• Published 3rd Mar 2024
  • 1,073 Views, 43 Comments

Sickness to Health - David Silver

His life had become pain and sickness, but a bright new world offered an alternative path where not only it glittered, but it offered him the chance to shine as well. He would never be the same again, but life as a hippogriff can't be worse.

  • ...

3 - First Day

To a young hippogriff like Silverstream, Ponyville was a wondrous place, a town that defied expectations and allowed for peace between multiple species and ideologies. But perhaps its greatest wonder was that she was permitted to be there at all, away from the safety of her own people. But that changed, as she had brought one of those with her. "Presenting!" She waved at Ariel excitedly. "Ariel!"

Ariel gave an awkward little wave. "Hi, everyone." The murmur of conversation ground to a halt. There were five other teens at one table, a varied assortment of creatures. All of them stopped talking and stood up.

The pony smiled easily. "Nice to meet you. I'm Sandbar." He pointed at himself just to make that clear. "This is Gallus." He nodded to the griffin next to him. "I heard you met one of our favorite mares already."

Gallus ruffled his wings, fixing his gaze on Ariel. "Hm. Something about you." He tapped at his beak with thought. "Whatever, hey. You joining the school?"

"Hope so. I like studying. And friends." Ariel tried to smile. "Silverstream and I have a lot in common. She saved my life. And now I'm here. I'm so glad I have the chance to say thank you."

Ocellus, the changeling, waved excitedly. "Saved you? Silver, you have to tell us that story."

Yona, the yak, nodded firmly. "Yes, tell us what happen. How save?"

Silverstream snorted, nudging Ariel. "I found her glowing in the water. She was sick, really, really sick. I took her to my Auntie Novo, and she did this thing, and then, boom."

Ariel laughed at that, clacking her beak shut as she forced herself to stop. "Sorry, but yeah, that's basically it. You tell stories in a funny way." She hugged Silversteam to make it clear there were no hard feelings. "She found me when I was sick and with Novo's help, I'm all better." She flourished her arms to show it. "I was something else, but now a hippogriff."

The orange dragon, Smolder, cocked her head. "Not a hippogriff?" She looked Ariel over intently. "You look like a hippogriff now. Either way, welcome aboard. If Silverstream likes you, you can't be too awful."

Ariel breathed deep, settling in among the new crowd. "I hope not. I didn't do much, but I'm grateful."

"Sounds like Silverstream did plenty." Yona puffed up with pride.

The conversation slipped from Ariel to other school topics. Ariel perked at that. "A project?"

Smolder rolled her eyes. "Ugh, yes. We have to pick a culture and write a story about one of their holidays."

Sandbar thrust up a hoof. "It's a group project." He pointed at Yona. "I'm working with Yona."

"We smash project." Yona nodded with complete confidence.

Smolder hiked a thumb at Gallus. "We're teamed up."

The griffin squawked in a sour tone. "Yeah, 'cause we both want it over with quick."

Ariel grinned with the conversation. "That sounds like fun."

"Weeell, maybe not exactly. I'm pairing with Ocellus." Silverstream sat up with a sly smirk. "And that leaves you to pair with, um." She looked over the table, but all the creatures there had a partner. "Oh no." She slapped a talon on her forehead. "I'm so sorry. I totally forgot we had partners. We were going to discuss it this weekend and, uh." She flailed her arms. "Ariel happened."

Ariel held up her hands placatingly. "It's alright. They may not even expect me to do it, coming in this late and all. Um, which teacher is this again?"

Silverstream launched into a full-blown explanation of how they had six teachers instead of one, and each taught them a subject, and they were expected to learn those subjects and apply them to the real world in projects that helped others.

Gallus casually reached across and shut Silverstream's beak. "None of that answered her question. This one came from Rarity, so you'll want to talk to her. White, unicorn, pony if unicorn didn't give that away." He shrugged lightly. "Diamonds on her butt."

Sandbar huffed. "That's her cutie mark, not just 'on her butt'."

Ariel clapped gently. "Alright. I'll ask Rarity as soon as I can." She turned to Silver. "Do we see her today?"

"Sure do! Let's finish eating and we can get to class."

The conversation dimmed as they focused on filling their bellies instead, with just brief passes of things around the table and the murmured statement of where things were on the tray.

It was all very new. The food here was unlike anything Ariel had eaten before, or even heard of. A kind of baked flatbread covered in sweet honey, creamy cheese, and the pieces of fruit—plums and bananas—with a faint taste of spice. She devoured it with relish, sitting at that table with new friends. It was amazing. She felt her stomach filling, and yet wanted to eat it again.

They threw their plates in the bin to be washed, and headed for their classrooms. Smolder shook her head as they walked. "Now we have two excited hippogriffons. I thought Silver was one of a kind, but you look ready to explode with excitement. Should we just get ahead of things and explain what stairs are?"

Ariel blinked at the idea. "I know what stairs are. But—" She struggled for words. "The whole world, that's pretty new."

Smolder paused. "Oh, I guess so. Sure, sure, whatever. Glad you're enjoying it." She stomped ahead of the pack, taking the lead.

Ariel walked with Silverstream to a classroom that had Twilight at the front of it, nodding at each student as they came in. "Ah, come here please." She waved Ariel closer. "Class, we have a new student. She'll need your help and guidance to hit the ground running in the middle of a semester like this, but with friendship at her side, I'm sure she can manage."

Ariel looked over the assembled ponies and the handful of non-pony students. "It's a pleasure to be here, and I look forward to making a lot of new friends."

