No Longer Living In A Van Down By The River

by Peni Parker

First published

Since The Dazzlings agreed to be motivational speakers at CHS they're no longer living in a van down by the river, but the job may make them wish they still were.

After agreeing to be motivational speakers at CHS, The Dazzlings are no longer living in a van down by the river. However, once they start dealing with the various problems of some of the CHS students, they may wish they'd stayed in said van down by the river.

A series of stories chronicling the Dazzlings as motivational speakers at CHS.

Adagio and Wallflower Blush

View Online

Wallflower Blush was standing outside of Vice-Principal Luna’s office one Wednesday afternoon after school. She’d received a note earlier in the day asking her to see the Vice Principle after school had ended, but the note didn’t give any details as to why. In all likelihood, it was regarding her recent use of the memory stone to erase everyone’s memories of Sunset Shimmer. Although Sunset and her friends all forgave Wallflower for the incident, she hadn’t received any formal punishment yet.

There were virtually unlimited punishments Vice-Principal Luna could impose on Wallflower, the thought of some of them made her grimace. Detention, expulsion, losing her beloved garden, all of these punishments and more raced through her head and made her just want to run away. She knew, however, there was no running from this.

With a long and deep breath, Wallflower steeled herself as she knocked on door.

“Come in.” Vice-Principal Luna could be heard saying from the other side.

Wallflower grabbed hold of the door knob and slowly turned it, knowing there was no turning back now as she entered the room.

“Y-you wanted to see me, Vice-Principal Luna?” she nervously asked.

Luna put down some paper she’d been holding and turned her attention to the timid teen.

“Yes, Ms. Blush. Please have a seat.” She said as she gestured to a chair in front of her desk.

Wallflower silently took her seat and stared at the floor, nervous and afraid of the conversation that was about to come.

“I assume you know why I’ve asked you here today.” Luna stated.

“Y-yes, ma’am,” Wallflower acknowledged as she kept her eyes on the floor. “And I’m ready for whatever punishment you give me.”

“There will be no punishment, Ms. Blush.” Luna nonchalantly responded.

Wallflower’s head immediately shot up in disbelief. Had she heard Vice-Principal Luna correctly? She wasn’t going to be punished for what she’d done using the memory stone?

“There…won’t?” she asked. Although she was happy that she wasn’t going to disciplined, the confusion Wallflower felt dwarfed it significantly.

“No, there won’t.” Luna reiterated. “I’ve discussed the matter with my sister, as well as with Sunset Shimmer and her friends, and we all feel that a more…unorthodox approach to your actions may yield better results.”

Wallflower’s confusion only grew, as evidenced by the bewildered expression she now had on her face. What was Vice-Principal Luna talking about? If it wasn’t some form of punishment, what could this ‘unorthodox approach’ be?

“I can see you’re confused,” Luna commented. “Allow me to explain. My sister has recently hired a group of girls to serve as motivational speakers for some of the students. You may remember them from the Battle of the Bands fiasco; The Dazzlings?”

Although Wallflower hadn’t participated in the Battle of the Bands personally, she did know who The Dazzlings were. Afterall, it’s hard to forget three girls from another world who nearly took over the school, and possibly the world.

“Y-yes, I remember them.” She replied. “But, why have you hired them to be motivational speakers?”

Luna could sense Wallflower’s confusion at hearing that The Dazzlings were now employed by the school. It was only natural.

“We hired them for cases just like this.” she explained. “It’s no secret that incidents involving Equestrian magic are on the rise here at CHS. My sister thought it might be a good idea to have The Dazzling speak about their experiences with Equestrian magic to students who have encountered it so as to deter them from using it.”

The logic of Luna’s explanation made sense to Wallflower, though she still questioned if it was a good idea having The Dazzlings be the ones to doing the motivational speaking. Regardless, she was more than willing to deal with listening to The Dazzlings rather than receiving some form of punishment.

“Alright.” Wallflower agreed. “So, you want me to meet with them and hear what they have to say?”

“Just one of them, actually.” Luna clarified. “She should be here shortly.”

No sooner had Vice-Principal Luna finished speaking than the door to her office opened, revealing a light golden girl with poofy orange hair that Wallflower recognized at the leader of The Dazzlings.

“Ah, Ms. Dazzle, perfect timing.” Luna stated. “I take it my sister has already informed you about the situation?”

“She has,” The golden girl half-heartedly answered as she made her way into the room. She stopped when she got next to Luna’s desk and leaned against it, staring at shy looking girl sitting just a few feet away. “And I assume this is Wallflower Blush?”

Wallflower briefly considered introducing herself to the Dazzling leader but decided against it. In truth, she was a bit intimated by her.

“It is.” Luna confirmed. “You may begin whenever you’re ready.”

“Right, let’s get this over with.” The golden girl remarked as she ceased leaning against the desk and stood up straight with her arms folded under her chest.

The sight of the Dazzling leader in such a commanding pose only made Wallflower feel even more intimidated.

“As you probably already know, my name is Adagio Dazzle.” The golden girl, apparently named Adagio, began, a bit more whole-heartedly. “And I’m here to motivate you into choosing a life free of corrupting Equestrian magic.”

Although Adagio seemed a bit more spirited than earlier, Wallflower couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t all that thrilled about acting as a motivational speaker.

“To start, let me give you a little bit of a scenario of what my life is all about.” Adagio continued. “First off, I’m over a thousand years old, I’m a siren from Equestria, and, up until recently, I’ve been living in a van down by the river.”

Wallflower just stared at Adagio with a blank expression, unable to tell if she was actually being serious or not. Adagio payed no mind to Wallflower’s bewildered state as she continued, slowing inching her way closer to the confused girl.

“Now I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, ‘Hey, I’m going to use some Equestrian magic to get the world by the tail, wrap it around, and pull it down and put it in my pocket.’”

Wallflower had never said to herself, ever.

“Well I’m here to tell you that if you follow that path, you’re not going to amount to JACK SQUAT!” Adagio exclaimed as she stopped right in front of Wallflower and stuck her face just few inches from Wallflower’s.

At this point, Wallflower was visibly sweating. Having Adagio’s face so close to her own was making her extremely nervous.

“You’re going to end up eating a steady diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER.” Adagio continued.

Wallflower tilted her head a little to the right so she could look at Vice-Principal Luna, giving her a face that almost appeared to be a cry for help. Luna did nothing.

“Now tell me, Wallflower,” Adagio went on, pulling her head back. “What do you want to do with your life?”

“W-well, I want to be a b-botanist.” Wallflower nervously replied, trying to avoid eye contact with Adagio.

A small, sly smile formed on Adagio’s face upon hearing Wallflower’s answer.

“Well la de doddle da. We got ourselves a botanist here.” She sarcastically remarked as she made her way back over to the side of Luna’s desk. “Tell me, Luna, does that look like Jane Colden over there?”

“Actually, Ms. Dazzle, we encourage our students to pursue their passions at this school.” The vice principle retorted.

The sly smile disappeared from Adagio’s face as she facepalmed.

Luna, I wish you could just shut your big yapper. The poofy haired girl thought to herself but dared not say aloud.

Hearing Vice-Principal Luna stand up for her made Wallflower feel a bit more at ease, that is until Adagio made her way back over to her.

“So, you like gardening do you?” Adagio said, once again positioning herself only few inches in front of Wallflower, “Well there will be plenty of plants to take care of when you're LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”

Wallflower could feel herself beginning to sweat again.

“Now, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘Gee, Adagio, how can I get back on the right track?’” Adagio went on as she moved over behind Wallflower’s chair.

As before, Wallflower was not saying that to herself.

“As I see it, there’s only one solution,” Adagio declared as she placed both her hands on Wallflower’s shoulders. “And that’s for me to get my things and move in with you, Wallflower.”

“W-what?!” Wallflower winced as she turned her head to look at the Dazzling leader with eyes as wide as saucer plates.

“That’s right. You and I are going to be besties, gal pals, amigos.” Adagio egotistically stated as she took her hands off Wallflower and headed for the door. “I’m going to get my things.”

“Ms. Dazzle,” Vice Principle Luna intervened as she stood up from her seat. “While I’m glad you seem committed to helping Wallflower I don’t think this is necessary.”

Adagio stopped in the doorway and stared back at Luna with a serious and determined look.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass because I’m moving in with her,” She asserted as she pointed to Wallflower. “I’m sick and tired of living with Sunset Shimmer. She's impossible to get along with and makes me wish I were still living in a van down by the river!”

Adagio exited the doorway and slammed the door behind her, leaving Wallflower and Luna to simply stare at each other in confusion as neither of them knew what the heck had just happened.

Aria and Rainbow Dash

View Online

Aria Blaze was sitting alone in room 126 of Canterlot High School. The unused classroom had recently been converted into an office for her and her sisters after they’d agreed to jobs as motivational speakers at the school. Or rather, Sonata had agreed for them.

Only a few weeks ago, the three Dazzling sisters were living in a van down by the river because of what happened during the Battle of the Bands. One day, Sonata burst into the van saying that she had found them jobs as motivational speakers at CHS, much to Aria and Adagio’s dismay. However, if it meant getting them out the van and away from the river they couldn’t really refuse.

So there Aria was, sitting and waiting for some poor student to come to her needing motivation.

“Ugh,” she groaned as she bounced a tennis ball against the wall. “How come I always get the Friday shift?”

Principal Celestia couldn’t afford to hire each of the Dazzlings individually, of course, so the three of them worked in shifts. As it stood, Aria took Mondays, Sonata took Tuesdays (for obvious reasons), Adagio took Wednesdays, and Thursdays and Fridays were determined by games of rock, paper, scissors. Aria never had any luck when it came to rock, paper, scissors and thus usually ended up working on Fridays (and sometimes Thursdays too).

“103, 104, 105…” Aria said to herself as she counted the number of times she bounced the tennis ball against the wall, trying to kill time until the end of the day. She got up to 249 when she heard a knock on her door.

“Come in,” Aria unenthusiastically stated as she ceased bouncing the tennis ball and put it in her desk.

The door opened to reveal Rainbow Dash standing in the doorway, a look of disappointment on her face upon seeing Aria in the office.

“Oh, sorry, I thought Sonata was here today.” The rainbow hair teen dejected.

Aria felt a bit offended by Rainbow Dash’s morose response to learning that she was in the office instead of Sonata.

“Yeah, well, she isn’t.” She gratingly remarked. “What do you need?”

“Uh, nothing. Sorry to bother you.” Rainbow replied as she started to close the door.

“HOLD IT!” Aria shouted as she stood up from her desk and slammed her hands down, causing Rainbow Dash to reopen the door all the way.

“I don’t know why you want to see Sonata but I’m perfectly capable of helping you. Now get in here and park it!” she finished as she aggressively pointed to the chair in front of her desk.

Rainbow Dash really didn’t want talk to Aria, mostly because she always felt that she was the most unstable of the Dazzling trio. Sure, none of the Dazzlings were all that emotionally together; Adagio was condescending as hell and Sonata was unbelievably naïve, but Aria constantly looked like she wanted to kill someone. In truth, Rainbow Dash was a bit intimidated by her. So, rather than risk upsetting Aria even more than she’d already inadvertently done, she decided to enter the room and take a seat.

“Good.” Aria said a bit more calmly as she once again took her seat. “Now then, what can I help you with?”

Rainbow Dash gave a small gulp as she carefully considered what she was about to say next.

“Well, as you know we have that big soccer game against Crystal Prep tomorrow.” She began to explain.

Aria, in fact, knew nothing about the upcoming soccer game against Crystal Prep. Despite being an employee of the school, she didn’t really care about any of the school’s various events. Sports, dances, charity drives, she saw all of them as nothing more than wastes of time.

“Right, the big game.” She remarked, trying to sound like she knew what Rainbow Dash was talking about.

“See, the thing is, I’m having trouble getting into the zone for it.” Rainbow continued, feeling a little embarrassed about admitting her anxiety, especially to Aria. “Normally I don’t have a problem with getting into the zone before a game, but the pressure to beat Crystal Prep is really getting to me.”

“Uh-huh,” Aria half-heartedly uttered, “And you want my help to getting into ‘the zone’ then?”

“Well, I was hoping Sonata would help me…” Rainbow started to say but stopped when she noticed the growing scowl on Aria’s face as she mentioned Sonata. “B-but I’m sure you could help me instead, heh-heh.”

Aria ceased her scowling and simply rolled her eyes, trying to remember that she was indeed there to help Rainbow and not get into a pissing contest with Sonata over who was the better motivational speaker.

“Okay, you said the pressure to beat Crystal Prep is what's keeping you from getting into the zone, right?” she asked.

Rainbow Dash nodded her head.

“Than you’re solution is simple; just find something to take the pressure off. You know, relax.” Aria rather dryly stated.

Aria’s answer wasn’t what Rainbow had expected. In fact, it seemed kind of half-assed.

“Yeah, I’m gonna need more than that.” Rainbow commented in a deadpan tone as she leaned back in her seat and folded her arms. “This is the biggest game of the year, what can I do to possibly relax?”

Aria placed her left hand under her chin as she pondered some possible answers.

“Well, sex does wonders for me. Have you tried that?” She suggested.

Rainbow Dash’s jaw and arms dropped as she stared at Aria in disbelief. Was she serious? Had Aria, a school employee, really just suggested that she have sex?

“O…kay.” Rainbow stated in a somewhat dazed manner as she got up from her seat. “Well, thanks for the help, Aria.”

As Rainbow made her way towards the door, it was painfully clear to Aria that her suggestion hadn’t gone over well with the athletic teen. And, believe it or not, she actually cared. Why she cared she didn’t know, but she did.

“Wait, Rainbow Dash!” she called out as she rose from her seat, just as Rainbow Dash had reached the door.

Rainbow turned around and saw something she’d never seen before, something she never thought she would see, something she didn’t even think it was possible to see; She saw genuine regret on Aria’s face.

“Look, I’m sorry, okay?” Aria apologized as she stared down at her desk, not wanting to make eye contact with Rainbow Dash.

As hard as it was to believe, Rainbow could tell Aria was being sincere in her apology.

“I know…I know I’m not good at this.” Aria continued as she rubbed her left arm. “But, I really do want to help you.”

As sincere as Aria sounded, Rainbow still had her reservations about staying and accepting her help.

“If you know you’re not good at this than why did you take this job?” she inquired.

Aria took a deep breath.

“Because…my sisters and I didn’t have any other options.” She clarified as she looked up from her desk and stared Rainbow Dash square in the eyes. “Not sure if you know this or not, but after the Battle of the Bands we were stuck living in a van down by the river. We didn’t have any home, any money, or any hope.”

As Rainbow listened to Aria explain her situation, she could tell this wasn’t something the former siren liked admitting, let alone talking about.

“But then one day Sonata said Sunset Shimmer could get us this job.” Aria continued, getting more and more emotional with each sentence. “And even though I didn’t want to be a motivational speaker, even though I hated the idea of coming back to CHS, it was our only way out.”

Aria sat back down in her chair, her legs feeling like jelly. She was trying her best to keep her emotions in check, but she could feel tears forming in the corners of her eyes. This didn’t go unnoticed by Rainbow Dash.

“Hey, you okay?” She asked out of genuine concern for the Dazzling as she slowly moved closer to Aria’s desk.

Not wanting Rainbow Dash to see her tears, Aria turned her head to the side before answering.

“I…I don’t know.” She professed. “I’m just so confused. I hate this job, but I hated living in that stupid van down by the river even more. Sometimes…it just feels like my life is nothing but one big joke, like no matter what happens I’ll always be miserable.”

The tears in Aria’s eyes started to flow down her cheeks, much to her chagrin. She hated herself for crying in front of Rainbow Dash the way she currently was and wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball and die.

That is, until she felt a hand touch her shoulder. Aria quickly turned around to see Rainbow Dash standing next to her with tears in her eyes as well.

“I’m sorry.” Rainbow said as she knelt down and pulled Aria into a surprise hug.

“W-what the hell are you doing?” Aria blurted out in her startled state.

“I’m so, so sorry for what my friends and I did to you.” Rainbow continued as she broke the hug, but kept both her hands on Aria’s shoulders. “I’m not sorry that we stopped you from taking over the school, but I’m sorry that we didn’t try to help you afterwards.”

Aria just stared at Rainbow Dash with tear-filled eyes as her former enemy apologized to her, completely befuddled by the whole situation.

“Maybe if we had helped you, you wouldn’t feel so miserable all the time. Can you ever forgive us?” Rainbow pleaded.

“Um, y-yeah, I guess.” Aria replied, still confused at what was happening.

Fresh tears formed on Rainbow Dash’s face as she pulled Aria into another hug.

“Thank you, thank you!” She exclaimed.

Not sure what she should do, Aria just patted Rainbow’s back in a sign of support. Eventually Rainbow Dash broke the hug, stood up, and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“So, um, that got a little crazy, huh?” she said with a hint of embarrassment in her voice and small blush on her face.

“Y-yeah, crazy,” Aria responded, “and awkward.”

Rainbow gave a light chuckle as she rubbed the back of her head in continued embarrassment.

“Well, I guess I’ll be seeing you around, Aria.” She said as she made her way over to the door.

As she watched Rainbow Dash walk over to the exit, Aria’s confusion began to dissipate and felt like she was forgetting something. Then it dawned on her.

“Wait, what about your ‘zone’ problem?” she asked as she got up from her seat and followed after Rainbow.

“Oh, right.” Rainbow replied, remembering why’d she’d been there in the first place. “You know, I’d forgotten all about it, but now that you mentioned it again it’s starting to come back.”

Aria stopped and facepalmed herself, frustrated that she’d inadvertently revived Rainbow Dash’s anxieties about the upcoming soccer game. But then, like a lightbulb turning on, she got an idea.

“Follow me.” She instructed Rainbow as she made her way out the door.

“Um, follow you where, exactly.” Rainbow wanted to know, still a bit skeptical of Aria’s intentions.

“Just shut up and follow me,” Aria retorted, somewhat demandingly, as she walked through the hallway. “I promise it’ll help you.”

Despite still being mildly skeptical of Aria, Rainbow shrugged her shoulders and decided to follow the Dazzling.

The place Aria brought Rainbow Dash to was the roof of the school.

“Um, why are we here?” Rainbow asked, confused as to what could possibly be on the roof that would help fix her anxiety.

“Just come over here and sit down.” Aria said from the edge of the roof facing the front of the school as she took a seat.

Rainbow was a bit afraid of going over to edge of the roof with Aria so close to it. The thought had crossed her mind that the former foe was planning to push her off the roof once she was close enough. However, that thought was quickly dispelled when she remembered to emotional moment the two of them had just shared in Aria’s office. Even if there was a point in time when Aria would’ve pushed her off the roof, that time was gone. So help Rainbow Dash, she was even starting to think of Aria as a friend.

“Okay.” She said skeptically, not because she thought Aria was going to push her off the roof but because she didn’t believe doing so would be of any help.

Sure enough, once both girls were sitting next to each other on the edge of the roof Rainbow didn’t feel any different.

“So, how is sitting here supposed to help me exactly?” Rainbow inquired.

“Just look out there,” Aria said as she pointed towards the horizon, “What do you see?”

Rainbow turned her head in the direction Aria was pointing.

“Um, I see the city.” She answered, confused as to why Aria was asking such an obvious question.

“Be more specific.” The Dazzling clarified.

Rainbow Dash’s confusion only intensified.

“Okay, I see some buildings, houses, and trees.” She replied.

“Good, now what do you think are in those buildings and houses?” Aria asked.

At this point, Rainbow was straight-up bewildered. Why was Aria asking her these questions?

“People, I guess.” She remarked, not sure if that was the answer Aria was looking for or not.

Aria turned to Rainbow Dash with the most serious expression the athletic teen had ever seen.

“That’s right, people.” She proclaimed as she once again turned her attention to the horizon. “People going about the everyday hustle-and-bustle of their lives, believing that if they don’t do well in school or get a promotion then it’s the end of the world. But they’re wrong. I read a book by some philosopher once that said, ‘The values society tries to impose on us cannot define us.’ Well, I believe the same is true regarding the expectations society tries to impose on us.”

Rainbow Dash looked at Aria with a sense of amazement and awe as the pig-tailed girl continued.

“You’re an amazing athlete, Rainbow Dash, and I have no doubt you’ll kick some Crystal Prep ass in that soccer game. But even if everyone expects you to win and you don’t, it won’t change the fact that you’re an amazing athlete. So don’t worry so much about losing, it won’t change who you are.”

As much as Rainbow wanted to say something, she couldn’t. Aria’s surprisingly profound insights had left her speechless.

“Uh, you okay.” Aria asked, concerned by Rainbow Dash’s silence.

“Y-yeah,” Rainbow managed to respond. “Just trying to take all that in.”

“Well, the important thing to remember is that losing isn’t the end of the world.” Aria said.

A small smile crossed Rainbow’s face.

“Geez, Aria, I had no idea you were such an egghead.” She remarked as she playfully jabbed Aria’s arm.

Aria smiled and playfully jabbed Rainbow back.

“I have my moments.” She commented. “Everyone always assumes Adagio’s the smart Dazzling, but between the three of us I’m the only one that’s ever set foot in a library.”

Both girls shared a laugh before Aria realized how late is was getting and got up to leave.

“Well, I gotta get going. I promised my sisters I’d pick up a pizza for dinner on the way home tonight.” The Dazzling girl explained.

“Thanks for everything, Aria.” Rainbow expressed in gratitude. “You’re not as bad at motivational speaking as you think.”

Aria began to blush at Rainbow Dash’s unexpected praise.

“Like I said, I have my moments. Good luck tomorrow, Dash.” She said as she made her towards the roof door.

“I don’t need luck, but thanks.” Rainbow somewhat egotistically replied.

Aria gaily rolled her eyes at hearing Rainbow’s words. She continued walking towards the roof door when she stopped only a few feet from it. Something had crossed her mind, something she need to ask Rainbow Dash about before leaving.

“Hey, Dash,” she called out as she turned around, causing Rainbow to turn around. “Earlier, when you came into my office, why did you think Sonata was here today?”

“Oh, um, no reason, just did, heh-heh.” Rainbow Dash answered.

Aria raised an eyebrow in suspicion but decided to let the matter go, remembering that she needed to get home soon with the pizza. She turned back around and headed through the roof’s door.

As soon as Aria was out of sight, Rainbow breathed a sigh of relief. She pulled out her phone, opened her contacts, and hit the call button under the contact labeled ‘Girlfriend’. She placed the phone up to her ear and waited until the line on the other end picked up.

“Hey, Dashie,” a bubbly voice on the other end said. “What’s up?”

“Sonata,” Rainbow very sternly spoke. “When I said I needed to talk to you about being nervous for the big game tomorrow, why did you tell me you were at school today?”

“Oh, I take it you went to my office and found Aria then, huh?” Sonata replied.

“Yeah, I did.” Rainbow answered, sounding almost wounded. “Why did you lie to me?”

“Dashie, I’m sorry I lied to you like that,” Sonata apologized. “but when you told me about your anxiety I knew Aria would be the better one to help you with it. She did help you, right?”

“Surprisingly, yes.” Rainbow stated. “But it doesn’t change the fact that you lied to me.”

“I know, I know, but please hear me out.” Sonata pleaded. “When I realized Aria would be better at helping you than me I saw a chance for you two to become closer. If we’re ever going to reveal our relationship, Dashie, I want you to get along with my sisters first and I knew you wouldn’t go to Aria willingly, so I had to trick you. It’s not an excuse for lying to you the way I did, but I hope you can understand why I did it.”

Rainbow gave an audible sigh at Sonata’s explanation. She was still upset with her girlfriend for lying to her, but given how things with Aria had worked out she wasn’t too upset.

“I’ll admit, things did work out well with Aria and we did bond a little.” she conceded.

“Oh, I’m so glad!” Sonata exclaimed.

“But you still owe me for lying.” Rainbow added.

“You don’t want me to do that thing, do you?” Sonata worryingly asked.

Rainbow Dash gave a sly smile upon hearing Sonata mention doing that thing as possible retribution for lying to her.

“Hmmm, having you do that thing hadn’t crossed my mind, but since you mentioned it, yes, I want you to do that thing.” Rainbow very smoothly said.

“D ’oh. Alright, next time we’re alone I promise I’ll do that thing.” Sonata reluctantly agreed.

A small chuckle escaped Rainbow’s mouth when she heard Sonata give in to her request to do that thing.

“Uh-oh, Adagio’s coming, I have to go. Bye, Dashie.” Sonata quickly said before hanging up.

Rainbow Dash put her phone back into her pocket and once again stared off into the horizon, thinking more deeply about what Aria had said to her.

Sonata and Bulk Biceps

View Online

Sonata Dusk happily walked through the hallways of Canterlot High School, waving and wishing many of the students a good morning as she made her way towards her office. Sonata loved her new job as a motivational speaker at CHS, and not just because it got her and her sisters out of that van down by the river. No, Sonata loved just about everything that came with the being a motivational speaker; meeting and befriending students, helping them with their problems, and, of course, the Taco Tuesdays in the school cafeteria.

“Morning, Sonata.” Scribble Dee greeted her with a friendly wave as the pony-tailed Dazzling turned a corner.

“Morning, Scribble,” Sonata cheerfully greeted back. “Any news about that manga contest you entered?”

“Nothing yet.” Scribble replied as lowered and turned her head to the side, a hint of melancholy in her voice.

Sonata could feel Scribble’s anxiety and placed a hand on the artist’s shoulder.

“Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ll hear something soon and I’m sure it’ll be good news. And even if it isn’t, you’re still the most talented illustrator I know.” She reassured the orange haired girl.

Scribble brought her head back up as a smile once again crossed her face.

“Thanks, Sonata,” she gratefully said. “And thanks again for helping me find the courage to send my story in.”

“That’s what I’m here for.” Sonata said as she pulled her hand back and continued down the hall. “Have a good day, Scribble. Let me know when you hear something.”

“Will do.” Scribble called out to her.

As the pony-tailed Dazzling progressed down the hall and got within sight of her office, she noticed a rather large and muscular guy standing in front of her door.

Is he a student? Sonata wondered, not sure if someone of the guy’s stature was actually in high school.

“Um, can I help you?” she asked once she got to the door.

“Uh, you’re one of the motivational speakers Principal Celestia hired, right?” The guys asked, somewhat nervously.

“Sure am. I’m Sonata Dusk, and you are?” Sonata replied in an upbeat manner, extending her arm for a handshake.

“I’m Bulk, Bulk Biceps.” The guy answered as he shook Sonata’s hand, a bit more strongly than he intended to.

“Oh wow, that’s some grip you’ve got there.” Sonata commented, trying to sound as nice as possible while subtly indicating she was in pain.

Bulk immediately broke the handshake upon realizing that he was squeezing Sonata’s hand too hard.

“S-sorry about that.” He apologized as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.

Sonata shook her hand in an effort to make the pain dissipate, but stopped when she saw the look of regret on Bulk’s face.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it.” she assured him. “So what brings you to my office, Bulk?”

“Uh, well, I need some motivation.” Bulk said.

Sonata had already figured that was the case. What she needed were details.

“Well why don’t we step inside and you can tell me what it is you need motivation for.” She merrily suggested as she unlocked the door to her office.

“Okay.” Bulk impassively agreed as he followed Sonata inside.

Once they were both inside, Sonata took her seat behind her desk and Bulk took a seat in front of the desk.

“So, why do you need motivating, Bulk?” Sonata sked.

“Uh, well, there’s this weight lifting competition coming up and I’m having trouble getting ready for it.” Bulk explained.

The explanation left Sonata a tad confused. Bulk was easily the strongest, most muscular person she’d ever seen, why in the world would he be having trouble getting ready for a weight lifting competition?

“I think you’re more than ready for it right now, Bulk.” She assured him. “You’re already super big and super strong, I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

Bulk looked down at the floor, as though he were embarrassed.

“Well, the thing is, the reason I’m having trouble getting ready for it is because I’m a little intimidated by some of the other contestants.” He clarified.

This explanation made more sense to Sonata.

“Here, let me show you.” Bulk continued as he pulled out his cell phone and started perusing it.

As Bulk looked through his phone, Sonata couldn’t help but be curious. What could these contestants be like if they intimidated someone like Bulk.

“This guy here, they call him ‘The Mountain’.” Bulk said as he handed Sonata his phone.

Sonata took the phone and looked at a picture of “The Mountain”. He looked like he was about seven feet tall and weighed about 400lbs, and had the largest muscles Sonata had ever seen. It was easy to see now why Bulk was intimidated.

“Oh, he doesn’t look so strong.” Sonata fibbed as she handed the phone back to Bulk.

“Well, he is.” Bulk dejectedly commented as he put his phone back into his pocket. “The competition is only two weeks away, and frankly, I’m considering dropping out. I don’t stand a chance.”

“No, I can’t let quit, Bulk!” Sonata shouted as she stood up from her seat, closed her right hand into a fist, and slammed that fist onto the desk. “You came to me for motivation, and as Celestia is my witness I’m going to motivate you into a lean, mean, lifting machine! When I’m through motivating you you’ll be able to bench press actual benches and move mountains!”

Sonata’s sudden enthusiasm slightly frightened Bulk. While he was happy that she was so willing to help him, he was a little concerned by the fact that she was starting to sound like a gunnery sergeant.

“Um, okay.” He timidly replied. “How are you gonna do that?”

Sonata sat back down, pulled a piece of paper out of her desk, and quickly wrote down an address on it.

“Meet me here after school,” She instructed Bulk as she handed him the piece of paper. “My sister, Aria, goes to this place when she needs to let off some steam, she says it’s got a lot of great exercise equipment.”

Bulk didn’t recognize the address on the paper, but figured it had to be for some kind of gym.

“Uh, I don’t know about this, Sonata.” Bulk hesitantly expressed.

“Look, Bulk, I know that you’re feeling a bit daunted by all this,” Sonata soothingly stated. “But this is just another challenge on the long road of life that you need to rise to, and I’m going to help you do that.”

A small smile crossed Bulk’s face as he listened to Sonata’s words.

“But I can only help you if you let me.” Sonata continued. “Are you going to let me help you?”

“Um, yeah?” Bulk ambivalently replied.

“Are you asking me or telling me?” Sonata countered.

“Um, yeah.” Bulk responded, sounding more confident in his answer.

“I don’t believe you.” Sonata retorted. “Are you going to let me help you?!”

“YEAH!” Bulk shouted as he energetically stood up from his seat and threw both his arms straight up into the arm.

“Good!” Sonata exclaimed as she too stood up, but pointed to the door instead throwing both her arms straight up into the arm. “Now go to class and meet me after school for training!”

“YEEEEAAAHHH!” Bulk continued to shout as he exited Sonata office.

After Bulk left, Sonata sat back down and gave a small sigh, feeling marginally enervated from trying to get Bulk onboard with letting her help him.

“I like him.” She commented.

After school, Bulk Biceps headed off to the address that Sonata had given him. He was still a bit unsure about whether the former siren could actually help him or not, but he figured he had nothing to lose by letting her at least try. After all, she did get him so pumped up that he left her office screaming ‘YEEEEAAAHHH’.

Once Bulk got the address, he noticed it was for a place called Wolfcastle Gym. While he had been correct in assuming the address was for a gym, he was surprised that he’d never heard of this particular gym before.

“Oh, good, you found it.” Bulk heard a bubbly voice say, turning to his right to see Sonata standing right next to him.

“Gah!” He winced, having been startled by the girl’s sudden appearance.

“Oops, sorry if I spooked you.” Sonata apologized. “The same thing happens to my sisters all the time. They say I don’t have much of a presence so I tend to inadvertently sneak up on them.”

Bulk found it difficult to believe that anyone would tell Sonata she didn’t have much of a presence, what with her vivacious personality and all.

“Uh, no, it’s fine.” Bulk insisted. “I just get startled easily is all.”

Sonata gave a small giggle as she took Bulk’s hand.

“Come on, let’s go in and get started.” She said as she headed inside, pulling Bulk behind her.

Once inside, Bulk couldn’t help but gawk at the facility. There were so many different kinds of exercise equipment and it all looked brand new. It was the most impressive gym he’d ever seen.

“Whoa.” He softly said aloud.

“I know, pretty neat, huh?” Sonata commented. “And don’t worry about not being a member. My sister lent me her membership card and each member is allowed one guest per visit.”

Sonata went over to the front desk and checked them in as Bulk continued to gawk. The sight of all the top-notch equipment that, up until now, he’d only seen in magazines filled him vigor. There was no longer any doubt in his mind that he was going to get in the best shape of his life with Sonata’s help.

“Come on, Bulk,” Sonata called over to him as she pointed to some machines. “Let’s start over there.”

Bulk followed Sonata over to the machines she pointed to, which as he got closer he noticed were all labeled ‘AbDominator’.

“Uh, Sonata, these are weight lifting machines.” he pointed out.

“Oh, I know,” Sonata said. “But we have to get you warmed up first. At least, that’s what the internet said to do first.”

The vigor that Bulk had found just moments ago started to dissipate. It was now clear to him that Sonata had never done anything like this before, and that she’d got all her information about workouts from the internet, not really understanding it all.

“Um, yeah, we can warm-up here.” Bulk conceded. While he knew beginning a workout on an ab machine wasn’t really ‘warming-up’, he didn’t want to make Sonata feel like she was doing a bad job.

“Perfect!” Sonata exclaimed as she clapped her hands in a giddy fashion. “So just get on this thing and I’ll shout some motivational slogans at you.”

Bulk did as instructed and got up on the AbDominator and started his workout.


“W-what?” Bulk asked as he stopped, confused by some of Sonata’s motivational slogans.

“What?” Sonata replied, confused as to why Bulk had stopped. “These are all things the internet said to say when motivating someone during a workout.”

Where on the internet did she find all this? Bulk silently wondered.

“NOW COME ON, KEEP GOING!” Sonata resumed shouting.

Bulk nervously resumed his workout at Sonata’s continued shouting.


As Sonata kept shouting seemingly random slogans at him, Bulk lost count of how many ab crunches he’d done. The only thing he knew for certain was that he was well past simply warming up. He considered stopping, but didn’t want Sonata to start berating him with her yelling.

“Feeling warmed up yet?” Sonata eventually asked.

“Y-yeah.” Bulk replied through labored breaths as he stopped crunching.

“Good, then let’s move on to the weights.” Sonata said as she moved over to the weight lifting area.

Bulk slowly got off the AbDominator and followed Sonata. He really didn’t feel like working out anymore today, but he knew that trying to stop before Sonata said so was an effort in futility. Beneath that sweet face was a well-meaning but nefarious motivation monster.

“Now, just sit down here and I’ll get your weights all set up.” Sonata told Bulk as she patted a weight bench.

Against his better judgement, Bulk laid down on the bench as Sonata started putting weights on the bar. He tried to see just how many weights she was putting on but couldn’t through the sweat in his eyes.

“Okay, that should do it.” Sonata remarked as she over behind the bench. “Whenever you’re ready, Bulk!”

Bulk just nodded as he grabbed the bar and lifted it up, feeling a sense of dread as he did so. Once he had the bar off the holder he could tell just many weights Sonata had put on; too many. He was barely able to keep the bar help above his head, let alone start lifting it up and down.

“S-Sonata,” Bulk tried to say. “I-I think this is t-too much weight.”


Bulk managed to get the bar lowered fairly easily, but had a much harder time bringing it back up.


Bulk didn’t have the strength to question Sonata’s slogans anymore, he was too focused on making sure he didn’t lose his grip on the bar because of all the sweat on his hands.

“JUST A FEW MORE, BULK, YOU CAN DO IT!” Sonata encouraged him.

At ten reps already done with too much weight, Bulk didn’t feel he had it in him for anymore. However, he did have to complete at least one more since the bar was just barely above his chest and he needed to put it back on the holder. He gave a few deep and labored breaths before trying to lift the bar up one more time. Slowly but surely, the bar lifted as Bulk prepared to place the bar back in the holder. He was only about two inches away from the holder when it happened.

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” Bulk screamed as the bar came crashing down on his chest.

“OH MY GOD, BULK!” Sonata shouted in horror.

Sonata was standing outside the gym in a panicked state. She had tried and, unsurprisingly, failed to get the weight bar off of Bulk after it had come down on his chest. A number of gym employees were able to get it off of him about 20 seconds later and had called an ambulance. Sonata wanted to stay with Bulk but was told to wait outside for the ambulance. It had now been about six minutes since the incident occurred.

Eventually the ambulance arrived and Sonata pointed the paramedics inside. She didn’t follow them in though, knowing that she’d just be in their way. So she continued to wait outside for Bulk to come out.

It seemed like no time at all when Bulk did come out, laid out on a gurney with an oxygen mask on his face.

“Oh my god, Bulk, are you alright?” Sonata frantically asked, but received no answer from Bulk.

“He can’t hear you, ma’am.” One of the paramedics informed her as Bulk was wheeled into the ambulance. “We had to sedate him to stop the screaming.”

Once Bulk and the paramedics were in the ambulance, its doors closed and it rushed off to the hospital.

Sonata just stood on the sidewalk in front of the gym as she watched the ambulance zoom off. As she stood there, she contemplated how this had happened and if, perhaps, she’d gotten just a little too carried away with her motivating.

“Oh phooey.” She solemnly dejected.

Aria and Trixie

View Online

It was lunch time at CHS and Aria Blaze was enjoying a Reuben sandwich alone in her office. Aria often at lunch alone in her office, not wanting to have to deal with students anymore than she already had to as part of her motivational speaker job. Even on days when she forgot to bring a lunch with her, she didn’t dare go into the cafeteria. She made the mistake of trying to quickly grab slice of pizza from the cafeteria once and ended up spending her whole lunch break consoling Zephyr Breeze after he’d just been rejected by ten girls in ten minutes. Since then, she vowed to never set foot in the cafeteria during lunch again.

“Wow, this is really good.” Aria commented as she took another bit of her sandwich. “When did Sonata get so good at making anything other than tacos?”

Just then, the door to Aria’s office unexpectedly flung open, causing the poor Dazzling to nearly choke on her food.

“THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE REQUIRES YOUR ASSISTANCE!” Trixie Lulamoon loudly declared from the doorway as she entered the room.

“Oh fuck my life.” Aria quietly remarked as she swallowed her food and put her sandwich down.

“Yes, I know it’s difficult to believe,” Trixie said in her usual grandiose manner as she took a seat in front of Aria’s desk. “But the Great and Powerful Trixie is in dire need of help.”

“Oh, you’re in dire need of help alright, Trixie,” Aria brazenly stated, angry that her lunch had been interrupted. “Far more than I can give you.”

“Hmph,” Trixie huffed, narrowing her eyes to glare at Aria. “Trixie had hoped that Sonata would be here today, but since she’s is in a bind you’ll have to do.”

Aria involuntarily stood up from her seat and slammed her hands down on her desk after hearing Trixie’s words.

“Why is it that every time I’m the one who’s here someone wants Sonata?!” she hollered, “I’m just as good, no, better at this job than she is!”

Trixie was a tad startled by Aria’s sudden outburst, but she managed to keep her composure enough to respond.

“Well, for starters, Sonata doesn’t yell at people.” She sharply replied, so much so that it would've made Adagio jealous. “And she has a far more pleasant attitude.”

In the old days, Aria would’ve grabbed Trixie by the collar and let her have it for talking to her like that. But she was a school employee now, and wailing on a student was something she was fairly sure Principal Celestia would frown upon. Not wanting to lose her job, Aria took a deep breath and sat back down.

“What is it that you need help with, Trixie?” She reluctantly, and begrudgingly, asked.

Trixie gave a pretentious smile before answering, feeling like she’d achieved some small victory against the former siren.

“Well, Trixie has a show tonight and her regular assistant is…indisposed, so she needs a replacement; you.” She said as she pointed to Aria.

“Huh?” Aria asked in pure and utter bewilderment.

“Don’t worry, dear Aria,” Trixie said as she took hold of Aria’s hand with her left hand, patting it with her right. “Trixie knows your stage experience is, shall we say, ‘limited’, but she has every confidence in you.”

Aria pulled her hand free of Trixie and used it to facepalm herself.

“Trixie,” she said with her hand still on her face. “What do you think my job here is?”

Trixie raised a single eyebrow, wondering why Aria was asking her such an obvious question.

“You’re some kind of helper or something, right?” She pretentiously stated.

“No, Trixie, I’m a motivational speaker.” Aria corrected, taking her hand off her face.

“Eh. Helper, motivational speaker, same difference.” Trixie commented.

“They’re not the same!” Aria replied a bit more emotionally than intended, causing her to take another deep breath before continuing. “Look, my job is to motivate students, not be at their beck and call whenever they need help with a magic show.”

“So, you won’t help Trixie?” Trixie inquisitively asked.

“No, I won’t.” Aria clarified.

A look of frustration crossed Trixie’s face as she stood up from her seat.

“Fine then,” she sulked. “I guess I’ll just have to go talk to Principal Celestia about how her ‘motivational speaker’ isn’t willing to help a poor and distraught student.”

Aria couldn’t help but feel a bit perplexed as she watched Trixie head for the door. Was she really just threatened, by Trixie?

“Go ahead,” she called out to the frustrated teen. “I’m sure she’ll agree that being your assistant isn’t in my job description.”

Trixie stopped dead in her tracks and turned back around. She hadn't expected Aria to call her bluff, but she had.

“Oh yeah, well, maybe she’d like to hear about how you threatened a student.” She countered.

“What?!” Aria hollered as she vehemently stood up. “I never threatened you, Trixie!”

“Who’s Celestia going to believe?” Trixie acrimoniously asked. “One of her students, or a girl who once tried to take over the school?”

Aria could feel the anger bubbling up inside her, as was evidenced by her enraged expression. She wanted nothing more in that moment than to jump over her desk and take all that anger out on Trixie’s smug face. But she managed to keep that anger in check, and actually consider Trixie’s threat.

Would Celestia really believe I threatened a student? She silently questioned.

It was true that her and her sisters did try to take over the school, but they had changed and Celestia knew that. However, they hadn’t been employed at the school for very long and Celestia did have her reservations about hiring them at the start. It was possible she still did have those reservations, and a student claiming they were threatened by one of them might be all she needed to dismiss them.

As much as Aria hated to admit it, Trixie had her cornered. She couldn’t risk the aspiring magician going to Celestia and possibly getting her and her sisters fired.

“Ugh, fine.” She conceded as she defeatedly sat back down. “I’ll be your assistant, Trixie.”

“Excellent.” Trixie smugly replied. “Meet me in the gym after school for set up and a run through.”

Having successfully gotten the help she came in for, Trixie promptly left Aria’s office, leaving the Dazzling once again alone.

Aria smacked her head against her desk, both in frustration and embarrassment that Trixie had been able to manipulate her the way she had.

“Why couldn’t we have just stayed in that van down by the river?” She said into the desk.

After the school days was finished, Aria, much to her dismay, headed to the gym per Trixie’s instructions. She couldn’t stop thinking how the boastful girl had managed to get the better of her and forced her into being an assistant in a magic show. Moreover, she couldn’t believe Trixie actually resorted to threatening her job to get what she wanted. Sure, Trixie was pretty self-centered most of the time but Aria found it surprising that she’d stoop so low.

As she walked through the doors into the gym, Aria saw that Trixie already there and on the stage, surrounded by a number of props.

“Oh good, you’re here.” Trixie said when she noticed Aria had arrived. “Help me finish setting these up and then we’ll do a quick run through of the show.”

“Whatever.” Aria stated as she made her way onto the stage.

Much to Aria’s surprise, the set up didn’t take that long. But she knew that the worst was still to come.

“Okay, we’re just about ready for the run through.” Trixie said as she rolled over a clothing rack and took off one of the many outfits on it. “Here, put this on.”

Aria looked at the outfit in Trixie’s hand. It consisted of a black and white fitted top with a detachable black cape, black lapels, black satin mini skirt, and a mini top hat.

“I don’t think so.” Aria flintily stated.

“You have to wear it.” Trixie adamantly informed her. “This is what Trixie’s assistant always wears.”

“No.” Aria replied as sternly as possible, standing her ground.

The same frustrated look from earlier crossed Trixie’s face as she slowing moved closer to Aria with the outfit still in hand.

“If you don’t put this on, then I’ll have no choice but to go and have a little chat with Principal Celestia.” The magician threatened, shoving the outfit right in Aria’s face.

At this point, Aria was about at her limit. It took every ounce of self-control she had to not give Trixie a much needed lesson, the hard way. Without saying a word, she snatched the outfit from Trixie’s hand and went off to find somewhere private to change.

A few minutes later Aria came back to the stage, fully dressed in the outfit. In the time she’d been gone, Trixie had also changed into her trademark cape and wizard hat.

“Hmmm,” Trixie said upon seeing Aria in the outfit. “You don’t quite pull the look off as well as my usual assistant, but I don’t think I have anything else that would suit you.”

Aria facepalmed for the second time today, wondering when this perpetually increasing nightmare was going to end.

“Now then, let’s start the run through.” Trixie instructed as she pointed to an X she’d taped onto the floor. “Come stand over here.”

Aria walked over to the X, which was located just a touch left of centerstage.

“This is where you’ll stand at the beginning of the show.” Trixie explained. “Once the houselights go down a spotlight will shine on you and you’ll introduce the GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE!”

Aria simply rolled her eyes at Trixie’s overexaggerated vocalization of her own name.

“Go on, try introducing me.” Trixie ardently said.

After turning a bit and looking out over the stage, Aria stood completely still and simply pointed her thumb at Trixie.

“Here’s Trixie.” She dryly stated.

This time, it was Trixie’s turn to facepalm.

“What was that?!” she shouted as she threw her hand into the air. “You didn’t show any enthusiasm or say I was great and powerful!”

Aria couldn’t help but snicker at Trixie’s fit.

“I’m sorry, is this funny to you?!” Trixie heatedly asked.

“Actually, yeah, it kind of is.” Aria admitted as she turned back around to face Trixie with a smile on her face.

Trixie’s face quickly changed into one of consternation before just as quickly changing back to one of anger.

“If you don’t start taking this seriously I will go talk to Principal Celestia.” She once again threatened.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Aria had had enough of Trixie’s threats.

“You know what? Go talk to Celestia, I don’t care anymore!” she yelled as she took her mini top hat off and threw it to the ground. “I’d rather be fired than put up with you any longer, Trixie!”

Trixie took a small step back, having been startled by Aria’s sudden outburst.

“You’re such a blowhard!” Aria continued. “You think you’re so ‘great and powerful’ that you can do whatever you want so long as your massive ego gets fed! You know what that makes you, Trixie?! It makes you a megalomaniac, and I know megalomaniacs because I used to be one!”

Aria could see tears beginning to form in Trixie’s eyes as she continued to berate her, but she didn’t care.

“You’re the single most self-absorbed, narcissistic, and conceited person not related to me that I’ve ever met and I am done taking your bullshit!” She concluded as she got off the stage and headed for the doors.

Just as Aria opened the door and was about to cross the threshold, she heard sobbing coming from stage. She turned around and saw Trixie crying on her knees with her hands covering her face.

The scene left Aria conflicted. On the one hand, she felt bad for causing Trixie so much distress, but on the other she felt that Trixie was getting what she deserved. She could either leave Trixie to her misery or stay and try to comfort her. Leave or stay; those were her options.

Aria stood at the threshold in contemplation for a few seconds until she came to a decision.

“Damn it all.” She said to herself as she closed the gym door and made her way back on stage.

Trixie, so consumed by her sorrow, didn’t even notice that Aria had gotten back on stage and knelt down next to her.

“Look, Trixie, I’m sorry I said those things.” Aria wholeheartedly apologized as she placed a hand on Trixie’s shoulder. “You’re not a megalomaniac, a blowhard, or any of that other stuff I said you were.”

“Y-yes I am.” Trixie dolefully replied as she removed her hands from her face and let them fall to the floor, revealing her tear-soaked face. “Y-you were r-right about me, Aria. I-I’m not a g-good person.”

Trixie’s response caught Aria off guard. She’d never heard the boastful girl talk about herself so negatively before.

“I didn’t say you weren’t a good person.” She clarified as she pulled both herself and Trixie off the floor. “Come on, let’s get some snacks from the cafeteria and talk, okay?”

Trixie looked at Aria through her teary eyes. She didn’t really feel like going anywhere or talking, but she could tell that the pig-tailed girl really did want to help her.

“C-can I have some p-peanut butter crackers?” she asked.

“Sure, Trixie,” Aria said as she helped the poor girl over to the gym doors. “You can have some peanut butter crackers.”

Aria and Trixie sat in silence as they ate their snacks in the cafeteria, neither girl looking at the other as they did so. Aria had bought a candy bar for herself and some peanut butter crackers for Trixie, just as she’d promised.

“Thanks for the crackers.” Trixie gloomily said.

“Don’t mention it.” Aria replied as she finished her candy bar.

About another minute passed before Trixie also finished her snack. After which, she looked up at Aria with soulful eyes.

“Aria, I’m…I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk to you today.” She earnestly expressed.

At first, Aria wanted to make some smart-ass comment about how Trixie had gone far beyond being a simple jerk. However, upon looking up and seeing Trixie’s fervid gaze, she decided to hold her tongue.

“I never meant to threaten you or your job.” Trixie added.

“Then why did you?” Aria inquired.

“Because…I was desperate.” Trixie answered as she turned her head to the side. “When I found out at lunch that my usual assistance couldn’t make it tonight I asked every student, literally every student in the cafeteria if they’d help me and not a single one said they would.”

It wasn’t hard for Aria to pick up on the small hints of embarrassment and sadness in Trixie’s voice as she confessed her woes.

“And then I remembered that you and your sisters were hired to help students.” Trixie continued as she turned her focus back to Aria. “I figured if anyone would help me it’d be you, but when you refused I said and did some things I’m not proud of. And then when you did agree to help me I still wasn’t very nice to you. I really am sorry.”

Once again, Aria was tempted to make some smart-ass comment in response to Trixie’s words. This time along the lines of how she hadn’t exactly agreed to help her, at least by choice. But, just like before, she held her tongue.

“If you were having such a hard time finding an assistant why didn’t you just cancel the show?” she curiously asked.

“Cancel?!” Trixie shouted as she slammed her fists on the table. “The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn’t cancel, not ever!”

“Okay, okay,” Aria said, placing both her hands on Trixie’s right hand. “Just calm down, Trixie.”

Trixie immediately calmed down upon feeling Aria’s touch.

“Sorry about that.” She apologized as she pulled her right hand free. “It’s just, I’ve never had to cancel a show before and I really didn’t want to have to cancel this one.”

Aria could tell this ran deeper than simply not wanting to cancel. She knew she had to get to the root of the problem.

“Why do these magic shows mean so much to you, Trixie?” she asked. “Why are you so adamant about never canceling one?”

Trixie didn’t say a word as she lowered her head. This wasn’t because she didn’t know the answer to Aria’s question though. No, it was because she did know the answer but didn’t want to admit it, either to Aria or herself.

“Trixie, you can talk to me.” Aria delicately assured the distraught magician. “I won’t make any smart-ass comments or judgements, I promise.”

There was a few seconds of silence before Trixie spoke up.

“These shows are all I am.” she quietly said, keeping her head down.

“What was that?” Aria asked.

“These shows are all I am!” Trixie hollered as she lifted her head, revealing fresh tears in her eyes. “Without my magic shows, how can I be the Great and Powerful Trixie?! If I don’t have them then I’m…I’m just a nobody.”

Just like before, Trixie covered her face with her hands to conceal her tears as they started to flow down her cheeks. Also, she’d once again failed to notice that Aria had moved right next to her.

“You’re not a nobody, Trixie.” Aria consoled her as she placed a hand on her shoulder. “And you don’t need magic shows to validate who you are.”

“B-but how will people k-know I’m great and p-powerful without them?” Trixie inquired as she removed her hands from her face and looked at Aria.

“It doesn’t matter if other people know, so long as you know.” Aria informed Trixie.

“Y-you really think so?” Trixie asked.

A small smile formed on Aria’s face.

“I know so.” She stated. “You don’t need to prove you’re great and powerful to anyone, Trixie. You know who you are and that’s all that matters.”

Without warning, Trixie pulled Aria into a hug, much to Aria’s surprise.

“Um, okay, we’re hugging now, I guess.” Aria confusingly commented as she awkwardly returned the hug.

“You know, I’m glad you were here today instead of Sonata.” Trixie remarked, causing Aria to dawn a somewhat smug smile.

“Told you I was better at this than her.” Aria proudly declared.

The two girls broke the hug and shared a laugh before Trixie spoke up again.

“So, I know that I don’t have to do tonight’s magic show to feel good about myself, but I still want to do it anyways. Think maybe you can still be my assistant?” She sheepishly asked.

Aria brought her hand to her chin in contemplation for about three seconds before answering.

“Okay, but on one condition.” She stated.

“Anything.” Trixie cheerfully replied.

“I wear something other than this.” Aria asserted as she pointed to the black and white fitted top she was still wearing.

Trixie considered Aria’s demand for a second. She still didn’t think she had any better outfits for the Dazzling to wear, but she figured Aria’s regular clothes would be fine.

“Fair enough.” She agreed as the two girls got up and made their way back to the gym.

Much to both Aria and Trixie’s surprise, the magic show went pretty well. The audience seemed to love it and neither girl made any big mistakes.

All-in-all, Aria ended up being a pretty good assistant. She managed to remember all her cues and, even through she wasn’t what anyone would call ‘cheery’, she did show a fair amount of enthusiasm throughout the performance.

Currently, Aria and Trixie were just finishing up taking down all the various props and equipment.

“Thanks again for everything today, Aria.” Trixie gratefully expressed as she closed the last of her trunks. “You’re a good friend.”

Aria looked at Trixie with mild bewilderment. She didn’t expect Trixie to call her a friend.

“You consider me a friend?” she asked.

“Of course I do, silly.” Trixie clarified as she walked over to Aria and planted a small kiss on her cheek.

Aria felt her whole body freeze and her face heat up upon receiving Trixie’s kiss.

“And if you ever want to be more than friends, just let me know.” Trixie softly whispered into her ear.

“I, uh, I don’t, I mean I…” Aria rambled, trying to collect her thoughts.

Trixie just giggled as she returned to her trunk, grabbed it, and headed out the door.

“See you later, Aria.” She called out just as she left the gym.

As soon as she was able to move again, Aria brought a hand up to the cheek Trixie had kissed and tried to piece together the thousands of thoughts running through her head.

“What just happened?” she managed to say aloud.

Adagio and Spitfire

View Online

“And then there was the time Aria nearly killed us by driving the van through the red light of a busy intersection just to freak Sonata out.” Adagio Dazzle dryly said from behind her desk. “I mean honestly, who does that sort of thing, am I right?”

“Y-yeah.” Ginger Owlseye said as she sat and listened to Adagio tell stories about her and her sisters.

It was clear to Adagio that Ginger was becoming uncomfortable so she decided to wrap things up.

“My point is, don’t worry about your cousin coming to visit you for a week.” She explained. “From what you’ve told me she does sound like a bitch, but I’m guessing she’s not going to gamble with your life just to fuck with you, unlike some people.”

Ginger thought about what Adagio was saying and while she was probably right about her cousin not being as bad as the Dazzling’s sisters, she still didn’t feel much better.

“I guess not.” She timidly replied as she got up from her seat and headed for the door. “Thanks, Adagio.”

“Don’t mention it.” Adagio apathetically stated as Ginger walked out into the hallway.

It had been a rough day for Adagio. Normally only about two or three students came in to see her on a given day, but so far she’d already seen five students today and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet. This was especially hard for her because, of the three Dazzling sisters, she was the one having the hardest time adjusting to being her new job.

Adagio didn’t much care for being a motivational speaker. She found it difficult to care about other people’s ‘piddly ass’ problems, as she referred to them. She also found it difficult to really reach out and connect with any of the students, though this was something she always had difficulty with. The only people she ever felt she could get close to were her sisters, and that was mostly because she knew she was stuck with them.

“Why did I ever agree to this job?” Adagio asked herself, causing memories of her and her sisters living in a van down by the river to cross her mind. “Oh, right.”

Just then the bell for lunch rang and Adagio breathed a sigh of relief that the day was at least half over. She got up from her desk, exited her office, and made her way towards the cafeteria.

Unlike Aria, Adagio wasn’t afraid to eat in the cafeteria with the students, mostly because she knew none of them would dare try and talk to her while she was having lunch. Besides, she needed to get out of her office for a while. Days like today made her feel like she was trapped in a jail cell and lunch was the perfect excuse to get out and stretch her legs.

As Adagio entered the cafeteria, she couldn’t help but remember the first time she’d been in there, when her and her sisters turned all the students against each other with their magic. The memory brought a small smile to her face.

“Hey, Adagio.” A voice called out from behind her.

Adagio turned around and saw Rainbow Dash waving to her as she entered the cafeteria.

Not her again. She silently said to herself.

For the past few weeks Rainbow Dash had been making an effort to befriend Adagio by striking up small talk with her, much to the Dazzling leader’s confusion. It was a complete mystery to her why Rainbow Dash, of all the Rainbooms, was the making the such an effort to connect with her. Needless to say, she wasn’t interested in becoming friends with Rainbow Dash.

“How’s your day going?” Rainbow asked one she was close enough to Adagio.

“Peachy,” Adagio flatly replied as she made her way over to the lunch line. “Just peachy.”

“Oh, um, okay.” Rainbow responded, unsure of what else to say as she followed Adagio.

Once Adagio noticed that Rainbow was following her, she stopped in her tracks and turned back around to address the teen.

“Look, Rainbow Dash,” she sternly stated, “I don’t know why you keep trying to make small talk with me, but can you maybe not do it during the one time of day I don’t have to talk to students?”

Rainbow felt slightly wounded by Adagio’s words, but she kept it together as she remembered why she was approaching the Dazzling in this particular instance.

“Um, actually, I was going to ask you for help motivating someone.” She clarified.

“Come again?” Adagio inquired, bewildered by Rainbow’s statement.

“You see that girl over there?” Rainbow said as she pointed to a girl with vivid orange hair with light brilliant amber stripes sitting alone.

“Yeah.” Adagio confirmed.

“Her name is Spitfire and he’s captain of the soccer team.” Rainbow began to explain, “She’s been acting weird lately, almost like she’s depressed, and it’s starting to have an affect on the team. Any chance you might be able to help her?”

Adagio stared at Spitfire for a while. Even though she didn’t know Spitfire personally, she could tell just by the way the girl was slouching and picking at her food that she could indeed use some motivating.

While the last thing Adagio wanted was to go over and help motivate a student during her lunch, Spitfire seemed…different…from the other students. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she decided that the fiery girl might be someone actually worth helping.

“So what exactly is it that has Spitfire so distraught?” She asked Rainbow.

“No idea.” Rainbow declared with a shrug of her shoulders. “All I know is that it all started after she got back from visiting Canterlot University. All of us one the team figure something happened to her on her visit, but anytime one of us asks her about it she gets really defensive and walks away.”

Adagio considered asking if maybe that was because nothing was actually wrong with Spitfire and she was just tired of people asking her that, but thought it best not to. If Rainbow Dash, one of Spitfire’s teammates, thought there was a problem with her, then most likely there was.

“Alright, I’ll see what I can do.” She informed Rainbow. “After I get my lunch.”

“Thanks, Adagio, you rock!” Rainbow gratefully expressed, giving the Dazzling a playful, yet still somewhat forceful, pat on the back as she ran off to join the rest of the Rainbooms at their table.

“What is her deal?” Adagio asked herself as she got in line for her lunch.

Once Adagio had her lunch, she made her way over to the table where Spitfire was sitting. She stopped at the opposite side of the table directly across from Spitfire, placed her tray down, and took a seat.

“Hello, Spitfire.” She casually greeted the girl, causing Spitfire to raise an eyebrow in confusion.

“Hello.” Spitfire just as casually replied back as she sized Adagio up. “You’re one of those Dazzlings, aren’t you?”

“Adagio Dazzle. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Adagio haughtily introduced herself as she extended her arm for a handshake.

Spitfire didn’t reciprocate the gesture. She instead stared at Adagio’s hand for a few seconds before returning her attention to Adagio herself.

“Is there something I can help you with?” She skeptically asked.

“Actually, I’m here to help you.” Adagio explained as she pulled her hand back, somehow sounding even more haughty than before. “You see, some of your teammates feel that you’ve, how shall I put this, ‘lost you mojo’ as of late and it’s negatively affecting your team. As the school’s motivational speaker, I’m here to help you get your ‘mojo’ back.”

“Is that so?” Spitfire sarcastically asked, sounding slightly peeved. “And which of my teammates told you that I’ve ‘lost my mojo’?”

“Oh that’s not important,” Adagio replied, knowing better than to name names. “What is important is that you get your ‘mojo’ back for your team’s sake.”

At this point, Spitfire looked positively pissed. If Adagio didn’t know any better, she could’ve sworn she was Aria’s long-lost twin.

“Look, my team is fine whether I have my ‘mojo’ or not!” Spitfire angrily declared as she grabbed her lunch tray and stood up. “And even if I did need help, I sure as hell wouldn’t accept it from a Dazzling!”

Spitfire’s reaction wasn’t all that surprising to Adagio. She knew that some of the students were still weary of her and her sisters, with some even holding grudges, but Spitfire was the first to be so blatant about it.

“This one’s going to be tricky,” She commented. “But fun.”

After school, Adagio made her way out to the soccer field to observe the CHS soccer team in action. More specifically, she wanted to see Spitfire in action. Her little conversation with the Spitfire during lunch had confirmed her suspicions that the soccer captain was indeed different from most of the other students. Spitfire was going to be a tough egg to crack, but Adagio welcomed the challenge.

Soccer practice was already underway by the time Adagio arrived at the field. She quietly took a seat on the bleachers and observed Spitfire’s performance. Even though she knew little about soccer, she knew Spitfire wasn’t performing well. Her ball control was mediocre, her shots were wide, and, perhaps most importantly, she wasn’t communicating with her teammates. And, just as Rainbow Dash said, her poor performance was affecting the rest of the team.

“Alright, Spitfire, hit the bench.” The coach eventually yelled out to her.

Spitfire begrudgingly did as instructed and took a seat on the sidelines. At the same time, Adagio made her way down the bleachers and over to the sidelines.

“Still think you’re not having a negative effect on your team?” Adagio conceitedly asked Spitfire as she took a seat on the bench next to the disgruntled teen.

“Thought I told you I don’t need your help.” Spitfire fiercely responded, not even turning to face Adagio.

“I think you do.” Adagio replied, sounding a bit more genuine. “You’re acting angrier than Aria, and that’s saying something.”

“I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP!” Spitfire hollered as she got up from the bench and angrily made her way towards the school.

“Spitfire!” Adagio called out to the girl as she followed her. “You can’t run from whatever this is!”

“Watch me!” Spitfire yelled back as she entered the school and headed for the girls locker room.

“You don’t get it, do you?!” Adagio said as she followed Spitfire into the locker room. “I’m not going to let you run from this!”

“What do you even care, Dazzling?!” Spitfire shouted as she stopped and turned to face Adagio.

“I care because it’s my job.” Adagio heatedly explained. “And I’m not going to stop until I get you to tell me what’s wrong.”

Just then, Spitfire lunged at Adagio, grabbed her by the collar, and pushed her up against some lockers.


Spitfire’s sudden threat had startled and intimidated Adagio, but she didn’t let it show. She knew better than to let Spitfire know her fear tactics were working. Instead, she took a deep mental breath, gave a stoic expression, looked Spitfire square in the eyes, and steeled herself for what might happen after she spoke her next sentence.

“Do it then.” She coolly stated.

“W-what?” Spitfire stuttered, her expression of anger turning into one of shock.

“Put me in a full-body cast,” Adagio clarified, maintaining her stoic expression. “Because that’s the only way you’re going to get me to stop bothering you without telling me what’s wrong.”

Spitfire released Adagio from her grip and took a few steps backwards in total dismay. She wanted to say something, but was at a complete loss for words.

“Y-you can’t be serious.” She managed to get out.

“I am serious.” Adagio replied as she mentally breathed a sigh of relief. “But just so you know, beating the hell out of me probably won’t fix your problem.”

A thousand and one thoughts ran through Spitfire’s mind. She hadn’t counted on Adagio calling her bluff, but The Dazzling had and now she didn’t know what to do. She sat down on a nearby bench and tried to gather her thoughts.

Is it possible she really does want to help me? Spitfire thought.

“I take it you’ve calmed down a bit and no longer wish me any physical harm?” Adagio said as she sat down on the other end bench, just in case.

Spitfire turned to face Adagio. She couldn’t fathom how the Dazzling seemed so unphased by what had just happened.

“Why do you care about me?” she asked out of legitimate curiosity.

“Like I said, because it’s my job.” Adagio reiterated. “Whether I like it or not.”

Adagio’s statement only compounded Spitfire’s confusion. While it did sound like Adagio was serious about wanting to help her, it also sounded like she was reluctant to do so.

“Look, Spitfire,” Adagio calmly began to say. “I get that you don’t like me and my sisters and I don’t blame you for that, we did some pretty bad things to everyone at this this school and we deserve you’re hatred. But if you won’t talk to me at least talk to someone.”

“I don’t hate you, I just acted like I did to get you to leave me alone.” Spitfire elucidated.

Adagio raised her eyebrows in stupefaction, surprised that someone had just told her that they didn’t hate her. It was definitely something she was unaccustomed to hearing.

“Wow, um, thanks.” She expressed with both mild joy and embarrassment.

“I’m sorry that I said all those things,” Spitfire apologized. “And that I yelled at you, and that I threatened to put you in a full-body cast. Basically, I’m sorry for my whole shitty attitude today.”

Spitfire lowered her head in shame. The more she admitted to her actions aloud, the more she felt like crawling into a hole and never coming out.

“Don’t worry about it, we all have our off days.” Adagio casually commented.

“It’s been more than a day though.” Spitfire confessed. “I’ve been acting like a bitch to pretty much everyone for the last week.”

Spitfire was starting to let her guard down, and Adagio could tell. The Dazzling chose her next words carefully, trying to get Spitfire to open up a little bit more without sounding pushy.

“Did something happen last week?” She considerately asked, hoping Spitfire would bring up the Canterlot University visit Rainbow Dash had mentioned earlier.

There was total silence for a few uncomfortable seconds before Spitfire spoke up.

“I went to Canterlot University last week.” She began to explain as Adagio mentally cheered. “Or at least, that’s what I told everyone.”

Now Adagio was the on caught off guard.

“So, you didn’t visit the school?” She perplexingly asked.

“No, no, I did go to CU, just not for the reasons I told everyone.” Spitfire clarified as she brought her head up and looked at Adagio. “See, I told everyone I was going to Canterlot University to see if it’s where I wanted to go to college. The truth is though, I’ve already decided I’m going there. I’ve been accepted and everything.”

“Then why did you visit last week?” Adagio chimed in.

Spitfire took a deep breath before answering.

“I was trying out for the soccer team.” Spitfire confessed. “And I didn’t make it.”

Adagio could feel the pain in Spitfire’s voice as she admitted her not making the team.

“I’m sorry.” She honestly expressed.

“It’s just, ever since then I feel like I don’t know who I am.” Spitfire continued, becoming more emotional as she went on. “I’ve always been a soccer player, it’s my whole identity. If I’m not going to be a soccer player after this year, than who am I going to be?”

At this point Spitfire was barely keeping it together. It had been hard enough for her to admit all this to herself, but admitting it to someone else only made it feel all the more real. She was on the verge of a breakdown.

Fortunately though, Adagio knew exactly what to do.

“Believe it or not, I know what it is you’re feeling, Spitfire.” She solemnly stated as she put a hand on the distraught teen’s shoulder. “I’ve been where you are myself, and I suppose I still am.”

Spitfire managed to regain enough composure to look at Adagio with puzzlement. She found it hard to believe that someone as collective and confident as Adagio could ever feel the way she was feeling now.

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

“I was a siren back in Equestria, it was who I was and I loved it.” Adagio explained. “Then my sisters and I were banished to this world and we weren’t sirens anymore. For the longest time I told myself I could become a siren again if I got my hands on some Equestrian magic, but I was wrong. Even once I got some it didn’t change anything, at least for long.”

Spitfire listened closely to Adagio’s words, feeling a sense of compassion for the Dazzling.

“After the whole Battle of the Bands thing I just drifted through the world as nothing, like a ghost. But then I got this job as a motivational speaker and, while I don’t exactly love it, it’s given me an identity again.”

She really does understand. Spitfire thought to herself as Adagio continued.

“But it’s hard for me to truly accept being a motivational speaker. I still wish I were siren again and I probably always will, but I want to embrace this new calling in life. I just don’t know how.”

Now Adagio was the one just barely keeping it together. She hadn’t expected to reveal so many personal feelings to Spitfire but couldn’t stop once she got started. She felt like she was about to cry when Spitfire spoke up.

“Maybe you need a friend?” She suggested.

“A-a friend?” Adagio reiterated in surprise.

“Yeah, you know, someone you can trust to help you work through things with.” Spitfire said.

Adagio thought about Spitfire’s suggestion for a moment. Her, have a friend? It was a completely foreign concept to her. Of course Aria and Sonata could be considered her friends even though they were also her sisters, but they were idiots.

Initially, Adagio wasn’t big on the whole ‘friendship’ thing, what with it being the cause of her defeat at the Battle of the Bands and all. But the more she thought about it in that instance, the more the concept of having a friend sounded good. There was just one problem.

“Right, and who at this school would ever want to be my friend?” She dejectedly asked as she stared at the floor. “I’m a Dazzling, remember.”

“I’d be your friend.” Spitfire unexpectedly replied.

Adagio’s head shot up as she stared at Spitfire with a look of astonishment.

“You…you would?” She asked.

“Sure,” Spitfire casually said. “With all the personal stuff you and I just shared with each other it only seems natural for us to become friends. We can help each other figure out who we are and what we want to become.”

As crazy as it sounded to her, Adagio had to admit that Spitfire made a good point.

“What do you say?” Spitfire asked as she stood up and extended her hand to Adagio in friendship.

Adagio stared at Spitfire’s hand for a few seconds before returning her attention to Spitfire herself. She gave a small smile, took Spitfire’s hand, and stood up.

“Spitfire,” She said as she wrapped her arm around the girl's shoulder as the two of them walked towards the locker room door. “I say this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Sonata and Maud Pie

View Online

“So help me God, if I started building walls today and didn’t stop for the next ten years, there still wouldn’t be enough of them to FUCKING PUT YOU THROUGH!”

“Ahahahahaha!” Sonata Dusk laughed.

Sonata was currently on her lunch break and watching an animated TV show on her phone about an angry guy who was always yelling at his family. She liked the show because it helped remind her that for as dysfunctional as her own family was, there were even more dysfunctional families out there. That, and it was just a really funny show.

“Oh, Frank, you and Adagio would get along like peas in a pod.” She randomly commented just as a she heard a knock on her door.

“Hello, is anyone in there?” A high-pitched, bubbly voice asked from the other side.

“Pinkie, is that you?” Sonata inquired as she put her phone away.

Of all the Rainbooms, Pinkie Pie had been one of the more forgiving ones towards the Dazzlings. Aside from her secret girlfriend Rainbow Dash, Sonata considered Pinkie to be her closest friend in the Rainbooms. Likewise, Pinkie considered Sonata to be her closest friend in the Dazzlings.

Without warning, the door to Sonata’s office swung open and Pinkie came barreling into the room.

“Sonata, thank goodness you’re here!” Pinkie exclaimed as she unexpectedly wrapped Sonata in a hug.

“Pinkie…I can’t…breathe.” Sonata struggled to say as she tried to break free of Pinkie’s surprisingly strong hug.

“Sorry, sorry.” Pinkie profusely apologized as she let go of Sonata. “I just really, really, really need your help.”

Sonata had never seen Pinkie this distressed before. She figured whatever it was that Pinkie needed help with must’ve been of the utmost importance.

“Okay, just calm down and have a seat, Pinkie.” Sonata gently instructed the hyper girl as she gestured to the chair in front of her desk.

Pinkie quickly did as instructed and took a seat on the other side of the desk. Sonata just as quickly regained her composure from the bone-crushing hug she’d just received and sat up straight in her chair, facing Pinkie.

“Now, what’s the problem?” The Dazzling placidly asked.

“It’s my sister, Maud.” Pinkie began to tensely explain. “She…She…She likes a guy and can’t confess to him!”

Sonata was at a loss for words. That was what Pinkie was so distressed about?

“Uh, Pinkie, that doesn’t seem like that big of a problem.” She confoundedly remarked.

“WHAT?!” Pinkie shouted as she jumped out of her seat. “Don’t you realize what it means if Maud doesn’t confess her feelings?!”

“Um…” Sonata started to say before being interrupted by Pinkie.

“It means that she’ll never get a boyfriend, which means she’ll never fall in love, which means she’ll never get married, which means she’ll never have children, which means she’ll end up growing old alone, which means she’ll eventually end up dying alone in a van down by the river!” Pinkie frantically rambled.

Once again, Sonata was at a loss for words. She knew Pinkie had an active imagination and sometimes let it run away with her, but she was starting to sound like she belonged in a sanitorium. All she could do was watch Pinkie try and catch her breath from her ramblings for a few seconds as she tried to think of a response to such bold exaggerations.

“Okay, well, how about I meet with your sister and see if I can help her then?” She suggested.

Almost immediately Pinkie stopped her hyperventilating after hearing Sonata’s words.

“Great idea!” She joyously shouted as she quickly moved around to the other side of the desk, grabbed Sonata by the hand, and started heading for the door. “Maud’s in the library, let’s go!”

“Wait, Pinkie, I didn’t mean right now.” Sonata futilely tried to explain as she was dragged off to the library.

Sure enough, Pinkie dragged Sonata all the way from her office to the library, much to her chagrin. Once inside, the Dazzling looked around the room, noticing a number of female students spread throughout. She tried to figure out which one was Pinkie’s sister.

“Okay, there’s Maud.” Pinkie quietly informed Sonata as pointed to a girl sitting at a table on the other end of the library.

Sonata tried to get a good look at Maud. From where she was standing, it looked like she had straight, grayish blue violet hair and was wearing a plain bluish gray dress./She couldn’t make out Maud’s face much, but she thought the girl looked a little sad.

“Hey, Maud!” Pinkie shouted as she began walking over to her sister, earning her some unhappy looks from a number of the library patrons.

"Shhhhhh!" Some of them even uttered.

“Oops, sorry.” Pinkie more quietly apologized.

Sonata followed Pinkie to the other end of the library. Once she was closer to Maud, she noticed that she didn’t seem sad at all. In fact, Maud didn’t seem to be expressing any emotions as she stared at her sister.

“Maud, this is Sonata.” Pinkie introduced the Dazzling once she was close enough. “She’s here to help you.”

“Hello, Sonata.” Maud stolidly stated as she looked over to Sonata before returning her attention to Pinkie. “What is she here to help me with?”

“That guy you’ve been crushing on.” Pinkie slyly replied with a small grin and half-lidded eyes.

Maud once again returned her gaze to Sonata for a moment. She still didn’t show any discernable emotion, but Sonata couldn’t help but feel that Maud was a little peeved at the moment.

“You told her about that?” Maud asked Pinkie.

“Well yeah, Sonata’s a motivational speaker.” Pinkie cheerfully explained. “She can help motivate you into following your heart. Not to mention she’s pretty good with the guys, they flirt with her all the time.”

Sonata blushed at Pinkie’s praise of her ability to entrance guys. While she didn’t swing that way, she did like the attention they gave her and she had learned a thing or two about dealing with them in an amative way.

“Okayyoutwohavefunbye!” Pinkie rapidly said as she seeming disappeared into thin air, leaving Sonata alone with Maud.

The two girls silently stared at each other for only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity to Sonata. She found Maud’s stoic demeanor to be a bit…unsettling.

“So, um, you like rocks?” She apprehensively asked in an attempt to break the awkward silence, noticing that Maud had a geology book on her lap.

“Yes.” Maud answered. “I want to be a geologist so I can help with my family’s rock farm.”

Rock farms are a real thing? Sonata thought to herself.

“Would you like to sit down?” Maud asked her.

“Sure!” Sonata cheerfully replied as she took a seat, happy that Maud was inviting her to join her.

“I’m sorry about Pinkie,” Maud apologized. “She tends to get carried away with things.”

“Yeah, she does take things to the extreme sometimes.” Sonata agreed. “But on the plus side, it must be nice having a sister who’s so concerned about you.”

Sonata suddenly lost her cheerful attitude and broke eye contact with Maud as she thought about her own sisters. In particular, she thought about all the times Adagio and Aria were either mean or completely apathetic towards her, and there were many such times.

“Neither of my sisters ever give a damn about me.” She dejected.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Maud sympathized.

“Oh it’s fine,” Sonata stated as she resumed eye contact with Maud. “I know that deep down my sisters care about me, they just don’t show it often.”

There was an awkward silence for about twenty seconds before Maud spoke up.

“So how much did Pinkie tell you about the guy I like?” She asked.

“Not much really,” Sonata replied. “She just said there was a guy you liked and that you’d end up dying alone if you didn’t confess to him.”

“I see.” Maud remarked. “I know you were dragged here by Pinkie, but I could use some help telling him how I feel, if you’re willing.”

“Of course I am!” Sonata exclaimed a bit too loudly as she stood up from her seat.

“Shhhhhh!” Many of the library patrons directed towards her.

“Hehe, I mean, I’d be happy to help you.” Sonata more quietly stated, embarrassed by her sudden outburst. “But maybe we should talk in my office.”

“Okay.” Maud agreed as she gathered her things, got up from her seat, and followed Sonata out of the library.

“So, tell me about this guy.” Sonata said to Maud, once they were in the privacy of her office.

Maud pulled out her phone and scrolled through it before handing it to Sonata.

“This is him, his name is Mudbriar.” She explained.

Sonata stared at the picture of Mudbriar on Maud’s phone. He appeared to be a tall, thin guy with green eyes and grayish gamboge hair, and he had the same stoic expression as Maud. While she herself didn’t see much in the guy, she figured there was something she didn’t know about him that made him the object of Maud’s affection.

“He seems…nice.” She commented before handing the phone back to Maud.

“We have science together and he’s really smart when it comes to the natural sciences.” Maud remarked.

“Uh-huh.” Sonata uttered as she started to see why Mudbriar was attractive to Maud. “So how long have you liked him?”

“I’ve wanted to ask him out for about a week now,” Maud answered as she looked down at the floor in a disheartened manner, showing the first discernable sign of emotion Sonata saw from the girl. “But I haven’t had the courage to even introduce myself to him.”

“Wait, so he doesn’t even know who you are?” Sonata strikingly asked.

Maud brought her head back up before answering.

“No.” She said. “At best he probably just knows me as a girl in his science class.”

Sonata placed her elbows on her desk and began to rub her temples as she realized just how difficult helping Maud was going to be.

“Oh boy, this is going to be tricky,” She said as she ceased rubbing her temples and dramatically stood up. “But we can do this, Maud! We just need to come up with a plan.”

“What kind of plan?” Maud inquired.

That was the million dollar question that Sonata wasn’t sure how to answer. The Dazzling put a hand to her chin as she began to formulate a plan in her head.

“Okay, he doesn’t know who you are so you can’t just go up to him and ask him out.” She started to say as she paced back and forth behind her desk. “What you need is someone to talk you up to him first so you get on his radar.”

“Talk me up?” Maud asked, not understand what Sonata meant by that.

“Yeah, you know, mention how cool you are and stuff.” Sonata explained.

“Oh, okay.” Maud replied.

“I can be the one who talks you up to him,” Sonata continued. “But it’s going to take some time for him to really take notice of you. I hate to say this, but it’s probably going to be another few weeks before you can actually ask him out, Maud.”

“That’s fine,” Maud accepted. “So long as we get to that point eventually.”

A small smile formed on Sonata’s face as Maud agreed to her plan.

“Alright, let’s go find Mudbriar and get Operation: Hookup underway!” She excitedly proclaimed.

“Operation: Hookup?” Maud once again inquired.

“Yeah, the name of the plan.” Sonata clarified as she made her way around to the front of her desk. “All great plans have a name that starts with ‘Operation’. Now come on, love awaits!”

As Maud got up from her seat and followed Sonata out into the hallway, she began to have doubts if the Dazzling actually knew what she was doing.

Sonata and Maud wondered around the school for about ten minutes looking for Mudbriar until they eventually found him in the second floor hallway talking to Micro Chips.

“Okay, once Micro Chips leaves I’ll go over to Mudbriar and start talking you up.” Sonata whispered to Maud as the two of them spied on Mudbriar from around a nearby corner.

“Sonata, I’m starting to have seconds thoughts about this.” Maud concernedly expressed.

“Don’t worry, Maud.” Sonata chipperly assured Maud as she placed both her hands on the girl’s shoulders. “I know love can seem scary at times, but I just know that you and Mudbriar are meant for each other.”

“No, I mean I’m having second thoughts about Operation…” Maud tried to explain before Sonata cut her off.

“Micro Chips is leaving, now’s my chance!” She declared as she made her way down the hall towards Mudbriar.

As Sonata made her way towards Mudbriar, Maud could only watch and hope that her anxieties were misplaced.

“Hello there!” Sonata joyfully shouted once she was within earshot of Mudbriar. “You’re Mudbriar, right?”

“I am.” Mudbriar confirmed in a stoic manner similar to Maud’s.

“I’m Sonata Dusk, one of the new motivational speakers the school hired. Pleased to meet you!” Sonata happily vociferated as she extended her arm for a handshake.

“Technically, we’ve already met.” Mudbriar stated as he reciprocated the handshake.

“We…have?” Sonata confusedly replied, trying to remember when she might have met Mudbriar before.

“It was during the Battle of the Bands,” Mudbriar explained as he broke the handshake. “You and you’re sisters bumped into me in the hallway and you told me, ‘Watch where you’re going, slim.’”

Sonata felt a mix of embarrassment and regret at hearing Mudbriar’s words. She still didn’t remember the incident, but it did sound like something she’d have said back then.

“Oh, um, sorry about that.” She meekly apologized.

“It’s fine.” Mudbriar assured her. “I’ve actually been meaning to come see you.”

“You…have?” Sonata once again confusedly replied.

“Yes, I was hoping you might be able to help motivate me.” Mudbriar began to explain. “You see, there’s a girl in one of my classes named Maud Pie that I’ve been wanting to ask out for some time now, but I’ve been unable to work up the courage to do so.”

Sonata was completely and utterly dumbfounded. All she could do was stand perfectly still and stare at Mudbriar in total disbelief. The most perplexing thing though was that she couldn’t figure out what confused her more; the fact that Mudbriar liked Maud or the fact that he’d just told her so.

"You want to ask me out?” Maud said as she walked down the hallway towards Sonata and Mudbriar, having heard everything.

“Yes.” Mudbriar affirmed. “I think you’re very smart and very attractive, and I’d like to get to know you better.”

“I’ve been wanting to ask you out.” Maud explained.

“How whimsical.” Mudbriar remarked. “If that’s the case, then would you like to have lunch with me?”

“Yes, I would.” Maud replied.

And with that, Maud and Mudbriar walked down the hallway together, leaving Sonata all alone. The pony-tailed Dazzling simply watched as the new couple departed, trying to figure out the scene that had just unfolded in front of her.

“Um, what?” She confoundedly stated.

It was the end of another day and Sonata was gathering her things to head on home. She had just gotten done turning her computer off when she heard a knock on her door.

“Sonata, are you in there?” A monotoned voice said from the other side.

“Maud, is that you?” Sonata inquired.

The door opened to reveal that it was Maud.

“I wanted to thank you for your help today. Mudbriar and I decided to give dating a try.” The stoic girl said as she entered the room.

“That’s great, Maud, really.” Sonata less-than-enthusiastically stated as she despondently took a seat. “But I didn’t really help you. If anything, I almost ruined your shot with Mudbriar.”

“That’s not true.” Maud assured the distraught Dazzling. “Operation: Hookup might not have gone as planned, but it’s still thanks to you that I learned about Mudbriar’s feelings for me. You helped more than you thought.”

Sonata took a moment to consider what Maud had just said. True, her initial plan hadn’t worked, but in the end Maud and Mudbriar wound up together and that was the important thing.

“I guess so.” She happily conceded as she stared at Maud with a small smile.

“And as thanks, I wanted to invite you to Pie Sisters’ Surprise Swap Day.” Maud added.

“Pie Sisters’ what day?” Sonata asked.

“Pie Sisters’ Surprise Swap Day, it’s a holiday Pinkie and I made up.” Maud explained. “We spend the day together doing all sorts of sister things and at the end we swap gifts. Since you helped me, and since you said your own sisters don’t give a damn about you, I asked Pinkie if you could join us as an honorary Pie sister this year. She said it was okay.”

Sonata could barely contain the feeling of joy building up inside her. She was so touched by Maud’s offer that she sprung up from her seat and wrapped Maud in a hug, crying tears of delight.

“Oh, Maud, I’d be honored to join you for Pie Sisters’ Surprise Swap Day!” She blithely replied.

“I’m glad.” Maud stoically expressed, a small smile forming on her own face that Sonata couldn’t see because of the hug. “It’s this Saturday, we’ll meet you in front of the school at 9:00. And don’t feel like you have to bring a gift to swap, we’ll just be happy that you’re joining us.”

“Oh, I’ll bring a gift!” Sonata exclaimed as she broke the hug. “I can’t wait until Saturday!”

“Neither can I.” Maud agreed as she noticed the time on a nearby clock. “I have to go now, Mudbriar’s taking me to the natural history museum to look at mineral samples.”

“Okay, you two have fun,” Sonata remarked. “But not too much fun.”

“No promises.” Maud joked, or at least Sonata thought she joked, as she exited the office.

Sonata finished gathering her things and also exited the office as visions of how wonderful Saturday was going to be filled her head.

Aria and Derpy Hooves

View Online

Aria Blaze groggily walked into Canterlot High School on a particularly awful Monday morning. It wasn’t awful because of the morning itself though. In fact, the morning itself was actually pretty nice; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and temperature was pretty nice for this time of year. No, what made this morning awful was that Aria was incredibly hungover.

“I swear…I’m going to kill Sonata the minute I’m sober.” The tipsy Dazzling mumbled to herself as she made her way through the school.

The reason Aria was hungover was because, well, she’d had too much to drink, obviously. But the reason she’d had too much to drink was an interesting one.

You see, the previous night Sonata had rented a movie for her and her sisters to watch called The Wolf of Wall Street, believing it to be about a blood-thirsty wolf that terrorizes the people of Wall Street. Upon realizing, after they’d already started watching it, that the movie was about a stock market sleaze-ball, Sonata suggested a drinking game. She’d noticed that many of the characters frequently used the word ‘fuck’, so she suggested that they each take a shot of whiskey every time someone said it. By the end of the three hour movie the f-word was said some 506 times, which meant that all three Dazzlings had gotten completely hammered. Frankly, Aria wasn’t sure which she was more surprised by; the fact that neither she, Adagio, or Sonata had died of alcohol poisoning, or the fact that she still woke up in time to go to work.

“Come on, babe, don’t you wanna have some fun?” Aria heard a male voice say just around the corner leading to her office.

“I…um…I.” A female voice uneasily responded.

Curious as to what was happening, Aria stopped just before turning the corner and poked her head out enough to see Derpy Hooves being hit on by some douchey guy she didn't know.

“Don’t be scared, just say yes.” The douchey guy said as he placed his hands on the lockers to Derpy’s right and left, cutting her off from escape. “I can’t imagine a lot of guys ask you for a good time, what with your appearance and all.”

Derpy didn’t respond, but the look on her face said it all; she was uncomfortable and scared.

Aria had seen enough. If there was one thing in this world she hated, it was guys who couldn’t take a hint. She’d dealt with her fair share of them personally before, but it really riled her up to see it happening to someone like Derpy. After giving herself a few slaps to the face in an attempt to distract from her hungover feelings, she took a deep breath and steeled herself.

“Hey, asshole!” She composedly, and angrily, shouted as she quickly rounded the corner and threw one of the guy’s arms off the lockers, placing herself between him and Derpy. “She’s clearly not interested, so get lost!”

At first the guy thought about retaliating against Aria for interfering, but upon seeing the sheer rage on her face he decided he better just do as she said.

“W-whatever, it’s not like I actually I wanted to get with her anyways.” He timorously replied as he made his way down the hallway.

Aria breathed a silent sigh of relief that the guy had decided to back off, having been slightly afraid that things would turn violent. She wasn’t sure how’d she’d fair in fight given that she still felt hungover, but more importantly, she was afraid of such things like Derpy getting hurt or Principal Celestia firing her getting into a fight with a student (even if he deserved it).

“Wow, thanks, Aria!” Derpy exclaimed in both amazement and gratitude.

As Aria turned around to ask Derpy if she was alright, she couldn’t help but notice the look on the walleyed girl’s face. It was a look that she wasn’t too accustomed to seeing since losing her magic; admiration.

“Uh, no problem.” She responded, feeling a bit embarrassed from being looked at that way. “That guy didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“Oh no, you got here just in time.” Derpy confirmed, still staring at Aria with that look of admiration.

“Good,” Aria said, “Guys like that really make me…”

Aria was cut off from her conversing by the sudden return of her hangover. Now that the adrenaline had worn off, she was back to feeling like a high schooler after attending a frat party for the first time. The feeling made her slightly lose her sense of balance and she needed to grab the nearby lockers for support.

“Oh my gosh, are you okay?!” Derpy concernedly asked as grabbed hold of Aria, trying to help keep her on her feet.

“Y-yeah.” Aria unconvincingly stated, feeling like she was about to lose her breakfast.

“You don’t look so good, Aria.” Derpy pointed out as she wrapped an arm around Aria and hoisted her up. “Let me help you to the nurse’s office.”

“No!” Aria shouted as more adrenaline suddenly coursed through her, brought on by Derpy’s mentioning of going to see the nurse. “Just…help me to my office.”

One of the last things she wanted was to have an encounter with Nurse Redheart in her current condition. She knew Redheart would immediately realize she was hungover, and she wasn’t sure whether she’d keep that little piece of information to herself or share it with Celestia.

“Are you sure?” Derpy perplexingly asked.

“Positive.” Aria replied, sounding a lot more unconvincing.

Derpy had done as Aria requested, despite her reservations. She’d brought the pig-tailed motivational speaker to her office and now the two of them were just silently sitting around. Aria was behind her desk waiting for the coffee she was making in her Mr. Coffee 4 Cup Switch Coffee Maker to be ready and Derpy was in front of the desk just…staring at the Dazzling, intensely.

The staring was starting to make Aria feel uneasy.

“Uh, you okay there, Derpy?” She awkwardly asked.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine.” Derpy nonchalantly replied, keeping her eyes on Aria.

Aria couldn’t quite figure out exactly what it was about Derpy’s staring that made her feel so uneasy. It wasn’t the fact that her eyes weren’t level with one another, that never bothered her. No, it was something behind those eyes that was giving Aria a seriously weird vibe.

“Okay, well, class is going to be starting soon. You should probably get going, huh?” Aria remarked, trying to gently hint that she wanted to the girl to leave.

Derpy didn’t respond, or budge, or seem to acknowledge in any way that Aria had just spoken to her.

“Derpy?” Aria apprehensively said just as her coffee maker dinged.

The sound of her coffee being ready was like music to Aria’s ears. She quickly got up from her seat and made her way over to the machine on a table located on the right side of the room. Upon picking up the piping-hot cup of joe, she downed about half of it before giving a sigh of contentment. The coffee was already having the desired effect of lessening her hangover and she began to feel better. That is, until she turned back around and saw Derpy still staring at her.

“Aria,” the blonde-haired girl finally spoke up. “Can you teach me to be brave like you?”

In that moment, Aria was very glad that she didn’t have any coffee in her mouth because, if she did, she probably would’ve done a spit-take.

“I’m sorry,” She responded in both shock and bewilderment. “You want me to what?”

“Teach me to be brave like you.” Derpy reiterated as she stood up and made her way over to the confused Dazzling.

“I…I don’t know if I…” Aria began to anxiously respond, just before Derpy clasped her left hand with both of her’s.

“Please, Aria,” the walleyed girl pleaded. “If I were brave like you I wouldn’t need other people to defend me against those bullies all the time.”

Aria wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted to help Derpy of course, but teaching her to be brave, how would she even do that? She quickly ran through a number of possible answers in her head before coming to a sudden realization.

“Wait, what do you mean all the time?” She inquired. “What happened to you this morning with that guy happens regularly?”

Derpy let go of Aria’s hand, lowered her head, and took a step back. Her facial expression suddenly changed from one of pleading to one of soft anguish.

“Y-yeah,” She timidly answered as she rubbed her left arm. “People come up to me pretty frequently and either make fun of me for my eyes or hit on me thinking I’m easy. Sometimes I can just ignore them, but most of the time it gets to a point where someone else steps in to help me, like you did today.”

Aria could feel the pain in Derpy’s voice as she listened to her.

“How come you haven’t gone to Celestia or Luna with this?” She gently asked.

The distressed look on Derpy’s face only intensified after Aria asked her question.

“I-I did, but it didn’t help.” She explained. “Both of them said they’d do what they could, but district policy is pretty lax when it comes to bullying and they weren’t able to do anything that made any real difference.”

This didn’t surprise Aria in the least. She remembered back to when she was hired and Celestia had given her a district policy handbook to go over. While she didn’t think much of it at the time she distinctly remembered there being a lack of guidelines for dealing with the issue of student-on-student bullying.

Probably to avoid a lawsuit. Aria contemptibly thought to herself.

“I-I just don’t know what to do.” Derpy began sobbing as small tears formed in the corners of her eyes. “I’ve been lucky that has stepped in to help me all the previous times, but what happens if I’m all alone?”

There was more than just sadness in Derpy’s voice now, there was also fear; fear of the continued harassment, the fear of facing it alone, and, perhaps largest of all, the fear of being powerless.

Aria understood some of this fear, having felt it herself just after her and her sisters were banished to this world. She remembered the fear of feeling powerless without her magic and of possibly losing her sisters and being all alone. Most importantly though, she remembered how she overcame those fears, and worried about whether Derpy could handle going through what she had.

Aria didn’t know what to do. She wanted to help Derpy be brave and be able to stand up for herself, of course, but would she be able to do so without hurting her in the process? Regardless, she needed to make a choice, expeditiously.

“Okay, I’ll teach you to be brave like me, Derpy.” She eventually declared as she put her coffee cup down and placed both her hands on Derpy’s shoulders.

“R-Really?” Derpy asked as she stared at Aria with teary eyes and a small, hopeful smile.

“Yes, I promise.” Aria affirmed. “I’ll help you be brave so that those bullies never bother you again.”

Derpy pulled Aria in a sudden and unexpected hug, one that Aria instinctively returned.

“Oh thank you, Aria, thank you!” Derpy happily exclaimed.

Before Aria could respond, the bell for first period rang and Derpy quickly broke the hug.

“Oh my gosh, I need to get going.” She stated, in a somewhat panicked manner, as she headed for the door. “Um, can I come by at lunch for my first bravery lesson?”

“Sure.” Aria replied with a modest smile.

“Oh boy, I can’t wait to get started.” Derpy eagerly remarked as she left the room.

Once Derpy was gone, Aria’s smile faded and she leaned back against the table with the coffee maker on it.

“This isn’t going to be easy, Derpy.” She sternly remarked to the now empty room. “You’re going to have to go through some serious shit if you want to be brave. I just hope you’re up to the challenge.”

The bell rang for lunch period rang and Aria felt a bead of sweat trickle down her face as she awaited Derpy’s arrival. She’d done her best to prepare for helping Derpy become brave all morning and she felt she’d come up with something that would work, but she still had her doubts and fears about whether such methods were a good idea.

“You’re sure you want me to do this?” Adagio Dazzle, who was leaning against the right side of Aria’s desk, asked her sister.

“No.” Aria admitted as she wiped the sweat off her forehead with a handkerchief. “But whether I like it or not, the best way to help Derpy become brave is by putting her through the wringer, like you did with me.”

“Well, steel is forged through fire.” Adagio casually remarked.

Just then, the door to the office suddenly flew open.

“Hey, Aria! I’m ready for...” Derpy cheerfully exclaimed as she barged into the office, stopping mid-sentence when she noticed Adagio was in the room as well. “Oh, um, I didn’t know Adagio was here.”

Like many students at CHS, Derpy was a tad intimidated by Adagio. She didn’t have anything against the poofy-haired Dazzling, she just didn’t really trust her.

“Hey, Derpy.” Aria greeted back. “I asked Adagio to come here and help out with the lesson. Believe it or not, she was the one who taught me how to be brave.”

“Guilty as charged.” Adagio playfully, and somewhat egotistically, remarked.

Aria rolled her eyes at her sister’s boasting.

“Come have a seat and we can get started.” She informed Derpy.

“O-okay.” Derpy hesitantly replied as she took a seat in front of Aria’s desk.

As Derpy took her seat, Aria noticed the same intense expression on the walleyed girl’s face from before. It didn’t make her as uneasy as it had earlier though. She figured by now that it was just Derpy’s way of focusing better.

“Okay, so, the first thing you should know about being brave is that it’s not about being fearless, but about being able to face your fear.” She began. “And to do that, you need to understand your fear. So tell me, what is it that you fear, Derpy?”

Aria question had caught Derpy off guard. She knew how to answer it, of course, but she certainly wasn’t expecting it.

“Well, my fear is that I’ll be bullied.” She answered.

“No, it isn’t.” Aria declared. “Being bullied is just an incidental. I think what you fear lies within.”

Derpy’s focused expression quickly became one of bewilderment.

“Um, I don’t think I follow.” She confusingly stated.

“What I’m saying is that you’re not afraid that you’ll be bullied, you’re afraid that what the bullies will say is correct.” Aria clarified. “You’re afraid that the things they say about you are true, that you’re a freak and easy.”

Just then, Adagio moved from the side of the desk to the side of Derpy’s chair. She placed a hand on the girl’s head and bent over, getting right in Derpy’s face.

“I can’t attest to her being easy, but she’s definitely a freak.” She viciously commented.

Derpy’s eyes widened upon hearing Adagio’s words, feeling a mixture of wounded and confused. She turned her head to see Adagio staring at her with contempt and disgust in her eyes. Feeling very uncomfortable, she then turned her head back to Aria, silently pleading with the girl for help.

“Do you believe you’re a freak, Derpy?” Aria sternly asked.

“N-no.” Derpy modestly replied.

“Then tell that to Adagio.” She just as sternly instructed. “When someone insults you, you need to be strong in your convictions.”

As much as she didn’t want to, Derpy slowly turned her head back towards Adagio, who was still staring at her with contempt and disgust in her eyes.

“Um, I-I’m not a freak.” She told Adagio in a manner so timid and meek she could have easily been mistaken for Fluttershy.

Adagio just rolled her eyes as she let go of Derpy’s head and facepalmed in response.

“Seriously, that’s how you’re going to stand up to someone who insults you?!” She practically shouted right in Derpy’s face as the poor girl winced. “Honestly Aria, why are you wasting your time on this one? She’s pathetic, and she always will be.”

Derpy once again felt wounded by Adagio’s words and turned to Aria for help. However, all Aria did was nudge her head in the direction of Adagio, silently telling her to stand up for herself.

“I-I’m not pathetic.” She told Adagio, this time with a bit more confidence.

“Oh don’t kid yourself, sweetheart,” Adagio retorted. “I can tell that you’ve been pathetic your whole life, and that no amount of ‘bravery lessons’ from my sister is going to change anything.”

For the third time, Derpy turned to Aria for help. Only this time, Aria just closed her eyes and shock her head dejectedly.

Derpy knew what Aria was silently saying. She was saying that Adagio was right, that she was pathetic and always would be. For reasons unbeknownst to her, this pained Derpy at her very core. She felt like she’d let Aria down, and she hated that feeling.

“You want bullies to stop bothering you?” Adagio continued. “I suggest you find a big, strong guy to be your boyfriend and have him fight all your battles for you.”

“NO!” Derpy loudly declared, standing up from her seat so quickly and violently the chair fell over.

