• 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 E9: A Hearth's Warming Tail, Part 2 (What If?)

Author's Note:

I said I'd bring up some of the other things that people fault this episode for here, so let's get to them.

Some argue that it's hard to sympathize with Snowfall Frost when she steals a child's toy, and that's definitely a big line to cross. But Scrooge was hardly the model of sympathy himself, as he refuses to give to charity and claims that if the poor are to die "their deaths will decrease the surplus population". To say nothing of how poorly he treats Bob Cratchet and his cousin Fred.

Next up is the arguement that the three spirits don't connect, since while members of the mane six fill the ghosts of past and present, Luna is the ghost of future (or yet to come as it is often addressed and referred to). As a counter arguement, I'd like to bring up the first animated adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" that was a re-enactment using popular fictional characters to fill the spots. In that adaptation, known as Mickey's Christmas Carol, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, are filled by Jimminy Cricket, Willie the Giant (marking his re-debut after only previously being seen in Mickey and the Beanstalk from Fun and Fancy Free in 1946), and Pete respectively. And they have no real ties to each other, they are cast in the roles solely because they fit the personalities of the ghosts. So if no one bats an eye there, I don't see why the same can't work here. Yes, you could put Cadence and Celestia in Applejack and Pinkie Pie's places, but Applejack and Pinkie Pie fit the themes of past and present very strongly with their character motivations and personalities. As for Luna, most likely she occupies the role due to her appearance in "For Whom The Sweetie Belle Toils" (the show's previous attempt at a "A Christmas Carol" plot) where she shows Sweetie Belle what the future holds if she doesn't change her ways. I did keep some of the initial silence, as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is usually potrayed as silent (the exception being Mickey's Christmas Carol when Pete reveals himself as the Ghost of Christmas Future), often like a grim reaper figure.

Then of course there's the complaint about names like Flutter Holly, Merry, and Snow Dash, which of course are very poor names. Some even say that this makes the entire tale a fanfic that Twilight wrote, just to force Starlight to accept Hearth's Warming Eve. That's an interesting, but very outlandish theory that seems to be solely based on the names and Twilight doing her Pinkie Pie voice (a joke about how Tara was originally going to voice Pinkie Pie, before Lauren Faust insisted she voice Twilight Sparkle instead). And in the end, Starlight is still given the choice to participate or not participate of her own free will.

In regards to Soarin being Mrs. Cratchet and Scootaloo being Tiny Tim. Even though SoarinDash is among the ships I support, in no way would I say that him appearing in one role in one episode automatically means he and Rainbow Dash are together in the show. It's simply that, of the stallions that could be used as a believeable partner to Rainbow Dash, Big Macintosh was already taken, so the next available option was Soarin who debuted (albeit unnamed) in Rainbow's fantasy in "The Ticket Master". And if Veggietales can get away with just making Tiny Tim a sickly child, but not a criple (their version of "A Christmas Carol" was An Easter Carol), surely the same could work for Scootaloo.

With any luck, I'll get the next chapter done by the end of the week, and if this current trend holds I should have the entire volume done by the end of next week. But of course, that's a big "If" that depends on factors like inspiration, free time for writing, and any real life issues that could pop up.

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)

When last we left our main characters, they were in the midst of celebrating a wonderful holiday. The holiday of Hearth's Warming, Hearth's Warming Eve to be precise.

Twilight was hosting a massive party at her castle, and the entire town of Ponyville was firmly wrapped up in the spirit of the holiday. Making merry and singing songs. Everything seemed to be perfect, that is until Twilight had asked a simple question to her student, Starlight. "Ready to celebrate your first Hearth's Warming Eve here in Ponyville with all your friends?"

Starlight had responded by saying. "I was thinking I might just skip it."

Both Twilight and Spike had gasped upon hearing this, and Spike had quickly exclaimed! "Skip Hearth's Warming Eve?!"

"I just find it all a little silly. It's never done anything for me." Starlight had answered.

"Well, maybe you just haven't heard the right Hearth's Warming Eve story yet!" Twilight had suggested, quickly revealing the story that she had in mind. "'A Hearth's Warming Tail'! It's been a Sparkle family tradition for generations to read it on Hearth's Warming Eve."

And so it was that Twilight had taken to reading the story to Spike and Starlight. And the story so far had gone like this: "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."

