• Published 28th Nov 2011
  • 14,231 Views, 371 Comments

Trails and Trials - Mazzyrazzy



Ditzy's journey to make, and keep, the friends she's made.

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Muffins

Half-lidded, Ditzy yawned pleasantly while stretching to meet the contours of her bed. Surrounded by perfect darkness, she was unable to rouse her groggy mind into forming any coherent thought. She noticed the dark silhouette of her window through her fuzzy vision; the dark sky mirrored the wholesomeness of her walls. Wondering why there weren’t any stars, it took Ditzy several seconds before she came to the conclusion that it must have been a cloudy night.

Ditzy flipped over and squeezed her pillow, nuzzling it with loving comfort. It was the time of night where a pony would wake up and realize that they still had enough time to go back to sleep. It was enough to bring a smile to anypony’s face, but for Ditzy is was an especially tactful period of reflection. She could reminisce over past events without trivial factors such as logic and reason getting in the way.

Her ear twitched as a soft strand of her mane brushed over it. She snorted, irritated that an annoyance, no matter how insignificant, troubled her in her pensive state. It left her mind effortlessly, and the only sensation she could feel was the minor tickle from her eyelashes drifting together.

Sighing, contented, Ditzy played back the earlier scene at Twilight’s home. She shivered in delight when recounting the short conversation where the purple unicorn asked to hang out at Ditzy’s place. Well, the words ‘hanging out’ were never said, but she felt it was an adequate way to describe what is officially being called a study session. The mailmare was assured that Twilight knew what she was talking about it, and wouldn’t have offered to teach her unless she was sure that Ditzy could be helped. It meant that the pegasus wasn’t a lost cause to Twilight, and that was one of the greatest compliments she had ever gotten, however indirect it was.

Ditzy cringed when she recollected where the conversation went awry.

I asked about the weather. She must’ve thought I was crazy or something…what stupid pony asks about the weather at night time!

She growled, trying to cleanse her mind of the poisoning thoughts. Every time a pleasant thought filtered through, the pegasus would somehow manage to sour her meditation by considering different angles of attack; even if it was good, how could it have been even better?

Flipping on her back, she marveled at the unmoving darkness that stretched across her ceiling. Her eyes well adjusted, she could make out a few distinct grooves in the wood from her different shenanigans over the few years she had lived in the house. Each bump and irregularity had a story; some of which were more embarrassing than others.

Her mind switched back to Twilight, and she giggled like a schoolgirl for the day ahead. She brought the pillow over her face to muffle herself, though she knew the house was empty; it was just out of habit. The cool touch of the pillowcase was satisfying, until her breath made it unbearably hot and she had to take the pillow back off.

She felt a giddy thrill for the upcoming day; a mixture of apprehension and anxiety. Who knew what would happen once Twilight taught her how to be a good friend? Ditzy fantasized about going on one of Twilight’s great adventures. How exciting it must be to be one of the elements of harmony, and a powerful unicorn to boot. In her sleep-deprived, bleary state, she imagined that she was helping Twilight defeat a manticore in the Everfree Forest, switching seamlessly to finding buried treasure off on some obscure island where it had been said The Great Dread Pirate Woona buried her treasure chest. Inside the coffer would be none other than the perfect muffin recipe, accentuated with a powerful scroll of…awesomeness… for Twilight.

With a sigh, and with sleep veiling her subconscious, Ditzy pictured what it would be like to actually be an element of harmony. To have such a huge impact on the world and actually mean something, that was more than the grey mare could ever dream.

With a slow, padded exhale, she finally fell back into voluminous ether.

~*~*~

The clock was mocking her, she was sure of it. Ditzy paced her living room eyeing a cherry wood, ironclad grandfather clock with disdain as it ticked teasingly-unhurried in the corner of the room. Ever since she had woken up, every second felt sluggish and doubled. She snorted as the clock hit 11:45, the indifferent minute hand unresponsive to her stare of death.

She’ll be here soon, she thought with an edge of nervousness. I wonder if she’ll be here exactly at noon. What if she comes a few minutes early? I’ll be unprepared!

A shadow darkened her eyes. What if she’s late? What would that mean? Maybe she’s already forgotten about me… I wouldn’t hold it against her. She’s still a very nice pony. Still… I hope she remembers about me.

