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Faculty Meeting Over Lunch (Friendship School Teachers and Staff)


Blueblood
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Vitamin-rich mix of leafy greens?  Check. Generous helping of almonds?  Check. Tasty drizzlings of seasoned rice vinegar and sesame oil?  Check.

 

Princess Bluebelle had to acknowledge the due diligence of her predecessor; Twilight had certainly ensured that her school would not run afoul of the cliched “school cafe” food.  All students and faculty ate from the same menu, and quite a good menu it was too. Not extensive, but selective. Simple, nutritious, delicious, all from fresh ingredients, likely grown in this town where possible.

 

*I could get used to these accomodations.*  She thought to herself, which was a good thing, considering her commitment as the new Headmare.  One thing still remained, though, and that was to get to know the other teachers at this school. Twilight she knew of old from Canterlot, though not so well until recent years.  But Starlight Glimmer she only knew by hearsay, and Sunset Shimmer barely by reminisce. *I’m not too well acquainted with the other Elements of Harmony either, if it comes to that.*

 

Well, no time like the present to make up for that!  She’d given everyone an extra-long lunch break, students and staff alike, for the express purpose of them all getting to know each other, new arrivals especially.  And as a new arrival herself, Bluebelle had a feeling that the other teachers would want to get to know her as well as she wanted to know them. And what better way to do that than over a meal?

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Applejack was excited as a bull at a diary farm over this upcoming school year. She had so many fun trips and lessons planned, it was like her mind had kicked into a brand new gear. She never would have imagined herself as a teacher, not in a school at least. But here she was and she was plum tickled by the concept the more she did. With her farm and the Twilight Guard taking up their portions of her life in equal amounts she had to find the time to work on her lessons and boy howdy was she making the most of what time she had. Field trips to famous historical markers, especially those involving the Pillars, farm trips, lessons in sharing feelings and some long term project planning where teamwork was beyond essential. She was excited about it and even if that happened to be the only thing on her mind she'd be more than happy to call it an exciting year. Of course, as was the style of the time, Applejack was to be confronted by a series of developments that were destined to shape the school year beyond her efforts.
 

The first was the announcement that Twilight was going to rule Equestria and, by extension, have to leave the Headmare role of the school. Being best friends with the Headmare certainly made coming to work here less than stressful. Indeed, it gave the professors a certain degree of freedom that they'd otherwise not have. With Twilight leaving all of that was in flux. Applejack had, of course, told Twi it was the smart thing to do. She knew how obsessive Twilight could get when it came to her tasks and the school, while very important, needed to be set aside so Equestria didn't suffer. It hurt her to say it, but the school needed somepony new to lead it. Or even not new, just somepony who wasn't Twilight. Maybe she hadn't phrased it in the best way but she had said it in the best way she could put her conflicting emotions out there, and what was done was done. And now they had a new headmare.
 

Chancellor, Headmare, Headmaster- whatever the title was, it was used by a pony that Applejack didn't know quite well enough. The one time they'd interacted for any serious length of time, Blueblood had been a real pill. So much had happened since that Applejack knew about, let alone didn't know about, that she was willing to allow such preconceived notions to die in her throat. Bluebelle was certainly more a looker, though the broad-shouldered Blueblood had a noble aspect to him that was attractive as well. In any case, it was a shock to Applejack that Starlight wasn't chosen. Twilight's reasoning- that Starlight was uniquely gifted as a counsellor and that nopony could do that job half as well- was solid enough, but still. This was going to be an interesting time.
 

These thoughts, among others, swam in her head as she entered the faculty room with her daily supply of apples and apple-related products. She liked to use them to spice up the selection offered by the school. When she entered she saw- "Headmare- err, Chancellor Bluebelle. Howdy! How're you findin' it so far?" She asked in a friendly tone, taking a seat and putting her hooves up.

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Ah, Applejack.  The last time Bluebelle had seen this mare, they had kissed.  That wasn't usually a portent of a conversation free from awkwardness, but since it was from a kissing booth rather than a date, the new chancellor held out some hope.  She smiled, giving a welcoming beckon to the seat next to her.  "Oh, Lady Applejack, hello.  I suppose I shouldn't find it unusual that'd you'd be a teacher here, but I have to wonder where you found the time."  Sparing a glance to her conversation partner's plate, she noted with an entire lack of surprise the surplus of the orange mare's signature fruit.  Well, it wasn't as if the school forbade students or faculty to brown-bag it, but Bluebelle couldn't help but think that enlisting the services of her private cook during working hours was some form of cheating.

 

"As for myself... well, it's really only been one day.  I'll have a better answer for you later, I suppose.  For now, I'm just trying to get a sense of everything here, while following Twilight's instructions.  They were quite...detailed.  You certainly can't accuse the mare of leaving any ambiguity in her writing."