"Bah humbug, that's what I say!" Snowfall complained about the holiday. "You know what I believe in, Ash Hatchet? Work hard, learn, and use your skills to better Equestria. I hate Hearth's Warming Eve! Indeed, I hate the whole Hearth's Warming holiday!"

But from out of the blue, an old acquaintance by the name of Mr. D had showed up, dressed in chains and concrete blocks, and he warned Snowfall. "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! And I tell you, Snowfall, you wear such chains yourself, you just don't know it! Listen carefully, Snowfall Frost! For tonight, you shall be visited by three spirits, haunted if you prefer!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!"

Though frightened a little by Mr. D's unexpected visit, Snowfall set about erasing the holiday anyway. To the point where she was ready to cast a spell to eliminate the holiday forever. But suddenly, The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past appeared, taking Snowfall along on a trip back to her past. "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'. So let's get a move on. We got a ton to see and barely any time to see it."

The trip to Snowfall's past had revealed a lot of memories that Snowfall had all but forgotten. Most of them unpleasant, for there was the memory of her foalhood teacher, Professor Flintheart, who had broken the innocence of young Snowfall Frost by telling her. "Snowfall, I'm so disappointed in you. I thought you of all ponies would know the truth. I've never met a windigo in all my life, and neither has anypony else. Real magic is something that takes time to learn, it's not something you can just put off for a nonsense holiday," And after breaking an ornament Snowfall had hung on his horn, the professor had told Snowfall. "Either spend your time learning to become a powerful unicorn or play with your toys and make nothing of yourself."

Next, Snowfall visited the memories of her first job. "'Crazy Al's Rubber Chicken Factory and Emporium'!" She'd exclaimed upon recognizing the building in Manehattan. And from there she'd witnessed the scenes of her falling for an earth pony stallion named Peter, only for Peter to break off their relationship some years later.

"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." Peter had told Snowfall.

"Now that's just crazy talk, Peter! I love you!" Snowfall had insisted, but alas Peter left her anyway.

Heartbroken all over again at reliving such a painful memory, the present Snowfall told The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past! "Please, spirit, show me no more! Leave my sight at once!"

"Very well, Snowfall," The spirit had replied. "But don't forget, there are still two more spirits you have yet to meet with."

But the story had stopped there, as Twilight had to leave to deal with a disturbance in the main hall. Before she left though, she told Starlight. "I'll go down there and see if my help is needed with whatever that disturbance was. 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 had sighed, and was soon left alone as Twilight went to tend to the commotion, and Spike departed to use the little dragon's room. All the unicorn could do, was wait for Twilight and Spike to come back, so that she could hear how the rest of the story would pan out. Luckily, she doesn't have long to wait. For Twilight and Spike are about to come back.

Twilight came back into the library, whistling a cheerful little tune to herself. Spike and Starlight were already waiting for her. "Okay, that took a little longer than I would've liked. But I managed to get everything sorted out a-okay," She announced, as she sank into her comfy chair and pulled the book down from the shelf on which it rested with her magic. "Now, where was I?" She asked, taking a moment to get her bearings. She quickly remembered though, and with a smile she said. "Ah yes, we were just getting to the part where Snowfall returns from her trip to the past."

"Ooh, I love this next part! It's always my favorite!" Spike said happily. "Trust me, Starlight! This is when things really get interesting!"

"If you say so, Spike," Starlight shrugged with uncertainty. "I can't believe I've gone my whole life never even hearing of this story."

"It is hard to find, admittedly. It was written long ago, so not everything about is completely relevant to today's day and age," Twilight explained. "It took me months to track down a copy for the library, I almost had to ask my mom if I could borrow the one she keeps at my old home in Canterlot," Then, opening up the book, Twilight narrated. "The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Past vanished as mysteriously as she had arrived. In the blink of an eye, Snowfall was back to the present and was alone once again." And here is how the story progressed from that point:

Snowfall looked all around, but found neither hide nor hair of the spirit. Part of her was relieved, but another part of her was confused. It seemed as if not a moment had passed since she'd inexplicably been pulled out of her study window. Her bubbling cauldron and roaring hearth remained untouched, as if nothing had happened. Was it possible she'd just dreamt the whole thing? But if that was true, why had it felt so real and so painful?

