91w, 1dFebruary Write Off
“Fluttershy, Fluttershy, wake up”, my father whispered in my ear as I slowly awoke. It was still dark outside, though I could see a very thin line of light coming out of the horizon. My room was dimly lit, probably so the light wouldn’t bother me as I woke up.
“What is it daddy?”, my father gave me a warm smile.
“Come with me, we’re going on a little trip.”
“Where to?”, again, he smiled.
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
“Is mommy coming?”, his smile faltered, but didn’t lose its shape.
“She isn’t coming with us, and besides, I think it should just be the two of us who go on this trip.”
I wanted to ask more, but he had already left my room, so I followed him out of the house until we were both standing at the edge of our cloud home, overlooking the ground below. Ever since I got my cutie mark, I always loved exploring that ground below us, and not only that, I loved visiting the new friends I made there.
“Alright, Fluttershy, hop on”, he motioned to me to get on his back, which I haven’t done since I learned how to fly.
“I can fly by myself, I don’t need any help”, for the third time, he smiled.
“Before we get there, I want you to close your eyes so you don’t see anything until we get there, and I don’t want to risk you crashing, so please”, he motioned again, so I got on and grabbed a hold of his neck.
“My”, he groaned as he got up, “You’re getting heavy. Alright, you ready?”
“Alright then, let’s go.”
When we were told that a wildfire had been spreading all throughout the Everfree forest, and that it was spreading quickly, almost all the town folk started to panic. However, the mayor told us that the fire was miles away from town, so most of the town shared a big sigh of relief. Also, a group of pegasi was needed to join the other groups from other towns to put out the fire. She said that she needed volunteers for the group, and suddenly, many pegasi raised their hooves, ready to help out. I didn’t volunteer, after all, who would take care of the animals in the forest? My friend, Rainbow Dash, however, not only joined the group, but was also made the leader. I was a little worried for her, and I asked her if she was sure in her decision. She smiled at me and put her arm around my neck and said to me, “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. After all, I am the best flier around. The group will be safe in my hooves.”
As we watched the pegasi take off, I felt a knot in my stomach, as if something bad was to happen.
“Something wrong, Fluttershy?”, I heard Twilight ask. I didn’t notice her standing next to me, so I was a little startled.
“Oh, um...I’m just worried about the group. I don’t want any of them to get hurt or anything, I just want them to be safe.”
“We all do”, Twilight said with a warming smile, “But you’ve got to have faith in them that they will do their very best. And besides, do you think Rainbow Dash would let any of them in harms way? Why, I’d bet she would risk both wings just to make sure that they are all safe.”
I still had worry in my heart, but I took in Twilight’s words and, in turn, gained a little confidence that the pegasi would be safe in Rainbow’s hooves and stop the fire.
That was yesterday.
My father was flying rather slowly, possibly since I had gotten bigger since the last time I flew on his back. Then again, he always flew slow whenever I rode with him, I guess he didn’t want to take a chance in losing me.
Though I closed my eyes and couldn’t see, from the way the wind was brushing against my face, I could tell that we were descending. We were heading towards the ground. I wanted to ask my father why we were going there, but I thought that he would have wanted to keep it a surprise, so I didn’t question him. Pretty soon, I could hear the wind brushing against the trees as we flew over them. We flew over them for a little while until he stopped and descended towards the ground.
“Keep your eyes closed”, he told me as I got off. “Just listen to my hoof steps and try to follow them.” The cool grass felt good on my hooves, it actually felt more comfortable than standing on a cloud. We walked a little distance, no bigger than a hundred feet, and when I couldn’t hear my father walking anymore, I too stopped.
“Okay, open your eyes now.”
I heard screaming as I laid in my cottage, unsure of what was to happen next. It was nighttime, yet the sky shone as if the sun was still up. I could see pegasi bursting through the sky, desperately trying to control the blaze from spreading, yet as time went on, I saw the pegasi trying to put out fire more closer to my location. I could have helped out, even though I’m not really that good at weather, but I had another duty: protecting the animals. I had gathered as many animals as I could and put them into my cottage, and although it was a bit cramped, I thought that at least they were out of harms way. I would have brought them into town, but I don’t think the other ponies would like it very much and would want the animals out of the town.
As I watched the pegasi head towards the fire, I was also busy trying to keep the animals calm. Many of them had been spooked by the fire and now looked nervous about being so close together with the others. I tried to calm them down as best as I could, but there were so many that I couldn’t help every animal at the same time. Every once in a while two or more animals would get into a scuffle and I would try to break it up, and after that more animals would fight and so on. Pretty soon, my home looked like a mess with broken objects laying around everywhere. It was hard to calm them down while I myself wasn’t calm. My mind never forgot that there was a fire out there and it was likely to reach here soon. I could have left my home behind, I could have helped the pegasi or the other citizens, I could have been anywhere but here.
But I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t. These animals needed me and I had a job to do. It was my job to take care of these animals to the end, even if it meant to the end of my own life. I couldn’t just leave them behind for my own needs, the connection I had with them was so great and so strong that not even a fire could burn it out. I needed to be there for them, that’s what I told myself.
