• Member Since 5th May, 2013
  • offline last seen Yesterday

Carapace


That guy who writes too many AUs and fluffy fics, apparently. Avatar is by Viria.

E
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Hearth's Warming Eve is meant to be spent with family and friends, new and old.

After months of beating back her old ways, Starlight wants her first Hearth's Warming with her friends to go off without a hitch. The presents are all wrapped and ready, Twilight's castle has been decorated, and a few visitors from Our Town came in by train to spend the holiday with them.

But Starlight isn't the only one who put thought into her gifts. After all, Hearth's Warming Eve was meant to be spent together with those she was closest to.

Even if she thought those bonds were lost many years ago.

Original artwork by dm29.
Preread by Jondor and Timaeus.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 16 )

This is already shaping up to be quite heartwarming and interesting. I like how you're handling Starlight's character and internal conflict as well. Additions like that made her shine as a character in this story, and the interactions between her and the others all felt natural. Anyway, I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this. Excellent work as usual! :twilightsmile:

what a great story this is! this is like getting a surprise christmas gift! it is so funny and heart warming! you keep thisup and am really going to like starlight even more! congratson the start of this fine story and merry christmas to you!!

A nice start, and one that portrays Starlight as still having hangups from her old ways, which is a neat bit of characterization. I'm glad to see this is an ongoing story. I'll look forward to reading more when it updates. :twilightsmile:

I liked how you portrayed Starlight struggling with moving on from her old ideology, although I'm not sure obsessing over equality is still in character for her. From what I've observed in the season finale, she seemed to have abandoned the broader concept of it in favor of simply regarding cutie marks as the root of all pain and suffering. No matter, I enjoyed this heartwarming chapter, and if the cover art is any indication of what is to come, than I'll definately be back for more.

Argh! I posted a similar story to this one of yours today! I just realized! Sorry if there is any confusion, I didn't know you made a similar story as well. Now people are going to suspect I'm taking ideas from others.

6774804 Shit happens, man. Don't worry about it. This one didn't exactly light the world on fire, so I'm not surprised you didn't know about it. The thing isn't even finished, so there's not really a way for you to rip off the entire idea. You're good.

6774904 when is the next chapter?

6784888 yeah. I like the story so far so I want to find out what happens next.

Wow, this really sheds someore light at how Starlight would really behave in this situation. You did a really great job at writing this out :heart:
Couldn't wait for the next chapter.

6784888 of course! Please post the next chapter!

I'm really liking this and I am really looking forward to the next chapter.:pinkiehappy:

I found myself chewing on my bottom lip as I stared at the presents sitting on my bed. Well, it wasn't technically my bed. It was Twilight's—after all, she was kind enough to let me move into one of the many, many guest rooms in her castle until I “got on my hooves”.
That offer was extended quite some time ago, and I haven’t heard a word about when she expects me to leave since. I’m beginning to think it was another of her open-ended offers. Admittedly, I’m not certain I would've extended the same courtesy, at least not on an indefinite basis. Even in Our Town, my offer to stay was simply until our “new friends’” cottages were built.

curious question: if none of the residents of "Our Town" had their talents (besides Twilight's new student, of course), how was Starlight able to, you know, actually BUILD the cottages?

Er, well, not my Our Town anymore. It’s more their Our Town these days, and good on them for figuring out how to uphold their want for equality while appreciating each others’ talents!

I've heard of towns having awkward names, but THIS is ridiculous...

Yes. Friends. Not ponies I manipulated into adopting my ideology with a few well-chosen words to attack their talents or psyche, but genuine friends. My very first since Sunburst all those years ago.

I'm am genuinely curious as to if "The Crystaling" has any significance in this story...

The visage of Diamond, Night, Party, and Sugar dressed in tattered brown cloaks, with their manes styled to Our Town’s code, and grinning at me as they proudly displayed the equal signs emblazoned on their flanks where their proper cutie marks should be appeared before my eyes. But they weren't alone.
Six new faces joined them. Six mares I had grown very fond of and become quite friendly with.
No!

would you look at that? Starlight's just as disturbed by an Equalized Mane 6 as I am...

