• Published 18th May 2012
  • 8,829 Views, 981 Comments

Song of Whispers - Wintergreen Diaries

Fluttershy befriends a pony who refuses to speak, believing his voice causes only disaster.

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Names and Lessons

Chapter 2: Names and Lessons

I’m scared. That singular thought was all the unicorn could manage, being just a few hoof lengths from the delicate flower of a mare that dared to gaze upon his beastly form. Logic bid him run, but his limbs were unresponsive. Experience bid him flee, but no movement came. No, the only thing that the unicorn could really do is stare back at the luminous, aquamarine eyes that beheld him not in fear, but in wonder. He told himself to look away, that even gazing upon her might cause more harm than good, but after being alone for years, years that he had lost count of, the sudden presence of such a beautiful creature robbed him of the strength to escape, leaving him enchanted and immobile. His attempt to quiet his heart overcompensated, stopping completely for a moment as the mare’s voice drifted over the waters, softly gracing his ears like feathers to his face.

“I’m... I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

She’s... worried about me? It was a ridiculous notion, one that was utterly irreconcilable with all that he had come to know. Ponies... usually run away just from seeing me. But she’s... worrying about me? He snapped to attention as she made as if to move closer, lifting a hoof from the water and freezing in place as the stallion flinched, screwing his eyes shut and shaking heavily. Don’t... please don’t... He heard a faint splash, evidence that the mare was indeed moving closer. This is the part... where you run away... “Please don’t... don’t come any closer.”

Oh goodness! Fluttershy stopped her curious advance, staring in shock as green letters danced on her vision, flickering like flames and remaining for just a few seconds before fading away. That was really, well, strange. I wonder how he did that? Seeing the stallion begin to shake, her first inclination was to go try to cheer him up, but given what he had just shown her, she instead took a step back, sitting down in the hopes that he would know he was safe. “I’m... really sorry for scaring you. It’s just, I was so hot, and tired, and thirsty... and then I saw your pond, and, well... I didn’t know you were here.”

How can she... talk to me like I’m normal? It... feels so nice, but it also hurts... in my chest. He could never hope to blot out his fear completely, but a growing compulsion bid him draw his mane back once more, peering cautiously out at the mare who was now submerged up to her shoulders. “Aren’t you going to run?”

“I... oh dear... I guess, if you want me to go, I will. I’m... really sorry for making you upset.” Why... why does it hurt so much? I don’t even know him, but I don’t... I don’t want to leave. But I can’t stay, not if it’s making him this way. That’s just not nice, and I... couldn’t possibly be mean to him. Poor dear, I really... just want to reach out to him. She felt tears begin to rise, and she quickly dropped her head, allowing the pink veil of her mane to hide them. If he was so worked up, then seeing her cry wasn’t going to help. With no excuses left, save her own desires, she rose slowly, making as little noise as possible as she turned to walk away.

I don’t... understand, why is she crying? Stop... don’t cry... You shouldn’t... have to cry, not for me. “Wait.” The mare came to an abrupt halt as the message filtered in, before she slowly turned to face the silent unicorn, waiting for him to continue. On one hoof, he knew that simply being near another pony was dangerous, that they would likely come to harm if he opened his mouth. But then... she was the first pony who had ever bothered to treat him with kindness, and he couldn’t turn her away. If all she wants is to stay, then I... please, don’t let ill come of this... “Please... don’t cry. If you want to stay, you can. Just please, keep... keep away... I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Don’t want me...” she murmured, watching the stallion as he alternated between shooting her quick glances and staring back at his reflection. Clearing her eyes of the unwanted moisture and slowly edging back to her place, she lowered herself into the refreshing water and continued staring intently at the unicorn. Fluttershy hadn’t thought it possible, but the quiet pony before her looked more fragile than she saw herself. I really like the colors of his mane. It looks very natural, like plants or vines. And his eyes are such a pretty red. I mean, on another pony they might look scary, but I think he’s actually kind of cute. Oh dear, where did that thought come from? But... it’s true. I want to know more about you, Mr. “Um, could you, maybe, tell me your name?”


“Monster? Oh, I don’t believe that. Nopony would name their child Monster.”

“I don’t know any other name. That’s just what other ponies call me. Most of the time they just scream and run away, though a few throw rocks. Rocks hurt.” The very idea of such cruelty initiated the inner angry Fluttershy, and the stallion’s fear suddenly became not just on account of being near the mare, but how terrifying the dainty mare had become at a moment’s notice.

