A Mare Walks Home Alone at Night
A short story by Ponka (Madame Scarlet)
It was a snowy winter’s evening. The moon shone down on Equestria, providing light for this peaceful and tranquil night, reaching its loving arms over the waters and the trees. The snow cascaded to the ground, covering the land in a blanket of frost. The small, yet cozy town of Ponyville was no stranger to these nights.
The streets were lined with trees bathed in colorful lights and strands of tinsel. Colorful wreaths hung in the windows of every house. Ribbons and bells decorating every street light and roof. One could tell upon viewing these sights that a special event had taken place. An event that meant more to Equestria than any other day of the year.
But at the end of the day, it was all over. Everypony was tucked in their warm beds, tummies full of delicious food and treats, snuggling their Hearths Warming dolls they received from their friends and loved ones, exhausted from the games and activities they had played, Luna’s light watching over them, keeping them safe from harm.
The streets of Ponyville were mostly barren, save for a few unruly foals who snuck out into the night to play in the snow. The Ponyville Train Station was also like this, save for one lone unicorn mare who sat on a small wooden bench, waiting for the final stop of the night before it ended the day at Canterlot.
She had a long mane that went down to her neck, with a sheen of red on one side, and a lighter shade on the other side. Her tail was the same way, barely touching the ground when she walked. Her coat was a lovely violet color, with a cutie mark of a bright shooting star on her flank. Probably her most distinguishable feature is her eyes. They were an entrancing crimson color, with a somewhat soul-piercing, yet calm feeling to them. A black cloak was wrapped around herself, keeping her warm on this coldest of nights. It draped down her entire body, clasped with a gold button around her neck. She had a set of blue saddlebags next to her, packed with many books, papers, and other assortments.
She sat with a calm expression on her face, reflecting on the day which had just passed. The snow gently fell on her, coating her fur and cloak. The chilly air nipped at her muzzle, and made her ears twitch, yet she didn’t mind. She actually found it quite peaceful.
A loud noise sounded from a mile away, which made her jump and knock her out of her trance state. She looked down a tunnel to the left, and noticed that The Friendship Express was finally arriving. She breathed a sigh of relief, as the noisy locomotive made it’s way to the station.
The locomotive stopped next to her with a screeching halt. A few seconds later, a green earth pony stallion with a brown mane hopped out the door, wearing a conductor’s uniform and a scarf.
“Madame Scarlet Serene, eh? I had a feeling it was gonna be you.” he said with a polite smile.
“Who else would it be, Quick Fix?” Scarlet replied with a lovely smile.
“Weren’t you going to be staying with your friend. What was her name, that uh, Mind Sage mare?” said Fix
“Ah, yes. Miss Sage and I were planning to spend the night together. However, she had to fly to Fillydelphia to her family.”
“Well that’s quite unfortunate.”
“It is, but I understand her reasons. Family is an important aspect of a pony’s life.” she replied with a smile.
“Indeed it is, Scarlet. Come aboard, Miss.
She got up from her bench, and a red aura surrounded the saddlebags as she carried them with a thought. She trotted toward the train, and hopped onto the entrance. The interior was dimly lit, providing a calm and warm atmosphere.
“Rides are free today. Consider it a Hearths Warming gift.” said the conductor with a wink.
The mare smiled and shook her head.
“Feel free to sit wherever. Ride will start in a few minutes and will take about half an hour.” he said.
“Thank you, sir.” replied Scarlet with a smile.
“Don’t mention it, Miss.” he said as he went into the conductor’s car.
Scarlet trotted along the hall of the cars, looking for a comfortable place to sit. As she trotted past one of them, she heard a voice.
The door to the booth slid open, and the head of a dark blue unicorn stallion with a green mane and a goatee popped out.
“Horizon Fire! It’s a pleasure to meet you!” said Scarlet.
“It’s great to meet you too! Anyways, feel free to take a seat.” said Horizon.