Cursing, I closed my eyes and began to count backward from ten. “We've all talked about this,” I reminded myself, speaking aloud as if chiding one of the foals for boasting. “Forcing ideology on ponies is bad. They won’t be bothered by price tags or appearance of wrapping, this is about sharing friendships and exchanging gifts with those closest to us.”
Though the words brought a bit of relief, my heart still raced. I brought a hoof to my chest and took a deep breath, holding it inside a moment. Slowly, I released it, just as Twilight had shown me.
“It’s something Cadence taught me when I was a filly,” she’d told me. “It helps whenever I feel like I’m stressing, so maybe it’ll help you too.”
It’s not magic, but I can feel the weight leaving my shoulders with each repetition. I've made many, many mistakes, and learned my lessons along the way. Each of the presents laid out before me were for the ones who stood up and taught me when I needed it most, even if I didn't think I did at the time.

“Starlight?” Twilight’s voice sounded out from my doorway. “Is everything alright?”
I yelped, jumping and turning in place to face my friend. With a quick sweep of my magic, I knocked the presents off my bed. “I’m fine!” I replied, giving a rather plastic smile. “I’m just, um, finishing up my wrapping! Not quite done yet!”
She tilted her head, concern written plainly upon her face. “Sorry, but I could hear you doing my breathing exercises all the way down the hall,” she said. “Can I come in?”
The smile on my face became a bit more genuine. Asking me if she could come into a room in her own castle, what a ridiculous pony.

to be fair, Starlight has a point here...

Twilight held me for a moment, then shifted to glance over the side of the bed. A chuckle escaped her lips, she drew back to look me in the eye, fixing me with a quizzical look. “Not finished wrapping, eh?” she teased, lighting up her horn and floating eleven neatly wrapped packages to orbit around us.
I chuckled, letting my ears swivel back to lay against my scalp. “I may have panicked a little bit when you walked in.”
“So I see.” She let them all come to a stop in a neat little row, raising a brow as she inspected them. “Brown wrapping paper?”
“I, um, may have had another episode.” I fidgeted in place, biting the inside of my cheek. “I started thinking about how much I wanted everypony to know that I appreciated them, but didn't want anypony to feel any less appreciated, and then…” I trailed off.
Fortunately, Twilight knew where I was going. “So that spiraled into worrying about whether or not we’d get upset if our presents weren't wrapped as nicely as others.”
“Or that I’d spent more on certain gifts,” I admitted before I could stop myself.

on one hand, Starlight needs a hug; on the other, now I'm wondering if "The Gift of the Maud Pie" happened

She sighed and ran a hoof through her mane, drawing another wince. I know that sigh, it’s one I used to employ whenever somepony in Our Town would start to act contrary to our—er, my ideology, rather.
The disappointed teacher sigh. Something that still evoked shame in nearly every pony who wanted to belong.
I, myself, am not immune, no matter how skilled I was in using it.
“I’m sorry,” I say, as though hoping to soften the verbal blow to come.
Or one that would've come if the roles were reversed, and Twilight had been my newest convert as planned. The thought of her grinning back at me in that manner used to make me feel a hint of pride at how well a princess joining my cause would help spread the message far and wide.
Now, instead, the mere thought brings the burning taste of bile to the back of my throat.
Her hoof touched mine again. “Don’t be.”

first off, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!!! second off, daww....

“I’d like to forget,” I grumbled, flicking my tail. “It would be much easier.”
She heaved another sigh. “And you’d have learned nothing, Starlight. If we could all hit ‘erase’ and forget our mistakes, we’d just keep making them over and over again, in different ways.” Leaning over, she nudged her shoulder against mine. “And we’d never have become friends.”
I hate it when she does that.

no: you just wish that the friendship happened under different circumstances...

“You’re right, as usual.”

*edited 10/18/2017*
um...

insert flashback of "Lesson Zero" here

...are you quite certain of that?

