Chap 6 - Dragon's Pride
The inside of the Canelot Stadium was almost completely void of noise except for the instructors walking through the rows collecting the test sheets of the remaining students. After they finished, the head instructor took a step forward and addressed all of the students.
"You are now done with the SHSAF's written exam. Now time for the real fun to begin."
Immediately as she said that, the dome began to shake and shift as if an earthquake was occurring. Most students lost their footings and fell. The entire floor began to glow in a magical aura and changed from metallic to the a flat dirt surface. The dome began to split apart and open, letting the sun shine its light into the now open stadium. People began streaming in and filling up the seats and bleachers. There was a noticeable area in front row with 8 large chairs. This was for all this Council members who would be arriving shortly.
"The physical examinations will now begin. As you know, over the next 8 and half hours, you will partake in activities to display and test your physical capabilities, magical abilities, wits and unique talents to each of the specialized high schools' headmasters, the members of council. Please, everyone show respect for the men and women who work so hard to maintain peace and harmony in Equestria."
The council members walked towards their seats from a special entrance within the stadium. They all looked proper and formal as they waved towards the applauding audience. In front was Elise Starswirl, headmistress of Starswirl School for the Magical Studies. She had brown, short curly hair and golden eyes. Elise was wearing a dark blue robe like dress which complimented her great grandfather's wizard hat which she could always be seen wearing. It was navy blue and had a cosmic design on it with constellations mapped on it. Behind her was Drocsid Strife, headmaster of Discidium Technical, exposing his elongated fang with a large grin.
Drocsid was one of the older members, his slicked back hair was a dark gray contrasting with white. Drosid also had white bushy eyebrows and his side burns and beard were the same shade of gray as his hair which led to a messy pointed beard. He was in a brown sleeveless dress robe, which was in no way matching with anything he wore under it. One half of his dress shirt was a skinny yellow fabric with black stripes that hugged his arm and the rest of the left side of his torso. The other side was light orange and extremely baggy. He had on a light blue old fashioned bow tie and brown pants with a green dress shoe on his right foot and a cream dress shoe on his left. His skin was a paled tan, his left wing blue, his right wing grayish purple and his eyes red. The crazy chaotic look worked for him though, in fact, it was what he was all about, discord.
Vento Feng, the headmaster of Sky Nebula Preparatory was third behind Drocsid. He was wearing his navy blue air force uniform which was decorated heavily, including a emblem of five stars in a circle on the shoulder region of each arm. The highest possible rank, General of the Air Force. Vento's facial expression was stern as his icy blue eyes surveyed the crowd. The man was always alert and on the look out for any type of trouble. His gray hair was neatly cut and he had a thick, bushy mustache that went along with his wrinkled skin. Chrysalis Changeling, founder of the newest addition to the the Specialized High schools, Changeling Institute, was dressed quite differently from everyone else. She was wearing a wispy thin, silk black dress that hugged her slender, curvaceous body all the way to her calves, leaving not much for the imagination. She was also wearing black elbow length gloves but walked around on her bare feet. The bottom of her dress looked shredded with holes and tears all around as were the ends of her gloves. Chrysalis was the youngest council member at only 23 years old. Her skin was dark, her eyes a moderate shade of green and her slick dark teal hair ran down to her mid back. She was wearing teal lipstick and eye shadow as well. All the young men would always become seemingly entranced by her beauty whenever she took to the public and with good reason.
Another elderly member and headmistress of Pressly Ville High was May Meer. She wore glasses and a cream blazer and skirt over a white blouse. Her moderate blue eyes were staring through reading glasses and she smiled heavily from the applause. Lucius Draconem is a very sharp man, metaphorically and literally. The headmaster of Serpens Collegiate could always been seen wearing a pressed, sharp and finely cut reptile skinned suit. Today it was a red suit with a black tie. His long dark gray hair, like all Serpens was spiky. His fire like amber eyes were calm and his expression relaxed. Bringing up the rear was Sombra. He was a mystery to everyone and one of the three younger council members along with Chrysalis and Solisia.