Amid all the chaos in my home, I heard a fast knocking coming from my door. I had trouble getting to the door; trying not to step on any of the animals. When I opened the door, I found Rainbow Dash standing there, out of breath and her coat dotted with ash smudges.
“Fluttershy, I gotta get you out of here”, she frantically told me.
“What do you mean?”
“Look around you! It’s like a war zone out there, they’re calling for a mass evacuation of the town. They’re moving all the ponies up to Canterlot and that includes you!”, she grabbed my hoof and tried to drag me away, but I stood my ground.
“I’m sorry, b-but I can’t go with you.”
“What are you talking about?! If you don’t get out of here you’ll be burned to a crisp!”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t leave the animals behind. What will they do without me?”
“Forget about the animals Fluttershy! They’ll be alright, but you won’t if you don’t come with me!” She pulled harder, almost lifting me off the ground, but I managed to hang on to the door knob.
“Quit messing around and let go!”
“No! I can’t”, there have been very few times in my life where I can remember my self yelling. I never did like doing it since I thought that it would hurt other ponies feelings if I did yell. This was one of those few times.
“I can’t leave them behind, I need to be there for them!”
“Darn it Fluttershy! Let. Go. NOW!”, at the second my hooves slipped, Rainbow Dash had propelled herself up in the air with me in her arms.
“Let me go! Let me go! Let me go!”, I pleaded, trying to break free from her grasp, but she had a tight hold on me.
“I’m not going to sit around and have you burn alive, I’m taking you away and that’s that!”
“I’ll be alright, just let me go!”
“You think that you would be able to survive that?”, she nudged her face in the direction of the fire, and for the first time, I actually saw why it was such a problem.
It was almost like looking out in the ocean, all you can see is water, there is no sign of land or anything, just water. But it wasn’t water I saw, it was all fire. An ocean of fire. The blaze was spread miles across the forest, except there was no forest anymore
I started thinking of all the animals that I was with just a moment ago, imagining them being swallowed in the sea of fire. I began to cry.
“Please, I’m begging you, let me help them”, Rainbow didn’t respond.
“I’m sorry Fluttershy”, Rainbow’s tone sounded sympathetic, almost as if she understood what I was going through, but she kept on flying away. I took one last look at the forest before it was out of view.
When Rainbow Dash told me that the ponies were being evacuated to Canterlot, I thought that she meant that they were being placed in an empty building or even out on the street until the fire stopped. Staying in the royal palace, however, was unexpected. Rainbow Dash told me along the way that the princesses wanted the best treatment for the evacuees and I guess that the palace was the best place.
Rainbow stopped in front of the palace gates and proceeded to let me go. I thought of flying back to the forest the second she let me go, but she would probably have caught me and brought me back here. I looked around and saw other ponies heading towards the palace, some who were also brought by pegasi. But what I also noticed was that the pegasi who brought the other ponies were themselves heading towards the palace. Even Rainbow Dash hadn’t left.
“Rainbow Dash, why aren’t the pegasi heading back to the forest?”
“You know that evacuation order I told you about?”, I nodded, “Well that meant for every pony, that includes pegasi”, she said those last few words with anger in her voice.
“Why would they do that, who will put out the fire?”
“I don’t know! It’s stupid! If we don’t do something, all of Equestria will probably burn down!”, she went silent for a few seconds, “C’mon, let’s just head to the castle.”
I was still puzzled, why would the pegasi be called back? Who would put out the fire? What would happen to Ponyville?
What would happen to the animals?
“Fluttershy, c’mon”, I heard Rainbow Dash calling me, I broke from my thoughts and went along with her.
The inside of the palace was almost like the conditions in which my cottage was moments ago. The whole floor was covered with ponies, most of whom I recognized, and other I assumed that came from neighboring towns. But since there was the palace was so big, me and Rainbow Dash flew over the crowd.
“Do you see the gang anywhere?", Rainbow asked me. It was hard to find anypony in this crowd. "Never mind, found them."
I followed her and, soon enough, was reunited with my friends. Well, Twilight at least. Applejack was busy with her own family, Pinkie Pie was busy looking out the window, and Rarity was busy comforting her little sister, who seemed to be crying. If I were her age, I would probably feel the same way. No, I did feel the same way, I just didn't show it. I saw Rainbow approach Twilight, who was busy talking to her assistant Spike.
“Rainbow!”, Twilight called out, “Thank goodness you her”, she turned to me, “I was so worried about you, are you alright?”
"Hey Twilight", Rainbow said, "Do you know who called the pegasi back here. I want to give'em a piece of my mind!" I could see Twilight looked uncomfortable after Rainbow asked her the question.
"Actually, it was Princess Celestia who called the pegasi back." Rainbow looked at Twilight with what looked like a mixture of shock and embarrassment.
"Wow, I hope the princess didn't here that." Twilight started to chuckle.
"Don't worry, even if she heard it, I'm sure she would be laughing along with me."
“Well anyway, why did she call us back.”
“I don’t know, I was going to ask her but she left before I could.”
“Wait, Princess Celestia left the castle? Why would she do that? Why would she just open her door to us and suddenly leave?”
“I don’t know, I tried to find Princess Luna and ask her but I couldn’t find her either.”
“Well that’s just great! So I guess we just have to sit around and watch Equestria burn without any answers as to how to stop it.”
