Snowdrop moved through the students in the hallway with her head down. She was contemplating the happenings of the morning. It's pretty obvious the day was not going well for her. The crusaders were still acting strange. When she asked to hang out with them after school, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and even Lily Pad said they were busy after school and wouldn't be able to make it.
To make matters worse, she felt that something was going on with Sunset and her friends. But that could wait. For now, she needed to get through the day then she can figure out why everyone was acting so weird around her. She pushed her thoughts to the back of her mind as she entered her last class.
"Hey, Snowdrop, Over here!" She heard Applebloom shout from the back of the class. She made her way over to her and took the seat beside her.
"Hey, Applebloom," She said.
"You okay?" Applebloom asked, noting the slight sadness in her voice.
"Uh… yeah. Why?"
"Uh… you just sound a little off?"
"Oh, um, I'm fine, kinda tired, had a hard time sleeping."
"Oh, Ah hope you'll get some sleep tonight," Applebloom said, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Emboldened, Snopwdrop asked hopefully, "Hey, Applebloom? Do you have plans today? Maybe we can hang out a bit?"
"Oh, sorry, Snowdrop. Ah wish ah could but ah have a lot of homework to catch up on. Maybe tomorrow," Applebloom suggested.
"Oh um… maybe I can help?" Snowdrop asked.
"N-no! Ah mean, Ah don't want to take up your time. Ah can manage on my own," Applebloom said nervously.
"Oh… okay then," Snowdrop said before the teacher silenced the class and began the lesson. She grabbed her textbook but stayed mostly stayed to herself.
The class continued as it always had, but Snowdrop wasn't focusing on anything the teacher said. Her mind was elsewhere. Applebloom tried to make some small conversation with the girl during discussion time but was ultimately unresponsive to Appleblooms conversation. After the class ended, Snowdrop walked out of the class after gathering her equipment then went to wait outside for Sunset. Applebloom felt bad about lying to Snowdrop as it seemed to affect her more than Applebloom thought it would. She grimaced before biting her lip and straightening her back. They needed to do this. All the crusaders outside of Snowdrop knew about the plan. She only hoped Snowdrop would forgive them when she found out about their roles.
Snowdrop made it outside of the main entrance when she heard Sunset's friends leaving the school, but she didn't hear Sunset with them. She decided to wait by the statue, and after a little while, she heard her big sister calling her.
"Hey, Snowdrop," Sunset said. "You got anything planned for the afternoon?"
"Uh… no, why?" Snowdrop asked.
"Well, I was looking for this book that is hard to find, and Twilight, I mean this world's Twilight, told me about this book store that always has the books she's looking for despite the distance from one book to another. I was hoping maybe we can go there before heading home?"
"Huh… I guess. It's not like I have anything to do today," Snowdrop said.
"Awesome," Sunset said before taking Snowdrop's hand and walking to the bus stop.
After a short bus ride, they came to their stop closest to the store. They proceeded to walk in the crisp mountain air. The store was called Tucson's Book Trade with its catchphrase being "home to every book under the sun." They made their way inside. While Sunset talked with the owner about what she was looking for, Snowdrop browsed the rest of the books. Snowdrop asked if there are any brail books, to which the owner said yes and showed her where they were. She then thanked the owner before she too joined to browse the books. Time quickly went by with the two sisters browsing through the books. Snowdrop was mostly trying to keep her mind off things. After a little while, Sunset walked up to the owner and gave him the book.
"Snowdrop, you got anything?" She asked.
"Uh… yeah. Just this book." She gave it to Sunset, who then gave it to the owner and bought both books before leaving the store. They made their way to the bus stop and were in luck when it pulled up as they arrived. The two climbed the steps, and Sunset led them to the nearest open seats.
"Um… Snowdrop? You okay?" Sunset asked Snowdrop in the bus, noting that Snowdrop was in deep thought.
"Oh- sorry. It's nothing," She said.
"Hey, it's okay. You can tell me."