“Just tell me who threw rocks at you! I’d give them an earful, two even! Ooo, that kind of behavior, just... just...” Unable to contain her frustration, Fluttershy took it out on the pond, splashing water everywhere as she gave it an undeserved beating. She allowed herself a good huff until she noticed that the unicorn was now shaking harder, and again hiding behind his mane. “Oh, I’m sorry! I really didn’t mean to scare you more. I just... can’t stand ponies being mean like that. I’ve been bullied a lot too, so I... I know how much it can hurt.” Her apologetic smile weaved a spell on the stallion’s heart as he slowly drew back his mane, staring intently at the mare who was quickly whittling away the inhibitions that had been carefully constructed over years of painful learning experiences. “So, you don’t have a name, then?”

“I told you, Monster is fine.” Were the water alive, it would have taken a moment to plead for mercy as the stallion’s message bid her rear, bringing both hooves down and blasting them both with water. Her boundaries forgotten, she made it two steps forward before her mind was flooded with his silent pleas that she keep her distance, whereupon she immediately scooted back, sighing as she let her frustrations trickle away with the water that dribbled down her coat.

I can’t let this go. He needs a name, something nice like him. I mean, I can’t really say for sure if he’s nice or not, but... he’s no monster. I can tell that just by looking at him. “I know that we don’t know each other very well, but I’d like to get to know you more, if that’s ok. But first, you need a name. A real name,” she quickly added, noting the slight shift in his facial expression.

“Let’s see...” Her eyes roamed his form, from the various hues of forest green that made up his mane and coat to his deep, scarlet eyes, to his toned form devoid of unnecessary fat though not overly built, to his face that could easily be mistaken for that of a mare’s, so fine were his features. A name, however, isn’t just something to label a pony’s looks, and thus she thought harder. The unicorn flinched as she let out a soft squeal of glee, leaving him to wonder for but a moment before she changed his life forever. Regardless of how their meeting ended, he would wander nameless no more. “Whisper... From now on, your name is Whisper.”

As anypony that’s anypony knows, Angel is the center of the universe. So when the caretaker of the eminence of Equestria decides to callously spurn the rumbling in his stomach for what could only amount to some feeble request of yet another needy animal that can’t help themselves, he felt wholly justified in booby trapping the front door. Oh, Fluttershy would learn, he would make sure of it! Unfortunately, the intelligent though the self-absorbed bunny fell just short of omniscience, and thus couldn’t have anticipated the next pony coming through the door would be not Fluttershy, but Crimson. While, perhaps, not the prissiest of ponies, being suddenly ensnared in a net slathered in honey and filled with feathers tends to make one slightly uncomfortable.

“Angel? What the... why?” Heaving an appropriately loud sigh of exasperation, he stomped over and pointed directly at his emaciated gut, which gave an audible rumble right on cue. “I can understand that you’re hungry, but don’t you think this is a... achoo! Ugh, I got honey in my nose! Angel, this is going too far.” Tiny arms folded firmly across his chest, he turned his snout to the air as his stomach again cried out in anguish. “If you think for one second that I’m going to bow to your whims like Fluttershy, you’d best think again. And at the rate you’re going, I see nothing but a basic garden salad in your imminent future! Now let me down before I... I... achoo!”

Garden... salad? She wouldn’t dare. Unfortunately for the obstinate, pampered pet, he didn’t know Crimson well enough yet to know that she was quite serious, being secretly annoyed with his often callous treatment of one of her closest friends. So when he turned to saunter away, a sudden red aura and momentary sensation of weightlessness allowed him but a single moment to recalculate before he too found himself smothered in honey and face to face with the scarlet mare that was anything but amused, and just a hair short of furious.

“You have thirty seconds to let me down and start cleaning up this mess before you find yourself earless, mister.” Angel’s eyes screamed back his challenge as he stared back defiantly.

Somepony taking me ears? Preposterous! Nopony would dare lay a hoof on me, not if Fluttershy has anything to say about it! If this mare so much as...

“Fifteen seconds.”

She’s still going on about this? What, like she really...


She wouldn’t.


She couldn’t.

“Eight. Seven. Six.”

Her horn is glowing.


She might.

