Second Place (Moondancer/Celestia: Sad)

Jun 23rd, 2015
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  1. >Get perfect score on entrance exam.
  2. >Excel in magic school.
  3. >Even have a letter from Princess Celestia herself.
  4. >Try really hard to be friends with her favorite.
  5. >Twilight ignores you.
  6. >Always reading or hiding in the library at Canterlot.
  7. >Spike is fun though, when she lets him come hang out with the rest of the class.
  8. >Tell yourself Celestia will surely see your talents someday.
  9. >That Twilight is very good with magic but so are you.
  10. >That no matter what, you're trying the hardest.
  11. >Thats how the stories go, right?
  12. >The pony who tries the hardest and everyone likes always makes it?
  13. >That was me.
  14. >Right?
  15. >I guess there always needs to be someone to get the silver medal.
  16. >Hooray for me.
  17. >Princess Celestia sent Twilight to Ponyville
  18. >I'm secretly happy.
  19. >Maybe now the Princess will have more time for the rest of us.
  20. >It's not even me who's bummed out, all of us feel a little cheated by simply born around the same time Twilight was.
  21. >Do you think anyone remembers another unicorn when Starswirl the Bearded was around?
  22. >It doesn't make you very motivated to do your best when it will never be good enough.
  23. >No matter, with her on some assignment about friendship, the rest of us might be able to show off a little.
  24. >I even worked up the courage to approach her directly and show her a spell.
  25. >She smiled and was just about to say something when a scroll popped between us.
  26. >A letter.
  27. >From Twilight.
  28. >I didn't even wait for her to finish reading before I quietly saw myself out.
  29. >Grades start to slip.
  30. >Heh, slip, who am I kidding?
  31. >One B isn't slipping.
  32. >But I know I could have gotten an A, I imagine that's why I felt that way.
  33. >I want to say it bothered me.
  34. >That I'm a basket case and that I freaked out and sequestered myself and studied non-stop.
  35. >But, I didn't.
  36. >I didn't care at all.
  37. >Why try hard and kill yourself for an A when you can barely wake up and make a B?
  38. >What difference does it make, afterall?
  39. >Twilight saved Ponyville from Discord the week before.
  40. >They had a huge ceremony in Canterlot and we were 'volen-told' to provide the fireworks afterward.
  41. >We were the highest ranking apprentice unicorns in the capital.
  42. >Most of us had magical ability on par with the Royal Guard now.
  43. >So what did that mean?
  44. >Our job was to shoot sparkles into the air so Twilight felt more special than she already did.
  45. >Woo-hoo.
  46. >So maybe that's why I spent the weekend goofing off instead of studying.
  47. >Maybe that's why the collective class saw a sudden drop in test scores.
  48. >I came to terms with being a runner up at life but to be reminded of it in such an undignified fashion?
  49. >I'm supposed to be in school in a few hours.
  50. >Think I'm going to take a sick day.
  51. >It feels like there is a dragon sitting on my chest as it.
  52. >My sick day became a week.
  53. >First I read a romance novel.
  54. >It was the first time I read something that wasn't for school since I was a filly.
  55. >Then I started to cry, then I went out late to Pony Joe's for a dozen
  56. >That got me through day two.
  57. >I never binge read before, never on something so trashy.
  58. >I kept the shades drawn and quietly enjoyed every page of it.
  59. >When I discovered it was a series, I checked all of the novels out and brought them home with me.
  60. >One by one, I read those books, and everytime I either got sad, ate a donut, or did...other things.
  61. >I felt pathetic but at the same time, I felt liberated.
  62. >Like some magical chain around my neck had been broken and I could do whatever I wanted.
  63. >That for a few days I had time for myself for once.
  64. >I forgot about school, and homework, and studing.
  65. >Most of all, I forgot about Twilight Sparkle.
  66. >I know what you're thinking, I hate her, right?
  67. >Well, you're wrong.
  68. >I envy her.
  69. >I wish I was her.
  70. >And I know in my soul that had Princess Celestia picked me instead of her.
  71. >I would have been carefree and oblivious too.
  72. >Forgetting my friends, forgetting about anyone who wasn't in my little inner circle.
