• Published 12th May 2013
  • 4,442 Views, 188 Comments

The Nightbook - Sunset-Chan

Twilight Sparkle finds herself slowly drifting away from her friends as her OCD grows worse and worse. Trying to find a solution, she finds infantilism for herself. Meanwhile a cold winter approaches, bringing with it the greatest challenge yet.

  • ...

VIII. The Snow Part III

“Tonight’s going to be it,“ Allie Way said as she walked up the stairs and put her bags to the ground. She looked at the librarian, who took notice of her with a smile on her face.

Twilight gave a curt nod to the tall unicorn with the light blue mane before she returned to folding the sheets as neatly as possible. "Yeah, but this tree should hold out well enough.“

Allie nodded carefully, looking at the boxes that were aligned before Twilight all neatly ordered and labelled. "You sure you want to leave the library to me and Wiggy while you and your friends try out that clubhouse of yours? Not that I don’t want to ruin the fun for you, but she's not a very good housekeeper.“

"Don't worry. Spike's not the kind of person you want to keep around books either, and we managed for the last two years. I’m leaving everything in your care anyway. Also, I don't normally do this, but the keys to the cellar are behind 'Silver Lock's Guide To Key Making' in a hidden shelf that opens with the command: Fhtagn.“

"Really?“ Allie asked with a raised eyebrow. "Well, thanks. How did you find that one?“

"I sneezed.“


Twilight nodded at the perfectly arranged sheets and put them into the box labelled 'Allie’s Bedding’. After two hours she had finally managed to get the materials for one bed into a box; now it was time for the other. "Anyway, I put all the scientific stuff behind the safe. Don't even bother asking what safe, it's too complicated to explain-“

"You mean the one from the old bank that has a connection to an underground network that once ran beneath all of Ponyville?“

Twilight looked up and at Allie, "How do you know that?“

The tall mare merely shrugged, "Twilight, I'm the secretary to the mayor. YOU asked me about that before.“

Twilight stopped in her tracks at that comment. She had often been to the mayor’s office, and she had seen her secretary quite often, but for some reason she only remembered lots of files, papers and the loudest typewriter imaginable. The she remembered how tall the secretary had always been. Twilight suddenly grew pale: "Sweet Celestia, I never noticed before.“

Allie Way rolled her eyes in minor annoyance before Twilight made her apology.

In the morning, Mayor Mare had come to her and told her all about how the library had to stay open during the storm. She had told Twilight that it was the oldest building in town and had survived worse storms than this. She had also told the unicorn that the main reason for the caverns below had been twofold: One, as an escape route for Ponyvillians in case of an emergency, and two, to rob the old bank, which had been part of the town hall. Twilight was still intent on going on a vacation and had decided that leaving emergency stuff to ponies who were better at handling stuff like this..

For whatever reason, Allie Way and Big Wig had been assigned to keep watch over everything concerning the library during the storm. Allie, being the pony that she was, had come over to ask questions and make sure that Twilight wouldn't give her home over to a faceless mare. Apparently Allie Way was another neat freak. A pony who cared about tidiness and the like, though she was more often defined as a pony of bowling, much like Big Wig or this Dude-stallion. From everything Twilight got, she was a really nice, trustworthy pony.

So, yeah, she wasn't worried about the library. She folded the stuff for the second guest bed. "Anyway, what I've been- What I have been trying to say is that there's enough room down there beside for the food rations, so if there's anymore ponies who want to come, they may do so. How long was the storm going to be according to schedule anyway?“

"Oh, it's a three day blizzard, with small breaks in-between, though I believe the breaks are chosen spontaneously so that there isn't any damage done to the town or the surrounding area. After the blizzard, we get a clear sky for two weeks. Theoretically it should be fine.“

Twilight frowned. "Theoretically. Blizzards are rarely conducted by the weather teams because of their violent nature, Rainbow Dash told me once that we hadn't had a proper blizzard in the last fifty years or so, because the last one wrecked the entire east side of the town. That we're near to the Everfree Forest doesn't help much.“

Allie Way nodded, "Yeah, all that wild magic can turn any concentrated storm into a deathtrap. It's a wonder our teams have it as well under control as they do normally.“

"Yes, though I guess Ponyville's got a lot of talent.“

"They are the only ponies who tend to run on schedule in this town. I mean, except Ditzy, but she's the kind of pony who works perfectly until rules get involved,“ Allie said, giving a sigh. "Not that she's a bad pony, but sometimes she makes me worry.“

Twilight nodded to that. Ditzy Doo was a phantom-like figure of almost legendary status amongst the pegasi, whose badflankery was only overshadowed by the fact that she couldn't get anything right. She was the type of Pony who stopped evil organizations by accident while trying to get the newspaper from the mailbox and once ate an entire field of poison joke for dinner, because she thought they were carrots. If put into perspective, she was actually one of the weirder inhabitants of Ponyville and that alone could say more than any lengthy description.

As Twilight finished everything up for Allie she also checked on her own saddlebags again.

"You'll be with Applejack and your other friends, then?“

"Yeah,“ Twilight said. "Apparently, Pinkie thought that we could all use a vacation so she made some insane plan that shouldn't have worked as well as it did.“

"Sounds like a plan by Pinkie Pie,“ Allie admitted.

"Heh, though I have to admit that it all seems to be going too smoothly.“

Allie Way burst out laughing at that. "Why worry about things going well? I'd say you should go ahead and enjoy the time everything just works, instead of waiting for stuff to go wrong. Less stress, more positive way to look at things.“

Twilight sighed. "Is that you being philosophical?“

"No, it's more Berry Punch after two bottles of minotaur ale being straight with you.“

"Well,“ the smaller unicorn answered, "I'll keep that in mind. The boxes are done, you and Big Wig should prepare yourselves before the sun sets.“

"I know, I know. Four P.M., storm starts. That should be around two hours from now.“

Twilight put on her saddlebags. They were fairly light for how much stuff was in them. Well, most of it were diapers and those didn't weigh much anyway. She had been careful enough so nopony would find out about them, but the thought that she had to travel across town with them still made her somewhat uncomfortable. She had to manage, though, and therefor decided to finally go.

