I fell down the mountain. It didn’t hurt—I couldn’t feel pain. But I could still feel sad. And I felt sad as Mommy and Daddy flew into the clouds without me. I whinnied for them. I cried for them. Couldn’t they hear me?
I fell into the forest. I hit the snow. It was too warm. That’s another thing I could feel—warm, and cold. It was too warm. I had to find the cold. Mommy and Daddy were cold. I had to find Mommy and Daddy. I walked through the forest.
I saw a long, coily thing. It hissed at me. It hated me. Hate was good. I got closer to the coil because it felt cold. The coil flew across the snow when I got too close. It got warm again. I didn’t want warm. I wanted cold. I kept going through the forest. Where was the cold? Did the coil steal it?
It wasn’t getting colder. It only got warmer. I felt weaker. I was melting. Mommy said melting was bad, but I never knew why. Now I knew why. Melting made me weak. Melting made me tired. Melting made me warm. Melting was bad. Bad, bad, bad. I didn’t want to melt. Daddy said cold never melted. Cold froze. I wanted to freeze. I had to freeze. I had to find cold.
A pointy, wooden thing saw me. It was smaller than me, even though I was small. I watched it. It shook when I watched it. It feared me. Fear was good, like hate. Fear made the pointy thing cold. I got close to it. It didn’t run away. I felt stronger. I felt colder. I felt better.
A bigger pointy thing appeared. It picked up the small pointy thing and ran away. I tried to follow it, but I was still weak. I kept going. Melting was bad.
The forest disappeared, and I found a river. There was a house past the river. A pony house. Ponies were good. Ponies were fear, or mad. Both were good. Both were cold. Cold froze. I had to freeze. I hoped the house froze. I walked closer to the house. It didn’t feel cold. It felt warm. Really warm. Too warm. I was melting more. I couldn’t move. I stopped at the door and melted. I whimpered. I wanted Mommy and Daddy, not melting.
The door opened, and it got very cold. I looked in the house. A pony was there. She screamed at me and ran across the room. She was really cold. The coldest cold since Mommy and Daddy. I pulled myself towards her. I whinnied. I tried to tell her to stay. She wouldn’t understand me. Ponies didn’t understand me. She would run away like the coil and the pointy thing.
But she didn’t run away. She looked at me funny. Then she talked to me. “Stay?” she said. She understood me? Mommy said that couldn’t happen. But it happened. I whimpered. I told her she was cold, and I needed cold. I was melting. I didn’t want to melt. I wanted cold. Pony was cold. I wanted Pony.
“You’re melting?” Pony said. “B-b-but you’re so cold!” I was cold? No, I was warm. She was cold. Pony was cold. Pony was fear. I needed fear. Or anger. Or hate. Those things froze. Pony was freezing me. I was freezing. Freezing, but not cold. Not yet.
“Oh, I don’t w-want you t-to melt. But at the s-s-same time…” Pony said something I didn’t understand. “Stay,” she told me. “I’ll b-be back soon.” She ran around me and out the door. I was alone again. Alone was bad. Alone was warm. I wanted to follow Pony. Pony was cold.
I saw a fuzzy white thing. It stared at me. It was angry. Angry was good. Angry was cold. But not cold enough. I was still melting, but slower. I curled up and didn’t move. I waited for Pony. Pony would come back. Pony would be cold. Pony would help me.
The door slammed open. I looked up, but it wasn’t Pony. It was another pony. Purple, and angry. Angry was cold. Maybe Purple Pony would help me too. Then she shouted something. She showed me her pointy head thing. It got bright. Really bright. The cold disappeared faster than ever. It was warm. Really warm. Hot. Hot! Stop stop stop stop stop—
Cold… It got cold again… I didn’t know why… Everything was blurry… Weak… I felt so weak… Melt… Loud sounds… Sleep…
I don’t know how long I slept. Things weren’t blurry anymore. I still couldn’t move, but I felt cold. Pony was in the room. Purple Pony was there too. They were far away. They were both cold, but not the same cold. Pony was still fear, but not as much. Purple Pony was still angry. She could make it hot.
Hot! I shrieked and tried to run away, but I was too weak. Hot was coming. I knew hot was coming.