I felt a tap on my shoulder and, when I turned, I saw Applejack behind me. She looked very tired, as if she had not gotten any sleep lately.
“How you holdin’ up sugercube?” she asked me with a sad smile.
“I’m okay, I guess.” Her smile disappeared.
“Listen, I know it’s hard goin’ through this and all, but just know we got your back, alright?”, she put her hoof on my shoulder, that made me feel a little better.
“Thank you, Applejack”, For the first time in a while, I smiled.
“Besides, I bet those little critters are just fine. Why, they live in the forest, they know their way around”, that was true, they did know their way around the forest, possibly even better than me. As we talked, I felt myself feeling better and better, there was even a second where I forgot about the fire.
“So Applejack, are you alright, you look very tired.”
“Yeah, I guess. When we heard ‘bout the fire, me and Big Macintosh spent all day and night protecting the farm. We filled every barrel with water, pulled up the dead grass, moved the animals; you name it, we did it. Apple Bloom tried to tell us that the pegasi were goin’ to put out he fire, but I didn’t want to take the chance.”
I looked at her family and saw that they all looked equally tired, but her little sister Apple Bloom looked more upset than tired.
“This whole thing has been rough on Apple Bloom. Being forced to evacuate, not knowing if your home is still standing, it can be hard on anypony, especially some pony as young as her”, I saw a tear well up in Applejack’s eye, but she chuckled and wiped it off. “Sorry, just been through a lot, that’s all.”
“Wow, isn’t it pretty?”, I recognised the voice being Pinkie Pie’s, and when I turned around I saw her still looking out at the window with amazement in her face.
“Girl, are you sick or somethin’?” Applejack said, angry. “You think that the fire is ‘pretty’? Well for your information, that ‘pretty’ fire is burnin’ up the forest and might just burn up the town.” Pinkie Pie’s smile disappeared.
“No, that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about that”, she pointed up and I saw something that I couldn’t quite explain.
In the dark, smoke-filled sky, there were two orbs floating in the air. One was pure white, the other was dark blue, and they both we heading higher into the sky. As they rose, the sky began to get brighter, for the smoke that covered it was disappearing. Then, the two orbs came closer together, it was almost like they were joining together in unison. What came of it was one orb with one half light and the other half darkness. All the sudden, an aurora of light shot out the orb and struck the sky with such power that I almost lost my footing when it struck. Nothing happened immediately, but suddenly, a small cloud had formed right where the aurora struck. The cloud wasn’t that big, it couldn’t have been bigger than my home, but I noticed it starting to get bigger. Within seconds, the cloud was now almost as big as a large building. After a minute, it had grown to the size of Ponyville and Canterlot combined. Finally, after a while, the cloud had completely overtaken the sky. Even if it was still nighttime, the cloud was very visible and had managed to shadow the fire completely. I took my eyes off of the cloud and looked back at the orb only to find it disappeared. In its place were the two princesses.
The whole spectacle had gathered a large, so large that I began having trouble just standing still as ponies pushed and shoved each other to get a better look.
“I knew the princesses wouldn’t let us down!”, I heard a stallion say from behind me.
“But what are they doing”, I heard another ask.
The princesses floated in the air for a moment, observing the cloud that had formed. They both shared some words with each other that I couldn’t hear and proceeded toward the cloud. When they got to the cloud, they stopped flying higher, just barely underneath the cloud. They extended their arms, pulled back, and in unison, struck the cloud.
An enormous explosion sounded from the cloud, knocking everypony in the palace off their hooves. It was so massive that I had blacked out for almost a second. When I came to, I noticed that it had started to rain. But this wasn’t like any rainstorm I had ever seen. It was almost as if a waterfall was outside, water poured from the giant cloud and onto the land. My attention immediately refocused onto the fire. The massive fire that was burning up the land was getting smaller. It wasn’t spreading anymore, it was going away.
For the first time in a while, I felt happy.
For the first few minutes, everypony was silent, but once the last spark was put out, once this horrible nightmare was over, the crowd erupted in a frenzy.
Every pony in the room was cheering, Rainbow Dash was quickly circling around the room cheering out loud, Pinkie Pie was hopping the highest I’ve ever seen her hop, and the whole Apple family joined together in a group hug.
I suddenly felt a tightness on my throat and found Rarity hugging me.
“Oh I simply can’t believe it! It is over, it’s finally over! Oh can you be-”, she pulled away from the hug and started to turn red. “Pardon me, heat of the moment I guess”, she said with a slight chuckle. I smiled back at her.
“It’s okay Rarity, I’m happy too.”
“Well I’m just glad this whole ordeal is all over and-”, but she was cut off when the palace gates suddenly opened and standing in front of them were the princesses. We all bowed in respect and when we got back up, Princess Celestia said the words that everypony in this room was waiting to hear.
“The fire is gone. You may return home now.”
Of all the times I’ve been in the forest, I’ve never been to this place before. It was so beautiful. I was looking at a small clearing where there was a small hill resting right next to a small river. All around, animals surrounded the small hill, still sleeping, but I assumed that this was their home. The rising sun made the morning due on the grass sparkle, making it look like the small hill was glowing. It was so beautiful.
