• Published 28th Nov 2023
  • 1,070 Views, 69 Comments

All Day, Everyday. - Penanka72



Follow the journey of a little girl who takes her football to the next level!

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Chapter 6 - What a fantastic way to start…

Author's Note:

I'll add the second half of the chapter to this chapter soon enough, just wanna post something to show you all that I'm not dead!

Cheap Thrills by Sia was what Amelia listened to out loud in her room, the funky and upbeat music travelling around her body like a fever gone wild. Amelia would have put something more vulgar on, but with her guardian a floor away from hearing it, she just chose something tame yet exhilarating.

It was 6:00 PM, and Amelia couldn't wait another second to get started with training. It had been a while since Amelia felt a warm fire in her stomach, growing into an inferno of excitement, her blood sizzling. It was like that time she had tryouts for Everton... no, it was exactly like the first time she had tryouts for Everton. But this time, it was for the Toffees, an alternate version of Everton. Amelia was practically getting a second chance!

The first day of training at Everton's facility was brilliant! Amelia was the only goalkeeper scouted from an amateur team, and it wasn't hard for her to catch the eyes of the goalkeeper coaches. It only got easier when they saw her skills, seeing her as a project for the future of the women's team. They taught Amelia things she didn't know she needed to know, shaping her body to be fit for a goalkeeper and fuelling her passion for the sport like never before. She knew this was the first step towards her dream, a big step towards her life as a professional footballer.

Now things were different. She was better than she was back then, and she knew what it took to stand out from the rest. Amelia understood what it meant to be a goalkeeper. She hadn't seen much of the Toffee's first-team keeper, undoubtedly good enough to play professional football, but Amelia cheekily wondered if she was better than him. Maybe, maybe not, but it was an amusing thought. No doubt she would be an academy player for the under 16s or higher, and that's when she planned to show her talent and understanding of the game. But tonight, she would prove that she was worth having. She knew she could do it. All she needed to do was serve some scouse in a bowl.

Amelia stopped what she was doing and felt the hand that Applejack had grabbed. She found it strange and wondered what the meaning behind it was. The sudden invitation from Applejack seemed too quick and Amelia couldn't help but question the connection between her hand and Applejack's decision. To Amelia, her hand was just a hand - a limb she used frequently, especially for playing football. It had been through some injuries in the past, like when she dislocated one of her fingers while trying to save a ball. Although her finger never fully recovered, it didn't affect her desire to continue playing football. Despite this, Amelia couldn't help but wonder how her hand influenced Applejack's decision.

Amelia shrugged. "Dun't matter now. I've got the chance, that's all that matters!" Amelia beamed, rushing to her bed where her duffle bag from the other world sat. Next to the bag was her companion, Pooch. Amelia couldn't help but ruffle his head. "How are we, Poochie?" Amelia asked, making Pooch bark once. "Good lad!"

In that duffle bag, she had the standard stuff a keeper should own, and a bit extra. The Everton jersey she wore when she first came into this world was folded and clean for tonight, along with her shorts and football socks. Her worn-out boots and gloves lay next to each other in the bag, along with shin pads and a water bottle in the outer pocket. Those were the fundamental things to have at least. She also had tape for her socks and fingers, a rolled-up glove towel, deodorant just in case, spare hair ties just in case, and she even threw in an apple just in case she got hungry. She didn't have everything with her, but it would do. She picked up her phone from the windowsill and pressed pause on her music, shoving it in her right jeans pocket. It had 92% battery left. In her left pocket were her AirPods.

She was ready to go! Yet... she had two hours until it actually started, so for the third time, she put her bag back on the bed next to Pooch, whose tail was wagging. He had watched Amelia pick up and drop the bag three times, yet the pup panted softly and sat waiting. He was a happy little chap regardless of Amelia's antics.

What was she doing pacing around the room like this? She needed a quick drink if anything. She wasn't just full of pent-up energy, but also nervousness. Amelia whistled for Pooch to come, opening the door to her room as she walked down the stairs. Pooch overtook Amelia with his little legs.

As Amelia descended the stairs, she was greeted by a vibrant menagerie of critters, a true zootopia. Birds flitted through the air, their melodic chirps filling the cottage. Squirrels and other small creatures scurried about, their playful antics turning the furniture into a playground. But amidst the chaos, Pooch stood out, relentlessly chasing a pesky white rabbit with unwavering determination.

Amelia scanned the living room, her eyes searching for Fluttershy, but she wasn't surprised to find her absent. Fluttershy was always busy tending to various tasks around the cottage. Whether it was tending to the chickens, nurturing the blooming flowers in the backyard, cooking in the kitchen, or caring for her beloved animal companions, Fluttershy seldom found time to relax. Only when nature called or the day's end drew near did she pause her ceaseless activities.

