• Published 2nd Sep 2017
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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic What If?: Volume 5 - SuperPinkBrony12

The fifth installment of a What If series, that involves the rewriting of episodes. But this collection contains only ten episodes from Seasons 1, and 4-6 (Warning!: Episodes rewritten based on personal opinion, please respect it. Thank you.).

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S6 E8: A Hearth's Warming Tail, Part 1 (What If?)

Author's Note:

Like with the previous episode I extended to a two parter, I think it's best to imagine this episode as taking place in a parallel universe of the show. In that universe, "A Hearth's Warming Tail" was concieved as a two parter and ultimately approved as such for use later in the season (closer to Christmas). But the two parter was aired in May instead, replacing "Applejack's 'Day' Off" and taking the place of the planned "The Fault in Our Cutie Marks" which was delayed til the second half for Meghan and Haber to collaborate properly with their writing schedules.

As a result, the two parter became episodes 8 and 9 of Season 6, with "The Fault in Our Cutie Marks" being episode 10 in production order, and "The Saddle Row Review" being episode 11 in production order, the episodes returned to how they are in the normal timeline with "Flutter Brutter" and remained that way for the rest of the season.

I decided to change some of the details and names, particularly Snow Dash which quite frankly is a very weak attempt at the Bob Cratchet expy for Snowfall Frost's Scrooge. And, drawing on information made public from Vogel after the episode aired, I created the scene with Discord that got cut, in which he played the Jacob Marly expy. And I also decided to add in the love interest part for the past, as I feel it adds power to the tale to see that Scrooge's own obsession with fortune, cost him personal happiness in the chance to have love and be loved. Big Macintosh's character being "Peter" is an in joke about the name of his voice actor, Peter New.

In Part Two I'll explain a couple of other things that some people do bring up as a fault to this episode.

Episodes to be rewritten:
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
Rarity Investigates!
Starlight and the Pies (Gift of the Maud Pie)
A Hearth's Warming Tail (Two Parter)
28 Pranks Later (Bonus Chapter)
Where The Apple Lies (Bonus Chapter)
Top Bolt

Previously rewritten episodes:
Boast Busters
Look Before You Sleep
Feeling Pinkie Keen
Green Isn't Your Color
Over A Barrel
Luna Eclipsed
The Cutie Pox
Hearth's Warming Eve
The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
It's About Time
One Bad Apple
The Show Stoppers
Owl's Well That Ends Well
Dragon Quest
Spike at Your Service
Just For Sidekicks
Games Ponies Play
Rainbow Falls
Three's A Crowd
Filli Vanilli
Somepony to Watch Over Me
A Bird In The Hoof
A Friend in Deed
Apple Family Reunion (Bonus Chapter)
Power Ponies
Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 (Bonus Chapter)
Castle, Sweet Castle
Appleloosa's Most Wanted
Princess Spike
Canterlot Boutique
Scare Master
What About Discord?
Bridle Gossip
Family Appreciation Day
Magic Duel
Keep Calm and Flutter On (Two Parter)
Flight to the Finish
Tanks for the Memories
Fillydelphia Follies (Made In Manehattan)
The Cutie Re-Mark Parts 1 and 2
No Second Prances
Newbie Dash
Applejack's "Day" Off
Spice Up Your Life
The Cart Before The Ponies (Bonus Chapter)
Every Little Thing She Does
Swarm of the Century
Twilight Time
Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?
Rarity Investigates!
Starlight and the Pies (Gift of the Maud Pie)

Winter had come to the town of Ponyville, more specifically the festive and cheerful holiday known to all as "Hearth's Warming". True to form, the entire town had its own way of celebrating, particularly when word got out that Princess Twilight was hosting a massive Hearth's Warming Eve party at her castle! Everywhere you went, you could hear ponies rushing around and singing in merry and jolly tones. Pretty soon, the chorus went something like this:

Ponies' voices fill the night.

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Happy hearts so full and bright.

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Oh, what a sight.

Look at the light.

All for tonight.

'Cause Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

No Hearth's Warming would be complete without snow, and the pegasi made sure to bring it by the shovel full. As they moved the heavy clouds full of fluffy white snow into place, they could be heard singing:

Clouds arranged 'til they're just so.

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Gonna make some awesome snow!

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

The chill wind blows.

Making a show!

Snowflakes aglow.

'Cause Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

The pegasi weren't the only ones with reason to celebrate, naturally the earth ponies had their own reasons to be happy. Pinkie Pie and Applejack could be heard singing, and when you put their parts together, it sounded something like this:

A day that's filled with songs to sing.

Ding-dong, ding-dong-ding!

Cakes and pastries we shall bring.

Ding-dong, ding-dong-ding!

We're so busy making merry.

The windigos should all be wary!

And as our mighty voices carry!

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Rarity was put in charge of decorating the castle for the party, and even she had her own little part to add to the growing chorus of voices young and old alike, all of which were gathering in the main hall of the castle (where a giant tree covered with freshly fallen snow rested). And her part went something like this:

Decorations we shall make.

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Perfection you just cannot fake.

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Not one mistake.

No, don't let that break!

Oh, for goodness' sake!

In spite of the setback, the entire town all joined together as they loudly sang:

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once a—

Happy, happy Hearth's Warming Eve

Happy, happy Hearth's Warming Eve

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

The castle's three main occupants were witnessing the entire celebration going on down below, two of them excited for what the night would bring, but the other couldn't bring herself to feel the same way.

"Hey, Starlight!" Twilight called to her student. "Ready to celebrate your first Hearth's Warming Eve here in Ponyville with all your friends?"

Starlight's response was to sigh. "Yeah, about that. I was thinking I might just skip it." This prompted both Twilight and Spike to gasp! Starlight skipping Hearth's Warming was a development they hadn't expected at all! And both of them not only wondered if they could change Starlight's mind, but what could possibly make a pony want to skip over a holiday as wonderful as Hearth's Warming?

