The sound of pages being passed carelessly filled the room. Lifting the head from her own book, Twilight Sparkle looked at her temporary assistant.
“Lyra, you’re going to damage the book that way.”
The other unicorn closed the book with a loud thump, which made the librarian wince.
“Sorry, Twilight. I’m not accustomed to look for spells in books. Truth be told, I’m decent with the levitation spell and have enough dexterity to manipulate my instrument. Nothing much else. Which reminds me that I have a practice session tomorrow.” The musician looked out of the window, seeing the moon beginning to reign over the sky.
“I should probably be getting back home soon.”
Twilight waved a hoof, dismissing her. “That’s ok, Lyra. Also, I want to go and talk to Zecora tomorrow in the morning, so I think this issue will be left for the afternoon. Is that ok?”
The green mint mare smiled. “Totally ok, Twilight See you tomorrow. You too Spike, have a good night!”
Both waved her goodbye and she left the library, at a slow, but happy pace. Inside the building, Twilight put a pile of books apart.
“Well, I think that’s fine for now. How about having some dinner, Spike?”
“Already on it, boss,” answered the dragon assistant, leading Twilight towards the kitchen. She followed him, one of the chosen books levitating by her side. She checked it while waiting for the meal, writing down small notes, as well as during eating. She finished eating and put the book down back in the library table, guarding her notes. She climbed upstairs to prepare herself to bed; it had been quite the long day for her.
The cold air of the night brushed against Lyra’s coat. The musician shook a little. Her path was illuminated by the high lamps across the street, as well as by the lights coming fron the windows of the houses; most ponies were now resting in the comfort of their homes.
Living in a small town brought such bliss. She walked slowly and the sight of the town half covered in shadows brought her memories. She tuned out the voices that pushed from the back of her mind, whistling one of her favorite tunes to help her, and made it to the apartment. The lights in the first floor were on, and she went inside. From the kitchen, she heard her friend’s voice.
“Lyra, did you eat already? Dinner will just take some more minutes now.”
Lyra’s smile turned broader and she entered into the room.
“Good night, Bon Bon. What’s dinner today?” Just as she asked that question, the smell coming from the oven filled her nose. The earth pony mare answered without turning back.
“’Today’s dinner is grilled corn from the Apple farm, with butter, and some leftover pudding as dessert. Here, take this to the table.”
The plates holding the corn were levitated straight to the table, followed by the pudding. They both sat down. Lyra assisted Bon Bon in holding the cob.
“Pinkie Pie challenged me to a pastry contest, did you know?” asked Bon Bon, between bites, without taking her eyes away from the corn. Lyra looked up to her curiously.
“True, I had forgotten about that,” said the musician. Now the earth pony looked up and met the unicorn’s eyes questioningly.
Lyra lowered the corn down to her plate. “Well, she appeared this evening at the library and almost puffed all the air out of Spike, asking him if he believed that your desserts were better than hers…”
Bon Bon looked at her surprised. “Lyra, what do you think about Twilight Sparkle?” blurted she all of a sudden.
“Why do you ask that?” The green unicorn tilted her head, her ears falling down just a little. The earth pony bit her lip, meditating before answer.
“Well, I’ve heard… that the Elements of Harmony are somewhat unbalanced…”
There was no answer from the musician. Both ponies decided then to rise from the table and go upstairs to prepare for the night.
“Good night, Lyra,” said the pastry pony, after coming out of the bathroom.
“Good night, Bon Bon,” answered the unicorn, occupying that room herself. Soon after, she entered her room and laid herself down to sleep.
Applejack woke up as usual in the Friday morning. The cold air of early morning greeted her as she went outside the house, preparing for her job. She hauled a cart full of baskets to one of the far off sections of the apple orchard and organized the baskets. Putting her hooves to work, she spent forty five minutes bucking, before taking the full bushels to the barn and going into the house to eat breakfast. Granny Smith and Apple Bloom were already sitting at the table, and her older brother followed her through the door. The whole family reunited, they blessed their meal and started to eat.
After finishing, Apple Bloom went to school, the two older siblings went back to their obligations in the farm and Granny Smith took care of the kitchen. The sun was already high in the sky when an earth pony mare appeared in the path to Sweet Apple Acres. Bon Bon crossed the farm’s gate and went over to the house, knocking on its door. Almost a couple of minutes later, the door opened and the eldest Apple greeted her.
“Why, hullo, young un’. What can Ah do fer ya today?”
“Good morning, Granny Smith,” answered Bon Bon with a soft voice. “I’m looking for Applejack. Is she here?”
The old pony trotted over to the door, Bon Bon turning around to follow her.
“Well, Sugarcube, my dear granddaughter is over there in them fields.” The Apple matriarch pointed to a hill at the left of the house, which rose well over it. She whistled hard, and from behind the house appeared a collie dog, barking happily.
