Of Rainbooms and Dazzlings

by Jay David

First published

The Rainbooms and Dazzlings spend some time with each other

Although things had, at first, been difficult between them, the Rainbooms eventually managed to become friends with their once-bitter rivals, the Dazzlings. Now, there are many days when they're actually happy to spend time with them.

These are the stories of what goes on at such times.

Cover art by Siansaar

Pinkie and Sonata

On most days, Sugar Cube Corner was, without question, one of the most popular hang-out spots in all of Canterlot, with virtually every person in that town having gone there at some point in the week. Today, however, things were relatively calm, which was fine for the store's owners, the Cakes. With all the custom they'd been having, a little bit of peace and quiet every once in a while never hurt anyone. That being said, there were a few locals sitting in the place and having a good time there, most notably, Pinkie Pie. This student of Canterlot High, perhaps most famous about town for her boundless energy and enthusiasm, was currently in the middle of downing a strawberry milkshake, a loud sucking sound echoing throughout the shop as a result.

But, she was not alone here today, as there, sitting beside her, was one of the infamous Dazzlings, Sonata Dusk. Despite their rather "unfriendly" intentions during their first meeting, both Pinkie's group of friends, the Rainbooms, and Sonata's had managed to become friends, however unlikely that might have seemed. As for right now, the blue-haired girl was in the middle of eating a large plate full of delicious-looking donuts, smiling all the way.

"Umph! Phwis ish wiffy gud!"

Pinkie looked up from her drink, giggling slightly at the sight of Sonata having stuffed her face full of those confectionaries, with her cheeks currently puffing out like a squirrel.

"Silly! You gotta swallow before speaking!"

Realising this, a slight blush appeared on Sonata's cheeks before, as requested, swallowing the whole lot in one go. Although it seems as if this might have been too much too quickly, she soon got over it, smiling right back at Pinkie soon afterwards.

"Sorry. I was trying to say it tasted really good!"

Pinkie leaned back into her chair and folded her arms, a look of pride crossing her face.

"Well sure it does, Nata! It was made by the Cakes! The best bakers in all of Canterlot! With a little help from yours truly of course!"

Sonata let out a gasp before pointing to Pinkie.

"Really?! You helped make these?!"

Pinkie nodded at that before pointing her own finger over at the nearby counter, where Mrs Cakes were standing and getting ready to just do a little bit of cleaning.

"Yep! I started working here part-time a couple of summers ago. The Cakes are really nice to me and they let me help out with pretty much everything!"

Hearing that, Mrs Cakes, who had started to wipe the counter, looked over to Pinkie with a smile of her own.

"Oh hush! We'd have probably hired you even if we didn't need the help! You are truly a wonder in the kitchen, Pinkie, you really are."

Pinkie waved her off with a look of slight embarrassment.

"Aw, shucks, Mrs Cakes!"

Looking back to Sonata, Pinkie then pointed to her plate of donuts.

"You really like em?"

Sonata nodded enthusiastically at that.

"For sure! We never got the chance to eat stuff like this when we were out on the road. It was always stop here, stir some trouble, feed off the negative energy, then do it over and over again. Kinda got tiring after a while."

Pinkie frowned slightly at that.

"Didn't you ever, ya know, feel bad about that?"

Sonata shrugged her shoulders.

"Sure...but we gotta eat, right? We're Sirens and...well...that kinda stuff was our food."

Pinkie considered that for a moment, only to then break out into another big smile.

"Well, those days are behind you. You're nasty amulets are broken and you get to eat real food whenever you want!"

Hearing that, Sonata's expression became somewhat dour, and she raised her hand, gently placing it upon her bare neck. Seeing this, Pinkie immediately knew what was going on in the blue girl's mind, and her smile faded instantly, replaced instead by a rather guilty expression.

"Oh! I'm...I'm sorry! I know you still miss your singing and stuff."

After a good deal of silence between the two, Sonata began to shake her head.

"No...it's fine. I know our singing did a lot of bad stuff. It's just...I miss it."

Pinkie nodded.

"You know...it was pretty. Your singing, I mean. Even if it was...well...causing evil stuff and all"

Looking to her, Sonata offered her a small smile in response.

"Thanks. That means a lot."

For a brief moment, Sonata seemed hesitant to speak, with her eyes darting away from Pinkie and then back again. But Pinkie herself noticed this, and, in a feat most wouldn't normally think of her, sat there, waiting patiently for her former enemy to speak. In the end, she did just that.

"I...I've been practising. My singing. I think it's getting better, but...it's not as good as it used to be."

Pinkie tilted her head slightly.

"Do...do you wanna sing to somebody?"

Sonata looked up at her, a small smile creeping onto her face.

"Yes...I would like that."

At that, Pinkie broke out into an even wider smile.

"Well shoot, Nata. Why didn't you say so? I'd love to hear you sing!"

Hearing those words, Sonata seemed taken aback slightly.

"You...you mean that?"

Raising her hand, Pinkie placed it upon Sonata’s shoulder, nodding as she did so.

"I Pinkie promise that I do!"

With that said, Pinkie made an "X" mark over where her heart was before then cupping the space over one of her eyes. Although Sonata had no real clue as to why she did that, she nevertheless continued to smile.

"Thank you. It's been so long since somebody actually wanted me to sing for them! I'd almost forgotten what that feels like."

Pinkie gave her a reassuring look.

"Don't you worry, Nata. This time, it'll be even better than before. You'll see! Having someone want you to sing will be way better that using freaky-deaky magic to get them to want it!"

Becoming practically giddy at all of this, Sonata squealed slightly before lunging forward, embracing Pinkie in a hug, which was enthusiastically returned.

"Thank you, Pinkie! You are so totally not the worst!"

Pinkie simply smiled at that.

"Thanks! You're not the worst either...whatever that means."

As they broke apart from each other, both with a smile from ear-to-ear, they turned in unison towards Mrs Cakes, who had finished cleaning and was instead casually making her way over to them.

"I'm sorry to interrupt, girls. But would you two like anything else before you go today?"

At that, Sonata looked uncharacteristically ponderous for a moment, before turning to Pinkie with some uncertainty in her expression.

"What do you think, Pinkie? Should we get ourselves another cake to eat or something?"

Turning to her, Pinkie raised an eyebrow and let out a brief scoffing sound before giving an answer that, frankly, Sonata should have expected.

"Well duh! As if you even need to ask?"

Applejack and Aria

The sun was beating down hard on Sweet Apple Acres, and the vast orchards of apple trees were green, lush and utterly laden with their titular fruit. The land's owner, the Apples, were hard at work collecting their trade from every tree they could lay their eyes on, carefully climbing up ladders to pick them from the branches before laying them in the baskets below. Applejack especially was giving it her all, going from tree-to-tree, never stopping, never slowing down, and most of all, never doing her work without a smile upon her face. This was her life, what she loved, and was work she put her heart into with every moment of the day.

However, as the hours rolled on by, she stopped for a moment, looking around for a while before laying her sight on someone on the other side of the orchard. For some reason, she narrowed her eyes, and climbed down her ladder before marching off in their direction. It took a few moments, but Applejack finally made it to that person; Big Macintosh, her brother. She stood there in silence for a few moments, raising one eyebrow and folding her arms while tapping her foot, and after a while, Mac stopped his own work before finally noticing her. An uncomfortable silence fell between the two siblings, with Mac's eyes darting from left-to-right, all while his face bore the unmistakeable signs of someone guilty. After this unbearable silence had gone on for as long as humanly possible, Mac finally relented.


Unfolding her arms, Applejack instead placed her hands on her hips before speaking to her brother.

"Mac...ain't this the part of the orchard we asked Aria ta help us with?"

Yet again, Mac seemed uncomfortable in answering his sister, yet her piercing gaze effectively forced him to do so.


Applejack frowned.

"And yet ah see y'all bein the one ta do it?"


Applejack's frown deepened.

"..She convinced y'all ta do it for her, didn't she?"

At that, Mac looked down with a degree of shame.


Applejack slapped her forehead and let out a grunt of frustration.

"Ugh! Alright! Where is she?"

Mac said nothing, instead raising one hand and pointing over to the other side of the orchards. Applejack turned in that direction, knowing full well in her mind where their visitor would be, and so, without giving her brother another word, began to storm off in that direction, leaving Mac quite relieved she wasn't glaring at him anymore. Applejack marched onwards with purpose in her expression, passing tree after tree in search of her quarry. And soon enough, her journey yielded fruit, as she finally caught sight of her. Aria, one of the three Sirens of Equestria that had caused Applejack and her friends a great deal of trouble in the past.

Currently, the purple-haired girl was sitting beside a scenic-looking pond, resting on the grass while leaning her back against a nearby apple tree. Her hands were resting behind her head, her face bore a look of contentment about it, and, to complete this "relaxed" image, she had put her boots to one side, leaving her feet bare as she rested. Applejack, frowning at this inactive image, walked right up to her and folded her arms yet again. Aria, at first, didn't notice her arrival, until Applejack stood between her in the sunlight, casting a shadow upon her face. Now frowning herself, Aria cracked one eye open, upon which she saw a rather irritated-looking Applejack looking down on her. However, the Siren seemed unconcerned with this, and instead began to speak in that dismissive tone she always had.

"Would ya mind stepping aside, farm girl? You're kinda in my light."

At that, Applejack's frown deepened.

"Y'all are supposed ta be helpin out with the orchards! Not layin here doin nothin!"

Aria scoffed at that.

"In case you haven't noticed, I'm not doing nothing. I'm relaxing! That's something!"

Applejack slapped her forehead again before speaking up.

"That's...ugh! Why did y'all volunteer ta help out if yer just gonna ignore yer job?"

Like Applejack, Aria gained a deep frown of her own with those words.

"As I keep telling you, I didn't volunteer! Adagio, in her infinite wisdom, just put my name forward for this herself!"

But Applejack just waved that reasoning off.

"Well, yer here, and if yer here, then there's gonna be work. End of story!"

Aria chuckled at that.

"That big brother of yours has it covered, Apples. Real nice guy too. Pretty sweet of him to take on a whole other job like that when he heard I hurt my arm and all that."

At that, Applejack's sight drifted down to both of Aria's arms, neither of which seemed to have any sign of bruising or injury to them, which, naturally, only caused her to look even more annoyed.

"They don't look hurt ta me."

Aria rolled her eyes.

"They were getting tired. That's basically the same as getting hurt for real, right?"

Applejack raised an eyebrow, prompting Aria to let out a huff.

"Ugh! Fine! So I told a bit of a lie. Big deal! What's the problem? The work's still getting done, isn't it?"

If Applejack was merely annoyed before, she was positively furious now, as she glared angrily at the Siren below.

"Y'all lied ta mah brother! Ya didn't even hesitate ta do it!"

But Aria seemed unconcerned with that, looking to Applejack with her usual dismissive attitude.

"So? It's not hurting anyone, right? Besides, I hear tell that old Rainbow shirks the work you give her whenever she comes over, so why should I get this kind of treatment?"

Unfortunately for Aria, Applejack already had an answer for that.

"Rainbow takes a while ta get going, and yeah, she grumbles all the way, ah grant ya that. But she still does it! Besides..."

Her eyes narrowed.

"...she never did anything bad that she needed ta make up fer!"

At that, Aria gave Applejack her full attention, finally starting to get up from her spot. Once she was up on her feet, she gave Applejack an equally-angry glare.

"Oh no, Apples. You don't wanna go there. We're having such a nice chat here, so I doubt you wanna go and ruin that by bringing up bad memories, now do you?"

Applejack narrowed her eyes further.

"Get back to work like yer supposed ta do, and ah won't."

Both girls had their faces about an inch from one another now, and the tension was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. But Aria, standing her ground on this matter, raised one hand, brought it close to Applejack's beloved Stetson, and gained a look of utter cockiness.

"Make me!"

And with that, the Siren casually flicked her fingers, knocking Applejack's hat clean off her head. The farm girl watched as her Stetson slowly dropped to the ground, and when it finally reached the grass below, she turned to Aria with fire in her eyes. Both girls knew what was going to happen now, and neither hesitated to just get on with it, as they ferociously lunged at each other. Applejack's efforts were effective at the start, knocking Aria back into the tree she'd been sitting by, before the latter began to quickly recover and shoved her off, before charging at her, with the impact knocking her to the ground. Both girls rolled around in the grass for some time, each trying to get the upper hand in this fight, and both were becoming covered in stray bits of grass with every roll they made. This went on for several minutes, until finally, they rolled once too much, and soon found themselves going right into the nearby pond, sinking beneath the surface as a result.

However, even here, they continued to struggle, shaking each other and even getting a few blows to their respective opponent's stomachs every once in a while. Unfortunately, one can only fight underwater for so long, and sure enough, both of them began to stop fighting, instead clutching at their throats with a lack of air. A look passed between them at this point, and though no words were spoken, the message was nevertheless clear; truce. They swam as fast as possible back to the surface, letting out a massive gasp for air as they clambered for the edge of the pond. After climbing out, with their clothes utterly sodden, they both turned over and collapsed onto their backs, both trying to catch their breath for a few moments, all while Aria looked more than a little annoyed.

"A Siren...unable...to breathe...underwater. How...humiliating!" she said, while still panting.

Applejack turned to her, and, in spite of everything that had just happened between them, spoke in a far calmer way than she had before.

"Well...ah gotta say...y'all don't...go down easy."

Aria turned to her, raising an eyebrow as she did so.

"Yeah? Well...you're pretty tough too, Apples."

Turning from each other, both girls instead looked up at the sunny sky, still catching their breath. Then, much to Aria's confusion, she actually started to hear Applejack, of all things, laugh. She turned, bearing a look of confusion as the farm girl continued to chuckle away, and soon afterwards, despite not really knowing why, Aria herself joined in. And so, the two girls laid there, tired, soaking, yet still laughing together, if for no other reason than their mutual knowledge of how ridiculous this whole situation was. When the laughter finally died down, Applejack, having caught her breath at last, slowly got up to her feet and, in a move that surprised Aria to no end, actually offer her a hand.


Looking from Applejack's face to her hand and then back again, Aria gained a sly smile before chuckling again, taking the hand and holding it tight.

"Oh Faust, Yes!"

Rarity and Adagio

A single yellow finger was traced over the surface of the dress. It was a pretty little thing, shining and sparkling with many additions and carefully-placed sequins, and truly a work that had a lot of love and attention put into it. Although she was not easily impressed, Adagio couldn't help but smile and nod in approval at the sight of it, as she slowly took a step back and got a better look at the thing from a distance. Currently, she was in one of the school's workshops, specifically, the workshop most often used by Rarity, the school's resident fashionista, who was actually not far away, working at her desk and sewing the last few touches on her current project. As for Adagio, she glanced around the room, taking in all of the outfits the girl had made, from large to small, shining to sparkling, there didn't seem to be any area of fashion that wasn't being covered in this room.

"Fine work. You have talent."

Rarity looked up from her creation, taking off her work glasses and looking, for the most part, surprised that Adagio would pay her a compliment like that.

"Well, one does try their best after all. I've been working on things like these since I was a child. I tell you, Adagio, there's nothing quite as relaxing as spending the afternoon doing something you love."

Adagio nodded in agreement, moving over to another rack of dresses.

"Most clothes places my sisters and I went to over the years never seemed to have this kind of craft to them."

Rarity scoffed at that comment.

"Oh please, darling! I don't wish to brag or anything, but..."

"But you're going to, right?" Adagio finished with a smirk.

Rarity afforded her a brief frown before clearing her throat and composing herself and continuing her answer.

"...I have seen most of the clothes stores in this town, and very rarely have any of them truly spoken to me on a creative level. They may as well be factories, churning out the same dress over and over."

However, it wasn't long afterwards that Rarity started paying attention to the outfit that Adagio wore, looking it over from her neckline to her shoes. It was a move that did not go unnoticed by the Siren herself, as Adagio soon raised an eyebrow at the stare.

"Enjoying the view?"

A slight blush crept over Rarity's cheeks with that comment, to which Adagio couldn't help but chuckle, before she started to explain herself.

"I was just wondering, where did you and your sisters get your ensembles from? They seem a touch more...unique than what most stores do around here."

Adagio nodded before starting to explain.

"We picked them up from a shop on the way into town. I figured since we were going to be trying to win an audience, it was probably best to do it in style."

Rarity nodded, actually looking appreciative of those words.

"Well, I can't say I care for your "world domination" plans, but I must say I approve of wanting to look good while doing it."

Rarity turned to her desk, carrying on with her work, and it wasn't long before Adagio moved over to her, watching her do so. As more and more threads went into the outfit that now took form before her, Rarity put on her glasses before, with great concentration, starting to speak to the elder Siren once more.

"I'm curious, Adagio. What was it that drew you to that outfit in particular?"

Looking down at herself, Adagio considered that for a moment before replying.

"Well, short story was that, after having been forced to wear nothing but a trio of samey-looking hoodies for who know how long, any outfit would have looked good. But, I went for this one since I felt it was the most...me. Besides, I wanted my audience to look at me and want me when I came here, so my chosen clothes had to reflect that."

Rarity stopped her work for a moment and turned to give her full attention to Adagio's clothes. They did indeed suit her, that much nobody could deny. However, her remarks of making people "want" her were also well-serviced here, from the way it hugged off her oft-used hips to the way the neckline went down just enough to show off some cleavage, it was clear that getting attention was not something that Adagio was going to have to struggle with.

"Well, I doubt you'd have been lacking for admirers looking like that, Adagio."

The voice wasn't entirely dismissive, but still, Adagio could sense there was a degree of disapproval behind it. However, rather than seem offended or mocked, Adagio merely let out a hearty chuckle. As Rarity looked up to her with a raised eyebrow, the Siren began to explain.

"It's all about control, my dear. The way I talked, the way I looked, the way I moved, all of it was carefully thought-out to get people under my influence, magic or no magic. A boy of this school, or maybe even a girl or two, they would see me, and if I played my cards just right, I would have them in the palm of my hand without ever even opening my mouth."

A smirk crept on her face before she carried on.

“I tell you, Rarity, there was no better feeling in the world than to have someone look at you, knowing that you were what they desired most in the whole world!”