"S-spirit? Are you still there?" Snowfall called out in uncertainty. "What am I supposed to—" But Snowfall's thoughts were suddenly interrupted, as she noticed a gigantic present that the unicorn could've sworn wasn't there a moment ago. Using her magic, Snowfall examined the tag. It just read in large letters: 'To Snowfall Frost'. Was this the calling card of the second spirit? Well, there was only one way to know for sure. Against her better judgement, Snowfall enveloped the pink ribbon on top with her magic and undid it.

Without warning, the ground began to shake as without warning there came a thunderous boom! Even though it was just confetti launching into the air, the noise was loud enough to cause vibrations and give Snowfall a good scare! She could've sworn she'd heard the sound of cannon fire, but that couldn't be, there was not a cannon to be seen.

Then the ground shook anew, as a tall, shadowy figure emerged from within the box. "Greetings, Snowfall Frost!" The figure spoke in a loud and booming voice. "Be not afraid, for it is only I, the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents! Come and get to know me better!" It was then that the spirit revealed its true form, a not so giant pink coated earth pony, dressed up in a fine yellow suit.

Snowfall was frightened but for a moment, before she corrected. "Um, don't you mean 'Present', like the time?"

However, the spirit answered back in a loud (but not thunderous) voice! "No! Presents! You know: Toys, Hearth's Warming dolls... Here, want a cupcake?"

Snowfall accepted the items without fanfare, as she groaned. "Fine, 'Presents'," She proceeded to toss all of the items she'd been given into the nearest wastebasket. "All of the pointless things that ponies waste their time on," She emphasized. "Far as I'm concerned, today's generation of children is spoiled rotten! I never got a single toy or doll as a present, yet I turned out just fine! Gifts are a waste of time and money if you ask me," Eyeing the spirit, she then asked. "And just what was it with you looking so big earlier? Is that your true form, or just an illusion?"

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents only laughed, then explained. "I can change my shape and size at will, Snowfall Frost. For you have never seen the likes of me before, nor have you entertained any of my older sisters. I just figured intimidation wouldn't be necessary for a pony as misguided as you. Besides, it means I don't have to throw my voice and get all scratchy. And this way we can get to know each other better, or did I already say that?" Reaching into the wastebasket, she retrieved all the discarded gifts and told Snowfall. "You shouldn't just throw these thoughtful gifts away, they were given with love and care. And some of them cost nearly everything the buyer had."

"Like I said, a waste of time and money," Snowfall scoffed. "If you're trying to convince me otherwise, don't bother. Only reinforces my belief that this is a wasteful time of year. A time for fools who find themselves older and not a single bit more to their name."

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents just laughed again. "Oh Snowfall, you're so silly. It's not what the gift is that matters most, it's what the gift means!"

"But it doesn't mean anything. It's all just stuff, rather pointless stuff at that!" Snowfall protested.

"Exactly! Well except for the pointless part," The spirit answered. "They don't mean anything by themselves, but when given to another they can take on a whole new meaning. For example, sometimes a cupcake means 'I love you!' Or a toy means 'Hi, how're you doing?!' Or sometimes a book means 'Your mane looks amazing!'" As she spoke a scarf appeared around the spirit's neck, and she added. "And sometimes a scarf means... Well, a scarf usuallymeans you look cold. That one's easy. But even that can have different meanings when done by different ponies. Like if one were to put a blanket on somepony to keep them warm at night."

"I don't understand anything you're saying, spirit," Snowfall remarked. "Even Mr. D makes more sense than you, and I could barely understand how he functioned."

"Well, just you wait, Snowfall," The spirit said with a laugh. "You may not understand it now, but you will soon enough. I promise you that," Then, suddenly, The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents started to shake and tremble, as her whole body twitched! "Whoa! Whoa!" She exclaimed.

Snowfall went from being confused, to being freaked out! She'd never seen anything like this before. "What's happening to you, spirit?!" She reluctantly asked. "Are you okay?!"

"Oh, I'm fine!" The spirit answered, even as she continued to twitch. "But my Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents Sense is going off!"

"And that means?" Snowfall asked against her better judgement.

The spirit laughed. "That means a song is coming on!" And with that, she started to push Snowfall out into the streets, all the while singing to herself:

Just take a look at everything around you.

All the smells that surely will astound you.

