As many of you have noticed, I have been gone lately. Well, (in backwards order) I have been all over the US for vacation recently, been working,had finals, and just generally not had much time to be on. However, I am coming back with a boom with a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic-based story with my interpretation of Equestria and a pony version of my life. Nifty, huh? This is my way of figuring out how everyday life would be for some ponies, not just the special ones like the Elements of Harmony. This loosely-timelined series will all be set in one universe, and will involve my ponysona. This will also be an exercise in portraying myself in a less idealized light, as everyone loves thinking much of themselves. (also, not all pony mane/body color combinations will be flattering. XD) Fillies and Colts Weekend “Seriously!? Just to get cotton candy for free I have to drag Placement to campus?” Dilettante Rodentia complained to her parents, fiddling with her medium electric blue hooves aimlessly. “It’s not ‘free’ Dilly,” Drama Stitch, Dilly’s burgundy unicorn mother emphasized, tapping a hoof on the dinner table. “We’re the ones paying for your train pass, we’re the ones helping you pay for college, and you can help us out by taking your little sister out to a nice weekend to see what her big sister does all week. You don’t even have to pay for her ticket.” “You know how much I hate little children, Mom. Do you really think I could handle an entire day of them?!” “Dilly…” the older hunter green earth pony’s voice was toned with disapproval, his slick black mane threatening to fall in front of his face as he leaned forward. Flask O’ Numbers hated it greatly whenever his elder daughter brought that up, especially at the dinner table. “But it’s true…” The young dark magenta filly in question, Perfect Placement, just poked her leftovers with her fork in her grey magic aura while ‘the big ponies’ fought over who would take her, the honey-maned unicorn to Baltimare University, where her older sister commuted every day. “Mom?” Perfect Placement piped up. “Yes?” “What if the college kids say bad words?” “Just ignore them, sweetie. Yelling at them for it will just make them say more.” Dilettante internally groaned. Here was Perfect, just trying to show her up again. Geez, they were six years apart! Find somepony else with whom to compete. The dark brown ponytailed unicorn started picking up the dishes in her brown aura and placing them in the water filled sink for soaking. They would need to be washed before bed. “…and I’ve got to finish that cost report before tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll be going back to the office. I’ll be back around nine, Stitchy.” Dilly heard her father saying, her eyes flicking across his lab flask cutie mark to her mother’s stitched comedy mask. After a nuzzle in his wife’s grey-streaked, rich purple mane, he trotted out of front door and headed to work. Bumping in the wooden dining room table chairs with her book-seated gerbil-adorned flank, Dilettante got an idea. “Mom!” Dilly called upstairs as she heard her mother climbing up, “Is it okay if I hang with Teach and Dig if I bring her?” ~@~ One of the first rules Dilettante’s parents told her to follow on her very first day of class in her very first semester was never to sleep in public, especially on a train. She ditched that rule almost immediately, as she had to be on the train leaving Hoofington by six in the morning in order to be punctual for her first class of the day. Yeah, she slept, both in the student lounge she frequented and in the train car. That’s the only way she could really make up sleep, and the train whistle always woke her up. Not with Placement around, though. Tattling brat. At least she didn’t have class today. Her saddlebags were darn heavy enough without ‘little sis’ asking to bring tossing discs and stuff along. The sisters sat in silence for a while, until Perfect broke it just as Dilettante flipped her bangs over her eyes to catch a few moments of darkness. “What are we going to do?” “Get cotton candy, Dig Deep and Teachy Fish, go home.” She replied, sleepily, not bothering with full sentences. The nice vibration of the softly lit train cars did not help. “What?! I don’t want to go home