"Um… well… my friends are still acting weird," Snowdrop said sadly.
"Oh, did you talk to them?"
"I… no. I asked them to hang out after school. But, they all said they have things to do."
"Well, they might be busy. I wouldn't worry about it, you all are good friends. I'm sure you'll be back to doing things together in no time," Sunset said.
"I hope you are right," Snowdrop said.
"Have faith in your friends. I know they'd be there for you no matter what."
"Okay," Snowdrop said, trying to hide how glum she felt.
The bus came to their stop, and the two made their way home on foot. Snowdrop was still lost in her own thoughts that she failed to register the mumblings coming from inside the house that stopped when they got to the front door. Sunset opened the door, and the two walked inside, with Sunset letting Snowdrop take the lead with a grin. The blind girl, completely unaware of anything happening, made her way to the staircase when all of a sudden-
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Snowdrop jumped back, hugging Sunset tightly from the sudden noise. Everyone else laughed at the result, which is a frightened and confused Snowdrop.
"He heh- hehe… that, was, priceless," Rainbow said, hardly able to contain her laughter.
"What's happening?" Snowdrop asked, still confused.
"Did you forget? It's your birthday," Applebloom said.
"Y-yeah," Lily Pad, who was also present with them, said.
"Wait. So that's why you said you have things to do today? You were setting up the party?" Snowdrop said, letting go of Sunset.
"Of course. Why did you think we were going to stop being friends with you or do something bad? Hmph, we would never do something like that," Scootaloo said.
"You're not mad at all of us, are you? You were really quiet today. It made me really uncomfortable to see ya like."
"No, I not mad I was just worried I did something wrong since it seemed like all of you didn't want to hang out with me anymore."
"Oh, can you forgive us for keeping this a secret? We'll promise not to keep secrets from you anymore."
"There was nothing to forgive. You girls are my bestest friends in the whole world," Snowdrop said as she hugged her friends with a watery smile.
"Okay, birthday girl, your cake is waiting for you," Pinkie Pie said, placing a party hat on Snowdrop.
"O-okay," Snowdrop said while Sunset pushed Snowdrop towards the cake. It was a big cake—courtesy of Pinkie, with some added comments thrown in there from a certain Principal.
"Okay, Snowdrop, now make a wish and blow the candles," Celestia said, moving closer with the others.
"I don't need to. I have everything I want," Snowdrop said.
"Can you humor me?" Celestia said.
"Alright, here goes nothing."
Snowdrop took a while to concentrate before a wish was made, and the party officially began when she blew out the candles while everyone cheered and sang. Once the party began, everyone helped themselves to the treats, especially Celestia and the cake. Snowdrop joined her friends in the living room and played around. Sunset and the girls stayed in the dining room to talk while watching the five girls.
"She looks so happy," Fluttershy said.
"Yeah, she does. I can't wait to show her the presents," Sunset said, taking a drink from the punch.
"Hey Sunset, I've been meaning to ask. Unicorns can do magic, right?" Rarity asked.
"Well, we have horns when we pony-up. So can we-"
"It's possible, but it's going to be really hard and a lot of training."
"What do you mean?"
"Well… the magic in this world is… low. It isn't like the magic back in Equestria. Where this world's magic is like a pond or lake, Equestria's magic wellspring is like the ocean endless, vast, and with depth so deep that you can study magic your whole life and only know a covers worth of knowledge of what magic is."
"Really? I thought this world didn't have magic before Twilight came," Applejack said.
"Oh, it does. Otherwise, the crown wouldn't have worked here. But it did. So since we have horns, you might be able to do magic too," Sunset said. "Rainbow, have you tried to stand on a cloud?"
"Wait, I can stand on clouds?" Rainbow asked, surprised.
"Yeah. Every Pegasi can. Maybe you can too, but be careful, okay? Maybe start out with trying to shape fog. Anyway, I tried to do magic while I was in pony-up. And I was able to levitate things and even teleport once. They are basic spells, but that took all I had for just one of those spells."
