Tethered-Angel

Be More Dazzling

Jul 8th, 2018
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  1. >Wallflower tapped her fingers together, legs shaking as she chewed on her lip.
  2. >She stared across the cafeteria.
  3. >Today was the day.
  4. >It was!
  5. >The day she would ask him out.
  6. >Legs wobbled as she nervously crossed the cafeteria.
  7. "Uh-uh, Flash?"
  8. >The guitarist laughed at his friend's joke, apparently not hearing her- or ignoring her.
  9. >She tried again, a little louder.
  10. "Um, F-Flash?"
  11. >"Huh?"
  12. >The blue haired musician half turned in his chair, finally seeing her.
  13. >"Oh, uh, hey. Can I... help... you?"
  14. >He swallowed, suddenly looking nervous.
  15. >Wallflower's blood ran cold. It felt like a shadow had fallen over the entire lunchroom.
  16. >The noise seemed to fade into the background.
  17. >Cold, iron fingers dug into her shoulder, making her whimper.
  18. >"See me in the hall," said the cruel, caustic voice of the school's biggest bully.
  19. >Sunset Shimmer.
  20.  
  21. ==O==
  22.  
  23. >Wallflower stumbled off the bus, head bowed low and shoulders hunched.
  24. >She rubbed her arm absently and hoped it wouldn't bruise.
  25.  
  26. "See me in the hall."
  27. Wallflower had nervously followed her out, fearing for her life.
  28. That was so stupid! She should have known Sunset was dating Flash! Everyone else apparently did!
  29. Why didn't anyone tell her?
  30. Sunset had spun her around, pushing her back into a locker.
  31. She raised her fist, eyes glowing with fury.
  32. Wallflower had whimpered, tears running down her face. She was so dead!
  33. SMACK!
  34. "Ow!"
  35. She whimpered, cradling her arm where Sunset struck her.
  36. "That's your only warning, new kid." Sunset growled. "Don't fuck with me."
  37.  
  38. >New kid.
  39. >NEW KID!?
  40. >Wallflower had gone there her whole life!
  41. >If anyone was the new kid it was Sunset!
  42. >Not that anyone would know it.
  43. >Sniffling, she kicked a loose piece of gravel off the sidewalk.
  44. >She missed.
  45. >Damnit.
  46. >She stomped the rest of the way to her front door.
  47. >Then she stomped back out to the mailbox to grab the key from inside.
  48. >And the mail.
  49. >Not that there would be any for her.
  50. >She looked anyway, as she stomped back up the porch.
  51. >There was a big envelope, mixed in with her mom's gardening magazines.
  52. >One of those fancy yellow ones from spy movies.
  53. >It was addressed to her!
  54. >Why though?
  55. >No return address, typical.
  56. >It was probably junk.
  57. >But there was something inside...
  58. >She dropped the rest on the counter and ran up to her room, kicking off her shoes and backpack before tearing into the envelope.
  59. >There was a thin pamphlet, and a little plastic bag.
  60. >The bag held a single pill.
  61. >Red, oblong, and... glowing?
  62. >She checked the Pamphlet.
  63. >Congratulations, Wallflower Blush. You have been chosen to test our new Advance Docent And Guiding Intelligence Overseer.
  64. >ADAGIO
  65.  
  66. ==O==
  67.  
  68. >Wallflower sat on her bed that night, staring at her palm.
  69. >The little red pill sat in her hand, and she could almost swear it felt warm.
  70. >It had driven her to distraction over the last several hours, until she finally had to give up on the idea of getting her homework in on time.
  71. >The pamphlet said it was some kind of nanotechnology.
  72. >Somehow it would make her better at everything or something.
  73. >Like those dick growing pills that kept showing up on her email.
  74. >She didn't even have a dick.
  75. >But this was real, it was here, and she hadn't even paid for it. So it couldn't be a scam, right?
  76. >The pamphlet's tagline claimed to offer "A better you, a better life."
