Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or anything to do with Christmas.
By: GWFan (The Softcore Brony)
“Everypony is staying at Sugarcube Corner tonight!” Pinkie Pie practically screamed. She had every reason to be excited of course. What better way to spend Hearth’s Warming Eve than with friends? After all the festivities that had gone on earlier, they had all decided to have a sleepover so they could spend the holidays together. Even the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Spike were there.
Among them, Twilight Sparkle smiled partially in relief, her lavender coat still showing signs of perspiration from the play they had put on earlier that evening. It had been quite an honor, since Princess Celestia herself had asked them to perform. It was all about how the different kinds of ponies had come together to found Equestria. Somewhat ironic too, since they had experienced it themselves, so to speak.
“All complications aside, the play went pretty well,” Twilight admitted. “We really learned a thing or two about putting our own differences aside. That was almost a disaster. I’m a bit relieved that it’s over.”
“And now we can enjoy the rest of Hearth’s Warming Eve!” Pinkie Pie said in a shrill as she rolled out a cart with ten mugs of hot cocoa for everypony and Spike.
“Not for too much longer. Some certain fillies I know need to get to bed soon,” Applejack said, glancing at the three foals.
Her sister Apple Bloom looked back at her disappointed. “Do we have too? It’s still so early.”
“Yeah, really,” Scootaloo said. “I’m not even tired yet.”
“It is not about getting tired,” Rarity told her. “If you don’t go to bed, Santa Hooves won’t leave any presents.”
“Santa Hooves!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed. “You mean he won’t bring the new crayons I asked for?”
“Or my new Scooter?” Scootaloo chimed in.
“Don’t forget my new loopty-hoop,” Apple Bloom added. “I bet I can get a loopty-hoop cutie mark again if I have a brand new one.”
“Then you better get to bed or Santa won’t come and leave you anything,” Rarity explained.
The three fillies looked at each other, quickly drank their cocoa down and bolted for Pinkie’s bedroom where they would all be staying. When Rarity went to check on them, they were lying under a blanket together, exhausted and asleep.
“What about you, Spike?” Twilight asked the baby dragon. “Shouldn’t you get to bed soon?”
Spike yawned. “I guess. I wouldn’t want to miss out on presents either.”
“Just make sure we don’t get a repeat of your birthday this time, okay?”
“Don’t worry, I learned my lesson. I only asked for a few gems.” That said, Spike grabbed up a pillow and went upstairs to curl into a new basket Twilight had given him as an early gift. It certainly beat a book.
Twilight giggled. “Watching them is so nostalgic. It reminds me of how excited I used to get on Hearth’s Warming Eve.”
“We better get to bed soon too, or else none of us will get presents from Santa,” Pinkie said, downing the remains of her cocoa.
Twilight laughed. “Oh come on Pinkie. First, trick-or-treating on Nightmare Night and now Santa Hooves? Believing in Santa Hooves is one thing I know you’re too old for.”
Twilight and Pinkie both laughed at that. Eventually they slowed to a light chuckle as Pinkie Pie collected the empty mugs of the other ponies. “That’s a good one, Twilight. Too old to believe in Santa Hooves. I almost thought you were serious for a minute there.”
“Huh?” Twilight nearly dropped her mug when she realized that Pinkie didn’t sound sarcastic. “You mean you really do believe in Santa Hooves?”
“You mean you don’t?” Fluttershy spoke up, sounding genuinely surprised.
“Fluttershy, don’t tell me you do too?”
“Of course I do, Twilight. Why wouldn’t I?”
“You two can’t be serious,” Twilight wanted to laugh but the blank stares she received in return made her think otherwise. “Nopony has ever told you?”
“Told us what? Do you know something about Santa Hooves that we do not?” Rarity asked.
“You too?” Twilight said in amazement. “Girls, Santa Hooves isn’t real.”
“What!? That’s impossible. Of course he’s real,” Rainbow Dash protested. “He’s the only pony that might be almost as cool as me. Who else do you know that can fly all over Equestria in one night while delivering toys to all the good ponies? Even I don’t know if I could pull that off.”
