet Yam, came to talk to me over lunch. He’d heard there was a Pasta at the school and yeah, my worst fears of yesterday turned out to not be so paranoid after all.

They want me to join Farm Soc. Having an actual farmer unicorn on the society will really help, he said. I told him I didn’t want to get involved in the feud, but he assured me that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. I said I’d think about it.

I gotta admit he’s pretty cute. Is this what a crush is? Arrrrgh. Why am I even considering this.

  • P

03/10/998

Dear Diary,

I don’t know how to feel.

Dahlia saw me talking to Sweet Yam yesterday and asked around. Found out who I was. It was just after morning lectures and I got ambushed in the fillies’ room by five of them. They took my bag, threw my workbook in the sink and trashed my lunch. Dahlia threatened to really HURT me next time I ‘mess up’.

I want to call Mama and talk to her, but our village doesn’t have phone lines. I guess you’ll have to do, diary.

I never really got bullied growing up. Some of the other ponies made fun of my horn, but it was more light-hearted teasing than anything else. It was scary being cornered like that. I couldn’t even use magic to defend myself, they’re all better at it than I am.

Cosma’s coming over later for our movie night. I know she’s younger than I am but she always seems to know what to do. I’ll ask her.

  • P

04/10/998

Dear Diary,

Cosma was surprisingly calm about Dahlia’s bullying. She suggested I should join Farm Soc, her reasoning being that if they picked on me when I’m not a member, I might as well join up and have other people around to defend me.

Plus it would mean more time with Sweet Yam

So maybe I will join after all. I guess SOMEONE has to avenge Dusty the Carrot.

Schoolwork’s going alright. You know, that thing I’m actually here doing. I’ve got another essay due tomorrow on ‘Principles of Levitation’ so I suppose I should actually start it. I do some of my best work at silly-o’-clock in the morning. Plus they have coffee here! Mama and Papa wouldn’t let us drink it except on special occasions. Said it was too much for ‘little foals and fillies’.

Hah, I say! Bring on the espresso!

  • P

PS wow this stuff is really good Ive written like a dozen pages on levitation and transfiguration and coffee im sure theres magic in coffee its really good at keeping you awake and I feel really energetic like theres so many things I could do like make a doll of Dahlia and then stab it a lot yeah I could do that or or maybe I could go get Cosma and we can go for a walk at sunrise its really pretty here in Canterlot yeah yeah thats a good idea lets do that after another cup theyre so small that like having five is just like having a normal mug right thats how that works Im sure


06/10/998

Dear Diary,

It looks like I started an entry yesterday but I think I fell asleep at my desk and spilt my inkwell. There’s just this really big splodge. Apparently five espressos isn’t the same as one normal mug of coffee. Now I know. 'And knowing is half the battle'!

So, I’m in Farm Soc now. I didn’t tell them about what happened with Dahlia, but they were really impressed when they learned I was a Pasta. A few years back they had an Apple at the school and that was apparently like having the Princess herself sign up, given how much they went on about it. I was bombarded with questions about how our family farm works, and some ponies were even taking notes. I have to admit, it felt nice to be appreciated like that. Cheered me up.

I’ve just come back from the weekly meeting, and I’m absolutely stuffed. I guess ponies into farming and ponies into cooking are sections of the population that overlap, because there was so much food. I guess I’m going to have to make a pasta dish for them one of these weeks.

Oh, idea! I can get some orange and black coloured tagliatelle from Uncle Lasagne. Keep it all spooky! Serve it with matzo balls, and add a sliver of cabbage and a bean to make them look like eyeballs! To be honest, diary, I’m beginning to miss proper home cooking. I guess you can have too much of a good thing; I’m getting pretty tired of noodles, instant or otherwise. Guess I’ll do some grocery shopping tomorrow.

Since it’s almost harvest, most of the Farm Soc activities right now are about preserving your crops. Sprinkle in a little magic and things get WEIRD, apparently. Bored of making jams and jellies? Why not spruce up that pantry by animating all your preserves into shambling, gelatinous cubes! They stack themselves, and are easily spread on bread!

