• Published 13th Jul 2012
  • 6,396 Views, 154 Comments

Impressions - Lusewing



When all you want to do is to get back to where you belong it is easy to make mistakes.

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Not a chicken

"So if we find a plant we can name it? Like anything we want?" asked a little orange filly who was trying to find something cool in her latest endeavor. It was true that she had been the one to suggest that they go to the Everfree Forest to find their cutie marks, but she had pictured that they would be fighting monsters, not picking flowers. Although having a plant named after her wouldn't be so bad...so long as it was something cool looking, maybe with thorns.

Zecora nodded to the three youngsters in her care who, had so far not stopped asking her questions about her home in the forest since she had caught them near its outskirts. She had guessed correctly that they had been planning on some sort of venture, but instead of sending them home, she had invited them to come along and help her collect some herbs she had been getting low on. A few extra hooves were never a bad thing, and hopefully it would teach the youngsters a little about the plants around them and what they could be used for. Plus, if she went the long way around she could tire them out and bore them enough that they would never consider the Everfree Forest as a playground again.

"An honour indeed to name the seed, but don't rush ahead, for you must watch where you tread. For some trees within this wood, might find fillies taste quite good," the Zebra said in her thick accent as she secured the last pouch to Sweetie Belle's back and tightened the buckle with her mouth. However Applejack's younger sister was not to be deterred from her train of thought, even with the warning, which Zecora could only guess had fallen on folded ears.

"So we can get our cutie marks AND become famous!?" Apple Bloom's statement quickly grabbed the other two fillies’ attention, and before Zecora could quell the rising, the trio had already announced their intentions.

"Cutie Mark Crusaders Plant Finders!" they said together, making enough noise to frighten several groups of birds out of the trees around the Zebra's home. Zecora winced and waited for both the fillies and the birds to settle down in their shrieks before smiling and attempting to lower their expectations.

"While true you get to give a name, I've never heard it lead to fame." The three lowered their heads, groaning in disappointment, until Apple Bloom broke the mood.

"But...we can still get our Cutie Marks, and that's what really matters. Come on girls. There's bound to be some plants that no one has ever seen in the Everfree forest." Apple Bloom moved to start off down the path, but Zecora wasn't about to let the little filly just head off. After all, the only reason she had agreed to take them with her to collect herbs was to stop them from going into the forest on their own.

"Not so fast or so quick, there is a path to which our hooves must stick. Keep close to me and do not stray, or your crusade might end today." This time Zecora's words of warning were heard as all three of the fillies stopped and looked into the depths of the woods. Their initial excitement fading as they snapped back to reality. Strange sounds could be heard from within, and movements between the trees caused the girls to huddle closer together as they each took a step back. Their excitement dampened down to a dull glow as they each thought back to the stories they had been told about the place. A shiver passed down each of the girl's backs.

"Miss Zecora?" asked Sweetie Belle, who had made her way closer to the Zebra. She was still keeping her eyes on the woods, though none of the girls seemed to want to turn their back on the twisting shadows. "There aren't really plants that eat little fillies, are there?" Her voice was nervous and unsure, and Zecora wondered if she might have gone a little too far with her warnings. It was Scootaloo that replied however, before she could offer any soothing words.

"Well if there is, then I want to be the one to find it and give it an awesome name!" The thought of looking for flowers and plants wasn't really her idea of a good time, but a plant that could eat fillies? Now that was cool!

"Maybe ah can find a new type of apple tree like my Granny Smith did. Ah could call it um...the Blooming Apple tree!"

Zecora shook her head slowly and chuckled to herself. Those fillies jumped from one mood and idea to the next in the blink of an eye. It was no wonder they had yet to find themselves and earn their cutie marks, when they were too busy looking at the outside world instead of within. With their enthusiasm restored, Zecora started off down the path that lead to where she could gather the plants she needed, taking the slightly longer route to tire them out.

About twenty minutes later Zecora found herself very tired...

"A’m thirsty," whined Apple Bloom.

"I'm hot," whined Sweetie Belle.

"I'm bored," whined Scootaloo.

