Twilight sat at the school desk, studying hard before she felt a pat on her shoulder. “Whachya doin?” the new coming teen asked scarily similar to how a specific pink pony would.
“Nothing, Josiphine.” she answered. “I’m just studying.”
“You should join us for lunch.” Rachel urged beside the princess.
“Si~” Naples stated happily with a smile to rival her uncle. “It’ll be fun!”
Josiphine smirked at the Italian teen beside her, slightly turning away from the weapon obsessed teen. “Mainly cause your dad’s not picking fights with Sebastian anymore.”
The Italian teen groaned. “I would prefer that over them ripping each other apart on who’s more sorry!”
The former alicorn giggled at that. “I guess Claude’s spell worked a little too well.”
“Ya think?!” all three teens exclaimed.
With another laugh from the purple haired student, they gathered their things and went on their way to the lunch room where everyone ate socially. Twilight, Josiphine, Rachel and Naples looked around for a place to sit before the princess was drawn to an ebony haired duo. “Why not we sit with my brother and sister?” she asked the other three. “They’re already sitting with Rainbow Dash, Akimi, Asami, and Angel.”
The other girls nodded with no better ideas as they made their way to the long lunch table. “Hey guys~” Naples stated, showing her uncle’s side of her personality. “Mind if we join you?”
Azula glanced over at the four newcomers and was about to turn them away before Akimi interrupted her. “Of course you guys can.” she smiled, sliding over to make room on the bench.
The new comers sat much to Azula’s annoyance, which didn’t go unnoticed by her younger sister. “…Sis?” Josiphine called. “You alright?”
“I’m fine.” she huffed. “I just want to get back to the palace is all.”
“We’re all homesick.” Twilight stated.
“I’m not.” Rachel openly admitted with a grin. “I have to say, I love this little vay-kay from Ciel and Christi.”
Josiphine raised a brow. “Ciel’s still with you guys. He didn’t stay home.”
The teen maid shrugged. “Ever since Ciel started jumping Sebastian’s ass about Romano, he’s been paying them more attention than to Bard and I, plus him and Mizuki are only ones who can hold a conversation with Christi, so Ciel’s busy practicing that weird finger thingy when he has free time.” She then leaned back slightly, putting her hands behind her head. “With how busy he and Christi are, it’s practically a vacation from them barking orders all the time. Not to mention Mey-rin and Finnie are spared from his orders too~! This is too great!”
Angel arched a brow. “I get where you’re coming from after years of serving Alois Trancy,” she sighed. “…but I think this is one long vacation if that’s your thought process.”
The fire princess huffed. “You wouldn’t understand. None of you would.” With that, she snapped up and stomped away.
“She…didn’t mean that.” Josiphine tried to defend her sister.
“I think she did.” Zuko sighed. “Remember, there was a time when you and I were treated as commoners, heck, just before we came here, we were in prison for treason! In a way, you and I are used to this commoner’s life to an extent. For her, it’s worse than when we were banished.” The whole group of teens looked over at the princess that left the table as the prince continued to explain to his baby sister and indirectly to the group. “When we were banished, we still had a ship to command, a crew, a captain under our control, and uncle. After that, we gradually lost more and more until we ended up with the gang.”
“If I remember correctly,” Josiphine huffed out a chuckle. “Katara kidnapped me as leverage for you to not attack them and as a firebending teacher for Aang, and uncle told me that you went crazy trying to find me.”
The brother coughed in his hand to hide his embarrassment. “Well, you get the point.” he mumbled. “In literally a flash of light, Azula, not only lost her title as Princess of the Fire Nation, but also fell all the way down to commoner standard, and even lost her bending. All she has is us.”
“When you say ‘us’,” Rachel stated. “you mean you and Josiphine, right?”
“When you put it that way, Scar Face,” Rainbow Dash smiled. “Azula doesn’t just have you two, but she has all of us!”
“Yeah!” Twilight smiled. “She has friends!”
“Yeah, she might have friends,” the okami sighed. “but it doesn’t look like she knows that.”
“I’ll let her know~!” Pinki exploded, leaving all the residents at the table confused.
“Pinki?!” Zuko exclaimed, looking between the pink haired student and where he last saw her, which was across the cafeteria at a table hidden in the ocean of white, grey, and yellow. “How-? What-? Why-? When-? Hu?!”
Twilight laughed and patted the prince’s shoulder. “…A word of advice.” she chuckled. “Don’t question Pinki Pie.”
They all shared a laugh and continued eating, Zuko holding a deep red, embarrassed blush on his cheeks, as Naples kept her eyes in the direction Azula left in. “…No wonder she’s so upset…”
Azula walked to the shrine alone; everyone left without her. Typical. She couldn’t take the bubbly, diverse, polar opposite personalities of the other teens any longer anyway. Looking around the vast open space, she groaned at the deceptively happy atmosphere as she pointed her golden eyes down from the ember leaves.