that early!” exclaimed Perfect Placement, tapping the flyer with a hoof. “See? There’s going to be more than cotton candy! There will be a petting zoo, a race, coloring contests, water games…” Celestia, that filly could go on. All Dilly wanted to do was – “Dilly!” Perfect snapped, clapping her hooves in front of her sister’s face. “You paying attention to me?” “Shut up, Placement,” said an irritated unicorn, “Some ponies want to rest.” “You’re not supposed to say that to me, Dilettante Rodentia!” the younger filly sing-songed, tauntingly, trilling on the ‘Rodentia’. “I’m going to tell mom when we get home!” Of course, she would tell, and Dilly would be the one getting yelled at. Eleven year olds. Old enough to have some sense, young enough to be annoying. Ergh. ~@~ “Okay, we’re at the student union.” Perfect Placement stated, looking intently with her grey eyes at the map between her hooves. “To get to the introduction games, we have to get to the Math-Science building front lawn.” “Math-Science? That’s easy,” Dilly stated, pointing to her left at the angular concrete building to the right of the union. “Teach and Dig even have dorms close to there. They’ll probably meet up with us there in a few minutes before the games begin.” “Sure thing, sis!” Placement called trotting over to the lawn where a group of older ponies and their siblings were starting to gather. With no younger partner were Dilettante’s two friends: Teachy Fish (a pegasus) and Dig Deep (an earth pony). “Seriously? Have you even really played Molestia’s Dungeon, or did you just read the reviews? It’s damn hard!” The chubby tan earth pony exclaimed, his messy, short brown mane managing to catch every little bit of wind. Yep, today was a bad day to wear her favorite pinstriped fedora. Thank goodness Dilly left it at home. “Maybe to you, Shufflin’ Shovels!” Teachy Fish joked, bright white wings fluttering as he shoved the crossed shovels on Dig’s flank playfully. “It takes some mad skill with that game. You have to get the whip delay just right, or you’re dead!” With a rapid head-turn and a dramatic gasp, the Pegasus and took to the air, air-glomping his buddy with an enthusiastic, rushed “Kitten! Hi!” Even if the nickname came from her small size and ‘adorkableness’, at least she wasn’t one with the size of that stallion. “Agh!” Exclaimed Dilettante, being crushed to the ground. “Greetings, Fishy,” the unicorn grunted. “Get off the kitten now.” Of course, being the silly stallion he was, Dig Deep had to add his weight to the pile. Unsurprisingly, a dent appeared in the grass and grunts came from both pegasus and unicorn. “Get off my sissy!” a voice screeched, trying to pull the two stallions off, but only pulling an orange school beanie off Teachy Fish’s long, messy neon orange mane. “You’re hurting her!” “Get off my head, kid.” Fish said in a deadpan manner, while wiggling out from underneath Dig Deep, holding his square glasses on with a hoof. “Hey, Dill, is this your annoying sister you tell us about?” “Yep, that’s Perfect Placement.” Dilettante said, propping herself up on her hooves. With an irritated tone, she asked, “Can he have his hat back now?” “No!” Perfect exclaimed, hiding the hat behind her using telekinesis. “He insulted me, and he has a pregnant fish on his flank!” Teachy Fish slapped his face with a white hoof and let it drag down, gaining some personal experience with a younger sibling. “The salmon is laying eggs, so she’s not pregnant, kid. Can I have my hat back now?” “No!” “Is she usually like this?” Dig Deep whispered in her ear, readjusting the round-cornered wireframe glasses on his face. “Yes. Now give it to me.” Dilettante said forcefully, snatching the button-studded hat with her magic and placing it back on the pegasus’s head haphazardly. “The games are set to start in a few minutes. Come on guys.” ~@~ “Everyone here? Good!” an enthusiastic earth pony stallion quipped, eager to get started. He was clad in a bright orange t-shirt with a stylized phoenix on it, making up the ‘P’ in “Your Friendly Phoenix,” curiously coordinating with the image of a furnace on his flank. “We’re going to start the games here in a bit, but first we have to get to know each other. Any suggestions for get-to-know-you activities?” “Oo-oo-ooh! Me!” Dilettante squealed