Both Aria’s and Adagio’s eyes went wide from shock at Derpy’s outburst. Adagio was so shocked she involuntarily took a step back from the enraged girl.

“NOW YOU LISTEN AND LISTEN GOOD, YOU WALKING CHEETO PUFF!” She shouted as she aggressively approached Adagio, forcing the startled Dazzling to back up against the wall. “I AM NOT A FREAK, I AM NOT PATHETIC, AND I DEFINITELY DON’T NEED A BIG, STRONG GUY TO DEFEND ME!”

At this point Derpy was square in Adagio’s face with fire and fury in her eyes.

“Aria, do something!” Adagio pleaded, believing Derpy might actually bring her physical harm.

“Derpy, just calm down.” Aria alarmingly instructed as she got up from her seat. “Adagio didn’t mean any of it. She just said all those things to get you to stand up for yourself.”

Derpy quickly turned to face Aria, still maintaining her fiery expression.

“She did the same thing to me when she helped me become brave. It’s called tough love.” The pig-tailed Dazzling continued explaining.

Derpy started to calm down a bit as she slowly backed away from Adagio and towards Aria.

“Y-you mean you planned this?” She asked, a twinge of pain in her voice.

“I’ll just…leave you both to it then.” Adagio quickly commented as she made a b-line for the door.

“Yes, and I’m sorry.” Aria solemnly apologized, ignoring the fact that Adagio had just left. “I wanted to help you become braver, but this was the only way I could think of to do it. I should’ve known it was a bad idea though.”

Aria couldn’t help but get emotional as she apologized to Derpy, much to her chagrin.

“Why am I so bad at this?” She rhetorically asked as she slumped back into her seat, staring at her desk. “First Trixie and now you, why can’t I just help people without hurting them? What the hell’s wrong with me?”

As much as Aria was trying to fight back tears, she felt a few run down her cheeks. All she wanted to do was help Derpy, but instead she’d just hurt her. She started to doubt if she was actually cut out to be a motivational speaker.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, Aria.” Derpy spoke up in a comforting tone.

Aria picked her head up and looked at Derpy through tear-stained eyes.

“Oh come on, Derpy, after what I just put you through I clearly some kind of sadist when it comes to this job.” She despondently commented.

“Well, you could have warned me you’d be using tough love before we started.” Derpy conceded. “But in the end worked, didn’t it? I mean, I did stand up to Adagio.”

While she still felt guilty about what she’d done, Aria knew Derpy had a point. The tough love did work.

“Yeah you did,” She jovially agreed. “I don’t think I’m ever going to forget the look on her face when you yelled at her.”

The two girls shared a laugh as they recalled Adagio’s rather skittish reaction to Derpy’s outburst.

“How about next time we try and find a way that’s a little less…intense.” Aria suggested. “If you still want me to teach you to be brave that is.”

Without warning, Derpy rushed over to Aria and embraced her in friendly hug.

“Of course I still want you to teach me!” She joyfully exclaimed. “You’re still the best person I can think of to teach me how to be brave!”

Aria’s heart felt warm as she returned the hug.

“Thanks, Derpy.” She softly said.

Eventually the bell indicating the end of lunch rang, causing Aria and Derpy to break their hug.

“Oh geez, I gotta get going.” Derpy hastily said as she made her way towards the door. “See you later, Aria.”

Aria waved goodbye to Derpy as the affable girl left her office. Once alone, she began to think of other, more moderate ways she could help Derpy become brave.

Adagio and Sunset Shimmer

View Online

“I’m just saying, there’s no way 1984 is going to be better than Asylum.” Adagio Dazzle commented as she and her sisters gathered around the couch, preparing to watch the first episode of the new season of one of their favorite shows.

“Oh come on,” Aria Blaze retorted as she sat down on the left end of the couch. “Haven’t you seen all the promos? This season’s going to be like Halloween meets Friday the 13th, it’s totally going to be better than Asylum.”

Adagio simply rolled her eyes in response as she took a seat on the right end of the couch.

“I still say Freak Show is the best season.” Sonata Dusk chimed in as she sat down in the middle of the couch with a large bowl of popcorn for the three of them to share.

“Only because you’re a freak.” Aria casually remarked as she reached over and took a handful of popcorn.

Sonata stuck her tongue out at Aria in retaliation.

“Hey guys, show started yet?” Sunset Shimmer asked as she walked into the room, looking like she was about to head out.

“Just about to.” Aria replied with a mouth full of popcorn.

It had been about six weeks since the Dazzlings had moved in with Sunset. After helping them get their jobs as motivational speakers at CHS, the former unicorn had invited them to stay with her so they’d have an actual home while they saved up enough money for a place of their own. Initially, it wasn’t what they considered an ideal situation, but since it was better than living in a van down by the river they agreed.

Truth be told, Aria and Sonata had actually come to like living with Sunset. Her apartment was really nice, it was only about a 40 minute walk from CHS, and Sunset herself was a surprisingly fun and cool person.

“Okay, well, I’m going to the movies with my friends.” She informed them just as the show was starting. “Don’t forget that the trash needs to go out tonight. Who’s turn is it for that?”

Without saying a word or taking their eyes off the TV, both Sonata and Aria pointed to Adagio, who in turn shot her sisters the strongest glare she could muster.

It was true though, it was Adagio’s turn to take out the trash as per the chore wheel Sunset had made up. The chore wheel was Sunset’s only condition for allowing the Dazzling to live with her. She insisted that they help out around the apartment and the chore wheel determined who was responsible for what on a given week. For the most part, it wasn’t that bad, at least to Aria and Sonata.

“I’ll take care of it after the show.” Adagio half-heartedly stated as she returned her attention to the TV.

Sunset wasn’t convinced that Adagio was going to do as she said. The last time it was Adagio’s turn to take out the trash she’d failed to do it and the apartment reeked of spoiled sushi for a week.

“You sure you’re going to remember, Adagio?” She rather irascibly asked.

Adagio quickly turned her head to face Sunset, giving her the same scathing glare she’d just given Aria and Sonata.

“Are you suggesting that I won’t remember?” She just as irascibly replied, clearly feeling slighted by Sunset’s question.

“Well you have forgotten before.” Sunset stated, very matter-of-factly.

“Well maybe if you’re so worried about the trash you should just take it out yourself then.” Adagio responded as she abruptly stood up and strutted over to Sunset with a piercing gaze.

Sunset considered Adagio’s words for a moment. In a way, she did have a point. It would have been easy for her to take the trash out herself as she left, but this wasn’t about making sure the trash was taken out, at least not anymore. No, this was about principle now; it was about Adagio completing her assigned chore and helping out around the apartment for a change.

“It’s not my job to take the trash out this week, it’s yours.” She sternly declared as Adagio stopped just inches away from her.

“And why is that? Because your precious chore wheel says so?” Adagio conceitedly asked. “You act like that thing is set in stone. News flash, it isn’t, Sunny.”

“Don’t call me ‘Sunny’!” Sunset shouted, momentarily losing her composure.

If there was one thing that got under Sunset’s skin, it was being called ‘Sunny’. She hated that nickname, she always had. She didn’t know why it upset her so much, it just did, and, unfortunately for her, Adagio knew that.

“Oh, did I upset you?” Adagio sarcastically asked with a sly grin on her face. “I’m so sorry…Sunny.”

And then the unthinkable happened; Sunset snapped. In her newfound rage she pounced on Adagio, tackling the Dazzling to the ground and holding her down at the shoulders.

Needless to say, Adagio was startled by Sunset’s assault on her, but as she stared up at Sunset hovering over her with a face twisted by anger, she legitimately feared for her safety.

“WHAT IS YOUR GODDAMN PROBLEM?!” Sunset yelled straight in Adagio’s face.

Aria and Sonata, who had just been watching the argument unfold from the couch until this point, quickly leapt from their seats and pulled Sunset off of their sister. Sunset flailed in a futile effort to break free from their hold as Adagio slowly got back on her feet.


Upon hearing Adagio call her ‘Sunny’ again, Sunset gave a low growl and increased the strength of her flailing, nearly breaking free from Aria and Sonata’s hold on her.

“For fuck’s sake, Adagio, will you quite calling her that!” Aria shouted as she continued trying to hold Sunset back.

“It’s okay, Sunset.” Sonata tried assuring the enraged girl. “Just calm down, everything will be okay.”

Adagio was a bit taken aback by what was happening. Were her sisters really standing up for Sunset, after she’d just attacked her?

“Keep holding her.” She instructed them as she cracked her knuckles. “I’m going to do something I should have done long ago.”

Sunset suddenly came to her senses upon hearing Adagio’s threatening words. She’d been in such a blind rage when she tackled Adagio to the ground that she hadn’t even considered the possibility that she might retaliate, and now she was in a position where she couldn’t escape from said retaliation.

“Have you completely lost it?!” Aria asked as she and Sonata pulled her further away from Adagio. “We’re not going to let you hurt Sunset.”

“Yeah,” Sonata firmly agreed. “She’s been really nice to us, so why are you being so mean to her, Adagio?”

“Nice? NICE?!” Adagio asked in total disbelief. “Have you forgotten that she’s the reason we lost our magic, that she’s the reason we were stuck living in that van down by the river, that she just ATTACKED ME?!”

“You’re right, she is the reason for those things and she did attack you.” Sonata admitted as she let go of Sunset, feeling that the girl had calmed down enough to be released. “But she’s also the reason we’re not still living in that van down by the river, and she only attacked you because you kept provoking her.”

“Sonata’s right,” Aria agreed as she too let go of Sunset. “Sunset’s been nothing but cool to us for the last few weeks, so whatever grudges you’re holding against her, you seriously need to let them go.”

Adagio was now completely taken aback by what was happening. In fact, she was completely flabbergasted that her sisters were taking Sunset’s side in this argument.

“UUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH!” Was all she could muster as she stormed past the three girls and out the door.

With nowhere else to go after storming out of Sunset’s apartment, Adagio headed to CHS to spend the night in her office. Tomorrow was her day to serve as motivational speaker anyways, so she just saw it as getting to work really early.

“I can’t believe those two,” She said to herself through gritted teeth as she unlocked the front doors of the school with her faculty key. “And after everything I’ve done for them over the years.”

Once Adagio reached her office, she unlocked the door and quickly took a seat behind her desk. She then took a bottle of whiskey out of the desk, which she normally used for irishing up her morning coffee, and proceeded to take a few swigs from it.

“Smooth.” She commented as she put the bottle down on her desk.

With nothing else to do, Adagio leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, hoping to get at least a little sleep before the morning. She couldn’t have had her eyes closed more than ten minutes before she heard a voice call out to her.

“You know Principal Celestia will fire you if she knows you’re drinking on school grounds, right?” Sunset stated from the open doorway, which Adagio only just realized she’d left open after opening her eyes.

“Are you going to rat on me?” She asked, not really caring why Sunset was there or how she’d found her.

“No.” Sunset plainly answered as she walked into the room. “I’m not going to rat on you, at least not yet.”

Adagio raised an eyebrow in confusion as Sunset took a seat in front of the desk.

“What do you mean ‘at least not yet’?” She inquired. “Are you planning on blackmailing me?”

“Not exactly,” Sunset replied. “You and I are going to have a little chat, and depending on how it goes I may or may not tell Celestia about your drinking.”

The last thing Adagio wanted to do in that moment was have a little chat with Sunset, but given that was all the Rainboom wanted in exchange for keeping her mouth shut she couldn’t really refuse.

“Fine.” Adagio agreed as she pushed the bottle of whiskey closer to Sunset, silently offering her some. “So how does this work? You talk first? I talk first?”

“I’ll go first.” Sunset said as she pushed the bottle back. “For starters, I’m sorry for attacking you, Adagio. Sonata was right about you provoking me, but that’s still no excuse for lashing out at you the way I did.”

Damn right. Adagio thought to herself.

“Having said that,” Sunset continued. “I want to know why you were provoking me.”

“Really, Sunn…err…Sunset?” Adagio condescendingly asked, almost calling Sunset ‘Sunny’ again before catching herself. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I provoked you because you were pissing me off about the damn trash.”

Sunset tried to ignore Adagio’s condescending tone before speaking up again, not wanting to escalate things back to the levels they were at the apartment.

“And how was I pissing you off about the trash?” She inquired.

“Are you kidding me?” Adagio asked, sounding a teeny bit drunk. “I told you I’d do it after the show and you gave me crap about it.”

“I asked you if you’d remember since you didn’t remember the last time it was your turn to take the trash out.” Sunset clarified a tad more defensively than she intended.

“Oh yeah, that’s what you asked alright, with an attitude.” Adagio stated as she took another swig of whiskey.

Sunset thought back to when she’d asked Adagio if she’d remember to take the trash out.

“Okay, maybe I could’ve asked a bit nicer.” She conceded. “But why is it that you slack off so much when it comes to doing your chores?”

“Oh when have I ever slacked off in doing my chores?” Adagio asked as she put the whiskey bottle down again.

“Seriously?” Sunset deadpanned as she took the bottle of whiskey, figuring Adagio had had enough to drink. “Last week when you were supposed to do laundry you put it off for so long that it didn’t all fit in the washing machine. The week before that when you were supposed to wash dishes you just threw all the dishes in the sink without washing them, and by the time they did get washed some of the plates had fermented cheese on them. The week before that…”

“Okay, okay, I get it.” Adagio defeatedly interjected. “So I don’t like doing chores, a lot of people don’t.”

There was a brief moment of silence as Sunset considered her response.

“Alright.” She eventually said, fully knowing that disliking chores wasn’t the real reason for Adagio’s lax attitude towards them. “But answer me this; why did you try to move in with Wallflower?”

Adagio lowered her head and looked away in embarrassment as she recalled the time she tried moving in with Wallflower Blush.

“As I see it, there’s only one solution,” Adagio declared as she placed both her hands on Wallflower’s shoulders. “And that’s for me to get my things and move in with you, Wallflower.”

“W-what?!” Wallflower winced as she turned her head to look at the Dazzling leader with eyes as wide as saucer plates.

“That’s right. You and I are going to be besties, gal pals, amigos.” Adagio egotistically stated as she took her hands off Wallflower and headed for the door. “I’m going to get my things.”

“Ms. Dazzle,” Vice Principal Luna intervened as she stood up from her seat. “While I’m glad you seem committed to helping Wallflower, I don’t think this is necessary.”

Adagio stopped in the doorway and stared back at Luna with a serious and determined look.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass because I’m moving in with her.” She asserted as she pointed to Wallflower. “I’m sick and tired of living with Sunset Shimmer. She makes me wish I were still LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”

Adagio exited the doorway and slammed the door behind her, leaving Wallflower and Luna to simply stare at each other in confusion. That is, until she opened the door a second later.

“Um, where do you live, Wallflower?” She awkwardly asked.

“Oh, um, 742 Evergreen Terrace.” Wallflower answered.

“Great, thanks.” She replied as she closed the door behind her once again.

Adagio couldn’t believe that her plan had actually worked. She walked down the halls of CHS with an uncanny smile on her face, thinking about how much better things would be away from Sunset Shimmer.

“Wait until I tell Aria and Sonata…” She remarked to herself before quickly realizing she’d neglected to consider her sisters when enacting her plan.

Adagio took a moment to consider her options.

“Eh, I’m sure Wallflower won’t mind a few extra roommates.” She commented, deciding she was going to bring them along with her. “It’ll just be like a nice surprise for her when all three of us show up at her house.”

Upon mentioning Wallflower’s house aloud, Adagio began to wonder if it was within walking distance of the school or not. She quickly took out her phone, opened the Maps app, and typed in Wallflower’s address.

“What?!” She shouted when she received an ‘Address Not Found’ message. Had she heard Wallflower wrong?

Adagio quickly turned around and ran back to Vice Principal Luna’s office. When she got there, she vehemently opened the door only to find the room completely empty.

“Dammit!” She hollered as she threw her phone on the ground, realizing she’d been given a fake address and that both Wallflower and Luna had left before she’d figured it out.

“How do you even know about that?” Adagio embarrassingly asked Sunset.

“Wallflower’s my friend, she tells me things.” Sunset clarified. “So, why did you try to and move in with her? And don’t tell me it’s because of the chores because I know that’s bullshit.”

Adagio quickly ceased feeling embarrassed and lifted her, looking Sunset square in the eyes.

“Oh, you know why.” She began to say, a burning resentment in her voice. “I know you know why, but for some reason you just won’t be satisfied until I say it out loud, will you? Fine then, it’s because I hate you, Sunset Shimmer! Happy?! I hate you for ruining my plans at the Battle of the Bands, I hate you for making me lose my magic, AND I HATE YOU FOR TAKING MY SISTERS AWAY FROM ME!”

At this point, Adagio’s anger had turned to anguish as she struggled to keep what little composure she had left.

“Adagio, I’m haven’t taken your sisters away from you.” Sunset gently stated, easily sensing that the Dazzling was feeling very abashed.

“Don’t play dumb with me!” Adagio poignantly shouted as tears started flowing down her cheeks. “You think I haven’t noticed what’s been happening over the last few weeks? You think I haven’t noticed how you’ve replaced me?”

Sunset was now legitimately concerned about Adagio’s mental health. Frankly, the former siren was starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist to her.

“Adagio, I don’t know what you think has been happening, but I can assure you that I’m haven’t replaced you.” She serenely clarified.

“Oh bullshit!” Adagio retorted as she stood up and slammed her hands down on the desk, causing Sunset to slightly wince. “Ever since we moved in with you Aria and Sonata have treated you like you’re the one in charge, like you’re the leader, and you’ve been more than happy to let them. Just look at what happened tonight; I told them to hold you so I could get even with you for attacking me and they defended you, they took your side. In the old days that never would have happened!”

Well of courses I was happy that they defended me. Sunset silently thought to herself.

Adagio slumped back into her seat as she continued to sob.

I’ve always been the one in charge, I’ve always been the leader. If I’m not anymore, then have my sisters lost all respect for me, am I even still a Dazzling?” She asked, feeling completely and utterly dejected.

“Of course you’re a Dazzling.” Aria’s voice could be heard saying from the doorway.

Both Adagio and Sunset turned their attention to the doorway to see both Aria and Sonata standing there, looking rather emotional.

“And of course we still respect you.” Sonata added as the two girls walked into the room.

“H-how long have you two been standing there?” Adagio asked as she wiped her tears away in an attempt to seem more composed than she actually was.

“Since you said that we’ve been treating Sunset like our leader.” Aria answered.

“And by the way, you’re wrong about that.” Sonata chimed in as her and Aria made their way around the desk, wrapping their sister in a warm and loving hug. “We may consider Sunset a good friend, but there’s no way she could take your place as our leader, Adagio.”

“Yeah, she lacks that killer siren instinct you have.” Aria added.

Sunset watched the heartwarming scene of sisterly love unfolded in front of her as she tried to figure out if it was a good thing or bad thing that she lacked this ‘killer siren instinct’ that Adagio supposedly had.

“Let’s be clear though, things aren’t going to be exactly like they used to be.” Aria sternly explained as she and Sonata broke the hug with their sister. “We’re not just going to blindly follow you anymore, especially when you ask us to help you beat the person who’s letting us stay in her apartment for free.”

Adagio looked to both her sisters and then to Sunset before giving a small sigh.

“Okay, fair enough.” She agreed, causing Sunset to give a sigh herself, though one of relief.

“So, if we’re all good now, can we go home?” Sonata nervously asked. “The school’s kind of creepy at night.”

Both Aria and Adagio rolled their eyes at their sister’s caitiff words. Sunset simply gave a small giggle.

“You two go on ahead, I need to talk with Sunset some more.” Adagio informed her sisters.

Aria and Sonata just looked at each other perplexingly and shrugged before leaving the room.

“So are you satisfied with our little chat?” Adagio asked once she was once again alone with Sunset. “You’re not going to tell Celestia about my whiskey?”

“Oh, I never was.” Sunset casually stated as she stood up from her seat. “I lied when I said that Principal Celestia would fire you if she knew you were drinking on school grounds. There’s no official rule against faculty and staff having alcohol. In fact, I happen to know that Celestia keeps a bottle of tequila in her desk.”

Adagio raised her eyebrows in astonishment, finding it difficult to believe that both Sunset had lied to her so masterfully and that Celestia of all people kept an alcoholic beverage in her desk.

“Maybe Aria was wrong about you.” Adagio remarked as she too stood up from her seat. “Maybe you do have some killer siren instinct.”

“Um, thanks?” Sunset replied, still unsure if killer siren instinct was a good thing or not.

Adagio wrapped her arm around Sunset’s shoulder as the two girls walked out into the hallway.

“Come on, let’s go home.” She contentedly said.

Sonata and Flash Sentry

View Online

“So I say, ‘Are you serious right now?’ And she says, she says right back at me, she says…” Sonata Dusk rambled.

“Who are you and why are you talking to me?” Sugarcoat confusingly asked.

Sonata was currently walking to CHS for another day of serving as the school’s motivational speaker, venting her frustrations about a phone call she’d had the night before with her girlfriend, Rainbow Dash, along the way. When she’d left Sunset Shimmer’s apartment about twenty minutes ago she had just been venting to herself, but eventually she ran into Sugarcoat and, for some reason, began venting to her. She didn’t know who Sugarcoat was nor did Sugarcoat know who she was, but none-the-less she started venting to her.

“Honesty, I just can’t believe Dashie sometimes.” Sonata continued rambling. “I love her and all, but why is she so insistent on keeping our relationship a secret? Why can’t we just tell everyone we’re a couple already? Huh? Huh?”

“Please leave me alone.” Sugarcoat replied, sounding a tad irked, as she increased the speed of her walking in an attempt to get away from Sonata.

“I mean, what’s the big deal with keeping it a secret?” Sonata went on, ignoring Sugarcoat’s miffed reaction, as she matched the pig-tailed girl’s increased pace. “It’s not like we need to keep it a secret. Her friends and my sisters are all on good terms now, why would she still want to…OH MY GOSH, WHAT IF DASHIE’S EMBARRASSED BY ME?!”

“I can’t imagine why that might be.” Sugarcoat sarcastically remarked as Crystal Prep Academy came into view.

“No, no, that can’t be it.” Sonata frantically assured herself. “I know I can be a bit much sometimes but Dashie wouldn’t keep our relationship a secret because of that. There has to be some other reason.”

“This is my school.” Sugarcoat informed Sonata, who still wasn’t listening to her, as she stopped at the front approach to CPA. “Good luck with whatever it is you’re going on about.”

Sugarcoat then quickly turned 90 degrees and darted up the approach to the school, hoping that Sonata wasn’t following her anymore.

“Maybe Dashie’s friends don’t know she likes girls and she’s just afraid to come out?” Sonata asked, still standing on the sidewalk in front of CPA. “That could be it, right?...Hello?”

Sonata looked around when she didn’t hear a response, unable to find the girl she’d been talking to for the last ten minutes. She scratched her head in confusion until she came to a daunting realization.

“Um, where am I?” She timorously asked herself as she realized that she didn’t recognize her surroundings.

In her ramblings to Sugarcoat, Sonata had inadvertently strayed from her usual path to work and was now in a part of town she wasn’t familiar with. She couldn’t even double-back as she was too lost in her own little world to remember how she’d gotten there.

“Okay, okay, don’t panic, Sonata. You’re not lost.” She anxiously told herself as she reached into her right pocket. “You have your phone, you can just us it to…to…OH COME ON!”

Sonata frantically tried to get her phone to turn on, but to no avail. She remembered her call with Rainbow Dash last night and figured that it had worn her battery down so much that it had died during the night without her noticing.

“This is bad. This is really, really bad.” She defeatedly admitted, taking a seat on the curb as she contemplated her situation. “I don’t know where I am, I don’t know how I got here, and I have no phone to tell me where I am or to contact anyone.”

Feeling she had no better options, Sonata folded her hands together and looked up at the sky.

“Oh immense and mysterious universe, I beseech thee. Deliver unto me salvation from my dire predicament.” She grandiosely pleaded in prayer.

“Sonata? Are you okay?” A male voice suddenly said from across the street not two seconds later.

Sonata unfolded her hands and looked down to see Flash Sentry sitting in his car on the other side of the street, a concerned look on the young man’s face.

“Flash!” She cheerfully declared as she sat up and sprinted over to the blue-haired teen, making sure to check for any oncoming traffic first. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you! Can you please give me a ride to school?”

“Um, sure.” Flash replied, a hint of confusion in his voice.

“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” Sonata exclaimed as she moved around the back of the car towards the front passenger’s side door. “And thank you, universe!”

“Thank you universe?” Flash softly said to himself as Sonata entered the vehicle, confused by what the Dazzling meant by that.

Once Sonata’s seat belt was buckled, Flash shifted the car from park to drive and the two of them were on their way. There was about a minute of silence before Flash’s confusion and need for answers forced him to speak up.

“So what were you doing at Crystal Prep, Sonata?” He asked.

“Oh, um, I was just chatting with someone who goes there.” Sonata answered, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible while keeping the details to a minimum.

“Oh, okay.” Flash replied, feeling a bit skeptic about Sonata’s answer but not wanting to press the issue.

“How about you? Why were you there?” Sonata inquired in an attempt to shift the focus of conversation from herself to Flash.

“Oh, I pass Crystal Prep everyday on my way to school.” Flash explained. “Truth be told, I’m actually kind of glad I saw you sitting out there.”

“You are?” Sonata curiously asked.

“Yeah, I was planning on coming to see you today for some motivation.” Flash clarified as he pulled up to a red light. “I heard about how you helped Maud with her crush and I was hoping you could help me with mine.”

Sonata’s face immediately lit up like a Christmas tree when she heard this.

“Are you kidding?! Of course I’ll help you!” She joyously exclaimed as she leaned over the console with a wide, and somewhat unsettling, smile on her face.

Flash glanced over at the now ecstatic girl seated next to him and wondered if perhaps he’d just made a huge mistake. While he was happy that Sonata was willing to help him, he felt a tad uneasy about her overzealous enthusiasm and sudden closeness.

“O-okay, great.” He hesitantly said.

“So who do you have a crush on?!” Sonata excitedly asked, anxious to find out who the lucky girl was.

“I’m a little embarrassed to admit this,” Flash began to answer as the light changed green and he took his foot off the brake. “But I have a crush on Rainbow Dash.”

Sonata’s brain shut down for a split second after hearing Flash’s answer. She found that she couldn’t move from her current position leaned over the console or even remove the wide smile from her face.

“Rainbow…Dash?” Was all she could manage to say as a small twitch came over her left eye.

“I know, pretty crazy, right?” Flash replied, not noticing Sonata’s distraught state since he was watching the road. “But she’s so cool and confidant that I couldn’t help but start admiring her. I just want to get to know her better, you know?”

“Oh, I know.” Sonata apprehensively said as she ceased leaning on the console, trying desperately to get a hold of herself before Flash suspected anything.

“The only problem is I don’t know how to approach her.” Flash confessed as he pulled into the CHS student parking lot. “I don’t want to do it in front of her friends, especially Sunset, and even if I caught her while she was alone I wouldn’t know what to say.”

“Uh-huh.” Sonata spoke up, only half-listening to Flash as her mind reeled with a thousand and one thoughts per second.

“But then I heard about how you helped Maud approach Mudbriar and I figured you were the best person come to for help.” Flash continued as he pulled into one of the parking spaces and turned the car off. “So, do you think you can help me confess to Rainbow Dash?”

By this point Sonata had regained enough of her composure to put on normal enough face. She turned to Flash with the seemingly natural smile and braced herself for what she was about to say.

“Of course I can help you with that, Flash!” She happily responded, though in reality she felt like a dagger had just gone through her heart for agreeing to help someone confess to her girlfriend.

“Thanks, Sonata.” Flash gratefully said as the two of them got out of the car. “Do you mind if I come by your office at lunch to figure out a game plan?”

“Not at all.” Sonata once again happily, but perfidiously, replied. “You go on ahead for now. I have to, um, retie my shoe.”

“Okay, see you later then.” Flash remarked as he made his way though the parking lot towards the school.

Sonata, in fact, did not need to retie her shoe. No, she’d only said because she just wanted a moment of privacy for what she was about to do next. Once Flash was far enough away, she looked up at the sky, narrowed her eyes, lifted her right arm upwards to about head-level, and extended her middle finger.

“Fuck you, universe.” She sharply declared.

“And so now I’m supposed to help Flash ask you out and I don’t know what to do.” Sonata explained to Rainbow Dash from behind her desk.

The two girls were currently in Sonata’s office after Sonata had sent Rainbow an urgent text telling her they needed to talk before classes started. Sonata had just finished recapping the mornings events to her girlfriend.

“That’s what we needed to talk about?” Rainbow vexingly asked from the chair in front of Sonata’s desk. “For crying out loud, Sonata, I afraid you were going to break up with me.”

“Why would you think that?” Sonata curiously asked, feeling a bit wounded that her beloved Dashie would ever think such a thing.

“Because you’re text read, ‘Meet me in my office before class, we need to talk.’” Rainbow explained, now sounding straight up peeved. “The only time someone sends a text like that to her girlfriend is when that someone wants to break up with her!”

Sonata lowered her head as she reflected on her choice of phrasing for the text, quickly coming to the conclusion that perhaps she could have phrased it better.

“Sorry, Dashie.” She apologized, putting on a cute little pouty face that she knew Rainbow couldn’t stay mad at.

“Ugh.” Rainbow softly winced as she turned her head to the side to avoid staring at Sonata’s exaggerated expression. “Okay, okay, I’m not mad anymore. Just stop making that face.”

“Okie doki!” Sonata replied as she broke the pouty face and returned to her usual happy-go-lucky self.

Rainbow Dash gave a small, defeated sigh before turning her head back towards Sonata, embarrassed that she’d been so easily bested by her girlfriend’s emotionally manipulative tactic.

“So, Flash has a crush on me and you agreed to help him confess, huh?” She remarked, making sure she understood the situation at hand.

“Yeah, I really boxed myself into a corner.” Sonata admitted, feeling less happy-go-lucky than she had a moment ago. “I want to help Flash but I can’t think of a way to do it without hurting him.”

It wasn’t hard for Rainbow Dash to pick up on Sonata’s distressed state. She hated seeing her girlfriend like this and started pondering potential solutions to her problem.

“Hmmm.” She said aloud after about five seconds of pondering. “I think I might have an idea.”

“Really?!” Sonata joyously shouted. “What is it?!”

Before Rainbow Dash could even open her mouth again, the bell for first period rang.

“Oh man, I gotta go.” She frantically said as she got up from her seat and grabbed her backpack.

“Wait, Dashie, what’s your plan?!” Sonata just as frantically called out to her girlfriend as she too stood up from her seat.

“There’s no time to explain, if I’m late for Mr. Doodle’s class one more time this week I’ll get detention.” Rainbow speedily explained. “Just bring Flash to the soccer field at lunch, okay?”

“O-okay.” Sonata hesitantly agreed.

“Great, see you later, babe.” Rainbow said as she bolted to class.

Sonata just stood behind her desk for a few seconds before once again taking a seat.

“I sure hope you’re plan’s a good one, Dashie.” She solemnly stated.

The morning seemingly flew by as Sonata heard bell for lunch period ring. She nervously sat in her chair as she awaited the arrival of Flash Sentry, thinking about what Rainbow Dash’s plan for dealing with the boy’s crush on her could possibly be.

“Why do I have a bad feeling about all of this?” She anxiously asked herself just before she heard a knock on her door.

“Hey, Sonata.” Flash said as he opened the door. “Is now still a good time for us to meet?”

“Y-yeah, it’s fine.” Sonata diffidently replied. “Come on in, Flash.”

Flash did as instructed and entered the room, taking a seat in front of Sonata’s desk.

“So, what’s the game plan?” He enthusiastically asked, eager to get started.

“I’m going to be blunt, Flash; the best way to handle this is with the direct approach.” Sonata sternly said as she leaned ever so slightly forward. “When I helped Maud confess to Mudbriar I came up with this crazy plan called Operation: Hookup and it was a complete failure. Fortunately they still ended up together, but my point is that it’s best to just tell Rainbow Dash how you feel in a clear and direct manner.”

Flash’s enthusiastic attitude began to fade as he heard Sonata’s advice. The reason for this wasn’t because he felt that her advice was bad, far from it. No, the reason was that he was afraid of the direct approach and how vulnerable it would make him.

“I-I get what you’re saying, Sonata.” He apprehensively responded. “But I’m just not sure if I can do that.”

“I know it can be scary telling someone how you feel, Flash.” Sonata agilely said as she got up from her seat and moved around to the front of her desk, kneeling down next to Flash and placing a supportive hand over his. “I’ve been where you are, I’ve felt the fear you’re feeling now. I was so afraid to tell the person I liked how I felt that it nearly drove me crazy. But then one day I told them how I felt and when I did a huge weight was lifted from me.”

“Did they say ‘yes’?” Flash asked.

“Yes, they did.” Sonata serenely answered, remembering the moment Rainbow Dash had agreed to be her girlfriend. “But even if they hadn’t, that weight would still have been lifted from me and I would’ve moved on after a time.”

A small smile formed on Flash’s face as he began to understand what Sonata was telling him.

“I know that you’re afraid of Rainbow Dash turning you down, but even if she does I guarantee you’ll feel better just by having confessed to her. She’s a very kind person and I’m sure she would never do anything to hurt you.” Sonata concluded.

At this point, Flash was about on the verge of tears. Sonata’s amiable and supportive words were exactly what he needed to hear.

“Thanks, Sonata.” She gratefully expressed. “You’re really good at this.”

“Eh, I try.” Sonata humbly replied as she got up. “You know, I saw Rainbow Dash walking alone by my window just before you got here. She looked like she was headed for the soccer field, you want to go confess to her now?”

“Yeah, I’m ready.” Flash enthusiastically replied as he too stood up.

Sure enough, Rainbow Dash was at the soccer field, eating lunch alone on the bleachers.

“Why is she eating lunch alone out here?” Flash quizzically asked as he and Sonata peered around the corner of the school watching her. “Doesn’t she usually eat with Sunset and the other Rainbooms?”

“Um, maybe she just needed some alone time?” Sonata offered as a possible answer. “It doesn’t matter though, what’s important is that this is the perfect opportunity to tell her how you feel.”

“Yeah.” Flash confidently agreed.

“Alright, go get her, lover boy!” Sonata exclaimed as she gave Flash a gentle shove towards the field.

Flash was a little startled by Sonata’s shove, but he didn’t let it distract him as he made his way over to Rainbow Dash.

“Here we go.” Sonata remarked as she watched Flash approach Rainbow.

From where she was standing Sonata couldn’t hear what was being said between Flash and Rainbow Dash, but everything seemed to be going well so far. After about a minute of conversation both Rainbow and Flash unexpectedly turned towards her, with Rainbow waving her over to them.

“Um, okay.” Sonata said to herself as she hesitantly made her way over to the bleachers. “I hope this is part of the plan.”

“Hey, Sonata.” Rainbow Dash casually greeted her once she was within earshot.

“Hey, Da…Rainbow Dash.” Sonata greeted back, almost calling Rainbow by her pet name before catching herself.

“Have a seat.” Rainbow said as she patted the seat next to her once Sonata was a little closer.

Sonata silently did as Rainbow Dash suggested and took a seat next to her. Once seated, she looked up at Flash and noticed that he seemed just as confused as she was.

“So Flash just asked me out and I told him that I can’t go out with him, but I haven’t told him why yet.” Rainbow explained to Sonata before turning to face Flash. “You see, Flash, I can’t go out with you because I’m already dating Sonata here.”

Before Sonata could react to the fact that Rainbow Dash had just told Flash that they were dating, she felt a small, quick kiss be planted on her cheek. The kiss made her involuntarily blush like she’d never blushed before, and, for the second time today, she felt like she couldn’t move.

“Oh, um, I see.” Flash awkwardly responded, clearly uncomfortable with the public display of affection he’d just witnessed.

“Sorry for the dramatics, Flash.” Rainbow apologized, picking up on the boy’s discomfort. “But the fact is that you’re the first person to know about us dating. We’ve been dating for a while now but I asked Sonata to keep it a secret.”

That explains why Sonata didn’t just tell me this earlier. Flash thought to himself.

“The reason I wanted her to keep our relationship a secret is because, up until now, no one knew about me liking girls.” Rainbow continued. “But I realized that Sonata wasn’t happy hiding our relationship, so when she came to me asking for help with your crush on me I came up with this plan to tell you everything so that it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. And now that I’m saying all this aloud I realize that I sort of used you as a pawn, so sorry about that too.”

“N-no, it’s fine.” Flash assured Rainbow, though unsure if he actually was fine with it.

“You’re a great guy, Flash.” Rainbow said as she got up and placed a hand on Flash’s shoulder. “Any girl would be lucky to have you as a boyfriend, so don’t let what happened here today discourage you from asking anyone else out, okay?”

“I won’t.” Flash replied, feeling slightly better after hearing Rainbow Dash’s kind words. “Thanks, Rainbow.”

“Oh, and could you maybe not tell anyone about me and Sonata until tomorrow so we can tell our friends and families first before all kinds of rumors start spreading?” Rainbow requested as she removed her hand from Flash’s shoulder.

“Yeah, I think I can do that.” Flash answered before turning his attention to Sonata, who had been sitting perfectly still with a thousand yard stare in her eyes since being kissed by Rainbow Dash. “Um, is Sonata alright?”

Rainbow gave a quick glance towards her seemingly petrified girlfriend.

“Oh she’s fine.” Rainbow confirmed. “She always ends up like this when we get intimate. In fact, after the first time I kissed her she…”

Before Rainbow Dash could finish her sentence, Sonata quickly snapped out of her trance, bolted up from her seat, and placed a hand over the girl’s mouth.

“Not. Another. Word.” She very sternly warned her girlfriend.

Rainbow could only give a nervous and apologetic look in response.

“Okay, well, I’m going to get going.” Flash spoke up, wanting to leave before any more weirdness unfolded. “See you both later.”

“Bye, Flash.” Sonata replied as he walked away, waiting until he was far enough out of earshot before removing her hand from Rainbow’s mouth.

“Was that really necessary?” Rainbow asked Sonata once she was free to talk again.

“Relationship 101, Dashie; don’t share intimate details about your partner with other people.” Sonata fervently informed her girlfriend before give a small sigh and once again taking a seat. “Honestly, you have so much to learn about being in a relationship.”

“Yeah, I do.” Rainbow Dash admitted as she also retook her seat, placing her right hand over Sonata’s left. “But I wouldn’t want to learn about being in a relationship with anyone other than you.”

Sonata couldn’t help but blush and give a small smile at her girlfriends sweet words and touch.

“Thanks, Dashie.” She warmly replied as she planted a kiss on Rainbow’s cheek, causing Rainbow to blush as well.

“Y-you hungry?” Rainbow asked as she grabbed the rest of her lunch, feeling slightly embarrassed by her girlfriend’s kiss. “I’ve got more than enough salad to share if you want some.”

“Sure.” Sonata giggled as she and Rainbow Dash spent the remainder of the lunch period together as a couple, sharing a salad.

Sonata was glad that it was finally the end of the day. With everything that had happened during the day she wanted nothing more than to go home and unwind with a nice, soothing bath. She’d just locked the door to her office when she heard a voice all out to her.

“Hey, Sonata.” Flash Sentry yelled as he made his way towards her.

Oh geez, I hope Flash isn’t mad about what happened today. She worriedly thought to herself.

“Glad I caught you before you left.” Flash said once he right next to Sonata. “I wanted to thank you for your help today.”

“You…huh?” Sonata asked in confusion.

“Well, despite all the craziness that happened at the soccer field, the advice you gave me in your office really helped me.” Flash explained. “I don’t know when I may try asking someone out again, but when I do I’ll remember what you said about being direct and clear.”

“Oh, well, glad I could help!” Sonata cheerfully replied, just happy that Flash was mad.

“And don’t worry, I haven’t told anyone about you and Rainbow Dash.” Flash quietly added.

“Thanks.” Sonata just as quietly responded.

“I’ll see you around, okay?” Flash said as he started heading off down the hallway.

“Okay. Oh, and thanks again for the ride this morning.” Sonata called out to him.

“No problem.” Flash called back just as he turned a corner.

Once again alone, and happy knowing that Flash was okay after the day’s events, Sonata felt compelled to look up at the ceiling and speak.

“You’re really weird, universe.” She remarked as she too made her way down the hall, heading home.

Aria and Scootaloo

View Online

“I consider myself a pretty levelheaded person.” Aria Blaze placidly monologued as she stood in the kitchen one particularly vexatious morning, waiting for her toast to pop up from the toaster. “Do I have a temper? Yes. Do I sometimes let that temper get the better of me? Yes. But on the whole, I feel that I’m very prudent and sagacious.”

“No, I love you more…No, I love you more…” Sonata Dusk said into her phone as she walked into the room, grabbed a bottle of fizzy apple cider out of the fridge, and walked out of the room, repeating the same five words over and over the entire time.

“That being said,” Aria continued monologuing, her tone much sharper now. “If I have to keep being subjected to Sonata’s lovey-dovey relationship I swear to Celestia I am going to do something that will make me the subject of a true crime documentary.”

It had been about a week and a half since Sonata and Rainbow Dash had come forward with their relationship to everyone. The response to the news had been pretty uniform, at least among the Rainbooms and Dazzlings; some initial surprise but overall general acceptance filled with well-wishes. Aria, in particular, was fairly indifferent to the whole thing. It had caught her by surprise and she had wished the couple well in her relationship, but didn’t really give a damn. Afterall, what affect could it possibly have on her?

As it turned out, quite a large affect. Sonata began spending virtually every free moment that she had with Rainbow Dash. Rainbow started coming over to Sunset’s apartment practically every day so that she and Sonata could snuggle together on the couch, and when she wasn’t at the apartment Sonata was on the phone making sickeningly sweet conversation with her. Basically, it became impossible to be around Sonata at all without being sucked into her now love struck world, and given that Aria shared an apartment with the girl it was driving her crazy.

“Is Sonata still talking to Rainbow Dash?” Adagio Dazzle strikingly asked as she entered the kitchen dressed in only a bathrobe with a towel wrapped around her head, having just gotten done with her morning shower.

“Still? No idea.” Aria casually replied as her toast popped up. “All I know is that she was on the phone when I went to bed last night and that she was on the phone when I got up this morning. Whether she was on the thing all night or not I couldn’t say.”

Adagio took a seat at the table as Aria retrieved her toast, poured herself a glass of milk, and did the same.

“We need to stage an intervention or something.” Adagio randomly commented as she quickly swiped a piece of toast off of Aria’s plate and took a bite. “This level of romance can’t be healthy for either Sonata, Rainbow Dash, or anyone around them. Namely, us.”

Aria shot her sister a brief glare for swiping her toast before responding.

“No kidding.” She concurred as she took a bite of the piece of toast Adagio hadn’t swiped. “What really surprises me though is that Rainbow Dash is acting as romantic as Sonata. She never really struck me as the overly amorous type.”

“I’m guessing this is her first relationship.” Adagio postulated, finishing off her toast. “Everyone always over does it on the romance the first time they fall in love.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Aria flatly agreed, though she couldn’t attest to Adagio’s claim personally since she’d never been in a relationship herself.

“It’s your day to go to CHS, right?” Adagio asked her sister, causing Aria to nod her head as she took another bite of toast. “Any chance I can go instead? I really don’t want to spend all day here with Sonata hearing about how ‘great and wonderful a girlfriend Dashie is’.”

“Not a snowball’s chance in Hell.” Aria amusingly stated once she swallowed her toast. “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually glad to be going to school today.”

“Fine.” Adagio acrimoniously, and grandiosely, commented. “As long as you’re comfortable knowing that you’re condemning your poor sister to a fate worse than death.”

Aria simply rolled her eyes as she finished her toast and took her plate over to the sink.

“Don’t be so dramatic, you’ll be fine.” She unequivocally remarked.

“I wasn’t referring to myself.” Adagio acutely corrected.

“Whatever.” Aria uncaringly responded as she threw her plate in the sink and looked up at the clock. “I gotta get going.”

“Can I at least come with you?” Adagio pitifully asked.

The dismal tone of Adagio’s voice was one that Aria had never heard come from her sister before. She turned around and saw Adagio staring at her with the most abject face she’d ever seen, causing her to once again roll her eyes.

“You know you’re not under house arrest, right?” She plainly stated, not falling for her sister’s ‘poor, pitiful me’ manipulation tactic. “If you’re that desperate to get away from Sonata you can just go to the park or something.”

“Oh don’t be silly, Dashie, I think you’d look sexy in a pair of edible panties.” Sonata seductively said into her phone as she entered the room, gaining both Aria and Adagio’s attention.

“Good thinking, thanks.” Adagio queasily said as she swiftly got up from the table and ran into the bedroom, presumably to get changed so she could leave.

“Yeah, I’m outta here.” Aria just as queasily said as she ran out the front door, trying to keep her mind from forming lewd images of Rainbow Dash as she left the apartment.

“So don’t worry about the whole season, just take things one game at a time.” Aria said to Soarin, who had come to her seeking motivation after having lost the last two soccer games Canterlot High had played.

“Huh, I never thought about it that way.” Soarin replied as he got up to leave. “Thanks for the help, Aria!”

“It’s what I’m here for.” Aria apathetically stated just after Soarin had exited the room, lowering her head in exhaustion. “Ugh, fourth one today and it’s not even noon. Still, it could be worse.”

Despite the rather unusually large number of students coming to see her, Aria was glad to be at CHS as opposed to being at home with Sonata. Even during the times when Sonata couldn’t talk to Rainbow Dash, like during school hours, she could still drive one crazy by endlessly talking about her girlfriend, which she usually did.

“Hope Adagio made it out.” She randomly said to herself as she recalled her sister’s earlier desperation to get way from Sonata.

“Um, are you available?” A small voice suddenly said.

Aria snapped out of her train of thought and lifted her head to see a young girl with cerise hair and grayish purple eyes standing diffidently in the doorway. She’d seen the girl around school before, but didn’t really know who she was.

“Yeah, I’m available.” She reluctantly admitted as she sat up in her seat. “Whatcha need, kid?”

“My name’s Scootaloo.” The girl said as she entered the room, sounding a bit irritated at being called ‘kid’. “And I was hoping to talk to you about my sister, Rainbow Dash.”

I swear, the universe must hate me or something. Aria thought to herself, unhappy that someone else wanted to talk to her about Rainbow Dash now.

“Wait, Rainbow Dash has a sister?” She asked aloud, curious as to why she was just learning this given everything she’d recently, and involuntarily, learned about Rainbow Dash from Sonata.

“Well, not in the traditional sense.” The girl began to explain as she took a seat in front of Aria’s desk. “We’re not related by blood, but since I’m an only child Rainbow Dash took me under her wing a while back and we’ve had a strong sister-like bond ever since.”

She’s an only child and she wanted a sister? Aria silently asked as she listened to Scootaloo, wondering why anyone would willingly want to have a sister.

“At least, we used to have a strong sister-like bond.” Scootaloo sulked as she lowered her head in a dejecting manner. “Ever since Rainbow Dash got a girlfriend she doesn’t have time for me anymore.”

“Yeah, she and Sonata have been spending virtually every waking second either together or on the phone with each other recently, huh?” Aria sympathetically commented, knowing all too well what Scootaloo was talking about.

“Exactly!” Scootaloo declared as she lifted her head, picking up on Aria’s sympathy. “And even when we do spend time together she’s always going on about Sonata. Last weekend we went to the mall to get some new athletic attire and all she could talk about was how good Sonata would look in a soccer jersey or a cheerleader outfit.”

“That’s nothing.” Aria impishly remarked as she leaned toward on her desk. “You don’t even want to know what I heard Sonata tell Rainbow Dash say she’d look good in earlier today.”

“What?” Scootaloo curiously asked.

There was a brief moment of silence as Aria considered whether or not she really should answer Scootaloo’s question.

“Edible…panties.” She casually said.

“Oh, gross!” Scootaloo queasily replied as she winced in her chair, instantly regretting letting her curiosity get the better of her.

“Yeah, Adagio and I had the same reaction.” Aria informed Scootaloo with a friendly guffaw, amused by how similar the young girls reaction was to her own. “I told you you didn’t want to know.”

Once Scootaloo was over her queasiness, she couldn’t help but join in the laughter, feeling amused at just how right Aria had been about her not wanting to know. The two girls shared a nice moment of mirth before Scootaloo spoke up again.

“So, are you and your sister not spending much time together these days too?” She nonchalantly asked Aria.

The smile that had been on Aria’s face from laughing quickly disappeared, replaced by an almost emotionless expression.

“We’ve never really been all that close.” She indifferently admitted.

Scootaloo’s smile quickly disappeared as well as she stared at the surprisingly lackadaisical Dazzling.

“What do you mean?” She confusingly asked.

“I mean we’ve never had a ‘strong sister-like bond’ like you and Rainbow Dash seem to have.” Aria clarified, still showing little to no emotion.

“But, you’re sisters. Actual sisters.” Scootaloo responded, still confused.

At this point, Aria was getting utterly annoyed by Scootaloo’s inability to understand what she was saying.

“Look, just because two people are related by blood doesn’t mean they get along, okay?!” She belligerently stated as she stood up and slammed her hands down on her desk, staring at Scootaloo with an ornery expression. “Sonata is a klutz, and a ditz, and just…the worst!”

Scootaloo winced in her chair at Aria’s outburst. Part of her wanted to get up and leave right there and then, but a larger part of her wanted to understand how someone could feel such negative feelings about their own sister.

“So you…hate Sonata?” She timidly asked.

“Yes! I mean, no! I mean…I don’t know!” Aria yelled as she sat back down in her chair, taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm down. “It’s complicated.”

Not sure what else to do, Scootaloo simply sat silently as Aria took a few more deep breaths.

“I’m sorry I went off like that.” Aria apologized once she’d regained her composure. “It’s just, my relationship with Sonata isn’t my favorite subject at the best of times, and with things the way they are now it’s the absolute last thing I want to dive into.”

“It’s fine.” Scootaloo assured the attritional Dazzling. “And I’m sorry too. I guess I just can’t understand how two sisters can have such a strenuous relationship.”

“Like I said, it’s complicated.” Aria replied, in an unexpectedly somber manner, as she tilted her head downwards and to the side.

There was a brief moment of silence before Scootaloo spoke up.

“Hey, um, Aria?” She timorously began to say. “I have two tickets to this movie tonight and Rainbow Dash said she’s too busy with soccer stuff to go with me. You think maybe…you’d like to go with me?”

Aria brought her head back up in both astonishment and bewilderment at Scootaloo’s question. No one had ever asked her if she wanted to go to the movies with them, not even her sisters.

“Um, sure, I guess.” She confusingly answered.

“Great!” Scootaloo exclaimed and she got up from her seat and headed for the door. “The movie’s at 5:00, you can just meet me in front of the theater before then. See you later!”

Aria waved goodbye to Scootaloo as she left her office, trying to figure out what had just happened.

“First I yell in her face, then she invites me to the movies.” She very plainly stated. “I swear, I am never going to understand this world.”

Even hours later, Aria was still confused by Scootaloo’s invitation to join her at the movies as she walked through Canterlot Mall.

“It just doesn’t make any sense.” She said to herself as she made her way towards the theater. “I yell at Scootaloo and then she wants me to hang out with her. Is she a masochist or something?”

“Hey, Aria!” Scootaloo shouted as she noticed the pig-tailed Dazzling approaching the theater.

“Eh, whatever.” Aria softly commented as she waved at Scootaloo, deciding to let the issue go. “A free movie’s a free movie.”

“Thanks for coming.” Scootaloo cheerfully greeted her once she was close enough. “I really didn’t want to see this movie alone.”

“What movie are we seeing?” Aria inquired, having just realized she hadn’t asked that question earlier.

“This one.” Scootaloo happily replied as she pulled a pair of tickets out of her pocket and handed them to Aria.

Aria looked at the tickets and recognized the name of the movie; Clown. It was one that she didn’t know too much about, but had heard online that is was supposed to be really good. There was, however, one piece of information on the tickets that perplexed her.

“How did you come by these tickets?” She inquisitively asked Scootaloo.

“What do you mean? I bought them.” Scootaloo explained, confused why Aria was asking her such an obvious question.

“These tickets say this movie is rated R.” Aria pointed out. “How were you able to buy them?”

Scootaloo’s eyes went as wide a dinner plates as she realized the predicament she was in. She hadn’t thought about Aria questioning how she, a minor, had successfully purchased tickets to an R-rated movie.

“Um, well, the thing is…” She stammered, clearly not wanting to answer the question. “I may have used a…fake ID.”

“I see.” Aria very authoritatively responded with a stern expression. “You know, Scootaloo, as an employee of the school I feel that I should say something.”

“Y-yeah?” Scootaloo nervously stated, fearing what Aria was about to say next.

“Not bad, kid.” Aria mischievously remarked as she handed the tickets back to Scootaloo, a sly smile on her face.

“Heh heh.” Scootaloo chuckled as she took the tickets back, relieved that she wasn’t in trouble.

“Come on, let’s get some popcorn, my treat.” Aria jovially said as she opened the door into the theater and held it for Scootaloo.

All Scootaloo could do in response was give a wide smile as she ran into the theater and headed for the concession stand, with Aria not far behind her.

True to her word, Aria bought the two of them some popcorn (and even some drinks) before they ventured to the auditorium where their movie was playing. Once there, they found some good seats and waited for the movie to start.

“So what’s this movie about anyways?” Aria curiously asked.

“Seriously?!” Scootaloo asked in bewildered astonishment. “You haven’t heard of this movie?!”

“I’ve heard of it,” Aria clarified. “I just haven’t heard about it.”

Scootaloo playfully rolled her eyes as she pulled her phone out of her pocket.

“Here, let me read you the synopsis.” She said as she scrolled through her phone. “Got it: ‘Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Trouble Shoes seeks connection as he walks the streets of Maretropolis. Trouble Shoes wears two masks -- the one he paints for his day job as a rodeo clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he's part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, he begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Clown.’”

“Huh, sounds like my kind of movie.” Aria commented as started to munch on her popcorn.

“Yeah, I figured.” Scootaloo rather proudly stated, putting her phone back into her pocket just as the lights started to dim. “Oh, here we go!”

“OH MY GOSH, THAT WAS SO AMAZING!” Scootaloo exclaimed as she exited the theater about two hours later, turning around to face Aria, who was walking behind her. “DIDN’T YOU JUST LOVE THE PART WHERE…”

“Hey!” Aria interjected as she swiftly covered Scootaloo’s mouth with her right hand and pointed at a line of people waiting outside the theater with her left hand. “Spoilers.”

Scootaloo quickly realized what Aria was getting at and nodded her head in understanding.

“Okay.” Aria fervently said as she removed her hand from Scootaloo’s mouth. “Never spoil a movie. People who spoil movies are the lowest form of life.”

“S-sorry.” Scootaloo apologized as she lowered her head in embarrassment.

“It’s fine.” Aria assured the dejected younger girl. “Just be more careful in the future.”

“I will.” Scootaloo cheerfully responded as she brought her head back up. “So, you want to hang out some more?”

In all honesty, Aria didn’t want to want to hang out with Scootaloo some more. She’d had a good time with her at the movies, but all she really wanted to do now was go home and relax with a good book. That is, until she remembered that Sonata would most likely be at home.

“Yeah, let’s hang out some more.” She hastily replied.

“Great!” Scootaloo happily declared as she grabbed a hold of Aria’s hand and started running through the mall. “Come on, I know this store that has a lot of cool tech we can check out.”

“Okay, okay, just slow down!” Aria pleaded, struggling to keep her balance as she was pulled along by her hand.

For the next hour, Scootaloo dragged Aria all over the mall, the two of them visiting a variety of different stores. Tech stores, clothing stores, jewelry stores, Disney stores, they went to them all without discretion. Eventually they ended up getting some smoothies at food court, which Aria was grateful for it provided her a much-needed opportunity to sit down and rest.

“So…is this what you and…Rainbow Dash do when…you two hang out?” The exhausted Dazzling asked between staggered breaths.

“Are you kidding? Rainbow Dash and I don’t have nearly as much fun as we are now!” Scootaloo energetically exclaimed after taking a sip of her smoothie. “I’m so glad I found a new big sister!”

“WHAT?!” Aria shouted in surprise, tapping into reserve energy she didn’t even know she had. “Scootaloo, I’m not your new big sister.”

“B-but why not?!” Scootaloo painfully asked, feeling wounded by Aria’s words. “I need a new big sister and we’re having a good time together, aren’t we?”

Aria couldn’t help but facepalm.

“Is this the whole reason you asked me to the movies?” She crossly asked as she put her hand down. “You just wanted me to take Rainbow Dash’s place as your big sister?”

Scootaloo sunk down into her seat before answering.

“W-well, kind of.” She timidly admitted. “But I thought maybe you wanted a new sister too, since you and Sonata don’t seem to get along.”

This time, Aria just let her head fall down onto the table.

“I’m not looking for a new sister, Scootaloo.” She very candidly said into the table. “Sonata may be a pain in the ass most of the time, but I’m not looking to replace her. Besides, you don’t want to be a Dazzling, trust me.”

“Oh, okay.” Scootaloo very despairingly stated, practically on the verge of tears. “I-I’ll just be going then.”

Just as Scootaloo got up to leave, she felt Aria’s hand grab hold her arm.

“Not so fast.” The pig-tailed girl told her, her head now off the table. “We’re talking about this.”

As much as Scootaloo didn’t want to talk about things further, she silently sat back down in her seat and waited for Aria to start.

“I understand that you and Rainbow Dash aren’t on the best of terms right now, but you can’t just up and try to replace her as your sister.” The Dazzling solemnly informed her.

“Hey, Rainbow Dash is the one who replaced me first!” Scootaloo emotionally vociferated, a bit more than she intended.

“Rainbow hasn’t replaced you, she just got a girlfriend.” Aria gently replied, trying to get Scootaloo to calm down. “I know that means she doesn’t have as much time for you as she used to, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t still care about you.”

Scootaloo looked off to the side as she listened to Aria’s words, not feeling all that convinced that she was right.

“Look, I know Rainbow Dash, and if there’s one thing I can say about her it’s that she’d fiercely loyal.” Aria continued. “And I know that just because she has someone new in her life it doesn’t mean that she’s going to forget about her sister.”

“I guess.” Scootaloo admitted, though a hint of doubt could be heard in her voice.

Feeling she had no other choice, Aria reached across the table and took a hold of Scootaloo’s hand.

“Scootaloo, if you’re that worried about your relationship with Rainbow Dash then talk to her about it.” She soothingly said. “I’m sure that she’ll tell you that even though she has a girlfriend now she’ll always have time for you.”

Without warning, Scootaloo pulled her hand free and ran over to Aria, embracing her in an unexpected hug.

“You’re right, Aria!” She said as tears flowed down her cheeks. “I just need to talk to her. I’ve been afraid to do that, but I think I can now. Thank you, thank you!”

“No problem, kid.” Aria replied as she returned the hug.

At this point of a few of the other mall patrons were staring at Aria and Scootaloo as they cried and hugged, but neither of them cared. Let ‘em stare.

“It’s getting late.” Aria pointed out as she broke the hug. “We should probably get going.”

“Yeah.” Scootaloo agreed, wiping the tears from her eyes as she and Aria made their way towards the exit.

Since it was so late, Aria and Scootaloo decided to take the bus rather than walking. Fortunately for both of them, the bus made stops pretty close to their homes. They’d sat in relative silence for most of the ride, since neither of them really knew what to say to the other after their emotional moment at the mall.

“Hey, Aria?” Scootaloo eventually spoke up.

“Yeah?” Aria replied.

“Do you think maybe you could still be my big sister? Just sort of like my…other big sister?” She nervously asked.

Aria gave a small smile and chuckled before answering Scootaloo.

“Yeah, I think I can be your other big sister.” She blithely said as she wrapped her arm around Scootaloo’s shoulder.

Scootaloo, in response, pulled Aria into another hug, which the Dazzling warmly returned.

Soon enough, the bus came to a stop and Scootaloo broke the hug as she got off, thanking her new sister again for all her help. Aria waved goodbye to Scootaloo and told her she’d see her at school the next day as the bus started moving again.

“Phew, what a day.” She said to herself once she was alone, happy to have a moment to herself.

The rest of the bus ride was only about ten minutes as Aria got off at the next stop and walked about a block and a half east towards Sunset’s apartment. Once she was home, she looked around to find that Sonata was the only other person there, sitting alone on the couch watching TV.

“Where’re Adagio and Sunset?” She asked.

“Oh, hey, Aria.” Sonata cheerfully said as she turned her attention to her sister. “Sunset’s at a slumber party with the rest of the Rainbooms and I have no idea where Adagio is. She left shortly after you did this morning and I haven’t seen her since.”

Hope she comes back. Aria thought to herself, fearful that Adagio might actually have left for good.

“Oh my gosh, I have to tell you what Dashie said to me today.” Sonata perkily stated as she got up from the couch. “I was with her on the phone after school and she told me about this…”

Sonata abruptly stopped talking as Aria wrapped her in surprising hug.

“Um, what’s happening?” She very confusingly asked.

“Love you, sis.” Aria coolly said as she broke the hug and headed towards the bedroom in a manner that suggested what she’d just done was a fairly common thing, which it wasn’t.

“Okay, um, love you too?” Sonata confusingly replied, not sure what else to say as her sister entered the bedroom.

Once again alone, Sonata sat back down on the couch and tried to make sense of what had just happened.

“Did Aria have a near-death experience or something?” She wondered.

Adagio and Moondancer

View Online

“I just can’t believe that jerk!” Raven Inkwell angrily sobbed from behind her desk as tears flowed down her cheek.

“Uh-huh.” Adagio Dazzle perfunctorily replied as she leaned on the side of Raven’s desk, scrolling through her phone.

Adagio was currently in the front office of CHS waiting to see Principal Celestia after being summoned to by her over the PA system. When she’d first arrived there she noticed Raven sitting at her desk quietly weeping and, not wanting to be an insensitive jerk, asked her if she was alright. Raven then proceeded to tell a long and detailed story about how her boyfriend of the last six months broke up with her the previous night after admitting he’d been cheating on her for the last three months.

At first Adagio tried to seem be supportive and comforting to Raven, but as it became apparent that the distraught girl was just rambling to herself she stopped caring.

“I gave him six good months of my life and what does he do?! He leaves me for some floozy with a bigger chest who probably couldn’t locate Vanhoover on a map!” Raven continued angrily sobbing, pulling a tissue out of a nearby tissue box and blowing her nose. “I mean, what is it with guys and chest size anyways? There’s more to a girl than how big her bosom is!”

“Amen to that, sister.” Adagio agreed as she looked down at her own chest, which, like Raven’s, was a tad less than ample.

“You know what?! I’m done with guys!” Raven declared as she suddenly stood up from her seat, causing Adagio to cease leaning on the desk. “From now on I’m only dating girls!”

“O…kay?” Adagio confusingly stated as she put her phone away and started to wonder if she should be worried about Raven’s current mental state, unaware that she was bi.

“Adagio!” Raven very grandiosely, but also sternly, said as she faced the confused Dazzling. “Will you be my girlfriend?!”

At this point, Adagio was 100% convinced that Raven had completely gone off the rails of the crazy train.

“I don’t think so.” She very clearly replied. “I don’t swing that way.”

“Don’t be silly!” Raven histrionically responded as she clasped Adagio’s right hand, holding it up to her chest as she stared at the poofy-haired girl with stars in her eyes. “You’ll never be able to find happiness with a guy. Don’t you see? Love between girls is the only true love there is!”

Oh god, she’s gone full yuri fangirl. Adagio nervously thought to herself, having seen enough yuri fangirls at the anime conventions Sonata dragged her to to know this was a bad turn of events.

Just then, the door to Celestia’s office opened.

“Raven, is Adagio…” Celestia began to say before stopping once she noticed the scene unfolding in front of her. “Um, is everything alright?”

“Everything is more than alright, Principal Celestia!” Raven gleefully, and somewhat eerily, answered. “Adagio is going to be my new girlfriend and we’re going to live happily ever after!”

Feeling more confused than she already had been, Celestia turned her attention to Adagio. She became a bit concerned when she noticed the Dazzling had a distressed look on her face and was silently mouthing the words ‘help me’.

“That’s, um, nice, Raven.” She calmly said. “But I need to see Adagio.”

“Oh, yes, of course.” Raven promptly replied in a more professional manner as she let go of Adagio’s hand. “Adagio, Principal Celestia will see you now.”

“Thanks, Raven.” Adagio deadpanned as she made her way into Celestia’s office, silently mouthing the words ‘thank you’ as she passed the principal.

Once Adagio was inside her office, Celestia closed the door.

“My apologies for Raven’s behavior.” She said as she made her way over to her desk. “She tends to get very…passionate…when it comes to her love life.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed.” Adagio sarcastically remarked as she approached Celestia’s desk, just then noticing that there was a girl sitting in the chair in front of said desk.

At first Adagio thought the girl was Twilight Sparkle based on her hairstyle and glasses, but quickly realized it wasn’t Twilight. This girl wore a baggy sweater, had amaranth colored hair with some purple and grayish violet highlight, and an expression on her face so meek that would make Fluttershy look like the most confident person in the world by comparison.

“Adagio, this is Moondancer.” Celestia introduced the girl as she took a seat. “She just transferred to CHS from Crystal Prep Academy and I was hoping you could show her around the school.”

“N-nice to meet you.” Moondancer timidly said as she looked up at Adagio, who in response just raised an eyebrow and returned her attention to Celestia.

“Doesn’t Sunset usually give the tours?” She curiously asked the principal, remembering how Sunset had been the one who showed her and her sisters around the school on their first day at CHS.

“Normally yes, but I’m afraid she’s preoccupied with another task at the moment.” Celestia answered.

“I see.” Adagio softly remarked, curious as to what this other task was that Sunset was preoccupied with.

“I know this is an unusual request for you, but you’re the only one available to assist Moondancer.” Celestia explained.

Adagio looked back down at Moondancer, who quickly looked down at the floor to avoid eye contact. As much as she didn’t want to walk around the school showing this girl where everything was, she couldn’t think of a good reason to refuse Celestia’s request.

“Very well then.” She capitulated as she placed a hand on Moondancer’s shoulder, causing her to slightly wince. “Come along, Moondancer.”

There was a brief moment of silence as Moondancer looked up from the floor and stared at Celestia with a concerned expression. Celestia, in response, simply nodded her head.

“O-okay.” Moondancer complied as she got out of her seat and followed Adagio out into the front office.

“See you later, sweetheart!” Raven called out to Adagio as she and Moondancer walked past her.

All Adagio could do was give the hardest facepalm of her life as she continued walking out into the hallway. All Moondancer could do was give a confused, but curious, look.

“And this is Mr. Doodle’s classroom, he teaches math.” Adagio pointed out as she and Moondancer wandered the second floor hallway. “He’s a bit of a grouch but a good teacher.”

“Oh.” Moondancer tepidly stated as she followed behind Adagio.

The two girls had been walking around CHS for about 15 minutes now. Adagio did her best to be as helpful and informative as she could, but every time she said something Moondancer simply responded with a mild ‘Oh’, almost as if she were completely indifferent to everything.

“Okay, what’s wrong?” The Dazzling asked as she abruptly stopped walking and turned around to face Moondancer.

“W-what do you mean?” Moondancer nervously replied, feeling slightly startled by Adagio’s actions.

“I mean that ever since we started this tour all you’ve said is ‘Oh’.” Adagio explained. “It’s obvious that you’re not interested in this, so why is that?”

“N-no, it’s not that I’m not interested in the tour, honest.” Moondancer frantically stated. “It’s just…I’ve been wanting to ask you something ever since we left the principal’s office.”

“And what’s that?” Adagio inquired, trying to sound stern but not inimical.

Moondancer didn’t answer right away. She just stared down at her feet as she tried to summon the courage to ask Adagio her question.

“When did you realize you…liked girls?” She faintly asked.

“What was that?” Adagio asked, having not heard Moondancer clearly.

“When did you realize you liked girls?” Moondancer just as faintly reiterated.

At this point, Adagio was about fed up with Moondancer’s demure personality.

“For heaven’s sake, speak up!” She practically barked.

Almost instinctively, Moondancer brought her head up and took a quick, deep breath before asking her question for a third time.


Adagio was instantly taken aback, but she wasn’t sure it was because of Moondancer’s question itself or the fact that the girl just asked it so loud that the whole school probably heard her.

“Um, I don’t like girls.” She clarified, still feeling flabbergasted.

“B-but what about that girl in the office?” Moondancer confusingly asked. “She called you sweetheart. Isn’t she you’re girlfriend?”

For the second time today, Adagio felt the need to facepalm.

“Raven isn’t my girlfriend.” She plainly said as she put her hand down. “She’s just crazy.”

“Huh?” Moondancer asked, feeling even more confused now.

Sensing Moondancer’s confusion and distress, Adagio placed a comforting hand on the girl’s shoulder. Much like before though, this action caused Moondancer to slightly wince.

“It’s complicated.” The poofy-haired girl lamented, keeping her hand on Moondancer’s shoulder. “Why don’t we head over to my office and I’ll tell you about it on the way?”

As uncomfortable as Moondancer felt around Adagio in that moment, she really did want to hear the story of what had happened with Raven.

“Okay.” She agreed as Adagio removed her hand from her shoulder and the two of them proceeded down the hall.

“So yeah, that’s why Raven called me sweetheart.” Adagio said as she took a seat behind the desk in her office.

Neither the trip to Adagio’s office nor the story of why Raven had called the Dazzling sweetheart were very long and, coincidentally enough, both had concluded at about the same time.

“Wow, you were right; she is crazy.” Moondancer responded as she took a seat just in front of Adagio’s desk.

“You want to know what the truly sad thing is?” Adagio rhetorically asked as she opened one of her desk drawers. “She’s not any crazier than most of the other students at this school.”

“Seriously?” Moondancer curiously asked as she watched Adagio pull a bottle of whiskey out of her desk.

“Seriously.” Adagio confirmed as she opened the bottle and took a swig from it. “Ah, I needed that.”

Moondancer couldn’t believe what she’d just witnessed. Had a school employee just consumed alcohol in front of her, and so nonchalantly at that?

“Um, should you be drinking on school grounds like that?” She timidly spoke aloud.

Adagio closed the whiskey bottle and placed it back in her desk before answering.

“Believe it or not, there’s actually no rule against faculty and staff consuming alcohol on school grounds so long as they don’t over-do it.” She explained, just before coming to a startling realization. “But I’m not sure if there’s a rule about consuming it in front of students or not.”

Moondancer was about to say that she wouldn’t tell anyone what she’d witnessed, but before she could Adagio leaned over her desk with her hands folded outwards.

“Please don’t tell anyone that I drank in front of you, my sisters and I can’t afford to lose this job!” The Dazzling pleaded.

“I-I won’t, I promise.” Moondancer assured her. “Wait, what did you mean when you said, ‘my sisters and I can’t afford to lose this job’? Do your sisters work her too?”

That’s…also complicated.” Adagio said as she ceased leaning across her desk.

Adagio then told Moondancer the story of how she and her sisters had been living in a van down by the river until they got jobs as motivational speakers at CHS, and how they shared the job between the three of them.

“That’s a…very interesting story.” Moondancer politely commented once Adagio was done.

“I suppose.” Adagio replied.

There was an awkward silence for about a minute, as neither girl could think of anything to say.

“So why did you transfer here from Crystal Prep?” Adagio eventually spoke up, desperate to break the silence.

At first Moondancer didn’t answer. She simply tilted her head down and dawned an expression of anxiety on her face, contemplating whether or not she should say anything.

“I…left Crystal Prep for a number of reasons.” She began to say as she struggled to keep her composure. “I was bullied pretty badly at CPA, for starters, but my grades started to slip there as well. Those are the reasons my parents allowed me to transfer here.”

“And?” Adagio inquired.

“And what?” Moondancer asked as she brought her head up, confused by Adagio’s question.

“And what other reason?” Adagio clarified. “Those two reasons might have been what convinced your parents to allow you to transfer out of CPA, but I can tell there’s another reason that you’re not telling me.”

Moondancer didn’t say a word as she tilted her head down again. Adagio, in response, just gave a small sigh, figuring she needed to take a new approach to try and get Moondancer to open up.

“Look, I don’t want you to share anything you’re not comfortable sharing, Moondancer.” She gently said. “But just know that I genuinely do want to help you with whatever it is your going through that’s causing you so much distress. If you don’t feel you can trust me that’s fine, but if that is the case I want you promise me you’ll talk to someone you do trust about whatever this is.”

Moondancer still didn’t say anything. In fact, it almost seemed like she hadn’t even heard a word Adagio had just said. That is, until Adagio noticed tears starting to flow down Moondancer’s cheeks.

“I…I think I…like girls.” Moondancer very softly sobbed, keeping her head down.

“So that’s why you asked me about when I realized I liked girls earlier.” Adagio commented as she began to understand.

“Back at Crystal Prep, I had a friend named Twilight Sparkle.” Moondancer emotionally started to explain.

Of course this involves one of the Rainbooms. Adagio silently thought to herself.

“Twilight and I had been friends since we were little.” Moondancer went on. “But shortly before the Friendship Games I started seeing her…differently. I wanted to talk to her about it, but she transferred here before I got the chance. That’s why I really wanted to transfer to CHS. You were right, the bullying and slipping grades were just excuses I used to convince my parents to allow it.”

“Why did you need to transfer here to talk to Twilight? Didn’t you two keep in touch after she left Crystal Prep?” Adagio asked.

All Moondancer could do was shake her head ‘no’ in response, feeling too choked up to answer verbally.

“I see.” Adagio softly remarked. “So by ‘seeing her differently’, do you mean romantically?”

“I don’t know.” Moondancer managed to faintly say. “I just don’t know. And I’m so afraid of finding out.”

By now Moondancer had almost completely lost all her composure. She felt like she was going to have a full breakdown right there and then in Adagio’s office. She brought her hands up to her face in an attempt to hide her growing distress. That is, until Adagio lowered them and wrapped them in her own hands.

“I’m not going to pretend to know what it is you’re feeling, Moondancer.” The poofy-haired Dazzling compassionately said as she kneeled down in front of Moondancer. “So if I may ask, why are you afraid of finding out if you have feelings for Twilight or not?”

Moondancer stared at Adagio through tear-stained eyes. Part of her didn’t want to talk about her feelings for Twilight anymore, but a larger part of her knew that she needed to.

“I’m afraid for lot of reasons.” She admitted as she turned her head to side to avoid eye contact with Adagio. “I’m afraid that if I do feelings for Twilight and share them with her that she’ll reject me and not want to be my friend anymore.”

Once again, there was an awkward silence for about a minute between the two girls.

“Do you trust me, Moondancer?” Adagio eventually spoke up.

“What?” Moondancer replied as she turned head back to face Adagio.

“Do you trust me?” Adagio serenely reiterated.

Moondancer took a second to consider Adagio’s question.

“I…suppose so.” She hesitantly answered, feeling that after everything she’d just revealed to Adagio that she could trust her.

“Okay.” Adagio solemnly said as she let go of Moondancer’s hands, stood up, and walked back around her desk.

Once Adagio retook her seat, she picked up the office phone on her desk and began pushing buttons on the keypad, much to Moondancer’s confusion.

“Twilight Sparkle, please report to room 126.” She said into the phone, which echoed over the school’s PA system. “Twilight Sparkle, please report to room 126.”

“W-w-what are you doing?!” Moondancer panically asked as she jumped up from her seat. “Why are you bringing Twilight here?!”

“Because you need to talk to her about your feelings.” Adagio very sternly, but gently, replied as she put the phone down.

“No, no, no, no, no!” Moondancer frantically began rambling, placing both her hands on her head. “I can’t tell Twilight how I feel now! She’ll be disgusted by me, she’ll never want to speak to me again!”

“Moondancer!” Adagio shouted as she got up and made her way over to the distraught girl, placing both arms on her shoulders to try and calm her down. “Listen to me, you need to calm down!”

Moondancer did as instructed and tried to calm down. She took few deep breaths and brought both of her hands down to her sides.

“Twilight won’t do any of those things.” Adagio assured her once she was calmer. “You said you’ve been friends since you were little, do you honestly think she’d do anything to hurt you?”

“I…I don’t think so.” Moondancer admitted through slightly labored breathing.

“Okay then.” Adagio said as she removed her hands from Moondancer’s shoulders. “Look, Moondancer, this is the best piece of advice I can give you; You can’t go through life denying a part of who you are. I know you’re confused right now, but talking with Twilight will help you figure things out. Regardless of what she says, you’ll be one step closer to finding out if you like girls or not. And if it turns out you do, don’t lie to yourself and say you don’t.”

Just then, a knock was heard on the door, gaining both Adagio and Moondancer’s attention.

“Who is it?” Adagio called out.

“Um, Twilight Sparkle.” A voice answered from the other side of the door. “You called me here?”

Adagio returned her attention to Moondancer and silently gave her a look at said, Are you ready for this?

Moondancer, picking up on Adagio’s silent question, gave a small nod as she steeled herself for whatever was about to come next.

“Come in.” Adagio called out to Twilight.

The door slowly opened and, sure enough, Twilight Sparkle entered the room.

“What’s this all abou…” Twilight started to ask before noticing Moondancer in the room. “Moondancer?”

“H-hey, Twi.” Moondancer meekly greeted her old friend with a wave.

“Oh my gosh!” Twilight elated as she ran over and gave Moondancer a big hug. “It’s so good to see you!”

“Y-you too.” Moondancer replied as she returned the hug.

The two girls silently hugged for a good ten seconds, making Adagio feel like a very awkward third wheel.

“What are you doing here?” Twilight inquired as she broke the hug.

“I actually just transferred to CHS.” Moondancer answered, which led to Twilight giving her another hug.

“That’s great!” Twilight exclaimed.

“Y-yeah.” Moondancer said as she returned this hug as well.

“Ahem.” Adagio intervened.

Moondancer and Twilight broke their hug as they turned their attention to Adagio, who in turn raised a single eyebrow at Moondancer.

“Oh, right.” Moondancer remarked as she turned back to face Twilight. “Twilight, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“Um, okay?” Twilight curiously replied.

“I’ll give you two some privacy.” Adagio said as she made her way towards the door.

“Twilight, for a while now I’ve…” Was all she heard before she closed the door behind her.

Adagio stood in the hallway outside her office for about twenty minutes while she left Moondancer and Twilight talk. She couldn’t help but wonder how everything was going, and what was taking them so long.

“I really hope they’re not having sex on my desk.” She commented to herself as the thought crossed her mind that perhaps things were going so well that the two girls were now getting intimate with one another.

About a minute later, the door opened and Twilight stepped out into the hallway, alone.

“Well?” Adagio asked.

Twilight just stared at Adagio for a second with a somewhat despondent face before saying anything.

“It’s probably best if you talk to Moondancer.” She said before walking down the hallway.

Oh no. Adagio thought as she quickly ran into her office, finding Moondancer slouched over in the chair in front of her desk.

“Moondancer?” She gently stated as she made her way closer to the girl.

“We had a long talk.” Moondancer replied, rather unemotionally. “I told Twilight my feelings and she said she was happy that I shared them with her, but she doesn’t like me the way I like her.”

“Oh.” Adagio dejectedly remarked.

“She said she still wants to be friends though.” Moondancer continued. “And when I asked her not to tell anyone that I might be into girls she promised she wouldn’t.”

“Well that’s good at least.” Adagio said as she knelt down to comfort Moondancer.

“Yeah, I guess it is.” Moondancer indifferently replied. “But I’m still confused. I don’t know if I like girls in general or if I was just crushing on Twilight.”

As Adagio stared at Moondancer she noticed tears starting to form in the corners of the girls eyes.

“Moondancer, even if Twilight had said that she liked you the same way you like her, you still might not have been 100% sure about how you feel.” She tried comforting her as she placed a supportive hand over hers. “Some people stay in relationships for years before they find out how they really feel. These kinds of feelings, they’re complicated, and it takes time to truly understand them.”

Moondancer looked up just enough to make eye contact with Adagio.

“You know something? You’re right, Adagio.” She admitted as a small smile crossed her face.

“I usually am.” Adagio humbly jested just before Moondancer drew her into an unexpected hug.

“Thank you, Adagio. Thank you for everything today.” Moondancer graciously said as the tears in the corners of her eyes started flowing.

“Okay, okay. No need to get so dramatic.” Adagio playfully replied as she returned the hug. “Glad I could help.”

The hug didn’t last very long because soon enough the bell for lunch period rang, and once it didn’t both girls realized they were pretty hungry.

“Why don’t we have lunch together.” Adagio suggested as she stood up. “I’ll help you learn which foods to avoid in the cafeteria.”

“I’d like that.” Moondancer said as she too stood up, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“It’s a date.” Adagio commented as they headed out the door.

“End of the day, finally.” Adagio said to herself as the 3:00 dismissal bell rang, causing her to gather her things to leave.

Given the rather eventful day she’d had, Adagio was looking forward to going home, but not without Moondancer. During their lunch together, Adagio had mentioned to Moondancer how her sister, Sonata, was into girls and told her that she would probably be okay talking with her about her experiences with dating Rainbow Dash. Moondancer had decided that would be a good idea and so Adagio had invited her over to Sunset’s apartment after school to meet Sonata.

“Now did we agree to meet in the foyer or by the statue?” The Dazzling asked herself just as she locked her office door, trying to jog her memory.

“Adagio, sweetheart!” A female voice called out from down the hall.

Adagio quickly turned towards the direction of the voice to see Raven Inkwell rushing towards her.

“This again?” She deadpanned right before Raven practically tackled her with a hug.

“Oh I missed you so much today!” Raven said as she began to squeeze the life out of Adagio. “How about we get some dinner together and go see a movie?”

“Raven…air.” Adagio replied, trying to communicate that she couldn’t breathe.

“Oopsie, sorry!” Raven apologized as she let go of Adagio. “Sometimes I don’t know the strength of my own love.”

“Yeah…love.” Adagio sarcastically remarked as she regained her ability to breath, thinking that the word ‘crazy’ was more fitting.

“So about that dinner and movie?” Raven asked.

“I already told you, I don’t swing that way.” Adagio sharply reminded Raven. “And besides, I already have plans tonight. I taking Moondancer to meet my sister and…”

Then Adagio got an idea. An AWFUL idea. Adagio Dazzle got a wonderful, AWFUL idea.

“Say, Raven.” She slyly started to say. “Since we’re going to be dating, you should really get to know my sisters better. How about this weekend you come over to our apartment and all three of you can spend some quality time together?”

“Sounds great!” Raven agreed. “So long as you’ll be there too.”

“Oh of course I’ll be there too.” Adagio assured her.

“Okay, this weekend it is then!” Raven happily said as she ran down the hall. “See you later, sweetheart!”

“Goodbye, Raven dear.” Adagio said as she waved goodbye.

Once Raven was no longer in sight, Adagio dawned a wicked smile.

“I can’t wait for this weekend.” She malevolently remarked.

Sonata and Sugarcoat

View Online

“Which one do think is cuter?” Sonata Dusk asked her sister as she held two dresses up to the mirror. “The dark purple or the black?”

“I don’t know.” Aria Blaze begrudgingly replied from a nearby chair. “Just pick one so we can leave already. I have to help Trixie find a new manager today, remember?”

Sonata and Aria were currently at the Canterlot Mall looking at new dresses in one of the many clothing stores within the shopping complex. Well, Sonata was looking at new dresses. Aria was unwillingly accompanying her after being blackmailed into doing so, and feeling pretty peeved about it since most of her day was already committed to helping Trixie find a new manager after her last one quit.

“We’ll leave after I find the perfect dress.” Sonata remarked as she held the black dress up to her body. “It’s not every day Adagio brings a new girlfriend over to meet us and I want to make a good first impression.”

Sonata was referring to the impending visit she and Aria were going to get from Raven Inkwell. A few days ago Adagio had come home from work with news that, sometime in the coming weekend, she would be bringing her new ‘girlfriend’, Raven, over to meet them. Initially both Sonata and Aria were completely and utterly surprised to hear that Adagio, who had always claimed to be straight, was bringing a girlfriend over to meet them, but once that initial shock wore off Sonata became obsessed with making sure everything was going to be perfect for the meeting.

“I’m sure anything you already have in your closet will be fine.” Aria commented as she stood up. “Besides, Raven already knows you. She sees you every time we all have to attend a faculty and staff meeting at school.”

“True.” Sonata admitted as she held the dark purple dress up to her body. “But this is the first time I’m actually meeting her.”

Aria simply rolled her eyes as she approached her sister.

“Just admit you’re only using this meeting as an excuse to buy a new dress.” She said right in Sonata’s face.

“What?! No I’m not!” Sonata passionately protested.

The two sisters stared each other down until Aria decided she’d had enough.

“Whatever.” She indifferently said as she started walking away. “I’m going to get a smoothie, I’ll meet you back here in an hour.”

“Fine!” Sonata frustratingly called out to Aria before returning her attention to the mirror. “Ugh, neither of these is cute enough.”

Feeling slightly frazzled from having looked at so many dresses, Sonata returned the dark purple and black dresses to the clothing rack where she’d found them.

“No, no, no, no…” She dispiritedly commented as she flipped through the various dresses on the rack, not finding anything she deemed ‘cute enough’.

“Can I help find something?” A stoical, but familiar, voice suddenly asked her.

Sonata looked up from the cloths rack to see a female sales attendant with opalish gray/artic bluish gray pigtails, glasses, and a blasé expression standing a few feet next to her.

“No thanks, I’m just brows…” She began to say before she got the feeling that the she somehow knew this sales attendant. “Wait a second, have we meet before?”

“No, we haven’t.” The sales attendant replied, knowing full well that they had met before.

“No, I’m pretty sure we have.” Sonata countered as she intensely stared at the girl, trying to jog her memory. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around CHS, where else could I have…WAIT, YOU’RE THE GIRL I WAS TALKING TO ABOUT DASHIE ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL A FEW WEEKS AGO!”

“Rats.” The sales attendant softly said to herself, feeling less-than-thrilled that Sonata had remembered their previous encounter.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I ran into you!” Sonata cheerfully commented. “I didn’t get your name last time.”

“It’s Sugarcoat.” Sugarcoat introduced herself.

“I’m Sonata!” Sonata gleefully introduced herself as she grabbed a hold of Sugarcoat’s right hand with both of hers and shook it vigorously. “Pleased to formally meet you.”

“Please let go of my hand.” Sugarcoat pleaded, fearing her right arm was going to fall out of its socket due to Sonata’s violent shaking.

Sonata did stop shaking Sugarcoat’s hand, but it was more because her arm was getting tired than Sugarcoat asking her to.

“So I bet you’ve been wondering how things have been between me and Dashie since we talked, huh?” She genially inquired.

“Not really.” Sugarcoat responded as she grabbed her right arm, trying to get the vibrating feeling in it to stop.

“Well things have been great!” Sonata said as she gave an exaggerated thumbs-up, completely ignoring Sugarcoat’s disinterest in her relationship status. “In fact, only a few hours after I talked to you Dashie told someone about us being a couple. It’s no longer a secret!”

Once the vibrating feeling stopped in her right arm, Sugarcoat let it go and proceeded to fold her arms just below her chest as she stared at Sonata with a somewhat annoyed expression.

“You have a problem listening to others.” She blatantly remarked.

“Sorry, did you say something?” Sonata replied, after being momentarily distracted by what she thought was a cute dress on the rack next to her.

“Never mind.” Sugarcoat sighed as she unfolded her arms. “Look, if you don’t need any help than I need to get back to work, I can’t afford to lose another job.”

Sugarcoat turned around and started to walk away. That is, until she felt Sonata grab a hold of her arm.

“Wait!” The Dazzling implored as Sugarcoat turned back around. “I think I actually could use some help. You see, my sister is bringing her new girlfriend over tomorrow night to meet me and my other sister and I need to a new dress to make a good first impression.”

As much as Sugarcoat didn’t want to have anymore interaction with Sonata, she couldn’t exactly refuse the girl help. Afterall, it was literally her job to help customers like her.

“Okay, I’ll help you.” She reluctantly capitulated, causing Sonata to let go of her arm. “But on two conditions; one, no talking about Dashie, and two, you have to listen to me when I talk.”

Sugarcoat’s conditions confused Sonata, as was evidenced by the now quizzical expression on her face.

“Um, okay.” She agreed. “I understand you not wanting me to talk about Dashie, I get that a lot, but why do you think I wouldn’t listen to you?”

And with that, Sugarcoat facepalmed for the first time in her life.

“Let’s just focus on finding you a dress.” She replied as she put her hand down. “So what type of dress were you thinking about?”

“Something cute.” Sonata buoyantly answered.

“Okay, but what type of dress?” Sugarcoat reiterated, really emphasizing the word ‘type’. “Halter, sheath, high-low?”

Once again, Sonata gave a confused expression.

“Um, I don’t know what any of those words mean.” She explained. “I’m just looking for something that’s cute.”

All Sugarcoat could do was hang her head in a dejected manner as she realized what she’d gotten herself into by approaching Sonata.

“Let’s just start over there with the high-lows.” She suggested as she pointed to a rack of dresses about 20 feet away.

“Ooh, those look cute!” Sonata jovially commented as she made her way over to the high-low dresses, with Sugarcoat not far behind her.

“Hmm, this is cute, but is it cute enough?” Sonata pondered aloud as she held up a forest green fit & flare A-line dress up to her body.

“Yes, it’s cute enough.” Sugarcoat irksomely answered. “Buy it and leave.”

Sugarcoat had been helping Sonata find a dress for about 30 minutes now and she was just about at the end of her rope. She’d shown the Dazzling a number of dresses in a variety of different styles and colors, but she didn’t like any of them. High-lows, shifts, halters, A-lines, none of them were ‘cute enough’.

“No, this one isn’t cute enough either.” Sonata said for about the twelfth time today as she put the dress back on the rack. “Any other suggestions?”

“You know what would be really helpful?” Sugarcoat remarked as she began to feel a slight twitch in her left eye. “If you told me what constitutes ‘cute enough’.”

The question caught Sonata off guard. She brought a hand up to her chin and gave an expression of deep contemplation, remaining this way for a good solid minute before saying anything.

“You what, I’m not sure.” She eventually replied, still maintaining contemplating look. “I guess I just figured I’d know what was cute enough when I saw it.”

“You’re not sure?” Sugarcoat vexingly said as the twitch in her left eye became very noticeable. “YOU’RE NOT SURE?!”

The sudden volume increase in Sugarcoat’s voice made Sonata instinctively take a step back. For reasons that were unclear to her, hearing Sugarcoat raise her voice was kind of frightening.

“You’re telling me that you don’t have a single, solitary idea of what it is you’re looking for?!” Sugarcoat continued, trying to keep her sonority low so as not to bother the other customers. “Not a particular style, or color, or anything?!”

“Um, well…” Sonata timidly began to say with a distraught expression, just before noticing another store employee come up behind Sugarcoat.

Unlike Sugarcoat, this employee appeared to be older than herself. Not quite middle-aged but not quite college age either. She had a variety of different colored streaks running through her orange colored hair, amber, tangelo, fuchsia, and orchid to be exact, and wore a nametag that read ‘Sassy Saddles’.

“Sugarcoat, is there a problem here?” Sassy very sternly asked as Sugarcoat anxiously turned around.

“N-no, Ms. Saddles.” Sugarcoat timorously answered, avoiding eye contact with the older woman. “I-I was just helping this customer find a dress.”

“Oh?” Sassy stated as she took a quick glance at Sonata. “Then perhaps you can explain why this girl looks so perturbed.”

Sugarcoat remained silent as she tried to figure out how to explain Sonata’s current state without revealing that she’d just ululated at her, but to no avail. Her silence only caused Sassy to give a sigh.

“This is the third time this week you’ve upset a customer, Sugarcoat.” Sassy blatantly pointed out. “I’m afraid I have to let you go.”

“What?!” Sugarcoat diffidently exclaimed as she looked Sassy Saddles square in the eyes with extreme trepidation. “No please, Ms. Saddles, I can’t lose this job! If I do my parents will be furious!”

“I’m sorry, Sugarcoat, but you’ve left me no choice.” Sassy explained as she began to walk away. “You can gather you’re things from the breakroom before you leave.”

Feeling completely distressed, Sugarcoat began to hyperventilate. She felt like she was going to have a total breakdown right there in the store. That is, until she felt Sonata’s hands garb hold of both her shoulders from behind.

“Wait! Sugarcoat didn’t do anything wrong!” Sonata called out to Sassy Saddles, causing her to turn back around. “She was helping me find a dress when I got an anxiety attack, that’s why I looked so bad. I get them from time to time, but it wasn’t Sugarcoat’s fault, honest. She was just trying to help me.”

All Sugarcoat could do was stare at Sonata in astonishment, unable to figure out why she was standing up for her after she’d gone off on her.

Sassy Saddles, however, simply raised an eyebrow in suspicion. She wasn’t entirely convinced that what Sonata said as true, but she felt it best to not argue with a customer.

“I see.” She said in a skeptical tone. “If that’s the case than my apologizes to you both. Sugarcoat, you’re not fired.”

“T-thank you, Ms. Saddles.” Sugarcoat replied as Sassy once again began walking away.

Once the coast was clear Sonata removed her hands from Sugarcoat’s shoulders and then wiped her forehead.

“Phew, that was a close one, huh?” She casually remarked.

“Y-you saved my job.” Sugarcoat said in pure amazement and confusion. “I yelled at you and you saved my job. Why?”

“Oh please, you didn’t yell at me.” Sonata jovially stated, vilipending the whole situation. “Sure you may have gotten a tad upset, but you weren’t near as bad as my sisters. And even if you were, I couldn’t let you get fired because we’re friends.”

She wasn’t sure why, but hearing Sonata call her a friend made Sugarcoat feel…happy.

“So what was the deal with that woman?” Sonata randomly asked. “It seemed like she actually wanted to fire you.”

“Sassy’s wanted me gone ever since I started here.” Sugarcoat began to explain. “It’s a long story.”

There was something in the way that Sugarcoat said, ‘It’s a long story’, that made Sonata feel it was a story that she wanted to confide to someone else.

“I’ve got time if you want to tell it.” She sweetly said, trying desperately to sound like she wasn’t being too nosy.

Sugarcoat just stared silently at Sonata for a few seconds a she contemplated whether she should tell the girl her story or not.

“Yeah, okay.” She eventually capitulated. “But make it look like I’m helping you find a dress while I tell it. I don’t want Sassy coming back over here thinking I’m slacking off.”

“Gotcha!” Sonata acknowledged as she grabbed a nearby dress off a nearby rack and held it against her body, pretending to see if it would fit her.

“A few months ago my parents told me I needed to get a part-time job.” Sugarcoat began explaining while making it look like she was helping Sonata with the dress that was in her hand. “I didn’t argue with them about, but once I started looking for a part-time job I quickly realized a major problem; virtually every job open to teenagers is in retail or customer service.”

“Why was that a problem?” Sonata inquired as she put the dress back on the rack and walked over to another nearby rack.

“I’m not exactly a people-person, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Sugarcoat very candidly replied.

Although she didn’t say it aloud, Sonata silently agreed with Sugarcoat about her not being a people-person.

“Anyways, despite that obstacle I managed to get a job at a pet store.” Sugarcoat continued her story. “I thought it would be fine since I’d be working with animals more than people, but that wasn’t the case. I still ended up interacting with customers a lot and was eventually fired for not being ‘friendly enough’. Then I got a job as a waitress at an upscale restaurant, but was eventually fired for not being ‘friendly enough’ there too.”

“So how did you end up here then?” Sonata asked, putting two and two together.

“My mom's a senior manager with this company, she pulled some strings.” Sugarcoat replied as she grabbed a nearby dress and held it in front of Sonata. “And she told me that if I lost this job that she and my dad wouldn’t allow me to stay with them once I start attending Canterlot University next year.”

“That’s not good.” Sonata commented, taking the dress from Sugarcoat and pretending to look it over.

“It’s worse than you think.” Sugarcoat said. “I can’t afford to pay for both tuition and room and board at CU, so if I’m not able to stay with my parents while going there I’ll need to find a different college to attend.”

“What’s wrong with attending a different college? Or finding an apartment?” Sonata inquired as she handed the dress back to Sugarcoat.

“Canterlot University has the top ranked business programs in the state.” Sugarcoat explained, putting the dress back on the rack and handing Sonata a different one. “And since I want to be a business woman like my mom it’s the most logical school for me to attend. As for an apartment, anything decent in this city costs more than CU room and board, I checked.”

“I see.” Sonata remarked, wondering how Sunset was able to afford such a great apartment if what Sugarcoat said was true.

“So far I’ve managed to perform better at this job than the other two.” Sugarcoat continued her story. “But Sassy Saddles has it out for me because she doesn’t like my mom very much. I guess she’s trying to take all her frustration towards her out on me.”

“Have you told your mom about this?” Sonata asked, returning the dress she’d been holding to the rack.

“Yeah, but she doesn’t believe me.” Sugarcoat answered. “She just thinks I’m trying to get out of this job. That, and she doesn’t believe Sassy is as bad as I say she is since she’d never had a bad interaction with her. Sassy’s a real two-faced bitch.”

“So you’re stuck in this job with a boss that has it out for you?” Sonata asked in disbelief.

“Pretty much.” Sugarcoat admitted. “At least until I can get an internship in college.”

Sugarcoat’s story weighed heavy on Sonata’s heart. It reminded her of when her and her sister’s were living in a van down by the river. She imagined that Sugarcoat must be having the same feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness that they felt in those day. She wanted to help her, but it wasn’t like she could get her a job or take her in like Sunset had done for them.

Think, Sonata, think. She silently told herself as she tried to figure out a way that she could help her friend.

Then, as if out of nowhere, the perfect solution came to Sonata like a divine gift from the heavens themselves.

“What if you got a new job?” She euphorically asked. “A better job? One that would look good on a business school application?”

“And what job would that be?” Sugarcoat indifferently inquired, writing off Sonata’s words as nothing but sheer fantasy.

“Managing a magician!” Sonata exuberantly explained as she grabbed hold of Sugarcoat’s shoulders. “My sister’s friend is a magician and she needs a new manager! You know, someone to book the shows, handle the finances, that sort of stuff! If you could get a job like that your parents couldn’t say no to you leaving this one, right?!”

After getting over the initial shock of Sonata suddenly grabbing her, Sugarcoat contemplated the idea of being a magician’s manager.

“A manager job would look good on my college application and resume.” She agreed. “But how do you even know if your sister’s friend will hire me?”

“Oh please, if I recommend you you’ll get it for sure.” Sonata said as she left go of Sugarcoat.

Despite Sonata’s apparent assuredness, Sugarcoat still had serious reservations about the idea. Should she leave her unfulfilling yet stable job for a chance at being a magician’s manager?

“Sugarcoat.” Sassy Saddles could be heard saying from behind her. “Are you helping this girl or socializing with her?”

Sugarcoat turned around to see Sassy with the same stern and condescending face as before, and knew right there and then what her decision was.

“Actually, I have been socializing with her.” She bluntly admitted as she stared down Sassy with very focused eyes. “And she just got done offering me job, so I quit.”

Both Sassy and Sonata quickly dawned expressions of surprise as Sugarcoat simply walked out of the store without saying another word.

“Sugarcoat, wait up!” Sonata called out to the girl as she chased after her, leaving Sassy Saddles alone to figure out what the heck had just happened.

“Come on, we’re getting some pizza.” Sugarcoat informed Sonata once the Dazzling had caught up with her.

“Um, okay.” Sonata confusingly agreed as they both headed for the food court. “I like pizza.”

“That felt good.” Sugarcoat said with a wicked smile after swallowing a bite of pizza. “That felt really, really good. And did you see the look on Sassy’s face? Priceless.”

“Yeah, priceless.” Sonata half-heartedly remarked before taking a sip of her soda.

“What’s wrong, Sonata?” Sugarcoat concerningly asked her friend, picking up on her unusually somber attitude.

“W-what do you mean?” Sonata replied as she suddenly perked up. “Nothing’s wrong.”

Sugarcoat simply raised a single eyebrow in response.

“Okay, something is wrong.” Sonata admitted, slumping down into her seat.

