• Published 16th Nov 2022
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'How to Pony: The gathered first hoof accounts of a non-pony learning how to be a pony.' By Idol Hooves - KarmaSentinal

A look into the popular foal's series called 'How to Pony.' By Idol Hooves

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Chapter 3: How to become less of a recluse, and more of a social butterfly.

Cheerilee had spent most of her free time after class ended looking over the students papers, and found herself scratching her head unsure what to do next.

Since she started using the ‘How to Pony’ books as part of her curriculum over a decade ago, nearly all of her classes caught on real quick to the point of the project. This year’s class was looking like they’ve missed the concept entirely based on how simple their responses were- barely statements. This in itself wasn’t completely true, but often enough was proven true.

“I’m Night Shift, and I like bug collecting.” Cheerilee read the statement and found herself slumping into her desk. “You were the chosen one!”

If she expected any creature to have understood the project, it would have been the actual grandfoal of the author himself! Her own mother even ran a friendship club for singles, and that was while running a small hive!

Cheerilee sighed as she placed the paper face down in the growing pile of papers her students had turned in, and after looking at the remaining papers still left decided she’ll save herself the trouble and let her students read them tomorrow as intended. With this declaration, the aging teacher collected the papers into a single pile, placed them in the drawer that didn’t contain her adult juice, and locked them inside- the time was 2 hours over due to be home.

She quickly gathered everything into her saddle bag that included her personal copy of ‘How to Pony’ carefully by putting it back into its protective slip box for transport. Taking another quick count of her belongings, and satisfied she had everything turned everything off before heading for the door. Cheerilee stood by the entrance running through the mental checklist one last time before locking the door for the evening.

“Good morning class!”


It was their usual morning greeting, and one they’ve been doing for the past several months. This greeting is an equal routine as is their enthusiasm behind it meant to strengthen their trust, and break the ice before starting the day that hopefully would carry over this habit for many years to come. Cheerilee smiled as she greeted each of the children, happy to see none had missed today meaning the group assignment could continue without delay.

“Alright class, today we’ll be finishing up the group project we started yesterday. I’ll pass out your papers back to you in a moment, but not until every creature settles into their assigned groups. If you have forgotten your group, I have a list so please come see me and I can direct you to your correct partners.”

The students didn’t complain so much as mutter to themselves as they had to say goodbye to their friends once more. They started moving their desks around trying to recreate the sitting pattern from yesterday, but lagged as they didn’t want to leave their friends behind again. Cheerilee only had to step in once to help with reminding some students where they belonged for the remainder of this project. Once she was satisfied everything was in order, Cheerilee retreated back to her desk and quickly sorted the papers into their assigned groups to pass them back to the students.

“Today we’ll be continuing our project from yesterday, but now you’ll be presenting your findings to the class.” She waited for the students to groan and moan at having to do the extra work, but she didn’t mind as it came with the territory. “I know you would prefer to move on, but the faster we present our papers, the faster we can return to our regular seating arrangement.”

Her announcement was met with a few more groans, but it had lit the proverbial fire under their tails to get every creature to review their papers to go over the material one last time before they would present. Cheerilee moved back to stand next to her desk, and opened up the space between her and the students so the presenting student would have the class’s full attention. She waited another two minutes to give them a chance to fix their papers, or whatever else they needed to do before she tapped her hoof on the ground in the old Earth Pony way to get the attention of her students.

“Alright class, that is enough time. We shall start with the first table on my left and work our way down to the right. Skittle Pop, you are first.”

“ME!?” The other changeling nymph in the classroom chirped as she tried covering her muzzle with her hooves.

Of the two major changeling schools of thought, Thorax’s teachings often created changelings with a greater understanding they’re a part of the bigger community. That they themselves are one part in the much greater good, and will often mold themselves to fit into whatever collective they wish to become a part of to better contribute to its success.

Members of Idolism are taught the individual is the one that can bring about the change.

By constantly working, and improving themselves, they seek to become the pillars of their community by becoming the very idea, or Idol, meant to inspire others into mimicking their example. This surprisingly is a leftover teaching of Princess Sparkle where all members of the group need to strive to become a better version of themselves each and everyday in order to support the others when needed. To equally spread the burden so to speak.