"Well then, if it's two hours, we'll both better use them. I wish you good luck, Allie. Have a good time.“

"You, too, Twilight Sparkle. Live long and prosper, as they say.“

Nopony says that, Twilight thought but only gave a curt nod, before she put on her cold weather clothes and left, making her way through Ponyville.

Now, the town had gotten quiet, mostly. The noise of ponies had been exchanged with the soft tone of the wind blowing through the alleys, whirling up snow and throwing it right into Twilight's back. A cool eastern wind blew, forbearing the storm to come. Considering this entire winter had basically just led up to this one thing, Twilight actually dreaded it. Nopony liked the memory of the Winter of Windigos itself, yet every new Blizzard reminded them of the cold, no matter how unreasonable that might seem. With that in mind, she hurried on, past the buildings, up the road and through the acres, following the lines of trees.

Navigating the acres came easy, considering there was a path to each of the dozen or so barns. Sweet Apple Acres was huge to begin with, Twilight figured it actually quite easy for a pony to settle in on a corner without the Apple Family ever noticing. There were a lot of hidden places in there, too. Old hideaways, at least one forgotten cave and a fairy pond was rumored to be there, too.

Today, her goal was different and after the long walk it finally came into sight. Twilight had never bothered with the history of the barns, but understood enough about them to say that each of them could've easily been interpreted as a symbol of the bond within the Apple Family. The western barn, as it was called, was painted in bright orange with a red roof, and had an otherwise normal appearance. That there seemed nothing out of place here was that seemed most prominent to Twilight right now.

Was this why Pinkie had chosen this place?

She halted only for a moment. The cold winds urging her on and towards the gate. She knocked thrice, before she pulled her shawl tighter. The winds were picking up, Twilight felt.

Pinkie Pie had told her not to come here until today, since everypony had been putting everything into it for her. It was going to be some kind of surprise party, basically, and Twilight hadn't objected. For what it was worth, she had at least made a 'vacation'-schedule. She was prepared for everything, even Pinkie Pie. Truly, there was nothing that could go wrong anymore. Aside from the storm, but that was a natural disaster and if it would go wrong, Twilight hoped it would at least do so by design.

Her train of thought was stopped by nothing, quite literally. A frown started to appear on her face as nopony answered the door. Was this even the right barn? Had to be, she couldn't have messed that up. But, just hypothetically speaking, what if she did? That suddenly occurred to her and the color drained from her face. How could she repair that? Maybe start all over again, from bed, and redo every step she had made. That would do wonders and would lessen the chance of making the mistake by a hundred percent. But what if she got all those things wrong that had gone right the first time? What if no matter what she tried she'd still end up failing. What if everything she did would end up as one, big, giant, enormous loop of failures she couldn't escape from.

I could always drown myself.

That thought made her smile for all but a second. Twilight quickly realized the exact implications of what she had said and also, that she was fully aware of how it made her feel better.

“I'm getting worse,” she said and turned around. Nothing really mattered, she needed to find another way, another plan. Pinkie probably wasn't in there anyhow, maybe it was the wrong barn. Twilight was already so far in her own realm of mistakes that surely she couldn't even get walking from her house right. She needed to stop this, she needed to get better. First things first, though. She needed to get back to the tree and-

“Twilight, you're supposed to try to open the door. That's how surprises work, you know?” Pinkie said from behind her, Twilight could already hear the pouting.

She turned around and saw the pink mare looking at her with a thoughtful expression, she looked through the half opened door at her unicorn friend. “Or is this some kind of surprise where you were going around this place and surprise us while we were surprising you? Because then you can just ignore me and move on.”

The two looked at each other for a moment or another with only the snow falling and the wind moving the branches of the trees around them. A short giggle came then and Twilight looked down on the ground. One more, tears were coming to her. She shook her head. “Just. . . Just answer the damn door the next time, Pinkie,” she didn't know whether she was happy, sad or enraged, all she did was put on a smile and hope for something.

“Oki doki loki,” Pinkie said as she hopped out into the snow. “We're going to have so much fun.” Pinkie then proceeded to grin with her stupid, contagiously happy smile that reached from one ear to another.

Twilight gave a nod. “I've got everything in my bags,” she said, levitating a scroll out of them and towards Pinkie. “Those are the schematics for an ideal weekend, all scientifically and properly ordered. We should just-”

Twilight stopped. Somewhere during her talk she had blinked and that had been all the time that had been needed for the paper to vanish and for Pinkie to don a top hat and moustache.

“Pinkie? What did you do with my plan?”

Pinkie wasn't smiling anymore, instead she went up really close to Twilight. “I have one question for you, one simple question, so please note I'm wearing my serious hat and inquisitive moustache.”

Knowing not how else to react, Twilight simply nodded.

“Do you want to let go of something, or do you want to embrace something?”

The cold was biting at her, but Twilight looked straight into Pinkie's eyes, opening her mouth. She wanted to answer something, but her mind quickly catched up. How many talks did she have now? She had first told Fluttershy to have a solution, to go back to being a foal. She had wanted to leave the things that made her crave perfection behind, the worries of adulthood, the fears of failing at everything she did. She had done so with Spike, felt better for it, but had still wanted something more, something else. What did she want?

Pinkie Pie had an honest face, a face of a Pony who hid none of the emotions she felt in her own little world, all while Twilight hid everything away and had gotten away with it for the entirety of her life. She had always hidden away, played the responsible one, the serious pony. Was that why she had gone to Fluttershy to begin with? Because she wanted somepony close to her, somepony who knew her, so she could find something else.

What did she want to find? How deep did she need to go to find it?

“I don't know,” she finally answered. “And I want to stop that. I feel like I'm lost and I want to find my way back, in the end.”

The smile on her friend's face changed, to something Twilight couldn't quite describe. “That's fine then. Don't you worry, Auntie Pinkie can help you with that.”

Pinkie gave the unicorn a hug. “All you need to do is trust in your friends a little and we'll fix this, Twily,” said, still the happy sort, but then she added something, small, simple, but in a serious tone. “Everything'll be fine.”

The word came to her a second later, to how Pinkie had seemed to her, something she distantly remembered from her father and mother. It had been the way they had always talked to her, always look at her. It reminded her of how Celestia had treated her in her early years as the princess' student.

The word, or rather, the words for the smile Pinkie had as they entered the stage for their own unusual play, was caring, and Twilight felt something warm amidst the chill.