Ditzy glanced uncertainly around her living room. While she paced, she decided to give the room a final quality check. It was small compared to the living space Twilight had, but Ditzy never had the pleasure of company, so the space in her own home was less needed. Still, adorning the humble room was a simple, beige couch with wooden hoof rails.

Next her focus fell onto her coffee table, placed in front of the couch was positioned in the direct center of the room. She peered, making sure there were no noticeable blemishes on the sparkling surface. Ditzy frowned when she saw a spot; she licked the front of her left hoof and scrubbed it clean. She blinked her eyes closed and hummed with delight when the stain was no more.

Beside the basic furniture, the rest of the room was rustically mundane. Yellow walls that matched her mane brought life and color in the room, while two potted peace lilies accented either side of the entrance from the parlor to the living room. Random knick knacks from her life stood upon shelves that were nailed into the wall. Everything seemed well-dusted, so that was another check off her list.

Satisfied that her room would meet Twilight’s standards, she forced herself to sit down to try and relax. After a few moments of tapping her forehooves together, she casually glanced over at the clock.

It read 11:44.

“Oh come on!” She groaned. She rushed over to the grandfather clock and stood on her hind legs so she could stand face-to-face with the trickster. Her voice fell into a low whisper.

“I don’t know who you think you are,” she began with eerie calmness; “I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for bits, I can tell you I don’t have much money. But what I do have are a very particular set of muffins; muffins I’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Muffins that make me a nightmare for clocks like you.” She leaned in until she was mere centimeters from the clock’s face.

“If you fix time now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t…” She leaned in until her snout was touching the glass, “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will-“

“Ditzy?” She heard a voice call.

“Wah…?” Ditzy murmured, turning to face the invading voice. She snapped her gaze back to the clock. It read 12:00 on the dot. Ditzy backed off of the clock, giving it friendly pats on the side. “Atta clock!” She cheered. She made her way over to her parlor to let Twilight in.

She came face-to-face with Twilight, giving an odd stare at the door on the ground. The purple mare’s eyes reached up to Ditzy’s questionably.

Oops, forgot to fix that… Ditzy shrugged and decided to ignore it. “Oh, h-hey Twilight!”

“Hmm,” Twilight thought aloud, “why don’t we do this properly?” Her tongue angled out of her mouth in concentration as her horn lit up with the same purple light Ditzy saw yesterday. The mailmare’s eyes sparkled as she stood transfixed by the display. In an instant, Twilight took control of the door and moved it back up to its correct position.

“Aww…” She whispered with an edge of disappointment. Her ears perked up moments later as she heard three rhythmic knocks on the door. Suppressing excitement, she reached down to the door knob and pulled the door open the way it was meant to be; before her stood a beaming Twilight Sparkle. Her smile was infectious.

“Oh, hi Twilight!” she chimed, as if it was a pleasant surprise.

“Hey Ditzy,” Twilight responded, she too acting as if the previous greeting never transpired. “Thank you so much for having me over. I’ve been excited about it all morning!”

Ditzy’s eyes softened. “Aww, I’ve been excited too. Do you wanna come in?” She froze before the purple mare answered. “I-I didn’t wait too long did I? I mean, that’s what I’m supposed to do now, right? Invite you in?”

Twilight’s smile dropped to a more reserved one as she realized the amount of instruction the pegasus would require. “Yes Ditzy; you can relax around me. I’m already here as your friend.” Twilight gave Ditzy a supportive nod that stabilized her confidence.

Without further ado, Ditzy nodded in return and moved aside, beckoning for Twilight to enter her home. Twilight walked in and glanced around her place. “You have a lovely home, Ditzy.”

“I’m… just renting it right now,” Ditzy said, closing the front door. “But thank you! I don’t exactly get many guests, but I managed to clean a little before you got here.” The room fell silent as Twilight admired the simplicity of the foyer, taking a deep sniff of a potted flower. Ditzy was surprised at how calm she felt.

The mailmare’s eyes eventually fell upon a bag the Twilight was carrying. “Hey, what’s in the bag, Twilight?”