"Wow, really?" Rarity asked.
"Yeah. Without pony-up, this is all I can do," Sunset said, levitating a cupcake towards her while everyone else watched in amazement.
"Do you think I can do that too?" Rarity asked.
"Why not? But there's a tiny problem. You see, a unicorn's horn is just a tool to draw magic, just like the crown, that draws friendship magic. But unlike that, a unicorn's power depends on the person's aura," Sunset began to explain. "Since I arrived in this world, my connection to magic was cut off for so long. It took a lot of my power and aura at the fall formal, but it also re-established my connection. After talking with Twilight, I realized at the battle of the bands, the tree simply increased my aura and made it easier to draw fire magic, so I can use my special talent. But for other powers, I have to work from the beginning to use them here. Twilight wouldn't have such a problem since she wasn't cut off from magic for long and didn't waste it like I did. It would take a lot of time to practice and gain enough aura to use magic for you guys. But you can pony-up, which increases your aura by a lot to practice the spells. I'll teach you a few tricks to increase your natural aura too."
"Oh, that would be great, can we be-" Rarity got interrupted by the sound of the doorbell ringing.
"Who's that?" Rainbow asked.
"I think that's Twilight. You said you invited her too, right?" Applejack asked.
"Yes, I did. I thought she forgot or didn't want to come," Sunset said, getting up and walking towards the door before opening it. Just like they thought, it was Twilight, who was looking nervous.
"Oh hey… I…uh may have kinda lost track of time. The party isn't over, right?" Twilight nervously asked.
"Oh no, come in," Sunset said, letting Twilight in. "Another project of yours?"
Sunset smiled and guided Twilight inside and made their way to the girls.
"Girls, this is Twilight. The one I told you about," Sunset acted. "Twilight, this is Applejack, Rainbow, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie."
"Hey, Twilight? Sunset told us a lot about you," Applejack said.
"Yeah, and you look like a fun person to hang out with," Pinkie said, getting uncomfortably closer to Twilight's face. "Can we be friends? Please? Please? Please? Pretty pleeeeease…?"
"Uh… y-yeah… why not?" Twilight awkwardly said.
"Ah, Twilight. Glad to finally meet you in person. We weren't able to meet you yesterday," They heard Celestia saying with a cake in her hand.
"Oh, miss Celestia. Uh… y-yeah we haven't met before. So uh… h-hi," Twilight said awkwardly.
"Relax, Twilight. I'll be your aunt one of these days. On top of that, we aren't in the school. Just enjoy the party, okay?"
"Y-yeah, I will."
Celestia went into the living room, leaving the girls to themselves.
"Tia? Don't you think that's enough? That's the fifth piece," They heard Luna saying in the background, to which the girls chuckled.
"Wow, she's… uh… different," Twilight said. "Is she like that when in school?"
"Well, not exactly. She and especially Luna is a lot more professional when in school. But they like to work with the kids sometimes, at least mom does. She used to be a teacher. On the other hand, Luna likes to show her power in school and catch kids that break rules. The whole school thinks she is really cruel, but she's the complete opposite." Sunset said.
The girls began to talk about things they were interested in Pinkie of all people keeping up with Sunset and Twilight when they started talking about formulas. The party was in fun swing and was proceeding on course until the time for presents came. Everyone gathered with their gifts while Snowdrop waited patiently. First up was Applejack.
"Here, Snowdrop. Ah bought you a watch. It's a talking watch. It will help you get up bright and early. Ah've seen how you sometimes have trouble when you want to know the time. Now you don't have to," Applejack said.
"Oh, thank you. I didn't know there were these kinds of things," Snowdrop said, taking the watch and putting it on.
"You're welcome," Applejack said, tilting the hat.
"Here, darling, I made you a nice dress. It goes nicely with your watch," Rarity said, handing over an expansive looking frock.
"Wow, Rarity, that must have to worth a fortune," Rainbow said.
