• Published 3rd Oct 2016
  • 2,642 Views, 148 Comments

Flames - Olakaan Peliik

Coming to the ponylands: Not Planned. Being an ambassador for dragon kind: Not Planned. Finding a better place to live where my sister would be safe: Planned.

  • ...

XV - Winter Bliss

Aleazh, Nikta, and Niirah moved into their separate apartment soon after that. Viing was sending Niirah gems for rent and food, so she needed no help from me, and that was fine by me; the less I had to deal with her, the better. To my astonishment, Aleazh, Nikta, and Niirah were becoming friends at a steady pace. Niirah was also set to start school at the end of Winter Break. But for now, she had a teacher she saw every day that had volunteered to be her winter tutor.

I was currently at home, reading a letter from Nandak.

Hello brother, I trust our sisters are comfortable. Viing says that my training is going well and in another week or two I'll be free to explore the world on my own. I think I'll make the land of the Zebras my first stop. It’s well beyond the border of where most dragons are willing to roam. But before I do that, I'll make sure to stop by Canterlot and say hello. Anyway brother, I have to go, we have some of those pony instructors arriving today so maybe I'll get another perspective on the world. Until we see each other again.

I had heard Princess Celestia had asked for volunteers and sent word on ahead to Viing. It was good to know that they had arrived.

It was now just a day until the pony holiday “Hearth's Warming.” Canterlot was decked out in snow and holiday cheer and the mood of the ponies had greatly lifted. I felt a little awkward not knowing what the holiday was about. I'm sure Kii would know by now. With her being home on winter break, she was around the house much more, which I was thankful for.

“Sounds like our brother is doing well,” I said to Kii who was translating the first of her spell books with the help of Hex and Light. All of the talking was being done by Kii and Hex though.

“I'm glad you made him go through training. I'd hate to lose him just as we got him back,” Kii said, looking up from her book.

“Aren't you worried about him?” Hex asked me.

“Very,” I nodded. “But he has always been a fast runner and flyer for a fire dragon. I'm confident he can handle himself.”

Light started to open his mouth to speak again but Kii cut him off. “Light wants to know where he is gonna travel first?” she said. Light Knight nodded.

“West. To see what lies beyond the Luna oceans and the Zebraland,” I answered

I laughed quietly at how Light let a couple of females speak for him. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact, I suspect that he liked it. So I had no motivation to correct their behavior. Besides, they always seemed to know what he was thinking so at least they had that going.

I sighed. Perhaps it might be good to learn about this “Hearth's Warming” holiday. I stood. “I'm going out Kii. I'll be back in a bit. No new magic until I get back.”

“We'll be good,” Hex and Kii said in unison. Light Knight just nodded.

Leaving the house, I met the cold winter air and the snow covered streets. I was no stranger to cold, but I still didn't like it particularly. Still, it was definitely warmer here than the central peaks of the Dragonlands.

I flew over the block of houses to Fancy Pants’ house. Landing outside his door and folding my wings comfortably, I knocked.

Fleur opened the door. “Oh, Ambassadeur Krein, a pleasure.”

“A pleasure to see you as well Madame Fleur,” I greeted her. “Is your husband home?”

“Of course. He doesn't have to be anywhere to be until the montrer. Why don't you come in out of the cold?”

“Thank you. Um, ‘Montrer?’”

“You would say, ‘show,’” Fleur translated. “The Hearth's Warming Pageant. Have you not heard of it?”

“Who is it, dear?” Fancy Pants asked, entering the room.

“Chéri, the Ambassador has not yet heard of the pageant,” Fleur said. “We should take him with us, and petit Kii. I’m sure she’d love it!”

“What is the Pageant?” I asked.

Fancy smiled while he explained. “It's a play every city and town puts on the eve before Hearth's Warming Eve. In Canterlot, the castle hosts the grandest pageant of them all.”

“What’s so special about the play?” I asked.

