Title: Sweet Valley Twins: Friendship is Magic
Summary: All the trouble started right after Lila saw the purple Unicorn in her backyard.
Dedication: For Raven and @buffywatcher23
Timeline: Factory reset, just like almost any book.
Notes: This won’t be as aggressively meta as my last NaNo, so if you were anticipating me leaning so hard on the fourth wall that it falls over, I’m sorry. This still will be a bit sassy, but honestly, I peaked with the Hunger Games crossover. Wait. No, I lied. I couldn’t get past the first page without doing my usual thing.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
6,030 / 50,000 words. 12% done!
Melissa opened the door to Fowler Crest to find the twins waiting on the other side.
“Hi, Melissa,” Elizabeth said warmly.
“What are you doing here?” Jessica asked.
Melissa smiled politely – it felt like so far Elizabeth was the only person who hadn’t asked that question. “Everyone’s in the main living room – the one to the right.” She stood aside and let the twins pass.
Jessica raced on ahead and Melissa fell in step beside Elizabeth.
“What’s all this about?” Elizabeth asked. “Jessica said that Lila has a purple unicorn? I can’t believe everyone bought that! I told her that if Lila really has a purple unicorn, then I’ll do her chores for the rest of my life.”
Melissa stopped and gave Elizabeth a sympathetic look. “Oh, I hope you didn’t shake on it.”
Elizabeth giggled. “Oh, I think I’ll be ok.”
Melissa let Elizabeth step into the main living room, which had been recently redecorated in stark blacks and whites. Everything was very pristine, and the seats so white it was almost dazzling. Every member of the Unicorn club was present. It was amazing Lila had managed to round them up so fast. Elizabeth and Jessica sat down on one of the white couches and Melissa perched on an ottoman. Janet Howell glanced at her. “What are you doing here, Melissa?”
“Science project!” Lila said quickly. “Right, Melissa? We’re getting a head start Mr. Siegel’s homework.”
Melissa gave Lila a look of confusion. They didn’t have any science project. They were paired up for the Mother’s Day project. And Melissa had been invited to dinner long before the project was even announced. Mrs. Pervis was going to her son’s school play and Mr. Fowler was in New York until Friday, so Lila had invited Melissa over for company. They’d ordered pizza and were just about to make brownies when Melissa heard the sounds of girls talking outside, which is what had led them to the ponies.
“Now,” Lila went on quickly – and very grandly – “I would like to introduce you to Applejack and Princess Twilight Sparkle.” She opened the double doors leading on to the next room (Melissa wasn’t really sure what that room was for – it had a piano, but she didn’t think anyone played it) and the two ponies stepped into the living room.
Immediately the room fell into a stunned silence, as the orange pony with the yellow hair and the purple winged unicorn stepped forward. Then there was an excited whisper, then cooing, and suddenly the room was full of excited voices.
Jessica’s rose above everyone else’s as she turned to her sister triumphantly. “Guess you’re doing my chores for the rest of your life, Lizzie!”
That had to hurt, Melissa thought, but there was still a look of wonder on Elizabeth’s face as she stared at the ponies.
“Hello,” said Twilight. “I’m Twilight Sparkle and I’m the Princess of Friendship in Equestria, and Applejack and I are here on a mission.”
Though the entire room was stunned that the brightly colored ponies could talk, only Ellen spoke up. “Oh my gosh, they talk too!” she cried.
Janet Howell leaned over and hissed. “Don’t be surprised they can talk, Ellen, it’s rude. And rudeness reflects badly on the Unicorns.”
“What mission, your majesty?” Lila asked hurriedly with a delicate curtsey.
“Oh, please don’t address me so formally, just Twilight is fine. And we don’t know. We were called to this world because we were needed in some way. We solve friendship problems.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place, your majesty,” Janet said, leaning forward. “Because we’re a group of friends, and we call ourselves The Unicorn Club, and our official color is purple. I think you may be here for us.”
