Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon, A

by Honey_Habanero

Chapter 1

A Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon

Brought to you by:
Sugar Cube Corner, and their fine array of snacks and treats for all occasions

Celestia’s sun rose over the forests of Equestria, bathing the landscape below it in a thousand hues. It had snowed all night, and the village was covered in a blanket of snow, perfect and undisturbed. It caught the colors of the winter sunrise, and shone. Before long the snow would be sprinkled with tracks, tamed with shovels and heat spells, but for now there was only a perfect winter landscape, glistening and flawless.
The door to the treehouse library of Twilight Sparkle swung open. There was a moment of discussion, an intake of breath, and a tongue of green fire lanced out through the door, kicking up clouds of steam as it hit the snow. A moment later, a small purple dragon poked his head out the doorway.
“Item number one: shovel the walk. Check.” He disappeared back inside, only to reemerge after another moment perched on the back of a purple unicorn. He unrolled the scroll in his hands, and studied the contents critically. “Next up, decorations. Then gifts, baking, making the card list, organizing the card list, writing the cards...” he trailed off, reading on and on down the list. “And, uh, it just goes on like that.”
Twilight Sparkle smiled over her shoulder at Spike. “Well, of course! It’s Wintermoon, the busiest time of year! We only have a couple of weeks if we’re going to pull it off without a hitch. And that means organization!”
Spike continued to scroll through the checklist. “Well, you know, there is more to Wintermoon than that. I mean..there’s the whole, you know, celebration aspect?”
“Oh, Spike!” Twilight laughed. “That’s all just for the foals. Wintermoon is actually a very serious and solemn occasion. It’s the longest night of the year, after all! There are traditions for Wintermoon that go back thousands of years! No, we have to do things right. And that means the right things at the right time. Preparedness!”
Spike shrugged. “Well, if you say so. But I still like the fun stuff better.”
“Well, there will be plenty of time for that once Wintermoon is over. Now, what’s first on the list?”


“A Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon” is brought to you by Sugar Cube Corner,
who wishes you and yours a very happy holiday.


The day passed quickly, in a whirlwind of errands. It seemed to Spike that they must have visited every shop in Ponyville. They had already made three trips back to the treehouse to unload Twilight’s saddlebags with food, presents, party favors, and so on. Just at the moment they were at Carousel Boutique, where Rarity was fitting Twilight for a Wintermoon party dress.
“Honestly, Darling,” Rarity smiled as she carefully draped some fabric over Twilight’s flank. “It’s a good thing you came by when you did. In another few days I will be simply swamped -- but swamped -- with orders. Everypony has to have a new dress for Wintermoon. It’s all I can do to get them all done in time.”
“Oh, I know what you mean! I was just telling Spike this morning that the key to getting through Wintermoon is to take it head on! He was going on about fun and festivity and so on, and I told him there was a lot more to it than that! I think if you take a frivolous attitude to something as solemn as Wintermoon, you’re just going to make a mess of it. And what would be the point of that?”
Rarity looked over her friend's shoulder in the mirror. “Well, dear, you do know there’s more to it than that, yes? I mean, there is rather a lot of hard work, but the whole point is to celebrate. I mean, when all is said and done, n’est-ce pas?”
Twilight tossed her hair. “Oh, dear, now you’re starting to sound like him! Honestly, I sometimes think this town would go to pieces if I wasn’t here to organize things.”
Rarity tisk’d, tugging on some errant fabric. “Now, Twilight dear, that’s not the Wintermoon spirit! Even you ought to relax sometimes! Remember it’s all about celebrating the true spirit of the season!”
Twilight sighed. “You think so? I mean, I know I like to make sure everything is nice and organized but...oh, horseapples!” She stomped her hoof in frustration. “I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Getting all worked up on the details and missing the big picture! This is... this is so me!”
Rarity patted her friend reassuringly. “Now, now, dear. It’s all right, honestly. You’re a natural-born organizer, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, we--” She gasped, eyes lighting up with delight. “Ideeaaaaa!”
Twilight looked over her shoulder. “Idea?”
“Yes!” Rarity spun Twilight around to face her. “It’s so perfect! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! And of course it takes care of our problem too! Yes, of course!”
“Er, Rarity...what are you talking about?”
“Why, the pageant, silly! The Wintermoon pageant! We put it on every year, and every year it just barely comes together; between you and me, dear, the whole thing is simply crying for organization. And you need a dose of that good old Wintermoon spirit -- yes, I think this will work wonderfully! Oh, I need to go tell the others! Look, I’ve got your measurements, you hurry along like a dear and I’ll see you at the theatre first thing tomorrow morning, all right? And don’t worry about your dress; It will be marvellous! You’ll see! Now, off you go! Oh, so much to do!”
Twilight stood blinking outside the boutique. She looked over her shoulder at Spike, who was busy checking off “Party Dress - Fit and Measure” from the list. “Did ... that just happen?”
Spike grinned. “Yup! You got press-ganged.” He brandished his quill. “You want to start another checklist?”
Twilight looked around. “Not just now, thanks.” Outside, the day was coming to a close. Ponies were bustling in all directions, most laden with parcels and treats. It would be dark before long, but for now the town was a beehive of activity. “I tell you what, Spike. Let’s just go home and take care of everything we’ve got so far, and then we’ll worry about the play in the morning. All right?”
“Suits me.” Spike kicked back on Twilight’s back as she trotted towards home. “Besides, I’ve got some very important business to attend to.”