So they entered their new found clubhouse, and it was barren and it wasn’t very barn-y, which Twilight didn’t really presume to be a word, but it fit nonetheless. It was, as of now, one huge room that was mostly empty. The wallpapers were newly done, bright blue with clouds and rainbows on them, and a sofa of the most ugly orange stood right in the middle of it. On a first sight, Twilight didn’t quite know what to say, so all she gave was a somewhat disappointed sigh.

“That’s it?” She asked Pinkie, who in turn pointed to a ladder.

“Of course not, silly,” the pink pony told her. “You should go up first, oooh, it’s going to be splendiferous.”

Twilight tilted her head slightly, wondering what her friend meant, but let her hooves guide her up the skyblue painted rungs, only to stop at a trap door. Twilight made to open it, but halted a second beforehand. “There isn’t any pranking involved in this?” She asked her friend. Pinkie only gave her one of those smiles which seemed bigger than the rest of her face.

“Just go, Twilight, you’re going to love this,” the pink pony promised and with a sigh, Twilight resigned herself. It couldn’t end too bad, maybe all the work had gone into what had once been the hayloft of this house. She took one hoof against the heavy wood and pushed it open.

Twilight hadn’t really expected anything, so with that sort of expectations, she took those last steps and looked around the room, her mouth unwilling to close itself. Maybe it was because she had become far too used to her own room and her own order. Maybe her expectations had been too low. Well, maybe it wasn’t so much that the problem here was with her, but rather that it had been so long since she had beheld something that made her heart flutter like this.

The ceiling and the walls were colored in a bright shade of blue, it made them look like the sky, and many white clouds surrounded her. Just standing there was something that made her feel good and beneath the bright sky, the brown, wooden floor looked almost like the earth they walked on. It was an eye-catching sight, even though a missing sun was quite scientifically inaccurate. Twilight didn’t really mind though, as there were other things to look at. The attic was spacious, she had to admit. A wall with a door sealed this place off from the rest of it. It was a third, maybe half of the whole thing. There was a lot of room here, so she didn’t really know. Nor was she really sure how much she should care, because right at this moment, she wanted to explore this place. So she put down her gear and walked.

Beside the door was a cabinet, filled with clothes which were clearly made by Rarity. As Twilight looked over them all she could do was wonder how long her friend had worked on those. She noted that it must’ve been more than a week, but was that possible? She didn’t know. She closed the doors to the cabinet, the tall, white thing, and moved on. Beside the cabinet stood three wooden boxes. The first was cyan, with a rainbow across it and beneath where the lock was supposed to be stood in golden letters: “Rainbow’s Treasure.”

A smile formed on her face, as she hadn’t even thought that RD would’ve kept any kind of toys from her childhood. Well, some ponies were full of surprises. With that mindset she opened it, but didn’t find anything surprising in there. Wonderbolts figurines, action figures and some more stuff below that. Twilight didn’t bother to examine, no matter how much she wanted to organize the stuff in there. She closed it fast, going to the next box before her demons took charge.

This one was a fairly elegant looking one, with lacquer and fine ornaments carved into the wood. She figured that it belonged to either Rarity or Fluttershy, and as she opened it she more or less decided on the former. There was enough stuff in there to build a whole village, if not for the lack of doll houses in the room. She also found a bag containing colored blocks with letters on them. Her smile somehow grew, as if she knew she was going to enjoy herself with this. Twilight found herself weirder and weirder by the moment.

Some feeling in her gut told her that the last box belonged to Pinkie, that and that the pink thing somehow seemed to scream its owners name, metaphorically. Twilight decided against opening it, since everything Pinkie could contain surprises she would want to leave for later. Plus, the less she looked at things the less she would feel inclined to reorganize everything. That was the one positive thing she got out of this all.

The middle of the room was a giant, brightly colored carpet, so she focused her attention to the next thing. Which was a table, which purpose she deduced from the get-go. A part of her wanted to move on, another part, the one that won, wanted to stay. She stared at the table, it’s color yellow, the soft cushion purple with stars and planets on it. It made her wonder when she had last gone stargazing. . . Her mood faded a bit and she went to look down, looking at the thing she might’ve both dreaded and yearned for the most, but there that part of her lost and she decided to move on, ignoring the changing table and moving to the opposite side.

The crib had many cushions in it and the front side was unhinged. Dark blue sheets, with a starry sky, more scientifically accurate this time, rested on it and a total of four plushies rested on those sheets. The biggest was a grey colored whale. Really, it was big enough so a filly might hide underneath it, it might’ve been one of the better snuggle partners. The next one was a monkey, black, with big arms, wearing a colorful coat and a party hat, it seemed really happy to see her, Twilight mused. A caterpillar, green and orange smiled at her curiously. It sat on a pillow shaped like an apple so Twilight made no guesses to whom it had originally belonged. The last one looked like a dragon, an extremely knightley and well-groomed dragon. It was green with red wings and armor made of shining cloth, with gems embedded on it, which felt soft to the touch. Considering how much gems were worth in Equestria she was quite surprised they hadn’t used real ones, but that would’ve defeated the purpose of a plushie.

The next best thing was a cyan blanket, huge enough to wrap around her. It was old, worn and there was a faint smell on it, a smell she had only inhaled once but wouldn’t ever forget. “Rainbows,” she said out loud as she grabbed the security blanket and wrapped it around herself and let herself fall on the crib, her head resting between the plushies. Her eyes closed she simply felt the warmth of the blanket around her. She remained like this, thinking of the starry sky above her and somehow of how Cadance used to put her to bed when her parents weren’t there, before she left her alone.

Her eyes opened and she looked at those animals who had once looked protectively over her friends. They all knew, didn’t they? They all knew and were with her, no matter what. The stars were above her and she wasn’t alone. It felt like she had forgotten that. She had tried to escape it once, hadn’t she? Was friendship that bothersome to her, if it was her friends who stood by her side in this time? Or had the problem always been with herself?

There was a small table by the bed and she saw an object on it, weirdly shaped, black with lots of white dots on it. It got Twilight’s attention for a moment, before she looked around to the last remaining wall, finding a humorously large armchair standing by the side of a shelving filled with children’s books.