Sombra was a considerably handsome man. His jet black hair was wavy locks that stood up, leaning towards the direction behind him, resembling a flame and he had long side burns. His cold green eyes seemed calm and like Lucius. he was very relaxed. He had on a tight black patterned tunic jacket as well as black pants and boots. Sombra was headmaster of what many consider the most prestigious of all 8 specialized high schools, The Equestrian Academy for the Skilled & Brilliant. With an extremely low acceptance rate and mysterious headmaster in Sombra, the school's inner workings were kept under wraps from the general public. The students that attended the school always seemed to post the highest test scores and succeeded greatly after graduating however.
Each of the council members were accompanied by their personal guards. A murmur seemed to rush through the crowd almost immediately after the council took to their seats. There are 8 council members but only 7 were present. Where was Solisia? Everyone in the stadium seemed to pick up on this but it wasn't explicitly questioned aloud. The test instructor cleared her throat, with the use of magic, the sound of the gesture was amplified tenfold. A means to silent the restless crowd.
"The council nor did many of the viewers in the audience attend this event to be bored." she started, "If you want any remote chance of getting admitted into even one of these schools, you better show off and impress. Keep the council and everyone else interested and above all else, do your absolute best!
The crowd cheered loudly as she said this. The council looked down onto the seen, some with smiles on their faces, others with keen, piercing eyes. The students felt the gravity of the situation and atmosphere hit them hard. This was definitely going to be one of the most important days of their lives.
"Remember, each of you can only showcase once, so you should do it for your number one choice school. This doesn't mean you won't be applying for the other schools as well, this is just to so that we know exactly where you want to go and if you measure up with the rest of the students applying to that same school this year. This is the order in which the schools will go: Serpens Collegiate, Starswirl School for the Magical Studies, Pressly Ville High, Sky Nebula Prep, Changeling Institute, Discidium Tech, The Equestrian Academy for the Skilled & Brilliant, and The Equestrian Academy for the Gifted & Talented last. Good luck to all of you."
The instructor turned to leave and someone else took her place. A Serpens who was apparently a close colleague of Lucius would be coordinating the examinations for the next hour. Almost every non-Serpens student left the field.
"Spyro, I'm going to find Mom and Dad now. You sure you're gonna be okay? You can still come and showcase later with me." Twilight said to him.
Spyro grinned, "Of course I will be okay. No need to worry Twilight, I'll knock the socks off of everyone in the stadium right here, right now. Besides, we don't wanna go at the same time, we'll just overshadow each other if we do."
He confidently gave her a thumbs up. Twilight smiled back at him, "Alright. Good luck then."
When Twilight left with the rest of the other students, Spyro turned back towards what was going on in front of him. The coordinator was telling the students to make a line and asking the Magus who were there to assist him to construct very specific structures and obstacles that Spyro didn't doubt for a second he would have to go through at one point before the hour was done. He could feel his heart racing and butterflies were flying about in his stomach. He took a deep breath to try and calm himself down.
"It's just a test Spyro. There's no reason to get all worked up." he muttered to himself.
When Spyro finally started get himself calmed down, someone placed their arm around his shoulder and pulled him towards themselves in a somewhat brotherly way.
"Hey what's up pipsqueak. Who was the cutie a second ago? Could you introduce me?"
Spyro pulled away from the stranger and looker at him. He was another teenage Serpens. His shirt was red with 2 yellow stripes running across it and his jeans were red as well. He was taller then Spyro and a bit bigger too. He had spiky amber colored hair and purple eyes and his grin revealed a sharp row of teeth. He was accompanied by two others. One was wearing all purple attire that matched the color of his hair. The other was wearing a darker shade of purple and his hair was blond with long bangs that covered his eyes from plain sight.
"Who are you 3?" Spyro asked in confusion.
"Us? Well I'm Garble and these two are Zu and Ladon." He answered as he had one hand in his pocket and the other pointed back at his 2 friends, "Just 3 Serpens, no one special."
"Well what do you want with me?"
"Didn't I tell ya pipsqueak?" Garble said as he approached Spyro and put his hand on his shoulder, "Why don't you introduce me to that girl you were just talking to?"