At that, Rarity frowned slightly.

"As I said before, I don't exactly approve of your...shall we say controlling intentions for the school."

To that, Adagio merely raised an eyebrow of her own. Watching as Rarity got back to her work. However, in the awkward silence that fell between the two girls, it wasn't long before the Siren started to gain a rather sly smile upon her face. And so, with a quickness of hands nobody would have seen coming, Adagio, much to Rarity's utter shock, reached forward and undid the button at the top of the latter's blue blouse, opening it up so that her neckline was going down almost as much as hers. Needless to say, this was quite unexpected for the fashionista, and she leapt out of her chair, raising her arms and covering herself, despite being far from unclothed here.

"Wha...what do you think you’re doing?!"

Adagio, placing her hands on her hips, which she tilted to one side slightly, merely kept on smiling.

"You know, you and your friends should really consider showing off more, Rarity. Loathe as I am to offer praise to other people, the six of you do have rather fine bodies. There's no need to hide them away like you do."

Rarity turned from her, trying to hastily button herself up again, but not before Adagio saw the massive blush she was having, prompting another laugh from her.

"Oh come on! You girls should be proud of what you've got to show! A little emphasis never hurt anyone you know."

The fashionista, having finally done her clothes up back the way she liked them, turned back to Adagio with her frown still very much plastered to her face.

"I'll have you know, Miss Dazzle, that I and my friends are quite happy with how we present ourselves thank you very much! You and your sisters may be alright with exploiting your looks to get what you want, but I am a lady. And ladies of refinement do not resort to such...such base means of achieving their ends!"

Rarity, still bearing a look of righteous indignation, folded her arms and turned her head away from Adagio with a loud "huff". However, yet again, the Siren leader was far from insulted by those words. Instead, she looked Rarity over, thinking her next moves and words carefully, and, in that way only an expert of understanding people could do, a mischievous smirk appeared on her face. Naturally, as soon as Rarity saw this, she was somewhat nervous, though she tried her best to hide it. Adagio began to walk forward, swaying her hips from side-to-side as she did so, in that way she was rather famous for doing. When she finally came to within a foot of Rarity, she spoke in a calm and collected manner.

"So...you consider using your looks to be beneath you?"

Rarity frowned slightly before nodding in confirmation of that question, to which Adagio responded by smirking even more than before.

"So...I suppose that story I heard of you...shall we say...charming a trio of brutish thugs to do some heavy lifting for you was just...hearsay?"

A silence feel between the two girls, during which Rarity looked to Adagio with shock in her eyes, while the latter's expression was one of utter victory. After this incredibly uncomfortable silence had gone on for some time, Rarity unfolded her arms, scratching the back of her head while letting out a nervous cough.

"Yes...well...I suppose...a lady can sometimes resort to...to..."

But Adagio finished her sentence for her.

"To such base means of achieving their ends, Rarity?"

The young fashionista looked to Adagio, at the way she smirked with such confidence, before frowning considerably.

"You know, something, Adagio? You enjoy winning far too much!"

At that, Adagio chuckled again, before raising one finger and carefully tracing a line down the side of Rarity's face, before resting it under her chin. As the latter began to blush yet again from this motion, Adagio maintained her composure utterly, speaking in that confident and sultry manner she was so known for.

"True. But as far as I'm concerned...that's never been a bad thing."

Hearing that, Rarity turned from her and let out a groan.

"Ugh...all the baths in the world aren't going to make me feel clean after this!"

Smiling at that, Adagio responded in a joking manner.

"They might...if I joined you."

Rarity's head snapped in her direction, her face as red as tomato now.

"Stop doing that!"

But Adagio shook her head.

"Stop? When I can get a reaction like that? Never gonna happen, hun."

Sunset and Sonata

While Canterlot High could rightly be called a hectic and busy place on most days, there was one spot on the campus that was usually devoid of any kind of excitement; the library. Thanks to the efforts of aides like Miss Cheerilee, this place was the pinnacle of quiet study, and most students just stuck to themselves, silently reading their books in their own little corner, creating an atmosphere of peace all over the place. And it was in this place that Sunset now found herself, standing beside one of the library's many bookcases. There, she looked over book after book, narrowing her eyes until she found exactly what she was looking for, at which point her face lit up with a smile. As she carefully took the book from it's resting place, she flipped through a few of the pages, giving an approving nod after confirming that this was indeed what she needed.

And so, with her search finished for the time being, she made her way towards the front desk, ready to check the book out before leaving. However, before she reached that desk, she stopped, as she'd caught sight of someone familiar in the corner of her eye. Turning, she found that she had not been imagining things, as there, sitting alone on one of the library's many study desks, was Sonata. She was looking through a book of her own, with a strained look on her face, and was completely alone. Curious, Sunset decided to walk over, and as soon as she was close enough, she spoke up to the blue girl, making sure to keep her voice as hushed as possible in this library environment.

"They there, Sonata. You studying?"

The youngest Siren sister looked up from her book, breaking out into a small smile when she saw Sunset.

"Hey there, Sunset!"

Her voice had been loud and, as students now expected in this place, that now caused Miss Cheerilee to suddenly appear out of nowhere behind a nearby bookcase, giving a loud "shhh", complete with a disapproving glare in Sonata's direction. A look of embarrassment crossed the Siren's face as she shrugged her shoulders and chuckled nervously, prompting Cheerilee to slowly and creepily retreat back behind the bookcase again, while keeping her eyes on her the whole time. With that incident now behind them, Sonata turned to Sunset, now knowing to keep her voice down.

"Um...yeah, I'm studying. I've got this history report due next week and I need to really get to work on it."

Sunset's smiled faded a little, and she looked around their immediate location, and saw, as before, than none of Sonata's sisters were here with her.

"Adagio and Aria aren't here to help you?"

Sonata shook her head.

"Nope. Just me. Dagi and Ari said they'd already done theirs. And, well...they've tried helping me before on this kinda stuff, but...I kinda couldn't really pay attention to what they were saying. There was this really pretty butterfly near us and..."

Sunset, despite herself, stifled a giggle, before, to Sonata's confusion, taking a seat beside her.

"You know, I could help you, if you like."

Sonata turned to her with a now-massive smile on her face.

"Really? You'd do that for me?"

Sunset nodded.

"Sure. We're friends now, right?"

Sonata looked like she was right on the verge of letting out a very loud "squee", but, remembering what happened the last time she was loud, she slapped her hands over her mouth, simply resorting to giving Sunset a nod, to which the latter merely smiled.

"Alright then. So, what are you studying for?"

Lowering her hands, Sonata pointed a finger at her book.

"History. I've got to write a paper on this old English king. You know, the really fat one?"

Sunset raised an eyebrow.

"Henry the Eighth?"

Sonata nodded.

"Yeah, that's the guy. The teacher said I've gotta talk mostly about his wives, and, you know...how they died and stuff."

Sunset gained a small smile at that.

"Well that's no problem. During my first year here, the teachers actually gave us a fun way of remembering that."

Sonata raised an eyebrow, showing clear confusion.

"Fun? In homework?"

Sunset giggled slightly.

"Well...maybe fun is the wrong word to use, but it did help us. They came up with this little rhyme to help us remember what happened to each wife."

Sonata scratched her chin a little before putting on a smile of her own.

"Huh, well...that sounds alright then. How'd it go?"

Sunset cleared her throat before responding to that.

"Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. That was the order of the wives and what happened to each of them."

Sonata grimaced at that.


Sunset nodded in agreement.

"I know. Old Henry wasn't exactly the nicest guy when it came to his women."

Sonata nodded herself before leaning in with a sly smile.

"Plus, he was, like, a major flirt with all the other girls. It took pretty much all the magic me, Dagi and Ari had to keep him from groping us every day."

Sunset looked to her with confusion in her expression, only to then have it morph into a look of shock and realisation.

"Wait...you mean...you girls actually met Henry the Eighth?"

Sonata nodded.

"Oh sure. We've been in this world for centuries, remember? Been all over the place, met a whole bunch of people."

But, her face then became one of disgust as her old memories resurfaced.

"I tell ya though, that Henry was the worst. We weren't in his court very long, but it was long enough. At first, Dagi just wanted to charm him like everyone else, you know, get in good with a king and all that? But, you know, Dagi has some pretty high standards, and there was no way she'd want to be anywhere near that guy after some of the stuff he pulled while we were there."

Sunset nodded.

"I can imagine. I heard he did some pretty nasty stuff to most people."

Sonata nodded back.

"Yeah. But, it all came back to bite him, right? A few days after we left, Dagi told me that all the castle's doctors said he died of "silliness" or something. Guess that'll teach him, right Sunset?"

Sunset looked to the blue girl before her, gazing at the completely innocent and oblivious look on her face, and tried, in vain to get herself to explain things.

"Silli...no, Sonata, it wasn't silliness, it was..."

But, one look at the sweet smile on Sonata's face, and the way she tilted her head, and Sunset now found she just couldn't go through with it, and instead let out a long sigh before putting on her own smile.

"...Sure, silliness, that was it."

However, mere moments later, Sunset gained a look upon her face that was very reminiscent of Rarity whenever the latter had an "idea" pop into her head. Turning back to Sonata, she placed a hand upon her shoulder.

"Hey! You know what this means, right? If you were actually there, that means you could write all sorts of stuff in your report! You now, first-hand accounts and all that kind of stuff!"

Sonata, hearing that, broke out into a massive smile, but, yet again, covered her mouth when she was on the verge of "squeeing". After nodding in silence for a few moments, she lowered her hands and spoke softly.

"That sounds great, Sunny! I can't wait to hear what my teacher thinks when I tell him about all the weird stuff that Henry guy did while we were there. Like when he tried touching Aria's butt in the castle gardens and she punched him in the face for it? Took him a whole day to regain consciousness! That was really funny!"

Hearing that, Sunset's mind conjured up an image of the teacher in question looking over that particular passage in Sonata's as-yet unfinished essay. Needless to say, the prediction she came up with did not bode well for the youngest Siren, or her grade-point average. So, her smile faded, and after a while, she let out another sigh before pointing a finger to Sonata's history book.

"On second thoughts...let's just stick to how he used to cut his wives' heads off. Much less controversial."

Fluttershy and Aria

On a Saturday, most places in Canterlot were fairly active, filled with people going about their day or just generally having fun. One of the more notable exceptions to this was the town's local animal shelter. While most people about town would agree that it was a worthy cause to look after homeless animals, very few of them actually went out and contributed to it by volunteering. However, out of all of them, there was one who was undoubtedly the shelter's biggest supporter, Fluttershy, who went down there at every opportunity to help out. At present, she was busy feeding a number of small cats in their pens, all of which went to her with their typically large eyes, meowing expectantly as she fed each one in turn. While doing this, the whole place was abuzz with the sounds of other animals, from other cats, to dogs, even smaller creatures, like hamsters and even a few birds here and there.

Because of this loudness, Fluttershy did not hear the distinct sound of the shelter's front door creaking open. The new arrival was one that most would never think to find themselves in such a place, Aria, who, after taking one look at the shelter's interior, and all the continually-loud animals, let out a disapproving snort before looking around. Soon enough, she caught sight of Fluttershy, who still hadn't noticed her. The purple-haired Siren walked up to the distracted girl, clearing her throat deliberately to get her attention, but sadly, Fluttershy was still too focused on her animals to notice. Frowning at this, Aria just tapped her on the shoulder, which resulted in Fluttershy jumping up in shock.

"Eep!" she exclaimed.

Turning around, she finally saw Aria, who, at this point, was staring at her with a raised eyebrow, hands firmly on her hips. Realising who it was, Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief and put on a small smile.

"Goodness, Aria! You startled me!"

Aria rolled her eyes at that.

"I noticed."

Ignoring the dismissive tone in which she'd said that, Fluttershy gained a somewhat confused look.

"If it's okay to ask, why are you here?"

Before Aria had a chance to answer that, Fluttershy's face lit up with wide eyes and a massive smile.

"Oh my gosh! Have you come to volunteer too?"

Aria looked quite taken aback at that.

"What?! No!"

As one might expect, Fluttershy seemed a little disappointed at that, looking down at the ground slightly.

"Oh...my apologies. But...why are you here then?"

Aria looked over her shoulder, to the door behind her, before answering that.

"The others decided they were going to grab a cake and stuff over at Sugar Cube Corner. But they couldn't reach your phone or something, so they wanted me to come over and ask if you wanted to come."

A slight blush appeared on Fluttershy's cheeks.

"Oh, yes, I forgot to turn it back on. I didn't want to risk disturbing the animals with my ringtone. Sorry about that."

But Aria just shrugged her shoulders.

"No problems here. So, you going?"

Fluttershy nodded, walking over to the nearby front desk of the shelter, where her backpack was resting.

"Oh, certainly! I just want to pack up and..."

The girl stopped, and instead looked over to Aria with a look that could only be described as horror. Though confused at this, the Siren soon gained a look of realisation, as she looked down to where Fluttershy was looking; her arm. There, upon her pink skin, was a single dark patch. A bruise. Becoming somewhat self-conscious all of a sudden, Aria grabbed hold of her arm with her other hand, looking away from Fluttershy with a look of embarrassment while trying to hide the dark spot.

"Oh. That. Look, it's nothing."

But Fluttershy was having none of it and immediately rushed over to her, grabbing hold of the offending arm and taking a look at the bruise more closely. It wasn't a serious one, but noticeable enough for Fluttershy, who now looked to Aria with a great deal of concern.

"Oh, Aria! What happened?"

The Siren girl, still somewhat embarrassed about this, wrestled her arm out of Fluttershy's grip before answering.

"I told you, it's nothing! I just ran into a guy on the way here. Threw a few insults my way, so I threw some right back. There was a scuffle and...well...here I am."

At that, Fluttershy looked even more worried than before.

"Goodness! Are you alright?"

Aria chuckled at that.

"Trust me. He walked off far worse than I did."

Fluttershy frowned slightly.

"Applejack told me you keep getting into fights. You should really be more careful."

Aria raised an eyebrow.

"Believe me, I've got nothing to worry about. That guy bit of more than he could chew. I didn't want a fight, but I sure as Tartarus ended it."

Fluttershy clearly disapproved of that attitude, but, or the time being, she said nothing. Instead, to Aria's confusion, she walked over to her backpack, wherein she began rummaging around for a few moments, after which she put on a small smile. She pulled out what was clearly some kind of ointment tube, to which Aria merely raised an eyebrow. She watched as Fluttershy brought it over to her, held her arm again, and then carefully applied some of the ointment to the bruised area. Though she knew Fluttershy meant well, Aria couldn't help but roll her eyes at this display.

"You don't need to do that, Flutters. I'm fine."

Putting the tube aside for a moment, Fluttershy continued to rub the ointment into Aria's bruise before looking up to her with a slight frown.

"You're my friend now, Aria. And I'm not going to let you walk out of here until I've helped you."

The Siren looked away from her, knowing in her heart that there wasn't going to be any negotiation on this point. Instead, she turned her attention to the animals around them, many of which were still occupied with their evening meals. After a minute or two, Fluttershy was finished, and gave an approving nod at her handiwork before finally letting go of Aria's arm.

"There we are! That should help. Just try and avoid getting into any more fights, okay?"

Aria scoffed at that.

"I told you already! If other people start it, I'm gonna finish it!"

Hearing that response, Fluttershy frowned and put her hands on her hips, showing a more authoritative posture than Aria would have thought her capable of.

"Aria, I know you have your own way of doing things, but it really isn't good for you to be getting into trouble all the time! Have you ever tried...um...being nice?"

But Aria just let out a hearty laugh.

"Nice? Seriously? Like just turning the other cheek and all that stuff? Appreciate the sentiment, kid, but I'm not gonna just ignore jerks who give me a hard time."

Fluttershy let out a sigh.

"I know there are mean people out there, but it might be worth being nice to them anyway, even if they do bad things to you."

Yet again, Aria rolled her eyes.

"Oh please! Name me one time when being nice to bad or jerky people has actually paid off."

Fluttershy considered her options and, for a moment, actually seemed hesitant to give an answer. But, in the end, she just blurted it out.

"Well...my friends and I were nice to you, weren't we?"

At that, Aria snapped her head in Fluttershy's direction, giving her full attention. At first she was quite taken aback with the sheer forwardness of those words, and as such, opened her mouth, ready to give some sort of counter argument, or maybe to just deny that point. But, as she stood there with her mouth open, she thought those words over in her head, until finally, and after a great deal of reluctance on her part, she let out a sigh, slumping her shoulders in defeat. In time, however, she put on a small smirk, chuckling to herself while looking at Fluttershy as if she was actually impressed with her.

"No bad, Flutters. Not bad at all."

The Siren raised one hand, tussling the pink hair atop Fluttershy's head in a good-natured manner, though the latter seemed less than appreciative of the gesture, doing her best to straighten her hair out again soon afterwards. Even so, she smiled back, thankful that she'd managed to get her point across, at least in some small way. In this silence, Aria gestured to the door, silently asking if she wanted to leave. Nodding in response, Fluttershy turned around and grabbed hold of her backpack before joining Aria in leaving the shelter. As the two girls began to walk away, Fluttershy looked to Aria in a hopeful manner.

"So...do you think you might want to come volunteering here in future?"

At that, Aria just turned to her with a frown.

"Don't push your luck, kid."

Rainbow and Adagio

The sun was shining brightly down on the soccer pitch of Canterlot High, its bright green grass swaying gently in the cool breeze of the afternoon. Though most students were at lunch, there was nevertheless one person out here, and of course, it was the one that anybody would expect out here; Rainbow Dash. Without a doubt the most notable athlete at the school, with the possible exception of her friend Applejack, and like always, she was practicing her sport. Using one knee, she kept a single soccer ball bouncing up and down several times, while also keeping an eye on the goal several yards away. A smirk formed upon the cyan girl's face as she regarded it, and counted the moments before she made her move.