A part of her felt like leaving, another part, the one that won, beckoned her to lean back and look at the clouds. It felt strange, but not strange enough to go panicking. Twilight felt like she could relax here, forget things and, what intrigued her even more, figure stuff out. There were gears turning in the back of her mind, shifting and running, telling her to change things up, to do something else, repair what needn’t be repaired. There was also the blanket around her and her friends’, or at least there stuffed animals, watching over her.

She closed her eyes once more and tried to make a final decision, whether she should take this fight or leave. As she heard Pinkie coming up she made her choice.

“Thank you,” she said, lifting herself up, giving her pink friend a smile. “Let’s do this.”

Pinkie nodded, closing the trap door behind her. “Just. . . I never did this sort of thing, how-”

Twilight stopped her with a gesture. “We’ve got all the things here, just go with whatever you’re comfortable with and I’ll just follow.”

The two looked at each other, before Pinkie Pie lifted her hoof. “Sooo. . . If I didn’t want you to ruin the carpet, I’d need to diaper you now?”

The lavender unicorn named Twilight Sparkle, who was also Princess Celestia most talented student opened her mouth, while her head grew as red as a tomato. She looked down to the side, spotting the monkey looking at her. Now its expression seemed more encouraging, and considering how Pinkie Pie was the only pony whose social compass worked with a different set of magnets compared to everypony else’s. . . And this might as well be the only chance she had.

The wind was taking up outside, she heard it even within these walls. She couldn’t really say anything, decided to go with the flow, and nodded. Pinkie just looked at her for a moment and Twilight could’ve sworn that it was because the normally so energetic pony had been embarrassed by the situation, too. Yet Pinkie Pie was too much herself to show her feelings and went over to her friend with a quick step.

“Well then,” she said with the brightest smile, taking one of Twilight’s hooves. One mare looked at the other and Pinkie seemed to ooze so much enthusiasm that it was contagious. “Don’t worry about anything and just let auntie Pinkie take care of everything.”

She didn’t know why, but it felt comforting how her friend said this. Just being led to the changing table alone was felt weird and by this point Twilight wasn’t really sure how to feel about this anymore. Actually, she hadn’t known how to feel about this from the beginning. One thing she knew was that the blanket did offer her a certain security, that and the fact that Pinkie Pie was hopping again.

Pinkie took the blanket off her friend as they stood by the table. “You’ll get that back later. Come on, lay down while I get everything ready, Twilight.”

Twilight just did as her friend said, adept enough at diaper changes to know how to lie down and comfortable enough to not be completely crushed by embarrassment. There was this thing going on in her mind where she questioned if she wasn’t really too old to do something like this, whether it wasn’t kinda creepy for a healthy, grown mare to wait for getting diapered. And just what did Pinkie Pie actually think of all this. Sure, she seemed as happy as ever, but ponies could put on masks. Twilight figured that maybe she should just stand up and-

Her train of thoughts was broken as a certain somepony appeared in her sights. The red and blue eyes of the mule with the spotted pants stared right at Twilight and the face only seemed to know one expression. It was the face of a pony willing to go through any new experience with an open and willing mind, a pony willing to do any sort of homework without any complaint. Or mule for that matter. It was the face of Miss Smartypants, held up by Pinkie. Twilight made a quiet grab for her, looking at what could count as her first companion.

“You just play with that, Twilight, while I do my thing,” she heard Pinkie say and for one moment she wanted to look, but then decided on something else.

“Twily was fine, Pinkie. Twilight’s not the mare I want to be right now,” she said with a steady voice.

For a moment there was nothing and Twilight used that to look down, where Pinkie Pie seemed to be contemplating something. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m just wondering if Twily and Twilight are different ponies, then.”

Of course she’s taking this way too literally, Twilight thought, but maybe there was some truth in this way of thinking, too. “Well, let’s just try playing pretend, I’ll be the foal, you’ll be-”

“Oooh, can I be the big sister, who's also a spy working to topple the griffon tyranny?”

Twilight blinked. “I. . . I don’t know, let me consult Miss Smartypants, as she’s clearly the most responsible one around,” she said and looked at her doll. Pinkie moved in closer, eyeing hopefully while Twilight pretended to whisper something to Smarty, while also nodding in agreement to nothing said. After careful consideration she made a long silent pause and turned Miss Smartypants head in Pinkie’s direction, while also looking at her friend herself. “She says if you can finish diapering the little one, sure.”

Pinkie saluted to that. “Nothing easier than that!” A smile appeared on her face as she started her work.

Twilight looked up and let it happen, although she was amazed by the care Pinkie put into it. The way she helped Twilight lift her legs and how she slid the diaper beneath before powdering the mare, it made her feel smaller and smaller and even though her face was still red in the beginning, she felt that part slipping away further and further from her. Pinkie hummed a song as she pulled the diaper up between Twilight’s legs and somehow it let the last of doubts vanish. It was either this or doing something to herself she might regret in the last minute.

“All done,” Pinkie announced. “That should last a bit.”

Twilight wanted to say that she wasn’t going to use them, but decided against it. For one reason or another, she didn’t want to close any doors if they might help her get away from herself. She tried to stand up, though Pinkie’s arms were immediately there, helping her. Both Twilight and Miss Smartypants looked at the work done.

It wasn’t one of Twilight’s diapers, it was a bit thicker, maybe more comfortable, and it fit more snugly. Something in Twilight’s mind told her that she had done it wrong before, then and she had to do everything to keep herself from throwing herself into the snow. Focusing herself, she went to look up again, giving Twilight a smile. “Miss Smartypants you could make special agent,” she said, with the mule doll nodding.

“Woohoo,” Pinkie yelled out as she jumped into the air. Twilight merely gave a smile, landing her hooves on the ground again. It wasn’t her first time being diapered, but it surely felt like it, if only because this whole setup made her feel so little.

“So. What now?” Twilight asked, having already forgotten about all her plans and schemes.

Pinkie immediately held up a pink, frilly dress. “Now I’ll make sure my little one’s not going to freeze when the windigos come!”

Twilight looked at the dress, only to find some additional parts hanging out. She hadn’t seen a dress onesie up until this point, but it made her smile. It was just the right shade to go with her coat, she knew immediately. Rarity’s handiwork, she was sure, and it looked cute too. That wasn’t really unexpected, considering her friend’s line of work, and the front was a nice addition, too. A purple ribbon with a brooch in the middle, shaped like a star. Twilight wondered how she’d look in it, the padding between her legs only reminding her a little that it would probably underwhelm her would she look into a mirror.