"Fluttershy! Where are ya?" Amelia called out, expecting no immediate response. Fluttershy's preoccupation often rendered her oblivious to the outside world. Amelia ventured into the kitchen, where signs of Fluttershy's presence lingered. The dishes were immaculately clean, cutlery and plates neatly arranged, and the floor glistened from a recent mopping. Perched on a plate was a sandwich, accompanied by a note that piqued Amelia's curiosity.

Stepping into the backyard, Amelia found it devoid of Fluttershy's presence as well. However, the evidence of her handiwork was impossible to miss. The grass had been meticulously trimmed, and fresh soil had been laid, breathing new life into the earth. Fluttershy had already begun planting a variety of crops and flowers, and despite being in its early stages, the garden exuded an undeniable beauty. The shed, adorned with intertwining flower stalks as Fluttershy had intended, stood majestically in one corner. Roses, daisies, poppies, and peonies bloomed side by side, creating a captivating tapestry of colours and scents. Pebble stones lined the garden's borders, lending an enchanting touch. The air buzzed with the presence of butterflies fluttering from one bloom to another, much like industrious bees collecting pollen. In the opposite corner, a hive hung from a tree branch, adding to the garden's magical allure. Miniature pony-shaped gnomes dotted the landscape, and one of them uncannily resembled the manager of the Reds. Though still a work in progress, Amelia couldn't help but imagine the breathtaking spectacle the garden would become once Fluttershy's vision was fully realised.

Other than upstairs, where Amelia knew she wouldn't find Fluttershy, she had no idea where she might be. There was a note in the kitchen, which must have been from Fluttershy. Amelia decided to have a read while she enjoyed her cheese and hay sandwich. Yes, hay. I know, I never thought I'd try it, but here we are.

I sat down at the table, my sliced sandwich in one hand while I read the note with the other. It read: "I won't be back before you leave. Good luck and be careful, Amelia."

"Eh, that's sound of her, that is." Amelia said to herself, talking with her mouth full. "But I don't need luck. They just need to prepare themselves." Amelia grinned as she placed the note down.

It wasn't long now until she showed the world what she had up her sleeve.





Amelia's anticipation grew with each passing minute as she made her way towards the training ground. It was an unusual location, nestled within a picturesque apple orchard. The floodlights illuminated the path, guiding her towards the destination. She glanced up at the night sky, relieved to find it clear and calm. The absence of wind or rain was a goalkeeper's dream, perfect conditions for training or a match. Bringing her focus back down to earth, she marveled at the apple trees that surrounded her. These trees were renowned throughout Ponyville for producing the most delectable and nutritious apples, a fact Amelia knew from personal experience.

Excitement mingled with nervousness, creating a whirlwind of emotions within the 15-year-old pegasus. Her steps towards the training ground were both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing, causing her knees to tremble and her stomach to tighten. It was astonishing how much intensity and energy could be contained within someone so young.

Perhaps it was magic.

As Amelia drew closer, the sight of the goalposts under the bright lights filled her with a surge of joy. The net was neatly set up, ready to receive shots. There were full-sized 11-a-side goals at each end of the pitch, as well as smaller 5-a-side goals positioned along the sides. The grass appeared unusually vibrant, almost too perfect. It could have been a trick of the light or the fact that it was artificial turf. Amelia let out a resigned sigh, knowing that while astroturf had its advantages, diving onto it often resulted in painful burns. Nevertheless, she was determined to endure the discomfort in pursuit of her passion.

A smile tugged at her lips as she stood behind the wooden fence that encircled the training ground. She noticed that she wasn't the first to arrive. Applejack, with her characteristic organisation and dedication, was busy setting up cones and preparing for footy drills and warm-ups. The fact that Applejack had taken the initiative to do this in her free time showcased her commitment to the team. Amelia couldn't help but admire her as she eagerly awaited the start of the training session.

Amelia stepped onto the pitch, walking towards Applejack as she focused on placing the coloured cones. Her 15-year-old mind wanted to run up and scare her, but she quickly shut down that thought. She didn't want her first impression to be childish in front of the Toffees' manager. Instead, she would be more mature. That meant not being weird, not being childish, and not being easily annoyed by a certain purple-haired pegasus.

Come on, Amelia! You got this!

"Applejack! Hey!" Amelia called out, raising her hand in greeting. Applejack turned just in time to see Amelia's hand raised in a wave before falling to her side. Applejack smiled, placing a hand on her hip.

"Howdy, y'all. You're mighty early, aren't ya?" Applejack pointed out, a one-sided grin and a raised brow on her face.