“Wait!” Pony shouted. “P-please, don’t be scared. We d-don’t want to hurt you.” I didn’t believe her. She was cold, but Purple Pony could be hot. She brought Purple Pony. She brought hot. Hot would melt. Hot would kill. I whinnied and tried to run again.
“I can help!” Pony said. “Y-you need cold, right?” Cold. Yes, cold. Not warm. Never warm. Purple Pony got up next to Pony. She said something, and Pony got sad. Sad was good. Sad made Pony colder. But then sad went away, and Pony went to the door. She opened it. Wind came in. Wind and snow.
“There,” Pony said. “It’s c-colder out there.” I shook my head. It was warm out there. Out there was nothing. In here was cold. Cold and anger and fear and hate and sad. Cold that could freeze me. Cold that could fix me.
“Anger?” Pony said. “Fear? Hate?” She was confused. Confused was nothing—not cold, not warm. Purple Pony said something. She glared at me. Her anger was colder now. Maybe she would help after all. But she could bring hot too. Hot was worse than warm. A lot worse. Pony frowned at Purple Pony and said something.
“Twilight says y-you’re dangerous. You’ll hurt us if we try to h-help you.” Twilight? Purple Pony? “Oh, yes,” Pony said. “That’s T-Twilight, and I’m Fluttershy.” Purple Pony was Twilight. Pony was Fluttershy. Twilight and Fluttershy were cold, for now. Not forever.
“Will you h-hurt us?” Fluttershy said. “If w-we help you stay c-cold, will you hurt us?” Why would I hurt cold? Mommy and Daddy never hurt cold, so I never hurt cold. Cold was good. Cold was great. Cold was life.
“Mommy and Daddy?” Fluttershy said. I missed Mommy and Daddy. Twilight and Fluttershy were cold, but not forever. Probably. Mommy and Daddy were always cold. Colder when I needed colder. I wanted Mommy and Daddy. Not Fluttershy. Not Twilight. Not enough.
Fluttershy said something, and Twilight got scared. She said something loud, then Fluttershy said something else. I couldn’t understand. I just kept freezing. I was still so weak. Freezing was good. Fear was good. Please stay afraid, Twilight and Fluttershy.
Twilight got sad. She frowned at Fluttershy, then Fluttershy said something. They hugged. It was warm. I whinnied. The hug stopped, but it stayed warm. Twilight said something, then she left. Fluttershy said, “Twilight’s g-gone to find your p-parents. I’ll stay here and k-keep you s-safe, for now.” She opened a different door and took out fuzzy things. She put the fuzzy things on her hooves and head and put a long thing around her neck. She sat on the far side of the room, away from me. She was still afraid, but not as much.
I tried to get closer. I needed more cold. Fluttershy got colder, so I got closer. Cold was good. Fluttershy would help me. Fluttershy would freeze me. Until Twilight found Mommy and Daddy. Fluttershy would save me.
I touched Fluttershy. She was colder than ever. She didn’t run away. I put my head against her. I was still so tired. Still so weak. I needed cold. Cold and sleep.
I woke up when it got too warm. Fluttershy was gone. I looked around. I whimpered when there was no one. No more cold. I would melt. Melt, melt, melt.
Fluttershy ran back in. She slipped on the ice. She was holding a weird, circle thing. “Sorry,” she said. “I just had to make some warm tea. It’s so cold…” I told her cold was good. I needed cold. Cold was good. Cold would save me. Warm was bad. Tea was warm. Tea was bad.
Fluttershy drank from the circle thing—tea. Tea was warm. But Fluttershy didn’t get warmer. “Cold might be good for you,” Fluttershy said, “but it’s very bad for us ponies. We like warmth. Warmth is wonderful. We need it to stay safe.” She sat close to me.
Warm was good? For ponies, not me. Good for Twilight. Good for Fluttershy. How? Fluttershy wanted warm? Fluttershy needed warm? But Fluttershy was cold. I needed cold. More than she needed warm? Would Fluttershy melt without warm? Without Fluttershy, there wouldn’t be cold. Without Fluttershy, I would melt.
Fluttershy needed warm, but she was cold. For me. I was confused. Confused was nothing.