At least that was the idea. Moon Dancer got the spell a little bit wrong and turned Little Root’s marmalade into a floating orb of pure, concentrated citrus that we had to chase around the hall for nearly half an hour before we could trap it back in the jar. No one was hurt, but everything tasted lemon-y after that.

Schoolwork’s going fine. That essay I wrote on levitation got a B+! Given the fact that I wrote it in a caffeine-induced stupor I think I can count that as a win!

  • Penne

09/10/998

Dear Diary,

Today they started launching us into the deeper stuff. Spell Augmentation 101! It’s a six-week practical that’ll have us doing research in the library and trying to modify an existing spell. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but it needs to be repeatable – like, we need to actually write down all the steps so that someone else could learn to do it.

So, today we got to go into the library. I’d been there before to get my course books and stuff, but this was the first time I was there on business. It’s huge! Looks way bigger on the inside than you’d think. There’s lots of different wings, all dedicated to powerful unicorns of the past. I noticed that the Star Swirl Wing was roped off with a big ‘no entry’ sign – Ms Focus pretended not to listen when I asked her about it, but Cosma told me she’d heard a student died in there last year when they got lost and were eaten by some really wild spellbooks.

I mean yeah right how old does she think I am.

It’s probably more like all the advanced stuff’s in there. Stuff like time magic, or raising the sun and moon, or advanced weather manipulation. Things they probably don’t want students messing with.

No, no, instead we went into the Presto Wing and were each crowded around one of four copies of 'Presto’s Prestidigitations for Precocious Ponies' (despite the name, it’s apparently pretty much the go-to for simple spell modification). Ms Focus made us take notes on the opening chapters and then let us loose to go ‘gain inspiration from the masters’.

The library has so much in it! There’s books on every conceivable – and possibly inconceivable – type of magic. Cosma found a really old book on spells that use starlight as their main component, and decided there and then what she was going to do her project on. Took me a while longer. Eventually I found a new-ish book on crop transmogrification, like taking the bits of wheat that make it grow well and trying to get apples to do the same. Maybe it’s a bit stereotypical that a farm pony would pick farming magic to study but I figure it’s best to go with what I know, right?

Cosma came over to my room later with forms to fill in for Film Soc. Stuff like volunteering for rotas, which films we’d like to showcase, and this month’s study theme. Horror, obviously! Tomorrow I’m going to go into town and look around all the second-hand places to find some really, REALLY corny B-movie goodness. 'Yakzilla vs Bison King', that sort of thing.

  • P

10/10/998

Dear Diary,

Success! I went into Canterlot after the morning lectures and found what I think is possibly my favourite shop ever. 'Five Spice’s Bazaar of the Bizarre', just off Platinum Avenue! It was huge! Tiny door on the outside, sprawling chaos of junk on the inside. Just my sort of thing. Five Spice is a big, friendly earth pony from outside Equestria, had a weird accent that I couldn’t place. He doesn’t put prices on anything in the shop, and fully expects you to haggle. Encourages it, even! I found a copy of 'Day of the Windigo', asked him how much, and then was ready to hand over the ten bits he asked for – but then he refused the money and insisted I haggle him down! Eventually I got him to agree to eight bits, although he did give me a free cup of spicy chai.

Great place. I’ve got to go back there more often! There’s loads I didn’t have a chance to look at, and I’m sure he’s got some real gems squirreled away in the back. Anyway, that’s me sorted for tomorrow’s film night. Just going to watch through the reel now to make sure it’s all good. That little portable projector Papa got me a few years ago is really earning its keep lately.

  • P

11/10/998

Dear Diary,

Spell Architecture lectures today. It’s rapidly becoming my least favourite subject. It’s all tied up with the Spell Augmentation course on Mondays but it’s so complicated! I just can’t get my head around it. Cosma’s completely lost, but I guess I’m not much help as a tutor when I don’t get it either. Not sure about the others. I’ve found it hard to talk to them – the age gap, like I mentioned, is quite extreme. Cosma’s friend Onyx Flash is probably the only other one I’ve spent any time with. He’s a bit younger than her. Rock farming type. Gruff, serious. Not sure I’ve actually seen him smile, not even when Prof Scarlet Star bucked up the practical last week and accidentally turned her entire desk into a layer cake.