“You don’t play fair when it comes to not letting me wallow.”
Twilight gave a snort of laughter. “The last time I was left to wallow, I hypnotized a town into chasing a doll so I could solve a friendship problem. Ponyville is a ‘no wallowing zone’.”
A ghost of a smile crossed my face. I couldn't help it, she’d long since figured out how to make me laugh, and seemed to be going that route. Clever girl.

after all is said and done, I can't blame them for going this route; also:

Why bother fighting it when I could just play along and feel better? “Is that a Royal Decree?” I ask.
“It is,” she replies, nodding solemnly. “My mental health advisor says so.”
“Oh? And just who do we have to thank for this new piece of legislation.”
“Pinkie Pie.”

...is it weird that this makes sense to me? also, "adviser"

I had to bring a hoof to my mouth to help hold back my laughter, though I was unable to hide my grin. “You’re terrible. I’m impressed you managed to say that with a straight face.”
“No, terrible is that you think I’m kidding.” Her brows furrowed, she turned to stare at the wall. “My friends were the first petitioners I ever had to deal with; they all came in with her and helped her lobby to make Ponyville a ‘no wallowing zone’ for one Twilight Sparkle.” Rolling her eyes, she faced me again and stayed silent a moment.
I never was very good at hiding my mirth, and she’d picked up on that as well.
Twilight waved a hoof at me. “Go on, laugh. I did too, right up until I realized how serious they were.”

okay:

“You should see the look on your face!”
“You should've seen it when we showed her all the signatures!” Pinkie Pie giggled, rolling around right next to me. “She looked like she was sucking on a lemon!”
Normally, I’d have jumped at another of her sudden appearances, but the way Twilight groaned and brought a hoof to her forehead only sent Pinkie and I further into peals of laughter, hugging one another as we tried to regain control.
Well, I tried. Pinkie simply did as Pinkie was wont to do, as per usual.

it's Pinkie Pie: don't question it

“Twilight was just helping me through another of my, um, little lapses.”
One blink later, and I found myself wrapped in a warm, tight hug—the Pinkie Pie specialty. “It’s okay, Starlight,” she said, her tone soft, yet still holding that same perkiness she always seemed to carry.
For her, it’s a rather bare-bones message. But it’s one I needed most.

it's impossible to frown when Pinkie's around...

Just before heading out into the hallway, she stopped and turned to look over her shoulder—though not at Twilight or me, I noticed.
Her eyes were locked on the presents still held aloft in Twilight’s grasp.
She was still trying to sneak a look at hers.
I lit my horn and deftly slipped my magic in through the “cracks” in Twilight’s magic, stealing enough control of the spell to drag my packages behind my back. “No, Pinkie,” I scolded.
Pinkie whined. “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!” She stuck out her lip in a rather exaggerated pout, complete with wide, watery eyes.
Fortunately, past interactions with Fluttershy, Party Favor, and Sugar Belle have rendered me quite impervious to such displays.
Mostly.
Somewhat.
Not at all. I had to look away and fold my hooves to keep the image.

deadliest Equestrian weapon: the puppy dog pout

“Pinkie, you know the rules,” she said. “No opening presents until Hearth’s Warming Morning.”
“But Starlight gets to—eep!” Pinkie clapped her hooves over her mouth, shooting a rather guilty look toward Twilight, then glancing toward me. “Sorry! Gotta go! Bye!” Without another word, she zipped off, leaving behind a cloud in the vaguest shape of a pony.

this just supports my theory that Pinkie Pie is an escaped Looney Tunes character...

If there’s one thing I learned about my friend-slash-teacher, it’s that she couldn't stand feeling like somepony knew she was up to something.
From what Rarity and Applejack have told me, it’s something to do with feeling as though she’s a naughty filly standing in front of Princess Celestia. I may have sniggered a bit.
Okay, I sniggered a lot.
There may have been claims that I was seen rolling around on the floor of Carousel Boutique’s display room with tears of mirth streaming down my face.
They were quite true.

...I can't make a joke: this is gold on it's own...

I had forgotten that Twilight had already beaten me twice when I thought the advantage was mine. She seemed to have a rather impressive talent for that.

Starlight is learning humility: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!!!