"Skip Hearth's Warming Eve?! Are you crazy?!" Spike exclaimed. "The holiday only comes once a year you know!"

Starlight sighed again, she was in no mood to discuss the matter. "I just find it all a little silly. It's never done anything for me. It's mostly a day dedicated to presents and candy, isn't it?"

"And why in Equestria would you deny yourself presents and candy? That's crazy talk!" Spike exclaimed again. "Please tell me this is all just a joke, one of your big sister pranks!"

Starlight shook her head. "I'm not joking. Hearth's Warming was seldom joyful for me, even back before I ran that village," She explained. "I remember a couple of Hearth's Warmings were spent at Sunburst's place before he moved away, but he seemed to be the only one whose family had time to celebrate it. My parents did presents, but that was about as far they went with the festivities. And of course, in Our Town, Hearth's Warming was just a passing footnote. Not that we could've held much of a party or anything when all our bakers and decorators were the same."

"Well, I think what Spike was trying to say earlier," Twilight chimed in. "Is that Hearth's Warming is about more than presents and candy. It's a time to spend with friends and family when we celebrate a very important day in Equestria's history. Look at how many showed up here tonight."

Starlight eyed the crowd, but what she saw didn't really convince her. She saw a lot of ponies stuffing their faces at the food table, sipping cider and hot chocolate by the fire, or just running about giggling and singing about random stuff. It just seemed like one big racket to her. "I think to most ponies, it's just an excuse for silly songs and fun, not a day to remember some old story," She commented to Twilight. "Look, if you and Spike wanna spend the rest of the evening doing all that stuff, that's fine by me. Personally, I think I'm just gonna call it an early night. Nopony's gonna be available to chat when they're thinking about the holiday. Just tell them to keep the noise to a minimum if they can, some of us are gonna be trying to sleep."

Sensing that there was only one way to solve Starlight's case of holiday blues, Twilight suddenly teleported in front of her student and said to her. "Well, maybe you just haven't heard the right Hearth's Warming Eve story yet!"

"Earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns sing songs around a hearth to fight back an eternal winter caused by the mythical windigos? Ha! Every colt and filly knows that story," Starlight retorted. "They insist on teaching it in school every winter, to say nothing of the dime a dozen plays on it."

But Twilight shook her head. "No, not that one. I was referring to my personal favorite holiday story, one I've read many times," Twilight boasted. "'A Hearth's Warming Tail'! It's been a Sparkle family tradition for generations to read it on Hearth's Warming Eve. My mom or dad would read it when Shining Armor and I were little ponies, sometimes with Cadence or Shining's buddies from Canterlot University. And of course, Spike's heard it every year since I brought him home on my first Hearth's Warming."

"Yeah, and I loved the story from the time I was old enough to remember it!" Spike happily exclaimed, as he nuzzled into Twilight's embrace. "Please, can we read it, Mom? And do the voices if you can, that's always the best part of the story."

"We'll see, my son," Twilight motherly cooed. "I don't want to lessen the importance of the story for Starlight. But I might sneak in a voice or two here and there. Come on, Starlight!"

Twilight led Spike and Starlight to the castle library, and when they were comfortably resting in their chosen places, she got the aforementioned book down from the shelf. Sitting down next to Spike, Twilight flipped open the book as she read aloud: "This is the story of a powerful unicorn named Snowfall Frost, who hated Hearth's Warming Eve. In fact, the whole Hearth's Warming season. That is, until one fateful Hearth's Warming eve with some unexpected guests. It all began many years ago in Canterlot. Every home in Canterlot was filled with holiday spirit. Every home... except one. That of Snowfall Frost," Pausing for a moment, she explained to Starlight. "Snowfall kind of looks like you, the descriptions of her even match your appearance."

"Funny how that works," Starlight commented. "Anyway, proceed."

Twilight did so, and she resumed narrating: "It was said of Snowfall that she was almost as studied as Star Swirl the Bearded. Almost, since everypony knows that Star Swirl was an expert at everything from transfiguration, dimensional calibration, teleportation—"

"We get it. Star Swirl's awesome. Move on." Spike grumbled.

"Right," Twilight reluctantly agreed, and then narrated: "The point is, Snowfall was also a powerful unicorn. She wanted to be perfect. And anything that got in the way of that was a waste of time. Thus, she came to despise Hearth's Warming, but especially Hearth's Warming Eve." And here is how the story unfolded as Twilight narrated it:

Snowfall did indeed resemble Starlight (at least in the minds of all hearing the story, after all it was from Twilight's perspective). But unlike Starlight, she wore a red coat with a white collar, a matching red top hat, and bright red spectacles. She devoted herself to perfecting her magic, and using it to create all sorts of things. Unfortunately, she required absolute concentration when doing so, which is why she often locked herself away in her study, and came out very rarely. But as misfortune would have it, today her concentration was interrupted rather rudely by the ringing of bells from outside! This caused her to drop a failed bulb on the ground, causing it to shatter into tiny pieces! "Well, that batch is ruined," She grumbled to herself, and then she loudly shouted. "Ash Hatchet!"

"Ash Hatchet was short for Ashley Hatchet, Snowfall's loyal assistant," Twilight narrated. "Think of her as Rainbow Dash, but a more finely dressed version of her." And then the story resumed:

"Yes boss? You rang?" Ash Hatchet asked politely.

Snowfall pointed to the floor where the pieces of the broken bulb lay, and instructed. "Get this mess cleaned up, now if you please. Those foolish ponies were ringing those blasted bells outside the window again and I lost my concentration! I have half a mind to lodge a complaint at the castle! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's all the racket this holiday brings with it!"

Ash only sighed, her boss was not the kind of pony you wanted to waste time arguing with. "No wonder nopony ever wanted to work with you," She grumbled under her breath. "Ponies actually enjoying Hearth's Warming Eve. Where did they ever get that crazy idea?"