“That’s because nopony could do that in a single night. Equestria’s too big.”
“That’s cause Santa is special, Twilight,” Applejack said as if it were the most natural thing in the world. “I hear he’s almost as old as the princesses, so I’m sure he has the experience and know-how.”
“Are you saying Santa is an alicorn then? No other ponies live that long.”
“Magic keeps him alive, Twi. At least, that’s what the legends all say.”
“And that’s all he is, a legend. There is no real Santa Hooves.”
“What makes you think he’s not real?”
“Because I saw it for myself!” Twilight said rather loudly. She remembered it like it was yesterday. She used to believe in Santa Hooves. She remembered when she used to get excited about Santa coming down the chimney to bring her presents… but then that one year happened.
“It was my very first Hearth’s Warming since becoming Celestia’s personal student,” Twilight continued, lowering her voice down to normal. “At that time of year, all of the students from Celestia’s Magic School spent the night in Canterlot castle to celebrate Hearth’s Warming. I of course was one of the youngest students and, like I had done every year before that, I couldn’t wait for Santa Hooves to come. Somehow, I ended up falling asleep kind of early. That’s probably why I woke up in the middle of the night after all the other students went to sleep. I got up to go to the bathroom, and right after I had, I heard the grandfather clock in the hallway strike midnight. I realized that Santa Hooves must have been there so I galloped down to the parlor where the fireplace was, hoping to get a glimpse of him. But he wasn’t there. Someone else was.”
It had been one of the worst moments in Twilight’s life. When she made it to the parlor, she spied some of the castle’s many servants there. She had hidden under a table so they wouldn’t see her, but what she saw had changed her whole perspective on Santa Hooves. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The servants were setting presents out. When they finished, I ran over to the fireplace to check, and there right in the front was a present with my name on it. But the tag on the present read, From Santa Hooves.”
Twilight’s friends all gasped. They could imagine how traumatizing an experience it must have been. Heck, just hearing about it was traumatizing. Twilight didn’t know when her eyes had started to water. She hadn’t thought it was that difficult of a memory to dredge up.
“I stayed up the entire rest of the night hoping that it wasn’t true, and that the real Santa Hooves would come and make everything right. But he never showed up.”
“Oh Twilight, I’m so sorry such a horrible thing happened. No wonder you don’t believe in him,” Rarity said as she held her hooves together. “Does that mean you didn’t even receive what you wanted?”
“Well… actually…,” Twilight blushed. She had sent her letter to Santa Hooves, just as she had every year. She never told anypony what it said, not even Princess Celestia. So it was a real shock when, after crying in Celestia’s hooves, she had finally opened her present and beheld exactly what she had asked for. A Smarty Pants doll.
“I loved my present all the same, but Hearth’s Warming has never been quite as exciting since I found out the truth.”
“Ah, Twi, it’s okay,” Applejack comforted her, patting her on the back. “I think I might know what went wrong.”
“Huh?” What did she mean, ‘what went wrong?’
“Canterlot castle is a big place, so I bet it’s almost impossible for everypony there to be asleep when Santa Hooves comes. That’s probably why they have to set out the presents themselves just so nopony feels left out.”
“Wait, what? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, I get it,” Pinkie Pie said with a slight giggle. “Everypony knows that Santa won’t show up if someone in the house is awake.”
“Yes, of course. That must be it,” Rarity said, sounding relieved.
“No wonder he didn’t visit you. I’m glad he didn’t forget,” Fluttershy put in, holding a hoof to her chest as if she had just gone through some kind of fright.
“See Twilight? That’s why he didn’t show up that year. Everything is okay,” Pinkie said as if that explanation fixed everything. But it didn’t.
“He doesn’t show up because he’s not real,” Twilight refuted.
“No, silly. I just told you. He didn’t show because you were awake.”
“Do you even realize the serious flaw in your logic? That in itself is proof that he’s not real.”
“How so?” Rarity asked.