Sugar Cube Corner is pleased to present: “A Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon”. Sugar Cube Corner, home of the Key Lime Cupcake and other treats. And now, back to our story.


“This is important business?” Twilight looked over the scroll with a puzzled frown.
“Well, yeah!” Spike nodded eagerly. “I mean, it’s only my annual letter to the Great Winter Dragon! I gotta get it just right if I’m gonna get what I want!”
“Now, Spike, I know you’re just a baby dragon, but--”
“But what?”
“... Never mind. Let’s just have a look at this letter.” She held the scroll up, and started to read.
“Dear Great Winter Dragon: I hope this letter finds you well, and also Mrs Winter Dragon and the drakelings. I have been extra sincere and a very hard worker all year long, so please bring me lots of yummy gems oh and also plenty of quills because you’d never believe how quickly we go through them here, I mean sometimes we get them right down to the nib. And that’s the ones that don’t just disappear, I swear I’ll put them down and poof, they’re gone, just like that. Isn’t that weird? I mean, have you ever wondered...” She continued reading silently, rolling the scroll slowly upward. “Uhm, it does go on kind of a long time about quills, doesn’t it?”
“Too much?”
“Possibly. I’d take out the second paragraph, at least. Now, let’s see, what else...” She went back to reading. “Ah yes. ‘In addition, I don’t know if it’s possible but if you could see your way clear to getting me a mustache, one of those nice handlebar ones, that would be so awesome.’ Really, Spike?”
“What? You know I look totally great with a mustache. Even your magic ones that don’t last hardly any time at all! I’ve got to think of my future!”
Twilight laughed, shaking her head. “Okay, Romeo.” She skimmed down through the list. “Spike, this is just a random hodge-podge of stuff. There’s no order it it at all! How is the Winter Dragon--”
“Great Winter Dragon.”
“--Great Winter Dragon supposed to make sense of this? I mean, at least break it up into categories. That way he doesn’t have to rush around. In fact, now that I think of it, why are you sending this so late?”
“Late? It’s not late! There’s a couple of weeks left!”
“Well, yes, but he’s probably spent all year getting ready for this. You don’t think sending it this late isn’t a bit last-minute?”
“But everydragon sends their letter at this time of year! It’s tradition!”
“Really? So, he gets the letters all at once? That has to be a logistical nightmare! Why doesn’t he, I don’t know, stagger it throughout the year? Maybe in January, the dragons with their names A through C. No wait, A is going to have a lot more names, so it should get a month to itself. Now, February, where’s my slide rule--”
“I’m... I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”
“Uh, duh, yeah!”
Twilight took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. The rest of the letter passed without incident. She corrected some minor grammar and punctuation errors, and watched as Spike sent it on its way in a flash of green smoke.
Later that night, as she climbed into bed, she thought about the pageant. There had been pageants at Canterlot of course, but these were professional productions, elaborately staged with beautiful sets and costumes. Somehow she got the feeling that Ponyville’s version wouldn’t be quite as impressive. Still, as long as it all ran smoothly; that was the important thing.


A Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon will be right back after this word from Sugar Cube Corner:

“Sugar Cube Corner is the home of the best treats in Ponyville: yummy cakes, delicious fruity pies, Lots and lots of chocolaty cookies and brownies and so much good stuff you’ll flip! Well, not literally flip, though this one time I ate an entire bowl of frosting and kinda bounced around a lot, and I think I did do a few flips, but I don’t remember anything and anyway when they found me the next day they said there were hoofprints on the ceiling and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ and”

We now return you to: A Twilight Sparkle Wintermoon.