“Four.” It was at this point that Angel decided that, as much as he loved a battle of wills, he liked his ears much, much more. Crimson paused as the bunny, now covered ears to tail in honey and feathers, pried opened the area of the net that he had been ripped through and made a break for the pulley that suspended the mesh. Suppressing a smile so as to maintain her commanding atmosphere, she watched the muttering critter scamper into the kitchen, likely to find something adequate to cut the thick rope, and continued. “Three.”

What?!? She’s still counting? I’m going, I’m going! Not bothering to search thoroughly due to the proverbial axe that was waiting to fall, he grabbed the biggest knife he could find and bolted back.


You have no idea how tempting it is to misuse this...

“One!” A swing, a snap, and Crimson was free, slopping out of the mess and glaring daggers at the bunny who hid the knife behind his back, offering what he thought looked like an apologetic smile. Such a thing didn’t exist for him, though, and Crimson knew it. “Angel, what the hay are you doing with something that dangerous?” Pulling the knife away with her magic and setting it back in its place, she returned her attention to the irate bunny before her who was quickly coming to the conclusion that Fluttershy was the balancer that kept the mare’s closet psycho factor in check. He was partially right, as Fluttershy wouldn’t allow such a harsh reprimand, and seizing the opportunity to the fullest, Crimson set out to teach him a lesson in tough love, or maybe just long overdue punishment. It was hard for her to say which it was for sure.

Even if Night Light hadn’t been forced to concede that Cerulean was a fine stallion the day of his daughter’s wedding, he would have then and there if only for the simple reason that his grandchild was every bit as adorable as Twilight was as a foal. That’s not to say she wasn’t as a newborn, but now almost a year old and finally mastering the ability to walk on her own with minimal risk of personal injury, the beaming filly regarded the speechless stallion with curiosity. In fact, Dawn’s reintroduction effectively banished any lingering resentments that may have been hiding in the shadows. Twilight allowed herself a moment of pride as her father stared helplessly at the filly, who was already analyzing his susceptibility to her wiles, before stooping down and grabbing her daughter’s attention with gentle nudge.

“Dawn? This is Night Light, my father.”

“Hi, mom’s dad!” Yes, it’s working already, I can see it. Dawn looked back at Cerulean for a moment before turning back to Night and using the most dastardly form of foal magic imaginable; the dreaded squee. It was a dark magic, for no male could resist, and Night Light was no exception. “Win!”

“Do not think for a single second that you have free reign, Dawn Starshine.” Velvet took a step forward and assumed her mother eyes, perhaps the only force in Equestria strong enough to battle such deviousness. Dawn cursed her luck, her hopes at playing benevolent dictator dashed in the face of Velvet’s quiet resolve.

“And that’s my mother, Dawn.”


“Miss Starshine, I’ll not have you speak to my daughter in such a manner while you are under my care, are we clear?” Velvet ignored the pouting and turned her attention back to Twilight and Cerulean who were doing their best not to exacerbate the issue by giving vent to the giggles boiling within. “Do not worry, Twilight. Dawn shall be perfectly fine here with us for a day. I hope your presentation goes well.”

“Thank you, mother. Dawn? You be a good girl, ok?”

“Ok...” She lent Cerulean her ear as he whispered something that significantly brightened her disposition, and she sat down with a smile, peering up at Night Light as her parents began to walk away. Twilight was curious, but didn’t have the time to wonder as a brief glow from Cerulean’s horn signaled the completion of his end of the deal. Dawn promptly followed through, pelting Night Light with a snowball that had appeared in her waiting hooves before dashing into the house.

“You know, you keep encouraging that behavior and she’s going to end up just like...” Twilight started, before realizing the destination of her statement and, rather than finish, simply shook her head with a smile.

“I’m not that bad, am I?”

“Only with Dawn. Come on, let’s hurry. Silver’s already waiting for us there, I’m sure.” With a sudden burst of speed, Twilight broke into a gallop, and Cerulean eagerly gave chase, making a note that scholastic excitement seemed to translate directly into happiness and physical prowess for his beloved egghead. Ever since receiving the invitation to speak at the School for Gifted Unicorns, Twilight had been talking about it nearly non-stop. While she had admitted that it didn’t conjure the best of memories, the idea of being given free reign to talk for as long as she wished about magic, in a room full of adept unicorns that desired nothing more than to learn, filled her with ecstasy on par with Pinkie in the full swing of a party.