"Are we there yet?" chorused all three fillies for the fifth time. Zecora's left eye twitched as she gave a frustrated sigh and carried on walking. She had regretted taking the long path ten minutes ago, but it had been too late by then, still they were back on track now.

"Come on now girls, it's not much more, but please no more whining, my ears are sore." Zecora generally enjoyed her peace and quiet. It was one of the reasons she lived outside of Ponyville. So it was no surprise that she was beginning to question her idea of ever inviting the little fillies along with her.

"What's that plant, Zecora?" Apple Bloom broke the silence again. The plant in question was a thick brown and red vine with yellowish warts along its length. Ants could be seen all along it, mainly clustered around the yellow warts.

"That little vine is the ant seed, for wherever it grows, ants come to feed. To the ants it gives a yellow feast, so ants protect it from every beast." Apple Bloom looked a little disappointed that the vine already had a name. After all, she had never seen anything like it before. Maybe she was wrong to think that since very few ponies went into the Everfree forest, then there would be lots of plants for them to discover.

"What about this one, Zecora?" Scootaloo pointed to a bush with drooping blue berries and silver green leaves. It wasn't that she really wanted to know, but asking about the plants would at least fill the silence.

"The lover's tears tells a story so sweet, that-" Before Zecora could go on to tell the story that had grown up around the plant's discovery, Sweetie Belle butted in and drew the other fillies away, who were clearly only asking to find a plant that had not yet been discovered.

"Is that a ribbon tree?" asked Sweetie Belle. Zecora frowned and walked over to the small sapling that the young unicorn was asking about. The tree itself was just a sycamore, no more than a few years old, but it did, in all fairness to Sweetie Belle, have a red ribbon tied onto one of its thin branches.

"Rarity said that ribbons didn't grow on trees the other day. With this, I can show her they do." said Sweetie Belle. In the white unicorn's mind she already envisioned bringing the tree back to her sister. She would be shocked, but would then be grateful that her little sister had found the plant. Then they would then plant it in front of the boutique, and it would grow into a huge ribbon tree with all different colours of ribbons swaying in the wind.

"That is not a ribbon tree you found, It's just a tree where a ribbon is bound," laughed Zecora. She found it funny that the filly could not only mistake a sycamore, but also honestly believed the ribbon was naturally growing on it.

"Who ties ribbons in trees?" Scootaloo sounded a little disgusted. Trees and plants were boring as they were, but to have someone dress them up in bows and ribbons just made them worse.

"The ribbon could be there to mark this spot, though who placed it there I admit I know not." Zecora was a little baffled. As far as she knew, she was the only zebra or pony who ventured into this part of the forest. However further thoughts about the origins of the ribbon were put on a hold as Apple Bloom found something else and announced its discovery rather loudly.

"Girls, take a look at this!" They all quickly formed a semicircle around a patch of soft, damp ground. Indented into the forest floor were a few large sausage-shaped prints, with water already settling into the hollows. Next to the two deepest prints was the mark that had caught Apple Bloom's eye. The main part was about the same size and shape as a hoof, but there were five long furrows leading off from half of it. Zecora noticed something else, there was a strange smell in the air, made up of sweat and a perfume of some sort. The girls, however, were too busy trying to work out what had made the mark to notice the scent.

"It looks like a rat print," Apple Bloom said confidently. She had seen plenty of the paw prints that rats left out in the barn when it was raining outside. She knew to look out for them so Applejack could get Winona to chase them out. This was more rounded than the ones she had seen, but it looked about the same.

"It would have to be an epically big rat. I think it looks more like a chicken," Said Scootaloo, pushing Apple Bloom out of the way so that she could get a better look.

"Well, maybe rats are bigger here than back at home. Besides, it looks nothing like a chicken print." Apple Bloom pushed Scootaloo back out of the way, and soon the two were head to head, pushing one another angrily.

"Rat."

"Chicken."

"RAT."

"CHICKEN."

"OK maybe it is a chicken; let’s check it against your prints, Scootaloo, and see if they match."

"I am NOT a chicken!"