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"Well, there's a lot of time in tha day! Wake up right 'fore the crack of dawn, get ta farm work, work two patrols in tha Guard, teach mah three classes in tha afternoon, two more patrols, work tha stand at market, back ta farm work, one last patrol, back home, get a solid wink or two. Lesson plans are easy enough, Zappy's good ta have 'round except for patrols," she said with a smile. She honestly enjoyed how busy she was. She never lost a day to worries of idleness and went to bed every night proud of everything she had accomplished. She knew better than most that at some point in the future she would need to lessen her load, but she'd be damned if that day was today. She reckoned the Chancellor could understand that, and had to smile when she mentioned Twilight's overprepared nature. That would always be true.

 

"You wanna know tha silly thing, Chancellor? Ah used ta think Twi was three bits short a bushel when Ah first met her when it came to her plannin'. An' Ah reckon its still true, though more like she overpays for that bushel. An' just like that, take what you need from it an' not a lick more, 'cause she picked you ta lead this school an' she wouldn't have it any other way," she replied, then shrugged her shoulders. "Or maybe not. Ah've been wrong before. Just ask Rainbow, she's always ready ta tell me how Ah'm wrong!" She ended with a chortle as she prepared herself a nice lunch.
 

Applejack took out a small paring knife and started cutting into her apples, making small slices suited for a salad she had in mind. She had brought enough for two, three, even a fourth- though she was just fine eating it all herself. She cut enough slices for her work in what seemed like a blink of an eye, and then brought over the salad supplies. Nice mixed greens of course, then gouda- and was that farro? Looked like one of the new Itailian students had some connections. She mixed it up an a had a nice salad for a nice day. She made a second bowl in good order and then eyed her new Chancellor, Headmare, whatever. "Want some? Mah momma showed me how ta make this when Ah was just a lil' filly. You can't find farro all that easy 'round here, so Ah get kinda excited when Ah see it. Ah mean, any 'ol grain works, but...heh, Ah dunno. That's just what she showed me," She said sheepishly as she sat back down. 

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Bluebelle could only stare at Applejack as she just rattled off her schedule as if it 'ain't no thang.'  It was almost enough to make the Princess ashamed for ever having complained about being busy, but inwardly, she kept fast to the belief that such flat-out labor was just not sustainable, even for an earth pony.  "I can only hope that level of exertion does not catch up to you sooner than you anticipate."  She replied, diplomatically, as she magically lifted a forkful of salad into her mouth.  "It would be terrible to suffer a breakdown while so many responsibilities were on your shoulders; I think that's part of what motivated Twilight to vacate the position I now hold.  I had been about to say 'step down', but 'Ruler of all Equestria' is more a step up, wouldn't you say?"  And she laughed in the truly elegant manner of a Princess.

 

She passed over the remark about Twilight's planning; Bluebelle honestly didn't feel confident to contradict Twilight in the field of education, in which she was undoubtedly an expert.  At the very least, the purple mare had been a student and teacher for much longer than Blue had spent in either position, with exemplary performance in both.  It was honestly rather intimidating, though she was loath to admit such a thing right now.  

As she took the opportunity to enjoy her meal, her expert eye caught the ingredients Applejack was using in her own, and smiled.  "Your mother had good taste.  My own was similarly formative, though as far as I know she never stepped hoof in the kitchen.  That wasn't her territory, nor mine, if it comes to that!"

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Applejack smiled, the sort of half-cocky one that spread on one side of the cheek and not the other. "You gotta love yerself some sweat. That little drip that comes down tha ridge of yer snout, skirts yer eyes, hands in the air before splashing down in tha ground. A lot of ponies, even hard workers, don't much like exertin' themselves. Me?" She looked around, then blushed knowingly. "Ah'm a stubborn mare. No doubt someday Ah'll be diminished and hafta drop somethin'. Maybe Abby an' Big Mac'll have ta do more at tha farm, or Ah'll have ta turn in mah armor an' spears, or Ah'll go half-blind and need ta tend ta my classroom more. Somethin'll happen, sure, someday. But until that day comes, Ah'll sweat and love every moment of it," She said as she took a big bite. She was proud to be a workhouse, darn proud of it.


Twi wasn't the same. She loved to work, but she had learned to work smarter, not harder. So maybe she was better? "I'd say its a fair bit of a step up, hehehe. Not sure she looks at it that way though, not anymore. She's real concerned about..." Applejack grew quiet. Then she banished those thoughts and that somewhat awful conversation to somewhere else, deeply locked in her mind. "Well, those are what she thinks anyway. Ah can't do anythin' 'bout it, so no sense worryin'. She'll be great, Ah reckon. You?" She asked, sticking a fork at her Chancellor. Had to make sure this one had all the confident Applejack did in Twi. Otherwise, the judgement was all askew.