“Happy Birthday, Fluttershy.”
“What is this?”, my father took a few steps forward.
“This is going to be your future home.” My home? I’m going to live here?
In my father’s eyes, I saw a hint of sadness.
“I know that, in the future, you’re going to be off and start your own independent life, so I thought that I would help you get started. I know how much you love this place, and I thought that, maybe, you would like to live here when you grow up. You know that company I work for?”
“The construction company?”, my father made cloud homes for a living.
“Yep, that one. Anyway, my company has a branch that builds homes down here, mostly in the town not too far from here. Ponyville I think its name is. Anyway, I pulled a few strings and was able to get this plot of land for you. It’s free to do whatever you want with it. I’ve even talked to a couple of my co-workers who are willing to help build on this land. So what do you say, you like it.”
I didn’t respond immediately, instead, I flew right into my father and gave him the biggest hug I ever gave him.
“I love you daddy’, I said, laughing and crying. I could feel a teardrop fall onto my neck as we embraced.
“I love you too, Fluttershy.”
Gone. It was all gone. Everything that I have loved, everything that I cared about, it was all gone. It was nothing but a pile of ashes. I had hope that when I came back home I would find my home still intact and my animal friends would be there to greet me. All that was waiting for me was a pile of ashes and the broken and burned bodies of my friends. I could hear the cheering coming from town; they were all celebrating the fact that the town was safe. They don’t even know what I’m going through, what it feels like to have everything you’ve ever worked for taken away. I couldn’t see the full destruction, my tears blinded my vision as I looked. Everything was gone. Everything he built for me, all the time he spent making my home was lost. Everything.
I sat down on the ground and started to cry. It was the hardest I’ve ever cried in my life. This was just too real to be true. I closed my eyes and desperately for all this to be a dream, that I would just wake up in my cottage and be surrounded by my animals. When I opened my eyes again, everything was still the same. I let out a loud wail and cried.
For about fifteen minutes I cried continuously. I felt like a traitor. I’ve always been there for the animals, through every conflict and every problem, I was the one who solved it. They all looked up to me and needed me, so I took it upon myself to take care of them. But in their greatest time of need, when they needed me the most, I wasn’t there for them. When I heard that knock on the door, I shouldn’t have opened it. The second Rainbow Dash let me go in Canterlot, I should have flown away immediately. Maybe she wouldn’t have caught up to me, all I know is that I had a small opportunity to go back, and I didn’t.
I suddenly realised something. When Rainbow Dash tried to get me to leave, I remember holding onto the door knob. I remember that it was closed, and when I was in the house, I had all the windows closed so no smoke could get in. All the animals were trapped in my home, there was no way they could have gotten out. I’m the one who locked them in. I cried so hard that I almost couldn’t breathe.
I just wanted my friends back.
Suddenly, I heard a faint rattling coming from the ashes of my former home. My vision was too blurry to see what it was, so I slowly flew over to the noise, not wanting to step on the small bodies. As I flew over, I got a good look as to how many animals were really in my house. There were at least fifty bodies laying on the floor, some were a little burned, and some were completely burned. I had to look away and just focus on finding the sound. I heard it again and found that it was coming from a small, burned pot that was also shaking. I lifted it up, and in it was Angel, a little burned, but alive.
I hugged him as hard as I could, not wanting to let go. I was so happy that he was alive that, this time, my tears weren’t for sadness; they were happy tears. Angel looked like he might be injured, but he was alive!
“I’m so sorry Angel, I tried to save you all but-”, Angel cut me off by putting his paw up to my mouth, then wrapped his arms around my neck. I had to ask him, though, one other question.
“Angel, is anyone still...alive?”, he just looked up at me with sadness in his eyes without a response. I looked at the little bodies and realised that me and Angel were the only ones left. We were the only ones that didn’t parish in the fire, and with that revelation, all my happiness sunk. Angel wiped away a tear that was forming in my eye, but it was no use, many more came from where that one came from.
“Fluttershy...”, I heard a voice come from behind me. When I looked back, I saw Twilight and Rainbow Dash right behind me. They must have know I would be here.
I could see the sadness in their faces as they looked around at the wreckage. Even though they never really did spend anytime with the animals, seeing this site was enough to make any pony sad.
“Fluttershy”, Twilight repeated, “I’m so sorry, Fluttershy.” I didn’t immediately respond, instead I put Angel down on the ground and, slowly, walked towards Twilight. When I was a few feet away from her, I just stood their silent. I wanted to say something to her, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. The things that happened could never leave my mind, it was all I could think about. Slowly, I began to cry again.
Immediately I felt both Twilight and Rainbow Dash wrap their arms around my neck, then I let everything go. I let all the sadness I had built up just poor out.
“I-I-I shou-should have been there f-for them, but I-”
“It’s okay Fluttershy, we’re here for you”, I heard Twilight say. It felt good that my friends were there for me, but with all the friends I lost, it did little to help me. I could feel Twilight stroking my mane as I wept, it was the same thing my mother used to do when I was a filly whenever I was upset. It always made me feel better, knowing that she was there for me. But now, it was Twilight and Rainbow Dash who were there for me.
“It’s all my fault that their gone!”