"And neither are those prints."

"Enough! Both your creatures I must rebuff." Zecora sounded both angry and annoyed which caused all three fillies to stop what they were doing and look at her with their heads lowered and their ears down.

"This print is not from chicken or bird, of that I'm sure, so take my word. And I do not think not for one moment, that this print is from an unusually sized rodent."

"So, it's from a creature you've never seen?" Sweetie Belle was the first one to understand what this meant, while the other two members of the Cutie Mark Crusaders spent the time sulking over being wrong. They were both quick enough to catch on though.

"That means if we find it..." said Scootaloo, looking at the other two fillies with a smile forming on her muzzle.

"Then we get to name it!" finished Apple Bloom. Zecora, knowing what was coming next, tried to hush the three girls but it was all in vain.

"Cutie Mark Crusaders Creature Capturers!" they said once more as a team. Even as she cringed, Zecora had to admit that despite all of their arguments and disagreements, the trio of friends always made up in the end, particularly with this new challenge laid out before them. She did wish that they could be a little quieter, as they were no longer in the outer rim of the forest. There were bad enough known creatures loose without adding something that she didn't know about to the mix.

"I dare say the creature has run away, for who can hear that challenge and stay?" The birds had certainly left the area quickly enough.

"To right it had better run because we're going to catch it," said Scootaloo. The orange filly looked much more enthusiastic about this cutie mark gaining idea then going around and looking at flowers.

"That's right, it must have run because it knows we'll be able to wrangle it."

"Yes! Umm... how are we going to catch it, again?" It was Sweetie Belle that noticed the slight flaw in their plan. After all, they had come out here to find and collect plants, not catch a creature.

Zecora saw her chance to steer the three fillies towards a much better plan of action.

"Clearly a friend is needed to help you, maybe one who is used to living in a zoo?" The zebra could only smile as she saw all three girls get the same idea.

"Fluttershy!" they said together, "She would know what to do."

"She might even know what sort of animal makes prints like this."

"One problem, girls," said Apple Bloom, who saw a hole in their plan. "Fluttershy hates coming into the Everfree Forest, remember?" The other two girls gave a disappointed 'oh' as Zecora watched her careful guiding fall apart. She had to act quickly if she was going to get the girls out of the forest and into somepony else's hooves. Of course, she could just tell them all that it was too dangerous and that they must stay away from the forest, but she knew that that would do no good. No, what she needed was for them to have the idea themselves. That way, they wouldn’t see her as the adult that was there to spoil their fun, thus encouraging them to come to her whenever they wanted to go into the Everfree Forest instead of in secret.

"Surely with the three of you, you can draw this mark so well it's true." Within moments, Zecora saw that she had solved her problem with just a few words. The perfect way to solve a problem. She could see it in the eyes of the three fillies as all their plans fell into place. Watching them take rough measurements, they were soon heading back and on their way to her hut and then out of the forest. They didn't even notice that it only took half the time that it had to get to the strange marking, because they were too busy designing trap ideas. With any luck, Fluttershy would be the one to deny the three fillies their chance to go hunting in the forest for the strange creature. If that didn't stop them, then at least Zecora would be safe in the knowledge that the three would come to her first before heading off. The zebra just hoped they would give her enough time to do her own exploring. She was sure she had seen prints that looked similar in one of her books back at home.

Zecora could hardly keep the three fillies from running off with her bags still attached to their backs once they saw her hut. Apple Bloom ended up taking her bag off herself while still trotting with the precision only gained from practice. As the zebra led them to the edge of the forest, she made sure to give them all one last bit of advice,"Before you go I must make it clear, for each of you I am always here."

The three fillies smiled and gave thanks, with Sweetie Belle even giving her a quick hug before trotting along with her friends to head to Fluttershy's house.

With the three noisy little ponies gone, Zecora could not help but feel relieved that she had her peace and quiet back. Now, the only question was with who - or what - was she sharing it with?

Author's Note:

These three fillies are so much fun to write, I will have to come up with a story just for them at some point. Thanks again to Smelly_SockZ for Editing.