Talking about their momma's respective cooking education and experience or lack therin certainly brightened her up as the last of those thoughts regarding Twi left. "Hehehe. If you want, Ah could teach you how ta cook. Start with somethin' simple. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, tha first soup Ah ever made. Momma helped me. Ah wish she had a bit more book learnin', just sometimes though. She was always very hooves on and she'd experiment sometimes. Not a big deal when its a snack but when its dinner, well, you didn't want yer dinner makin' you ill," She said with a shiver, though the bright cheer on her features remained. "She loved ta be in tha kitchen. Why, if you just laid there and let her, she'd just spend tha whole afternoon cookin' and concoctin'. She'd do her share of fieldwork but she wasn't much good at it and didn't have much passion for it. Pa did, that was his way of doin' it. Workin' all day an' in tha field only ta come home to some good home cookin'. Described every day as a perfect day. Reckon he was onto something," She ended with a heavy sigh. She had gotten over their passing years ago, so it was a sigh tinted entirely with the afterglow of her happy memories rather than the spectre of regret. "What about yer pa? He a hard worker or did the whole lot of ya lounge about in high society?" She joshed gently, not meaning much by it. She may have personally found such existence impossible, but sh reckoned there was a good reason why so many ponies valued it and emulated it so much.

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Bluebelle was too polite to mention her rather dim view on that level of exertion.  As much as had changed about her, the somewhat prissy demeanor towards personally covering oneself in dirt and sweat had remained.  Not that she wouldn't for a friend in need, but she wouldn't enjoy it in the least!  "I suppose you wouldn't be you if you didn't.  And what a tragedy that would be."  She opted for the diplomatic reply, taking a few more bites of salad. 

 

She raised a brow at Twilight's mentioned concern, though she couldn't venture a guess as to what it was that troubled her fellow Princess.  Knowing Twilight, it could be... anything, really.  She was one of Equestria's born worriers, that one.  Bluebelle supposed that level of conscientiousness made for a good ruler, though the long term effects of such stressing out hardly boded well.  "Absolutely... eventually.  I imagine there will be a period of adjustment as she gets used to it.  Things may not be so good for a year or so, and she'll need her friends and support more than ever as she finds her sea legs and charts her own course.  Above all... patience, from the rest of us.  Twilight will make an excellent monarch, given all that."  One had to be realistic; expressing full confidence sometimes had the unwanted side effect of arousing unfulfilled expectations, which was the last thing poor Twilight Sparkle needed burdening her right now.

 

"Thank you for the offer, but I promised my cooking lessons to another.  Dunnie, my guard and chef... lover, too.  One keeps culinary traditions in the family, you know."  She smiled softly, bringing the pegasus to mind.  "I'm feeling ready to start one, myself.  This position means less traveling overall, which clears up my schedule enough so that I could do a new foal justice as a parent."  Talk of family moved from descendants to antecedents, which had the effect of somewhat draining Bluebelle's smile.  "Oh, Father?  It is... hard to say.  There is not so clear a line between leisure and labor for an aristocrat.  I've known some who work almost as hard as you do in their gardens, but their labor brings forth only ornamental flowers, not edible fruit.  And there are others whose drawing-room conversations have acted to feed thousands.  It's... an odd sort of place, now that I have come to view it a little critically.  High Society values appearances so much, and yet is also so misleading in them."  The more socially adept would have picked up on how she avoided mentioning her father in this regard.  Not, apparently, a subject she was eager to talk about.  At least, not to a mere acquaintance like Applejack.  In time, if they became deeper friends, she may tell.

 

"It's strange, I thought some of the other faculty would be wanting to meet me."  The unicorn remarked, looking around.

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Applejack darkened at the talk of Twilight ruling. She had all the hope and faith in the world when it came to Twilight as a Princess. She just wished that was the problem, and not something far more intractable. "Hehe," she laughed, though it was mirthless as she looked away and out of the window. "It ain't rulin' itself that she is all in a tizzy about. She reckons, and Ah think it's true, that any issue we encounter we can conquer together," she said confidently and with a weary smile. Sure that had been the case a thousand times it felt like but she was fine with it being the case another thousand more.
"It ain't Equestria she's worried about, not an outside force ta threaten it that concerns her. Naw, its something she can't control," She said as she nodded, trying to sum up a three hour-long conversation as quickly and privately as possible. "She's worried...well, uhh. It's..." Applejack sighed, defeated. "She's worried about livin' forever an' seein' everypony she loves and knows come an' go. Bein' immortal is swell an' all, but...we aren't all gonna be immortal. The different species all go at different times. Ah know this better than most, but with Twi it's different. It'll be forever," Applejack finished. She had experience with ponies passing on and knew what to say to somepony about it. It was different when you were talking to a pony that was going to live that experience for an infinite amount of time. 

 

Applejack was happy to let that topic go, and happier still to talk about her little guy. It'd also provide a nice distraction from Blue's father, who apparently hadn't done well by Blue in some manner. Not a shock. Them noble families were dog eat dog. Hopefully Blue could break that chain. "Yer gonna love it, lemme tell you. You think you know somethin' of love then you have a little one an' it's like yer heart discovers somethin' ya never knew you couldn't live without. Ah wonder how tha hay Ah ever lived without mah little Zap Apple. Heck, talkin' 'bout him makes me wanna run home and cuddle him all close," She said, almost hugging the air in front of her before reminding herself that she was in front of the new Chancellor. One that was wondering where the other faculty were.