I still needed cold, so Fluttershy stayed cold. Always the same cold. Always sad. Always fear. Never mad or hate. I didn’t know why. She looked at me. She smiled, and her cold faded. I whined. I still wanted cold. Fluttershy stopped smiling. She got sad again—and a little afraid. Enough. Enough for me to freeze. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s so hard for me to stay afraid of you when you don’t really mean any harm. You seem so… innocent. I would love let you stay if I could.”
Stay? But then Fluttershy would always be cold. Forever. She needed warm. Why would she want me to stay? I was even more confused. I put my head back down on Fluttershy. I needed more sleep. And maybe more cold.
Fluttershy was shivering. I woke up because she was shivering. But she wasn’t afraid anymore. What else makes shivering? She was still so sad, but that never made shivering. Cold? Did cold make ponies shiver? Was Fluttershy melting? I looked at her. She was very sad. Still no hate. Still no anger. Just sad. Lots of sad. Sad is good. Melting is bad.
Sad is bad. For Fluttershy, sad is bad. She was melting. I wasn’t melting anymore. Because of cold. Because of Fluttershy. She saved me. Now she needed warm.
Tea. Tea was warm. The tea was in her hoof. I nudged the tea. Fluttershy needed to drink the tea. Tea was good. For her, tea was good. Please drink tea, Fluttershy. She needed warm. She needed saving. She needed warm. More than I needed cold.
“F-f-fire,” Fluttershy said. “Th-the f-f-fireplace.” I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what fire was. Or fireplace. Was it warm? Fluttershy needed fire. I didn’t want fire, but Fluttershy needed fire. What was fire?
The fluffy white thing came from somewhere. It shivered too. It moved to a square full of wood. It did something, and the wood lit up. It glowed orange and red and yellow. It wasn’t warm, but the fluffy white thing pointed at it. Fire? Was it fire? I didn’t understand.
“Th-that’s f-f-fire,” Fluttershy said. “P-please. I n-n-need to b-be c-closer.” I was stronger now, because Fluttershy was so cold. I pushed her to the fire. Fire could fix her, maybe. She smiled and got warm. “Thank you,” she said. She was getting warmer. I didn’t like it. But Fluttershy needed it. But I was melting. But Fluttershy would melt if she got cold again. I…
I would melt. For now, I would melt for Fluttershy.
The door opened. Twilight came back. She was cold, but she got warm when she looked at Fluttershy. It was getting even warmer. I didn’t whine. I didn’t whimper. I would melt for now. Twilight ran over to Fluttershy. They said something to each other. Fluttershy frowned. She got cold for a second, then she said something. Something about Hearth’s Warming. Mommy told me about Hearth’s Warming. The pony name for Big Melt. Big Melt made ponies warm. Big Melt made me and Mommy and Daddy melt. Big Melt was bad.
No. For ponies, Big Melt was good. Ponies needed warm. Fluttershy needed warm. Big Melt was the biggest warm. Hearth’s Warming. I understood. I would melt for Hearth’s Warming. But it was okay. Fluttershy saved me. Now I would save her. I would melt for her.
I collapsed. It got cold. Fluttershy frowned at me. She was cold, but she wasn’t sad or afraid or mad or even hate. Something else. Something I didn’t understand. She touched me. She was very cold. Twilight was getting cold too. The different cold. The special cold. Fluttershy’s cold. I liked it, but they needed warm. They couldn’t melt for me anymore.
There was a howl outside. Mommy and Daddy! Twilight did find them. But I couldn’t move. I wasn’t melting anymore, but I was weak again. I wanted Mommy and Daddy. Then I could be cold. Then Fluttershy could be warm. They could have Hearth’s Warming, and no one would melt.
Fluttershy picked me up. “Don’t worry,” she said. “You’ll be okay. Let’s get you home.” We went outside. Twilight followed us.
Mommy and Daddy saw me. They were really, really cold. Angry. I told them to stop. Fluttershy needed warm, not cold. Fluttershy saved me. Fluttershy melted for me. Leave her alone!
Mommy and Daddy listened. Fluttershy put me down, and Mommy picked me up. They stopped being angry. Daddy bowed to Fluttershy. Then we flew away. I looked back at Fluttershy and Twilight. Fluttershy was cold, but she was smiling. Twilight hugged her, and they were warm together.
For the first time ever, I liked the warm. Be warm, Fluttershy. Be warm. Be warm. Be warm.