"I heard that!" Snowfall snapped. "Least you forget, I took you on as my partner when nopony else would. And so soon after my old partner vanished without a trace. So unless you wish to see your pay docked, I suggest you keep your comments to yourself, Ash Hatchet! Today is nothing to celebrate if you ask me. Hearth's Warming Eve is nothing but a menace. A dangerous day for all of Equestria."

Despite the warning, Ash couldn't help but comment in protest. "Dangerous?! It's awesome! It's the day we remember how unicorns, pegasi, and Earth ponies came together in friendship to defeat the windigos! Don't tell you've forgotten that?"

"Bah humbug, that's what I say!" Snowfall retorted. "That silly old legend is the problem! Telling everypony that 'singing songs and being nice' will solve anything? I've spent years studying magic, and that's not how it works. That 'magic of friendship' they peddled never did anything for me, or anypony else as far as I could tell! I got to where I was through hard work and determination, not through believing in some old fairy tale that never held any relevance!"

Sweeping the bulb pieces into a dust pan and dropping it in the trash, Ash muttered to herself. "Think you might be missing the point there, boss."

Snowfall responded by teleporting towards Ash and rambling. "You know what I believe in, Ash Hatchet? Work hard, learn, and use your skills to better Equestria. It's done wonders for me, and that's a worthy goal for any pony to strive for if you ask me. So I advise you to keep the holiday of Hearth's Warming in your way, and allow me to keep it in mine."

"But you don't keep it, boss." Ash retorted.

Snowfall growled, glaring at her coworker. "You're right, I don't. I opt to keep busy at this wasteful time of year. So allow me to leave it alone then," Then she sarcastically added. "But, by all means, if you want to go home early, ignore all of the work you have, and spend the rest—"

But Ash had already taken off, flying right out the door as she shouted! "Sweet! Thanks, boss! Hope to see ya at your cousin Glow's big party!"

"Hey, I didn't say you could leave!" Snowfall complained, but of course it was too late for Ash to hear any of it. "Ugh! Great, now I'm forced to work alone on today of all days! I've no intention of being a guest at that party. Why, I require food and drink nomore than anypony else," She thought out loud. Looking out at the crowd below, she remarked coldly. "I hate Hearth's Warming Eve! Indeed, I hate the whole Hearth's Warming holiday! It's a holiday fit only for fools!"

"And let me guess?" A voice suddenly called out. "'Anyone who says otherwise deserves to be boiled in their own pudding, stuffed like a turkey, and buried with a stake of holly through their heart!' Am I right?"

Snowfall looked all around for the source of the noise, but couldn't find it. "Who said that?!" She demanded, stomping her hooves firmly on the ground. "Ash, I swear, this better not be one of your 'pranks'! It isn't funny!"

"Who's this 'Ash' you speak of?" The voice called again. "Perhaps you refer to my 'replacement'?"

"Enough with the suspense, who are you and what do you want with me?!" Snowfall demanded loudly. "Show yourself, unless you're afraid!"

But all of a sudden, a candle (which had provided the lone source of light for the room) blew out, as a strong gust of cold wind swept into the room and prompted Snowfall to shiver. "You mean, you don't remember me, Snowfall?" The voice asked, as darkness enveloped the room. "Oh, I'm crushed, really. How soon the high and mighty forget. Well, I suppose I can't blame you, it has been years, decades even since last we spoke." Suddenly, a glowing pale blue colored figure appeared, standing in the doorway as if it had just walked right through it. The figure wore a finely tailored suit and tie, complete with a top hat and a cane, but its entire body looked to be a mismatch of various creatures with not a single part matching another.

Snowfall recognized the figure at once, and nearly jumped back in surprise. "Mr. D? Is it really you?" She asked in a skeptical tone.

"Indeed it is," Mr. D replied, as he slowly walked forward. As he did so, it became possible to notice that all his arms and legs appeared to be chained up, and weighed down by heavy iron balls and concrete blocks. "Splendid to see you again, Snowfall."

"But, it can't be!" Snowfall protested. "You vanished long ago, and they found no trace of you anywhere, not even a note!"

"Well, as you can see, I'm alive now. At least, from a certain standpoint," Mr. D spoke. "I apologize for the crude state of my appearance, but this wasn't exactly my idea of a fashion statement. In fact, I'm kind of not supposed to be here. It's forbidden for me to speak to you in this physical plane of existence, naturally my time is very short. I suspect it's not long before the forces who gave me this form catch onto me, and force me to leave."

"Well I'm sorry to hear that, but I don't have much time to spare myself," Snowfall replied to Mr. D. "But by all means, why have you decided to grace my presence now of all times? What reason have you to show your face before me?"

Mr. D laughed coldly. "I thought you'd never ask, Snowfall," He proceed to draw close to her, so that it was possible to hear the clunking of his chains. "I've come to offer myself as a warning to you. You're heading down a dark path, one from which there is no going back. But it's not too late to save yourself, if you act now it may be possible to change your future."

"Okay, now I know I'm hearing things! You're sounding just like those phony fortune tellers that claim they can see the future!" Snowfall remarked, then she eyed Mr. D carefully, finally taking notice of the chains as she asked. "Say, what's with these wretched and unsightly chains?!"

"Oh, the chains? I was wondering when you would take notice, Snowfall," Mr. D answered. "You remember how as your partner, I followed your beliefs and methods to the letter, never once questioning them?" Snowfall nodded, and Mr. D added. "Well, I was wrong, and so are you! These chains are the price I pay, for I forged them in my life by my own actions. My own selfish and heinous acts of greed! Made them link by link, yard by yard, year after year! And I tell you, Snowfall, you wear such chains yourself, you just don't know it! They were as long as this when I left you, and if you could see the size and weight of them now you would turn as pale as me!"