Silver greeted them cheerfully, a small cart of various drinks with which to display his alchemy resting beside him, along with a jewelry box that had a few of his mother’s creations as well. They took a moment to catch their breath, gratefully accepting some of his Everfrost Peach Soda to cool themselves down, making a mental note to avoid racing in the summer heat.

“Whew, thanks Silver, I needed that. I’m sure that’s going to be a big hit with the kids.”

“Thanks, Twilight. They’re going to need it after tasting the Phoenix Cherry Juice.”

“Ugh, you even brought some? That’s just mean, Silver,” Cerulean chuckled, imagining a classroom full of panicking unicorns. “You know, just because he spends a lot of time in the mountains doesn’t mean Discord won’t notice you causing an uproar.”

“After coming face to face with Celestia in her... um... ‘altered state,’ I don’t think over-heated foals will be enough to drag him back.” A cheer from inside followed by the sound of many hooves signaled the mass exodus of the class, who gathered outside in neat rows as their somewhat stern teacher, Miss Lecture, made sure that proper order was maintained before turning to the three guest speakers.

“Thank you for coming. It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it, Twilight?”

Her voice is every bit as nerve wracking as when I studied here. But I’m not a student, so I shouldn’t have to worry... I hope. “It has. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.”

“Celestia assured me that it would educational, and as such I have no qualms. Stay on task and we won’t have a problem. Go ahead and introduce yourselves.”

Stay on task? I was the most studious unicorn in the whole school, so what the hay is that supposed to mean? No, calm down, I can’t start thinking like that already. “Hello, class. My name is Twilight Sparkle, and I’ve been studying magic since I was your age.” She nodded to Cerulean, who took a step forward.

“Is anypony hot out here?” There was a low murmur of confirmations and complaints, which quickly turned to squeals of shock and relief as a thin blanket of snow fell atop their heads. “There, that should take care of that. I am Cerulean Snowgleam, and I’m...”

“A massive showoff,” Twilight muttered. Stealing the spotlight like that... It wasn’t quite the reaction Cerulean was hoping to evoke, so he drew silent and gave a nod to Silver, who was standing beside his creations with a faint smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“Good afternoon, kids. My name is Silver Moonshine, but due to a lengthy discourse from my lovely wife, you lot ain’t getting any liquor. I do, however, have a number of different examples of alchemy to show you all. Twilight, how do we want to do this?”

“Hmmm, even with the enchantment Cerulean put on the casks, it would likely be a good idea to serve either the Rainbow Juice or Shockberry Juice first, just in case they get warm. Go ahead and start dishing them out.” Silver had planned ahead, bringing more than enough cups for everypony, and whether just a cruel stroke of fate or poor choice on his part, he decided on the Shockberry to start. Twilight found it difficult to give any kind of oration as one by one her audience devolved into a fit of giggles, and after numerous attempts to calm the class, she bid Cerulean and Silver look away as she cast the “Want it, Need it” spell on a cup and held it over the class who now sat entranced by the overwhelming beauty of the simple earthenware chalice. A fragment of her rising frustration was dispelled as her teacher joined in on the mad scramble to build a pony tower high enough to reach it, before canceling the spell and leaving a very confused mess of students and teacher in a heap.

“Now then, as I was saying... I thought for a very long time that magic only happened when you wanted it, how you wanted it, and only with the appropriate spell. However, I know now that there are many types of magic, and simple spells are only one piece of something much greater.”

“That’s not what my textbook says!”

“Yes, but...”

“Teacher told us something different.”

“Well, that may...”

“Teacher, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about!” Twilight had once thought about being a teacher, but her patience was wearing dangerously thin under the close-minded, uninformed miscreants that were taunting her. It was the teacher that broke the pony’s back, though, and Miss Lecture soon saw a side of Twilight that she vowed never to dredge up again.

“Twilight, I’ll not have you polluting the minds of my students with your far-fetched and unfounded ideas. Now, would you...” Cerulean stood his ground as the tone of Twilight’s coat began to change, and he couldn’t help but shoot the teacher a cheeky grin before his mare forced Lecture to re-evaluate her position.

“Un... unfounded?!? I’ll show YOU unfounded!” Twilight wasn’t naturally what would be called an angry pony, but due to the events over the last few years, she had gained some small degree of control over her somewhat combustible temperament, which she took malicious glee in venting to the full degree of her vexation. “All right then, class. What spell am I using now? Huh? What, nopony knows? Oh dear, I think I’m going to have to call on somepony. How about you, Miss Lecture?” Cerulean could almost feel sorry for the ponies, but they did bring it upon themselves, so he let his wife rant a bit more before cautiously approaching and stepping between the two.