  73. >I was finished with the fourth novel in the "Don't Sail Away" series when a knock came at my door.
  74. >I combed my mane in a hurry and straightened up a little bit.
  75. >A little water got some of the darkness out of my eyes, I hadn't been sleeping or eating good.
  76. >I took a deep breath and expected the assistant principal or one of my teachers at the door.
  77. >But instead...
  78. "Princess Celestia..?"
  79. >There she was, clear as day.
  80. >I felt my legs lock and my eyes widen.
  81. >My ears drooped when I noticed she wasn't smiling either.
  82. >"Hello Moondancer."
  83. >A cynical part of me, one that I had found was growing quite large these days, wondered aloud that it was a shock she even knew my name.
  84. >"You haven't been at school for some time now."
  85. >I nodded.
  86. >"Are you ok? Have you been ill?"
  87. >You could say that.
  88. "I...umm....a little?"
  89. >I felt my left hoof slide around the ground slightly, a nervous habit I thought I conquered years ago.
  90. >"I inquired at the nurses office before I sought you out. They don't have any record of you going there."
  91. >Celestia leaned her head slightly over me.
  92. >I wonder if she noticed all the shades were drawn and the pile of spent candles.
  93. >Or the box or two of empty donuts.
  94. >Or the general disarray things were in.
  95. >I swallowed and felt a lump in my throat.
  96. "I didn't...want to bother them..."
  97. >"I see. Moondancer, may I ask a personal question? It might be uncomfortable."
  98. >If she asks if I'm having 'mare troubles' I am going to scream.
  99. >Literally, I will scream as loud as I can at the Princess of the entire nation.
  100. >I nodded and wondered how loud it would get when she--
  101. >"Have I done something to upset you?"
  102. >Well...that was unexpected.
  103. >In fact, I was caught so offguard that I answered truthfully before I could stop myself.
  104. ".....yes...."
  105. >There was an awkward pause as Princess Celestia tucked her wings tighter against her body.
  106. >I didn't look up.
  107. >I didn't want to see the sadness or anger in her eyes.
  108. >Or worse, no emotion at all.
  109. >But, for me, the jar I bottled all the resentment and pain and who knows what else was cracked open.
  110. >The emotions found my voice, and I couldn't stop myself.
  111. "Since the moment I set hoof in your school, I have done nothing but try my hardest for you."
  112. >I felt my knees begin to tremble as I did everything to keep my anger in check.
  113. "Every project your teachers gave me, every test, ever challenge! I excelled at all of it. Never once did I not give you everything I had!"
  114. >I used what little will power I had left to keep my eyes on the floor between us.
  115. >I would not look up.
  116. >I would not let her see the tears in my eyes.
  117. "Straight As for nearly a decade. Every extracurricular I could get my hooves on. I gave you, 10, 12, even 14 hour days for YEARS! My childhood, my spare time, everything! And for what?!"
  118. >My voice cracked as the last few words left my mouth.
  119. >I let my rear legs give way and my flank plopped unceremoniously on the floor.
  120. >I grit my teeth as moisture ran down my face, what little control I had over my feelings was gone.
  121. "...all that work...and you use me as a cheerleader for your front of parents saw me shooting magic fireworks for Twilight...They smiled when I saw them but knew they were wondering why i was doing that....what's next?! Shine her hooves? Wash her dresses!?"
  122. >The last of my tirade was choked out between sobs, I couldn't help myself anymore.
  123. >I buried my face in my hooves and found I couldn't talk anymore.
  124. >I wanted more than anything to run away right then and there.
  125. >Dive into my house, back into my storybooks, and lock the door.
  126. >My body trembled as I wept, and I thanked whatever spirits still cared about me that I couldn't see how pathetic I looked.
  127. >I was waiting for Princess Celestia to tell me to pack my things and leave.
  128. >That her school wasn't for me.
  129. >That I clearly can't handle the stress and it would be better if I found work elsewhere.
  130. >What would I even do?
  131. >My whole life has been learn magic and study.
  132. >I...I don't even know what a unicorn does if they're not a mage....
  133. >But, none of that happened.