Snowfall scoffed at the supposed "warning" from Mr. D. "Please, if I really had these chains I'm sure I'd know of their existence before now. Nightmare Night's not for almost a year still, stop trying to scare me."

Mr. D only shook his head. "I tell you, Snowfall Frost, the chains are there and they won't go away so easily! Everything you say and do is counted against you, as it was for me when I left this plane of existence behind! It's my burden, my penalty, my curse! Ponykind should've been my business, but instead I walked through clouds of my fellow beings with my eyes turned down. I am doomed to walk this path, chained up and restrained by my thoughtless, selfish ways! But take heed, for fate is on your side! My path may not change, but yours still might!"

"Please, no more of this, Mr. D! I don't scare easily, and I won't just abandon my ways because you say so!" Snowfall retorted. "Whatever awaits me in... wherever it is you are, I'll answer for it when the time comes. I appreciate having this talk though."

Mr. D groaned, as the chains began to pull on him as if they were alive! "Well, seems I've less time to speak to you than I thought," He told Snowfall. "But, I won't be the only one talking to you tonight! Listen carefully, Snowfall Frost! For tonight, you shall be visited by three spirits, haunted if you prefer!"

"Haunted?! I've already had enough of that nonsense!" Snowfall protested. "Why can't I just meet them now all at once, and be done with it?"

"That's not how it works, these spirits work in mysterious ways, Snowfall. Even more mysterious than I," Mr. D cautioned. "But I'd pay close attention to what they'll have to say, for without the help of the spirits, you can not hope to avoid the path that I made! Expect the first of 'em soon, you'll know when they'll make their presence known to you!" And then, just as mysteriously as he had arrived, Mr. D vanished without a trace. A rush of hot wind restored the candle to its bright, flaming state, and light came back to the workshop, as if Mr. D had never been there at all. And of course, had Snowfall told you, you wouldn't have believed her one bit.

Yet, it seemed that the whole event that had just transpired, was as real as real could be. Naturally, a visit from the supernatural was enough to leave Snowfall shaken, just a little. "Could he have been anymore cryptic and non informative?" Snowfall thought out loud, before she shook her head. "My senses must be playing tricks on me. That sure looked like Mr. D, but how I do know it was really him? Something I ate must've caused my mind to go crazy for a moment or two. Dare I say it, there was far more of a gravy than a grave about that spirit. Now, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?"

Of course, it didn't take long for Snowfall to be reminded of what had so enraged her earlier. The sound of bells jingling and ponies giggling could be heard for miles and miles. "Bah humbug!" Snowfall grumbled again. "I've said it once, and I'll say it a thousand times if I must! I hate Hearth's Warming Eve!" It was then that her unicorn mind began to scheme, and soon it had settled on an idea. Truly a most frightening and unpredictable idea, one that sounded good to her but to anyone else would've crazy and foolish. Yes, she got the most wonderfully AWFUL idea she had ever gotten! "In fact, all of Equestria would be better off if we just skipped the day altogether. And luckily, I'm just the pony to do it." And so it was that Snowfall went about singing, while scheming and preparing a cauldron, filling it with such things as a discarded Hearth's Warming reeth, a toy from a child that had been tossed aside without fanfare, and all sorts of chemicals in a rainbow of colors. And what was it that Snowfall sang? Well, no one could tell for certain, but all agree that it went something like this:

'Happy Hearth's Warming!', they say in the street.

'Happy Hearth's Warming!', oh they think they're so sweet.

Words said so often that they lack any real meaning.

So why should I join in when I could be intervening?

Everypony loves this cursed holiday.

But would they be better off with it out of the way?

Well, okay.

Say goodbye to the holiday.

With my magic, I'll erase it!

The greatest gift that I give today.

And everypony will have to face it!

No more little games for you to play.

After you say goodbye to the holiday!

Goodbye, Hearth's Warming, you had a good run.

Goodbye, Hearth's Warming, it's over, you're done!

Finally set free from your forced celebrations.

Now's there no need to reply to your trite invitations.

The calendar shorter by a single day.

But is my magic up to the test?

Time to see, I can't delay!

Say goodbye to the holiday!

Prepare the spell, no hesitation!

All memory shall fade away!

See Equestria's new transformation!

And no more shall anypony say.

'Happy Hearth's Warming'... after today!

Some even say that Snowfall laughed rather sinisterly, ignoring the ominous projections in her cauldron. But as none were there to witness the actual events, they could only speculate with no real proof. Maybe Snowfall had just sang without care, or perhaps she'd payed no mind to whatever she saw. Perhaps she had hesitated briefly, for one reason or another. Yet in the end, whatever reasons she might have had for her decision to erase Hearth's Warming from existence, they were enough to overpower any concerns or doubts the powerful unicorn might have had.

Standing over her simmering cauldron, her magic charged and ready, Snowfall proudly proclaimed to herself! "Once the spell is cast, all of Equestria will be better off, and they'll have me to thank for it! Congratulations, Snowfall Frost! You're a genius!"

"Wait just a minute!" Starlight spoke up, interrupting the story. "So, let me see if I've got this straight so far. Snowfall doesn't like Hearth's Warming Eve so she decides to just cast a spell to get rid of it altogether? That seems a little extreme."

"Says the pony who tried to make everypony the same by replacing their cutie marks with equal signs among other things." Spike mumbled, as he sipped his hot coco.

Alas, his remarks didn't go unnoticed. "I heard that, you scale covered brat!" Starlight exclaimed, narrowing her eyes and blowing steam out of her nostrils.

"Hey, I was just making a statement. Your past's not really squeaky clean, and you know it," Spike commented. "Personally, I'd say you're lucky you aren't currently spending the holiday in jail."