"Yeah, I couldn't wait any longer, like. I 'ad to be the first per—pony 'ere, you know." Amelia shrugged, looking all around her, envisioning herself training there more often than not. It wasn't the best training ground, small and without a gym or facilities, just the pitch. But Amelia didn't mind. A stage was all she needed.

"Well, well, now ain't that a mighty fine response! I sure do fancy a good dose of enthusiasm during these trainin' sessions. But reckon, considerin' it's your first meetin' with the squad, anyone in their right mind would be mighty eager to join in. So tell me, how you feelin'? A li'l nervous, perhaps?" Applejack asked, making Amelia rub the back of her head and smile.

"Yeah, summat like that. I feel ready but also a bit uneasy at the same time, you know. I'm usually not like this." Amelia responded, feeling like she was taken out of her comfort zone without a parent, guardian, or friend to watch over her. Training with strangers and having strangers watch her felt unforgiving. She became more timid and quiet, like a certain yellow pegasus.

"Don't fret none, darlin'! It's mighty natural to feel a tad nervous, but rest assured, me and the squad will lend ya a hand to get settled in. It's good to have you tonight." Applejack's warm voice reassured Amelia, but her apprehension remained. As Applejack extended her hand, a sense of unease washed over Amelia, making her palms clammy and her heart race. The weight of the world seemed to rest upon her shoulders, causing her forehead to glisten with a cold sweat. It was as though an invisible force emanated from Applejack's hand, enveloping Amelia in a mysterious aura.

A surge of questions flooded Amelia's mind, causing her breath to catch in her throat. What was this sudden breathlessness? Where did this inexplicable heaviness originate from? The overwhelming sensation that radiated from Applejack intensified her curiosity, leaving her desperate for answers.

And then, in a moment of revelation, Amelia's gaze fixated on a breathtaking sight. A vivid, raw green aura emerged from the depths of Applejack's being, rising upwards like ethereal tendrils that intertwined with the night sky. The emerald mist swirled and danced, casting an enchanting glow upon the surroundings. Its heat seeped through Amelia's fur, mingling with the beads of perspiration that formed on her brow. Uncertainty clouded her mind, unsure if the warmth was a result of the sultry air or her own nerves.

Yet, despite the mesmerising display, it was Applejack's penetrating stare that captivated Amelia. The friendly twinkle within those emerald eyes belied a hidden power, an indescribable force that seemed to emanate from the depths of her being. Amelia felt as though she stood before a titan, unable to break free from the magnetic pull of Applejack's gaze. It was an encounter that left her acutely aware of the immense power that lay dormant within those eyes, and she couldn't help but wonder what secrets they held.

Scary…

"Yoooo! Applejack!" a scratchy voice said from behind Amelia, an oddly calm voice that contradicted Amelia's stress levels. Finally, Applejack's eyes were torn away from Amelia as they looked over her, the luminous green aura fading.

"Well, well, reckon I didn't expect to lay eyes on ya 'round these parts so dang early." Applejack's voice rang out, accompanied by a mischievous smirk. Amelia's gaze shifted, and her eyes widened in surprise at the sight before her. She had already acquainted herself with Applejack, the team's leader, and Scootaloo, the spirited one. However, the addition of another player to the Toffee's roster felt surreal. This newcomer possessed a wild and unique appearance that immediately caught Amelia's attention.

Her hair, resembling a pixie cut on one side but adorned with spikes and an abundance of strands, exuded an untamed and vibrant energy. The pristine white of her fur was a sight to behold, surpassing any other pony Amelia had encountered thus far. It was a stark and striking contrast against the backdrop of the bustling environment. As for her eyes, they remained a mystery to Amelia, concealed behind a pair of purple shaded glasses that signified her identity as the Toffees' number 7.

Vinyl Scratch.

Clad in a simple yet effortlessly cool ensemble, Vinyl donned a blank crimson tank shirt, accentuated by a loosely hanging black jacket that seemed to defy gravity. A necklace in the shape of a musical note dangled gracefully outside of her shirt, adding a touch of whimsy to her appearance. Completing her attire were black tight sport shorts, effortlessly showcasing her athletic prowess. Wrapped around her neck, a pair of headphones emitted a faint sound, a mesmerising symphony of absolute madness that resonated with the beats of dubstep. It was an audial experience that captivated Amelia's senses, leaving her in awe.

With her hands casually tucked into her pockets, Vinyl strolled over, nonchalantly blowing a bubble that emerged from her mouth. The presence of chewies, a seemingly newfound accessory, piqued Amelia's curiosity. When did she start chewing gum? It was a small detail, yet it only added to the enigmatic aura that surrounded Vinyl Scratch, leaving Amelia eager to uncover more about this intriguing member of the team.