Spyro got defensive when he heard him repeat this.
"She's no one. There's no need to introduce you to anyone and my name isn't pipsqueak, it's Spyro."
"Hehe, alright Spyro, no need to get all serious about it. Me and my friends here are just a bored and looking for something to occupy our time til we take our physical exams." Garble explained with a grin.
"You're about the take one of the hugest exams in your life and you're bored?" Spyro asked in disbelief.
"Well after you take it once, there's like no need to stress yourself out over it. So yea, we're bored." Ladon answered.
"This your first time taking the exams right? Think you can entertain us Spyro?" Garble said mischievously.
"Now why would I do that?"
"Cause we're all gonna be attending the same school most likely so why not not be friends...well that is if you're even good enough to make it into Serpens Collegiate."
"I am too good enough!"
"Alright Spyro, prove it."
"Bloom? Bloom?" Apphia called out as she walked around outside the stadium. Besides a lot of the students that just finished the written exam like her, there wasn't as much people outside as there was earlier. This could be attributed to the fact that the festival had now officially started...well the entertaining part of it anyways. That said, despite not having to sort through a massive crowd of people, Apphia couldn't find her younger sister. She found the stand their cousins lent to them with a "closed" sign on the counter and all boxes sold.
She took her hat off and scratched her head, "Where in tarnation are ya sis?"
"How are we ever going to find her?" Bloom asked distraught.
"A better question is why Council Member Solisia has even gone missing." Scotlyn declared as she sat on her scooter lazily and was riding next to the two at a slow pace.
"That doesn't matter, Mr. Shia asked for our help to find her and we can't let him down." Bella said
"It's not like we wanna quit or nothing like that but I mean just look at this gosh darn place," Bloom said gesturing the entire fair outside the stadium, "it's huge out here. How are we supposed to find her?"
"I wish Raine were here, she'd know what to do." Scotlyn sighed.
The young Caelum turned around to see her older sister and Florice approaching them.
"Where were you? I told you to be in front the stadium entrance after the test was done."
"Big sis, you're back! Man am I glad to see you, I need your help right about now."
"Help? Help with what?" Florice asked while Raine seemed more concerned about other things.
"That scooter? Where did you get it?"
"Oh, I won this bad boy in a carnival game. It's really awesome Raine. This scooters goes at like 90 miles per-"
She was cut off as a fist landed squarely down on the top of her head. The other 3 girls gasped and jumped back a little as Scotlyn fell off the scooter straight to the ground. Raine looked very aggravated and stayed in her striking pose as she stared down at Scotlyn. Scotlyn sat up, both hands placed at the top of her head where her sister struck.
"Hey what do you think you're doing? What gives you the right-" Bloom started and took a step forward but Florice quickly placed her arm in front of her and shook her head for her to stop.
"Ow! That really hurt Raine!"
"Be quiet! That's nothing compared the pain you would have felt of you got in an accident going at 90 miles per an hour! What have I told you about riding around without a helmet?"
"But I really wanted to ride it and you know that-"
"I don't care how badly you wanted to ride it or how good you are. You never know what could happen. Idiot, don't think just because you are really good that you're untouchable. What if this scooter that you've never rode before suddenly stopped working while you were riding? You've never even rode at 90 mph before, what if you weren't able to handle it? What was I supposed to tell Mom and Dad when I got home huh?" Raine continuously scolded her.
Scotlyn could feel her eyes begin to water. Her head hurt and she was embarrassed. Knocked to the ground by her sister who was scolding her. She looked up to Raine most in the world and could tell that she had just disappointed her a lot and realized what she did was stupid. The one thing that made Scotlyn upset more than anything else is when she made her sister look down upon her.
"I-I'm sorry Raine." Scotlyn apologized as she hung her head down.
Bella and Bloom couldn't help but feel bad for her. They only knew Scotlyn for less than 3 hours yet they never imagined seeing a proud girl like her to look so down. Raine knelt down in front of her hurt younger sister and then placed her hand on top of her head where she struck her and her expression softened.
"Now what did I say about crying?"
Scotlyn sniffled, "Us Bowens don't cry."