Then, at long last, it came, and she stopped the bouncing to deliver and almighty kick to the ball. The orb flew right across the field and, in a feat only Rainbow could have pulled off, landed slap-bang in the middle of the goal, impacting with the back net so fiercely that it almost looked as if it was going to tear from it. But, it had still been a perfect aim, and as such, Rainbow, like always, smiled widely to herself, pleased at her solo performance here. However, her smile faded somewhat when she began to hear a slow clapping. Turning, she took on a look of surprise to find that it was none other than Adagio, sitting alone in the audience stand beside the field, watching and clapping at Rainbow with a smirk of her own. Frowning slightly, Rainbow marched on over to meet with her, and when she arrived, Adagio finally stopped clapping, giving Dash an opening to get the first word in.

"Didn't think you the type to come watching sports, Dazzle."

The tone ad been somewhat harsh, but Adagio merely brushed it off, along with some of her hair, before putting on a smile and talking back.

"On the contrary. I always try and look out for new things to be interested in. Sports may not have taken much of my fancy in the past, but I must confess, you did it well...considering that there’s nobody else here to challenge you of course."

Rainbow's frown deepened at the sarcasm in the Siren's voice.

"Practice is still practice. Besides, I find it fun."

Adagio rolled her eyes.

"Oh please! You're kicking around a ball! How fun could it be?"

At that, Rainbow regained her smirk from earlier, and so walked off, with Adagio watching, back over to the net, before picking up the already-kicked ball in question and bringing it back over to the Siren, wherein Rainbow started twirling it on a single finger.

"You know, if you keep looking out for fun stuff, like you said, it might be worth trying it out."

Adagio raised an eyebrow.

"Me? Kick that little thing? Are you sure you don't just want to laugh at someone who's obviously not as good at sports as you are?"

But Rainbow raised her hand, trying to look as dignified as possible.

"Nope! I mean what I said, Dazzle. Go ahead. Kick it."

Turning around, Rainbow carefully placed the ball back on the ground, before looking to Adagio and silently inviting her to come over. Though silence was prevalent between the two girls for some time, in the end, Adagio merely let out an annoyed grunt, before then getting up from her chair and making her way over to the ball. She stared at it, and then at Rainbow, before looking up at the net at the other end of the field. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she brought her leg back before giving as hard a kick as she could, sending the ball flying off. Though, at first, her expression seemed hopeful, as the ball went straight towards the net. However, that expression changed to annoyance as the ball stopped just short of the goal line. Turning, Adagio noticed Rainbow stifling a snicker, much to the latter's embarrassment.

"Um...sorry. But, you know, you did good...kinda...sorta...not really."

Adagio narrowed her eyes again, before then letting out a sigh and morphing her expression into a small-yet-wicked smile.

"Forgive me, Rainbow, but I feel this is more your area of expertise, rather than mine."

Rainbow frowned slightly.

"Oh come on, Dazzle! You and your sisters should try something like this! There's gotta be some kind of out-of-school thing you guys can try doing, right?"

Adagio pondered that for a moment before slumping her shoulders somewhat.

"Well...Sonata did express an interesting in joining the swimming team. She always did love swimming back in the day."

Rainbow's face lit up with a smile.

"There you go! That's something, right? Maybe I could help her out with it later on?"

Adagio turned to her, raising an eyebrow slightly.

"Tell me something, Miss Dash...why do you do all these things. These sports and all that showing-off with your music and everything else?"

Rainbow, at first, was taken aback by that question, but then stopped for a moment to think about it. After placing her hands on her hips for a while, she looked back to Adagio and shrugged her shoulders.

"Dunno. I guess I just think its fun. Competing against everyone else is...well...thrilling to me. And when I win, which I usually do..."

Rainbow afforded herself a prideful look, to which Adagio rolled her eyes somewhat, before the former carried on.

"...it's, like, the best feeling in the world. All those people in the crowds, cheering me and my friends on? It's awesome!"

Adagio considered that for a moment before, to Rainbow's confusion, putting on a small smirk. Though she didn't know why, the cyan girl suddenly felt a shiver going down her spine when she saw Adagio like that. As for the latter, she began to make her way over to Rainbow before speaking up.

"So...you say you love the feeling of winning? The praise? The cheers? The...adoration?"

Rainbow raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah...why, what are you getting at?"

Adagio chuckled and shrugged her shoulders somewhat.

"Oh, nothing. Just that you and I might actually have more in common than I thought. We do seem to like something similar after all."

Realisation crossed Rainbow's face at that, and she shook her hands in a desperate attempt to refute Adagio's point.

"Whoa there! I'm talking about something way different!"

Looking back to Rainbow, Adagio raised an eyebrow.

"Oh? You think so? You've never felt a pleasant zing from the cheers of those who love what you do? Never smiled at the thought of those in the crowd watching you as they utterly adore what you've done? You've never wanted to be the centre of attention, to be admired by all around you? You've never wanted to be completely loved by all for having done something amazing?"

Rainbow thought long and hard about that, thinking over all the times when she and her friends have been up there, in front of many others, doing good things and being celebrated because of it. If she'd said right then and there that Adagio was wrong about her, that she didn't love those things, she knew in her heart that it would have been a complete lie. And as such, she let out a huff before looking to Adagio, who already knew from looking that she had been victorious in this little verbal sparring match of theirs. Frowning, Rainbow's own frustration at having lost it led her to turn and gaze upon the soccer ball on the ground, giving yet another almighty kick. But this time, the ball did tear through the net upon impact, after which, Rainbow, having got out her frustrations on it, turned to Adagio with a look of annoyance.

"Rarity was right...you do enjoy winning too much."

But to that, Adagio merely let out a giggle.

"Like I said, Miss Dash...we have so much in common."

Pinkie and Aria

As was so often the case during lunchtime, the Canterlot High cafeteria was abuzz with activity, with students from every class mingling in the ways they always did, from the musicians to the sports teams to everyone in-between, just generally hanging out with one another. There were smiles and happy times all over, and all-in-all it was a particularly pleasant place today. However, there was one person here for whom smiling did not seem to be the agenda for the day, and as usual, it was Aria. The middle child of the Siren sisters sat alone, as she often did, upon one of the cafeteria's many tables, eating her meal. As she ate bite after bite of her lunch, she didn’t notice, until the last minute, a bouncy pink-haired girl walking beside her. As Pinkie sat beside the lone girl, she put on a massive smile, before speaking in her usually cheerful manner.

"Hey there, Ari! Liking the food?"

Aria turned to her with a raised eyebrow.

"Sure. Its fine, I guess."

Pinkie picked up on the bad mood immediately, but rather than seem concerned, she simply giggled, giving a playful punch to Aria's arm, which, as one might expect, got on her nerves immediately. But, ignoring this, Pinkie just kept on speaking in that usual upbeat manner of hers.

"Cheer up, silly! The sun is shining, the day is good and everything is happy! There's no reason to be glum!"

Aria let out a dry chuckle at that.

"Oh really? I seem to remember you having the gloomiest sister in the world. Maud, wasn't it? I don't hear you giving her a hard time over it."

But Pinkie merely snorted at that and waved her hand a little.

"Maud and me have an understanding. She's smiles on the inside, and that's good enough for me!"

Seeing the ceaseless grin on Pinkie's face, Aria rolled her eyes and let out a grunt before getting back to her food.


Pinkie looked to her current companion, wanting to say yet another cheerful thing to her, but, she hadn't the chance to do so, as mere moments later, one of the other students, a boy, began to walk towards their table. Just as he was about to sit down upon it, Aria glared angrily at the guy.

"Does it look like we want some company, pal?"

The anger in her voice was almost palpable, and it did its intended job, scaring the guy immediately, as he then darted off to find another table. Seeing this, Pinkie put on as disapproving an expression as she was capable of wearing, looking to Aria with a slight frown.

"You know, that wasn't very nice, Ari."

But the Siren merely looked to her with a frown of her own.

"I'll act nice when I feel nice. And right now, I don't!"

With that, Aria got back to her meal, leaving Pinkie to look at her in silence for a while. In time, however, the bubbly girl put on yet another smile, getting up from her chair and moving behind Aria. Before the latter got a chance to react, she found a pair of pink fingers reaching from behind to grab onto the corners of her mouth, which were then forcibly turned upwards into a smile. Naturally, Pinkie's happy-go-lucky voice came soon afterwards.

"Come on, Ari! Let's turn that frown upside down!"

Pinkie kept her fingers there for a while, completely oblivious to the anger she was causing in Aria. When she finally did let go, she looked at the other girl's face, half-expecting her to retain the smile she'd put there. Instead, Aria's mouth instantly morphed back onto a more sour look, perhaps even more so than in had been before.

"Are you sure you're not just a pink clone of my sister? Because you and Sonata are both just as unbearably cheerful."

Pinkie placed her hands firmly on her hips at that.

"Oh Ari! I'm sure we can get that frown off your face somehow!"

But Aria just turned away at that.

"My frown is perfectly fine exactly where it is, Pinks. Now can we please drop the subject?"

Pinkie raised an eyebrow.

"Geez! Why are you always so grouchy?"

At that, Aria turned to her and narrowed her eyes.

"Why? Why?! Why do you think?! My sisters and I got our asses handed to us by some old bearded weirdo back in the day, got banished to this wretched world, we had to scrape by on the barest of negative energy, and just when it finally started to look up for us, guess what happened?"

Pinkie looked genuinely ponderous at that before, to Aria's annoyance, shrugging her shoulders.

"I dunno. What did happen? Was it something nice, like getting a whole bunch of sunshine and rainbows and stuff?"

Utterly flabbergasted that such a question would even be asked, Aria's expression became one of rage.

"Oh, we got some rainbows alright! Right in the face! Thanks to you and your friends, we have no hope of getting back what we used to. So you'll forgive me if I feel well within my rights to be as miserable as I damned well please!"

With that, Aria slumped into her chair, folding her arms and looking away from Pinkie with an indignant huff. In the silence that followed between the two, Pinkie just stared at her for a while, being calm and still in a way that most wouldn't think her capable of being. After a good couple of minutes of this, Pinkie slowly took a seat beside Aria again, speaking far softer than before.

"You know...I didn't want to hurt you and your sisters, you do know that, right? None of us did. You were just being mean to everyone and, well...we kinda had to do it."

Aria turned to her, eyes still bearing a tint of anger.

"Sure, I get that. But that still doesn't mean you get to tell me to be happy when I don't want to be."

At that, Pinkie, to Aria's shock, actually nodded in response.

"Okay then."

Aria gained a look of confusion.

"Erm...okay what?"

Pinkie put on a small smile before explaining.

"I mean if you want to be all...you know...grouchy and stuff, then I'll just let you do that. What I want, Aria, is to make people happy, and forcing you to do that is pretty much going to make you as unhappy as possible. So if you say you don't want me to come along and cheer you up, or put a big smile on your face...then I'm okay with that."

Aria looked her over, half-expecting her to just be joking about what she'd just said.

"You...you mean that?"

Pinkie nodded.

"Sure. You feel however you wanna feel. And if you wanna feel different...maybe if you wanna feel like smiling and laughing...you come to old Pinkie...promise?"

Another silence fell between them, during which, Aria felt immensely uncomfortable while looking at the earnest look on Pinkie's face. There was also shame there, as the purple-haired girl looked away from her, letting out a sigh in a manner than could only be described as defeat.

"...Sure. And...thanks, I guess."

Pinkie put on another massive smile before reaching over and patting Aria on the shoulder.

"No problem. It's what friends are for, right?"

At that, Aria, in spite of the dour way she'd been acting before, actually let out a brief chuckle at that.

"Yeah...I guess they do."

Seeing the more cheerful look on Aria's face, Pinkie actually gained an uncharacteristically sly smile upon her own.

"Well well well...guess I can turn that frown upside-down!"

At that, Aria looked a little annoyed, only to once again find herself let out a small laugh.

"Yeah...I guess you can."

Applejack and Adagio

A warm wind was blowing through the vast orchards of Sweet Apple Acres, and, as was so often the case on the weekends, Applejack was hard at work, plucking the last of her apples for the day, placing them in the baskets below. Making her way down from her ladder, she placed her hands on her hips, surveying the bare trees all around her, and gained a look of pride upon her face. She had done good work today, and now, she was going to take a well-earned rest. So, picking up her basket, she began to cart it off towards the red barn beside her family home, and when she arrived, she placed it down inside the thing, right next to many other such baskets, which were also full of apples. Smiling at this, she closed up the barn and headed off for her home, entering it and setting off the bell that lay above it as she did so.

Upon entering, she took off her hat for a moment, placing it on a table beside the front door while wiping away the sweat from her brow that had gathered during her work. She didn't bother to say she'd come back, for she knew the bell would have been enough for that much, and so she simply began to make her way over to the nearby kitchen, wherein Granny Smith was busy cooking up a stew for dinner. The older woman gave a smile and a nod to her granddaughter, which was happily returned, before the latter then turned her attention to the kitchen table. There, sitting upon it, was not only her sister, Apple Bloom, but also a visitor to their home; Adagio Dazzle. At present, the eldest Siren was, along with Apple Bloom, looking down at a school textbook upon the table, speaking to the youngster as she did so.

"And then, when Archduke Ferdinand made that wrong turn in Sarajevo, what happened?"

Apple Bloom, now seeing Adagio close the book to keep her from seeing the answer, wracked her brain for it, and after a few moments of Adagio waiting patiently, she watched as the younger girl broke into a smile before turning to her.

"Ooh! He got assassinated, right!"

Adagio smiled and nodded.

"Correct! Thus starting the bloodiest war in human history. Such a sweet story, don't you think?"

Apple Bloom, as well as Applejack for that matter, both raised an eyebrow over the joking manner in which Adagio had said that, eventually leading to the former eventually getting her words out.

"Um...sure. So, how did ah do?"

Adagio, picking up the book, flipped through the pages a few times before turning to Apple Bloom with a smile on her face, tussling her hair in a good-natured manner.

"Well, by my count, you got pretty much every answer right, little one. I'd say you're pretty ready for that test on Thursday."

Apple Bloom smiled at that, looking over to Applejack, who looked back to her sister with pride.

"Hey, sis? Does this mean I can go now? Scoots an Sweetie said they were gonna do something up at the clubhouse fer today."

Applejack considered that for a moment before chuckling a little and nodding, giving her silent permission to go. Leaping out of her chair, Apple Bloom rushed over to her sister, embracing her in a tight hug, which was very much returned. When the two siblings parted, Applejack watched as her little sister rushed off upstairs, no doubt to get ready to join her friends. Granny Smith too was heading off, having set her stew to one side to rest for the time being. That left only the two girls in the kitchen together, and Applejack, after getting herself a glass of water, sat opposite the table from Adagio before speaking to her.

"It was real nice of ya to help Bloom with her studies an all, Adagio."

The Siren nodded at that, leaning back into her chair for a moment.

"Think nothing of it, Apples. Truth be told, it's actually rather nice to help out these days. If you can believe it, I got the idea from Sonata. After her little study session with Sunset, she came back, talking about how "the best" it is that we three know so much about history, having lived so long and all. So, when you said your sister needed help with just that, I figured, why not?"

Taking another sip of water, Applejack nodded.

"Ah gotta say though, it's mighty weird thinking of y'all three as being so much...well..."

It was clear she was trying to avoid offending Adagio, but in the end, she simply blurted it out.


But, to Applejack's relief, the elder Siren was not angered in the slightest, and merely chuckled as she brushed aside some of her copious hair.

"I know. Looking like we do, you'd never guess."

At that, Applejack let out a brief laugh of her own.

"Ah bet y'all have had to fend off fellas with a stick fer a long time, right?"

Considering that, Adagio rolled her eyes slightly as her expression became one of annoyance.

"Oh, you have no idea, Apples. Over the centuries, my sisters and I have had thousands of guys coming to call. And a few girls, now that I think about it. It hasn't been as pleasant as you'd think."

Applejack raised an eyebrow.

"Oh? Ah'd have thought you of all people would love the attention."

Adagio nodded.

"The attention? Yes. But you'll soon find that most of the people who rushed over to "woo" us over the years have...how shall I put this...not been of the savoury sort. I'd say for every hundred guys who took an interest in us, only about one was someone we even wanted to look at, much less spend any actual time with."

Applejack considered that for a moment before speaking up again.

"But...y'all did love it when ya did find someone good, right?"

At that, Adagio put on her trademark sultry look, which, as per usual, sent a shiver down Applejack's spine when she saw it. Though she remained silent as the Siren spoke up again.

"Oh yes, very much so. You're probably too young to hear this Apples, but when my sisters and I were actually able to come across some good ones, and I mean some seriously good ones, they were nights we'd never forget."

Grabbing both of her arms, Adagio closed her eyes and bit her lip as a quiver went through her, no doubt remembering those nights quite vividly. As for Applejack, her sudden wave of discomfort made her very much regret having gone down this line of questioning in the first place, and so awkwardly looked away while sipping her water. In mere moments, however, both girls were shaken out of this by a loud cracking sound coming from outside. With curiosity upon their faces, they got up from their chairs and walked over to a nearby window, wherein they saw that it was none other than Big Macintosh, who was busy chopping wood outside. However, in the heat of the day, he'd elected to do so without his shirt, which, as one might expect, left Adagio with that same smirk upon her face.

"Well now...maybe this town isn't as devoid of decent males as I thought."

With her head snapping in Adagio's direction, Applejack looked from her, to her brother and then back again before frowning deeply.

"Whoa there, missy! Mah brother is off-limits, ya hear?"

But, hearing that, Adagio merely let out a giggle.

"Relax, Apples. I was only joking. I know better than to try anything with the relative of one of my inner circle. Too many complications. Besides..."

Looking to her, Adagio just kept on smirking.

"...I doubt you'll have such reservations about dating when you start it."

At that, Applejack gained a fierce blush.

"Wha...ah ain't like that!"

Adagio nodded before replying.

"True. Not yet. But you and your friends are of that age. It'll start, sooner or later. And trust me when I say that, when it becomes known that you six are...available...you'll have more guys knocking on your door than you'll know what to do with."

Retaining her blush, Applejack fumbled her words a little before walking away from Adagio and back to the table.

"Don't be ridiculous! We ain't that popular."

But Adagio shook her head.

"On the contrary. I've known boys a lot longer than you, remember. And like I told our friend, Rarity, the six of you have a lot going for you. Play your cards right, and any one of you could probably have guys melting just from being near you."