in glee, waving a blue hoof in the air, never one to resist speaking up in front of strangers. “Meee!” “Dilly…” Perfect rolled her eyes, embarrassed by her elder sister’s somewhat juvenile outburst. “Err…maybe somepony from the younger set,” the Friendly Phoenix stallion stammered, leaning his cerise body back as if enthusiasm was contagious. “Why don’t we sit down here and circle out?” The group of about ten or fifteen ponies, most a sibling pair, plopped down on the dry, crispy grass, scooting into a strange ellipse rather than a circle. They all seemed rather apprehensive and uncertain, like they didn’t know how to merge acceptable behavior in the context of young ponies and their normal interaction with their fellow students. “Close enough guys, am I right? We’re here to have fun, not do schoolwork.” The leading stallion chuckled, joking weakly. “Now, who wants to suggest what to do?” A small brick red Pegasus colt raised a tentative hoof. “Why don’t we tell our cutie mark stories?” Turning to an angle, he revealed with great pride a cutie mark of a feather duster spanking a surprised robin. “I mean, I just got mine! That’d be great, don’t you think?” Dilettante saw her younger sister shift in the grass, glancing at her own smooth, magenta flank. Meeting Teachy and Dig’s eyes, they too saw Dilettante’s worried expression. This is going to be awkward if we get picked. Please say no, say no, say- “That’s a great idea, kiddo!” said the burnt orange Pegasus mare next to him, ruffling the young colt’s moppy chartreuse mane. “I think we should do it.” The Friendly Phoenix shrugged, happy that he didn’t have to choose something. “That sounds good. Why don’t you two go first, and then choose another pair?” “Oh, I’ll go first, Robin!” the colt exclaimed, cutting off the mare’s opening mouth. “I’m Diving Bird, but I’m going to be Flipping Bird in a few weeks. I’m getting my name changed to match my flank!” His older sister snorted. “Rob? What’s so funny?” “No-nothing, Flippy. Just finish your story.” “Well, my special talent is helping the birds migrate,” Bird started, waving his front hooves to simulate avian flight, seemingly forgetting about his wings. “I got to do it this Winter Wrap Up instead of Robin because I bugged her to trade me. It stunk being the one mashing all the cloud leftovers after the sky was cleared. However, there was this one bird that refused to leave her nest, and I just borrowed one of the dusters of the Animal Team’s and whacked it right of there! Then my butt glowed, and this appeared!” It was quite amusing watching the red Pegasus mime the launching of the bird into the atmosphere, especially because of his older sister snickering the entire time behind his back. “Bird…migration, you called it, right?” another pony in the group asked, barely concealing laughter. “Yeah.” Flippy replied, a little confused at the question. “Er…Robin, it’s your turn now.” The orange Pegasus with a similar toned lime mane nodded. “Yes Flippy.” Robin teased. Looking proud, she continued, “Well, back to business. And guess what? That’s my special talent! It may look common and boring, but it quite awesome. I got it after starting a lemonade stand when I was seven. I sold out in ten minutes on a hot day after I made sure all the other fillies and colts on my block were out of town. And whaddya know, I’m a business major!” Giggling, she finished with an enthusiastic hoofpump. “Go Phoenixes!” “That was a great story,” The Friendly Phoenix said approvingly. “Who do you pick next, Flippy?” “Er…How about that yellow-maned filly next to that blue unicorn?” Flippy said pointing a hoof at Perfect Placement. Perfect Placement’s face paled. Even with how usually unperceptive Dilly was, the gerbil-flanked unicorn could spot that as a sign of anxiety. “I’m a blank flank.” Perfect mumbled quietly, looking down. Some older looking fillies snickered. Dilly knew that shame as well, but decided to stay silent. “Hey, cut that shit!” Teachy Fish said menacingly, defending Dilly’s younger sister. “She just needs a bit more time, that’s all.” A few foals made the classic “Ooooooh” noise, as in “Oooooh, you’re in trouuuble…” Thank Celestia for education majors. If that Pegasus could diffuse even a small amount of blank flank teasing in a short