…When I came to, I was in a burning field. I guess there was a big fire. The familiar town had turned to ashes and it looked like remains of a battlefield from a movie. …But that didn’t last long either.
The fire had died down by the time the sun rose. The tall wall of flame had shortened, and most of the buildings had fallen. …It felt strange; being the only thing in that place that still had its original form. I was the only one still alive around here. I must have been really lucky, or my house was built in a very lucky spot. I don’t know which it was, but the point is, I was the only one left alive. I felt that since I survived, I should live on.
I started walking aimlessly, because I thought it would be dangerous just to stay there. I wasn’t really concerned about getting burned up like the ponies lying around me. …Probably because, over and above not wanting to be like them, I had a stronger feeling in my mind. But still, I had no hope. It was already a wonder I was still alive, so I couldn’t expect to be saved. I won’t survive. Whatever happens, I won’t be able to escape from this red world. It was such an absolute hell that even a small colt could understand it.
And I collapsed. Was it because there was no air? Was it because no function was left in my body? Anyway, I collapsed and stared up at the clouded sky. Everything around me was burned up and I could see many shriveled ponies. The dark clouds loomed overhead, telling me it would rain soon. …That’s good. The fire will be put out once it rains. In the end, I sighed deeply and looked up at the sky. I say to myself that it hurts. I say so on behalf of all the ponies who couldn’t even say so.
…That was ten years ago. After that, I was miraculously saved. My body survived. But I think all the other things about me burned up and were reduced to ashes. If you take away a colt’s parents, home, and all such things, there’s nothing left for him. That’s why there was only my body. I think it’s a simple story. In other words, in order to let my body live… My heart died. …I’m dreaming.
“…Huh!?” I squint my eyes at the white light. “So bright”, I think. It was just light entering my eyes when I woke up, but I’m not used to it. I probably didn’t even understand what the bright light meant.
“Huh?” When my eyes focus, I’m surprised. I’m lying on an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar room. I’m surprised, but the room is so white and clean that I feel safe.
“…Where am I?” I look around. The room is big and there are many beds. A pony is in each bed, and everypony seems to be hurt. But nothing feels ill in this room. Everypony who’s hurt is somepony who was saved.
“……” I relax and let my eyes wander. …Outside the window. The bright blue sky was unbelievably beautiful.
After a few days, I finally understood. I could clearly remember what had happened in the past few days. Even so, I was no different from a newborn baby. Not just a metaphor, it was close to the truth. Anyway, it was a terrible fire. I had been saved from it, was in the hospital with my body wrapped in bandages, and my parents were gone. I didn’t get the situation, but I vaguely understood that I was alone. I think I understood quickly. …Well, there was nothing but fillies and colts in similar situations around me, so all I could do was absorb the fact.
…And after that. That stallion came, right when I was beginning to worry what would happen to me next. He came on the day my bandages were taken off and I was able to eat without help. Wrinkled coat and uncombed mane. The stallion, a bit younger than the doctor, felt more like a big brother than a father.
“Hello. You must be Storm.” A smile that seems to melt into the white sunlight. I think it was suspicious voice, but a very kind voice. “I’ll ask you directly. Which would you prefer? To go to an orphanage, or to be adopted by this stallion you’ve never seen before?” That stallion was saying he could adopt me. When I asked him if he was a relative of mine, he said he was just a stranger. …He looked like an unreliable stallion with no future. But it made no difference, as I knew nothing about either one: him or the orphanage.
So I decided to go with him. “I see, that’s good. Get ready quickly, then. You should get used to your new place as fast as you can.” The stallion quickly started packing my stuff. His packing wasn’t very good, even in the eyes of a colt. Then, after making a big mess…
“Oh, I forgot to mention something important. I have to tell you one thing before you come with me. Is that okay?” He turns to me lightheartedly and says, “Yeah. To start off with, I’m a sorcerer.” He says it in a serious, exaggerated tone. It happened in an instant. Come to think of it now, I was really a colt back then. I automatically believed those words.
“…Wow, you’re awesome.” I guess I said so with bright eyes. Since that time, I became his colt. Actually, I don’t remember what I said back then. But my father would always talk about that day. He would remember and retell the story again and again. So for my father, Doctor Whooves, that might have been the happiest day of his life.
…So. I guess it was strange for my father to tell me that he was a sorcerer, but I was strange as well for admiring that. And thus, I became an adopted son, and my last name became Whooves. Storm Whooves. When I said my name, I was really proud of having the same last name as Doctor.
…I’m dreaming. A story from my colthood. It was when I finally convinced my father to make me his student, so it must have been about eight years ago. When I was old enough to stay at home by myself, Doctor started to leave the house on a regular basis. He would say in his normal tone that he would “travel the world”, and he began to act on these words.
That’s how it was after that. It was normal for him to leave the house empty for a month, and he sometimes wouldn’t come home for half a year. The Whooves house is a big Ponyville-style house, and Doctor and I were the only ones living there.
I was perplexed in this house at times, as it was too big for a colt. But still, I liked my life here. Doctor Whooves would come home from his journeys and tell me lots of stories like a colt. And the colt who shared his last name would be at home waiting for those stories. I was always alone in the house, but that loneliness would all fade with the stories he brought back.
…The father who was always chasing his dreams like a colt. His attitude was astounding, but he always seemed dazzling to me. That might be why I wanted to be like him someday. …Well, on top of that… Looking at my ever-dreaming father, I felt I should become reliable myself…
…I hear a sound. I hear a heavy, old, rusty sound as the door opens. Light enters the dark shed.