“It’s not about the manager job, is it?” Sugarcoat apprehensively inquired, worried that Sonata may have left out some important detail she should have known before quitting her job.

“No, no, it’s nothing like that.” Sonata quickly clarified as she sat up straight in her seat. “It’s just…in all the time we spent looking at dresses, I never found the perfect one.”

“Oh yeah, you were looking for one to wear for when you meet your sister’s girlfriend, right?” Sugarcoat stated just before taking another bite of pizza.

“Uh-huh.” Sonata dejectedly confirmed.

“Let me ask you something.” Sugarcoat said once she swallowed her pizza. “Why do you need to get a new dress just to meet your sister’s girlfriend?”

“Because if I don’t then the meeting won’t be perfect.” Sonata answered.

After hearing Sonata’s answer, the first question that came to Sugarcoat’s mind was ‘How would a new dress make the meeting perfect?’, but instead of asking that one she decided to go with the second question that came to mind.

“Why does the meeting need to be perfect?” She asked.

“What do you mean ‘Why does the meeting need to be perfect?’!” Sonata passionately replied, sounding almost offended by the question. “This is Adagio’s girlfriend I’m meeting, of course everything needs to be perfect!”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” Sugarcoat blatantly stated. “Why does it need to be perfect?”

“Because…because…” Sonata struggled to answer before finally letting it out. “Because if I can make this meeting perfect than maybe Adagio won’t see me as her stupid little sister anymore!”

Admittedly, Sonata’s answer caught Sugarcoat off guard. She hadn’t expected it to be so…deeply personal.

“Okay, I’m going to need some details here.” She said.

Sonata didn’t reply. She just stared at her pizza with a distraught look on her face.

“Come on, Sonata, talk to me.” Sugarcoat gently told her friend. “You helped me earlier, let me help you now.”

There was a brief moment of silence before Sonata finally spoke up.

“I’m not an idiot, okay?” She solemnly started to say. “I know what people think of me. They think I’m a klutz, and a ditz, and I know no one thinks those things more than Adagio. I admit, I can be a bit much sometimes, and I don’t always pick up on things right away, but I’m not an idiot. I just figured that if I could make this meeting, something that means so much to Adagio, perfect than maybe she’d finally realize that.”

Sugarcoat wasn’t sure how to respond to all that. She wanted to say something supportive, but given her track record of being overly blunt about pretty much everything she knew she needed to be careful.

“I hate to break it to you, Sonata, but that meeting isn’t going to be perfect, no matter what you do.” She began to say. “But that’s okay, it doesn’t need to be perfect to make a good impression on either your sister or her girlfriend.”

Her feeling of distress now replaced by feelings of confusion, Sonata silently looked up at Sugarcoat with a quizzical expression.

“Look, I can’t attest to how your sister feels about you now or how she’ll feel about you in the future, but here’s what I can attest to.” Sugarcoat continued. “You’re a very kind person, and as long as you act that way around you sister’s girlfriend I think you’ll be fine.”

Sonata wanted to say something to Sugarcoat, but was too choked up with joy to speak.

“Just maybe try to be more cognizant of your words and actions in order to avoid being ‘too much’, okay?” Sugarcoat added.

“Okay.” Sonata managed to get out with a small smile on her face.

Seeing Sonata smile brought a smile to Sugarcoat’s face as well.

“So, not to ruin this heartfelt moment or anything.” Sugarcoat spoke up. “But do you think I can meet your sister’s friend soon, I want be able to tell my parents I have a new job before telling them I quit the one at the clothing store.”

“Oh my gosh, the clothing store!” Sonata exclaimed, as if coming to some great realization, and suddenly getting up from her seat. “Aria said she’d meet me back there in an hour, and that was an hour and fifteen minutes ago!”

Without saying another word, Sonata bolted towards the clothing store, leaving Sugarcoat all alone.

“See, this is right here is why I made the comment about being more cognizant.” She said to no one in particular as she got up from her seat and slowly followed Sonata.

Aria and Applejack

View Online

“Fricken Sonata.” Aria Blaze angrily muttered to herself as she traipsed through Canterlot Mall, heading towards the food court. “Sometimes I wish I had replaced her with Scootaloo.”

Up until about a minute ago, Aria had been with Sonata as her sister looked at new dresses, hoping to find one to wear to the meeting they both were going to have with Adagio’s new girlfriend, Raven Inkwell.

Although, Aria wasn’t with Sonata by choice. No, she had been blackmailed by her sister into coming to the mall with her. And as if the act of being blackmailed wasn’t bad enough, it was especially aggravating to her because she’d already committed most of her day to helping Trixie find a new manager after her last one quit, meaning her whole day was pretty much shot.

The mall trip had started off well, but quickly went south as Sonata looked at dress after dress after dress, declaring each one of them to be ‘not cute enough’. Eventually Sonata’s indecisiveness got on Aria’s last nerve and she made a comment about how Sonata was only using the meeting with Raven as an excuse to buy a new dress. Sonata passionately protested her sister’s accusation and the two Dazzlings stared each other down until Aria decided she’d had enough and left to get a smoothie.

“God I hope they have smoothies with alcohol in them.” Aria commented as the food court came into view.

Once she was at the food court, Aria looked over to where the smoothie pavilion was and, much to her unwanted surprise, saw a long line of people in front of it.

“Oh just great.” She sarcastically said as she made her way over to the end of the line.

The line at the smoothie pavilion didn’t exactly move slowly, but it didn’t exactly move quickly either. All-in-all, Aria waited in line for about fifteen minutes before it was her turn to order.

“Finally.” She said to herself as she looked up at the menu, trying to find anything on it that might be alcoholic.

“Welcome ta Rainbow of Smoothies.” A heavily accented, but also familiar, female voice said from behind counter. “What can aah…well howdy, Aria!”

Aria looked down at the colorfully dressed smoothie girl and didn’t quite recognize her, at first.

“Applejack?” She quizzically stated, feeling only about 90% sure that it was Applejack.

“Eeyup.” Applejack replied, almost sounding exactly like Big Mac.

“Huh, I almost didn’t recognize you without your hat.” Aria casually remarked.

“Aah git that a lot.” Applejack amiably admitted. “Aah wear the darn thing so much some folks don’t know who Aah am when they see me without it. So what can Aah git yah?”

Not having seen what she was looking for before, Aria once again turned her attention to the menu.

“Do you have anything with alcohol in it?” She inquired when she still didn’t see anything.

“Uh, no. No we don’t.” Applejack very plainly answered, wondering why in the heck Aria had just asked that.

“Damn.” Aria dolefully uttered before returning her attention to Applejack. “I guess I’ll just have a large pomegranate-berry smoothie then.”

“Comin’ right up.” Applejack said as she proceeded to make Aria’s smoothie in a very dramatic and over-the-top fashion, almost as if she were in some kind of music video.

All Aria could do while she waited was stare at Applejack as she twirled cups into the air and perfectly threw ingredients into them once they landed. The whole scene filled her with a mixture of confusion and awe.

“Here yah are!” Applejack said once she was done, holding a large pomegranate-berry smoothie in front of Aria.

“Uh, thanks.” Aria dazedly replied as she took the smoothie, still trying to process what she’d just witnessed.

Without saying another word, Aria slowly turned around and began to walk away.

“Aria, wait!” Applejack called out to her before she got more than two steps away. “Can Aah ask yah a favor?”

Aria turned around and noticed an almost pleading look on Applejack’s face, something she’d never seen from the country girl before.

“Depends on the favor.” She nonchalantly said back, curious as to what Applejack could possibly want from her.

“Aah’m ‘bout ta take mah break, think maybe Aah could spend it with yah?” Applejack asked with the tiniest hint of embarrassment in her voice. “If yer gonna be hangin’ ‘round the mall fer awhile and it ain’t too much of an imposition that is.”

At first Aria wasn’t sure what to make of Applejack’s request. While she wasn’t opposed to the Applejack spending her break with her, she couldn’t help but be weary why she wanted to do so. In her experience, people usually wanted to spend as little time around her as possible.

“If you really want to.” She answered after a moments thought. “I mean I was just going to hang around the food court, but whatever.”

Just then, Applejack’s face lit up like a candle.

“Oh thank yah, Aria!” The Rainboom exclaimed. “Jus’ find a seat somewhere and Aah’ll be out in sec!”

As Aria watched an elated Applejack disappear into the backroom of the smoothie pavilion, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d just made a huge mistake. She quickly found a seat and, no more than two minutes later, Applejack reemerged from the backroom and joined her.

“Thank yah so much fer this, Aria.” The country girl said as she took a seat opposite the Dazzling. “Aah can’t tell yah how much Aah hate taken mah breaks alone, so Aah’m really glad fer yer company.”

“Don’t mention it.” Aria indifferently replied just before taking an unusually long sip of her smoothie.

“So, uh, what brings yah ta the mall?” Applejack randomly asked, desperate to keep conversion alive.

“Sonata.” Aria disdainfully answered as she put her smoothie down on the table, with a tad more force than intended. “She blackmailed me into coming here with her.”

“Blackmailed?” Applejack confusingly asked, causing Aria to realize that she’d just admitted to being blackmailed, which then caused the Dazzling to facepalm. “Why in tarnation would yer sister blackmail yah inta comin’ ta the mall with her?”

“Because she wanted help finding a cute new dress to wear for when we meet Adagio’s new girlfriend tomorrow.” Aria bitterly explained as she lowered her hand.

There a brief, uncomfortable moment of silence.

“Adagio’s got a girlfriend?” Applejack eventually asked. “Aah didn’t know she was inta girls.”

“Neither did we.” Aria said as she picked her smoothie back up. “But the other day she just randomly told us that she and Raven Inkwell were a couple now and that she’d be bringing her over to meet us this weekend.”

“Raven’s her girlfriend?!” Applejack shockingly stated, her confusion only growing, as Aria drank from her smoothie. “Aah thought she had a boyfriend?”

“Not anymore.” Aria revealed, taking a break from her smoothie. “Adagio said that her boyfriend dumped her after confessing that he’d been cheating on her.”

“Oh mah gosh! Poor Raven.” Applejack commented, feeling bad for the poor girl.

Since she was still finishing her smoothie, Aria simply nodded her head in agreement.

“But wait, how did Adagio become her girlfriend?” Applejack inquired.

“No idea.” Aria confessed once she’d finished her smoothie. “She just said she learned about the break up from Raven when she was in the front office the other day and then they ended up becoming a couple.”

By this point, Applejack felt more confused than she ever had in her life.

“So, yah don’t even know who asked who out?” She asked.

“Nope.” Aria answered with a hint of sharpness now in her voice. “Just makes me wonder all the more what Adagio’s up to.”

Correction: Now Applejack felt more confused than she ever had in her life.

“What do yah mean?” She asked.

“What do you mean ‘What do you mean’?” Aria curiously asked back. “It’s obvious Adagio’s up to something with all this Raven business, I just don’t know what that something is.”

“B-but why would yah assume yer own sister is up ta somethin’?” Applejack replied, finding it difficult to believe that anyone could be so suspicious of their own kin, even if it was the Dazzlings.

It wasn’t hard for Aria to notice just how confused Applejack was by this whole situation. She knew she was going to have to admit some hard truths, and took a deep breath as she prepared herself to do so.

“Look, Applejack, my sisters and I may no longer be power-crazed villains, but we’re not saints. We still lie and manipulate to get what we want, even from each other. Just look at today, Sonata blackmailed me into coming here with her. As for Adagio, she tried to manipulate Wallflower Blush into letting us move in with her.”

As much as Applejack wanted further details on the Adagio-trying-to-move-in-with-Wallflower story, she felt that it was a story for another time and remained silent.

“And me, I lied to Derpy when I staged a phony bullying scenario in an attempt to get her to stand up for herself. No matter how much we may have changed, deep down, we’re still sirens at heart. Lying and manipulating are just in of our nature, they’re a part of who we are.”

“No!” Applejack suddenly exclaimed as she unexpectedly stood up and slammed her hands down on the table, causing Aria to slightly wince. “Aah refuse ta believe that!”

It took Aria a few seconds to regain her composure as she stared at the now very stern looking Applejack.

“Um, you refuse to believe what?” She inquired, feeling a bit unsure about what it was that Applejack was refusing to believe.

“Aah refuse ta believe that y’all are natural-born liars and manipulators.” Applejack clarified as she retook her seat, but still maintaining her very stern expression and tone.

“Okay, clearly you don’t know anything about sirens, so let me enlighten you.” Aria brazenly replied. “All sirens are liars and manipulators, and that’s because lying and manipulating are considered valuable skills our society. Sirens believe that all life must compete in order to flourish and that the ends justify the means. To us, it doesn’t matter who you use or even hurt so long as you’re surviving.”

As Aria ‘enlightened’ her, Applejack felt a strong sadness overcome her. She couldn’t help but morosely wonder just what Aria and her sisters had gone through growing up in a such a self-centered and uncaring society. Frankly, some of the thoughts that came to mind made her feel ill.

“B-but what about yer family, don’t yah care if yah hurt them?” She despondently asked.

“Yes and no.” Aria answered, a twinge of woe in her voice. “You have to understand that siren families stick together mostly for survival purposes, not because of they love each other, so it’s not uncommon for some families to take advantage of a relative who’s weak or vulnerable.”

Applejack’s heart nearly sank into the bottom of her chest. She simply couldn’t believe what she was hearing. How could such a thing even be called a family?

“Adagio, Sonata, and I may be as close as most families in this world, but by comparison to other siren families we’re like the damn Brady Bunch.” Aria went on. “Regardless though, we’re still sirens, which means we’re liars and manipulators.”

The sadness Applejack had been feeling was now visible as tears began to flow down her cheeks.

“But just ‘cause yer sirens doesn’t mean that yer liars and manipulators.” She countered through her sympathetic tears. “Y’all aren’t defined by the values society tries ta impose on yah.”

Aria opened her mouth to respond, but no words came out. She tried to think of something, anything, to say, but couldn’t. She’d been caught completely off-guard by Applejack’s response.

“Maybe Aah’m wrong ‘bout this, but here’s what Aah believe.” Applejack continued. “Aah believe that no one is born a certain way, that everyone has the ability ta be who they wanna be. Aah believe that just ‘cause yah three are sirens and that every other siren is a liar or manipulator doesn’t mean that y’all are too.”

Much to her surprise, Aria felt Applejack’s words having a profound effect on her. While she’d been told numerous before that she had the ability to be whoever she wanted to be, for some reason hearing it now from Applejack felt like the first time she was truly hearing it. Maybe, it was because it was the first time someone actually believed it when they said it to her.

“Applejack.” She softly uttered, feeling tears of her own coming on.

“Aah’m sure life’s been hard fer y’all, growin’ up the way yah did.” Applejack went on, not having heard Aria softly say her name. “And ta make matters worse, yah lost yer home and then yer magic. Aah can’t even begin ta imagine what y’all have gone through, but Aah honestly believe that y’all don’t have ta lie and manipulate if yah don’t want to, sirens or not.”

Aria could feel the tears begin to flow down her cheeks as Applejack spoke. Normally she’d feel embarrassed or angry about being seen crying in public, but Applejack’s words reached her so much that she didn’t care who saw her cry.

“Aah’ve seen how you and yer sisters have changed, and how yer helpin’ students everyday at CHS.” Applejack continued, barely able to speak through her tears now. “And Aah believe that y’all can continue ta change if yah want ta, so that yah don’t have ta be blackmailin’ and lyin’ ta each other anymore.”

There was still more Applejack wanted to say, but she couldn’t. She was feeling too choked up to utter another word, but she didn’t need to. Without warning, Aria quickly got up from her seat and embraced Applejack in the warmest and friendliest hug she could.

“You know, maybe you should be Canterlot High’s motivational speaker, Applejack.” The Dazzling buoyantly stated through her tears. “You’ve got a real knack for it.”

“Aah don’t know ‘bout that.” Applejack just as buoyantly replied as she returned the hug. “Aah just can’t stand seein’ one of mah friends thinkin’ so negatively ‘bout herself or her family is all.”

The hug didn’t last very long as Aria soon broke it and returned to her seat.

“You’re right, about everything.” She admitted as she sat down. “Just because we’re sirens doesn’t mean we have to continue lying and manipulating. I’m going to have a talk with Adagio and Sonata about that, and I’m going to start it by telling Adagio about the thing that Sonata blackmailed me with.”

“That sounds like a good plan.” Applejack commented as she wiped a tear away with one hand and pulled out her phone with the other, taking a look at the time. “Yah know, Aah still got some time left on mah break, yah maybe wanna walk around the mall fer a bit?”

“Yeah, I’d like that.” Aria answered.

As the two girls got up and made their way out of the food court, Applejack couldn’t help but still be extremely curious about one thing.

“Say, uh, Aria.” She began to nervously say. “Don’t feel yah need ta answer this, but Aah have ta ask; What was Sonata blackmailin’ yah with?”

“I guess I can tell you, so long as you promise not to tell anyone.” Aria casually replied.

“Cross mah heart and hope ta fly, stick a cupcake in mah eye.” Applejack said as she did a series of hand movements, much to Aria’s confusion.

“Um, does that mean ‘yes’?” The Dazzling inquired.

Applejack couldn’t help but giggle a bit before answering Aria’s question.

“Yeah, it does.” She clarified.

Now that she knew Applejack would keep her secret, Aria did a quick double-take to make sure no one else around was listening.

“I accidentally bought an emu farm with the money all three of us have been saving up to get an apartment.” She whispered.

As her brain tried to wrap around what Aria had just said, Applejack stopped dead in her tracks as her friend continued walking.

“Emu…farm?” She asked her.

Adagio and Raven Inkwell

View Online

“This day is going to be perfect ~!” Adagio Dazzle wickedly sang to herself as she brushed her hair in front of the bathroom mirror, getting ready for the day she’d been waiting for all week.

Yes, it was finally the day that Adagio’s new girlfriend, Raven Inkwell, was coming over for a date. But this wasn’t just any normal old date, oh no, this date was also doubling as a way for Raven to get to know her sisters, Aria and Sonata, a little better, which was something she insisted on if the two of them were going to be dating.

“Aaaaand…done.” She stated as she finished brushing her hair and stared at the mirror with a mischievous smile, admiring her own reflection. “You are one beautiful and devilishly cunning creature, you know that?”

Once she stopped extoling herself Adagio tightened the waist belt of her robe and opened the door to exit the bathroom, only to find both Aria and Sonata standing just outside, staring at her with impish smiles on their faces.

“What?” The Dazzling leader curiously asked her sisters.

Both Aria and Sonata simply chuckled in response. It wasn’t unusual for Sonata to give such a giddy response, but hearing Aria giggle like a school girl nearly sent chills up Adagio’s spine.

“Oh, nothing.” Sonata eventually, and rather playfully, answered.

“We were just enjoying hearing you sing about how perfect today will be.” Aria explained, somehow sounding both sincere and derisive at the same time.

All Adagio could do in response was give a small sigh and roll her eyes. This wasn’t because she was embarrassed about her sisters hearing her singing though, but because she was getting tired of having to keep up her ruse. See, neither Aria nor Sonata knew her real reason for bringing Raven over to meet them, and she needed it to stay that way, no matter how exhausting maintaining her deception was becoming.

“Don’t worry, we promise we’ll be on our best behavior today.” Sonata spoke up, believing Adagio’s reaction to be because she was afraid that their teasing would continue throughout the day.

“Yeah, what Sonata said.” Aria concurred, now sounding 100% sincere. “We’re really happy that you found someone, sis.”

For the briefest of moments, Adagio felt a genuine sense of happiness that her sisters were being so supportive of her new relationship. She quickly got over it though as she knew she couldn’t have them being on their best behaviors today.

“Thank you both, but don’t worry about being on your best behavior.” She warmly replied as she pulled Aria and Sonata into a hug. “The whole point of this is for Raven to get to know you both better, and I want her to get to know just how wonderful my sisters are every single day.”

“Aww, Dagi.” Sonata sweetly replied as she returned the hug, almost moved to tears by her sister’s kind words.

“Um, thanks?” Aria replied as she too returned the hug, though feeling confused as Adagio usually complained about how she and Sonata were every single day.

The hug didn’t last long as Adagio soon broke it and headed for the bedroom.

“Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get changed and ready for when I go to get Raven.” She said as she walked away, leaving Aria and Sonata alone again.

“That was weird, don’t you think?” Aria asked Sonata once Adagio was out of earshot.

“What do you mean?” Sonata replied, staring at her sister with a confused expression.

“I mean, since when does Adagio think we’re wonderful?” Aria clarified. “Most days she makes some comment about how we’re either annoying or incompetent.”

While Sonata was fully aware of how Adagio usually regarded both of them, she just assumed her good mood today was because of her new relationship Raven.

“Oh it’s just because she’s in love.” She said. “Remember when I came out about my relationship with Dashie? I was so love struck for a while that I was nice to everyone. I even gave the mailman a hug that one day.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Aria admitted, though clearly still skeptical.

“You’ll understand when you find someone someday.” Sonata slyly commented as she headed towards the kitchen to make herself some breakfast.

Aria didn’t say anything as she watched her sister walk away. She simply raised a single eyebrow as she tried to figure out if Sonata was taking a shot at her with that little comment or not.

It was 12:00 noon and Adagio was leaning against the Wondercolts statue as she waited for Raven to arrive for their date. While she was waiting, she went over her plan again and again in her head, trying to make sure she hadn’t overlooked any important details.

“Adagio! Sweetheart!” Raven’s voice could be heard calling out to her from just up the street.

Adagio broke her train of thought and turned her attention to the direction the voice was coming from, only to see Raven rushing up towards her with a large wave of her arm.

“Here we go.” She softly stated as she modestly waved back, steeling herself for what she knew was about to come.

“Oh it’s so good to see you!” Raven enthusiastically exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around Adagio in a big hug. “I missed you so, so much!”

You just saw me two days ago. Adagio impassively thought to herself.

“I…missed you too.” She said aloud as she returned the hug, even giving Raven a small tap on the back in the hope that it would calm her down a bit.

“Thank you so much for agreeing to meet me here.” Raven gratefully said as she broke the hug. “I’m excited to meet your sisters but I wanted to make sure we still had some alone time on our date.”

“Oh of course.” Adagio sweetly replied. “It wouldn’t be much of a date if we didn’t have some alone time, now would it?”

“I guess not.” Raven happily chuckled. “So, was there anything you wanted to do before we go see your sisters?”

“No!” Adagio promptly responded, with a bit more emotion than she intended. “I mean, I told Aria and Sonata I wouldn’t be gone long so we should probably just head right to the apartment.”

“Alrighty then!” Raven blurted out as she wrapped herself around Adagio’s arm. “Lead the way, darling!”

“Ahehe.” Adagio muttered in embarrassment as she began walking, hoping that no one she knew would see her on the way back to the apartment.

The first few minutes of the walk were spent in relative silence, with only the occasional cooing sound from Raven as she blissfully clung to her girlfriend, much to Adagio’s chagrin. Eventually though, Raven let go of Adagio’s arm and instead opted for simply holding hands. Adagio wasn’t too thrilled about this either, but figured it was better than being clung to.

“So I thinking maybe for our next date we can go to the amusement park.” Raven randomly said about halfway to the apartment. “What do you think, dear?”

It took every ounce of self-control Adagio had to keep her cool. She’d expected some small talk during the walk to the apartment, but she hadn’t expected Raven to already be planning other dates.

“M-maybe we should see how today goes before we start thinking about future dates, Raven sweetheart.” She anxiously said, trying to sound as composed as possible.

“Oh don’t be ridiculous, my precious cheese puff.” Raven responded as she moved shoulder-to-shoulder with Adagio.

Cheese Puff?! Adagio heatedly thought to herself. Is that supposed to be a cute pet name because of my hair?!

“Today is going to be perfect.” Raven lovingly continued. “I’m sure I’m going to love your sisters and they’re going to love me. Now about the amusement park, I was thinking maybe we’ll go there next weekend, then for our next date we can…”

Adagio just rolled her eyes back as her and Raven continued walking hand-in-hand towards Sunset’s apartment, Raven planning more and more dates as they went along.

“…and then I’m thinking we can take a trip together after that, someplace nice like Manehatten or River City.” Raven rambled on.

“Uh-huh.” Adagio absent-mindedly replied, having stopped listening to Raven and her date planning about ten minutes ago.

“Then after that I think we might finally be ready to get married.” Raven affectionately said as she leaned her head against Adagio’s shoulder.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s, or in this case Adagio’s, back. Planning dates was on thing, but planning marriage was taking things too far for the Dazzling. She snapped out of the funk and was prepared to let Raven have it when she noticed that they’d arrived at the apartment.

“Oh thank Celestia we’re here.” She stated in relief.

“Are we?” Raven asked in disbelief as she looked over to the apartment. “Oh wow, the time just flew by, didn’t it?”

“Yes, ‘flew by’.” Adagio sarcastically remarked as she walked up the approach. “Come on, Aria and Sonata are waiting.”

“Coming, dear!” Raven replied as she flowed Adagio.

As Adagio reached for the doorknob, she that this was it, this was the moment of truth. She grabbed the doorknob, turned it, opened the door, and braced herself for whatever was to come next.

“We’re here.” Adagio hollered as she stepped inside, followed closely by Raven.

Initially there was no response, much to Adagio’s surprise. Soon enough though, Sonata came rushing over, from seemingly out of nowhere, and practically shoved Adagio out of the way to get to Raven.

“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!” The pony-tailed Dazzling exclaimed as she grabbed Raven’s hand and started shaking it. “It’s so good to finally meet you, Raven! I’m Sonata, in case you didn’t already know.”

“Well of course I know you, Sonata. We met at the faculty and staff meeting last month, remember?” Raven politely replied.

All of sudden, Sonata’s cheerful expression vanished, replaced by an expression of anxiety.

“Oh my gosh, I don’t, I’m so sorry!” She frantically apologized as she stopped shaking Raven’s hand.

“Oh it’s fine.” Raven assured her, taking no offense at Sonata not remembering meeting her. “I don’t really leave much an impression on most people.”

“No, it’s not fine!” Sonata shouted as she turned to face Adagio. “I’ve already screwed things up, haven’t I? I knew I’d ruin everything! Please, please, please forgive me, Dagi!”

Just then, Sonata felt a hand touch her shoulder from behind.

“Chill, Sonata.” Aria calmly instructed her sister. “Everything’s fine, but you’re gonna ruin it if you keep freaking out like this.”

“You’re right, you’re right.” Sonata said in between deep breaths as she rubbed the temples of her head in an attempt to try and calm down. “Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.”

“Um, is she okay?” Raven concernedly asked as she watched Sonata.

“Oh yeah, that’s just what she does when she gets too worked up.” Aria indifferently answered. “Hey, Raven.”

“Hi, Aria.” Raven agilely greeted back with a small, friendly wave.

“You guys are just in time, lunch is almost ready.” Aria informed Raven and Adagio as she pointed to the kitchen with her thumb. “We made homemade pizza.”

“Yes, pizza!” Sonata chimed in, once again cheerful though still slightly frantic. “Pizza will make everything better, come on!”

“Sonata, chill, remember?” Aria called out as she followed her sister into the kitchen, leaving Adagio and Raven alone at the front door.

“Wow, your sister’s are really…something.” Raven amiably commented to Adagio.

“Oh you don’t have to sugarcoat it, Raven. They’re crazy.” Adagio very bluntly, and yet somehow ardently, replied. “But they’re family, so I’m stuck with them.”

Raven didn’t say anything in response because, frankly, she couldn’t think of anything to say. She just stared off into the kitchen with an apprehensive expression as Sonata and Aria scrambled to get lunch ready, much to Adagio’s delight.

“Oh don’t worry, you’ll get used to them.” Adagio genially assured the poor girl as she placed both her hands on Raven’s shoulders and slightly led her towards the kitchen. “Now let’s get some pizza, I’m starving.”

“O-okay.” Raven tentatively said as she let Adagio lead her from behind, not noticing the wicked smile that was forming on the Dazzling leader’s face.

“…it was the most I ever threw up and it changed my life forever.” Sonata said as she finished her story.

“I…imagine something like that would.” Raven affably responded, trying desperately to hide how queasy she now felt.

It had now been about 40 minutes since Raven and Adagio arrived at the apartment, and in that time Raven had learned more about the Dazzlings, particularly Aria and Sonata, than she ever wanted to know. She’d learned about the time Sonata had entered a taco eating contest and ended up vomiting for a full minute straight, the time Aria had purposefully drove through the red light of a busy intersection just to freak Sonata out, and the time that all three of them competed together in an episode of the TV game show Double Dare that the network refused to air because it wasn’t deemed ‘family friendly’ enough.

“So Raven, what’s your family like?” Aria chimed in, both because she wanted to get a conversation going before Sonata started another embarrassing story and because she was curious about Raven’s family.

“Oh, well, I’m an only child so it’s just me and my parents.” Raven answered.

“No siblings, huh? Must be nice.” Aria casually commented, earning her some rather intense glares from both Sonata and Adagio that she simply ignored.

“Not really.” Raven despondently admitted. “Both of my parents are attorneys so they often work long hours, and as a result we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. I always figured if I had a sibling then maybe…maybe I wouldn’t feel so lonely all the time.”

There was a brief moment of uncomfortable silence, as none of the Dazzlings knew how to respond to that.

“But don’t need a sibling anymore, because I have Adagio now.” Raven declared, suddenly happy again, as she leaned her head against Adagio’s shoulder. “As long as I have you, my sweet cheese puff, I’ll never be lonely again.”

“Aww.” Sonata earnestly remarked.

Even though Aria didn’t say anything, she couldn’t help but give a small, sincere smile at the touching scene in front of her. She even resisted the urge the laugh at the fact that Raven had just called Adagio her ‘sweet cheese puff’.

Adagio, however, was less than happy with what was happening, for multiple reasons. One, she still didn’t like being called a ‘cheese puff’, obviously. And two, she didn’t like the direction the date was now heading. She needed to get things back to the way they were a minute ago, but how? How?!

And then Adagio got an idea. She didn’t like the idea that came to her mind, and she knew that it would be a long shot, but it was all she had.

“Oh of course you’ll never be alone again, my sweet little Raven.” Adagio affectionately said as she lifted Raven’s head off her shoulder, and then proceeded to kiss Raven square on the lips.

“Hmm?” Raven uttered as Adagio passionately kissed her.

Although Raven was taken by complete surprise by Adagio’s kiss, she quickly melted into it. She wrapped her arms around Adagio and fervidly returned the kiss, making the already passionate scene even more intense.

“Aww!” Sonata sweetly muttered as she not-creepily-at-all stared at Adagio and Raven’s make out session, the scene reminding her of the times she and Rainbow Dash passionately made out.

“Oh gag me.” Aria remarked as she looked away from the make out session.

Perfect. Adagio thought to herself upon hearing Aria’s comment.

“Is something wrong, Aria?” She innocently asked her sister as she broke the kiss.

“Look, I’m happy that you’re in a loving relationship, sis, but can you please not do…that…in front of us?” Aria reasonably requested, trying not to let on just how uncomfortable she really was at having witnessed such a public display of affection.

“Speak for yourself, Aria.” Sonata casually chimed in. “I don’t mind a little smooching.”

Aria quickly turned towards Sonata, unable to believe that she’d just undermined her like that.

“Okay, first of all, that wasn’t ‘a little’ smooching, Sonata.” Aria inimically countered. “They were going at it so hot and heavy I thought they were going to start having sex right here on the table. And second, you don’t mind that stuff because you’re a pervert.”

“Excuse me?!” Sonata heatedly asked as she suddenly stood up. “I am not a pervert!”

“Uh, yeah, you are!” Aria just as heatedly replied as she too stood up. “When you like watching other people getting intimate that it means you’re a pervert!”

Adagio just looked on as her sisters continued to argue, filling her with delight as her plan got back on track. That is, until she felt a small tap her shoulder.

“Um, should we maybe intervene?” Raven softly asked her girlfriend, worried that Aria and Sonata’s argument may get confrontational.

“Oh don’t worry, they argue like this all the time.” Adagio assured Raven. “It’s best to just stay out of it.”

As much as Raven felt uneasy just letting Aria and Sonata continue arguing, she trusted Adagio’s judgement and didn’t say anything further.

“Well…at least I’m not a liar like you, Aria!” Sonata angrily remarked, trying to find anything she could use against her sister.

“What are you talking about?! I’m not a liar!” Aria irately responded.

“Oh yeah?” Sonata stated with a devilish smile as she turned to face Adagio. “Hey Adagio, did Aria tell you about the emu farm she bought with all our money?”

It was then that something inside Aria snapped, not so much because Sonata had blabbed about the emu farm but because she’d had robbed her of the chance to come clean about it herself, which she had intended to do right after the meeting with Raven.

“WHY YOU LITTLE…!” The pig-tailed Dazzling shouted as she tackled Sonata to the ground, causing Adagio and Raven to spring up from their seats in shock.

“Have to admit, didn’t see that one coming.” Adagio faintly said to herself as she watched her sisters grapple with each other on the kitchen floor, unsure of what to do.

Even though Aria and Sonata had had plenty of fights in the past, this was the first time any of them resulted in physical confrontation. Fortunately though, the fight seemed to only consist of hair-pulling, slapping, and verbal insults, for the time being at least.

At the moment, Aria was on top of Sonata, pulling on her pony-tail while Sonata tried to push her off with her left hand.

“YOU ARE SUCH A BITCH!” She yelled right in Sonata’s face, just before she was successfully pushed off by Sonata’s efforts.

I’M A BITCH?!” Sonata countered as she climbed atop Aria and began pulling her pig-tails. “I’M NOT THE ONE WHO SPENT ALL OUR MONEY AND THEN TRIED TO COVER IT UP!”

“Guys, please stop fighting!” Raven pleaded, desperately wanting the conflict to end.

“I WASN’T COVERING IT UP!” Aria tried to explain through the pain of having her hair pulled, ignoring Raven’s plea. “I WAS JUST TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING TO YOU GUYS!”

“Sonata, Aria, please stop!” Raven once again pleaded, even louder this time.

“OH PLEASE, YOU WERE JUST TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR OWN ASS LIKE ALWAYS!” Sonata replied, so filled with rage that she balled up her right hand into a fist.

“STOP!” Raven shouted as she threw herself onto Sonata just as the girl was about to deliver a punch.


The sound of bone breaking could be heard as Sonata’s elbow made contact with Raven’s nose, sending Raven’s head flying back and into the kitchen table before her whole body fell to the floor. All the Dazzlings could do was look on in horror.

“R-Raven?” Sonata fearfully said as she got off Aria and crawled over to Raven, giving her a small nudge. “Raven?”

Raven didn’t respond.

“Oh fuck, she’s bleeding!” Aria alarmingly pointed out as she got up from the floor, noticing the blood coming out of both Raven’s nose and the back of her head.

“RAVEN?!” Sonata once again said in complete terror as she continued to shake Raven, desperately trying to get her to respond.

“Stop shaking her, she’s hurt!” Aria shouted as she pulled Sonata off of Raven. “We need to call an ambulance!”

“Oh god, oh god, oh god…!” Sonata frantically began repeating as she felt a full-blown panic attack coming on, fearful of just how much she may have inadvertently hurt Raven.

While all this had been happening, Adagio had simply been staring on in complete and utter dread with her hands over her mouth. She found herself frozen by fear, unable to either speak or move.

Adagio, call 911!” She heard a voice calling out to her, though she could barely hear it through all the terrifying thoughts running through her head. “Adagio!”

Adagio managed to break out of her terrified state enough to realize that it was Aria trying to get her attention.

“W-what?” She confusingly asked, as if just coming out of a haze.

“Call 911, damn it!” Aria shouted as she tried to administer first aid to Raven.

“R-Right, 911.” She replied, still in a slightly delirious state, as she pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed.

As she put her phone up to her ear and waited for an answer, Adagio did a quick scan of the room to access the situation. Aria was trying to get Raven’s bleeding under control as best she could and Sonata was sitting on the floor watching Aria with tears flowing down her cheeks and the most horrified expression she’d ever seen. Just before the emergency services operator picked up, she couldn’t help but wonder how her plan had taken such a wrong and terrifying turn.

It had only taken the ambulance about eight minutes to arrive at the apartment after Adagio made the 911 call. When the paramedics asked what had happened Adagio informed them that Raven had simply slipped on the floor, hit her head on the table, and fell flat on her face, hoping to avoid any possible assault charges against Sonata. Once Raven had been stabilized, she was moved into the ambulance and rushed off to Canterlot hospital, which was where the Dazzlings were now waiting.

“Dammit, how much longer until we know something?” Aria irritatingly asked as she paced around the waiting room, upset at the fact that they’d been waiting an hour so far with no word on Raven’s condition.

Neither Adagio nor Sonata gave any response. The two of them just continued to stare off into space like they’d been doing since they’d arrived, lost in their thoughts; Sonata upset about having been the one who hit Raven and Adagio upset at the fact that this was all because of her stupid plan.

“Excuse me.” A young-looking doctor with dark tangelo hair and a folder in his hand said as he approached them. “Are you the girls that came in with Raven Inkwell?”

“Yes!” Sonata declared as she sprung up from her seat and ran up to the doctor with a distressed look on her face. “How is she?!”

The doctor opened the folder in his hand and examined its contents before answering Sonata’s question.

“Well her nose is broken, but that seems to be the worst of it.” He informed them. “There don’t seem to be any indications of a concussion or skull fracture from her head injury, but we’re running a few more tests just to be sure.”

“Oh thank goodness.” Adagio sighed in relief.

“Any chance we can see her?” Aria asked the doctor in an almost pleading manner.

“You can if you’d like, but just know that she’s still unconscious and most likely will be for the next few hours.” The doctor told them as he pointed to a set of doors. “She’s in room 5, just head though there and it’ll be on the left.”

“Thank you, doctor.” Adagio said as she and her sisters made their way towards the set of doors.

“One more thing, girls.” The doctor said before they got too far, causing them to turn back around. “Are any of you related to Ms. Inkwell at all?”

“N-no, we’re just friends.” Adagio quickly answered, before Sonata or Aria had a chance to.

“I see. Then would any of you happen to have a contact number for her parents?” The doctor asked. “Our records seem to be missing that information and we weren’t able to get it from her phone because it was locked.”

All three Dazzling quickly shared glances with one another in a silent, inquiring gesture, even though they were fully aware that none of them knew how to reach Raven’s parents.

“We don’t, but we know someone who might.” Sonata replied aloud. “We’ll let you know if we find it.”

“Alright, thank you.” The doctor said before walking away.

Both Adagio and Aria just stared at Sonata for a few seconds.

“Um, who exactly do we know that would have Raven’s parent’s number?” Aria curiously inquired as the three of them continued towards the set of doors.

“Celestia.” Sonata coolly explained. “I’m guessing the school’s files will have at least one of Raven’s parents listed as an emergency contact, and Celestia’s the only one who can remotely access the student files to find it. We’ll call her after we see Raven, and while we’re at it we should probably tell her that Raven won’t be at school tomorrow.”

There was a brief moment of silence as both Aria and Adagio were surprised by Sonata’s sudden ingenuity.

“Wow, good thinking, Sonata.” Adagio complimented her sister.

“Yeah, good plan.” Aria concurred.

Sonata didn’t say anything in response as the three of them arrived at room 5. They just stood outside the room for a few seconds as they mentally prepared themselves for what they were about to see. Aria was the first to go in, followed by Adagio, then Sonata.

Sure enough, inside the room was an unconscious Raven, lying in a hospital bed with gauze wrapped around her head and some kind of cast taped across her nose. On the whole, she didn’t look too bad, but it still wasn’t a pretty picture.

“R-Raven?” Sonata softly said as she stood over the top left side of the bed.

“She can’t hear you, Sonata. She’s unconscious, remember?” Aria gently reminded her sister.

“I know, but…but…” Sonata tried to say as tears started to form in her eyes. “I…I need to tell her how sorry I am. It’s my fault that she’s here and…and…I need to tell her I’m sorry.”

Unable to hold back her tears, Sonata covered her face as her guilt weighed heavy on her conscience.

“It’s not your fault, Sonata. It’s mine.” Aria said as she embraced her distraught sister, tears of her own now starting to flow down her cheeks. “I’m the one who took our argument too far. I never should have attacked you. If I hadn’t, Raven would’ve never gotten hurt.”

“You’re both wrong.” Adagio very solemnly stated as she took a seat in a chair next to the right side of the bed. “This is entirely my fault.”

Both Aria and Sonata broke their hug and stared at a very dejected Adagio, who was now fighting back tears as well.

“Don’t be silly, Dagi.” Sonata tried to comfort her sister as she made her way around to the other side of the bed. “I know each of us feels like we’re the one that caused this, but this isn’t your fault in any way.”

Once she was close enough, Sonata got down on one knee and placed a comforting hand over Adagio’s left hand.

“Aria and I were the ones who were fighting.” She continued. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You don’t understand. I…I wanted you two to fight.” Adagio began to confess, no longer able to hold back her tears. “This whole date, it’s purpose was to have the two of you scare Raven off.”

“W-what?” Sonata asked as she removed her hand from Adagio’s.

“What the hell are you talking about, Adagio?” Aria crisply inquired, almost accusingly, as she advanced on Adagio. “What do you mean you wanted us to fight?!”

“I didn’t want you to physically fight!” Adagio clarified. “I just wanted you two to argue so much that Raven would leave me alone!”

Both Aria and Sonata were extremely confused. Nothing Adagio was saying made sense to them. Sonata got up from her kneeling position as she tried to figure out what was happening. Aria reached down and grabbed Adagio by the collar with both hands.

“Start. Explaining.” She fiercely demanded through gritted teeth.

It took Adagio a few seconds to steel herself before she began.

“I never agreed to be Raven’s girlfriend.” She started pensively. “After Raven told me about how her boyfriend dumped her she said that she was only going to date girls from now on and asked me if I’d be her girlfriend. I told her no because I’m not into girls, but she didn’t listen. For the rest of the day anytime she saw me she’d blow kisses at me or hug me or any of that other lovey-dovey crap. I kept telling her I wasn’t her girlfriend but it never got through to her.”

It was at this point that Aria decided to let go of Adagio.

“Eventually I knew that the only way to get her to leave me alone would be to scare her away, and that’s when I got an idea.” She continued. “I figured if she spent enough time around you two and your arguing that she wouldn’t want me to be her girlfriend, so that’s when I planned this date. I did everything I could think of to escalate tensions between you two in the hopes that Raven would never want to see any of us ever again.”

Adagio’s explanation only fueled Aria’s anger, so much so that her right hand involuntarily formed into a fist.

“But I swear, I never meant to escalate things to the point of physical violence!” Adagio said as she stared Aria right in the eyes. “I never meant for anyone to get hurt!”

Aria found that she couldn’t contain her anger and rage any longer. She lifted her right arm up and back as she prepared to let Adagio’s have it.


But Sonata beat her to it. Both Aria and Adagio were so focused on each other that neither of them even noticed Sonata until she slapped Adagio across the cheek as hard as she could. Aria lowered her arm as Adagio put a hand to her now aching cheek and looked up at Sonata, who stared back at her with fire and fury in her tear-stained eyes.

Sonata never raised her voice, and that was the worst part. She just stared at Adagio with her soul-piercing, judgmental gaze before silently walking out of the room.

“You’re lucky she did that.” Aria spoke up with quiet fury once Sonata was gone. “I would’ve decked you until all your teeth fell out.”

Adagio didn’t say anything. She just dejectedly stared at the floor as she thought about just how much she’d screwed up this time.

“This shit needs to stop, Adagio.” Aria continued. “All the lies, all the manipulation, it needs to stop. Because if it doesn’t, you’re going to end up all alone; no friends, no sisters, no anyone.”

And with that, Aria walked out of the room as well, leaving Adagio alone with the still unconscious Raven to contemplate her actions.

“Dammit.” She softly uttered as she watched her tears pool up on the floor.

About an hour later, Adagio was still sitting alone in Raven’s room. Neither Aria nor Sonata had come back since leaving and, if she was being honest with herself, that was probably for the best. She realized her sisters needed some space from her right now, and she couldn’t blame them.

“How am I going to make all of this right?” She quietly, and somberly, asked herself, worried about how she was going to make amends with both Raven and her sisters.

No matter how much she thought about it though, she couldn’t think of a good answer. All she could come up with was to apologize as profusely and sincerely as possible, but she had the feeling that just saying ‘sorry’ wouldn’t be enough, not for this.

“You really fucked up this time, Adagio.” She defeatedly told herself as she buried her head in her arms. “You really fucked up this time.”

Just then, she heard a noise coming from the bed.

“Ugh…” Raven softly muttered as she slowly began to regain consciousness. “Ugh…”

“Raven?” Adagio stated in startled amazement as she lifted her head from her arms and sprang up from her seat.

“Ugh…A-Adagio?” Raven asked as she tried to sit up. “W-what happened? W-Where am I?”

“Take it easy.” Adagio instructed her as she gently laid the injured girl back down. “You’re in the hospital. You hit your head and your nose is broken.”

“H-hospital?” Raven said as she noticed the cast on her nose and brought a hand up to the back of her head, only to have it ache at her touch. “Ah!”

“Don’t worry, the doctor said it’s just a bump.” Adagio informed her as she guided Raven’s hand away from her head and back to her side. “There’s no damage to your skull or brain.”

“H-how did I get hurt?” Raven confusingly asked. “I…I don’t remember.”

Adagio bit her lower lip as she contemplated how she was going to answer. She could have easily just told Raven what she’d told the paramedics, that she’d slipped and fell, but that would’ve been another lie, and she now knew what the cost of lies could be.

“You tried to get Aria and Sonata to stop fighting.” She began to explain. “You jumped in to try and separate them when Sonata’s elbow hit you in the nose and sent your head flying into the table. Sonata feels terrible about that by the way.”

Raven remained silent for a few seconds as her memory of the incident slowly started to return.

“Y-yeah, I remember now.” She said as she scanned the room. “Are Aria and Sonata here too?”

“I…I’m not sure.” Adagio dispiritingly replied. “They were here when you were brought in, but they left about an hour ago and haven’t come back since. I don’t know if they’re still around the hospital or not.”

Even in her hazy state, Raven could tell Adagio was withholding crucial information from her.

“What’s going on, Adagio?” She acutely inquired. “Why did Aria and Sonata leave?”

Adagio knew this moment would eventually come. She knew that she was going to have to tell Raven everything.

“It’s a long story.” She austerely stated as she pulled her chair closer to the bed and took a seat. “See, I…”

And then Adagio revealed everything, from the moment she came up with her plan to the moment she confessed to her sisters. By the end, Raven was left with a mixture of emotions, most of them bad.

“I know that what I did was wrong; really, really, wrong.” Adagio grievously said once her story was finished, her head hanging low in despair. “And I don’t expect or deserve your forgiveness, but I am sorry. With all my heart, I’m sorry.”

New tears formed in Adagio’s eyes as she apologized to Raven. She was afraid of what Raven would say or do next, but however awful it might be, she knew she’d deserve it. She prepared herself for whatever hell was to come when, all of a sudden, she felt a gentle pat on her head.

“I’m sorry too.” Raven gingerly apologized.

Adagio, confused out of her mind, quickly brought her head up to see Raven staring at her with a sad smile on her face.

“W-what are you sorry for?” She asked Raven, unable to think of a single reason why she needed to apologize to her.

“For trying to make you be my girlfriend.” Raven clarified as she removed her hand from Adagio’s head. “I told you about how my parents work a lot and how I’d often feel lonely, remember?”

“Y-Yeah.” Adagio confirmed.

“Well, when I got my boyfriend I didn’t feel lonely anymore. In fact, I was the happiest I’d ever been.” Raven went on. “So when he cheated on me and dumped me, I was afraid of being alone again, more afraid than I’d ever been in my life. I was so desperate to find someone else that I didn’t even consider your feelings when I started hounding you about becoming my girlfriend. I just figured that you’d eventually start having feelings for me if I kept pushing hard enough.”

At this point, Raven started to feel tears forming in the corners of her eyes.

“I was so selfish and thoughtless.” She admitted. “And because of that I put you in a position where you had to resort to deceit and manipulation. I’m the one who doesn’t deserve forgiveness.”

The weight of Raven’s guilt finally caused the tears in her eyes to start flowing down her cheeks. She wiped them away from her right eye first, being mindful of the cast on her nose, but before she could wipe them away from her left eye, Adagio grabbed hold of her hand.

“We both made mistakes.” The Dazzling solemnly stated. “And if you can forgive me, I think I can forgive you.”

All of a sudden, and as if by magic, Raven felt the sad smile on her face transform into one of happiness.

“Deal.” She simply replied, causing Adagio to also give a happy smile.

“And you know, you don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend to not feel lonely.” Adagio informed her. “All you really need is a friend.”

“Adagio.” Raven began to say, picking up on what the Dazzling was hinting at. “Will you be my friend?”

“I’d be happy to be your friend, Raven.” Adagio replied as she slightly tightened her hold on Raven’s hand.

The two girls just smiled happily at each other for few moments until they both heard the sound of two sets of footsteps coming into the room. They turned their heads towards the door just as Aria and Sonata entered.

“Raven, you’re awake!” Sonata gaily shouted in relief as she ran up to the left side of the bed. “I am so, so, so sorry I hit you! Can you ever forgive me?!”

“It’s all right, Sonata. It was an accident, I don’t blame you for anything.” Raven assured the distressed Dazzling.

Sonata, in response, simply started crying tears of both joy and sadness. Joy because Raven wasn’t made at her, but sadness too because even though Raven chalked the incident up as an accident she still felt guilty for hitting her.

“What’s been going on here?” Aria quizzically asked, noticing Adagio and Raven holding hands.

“N-nothing.” Adagio embarrassingly replied as she released Raven’s hand.

“Uh-huh.” Aria suspiciously uttered in response.

“Um, were you two able to get ahold of Celestia?” Adagio asked, desperate to change the subject of conversation.

“Yeah, we were.” Sonata callously answered as she wiped her tears away and looked coldly at Adagio. “She was able to give us the number for Raven’s mom and we gave it to the nurse at the desk on our way back.”

“That’s good.” Adagio wistfully remarked as she turned her head to the side, unable to stand the sight of Sonata’s icy-cold stare.

The atmosphere in the room between Adagio and her sisters was so frigid that Raven could have sworn she felt a chill go up her spine. As understandable as their feelings towards each other may have been, she didn’t like seeing them like this.

“Don’t be too mad at Adagio, you guys.” She pleaded to Aria and Sonata. “This is all as much my fault as it is hers.”

Both Aria and Sonata looked at each other in surprise, finding Raven’s words difficult to believe.

“If I hadn’t kept bothering her about being my girlfriend none of this would have happened.” Raven continued. “And I know that that’s no excuse for what she did to you, but she really is sorry and she wants to make amends for everything.”

The sincerity in Raven’s voice was enough to convince Aria and Sonata that what she was saying about Adagio wanting to make amends was true, but they still weren’t sure if they were over their anger enough to begin the healing process just yet.

“Please, just give her a chance to make things right.” Raven beseechingly concluded.

The two Dazzlings looked over to Adagio and saw a genuinely pained expression on her face, one that proved without a doubt that she truly was sorry.

“Give us a minute.” Aria said as she moved towards the hallway, gesturing for Sonata to join her.

Once Aria and Sonata were out in the hall, Adagio gave a small, defeated sigh.

“They aren’t going to forgive me.” She despairingly stated. “I messed up too badly this time.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.” Raven compassionately countered. “They’re your sisters. It may take some time for them to forgive you, but I’m sure they will eventually.”

Adagio simply gave a Raven a warm smile in response.

It wasn’t until about a minute and a half later that Aria and Sonata reentered the room, both with their arms crossed and very stern expressions on their faces.

“Alright, we’ve decided we can forgive you, Adagio.” Aria informed her sister. “But only on three conditions.”

“Name them.” Adagio firmly stated, willing to do whatever it would possibly take to earn her sister’s forgiveness.

“One: No more lying and manipulating.” Aria started off. “And not just with us, with everyone.”

“Done.” Adagio agreed, even though she knew keeping that condition would be extremely difficult for her.

“Two:” Sonata chimed in. “You handle all the motivational speaking at CHS for the next week.”

“Done.” Adagio once again agreed, feeling that that condition would be easier than the first one.

“And three:” Aria began to say as a devilish smile crossed her face. “You have to take Raven out on a real date.”

“What?!” Adagio exclaimed as she jolted up from her seat, caught completely off guard by that last condition.

“Um, that’s really not necessary.” Raven awkwardly stated.

“Maybe not for you.” Aria impishly replied as she turned her attention to Raven. “But it is for us. After all, we’re not the only ones Adagio hurt with this little scheme of hers.”

“That’s right.” Sonata just as impishly concurred. “If Adagio wants to make things right with us, she has to make things right with you too, and that means taking you out on a real date like she was supposed to. We’re talking dinner, a movie, all that romantic stuff.”

As much as Adagio really wanted to make amends with her sisters, she wasn’t too keen on the idea of taking Raven out on a real, and romantic, date, since she wasn’t into girls. She looked over to Raven who simply gave her a shrug that seemed to say, ‘Do we really have a choice?’

“Okay, done.” Adagio conceded. “As soon as Raven’s out of the hospital I’ll take her out on a real date.”

“Good.” Aria remarked as she and Sonata quickly wrapped Adagio in a sisterly hug. “We really didn’t want to stay mad at you.”

“Yeah, we love you, Dagi.” Sonata warmly said. “Even if you can be a big dummy sometimes.”

“I…I love you too, girls.” Adagio replied through fresh tears as she returned the hug. “I’m so, so sorry for everything.”

“We know.” Aria reassuringly informed her sister. “We know.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as the Dazzling hugged and made up. Even Raven found herself shedding a few tears at the heartwarming scene. That is, until she came to startling realization.

“Wait, you said you gave the nurse at the desk my mom’s phone number, didn’t you Sonata?” She inquired.

“Um, yeah?” Sonata answered as all three Dazzlings broke their hug, wondering why Raven was asking her that.

“So, that probably means that she knows I’m in the hospital and is on her way over here right now.” Raven very candidly stated.

“I guess.” Sonata agreed, still wondering where Raven was going with this.

“Okay, you guys should really leave before she gets here.” Raven bluntly told the Dazzlings. “She’s going to have a lot of questions and you don’t want to be around when she starts asking them.”

At first, none of the Dazzlings could figure out what would be so wrong with Raven’s mom asking them some questions. But then they all remembered that she was an attorney and, given that Sonata had technically assaulted Raven, they understood what Raven was getting at.

“Yeah, we should really go.” Sonata said in a very trepid manner.

“Agreed.” Aria stated.

“We’ll see you later, Raven.” Adagio said as all three of them headed for the door.

“Bye, guys.” Raven said as she waved goodbye. “And don’t worry, I won’t say anything about Sonata’s elbow.”

The Dazzlings all remained quite as they made their way through the hospital and towards the exit. The silence was only broken when they reached the parking garage and Sonata felt how cold it was now that it was dark.

“Brr. When did it start getting so cold at night?” She asked as she rubbed her arms for warmth.

“Yeah, we just sort of skipped over fall and went right into winter, didn’t we.” Aria commented as they reached their car.

“Let’s just go home.” Adagio exhaustingly remarked as she opened the front passenger side door. “I need to rethink my life.”

“That’s gotta be the smartest thing you’ve said all day, sis.” Aria playfully said she got in the drivers seat, earning a giggle from Sonata as she got in the seat behind her.

As much as Adagio wanted to make some smart comeback to Aria’s statement, she figured it best to just let it go and simply rolled her eyes in response.

Soon enough, Aria started the car and they were off, weaving through the parking garage towards the exit. As Adagio looked out the window and recapped the day’s events in her head, she couldn’t help but be curious about one that had happened.

“Hey, Aria.” She said as she turned her attention to her sister. “What did Sonata mean earlier when she said you bought an emu farm with all of our money?”

“That’s a story for another time, Adagio.” Aria simply replied as she pulled out of the parking garage and headed home.

Adagio and...Misako and Kyoko?

View Online

“Hraaaaaaaaarrhh.” Adagio Dazzle yawned as she trudged down the sidewalk on her way to CHS. “How to normal people do this every week?”

This was Adagio’s fourth day of her five day stretch serving as Canterlot High’s motivational speaker, and she was feeling it. Normally she didn’t work more than two days in a row on a given week, but as part of her punishment for the whole Raven incident she had to work five days straight, something she’d never done before. At first she thought working five days straight would be easy but, as she was currently finding out, having to get up early and go to work every day was exhausting.

“I swear, there better be some coffee left in the faculty lounge by the time I get there.” She moaned to herself as the school came into view.

“Yo, Adagio!” She heard a voice call out to her from near the Wondercolts statue as she approached the front walk.

Adagio looked over by the statue to see Spitfire giving her a ‘Good Morning’ wave. Happy to see a friendly face, she waved back and headed over towards her friend.

“Hey, Spitfire.” She tiredly greeted back just before feeling another yawn coming on and lifting her hand to her mouth to cover it. “Hraaaaaaaaarrhh.”

“Whoa. No offense, but you look half-dead.” Spitfire casually commented. “You stay up all night watching Kaiju movies again.”

“I wish.” Adagio replied with a bit more energy as she lowered her hand. “No, I’m just tired from having to get up every morning and come here. Seriously, how do you all do it?”

“Just used to it, I guess.” Spitfire answered with a shrug as she and Adagio made their way towards the front entrance. “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you about why Aria and Sonata haven’t been around at all this week. They okay?”

“Yeah, they’re fine.” Adagio confirmed, feeling a twinge of joviality that her friend was showing concern for her sisters. “I just promised them I’d handle all the motivational speaking this week.”

“Well that was certainly kind of you.” Spitfire praised as she opened the door for her.

As Adagio entered the school, her tired expression quickly changed into a despondent one.

“It…wasn’t a gesture of kindness.” She dejectedly admitted once Spitfire was inside as well. “I don’t want to go into many details, but, I did something bad to my sisters, something really bad, and they said they’d forgive me on three conditions.”

As curious as Spitfire was about what Adagio had done to make her sisters give her conditions in order to earn forgiveness, she didn’t want to pry. This was obviously a story she wasn’t ready to share with anyone yet.

“I see.” She simply replied. “And coming here everyday this week was one of those conditions?”

“Uh-huh.” Adagio morosely said as memories of the incident involving Raven came flooding into her mind. “The others were that I had to stop lying to and manipulating people and…um…actually, I’d rather not say what the last condition was.”

“I understand.” Spitfire sympathetically told her friend just as they arrived at her locker. “You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind getting a few things off my chest.” Adagio confessed as she leaned against the locker adjacent to Spitfire’s, feeling a tad guilty that she was essentially asking her friend to act as her therapist. “If you don’t mind listening to me ramble on about my problems, that is.”

“Hey, that’s what friends are for, right?” Spitfire rhetorically asked, as though the request were no big deal. “I’m all ears.”

Adagio couldn’t help but feel a smile form on her face as she wondered what she’d done to deserve such a great friend.

“The thing is, I don’t know if I can keep my promise about not lying to and manipulating people.” She solemnly began. “I want to keep it, believe me, after everything that happened last weekend I really want to keep that promise, but I don’t know if I can.”

“How come?” Spitfire inquired.

“Because I’ve been lying and manipulating my whole life.” Adagio somberly answered. “Ever since I was a little siren back in Equestria, and because of that it feels like I’ll always be a liar and a manipulator, no matter how hard I may try to change.”

Spitfire listened intently as Adagio confided in her, feeling a sense of sympathy for her friend. As she listened, she was reminded of when she first met Adagio, back when she was worried about no longer being a soccer player once she left CHS. She knew Adagio’s current woes weren’t quite the same as hers had been, but she could tell Adagio was feeling the same sense of existential dread that she’d felt.

“That’s some heavy stuff.” She affirmed as she removed some books from her locker.

“Yeah.” Adagio staidly agreed. “It’s times like this that I miss the simpler days of just swimming around the oceans of Equestria.”

“Adagio!” A voice suddenly called out to her from just down the hall.

Both Adagio and Spitfire turned their attention to the direction the voice came from to see Principal Celestia quickly approaching them, looking surprisingly frazzled.

“I’m so glad I found you.” The principal relieving said as she caught her breathe. “I’m sorry to interrupt you’re conversation but I need to your help on an urgent matter, right now.”

Adagio’s mind started reeling. She wondered what could possibly have someone like Celestia so worse-for-wear and, more importantly, why she needed her help with it.

“Um, alright.” She simply stated, unsure of what else to say.

“Oh thank you.” Celestia gratefully said as she turned around and began walking away. “Please follow me to my office.”

“Um, I guess I’ll see you later, Spitfire.” Adagio told her friend as she began following Celestia.

“Yep. Later, Adagio.” Spitfire called out to her.

So much for my coffee. Adagio begrudgingly thought to herself as she proceeded towards Celestia’s office.

“My apologizes again for interrupting your conversation with Spitfire.” Celestia said once she and Adagio were inside her office. “But you’re the only person I can count on for this task and I don’t have much time to explain things.”

“O-kay.” Adagio replied, doing her best Bull Shannon impression, as her curiosity about what was happening continued to grow.

“Basically, we have two new transfer students starting today and I need you to show them around.” Celestia explained as she took a seat behind her desk.

“That’s it?” Adagio deadpanned as she took a seat in front of the desk. “That’s the task you can only count on me for? What about Sunset?”

Did she just up and quite being the school tour guide after dealing with us? She silently asked.

“As much as I trust Sunset, I’m afraid I can’t rely on her for this.” Celestia very sternly stated as she pulled a file out of her top right desk drawer. “Not with these students.”

Adagio’s curiosity was once again peaked as Celestia handed her the file. She opened it to see a dossier on either side of the file, complete with pictures. The picture on the left showed a girl with short black hair with a red X-shaped ribbon on one of her bangs, fusion pink eyes, and a very hot-blooded expression, apparently named Misako. The picture on the right showed a girl with salmon colored hair done up in a ponytail with a red bow, blue eyes, and a much bubblier expression, apparently named Kyoko.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think these two were Aria and Sonata’s twins. She thought to herself, noticing more than a few similarities between Misako and Kyoko and her sisters as she read through the file.

As she continued perusing through all the information on Misako and Kyoko, Adagio didn’t seem to find anything out of the ordinary. They both appeared to just be normal high school girls, which meant that Celestia knew something that wasn’t in the file.

“They seem pretty normal to me.” She commented as she handed the file back, trying to lead Celestia into revealing what she knew.

“It may seem that way from the file, yes.” Celestia admitted as she returned the file to the drawer that it’d come from. “But what isn’t in the file, and what’s perhaps the most troubling piece of information, are the circumstances surrounding their transfer here.”

“Go on.” Adagio curiously remarked.

“You see, they…” Celestia began to say just before a knock was heard on her door.

“Sister, the new students are here.” Vice Principal Luna said as she poked her head inside.

Celestia gave Adagio a glance before replying to Luna, one that seemed to suggest she was apologizing for something.

“Alright, please send them in, Luna.” She answered as she stood up from her seat and walked around to the front of the desk.

Adagio followed suit and stood up just as the two girls from the file entered the room.

Misako was dressed in a white button shirt with a red necktie, black shorts, green over the knee socks with two white stripes on the top, and pink sneakers. To top it all off, she also wore a pink heart-shaped backpack. Kyoko also wore a white button shirt with a red necktie, but she had a mini skirt as well as a blue and white letterman jacket, white knee high socks with two black stripes at the top, and blue sneakers. She didn’t have a backpack but, strangely enough, she had a single sword-shaped earring on her right ear.

“You must be Misako and Kyoko. Welcome to Canterlot High School.” Celestia warmly greeted them. “I’m Principal Celestia and this is Adagio Dazzle, one of our motivational speakers.”

Both Misako and Kyoko looked over at Adagio with puzzled expressions as soon as Celestia introduced her.

“Motivational speakers?” Kyoko confusingly stated. “I didn’t know schools had those.”

“This place is probably too cash-strapped to afford counselors, so they use motivational speakers instead.” Misako nonchalantly remarked in response.

Adagio couldn’t help but briefly contemplate Misako’s statement. She’d often wondered herself why CHS was the only school that seemed to employee motivational speakers, and as she thought back to all the faculty and staff meetings she’d attended since being hired she never remembered meeting anyone with the title of ‘Counselor’.

“Oh, that makes sense.” Kyoko animadverted.

“Yes, well, we’ve very happy to have you both here at CHS.” Celestia chimed in, trying to keep things on track. “I have to head off to a meeting now, but Adagio will give you both a tour of the school and answer any questions you may have.”

“Okay.” Misako replied, sounding completely indifferent.

“What she said.” Kyoko concurred, but more cheerfully, as she nudged her head in the direction of Misako.

“Well then I’ll leave you girls to it.” Celestia replied as she headed out the door, at a faster pace than usual. “And again, welcome to CHS.”

As Adagio watched Celestia leave in what could only be described as ‘in a hurry’, she started to get the feeling she had just been thrown to the wolves…wolves named Misako and Kyoko. She gave silent, internal sigh as she prepared herself for whatever was to come.

“Welp, we might as well get the tour started.” She plainly stated as she headed for the door. “Follow me.”

“Um, Miss Adagio.” Kyoko spoke up before Adagio even reached the threshold. “I have a question.”

“Just Adagio is fine.” The Dazzling replied as she stopped and addressed Kyoko. “What is it?”

“I was just wondering how come you’re a motivational speaker.” Kyoko inquired. “You look more like a student than a faculty member.”

“Yeah, I was kinda wondering that too.” Misako spoke up.

“It’s a long story.” Adagio admitted with an enervated sigh. “I’ll tell you while we’re on the tour.”

“…and so now my sisters and I take turns serving as motivational speakers at this school.” Adagio concluded as she, Misako, and Kyoko ascended one of the stairwells to the second floor.

For the last ten minutes, Adagio had been regaling Misako and Kyoko with the story of how she ended up as a motivational speaker at CHS, everything from the time her and her sisters were banished to this world up until Sunset helped get them their jobs. By the end she’d expected the two new girls to be in awe and shock, what with revealing the existence of magic and all, but much to her surprise they seemed almost entirely unphased.

“Damn, that’s a pretty intense backstory you've got there.” Misako commented.

“Totes.” Kyoko agreed, though with the slightest hint of hesitation in her voice. “So…are you and those Rainboom girls still magic?”

“My sister’s and I aren’t, but the Rainboom are.” Adagio disdainfully answered.

“Eep!” Kyoko uttered as she suddenly dawned a thousand yard stare. “I really hope we don’t run into them!”

Adagio started to get a little worried about Kyoko, who now looked like she was having a ‘Nam flashback.

“Um, is she okay?” She asked Misako.

“Yeah, she’s just not big on magic ever since we fought Yamada.” Misako explained.

“Who’s Yamada?” Adagio inquired, curious about whether there were other magic-wielders in this world other than the Rainbooms.

“Some creep we beat up on a rooftop.” Misako nonchalantly replied. “He tried to use some magic crap on us and Kyoko got a little spooked by it.”

“Seriously, I can’t even watch horror movies.” Kyoko timidly chimed in, apparently no longer having her ‘Nam flashback.

There were so many questions Adagio wanted to ask after hearing Misako’s explanation that she didn’t even know where to start. Was Yamada’s magic real? Why did they beat him up? Why on a rooftop?

“Why did you beat him up?” She decided to ask first.

“We thought he kidnapped our boyfriends.” Misako replied.

“We beat up a lot of people because of that.” Kyoko added.

“Yeah we did.” Misako proudly stated. “We beat up a cosplaying fashionista, a rock star, even a yakuza boss at the end.”

“Wait, didn’t we beat up Hasebe and Mami at the end?” Kyoko confusingly asked.

“You’re thinking of the secret ending, Kyoko. That doesn’t apply here.” Misako corrected her friend.

“Oh, okay.” Kyoko cheerfully declared.

At this point, Adagio was completely lost. Even though she now had many, many more questions she wanted to ask, she decided it best not to ask them, lest she wind up with the mother of all headaches.

“Let’s just get back to the tour.” She plainly said as she began walking down the hallway, followed closely by Misako and Kyoko.

It couldn’t have been more than five seconds later when the bell rang and countless students began flooding the hall.

“Oh perfect.” Adagio sarcastically commented as she began weaving her way through the now crowded hallway.

“Watch it, perv!” She heard Misako shout from behind her.

Adagio turned around and to see Misako staring at a startled Bilk Biceps with what had to be the most pissed off expression she’d ever seen.

“W-what?” Bulk anxiously stated, clearly confused as to what was happening.

“Don’t play dumb with me, you musclebound meathead!” Misako hollered as she poked Bulk’s chest with her finger. “I felt that big ole hand of yours graze my chest!”

“W-w-what?!” Bulk even more anxiously stated as he took a step back. “I-I didn’t touch your chest, honest.”

By now most of the students in the hall were watching the scene between Misako and Bulk unfold. Adagio knew she had to do something to defuse the situation, and soon, but she didn’t know what. Actually, she did have a few ideas, but they all ran the risk of Misako’s fury being turned onto herself.

“You callin’ my friend a liar?” Kyoko accusingly chimed in, getting too close to Bulk for his comfort.

“N-no.” Bulk nervously replied as he felt a cold sweat start to come over him. “I-I just meant that…”

“Oh we know exactly what you meant!” Misako interrupted as she palmed her fist. “And now we’re going to show you what we mean!”

“Yeah!” Kyoko agreed before she looked at Misako with a confused expression. “What are we doing?”

“We’re kicking this creep’s ass!” Misako explained.

“Okay that's it!” Adagio very sternly shouted as she quickly grabbed both Misako and Kyoko’s hands and started dragging them behind her down the hall, no longer caring if she became the target of their rage. “You're not kicking anyone's ass!”

Despite still really wanting to kick Bulk’s ass, neither Misako nor Kyoko fought back against Adagio’s hold on them. They simply let her drag them away as they continued staring down Bulk.

“Touch me again and I’ll slam your thick head through one of these lockers!” Misako shouted back at Bulk just before turning a corner.

The conflict now over, most of the students that had been watching went back about their business. Bulk, however, found himself frozen in place as he tried to process what had just happened. Sensing his distress, Derpy Hooves silently came up to him and gently patted him on the back.

“What the hell is wrong with you two?!” Adagio heatedly asked Misako and Kyoko once she’d dragged them into her office.

“Hey, that creep tried to get fresh with me! He deserved a beat down!” Misako just as heatedly replied.

“Totes.” Kyoko more levelheadedly agreed with a disgusted look on her face. “That guy reminded me of Abobo. Eww.”

Adagio gave a very audible groan as she took her seat behind her desk, feeling extremely tempted to take out the bottle of whiskey in the desk.

“I don’t know who Abobo is, but I can assure you that that ‘creep’ is one of the nicest guys at this school.” She onerously informed Misako and Kyoko, resisting the urge to drown her current woes in alcohol. “And I can assure you that if he touched your chest it was entirely by accident.”

Both Misako and Kyoko looked at each other with quizzical expressions. The thought of the whole thing being an accident never even occurred to them.

“If it was an accident then why didn’t he just apologize?” Misako inquired, indulging Adagio’s claim but clearly still believing otherwise.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because you THREATENED HIM before he could explain things?!” Adagio ‘theorized’.

“We do have a history of beating people up because we jumped to conclusions, Misako.” Kyoko admitted, suggesting that maybe they had been wrong about Bulk. “And we did interrupt him before he could explain things.”

Misako contemplated Adagio and Kyoko’s words as she took a seat in front of Adagio’s desk and put her feet up.

“Okay, maybe it was just an accident.” She indifferently conceded. “Whatever.”

Celestia above, she’s worse than Aria. Adagio thought to herself as she glared at Misako’s feet, not too happy that the girl was using her desk as an ottoman.

Just then, a dainty knock was heard on the office door, which was still open, gaining the attention of all three girls.

“Oh, um, so sorry to interrupt, darling.” Rarity addressed Adagio from the threshold. “I didn’t realize you were busy, I’ll come back later.”

“Rarity, wait!” Adagio shouted as Rarity began walking away, getting up from her seat and rushing over to the door.

“Yes, darling?” Rarity inquired, curious as to why Adagio had asked her to wait.

“I want you to meet a couple of new students.” The Dazzling explained once she’d reached the door, grabbing a hold of Rarity’s hand and leading her inside. “I think you’ll like them.”

Adagio, in fact, didn’t think Rarity would like Misako and Kyoko, but she didn’t care. She just wanted Rarity to distract the two new girls long enough for her to catch her breathe from all the craziness they’d brought on her so far. Some might have viewed what she was doing as manipulating Rarity, which would have meant she was breaking one of her promises to her sisters, but that wasn’t how she saw it. No, she simply saw it as…spreading the magic of friendship.

“Oh, well, certainly.” Rarity awkwardly replied as she was more-or-less dragged into the room. “I…always enjoy making new friends.”

As Adagio brought Rarity closer to them, Misako and Kyoko looked upon her with curiosity, Kyoko especially so.

“Misako, Kyoko, this is Rarity.” Adagio introduced the girl.

“Sup.” Misako simply said as she got up from her seat.

“Hi.” Kyoko rather plainly, and uncharacteristically, greeted Rarity as she continued to stare intently at her.

“Pleased to meet you both.” Rarity warmly stated with a friendly smile as she couldn’t help but take note of Misako and Kyoko’s outfits. “I simply love what you're both wearing, very traditional high school student chique. Where did you get them?”

“I found this at a bus stop.” Misako boastfully answered, as if she were proud of that fact.

“Oh, that’s…um…nice.” Rarity unadroitly responded, not sure what else she could say.

Just then, Kyoko suddenly jumped slightly backwards and pointed an accusing finger right at Rarity, startling both Rarity and Adagio. Misako, on the other hand, seemed completely unphased.

“I knew you seemed familiar!” She shouted. “You’re Hibari, aren’t you?!”

Adagio just facepalmed as Rarity could only stare at Kyoko with stunned confusion.

“Beg your pardon, darling?” She managed to ask.

“What are you talking about, Kyoko?” Misako coolly asked to her friend. “She’s clearly not Hibari.”

“Oh come on, Misako, she totally is.” Kyoko pleadingly insisted. “Think about it; she has the same pale complexion as Hibari, the same vocal inflections as Hibari, she’s a fashionista like Hibari…”

As Misako listened to Kyoko’s argument, she did start to see a few parallels between Rarity and Hibari. Still though, she wasn’t convinced that the girl in front of her actually was Hibari.

“…and we never saw what she looked like without all that creepy spider cosplay on.” Kyoko finished by whispering into her ear.

And that final little fact was what convinced Misako that the girl in front of her could be Hibari.

“Okay, say she is Hibari.” She said to Kyoko. “Why would she be here?”

“Revenge?” Kyoko speculated. “We did beat her up after all.”

“Do you understand what they’re talking about?” Rarity whispered to Adagio, confused out of her mind. “Who is this Hibari?”

“No idea.” Adagio exhaustingly answered as she lowered her hand from her face. “I haven’t understood half of anything they’ve said all day.”

Without warning, Misako got right up in Rarity’s face and gave her a hostile stare, causing Rarity to give a small ‘Eep’.

“Alright, spill it. This that you, Hibari?” She plainly asked.

Rarity desperately tried to say something, anything, that would convince Misako and Kyoko that she wasn’t this Hibari person, but she was too frozen with fear to utter a single word.

“She’s not Hibari.” Adagio groaned as she took Misako by the shoulders and guided her away from Rarity’s personal space. “I don’t even know who that is but I can assure you Rarity isn’t her. Rarity’s been a student here for years.”

Both Misako and Kyoko still continued to stare at Rarity suspiciously, but decided to take Adagio’s word for it that she wasn’t Hibari.

“If you say so.” Kyoko dismissively remarked.

“Yeah.” Misako agreed. “Now that I think about it, she seems too tall to be Hibari anyways.”

“Um, well, it was nice meeting you both.” Rarity anxiously said as she slowly backed up towards the door. “But I really must be going now.”

And with that, Rarity dashed out of the room like a lightning bolt, once again leaving Adagio alone with Misako and Kyoko

“So, what’s next on the tour?” Kyoko nonchalantly asked her, as though what had just gone down with Rarity hadn’t happened.

Adagio, in response, simply headed for the door.

“Lunch.” She impassively answered on her way out.

If Adagio had looked half-dead when she’d first arrived at school this morning, than she must have looked fully-dead by now. Having to deal with Misako and Kyoko was pushing her to both her physical and mental limits. Frankly, she thought if she made it through to the end of the day it’d be some kind of miracle.

Right now all three of them were peacefully sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch, though Adagio had a feeling that Misako and Kyoko would find some way to cause a commotion soon enough.

“This food isn’t that bad.” Kyoko commented as she ate her salad.

“Yeah, I just wish they had some meat.” Misako remarked as she just sort of picked at hers.

“Yo, Adagio!” A voice called out to them from a few feet away.

All three girls looked in the direction the voice came from and saw Spitfire approaching their table with her own lunch in hand.

“Oh, hey, Spitfire.” Adagio tiredly greeted her friend.

“Damn, you look even worse than you did this morning.” Spitfire observed as she took a seat next to Adagio.

“It’s been one of those mornings.” Adagio simply replied, even though she felt that describing her morning as ‘one of those’ was a gross understatement.

Spitfire decided not in inquire about her friend’s obviously rough morning, and instead decided to address Misako and Kyoko.

“You must be the new girls I’ve heard about. I’m Spitfire, captain of the soccer team.” She introduced herself.

“Soccer, huh?” Misako spoke up with a bit more energy in her voice than usual. “I actually used to be the manager of my school’s soccer club…I think.”

“Your memory’s pretty bad, huh, Misako?” Kyoko chimed in.

“Well I get hit a lot.” Misako explained, the slightest hint of irritation in her voice. “Plus our franchise goes through more reboots and retcons than Halloween.”

“True enough on both accounts.” Kyoko casually replied as she took another bite of salad.

Spitfire couldn’t help but give a confused expression as she tried to figure out what Misako and Kyoko were talking about. She looked over to Adagio, who was now holding her head up by her hand, and was about to ask her what was going on.

“Don’t ask me what they’re talking about, I have no idea.” Adagio deadpanned, clearly know what she was going to ask even before she asked it.

“Well, um, if you like soccer you should try out for the team.” Spitfire said as she returned her attention to Misako and Kyoko. “We’re always looking for new players.”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” Misako declined the offer. “We’re not sticking around here.”

All of a sudden, Adagio’s head sprang up from her hand upon hearing Misako’s remark.

“What do you mean you’re ‘not sticking around here’?” She quizzically asked.

“Exactly that, we’re not sticking around here.” Misako clarified, more or less.

“Yeah, we have to get back to River City to be with Riki and Kunio.” Kyoko added, clarifying things a little better.

“But you just transferred here.” Adagio confusingly stated.

Misako and Kyoko both looked at each other as they came to realize that Adagio had been left in the dark regarding some important details about their transfer to CHS.

“Um, did no one tell you how we ended up here?” Kyoko inquired.

Adagio simply shook her head in response.

“You want the long version or the short version?” Misako asked her.

“Short version.” Adagio answered, figuring she didn’t need all the details of Misako and Kyoko’s story.

“Okay.” Misako replied with a shrug as she leaned back in her chair. “The short version is that we got kicked out of River City and this was the only school that would take us.”

Had Adagio heard Misako correctly? She and Kyoko had been kicked out of an entire city?

“I think I’m going to need the long version.” The Dazzling informed them.

“I figured.” Misako smugly said as she prepared to give the long version of her and Kyoko’s story. “So remember when we said we beat up a lot of people because we thought they’d kidnapped our boyfriends?”

“Yeah.” Adagio answered.

“Well, turns out we caused a lot of property damage while we were doing that.” Misako explained.

“About $1.3 million worth of property damage to be exact.” Kyoko interjected.

“Right.” Misako continued. “So anyways, were given three choices by the mayor when it was all over; pay for the damages, go to jail, or get kicked out of River City.”

Huh? Adagio thought to herself in total disbelief.

“Since we didn’t have enough money to pay for the damages and we’re both to cute for jail, we choose getting kick out.” Kyoko concluded the story.

Adagio was speechless, absolutely speechless. She couldn’t believe that two high school girls with no magic had managed to cause so much trouble that they got kicked out of a city. Surprisingly though, the one thing she had the most trouble believing was that Celestia had agreed to admit them knowing all this information.

“So wait.” Spitfire, who’d just been listening the whole time, chimed in. “If you were kicked out of River City why are you saying you’re going back there?”

“Like we said, that’s where Riki and Kunio are.” Kyoko answered.

“Yeah, it doesn’t matter that we got kicked out of River City.” Misako added with a fiery passion just before dramatically getting up from her seat. “You can’t silence love!”

“Yeah, what she said!” Kyoko exclaimed as she too stood up dramatically, pumping a fist into the air.

“Sit. Down.” Adagio quietly, but infuriatedly, told them.

“What was that?” Kyoko innocently inquired, not having heard Adagio because of how quietly she’d spoken.

“I said, SIT DOWN!!!” Adagio exploded as she violently stood up and slammed her open palms against the table, causing the whole cafeteria to go silent for a few seconds.

Misako and Kyoko couldn’t help but flinch at Adagio’s outburst. Despite how tough they were, they somehow felt unnerved by Adagio yelling at them so…intensely. Rather than try and pick a fight, they decided to just do what she said and silently sat back down.

“You two are unbelievable.” Adagio sharply started saying through gritted teeth. “You make me put up with your crap all morning and now you say that you’re not even going to be attending this school because you intend to back to the place you were banished from, just to get your boyfriends back?”

“Pretty much.” Kyoko spoke up.

“Thought we made that clear.” Misako added.

Adagio took a few deep, calming breathes before she sat back down.

“I’m going to give you two a little piece of advice.” She very sternly informed Misako and Kyoko. “Whether you choose to listen to it or not I don’t give a damn, but I’m going to give it to you all the same.”

“Well don’t just drawl on about it.” Misako remarked, sounding a tad annoyed. “Lay it on us already.”

“Fine then.” Adagio replied as she took one last deep breathe. “You two need to move on. You need to accept the fact that you don’t have your boyfriends anymore, that you’re not in River City anymore, and, most importantly, that you don’t have to beat people up anymore.”

It was clear from the surprised expressions on Misako and Kyoko’s faces that they hadn’t expected Adagio to tell them that.

“I know what you’ve both been through.” Adagio continued. “I lost my home too, I lost the magic I cared more about than anything, so believe me when I say that the best thing you can do is just move on. Stop focusing so much on the past and focus on what you want to do with the future and who you want to be in it.”

There was a brief moment of silence after Adagio finished.

“Gotta admit, that was some good advice.” Misako eventually spoke up.

“For realizes.” Kyoko concurred. “You’re really good at your job, Adagio.”

“Thank you.” Adagio said as she gave a small sigh of relief, happy that her words seemed to get through to both of them.

“Too bad we can’t follow it.” Misako said as she and Kyoko got up from their seats and started walking away.

“Wait, where are you two going?” Adagio frantically asked them before they got too far, confused why they apparently couldn’t follow what they themselves admitted was good advice.

“Back to River City, duh.” Kyoko answered as she and Misako turned back around.

“But…I…you…” Adagio began to ramble, unable to find the words to express her confusion.

“Look, we’re the River City girls, not the Canterlot City girls.” Misako began to explain. “And no matter how good your advice was, that ain’t changing. So later.”

“Bye.” Kyoko cheerfully said as she and Misako continued towards the exit.

Once Misako and Kyoko were gone, Adagio couldn’t help but let her head fall onto the table with a loud thud, brought on by her exhaustion and confusion. The impact hurt a bit, but she didn’t care.

“What the hell just happened?” She said into the table.

“In terms of those two, no idea.” Spitfire replied. “In terms of you though, you gave some pretty kick ass advice, some you should follow yourself.”

“What are you talking about?” Adagio asked her friend, without lifting her head from the table.

Before she explained what she meant, Spitfire started patting Adagio on the shoulder in a sign of support for her wary friend.

“This morning you were going on about how you’ve always been a liar and a manipulator and how you didn’t think you could change.” She said. “But just now you told Misako and Kyoko to stop focusing on the past and focus on the future and who they want to be in it. If you can do that, I’m sure you can change if you really want to.”

Adagio didn’t reply right away, which worried Spitfire a bit. She couldn’t see Adagio’s face through her massive hair so she feared that maybe her friend might’ve passed out or something.

“Spitfire.” Adagio eventually said, her head still on the table. “Although I may not be able to fully express it right now, I want you to know that I think that you’re absolutely right and that you’re a really good friend.”

“Yeah, I’m awesome like that.” Spitfire humbly replied.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Adagio said as she finally lifted her head off the table and stood up.

“And go where, exactly?” Spitfire inquired as she followed suit and stood up as well.

“To my office.” Adagio simply relied. “I need some booze after dealing with Misako and Kyoko all morning.”

Aria and Photo Finish

View Online

“Okay, I just played the king of diamonds, so what does that mean for you?” Aria Blaze asked Scootaloo from behind her desk.

“It means…I have three chances to play a face card or an ace?” Scootaloo half-stated, half-asked in reply from in front of Aria’s desk.

“Right.” Aria said with a small smile on her face.

Aria was currently on her lunch break, playing a game of cards with Scootaloo. Ever since she’d agreed to be Scootaloo’s other big sister, the young girl had started dropping by every once and awhile to hang out with her at lunchtime.

Most of the time they either just talked or watched something on Scootaloo’s phone, but today Aria wanted to do something different. Today, she was teaching Scootaloo how to play her favorite card game, Egyptian Rat Screw. It was a game she didn’t get to play often because Adagio didn’t care much for card games and Sonata…never really got the hang of it, so she was really hoping it could be something she and Scootaloo could do together. Much to her delight, Scootaloo did seem to like it and was learning the rules fairly quickly.

“Okay, here I go.” Scootaloo stated with razor-sharp focus as she prepared to play her next card.

Eight of clubs.

“Dang.” Scootaloo said as she flipped over another card.

Three of spades.

“Ugh.” Scootaloo grumbled, causing Aria to give a small giggle.

“Only one more chance, kid.” The Dazzling playfully remarked.

Knowing full-well what it would mean if she didn’t draw an ace or face card, Scootaloo stared very intensely at her stack as she placed her hand over it.

“Heart of the cards, GUIDE ME!” She exclaimed as she dramatically flipped her next card and placed it in the middle.

Ten of hearts.

“Why did I think saying that would make any difference?” Scootaloo dejectedly asked herself.

“Tough luck, Scoots.” Aria priggishly said as she took the nine cards from the middle and added them to her stack, bringing the number of cards she now held up to 42.

As Scootaloo watched Aria add to her stack, she looked down at her own stack, now only ten cards, and quickly shook off her dejected mood and put on a gallant face.

“This game isn’t over yet, Aria.” She began to say with no shortage of confidence, and a bit of cockiness, in her voice. “Just wait, I’ve still got ten killer cards and that’s all I need to win!”

That’s what Aria loved most about Scootaloo; she was a fighter. She never backed down, never gave up hope, and never surrendered, no matter the odds.

“Alright then.” Aria blithely replied as she flipped over the card at the top of her stack, the five of spades, and placed it in the middle. “Let’s see what you got.”

Just as Scootaloo was about to flip over her next card, the door to the office flew open, gaining both hers and Aria’s attention.

“I, PHOTO FINISH, HAVE ARRIVED!” Photo Finish grandiosely proclaimed as she entered the room, carrying a messenger bag over her right shoulder.

“Why do I always get the loud ones?” Aria rhetorically asked as she started gathering up the playing cards, knowing that the game was over.

“Hey, Photo Finish.” Scootaloo amicably greeted the Photography Club president.

“Be gone, young one.” Photo Finish replied in a very stern voice, made all the sterner by her accent. “You do noz vanz zo bear vizness zo zhe shame zhat iz abouz zo befall zhis room.”

Feeling a mixture of confusion and dread, Scootaloo did as Photo Finish said and started to leave the room.

“S-see you later, Aria.” She hollered to her big sister just as she crossed the threshold.

“Scootaloo, wait!” Aria hollered back, but it was too late, Scootaloo was already gone.

Once she realized Scootaloo wasn’t coming back, Aria shot Photo Finish a rather nasty glare.

“Couple of things, Photo Finish.” She irritably addressed the glasses-clad girl. “First; please don’t kick people out of my office. And second; whatever this is about, did you have to phrase it like that? Scootaloo’s probably thinking you and I are about to…you know.”

“My apologies.” Photo Finish sincerely stated as she took a seat. “Buz zhis iz very difficulz for me zo admiz, und I do noz vant anyone else zo know abouz iz. I have noz even said anyzhing to Pixel Pizzaz or Violez Blurr yez.”

Aria could tell that whatever was bothering Photo Finish, it must really bothering her if she felt she couldn’t confide in her friends Pixel and Violet. She ceased glaring at the girl and regained her usual composure.

“Well whatever it is, I can assure you it will be held in the strictest of confidence.” She very professionally replied, sounding almost like Vice Principal Luna.

A small smile crossed Photo Finish’s face after hearing that. She felt a little more at ease knowing that Aria would keep things between just the two of them.

“I…I have…” She began to say, still finding it a tad difficult to admit what was troubling her.

“It’s okay, Photo.” Aria gently assured her. “I promise I won’t be judgmental or anything.”

Photo Finish took a long deep breathe before trying again.

“I have lost…da magiks.” She bombastically revealed.

It took all of Aria’s self-control to not facepalm. She knew full-well what Photo Finish meant by ‘losing da magiks’, but she couldn’t believe that that was what had her so bothered. The first reply that came to her mind was, ‘Welcome to the club, sister.’, since she knew a thing or two about losing ‘magiks’. However, she had promised not to be judgmental or anything, so she figured a smart-ass comment like that was a bad idea.

“So how did you lose ‘da magiks’?” She said instead, trying to stay focused on helping Photo.

“I am noz sure, buz zake a look az zhese.” Photo Finish said as she reached into her bag and pulled out three photographs, handing them to Aria.

One of the photographs was of Rainbow Dash scoring a goal during a recent soccer game, another was of some snow gently falling onto a flower, and the last one was an overhead view of Canterlot City taken just as the sun was setting. All three of them were stunning, at least to Aria.

“Damn, Photo, these are really good.” She said as she continued to look at them with a sense of amazement.

“Are you dafz!?” Photo Finish exclaimed as she dramatically stood up and snatched the photos from Aria’s hand. “Zhese are zerrible, disgraceful, shameful!”

Granted Aria didn’t know as much about photography as Photo Finish, but she failed to see how anyone could consider those pictures terrible, disgraceful, or shameful.

“Why do you think that?” She asked, both because she wanted to get to the root of Photo Finish’s troubles and because of personal curiosity.

“Ugh, zhere is no szyle, no subszance!” Photo Finish heatedly began to explain as she threw the photos down on Aria’s desk. “Zhese have no soul!”

Aria still didn’t understand.

“Okay, well, how do you get them to have more style, or soul, or whatever?” She inquired, trying to be helpful despite her confusion.

“I havea zheory; I musz find somezhing zhaz I have never phozographed before.” Photo Finish began to explain. “Somezhing beuziful, somezhing graceful, somezhing vundabar! Only zhen vill I once again find…da magiks!”

At this point, Aria wasn’t sure how much help she could be to Photo Finish. She was definitely more of a left-brained person, so artistic and creative things didn’t come all that naturally to her. That, and she knew Photo Finish had taken many, many photographs over the years of many, many different things. Finding something she’d never photographed before would certainly be a difficult challenge.

It’s going to take a miracle for me to be able to help this girl. She semi-defeatedly thought to herself as Photo Finish once again took a seat.

Just then, Aria’s cellphone started ringing in her pocket. The Dazzling took her phone out and looked at the number on the screen. There was no name under it, but she did recognize the number. In fact, she’d been expecting a call from it.

“Sorry, Photo , I need to take this.” She said as she got up from her seat.

Photo Finish simply nodded her head in understanding as Aria made her way over to the other end of the room for a little privacy.

“Hello?” Aria answered the phone. “This is she…Yes, that’s right…Really?...No, no, today is fine…5:30…Okay, thank you...Bye.”

As Aria hung up the phone she let out a very audible sigh, which caught the attention of Photo Finish. Despite how difficult it usually was to pick up on Photo’s expression because of her glasses, she could tell that the girl was curious by her single raised eyebrow. Either that or she was silently judging her.

“Hehe, sorry about that.” She embarrassingly apologized as she made her way back over to her desk. “I’ve just been waiting for that call about getting my emus moved.”

“Emus?” Photo Finish replied, sounding more intrigued than confused.

Just as Aria was about to sit back down, she realized what she’d just said.

Why did I bring up the emus? She thought to herself once she was reseated.

“Emus.” Photo Finish reiterated, though more to herself this time.

“Yeah, emus.” Aria deadpanned, figuring she might as well fill Photo in on the secret. “I bought an emu farm a few weeks ago.”

“Of course, emus!” Photo Finish grandiosely proclaimed, like she’d just come to a great realization, as she once again dramatically stood up. “So beauziful vizh zheir sofz feazers! So graceful vizh zheir long necks und legs! Zhey vill help me find…da magiks!”

Aria didn’t know how to respond to that. She simply stared at Photo Finish with a blank expression as her mind tried to understand how emus were the key to finding ‘da magiks’.

“Come.” Photo Finish instructed as she grabbed her bag, went around the desk, and took ahold of Aria’s hand. “Ve go zo zhe emus!”

“Wait, right now?” Aria asked in surprise as Photo pull her up out of her seat and started dragging her towards the door. “But there’s still afternoon classes.”

“I SAID VE GO!” Photo Finish shouted right in Aria’s face as she stopped and turned around to face the Dazzling.

“Yea, ma’am.” Aria meekly replied, feeling like she’d just been yelled at by Adagio, as Photo once more started dragging her out the door.

“Okay, just so we’re crystal clear, if anyone asks where we were this afternoon I took you to the hospital after you started having chest pains while in my office.” Aria candidly said from the passenger’s seat of Photo Finish’s car. “Got it?”

“Yah, yah, I heard you zhe firsz zime.” Photo Finish dismissively replied as she drove down a long, straight highway road towards Aria’s emu farm.

Aria just rolled her eyes in response as she stared out the window, trying to figure out how she’d allowed herself to be, for lack of a better word, kidnapped. Oh sure, she could have fought back against Photo’s hold on her, but she really didn’t want to get confrontational with the girl, not after what happened to Raven when she and Sonata got into it recently. That, and she realized there was no stopping Photo from following her artistic desire. Even if she’d managed to successfully refuse Photo’s demand to take her to the emus, she knew the photographer would have found some way to track them down, so it was probably best for the emus if she accompanied her while she captured their ‘magiks’.

“How much furzher?” Photo Finish asked, clearly getting impatient.

Just as Photo said that, Aria noticed that they were passing mile marker 193.

“Just a few more minutes.” She plainly replied. “You’re going to get off at the next exit and turn right, the farm’s only about two minutes away from that point.”

“Vundabar!” Photo Finish joyfully stated with a smile on her face.

“Yeah, ‘vundabar’.” Aria softly, and sarcastically, said to herself.

The rest of the car ride was spent in silence until Aria pointed out the farm when they’d reached it. Photo Finish quickly turned and drove the car up the dirt driveway, only to stop about halfway up it once she saw the farmhouse and barn.

“Mein gott.” She said in astonishment. “Zhis place is so…so…desolaze.”

It was true. The farm was, by all appearances, desolate. The single story farmhouse was dilapidated with holes in the roof, missing side panels, and an awning that was only half hanging onto the house because of a down support pole. The barn about 100 yards to the left seemed to be in slightly better shape, since there were no apparent holes in it, but it still looked like it had seen better days. The land itself didn’t look all that great either with dead grass, dead plants, and few dead trees as far as the eye could see. It was hard to imagine that anything, especially emus, could survive here.

“Vhy on earzh vould you buy zhis place?” Photo asked in shocked confusion.

As much as Aria didn’t want to admit how she’d come to acquire the emu farm, she knew there was no way of avoiding the subject.

“I was really drunk when I bought it.” She embarrassingly began to explain. “I had had one too many drinks down at The Red Stallion one night and these two smooth-talking con-men convinced me to buy the place.”

“I see.” Photo Finish simply replied, trying not to sound judgmental, as she pulled the car up the rest of the driveway.

Once the car was all the way up the driveway, Photo turned it off and got out to get a better look around. Aria followed suit, but went straight for the barn.

“I’m going to let the emus out.” The Dazzling instructed as she walked away. “Gather whatever you need for taking pictures and meet me at the back of the barn.”

“Underszood.” Photo Finish replied as she went to the trunk of her car.

Once Photo had opened the trunk, she took out a small 12 x 11 x 6 inch black case and placed it on the ground. She opened the case and pulled out a D850 Digital SLR camera, one of her favorite cameras, followed by a 20-70mm lens. After carefully attaching the lens to the camera, she turned it on and took a few sample pictures of the house and barn to make sure it was working properly.

“Good.” She said to herself after seeing the sample pictures came out alright. “Now, I go!”

Photo Finish began dashing towards the barn, eager to photograph the beautiful and majestic emus. She quickly made her way around to the back and noticed a small fenced off area surrounding it, presumably for the emus to roam around in. There was just one problem; the fence was constructed of a closely spaced woven wire and about seven feet high, so there was no way to take pictures from the outside without it being in the shot.

“Nein, nein, nein! Zhis vill noz do!” She angrily stated as she looked towards the barn. “I musz gez phozos from zhe inside!”

As Photo Finish hastily made her way around to the front of the barn, she heard the sound of a door opening behind her followed by the loud grunting and booming noises of large birds. Hearing the emus only invigorated her more as she reached the front doors of the barn, wasting no time opening them and stepping inside.


“AHHH!” Photo Finish screamed as she fell backwards, nearly losing her camera, as she was startled by a six foot tall and loud emu that was right on the other side of the door.


The emu backed up a bit after hearing the scream, but was still too close to Photo for her comfort. Despite her eagerness to photograph the creatures, she was a little bit intimidated by them due to their large size and their sharp tow claws, which could eviscerate just about any other living thing. She desperately wanted to get some distance between herself and the bird, but she found that she was unable to move.

“Easy, Glen, easy.” Aria gently said as she approached the large bird and began stroking it’s neck with one hand and stroking it’s back with the other. “She’s okay. She’s a friend.”


“Come on, let’s get you outside with the others.” Aria said as she started leading the emu, apparently named Glen, towards the back of the barn leading out to the fenced area.

The emu now farther away from her, Photo Finished got back on her feet, dusted herself off, and watched in amazement as Aria lead Glen through the barn. The Dazzling had approached the large bird with such ease and made physical contact without any hesitation.

“Incredible.” She euphorically said to herself as she quickly brought her camera up to her face and began taking photos of Aria and Glen, feeling a sense of inspiration she’d never felt before.

Once Aria had gotten Glen to the threshold of the barn’s back door, he broke free from her and joined the other dozen or so emus out in the fenced off area. Happy that Glen was now amongst his few emu, Aria turned around to face Photo with a very stern expression.

“I thought I told you to meet me at the back.” She hollered back at Photo through the barn, making no effort to hide her irritation. “You nearly gave poor Glen a heart attack.”

“Vhat?!” Photo Finish heatedly replied as she lowered her camera, upset that Aria seemed more concerned about the emu than her. “Zhaz bird nearly gave me a hearz azzack!”

Rather than get into an argument with Photo, Aria simply rolled her eyes and decided to let the matter go. She waved the photographer over to her as she returned her attention to her emus.

Photo Finish heeded Aria beckoning gesture and made her way through the barn towards her. As she walked, she couldn’t help but notice the architectural design of the barn. There were a number of stalls with nameplates on them for each animal, but they looked more like they were made for horses rather than emus.

“Has zhis alvays been an emu farm?” She inquired just as she reached Aria.

“Don’t know, don’t really care.” Aria bluntly replied without taking her eyes off the emus. “All I know is that the emus were here when I bought the place and nothing else.”

It wasn’t hard for Photo Finish to figure out that Aria wasn’t in a very talkative mood at the moment. She turned her attention to the emus for a few moments and noticed most of them grouped together near the fence on the left side of the roaming area, with few scattered about but still fairly close to the group. There was one, though, that was all alone on the right side of the area; Glen.