Namely, she was all too pleased to go tearing through the main entrance at full gallop, yelling “Pinkie! Starlight wants you to teach her all fifty-seven verses of the Hearth’s Warming song you told me about the other day!” at the top of her lungs.
I never had a chance. My poor ears suffered a most terrible assault, and about thirteen verses were forcibly crammed into my head.

nice call back to "The Last Roundup" :rainbowwild:

I turned to watch as Pinkie bounced in place.
“They’re here, they’re here, they’re here!” she squealed, throwing her hooves apart like a magician after the final bounce.
Rainbow Dash’s hoof shout out to the side, catching Pinkie around her withers to try and stop her bouncing. “Settle down, girl!” she scolded, laughing as Pinkie fixed her with an over exaggerated pout. “C'mon, you can wait a little longer to bake with Sugar Belle again.”
“That so?” Applejack drawled. “An’ just who’s been trainin’ for a race with Night Glider, stirrin’ up all kinds o’ crazy wind around my farm whenever she goes zippin’ passed?”
Shrugging, Rainbow placed her hoof on the ground. “Hey, priorities. We didn't get to race last time, so I’m just gonna smoke her while she’s here.”
Twilight and I shared a look, then rolled our eyes.

wow: Starlight IS a foil for Twilight...

“Whatever makes you happy,” I said, turning to watch the train again. “Just don’t be surprised if you miss out on all the hot cocoa and snacks that Pinkie and Sugar make for the rest of us while we sit inside Twilight’s nice, warm castle!”
She scoffed and flipped her mane. “Yeah, well, we know Double’ll come watch us. And Party, too. Wait, that means she’s gonna have a bigger cheering section on my home turf!” Her wings flared out to the side, Rainbow leapt forward and pointed a hoof at the rest of us. “You guys have gotta have my back!”
Fluttershy bobbed her head, a look of rare determination crossed her face. “I’d, um, be happy to be a part of your section again. If you want, that—eep!” Before she could finish, Pinkie snatched her up into a hug.
“Me too! Me too! Me too!” she cheered. “Flutterbutter and I can be your cheering section, Dashie!”
Pumping her hoof, Rainbow flexed her wings. “Sweet! Thanks, girls!” She turned to the rest of us, grinning expectantly.
“I’m in,” Applejack said. “Team Dash all the way.”
“Not exactly a matter to question, really,” Rarity added. “Though, if you could do me a favor and race her before I sneak her off to style her mane, I’d be much obliged.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, Rares.” Rainbow folded her hooves over her chest, grumbling, “Can’t believe a pegasus that awesome wants to play dress up with you.”
Again, Twilight and I shared a look. There wasn’t really a way to say no to her, I’d found. Though, in this case, I did have some semblance of an excuse. “My loyalties are torn,” I said. “I’ve known Night Glider longer, and both of you are my friends. So, I’ll just enjoy the race.”
“I’ll join the Rainbow section,” Twilight said, fixing me with a smirk. “Though, I don’t think you’re going to beat Night Glider quite as easily as you think.”
Scoffing, Rainbow waved a hoof at us. “You’ll see,” she said, a cocky smirk worked its way across her face.

this is all kinds of adorable...

I glanced at her wings, and spared a silent chuckle when I noticed them fluttering as she bounced lightly on her hooves. She could dress up her attitude and claim that she was looking forward to the “only challenging flyer outside the Wonderbolts” as much as she wanted, but it didn’t take a genius to recognize her excitement.
Knowing Night Glider, she was thinking along the same lines.
May Celestia have mercy on us all.

I'm torn between cooing at how adorable this is and shuddering at the implication of TWO Rainbow Dash's...

A pink blur shot from our side to catch the four of them in a tight hug. “You’re here! You’re here! You’re finally here!”
Laughing, Party Favor slipped his hooves free and wrapped them around her. “We are! We are! We finally are!”

:twilightoops: two Pinkie Pie's?!

Apparently, not allowing a pony their sweets was a fate worse than death in Pinkie’s Equestria. Heaven help us if that mare ever gets elected to public office.

my thoughts exactly, Starlight; MY. THOUGHTS. EXACTLY.

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