The next morning, Twilight set out to find the auditorium. It wasn’t difficult. All she had to do was follow the screams.
“Why the hay do I always have to be be LUNA!?” Rainbow Dash squirmed as Rarity fought to get a wig on the struggling pegasus. “I mean, it’s not like she has any good lines. Or at least a decent action scene! This whole thing could use some punching up, actually. I wish you’d let me write the script!”
“We tried that before, remember? ‘The Totally Awesome Adventures of Power Princess Who Completely Saves Wintermoon With Her Sheer Awesomeness?’ The one where we had to rebuild the theatre afterwards? I seem to recall every copy of the script was gathered up and burned. Why, poor Derpy’s never been the same since, poor dear! Now we’re sticking to the authorized version, no argument.”
Dash huhmphed, blowing an errant strand of wig out of her eyes. “It’s because I’m blue, isn’t it?” she said.

In the rear of the stage, AppleJack stepped back and admired her work. It was perfect: a tranquil scene of Equestria in wintertime, rendered gorgeously on the canvas flat that constituted the scenery. She cast her eye over the painted snowscape, the little village off in the distance, the mountains, even distant Canterlot, and nodded to herself. Job well done. She dropped her brush into the paint pot, and looked around for Pinkie. “Pinkie, sugar? Where ya at, girl?”
There was a whoosh, then a whap!, and AppleJack looked down in puzzlement at the remains of the snowball that had just made impact with her face. Did somebody actually bring in snow from out side and...?
Another one came sailing ward her. She managed to duck this one, but not before seeing the culprit. It was Pinkie. Hiding behind a tree. In the scenery.
The orange earth pony scowled, and poked ineffectually at the canvas. “Pinkie--dang it! You come out of there! Right now!”
“Come out of where?”
AppleJack spun around. Behind her was Pinkie Pie, grinning and looking as innocent as the pink pony ever managed to get. She did a quick double take at the canvas--no pony there. She knew she hadn’t been seeing things, but... oh, the hay with it.
“Never mind. Just get the paint put up. And make sure you wash them brushes out!”
“Okie-dokie!” The pink mare took a paint bucket in her mouth and trotted offstage. AppleJack watched her go, then shook her head slowly. One of these days...

Meanwhile, in a corner of the stage, the ersatz Princess Luna was telling three angelponies the facts of life.
“Oh, no way!”
“Are you sure?”
“Duh, ‘course she’s sure! She’s like, the smartest pony to come out of Cloudsdale!”
Rainbow Dash grinned. “Darn right! Some ponies think it’s really your parents, but I know for a fact that it’s all gone corporate. And it’s not just Wintermoon.”
“Really?” The purple-maned angel stared up at Dash, her eyes widening.
“Oh, sure! Why do you think different lands have different holidays? It’s a franchise! Like, the Gryphons have Longnight, right? And the Sea Ponies have... whatever they have. Totally franchised. All of ‘em. Life Day, Hogswatch, Decemberween. It’s all run by a big Eastern syndicate, y’know.”
“Ah don’t believe it.”
“Gee, it does sound a little... odd...”
Dash leaned forward, her voice low and conspiratorial. “If you think that’s weird,” she grinned, “Wait til I tell you where Spring Eggs come from.”