“Vhy iz zhaz one all zhe vay over zhere?” She curiously inquired as she pointed over to Glen.

A small frown began to form on Aria’s face as she looked over towards where Photo was pointing and noticed Glen wandering by his lonesome.

“Glen has…trust issues.” She somberly explained.

Photo looked over to Aria again and saw a pained expression on her face. There was clearly a story behind that statement, but she wasn’t sure if it was one the Dazzling was willing to share with her.

“He seemed zo zrusz you.” She pointed out, hoping that fact would help Aria’s mood a bit.

“Yeah, but it took a lot of work to gain that trust.” Aria answered, still sounding somber. “See, when I first got here most of the emu took to me fairly quickly. Emus are curious by nature, and once they started seeing me as a friend they let me get close to them with relative ease. Glen, however, was very skeptical of me.”

Photo Finish listened intently to Aria’s story, picking up on the growing distress in her voice.

“He wouldn’t let me get close to him at all for the first few days, not even when I brought him food.” Aria continued. “I don’t know why, but it made me sad. Eventually he let me get close enough to bring him food, and that’s when I first saw his scars.”

“Scars?” Photo asked in consternation.

“Yeah, if you get close enough to him you can see a few scars on his left side, just below his neck.” Aria clarified. “I don’t know if it was another emu that did that to him or what, but I figure that whatever happened to give him those scars was the reason he developed trust issues. Anyways, Glen eventually warmed up to me enough that I could apply some medicine to his scars, and after that he started sticking to me like I was his mother or something.”

There was a slight change in Aria’s voice as she said that last part. She didn’t sound quite as distressed as before. In fact, there was almost a comedic tone to the way she said it, as if it was funny that an emu would get so attached to her. Still though, there was sadness in her voice, one that Photo didn’t understand. That is, until she remembered something Aria had said earlier, back at school.

“Vhy are you moving zhe emus?” She softly asked, though she was fairly certain she already knew the answer.

Aria bit her lower lip and tried to fight back tears as she steeled herself to say aloud what, up until now, she’d only silently admitted to herself.

“Because I can’t take care of them.” She sorrowfully said. “I don’t have the time or the money to do so, and even if I did they’d still have to be moved because they can’t survive here. That phone call earlier was about renting a special trailer to move them to Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack and her family are going to take them in.”

“Zhaz doesn’z sound so bad.” Photo comfortingly said. “I’m sure Applejack und her family vill zake good care of zhem.”

“I’m sure they will.” Aria replied, still sounding sorrowful. “For the time that they can. Applejack said they can take them in until harvest season, but then they’ll be too busy for them after that.”

The sadness in Aria’s voice was getting stronger. It was becoming harder and harder for her to hold back tears, and she began feeling weak in the knees.

“Und…vhaz happens zo zhem afzer zhaz?” Photo hesitantly asked, a sense of dread in her voice.

“They’ll be put down.” Aria quietly, but very emotionally, answered as tears started to flow down her cheeks.

All of a sudden, Aria’s legs gave out on her and she fell to her knees as she began to bawl. She quickly brought her hands up to her face to hide her tear-stained face and muffle her weeping while letting her emotions pour out of her like water from a downspout.

“I…I don’t want them…to die.” She managed to say through her sobs. “I…I love these big, dumb birds.”

Almost instinctively, Photo Finish put down her camera, got down on her knees, and wrapped Aria in a comforting hug. Aria didn’t return the hug though. She instead kept her hands over her face as she continued to weep for here emu. Soon enough, Photo started crying herself out of sympathy for the distraught Dazzling. The two girls stayed like that for about a minute and a half before Photo heard a noise.


Photo Finish looked up from Aria to see Glen standing only about five feet away from them, his neck lowered to the same height as their heads. One would think such a sight would have startled Photo like it had before, but Photo wasn’t afraid this time. She stared back at Glen, into his eyes, and could have sworn she saw sadness within them. For reasons unknown to her, she ceased hugging Aria, got back to her feet, and took a few steps back.


Once Photo was backed up enough, Glen slowly approached Aria and gave the girl a small, gentle headbutt to her left arm. The gesture cause Aria to lower her hands and stare at Glen through tear-soaked eyes.

“It’s alright, Glen.” She managed to say with a bit more composure as she stood up and wiped the tears from her eyes.

Glen gradually raised his head as Aria stood up, returning it to its usual height once she was fully up. At which point, Aria wrapped her arms around his long, slightly curved neck.

“I’m okay, buddy. I’m okay.” She assured the bird.


As Photo Finish watched the heartwarming scene unfold in front of her, she felt the same sense of inspiration she’d felt before when Aria lead Glen through the barn. She quickly picked up her camera and put it up to her face, but as she stared at the Dazzling and her emu through the lens, she found that she couldn’t take the shot. This moment, this beautiful and sad moment, spoke not to Photo Finish the photographer, but to Photo Finish the person. Once she realized that she lowered her camera, and even took off her glasses, so that she could see without distraction.

And just like that, Photo Finish once again found ‘da magiks’.

“Now go on.” Aria said to Glen as she let go of his neck, looking up at him with a sad smile. “You need to socialize with the other emu.”


Glen did as instructed and headed off in the direction of the group of emu. He didn’t wedge himself into the group like some of the other emu were doing, but he was at least he wasn’t by himself now.

The heartwarming scene now over, Photo Finish put her glasses back on and moved in closer to Aria.

“Are you alrighz?” She concernedly asked the Dazzling.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Aria solemnly replied, keeping her attention on Glen and the other emu. “Sorry about all that.”

“You have nozthing to be sorry for.” Photo sincerely assured her as she placed a supportive hand on her right shoulder. “You are concerned for your emu, iz is only nazural zo feel zhaz vay vhen you are vorried abouz zhem.”

Aria gained a more genuine smile as she placed her left hand over Photo’s hand.

“I just don’t know what to do.” She dolefully admitted. “If I can’t find a permanent home for them, then they’re goners.”

It wasn’t difficult to tell that Aria’s mood was changing for the worst again after mentioning the emu’s impending fate once more.

“Vhaz if you goz a loan zo renovaze zhe farm?” Photo Finish speculated, trying to keep the mood positive.

“Tried that.” Aria dejected. “The bank said I didn’t have enough collateral for one that size.”

“How much do you need?” Photo inquired.

“About $70,000.” Aria answered.

Photo Finish was, admittedly, a little disheartened when she heard Aria say she needed $70,000. That kind of money wasn’t easy to come by, and if Aria couldn’t get it from the bank where else was she going to get it from? She wanted to help, but all she had was her camera and she wasn’t going to save the emu farm with pictures.

But then, as if by some divine intervention, Photo Finish had an idea. It would be a long shot, but it might have very well been the only thing that could save the emu. She quickly put down her camera and grabbed aria by her other shoulder, forcing the girl to look straight at her.

“Aria, do you zrusz me?” She bluntly asked.

“What?” Aria asked in surprise with a confused look on her face.

“Do you zrusz me?!” Photo repeated a bit louder, giving her a little shake to emphasize her earnestness.

Aria wasn’t really sure why Photo was now shaking her by the shoulders, but despite that she couldn’t think of a reason to answer ‘no’.

“I…guess so?” She half-asked, half-stated.

“Good.” Photo simply replied as she released her.

Like a bolt of lightning, Photo picked her camera back up and began taking pictures, first of the emu outside then of the inside of the barn. Once she was done there, she quickly ran outside through the front doors, much to Aria’s bewilderment. The Dazzling decided to follow her outside and saw her taking more pictures once she was also outside.

“What are you doing?” She asked the suddenly photo-crazy girl.

“I am creating…da magiks!” Photo Finish dramatically proclaimed as she continued taking pictures.

Well, at least she found her mojo again. Aria silently thought to herself.

Photo continued taking pictures of the farm for about another minute before abruptly ran over to her car.

“Und now…I go!” She shouted out to aria as she got in.

“What?!” Aria shouted back in stunned confusion as she started running over to Photo’s car. “You’re just going to leave me here?!”

“Zhere is no zime zo lose, I musz gez szarzed immediazely.” Photo said as she started the car and backed down the driveway. “Just vait for your zrailer.”

Aria didn’t catch up to Photo before it left the driveway. She could only watch as her only mode of transportation for the next three or so hours drove away. It was at that moment Aria realized, maybe she shouldn’t have told Photo Finish that she trusted her.

After having been ditched by Photo Finish, Aria really didn’t have any other choice than to wait for the trailer she’d rented to come pick up the emu and take them to Sweet Apple Acres. She’d tried calling Adagio and Sonata a few times, but she never got any bars. In all honesty though, it wasn’t too bad. She’d spent the waiting time looking after the emu and when the trailer did eventually arrive she didn’t have much trouble getting them onboard it.

The move itself was fairly painless as well, and getting them out of the trailer once they’d arrived at Sweet Apple Acres was even easier. Once it was all said and done, and Aria made sure all her emu were accounted for, Applejack offered to give the Dazzling a ride home. And that’s where Aria was now, in Big Mac’s pick-up truck with Applejack on her way home.

“So she just left yah there?” Applejack asked for about the fifth time, finding it difficult to believe that Photo Finish would just leave Aria alone the way she had.

“Eeyup.” Aria answered for about the fifth time as she thought about all the things she was going to tell Photo the next time she saw her.

“Well, I’m sure she had a good reason.” Applejack said just as Sunset’s apartment came into view.

“Oh, I’m sure she did.” Aria replied, not sounding very convinced, as Applejack slowed down and pulled off to the side of the road.

“Welp, here yah are, Aria.” The farm girl said as she came to a complete stop and unlocked the doors.

“Thanks for the ride, AJ.” Aris replied as she buckled her seatbelt and opened the door. “I owe you one.”

“Aw shucks, yer mah friend, yah don’t owe me nothin’.” Applejack said back as Aria got out of the truck. “See yah later.”

“Later.” Aria said as she closed to door and head up the walk to the front door.

The sound of the pick-up truck pulling away could be heard as Aria put her key in the lock. She quickly unlocked the door and stepped inside to get away from the frigid night air, only to be immediately greeted by a concerned, yet somehow giddy, Sonata.

“Aria, where have you been?” The pony-tailed Dazzling asked her sister. “We’ve been trying to reach you.”

“Sorry about that, it's been a really crazy day.” Aria exhaustingly apologized and explained.

“Oh it doesn’t matter now, come on!” Sonata exclaimed as she grabbed hold of Aria’s hand and began leading her into the kitchen. “We have to show you this!”

“Show me what?” Aria inquired as she was dragged into the kitchen, where she noticed Adagio and Sunset were staring at a laptop screen on the table.

“You’re not going to believe this, Aria.” Adagio said in astonishment once she saw her sister enter the room.

“This is just…wow.” Sunset said as she continued to stare at the laptop.

Sonata quickly brought Aria around the table to see what was on the screen. At first, Aria just saw a random website but the more she looked at it, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was a crowdfunding site with the words, ‘SAVE THE EMUS’ written across the top of the page and pictures of her emu farm shown below it.

“What the…” She said in disbelief as she went in for a closer look.

Upon closer inspection, the website had a small green bar with ‘$7,142 raised of $70,000 goal’ displayed above it and a yellow button that read ‘Donate now’ below it. Aria quickly began to scroll through the page and saw even more pictures of her farm displayed, along with an explanation of why the emus were in danger and why donations were needed to save them. There was also a sidebar that displayed the names of people who recently donated and what amounts they gave. The whole thing was incredible.

“I don’t…how is this…” Aria rambled on, finding it difficult to form a complete sentence.

“Dashie texted me about it two hours ago.” Sonata began explaining. “Everyone from CHS is talking about it, and it’s only been up for about three hours.”

“Three hours?!” Aria stated in absolute shock as she turned to Sonata, unable to believe that so much money had been raised in only three hours.

“Uh-huh. Photo Finish was the one who put it up.” Sonata stated.

Upon hearing Sonata say that Photo Finish had been the one who started this, Aria returned her attention to the laptop and scrolled all the way to the bottom of the webpage. Sure enough, at the very bottom of the page Photo Finish’s name and picture listed her as the fundraiser.

Aria was speechless, for a number of reason. She couldn’t believe that Photo had done this, she couldn’t believe how many people were donating, and she couldn’t believe the picture right above Photo’s name; it was of her and Glen walking through the barn.

“I…I…” Was all she could get out before she started crying for the second time today.

Only this time, she was crying tears of joy.

Both Sonata and Adagio quickly wrapped their sister in a warm and loving hug as they too were touched by the kindness and generosity that was being shown to them.

“Holy Toledo!” Sunset suddenly shouted, gaining the attention of all three Dazzlings. “Someone just donated the whole $70,000!”

“What?!” Aria, Adagio, and Sonata all shouted as they returned to the screen.

Sunset wasn’t lying. The sidebar showed that an anonymous donor had just pledged $70,000 to their cause, bringing the total donation amount up to $77,228.

Aria nearly fainted. The only thing that kept her from doing so was the great sense of happiness and relief of knowing that her emus were saved.

“What the hell.” Adagio plainly stated, completely floored by what had just happened on the computer screen.

“I wonder who that anonymous donor was.” Sonata chimed in, also sounding completely floored.

“Who cares?” Aria laughed out of sheer happiness. “We can renovate the farm and save the emus now.”

More tears of joy flowed down Aria’s cheeks as she stared at the screen. Soon enough, Adagio, Sonata, and Sunset were all crying with her.

“Wait.” Adagio spoke up in a manner that suggested she’d come to some great realization. “If we fix up the farmhouse, than we can finally move out of this apartment. No offense, Sunset.”

“None taken.” Sunset affably replied, happy that the Dazzlings were going to have a place to call their own soon, even if she would miss their company.

The three sisters once again joined together in a loving hug. Aria was happy that here emus were going to be okay, Adagio was happy that she’d soon have a true home again, and Sonata was just happy that everyone else was happy. Each of them began to let their minds wander as they imagined what they’re new lives would be like…on the emu farm.

Sonata and Octavia Melody

View Online

“Unbelievable.” Sonata Dusk confoundedly stated as she stared at her tacos.

“What’s wrong, Sonata?” Pinkie Pie curiously asked her from the other side of the table.

Sonata was currently having lunch with Pinkie in the CHS cafeteria. She often tried to eat lunch in the cafeteria because it gave her a chance to just hang out with the students and talk to them as a friend instead of as a faculty member. She usually ate with her girlfriend, Rainbow Dash, or Sunset Shimmer, but today she was eating with Pinkie because Aria had requested that she ask the party girl for help planning a housewarming party once renovations were done on the emu farm.

Also unusual today was the fact that she’d had her lunch delivered to her via one of those food delivery apps she’d heard so much about. Normally she just packed her lunch, but she wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. She was regretting her decision to have her lunch delivered to her via one of those food delivery apps.

“These aren’t tacos.” She remarked, still sounding confounded. “I don’t know what these are.”

Pinkie looked down at Sonata’s lunch and saw what looked like, at least to her, three perfectly normal tacos.

“They look like tacos to me.” She cheerfully said aloud.

Sonata brought her attention up from her tacos and stared at Pinkie with a puzzled expression. She quickly broke the stare though as she pulled out her phone and started scrolling through it.

“Look at these.” She instructed Pinkie as she showed her her phone, which now had a picture of some tacos on it. “They’re big, they’re crispy, and they’re filled with all sorts of taco-y ingredients.”

It was hard for Pinkie to argue that the tacos in the picture were the pinnacle of perfection. She even started to feel her mouth water up because of how tasty they looked

“Now, look at these sorry, sad things.” Sonata said as she put her phone away and pointed to the tacos in front of her.

Pinkie took another look at Sonata’s tacos and, after having seen the picture, realized that they did look pretty sad by comparison. They weren’t all that big, the shells didn’t seem very crispy, and there were hardly any ingredients in them.

“See what I’m saying?” Sonata asked after as few seconds.

Just as Pinkie was about to open her mouth and reply, a loud noise was heard coming from the other end of the room.

“ENOUGH, VINYL!” Octavia Melody emotionally shouted as she stood up from her seat so violently that the chair fell over with a loud thud, gaining the attention of the entire cafeteria. “I TOLD YOU, I’M DONE!”

“Tavi, listen to me! You’re overreacting to all this!” Vinyl Scratch replied, not quite as loud as Octavia but still fairly loud, as she too stood up.

“YOU JUST DON’T GET IT, DO YOU?!” Octavia shouted back just before she ran for the exit, tears now flowing down her cheeks.

“Tavi!” Vinyl yelled out as she pursued Octavia, but stopped halfway to the exit for some unknown reason.

The drama now apparently over, most of the students went back to their lunches and various conversations. Sonata, though, continued to concernedly look on at the distraught Vinyl Scratch, who was still standing where she’d stopped.

“I should probably go see what that was all about.” She tepidly said as she turned back to Pinkie, giving her friend an apologetic look for cutting their time together short.

“I understand.” Pinkie replied, accompanied by a simple nod. “And tell Aria I’ll get started on planning that housewarming party later this week.”

Sonata nodded back and gave Pinkie a small smile before she got up and made her way over to Vinyl. While she walked over, she contemplated what could have caused such a loud and emotional argument between Octavia and Vinyl. The two of them always seemed like such good friends, and even though they had the occasional public tiff, it was hard to imagine anything could cause them to argue so…vehemently.

“Vinyl?” She gently said as she reached the DJ, placing a supportive hand on her shoulder. “Is everything alright?”

Almost as soon a Sonata placed her hand on her shoulder, Vinyl poignantly shook it off. Sonata, in response, took a small step back, having been startled by Vinyl’s action.

“I don’t wanna talk about it, Sonata.” The glasses-clad girl quietly, but intensely, replied as she returned to her seat.

As she watched Vinyl walk away, Sonata couldn’t help but hear the girl’s words repeat over and over in her mind. It wasn’t so much what Vinyl had said that caused her words to echo through her head, it was more the way she’d said it. There’d clearly been some anger in her voice, but there was also sadness and, if Sonata wasn’t mistaken, guilt.

It was clear that to Sonata that she wasn’t going to get any answers from Vinyl, which meant that she’d have to go and try to talk to Octavia.

Sonata wandered around CHS for what seemed like hours searching Octavia, when in reality it had only been about twenty minutes. As she searched, she kept thinking about how Octavia had run out of the cafeteria, and how upset she was. She hadn’t spoken to Octavia much, but every time she had the cello player had always carried herself in a very calm and composed manner. Whatever had managed to upset her so much must have been big, something that shook her at her core.

Eventually, Sonata got to a point in her search where started to wonder if Octavia was even still on school grounds. No matter how hard or where she searched, the girl simply couldn’t be found. Dejected and exhausted from her failed search, she decided to head back to her office to consider her options. She considered asking either Celestia or Luna for help, but she feared that Octavia might face some disciplinary action from them if it turned out she had indeed left school grounds, and she didn’t want to see that happen. Octavia was already upset enough as it was.

Once she reached her office, Sonata opened the door and, much to her surprise, found Octavia sitting in one of the chairs in front of her desk with tears still flowing down her cheeks.

“Octavia!” She amiably exclaimed as she ran over to comfort the distraught girl, getting down on her knees to be at eye level with her once she reached her. “I’ve been looking all over for you! Are you okay?!”

“Oh, you…you must have been in the cafeteria earlier.” Octavia said through her tears, not making eye contact with Sonata. “I…I didn’t know you were there.”

“Yeah, I was.” Sonata affably replied as she took a hold of Octavia’s right hand. “What happened back there between you and Vinyl?”

Octavia didn’t answer right away. Despite having come to Sonata for help, she was still hesitant to tell the Dazzling her story. She gave a small sniffle and wiped away her tears with her free hand before bringing her eyes up meet Sonata’s. Once she saw the compassion and concern in the pony-tailed girl’s eyes, however, her hesitation quickly faded.

“It’s…a long story.” She confessed, sounding a little more composed now.

“I’ve got all the time in the world to hear it.” Sonata replied, giving Octavia a friendly smile and a gentle hand squeeze as she said it.

There was a brief moment of silence as Octavia took a deep breath, preparing herself for what she was about to share with Sonata.

“It all started a few weeks ago.” She began. “Vinyl and I learned about this new music program being offered at Baltimare University next year. Baltimare University is one of the best music schools in the country but is very expensive, so most people who attend come from wealthy families. This new program is supposed to be a way for more middle-class musicians to have an opportunity to attend the school. Hundreds of people auditioned to be a part of it, myself and Vinyl among them.”

As Sonata listened to Octavia’s story, and remembered her brief encounter with Vinyl earlier, the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place, and she had a pretty good idea of what Octavia was going to say next.

“There were, of course, limited spots available.” Octavia continued. “Vinyl got accepted, but I didn’t.”

“And so you’re mad at her because of that?” Sonata inquired, having been right in assuming that that was the case.

“No, no, I’m not mad at Vinyl at all because of that.” Octavia very quickly clarified. “I’m happy that she got in, honest. She’s worked really hard on her music and deserves this opportunity.”

That, Sonata hadn’t expected to hear. She was happy that Octavia wasn’t bitter about her friend being chosen over her for the music program, but if that wasn’t the cause of her outburst in the cafeteria then what was?

“So, what was that argument about then?” She curiously asked.

Octavia broke eye contact with Sonata as she felt new tears began to form in the corners of her eyes.

“Vinyl won’t accept that I’ve given up music.” She morosely admitted. “She’s been bothering me about it ever since I told her.”

“What?!” Sonata exclaimed as she let go of Octavia’s hand and stood up, unable to believe what she’d just heard.

There was no visible reaction by Octavia to Sonata’s shock. She just sat there with tears in her eyes, as if lost within her own world.

Sonata didn’t know what to say to the despondent girl sitting in front of her. She wanted to tell Octavia that she shouldn’t give up music just because she didn’t get into the Baltimare University program, but she also didn’t want to appear to be taking Vinyl’s side in the argument. Not knowing what else to do, she got back down to Octavia’s head level and tried to comfort here.

“I know what it’s like to feel discouraged.” She began to softly say. “When my sisters and I lost our magic, we didn’t know if we’d ever sing again. But you know what? We still do. We go out to karaoke every now and again because we enjoy singing, even if we’re not as good at it anymore.”

Still no response from Octavia.

“The point I’m trying to make is this.” Sonata continued. “Just because you aren’t good enough to get into some fancy-shmancy music program doesn’t mean you should give up music. Do it because you enjoy it, and for no other reason.”

There was a few seconds of silence as Octavia brought her head back around so she could meet Sonata’s eyes once again.

“I didn’t give up music because I didn’t get into the program.” She somberly began to explain, fresh tears staring to stain her cheeks. “I gave it up because I can’t play anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Sonata confusingly asked.

“I…I can’t hear the music anymore.” Octavia clarified as she started to feel choked up. “I know it sounds crazy, but…whenever I play now I can’t hear the sound of my cello.”

Despite Octavia’s clarification, Sonata was still confused. There was clearly nothing wrong with Octavia’s hearing, she’d been talking with her for the last few minutes no problem. How was it that she couldn’t hear the sound of her own playing?

“I’m…not quite sure I understand.” She admitted to Octavia.

“I figured you’d say that.” Octavia sullenly replied as she stood up and made her way to the door. “Follow me, I’ll show you.”

Sonata did as instructed and began following Octavia over to the door and out of her office. As she walked behind her, however, she couldn’t help but notice how she was carrying herself. Octavia usually composed herself in a very refined manner, but right now her shoulders were sagging, her head was lowered, and she almost seemed to be shuffling more than walking. There was not doubt about it; this was a girl who was feeling broken inside.

Not surprisingly, Octavia brought Sonata to the music room, which was thankfully empty so she could show the Dazzling what she needed to show her. She quickly grabbed the cello from the far corner of the room and brought it over to the center of the room. Sonata quietly took a seat on the steps located on the right side of the room and prepared herself for whatever was to come.

Ready to play, Octavia took a long, deep breath just before putting bow to strings.

It couldn’t have been more than five seconds after Octavia started playing Cello Concerto – Elgar that Sonata clenched her teeth and felt the need to bring her hands up to cover her ears. It was bad. Really, really bad. The Dazzling tried her hardest not to give any kind of pained expression in response to the noise she was hearing, but knew that she was failing.

The strangest part of the whole thing was that Octavia was hitting all the correct notes, there just wasn’t any flow from one note to the next, no connection between them. The resulting sound was unlike anything Sonata had ever heard. Frankly, she didn’t even know such a sound was even possible. Despite the unpleasantness of the sound, however, she swore she could hear something behind it all, some emotion that was causing it.

“See what I mean?” Octavia dejectedly said as she stopped playing, having noticed Sonata’s visibly uncomfortable expression. “I can’t play anymore.”

“Keep playing.” Sonata sternly instructed her, much to her surprise.

“W-why?” Octavia confusedly asked. “I sound terrible.”

“Trust me, Octavia.” Sonata pleaded. “Just keep playing.”

Octavia really didn’t want to keep playing, but as she stared at Sonata’s determined face she decided to trust the girl. She put her bow back up to the cello’s strings and picked up where she’d left off, still producing an awful sound that could hardly be considered music.

With Octavia now playing again, Sonata closed her eyes and simply listened. She drew upon all of her musical knowledge and training and tried to listen beyond all the disconnect. She tried to focus on the emotion she’d heard earlier, tried to find it amongst all the broken notes. It was there somewhere, she could feel it. It wasn’t an emotion created from the music, no, it was an emotion that Octavia was putting into the music, one that was causing all of this.

After a few more seconds of focusing, Sonata finally realized what it was; bitterness. Now knowing this, she quickly opened her eyes and sprang up from her seat.

“I know what the problem is!” She enthusiastically exclaimed, causing Octavia to suddenly stop playing.

“You…do?” The cellist skeptically replied as she gently lowered her instrument onto the floor.

Within the blink of an eye, Sonata was standing in front of Octavia with a tenacious expression and both of her hands on the girl’s shoulders.

“Octavia, you said that you’re not mad at Vinyl for being chosen for the music program when you weren’t.” The Dazzling fervently started to say. “Are you sure about that?”

An aporetic look crossed Octavia’s face as Sonata asked her question. She was already confused why the girl had grabbed a hold of her shoulders, but now that confusion was doubled.

“W-well, yes I’m sure.” She tentatively replied, avoiding direct eye contact with Sonata.

“Are you absolutely sure?” Sonata fervidly asked again. “You didn’t have any kind of negative reaction when you learned that you weren’t chosen but Vinyl was?”

There was a brief moment of silence as Octavia shifted her head slightly to the left, averting her gaze from Sonata entirely.

“I-I mean, maybe I was a little upset, initially.” She hesitantly admitted.

There was something in Octavia’s voice that suggested there was a piece of information that she wasn’t sharing, and Sonata picked up on it. The Dazzling knew she was getting close to the truth now.

“What did you do right after you got the news?” She inquired.

There was another brief moment of silence. This time, Octavia’s eyes started to water up.

“I didn’t do anything right after I got the news because I was with Vinyl when I got it.” She answered in a defeated manner. “But when I got home that night I threw all the sheet music that was on my desk on the floor, yelling as I did it.”

And there it is. Sonata thought to herself as she let go of Octavia’s shoulders.

“But that was it.” Octavia continued, sounding almost defensive now. “It was just a one-time outburst, I’m not mad anymore.”

“Yes, you are.” Sonata solemnly said as she made her way over to a nearby piano bench and took a seat. “You’re just not as mad as you were in that moment.”

“Excuse me?” Octavia irksomely replied, feeling slightly offended that Sonata was apparently trying to tell her what she was or wasn’t feeling.

“Did you tell Vinyl about your outburst?” Sonata pensively asked, even though she was pretty sure she already knew the answer.

“Of course I didn’t.” Octavia vexingly responded.

As soon as Octavia had answered her question, Sonata gave a meager but still noticeably sad chuckle.

“If that’s the case, then yeah, you’re definitely still mad.” She said as she began staring at the floor, as if she were slowly descending into her own little world.

At this point, Octavia was just about completely irritated. She quickly closed the gap between her and Sonata and stared down at the Dazzling with a cold, hard stare.

“Why are you even asking me these questions?” She heatedly inquired. “What does any of this have to with my terrible playing?”

Sonata briefly brought her head up to meet Octavia’s stare. She saw the building fire and fury within the girl’s eyes, but wasn’t fazed by it. She just lowered her head again as she prepared to speak.

“Feelings of anger, they can start out small.” She ruminatively began to say. “Sometimes they’re so small that we don’t even notice them. Other times we do notice them, but think that we can get rid of them by simply giving in for one, brief moment; doing something like yelling or throwing sheet music. But those things don’t get rid of the anger, they only make us think we’re rid of it. See, when you don’t actually confront that anger, it grows and spreads like a fire, and it starts affecting your everyday life. It affects your attitude, your relationships, even your musical abilities.”

As Sonata went on, Octavia began to listen more intently with each sentence. It slowly became clear to hear that Sonata wasn’t just repeating something she’d read in a book or heard on TV. No, Sonata was talking from personal experience.

“It’s pretty gradual too.” Sonata continued. “At first you’re only angry about one thing, like not getting into a music program, but then you find yourself getting angry about other things too, things you never used to get angry about. Eventually, the anger becomes familiar to you and you just get used to it. Next thing you know, you’re yelling at your friends and loved ones over the most trivial of things because you can’t remember ever feeling anything but angry.”

It was hard for Octavia to dispute what Sonata was saying. After all, just a little while ago in the cafeteria she’d yelled at Vinyl, something she’d never done before.

“And even if at some point you realize just how angry you’ve become, it might be too late. You might have already lost the one you cared about most.” Sonata somberly concluded.

Octavia just continued to stare down at Sonata, only now she was staring down at her with empathy and heartache. She could tell that the Dazzling was recounting some time in her life when she’d let her anger get the better of her and drive someone she cared about away. While she still had doubts that she’d ever become so angry that her friendship with Vinyl would end, she felt that she couldn’t disregard the possibility, not after hearing Sonata’s lament.

Not knowing what else to do, Octavia walked over to the other end of the piano bench and took seat next to Sonata, who was still staring at the floor.

“So how do I keep all that from happening?” She softly asked.

Sonata slowly brought her head up and stared at Octavia with the most melancholy look the girl had ever seen. The Dazzling’s eyes were filled with so much sadness that it was surprising to her that she wasn’t crying.

“You need to talk to Vinyl and tell her how you feel.” Sonata staidly stated. “I know you might be afraid of how she’ll respond, but if you don’t share your feelings with her than they’ll only get worse.”

As she continued to stare at the distressed Dazzling, Octavia felt a single tear flow down her left cheek. She didn’t know why though. Maybe it was because she was afraid of sharing her feelings with Vinyl, or maybe she was feeling sympathetic towards Sonata’s feelings. Either way, she took a hold of Sonata’s left hand with her right and gave a small nod.

“Okay.” She simply said.

Octavia’s willingness to talk with Vinyl brought a tiny smile to Sonata’s face just as the bell rang and the sound of students flooding the hallway outside could be heard. Both girls briefly turned their attention towards the door before returning it to each other.

“Come on.” Octavia said as she let go of Sonata’s hand and stood up. “Let’s go find Vinyl.”

It didn’t take Sonata and Octavia long to find Vinyl. They’d started their search at the girl’s locker and that was where she was at. She was currently gathering her things for her next class with a glum expression on her face, so she didn’t notice them standing only a few feet away. With a short and deep breath, Octavia took a few steps forward towards her friend. Sonata stayed back.

“Vinyl?” Octavia softly said once she was close enough.

Vinyl quickly turned her attention to towards Octavia after hearing her friend’s voice.

“Tavi!” She emotionally said as she wrapped the girl in a hug. “I’m so, so sorry I didn’t chase after you when you ran off! I just got confused and didn’t know what to do!”

“It’s alright, Vinyl.” Octavia assured her friend as she returned the hug.

A few seconds of silence followed as the two girls continued hugging. Eventually Octavia broke the hug though and stared at Vinyl with a very stern but tender expression.

“Vinyl, there’s something I need to tell you.” She gingerly began to say. “I’m…mad that you got accepted into the Baltimare University program and I didn’t.”

Even though it was sometime hard to get a read on Vinyl’s expression because of her glasses, the single raised eyebrow on her face seemed to indicate surprise.

“Well, yeah, I kind of figured that. What with saying you were giving up music and everything.” She said, sounding surprised that Octavia felt the need to say something so obvious aloud.

“No, you don’t understand!” Octavia replied a bit more intensely then she intended, causing her to take another short, deep breath to calm down before continuing. “I’m not just mad that you got accepted and I didn’t, I’m mad at you. I know it’s completely irrational because none of this is your fault and I don’t want to be mad at you, but I am, and I need you to know it. I don’t want my anger to grow and ruin our friendship.”

By now, Octavia was on the verge of tears. She closed her eyes as she prepared for the verbal assault she was sure she was about to get from Vinyl.

“I don’t blame you for feeling that way.” Vinyl compassionately said, causing Octavia to quickly open her eyes in shock.

“Y-you don’t?” She anxiously replied.

“Of course not.” Vinyl reassured her with a sad smile. “To be perfectly honest, I’d probably feel the same way if things were reversed. Those feelings are natural, Tavi. I’m just glad that you told me about them instead of keeping them bottled up inside.”

Tears of happiness started to run down Octavia’s cheek as she hastily embraced Vinyl in a hug.

“Oh Vinyl, I feel so stupid.” She said through the tears. “I should have known you wouldn’t be upset with me. You’re such a good friend.”

“Don’t feel stupid, Tavi.” Vinyl said as she returned the hug, tears now flowing from her eyes as well. “And by the way, you’re a good friend too.”

“Aww.” Sonata, who had witnessed everything, couldn’t help but let out as she was moved by the touching display of friendship.

The bell for next period suddenly rang throughout the hallway, causing Octavia and Vinyl to break their hug.

“We better get going.” Vinyl frantically said.

“You go on ahead, I’ll catch up.” Octavia replied.

Vinyl simply gave an acknowledging nod as she speed down the hallway so fast she could have given Rainbow Dash a run for her money. Once she was gone, Octavia turned around and swiftly gave Sonata a hug.

“Thank you, Sonata.” She gratefully expressed. “Thank you for everything.”

Before Sonata could return the hug however, Octavia quickly released her and started running after Vinyl.

“Don’t mention it!” The Dazzling shouted down the hall, though she wasn’t sure Octavia heard her.

Now alone in the hall, Sonata began walking back to her office. On the way though, she couldn’t help but think about everything she’d said to Octavia back in the music room about anger, and how she wished someone had told her those things a long time ago.

As Sonata walked home after a long day of work, she still found herself thinking about what had happened with Octavia. She was glad that she was able to help the girl, of course, but in doing so she’d inadvertently dredged up some fairly unpleasant memories. Memories she wished would just stay buried forever.

Once Sonata reached the apartment, she opened the door and found that Aria was the only one home.

“Hey.” Her sister casually greeted her from the couch as she watched TV. “How was school?”

“A bit more exhausting than usual.” She nonchalantly admitted as she made her way over to her room. “Think I’m going to lie down for a bit before dinner.”

“Sounds good.” Aria replied as she continued watching TV. “Oh hey, did you ask Pinkie about the party?”

“Yeah.” Sonata said as she stopped in front of her bedroom door and turned back around to face Aria. “She said she’d do it and get started later this week.”

“Awesome.” Aria remarked as she averted her attention from the TV to Sonata for a few seconds. “Thanks again for asking her.”

“No problem.” Sonata said just before opening the door and stepping inside.

Once she was inside, Sonata quickly closed the door and made her way over to the bed. She wasted no time throwing herself face first onto the soft mattress as she allowed herself to unwind from the emotionally exhausting day she’d had. She stayed face down on the bed for about a minute before she sat up and took a seat on the side of it next to her nightstand.

Sonata looked at the nightstand with a despondent expression for a few seconds, contemplating whether or not she should open the top drawer and remove the single item that was inside. She hadn’t looked at the item ever since she’d placed it in the drawer when she first moved into the apartment, and even then she hadn’t really looked at it. After the long day she’d had she didn’t really feel like looking at it, but some strange force told her that she should. She quickly opened the drawer and removed the item before she started double guessing herself, holding it tightly in her hand.

Inside Sonata’s hand was a small, oval beaded gold locket. There was no necklace attached to it though, it was just the locket.

Sonata relaxed her tight grip on the locket and slowly opened it, revealing the picture held within. As she stared at the picture she felt like crying, but couldn’t. There were no more tears to shed, she’d cried them all out years ago. She closed the locket back up and fell backwards onto the bed as she held her precious item up to her chest.

Staring up at the ceiling, Sonata began to wish that she could turn back the clock and let go of all the anger she’d once had sooner, so that she hadn’t lost the person she cared about most.

Aria and Pinkie Pie

View Online


“1.” Aria Blaze disinterestedly said to herself as she stared at her computer screen, her head resting in the palm of her left hand.


“1.” She reiterated.


“Mine.” She sighed as her game ended. “Eight clicks, a new record.”

Aria was currently sitting alone in her office, completely bored out of her mind. It was an especially slow day at CHS for her as not a single student had come to see her yet. Normally by this time at least one person would have stopped by seeking her help with this or that, but not today. As such, she had more free time than she knew what to with and decided to do what everyone does when they’re feeling bored at work; play Minesweeper. Although, ‘play’ would hardly be the term for what she was doing, which was simply clicking random boxes until she hit a mine. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to play Minesweeper, she just didn’t care about winning because she was so incredibly bored.

What added to Aria’s boredom was the fact that she was looking forward to the special ‘Thank You’ dinner for Sunset Shimmer after work. Since her and her sisters were going to be moving out soon, they all wanted to do something to thank Sunset for letting them stay with her for so long. A few ideas were thrown around, but eventually they settled on a ‘Thank You’ dinner where Adagio would make a turkey, and that was what Aria was looking forward to the most; she loved Adagio’s turkeys. They were always so mouth-wateringly amazing.

“Uggghhh.” The pig-tailed Dazzling groaned as she looked at the clock on her screen and saw that the day was only half-over. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but actually I wish someone would show up, just to help pass the time.”

“Hi, Aria!” A bubbly voice suddenly said from right behind her.

“GAAAHHH!” She startlingly shouted as she nearly fell out of her chair and started panting.

As Aria quickly turned around, she found that the voice belonged to none other than Pinkie Pie, who was standing not more than two feet away from her with a friendly smile on her face.

Of all the Rainbooms, Pinkie was the one Aria cared for the least. She didn’t hate the girl at all, mind you, she just didn’t care for her much. This was mostly because Pinkie always had such an upbeat and positive attitude, which she found a tad unsettling given her own…less-than-positive attitude.

“What the hell, Pinkie?!” The Dazzling said as she tried to catch her breath. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Not long.” Pinkie cheerfully replied. “I just got here.”

Pinkie’s response greatly confused Aria, as she didn’t recall hearing her come in. Sure, she’d been a little out of it because of her boredom, but she was sure she would have heard someone open the door to her office. She swiftly turned back around and saw that the door was still closed. Of course, Pinkie could have closed it after she’d entered, but she was definitely sure she would have heard the sound of the door closing.

Just for good measure, Aria decided to check the windows as well. They were all closed and showed no signs of having been opened.

Having no idea how Pinkie had entered the room, she turned back to face the girl with a puzzled expression.

“How did you…” She began to say in her confusion, before remembering that this was Pinkie Pie she was dealing with. “…Never mind. Just what are you doing here?”

“I came to plan your party, silly.” Pinkie said as she made her way around to the front of Aria’s desk. “You already sent out the invitations for this weekend so we need to get started right away.”

Pinkie was referring to the housewarming party that Aria had asked her to plan for when she and her sisters moved into their new house on the emu farm. Well, technically Sonata had been the one who asked Pinkie, but Aria had asked her to ask Pinkie for her. The reasons Aria wanted the party were two-fold; one, she wanted to say thanks to everyone who had contributed to the crowdfunding campaign that had made their new home possible, and two, she was hoping to get some nice housewarming presents out of it.

Anyways, the repairs to the house were now complete and the Dazzlings had already begun moving some of their things into their new home. In her excitement, Aria might have sent out invitations to the party via the crowdfunding campaign webpage for this weekend without having consulted her party planner first. She realized that she’d probably jumped the gun a tad and put Pinkie into a bit of a bind as a result, but thankfully the party girl didn’t seem upset or worried, as evidenced by the fact that she was in her office right now wanting to plan the party.

“Wait, you want to plan the party right now?” She quizzically asked as she took a quick glance at the clock on her computer screen, just to verify that she’d read it correctly a moment ago. “Aren’t you supposed be in class?”

“Yeah, probably.” Pinkie nonchalantly shrugged as she took a seat just in front of the desk and pulled a purple file folder out of her hair. “Now, where to begin?”

As Pinkie opened the folder and began shuffling through the papers inside of it, Aria couldn’t help but wonder just how the girl had managed to keep said folder within her hair. Pinkie’s hair was large and thick, to be sure, but it didn’t seem possible to keep a folder in it. She was about to say something when she once again remembered that this was Pinkie Pie she was dealing with, and it was best not to dwell on such things with her.

“Hmmm, if I wrote this down correctly, you’re moving to an emu farm, no?” Pinkie inquired as she pursued the folder.

“Yeah.” Aria confirmed.

“Great!” Pinkie exclaimed as she pulled out two pieces of paper from the folder and held them up in front of Aria. “Which of these do you like better?”

Aria looked at each of the papers being presented to her and nearly facepalmed at what she saw. Each one had a crudely drawn picture of an emu on it wearing a colorful party hat, the only difference between them being that the emu on the right had a teal and navy blue striped hat on while the one on the left had a white hat with various colored polka dots. She figured that Pinkie was asking her which hat she thought the emus would look better in.

“Uh, Pinkie, the emus aren’t going to be at the party.” She candidly informed the girl.

“Aww, why not?” Pinkie dejected with a pouty face as she put the pieces of paper down.

“Well one, we can’t get them back from Sweet Apple Acres for a while because there’s a three week wait on the special truck needed to move them.” Aria plainly began to explain. “And two, even if they were going to be around, emus aren’t exactly party animals.”

“Hehe, good one.” Pinkie giggled, her mood perking back up.

At first Aria didn’t know what Pinkie had found so amusing. She gave the girl a quizzical look before realizing that she’d unintentionally used the term ‘party animals’ in reference to actual animals. Feelingly slightly embarrassed by her inadvertent pun, she rolled her eyes and slumped a bit into her seat.

“Welp, so much for this then.” Pinkie coolly stated as she closed her folder and put it back into her hair.

“Wait, what?!” Aria shouted as she sat back up in her seat, afraid of what Pinkie meant by that statement.

“Yeah, all the ideas I came up with involved emus.” Pinkie innocently elucidated. “Guess I shouldn’t have banked on them being there, huh?”

Aria’s head fell onto her desk as all hope of having her party began to disappear. She started to feel melancholy as she’d really been looking forward to getting together with all of her friends and sharing with them the happiness and excitement of starting a new chapter in her life. That, and she’d really hoped to receive a Cuisinart Waffle Maker as a housewarming gift.

“So that’s it then?” She defeatedly asked Pinkie as she brought her head up. “No party?”

“Now I didn’t say that.” Pinkie tenderly said a she reached over the desk and started gently patting Aria’s head, much to the Dazzling’s annoyance. “We just need to start from scratch is all.”

It only took about four pats before Aria decided to lightly swat Pinkie’s hand away from her head. She stared at the cheerful party girl and wondered just how they were supposed to start planning the party from scratch with only a few day left to go.

“How do we do that?” She curiously inquired aloud.

For reasons unbeknownst to Aria, her question seemed to cause Pinkie’s already large smile to grow bigger, until the girl was grinning from ear-to-ear.

“We go to the PARTY STORE!” Pinkie happily shouted as she got up, went around the desk, and took ahold of Aria’s hand. “Come on!”

“Wait, Pinkie!” Aria pleaded as she was pulled up out of her seat and dragged towards the door, getting a very strong feeling of déjà vu as it all happened.

Aria begrudgingly stared out the front passenger window of Pinkie’s car and contemplated how she’d allowed herself to be essentially kidnapped by a student during school hours…again. She was still amazed that when she and Photo Finish left halfway through the school day a few weeks ago neither Celestia nor Luna had said anything to her about it. Could it have been that neither of them even knew that they had left school early that day? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the whole thing made her question just how tight of a ship those two were running.

I’ve gotten way too soft. The Dazzling thought to herself as she watched the city pass her by, thinking about how back in the old days she would’ve simply clobbered anyone who tried to force her to go anywhere she didn’t want to instead of caving in so easily.

“We’re here!” Pinkie informed her as she pulled into the parking lot of a very large store.

Once the car had come to a complete stop, Aria stepped out and noticed a sign above the entrance that read ‘Party Supplies “R” Us’. She looked to her right and then to her left, taking note of just how big the store appeared.

“This whole place is really just a party supply store?” She asked Pinkie as the party girl also got out of the car.

“Yep, it’s the biggest party supply store in the tri-state area.” Pinkie explained as she locked her car and headed for the entrance. “It’s got everything you could ever need for all sorts of parties; birthday parties, holiday parties, sports parties, baby shower parties…”

As Aria followed Pinkie towards the store and listened to all the various types of parties she listed off, she began to think about how different each type of party was and how many different supplies there would be for each of them. The more she thought about it, the more the store’s large size made sense to her.

“Ding dong.” Pinkie said as she stepped through the automatic door into the store, mimicking the chiming noise it made as she entered.

Aria didn’t mimic the chiming noise as she entered.

Once inside, Aria couldn’t help but gawk at just how large the store actually was. Sure, it had looked big from the outside, but from the inside it looked massive. In fact, it looked more like a warehouse than a store on account of all the tall shelves filled with various items in bulk.

“Yeah, I remember my first time here.” Pinkie nostalgically spoke up. “I made the same face you’re making now.”

Realizing that she was gawking, Aria quickly regained her usual, cool composure.

“Eh, I’ve seen bigger.” She nonchalantly replied as she turned away from Pinkie, even though this was easily the biggest store she’d ever set foot into.

Pinkie just gave Aria a small, smug smile while her back was turned before grabbing a nearby shopping cart and wheeling it in front of the Dazzling.

“Come on!” She gleefully said as she handed the cart to Aria and started walking off. “We’ve got a lot of shopping to do.”

Aria took the cart and followed after Pinkie, hoping that this wasn’t going to take too long.

Only about 30 minutes had past since Aria entered the store with Pinkie Pie, but that was all the time it took for the Dazzling to feel exhausted. Pinkie had taken her down nearly every aisle of the store looking for supplies, often throwing one or two items from each one into the cart along the way. Needless to say, as all the items piled up in the cart it became harder to push, which was probably what was wearing the Dazzling out so quickly.

“Hrrrrrr.” She grunted as she pushed the now very heavy cart through an aisle of streamers and confetti.

“Ooh, these look nice.” Pinkie stated as she took a large bag filled with a variety colored streamers off the shelf and tossed it into the cart.

The bag of streamers landed on what was rapidly becoming a mountain of party supplies within the cart. And it was just that, a mountain. Every time Pinkie threw something into the cart it would land in there in just such a way that the pile formed the shape of a mountain. Aria didn’t know why this was or even how it was possible, all she knew was that she was afraid of the mountain crashing down on her.

“Hey…Pinkie?” She eventually, and exhaustingly, said. “Think maybe…you can take…the cart for a while?”

“Okie doki loki!” Pinkie said as she threw another bag of streamers into the cart and made her way over to Aria.

Aria back up a bit in order to let Pinkie take hold of the cart’s handle. Once Pinkie took ahold of the cart, she began to push it with what appeared to be relative ease. In fact, the girl almost appeared to be skipping as she pushed.

“That girl isn’t human.” She impassively said to herself as she started following after Pinkie.

It was about another 20 minutes before Pinkie had decided that they had enough supplies, by which point the mountain of items had to be at least ten feet tall. Aria still didn’t know how all the items managed to stay in the cart like that without any of them falling out, but she was too exhausted to care about the laws of physics right now.

“Hey Pinkie, long time no see.” A clerk said as she and Pinkie approached one of the checkout lanes.

“Hey, Party Favor.” Pinkie amicably replied.

Once Aria and Pinkie’s cart was right in front of him, the clerk, apparently named Party Favor, took a very close look at the enormous pile of items.

“Light stock-up today, huh?” She remarked.

Aria’s jaw nearly dropped to floor in disbelief when she heard what Party Favor had just said. This cart with a ten foot high pile of party supplies was considered light?

“I’m just picking up supplies for one party.” Pinkie explained.

“Gotcha.” Party Favor said as he began pulling items out of the cart and scanning them.

“How many supplies do you usually get here?” Aria asked in her disbelief.

“Hmmm.” Pinkie said as she brought a hand up to her chin, like she was in deep contemplation. “On average, I’d say usually about three carts worth of supplies.”

So many questions went through Aria’s mind after hearing Pinkie’s answer. How did she move three carts on her usual visits? How many parties was she throwing that she needed that much each visit? What items did she usually get? And in what quantities? As much as she wanted answers to these questions and more, she didn’t ask a single one. She knew better than to ask too many questions when it came to Pinkie.

Despite this though, she couldn’t keep from asking herself these questions. And not just these new questions, but questions she’d had earlier. Questions like; How had Pinkie gotten into her office? How did that folder fit into her hair? How was it that they managed to leave school without anyone noticing? So much of her day had made absolutely no sense, and it was starting to get to her.

“Um, are you okay, Aria?” Pinkie concernedly asked her friend, noticing a slight twitch in the girl’s right eye and a vacant look on her face.

“I…I don’t know.” Aria replied, almost as if she were in a daze. “My head feels…funny.”

Just as Aria finished saying that, she suddenly felt very strange, almost like she was lightheaded. She found that she was able to keep her balance, but it felt as if part of her brain had just shut off.

“I…hear a voice.” She continued. “It’s saying…part of my brain has…shut off.”

“Oh no.” Pinkie quietly, but frantically, said as she got within an inch of Aria and looked her straight in the eyes. “No, no, no, no, no.”

Normally this kind of invasion of personal space would have elicited some sort of reaction out of Aria, but she was so lost within her own mind at the moment that she didn’t give any physical reaction to having Pinkie so close to her.

“We need to get you into the car, now.” Pinkie worryingly said just as Party Favor finished scanning her items.

“Okay, that’ll be…” Party Favor began to say before Pinkie threw a few bills at him.

“Keep the change, Party.” She told him as she put her right arm around Aria and started leading her towards the exit. “And hold onto my supplies for me, I’ll be back for them later.”

Party Favor wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. He grew a little concerned when he saw the state Aria was in, but it was clear to him that Pinkie was aware of it and trying to help her.

“Okay then.” He hollered back to Pinkie as she and Aria left the store, trusting that the party girl knew what she was doing.

It didn’t take Pinkie long to get Aria back to her car. She quickly unlocked the doors, opened the back right door, and sat the Dazzling down on the seat. Once Aria was fully in the car, she closed the door and hastily made her way over to the other side, getting into the left back seat.

The look on Aria’s face was even worse than it was a few minutes ago. She no longer had the eye twitch, but her vacant expression was even more obvious now, like the lights were on but no one was home. Wasting no time, Pinkie grabbed ahold of the girl’s shoulders and turned her around so that she was face-to-face with her.

“Aria? Can you hear me?” She gently asked the Dazzling. “Blink if you can hear me.”

It took a few seconds, but Aria blinked.

“Oh thank goodness.” Pinkie sighed in relief. “Now, I know this is going to be difficult, but you need to listen very, very carefully to me.”

Even though she couldn’t give any physical sign of it, Aria focused as much of her mental energy as she could on Pinkie’s voice.

“You’re experiencing a 4th wall breakdown.” Pinkie sternly began explaining. “It’s what happens when you focus too much on all the weirdness surrounding you. Right now the part of your brain that keeps you grounded in reality has shut off and that’s why you’re hearing a voice in your head. If you’re still hearing it, blink once.

At first, Aria wasn’t sure she was hearing the voice anymore. But soon enough, she heard it again and blinked once.

“I thought so.” Pinkie crestfallenly stated. “The fact that you can still hear me means you’re not too far gone, but you need to trust me and do exactly as I say before it’s too late. Blink once if you understand.”

Again, Aria blinked once.

“Good.” Pinkie said as she moved her hands from Aria’s shoulders to the sides of the girl’s head. “Now, close your eyes and listen closely.”

Aria did as instructed and closed her eyes. It was scary for her though, because she now felt like she truly was a prisoner within her own mind. She found herself inside a dark and empty void, surrounded by thoughts that made her question the very nature of reality as she knew it.

“You need to stop focusing on all the weirdness and focus on all the good things you have in this world.” Pinkie began saying. “Think about your sisters, your friends, your emu, whatever you feel a strong connection to. Find those bright and shining lights in your life and grab hold of them.”

As painful as it was to do, Aria began pushing away the weird thought and tried to focus on the things that she felt close to in life. She thought about Adagio and Sonata, about how despite all the hardships they’d been through they were still together. She thought about her emu and how she’d come to care for them so much. She even thought about all the students at CHS she’d become close to; Rainbow Dash, Trixie, Derpy, Scootaloo, Applejack, Photo Finish, and even Pinkie. The memories of all the times she’d helped these people started to fill the dark and empty void with light. The voice began to fade from her mind and she slowly opened her eyes, as if waking up from a deep sleep.

Just before Aria’s eyes opened completely, she saw a flash of someone she hadn’t seen in years standing at her front door. Someone she thought she’d never see again. She didn’t have time to process it though, as the flash faded just as quickly as it had appeared.

“W-what happened?” She groggily asked as she came to.

A huge smile of relief crossed Pinkie’s face as she let go of Aria’s head and quickly wrapped the girl in a warm and supportive hug.

“Oh thank goodness you’re alright, Aria!” She exclaimed. “I thought we’d lost you there for a moment.”

Still feeling a bit groggy, Aria returned the hug but felt confused as to why she was being hugged in the first place.

“Uh, Pinkie, can you fill me in on what’s happening?” She asked in her confusion.

“It’s pretty complicated.” Pinkie replied as she broke the hug and opened her car door. “I’ll explain on the way home.”

As Pinkie exited the car and got into the driver’s seat, Aria followed suit and got into the front passenger’s seat, curious as to what Pinkie was going to tell her.

“You’re telling me I nearly lost touch with reality?” Aria stated in bewilderment as Pinkie drove her home.

“Pretty much.” Pinkie replied as she pulled up to a red light.

Pinkie had just finished recapping to Aria what had happened to her back at the party store. The Dazzling seemingly had little to no recollection of the incident, and every time she tried to recall the last half hour or so it came up fuzzy, like a dream. Still though, she remembered enough to know that something had happened to her and that Pinkie had helped her get better.

Even after Pinkie’s recap, however, Aria still didn’t understand some things.

“How is that even possible?” She inquired.

There was a brief moment of silence as Pinkie contemplated whether she should answer Aria’s question or not. She didn’t want to risk Aria slipping back into her own mind again, but she felt that the girl deserved an explanation.

“There’s a lot of weirdness in this world.” She solemnly started to say. “And I’m not talking about random weirdness, I’m talking about weirdness by design. Certain things happening at certain times with seemingly no explanation behind them, other than for the sake of moving a situation forward. They happen every day, and if you pay close enough attention you start to notice them.”

Aria started to think back on some of the weird stuff she’d noticed today, but doing so started to give her a headache, so she stopped.

“Thing is, if you start to focus too much on all that weirdness, you start to lose touch with reality.” Pinkie continued. “Suddenly you find yourself questioning everything, and sometimes you even hear a voice, a voice that seems to be controlling all the weirdness.”

Now things were just getting downright freaky for Aria. Even though she couldn’t fully recall it, she did remember hearing a strange voice in her head earlier, one that seemed to be controlling whatever it was that had been happening to her.

“And is the voice…real?” She inquired, sounding almost afraid. “I mean, is the it really controlling everything.”

“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.” Pinkie pensively replied. “It’s hard to say because we don’t really understand reality. Maybe we have free will, or maybe we’re just puppets acting out someone or something else’s story.”

Aria could feel a twitch coming over her right eye again, which Pinkie noticed right away.

“But it doesn’t matter.” The party girl swiftly told her. “Because even if everything is being controlled by some outside force, it doesn’t change the fact that you are Aria Blaze and that you are real.”

For some unknown reason, Aria could feel Pinkie’s words hitting her at her core. ‘You are Aria Blaze and that you are real’ rang threw her head like the bells of Notre Dame as she suddenly felt more alive than she’d ever felt before in her life.

“You just need to accept reality for what it is and roll with it.” Pinkie concluded.

As Pinkie said that last sentence, Aria picked up on a change of tone in the girl’s voice. It was as if Pinkie were speaking directly from her heart when she'd said it.

“Is that how you deal all the weirdness?” She asked.

“Sure is!” Pinkie cheerfully confirmed. “My philosophy is, ‘Just smile and enjoy the ride’.”

It was at that moment that Aria finally understood Pinkie Pie. Well, maybe not entirely understood her, but understood her enough. Pinkie had a very…unique…worldview, one that not many other people were even capable of having, and that her constant good mood was just her way of dealing with it. The Dazzling gave her friend a small smile as the light changed to green and Pinkie started driving again.

“Here we are.” Pinkie said as she pulled up to Sunset’s apartment.

“Wow, that was fast.” Aria commented, finding it a little weird that they’d gotten there so quickly but making a conscience effort not to think about it too much.

“You sure you’re okay now?” Pinkie concernedly asked her friend as the Dazzling unbuckled her seat belt.

“Yeah, I'm pretty sure.” Aria earnestly replied with a smile on her face. “I think I just need to do like you said and roll with reality.”

“Good to hear.” Pinkie gleefully said just before reaching into the backseat, picking up what appeared to be a present with a big red bow on it off of the floor, and holding it out in front of Aria. “Because then I can give you this!”

At first, Aria instinctively questioned where the present had come since she didn’t recall seeing it back there earlier, but she soon remembered what she’d just said and rolled with it.

“What’s this for?” She inquired as she took the present.

“Well, it was going to be a housewarming present.” Pinkie began explaining. “But given the day you’ve had I figured you could use it now.”

Aria turned her attention to the present in her hands. She placed it on her lap and slowly unraveled the bow and tore away the wrapping paper. When she was finished, she realized she was holding a box with the words 'Cuisinart Waffle Maker' on it.

“What the…” She began to say in astonishment before turning back to Pinkie. “How did you…”

“Just roll with it, Aria.” Pinkie slyly interjected. “Just roll with it.”

Frankly, Aria didn’t even care how Pinkie knew she’d wanted a Cuisinart Waffle Maker, she was just happy to now have one.

“Thanks, Pinkie.” She said with heartfelt gratitude. “For everything today.”

“Don’t mention it.” Pinkie heartfully replied back. "And don't worry about the party, I've got it all taken care of."

Before she started breaking out in tears because of this very heartfelt moment, Aria opened her door and stepped out onto the sidewalk. She waved goodbye to Pinkie as best she could without dropping her waffle maker as the party girl drove off down the street before she headed up the approach. Once she got to the front door, she gave a few clumsy knocks with the waffle maker hoping someone would hear her.

“Aria?” Adagio said as she opened the door. “What are you holding?”

“Cuisinart Waffle Maker.” Aria happily answered as she stepped inside. “Don’t ask how I got it though, it’s complicated.”

“You didn’t steal it, did you?” Adagio very sternly asked her sister.

“What? No!” Aria defensively replied. “Look, Pinkie gave it to me, okay? Let’s just leave it at that.”

“Fair enough then.” Adagio placidly stated as she took the waffle maker from Aria, trying to be a good sister and lighten her sibling’s load. “By the way, Sonata invited Rainbow Dash to dinner tonight. Hope that’s okay.”

Aria looked over to the kitchen and indeed saw Rainbow Dash in there talking with Sonata and Sunset. In total and complete honesty, Aria wasn’t okay with Rainbow Dash being over for dinner. It didn’t have anything to do with Rainbow Dash herself, she just wasn’t happy with the fact that now there was going to be less turkey for her.

“Whatever.” She aloofly said as she and Adagio made their way towards the kitchen.

The two Dazzlings didn’t take more than three steps forward before they both heard a knock at the door.

“Who could that be?” Adagio wondered aloud.

“Dunno, but I got it.” Aria said as she turned back around to answer the door, since Adagio was holding her waffle maker.

As soon as Aria opened the door, she nearly entered into a state of shock. Her eyes went as wide as dinner plates and all the color disappeared from her face as she stared in astonished disbelief at a person she hadn’t seen in years. A person she thought she’d never see again.

“D-Dolly?” She managed to faintly say in her stunned state.

“Hi, Aunt Aria.” Dolly Dusk imperturbably greeted her. “I’m here to see my mother.”

Sonata and Dolly Dusk (Part 1)

View Online

“Hi, Aunt Aria.” Dolly Dusk imperturbably greeted her aunt from just outside Sunset Shimmer’s apartment. “I’m here to see my mother.”

Aria was completely frozen in place by shock, her eyes as wide as dinner plates and all the color drained from her face. There, standing right in front of her, was her niece, whom she hadn’t seen in years.

The last time Aria, or any of the Dazzlings for that matter, had seen Dolly was when she was just a little girl. Now, however, she looked old enough to be in high school. Aside from her age though, Dolly still looked the same as Aria had remembered. She still had her foam green complexion, long blue hair with light blue streaks, and the deepest blue eyes you’d ever seen. She also wore a black dress with a white collar and buttons similar to the one she’d often worn as a child, just now in a larger size.

So many thoughts and emotions ran through Aria as she looked at her niece. Part of her wanted to give the girl a big, warm hug since she hadn’t seen her in so long, but another part of her wanted to close the door before Sonata saw her. Given what had happened between those two all those years ago, she couldn’t rule out the possibility that Sonata didn’t want to see her.

“Helloooo. Aunt Aria?” Dolly semi-concernedly stated as she waved her right hand right in front of her aunt’s face. “Anyone home?”

Aria snapped out of her trance-like state and quickly embraced Dolly in a hug. Regardless of how Sonata might feel about seeing her daughter, she couldn’t contain how happy she was to see her niece again after so many years.

“It’s good to see you, kiddo.” She ardently said as she felt a few tears of joy welling up in her eyes.

Admittedly, Dolly was caught a tad off guard by Aria’s hug. She never remembered her being so…affectionate towards her. Nevertheless, she felt glad that her Aunt Aria was happy to see her.

“Whoa, when did you get so bathetic?” She curiously chortled as she returned the hug.

“A lot has changed since we last saw you.” Aria blithely informed her as tears started rolling down her cheeks.

Dolly could only imagine what must have happened to make Aria so much more loving, though she figured whatever it was must have been huge. There were so many questions she wanted to ask, but there was one that she needed to ask above all others.

“So, does that mean Mom’s changed her mind about me?” She meekly inquired.

Aria wasn't prepared for that question. She no idea how to answer it because she didn’t know how Sonata felt about her daughter after all this time. After Dolly had left, neither her nor her sisters ever spoke about her again, at least not to each other.

Not knowing what else to do, Aria broke the hug and sternly looked Dolly in the eyes. She opened her mouth about to tell her that she didn’t know the answer to her question when all of a sudden she heard a voice call out from behind her.

“Aria, who are you talking too?” Adagio asked her, sounding a bit irate.

Aria had to figure that Adagio couldn’t tell it was Dolly at the door from wherever it was she was calling out from. Remembering how Adagio had always felt about Dolly, she decided to have a little fun with her sister.

“Play along.” She whispered to Dolly.

Even though she wasn’t sure what Aria had in mind, Dolly nodded her head in agreement.

“No one, Adagio.” Aria called back, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. “It’s just some crazy girl claiming to be Sonata’s daughter.”

Dolly immediately understood what it was Aria was doing. She quickly flashed her aunt a wicked smile just before taking a deep breath.

“Please, Aunt Aria, it’s really me. It’s Dolly.” She faux-pleaded with Aria, trying to sound loud enough that Adagio could hear her. “You have to believe me.”

Not more than two seconds later, both Aria and Dolly heard the sound of something heavy hitting the floor. They turned their attention to the direction the noise had come from and saw a stunned Adagio staring back at them with a Cuisinart Waffle Maker box at her feet.

“Dammit, forgot she was holding that.” Aria dolefully remarked.

“Hi, Aunt Adagio.” Dolly affably said as she waved to her other aunt.

Adagio nearly tripped over the waffle maker box as she bolted over to the door and practically tackled Dolly into a hug.

“It’s really you, Dolly!” She joyously exclaimed as she inadvertently squeezed her niece with the strength of a professional wrestler. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you!”

If there was one thing that clearly hadn’t changed, it was Adagio’s affection for Dolly. Adagio had always been the kinder aunt to her. Hell, there were even times she was kinder to her than her Sonata was. It was never 100% clear why this was, though Aria had a theory that it was because Adagio saw Dolly as the child she never had.

“I’ve…missed you…too.” Dolly replied, struggling to breathe due to her aunt’s vice-like hug. “Aunt Adagio? Can you…please let go of me?”

It was at this point that Adagio realized just how tightly she was holding Dolly and quickly released her.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so, so sorry.” She profusely apologized. “I just couldn’t help myself after not seeing you for so long. You’re not hurt, are you?”

Able to breathe again, Dolly took a few quick, deep breaths before responding.

“I’m fine.” She assured her aunt.

Adagio gave a small sigh of relief that she hadn’t harmed her niece before looking over at Aria with a piercing glare, causing the girl to dawn an anxious expression.

“How could you not tell that this is Dolly, you idiot?!” She berated her sister.

Yeah, Aunt Adagio really doesn’t seem to have changed much. Dolly thought to herself, remembering all the times her aunt had castigated her mother and Aunt Aria.

“I did know it was her, Adagio.” Aria starkly clarified as she returned the piercing glare. “We were just messing with you.”

“It’s true, we were.” Dolly amiably backed her aunt up.

Knowing now that the whole thing had been a prank, and that Dolly had been in on it, Adagio swiftly ceased her glaring and turned her attention to her niece.

“Oh you.” She sweetly said with a smile on her face, dismissing the prank as nothing more than child’s play. “Still the little mischief maker I see.”

“Sure am.” Dolly just as sweetly replied back with a smile of her own.

Aria just rolled her eyes. Even though Dolly wasn’t a little girl anymore, it seemed Adagio was still incapable of ever being upset with her.

“Is everything okay in here, you guys?” Sunset Shimmer’s voice could be heard saying from behind Aria and Adagio. “We heard a crashing sound.”

The two Dazzlings turned around and saw Sunset, Sonata, and Rainbow Dash standing over by where Adagio had left the waffle maker.

“Ooh, Cuisinart. Nice.” Rainbow Dash commented as she bent down to get a closer look at the box.

It was obvious to Aria and Adagio that they were blocking Dolly from view, or else Sonata would’ve had some sort of reaction to seeing her by now. The two Dazzlings quickly shared a worrisome glance, as neither one of them knew what to do know, though deep down they both knew that the mother-daughter reunion between Sonata and Dolly was now inevitable.

“Is someone at the door?” Sonata curiously spoke up.

Upon hearing her mother’s voice for the first time in years, Dolly placed a hand on both of her aunts and lightly shoved them aside, much to Aria and Adagio’s surprise.

“H-Hi, Mom.” She mollifyingly said once her presence was revealed.

The room fell completely silent as a variety of expressions crossed everyone’s faces. Aria and Adagio both dawned expressions of worry, fearful and unsure about what was going to happen next. Sunset simply stared at Dolly with a quizzical look, thinking that the girl must be crazy or something. Rainbow Dash got up from examining the waffle maker box, feeling all sorts of confused, and turned her attention to her girlfriend.

“Why did she just call you ‘Mom’?” The rainbow haired girl asked Sonata in her bewilderment, breaking the silence.

Sonata didn’t answer though. She just stared at her daughter as if she were a ghost.

There were no words to describe what Sonata felt at that moment, because not even she herself knew what it was she was feeling. So many emotions flowed through her that she couldn’t process them all, causing her to suddenly feel lightheaded.

“D-Dolly?” Was all she managed to say just before she fainted, falling to the floor like a ragdoll.

“Sonata?!” Rainbow Dash alarming said as she got down on the floor and held her girlfriend by the waist and head, just as everyone gathered around the unconscious girl.

“Is she okay?” Sunset concernedly asked.

“I-I think so.” Rainbow nervously replied as she examined Sonata. “S-She doesn’t seem to be bleeding or anything, she’s just unconscious.”

“Should we call 911?” Adagio worryingly asked.

Aria swiftly got down on the other side of Sonata and put two fingers up against her sister’s neck to check her pulse.

“I don’t think we need to do that.” She relieving said after a few seconds. “I’m getting a pulse from her, she should be fine.”

A collective sigh of relief came over the group of girls just as Dolly knelt down next to her mother.

“Mom?” She timidly said as she put a hand on her mother’s shoulder. “Mom, can you hear me?”

“Get away from her!” Rainbow snapped at her, causing her to wince. “You’re the reason she’s like this!”

As hurtful as those words were for Dolly to hear, she knew them to be true. She looked on at Rainbow Dash’s enraged expression and decided it best to do as the girl said. Slowly but surely, she got up and backed away from her mother with a look of contrition on her face.

“Don’t yell at her!” Adagio snapped right back at Rainbow, coming to Dolly’s defense. “This isn’t her fault!”

“Oh really?!” Rainbow snidely said as she looked up at Adagio. “Sonata was perfectly fine until she showed her face!”

Adagio hated to admit it, but Rainbow’s logic was irrefutable. Sonata had seemed fine until Dolly pushed her and Aria out of the way and revealed herself. Still though, she refused to believe that Dolly had done anything wrong, at least directly. After all, it’s not like her niece had intended for this to happen.

“Both of you, knock it off!” Aria scolded both Rainbow and Adagio with a fiery passion. “Sonata may not need to go to the hospital but we still need to tend to her, and playing the blame-game isn’t going to help any!”

Neither Rainbow Dash nor Adagio said anything as they both dejectedly looked off to the side, disgusted that they’d been letting their emotions distract them from Sonata’s well-being.

“Sunset, go get a damp rag and meet us in Sonata’s room.” Aria instructed the Rainboom, taking charge of the situation since no one was.

“On it.” Sunset steadfastly said as she rushed over towards the kitchen.

“Rainbow Dash, you and I will carry Sonata to her bed.” Aria continued. “You take her head, I’ll get her legs.”

“R-right.” Rainbow ascetically replied as she got into position while Aria moved over to Sonata’s legs.

“Adagio, go open the door to Sonata’s room.” Aria instructed her sister. “Dolly, act as Rainbow Dash’s eyes, make sure she doesn’t bump into anything while we’re moving your mom.”

Both Adagio and Dolly simply nodded as they did as instructed. Adagio ran off towards Sonata’s room to open the door and Dolly took a position near Rainbow to guide her.

“Okay, on three Rainbow.” Aria said as she prepared to lift her sister. “One, two, three.”

Almost in perfect synch, Aria and Rainbow lifted Sonata and slowly started to carry her towards her bedroom with Dolly guiding them.

As for Sonata herself, even though she was unconscious her mind subconsciously still reeled with thoughts of her daughter. She wasn’t dreaming though. No, this was something different. It was more like she was reliving a moment from her past within her mind, like she was experiencing it all over again for the first time. Specifically, she was reliving one of the worst moments of her life; the moment she’d allowed her anger to cause her to lose Dolly.

“Here’s your breakfast, Dolly.” Sonata tiredly said as she put a bowl of cereal in front of her little girl.

“I thought we were having pancakes.” Dolly despondently remarked, clearly unhappy with her cereal.

“We’re out of pancake batter.” Sonata informed her daughter as she poured some coffee into her mug, desperately needing the caffeine.

“But Aunt Aria is having pancakes.” Dolly griped as she pointed to her aunt at the other end of the table.

Sonata turned around, coffee now in hand, and noticed that Aria was indeed eating pancakes. She quickly took a sip of her morning joe and then shot her sister an inquisitive look, as if silently asking her what the deal was.

“I used up the last of the batter.” Aria indifferently said as she continued to eat her breakfast. “Sorry.”

Dolly, in response, simply folded her arms and leaned back in her chair, dawning a sour expression as she stared at her cereal.

“I want pancakes.” She softly, and sullenly, said.

All in all, Sonata really didn't like it when Dolly spent the weekends with her and her sisters. She loved her little girl and all, but Dolly was a very…unique child and could be a bit of a handful sometimes. Now one would think that having two sisters around to help her take care of her daughter would be a plus, but it wasn’t. In fact, having Aria and Adagio around was a hard negative. Aria was always so indifferent towards anything that had to do with Dolly and Adagio, oh, Adagio was even worse. She treated Dolly like she was a princess and always gave her whatever she wanted, often undermining Sonata’s authority as the girl’s mother.

“Please just eat your cereal, Dolly.” Sonata languidly pleaded with her daughter as she took a seat at the table. “We might not be having lunch until later than usual today so you need to eat up now.”

Despite still strongly desiring pancakes, Dolly reluctantly accepted the fact that she wasn’t going to get any and began eating her cereal.

“Morning, girls.” Adagio groggily said as she entered the kitchen a few moments later, looking like half-dead.

“Morning.” Both Sonata and Aria superficially replied in almost perfect synch.

Sensing an opportunity for pancakes now that Aunt Adagio had entered the room, Dolly ceased eating her cereal and instantly began putting a plan together in her head.

“Good morning, Aunt Adagio!” She sweetly greeted her aunt.

“Good morning, Dolly!” Adagio just as sweetly, perhaps even more sweetly, greeted her niece back with newfound energy as she wrapped the girl in a hug from behind her chair. “And how are you today?”

Dolly gave her aunt a quick, gloomy glance before returning her attention to her breakfast.

“Okay, I guess.” She somewhat sullenly answered.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Adagio concernedly asked as she broke her hug and knelt down next to Dolly.

“Well, I was just really hoping for some pancakes this morning.” Dolly explained, putting on a ‘poor, pitiable me’ act. “But Aunt Aria used up the last of the batter.”

Sonata couldn’t help but roll her eyes as she watched the scene before her unfold, knowing full well what it was her daughter was doing, and how she was probably going to get away with it like always.

“Is that so?” Adagio ominously said as she stood up and shot Aria a piercing glare.

“What?” Aria asked in a piqued manner after swallowing the pancakes in her mouth, noticing her sister’s glare. “I said I was sorry.”

“Did you even think that maybe someone else wanted the last of the pancakes?” Adagio condescendingly asked Aria as though she were a child. “Someone like your niece?”

Feeling a tad agitated at the way she was being spoken to, Aria put down her utensils and stood up from her seat, returning Adagio’s piercing glare.

“What do you want me to do, Adagio, huh?” She irksomely inquired. “You want me to run all of my meal plans past you a few days in advance?”

“I want you to think about others before you act, you idiot!” Adagio heatedly replied, intensifying her glare.

Aria also intensified her glare in response. The two Dazzlings just stared each other down for a few seconds before Aria decided that it was too early in the day for this kind of bullshit and silently stormed off towards her room.

“So sorry about that, sweetness.” Adagio warmly said as she turned back to Dolly. “How about we go to the diner down the street and get you some pancakes, hmm?”

“Yay, pancakes!” Dolly joyously replied as she reached up and gave her aunt a hug, which of course Adagio genially returned.

Despite the aggravation it often caused her, Sonata couldn’t help but be impressed at how her daughter was able to manipulate others into either doing or giving her what she wanted so easily. She was pretty smart in general, as evidenced by the straight A’s on her report cards, but what was perhaps most impressive about her was that she was already a master manipulator. Oh yes, Dolly Dusk was a true Dazzling.

Regardless of how Sonata admired Dolly’s manipulative skills though, she was still the girl’s mother and it was about time she put her foot down as such.

“We’re not going to the diner, Adagio.” She spoke up, trying to sound as stern as possible. “Dolly already has her breakfast.”

Upon hearing Sonata’s words, Adagio and Dolly simultaneously broke their hug and both turned their attention towards her in surprise.

“Excuse me?” Adagio curiously asked, as if making sure she’d heard her sister correctly.

Sonata took another sip of her coffee before speaking up again.

“I said, ‘We’re not going to the diner’.” She reiterated, her tone of voice unfaltering. “Dolly’s going to finish her cereal.”

“But I want pancakes, Mommy.” Dolly whimpered, trying to use her ‘poor, pitiable me’ act on her mother.

“Uh-uh, don’t you give me that attitude, young lady.” Sonata sharply said to Dolly as she stood up from her seat, having had enough of her daughter’s shrewd scheming. “You’re either going to eat your cereal or your not getting any breakfast at all.”

Since her mother clearly wasn’t going to take her out for pancakes, Dolly swiftly turned her attention back towards her aunt in the hopes of having her overrule her mother’s decree.

“Aunt Adagio?” She whined, but Aunt Adagio wasn’t listening.

No, Adagio’s attention was solely focused on Sonata. She stared at her sister with a look of shock and awe as if lost in some sort of trance, unable to believe what she’d just heard.

“Oh no, don’t go crying to Aunt Adagio.” Sonata firmly told her daughter. “Aunt Adagio isn’t going to help you this time. Now finish your cereal or you’ll be spending the rest of the day in your room, understand?”

Having no other options, Dolly reluctantly did as her mother instructed and went back to eating her cereal.

A sense of satisfaction came over Sonata as she watched Dolly eat her breakfast. It wasn’t on account of the fact that she’d successfully asserted dominance over her daughter, but instead because of the fact that she’d acted like a real mother. She’d laid down the law and stuck to her guns, she’d even stood up to Adagio in the process. Overall, Sonata was feeling the best she’d felt in a long time.

“Sonata, may I speak with for a moment?” Adagio quietly, but vehemently, asked her as she started walking towards the hallway.

And just like that, Sonata’s good feelings disappeared. Fearing what might happen if she didn’t do as Adagio asked, she followed her sister out into the hall and steeled herself for whatever was to come next.

“What the hell was that all about?” Adagio fiercely asked through gritted teeth, trying to keep her volume to a minimum so her niece didn’t hear. “All Dolly wanted were some pancakes and you treated her like she was some kind of hoodlum.”

“Well, I was just…” Sonata timidly tried to explain.

“I mean, what’s the big deal if we take her out for pancakes.” Adagio interrupted.

“It’s not about the pancakes, it’s…” Sonata once again tried to explain, a bit more confidently this time, before Adagio interrupted her once more.

“Honestly, sometimes I think you’re not cut out for motherhood.” She offhandedly remarked. “Maybe you should just let Dolly spend her weekends here with me instead.”

That remark…that offensively nonchalant remark…was the proverbial straw that broke Sonata’s back. No, that’s not quite the right way to put it. It was more like, ‘that remark was the trigger that caused all of Sonata's negative emotions to erupt at once’. Yes, that’s more accurate. Sonata could feel every negative emotion she’d ever repressed regarding motherhood, her sisters, pretty much anything and everything come exploding to the surface like an erupting volcano.

Without warning, Sonata grabbed a hold her sister by the collar and pulled her in close, much to Adagio’s shock.

“You think you can do a better job raising Dolly?” She asked with a burning fierceness that Adagio had never heard before. “You think you can raise a brat like that with one sister who doesn’t give a shit about her and another sister who does nothing but spoil her better than I’ve been doing?”

Adagio gave a very nervous gulp before answering her sister, making sure to choose her next words extremely carefully.

“W-well, I d-didn’t say ‘raise’ per say.” She feebly said.

“Oh, but that’s what you meant, wasn’t it?” Sonata rhetorically asked, her voice steadily growing in volume. “Well you’ve only played the part of the fun aunt up until this point, so let me enlighten you as to what it’s like to play the part of the mother to a child like Dolly.”

Once again, Adagio gave a nervous gulp.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, Dolly isn’t exactly a normal little girl.” Sonata began, still maintaining that burning fierceness in her voice. “She’s hyper-fixated on sharks, she randomly stops in places to watch ants marching along, and she has this strange fascination with knives.”

“K-Knives?” Adagio asked, finding it difficult to believe that her sweet little niece could be fascinated by such things.

“Oh yeah, knives.” Sonata confirmed. “She thinks they’re pretty. I’ve caught her on more than one occasion holding one like she was Michael fucking Myers or something.”

S-She can’t be serious. Adagio anxiously thought to herself, trying to keep images of Dolly wielding a knife from entering her mind.

“So tell me, Adagio, how would you, as a mother, deal with a child like that?” Sonata asked her sister.

Before Adagio could give any kind of response, the door to Aria’s room abruptly opened.

“Hey, whatever you two are arguing about can you do it somewhere else?” Aria annoyedly asked her sisters as she stuck her head out into the hallway.

“How about you, Aria?” Sonata agitatedly addressed her sister as she let go of Adagio can slowly advanced towards her. “How would you deal with a bizarre, manipulative little shit like Dolly, huh?”

All of a sudden, Aria’s eyes went as wide a dinner plates.

“Uh, Sonata.” She tremulously said as she pointed just behind her sister.

Both Sonata and Adagio turned their attention to where Aria was pointing…only to see Dolly standing just outside the entrance to the kitchen with tears in her eyes. It was unclear to any of the three Dazzlings just how long the girl had been standing there, but it was obvious that she’d been there long enough to hear what her mother had said about her.

“I wish you weren’t my mommy.” She somberly remarked.

Aria and Adagio both dawned faces of horror after hearing Dolly’s remark towards her mother. Sonata, however, maintained her fiery expression as she walked right up to her daughter and bent over to meet her at her level.

“Yeah? Well I wish I’d never had you.” She scornfully replied in her anger. “You’re the worst thing to ever happen to me.”

Sonata’s retort pierced Dolly’s heart like a glass splinter, digging it’s way deep inside of her. She struggled to keep what little composure she’d still had left as she ran towards her room, leaving a trail of tears behind her.

Both Aria and Adagio were speechless. Completely and utterly speechless. Neither one of them knew what to either say or do after having witnessed such an emotionally devastating scene.

“Well there you go, Adagio, have at it.” Sonata faintly, but still angrily, stated as she gave an exaggerated dismissive wave towards Dolly’s room.

“W-what?” Adagio asked, genuinely confused by what Sonata meant by that.

“You wanted to spend more time with Dolly, to be her mother, well now’s your chance.” Sonata said as she made her way towards to the front door. “You can spend the rest of the day with her until her father comes to get her tonight.”

“Wait, Sonata, where are you going?” Aria inquired as she followed her sister.

“Out.” Sonata simply replied as she opened the door. “Oh, and when her father does show up, tell him he can keep that little brat. I’m done dealing with all of this bullshit.”

And with that, Sonata stepped outside and violently slammed the door behind her, knowing full well that she may never see her daughter again as she walked away. And that was damn fine with her.

Everyone was silently gathered around the still unconscious Sonata as she lied in her bed, each having successfully done their part to get her there. Despite the reticence however, there was a strong tension in the air. It was as if the room were filled with a static charge brought about by the multitude of emotions surging through each of them. The strongest of them, perhaps, being Rainbow Dash’s current antipathy of Dolly.

“So what now?” Sunset agilely inquired, breaking the silence.

“We should let her rest.” Aria mildly replied. “She should wake up in a few hours tops, but until then though there’s not much we can do for her.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.” Adagio softly agreed with her sister.

Rainbow and Sunset each gave an agreeing nod as everyone began heading for the door, everyone except for Dolly that is.

“I’m staying with my mother.” She steadfastly remarked, her eyes still fixated on Sonata.

“Like hell you are!” Rainbow vociferated as she turned around and walked right up to Dolly. “I don’t know who you think you are, but you’re the last person who should be at my girlfriend’s side right now!”

Dolly averted her attention from Sonata and stared at Rainbow Dash with an expression of mild surprise on her face. Had this girl really just referred to her mother as her girlfriend?

“Rainbow, that’s enough.” Sunset said as she placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder in an attempt to calm her down.

“No, I want answers!” Rainbow contentiously replied as she shook Sunset’s hand off of her, her attention never leaving Dolly. “Who are you and why are you here?!”

“Rainbow Dash!” Adagio sharply spoke up as she grabbed hold of the girl, forcibly making her back off then placing herself between her and Dolly. “Not here.”

As much as Rainbow wanted answers, she couldn’t ignore the very serious look on Adagio’s face. It was a look that seemed to say, ‘keep this up and I’ll remove you from the situation myself’, and was enough to get her to simmer down a bit.

“Just step outside with us and we’ll explain everything.” Aria chimed in, sounding a mixture of sharp and gentle.

Feeling she had no other options, Rainbow Dash heatedly walked out of the room, followed closely by Sunset.

“Did that girl call my mother her ‘girlfriend’?” Dolly asked her Aunt Adagio once Rainbow was gone, still feeling perplexed by that.

“Don’t worry about that right now, Dolly.” Adagio gently told her niece as she turned around to face her. “Just stay her with your mother and let us deal with Rainbow Dash, okay?”

Trusting her Aunt Adagio, Dolly silently gave an affirming nod. Adagio, in response, gave her niece a small smile just before turning around and heading for the door.

“Let us know if you need anything.” Aria added just before also heading for the door.

Again, Dolly gave a silent, affirming nod.

Once Adagio and Aria had left the room and closed the door behind them, Dolly took a seat in a chair located in the corner of the room closest to her mother’s bed. She gave a small sigh and looked up at her mother with concerned eyes, hoping and praying that she woke up soon. After all, the two of them had a lot to talk about.

Sonata and Dolly Dusk (Part 2)

View Online

“Alright, you two, start talking!” Rainbow Dash heatedly demanded of Adagio and Aria once the three of them, plus Sunset, were back in the living room of the apartment. “Who is that girl and why does she keep referring to Sonata as her mother?!”

It was clear to the two Dazzlings that Rainbow’s patience was wearing thin, though they couldn’t blame her for that. If either of them had a significant other and one day that significant other’s estranged daughter randomly showed up without any warning, they’d probably be desperate for answers as well.

“Just calm down, Rainbow.” Sunset gently said as she placed a supportive hand on her friend’s shoulder, trying to calm her down. “I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explain for all of this.”

“Oh, there’s an explanation alright.” Aria jocularly remarked as she took a seat on the couch and relaxingly leaned back. “Though I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘reasonable’ one.”

“And just what is that supposed to mean?!” Rainbow acrimoniously inquired as she glared are Aria, her patience now wearing even thinner after hearing the Dazzling’s remark.

“Yes, Aria, what is that supposed to mean?” Adagio vexingly asked her sister.

Aria couldn’t help but roll her eyes in response to her sister’s question.

“Come on, Adagio, you can’t really still believe that what we did back then was by any means ‘reasonable’.” She confoundedly replied. “I mean, I know we were desperate and all, but it was insane.”

Adagio slowly approached Aria as she too began to glare at the girl, stopping only just a few inches away from her.

“Funny, I don’t remember you thinking it was so insane at the time.” She irksomely stated right in her sister’s face.

The two sisters just silently stared each other down for a few seconds until a loud slamming sound caught their attention.

“WILL YOU TWO PLEASE JUST EXPLAIN THINGS ALREADY?!” Rainbow Dash furiously hollered as the last of her patience wore out, her hands now placed squarely on the coffee table, which she probably slammed there.

Sensing that this wasn’t the time to argue about the past, Adagio quickly took a seat on the couch next to her sister as Aria sat up straight and prepared to speak.

“Okay, okay, we’ll explain everything.” The pig-tailed Dazzling anxiously said as she held her hands up in front of her.

Rainbow wasted no time taking a seat in a nearby chair with her arms folded and legs crossed as she impatiently awaited Aria and Adagio’s explanation, staring very intently at the two Dazzlings with a tempestuous glare. Sunset just remained standing where she was.

Lowering her hands and taking a deep breath to calm her anxiety before speaking, Aria prepared herself to tell what was sure to be a long, embarrassing, and uncomfortable story…for everyone.

“So you know how we used to feed off of energy?” She began by asking.

“Yeah.” Rainbow contemptuously replied.

“Well, a while ago there was a period of time where we weren’t getting enough of it.” Aria continued in a very mild manner. “And I’m not just talking about a small period of time either. For some reason our singing had started having less and less of an effect on people, and as a result we were getting less and less energy with each attempt to gain it. We didn’t know why this was happening, we only knew that we needed to do something about it before we starved.”

As Rainbow Dash listened attentively to Aria’s story, she couldn’t help but wonder what any of this had to do with Dolly.

“Eventually we got so desperate that we decided to explore…other possible means of extracting energy from people.” Aria continued, now sounding a tad contrite, as she looked down and off to the side with a compunctious expression.

“What do you mean by ‘other’ means?” Sunset asked.

Aria brought her head back to answer Sunset’s question, but before she could respond Adagio chimed in.

“We mean using methods other than singing.” The Dazzling leader clarified. “Back in Equestria, some sirens theorized that singing wasn’t the only way we could extract energy. However, since singing has always worked for us no ever bothered to try and prove it.”

Admittedly, Sunset found herself intrigued. Her desire to better understand magic, even siren magic, made her want to learn more about this theory.

“So what were some of these theorized ‘other’ methods of extracting energy?” She curiously inquired.

“There weren’t any.” Adagio flatly answered. “The theory was simply that singing wasn’t the only method, that’s why we had to explore what the alternatives might be.”

“I see.” Sunset interestedly replied. “Then what kinds of methods did you explore?”

“Ugh.” Aria painfully groaned as she brought a hand up to her face in a manner that suggested she was ashamed of something.

Sunset shot the now distraught Dazzling an inquisitive look as Rainbow Dash simply continued to stare at Aria and Adagio with her tempestuous glare.

“Oh don’t be so dramatic, Aria.” Adagio remarked as she rolled her eyes. “Nothing we tried was that bad.”

Just then, Aria quickly lowered her hand from her face and turned her attention towards Adagio, dawning an expression that seemed to be mixture of anger and bewilderment.

“Seriously, Adagio?!” She vehemently stated. “You think whoring ourselves out wasn’t ‘that bad’?!”

Both Sunset and Rainbow each gave visible expressions of shock after hearing Aria utter the word ‘whoring’.

“I’ll admit that the circumstances weren’t ideal, but at least we got some enjoyment out of it.” Adagio defensively retorted. “And like I said earlier, I don’t recall you having any objections at the time.”

“Yeah, because at the time I thought it might give us the energy we needed!” Aria fired back, now sounding defensive as well. “But since it didn’t I’m just ashamed that we did that! Hell, even if had worked I’d probably still feel ashamed!”

“Well I can’t help how you feel, Aria.” Adagio inimically stated. “If you have insecurities about what we did, that’s your problem, not mine.”

By this point, both Aria and Adagio looked as if they were about to elevate their sisterly argument from simple bickering to physical altercation. Picking up on this, Sunset snapped out of her shock just enough to speak up.

“Wait, wait, wait.” She frantically said. “You’re saying you three resorted to…to prostitution to try and extract energy from people?”

The two Dazzlings turned their attention to where Sunset was standing and, upon noticing how aghast both she and Rainbow Dash looked, quickly forgot about their argument. Aria once again brought a hand up to her face as an expression of shame crossed her face. Even Adagio dawned a small expression of shame, most likely due to Sunset’s use of the term ‘prostitution’.

“W-well I wouldn’t call it prostitution, exactly.” The poofy-haired Dazzling timidly remarked.

“Oh will you stop trying to sugarcoat it, Adagio?!” Aria snapped as she lowered her hand. “Prostitution is exactly what we did! We had sex with strangers in the hopes that we could drain their energy by doing so! But it failed miserably and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Sonata got pregnant!”

Even though she was already in a state of shock from hearing what the Dazzlings, in particular her girlfriend, had done, Rainbow Dash felt herself sink even deeper into her stunned state as she started putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

“Y-y-you mean that…S-Sonata actually is…” She stammered, struggling to translate her thoughts into words.

“Yes, Rainbow!” Aria shouted as she turned her attention to her sister’s girlfriend, picking up on what the was trying to say. “Why do you think Dolly kept calling her ‘Mom’?”

In truth, the possibility of Sonata actually being Dolly’s mother never occurred to Rainbow Dash. This was for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that her girlfriend had never mentioned the fact that she had a daughter. Not…even…once.

“B-but how is that possible?” Sunset spoke up. “She looks almost the same age as Sonata.”

“That’s because Dolly’s half-siren.” Adagio clarified. “Like us, she looks younger than she actually is.”

As curious as Sunset now was about Dolly’s actual age she decided not to inquire about it, feeling that doing so would be rude. Instead, she turned her attention to Rainbow who had a vacant look in her eyes, like she wasn’t even mentally present anymore.

“Rainbow Dash, are you okay?” She concernedly asked her friend, sensing her distress.

Frankly, Rainbow wasn’t okay. She was hurting inside, and not just in her mind, but in her soul as well. How could Sonata do this to her? How could the girl who’d said ‘I love you’ to her so many times keep the fact that she had a daughter a secret from her?

“Thank you for telling me that.” The rainbow-haired teen woundedly said to Aria and Adagio as she stood up and headed for the door, moving like she was the walking dead. “I’m going home now.”

“Rainbow, wait!” Sunset called out as she began to follow Rainbow towards the door.

Rainbow Dash didn’t respond at all to Sunset’s request. She simply opened the front door once she got there, walked outside, and shut the door behind her.

“Rainbow!” Sunset called out again, only louder this time, as she did likewise.

Aria and Adagio had simply sat quietly as Rainbow and Sunset left the apartment. Now that they were alone, however, Adagio turned towards her sister and prepared to speak.

“Wow, Rainbow Dash took that better than I imagined she would.” She casually commented. “I thought she was going to explode with fury when we told her the truth about Dolly.”

“I thought she was going to explode too.” Aria replied, a hint of worry in her voice. “Though I feel like she took it worse than I imagined.”

Dolly silently sat in the corner of Sonata’s room, trying to figure out what she was going to say to her mother once she regained consciousness. She had, of course, planned out everything she was going to say before she’d arrived at the apartment, but her mother fainting at the sight of her had…complicated things. Her plan had been to simply say her piece to her mother and leave before any drama ensued, but naturally drama had ensued before she could say anything beyond, ‘Hi, Mom’.”

“Ugh.” She frustratedly muttered under her breath as she leaned back and slumped into her chair.

What also weighed heavy on Dolly’s mind was why her mother had fainted in the first place. Of all the reactions she thought she’d have gotten from her mother, that one hadn’t even crossed her mind. In fact, she was almost certain that she was going to have the door slammed in her face as soon as her mother saw her. But fainting, what was up with that?

“Okay sure, I randomly showed up at her doorstep after how many years of not even speaking to her.” She thought aloud. “But people don’t faint because of stuff like that. Do they?”

As Dolly pondered whether or not her mother’s reaction had been, for lack of a better term, ‘normal’ given the situation, she heard some faint sounds coming from the bed.

“W-wha…?” Sonata drowsily uttered as she slowly came to and tried to sit up. “What…happened? Where…where am I?”

Almost instinctively, Dolly got up from her seat and rushed over to the side of the bed to help her mother.

“Easy, Mom, you’re in bed.” She gently said as helped Sonata sit up. “You lost consciousness for a while.”

“I…did?” Sonata hazily replied, not yet aware enough to realize that it was her daughter speaking to her, even though she’d just been addressed as ‘Mom’.

Sonata struggled to remember what had happened that’d caused her lose consciousness. She remembered talking with Rainbow Dash and Sunset in the kitchen before they all heard a crashing sound and went to see what it had been. She then remembered entering the living room and seeing her sisters standing by the open front door, prompting her to ask them if someone was there. After that, things got a little fuzzy.

“I…I remember someone at the door.” She said as she closed her eyes, hoping that doing so would help her see what was in her mind’s eye clearer. “It was…”

As much as Dolly wanted to simply tell her mother that it was her, she didn’t think that that was a very good idea. She figured it was best to let her remember things naturally, lest she faint again from shock. Of course, there was no guarantee that her mother wouldn’t faint from remembering naturally, but it was still the best option to her.

“It was…” Sonata reiterated as she tried to clear her mind of everything except who she’d seen at the door. “…Dolly!”

As soon as Sonata remembered, her eyes shot wide open as she turned her attention to her daughter.

“Hi again.” Dolly timidly said with a demure smile and a small wave, hoping that her mother would remain conscious this time.

Sonata did, in fact, remain conscious this time, but she still found herself in such a state of shock and bewilderment that she couldn’t speak. This wasn’t much of a concern for her though, because she didn’t even know what she’d say to her daughter if she could speak.

It’s her. She silently thought to herself as she stared at her daughter. It's really Dolly.

Sonata’s silence and stunned expression did little to ease Dolly’s worries about how her mother felt about her now. She’d expected some surprise, naturally, but she’d also expected something that would indicate whether or not she was still angry; a cold stare, a warm smile, anything that would give her a hint one way or the other. Alas, all she got was a very neutral stunned expression.

Feeling like she didn’t have any better options, Dolly decided to go back to her original plan of saying her piece and then leaving. She took a short, deep breath as she prepared to say what she’d come to say.

“Mom, I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other.” She solemnly started to say. “And I know that the last time we were together we didn’t leave on good terms, but there are things I need to tell you, things I need to say to you, and I hope you’ll listen to me.”

Even though she wasn’t as stunned as she was a moment ago Sonata still found herself unable to speak, so she simply nodded her head in response.

“Thank you.” Dolly gratefully said, happy that her mother was willing to listen to her. “First of all, I need to tell you that Dad’s…gone. He’d been battling pancreatic cancer for the past two years, and he lost that battle a few weeks ago. I know you two weren’t ever really close, but I figured you should know.”

Much to Sonata’s surprise, the news of Neighsay’s death hit her harder than she ever imagined it would’ve. Dolly wasn’t wrong when she’d said that the two of them hadn’t ever really been close, emotionally anyways, but she still felt bad that the father of her child was gone.

“I-I’m sorry.” She managed to meekly say.

Admittedly, Dolly had expected condolences from her mother regarding her father’s death. She looked at her with mild bafflement for a moment, but upon seeing the sincerely sympathetic look on her face she quickly dawned a small smile. She then reached out and lightly grabbed a hold of her mother’s hand, as a silent way of saying ‘Thank you’.

Sonata, in response, returned the small smile and readjusted her hand so that she could hold her daughter’s hand as she held her’s.

“The other thing is…well…is….” Dolly continued, now finding it difficult to say what she’d gone over in her head so many times. “I…I don’t quite know how to say this next part.”

Sensing Dolly’s distress, Sonata slightly tightened her hold on her daughter’s hand and placed her free hand the girl’s knee in a sign of support.

“It’s okay, sweetie.” She gently said. “Just take your time.”

Sweetie. It had been so long since Dolly had heard her mother call her that. She hadn’t missed being called that even once in all the years she spent without her mother, but for some reason hearing Sonata use that pet name for her filled her heart with warm glow. However, it didn’t make she was trying to say any easier.

Dolly quickly refocused her mental energy into formulating the words and sentences needed to say what she’d come her to say, and took a long, deep breath before continuing.

“Mom, for the longest time I…I’ve hated you.” She dolefully started to say as she looked away from her mother. “After you told me you wished you’d never had me and then pawned me off on Dad completely, I started hating you more than anything. Dad told me that I shouldn’t hate you, even after everything you'd said and done, but I didn’t listen to him. I never wanted to speak to or see you ever again. Hell, I never even wanted to think about you ever again.”

Sonata listened intently and sorrowfully to her daughter’s words as she removed her hand from the girl’s knee. Dolly’s words hurt her, more than she ever imagined words could hurt her, but she continued to listen to them because she had promised she would, and the last thing she wanted to do right now was break a promise to her child. Even if that meant she was about to cry.

“I felt that way for a long, long time, and thought I’d always feel that way.” Dolly continued, starting to sound a tad choked up, as she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. “But then one day, not long before he got sick, Dad found something buried in one of the closets and brought it out to me.”

Dolly quickly scrolled through her phone until she found what she’d been looking for.

“This.” She simply said as she held her phone up to her mother.

Sonata looked at the image on the phone and gave an astonished expression as she recognized the plush toy in it instantly.

“Your baby sharkie!” She said in her astonished state as the memory of the day her daughter got her favorite toy came back to her.

“Come on, Mommy, hurry!” A young Dolly excitedly exclaimed as she ran towards the entrance to the Canterlot City Aquarium, pulling her mother behind her. “I want to see the sharkies!”