time, Teachy would make a great educator.Even if he is the sort to throw hockey pucks at ponies’ heads. Dilly thought, reminded of her middle school science teacher. “Why don’t you talk about your cutie mark, Dil?” Dig Deep suggested. “You’ve told us before, and it did involve Perfect. I’m sure she would be glad to help you.” The honey maned unicorn perked up at this. Yay, humiliation. Dilly thought sarcastically, but she was surprised. “Okay, here’s my sister, Dilettante Rodentia. Long name, I know.” Perfect joked, standing up and pushing Dilettante to show off her flank. “This is a gerbil, not a rat on the book. Get it right, or my sister will probably kick your flank. She was actually worse than me. She didn’t get her cutie mark until she was fourteen! Sad, am I right? It even has a boring story, too. She didn’t spank any gerbils or anything to get hers, that would be mean. What she did was…” ~@~ Okay, small animal 4-H project. Head, Heart, Hooves, Health. This can be done. Basic gerbil care supplies, check. Books, project and otherwise, check. Poster board and markers, check. Gerbils…not checked. Well, there’s my problem, Dilly thought sarcastically, running her blue hooves through her brown mane. Can’t do the small animal project without the small animals! “Bleh.” The blank flanked blue unicorn’s thoughts escaped her mouth. Exhausted and overheated, she splayed on her back on the tan carpet in her room as far away from the summer sun through her window as possible. The empty fish tank on her old wooden dresser taunted her, the number seemingly doubled further by the mirror behind it. Unopened bags of aspen bedding and food pellets, recently opened packages of markers, and the components of her project book were scattered around Dilettante, the shiny surfaces reflecting the mottled deep green and white paint of her walls. The ceiling fan whirled around in endless monotony, trying to banish the late afternoon heat the best it could. Sadly, the whirr could not drown out Perfect and her friend, Gem, who had slept over that night. The fillies were screeching as they chased each other around with dolls on their adventures. Putting aside the fact Dilly wasn’t fond of dolls, with their girly connotations and all, it was very, very irritating. And right across the hall. “Hey!” Dilly called across the hall. She tauntingly asked, “Aren’t we supposed to take Gem home soon, Perfy?” The two fillies walked out of Perfect’s garishly pastel-blue room and trotted into Dilly’s, staring down at the prone adolescent. Gem’s obsidian-colored short wavy mane was apparently playing host to various Fluttershy dolls in her now strategically arranged snar—ahem, ‘curls.’ The unfamilar grape colored earth pony filly was staring down at Dilly with mild interest. “Er, no, Dilly,” Gem responded, uncertain of how to act around her friend’s obviously disinterested older sister. “Not for another hour or so.” “Mmm.” Dilly responded, covering her face with a hoof, blue ears folded back as far as she could to block out noise. “Buzz off.” “Be nice, Dilly Pickly,” Perfect Placement poked a hoof at Dilly’s side and using the annoying nickname she devised when learning to speak in response to Perfect’s own hated nickname. “Gem’s just going to be a cart for Fluttershy and all her babies for a bit longer. “Mmm.” “Err…these are nice 4-H books. I used to be in 4-H.” Gem spoke up. Dilly heard books shifting. “Oh, gerbils? That’s what animal you chose? I have one.” ~@~ The hour passed, thank Celestia. Now it was time to take Gem home. At age fourteen, young Dilettante was absolutely ecstatic to be allowed to cross a few streets to go a mile or so away from home alone, but since it was getting dark, she needed supervision. Thankfully, the opportunity to see a gerbil would be worth it. Those little creatures were absolutely fascinating! Drama Stitch was following behind the group, supposedly just supervising to make sure the group was safe, but Dilly still felt encroached. The burgundy unicorn matched the darkening sky well, the purple mane almost invisible, save for the slight grey streaks. Green eyes surveyed the environment with a sense of nervousness, which Dilly thought was strange. Yes, bad things did happen in Hoofingtoon, but they were in a good part of town, one even called