"Exactly. Besides, what are you crying for? You just got a cool new scooter that can go 90mph, you should be happy." she smiled at her.
This made Scotlyn begin to smile too, "Yeah, you're right."
The two of them began to laugh it off as if nothing ever happened.
"Are they always like this?" Bloom asked, feeling much better knowing that Raine didn't hit Scotlyn with malice.
"Yep. I know it can be a little much sometimes but that's Raine's tough love for her sister."
"Hmm… I wonder where Rarity is right now. I feel like I'm forgetting something that has to do with her."
Rarity was seated in an elegant cafe across the street from the festival. There was a large television on the wall that was broadcasting the event. Currently, the Serpens Collegiate instructors were giving directions on doing the toughness tests. That involved gems, crystals and jewels of all types and this made Rarity all types of envious.
"Oh what I'd do to have just a few of those beauties for my dresses." she commented.
"Don't worry Madame Delacour, I am positive that once you get accepted into one of Canelot's specialized academies, how many jewels you have for your works of art shall become a trivial thing." said her waiter as he handed her a cup of tea.
"Thank you Louis. Your enthusiasm is much welcomed." she replied as she picked up her cup of tea to sip.
Louis wasn't anyone special, just a older friend of Rarity. A little less than 2 years ago, during one of her very few visits to Canelot, she was having tea in the exact same cafe when she overheard him fretting about how he wasn't sure he'd be able to make enough money in order to afford for him and his wife's wedding attire. Because she loved the tea he served her so much, she offered to design a gown and tuxedo for them, free of charge. The results was absolutely stunning and Rarity was later invited to the wedding. Ever since, she and him have been good friends. She would always visit the cafe whenever in Canelot.
"Hmmm, I wonder where Bella is. I told her to meet me here after I finished my test." Rarity looked towards the entrance but no one was there. The cafe was empty for the day really because of the festival.
"I have an hour before I have to go back inside the stadium." she sipped her tea again, "I'm sure she's fine. I'll find her before then."
"Hey princess, have a good test?" Mr. Sparks said to Twilight as she made her way to one of the two empty seats next to her parents.
"Well it definitely wasn't a walk in the park like most other tests I'm used to. There was quite a x factor during this one." Twilight chuckled in response as she scratched the back of her head.
"Well I'm sure you and Spyro did fantastic on it." her mother said.
"So do you know where your private tutor is Twily? Everyone is wondering it even if they aren't saying it." her father asked.
Twilight looked over to where all the council members were seated and to the one vacant seat, "No actually. I have no idea where she is and its not like her to be late like this."
Twilight was obviously worried. Solisia always stressed punctuality and she couldn't help but get the feeling that something must be awry for her to be late.
"Don't worry. I'm sure she is fine. The council members are after all the most power people in all of Equestria both figuratively and literally. She's probably on her way as we speak." Mr. Sparks comforted his daughter, obviously knowing how she felt.
"Yeah, you're probably right. In the mean time we should just root for Spyro."
One thing about Serpens, like the Dragons from which they descended, they had a sweet tooth for all types of gems, crystals, pearls and jewels. Their razor sharp fangs are actually pretty darn tough. Some tougher than others of course and the tougher your fangs, the sweeter the gem you could eat. Part of the toughness test was of course to test a Serpens fangs and what better way than eating gems. The line led to a table where 10 rectangular plates were placed, each having 10 stones on them in a line from least hard to hardest. In order it was talc, amber, pearl, fluorite, obsidian, turquoise, sun stone, emerald, sapphire and diamond.
Spyro's mouth was watering as he looked at the plate. Because of the fact that he didn't live with a Serpens family and the expensive value of gems, he doesn't eat them much. Talc and amber are not so expensive so he usually is able to get those every now and again but other gems he usually only has the luxury of eating during holidays or his birthday when his foster parents save up to buy them. The most expensive gem he ever ate was his last birthday party when Mr. Sparks brought him a beautiful quartz stone. It was delicious but took forever for him to eat. He had it for almost 3 months before he finally able to be the entire thing. It was extremely hard for his teeth to bite into it with one go. "How hard is quartz again I wonder?" he said to himself trying to gauge at what level of hardness he'd probably have to stop at.