“Can you help me?” she asked sheepishly, trying to get as much in the role as possible.

Pinkie ruffled her mane. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you cute cookie into your gears right away,” she cooed, “just lift your arms up for auntie.”

Twilight did as she was told, making Pinkie giggle suddenly. “Not with your dollie, sweetie. Come on,” she took Miss Smartypants from her, putting her on the table. “She can watch us, okay?”

The unicorn nodded, giving a small: “Okay.”

Pinkie Pie pulled the dress over her in one swift motion, putting her nose close to Twilight’s when that was done. “Who’s the cutest princess of them all?”

Twilight blushed. “M-me?” she asked unsure and her caregiver pulled her into a hug.

“Yes, my little Twily is the littlest, cutsiest, wootsiest princessiest pony of them all.”

Twily couldn’t help but giggle at that. “Most them aren’t even words, silly,” she told Pinkie.

“Well, now they are, your highness.”

She could hear how Pinkie snapped the buttons of the onesie shut, she only blushed slightly. At least the dress part of the thing was pretty and the onesie part kept the rustling of the diaper down, she could tell that as shifted between her legs, even though it was only by a little. The best part was mostly how soft it felt and she was quite sure it would help her against the cold. Her eyes fell unto her plushie. “What do you think, Miss Smartypants? Do I look fine?”

The doll looked at her, for a moment with eyes that were confused, then accusing and then, finally, accepting. Twily stood there and grinned at the doll, suddenly feeling more alive than she had done over the past months, ever since her OCD had gone completely out of control. She didn’t know why and quite frankly, she didn’t care. All that counted as of this moment was the fact that she had a pretty dress, Miss Smartypants to accept her and a foalsitter who would help her all along the way. Twily felt that she was finally in that mindset she had wanted to get into for the longest time, or at least closer to it. The excitement about it all came easier to her than before, than in her own home. Just go with flow, she told herself, and with that sort of feeling she turned around to look at her caregiver.

“Pinkie, what’re we gonna do next?”

“Uh… Oh, I know,” Pinkie said, hopping over to the boxes. “You choose one and I’ll choose what we’re going to do.”

Twilight nodded, but didn’t think about her answer. She wouldn’t allow any plans right now, all she wanted was to live in the moment. “The middle one.”

“Rarity’s it is,” Pinkie said and made a grab inside the box, Twily looked with some bit of anticipation. Then Pinkie Pie got the bag out. “These should keep us both occupied for a while,” she laughed.

Twilight let her eyes linger on the box for a moment longer before she turned to Pinkie, who now emptied the bag on the carpet in the middle of the room. Dozens of toy blocks spilled onto the floor. She stepped closer towards them, examining them like she had never seen the like before, while Pinkie smiled brightly at her. The unicorn took one of the blocks, it’s sides were green, blue, red and yellow, with letters on them in exactly those colors.

Twilight stared at them, not really knowing what to do. Maybe she did and just maybe some part of her still wanted to leave.

What am I doing?

That was the question that ran through her mind, the one that had plagued her from the very beginning but this time it took only one second to get the answer. Twilight lifted her eyes and saw Pinkie putting some blocks together, searching for the proper letters, before she held a line of five in her hooves, the word staring right into Twilight’s face.


She did, thinking of a set of swings and how everything might just be the fun she wanted to have. That’s what children had, wasn’t it? Fun? Miss Smartypants seemed as curious as ever and so she decided to stop what she had done until now for good. She took one block and then another, trying to get a word out of it, some sort of answer, but instead her mind started working. Not the one that neatly wanted to arrange things for the sake of order, not Twilight’s mind, but the one of a filly in Canterlot who had once read about princesses and princes and their castles.

That’s what Twily settled on, as she raised the walls, brick by brick. Pinkie looked at it curiously as she saw that Twilight wasn’t aiming for a specific word. “What are you doing, Twilight?”

“I’m building us a castle,” she said.

Pinkie giggled at her enthusiasm and laid down the bricks she had held. “Well, I doubt there’s enough for one. But I can go look for more if I can help, that’d be super awesome!”

Twily nodded, “Yeah, Miss Smartypants doesn’t see a problem.”

She didn’t bother with Pinkie, instead tried to build a tower with what she had, a big one with observatory on top. It’s floors would be marble, it’s walls painted with fields and ponies dancing across them and she knew that from up there every star surrounding their world could be seen, every piece of Luna’s and Celestia’s grace. Next came the hallway connecting it to the main building of the palace, but before she had reached even the halfway point, her bricks gave in. That’s when she heard more wood tumbling onto the floor and saw Pinkie emptying another, bigger bag, with different blocks, these weren’t meant for words, but for actual building.

“Is this from Rarity’s, too?” She asked.

Pinkie shook her head. “Nope, it’s from. . . Mine!” She announced, Twilight nodded once more, letting one hoof crash into the tower, sending its blocks tumbling down. “What are you doing?” Her pink friend asked.

“Building something bigger and better,” she answered, picking some new blocks up. There were already plans forming in her mind how to build what. It would be great, with a hall for feasts and a garden with rare trees and flowers. A playground as well, with a set of creaking, old swings.

She hadn’t really expected for Pinkie to join her, but they both found themselves picking up block after block, raising house after house from nothing. From Twilight’s perspective, the blocks might have held no meaning, but the filly didn’t even see those. All she saw was the arch before the palace, the huge trees by the side of the road. What they built was a bakery, where the princess’ and princes’ daughters and sons would steal cupcakes and chased across the garden by the pastry chef. The guards would patrol the ways from their barracks over the walls, settling down in the dark corners where their superiors wouldn’t see them. What they built was a castle with four towers. One was an observatory, a second a bedroom for the young, the third was the library tower and the last one was for whomever to decide, who’d come in next.

As time passed, Twily lay down on her stomach while building, while Pinkie tried to imitate the sounds of machines while she was picking up bricks – and failed at it rather spectacularly. While the rising of buildings was interesting, there was something that kept Twily from getting as much into it as Pinkie Pie did. Really, she seemed to take this whole thing like an architect who was told to just do whatever he wanted with a building. Twilight found herself moving her tongue against her teeth, trying to do a motion with it, a suckling.