 

"Oh, they'll show up given time. Our schedules don't all line up all easy like," Applejack said with a wave of her hoof. "You'll meet 'em in time. Speaking of in time- Ah had a question. With the school bein' so busy an' all, what do you think yer gonna be addin' in terms of afterschool activies an' tha such?" She said as she took some more bites. She was rather interested in what this new Chancellor was planning on doing in order to leave an impact- and whether or not hoofball was on the list!

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Oohhhh.... Immortality Angst.  Yeah, that wasn't something that Bluebelle would be able to help with much.  Heck, only the two Royal Sisters would; Cadence, if immortal, had no experience with the long haul, as it were.  "Well, if it's any comfort to her, she won't be completely alone.  She's not the only alicorn, and Auntie Celestia and Auntie Luna have both been through that.  Like I said before, it will be hard at first, but they're living proof that one can come out the other side alright."  It was a consideration, though, that gave her pause.  Bluebelle had always suffered from alicorn envy, as the one non-alicorn royal in Canterlot.  Twilight and Cadence's respective ascensions had not helped that in least.  But would she want to take on this burden, if offered?

 

Food for thought, which she took alongside food for her stomach.  She smiled, seeing Applejack gush over her little one.  It seemed that so many mares she knew were having foals.  Their affection was infectious, dangerously so, inspiring thoughts of gravid months and caretaking years.  *Whoa, as she would say, nelly.  Let us prove that we can act as guardian for students before birthing one of our own.*  The mare mind was treacherous, perhaps she should seek out a cup of coffee...

 

Shaking off these reflections, she took in a scoop of almond chunks, chewing over Applejack's question.  "Well... I'm always partial to setting up a sailing club, but that's just my personal bias towards my own hobby.  My hope is that students will take initiative in forming their own clubs, and I will facilitate them.  It seems altogether more efficient that trying to come up with a list of things they may or may not be interested in.  Plus, it will teach them the benefits of taking initiative.  The World is not going to provide hoofouts for them, after all."

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Applejack giggled- out and out giggled- at the idea of bringing Zappy into her classes. She reckoned that the students, at least the good ones, would have a ball. And then the class would be destroyed. Not the best outcome, but maybe they could prevent such a calamity. "Ya know, since most of tha faculty here are at that good family startin' age, you might wanna look into some sort of daycare program. Ah'm fine on account of mah family but- Ah mean, imagine what Rares would do. She's already as high strung as a Stalliongrad violin, now imagine her runnin' about with a foal or four," Applejack snorted. "Ah'd pay ta say that, a lil' Rares runnin' around and Rarity's mane gettin' all in a tizzy. Of course, she'd love it. That mare has more love in her heart than there are stars in tha sky," She said with a sigh. She really did think that mare had more going on for her than some gave her credit for.  

 

And really, the same could be said for Blue and the idea of a sailing club. Applejack wasn't one for recreational water activities mind you but she sure did understand the appeal. Long term sailing was kind of like seaborne camping in some way, and she could get behind it. "Sailin' could be fun for a few of 'em. Ah think we made poor Yona 'fraid of tha water last time we went canoeing. Ooh nelly, was that a bad time," her eyes lit up "ah reckon we could hold a school assembly or some such to announce that we're acceptin' registrations for clubs and after school activities? We already have a Buckball team an' ah Cheerleadin' team. Hoofball, soccer, baseball, Ah imagine some sorta chess club, maybe a math club for tha eggheads," she laughed. Loved the idea of the math club since she reckoned Apple Bloom would have loved such a club, quite secretly. 

 

Then something sprung up from her memory. "Ya know, with tha School of Magic cookin' up their own buckball team, tha EEA was lookin' ta establish some sorta sports organization for schools like ours. Could be nice ta lead tha way, maybe?" She asked, lost on how it would look but confident they could play a key role in making it work. "'Course, right now Ah think there's only maybe ten, twenty schools 'cross Equestria that'd be interested in such a thing. Makes me wonder, though..." she shook her head, "no matter. Think such a thing has a peach's chance at tha fair of takin' off?"

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"A daycare program?"  Bluebelle rubbed her chin, giving it a few seconds thought.  It was a good idea, and just the sort of thing she was likely to overlook as she settled into her work.  "Well, I'll put that on the docket.  Thank you, Miss Applejack.  I wonder... perhaps it would be good to allow students a chance to volunteer at such a place, once established at the academy?  After all, there are few more perfect ways of putting our lessons into practice than dealing with the very young, giving them a friendly and nurturing environment."  She only hoped it wouldn't seem exploitative, using students for labor like that.  Best to make sure they got credits for it; she didn't want to get into trouble with the EEA on her first year!  Twilight had given her quite a horror story...

 

Speaking of the EEA, the orange earth pony brought up the idea floating around of a sporting organization.  "You mean, an official league, and all that?  Hm, it's not a bad idea, but I'm a little worried about what it might grow into.  The virtue of competition is that it can bring out the best in ponies, but it also constantly demands it.  Look at the Iron Pony, for instance.  It began merely as a friendly event in a farming town, where anypony from the surrounding countryside could throw themselves into and have a decent chance of coming out on top.  And now its an international event, where the top prizes become increasingly restricted to a few physical elite, who have dedicated no small portion of their lives to some activity related to the event.  It makes, certainly, for a more exciting show... but I can't help but notice that so many more watch than participate.  It can almost be discouraging, to see peaks of physical perfection out on the field that one can't hope to achieve.  I'd much rather preserve an amateur atmosphere in our school sports clubs, where one plays for the love of playing the game, and not of making a ticket-selling spectacle."