With a sigh, she climbed the steps and sighed at the dim light. Switching on the lights, she leapt out of her skin at the big “SURPRISE!” Looking around her, she saw the large group all dressed in party clothes.
“Don’t you remember what I said last week?” Naples laughed, taking her shoulder.
Pinki then bounced across the room, admiring her work for putting a party like this together in such a short amount of time. “Zeal for a zest life!”
“…So…” the princess stuttered. “…You planed this?”
The Italian shrugged. “I guess you could say that.” she smiled. “It is Halloween after all, and who ever heard of a Halloween without a party? All of us, your friends, planned this.”
“Well, technically,” Pinki cut in. “Naples’ idea was to make you happier, I planned the party, and everyone else helped me get all the stuff I need~” She then glanced at the fox in the next room. “…Except Tomoe. Tomoe gave us permission to even HAVE this party~! He said it was okie dokie lokie when Asami, Natsumi, and Akimi talked to him~!”
The princess’ smile grew on her face. “…Friends…” she smiled. “You’re all my friends…” With her smile only growing, Asami turned on the music and the party officially began.
Not long in the party, Rainbow Dash was pouring herself a cup of sake before Tomoe rushed up and snatched the alcohol from her. “No drinking!” he commanded. “If you start drinking, everyone would want to drink too! The last thing I need is 29 drunk people in this shrine! Half of which are minors, three of which are MY DAUGHTERS!”
“…But Tomoe!” Mizuki cried. “I made this sake just for this party!”
“It’s the same brew he made for Nanami!” Asami exclaimed, brushing her golden brown hair across her face and looking over at the furry familiar with big sky blue eyes.
“You made sake for Nanami?!” the fox yelled. “When?!”
The older snake chuckled before glaring at the teen girl. “Tomoe wasn’t supposed to know that!” he hissed through grit teeth.
Furrowing her brows, Azula walked over as a fight started to break. “Tomoe,” she called. “maybe Rainbow Dash didn’t think that the sake was alcoholic, and just wanted a taste.” She then turned to the former pegasus. “He did have a point. Once you start drinking, everyone else would want one too, and most of this group are minors, so it’d be unfair.” Lastly, she directed her attention to Mizuki. “You shouldn’t have made an alcoholic drink for a party with so many minors to begin with.” Reaching over, she took the sake and put it in the kitchen, snatching a sip while she was outside their view.
The older brother looked over with golden disbelieving eyes. “I thought you knew already. She is your sister after all, oui?” France smiled, appearing beside the prince. “She has a natural Understanding for others.”
Zuko huffed. “Where was that when Josiphine and I needed it?”
Still, the party continued.
When it started to get late, Tomoe started herding the group to bed. “This party was lots of fun, but you all have school tomorrow, and it’s coming up on midnight already.”
“Come on Oto!” Akimi whined. “Can you at least tell us a story?”
America smiled wide. “Yeah! A spine chilling horror story with psychotic killers, and evil demons…no offense.”
Sebastian shrugged. “None taken.”
Tomoe thought for a moment before seeing his daughters’ puppy faces. With a sigh, he pulled up a chair and sat down. Halloween has always been his children’s favorite holiday, and they always loved a good ghost story. “I remember Mikage telling me this from before Asami, Natsumi, Akimi, and I came here.” he stated, starting the story.
“A thousand years ago, there was a god with a familiar in this shrine. This pair, however, was very cruel to humans. One day, a human came to give an innocent prayer for her son to return safely from war, but instead of answering, the god sent his familiar to kill the human, but only after the murder of the son done by the familiar’s hand. The yokai left, hunted them down, fulfilled the order exactly as instructed, and never returned.” Tomoe looked around to see the interested, but frightened looks on everyone’s face. Looking even closer at America, hiding behind Rachel and whining as he shook violently in fear, the kitsune smiled. “Of course, Mikage overthrew the cruel god, but every hundred years on Halloween, the familiar comes back to murder any humans that comes in his path, retake the shrine in the place of his Lord and Master, and destroy any god or yokai that claim otherwise and spend this night in the shrine.” He then turned to his daughters. “That is why he always insisted that you three leave the night every hundred years while he and I fight off the yokai until daybreak. This is exactly the thousandth year, meaning he will return tonight in search of his one, true Lord and Master.”
Though the group looked unsettled, none of them looked as frightened as America. Tomoe smiled widely. “Well, pleasant dreams everyone~!”
Just like that, they all thanked him for the story, complemented it, and got ready for bed. America didn’t move. Azula and Pinki looked over at the American and tilted her head. “Something wrong?” the princess asked.
“Yeah!” Pinki exclaimed, bouncing around to see the young man’s face. “You seem a little down.”
“…evil ghost…evil god…kill us all…evil ghost…evil god…kill us all…”
The princess just gazed at him for a moment before she smiled. “…You’re afraid of ghosts, aren’t you?”
That caught America’s attention as he shot up straight. “N-no! A hero like me isn’t afraid of anything!” She knew fear when she saw it, and the ‘hero’ was dripping in it. An idea popped in her head as she simply walked away, leaving Pinki to make him laugh with funny faces, which were only scaring him further before he just ignored her and continued his freaking out.