"Oh, and you think you're so perfect?!" Starlight remarked, rolling her eyes. "Twilight told me about your little rampage through town a few years back, and all because you got presents on your birthday besides a book! You should be lucky that your mom lets you open presents early, the first time I tried to do that I got grounded!"

"It's called 'a tradition', just as it's tradition to celebrate Hearth's Warming with friends and family!" Spike remarked back. "Far as I'm concerned, your behavior right now could teach Snowfall some lessons on grouchiness during the holiday!"

"Why you little-" Starlight began, lighting her horn up ominously!

Twilight set the book down and quickly intervened. "Stop it, both of you! Today of all days is NOT the time to be fighting!" Shushing them both with a wing, Twilight explained. "Both of you have done bad things in your past, and neither of you have the right to judge because of it. Starlight, Spike is right that you of all ponies are far from the right to judge Snowfall for such rash behavior. And Spike, you know better than to bring up Starlight's past like that. Anyway, Starlight, I think what my son was trying to get at, is that everypony has their reasons for doing things. Even Snowfall. And if I could continue the story, then we might just find out what they are. So, if there are no more 'interruptions'..." She glared harshly at Spike and Starlight.

Spike and Starlight quickly clammed up. "I'm fine." Starlight answered.

"Proceed." Spike encouraged, as he returned to his spot and began to sip his hot coco again.

"Alright then," Twilight said firmly, sitting back down in her reading chair. "Now, get ready, Starlight. This is where things get interesting. Anyway, Snowfall was all set to cast her spell that would erase Hearth's Warming Eve for all time. When a voice from the hearth caught her attention." And the story resumed from there:

"You sure you wanna go through with this, Snowfall?" An unfamiliar voiced suddenly called out, seemingly originating from the bubbling cauldron resting above the hearth.

Already a little on edge from her encounter earlier with Mr. D, Snowfall nervously answered. "Huh?! Who's there?! Who said that?!"

Just then, there was a seeming apple shaped bubble that rose from the cauldron, followed shortly by a ghost like figure that seemed to take the appearance of a pony, one all dressed up in cowpony attire. "The Spirit of Hearth's Warmin' Past, that's who. And you and me have got to have us a little chat." The spirit spoke, rising out of the cauldron and appearing in front of Snowfall.

Snowfall was surprised but for a second. "A spirit?!" She exclaimed, before she recalled Mr. D's' warning' from earlier. Even so, it seemed too convenient. Adopting a suspicious look, Starlight eyed the spirit and demanded. "I didn't cast any spirit summoning spell. What are you doing here? Don't tell me you're the spirit whose coming was foretold to me."

"Right as rain, Snowfall," The spirit laughed, as she phased right through Snowfall, causing the unicorn to shiver as though she'd been hit by a cold gust of wind from outside. "And to answer your question, it's simple. You don't really think a spell like that would get by without some powerful forces noticin'? Suffice it to say, you've got your attention, Snowfall Frost, and we've got some pretty strong opinions on this here spell of yours ya got brewin'."

"'We'?" Snowfall commented, though part of her was certain who The Spirit of Hearth's Warming past was referring to.

Snowfall's suspicions seemed to be confirmed a moment later, when the spirit turned to her and answered. "The other spirits. Don't worry, they'll be along in a bit. But for now, it's just you and me. So let's get a move on. We got a ton to see and barely any time to see it."

Snowfall only laughed in protest, even though her top hat had landed on her head (she had taken it off earlier while working on her spell). "Beg your pardon, spirit? I'm not going anywhere. I've got a spell to cast, and I don't need a history lesson about Hearth's Warming Eve, thank you."

The spirit only pushed open the study window as she answered. "We aren't goin' to the past to learn about the holiday. We're goin' to learn about you. 'Bout where it is ya went wrong. Now, hold on tight, it's gonna be a bumpy ride."

Snowfall yelped, as she felt a lasso suddenly tie up her legs and cause her to trip. Worse yet, she found herself being pulled by The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past, who was leading Snowfall right towards the window! Snowfall yelped, certain she would fall. Yet, as if by magic, not only did she not fall once she'd cleared the window, but the biting winter wind no longer bothered her. It was as if she didn't exist at all.

Unconcerned by Snowfall's protests, The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past just sang aloud as she led Snowfall along. But Snowfall was the only one who heard, and to this day it is said that the song she heard went something like this:

As a young thing, life sure is somethin'.

You go 'bout makin' choices large and small.

Always growin' like a seedlin'.

And playin' is like dreamin'.

And then before you know it, big and tall.

And every little bitty choice you make.

Sends you down a path to who you are today.

So let's take a little trip down memory lane.

And see just what the past has to say.

The song was interrupted briefly, as Snowfall and the spirit touched down lightly in the snow. But things had changed. They were no longer in the hustle and bustle of Canterlot just before Hearth's Warming Day, they were now clearly in a tree filled countryside, snow covering the branches for miles and miles. The only trace of civilization in this remote area, was a small schoolhouse that seemed to be brand new, and had clearly not existed just a moment ago.

"Now, tell me, Snowfall Frost," The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past spoke up. "This place ring a bell?"

Snowfall examined the building carefully, taking in every little detail. The chalkboard, the shelves, the desks, the floorboards, the windows, and of course the fine brick walls. Everything about them seemed familiar. And then it hit Snowfall, almost as hard as a snowball! "I... I don't believe it!" She exclaimed. "This is the old schoolhouse I attended when I was but a filly! Only it looks brand spanking new!"

Just then, Snowfall heard some giggles, and turning her head she saw a familiar purplish-grey coated filly with the most innocent looking eyes of moderate persian blue, a two toned purple mane and tail with light grayish-aqua colored highlights, with the mane styled into two short pigtails. The filly wore a white ten gallon hat and matching boots, as well as a cute little light purple colored shirt with a red bow. Following close behind the filly, were four ponies of similar height (and likely age). A snow white coated earth pony colt with blue eyes, a light blue coated unicorn colt also with blue eyes, a pinkish-purple coated unicorn mare with purple eyes, and a midnight blue coated pegasus mare with light blue eyes, all darted past (each dressed for the cold weather around them with matching hats, boots, and scarves)! "Hey, I know those ponies!" Snowfall realized! "Brian! Sam! Rebecca! Tabitha!" But none of them acknowledged Snowfall's presence, they seemed content to chase after the filly version of her.