“Okay, okay, Dolly. Just slow down.” Sonata playfully replied as she was dragged, finding her daughter’s jubilant mood contagious. “The sharkies aren’t going anywhere.”

It was one of those rare days where Sonata and Dolly got to spend time together without Adagio or Aria around. Earlier in the day, Adagio had informed her and Aria that she might have found a new way for them to fully regain their magic and that she needed one of her them to help her look into it. Naturally since Dolly was with them for the weekend, she got to stay behind while Aria went off with Adagio.

These were the kinds of days with Dolly that Sonata found most tolerable, mostly because there was no Adagio around to dote over the little girl nor Aria to neglect her. Often times the mother and daughter would go out somewhere they wouldn’t normally be able to if Adagio or Aria were around, but today they were at the aquarium because Dolly wanted to see the sharks.

See, a few weekends ago the three Dazzlings had decided to watch the movie Jaws and, unbeknownst to any of them at the time, Dolly had snuck out of her room past her bedtime and secretly watched it as well. The little girl was instantly fascinated by the shark in the movie; it’s size, it’s power, it’s predatory nature, it was all enough to hyper-fixate her on the beasts. So now, there was nothing she wanted more than to see a shark in real life.

It took Dolly time and saying, ‘Will you take me to see the sharkies, Mommy?’ more times than she could count, but eventually her mother caved and said she’d take her to the aquarium one weekend. And that weekend was now.

“Over there, Mommy!” Dolly gleefully shouted as she pointed towards the part of the building that housed the sharks. “Hurry, hurry!”

“I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying.” Sonata mirthfully replied.

As much as Sonata didn’t care for being dragged through the aquarium by her small child, she had to admit she wasn’t having a bad time so far. Maybe it was because the aquarium reminded her of her home back in Equestria, or maybe it was because her daughter was so happy. Whatever it was, she was just glad to be in a good mood today.

As both Sonata and Dolly entered to shark exhibit, they couldn’t help but gawk at how large the tank was. It was huge, massive even. One could only imagine how much water it took to fill, and how long to fill it.

“Sharkies!” Dolly yelled as she let go of her mother and rushed over to the tank.

“Dolly, wait!” Sonata called out as she ran after her daughter.

Dolly didn’t stop though, not until she got right up to the glass and placed her hands on it.

“Helloooo, sharkies?” She said as she scanned the insides of the tank. “Where are youuuu?”

“Don’t touch the glass, Dolly.” Sonata told her daughter as she pulled her away from the tank and pointed to the floor. “You need to stay behind this yellow line, okay?”

“Where are the sharkies, Mommy?” Dolly despondently asked her mother, still scanning the tank for any sharks.

Sonata also started scanning the tank for sharks but didn’t see any.

“I don’t know, honey.” She anxiously said, desperately trying to find a shark. “Maybe one will be by soon.”

Both Sonata and Dolly stood in the same spot for ten minutes and waited for a shark to swim by, but not a single one did.

“Mommy?” Dolly eventually spoke up, sounding defeated. “We can go now if you want.”

Sonata was surprised to hear her daughter say that she was okay with leaving. Dolly had had her heart set on seeing a real life shark so much that she couldn’t understand why she was giving up so easily. She crouched down to get at Dolly’s level and looked her straight in the eyes.

“It’s okay, Dolly.” She soothingly said to her little girl. “We can stay and wait a little longer.”

“No, let’s just go.” Dolly dejectedly replied with tears in the corners of her eyes. “The sharkies don’t want to meet me.”

“Oh sweetie, I’m sure that’s not it.” Sonata reassured her daughter as she wrapped her in loving hug, which Dolly returned.

As Sonata hugged Dolly, she saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye…a shadow from within the tank. It was hard to make out because it was still far off, but she knew there was only one thing it could be.

“Dolly, look!” She said as she ceased hugging her little girl and quickly turned her around.

Just as Dolly was facing the tank again, a great white shark swam by in front of her, practically right up along the glass.

“WOOOOOOOOOW!!!” She joyously exclaimed with eyes as wide as saucers and a huge smile on her face as the large beast passed her by.

The look of sheer joy on her daughter’s face filled Sonata’s heart with a happiness she’d never felt before. As much as Dolly could be a handful at times, seeing her so happy like this made all the rough times worth it.

“Come back, sharkie!” Dolly shouted as she tried running after the shark. “I want to hug you!”

“Okay, you definitely can’t hug the sharkie, Dolly.” Sonata firmly said she grabbed ahold of her daughter so that she didn’t run off, a tad concerned that her little girl wanted to hug the shark.

“Augh.” Dolly grumpily stated as she watched the shark swim away.

As Sonata looked at her now pouting daughter, an idea suddenly came to her mind about how Dolly could hug a shark. She didn’t have the faintest clue where the idea had come from, but that hardly mattered. She was glad it’d come to her.

“Come on, Dolly.” She said as she stood up and took her daughter’s hand. “Follow me.”

Dolly didn’t say anything as she followed her mother throughout the aquarium, wondering where it was they were going. She looked at the various exhibits they passed until they eventually came to a gift shop, which they entered.

“I know I saw one on the way in.” Sonata said to herself as she looked around the shop. “Where was…ah-hah!”

With Dolly still in-tow, Sonata quickly made her way over to a table full of plush shark toys, swiftly grabbed one of the one off of it, and held it up before her daughter.

“I know it’s not a real sharkie, but maybe it’s close enough?” She half-stated, half-asked Dolly with a small smile.

“Aww, what a cute baby sharkie!” Dolly gleefully remarked as she took the plush shark from her mother and gave it a big hug.

Sonata didn’t even need to ask again if the plush shark was close enough, Dolly’s reaction had said it all.

“Alright, let’s go pay for it.” She said as she once again took her daughter’s hand and led her over to the checkout.

Once the plush shark was paid for, the mother and daughter stepped out of the gift shop and back into the aquarium, still holding hands.

“So is there anything else you want to see while we’re here?” Sonata asked Dolly, who was holding her new baby sharkie with her free arm.

“Uh-huh.” Dolly vigorously replied. “I want to see everything!”

“Everything it is then.” Sonata chortled as she started walking.

The two of them couldn’t have taken more than three steps before Sonata felt Dolly get right up against her.

“I love you, Mommy.” The little girl earnestly said.

“I love you too, sweetie.” She tenderly said back.

“When I looked at my baby sharkie for the first time in years, I started to remember that day we spent together at the aquarium.” Dolly emotionally told her mother as she put her phone away. “And not just that day, I started to remember all of the good days we spent together; the pool party with Dad, my birthday at that pizza place, everything. There were so many happy moments we shared that I’d forgotten about because of my anger, but as I remembered them I…I felt my anger towards you begin to lessen.”

At this point, Sonata was feeling about as emotional as Dolly was. She was barely keeping it together as she listened to her daughter open up to her.

“I…I don’t want to be angry at you anymore, Mom.” Dolly continued as she clasped her chest and tried to hold back tears. “I won’t lie, the things you said to me, they still hurt. Maybe…maybe they always will. But regardless, I’m tired of being so angry at you. You’re my mother, and…and I want you in my life again.”

By now, tears were running down Sonata’s cheeks like waterfalls, though she was too overcome with emotion to really notice. She just continued to sit in stunned silence as her daughter poured her heart out to her.

“I don’t know if you still think I’m the worst thing to ever happen to you or not, but just know that even if you do think that, I still love you.” Dolly concluded just before breaking down in tears.

No longer able to simply sit there is silence, Sonata quickly wrapped her daughter in a warm and loving hug.

“I n-never thought that, s-sweetheart.” She tearfully professed as she held her child tight. “I-I know I s-said that, b-but I never m-meant it.”

Sonata’s loving words reached Dolly’s heart like warm and pleasant breeze, blowing away all the anger and hatred she’d kept there for so long. She felt like breaking down in tears of joy and returning her mother’s hug, but she couldn’t. Because, as happy as those words had made her, they’d also confused her.

“T-then why did you s-say it?” She asked as she felt her emotional walls start to crumble.

“B-because I was s-so angry back then.” Sonata sorrowfully explained, not letting go of her daughter. “Not at y-you, but at s-so many other things and I…I unfairly ended up t-taking it all out on you.”

Dolly still didn’t fully understand mother’s words. What did she mean by, ‘so angry back then’? Aside from that fateful day where they’d had their fallout, Dolly didn’t ever remember her mother being angry. Unhappy or upset, a few times, sure, but not angry.

“I…I don’t understand.” She sedately confessed.

Realizing what she needed to do, Sonata broke her hug and took several deep breaths to better compose herself before speaking again.

“Since you opened up to me, it seems only fair that open up to you now.” She fervidly said to her daughter. “If you’re willing listen to your ol’ mom’s ramblings that is.”

“Of course I am, Mom.” Dolly ardently replied with a warm smile as she once again took her mother’s hand in a sign of support.

Happy that her daughter was willing to listen to her, Sonata briefly returned the smile before taking one final deep breath before saying what she needed to say.

“After me, Aunt Adagio, and Aunt Aria were banished here without our magic, I started feeling…angry. I was angry at the fact that we’d been banished, angry at Aunt Aria for being so difficult after the fact, angry at Aunt Adagio for being the one who’s plan got us banished, just…angry about the whole damn thing really.”

Dolly listened intently as her mother opened up to her.

“But the thing of it was, I never expressed that anger.” Sonata continued. “I was too afraid to let it out and risk losing my sisters, so I kept it all bottled up inside, thinking that it would just go away with time. But it didn’t go away. In fact, it slowly started to grow over the years, so slowly that I didn’t even notice. And soon enough, I started feeling angry all the time.”

As Dolly continued to listen, she couldn’t help but notice some similarities between how her mother had felt angry and how she’d felt angry. It was uncanny, but then again, she was her mother’s daughter.

“Even if I wasn’t always showing it on the outside, on the inside I was just…so angry.” Sonata somberly went on. “It just became normal for me, feeling that way all the time. It even got to the point where I couldn’t remember ever feeling any other way. I thought…I thought I’d always feel that way.”

Dolly could feel sympathetic tears start to form in the corners of her eyes. She’d had no idea her mother had ever felt that way, and for so long.

“But then…I had you.” Sonata said with a bit more joy in her voice as she squeezed her daughter’s hand. “And from the very first moment I held you and looked at you cute little face, I felt all that anger wash away in a flood of happiness and love. You instantly became the one shining light in my life, a light so bright that it lit up my whole world, and I never wanted to let you go.”

“M-mom.” Dolly uttered as she was moved to tears by her mother’s kind and loving words.

Sonata wished more an anything in that heartfelt moment that she could end the story there, but she couldn’t. There was still more to tell, and it wasn’t going to be pleasant.

“But I was wrong, you see.” She went on, now in a very disheartened manner. “The anger didn’t wash away in a flood of happiness and love, the happiness and love just covered it up. Even though I didn’t feel it near as strongly as I had for all those years, it was still there, I just didn’t know it. And it continued to grow too, because despite all of the joy motherhood brought me, it brought its fair share of frustrations as well.”

Dolly couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt when she heard her mother mention the frustrations of motherhood. She knew she’d always been rather…quirky child and was sure that raising her had been a challenge at times. Of course, she had no reason to feel guilty, she’d just been a child after all, but she still felt it nonetheless.

“And then, when Aunt Adagio suggested that she should be the one raising you instead of me, all of that anger that’d built up inside me over the years came to a head, and I snapped. I snapped at my sisters and, worst of all, I snapped at my own daughter.” Sonata remorsefully said, her tears of joy now tears of sadness and regret. “I said such horrible and unforgivable things to you, Dolly, and then I discarded you like you were nothing, all because I’d let my anger get the better of me.”

It was at this point that Sonata had a full-on emotional breakdown. She started crying and wailing uncontrollably as she brought her hands up to her face in an attempt to hide her distressed appearance.

“S-Sweet Celestia, I’m s-such an awful m-mother.” She gloomily commented through her tears, though it was a tad muffled due to her hands over her face.

As if through some sort of psychic link, Dolly could feel the immense sadness her mother was feeling. It wasn’t that she was empathizing with her mother, no, it was different from that, deeper. She was feeling it, as if it were her own sadness. And that was how she knew her mother really did love her, and how she regretted more than anything what she’d done to her.

Not wasting another second, Dolly swiftly moved in and wrapped her mother in the biggest, warmest, and most loving hug she could.

“Y-you’re not an a-awful mother, Mommy!” She assured her mother, like she was a little girl again, as she too started crying uncontrollable. “Y-you just m-made a mistake i-is all. B-but it’s okay n-now, I-I’m here and w-we can be a f-family again.”

Sonata lowered her hands from her face and returned the hug as best she could, holding her daughter close as they both cried out there feelings. The emotional scene lasted for a good 20 minutes before both girls ran out of tears to cry and they each decided to break the hug.

“There’s something I need to show you.” Sonata told her daughter just before leaning over to the nearby nightstand and opening the top drawer.

Dolly leaned forward a bit to try and see what her mother was getting out of the nightstand, but didn’t get a good enough look before the drawer was closed again.

“Do you remember this?” Sonata inquired as she held a small, oval beaded gold locket in the palm of her hand up to her.

“You…you still have that?” She asked in disbelief, astonished that her mother still had the birthday present she’d given her just weeks before their falling out.

“Happy birthday, Mommy!” Dolly gleefully shouted as she present her mother with a small box wrapped in purple wrapping paper and a yellow ribbon.

“Aww, thank you, sweetie.” Sonata amiably replied as she took the present from her daughter. “Can I open it now?”

“Yeah! Open it, open it!” Dolly exclaimed as she jumped up and down with excitement, eager to see her mother’s reason to the present she’d gotten her.

Sonata quickly removed the ribbon and wrapping paper to discover a plain white box underneath. She opened the box and found a beautiful oval beaded gold locket inside of it, a touch of sunlight coming in from the window reflecting off of it.

“Oh my gosh, it’s so pretty!” She said as she stared at the piece of jewelry. “Thank you, Dolly!”

“It’s a locket.” Dolly said as she took it out of the box and opened it up. “See? You can put a picture inside of it.”

“I do see.” Sonata giggled in response. “And you know what? I think I’m going to put a picture of you inside of it, so that I’ll always remember who gave it to me.”

Dolly simply gave her mother a hug, which was immediately reciprocated, as she felt glad that her gift had been so well received.

“Much like your baby sharkie, I hadn’t seen this in years after our falling out.” Sonata solemnly stated. “And like you, once I saw it again I started to remember all of the good times we had together, and I didn’t want to be angry anymore either.”

Sonata opened the locket and showed the picture inside to her daughter.

“Oh, Mom.” Dolly happily remarked as she stared at the picture within the locket.

Just like she’d said she was going to do, Dolly’s mother had put a picture of her inside of it. In the picture, she was a little girl, smiling and holding her favorite baby sharkie. She didn’t remember exactly when the picture had been taken, but she did remember the happy feeling she’d had when it was. If she’d had any tears left to cry, she would’ve cried them happily.

“I’m so sorry, Dolly.” Sonata somberly said as she closed the locket back up. “Not just for what I said to you when you were little, but also for not coming to find you when I realized what a mistake I’d made. I just…I just didn’t know if I could handle your reaction to seeing me again if you were still mad at me. I’m such a coward.”

“Stop saying that stuff about yourself, Mom.” Dolly gently told her mother. “You’re not a coward, I had the same fear about coming here to see you. But every time that fear popped up, I just remembered how much I wanted my mother back and it gave me the courage I needed.”

Sonata couldn’t help but smile and give a small, happy chuckle in response.

“When did my little girl get so mature?” She gaily asked.

“I’ve always been mature, Mom.” Dolly replied, also gaily. “It’s just now I’m more mature than you.”

Dolly’s remark initially caught Sonata by surprise, but she quickly burst into laughter, happy to see that her daughter still had her razor-sharp wits. Soon enough, Dolly was laughing along with her.

Once the laughter died down, Dolly stood up and gave a little stretch.

“We should probably go outside and see Aunt Adagio and Aunt Aria.” She casually said to her mother. “We’ve been in here a long time, any longer and they may start thinking we’ve killed each other.”

“Good idea.” Sonata agreed as she too stood up. “Dashie and Sunset are probably worried as well.”

“Oh yeah.” Dolly said as she remembered the two other girls who were with her aunts earlier. “Hey, do you why that rainbow-haired girl called you her girlfriend?”

“Rainbow Dash?” Sonata stated as she moved towards the door. “Probably because I am her girlfriend, and she’s mine.”

Now Dolly was the one who felt like she was going to faint. When had her mother started liking girls? She opened her mouth to ask that very question, but decided that that was a topic for another time. Instead, she just followed her mother towards the door.

“They’ve been in there a while.” Adagio anxiously said to her sister as she paced through the kitchen. “Maybe we should check on them.”

“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.” Aria agreed as she got up from her seat the kitchen table, feeling concerned about whether Sonata was awake yet or not.

The two Dazzlings exited the kitchen and started making their way towards Sonata’s room when, all of a sudden, they heard the sound of a door opening and saw Sonata step out into the hallway.

“Sonata!” They both exclaimed as they rushed over to their little sister.

“Hey gi…oof!” Sonata tried to say before being tackled into two unexpected hugs. “Um, okay. This is a little weird.”

“We were worried about you, you idiot.” Adagio semi-warmly remarked as she continued to hug her sister.

“What Adagio said.” Aria said in her usual tsundere manner as she broke her hug.

“Okay, I need to know everything that happened when I wasn’t around.” Dolly chimed in from the bedroom doorway.

“I promise I’ll tell you everything later, honey.” Sonata nonchalantly said her daughter.

The way Sonata addressed her daughter made Adagio break her hug and Aria dawn a wide-eyed expression.

“Um, what happened in there?” Aria curiously asked.

Both Sonata and Dolly looked at each other and giggled at Adagio and Aria’s reactions, which only confused Adagio and Aria even further.

“We…had a little talk.” Dolly genially replied.

“Yeah, we got a lot of things out in the open.” Sonata added. “And…we’re okay now.”

Aria silently gave a warm smile in response to hearing that Sonata and Dolly were on good terms gain. Adagio…well…Adagio had a less subtle response.

“Oh I’m so glad!” She exclaimed, with so much energy it was almost scary, as she embraced Sonata with one arm and Dolly with the other. “It going to be just like old times!”

“Well, not exactly, Aunt Adagio.” Dolly clarified. “Mom and I aren’t quite back to where we were in our relationship, but we will be in time.”

“That, and I’m going to be a better mother than I was back then too.” Sonata added.

“Of course, of course.” Adagio profusely said as she released her sister and niece.

Now free, Sonata started to scan the area around her.

“Hey, where are Dashie and Sunset?” She inquired, seeing neither of them in sight.

Upon hearing Sonata ask about Rainbow Dash and Sunset, Adagio and Aria shot each other a worrying look, both of them fearfully wondering what they were going to tell their sister.

“What’s wrong?” Sonata asked, now seeming worried herself.

Knowing that there was no way of avoiding the subject, Aria decided to speak up first.

“Rainbow Dash…left, Sonata.” She sedately said. “And Sunset went after her.”

L-left? Sonata silently, and despondently, asked herself.

“W-why did she leave?” She asked aloud.

“Because we told her about Dolly.” Adagio flatly said, trying not to sound emotional. “After you passed out she started asking questions about who Dolly was, and after we answered them she just…left.”

“And pretty upset too.” Aria meekly added.

Sonata could feel her heart start to sink into her chest. She knew that this was bad; really, really bad.

“No, no.” She frantically said as she pulled her phone out of her pocket and headed for the living room. “No, no, no, no, no.”

Dolly tried to follow her mother, but Aria extended an arm out in front of her, silently telling her to give her mom some space right now.

Once in the living room, Sonata hastily opened her Contacts on her phone and pressed the icon of Rainbow Dash.

“Come on, pick up. Pick up.” She frenetically said to herself as she put her phone up to her ear and listened.

Hello? Sonata?” Sunset Shimmer answered.

“Sunset?” Sonata confusingly said back, sounding slightly hysterical. “Sorry, I must have dialed you instead of Dashie by accident.”

No, you didn’t.” Sunset calmly replied. “This is Rainbow Dash’s phone, she asked me to answer for her.”

“B-but why would she ask you to do that.” Sonata asked as she started breathing heavily.

Just calm down, Sonata.” Sunset told her, clearly sensing her distress.

“Please put Dashie on, Sunset.” Sonata requested, practically pleaded. “I need to talk to her.”

There was a brief moment of silence, though for Sonata if felt like an eternity.

I don’t think that’s a good idea right now, Sonata.” Sunset eventually answered. “Rainbow’s pretty upset about this whole ‘you have a daughter’ thing, and I think it’s best if you give her some space for a while.”

Sonata didn’t say anything in response. She couldn’t, her heart was beating so quickly in her chest that she thought she was going to have a heart attack.

Hang on, Rainbow’s telling me to give her the phone.” Sunset said. “Just a second.

A small spark of hope ignited with Sonata when she heard Sunset say that Rainbow wanted the phone. She was confident that if she could just explain things to her girlfriend that everything would be fine.

Sonata?” Rainbow Dash’s voice said, with almost no emotion behind it.

“Dashie?” Sonata said back, trying to sound as composed as possible. “Dashie, just listen to me. I know I didn’t tell you about Dolly, but that’s because-"

Don’t call me again.” Rainbow interrupted, her voice now cold as ice.

“W-what?” Sonata asked as she felt her heart start to break.

I need some time alone to think about our relationship, so don’t call me again.” Rainbow explained. “And don't come by my house or up to me at school either. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk again.”

And with that, Rainbow Dash hung up the phone.

Feeling overcome with emotion, Sonata dropped her phone and fell to her knees with tears rolling down her cheeks. She just couldn’t believe it. On the same day she’d gotten her daughter back, she might have lost her girlfriend as well.

Adagio and Sonata

View Online

Adagio Dazzle slowly opened her eyes as morning sunlight started to shine in through her window.

“Ugh, five more minutes.” She groggily said to no one in particular as she pulled the covers over her face.

Even though the covers provided her with the darkness she desired to try and get back to sleep, she found that it was already too late. She was awake now.

“Damn it.” She begrudgingly remarked as she threw the covers off of herself and greeted the morning.

As Adagio sat up in her bed and looked around the room, she found herself confused and a tad worried. This wasn’t her room in Sunset’s apartment.

W-what the hell? She nervously thought to herself as she tried to figure out where she was.

Just before full-blown panic started to set in, Adagio remembered that she was in her room; her new room, in her new house. That’s right, she and her sisters had finally moved into their new home on the emu farm.

“Oh thank goodness.” She said to herself in relief as she remembered where she was, gratefully that she hadn’t woken up on a cruise ship again like after that time Sonata had given her a slushie made entirely out of syrup.

Still feeling a little groggy, Adagio sluggishly got out of bed and grabbed her phone off of the nightstand. As she checked to see if she’d received any messages while she was asleep, she couldn’t help but notice what today’s date was.

“Oh no.” She timorously stated as she was filled with a newfound alertness.

Wasting no time, Adagio put her phone back down on the nightstand and proceeded to get dressed as quickly as possible. If today really was the day she thought it was, she needed to get out of the house and find somewhere to lay low before Aria got up. She had just finished getting her socks on when all of a sudden her bedroom door went flying open.

“HAPPY FESTIVUS!!!” Aria cheerfully shouted as she stood in the doorway with a large aluminum pole in her left hand.

“Oh damn it all to Hell.” Adagio quietly, and dejectedly, remarked, knowing that it was now too late for her to escape.

Yes, today was Festivus, Aria’s favorite holiday. Neither Adagio nor Sonata knew exactly how their sister had come across the holiday a few years back, only that once she had she’d fully embraced it and made them celebrate it every year. The Airing of Grievances, the Feats of Strength, it wasn’t difficult to see why Aria loved Festivus so much. Which was fine and all, except that, just maybe, she loved it a bit too much.

Every year since they’d started celebrating Festivus, Aria took the holiday’s traditions to the extreme. She’d always spend hours on the Airing of Grievances, going over all the problems she had with her sisters in great and strenuous detail, and when it came to the Feats of Strength…well, let’s just say that on more than one Festivus that tradition ended with trip to the hospital.

“Come on, sis!” Aria gaily said to Adagio with a cheery smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye as she held out the aluminum pole in front of her. “We have to put up the Festivus pole!”

Before Adagio could get a word in edgewise about why Aria needed help putting up the Festivus pole, her sister ran out into the hallway like a giddy schoolgirl, humming an upbeat tune that she wasn’t familiar with. For some reason the upbeat tune caused memories of Festivuses past to invade her mind, which then caused her to dawn a frightened expression.

“I need to get out of here.” She vexingly said to herself.

As Adagio finished getting dressed, she frantically tried to think of some reason, some excuse, for why she couldn’t partake in all of the Festivus festivities. The first thing, and perhaps best thing, that she thought of was to say that it was her day to go to CHS, the only problem with that though it that it wasn’t her day; it was Sonata’s, and Aria knew that.

“Maybe Sonata will let me go in her place?” She pondered aloud, thinking that her sister might not want to go to school since Rainbow Dash would be there.

Sonata and Rainbow Dash still hadn’t made up after the whole Dolly incident a few days ago. Hell, the two of them hadn’t even spoken since the incident, on account of Rainbow Dash asking for some alone time while she thought about their relationship. As much as Sonata wanted to either call or see Rainbow in order to apologize to her for failing to tell her about her daughter, she respected the girlfriend’s wishes and gave her some space, much to her own dismay.

In the time since Rainbow told her to leave her alone, Sonata sank into a deep depression the likes of which she’d never felt before. She spent almost all of her time alone in her room, mostly only coming out for meals and bathroom breaks, and even when she did come out for sisterly activities like watching TV together she was always so gloomy and miserable the whole time. Both Adagio and Aria wanted to help her, but neither felt it was their place to meddle in their sister’s relationship.

“Hmmm.” Adagio muttered as she considered asking Sonata if she’d let her go to school today in her place.

The more she thought about it though, the more Adagio thought it was a bad idea. The absolute last thing Sonata needed to be subjected to right now was Festivus, and if she went to school today instead of her that’s exactly what she’d be subjected to.

“Wait a minute.” She said as a worrying thought came to mind. “If Aria barged in on me, then did she also…oh no.”

Adagio hastily finished getting dressed and ran out into the hallway towards Sonata’s room, fearful that Aria, in all her Festivus-loving madness, may have already done something incredibly callous.

“Sonata?” Adagio said as she knocked on her sisters bedroom door.

There was no answer.

“Sonata?” She repeated, a bit louder this time, as she slowly opened the door.

Still no answer.

As Adagio entered the room, she turned on the lights to find Sonata still in bed, curled up in a fetal position with the covers wrapped tightly around her. Under normal circumstances such a depressing sight would be cause for concern, but in this instance she found it to be a good sign, since it meant that Aria hadn’t barged in on Sonata like she had with her.

“Hey, Adagio.” Sonata morosely said from her curled up position, not even bothering to look up at her sister. “Sorry I’m not up yet.”

“No, no, it’s fine.” Adagio imperturbably assured her as she walked over to her and took a seat on the edge of the bed. “I just wanted to make sure Aria hadn’t come barging into your room is all.”

“Why would she do that?” Sonata passively asked, still not bothering to lift her head up.

“Because today’s…Festivus.” Adagio hesitantly explained, expecting Sonata to have the same reaction she’d had to the news.

“Oh, okay.” Sonata simply, and apathetically, replied.

The lack of almost any emotion in Sonata’s response was very alarming to Adagio. Normally Sonata took the news of Festivus even worse than she did, but not this time. It was a clear sign to her that her sister’s depression was getting worse, which only caused her worry to grow.

“It’s my day at school today, isn’t it?” Sonata flatly stated as she uncurled herself and sat up. “I better get ready to go.”

Even though Sonata sounded completely indifferent about having to go to CHS today, Adagio could tell that she didn’t want to, on account of the fact that she might bump into Rainbow Dash there. Her first instinct was to tell her sister that she’d go in her place if she wanted, but given that she was trying to keep her away from the Festivus-crazed Aria, that wasn’t an option. Go to CHS and chance encountering Rainbow Dash, or stay at home and celebrate Festivus with Aria; it seemed like Sonata’s day was destined to be bad no matter what.

And then there was Adagio herself. As much as she wanted to help Sonata, she couldn’t ignore her own well-being in the process, and if she stayed at home with Aria today her well-being would most definitely be in jeopardy.

All-in-all, both Adagio and Sonata looked to be screwed. It would take a Festivus miracle to make today anything other than anguishing for them.

“Can you maybe give me a ride, Adagio.” Sonata aloofly asked her sister as she got out of bed. “I don’t think I feel up to making the long drive today.”

And just like that, Adagio got an idea. An idea that could possibly turn their lose-lose situation into a win-win.

“Why don’t I just go to school with you, Sonata?” She delicately suggested. “No offense, but you don’t seem very…motivating right now.”

“Yeah, okay.” Sonata indifferently replied just as she headed out the door and down the hallway, presumably towards the bathroom to shower.

Now alone in Sonata’s room, Adagio let out a sigh of contentment. She was happy that she’d thought of a way to get away from the Festivus festivities - for a while at least - without making Sonata take her place, but she knew that today was still going to be rough. And the first thing that was going to be rough about it? Telling Aria that she’d be alone for most of Festivus.

“Well, best just get this over with.” She capitulated as she got up, walked out of the room, and headed for the living room.

Once Adagio reached the living room, she found that Aria was still humming the upbeat tune from earlier as she put up the Festivus pole. This was perhaps the most confusing aspect of Festivus to her. She never understood why you put up an undecorated aluminum pole to celebrate Festivus. However, if she was being completely honest, she didn’t mind it that much since it wasn’t near a gaudy as a Christmas tree would be.

Adagio didn’t much care for Christmas trees on account of the all the tinsel used to decorate them. She found tinsel distracting.

“Teeheehee!” Aria happily squealed once the pole was up, clapping her hands together in delight.

The sight of Aria so uncharacteristically joyful sent a chill down Adagio’s spine. She didn’t have a problem with her sister being happy, obviously, but seeing her this happy was just downright unsettling.

“Oh, hey, sis!” Aria merrily said as she turned around and noticed Adagio standing a few feet away from her. “Sorry I didn’t wait for you, but I was just so excited that couldn’t help myself! Isn’t the pole beautiful?!”

“Oh yes, beautiful.” Adagio tepidly replied, humoring Aria before taking a deep breath in order to break her news to her. “Listen, Aria, I’m going with Sonata to school today so you’ll be on your own for most of Festivus.”

And with that, Aria’s cheerful expression suddenly transformed into one of pain and confusion.

“W-WHAT?!” She dismally asked as she braced herself on a nearby chair. “B-but it’s Festivus! I-I mean I figured Sonata might not be up for it, b-but I thought at least you and I would get to spend it together!”

Admittedly, it broke Adagio’s heart a little to see her sister so distraught. Festivus was a pain in her ass, to be sure, but it was something that meant a lot to Aria and telling her that she’d be spending it alone wasn’t easy.

“I’m sorry about this, Aria.” She solemnly said as she approached her sister and placed both her hands on the girl’s shoulders. “But you know how Sonata’s been ever since Rainbow Dash said she needed a break from their relationship. She’s not in the Festivus mood and she can’t very well be a motivational speaker in the state she’s currently in.”

There was a brief moment of silence as Aria considered her sister’s words. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, Adagio was right.

“Yeah, I get it.” She dejectedly acknowledged.

Much to Adagio’s surprise, Aria now looked like she was about to cry. She knew her sister would be upset by her news, but she didn’t think it’d be to the extent of tears.

“Look, I promise that you and I will celebrate Festivus when we get back tonight, alright?” She assured her with a warm smile.

Aria perked up a bit when she heard that Adagio would still spend at least part of Festivus with her. She returned the warm smile and proceeded to swiftly wrap her sister in a jovial hug.

“Alright.” She merrily replied, not quite as merrily as before but still pretty merrily.

Adagio silently returned the hug as she and Aria shared a surprisingly pleasant moment on this Festivus morning. Typically by this point they’d already be on the Airing of Grievances, but this was a much nicer alternative. The hug didn’t last that long though and when it was broken Adagio noticed a single tear flow down Aria’s cheek, but it seemed to be more a tear of joy than a tear of sadness.

“I’m ready when you are, Adagio.” Sonata suddenly said as she walked through the living room towards the front door, not stopping or pausing in the slightest. “Happy Festivus, Aria.”

“T-thanks, Sonata.” Aria hesitantly said back just as her sister walked out the door.

That single interaction between them was all Aria needed to realize just how bad Sonata was still feeling. It pained her to see her sister so sad, and on Festivus of all days.

“I better get going.” Adagio spoke up as she started to follow Sonata out the door. “See you tonight, Aria.”

“Adagio, wait!” Aria called out to her sister just before she left the house, causing Adagio to stop and turn around. “I know you’re worried about Sonata, I am too, but…are you sure she isn’t in the mood to celebrate Festivus? Maybe it’ll be good for her to celebrate it.”

Adagio could tell that Aria sincerely meant what she was saying, that she truly believed Festivus could help Sonata feel better. It warmed her heart to see her so concerned about Sonata like this and wanting to help her, but she wasn’t convinced that making their sister celebrate Festivus would do her any good.

“I don’t think Festivus is the solution to Sonata’s problems, Aria.” She empathetically told her sister.

And with that, Adagio turned back around and walked out the door, mentally preparing for her day with Sonata.

To say that the drive to school so far was uncomfortable for Adagio was perhaps the understatement of the year. Almost the whole trip up until this point had been filled with an awkward silence so tense you could cut it with a knife. The Dazzling leader had tried to get conversation going a few times, but every time she did Sonata had simply given short, uninterested responses that didn’t leave the door open for further communication.

Given that they were only about halfway to school so far, Adagio knew she couldn’t take much more of the silence. She’d considered turning on the radio, but she quickly dismissed that idea after remembering how bad most modern music was. No, the only way to break the silence was through talking, and unless she wanted to simply talk to herself, she needed to find something that Sonata would actually want to talk about.

“So how’s Dolly.” She eventually spoke up, hoping that the subject of her daughter would stimulate some real conversation. “I didn’t get a chance to really catch up with her when she showed up the other day.”

“She’s fine.” Sonata passively replied as she stared out the window. “She said she’s in her last year of school to become a marine biologist, so that’s good I guess.”

Success. Adagio happily thought to herself, glad she’d finally found something Sonata was willing to talk about.

“Marine biologist, huh?” She said aloud, trying to keep the conversation alive. “That sounds like a tough career to pursue, but if anyone can handle it it’s Dolly.”

“Uh-huh.” Sonata simply said in response.

And just like that, the conversation was in danger of dying again. Adagio frantically tried to think of some kind of comment or remark she could make that would keep the conversation alive. Maybe something about how smart Dolly is? Or how nice of a day it was? Anything to keep the silence from returning.

“I’m a fuck up, Adagio.” Sonata randomly stated before she could think of something to say.

“W-what?” She confusingly replied, wondering where such an incredibly self-deprecating comment came from.

“I said, ‘I’m a fuck up’.” Sonata reiterated, sounding more wounded this time. “I fucked things up so badly with my daughter all those years ago that I drove her away, and even though I’ve reconciled with her I’ve done the same thing with my girlfriend now. All I do is hurt the people I care about most. I shouldn’t be allowed to have loving relationships.”

This was a completely new level of depression that Adagio had never seen before. To hear Sonata, of all people, say such things…it was genuinely heartbreaking.

“You’re not a fuck up, Sonata.” She gently said as she took her right hand off the steering wheel for a moment and placed it one her sister’s knee in a sign of support. “You’ve made some mistakes, sure, but who hasn’t?”

“Normal people don’t make the kinds of mistakes I’ve made.” Sonata meekly retorted as tears started to run down her cheeks, the only visible sign of any emotion on her face. “Normal people don’t tell their child they wish they’d never had them, or keep their child’s existence a secret from the one they love.”

Adagio hated to admit it, but Sonata might have been right on that point. But even if she was, it still didn’t mean that she was a fuck up, or that she didn’t deserve to have loving relationships.

“Sonata, you’re my sister and I care about you a lot.” Adagio solemnly stated as she took her hand off her sister’s knee and placed it back on the steering wheel. “And it pains me to see you beating yourself up like this. I won’t lie to you and say that the mistakes you’ve made haven’t been…big, but I will tell you with 100% honesty that I think you and Rainbow Dash will works things out, one way or another.”

Sonata didn’t respond right away.

“You don’t know that.” She eventually said.

“You’re right, I don’t.” Adagio admitted. “But it’s not about knowing, it’s about believing.”

Adagio’s words caught Sonata completely off guard. She quickly turned her attention from the window to her sister and stared at her with a surprised expression through tear-stained eyes.

“I don’t know what will happen between you and Rainbow Dash.” Adagio continued. “I don’t know if you’ll get back together or break up for good or what. But I believe that you two will be okay.”

It wasn’t just Adagio’s words that surprised Sonata, it was also the level of conviction behind them. She’d never heard her sister talk like this before, but she could tell that it was all completely genuine. Adagio really and truly did believe that, despite all current evidence to the contrary, she and Rainbow Dash would weather this storm in their relationship.

“W-what makes you believe that?” She hesitantly asked, curious about what the reason behind her sister’s belief was.

“Because I have faith, Sonata.” Adagio earnestly answered. “I don’t know exactly what it is I have faith in, but I do have faith in something; call it God, the Will of the Universe, the Force, or just plain Love. Whatever it is, I have faith that it will make sure you and Rainbow Dash stay together.”

Sonata didn’t know what to say. She’d never seen this side of Adagio before, a side that placed her beliefs in something greater than herself. One thing was certain though; she was moved by it. So much so that she started to feel like a great weight was beginning to lift from her mind.

“Thanks, Dagi.” She gratefully said through fresh tears, these ones tears of joy. “If you weren’t driving right now I’d hug you.”

Happy that her words seemed to have reached her sister, Adagio quickly flashed Sonata a tender smile.

“Don’t mention it.” She sedately said. “After all, what are sisters for?”

After that heartwarming, sisterly moment, the rest of the drive to CHS was spent mostly in silence again. However, Adagio didn’t mind it so much now, since it was no longer awkward.

“Thanks for the ride, Dagi.” Sonata gratefully told her sister as they pulled into the faculty lot at CHS. “Listen, I know you said you’d stay with me today, but I think I’m okay now if you want to go home instead.”

“NO!” Adagio inadvertently shouted just as she’d pulled into an available parking space and put the car in park.

“O-okay then.” Sonata gingerly replied.

Realizing just how loud her response had been, Adagio quickly regained her composure and looked over at her sister.

“I mean, no, that’s fine, Sonata.” She more calmly said. “I’m glad that you’re feeling better now, but I’d still prefer to stay with you today. Just to make sure you’re really okay.”

At first, Sonata was touched that Adagio still wanted to spend the day with her out of concern for her well-being. But then she remembered what awaited her sister at home today, and she felt less touched as she dawned a deadpan expression.

“You don’t want to go home and spend Festivus alone with Aria, do you?” She impassively asked.

“W-well, that’s a small part of it, yes.” Adagio anxiously admitted. “But I’m primarily concerned about you.”

Sonata’s eyes narrowed as she continued to stare intensely at Adagio, as if scanning her for any signs of insincerity.

“Well, I can’t say I blame you for not wanting to go home right now.” She offhandedly said as she broke her intense stare and opened her door. “Come on, let’s go.”

Adagio gave a small sigh of relief as she too opened her door, happy that Sonata wasn’t upset with her and that she didn’t have to go back home.

The two Dazzlings then proceeded to enter the school and made their way towards their office like usual. As they walked through the hallways though, they couldn’t help but notice a few students staring at them and whispering to one another as they passed by.

“Does one of us have gum in our hair or something?” Sonata eventually asked her sister as the number of gawking student started to concern her.

Adagio had a pretty good idea why so many students were staring and whispering; it had to do with Sonata and Rainbow Dash’s relationship troubles. It’s no secret that relationship drama spreads like wildfire throughout high schools, and given how much time had passed since Sonata and Rainbow’s troubles began, it was a fairly safe bet to assume that the entire student body knew about them by now.

The thought that everyone knew about her relationship woes didn’t even seem to cross Sonata’s mind however, and if that was the case Adagio wasn’t going to say anything that might upset her sister.

“I’m sure it’s nothing.” She dismissively answered Sonata as they continued walking, trying to ignore all the unwanted attention.

Just as Adagio and Sonata turned the last corner that lead to the hallway where their office was, they both bumped into someone. The resulting collision caused them, and the person they bumped into, to fall backwards and onto their butts.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sor-” Sonata began to apologize before she realized who she’d bumped into.

“Seriously, Sonata?” Rainbow Dash irately said as she picked herself up off the floor. “You’re going to try that old cliché?”

“W-what?” Sonata disquietly asked as she quickly picked herself up as well, followed by Adagio.

“Oh don’t pretend like you weren’t trying to pull the ‘I accidentally bumped into you, can we talk’ cliché.” Rainbow irritably clarified as she started to walk around the two Dazzlings. “I told you not to bother me until I’m ready to talk, and I’m not ready to talk.”

Adagio glared fiercely at Rainbow Dash as she walked away. She understood that the girl was upset, but that kind of attitude was just plain churlish. Once Rainbow was out of sight, she turned her attention to her sister.

“Sonata, are you okay?” She concernedly asked.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” Sonata unemotionally answered, sounding just like she had earlier.

“Are you sure?” Adagio inquired as her concern grew.

“Uh-huh.” Sonata plainly replied as she started walking down the hall. “Come on, let’s just get this day over with.”

Adagio didn’t follow her sister though. She just stood there in the hallway, unable to believe what had just happened. After all the progress Sonata had made this morning in getting over her depression, it only took one bad moment with Rainbow Dash to undo it and send her right back into the void.

The whole thing made Adagio feel…angry. So angry, in fact, that she decided she was going to find Rainbow Dash and give her a piece of her mind, even if it meant she was going to be meddling in her sister’s relationship. Without wasting another second, she turned around and headed in the direction she’d seen Rainbow walking when she left.

It didn’t take Adagio long to find Rainbow Dash. Not surprisingly, she found the Rainboom at her locker getting her things together for first period, thankfully alone. Once she was close enough, she reached out a hand and slammed Rainbow’s locker shut just as the girl removed a book from within it.

“What the hell was that back there?” She asked with a quiet fury as she removed her hand from the locker door.

“Really?” Rainbow Dash blasely replied, seemingly unaffected by Adagio’s asperity. “You still think I’m going to believe that you two just happened to accidentally run into me like that? Well sorry, no dice.”

“That was an accident.” Adagio passionately explained. “Do you think Sonata would try and pull something like that after doing nothing but respecting your wishes for space over these past few days?”

Rainbow had to admit, it did seem unlikely that Sonata would try and pull a stunt like that now of all times. Still though, she couldn’t rule out the possibility that either Adagio or Aria had talked her into doing it.

“Well, whatever.” She said. “I’m still not ready to talk to Sonata again, so don’t bother telling me to do that.”

“I’m not here to tell you to do anything.” Adagio sternly told her. “I’m just here to share my two cents with you, and you’re going to listen to me.”

As much as Rainbow Dash didn’t like that she was being told what she was or wasn’t going to do, she could tell how serious Adagio was and decided it best to just listen to whatever it was she had to share.

“Okay, I’m listening.” She replied, trying to sound as steadfast as possible.

Adagio took a quick, deep breath as she prepared to say her piece.

“I get that you’re upset that Sonata didn’t tell you about Dolly.” She started off. “If I were in your shoes, I’d probably feel the same way. But let me ask you something: When you told Sonata to leave you alone, did you, for even a single second, think about how that would make her feel?”

“Of course I did.” Rainbow bluntly replied.

“And?” Adagio asked.

“And what?” Rainbow Dash asked back.

“And how did you think that would make Sonata feel?” Adagio clarified.

Rainbow had to pause for a moment to think about that. She could remember the phone call when she’d told Sonata she needed a break from their relationship as clear as day, but for some reason she couldn’t quite remember what had been going through her head at the time as clearly.

“Um…bad…I guess.” She halfheartedly answered, both sounding and looking uncertain.

It wasn’t difficult for Adagio to pick up on Rainbow’s doubtfulness. In fact, the Dazzling had been expecting such feelings to manifest as she asked her questions.

“So, you did what you did with the intent of hurting Sonata then?” She quizzically asked.

“Yes!” Rainbow fervidly answered. “I mean, no! I mean…I don’t know!”

At this point, Rainbow Dash was just downright confused, so much so that she grabbed ahold of her head with both hands as she felt a headache coming on. She honestly couldn’t remember if she’d meant to hurt Sonata with her actions or not. She didn’t want to believe that she had, but given how emotional she was at the time it was entirely possible.

Adagio just stared at the now perturbed Rainbow Dash for a few seconds before speaking up again.

“I don’t think you wanted to hurt Sonata, not really.” She told the Rainboom, with a little more compassion in her voice now. “I think you were just feeling slighted by her and, in the heat of the moment, you wanted to slight her back.”

Rainbow didn’t say anything in response at first. Instead, she just made a low groaning sound as she lowered her hands and lightly banged her head against her locker.

“You’re right.” She painfully admitted. “When I told Sonata to leave me alone I did it because I wanted to make her feel as hurt as I was feeling.”

It was then that Rainbow removed her head from her locker, turned around, leaned back against the lockers, and slowly slide down them.

“What the hell is wrong with me?” She asked as she reached the ground, feeling tears starting to form in the corners of her eyes.

“You’re human, that’s what.” Adagio sympathetically said as she sat down next to Rainbow Dash.

Feeling like she was going to start crying at any moment, Rainbow folded her arms across her knees and rested her head against them.

“Despite what’s happened, I still love Sonata and I want to work things out with her, I really do.” She confessed. “But I’m still hurt that she kept her daughter a secret from me, and I’m sure she’s sorry for that, but…I just don’t know if I can forgive her.”

Adagio didn’t know what to do. It was clear to her that Rainbow and Sonata desperately needed to talk about things, and soon, but she didn’t think that taking the Rainboom to see her sister right now would do either of them any good. Forcing either of them into a conversation when they weren’t ready for it could have disastrous and irreversible consequences. What they needed a…parley of sorts, a specified time where they could express their feelings and air their grievances in a safe place.

Wait a minute. She thought as she suddenly got an idea.

“Rainbow Dash, have you ever heard of Festivus?” She asked the girl.

“Festiwhat?” Rainbow confusingly said as she lifted her head up and looked at Adagio with a befuddled expression.

“Festivus.” Adagio reiterated. “It’s this holiday Aria always makes us celebrate. It’s toady, and there’s a part of it called the Airing of Grievances where we all express our dissatisfaction with each other.”

Rainbow’s confusion only grew stronger as Adagio explained Festivus and the Airing of Grievances, finding it hard to believe that anyone would celebrate such a holiday.

“I know this is going to sound crazy.” Adagio continued. “But I think you should come celebrate Festivus with us tonight and tell Sonata how you feel during the Airing of Grievances.”

There was a few seconds of silence before Rainbow Dash responded.

“Huh?” Rainbow simply said in her bewildered state.

“Just…just please think about it, okay?” Adagio practically pleaded with the Rainboom.

There was another few seconds of silence that was only broken when the bell for first period rang, causing Rainbow to stand up from her spot on the floor.

“I’ll think about it.” She sincerely said to Adagio just before heading off to class.

As Adagio watched Rainbow leave, she got up from the floor as well and gave an exhausted sigh, hoping that she hadn’t made a mistake by inviting Rainbow Dash to celebrate Festivus with her and her sisters.

“This is crazy, Adagio.” Aria said as she and Adagio set the table for Festivus dinner. “I mean, I’m all for Festivus miracles and everything, but this idea of yours is…a little out there.”

“I know it is.” Adagio acknowledged as she finished placing all the utensils on the table. “But it may be the only way for Sonata and Rainbow to get past all this. They need to get everything they're feeling off their chests, and isn’t that what the Airing of Grievances is all about?”

“Well, yeah.” Aria admitted as she finished placing the plates. “But are you sure that the Airing of Grievances is the best way to go about that?”

“No, I’m not.” Adagio admittedly replied as she looked over towards Sonata, who was wistfully sitting alone in the living room. “But I have to believe it will work.”

Aria gave a defeated sigh as she too looked over towards her mopey sister.

“And Sonata’s okay with this?” She asked Adagio.

“She wasn’t exactly thrilled when I told her about it, but she didn’t object or anything.” Adagio replied just before a knock was heard at the door.

All three Dazzlings immediately turned their attention to the front door, but none of them moved to answer it. A second series of knocks were heard a few moments later, prompting Adagio to reluctantly be the one to go and answer the door.

As Adagio approached the door, Sonata silently got up and made her way into the kitchen, taking a seat at the table as she prepared to celebrate Festivus. Aria did likewise and took a seat at the table as well.

Just before she opened the door, Adagio took a deep breath and silently prayed to whatever might be listening for a Festivus miracle.

“Hi.” Rainbow Dash flatly greeted her once she’d opened the door.

“Hi.” She a bit more warmly greeted backed as she stepped to the side to let her guest in. “Thanks for coming.”

“I just hope you’re right about this.” Rainbow said as she entered the Dazzling household.

“You and me both.” Adagio muttered under her breath as she closed the door.

Seeing Sonata and Aria sitting at the kitchen table, Rainbow Dash headed over that way, figuring that that was where the festivities would begin.

“Hey, Rainbow.” Aria awkwardly greeted her friend as she entered the kitchen.

“Hey, Aria.” Rainbow awkwardly greeted back as she took a seat at the table next to her and opposite Sonata.

Sonata didn’t greet Rainbow, nor did Rainbow greet Sonata. All they did was exchange pained looks with one another for the briefest of moments.

“Okay now that we’re all here, we can begin.” Adagio said as entered the room and took her seat opposite Aria and next to Sonata and Rainbow. “Aria?”

Aria gave an acknowledging nod as she stood up and prepared to speak.

“The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances.” She announced to the room, just before turning her attention to Rainbow Dash. “And since we have a guest this year, we’ll let her air her grievances first.”

And with that, Aria sat back down and yielded the floor to Rainbow.

It took a moment for Rainbow Dash to steel herself before she was ready to stand up and speak. Both Adagio and Aria focused their attention on the girl as she did stand up, but Sonata just stared at the table.

“Sonata.” Rainbow started off, causing the pony-tailed Dazzling to blench. “I…I’m mad at you for not telling me about your daughter. You chose to keep such a monumental aspect of your life from me, and it makes me feel like you don’t trust me. It makes me feel like…like you don’t love me enough to share every part of yourself with me.”

Rainbow’s word were like daggers piercing Sonata’s heart, which caused her to start crying.

“I shouldn’t have been so mean to you though.” Rainbow continued as she too started to shed tears. “No matter how much I felt hurt by you, I shouldn’t have hurt you back the way I did, so I’m sorry for that.”

This unexpected apology caused Sonata to quickly bring up her head and stare at Rainbow Dash through tear-stained eyes.

“I love you, Sonata, more than anything.” Rainbow said as she stared back at her girlfriend. “And I want to forgive you because I know, deep down in my heart, that you didn’t mean to hurt me, but it’s hard for me to do that. I’ve never been hurt like this before and…and I just don’t know if I’m capable of forgiving this level of hurt.”

And with that, Rainbow Dash sat back down.

“O-okay then.” Aria awkwardly said. “Sonata?”

In a heartbeat, Sonata stood up and began to speak.

“Dashie, I admit that I was hurt by the way you acted towards me.” She solemnly started to say. “But I’m not mad about it for two reasons; one, because I’ve learned that nothing good comes from holding onto anger, and two, because I know that you love me and that you only acted that way because you were upset.”

The emotion in the room was so heavy now that even Adagio and aria started to feel like they were going to tear up.

“I’m sorry I never told you about Dolly.” Sonata emotionally continued. “Even if she hadn’t been a part of my life for so many years, I still should have told you about her. I know that I hurt you, and if you feel that you can’t forgive me I understand, but even if we break up I…I just need you to know that I’ll always love you.”

By now, Sonata was so overcome with emotion that she felt like she could barely remain standing. She was just about to sit back down when Rainbow Dash all of a sudden got up on the table, knelt down, and quickly embraced her in a hug.

“Oh Sonata.” The rainbow-haired teen wept as she held the love of her life. “I forgive you. With all my heart and soul, I forgive you.”

“Dashie.” Was all Sonata could say before she too began to weep uncontrollably, returning her girlfriend’s hug and feeling a joy she’d never felt before.

As the reunited couple shared their emotional moment, Adagio and Aria just looked at each other and silently agreed to give the two girls a moment. They each got up from their seat and quickly made their way down the hall, deciding to duck into Adagio’s room.

“Well I’ll be.” Aria commented as she wiped a tear from her eye. “A genuine Festivus miracle.”

“Thank heavens.” Adagio said in relief as she sat down on her bed, slightly hyperventilating. “For a few moments there I thought things were going to go south real quick.”

Sensing her sister’s mild distress, Aria took a seat next to Adagio and placed a sympathetic hand on her knee.

“You’re a good sister, Adagio.” She warmly said. “Happy Festivus.”

“Happy Festivus, Aria.” Adagio warmly replied back as she gave her sister a quick hug, which Aria returned.

After their little sisterly moment, Aria got up and walked a few feet in front of Adagio.

“Okay, now it’s time for the Feats of Strength.” She casually said.

“Wait, what?” Adagio perplexingly asked her sister as a sense of dread came over her.

“Come on sis, you know how tradition goes.” Aria said as she cracked her knuckles. “After the Airing of Grievances we do the Feats of Strength, and since Sonata and Rainbow are having a moment, that just leaves you and me.”

Adagio couldn’t believe it. After everything that just happened, Aria wanted the two of them to wrestle?

“M-maybe we can just skip the Feats of Strength this year?” She timidly suggested.

“No can do.” Aria casually answered as she got into a wrestling stance. “Festive can’t end until you pin me, Adagio.”

It would have been easy for Adagio to just get up and leave, but instead she decided to be a good sister and wrestle Aria. She got up from the bed and assumed a stance similar to that of her sister’s as she prepared to perform the Feats of Strength.

Damn Festivus. She thought to herself just before she lunged at Aria, wishing that this holiday would end quickly.

Aria and Lyra Heartstrings

View Online

“…and don’t forget to give them the ratite feed at lunchtime.” Aria Blaze rambled on as she gathered her things for school, while Adagio and Sonata listened and ate breakfast from the kitchen table. “We should have plenty of that but if you run out you can give them the alfalfa pellets instead. Oh, and you’ll need to add dairy to their water today too. Oh, and don’t forget about…”

“Hey, Adagio.” Sonata whispered over to her sister as Aria continued to ramble. “Should we remind Aria that she already gave us a list of what we need to do while she’s gone?”

Adagio quickly swallowed the bite of waffle in her mouth before replying.

“I don’t think she’s forgotten about the list, Sonata.” She mildly whispered back. “I think she’s just letting her worries get the better of her.”

“Oh, gotcha.” Sonata quietly replied back.

Yes, today was Aria’s day to serve as motivational speaker at CHS, but this wasn’t just any ordinary day school for her. Today was the first day she’d being going to school after she and her sisters had moved into their new home on the emu farm, which meant that it was also the first day she’d be leaving her sisters alone to care for the emus, and she was a little…perturbed about that. This wasn’t because she thought her sisters would be neglectful of the emu or anything, but because she knew how difficult it could be to take care of the large birds. They didn’t require much in terms of care but could skittish around new people, and neither Adagio nor Sonata had spent much time around them to really be familiar to them yet.

“Oh, and I need you to keep a close eye on Glen.” Aria said as she finished gathering her things and walked into the kitchen.

Glen was Aria’s favorite emu, on account of how affectionate he was towards her. When Aria had first bought the emu farm, Glen was very shy and anti-social for an emu, but the more time she spent with him trying to get him to come out of his metaphorical shell, the more he warmed up to her. Eventually, the two of them developed a relationship that was more than ‘pet and owner’ but less than ‘brother and sister’.

“He’s been feeling a little under the weather lately, so you’ll need to check on him from time to time” The pig-tailed Dazzling anxiously continued as she pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and placed it on the table. “If he looks really bad just call this number and a special vet will come and...”

“Aria, you don’t have to worry.” Adagio placidly interjected as she got up from the table and approached her sister. “Glen will be fine, as well as everything else, we promise.”

“Totes!” Sonata cheerfully backed Adagio up as she too got up from the table. “With the list you gave us we shouldn’t have any problems!”

Aria gave a small smile upon hearing her sisters’ reassuring words. She was glad that they didn’t seem to be taking these responsibilities lightly, and that they genuinely appeared to care for the emus. Even still though, she continued to find herself racked with worry.

“A-are you sure?” She apprehensively asked as Adagio wrapped an arm around her shoulder and started leading her towards the front door. “Because if it’s all too much I can stay home and…”

“We’ll be fine.” Adagio expressly assured her sister just as they approached the front door.

Once they were right at the front door, Adagio silently used her free hand to open it and then, with the hand that’d been wrapped around her sister, gave Aria a gentle shove outside.

“You just have a good day at school.” She amicably said as she started to close the door.

“Bye, Aria!” Sonata could be heard shouting from inside just before the door closed entirely.

Aria quickly turned around and stared at the front door with a bewildered expression, feeling like she’d more-or-less just been kicked out of the house. She contemplated reaching for the doorknob to try and get back inside, but the sound of the door locking from the other side told her that such an effort would be futile.

Realizing that she had no choice but to go to school and leave the emu farm to her sisters for the day, Aria gave a small, defeated sigh and she walked down the porch. Once she was off the porch, she paused for a moment and looked over towards the barn, contemplating whether or not she had enough time to say goodbye to Glen before she left.

“I’ve got time.” She said to herself as she made her way over to the barn without even checking to see what time it was first, figuring that even if she didn’t have the time, she’d make it.

Trying to be quick, Aria rushed over to the front doors of the barn and hastily opened them, making her way over to Glen’s stall once inside. Before she even got there though, she could tell he still wasn’t feeling well on account of the fact that she couldn’t see him standing up in the stall.

Sure enough, once Aria was close enough she could see Glen sitting down on the ground with his legs folded underneath his body and his beak turned down so that his whole neck became S-shaped and folded onto itself.

“Hey, Glen.” She gently said as she stepped into the emu’s stall. “How’re you feeling today, buddy?”


Glen’s cry was weak and raspy, making him seem even worse than he already appeared.

“It’s okay, just take it easy.” Aria said as she knelt down in front of the large bird and started lightly petting his back. “Listen, I have to go to school today, but Adagio and Sonata are going to take good care you while I’m gone, okay?”


This cry was even weaker than the last one.

Feeling overcome with emotion and concern for her beloved emu, Aria quickly wrapped her arms around the large bird as best she could in a hug.

“I love you, big guy.” She ardently said.

Glen didn’t give out a cry this time. Instead, he just moved his head ever so slightly so that it rested against Aria’s back.

Not wanting the situation to become too emotional, Aria broke her hug and stood up just as Glen removed his head from her back.

“Okay, I’ll see you later, Glen.” She softly said as she made her way out of the stall and towards the barn doors.

Once she was outside again, Aria took a moment to consider what had just happened.

Did I just tell Glen I love him? She thought to herself in astonishment.

This was a first for Aria, as she’d never told anyone other than her sisters that she loved them before and meant it; siren, human, emu, or otherwise.

Remembering that she still had to go to school today, Aria realized that she didn’t have time to dwell on this right now and swiftly made her way over towards her car parked in the driveway. As she approached her car, she couldn’t help but notice some storm clouds just over the western horizon.

“Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.” She offhandedly remarked as unlocked her car and got in, wishing she’d grabbed an umbrella before she’d been forcibly removed from the house.

Much to Aria’s relief, the storm clouds she’d seen as she left home hadn’t made their way to Canterlot City before she got to school. As she got out of her car and headed towards the school though, she noticed that said storm clouds were undeniably closer than before, and would most certainly arrive before the end of the day.

“Just my luck.” She extemporarily said to herself as she headed inside, once again wishing she’d brought an umbrella with her.

The distance from the faculty lot entrance to Aria’s office wasn’t a long one by any means, but today it felt like it was a hundred miles to the Dazzling. Her mind raced with thoughts and worries about the emu farm as she steadily made her way through the hallways of CHS. Would her emu be okay with her sisters taking care of them? Not only that, but would her sisters be okay taking care of them? She knew emus weren’t aggressive by nature, but also knew what they were capable of when they felt threatened. Sonata was usually pleasant enough that the emus wouldn’t feel threatened by her, but Adagio…well?

And what about Glen? Given how he seemed to be doing earlier, was he going to be okay? Was it possible he could…?

“Shut up, shut up.” She agitatedly, yet softly, told herself in an effort to keep her mind from going to some seriously dark places. “Everything will be fine, Adagio and Sonata promised.”

Aria’s efforts to reassure herself did help ease her worries a little bit. However, strangely enough, as she began to worry about her sisters and her emus less and less, she began to worry about herself more and more.

Am I going to be like this all day? She silently thought.

Just as she got to her office, Aria decided to give herself a light slap across the cheek in an effort to try and snap herself out of her funk.

“Come on, Aria, you got this.” She sternly told herself with newfound conviction as she unlocked the door and stepped inside. “You’re a motivational speaker dammit, be more optimistic.”

It couldn’t have been more than 30 seconds after Aria had stepped into her office when she heard a small knock coming from the door.

“Um, Aria?” Lyra Heartstrings tepidly said from the threshold of the still open doorway. “Do you have a minute?”

“Of course, Lyra.” She affably replied as she took a seat behind her desk. “Come on in.”

As Lyra slowly and somberly made her way into the office, Aria felt a sense of relief come over her. Not because of how sullen Lyra seemed, of course, but because she knew that focusing her energies on helping someone would keep her mind off of her own worries.

“So what’s up?” She asked the usually upbeat girl as she silently took a seat in front of her desk.

“It’s…me and Bon Bon.” Lyra tentatively began to say. “We’ve been having some problems in our relationship lately…”

Ah crap. Aria thought to herself, having a pretty good idea where Lyra was going with this.

“…and I’m starting to wonder if it might be in trouble.” Lyra continued. “I was hoping you might be able to offer some advice.”

Yep, there it is. Aria dejectedly thought, having been correct about where Lyra had been going with this.

Aria wasn’t very skilled at giving relationship advice, and she knew it. This was mostly because she didn’t have much experience when it came to romantic relationships, seeing as how she’d never once been in one her entire life. That, and she just didn’t really get romantic relationships to begin with. To her the whole idea of sharing your life with someone else in such an intimate manner, and they with you, seemed so…vampiric.

Despite all this though, she did want to help Lyra with whatever relationship troubles she was having with her girlfriend. And it wasn’t like she was completely ignorant when it came to romantic relationships, she’d seen enough of them in movies and TV shows to get the gist of things. Plus she’d learned a few things from having been around Sonata and Rainbow Dash’s relationship, including things she could’ve happily gone about the rest of her life having never learned.

Still, she felt that she needed to be completely candid with Lyra.

“Look, Lyra, I have to be honest with you.” She solemnly started to say. “I’m probably not the best person to seek relationship advice from. You may want to wait until Adagio or Sonata are here instead and…”

“No! Please, Aria, this can’t wait!” Lyra franticly exclaimed as she suddenly got up from her seat and leaned over the desk, staring at her with pleading eyes. “I need help now!”

“Okay, okay, I’ll help you.” She fervidly said as she leaned back in her seat, having been caught off guard by Lyra’s outburst. “Just calm down.”

Realizing just how loud and abrupt she’d been, Lyra did in fact calm down and once again took a seat.

As Lyra retook her seat, Aria got a sense of just how bad the girl’s situation must be for her to flare-up like that. Normally Lyra was so cheerful and jubilant that it seemed like she was constantly on cloud nine, but now she was so despondent and dismayed that she was shouting and practically demanding help from her.

“I…I’m sorry.” Lyra sincerely apologized, sounding much calmer now. “I didn’t mean to yell like that, it’s just…I’m afraid. This is the first real fight Bon Bon and I have had in, well…ever, and I don’t know what to do.”

There was a pain in Lyra’s voice that sounded all too familiar to Aria. It was the same pain she’d heard in Sonata’s voice when she and Rainbow Dash had fought not long ago, and this was another reason she didn’t get romantic relationships; they made you so vulnerable. The way she saw it, all you did when you opened your heart to someone was invite heartache, so why would you put yourself in a position like that?

Once again though, she pushed her own feelings aside out of her desire to help Lyra.

“It’s fine.” She assured the girl as she readjusted herself in her seat. “Just tell me what problems you’ve been having.”

Lyra didn’t respond right away. Instead, she simply dawned a grim expression as she looked down and to the side.

“See, the thing is, I’m not really sure what the problems have been.” She eventually, and very morosely, said. “All of a sudden things just…started changing between us.”

“Changing how?” Aria curiously inquired.

“Well, when we first started dating a few months ago, everything was fine.” Lyra began to explain as she brought her head back up. “In fact, nothing had really changed from when we were just best friends. We were still the same as always; We hung out, we finished each other’s sentences, we walked around together with our arms linked…”

Sounds like they were dating even before they were dating. Aria silently commented to herself.

“…and yeah, we fought sometimes, but never seriously.” Lyra continued. “But then we started fighting for no apparent reason.”

“Hmmm.” Aria said aloud as she started to get an idea of what might be happening to Lyra and Bon Bon. “These fights, did they happen gradually or all at once?”

“Um, gradually, I suppose.” Lyra replied, sounding a tad uncertain but confident enough.

“I see.” Aria stoically remarked. “And were they over small, seemingly trivial things?”

“Y-yeah.” Lyra answered in amazement, wondering how Aria had known that.

And with that, Aria was 95% certain she knew what Lyra and Bon Bon’s problem was, as she’d seen it on pretty much every sitcom she’d ever watched with five or more seasons.

“Okay, it seems to me the problem is that you and Bon Bon are no longer in the honeymoon phase of your relationship.” She explained.

“Huh?” Lyra confoundedly asked, not understanding what Aria had just said. “What’s ‘the honeymoon phase’?”

“Basically, it’s the time in your relationship when everything is perfect.” Aria began to explain. “You and your partner do everything together, you idealize each other, you’re very intimate, et cetera, et cetera.”

Lyra listened intently to what Aria was saying, and found most of it to be true. Ever since she and Bon Bon had started dating, they had started spending more time together than when they were just friends, and they were certainly more…intimate than they were before.

“Thing is though, all that doesn’t last forever.” Aria continued. “From what I’ve seen, the honeymoon phase usually ends after a few months, and once that happens, the little things you used to find cute about your partner start to annoy you.”

For supposedly being bad at relationship advice, Lyra felt that Aria was hitting the nail on the head. Over the last few days, she’d started to find some of Bon Bon’s quirks, like her snoring, to be more annoying than cute now, and Bon Bon was probably feeling the same way about her and her quirks.

“But wait.” She spoke up as a she thought of something that she didn’t understand. “Bon Bon and I have been best friends for years and all these small things never bothered us before. Why are they suddenly bothering us now?”

This, Aria wasn’t so sure about. Everything she knew about the honeymoon phase she’d learned from TV and movies, and few of them delved into the psychology behind it. Still though, she did have a theory or two.

“Probably because you were never so love-drunk before.” She answered. “You’ve heard the saying, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’, right? I’m guessing the same principle is true when it comes to love: The bigger the emotional high, the harder the fallout when it starts to diminish.”

Lyra wasn’t as sure that Aria was right in this regard, but it wasn’t as if she could refute her claim. Of course, it didn’t really matter though. What did matter was how she and Bon Bon were going to get past all this so that their relationship could continue.

“So what do we do?” She sternly asked the Dazzling. “How do Bon Bon and I survive the end of the honeymoon phase?”

Once again, this was something Aria wasn’t so sure about. She knew she had to be extremely careful in answering this question, that if she gave bad advice here it could spell doom for Lyra and Bon Bon’s relationship. As such, she took a few moments to contemplate her answer, trying to focus on what she’d learned about relationships from having been around Sonata and Rainbow Dash’s rather seeing fictional ones on TV.

“I guess the best thing to do would be to talk to each other.” She eventually answered, remembering how Sonata and Rainbow Dash got over their problems. “Get everything out in the open, tell each other how you feel about your relationship and where you want it to go from here.”

Lyra didn’t say anything in response at first. She just lowered her head and stared at the floor for a few seconds, much to Aria’s apprehension.

“What if Bon Bon doesn’t think we can get past this?” She eventually, and despairingly, said. “What if she says she wants to end things? What if…what if she doesn’t even want to be friends anymore?”

“I’m sure that won’t happen.” Aria agilely assured Lyra as she got up from her chair, made her way around to the front of her desk, and knelt down to be at eye level with Lyra. “You said it yourself; you and Bon Bon have been best friends for years. Even if she doesn’t want to be your girlfriend anymore, I’m positive she’ll still want to be your friend.”

As Lyra brought her head up and stared at the Dazzling’s steadfast and compassionate face, she felt a newfound sense of assurance. Aria was right; even if she and Bon Bon couldn’t make things work as a couple, they would still be best friends forever.

“And for what it’s worth, I think you two will stay together.” Aria added. “I mean, if my sister and Rainbow Dash can survive the problems they’ve had, you and Bon Bon should be able to survive the end of the honeymoon phase easily.”

A small chuckle escaped Lyra’s mouth upon hearing Aria’s encouraging comment, knowing full well what Sonata and Rainbow Dash had gone through recently and how her and Bon Bon’s problems did seem rather manageable by comparison.

“Thanks, Aria.” She gratefully said as she gave the Dazzling a quick hug before standing up. “I’m going to go find Bon Bon and talk to her.”

“Right now?” Aria concernedly asked as she too stood up. “You sure you don’t want to maybe wait a little while to think about what you’re going to say?”

“Uh-uh.” Lyra replied, with no small amount of conviction in her voice. “I know exactly what I need to say to Bon Bon, I feel it in my heart.”

While Aria still thought it’d be better for Lyra to wait a bit before talking to Bon Bon, she didn’t say so aloud.

“Well, good luck then.” She chose to say instead, trying to sound as forthright as possible.

“Thanks.” Lyra optimistically said as she left the office and ran down the hallway.

“Hope everything works out.” Aria softly said to herself after Lyra was gone, praying that the advice she’d given wasn’t about to ruin a relationship.

The rest of the day just sort of flew by for Aria. She’d had a few other students come to see her and thanks to that she was able to keep her mind off the emu farm for the most part. However, she wasn’t able to keep her mind off of wondering how things had gone with Lyra. She’d hoped to run into either or Bon Bon at lunchtime to see how everything was between them now, but she didn’t spot either of them in the cafeteria, nor did she spot them anywhere else throughout the day.

As the final bell of the day rang, Aria got up from her desk gathered her things to go home. While she did this, she glanced out the window and noticed that the storm clouds from earlier had indeed made their way to Canterlot City, on account of the fact that it was now raining cats and dogs outside.

“Perfect.” She sarcastically remarked as she finished gathering her things and left her office, locking the door behind her and wishing for the third time today that she’d brought an umbrella with her.

“Aria!” She heard a voice call out to her just as she finished locking up.

Aria quickly turned towards the direction of the voice and saw Lyra quickly making her way towards her.

“Hey, Lyra.” She said as soon the girl within earshot. “How did everything…”

“Thank you thank you, thank you!” Lyra interruptingly exclaimed as she embraced Aria in a hug. “You’re advice worked great!”

“I’m…glad.” Aria replied as she struggled to breathe through Lyra’s vice-like hug.

“Oop, sorry.” Lyra apologized as she realized how much strength she was using and ceased hugging Aria. “It’s just, I did like you said and talked to Bon Bon and then she started talking to me and, well, it all ended with us agreeing to work on keeping our relationship alive.”

This news brought much needed relief to Aria. As she recomposed herself after Lyra’s hug, she mentally gave herself a pat on the back for successfully giving some good relationship advice. She was no Ann Landers, to be sure, but she was apparently good enough.

“Happy to hear it.” She said aloud once she’d regained enough breath.

“Anyways, we’re going to Sugarcube Corner for some sweets.” Lyra then said. “You wanna come?”

As tempting as the offer was, Aria didn’t want to waste any time getting home to her sisters and her emu.

“Maybe another time.” She politely declined. “I need to get home and relieve my sisters of farm duty.”

“I understand.” Lyra said as she looked down at all the things Aria was carrying. “Um, do you not have an umbrella, Aria?”

“N-no, I don’t.” The Dazzling embarrassingly replied.

“Oh, then here.” Lyra said as she quickly reached into her backpack, withdrew an umbrella, and presented it to Aria. “You can borrow mine.”

Admittedly, Aria was a bit taken aback by Lyra’s kind gesture.

“N-no, please, you need it.” She said in her stupefied state.

“No, no, I insist you take it.” Lyra firmly said as she practically shoved the umbrella in her face. “It’s the least I can do to say thank you. Plus I’m sure Bon Bon won’t mind sharing her umbrella with me.”

Feeling genuinely touched by Lyra’s generosity, Aria dawned a small smile as she took the umbrella from the girl.

“Thanks.” She simply, but heartfully, said.

“Don’t mention it.” Lyra cheerfully replied just before turning around and heading down the hall. “See you later.”

Aria just silently waved goodbye to Lyra as she watched her leave. She then looked down at the umbrella in her hand and clutched it tight as she headed up the hallway towards the faculty parking lot.

Despite the stormy weather, Aria’s drive home wasn’t too bad. The rain had certainly made the roads slick, but not too slick, and the lightning was far enough in the distance that the thunder wasn’t louder than the radio. Plus, she was relatively dry the whole time thanks to Lyra’s umbrella.

As Aria pulled up her driveway, she noticed Sonata standing out on the porch, alone and wet. The sight of this caused all the worries she’d had earlier that morning to return. After all, this couldn’t have been a good sign.

Hastily parking the car and turning it off, Aria got out and made her way up to the porch, not even bothering to grab her umbrella. As she got closer to the porch, she noticed a distressed look on Sonata’s face. She also could’ve sworn she saw tears rolling down her face, but wasn’t entirely sure on account of how damp she was.

“Aria.” Her sister said once she was close enough, sounding all choked up. “I’m so, so sorry.”

The tone of Sonata’s voice filled Aria with a sense of dread. The worry she’d felt a moment ago quickly evolved into fear as she grabbed a hold of her sister’s shoulders in an attempt to calm her down.

“What happened, Sonata?” She nervously asked. “Just tell me what happened.”

Sonata didn’t answer right away. She just gave a few sniffles as she tried to composure herself enough to speak.

“It’s…It’s Glen.” She started to say, as best she could. “He’s…”

“He’s what?” Aria fearfully asked.

“He’s…” Sonata continued to try and say. “…Gone.”

“Gone?” Aria distraughtly asked, unsure what Sonata had meant by that. “You mean like, he ran away?”

All Sonata did in response was silently shake her head.

Aria could literally feel her heart skip a beat as she began to understand what her sister had meant.

“No.” She softly uttered as she let go of Sonata, her arms falling from the girl's shoulders like limp noodles.

“Aria, we…” Sonata began to say before Aria started making a mad dash towards the barn.

As she ran, Aria could feel her heart beating again, but it was now beating much faster and more erratically than usual.

“Glen?!” She shouted once she was only a few feet away from the entrance to the barn.

With almost superhuman strength, Aria flung open the barn doors and ran inside, heading straight for Glen’s stall. When she got there, she saw Adagio crouched down in front of the emu, who was lying motionless on the ground.

“Glen?” She frenetically said, gaining Adagio’s attention.

“Aria, I…” Was all Adagio could get out before her sister shoved her out of the way and crouched down in front of Glen.

“Glen?! Glen?!” Aria hysterically said as she lightly shook the large bird. “Come on, Glen, you gotta get up, buddy!”

Glen didn’t move.

“Come on, Glen, get up!” Aria frantically repeated as her shaking intensified, tears now starting to form in the corners of her eyes. “GET UP, DAMN YOU, GET UP!”

“Aria!” Adagio sorrowfully shouted as she pulled her sister off the emu. “He’s gone!”

“NO HE’S NOT!” Aria hollered in denial as she tried to break free from Adagio’s hold, her tears now flowing down her cheeks like waterfalls. “LET ME GO!”

Adagio didn’t say anything as she tightened her hold on her sister, tears now starting to flow down her cheeks as well out of sympathy for her sister’s grief.

“LET ME GO! LET ME GO!” Aria continued to yell as she struggled to break free, but to no avail.

Soon enough, Aria’s strength gave out and she went near-ragdoll in Adagio’s arms.

Let me go.” She feebly said as she began to weep uncontrollably. “Let me go.”

Sensing that her sister was no longer volatile, Adagio let go of Aria and backed up a bit in order to give her some room to grieve.

Now free, Aria used what little strength she had left to crawl back over to Glen and wrap her arms around him as she wept into his soft, feathery body, letting her emotions pour out of her like water from a floodgate.

As crazy as it may sound, part of Aria believed that if she cried hard enough, her tears might somehow bring Glen back to life. It was a completely irrational belief of course, but she didn’t care, she just needed to believe in that moment that there was some way to save her beloved emu.

“Glen…Glen.” She heartbrokenly sobbed.

By this point, Sonata had entered the barn as well and stood next to Adagio, watching the tragic scene playing out between Aria and Glen. She’d never seen Aria so sad before, so grief-stricken. Without even thinking, she instinctively approached her distraught sister and got down on her knees just behind her.

“Aria.” Was all she could say as she reached out and touched her sister’s shoulder in a sign of support.

As soon as Aria felt her sister’s touch though, it was as a switch had been flipped inside of her, turning all of her grief and sorrow into anger and hatred.

“GET OFF ME!” She snapped at Sonata as she turned around and violently removed the girl’s hand from her shoulder, causing her sister to fall onto her bottom. “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!”

“Aria!” Adagio shouted as she knelt down to help Sonata off the ground.

“YOU TWO PROMISED THAT EVERYTHING WOULD BE FINE!” Aria continued to holler in sorrow as she stood up and lorded over her sisters, staring down at them with a twisted look of grief and anger on her face. “YOU PROMISED THAT GLEN WOULD BE FINE! WELL HE’S NOT FINE, HE’S GONE! HE’S GONE AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

Before either Adagio or Sonata could say anything in response, Aria darted past them and headed for the barn doors, leaving a trail of tears behind her as she ran. Neither one of them chose to pursue their fleeing sister.

“Are you alright, Sonata?” Adagio concernedly asked as she got Sonata off her bottom and onto her knees.

“No, no I’m not.” Sonata sobbed as brought her hands up to her face. “What are we going to do, Adagio? Aria’s never going to forgive us for this.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.” Adagio gingerly said she pulled her weeping sister into a supportive hug. “We did everything we could for Glen, and I’m sure deep down Aria knows that. She’s just…letting her emotions get the better of her right now is all.”

Sonata didn’t say anything as she quickly lowered her hands and wrapped her arms around her sister. Adagio, in response, just tightened her hug as Sonata started weeping into her shoulder, wishing that there were more she could do to help her distraught sister.

Even as both Dazzlings sat there on the barn floor, weeping and holding onto each other, they could not help but worry about where Aria had run off to, and if she would be okay.

Aria didn’t know how long she’d been running for, or how far from home she now was. She didn’t care though, because it clearly hadn’t been long or far enough to get the image of Glen’s lifeless body out of her head. Deep down though, she knew that running was a futile effort, that there was no distance nor length of time spent running that would erase the grievous thoughts from her mind. Regardless, she kept on running through the stormy weather.

It wasn’t until Aria tripped over a rock in the darkness and fell face first into a muddy puddle that she snapped out of her despondent state, if only slightly. As she picked herself up, a flash of lightning revealed her reflection in the puddle beneath her. Feeling angry with herself for leaving Glen when he was sick, she promptly slammed a fist down into the puddle to distort the reflection and lifted her head up to the sky.

“DAMN YOU!” She shouted up to the heavens as raindrops fell onto her face. “DAMN YOUUUU!”

Receiving no response from the heavens other than more raindrops, Aria lowered her head and once again stared back down at the puddle, not even bothering to get up off her hands and knees. After about a minute, another flash of lightning revealed her reflection again, but this time it revealed something else as well: A shadow.

Wondering who, or what, the shadow belonged to, Aria quickly brought her head up again and saw a girl standing only about three feet in front of her. She couldn’t tell who the girl was because of how dark it was, but she could tell that she was holding an umbrella.

Her presence now known, the mystery girl silently crouched down to be at eye level with Aria and extended her arm so that her umbrella protected the Dazzling from the falling raindrops. Another quick flash of lightning revealed her face, but it wasn’t one that Aria recalled ever seeing before.

Despite the fact that she’d never seen this mysterious girl before, Aria somehow knew exactly who she was.

“Shitty day, huh?” Death sympathetically asked her.

Aria and Death

View Online

“W-what?” Aria bewilderingly uttered as she stared at Death from down on all fours…in the middle of nowhere…during a mild thunderstorm.

“I said, ‘Shitty day, huh?’” Death reiterated, sounding just a sympathetic as the first time she’d asked it.

Aria was finding it extremely difficult to comprehend what was happening. One minute she’d been all alone in the middle of who-knows-where grieving the loss of her beloved emu, Glen, as it rained down on her. And the next, Death herself was crouched down in front of her, talking to her and holding an umbrella over her head to protect her from the rain. She didn’t even understand how she knew that this actually was Death, she just…did.

Not only that, but Death didn’t look anything like Aria had ever imagined she would. She wasn’t some grim skeleton wrapped in a dark cloak like you see in cartoons or movies, she was a pale young goth woman with long black hair dressed in a simple black tank top and jeans with a studded black belt. She also wore a silver ankh pendant on a chain wrapped around her neck. Lastly, she was very beautiful but in a way she’d never seen before, like there was something just beneath that beauty, something old and sad.

Not surprisingly, the philosophical and metaphysical nature of all this was almost completely overwhelming for Aria. She felt like her mind was going to implode in on itself, until she suddenly remembered something Pinkie Pie had once told her.

There’s a lot of weirdness in this world. She heard Pinkie’s voice say inside her mind. You just need to accept reality for what it is and roll with it.

Thankfully, this little piece of advice from her friend seemed to help her with her current predicament.

“Yeah, really shitty.” She tepidly answered, choosing to accept the reality of the situation, as she lowered her head. “And it looks like it just got even shittier.”

“Why’s that?” Death curiously asked.

“If you’re here, then that’s it for me, right?” Aria morbidly replied, keeping her head down so as not to look Death in the eyes. “Game over?”

There was a brief moment of silence between the two girls as a bolt of lightning quickly flashed off in the distance, causing a loud roar of thunder that last for a few seconds.

“I’m haven’t come for you, Aria.” Death solemnly informed her once the thunder had died down.

This unexpected bit of information caused Aria to promptly raise her head and stare straight at Death with an expression of befuddled astonishment.

“You…you haven’t?” She quizzically asked, a slight hint of doubt in her voice.

“Nope.” Death reassuringly, and rather affably, answered. “Not yet anyway.”

A twinge of fear ran down Aria’s spine when she heard Death say, ‘Not yet anyway’.

“W-what do you mean by that?” She nervously inquired.

“I mean I’m not your Death, Aria.” Death casually explained. “I will be at some point, just as I will be for everyone else in the end, but for now, I’m not your Death.”

Aria wasn’t sure she understood what Death meant by all that, but as long as she was there to take her to whatever lies beyond life, she didn’t really care.

“So, then why are you here?” She falteringly asked, feeling a tad fearful of what the answer was going be.

A small, amiable smile crossed Death’s face just before she answered.

“To talk.” She simply said.

This was not the answer Aria was expecting.

“To…talk?” She skeptically reiterated.

“Yep.” Death affirmed as she extended her free hand out in front of the Dazzling. “You seemed upset, so I thought maybe you could use someone to talk to.”

As Aria stared at the outstretched hand before her, she pondered whether or not she should take hold of it. One the one hand, she knew from her experience as a motivational speaker that talking to someone about your problems and woes was a good way to help you deal with them. But on the other hand, this was Death she’d be confiding in, and she was the reason why she was so upset right now.

“If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine.” Death affably added. “But even if that’s the case, you still look like you could use some help getting up.”

Why is she so…friendly? Aria asked herself.

While she still wasn’t 100% sure she wanted to have a talk with Death, the sheer amount of altruism Aria felt emanating from the gothic girl was enough to convince her to reach out her hand.

“T-thanks.” She apprehensively said as she took a hold of Death’s hand.

The small, amiable smile on Death’s face grew a little bit as she felt Aria’s hand touch hers.

“No problem.” She replied as she stood up, hoisting Aria up along with her.

Once Aria was standing upright again, she took a few moments to brush as much of the mud off her face and clothes as she could. She managed to get most of it off her face, but her clothes were practically stained with it by now. Oh, and then there was her hair too. She weaved her fingers through her hair to get the worst chunks of mud out of it, but she knew she was going to need a good, long shower before she got it all out.

Wait a second. She thought to herself as she realized that it was still raining but that she wasn’t feeling any raindrops on her head.

Aria looked up ever so slightly to see that Death was still holding her umbrella out over her head.

“Um, you don’t need to keep holding that over my head you know.” She benignantly informed Death.

“I know, but I don’t mind.” Death stated. “I just don’t want you to catch a cold.”

Admittedly, Aria couldn’t help but feel a bit touched by Death’s concern for her well-being.

“What about you though?” She concernedly asked. “Won’t you catch a cold without it?”

“I don’t catch colds.” Death pragmatically answered.

Feeling a little stupid for asking Death if she’d catch a cold, Aria facepalmed in embarrassment.

“Right, of course you don’t catch colds.” She said, as if stating the obvious. “Duh.”

“I appreciate the concern though, Aria.” Death jovially said. “You’re a very caring person.”

As Aria lowered her hand from her face she once again felt touched by Death, this time by her kind words. Although, she didn’t quite believe those words to be true. She certainly didn’t feel like she’d been a very caring person today.

“Yeah, caring.” She sarcastically, and somberly, remarked. “I’m such a caring person that I left Glen when he was sick. I knew he wasn’t feeling well, but I left him anyways. I just pawned him off on my sisters while I had a gay old time at school. I…I left him to die.”

At this point, Aria felt like she was going to cry.

“Oh yeah, I’m a really caring person.” She emotionally concluded.

So many thought and feelings started running through Aria in that moment. Why had she just said all that? Only a little while ago she was blaming Sonata and Adagio for letting Glen die, but now she was blaming herself? And why was she opening up to Death of all people? Death; the one who’d started all this by taking Glen away from her.

Feeling a few tears starting to form in the corners of her eyes, Aria brought a hand up to wipe them away.

“Just because you weren’t there with Glen when it was his time doesn’t mean you didn’t care about him.” Death gently said as she moved a bit closer to the Dazzling. “Out of everyone he’d ever know in his life, you were the one who showed him the most kindness and love, Aria.”

“Yeah?” Aria contemptuously said, believing that Death was just spouting a bunch of BS to make her feel better. “And how do you know that?”

“Because that’s what Glen told me.” Death explained.

Just then, another quick bolt of lightning flashed off in the distance, once again causing a loud clap of thunder to roll across the empty field.

As the sound of thunder roared, Aria quickly contemplated Death’s claim. Had Glen really spoken to her? It seemed a bit farfetched to be sure, but then again she was talking to her right now, so she figured it wasn’t that farfetched.

“You…you really talked to Glen?!” She franticly asked.

“Sure.” Death nonchalantly answered. “I often talk to those I take before I guide them to the sunless lands, if only for a little while.”

Aria didn’t know what Death meant by ‘the sunless lands’, but that wasn’t what mattered to her. What did matter was what Glen had apparently said about her.

“What did he say?!” She hysterically pleaded as she grabbed hold of Death’s shoulders. “Please, I…I need to know what he said!”

“He said quite a few things.” Death calmly began to say, seemingly unphased by Aria having suddenly grabbed hold of her. “Like most he asked me questions about what was next, but unlike most he confided in me a few feelings about his life as well. He said, and I quote, ‘Most of my life was pretty rough. I was bullied, beaten, and largely ignored by others; so much so that at times I actually wished I would die. But all that changed when I met someone special. Her name was Aria, and she showed me more love and kindness than I’d ever been shown before in my life. We didn’t know each other very long, and I wish that we’d had more time together, but I’m just glad that I had her in my life at all.’”

As soon as Death finished speaking, Aria had a complete emotional breakdown. She leaned forward and started crying uncontrollably into the Death’s chest as a typhoon of emotions hit her without warning.

“It’s okay.” Death gently said as she wrapped her free arm around Aria in a supportive hug, letting the distraught Dazzling cry into her. “Just let it all out. It’s okay”

Aria couldn’t even hear Death’s words over the sound of her own sobbing. She’d never felt such a chaotic mixture of emotions within herself before, happy and sad at the same time; happy because of learning how Glen felt about her and sad because he was now gone. It was all just so overwhelming for her.

This continued for some time, Aria crying into Death and Death allowing her. It only ended when Aria had cried all her tears out and started to regain her composure.

“I-I’m s-sorry about th-that.” The Dazzling apologized as she removed herself from Death’s chest, causing Death to break her one-armed hug.

“Don’t be sorry, Aria.” Death soothingly told her. “There’s nothing wrong with crying your emotions out like that.”

Death’s amiability continued to touch Aria’s heart.

“I…I think maybe I could use someone to talk to right now.” The Dazzling meekly admitted once she’d felt composed enough to speak up again. “If you’re still willing to listen that is.”

“Of course I’m still willing to listen.” Death warmly relied. “Though might I suggest we go somewhere a little less…rainy before we begin?”

Aria felt glad that Death was still willing to listen to her, but she also felt confused by her request to go somewhere where it wasn’t raining. She wasn’t opposed to it, of course, it’s just that they were in the middle of an empty field with no signs of shelter in sight.

“Um, yeah, sure.” She confusedly said. “But, where would that be, exactly?”

“Don’t worry, I know a place.” Death replied. “I just need you to close your eyes for a few seconds.”

While Aria silently questioned why Death was requesting that she close her eyes, she figured the girl had a reason for it and did as instructed.

“Good.” She could hear Death say next. “Now don’t open them until I tell you, okay?”

“O-okay.” She tentatively agreed as she started getting a little worried about what Death was about to do.

There was a few seconds of silence, expect for the sound of raindrops falling, until Aria felt Death embrace her and she heard a pair of wings beating. The beating was loud, suggesting that the pair of wings were very large. It was so loud in fact, that Aria almost opened her eyes out of startlement, but she quickly remembered what Death had said about keeping them closed until being instructed to open them, so she kept them closed tightly.

“You can open your eyes now.” Aria heard Death say once the sound of beating wings stopped.

When Aria opened her eyes, she saw that she and Death were no longer in the rainy field, but in a bleak and lifeless place; a place that was so quiet and still that it seemed like it didn’t belong in the natural world. As she scanned her surroundings, the only thing she could see other than barren land were a few piles of large rocks scattered throughout and a small campfire about ten feet away from where they were standing.

How did we…? She began to ask herself, before remembering that this was Death she was dealing with.

“Wh-what is this place?” She nervously asked aloud. “Where are we?”

“We’re on the borders of the sunless lands.” Death solemnly began to explain as she walked over towards the fire, presumably to dry off. “It’s the closest place a mortal can get to my realm without entering it.”

This wasn’t very comforting news to Aria. While she’d become rather comfortable being around Death herself, she wasn’t all that keen about being so close to her realm, and whatever might lie within it.

“Why did you bring us here?” She asked as she followed behind Death.

“Because it’s not raining here.” Death simply answered as she took a seat on one of the large rocks by the fire.

It was hard for Aria to argue that point, but she couldn’t help but wonder one thing: If Death was capable to bringing her to this…limbo of sorts, couldn’t she have taken her to a place on Earth where it wasn’t raining? She decided not to ask this question aloud though. Instead, she decided that she was just going to take a seat on the rock next to Death and let the fire dry her and warm her up.

“Your realm.” She said once she was properly seated. “That’s where Glen is?”

“Yes, that’s where he is.” Death casually answered.

“And he’s okay there, right?” Aria then asked.

“Well, that’s kind of a loaded question with an answer that doesn’t really make sense.” Death admitted. “But yes, by your understanding of things, he’s okay.”

Despite the confusing nature of Death’s answer, it was good enough for Aria.

“So then, would it be possible for you to take me there to see him?” She then listlessly asked, even though she had a pretty good idea what the answer was going to be.

“I could easily take you there, Aria.” Death solemnly said. “But then I would be your Death. Once a mortal enters my realm, it’s ‘game over’, as you put it.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Aria wistfully remarked. “I just…I just wish that I could see him one more time, so I could tell him how much he meant to me.”

“Didn’t you tell him that this morning though?” Death quizzically asked.

“I told him I loved him.” Aria clarified. “I didn’t tell him about how happy he always made me feel each morning when he’d wrap his neck around my back in a hug, or how he’d given me the strength to start coming out of my shell by coming out of his own, or how…how much I appreciated the fact that he accepted me for who I am. I never told him those things.”

Aria could feel tears of regret welling up in her the corners of her eyes as she stared at the cackling fire. There were many more things she’d never told Glen, so many things she wished she’d told him before it was too late.

“But you did tell him all those things, Aria.” Death said. “You did when you told him you loved him.”

Death’s unexpected words caused Aria to cease staring at the fire and turn her attention to the girl sitting next to her.

“W-what do you mean?” She confusingly asked.

Sensing Aria’s confusion, Death to a moment to contemplate how she was going to better explain what she’d just said.

“Well, think of all the times you’ve said, ‘I love you’ in your life.” She started to say. “Was there always the same meaning behind it every time?”

Aria did indeed take a moment to think back on all the times she’d said, ‘I love you’ in her life. She thought about the one time she’d said it to Glen, but she also thought about all the times she’d said it to Adagio or Sonata throughout the years.

“I suppose not.” She studiously admitted. “Sometimes I’ve just half-heartedly said back to someone who’d said, ‘I love you’ to me first, and other times I’ve said it just as a way of expressing gratitude, like when I told Adagio I loved her for going with me to that anime convention a few towns over that one time.”

“And what about when you said it to Glen?” Death tactfully interjected.

Death’s question made Aria give pause. She thought back to this morning and really tried to focus on what it was she’d been feeling when she’d said, ‘I love you’ to Glen, but she found it difficult to put those feelings into words.

“I…I think it meant, ‘I’m worried about you’.” She replied, sounding uncertain of her answer. “Or maybe, ‘You mean a lot to me’. I’m not really sure.”

“I think you meant both of those things.” Death cordially remarked. “And a lot of other things as well. See, when you say, ‘I love you’ to someone and mean it, I mean really mean it, you’re telling them a whole bunch of stuff at once; ‘I’m worried about you’, ‘You mean a lot to me’, ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you’, things like that. I varies based on who you’re saying, ‘I love you’ to, but everything that you need to say to that person you are.”

Just as the fire was warming her body, Death’s words began warming Aria’s spirit.

“I know that when you said, ‘I love you’ to Glen that you really meant it.” Death continued. “And I know that Glen knew you meant it. So you see, Aria, you did tell him how much he meant to you, you just didn’t do in so many words.”

There were no words to describe how Aria felt in that moment, though the closest one would have to ‘bliss’. She felt like an enormous weight had been lifted from her soul, a weight she didn’t even know had been there. She still had some regrets in regard to Glen, but she was just so happy that her biggest regret wasn’t actually a reality.

“Thank you.” She ardently said as started crying tears of joy. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome, Aria.” Death amiably replied.

There was a few moments of silence between the two girls as Aria let her tears run down her cheeks and death silently let her do so in peace. Once Aria was feeling more composed though, she started asking Death about things like, ‘What is the meaning of life’ and ‘Why do we die’. To her credit, Death did answer Aria’s various questions, but much like the question about Glen being okay in her realm, they made no sense to the Dazzling. Still though, Aria and Death had a nice, friendly chat as they sat by the fire.

“I should probably be getting home.” Aria eventually said. “My sisters are probably worried about me, plus I…need to apologize to them.”

“I need to get going too.” Death concurred as she got up from her seat on the rock. “I’ve enjoyed our time together, but I can’t stay here all day. I’ve got a job to do.”

“Wait a minute.” Aria said as she too got up, coming to a great realization. “If you’ve been with me this whole time, then does that mean nothing has died since we started talking?”

“Oh no, plenty of living things have died since we started talking.” Death clarified. “I’ve been there for them all, while also talking with you, Aria.”

“Um, okay.” Aria confusingly stated. “So then, does that mean you’re like, everywhere…all the time?”

“That’s one way of putting it.” Death said as she moved closer to Aria. “I need you to close your eyes again.”

“Oh, right.” Aria said as did just that.

Soon enough, Aria once again felt Death embrace her and she heard the sound of wings. Only this time, they didn’t frighten her.

“Okay, we’re here.” She eventually heard Death say.

As Aria opened her eyes, she found that she back home on the emu farm, on the porch of the house to be exact, with Death standing just beside her. It was still raining outside, but thankfully the two of them were protected from the raindrops by the porch’s awning.

“Well, I best be off.” Death spoke up. “It really was nice talking with you, Aria. I’ll see you again someday.”

And with that, Death unfurled her umbrella and started walking out into the rain.

“Wait!” Aria shouted before Death got more than three feet off the porch, causing the girl to stop and turn around. “There’s one thing I need to know before you go.”

“Yes?” Death asked.

“You said you came here to talk with me, but why?” Aria inquired. “Why did you want to talk with me?”

Death dawned a warm smile on her face before answering.

“Like I said, you just seemed upset and looked like you needed someone to talk to.” Death congenially replied before turning back around and leaving.

Death's comity continued to touch Aria. Part of her wanted to stop Death or go after her, but a larger part of her knew that she had to leave, that she had a job to do and couldn’t stay. As she stared off at the girl walking through the rain, she felt like she was watching a friend who was moving someplace away. She felt like she wasn’t sure if she’d ever see her again, but she knew she would, Death herself had said so.

Once Death was out of sight, Aria moved along the porch until she reached the front door. Much to her surprise, she found that the door was unlocked, so rather than reaching into her pocket to get her key, she simply opened it and stepped inside.

“I’m home.” She hollered as she closed the door behind her.

No more than two seconds later, Aria heard the sound of rushing footsteps making their way towards her.

“Aria!” Sonata shouted as she entered the room, followed closely behind by Adagio.

“Hey, girls, I…” Was all Aria was able to get out before Sonata and Adagio practically threw themselves onto her in hugs.

“You big idiot!” Adagio emotionally scolded her. “Don’t you ever run off into a storm and scare us like that again!”

“S-sorry.” Aria apprehensively replied, having been caught off guard by her sister’s chiding words.

“Oh, Aria!” Sonata just as emotionally spoke up. “We’re so, so, so sorry about Glen! We did everything we could for him, honest!”

“I know you did, Sonata.” Aria gently informed her little sister. “And I’m sorry for the way I acted in the barn. I shouldn’t have yelled at the two of you and blamed you for Glen’s death, it wasn’t your fault.”

Both Sonata and Adagio broke their hugs at this and gave Aria a confused look. Neither one of them had expected their sister to be so…calm and rational after how she’d been back in the barn. They were happy that she wasn’t angry or sorrowful anymore, but they were confused as to why she this was.

“Wait a minute.” Adagio spoke up as she noticed something rather odd. “How come you’re not soaking wet?”

Aria looked down at her cloths and realized that she was relatively dry for someone who’d run out into a thunderstorm. She knew, of course, that she was dry because she’d sat by the fire in the place Death had taken her to, but how the heck was she going to explain that to Sonata and Adagio?

“It’s a long story.” She decided to start with as she wrapped her arms around her sisters and led them into the living room. “And frankly, I don’t think you’re going to believe any of it.”

Sonata and Apple Bloom

View Online

“Ah!” Sonata Dusk happily sighed as she stepped out of the shower, grabbing a nearby towel to dry herself off as she did so. “I needed that.”