As much as he wanted to taste it, he knew diamond was most likely out of the question. The delectable gem was sure to shatter his teeth but maybe he could eat the sapphire. That would be a good way to start this off. After waiting for a few more minutes, Spyro was finally at his plate with 9 other students. Garble was right next to him and smirked.
"Try not to disappoint me too much now."
The instructor stood in front of them all and asked for their names, then when she had written all 10 of them down, she told them to each eat the talc while watching closely. Spyro picked up the white, powdery stone and placed it in his mouth and chewed. It broke easily into a soft powder that tasted very sugary. It was like eating a normal food for him. Then it was time to eat the amber. It was soft and syrupy like caramel. Spyro only ever had a pearl once before, when he found one at the beach by pure luck and it tasted exactly how he remembered, like a white chocolate chip. Fluorite was a bluish green and looked like it was powdered. He bit into and was unexpectedly hit by an extreme sour. Spyro's face scrunched up a little as he ate it. It was hit first time eating fluorite and it was crunchy like cereal. Next was obsidian. It was a black and smooth, glass like elliptical stone. When he bit into it, it was very tough. It took a great deal of force and chewing to swallow it and the fact that it tasted like dark licorice didn't make it any better. The 6th stone was turquoise and it was much harder than Spyro expected.
He bit into it willy nilly and there was a loud crack as pain shot through teeth. For a second, he believed that one of them had cracked and broken but realized it was just the turquoise splitting in half. He bit into it more cautiously and the two pieces were taking forever to break apart. He managed to forcefully swallow the large chunks down.
"Now, the sun stone."
Spyro had never eaten a sun stone before. It was an orange colored gem that looked like it had red glitter in it. The sun's rays glistened peculiarly off of the gem and made it look extremely tasty. He picked the gem up and cautiously bit it. Nothing. He couldn't break it. Spyro bit harder and yet the stone refused to even crack. He continued to bite with more force until his teeth began to ache again and then stopped. The instructor made a note on the clipboard where he had written their names.
"Spyro Sparks, you're done."
"Huh? Wait, I'm sure I can eat this."
"No." she shook her head, "You took the longest to eat the turquoise and now you can't even crack open the sun stone. Your fang toughness is hardly a 6."
"Next is the emerald." she continued, ignoring him.
Spyro looked down in shame while his group finished the plate. Almost everyone else had a scored of 7 -9 while he was stuck with a 6. Garble, who had the sole person to eat the diamond, grinned at him as they walked away from the gem table.
"Well isn't that a shame. I thought you were going to entertain me Spyro but a 6? Well I guess I can say I laughed at how weak your teeth are so maybe that counts for something."
"Who can't eat a sun stone? I had a bunch of those on a cake once when I was in middle school." Ladon laughed.
Spyro was becoming aggravated with them, "Hey! I don't eat gems a lot so my teeth don't get a chance to toughen up that much!" he yelled at them in defense.
"What type of Serpens doesn't eat gems? Do your parents not feed you or something? Even if you can't afford some of the more expensive ones, every Serpens knows how to grow some."
Spyro bit his lip, "I'm adopted by a Magus family so I wouldn't know how to grow them and it's not like we are rich."
Ladon and Zu gasped but Garble's facial expression remained the same, a slight grin.
"Really? No wonder you look so weak. You aren't even a real Serpens."
"What? Yes I am, what are you talking about?"
"You said you're adopted but why? Your real parents must have left you for a reason."
"He must be a quarter blood or even worse, a no blood!" Zu accused.
"What are those?" Spyro asked in confusion.
"Tch, you don't even know what those are."