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Applejack nodded, her eyes lighting up. As long as they gave students course credit then it would likely be fine, and then Zap- err, the foals, would get to interact with all sorts of creatures and vice versa. "Now that there would be a great little lesson! Ah reckon some students'd be really good at it. Others not, but thats the rub. They can get better. Puttin' work in on account of others is a great way to teach empathy an' patience. Seems like a credited class ta me, anyway," she said with a laugh. And a blush, never forget the blush. "Though Ah'll admit Ah'm biased, seein' as Ah'd benefit. You should ask others, feel it out. Ah wouldn't want tha school ta go ahead and waste its resources on me all pointless like," she added, more subdued than before. She didn't want this new Chancellor to think she was some selfish know it all looking to game the system for her benefit. She just thought it was a rather nifty idea all in all, but it was hard to shake the feeling that she was doing something wrong.
 

Which, hopefully if they followed through with the bubbling idea of a scholastic athletic organization, they could avoid doing. The Chancellor made some really good points. The worst excess derived from the most passionate after all, and few things could stoke the fire as wildly as sports. She knew that for certain and nodded along. Of course, she was still into the idea for a few reasons. 

"Yer right on all accounts Ah reckon, though it's still a thing Ah think we should trot inta sooner rather than later. First, Ah think its gonna happen whether we join or not. Where there's smoke there's fire and thar is a whole buncha smoke 'round it. Secondly, Ah reckon it'll go one of two ways. Either we're able ta keep tha focus on them being students first an' in that case it'll be fine. If we start thinkin' of 'em as athletes first though? That there would be a problem, right? That would start makin' it so we start pursuin' ponies on account of them being impressive athletically, not because we want to help teach them friendship and for them to do so ta with others. Tha best way ta guarantee that is ta make sure we make our voice heard loud an' clear in it. A'least thats mah opinion on it."

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Bluebelle sighed.  She couldn't help but think Applejack's view overly optimistic, as far as joining a league went.  "The main point is, we're not actually obligated to trot into anything we do not choose to.  Resisting such negative, semi-coercive pressures is one of the things we teach here, is it not?  If it is indeed not taught, I shall have to add it to the curriculum."  Pausing in her meal, she whipped out a notepad with her magic to jot down a reminder.  "Large sports leagues are as subject to the dynamics of money and power as anything else typically found amidst the elite, and I've seen better mares than myself proven wrong when they think they won't be corrupted.  Making our voice heard really isn't going to do much if we're not in control, and we won't be.  At that point, we're either dragged along, or we have to bail, which would make the whole venture a mistake either way.

 

"No, I'm making the executive decision now."  Bluebelle thumped her hoof on the table decisively.  "We will keep sports at an intramural level at this school; this will allow us to give the students opportunities to manage as well as play, if they so desire, without having to worry about them being eaten alive by some exec from outside the school.  This will also allow us to dedicate resources towards more obscure games, as long as interest can be maintained in them.  Or perhaps the students could invent new ones; somepony was the first to make up the rules to buckball and hoofball, after all."  She nodded, satisfied with her reasoning, and returned to lunch.  "After all, if a student is primarily interested in a sport, there are other schools they can go to.  That's not what we're here for."

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Applejack reckoned that the Chancellor was damaged goods when it came to her experiences with high society. No doubt it'd be a problem if it was run by those types and those types alone. They did seem awfully greedy at times. But that was why it would be good to get their hooves in early, to help shape it. After all, there'd be Professors and Chancellors and Headmares and Headstallions at this school long after Blue and Applejack trotted into greener pastures. If the organization that was being discussed took flight, it was only a matter of time before the clarion bell was rung for the School of Friendship. It would only ever get harder to resist the call as more schools joined- Applejack wrote this off as an opportunity for good lost. Nonetheless it wasn't like she had a real stake in the game. She was about to retort however when a new presence made itself known.

Loudly.
 

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"Oh you wouldn't believe how uncouth they were acting!" Rarity spoke loudly and with a tinge of gossip as she bounded into the room, the door seemingly flinging itself open in front of her as if to make way for her grand entrance. "To think I brought my good silk in only- oh, Chancellor!" Rarity's tone changed quickly as he head snapped to Blue, a look of sheepish foalishness slipping in and around her elegant features. She took her seat next to Applejack, facing the Chancellor. She put her hooves up on a nearby chair and telekenitically brought over a hoofcare kit to the table, leaning back and half supporting herself on Applejack as she worked on her back hooves. "Sorry for my disturbance but I really did just have the most horrible experience involving needles and my hoof wall. I swear, Smolder and Gallus will be the death of me!" She said dramatically and leaned back, her mane half falling into Applejack's food. Applejack swatted away the mane hair and continued eating.