Picking up her water again, Applejack drank, not out of thirst, but rather to cool off from the heart that had been rising in her with every word Adagio had spoken. When she finished, she slammed her glass down on the table again, looking to the latter with a disapproving glare.

"We'll date our way, thank ya very much, and when we want, okay?"

Hearing that, Adagio considered her friend for a few moments before shrugging her shoulders.

"Suit yourself. Although..."

Yet again, a smirk emerged upon her face.

"If you disapprove of that sort of thing so much, you might want to keep an eye on your little sister in future."

At that, Applejack raised an eyebrow.

"Wha...what about mah sister?"

Still smirking, Adagio took her place on the other side of the table.

"Trust me on this, friend, I've got experience in this. In a few years’ time, when your sister is your age, believe me...heads will turn."

But, rather than seeming worried, Applejack just let out a hearty laugh.

"Ya don't frighten me, Adagio. That won't happen fer a long time!"

Adagio opened her mouth, ready to answer, only to stop when she and Applejack noticed that Apple Bloom herself had now returned, having come down from her room and was wearing a back-pack, clearly ready to head off and meet her friends.

"Well, ah'm off, sis! Just got off the phone with Sweetie, said they're gonna go and see some new movie with some of the others."

Applejack nodded.

"Well, have fu...wait...others?"

Apple Bloom nodded.

"Eyup. Aside from us three girls, a couple of the boys form our class are comin too. I think she said it was Rumble, Pip and Button, maybe a few others. It'll be really fun!"

Applejack started to gain a look of concern, but was unable to say anything as Apple Bloom, to her surprise, gave her yet another tight hug as a means of saying goodbye, after which the younger girl simply darted out of the front door. Standing there in utter silence, Applejack turned to Adagio, the latter of which seemed to be having trouble stifling a laugh of some sort.

"Oh my! And at such a young age too! Quite a little heartbreaker, your sister."

At that, Applejack narrowed her eyes a little.

"Ah hate ya...so much right now."

But Adagio merely smiled in response.

"That's what makes it fun."

Rarity and Sonata

The bell for lunch had rung some time ago, and as such, most of the students of Canterlot High were in the cafeteria, eating food while spending some time with each other. That left a lot of the rest of the school pretty empty, and it was in such an environment that Rarity now found herself. She was walking down one of the hallways, carrying a bag of fabrics with one hand, no doubt ready to use them for some new fashion project. As she walked, she was muttering to herself, looking as if she was thinking hard on something, most likely considering some particular dress design she could make. As smile appeared on her face soon afterwards, perhaps satisfied in her upcoming plans, and not too soon either, because she then happened upon the door that led to her usual workshop in the school.

Raising a hand, she turned the knob and entered. But, it wasn't long after that when she stopped, her smile fading and replaced instead with a look of surprise, for there, sitting next to her usual desk, was none other than Sonata. Raising an eyebrow, Rarity showed clear confusion at the presence of the youngest Siren sister here, and so she placed her bag of materials aside for the time being and began to walk up to the girl. For the moment, Sonata hadn't noticed her, and seemed quite occupied with something else. Craning her neck, Rarity found, to her shock, that Sonata was actually sewing there. But, she wasn't using the usual sewing machine, but rather her own fingers, carefully trying to get a thread through the eye of a needle in the other hand. Rarity kept silent as the blue girl attempted to do it, only to step back as, inevitably, Sonata's finger was pinched by the needle she held.


Putting on a small smile, Rarity decided that now was the time to reveal her presence.

"Having trouble?"

At that, Sonata immediately leapt out of her chair, frantically waving her arms in surprise at having been discovered, before composing herself as best she could, standing straight before Rarity and holding her hands behind her, while darting her eyes left and right. To Rarity, the image was not unlike a small child trying to look innocent after their parents had caught them with their hand in the cookie jar, and as such, found it rather amusing. As for Sonata, she soon began to look rather guilty at all of this.

"I'm...I'm sorry, Rarity, I just...I kinda wanted to...you know..."

Rarity, looking far more understanding than Sonata expected her to, gestured with one hand to the needle and thread behind her before speaking in a calm manner.

"You wanted to try your hand at clothes-making?"

Sonata looked around for a bit before finally giving a single nod. Rarity, still smiling, simply took a step forward and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder.

"There's no need to worry, Nata. Though I am surprised you'd want to take this up as a hobby."

Seeing Rarity move past her and take her usual seat by the sewing machine, Sonata considered that for a few moments, gently poking the ends of her index fingers together before starting to explain herself.

"Well...it's just...Dagi was telling me about all these wonderful dresses you made, and so I thought I'd come over and have a look."

Rarity turned to look at her, eyebrow raised.

"Oh? May I ask what you think of them?"

Sonata broke out into a massive smile as she skipped over to a few of the dresses that had been placed on racks nearby.

"I think they're beautiful! Probably the prettiest clothes I've ever seen!"

At that, Rarity gained a look of pride as she brushed aside some of her purple hair.

"Well...one does not like to toot her own horn, but I do have a certain flair for these things."

Sonata looked to her and nodded enthusiastically at that.

"You do! And I got to thinking, well...maybe I could try doing something like that?"

Rarity considered that for a moment, before then putting on a smaller smile than before.

"I'm glad to see a love of fashion being taken up by more people."

Sonata nodded, but then, all of a sudden, started to frown as she pointed in an accusing manner at the needle that was still on the desk.

"But its super hard! I probably poked myself on that thing a dozen times before you got here!"

Doing her best to stifle a giggle at that, Rarity picked up the needle in her own hand before twirling it around on her fingers a bit, thinking things over before looking to Sonata with another smile.

"You know...how about I help you?"

At that, Sonata's face lit up.

""You...you mean that?"

Rarity nodded, placing a hand on her heart.

"I mean what I say, Miss Dusk. You and I shall, if you desire, work together here in my workshop. How does that sound?"

Sonata's smile was so wide now that it practically threatened to burst out of her face. On top of that, she was right on the verge of letting out a "squee" so loud it might have deafened Rarity. But, in the end, the blue Siren calmed herself, smiling and nodding in confirmation of Rarity's offer. Smiling back, Rarity turned, gesturing to another chair that was beside her own, and Sonata, getting the message, sat in it immediately, now watching with rapture as Rarity, with a delicate and expert hand, slotted the thread through the eye of the needle with ease, much to Sonata's amazement.

"Wow, Rarity! You're amazing at this sorta stuff!"

Yet again, Rarity looked quite pleased with herself.

"Why thank you, darling. I'm sure you can become just as good, given time."

Sonata considered that for a moment.

"Maybe. I was thinking of making something like what you usually make...but this clothes-making stuff is way harder than the last time."

Those words caused Rarity to pause for a moment, and instead, she turned to the other girl with curiosity upon her face.

"Last time? Pray tell, Sonata...have you tried making clothes before?"

Sonata nodded at that.

"Yep. When me and my sisters were making our way over to Canterlot for the first time, we decided to get some new clothes. Dagi and Ari got theirs, but I didn't really like the look of anything the stores had, so...I found a quiet place and...well...made this."

At that, Sonata then looked down to her own outfit, tugging at the hem of her jacket slightly. Rarity, now finding herself quite shocked, sat there with her mouth hanging open.

"Sonata, you...you made this?"

The blue girl looked up and nodded, blushing slightly at admitting to it. As for Rarity, she now paid closer attention to the outfit Sonata had so often taken to wearing at school. Now that it had been pointed out to her, it did look rather different form the clothes of either Aria or Adagio. While those two outfits did look good, and suited their wearers quite well, it was clear that they were probably designer creations, made to be sold in a store. Sonata's by contrast, had several noticeable differences, the most obvious of which was stitching. There were overt signs of the stitching that went into it, especially on the front of her pink skirt, a sure sign of having been home-made, rather than, say, factory produced. These were hand-crafted clothes, no question, but Sonata was now starting to look somewhat embarrassed.

"Are...are they okay?"

Rarity looked up at Sonata's face, and then back down to her clothes, and then back again before breaking out into a smile.

"Okay? Okay?! My dear Sonata, this is fabulous work! I never knew you had such talent!"

At that, a fierce blush emerged on Sonata's cheeks, and she looked away slightly.

"Well...it's not as good as your work, Rarity."

But Rarity simply waved a hand at that.

"Pish-posh, darling! Never under-sell what you've done here. There are a few signs of it being a first-time creation of course, and you may need some help in learning to hide the stitching a bit better, but this is nevertheless fine work you've done. You should be proud. You're clearly better at this than you thought!"

Turning back to her, Sonata broke out into a massive smile.

"You...you think so?"

Rarity folded her arms and nodded in a far more serious way than before.

"Indeed! And that, I think, absolutely settles the matter! Sonata, you are to join me as often as you can, here in my workshop, and together, we're going to help you nurture this budding talent of yours!"

At that, Sonata's smile reached critical levels yet again, only this time, she didn't bother to hold back the noises that came with it, as she let out that aforementioned ear-piercing "squee", causing Rarity to cover her ears briefly. After her enthusiasm had calmed down somewhat, the youngest Siren, instead coughed nervously, trying to look as dignified as Rarity.

"Rarity...I accept your offer."

Smiling at that, Rarity nodded back to her before turning back to her desk, after which she picked up the previously-offending needle and held it up in front of Sonata.

"In that case, my dear, lesson one. How to get a thread through a needle...without poking yourself with it."

Sunset and Aria

If there was one thing Sunset enjoyed more than anything else when she was alone, it was simply to spend time with a good book. That was, however, only one of many things that she had in common with a certain pony princess, the one who had helped her walk the path that made her into the girl she is today. In some ways, that love of books was like an unspoken link to the friend who wasn't here by her side most of the time, and as such, she couldn't help but smile as she carried those beloved books out of the school and towards her usual favourite reading spot. The place in question was the steps just at the front of Canterlot High, and while students were, by-and-large, still coming and going from the school, her spot was still pretty much empty. So, still smiling, she got herself comfortable and began reading.

As the minutes rolled on, she found herself feeling more and more relaxed at doing this, which was to be expected from doing a favourite hobby. However, it wasn't long before the relative peace of the moment was interrupted by the unmistakeable sound of somebody grunting in annoyance. Sunset knew that voice immediately, and so looked up from her book to check around the place and see who it was. Sure enough, she soon caught sight of her; Aria Blaze. The middle Siren sister was, at this moment, leaning against a nearby wall, holding a soda can in one hand as she did so. Sunset raised an eyebrow as she saw the girl, especially as she seemed to glare at every passer-by who looked her way. Sighing, Sunset put down her book and, with some trepidation, walked over to her. When she arrived, she spoke, albeit in a quiet manner.

"Hey there, Aria. Rough day?"

At that, Aria turned, having finally noticed Sunset's presence. After regarding her for a while, the girl simply took a gulp from her soda before replying.

"Hey there, Shimmer."

The words were brief and to the point, and it was clear that Aria wasn't in the mood to really talk to anyone. While Sunset was loathe to interrupt somebody when they clearly wanted to spend time alone, she nevertheless felt the need to help in whatever was eating at Aria. So, after clearing her throat a little, she took up position on the same wall, leaning against it just as Aria was doing, before then speaking up again.

"I'm guessing you've got something on your mind?"

Aria turned to her, narrowing her eyes slightly.

"Despite what you girls probably think of me, I've always got something on my mind. And as you can probably guess, it's usually the same thing."

Sunset nodded at that, looking away with some discomfort upon her face. It was true, what Aria had said, that Sunset had a good inkling what was on her mind. After all, it wasn't that long ago that Pinkie had come to her, trying to get the Siren to cheer up a bit more. In that moment, the girl's troubles had been laid bare, and it wasn't long afterwards that Pinkie had revealed that to not only Sunset, but the rest of their friends. Aria's defeat, as well as the defeat of their sisters, had been a constant source of discomfort for her, not to mention all the other bad stuff that had happened to them over the years, and no amount of friendly gestures on their part ever seemed to pry those unhappy thoughts from her. So, Sunset simply let out a sigh.

"You know...I understand that you have every right to feel upset, Aria."

The other girl turned to her, letting out a snort before replying to that.

"I'll say. You were in the same spot, remember? Rainbow magic to the face, made to feel low."

Giving Sunset her full attention, Aria frowned somewhat.

"Tell me something...if, after you were beaten, someone were to come up to you and tell you that you should just "get over" whatever bad stuff you were feeling...would you appreciate it?"

After thinking that matter over for some time, Sunset let her shoulders slump in defeat, for she knew what the honest answer was to that question. Seeing that, Aria smirked a little before looking away from her again.

"Thought so. So don't go trying to be all psychological on me, Shimmer. I'm not in the mood!"

Sunset knew, in her heart, that Aria had every right to say what she'd said. Bering beaten was a bad feeling, regardless of what one may have been doing at the time it happened. She knew that all too well. And as such, she felt that, despite Aria's overt aggressive behaviour here, she might, perhaps, be the best person around to talk to her about it. But, she knew that simply, as Aria put it, telling her to "get over it", wasn't going to be an option, nor was it something she'd be particularly comfortable doing anyway. As such, the two girls simply stood there, in silence, for a few minutes, while Sunset thought the situation over carefully. In the end, her expression softened, and she started to speak in a hushed manner.

"You know...I was a lot like you...before my defeat."

Aria slowly turned to her, with eyebrow raised, as Sunset continued.

"I was known as the queen bi...well...I wasn't known as anybody pleasant. I kept people at each other's throats...I was rude to pretty much everyone...and I never let anyone close to me."

Aria frowned at that.

"Don't give me that, Shimmer. I know for a fact that you had a boyfriend during all that. That doesn't sound like something a lonely person would go through."

Sunset nodded before continuing.

"You're right, I did go out with a guy. But he and I...well...it didn't really work. I was only using him and he...he was just with me because he was a nice guy, not the kind to just outright refuse a girl. Bottom line, it was a doomed relationship from the start."

Sunset narrowed her eyes as the memories of her old life came flooding back.

"I was angry...I was bitter...and I lashed out at anyone I could because I knew I could get away with it. And do you know what it made me feel whenever I did all that?"

Aria shrugged her shoulders.

"Dunno. Strong? Powerful?"

Sunset shook her head and looked Aria right in the eye.


Aria's frown lessened somewhat as she watched the girl continue.

"I may have told myself that all those things made me feel like I was the boss...and I may have been the boss...but in the end...all I was...was unhappy. I had nobody, Aria. No friends. Nothing!"

At that, Sunset looked over to her, her gaze almost piercing.

"I look at you, and I see a lot of what I used to be. There's anger there, and not without cause. But...if you let that become your whole life, your whole outlook..."

Sunset's expression became one of sadness as she spoke her final words.

"...life will be very, very uncomfortable for you."

The two girls stood there together, in silence, for some time, as Aria let her words sink in. Sunset watched her, waiting for her to make some kind of response, and when she finally did, it began by her looking away and letting out a grunt of annoyance.

"Ugh! First Flutters, then Pinks, and now you. You girls are relentless!"

Another silence fell, but this time, it was far shorter, as Aria raised her hand and began rubbing her temples, before speaking in a strained manner.

"...Fine! Maybe I can learn to be a little more...friendly. But I just don't get how you and the other girls can be so hung up on this."

Sunset, knowing exactly how to answer that, put on a small smile.

"Because you're our friend, Aria. And that's all the reason we need. Like Pinkie said, you have every right to feel unhappy if you want to...but what kinds of friends would we be if we let you spend the rest of your life like that?"

Aria considered that for a moment, perhaps thinking over all the previous interactions she'd had with not only Sunset, but the other girls. As she did this, Sunset watched her thinking on the matter, hoping in silence that her words had somehow gotten through to her. In time, her answer came, as Aria looked to her with a far less abrasive look than before, and simply gave a nod. It wasn't outright capitulation to her way of thinking, but it was at least an acknowledgement. And that was something Sunset could live with. Smiling at her, Sunset watched as, all of a sudden, Aria looked away from her, and instead to a pair of girls who were walking by their general area. The Siren seemed to struggle with something for a few moments, before then, to Sunset's surprise, calling out to them.

"Hey there! Nice...nice day...right?"

The girls stopped for a moment and looked at her, at the way she was obviously forcing a smile and a cheerful attitude, and looked to each other with a slight degree of discomfort at it. However, rather than simply walking off an ignoring her, they put on somewhat small smiles of their own, waving back in response, out of courtesy if nothing else, before beginning to continue walking. After Aria had seen them off, she looked over to Sunset, perhaps wanting her opinion on what had just happened. Considering that, the ex-unicorn shrugged her shoulders and let out a giggle.

"Well...it's s start."

At that, Aria just let out another grumble.

"Ugh! Niceness is going to be the death of me, I just know it!"

Fluttershy and Adagio

While Canterlot, as a town, could rightly be called a fairly busy and hectic place at times, there were, however, places dotted about it that experienced relative peace and calm most of the time. One such place was located right on the outskirts of town, adjacent to a small woodland on the border between where the town ended and the countryside began. There, just short of the treeline, was a tiny cottage that most would normally expect to find on the cover of a fairy tale book. Thatched roof, a little stream, and some small trees out front with singing birds in their branches. This place was the very definition of tranquil and peaceful. And so it should have been, for this was none other than the home of Fluttershy, noted CHS student and volunteer of the town's only animal shelter. If ever there was a home that suited her, it was this.

And so it was that the girl in question now found herself back here, in the small kitchen of the cottage, preparing what was easily recognised as a pot of tea. She smiled as she did this, occasionally looking out of the window to see how her numerous animals were getting on, and only stopping once the kettle had finished boiling. After a few minutes, the tea was prepared, and the shy girl placed two full cups of it onto a small tray and began to carefully take them out into the adjacent living room. There, much like everywhere else in this house, there was a real feeling of comfort, as virtually every piece of furniture was soft and endowed with many pillows. And it was in one such chair that Fluttershy now saw her home's guest; Adagio. The eldest Siren, seeing her host arrive, put on a small smile before graciously taking a single cup from her.

"Thank you, my dear. It's rare to find one with manners as impeccable as yours these days."

But Fluttershy merely blushed at that as she took her own cup and sat upon a chair of her own, right across the table from where Adagio now sat.