"Calm down now guys, let's not make any wild conclusions." Garble said, "I'll explain it to you pipsqueak. A pure blood is a Serpens born of 2 pure blooded Serpens parents or a pure blood and a half blood. A half blood is a Serpens born from a pure blood and quarter blood or no blood or two half bloods. A quarter blood is a Serpens born from a half blood and a no blood or two quarter bloods. In the unlikeliness that 2 none Serpens races have a Serpens kid, that kid is considered a no blood, a mutant. If you knew about Seprens society you'd know that a lot rides on your blood line. Quarter bloods and no bloods are looked down upon because they are genuinely inferior and most usually go and live in non Serpens cities and towns. That begs the question, why would your parents leave you? Maybe your just a quarter blood or no blood that no one wanted."
Garble explained this with much prejudice and Spyro for the first time realized how little he actually knew about Serpens. The race was very secluded, living in their own towns and cities like Garble had said. He only knew a few back where he lived so he never really looked much into their culture or was ever really exposed to it. This whole revelation about bloodlines was new to him and made him for the first time question who his real parents were. He had been with his adopted family from such a young age that they are all he ever knew so he never really felt the need to question who he really was...until now that is.
"What's wrong? You have such a dumb look on your face now?" Garbled remarked, "Don't worry, you aren't totally a lost cause yet. I mean, you did say you were adopted so maybe you're a pure blood or half blood whose parents just didn't want a kid. You still have a chance to prove yourself."
Spyro didn't know why, but Garble's words were getting to him and he wanted nothing more than to believe he was a Grade A Serpens who could hang with any other Serpens. That's what he'd need to be if he planned on getting into the school.
"We still got some more exams to go. Ace those and there won't be a doubt that your a pure or half blood."
"Alright, let's get to them then."
"Heh, well I hope you brought your swim suit."
"Swimsuit? For what?" Spyro blinked at him confusion.
At that very moment, a crevice opened up in the middle of the stadium, forming a large pit.
"Magus!" the instructor called out to her assistants that stood around the hole, "Fill it up."
The Magus all muttered an incantation and then the pit began to fill up with lava. The heat could be felt by anyone on the ground level and the crowd cheered when the steaming, bubbling pit was filled to the brim.
Apphia walked through the pathways of the fair, a cloud seemingly over her head.
"It's no use. I've done gone asked everyone there is to ask if they've seen her and they all said no. I do hope she is alright."
Too absorbed in thinking about where Bloom was, Apphia wasn't paying attention and walked into somebody by accident.
"Oh my, I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention." she apologized.
"Oh no don't worry, I wasn't paying much attention either." Shia answered her back.
"Huh? You're one of them personal guard folk."
"Yes, yes I am."
"Well why aren't ya up in the stadium guarding the council?"
Shia jumped in surprise and began to fumble over his words, "Well I uh-you see I'm...er..."
"Oh what does it matter." she said.
Shia sighed in relief.
"You wouldn't have happened to see a little girl about nay high and with raspberry colored hair?" she asked him eagerly.
"Huh? You mean Bloom?"
Apphia facial expression immediately lit up, " Yeah her! Do you know where she is?"
"Not currently but I was just talking to her and I know how to find her."
Shia closed his eyes and began to glow in his usual blue magical aura for a brief second and then the aura dissipated. Then he opened his eyes and spoke.
"Bella can you hear me? ...That's a relief. I thought the spell wouldn't work for a second and no I haven't found her yet but I did find someone who wants to talk to Bloom."
Apphia looked at him with straightest face as he talked to the air.
"Is this guy crazy or something..." she thought to herself.
"Hey, take my hand." he said to her as he extended it out.
"Uh okay." Apphia said as she reluctantly took his hand.
"You can talk now."
"Apphia! Boy do I have news for you. I managed to sell just bout every last one of our apple taters." Apphia could hear Bloom say.
"Bloom? How is it that-"
"It's a spell that allows people to link their minds together so that they can communicate even over long distances." Shia explained.
"Huh, well that's quite useful. Anywho, its nice that you sold all the taters and all Bloom but where are you now?"
"Oh, I'm just with some friends I made searching for Council Member Solisia. Mr. Shia asked us to help him find her."
Shia jumped in shock, "Hey! I told you not to tell anyone!"
"Oh yeah... Sorry but Scotlyn's sister and her friend knows as well."
Shia had his palm on his face, "Why didn't I see this coming?"
"But they are the only ones who know, we swear."