“Hey there, Winona. Take this young un’ to where Applejack is. Go now, girl!” Winona began a soft trot, mindful of her companion. Granny Smith nudged Bon Bon. “Hush now, Sugarcube, follow her.”
“Thank you, Granny Smith.”
The younger earth pony followed the dog, who ran happily across the fields and went up the hill.
Soon they were among uncountable apple trees; Bon Bon did her best to not lose Winona’s track. Finally, the collie began barking loudly after what seemed to be fifteen or twenty minutes. A loud voice answered from somewhere.
“Winona! What’s it, girl? Come here!”
The sweet maker noticed then the baskets surrounding the trees around them. Some were full of apples; others farther from her were empty. Following the collie turning between two trees, they found the orange farmer, whose face offered a brief surprise when she saw the other earth pony.
“Howdy, Bon Bon! We don’t see you much around here, you usually buy the apples in the market What to I owe to this pleasure, Sugarcube?” asked Applejack while nuzzling the dog, who barked affectively and swatted her tail vigorously.
“Well, you see, Applejack, I received a visit from Pinkie Pie yesterday…”
“And that’s what you visit me for, Sugarcube?” the farmer now adopted an expression of curiosity in her face, looking up to her interlocutor.
“Well, Applejack… She appeared from nowhere and challenged me to a sweet making contest. I did not know what to do, so I accepted. And I still don’t know what happened, so I thought I’d ask you. You’re one of her best friends, and the one I know better. Please help me, Applejack.”
The addressed pony played with the brim of her hat, looking at her. “Did Pinkie say nothing more ta ya, Bon Bon?”
Bon Bon shook her head. Applejack stretched her lips a little and looked to the mare in front of her. “Well, Ah’ll talk to the girls and we’ll talk to Pinkie. Don’t you worry none, Sugarcube, this’ll be alright. Now, if you excuse me, Ah’ve got many baskets to fill down here. Ah’ll talk to you when Ah’ve got something, right?”
Bon Bon nodded silently and after waving bye to Applejack, she trotted out to the farm and into town again, preparing for another day.
It was around mid-morning when Twillight Sparkle set off once again for the Everfree Forest. She once again met many ponies in her way out of the town, though strangely, no Pinkie Pie. The bouncy Earth Pony could often be found jumping around with seemingly little cares about the world, but she was missing today. Twilight shook it off and went by the road that led to the forest, going near Fluttershy’s cottage. The pegasus was out watering her flowers, when she saw her friend approaching. She put the pail down and trotted over to her, a little smile in her lips.
“Hello, Twilight. Good to see you today.”
“Good to see you, Fluttershy. Are you doing well today?” The shy pegasus nodded, making her smile a little wider.
“I’m just here watering my plants and spending a small, nice time with my animal friends. You know, I think that the little small times that we just used to have are things of the past. We’re almost always rushing off to somewhere, fighting an evil entity or something… I very much like today.”
The unicorn smiled serenely. “I can see what you mean, Fluttershy. Well, I hope the rest of your day goes just as well. I’m off to see Zecora.”
“I hope you have a good day too, Twilight. Good luck.” Both friends dedicated a smile to each other and the unicorn continued her walk. Zecora had given her some pointer on how to avoid the most dangerous creatures of the Everfree.
She walked slowly but constantly and kept an ear out for the sounds of the forest. She had also sought and learnt a reflective spell, so that the cockatrice incident did not happen again. She arrived to the zebra’s home and knocked on it. Almost immediately, the door opened.
“Good morning, Twilight. To see you is always a delight.” The striped mare beckoned the unicorn to come inside. Twilight complied, shutting the door behind her. The inside of the hut was the same as always, but the cauldron was quiet and unmoving.
“You’re not preparing anything now, Zecora?” asked Twilight, looking around curiously. Zecora negated with her head.
“The cauldron has been shot down, it is time to feed the crown,” answered the zebra, pointing with her hoof towards a book resting open on a table, beside some others. Twilight trotted over and levitated the open book, looking at its tittle before carefully putting it back on the table. History of Equestrian Magic
“I know this one! I read it some months back, it’s good!” Twilight smiled excitedly. Zecora had put some water to boil; while waiting she turned to look at Twilight.
“You told me something about a human creature. Have you find anything about this new feature?”
“Well, there’s a legend I found in a book. I have to ask Princess Celestia about it, though.”
“Even if it’s a little bit, can you tell me about it?”
“Yes, of course.” Twilight relayed the whole story to Zecora, who listened attentively the whole time. Upon finishing, she nodded.
“Quite a story have you found. I wonder if it does have any ground. Well, until you ask the Princess, I suppose there’s no progress.” She trotted over, putting the water down and pouring it into the teapot.
“Yes…” Twilight dived deep into thought, until she finally broke out of it, shaking her head. “So, Zecora, will you teach me about herbs and potions? I wasn’t able to ask properly last time.”
The zebra smiled. “I’ll be happy to, indeed, teach everything you need. Let’s have a line, are weekend mornings fine?”