"Word around Ponyville is that you took in a young goalkeeper to train with us tonight. Sure, doesn't sound like much at first until I heard the goalkeeper was a pegasus. I just had to see what all the fuss was about, see if the rumours were true." Vinyl murmured, her hand gripping the bag strapped around her shoulder while the other was in her jacket pocket. Then she looked down at Amelia. "And I'm guessing this is her."

"Hey..." Amelia said lamely, looking up at the skilful winger in awe. Vinyl's cool grin widened, making Amelia smile somewhat.

"Hiya, sport. The name's Vinyl, nice to meet you. I'll look after you tonight." Vinyl ruffled Amelia's mane, making the little pegasus brighten up a bit. At least she wasn't a jerk or scary. Instead, she was pretty cool! And those glasses... Amelia wanted a pair just like them, but in blue!

"You two go and get changed, warm up until the rest of the squad turns up. Only then will we get started with training. We have a lot to sort out and talk about for our next game against The Crows. That's a must-win game if we have a chance to stay away from relegation." Applejack ordered firmly, leaving no time for replies as she turned away to set up for drills once again.

"Come on, sport. I'll show you around." Vinyl said before walking off in a direction.

There was a small building at the far side of the pitch, made out of red-painted wooden planks and beams. It wasn't as big as the barn and house on top of a hill in the distance of the orchard, but it was a reasonable size for a small confined space.

"This must be the changin' room..."

"So, what's your name, kid?" Vinyl suddenly spoke, sparking up a conversation.

"Oh, me name's Amelia!"

"Amelia? Strange name... What does it mean?" Amelia looked up at Vinyl, tilting her head.

"Meanin’?"

"Yeah! You know... My name is Vinyl because I'm into music. Applejack is called Applejack because she's into... well, apples, I guess. Do you get what I'm trying to say?"

Amelia was stumped by the question, even more so now that Vinyl had given an example. She had never thought about it before. Her name was just what she was called. How was she supposed to know the meaning of Amelia? It was just a name. Maybe it was different here. With the example that Vinyl had given, Amelia assumed that a pony's name was connected to the things they liked or their hobbies, or maybe even a talent they had...

My head hurts… No more thinking.

"I dunno, never really thought about it, like..."

“Mmm, you’re a strange one alright, but that’s cool.”

I’ve just been called strange, how have I messed up already!? She probably thinks I’m lame now…

"Applejack is a cool gal, isn't she? A good manager but an even better player," Vinyl murmured, opening the door and walking into a bright hallway with doors on each side. Amelia followed.

"Player? I didn't know Applejack played foooooooooooooohoofball!" Amelia said quickly, nearly slipping up. Vinyl did notice the slip-up as she looked over her shoulder but never said anything about it.

"Yeah, a Toffee legend and one of the best players to play in the Equestrian League. You should watch some clips of her on YouTube, she was awesome! It's a shame she had to retire early."

"Retire—early?"

"Wait... you don't know? Have you been living under a rock for the past 5 years?" Vinyl raised a brow, stopping in a doorway which had the sign of the changing rooms. She looked befuddled. Then a grin appeared on her face. "You are not from around here, are you?" Vinyl nodded as if confirming a theory she had before walking in. Amelia followed, not sure what to think about that comment. Was that a good thing or not?

As Amelia entered the room, her eyes were immediately drawn to the walls adorned with an array of lockers, each one meticulously decorated to reflect the unique personalities of the players. The vibrant and diverse displays showcased a glimpse into the individuality that resided within the team. Below the lockers, benches provided a space for players to prepare for training, whether it be pulling up their socks, lacing up their boots, or simply catching their breath after a rigorous session. The hangers at the far end of the room held neatly arranged training kits, eagerly awaiting their wearers to claim them.

Yet, amidst the organised chaos, one hanger remained empty, noticeably absent from its designated spot. It didn't take long for Amelia's eyes to locate it. In the corner of the room, perched upon a bench, sat Scootaloo, already sporting her training kit. She focused intently on fastening her laces, a determined expression etched across her face. A sigh of resignation escaped Amelia's lips, knowing all too well the attitude that often accompanied Scootaloo's presence.

"Yoooo! What's happening, Scoots?" Vinyl's nonchalant tone reverberated through the room, accompanied by a laid-back smile that seemed to effortlessly charm those around her. Scootaloo glanced up momentarily, acknowledging Vinyl's greeting before swiftly returning her attention to the task at hand. Without uttering a word, she rose from the bench and strode past Vinyl, not hesitating to bump her shoulder against Amelia's as she made her exit. An exasperated huff escaped Amelia's lips, her gaze fixated on the back of Scootaloo's head, frustration evident in her glare. As Scootaloo disappeared down the hallway, the echoes of her boots clanking against the floor resonated in the air, leaving Amelia to ponder the mysteries that lay behind her enigmatic teammate.