Scarlet opened the door and sat on the bench opposite the stallion, setting her saddlebags next to her. He was wearing a grey sweatshirt and had an open book and a quill as a cutie mark.
“Going to Canterlot too?” said the stallion.
Scarlet replied with a nod.
A voice appeared over the loudspeaker.
“All passengers take their seats! We will begin moving now!”
The loud shriek of the whistle blew as the train slowly began to move away from the station, gradually gaining speed, until the station was out of sight.
“Thought you and Sage were gonna spend the night together.” Horizon said.
“Well we were, but she needed to go see her brother in Fillydelphia. He’s fallen ill.”
“Ah I see. That’s unfortunate.” he said with a frown.”
“It is. But at least I get some time to be alone.” she said.
“Well that’s good. It’s a beautiful night. Perfect for some inner reflection.” he said.
Scarlet nodded in agreement. She looked out the frost-covered windows. The Green Mountains of Ponyville loomed over the distance, now covered in a thin layer of snow. The white plains seemed to stretch out for miles. The beautiful winter sky was covered in a blanket of twinkling stars. It just so happened to be a full moon. Scarlet sighed happily. She felt a wave of tranquility wash over her. Horizon was right. It was a peaceful night indeed.
The door to the booth slid open and an older looking mare was there with a cart holding an assortment of drinks.
“Good evening, you too. Can I interest you in some refreshments?” said the waitress.
“Just some tea, please.” said the mare.
“Coffee, please.” said the stallion.
The waitress grabbed a tea kettle and a teacup, poured a small amount into the cup, and gently handed it to the mare. She did the same with the coffee and handed the mug to the stallion.
“Thank you!” they both said.
“You’re very welcome.” said the waitress with a smile. She shut the door and trotted off.
Horizon smirked. “It’s always tea for you, Scarlet.”
“Well you know what they say; tea does a mare good.”
The two chuckled.
“Oh I almost forgot.” Scarlet said.
The mare opened her saddlebags and pulled out a small sack with a few gingerbread ponies in them. She handed it to Horizon.
“Me and Sage made these. Thought I’d share a couple with you.”
He looked at the cookies. They were a dark brown color in the shape of a pony. They had small smiles and eyes drawn on them with white icing. He grabbed one of them and ate it, savoring the sweet flavor.
“They’re mighty fine! Thanks again!”
“My pleasure.” she smiled.
The loudspeaker on the train gave a quiet crackle for a second, before switching to a familiar classical piece. The two immediately recognized it. Tchaitrotsky’s third symphony. The two smiled as the music helped to enhance the warm mood.
“So how was Appleloosa?” said Scarlet. “I understand you went to see your family.”
“Well it was alright, ah suppose. Did what families normally do this time of the year. Eat dinner. Play games. Talk about the past year. How was Ponyville?” he said.
“It was splendid. We ate a delicious meal, studied for a bit, played a couple games of Chess, helped her with a couple inventions, that sort of stuff.”
“So it was like any other visit.” he said.
The two chuckled.
“Well, isn’t that what Hearths Warming is about? Spending time with friends?” she said.
“Of course. Ah bet it was mighty fine.” he said.
“She even gave me this as a present.”
Scarlet reached into her cloak pocket and pulled out a small little plush doll of a silver mare with a red mane and tail and duochromatic eyes. Red on the right and blue on the left.
“Aww. Well isn’t that just adorable.” he smiled and said.
She nuzzled the doll lovingly. “I even made her one of myself. You should have seen her face. It lit up just like a lightbulb!”
“Ah’m sure she loved it. Didn’t exactly get a doll this year, but ah did get a couple books and movies.”
“Well that’s nice to hear.” she said.
“What exactly didja help her with in terms of inventions?” he said.
“Well I helped her to build some sort of snow machine. Without going into complicated schematics, let’s just say that it gathers water and uses magic to turn it into snow.” she said.
“That’s very impressive, I must say.”
“Heh. Thanks. How’s your magical studies going by the way?” she said as she sipped her tea.