“Yes, I think that’s appropriate.”
Zecora finished preparing the tea and served it in two cups. They finished the visit enjoying the hot beverage. Twilight said goodbye to her friend and exited the hut, taking the path back to Ponyville.
Lyra rolled around in her bed for a while. She finally came to consciousness and opened her eyes. She stretched her hooves and got out of bed, walking lazily. After washing herself, she threw a look out of the music room’s window. The sun outside was already high. She exited the room; there was no sign of Bon Bon around. Going downstairs, she discovered a couple of sandwiches with jelly in the table along with fresh milk. She took breakfast and went back upstairs, deciding to begin practice.
Closing the door of the study, she shut the curtains down and turned the lights on, levitating some sheets to her, along with her lyre. Pining down the sheets to a board in the wall, she began pulling the strings via her magic. The music soon began filling the room and she let herself go free, like going in a boat down some rapids.
She finally put the instrument down. Putting everything on the table, she looked out of the window and saw that the sun had advanced a little outside. She noted down the need to have a clock upstairs somewhere. Going out of the room she heard movement downstairs and descended. Bon Bon was selling a piece of carrot cake to Whooves. She waved to him.
“Hey, Whooves, I hadn’t seen you in a while!”
He nodded and put the slice down in the counter. “I had to accompany my cousin from Manehatten to do an assignment over there. My brother should be coming back soon, so I have to go and pick him up.”
“Your family’s always the busy one, eh?” chuckled Lyra.
“You can bet. Well, gotta go. Time waits for nopony!” He picked up his cake, waved goodbye to the two mares and trotted off. Bon Bon turned back to her friend.
“Well, good morning. I assume you’ve practiced now?”
“You’ve got that right. Thanks for the breakfast, by the way.”
“You’re welcome,” said the earth pony, turning around to serve another pony. “So, I assume you’re going to the library?”
Lyra swatted her tail. “Yep!”
“That’s fine. Remember that tomorrow is your turn to do house cleaning and cook, ok?”
“You’ve got it, Bon! Bye!” Lyra stopped to hug her friend, and then jumped out towards the Library. She arrived there and opened the door, finding Spike dusting books.
“Hey, Lyra! What’s up!”
“Oh, hi, Spike. I’m fine and you?”
“Fine too, just fine. Twilight’s not here, you know. She must still be at Zecora’s house.”
“Zecora, the zebra?”
“That’s the one, yes.”
“She lived in the Everfree Forest, right?”
“Uhum,” answered the distracted dragon, going back to his chores. Lyra turned back, trotting out of the door.
“Thanks, Spike, I’ll go over there!” She broke into gallop going towards the Forest’s entry.
“Hello, Pinkie” called Bon Bon quietly, looking at the pink mare that had just arrived at her shop doing small jumps and landed right in front of her counter.
“Hello, Bon Bon, are you doing fine?” Pinkie’s high pitched voice resounded squeaky in the other earth pony’s head. Bon Bon brought out her best smile.
“Yes, everything’s going fine. How about you?” Bon Bon spoke slowly; those blue eyes were locked into hers. Pinkie smiled widely, but she couldn’t help but feel unnerved.
“Oh, I’m good, pretty good. I just wanted to ask if Monday seemed a good day for the contest.” The pink pony’s smile grew even wider.
“Yes, I think that’ll be good. So, see you in Monday?”
“Okie Dokie Lokie!” chirped the pink mare, turning her back to leave. “See you, Bon!” She went away, jumping.
Bon Bon just stared into the counter. She was brought out of it by a tap into the counter’s glass. She looked down and saw a small unicorn filly looking up to her.
“Oh, hello, Dinky. What can I do for you today?”
Sitting in the border of the Forest was boring. Minutes passed and Lyra just stared into the trees. She was beginning to consider that perhaps a crazy adventure with the wild creatures that lived inside there wouldn’t be such a bad idea, when a shape emerged from its depths. The musician jumped and went to the scholar’s encounter.
“Hi, Lyra. How are you today?” Lyra turned so as to follow the purple unicorn.
“Everything’s fine, I just had a little practice….” The mint green unicorn’s face shone alight with an idea. “Hey, would you like to see me playing? I have a concert this Sunday evening, Manne Theathre in Canterlot. I can give you an entry.”
Twilight considered this. She spent most of her Sunday evenings and nights cataloguing books. It had been quite some time since she had last assisted to a concert.
“You have a deal there, Lyra.”
Both unicorns stopped in their tracks when the voice resounded out from nowhere. Almost after it, a yellowish glow covered the nearest area in the sky. After it diminished, the majestic presence of Princess Celestia made itself known. Celestia landed in front of the two mares. Lyra fell into a bow while Twilight advanced towards her.
“Princess! Are you here because of the human?”
The Princess of the Sun looked down towards her protégé with a neutral expression on her face.
“That’s exactly why I’m here, Twilight.”