Twilight’s purple eyes gleamed. “I’m so glad you asked, Ditzy!” She glanced into Ditzy’s living room, and after a nod of approval, made her way over to her coffee table where she rested her pack. Ditzy followed close behind, scanning the mystery bag. Once Twilight had settled into her couch with a comfy sigh, she patted the cushion next to her; a clear signal to Ditzy that she was unable to catch.

“Ditzy?”

“Mm?”

“Care to join me?”

“Oh—right! Duh.” Ditzy pranced over and plopped down heavily into the cushion next to Twilight. The springs whined in protest as her momentum caused the mare bounce up and down.

Twilight gave an amused grin. “Ready?” she asked.

Ditzy inclined her head, but also was suppressing a semblance of enthused energy; similar to receiving a birthday present. “Ready for what?”

“This!” Twilight introduced, unfastening the clip on her bag. She used magic to take out its contents; a medium-sized book, about an inch or two thick with parchment pages. She magically lifted it right in front of Ditzy’s face so she could clearly read the title.

Ditzy squinted to read the purple book etched with black writing. “’An Ever-Expanding Guide to the Complexities and Virtues of Friendship’, by Twilight Sparkle.” Ditzy gasped and shot an incredulous glance over to the mare next to her. “That’s you!”

Twilight nodded with a modest smile. “Yup! In this book, I’ve written down everything I’ve learned about friendship over the past year in here Ponyville. It includes copies of every letter I’ve sent to Princess Celestia to update her on my findings.”

“So… this book can teach me about friendship?” Ditzy probed with rising confidence.

Twilight shrugged. “It should, and I’d be happy to help you through it.”

Ditzy hugged the book to her chest gently with her forelegs. “Wow Twilight…” Ditzy tried to maintain eye contact with her, but her stare involuntarily shifted from her to the tome. “I don’t know what to say.”

Twilight rested a hoof on Ditzy’s shoulder. “Don’t mention it. Keep it as long as you want.” They shared a moment of silence that was surprisingly not awkward for the mailmare; Twilight’s hoof comforted her.

“Can I read some of it now?” Ditzy asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Twilight affirmed; “it’s important to start learning as soon as possible.”

With a bright smile, Ditzy rested the book down on the glass coffee table and opened the front cover. The title was reiterated on the first page, along with a table of contents. Ditzy decided that she would just start at the very first entry. Twilight leaned against the wooden hoof rail, nestling into a more comfortable position. With pride, she watched Ditzy flip through her pages. The pegasus cleared her throat as she came upon the first entry.

“Dear Princess Celestia,” the passage began, “I’ve learned that one of the joys of friendship is sharing your blessings, but when there’s not enough blessings to go around, having more than your friends can make you feel pretty awful. So, though I appreciate the invitation, I will be returning both tickets for the Grand Galloping Gala.”

Ditzy flashed a disbelieving glance at Twilight. “You gave back tickets to the Gala!?”

“Well…um, yah, but I had-“

“That’s so unselfish of you!” Ditzy’s eyes sparkled.

Taken aback, Twilight narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. “Wh…what? You really think so? Most ponies thought I was crazy for returning tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala. I know the rest of my friends sure did.”

“But that’s what makes you kinda awesome,” Ditzy said. “You’re not like most ponies. When other ponies woulda been worried about going to the party themselves, you cared more about your friends.” Ditzy circled her forehooves around one another timidly. “T-that’s how I wanna be.”

Twilight was speechless for a rare moment; she hadn’t expected to be praised so illustriously. “There’s a bunch of ponies like that out there Ditzy. I’m not the only one.”

“Yah I guess….” Ditzy took a deep breath and let out a sigh. “But there was only one of that type of pony around when Derpy needed her.”

Twilight inclined her head. “Derpy? I thought you liked to be called Ditzy?”

Ditzy shrugged. “Sometimes I deserve it.”

“Deserve it…?” Twilight’s eyes glazed over for a brief second until it finally clicked for her and she frowned. “You don’t like it when ponies call you Derpy? You think it’s insulting?”

“What? No!” Ditzy reassured, but her voice cracked. “Well…not all the time.” She admitted, barely audible.

“Ditzy…” Twilight started, the sympathy in her tone hitting Ditzy hard.