"They're just reflections of your past, you're but an observer to it all, Snowfall," The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past explained. "They can neither see or hear you. That's the rules for visitin' the past, ya can look but don't touch. Messin' with the past's a big no no, all kind of bad things can happen even if ya have good intentions," Watching the young Snowfall Frost rush past, the spirit then cooed. "Aw, look how cute you were back then. Looks like you're not too upset it's Hearth's Warmin' Eve either. Now let's see where and when that all changed." And she began to sing:

The seeds of the past.

They grow pretty fast.

Just look at who you were back then.

The seeds, as they grow.

Look what they can show.

Reveal the truth time and again.

The scene changed, and now a young Snowfall was inside the classroom, hanging decorations. All of a sudden, she hung an ornament on a unicorn stallion who had a rather pronounced frown, and who seemed to have little space between his nose and his mouth. He was a greenish-grey in color, wore a dark black coat with two buttons, had eyes a disapproving black in color, and a grayish-green mane and tail that hung limp against his body. "Just what do you think you're doing, Snowfall?" The stallion demanded in a bitter tone. "Slacking off again, are we?"

Young Snowfall shook her head. "Of course not, I'm decorating the classroom for Hearth's Warming Eve, Professor Flintheart."

"Ah yes, I see the holiday has come once again," Professor Flintheart remarked, using his dull dark purple magic to pull the star shaped ornament off his horn. "And for you that seems to be an excuse to neglect your lessons. If I were you, I wouldn't waste my time with the holiday, not if you truly wish to be successful in life."

"Whatever do you mean, Professor?" Snowfall innocently asked. "Don't you celebrate the holiday with family and friends too?"

"I have no family, and you're the only pony who's ever so much as taken an interest in what I have to say. Were this school not so desperate for teachers, they'd want nothing to do with a 'stick in the mud' like me," Professor Flintheart grumbled. "Let me ask you, Snowfall. You said you wanted to learn to be a powerful unicorn, did you not?"

"I do!" Snowfall nodded happily.

"And do you remember what I said is the way that ones becomes a powerful unicorn?" Professor Flintheart asked his student.

Snowfall cleared her throat and recited from memory. "Work hard, learn, and use your skills to better Equestria. You say that all the time."

The present Snowfall tried not to notice the look The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past was giving her at the moment.

"Ah, I see my ways are not entirely lost on the current generation after all. A pity that the rest of your classmates are as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach," Professor Flintheart commented, holding out the ornament from before. "But tell me. How do these things help you to learn magic?"

"Oh, that's easy, professor!" Snowfall eagerly replied. "I want to be strong enough to stop windigos and help ponies!"

But to Snowfall's surprise, Professor Flintheart coldly told her in response. "Snowfall, I'm so disappointed in you. I thought you of all ponies would know the truth."

"About what? Please don't tell me Santa Hooves isn't real." Snowfall pleaded.

"Of course he's not real, you're old enough to know that," Professor Flintheart lectured. "But Santa Hooves isn't the only thing you're too old to still be believing in. I've never met a windigo in all my life, and neither has anypony else."

Snowfall's heart sank, why hadn't anypony ever told her this before. "But... but..." She stammered. "What about the tale of Equestria's founding, and how the three tribes came together to fend off the icy touch of the windigos? Surely, that's real!"

"Please, don't embarrass yourself any further, Snowfall," Professor Flintheart scolded in a bitter tone. "That's just a story we tell little ponies to make them behave. The three tribes did unite eventually, but not over some make believe ice horses that don't exist! Real magic is something that takes time to learn, it's not something you can just put off for a nonsense holiday," He proceeded to use his magic, and shatter the ornament into a million tiny pieces. Poor Snowfall could feel her little heart breaking in a similar way. Pushing the box of decorations towards Snowfall, Professor Flintheart turned his back on the filly and coldly told her. "So, do you see now? There's no time for fun and games if you wish to be as powerful as I am or even Starswirl the Bearded. But, it's your choice, Snowfall. Either spend your time learning to become a powerful unicorn or play with your toys and make nothing of yourself." And with that, he departed, leaving Snowfall alone with her thoughts and broken heart.

The present Snowfall and The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past, then watched the terrible scene unfold as a young Snowfall made the fateful decision to turn her back on the holiday that had once brought her great happiness. All the while, The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past sang:

Then some distress, words so careless.

Standin' there, you don't know what to do.

Feelin' helpless, you can't make it hurt less.

So you go and change your point of view.

And in that moment, though you didn't know it.

Your defenses set up walls you built to last.

Leading to the pony you've become today.

And the spell that you're about to cast.

It all comes from your past.

Seeing her young self start down a path of bitterness, Snowfall found herself unable to keep from singing:

The seeds of the past.

We grow up so fast.

But some hurts never go away.

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past then sang:

The seeds, as they grow.

But this we can't let go.

All tied to this one holiday.

The years performed their terrible dance in the blink of an eye, and soon Snowfall could see that schoolhouse begin to age before her. The paint dulled and chipped away, cracks and splinters appeared in the floorboards, dust and cobwebs began to gather in corners. Yet through it all, young Snowfall remained devoted to her studies, even as the rest of her classmates laughed and played.