“Not it’s not, Fluttershy. It’s going t-to be okay”, I heard Twilight choke up at those last few words, and I also heard a sniffle come from Rainbow Dash. I didn’t want any of the sadness I was feeling to rub off on my friends, so I slowly calmed down until I was just sniffling. My two friends pulled out of the hug, but they both still kept one hoof on my shoulders.
“Listen, Fluttershy,” Twilight said, “If there is anything you need, anything at all, you just tell us.”
“You-you would do that for me?”
“Of course”, Rainbow said, “We’re your friends, Fluttershy. We’ll never let you down!” Very slowly, a smile crept up on my face. I never thought that I would be able to do that again.
“Thank you, so much”, I pulled them back into another hug,
“Hey, Fluttershy”, Rainbow said as I let them go, “How would you like to, you know, crash with me for a while.” I thought about it for a moment, it’s been a while since I’ve lived in a cloud home, and where else was I going to live?
“Are you sure, I mean, I can find somewhere else to live, or-”
“Don’t be crazy! I’d love having a roommate, and besides, you know I never leave a friend hanging”, she wrapped one of her arms around me as she talked. It felt good, knowing that both she and Twilight were always there for me.
After a little bit of talking, Twilight had to leave to help out the others in cleaning up the rest of the forest, leaving me and Rainbow Dash by ourselves. But before she left, I heard her whisper something into Rainbow’s ear which I couldn’t understand.
“Don’t worry Twilight, I’ll keep an eye on her”, Rainbow said, and with that, Twilight said her goodbye’s to us and left.
Me, Angel, and Rainbow Dash left soon after. When I extended my wings, I felt as though something was pulling me back. Something was keeping me from leaving this place. How could I leave? This was my home, my own little piece of heaven, but I couldn’t stay. I just couldn’t. Rainbow Dash wrapped her arm around me.
“Do you wanna stay a little longer?”
“No, I just want to leave.”
“Alright then”, with that, me and Rainbow Dash took off.
When we got to Rainbow’s home, I started feeling a little uneasy about starting over in a new home. But where else was I supposed to go? I kept all the doubt I had inside of me and walked in, and once inside, I was greeted by a familiar face.
“Why hello, Tank.” Rainbow Dash’s tortoise, who at one time lived with me, looked up at me and slowly smiled. It was good to see another one of the forest natives still alive. When Angel saw Tank, he immediately jumped off of my back to greet me, which would have worried me had not Twilight cast the spell on Rainbow’s home which allowed Tank and other’s to walk in the cloud home without falling off.
“So while those two get re-acquainted with each other, let me show you to your room”, Rainbow said as she guided me down the hall. She took me to a room with a large bed with a sheet that had the same design as Rainbow’s cutie mark.
“But Rainbow Dash, this is your room”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll just sleep on the couch.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t let you do that.”
“Like I said, don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine. Hey listen, I’m gonna get dinner started, so just get comfortable, alright?”
“Um...alright”, I didn’t want to sleep on a bed knowing that Rainbow wasn’t, but saying anything else was pointless. As I got situated, something on her bed caught my eye. Sitting on the comforter was a Wonderbolt’s plush, modeled after Spitfire. I don’t know why, but when I picked it up, I had the sudden urge to hug it. It felt soft in my hooves, almost like holding one of the animals. I looked around the room, and for the first time, felt out of place.
I didn’t belong here, I belonged in the forest with all my animal friends. It shouldn’t just be me and Angel living in a cloud home, it should be us living in that cottage in the woods along with the birds, the squirrels, and every other animal that lived there. It just wasn’t fair.
I felt like crying, but I shed enough tears today, so I just sat on the bed, holding the plush in my hooves.
“Hey Fluttershy, dinne-”, Rainbow popped head into the room and paused when she saw me holding the toy. “Um...that’s...um...a toy I had as a filly. Yeah, that’s right. I keep forgetting to put it away”, she gave a nervous chuckle. I smiled at her.
“It’s okay Rainbow, I also sometimes play with stuffed toy.”
“I don’t play with toys!”, she started turning red, “Anyway, dinner’s ready.”
“But it’s only been a few minutes.”
“I know, I just put together a salad for tonight. You know, with you being a vegitarian and all.”
“Well hurry up before I give Tank your food!”, she said playfully as she ran off. I followed her, ready to have the first meal in my new home.
It’s been a few days since the fire, and I am starting to get used to living life in the sky instead of on the ground. Life hasn’t really been all that easy, every day I am reminded of what happened in the forest, but I am slowly feeling better about the whole situation. My friends have been spending lots of time with me during these past few days, Applejack has invited me over to dinner with her family on two occasions, Pinkie Pie keeps on giving me fresh sweets everyday, Twilight, lets me check out as many books as usual, and Rarity told me she was going to make me a new hat and scarf since winter was coming up. I don’t need to explain what Rainbow Dash has done for me, she’s done enough. Giving me a home, a warm bed to sleep in, she really is a good friend.
Angel has also been getting better, he has some tiny burn marks on his fur, but other than that, he is still the same rabbit he always is.