No no no no no! Change the subject!

Ditzy cleared her throat. “So how did the story end?”

Twilight stared at her, debating whether to let the previous topic end. For a tense few seconds, Ditzy worried that Twilight was going to press deeper into the issue. Finally, Twilight gave a smile. “What do you mean?”

Ditzy wanted to give a sigh of relief but held it in. “You know, after you returned the tickets to the Princess?”

“Oh!” Twilight remembered. “Well my friends all tried to talk me out of giving her back the tickets, saying they didn’t care about going and just wanted me to be happy. As luck would have it, it only took about a minute before the Princess replied with a letter of her own…” Twilight paused for dramatic effect, “…with enough tickets for all my friends and I to go to the Gala together!”

“Wow!” Ditzy marveled. “That was an awesome lesson! It’s so simple that it’s almost like the moral was meant to be read and understood by children.”

Twilight smirked and chuckled. “I guess it might seem so.”

Ditzy closed the book to marvel at the cover once more, running a hoof over the smooth surface. “Do you mind if I… read it some more?”

Twilight shook her head. “Not at all, Ditzy; you can take your time.”

Brimming with excitement, Ditzy dove back into the book that shared so many lessons about friendship. Over the next thirty minutes, she read passage after passage with ease. Ditzy wasn’t the best reader, but the simple yet descriptive text captivated her and she found she was able to read it with no problem. Every now and then, Ditzy would reach a part where she’d want to know the backstory to it, and Twilight was more than happy to share her adventures.

After the book was closed, the conversation didn’t end; Ditzy was still fascinated with the first-hoof account of all of Twilight’s big adventures. Instead of making her feel small in comparison, Ditzy felt honored to be friends with a mare who had accomplished so much.

Twilight was almost finished with another one of her tales. “…and so I made it across the canyon just in time and everypony was safe from the hydra.”

Ditzy was on the edge of her seat, leaning in towards Twilight. “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you’ve charged a hydra…”

“Yah, well…“ Twilight rubbed a hoof against the back of her neck and smiled nervously. “I had to make a distraction so my friends could get to safety. It’s not something I really thought about at the time.”

“Still, it’s more heroic than delivering mail,” Ditzy chuckled.

“Don’t sell yourself short, Ditzy,” Twilight nudged. “You do such a great job, and everypony loves getting the mail from you!”

Ditzy paused before a big goofy smile appeared on her face. “Ya really mean it?”

“Of course,” Twilight confirmed. “You have such a cheery and enthusiastic disposition; it’s always a joy to see you on my doorstep.”

Ditzy beamed with pride as her wings fluttered with nervous energy. So there are ponies out there that enjoy me delivering their mail? Yay!

“Thanks, Twilight! I don’t know what des-po-sition means, but I bet it’s something nice.”

Twilight snickered. “It means you’re always cheery and enthusiastic. You’re the type of mare that doesn’t let the small stuff bother you. I wish I could be more like that.”

Ditzy froze. Did she just say she wants to be more like me!? Before she even realized what she was doing, Ditzy was hovering over the couch hugging Twilight, her wings fluttering happily. Twilight was unable to move and her eyes bulged, constricted by Ditzy’s grasp.

“Too…tight…” Twilight eventually breathed out.

“Oh. OH!” Ditzy eased her death grip, allowing Twilight to take a deep, thankful lungful of air. Twilight was positioned with her forelegs pressed against her chest, so she was unable to return the hug. “Sorry, I’m still getting used to this.”

“No, it’s okay; you just caught me a little off guard.” Twilight smiled to reassure her statement. After a beat, she glanced towards the ground. “C-can you put me down now?”

Ditzy obliged and with surprising grace, deposited Twilight back onto the couch cushion. She then rocketed back into the air and suddenly folded her wings, and did a cannon ball right into her cushion. The couch shook, but the wood held. Ditzy giggled as she was bounced up and down.

Twilight watched with amusement. “You know, you’re a lot stronger than you look.” Ditzy looked at her with dubious eyes. “You could even give Applejack a run for her money.”

The farm pony? Ditzy blushed at the compliment, and gave a nonchalant shrug. “I basically walk for a living so I get lots of exercise, especially when I’m carrying heavy packages.”

