Sorry, I was just tidying up since, well, this is my first real interview with you three. I know Applejack said you would probably be coming over, and I’ve been tidying up since then, but... well, I have a lot of books to keep organized, and I don’t have an assistant like AJ does to help. I mean, Spike comes over now and again, but I can’t really rely on him to be there if I need something done quickly. And that’s not even counting of the fact that I would have to teach him my methods of organization; I mean, Applejack is pretty good at precision, but you’d think she’d be organized as well and-
Oh! I’m sorry, I’m rambling. I do that sometimes; AJ’s pointed it out to me more than once.
Anyway, from what I’ve read, I’m supposed to state my name for the purpose of this interview. *Ahem* My name is Twilight Sparkle, and thank you for this chance to be interviewed.
A Pony POV Series side-story:
Seeds of Knowledge
Anyway, where should we start? With my foalhood? Or would we start with what the problem is? ...wait, there isn’t really a problem right now; this is supposed to be something of an informative interview, since Applejack was pretty adamant about her friends getting their fair share of the credit for everything that’s happened since the Summer Sun Celebration. Though, truth be told, I didn’t really have anything to do with the whole ‘Elements of Harmony’ thing outside of researching it; and, even then, it was Pinkie that actually found the book, and AJ and her friends that actually went out and found them. I just stayed in Ponyville until they came back, really.
...well, okay, there’s a bit more to it than that, if you want to hear the whole thing.
‘The whole story’? What exactly do you-
Um... could you be a bit more specific? ‘Whatever I feel appropriate’ is pretty broad, and I’m not sure I could fit it all in here in a timely fashion. Not to mention, with all the stuff I would have to cover, you’d probably run out of paper for this whole thing before I could even get out of Magic Kindergarten.
(Interviewer’s Notes(Pegasus): Oh, for the love of-)
(Interviewer’s Notes(Unicorn): Miss Sparkle, how about we start simple? Tell us how you got your Cutie Mark.)
Oh! I can do that.
See, I’ve always had something of a talent for magic; well, maybe not always, but for a good portion of my life at the very least. It all started when I started reading what I consider my first real book; it wasn’t even a book for research, just something I picked up as a curiosity: ‘Another Fine Myth’. It’s a work of fiction, but it’s a pretty good one; the main character even has a pet dragon like Applejack does.
But that was my first real exposure to magic on a complex level; I am a unicorn, so I had already seen my parents using it and done a tiny bit of it myself. Nothing worth noting, of course, just some of the usual sparks you see fillies letting off when they get really excited over things and events. But this was the first time I’d ever looked at magic really and truly in depth and I was instantly hooked; it was just so... fascinating.
All these things that magic makes possible; all the things that we still need to learn; the various ways that magic manifests in different ponies, in different species!
Yes, I did go to the Summer Sun Celebration when I was still young; it showed me what a pony could do with magic, what it was truly capable of doing! That just made me all the more interested in learning everything I could; I can’t say I was a prodigy like Applejack was, but I was most certainly above average for my age group. I was already using basic magic by the time I’d gotten out of magic kindergarten, and I’d even started using telekinesis for various activities in my day. Hehe, I think I sound like my grandmother; always going on about how it was when I was young and-
(Interviewer’s Notes(Pegasus): *ahem*)
Oh, yes, of course!
Thanks to how magically adept I was, my parents decided that it would be a good idea for me to enroll in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. It was... well, it was something of a birthday present to me... I’m a nerd... don’t judge me!
I was always top of my class, so grades weren’t an issue, and I was the proper age, the only real issue was having to pass the entrance exam.
Hm? Why, yes, I was there when Applejack took hers; I was actually next in line for testing purposes since we’d both registered on the same day. The Sonic Rainboom was rather frightening, I will admit, but so was the insanity that followed it. Unicorns, magically potent ones anyway, can sense magic and large concentrations of mana; there was some in the Rainboom, I’m not going to deny it, but the thaumatic surges that started coming from the testing room put just about anything I’ve ever seen from a non-alicorn to shame. I didn’t even know what was happening, and it was rather frightening; even more so when I felt myself turn into a paper statue.
...oh... right... I never told Applejack that... these interviews are private, right?
Okay, good... I’d rather not have her know about that; it wasn’t really her fault, so I don’t think she needs to know about it. It would just make her feel guilty over something she had no control over.
Of course, even after things settled down, the testing center was still a wreck and the examiners were in no condition to objectively grade my performance. They were nice enough, however, to promise us an appointment once the repairs had been made though, since my parents had gone to the trouble of arranging it the first time. I was fine with that, personally; nerves can really affect your performance, and I didn’t want to attempt to follow up an Earth Pony that had bent the laws of magic to her whim. Plus, it gave me more time for research.