“…Uh.” My mind, waking up…
“Storm, are you awake?” …Feels the cold air and the approaching hoofs.
“…Mm. Good morning, Sweetie.”
“Ah, yes. Good morning, Storm.” Sweetie smiles and nods as if accustomed to this situation.
“Storm, it’s morning already. You have some more time, but Pinkie Pie will get mad if you stay asleep here.”
“Oh… you’re right. Thanks for coming to wake me up.”
“It’s no problem at all. You’re always up so early. I can only come and wake you up like this occasionally.” …? Sweetie seems more upbeat than usual today as if she’s happy about something.
“…Really? I think you wake me up quite often. Though, Pinkie Pie always hits me to wake me up, so I’d rather have you wake me up… Well, I’ll try harder next time.” …I answer her with a sleepy head. I don’t know what I’m saying with my mind not fully awake.
“All right, but I’m happier when you don’t try.” Sweetie is giggling. …Gah, I guess my head was still dozing and I said something weird.
“…Give me a second, I’ll wake up.” Taking a deep breath, I clear up my mind. The cold outdoor air helps in situations like this. The chill works well to beat the sleepiness out of my head. …In front of me is Sweetie Belle, my junior at school. This place is a shed behind my house, and the time is six o’clock.
“Yeah, I’m awake now. Sorry, I guess I did it again. I have to help you cook breakfast too.”
“It’s fine. You were up late last night again, right? So you should take your time in the morning. I’ll get breakfast ready.” Sweetie says so in a happy tone. …It’s unusual. Sweetie really seems to be in a good mood this morning.
“I can’t let you do that. I’ll get up right now, so let’s go to the kitchen together. All right, I’m all set. Let’s go, Sweetie.”
“Ah… um, Storm…”
“Hm? What, is something wrong?”
“No, it’s nothing, but… I think you should change before you go back to the house.”
“…Oh.” That said, I look down at myself. I fell asleep while I was working, so I’m still wearing my overalls. Being my work clothes, they’re pretty dirty. I can’t imagine what Pinkie Pie would say to me if I went into the house like this.
“Ugh… I guess I’m not awake yet. I’m a bit out of it this morning.”
“That could be. So you rest here for a bit and I’ll take care of breakfast. And you know, if you keep this place a mess, Pinkie Pie will get mad at you.”
“…You’re right. I’ll go after I get changed. You go ahead.”
“Yes, I’ll be waiting, Storm.” Sweetie leaves. Well. I have to change into my school uniform and clear up this mess.
The shed is built on the edge of our yard, and just as it seems, it’s a warehouse we put all our junk in. But for me, it’s a place of treasures as I’ve enjoyed messing with things since I was a colt. Father didn’t allow me to go into the shed, but I always sneaked in here. As a result, it became my base. For me, Storm Whooves, I guess you could call this place my real room. The big Whooves household doesn’t suit me, and I can only relax in this space full of junk.
“…Besides, it’s a waste. Even if it’s junk, you can still use it.” Most of the things in here are appliances that can’t be used any more. Did I bring all the junk in here because I liked the place, or did I come to like it here because of all the junk? Anyway, since I was always sneaking in here, it became my hobby to fix broken things. It’s not like I get attached to things. I think it just annoys me not to use things that can still be used. And just like that, I was fixing up this stove all last night.
“…I guess I’ll finish this tomorrow. It seems I don’t have enough concentration, seeing how I fell asleep halfway.” I shake off the feeling of disappointment in myself. I gather up the parts of the stove and put them on the shelf full of things waiting to be fixed. There are no spaces on this shelf full of things awaiting repair. An old VCR awaits after the stove. …I guess I’ll ignore the fact that Pinkie Pie broke both of them.
“…All right.” I change into my uniform. This place is like my room, and it holds changes of clothes along with other things I need. It also has lots of blueprints and junk, the result of failures from when I do my training. There’s also some kind of old design inscribed on the floor, like an altar or something.
“…Well, let’s get today started.” Clapping my hoofs in prayer to the shed, I head for the house.
I emerge from the shed. The Whooves house is a Ponyville-style house on the outskirts of town. My father wasn’t much of a respected pony in town, but he somehow still had this huge house. That on its own is a mystery, but it also seems he didn’t have any relatives in Equestria. That’s why the house became mine and no pony else’s when my father died.
Though, to be honest, I don’t have that kind of management ability. Old Stallion Pie is in charge of complicated things like inheritance and property taxes. Old Stallion Pie is the big landlord in this neighborhood. According to Father, “the old stallion’s like a mafia boss”. Of course, this is just prejudice. He’s not “like” mafia boss; he “is” a mafia boss.
“……” Well, that’s a problem in itself, but I prefer to ignore it. It’s certainly true that he’s energetic and scary, but he’s actually not that bad of a pony. It really helps me as he pays a lot when I tune-up the motorcycle he likes to ride.
Anyway, that’s why I’m the only one living in this big house. It’s been five years since Father died. The days have passed quickly. I sigh, thinking about how much I’ve grown in those five years. I’ve trained every day to be like Doctor, but it’s not that easy in reality. It’s natural I had no talent to begin with, but what can be said about having no improvement at all in five years? To sum up the present in one sentence, my goal is so far away that I’m not even at the starting line yet.
“……” No, I guess it won’t do any good to rush. For now, I have to do what I can. Well then. Right now I should…