As I was reading one of the books Twilight gave me, Rainbow Dash came into my, well, her room, carrying a piece of paper in her mouth. Her expression had a hint of sadness in it, so I was worried what the paper said. She went up to me and handed me the slip of paper. It was an event being held by Pinkie Pie, so I assumed that it was one of her parties. But as I read on, I realised that this was different from her usual parties. It was for a funeral. A funeral for the animals who died.
I didn’t know what to think of it at first. I wanted to remember my friends for what they were, not in the way they were now. I didn’t want my last image of them to be buried in a dark hole. But then again, it was better than remembering them lying on the ground, motionless.
It would also give me one last chance to say goodbye.
“It was actually Twilight’s idea. She thought that it would be nice to do.” I didn’t respond.
“You don’t have to go, I mean, you can if you want to”, Rainbow Dash said. For something as important as this, I needed to go.
“I think I should go.”
An hour later, me, Angel, and Rainbow Dash left home and set out towards the forest. When I first left the forest, I felt a tight knot in my stomach, almost as if I shouldn’t have left. Now that I was heading back, that knot was still there.
It seemed as though word about the funeral had spread around town, for I many ponies gathered in the same location me and Rainbow Dash were heading to. When we landed, everypony turned to face me, all with looks of sadness. Many of whom I recognized, Lyra, Bon-bon, Carrot Top, Zecora, who was staying with Twilight since her hut also burned down, and many others. Their eyes followed me as I found my seat within the rows of chairs that were set up. I ended up choosing a seat in the front row, where all my friends were. I sat next to Applejack, who, noticeably, wasn’t wearing her hat, probably out of respect. Rainbow took the seat next to me.
Sitting in front of us were three closed caskets, each one larger than a normal sized one. The good things was that they were all closed, it’s better that way. Once I took my seat, Twilight got up from hers and headed towards the podium near the caskets. Once there, she took out a few notes from her bags and placed them onto the podium.
“Fillies and gentle-colts, I would like to thank you for coming this afternoon for the memorial and funeral of the woodland animals. As many of you are aware, this past week has been very challenging, with the fire burning all throughout Equestria. We were lucky not to lose any ponies to the blaze, but the same cannot be said for the animals”, she paused, “They considered this place their home, and in a way, so should we. Our town and the forest have been neighbors for many years, and now that we come together to remember the lives lost, I would like to think that the bond between ponies and woodland animals has strengthened to the point where we don’t have to see each other as ponies and animals living side by side, but as something more. Friends.” She paused again, “And now I would like to invite any pony whose life as been affected and touched by this forest to please step up and tell us your story.”
A few eyes were focused to me, they probably thought that I was going up. But that knot that was in my stomach had gotten tighter to the point where I couldn’t even get out of my seat. I then noticed Junebug walking towards the podium, so I just stayed in my seat.
“Hi everypony, my name is Junebug, and I just want to share something. A couple years ago, my grandmother got sick and had to stay in bed. She had been getting sick a lot, and this time she looked worse than usual. The doctor told me that she didn’t have a lot of time left, and that I she had gotten so sick that she wouldn’t be able to walk again.” Junebug paused to wipe away a few tears.
“When I was taking care of her, I stumbled onto one of her old photo albums. That day, we spent the entire evening looking through all sorts of pictures. Some were during her days as a filly, but most were of her and my grandfather. One picture that got my attention was the one during her wedding day. I saw that she was wearing a flower in her hair that I had never seen before. It had five yellow petals and a blue trim along the edges. What was odd was that the edges almost seemed to glow in the picture. She told me that it was a Blue Flame, a flower that actually glows in any conditions. She said that on the night my grandfather proposed, he went out into the forest to search for that certain flower.”
“When he got back, he gave her the flower and asked her to marry him, so she said yes. I knew that if my grandmother was going to leave our world soon, she needed to be as happy as possible. So later on that night, I ventured into the forest to find that special flower. It took me hours to find it, but I did find it.” Tears filled Junebug’s eyes, happy tears. “I ran home as quickly as possible and gave it to my grandmother. The expression on her face was just so amazing and so touching, it’s indescribable.” She paused, “My grandmother passed away that night, holding that flower that she had loved so much. It’s because of this forest that she was able to find not only love, but peace during her final moments. Thank you.”
The whole audience applauded her, including me. I wanted to go up, but the knot prevented me. I looked to my left and saw Granny Smith walking towards the podium. She had trouble getting up there, but luckily, Twilight was able to help her. Granny Smith stood then proceeded.
“When I was a little filly, me and my family were always traveling Equestria, trying to find a place to call home. Until that time came, we spent most of our time selling seeds and keeping the ones that were the best. Eventually, our travels ended up taking us to the most magnificent city in all of Equestria, Canterlot. And one that day, Princess Celestia was visiting the various ponies in the city when she just happened to stumble upon my family. Why, just with her eyes she could tell we were tired from all the traveling we were doing, so she set up a special place right at the very edge of the Everfree forest just for us. We had finally found our home.”
“But as you know, growing food takes time, and as the days went by, my family was growing more and more hungry. So one night I thought to my self ‘There are animals living right next to us, they must have a way of getting food’. So I set out to search for food, and wouldn’t you know it, I had found it! Apple trees! But not just any ordinary apple trees, these were Zap-apple trees, and they carried the most delicious apples in all of Equestria.”