"Oh, there's no need for that, Adagio. You're my guest, after all."

The Siren nodded, blowing on her tea a little before taking a sip.

"Maybe so, but still, it was nice of you to invite me over today, Flutters."

Fluttershy nodded at that.

"Well, the other girls all wanted to go and see that movie, and, well, I thought it was going to be a bit loud, so I decided not to go with them. And I guess I wanted some company today."

Adagio considered that for a moment, raising one eyebrow before gesturing to a nearby window.

"Far be it from me to criticise your day plans, friend. But I'd have thought you'd have plenty of little companions to spend the day with."

Looking to the window, Fluttershy put on a small smile before replying.

"Oh yes! I do so love my animals. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with them and caring for them. But sometimes...I suppose I just need somebody to talk to."

Adagio nodded, conceding that point, at which point she took another sip before speaking up again.

"Speaking of which, where's that favourite pet of yours? You know, the little rabbit?"

At that, Fluttershy looked a little down.

"Oh, you mean Angel? Yes, he needed to go to the vet today. I already miss him, but he needed to go after he swallowed that tangerine."

Adagio rolled her eyes a little.

"I wouldn't worry, my dear. That bunny of yours has survived far worse than fruit in the past. Seriously, that little thing is dynamite sometimes."

Fluttershy smiled at that, clearly appreciating Adagio's attempt to cheer her up.

"Thanks. Do...do you have any pets?"

Adagio shook her head at that.

"I'm afraid not, Flutters. Sonata kept begging me for a puppy at one point, but, as expected, she kept forgetting we had it after she actually got the thing, so we had to leave it with another family."

Fluttershy's smile faded a little, prompting Adagio to continue speaking.

"Oh, don't worry about the little thing, dear! He's fine! Sonata, when she does remember, checks up on the little guy every once in a while. He's doing well, or so I’m told."

Seeing her guest take another sip of tea after that, Fluttershy considered her words for a few moments, after which she smiled, now satisfied that the animal in question was properly cared for. As the two sat in silence for a few minutes, Adagio began to look around the room. It was, without question, a serene and calm place to be, as well as comfortable, as her own chair could testify. And yet, as she looked to a nearby window, to how far away the actual town of Canterlot was, one question seemed to burn on her mind.

"I must confess...with you having as many friends as you do, I was rather expecting you to be living far closer to town than this."

Hearing that, Fluttershy's expression become somewhat thoughtful, after which she gave a nod before answering.

"Well...I do like my friends and everybody in town, but...I suppose I'm more comfortable out here, where it’s quieter and…less busy."

Adagio considered that before placing her tea down on the table, after which she thought back to all the times she'd seen the girl. On the rare times she wasn't part of her main group, the Rainbooms, she was often by herself, or with her animals. Socializing or spending time with others seemed to be pretty far from her mind, prompting to raise an eyebrow before speaking up again.

"Darling, you really mustn’t be so worried about getting attention the way you do."

Fluttershy looked up from her own tea, though remained silent as Adagio continued.

"Being around others, especially when they like you, is a wonderful feeling. And given everything you've done for this town, and the school in particular, I don’t doubt that you'd have plenty of people wanting to spend time with you."

Fluttershy looked down a little, considering that for a moment before starting to reply.

"You...you enjoy all that attention, don't you?"

Adagio chuckled.

"But of course, Flutters. You know me. My sisters and I practically lived to be adored for a very long time, remember?"

Fluttershy nodded at that.

"I know. And I know that, when people like you, it's nice to have them pay attention to you. Like when my friends and me used to sing really well in front of them."

Adagio smiled before gesturing to the shy girl in what looked like triumph.

"There you go!"

But, Fluttershy, to Adagio's surprise, then put on a small frown.

"But...people's attention isn't always good."

At that, Adagio raised an eyebrow.

"Oh? And when has it ever been Bad?"

With that, Fluttershy knew exactly how to respond.

"Well...there was when we sang in the contest and everything went wrong. Or how you made it so it looked like we won when we didn’t deserve it. Or..."

Fluttershy began to look more than a little uncomfortable, as if ashamed of what she had to say.

"...there was also...when you and your sisters...lost."

With that, Adagio's smile faded entirely. Instead, she began to sit in silence, and while at first she was tempted to ask Fluttershy not to bring up such unpleasant memories, in truth, it actually made her think. Her memories called forth that terrible moment, when all the attention and adoration they'd gathered for themselves turned sour, replaced instead by humiliation. The way the crowds had jeered at them, the way they were driven off in shame. They'd wanted attention in that moment, and they'd got it. Remaining silent, Adagio let out a sigh, picking up her tea and taking a sip, leaving Fluttershy worried that she may have accidentally insulted her guest. But, in time, Adagio began to wear a smile, albeit a much smaller one than she usually wore.

"You're right...attention was bad that day. The crowd may be with you one moment...but when it goes, it really goes."

Fluttershy, relieved at having avoided a bad moment with the other girl, began to smile along with her.

"I'm sorry for bringing it up, but...I hope you can understand why I might not want to put myself out there as much as you do."

Adagio nodded.

"No need to apologise, my dear, you made a fine point. I suppose, as much as it may pain me to say it, that level of attention is something I could possibly try and do without every once in a while."

Fluttershy's smile widened, only to stop as Adagio gave her full attention to her.

"However...this is not simply a matter of getting people to notice you being an all-around bad thing, dearie. You've got to learn not to hide yourself away like you do. Those girls you spend so much time with? They'd want you to be part of things, putting yourself out there. You've been asked to do it before, and you'll no doubt be asked to do it again. The eyes of many others could be on you one day, and you will need to deal with it."

At first, Fluttershy gulped at that prospect, but, over time, her look of concern gave way to yet another sigh on her part, and her words were, admittedly, hesitant.

"I...okay. I guess we can both cope with a little change like that, right?"

Adagio smiled and nodded in conformation, but was prevented from assaying anything further when, all of a sudden, the phone began to ring. Although taken aback by this, Fluttershy soon began to move over to the thing. Adagio watched her go, sipping her tea as she did so, and began to watch her pick the phone up, after which she started to have a barely-audible conversation with whoever was on the other side. After a while, Fluttershy gave a smile and a nod before putting the phone down, after which she turned to Adagio with an even wider smile on her face.

"It's the vet. They say Angel's fine and they want me to pick him up!"

Adagio chuckled a little before getting out of her chair.

"Very well then. Let's do it."

At that, Fluttershy seemed somewhat surprised.

"Oh, you don't need to trouble yourself."

But Adagio shook her head.

"Ah ah ah! What kind of friend would I be if I just let you go alone?"

Fluttershy considered that, and the “I’ve already won” tone with which Adagio had said that, before simply nodding her head and exhaling deeply, showing defeat before the battle had even started.

"Alright then. But...there'll probably be lots of people down there, and I'd rather do this quietly and get back home. So…promise you won’t try and get too many people's attention while we're in town, okay?"

At that, Adagio merely smirked in that famous way of hers.

"My dear...when have I ever done that?"

Rainbow and Sonata

The sun was shining high in the sky today, and the whole town of Canterlot had a real feeling of summery warmth, despite it supposedly being the start of autumn at this point. Though, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, many of the locals, in particular the students of Canterlot High, were getting out and about as much as they could, enjoying the beautiful weather while it lasted. One such student was none other than Rainbow Dash, who, at this very moment, was in a place just adjacent to the main building of CHS; the school pool. It was by no means as large as the public one in town, but it was still big enough for all of the swimming sports the school occasionally hosted. She stood beside the thing, clad only in the dark-blue one-piece swimsuit that CHS gave as standard to its female students, tapping her foot as if waiting for somebody.

Counting the moments, she began to look increasingly frustrated with the inactivity going on around her, only to look on with some relief as she saw that, running towards her, was another of her fellow students; Sonata. This youngest of the Siren sisters was running towards Rainbow, panting as she did so, wearing a full jogging-suit and sneakers. When she finally met her, she paused for a moment, giving an apologetic look, most likely for being late. Dash, though at first irritated, nevertheless let out a sigh before smiling in response, silently letting her know that everything was fine. Smiling at that, Sonata sat upon a nearby bench, kicking off her sneakers before stripping off her jogging suit, wherein it was revealed that she had the exact same kind of swimsuit on underneath that Rainbow had. Seeing this, the latter spoke at last.

"So, your sister tells me you wanted to join the swimming team?"

Carefully placing her outer clothes aside on the bench, Sonata stood up and began nodding enthusiastically.

"I do! I've always loved swimming, and, well...I figured I'd enjoy this kind of thing."

Rainbow nodded at that before turning her full attention to the pool beside them. Getting down on one knee, she placed a hand in the water, testing its temperature. After a few moments, she pulled it out and gave an approving nod of what she'd felt before standing up again and looking to Sonata.

"Well, today seems a good day to give you a try-out, Nata. Though I should warn you, as a member of this team myself, only those who can go real fast are let in. You sure you can keep up?"

Sonata smiled widely and nodded just as frantically as before, prompting a chuckle from Rainbow as she folded her arms.

"Alright then. Let's start. But, first things first..."

Raising a hand, Rainbow pointed to the top of Sonata's head.

"You should probably wear a swimming cap. All that hair could get in your way."

Sonata, though at first tilting her head at that, soon looked over to her ponytail, grabbing hold of it and stroking it slightly before looking to Rainbow with understanding, giving a single nod before making her way over to where she'd put her clothes. There, she rummaged around her pockets for a while before pulling out exactly that, a swimming cap. She held it up in triumph, eliciting another laugh from Rainbow, as the latter turned around and looked over the pool, thinking over how best to really do this test. However, mere moments later, she heard a deliberate clearing of one's throat, prompting her to turn back in Sonata's direction. The rainbow-haired girl then found her eyes widening with surprise as she saw that Sonata was now wearing her cap as instructed, with all of her hair having been packed into it like it wasn't even there.

"Wha...how did you get that on so easy?" she asked.

Sonata considered that for a few moments before shrugging her shoulders.

"Dunno. Me and my sisters used to stuff our hair into hoodies all the time back in the day. No problems there either."

Rainbow opened her mouth to speak, only to silently say to herself that it would probably be for the best if she didn't ask too deeply on the matter. Instead, she shook her head and turned around to the pool once more, walking over and standing on the very edge of it. Looking over her shoulder, she silently gestured to Sonata, who then walked over and took up her own position beside her. After a few moments of them not saying anything, Rainbow looked to Sonata with a determined expression.

"Okay, Nata. Here's the test. You and I are going to swim from one side of this pool to the next, and we'll see how fast you can do when swimming next to me."

At that, a somewhat cocky look grew on Rainbow's face.

"Although, don't feel too bad if you don't manage to swim as fast. I have been on this team longer than you after all."

But Sonata, rather than feel irritated at those words, as most would, instead looked somewhat nervous.

"Well...I really want to be on the swim team, Dashie. I hope I do well."

Looking to her, Rainbow gently placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Hey. You'll do fine, okay?"

Sonata, appreciating the gesture, put on a small smile in response. After that, Rainbow looked over to the other side, her goal in clear view, and gave a silent nod to her swimming partner, who nodded back. The two girls both took up proper diving poses before, after a few moments of waiting, they leapt off the edge together, heading headlong into the water below. Rainbow had seen Sonata until that point, and had made note of how professional-looking her dive had been, just like her own in fact. But, as soon as she was in the water, her attention was instead fully committed to the end of the pool. And so, determination plastered all over her face, she swam as hard as she could, arcing her arms and paddling her legs as much as her muscles would allow her, and all the while, the constant up-and-down of the water in her eyes kept things frantic.

She didn't really know how long she was doing this for, only that time was going by quickly. Her breathing had been steady and practised the entire journey, and like a short-but-vigorous sprint around a racetrack, she found herself feeling the burn of her efforts. However, thanks in no small part to the relative shortness of the pool itself, she soon came upon her goal, as her hand made contact with the other side at long last. With a look of anticipated victory upon her face, Rainbow turned around, expecting to see Sonata still paddling further back in the pool, or perhaps just a few seconds behind her. Instead, to her confusion, she saw that there was nobody behind her, just an empty pool. Gaining a look of confusion at this, Rainbow didn't know what to think, until her attention was diverted to a voice calling to her.

"Hey, Dashie!"

Turning, Rainbow looked on with amazement as she saw that there, kneeling down on the concrete bank of her side of the pool, with a big smile on her face, was Sonata. The youngest Siren sister looked down at her swimming partner, looking happy with herself, and utterly oblivious to the dumbfounded look Rainbow had on her. As the latter opened her mouth, no words came out, and instead, she looked form Sonata to the start point of the pool, and then back again, before finally managing to say something.

"How...why...what...what did you do?!"

Sonata put a finger to her chin and considered that for a few moments before shrugging her shoulders in a nonchalant manner.

"Well, I did what you said. I dived into the water, swam to the other side, then got out and waited for you to catch up."

As before, Rainbow looked utterly shocked at that.

"But...but...how long were you waiting for me?"

Sonata thought on that before answering.

"Er...I think about twenty seconds or something."

Twenty seconds, Rainbow thought to herself. That was about how long it took her to cross a full half of the pool. To say that she was not expecting this outcome would have been a great understatement, as she looked up to Sonata in much the same way that the hare would have looked to the tortoise in that old kid's story. As for Sonata, she just kept on smiling blissfully, waiting for Rainbow to speak to her.

"Well...how did I do?"

Finally shaking herself out of her trance-like state of shock, Rainbow looked back to the other side of the pool, thinking things over for a moment before looking back to Sonata, letting out a sigh before putting on a smile.

"Yep...you're on the team."

At that, Sonata put on a smile so wide that it threatened to burst from her face, letting out a rather high-pitched squeal of joy.

"Eeee! I can't wait to tell Dagi and Ari! They'll never believe this!"

Hearing that, Rainbow gave out a dry chuckle before speaking to herself in a hushed manner.

"Trust me, Nata, I know the feeling."

Pinkie and Adagio

The sun had long since set upon the town of Canterlot, and all over the place, people were heading off home, from the students of Canterlot High, to the owners of the local establishments, and everyone in-between. The whole town had a real feeling of winding down for the night, as light after light began to flicker on in the homes of the various residents. The whole place was becoming a centre of calm and peace as the sounds of the night crept in. Crickets chirping in the grass, maybe the occasional owl hooting off in some far-off tree, and of course, the sheer silence of nobody out on the streets. To top off this classic night-time image, the skies were clear of all clouds, giving a brilliant view of the moon and stars above. It was a lovely night, that much was certain, and one that invited rest and relaxation.

Well, rest and relaxation for most people. But then, Pinkie Pie was not most people. The noted drummer of the Rainbooms was, in fact, quite busy, darting from place to place in her home, making sure everything was absolutely perfect for what she had planned. Clad in her usual blue nightie, she looked over her room. A few sodas, some chips in a bowl, and even a film or two ready to watch at a moment's notice. One looked at this place and it screamed of one thing; a slumber party. However, this was not the packed-full slumber party that she had experienced with the rest of her friends, as there was, in truth, only one other person in there with her. Adagio Dazzle, the eldest Siren sister, who was dressed similarly to Pinkie, albeit with a purple nightie instead of a blue one. She sat there, cross-legged on the edge of Pinkie's bed as she looked to her host.

"I appreciate the invite, Pinkie, but aren't these things usually supposed to have more people?"

But Pinkie simply smiled widely at that.

"There's no rule about that, silly! All you need for a good slumber party is to share it with friends! You're a friend, so I've got that covered!"

Adagio rolled her eyes, but couldn't really argue with that logic. As she looked over to Pinkie, who then grabbed the bowl of chips and started to munch on them enthusiastically, she stretched out her arms, enjoying the feel of the nightie on her body, before then smiling with contentment as she looked out of the nearby window.

"It is a pleasant night for it, I'll grant you that much."

Pinkie turned to her, a mouth full of chips, then swallowed them all in a comedic manner before smiling widely to her again.

"What's even better is that you showed up, Dagi! You'd have never agreed to something like this when we first started being friends!"

Adagio nodded at that, thinking her words over.

"True. But I suppose...I have grown rather...fond of you girls of late."

At that, Pinkie to Adagio's surprise, leapt over to her and embraced her in a tight hug.

"Oh, Dagi! That's so nice of you to say!"

Although taken aback by this embrace, and even a little bit winded from it, Adagio soon composed herself, chuckling slightly as Pinkie finally let go of her.

"Thank you for the sentiment, Pinkie. I don't normally say this kind of thing...but it is nice to spend time with you...even if we don't have all that much in common."

But Pinkie simply rolled her eyes at that.

"Pfft! We have lots of things in common, Dagi! We've both got lots of friends! We both love music! We both love candy!"

That last point was punctuated with Pinkie pulling out a previously-unseen bowl of candies, which, naturally, soon found themselves being swallowed wholesale by the girl, much to Adagio's amazement. As she witnessed this gastronomic display, she let out a brief giggle, after which she regarded her host with a somewhat raised eyebrow.

"True, we have some things we can share. But then...I do have certain...other interests. Interests I doubt you'd be all that excited about."

Having finally finished her candy, Pinkie set her bowl aside and looked to Adagio once more.

"Ooh! You mean how you like to act all sexy and in-control around people? Or how you love it when guys and girls give you lots and lots of attention and googly-eyes?"

Her smirk fading a little, Adagio let out a sigh before giving an answer to that.

"Well...I wouldn't have put it quite as bluntly as that...but yes, I do rather like that sort of thing."

At that, Adagio looked away from her, with her smirk now returning in full force.

"And like I said, I doubt you could relate, Miss Pie."

But Pinkie tilted her head slightly in response.

"Er...I actually kinda do, Dagi."

Adagio turned in her direction, raising an eyebrow slightly.


In a rather uncharacteristic move, Pinkie gained a sly smile, not dissimilar to what Adagio herself might have.

"Well, I can get all sexy and flirty too you know. Why, I'm a regular kinky-Pinkie when you get right down to it."

Though Pinkie was, of course, trying to be as serious as possible in this situation, on Adagio's side, things were somewhat less professional, as she was very much in the throes of a massive bout of laughter, which she was using all of her willpower to hold back. It took a few moments, a whole minute in fact, but thankfully, she got it back entirely, with Pinkie being oblivious to the whole matter of course. And after calming herself down at last, Adagio cleared her throat a little before speaking up again.