Twilight stood in the doorway, surveying the scene. Right. She squared her shoulders and marched to center stage. Around her ponies were chatting, arguing over lines, fussing with their costumes and generally going every-which-way at once. Clearly, it was time for some organization.
“All right everyone? Can I get your attention, please? Hello? Hello!?” She stomped her hoof impatiently as the din went on around her.
“MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE!” The voice boomed and echoed across the auditorium. Ponies froze in their tracks; dust shook itself from the ceiling and floated down in a gentle cloud. Somewhere in the rafters, a family of bats took wing, and high-tailed it out of there.
Rarity pulled herself out from the wardrobe rack which had collapsed over her. “How did you--”
Twilight beamed. “Royal Canterlot Voice.” She continued. “Now, as you all know, I have been asked to direct the play this year. I’ve never directed a play before, but I’m sure with everypony’s help and co-operation we can pull it off just fine. I’ve made a few notes here...” She pulled out a bulging clipboard. “First, do we have our script finalized?”
Rarity floated it over. “Right here, Twilight dear. All ready to go.”
The script landed gracefully in front of Twilight, only to have another, rather larger script land on it with a crash. From above, Rainbow Dash grinned. “There ya go, Twi! Read that one! It’s, like, way cooler!”
Rarity stamped her hoof. “Rainbow Dash, we’ve been through this already! We are not going with your script!”
“I bet Twilight would like it better. I bet she’d think it was the most awesome Wintermoon pageant ever!”
“Girls! Girls!” Twilight sighed. “Rainbow, I’m sure your script is very nice, but given our time restrictions, I think it’s best we just go with the regular version this time around. All right?”
“Hmmph. If you say so.”
“OK, next up: characters. Does everyone know what part they’ll be playing?”
“Of course.”
“Yes,” said a passing tree.
Twilight blinked. “Uhm, Fluttershy? Why... why are you dressed as a tree?”
Fluttershy pushed a bough away from her face. “I’m the Wintermoon tree. You know? The one that gets decorated and stands in the sacred grove on the first Wintremoon as a reminder of--”
“Yes, yes, I know the story, but... how can I put this? It’s not really a part, is it? I mean, there aren’t any lines, are there? You’re just a tree.”
“But... but I’m always the tree.” Fluttershy pouted, her branches drooping.
“All right, all right. Fluttershy the tree. Everyone else good? Good.” She looked around at the assembled ponies. “Okay. Sets built?”
“More’r less.”
“Divine, darling.”
“All set!”
“Everyone knows their lines?”
Twilight sighed. “All right. Well, let’s go ahead and try a read-through. We’ll see how that goes.”

In fact, things went swimmingly for almost three pages before everything started going to pieces.
“Oh, the winter is so cold, and it has been so long!” Bonbon raised her hoof to her forehead, adopting a doleful posture. “Oh, what are we to do!? When, oh when will this winter end!?”
“Just one.”
Twilight looked up from her script. “When. Just one when. ‘When will this winter end?” Like that.
Bonbon huffed. “I was merely adding dramatic flavor.”
“Padding your part, more like.”
Bonbon spun around. “Now, who said that!? I heard you!”
Princess Dash shrugged. “What? It’s true. You always add stuff on.”
“Now, Dash dear,” said Rarity soothingly. “It’s perfectly understandable if she wants to add a word or two here and there. After all, she doesn’t get much to say and it’s only fair.” She turned to Bonbon. “Now, dear, I know your part may seem small to you, but remember, there are no small parts, only small--”
“Yeah, yeah, only small actors. We’ve heard it. It’s easy to come from somepony who gets to play Celestia every single year!”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?”
“Give somepony else a turn!”
Rarity backed into a corner, flustered. “Well! It’s not that I do it on purpose! It’s just that, well, playing the part of a royal takes someone with dignity and poise, someone who can carry off the grace of a princess! Can I help it if I happen to be, er, particularly suited for the role? You can’t give a part like that to just anyone!”
There was a crashing noise from offstage. Everyone turned to look at Rainbow Dash emerging from the tangled remains of the snack table. Her wig was askew, the paiper-mache horn hopelessly rumpled. She licked some ranch dressing from her nose and looked at the assembled crowd. “What?”
Twilight hurried over. “All right, all right, everyone! Now, this isn’t getting the rehearsal done, is it? We all know our parts, and there’s no point rocking the boat now. What I want is for everypony to just calm down. We’ll take it form the top of the page. All right?”
There was a moment’s silence, and then everypony started shouting at once, bickering with each other at top volume.
“Everyone ... everyone, please … could I just …” She sighed, and took a deep breath.
“--and I was like, how did you even fit your head in there in the first place?”
Twilight looked around. “All right! I think we’re all a little stressed out. That’s fine. Now, we’ve got the parts all chosen for this year. Perhaps next year we’ll see about rotating out parts. But for right now, I need everyone’s co-operation if we’re going to pull this off. Now, I suggest we all take a break for lunch and meet back in an hour. All right?”
There were various grumbles of assent. The ponies filed out and into the cold winter day.
Spike turned to Twilight. “So, boss. What now?”
Twilight rubbed her forehooves together. “Now, we go back to the treehouse. It’s time to get … organized.”