Since the dragon egg secret was out, I finally had a direction to focus my studies. Dragons, while patently fascinating, aren’t exactly something that’s been heavily researched; in fact, I think Celestia had to actually meet with Tiamat to get information about raising Spike until he was old enough to look out for himself and could be AJ’s assistant. However, if you know where to look, you can find information that can still apply to them.
There are a few other creatures in the world that are at least related, and it’s not hard to extrapolate what dragons would need to hatch from studying those creatures.
Fire drakes, while only distantly related to dragons, tend to live in similar environments, and have similar temperature tolerances. They also require a constant temperature of at least 600 degrees centigrade to hatch; that’s why fire drakes often nest close to volcanoes and other geologically active areas: for the extra heat. Then there are rock lizards; their eggs are hard as diamond and tougher than any metal we can produce right now, so they have grow a special horn while still developing and, when they reach a certain point, they start using it to wear down and weaken the eggshell from the inside. Then, there are the basilisks, whose eggs have their own magic and only hatch when certain conditions are met; there’s that old pony tale about them coming from a rooster egg hatched by a toad, but that’s been debunked by now. It’s actually a special enzyme in venom, which basilisks can produce at birth, that helps to weaken the eggs so they can be broken following development.
Granted, none of those are dragons, but they are at least related to them tangentially enough that certain information can be extracted from studying them.
So, when they had finally made the repairs, I walked in with about as much confidence as I could muster for the situation. I mean, it’s not everyday that you get a chance to get into the princess’s personal school! Of course, I had the unfair advantage of knowing what to expect, with the dragon egg and all, but I was still so nervous. I had no idea what their grading criteria were, nor what they were actually looking for when it came to trying to hatch the dragon egg. I mean, since there weren’t ponies walking around with dragon familiars, I figured that it wasn’t actually a requirement to pass the test; but, still, that did beg the question as to what the school - or the princess for that matter - was doing with dragon eggs in the first place.
Were they some sort of gifts from Tiamat? Did they get pony foals to adopt and raise by their standards? Was there a tribe of ponies in dragon territory that lived as dragons did and only ever saw other ponies when they were taken in as part of some sort of trade? Was it part of a plan on the princess’s part to acclimate the two species together so that Equestria and the dragons could somehow unite? Why did nopony know about it if that was the case?
(Interviewer’s notes(Pegasus): *Ahem*)
Right, right; over-thinking it! Sorry, it’s just something that I do; pretty much everyone except Shiny has called me on it at one time or another. Anyway, I was finally ready for my test, but I was still so incredibly nervous!
I mean, yes, I had prepared to the best of my knowledge and ability with the limited information that I had, but that simply wasn’t enough to make me calm. Not when it was a membership in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns on the line. I just wanted so badly to get in, to learn all that I could about magic; I can very truthfully say that it was the most stress I have ever felt regarding a test. It didn’t help that the information on dragons was, as I have stated, very limited in scope and most of what I was basing my hypotheses on was information related to other species.
There wasn’t time for any more hesitation, though, since I was standing with my parents in front of the examiners at long last.
The repairs had been pretty well done; there weren’t any real signs that a dragon had grown through the roof, or done serious structural damage to the floor in the process. Credit where it’s due, the contractors really know their stuff. Of course, my noticing that was likely a function of how nervous I was and my subconscious trying to focus on anything other than what I was supposed to be focusing on due to the stress it was causing me.
The instructors gave me the basic instructions, that I was to use any and all magical skills I possessed to hatch the dragon egg as it was wheeled in, then they all raised up some clipboards and I was immediately self-conscious.
My horn sparked when I tried to use it for the first time, which happens sometimes when a unicorn can’t fully concentrate on the spell they’re trying to cast at the time. That wasn’t too big a deal by itself, however, in a setting such as it was, it suddenly seemed like a big deal, even more so when the examiners started writing on their clipboards. I don’t normally do well when I’m put on the spot, and it was showing; if not for my parents giving my half-whispered words of encouragement, I probably would have just given up and run back to Smarty Pants and all my books. As it was, it was still a pretty close decision; I didn’t want to be there anymore, it just suddenly seemed too hard, and I couldn’t remember anything that I’d looked up, my mind was totally blank.
Thankfully, I managed to close my eyes and think at long last.
The first thing to come back to me was the information regard the fire drake eggs, so I started with that. Just about every unicorn foal can do a simple prestidigitation spell for altering the temperature of things, usually for cooling off something too hot to drink, or warming up some cold food, and this was just an extension of the basic concept. It was also quite a bit more draining, since I was trying to heat up the egg a lot more than just to make it warm enough to eat. However, before it could really have an effect that I saw, one of the examiners spoke up.
“Miss Sparkle, while the use of a heating spell to hatch the egg would - eventually - work, it would take far too long to be a viable method.” I was blushing after that, embarrassed over the whole thing, but I decided to keep going. I couldn’t imitate the enzyme that was in basilisk venom, so I was down to my last bit of research.