"We promise not to tell anyone else."
"Who's that?" Apphia asked when a new, soft voice spoke.
"I'm Scotlyn's friend, Florice. It's nice to meet you sort of. You don't have to worry Mr. Shia, your secret is safe with Raine and I."
"Secret? What secret? Bella, are you there?" a new voiced asked.
"Rarity is that you? How was the test?"
"Oh it was quite a hassle. I swear science will always be the bane of me."
"I told you to study for the science portion of the test Rarity."
"I know but I was just too excited to be visiting Canelot to study, besides I think I did fairly well on the test despite that."
"Ahem, kind of in the middle of a very important conversation you two " Shia interjected with a vein of aggravation on his forehead.
"Bella, who is that and where are you? I told you to meet me at Louis' cafe when the written test were done."
"Oh yeah, that's what I was forgetting. I knew it was something important. I hope you didn't worry much. I made some new friends like you suggested. That was just Mr. Shia, he's a council guard and Council Member Solisia's personal guard. He asked us to help him find her."
"I thought you said you wouldn't tell anyone else!" Shia barked.
"What? Scotlyn and Bloom told their old sisters so why can't I?"
Shia sighed again, "Someone remind me to cross out the young from my list of people you can trust with a secret."
"Where'd you get the basis that they were reliable? That's common sense now." Rarity stated
"Stop talking." Shia answered with a refrained expression.
"So Solisia's missing? That explains why she wasn't there at the stadium. Think a no good varmint went and kidnapped her." Apphia said a little riled up.
"No, this is Solisia of the council that we're talking about. The council members after all are the 8 most powerful people in Equestria figuratively and LITERALLY. She can very well take care of herself. Realistically, she doesn't even need me to protect her from danger."
"Well if she isn't being held somewhere against her will, where would suggest she be?" Rarity questioned him.
"Well I'm going to tell you something the general public doesn't really know or get to see. Sometimes I feel like a personal babysitter rather than guard because Solisia is one of the most immature council members. She's almost definitely ran off somewhere nearby the stadium."
"Huh? Would she really just run off like that on a day like today."
"Yes. Yes she would." he answered bluntly.
"I wouldn't think that she's that careless." Florice said softly.
"How could a council member just run off on a day where they are needed most? I simply can't believe that!" Rarity exclaimed.
"I gotta agree with them Shia. That just don't make no sense in my book." Apphia said.
"Yep, no one ever believes me about it. Just please keep this under the wraps and if you find her, let me know right away."
"Alright sir." He heard Bella say.
"See you soon Apphia."
"Alright Bloom, you stay safe now."
"Make sure you are at the stadium for when I take my physicals Bella."
With that, Shia cut the link off.
"Alright, so where do you reckon we start?" Apphia aaked as she placed her hands on her hips.
"Just about anywhere at this point."
"Is it just me, or does it look like Spyro he's struggling to keep up." Ms. Sparks asked curiously.
"I thought I was the only one to notice that. He does look like he's giving it his all to come up short each time. Maybe having to compete with this many other Serpens is a little too much for him. He isn't used to this type of competition after all where he has to use his innate abilities so much." Mr. Sparks replied.
Twilight looked down at the situation intently. Her elbows on her thighs as she leaned over and supported her head with her hands. She was biting her lip as if thinking hard. Spyro looked exhausted and beaten up, despite this though, there was determination in his eyes, one she knew all too well. Usually when Spyro was this determined to accomplish something, Twilight would either help him or leave him to it but most other times didn't involve a pool of lava. Serpens were of course able to swim in lava unscathed like their dragon ancestors but the amount of heat their skin could take all depended on their toughness and heat resistance. Spyro's scales, whenever they do manage to become visible were smooth and very delicate looking. You'd be hard pressed to differentiate his scales from his body unlike other Serpens like Garble, whose scales looked much tougher, rugged and flaked over his skin. The difference was all too obvious and Spyro's intention of going all out on something he certainly isn't ready for would no doubt cause more harm than good.
"I'm going back down." Twilight declared as she stood up.
"Huh? Why? It'll be a little while more before Spyro finishes."
