• Published 15th Feb 2012
  • 14,082 Views, 610 Comments

Tears in the Snow - Wintergreen Diaries

Twilight sees a vision after casting a spell to see the future and ends up saving a mysterious colt.

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Chapter 2: Cerulean

Cerulean slowly, painfully, opened his eyes, finding himself staring into the face of a beautiful lavender mare. She lay atop his chest, each breath causing a gentle breeze against his face. He closed his eyes, expecting to wake up any moment, but after a few seconds passed and he opened them again, the mare was still snoring contentedly upon her makeshift blue pillow. Scanning his surroundings, careful not to wake this peacefully slumbering mare, he found himself a good distance from the edge of the forest, though still a few minutes trot from the nearest buildings of the town. He could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks as he tried to recall what had happened to lead to such a change of scenery. Last thing he could remember was passing out amongst the bodies of the wolves that had tried to do him in.

No, that can’t be right, there must be more. Come on, think! Wolves... the mare... came. Oh yeah, then I yelled at her for trying to help. It was strange, but somehow, that chance encounter had sparked something inside. “I don’t know why you’d try to help somepony like me, even after yelling at you the way I did. But, since you’ve given me a second shot at life, I’ll try. If nothing else, I keep going,” he whispered, involuntarily bringing his hooves around her and holding her close. She was pleasantly warm, and a soft sigh escaped her lips as she snuggled closer in her sleep. Cerulean knew that, should the mare awake, she would likely spook, but there was a comfort in having her near, so he allowed a few minutes of silent indulgence. He placed his hooves around the shoulders of the purple unicorn as and was preparing to ease her onto the ground when a voice rang out, blasting his ears.

"What in tarnation are you doin' to Twilight?" he leaned his head back and found himself looking into the angry green eyes of a fast approaching orange earth pony, her mane kept in a loose ponytail. Cerulean quickly, but gently, removed himself from the unicorn and cleared his throat to make his defense, getting out only four words before two hooves made connection with his chest.

"It's not what it..." after which he momentarily experienced the exhilaration of flying, and then the not so exhilarating experience of lying breathless, flat on his back. He lay there dazed, trying to coach air into his uncooperative lungs. When he could breathe, he looked up to see the earth pony gently trying to wake her friend while glaring in his direction. Twilight awoke with a moan, rubbing her eyes and looking around, her brain not quite capable of making sense of the situation.

"Huh? Applejack? What am I doing out here?" she said.

"That varmint was takin' advantage of you, Twi. Stay back; he'll soon learn a lesson he ain't ever gonna fergit!" Applejack said, vehemence dripping from her voice.

"I wasn't... taking advantage... of anypony!" Cerulean gasped, chest still aching from the bucking.

"Likely story. Ah come out her fer a mornin' stroll and find you with my friend on top of you and..." She stopped here, noticing the blood in his mane. Her cheeks flushed as she looked at him and then at Twilight, neither of whom seemed to understand the implications. "You didn't..." her voice dropped to a growl, her teeth grinding. Cerulean cocked his head for a moment, and then his eyes grew wide as the realization of the accusation hit him full force.

"Oh no, nonono I didn't! I don't know what's going on, but it definitely isn't that!" he said, frantically waving his fore hooves. He could tell she wasn't buying it. He turned a pleading glance to the still groggy lavender mare. "C'mon, you gotta help me out here! Tell the lady I didn't... you know..." he said, cheeks still flushed a bright pink. Twilight, still waking up, promptly chose the worst possible response Cerulean could imagine.

"Who are you again? I never caught your name."

"Dear Celestia, you didn't even find out his name first? Twi, I'm ashamed o' you!" Applejack said, recoiling in disgust. Cerulean slapped a hoof to his face, letting it slowly slide down. Twilight stared at the two before the previous night's events started to flood her mind.

"Oh my goodness, are you alright?" she said, rushing to Cerulean's side and looking up at him. "You're not hurt, are you?" He shook his head and shot a glance at Applejack, who had resumed her icy glare.

"Not from the wolves, no, though I'm pretty sure this bruise will take some time to heal," he motioned ruefully to his chest. His blue coat did a great job of hiding it for the most part, but two large sections were taking a deeper, violet hue. Twilight touched it softly, causing him to wince.

"As much as it screams 'Poke here,' I'd rather you didn't," Cerulean said as he gently brushed her hoof away, not so much for the pain but for appearance's sake. "I’m... sorry, for last night. You didn’t deserve the way I spoke to you, and I am grateful to be alive. Although, your efforts may have been in vain if we don’t find a way to calm that mare down," he muttered, glancing back at Applejack. Twilight blinked once, twice, and suddenly understood his position.

"Applejack, this stallion," she said, pausing to look at him.

"Cerulean. Cerulean Snowgleam," he said quickly.