My telekinesis wasn’t the best at the time, I was still just a filly after all, but I would have to make do; this was my last shot at hatching the egg, time to put everything I had into it.
My horn glowed as I put up two telekinetic holds around each side of the egg and got ready to pull. But that was the easy part, now I had to emulate the egg tooth that rock lizards used to weaken their egg; I also had to hope that the dragon was fully developed, but I wasn’t thinking of that at the time... I probably should have been, but I was nervous and slightly panicky, it just slipped my mind is all.
There’s a spell, mostly used by unicorns in the guard, that’s got the unofficial name of ‘Magic Missile’; to not get overly technical, it’s a mass of thaumatic energy shaped into a projectile, then compressed so that it’s far denser than normal and finally launched in a direction of the caster’s choosing. It’s actually not the basic spell that guards are taught when they first join, it’s just the best known one for some reason. Either way, I’d been reading up on the guards, and that was one of the spells that I’d found that had the chance of weakening the shell enough for my telekinesis to pull it apart.
Now, the spell itself isn’t terribly complicated, I’d actually managed to cast it several times in the days leading up to this test as practice, but there was another problem now that it was actually in the moment. See, it might not be a pony, but it was still a child; I’ve been called... cold... by a lot of ponies from the way that I act, but I wasn’t going to risk the life of an unborn dragon just to pass a test.
I’d found out - in my research - that there was a spell that created a light inside of an egg to check on development. It was mostly used by exotic animal owners and traders that wanted to check and see how the would-be hatchlings were developing, but it would have been fine for what I was attempting.
Still holding onto both halves of the egg with my telekinesis, I concentrated a bit more. On some level, I was aware that the examiners were making a bit more noise than they had been before, but I couldn’t really spare much attention for anything beyond what I was already doing; good at magic or not, there was only so much I could actually do as a filly. Of course, when the egg didn’t light up, my concentration went away entirely.
From what I had researched, the spell should have worked, even if there was almost nothing really developed in the egg. I tried to cast it again, but the effect was the same, and I was getting somewhat annoyed. Something wasn’t adding up, and that was something of a pet peeve of mine. Before I’d even realized it, I was walking up to the egg myself to see why my spell - which I was sure was working - wasn’t having the effect that it should.
Of course, once I actually touched it... well....
“This is a rock.” It was pretty obvious once you actually touched it, it was too solid and rough, even for the egg of a rock lizard from what I’d read. And the semi-guilty looks on the examiners’ faces pretty much confirmed my thoughts.
One of them cleared their throat, apparently trying to end this quickly now that I had figured things out. “Well, we seem to have reached the end of this exam, thank you for your-”
“I still have 4 minutes.”
“Er... That is...” he was struggling to think of something to say now, I could almost see him sweating from my spot next to the cart. “We... uh... we-”
“What my associate is trying to say,” one of the others came to his aid, “is that - following the... incident several weeks ago - we don’t actually have a dragon egg any longer. More to the point, considering the damage that was caused by it, we feel it prudent to do our best to avoid such things from happening again. However, seeing as you have more time left in your exam, why don’t we discuss some of your choices?”
That was how the rest of my time was spent, going into detail about the various creatures I’d researched, as well as the spells that I’d looked up as part of that research. I have to say, it did feel good to talk about what I’d learned, even if I wasn’t the most social of ponies; we all have some environments where we’re most comfortable, explaining things just happens to be mine. Even if it hadn’t gone exactly like I had been expecting, I was reasonably pleased with how everything had turned out in the end.
“I hope I get in....” I said I was pleased with it, not that I was confident. It was still one of the biggest things that I’d ever attempted to do, and it still meant a lot to me.
“I don’t know about the school,” my dad ruffled my mane, “but, you did get something from all that.” I blinked a bit after that, and he nodded at my hindquarters. It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t even notice that I’d received my Cutie Mark until he had pointed it out to me. Of course, I was pretty excited after what... I... sorta... bounced home after that... I was really happy, I wasn’t thinking!
(Interviewer’s Notes(Unicorn): No one is judging you, Miss Sparkle.)
Er... right, sorry about that, it’s just really embarrassing for me to admit I act like that sometimes....
Anyway, I’m sure AJ told you about the two of us meeting in school, so you already know that I did pass the entrance exam. And you know that I was her friend growing up, so I don’t want to reiterate what she’s already told you. And I assume she’s already told you about the Summer Sun Celebration as well.
(Interviewer’s Notes(Earth Pony): She told us part of it, but we were hoping you could tell us some more.)
Um... like what?
(Interviewer’s Notes(Unicorn): How about what happened after Miss Applejack and the rest of the future Elements of Harmony went into the Everfree?)
...that would work.