“--and this one time we made a whole bunch of marshmallow peeps, and I put some in the microwave, and they got totally HUGE! And I filled them with helium and tied strings to them, and went around handing them out and told everypony they were edible balloons! And then I made a whole bunch of them, and tried to see if I could fly, but there weren’t enough, so I thought if it --”


An hour later, as the cast and crew trooped back to the auditorium, they were greeted by an unusual sight. Placed around the stage at regularly spaced intervals were stacks of manila folders, each one labeled with the name of a pony. Inside, were lines for the actors, prop lists and other instructions for the crew, multi-page checklists for all. Things to remember, things to practice, whose turn it was to clean up the popcorn under the seats. Everything laid out in detail. Lots and lots of detail. Applejack took a look at hers, and blanched.
“Sugarcube, just what is all this?”
Twilight preened. “Organization. Everything you need to know and do for the play to be a success, all laid out and organized.” She allowed herself a little strut. “Took me all lunch to do it.”
“Twilight, dear,” Rarity moved behind her, and touched her shoulder. “We appreciate this, certainly, but are you sure it’s really necessary?”
“Absolutely!” She turned to the others. “All right, everypony. Just start with your preliminary checklists. Work through the items in order. If you have any questions, there’s a question and answer sheet in the back. Appendix C.” She flipped open her own folder, and dove right in.
A few of the ponies studied their folders, leafing through them. A few even began working through the checklists, or at least trying to. The room fell silent, punctuated by only the occasional rustle of paper. And so it went, the silence lasting almost an entire minute before Rainbow Dash threw down her pencil in disgust.
“What am I DOING!?” She kicked the papers, scattering them. “This is a Wintermoon pageant, not a … homework thing!” She stomped over to Twilight. “Are you kidding me with this!?”
“Dash, we are trying to put on a serious pageant here. Now, the only way--”
“No we are NOT! we’re trying to have some fun and put on a show for some ponies so they’ll have fun too! That’s what Wintermoon is all about, duh!”
“Fun? You think this is about fun? Dash, this is serious! A play is a very large responsibility and we need to treat it like one if we want to succeed!”
“Oh, good grief! Yeah, like ‘responsibility’ and ‘organization’ are what Wintermoon’s all about! We all sit around in suits and ties and fill out forms together! Uhhh, don’t think so!”
“Well, now, dears, I think we’re all missing the--”
“Oh, don’t you start, Rarity! You think Wintermoon’s all fancy stuff and decorating everything that holds still for five minutes! I’ve seen you out there, setting up your Wintermoon decorations!”
“Well, so does everyone else!”
“In May!?”
“Now look here, sugarcube. Havin’ fun is part of Wintermoon, sure, but there’s a mite more to it than that. Likes gettin’ together with your family. An’ sharin’ what ya got.”
“And good food!”
“And pretty lights!”
“And presents!”
Everyone turned to look at Spike. He shrugged.
“What? You were all thinkin’ it.”
At this point the other ponies began to chime in with their favorite aspects of the holiday, each one shouting to be heard above the others. Twilight slumped as the conversation around her wandered off in every direction. “There’s more to it than all that,” she said to herself. “I know there is.”
It was quiet, almost unheard. But something about the voice made every other pony stop and turn their head towards its source.
Fluttershy set her costume aside. She stepped to the center of the stage, glancing nervously at the others. She was the center of attention, and it showed. She gulped, but raised her head enough to whisper, “L-lights, please?”
Somewhere in the rafters there was the echoed schlunk of a switch being thrown. Fluttershy reflexively cowered in the spotlight, then took a deep breath, and began to speak:

“And the two sisters came down among them and said, fear not, for the winter night may be cold and dark, but surely the spring shall come, and with it the green of leaves and the warmth of day. And thus it shall be always, for ever the sisters reign.
“For this is the lesson of winter: that no matter how cold it may be, no matter how desolate, it is but a passing thing. That surely as day follows night and sun follows moon, so surely will the winter be followed by the blessing of spring. And just as the darkness and the light balance each other, and teach us each the value of the other, so too do the seasons provide balance. For just as you rest in the dark hours of the day, so too does the earth rest in the quiet months. Truly, without winter there could be no spring.
“And know this: that in the darkest times of your lives, when the world is cold and seems beyond endurance: know that this too shall pass, and that there are times when one must pass through the winter of the spirit to make it to the spring of renewal. Therefore be of good cheer, for when you have experienced the worst of the cold and the dark, you may be assured the warmth and light are coming again, if only you persevere.
“And this shall be the sign whereby you remember these things: that on the longest night of the year, when winter’s grip is complete, you shall feast, and celebrate, and bear each other joyous company, for now you face the dawn. The Winter Moon shall be the reminder that spring is on its way.
“And the ponies there assembled came away, glad of heart, and built fires, and sang, and danced, and feasted under the first Winter Moon. And thus it was, and thus may it be ever, as long as the Sisters reign.”