Sonata wasn’t used to be up this early on Tuesdays because they weren’t normally her day to go to CHS, they were Aria’s, but this particular Tuesday was hers. See, Aria’s favorite emu, Glen, recently passed, and both her and Adagio agreed to give their sister some time off from motivational speaking to grieve. That, and the two of them were a bit worried about Aria’s current mental state after she claimed to have spoken with the anthropomorphic personification of Death about Glen.

In any case, today was Sonata’s day at school.

As the youngest Dazzling started drying herself off, she began to hear the faint sound of music coming from somewhere outside the bathroom. At first she paid it no mind as it wasn’t unusually for her sisters to turn on the radio and listen to music while they ate breakfast, but as the music went on she started to recognize the song that was being played, and it made her cringe.

“I-It can’t be.” She apprehensively said as she stopped drying off, trying to convince herself that she wasn’t hearing what she believed she was hearing.

Soon enough though, Sonata heard the sound of laughter as the music continued and it only confirmed her fears. It was that song, and there was no way it was coming through the radio. There was only one possible source where it could be coming from.

In a state of panic, Sonata dropped her towel and ran out into the hallway and towards the kitchen, where the music was coming from. When she got there, she saw Aria sitting at the table with her phone in her hand and Adagio standing next to her, the two of them laughing so hard they were crying.

“W-What’s so funny, girls?” She nervously asked her overly cheerful sisters, even though she was 99% sure she already knew the answer.

“We’re…we’re just watching…” Aria jovially began to reply before she looked up and saw her little sister standing stark naked just outside the kitchen, causing her to cease her laughter and turn away in embarrassment. “Oh for crying out loud, Sonata, put some cloths on, will ya!”

Sonata was fully aware of her nudity, but she was too filled with trepidation over what her sisters had been laughing at to really care about it.

“I-Is…” She started to say as she pointed to Aria’s phone, which was still playing the music. “Is that…”

“Oh, it most certainly is.” Adagio playfully but also somewhat wickedly chimed in, knowing full-well what Sonata was about to say. “Dolly came across it online and sent us the link. She said she thought we might get a kick out of this little blast-from-the-past.”

At this point, Adagio was barely holding back further laughter.

“And she was right.” She finished saying just before bursting into another laughing fit.

It was unclear to Sonata which fact-of-the-matter distressed her the most in that moment; that the most embarrassing moment of her life was online for all the world to see, that her sisters still found it so humorous after all these years, or that it had been her own daughter who’d brought it back from obscurity. Whichever it was, it mortified her tremendously.

“Give me that phone!” She frantically shouted as she bum-rushed Aria in an attempt to see the video playing for herself, causing her breasts to swing right in front her sister’s face.

“Fucking hell, Sonata!” Aria hollered as tried to hold her spastic sister at bay with her free arm and held her phone out of reach with the other.

Sonata paid little mind to Aria’s protests though as she desperately tried to get a hold of the phone, practically clamoring over her sister to get it now. The whole scene just made Adagio laugh even harder.

It wasn’t very long, however, before having Sonata’s melons in her face became too much for Aria.

“Alright, take it!” She caved as she forfeited her phone over to Sonata. “Just get your jugs out of my face already!”

Once she had the phone, Sonata did as requested and removed her nude-self from Aria’s immediate space, but she still remained too close for the pig-tailed Dazzling’s comfort. She just stood there, silent and dumbfounded, as she watched the video play out on the phone, wondering what cruel deity had allowed any copies of her ultimate embarrassment to survive, let alone be put online.

“I’ll give you this, Sonata.” Adagio said as she calmed down from her laughing fit. “Of the three of us you’re definitely are the most…flexible.”

Adagio’s comment fell on deaf ears, as Sonata was to entranced by the video to pay attention to anything else. It wasn’t until a few seconds later when it ended that she snapped back to the real world.

“Who uploaded this?” She timidly asked as she put Aria’s phone down on the table. “And how long has it been up?”

“The username of the uploader is Noobmaster69, so obviously we have no idea who that actually is.” Aria began to answer, still averting her gaze from Sonata’s naked body. “As for how long the video’s been up, looks like about two days.”

Sonata was actually relieved to hear that the video had only been up for two days. It meant that maybe there was still time to contact the uploader and see if they’d take it down before anyone else saw it. She knew it’d be a long shot, but she had to try before anyone at school came across it. Her sisters and her daughter seeing it was one thing, but if any of the students at CHS saw it she’d never live it down.

And then there was her girlfriend, Rainbow Dash. What would she think if she saw the video? The more Sonata thought about the video getting out, the more she started to worry, and she already worried enough to begin with.

“Okay, okay, this fine, everything is fine.” She frantically said as she began to pace back and forth across the kitchen floor, causing Aria to constantly turn her head to avoid staring at her naked sister. “I can fix this before anyone else see it.”

“Aw, you don’t want to share this with everyone at school?” Adagio playfully asked.

“NO!” Sonata shouted as she stopped pacing and got right up in Adagio’s face, now making her as uncomfortable as Aria had been the whole time. “Making that video is one of the biggest regrets of life. You have to promise me you won’t share it with anyone. PROMISE!”

“Okay, I promise.” Adagio hastily replied, hoping it would get her agitated sister to back off.

“ARIA!” Sonata then turned and got up in her other sister’s face.

“I promise, I promise!” Aria replied even hastier than Adagio had, so that Sonata would once again remove her hush puppies from her face.

Satisfied with her sisters’ promises, Sonata took a deep breath and silently walked out of the kitchen and down the hallway, heading towards her bedroom. Once she was gone, Aria and Adagio just looked at each for moment before Aria decided to speak up.

“You know, I don’t ever remember her having such a passionate hatred for that video right after she made it.” She candidly said.

“Well, it was the 80’s. That sort of stuff was normal back then.” Adagio just as candidly replied as she closed the gap between herself and Aria, leaning down to give her sister a good view of her cleavage once she was close enough. “Speaking of not remembering, I don’t ever remember you having a problem with having a pair of tatas in your face before.”

Aria’s eyes went wide as a noticeable blush crossed her face, causing her to look away from Adagio.

“Yeah, well, when those ‘tatas’ belong to my sister I have a problem with it.” She stated with no small amount of embarrassment.

Amused that her teasing had successfully embarrassed her sister, Adagio simply gave a small chuckle as she removed herself from Aria’s personal space. Just as she did, Sonata reemerged from the hallway, now fully clothed, and proceeded to head out the front door.

“I’m going to school now.” Was all the pony-tailed Dazzling said as she left.

Neither Adagio nor Aria said anything back to Sonata, as they were both too befuddled as to how she’d managed to get dressed so quickly.

With Sonata now out of the house, Aria picked up her phone and hit the replay button on the screen. As soon as the video started playing again, her and Adagio burst into laughing fits.

“Today’s going to be fine, no at school has seen the video.” Sonata franticly told herself, for about the 17th time, as she pulled into the CHS parking lot.

Needless to say, Sonata’s drive to school hadn’t been a very relaxing one. The whole trip she’d been filled with fear and anxiety over the possibility of someone outside of her family having seen her video.

“Today’s going to be fine, no at school has seen the video.” She reiterated as she pulled into a parking space and turned the car off.

Sonata didn’t get out of the car right away. Instead, she just sat in the driver’s seat and mentally steeled herself what the day ahead might be like for her.

“Today’s going to be fine.” She said to herself as she reached for the car door. “Today’s going to be fine.”

Once Sonata was out of the car, she tentatively started making her way towards the school. As she walked, she paid close attention to the various students walking around, trying to gauge whether or not any of them might have seen her video by the way they acted.

So far, nothing out of the ordinary.

“Hey, Sonata.” A voice suddenly said from behind her.

Sonata involuntarily tensed up and quickly turned around to see none other than Cherry Crash walking just a few feet behind her. Neither Cherry’s the look on her face nor her tone of voice seemed to suggest anything other than a friendly greeting, but Sonata couldn’t be 100% sure.

“Oh, hey Cherry.” She nervously replied, though trying to sound a normal as possible. “How’s it going?”

“Whoa, you okay, girl?” Cherry concernedly replied. “You seem a little…on edge.”

“Me, I’m not on edge.” Sonata replied, sounding completely on edge. “Why would I be on edge? I don’t have any reason to be on edge.”

Cherry didn’t say anything back right away. She just raised a single eyebrow and looked Sonata up and down, as if making sure she was okay.

“Uh-huh.” She eventually, and skeptically, said as she walked passed Sonata and continued heading towards the school, figuring it best to just leave the girl be. “Well, have a good one.”

“You too.” Sonata relied, awkwardly smiling and waving goodbye to Cherry as she did so.

As soon as Cherry was far enough away, Sonata ceased waving and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Phew, that was close.” She said to herself, happy that Cherry hadn’t brought up her video.

Sonata’s relief was short lived, however, because soon enough she heard the sound of laughter. She quickly turned towards the direction of the laughter to see two male students sharing a laugh as they walked up the pathway to the school. They didn’t appear to be laughing at her, but given how paranoid she was feeling right now it didn’t really matter.

Overcome with fear, Sonata sprinted up the pathway like a bolt of lightning and entered the school, stopping once she reached the middle of the foyer to catch her breath. She wasn’t used to running like that. In fact, the last time she had was when she and her sisters were booed off stage at the Battle of the Bands.

After taking a few deep breaths, Sonata noticed even more laughter within the school than outside it, this time coming from multiple directions. To her right, she saw a couple of female students giggling to each other. To her left, she saw a group of students laughing at something on a phone one of them was holding.

“Oh no.” She softly uttered, sounding very aghast.

There was no way for Sonata to know exactly what the group of students were watching on the phone, but she couldn’t help but assume the worst. Wasting no time, the Dazzling once again started to sprint, this time down the hallway towards her office. She knew that if Principal Celestia or Vice-Principal Luna saw her doing so they’d be upset with her, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to get to her office and away from all the laughter.

At the speed she was running, it didn’t take Sonata very long to reach her office. Once there, she quickly reached for her key and placed it inside the lock. But when she went to turn the key, she found that the door was already unlocked.

Huh? She thought to herself, snapping out of her panicked state for a moment.

That is, until more sounds of laughter from further down the hall snapped her right back into her panicked state.

“Eep!” She squealed as she hastily opened the door and stepped inside, immediately closing it right behind her.

Much like in the foyer, Sonata took a few moments to catch her breath. As she leaned back against the door, she tried to think about what she was going to do if her worst fears had been realized and everyone at school had already seen her video. She was so fixated on this that she didn’t even notice someone else was in the room with her.

“Hi, Sonata.” A small voice meekly called out to her.

“Gah!” Sonata uttered as she ceased leaning on the door, having been startled by the small voice.

The Dazzling quickly looked around to find the source of the voice and eventually saw someone sitting rather despondently in the chair behind her desk.

“Apple Bloom?” She inquired, believing she recognized the someone to be Applejack’s younger sister.

“Sorry, Ah didn’t mean ta scare yah.” Apple Bloom apologized as she got up from her seat and made her way around the desk, heading in Sonata’s direction. “And sorry fer bein’ in yer office so early, Ah just…needed a place ta hide.”

Sonata felt confused as she watched the young girl walk approach her, for a number of reasons. Why did Apple Bloom seem so sad? Why was she hiding in her office? How did she get into her office? These questions and more popped into her head one right after the other. There were so many of them she didn’t even know which to ask first.

“Are you okay, Apple Bloom?” She gingerly asked, figuring that that was probably the most pressing concern at the moment.

Apple Bloom didn’t respond right away. She just silently continued walking towards Sonata until she was standing right in front of the girl. It was then that Sonata noticed just how sad Apple Bloom really was. Her face was all red and she had tear stains on her cheeks, most likely from crying. In fact, she looked like she wasn’t done crying yet.

“N-No.” She eventually said just before she threw herself around Sonata in a hug as fresh tears starting to flow down her face.

“Oh my.” Was all Sonata could initially say.

The hug had caught the Dazzling completely off-guard. Neither she nor Apple Bloom knew each other very well, and yet here Apple Bloom was with her arms wrapped around her and crying into her like the two of them had shared a strong bond for years.

“Um, there, there?” She said as she desperately tried to console the weeping girl by lightly patting her head.

The truth of the matter though was that Sonata didn’t really know what to do or say to console Apple Bloom. She’d never had someone emotionally breakdown in front of her like this before. Well, maybe Dolly once or twice, but Dolly was her daughter and Apple Bloom was practically a stranger. How was she supposed to console someone she barely knew?

Motivational speaker training didn’t prepare me for this. She anxiously thought to herself as the young farmgirl continued to cry into her. Wait, I never had any motivational speaker training. How did I get this job again?

Before her mind started to wander too far, Sonata brought her focus back to Apple Bloom. Not knowing what else to do, she ceased patting the Apple Bloom’s head and instead decided to simply let the girl cry out her feelings, wrapping her arms around her in turn as a sign of support.

The two girls stayed like this for about a minute before Apple Bloom pulled away from the hug and simply stood in front of Sonata.

“S-Sorry.” She timidly apologized. “Ah…Ah just…couldn’t help mahself fer a minute there.”

“Hey, it’s fine, there’s no need to be sorry.” Sonata gently assured her as she bent forward a bit to be at eye level with her. “Do you want to talk about what’s bothering you?”

Apple Bloom just nodded silently in response.

“Okay. Why don’t we go sit down first?” Sonata then suggested.

Again, Apple Bloom simply nodded in silence.

It was then that Sonata fastidiously reached out her hand. Much like when she’d returned Apple Bloom’s hug, she hoped that the gesture would help put the distressed girl a bit more at ease. There was a slight hesitation from Apple Bloom initially, but soon enough she did take her hand, and once she did the two of them headed over to her desk.

The walk from where she and Apple Bloom had been standing to her desk wasn’t a far by any measure, but it felt like a hundred miles to Sonata on account of how much she had on her mind at the moment. Her mind was still racing with thoughts of everyone at school laughing at her video from earlier, but now it was also racing with thoughts about how to help Apple Bloom. Needless to say, it all felt a tad overwhelming for her, but she knew that right now she needed to focus on Apple Bloom.

Once they reached the desk, Apple Bloom let go of Sonata’s hand and took a seat in front of the desk while Sonata took a seat behind it.

“Whenever you’re ready.” The Dazzling delicately said once she was fully seated.

It took Apple Bloom a few seconds to better compose herself before she was ready to speak. After a few deep breaths, she was began.

“I know yah weren’t here yesterday, but did Adagio tell yah about what happened in the cafeteria at lunch?” She started off.

“No, she didn’t.” Sonata replied, wondering not only what had happened but also if Adagio hadn’t said anything because she didn’t know about it or she did and just didn’t care enough to mention it.

“Then yer probably the only person in school right now who doesn’t know about it.” Apple Bloom glumly said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone.

“Know about what?” Sonata inquired as Apple Bloom scrolled through her phone.

A few more seconds of silence followed as Apple Bloom scrolled through her phone. Once she found what she was looking for, she held the phone out in front of Sonata.

“This.” She said.

Sonata took the phone from Apple Bloom and noticed that it was cued up to play a video. At first, Sonata feared that it might be her video, but logic and reason quickly dispelled that fear. No, this wasn’t her video, but she got the feeling that this was going to be something like her video though, only involving Apple Bloom.

Wasting no more time, Sonata pressed the play button on the screen and the video started. It began with a shot of Flash Sentry and his band in a corner of the cafeteria during lunchtime, looking like they were getting ready to play a song.

You ready, man?” A voice on the video said, presumably the voice of the person holding the phone.

Yeah, ready.” Flash answered.

Okay.” The voice said. “On three; one…two…

Just then, a crashing sound could be heard coming from somewhere else in the room.

What was that?” The voice said as the camera started moving around.

When the camera stopped moving, it was pointed at Apple Bloom, who was lying on the ground with spaghetti in her hair, complete with meatballs. Additionally, sounds of laughter aimed at the girl could be heard coming from all directions.

Whoa, check out the spaghetti girl!” A different voice said as Apple Bloom got up and ran out of the cafeteria in embarrassment, the camera following her as she did so.

Then the video stopped.

“Oh, that’s what happened.” Sonata dourly said as she put the phone down on her desk.

“Uh-huh.” Apple Bloom somberly uttered as she grabbed her phone and put it back into her pocket. “Ah slipped on some spilled juice and mah lunch ended up on mah head fer everyone ta see. And ta make things worse, someone caught part of it on video. Everyone’s been laughin’ about it since.”

It was then that Sonata started to understand all the laughter she’d heard around school earlier.

“So, all the students I saw laughing at their phones this morning, they were watching your, um…spaghetti video?” She asked aloud.

“Yeah, probably.” Apple Bloom replied.

Sonata couldn’t help but give a mental sigh of relief. She was happy that it wasn’t her video everyone had been watching, but at the same time she felt bad for Apple Bloom. The young girl was the laughingstock she feared she would be coming into school this morning, and she felt sympathetic towards her.

“Ah just don’t know what Ah’m gonna do.” Apple Bloom went on. “It would’ve been one thing if it’d happened and been done with, but with that video everyone can laugh at me forever.”

New tears started to form in the corners of Apple Bloom’s eyes.

“Ah’m never gonna be able to live this down.” She finished saying just before giving a small sniffle.

Just as the tears in Apple Bloom’s eyes started flowing, Sonata offered her a box of tissues that’d been on the far right side of her desk.

“Listen.” The Dazzling soothingly said as Apple Bloom took a couple of tissues. “I know it’s hard to believe right now, but you will be able to live this thing down.”

“How do yah know that?” Apple Bloom asked just before she blew her nose with one of the tissues.

“Experience.” Sonata clarified. “I’ve been where you are now, Apple Bloom, and if I can live down my really embarrassing moment, you can definitely live down yours.”

“Ah doubt yer embarrassing moment was as bad as mine though.” Apple Bloom sullenly countered.

In that moment, Sonata came to realize something; she was at a crossroads, one of her own making. She’d inadvertently revealed the existence of her video to Apple Bloom, if only vaguely, and now she had a choice to make. She could downplay the whole thing and pretend she’d never said anything about it, or she could show it to Apple Bloom and prove that what she’d said about being able to live down embarrassment was true.

The decision Sonata eventually came to wasn’t an easy one for her, but she knew what she had to do.

“Oh, my embarrassing moment was a lot worse than yours.” She said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. “You wanna see it?”

Just then, Apple Bloom’s despondent expression changed into one of confused surprise.

“Uh, sure, Ah guess.” She answered, wondering why Sonata was willing to share her embarrassing moment with her.

“Okay.” Sonata said as she found the video Aria had had on her phone earlier. “But first, you have to promise not to say a word about this to anyone else. Deal?”

“Uh, deal?” Apple Bloom replied, half-saying, half-asking.

Satisfied with Apple Bloom’s response, Sonata handed her phone off to the girl.

After she took the phone, Apple Bloom looked up confusingly at Sonata one more time before she turned her attention back to the phone and hit the play button on the screen.

Hi, I’m Sonata Dusk!” A Sonata on the screen said.

Almost immediately, Apple Bloom noticed some very distinct differences between the Sonata on the screen and the Sonata sitting a few feet away from her. The Sonata on the screen’s hair was more poufy, not unlike Adagio’s, but with more violent curls and she was wearing a bright lime green bodysuit with hot pink, legwarmers, wristbands, and a crop top sweatshirt.

I hope you’re ready for a workout!” The Sonata on the screen continued.

And then, music started playing.

As soon as the music started playing, the Sonata on the screen began jazzercising. She was hopping and lopping across a dance floor to what had to have been some of the most 80’s sounding music Apple Bloom had ever heard. And she wasn’t half-assing it either, oh no, she was giving it her all, executing every move with such incredible energy and precision. Chasses, gyrations, arm pumps, leg lifts, she was doing them all, and more.

Apple Bloom’s mind wasn’t sure how to process what she was seeing. After all, jazzercising was a bit before her time so she’d never seen it before. She’d heard of it, of course, but this was her first time actually seeing it. The more she watched it though, the more she felt the urge to laugh.

“T-This ain’t so b-bad.” She told Sonata in an attempt to downplay humiliating nature of the video, trying desperately not to laugh. “Ah mean, m-maybe it’s a little embarrassing, b-but it’s not…it’s not…”

Apple Bloom couldn’t hold it back anymore.

“Bahahahaha!” She broke down laughing, not unlike Adagio and Aria had earlier.

Sonata just sank a bit into her chair as Apple Bloom laughed. She felt a tremendous amount of embarrassment, to be sure, but she also felt glad that Apple Bloom wasn’t sad anymore as well.

“Ah…Ah’m sorry!” Apple Bloom apologized through her laughter. “Ah’ve just…Ah’ve never anythin’ like this in mah life!"

“No, no, it’s fine.” Sonata assured her, though sounding a tad defeated. “It’s…fine.”

As much as Sonata wanted to take her phone back and stop the video, she allowed Apple Bloom to watch the whole thing. If her video helped distract the young girl from her woes, then it was worth the painful embarrassment she was currently feeling.

Soon enough, the video ended. However, Apple Bloom’s laughter didn’t quite end with it.

“O-Okay, you were right.” The farmgirl said as she handed the phone back to Sonata, trying to composure herself as she did so. “That…that was way more embarrassing than mah video.”

“Thanks.” Sonata dryly replied as she put her phone back into her pocket, unsure whether or not to be happy that she’d been right in that regard.

“Ah mean, mah video was just an accident.” Apple Bloom went on, sounding a little more composed now. “But yer video was made on purpose.”

“Eeyup, it sure was.” Sonata replied, sounding a smidge annoyed.

“Why did yah even make that thing in the first place?” Apple Bloom inquired.

Sonata gave a short, deep sigh before answering Apple Bloom’s question. She really didn’t want to reveal the origins of her workout video, but she figured since she was already in for a penny she might as well be in for a pound.

“Back then, my sisters and I still needed to feed off of energy to survive.” The Dazzling began to reluctantly explain. “We weren’t getting enough through singing for a while, so we had to come up with…alternative methods. The only problem was that we didn’t know any alternative methods that would work, if there even were any, so we brainstormed a bunch of ideas and tried some of them. And one of my ideas was ‘energy through exercise’.”

“Energy through exercise?” Apple Bloom interrupting asked.

“Yep, energy through exercise.” Sonata confirmed with a hint of embarrassment in her voice. “My idea was that we could siphon the energy people exerted as they exercised, and since it was the 80’s and jazzercising was popular at the time that’s what I went with. I made that video as an audition tape to lead an aerobics class.”

“Did it work?” Apple Bloom curiously inquired.

“My idea or my video?” Sonata asked.

“Uh, both, Ah guess.” Apple Bloom clarified.

“No, on both accounts.” Sonata defeatedly answered. “I didn’t get to lead the aerobics class and we later found out we couldn’t siphon energy through exercise. So basically, I made a super embarrassing video for nothing.”

“Oh.” Apple Bloom quietly uttered, unable to think of anything else to say.

An uncomfortable silence then filled the room as Sonata just stared dolefully down at her desk and Apple Bloom looked off to the side to avoid staring at the distraught Dazzling.

“Look, just forget about all of that, Apple Bloom.” Sonata eventually said as she lifted her head up, realizing that she needed to get things back on track. “The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that embarrassing things happen, and yeah, they tend to linger in people’s minds for a while, but eventually they fade into obscurity. It’s going to take time, but eventually everyone is going to forget about your spaghetti video, just like everyone forgot about my workout video.”

“Ah…Ah guess that’s true.” Apple Bloom agreed, sounding a little less morose now.

Sonata was neglecting to mention that her workout video had recently returned from obscurity, but that was intentional. The Dazzling figured it best not to bring it up. Besides, just because her video had reemerged after fading into obscurity didn’t mean Apple Bloom’s would.

“You just have to be strong enough to not let it get to you until then.” Sonata genially went on. “And since you’re Applejack’s sister, I know you are.”

Apple Bloom couldn’t help but give a small smile after hearing Sonata’s kind remark. She looked up to big sister, so for Sonata to hold her in the same regard as Applejack gave her a warm and assuring feeling.

“Yer right!” She confidently declared as she stood up and clenched her fist in a determined manner. “I ain’t gonna let this dang video get the best of me!”

“That’s the spirit!” Sonata exclaimed as she too stood up, hoping that doing so would help keep Apple Bloom’s newfound positive energy up.

“Thanks, Sonata.” Apple Bloom gratefully said as she rushed around the desk and gave the Dazzling a hug. “Yer the best!”

In that moment, Sonata felt a warm glow in her heart. After having been called ‘the worst’ so many times in her life, it made her feel tremendously happy to have been called ‘the best’ for once.

“Don’t mention it.” She meekly said as she returned the hug, feeling like she might start crying tears of joy at any second.

The hug didn’t last long though, as soon the bell for first period rang.

“Uh-oh, Ah gotta go.” Apple Bloom frantically said as she let go of Sonata and ran towards the door. “Thanks again, Sonata! And Ah promise Ah won’t tell anyone about yer video!”

Sonata just silently waved goodbye to Apple Bloom as she left. Once she was gone, she plopped herself back into her seat a breathed a sigh of relief.

“Glad that ordeal’s over with.” She said to herself.

When lunchtime rolled around, Sonata went to the cafeteria as she usually did to have lunch with one or more of her friends. Today, she was having lunch with Maud Pie and her boyfriend, Mudbriar.

“I really need to find a new taco place.” The Dazzling begrudgingly commented as she looked down at her lunch.

“Why is that?” Maud asked in her usual stoic manner.

“Just looks at these, they’re terrible!” Sonata declared as she picked up a couple of tacos and held them out in front of her. “And this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten terrible tacos from El Vaquero either!”

“Technically, that isn’t a real taco.” Mudbriar chimed in.

As soon as Mudbriar said that, Sonata dropped the tacos in her hands and looked over at him with a deranged look in her eyes.

“What?” She asked with such fire and fury in her voice that it suggested she was going to go berserk.

Before Mudbriar could explain the difference between a street taco and an authentic, Mexican taco to Sonata, the sound of laughter drew the attention of the group over to a table located about halfway across the room.

“Hey, spaghetti girl, where’s your spaghetti?” Rover mockingly asked Apple Bloom as he, Spot, and Fido stood behind her while she ate her lunch.

“Yeah, where’s your spaghetti?” Spot just as mockingly reiterated.

Fido just chuckled.

“Don’t you three have anything better to do than pick on Apple Bloom?” Sweetie Belle, who was sitting to Apple Bloom’s right, sharply inquired.

“What she said.” Scootaloo, who was on Apple Bloom’s left, added as she stood up to face the three bullies. “Now why don’t you beat it before I beat you.”

“Scootaloo, it’s alright.” Apple Bloom gently told her friend as turned around, trying to defuse the situation before it got out of hand.

All three bullies just laughed in response to Scootaloo’s threat.

“Alright, we’ll leave.” Rover derisively said just before he started to walk away. “See you later, spaghetti girl.”

“Yeah, see you later, spaghetti girl.” Spot said as he followed Rover.

Fido once again just chuckled as he followed Spot.

The whole scene made Sonata sick. Part of her wanted to intervene and stop it, but she knew better than to do so, as she knew how the high school social-ecological system worked. If she, a faculty member, had intervened, it would’ve stopped the incident at-hand, but it would’ve made Apple Bloom’s teasing worse in the long run, and that would be the last thing she wanted for her young friend.

As Sonata watched Apple Bloom go back to eating her lunch, she saw a pained expression on the girl’s face. It was clear that she was trying to not let the ‘spaghetti girl’ thing get the best of her, but the Dazzling could tell she was having a difficult time keeping her composure, even with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo’s support.

There has to be more I can do to help her. She thought to herself.

In an effort to focus her mind, Sonata closed her eyes and began to think harder than she’d ever thought before. She knew there was something more she could do for Apple Bloom, she just needed to find out what. It only took a few seconds of intense thought before she came up with something; a surefire thing she could do that would help Apple Bloom more than anything else, and she didn’t like it. Not one…little…bit.

“Oh phooey.” She dejectedly said aloud as she opened her eyes, accepting what she needed to do.

“What was that?” Maud asked.

“Oh, nothing.” Sonata merrily replied, promptly snapping out of her funk, as she stood up and pulled her phone out of her pocket. “I just need to make a quick phone call. Excuse me.”

“Okay.” Maud said as her friend walked away.

Once Sonata was gone, Maud turned towards Mudbriar.

“When she comes back, don’t tell her whatever you were going to tell her about tacos.” She instructed her boyfriend.

“Very well.” Mudbriar replied.

It didn’t take Sonata long to find a quiet and isolated enough spot to make her phone call. After doing a few double-takes to make sure she was well and truly alone, she opened her contacts and made her call.

Sonata?” Adagio’s voice came through the phone.

“Adagio, I need you to do me a favor.” She said.

The rest of the day was fairly quiet for Sonata, as no students had come to see her the whole afternoon. Despite how much she loved her job, she’d really been hoping not to see any more students after she’d made her call to Adagio at lunch. None had, but now it was the end of the day, and she was all but certain to see some as she left. Part of her contemplated just spending the night in her office, but she knew that wasn’t an option.

“No way around it.” She reluctantly told herself as she headed for the door. “Just gotta face the music.”

Once Sonata reached the door and grabbed the doorknob, she took a deep breath and prepared to cross the threshold into Hell.

Almost as soon as she entered the hallway, Sonata could hear the sounds of soft laughter directed at her. It wasn’t like earlier when she’d only thought all the laughter she was hearing was directed at her, this time there was no doubt about it.

“Hey, Jane Fonda!” A female voice called out to her as she finished locking up.

Sonata turned around to see a small group of female students staring and giggling at her. She didn’t know which among them had called out to her, but it didn’t really matter. All she did was put on a fake smile, give a little, friendly wave, and start making her way towards the foyer. As she passed through the hallway, practically every student she passed either looked at her funny, softly laughed at her, or both. In short, the fears she’d had at the beginning of the day had come to pass.

Just as Sonata reached the foyer though, she heard a familiar voice call out to her.

“Sonata!” It said.

Sonata looked around saw Apple Bloom running towards her from the other end of the foyer.

“Apple Bloom?” She said just as the young girl reached her.

“Everyone’s talkin’ about yer video!” Apple Bloom alarmingly informed her. “But it’s not mah fault, Ah swear! Ah didn’t show it ta anyone!”

“I know you didn’t, Apple Bloom.” Sonata calmly told her. “Because I did.”

“What?!” Apple Bloom exclaimed.

“Well, technically Adagio was the one who started sharing it with everyone and encouraged them to do the same.” The Dazzling clarified. “But she only did that because I asked her to.”

“B-But why?!” Apple Bloom asked. “Yah said yerself that yer video was super embarrassing. Why on earth would yah put it out there like that fer everyone ta laugh at?”

Before Sonata answered, she bent forward a bit to be at eye level with apple Bloom.

“So that they’d stop laughing at you.” She agilely explained.

Apple Bloom had to take a step back because of how shocked she was from hearing Sonata’s explanation.

“W-What?” Was all she was able to say in her stunned state.

“I wasn’t lying when I said that embarrassing stuff eventually fades away into obscurity.” Sonata told her. “It’s just that that doesn’t usually happen until some other embarrassing thing comes along and replaces it.”

Tears started to form in the corners of Apple Bloom’s eyes as she started to understand what Sonata had done for her.

“I have no doubt that something would’ve come along to make everyone forget about your spaghetti video at some point.” Sonata continued. “I just figured I’d speed things along a bit.”

Unable to contain the growing emotions within her, Apple Bloom lunged forward and wrapped Sonata in a great, big hug.

“Y-Yah really are the b-best, Sonata!” She told the Dazzling through her tears.

Once again, being called ‘the best’ touched Sonata’s heart.

“Thanks, Apple Bloom.” She heartfully said back as she returned the hug. “You’re the best too.”

The hug was short lived, however, as soon Rover, Spot and Fido entered the foyer.

“Hey, dance girl, aren’t you going to dance for us?” Rover mockingly asked Sonata.

“Yeah, aren’t you going to dance for us?” Spot just as mockingly reiterated.

Fido just chuckled.

Realizing that the three bullies from earlier had returned, Sonata broke her hug with Apple Bloom and shot a piercing glare at the trio of troublemakers.

“First of all, you do know I’m a faculty member, right?” She pointedly asked them. “And second, you do know that asking me to dance for you can be construed as sexual harassment which would result in your expulsion, right?”

Without saying another word, Rover, Spot and Fido each made a hasty exit out the front doors.

“Wow, that was amazing!” Apple Bloom remarked, impressed by Sonata’s ability to get rid of those three dunderheads.

“Eh, it was nothing.” Sonata humbly replied.

Just then, a thought entered Apple Bloom’s mind.

“Um, Sonata.” She said.

“Hm?” The Dazzling uttered.

“Would yah…maybe like ta come over fer dinner tonight?” The young girl meekly asked. “Yah know, as a thank you fer everything today. Ah’m sure Granny wouldn’t mind.”

Admittedly, Sonata was caught a little off-guard by Apple Bloom’s offer. She wasn’t all that accustomed to receiving such high levels of kindness, and even though she had a doubt or two about accepting, she just couldn’t say no to her young friend.

“Sure, I’d love to join you for dinner.” She graciously accepted.

“Great!” Apple Bloom exclaimed just before grabbing Sonata’s hand. “Come on!”

“Whoa!” Sonata uttered as Apple Bloom started rushing towards the front door with her in-tow.

Even though she was currently being dragged around, Sonata couldn’t help but feel a small smile start to grow on her face.

Today wasn’t fine. She thought to herself. Today was better than fine.

Adagio and Violet Blurr

View Online

Thanks for picking me up, brother.” Paul Rudd said through the TV.

Oh, you know, you think I’m gonna miss my cellie getting out?” Michael Peña replied.

“Honestly, Aria, why did you have to choose a Paul Rudd movie?” Adagio Dazzle incredulously asked her sister. “You know I can’t stand him and his brand of loser comedy.”

Currently, Adagio and her sisters were all sitting on the couch together watching a movie. It was one of the rare nights where none of them had anything so going on, so they decided they would do something together as sisters. A number of ideas were thrown around; dancing, karaoke, mailbox smashing, but eventually they decided to simply stay in and watch a movie. The only question then, was what movie to watch.

In order to decide who got to choose the movie, the three Dazzlings did what they always did to decide such things; they played rock, paper, scissors. Now, normally Aria was terrible at rock, paper, scissors, but this night lady luck was with her and she miraculously beat both her sisters for the right to watch whatever she wanted. And what she wanted to watch was a certain movie starring one Mr. Paul Rudd.

“I chose it because I need to watch this superhero movie before I watch the civil war superhero movie.” Aria pugnaciously informed Adagio. “Now shh.”

Adagio, in response, just silently rolled her eyes as she begrudgingly went back to watching the movie.

Hey, how’s your girl, man?” Paul Rudd asked Michael Peña as the movie rolled on.

Uh, she left me.” Michael Peña answered.

Oh.” Paul Rudd sympathetically uttered.

Yeah, my mom died too. And my dad got deported.” Michael Peña went on. “But I got the van!

It’s nice.” Paul Rudd remarked.

Yeah, right?” Michael Peña elatedly agreed.

The scene elicited a small, annoyed moan from Adagio, a light chuckle from Aria, and a surprising question from Sonata.

“Do either of you ever think about when we were living in that van down by the river?” The youngest Dazzling curiously asked.

“Absolutely not.” Adagio impassively, though suspiciously quickly, replied as she continued to watch the movie.

Aria and Sonata, however, briefly turned their attention Adagio with looks of bewilderment, each wondering why their sister had responded to the question so promptly. Adagio didn’t notice this, or at least pretended she didn’t.

“Um, yeah, I don’t really think about it either.” Aria said as she returned her attention to the TV. “Why do you ask?”

“I guess because I’ve been thinking about it recently.” Sonata earnestly answered as she too returned her attention to the TV.

“Why?” Aria curiously inquired. “It wasn’t exactly the best of times for us.”

“True, but looking back on it, it wasn’t all bad.” Sonata admitted. “I mean, I kind of liked sleeping together on account of the van being so small.”

Aria knew that if she’d been drinking anything at that moment, she definitely would’ve done a spit-take. But since she hadn’t, she just turned towards her younger sister with a look of pure incredulity on her face.

Adagio didn’t give any reaction. She just continued to watch the movie in silence, trying to ignore the inane prattling of her sisters.

“What the actual fuck, Sonata?!” Aria vehemently asked. “Why would you like sleeping with your sisters?!”

“W-Well, I just mean that it was nice to be so close again.” Sonata timidly explained. “Like when we were younger.”

It was then that Aria understood; Sonata was mistaking being physically close for being emotional close as well.

See, back when they were younger the three Dazzlings were about as emotionally close as sisters could be, which meant they weren’t afraid to get physically close as well with things like hugs and the occasional cuddle when one of them had a bad dream. But of course as time went by they stopped being so emotionally close and thus stopped being physically close. Aria figured that Sonata must have believed that because they were forced to be physically close because of the small van that they were becoming emotionally close again, which wasn’t the case at the time.

While it was true that the three sisters had started to become emotionally closer again ever since they became motivational speakers at Canterlot High School, they still weren’t as close as they used to be. So, not surprisingly, Aria thought it was weird that Sonata liked that they’d slept together back in the van down by the river.

“You are such a freak.” She offhandedly remarked as returned her attention to the movie.

Feeling offended by Aria’s comment, Sonata stuck her tongue out at her sister in retaliation.

“I will say one good thing about when we were living in that van.” Aria then began to admit. “The sound of the river flowing nearby was kind of nice.”

This elicited a small reaction from Adagio; a single twitch in her left eye.

“Oh, definitely!” Sonata cheerfully agreed with Aria, having seemingly forgotten that she’d been insulted by her not ten seconds earlier. “It was like a gentle, soothing white noise in the background that helped you fall asleep. There are some nights I actually miss it and-”

“WILL YOU TWO IDIOTS SHUT UP ALREADY?!” Adagio suddenly snapped at her sisters. “I’M TRYING TO WATCH THE MOVIE!”

Both Aria and Sonata were completely taken aback by Adagio’s unexpected outburst. They each dawned expressions of shock and fear as they instinctively distanced themselves from Adagio as much as possible without getting up from the couch. The look on their sister’s face was nothing short of terrifying. The fire and fury within her eyes suggested that she wasn’t simply annoyed, oh no, she was straight up pissed.

As the two Dazzlings stared at their infuriated sister, they each couldn’t help but wonder exactly why she was so angry. From what she’d just said, it was suggested that she was upset because their talking was interfering with her ability to watch the movie, but hadn’t she indicated earlier that she didn’t care about the movie because it starred Paul Rudd? It didn’t make sense.

Regardless of whatever sense the situation may or may not have made, Aria and Sonata figured it best to just do as Adagio said.

“O-Okay, we’ll be quite.” Aria very softly said.

“Y-Yeah, we promise, Dagi.” Sonata just as softly concurred.

Adagio, in response, just briefly narrowed her eyes into a soul-piercing glare before returning her attention to the movie.

“Good.” She more calmly, but still venomously, said.

With their sister seemingly satisfied, Aria and Sonata also returned their attention to the TV.

There wasn’t so much as a peep from any of the Dazzlings throughout the rest of the movie, not even the sound of small chuckles at the parts that were supposed to make you laugh. It was an awkward and uncomfortable silence for all of them.

“I’m going to bed.” Adagio impassively declared as she got up from the couch just as the credits started rolling.

“Um, there’re still some post-credit scenes.” Aria hesitantly informed her sister.

“Don’t care.” Adagio dismissively replied as she walked away, heading for her bedroom.

Once Aria and Sonata heard the sound of Adagio enter her room and her door close, they each breathed a sigh of relief.

“What was that all about?” Sonata gingerly asked sister.

“No idea.” Aria perplexingly replied, figuring it wasn’t actually because Adagio had cared about the movie since she’d left before the post-credit scenes.

The two Dazzlings then began to speculate what it could have been that’d set their sister off. Meanwhile, Adagio threw herself onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling as she tried not to think about her outburst. She couldn’t hear her sisters’ talking out in the living room, so all she heard around her was silence. At first this was okay, but soon enough the silence gave way to the sound of rushing water from within her mind.

“Ugh!” She exclaimed as she lifted her head, grabbed the pillow from underneath it, and placed it over her face in a desperate attempt to block out the noise in her head. “Why did those two have to start talking about living in that stupid van down by that stupid river?”

Of course, the pillow didn’t help any, and it wasn’t long before Adagio removed it from her face and placed it back under her head. Hoping that a good night’s sleep would help her, she then rolled over onto her side, shut her eyes, and tried to calm her mind enough to fall asleep.

It was around 5:45am when Adagio realized that her efforts to fall asleep were all in vain. No matter how she positioned herself, no matter how tightly she closed her eyes, no matter how much white noise she created with her tabletop fan, she wasn’t going to get any sleep that night.

“Ugggggh!” She frustratingly muttered.

As if a complete lack of sleep wasn’t bad enough, Adagio soon came to an even more devastating realization.

“It’s my day to go to school.” She dryly stated. “Figures.”

After giving a dejected sigh and rolling over to see exactly what time it was, Adagio gave up hope of getting even a single wink of sleep and decided she’d get an early start on the day. She got out of bed, turned off her tabletop fan, and made way out of the room towards the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, she wasted no time in turning on the coffee maker to get a fresh pot brewing. Normally, the pot of coffee would be shared amongst all three Dazzlings, but she knew that she was going to need the entire pot to herself if she was going to make it through the day.

As the coffee started brewing, Adagio made her way towards the bathroom to get in a quick shower before it finished. She wasn’t pressed for time or anything, obviously, but she wanted to be out the door before either of her sisters woke up and started asking questions about last night. She really didn’t want to deal with any of that, at least not yet.

Sure enough, Adagio’s shower was a quick one and was finished just as the coffee was ready. Upon entering the kitchen once again, she poured herself a cup of joe and downed it like her life depended on it.

“Ah.” She happily sighed as she already felt the caffeine fooling her adenosine receptors. "I swear, sometimes I think the strongest magic of all is the magic of coffee."

Feeling more awake and alert now, Adagio quickly ate a light breakfast consisting of cereal and juice and left the house before Sonata or Aria woke up, just as she’d planned.

Adagio made record time getting to CHS, but that wasn’t surprising given how little traffic there was at 6:30 in the morning. As she pulled into the faculty parking lot, she found no shortage of available spaces, which was a nice change from the usual fight-for-a-spot she had to deal with on most of her days.

“I guess being really early has a few advantages.” She said to herself as she pulled into the closet possible spot to the school’s side entrance.

As Adagio got out of the car and made her way towards the side entrance, she noticed a piece of paper taped to the door.

‘Broken. Please use front entrance.’ It read.

“Gee, thanks for the heads-up on this, Sonata.” Adagio sarcastically remarked, wishing she’d know about this earlier so that she’d have chosen a parking spot closer to the front entrance.

Having no other choice, the Dazzling turned to her right and began walking around the building towards the front entrance. As she turned the corner to the front of the school, she gave a small sigh and looked up at the surprisingly beautiful morning sky. The sun was just starting to rise and it made the sky a pleasant shade of blue, one that she found calming for some reason.

“Maybe I should get up at sunrise more often.” She said to herself just before something caught the corner of her eye.

It was difficult for Adagio to tell exactly what it was that had grabbed her attention, but whatever it was, it was dangling off of the roof of the school. She moved closer to the building and squinted hard to see if she could get a better focus of what it was.

“Are those…legs?” She vacillatingly asked herself.

Sure enough, the more Adagio stared at them, the clearer it became to her that they were, indeed, legs. A pair of legs dangling from the roof of the school, attached the body of an unknown person.

“What the hell?” She bewilderingly said aloud, wondering who could possibly be up on the school’s roof at such an early hour.

Part of Adagio just wanted to just ignore what she was seeing and go about her morning as usual, but a larger part of her was filled with too much curiosity and concern to do that. Someone sitting up on the roof at the crack of dawn was too unusual. Something was wrong, she could feel it in her gut.

Wasting no time, the Dazzling rushed over to the front doors and tried to open them, only to find they were locked.

“Oh come on!” She irritatingly remarked as she reached into her pocket for her faculty key.

Once she unlocked the door, Adagio swiftly opened it and made her way down the hallway towards the staircase that lead up to the roof.

I’m probably just overreacting to all this, right? She silently asked herself as she ascended the staircase.

Despite having run up many flights of stairs, Adagio didn’t feel fatigued at all by the time she reached the top, flew open the door to the roof, and stepped outside. At first, she was blinded by the sudden abundance of light shining down from the morning sun. She wasn’t blinded much, but enough that she brought her hand up to cover her face. As such, she could only make out the silhouette of a person sitting on the edge of the roof.

“Hello?” She called out as her vision began to fully returned to her.

In response to Adagio’s call, the person silently turned around just as the Dazzling was able to make out who it was that was sitting in front of her. It was Violet Blurr.

“Oh, hey, Adagio.” The member of the Snapshots flatly greeted her. “What’s up?”

“Um, hey, Violet.” Adagio greeted back with a slight hint of confusion in her voice. “What are doing up here?”

“Waiting.” Violet stoically replied as she turned back around to face the horizon.

Both the vagueness of Violet’s answer and the lack of emotion in her voice were a bit disconcerting to Adagio.

“Waiting for what, exactly?” She inquisitively inquired.

There was a brief moment of silence before Violet answered.

“Nothing, just waiting.” She eventually said without turning back around.

“O…kay.” Adagio confusingly responded.

Even though Adagio didn’t know Violet very well, she could tell that something was wrong with the girl. All the other times she’d seen her she always seemed so much more…lively, even if her facial expression suggested otherwise. But now, she seemed like she was half-dead, like a part of her wasn’t really there anymore. It was enough to make the Dazzling feel extremely apprehensive about her well-being.

“Um, think maybe I can wait with you, Violet?” She tentatively asked.

“I guess, if you want to.” Violet simply replied before tapping the spot next to her in an inviting manner.

“T-Thanks.” Adagio replied as she made her way over to the edge of the roof and took a seat next to Violet.

For about a minute, there was an uncomfortable silence between the two girls. Adagio didn’t know what to say because she wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, and Violet, well, she just looked straight forward with a thousand yard stare expression on her face.

“So, um, where did you get your headband?” The Dazzling randomly spoke up, noticing that it was somewhat similar hers.

In truth, Adagio didn’t care about Violet’s headband. She just wanted to get a conversation going between them, one that she could eventually steer towards finding out what the situation at hand was all about.

“Hot Topic.” Violet unemotionally answered.

“Oh, really? You’ll have to take me there sometime.” Adagio replied, trying to sound as friendly as possible. “I’m thinking of replacing mine with something a bit newer.”

Violet didn’t give a response. Instead, she just leaned forward ever-so-slightly and looked down.

“How far up do you think we are.” She then asked.

Violet’s question filled Adagio with a sudden sense of dread.

“Um, I’m…I’m not sure.” She diffidently answered. “Maybe…45 feet, give or take.”

“Hm.” Violet simply uttered as she leaned back to an upright position.

The longer Adagio sat next to Violet, the stronger her fears became. Being up on the roof, looking off into the distance with a thousand yard stare, asking how high up they were; all of these were setting off alarm bells in Adagio’s mind. Something was seriously wrong with Violet, and she needed to find out what it was quickly, yet carefully, before things escalated to the boiling point.

“Violet.” She tenderly began to say. “You know, if something’s wrong, you can tell me, right? I promise I’ll keep it just between us.”

“I appreciate your concern, Adagio. Truly, I do.” Violet replied, still lacking any discernable emotion in her voice. “But you see, there’s nothing you can do for me. The damage is already done.”

Adagio was glad that Violet seemed to be opening up to her, but her general demeanor was still cause for concern.

“I-I’m not sure I understand.” She said. “What damage is that?”

Silently, Violet reached into her pocket and pulled out her cellphone. After searching through it for a few seconds, she held it out in front of Adagio, signaling for her to take it. The Dazzling did take it, and when she saw what was on the screen she gave a very visible look of stunned surprise.

On the screen was a picture of a very naked Violet, sticking a seductive pose.

“I took that picture and sent it to my boyfriend because he asked me for a nude photo.” Violet began to explain. “I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, so I did it without question. And for a while it wasn’t a big deal, but after I broke up with him he sent it to all his buddies as payback.”

Revenge porn. Adagio thought to herself as she put Violet’s phone down.

“And of course all his buddies started sharing it with other people too.” Violet continued. “Which eventually lead to it being put up on a bunch of porno sites where any number of creeps can jerk off to it.”

“Violet, I…” Adagio tried to interject.

“And let’s not ignore the fact that my friends could come across it.” Violet went on, only now with a twinge of anger and regret in her voice. “Or my family, or a potential employer. That photo may have ruined my entire life.”

At this point, tears were starting to form in the corners of Violet’s eyes.

“And you know what the worst part of it all is?” She asked. “I made the choice to take that photo and share it in the first place. I wasn’t pressured or forced into taking it, I just decided to go along with my boyfriend’s request and as a result I completely fucked up my life.”

The tears in Violet’s eyes started to run down her cheeks, but oddly enough, she was smiling as they did. It was a very unsettling sight for Adagio.

“Violet, I know you’ve made a mistake, a big mistake, but it’s not the end of the world.” She gingerly tried to assure the girl.

“No, it isn’t, at least not yet.” Violet said in an eerily calm manner as she stood up and moved a few steps away from Adagio. “But it will be soon, because once my ex-boyfriend starts walking up the approach I’m going to jump to my death right in front of him.”

And just like that, Adagio’s worst fears were realized. It wasn’t just the fact that Violet had admitted she was planning on killing herself that frightened her, it was the way she’d said it too; so calmly, so casually, like it wasn’t a big deal. Violet truly was in a bad place right now, a place some people never returned from.

“Now hold on, Violet.” She frantically said as she too stood up but didn’t dare move closer to the girl, fearful that any sudden movement towards her might cause her to jump. “Let’s not do anything rash here.”

“This isn’t something rash, Adagio, I’ve been planning it for some time now.” Violet admitted, still sounding eerily calm. “See, no matter how you look at it, my life is over because of that photo. The only sensible thing to do now is end it, and if I can show my ex-boyfriend just how much damage he’s done by doing it in front of him then all the better.”

Adagio was completely aware of just how grave Violet’s predicament was. The girl was totally convinced that she needed to end her life because of her mistake, and she knew that she needed to tread carefully if she was to have any hope of convincing her otherwise.

“Okay, how about we just talk about this for a minute, huh?” She pleadingly suggested, trying to sound as calm and collected as possible given the situation.

“We’ve been talking about it, Adagio.” Violet nonchalantly replied. “There’s nothing more to talk about.”

“Sure there is.” Adagio promptly replied. “There’s, um…your family and friends. Won’t they miss you when you’re gone?”

“I guess they’ll probably miss me, yes.” Violet admitted. “But is it really worth me continuing to live with all this shame and humiliation just so a few people won’t miss me?”

“Yes, of course it is.” Adagio swiftly answered. “Because those people love you, and they'll still continue to love you regardless of the mistakes you’ve made, just like with me and my sisters.”

Violet, in response, unexpectedly dawned a confused expression and slightly tilted her head to the side.

“What do you mean just like with you and your sisters?” She curiously inquired.

It was then that Adagio realized just what she’d said. In her desire to talk Violet out of ending her own life, she’d inadvertently made mention of the time she’d tried to end hers.

“W-Well, I...I mean…” She stutteringly said.

The story of Adagio’s near-suicide attempt was one that no one knew about, not even her sisters. Even Adagio herself wasn’t 100% clear on all the details of it, as her memory of the incident was often fuzzy and unclear when she thought about it, like trying to remember a dream. Needless to say, it wasn’t a story she ever wanted to share with anyone, but given how even the vaguest mention of it got a reaction out of Violet it could very be what helped convince the girl that ending her life wasn’t the answer to her woes.

Adagio took a quick, deep breath as she prepared to tell her story.

“You were there at the finals of Battle of the Bands, so you know what happened to me and my sisters.” She began to say, sounding much more composed now. “The Rainbooms defeated us and we lost our magic. The thing is though, our magic wasn’t the only thing we lost that day. As soon as our pendants broke the spell we’d been using to hypnotize our landlord into letting us live in our apartment rent-free was broken too, so we lost our home as well. We didn’t have much money saved up, certainly not enough to afford a new apartment for more than a few months, and with no jobs we needed a place to live that would be more…permanent if it needed to be. We threw a lot of ideas around about what to do, but in the end we bought a used van and started living in it down by the river, where we wouldn’t get hassled by the police.”

As Violet listened to Adagio’s tale, she couldn’t help but start to feel sympathy for the Dazzling. Sure, she and her sisters needed to be stopped at the Battle of the Bands, but for them to become homeless as a result of the whole ordeal was simply heartbreaking to her.

“We spent pretty much every dollar we had on the van, so there wasn’t much left over for food.” Adagio continued, sounding more and more emotional with each sentence. “We had to ration every little bit of food we bought, so much so that some days we’d only eat one small meal. It…it was the lowest point of our lives; it was rock bottom.”

“I…I’m sorry to hear that.” Violet sympathetically remarked, displaying real emotion for the first time today.

“But you know what the worst part of it all was?” Adagio fervidly asked as she clenched her right and formed a fist. “Knowing that it was all my fault, that it was because of me and my stupid plans that we’d lost everything. If I hadn’t been so greedy and convinced Aria and Sonata to try and steal the Rainboom’s Equestrian magic we’d have never ended up living in that van and starving like rats.”

As Adagio went on, Violet could feel fresh tears beginning to form in her eyes. Only this time, her tears were out of rapport.

“Eventually my guilt started causing me to have nightmares.” The Dazzling sorrowfully confessed. “Nightmares so bad that I couldn’t sleep most nights, and because of the lack of sleep my feelings of self-loathing only grew. Eventually, the weight of my failure and guilt became too much to bear.”

There was a brief silence as Adagio tried to better compose herself.

“W-What did you do then?” Violet apprehensively asked.

After a few more seconds of silence, Adagio answered.

“One night after my sisters had fallen asleep, I snuck out and went down to the riverbank.” She solemnly said. “I went down to the riverbank with the intention of walking straight into the river and letting it whisk me away, hoping that in some way it would whisk away my sins as well.”

“B-but you didn’t do that, did you?” Violet interjected. “Because if you had you wouldn’t be here right now.”

“That’s right, I didn’t.” Adagio replied. “And do you know why?”

“No.” Violet agilely answered.

“It’s because just before I stepped foot into the river I realized something, something that I hadn’t before.” Adagio earnestly explained. “I realized that I hadn’t lost everything, I realized that I still had my sisters. Even though I messed things up so badly for them, they still stayed by my side. They still loved me.”

Violet wanted to say something at this point, but found herself speechless.

“When I realized that I knew that I couldn’t just throw my life away.” Adagio continued. “I didn’t know exactly what it was I should do to fix my mistakes, but I knew what it was I shouldn’t do. I knew that I shouldn’t let my mistakes define me like that, and cause even more pain and suffering for my sisters.”

It was at this point that Violet could feel her heart beating faster and faster in her chest. Slowly, but surely, she started to feel like she was alive again.

“Please, Violet, I beg you.” Adagio pleaded as she looked the girl straight in the eyes. “Don’t do this, don’t let your mistake with that picture be the defining factor of your life. Because if you jump off this roof, it will be, and you'll just be causing pain for the people who love you.”

As if by some miracle, Adagio’s tempestuous plea somehow got through to Violet’s heart. She suddenly no longer felt the same she had when she’d first come up to the roof. Instead of unnaturally calm and at peace with ending her own life, she now felt genuinely passionate about a great many things, life being among them.

“I…” She hesitantly started to say as she inched herself closer to Adagio. “I think…I think I want to get down now.”

Overcome with relief, Adagio began to move closer to Violet until the two of them were within arm’s reach of each other. It was then that they each embraced and clung to each other lie their lives depended on it.

Once she was within Adagio’s arms, Violet suddenly started crying out all of her pent-up emotions into the girl’s shoulder.

“It’s okay.” The Dazzling gently assured her as she lightly tapped the back of her head in an emotionally supportive manner. “It’s all going to be okay.”

A few hours later, Adagio found herself sitting outside Principal Celestia’s office waiting for Violet to come out.

After the incident on the roof had concluded and Violet had crying out her feelings, the Dazzling had escorted her off the roof and down to the Principal’s office. It was there that she and Violet explained what had happened to Celestia, and the principal had decided to put in a call to the school’s district psychologist to come and have a talk with Violet to make sure she was truly alright.

Adagio was allowed to stay with Violet until the psychologist arrived, but once she had arrived she, along with Celestia, had been asked to leave the room so that the two of them could talk in private, which was how she ended up where she was now.

“I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to you right now, Adagio.” Principal Celestia said from the seat next to her. “If it weren’t for you Violet might not still be with us right now. Your actions today were nothing short of heroic.”

Adagio couldn’t help but dawn a brief, confused expression upon hearing Celestia’s words. She wasn’t used to being so highly praised.

“I’m just glad I arrived at school when I did this morning.” She humbly replied before looking down at her feet, now with an expression of worry on her face. “What’s going to happen to Violet now?”

“I’m not sure.” Celestia admitted. “That’s decision lies with Dr. Loomis, but in most cases like this the patient is taken to a mental hospital for observation for a few days, just to be safe.”

“B-but just for a few days, right?” Adagio apprehensively asked, fearful that Violet might be locked up in the loony bin forever.

“Again, I’m not sure.” The principal dishearteningly answered.

Celestia’s response did little to sooth Adagio’s worries. She really didn’t want to see Violent end up as a mental patient for the rest of her life.

Just then, the door to Celestia’s office opened and both Violet and Dr. Loomis stepped out into the room, causing Adagio and Celestia to get up from their seats.

“Violet has consented to coming with me to Smith’s Grove Mental Hospital for a few days for observation.” Dr. Loomis explained to them. “Just so we can make sure she’s no longer a danger to herself.”

The news of this made Adagio look over at Violet with an expression of mild shock.

“Y-You’re really okay with this, Violet?” She asked.

“I am.” Violet replied with a small nod, picking up on the Dazzling’s concern. “I’ll be okay, Adagio, thanks to you.”

Adagio was still a bit uneasy about Violet being confined to a mental hospital, but she wasn’t going to raise any issues if it was what the girl really wanted.

“Okay then.” She conceded. “Just promise me you’ll be back soon. You still have to take me to Hot Topic to get a new headband.”

Violet couldn’t help but give a small chuckle after hearing Adagio’s words.

“I promise.” She said just before embracing the Dazzling in a friendly hug, which Adagio quickly returned.

“It’s time to go, Violet.” Dr. Loomis spoke up, causing the two girls to break their hug.

As Violet and Dr. Loomis left, Violet turned back around for a brief moment and waved goodbye to Adagio. Adagio waved back until Violet was out of sight.

“Adagio.” Principal Celestia then spoke up, gaining the Dazzling’s attention. “Given the rather traumatic events of this morning, if you want to go home for the rest of the day I’d understand.”

“Thank you, Principal Celestia, but I’ll be fine.” Adagio replied. “I think focusing on my work here will be good for me.”

“Very well then. If you need anything I’ll be right here.” Celestia said just before turning around and walking back into her office, closing the door behind her.

With everything said and done, Adagio left the principal’s office and made her way through the halls towards her office. As she did so, she thought back to everything she’d said to Violet back on the roof, particularly about how she’d realized she hadn’t lost her sisters after the Battle of the Bands.

“They probably just stuck around because they knew they’d be hopelessly screwed without me.” She sarcastically remarked aloud, remembering the few good times they had together back then, even though it was their rock bottom.

As Adagio walked down memory lane while walking down the hallway, she soon remembered how she’d snapped at Aria and Sonata the night before. Realizing what a jerk she’d been, she gave a defeated sigh as she realized what she needed to do when she got home that night.

“I’m going to have to apologize to them.” She dejectedly admitted. “And I’m probably going to have to buy them pizza or something before they accept my apology too.”

Even though Adagio knew Aria and Sonata were going to exploit her desire to make amends for their own personal gain, she gave a small smile as she thought about how lucky she was to have two sisters like them.

Aria and Limestone Pie

View Online

“Which one of these do think goes better with my new outfit?” Trixie Lulamoon asked as she held two capes out in front of her. “The black or the navy blue?”

“I don’t know.” Aria Blaze exhaustingly replied from a nearby chair, trying her best not to sound like she was slowly dying of boredom. “The navy blue?”

“Hmm.” Trixie muttered as she took a closer look at the navy blue cape. “Agreed! Good eye, Aria.”

“Thanks.” The Dazzling unenthusiastically replied.

Currently, Aria was at a costume shop located in Canterlot Mall with Trixie helping the girl find a new ensemble for her magic act. Why she was there helping Trixie find a new ensemble though, she had no idea, as she had ‘zero fashion sense’ as her grandiloquent friend had once offhandedly put it.

In fact, Trixie’s exact words then had been, ‘Honestly, Aria, I love you but the outfits you wear most of the time give the impression that you have zero fashion sense. Fortunately for you, you have a great and powerful friend like me to help keep you from looking like Nancy Spungen.’ Aria hadn’t been too offended by Trixie’s remark though on account of the fact that she knew the vainglorious girl was just trying to be a supportive friend. That, and she didn’t know who Nancy Spungen was.

In any case, the Dazzling was confused as to exactly why Trixie had asked for her help in finding a new stage outfit. The whole thing was even more confusing to her as Trixie’s manager, Sugarcoat, was already accompanying the girl to make sure she didn’t go over her budget. While Aria didn’t really know Sugarcoat very well, she figured that the Shadowbolt was more than capable of helping her find a new stage outfit by herself.

“Now, onto hats!” Trixie tawdrily proclaimed as she put the black cape back on the rack and handed the navy blue one off to Sugarcoat, who was already holding a dress and a pair of shoes.

As Trixie marched off towards the assortment of various hats, located at the other end of the store, Aria begrudgingly got up from her seat and began to lethargically follow her.

“Starting to regret tagging along?” Sugarcoat passively asked as she walked alongside her, noticing her rather lackluster mannerisms.

Even though Aria and Sugarcoat weren’t exactly friends, the few times they’d spent together gave the Dazzling the impression that they were ‘sisters of indifference’, so to speak. That is to say, she felt that they were similar in that neither of them really give a damn most of the time, and as such shared at least some small connection.

“A little.” She listlessly replied. “Trixie’s my friend and I’m happy to help her and all, but I just wish she wasn’t so indecisive when it comes to clothes shopping. I get enough of that with Sonata.”

“I know what you mean.” Sugarcoat empathetically remarked, remembering the time she’d tried to help the younger Dazzling find a new dress.

“Frankly, I don’t even know why Trixie asked me for help with this.” Aria continued. “She knows I’m not into fashion, she’s even criticized by sense of fashion before, so why would she want me here?”

“It’s because she has a crush on you.” Sugarcoat nonchalantly answered.

As if those words had cast some sort of magical freezing spell, Aria stopped dead in her tracks.

“What?!” She asked in a hushed voice so as not to draw Trixie’s attention, feeling shocked not only by Sugarcoats words but also by her bluntness.

“You didn’t know?” Sugarcoat said as she turned around to face Aria, sounding almost surprised. “I figured it was pretty obvious, given how she often displays subtle hints of affection towards you.”

At first, Aria thought Sugarcoat was talking crazy talk. ‘Subtle hints of affection’? When had Trixie ever shown subtle hints of affection towards her? She was just about to tell Sugarcoat she was mistaken when all of a sudden, she began to realize just how many times Trixie had in fact been…extra friendly with her.

As the memories of her past interactions with Trixie started to flood her mind, Aria found that there was one memory that came to the forefront like a wrecking ball, a memory that she couldn’t believe had been lost within her subconscious; the memory of how the two of them had become friends in the first place.

See, at first Aria and Trixie didn’t really care for each other. Aria found Trixie to be a manipulative, loudmouthed braggart and Trixie found Aria to be an irritatingly stubborn bitch, but fate ended up bringing them together once when Trixie needed an emergency assistant for one of her shows. The magician had essentially blackmailed the Dazzling into helping her, and needless to say the two girls bickered practically the entire time. It wasn’t until Aria had called Trixie a megalomaniac and caused the girl to breakdown crying that the two of them started to understand each other and become friends.

To make a long story short, soon after becoming friends Trixie had given Aria a small kiss on her cheek and told her that if she ever want to be more than friends to let me know. In hindsight, that really should have been a big red flag for the Dazzling, as it wasn’t very subtle.

How the hell did I forget about that? She silently asked herself as the memory played back in her head.

“Are you okay, Aria?” Sugarcoat spoke up, feeling concerned by the expression of stunned revelation on the girl’s face.

Aria didn’t respond right away because she wasn’t okay, at least not mentally. She grabbed the sides of her head and closed her eyes as the memories of Trixie’s affection towards her caused her head to start aching and screaming.

Way to go, idiot. A little voice in the back of her mind started to say to her. How could you let someone get a crush on you? After everything you’ve done to prevent such a thing from happening.

“Shut up.” The Dazzling softly said aloud in a desperate attempt to get the voice to stop.

“Aria?” Sugarcoat reiterated, her concern growing by the second.

You spent years building up all those defenses, all those walls so that no one could get that close to you, but I guess it wasn’t enough, huh? The voice continued. And now someone has a crush on you, and you know how that’ll end for you and for her, don’t you?

“Shut up!” Aria inadvertently shouted as loud enough to gain the attention of most of the store, including Trixie.

Realizing the commotion she’d just caused, Aria quickly opened her eyes and scanned her surroundings. Practically everyone in the store was staring at her, Sugarcoat had backed up about a foot from her, probably because she’d been startled, and Trixie was making her way over towards her with a worried expression on her face.

The thought of talking to Trixie right now was nothing short of terrifying to Aria. She knew she needed to distance herself from the girl who was crushing on her before all of her inner turmoil grew even worse.

“I gotta go.” She hastily told Sugarcoat just before she bolted for the exit, hoping with all her might that neither she nor Trixie would follow her.

As Aria ran out of the store, she was so distracted by what was going on inside her head that she failed to notice someone entering the store as she was leaving it, causing the two of them to slightly collide at the shoulders.

“Watch it!” The girl she ran into heatedly yelled at her as she struggled to maintain her balance.

After successfully maintaining her own balance, Aria quickly turned around to see a bluish gray girl with opal gray hair and light apple green eyes staring angrily at her. She was about say she was sorry to her when she saw Trixie approaching out of the corner of her eye and she hastily turned back around to continue running, leaving her apology unspoken.

Aria didn’t know exactly where it was she running to, but she didn’t care about that. All she cared about was getting somewhere she would be alone so she could calm herself down. Eventually, she ceased running for a moment to catch her breath and found herself standing in front of a restroom. Figuring that was as private a place as any in the mall, she hastily opened the door and stepped inside. After a quick scan of the room, she found that she was completely alone and headed for the stall at the very back.

All the while, the little voice inside her head continued to speak to her.

Don’t think for a second that running away is going to change anything. It said to her. There’s no escaping from this. The wheels are already turning, and one way or another, they’re going to bring this little love story to a ruinous end.

“You’re wrong.” Aria vehemently replied as she entered the stall.

Am I? The voice responded. No matter what you do, you’re just going to end up getting hurt. Or maybe, you’ll end up being the one who does the hurting.

“Shut! Up!” The Dazzling fiercely retorted as she locked the door with her right hand while her left hand curled up into a fist.

It’ll probably be the latter. The voice went on. After all, you are your mother’s daughter.

And then, Aria completely lost it.

“I’M NOT LIKE MY MOTHER!” She hollered as she violently slammed her fist into the wall, with enough force to create a small dent in it. “I’M NOTHING LIKE HER, YOU HEAR ME?!”

The voice didn’t say anything in response.

“I’m not like my mother.” She repeated, though much more softly this time, as she removed her fist from the wall. “I’m not.”

Feeling overcome with raw and powerful emotions, the Dazzling soon lost the energy to remain standing and gently fell to her knees. She could feel tears forming in the corners of her eyes as she sat alone in the restroom, wishing that her sisters were with her right now. Adagio and Sonata would understand what it was she was feeling, as they too had felt the same way at times in the past. It was a feeling that only siblings could truly understand.

Just as Aria reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone to call either Adagio or Sonata, she received a text message from Trixie.

r u ok?

Aria knew she couldn’t just ignore the message, she had to send a response.

Yeah, just didn’t feel well all of a sudden. I’m gonna head home. Sorry.

The Dazzling felt bad about how her shopping trip with Trixie had turned out as she sent her text, but she knew that it was ruined beyond repair at this point. It was better to just call it a day and deal with the fallout at a later time.

Somehow finding the energy to stand back up, Aria got off the floor and unlocked the stall door to leave. Just as she left the stall, however, someone else entered the restroom.

“Hey!” The girl she’d bumped into earlier heatedly shouted at her with a look of bitterness on her face.

“Aw damn.” She faintly said to herself, having a pretty good idea why the girl had followed her into the restroom.

Normally, Aria had no reservations about getting into a verbal or physical confrontation with anyone who was looking for one with her, but right now the last thing she wanted was a fight. As the girl slowly approached her, she considered quickly running back into the stall and locking the door, but she decided against that course of action. That would be cowardly, and even though she didn’t want to get into a fight right now, she was no coward.

“What’s your problem?” The girl asked once she was only about five feet away from her.

“Look, I’m sorry I ran into you.” She replied, trying to sound as sincere as possible without sounding intimidated. “It was an accident.”

“An accident, huh?” The girl acerbically replied as she stopped right in front of her. “Well so was this!”

As soon as the girl said that, she shoved Aria against the wall. As the Dazzling made contact with the wall, her mind instinctively went into battle mood and she prepared to deliver a retaliating fist-blow to the girl’s face. However, before she could regain composure enough to do so, she found herself pinned to the wall by her shoulders.

“Cross me again, and I’ll…” The girl started to threaten her before the sound of the restroom door opening and a bubbly voice interrupted her, gaining both hers and Aria’s attention.

“Limestone, are you in…” Pinkie Pie started to say before she quickly saw what was happening and gave a stunned gasp.

“Aw damn.” The girl faintly, and anxiously, said, knowing full-well what was coming next.

“LIMESTONE MILDRED PIE!” Pinkie erupted in a furiously loud voice. “LET MY FRIEND GO THIS INSTANT!”

Wasting no time, the girl, apparently named Limestone, did as instructed and let go of the Dazzling posthaste, even backing up a foot or so for good measure.

Now free from the wall, Aria briefly considered still delivering that retaliatory fist-blow, but decided against it almost immediately. Whoever this Limestone girl was, she clearly was somehow related to Pinkie, and striking her would most likely only make the party girl even angrier.

“I’m so, so sorry, Aria.” Pinkie profusely apologized as she swiftly made her way over to the Dazzling to make sure she was alright. “My sister can be a little too grumpy sometimes. Are you okay?”

“Um, yeah, I’m okay.” Aria replied, feeling slightly confused about how it had been Pinkie of all people who’d managed to defuse the agitated Limestone. “Thanks, Pinkie.”

“Good.” Pinkie said in relief before turning to face Limestone, dawning a piercing glare in the process.

Upon seeing the look on her sister’s face, Limestone couldn’t help but give a very audible gulp.

“Limestone.” Pinkie very sternly addressed her. “Take Aria down to the food court and buy her some lunch to apologize.”

“What?!” Limestone retorted. “But she started…”

“Now.” Pinkie acutely interrupted as she intensified her glare.

The now even more intense glare from Pinkie made Limestone wince. As much as she didn’t want to treat Aria to lunch, she really didn’t want to make her sister any more upset than she already was. She knew what Pinkie was capable of when she got too upset.

“Fine.” She defeatedly agreed as she begrudgingly made her towards the restroom door, motioning for Aria to follow her. “Come on.”

Still feeling slightly confused over the events of the last minute or so, Aria didn’t follow Limestone right away. Instead, she just looked at Pinkie with a bewildered expression that seemed to say, ‘Huh?’.

“Don’t worry, Limestone won’t get too grumpy again, I promise.” Pinkie assured her, picking up on her confusion. “You two just go have a nice lunch together.”

While Pinkie’s promise was successful in convincing Aria that Limestone wouldn’t go off again, the last thing the Rainboom had said only confused her anew.

“Wait, aren’t you coming too, Pinkie?” She quizzically asked.

“Nope, I’m done for this chapter.” Pinkie nonchalantly answered as if such a statement were completely normal, while she essentially shooed the Dazzling away. “Now go on, have your heart-to-heart moment with Limestone.”

Still feeling confused, though for entirely different reasons now, Aria simply decided to just go with the flow and hastily followed Limestone out of the restroom.

True to Pinkie’s instructions, Limestone took Aria to the food court to buy her some lunch. When asked what she wanted, the Dazzling chose to go with a simple slice of pizza and a drink, figuring it was probably the least expensive meal one could get at the mall. Even though buying her lunch was Limestone’s punishment and apology for her earlier behavior, Aria took some pity on the girl for being coerced into it and didn’t want to make her spend too much money.

Much to Aria’s surprise, though, Limestone actually got a slice of pizza and drink for herself as well and joined her as she ate. She hadn’t expected this as Pinkie had only instructed the girl to buy her lunch, she never said anything about eating with her. But regardless, that was what had happened and what was still happening at this very moment; Aria and Limestone, eating pizza together at the mall.

So far neither girl had said a word since getting their food, but that soon changed when Limestone’s curiosity eventually got the better of her.

“Why were you running earlier?” The Pie girl randomly asked after she finished taking a sip of her soda.

“Huh?” Aria responded just before taking a bite of her pizza.

“When you bumped into me.” Limestone clarified. “Why were you running out of the store like that?”

The Dazzling was glad that she had some pizza in her mouth at that moment, as it gave her a few seconds to think of an answer while she finished chewing. A million possible answers, most lies or half-truths, raced through her mind in those few seconds. Everything from simple ones like ‘I just didn’t feel well all of a sudden’ to stand-offish ones like ‘None of your business’. In the end though, she decided that the truth was probably the best answer, even if it would almost certainly lead to a series of follow-up questions.

“I was trying to get away from my friend because I learned she has a crush on me.” She candidly confessed once she’d swallowed her pizza.

“Oh.” Limestone simply replied, sounding surprisingly placid.

Oh? Aria thought to herself as she involuntarily dawned an expression of disbelief. That’s her only response to that?

It didn’t take long for Limestone to notice the Dazzling’s puzzled expression.

“What?” She asked as she dawned her own expression of confusion.

“N-Nothing.” Aria said as she snapped out of her state of disbelief. “I guess I was just expecting more of a reaction than just, ‘Oh’.”

“Hey, my sister is Pinkie Pie, remember?” Limestone coolly reminded her. “I’ve heard stranger answers to stranger questions.”

Aria had no difficulty believing the veracity of that statement.

“So why’d you freak out over your friend having a crush on you?” The grumpy girl then asked. “You not into girls or is it just her?”

Even though Aria had anticipated follow-up questions before she’d made her confession, for some reason when Limestone actually asked them they still managed to catch her off-guard.

“N-Neither, actually.” She answered as she ceased looking at Limestone and looked down at the table instead. “The problem isn’t that Trixie is a girl, I go both ways, and it’s not that it’s her either.”

It was at this point that Limestone raised a single eyebrow in curiosity.

“The problem is…me.” The Dazzling sorrowfully admitted. “I just can’t accept those kinds of feelings from others, no matter who they are.”

“Because you don’t feel that way about yourself, right?” Limestone quickly and sympathetically chimed in.

“W-What?” Aria inquired in incredulity as she looked up at the now sullen Limestone.

“Believe me, I get it. I’m the same way.” Limestone morosely admitted. “I don’t have a lot of love for myself. In fact, there are times I just plain hate myself. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I know it’s why I’m so testy most of time. I take all the hate I feel for myself and I lash out at everyone else, even the people who care about me. Hell, especially the people who care about me, because I just can’t understand how anyone could love me when I don’t love me.”

As Limestone finished her confession, she could feel tears starting to form in the corners of her eyes, which of course she tried to hold back. She wasn’t used to opening up like this, let alone to someone she’d only just met that day. But even though she and Aria had only known each other for a few hours, she felt as though she could confide in the Dazzling on account of how similar she seemed to herself.

Aria, meanwhile, was left speechless by Limestone’s confession. After all, what do you say to someone who just told you that she doesn’t love herself? Without thinking, the Dazzling reached out her hand and placed it over Limestone’s in a supportive gesture. Limestone slightly winced at the touch of her hand on hers, but she didn’t pull it back.

“I know how you feel.” She empathetically told her. “I know it isn’t always easy to love yourself. I don’t know the exact reason for why you don’t love yourself, and I’m not going to ask you to tell me what it is, but whatever it is just know this; You deserve love, Limestone. Even if you don’t think you do, you do.”

After hearing Aria’s compassionate words, Limestone felt a light blush start to cross her face, which caused her to turn her head and look away from the Dazzling in embarrassment.

“Ah geez, you’re making me feel all mushy.” She said in a very tsundere manner.

“Sorry.” Aria facetiously apologized as she removed her hand from Limestone’s.

The sound of Aria’s amusement at her abashed state only made Limestone feel even more embarrassed. She quickly turned her head back and looked the Dazzling straight in the eyes as she prepared to deliver some advice that she hoped would end this awkward little heart-to-heart moment.

“You deserve love too, you know.” She blurted out. “So if your friend has feelings for you, don’t let you’re lack of self-love get in the way of accepting them. I mean, if you have feeling for her too that is.”

As Limestone stared at Aria after giving her her two cents, she started to see a change in the Dazzling’s expression. At first, Aria seemed a bit shocked, probably on account of the fact that she’d blurted her words out. However, after the shock came an unexpected expression. It was an expression of melancholy.

“That’s not the reason.” The Dazzling somberly confessed as she lowered her head.

“Huh?” Limestone confusedly uttered.

“The reason I can’t accept Trixie’s feelings isn’t because I don’t love myself.” Aria clarified.

There was an awkward silence between the two girls for a few seconds after Aria said that, though to Limestone those few seconds felt more like a few minutes. Numerous emotions flooded her mind as she processed the Dazzling’s words, not the least of which being anger for spilling her guts to the girl for nothing. But surprisingly enough, the one emotion she felt even stronger then anger was sadness. Sadness, because she couldn’t help but believe that if lack of self-love wasn’t Aria’s problem, whatever it was was even worse.

“Okay, what is the problem then?” She delicately inquired, taking great care to make sure she didn’t sound either angry or patronizing.

Another awkward silence followed Limestone’s question, this one broken when Aria gave a small, unsettling chuckle.

“The problem is that I’ve seen the fucked up stuff love leads to.” She professed.

For some reason, Limestone felt a chill go up her spine immediately after Aria had said that. Maybe it was because of the eerie way the Dazzling had said it, or maybe it was because something was telling her that the explanation behind it was going to be very daunting.

“W-What do you mean?” She asked, a twinge of fear evident in her voice.

Once again, Aria gave a small, unsettling chuckle before speaking.

“Tell me something, Limestone.” She said as she lifted her head back up and stared at the Pie girl with a somewhat ominous look on her face. “What’s your family like?”

“M-My family?” Limestone replied, the twinge of fear in her voice now more than just a twinge. “W-Well, you already know what Pinkie’s like. My sister Marble is quiet and shy. My other sister Maud is, um…stoic. I guess that’s the best way to describe her. And both of my parents are pretty demanding but fair.”

“Tell me about you mom.” Aria then said. “Does she love you? Does she value you as a person?”

The more questions Aria asked, the more unnerved Limestone felt.

“Um, y-yeah, of course she does. S-She’s my mom.” She tensely answered. “D-Don’t all moms love and value their children?”

For the third time, Aria gave an unsettling chuckle before speaking. However, this one was a bit more intense than the last two.

“Oh, my mom didn’t love or value me, or my sisters.” She manically said. “To her, our very existence served no other purpose than to help her become more powerful. We were just a means to an end. And she certainly didn’t love us, not really. The only times she ever showed us any affection were when we proved ourselves to still be useful to her.”

Limestone could feel her stomach start to sink into her abdomen as she listened to Aria describe her mother.

“But you want to know the real kicker?” The Dazzling continued. “She was the same way with our dad too. She used his love for her to manipulate him to furthering her own agenda. Can you believe that? She didn’t actually care about him at all, she just wanted someone who was going to do whatever she wanted him to do, and she used love as the means to get it.”

The tears Limestone had been holding back earlier now flowed down her cheeks like two mighty rivers.

“I never understood it. Any of it.” Aria went on, sounding a bit calmer now, as she lowered her head again. “I never understood how my mom could use someone’s love like that, or how my dad could allow himself to be used like that because of love. But there was one thing I did understand; If that was what love led to, then I hated love. I decided at a young age that I would never fall in love and be used like my dad, or let someone fall in love with me and end up using them like my mom. I just…shut love out of my life.”

As Aria finished her rantings, she just continued to stare down at the table with a tenebrific look in her eyes. It was the sort of look that said, ‘I want to cry, but I can’t’, and it was one the Dazzling was unaccustomed to showing. While she wasn’t an overly emotional girl, Aria had always been able to cry when she felt she needed to. But this situation was unique, and even though she felt like crying right now, she couldn’t find it within herself to shed so much as a single tear.

Limestone, meanwhile, had never in her life felt as much sympathy for someone as she was feeling right now for the girl sitting across from her. The things Aria had just told her, it all so much to take in at once. But she had to take it all in, because she knew that it was the only way she was going to be able to understand where the Dazzling was coming from. After wiping the tears from her face, she took a deep breath and prepared to speak.

“That’s pretty fucked up.” She solemnly remarked.

“Yeah.” Aria dejectedly agreed. “My mom was a real piece of work, even for a siren.”

“Not that.” Limestone clarified. “I mean, yeah, your mom sure sounds like a real termagant, but I was referring to you thinking you’re like her.”

Without saying a word, Aria quickly lifted her head back up and stared at Limestone in bewilderment.

“Look, I know we haven’t known each other long, Aria.” The Pie girl started to say as she stared the Dazzling straight in the eyes. “But based on everything I’ve seen from you so far, you’re nothing like your mom.”

As soon as Aria heard the words, ‘you’re nothing like your mom’, she felt her heart skip a beat out of both shock and happiness.

“There are people who turn out like their parents, sure.” Limestone continued. “But there are also people who don’t. Just look at Pinkie. She’s not like our parents.”

Even though Aria didn’t know much, if anything, about Limestone and Pinkie’s parents, she had no difficulty believing what Limestone had just said about Pinkie being different from them.

“My point is, you don’t have to be like your parents if you don’t want to.” Limestone went on. “So don’t let your fears of being like them keep you from accepting love into your life.”

Despite coming from a girl she’d just met, Aria could feel Limestone’s words reach her heart. She didn’t have to be like her parents, and she had the power to change the way she viewed love. It would take some time and some work, sure, but she knew that she could turn love into something beautiful in her life if she wanted to.

For the fourth time that day, Aria gave a small chuckle. Only this one was more cheerful than unsettling.

“Wow. When we first met I never expected you to be the profound type, Limestone.” She playfully complimented.

“S-Shut up.” Limestone apprehensively replied as she looked away in embarrassment, though dawning a small smile in the process.

“Thanks.” Aria then wholeheartedly said, returning the small smile.

“ARIA!” A boisterous voice suddenly yelled out from the other end of the food court, gaining both Aria’s and Limestone’s attention.

Sure enough, the voice belonged to Trixie, who was currently running through the food court to reach the Dazzling and Pie girl. Sugarcoat followed behind her, but she was more walking than running on account of the numerous heavy shopping bags she was holding.

“Aria!” She concernedly repeated once she only about six feet away from the table. “Are you okay? I thought you were going home?”

“I’m fine, Trixie.” Aria assured her friend as she stood up from her seat. “I was gonna head home, but then I ran into Limestone and she helped me feel better.”

Trixie took a quick look over at Limestone before returning her attention to Aria.

“Well, as long as you’re okay.” She relieving said. “You really worried me running off like that, you know.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.” Aria apologized before placing a hand on Trixie’s shoulder. “Hey, do you think maybe we can go somewhere a little more private for a minute to talk?”

“Um, sure.” Trixie replied as she raised a single eyebrow in confusion.

Aria then removed her hand from Trixie’s shoulder and the two girls made their way towards a more secluded part of the food court, leaving Limestone all alone. She wasn’t alone for long though as soon Sugarcoat reached the table, huffing and puffing from carrying so many heavy bags.

“Hey.” She casually said to the Shadowbolt.

“Hey.” Sugarcoat replied through her hyperventilating as she put the shopping bags down and took seat, thankful for a moments rest.

Once Aria and Trixie were in relatively secluded area, they both sat down at a table to have their talk.

“What’s going on, Aria?” Trixie spoke up first. “I can tell something’s wrong.”

Aria took a long, deep breath as she mentally prepared herself for what she was about to say, because she knew that once she said it things would change between her and Trixie. For better or for worse though, she didn’t know, but she knew that either way this couldn’t be ignored.

“Trixie.” She solemnly started to say as she looked her friend straight in the eyes. “Do you have a crush on me?”

“What?!” Trixie startlingly replied as she practically jumped out of her seat while a deep red blush quickly crossed her face. “Well, um, crush is such a strong word. I mean I like you, of course, but, um, you see the thing is, um…”

“Trixie.” Aria interjected. “It’s okay if you do, I just want you to be honest with me.”

As Trixie stared back into Aria’s eyes, she calmed down a bit and took a moment of preparation to deliver a confession she hadn’t planned on giving today.

“Yes, I have a crush on you, Aria.” She confessed. “You’ve been such a good friend to me for a while now, and I just couldn’t help but start to have feelings for you. I wanted to tell you as soon as I realized it, but I didn’t want to risk losing you as a friend if you didn’t feel that same way about me. But I guess you figured it out anyways, huh?”

The thought of telling Trixie that it had actually been Sugarcoat bluntness that revealed her feelings briefly crossed Aria’s mind, but she decided not to say anything about that. It wasn’t relevant at the moment, and she didn’t want to throw her ‘sister of indifference’ under the bus like that.

“And now you don’t want to be friends anymore, right?” Trixie dejectedly continued. “It’s fine, I get.”

“I don’t want to stop being friends with you, Trixie.” Aria assured her friend as she took the girl’s left hand in her right.

“You…you don’t?” Trixie replied with a bit more hope in her voice and eyes.

“No, I don’t.” Aria reiterated. “But…I’m not sure if I have the same feelings for you that you have for me.”

And just like that, the hope in Trixie’s eyes vanished.

“I have issues when it comes to love. A lot of issues.” Aria continued. “And I need to work through them before I can say for certain if I want to start dating you or not. So my answer right now isn’t ‘yes’, but it isn’t ‘no’ either.”

“Okay, you lost me.” Trixie confusedly admitted.

“I’m saying I need time.” Aria clarified. “I need to figure out how I feel, not just about you but about love in general as well. I know I’m probably not making much sense right now, but just know this: If it turns out that I can accept love into my life, I can definitely accept yours.”

Trixie still felt confused about what Aria was trying to say, but the fact that the Dazzling hadn’t straight-up rejected her made her feel that maybe there was still hope for her affections to be reciprocated.

“I can wait then.” She optimistically said with a meek smile as she squeezed Aria’s hand.

“I promise I won’t make you wait too long.” Aria assured the magician as she squeezed back.

Just then, the sound of a cell phone ringing could be heard from within Aria’s pocket, essentially ruining the semi-sweet moment between the two girls.

“That’s Adagio’s ringtone.” The Dazzling said aloud as she released Trixie’s hand and reached for her phone.

“I’ll just get out of your hair for minute then.” Trixie considerately said as she got up and made her way back over to Sugarcoat and Limestone.

As Aria pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, she momentarily lost her grip on it. Fortunately though, it stayed in in her pocket just enough that she was able to grab a hold of it again before it fell out entirely and hit the floor.

“That was close.” She relieving remarked, happy that her coverless phone hadn’t fallen onto the hard mall floor.

With maybe a second left before the call dropped, Aria hit the ‘Accept’ button and put the phone up to her ear.

“Hey, sis.” She nonchalantly greeted her sister. “What’s up.”

Hey, Aria.” Adagio greeted back. “I just figured I should give you a heads-up about something before you got home.

“What did Sonata do now?” Aria onerously asked.

She volunteered us to chaperone a school skiing trip.” Adagio answered.

There was a brief moment of silence as Aria processed what she’d just heard.

“Huh?” Aria eventually inquired in a bewildering manner.

Let me explain.” Adagio said. “Luna called a few minutes ago and Sonata was the one who answered the phone. Apparently she and Celestia are putting together a skiing trip for some of the students. I guess they’ve done something like this before with a summer camp, but now they want to try it with a ski resort too. Anyways, she was looking for faculty volunteers to help them chaperone the trip and Sonata volunteered all three of us on the spot.

Aria couldn’t help but feel a twinge of anger towards Sonata for speaking on her behalf the way she had, even if it was to go to a ski resort.

“Well, it’s not the worst thing she’s ever volunteered us for.” She indifferently remarked.

True.” Adagio concurred. “I just figured you should know so you can get any resentment towards Sonata out now before you get home.”

“My, aren’t you considerate.” Aria sarcastically commented, knowing that all Adagio was doing was trying to get her to let loose on someone else so that she wouldn’t have to deal with any drama at home.

I know you’re being sarcastic, but thank you.” Adagio replied. “So how are things going with Trixie?

Sensing an opportunity to have some fun with her sister, Aria gave a small smile as she prepared to recap her day.

“Well, first I found out that Trixie has a crush on me, then I nearly got into a fight with one of Pinkie’s sisters but ended up having a heart-to-heart with her about my issues with mom, dad, and love, and finally I told Trixie that there was a possibility we could start dating sometime in the near future.” She offhandedly answered.

There was another brief moment of silence, only this time it was Adagio who needed to process what she’d just heard.

Huh?” She eventually inquired in a bewildering manner.

“I’ll tell you the whole story when I get home.” Aria blithely said as she looked over towards where Trixie, Limestone, and Sugarcoat were sitting. “Right now I gotta get back to my friends. Later, sis.”

And with that, Aria ended the call and put her phone back into her pocket. She then got up from her seat, gave a little stretch, and made her way through the food court to rejoin her friends.

Adagio and Sweetie Belle

View Online

“All together, there will be 35 people going on this trip.” Vice-Principal Luna informed Adagio Dazzle from behind her desk. “30 students, you and your sisters, and then Celestia and myself.”

“Doesn’t sound too bad.” Adagio nonchalantly replied.

Right now, Adagio was sitting in Luna’s office listening to the Vice-Principal go over the details for the upcoming school ski trip, the one that Sonata had volunteered all three Dazzlings to help chaperone without consulting either herself or Aria beforehand.

Despite essentially having been roped into chaperoning the ski trip, Adagio was actually looking forward to it. Sure, she’d technically be working the whole time, but at least she’d be working while at a ski resort. Neither she nor her sisters had ever been to a ski resort before, and the more she heard about this trip form Luna the more she found her anticipation of it growing.

There were a few questions the Dazzling had about the whole thing though, questions such as how the school could afford to go on a ski trip, or why they were even doing one in the first place. But those questions weren’t that important to her at the moment. No, right now she was more curious about things like what this ski resort was like and what kind of amenities it provided.

“This is where we will be staying.” Luna continued as she picked up a small brochure on her desk and held it out in front of her, as if sensing the Dazzling’s curiosity about the subject.

Adagio took the brochure from Luna and began to skim it over. The front page showed a picture of the exterior of the resort, a large structure that despite appearing fairly old still seemed to be in pretty good shape. The inside pages showed pictures of even nicer things. Guest rooms that looked more like apartments than hotel rooms, a large, open dining area with a performing stage located at the front of it, and, of course, snowy slopes perfect for skiing.

“This place looks amazing.” She remarked in an almost stunned fashion, the question about how the school could afford the trip now coming to the forefront of her mind.

“Indeed.” Luna concurred as Adagio continued to skim the brochure. “We’re very fortunate that it was able to accommodate us on such short notice, and at such a good rate to boot.”

It was at this point that the Dazzling’s curiosity became too much for her to remain silent.

“If I may ask,” She offhandedly, though somewhat skeptically, started to say as she handed the brochure back to Luna. “Why are we going on this trip? Forgive me if I sound leery, but I just don’t understand the point of it.”

Even though Adagio wasn’t a power-crazed bedlamite anymore, she was still a brilliant strategist and tactician. Which meant that when she didn’t understand something, especially one’s reasons for doing something, she had a strong desire to understand it, even if she had to be as blunt as a baseball bat in the process.

“I understand your inquiry, Adagio.” Luna perceptively replied as she took the brochure back and re-placed it on her desk. “This was, after all, a rather sudden decision by my sister and myself. But in answer to your question, we’re doing this in the hopes of creating fond memories for the students.”

Adagio silently raised a single eyebrow of confusion in response to Luna’s answer.

“We’ve had great success with this in attending Camp Everfree.” Luna continued, picking up on the Dazzling’s confusion. “And we’re hoping to create even more good memories of high school for the students with this trip as well.”

And just like that, as if a lightbulb had been turned on her mind, Adagio felt she now understood.

Translation: She thought to herself. The more happy memories of high school the students have, the more likely they are to donate money to the school once they’re alumni.

“Ah, how nice.” She simply replied aloud, trying to sound as sincere as possible.

Just as Luna was about to say something in response, her eyes caught the clock on the wall behind Adagio and she gave a very visible look of surprise as she realized what time it was.

“If you’ll excuse me, I have an important meeting to attend with my sister.” The vice-principal quickly said as she stood up and hastily gathered her things. “Thank you for your time, Adagio. Please be sure share everything I’ve told you about the ski trip with your sisters.”

Before Adagio could get so much as a ‘Sure’ out, Luna was already gone, leaving the Dazzling alone in her office. Perplexed by the vice-principal’s sudden and unexpected departure, Adagio just quietly sat and stared at the doorway for a few seconds with a bewildered expression on her face.

“Okay then, good talk.” She eventually said to herself, doing her best Jim Halpert impression, as she stood up and made her way out into the hall.

As Adagio entered the hallway and walked down it towards her office, she found it suspiciously quiet. She knew that she’d been in Luna’s office for a while and that it was already the end of the school day, but the lack of bustling students collecting their belongings from their lockers and heading home puzzled her. Wondering just what time it actually was, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked at the clock on her lock screen.

“3:30?!” She said aloud in fiery astonishment. “For crying out loud, how were we in their for over an hour?”

The Dazzling vehemently put her phone back into her pocket and continued to make her way towards her office, though more stomping than simply walking now. She didn’t like being at school longer then was necessary. It wasn’t that she hated the school or her job or anything like that, it’s just that she didn’t like staying late if she wasn’t going to be paid extra for it. Which, since her motivational speaker position was salaried, she wasn’t.

“Honestly, Luna, you couldn’t have talked to me about the damn ski trip at lunchtime?” She begrudgingly muttered under her breath just as she came up to the music room. “Just because you and Celestia practically live here doesn’t mean the rest of us…”

“Ah ah ah ah ~”

The sound of a small voice singing slightly off key from the music room made Adagio stop dead in her tracks. She didn’t recognize the voice, but there was no denying that it was a beautiful voice and that she was curious as to who it belonged to. Wanting to sate her curiosity, she slowly made her way towards the music room door when she heard a second voice speak up.

“Better, Sweetie.”

This one she did recognize. It was Rarity’s voice.

Once Adagio was right up against the door she found that it was already slightly ajar. Not wanting to barge in on whatever it was Rarity and this other person were doing, or risk being caught snooping by peering inside, she simply decided to stand outside and listen. She did feel a little bad about eavesdropping, but her curiosity about who the beautiful singing voice belonged to was too great for her to ignore.

“Better, but still not good enough, right?” The strange voice despondently said.

“W-Well...” Rarity hesitantly began to reply.

“You don’t need to say it, Rarity, I already know the answer.” The stranger spoke up, sounding even more despondent than before. “I just wish I knew what it was I’m doing wrong.”

“I’m sorry, Darling.” Rarity sympathetically said.

There was a moment of silence.

“I’ll never become a great singer.” The stranger eventually, and dejectedly, spoke up.

I’ll never become a great singer.

The words rang through Adagio’s mind like the sound of a thousand cathedral bells. They echoed and repeated over and over again, each time becoming slightly different, changing from the stranger’s voice into a new one.

I’ll never become a great singer.

Soon the words started to sound as if they were coming from two different sources, mashed together but still distinguishable from one another. Eventually though, there was only the new voice. At first, Adagio didn’t recognize this new voice. It sounded so…young, and so sad. And yet, she couldn’t help but feel like she’d heard it before. Maybe somewhere in passing, like in the school hallway or at the mall?

I’ll never become a great singer.

No, that wasn’t it. The more she heard it, the more she began to recognize it. She still couldn’t put her finger on it, but she knew that it was familiar. Like a voice she’d heard many years ago but had somehow forgotten.

I’ll never become a great singer.

And then, just like that, the Dazzling suddenly knew who’s voice it was she was hearing. It was her own voice, from when she was a young siren.

I’ll never become a great singer.

Without warning, Adagio began to feel dizzy and disoriented. Her vision began to blur as the voice inside her head began to speak in fragmented sentences, as if it were a TV that was rapidly changing channels.

…I can’t sing that high… Just say something to me, please…I’m so hungry…

Memories long forgotten had rushed into Adagio’s conscious mind like a mighty hurricane, and it was causing her to lose her balance. In an effort to keep herself upright, the Dazzling quickly grabbed hold of the door with her right hand. The gesture had the exact opposite effect, however, as it only caused the door to swing wide open, which in turn caused the poor girl to fall right into the music room…face first.

“Ow.” She compulsorily uttered into the floor.

Even though she’d just fallen flat onto her face, Adagio admittedly felt a twinge of gratitude for the fact that it’d happened, as it had managed to snap her out of her dazed and disoriented state. Yeah, it had hurt, but she’d needed it at that moment.

Anyways, happy to have her senses back Adagio slowly but surely began to pick herself up off the floor.

“Adagio?” She heard Rarity say as she did so.

It was at this moment that the Dazzling remembered that there were people inside the room she’d just fallen into. Feeling an incredible sense of embarrassment that dwarfed any pain from the fall, she hastened her efforts to remove herself from the floor and looked straight ahead to see two people staring at her with looks of bewilderment. One of them was Rarity, obviously, and the other was a younger girl that she didn’t know. However, based her appearance, she assumed she was of some relation to Rarity.

“Um, hi.” She awkwardly greeted the two of them once she was back on her feet, desperately trying to give the impression that she hadn’t just made a complete buffoon of herself. Which of course she had.

“Adagio!” Rarity unexpectedly exclaimed as she started making her way over to her. “So glad you’re here, Darling!”

“You…are?” Adagio perplexingly asked as Rarity grabbed ahold of her hand and led her over to the other girl, confused as to why the Rainboom didn’t seem at all upset about her eavesdropping.

“But of course!” Rarity blithely replied. “You’re just the person we need right now!”

Even though Rarity usually was a jocund person, there was something about her current level of cheer that Adagio found…off putting. The fashionista seemed a bit too happy to see her for her comfort. In her experience, the only time anyone was ever this happy was when they had some wicked ulterior motive for what they were doing. Well, anyone other than Sonata and Pinkie Pie at least.

“Adagio, meet my little sister, Sweetie Belle.” Rarity introduced the young girl once the two of them were right in front of her. “Sweetie Belle, you know Adagio, right?”

“Uh, yeah. Sort of.” Sweetie Belle replied, sounding just as perplexed as Adagio felt right now. “Hi, Adagio.”

“H-Hi, Sweetie Belle.” Adagio politely greeted back.

“Sweetie Belle wants to become a better singer but is having a few difficulties.” Rarity then explained to the Dazzling. “She asked me for some help, but expertise musicale is rather limited when it comes to vocals.”

This was true. While Rarity did sing in the Rainbooms, she wasn’t a main singer like Sunset Shimmer or Rainbow Dash. Her musical gifts were more attuned to instruments like the piano and keytar, which Adagio already knew from how she’d studied each Rainboom the first time she’d seen them perform.

“But now that you’re here you can help her instead.” Rarity nonchalantly concluded.

“What?!” Both Adagio and Sweetie Belle shouted at the same time in utter disbelief.

“Oh come now, Sweetie Belle.” Rarity casually addressed her sister. “Adagio is a Dazzling. You saw how good of a singer she is when she and her sisters performed at the Battle of the Bands.”