I have to admit, even if I knew she was fully capable of defending herself, and was still really nervous about her trotting off into that forest. Anypony sane would have been nervous, it’s the Everfree; ponies tell horror stories about that place! That just gave me all the more incentive to get back and send a letter to Shiny.
Of course, that was easier said than done once I made it back into town.
I really should have expected something like this: The princess had vanished, what amounted to the boogymare had appeared in her place, attacked the royal guards, and the sun wasn’t rising; if I didn’t have some sort of a plan in mind, I would be running around screaming my head off in fright. It shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was that pretty much all the town was doing just that.
I was almost bowled over when a pony galloped by, shouting apocalyptic sayings, and then ran off down the street. Even if they were getting a bit ahead of things, I couldn’t say they were wrong; Nightmare Moon’s magic was powerful, I’d had the... ‘honor’ of experiencing it firsthoof to know, but even it couldn’t maintain a land of eternal night. I’m not proud to admit that I was barely holding it together myself, and seeing the state the town was in didn’t help matters.
Ponies were screaming and running around; I counted at least twenty-three buildings that had been damaged by panicked ponies trying to grab something for what they thought was the end of the world, I could even hear some fights starting to break out over items that ponies felt were important. Several ponies screaming, and not the kind of screaming that came from being angry; ponies were hurt, and I didn’t know enough to do anything about it.
Time was a factor, of course, since I knew that Shiny would be leaving no matter what the situation; that was just the type of pony my brother was: Always following orders, even if the world really was ending. But, even knowing that... I couldn’t just do nothing. Like I said, I’m not like the other ponies say, I still care about others, even if I don’t... always show it. Either way though, if I was going to help them, then I would need help myself.
And, I would need a clear head.
Applejack liked to talk about farming, so I had started to research it a bit in my spare time; obviously, that had fallen to the wayside with the impending coming of Nightmare Moon, but I did still remember a few things. For instance: The flower of the passiflora plant acts as a natural sedative when ingested. Not a strong one, mind you, but enough of one that I could think a bit more calmly and clearly, and I remembered seeing one when AJ and I were running around with that preparation list, the problem was actually finding it again given the state of the town.
I galloped through the streets, dodging around the mobs and other ponies that were just running about in blind panic, it was almost scary how quickly civilized ponies could descend into the most basic of instincts when frightened. Of course, that quickly turned into fear for my own well-being when somepony nearly bucked me in the head as I was trying to run around them; not only were they scared, they were turning violent as well. I needed to find one of those flowers, now!
I finally spotted what I felt was the right building, though it was obviously damaged from all the madness that was happening around it. Thankfully, it also meant that the windows were an easy entrance for me.
Of course I felt guilty about basically breaking into a shop, but there were multiple extenuating circumstances at the time, and I couldn’t think clearly without something to calm me down. Though it didn’t occur to me that there might be somepony inside already.
“These are MY flowers!” I found myself thanking Shiny for all those times he’d dragged me out to play hoofball when we were foals, since I managed to move and brace myself when the other mare slammed into me. Still, she did knock me pretty far away when she hit; it made sense, since she was an Earth Pony when I got a look at her, but I at least managed to stay on my hooves. She was a dark magenta in color with a mane stuck between brown and blond with three lilies for her cutie mark, matching the one that that was in her hair; I really shouldn’t have been surprised that she worked with flowers. Of course, she also had the same crazed look about her as any other pony did when they got frightened.
“MINE!” I had to jump away as she tried to hit me with her forehooves, the found myself staggering back from a headbutt she’d managed to pull immediately afterward.
“Please,” I tried to get her to listen to me, “I just need a-” and immediately had to dodge a buck that probably would have left me with a cracked skull.
“THESE ARE MY FLOWERS, NOPONY ELSE’S!!!” She managed to rear up and I just barely managed to put up a shield to protect myself from her hooves coming down. Seemed that talking wasn’t going to get me much of anywhere with her in this state, I would have to be a bit more direct.
Still maintaining the shield as best I could to hold her off (she still hadn’t stopped trying to hit me), I attempted to telekinetically grab her and simply hold her aloft while I took what I needed. Only... I forgot something rather important....
This isn’t exactly common knowledge, since no unicorn wants to admit it, but... Earth Ponies - thanks to their magic being internalized - have a natural resistance to spells that affect them directly. It’s not much, only a 1:1.4 ratio as compared to other ponies, and can usually be overcome with a bit of effort, but I wasn’t thinking straight at the time. My telekinesis failed to lift her up, and my shield spell faltered thanks to the lapse in concentration that followed due to shock; again, it wasn’t much overall, but it was enough for a fear driven earth pony to shatter the spell and leave me vulnerable again.
“STAY!” She kicked at me and I just barely avoided it thanks to some lessons from Shining. “AWAY!” That one was too close for my liking, but I couldn’t concentrate enough to make another shield while she was pressuring me like she was. “FROM!” Now, her hooves managed to hit me, and that was pretty much it for my dodging around. “MY!” She reared up. “FLOW-”
And another pony suddenly slammed into her like a linebacker.