"Um...Pinkie, dear? No offense, but your style of flirt probably isn't the same as mine. Yours is probably more along the lines of my sister, Sonata. Just look adorable and you get attention. As for me, I tend to lean more towards a…more intimate style.”

But Pinkie seemed undeterred, looking to Adagio with a smile that could only be described as sultry.

“Oh yeah? I bet you I could be just as flirty as you, Miss come-hither-eyes!”

Adagio rolled her eyes at that, but nevertheless let out a sigh.

“Very well, Pinkie. If you’re so adamant about making this point, then by all means, flirt away.”

The elder Siren looked to her host, who just seemed to be brushing herself off a little bit, and expected at any moment that she would be subject to some kind of half-hearted attempt at sexiness, maybe some kind of funny Pinkie-style flirts. What she didn't expect was what actually happened, which was for Pinkie to start looking at her with her eyes half-lidded, scooting over before raising a hand a gently placing it upon her shoulder.

“You know, Dagi…I do so love the way your eyes look this evening. It’s so…enchanting.”

Although taken aback by this display, Adagio soon composed herself, putting on a similar smirk before looking right back at Pinkie.

“Oh? How nice of you to say.”

But Pinkie wasn’t done, as she took her hand from Adagio’s shoulder and instead placed a single finger upon her lips.

“Shhh. There’s no need for words, friend. It’s just you and me here. No eyes to watch us but ours. And we have all night to spend together.”

Needless to say, Adagio was rather unsure of how to react to all of this. The look Pinkie was giving her right now was a very familiar one, as she’d seen it in her own reflection many times before. But still, the pink-haired girl continued, leaning closer so their faces were barely a few inches from one another now.

“I must say, Adagio, that I truly appreciate being able to spend this time with you. We very rarely get to be so…close.”

At that, Pinkie’s hand started to drift downwards, and before long, Adagio found, to her shock, that the former now rested it upon her own knee, using one finger to gently caress it. Though it would normally be her causing such a retraction, Adagio now found a heat rising through her body, her cheeks becoming more and more red with every passing moment. In addition, she found herself very much at a loss for words during all of this.

“Well…I…Pinkie…I didn’t really expect that…”

But yet again, she was stopped, as Pinkie drew her face ever closer to hers, their lips only a few millimetres from each other now.

“Say…since we’re all alone here…why don’t we put all that whipped cream of mine to some more…special use?”

At that, Adagio’s eyes snapped open with shock, now having absolutely no way to respond to all of this. Instead, she soon began to close her eyes, as the intimacy of the moment began to wash over her. Her and Pinkie’s lips drew closer and closer, looking as if a kiss was imminent. But, before the final contact was made, Adagio was taken aback when Pinkie pulled away, now looking and talking as chipper and upbeat as usual.

“See? I told you I could do it!”

Adagio, now somewhat flummoxed, found herself yet again at a loss for words.


But Pinkie simply giggled before scooting back over to her original spot on the side of the bed.

“I mean, can you imagine me using whipped cream like that? Sheesh, how silly would that be?”

But Adagio was just frozen in one spot, looking to Pinkie with her mouth gaping open. In the silence, Pinkie simply gave herself a stretch before giving a single wave to her guest.

“Well, I’m pooped! Time to catch some sleep. Goodnight, Dagi!”

Before the Siren had a chance to react or say anything to that, she watched as Pinkie leapt up and landed right into her bed, falling asleep the instant her head hit the pillow. As the sound of her comically-loud snoring filled the room, Adagio sat in silence, letting the past few minutes sink in, before finally putting on a look of annoyance and letting out a sigh.

“Yep…not getting any sleep tonight.”

Applejack and Sonata

In the bright sunlight of the afternoon, Sweet Apple Acres was truly a beautiful sight, with its row upon row of fresh apple trees stretching as far as the eye could see. It was a veritable paradise of green when contrasted with the adjacent town of Canterlot, and for it's residents the Apple family, it was, is, and always would be one thing; home. And speaking of the Apple family, one of its more notable members was right there in the orchards right now. Applejack, who, rather unusually, was not hard at work amongst the trees, but rather resting down by the nearby watering hole. Granted, her being Applejack, her work had been finished some time ago, with many full baskets dotting the orchards around her. So, she had afforded herself a well-earned break. At this moment, she was sitting beside that pond, soaking her feet in its waters, with a look of contentment upon her face.

It wasn't so long ago that this pond was the scene of a rather aggressive interaction between her and one of her new friends, but now, she simply chuckled as her mind looked back on that day. In fact, it was that memory that caused her to look as if she'd just remembered something important, as she turned to look in the direction of her home. Letting out a sigh, she pulled her legs out of the water, gave them a quick dry with a nearby towel, before pulling on her boots and making her way back towards the house. It didn't take her that long to get there, but, before she reached for the door, she stopped, having smelt something from a nearby open window. Knowing what it was, a smile crept onto her face, as she finally turned the knob, entering her home. After placing her Stetson to one side, she walked through the halls, eventually coming upon the family kitchen, and it was here that she finally spoke up.

"How are ya doin in here, Nata?"

Sure enough, there she was, Sonata Dusk, who was presently wearing an apron decorated in apples, all while waiting in front of the oven. As soon as she’d heard Applejack's voice, she turned to her, smiling widely.

"It's going great, AJ! It should be ready any minute now!"

Applejack smiled back at that, walking over to the table in the middle of the room, taking a seat and keeping her eyes on her guest. Within only a minute of doing this, Sonata squealed with glee as she began to open the oven. Craning her neck, Applejack saw that the youngest Siren, while wearing proper oven gloves, carefully pulled out what anybody would recognise upon seeing it; an apple pie. The look of it made her stomach grumble, but she remained silent as the blue-haired girl brought it over, placing it upon the table. After this, she put her gloves to one side before taking a seat herself.

"Okay...I think Granny Smith said we're supposed to wait a few minutes before eating it. Let it cool down and stuff."

Applejack nodded, giving a small smile to her guest as she did so.

"It’s mighty fine that ya want ta try this sort of thing out, Nata."

Sonata nodded back before looking up to her host.

"Thanks. I've been trying a whole bunch of new stuff lately, and after I heard Pinkie say how much baking she does...well...I figured I'd give it a go."

A look of understanding crept upon Applejack's face with that.

"Well...ah reckon its just dandy that yer doin so well. A gal should try new stuff. Happy ta hear its going well fer ya. After all, yer putting in a lotta hard work, and ah sure can respect that."

However, for a brief moment, Applejack turned from her, letting out a slight grunt of annoyance.

“More than a certain sister of yers anyway.”

Sonata smiled, having apparently not heard her, and was looking very much appreciative of that.


Turning, the Siren looked up at the nearby clock, and counted the seconds as they rolled by. Applejack too waited patiently, and it wasn't long before Sonata looked as if she was satisfied with the time that had passed. Getting up, she grabbed hold of a nearby knife and, after setting up a small plate, cut the pie and took out a good-sized piece of it. With steam from the pie still rising after the cutting, Sonata placed the thing upon the plate before serving it to Applejack, after which she took a spoon from one of the cutlery draws and handed it to her. Applejack, looking quite appreciative of the gesture, took the spoon from Sonata and, in a very Applejack-like way, simply delved in, taking a big chunk of the pie and lifting it to her face.

"Well...here's ta apple pie!"

Opening her mouth, she took in the pie chunk and began to chew, all while Sonata looked on eagerly. A few moments passed and Applejack really tried to taste the thing, looking around as the flavours worked themselves in her mouth. However, as time passed, the smile she had on before was now starting to fade, as, quite frankly, the pie in her mouth was, perhaps, one of the most bitter things she'd ever tasted, devoid of any of the sweetness she usually associated with the dish. After finally swallowing it, she slowly glanced over to Sonata who, like her, no longer had a smile upon her face.

"You...you don't like it, do you?"

Letting out a sigh, Applejack realised that she couldn't lie to the girl, and so shook her head in confirmation. Naturally, Sonata looked utterly crestfallen at this, taking a seat and looking at her pie with disappointment. Letting out a sigh, Applejack set her spoon to one side before leaning over, placing a hand on Sonata's and gaining her attention.

"Look, sugarcube...ya shouldn’t let this get ya down. Sure, it may not be great now, but these things take time. Ah know ya've done a lot of good stuff lately... but ya can't expect to be great at everything right away."

Sonata looked at her, taking those words in for a few moments, before looking down slightly.

"I...I know. It's just...I was really hoping I could do this well."

At that, Applejack put on a smile.

"Hey there. Ah know ya can do this, Nata. Ya just need practise, that's all. In fact, why don't ah help ya?"

Looking up, Sonata's face broke out into a massive smile.

"You'd do that for me?"

Chuckling at her response, Applejack gave a single nod.

"Sure ah would, friend! What kind of Apple would ah be if ah didn't help someone make the best apple pie they could make?"

Sonata's smile widened at that, and she nodded, agreeing to Applejack's offer. Smiling back at that, the farm girl got up from the table, with Sonata close behind her. The two girls walked over to the side of the kitchen, where a number of cooking materials still lay unused from Sonata’s cooking. After looking them over for a bit, Applejack placed a hand on her hip before turning to her guest.

"Alright then. First things first. How much sugar did ya put in this the first time?"

At that, Sonata looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"Wait...I was supposed to put sugar in this?"

Rarity and Aria

Creativity was a wonderful thing most of the time. It's one of those things that, when used right, can lead people to make fantastic creations, or be inspired to make things better than they were before. For Rarity, creativity had never been much of an issue. Whenever she saw an outfit, she almost always imagined a way in which it could be improved, or made to be more beautiful. While others looked at some mundane everyday item, she saw something that could be used as the basis for something magnificent. That was the real sense one got of this girl when they walked into her private workshop on the Canterlot High grounds. Here, there was row upon row of experimental outfits or designs that had yet to be made, and even now, she was still working, pouring over some new idea in an effort to make it a reality. It was a mood where nothing could bring her down.

"Ugh! This is ridiculous!"

Well, almost nothing. The rather dismissive voice had not come from Rarity, but from a nearby changing room, which was currently locked tight. Given the gruffness and huskiness to it, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that this was the voice of Aria Blaze, the middle Siren sister. Looking up from her desk, Rarity turned to the changing room and simply put on a smile.

"Oh come now, Aria dear. I'm, sure you'll look lovely!"

A silence followed before the girl on the other side finally spoke up again.

"This...this is...argh! Why did I even agree to this?!"

Putting a hand on her hip, a slight smirk appeared on Rarity's face.

"Well, I do believe your sister, Adagio, convinced you to come, since she was going to be busy with Sunset this week."

"Well...this is still a stupid idea! I'm not coming out looking like this!"

Rarity rolled her eyes at that.

"Aria, I spent a lot of time on that dress and I would like to see someone wear it. Now please, I promise I won't laugh or anything of the like, alright?"

A silence fell yet again, and Rarity kept her eyes on the unmoving door, becoming somewhat irritated as the moments passed. However, eventually, the door finally began to slowly creep open, and when it did, Rarity saw the girl on the other side. Stepping out, Aria was indeed wearing an outfit of Rarity's creation. However, unlike many of the costumes and other items she made, this one was somewhat more theatrical. It was the spitting image of the kind of dress that would appear on the cover of fairy tale books featuring princesses. A light blue in colour, it had a distinct puffiness to it, complete with a very wide hip area of the skirt section. As Aria stood there, her expression was one of barely-contained rage, whereas Rarity simply looked at it with stars in her eyes.

"Oh, my dear, you look positively adorable!"

But, after looking down at the dress, Aria looked up at its creator and narrowed her eyes.

"In ancient days I wielded dark magic the likes of which you could not comprehend. I would have laid siege to the castles of those who ever gave me strife. And a gesture, an insult like this, would have compelled me to wipe out villages and burn crops simply to get back some measure of satisfaction for the humiliation dealt to me by the pitiful mortals who had dared to mock me."

Rarity looked at her with a blank expression, looking from her to the dress and then back again, before finally speaking in an uncertain tone.

"So...you don't like it?"

Letting out a long sigh, Aria rolled her eyes somewhat.

"No...I don't like it."

Rarity slumped her shoulders a little bit, letting out a slight huff before moving over to her desk.

"Oh well, back to the drawing board I suppose."

Frowning slightly, Aria looked at the outfit with a great deal of distaste on her face.

"How...how did you even think to make something like...like...this?"

Rarity turned to her and, for a brief moment, a look of nostalgia crossed her.

"Well...a few days ago, Adagio was telling me about the slumber party she and Pinkie had..."

Briefly, she started to look confused.

"Though, for some reason, she wouldn't go into too many details about it, which was odd for her."

Shaking her head, she looked back to Aria.

"Anyway. It got me thinking of the slumber parties I used to have when I was younger, and I remembered one in particular that Applejack was a part of. We got into a little fight of sorts and we ended up daring each other a lot of silly things. Mine was to have her wear something very similar to that dress."

Again, confusion became her expression.

"Not entirely sure where she found it, however. She just popped out one minute and the next, there it was."

Aria looked to her with some incredulity.

"Seriously? Applejack wore something like this?"

Rarity nodded.

"Indeed. Though, if memory serves, she was no happier to wear it than you are."

Aria nodded in response, silently agreeing to the absent farm girl's sentiment in this matter. In the end, she looked back down at the dress she was wearing.

"So you thought you'd just make a new version of something that you already knew your friend didn't like?"

Rarity considered that for a moment.

"Well...I always say that there are no bad dresses, only the wrong people to give them to."

Aria turned to her with a raised eyebrow.

"...You've never said that in your life, have you?"

At that, Rarity turned away with some measure of guilt in her expression.

"Well...no, actually. But still, it's a good thing to say regardless."

Shaking her head, Aria turned around and made her way back into the dressing room, closing the door behind her. Now alone, Rarity looked back to some of the designs on her desk, adding new features and crossing out old ones, all with a look of absolute focus on her face. After a few minutes had passed, she turned as Aria re-emerged, and was once more wearing her usual attire, complete with a slightly torn green vest. Giving herself a stretch, the middle Siren sister began to look very happy with herself.

"Ah! Now this is more like it! More...me."

Rarity stopped for a moment and considered the outfit.

"Yes...your sister told me that you three got them from some store on the edge of town?"

Aria nodded.

"Yep. Most of the stuff they had in there was junk. But we were able to fine at least some decent outfits. Well...aside from Sonata."

Rarity looked away from her with a smile on her face.

"Ah yes. Sonata made hers, didn't she? Fine work too. You should be happy she could do something like that."

Aria paused for a moment, putting her hands into her pockets and avoiding Rarity's gaze.

"Yeah...I guess. She was always happier doing that kinda stuff than me or Adagio were."

Looking back to her, Rarity gained a look that suggested that she had just thought of something.

"Oh, I almost forgot! How much did they charge you for those clothes?"

Aria looked to her and shrugged her shoulders.

"Dunno...we didn't pay."

To that, Rarity leapt out of her chair and looked at Aria with shock.

"You...you stole them?!"

But the Siren merely put her hands on her hips and scoffed.

"No! We just...you know...used our magic to...convince them to let us have it."

Immediately, a deep frown appeared on Rarity's face, as she marched forward, grabbed a hold of Aria's arm and began dragging her to the door, much to the girl's confusion.

"What...what are you doing?!"

Rarity stopped and turned to her, still frowning.

"I can abide attempted take-over plans and using mind-controlling dark magic...but to simply take someone else's clothing creations without even a thank you is something I cannot abide! So what we are going to do, Miss Blaze, is go back to that store so you can apologize for what you and your sisters did!"

At that, Aria's eyes snapped open.

"What?! But...it was ages ago now! They probably don't even remember us!"

Rarity nodded.

"Maybe not, but it's still the right thing to do! You and your sisters may be reformed...somewhat...but you still need to make amends to the people you've wronged or inconvenienced over the years."

To that, Aria frowned.

"In case you haven't noticed...that's a lot of people, Rares."

Slowly, the fashionista put on a small smile.

"Perhaps...but think of it this way. That just means a longer list of good things you three can do!"

Aria, naturally, let her shoulders slump as she let out a sigh of defeat.

"Ugh! Fine! I'll go! But I swear, you girls are going to be the death of me one day!"

Turning, Rarity put on a happier expression as she opened the door of her workshop, taking both herself and Aria outside.

"There, you see! That's the spirit!"

Sunset and Adagio

On most days, Sugar Cube Corner was one of the most pleasant places to be in the town of Canterlot. The kind of place where you'd hang out with your friends or just generally have fun. A large part of why that is was, of course, its owners, the Cakes. Both of them always had a smile on their faces as they tended to their customers, making sure they always had everything they needed, all while loving their work. It was the kind of place that gave Sugar Cube Corner the atmosphere it was so loved for. And yet, today, that atmosphere was somewhat dimmed, as the one at the counter, Mr Cakes today, was feeling just the tiniest bit wary. Now, he would normally not feel this way about any of his customers, but today, he did not have his regular customers. Instead, he looked over to one of the girls sitting in the corner booth; Adagio Dazzle.

For whatever reason, this girl always gave him and his wife a deep chill down their spine. Perhaps it was the way she looked at people, or the way she moved, or maybe it was that whole "trying to take over the world thing" from some time ago. Regardless, the two Cakes always felt unnerved having her around. Fortunately for the both of them, this feeling was greatly tempered by the fact that Adagio was currently sitting beside a customer that they did have a fondness for; Sunset Shimmer. Letting out a sigh, Mr Cakes got back to his work, instead choosing to let the girls just get on with their business. As for the girls in question, Sunset was looking to Adagio with a smile, casually sipping her milkshake, until finally, she spoke to her.

"I've gotta say, Adagio, I'm happy with how you've all been adjusting lately."

Putting down her own drink, Adagio nodded at that.

"Indeed? I must confess, I do find myself enjoying this world far more than when...well..."

Sunset turned to her and raised an eyebrow.

"Than when you were constantly trying to take it over?"