“It is a reenactment of the founding of Equestria,” Fancy answered. “That’s what this holiday is about, after all.”

“Oh. Really?” I asked.

“Would you like to go?” Fleur asked, looking eager. “If you have never seen the pageant before, I promise you, it will be something you do not want to miss. And it would be a crime to let Kii go without!” she added.

I thought about it a moment. Kii would likely want to do whatever Hearth's Warming ideas Hex is putting into her head. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to suggest this idea to her. And this sounded like a good opportunity to learn more about the holiday.

I began to nod. “Yes. It would be good for me to know a little more about the place I'm calling ‘home.’”

Fancy and Fleur both beamed. “Capital my friend” Fancy declared. “Meet us here at six this afternoon.”

“We will,” I said as I started to take my leave.

Now back at home, I was out back overseeing Kii try a new spell she learned from her spell books. The spell she was trying was called Phase Walk, and from what Kii told me, it involved being able to walk through things. It sounded safe enough.

Kii, Hex, and Light Knight stood in a triangle.

“You ready?” Kii asked.

“Ready!” Hex confirmed.

Light Knight nodded.

Hex and Light Knight worked together to create something that they called a Ward Wall, a kind of magical barrier. Having supervised Kii practicing before, I was slowly becoming familiar with the spells as they used them. Once it was nice and set up, Kii started her spell.

Kii’s eyes glowed, “Griid!” she said firmly. Then, as I watched in growing concern, she started to fade.She turned see-through, like white smoke, almost like a ghost. Once the spell had taken full effect, Kii moved toward the Ward Wall. She jumped toward the ward wall and fell short. But to my horror, she didn't hit the ground; she fell right through it!

“Kii!” I shouted. I was about to stand and start digging for her when she came back out of the ground on the other side of the Ward Wall.

Kii’s voice echoed like dozens of whispers. “Zokro!” she spoke and then Phase Walk spell broke, returning Kii to the fully solid, adorable youngling I loved.

“I can't believe that worked!” Kii beamed. She staggered a bit, looking a bit dizzy, and I instinctively went to hold her up.

“You walked through the ground!” Hex observed.

Light Knight was about to speak when Hex and Kii both looked at him and said “Right?” together. Light just nodded.

“I hope you plan on using this new ability sparingly?” I asked. Kii looked really dizzy and still couldn’t stand up without my help.

“Definitely,” Kii nodded. “The book said it was for emergencies only since there’s a lot that can go wrong. It felt weird though. Like I wasn’t really here anymore.”

“What do you mean?” Hex asked. Light had the same questioning look.

“It was like I was here but not here at the same time,” Kii tried explaining. It obviously made no sense to them. It made even less sense to me.

“So what spell do you wanna learn next?” Hex asked.

Kii thought a moment. “I think I saw a dream related spell in the newer book. That might be interesting.”

Light Knight looked unsure of it.

“Oh, it'll be fine. If it gets anything close to unsafe we'll stop until we know more. Like always, right?” Hex reassured her friend.

“Right,” Kii nodded, looking excited.

“Ah-ah,” I cut in. “No more spell practice today.”

“But—” Kii started to protest.

“Kii, you could barely stand up after that,” I stated firmly. “You’ve done quite enough practice.”

“Fine,” Kii pouted.

“But we can still at least study the spell out of the book!” Hex suggested. Light nodded. They all ran back inside to start pouring over the books again.

“Okay, but be ready to go at five-thirty,” I said as I followed them back inside.

Kii turned to look at me, obviously confused. “Where are we going at five?”

“A show,” I said, keeping the explanation simple.

“Oh, okay!” She settled back down with her friends.

I moved into the living room and plucked a book off the shelf. It was one of Kii's, some story about talking owls. As I started to read, Aleazh entered the house.

“Good day brother!” she practically sang.

“Hey, how is Nikta and the apartment?” I asked.

“Perfect, and I think I figured out what it is I want to do,” Aleazh said, flopping down onto the chair.