The newcomer was another Earth Pony, cream colored coat with a mane and tail two shades of pink and a Cutie Mark that was a single rose. She also seemed to be in a bit more control of herself than pretty much anypony I’d seen up until then, given that she was making an effort to only restrain the other pony right now. “Sorry, Lily,” she managed to get her forehooves around the first pony’s neck, “this is for your own good!” The two of them continued to struggle, but the pink pony was putting up less and less of a fight; eventually, she just passed out and the newcomer finally got off of her.
“Right then,” she turned to me, “what about you?” I’m... somewhat ashamed that I spent the entire time watching the fight when I could have been getting the passiflora flower, but there was nothing I could do about that now that the moment had passed. Instead, I just shook my head and pointed at the very flowers that I had come here to acquire.
“P-passion Flower; it-it’s a natural sedative, I need it to-” I couldn’t get it out before the stranger had managed to snag one and stuffed it into my mouth. I chewed it up, making sure that I swallowed all the juices and the chewed up flower itself. It was pretty fast acting, since I could already feel my body relaxing and my heart-rate slowing down, and a deep breath took care of the rest. “Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it, now, how’s about you fill me in on what’s going on?” That was about the first time I noticed her accent; it was similar to the Trottingham area, but I couldn’t entirely place it. “I was in the town hall, you knew about the boogeymare showing up, and you had a lot of answers nopony else seemed to; time to clue me in.”
That would have taken far longer than I was comfortable with, especially give the state of the town at the moment. “The passiflora, I need to get them to other ponies. They need to calm down before they hurt themselves or something worse. Please, I can explain to you, but I have to help them!”
“Well, grab some and let’s get started.” She was already grabbing a saddlebag for herself and filling it with the flowers. “Lily’s going to be out for a while, don’t think she’ll mind too much until then. You got a plan?”
It was rather... odd; she didn’t know what was going on, but she was acting like she did and seemed to have more than a little experience with being a leader. Still, I’d never been in much of a position where I’d had much experience with leadership myself, so I found myself falling into line pretty quickly. “Um, the mayor; she might be able to get everypony to listen to her.”
“Maybe,” the Earth Pony mare finally finished filling her saddlebags and a few extra satchels, “but we’re still gonna need some help. I know a few ponies that might still be thinking straight, so we’ll go get them first. Roseluck, by the way,” she tossed her name out like an afterthought, “what’s yours?”
“Nice to meet ya, Twilight; now, grab a bag and some flowers, we’ve got a lot of ponies to force feed.”
Even though I still remembered the path we took through town prior to all this (no, I don’t have a photographic memory, just a very good one), Roseluck was moving with a purpose and seemed to actually have a direction in mind, so I ended up following her as I attempted to explain the situation as best I could.
“So, you’re telling me that- not only is Nightmare Moon the real deal- your friend and some other ponies all went into the Everfree to find some magical trinkets that may or may not actually exist or be there and those are the only chance we’ve got of seein’ the sun again. That about right?”
“They’re not ‘magical trinkets’, they’re the Elements of Harmony, and they’re the most powerful magical artifacts that are mentioned in history!”
“Sure he’s involved somehow,” I heard her mutter, “it’s right up his alley.”
“Who are you talking about?”
“That’s not important right now,” she suddenly turned down a side-street, “we’re nearly there; just a heads up, the friend we’re going to is a bit... well, let’s just call her ‘eccentric’ and leave it at that.”
A bit more abruptly than I had been expecting, she skidded to a stop in front of one of the houses and I only just managed to pull back before I hit her. “Wha-”
“This is her house.” Roseluck was already on her way up to the door, digging out a flower to balance it on her hoof as she went. “Now, let’s see if the reflexes are as good as ever, and if you’re right about these flowers.”
I opened my mouth to say that I was, only for her to suddenly slam her shoulder against the door. The door violently burst open, a cream colored Earth Pony charging out with a shout and looking ready to do some serious damage to the two of us.
Or, she would have, had Roseluck not suddenly shoved the flower right into her screaming mouth.
The shock was all that was needed, even if it wasn’t all that good for her; some minor chewing was all she managed to do before reflexes took over and she gulped down the Passion Flower. Through the combination of the shock of having something forced into her mouth and the natural sedative of the flower, she slowly came down from her violent rage, looking at the two of us with some minor confusion. “...huh?”
“Hey, Bonny,” Roseluck slipped off one of the satchels she’d filled up and tossed it to her, “suit up, we’ve got work to do.”
The other mare blinked, but managed to catch the the satchel. She stared at Roseluck, then looked at me, and finally slipped the strap over her neck. “I’m trusting that there’s an explanation in here at some point.”
“Yeah, but first, mind telling us why Lyra isn’t out here with you?”