Pinkie Pie noticed that her friend wasn’t really focused and maybe her Pinkie Sense was telling her what was going on. She looked at Twily for a moment, as if to grasp what was going on, before asking: “Do you want your binkie, Twily?”

She blushed, but with nodded immediately. Pinkie immediately stood up and walked around to the crib, Twily used the chance to pull Miss Smartypants closer to herself, letting her get a good look at what they had finished until this point. “Do you think anything is missing?”

Still the swings, was her first thought, but then she remembered that they were by the playground in the garden, the one where a sole block with the letter ‘M’ stood for the climbing frame.

“Maybe a pond,” Miss Smartypants said, though it was just Twilight talking in a different voice. “Like the one in Fluttershy’s story.”

“That’s. . . “ She tried to find the right word for it, “a bit depressing.”

A lost griffon who had found his love again on the eve of her demise, that wasn’t the sort of story material she wanted to be reminded of right now. So she thought of other things, but couldn’t find any.

“How about,” she heard Pinkie’s voice and turned around looking at the mare, “a chocolate pond.”

“A chocolate pond?” Twily asked, but considered it nonetheless.

“That sounds like an awesome idea,” Miss Smartypants concurred.

“See, you should listen to the mule lady, Twily, she’s smart. It even says so in her name,” Pinkie Pie added, leaving Twily with little choice but to agree to the two. So she nodded.

“Yeah, I like chocolate anyway,” she said and pointed a bit away from the playground, to where she thought a small forest stood, “There it is.”

“Yup, right beside a magic tree,” Pinkie grinned.

“What magic tree?”

“Hmmm. . .” Pinkie made mock thinking gesture, putting her hoof to her chin, “Give me ju~st a moment. Ah, yes, how about one where binkies for my favorite little pony grow!” She pulled out one pacifier, brightly colored with a mouth guard that looked like a set of wings. Twily looked at it open mouthed and Pinkie took the chance and put it right there. Next thing she knew, Twily was sucking on it, letting it soothe her spirit.

“Now, then, there’s some guard towers left to finish,” Pinkie decided.

“Yeth!” Twily agreed loudly, losing the very last of her restraints as the pacifier muffled her speech and the diaper crinkled beneath her.

So they went to work again, building the castle and then in a moment of thoughtlessness Twily decided it would be funny to destroy half of it by having a giant mule with spotted pants attack the castle with it’s denizens fleeing and then rebuilding in a different shape, only for Pinkie Pie summoning the wrath of a monster whale shortly after the main hall was finished. Twily had no idea why the ponies kept on trying to build, but maybe their stubbornness would pay off one day. She put on a grin behind her pacifier, a smile that grew wider as the country established itself and slowly the world around it began to grow. The mountains of the crystal Empire, her bed, the griffon lands in the distance, the changing table, the catacombs of the diamond dogs that were the cabinet and the tiny castle of Canterlot in the middle.

The four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Crystal Empire attacked. Only the Elements of Harmony, the ones who protected the peace, could stop them, but when the world needed them most, they disappeared. From that point on, the story unfolded and considering how little she and Pinkie cared about getting any historical facts straight or how little they thought about continuity, they somehow managed to corner the monster whale into a corner and secure victory for the muffin republic.

The trapdoor swung wide open after a while. The two of them turned their eyes towards it, Pinkie merely curious. Twily, however, reverted back for a moment and felt her stomach turn around. Who would come here? Was it Daisy? Some other gossip? Applebloom? How would she explain her attire to the filly? What if it was Princess Celestia? And what if she thought Twilight hadn’t yet graduated from diapers? Would she have to go back to Magic Kindergarten?

However, a familiar stetson appeared and an orange earth pony stepped up, wearing both saddlebags and the face of a pony who had worked a whole day too long. Instead of panicking some more, Twilight simply remembered the four stuffed animals and fell right back into the groove. Everything was fine, she told herself, and nothing would change that.

Applejack, however greeted both of them with what was meant to be a smile. She appeared too tired to really bother, as it seemed, but at least her eyes seemed to spark with interest as she turned towards the overgrown foal. “You look. . . Well,” was all she could bring out and Twily gave her a wide smile.

Pinkie Pie nodded, too. “We’re playing some awesome games, Applejack, you should join, too!”

Applejack looked at them both as they hopped up and down enthusiastically. Then she shot Pinkie another look, though Twily couldn’t read the message behind it. “Huh, shucks you two are into this stuff. Is it really that much fun?” AJ finally asked, pointing at the wrecked castle.

“Ith alotta fun!” Twily said from behind her pacifier, and Pinkie nodded wildly.

“You should try it out, too, AJ, this is so much fun!”

AJ seemed to consider for a moment, giving the crib a really long stare, but ultimately she shook her head, “I don’t think this’ really for me. It’s nice to see you two so energetic, though. Means that this ol’ barn won’t go to waste, at least.”

Pinkie sighed. “You were worried about that? I told you, just leave everything to me, and it’ll work out.”

“Yeah, it did, didn’t it. Anyway, I’ve brought us dinner. . . Or is it din-dins in this context?”

Twily couldn’t help but giggle, while Pinkie merely held a sign with a ‘3/10’ on it up. “You’ve still got ways to go with your jokes, Applejack,” she said, shaking her head. The orange pony merely shrugged and made to answer, but was interrupted by the grumbling of somepony’s stomach, namely Twily’s.

“Looks like somepony’s ready for some good food,” Applejack said. “I’ve got some stuff in the bags to make some really good soup. Secret receipt’s still from my dad. He was the best cook in Ponyville and I daresay I’ve got more of his genes than Applebloom and Big Macintosh combined, not that either of them can’t cook, but. . . You know what, I’ll just go to the kitchen and in half an hour you’re going to be amazed!” She then announced, giving the two of them one of her better smiles.

Twily was already pumped and gave a: “Yay!” that made her spit out her pacifier.

Twilight had never seen Applejack cook and considering her headspace was 100% occupied by Twily, both she and Pinkie were quite amazed by how AJ managed the kitchen. The closest resembling thing Twily could find was that old pony god with the sixteen heads and 64 legs.She had never seen a pony work like this in the kitchen, but she considered that this might just count as another piece of the mysterious power earth ponies held. Not that she truly cared as they all finally sat down at the table.