the Celestial neighborhood because of all the street names based off stars and royalty and such. Mom just was a nervous pony in the nighttime. Yes, Dilly inherited some of that nyctophobia, but she saw some of the appeal in the dark of the night, with all the animals, the difference in the way things looked, and even the titillation of the thoughts of what horrors could occur at night. The fillies ahead of Dilly talked and skipped about on the walk home, just a mile or two away from Dilly’s dark grey painted home. Near the edge of the Celestial neighborhood, the last lamp-lighting pony finished his round, box of long matches in mouth. It was the right time for the lights, too, as the round disk of the sun was gone, the last light fading. Luna’s moon arose, lending light but not of the right sort for ponies to see well. Finally, after what seemed to be forever from the anticipation of ridding Dilly’s household of one unneeded and unwanted foal, she lifted a hoof and pressed the doorbell of Gem’s snowy white house. A dark brown Pegasus mare opened up the door, first looking surprised, but then recognition grew into a smile as she saw her child having fun with Dilly’s younger sister. “Oh, hello, Drama, Dilly.” The similarly shining-black maned Pegasus greeted, opening the door further. “It’s great to see that Placement was such as good host.” The magenta filly interjected, “I sure was! Can she come back next week?” Gem’s mom paused, looked up with ochre eyes into space. “I don’t know. Why don’t you come in and your mama and I can plan?” “Mom? Can we do it?” Perfect Placement looked up expectantly. “Please, Mrs. Stitch?” Gem chorused. “You’re lucky it’s summer, guys, because it is getting late.” Dilly’s mom chuckled. “Sure, we can do it.” “Okay then! Come on in.” Gem’s mom walked into the black and white tiled kitchen a short bit away from the front door. Perfect and Gem shoved ahead of Dilly’s place at the door and ran to the left, presumably to a hallway where Gem’s bedroom was. A bit miffed, Dilly caught the door handle in her magic and shut it gently. Mom and Gem’s mom were already sitting at the glass-topped dining table, going over the pegasus’s day planner. “Next Thursday good?” Drama Stitch asked, flipping over a page of the thick brown-covered planner with a light green aura. “No, sorry Stitch. Have to take Gem for her judo test then.” “Gem’s still in judo?” Drama Stitch asked. “Well, that commitment is nice. Perfect isn’t really fond of her karate, but Dilly just loves it. I have a feeling Perfect just has to learn a bit more to really enjoy it.” Boooo-ring. Mom talk. “Mom, I’m going to see Gem’s gerbil, okay?” Dilly asked without waiting for a reply. Briskly walking down the relatively dark hallway (someone forgot to turn on the lamps!) to a brightly lit room, Dilettante saw the two fillies sitting on a white-sheeted bed with a purple gauze canopy above, Gem with a black-ticked brown gerbil balanced on a purple hoof. “His name is G.B., for you know, GER-BIL? Dad named him. Not very original, amiright?” “He’s pretty cute.” Dilly commented, walking in. All animals were cute of course. “Can I touch him?” “Hmm? Oh, hey Dilly.” Gem said, looking up. “You can hol-“ That moment of inattention was all it took for the gerbil to sense an opening and dash out the door. “Mooom!” Gem called, shoving past Dilly to chase after the gerbil. “G.B. escaped again!” “Again?!” Gem’s mom exclaimed, nearly screeching. Dilly could head chairs being scraped and doors slammed. “Where is he?!” “I’ve got him in your bedroom!” Gem called back. Dilly ran into the bedroom with everyone else the quick slamming of Drama Stitch’s magic whacking her daughter’s short, spiky tail. “Okay, he’s trapped now.” Gem said, catching her breath, surveying the room. The room had a heavy, king sized bed, multiple full, six hoof tall bookshelves, and a heavy dresser. “Couldn’t go to an easy place this time, could’ja you stinky rodent?” Gem’s mom called in anger, wings flaring. “Nope, not anywhere easy like the kitchen or the washroom, noooo…” “Hey, quiet down.” Dilly said, interrupting the incoming panic fest, sitting back on her hind legs and raising both front hooves in a defensive posture. “He’s scared. Rodents are prey, so the gerbil’s going to hide. I know what to