Open up your heart, and it will surround you.

In the magic of Hearth's Warming Eve!

It's the little things that make it better.

Like little ponies spreading cheer.

Just give a toy, a hug, or a sweater.

Memories that last all year!

The present's always filled with presents!

Large, medium, and small!

But sometimes the most important things.

Aren't very big at all!

The spirit cured a little colt who had previously been unable to walk without assistance, and together they shared a wonderful tap dancing performance for a bit.

But it wasn't long before the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents led Snowfall Frost onward, eventually stopping at a relatively unimpressive but large brick house. The lights were on, and when one looked in through the windows, it was easy to see that a huge Hearth's Warming Eve party was going on! Everypony seemed cheerful and upbeat, but Snowfall could only look on and observe from outside. Meanwhile, the spirit was singing loudly:

What a party, there's so much to see here.

Can't believe you didn't want to be here.

You'd have had a blast, that I guarantee here.

For this is the spirit of Hearth's Warming Eve.

Cider's flowing, this is living.

Come on and feel the beat!

Life is better when you're giving.

And each time you do it feels so sweet.

The present's always filled with presents!

So come on, open up your eyes!

Spend some time with ponies just like you.

And watch as your spirits rise!

The present's always filled with presents!

Just take a look around!

The real reason for the holiday.

Is quite easily found!

Yes, the real reason for the holiday.

Is quite easily found!

And the reason is to be with your friends!

"And the reason is to be with your friends!" Twilight sang, mimicking Pinkie Pie. When she had stopped, she noticed that Starlight was eyeing her suspiciously. "What? I have something in my teeth?" She asked.

"Uh, you know you're doing your Pinkie Pie voice, right?" Starlight replied with a smirk. "I know Spike said you do voices, because it's part of the experience, but I didn't think he meant it like this."

"I was not using my Pinkie Pie voice!" Twilight protested, though the blush on her cheeks told a different story. Even Spike couldn't help but giggle.

"Well, anyway..." Starlight commented, changing the subject. "So, what happens next?"

Twilight smiled. "I was hoping you'd ask, Starlight. This is when things get interesting. The party was-" She began.

But Spike suddenly interrupted. "Wait! Can we take a quick break, Mom? I need to refill my cocoa. I kind of forgot to earlier."

Twilight groaned a little, but obliged. "Fine. But hurry up! We're almost to the best part! And you don't wanna miss it!" She cautioned.

Fortunately for Twilight and Starlight, Spike wasn't gone for long. He returned shortly with a full mug of hot cocoa. In fact, it was so hot that he had to blow on it to disperse the steam. "Okay, I'm ready. Proceed." He said to Twilight.

Clearing her throat, Twilight narrated: "The party was in full swing. And all Snowfall Frost could do, was watch."

"Spirit, why did you bring me here?" Snowfall inquired of the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents. "This seems like some random Hearth's Warming Eve party. I don't see why I should care."

"Oh, but you should," The spirit replied with a wink. "I have a feeling you'll recognize these party goers."

Snowfall pressed her face up to the window, and she nearly gasped at the faces she spotted! There was her partner, Ash Hatchet! And she wasn't alone, Holly, and Snowfall's cousin Glow were right there with her. Surprisingly, Snowfall could overhear everything they were saying, as if the window was open (even though it wasn't).

"Ah, Ash Hatchet! Nice of you to come!" Glow exclaimed, offering a hug.

"Hey, Glow. Nice to see you too." Ash said with a sigh.

"Why, whatever is the matter, darling?" Glow inquired. "What's got you so down on Hearth's Warming Eve of all nights?"

"Don't tell me, it's the eggnog isn't it?" Holly remarked. "Oh, I knew I put in too much cinnamon!"

But Ash shook her head. "Oh, no, the eggnog was awesome, Holly. You outdid yourself. I'm just mad at somepony who was complaining about how 'awful' Hearth's Warming Eve is," She explained with a grumble. "And I'll give you three guesses as to who it is."

Holly and Glow exchanged knowing glances, before Glow began. "I don't suppose that pony's name starts with 'Snow'?"

"And ends with 'Frost'?" Holly ended.

"Bingo!" Ash confirmed with a nod. "She said that Hearth's Warming Eve is just an excuse to party, and we would all be better off spending time working to make Equestria a better place. Heck, she even said 'Bah humbug!' when I pressed her on the legend behind the holiday."