Thorax was one drone of many before he met(then young) Queen Cersus, and later Steward Spike that encouraged the changeling to seek a better life for his kind. Idol being Thorax’s antithesis spent years developing himself from an excavator drone, into the famed Colonel of the Crystal Empire. Both changelings have their own friends and families, and have created a noticeable change into their species’ way of life, but both took different paths to reach this peak.

So why does Skittle Pop have problems speaking to her classmates outside her initial friend group when compared to the social butterfly Night Shift? It's because of their beliefs.

Mrs. Cheerilee to her credit understood there was a crucial understanding to how changelings properly identified themselves, but she failed to comprehend how this translated to group projects like this one. Thankfully, she did notice the colorful nymph shaking, and being the wondrous teacher she was, left her desk and casually moved toward the terrified nymph.

The class was watching them with great interest in case it not only involved them, but then could talk about it during recess. Yet, what the conversation was about would continue being a secret as Mrs. Cheerilee leaned close to whisper into the terrified nymph’s ears- low enough to not be overheard. The effect was quick, for the shaking ceased as the nymph’s posture became ridged with a new confidence Skittle Pop only had with her initial friend group, and the young foals, pups, chicks, nymphs, and other young found the nymphs nodding the more intriguing.

“What do you say, Skittle Pop?” Cheerilee asked as she withdrew just enough to meet the shy nymph’s gaze.

The colorful nymph momentarily tried hiding behind her red and blue forehooves to hide long enough to contemplate the suggestion, but she nodded all the same. Cheerilee smiled.

“Night Shift, dear? You would want to accompany Skittle Pop to the front of the class, so the both of you can present your project?”

“Do I have to?” The onyx chitin nymph asked without looking up from her paper, her pencil moving feverishly in the tell tale signs of a student desperately trying to finish her assignment.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I thought it would be an interesting way to show off the differences between the two changeling hives.” Which was partially true, and would provide a wonderful educational bonus, but was primarily for the benefit of the shy nymph. Her hope being the shy nymph would find the encouragement to present her paper when standing next to a fellow changeling, or so she hoped.

Cheerilee didn’t have to say or do anything, because while feeling guilty about this deceptiveness, she knew Night Shift’s hive still felt, and fed off emotions…

“Alright, fine.” The very social nymph said forcefully, yet nothing was done to correct this behavior in the interest of saving time, and guilt of the manipulation.

Frustrated at the circumstance, Night Shift groaned as she grabbed her assignment before heading to the front of the class while her fellow (if sparkling) nymph timidly looked to her darker looking hive cousin. Skittle Pop then looked to her group mates for a moment before looking around the class to find her other scattered friends; each one were giving the shy nymph their best looks of encouragement they could without shouting her name, and with less reluctance, Skittle Pop shuffled her way up front next to Night Shift.

“Wonderful! Class lets give our two nymphs a quick round of applause before they start.” Cheerileeinstructed, the class followed her lead with some reluctance before the mare gestured to the unchanged nymph to proceed with her report.

“I chose Ortzi as my case study.”

Night then pointed to the puma gryphon cub sitting at her group’s table. The young drake, unsure what to do with the attention being directed towards him, waved back to his class as he’d been taught to do. His actions earned him the laughter of his peers who’d never seen any creature more awkward, but Cheerileewas quick to hamper their laughter.

“Ortzi Goldbeak is almost 6 years old. He is from the Gryphon Mountains. He moved here last year with his parents. They are a pegasus and a gryphon that work for the Princess. Ortzi likes collecting rocks because they are different shapes and colors. He wants to become a guard like the famous Gallus is for Queen SilverStream.”

“Doesn’t he have to marry the queen? It's like a law or something.” One of the students shouted out, but before the little gryphon could answer, Night Shift nodded vigorously.


“THAT’S BECAUSE YOU PONIES ARE WEIRD!” Grog, the other gryphon cub shouted earning mixed reactions from the rest of the class. Dusty Belle, the lone diamond dog pup actively howled (to the best of his ability) in full support of his gryphon pal.