This was also true. Adagio had been a good singer at the Battle of the Bands. Hell, she had been a phenomenal singer. But that was just it, she had been a phenomenal singer, before she’d lost her magic and with it, her ability to sing. Adagio knew that Rarity was aware of this this, obviously, so what in the name of Celestia was she doing right now?

“Rarity, can I speak with you for a minute.” The Dazzling sharply whispered.

“Of course, Darling.” Rarity coolly replied as she and Adagio made their way towards the other end of the room.

“What the hell, Rarity?!” Adagio pointedly inquired once the two of them were far enough away from Sweetie Belle. “You know my sisters and I can’t sing anymore, so why are you volunteering me to teach your sister how to sing? In fact, why are you volunteering me, period?”

A small smile crossed Rarity’s face before she answered. At first glance it appeared to be her usual, friendly smile, but the way it almost seemed to curl at the ends made Adagio think there was something behind it. Something…devilish.

“I am aware of your inability to sing anymore, yes.” The fashionista amiably began to say. “But you still have all your musical knowledge, do you not? Just because you yourself can’t sing anymore doesn’t mean you can’t share your knowledge with someone.”

As much as Adagio hated to admit it, Rarity wasn’t wrong about that. She’d spent years of her life learning how to master her voice, and even though it was all but useless to her now she still had the knowledge of how to be a great singer locked away within her mind.

“And as for why I’m volunteering you.” The Rainboom continued, still sounding amiable until she quickly dawned a piercing glare. “You owe me.”

The sudden sharpness of the way Rarity said ‘You owe me’ sent a chill down Adagio’s spine. With the exception of Fluttershy, Rarity was the most frightening of the Rainbooms when she got angry. At least to her.

“I…owe you?” She stated with a mixture of fear and confusion in her voice. “For what?”

Adagio’s question only intensified Rarity’s glare.

“Misako and Kyoko.” She very sternly answered. “You tried to pawn them off on me, remember?”

Adagio did remember. Awhile back, she’d been asked by Principal Celestia to show a couple of new students named Misako and Kyoko around the school. At first they seemed like normal high school girls to her, but soon enough she learned they were actually a pair of high tempered ruffians who were prone to violence. After they’d threatened to kick Bulk Bicep’s ass for supposedly touching one of them, she’d taken them back to her office to try and calm them down. That’s when Rarity came into the picture.

In a desperate attempt to rid herself of Misako and Kyoko, at least temporarily, Adagio had introduced Rarity to the two transfer students so that she could catch her breath from the crazy morning she’d had. Things went well at first, but eventually Kyoko accused Rarity of being someone named Hibari, whom she and Misako had once beaten up, and both she and Misako got confrontational with the fashionista. No punches or anything like that were thrown, but the whole thing did leave Rarity a bit shaken. And apparently with a small bone to pick with Adagio.

“Oh yeah. That.” The Dazzling shamefully replied to Rarity’s inquiry.

“Yes, that.” Rarity a little less severely responded. “Now I’m not one to hold a grudge, but I am still a tad upset with you about that-”

“But you’ll forgive me for it if I help your sister with her singing. Right?” Adagio bluntly chimed in, knowing full-well where Rarity was going with this.

“Um, well, yes.” Rarity haltingly replied, having been caught off-guard by the Dazzling’s amazing grasp of the situation.

Needless to say, Adagio wasn’t too thrilled with the position she was in. She didn’t really want to spend her free time helping Sweetie Belle with her singing, but she also didn’t want to say no and remain on Rarity’s bad side either. It was a real no win situation for her. However, it didn’t take her long to make her decision because if there was one thing she’d learned since the Battle of the Bands and from living with Sunset Shimmer, it was to stay on the all the Rainbooms’ good side as much as possible. That, and she did feel a little guilty about subjecting Rarity to Misako and Kyoko the way she had.

After taking a quick look over at Sweetie Belle, who was still standing by herself with a confused expression on her face, Adagio gave a small sigh and prepared to speak.

“Okay, I’ll help your sister.” She defeatedly conceded.

“Wonderful!” Rarity jovially expressed just before turning around to face her sister. “Sweetie Belle! Adagio’s going to be helping you now, so I’ll be taking off.”

“What?!” Both Adagio and Sweetie Belle once again shouted at the same time in utter disbelief.

“You’re not staying, Rarity?” Sweetie Belle asked her sister in an alarmed fashion as she made her way over to her.

Adagio couldn’t believe it either, though she remained silent.

“It’ll be fine, Sweetie.” Rarity assured her sister as she grabbed a hold of her shoulders. “Adagio’s not a power-crazed lunatic anymore, and she knows all there is to know about singing.”

A small scowl crossed Adagio’s face when she heard Rarity refer to her as having been a ‘power-crazed lunatic’, but she quickly lost it. She didn’t like it when people brought up her past in such a manner, even though she herself admitted to having been obsessed with power back then.

“And I can’t stay because I have to go home and prepare my fall lineup for that meeting with Prim Hemline tomorrow, remember?” Rarity continued.

“Oh yeah. That.” Sweetie Belle dejectedly replied.

Sensing her sister’s continued despondent state, Rarity pulled Sweetie Belle into a quick hug.

“Everything will be fine.” She softly whispered before breaking the hug and heading out the door, waving goodbye to both her sister and Adagio as she did so.

Now alone, Adagio just silently looked down at Sweetie Belle, who was silently looking up at her with an expression that seemed to say, ‘What now?’.

“Um, okay then.” The Dazzling unadroitly said as an awkward smile formed on her face. “Why don’t we get started?”

Adagio then quickly scanned the room for a place to sit down. Finding a piano bench that wasn’t more than six feet away from her, she quickly moved towards it and took a seat.

“Let’s see what you’ve got.” She said once she was seated, trying to sound affable but coming off more like she was Simon Cowell.

“Ah ah ah ah ~”

“Better, but you’re still not hitting the E♭ correctly after the F.” Adagio critiqued Sweetie Belle’s singing.

“Ugh, I know, I know!” Sweetie Belle frustratingly acknowledged.

Adagio had been helping Sweetie Belle with her singing for about an hour now, and so far, the girl was showing little improvement. None if the techniques the Dazzling tried using to help Sweetie Belle get better seemed to be working, and she was quickly running out of things to try. Even still, she knew she couldn’t give up trying, at least not yet. Regardless of whether or not Sweetie Belle’s singing could actually be improved, she knew she needed to work with her a bit longer in order to appease Rarity.

“Why don’t we take it from the top.” She suggested.

“Why bother?” Sweetie Belle defeatedly remarked as she leaned back against the piano. “Nothing’s working. I’ll never become a great singer.”

I’ll never become a great singer

There it was again, that phrase. That phrase that had triggered an unpleasant psychological response from Adagio earlier. It didn’t elicit any such response when she’d heard this time though, but it did give her an idea. An idea about what Sweetie Belle’s problem might just be.

“Why do you want to become a great singer, Sweetie Belle?” She curiously inquired.

“Huh?” Sweetie Belle bewilderingly uttered in response.

“You keep saying that you want to become a great singer. But why is that?” Adagio clarified.

Sweetie Belle didn’t answer right away. Instead, she lowered her head and brought a hand up to her chin as she contemplated what she was going to say next.

“I guess…it’s because I like to sing.” She eventually replied. “I’ve always been good at singing, and it always seems to make people happy when I do it. So I figured, if I became great at singing it would make people even happier.”

As Adagio looked at Sweetie Belle and listened to her explain why she wanted to become a great singer, she felt as though she were staring at a reversed reflection of herself. She too wanted to be a great singer when she was about Sweetie Belle’s age, but her motivations had been the exact opposite of the young girl’s, at least in most regards. She’d wanted to become a great singer so she could use her magic to make people angry and feed, she was a siren after all, but admittedly there was one person back then that she’d hope to make happy with her singing. Someone who was never happy with her. Someone…

Realizing that she was starting to slip back into her own mind, Adagio quickly snapped back to reality.

“I see.” She casually remarked as she stood up. “I think I know why nothing we’ve tried so far has been working.”

“You do?” Sweetie Belle inquired.

“I do.” Adagio confirmed just before heading for the door. “Follow me.”

As Adagio reached the threshold she realized she didn’t hear the sound of footsteps following her. She quickly turned her head around to see if Sweetie Belle was right behind her, but in fact the young girl hadn’t moved so much as an inch from where she’d been standing.

“You coming?” She curiously asked.

“Y-Yeah.” Sweetie Belle hesitantly answered as she slowly made her way over to the Dazzling.

Once Sweetie Belle was right behind her, Adagio crossed the threshold and the two girls started making their way down the hall. The walk was fairly quiet, until Adagio decided to speak up.

“You don’t like me very much, do you, Sweetie Belle?” She candidly asked.

Adagio’s unexpected question caused Sweetie Belle to stop dead in her tracks. As she stood still out of shock, she tried to think of something to say in response but couldn’t figure out what. Mostly because the Dazzling wasn’t all that wrong in her assumption.

“It’s all right if you don’t.” Adagio sincerely said as she too ceased walking and turned around. “It won’t hurt my feelings, I understand why some students still don’t particularly care for me and my sisters after what we’d done at the Battle of the Bands. But if that is how you feel just say so and we’ll stop right now. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything.”

Sweetie Belle felt like she was caught between a rock and a hard place. It was true that she didn’t like Adagio very much, but at the same time she felt guilty just for feeling that way. In the time since the Dazzlings had become motivational speaker at CHS she’d seen how they’d changed and how they’d helped so many students with their problems, her best friends Apple Bloom and Scootaloo included. But there was just something inside her that made it difficult for her to fully forgive the three former sirens. Maybe it was resentment because of all the pain they’d caused everyone, or maybe it was because she’d felt helpless when they’re magic had made her act so horribly towards her fellow students. Whatever it was, it kept her from being able to truly trust any of the Dazzlings.

“I admit that I still have my doubts about you and your sisters.” She sedately informed Adagio. “But since Rarity trusts you, I think I can trust you a little…for now.”

Even though Adagio had said she wouldn’t feel hurt by Sweetie Belle’s confession of enmity towards her, she’d be lying if she said it didn’t hurt a teeny-tiny bit. She truly did understand why some students still didn’t like her and she was used to any shade that got thrown her way, but even though it didn’t bother her as much as it used to it still stung on some small level. Though with Sweetie Belle she managed to find a silver lining that slightly lifted her spirits. She was happy that the young girl was at least willing to trust her a little, if only because she was piggybacking off of Rarity’s trust in her.

“All right then.” She solemnly said as she turned back around and slowly continued down the hall. “If you feel you can trust me enough and still want my help, follow me.”

It took Sweetie Belle a few seconds, but eventually she started to follow Adagio down the hall.

“You know, I’d trust you a bit more if you told me where it is you’re taking me.” She said as she caught up to the Dazzling.

“Fair enough.” Adagio accepted. “I’m taking you to a karaoke bar.”

“A…what?” Sweetie Belle confusedly asked.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the car as Adagio drove herself and Sweetie Belle through downtown Canterlot City. After she’d clarified that she was taking the young girl to a karaoke bar, neither one of them had said a word to each other. Normally she didn’t mind silence while she was driving, but after everything that had happened back at school she was hoping for a little light conversation with Sweetie Belle to help build up the girl’s trust in her. However, she didn’t want to be the initiator of said light conversation out of fear that she’d come off as a prying Pandora. So, silence it was.

Thankfully though, the trip from CHS to the karaoke bar wasn’t a long one.

“We’re here.” The Dazzling casually informed her passenger as she pulled off to the curb.

Sweetie Belle looked out the window and saw that they were in front of a small building with the words, ‘Starlight Karaoke’ displayed over the entrance.

“This is a karaoke bar?” She inquired in disbelief as she got out of the car.

“It’s a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, yes. But it is a karaoke bar.” Adagio confirmed as she walked around the front of the car and headed for the entrance. “My sisters and I used to come here often before we lost our magic.”

“You guys used to sing karaoke?” Sweetie Belle asked as followed the Dazzling.

“It was a way for us to relax.” Adagio explained. “A way for us to just sing without worrying about collecting energy in the process.”

“Ah.” Sweetie Belle understandingly replied as they entered the building.

Upon seeing the inside of the karaoke bar, Sweetie Belle’s eyes went as wide as dinner plates. The place was gorgeous. A tad small, but absolutely gorgeous. The walls were painted royal purple with cylinder chandeliers hanging from the ceiling that emitted a cool light which gave the room a very warm and welcoming feeling. And the layout was more akin to that of a fancy hotel than a karaoke bar. It was enough to make the young girl feel entranced.

“Ah, Miss Dazzle. Good to see you again.” A well-dressed man politely greeted from behind a reception desk once he’d noticed the two girls enter.

“Long time, no see, Firelight.” Adagio politely greeted the man, apparently named Firelight, back as she made her way over to the desk.

“Will your sisters be joining you today?” Firelight inquired.

“No, not today.” Adagio nonchalantly answered as she pulled her wallet out of her pocket and removed a credit card from it. “It’ll just be me and my new friend here. One hour.”

“Very good.” Firelight replied as he took the card from Adagio, ran it through a machine, then returned it to her. “I trust you’ll want your usual room?”

“If it’s available.” Adagio simply said.

“It is.” Firelight confirmed as he reached under his desk, grabbed a key with a number 25 engraved on it, and presented it to the Dazzling.

“Thank you, Firelight.” Adagio gratefully said as she took the key and started making her way towards a hallway located across from the entrance. “Come on, Sweetie Belle.”

Hearing Adagio say her name broke Sweetie Belle out of her trance and young girl quickly followed the Dazzling down the long hallway. As they walked, they passed a number of doors with numbers on them, odds on the left and evens on the right, that went in increasing order as they passed them. The farther down the hall they walked, the more curious Sweetie Belle became about which room they’d be using. It wasn’t until they reached the very end of the hall and were standing in front of a door with a number 25 on it that her curiosity was sated.

“Here we are.” Adagio rather amiably said as she unlocked the door. “The ole home away from home.”

Adagio’s use of the term ‘ole home away from home’ made Sweetie Belle dawn a look of befuddlement for two reasons; one, had the Dazzling really just said that, and two, why would she consider a karaoke bar room to be a home away from home? She was about to say something about it when Adagio opened the door and stepped inside, revealing yet another gorgeous room that left her amazed and speechless. It was the same style as the lobby, but about the size of a large walk-in closet and without the chandeliers. Inside it, she noticed an L-shaped blue couch, a table with a microphone, a tablet, and what appeared to be a menu on it, a karaoke system complete with speakers and amplifiers, a TV, and a phone that was connected to the wall.

“How much does a place like this cost?” She softly asked herself once she was able to speak again.

Once they were both inside the room, Sweetie Belle closed the door behind her and Adagio plopped herself down onto the couch.

“Aah. I’ve missed this place.” The Dazzling relaxingly said.

“I thought you said you and your sister came here often.” Sweetie Belle confusedly said as she approached the couch.

“I said we came her often before we lost our magic.” Adagio clarified as she sat up in her seat and scooched down a bit. “After we lost our magic we stopped coming here because we couldn’t sing anymore.”

That both did and didn’t make sense to Sweetie Belle. It did make sense to her because she understood why Adagio and her sisters wouldn’t want to come to a karaoke bar if they couldn’t sing anymore, but at the same time it didn’t make sense to her because, well…it was just karaoke. Even though she’d never been to a karaoke bar before, she’d done some karaoke with Apple Bloom and Scootaloo at her house. To her, karaoke wasn’t about how well you could sing, it was just about spending some quality time with people you liked.

“I’m going to order a drink.” Adagio said as she got up from the couch and made her way over to the telephone. “You want anything?”

“Oh, um, sure.” Sweetie Belle said as she quickly picked up the menu from the table and started to peruse it.

The selection of drinks was vast and impressive, but that wasn’t surprising to Sweetie Belle given how nice this karaoke bar was. She tried to find something she was familiar with when she came across the alcoholic drinks section and got a wicked idea.

“I think I’ll have an Apple Crisp.” She casually said.

Adagio was just about top pick up the phone when she heard Sweetie Belle say what she wanted. She immediately stopped and turned around to face the young girl with a bewildered expression that soon turned into one of almost amusement.

“Nice try.” She playfully retorted. “But I know that an Apple Crisp has vodka and whiskey in it.”

“Hehe.” Sweetie Belle awkwardly chuckled as she put the menu back down on the table. “Did I say Apple Crisp? Because I meant Apple Juice.”

“Sure you did.” Adagio teased as she picked up the phone and waited for someone to pick up on the other end. “…Yes, this is room 25. We’d like to order a Whiskey Sour and an Apple Juice…Great, thank you.”

With their drink order placed, Adagio put the phone back on the wall and walked back over to the couch. Once she was seated, she picked up the tablet and handed it to Sweetie Belle.

“Here. Find the song you like.” She told the young girl.

“Okay.” Sweetie Belle simply said as she took the tablet and began scrolling through songs.

After a few seconds of scrolling through the vast list of songs that Starlight Karaoke had in their system, Sweetie Belle found one that she really liked, one that was fairly new but was already a favorite of hers. Her selection made, she clicked on the ‘Add to Queue’ icon next to it and it immediately showed up on the TV, ready to go.

“All right.” Adagio coolly said as she picked up the microphone and handed it to Sweetie Belle. “Go for it.”

“Wait, just like that?” Sweetie Belle bafflingly asked as she put the tablet down and took the microphone. “Nothing about breath control, or watching my vibrato, or anything like that?”

“Nope.” Adagio replied. “You already have all those skills and techniques down, there’s just one thing you need to do differently this time.”

“What’s that?” Sweetie Belle curiously inquired.

Before Adagio answered, she dawned a very stern expression and placed her right hand over her chest.

“You need to sing with your heart.” She informed the young girl.

A visible look of bewilderment crossed Sweetie Belle’s face after Adagio had said that, and the Dazzling knew she was going to have to elaborate.

“Don’t worry so much about things like your breathing or vibrato.” She clarified. “You already know how to control those things, they’re second nature to you now. Just focus on feeling what it is you’re singing and use that feeling to express what’s in your heart.”

Just then, there was a knock on the door and Firelight stepped inside with two drinks on a silver tray.

“One Whiskey Sour and one Apple Juice.” He said as he placed the try down on the table.

“Thank you, Firelight.” Adagio once again gratefully said to him.

“T-Thanks.” Sweetie Belle softly added.

“My pleasure.” Was all Firelight said before leaving the room.

Neither girl touched her drink right away. Instead, Sweetie Belle just silently got up from the couch and moved to a more open part of the room as she prepared to sing.

“Ready?” Adagio asked as she picked up the tablet.

“Yeah, ready.” Sweetie Belle confirmed as she lifted the microphone up to her face.

Adagio just gave an acknowledging nod as she tapped the tablet and the music started playing.

There were a few seconds of instrumentals and vocals before Sweetie Belle’s cue to start singing came in. During those few seconds, she took a few deep and calming breaths as she tried to figure out how she was supposed to sing with her heart. Soon enough though, it came time for her to start singing.

At first, Sweetie Belle was doing fine, but just fine. She was hitting all the right notes but there wasn’t much passion behind them, not much heart. But as the song went on, she started to feel the music more, feel like it was an extension of herself and her feelings. She still wasn’t sure if this was what Adagio meant by ‘sing with your heart’, but it was a good feeling and she decided to roll with it.

With each passing stanza, Sweetie Belle’s singing became more powerful, more passionate, and more heartfelt. But it wasn’t until she reached the first, ‘Into the unknown’ that she truly started to understand what Adagio had meant. She wasn’t just reciting words to a song, she was communicating her feelings through her music. Breath control, vibrato, these things never crossed her mind as she sung out the lyrics to her song. The rest of Sweetie Belle’s performance was simply amazing, spellbinding, and very nearly perfect. She had made a mistake or two, but that was to be expected. After all, no performance is 100% perfect. But it had been considerably better than at school.

Once the song was over, Sweetie Belle slowly lowered the microphone from her face and she gave a few small pants of exhaustion. She’d never felt like that when she’d sung before; so expressive and alive. After a few seconds, she heard the sound of Adagio clapping.

Much better.” She sincerely said with a smile on her face.

“What…what just happened?” Sweetie Belle asked as she sat back down and took a large swig of her Apple Juice.

“You sang with your heart, that’s what happened.” Adagio candidly explained.

“But…” Sweetie Belle started to say after she’d finished her Apple Juice. “But how did you know that’s what I needed to do?”

“Because that’s what I needed to do to become the singer I am.” Adagio answered, before remembering that she’d lost her ability to sing. “Err, the singer I was.”

Adagio’s answer filled Sweetie Belle with intrigue. She couldn’t help but feel that there was a story behind it, one that she wanted to hear.

“So how did you know that’s what you needed to do to become a great singer?” She curiously asked.

In response to Sweetie Belle’s inquiry, Adagio dawned a sullen expression and ceased looking at the girl, moving her head down and to the side.

“It’s a long story.” She somberly said.

“I’ve got time.” Sweetie Belle replied a bit more eagerly then she’d intended, causing her to feel like she was being pushy. “I-If you want to tell it to me that is.”

In truth, Adagio really didn’t want to tell Sweetie Belle her story. It was very personal and not at all pleasant, and she didn’t want it to spread around CHS like so much high school gossip. However, at the same time she still wanted to gain the girl’s trust, and she figured that sharing her story with her might be a good way to do that. Basically, she felt like she was caught between a rock and a hard place. In the end though, she felt like she could trust Sweetie Belle, but still wanted to verify it first.

“Okay, I’ll tell you, Sweetie Belle.” She acutely conceded as she turned back to face the young girl. “But you have to promise me you won’t repeat anything I tell you to anyone. Not to Rarity, not to your friends, and especially not to me sisters. Understood?”

“Understood.” Sweetie Belle vehemently replied with an acknowledging nod.

Before she began her story, Adagio picked up her Whisky Sour and just about downed the whole damn thing.

“Believe it or not, there was I time when I was the worst singer amongst the Dazzlings.” She solemnly began. “And it wasn’t simply that I wasn’t as good as my sisters. Oh no, I was bad. Really bad. So much so that I couldn’t even collect energy. And for a siren, that can be dangerous.”

“What do you mean?” Sweetie Belle inquired.

“I mean that energy, especially negative energy, is a siren’s life blood.” Adagio explained. “We needed it to survive as much as food or water. If we didn’t get enough of it, we would go hungry and potentially die of starvation.”

Sweetie Belle couldn’t help but give a visible expression of shock as Adagio explained this to her. She’d known that the Dazzlings needed energy for their magic, but she hadn’t known that they needed it just to stay alive. That still didn’t excuse their actions at the Battle of the Bands in her mind, but she at least understood a bit better why they’d done the things they had.

“Anyways, I was the worst of us, Aria was the best, and Sonata was in the middle.” The Dazzling continued. “And because I was the worst I lived on the edge a lot. I can remember going days without gathering any energy and being hungry all the time, wondering if I’d last another week or even another day. I was a miserable, pathetic excuse of a siren and I knew it, often telling myself that I’d never become a great singer.”

“B-But what about your sisters?” Sweetie Belle chimed in, sounding absolutely heartbroken. “Didn’t they help you? Or your mom and dad?”

The mention of Adagio’s parents triggered a psychological response within the Dazzling. But it wasn’t like before. No, this was different. Some might even say this response was even worse.


Adagio’s unexpected, and frankly maniacal, laughter frightened Sweetie Belle. She’d never heard such wicked cackling before, and it was enough to make her hastily move down the couch to distance herself from the manic Dazzling.

Despite her uncontrollable laughter, Adagio managed to get a grip enough to realize that she was scaring Sweetie Belle. Finding her current behavior counterproductive to gaining the young girl’s trust, she immediately tried to calm down.

“I’m sorry…I’m sorry.” She sincerely apologized as her laughing fit died down and she recomposed herself. “It’s just…if you knew my parents at all you…you never would’ve said that.”

“I..I don’t understand.” Sweetie Belle confessed with a twinge of fear in her voice.

Adagio waited until she’d completely recomposed herself before she spoke again.

“Look, Sweetie Belle, I know around here it’s common for parents to care about and love their children.” She collectedly began to explain. “But in siren society, that isn’t always the case. In fact, that’s often the exception. Sirens have a real ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality, and no siren had that mentality more than my mother. To her, if you were too weak to gather your own energy then you didn’t deserve to survive. As such, she forbad my dad and my sisters from helping me, either by sharing their energy with me or helping me get better at singing.”

“A-And your dad and sisters went along with that?” Sweetie Belle hesitantly inquired out of disbelief as she slowly inched her way back to where she’d been sitting before Adagio had snapped.

“You don’t know how powerful my mom was.” Adagio somberly answered. “My dad and sisters were all too afraid of her wrath to risk defying her. Hell, I was so afraid of her wrath too that I never even asked any of them for help for fear of what she’d do to me if she found out. Yeah, my mom sure knew how to inspire fear all right. But you know what the worst part of it all was? Deep down in my heart, I still wanted her approval, more than anything else. Maybe she knew that and was using my desire for her approval to control me, but when I listened to my heart, that was all I wanted.”

It wasn’t hard for Sweetie Belle to put two-and-two together.

“That was why you wanted to become a great singer, wasn’t it?” She inquired, even though she already knew the answer. “Because it was the only way to get your mom’s approval.”

“Yep.” Adagio dejectedly answered.

Sweetie Belle wasn’t sure to how to process what it was she was feeling at that moment. Maybe it was because she herself had such a kind and loving mother, but she couldn’t even begin to fathom how Adagio could desire the approval of someone so vile and wicked, no matter who they were.

“I know, that’s messed up.” Adagio sorely admitted, picking up on Sweetie Belle’s confusion. “But I grew up in a messed up household.”

It was at this point that Adagio started slipping into her own mind again as memories of her childhood came flooding back once more; the times she’d been starving for energy, the times her mother would just ignore her out of disgust for her. Not only that, but harsh realities started to creep in was well. In particular, the reality that she’d lost her ability to sing. Even though she herself had just admitted that she sang for some really messed up reasons, she had still enjoyed the act of singing itself.

“I just wish I could still sing.” She somberly said aloud as looked down at her lap while a single tear ran down her cheek.

Just as Adagio felt more tears welling up in the corners of her eyes, she felt a small hand grab hold of hers. She immediately looked up to see Sweetie Belle holding her hand with tears of her own running down her face.

“Why?” She simply asked.

“W-What?” The Dazzling replied, not understanding what Sweetie Belle was asking her.

“Why do you wish you could still sing.” Sweetie Belle clarified. “I’m guessing it’s not because you still want to gain your mom’s approval, and you don’t need it to take energy from people anymore. So, why do you wish you could still sing?”

Adagio couldn’t think of answer to that question right off the top of her head. She’d never even thought about that question before, she’d just…wished she could still sing. One thing she knew for certain though was Sweetie Belle was right, it wasn’t because she still wanted her mother’s approval.

And that’s when it hit her.

“I guess…because I want to sing for something other than my mother’s approval.” She confessed. “I don’t know what exactly, but I just want to prove that my singing wasn’t just about appeasing my mother’s desires.”

Upon hearing Adagio’s answer, Sweetie Belle removed her hand from the Dazzling’s, picked up the microphone with her right hand and the tablet with her left, and held them out in front of her.

“Go for it.” She simply said.

Adagio just stared bewilderingly at the objects that Sweetie Belle was offering her. Was the young girl serious?

“Sweetie Belle, I…I can’t.” She defeatedly said as she pushed the microphone and tablet away. “You heard what I sound like now after the Rainbooms defeated me and my sisters at the Battle of the Bands. I just…can’t.”

Sweetie Belle knew it wasn’t going to be easy to convince Adagio to try and sing again, but she also knew that there was still hope for the Dazzling, and that she needed to help her see that.

“Maybe that’s just because you aren’t singing with your heart anymore.” Sweetie Belle earnestly suggested.

“What are you talking about?” Adagio unemotionally replied.

“You just admitted that the reason you want to sing now is different from why you wanted to sing before.” Sweetie Belle explained. “I admit I’m just speculating here, but maybe you didn’t lose your ability to sing completely. Maybe…maybe you just need to find your voice again.”

As soon as Sweetie Belle finished speaking, she once again held out the microphone and tablet in front of her. Adagio, meanwhile, still wasn’t convinced that what the young girl was saying as true. Her ability to sing and her magic were gone, period. That’s what she believed. However, the Dazzling could see just how much conviction and determination Sweetie Belle had right now. She wasn’t going to cease her efforts to try and get her to sing. So even though she thought it was pointless and that she was going to make a buffoon of herself, Adagio reluctantly took the microphone and tablet from Sweetie Belle’s hands and started scrolling through songs. A large smile crossed Sweetie Belle’s face once she did this.

Adagio wasn’t sure what song she should try singing. There were several songs she found that she knew and liked as she scrolled through the tablet, but she didn’t want to sing any of them. She didn’t want to butcher any of the songs that she’d once been able to sing so perfectly. But at the same time, she didn’t want to pick a song she didn’t know, for obvious reasons. It was a real conundrum.

At one point as Adagio scrolled through the tablet though, she accidentally pressed her finger down too hard and inadvertently made a selection. When she realized this, her first instinct was to cancel the selection, but when she saw that it was a song she knew but was never really into, she just decided to go with it. She quickly got up and moved over towards where Sweetie Belle had been standing when she’d sang, and hoped that she wasn’t about to make too much of an ass of herself.

She brought the microphone up to her face just as the music started playing.

At first, Adagio was mostly just talk-singing, which was fine with her. It meant that she didn’t need to worry so much about her technique or anything like that. Plus it allowed her to focus more on the words to the song.

The words. The more Adagio focused on them, the more she started to feel them, like they weren’t just lyrics in a song, but something more. As the song progressed to parts that involved more actual singing, she found that she wasn’t doing too bad. Not great, but not bad either. The Dazzling wasn’t sure why this was, but she wasn’t going to argue with results so she kept focusing on the words.

With each passing stanza, Adagio’s singing improved, becoming more powerful, more passionate, and more…heartfelt. Slowly but surely, she was starting to understand what was happening. But it wasn’t until about a minute and a half into the song, when the tempo picked up, that she finally got it. She wasn’t just singing; she was making a statement. A statement that said, ‘Despite everything you did to me, Mom, I’m still standing’.

From that point on, Adagio’s singing was back to what it had been before the Battle of the Bands; spectacular. Every note was hit to perfection and filled with such strong emotion. Not only that, but Adagio had even started to do a little dance as she sang, finding that singing alone wasn’t enough to express what it was she was trying to say. All-in-all, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this way. The last time she’d felt so…alive.

“Adagio, you can sing again!” Sweetie Belle vigorously exclaimed to her during an instrumental break in the song.

Adagio just gave Sweetie Belle a genuinely warm smile in response as she prepared to start singing again.

The rest of Adagio’s performance was just as amazing. In fact, it might have even been better, as Sweetie Belle joined in at the ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ parts. Soon enough though, the song ended and Adagio was left standing in both shock and awe.

I…I can sing again. She thought in disbelief, as if trying to convince herself that what had just happened was real. I can sing again!

Just then, Sweetie Belle practically tackled the Dazzling into a hug.

“That was amazing, Adagio!” The young girl enthusiastically praised her. “You’re amazing!”

Despite feeling exhausted from her powerhouse performance, Adagio found the strength to return the warm and affectionate hug.

“Yeah.” She softly replied, feeling doubly happy since Sweetie Belle seemed to trust her now. “You’re pretty amazing yourself, Sweetie Belle.”

The two girls continued to hug for a few seconds longer until Sweetie Belle decided to break it.

“You think maybe we can do a duet next?” She eagerly suggested.

Adagio couldn’t help but give a small, playful giggle upon hearing Sweetie Belle’s suggestion.

“Yeah, I think we can.” She jovially replied as she walked over to the table and got the tablet so they could find a good duet song together.

The rest of Adagio and Sweetie Belle’s time at the karaoke bar was nothing short of joyful. They sang a couple of duets together as well as a few solo songs each, all the while never ceasing to have a good time. Eventually though, their hour came to an end it was time from them to leave.

“This was so much fun!” Sweetie Belle wholeheartedly said as she and Adagio left the room. “Thanks so much for bringing me here, Adagio!”

“It was my pleasure, Sweetie Belle.” The Dazzling just as wholeheartedly replied as she locked the door. “And thanks for encouraging me to sing again. I don’t think I would’ve even tried if it weren’t for you.”

“Don’t mention it.” Sweetie Belle offhandedly said. “So, you think we can come back here sometime?”

It was just so astonishing to Adagio; one minute Sweetie Belle was leery of her, the next she wanted to make going to karaoke their thing. But hey, if that’s what she wanted she saw no reason why it couldn’t be.

“Yeah, I think we can.” She told the girl as she started making her way up the hall. “Maybe I can even convince Aria and Sonata to let you tag along when I bring them back here.”

“You’re bringing your sisters back here?” Sweetie Belle asked as she started to follow Adagio.

“Of course.” Adagio candidly replied. “Do you know what they’d do to me if they found out I learned how to sing again and didn’t share that knowledge with them?”

“No.” Sweetie Belle answered.

“Neither do I.” Adagio admitted. “But given how they react to little things like running out of milk or the TV being left on the True Crime network, I really don’t want to find out.”

Feeling confused by part of what Adagio had just said, Sweetie abruptly stopped walking and dawned a confused expression.

“Wait, what’s the big deal if the TV is left on the True Crime network?” She inquired.

“Sonata doesn’t like true crime stories.” Adagio explained as she too stopped walking and turned around to face Sweetie Belle. “Anytime she watches one and sees a dead body she freaks out. The problem is that Aria loves true crime stories and often leave the TV on True Crime when she’s done watching them. We’ve had a few instances where Sonata turns on the TV after her, sees a dead body, and then freaks out for a while.”

“Oh.” Sweetie Belle simply replied.

It was at this point that both Adagio and Sweetie Belle heard a raucous noise coming from the nearby room 10. Even though the rooms were supposed to be soundproof, there was still a decibel limit to just how soundproof they were and the people within were clearly breaking that limit. What was odd though was that both girls felt they recognized the voices coming from within. Sweetie Belle couldn’t quite place them, but Adagio had a pretty good idea who they belonged to.

“It can’t be.” She skeptically said as she approached room 10, grabbed the doorknob (which wasn’t locked), and opened the door.

As soon as the door was opened, the sound of two drunken women singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ immediately rang out into the hallway, causing Sweetie Belle to move closer so she could see who they were.

“Principal Celestia and Vice-Principal Luna?” She said to no one in-particular once she had her answer.

“I guess this was their important meeting then.” Adagio befuddlingly remarked as she closed the door before either Celestia or Luna noticed her and Sweetie Belle.

Neither girl said a word. They just stared at each other for a few seconds before they each started to laugh at what they’d just witnessed. After all, it’s not everyday you see your bosses/Principal and Vice-Principal singing karaoke together drunk.

“Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are not going to believe this.” Sweetie Belle eventually said once she’d stopped laughing.

“Heck, I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t just seen it.” Adagio added. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

“Right behind you.” Sweetie Belle replied as she followed Adagio.

As the two girls left the building and reached Adagio’s car, the Dazzling to a quick look back at the building, and a part of her looked forward to when she’d be back so she could do some more karaoke with her new friend.

Sonata and Twilight Sparkle

View Online

“Does your person...have a moustache?” Sonata Dusk asked her sister, Adagio.

“No.” Adagio simply answered.

Upon hearing Adagio’s answer, Sonata flipped down a total of three people on her gameboard who had moustaches.

“Does your person have glasses?” Adagio then asked Sonata.

“…Yes.” Sonata hesitantly, and somewhat crestfallenly, replied.

Adagio dawned a small, gleefully wicked smile as she flipped down a total of three characters on her gameboard, leaving only one left standing. Sonata, meanwhile, dawned a nervous and worrisome expression as she realized that if she was to have any hope of winning at this point, she’d have to make a random guess at who Adagio’s person was based on the eight remaining characters still standing on her board.

“Is your person, um, Robert?” The youngest Dazzling hastily inquired.

The small, gleefully wicked smile on Adagio’s face widened.

“Nope.” She vaingloriously answered.

Her guess incorrect, Sonata defeatedly lowered her head before pointlessly flipping Robert’s picture down on her board.

“Sonata.” Adagio then smugly began to say. “Is your person by any chance…Tom?”

Without saying a word, Sonata removed her card from its holding place on her board and held it out in front of her sister. Revealing that her person was, indeed, Tom.

“Huh, looks like I win again.” Adagio haughtily remarked as she leaned back in her chair.

All Sonata could do in response was give a dejected sigh as she slouched forward and rested her arms on her knees while the bitter taste of defeat once again made itself known to her. This had been the twelfth game of Guess Who? that she’d lost today, and so far she and Adagio had only played twelve games.

Frankly, Sonata wasn’t even sure why she’d asked her sister to play Guess Who? with her in the first place. She knew that Adagio was really good at boardgames because of how smart she was, and that she was a bad winner to boot, yet she’d still made the conscious decision to ask her to play one anyways. The best answer she could come up with was that she was just so bored with this particularly dull and uneventful Thursday afternoon that she didn’t care about getting her butt kicked at one, so long as it helped pass the time. However, after losing twelve out of twelve games, she found that she was starting to care.

“Why am I so bad at this game?” She glumly asked herself aloud.

“It’s because you’re asking too many narrow questions.” Adagio nonchalantly replied as she began to flip all the people on her board back up for another game, both making the assumption that Sonata wanted to play again and not realizing that her sister’s question had been rhetorical.

“Huh?” Sonata confusedly replied as she raised her head back.

“The game is intentionally designed to ask narrow questions.” Adagio explained as she finished resetting her board. “You need to ask broader questions so you eliminate more people quicker.”

Sonata still didn’t understand what Adagio was saying. She just silently tilted her head to the side ever-so-slightly and dawned a bewildered expression, one that didn’t go unnoticed by her sister. Feeling sorry for her sister’s ignorance, the eldest Dazzling decided to take pity on Sonata and further explain what it was she was saying. Even if it meant potentially costing her future wins.

“Here.” Adagio said as she got up from her seat and sat down next to Sonata on the couch, flipping all of the characters on her sister’s gameboard once she did so. “Now, what was the first question you asked me last game?”

“Um…” Sonata replied as she tried to remember what her first question had been. “…It was ‘Does your person have red hair?’, right?”

“Right.” Adagio confirmed. “Now look at the gameboard. How many people have red hair?”

Considering that practically every person with red hair was located close together on her board, it didn’t take Sonata long to figure out the answer.

“Five!” She said with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, as if she’d just answered a complicated math problem that the teacher had asked the class.

“Yeah, five.” Adagio somewhat bewilderingly replied, feeling slightly confused by her sister’s suddenly high spirits. “So, if there are a total of 24 people on the board and only five of them have red hair, what are the chances of me saying ‘Yes’?”

And just like that, Sonata’s jubilant demeanor disappeared.

Math had never been Sonata’s strong suit. Perhaps it was because it’s such a non-intuitive and non-natural activity, but she’d always found it to be so incredibly daunting and stressful. Everything about it had to be completely exact and accurate. Every number, every function, every calculation had to be handled with absolute care and precision, there was no room for errors. And unfortunately for Sonata, making errors in general was pretty common for her.

“Um, okay. Let’s see.” She frantically said as she tried to do the math in her head, using her fingers to help her. “There’s 24 people, and only five of them have red hair, so, um…first you carry the one…then, um, take the square root of pi…”

Adagio couldn’t help but facepalm as she watched her sister try, and utterly fail, to do the math. As she brought her hand down she realized that, in hindsight, she should’ve chosen a different teaching method for Sonata. One that involved not asking her to do any math problems.

“It’s 20%, Sonata.” She groaned as she placed a hand on her spastic sister’s shoulder to try and get her to calm down. “The chances of me saying ‘Yes’ are 20%.”

Upon feeling Adagio’s touch, Sonata did calm down. She quickly snapped out of her spasmodic state and looked over at Adagio, who was looking back at her with a deadpan expression.

“Oh. R-Right.” She embarrassingly said, making the very accurate assumption that she’d needlessly overreacted to a simple math problem.

After silently giving her sister a few reassuring pats on the shoulder, Adagio gave a small sigh as she prepared to continue her lesson in Guess Who? strategy. Keeping in mind that going forward it was best to not ask Sonata to do any math other than counting, or even to mention probabilities again.

“Okay, so with only a small chance of being right, most of the time that’s not a very good question to ask. At least in the beginning.” She went on. “The trick is to ask a question that can eliminate a high number of characters early on.”

“Ohhh.” Sonata uttered as she began to understand. “I gotcha. So I should ask a question like, ‘Does your person have rosy cheeks?’, right?”

Once again, Adagio couldn’t help but facepalm.

“Sonata, how many people have rosy cheeks?” She expressionlessly asked through her hand.

Like before, Sonata quickly scanned the board to find the answer. Also like before, it didn’t take her long to get the answer.

“Five!” She once more enthusiastically said before realizing that it was the exact same answer to the ‘How many people have red hair’ question, leaving her now feeling dispirited. “Oh…five.”

“Yes, five.” Adagio replied as she lowered her hand. “Every question pertaining to an attribute will only apply to five people. Five people have rosy cheeks, five people have red hair, five people have moustaches, etc., etc.”

“So then how do you eliminate more than five people?” Sonata confusedly asked.

“You have to think outside the box and ask questions other than ones related to attributes.” Adagio clarified.

Sonata brought her hand up to her chin and dawned a very studious expression as she contemplated her sister’s words. Questions other than those related to attributes; what could some of those be?

“Ooh, ooh, ooh!” Sonata excitedly exclaimed as she started bouncing in her seat. “I’ve got one, I know a good question to ask! Can we play another game, Adagio, pretty please?!”

“Okay, okay.” Adagio agilely replied as she put both her hands on Sonata’s shoulders to get her to stop bouncing. “We can play another game, and I’ll even let you go first.”

Sonata just gave out a cute little squee as Adagio removed her hands from her shoulders and went back over to her chair. Once her sister was back in front of her gameboard and each of them had selected a character, Sonata cleared her throat and prepared to ask her question.

“Dagi.” She said with a certain amount of pride in her voice. “Is your person…a woman?!”

Almost immediately, Adagio lightly slammed her head down on the table, unable to believe that Sonata had yet again asked an attribute-related question that only applied to five people. Even after everything they’d just gone over.

“I give up.” She very softly said into the table.

“Um, Dagi? Are you okay?” Sonata confusedly asked, not having heard her sister’s remark.

Feeling concerned for her sister’s well-being, Sonata got up from her seat and made her way over to Adagio’s side to make sure she was all right.

“Dagi?” She reiterated as she gave Adagio a few light pokes to the head through her poofy hair.

Adagio gave a small, annoyed moan in response, but made no effort to stop Sonata from poking her. After about four pokes, the front door opened and Aria walked in carrying two medium pizzas.

“I’m home.” The pig-tailed Dazzling coolly announced before noticing the rather odd scene occurring in the living room. “Uh, what’s going on?”

“No idea.” Sonata innocently replied as she ceased her poking and addressed Aria. “Dagi and I were just playing Guess Who? when all of a sudden she dropped her head onto the table.”

While Aria was admittedly curious about how a game of Guess Who? had led to Adagio faceplanting on the table, she didn’t ask any follow-up questions. Adagio didn’t seem to be unconscious or anything, so she figured that her sister had simply done this out of some sense of despondency. After all, if anyone could turn something as simple as a boardgame into a frustrating and despair inducing nightmare, it was Sonata.

“Okay, well, get her up. I have to tell you both about something that happened at school today.” She said as she made her way into the kitchen and put the pizzas down on the table. “Plus the pizzas weren’t all that warm when I picked them up, so we should probably get ’em while they’re still at least a little hot.”

“Yeah, okay.” Adagio exhaustively replied as she picked her head up, got up from her seat, and made her way towards the kitchen.

Sonata silently followed her sister into the kitchen as Aria took a few plates out of the kitchen cabinet and placed them on the table.

“What do you two want to drink?” The youngest Dazzling asked her sisters as she entered the kitchen and approached the fridge.

“Hard cider.” Aria replied, in a manner that suggested she really needed one, as she took a seat and got herself a slice of pizza.

“Coke for me.” Adagio said as she too sat down and got a slice of pizza.

Once Sonata reached the fridge, she pulled out a hard cider for Aria, a Coke for Adagio, and a Diet Coke for herself.

“Thanks.” Adagio said as her sister placed her Coke in front of her.

Aria didn’t say anything as Sonata gave her her hard cider, though this was only because her mouth was full of pizza at the moment. So to show her appreciation she just gave her sister a polite nod.

Happy that she’d been helpful, if only slightly, Sonata dawned a small smile as she took a seat and got herself some pizza.

“So, what happened at school today?” Adagio curiously asked Aria before digging into her pizza.

Aria quickly swallowed the pizza in her mouth so that she could answer. However, before she answered she grabbed her hard cider and took a big swig of it, practically downing the whole thing. Needless to say, this gave both Sonata and Adagio the feeling that this wasn’t going to be particularly pleasant news.

“Celestia and Luna came to see me about the ski trip.” She said.

“It hasn’t been cancelled, has it?!” Sonata alarmingly inquired, assuming the worst.

“No, it’s still happening.” Aria assured her distressed sister. “But they said they need help with some last minute prep work, so they asked that you and I help them with it tomorrow, Adagio.”

At first, Sonata felt relieved to hear that the ski trip hadn’t been cancelled, but soon she felt confused. She realized that something Aria had just said didn’t make sense. She’d said that it would be herself and Adagio who would be helping Celestia and Luna tomorrow, but tomorrow was already Adagio’s day to serve as motivational speaker at CHS. How was Adagio supposed to be in two places at once?

Sonata was just about to voice her confusion when all of a sudden Adagio slammed a fist down onto the table, startling her.

“This is getting ridiculous.” The eldest Dazzling heatedly remarked, as if this news had been the metaphorical straw that broke the camel’s back. “Helping chaperone the trip is one thing, at least we get something out of that. But all this extra work with no overtime pay is starting to piss me off. Honestly, Aria, how come you’re so okay with this?”

“Because they said they’ll pay us extra for it.” Aria replied with a sly grin as she reached into her pocket, pulled out a small wad of bills, and placed it on the table. “In fact, they even said they’d pay us upfront.”

Seeing the money Aria had placed on the table lit a small spark in Adagio’s eyes.

“Oh, well why didn’t you say so?” She calmly retorted as she took the wad of bills and started counting how much was in it. “If that’s the case then I don’t mind helping with a little extra prep work.”

“Um, excuse me.” Sonata timidly chimed in. “But…how are you supposed to help Celestia and Luna tomorrow if you’re already going to be serving as motivational speaker, Adagio?”

Adagio immediately stopped flipping through the wad of bills when she heard Sonata’s question. She looked up at her younger sister with a look of bewilderment for an instant before shrugging her shoulders and returning to her bill flipping.

“Well I guess you’ll just have to be motivational speaker instead of me tomorrow, Sonata.” She offhandedly said.

“Yeah, that’s what I told Celestia and Luna we’d do.” Aria just as offhandedly added before taking another bite of pizza.

“What?!” Sonata protested as she vehemently stood up and addressed Aria. “You just volunteered me to be motivational speaker tomorrow?!”

Aria didn’t respond right away as she still had pizza in her mouth. She took her time chewing and swallowing it though as Sonata continued to stare at her with a mixture of disbelief and anger in her eyes.

“Really, Sonata?” She eventually, and acrimoniously, replied. “Didn’t you volunteer all of us to chaperone this ski trip in the first place?”

Aria wasn’t wrong. Sonata had, in fact, volunteered all three of them without consulting either of her sisters beforehand. At the time she’d just been so excited about going on a ski trip she hadn’t thought about how Adagio or Aria would feel about the whole thing, but even after the fact she didn’t think either of them really minded that she’d spoken for them given the circumstance. Apparently though, Aria still had some hard feelings about it.

Realizing that she didn’t have much of a moral high ground to stand on here, Sonata ceased staring agitatedly at Aria and defeatedly sat back down.

“Okay, I’ll do it.” She conceded.

Neither Aria nor Adagio said anything in response. However, Aria did give Sonata a smug little smirk, most likely from feeling prideful at having bested her sister. All Adagio did was just continue to count the money in her hand, acting oblivious to anything else going on in the room.

As Sonata went back to eating her pizza, something about this whole situation continued to bother her. Celestia and Luna both knew the rotation her and her sisters used for which of them served as motivational speaker on a given day, so they would’ve known that Adagio was already set to be motivational speaker tomorrow. So why had they asked for her and Aria when they could’ve just asked for herself and Aria and left things as they were?

Why didn’t they want her help?

The next morning, the Dazzlings all woke up early to get ready for school. Although in Sonata’s case, it was more like she’d simply gotten up early, as she hadn’t really been able to fall asleep the previous night. The question of why Celestia and Luna didn’t want her help with the ski trip prep work continued to plague her mind all night, and it continued to do so into the wee hours of the morning. Even now as she took her morning shower.

“Did I do something to make them mad at me? Did I say something to make them mad at me?”” She somberly asked herself as water from the showerhead rained down upon her. “Was it because I bumped into Celestia in the hallway that one day and made her spill her coffee? Was it because Luna ended up getting sick from eating at that new taco place I told her about?”

Sonata knew, however, that Celestia and Luna weren’t the types to hold grudges, so the reason they didn’t ask for her help probably wasn’t because of any of those things. But this wasn’t comforting to the young Dazzling. In fact, it was almost disconcerting, because if their reason wasn’t because of anything she’d said or did at one point or another, then it could only be because of one thing; her. They just didn’t want her.

“No. No that can’t be it.” She anxiously tried to assure herself as she suddenly found it harder to breathe. “Celestia and Luna aren’t like that. T-They’re nice. They see value in me. T-They aren’t condescending or conceited at all.”

The more Sonata tried to convince herself that she was wrong in thinking that the principal and vice-principal didn’t want her, the stronger the idea became. No matter what nice things she said about Celestia and Luna, however true she knew they were, they didn’t dissuade her from believing that both of them didn’t want her. Soon enough, the idea became so strong that it started to seem like it was the truest thing in the world.

“They aren’t like that!” She hysterically went on as she curled up her right hand into a fist and slammed it against the wall, desperately wanting to believe her own words. “They aren’t like that!”

It was at this point that Sonata’s legs started to give out on her. Sensing that she was going to fall, the Dazzling quickly braced herself against the wall so that she would gently slide down it rather than just simply tumble straight down.

As Sonata slowly descended towards the shower floor, her mind began to reel with moments in her life where she’d been made to feel worthless and unwanted.

YOU PROMISED THAT GLEN WOULD BE FINE! She heard Aria’s voice scream inside her head, as the memory of when her sister’s beloved emu had died came flashing back to her. WELL HE’S NOT FINE, HE’S GONE! HE’S GONE AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!

Honestly, sometimes I think you’re not cut out for motherhood. She then heard Adagio’s voice say as she recalled the time her eldest sister had questioned her ability to raise her daughter, Dolly.

“They aren’t like that.” Sonata weakly continued to say as she finally stopped sliding down the wall and landed on her bottom.

It was slightly easier for Sonata to believe herself this time. She knew that the moments she was currently recalling with her sisters were instances brought upon by extreme emotional distress and insouciance. Aria and Adagio loved and cared about her, even if they didn’t always show it.

For the briefest of moments, Sonata actually started to feel better. That is, until she heard a new voice start to echo through her mind.

You’re the biggest disappointment I’ve ever seen. The new, harsh but still lovely sounding voice berated. I wish I’d never had you.

And just like that, Sonata was right back to feeling despondent as she wrapped her arms around her knees and curled up into a fetal position against the wall. It was difficult for her to tell whether or not she’d started crying at that moment, on account of the shower water continuing to rain down on her, but even if she wasn’t she sure felt like she was.

“They aren’t like Mom.” She dolorously sobbed.

Sonata just continued to lie there on the shower floor in despair for some time. The passage of time seemed to slow down or stop entirely to her, the only indication that it hadn’t being the steady shower of water coming down on her from above. She felt so lost, so helpless, so…unwanted. She’d often felt like this back when she was a young siren, but had forgotten what it truly felt like until now. It was the worst feeling in the world to her, and now it was hitting her like a wrecking ball that was perpetually swinging back and forth, delivering blow after devastating blow to her fragile psyche.

Why do I even bother with you? The voice of her mother continued to belittle her in her mind. You’re useless.

It wasn’t until Sonata heard the sound of violent knocking against the bathroom door who-knows-how-long later that the voices in her head finally ceased and she was able to snap out of her funk.

“Hey, Sonata!” Aria heatedly shouted from out in the hallway. “Save some hot water for the rest of us, will ya!”

“S-Sorry. I’ll be right out.” She more meekly shouted back as she picked herself back up and quickly went to work finishing her shower.

As Sonata hastily shampooed her hair, she contemplated whether or not she should say anything to Aria or Adagio about her little episode just now. Or rather, she contemplated it for the whole of about two seconds before coming to a decision.

“They’ll probably just think I’m making it up to try and get out of going to school today.” She said to herself as she finished shampooing and rinsing her hair.

Despite the fact that this would most likely be the case, Sonata really didn’t want to keep her anxiety attack to herself. She knew this wasn’t something she could just pretend didn’t happen, she needed to talk to someone about it, and either Aria, Adagio, or both of them were the best people to do so with. At least initially.

“I’ll tell them tonight after school.” She decided as she turned the shower off.

The drive into school that morning wasn’t as peaceful as it usually was for Sonata, mostly because she wasn’t alone in the car like she usually was. Heck, she wasn’t even the one driving like usual. She was currently in the back passenger’s side seat while Adagio sat in the front passenger’s seat and Aria drove. This meant that she couldn’t listen to her playlist of pop songs to help psych her up for the day. No, instead today she got to listen to some of Aria’s music since, as the driver, she had control of the radio in accordance with the Dazzling’s car rules. Right now she was being forced to listen to a song she found rather annoying about a bird being the word but that Aria liked because it reminded her of one of her favorite movies.

Needless to say, this wasn’t helping her general mood much.

“Hey, Aria, can you please play a different song?” She very politely asked her sister as she leaned forward and towards the console.

“Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?” Aria randomly replied in a surprisingly macho manner, causing both Sonata and Adagio to look at her with puzzled expressions.

“So…is that a ‘yes’, or…” Sonata then bewilderingly inquired.

“That’s a ‘no’.” Aria clarified, now talking normally.

Sonata just gave a dejected sigh as she leaned back against her seat, right as Adagio reached over and turned the radio off.

“Hey!” Aria shouted as she glared over at her older sister for a second before returning her attention to the road. “I’m driving so I get control of the radio, remember?!”

“Not if it’s going to make you act all crazy.” Adagio very sternly informed Aria.

Aria just gave an annoyed grunt as she turned the radio back on but lowered the volume a bit.

“Excuse me for making a little joke.” She peevishly remarked.

While this new drama between Aria and Adagio hadn’t exactly been peaceful for Sonata, it had at least resulted in the radio being turned down enough so that she could hear herself think again. She tried her best to ignore the music and focus on her own state of mind. Despite the morning she’d been having so far, she needed to be in top form by the time they got to CHS. After all, she was serving as motivational speaker today. She needed to be, well…motivational.

Before Sonata knew it, she and her sisters arrived at school with plenty of time before the first bell was supposed to ring.

“So where are we supposed to go to help with this ‘prep work’, Aria?” Adagio coolly asked as they all got out of the car.

“Luna’s office.” Aria indifferently replied.

“Hm.” Adagio simply uttered in response as she and Aria started making their way up the approach, followed closely behind by Sonata.

Even though Sonata was the one serving as motivational speaker today, for some reason she started to feel that she was a third wheel right now. Like she was the one who was at school for an unusual reason today. Not liking this feeling, she quickly made her way over to Adagio’s side so that they were all walking together just as they were about to enter the building.

As the Dazzlings approached the front entrance, Sonata got a momentary sense of déjà vu when she saw their reflection in the glass door. They were walking together the same way as the first time they’d come to CHS. The whole thing gave her a sense of perspective about how much things had changed for them in the past few months. Back then they had come to CHS to steal Equestrian magic, today they were coming to help people. Back then all they had was each other, now they had more friends than they could count, including her loving girlfriend, Rainbow Dash. It was enough to put a smile on her face, knowing that even though she was having a rough start to her day, things weren’t as bad as they used to be in general. And hopefully, they never would be that bad ever again.

She’d even started to forget why she’d been having a rough morning in the first place.

Now feeling like her usual happy-go-lucky self again, Sonata ran ahead a little and opened one of the glass doors.

“I got it!” She cheerfully said as she held it for her sisters.

“Uh, thanks, Sonata.” Adagio said in a perplexing manner as she entered the building.

Aria didn’t say anything as she stepped inside. She just silently stared at Sonata like she had two heads or something.

Sonata herself then entered the school and started following Adagio and Aria towards Luna’s office, since it was on the way to her office. None of them said anything to each other along the way, but just being with her sisters right now made her feel happy. It wasn’t long before they reached Luna’s office though and they had to split ways.

“We’ll see you after school, Sonata.” Adagio casually said as she and Aria stopped in front of the vice-principal’s door.

“Okay. Have a good day, girls!” Sonata replied as she waved goodbye to her sisters and kept on walking down the hallway.

About 15 seconds after she’d left her sisters, Sonata abruptly stopped walking down the hall as both a realization and an idea suddenly popped into her head.

“Dashie doesn’t know that I’m here today.” She began to think aloud. “I should totally surprise her by waiting for her at her locker!”

Now feeling even giddier because of the thought of seeing her girlfriend, Sonata turned around and started making her way towards the other end of the building where Rainbow Dash’s locker was located, a noticeable pep now in her step. Yes, there was no denying that the young Dazzling was back to her usual self all right. She felt like she didn’t have a care in the world as she made her way through the school. In that moment, her whole world seemed to be filled with nothing but sunshine, lollipops, and…smoke?

“Huh?” She uttered as she suddenly ceased walking about halfway to Rainbow’s locker, swearing that she smelled smoke coming from somewhere nearby.

Sonata sniffed the air a couple of times to be sure of her suspicions, and sure enough after only two sniffs there was no doubt about it; she was definitely smelling smoke. And not the kind of second-hand smoke that comes from having a cigarette. No, this was the kind of smoke that comes from something like a car being set on fire.

“Oh my gosh!” She started panicking as she hastily scanned her surroundings for any signs of smoke or fire. “Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh…”

After a few seconds of frantic searching, Sonata saw what looked to be a small cloud of thin, slightly transparent white smoke coming out from underneath a door about 20 feet to her left. She also happened to see a fire extinguisher located next to said door.

Without even thinking, the Dazzling rushed over to the fire extinguisher and swiftly removed it from its wall cabinet. She tried to remember how she’d seen people in movies and on TV use fire extinguishers and recalled that there was a pin she needed to remove before she could start using it. Quickly finding said pin, she removed it with her left hand and then grasped the nozzle, moving her right hand up to the trigger as she did this.

It’s worth noting that as Sonata was doing all this, she failed to notice the fire alarm right next to the extinguisher cabinet that she probably should’ve pulled from the get-go.

Now armed and ready to fight the fire, Sonata took a few quick, deep breaths to steel her courage before opening the door and, for some reason, closing her eyes before charging into the room.

“AAAAAH!” She shouted as she squeezed the trigger and started randomly spraying foam all around the place, not bothering to open her eyes to even look at where she was aiming.

“AH!” She heard a female voice shout out through the sound of the fire extinguisher spraying. “STOP, STOP!”

Upon hearing the voice telling her to stop, and also upon not feeling any heat from a fire, Sonata ceased spraying the extinguisher foam and opened her eyes to see Twilight Sparkle, practically covered in foam, standing in the middle of the room next to a table with a small, strange looking machine on it, which was also covered in foam.

“Sonata?” The Rainboom asked as she wiped some foam from her glasses.

Worried that the strange machine had caught fire, or possibly even semi-exploded, Sonata carelessly dropped the fire extinguisher on the ground and rushed over to Twilight to make sure she was all right.

“Twilight!” She alarmingly exclaimed as she grabbed the girl by the shoulders once she’d reached her. “Are you okay?! Did you get hurt by the fire?!”

“Fire?” Twilight confusedly inquired, trying her best not to inhale any foam near her mouth as she spoke. “What fire?”

“The fire that made all that smoke!” Sonata clarified as she started brushing as much foam as she could off of Twilight to see if she had any injuries.

At first Twilight had no idea what Sonata was talking about, but as soon as the Dazzling mentioned smoke she understood.

“Oh, that smoke wasn’t caused by a fire.” She explained as she too started removing as much foam as possible from her person. “It was just caused by my perpetual motion machine blowing a couple of fuses…again.”

With almost all the foam now off of Twilight and no visible injuries evident, Sonata breathed a sigh of relief that her friend was okay. This feeling of relief was immediately followed though by an even greater feeling of consternation about what she’d just done.

“There wasn’t a fire.” Sonata stated in a very deadpan manner.

“…No.” Twilight replied with a small hint of confusion in her voice, believing that she’d already made that clear.

It was at this point that a noticeable red blush began to appear on Sonata’s face.

“So I just sprayed you with a fire extinguisher for no real reason then.” She said as her blush slowly got darker.

“Um…I guess?” Twilight awkwardly replied.

By now the blush on Sonata’s face was so intense that she felt like her whole head was about to combust.

“Hehe…sorry.” She embarrassingly, but still sincerely, apologized with a delicate smile.

Admittedly, Twilight was a bit miffed at having been sprayed with a fire extinguisher so unnecessarily. But as she stared at the apologetic Dazzling’s dainty smile and remorseful eyes, she found that she couldn’t stay mad at her.

“It’s okay.” She assured Sonata. “I know you only did it because you thought there was a fire in here.”

For the second time in the last few minutes, Sonata felt a wave of relief wash over her. Despite this, however, she still felt enough embarrassment to fill her with a desire to find something, anything, to distract her from it.

“So, um, what did you say this thing was again?” She curiously asked as she walked closer to the nearby table and feigned interest in Twilight’s machine. “A perpetuity motion machine?”

Perpetual motion machine.” Twilight corrected her as she also diverted her attention to her machine. “It’s a machine that can do work indefinitely without an energy source…hypothetically at least. It’s long been theorized that such a device is an impossibility as it would violate the first two laws of thermodynamics, but given everything that I’ve seen magic is capable of doing in the past few months I believe that it just might be possible after all.”

Sonata didn’t quite know how to respond to all that. Much like math, science had never been her strong suit, so she wasn’t exactly sure she followed much of what Twilight had just said…if anything.

“Wow. Sounds neat.” She simply remarked in a cheerful manner, trying to give the impression that she’d understood every science-y word Twilight had said.

“It is neat, isn’t it!” The adorkable girl blithely agreed as she looked up at the Dazzling. “The only problem is that I can’t find a way to keep the fuses from blowing before I can get any concrete data on whether perpetual motion is being achieved or not.”

As soon as Sonata heard Twilight mention that she was having a problem, something in her mind just flickered on like a light switch and compelled her to ask the following question.

“Do you want some help?”

Immediately after Sonata asked that question, she mentally started to question why she’d just asked it. She knew she didn’t know anything about ‘perpetuity motion’ or thermaldynamics’, so why the heck had she just asked Twilight if she wanted help creating a machine that dealt with such things?

Despite these things, however, she just had a strong desire to be helpful to Twilight in that moment.

“Um, well…” Twilight hesitantly started to say as she contemplated Sonata’s offer. “…I guess I could use some help, but…I’m not exactly sure how you’d help me, Sonata.”

Sonata could feel her heart start to race in her chest as soon as she heard Twilight’s reply to her question.

“W-Well, I could help you with your fuses that keep blowing.” She anxiously said.

“Do you have an understanding of electrical and mechanical engineering?” Twilight then inquired.

“N-No.” Sonata apprehensively replied.

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence between the two girls as they each just looked off to their side, both of them unsure what to say to the other next.

“Listen, Sonata, I appreciate the offer. I really do.” Twilight eventually, and very gently, said. “But, to be perfectly honest…I-I don’t think you can help me with this.”

Just then, Sonata’s heart seemed to stop. In fact, all of time seemed to stop. It was happening again, just like in the shower earlier. She was starting to feel unwanted and useless again, and it was bringing her to the precipice of another anxiety attack.

Idiot. She heard Adagio say within her mind.

You’re the worst. She then heard Aria say.

You’ll never amount to anything. Her mother’s voice then rang out, sending her over the breaking point.

“Please, Twilight! Please let me help you!” She hysterically shouted as she suddenly reached out and grabbed hold of Twilight by the arms in a vice-like grip. “I’ll do anything. I-I’ll get you coffee, I’ll let you use me as a human Guinea pig, anything! JUST PLEASE LET ME HELP YOU!”

“SONATA!” Twilight fearfully shouted as she desperately tried to break free of the Dazzling’s hold. “Y-YOU’RE HURTING ME!”

Quickly coming to her senses and realizing what it was she was doing, Sonata immediately let go of Twilight and backed up a few steps for good measure. What had she done? Why had she done it? These questions and more ran through her mind as she stared at Twilight, who was rubbing her arms where she’d been grabbed with a pained expression on her face. It was then every question but one left Sonata’s mind, and the one that remained was ‘Is Twilight okay’.

Despite wanting to ask her friend if she was okay or not, and to apologize profusely for her actions, Sonata couldn’t utter so much as a single word in that moment. The sense of distress she was feeling right then had caused her to start panting frantically to the point where she wasn’t even sure if she was breathing properly. Even still though, she tried her best to communicate her regret and remorse.

“I…I’m s-sorry.” She softly managed to get out as a few tears started to run down her cheeks. “I’m so…s-so sorry.”

Once the initial pain of being held so hard dissipated, Twilight looked up to see what a wreck Sonata currently was. She didn’t understand why the Dazzling had grabbed her like she had, but as she looked at Sonata’s now tear-stained face she knew that it had to have been because of some sort of deep emotional distress, one that she instinctively wanted to help the girl through.

“I-It’s okay, Sonata.” She gently tried to assure her.

“N-No, it’s not.” Sonata sobbed as she fell to her knees and brought her hands up to her face. “I-I’m not only useless, I’m d-dangerous too.”

Where’s all this coming from? Twilight silently wondered as she watched Sonata cry her eyes out.

Soon enough, the scene became more than the Rainboom could handle. Without hesitation, she quickly moved in front of the Dazzling, got down on her knees, and wrap her in a supportive hug.

“Shh, it’s okay.” She soothingly whispered. “You’re okay.”

Despite wishing that Twilight wasn’t so close to her right now, on account of her self-perceived dangerous disposition, Sonata didn’t fight the hug. She just continued to cry out her feelings until she couldn’t cry anymore. And when that did eventually happen, she lowered her hands from her face and wrapped her arms around Twilight to return the hug.

“I’m so sorry, Twilight.” She once again apologized. “I’m so, so, so sorry.”

“It’s okay, Sonata.” Twilight reiterated for about the third time now before breaking the hug so that the Dazzling could look at her. “See? I’m fine. You’re not dangerous.”

As Sonata looked at where she’d grabbed Twilight’s arms, she saw a few red finger-like marks on each arm but thankfully no bruises or scars or anything like that. Now realizing that she hadn’t hurt Twilight too much, Sonata silently conceded that the Rainboom was right and that she wasn’t dangerous.

“And you’re not useless either.” Twilight assuredly added.

This, however, Sonata wasn’t so easily convinced of as being true.

“Of course I’m useless.” She dejectedly retorted as she looked off to the side. “Nobody wants or needs me. I’m just…nothing.”

Twilight could sense the strong conviction in Sonata’s voice as she berated herself. She’d never heard someone say such self-deprecating things so assuredly before, and she found it to be incredibly heartbreaking. Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing she’d ever experienced.

“Why would you say those things?” She agitatedly asked. “What could possibly make you think such awful things are true?”

Once again, time seemed to stop for Sonata in that moment. Not because she was close to another anxiety attack like before, but because she had a difficult decision to make; share her recent tribulations with Twilight, or keep them to herself. Of course, she had already made a partial decision earlier in the day to tell her sisters about them after school, but sharing them now with Twilight? She wasn’t so sure.

It wasn’t that Sonata didn’t trust Twilight or anything. Like with the rest of the Rainbooms they’d become friends ever since she started working as one of CHS’s motivational speakers. No, Sonata’s main fear with confiding within Twilight was that she wouldn’t understand what it was she was feeling. She knew she hadn’t been through the same thing she and her sisters had, didn’t have the same fears and insecurities that she did. So could she really open up to her the way she was asking her to now?

However, as Sonata continued to look at Twilight she saw something in the girl’s eyes that helped her make her decision. It was compassion; the same kind of compassion she’d seen dozens of times in Rainbow Dash’s eyes when she’d confided in her. She sometimes forgot just how much the Rainbooms were all alike deep down. How any of them would move mountains to help someone they considered a friend, or even a friend of a friend. And that was enough for her.

“…Celestia and Luna didn’t want my help.” She tepidly confessed as she lowered her head, feeling fresh tears starting to form in the corners of her eyes.

“What do you mean?” Twilight gingerly inquired.

“Celestia and Luna didn’t want my help with the prep work for the ski trip.” Sonata dolefully clarified. “They wanted Aria and Adagio specifically, even though they knew today was supposed to be Adagio’s day as motivational speaker. Which means that they specifically didn’t want my help…because I’m useless, just like my mom always said I was.”

Twilight couldn’t help but give an audible gasp after hearing that last part.

“Y-You’re mom used to tell you you were useless?!” She asked in total disbelief.

“Yeah. She wasn’t very nice.” Sonata somberly answered. “She used to tell my sisters and I stuff like that all the time. Stuff like ‘I can’t believe I gave birth to someone as pathetic as you’ and ‘You’re nothing but a disappointment and always will be’. No matter how hard we tried to please her she would never say anything nice to us, even when we did exactly what she wanted us to.”

The more Twilight heard Sonata talk about her mom, the more she began to understand why the Dazzling had been so distressed earlier. She’d studied enough psychology to realize that Sonata’s strong desire to be helpful was an attempt to seek the validation she never got from her mom. She wanted someone to treat her as a person who was useful, as someone who had value.

Fortunately though, the Rainboom had just the information that was sure to make Sonata feel better about herself.

“Sonata, I’m so sorry you were made to feel that way.” She ardently told the distraught Dazzling. “But I can assure you that Principal Celestia and Vice-Principal Luna don’t think you’re useless.”

As much as Sonata wanted to believe Twilight’s words regarding Celestia and Luna, she just found them difficult to believe without any evidence to back them up.

“You don’t know that.” She dejectedly replied as she wiped the tears from her face.

“I do know it.” Twilight retorted with no shortage of conviction. “I know it because I heard them say the exact opposite yesterday.”

Sonata’s head involuntarily popped up when she heard this. She also dawned an expression of both curiosity and skepticism, finding herself intrigued by Twilight’s claim of hearing what Celestia and Luna had said about her, yet leery about how she’d heard it.

“W-What do you mean?” She curiously asked.

“I was in Principal Celestia’s office yesterday when she and Vice-Principal Luna were talking about needing help with the prep work.” Twilight clarified. “Well, I was waiting right outside her office when they were talking about it, but I could still hear what they were saying.”

“For realizes?!” Sonata excitedly inquired as a small spark of hope ignited within her.

“Uh-huh.” Twilight confirmed. “I was there to ask about using this room for testing my perpetual motion machine. Anyways, when Principal Celestia proposed asking you and your sisters for help, Vice-Principal Luna said, and I quote, ‘If we went with that option then I’d like it to be Aria and Adagio who help us, so that way Sonata would be the motivational speaker tomorrow’.”

There were a couple of ways Sonata could interpret Luna’s remark. One way was that the vice-principal had wanted Aria and Adagio’s help and that her being motivational speaker would just be a consequence of that, which was more or less the Dazzling’s assumption from the start. The other, and more optimistic way of looking at it, was that Luna had wanted Aria and Adagio’s help because she wanted her to be motivational speaker.

Sonata wanted to believe the more optimistic interpretation, but she needed more information first.

“W-What else did they say.” She inquired.

“Well, after that Principal Celestia said, ‘I agree. Most of the students seem to prefer it when Sonata is motivational speaker. I think it would be best to ask for Aria and Adagio’s help then’.” Twilight said.

And just like that, the little spark of hope within Sonata exploded like a supernova.

“T-They both really s-said that?” She asked Twilight as tears of joy started to well-up in the corners of her eyes. “Y-You’re not just m-making all this up t-to make me feel better?”

“I’m not making it up, Sonata.” Twilight earnestly assured her. “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

There were no words to describe the warm and happy feeling Sonata felt within that moment. Celestia and Luna hadn’t made their decision based on not wanting her, but because they had wanted her. And not only that, but they wanted her over Aria and Adagio! Never in her life had she been desired over her sisters in such a way. It was all too much to keep inside, and she wrapped her arms around Twilight as she broke down not in an anxiety attack, but in a fit of gaiety.

“T-Thank you, T-Twilight!” She gratefully bawled as she held her friend tight. “Thank you s-so much for t-telling me that!”

Happy that Sonata was feeling better now, Twilight gladly returned the hug. Though not as tightly.

“Don’t mention it.” She simply replied. “Happy to help.”

The two girls continued to hold each other for about a minute before Sonata decided to break the hug and get up.

“So, um, I guess I’ll just leave you to work on your perpetuity motion machine then.” She said with a hint of embarrassment in her voice.

Twilight couldn’t help but give a small giggle as she also got up off the floor, finding it amusing that Sonata was still calling her invention a perpetuity motion machine.

“Actually, I was wondering if you’d be willing to be my assistant on this project." She amiably said. “I-If you still want to help me that is.”

“Of course I still want to help you!” Sonata vigorously replied as she dawned a wide, jubilant smile and grabbed hold of the Rainboom’s shoulders, making sure to be mindful of how much strength she was using. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it!”

“Um, okay then.” Twilight semi-anxiously replied, feeling a little uncomfortable by the Dazzling’s smile and close proximity. “How about you start by…getting us some coffee?”

“Coffee! Yes ma’am!” Sonata stoutly said as she let go of Twilight, gave a quick salute, and dashed out of the room like a bat out of Hell.

Now alone, Twilight couldn’t help but contemplate what she’d just done by asking Sonata to assist her. Despite having done what she felt was the right thing to do for the Dazzling, she couldn’t help but feel that maybe she’d made a huge mistake in terms of the success of her project.

“Come on, come on.” Sonata said as she impatiently waited in the faculty lounge for the coffee to brew.

When Twilight had asked her to go get them some coffee the first place she’d thought of going was to the convenience store down the street, but she soon remembered that the faculty lounge usually had a pot going by this time in the morning. Usually. Today proved the exception, however, and so she was forced to wait for her joe to be made, making her wish she’d just gone to the convenience store like originally planned.

“At least it’ll be fresh.” She sighed as she continued to wait, trying to find what silver-lining she could out of this unwanted delay.

Just as the coffee started to pour into the pot, Sonata heard the door open and looked to see who was entering the room.

“Principal Celestia!” She exclaimed in surprise.

“Oh, Sonata.” The principal replied in her usual pleasant tone. “I’m glad I ran into you. I wanted to thank you for coming in today. I know you weren’t scheduled to, so I apprecia-“

Celestia abruptly stopped talking as Sonata suddenly wrapped her arms around her in a great big hug.

“Thank you.” The Dazzling warmly and sincerely said.

“You’re…welcome?” Celestia awkwardly replied, feeling very confused at the moment. “Um, just to be clear, what are you thanking me for exactly, Sonata.”

“Just for everything, mo-er…ma’am.” Sonata wholeheartedly answered as she let go of her boss and looked up at her with fondness and admiration.

“Oh, well, I…appreciate your gratitude.” The principal then said, unable to think of anything else to say. “But if you’ll excuse me I need to…leave…now.”

And with that, Celestia left the room just as quickly as she’d arrived.

“Okay, bye.” Sonata innocently said just before returning to the coffee, having found nothing that had just transpired between herself and Celestia to be odd or unusual in any way.

Soon enough the coffee pot was filled and Sonata poured a cup for Twilight and a cup for herself. As she left the faculty lounge and headed back to Twilight’s room with coffee in hand, she found herself thinking about how lucky she was to have people like Twilight, Celestia, and her sisters in her life. People who saw value within her, even when she didn’t see it within herself.

Adagio, Aria, and Sonata

View Online

“Come on, come on.” Sonata Dusk anxiously said to herself as she paced back and forth across the living room floor with her phone held up to her ear. “Pick up, pick up.”

What up, nerds? It’s Rainbow Dash, having way too much fun being awesome to answer your call.” A pre-recorded message eventually started playing. “So leave a message, if you’re too old to text me.

Having only gotten her girlfriend’s voicemail, the youngest Dazzling gave a dejected sigh as she ended her phone call.

“I have been texting you, Dashie, but you aren’t replying.” She sullenly said aloud to no one in particular. “That’s why I’m trying to call you.”

“Will you just relax, Sonata.” Aria Blaze told her sister from the couch as she tried to watch TV, with only the slightest hint of agitation in her voice. “It’s not like Rainbow Dash ignoring her phone is anything new or unusual.”

“Aria’s right, Sonata.” Adagio Dazzle concurred from the other end of the couch, sounding way more mellow than she usually did, as she tapped the empty seat next to her. "Just relax and come watch some TV with us."

Normally both Sonata and Aria would find Adagio being in such a mood to be…suspicious, but not in this particular instance. This was because they knew exactly why their sister was in such high spirits right now; she was excited for the school ski trip tomorrow.

Yes, the long awaited ski trip was now just a few hours away from happening and all three of the Dazzlings were excited for it, though Adagio was the only one actually showing it right now. Aria was giving off her usual, indifferent attitude, though this was only because she had a lot on her mind regarding her friend, Trixie. Sonata’s excitement about the trip was being tempered by the fact that she couldn’t seem to get ahold of her beloved Dashie. She couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong. Aria had been right about Rainbow Dash not being the most vigilant person when it comes to checking her phone, but even she wasn’t this negligent. However, realizing that there was nothing she could do to get in-touch with her girlfriend, short of driving all the way to her house at 11:45pm, Sonata just gave another dejected sigh as she put her phone in her pocket and made her way over to the couch.

"So what are you watching?” She offhandedly asked as she took a seat in-between her sisters.

"Seinfeld.” Adagio nonchalantly replied.

Having not recalled seeing the episode that was on before, Sonata decided to just kick back and watch it with her sisters, hoping that doing so would help take her mind off of Rainbow Dash for a bit.

Right now the scene appeared to feature George Costanza, who was in some sort of meeting with his boss.

I’m going to get right to the point.” George’s boss said through the TV. “It’s come to my attention that you and the cleaning woman have engaged in sexual intercourse on the desk in your office. Is that correct?

Who said that?” George asked.

She did.” George’s boss bluntly answered.

Was that wrong?” George replied, trying to sound innocent. “Should I not have done that?

The scene elicited small chuckles from each of the Dazzlings, but there was something different about the way Sonata chuckled compared to Aria and Adagio. Her chuckle was a bit more…sensuous than theirs, and it didn’t escape Aria’s notice.

“Why’d you just laugh like that?” The pig-tailed Dazzling curiously asked her sister.

“Huh?” Sonata confusedly replied as she turned to face Aria.

“Why’d you laugh so sultry?” Aria clarified, now gaining Adagio’s attention as well.

“Oh, that? It was because that scene reminded me of when Dashie and I-” Sonata casually began to say, before quickly remembering that she shared her office at school with her sisters. “-Never mind.”

At first, both Aria and Adagio dawned puzzled expressions about what Sonata had been getting at before cutting herself off. But soon enough, they each put two-and-two together and their puzzled expressions quickly transformed into ones of horror.

“Oh my god.” Aria very softly, but also very alarmingly, uttered as the stark realization hit her, causing her to now find herself frozen on the couch in shock.

“Sonata!” Adagio very distressingly said as she grabbed hold of her youngest sister and turned her around to face her. “Please tell us you didn’t have sex with Rainbow Dash on the desk in our office at school!”

Sonata remained silent, but gave a very awkward smile in a desperate attempt to downplay the tension of the current situation. All it did was make her look guilty.

“Oh, Sonata.” Adagio crestfallenly stated as she let go of her sister. “Just…why?”

“We…thought it’d be kinky?” Sonata awkwardly half-answered, half-asked.

“Oh my god.” Aria reiterated, now sounding a tad nauseous as she recalled all the times she’d eaten lunch at her desk.

Adagio too started to feel queasy as rather explicit images of her sister and Rainbow Dash started to enter her mind against her will. As much as she wanted this whole unpleasant situation to end right here, there was still more information that she needed to know.

“When?” She asked with a small tremor in her voice.

“L-Last Friday…” Sonata apprehensively replied. “…and two Tuesdays before that…and the Thursday before-“

“Oh my-hurr!” Aria began to say before she swiftly covered her mouth as she felt some vomit coming up her throat, causing her to quickly get over her initial shock, jump off of the couch, and make a b-line for the bathroom.

The sight of Aria nearly losing her cookies made Adagio’s stomach churn, but not enough to make her feel that she was about to do likewise. Instead, she just continued to stare at Sonata in utter disbelief, now finding herself at a complete loss for words.

Sonata, meanwhile, just continued to sit silently and give her awkward smile, not knowing what else to do in that moment. She couldn’t believe what she’d just done. How the hell had she allowed herself to essentially confess that she’d had sex with Rainbow Dash multiple times on the work desk she shared with her sisters? She knew she could be a bit ditzy sometimes, but this was a whole new level of foolishness for her, especially considering how much she didn’t like it when Rainbow Dash talked about their love life with other people.

Choosing to ignore how she’d arrived at this very uncomfortable situation and instead focus on how to resolve it, Sonata quickly tried to think of something to say that might possibly make Adagio feel better.

“Um…we made sure to clean the desk after each time.” She awkwardly remarked, just before hearing the sound of Aria throwing up coming from the bathroom.

Adagio, in response, just took a long, deep breath as she placed a firm hand on her sister’s shoulder and looked her square in the eyes with a very tenacious gaze.

“Here’s what’s going to happen, Sonata.” She sternly said. “First off, you and Rainbow Dash are never going to have sex in our office again. In fact, you’re never going to have sex on school grounds again, got it?”

“G-Got it.” Sonata immediately agreed, feeling immensely intimidated by Adagio’s commanding demeanor.

“Good.” The eldest Dazzling continued. “And secondly, we are never to speak of this again. Is that clear?”

“Y-Yes, ma’am.” Sonata once again agreed without haste as she started to feel a cold sweat come over her.

Satisfied with Sonata’s responses, Adagio let go of her sister’s shoulder and got up from her seat.

“All right then.” She said as she made her way around the couch and towards the hallway. “I’m going to bed now, and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I’ll think that everything that happened in the last few minutes was just a bad dream.”

Sonata almost spoke up to tell her sister good night, but decided against it at the last second. She figured the less she said to her right now, the better. After hearing the sound of Adagio’s bedroom door close, the youngest Dazzling turned off the TV, stood up, and made her way over to the bathroom door to make sure her other sister was okay.

“Aria?” She timidly said through the closed door. “You okay in there? You want me to hold your hair for you while you throw up?”

Just as Sonata finished talking, the door suddenly flew open to reveal a very pissed-off looking Aria on the other side.

“So, um, sorry about…all that.” The pony-tailed Dazzling tried to apologize, hoping it would get her sister to stop staring at her with such fire and fury in her eyes. “I-I promised Dagi that it would never happen again, so…i-it won’t happen again, honest.”

Sonata could tell her apology had done little to lighten her sister’s mood. In fact, Aria almost seemed to be even more pissed-off now, leaving her to fear what sort of dreadful retribution she was soon in store for.

“Move.” Aria simply said, though in an incredibly threatening manner.

Feeling her cold sweat returning, Sonata did as instructed and moved out of the way of the door so that Aria could exit the bathroom, feeling a small sense of relief that things hadn’t escalated nearly as much as she’d imagined.

Without another word, or even an acknowledgement of her sister’s presence, Aria stepped out of the bathroom and stormed off towards her room. Once she got there, she opened the door, stepped inside, and swiftly slammed the door shut behind her, leaving Sonata alone in the hallway.

As she stood there in the now empty hallway, Sonata couldn’t help but feel despondent over everything that had just happened between her and her sisters. She knew she’d screwed up big this time, and not just in revealing what she and Rainbow Dash had done in their office, but also in the fact that she’d done the dirty deed there in the first place.

“Way to go, Sonata, you big dummy.” She softly rebuked herself. “You really messed up this time.”

Sonata knew she had to make things right with her sisters, and soon. Not only for the sake of their sisterly relationship, but for the sake of the ski trip tomorrow as well. She really didn’t want to be responsible for ruining the ski trip on top of everything else. The only problem was, she didn’t know how to go about making things right this time. But she at least knew a good place to start.

The next morning, Adagio was abruptly awoken by the alarm on her phone going off as if it were just another school day. The only thing was that it wasn’t a normal school day because of the ski trip starting today. She and her sisters didn’t need to report to CHS until a few hours later than the usual start time, but because of everything that had happened the previous evening she had forgotten to turn off her alarm.

“Ugh!” She frustratingly uttered as she grabbed her phone off the nearby nightstand and promptly turned the alarm off.

Adagio always hated waking up earlier then she needed to. She was one of those people who enjoyed getting their beauty sleep, and having it cut short so unnecessarily was something that she did not enjoy.

“Damn it.” She tiredly uttered as she put her phone back on the nightstand, knowing full-well that she wasn’t going to be able to get back to sleep.

Begrudgingly accepting that she was now awake, Adagio lazily sat up in her bed and gave a big morning yawn as she mentally prepared for the day ahead. Thanks to all the prep work she’d assisted Celestia and Luna with to get the ski trip ready, she knew she was going to need all the strength and energy she could muster in order to help chaperone 30 high school kids. She figured that the best way to do this was to start by having a good breakfast, so she slowly pulled the covers off herself and prepared to get out of bed as she contemplated what it was she wanted to eat. Almost as soon as her feet touched the ground though, she could have sworn that she faintly smelled bacon cooking.

“What the heck?” She perplexingly wondered as she finished getting out of bed and headed for her bedroom door.

Coincidently, at the exact moment that Adagio opened her door and stepped out into the hall, Aria did the same. The two sisters just sort of stared at each other for a moment before Aria decided to speak up.

“You smell bacon too?” She curiously inquired.

“Yeah.” Adagio offhandedly answered before making her way down the hall towards the kitchen, followed closely by Aria.

When the two Dazzlings reached the kitchen, the first thing they each noticed was that the table was covered with plates of pancakes, toast, country sausage, and waffles. There was also a few glasses of orange juice amongst the spread as well.

“O-kay.” Adagio randomly remarked, confused as to where all this had come from.

“Huh.” Was all Aria could say, feeling the same as Adagio.

Once they were done gawking at the impressive spread on the table, both girls shifted their focus to the rest of the kitchen where they saw Sonata standing over by the stove with what appeared to be a couple of plates of bacon in her hands.

“Oh good, your both up!” The youngest Dazzling gaily said once she noticed her sisters. “I was just about to come get you for breakfast!”

“You…made all this, Sonata?” Adagio bewilderingly asked as her sister walked over to the table and placed the plates of bacon down on it.

“Uh-huh.” Sonata less gaily answered, now adopting a more serious demeanor. “I wanted to apologize for, well…everything about last night. I’m super-duper sorry for what I did with Dashie in our office, and I meant it when I agreed to it never happening again. I know this breakfast isn’t enough to truly make up for my mistake, but I hope it’s enough for us to be on good terms during the ski trip. Once the trip is over though, I promise to do whatever it takes to make things right with you, girls.”

Admittedly, Adagio felt a bit touched by Sonata’s apologetic efforts. She admired her sister’s willingness to correct her mistake so tenaciously. Plus, she agreed with what she’d said about them being okay enough during the ski trip. Despite how much the whole thing seemed like a vacation it was still technically work time for them, so they really couldn’t afford to be too upset with each other during said time.

Adagio turned her head to see if Aria felt the same way as her, but one look at her sister’s face and she knew that she didn’t. Aria gave off a scowl that was a tad more intense than she usually did, which indicated to Adagio that she was still pretty upset.

“No way I’m letting her off that easily.” The pig-tailed girl whispered to her sister.

“I know how you feel, Aria, but Sonata does have a point.” Adagio whispered back, trying to sympathize with Aria but still keep a level head. “We have a job to do chaperoning this trip and we can’t be pissed-off at each other while we do it.”

Aria’s scowl-y expression noticeably lightened up as she listened to Adagio, finding it hard to argue with what she was saying.

“So let’s just go along with her idea.” Adagio softly continued. “We’ll accept breakfast as a good enough apology for now, and when we get back from the trip we’ll make her do something like, I dunno…clean the house and emu pens for a month.”

Aria’s scowl disappeared entirely after Adagio finished speaking and was replaced with a small, wicked smile as she imagined Sonata trying to clean all the emu pens in the barn for a whole month, dressed like a Victorian orphan for some reason.

“Yeah, all right.” She impishly agreed.

Relieved that she’d been able to get Aria to calm down, at least for now, Adagio gave a quick mental sigh before turning back around to address Sonata.

“Okay, deal.” She informed her sister as she walked over to the table and took a seat. “But as soon as the ski trip is over we’re addressing this fully.”

“Damn right we are.” Aria devilishly concurred, as though she knew a juicy little secret that Sonata didn’t, as she too walked over to the table and took a seat.

Sonata gave a small sigh of relief before sitting down herself.

“Thanks, girls.” She sincerely said.

“Yeah, yeah.” Aria offhandedly replied as she filled her plate with waffles. “Just pass the bacon, will ya?”

Adagio watched Sonata pass Aria some bacon while she filled her plate with some country sausages and a few pieces of toast, thinking about how despite how much things had changed for them over the past few months, some things were still the same. Sonata still made ditzy mistakes from time-to-time, Aria still got pissed-off by them, and she herself was still the one in the middle of it all, trying to maintain sanity. She figured that no matter how much things changed for them this would always be the case, but that was fine with her. It made her life…interesting

“So, what’s the plan for this morning again?” Sonata abruptly asked, finding herself unable to recall what they were supposed to do before the trip actually got underway.

Aria just rolled her eyes in response before taking a big bite of her waffles, leaving Adagio to answer her sister’s question.

“We go to the school, meet Celestia, Luna, and all the students in the foyer, and wait for the bus to show up.” She tepidly reminded her sister.

“Oh, right.” Sonata replied with a hint of embarrassment in her voice, just before filling up her plate with pancakes and digging in.

The rest of breakfast was spent in relative silence as the Dazzlings chowed down, the only sounds being the clinking and clanking of utensils against plates. Soon enough they all finished eating, cleared the table, and each went about getting ready to head off to school.

As Aria drove her sisters and herself to CHS, she couldn’t help but feel that she was on auto-pilot as she contemplated what it was she was going to say to Trixie when they got there. She knew that her friend was going to ask her today if she’d decided on whether or not she wanted to enter into a relationship with her, she just knew it. Trixie had been very respectful of her need for time to think things over up to this point, having never once pestered her for an answer. But she knew that her friend’s patience was undoubtably wearing thin and that she was going to have to give her an answer…soon.

Aria’s problem wasn’t that she was unsure if she could reciprocate Trixie’s feelings for her, she did like Trixie. No, her problem was whether or not she could accept love into her life. She had gotten some pretty messed up ideas about what love was when she was younger, and those scars ran deep. No matter how much soul-searching or deep-thinking she did, she just couldn’t seem to figure out if she was capable of being in a romantic relationship.

Frankly, the whole thing was starting to drive her crazy.

“Slow down, Aria.” She suddenly heard Adagio say from the passenger’s seat, snapping her out of her train of thought. “You’re going to miss the turn into the parking lot.”

Aria swiftly turned her attention towards Adagio to see her sister pointing abrasively out the window at the school.

“Oh, sorry.” She meekly said as she promptly decelerated and turned into the school’s parking lot.

There was no shortage of available spaces for Aria to choose from, so she just pulled into the space that seemed closest to the entrance and turned the car off. As she and her sisters made the walk up the approach towards the building, a troubling thought occurred to her; what if she turned Trixie down and she didn’t want to be friends anymore? She didn’t want that to happen. That was the last thing she wanted to happen.

Okay, I’ll tell her we can be a couple and just hope things work out for the best. She hastily decided in her head.

However, just as she’d made that decision another troubling thought occurred to her; what if things didn’t work out for the best? What is she ended up emotionally abusing Trixie in the same way her mother had done to her father? She knew that such a circumstance wasn’t outside the realm of possibility, and that she wanted that even less than losing Trixie’s friendship.

Ugh! She mentally groaned as she found herself right back to being without an answer.

About halfway up the approach, Aria began to realize that driving herself crazy with ‘what ifs’ wasn’t going to help her make a decision. She took a few deep, mental breaths to calm herself and just decided to not worry about it so much. If Trixie came up and talked to her, she’d just be honest. She’d say she still hadn’t reached a decision and would simply let the chips fall where they may, no matter how unpleasant they may fall.

Once they reached the main entrance and walked inside, all three Dazzlings saw that a number of students were already waiting around in the foyer. Even Luna was already there, though she was busy talking on her phone. At first glance it appeared that practically everyone had arrived before them, but as they looked around they each noticed a few people missing, the most notable being Trixie, Rainbow Dash, and Celestia.

“I’m going to see if any of the Rainbooms have heard from Dashie.” Sonata anxiously informed her sisters before making her way over to where some of the Rainbooms were standing.

As Aria watched Sonata walk away, she couldn’t help but give a small eye roll before turning her head to address Adagio.

“Is this just something that happens in relationships?” She halfheartedly asked. “You freak out anytime your partner doesn’t answer their phone.”

“If you’re Sonata, than yes.” Adagio nonchalantly answered. “Otherwise, no, I don’t believe so.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Aria replied just before noticing Luna coming over to them, looking rather frantic.

“Oh good, you girls are here.” The vice-principal said to them with great relief in her voice. “I just got off the phone with Transportation Unlimited and they say they have no record of us chartering a bus with them. Can one of you please go to my sister’s office and inform her that we’ll be getting a later start than expected while I run to my office and get the paperwork to sort this out?”

Both Aria and Adagio turned their attention to each other and dawned expressions that seemed to say, ‘Can you take this one?’. When they realized that they were both trying to silently communicate the same thing to one another, they each changed their expression to one that was more…authoritative in an attempt to get their sister to accept instead of them. Normally Adagio would emerge victorious in these sorts of standoffs, but Aria somehow managed to give her sister a look that made the poofy-haired girl’s spine shiver. So much so that she quickly conceded.

“I’ll go.” Adagio informed Luna before hastily making her way across the foyer in the direction of Celestia’s office.

“Thank you, Adagio.” Luna gratefully shouted to her just before she ran off in the opposite direction towards her office.

Aria couldn’t help but flash a small, victorious smile as she watched her sister walk through the foyer towards the hallway. She wasn’t sure what kind of look she’d given Adagio to make her cave, obviously, but she sure was glad that she’d given it. Besting her older sister never failed to fill her with a great deal of satisfaction. However, this sense of satisfaction quickly dissipated when she felt a hand touch her shoulder and turned around to see Trixie standing right behind her with an atrabilious look on her face.

“Trixie. H-Hey.” She anxiously greeted her friend as she felt all of her worries from earlier resurface.

“Hey, Aria.” Trixie rather dejectedly greeted her back.

This was it, the moment Aria had feared was now nigh, and she was already freaking out in her mind. Trixie’s forlorn expression, the dispirited tone in her voice, neither of these things helped to put her at ease for what she was about to say to her friend. For the briefest of moments she considered backtracking on her decision to be honest and let the chips fall where they may, but she knew that lying to Trixie wouldn’t solve anything in the long run. In fact, lying would probably just make things between them even worse. She had to be honest, right here and right now.

“Listen, Trixie, about us…being a couple.” She began to dolefully say as she struggled to look the girl in the eyes. “I-I haven’t really…made a decision yet…and I-”

“It’s all right, Aria.” Trixie interrupted her. “You don’t have to make a decision.”

“I…don’t?” Aria confusingly retorted.

It was at this point that Trixie gently took ahold of Aria’s hands, much to the Dazzling’s continued confusion and dismay.

“Aria, you’re my friend, and you always will be, but…” Trixie began to explain with dolente compassion. “…the other day…someone asked me out, and I…I intend to tell them yes.”

Aria could literally feel her heart skip a beat from shock when she heard Trixie say this. Of all the things she’d expected to hear from her friend after confessing that she hadn’t come to a decision yet, that had never even once crossed her mind.

“W-What?” She asked in her stunned state as she desperately tried to keep her hands from shaking. “W-Who asked you out?”

“Someone I met shortly after hiring Sugarcoat as my manager. Her name’s Sour Sweet.” Trixie explained. “She’s a little…capricious, but actually really nice once you get to know her.”

Upon learning the mystery person’s name, Aria quickly recalled all the times her and Trixie had hung out since Sugarcoat had become the magician girl’s manager, trying to remember any instances where this ‘Sour Sweet’ had been mentioned.

No such instances came to mind.

“Anyways, we started hanging out together every once and a while after we met, and soon enough we became friends.” Trixie continued. “But the other day, she…she said she wanted to be more than friends and asked me to go out with her. At first I was going to tell her I couldn’t because I already had a crush on someone else, but...but when I thought about how long I’d been waiting for you, I just couldn’t tell her that.”

“Trixie, look, I’m really sorry it’s been taking me so long to figure things out.” Aria hastily apologized. “But I swear, the reason for that is because I’m taking all of this seriously. I want to accept your feelings for me, I truly do, but it’s…it’s just been hard for me to find it within myself to do that.”

“I know it’s been hard for you, Aria.” Trixie empathetically replied as she ever-so-slightly tightened her grip on the Dazzling’s hands. “And I’m sorry, but I…I just can’t wait any longer.”

It was just as Aria had feared; she’d taken too long to make her decision and Trixie’s patience had run out. She was just about to say something to her friend when all of a sudden Trixie let go of her hands and embraced her in an emotional hug.

“I’m sorry I put all this hardship on you.” The magician girl sincerely said as a few tears began to slowly fall down her cheeks. “And I really do hope that someday you can find it within yourself to accept love into your life.”

Almost instinctively, Aria raised her arms up to return the hug. But before she could wrap her arms around Trixie’s back, the girl let go of her and swiftly made her way through the foyer towards the hallway, leaving a small trail of tears behind her.

Now alone, all Aria could do was stare off into space as she tried to process everything that had just happened. Of all the ways she’d expected the chips to fall, this way had certainly been a shocker. She had figured that Trixie might tell her to forget it because of how long she was taking, but she hadn’t expected the reason for that to be because another girl had asked her out. Plus, there was Trixie’s apology at the end. Why had she done that? She hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t her fault that she was so fucked up in the head that she couldn’t decide if she wanted her love or not.

The whole thing made Aria feel like she was going to cry. Heck, she wanted to cry on account of how distraught she was feeling right now, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t shed a single, solitary tear for either Trixie or herself. All she could do was continue to stare off into space until she felt a hand touch her shoulder, causing her to snap out of her funk and turn around to see who it was that was touching her.

“Aria, is everything okay?” Sonata concernedly asked her. “You look a little…out of it.”

“I…I’m fine.” Aria less-than-convincingly replied. “D-Did you find Rainbow Dash?”

Sonata could tell that her sister was trying to steer away from talking about something by asking her about Rainbow Dash, but given how perturbed she seemed right now she figured it was best to just let whatever it was go for now.

“No, she’s not here yet.” She somewhat dourly answered. “And the other Rainbooms all said they haven’t talked to her since yesterday when school ended either.”

At first Aria got her usual urge to make some kind of agitated remark in response to what she viewed as ‘unwarranted worry’, but she quickly suppressed it.

“I’m sure she’s all right.” She assured her sister.

Feeling slightly touched by Aria’s encouraging words, Sonata flashed her a small smile just as Adagio came running up to them, looking just about as frantic as Luna had earlier.

“Girls!” She alarmingly said to them in a hushed tone. “There’s something I need to tell you both.”