“That makes sense. You make me look like a weakling; I’m not really known for my athletic abilities.”

“Well your magic is pretty awesome… ten billion zillion times stronger than any normal pegasus.”

Twilight rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Hmm… I guess that makes us about even.”

“Even Steven!” Ditzy enjoyed the sound of being an equal to Twilight. They both shared a short laugh and their conversation continued on to a variety of topics. Ditzy ran through the complexities of the mail service industry, which Twilight was interested in learning. Every now and again, she would ask Ditzy a question that reaffirmed her genuine curiosity. She ran down her average daily route, along with the procedures for special packages, such as ones that were too big to transport on her back.

Before Ditzy knew it, two hours had passed and she had run over almost everything she knew about her job. Likewise, Twilight had expounded the average life of a librarian. It wasn’t an official job for Twilight; her efforts were more focalized on her studies of friendship. But the magical unicorn took on the added responsibility of keeping the library in working condition, and she was glad to help anypony who stopped by.

Around mid-afternoon, the conversation was interrupted by Ditzy’s stomach growling.

“Oh…heh.” Ditzy gave a single nervous laugh, embarrassed. “I guess I’m kinda hungry.”

“Me too. Want to go somewhere to eat?” Twilight asked.

I would, but I don’t exactly have that many bits…

“I could just make something for us!” Ditzy offered.

Twilight raised her eyebrows, clearly impressed. “You know how to cook?”

Ditzy giggled as flashbacks of food disasters filled her thoughts. “Kinda. I’m more of a baker, but I can make some simple stuff like salads and sandwiches. Is that something you would want?”

Twilight smiled and nodded. “Whatever you make is good enough for me. I wouldn’t want to impose.”

Ditzy gave a salute. “Salad and muffins it is!”

Twilight stared at her quizzically. “…Muffins?"

Ditzy sprinted towards the kitchen, and momentarily paused to beckon to Twilight. “Come on!”

~*~*~

The sun’s light angled in from the window and provided ample illumination for the simple kitchen. The window, open to the world outside, brought in a soft draft that made Ditzy shiver with delight. From her refrigerator, she picked up a bag of fresh lettuce leaves; the moisture condensing inside the bag provided a vivacious glow to the vibrant plant. To accent the salad with more variety, she took out several carrots, sliced cucumbers, two whole apples, and a container of a simple vinaigrette dressing.

Leaning up on her hind legs, she used her teeth to open up one of the cupboards above her counter. She pulled out two bowls and set them aside. Carefully she began assembling the salad lunch for Twilight and herself, making sure not to cut herself on the knife as she cut the apples into bite sized pieces.

Ditzy brought the finished product over to her kitchen table on a trey, and set it down gently in the middle. Twilight was sitting in one of the chairs, eyeing the salad with sparkling eyes. “Oooh, it looks really good Ditzy!” Twilight said, before her stomach growled causing Ditzy to chuckle. “And my stomach agrees,” Twilight recovered.

“Thanks,” Ditzy grinned, “I’ve had a little bit of practice.” She took her seat in the one opposite her friend. Ditzy grabbed one of the bowls for herself while Twilight used magic to bring her bowl and a fork over to her. Licking her lips, Ditzy poured some of the vinaigrette onto the fresh salad. The tangy aroma proved to be too much for the winged mare to resist, and she immediately began chomping at her salad. It quickly became messy as salad chunks and carrot pieces flew out of the bowl.

Twilight ate at a more reserved pace, using magic to control the fork and eating each lettuce leaf thoroughly before swallowing. About halfway through her meal, Ditzy glanced up from her bowl with a mouthful of salad. Dressing, shreds of carrot, and a cucumber slice matted her muzzle. She noticed Twilight was giving a very far-away, amused smile.

“What?” She asked while chewing. Twilight blinked, and instantly her gaze cleared as she shook her head.

“Oh, I’m sorry if I was staring. I tend to space out sometimes. By the way you’ve got a little something…” Twilight pointed to her face, but the effort was futile as she came to the conclusion that Ditzy must’ve been wearing half of her salad by this point. “…everywhere,” she finished with a giggle.