  134. >In fact, Princess Celestia let herself in and closed the door behind her.
  135. >She sat next to me, in the empty hallway, and wrapped her wing behind my back.
  136. >I practically fell into her warm fur, wrapping my forelegs around her waist as I continued to sob.
  137. >I wanted to stop.
  138. >I kept closing my eyes and holding my breath but the tears kept coming and my body kept shaking.
  139. "Why...did I have to...screw up....for you to...notice me...? Why wasn' best...what you saw...?"
  140. >I felt my forelegs tighten around her and her wing pulled me closer.
  141. >She didn't speak a word to me as I broke down.
  142. >She just held me like a mother would a crying babe.
  143. >In that moment, despite everything that happened, everything I said.
  144. >I never felt safer in my life.
  145. >When I finally got some control of myself, I relaxed my grip and slid my hooves to the floor.
  146. >The Princess kept her wing on my back as I sat up.
  147. >The two of us seemed fixated on some imaginary point in space in my living room.
  148. >Even when she began to speak, she didn't try to turn me to look at her.
  149. >Somewhere in her heart, she must have understood I felt less than an inch tall.
  150. >"You're right, you know."
  151. >Hearing her say that didn't feel as good as I thought it would.
  152. >In fact, I felt my heart sink a tiny bit more.
  153. >I sniffed as she continued.
  154. >"You have been a model student. I have heard nothing but good things about you since the moment you arrived. I still have very high hopes for what you will do with your talents."
  155. >Here comes the but....
  156. >At least, I thought there would be a but.
  157. >But Twilight is better, but I'm a Princess and don't have time for you.
  158. >Something like that.
  159. >Instead, all she said was.
  160. >"I'm sorry. I have not been the best teacher I could be to you. Or to your other classmates, for that matter. I could hide behind the veil of being a Princess and having a Kingdom to run, but you and I both know the Kingdom has run itself for centuries now."
  161. >I won't lie, I laughed.
  162. >It was a sobbing, hitchy, pathetic laugh.
  163. >But I still found the humor in it.
  164. >It gave me enough courage to stop staring at the floor and look toward my teacher.
  165. >"A teacher, a good teacher, never has favorites. She may have a few students who wrestle for that imaginary position, of course, but she knows never to single someone out. If she elevates a student about the rest, as I have, your motivation to work hard is...diminished...correct?"
  166. >I nodded and my eyes met the Princess's.
  167. >She smiled warmly, but in her eyes was genuine sadness.
  168. >"We are being honest with each other, so I will not shield you from the truth of the matter. Twilight Sparkle has a grasp of magic I have not seen in decades. She will only become more talented as she discovers more of her potential."
  169. >Funny thing was, that didn't sting.
  170. >It wasn't some hammer being dropped on my head, ending my life as a future mage.
  171. >Maybe because I've always known it all along.
  172. >I've seen Twilight Sparkle's magic firsthand.
  173. >She could learn and perform spells the day she read them, spells that took us weeks to master.
  174. >To force her to learn magic at the same rate as the rest of us would be as fair as having us go to a normal school.
  175. >That was never the issue, thought, and I could tell Celestia realized that.
  176. >Which is why I didn't interrupt, only felt the very beginning of a smile creep onto my lips.
  177. >"Talent like that is unique, but it also has its dangers. I give Twilight a great deal of attention not because she is talented but because I have witnessed what talent like that can do to a pony if it is not tempered correctly. Starswirl locked himself in his library for decades. Another student more recently became obsessed with her abilities and one day she vanished. I fear the day she returns will not be a joyous one. So when I see a unicorn like Twilight, it is my duty to guide her. To teach her things you have no problem learning on your own."
  178. >That made me blink and look puzzled.
  179. >I understood the first half.
  180. >They drill it into your head from the beginning, about being responsible with magic and everything else we've all heard before a thousand times.
  181. >But what could she possibly be struggling with?
  182. >Twilight could drool on a test and get an A.
  183. >"You understand the need for balance in your life. You study hard, sometimes for weeks, but manage to find time for your friends. You know when to stop and ask for help. You know when to give help without being asked for it. You understand the need for support, for friendship."