 

"I do hope you're settling in, Bluebelle. I was trying to work on a proper uniform for you and get this place all spruced up but I feel rather ill. Briefly, anyway. I suppose I wasn't that ill, but even the mild sniffles managed to truncate my artistic vision. And now this!" She said as she worked on her hoof wall, eyes filling with water. "The tragedy of it all! The most sincere tragedy!"
A pause. A smile, head turn to the Chancellor.
"I suppose I'll just need your measurements again."

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Even all these years later, with as much water that had passed under the great past-spanning bridge of time, there was some small part of Bluebelle's soul that would shake at the sudden sound of Rarity's voice.  It was ridiculous, of course, to hold such reactions from an evening so long ago, especially when the other mare was so unaffected as to be laughing about it in a doughnut shop mere hours later.  Still, the fear was not unmixed with gratitude; after all, Rarity's rebuke had sent Prince Blueblood on the long, roundabout journey that ultimately led him here, as a mare, the head of this school.

 

*I will never understand the great mysteries of life.*

 

Shock, awe, and nostalgia aside, the Princess' outer visage was awash in nothing but sympathy.  She knew full well how it felt to be poked in her sensitive hoofsies.  "Oh dear.  Are they that bad at sewing?  Or is it that they just don't sew well... together?"  Vague memories of elderly female relatives no longer being on speaking terms with mares that used to be sisters of the spool and needle danced through her mind.  "Oh, and I am settling in... well enough, I suppose.  As I was just saying to Applejack, I'm just running on written instructions left by my predecessor until I acquire some sea-legs."  She smiled at the other white unicorn, gesturing for her to take a seat beside her.

 

Mention of new measurements from the fashionista prompted a quick self-conscious glace by the Princess over the curve of her flank and posterior.  "Oh, do you think they've changed that much since we last met?  I'd been trying to watch my weight, but I do have a tendency towards curves in this form..."

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"Oh, I think it has more to do with Gallus and Smolder fooling around. Those two are...dynamic, to say the least. This time they each tried to see if they could pin the tail on the yak. With the Yak agreeing to it," she sighed. "It ended with a needle being shot out across the classroom and nearly pinning my hoof to the wall! I suppose I shouldn't have gotten so caught up in what I was explaining. And creating. Easy to do mind you- a little bit of detention and help on a side project of mine should see their attitudes corrected. Well, Gallus' at least. I have a suspicion that Smolder won't mind..." she tittered as she finished polishing her hoof. She got on it and it felt fantastic. "Ahh, there we go. Repaired from its momentary threat!" Rarity nearly twirled as she got a nice light salad and sat next to the Chancellor.

 

She would eat it daintily, one leaf at a time with her magic while she engaged. It was quite wonderful having some nice time alone with the other faculty at school. It allowed her to bounce ideas and lesson plans off of the others. Today seemed simple enough aside from the attempted assassination or mutilation of her hoof. And she got to spend time with the new Chancellor. It seemed like ages ago that Bluebelle was that insufferable Prince. It would be hard to say whether Blueblood's experience with IMAGINE or the transformation into Bluebelle did more to create a better pony. All Rarity did know for certain that whatever had happened to create the better pony that the Chancellor was now, Equestria was better off for it.

 

"You certainly look rather the same, but even a small difference can have a big impact. New measurements are needed, it has simply been too long! Even if the changes are minor-"
"An' tha changes will be minor, trust me."
-they can make all the difference!"
"No, they don't. Rares you make a new dress every time you grow your mane out ta a new length and nopony save you can tell tha difference."
"Hush."
"Yer jus' wantin' ta-"
An apple, driven by telekinetic energy, found itself lodged in Applejack's mouth.
"I said hush, sweetie. Back to you, Chancellor!"

As she had toyed around with Applejack, measuring tapes and a notebook with a quill in the binding floated on over and had been taking measurements, levitating due to Rarity's magic. She then opened up her notebook, which fell open to a page of uniform ideas as she absentmindedly wen about taking the Chancellor's measurements.

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It was good to hear that nothing serious was wrong with Rarity.  It was pretty rare that anything was, really, given the mare's penchant for exaggeration, but Bluebelle was less inclined to discount her complaints due to their past history.  "I suppose even in a royal school of friendship, one can't avoid the unfortunate necessity of discipline."  She remarked, continuing to graze her lunch.  Couldn't eat too fast; after all, she had to make lunch last long enough to have a meaningful meeting with all the faculty!

 

Rarity didn't seem to think that the Princess had gained much weight, nor changed in any significant way since her last memorable measurement, but nonetheless insisted on going through it all again.  Bluebelle observed the exchange between her and Applejack with bemusement, a small smile playing about her lips.  "That's quite alright, you don't need to say anything."  She attempted to remove the apple stuffed into AJ's maw, giving her a little wink.  "It's quite understandable that other ponies can't pass up an opportunity to get their hooves all over me.  I wouldn't normally be so loose, but since we're all friends here...."  She giggled, wanting to see Rarity's reaction.