“Well, Tootsie was going to be staying at a friend’s house tonight, since she’s never been able to stay up all night, but - when that mare showed up - Lyra went of to get her.”
Now it was my turn to look confused. “I think we’re both going to need an explanation for this...”
Thankfully, we could both explain as we ran. I filled Bonbon in on the Elements of Harmony, as well as Nightmare Moon, and she explained a few things to me: Lyra was her wife of some years, Tootsie Flute was their adoptive daughter who had elected to spend the night with a friend and Lyra had gone to get her following everything that happened in the town hall. Needless to say, both of us had our reasons for hurrying after Roseluck through the streets.
“How are you taking this so calmly?” I finally asked Roseluck as we galloped, I actually noticed her smiling a few times. Just what was wrong with this mare?
“Trade secret, Twilight.” That smile turned into a smirk just before she turned the corner. “Maybe you’ll learn it someday.”
I didn’t have an adequate response to that, so I just followed Roseluck around the corner; I was then summarily tackled by another pony immediately afterward. Another earth pony (I was starting to realize they were the majority here), but a stallion this time.
...why are you chuckling?
Huh? Did I wh-
THERE IS A CHILD PRESENT! You don’t ask things like that!
(Interviewer’s Notes(Earth Pony): I don’t get it.)
Good! You’re too young to understand! Honestly, the nerve of some ponies...
(Interviewer’s Notes(Unicorn): As you were saying, Miss Sparkle?)
*Ahem* Yes, quite.... Anyway!
I was tackled by the stallion and knocked to the ground; this was something I’d expected though, and was why I had been so intent on getting the Passion Flowers before anything else.
My magic was very precise, something I do like to pride myself on, grabbing a flower and directing it into his mouth wasn’t all that difficult, even given the circumstances. After that, it was a matter of simply holding his nose to force him to swallow it and letting the chemicals in the flower take care of the rest. It wasn’t even held down for half a minute before he was off me and helping me back to my hooves with an apology.
“No time for that,” I telekinetically shifted one of the extra satchels to him, “we need to get these to other ponies.” I don’t know where that sudden bit of confidence came from, but it might have had something to do with Roseluck’s presence giving me someone to model myself after. Either way, it got a salute out of him and sent him off to force-feed some of the other ponies that were still in their blind panic. Bonbon had been doing the same, though she usually just knocked down anypony that came too close to her and shoved the flower into their mouth, and Roseluck just seemed to be treating the whole thing like she was in the middle of a hoofball game.
And it turns out I hadn't imagined it earlier, she actually was smiling!
Of course, I wasn’t the most physically fit of ponies; the life of a bookworm tended to not improve one’s endurance. “How much longer until we get to this friend’s house?” It felt like I had been running from one side of the town to the other, and all the ponies we had been encountering weren’t making it any easier on me.
“Ditzy’s house is just around the next bend,” Bonbon finally let another pony up following the flower meal, “just be glad she doesn’t live in a cloud house.”
Cloud house, so she was a pegasus then; I hadn’t met too many of those in my life, only five, and two of them were from earlier today. I’m... somewhat ashamed to admit there was a small part of my mind that thought of taking the time we had to learn more about their own inherent magic, see if it could be used like Applejack had somehow managed to use her’s, but I managed to repress it.
I may crave knowledge, but there’s a time and a place for everything, and in the middle of a town-wide riot while my best friend was risking her life was neither.
Thankfully, my little mental lapse went unnoticed by the other two and we continued on; Roseluck was still showing a lot of skills that made me wonder what she did when she wasn’t working with flowers, and Bonbon was determined to get to her daughter no matter who was in her way. I just did my best to keep up with them; I still don’t know how I kept finding it in me to push myself like I was, I just knew that - as long as they were still running - I’d be doing the same.
The house we were looking for wasn’t too much farther, as Roseluck had said, but it still took us far longer than it should have thanks to all the ponies that we were forced to force-feed to clear a path. We did, eventually, make it through, but Bonbon was getting rather worried about her wife and daughter by that point. I can’t say I blame her, given the state of the town at the time, but I lacked the necessary experience to comfort her at the time, so I just made sure to stay out of the way when we got within sight of our destination.
“LYRA!” Bonbon took off at full gallop and left Roseluck and I to clear the general area. Thankfully, as herd animals, ponies tend to stick with a group when they revert to their baser instincts; even with all that insanity around town, the end of the street would be clear for some time yet.
I honestly expected Bonbon to kick the door in when she got to it, considering how she had been acting, but she simply picked a rock up from in the garden and retrieved a key from beneath it. It’s actually rather interesting to watch earth pony dexterity in action; I’d see some of it in the time I spent with Applejack, but she still uses telekinesis at least as often as she manipulates things with her mouth and hooves. Bonbon and Roseluck were my first real experiences with Earth Ponies doing complex actions without any magic, and I did feel a tiny urge to study the process in a more controlled setting, but I pushed it aside like I had with my pegasus curiosity.
