“Oh, now I get it! You times this with this, and then the
answer with pi?”

“Yep.”

Clapping for joy, Flora quickly took her pencil and started
writing out the equations and answers for each problem on her paper, under the
watchful eye of Tomato. While she was still a little slow when it came to math,
Tomato was quite proud at how well she improved in such a short time. Due to
this, as well as her upbeat yet soothing attitude, he found himself looking
forward to lunchtime every day.

Across from them sat Bluejinx, staring at a blank paper as
he suffered from writer’s block. He was to write a short essay on an
interesting event that happened recently in his life. Only problem was, in
Bluejinx’s words, “My life has been pretty boring lately.”

Flora scribbled down the last of the numbers, threw the
paper into her saddlebag, and said, “Done and done!”

“Good to see your confidence rising,” Tomato said in his
usual impassive tone.

Flora beamed, and then glanced at Bluejinx. “Now… since we
have time to kill, let’s explore campus, and hope that something exciting comes
along for him to write about.”

Bluejinx slammed his head on the table. “I’m so pathetic…”

Tomato sighed. “Pull yourself together, it’s not the end of
the world if you can’t finish one assignment.”

Bluejinx raised his head and glared at him, hissing, “Hypocrite…”

Tomato’s mane bristled, and he slammed his hoof on the table
with a BANG, and snorted loudly,
which made both Flora and Bluejinx jump. After a few moments of a sharp glare
and heavy breathing, he glanced around, and noticed that some of the other
students were staring at him—some with curiosity, some with fright, and some
with disapproval. Biting his lip and letting his ears droop, he slicked his
hair back, slipped off his stool, picked up his saddlebag, and said as he left,
“Sorry about that … I’ll just… go read a book…”

He didn’t walk very far when he was caught in a screaming
gray blur, much to the confusion and alarm of Flora and Bluejinx. As they stood
up and galloped to where Tomato had been caught by whatever had been making
that blur, another one passed by, only this one shouted, “HiFloraCantTalkGottaCatchMyBrother!”

Bluejinx scratched his head. “Wha…?

Flora blinked. “I think that was my roommate.”

Meanwhile, Tomato found himself clinging for dear life on
the head of a large, gray stallion screaming at the top of his lungs. Glancing
downward, he saw that the guy was sitting on a wheeled stool, and they were
spinning as they zoomed across campus. He could barely hear the startled shouts
of other students as they jumped out of the way of the stool, and already he
was getting a headache and some nausea.

“Hey, you mind stopping this thing?!” he shouted.

“I can’t! I lost control!” the other wailed.

“Just how did you lose control of a stool?!”

“I was only playing with it!”

Tomato huffed. Idiot.

The stool flew over a set of stairs, and bounced on the
landing while still going. The bouncing made Tomato’s stomach lurch, and
presumably the other pony as well, if his moaning was anything to go by. One
bounce made Tomato accidentally bury his muzzle in the other’s blue and
yellow-streaked mane, which he promptly recoiled at the sweaty smell. He tried
to look around for any obstacles, but they were spinning so fast he couldn’t
tell which way was forward, which way was back, or which was left or right.

He wanted to leap off this ride, but he didn’t want to
injure himself either. All he could pray for was a gentle stop at the hooves of
a kind and strong stranger, or at least for the stool to slow down enough for
him to hop off.

Neither wish came true. Both Tomato and the other pony ended
up smacking into a tree.

His world was spinning as he landed on the ground and watched
the leaves and stars dancing above him. He felt like a hoof was stepping on his
stomach, and he was aching everywhere. He could see a curious crowd gather
around him, and their murmurs were garbled in his ears.

A gray pegasus mare with a freckled face pushed herself
through the crowd. “Nimbus!”

The other pony, Nimbus, sat up, rubbing his head and staring
straight at the mare. With a goofy smile, he slurred, “Hey, sis… I picked up a
hitchhiker…”

Tomato sat up as well, glaring at Nimbus. “An unwilling
hitchhiker.  Seriously, you were playing
with a stool?”

Nimbus glanced at him. “Hey, you’re never too old to find
spinny stools fun.”

Nimbus’ sister sighed. “You do realize that Mr. Starstruck
will not be happy about your joyride, right?”

“Well, it wouldn’t call it a ‘joy’ride, considering neither
me or Mr. Hair Loopy were very happy about it.”

Tomato scowled as he slicked his distinguished forelock
back, hoping in that it would stick. But his effort was in vain, and it came
springing back up with a SPROING.

Nimbus giggled. “I didn’t know hair could make noise.”

Tomato growled. “Go ahead, play with it, I dare you.”

Before another word could be said, Flora and Bluejinx came
onto the scene, panting from their gallop from the food court. The pegasus mare
turned to Flora, and said, “Hey, roomie, take a look at what mischief my twin
brother got into. He even picked up a hitchhiker!”

Flora flicked some hair out of her face. “Cirrus, that
hitchhiker is my math tutor.”

Cirrus’ eyes widened. “Is it now?” She jumped forward and
hovered above Tomato and Nimbus, helping both stallions up. She brushed some
dust off of Nimbus, and then flicked Tomato’s forelock, making the same sproing sound as before.

The lanky
stallion jumped and growled at her. “Don’t do that!”

She laughed at him and then turned to Flora. “Wow,
he’s a snappy one. How often does he yell at you?”

Flora raised an eyebrow. “He’s actually very patient with
me.”

“Huh.” Cirrus scratched at her short, blonde, blue-streaked hair,
and took another look at Tomato and his manner of dress. “So, you studying law, or something?”

Tomato sighed. “Business.”

“Eh, okay.” She proudly showed off her cutie mark, which was
a blue drama mask. “I’m an actress.”

Nimbus joined his sister in the air and showed them his
cutie mark, a yellow comedy mask. “Same! Only the term is ‘actor.’”

“Hooray,” Tomato replied flatly.

Flora smiled and shook her head, and then glanced at
Bluejinx who was writing something down on his notepad. With a giggle, she
asked, “Finally found some material for your essay?”

Bluejinx turned to her with a big grin. “Yep!”

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