“…Claude,” the princess called, knocking on the guest room door. “you in there?”
The door slid open as the tsuchigumo leaned on a foot with his arms crossed. “I’m here.” he sighed. “What do you want?”
Azula was slightly taken aback by his tone. “…You were a butler?”
“That was six months ago, ‘your highness’.” he stated, putting in air quotes when he said her title and altering his voice from his bland monotone to a mocking tone. “Demons naturally adapt as setting changes, and it’s changed quite a bit from when I was a Trancy Butler.” The two stood there awkwardly before the blind former butler groaned. “Is there anything else?” The princess suddenly remembered why she sought out the spider as she reached up and whispered in his ear.
When the whispering was done, Claude dropped his shoulders, turned around and shut the door. “Come on!” she shouted through the door, moving from knocking to banging. “Just this once?!”
“I thought you were a princess of an evil dictator or something like that!” the spider replied through the door.
“A princess naturally adapts as setting changes, and it’s changed a lot since I was a direct cause in a world wide war!” she replied, mocking his own response. “Come on, Claude! Please? It’ll make your daughter laugh!”
“Her along with all of Japan!”
“…It might make Japan laugh too…he’s so bland though, I think making him laugh is an impossibility…” she mumbled to herself before regaining her train of thought. “Angel hasn’t laughed in months, or haven’t you noticed?” That caught Claude’s attention as he cracked the door open and put his ear in the crack. “You heard right. Your daughter is bullied all the time, and she gets in trouble a lot for picking fights. I know you know at least about the fighting part, the school called you and Angela at least twice already. She gets in trouble because everyone treats her like shit. We all try to defend her, but she’s too stubborn to accept our help.”
With a sigh, the spider stepped out. “…Just this once.”
In the main room, Angel was trying to calm America down, who started completely freaking out after Asami told him that a tree outside the window that looked creepy and dead already was the evil yokai ghost spirit in his true form and Pinki…was just being Pinki. Azula and Claude came in, a wide smile on the teen’s face as the man just groaned in dread with slumped shoulders. “Smile, why don’t you?” she asked. “This is supposed to be fun.”
“…Let’s just get this over with…”
“When I was a little child, and the sun was going down~”
Asami, Angel, and America looked over at the tsuchigumo with wide eyes. “Tell me he’s not-” Angel begged, more people filing in the room from the guest rooms to witness the effects of Claude’s new spell.
“The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me frown~”
Asami took a deep breath as she buried her face in a pillow. “He is.”
Pinki smiled wide, her eyes sparkling. “I know this song~!”
“I’d hide under my pillow~
From what I thought I saw~
But Big Sister said that wasn’t the way~
To deal with fears at all~”
“Then what is?” America exploded.
“She said, ‘Claude, you gotta stand up tall~
Learn to face your fears~”
Pinki couldn’t hold herself back as she belted out the next lines, completely taking over the spider’s lines.
“You’ll see that they can’t hurt you~
Just laugh to make them disappear’~
Ha! Ha! Ha!~”
The spider, former pony, and fire princess all laughed at the tree and opened the window to reveal what it truly was. The others started giggling as Azula joined in the song with Claude, the two of them alternating with the princess to start.
“So, giggle at the ghostly~
Guffaw at the grossly~”
“Crackup at the creepy~
Whoop it up with the weepy~”
“Chortle at the kooky~
Snortle at the spooky~”
Pinki took over the fastest part, completely kicking the other two out of the song.
“And tell that big dumb face to take a hike and leave you alone and if he thinks he can scare you then he’s got another thing coming and the very idea just makes you wanna…hahahaha…heh..~”
All three of the singers took a big, deep breath as they finished the song in a perfect, melodious, unison.
They finished with a big laugh as the whole shrine shook in giggles.
“Tsu-tsuchigumo!” Tomoe half scolded, half giggled. “I tho-I thought you were go-going to cont-control your powers!”
Claude let out a small giggle as he listened to the laughter in the small wooden shrine. His ear filtered out every laugh from Romano’s uncontrollable, hardly used bursts of laughter, to Twilight’s pleasant giggles of joy. From all the way across the room, he heard his baby girl laugh loud and clear over all of the rest. With a smile, he calmed his laughter to a sigh. “…You know Tomoe, all that matters to me is that my little pup is happy. Punish me all you want, but you can’t ever take my pup from me.”
Still huffing out several fits of laughter, Naples pushed through the crowd, France trailing behind her, to find the princess that clutched her stomach and laughed so hard, it hurt her. “I knew you had it in you!” she smiled, catching the black haired princess’ attention.
France chuckled. “This was your idea, oui? Your name says it all.” he sighed with small huffs of laughter. “Laughter you easily spread wherever you go, and Abundant cheer you give off that knows no bounds!”
The princess smiled as the Italian hugged her. “Now, you’re Azula.”