“Oh it’s been going great! I learned how to put a shattered item back together.” he said.
“Ah that’s great to hear.” she said.
“How ‘bout yours?” said Horizon as he took a sip of coffee.
“Working on a couple ice spells, since it’s winter of course. Managed to conjure up some icicles and create a small blizzard.” she said.
“Very impressive. You’ll have to show me next time we meet.” he said.
“I certainly will.” she said as she took another sip.
A voice interrupted the music over the loudspeaker. “Attention passengers! We will arrive in Canterlot in five minutes! I repeat, we will arrive in Canterlot in five minutes!” The music then switched back on.
“All two of us.” she said.
The pair laughed.
Scarlet rubbed the frost off of the window and stared outside. The wondrous Canterlot Castle loomed over the horizon, it’s highest tower pointing straight up at the winter moon. The wondrous city laid below it, it’s wondrous buildings and houses covered in pure white snow. The wonder of Canterlot never ceases to amaze her. She watched it come closer to her as the train nears its destination.
The locomotive blew its whistle and came to a screeching halt at the station. After a minute or so, a voice appeared over the loudspeaker.
“We have reached our final destination for the night. Stay safe and have a happy Hearths Warming.”
“Guess we should get going.” Horizon said.
The two grabbed their saddlebags and opened the door to the booth. They trotted down the hall until they reached the front of the train.
“Have a happy Hearths Warming, you two.” the conductor said.
“Thanks! You too!” they both said.
They stepped off the train and touched down on the snow-covered station. Scarlet put her hood up to keep her head and ears warm. They trotted forward off the station and into the streets of Canterlot. It wasn’t long before they came to an intersection.
“Well, Miss Scarlet, ah suppose this is goodbye for now.” said Horizon.
“Take care, Horizon. Happy Hearths Warming.” Scarlet said with a smile.
“Goodbye.” he said.
And with that, he trotted down one of streets.
The mare stood there and watched him for a second before trotting down the opposite path.
The wind was blisteringly chilly, making her cloak flutter, although Scarlet didn’t mind. The cold only provided her with a sense of serenity. The snow crunched beneath her hooves as she trotted, taking a gander at the calming festivities. Most of the street lights were about to turn off, and the crickets were singing their nighttime songs.
She produced a silver pocket watch from her cloak and inspected the time. 11:37.
Gee. Is it really this late? she thought to herself as she put it back in her pocket.
She continues to trot towards her home. The only problem with living on the outskirts is that it takes an awfully long time to get there. She trotted a tad bit faster, intent on getting home. She was unhappy that she couldn’t stay much longer, but she had to get home.
A sigh of relief came to her when she saw her cottage out in the distance. It was a small, yet homely little place. It sat beside a small lake and was in front of a large forest which she occasionally took a walk through. She trotted up to the doorstep, opened the door, and trotted in.
The main room was in a circular shape lined with bookshelves filled with all sorts of books on magic, science, mathematics, and other subjects. In the middle was a small assortment of chairs and couches mainly used for guests. To the right of that was the bedroom with the bathroom and kitchen right next to it. One part of the wall was reserved for a fireplace, currently unlit.
She lit up her horn and focused her mind on the fireplace. She imagined the burning embers of a roaring fire erupting into place. She concentrated on that thought until the logs were surrounded with a red aura of magic. With a flick of her hoof, the fireplace erupted into crackling flames. The sorceress smiled at her accomplishment.
She trotted over to the fireplace and sat by it. She allowed the crackling embers to embrace her with its warmth, giving its love and care to her. She sat her saddlebags next to her and grabbed one of the blankets and pillows sitting on the couch. She put the pillow underneath her head and draped the blanket over herself. She was about to drift into the sweet embrace of rest before she realized something.
She reached into her cloak and pulled out the doll of Sage and smiled.
Sage may not be there physically, but her spirit was with the doll.
She wrapped it in her warm embrace and fell into dreamland.
And she slept there happily and peacefully throughout the night.