Before long, Snowfall was no longer that heartbroken little filly who'd been told the alledged truth about Hearth's Warming. She was now a young mare, accepting her degree from Professor Flintheart on whom the years had not been kind. His mane and tail were now a ghostly white in color, his body seemed wrinkly and shallow, and his eyes barely held any color to them. Yet he still seemed to have the strength to strut across the stage and give Snowfall her diploma, all the while giving her a reassuring pat on the back and what seemed to be an approving smile.

Then, a moment later, there was a rush of wind and the scene changed! Snowfall Frost now found herself looking out on a street in the city of Manehattan, a street that she hadn't seen in years. Yet it was still instantly recognizable to her, as was the strange looking building with funny looking smokestacks which The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past was now looking at. "So, Snowfall Frost. Do you recognize this place at all?"

"I sure do," Snowfall nodded. "But I don't believe it! It's the site of my first job, 'Crazy Al's Rubber Chicken Factory and Emporium'!"

"That's right, and it looks like it's Hearth's Warmin' Eve again." The spirit pointed out, as Snowfall's attention was drawn to the lamps that began to light up one by one, bathing the snow covered city of Manehattan in their glow. Just then, the door to the factory swung open, and out stepped an earth pony stallion with a coat of light brilliant gamboge, and green eyes. He wore a bright yellow business suit, and a powdered wig (even though it was clear he didn't actually need one, especially when it clashed with his brown colored tail that was all nice and poofy).

"Hey, it's Crazy Al himself!" Snowfall exclaimed. "I'd almost forgotten he loved to dress up all funny looking."

Crazy Al was admiring the lamp lights, and how well they shined off the white snow amidst the darkness of night. "Ah, tis dusk and the lamp lighters are hard at work once again," He commented. "The perfect time for a rocking Hearth's Warming Eve party!" And with that he stepped back inside the factory and shut the door.

Inside the factory, work had all but stopped. The machines were slowly winding down and grinding to a halt, but the workers hadn't left for home. They were all gathering in the nearby emporium, finely decorated just for the holiday. Lights were hung from the ceiling and along the walls, a large table full of delicious goodies and tempting drinks rested off to the left, and in the center of the room was a massive dance floor, at the end of which stood a giant podium with a microphone.

Tapping on the mic, Crazy Al spoke to all who had gathered. "I thank you all for your hard work throughout the year. But here at Crazy Al's, you're more than just my employees, you're my family! And it's always been a tradition in my family to host a gigantic Hearth's Warming party on the night of Hearth's Warming Eve! So, that's what I'm doing! Feel free to stuff your faces full, drink to your heart's content, and dance your horseshoes off!"

"Except some of us don't wear horseshoes!" A familiar wacky voice called out, soon revealing itself as belonging to a creature with all sorts of mismatched body parts.

"Mr. D!" Snowfall exclaimed, even though she was but an observer to the events. "I'd almost forgotten, this is where we first met. Eventually, we went into business together, that is until his sudden disappearance left me partnerless."

"Sounds as if you two were close," The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past commented, and then winked as she added. "But, he's not the only one with an important role in your life that showed up to this party tonight. Watch closely, Snowfall. I have a feelin' you're about to see another old acquaintance."

Snowfall looked down at the ongoing party, spotting a younger version of herself sitting by herself in a corner and flipping through a black spined book of some kind. She'd long since stopped wearing her mane in two short pigtails, instead opting to let part of it hang loose like a curl. Just then, Crazy Al approached her. "Hey, Snowfall. The party's in full swing! You should be out there making merry and having yourself a good time!"

"But Crazy Al, surely taking tonight of all nights off will cost this place money!" Snowfall protested. "We're barely staying afloat as it is! What if this causes us to go under and we're forced to go out of business?!"

Crazy Al only laughed, patting Snowfall on the back with a hoof. "Ah, you worry too much, Snowfall! I may have hired you to be my bookkeeper, but as your boss I'm telling you to lighten up and enjoy yourself for an evening. I've been doing this for years and the factory and emporium have been chugging along just fine. So throw those troubles away, and get out there and be part of the celebration! That's an order!"

"But sir-" Snowfall protested.

"I'm not taking no for an answer, Snowfall," Crazy Al replied, scooping up the account book and shutting it. "You let me worry about numbers, and you worry about whether we've got enough punch to keep everypony here satisfied. Even Mr. D's having a ball, in fact he's the life of the party right now!"

"How low can I go?!" Mr. D playfully chanted, as he snapped his talons and his neck began to bend back, while he tried to make his way through an ever lowering limbo bar.

Reluctantly, Snowfall got up and joined the party. But the joyous celebration only made her feel like even more of an outcast. This went against everything Professor Flintheart had taught her, and Snowfall was still broken up at the fact that he'd recently passed away from a sudden and unexpected illness. She had hoped he would live long enough to see her become the most powerful unicorn since Starswirl the Bearded.

Snowfall was so distracted by all of this, that she didn't notice when she bumped into an earth pony stallion with a reddish coat, and a brilliant orange mane and tail styled to absolute perfection. She instantly gazed upward, and found herself lost in his moderate sap green eyes. He had on a fine red dress suit with yellow trim, and even wore a matching top hat. "Oh, terribly sorry, ma'am," The stallion apologized in a gentle, country sounding tone of voice. "Didn't see ya there. Hope I didn't hurt ya."

Snowfall found herself blushing a bit, mostly in embarrassment. "Oh no, it was totally my fault. I forgot to watch where I was going," She apologized. "The name's Snowfall Frost."

"Peter, ma'am," Peter greeted, tipping his hat to Snowfall. "I must say, ya look pretty underdressed for the occasion. Ya ain't got anythin' on, not even a tie."

"W-well, i-in my defense. I wasn't exactly expecting to take part in the festivities tonight." Snowfall answered.

Peter laughed a little. "On Hearth's Warmin' Eve of all nights? Snowfall, you crack me up. Come on, let's you and I have ourselves the time of our lives."