"He didn't do anything to me. He was attacked by wolves in the forest last night. I made it in time to stop the last wolf from attacking him after he spent his magic. Unfortunately, something I can’t explain was happening to him. His magic was draining, and I had to... transfer a vast majority of my own to him so that he didn’t die. After that, I was too exhausted to focus my magic properly, so my teleportation spell cut out half way." Applejack's expression turned from icy loathing to apprehension as she digested this new information.

"Is that the truth, Twilight? 'Cause if I find out otherwise later, it's gonna mean a whole lot of trouble for both of ya." Applejack's face was serious; it was clear she meant every word.

"I promise, it's the truth." Twilight said with a smile. Applejack allowed herself a slight grin.

"Pinkie Promise?"

"Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye," Twilight said, letting out a small giggle with the final motion. Applejack nodded her approval then approached Cerulean.

"Ah reckon ah owe you an apology." she said, scuffing the ground with a hoof. He shook his head before responding, his voice a good deal gentler than she expected.

"Not at all. If I had thought someone had done something like that to one of my friends, I'd likely do more than buck 'em in the chest. At least, if I had friends to defend." Twilight walked over upon hearing this statement.

"What do you mean, 'if I had friends?' Surely you have somepony who misses you somewhere?" Cerulean's eyes were downcast.

"Perhaps that's true..." he said quietly. "But it will be better for them in the long run with me gone. However," he said, smiling again, "I came here with no purpose, but now, I’m hoping for a fresh start. If I can find a few good friends, I'll count myself a lucky pony." Their curiosity about his enigmatic statements were momentarily forgotten as they both smiled and hugged him at once.

"Well now you have two friends, isn't that right Applejack?" Twilight declared.

"Sure is, sugarcube. Sorry for bucking ya, Cerulean. My name's Applejack." she said, releasing him from the embrace and stepping back. To her relief he let out a laugh, shaking his head vigorously.

"Cerulean Snowgleam. I’ll do my best not to land myself in any more situations like that, though thinking about it, it's actually pretty funny," he said, a mischievous grin playing at the corners of his mouth. Applejack chuckled, nodding in agreement. Twilight was still in the dark as to why Applejack had been so upset in the first place. "You explain it," he said, blushing slightly. Applejack began to whisper into her ear, Twilight's facing growing progressively brighter shades of red as she listened. Cerulean unsuccessfully tried to stifle his laughter, causing Twilight further embarrassment. He gave her a few moments to gather her composure before continuing.

"I hate to impose, but I'm kind of a wreck at the moment. Is there anyplace a pony can go to get cleaned up?"

"There's a spa and grooming salon near the center of town. If you'd like, I can take you," Twilight replied, trying not to make eye contact. Cerulean nodded readily, though inside, he was filled with worry. Almost everypony that had ever tried to get close to him, especially mares, ended up with broken hearts. As grateful as he was for their honest display of platonic affection, if they ended up hurt in the end, it wouldn’t be worth his momentary happiness. He couldn’t convince himself he was worth that kind of effort, so he crammed down his trepidation and donned a smile.

"I think that would be best, especially if everypony here is as protective as your friend, there," he said, shooting Applejack a wink. "I do look pretty dreadful." Applejack shot him a mock glare before tipping her hat to both of them.

"I gotta get back to the farm; plenty o' work to be done. You two take care now," she said, returning the wink, causing an awkward moment of silence between Cerulean and Twilight, each looking purposefully away from the other. Her laughter trailed off as she quickly disappeared over the landscape, heading back to Sweet Apple Acres. Snow gave a small cough, covering his mouth and looking back at Twilight.

"So then, shall we?"

"Yes, let's," she agreed, examining his messy and dirt stained mane. His condition would definitely beg questions, though likely not cause everypony to jump to the worst case scenario as Applejack had done. Chancing a glance at Cerulean, he appeared to have shifted back to how he was before, his somber expression devoid of mirth. “So...” He blinked once before turning towards her, breaking into a smile and waiting for her to continue. Where do I even begin? I have about a million questions, but some things I can’t just ask, as much as the curiosity is driving me crazy. “I’ve never seen ice magic like that before. Where’d you learn it?”

“It was self taught. I’ve always had a strong affinity for snow, even though I hate the cold.”

“Really? How does that work?”

“It’s complicated, to say the least. If it revolves around ice, and I can imagine it, then I can find a way to weave a spell for it. Judging by that look you’re giving me, I’d say you’re fairly skeptical. Magic is specific, and spells are exact. They do what they’re described to do, so being able to just conjure whatever is in my head shouldn’t be possible.” Twilight moved from skeptical to intrigued, as the stallion clearly had a solid grasp on the concept of magic, or at least the basics.

“Would mind if I put your skills to the test?”

“Not at all, what would you like to see?”

“Let’s start with something simple. Make some snow.” Twilight watched as the stallion’s horn began to glow a soft blue before her vision went white and her limbs cold. Popping her head out of the pile, she gave him a mock glare and jumped out, shaking the excess from her back. “Ok, Mr. Snowgleam, turn it into a snow mare.”

