• Published 15th Feb 2012
  • 16,655 Views, 629 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 4: Prelude

"Huh, that's strange. I don't recall there being a parade today, so why is everypony dashing around Ponyville?" Pinkie Pie wondered aloud. "They better not be planning a party, not unless they invite me!" With that, she bounced after them in no real hurry, humming to herself and enjoying the warmth of the sun. A short while later, she spotted a crowd gathered around Sugarcube Corner, the uproar drawing her close. Jumping to catch a glimpse over the other ponies, she spied Twilight inside having a conversation with Mrs. Cake. "What's all the fuss about?" she thought to herself. "There's nothing that exciting about candy, except, well it's candy! So I guess that is a big deal! Still, I've never seen everypony go this crazy over candy."

She watched as Twilight received a white box from Mrs. Cake before teleporting out of the store. "Cupcakes..." Pinkie Pie said, narrowing her eyes and putting a hoof to her mouth. "I should have known!" She got ready to walk away when a loud commotion seemed to come suddenly from behind Sugarcube Corner. She stealthily made her way around the building only to find Twilight surrounded, with a strange blue stallion standing in front of her, cupcake held reverently in his hoof. “Awww, she’s giving him a cupcake! He must be really... wait, why does he look so sad? It can’t be, is it... broken?!?” Pinkie's rather loud gasp rang out over the crowd, causing every head to turn and look at her.

The mystery of the defective cupcake begged immediate investigation, and with a mind-blowing burst of speed she inserted herself between Twilight and Cerulean, looking intently at his face. "You must be new here, because I know everypony in Ponyville and I mean everypony but I don't know you so you must be new!" she squealed delightedly, temporarily distracted by the joyous occasion. Her delight quickly turned to concern as she noticed the moisture in the colt's eyes, the cupcake still perched atop his hoof and ready for consumption. Pinkie snatched it away and stared hard at it with one eye, her face the very model of seriousness. "Oh no, it’s just like I thought; you have a broken cupcake!" she wailed, then promptly stuffed it in her mouth. Running to the box she grabbed another cupcake and shoved it into the stallion's mouth without a moment's hesitation. "Cupcakes are supposed to make you happy, not sad! See? Wasn’t that one way better?"

Cerulean drew a complete blank, his mind robbed of the capacity to do anything other than sit and stare at the hyperactive pink mare in front of him. The frosting smeared all over his muzzle from the forced entry of the cupcake was ignored in the face of her boundless enthusiasm, a trait normally limited to ponies under the effects of less than legal substances. Twilight, now fully recovered from the seriousness of the cupcake transfer, was visibly trembling from trying to contain her merriment. She hadn't understood what had got him so choked up, but that was in the far recesses of her mind for the moment.

It's not even noon yet, how much sugar has this mare had?!? I find it hard to believe that anypony could ever maintain this kind of energy output for any extended duration of time. It’s astonishing, perplexing, and really, really disorienting.

"I know, since you're new and don't know anypony, we should throw you a welcome party!" Pinkie said, bouncing up and down with anticipation. Not waiting for a response, she hopped back to Sugarcube Corner to make preparations, humming happily and oblivious to the host of eyes that watched her go, every bit as confused as the frosting slathered stallion. Cerulean prepared to speak, clearing his throat once and opening his mouth, when Pinkie's face suddenly appeared in front of his. Took a step or two back, wondering if whatever this mare had was contagious. "I almost forgot to ask, what's your name mister?"

"Uh..." came his inarticulate response, mind crashing back down from its partially recovered state.

"Uh? That's a strange name. Are you sure it's not something normal like Steve? You look like a Steve," she pondered aloud, an utter lack of comprehension compounding Cerulean's addled mind further. Pinkie turned to look at Twilight who was now rolling on the ground, tears streaming from her eyes as her body convulsed with laughter. "What do you think, Twilight? Doesn't he look like a Steve?" Twilight stopped and took a few deep breaths, trying to regain control of herself, just long enough to answer the question.

"His name... Is Cerulean... Cerulean Snowgleam!" she managed before returning to her comfortable spot in the dirt, kissing restraint goodbye as her mirth flowed to her heart’s content.

"Awww, I was so close too!" Pinkie Pie pouted, turning back to him. "Anyways, it will be at 7:00 at the barn. I'm sure Twilight can show you the way, so see you then!" With that, she sped back to Sugarcube Corner to gather supplies and make preparations. Cerulean's eyes followed her exit, his mouth still agape from his speech which was interrupted before it began. He shook his head vigorously, then regarded the now breathless Twilight with a questioning look.

"What... just happened? Is she always like that?" Twilight nodded, grinning widely as she weezed, her lungs slowly resuming an even pace.

"Yeah, all the time. That's Pinkie Pie for you," she responded as her breathing frantically attempting to normalize. Twilight turned address the crowd which, while slightly shocked from Pinkie's antics, were once again staring at Cerulean and herself. "I know you're all curious about Snowgleam here, but why don't you save the questions for the party?"