This caused everyone to giggle excitedly and cluster around Twilight. Lila moved closer with her eyes firmly fixed on the princess. Tamara Chase stepped in front of Melissa, and obscured her view.
Even though it wasn’t rational, Melissa felt snubbed. She knew that there should be no reason she felt so hurt, but she always felt so excluded from Lila when she was around the Unicorns. She knew they were a club she wasn’t a part of, but she was also Lila’s friend. And she’d been there when the ponies arrived.
Melissa decided to step out of the room, get a glass of water and clear her head. She walked to the kitchen and helped herself to ice water from the cooler in the front of the Fowlers’ industrial sized and super-expensive fridge. Moments later, she heard footsteps behind her.
She whirled around, ready to make an excuse about her absence to Lila, but realized it wasn’t a person, it was a pony.
“Hoo-eey,” she said, in her soft country accent. “That is a mite more attention that I’m used to.” She gave Melissa a friendly smile. “Why did you leave?”
“Oh, I was just thirsty. All that excitement, you know.”
Applejack gave her an appraising look. It was strange on a number of levels. She was trying to get used to a talking brightly-colored pony – that was the kind of thing her younger self would have dreamed of – but it didn’t come easily.
“What sort of friendship problems do you solve?” Melissa asked.
“Oh all sorts,” Applejack said, moving closer. “We go from big things, like a pony who’d stolen everypony’s cutie mark and made them all the same; to the smaller things, like building a real sense of community in even big cities.”
“Oh,” said Melissa. “What’s a cutie mark?”
“Why, this is a cutie mark,” Applejack replied, showing off the apple symbols on her flank. “This mark arrives when you’re a young’un and you’ve just found your place in the world. Mine arrived when I was far from home and had realized there was no place I could be happier than Sweet Apple Acres.”
Melissa thought about that for a moment. “It must be nice to know you’re right about what you’re doing with your life.”
“You folks don’t have cutie marks?”
Melissa shook her head. “No. Nothing like that.” She thought maybe her father might have found decisions easier if he’d had a mark that either showed he was a musician or a father. “I wish we did, it might have made things a lot easier at my house.”
“How so?” Applejack moved a step closer.
“Well, my dad wanted to a musician, so he left my mom so he could focus on it, and…” Melissa trailed off. “Well, he was gone for awhile, and then my mom passed and then he came back, and it was all good, and we’re happy now – I mean, as happy as we can be without my mom, I mean – and–” The words had started out measured, but once she hit the word ‘mom’, they started tumbling out in an unruly fumble that ended with a near-sob.
Applejack reached out a hoof and rested it on Melissa’s arm. Melissa took a deep breath and tried to collect herself. She felt her eyes fill with hot tears and she blinked them back. Every now and then, just the mention of her mother could fill her with a deep and unexpected sadness, but when she did manage to think of her without tearing up, she would think to herself, “I guess I’m done. I’ll always be sad, but that’s the last time I’ll get caught off guard.” And then she’d be caught off guard again.
“I lost my parents when I was young too,” Applejack said in a soft and reassuring voice.
Melissa took another deep breath and hurried to explain herself. “We’re doing a Mother’s Day project at school. Lila and I were paired up. I don’t think the school even thought about it, but Lila doesn’t have a mother either. She’s alive, but she’s not in contact.” Melissa realized that she was blurting out not just her private situation, but Lila’s too, to a near stranger. She quickly finished her water and rinsed the glass and left it on the drainer to dry. “I suppose we’d better get back in there.”
Applejack nodded. “I guess so. Can’t leave Twilight alone to all that attention. She really ain’t all that formal, so I think the bowing and ‘your majesty’ing will be getting to her.” She paused for a second before moving. “But if you wanted to talk about anything, sometimes a new friend is a good choice, they can see clearer.”
Elizabeth was having the time of her life in Lila’s house. It appeared that Lila was incredibly tolerable as long was in possession of an equine – she had forgotten that.