 

 

 

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Rarity had to give a sultry, slow giggle in response to the tease by Bluebelle. Rarity wasn't crass enough to engage in such activities with the Chancellor- honestly, they knew each other very little- but she did have a deep and abiding love of flirting. "Now now, don't make me an offer you won't follow up on. How generous of you to offer Chancellor, but I don't know if there's enough of you to go around! I have a tendency to take a lot," Rarity replied slowly, tightening the measuring tape around the neck like a collar and squeezing for a second. Not too hard of course, but enough to assert momentary flirting dominance. She pulled back and laughed lightly. "I have no doubt you've become quite popular, darling. Equestria loves itself a natural beauty and you are a knockout."

 

Rarity continued her work, making notation after notation as she examined every part of Bluebelle that was important to her task. The results were pleasing, and she made it more than well known. "Oooh, your figure will look divine in a nice light red, bathed appropriately of course with some purple accents to denote your noble bearing," she whispered hoarsely as she lifted some nice colors next to Blue's face. Then she dropped it all and her eyes lit up. 


"No! I have an even better idea," she said as she picked the notebook up and started making adjustments, coloring in some of the designs on the open page. "Black and gold. You'll look ravishing but commanding at the same time, and I've been working on a design for just such a color scheme. Here, if you would take a look," she said as she hoofed over the notebook. It detailed a series of uniform ideas for colts, fillies, griffons, hippogriffs, yaks, dragons, caribou- many ideas all at once, and a lot to take in as a result. "These are school uniforms I've been drawing up. I think they look radiant!"

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Bluebelle grinned, pleased to have caught onto Rarity's wavelength.  It was more that the fashionista had flirty personality than that she was looking for anything serious, a realization that probably could have spared them both a bad first impression if Prince Blueblood had come to it sooner.  No matter, though, they were here now and having fun.  "Oh, but don't you you remember the first lesson of love and generosity?"  She rejoined with a giggle.  "The more you give, the more you realize that you possess to give- ooh!"  She gave a sharp intake of breath at the feeling of the tape bound around her neck.  This mare really knew how to press the Princess' buttons!

But perhaps it was time to de-escalate the situation, especially if Rarity was indeed not being serious.  "That they do, no doubt.  Much of it, perhaps, might be called superficial, affection conjured from a mere look.  I used to resent that, but I have since come to peace with it.  Nothing given without serious thought need be taken with seriousness, after all."   As for how serious the Princess had actually been, well!  She was most certainly not an easy mare... but neither an impossible one.

 

However, for the sake of propriety, and the fact that they had both a watching audience and business to discuss, the conversation shifted.  Bluebelle had a good head on her when it came to fashion, but Rarity was the expert in the room, and she was more than happy to defer to her ultimate judgement.  "Ooh, yes!  That looks quite sharp, I love it!  I don't know if I'll be so strict on the code, though.  As long as the general theme is kept throughout, I will allow the students to personalize their look, with the materials given to them.  It is only fair to have our uniform philosophy reflect our diversity and unity both."

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It was such fun feeling comfortable enough with another pony to be able to have such a fun time flirting in such a provocative way with them. It reminded her of her college days with her old fillyfriends, and all the awfully exciting ways they would tease one another. Returning to Ponyville had rendered a fair amount of that fun somewhat neutered by the town's pleasant, but less bold atmosphere. So excuse her for having some fun with Bluebelle! How strange the tides of time. Rarity once imagined very familiar teasing with her masculine counterpart and so much more. This had proven the better path, for the both of them. Hard to deny that now that Bluebelle had been given real responsibility and a position many would have killed for! 

 

As hoped for, the new Chancellor took Rarity's school uniform ideas well. How could she not? The designs were to die for. A unifying front for all students while making them look good, feel good, and help them understand the importance of presentation as well? A perfect start! The Chancellor did note that it would be best to have the students be able to express themselves, and though that, reflect the diversity of the school. Rarity wasn't opposed to that, though she would rather there be some limits so they would still appear most fabulous. After all, school uniforms were especially vital if implemented at a boarding school like the School of Friendship!


"Oh, of course. One size and style does not fit all. We will need to ensure that the students have all the help they need to ensure that the uniforms fit them well and also flash their unique personality. Of course, not many of them have the skills necessary to actually make clothes, let alone uniforms. But do not fret, I came up with a plan for that!" She responded excitedly, tapping Bluebelle's chest with delicate emphasis before she flipped the pages in her notebook a few times.

 

It landed on a description of a club, some formulative policies and guidelines, and a working monthly schedule as well as likely students who would join, plus a list of possible activities and earned credits.
"The Fashion Club! Of course it is going to have fun events, modeling, discussions, all that stuff. But those who are interested can also help make uniforms, working with other students to ensure that their creative desires and the talents and skills of the fashion club work in unison to make both happy. I would be happy to run the cub as an after-school club, with the associated credit of course."

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The Princess had to hoof it to her, Rarity could sell an idea just as well as she could sell a dress.  A fashion club sounded like a good idea to her, and wouldn't you know it, but the Fashionista had done all the paperwork and preparation already!  It was like she just knew that Bluebelle was looking for every opportunity to not have to take on any more dead trees, not until her secretary caught up with her, at least.