Beyond the door had been two other rooms, one of them served as kitchen and dining room. The most exciting thing upon first entering this room had to be table. In Equestria, your standard table was build so low that a pony could seat themselves on a cushion and be done with it. Stools were found uncomfortable to sit on and eating from a chair was considered something the upper-class in Las Pegasus or very small foals did. So this table clearly belonged to the first category, the armchairs were clearly made in Manehattan and were adorned with the Oranges’ family sigil.

Sitting down in a chair, having your hind legs dangle, that plus her whole attire made her feel like she was sitting in an highchair. It made her feel little and that in turn made her feel comfortable. Pinkie even got her a bib and then Applejack put down the soup plates, the smell of apples took over. She could’ve guessed it, though the yellow soup also had pieces of potatoes in them and there was also a bit of onion in there.

“Roasted root vegetable and apple soup, in standing family tradition,” Applejack announced as she seated herself.

Dinner it was and a good warm meal at that, while outside the wind surely howled and the sun either already had gone down or was soon going to. Twilight looked at the spoon before her and wanted to make a grab for it, but just as she was about to, Pinkie Pie pulled the pacifier out of her mouth. “I hope you’re ready for you din dins.”

She looked at her friend and remembered, she didn’t need to do anything. She could simply trust Pinkie to take care of things. So she gave a bright smile and an even brighter sounding answer: “Yes!”

Pinkie ruffled the grown foal’s mane, before she took a spoonful of soup and blew it. “Now, here comes the Friendship Express; choo-choo.”

She made a long play out of it before the food finally reached Twilight’s mouth, but that only made her savor the moments even more. She could trust her friend and that was all there was to it, really. Something so small made something that had seemed so significant so much more fun. Twilight never had played with food, so Twily would take the chance and enjoy this as much as she probably could. The second run of the Friendship Express ended in a major disaster, with Pinkie misjudging her approach. Half the soup ended up on Twily’s face and the other half on the bib. Both she and Pinkie Pie laughed it off.

“Well, just because I’m the older one doesn’t mean I’m a proper train conductor,” Pinkie joked, still in high spirits as the tried for a run of the 2.0 version of the Express.

Applejack ate her soup quietly and looked at the two and finding herself not half as uncomfortable around Twilight acting like this as she had expected. She looked happy, without a care, nothing like a mare who’d spent her time locked up in her library trying to fix things that didn’t need fixing. AJ figured that it was that fact that made her feel good about this herself, another part wandered on. Was it really just that?

Finally, she made to enter the conversation, when Pinkie made to eat a spoon of her own soup, while laughing and only managed to spill most of it across her own lap. “You sure you’re up for this caring business, Pinkie? You appear to have problems feeding yourself.”

“Hehe,” Pinkie Pie laughed, as she gave Applejack a haughty look. “This is what playing with food is all about.”

“Getting most of it where it doesn’t belong?”

“Yup,” Pinkie answered.

A moment of silence followed and Twily took her spoon herself, taking a bit of the soup herself. It took a conscious effort to play out the clumsy foal who couldn’t even handle this simple a task and a part of her wanted to murder herself as the contents dripped across the table, her lap and on her bib, with none reaching her mouth. She took the spoon in nonetheless, just for the sake of the act. Pinkie gave a: “D’aaaw.”

Even Applejack couldn’t help but show a slight smile. “You’re adorable, Twi,” she said, making her friend blush, spoon still in the mouth. Applejack nodded to herself. “Letting go, is it?”

Twily and Pinkie looked at their friend, the orange mare whose smile grew and grew into that of a pony who just had a brilliant idea she just knew she was going to regret.

“Alright, the other’s are coming tomorrow afternoon to take a good look at this place. So how about for the rest of the vacation, I stay here, too. Never had a lengthy sleepover with friends, especially not with so many toys lying around. Might be just the thing I need. That’s alright with y’all, ain’t it?”

The spoon fell from Twilight’s mouth, “You want to play, too?”

Applejack looked her in the eye, “I can’t let you two have all the fun on your own. Maybe this’ll help me figuring some things out I need to think about, maybe it’ll be simple fun. Doesn’t really matter, though. The cold’s been tearing our group apart, so getting back together is all that matters right now, no matter how much snow falls from the sky.”

The smile on Twilight’s face grew as she jumped up. Every inch of her was happy at this, that not just the plushies but also her actual friends would join her. If only she would have had the courage to talk to them earlier, maybe all this trouble on the road wouldn’t have happened. Her friends were with her once more and now they would surely be until the end. “You’ll come tomorrow, you can promise that, can’t you?”

Before AJ could answer, Pinkie Pie interfered. “And you can promise to play the caretaker for one day, can’t you?”

The earth pony blinked for a moment, but then started to laugh. “Yeah, sure, why not? If you’re going to do somethin’, at least do it right. Tomorrow, we’ll start our best winter!”

That was how it went and once they were done with eating, AJ cleaned the kitchen up, while Pinkie did so with Twily, before going back to play with her until bedtime. Applejack didn’t stay until then, however. She told the two that she’d had a long day already and wanted to go to sleep early. She gave both of her friends a squeeze before opening the door, revealing the snow whirling around as the blizzard finally started to pick up. It was a reminder of how hard the coming weeks would be, but AJ assured Twily that the food store beneath the barn could feed a family through winter. Another thing of the Apple family was that they’d have lots of storages around their farm for any sort of emergency so one Blizzard wouldn’t prove that huge an obstacle. With that, the orange earth pony went her way and not long thereafter, even Twily’s day ended.

Twily pulled the covers up so she could hide beneath them, the light emitted by her horn illuminating her tiny space. The shapes of moons and stars were around her. They seemed so beautiful, yet her attention was pulled somewhere else, to the book under her nose. She picked the pencil up with her mouth, though a bit sloppy and held the tip against the papers. The letters were crude, misshapen, they were things an adult pony would have hated, but she wasn't an adult and not doing it perfect was fine, not being perfect was fine. She wrote her sentences enthusiastically, carefully laying out her feelings to what could at its most basic be described as a diary. She moved her hind legs a bit, making the diaper rustle. Like this, she wrote into her Nightbook, much like she had before, but still different. She was writing what toys she had played with and how Pinkie had praised her for her castle. She was writing how Applejack had promised her to come and play tomorrow and how Pinkie Pie had made her dinner.