"I need to stop him from doing something stupid."
Anxiety was building up within Spyro as he waited on the line for the lava pit. He was shirtless and in a heat resistant pair of swimming trunks provided by the instructors since he didn't have any. He looked over his now scaly skin, a sight he wasn't used to. He wondered if the thin layer of organic armor could really protect him while in lava. He'd never been in a lava pit before but there is a first time for everything.
"I want you all to listen up and listen good. This pool of lava is very much like the lava you'd find in a volcano. It's about 1,200 ℃ so yeah...it's really hot. I can't force you to not do anything but word of advice, if you know you aren't accustomed to the intense heat of lava, drop out of this part right now because if you aren't prepared, you could be severely burned or even worse," her eyes glinted as she said this with a cold seriousness, "you could die."
That caused a bit of a stir amongst them all. Slowly, one by one Serpens began leaving the line to the pit. Only a few though, less than maybe 30 walked over to the side after that announcement, each looking shameful and envious.
"You sure you don't wanna go join them pipsqueak?" Garble creeped behind Spyro and said into his ear, "No one will blame you."
"Just look at his scales Garble, they're like a baby's!" Ladon laughed.
"There's no way he jumps into that pool and walks out scot free." Zu added.
"But he of course needs to ace this and the fire breathing part of the exam if he wants to even be considered for the school. I'm pretty sure Council Member Draconem already has a list of people who's stood out to him. Probably hasn't even noticed you yet." Garble stated, "So what will you you do?"
Spyro glared back at Garble, "I said don't call me pipsqueak."
"That's what I like to hear." he smirked.
As Spyro moved closer to the front of the line, anxiety built up in him. The only thing keeping him composed was his determination to prove himself as a true dragon descendant. But the idea of his scales failing him kept clawing at the back of his mind. The image of him being scorched by lava flashed in his head and he shuddered at the thought.
"YAAAAH!" someone shrieked in pain as they jumped into the pit. Immediately the surrounding Magus instructors rapidly casted a water spell to douse him. The crowd let out a simultaneous "ooooooo" as if they themselves had felt the same pain he just did. Garble and his mates were all laughing up a storm.
"Did you see that Spyro!? Haha! Priceless!"
Before he knew it, Spyro was at the front of the line. It took all his willpower to stop himself from trembling.
"Alright Spyro... It's all in your hands now." Garble said to him.
Spyro was hesitant a little as he watched the pool of boiling red liquid.
"Well, no turning back now I guess."
"Spyro!" he heard a familiar voice call out to him.
"Twilight?" he paused to see her racing out into the arena, "What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing up there?! Spyro are you crazy, you never jumped into lava before in your life and you think you'll be able to handle a full body submersion all of a sudden?"
"Y-you don't know what you are talking about Twilight. I'm a Serpens, this is something I can do."
"Spyro, do you honestly believe you can jump into that and walk away uninjured?"
"Spyro, you're really gonna let some non-Serpens girl tell you what to do?" Garble hissed into his ear.
"I...I have to do this. It's the only way I have a chance at getting into Serpens Collegiate."
"I admire your determination, I really do but there is no point in going all out to get into a school if you'll be too badly hurt to even attend. Please Spyro, stop. I just don't want you doing anything that'll put you in jeopardy." Twilight pleaded
"Oh come on, you seriously gonna listen to her? Jump already." Garble goaded.
The crowd was becoming restless.
"Hey what's the hold up?"
"Think that guy is getting lectured from that girl down there."
"Hey man jump already!"
"Yea, stop wasting time!"
The instructor noticed and reacted quickly.
"Hurry up kid! If you are gonna jump in, do it already. If not, get away from the line. Your holdings us all up."
Spyro shook as he decided whether or not to risk it. He was so conflicted and confused until he glanced back at Twilight. Her soft, pleading eyes reassured and calmed him down. He exhaled and then took a step back.
"I'm not gonna jump."
Twilight sighed in relief. Spyro turned back to Garble.
"I'm sorry Garble but I couldn't take that risk. I'm not willing to-"
"Who told you could talk to me you no blood scum?"