"Only the best for my friends, but I was more concerned with how comfortable it is."
"Okay, okay, enough with the clothes, check this out, Snowdrop. Scoots said, you like to play games with others but can't, right? Weeell, Not anymore," Rainbow said, bringing up an iconic white and black ball with a button on it. She pressed the button, and a small beeping sound came from the ball. "Catch," She said, throwing the ball towards Snowdrop, who caught it in her hands pretty easily.
"Ah-ha- she caught it!" Pinkie said, jumping.
"Impressive," Twilight said.
"So now I can play games with this?" Snowdrop asked, amazed.
"Yeah. Now you can play with us," Scootaloo said, smiling.
Just then, Fluttershy came from upstairs with her gift.
"Hey, Snowdrop. I like you to meet someone," She said.
"uh… who?" Snowdrop asked.
"Snowdrop. Hello~" She heard someone talking with a raspy voice.
"*gasp* is that a parrot?"
"Yes, she is. She's a white cockatoo. She's also trained to help the blind. So she can help you locate things." Fluttershy said, bringing the parrot closer to Snowdrop's outstretched hands, who then switched from Fluttershy to Snowdrop. Snowdrop brought up her other arm to touch the parrot's head, who nuzzled against her hand.
"Does she have a name?" Snowdrop asked.
"No. you can give her one," Fluttershy said.
"Um… how about… Ari?" Snowdrop said after thinking for a while.
"Ari… Ari… Ari…" The parrot, now named Ari, said.
"Oh, a beautiful name," Fluttershy said, petting the bird now perched on Snowdrop's shoulder.
"Okay, Snowdrop. I made a necklace for you," Pinkie said, walking up to Snowdrop and putting a necklace around her neck. "It's a snowflake. Do you like it?" Snowdrop touched the necklace and felt the snowflake.
"It's beautiful. I like it," She said.
"Yay! You like it!" Pinkie hugged the girl while Ari flew out of reach to evade the deathly hug.
The rest of the gifts were quickly exchanged with Twilight giving Snowdrop a brail book about a storybook she really enjoyed, Sweetie Belle some bathe products, Applebloom gave her a sweater she knitted with a snowflake at the center, Scootaloo gave her a brailed Rubik Cube, and Lily Pad gave her a set of sculpting tools.
"Sculpting Tools? Thanks, Lily," Snowdrop said.
"I-it's actually S-Sunset's idea," Lily Pad said. "She said y-you like sculpting, and I saw how good y-you are at them in school."
"Thanks, Lily. I'm going to make a lot of things with this."
And finally, the last gift. Sunset, with the help of Celestia, Luna, Applejack, and Rainbow, came with the last gift and placed them on the table.
"Snowdrop, we made something special for you. Come here," Sunset said, guiding Snowdrop towards the table. "It was not the best, and we weren't able to make one for everyone since we didn't have a lot of time, but… I think they turned out pretty good."
"What is it?" Snowdrop asked.
"Just be gentle, okay?" Sunset said before taking Snowdrop's hand and putting it on the gift. Snowdrop, once Sunset released her hand, felt around it to see what it is.
"Is this a… head?" Snowdrop asked.
"Yeah, it is. We first finished your friends and Fluttershy," Celestia said, looking at Sunset at the last part. Both Sunset and Fluttershy blushed at that.
"Y-you mean…" Snowdrop reached down and felt a name written in braille. It read Lily Pad. "L-Lily Pad? This is you?"
"Uh… y-yeah… it's me," Lily said.
"You are so pretty," Snowdrop said in awe.
"T-thanks," Lily Pad said with a slight blush.
Snowdrop then felt the rest of the sculptures the same and 'saw' her friends. And she was so happy at the gift her sister, mom, and aunt made.
"Y-you worked so hard," Snowdrop said with tears welling up inside her eyes.
"It's nothing really. Sunset did the most work. We just helped provide the materials," Luna said.
"Thank you. Thank you all," Snowdrop said with tears running down her eyes.