“But getting those apples wasn’t easy, I was soon confronted by the timber wolves. Why, they nearly took off my tail as I was runnin’! But I escaped and the next day, me and my pa planted those seeds, and wouldn’t you know it, trees sprouted all around the farm within a second. Soon, my whole family was eating again and I had created my famous Zap-apple jam. It was so popular that other ponies came to my farm just to have some. Eventually, ponies started settling down near the farm, and before you know it, that small piece of land quickly became a boomin’ community. That community is what we today call Ponyville.” She paused, apparently lost in her memories.
“If it wasn’t for this forest, my whole family would have gone hungry and we would have had to leave to search for food. If that happened, I would have never discovered the Zap-apples. If I had never discovered the Zap-apples, ponies wouldn’t have settled down here. If ponies wouldn’t have settled down here, there would be no Ponyville. So everyday I give my thanks to the forest for all its given me, and the rest of you.” I looked at Applejack, who was smiling at her grandmother as tears streamed down her face. She went up to her and gave her a hug before helping her back to her seat. Immediately, Twilight went up to the podium.
“You know, when I was being taught by Princess Celestia, there was something missing from my life that I just couldn’t figure out. I mean, I was being taught by the Princess herself! What could be missing? It took me a while to figure it out; actually, years to figure it out. I was always too busy in my studies to look for that thing, so I just didn’t bother to look.”
“Then when Nightmare Moon came back a few years ago, I knew that I had to find a way to stop her, and I wanted to do it alone. But five other ponies wanted to come with me, I was reluctant to let them come, but they did anyway. I knew that the only way to stop Nightmare Moon was to find the Elements of Harmony, which were located deep in the Everfree forest. Yet Nightmare Moon knew what we were doing, so she sent us challenges that would stop us from reaching our goal. Little would she realise that those challenges only made feel a lot better about the ponies I was traveling with. It was Applejack’s trust, Fluttershy’s kindness, Rarity’s generosity, Pinkie Pie’s laughter, and Rainbow Dash’s loyalty that helped me realise the thing I was missing: friends.”
“I have always been so focused of my studies that I never had the time to go out and make friends, and I never thought that I would have them, but the trials in the forest made me realise that I can have friends, I can do the stuff I love and yet still have time to be with my friends. When we faced Nightmare Moon, we didn’t win because of our own strengths, but because our unity strengthened us to the point where we could succeed.”
“If I never had gone through the trials in this forest, not only would the world forever be shrouded in eternal darkness, but I would never had found the friendship that I needed. And with these animals, they have known this type of friendship and unity for all their lives. They’ve lived in this forest, and even in death, they all stuck by one another. They never lost sight of their friendship.”
That’s when I realised something. Not only was the forest the home of my animal friends, but it was also the place where I became friends with the others. I never really had a real pony friend, but because of what we went through in the forest, I did now.
When Twilight came down, all of joined together in a group hug, but I didn’t stay long. It was my turn to speak.
“I was never really a sociable pony, in fact, I never really talked to any pony. The only one’s I really talked to were my parents, but other than that, I was a loner. On top of that, I was a horrible flier during my years as a filly. Ponies would often pick on me, call me names, it just hurt so much that I often wondered if I was even meant to have friends. Then one day, when some bullies were making fun of me, Rainbow Dash stood up for me and challenged the bullies to a race to keep them quiet. But when the race started, they went so fast that I was knocked off of the cloud I was on and was heading towards the ground.”
“I thought I was going to die, that thought kept on going through my mind as I fell. But I didn’t die, instead I looked down and saw that a large group of butterflies had managed to break my fall and save me. As I looked around, I couldn’t believe what surrounded me. The trees were absolutely beautiful, the animals were frolicking all around, I immediately fell in love with the forest, and by looking at how the butterflies flied, that’s when I learned how to fly. Plus, by spending time with the animals, I learned that I had a natural gift that allowed me to take care of them, which is how I got my cutie mark. To me, the forest meant everything.”
Remembering all the good times I had with my animal friends made me want to cry, but I tried to hold it in until I was done.
“But not everypony thought that it was that exciting. Some of the bullies continued to tease me, calling me a ‘tree hugger’ and ‘nature freak’, but it wasn’t as bad as what happened at my home. My mother didn’t like the fact that my special talent had to do with taking care of animals. She wanted me to do something with my life that had to do with being a pegasus, and not an ‘earth ponies job’, as she called it.”
“My relationship with my mother slowly fell apart, and so did my father’s relationship with her. He completely supported me and my love for nature. In fact, it was him who gave me my home in the forest. But as time went on, my mother became more accepting of my talent, and soon, her relationship with me and my father began to heal to its fullest extent.”
“My animal friends were always with me. Whenever times were happy, or when times were sad, they always stuck by me. Never once did I feel our relationship crumble. Not only was I their caretaker, but I was their friend. I...I...”, tears splashed down on the podium as I tried to get my message out. I walked towards one of the caskets.
“I........I......I love you all so much!”, I let go of my emotions and cried on the casket. I felt my friends hug me as I wept. “I will always love you! Always!”, then I turned to my friends. “I love you too, every one of you!”, and I embraced my friends.