The primal howl did its duty, and class devolved into the old ways from before the formations of the earliest nations. Cherrilee’s face fell having never seen this happen before in her many years of teaching, with the Cutie Mark Crusaders era being the closest to anything like this.

“CLASS! CHILDREN, PLEASE STOP!” The older mare desperately yelled in an attempt to regain control of her rambunctious class, but her law and order meant little now as the rules of the playground took hold. Only the top foal, cub, pup, nymph, and whatever small creature that was strong enough to come out on top could end the classroom squabble.

Night Shift turned to the shocked nymph standing to her right, and shrugged.

“Ponies are really weird, but I’m thankful my family isn’t like that. The only weird thing would be when Queen Mother Cersus transforms into that pony from those old adventuring books.”

“What books?” Skittle Pop squeaked out, and thanks to Night Shift’s thestral heritage was able to hear her soft spoken classmate amidst the chaos of their rebelling classmates.

“Daring Do. They were a favorite of hers growing up, and what made her want to explore spooky sewers, and caves! Unfortunately, she always had trouble transforming ever since her nymph days, and everytime she tries to mimic Daring Do, she ends up looking like a stallion.”

“Like a different looking stallion?”

“Nope. She looks like Daring Do, but as a stallion. Mother Nighthawk is supportive of her, and likes to comfort her with plenty of kisses. I asked Nana Topaz if there was something we could do to help her, but she told me I needed to mind myself, and wait another decade. Papa Idol wasn’t any better, and made me swear an oath of secrecy to never mention it to Shining or Cady.”

Skittle Pop tilted her head enough to dodge a rogue parchment glider as it soared passed her mane as the owner of the flying contraption ducked under their assigned table to avoid their prowling teacher.

“That is some story. I’m sure your family just doesn't understand what it's like being a changeling unable to properly transform. Have you tried talking to them?”

“Well duh! They told me to not worry about it for another decade. If I didn’t sense their love all the time, I would wonder if it was all an act.” Night Shift slouched her shoulders as the energy to keep them up left her. Skittle Pop, in modern Thoraxian fashion, wasted no time moving closer to hug a nymph in need.

“It’s ok, Night Shift. Remember what King Thorax tells us when we’re feeling down…”

“Turn that frown upside down, and eat a cookie?”

“No. The other one.”

“When in doubt, hide?” Skittle Pop ended her hug so she could look the strangely dull nymph in the eyes to see if she was the end of some joke. She wasn’t.

“Wow, you’re really bad at this. No. King Thorax says ‘When you are feeling down, remember your friends, and the good times will come back’.”

Night Shift found her muzzle wrinkling as one did when they ate a particularly bad bug, but quickly found herself starting to giggle.

“Yea, that does sound like Uncle Thorax. He’s always saying weird things that make no sense.”

“Uncle?” Is that an Idolism tradition?”

“Nope. I mean Uncle Thorax. Mother Cersus and Uncle Thorax know each for a real long time, back when she was starting her first hive back in the Crystal Empire. It’s hard to see Uncle Thorax as anything but his goofy self. He’s just Uncle Thorax that comes to my hatching day parties to give me presents…”

Cheerilee Fought a long and uphill battle with her students, but her determination and towering size eventually won her the admiration of students once to regain control of the class-the students bought her threat of contacting their parents. It was in the final twilight of their revolt when Night Shift stuck her hoof out to Skittle Pop, who began scrutinizing the outstretched hoof.

“Papa Idol says you do this to properly introduce yourself. I’m Night Shift.”

“I am, ah...Skittle Pop.” The slightly less timid nymph extended her hoof so they could touch on the sole, and matching the other nymph’s movement, raised it up, and down.

“Nice to meet ya Skittle. Want to come over to my house some time? Mommy Nighthawk works nights, but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t like to meet you. Plus she makes a delicious bug & cheese casserole.”

“What kind of bugs?” Skittle asked, finally registering what the other nymph had been saying this whole time wasn’t some word usage, but genuinely meant bugs.

“Crickets mostly, but sometimes we get some big beetles or worms…” Night Shift’s explanation was dying out as her mouth began to water at the thought.

“Worms? Wouldn’t they be slimy to eat?” The now hungry nymph shook her head left to right.

“Not if you fry them real good!”