Fluttershy stammered to a stop and looked around nervously. “Uhm. Anyway. That’s what I always was told it was about, anyway ... uhm.” She cringed as the entire room stared at her, open-mouthed.
It was Rarity who recovered first. “Fluttershy, dear … that was exquisite.”
“Oh? Uhm, sorry?”
Rarity laughed. She stepped over to the pegasus, and nuzzled her fondly. “Don’t be.” She looked around the room. Gradually, the spell was wearing off. All the ponies were surfacing from whatever reverie had claimed them.
Twilight Sparkle joined the two of them. “You’re right,” she said. “I must have read those words a hundred times. And yet, somehow, in all the hustle and bustle of the season, I just … forgot them.”
“Yeah.” It was Rainbow Dash. “I mean, fun is awesome and all, but it’s totally true what you said about the winter and everything.”
“Ah tell you what!” Applejack chuckled as she joined the others. “Girl, you don’t talk too much, but when you do, it’s really somethin’!”
“Yeah!” Pinkie bounded over. “I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard you say about anything ever!”
One by one, the other ponies came together in the middle of the stage. Twilight looked around at the group. There was still so much to do: lines to learn, sets to finish... yet, something had changed. There was something new in the ponies around her. She looked down at he checklist, and gently set it aside. She didn’t think they’d be needing it.


Sugar Cube Corner is proud to be a sponsor of --


You know what? Just never mind. Back to the show.


The library door clicked shut behind Twilight as she and Spike stepped in. The rehearsal had gone much better the second time around. The pageant was coming together. As the ponies had gone home for the evening, each had taken with them a bit of the spirit they had found that day. Soon, it would be spreading itself all over Ponyville, warming hearts against even the coldest of nights.
Twilight relaxed in front of the stove, watching the firelight dance. She felt strangely content. Things had definitely been rather unorthodox today but she was okay with that. She thought perhaps she might be inclined to loosen up a little, here and there, after all.
Still, there was such a thing as duty...
“Spike, take a letter.”

Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned that, with so much going on during the holiday season, it’s so easy to lose track of what it’s all about. But the really nice thing about having friends and family around is, they will remind you what is really important. And even if you don’t have anyone special with you during the holidays, you know that in the spirit of the Winter Moon, you and everyone around you are part of the same big wonderful celebration, and that the promise of better, brighter days is just ahead.

Yours truly, Twilight Sparkle.

PS: Happy Wintermoon from Spike and me both.

Twilight was deep into a book when the package came. Spike’s cheeks bulged, his eyes widened, and a moment later a small package came sailing across the room and landed at Twilight’s hooves.
She opened it carefully, puling out a flat cardboard rectangle, and a note:

Dear Twilight Sparkle,
Thank you as always for the wonderful letter. I hope the Wintermoon spirit keeps you through all the year round.

Princess Celestia

PS: I thought you might enjoy this.

She picked up the cardboard, and a record rolled out on the the floor. She picked it up carefully, and floated her record player over. On the cover of the record sleeve was a picture of an older colt with a bushy mustache and glasses, seated in front of an absurdly small piano. She read the name.
“Vincent Guaraldi? What kind of a pony name is that?” She shrugged, and put the record on the player.
The music, when it came, started deceptively simple. It was piano, someone playing a simple pattern on the low notes, almost one you might pluck out by accident. It was pleasant enough, but she didn’t see why--
The melody began. Piano again, but now it danced and twirled in the upper registers. Deceptively simple, but so perfectly light and joyous you had to stop what you were doing and listen. She found herself transfixed. Without noticing, she began to tap her hoof.
The music shifted gears: five chords in rapid succession followed by more dancing along the melody line. There was something infectious about the tune. Twilight found herself smiling, eyes closed, shifting back and forth to the music. The tune wound its way into her, firing up old instincts and desires. It sang to her of childhood, of innocence and pure joy. She had frankly spent the majority of her childhood with her nose in one book or another, but just for a moment, the music opened a door for her, and showed her a different Twilight, who played in the sun, who jumped and danced with excitement, one hidden behind the staid, collected scholar but always ready for an excuse to come out.
Twilight rose to her hooves.
She danced in place, letting the music carry her. First on all fours, then she rose up on her hind legs, forelegs outstretched, head back, eyes closed. No rules, no self-conscious effort. Just once, just once, following the music. And it was Wintermoon and she was a young foal, and the world was full of wonder...
Outside, the paper lanterns draped across the quiet Ponyville streets bathed the snow in a thousand colors. Already the night’s snowfall was covering the tracks of the day’s activity. When the dawn came, it would find the slate clean: a new day, a new promise.
As it would always be.