Bon Bon breathed in the scent of sugar cookies as she trotted down the snow-covered main street. A cold winter’s evening made everypony into a baker. Ponyville’s streets looked so picturesque during sunsets, not big and imposing like Canterlot’s, Manehattan’s, or any of the other cities she’d set hoof in. Everything was so clean here, and the ponies were so friendly. If only she’d been able to appreciate that sooner.
She tossed back her mane, partly to dislodge the snowflakes threatening to take up residence. “But I see it now! I couldn’t pick a nicer place to… retire.”
That word still didn’t feel right. Retirement was something ponies twice her age were only starting to plan for. Retirement meant nursing homes, fiftieth anniversaries, and waiting for the grandkids to visit. She wasn’t ready for any of that, but she was ready to let the board of trustees take over Bons, her Equestria-spanning confection empire. Mom and Dad would be so proud; she’d brought their candy to the world, one detail-oriented batch at a time.
“I’m not retiring. I’m… resettling?”
That wasn’t it, either. Resettling is what she’d been doing for six years in a row, moving from city to city to expand her empire by day and run covert ops by night. Not that she could ever talk about the second part, of course. It all sounded so ridiculous in retrospect. It wasn’t like she needed the extra bits, or didn’t have enough to do with her time. It was probably all Lyra’s fault, or even Candy Heart’s. Getting a share of the former’s creativity and the latter’s drive certainly made for an interesting life.
“So what are you doing, Bon Bon? You’re walking through the town where you kind-of sort-of grew up, about to meet up with your… sister?”
She and Lyra never formally defined their relationship. They didn’t really need to. Lyra tried anyway, once, and got lost after the bit about rescuing each other from their burning childhood home. Up until today, the term penpal might have sufficed. She’d started writing the moment they went their separate ways, if only to keep her promise to a then-bawling Lyra. Just like their inaugural day of running the candy shop, the first awkward letters grew into something familiar and indispensable. At times Bon Bon even caught herself humming one of Lyra’s old tunes while she read about her latest antics.
The letters never stopped flowing, not even when Bon Bon moved to a yet another new city, or when she had to fudge a date or a description to keep her now-former espionage career under wraps. At least once a week she’d bolt the door, sit down by her bedside, and write. Lyra always listened, and always offered great advice on what new candy flavors to try, or where to open a shop next; she possessed creative insights that couldn’t be gleaned from Bon Bon’s never-ending numerical analysis of the buying and selling of sweets.
Lyra’s letters were always bursting with energy, regardless of if she was regaling Bon Bon with her latest musical accomplishment, tearfully admitting another breakup, explaining how hard the Princess’s school was, or formally announcing her engagement to one of her music buddies. Somehow reading about all those experiences just wasn’t enough. Bon Bon had always known that, and at long last she’d found the impetus to do something about it. Lyra’s final letter, the first one postmarked from Ponyville since they both moved away, set everything in motion.
Bon Bon paused. She read and reread at the address printed on the mailbox before her. This was definitely the right place. She didn’t need to recheck the letter in her saddlebag, not with her legendary memory. The house wasn’t as big as their old one, but that hardly mattered. Unless Lyra planned on having more kids than hooves, all of that extra space would’ve just gone to waste. Granted, this was far from a tiny cottage. Some of the neighboring houses looked to be half this size.
She stole a quick glance down the street. The burned-out husk of a candy shop had been replaced with something new. Bon Bon couldn’t quite make out the sign at this distance. Part of her wanted to wander down there and take a look, if only to give herself another moment to think. ‘Retirement’ wasn’t it, and neither was ‘resettlement.’ Identifying details like this is what she did for a living, so why was this one so hard? Lyra would probably know. They could talk it over at length for as long as it took. It wasn’t like Bon Bon couldn’t afford to stay a few extra nights at the Ponyville hotel while she figured out what to do next with her life. She could buy the whole hotel if she wanted to.
Knocking once was all it took. The door flew open and Lyra nearly tackled her with a hug. “Bon Bon! You’re finally here! You’ve gotta come inside. I made hot chocolate, and I’ve got this great idea for how we’re going to redo the wallpaper in your room, and—”
Bon Bon laughed and, with practiced ease, slipped out of Lyra’s crushing embrace. “Slow down. I’m glad to see you too and… did you say my room?”
Lyra’s smile was almost too big for her face. “Yeah! You didn’t book a room at the hotel, did you?”
Lyra patted her on the head. “Good ol’ Bon Bon: always planning, always missing the big picture.”
Bon Bon rolled her eyes. “Well we didn’t talk about that me staying over and… You’re getting married, Lyra. Why would you want me living under the same roof as you? Is your fiancé even okay with that?”
Lyra beckoned her inside. The entryway’s walls were lined with picture frames, some immortalizing a moment with friends, some showcasing Lyra’s artwork, and one of her playing the lyre on a park bench. “He’s cool with it. He knows you’re my family… and he knows you make crazy-good peanut brittle. Anyway, when he said he wanted to settle down in Ponyville, I knew just what I wanted: a big house with enough room for me, my big hunk of a stallion, and my bestest friend in the whole world.”
Bon Bon breathed in the scent of chocolate, her one true love. “Are you sure? What if we just end up fighting and getting in each other’s way again?”
Lyra pulled her into another hug. “That’s family for you. Welcome home, Bon Bon.”
Bon Bon started to smile. That was it exactly. She was coming home.