I closed the book and gave her my full attention. “I'm all ears.”

“I want to cook,” my sister declared, a dreamy look crossing her face as she spoke of her dream. “Not just fried vegetables and the like, but everything, anything.”

“Do you want to go learn about cooking or discover it on your own?” I asked.

“On my own,” she answered. “I was hoping you'd know somepony who is looking for a cook.”

I pondered that a moment. I don't think Fancy Pants knew anypony who owns a restaurant. I was going to answer when Hex spoke up.

“My mom and dad are looking for a new cook!” she chirped. “They just hired a daytime crew but they are still missing a cook. If you go down to the Moonlite Diner in the undercity and ask I'm sure they'll give you a chance.”

“Great! I'll go down there now.” Aleazh stood to leave.

“Wait! I wanted to ask a question,” I called.

“Yes?” Aleazh asked.

“It's Niirah giving you any trouble?” I asked.

Aleazh shook her head. “No, on the contrary, she is attending her tutoring sessions on time and she’s actually a pleasure to have around, she's really into music it seems. She refuses to give you a chance though.”

“‘A chance?’ What are you up to?” I asked, confused.

Aleazh grinned nervously and rubbed the back of her head. “Well I couldn't help but notice that she is a Dragoness who happens to be of age, and you aren't getting any younger. I just think…”

“No,” I said blatantly.

“But…” she tried protesting.

“No, and that is final,” I looked down at my book.

Aleazh glared. “The hell it is. I'm gonna find you a mate if it kills me!” she said, leaving.

“I don't need you playing matchmaker!” I called after her but received only a door slam in response.

I shook my head at my sister's behavior. What an absurd notion, Niirah and I being mates. The mere idea of it made me cringe.

I went back to my book while I waited for time to pass. The book was an interesting enough read, but before long there was a knock at the door.

Looking around, I saw that Kii and her friends had made their way upstairs while I was distracted. The knocking at the door continued. Sighing, I put the book down—and just when I was the first big battle was about to start, too!—stretched, and walked to the door.

Behind the door was a unicorn pony in a winter business suit, standing on my walkway. He was monotone in color. “Good afternoon, Ambassador,” he said in a monotone voice.

He seemed to know who I was. Interesting. “Afternoon. Can I help you, Mister...?”

“Dealer. I'm a representative of a company interested in capitalizing on the vast lands the Dragonlands have to offer. If you'd be willing to hear me out?” he asked.

“I suppose listening couldn't hurt,” I said, stepping aside to allow him entrance.

“Thank you,” he said stepping inside.

I lead him to the living room. “So what is this proposal you had in mind?”

“My company is a major provider of all produce products in Equestria. We believe even a small portion of land in the Dragonlands could help the dragons get on their feet.”

I frowned a little. “We are already on our feet. Our dragonfruit crops are thriving, the fish are jumping in our shallows, and ore mining is going well. You’re gonna have to make a much better argument.”

“We merely think we can help,” he said quietly, trying to push his weak argument.

“You didn’t say what company you worked for did you?” I said. “I'd like to know before we continue.”

He hesitated. “I work for Maresanto. We are very well respect-”

I cut him off. “Let me stop you right there. I already denied Maresanto’s request to purchase property and operate in the Dragonlands. The accusations against Maresanto have enough plausibility to where it would not be wise for them to operate there.”

“But Ambassador if—” Mister Dealer started to protest.

I stood to my full height and spoke firmly. “Hear me well. If there is one thing that all dragons hate, it is a thief. If Maresanto tries to pull the same stuff they have gotten away with here in the Dragonlands, your company will be responsible for the loss of life.”

Mister Dealer gulped and fell silent.

“Maresanto’s request to do business in the Dragonlands is still denied. And no, there is nopony else you can talk to about this. As Speaker for the Dragonlands, my word on this matter is as if Lord Torch himself had said it. Now leave,” I growled.