“Don’t you get it? It’s just a convenient excuse. Nopony has ever seen him because he doesn’t show up if you’re awake, right? And supposedly he does as long as you don’t see him? Do you understand now?” Twilight asked. Her friends looked at each other worriedly. Then Rarity raised an objection.
“I don’t think that necessarily proves he doesn’t exist. In fact, by the same logic, you could also say that that is reason enough to believe he does. Just because you didn’t see him doesn’t mean he was never there.”
“Well… I suppose…”
“He knows when you’re awake, Twilight. He always does,” Pinkie put in, widening her eyes in emphasis.
“And how do you know that?”
“I suppose if he didn’t then we would have seen him by now,” Fluttershy answered, shrugging.
“Well… why doesn’t he want to be seen? Can you answer that?”
The ponies all looked at each other. For a moment, Twilight was certain that she had won the argument and was about to push another point forward when Applejack’s face lit up.
“Because he’s modest,” she answered. “And because he’s smart. Think about it, Twi. Everypony loves Santa. Remember why we dressed up as Mare Do Well? Remember when Fluttershy became a model? It’s the same thing. If everyone knew what he looked like, he’d be hounded by ponies all the time. He don’t need all that attention and he probably don’t want it neither. That’s why he’s such a good guy.”
Drat. It was a sensible answer and there was little reason to argue otherwise. Twilight was just going to have to refute Santa from a different angle.
“You say that Santa has magic, which would make him a unicorn. But I’m a unicorn and I know more magic than any other pony, and I’m certain there is no spell that can extend your life. Otherwise all unicorns would learn it.”
“Perhaps, but you can’t really say you know every spell there is to know,” Rarity said. “Santa is so old, he must know plenty of spells that you don’t.” Twilight had to admit, it was a reasonable possibility assuming he really was that old.
“What about the reindeer? Reindeer don’t really fly. Right Fluttershy?”
Fluttershy scrunched her mouth in thought. “I guess I’ve never known a reindeer that could. I tried to teach one once, but in the end, neither of us could figure out how he could without wings.” Fluttershy added something else, but it was so quiet that none of them could make it out. Based on her dejected appearance, it might have been admittance to the impossibility of such a feat.
“See. Even Fluttershy agrees,” Twilight said, holding the yellow pegasus close as if to comfort her.
“But does that really prove anything about Santa?” Rarity asked.
“Maybe not him specifically, but it does prove that he couldn’t use reindeer to fly around Equestria.”
“Are you sure about that?” Rainbow suddenly asked.
“Of course. Fluttershy admits it and outside of children’s stories, there are no books that claim a reindeer can fly either.”
“Okay. Have you ever read one that says they never have?” Rainbow protested.
“Well…,” Twilight thought about it. It wasn’t like she had read a lot of books about reindeer, but the few references she knew of never actually said whether they could or not.
“Aha! You haven’t have you?” Rainbow said, flapping into the air.
“No, but so what?”
Rainbow crossed her forelegs and smiled. “I figured out how they can.”
“Really?” Fluttershy said hopefully
Rainbow winked. “I’m surprised Twilight didn’t think of it yet.” Twilight raised an eyebrow, wondering what the cyan pegasus was getting at. “Duh, Twilight. Magic.”
“What? What does that have to…,” Twilight cringed in sudden realization.
“Of course!” Rarity exclaimed. “You even said that Santa must be a unicorn.”
“You did! You did!” Pinkie chimed in.
“I did…,” Twilight groaned. She herself had proven before that flight for a wingless creature was possible. She had granted Rarity temporary wings that had worked perfectly… at least until they melted.
“I’ll bet he uses magic to make them fly and super fast. Zoom!” Rainbow made a whooshing motion with her hoof as the others congratulated her on her reasoning. Fluttershy all but hugged her in relief that it really was possible for reindeer to fly. Twilight on the other hoof, sulked.
Of all the days that her friends had to come up with logical arguments, why did it have to be today? What ever happened to the days when they thought Zecora was evil, just because?
“Ah, poor Twilight. I know you had a bad experience as a filly, but it’s okay now. We all believe Santa is real. Why is it so hard for you?” Pinkie Pie asked her.