"What's 'er problem, eh?" Amelia voiced her frustration, unable to comprehend Scootaloo's abrasive behaviour.

"Don't worry about her." Vinyl dismissed with a casual wave of her hoof. "She doesn't exactly get along with many ponies in the squad. It took Applejack over a year to break through to her. So, I don't expect you two to hit it off right away." she explained, grabbing her training shirt from the end of the room. "Her ego is bigger than Ponyville itself, but hey, if that's what fuels her growth as a player, it's whatevs." Vinyl shrugged, taking a seat as she proceeded to remove her jacket.

Amelia's eyes widened in alarm as she realised that Vinyl was also about to take off her tank top. A sudden surge of embarrassment flooded her cheeks, causing her to quickly avert her gaze, turning right around to avoid any further awkwardness.

"She's a proper jerk. She laughed at me and said I couldn't be a goalie 'cos I 'ave wings, can ya believe it?" Amelia grumbled, crossing her arms tightly as frustration boiled within her.

"Well... it is quite unusual to have a Pegasus in goal, but hey, to each their own." Vinyl responded, nonchalantly. "Come on, go get changed. Why do you have your back to me? Wait... are you embarrassed?" Vinyl's playful tone called Amelia's attention, causing her to stiffen in surprise at being called out.

"I'm not!" Amelia retorted a little too quickly and loudly, her words laced with defensiveness.

"Oh my Celestia, you totally are!" Vinyl burst into laughter, unable to contain her amusement. The sound of her laughter only served to intensify Amelia's embarrassment, causing her to clench her teeth in a mix of humiliation and anger.

"I am—oh, fuckin’ ‘ell!" Amelia whirled around in frustration, only to hastily turn back around, her face burning with embarrassment. As she faced forward again, she noticed that Vinyl was indeed wearing her training kit, but to Amelia's dismay, she had yet to put on her shorts. This meant that all that was visible in Vinyl's lower region were her black panties. "PUT YER BLOODY SHORTS ON!"

"Hahaha! You're so easy to tease! I knew we could have some laughs together." Vinyl chuckled, thoroughly entertained by Amelia's reaction. The heat in Amelia's face intensified, now a mixture of humiliation and anger, as she struggled to regain her composure amidst the teasing banter.

Great, now I’m easy and she probably thinks that I’m a frisbee… Brilliant!

"Vinyl, dear, please try to act your proper age. It's unbecoming to tease the poor filly." a sudden posh voice, laced with a British accent, resonated through the room, catching Amelia off guard. Her attention turned towards the doorway, and there stood a pony with elegant grey fur, sporting a scrutinising expression. Calm purple eyes softened the intensity of her gaze, countering the glare that was directed at Vinyl. The pony effortlessly pulled off a dark grey full-side fringe, allowing her long hair to cascade gracefully down her back. It was a stark contrast to Vinyl's untamed locks. Amelia recognised this pony immediately; she was the complete antithesis of Vinyl Scratch, yet they formed an unlikely partnership on the wings. The Toffee's number 12.

Octavia Melody!

Octavia's posh accent was not the sole indicator of her refined nature; her outfit paid homage to British culture in the most stylish manner. A purple woolly trench coat enveloped her figure, perfectly accentuating her eyes, while being impeccably buttoned up. A black woolly jumper peeked out from underneath, its turtleneck folded out with sophistication. Black loose pants hung elegantly beneath the trench coat, and black heeled boots completed the ensemble. If Octavia were not a footballer, she could easily pass for a model.

"Octavia!!!" Vinyl suddenly exclaimed in a cheerful tone, swiftly rising from her seat and sprinting towards the deadpan earth pony. With arms wide open, Vinyl intended to engulf Octavia in a warm embrace, but Octavia, with all her grace and swiftness, effortlessly ducked and manoeuvred under Vinyl's outstretched arms. Vinyl, however, missed her target completely, landing face-first past the doorway and into the hallway, emitting a pained moan. Meanwhile, Octavia adjusted her coat with a quick pull of her collar, her expression unamused.

Amelia stood there with her mouth agape, utterly amazed by the scene that had unfolded before her. As humorous as it was to witness Vinyl go flying, seeing Octavia dodge the surprise hug with such refined finesse was simply astonishing. Amelia had caught glimpses of Octavia's skill on the ball, but if she could execute spins like that flawlessly in a game, Amelia couldn't contain her excitement to witness what other remarkable feats Octavia was capable of.