do to find a rodent, at least in theory.” Gem’s mom looked at the teenage unicorn skeptically, then to her mother as she started nodding. “She knows what she’s talking about. She’s read all about gerbils. Dilly’s in 4-H, too, taking a project for small animals.” Drama Stitch stated. “It’s going to be okay.” Holding up a hoof for silence, even the wide-eyed fillies stopped their noisy pacing. “Listen for a skritch or a scratch, or look for feces. That’ll give us some idea where G.B. is.” “What’s feces, mom?” Perfect Placement whispered, pushing back her long straight honey mane behind an ear with a grey aura. “B.M.” “Ooooh. Ewww.” Perfect said, realizing what she now had to scan for, now uneasily dancing on her hooftips. “We’re on carpet, tooooooo…urine…” “Wait!” Dilly hissed. Something was behind that bookcase in the corner. A skritch-skritch-skritch that sounded like the gerbils who dug against the glass at pet stores! Pointing at the bookcase, she said softly, “There. Move the books so we can scoot out the case.” After some scrabbling, eventually the ponies moved out the bookcase enough to get a hoof into but they couldn’t see the gerbil. “Lemme get him, he’s my gerbil!” Gem exclaimed, pushing aside the blue unicorn, a filly who was getting tired and cranky. By that point, it was getting very late. “No!” Dilly exclaimed, exasperated. “You might yank off his tail. They drop them to avoid predators. Do you want to hurt him? Do you want him to bite you?” “No…” “Good choice.” Dilly responded. “I’ll do it.” Time to put what she learned from that book into action. A proper one-hoof pickup was to reach behind, scoop onto the flat, and then support with the other hoof. Dilly’s front was smashed against the wall, her right hoof awkwardly angled behind the bookshelf, groping behind the corner. A flash of brown! A tail! That brown disappeared into the corner of the room, trapped between the wall and the bookshelf. Only a tail…Not good. “Get him, Dil!” Perfect hissed. Shut up! Dilly thought, being reckless and gently trapping the tail and scooting it closer in a brown aura. She then scooped G.B. on the flat of a hoof and pulled him out from behind and put him into a box that Gem’s mother had so kindly fetched. Done! Wha…Dilly felt a warmth on her flanks that was quite uncharacteristic of that time of day. The unicorn looked down, and saw a gerbil, no not just a gerbil, G.B., on her flank sitting on top of a red book. “Holy mother of—“ Disapproving mother’s glare “gerbils!” It’s here, it is finally here…never again called little filly at Hoof High, or looked strangely upon or-or-or Pure happiness filled Dilly’s brain. It felt like every extreme happy feeling she had every experienced, from her first placement in school exams, to winning a reading contest, to reaching the advanced ranks at the dojo, or even making up her speed-read spell! A high pitched squee that shall never be mentioned again escaped Dilettante’s (soon to be Dilettante Rodentia’s, she decided) lips. Everyone’s eyes flickered between Dilly’s flank and her half trotted, half skipped circles around Gem’s parent’s bedroom. “Looks like you’re going to be a junior with one of the best cutie marks ever!” Drama Stitch exclaimed, catching her daughter and giving the twitching unicorn a squeeze. “What does it mean?” Perfect asked, confused and a tad disappointed, expecting something cooler. “It’s a gerbil. On a book.” “Oh! I think it is one of those ‘symbolic’ cutie marks that Ms. Board talked about. Those aren’t always obvious, like my daddy’s.” Dilly thought about it, thought about what had occurred and the events leading up to this unexpected moment. Books, facts, gerbils, learning. Books, learning, animals, mess. Learning, experience, use, challenge. Well, she loved learning, loved using her knowledge. Dilly wasn’t always the best at learning some subjects, but she loved to learn everything nonetheless. The gerbil was simply a catalyst. “I think it’s learning.” Dilly said with a quiet smile, with a new sense of pride. ~@~ “Sooo…let me get this straight. You helped your sister catch a gerbil, and it somehow led to learning? Doesn’t make sense.” Flippy replied, ruffling the back of his mane. “Neither does yours.” Perfect Placement replied, sticking out her tongue at the red colt.