Twilight had already explained it. She didn’t believe because she knew the truth. It had been engrained in her brain. Santa was a fraud. There was just no way there could be any such thing. Obviously, there were few points she could bring up that couldn’t be explained with magic or something else that at least made sense to the others. Still, there was one trump card Twilight could think of that would show her friends the light.
“Mrs. Cake!” Twilight called into the other room. As requested, the older mare who co-owned Sugarcube Corner with her husband, came in from where she had been putting the last of the dishes away. “Tell them, Mrs. Cake. Nopony ever told them that Santa Hooves isn’t real.” The look on Twilight’s face was quite smug. If her friends didn’t believe her, then surely they would believe someone older.
“Twilight, of course Santa is real,” Mrs. Cake said. Twilight’s smug expression was smacked off her face by an invisible hoof. How could she say that?
“Mrs. Cake, don’t baby them. We’re all adults here. Tell them the truth.”
However, Mrs. Cake shook her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Twilight. Why don’t you believe Santa is real?”
Twilight facehoofed. She wasn’t about to go into the explanation again. How could Mrs. Cake treat them like this? They weren’t babies.
“Its okay, Mrs. Cake. I think Twilight just needs some proof,” Pinkie Pie said casually. “Come on everypony, let’s go to bed. Then when Twilight sees the presents we all get in the morning, she’ll believe again.”
Twilight wanted to refute some more and tell her why that didn’t prove anything, but her friends all agreed it was a good idea and cleaned up the room before hanging their stockings over the fireplace and scooting off to bed. Fluttershy asked her if it was okay to hang up a stocking for her as well, and Twilight figured she might as well. There was nothing wrong with following traditions even if they originated from old (and obviously false) stories. How could all of her friends believe such an obvious illogical thing like Santa Hooves?
Everypony was asleep and it was going on ten, but Twilight was still awake. The conversation about Santa was still eating at her.
“This is ridiculous. I should be able to logically prove that Santa Hooves doesn’t exist. So why can’t I? There must be a way.” Twilight watched her friends sleep while she thought. “By their logic, I can’t just stay up because he won’t show. But if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll miss Mr. and Mrs. Cake putting out presents for us or something. Besides, I’m sure they would check to make sure we are asleep and make up some excuse for being awake if I caught them. After all, if they’re awake then Santa won’t show either.” Twilight stopped. That train of thought wasn’t working. If anypony else was awake, then it would prove the opposite of what she wanted, at least in her friends’ eyes. That meant she would have to prove it by herself. But how?
Twilight tried to think through everything her friends had said. There had to be a loophole somewhere. “There must be a contradiction to the conventional logic… or illogic or whatever.”
Oddly enough, her friends’ rebuttals made sense, giving Santa a pretty good alibi as to why he existed. He was modest and thus didn’t want to be seen. He somehow knew when ponies were awake, making it easy to go unnoticed. He used unicorn magic to get up and down chimneys and grant his reindeer the ability to fly. His magic also made him immortal like the princesses, and thus could easily be as old as the stories about him. That didn’t rule out the idea that Santa was actually many different unicorns who had all posed as him over the years but that would be admitting that he existed, which Twilight knew wasn’t true. After all, she had witnessed it… even though her friends had managed to explain why she hadn’t seen him, effectively debunking her testimony, at least for the moment. And all because there were too many ponies in the castle for Santa to ever show…
Everypony knows that Santa won’t show up if someone in the house is awake.
Someone in the house…
Twilight sat up and raised her hoof. “Loophole,” She nearly shouted.
Twilight pulled out her binoculars and gazed onto the roof of Sugarcube Corner from the upstairs window of the nearest neighbor’s house. If Santa didn’t show when someone was awake inside the house, then perhaps he would show if somepony was awake in another house. No, that wasn’t right. He still wouldn’t show because he wasn’t real. Twilight was going to prove it by watching him not show up at Sugarcube Corner. Then when the presents magically appeared anyway, Twilight would be there to say, “I told you so.” It was the perfect plan. Her friends would have no choice but to believe her and acknowledge how right she was.