Twilight seemed to feel slightly awkward being the center of attention, the Unicorns seemed eager to pet her, but Twilight was trying to keep a polite distance, while she fended off questions about what it was like to be a princess.
Elizabeth thought that was a boring question. They had met royalty before. “Please, Princess Twilight,” she began in her most polite voice. “Could you tell us why you’re in Sweet Valley?”
Twilight took a step towards her. “Sweet Valley? Where’s that?”
“It’s in California,” Elizabeth answered. “It’s the best town in the whole world.”
“Kali Fauna?” Twilight repeated slowly, her eyes widening. “Is that in Ooh-Say?”
“Uh… it’s Califor-n-ia in the U-S-A,” Elizabeth said, annunciating her words carefully.
The purple unicorn seemed to vibrate on the spot. “Oh my gosh! One of the great heroes of legend was a person from a different world called Ooh-Say. She is described as being a pink color with a yellow mane–” Twilight paused and looked a little bashful. “I think she probably looks a lot like you. Have you heard of her? Her name was May-Gahn. I’m sure she must be someone important in your world, because there were so many stories written about her greatness.”
Elizabeth wracked her brains but could not think of anyone called May Gan. “I’m sorry, I can’t think of anyone of that name.” Twilight looked so disappointed that Elizabeth couldn’t help but add, “But I’d love to hear all about her.”
Elizabeth felt the Unicorns collectively sag in disappointment, but she leant forward. She loved learning new things. She was already planning a commemorative edition of the Sixers featuring the ponies – a legend from their world would be a wonderful addition.
“May-Gahn was a magical warrior from the world of Ooh-Say, and when she was not saving Equestria – or, as it was known back then, Ponyland – she ruled her kingdom of Kali Fauna with a kind and gentle hand.
“The greatest tale is when she bested the Smooze – a tidal wave of evil purple ooze that destroyed everything it touched, and those left alive were unable to feel happiness. The all-seeing and all-knowing May-Gahn stepped forward and sang a note of pure joy and love for her friends. The musical note was formed out of such kindness that it became a mythical artifact called the Rainbow of Light, which was able to destroy the Smooze.”
Elizabeth nodded. It sounded like the kind of fairy tale she had read as a child. Although it was interesting that Ooh-Say seemed so close to “USA” and May-Gahn had ruled the kingdom of Kali Fauna. Maybe there was some truth to the legend. But it must have been a very long time ago if it was folklore now.
She glanced around the room and saw that the Unicorns looked quite unimpressed with the tale. “An all-seeing, all-knowing blonde from California that fixes everything?” Lila said. “I bet it was one of your ancestors, Elizabeth.”
“That would make her my ancestor too!” Jessica said indignantly.
Lila waved her away airily. “Yes, but you know it was the Elizabeth-type that saved their world. You’d have been useless.”
Elizabeth sensed an argument brewing, and headed it off. “Where did the Smooze come from? What did it want?”
“It wasn’t a creature, it was something created by three evil witches who hated kindness, and they made the Smooze to make everything as miserable as them,” Twilight said, moving to a space beside Elizabeth. “But what made you ask what it wanted?”
“Well,” Elizabeth said rather smugly, “whenever any of my friends has a problem, the best way to resolve it is to find out the root of the problem.” She thought it would be rather arrogant to add that so far in the school year, she’d had thirty-nine different best friends with problems. Well, some were the same best friend, but they were definitely different problems, and she had a checklist of diverse people to save. She just needed a person of color and a disabled person and she’d have the whole set. She wondered if Tammy’s heaviness could be counted as a disability. “Actually,” she said to Twilight, “I have a friend with a problem at the moment, but she doesn’t seem to want my help.”
“You do? That’s great!” Twilight’s eyes widened in excitement. “I mean, uh, since I’m here to solve problems, it’s great that you’ve got a head start.”
Elizabeth reached out and lightly patted Twilight’s neck. “I know exactly what you mean.”