Ditzy’s spirit soared when she heard Twilight laugh. It was the good kind of laughing—with her, not at her. It made her blush sheepishly while she tried to fix her appearance. “Heh, sorry about that… I’ve always been sort of a messy eater.” Ditzy frantically rubbed her muzzle with a hoof until it was clean.

Twilight shrugged. “Hey, I’m not going to judge. If it wasn’t for my magic, I’d probably eat just as messy…well, almost as messy. ”

“Pssh, not even close!” Ditzy chortled. “So if I’m gunna bake muffins after this, I’ll need to know which type you want.”

Twilight finished munching on a carrot before answering. “Muffins, hmm? Well, what flavors can you make?” A look of apprehension clouded Twilight’s visage as Ditzy began a long, drawn out intake of air that became progressively louder.

“Almond muffins, apple muffins, apple oat muffins, applesauce muffins, banana chocolate chip muffins, banana muffins, banana nut muffins, blueberry muffins, bran muffins, carrot muffins, cherry muffins, chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon muffins, corn muffins, cranberry muffins, flax seed muffins, ginger muffins, honey rhubarb muffins, oatmeal muffins, orange muffins, peanut butter muffins, pineapple muffins, pumpkin muffins, raisin muffins, raspberry muffins, squash muffins, strawberry muffins aaaaaannnndddd zucchini muffins.”

Afterwards, Ditzy took a dramatic breath, satisfied that she managed to complete the list without breathing. Twilight was looking at her dumbly, frozen from shock. “Those all exists? You didn’t make some of those up?”

Ditzy quickly nodded. “Mhmm! Those are all the popular ones. I could list the more uncommon ones if you’d like?”

Twilight’s eyes widened. “Uh… no, that shouldn’t be necessary. How about… blueberry muffins?”

Ditzy gave an off-hoof salute. “Roger dodger!”

Once they had completed their salads, Twilight floated the dishes into the sink and began running water over them. While she busied herself with the cleanup, Ditzy brought out the ingredients necessary to bake the muffins. She reached over and pre-heated the oven to the perfect temperature.

By now, Twilight had finished and had joined Ditzy over near the counter, watching her work. “Hey Ditzy?”

“Mm?” She mumbled through a wooden spoon in her mouth.

“Do you mind if I use your bathroom?”

“Go ahead Twilight. It’s down the hallway, and you have to walk through my room to get to it. It’s the room on the left.”

Twilight thankfully smiled. “Okay then, be right back.”

Ditzy nodded and resumed her work as Twilight trotted away. She began with mixing the flour and baking soda into a fine mixture. To ensure the powder was properly mixed, she sealed the bowl with a lid and began bouncing around the room. She giggled when she stopped because the room was spinning, and she wobbled around her kitchen. Finally she was able to maintain her balance, and she set the bowl down on the counter.

The process of making muffins was a simple one: butter, eggs, and sugar were beaten brutally by Ditzy’s unforgiving wooden spoon until a sticky, gooey paste was all that remained. Content with the consistency, she began the secondary process of sprinkling the flour-baking soda mixture in, stopping every few seconds to stir it in. As the batter became more resistant to Ditzy’s aggression, she added milk to soften it.

She hummed a tune while she worked; her eyes closed so that the batter in the bowl wouldn’t fly up and blind her as some form of revenge. The wooden spoon clanked haphazardly against the side of the ceramic bowl, resonating around the room. She finally spat it out when she was satisfied that the batter was finally malleable and compliant. When the batter was complete, she added the pièce de résistance: the blueberries.

She poured it into muffin tins, which always turned out to be more trouble than it’s worth. Without the aid of magic, Ditzy was confined to using her maw to tip over the bowl while, at the same time, guiding the deliciousness inside to the proper holders. The process took an immense amount of mouth-to-eye coordination which Ditzy still hadn’t been able to master. The result was a mess of epic proportion, but at least most of the mixture usually managed to get inside the right slots. Usually.

Ditzy set down the bowl to admire her handiwork: the muffin trey was coated in a thin layer of muffin batter. She used her hoof to clean around the edges and in between the muffins so when they cooked, they wouldn’t form one giant mega-muffin. Ditzy had tried doing that once before, but the result had been that the muffin top hadn’t cooked all the way through, being far too dense. The baking soda in the mixture built up pressure within the giant muffin, and when Ditzy tried to bite into it… boom.