As Twilight finished snickering to herself like a madpony, she turned around at the sound of another pony walking into the room.
“I brought an extra blanket. Are you sure you really want to stay up here? It get’s awfully cold,” A pony with a curly orange mane told her.
Twilight smiled. The owner of the house was Carrot Golden Harvest Top, or just Carrot Top to her closest friends. “It’s all right. I’ll be fine. Thank you again for letting me stay. I’m sorry I came so late.”
Carrot raised her hoof dismissively. “It’s no problem. It is Hearth’s Warming Eve. How could I say no tonight?”
Hearth’s Warming really was the best holiday. Everypony always seemed so much closer this time of year. Twilight returned to her Santa watch and nestled into the blanket Carrot had brought. After a few moments, Carrot interrupted her again.
“So, are you going to go to bed soon? Should I bring a pillow?”
“No, that’s fine. I don’t plan on going to bed tonight.”
“But if you don’t go to sleep then Santa Hooves won’t come.”
Twilight lowered her binoculars and looked at Carrot. “You believe in Santa?”
“You mean you don’t?” The same response she had received from Fluttershy. Carrot was still smiling, sort of, but she looked a little worried too. “I’m surprised, Twilight. Everypony believes in Santa Hooves. Why don’t you?” Everypony? Everypony! Was Twilight really the only one?
Sighing, Twilight packed her binoculars and threw her saddlebag over her back. There was no reason to ruin someone else’s Hearth’s Warming.
“Wait, you’re not going outside are you?” Carrot asked as Twilight headed for the stairs.
“Happy Hearth’s Warming,” Twilight replied and started her way downstairs. Just as she got to the front door, she was surprised when Carrot came galloping down after her. She was even more surprised to see what she set down on the floor.
“Here, take these with you. It’s really cold outside.” Carrot had laid two pairs of snow boots, a scarf, and a warm fleece saddle. Twilight noticed an emblem on the corner of the saddle. A carrot.
“But aren’t these yours?”
Carrot smiled. “You can still stay if you want to. Hearth’s Warming isn’t about presents. I’ll even stay up and keep you company.”
Twilight was speechless. She had thought everypony believed in Santa Hooves because of the presents he brought. Was there something she had been missing all these years? Perhaps she had spent too many Hearth’s Warming Eves with just Spike.
“It’s all right. I don’t want to keep Santa from visiting you. And don’t worry about the cold either. I can stay warm.”
“If you’re not going to stay then I insist you take my boots and saddle. I can always get another set.”
Twilight realized she wasn’t in a position to say no. Carrot was genuinely worried about her, just like her friends would be if they knew she was out there. Thanking Carrot with a warm hug, Twilight donned her new apparel and stepped outside.
It was cold, there was no denying that, but Carrot’s gift helped. Twilight settled down into a quiet street corner and raised her binoculars to the sky as snow fell all around her. No sign of anything, of course. Only about an hour or so left until the appointed time when Twilight would finally catch… well… nothing actually. But that was what she was expecting.
But somewhere along the way, Twilight started to doze. She didn’t know how long or when, but she was awakened by the city clock striking twelve. She rubbed her eyes, hoping she hadn’t missed anything. Then she shivered a bit, realizing it was even colder than earlier. There was no way anypony would be out in such freezing weather. Even Santa wouldn’t be out in weather like this.
Twilight shook off the falling snow that had accumulated on her and stood up, feeling it was long past time to go in. But then, something caught her eye on the roof and it looked like a pony!
Twilight did a double take. Somepony was on the roof of Sugarcube Corner. She could just make out the shadow moving around up there. Could it be?
Of course it couldn’t. Santa obviously wasn’t real, which meant only one thing.
“It must be a burglar!” Twilight watched the figure move around to the chimney. He must have been taking advantage of the Santa Hooves myth to steal to his heart’s content. What nerve. Well he wasn’t going to get away with it with Twilight Sparkle on the job.