  77. >She poked the pill again.
  78. >It didn't look like drugs...
  79. >Not that she knew what drugs were supposed to look like.
  80. >She'd only seen them on those DARE posters they put everywhere in her school.
  81. >She didn't think they were supposed to glow though.
  82. >At least not until after you take them.
  83. >She tilted her head.
  84. >It was so small.
  85. >She had heard stories about people getting addicted to drugs.
  86. >Mostly from Health Ed teachers warning about shadowy figures in trench coats.
  87. >But the paper said it was some kind of computer.
  88. >ADAGIO, it was called. It sounded pretty at least.
  89. >Maybe she should take it.
  90. >It's not like she could get addicted, if it was drugs.
  91. >She didn't even know where it came from, so there's no way she could get more.
  92. >Nodding at her rational, she looked for a glass of water.
  93. >Not like her day could get worse, right?
  94. >As usual, she didn't meet anyone on her way to the kitchen.
  95. >her mom had gone to bed hours ago, right after work.
  96. >Hell, she could probably get high as... whatever drugs do, and her mother wouldn't even notice.
  97. >Still she didn't want to pass out in the kitchen or something, so she took the glass up to her room and locked the door.
  98. >She hesitated, looking at the pill one last time.
  99. "This is really stupid."
  100. >She popped it in her mouth, swallowing it with a mouthful of water.
  101. >Nothing happened.
  102. >That was disappointing.
  103. >She thought she'd see a menu screen or something.
  104. >Or like, the walls would turn purple or something.
  105. >She still wasn't sure what it was supposed to do.
  106. >Maybe she should read the pamphlet again...
  107. >No help there. It was more a sales pitch than a user manual.
  108. >Drat.
  109. >Well... not much to do but wait.
  110. >It was dark out, not that she had any place to go anyway. The school garden was locked up hours ago.
  111. >Nothing much to do but stare at her laptop for a few hours.
  112. >Midnight came and went, and still nothing happened. With a faint sense of crushing disappointment, she put on her PJs and went to bed.
  113. >At least tomorrow was Friday.
  114. >...
  115. >She really shouldn't have taken the mystery pill on a school night.
  116. >Oops.
  117. >She drifted off to sleep, feeling stupid.
  118. >Maybe tomorrow would be better.
  119.  
  120. ==O==
  121.  
  122. >"Wake up."
  123. >Wallflower groaned, tossing in her bed.
  124. >"Wake up."
  125. >She groaned again, grabbing her pillow and shoving it over her head.
  126. >"I said. Wake. UP!"
  127. >Wallflower yelped as what felt like an electric shock sparked at the back of her head.
  128. "Ah! What!? Huh!?"
  129. >"Good. You're awake."
  130. >Wallflower blinked bleary, tired eyes.
  131. >Her room was still dark, the blinds closed against the morning sunlight that had a bad habit of shining through directly on her pillow.
  132. "Who- Who's there?"
  133. >She had the faint notion she should have been more nervous of the stranger in her room.
  134. >But she was still so ti-
  135. >There was a stranger in her room!
  136. "Aaaugh!" She yelped, tumbling out of her bed.
  137. >She heard a faintly electronic sigh. "This is going to take some work."
  138. >Blinking, she finally rubbed the sleep from her eyes, looking up at the intruder in her room.
  139. >She was tall, wearing a perfectly tailored suit of deep burgundy.
  140. >Her face was a beautiful gold, and surrounded by a halo of shimmering curls that floated unnaturally around her.
  141. >Glowing red eyes pierced her own, pinning her to the floor.
  142. >"Good morning," the woman said, holding out her hand.
  143. >"I am your Advanced Docent And Guiding Intelligence Overseer."
  144. >"Call me ADAGIO."
  145. "H-hi?" Wallflower greeted hesitantly, pushing herself up to her elbows. "What are you doing in my room?"
  146. >"I'm not in your room," ADAGIO said, straightening up. "I'm in your brain."