This batch of muffins was far more manageable, and she easily perfected the amount of batter in each tin. She opened her oven and slid the trey in. Ditzy nodded with gratification because she knew that in a little under thirty minutes, Twilight and she would be able to munch on yummy muffins.

Speaking of Twilight, where is she? It’s been a few minutes…

She glanced down her hallway, hearing nothing but silence. Worriedly, she trotted down the short hallway and angled towards her room. She let out a sigh of relief when she saw Twilight standing in her room; her back was turned and she was leaning over something, studying it closely.

“Twilight?” Ditzy called.

Twilight jerked upright, startled by the introduction of a voice behind her. She spun around and a relieved expression melted over her face. “Oh… I’m sorry Ditzy. You kind of snuck up on me there.”

“S-sorry! I uhm… didn’t mean to…” Ditzy shrank.

“No, it’s my fault. Don’t worry about it,” Twilight smiled.

“What are you doing anyway? I was beginning to think you got lost.”

A light blush formed over Twilight’s face. “Oh. I hope you don’t mind—I was studying your room. I noticed a few bumps on the ceiling and wanted to use deductive reasoning as to how they formed. But then I found this—“ Twilight pointed towards Ditzy’s picture frame, “—and I was wondering if you could tell me about it?”

“Oh!” Ditzy beamed. “I mean, do you really wanna hear it? It’s not that interesting…”

“I’m sure you’re just being modest,” Twilight smiled, and pointed to the picture. “Who are the other mares in the picture?”

Ditzy grinned as heartfelt memories flooded her system. She walked over to her dresser and stared at the picture lovingly. Before she answered Twilight, she studied the photo, remembering every single moment of that day.

In the frame was a scene of a picnic on a bright, sunny day. Ditzy was with two other ponies: a small, grey unicorn filly with a yellow mane that matched her eyes and a mid-adolescent unicorn mare with a pink coat and a purple mane. They were all smiling brightly and posing for the picture in a loose hug.

With care, Ditzy moved a hoof across the top of her dresser, bringing the picture closer. Her eyes narrowed as she studied it. “She looks just like me, right?” Ditzy asked rhetorically, smiling down at the picture.

Twilight gasped in understanding, then a big smiled spread across her face. “She’s your daughter? Oh my goodness, that’s amazing! I didn’t know you were a mother! What’s her name?”

Ditzy and Twilight shared eye contact. “Dinky Doo. Isn’t she so beautiful?”

Twilight inspected the picture and nodded. “She sure is! Wow, this is incredible Ditzy. I’d love to meet her. But who’s the other mare in the picture?”

Ditzy took another glance down at the picture, and her smile widened.

She’ll probably think it is weird, but…

“That’s Sparkler, my other daughter.” Ditzy stroked the picture lovingly.

Twilight’s jaw dropped. “Two daughters!?” she gasped. Twilight frowned and studied the picture again. Sparkler was almost fully grown, and she had trouble grasping the logicality of how Ditzy could have a daughter so old.

Ditzy was already ready with the answer. “I adopted her from a Canterlot orphanage about a year and a half ago.”

Twilight looked back to Ditzy with newfound respect. “You…you did? Would you mind telling the story?”

Ditzy’s cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling so much, so she forced the smirk down to a more reserved, though proud, one. Thinking of her daughters always managed to fill her with such warmth, love, and tranquility. Ditzy wondered how to start.

“Well, about a year and a half ago on a Saturday, I was given a special assignment from my boss at work. Outgoing mail is usually handled by the unicorns, ‘cuz they could just poof the mail to a different town.” It was a bit more complex than that, but she had already gone over the system earlier with Twilight so she didn’t feel the need to bring it back up.

“Well that day, some specialty mail needed to be delivered to Canterlot, and there weren’t any unicorns available, so they gave the job to me. I was pretty excited when I heard that I was going to be able to fly to Canterlot… like… REALLY excited! So I packed my mailbag quickly and before I knew it I was in the air making my way towards the capital.