Twilight winked up to the roof, preparing to surprise and capture the fiend. Except he wasn’t there. Tracks on the snow-covered roof revealed that he had indeed headed to the chimney. He hadn’t really tried to go down had he? Nopony would go that far. He could have gotten stuck or something. And how would he get back up?
Twilight was just about to wink out again to see if the burglar would come out the front door when she noticed something she hadn’t before. A red sleigh? But there was still more. Reindeer? Eight of them? This was far too elaborate even for a thief. How did he even get them up there?
Before Twilight could inspect the reindeer, she was startled by a puff of magic that suddenly blew out of the chimney. When the magic wisp transformed into a pony, Twilight sat down and just stared, mouth agape, not believing who she saw.
He was dressed all in red in an actual coat that even covered his flank, obscuring his cutie mark, assuming he even had one. The top of his head too was covered by a very tall red hat as if it hid a unicorn horn. On his back he held a saddlebag that was clearly full of toys and other things, yet not nearly enough to cover all of Equestria. Could it be magic as well? But that wasn’t what really caught Twilight’s attention. It was his mane. It was flowing almost as if alive, and sparkled in four different colors that seemed all too familiar. Twilight had seen it only one place before and came to a startling realization. Santa wasn’t a he… he was a she.
Celestia looked just about as surprised as Twilight felt. What in Equestria was going on?
“Twilight Sparkle? But how did you…? Everypony inside is asleep. Not a creature was stirring. Not even a mouse. How did you know I was up here?”
Twilight slowly recovered from her surprise and pointed. “Down there. I was waiting for Santa Hooves to come… I mean I was trying to prove…,” Twilight stopped and covered her mouth. She had just admitted to something she had hidden from even herself.
Celestia slowly smiled, realizing exactly what Twilight was doing. She was just trying to sneak up and surprise her, of course. “I guess I was bound to be caught eventually. Surprisingly, in all the centuries I’ve been doing this, you’re the first pony to ever think to look for me from outside the house.” Really? That was surprising. But what was Celestia even doing out here? “I’m relieved that it was just you. It might have been worse if somepony else had seen me.”
“But… I don’t understand. What exactly do you mean? Why are you dressed like that?”
Once again, surprise overcame Celestia’s face. “You mean you didn’t know?”
“Know what? What happened to Santa Hooves?” Twilight asked in confusion.
“Twilight, I am Santa Hooves.”
Twilight’s eyes widened in further confusion. Realizing that she had just said something odd, Celestia smiled. “What I meant to say is that I have always been Santa Hooves since the very beginning.”
“Wha… you… I… huh?” Santa Hooves was real? And he was Princess Celestia? What the hay?
“I’m sorry I never told you, Twilight. I thought you knew. Especially after that incident back when you first came to Canterlot.”
“You actually remember that?”
“Of course I do. You were devastated. I thought you figured it out but I guess I was wrong.” Celestia shook her head as if she thought it was amusing. But Twilight didn’t think so. All those years feeling crushed and let down, thinking Santa was fake. And now she had found out that the pony she was closest too had been him all along. Why had she never thought to ask her about it?
“I just don’t understand Princess. Why? Why Santa Hooves? Why not just be yourself? I’m sure it wouldn’t make any difference to anypony.”
“It’s really quite a story, actually. You see, centuries ago after Equestria was first founded, and a little before Discord first appeared, I wanted to do something special for everypony for the anniversary of the founding. So my sister and I thought up the idea to surprise them with presents. Since I needed help to deliver the gifts, I decided to enlist the help of some local animals called reindeer and temporarily granted them the ability to fly. We also built the sleigh that would carry the presents and colored it red because I happened to like that color. When the night finally came, it was so frightfully cold that I put on an old red coat that I happened to have before taking off. I didn’t think about anypony catching me at the time, so in the morning after the deed was complete, there were rumors all across Equestria of a pony in red that had been seen descending from the sky and leaving all the presents behind.” Celestia giggled as she finished the tale. “And that’s how the legend of Santa Hooves started. It was just an accident, but made everypony so happy and was such a popular tale, that I decided to do the same thing every year.” Then she winked. “But under the guise of Santa Hooves of course.”