To be honest I’m writing this because I’m procrastinating from completing my assignment. I’m stuck on this question about which runic link you should use to tune a teleportation cantrip into a handling cantrip. I think it’s ᘱ but honestly it could be ᘠ or ᗍ. Why is this so haaaaard.

I mean it’s probably because all my notes are half-remembered song lyrics and lists of how many first generation Pocket Monsters I can remember. (112 out of 150, by the way. I was quite proud of that). Of course Cosma thinks that the fourth gen is better than the first but she’s young. She’ll learn.

Film Soc was great! First we watched 'The Grey Mare', which is vintage horror of the finest calibre. We all sat around eating popcorn and yelling at the characters to turn on the lights, or grab a bat, or don’t say ‘what could possibly go wrong’ right before walking into the ghost. Then we put on 'Day of the Windigo'; it’s a bit more artsy, there’s definitely some political undertones. The society president, Phantasia, made sure to pause it on the scene where the Windigo freezes the old pony to death and told us how it’s all about the ‘ossification of the upper echelons of society’ or something. I just thought it was a good movie. Afterwards we just sat around discussing our favourite films and swapping theories.

I’ll have to find something else in time for next week, but I guess first I need to do this assignment. I’m just going to go with ᘱ.

  • P

12/10/998

Dear Diary,

Should I name you, or something? ‘Diary’ just feels very generic. I’ll have a think about it.

Anyway! I finally went into town and visited Uncle Lasagne’s shop. He was exactly as I remembered him; bright and crazy clothes covered in splotches of flour and dyes from making all that artisan pasta. The shop was actually pretty busy when I was there – I only got to chat to my uncle briefly. I bought a couple of batches of his ‘Celestial Hair’ pasta (still a hit with the upper crust, apparently) and some orange and black bat shapes for Nightmare Night.

He asked me how my studies were going; I mentioned the spell augmentation and he said that he had something at home he needed to show me that would probably help, so I’m going around there for dinner next week. He seemed oddly reluctant to talk about it in the shop and kept glancing at the other customers as if they might be listening in. At the time I didn’t think anything of it – he’s ‘Crazy’ Uncle Lasagne for a reason – but in hindsight, writing this all out, I wonder what that was about. For that matter, why does Uncle Lasagne have books on magic?

Guess that’s one more mystery to bug me all week. Oh yes, and speaking of mysteries, today I found a pressed lily and a note in my schoolbag after classes. The note simply had a big red ‘X’ on it. I suspect Garden Soc.

I’ll bring it up at the Farm Soc meeting tomorrow and see what Sweet Yam they think.

  • P

13/10/998

Dear

Yeah, calling you ‘diary’ does just seem weird but now I can’t think of anything else.

Dear Diary,

I’ve been marked for death. And no, I’m not being overly dramatic, that’s apparently what the message in my bag meant. Sweet Yam immediately identified is as a DEATH THREAT from Garden Soc. He and the other Reapers shared a quick look and told me they’d ‘take care of it’.

So that’s something, hey. Got to watch my back for crazed gardeners now, as if schoolwork wasn’t enough. I gotta say I didn’t like the tone of ‘take care of it’, hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. I mean obviously they're not ACTUALLY going to kill me, that would be ridiculous. Though I'd still rather not get beaten up, and Dahlia scares me.

The ‘Sun Princess Bake’ went down well, took me a few hours to get it just the right amount of crunchy. Need to thank Uncle Lasagne for the recipe. Because it’s the winter term, Farm Soc’s focus is on all the things Equestria’s farmers do after the harvest is done. This evening we were making our own veggie preserves and pickles, but using unusual things like carrots or parsnips. I’ve got three jars of slightly burnt carrot-and-radish jam waiting to be posted home to a no doubt lukewarm reception.

  • P