"Ouch—Octavia..." Vinyl whined, her glasses all crooked on her snout when she looked over her shoulder, a hurt look on her face. "What was that for? I thought we were friends."

"Vinyl, we are friends, but I won't have one of your enthusiastic hugs while you are half-naked in front of this poor dear. It's not proper." Octavia said, walking and taking her own shirt from the hanger. That's when Octavia laid eyes on Amelia for the first time. A small gentle smile graced Octavia's face. "Hello, love. My name is Octavia Melody. It's nice to meet you."

"Yeah... Me name's Amelia... Nice to meet ya too." Amelia said in awe, dumbstruck by her classiness. Octavia tilted her head a little.

"I've never heard such a name or accent before. It's quite unusual. May I ask where you are from?" Octavia sat, leg crossed over the other, undoing her trench coat.

Oh, here we go again.

Amelia turned away once again. She opened her mouth to speak the truth, but didn't know if telling the truth about her origins was such a good idea when she didn't really understand why she was here in the first place. Did they know what humans are? Did they know where Merseyside is? Did they know about the accent her people have? It was very unlikely, so she didn't want to address it blindly.

"I've just recently come to Ponyville, living with my big sister. Plain and simple." Amelia shrugged, making Octavia raise her eyebrows and hum.

"Mmm, how peculiar. You must catch some eyes with how you speak."

"You're one to talk, Octy. The way you talk has caught my eye." Vinyl spoke up from the door, leaning her arm against the door frame as she grinned. Her other hand was on her hip in a flirtatious pose. With her shorts STILL not on, Amelia quickly looked away again. Octavia, however, continued to get undressed, making Vinyl lift her eyebrows with a raised brow. Her eyes roamed all over Octavia's physique. Vinyl couldn't help but put her hands together, close her eyes, and say a few words.

"Celestia, I don't know what I did to deserve this, but thank you for sharing such an angel that plays hard to get. Amen."

Octavia rolled her eyes, pulling up her shorts. "Vinyl, dear, perhaps you should get dressed instead of acting a fool, please. The poor filly is beet red."

Amelia had enough of feeling humiliated. She turned and headed to a private place, everything in hand to get changed. "Right then, I better get meself changed."

"Uhh, Amelia, that's the toilet."

"I know!"





Amelia took a few moments to collect herself, allowing her emotions to cool down. Being embarrassed in front of her new teammates was not the ideal start she had envisioned for her football journey. She yearned to establish understanding and a genuine bond with her fellow players, fostering a sense of camaraderie before stepping onto the field. However, thus far, she had encountered laughter, ridicule, and humiliation from her teammates. Determined to fit in, Amelia recognized the need to delve deeper into the world of "hoofball" and the pony culture surrounding it. She realized that in order to truly connect with her teammates, she would have to learn about their history, lingo, customs, and habits.

Amelia let out a sigh of contemplation. Where should she begin? How should she approach this endeavor? Should she dive into books and take diligent notes? No, she quickly dismissed the idea, knowing her tendency to lose focus after just a single page. It would be too time-consuming. Should she speak to Fluttershy, who might possess valuable insights? While Fluttershy might have an idea on a few things, Amelia hesitated, she didn't want to be a bother. Perhaps she could learn through firsthand experiences, picking up the necessary knowledge along her journey through this pony-filled land. However, that would mean initially remaining ignorant and clueless, a prospect that Amelia found unsettling. She was determined to avoid further embarrassment.

With a resolute decision, Amelia changed into her Everton jersey, secured her gloves, and slung her bag over her shoulder. She was ready to embrace the cold, to stretch her limbs, and to showcase her skills to The Toffees. The thought of stepping onto the field ignited a fire within her, filling her with a potent blend of excitement and nervous energy. Regardless of the challenges she had faced thus far, Amelia was determined to give her best.

As she opened the door to exit the restroom, Amelia expected to find an empty dressing room. However, to her surprise, Vinyl was seated on the bench, slouched with her headphones on, head-banging to the music. Vinyl turned her head, her purple glasses absent, revealing her crimson eyes that met Amelia's gaze with a friendly smile.

“There you are, finally ready to go?” Vinyl popped up from her seat, all dressed and ready in shorts, a training weather jacket, and expensive-looking boots. Amelia could only thank god she wasn’t still in her underwear.

"As ready as I'm gonna be, like."

“Good, let's get you warmed up then.”

As Amelia stepped outside, the coolness of the night air enveloped her, causing her fur to bristle and sending a shiver down her spine. The absence of clouds allowed the night sky to reveal its true beauty, an expanse of darkness adorned with countless twinkling stars. The larger orb, the moon, cast a gentle glow, creating a mesmerising spectacle for anyone fortunate enough to witness it. Amelia couldn't help but feel a sense of gratitude for being able to play beneath this celestial masterpiece.