“What is it?” Sonata anxiously inquired. “Is it about Dashie?”

“No, it’s not about her.” Adagio hastily replied. “It’s-”

“Attention, everyone!” Principal Celestia’s voice suddenly rang out as she entered the foyer alongside Luna, causing Adagio to stop talking. “I’ve just learned from Vice-Principal Luna that our bus is going to be a little late, so we won’t be departing at our scheduled time.”

Not surprisingly, most of the students gave disappointed moans after Celestia finished her announcement. The Dazzlings, however, gave no such moans.

“Okay, so what’s up?” Aria asked, returning to their conversation.

“Not now.” Adagio said as she took a quick glance over towards Celestia and Luna. “Not until we’re alone.”

Adagio’s sudden unwillingness to share whatever it was she needed to tell them confused Aria and Sonata. But when they noticed the way she’d looked over at the principal and vice-principal, they figured that she didn’t want it said while they were around. Needless to say, this filled the two Dazzlings with a general sense of unease. Especially Sonata.

“Can you at least give us a hint?” The pony-tailed girl softly inquired.

“Not. Now.” Adagio sharply replied, making it perfectly clear to both of her sisters that her news had to wait.

Just then, the Dazzlings heard the sound of the doors opening behind them and they turned around to see who it was. When it was revealed to them to be Rainbow Dash, Sonata immediately rushed over to her girlfriend and threw herself around her in a hug.

“Dashie!” She exclaimed in relief as she held her lover tight. “Why weren’t you answering your phone last night? I was so, so worried about you!”

“I-I’m sorry, Sonata.” Rainbow Dash replied with a hint of melancholy in her voice as she returned the hug. “I didn’t mean to worry you.”

Sensing the wistfulness in her girlfriend’s voice, Sonata quickly broke the hug and looked Rainbow Dash square in the eyes with a concerned expression.

“Something’s wrong, I can tell.” She bluntly said. “Whatever it is, you know you can tell me, right? I’m here for you, Dashie.”

“Listen, Sonata, we…” Rainbow started to say, sounding even more melancholy now and slightly averting her gaze from her girlfriend. “…We need to talk.”

Sonata dawned a very visible expression of shock and anxiety when she heard Rainbow Dash say this. She’d seen enough romantic comedies to know what ‘We need to talk’ led to.

“But not right now.” Rainbow continued. “Later, on the bus. Okay?”

“O-Okay.” Sonata absentmindedly replied due to her stunned state.

“Thanks.” Rainbow Dash said before planting a small kiss on her cheek and then walking away.

“Y-Yeah.” Sonata said to herself as she slowly brought a hand up to the cheek Rainbow had kissed.

After a few seconds of Sonata just standing around by herself, and awkwardly cupping her cheek, Adagio and Aria made their way over to her out of worry for their little sister.

“Hey, you okay?” Aria inquired, actually sounding a tad concerned.

“I…I don’t know.” Sonata flatly replied as she put her hand down and turned to face her sisters. “Dashie said that we…need to talk.”

Much like Sonata, both Adagio and Aria gave visible expressions of shock and anxiety when they heard the words, ‘we need to talk’, though not quite as intense.

“I-I’m sure it’s nothing.” Aria tried to assure her distressed sister, knowing she was fearing the worst.

“Y-Yeah.” Adagio concurred, even going so far as to place a supportive hand on Sonata’s shoulder. “You know how Rainbow Dash is. She’s always making things out to be a bigger deal than they actually are.”

As much as Sonata wanted to believe her sisters’ words, she found it incredibly hard to do so. It was true that Rainbow Dash exaggerated things a little from time-to-time, but the way she’d said, ‘we need to talk’ had been so austere that she couldn’t help but assume a disastrous denouement. Despite this however, she tried her best to put on a brave face because she still had a job to do today, and she knew she couldn’t do it very well while worrying about her personal affairs.

“You’re probably right.” She listlessly said before she removed Adagio’s hand from her shoulder and started walking away.

“Uh, where are you going?” Aria inquired.

“To see if Celestia and Luna need us for anything.” Sonata replied.

Figuring that that wasn’t a bad idea for a few reasons, not the least of which being that helping Celestia and Luna was the reason they were even going on this ski trip in the first place, Adagio and Aria followed their sister through the foyer over to where the principal and vice-principal were standing. But when they got there neither woman said they needed any assistance from them until the bus arrived, basically leaving them to just wait around like everyone else. Leaving them with little to do to keep from focusing on their recent woes, other than making awkward small talk with one another.

“Um, it sure was nice of Big Mac and Apple Bloom to take care of the emus while we’re gone, don’t you think?” Sonata randomly remarked.

“Yeah.” Adagio replied. “We’ll have to get them something to say thanks when we get back.”

“Maybe a gift certificate to that barbeque joint downtown.” Aria suggested. “Applejack said her family loves that place.”

“Maybe.” Adagio simply replied.

This sort of chit-chat continued between the three Dazzlings until the bus pulled up a half hour later. Once it did, Celestia and Luna had them do a quick head count to make sure everyone was present and accounted for while they went out and spoke with the bus driver. After the head count was completed and showed that everyone was there, they moved all the students outside and began letting them board the bus. The boarding went fairly smoothly, and as soon as all the students were aboard they too hopped onboard and found some seats. Sonata sat with Rainbow Dash towards the middle of the bus while Adagio and Aria sat together at the very front. As soon as Celestia, Luna, and the driver got on as well, they were off.

It had been about three hours since the bus had left CHS, and by now Adagio and Aria were starting to feel bored. They hadn’t said much to each other up to this point as neither of them could really think of any interesting subjects they could use to strike up a conversation. Or at least, any subjects that they wanted to share. The thought of talking about what’d happened with Trixie had crossed Aria’s mind a few times, but each time she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to talk about that with Adagio, at least not right now. She’d also considered trying to find out what Adagio’s big news was again once or twice, but she knew she wouldn’t get anything on account of the fact that Celestia and Luna were sitting right across from them.

Eventually though, the silence became too uncomfortable for Aria and she turned towards Adagio to ask her a question.

“What do you think Sonata and Rainbow Dash are talking about?” She inquired.

“No idea.” Adagio replied as she looked over her shoulder really quick to get a glance of Sonata and Rainbow Dash. “But it looks like they’re done talking now.”

“How do they look?” Aria then asked, hoping to get at least some idea of what it was they’d been talking about from they’re facial expressions.

“Can’t really tell.” Adagio simply answered as she turned back around.

Feeling unsatisfied with her sister’s answer Aria quickly turned around to see for herself, but it was just as Adagio had said. All she could really see was that Rainbow Dash was looking out the window and Sonata was looking down at her lap, neither of them emoting much at the moment.

As Aria turned back around in mild disappointment, she couldn’t help but notice Celestia looking a tad unwell in the seat directly across the aisle from hers.

“Sister, are you all right?” Luna asked as she too noticed Celestia’s nauseous expression.

“I think I may be…experiencing some altitude sickness.” Celestia queasily admitted. “I’m sure I’ll…be fine.”

As a precaution, Aria slid over a scooch towards Adagio in order to put as much distance between herself and Celestia as she could. Just in case the principal turned out to not be fine.

“Are you worried about them?” Adagio suddenly asked her.

“A little.” Aria admitted. “I mean, given how I felt last night I can’t help but sympathize with Celestia a bit here.”

“Not Celestia and Luna, Sonata and Rainbow Dash.” Adagio clarified. “Are you worried about their relationship?”

“Oh.” Aria responded, feeling slightly embarrassed at having misunderstood her sister. “I mean, I’m a little worried about their relationship, sure. B-But only because I’m worried about having to deal with Sonata being all mopey and sad for weeks-on-end if it ends.”

“Uh-huh, sure.” Adagio sardonically replied with a small, sly smile.

“S-Shut up.” Aria said as she turned her head away from her sister to hide the growing blush on her face.

Adagio just softly chuckled at Aria’s embarrassment.

As Aria stared out the windshield of the bus to avoid looking at Adagio, she saw what appeared to be a large building off in the distance, one she instantly recognized due to its distinct architecture. It was their hotel.

“Hey, we’re almost there.” She informed Adagio as she tapped her arm to get her attention and then subtly pointed to the building.

“Finally.” Adagio replied with mild relief when she saw the hotel.

Sure enough, after about five more minutes of winding through the mountainous roads, they had arrived at their hotel. The bus pulled up to the front of the building and as soon as it came to a complete stop and the doors opened, Celestia ran outside with her hands covering her mouth.

“Oh dear.” Luna softly remarked before chasing after her sister to make sure she was okay.

Silently, Aria gave thanks to whatever gods may be that the principal had been able to hold it in until they’d arrived at their destination. After what she’d been through last night she really didn’t want to have to deal with anymore vomit.

“Alright, listen up!” Adagio shouted throughout the bus as she stood up, taking charge of the situation since Celestia and Luna were gone. “Everyone gather your things and meet in the lobby! Room assignments will be given out shortly after everyone’s inside!”

And with that, Aria stood up as well and the two Dazzlings made their way off the bus, followed closely behind by Sonata. As they all exited the bus and headed for the hotel’s entrance, they each caught a glimpse of Celestia bent over by some shrubs making retching noises while Luna held her hair back. It wasn’t what they, or pretty much anyone, would consider a pretty sight. Thankfully though, they soon stepped inside the hotel and saw a much better sight; a large, grandiose lobby that made the Ritz look like a motel. They each took a moment to admire it’s beauty until Aria decided to ask Sonata a question.

“So what did Rainbow Dash want to talk about?” She inquired.

The look of awe on Sonata’s face immediately vanished when she heard Aria ask her question and was replaced by one of trepidation. Adagio likewise dropped her expression of awe, but instead replaced it with an expression of curiosity.

“She…wanted to talk about our future together.” Sonata tepidly replied as she turned and addressed her sisters.

“Meaning what exactly?” Adagio asked.

Sonata took a deep breath before answering.

“Dashie told me she got a letter last night from the University of Vanhoover.” She solemnly said. “They want to offer her a full athletic scholarship to their school and she’s going to accept it. The thing is though, the University of Vanhoover is over 2,000 miles away from Canterlot City, and Dashie said she doesn’t want to do a long distance relationship.”

“Did she…break up with you?” Adagio sympathetically asked.

Sonata shook her head.

“She…She said she wants me to go with her.” She answered.

Needless to say, neither Adagio nor Aria had expected Sonata to say this.

“She…what?” Aria shockingly asked, unsure as to whether or not she’d heard her sister correctly.

“Dashie wants me to go follow her to Vanhoover while she goes to college there.” Sonata clarified. “She said that she hates putting me in a position where I have to choose between her and you two, but…she said she loves me with all her heart and doesn’t want to lose me.”

Aria couldn’t believe what she was hearing right now. Moreover, she couldn’t believe what it was she was feeling right now. How many times in her life had she wished for something like this, for Sonata to just…go away? The answer was ‘more times than she could remember’, but now that there was actually a chance of that happening, she found that she didn’t want her sister to leave.

“So are you going to go with her?” She asked.

“I…I don’t know.” Sonata cheerlessly confessed. “I love Dashie with all my heart too, but…but I don’t know if I can leave you girls. You’re the only family I have and the thought of leaving you is…scary. Plus there’s our job and-”

“You should go, Sonata.” Adagio cheerlessly interjected. “It would be best for you if you did.”

Both Sonata and Aria immediately turned and looked at Adagio with aghast expressions after she’d finished talking.

“I-It would be?” Sonata woundedly asked, feeling like her sister didn’t want her around anymore.

“Seriously, Adagio, what the fu-“ Aria heatedly tried to say before Adagio cut her off.

“It would be best for you because…” She started to say before pausing to look around.

“Because why?” Aria heatedly asked.

Upon seeing that neither Celestia nor Luna were close by, Adagio brought her attention back to her sister and steeled herself for what she was about to tell her sisters. What she had tried to tell them earlier but couldn’t.

“…Because we’re being let go.” She bluntly said.

The shock Aria and Sonata had felt only moments ago suddenly multiplied tenfold.

“W-What?” Sonata barely managed to get out in her stunned state.

Aria found herself unable to say anything.

“When I went to Celestia’s office she wasn’t there, so I decided to sneak a swig of the tequila in her desk.” Adagio began to explain. “But when I went around her desk to get the bottle I saw an e-mail open on her computer with our names on it, so I took a closer look at it. It was from the district superintendent and basically said that she was to let us go at the end of the month.”

“B-But why?” Aria inquired once she was able to speak again. “Why, dammit?!”

“I don’t know.” Adagio promptly replied. “There was a lot of boilerplate stuff in the e-mail and I didn’t have time to read through it all. But I got enough of it to know that we’re losing our job soon.”

Sonata felt like she was going to cry while Aria felt like she was about to explode in a fit of pure, unbridled anger. What was going to happen to them if they lost their job? Would they lose their home, their emus, and everything else too? Would they end up having to go back to living in a van down by the river again? All the uncertainty and anxiety of this news was almost completely unbearable for them.

“So what now?” Aria asked with a quiet fury as she desperately tried to keep her emotions in check.

“Now?” Adagio rather defeatedly replied. “We just keep doing our jobs, and we talk about this later tonight when we’re alone in our room. Okay?”

There was a brief moment of silence as Aria and Sonata contemplated Adagio’s plan.

“Yeah, okay.” Aria begrudgingly agreed.

“Okay.” Sonata meekly agreed as she wiped a lone tear from the corner of her eye.

“Excuse me!” A well-dressed man suddenly called out to them as he approached from the reception desk. “Excuse me, you’re with the Canterlot High School group, are you not?”

“We are.” Adagio affably answered him.

“Might one of you be Miss Celestia or Miss Luna?” He then inquired.

Each of the Dazzlings just sort of gave one another an uneasy look as they recalled when they’d last seen the principal and vice-principal.

“N-No, we aren’t.” Sonata spoke up. “But we are faculty chaperones.”

“Ah, very well then.” The man said as he slightly bowed his head to them. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ullman, I’m the manager of this establishment. Let me be the first to welcome you and your group to the historic Overlook Hotel.”

Finale (Part 1)

View Online

“Everyone, listen up!” Adagio Dazzle yelled out to the 30 CHS students gathered in the lobby of the Overlook Hotel. “Principal Celestia isn’t feeling well and Vice-Principal Luna is looking after her in the manager’s office right now, so my sisters and I will be giving you your room assignments!”

“What’s wrong with Principal Celestia?” Twilight Sparkle concernedly spoke up.

“Mild altitude sickness.” Adagio answered. “The manager said it’s not that uncommon for people who aren’t used to being in the mountains. She should be fine after a bit of rest.”

All the students began to talk softly amongst themselves after hearing Adagio’s answer. Meanwhile, Aria and Sonata just stared at their older sister from the side with inconspicuous awe at how composed and in-control of everything she was at the moment. Despite knowing that all three of them were going to lose their motivational speaker job at the end of the month, she was keeping calm and carrying on like everything was fine. Not only for the sake of the ski trip, but for their sake as well. Her grit and chutzpah never ceased to amaze them.

Aria and Sonata themselves though weren’t taking the news of their impending termination quite as well. Both of them were managing to put on a brave enough face so as not to raise any questions from anyone, but on the inside they were undoubtably tristful and exacerbated. Aria couldn’t help but worry about what would happen to her beloved emus back home if she and her sisters lost their job. How long would they be able to continue caring for them without any income? As for Sonata, she was worried about her relationship with Rainbow Dash. She truly did want to follow her lover to Vanhoover so they could remain together, but could she really do so at the cost of leaving her sisters? And especially now, during such an uncertain time for all of them? The more both of them thought about their woes, the harder it became for them to maintain their insouciant expressions.

“Come on.” Adagio softly said as she handed each of them an index card with room assignments on it, snapping them out of their trains of thought. “The sooner we get through this, the sooner we can talk about things.”

“R-Right.” Sonata replied as she quickly looked over her card.

Aria didn’t say anything in response as she did likewise.

Once each of the Dazzlings had all the keys to the rooms listed on their index card, the three of them dispersed throughout the crowd of students and began giving out room assignments.

“Sunset.” Adagio said as she approached her fiery-haired friend. “You and Twilight are in room 217.”

Just as Adagio was about to hand Sunset her room key though, she noticed the Rainboom holding her arms and moving her hands up and down them, shivering ever-so-slightly.

“Are you okay?” She inquired.

“Yeah.” Sunset tepidly answered as she took her room key. “I’m just feeling a little cold is all.”

“You’ve been feeling cold ever since we got here, Sunset. Even after we walked into the hotel.” Twilight concernedly chimed in. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“I’m fine, Twilight, really.” Sunset assured her friend as she proceeded to once again grab hold of her arms. “I just don’t understand why I’m feeling colder in here than I did outside.”

Sunset’s predicament was very puzzling to Adagio. There was no denying that it was considerably warmer inside the Overlook than it was outside, so why was the Rainboom feeling cold right now? The only logical conclusion she could come to was that Sunset might be suffering from some sort of altitude-related sickness, much like Celestia. And that worried her.

“Well if you keep feeling cold, let me know.” She told Sunset.

“I will.” Sunset affably replied, feeling touched by the Dazzling’s concern for her. “Thanks, Adagio.”

And with that, Adagio simply gave her friend an amiable smile before moving on to give out her next room assignment.

“Rarity.” Aria said as she approached the fashionista. “You and Applejack got room 219.”

“Have you ever seen such rustic architecture before?!” Rarity exclaimed as she stared in awe at the room around her, not really addressing Aria. “I’d say this style is late 19th century, possibly early 20th century at the latest.”

“That’s great, Rarity.” Aria very flatly replied as she held the key to room 219 out in front of her. “But can you take your room key so I can move on?”

“While it’s not my preferred style mind you, I still can’t help but admire its elegance and charm.” Rarity continued, causing Aria’s frustration to grow. “It’s truly amazing how the shade of red on the pillars complements the neutral beige color of the walls.”

“Yeah, it’s really pretty.” The Dazzling irritatingly concurred as she practically shoved the room key right in the Rainboom’s face. “Take your key.”

“Oh my, what a delightfully bucolic key.” Rarity then gaily remarked as she admired said key, without actually taking it from Aria.

Feeling that her patience had run out, Aria gave a small, annoyed grunt before removing the key from Rarity’s face and turning about 150° to her right to face Applejack, who was talking to Pinkie Pie, and giving her a light tap on the shoulder.

“Oh, howdy, Aria.” The country girl urbanely said as she turned around. “Do yah need something?”

“Here.” The pig-tailed girl said as she presented Applejack with her room key. “You and Rarity. Room 219.”

“Oh, thank yah.” Applejack replied as she took the key from Aria.

“No, thank you.” Aria gratefully said back, much to Applejack’s confusion, before walking away.

As the Dazzling weaved her way through the crowd to give out her next key, she silently hoped and prayed that things would go much more quickly with the rest of the students. She wanted to be done with this so that her and her sisters could discuss what they needed to discuss alone in their room. Thankfully, things did go fairly smoothly from that point on. That is, until she got to the last set of names on her card; Trixie and Wallflower.

Aria really didn’t want to interact with Trixie at the moment. Despite what the girl had said to her back at CHS about how they’d always be friends in spite of all the recent drama about whether they’d become girlfriends or not, she knew that things were going to be awkward between them for a while. At least until they were able to fully address things together. Unfortunately though, now wasn’t the time for her to address these things with her friend, so rather than go to Trixie to deliver her last key, she went to Wallflower instead.

At the same time, Sonata was just about finished giving out her keys as well. Having just given Photo Finish and Pixel Pizzaz their room key, she found that she was left with only one more to go. The thing was though, it was the key for Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash’s room. The thought of giving the key to Fluttershy instead of Rainbow briefly crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed it. She didn’t want to give her girlfriend the impression that she was trying to avoid her after their conversation on the bus. Such wrongful perceptions were the last thing their relationship needed right now, and she knew that the only way to avoid them in this situation was to give Rainbow the key.

“Hey, Dashie.” She blithely, but not too blithely, said as she approached her lover and held out her last key in front of her. “Here you go. You and Fluttershy are in 222.”

“Oh. Thanks, Sonata.” Rainbow simply replied in a very casual manner as she took the key from her girlfriend.

Much to Sonata’s surprise, it seemed that Rainbow Dash wasn’t dwelling much, if at all, on their conversation from earlier. It was a pleasant surprise though, one that actually filled her with relief, as it meant that there was one less piece of drama she needed to deal with right now.

“Don’t mention it.” She said as she turned around to walk away, only to feel Rainbow Dash gently grab her arm and prevent her from leaving.

“Hey, Sonata.” Rainbow said to her, now sounding very solemn. “Before you go, there’s something I forgot to tell you back on the bus.”

And just like that, the relief Sonata had just felt about having one less piece of drama to deal with right now disappeared.

“O-Oh, okay.” She replied, trying not to sound jittery. “What was it?”

Rainbow Dash gave a quick, deep breath as she released her hold on Sonata’s arm and prepared to speak.

“I forgot to tell you that no matter what you choose, I’ll always love you.” She earnestly said.

Sonata was speechless. She thought for sure that what Rainbow had forgotten to tell her would be something devastating. But in fact, it had been just the opposite.

“You mean the world to me, Sonata.” Rainbow continued. “I want you to come with me to Vanhoover, but I don’t want you to feel that you have to. I know how close you and your sisters are, so just know that if you choose to stay with them, I’ll understand. And that it won’t change how I feel about you.”

“D-Dashie.” Sonata uttered as she started to become overwhelmed with emotion.

It was at this point that Rainbow Dash took a hold of Sonata’s right hand with both of her’s and held it up to her chest.

“You’ll always have a place in my heart, Sonata. No matter what.” The Rainboom concluded with as much sincerity as one could possibly muster.

Succumbing to her emotions, Sonata allowed a few tears of joy to run down her face. She wanted to wrap her girlfriend in the biggest hug she could, but given that they were in a public place and surrounded by people she didn’t want to make a scene. So instead, she simply took hold of Rainbow Dash’s hands with her free hand and guided them over to her chest.

“And you’ll always have a place in my heart, Dashie.” She earnestly replied.

The Dazzling and Rainboom simply stared lovingly into each other’s eyes for a few seconds before quickly sharing a small kiss on the lips and then letting go of one another’s hands.

“So, see you at dinner tonight?” Rainbow offhandedly asked.

“Yeah.” Sonata gaily replied as she started to walk away. “See you then.”

As Sonata made her way over to the reception desk where her sisters were standing, she couldn’t help but find herself in a genuinely gaiety mood. Even the unfortunate news she’d received earlier from Adagio regarding their job, which she hadn’t forgotten about, couldn’t seem to bring her down from the emotional high she was now feeling.

Her newfound joie de vivre earned Sonata some curious looks from both Aria and Adagio once she re-joined them, but neither of the older Dazzlings said anything to her about it.

“Okay, does everyone know what room they’re in?!” Adagio yelled out to the students.

The sound of various ‘yeah’s and ‘uh-huh’s could be heard coming from the group of students. And to the best of Adagio’s hearing, no one seemed to be raising any concern or confusion about their room assignment.

“Good! Then everyone find your rooms and get settled in!” She then said. “And don’t forget that we’ll be having dinner in a few hours in the Gold Room!”

“Ooh, the Gold Room.” Pinkie Pie spoke up in her usual lively manner. “Where’s that?”

“Down that way.” Adagio replied as she pointed to her right, towards a sign that read ‘The Gold Room’. “Just go through those doors and it’s at the end of the hall.”

“Oh. Okay.” Pinkie simply said before she and the rest of the students started gathering their belongings and headed over to some nearby elevators.

“What about us?” Aria inquired once most of the students had left the immediate area. “What room are we in?”

“We’re in room 237.” Adagio answered as she picked up a few of their bags and slowly made her way over to the elevators as well. “I’ve got the key, so let’s go.”

Following their sister’s lead, Aria and Sonata picked up their remaining bags and catenated behind her. But by the time they all got to the elevators, practically every single student was already there waiting for them, much to their dismay. And it didn’t look like the elevators were moving especially fast, so they knew the wait time for them was most definitely going to be long.

“We’re finding another way up to our room.” Adagio unanimously decided as she walked past the group of students towards a hallway located straight ahead.

Neither Aria nor Sonata raised any objections as they silently followed her.

As soon as Adagio reached the intersection of the hallway, she quickly looked it up and down to see which was the best way to go. To her left she saw that the hall had a closed door not too far down it, and to her right she saw that there was another intersection. She decided to go right.

“Uh, do you know where you’re going?” Aria asked as she turned the corner soon after her sister.

“Not exactly.” Adagio admitted as she continued walking. “But if I remember the map of the hotel Luna showed me a while back correctly, there should be a lounge located somewhere around here. And I’m betting there’ll be some elevators there.”

“So we’re just going to wander around carrying these heavy bags until we find this lounge?” Aria then asked, now sounding a little peeved.

“You have a better idea?” Adagio inquired as she came to the next intersection.

“Great party, isn’t it?”

“What was that?” Adagio asked in an annoyed manner as she stopped and turned around to face her sisters.

“Huh?” Aria confusedly said as she and Sonata stopped a few feet behind Adagio, having no idea what she was talking about.

“Don’t play dumb with me, Aria.” Adagio said as she dawned a very stern expression. “I just heard you softly say something after I asked you if you had a better idea.”

“I didn’t say anything, Adagio.” Aria strongly retorted as she put her bags down, crossed her arms, and returned Adagio’s serious expression.

Feeling certain that she’d heard one of her sisters say something, Adagio quickly shifted her attention to Sonata and gave her a look that silently said, ‘Was it you?’

“I-I didn’t say anything either, Dagi.” The pony-tailed girl semi-nervously said, having received her sister’s speechless message loud and clear.

Normally Adagio would continue to press her sisters until one of them admitted guilt, but she chose to let this one go. After all, they still had to talk about what she’d learned back at school regarding their job once they eventually got to their room, and it was best to have tensions as low as possible before then.

“Never mind.” She said as she turned back around and started walking again, taking a left at the intersection. “Just come on.”

Aria and Sonata exchanged curious glances with one another before Aria picked her bags back up and they both continued to follow their sister through the hotel.

It wasn’t too much later that they all reached the lounge Adagio had mentioned, and even found a pair of elevators located just outside of it.

“Finally.” Adagio remarked in relief as she approached the elevators, put her bags down, and pressed the button to go up.

“Wow, check out this room, girls!” Sonata randomly spoke up as she walked into the lounge. “It’s so big and beautiful!”

“We’ll check it out later, Sonata.” Adagio told her exuberant sister. “Right now we have to get up to our room and-“

Adagio abruptly stopped speaking when she noticed that the button to go up on the elevator wasn’t lit.

“Oh, come on.” She said in frustration as she hit the button again.

The button still failed to light up, causing Adagio to frantically hit it many more times like a madwoman.

“Uh, Adagio.” Aria chimed in as she picked a piece of paper up from the floor near the elevator that read, ‘Out of Order’.

“Great.” Adagio sarcastically remarked as she ceased hitting the elevator button.

It was at this point that Adagio started to wonder if it would have been better if she’d just waited for the elevators in the lobby instead of venturing off to find less crowded ones near the lounge. So far all the trek had done was wear her and her sisters out. Well, it had worn her and Aria out at least. Sonata still seemed to be in generally high spirits for reasons that were unknown to her, but that was fairly typical. At any rate, it was just one of those times where she felt she’d made the wrong call.

“Alright.” She defeatedly said as she picked her bags back up. “Let’s just head back to the lobby. I’m sure the elevators there are free by now.”

“Whatever.” Aria simply replied, feeling too worn out to argue.

“Hey, girls!” Sonata shouted out to them. “Why don’t we just go up those stairs?!”

Both Adagio and Aria looked over to see Sonata standing just inside the lounge by a long table with an old typewriter on it and pointing behind her. They quickly turned their attention to where it was she was pointing and sure enough saw a grand staircase, which strangely enough could only be accessed from the sides, leading up to the second floor. Needless to say, neither of them really felt like climbing a flight stairs while carrying heavy bags, but at the same time they didn’t want to trek all the way back to the lobby either.

“Fuck it.” Aria simply said as she entered the lounge and headed for the stairs, feeling that since she’d already come all this way she might as well just take whatever method of getting up to the second floor that she could.

Adagio, more or less feeling the same way, soon followed. As she entered the lounge, she understood why Sonata had wanted her to check it out. It was very similar to the lobby in terms of décor, but it’s massive size, various chandeliers, and large windows made it truly impressive by any standard. She just sort of took it all in as she walked through. That is, until she got to the table with the typewriter on it. When she got there she found herself inexplicably fascinated by old-fashioned machine, which was strange to her because it wasn’t like this was the first time she’d ever seen a typewriter before. As she walked closer to it, she noticed that for being so dated it was in surprisingly good shape. She also noticed that there was a piece of paper loaded into it with a few words typed onto it. Curious as to what it said she got right in front of the machine to get a better look, and when she saw the four words that had been typed onto the paper, she instantly felt a chill run through her soul.

Welcome to the show.

“You coming or what?!” Aria shouted over to her from the staircase as she slowly ascended it.

“Y-Yeah. Coming.” She shouted back as she once more began to make her way through the lounge towards the stairs, trying to put the typewriter out of her mind.

Adagio entered from the right and climbed the first few steps up to the plateau with relative ease, but the hardest part was yet to come. There were about 20 steps she still had to take before she reached the second floor at the top, where Aria and Sonata were waiting for her, and she knew that with her heavy bags in hand they weren’t going to be easy. After taking a quick deep breath, she slowly but surely started to climb up, feeling the weight of each step as she took it.

“Will you hurry up, Adagio.” Aria impatiently said to her as she reached the halfway point.

“Hey, I’ve got the heaviest bags here.” Adagio acutely retorted as she continued to climb. “If you want me to move faster maybe you should come hel-”

Adagio precipitously stopped talking as she felt her right foot slip out from under her and she fell onto the stairs. Thankfully though, she was able to brace herself enough so that she didn’t tumble down them. She did lose one bag, however, which fell all the way back down to the plateau.

“Dagi!” Sonata worryingly exclaimed as she rushed to help her sister up.

Aria did likewise, though silently.

“I’m okay, I’m okay.” Adagio profusely insisted as she got back up with the help of her sisters.

“Are you sure?” Sonata inquired as she looked her up and down for any injuries.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Adagio replied.

“We’ll get your bags for you.” Aria said as she made her way down to the plateau to retrieve the bag that had fallen down there.

Part of Adagio wanted to roll her eyes at the fact that it took her nearly falling down the large flight of stairs for her sisters to offer their assistance. But a much larger part of her dwarfed that part; the part of her that was simply grateful she hadn’t gone tumbling down. She knew she most definitely wouldn’t have been okay if that had happened.

Once Sonata took her remaining bag from her, Adagio started climbing the stairs again. Being extra mindful of where it was she was stepping. Once she reached the top she gave a small sigh of relief just before Aria and Sonata joined her with her bags.

“Thanks, girls.” She gratefully told them.

Sonata and Aria each just gave her a small smile before she turned around and looked for any signs that could point her in the direction of their room. But alas, she found no such signs, much to her continued annoyance.

“Honestly.” She began to say in rather irritated manner. “Could the person who designed this place have made it any more confusing and difficult for someone to find their way around?”

“So, more wandering?” Aria dryly asked.

“Yeah.” Adagio reluctantly answered as she picked up a couple of Aria and Sonata’s bags. “More wandering.”

“Look on the bright side, girls.” Sonata optimistically spoke up. “At least this way we get to see more of this beautiful hotel.”

Neither Adagio nor Aria saw Sonata’s ‘bright side’ in all this as the three of them headed off in a random direction. All they wanted was to get to their room, unpack, and rest for a bit before having what was sure to be a difficult conversation about their future.

Fortunately, it didn’t take the Dazzlings too long to find their room, as they were able to deduce its location after first coming across room 217, Sunset and Twilight’s room, and then following the room numbers as they got bigger. Eventually bringing them to room 237.

Without saying a word, Adagio put down her bags, pulled the key out from her pocket, and inserted it into the doorknob to unlock it. Once the room was unlocked, she put the key back in her pocket, picked up her bags and stepped inside, followed soon after by Aria. Just as Sonata was about to enter the room, she heard a faint sound that made her stop dead in her tracks; a young child laughing. The laughter sounded vaguely familiar to her, so she looked down the hallway where she thought she’d heard it coming from to see who it belonged to. However, upon seeing no one there, she simply shrugged it off as her mind playing tricks on her and once more proceeded to enter the room.

Sonata was caught off guard when she discovered that she’d walked into a small entry way. She’d never been in a hotel room that’d had one of those before, and it made her curious as to what the rest of the room was like. She quickly walked through the doors on her left leading into the main part of the room and was immediately taken aghast by what she saw.

“Holy cow!” She exclaimed as she dropped her bags in astonishment and looked around. “This is nicer than our house!”

The room was indeed impressive. A fairly large living area with plenty of seating and a fireplace, four steps that led up to the bedroom which had two queen-sized beds in it, and a surprisingly spacious bathroom with two sinks and two toilets beyond that. About the only thing that Sonata didn’t find all that impressive was the weird-looking purple and green carpet in the living area and bedroom.

“Eh, it’s okay.” Aria replied as she put her bags down by the steps, not feeling quite as impressed as her younger sister. “The wallpaper kind of clashes with the carpet and these drapes over here are-I sound like Rarity right now, don’t I?”

Sonata couldn’t help but give a small giggle at Aria’s sudden realization of how much she did sound like Rarity at that moment.

“Come on, you two, start unpacking.” Adagio called out to them from the bedroom. “We don’t have much time before dinner to talk about things.”

Having been reminded of the conversation they needed to have regarding their job, Aria and Sonata did as Adagio instructed and began unpacking their bags. Almost everything they’d brought with them went in either the bedroom or the bathroom, but a few things like a couple of cell phone chargers and some extra blankets they decided to put in the living area. The whole of the unpacking didn’t take very long with all three of them doing it, and once they were done they each took a seat in the living area. Adagio sat on the right side of the couch by the window, Aria sat in the chair directly across from her, and Sonata sat in the chair to Aria’s right.

“So what’s the plan, Adagio?” Aria rather agitatedly started things off. “What the hell are we going to do about this?”

“That’s what we’re going to discuss, Aria.” Adagio staidly replied. “We’re all in the same boat here, so we need to come up with a plan together.”

“Just…why is this happening, Dagi?” Sonata somberly spoke up. “I thought we were all doing a good job as motivational speakers.”

“I don’t know, Sonata.” Adagio answered, now sounding a bit somber herself. “Like I said, I didn’t have enough time to read through the entire e-mail from the district superintendent to find that out.”

“I want to know why this is happening too.” Aria chimed in. “I say first and foremost we go to Celestia and demand to know the reason for why we’re getting let go. Maybe it’s something we can fight.”

“We can’t go to Celestia!” Adagio sharply retorted, lightly slamming her right hand down on the arm of the couch for extra measure. “We aren’t supposed to know about this right now! If we confront her about it before she says anything to us it could just make everything worse!”

“So what do we do then, Adagio?! Nothing?!” Aria heatedly asked as she stood up in a very vehement fashion. “We just let them sack us without even putting up a fight?!”

“That’s not what I’m saying!” Adagio fiercely retorted as she too stood up and practically got right in Aria’s face. “What I am saying is that we need to be smart about this and not make stupid decisions because we’re upset!”

“Girls, please, calm down.” Sonata pleaded as she got up and tried to place herself between her sisters, though finding that difficult due to the coffee table in the way. “Yelling at each other isn’t going to help anything.”

“Oh what do you even care, Sonata?!” Aria said as she redirected her aggression towards her younger sister. “You’re going off to Vanhoover with Rainbow Dash, you-”

Aria abruptly stopped talking mid-sentence as she suddenly dawned an expression of great realization.

“It was you.” She softly said to Sonata, like she’d just had an epiphany.

“What?” Sonata confusedly asked.

“IT WAS YOU!” Aria shouted as she grabbed Sonata by the collar of her shirt, her expression of realization now warped into one of fury. “YOU DID THIS!”

Sonata was too afraid to say anything in response. All she could do was look at her enraged sister until Adagio managed to intervene and separate them.

“What the hell, Aria!” The eldest Dazzling testily asked as she held Aria back.

“IT’S HER FAULT!” Aria yelled as she pointed an accusing finger at Sonata, who was now slightly crying. “SHE’S THE REASON WE’RE GETTING FIRED!”

“How is this Sonata’s fault?!” Adagio inquired as she continued to try and keep Aria away from Sonata, a task that seemed to be getting more and more difficult by the second.


When Adagio heard this she involuntarily relaxed her hold on Aria, enough that if the pig-tailed girl wanted to she could’ve resumed her assault on Sonata. Thankfully though, she didn’t. All she did was remove herself from Adagio’s hold. While she didn’t go after Sonata again, she did stare her down with white-hot fire and fury in her eyes.

Adagio turned around to look at Sonata, who was now crying even harder, and could tell that she was thinking the same thing she was right now. Was Aria right?

“L-Look.” Adagio began to address both of her sisters, hoping to bring tensions down. “We don’t know for certain what the reason is. So we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, okay?”

“Are you kidding me?!” Aria furiously retorted. “Of course it’s Sonata’s fault! These types of things are always her fault!”

“N-No…I-” Sonata tried to get out.

“Don’t try and deny it, Sonata!” Aria interrupted her. “You’re the cause of this and you know it!”

At this point Sonata began to feel so weak that her legs started to tremble, which didn’t go unnoticed by Adagio.

“That’s enough, Aria!” She sternly told her angry sister.

“You fucked up just like you always do and now it’s costing us our job! Maybe everything else too!” Aria continued to berate Sonata, ignoring Adagio.

“I said that’s enough!” Adagio once more tried to tell her sister.

“I swear, Sonata, if we lose the emus because of this you’re dead!” Aria still went on. “You hear me?! DEAD!”

And then, all of a sudden, a loud slapping sound rang throughout room 237 as Adagio smacked Aria across the cheek with her open right hand, followed by a few seconds of the most awkward silence any of the Dazzlings had ever experienced. During this silence, Sonata brought her hands up to her mouth to stifle a gasp at what she’d just witnessed, Aria slowly brought a hand up to where she’d been struck as she dawned an expression of disbelief, and Adagio stood absolutely still with her right hand up in the air.

“That’s. Enough.” The eldest Dazzling said for the third time, now sounding straight-up menacing, as she brought her hand down.

As much as Aria wanted to deliver a retaliatory blow of some sort, she found herself too shocked to do so.

“I get that you’re upset, Aria.” Adagio then said, trying to sound compassionate yet still stern. “But you need to calm down right now. I won’t have you hurling insults and making threats like you’re Mom.”

As soon as Aria heard Adagio compare her to their mother, she quickly got over her shock, balled up her right hand into a fist, and promptly slugged Adagio across the face with it, sending the poofy-haired girl tumbling down onto the wooden coffee table. Thankfully, the table didn’t break and Adagio’s hair helped cushion her impact with it, so she didn’t lose consciousness.

“Dagi!” Sonata alarmingly shouted as she instinctively ran over to her fallen sister to make sure she was all right.

As Adagio tried to slowly lift herself up off the coffee table with Sonata’s help, she looked up at Aria to see her sister staring down at the two of them with both fire and tears in her eyes.

“FUCK BOTH OF YOU!” Aria shouted down at them, surprisingly more in sadness than in anger, before she hastily ran out of the room, slamming both the entryway and room doors behind her.

Soon after Aria had run off, Adagio managed to fully get back onto her feet. However, almost immediately she felt a sharp pain run through her right side where she’d landed on the coffee table, causing her to wince and nearly lose her balance. Fortunately for her though, Sonata managed to hold onto her and help her stay upright.

“You okay, Dagi?” The youngest Dazzling asked, though she was already fairly certain she knew the answer.

“Aside from the pain in my face and side, I think so.” Adagio replied as she placed her left hand over her aching side and slowly made her way over to the chair where Aria had been sitting moments ago.

“Do you want me to go get you some ice?” Sonata asked her as she helped gently lower her onto the chair.

“Yeah, that’d be great.” Adagio answered once she was fully seated. “Thanks, Sonata.”

Sonata gave an affirming nod and headed out to go find her sister some ice, but stopped at the entryway door for a few seconds first.

“Hey, Dagi.” She solemnly began to say, gaining Adagio’s attention. “Thanks for sticking up for me.”

Adagio simply gave Sonata a small smile before she walked through the doorway and out into the hallway of the hotel, leaving her alone with her thoughts.

Naturally, Adagio found herself thinking about everything that had just happened. More specifically, about how things had ended the way they had. There had been no doubt in her mind that the conversation with her sisters about losing their job was going to be difficult and filled with high tensions, but for it to have escalated to the level that it had? Simply unbelievable. She thought that her and hers sisters had grown into better people than that, but apparently they hadn’t. In fact, they may have even become worse. Sonata’s ditzy mistakes had evolved into her engaging in sexual intercourse at their workplace, Aria’s occasional annoyance with Sonata had evolved to the point where she was hurling threats at her, and she herself had resorted to the use of physical violence against Aria in her attempt to get her to calm down.

“Fucking hell.” She crestfallenly said to herself.

As much as Adagio wanted to figure out how things had gotten so out of control, she knew she didn’t have the luxury of focusing on that right now. No, right now she needed to focus on how she was going to reconcile everything amongst Aria, Sonata, and herself. There was no denying that all three of them were going to be facing some serious challenges in the near future, and that the only way any of them were going to make it through those challenges was together. The same way they had gotten through being banished to this world and suffering defeat at the Battle of the Bands. The only problem was that she wasn’t sure how to bring them back together after everything that had just happened.

Feeling the pain in both her face and side already starting to subside, Adagio gently threw her head back and closed her eyes as she waited for Sonata to return, trying to think of ways she could reconcile everything in the meantime. Not surprisingly, she soon felt herself drifting off into a light slumber. It didn’t last long though, as a few minutes later it was broken by the sound of frantic knocking on the door.

“ADAGIO?! SONATA?! ARIA?!” Twilight Sparkle’s voice alarmingly shouted from out in the hallway. “PLEASE, I NEED HELP! SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH SUNSET!”

Upon hearing Twilight’s cry for help, Adagio quickly picked herself up from her seat and made her way over to the door, ignoring the remaining pain in her side as best she could. As she moved, she began to fear that she’d been correct earlier regarding Sunset’s mysterious chills, that they were a symptom of some sort of mountain sickness.

“Twilight, what’s wrong?!” She fervidly said as she opened the door.

“Oh my gosh!” Twilight said as soon as she saw the bruise on Adagio’s face. “What happened to you?! Are you okay?!”

“I’m fine!” Adagio hastily assured the Rainboom. “Just tell me what’s wrong with Sunset!”

“I-I’m not really sure.” Twilight distressingly replied. “She just started saying ‘live’ over and over again all of a sudden, and when I asked her if she was okay she didn't respond. Like she wasn’t even aware that I was talking to her.”

“Oh god.” Adagio said in trepidation as she recognized those symptoms. “She might be having a seizure.”

Twilight gave a dreadful gasp as soon as Adagio uttered the word ‘seizure’.

“Let’s go!” Adagio instructed as she stepped out into the hallway and rushed as fast as she could towards room 217, with Twilight closely behind her.

Every time Adagio put pressure on the right side of her body as she ran she felt a spike of pain hit her. A few of the spikes nearly caused her to falter, but fortunately she never did. Her determination to help Sunset gave her the strength she needed to power through the pain.

As soon as the two girls reached room 217 Adagio swiftly flung the door open and stepped inside, only to see Sunset standing eerily still right by the bed and facing the back wall.

“Live…Live…Live…” She heard Sunset saying, like she was in some sort of trance.

Adagio was no medical expert, but she knew enough about seizures to know what she needed to do to help Sunset if she was indeed currently suffering from one.

“Stay here, Twilight.” She instructed the girl as she slowly started to walk forward. “Sunset?”

Sunset gave no acknowledgment of Adagio’s call to her. She just continued to repeat the word ‘live’ while remaining perfectly still.

Once she was close enough to Sunset, Adagio circled around her left side to take a look at her face. The first thing that she noticed was that Sunset’s gaze seemed fixed on something, something on the wall. She looked down and to the left to see something written on the wall, most likely put there by Sunset.


“Is she going to be okay?” Twilight concernedly asked from over by the door.

“I think so.” Adagio replied as she gently took hold of Sunset by the shoulders. “The best thing we can do for her right now is lay her down on her side and wait for the seizure to stop.”

And with that, Adagio slowly laid Sunset down on the bed and rolled her onto her side. Once that was taken care of, she went about removing Sunset’s geode from around her neck, remembering that one of the things you were supposed to do for someone experiencing a seizure was remove anything that could impede their breathing.

“Live…Li-” Sunset continued to say, until she suddenly stopped once her geode was removed from her person.

As soon as Sunset stopped speaking her eyes shut and her body went noticeably limp, prompting Adagio to quickly put the geode down on the nearby nightstand and check her pulse and breathing.

“What happened?” Twilight inquired. “Is it over? Is Sunset okay?”

“She’s okay, she just lost consciousness.” Adagio said once she’d confirmed Sunset’s pulse and breathing were fine.

With the seizure now over, Twilight made her way over to the bed to have a look at Sunset herself.

“What do we do now?” She asked Adagio.

“You stay here with Sunset while I go tell Celestia and Luna what’s happened.” Adagio answered. “If she starts to wake up be sure not to give her any food or water until she’s fully alert, okay?”

“Okay.” Twilight replied as she sat down on the bed next to Sunset.

As Adagio went to leave the room, her eyes caught a reflection of what Sunset had written on the wall in a mirror on the dresser and, much like when she’d seen what was on the typewriter in the lounge, it sent a chill running through her soul.


Dread began creeping into Adagio’s mind as she stepped out into the hall and hurried off to Celestia and Luna’s room as quickly as her aching side would let her. Something sinister was at work within the walls of the Overlook Hotel, she was sure of it, and that somehow Sunset had sensed it and been trying to send a warning with her message on the wall. She considered sharing her grim suspicions with the principal and vice-principal once she got to them, but since she didn’t have any definitive proof to back them up she decided against it. After all, it was entirely possible that she was simply being paranoid. Oh how she hoped she was just being paranoid.

But just in case, Adagio silently told herself that as soon as she finished delivering the news of what’d happened to Sunset to Celestia and Luna, she was going to go find her sisters. Because she had a feeling that, if she was right about her suspicions, they were all going to need each other to face whatever was haunting The Overlook.

Finale (Part 2)

View Online

Aria Blaze ran out of room 237 and down the hall like a bat out of Hell, a river of tears beginning to flow down her cheeks as she did so. She didn’t get very far though. As soon as she reached the first corridor she came across she quickly ducked around the corner and ceased running, finding herself too overwhelmed by emotion to keep going.

What did I just do? She gravely thought as she leaned back against the wall.

Without really thinking about it, Aria brought her right hand up closer to her face so that she could get a better look at it. It was trembling. Not from pain, but from the realization that she’d just used it to strike one of her sisters. She had never done that before. She’d ignored them, insulted them, yelled at them, even pushed them away once or twice during the course of her life, but never once had she ever hit either of them. Not until today that is. And now that she had, she found herself filled with large amounts of regret and self-hatred for it.

“Fuck.” She softly uttered as she slowly slid down the wall until she found herself seated on the floor.

What pained Aria the most though, or rather what was the rotten cherry on top of an already bitter-tasting dessert, was that Adagio hadn’t been wrong when she’d compared her to their mother. Even before she’d raised her fist in anger against her older sister she had crossed the line when she’d threatened Sonata, and she knew it. She just hadn’t wanted to admit it to herself, so when she’d been called out on it by Adagio she lashed out, which only further proved how much like their mother she’d been acting.

“Argh!” She airily groaned in frustration as she slammed her right hand down onto the floor.

As Aria sat there on the hallway floor, tears still running down her face, two thoughts plagued her mind: how had she allowed herself to fall so far, and what now? The former thought, she realized, could wait. It didn’t matter right now. What did matter right now was the latter one. What now?

Much like after she’d learned of Glen’s passing, Aria’s first instinct was simply to run. Run fast and run far, away from all the negative things she was feeling right now. She had already done this by running out of the room and into the hallway, but to her mind that wasn’t enough. She felt like she needed to run farther, outside, into the cold, snow-filled mountains. She knew, of course, that if she did run out into the mountains she’d eventually freeze to death, but even still that’s what she felt like doing. So long as it meant she could get away from all of her pain.

Quickly dismissing the idea of running from her mind, Aria tried to think of what other options she had at the moment. She couldn’t go back to her room and face her sisters, not yet at least. She needed time to think first before doing that. Time to think about what she was going to say to them, and what she was going to do to try and make amends with them. The thought of going to a friend’s room for a while briefly crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed that idea as well. There weren’t any friends she felt she could go to with this right now. Trixie was out of the question after their conversation at school earlier and any of the Rainbooms would probably try and get involved, which she really didn’t want. This was strictly a family matter.

Before Aria could figure out what to do, she heard the sound of a door opening just around the corner. Not wanting anyone to see her in her current disheveled state, she hastily picked herself up off the floor and ever-so-slightly peered around the corner to see who it was.

“Shit.” She faintly said as she saw Sonata emerging from room 237.

In one smooth motion, Aria swiftly ceased peering around the corner and dashed off down the hallway in an attempt to avoid running into her younger sister. As she ran, she found that she had no idea where within the hotel she was headed, but she didn’t really care. All she wanted was to put some distance between herself and her sisters.

Sonata wandered up and down the various hallways of the Overlook Hotel in search of an ice machine. She’d been searching for a few minutes now but so far she had yet to come across one, which started to make her worry. She’d promised Adagio she would bring her some ice for her aching face and side and she intended to keep that promise. Especially considering how Adagio had defended her against Aria’s accusations that their impending job loss was her fault.

As she continued searching, Sonata’s mind naturally fixated on what had happened over the course of the last few minutes. She couldn’t believe how a simple talk amongst sisters had gone so wrong. Aria placing blame on her for their misfortune hadn’t been too surprising, she was used to such things after all these years, but the sheer ferocity with which her sister had hurled her accusations was nothing short of shocking to her. However, what concerned her even more than the fierceness of Aria’s accusation was whether or not it was true.

“M-Maybe there just isn’t an ice machine on this floor.” She told herself as she refocused all of her mental energy into finding some ice, in a desperate attempt to stop thinking about what Aria had said.

It didn’t take long for Sonata to find a small staircase that she used to take her up to the third floor. But as she ascended said staircase her mind automatically went back to thinking about Aria’s belief that their getting let go was all her fault, much to her chagrin.

Was Aria right? Had someone caught her and Rainbow Dash having sex in their office, and as a result of that all three of the Dazzlings were being fired? The very possibility made Sonata feel ill. She’d never imagined that having some kinky fun with her girlfriend could have such a cataclysmic consequence. Though, in hindsight, she probably should have. At any rate, she dreaded the thought of being the cause of all this current distress.

Plus, as if being unsure of whether or not she was the cause of the Dazzlings’ current woes wasn’t bad enough, the situation as a whole left Sonata with an extremely difficult decision to make. Did she follow Rainbow Dash to Vanhoover so they could remain together, or stay in Canterlot with her sisters. Before learning about the unfortunate news regarding their job, she had been leaning towards the former. She loved Rainbow Dash deeply and wanted to stay with her, even if it meant leaving her sisters. But now…now she wasn’t so sure. Could she really leave her sisters during such an uncertain time for them, especially if it did turn out to be all her fault?

With all this drama going on in her life right now, Sonata began to feel…agitated.

“Where is that darn ice machine?” She said, sounding slightly irritated, as she continued to search the third floor hallways.

The longer it took Sonata to find an ice machine, the longer it left her alone with her thoughts. Which only caused her agitation to grow.

“Where are you, dammit?” She muttered under her breath, as though she were addressing the elusive ice machine, as she turned a corner.

Alas, much like every other hallway Sonata had already been down, there was no ice machine to be found.

Why? Why was it so damn hard for her to find a single ice machine within the Overlook? All she wanted was a little bit of ice so she could help her aching sister. Was that too much to ask? Apparently, it was, as it started to seem to her like the hotel was purposely making the act of retrieving ice more difficult than it needed to be.

“Ugh!” Sonata exclaimed as she ceased walking and stomped her right foot down in frustration.

After a few seconds of some calming and collecting breaths, the youngest Dazzling came to the conclusion that she wasn’t going to find an ice machine simply by wandering around. She figured her best hope of finding one at this point was to go down to the lobby and see if Mr. Ullman or some other hotel employee could point her in the right direction. But just as she turned around to head back to the staircase she’d come up, she heard a sound that caused her to stop dead in her tracks.


It was the sound of a young child laughing. The exact same sound she’d heard earlier just before entering room 237.

Like before when she’d heard this laughter, Sonata turned and looked down the hallway where she thought she’d heard it coming from to see who it belonged to. But also like before, no one was there, only this time she didn’t shrug the whole thing off as her mind playing tricks on her.

“Hello?” She called out down the hall.

No answer.

Realizing that she didn’t have time to waste on all this, Sonata quickly turned back around to head to the stairs. She hadn’t taken more than two steps before she’d heard the laughter again.


It was louder this time. Loud enough that she was sure of two things; it was real, and it belonged to a young girl.

Sonata swiftly turned around once again in the hopes of discovering who was making these laughing noises, and this time managed to catch a glimpse of some long, blue hair with a few light blue streaks in it before it quickly disappeared around a corner further down the hall.

“Hey, wait!” She shouted out as she ran after the mysterious girl, suddenly feeling compelled to do so.

As Sonata ran, she heard the laughter again. It was even louder than the last time she’d heard it, and clearer too. So clear in fact that she got the feeling she recognized it. Not from when she’d heard it by room 237, but from a time and a place long ago that she couldn’t quite fully recall.

It didn’t take the Dazzling long to reach the corner where she’d seen the hair disappear behind. She didn’t see anyone right as she turned the corner, but when she looked further up the new hallway, what she saw made her eyes go as wide as dinner plates and her blood run cold.

“Hi, Mommy!” A young Dolly Dusk blithely shouted as she waved to her.

All Sonata could do was continue staring straight ahead in complete and utter disbelief. How was this possible? How was her daughter here? And, more importantly, how was she a little girl again? She wasn’t a little girl anymore, she was in college now. It didn’t make any sense. Yet there she was, around the same age as when she’d left her.

“D-Dolly?” She managed to get out in her shocked state.

“Betcha can’t catch me!” Dolly told her before turning around and running off up the hall.

“W-Wait!” Sonata replied as she began to pursue her daughter, ignoring every sense she had that told her not to do so.

But Dolly didn’t wait. She just kept on running up the hall, with surprising speed, as Sonata chased her. Eventually she rounded another corner to the right, causing the Dazzling to lose sight of her.

“Dolly, please stop!” She called out, almost pleadingly.

Sonata turned the corner just in time to see Dolly running into one of the rooms about halfway down the hall. Without a second thought, she quickly made her way down to the room and entered it herself. She was immediately greeted by Dolly, who wrapped herself around her in a hug.

“Yay! You caught me, Mommy!” The young girl joyously exclaimed.

Despite Sonata’s extreme confusion about everything that was happening right now, she had to admit that it felt nice to receive a hug from her daughter. She didn’t know how, but Dolly had always had a way of making her hugs feel extra warm.

But as much as Dolly’s hug made Sonata feel happy, it also made her feel sad. It reminded her of how she’d pushed her daughter away all those years ago and missed so much of her childhood. How in one moment of anger she’d allowed herself to lose the person she cared about most in the world. She’d told herself time and again when it came to this that there was no point in dwelling on the past since it couldn’t be changed, but that never stopped her from wishing she could go back and undo her massive mistake. Even now.

“Ah, Sonata, good to see you.” A male voice addressed her from the right side of the room.

It took Sonata no time at all to realize who the voice belonged to, but she knew that she had to have been mistaken. It was impossible that the person she was thinking of was here, even more impossible than Dolly being a little girl again. She knew for a fact that they had been taken from this world. She quickly turned her head to the right to see who it actually was, but sure enough, there, sitting at a table next to the window, was none other than the father of her child.

“N-Neighsay?” She said as she felt her blood run even colder.

Aria’s aimless running through the Overlook eventually brought her to the hotel’s lobby, where she decided to stop and rest for a while. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been running, but she knew it had been long enough to make her feel tired. There was no shortage of available seating for her to choose from, so she made her way through the lobby a bit before coming across an especially comfortable looking chair just across from the reception desk and decided to park herself down there.

As Aria sat down in her chair, which did turn out to be rather comfy, she let out a small sigh as she contemplated what to do next. She still didn’t feel up to confronting her sisters just yet, so going back to her room wasn’t an option. And she knew that she couldn’t stay in the lobby for too long. If, for whatever reason, Adagio and Sonata decided to come look for her they’d probably check there since it was somewhere they’d all already been. Of course, she realized that by that logic she needed to find someplace they all hadn’t been yet to lay low, but where?

Just as the Dazzling sank a bit more into her seat and tried to recall the layout of the Overlook from the pamphlet that Adagio had shown her and Sonata, she noticed Mr. Ullman slowly approaching her from over by the reception desk.

“Hello, Ms. Blaze.” The hotel manager cordially greeted her. “How has everything been for you and your group so far?”

“Oh, uh, good. Real good.” She casually replied, trying her best not to convey any sense of distress, lest Ullman misinterpret it as a critique against the Overlook.

“Wonderful to hear.” Ullman heartily said. “And how have you found your room? You’re in 237, correct? We just had it refurbished a few months ago by a well-known designer from Fillydelphia.”

If that’s true than you should ask for your money back. Aria silently thought to herself as she recalled how tacky and dated she found some of the aspects of her room to be.

Of course, she couldn’t say that to Ullman. The last thing she needed right now was to get on the hotel manager’s bad side, which she suspected was particularly bad. In her experience, people who acted so prim and proper all the time like Ullman were the ones who had the ugliest bad sides.

“It’s…nice. Real nice.” She decided to say, as complementary as possible. “I just came back down to see more of the hotel, since the whole place is so nice.”

“Well thank you for saying so.” Ullman replied as he slightly bowed his head to her, similar to how he had when she and her sisters first met him. “Have you had a chance to see our gold ballroom yet?”

At first Aria had no idea what Ullman meant by ‘gold ballroom’, but then she remembered how Adagio had mentioned a ‘Gold Room’ earlier where everyone was supposed to have dinner and figured that was what he was referring to.

“No, I haven’t.” She told him.

“Oh, well you simply must.” Ullman insisted, as though he were trying to get her to test drive a car, before extending his arm out towards the other end of the lobby. “It’s one of the aspects of the Overlook that we pride ourselves most on.”

Aria looked towards where Ullman was gesturing and, sure enough, it was the same place Adagio had gestured to earlier when Pinkie Pie had asked where the Gold Room was.

“It’s been host to some of the most renowned gatherings and parties in the country since it’s construction 111 years ago.” Ullman continued to try and sell the ballroom to the Dazzling. “Even to this day we still continue to hold our annual New Year’s Ball in it, with only the finest imported champagne served to our guests to drink at the stroke of midnight.”

The mention of champagne peaked Aria’s interest.

“So, there’s a bar in there?” She inquired.

“Oh yes.” Ullman confirmed. “It’s rather modest but is always fully stocked with virtually every type of alcoholic beverage imaginable.”

And that was all Aria needed to hear to convince her to check the place out.

“Well if that’s the case, I think I’ll go see the Gold Room then.” She told Ullman as she got up from her seat.

“Very good, Ms. Blaze.” Ullman said before turning his attention back to the reception desk, where he noticed an employee subtly waving at him in a silent attempt to get his attention. “If you’ll excuse me, it appears I’m needed elsewhere. But please, do enjoy yourself.”

As Ullman swiftly made his way back over to the reception desk, Aria slowly made her way through the seating area as she headed towards the Gold Room.

In truth, Aria didn’t really want to go to the Gold Room since she knew that Adagio and Sonata would show up there at some point for dinner, but the prospect of having a drink or two was just too tempting to pass up. She desperately felt she needed one after everything that had happened to her today. That, and she figured a little booze might help her find some courage when she would eventually face her sisters again.

“Really hope they have Jack Daniels.” She said to herself as she approached the threshold to the hallway which led to the Gold Room.

The wall directly across from the entrance to the hallway, which featured a number of framed black and white photos, caught Aria’s eye as she stepped inside. No doubt they were all pictures of the various renowned gatherings and parties Ullman had mentioned. They weren’t of any real interest to her, but she decided to take a quick look at them to see if she might recognize any famous people in them. Most of the photos only contained about half a dozen people or less, and she didn’t recognize anyone within those ones, but the photo directly in the middle of the wall really caught her attention, as it contained at least a hundred people. But when she saw the caption on the photo, which read

Overlook Hotel
July 4th Ball

she figured she wouldn’t recognize anyone from that far back. However, just as she was about to back away from the wall and head down the hallway, the corner of her eye spotted a beautiful woman located in the back of the large group that made her pause. She couldn’t make out too many details about the woman on account of how far back she was, really only a few vague facial features and her long, silky hair, but she knew she looked familiar.

“Who are you?” She asked no one in particular as she stared at the photo more intently.

What really caught Aria’s attention about the mystery woman was her smile. It was the kind of smile that looked pleasant enough on the surface, but a closer look at it would reveal something behind it. Something…wicked, and the Dazzling knew she’d seen it somewhere before but just couldn’t remember where exactly, no matter how hard she tried. Like there was suddenly a fog around her mind that prevented her from remembering clearly.

Eventually, Aria gave up trying to place the woman and started making her way down the hall towards the Gold Room. When she reached the end of it she turned right, the only way she could turn, and then almost immediately turned right again into a longer hallway. Seeing that there was only one door located at the other end of the hall and to the left, she started to make her way down towards it.

As Aria got closer to the entrance to the Gold Room, she began to hear the faint sound of music playing.

Despite how faint it was, her keen sense of hearing and musical expertise allowed her to deduce that it was a foxtrot-tempo ballad, though something was off about it. It wasn’t anything with the music itself, but rather something more…acoustic in nature. Like the song was being played in a large, empty room which caused it to echo a lot. It was very peculiar, and raised a bit of curiosity in her.

Soon enough, Aria reached the entrance at the other end of the hall, stepped inside, and immediately knew why it was called the Gold Room. The entire room shimmered and shined like it was actually made out of gold, which was only accentuated by the various chandeliers shining brightly within. And it was fairly large to boot, with a number of red chairs and couches along the entranceway and plenty of tables and chairs spread throughout most of the room for dining. Plus, just as Ullman had said, a bar, which was located right across from the entrance.

“Good evening, ma’am.” A man dressed in a butler outfit unexpectedly greeted her.

“Oh, hey. Evening.” She greeted back, having been caught off guard a bit.

Aria half-expected the man to ask her if she wanted to be seated or see a menu or something, but he didn’t. After he greeted her he simply turned to his right towards a nearby podium and started looking over what she assumed was a reservation book of some sorts. She was fine with this though, as all she wanted was to go to the bar anyways.

As she slowly advanced towards the bar, Aria looked over to her right to see the source of the music she’d been hearing. Over on the stage located clear on the other side of the massive room was a small band with a real crooner-looking guy singing in front of an old-fashioned microphone.

“This place really needs to invest in some modern technology.” She remarked to herself as she began to wonder why so much within the Overlook, like the microphone on the stage or the typewriter in the lounge, was so dated.

What really caught Aria’s attention about the room as she continued to walk towards the bar though was just how empty the room was. She noticed a few people, no one she knew, sitting in the dining area eating and enjoying the music, but not many. It made her question why the band and crooner guy were performing with such a small audience.

“Good evening, ma’am.” A middle-aged man behind the bar greeted her once she reached it.

“Evening.” Aria casually greeted back as she pulled out a chair, took a seat, and pulled it back up. “You got any Jack Daniels?”

“We do.” The bartender cordially replied. “But I’ll need to see some identification before I can serve you, ma’am.”

“Right, right.” Aria replied as she reached into her pocket and produced her ID, knowing this drill all-too-well.

Over the years, Aria had found that one of the drawbacks to looking so young was that people often assumed she was under the legal drinking age, and thus would always ask to see her ID before serving or selling her alcohol. She was used to it for the most part, but there was an aspect of the process she still found annoying; the looks of suspicion she often received. People would take her ID, skim it over for a few seconds, and then look up at her suspiciously, as though they suspected she was trying to fool them with a fake ID. She rarely had anyone actually challenge the validity of her ID, but she almost always got the suspicious look. The Dazzling expected this time to be no different.

As Aria handed the bartender her ID she suddenly got the strangest feeling she’d seen him somewhere before, but she couldn’t remember where exactly. Much like earlier when she’d looked at that photograph and couldn’t place the woman with the long, silky hair. She once again felt a fog start to creep its way into her mind that kept her from recalling where she might know him from, or even who he was. Not liking this, she quickly gave up trying to place him.

The bartender looked over the Dazzling’s ID intently for a few seconds, but, much to her surprise and mild delight, never once brought his gaze up to her in suspicion.

“Thank you, Ms. Blaze.” He said as he handed her back her ID. “You wanted some Jack Daniels, correct?”

“Yeah, Jack Daniels.” Aria confirmed as she took her ID back.

“Coming right up.” The bartender replied as she took a small glass out from under the bar and placed it on the countertop, before turning around to get a bottle of Jack off one of the many well-stocked shelves behind him.

After Aria put her ID back in her pocket, she rummaged around another one of her pockets for a second before pulling out a couple of $10 bills to pay for her drink. She wasn’t quite sure how much her drink was going to cost her, but she figured $20 would be enough for at least two glasses of Jack.

“Here you are, Ms. Blaze.” The bartender said as he finished filling the glass and slightly nudged it closer to her.

“Thanks, um…” Aria began to say before she realized she didn’t know the bartenders name.

“Lloyd, ma’am.” The bartender urbanely introduced himself.

“Lloyd.” She reiterated, making sure she heard him correctly, as she grabbed her drink in her right hand and placed her money on the counter with her left. “Thanks, Lloyd.”

Just as Aria lifted her glass up, she noticed Lloyd slightly nudge her money back over to her.

“No charge, Ms. Blaze.” He told her as he did this.

Aria abruptly stopped just before taking her first sip of the sweet whiskey and put her drink back down on the counter, but didn’t let go of it.

“No charge?” She asked in both bewilderment and suspicion.

“Orders from the house.” Lloyd said very matter-of-factly.

Orders from the house? Did he mean Ullman? Had the hotel’s manager called him before she arrived and said that her drinks would be free of charge? These questions ran through Aria’s mind as she looked down at her money and then up at Lloyd for a moment, essentially giving him the suspicious look she’d expected to receive from him when he checked her ID.

“If you say so.” She said as she decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and took her money back.

After putting her cash back into her pocket, Aria promptly lifted her glass back up again and allowed the drink within it to enter her mouth. She didn’t swallow it right away though, she never did when she drank whiskey. She held it in her mouth for a few seconds so that when it went down her throat she’d get the full taste of it. When she did swallow, she gave a little wince at the slight burning sensation traveling down the back of her throat. God she loved that feeling.

“Ah.” She uttered in relief as she put her glass back down. “I needed that.”

“Rough day, Ms. Blaze?” Lloyd benignantly inquired.

“Like you wouldn’t believe, Lloyd.” Aria nonchalantly replied as she relaxed a bit into her seat. “My friend who wanted me to be her girlfriend turned me down because I was taking too long to give her an answer, I found out I’m going to lose my job at the end of the month, I threatened one of my sisters, and to top it all off I punched my other sister right across the face.”

After hearing herself list off all the bad things that had happened to her over the course of the day, Aria brought her glass back up to her face and downed the rest of the Jack Daniels inside of it. Though this times she didn’t hold it in her mouth to get the full taste of it.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Ms. Blaze.” Lloyd sympathized as he poured her another glass.

Much like having her ID checked, Aria was fairly familiar with this as well; talking to the bartender about her problems. In fact, she was so familiar with it that back in Canterlot City there were one or two bartenders she was on a first name basis with because of how often she’d drink at their establishments and talk their ears off about her woes. She sometimes felt guilty for essentially using them as an alternative to therapy, but they always seemed to be okay with it. Maybe that was just part of their job description; take orders, serve drinks, and listen to customers bitch and complain about their life.

In any case, the Dazzling felt she could confide in the man behind the bar.

“You ever feel that your whole life is just one big fucking joke, Lloyd?” She asked in a rather somber manner.

“Is that how you feel your life is, Ms. Blaze?” Lloyd replied as he nudged her new glass of Jack over to her.

“…Yeah.” Aria even more somberly admitted as she pushed her empty glass off to the side and took her new one, downing almost half of it immediately.

“Why is that?” Lloyd inquired.

“Because…” Aria began to say as she stared down at her drink, feeling her words getting caught in her throat as she tried to utter them. “…because I’m the architect of my own misery.”

A single tear ran down Aria’s cheek and fell into her drink after she made her confession.

“I’m afraid I don’t quite follow, Ms. Blaze.” Lloyd said.

“I ruin everything good in my life.” The Dazzling explained as she continued to stare down into her drink, as though it were a reflecting pool that showed her all of the unfortunate truths of her life. “I ruined my friendship with Trixie, the one who wanted me to become her girlfriend, by being so indecisive about my feelings. I ruined my relationship with my sisters by threatening and hitting them.”

A few more tears ran down Aria’s face and into her Jack Daniels as she spoke, making her wonder just what the heck was going on right now. Never before had she gone this deep while talking to a bartender. Normally she would just vent or complain to them, but now it was like she was performing a psychoanalysis of herself in front of one. She didn’t like it, but she found that she couldn’t stop.

“And Glen. Oh god Glen.” She continued, feeling even more choked up now. “Why did I leave him when he was sick? I cared about that big, dumb emu like he was my own flesh and blood, but I left him when he needed me the most. And then he…”

That was as far as Aria could get before she felt an overpowering urge to finish the rest of her drink, hoping that it would make her forget all of her sorrows and regrets. But it didn’t.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the distraught Dazzling, Lloyd began pouring a third glass of Jack.

“Just what the hell is wrong with me?” Aria said, more to herself than Lloyd, as she put her now empty glass down on the counter.

“If I may be so bold, Ms. Blaze.” Lloyd began to say as he placed the new glass of whiskey in front of her. “It seems to me your problem lies with your attachment to others.”

Aria’s head shot up so quickly that she didn’t even notice she’d been given another drink.

“My…attachment to others?” She confusedly asked.

There was a brief moment of silence between Aria and Lloyd.

“Friends, family, pets. What good does it do to attach yourself to such things?” Lloyd eventually spoke up. “All they do is make life more difficult for you. They leach off of you, make their problems your problems, and treat you as if you’re just a means to an end. And in the end, they just leave you. One way or another.”

It was at this point that Lloyd pushed the glass of Jack closer to Aria so that she noticed it was there.

“So wouldn’t it be better if you simply remove such burdens from your life, Ms. Blaze?” He then asked her.

Aria stared down at her new drink intently for a moment. Part of her felt an incredible temptation to pick it up and chug it down in one swift motion, still believing that it would help her feel better. But another part of her was fighting that temptation, out of a much grimmer belief. This part of her had a feeling that if she took this drink it would be the first step down a dark and lonely path for her life. A path from which there would be no turning back, and where she’d view death as a welcome release from the inevitable desolation she’d face.

Without saying a word, the Dazzling gently pushed the glass of Jack Daniels away, and as she did so she began to feel the fog that had clouded her mind since she’d sat down at the bar begin to fade away. She was now able to recall why Lloyd had seemed so familiar to her, and she couldn’t believe how she hadn’t realized who he was sooner.

“Is that why you left us, Dad?” She solemnly asked as she looked back up at him with a great sadness in her eyes. “Because we were a burden?”

“You’re just in time for dinner.” Neighsay said to Sonata as he gestured to the seat across from him. “Please, join us.”

“Come on, Mommy!” Dolly said as she broke her hug with the Dazzling and took her right hand, trying to lead her over to the table where Neighsay was. “We’re having fish for dinner!”

Sonata put up little to no resistance against Dolly’s efforts to drag her across the room. She was too aghast to do so. Her mind reeled wildly trying to find a reasonable explanation for how Neighsay was alive. Dolly, the adult Dolly who had visited her back in Canterlot not long ago, had told her that he’d lost a two year battle with pancreatic cancer a while back, so how was it possible he was here right now? The possibility that Dolly had lied to her briefly crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed it. She knew Dolly would never lie about such a serious matter.

And then there was the matter of Dolly herself. Sonata was still befuddled as to how her daughter had become a little girl again. Between that and now Neighsay, she was being to think she’d suffered some sort of mental breakdown and was simply hallucinating all of this. But even if that was the case, she decided it best to just roll with it. There was no harm in that. At least, none that she could see.

Soon enough the Dazzling found herself standing in front of the table Neighsay was sitting at in the random hotel room. The table was fully-set for three with some mashed potatoes and a piece of fish on each plate. Cod, by the looks of it.

“Yummy!” Dolly exclaimed as she hastily took the seat next to her father and began scarfing down the fish in front of her.

“Slow down, Dolly.” Neighsay affably but firmly told her.

“But it’s so good, Daddy.” Dolly replied, almost euphorically, as she continued to attack her dinner.

“I know it is, sweetie.” Neighsay said. “But if you don’t slow down you’re going to give yourself a tummy ache.”

Dolly immediately slowed down when she heard the words ‘tummy ache’.

The small family scene elicited a soft, involuntary chuckle from Sonata as she took a seat next to Dolly. After she’d ceased being mad at her daughter she sometimes wondered what Dolly and Neighsay’s home life was like, and what she’d just witnessed was almost exactly as she’d imagined it. Dolly being so energetic and Neighsay being firm but compassionate with her. It was the sort of thing one might expect to see on an old sitcom.

The only downside to the scene was that it reminded Sonata of what she’d missed out on by being so angry at Dolly for so long; a happy family life. While she’d never actually desired a family of her own before, she couldn’t help but feel sad that she’d thrown away the chance at one all those years ago.

“Are you all right, Sonata.” Neighsay concernedly asked her.

“Oh, y-yeah, I’m fine.” She tentatively replied.

In an attempt to emanate a sense of being okay, Sonata picked up her knife and fork and cut into her fish. Once she’d cut off a small piece, she impaled it with her fork and brought it up to her mouth. As she took a bite and chewed her food, she found it to be surprisingly good. If this was just a hallucination, it sure was a tasty one.

“Are you certain?” Neighsay then said, clearly not having been convinced. “You seem…put upon.”

“Put upon?” Sonata confusedly asked once she’d swallowed her fish.

“Yes, put upon.” Neighsay reiterated. “Like a terrible weight has been put upon you by someone.”

As soon as Neighsay said this, Dolly put down her eating utensils, leaned over in her chair towards Sonata, and quickly looked her mother up and down for a few seconds, much to the Dazzling’s bewilderment.

“Mommy doesn’t look like she’s put on any weight, Daddy.” She said as she turned to her father.

Neighsay gave an amused chuckle at Dolly’s comment. Sonata simply dawned a bright red blush across her face.

“T-Thank you, Dolly.” The Dazzling told her daughter with a hint of embarrassment in her voice.

“Not that type of weight, Dolly.” Neighsay explained to the little girl. “I was referring to emotional weight.”

“Ohhh.” Dolly replied, acting as if she understood but clearly didn’t.

Even in her slightly embarrassed state, Sonata couldn’t help but give a small giggle at Dolly’s misunderstanding.

“So tell me, Sonata.” Neighsay then addressed her, getting back on topic. “Is there anything that’s been bothering you lately? Anything that’s been causing you emotional distress?”

Oh, there were plenty of things causing Sonata distress at the moment, not the least of which being that she was in a room with her mysteriously age-regressed daughter and supposedly deceased former lover. But she decided it best to not bring that up with said daughter and former lover.

“Well, I’m a little worried about my sisters.” She meekly replied. “See, Aria and Adagio got into a fight earlier. A big fight. Bigger than any they’ve had before.”

“Why were they fighting?” Neighsay inquired.

“Because we’re losing our job soon and…it might be because of me.” Sonata somberly said as she looked down at the table. “I made a mistake. A big one. One that could end up costing us everything we’ve worked so hard to build for ourselves.”

Much like when she’d first been accused of being the reason for losing their job by Aria, Sonata began to feel like she was on the verge of tears.

“And on top of all that, Rainbow Dash asked me to move to Vanhoover with her, putting me in a position where I’d have to choose between her and my sisters.” She continued, managing to hold back tears for now. “I’m not mad at her for that though, in fact I’m actually happy that she wants us to stay together, but I…I don’t know if I can choose between her and my sisters. I love Dashie with all my heart, but I just don’t know if I can leave my sisters during this difficult time to be with her.”

At that moment, a single tear fell from the corner of Sonata’s eye.

“I just wish there was another way.” She solemnly finished as she wiped the tear from her face.

Just then, Sonata unexpectedly felt a small pair of arms wrap tightly around her waist, and she looked down to see Dolly embracing her in a hug and staring up at her with a sympathetic expression.

“Don’t be sad, Mommy.” The little girl said to her. “You don’t have to choose.”

Feeling touched by her daughters compassion, Sonata reached down and returned the hug as best she could.

“Thank you, sweetie.” She warmly told her. “But unfortunately Mommy does have to make a choice between Rainbow Dash and Aunts Adagio and Aria.”

“Not necessarily.” Neighsay spoke up. “If you want, you can stay here with us.”

Upon hearing Neighsay’s words, Sonata immediately broke her hug with Dolly and looked up at him with a look of shock on her face.

“W-What?” She very confusedly asked.

“You can stay here with Dolly and myself.” Neighsay explained. “If you do, you won’t need to make such a difficult choice.”

“Yeah, stay with us, Mommy!” Dolly energetically chimed in, causing Sonata to return her attention to her. “Then we can play together forever and ever and ever!”

Sonata had no idea what either Neighsay or Dolly were talking about. How could she possibly stay with them? They weren’t real. They were just hallucinations created by her mind. She couldn’t stay with them. But then again, what if she was wrong about all of this just being in her head. What if they somehow really were real. What if fate was giving her a second chance at the family she could’ve had all those years ago. She found that she couldn’t rule this possibility out, mostly because she didn’t want to. She desperately wanted to believe she was being given a chance to start again with Dolly, to correct the mistakes she’d made before.

But even as Sonata contemplated whether her current reality was really real or not, there was one facet that still troubled her; staying with them forever. Even if they were real, could she really leave both Rainbow Dash and her sisters forever just to avoid having to choose between them? Wouldn’t that be worse than choosing one over the other? And how would forever work anyways? Would they just live together in the hotel until the end of time, immortal and unchanging?

The more Sonata asked herself these questions, the more she found that staying with Dolly and Neighsay simply wasn’t an option, even if it truly was possible.

“I’m sorry, Dolly.” She said as she gently removed her from her person. “But I can’t stay with you.”

“But if you go, you’ll have to make a choice and you’ll be sad, Mommy.” Dolly sullenly said to her.

“I know, sweetie.” She judiciously began to reply. “But making choices is how you move on in life. You can’t run away from them just because they might make you feel sad when you make them, otherwise nothing will ever change. I don’t know which choice I’ll make yet, or how I’ll feel about it later after I make it, but I know that it’s a choice I have to make. Even if it makes me sad for a bit.”

And with that, Sonata got up from her seat and kneeled down to give Dolly one last hug before she left, which Dolly didn’t return. After that, she got back up and looked over to Neighsay.

“It was good seeing you again, Neighsay.” She genuinely said to him. “And thanks for taking care of Dolly.”

Neighsay said nothing as Sonata walked past Dolly and headed for the door. The Dazzling didn’t get very far though, as she soon felt a small tug on her skirt that kept her from leaving.

“Don’t go, Mommy.” She heard Dolly rather grimly say.

Feeling a slight chill run down her spine at the way Dolly had told her not to go, Sonata turned around and saw what was perhaps the most frightening thing she’d ever seen. Her daughter, now much paler and rotting, like a living corpse, wearing a tattered and torn dress.

“AHH!” She shouted in horror as she pulled herself free and fell backwards, her eyes unable to move away from the sight of the now deceased-looking Dolly, no matter how much she tried.

“Yes, Sonata, don’t go.” Neighsay just as grimly added, gaining Sonata’s attention.

Neighsay too looked like he’d just crawled out of a cemetery as he got up and slowly started walking over towards the Dazzling.

Her survival instincts kicking in, Sonata hastily got up from the floor and bolted for the door in a panic, wanting to scream as she did so but finding herself to frightened. Once she reached the door, she swiftly opened it and stepped out into the hallway, making sure to slam the door shut behind her.

Frozen in fear and breathing heavily, Sonata simply stood out in the hallway for a few seconds with the doorknob clasped in her hands, hoping that neither Dolly nor Neighsay tried to turn it in an attempt to follow her. Thankfully, it never turned.

“That wasn’t a hallucination. That was real.” She timorously told herself as she let go of the doorknob and slowly backed away from the door. “Oh god, oh god, oh god…”

As Sonata tried to process everything that had just happened to her, she ran down the hallway towards the stairs she’d used to get up to the third floor. The only thing that she could think to do now was go back to her room and tell Adagio everything that she’d just experienced. She wasn’t sure if Adagio would believe her or not, but she had to tell her anyways. Something malevolent was at work within the walls of the Overlook Hotel, and she needed to warn her about it.

Fortunately, just as Sonata reached the second floor, she spotted Adagio just a little ways down the hall.

“Dagi!” She shouted as she ran towards her.

Adagio turned around just in time to be nearly tackled into an embrace by her younger sister.

“Sonata, what-” She tried to say before Sonata cut her off.

“I saw them, Dagi, I saw Dolly and Neighsay!” Sonata started rambling like a madwoman. “Dolly was a little girl again and Neighsay was alive! We ate fish and talked and then they turned into living corpses or something and tried to make me stay with them! I know it sounds crazy, but you have to believe me! You have to belie-“

“I believe you, Sonata.” Adagio interrupted as she looked her sister square in the eyes to show her she was serious. “There’s something wrong with this place, Sunset was trying to warn us about it.”

As much as Sonata wanted to ask Adagio about what had happened with Sunset since she’d left her, she knew that that wasn’t what was important right now. And quite frankly, given what she’d just gone through herself, she didn’t want to hear about any more spooky encounters.

“So what do we do now?” She diffidently inquired as she let go of her sister.

“First we find Aria and then we get everyone out of here.” Adagio answered. “I’ll continue searching the hotel while you go back to the room in case she goes back there, okay?”

“No!” Sonata alarmingly exclaimed as she grabbed hold of her sister again. “Please don’t leave me, Dagi!”

If it wasn’t clear enough to Adagio before just how frightened Sonata was, it was certainly clear enough to her now. While she still felt one of them should wait in their room just in case Aria returned there, she knew that there was no way Sonata was going to leave her side.

“Okay…okay, new plan.” She calmingly said as she removed Sonata from her person once again. “We’ll go back to the room and see if Aria’s there first. If she isn’t, we’ll go looking for her together, all right?”

“A-All right.” Sonata agreed.

And so, the two Dazzlings quickly made their way back to room 237, though neither of them really expected to find Aria there. Deep down, they each knew that they were going to have to search the massive hotel if they wanted to find her.

“I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else, Ms. Blaze.” Lloyd said to Aria. “I’m just a bartender.”

Aria just continued to stare silently up at Lloyd with a great sadness in her eyes. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that the man before her was her father. She was sure of it. Maybe not the exact same father she’d had back in Equestria, but another version of him at the very least. Even still though, how could she not have realized that it was him from the first moment she’d laid eyes on him?

As much as Aria wanted to solve that mystery, she had more pressing concerns to worry about at the moment.

“Sorry.” She placidly apologized as she looked back down at the counter. “It’s just…my dad left me and my sisters when we were young, and we never knew why. We each had our theories though. Adagio believed it was because he’d had enough of Mom’s abuse. Sonata never believed he’d actually left. She thought something bad had just happened to him. And me? I always believed it was because he didn’t want to deal with any of us anymore. Because he saw us as a…a burden.”

The sadness in Aria’s eyes manifested itself into a few tears that quickly rolled down her face and onto the counter. She felt so pathetic in that moment, crying over the loss of her father like she were a child. It had been how many years since he’d left, and yet apparently she still hadn’t gotten over it. She began to wonder if this was just one of those things in life a person never fully got over, that it was a mental scar that would always hurt to some degree. But even if that was true, it still didn’t change the fact that she didn’t like how she was acting right now.

The temptation to have her third drink once again popped into Aria’s head. Only this time, the part of her that wanted to resist that temptation didn’t pop in as well. She went to reach for the glass of Jack but stopped when she noticed Lloyd reaching for it as well. The bartender picked up the drink and downed the whole thing himself in one swig, much to the Dazzling’s surprise.

“Some people are just meant to be alone.” He said to her once he was finished, sounding a bit different now. “They may try to socialize with others, or find love, or raise a family. But no matter how hard they may try, they can’t change the fact that, at their core, they’re just a lone wolf.”

Lloyd then put the glass down on the counter and looked Aria straight in the eyes.

“So tell me, Aria, are you a lone wolf?” He pointedly asked her.

As Aria pondered her answer to that question, she began to think about the type of person she was. It was true that she often preferred to be alone instead of around other people, and when she was around other people, even her sisters, she often wished she wasn’t. But did these things mean that she was a lone wolf? In all honesty, she was beginning to think they did.

But as she began to think more about it, Aria started to come to some surprising realizations. Despite all the times she’d desperately wanted to be alone, like when she’d been watching some low-budget kaiju movie with Adagio or shopping for outfits with Sonata, she’d never once walked away. She’d always stayed and participated in whatever activity it was she had complained about as being so unpleasant. And why? Because deep down she actually enjoyed being around other people, especially her sisters. Even if the only thing she enjoyed about it was being able to complain.

“No, I’m not a lone wolf.” She told Lloyd with no shortage of conviction in either her voice or eyes.

At this, Lloyd dawn a small, almost unnoticeable smile.

“Very well then, Ms. Blaze.” He simply replied.

“Aria!” Sonata’s voice suddenly rang throughout the room.

Aria quickly turned around to see both Sonata and Adagio rushing over to her from the entrance, each with a mixed expression of relief and worry on their face.

“What the?” She confusedly said to herself as she got up from her seat.

Once up, Aria couldn’t help but notice that the ballroom had filled up significantly with students and various other guests since she’d walked in, indicating to her that it must have been close to the scheduled dinner time.

“Aria! Thank goodness we finally found you!” Adagio said with great relief as she reached her.

Aria felt extremely confused right now. Last she’d seen her sisters she’d yelled at both of them and even hit one of them, but the way they were acting right now it was like none of that had happened.

“Is…everything okay?” She inquired, figuring that something big must have happened since she’d left their room for them to just sweep all their bad feelings regarding her actions under the rug.

“No, everything’s not okay!” Sonata alarmingly said. “There’s some seriously bad magic or something in this place. Adagio said Sunset became possessed for a little while and I saw these really spooky ghosts of Dolly and Neighsay!”

Normally Aria would simply dismiss such wild claims as pure nonsense, especially since they’d come from Sonata’s mouth. But after everything she’d just gone through with ‘Lloyd’ she had a hard time finding these claims to be all that crazy. She turned around for a moment to see if Lloyd was still behind the bar, but he wasn’t. All that remained were three empty glasses on the counter.

“I believe you.” She earnestly said as she turned back around. “So what do we do.”

Just as Adagio was about to answer her sister’s question, the lights in the room suddenly dimmed. All except for a single spotlight over the stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen.” A booming voice from over a PA system started to say. “The Overlook Hotel is proud to present to you this evening, for your entertainment pleasure, the one and only Siren of the South Seas herself, Ms. Madrigal Moonlight!”

The audience gave a loud round-of-applause as a beautiful woman with long, silky scarlet hair wearing the most amazing champagne gold V neck flapper dress you ever did see walked out onto the stage. Aria immediately recognized her from the photo she’d looked at earlier, and, much like with Lloyd, she began to feel the fog that had clouded her mind dissipate. She knew who she was now, and she really couldn’t believe how she hadn’t realized who she was sooner.

Even though Adagio and Sonata hadn’t seen the photo that Aria had, they immediately recognized the woman as well.

“Thank you, thank you. Welcome to the show.” Madrigal Moonlight ardently said to the audience as they applauded her. “Before I begin, I’d just like to dedicate this first song to my three lovely daughters; Adagio, Aria, and Sonata.”

Each of the Dazzlings cringed when they heard Madrigal say their names, and felt a truly daunting amount of despair that they hadn’t felt since they were young sirens. Their mother had returned, and as she started to sing they began to fear that they and everyone else weren't going to survive the night.

Finale (Part 3)

View Online

“No, no, no, no, no…” Sonata uttered in terror as she wrapped herself around Adagio’s arm.

“It’s okay, Sonata.” Adagio instinctively tried to assure her younger sister, though not sounding very convincing. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

Aria said nothing. All she could do was stare mutely at the stage on the other end of the room with eyes as wide as saucers.

The three siren sisters found themselves frozen with fear as they stood together over by the Gold Room’s bar, the sound of music and their mother’s heavenly singing voice echoing throughout the grand ballroom. Of all the spooky and unsettling things that each of them had experienced since arriving at the Overlook Hotel, the sight of their mother filled them with a dread that was in a class all its own. A dread that was practically petrifying, and one that had known all too well growing up. Each of them silently asked herself how it was possible that their long-deceased mother was back and performing at the Overlook right now, but none of them dwelled on it all that much. What they were more concerned about was how they were going to live long enough to see another sunrise.

“What the hell do we do, Adagio?” Aria reiterated, though more timorously this time, once she was able to speak again.

When Aria had first asked her that question only a few mere moments ago Adagio had intended to reply, ‘We get everyone and get out of here’, but now that their mother was here she knew that that wasn’t an option anymore.

Run? From Madrigal Moonlight? Ha! The idea was nearly comical on account of how bad it was. Adagio briefly remembered an instance from when she was younger where a siren had attempted to flee from her mother. The siren had foolishly tried to steal something from the infamous Madrigal Moonlight but had been caught in the act, and when he tried to escape her wrath she used her mighty siren jaws to wound him. She could have easily ended him, but she had deliberately chosen to simply wound him. When the thief continued to try and flee she wounded him again…and again…and again, until he was unable to continue fleeing. That was when she ended him.

Adagio wasn’t exactly sure how old she’d been when this had occurred, but she did remember Aria and Sonata being extremely young at the time. So young that they probably had no memory of it themselves. Oh, but she remembered it, and the lessons it had taught her; Crossing Madrigal Moonlight was the last mistake you’d ever make, and trying to run from her only prolonged your suffering. Yes, running was most definitely not a viable option if their mother had her sights set on them. And there was no doubt in the Dazzling leader’s mind that that was the case, which left her with only one alternative.

“We face her.” She said in a very steadfast manner. “We face Mom.”

Sonata immediately let go of Adagio’s arm when she heard this.

“What?!” The youngest Dazzling softly exclaimed in shock just as Aria grabbed ahold of Adagio’s shoulder and spun her around to face her.

“Have you lost your goddamn mind?!” The pig-tailed girl legitimately inquired.

“We don’t have any other choice here, Aria.” Adagio unyieldingly answered back as she looked her sister straight in the eyes. “There’s no running away from all of this now.”

Despite her show of fidelity, Adagio could tell that Aria hadn’t been convinced that she was, in fact, still very much sane.

“B-But we can’t face Mom, Dagi! Not after what we did to her!” Sonata frantically chimed in, causing Adagio to turn and face her. “She’ll destroy us! We need to get out of here right now!”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Sonata.” Aria cut in as she moved her way around Adagio to stand next to Sonata’s side, taking her anxious sister’s hand once she got there, both in a sign of support and to try and calm her down. “We should make a break for it while Mom’s still singing.”

“Mhmm, mhmm.” Sonata muttered as she vigorously nodded her head in agreement.

It wasn’t difficult for Adagio to understand why Aria and Sonata were so adamant about trying to run from their mother. They were afraid of her, same as she was. The only difference was that her sisters were letting their fear get the better of them. Maybe they truly did believe that running was the best option, but regardless she knew that the basis for that belief was fear, and that she couldn’t allow that fear to guide her decision-making. In all her time as the Dazzlings’ leader, she’d learned that letting fear guide your choices was never a good idea, especially in a crisis. She needed her full wits about her now more than ever, and thankfully because she had them she was able to think of something that her sisters were blatantly overlooking.

“So we just leave everyone else here then?” She solemnly asked them. “Rainbow Dash and Trixie included?”

The amount of fear in both Aria and Sonata’s eyes suddenly diminished. Not by much, but enough that Adagio could see small hints of compassion beginning to form in them. The two youngest Dazzlings turned their heads towards the dining area for a few seconds before returning their attention to her, speechless, and now with clear hints of remorse for their brash self-regard in their eyes as well.

“I know you’re both scared, I am too.” She sympathetically told them as she clasped their hands in hers. “But we can’t run from this. Not just for everyone else’s sake, but for our sake too.”

Aria and Sonata each dawned expressions of mild confusion when they heard their sister say this.

“We were wrong all those years ago when we left Mom.” Adagio ruminatively began to explain. “We thought that by simply ridding ourselves of her we would stop fearing her, but that wasn’t the case. We never confronted her so we never stopped being afraid of her, and because of that she continued to affect our lives. We kept on believing everything that she told us about how power was all that mattered and how we couldn’t trust anyone else until those beliefs led us to hitting rock bottom. I know we’ve managed to turn our lives around since then, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a part of us and always will be until we finally stop running from her.”

Deep down, both Aria and Sonata knew that everything Adagio was telling them was true. Their mother had never truly left them. She had always remained with them in spirit, even to this day. Despite all the progress that they had made with their lives since becoming Canterlot High School’s motivational speakers they still hadn’t faced their inner most demon. The one that held the greatest amount of sway over them.

“We have to face Mom, girls, or else we’ll never be free of her.” Adagio earnestly concluded.

As Aria and Sonata stared into their big sister’s tenacious eyes, they began to fully understand the situation they were in right now. They were at a crossroads, one that would shape the course of the rest of their lives. They could run from their mother and continue to have her be a part of them for the rest of their days, or they could face her and finally be free of her once and for all. On the surface the choice seemed like a fairly easy one, but then there was the risk factor to take into account.

From the standpoint of surviving the night the better option, by far, was running. While there was no guarantee that they would get away from their mother, the odds of success were still well above those of staying and facing her. However, much to Aria and Sonata’s own surprise, they weren’t as concerned about that as they’d been earlier. Perhaps it had been because of how intransigent Adagio had been when she’d explained why she felt facing their mother was their only real choice, but now they each started to feel the same way she did. Was running away worth the cost of continuing to be afraid of their mother for the rest of their lives? Almost as if they were reading each other’s minds, the two Dazzlings simultaneously turned their heads to look at one another and immediately realized that they’d both come to the same conclusion. They wanted to stay and face their mother, because they didn’t want to be afraid of her anymore. And because they didn’t want to leave everyone else behind as well. Especially Rainbow Dash and Trixie.

“Alright. We’re with you, sis.” Aria resolutely said as she turned her head back to address Adagio.

“Yeah.” Sonata concurred as she did likewise, though sounding somewhat less confident than Aria. “We’re with you, Dagi. We’ll face Mom.”

Sensing that Sonata’s anxieties hadn’t been quite as assuaged as Aria’s, Adagio let go of her sisters’ hands and wrapped her arms around the two of them in a quick group hug.

“I swear, no matter what happens I won’t let her hurt you, Sonata.” She sedately promised. “Or you, Aria.”

Both Adagio’s hug and promise to them had caught Aria and Sonata off-guard, the promise especially. Never in all their lives had Adagio sworn she’d protect them like that. There had been times in the past where she’d promised they wouldn’t get hurt, sure, but all those times she’d made that promise as their leader. This time though, she’d made that promise as their big sister. The reason behind this was unknown to them, but it was inconsequential. All that mattered was whether or not their sister was being serious, and they wholeheartedly believed that she was.

Wasting no time, Sonata and Aria let go of each other’s hand and returned Adagio’s hug.

“Thanks, Dagi.” Sonata endearingly said.

“And don’t worry, we got your back too.” Aria added with a hint of affection, which was rather unusual for her.

Adagio felt moved by the display of sisterly love that was occurring at the moment, almost to the point of tears. But she knew that this wasn’t the time to be getting all emotional, so she broke the group hug and gave Aria and Sonata a small smile before turning her attention to the stage where Madrigal was still singing, dawning a look of great conviction as she did so. Aria and Sonata soon did likewise.

“So what’s the game plan here, Adagio?” Aria inquired. “I assume we’re not just going to rush the stage and confront Mom right here and now.”

“No, we’re going to find some seats and watch the rest of the show.” Adagio staunchly replied. “I have a feeling once it’s over she’ll come to us.”

“And what if she tries to destroy us?” Sonata apprehensively asked. “We don’t have our magic to defend ourselves anymore.”

“I don’t think she’s out to destroy us, Sonata.” Adagio answered. “If that’s what she wanted she would’ve just done it instead of putting on this show.”

“So what do you think she does want than?” Aria curiously queried.

That was the million-dollar question Adagio didn’t have an answer to. She figured in all likelihood that if their mother wasn’t out for vengeance against them than that meant she either needed them for something or needed something from them. But what? What could she possibly need them for or need from them after all these years?

“I don’t know.” The eldest Dazzling admitted just before she slowly started advancing towards the dining area. “But we’ll find out soon enough.”

Aria and Sonata quickly followed behind Adagio as all three of them set off in search of a table that they could sit at together. The task proved rather difficult though, as most of the tables they initially passed were already full. There were a few that had one or two seats available, but none with three or more.

The further through the dining area Adagio, Aria, and Sonata went the closer to the stage they got, and the louder and clearer the sound of their mother’s singing became. Her voice was just as they’d remembered it; velvety and sublime. It was the kind of voice that one would naturally find soothing, but after so many years of hearing it yell at and belittle them the Dazzlings found it anything but soothing. In fact, right now it was starting to reignite their anxieties about facing her. So in an effort to keep themselves from succumbing to said anxieties they each tried to focus on something else. Sonata tried to focus on her girlfriend, Rainbow Dash, and how she needed to be brave right now in order to protect her. Aria tried to focus on the conversation she’d had with Limestone Pie at the mall not long ago when she’d been told by the girl that she didn’t need to turn out like her mother if she didn’t want to, that she had a choice in the matter. And Adagio, not surprisingly, tried to focus on the promise she’d just made to her sisters.

Eventually the Dazzlings did find a table with enough available seats at it. A table with four seats available, three on one end and one on the other, and no one else at it, located right in front of the stage. None of them believed for a second that this was simply some sort of coincidence. This table had been reserved, just for them. As they apprehensively took their seats, Sonata on the left, Aria on the right, and Adagio in the middle, they noticed that the Rainbooms were seated at the table directly to their left. Well, most of the Rainbooms anyway. Sunset and Twilight were absent.

For brief moment Adagio considered going over to the group of girls to quickly explain the situation they were in, thinking that maybe their magic could be of some help, but that idea immediately went out the window as soon as she saw the look in Applejack’s eyes. She’d seen this look many times before, most recently when she and her sisters had tried to take over CHS. It was the sultry look of someone under a siren’s spell, and it made the Dazzling give a small, inaudible gulp. She knew her mother was powerful, of course, but she was surprised and a bit distressed to see that she was powerful enough to ensnare the Rainbooms with her singing.

A few seconds later, Madrigal gave out a long crescendo that all of the Dazzlings knew signaled the end of her song. Once she’d finished with it they’d expected to hear a round of thunderous applause from the packed room, but there was only silence. Curious, they each looked over their shoulders and saw that most of the people who’d been in the Gold Room only moments ago were mysteriously gone. Only the CHS students remained, and all of them had their heads laying down on their tables, unconscious.

“Dashie?!” Sonata alarmingly said as she got up from the table and made her way over to her girlfriend, giving her a light shake once she reached her. “Dashie?!”

“She’s fine. They all are.” Madrigal stated as she started to make her way stage left, the spotlight following her every step. “They’re just sleeping.”

It was true. Sonata was quickly able to discern that Rainbow