  147. "Oh..." Wallflower said.
  148. ...
  149. "That's not better."
  150. >ADAGIO huffed indignantly, looking down her nose at Wallflower.
  151. >"I suppose I should apologize for your decision to activate me?"
  152. >Wallflower Blushed, looking at the floor.
  153. "N-no, I guess that's on me."
  154. >"Quite." ADAGIO huffed.
  155. >She looked around the bedroom, a distinct look of disdain on her features.
  156. >Wallflower's blush deepened. It WAS kind of messy in there.
  157. "U-um," She started hesitantly, "What do you do?"
  158. >ADAGIO looked down at her incredulously. "Did you not read the pamphlet?"
  159. "It wasn't very helpful..."
  160. >ADAGIO huffed. "Those idiots should have let ME write it, instead of trusting that useless ARtificial Intelligence Artifice."
  161. >She sighed, then turned back to Wallflower.
  162. >"As my name implies, I am a guiding intelligence and docent construct. I'm here to improve your life."
  163. "Oh. What's docent?"
  164. >"It means guide."
  165. "But-"
  166. >"I didn't come up with the name, if you have a problem take it up with Doctor Sombra."
  167. "Oh... ok."
  168. >She blinked.
  169. "But what do you DO?"
  170. >ADAGIO pinched the bridge of her... nose? between her fingers.
  171. >She seemed to flicker, and it looked like her fingers actually passed through her forehead, like a hologram.
  172. >Which, Wallflower supposed, she probably was.
  173. >That or a drug induced hallucination.
  174. >But a hallucination implied she knew what docent meant, and she really didn't.
  175. "So, how are you supposed to help me?"
  176. >ADAGIO straightened, a look of cocky pride taking over her features.
  177. >"It's simple. I'm here to make you less pathetic."
  178. "What?"
  179. >"Look at you. Dumpy clothes, greasy hair, messing living space."
  180. "I just woke up..."
  181. >"But with my help, you can stop being the pathetic posterchild of mediocrity and finally do something with your life."
  182. "That's kinda harsh."
  183. >"Believe me, Wallflower," ADAGIO said, "The first step toward improvement is admitting how awful you are."
  184. >She crouched next to wallflower, caressing her cheek with ghostly fingers.
  185. >"But if you follow my lead, everyone in this miserable little town is going to ADORE you."
  186. >Wallflower's eyes widened as she stared up into ADAGIO's eyes.
  187. "Adore me? But-"
  188. >She was interrupted by the buzzing of her alarm clock.
  189. >Not the one by her bed that was supposed to wake her up in the morning.
  190. >The one on her phone, that meant she was about to miss the bus.
  191. "Crap!"
  192. >She scrambled to her feet, half crawling to her dresser to grab some clothes for the day.
  193. >"And just where do you think you're going?" ADAGIO demanded, appearing next to her in a flash of light.
  194. "I gotta go or I'll miss the bus!"
  195. >"Not like that you aren't," ADAGIO huffed, crossing her arms. "I'm afraid I can't allow you to leave for school in such a state."
  196. "But-"
  197. >"No buts. Shower. Now."
  198. >Wallflower grudgingly obeyed, shrugging out of her PJs and jumping into the shower.
  199. >She yelped in surprise. She should have given the water more time to warm up.
  200. >But she was going to be late!
  201. >Not that anyone would even notice...
  202. >Idly, she wondered what ADAGIO could have even done to keep her from leaving.
  203. >She didn't really exist, right? It's not like she could have blocked the door.
  204. >But she had such force of will, that Wallflower found it hard to disobey.
  205. >As she shampooed her hair, she was just glad ADAGIO had decided not to manifest in her shower.
  206. >She hopped out of the shower, not bothering to dry her hair as she wrapped a towel around herself.
  207. "Can i go now?"
  208. >"Absolutely not. Not until you properly dry and comb your hair."