Twilight smiled. "Good attitude. Go ahead and take a seat." She gently shooed Ariel away. "Now, as we were discussing, Magic, it's used by every species of creature, but in very different ways. Magic is one binding element that runs all across the world and ties us together. Even the most closed off cultures use magic, though they may not recognize it by that name." She lectured with practice, drawing things on the board.

Ariel felt herself zoning out a bit. She shook herself firmly and refocused on Twilight and what she was saying. It was a new world, with magic. Knowing about it felt important, and a little exciting. She raised a taloned hand up into the air.

Twilight pointed at her. "Ariel? You have a question?"

Ariel bobbed her head. "Can I learn magic?" Several other students began to snicker. "What? Can't I?"

Twilight's smile was gentle, if a bit pained. "Magic is a rare ability in a species that does not inherently possess it. To date, there are only a handful of individuals who can learn magic. Most are unicorns." She pointed up at her horn. "Magic is our tribe's specialization. Hippogriffs, on the other hoof, do have magic. You're wearing yours."

Wearing? It took a moment for Ariel to home in on the dangling crystal around her neck. "This?"

"That." Twilight nodded. "A powerful artifact that allows you to switch seamlessly between two forms, one on land, and one on water. Item-based magic is quite popular amont many creatures that don't have magic 'built-in' as it were." She smiled encouragingly. "You're certainly welcome to try, but it's highly unlikely that you have magical potential beyond what that item grants you."

"Oh." Ariel took a seat at Silverstream's side, huffing quietly. "That's dumb," she groused quietly enough that only Silver would easily hear her.

The class went by smoothly after that and with the bell, they were unleashed into the halls. Silver pointed the way towards the next class. "If you do learn magic." She bumped gently into Ariel. "I wanna see! I bet it'd be really neat."

Ariel smiled at that. "I'll show it, gladly. But how would I even start?" The hallway they were walking along seemed devoid of any magical starter books. "Where would I learn?"

Silverstream considered the matter a moment. "We have a library. It's really great. It has lots of stuff, even some magic stuff." She hesitated, a paw rubbing at the back of her neck. "But mostly about the not-spells," she admitted with a pout. "I think you need a spell-user to share with you."

"Twilight's one of those." Ariel hiked a thumb back at the class they had left. "Maybe her?"

"Maybe?" They went into the next class, where Rarity was seated, waiting for her students.

Rarity saw Ariel and lit up. "Ah! I understand you want to take my class? How delightful! I look forward to helping you make wonderful and stylish outfits, darling." She paused as she looked over the hippogriff. "You look like you could use an outfit, speaking of that." She tittered gently. "I am teasing, to be clear, dear. I will gladly assist you with fashion, but only if you wish it. My class isn't just about that, or even primarily. Welcome!"

"Thanks." Ariel bowed politely at the waist. "It's a pleasure to be here. I'm Ariel."

"I heard." Rarity pointed a hoof at the desks. "Have a seat, darling and we'll get started, hm? Glad to see you already found a friend."

"Two," added Gallus, also present for that class.

Rarity smiled warmly. "Three is even better! You'll be the belle of the ball, I'm certain. I only hope I can help you shine." She flicked her mane with a soft, almost musical laugh. "Now then, class, let's begin! This class won't teach itself. Speaking of that, how are your projects coming along?"

She went around the class, checking in on the group project the students were doing together. Each of them took a turn describing their ideas to the other. As she settled on a different topic to focus on, the students eagerly discussed their ideas.

Ariel was content to listen, not entirely sure how she fit into things.

Rarity stopped at Ariel's desk. "Now, you, poor thing. You arrived so late in the semester, hm." She curled a hoof to her chin. "I don't want to overwhelm you, but I don't want to just leave you doing nothing, dear. Is there a project you'd like to work on?"

Ariel perked at that, hope shining in her features. "I want to learn magic. You're a unicorn. You know how to cast spells? Can you share with me? Teach me to glow my horn and make things float?"

"Oh. Well!" Rarity shook her head slowly. "There is far more to it than that. It would be rather irresponsible of me to promise I could teach you that level of magic when we've only just met." She considered Ariel a moment. "It's as much a matter of talent as it is of teaching."

"We won't know until we try." Ariel clapped her hands firmly together. "Please? I'll pay attention." Her tail whipped about excitedly behind her.

"Oh my, dear, I love your enthusiasm! That alone speaks well of you." Rarity folded her forelimbs. "Let's give it a try. But, I admit, I am not the most ideal teacher." She inclined her head. "I may be a unicorn, and I can cast a spell, but you want a proper wizard. Fortunately for you, there are two that work in this very school!"

Silverstream clapped excitedly. "Headmare Twilight, right?"

Gallus leaned forward in his desk. "Who's the other one?"

Rarity hesitated a moment before answering. "Counselor Starlight Glimmer. She also knows how to use magic and can teach you well, if you can convince her of the wisdom of trying." She chuckled at her own joke. "Now, is there a subject you'd like to explore in your project, Ariel?"

Ariel pointed at herself. "Can a hippogriff learn magic? I say yes."

"I also vote yes." Silverstream grabbed Ariel with one arm in a bright show of support. "That's two yeas!"

Rarity chuckled gently. "Keep up that spirit. Why don't you, Ariel, go speak to Starlight? I have to continue discussing the class project, but you can get started on your own, hm? I do wish you the absolute best, dear."

Author's Note:

Time to take up a project! Ariel reaches for the sky, looking happy if she knocks a cloud around on the way.

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