He stood and made for the door as fast as he could go without running, tail between his legs. “Thank you for putting this in perspective Ambassador. I will inform my superiors of this foolish investment,” he whimpered.

“Have a good evening,” I snapped and slammed the door behind him.

I was starting to think I should invest in an Embassy, a place for all my official business to take place; having ponies like this bothering me at home was not something I wanted to become a regular event. Perhaps after the holidays, I'd begin the search for a suitable Embassy. Maybe close to the train station, or the air docks in the undercity. I should probably talk to Celestia about it too.

I glanced at the clock and was surprised to find that it was already five thirty. “Kii!” I called. “Time for your friends to go home. It’s almost time to go!”

We were in the castle for the Hearth's Warming play now. Kii was bouncing in the seat beside me in excitement, while Fancy Pants and Fleur looked at the play booklet to see who was playing who. Our seats were on a balcony above the main seats.

“I don’t recognize any of the actors this year,” Fleur commented. “Twilight Sparkle as Clover the Clever, Rainbow Dash as Commander Hurricane, narrative done by Spike the Dragon.”

“Spike and Twilight are in in this play?” I asked, surprised to hear their names.

“That is what it says,” Fancy confirmed. He levitated the paper up for me to see.

I scanned the list of names. “I know some of these ponies. Spike is actually a friend,” I said.

“He's purple and green,” Kii said with a smile.

“Well, the play should be starting any moment. We will see if this year is an improvement over last?” Fancy Pants asked with a small smile. Fleur giggled.

“What happened last year?” Kii asked.

“The actors completely forgot their lines and blocking,” Fleur sighed, shaking her head. “It was une catastrophe.”

The lights began to dim, and a spotlight shone on the curtain just before it lifted to reveal Spike, wearing a blue theater outfit, standing next to a fake fireplace.

“Once upon a time,” Spike started as he turned to face the audience. “Long before the peaceful rule of Celestia, and before ponies discovered our beautiful land of Equestria. Ponies did not know harmony.”

He started toward the front row of the audience. “It was a strange and dark time, a time when ponies were torn apart, by hatred.”

There was a collective gasp from the audience. “I know, can you believe it?” Spike asked the audience in an aside.

He resumed character. “During this frightful age, each of the three tribes—the Pegasi, the Unicorns, and the Earth Ponies—cared not for what befell the other tribes, but only for their own welfare.

“In those troubled times, as now, the Pegasi were the stewards of the weather, but they demanded something in return: food that could only be grown from the Earth Ponies. The unicorns demanded the same, in return for magically bringing forth day and night.”

“And so mistrust between the tribes festered. Until one fateful day, it came to a boil. And what prompted the ponies to clash? Twas a mysterious blizzard that overtook the land and toppled the tribes' precious peace...”

The play was wonderful. Kii and I both cheered loudly at the end. Fancy Pants and Fleur not only gave it high marks, but they had smiles on their faces when we parted ways when we got to their street.

When we got back to our house, Kii headed straight for the stairs and her room. “Happy Hearth's Warming brother,” she called to me through a yawn.

I held back a laugh. “Happy Hearth's Warming Kii,” I called back as I headed up the stairs as well toward my room. I settled down onto my bed. But just before I fell completely asleep my shoulder started to burn once again. Lord Torch had no sense of timing.

Like usual I touched the mark and let the magic fire burn in my claw. “Yes, my Lord?” I asked.

To my surprise, instead of Lord Torch’s voice, I heard Enforcer Viing’s. “Krein, I wanted to throw you a heads-up. Ember will be visiting Canterlot in a month. She says she wants to speak with you and the princesses.”

“I'll make the necessary preparations,” I replied.

“That's all I had to say. Have a good day, Speaker,” he said.

“Good night Enforcer.” This was my way of reminding him of the time difference.

The fire snuffed itself out and I settled back down for a good night's rest. Tomorrow would be our first Hearth’s Warming. Like most of the foals and fillies tonight, I couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

Author's Note:

More winter stuff in the middle of summer!

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