Across the field, Scootaloo and Octavia engaged in a seamless display of passing and control. The ball danced effortlessly between them, each showcasing their unique style. Octavia possessed a nimbleness and grace that Amelia found captivating. With every reception, Octavia utilised various parts of her body to bring the ball under her control. It seemed as though gravity itself bent to her will, regardless of the force with which the ball was kicked towards her. This reminded Amelia of a Bulgarian player named Dimitar Berbatov, not in his entirety, but in a particular aspect. It was Berbatov's legendary touch, an innate skill that could not be taught but was bestowed upon a select few. With a single touch, a sloppy pass could be transformed into a strategic advantage. This was the very essence that Amelia witnessed in Octavia, an extraordinary flair that set her apart on the field.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Scootaloo possessed a contrasting style compared to Octavia. While her first touch may not have been as flashy, it was solid and reliable. However, it was Scootaloo's passing that truly stood out, displaying an elite level of accuracy, skill, and precision. There was a distinct German flair in her approach to passing, utilising both the inside and outside of her foot with finesse, whether it be a one-touch or two-touch manoeuvre. Regardless of the technique employed, Scootaloo's passing was truly remarkable. It was akin to catching a glimpse of Mesut Ozil in action, witnessing the same level of precision and vision.

In the team setup, Scootaloo played as a striker in a false 9 role, assuming the role of the creative force among the trio of attackers. She expertly threaded passes to create scoring opportunities or utilised her dribbling skills to carve out chances for herself. Amelia keenly observed that Scootaloo possessed a level of on-ball intelligence that only comes with experience. She had an innate ability to find and exploit spaces off the ball, showcasing impressive awareness that bordered on the telepathic. Reflecting on her past experiences on Earth, Scootaloo reminded Amelia of two high-level players who excelled in a similar position.

Roberto Firmino, the Brazilian forward known for his exceptional footballing IQ, and Thomas Müller, the German attacker who possessed an innate understanding of the game, came to mind. While they may not have been the fastest or strongest players, their ability to read the game and make intelligent decisions set them apart. When combining Scootaloo's natural Pegasus speed with her footballing intellect, the potential for her to become a future star became evident.

Scootaloo and Octavia showcased two distinct styles of play, yet their tactical partnership held immense potential. However, before their on-field chemistry could fully blossom, a foundation of friendship and understanding needed to be established. The true power of their partnership would only emerge when they worked together harmoniously.

“Gorgeous, isn’t she?” Vinyl hummed, looking over at Scootaloo and Octavia, focusing more on Octavia.

“You mean Octavia?”

“Yeah, look at her go... bringing the ball to her feet so effortlessly. It’s like she has feather feet. She’s amazing.” Vinyl said with a goofy smile. Amelia raised an eyebrow, a sly grin forming on her face.

"Ooooo, you fancy 'er, don't ya?" Amelia said, nudging Vinyl with her elbow.

“Ha! You’d have to be soft not to. Now get in goal, I wanna see what you got.”

Amelia nodded contentedly as she made her way towards what she affectionately referred to as her Zone. Her gaze settled upon the gleaming goalposts, their pristine condition eliciting her approval. Satisfied with the measurements of her designated area, she nodded once again, acknowledging their correctness. As she positioned herself between the goal sticks, her gloves securely fastened, she tested the grip by sliding the palms of her gloves against each other, a grin spreading across her face. Despite having used them for a few months, the gloves remained in excellent shape.

Beneath the towering goalposts, Amelia found solace, confidence, and tranquility. This was why she dubbed it 'Her Zone' instead of simply referring to it as the penalty box. The Zone triggered something within Amelia, igniting a focused determination and fearlessness to protect the goal at all costs. It felt as though it was her very purpose to be the last line of defence. All she had to do now was patiently wait for the imminent threat of the ball.

Meanwhile, Vinyl had the ball at her feet, effortlessly manoeuvring it with a series of kick-ups that seamlessly transitioned into a swift round-the-world skill using her right foot. Next, she propelled the ball upwards with just the right amount of force, delicately balancing it on her forehead for a few seconds before deftly catching it with her boot, displaying remarkable control. Raising her boot in one fluid motion, Vinyl flicked the ball over her head, allowing it to sail through the air. However, as soon as the ball bounced once behind her, she executed an audacious Thiago flick. With the precision of her laces and toes, she propelled the ball behind her back, causing it to bounce off the floor once again, this time with enough force for it to soar over her own head. It gracefully landed in front of her feet, where she deftly touched it and continued her fluid dribbling.