“As you wish.” At his behest, the snow wrapped itself into a perfect likeness of Twilight. “Anything else?”

“A castle!” Twilight was filled with a giddy, foal-like excitement at watching the stallion flex his prowess, her scholastic mind stimulated by the thought of studying a new field of magic. Cerulean, on his part, was complying not out of debt, or even to impress the admittedly charming mare that was eagerly awaiting his next spell, but simply for a singular desire of acceptance.

“All right then, princess,” he chuckled, turning away and bracing himself as he gathered his magic and poured it into his horn. A large circle of snow formed on the ground in front of him, and, starting from the ground up, a sculpted fortress began to rise. Cerulean could feel his magic levels plummet, but he pushed on, making it perhaps shorter than intended but still determined to finish. As the structure was completed he dropped to his knees, breathing heavily and panting for breath. “I hope... it’s satisfactory?” Twilight was truly impressed, but her fascination didn’t last long as she noticed the condition it had put Cerulean in.

“Take it easy. You used up nearly all your magic yesterday, remember?” she said, trotting over and sitting beside him. “I really thought you were going to die.”

“I’m surprised I didn’t. It was you that saved me, wasn’t it? How did you do it?”

“I... had to transfer some of my magic directly to you through my horn,” she murmured, looking away and blushing at the memory. For a unicorn, magic is just as important as blood and oxygen, so for her to give of herself in such a way...

“Thank you. Seems you’ve saved me twice in a single night, once from wolves and once from myself.”

“I was meaning to ask you about that. If magic only works when and where you want it to, then how... were you using magic when you were unconscious?” His grin slowly faded and he fell silent, staring at the ground and trying to regulate his breathing.

“That’s not something I want to talk about. I’m sorry.”

“But... if there’s a way to use magic while you’re asleep, then there’s all kinds of possibilities that I hadn’t even imagined! I could...”

“It doesn’t work like that,” he interjected. “It’s not... something that’s controlled. It’s not planned. And it definitely isn’t something I would wish on another pony.”

“But that...”

“Goes against the basic principles of magic, I know.” Cerulean was torn. He knew the answers to her unspoken inquiries, but he was terrified to answer. Everypony that had ever made some claim of friendship has eventually left, one after another, and this... this one is sweet. If there was any way to prolong this momentary happiness, I’ll do it. But that face... Ugh, how long am I really going to be able to forestall the inevitable? I can’t win against that. “I’m sorry, I know you’re curious, but... don’t pry into that.”

“Fine.” Wow, why did I sound so angry? “I’m sorry. I just get really wound up when it comes to magic. I’ve been studying it my entire life almost, and seeing something new kind of stoked the fires. It’s clear you have a reason for whatever you’re hiding, and I will do my best to leave it alone. At least, until I’m driven crazy and force it out of you with a charm spell, anyways, but that’s a ways off, I think,” she snickered, thankful that a smile soon returned to the stallion’s face.

“A charm spell, huh? That doesn’t sound so bad.” Cerulean, having skipped over the mental note that had been posted and re-posted countless times in his mind, again taught himself that thinking before you speak is a trait that, while not common in stallions, can be and must be learned. Otherwise, red faced shenanigans are guaranteed to ensue, and so they did as he realized the implications in his words. “I’m sorry, I meant your magic feels good!” he offered, recalling the sudden comfort he had felt during his nightmare that he was now convinced had something to with Twilight’s transference of magic. “Ok, um... I’m an idiot, let’s just stick with that and drop the conversation,” he sighed, covering his face with a hoof. Why the hay am I getting so worked up? Am I already under the effect of some spell?

Twilight, on her part, was having a difficult time containing her laughter at the flustered stallion. Then it dawned on her that there was no reason to control it, and she promptly flopped down on the ground, laughing hysterically and drawing even more eyes to the dirty pair in the middle of the road.

“As skilled as you seem to be with magic, your tongue could use some work.” Cerulean simply stared at her while her brain caught up to process the statement just a few seconds too late, causing her to blush violently and continue their trip, standing upright and resuming an easy trot. Cerulean controlled his speech and mind, not knowing what kind of temperament the mare had or how she’d respond to such teasing. But then, how would he know his limits if he never tested them?

Twilight would never have said so, but she was quite eager to see how the mystery stallion cleaned up. She looked up from her thoughts to see Snow looking at her out of the corner of his eye, a grin slowly forming.

"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Twilight didn't like the idea of another pony being able to read her thoughts so readily, and how the hay was she supposed to respond? Somehow “I was thinking about how alluring you might be without being covered in blood and grit” didn’t quite strike her as the proper response.

"Come on, I’m tired of being dirty," she called out over her shoulder as she broke into a gallop, mostly to put some distance between herself and the blue stallion who was making her mind and heart do funny things.

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