Again: Time and place.
Either way, once the door was opened, the three of us were greeted by a mint-green unicorn with a white and pale-green tail and mane. There was some part of me that recognized her from back in Canterlot, but that part was easily silenced by the part that noticed she was holding a rather large rolling pin in her magical grip that even Bonbon recoiled from.
“Put that thing away, Lyra,” Roseluck just pushed the other earth pony aside and showed no fear of the weaponized culinary instrument, “it’s just us.”
Lyra, whom I had to assume this was, blinked a bit and looked around somewhat nervously. I found myself subconsciously reaching out with my magic for another of my (somewhat dwindling) supply of flowers, but she finally lowered the pin and took a breath before she snapped.
“Bonbon.” She all but threw herself onto the earth pony, suddenly looking very drained now that she wasn’t riding the fear. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you.” Bonbon reached up and patted her on the back with a hoof, much more tender than I had seen her act since our rushed meeting not long previous.
“Lyra, Tootsie, is she…”
The unicorn nodded, hugging her a moment longer before she finally pulled away. “She’s inside with Dinky.” Her golden eyes glanced over Roseluck, then finally moved on to myself. “Who’s she?”
I opened my mouth to give my name, but was cut off by Roseluck. “A friend, who’s helping get things back in order here.”
That wasn’t the first time I’d heard that word since I’d come to this town, especially whenever Pinkie Pie had been around, but… I’m trying to think of how I want to phrase this, and if it’s the correct way to do so.
I had friends… I mean… there was Applejack, she was my friend. And I certainly was… aware of other ponies, it’s not like I was completely isolated from society. And, it wasn’t like I had anything against other ponies either; I just… well, I usually had other things to do.
It was finally starting to dawn on me, just how close-knit this small town was, and the fact Roseluck was calling me a friend…
I know I probably seemed overly standoffish and hostile when I first came to town, and I probably was, but I was more concerned with trying to find a way to stop Nightmare Moon. When I’m focused on a task, I tend to exclude all other things due to wanting to get the task done; this can include, much to my regret, things like politeness and even basic etiquette. I never mean for them to happen, they just… do, and there isn’t really all that much I’ve been able to do to compensate for it.
At that point, however, having Roseluck call me a friend… it just felt… right.
And Lyra, she just seemed to take the idea at face value. “Okay then, is there a plan?”
“More of one than usual,” Roseluck replied with a chipper tone. “We’re trying to get to the mayor’s office and see if she can help us out keeping this place in one piece. The flowers are part of that; pass her a bag, Twi.” I blinked at the nickname, since it was usually Applejack using it, but tossed her one of the few flower satchels I had left. “Right then, let’s get going.”
“What about Dinky and Tootsie though?”
“Ditzy isn’t here?”
Lyra shook her head as she slipped the bag into place. “I saw her leaving just as I got here, with that one pony.”
“Mommy’s doctor friend came by to get her,” I looked passed Lyra, to see a unicorn foal with a mostly gray coat that was tinged with purple and a blonde mane and tail. She couldn’t have been older than Applejack’s sister, if that, and she seemed rather calm for the whole situation. “He said you would be along in a bit, Miss Heartstrings, and you were!”
“Doctor?” I questioned, “what doctor?”
“I’m sure you’ll meet him eventually, Twi,” Roseluck chuckled slightly, “you seem the type.”
Bonbon’s face took on a decidedly sour look. “And you’ll regret every moment of it.”
“Speak for yourself, Bonny,” Roseluck nudged her with an elbow, “I enjoyed it more than anything I’ve done before or since.”
“Can we get back to the matter at hoof?” Lyra managed to get between the two of them before they could derail the conversation entirely. “What are we going to do about Tootsie and Dinky?”
“W-well,” it wasn’t my best start, but it got their attention, “you and Bonbon could stay and watch them, while Roseluck and I go-”
“Yeah, that’s not happening.” I blinked a few more times as Lyra interrupted me, even more so when I finally processed what she’d said. “Just the two of you on your own with the town as crazy as all this? Yeah, that’s not going to end well, no matter how confident Roseluck thinks she is.”
I blinked at that, but couldn’t think of an adequate response without flatly ignoring the statistical facts. It was a simple truth of the matter: Two ponies had a significantly reduced chance as compared to four, even considering what I was suddenly thinking was our only option.
“Well… then I guess you’ll have to come with us… all four of you.”
Yeah… you can imagine how well the idea of taking her daughter out into the streets appealed to Bonbon, and even Lyra didn’t look too happy about it. I’ll spare you hearing what was said to and about me afterward, but there really wasn’t another option that any of us could see. We eventually settled on the idea of keeping the two foals between us at all times; Roseluck at the front thanks to her familiarity with the area, Lyra and Bonbon on either side to make sure nothing happened to them, and myself bringing up the rear so that I could help them if they tripped.
