• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 12,131 Views, 244 Comments

An Apple A Day - Esle Ynopemos

A collection of thirthy-minute short stories about the rootinest, tootinest farm-filly this side of the Everfree. There'll be a chapter a day for thirty days. I ain't no fancy arithmeticker, but that adds up to a whole month of good, health

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28: Visitors [Slice of Life]

((Prompt: Choose one or more of the following: A visit from an old friend, overcoming a fear, a slumber party, changing the seasons, cutie mark stories, a wedding.

Special rule: Your story must be set in the time period in between the founding of Equestria and the rise of Discord.))

I never got visitors on the first day of winter. It wasn't like I was a hermit or anything, just that my house was way out in the fields, and nopony wanted to trudge through all that snow just to have a chat. They'd wait for a couple days, til I could shovel a path.

So when I heard a hoof knock at my door, I assumed the worst. Pudding had been hurt, or the common house in town was on fire, or, the one fear I could never shake every time the snowclouds took root in the sky, the windigos had come back. I was breathless and a little out of sorts when I pulled my door open and saw her.

“C-Clover?” I stammered.

Her smile was as tired as her eyes were. Looking at the lines on her face, I couldn't help but think the years had been almost as rough on her as they had on me. “Cookie,” she replied. “Do you mind if I come in?”

I shook my head and stepped aside. She bowed her head, both in respect, and to keep from bumping her horn on the door frame. Most of the places in town had been built with a more universal architecture in mind, but I had built my farmhouse the way my father had taught me, so there were little details here and there that only made sense if you were an earth pony.

She hung her cloak on the rack while I hustled over to the stove to set some tea to boil. “Is everything all right?” I asked her from the kitchen.

“The common house is burning down,” she replied. “I lit it on fire myself.”

It took me half a moment and a glance at her wry smirk to realize she was joking. “Aha. Politics buggin' ya, then?” I carried a pair of steaming mugs into the sitting room, passing one to her.

Her horn lit up, stirring some sugar into her tea with a spoon. “Sometimes I wonder why I ever let myself get involved.”

I gave her a warm smile. “'Cause you know those blockheads'd run us right into the ground without ya.”

She smiled briefly, then was quiet for a while, sipping her tea. “We almost lost it all, that first spring.”

I felt a little chill travel up my spine as I nodded. We'd done the impossible, pulling together when it seemed like there was no hope. But the pony tribes hadn't been used to actually working together on anything. There'd been floods as the unicorns raised the sun too quickly, there'd been a lot of angry shouting over where the pegasi should move their clouds, and it'd quite nearly come to blows when the earth ponies had plowed all the snow from their fields into Princess Platinum's gem quarry. The fragile peace we had bought in that icy cave had seemed destined to fail.

“But we didn't,” I said, taking a sip from my mug. “We pulled through, together.”

Clover stared into her tea. Slowly, she nodded. “We did.” She took another long sip.

We both nearly jumped when another hoof knocked at the door. I set my tea down and got up to answer.

Pansy shivered in the doorway. Ice clung to her wings and hung in chunks from her armor. She blinked in surprise as she spotted Clover inside. “O-oh, I'm sorry. I d-didn't know y-you had c-company. I-I'll j-just go—” She yelped as I grabbed her by the collar of her armor and dragged her inside.

“Pansy, what happened?” Clover stood up.

“N-nothing,” the pegasus replied. “I-I was just on snow duty over the lake w-when I accidentally f-fell in.” She took off her helmet and chipped the ice off of it. “If I can j-just dry my wings, I can make it back to the barracks. Sorry to be a bother.”

“You ain't a bother at all,” I said, fetching her a warm wool blanket. “Yer welcome to stay as long as you want, hon.”

“Th-thank you.” Pansy smiled gratefully as Clover helped her out of her frozen breastplate and draped the blanket over her shoulders.

I poured a third cup of tea from the kettle. “Say, how's that song go? The one we sang in the cave?”

On occasion, I got visitors on the first day of winter. Those were the warmest and coziest of winters.

Author's Note:

Given the nature of this prompt, I had to just fudge it a little and say Smart Cookie counted as Applejack here.