“So that’s it,” Twilight said slowly, though strangely, her eyes welled up in tears.
“What’s the matter, Twilight? Is something wrong?”
“What about the castle? What about everypony there? What happened the year I found out there is no real Santa?”
Celestia put a hoof around her faithful student and spoke calmly, despite the cold. “The servants and guards all know, but they’re sworn to secrecy. In fact, they make many of the gifts that I give out every year. They want to be part of the gift giving too, so I let them give out the presents in the castle. I’m sorry you found out the way you did. Has it really hurt you so much?”
“No. Actually, everything is fine.” Twilight wiped her tears away before addressing the princess again. “In the end, I wasn’t exactly wrong, but I wasn’t right either. There is and is not a Santa Hooves. You and he are the same pony, and somehow, I’m fine with that.”
Twilight finally realized that she hadn’t stayed up to prove her theory. Not exactly. Somewhere deep down inside, she had been hoping to prove herself wrong. Even after all this time, since that terrible year, she still secretly prayed that Santa was real. Her whole Santa watch had been her deceiving herself, hoping that Santa would show. And now he, or rather she, really had.
Sensing that she didn’t have much time to catch up on things with her faithful student, Celestia prepared to say a quick goodbye before returning to her yearly work. “I’m glad to see that you accept it, though I still wish there was a way to make up for deceiving you, even if it wasn’t intentional.” Then Celestia’s face lit up with a sudden idea. “Come with me, Twilight Sparkle. I can’t think of a better gift for either of us then if you were to assist me in delivering the gifts to all the ponies of Equestria.”
Twilight stared at her mentor. Her? Twilight? Help Santa deliver the gifts? There was only one answer. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes!”
“Then put some gifts in your saddlebag, my faithful student, and we’ll be off to the other ponies’ houses.”
“Wait! I have one request first. Do you have a new set of boots, scarf, and saddle? I want to give them to a good friend of mine who gave me hers.”
Celestia wrinkled her nose with a smile. “Of course. I always come prepared for any such occasion.” Then she waved her horn and everything Twilight had requested magically appeared, and neatly wrapped in a bow no less. Twilight instantly winked into Carrot’s room where the pony was sleeping, and quietly laid down the new clothes. Twilight grinned at her newest friend and winked out.
Then she and Celestia went to work, delivering gifts and toys to all the other homes in Ponyville. Through winking and magic, it was simple and quick. They had hit the whole town in less than twenty minutes. Then it was back to Sugarcube Corner where the sleigh was still parked. There were still plenty of other cities and towns to visit.
As Twilight leapt into the sleigh, Celestia hit her with an unexpected question. “Twilight, would you like to do the honors?”
Twilight gleamed at Celestia as if she were a filly again. “Can I really?” Celestia nodded. Twilight squealed in delight and would have danced in place if she hadn’t already been sitting down. Then she raised the reigns and called out, “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!”
“Uh, Twilight?” Celestia interrupted. “I had those particular reindeer centuries ago. They are long since retired.”
“Oh. What are these ones called?” Celestia leaned over and whispered in her ear. Twilight looked at her in surprise. “Really?” Celestia nodded. “Well, okay.” Taking a deep breath, Twilight raised the reigns again and called out, “Now, Stanley! Now, Sandy! Now, Bosley, and Moe! On, Bumper! On, Scooter! On, Fili, and Joe! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!” She added the last part, remembering a tale from her youth. It might not have been necessary, but the reindeer took off all the same. What a thrill!
Tomorrow, Twilight would tell her friends that Santa Hooves was real and that she believed, oh how she believed again. They would sure be surprised. Or maybe they wouldn’t. After all, they already knew. If only Twilight had been a good friend and believed them. They had made great points. But that was over now and the night was still young, at least by Santa Hooves standards.
So Twilight exclaimed as they flew out of sight, “Happy Holidays to all, and to all ponies a good-night!”