She was writing about these things, a bright smile on her face. She was even writing about how excited she was about her new clothes. She had already gotten something great from Rarity. She stopped for a moment and looked at herself. The pajama had pants and a shirt, all bright blue with white clouds adorning it, and rose colored frills. She liked it, even though the waistband of her diaper stuck out from the pants. Nopony was seeing it, so maybe that wasn't a bad thing, either. To her, the waistband was actually the least noticeable thing. With every move she heard it crinkle, felt the padding going against her coat and the beneath.

She listened to the wind outside, hammering against the walls, the mobile above her crib spinning slowly. She thought about ghosts and shivered. She was safe here, no harm would come to her here, Twily was sure of that. She kept writing and writing, until the last line. Then, she looked at it proudly. The last thing especially, it was even kinda sad that nopony but her would ever see this.

Then somepony pulled the covers from her and Twilight looked up at Pinkie, who smiled brightly. “Can't sleep, too?”

“I wath thuth thriting,” Twilight answered, the pencil still in her mouth. Pinkie gave a nod, though she probably hadn't understood a word, but she did pull the pencil out of Twily's mouth, and picked up the book her little filly had on her bed.

“Well, I can see a certain filly's still really~ awake,” she spoke in a sing-songy voice, booping Twily's nose, letting a giggle erupt from the lavender unicorn. “What should we do about that?”

Twily blinked, before she went on to think, but Pinkie was the one who came up with an idea. “How about a lullaby for my sweetest widdle filly.”

For a moment, the unicorn was taken off guard, but then again, it was so easy to go with Pinkie's pace, all she could really do was lie down and look up the railings, to where Pinkie looked down on her. “That sounds nice,” Twily spoke.

“I even know a good one, though it's a bit old. Hey, maybe you know it,” Pinkie laughed, before clearing her throat.

What came then wasn't quite the kind of song Twilight had known Pinkie Pie to sing. It was calm, with a sober, almost sad melody, with the wind providing the instrumentation. A slow piece, and not one Twilight knew. Maybe it had belonged to a father, maybe to a mother, she didn't know. But for Twily, the lyrics were hers and hers alone, another promise and a safe haven that she could lay down and rest in.

Storms may come and blow away
the world around us all
Waves may come and break the stones
that lie beneath us all
And all the worlds could crumble
But I would stay with you

So listen to my soothing song
Hear my lovely harp
For you, my child,
I will always play
this song to soothe your heart

Listen to my soothing song
Hear my lovely harp, since

Stars may fall and blow away
the world around us all
The sun may fall and burn the world
that lies beneath us all
Ice may fall and freeze us all
The words I want to say
That all the worlds could crumble
I would stay with you

So listen to my soothing song
Hear my lovely harp
for you, my child
I will always play
this song to soothe your heart

As Pinkie's voice subsided, only the soft breathing of Twilight Sparkle remained, as she was lying beneath her soft blankets. Pinkie Pie grabbed one of the stuffed animals from the side of the crib, an old teddy bear that had belonged to Fluttershy and held close to the unicorn, who immediately pulled it close to a hug. Pinkie Pie merely smiled happily as she turned and sneaked through the door, to where she'd sleep.

The kitchen was on one end of the room, with another table, big enough for the whole group. On the other end stood an old couch, which could easily be made into a bed. The walls were decorated and on the end a lone window showed how the cold winds threw the snowflakes around. It was quite the sight, but Pinkie chose to ignore it. This room was hers for the coming days.

There, she settled down on the couch and leaned back on it. Applejack would come tomorrow, fighting through the storm and maybe the others would come to. Spike was hopefully going to be alright by then. She needed to prepare a party for all of them, all while playing with Twilight. Rarity had originally told her that Twilight was still unsure about this, but it didn't seem to her that way.

To Pinkie Pie every problem was simple, with simple roots and simple solutions. Finding these simple things was hard sometimes. And there were also very few times where they were impossible to find. That thought made Pinkie's smile disappear. She stared up at the ceiling, wondering if all this would end up right, if everything really was going to be fine.

She didn't want to lose another.

Pinkie Pie shook her head. “You're a nanny now, Pinkie Pie, don't get distracted.” She tried to force a smile, hoping it became true in time.

Her eyes went to the book she still had in her hoof and she looked on the last page Twilight had written on. The crude writing was definitely the one of her friend, it was almost unreadable. She smiled as she looked at it, and it only widened as she saw the fairly bad drawing of Twily playing with all her friends beneath a pencilled sun. To the left of the picture stood the end of the text.

“I finished the first step and I feel the weight finally coming off my body. I was striving for perfection not for perfection's sake, but because I lost sight of other parts that were me. Through losing my path I had to look for new ones and found myself again. I've figured that out now, but why I enjoy playtime so much is as much a mystery to me as why I enjoy waddling through a brightly colored room sucking a rubber teat.

“I guess I'll find out as I delve deeper. I don't know how far I need to go, but I want to see whether or not this is going to be the end or the beginning of myself. It's a huge tower before me, but at least it's ready to be climbed.”

This night, the ponies of Ponyville all dreamt their dreams. Twilight’s was one of swings that had never existed, of faces she had never known. She dreamt of a place where all her friends were, of a library where she was alone. She dreamt of such safely beneath her blanket, within the safe confines of a barn surrounded by trees, and outside the winds roared while snow and ice played their cold song. They crashed against the houses, breaking like waves. They blew the leaves and sent the world under the black clouds into a white, mad cascade. No light broke through the shrouds and the bellow of the wind echoed across the plains. Yet the farther up it went, the quieter the world grew. Above the clouds, black and ugly things they were, a dark blue sky resided and the stars watched the world stand still. All while the sun and moon standing guard over it.

There, above the clouds they ran. After all the centuries they had spent in slumber, finally the cold had come back. Between kind lies and loyal promises, generous betrayals and honest love, magic would die and even laughter might disappear. Because now they danced upon the blackest of clouds, those who hungered for the failings of living, those who preyed on traitors and liars and all the wretched souls. To each of them wind was the mane, ice the heart and snow the eyes.

The great blizzard had begun and the cry of winter heralded the return of the Windigos.

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