"Actually," Cerulean started, "I think I can clear things up now." He took a few steps closer and stood beside Twilight. "I was attacked by wolves in the Everfree Forest last night." There was a collective cry of surprise from the crowd, which he let die down before continuing. "I was fighting for my life, and some of their blood got on me during the course of the battle. I ran out of magic before I could fend them all off, and Twilight here saved my life." The ponies began stomping their hooves in applause, congratulating Twilight. She waved a hoof to acknowledge them, and they again drew silent. "I'm sorry if I frightened anypony this morning, I know I must have been quite a frightful sight. I promise to do my best not to be a burden to anypony here, if you will have me."

"Any friend of Twilight's is a friend of ours." a voice said, all the ponies around murmured their agreement. Cerulean bowed low.

"Thank you friends... I have never felt as welcome anywhere else as I do here this day. Thank you," his soft voice was choked with emotion. Twilight put a hoof on his shoulder, causing him to flinch but not draw away. His eyes seemed vacant, open but clearly not focused on the ground where they were pointed.

It’s true, they don’t really know anything about me, so of course they would accept me. But I have to wonder how long that will last... I won’t be able to hide things forever. And yet... I want to at least try one more time to find acceptance. To find somewhere I can call home.

"Come on now, none of that," Twilight said gently, She then proceeded to swipe some of the frosting from his muzzle and licked it from her hoof. "You sure are a messy eater. You won't win any hearts like that." To her relief, Cerulean let out a mighty laugh, wiping his face with a hoof, cleaning it off and relishing the sugary confection, then returned his attention to Twilight. He eyed the crowd starting to thin, and held his silence. This made Twilight nervous, unsure of just what he was thinking. "What's with that look," she ventured, scuffing at the dirt with her hoof and glancing away. Cerulean waited another moment till the rest of the ponies had gone about their business, then asked,

"So, which heart am I trying to win again?" She pushed his face away playfully, chuckling nervously and trying not to think about the fact that, yet again, her cheeks saw fit to rise in temperature.

"Certainly not this one. You're much too brutish for this mare." This caused him to pause and examine himself. While his muscles were well defined, he was by no account overly brawny.

"If I am classified as 'brutish' in your book, what does he fall under?" Cerulean said, motioning to Big Macintosh who was making his way through town square. Twilight shot him a mischievous look.

"Gentlecoltly," she said calmly, beginning to trot down the main road towards the library. Cerulean watched Big Mac for a moment before muttering "Harsh," under his breath and pursuing.

The afternoon passed uneventfully. Twilight showed Cerulean around town, though there wasn't a whole lot to show as Ponyville was quite small compared to other pony cities, so they ended up returning to Twilight's house to pass time until the party. As they approached the library, Twilight grew nervous. "I know it's not very glamorous, but there it is," she said, motioning to the library. Cerulean read the sign outside.

"You live in a library?" he questioned, curious if he had understood her. Twilight swallowed hard before nodding, cursing herself for being so nervous. She attempted to cover her self-consciousness with confidence, but instead it just came out as cross.

"Is that a problem?" she responded forcefully, her voice firm as she became defensive. Cerulean shook his head.

"Are you really that concerned with what I think?" he asked, causing Twilight to stop in her tracks. She had never been concerned with what other ponies thought, going about her studies and ignoring the general flow of society, choosing learning over things like popularity and trendiness. But he was right that she was concerned, and it bothered her even more that it was obvious to him.

"Am I really that transparent?" she muttered softly. Cerulean chuckled, continuing to walk a ways before turning to look at her.

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm just fairly good at gauging ponies." He waited for Twilight to catch up before continuing. "Twilight, you don't have to worry about what I think. Just be yourself, it's who you're meant to be," he said softly. Twilight flashed him a grateful smile, her worries considerably eased by the kindness in his voice. Even though she had only met Cerulean that morning, it felt like he had been her friend for a long time. Her good graces were short lived, however, as she entered the library to find books still strewn about, Spike apparently selecting only to hear the "have a day off" bit.

"Spike, you had to pick today to slack off didn't you," she groaned, using magic to clear the books she had been studying for her premonition spell to one side. Twilight then looked at the couch, covered in no fewer than twenty thick tomes, all balanced precariously on the cushiony surface. She levitated off mound off the couch and onto the floor, the stack losing balance and tipping over as she released them from her magic. She winced at the crash, turning to apologize when her breath caught. Cerulean hadn't even noticed, himself being entranced in one of her advanced magic books. "You... like reading?" she said, barely able to contain her excitement at the prospect.

"Well, I haven't read a book in a long time," chuckled, turning to her with a rueful grin. "The truth is I've been homeless for the last four years." He closed his eyes, deep in thought. He, on his part, really didn't want to go into his past. It was something he tried never to think about. But if she asked, he resolved he was answer most any question she had; she had saved his life, after all. Snow opened his eyes to find Twilight laying beside him. "I used to read a lot, back when I was going to the Canterlot Magic Academy." Cerulean winced as Twilight shrieked, jumping upright and thrusting her face close to his.