“And you called me a show off, Twi. Come on, calm down, or there will be no kids left to teach.” Heeding his gentle words, the flames extinguished as fast as they had come, after which Twilight sat down and stared miserably at the crowd of now thoroughly frightened ponies. “I do believe that my wife has silenced any dissent concerning her theories on magic?” There was much nodding, and no talking as they sat ready to absorb anything the trio had to say. “What you just saw there was what I call ‘Soul Magic,’ as there isn’t any set spell that triggers it. Really, it’s making emotions manifest in magical form, as evidenced by Twilight’s frustration. There are also unicorns particularly skilled with specific displays of magic, even if they can’t translate it into a specific spell. Basically, their heart writes the spell as needed. That is the case with my ice magic, and why I can do things that are out of the ordinary.”

The class watched with wonder as Cerulean summoned his wings, extending them a bit further than normal and doing a few fly bys before landing beside Twilight and wrapping her with a wing. “Silver, floor is yours. Seeing as how we’re on the subject of fire and ice...”

“Right. Now, how many of you have heard of alchemy?” Only one or two ponies raised their hooves, which was expected. “Alchemy was a branch of magic that was long thought a dead end, as what was meant to be accomplished through alchemy could be done much easier, and with much less danger, with regular magic. However, what you drank earlier, and this creation as well,” he said, holding the barrel aloft, “is something that no conventional magic could hope to produce.” Eager chatter erupted as he poured them all servings of the Phoenix juice, though they soon found themselves much too hot to do anything other than gasp for air and fan themselves as best they could.

“In alchemy, the ingredients put in are every bit as important, no, perhaps more important than the magic that goes into it. Think of it as combining science with magic. The drink which you are all finding to be quite out of place in the summer heat, is imbued with the essence of fire from the feather of a baby phoenix.”

“I feel like I’m on fire, make it stop!” Similar cries arose and Silver decided it was time to give them some relief, and then broke ranks as he explained the icy peach soda that brought immense relief, each taking two helpings to counteract the cherry juice. After they had all calmed down, he began passing out a few of his mother’s creations, explaining that alchemy wasn’t just used for drinks, but had many different applications.

“That’s so pretty! I want to be an alchemist!” Silver shook his head sadly at the filly’s enthusiasm, shooting an apologetic look at the teacher before pulling down his shirt so they could all see some of the scars.

“Alchemy... is dangerous, and it comes with a price. Nopony that practices the art walks away unscathed, and as I’ve learned, nopony should practice it alone. And,” he continued, cheering up so as to dispel the growing gloom from his revelation, “that’s why you’re not allowed to even think about trying it until you’re all much, much older.” The simple change of voice wasn’t enough, and he turned to Cerulean and Twilight with pleading eyes.

“Ok, sad time over! Time for a song.” Cerulean hopped up onto the cart and struck a pose, smiling down at the class as the area around him began to shine, an cheerful melody carrying on the breeze as he sang. Twilight found herself involuntarily tapping her hoof to the ditty, but even through his smile she could tell that his mind was no longer on anypony present, but the pony who had taught him the spell so many years ago.

Simple happiness is easy to detect, normally by slightly squinched eyes and a telltale grin. Elation normally results in some kind of shout, eyes closed and mouth open as joyous noise bubbles forth. But, as Fluttershy soon found, even in silence some ponies can display rapture without a word. She couldn’t have possibly known just how mightily she was influencing the newly appointed Whisper, but even in the quiet of the forest, she could tell without any shouts that the tears beading his eyes for those of gratitude, and not of sorrow. It seemed like something so simple, but as she looked into the single scarlet eye that was visible, she knew it was something more.

Not having spent any time with ponies, but rather being driven away from them, Whisper had no label with which to describe the feeling rising in his chest. After running, one becomes exhausted, whether emotionally or physically, and it only grows worse with time and further exertion. For Whisper, even though he had forgotten the exact amount of time that had passed since he woke up, alone and abandoned on the coastline, it had been sixteen years of isolation and rejection. He couldn’t say for sure if he had finally found rest, but he wanted to hope that maybe, just maybe, this was the start.