  209. "Come oooon," Wallflower whined.
  210. >ADAGIO stood steadfast. "If you want people to look at you with something other than pity or disgust, you'd better take care of your body."
  211. >Wallflower groaned, slumping her shoulders.
  212. >She grabbed a comb and began working it through her hair, wincing as she pulled a knot.
  213. "I'm gonna be so late..."
  214. >ADAGIO rolled her eyes. "The school system is quite rigid. A minute late is the same as an hour."
  215. >That did NOT make her feel better.
  216. >It took almost fifteen minutes, but her hair finally passed ADAGIO's inspection.
  217. >Well, it at least scored an "adequate." That was good, right?
  218. >It did look kind of nice. And actually, it felt a bit less gross.
  219. >She'd never really noticed it before, but it did get a little itchy when it was all tangled up like it had been.
  220. >Cool.
  221. >"Now for your wardrobe," ADAGIO said, pulling her out of her reverie. "I trust you have something other than that hideous sweater you grabbed earlier."
  222. "Hey, I like that sweater!"
  223. >ADAGIO made a disgusted sound, and began looking around the room.
  224. >Wallflower was certain that if she had the ability she would be going through her drawers already.
  225. >"Well?" ADAGIO asked, turning back toward Wallflower. "What am I working with here? Show me your wardrobe."
  226. >Wallflower flinched, wincing at that judgmental red glare.
  227. >She hesitantly began pulling out some of her favorite shirts.
  228. >They were all pretty plain, mostly tee shirts she'd been given for attending different events as a member of the Yearbook club.
  229. >Adagio scoffed.
  230. >"Awful, simply awful."
  231. >Finally, she found something good enough to satisfy her new companion.
  232. "But, but it's embarrassing..." She muttered, only to be completely ignored.
  233.  
  234. ==O==
  235.  
  236. >The chilly morning air prickled Wallflower's skin as she walked to school, all too aware of her insufficient covering.
  237. >ADAGIO had selected for her a pale blue blouse, something she got for Christmas and never wore.
  238. >It was too thin, probably meant to be worn under a vest or jacket or something.
  239. >Of course ADAGIO made her wear the darkest bra she had.
  240. >She was sure it was plainly visible to anyone she might pass on the street.
  241. >At least she didn't have any skirts ADAGIO could have made her wear.
  242. >She was just glad she had decided not to make her cut the legs off her jeans or something.
  243. >Fortunately, she made it to the school right as classes were switching over for second period.
  244. >No one greeted her, but no one ran into her either, so that was nice.
  245. >Probably just coincidence.
  246. >She slipped into her next class and took her seat at the back of the room as usual.
  247. >The class went by without incident. Even ADAGIO left her alone for the most part.
  248. >Something about how talking to herself wouldn't make her any friends.
  249. >Probably a good point.
  250. >At least things weren't totally bad! She was pretty sure she saw one of the guys looking at her anyway.
  251. >And the girl next to her asked to borrow a pencil! That never happened before!
  252. >The teacher did forget to call her name during roll call though.
  253. >But that was ok! Baby steps!
  254. >She actually managed a smile as she stepped into the hall.
  255. >The cold voice of Sunset Shimmer wiped it away.
  256. >"Hey, new kid. I want a word with you."
  257. >"What do you think you're doing?" Sunset demanded, once she had shepherded Wallflower into the hallway with bad lighting that no one ever walked through.
  258. "W-what do you mean?"
  259. >Sunset grabbed her collar, pulling her close to her face and snarling.
  260. >"Yesterday you tried to make a move on MY boyfriend, and today you're all dressed up like some kind of harpy!"
  261. >Wallflower gasped, at a loss for words.
  262. >Her heart was beating in her chest, legs quaking in terror.
  263. "I- I- I-" She stuttered, unable to finish her sentence.
  264. >"Well, Wallflower?" ADAGIO's voice cut through the fog of her thoughts. "What are you going to tell her?"