Adagio looked to her with a somewhat annoyed look, before then letting out a sigh and nodding, acknowledging her point. Giggling slightly, Sunset placed a hand upon the elder Siren's shoulder.

"Don't worry about it. It's all in the past now. Besides, I still remember how difficult it was for me when I tried giving up all those take over plans."

The Siren turned to her with that distinct smirk of hers.

"Yes. I must say that I'm always fascinated to hear of you when you were like that, Sunset. Back when my sisters and I first came to the school, we kept on hearing about how much of a "bad girl" you were. But aside from that little confrontation in the hallway we had, all I ever saw was this meek little girl trying to make friends."

Although somewhat irritated by those words, Sunset soon found herself letting out a sigh of her own.

"Well...believe me, I was a far different person than I used to be. Like you, all I could think about was power and getting to the top. I didn't care about who I stepped on to get what I wanted."

Looking away from Adagio, a look of slight shame crossed Sunset's face.

"Who knows what I might have done if I'd actually won against Twilight and the others back then?"

A silence fell between the two girls, during which, Adagio considered her companion. After a few moments, a small smile crept onto her face as she cleared her throat, gaining Sunset's attention.

"Have you ever, you know...considered how things might have been if you had won?"

Sunset turned to her, raising an eyebrow.

"I try not to think about it."

But Adagio merely chuckled at that.

"Oh come now! It might be fun to speculate."

The look on Sunset's face made it clear that she did not approve of that kind of thinking, which simply led to Adagio being even more amused than before.

"You're such a downer at times, Sunset, you do know that?"

Looking away from her, the Siren put on a somewhat ponderous look.

"As for me, I know exactly what my sisters and I would have done. We'd have completely reshaped this world in our own image. Statues of us would be erected everywhere, and wherever we were we'd have thousands of our adoring public calling out our name."

Holding onto herself, Adagio put on an expression that could not be described as anything but aroused.

"Just thinking about all the love that would have come our way...it makes me feel...ooh...tingly."

Looking away with some discomfort, Sunset nervously coughed a little at that.

"Well...it certainly sounds like you would have enjoyed yourselves."

Letting go of herself, Adagio turned to her with another smirk.

"Oh, you know it. As for my sisters, I'm sure they would have amused themselves in their own ways. Aria would probably just bask in everyone's attention. And as for Sonata, she would probably go around with her own personal harem of the best-looking boys of CHS. I swear that girl was never satisfied unless she had at least a dozen boyfriends back in the day. Hearing her giggle when they showered praise on her was always the cutest sound you could ever hear."

Sunset looked to her with some incredulity, after which, she started to look more thoughtful.

"Well...I wouldn't have been concerned with all that. I'd have just usurped my surrogate mother, taken her throne, made everyone bow down to me."

Immediately, shame returned to her expression.

"I really was a terrible person."

Adagio turned to her, seeing the genuine look of sadness upon Sunset's face, and soon afterwards, her own expression began to soften. A pang of guilt was felt in the Siren in this moment, and she let out a sigh, now regretting having brought up this subject in the first place. However, soon afterwards, she looked down at her milkshake, and immediately, a smile returned to her. Reaching down, she picked the glass up, holding it in front of Sunset, gaining her attention.

"Well then...here's to a pair of failed take over plans...and the more peaceful lives they led to."

Sunset was somewhat taken aback by those words, but, one look at Adagio's face made it clear that this was no mockery on her part. After a few moments of silence, Sunset finally broke out into a smile of her own, albeit a small one, and she picked up her own class, carefully clinking it against Adagio's


With that, the two girls downed their milkshakes, letting out a joint sigh as they finished, before placing their glasses down upon the table once more. With that done, Sunset turned to her companion, and for a moment, looked hesitant. It was the look of someone who clearly had something important to say, but did not actually want to say it. But, as is so often the case in times like these, she did.

"Adagio...I have a confession to make."

The Siren turned to her, her interest piqued by those words as Sunset continued.

"As you know, I'm in regular correspondence with Princess Twilight back in Equestria. Normally it's just her and me telling each other about how well things are going here and there. But..."

A look of slight shame crossed Sunset’s face for a moment, before she looked back to Adagio.

"...recently...I've been letting her know about...well...you three."

Adagio was taken aback by that, but, rather than looking insulted or concerned by those words, as Sunset feared, she instead let out a hearty chuckle.

"Oh my, Sunset! Sending spy reports on us? How naughty!"

But Sunset was not amused by that, as evidenced by the frown on her face.

"I think you should take this more seriously, Adagio. I’ve been letting Twilight know about how well you girls have been getting on here, how well you've been mingling with the rest of us. Most of the time, Twilight's responses have been fairly accepting of everything I've told her. But her last message was...different."

At that, Adagio stopped smiling, looking to Sunset with a raised eyebrow.

"Different how exactly?"

Sunset looked away before continuing.

"Well...she said...she was going to come here...in person...to speak with all of you. She wouldn't say why, only that it was important."

Looking to her, Adagio started to frown.

"So...it's finally happening."

Sunset turned to Adagio with confusion, prompting the latter to start explaining herself.

"Isn't it obvious? Your precious Twilight has been reading your reports and deciding what she wants to do with us. Now she's coming to make her judgment known."

But Sunset shook her head at that, looking aghast at the idea.

"What?! No! I'm sure that's not what's happening!"

Adagio rolled her eyes.

"Oh please, Sunset! Think about it! My sisters committed grave crimes, not only in this world, but in Equestria's distant past! We may have been doing our best to fit in here, but, as a princess, Twilight will be duty-bound to...deal with us."

Sunset looked away, still shaking her head.

"No...that can't be the reason. I kept telling her than everything's fine with you. She wouldn't try and...and punish you! Not after everything's been going to well! I mean…she let me have a second chance in this world, so why not you three?"

Adagio let out a sigh.

"Well...we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? When is she coming?"

Sunset turned to her and gave a quick shrug of her shoulders.

"A few days. A week at most. She has other stuff in Equestria to deal with...but once she's free...she'll be coming."

Hearing that, Adagio nodded grimly.

"I see. Well...I guess my sisters and I have that long to enjoy our time in this world."

Sunset looked to her companion, and was now saddened that the pleasant mood this meeting had started out with was now well and truly dashed. Adagio, sitting in silence for a few moments, looked down at her empty milkshake glass, before then picking it up and standing up from her chair. Looking to her, Sunset watched as the elder Siren began to make her way towards the front desk. But, before she even got halfway there, she stopped, turning to Sunset and pausing for a few moments. After a while, she spoke, in a tone and expression far softer than she was usually known for having.

"For what it's worth...the time my sisters and I have spent with you...it's been...good."

Taken aback by that, Sunset, for the first time since interacting with these three ancient girls, had nothing to say in response.

Fluttershy and Sonata

As was so often the case when Fluttershy’s home was concerned, everything was as calm and peaceful as a dream. Being so far away from the main area of the town of Canterlot, scarcely a single sound could be heard, save for the tweets of birds, the rustling of trees as the wind blew by, or even the splash of the pond out front as some fish jumped from it. Indeed, this place was about as far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday modern life as one could ever hope to get, and for Fluttershy, that suited her quite well. However, right now, she was not in her beloved cottage, but rather, further into the green and pleasant woodland it sat by. There, she was sitting on a log, which itself was situated by a small stream, looking at everything around her with a smile upon her face. But, she was not alone here today, for there, sitting beside her, was none other than Sonata, the youngest Siren sister.

The blue-haired girl looked to her host with a degree of nervousness upon her face, though remained silent as Fluttershy appeared deep in thought. Then, the latter raised a hand, bringing it to her throat as she let out a small cough, clearing it somewhat. With that done, Sonata watched as the other girl took in a deep breath, after which she began to let out a low hum. Soon enough, however, that hum evolved into a louder outright song, though it was largely just the sound of her voice, rather than any real lyrics. It was a beautiful thing to hear, and from the look on Sonata’s face, it was clear that she was enjoying listening to it. The song went on for some time, with Fluttershy still smiling all the way, until, at last, she brought it to a close. Slowly, she turned to Sonata, who was still beaming at her, and blushed slightly at the attention. As for Sonata herself, she was far more enthusiastic about this.

“Wow, Fluttershy! That was…beautiful!”

Taking a strand of her own hair, Fluttershy twirled it in her fingers while keeping her gaze away from Sonata.

“Thank you, Nata. It wasn’t so long ago that I was actually afraid of singing in front of others. If it wasn’t for my friends, Rainbow and the others, I’d still be keeping my songs to myself.”

Sonata nodded at that, though was clearly taken aback by it.

“Good thing they helped you. A voice like that should be heard, not locked away!”

Turning to her at last, Fluttershy put on a small smile of her own.

“Thank you.”

But, it wasn’t long after that when Fluttershy’s expression became one of concern, as if she was worried about what it was that she was going to say next.

“Um…are…are you okay? With singing, I mean?”

Immediately, Sonata’s smile faded, and instead, she looked away, raising a hand and holding it up to her bare throat. Fluttershy looked at that spot, the place where her magical amulet had once been, and could feel the discomfort going through the girl. One look at her face told her everything she needed to know, that singing had been a big part of her life. It wasn’t just for power, like it might have been for Adagio or Aria back in the day. No, for Sonata, singing was far more than that. It was something she loved, something she considered and important part of her life. And as such, Fluttershy couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt at having had a hand in taking that away from her. As for Sonata, after a long silence, she let out a sigh.

“I’ve…I’ve been trying to get back to how I used to be. Back to the kind of singing I could do…before.”

Looking down at the ground, she shook her head a little, after which she looked up to Fluttershy.

“But…I just can’t do it. Every time I try…the words and the sounds…they’re all wrong. Like…like I was never meant to sing at all!”

Seeing the despondent look on her face, Fluttershy scooted over on the log, gently placing a hand upon her guest’s shoulder.

“There there. I’m sure everything will be alright.”

Sonata looked at her with an uncharacteristic amount of incredulity.

“How? You never needed the help of magic to make your voice sound beautiful. But me, and my sisters…ever since we came to this world, our amulets were our voices. It wasn’t like back in Equestria where they were a part of us. Sending us to this place…it separated our voices, made it something outside of us. Something…that could be broken.”

Looking away, Sonata’s expression was one of sadness.

“And now…it is broken. And I…I can’t fix it.”

To say that Fluttershy was unhappy seeing the girl like this would have been a great understatement. If Fluttershy had one great strength, it was that she truly felt for others. Be it animal or human, if she saw that someone was hurting, she wanted to help, just like how Pinkie always wanted to put a smile on everyone’s faces. Slowly, Fluttershy thought about something, though was hesitant to bring it up. Burt, in the end, she cleared her throat, getting Sonata’s attention. After a while, the pink-haired girl put on another small smile before speaking sweetly to her.

“You know…I could help you…if you like.”

Sonata seemed taken aback by that offer, prompting Fluttershy to continue.

“It’s just…well…I’ve been doing a lot of singing in my spare time and…er…I’d like to help you…if you’re willing.”

But Sonata just sat there, seeming very unsure about all this.

“I…I don’t know if you can help me.”

But Fluttershy shook her head at that.

“Oh, I’m sure we can do something. In fact…why don’t you try a little singing right now?

Sonata’s head snapped in her direction, looking, of all things, nervous. But Fluttershy was unconcerned with this.

“There’s no need to worry. I promise you I won’t make fun or judge.”

Sonata considered that, poking her index fingers against each other for a few moments, before finally letting out a sigh, her shoulders slumping as if in defeat. Getting up from the log, she cleared her throat, much like Fluttershy had done before, opened her mouth, and then started to belt out a tune. Immediately, Fluttershy could hear what the other girl had been worried about. From the sound of it, it seemed like she was trying to replicate that same chorus tune that she and the other Dazzlings had used when they were together, the one that started off that big song in the cafeteria. But, much like Sonata had warned her, the notes were all wrong, and the music sounded broken. So bad was the singing, that a pair of birds that had been watching from the nearby tree branches actually flew away in fear of it. Eventually, Sonata stopped, and looked down to Fluttershy, nervously waiting for her verdict. The latter opened her mouth trying to think of something nice to say, only to close it again and look away, leading to a despondent look from Sonata.

“You think it’s bad, don’t you?”

The way Fluttershy avoided her gaze told her everything she needed, and so she sat back down on the log, burying her face in her hands. In time, Fluttershy turned to look at her once more, and, seeing this saddened state she was in, let out a sigh before putting her hand on her back.

“Sonata…I think…I think what you need to realize is that, your voice…it’s the voice of a singer who isn’t bad, just…out of practise.”

The blue girl turned to her, clear confusion upon her face.

“But…we’ve been singing for centuries!

Fluttershy nodded.

“I know…but when you came to this world, those voices weren’t yours anymore. They were the voices cause by all that mean magic. It was fake…made up. Your real voices, the ones you were left with…they were ignored, left to wither, so now…”

Sonata turned, placing a hand on her throat again.

“…and now they sound terrible.”

Fluttershy, unable to lie to the girl, simply gave a nod, though nevertheless kept smiling.

“Sonata…can I tell you a secret?”

The Siren looked to her and gave a single nod, prompting her to continue.

“I used to be bad at singing myself once.”

Sonata looked at her as if she’d just said the most ridiculous thing in the world.

“But…your singing! It’s so…”

Nodding, Fluttershy spoke up before her friends could finish.

“I know. But I wasn’t born with that voice, Sonata. It took time. Like Rarity with her dress making, or Rainbow with her sports. Nobody ever starts out as brilliant. It takes…practise. And I did practise, a lot. I was alone for a lot of it, never wanting others to see me, but in the end, I worked on my singing so much that…well…it’s what you hear today.”

Sonata looked away from her, still seeming unsure about all of this.

“I know I can practise…but…you remember how good I used to sing. How good we all used to sing. My sisters and me…our voices were so…beautiful. I’ll…I’ll never be that good again.”

Fluttershy considered that for a moment, giving a small nod in response.

“Maybe not. But, given time, I’m sure you can be good in your own right, and this time, with your own voice. Wouldn’t that be better? Wouldn’t you be happier knowing that the beautiful song coming out of you was yours, and not…not from a magic necklace?”

Sonata looked to her, and for a moment, looked as if she was thinking the matter over carefully. In the end, she let out a sigh, nodding in response.

“Yeah…I guess I would.”

Smiling at that, Fluttershy got up from the log, turned to her friend and offered a hand.

“In that case…let me help you. We can start right here…if you want.”

Sonata looked at the offered hand, and remained nervous about all this. But, one look at Fluttershy’s face, at the sincerity of her expression, and the Siren knew, in her heart, that this girl was going to do everything in her power to give the help that she’d promised to give. So, after a while, the blue girl smiled, taking Fluttershy’s hand and standing up alongside her. With both girls smiling at each other, Sonata, to Fluttershy’s surprise, moved closer and took her in a hug. Although taken aback by that, Fluttershy soon returned the embrace, and a few moments later, they parted. In the silence that followed, Sonata looked around before glancing back to her friend and shrugging her shoulders.

“So…what do we do first?”

Smiling at that, Fluttershy answered.

“Try and hum a note. Just…don’t try and make it loud and big like you did before. Start off small.”

Sonata nodded, and after clearing her throat again, did exactly as she was told, humming a low and quiet note. However, despite not being as forced as her earlier attempts at singing, the sound didn’t sound any more in-tune than it was the first time, and after a few moments of it, Sonata stopped, looking disappointed in herself. But, looking to Fluttershy, she saw that she looked to her with an encouraging expression.

“It’s just day one, Sonata. And you have many more to come.”

Rainbow and Aria

Although the last bell of the school day had long since been rung, many of Canterlot High’s students still lingered about the place, staying in their various groups and just hanging out with each other, at least until it got darker. One among them, Rainbow Dash, had herself finished everything she needed to for the day, and so, after having bid her friends farewell, began to make her way down the steps of the school and away from the place, giving a wave goodbye to those who saw her go. However, it was not to her home that Rainbow was heading off to right now, but rather deeper into the town. While many of the shops and venues were starting to close up for the day, there was nevertheless one place that remained open, and it was here that Rainbow was walking towards in earnest; the town’s local gymnasium. It was a small place, and from the looks of it didn’t seem to have many regulars going to it

Although an active member of every sports team in the school, Rainbow nevertheless took her fitness seriously even outside of school hours, hence her being here. Having entered the building, she was greeted by the gym’s front desk worker, a boy just a few years her senior, who recognised her immediately, giving a nod and a smile. Nodding back, Rainbow moved past the desk and into the gym proper, carrying a duffel bag upon her shoulder. Once in, she smiled at all the available equipment here to use, from dumbbells to treadmills and everything in-between. However, before getting herself ready, she noticed that, for once, she was not alone here, for there, standing before a hanging punching bag in the corner of the room, was Aria. Raising an eyebrow, Rainbow looked quite curious to see her here, especially after the other girl started pounding on the bag in question, a look of frustration upon her face.

As Rainbow drew closer, she noticed for the first time that Aria was not wearing her usual attire, but rather something more in-keeping with her surroundings. The middle Siren sister was clad in a pair of green shorts, white-and-black sneakers, and had a white sleeveless shirt. Also, perhaps in readiness for a long period of punching, Aria had tied bandages around her hands, giving her an overall fairly dangerous appearance. Once she was close enough, Rainbow cleared her throat, gaining Aria’s attention.

“Er…hey, what’s up?”

Aria raised an eyebrow before answering back.

“Hey there, Dash. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Rainbow chuckled a little before folding her arms.

“I could say the same thing about you.”

Aria rolled her eyes a little before looking back to the bag, punching it a few times before replying to that.

“Yeah, well…I kinda felt like hitting something tonight.”

Standing where she was, Rainbow watched the girl as she continued to land blow after blow to the bag. After a while of this long silence, a small smile crept onto the girl’s face.

“Want some help?”

To that, Aria shrugged her shoulders, though never took her eyes off the bag.

“Knock yourself out.”

Nodding at that, Rainbow dropped her duffel bag on the floor before taking position on the opposite side of the punching bag to where Aria was. Once there, she held her hands against the thing, steadying it, after which she looked over to the Siren and gave a nod. Nodding back, Aria resumed her many blows, and Rainbow could feel that she was putting her all into each one, given how much she had to work to keep the bag in one place. As Aria landed hit after hit against the thing, Rainbow finally spoke up.