“We love you too”, Twilight cried. We all cried in each other’s arms, and at that moment, I became thankful that I still had friends. Friends that would always look out for me.
After the funeral ended, me and Angel chose to stay behind and spend some last few minutes with the animals. Where the caskets were buried laid and tombstone which read:
To all the animals who lived in this forest.
They were all loved.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to say goodbye just yet, but I just wanted to spend some time with them.
“You doing alright?”, I heard Rainbow Dash ask me from behind.
“Yeah, I guess I’m alright”, Rainbow walked towards me, then towards the gravestone and put her hoof on top of it and lowered her head.
“Rainbow, are you alright.”
“No, I’m not”, she said, sorrowfully.
“What’s wrong?”, I then saw Rainbow’s lip tremble.
“I feel like this is all my fault.”
“What? How can it be your fault.”
“When I came to get you the other night, all I was thinking about was your safety, I didn’t even give a thought as to what would happen to your animals. I keep thinking that maybe if I wasn’t in such a rush, then maybe some of the animals could have saved. Maybe we wouldn’t even be having this funeral!”, Rainbow looked away from me, but I could see droplets falling down towards the ground.
“Rainbow, it’s not your fault, and besides, you didn’t know at the time. The fire was coming quickly and you were thinking of your friends safety. That’s what a real friend would do.”
“Yeah, but”, she sniffed, “it feels like I let a close friend down and now I won’t be able say I’m sorry.” I wrapped my wing around Rainbow Dash’s body to give her comfort. Even Angel tried to comfort her my placing his paw on her hoof. She looked at me with her tear-stained face.
“Trust me Rainbow, they would never hold a grudge against you, I’m sure of it”, after a while, Rainbow had calmed down and we stayed at the site for a little while.
“So it was your dad who got you your home?”, Rainbow asked.
“Yeah, it’s such a shame that all that hard work he put into it is lost now.”
“Well, can’t you just ask him to build you another one?”
“I don’t know, he worked for so long on the last one. I don’t even know if he would do it again.”
“Trust me, a father can never refuse a favor from his daughter”, it was good to see that Rainbow Dash was getting to be her old self again.
I don’t know how long we spent at the grave site, but when Rainbow Dash told me she was heading back home, the moon was getting ready to rise. I told her that I would catch up with her in a bit. After she took off, I spent a few more minutes at the grave before deciding to head back home.
“Goodbye. I love you all”, when I turned, standing in front of me was Princess Celestia. She had caught me by surprise, so I almost lost my footing.
“P-Princess, what are you doing here?”, the look she gave had sadness in it.
“I am here to survey the damage of the forest. I understand you are also feeling this burden.”
“Yes, it’s been hard.”
“I understand, a catastrophe of this magnitude is hard to imagine”, she laid on the ground, which had now been cleared of ashes. “Come, sit with me.” I did as she asked me, and Angel sat right next to me. I wondered what she wanted with me.
We sat silent, watching the moon rise over the horizon until she broke the silence.
“Fluttershy, did you know that when Equestria was made, there was no forest.”
“I always assumed it came at a later time.”
“You’re right, it did come at a later time, but at first, there was nothing, much like it is right now. For as long as I have lived, I have watched this forest grow from a small sapling to acres of dense trees and brush. During my years, I have watched horrible things happen to it. Fire, flooding, plague, everything imaginable has happened in this forest. But you know what, the forest never went away. Nothing in this world is ever taken away forever. Even if something is nothing, zero will always become one, then one will become two, and so on.”
“During my years, I have taken over many roles, I am one of the rulers of Equestria, I am the sun goddess, and at one time, I was in charge of rising and lowering the moon when Luna could not. But now I have passed that role back to her, and now I think that it is time I passed down another role.” She held my hoof in hers, “In order for nothing to become something, all it takes”, she placed something in my hoof, “Is one spark. Take care, my little pony.” With that, her horn shimmered and she had disappeared.
I pondered what the princess had told me. What did she want me to do with what she told me? How can something that doesn't exist suddenly exist again? I then looked into the hoof she had held to see what she had placed in it.
A single seed.
I had spent almost and hour just by just looking around the place where my future home would be. My father didn’t mind waiting, instead he just sat down next to a nearby tree and watched me as I explored my surroundings.
The place was perfect, the land plus the plants plus the animals made this my dream home, and I couldn’t wait to actually live here.
“Daddy”, I asked him as we were getting ready to leave, “how long do you think it will take to build it.”
“Well, it depends. This is your future home so all the details are going to be picked by you. Depends on what you choose, but it shouldn’t take long, a few weeks, a month or two.”
“I can’t wait to live here.”
“Let’s not rush things now, you’re still a filly, so you’ve got a while before you can move in. But once you’re a grown mare you can move in anytime, and remember this”, I focused all my attention on him, “If at anytime you need my help, even if we are on our own, you just come to me and I will do whatever it takes to help you, understand?”, I didn’t respond. Instead, I threw myself onto him and embraced him.
“I understand, I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too, Fluttershy.”
I spent the last few minutes with the paper in front of me, thinking of what to put down on it. The only letters that I have really written were to Princess Celestia whenever I learned something new about friendship. But this letter was different. After some thinking, I knew what to put down. I began to write.
I would like to ask you a favor...