"I'm... not really in the mood for celebrating, Peter. Thank you for the offer though." Snowfall insisted, slowly backing away. But unfortunately, she ended up stumbling and falling forward! Luckily, Peter caught her in his hooves and helped her up.

"Well, now ya owe me for savin' you from what would've been a most humilatin' fall," Peter teased. "I hope you ain't got three left hooves, 'cause I was hopin' to ask ya to dance."

"Dance? But, I don't know how!" Snowfall sheepishly admitted.

"Is that so? Well, no time like the present to learn. Come on!" Peter said firmly, and he pulled Snowfall toward the dance floor.

Snowfall wanted to protest and break away from Peter, but she just couldn't bring herself to do so. Something about him drew her to him. Besides, it was rude to turn down an offer from such a well groomed and behaved pony. And Crazy Al had told her to have a good time. One dance wouldn't hurt.

Yet as the night wore on, one dance became two, then three, then four, and then five. And with each dance, Snowfall found herself growing more and more attached to Peter, the blush on her face becoming harder and harder not to notice.

All of a sudden, the scene changed once again. Now it was the day before Hearth's Warming, and Snowfall was with Peter in a snow covered field just outside the city of Canterlot. Yet, it was quickly clear to the present Snowfall, that things were far from pleasant and cheerful.

"Snowfall, why are ya delayin' our marriage for yet another year? It's the third year in a row!" Peter complained loudly. "I'm tired of waitin', I want to get hitched now while there's still a chance! We ain't gettin' any younger ya know."

Snowfall said to Peter in reply. "I know, Peter. But business continues to be very poor right now, I'm barely making ends meet for the both of us as it is. And I want our wedding to be perfect, you deserve only the best."

"That's what ya've been sayin' for the past three years, Snowfall!" Peter grumbled. "Seems like ya keep pushin' it off and pushin' it off. Please, let me come to work with ya! I'm sure I can find a good payin' job somewhere in the city!"

"No, Peter, I can't ask you to do that," Snowfall insisted. "Please, just one more year, I beg of you! I've just entered into a partnership with Mr. D. You remember him from Crazy Al's Rubber Chicken Factory and Emporium, right?"

"Eeyup, sure was nice of ya to give him a job after Crazy Al announced his retirement and shuddered the factory," Peter nodded. "But I just don't know, Snowfall. Seems like ya don't love me as much as ya love money, and I don't want to have to compete for your heart."

"Now that's just crazy talk, Peter!" Snowfall protested. "I love you!"

Peter was silent for a moment, as he looked into Snowfall's eyes. But then he got up from the bench he'd been sitting on and began to walk away. He hadn't gotten far though, when he suddenly turned around, looked right at Snowfall, and said to her. "Ya did once, a long time ago. I'm sorry, Snowfall, but I can't be part of somethin' if there's really nothin' between us." Then he turned around again, and trotted off over the horizon.

Snowfall took off running as fast as she could, trying to catch up to Peter! But she hadn't gotten very far when she stumbled in the snow, and Peter vanished! Tears welled up in her eyes, as she slowly picked herself up, the young mare feeling heartbroken all over again!

Present Snowfall had been watching the entire scene unfold, and she had tears in her eyes as well. Turning to The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past, she said angrily. "Spirit, why do you insist on tormenting and torturing me so?!"

"It ain't my doin', Snowfall Frost," The spirit replied with a shake of her head. "I told you, these are projections of your past. Obviously, you've had a history of bad memories associated with the holiday. And the only way ya can move on from 'em, is to confront 'em. You really think that castin' a spell to erase the holiday from existence will magically make all that pain and sufferin' go away?"

Snowfall growled and bit her teeth, narrowing her eyes in anger. "Please, spirit, show me no more! Leave my sight at once! I closed the door on my past long ago and for good reason, I certainly don't enjoy having it reopened!"

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past reluctantly obliged. "Very well, Snowfall. If that is what you wish. But don't forget, there are still two more spirits you have yet to meet with. And I'd say both of them have some advice that's worth listenin' to. Hopefully, you'll heed their advice before it's too late."

"So, what happens next?" Starlight asked Twilight, having become intrigued with the direction of the story. "And are you sure that this isn't all some story you just made up to teach me a lesson? I mean, is it really a coincidence that all the characters talk like ponies I know?"

"Trust me, I felt the same way the first couple of times I heard it. But any resemblance to any ponies past or present is strictly coincidental." Spike told Starlight, sipping from his chocolate again.

Just then, from down the hall there came the sound of a crash followed by some angry shouts, and a innocent, bubbly voice calling out. "Oops, my bad!"

Twilight sighed, as she got up from her chair and set the book aside. "I'd better go see what all the commotion is about," She said to Starlight. "I'm sorry, looks like the rest of story will have to wait."

"But that's not fair! You can't just stop a story right when it was getting interesting!" Starlight protested, appearing in front of Twilight. "Come on, I really wanna know how it all ends! Does Snowfall Frost succeed in erasing Hearth's Warming forever?! And who are the other spirits?!"

"Curious to know, aren't we?" Twilight commented, and when Starlight nodded she said to her student. "Tell you what, Starlight. I'll go down there and see if my help is needed with whatever that disturbance was. Hopefully, Derpy didn't break anything too important or expensive. And once I'm sure everything's under control and there are no big disasters that need tending to, I'll come back here and we can finish the story. How's that sound?"

"Great, I guess." Starlight sighed.

"Good," Twilight smiled, placing the book back on the shelf. "I shouldn't be long, Starlight. Just be patient and I'll be back as soon as possible!" And then Twilight exited the library and headed to the hall to check on the party.

"Ah, a break, excellent," Spike spoke up. "That hot chocolate went right through me. I'll be back in a minute, Starlight!" And the little dragon raced away as fast as his legs would let him.

"So I'm all alone again, and on Hearth's Warming Eve no less," Starlight thought to herself with a sigh. "Just great."

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