“So…what’s eating you this time?”

Scoffing at that, Aria kept up her punches as she answered.

“You heard what happened last time I went to see Rarity?”

Rainbow nodded, prompting Aria to continue.

“Well, guess what? After I was made to own up to what my sisters and I did, taking our clothes and stuff, the shopkeeper generously decided not to call the police, and instead…offered me a job.”

To that, Rainbow raised an eyebrow.

“A job? You’re working for her now?”

Aria nodded.

“Yeah. Except I’ve gotta work at least until I’ve paid off the outfits we stole. Never mind that all three of us took part in that, because apparently the idea of having Adagio or Sonata help out never even occurred to the woman!”

With that, Aria delivered a particularly fierce blow to the bag, to the point where Rainbow honestly felt like she’d be knocked back from it. But, she kept her ground, though with a look of slight nervousness as she did so.

“So…I’m guessing your job is…erm…frustrating you?”

Aria stopped for a moment, looking to Rainbow with a hand on her hip.

“What do you think? It was meant as a punishment. Of course I don’t like it! And it doesn’t help that the old battle-axe I work for keeps reminding me every day about what my sisters and me did to her. I mean, sure, we basically brainwashed her to do what we wanted, but we weren’t hurting anyone!”

Looking back to the bag, Aria frowned again, before giving another swift punch.

“I swear, you humans are all so…ugh! I don’t even know what to think of you anymore!”

But, this time, Rainbow looked to her with a frown of her own.

“You know…staying all bitter and stuff isn’t going to help you, Aria. I know that, to you, all this stuff that’s happened kinda sucks, but you never know, you might eventually like the life you have now.”

Looking back to her, Aria gained a look of genuine amusement.

Like? Ha! That'll be the day! Living like a human has been one of the most tedious and annoying things I’ve ever done! You have to do everything yourself! You’ve got no magic to make life easier! And worst of all, everyone’s always on your case!”

Keeping her eyes on the bag, Aria narrowed them fiercely.

“I just don’t get how you guys can stand to live like this all the time! And I’ve been in this world for centuries you know, and I still don’t get it!”

However, rather than looking perhaps offended by those words, Rainbow instead let out a hearty laugh, much to Aria’s confusion.

“You can be so melodramatic sometimes, Aria! You’re thinking about this all wrong!”

To that, Aria raised an eyebrow.

“Oh? And how, exactly am I seeing things wrong?”

Hearing that question, Rainbow considered the girl for a moment, thinking hard on how to give an answer that would satisfy her, and as she did so, she let go of the bag, walking around it so she was facing Aria in earnest. After a few more moments of silence between the two girls, Rainbow got herself a “lightbulb” look, snapping her fingers before speaking up with a smile.

“Think of it like this. You’ve spent your time after we beat you thinking that everything sucks, right?”

Aria nodded.

“Yeah…because it does!

But Rainbow waved a hand.

“But that’s just it! It doesn't suck!”

Hearing that, Aria raised a hand, slapping her forehead in frustration.

“Ugh! You’re not going to go philosophical or something on me, are you?”

To that, Rainbow frowned.


After which, she looked ponderous for a moment.

“Well…maybe a little.”

And then she shook her head.

“Look, the point is this. What you think of as a bad life is actually not. Sure, you don’t have magic anymore, and yeah, you won’t be able to make people do what you want with your songs and stuff. But, when you think about it, that’s probably the best thing that could’ve happened to you.”

To that, Aria raised her eyebrow once more.

“Oh, this is gonna be rich!”

Ignoring her, Rainbow began to explain herself.

“Look, before this all happened, you and your sisters were just barely scraping by. The energy you got was never enough to satisfy you, and the stuff you did get, that was just used to fuel your voices and stuff. You were always going from place to place, never settling down or really doing anything besides doing the same thing over and over again. You know, one of those, er, cycle things.”

Considering that, Aria looked away for a moment

“…It did get kinda boring after a while, I’ll admit that.”

Seeing her, Rainbow smiled.

“But now…things are different. You may think of all this as a bad life, but the truth is…you should look at this as you actually having a life!”

Turning to her again, Aria’s curiosity had been piqued, prompting Rainbow to continue.

“You and your sisters…you’re doing all these things you never would have done before. You’re trying new things, you’re making friends. Heck, you’ve even got a job now! Granted it’s not one that you like exactly, but still, would you have ever thought you’d do something like that before?”

Putting her hands on her hips, Aria frowned again.

“No, and there’s a pretty good reason for that, Dash.”

Coughing a little, Rainbow continued.

“The point is…you keep going on about how your life is ruined and stuff. But actually…what’s happened is that you now have opportunities. You’re not obsessing over power because of all that dark magic and stuff, you’re not living without a home anymore, you’re not…you’re not alone anymore.”

With those words spoken, a silence fell between the two girls. Aria stared at Rainbow, clearly thinking over everything that had been said to her, while Rainbow, by contrast, looked back to Aria, very much concerned that her words might not actually cheer her up. After a while, Aria looked away from her companion, letting out a deep sigh, after which, she finally spoke up again.

“That…that all sounds like the cheesiest after-school special moral message I have ever heard!”

Hearing that, Rainbow thought on that for a moment, after which she scratched the back of her head and let out another laugh.

“Yeah…guess Twilight kinda rubbed off on me a bit.”

Looking back to Rainbow, Aria paused for a moment, after which, her expression, just for a moment, actually softened down somewhat.

“But…you did try and make me feel better, so…thanks…I guess.”

To that, Rainbow looked to her, quite taken aback that an actual thank you had come out of that girl. But, in the end, she cracked a smile, offering her hand. Looking at it, Aria was hesitant for a moment, after which she put on a smile of her own and took the hand, shaking it. When they let go of each other, Rainbow turned back to the bag and gestured to it with her thumb.

“So…feel like giving this guy a few more hits?”

Rolling her eyes, Aria chuckled a little before getting back into position.

Please! I’m always ready to hit something!”

Rainbooms and Dazzlings

Although there were many places on the grounds of Canterlot High that could rightfully be said to have special meaning for the Rainbooms, by far the most important was the music room. This place, which serves as their unofficial headquarters within the school, was not only the place where they practised their music and singing, but also a place where they generally came to spend time with one another. On any other day, being here would bring the pleasant feelings of being surrounded by one’s friends. But today was not like any other day. Instead, both the Rainbooms and the Dazzlings sat in various places around the room, looking a combination of nervous, uncomfortable and, to some extent, excited at the same time. However, that excitement was felt mostly by Pinkie, who, as usual, just felt excited about everything. As for everyone else, today was something they’d been both looking forward to and dreading in equal measure.

On one side of the room was the Rainbooms; Sunset, Rainbow, Pinkie, Applejack, Fluttershy and Rarity. And on the other side were the Siren sisters themselves, the Dazzlings; Adagio, Aria and Sonata. All three of the Equestrian exiles sat together, with Sonata especially seeming almost afraid of what was going to be happening. For today was the day that the Rainbooms would once more see their final member; Princess Twilight Sparkle. She had sent word some time ago about her arrival here, and now it was simply a matter of waiting, which, for the Sirens, proved rather discomforting, with Aria in particular taping her foot in frustration as the nearby clock on the wall did its usual “tick-tock” sounds. However, after a long and awkward silence between them all, it happened, as the door of the music room opened, leading to the Rainbooms looking to it with smiles.

“Twilight!” they all called out.

Sure enough, there she was, Twilight herself, wearing a backpack, entering the room with some trepidation, though broke out into an affectionate smile as she saw her human friends. Giving them a small wave, she opened her mouth to speak, only to be stopped as Pinkie rushed forward, holding her tightly in a hug. Although taken aback by this, Twilight soon composed herself, resuming her smile and returning the embrace, which soon led to each of the other girls walking over and joining in. In the end, there was a massive group hug, which the Dazzlings looked at with varying reactions, from Sonata’s cheeriness to Aria’s dismissiveness. In the end, as the girls finally let go of Twilight, the young princess brushed herself off before finally speaking up to them.

“It’s good to see you too, girls. I’m sorry it’s been such a long time, but…”

But she was prevented from continuing as Sunset raised a hand, stopping her.

“There’s no need to apologise, Twilight. We know you’ve got a lot on your plate back home. It’s just good to see you at all.”

Twilight looked to her former rival, smiling sweetly at her.


However, her expression became a more dour one as she let out a sigh.

“I just wish…I wish my visit wasn’t for…official reasons.”

And with those words, all of the smiles vanished from her friends, even Pinkie, as they slowly turned around, looking upon the three Sirens, who had each been sitting quietly during all of this. Now looking up, Twilight gazed upon her three ex-enemies for the first time today, taking a few steps towards them. Seeing this, Adagio got up from her chair, followed shortly afterwards by her two sisters. The three walked closer to Twilight, stopping a few short steps from her, with Adagio placing a hand on her hip as she looked the young princess over.

“Princess Twilight. It’s…been a while.”

Twilight nodded.

“Yeah…it has.”

The silence between them was incredibly uncomfortable at this point, and Aria and Sonata looked to each other behind Adagio. Shortly afterwards, the Siren leader let out a sigh of her own before speaking.

“Well…as much as I enjoy this unnatural quiet, I believe you had business to attend to with us?”

Although Twilight paused for a time, she eventually nodded. But, before anyone could say anything, Sonata rushed forward, dropping to her knees and grabbing onto Twilight’s skirt. Although shocked by this behaviour, Twilight looked down as the blue girl looked up at her with near-tears in her eyes.

“Oh, please don’t punish us, princess! We’ve all been trying really hard to fit in and…and…and…we’re really sorry for everything we did and…!”

But, Sonata was interrupted, as Aria stepped forward, grabbed onto both of her arms, and hoisted her up to her feet.

“Sonata! For the love of…have some dignity, will you!”

Turning to her youngest sister, Adagio folded her arms and nodded.

“Indeed, sister. We may be facing our end here today, but that’s no excuse to meet it with anything less than composure!”

But Twilight, glancing at all three of them, took on a look of pure confusion.

“Facing your…what are you talking about?”

At that, all of the other girls, Dazzlings and Rainbooms together, stopped, and looked to each other. It was clear from looking that all of them were taken aback by Twilight’s comment, as if she had no idea what was going through their heads right now. Adagio, never taking her eyes off the young royal, raised an eyebrow.

“Why…isn’t it obvious, my dear? After everything my siblings and I have done…you’re here to…end us, aren’t you?”

But, after hearing that, Twilight’s eyes widened with shock, and she shook her head frantically.

“Wha…NO!!! I’m not here for that!”

The three Sirens glanced at one another, before Adagio then took a step forward, frowning slightly as she did so.

“In that case…what are you here for?”

Twilight paused again, and looked over her shoulder, seeing the looks on each of her friends. It was obvious that they were just as curious about all of this as the Dazzlings were, and so it wasn’t long before Twilight let out a sigh. Taking her backpack off, she placed it upon the ground, opened it up and then began to rummage around inside it. All of the others looked on with curiosity, only to then regain looks of confusion as she took out what appeared to be a scroll of some sort. Standing up, she held it carefully in her hand and kept her eyes upon it as she resumed speaking.

“After reading all of the reports that Sunset sent me about you…I got to thinking. I am a princess of friendship, and that means that I believe that anyone, and I mean anyone, can be friends. Given all the good things I heard you’d been doing…I started talking to Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and my sister-in-law, Cadence. All four of us got together and…well…”

Slowly, the princess stretched out her hand, offering the scroll to Adagio. Although hesitant, curiosity eventually won out, and the eldest Siren took the scroll from her, unrolling it before starting to read its contents. Aria and Sonata looked over her shoulder to get a better look, and all of the other girls stood closer to Twilight, looking from her to the Sirens and then back again. After a while, and for reasons the Rainbooms couldn’t understand, the Sirens gained looks of utter shock. They looked to each other, hoping that one of them would have something to say. But, in the end, it was Adagio who finally spoke, albeit in a hushed tone.

“Is this…is this a joke?”

But Twilight shook her head.

“It isn’t. Every word is true.”

Seeing the disbelieving look on Adagio’s face, Sunset took a step closer before speaking.

“What…what does it say?”

Adagio looked to her for a moment before, hesitantly, starting to read the scroll out loud.

“It is the official decree of the four princesses of Equestria, that the Siren sisters, Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk…are hereby…hereby pardoned of their crimes against the peoples of Equestria. With immediate effect, they are to return to Equestria…if that is their desire.”

Silence fell upon the room, and the Rainbooms stood there with their mouths hanging open, utterly dumbfounded as to what they’d just heard. In the end, all of them looked to Twilight, and soon enough, it was Sonata who spoke next, almost whispering her words.

“We…we can go home?”

Twilight put on a small smile as she nodded.

“If you really have become better people, as Sunset tells me you have…then yes.”

For a moment, she looked away, a look of regret crossing her face.

“Being unable to make you into friends of others…it was something Starswirl always considered his greatest failure. He said as much in his ancient journals. He’d always hoped that, one day…you could return…having accepted friendship into your hearts.”

Slowly, she looked back to them.

“If that really is who you are now, and I truly hope it is…then your exile has come to an end.”

To say that the Sirens looked shocked at this would have been a great understatement, as Adagio let her arm drop for a moment, the parchment falling from her grip and onto the floor. The other two looked to each other, sharing looks of confusion, concern, perhaps even a little joy, though the latter seemed very much muted.

“Home,” Aria muttered.

“Equestria,” Sonata added.

“After all this time…it’s over?” Adagio finished.

The Rainbooms kept their eyes on them, and many in their number had smiles upon their faces, all silently happy for the ones they had managed to become friends with over the last few months. However, to their confusion, they found that happiness was not the expression that the Dazzlings themselves wore. They were, if anything, conflicted in their expressions. Slowly, the three girls turned to each other, and silently looked into each other’s eyes. Although none of the other girls could hear any words, they knew that, between the sisters, a great deal was probably being said with just a few looks. After some time had passed, the three Sirens turned to Twilight, and after clearing her throat, Adagio finally spoke.

“Princess…Twilight…on behalf of my sisters and I…we just want to say…thank you. This is…this is something we’ve wanted for…a very long time now.”

At long last, Twilight broke into a smile.

“You’re…you’re welcome. I’m happy I could do this for you.”

Immediately afterwards, Twilight took on a look of curiosity.

“I’m wondering…what are you three going to do when you get back home?”

However, to Twilight’s confusion, she saw the girls look to each other, exchanging unsure glances, before Adagio started speaking up again.

“Yes…about that…”

Tilting her head a little, Twilight looked to her former rivals with uncertainty, as indeed did the other Rainbooms. Each of them had been expecting the three girls to be leaping for joy over what they’d been told here. To see them like this, so unsure, was actually quite a shock. But, after a long silence, Sonata began to speak.

“Well…um…I would love to go home…I mean…it’d be the best thing that’s happened to us in, like, forever.”

Afterwards, she held onto her arm a little, seeming somewhat demure on her overall look.

“But…you know…I’ve still gotta whole lot of stuff here to do. There’s my singing practise with Fluttershy, Rarity’s still helping me to learn sewing and stuff, Applejack and Pinkie still need to teach me how to bake, I've still got some essays that Sunset is helping me with, and…well…I’ve kinda agreed to help the swim team out in this contest next week so…”

She looked away, as if unable to look Twilight in the eyes. As for the latter, her confusion grew, but it wasn’t long before she turned to Aria, who spoke next, folding her arms as she did so.

“Yeah…I still hate this place…but…I did kinda promise to keep working for this old lady. It’s just, ya know…this debt I’ve gotta work off and stuff…not that I like it or anything!”

Looking to her two sisters, Adagio let out a sigh before rolling her eyes and adding her own voice to the mix.

“Well, if you must know…I suppose…I’ve grown rather…accustomed to this world. I mean, I obviously hold us Sirens as better, naturally. But…”

In the silence that followed, Adagio looked to each of the Rainbooms in turn, from Rarity, to Rainbow, then Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and then finally Sunset, before looking to Twilight and putting on her infamous smirk.

“…but…I suppose some humans have, shall we say…endeared themselves to me.”

Twilight turned, looking to her friends, all of whom were smiling at what the Dazzlings had each said. At the end of it, the young princess turned to Sunset, who gave her both a smile and a nod. Looking back to the Sirens, Twilight paused for a few moments, after which she broke out into a small smile of her own.

“Well…I appreciate that you may not want to go back just yet. But…”

Taking a step closer, Twilight raised a hand and offered it to Adagio.

“…if ever you want to come back, even if it’s just for a visit…our door is always open.”

Adagio looked to the hand, and there was some hesitation in her eyes. However, after a few seconds of silence, she cracked a smile, reaching forward and shaking the hand back. After smiling at each other over this, the two girls parted, and soon afterwards, both groups came together, resulting in an uproar of chatter as everyone began talking to everyone else. Looking at it all, Adagio felt the tension of the past wait begin to lift, and it wasn’t long before she spotted Sunset approaching her from amidst the crowd. When she finally reached the Siren, standing beside Twilight as she did so, the fellow exile folded her arms and put on a smirk of her own.

“I appreciate what you all said, Adagio. In the past, when we first met, I never would have ever thought to say this, but…I’m glad you’re staying.”

Adagio nodded at that, and soon, Sunset let out a chuckle, catching Twilight’s attention.

“I’ve gotta admit, I’m actually surprised you three are as adamant as you are about staying.”

Turning to Face Adagio herself, Twilight nodded at that.

“Me too.”

Adagio considered that for a moment, turning to look upon not only her own sisters, but all of the other girls of the Rainbooms, seeing them all talk to each other in such casual ways. Looking back to Twilight, she raised an eyebrow.

“Well…you shouldn’t be too surprised, princess. After all…”

Slowly, the eldest Sirens sister turned to look at Sunset, and, for the first time since starting to spend time with them, put on a look of genuine affection.

“…we are all friends here, aren’t we?”

Author's Notes:

Well guys, here it is, the final chapter. I've had a great time writing it all and I hope you all had a wonderful time reading it :)

Return to Story Description


Login with