Brazilian. That was the only word that came to Amelia's mind as she witnessed Vinyl's enchanting dance with the ball. It was as if the ball and Vinyl shared an unspoken understanding, moving in perfect harmony. Watching Vinyl freestyle with the ball evoked memories of Thiago Alcantara, Diego Maradona, and Ronaldinho—some of the greatest dribblers known on Earth. While Vinyl may not have reached their level, nor may she ever, the prospect of witnessing her growth and evolution into something truly special was undeniably exciting.

The growing smile of awe vanished from Amelia's face in an instant as her peripheral vision caught sight of a ball hurtling towards her. Instinctively, her hands moved on their own, swiftly and forcefully driving the ball into the ground before securely catching the ensuing rebound, safely cradling it within the grip of her gloves. Amelia's gaze shifted upwards, fully expecting the unexpected strike to have come from Scootaloo. However, to her surprise, that assumption couldn't have been further from the truth.

A wave of fear coursed through Amelia's body, leaving her momentarily paralysed as she laid eyes on the figure slowly approaching her. It was the earth pony she had recently encountered, but this encounter had not been a friendly one. The twang of dread intensified as the words escaped her trembling lips.

"YOU…"

Ahhh shite…

Thanks to the nonexistent smoke around her, Amelia could see properly who she had bumped into a few hours ago. It was none other than Minuette, the formidable defensive midfielder of the Toffees. Known for her explosive temper and aggressive playing style, Minuette had earned the moniker of "The Blue Raging Bull." Her extensive disciplinary record, consisting of 37 yellow cards and 9 red cards during her time with the team, spoke volumes about her short fuse. Whether it was berating the referee for unfavourable decisions or delivering bone-crunching tackles on unsuspecting players, Minuette was always quick to engage in confrontation. The mere mention of her name evoked comparisons to the likes of Roy Keane or Sergio Ramos, players notorious for their fiery demeanour.

Amelia didn't need to witness any actions from Minuette to understand the danger she posed. The intense glare directed at her spoke volumes, foretelling a storm of aggression. It was a look that conveyed the imminent threat of a tenth red card.

Goodbye, legs.

"Eh, ese, you were at my fookin' casa and now you're fookin' aquí, cabrón. Quién eres y qué quieres!?"

Oh yeah... did I mention she lived a part of her life in a pony version of Mexico? Crazy, right?

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, ese. Calm yourself down, no trouble here " Vinyl exclaimed, her voice filled with urgency as she intercepted Amelia's line of sight. She held her hands up in a calming gesture, trying to diffuse the tension that hung heavily in the air.

"Fookin' move, Equestriano. That filly entered mi casa, ruined mi pie, and scared mi familia. I won't have it, güey!" Minuette spat, her voice filled with anger and frustration. Her eyes, like daggers, glared fiercely over Vinyl's shoulder, causing Amelia to instinctively rub her arm for comfort. The intensity in Minuette's gaze was alarming, emanating a sense of pure wrath.

Vinyl attempted to reason with Minuette, her voice tinged with a hint of desperation. "Alright, just calm down. I'm sure this is all just a big misunderstanding—somehow. She's just a filly, she probably didn't know any better. Be the bigger pony here and let her off the hook, just this once. Okay? Okay! Good. Now, why don't you go get changed before Applejack comes and sees what all the fuss is about, yeah?"

Minuette remained silent, her body language indicating that she was still contemplating shoving Vinyl aside and unleashing her fury on Amelia. However, she refrained from doing so. Instead, she slowly backtracked, never taking her eyes off of Amelia. With a pointed finger, Minuette silently warned her to be cautious. Amelia heeded the warning, fully aware that she needed to tread carefully.

Finally, Minuette turned away and strode towards the changing rooms. Amelia released a breath she didn't realise she had been holding, her eyes following Minuette's retreating figure. Vinyl turned to face Amelia, raising an eyebrow inquisitively.

"Uhhh, I see you two have met..."

"I dunno wanna talk about it, mate..." Amelia muttered, her voice filled with a mixture of apprehension and defeat.

"Oh, we will after training." Vinyl declared, determination evident in her tone. "It doesn't take much to piss her off, but that look in her eyes... You must have really done something bad, bad."

Amelia's body sagged with the weight of those words, the thought of an enraged Mexican bearing down on her sounding truly terrifying. She silently prayed that the consequences would be nothing more than a smack on the rear with a belt. Glancing over at Scootaloo and Octavia, Amelia sought solace in their presence, only to find Scootaloo sporting a smug grin, her gaze locked onto Amelia's. The desire to wipe that smile off Scootaloo's face burned within Amelia. Applejack, witnessing the scene, made her way towards Minuette in the changing room.

What a fantastic way to start...