  184. >I nodded, perhaps a little too vigorously.
  185. >Princess Celestia chucked and I felt my cheeks become a little warm.
  186. >"Twilight has issues with these things. Spike has mentioned before you reached out to her, only to be given a cold shoulder. Other ponies, especially ones feeling in the shadow of someone like her, wouldn't have done that. Yet you did. Despite all the resentment you may have been feeling, you tried to be her friend. Why is that?"
  187. >I had to admit, until Princess Celestia asked, I never thought about it.
  188. >Why did I want her around me if she seemed to be the source of all the pain in my life?
  189. >What would I gain from having MORE Twilight Sparkle around me?
  190. >I took a breath and tried to answer, and was surprised how quickly I found it.
  191. "I knew she was lonely. Nobody as smart as her needs to study that much. I...well I used to be the same way. I don't know what happened but one day I forced myself to talk to Lemon Hearts. We've been good friends ever since."
  192. >"She was. But unlike you, she didn't realize it. She thought she was perfectly fine locked in that tower day in, day out. I did everything I could to integrate her with the rest of you and it warmed my heart especially to see you trying. But she wouldn't listen and I had to send her away before she slipped away from me. From all of us."
  193. >Princess Celestia closed her eyes and breathed slowly.
  194. >It felt strange to see her like this.
  195. >Talking to me as if I was an old friend, not her student.
  196. >I want to say it was an honor but it was a little stressful.
  197. >Even after my little explosion earlier, I didn't want to say the wrong thing to her.
  198. >She was still my teacher, after all.
  199. >If I didn't care what she thought of me, we wouldn't even be talking right now.
  200. >"In the meantime, I saw you and your classmates growing as young mares and let you be. I felt you were learning as much on your own as you were with your lessons. But that doesn't excuse my behavior. You may not remember but the day you were interrupted by one of Twilight's letters, I was ashamed of myself with how rude I was to you. I was going to approach you privately about that and apologize, but then the whole fiasco with Discord happened."
  201. >I couldn't believe she remembered that.
  202. >"As for using your class to perform the duties of the honor guard. That was, truthfully, an moment of desperation on the Chancellor's part. The normal guardponies who would have performed the fireworks were cleaning up Discord's considerable mess. We needed ponies who could perform the standard patterns in a hurry. I should have really thought that one through a little better."
  203. >That made a lot of sense.
  204. >Hardly the malicious intent you allowed yourself to think.
  205. >"But in the end, I can only make so many excuses before I have to admit I was at fault. I shouldn't have ignored you, or the rest of your class for that matter. You are all bright and talented unicorns and you should not be made to feel inferior to anyone. Even myself."
  206. >She placed a hoof on my shoulder and her warm eyes met mine.
  207. >I saw the sincerity in her apology, and all the resentment I had been feeling melted away.
  208. >"Can you forgive me, Moondancer? Even a mare my age can make mistakes."
  209. >I smiled, the first real smile I've had in weeks.
  210. "I do. And I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have stopped going to school."
  211. >"Don't worry about that. Sometimes we all need a few days to ourselves. I have an entire magic chamber for it. Even Twilight can't find me in there."
  212. >She winked and I couldn't help but giggle.
  213. >"I will speak to your teachers. Tell them I had you on assignment and one of my aides slipped up the paperwork. But I expect you back in class on Monday."
  214. >I nodded and promised her no more playing hooky.
  215. >"I'll be teaching a lesson, so I'll know if you showed up."
  216. >I couldn't grin any wider than I already was, but heaven knows I tried.
  217. >It had been close to a year since Princess Celestia personally taught us anything.
  218. >A certain purple unicorn leaving seemed to have been the end of her visits but you tried not to think about that right now.
  219. "I'll be there, I promise!"
  220. >She must have seen the delight in my eyes, for I swear I caught the Princess blush for a millisecond.
  221. >Not that anyone would believe me if I told them.
  222. >Not like I would be telling anyone.
  223. >I'd better clean up.
  224. >I have a lot of work to catch up on!
  226. ~ End
  228. 7/4/2015 - Not a bad guess on how it would go.
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