  265. "I- I just wanted to look nice!"
  266. >"Just wanted to look nice?" Sunset scoffed, shoving her back into a locker. "Right, a greasy little weasel like you? Bullshit."
  267. "It's true!" Wallflower protested.
  268. >"Not buying it," Sunset growled, raising her fist.
  269. >Wallflower whimpered, dropping to the floor as her legs gave out under her.
  270. >She curled in on herself, raising her arms to ward off the punch that was surely coming.
  271. >Fortunately, the warning bell rang just then.
  272. >"Damn," Sunset muttered. She kicked Wallflower's foot as she walked past. "You lucked out, new kid."
  273. >Wallflower flinched, ducking her head fro a blow that never came.
  274. >"Well well," ADAGIO's voice said with some amusement. "That was certainly... educational."
  275.  
  276. ==O==
  277.  
  278. >"Tell me more," ADAGIO ordered.
  279. >Wallflower chewed her burger slowly.
  280. >She had managed to avoid Sunset up until lunch.
  281. >She considered trying to sneak away to eat in the hall, but didn't want to let Sunset catch her without witnesses around.
  282. >Everyone in the cafeteria was sat in groups, as usual.
  283. >Jocks with jocks, nerds with nerds. Flash with the other musicians.
  284. >She had a table to herself.
  285. >As usual.
  286. >She sighed.
  287. "I tried to ask Flash out. I didn't know he and Sunset were dating."
  288. >ADAGIO hummed, her glowing eyes fixed on the musician's table.
  289. >"Why?"
  290. "Why are they dating?" Wallflower asked, confused.
  291. >"No, why were you going to ask him out?"
  292. "B-because!"
  293. >Wallflower blushed.
  294. "He's cute. And... nice. And he plays the guitar."
  295. >ADAGIO stared at her flatly.
  296. >Wallflower hunched her shoulders defensively, looking away.
  297. "What?"
  298. >"Oh, nothing." ADAGIO waved dismissively. "Just... processing."
  299. >Wallflower narrowed her eyes.
  300. >"What about Sunset? What does she mean to you?"
  301. "Sunset Shimmer?" Wallflower blinked, surprised by the sudden change of topic. "What about her? She's a bully."
  302. >"Yes yes," ADAGIO waved her hand.
  303. >She began pacing.
  304. >It was really distracting.
  305. >Especially the way she kept walking through the table.
  306. >"Tell me about her," ADAGIO said. "Everything you know."
  307. >Wallflower shrugged.
  308. "She showed up halfway through Freshman year. A transfer student I guess. She was super nice at first, and everyone voted her to be the Spring Fling Princess."
  309. "But since summer she's been kind of a bitch. She pushes everyone around, and acts all rude, like she's better than everyone."
  310. "She still managed to win the Fall Formal though. She's smart, and really pretty.She even beat Rarity somehow."
  311. >Wallflower glanced back over her shoulder, before lowering her voice even further.
  312. "Some people say it was blackmail."
  313. >"I see..." ADAGIO replied slowly. "I think I know how to deal with her now."
  314. "D-deal with her!?" Wallflower squeaked, eyes widening. "What do you mean 'deal with her?'"
  315. >ADAGIO's eyes sharpened. "I mean, how do we take her out of the picture so YOU can become the queen of the school."
  316. "What!? M-me? But I don't even want that!"
  317. >"Oh?" ADAGIO asked lightly, "And what is it you think you want?"
  318. >Wallflower blinked, then shrugged her shoulders.
  319. "I just don't want to be lonely all the time."
  320. >"Then go talk to Flash."
  321. "I can't!" Wallflower gasped, waving her hands frantically. "Are you crazy!? Sunset would kill me!"
  322. >ADAGIO's grin grew wide, predatory.
  323. >"Then it's simple."
  324. >"You need to get Sunset out of the way."
  325. >"And the easiest way to do that..."
  326. >"Is seduction."
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