“It was a lot farther away then I realized. I can fly pretty fast, but it still took me a few hours to get there. When I finally got there though, it was all worth it! I hadn’t been to Canterlot since I was just a filly, so it was exciting to see it all again. Well, once I had dropped the mail off at the local post office, I didn’t really want to leave so fast. So I stayed around for a bit and went to all the old places that I remember from my childhood.”

Twilight was captivated, unable to move or breathe deeply for fear she might miss a part of Ditzy’s tale.

“Then…” Ditzy frowned, “I saw a mare—Sparkler—being picked on by two colts in one of the alleyways. Well, I got kinda mad because she was being teased and—“ Ditzy caught herself; she had almost said because it had reminded her of being teased when she was a filly. “…a-and no pony deserves to be teased. So I flew down and made the mean colts go away. The colts called her an ‘unloved orphan’ before they ran off.”

Twilight gasped. “That’s just terrible!”

Ditzy raised a hoof to halt Twilight. “Wait; don’t worry, this has a happy ending.” She assured with a smile.

“Where was I…? Oh! Well after they went away, Sparkler was crying and I wanted to make her feel better, so I took her out to lunch. We eventually spent the whole day together! That…” Ditzy paused, her eyes instantly watering in remembrance “…THAT, was a good day. She and I formed a bond that day that I had reserved only for Dinky. I didn’t know I could love like that again. I flew back to Ponyville that night, and the very next day I flew myself and Dinky back to Canterlot. Sparkler has been my daughter ever since.”

Ditzy wasn’t really focused on Twilight, but her gaze shifted when she heard a sniffing noise. Her eyes rose to Twilight’s which were puffy and red, gentle tears rolling down her face.

“Ditzy, that’s an amazing story. You’re so… so…” Twilight paused, unable to think of a suitable adjective.

Ditzy’s eyes softened and allowed the sentence to go unfinished. “Thank you, Twilight. I love them both so much…” Ditzy pushed the picture frame back to its original position. After Twilight had calmed down, another question bubbled to her lips.

“Hey, where are they now?”

Ditzy hesitated, and then gave a long sigh. “They’re both in Canterlot, participating in a summer camp program that Sparkler used to do when she was just a filly. Dinky had never done something like that before, and she really wanted to go. Sparkler was old enough to be an assistant counselor, and I thought that it’d be a good experience for her. They’ll be back in two weeks.”

Ditzy held back a tremor as she repressed worrisome thoughts. “Ever since Sparkler became family, she has been such a good big sister to Dinky: she walks her to and from school, plays with her, and even watches her when I have to work late. I know I shouldn’t worry about them, because I know they look out for each other, but still…” Ditzy trailed off.

Twilight walked over and put a supportive hoof on her shoulder. “There’s no need to worry. Canterlot is the safest city in all of Equestria. Even as we speak, they’re probably having the time of their lives.”

Ditzy looked up and met Twilight’s wavering eyes. After a few moments, Ditzy’s eyes became unfocused as a new memory resurfaced. “You know what?” Ditzy asked, barely above a whisper.

“What?”

“Sparkler…” Ditzy felt tears coming on, so she had to pause for a few moments to fight the urge to cry. “Sparkler called me mom for the first time right before she left.”

That was it; she was unable to hold back the tears as the fond memory engulfed her. Warm tears rolled down her cheeks in a steady stream as she shut her eyes to minimize the flood. “I-I…I just miss them s-so much…”

Ditzy felt a hoof glide across her withers and over her chest. She opened her right eye and saw Twilight hugging her from the side. It turned into a full hug as Ditzy wrapped her forelegs around her. She rested her head on Twilight shoulder and squeezed tighter, taking special care to not hurt her like before. Slowly, she felt Twilight rubbing her back. In the embrace, Ditzy felt more peaceful than she could ever remember.

“They’ll be back before you know it, and until they do, I’ll be here to keep you company; whenever you need me.”

Ditzy wanted to see Twilight’s face so she pushed away from the hug, but kept the embrace intact. With that shared stare that could’ve frozen time itself, Ditzy knew a true friendship had been born.

Ding. The kitchen timer went off.

Twilight smiled. “Come on, let’s go get some muffins.”

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