My magic is very precise, it is quite capable of putting a foal back on its hooves.
Once we had everything settled, and had retrieved Tootsie Flute from the house, it was going to be pretty much a straight gallop off to the town hall, to see if we could find the mayor. We were all ready with what remained of our flower supply, so it was just a short countdown for the benefit of Dinky and Tootsie before we were off and running.
We ran into several ponies along the way, all of whom we were quick to force-feed flowers, but the number - compared to not so very long ago - seemed to be significantly less than I was expecting. Indeed, as we got closer to the town hall, we actually stopped encountering any ponies that tried to jump us, and it wasn’t long after that we discovered why.
Around the town hall, ponies were running back and forth, the majority of them either carrying ponies that bore some sort of injury on their backs, or leading foals to ponies that greeted them with tight hugs and kisses. The four of us were immensely confused, until I spotted something on one of the ponies that seemed to be directing things: A set of saddlebags.
Apparently, while we had been sending ponies off, they had listened to our comments about the town hall and finding the mayor. Town hall had becoming something of a makeshift hospital and day care, with foals that couldn’t find their parents being taken care of by several ponies, I even recognized Applejack’s grandmother among the latter.
Lyra and Bonbon eventually joined that group, taking Tootsie and Dinky with them, and Roseluck was moving towards the cots set up for injured ponies, apparently she had spotted Lily and wanted to check on her.
I simply went to speak with the mayor, and make sure everything was under control before I left to send the letter to my brother. I wasn’t expecting to suddenly have ponies applauding me as I stepped forward; not a loud applause, since this was still a very somber time all things considered, but it was enough to get the attention of others, who joined in a moment later. I have to say… it was rather disconcerting to be put on the spot like that. I’m not used to being the center of attention, I’m more used to being left to my own devices while Applejack is the one everypony focuses on for whatever reason.
I did my best to not look as nervous as I felt, but it was an act I could already tell I wouldn’t be able to maintain for an extended period of time.
Still, the mayor’s smile when she walked up to me was some measure of comfort.
“I understand we have you to thank for helping our town pull itself together.” I was suddenly struck by how… young she looked. They say that being a leader ages you, but I just couldn’t see it with her, outside of her hair color; she clearly had signs of long term stress, likely unavoidable, but she just looked… happy, I suppose. I mean, she was clearly not enjoying the situation like Roseluck was, but she seemed to be handling it with the efficiency and poise of one who was… well, to borrow a phrase from Rarity, ‘in the zone’.
I, on the other hoof, was having hard time doing anything but look at my own hooves as they shuffled around. “I- I just helped a bit.”
“‘A bit’ nothing,” Roseluck was back now, throwing a hoof around my shoulder, “this whole thing was her idea!”
“We-well, I- I’m sure that anypony could have done it,” I tried to deflect the attention away from me, but Roseluck simply wouldn’t have that.
“If anypony coulda done it, then you wouldn’t have needed to, give yourself a bit of credit Twi!” She pushed her hoof into my mane and ruffled it, which I immediately tried to fix to not look like a complete idiot in front of so many ponies.
“Either way,” the mayor interrupted us, “Ponyville owes you deeply for what you’ve done tonight, Miss, and we thank you for it.”
I paused, not sure of what to say to that, but all that came to mind (and all I eventually said) was a simple “You’re welcome.” Still, the mayor seemed satisfied with that and walked away to perform other duties. I was starting to feel rather good about myself, until I happened to spot something that made me freeze up where I stood.
Due to the sun not rising, some ponies had brought out a clock to tell the time; it was well after seven in the morning, the time when my brother’s flight out of the country would have departed.
I started to panic, thinking that - thanks to my delays in helping everypony else - I had failed Applejack and doomed all of Equestria. I was already berating myself mentally, when I felt a hoof tap me on the back.
It was one of the nurse ponies, an earth pony mare with a white coat and a red cross for her Cutie Mark. “Miss?” she questioned, “I just wanted to thank you, personally. If it hadn’t been for you, a lot of these ponies could have been left with some pretty crippling injuries before we could have ever got to them, and I’m not sure some of them would have survived. Thank you, I know we just met, but… if you ever need something, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. I owe you that much for helping my patients.”
She walked away, back to her duties, and I was left standing there.
‘Regret it’? ...there are days that I do wonder how things would have gone if I had taken care of that letter to Shiney first, then gone to help everypony; maybe things would have turned out different, maybe they wouldn’t have… but… do I regret helping all those ponies?
No, I can’t say I do.
Thank you for your time, but that’s pretty much all I have to say right now.
(Interviewer’s notes(Unicorn): That’s quite alright, Miss Sparkle, you’ve said all you need to.)