"You went to the Canterlot Magic Academy? That's so amazing! What was it like? What kind of magic did you study?" Cerulean's brain took a few moment to process the rapid stream of words that assailed his ears.

"Yes I did, yes it was, it was exhausting and fun, and every kind," he said with a grin. "I've always enjoyed magic, and for the year and a half I was there, I made some of the best memories I have." Twilight pulled away a bit and sat down in front of him.

"A year and a half? I thought it was four years to get a degree," she said quizzically. She immediately regretted it, as she watched Cerulean's smile fade away, his eyes distant and downcast.

"It is." His voice was quiet and laden with regret.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean..." Twilight started, falling silent as he raised a hoof.

"It's all right, don't worry about it." Twilight could tell his smile was forced, but she thought better of pointing this out, remembering how he had pleaded with her not to pry. It was already threatening to drive her crazy, so rather than stoop to charm magic so soon, she instead diverted attention to the now forgotten volume laying between them.

“So... you understand what you’re reading? Let me see,” she said, scooting closer. He had, by chance, picked up the tome she had last used with researching to complete her premonition spell, a couple of pages of her notes stuck in the book to mark a pertinent section. Cerulean perked up at the change of subject, relieved that no further prodding had occured. She would, for better or worse, likely find out sooner rather than later. "This book is quite interesting, but these notes are even more intriguing. I don't understand all of it, but it seems to be a collection of theories on telling the future?" Twilight nodded, eager to have somepony to talk to about her magic, since such advanced works were well beyond the comprehension of any of her friends.

"I have been working on creating a spell that lets me see a short distance into the future. More to prove it can be done than anything else. Or rather, that it can be done by somepony other than Starswirl the Bearded. He came up with many amazing spells, but I don’t want to simply copy them. I’d rather do the research myself and create my own."

"That's incredible, you must be extremely talented to attempt such a thing. Have you had any success with it?" he asked, leaning forward eagerly.

"You mean with seeing the future? Well, yes and no. The spell worked, just not like I had intended." Noting the look of confusion, she explained that the night she attempted to cast it she had a dream about him being in the forest. He sat wide eyed, her description matching perfectly what had happened.

"I'd say your spell worked quite well. Everything happened exactly as you described," Cerulean said, shaking his head and regarding her with admiration. "I am truly impressed, Twilight. Still though, you meant for the spell to take effect right away, correct?" Twilight nodded, waiting a moment to answer while she relished the praise. Ego or not, it was nice to have somepony who could appreciate her magic at a deeper level than, “Oh, hey, that was nifty!”

"It's usefulness, as it is right now, would be quite limited, since it only takes effect when I sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I'm glad it worked in the first place. It proves that it's even possible, for one. Plus, it made it so I could save you." Cerulean had momentarily lost track of the conversation, choosing to admire the mare rather than the feat. Her eyes seemed to shine as she spoke of her beloved magic, her cute smile etching itself into his mind. "Cerulean?" Twilight's voice snapped him back to reality. "Are you alright?"

"Uh huh," he mumbled, speaking through a yawn as he stood up and stretched. "You should keep working at that spell. Who knows, it might come in handy again some day." Twilight shook her head.

"I do want to perfect it, but I'm not so sure I want to use it often. I'd rather let the future decide itself." Cerulean saw the wisdom in her words, the gift of foresight like a two-edged sword. If it were possible to see the future, it would be potentially possible to avert disasters. At the same time, it would be just as possible that it could cause them equally as easily. Twilight walked a short distance away and closed her eyes. She recalled the spell she had cast the night before and, making a few mental tweaks, gathered the required magic and cast it. She blinked as her vision was obscured by a purple haze that slowly faded.

"Did it work?" Cerulean walked up beside her, regarding her with curiosity.

"Nope, at least not right away like I had intended. However, the first time I used it, the vision didn't come for several hours, so I won't know the outcome for sure until some time has passed." At the mention of time she looked up at the clock. There was still an hour or so before they needed to leave for the party. Twilight suddenly realized just how exhausted from the previous night she was. "I don't mean to be a poor host, but I'm quite tired from my foray into the forest," a grin playing at her lips as she spoke in a formal tone. "I am going to lay down for a nap. Feel free to use my couch to rest. Or, if you're hungry, you may grab something to eat from the fridge."

"Tis a most gracious offer, thank you Twilight," Cerulean said, bowing low. Twilight rolled her eyes and proceeded up the stairs, waving him off. Cerulean sat on the floor, mulling over everything that had happened. He placed a hoof to his chest, allowing the feeling that had been slowly rising from within to have free reign for a bit so he could examine it more fully. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something he had ever felt before, nor something he could adequately describe. What he did know is that he desired the warmth that it brought, and the strength that came with it.

"I've never felt so welcome as I do here, in this town. I've found in the course of a single day more than I have held in my hooves for four years, saved from the brink of death. And that mare," he whispered, peering up towards the second floor. "Maybe she can release me from my perpetual winter."