 

"Ah, a fashion club sounds wonderful!  It looks as if you've put a lot of thought into this, so I suppose there's little left to do save put it up on the bulletin board!"  Smiling at the other alabaster unicorn, she fluttered her lashes at Rarity as she said, "I do so appreciate it when my staff takes... initiative."  Giggling again, she returned to her salad, eyes glancing back towards the door.  "I saw Starlight Glimmer on the stage when I made my opening announcement.  Twilight told me she's the guidance counselor?  I confess that I'm not familiar with her story all that much."

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The concept that the Chancellor would say no to her well thought out, well intentioned, and well struck idea. In fact she was so confident that even before she had started her previous class she had pinned the club's information to several bulletin boards, like a trail leading from her classroom to the faculty's break room. It was a great method of getting the students engaged in the creative arts while helping ponies, and the truly skilled and talented could easily find themselves on a career path. Truly this was a most splendid idea and she was happy to take the reins of it. She already had the exacting, yet fun, demands of her next meeting all squared away on her artistic mind. It was going to be a most exciting time, no doubt about that!

How exciting!


"Well, I'll get started right on that," she tittered with deceptive intensity. The various tools she had been using started to vanish into her bag as she brought a few pieces of scrap paper up, staring at them with a confident focus on the small details. She shot the Chancellor a predatory grin full of fashion and fear. "Oh-ho-ho, I have something in mind for you, darling. You will look chic, unique, and magnifique by the time I am through with you!" She said with a hug, packing all her things and making an exit. "I must prepare for my next class. See you all later!" She said as she trotted out the door. Once it was closed she once again took out the little scribbles she had made Looking them over she trotted in place excitedly, giving off an excited squeal before leaping off and trotting down the hallway.

 

Applejack chuckled.
"Ah reckon what she had in mind in tryin' ta tell you about that club of hers when she walked in here..." Applejack shook her head. "I remember when she was head over fetlocks for ya, too!"

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It was a point of pride with Bluebelle that she did not back down from the potentially profitable brainwaves of other ponies, particularly when profits could accrue to her while others did the necessary work.  To this end, she matched Rarity's predatory smile with a positively gleeful one of her own.  "Oh, I look forward to it, darling.  Do set a time for a private fitting, yes?"  And with a last flirtatious wink, the Princess bade her farewell.  "So long!"  She waved, before going back to finish her salad with a chuckle.

 

"Well, she got around to it eventually, which is fair enough.  Not everypony on this faculty can be expected to be so straightforward as you, after all."  She remarked to Applejack as she magically wrangled stray bits of almond onto her fork.  "And yes, I quite remember that, too.  Funny, infatuation really doesn't improve the quality of flirtation, I've found.  More often than not, it leaves you either completely tongue-tied and in awe, or else you say something stupid in the hopes of impressing the other pony.  Now that we've both gotten more over ourselves and each other, I suppose that sort of thing is going to happen between us more often."

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Starlight knew that being late with lunch wasn't the best thing for somepony's nutrition, but making sure her office was sat up well, then making sure to take all the time she could to listen to anyone that came by that morning meant that the mare was running a wee bit late for her break. But given that the new Headmare had given everyone a longer lunch break, was she really all that late? A little. Bit first days were always a bit frazzling though.
 

The unicorn's lunch was something she had prepared and warmed up herself, not because she didn't enjoy the school's lunches, but because she'd been practicing cooking for a little bit now. A hay burger with brie and caramelized onions, as well as some thick cut fries as well, not the world's greatest meal but certainly impressive for only a few days practice. "Hey! Sorry I'm a little late." Starlight would say with a smile as she approached, waving to Rarity as she passed by on her way out. "Well she certainly seemed excited about something. Hope I'm not interrupting anything!"

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Bluebelle silently wondered, in the few seconds before Starlight Glimmer entered, whether everypony had gotten the memo about her changing the official title to "Archancellor" from the previously plebian "headmare."  And, if not, would it be a good idea to keep pressing the issue?  She didn't want to appear too vainglorious, but if this school was to stride forward in the rather ambitious boots it had cobbled for itself along the path it was blazing, every possible aspect needed to command respect from outsiders.  The Princess was not going to take any guff from the likes of Chancellor Neighsay.  Hence, the one-upping of the titles...

 

The counselor's voice drew the alabaster mare's mind to the present, where she greeted the newcomer with a smile.  "Oh, no, that's quite alright; I understand that we all need a little time to set up our schedules.  I just wanted to make sure I got a chance to meet with all my new colleagues."  She waved a hoof to the seat that Rarity had recently vacated.  "And there's no interruption at all, this is just an informal meeting for us to get to know each other.  I'm familiar enough with the Elements, but all I know of you is what Twilight put in your file, which was pretty thin and lacking context.  I imagine you don't know me all that well, either, come to that!  I'll bet Twilight surprised you with naming me as successor with minimal explanation. So why don't we swap stories?"

Bluebelle may not have known much, but there was enough background knowledge in her for her to add, "Don't worry, I won't judge.  I'm partly here myself because of overcoming a less than friendly past, so to speak."

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