The entire crowd booed and jeered, some even exchanging insulting names about Snowfall. They didn't seem to be aware that Snowfall was overhearing everything, it was as if she was invisible even though she was just outside.

Glow sighed. "That's my cousin, Snowfall, for you. I can't remember the last time I saw her take a day off from work, not even for a holiday. I hate to speak ill of a pony who's not here, but it seems she's turned her back on the holiday for good! She always asks me what reason I have to be so merry when I'm poor enough, and I just ask her what right she has to be so grumpy if she's rich enough. I have always hoped that hosting this party and offering her an invitation would break through that icy heart of hers. Alas, I dare say she's as heartless as the windigos of old. Only there's no ponies left to warm her up." Everyone present had a good laugh at that.

Having heard the whole thing, Snowfall felt something inside her be stirred just a little. For the first time since she couldn't remember, the grouchy mare felt hurt. "Is that really what ponies think of me? I never meant to be that cold, I thought my intentions were pure and desirable," She thought to herself. "Was I mistaken?"

"Are we talking about Miss. Frost again?" A rather raspy voice called out, followed by a series of coughs. "She can't be all bad if she gave my big sis the night off."

The music stopped, and everypony turned their attention to the source of the noise. It soon revealed itself as an orange coated pegasus filly with faint bags under her grayish-purple eyes that indicated a few sleepless nights. Her moderate purplish-pink mane and tail looked a bit disshelved, and she seemed to move slower than was normal for a filly her age.

"Madeline?" Ash asked, addressing the filly by name. "What are you doing up this late? You should be in bed little filly, doctor's orders!"

"I know, I know. But I couldn't sleep, not tonight," Madeline coughed. "Tomorrow is Hearth's Warming Day!"

"Right, and you don't want to spend it stuck in bed, coughing up a fit, now do you?" Ash inquired of the filly.

"It's alright, dear," Called a masculine sounding voice. "The kid's with me, I let her stay up. Figured as long as she takes her medicine and is in bed before midnight, it can't her to let her burn some of that late night oil." The identity of this voice soon revealed itself as a pegasus stallion with a very pale cornflower blue coat, a very dark blue mane and tail styled bushy, and emerald green eyes.

"Hold on a second there!" Starlight exclaimed, interrupting the story. "That sounds like Soarin! Rainbow Dash mentioned him back when she first told me about the Wonderbolts!"

"Yeah, and?" Spike asked Starlight.

"I know for a fact he and Rainbow Dash aren't a couple. Heck, they're not even dating last time I checked," Starlight explained. "So, what's he doing in this story, serving as the husband?"

Twilight simply responded, by saying to Starlight. "I assure you that any relations to any ponies past or present that are featured in this story, are strictly coincidental. Now if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to have this story done before midnight, thank you very much."

"Okay, okay, no more commentary from me," Starlight reluctantly agreed. "Proceed."

Clearing her throat, Twilight resumed narrating: "It was none other than Matt Hatchet, Ash Hatchet's husband."

All eyes fell upon Matt and Madeline, both of whom had not been seen prior to this point. Glow quickly turned to Ash Hatchet and said to her. "You never mentioned that you and your husband had a filly, Ashley. I must say, she doesn't seem to have much of a resemblance to either of her parents."

"No, no, no, you've got it all wrong," Ash quickly corrected. "Madeline's not my kid, or Matt's. And before you ask, no, she's not adopted!"

"Then, what is she doing at your place? Shouldn't she be with her parents?" Holly inquired.

"Parents are out of town again, said it'd be okay if I spent the holiday at Ash's place," Madeline answered, coughing yet again. "It stinks, but at least that way they can make enough money to put food on the table and pay for my medicine. Besides, this year I got to come along and be part of this awesome Hearth's Warming Eve party! It totally knocks my horseshoes off!" She buzzed her tiny wings in excitement, but that only stirred up dust which made her cough some more. And her coughs sounded a bit sickeningly in nature.

Ash quickly grew concerned, so she flew over to Madeline and lightly cooed. "Okay, kiddo, that's enough excitement for you for one night. You need to rest and get your strength back, that cold's not gonna go away if you keep staying up late all the time."

"Aw, no fair!" Madeline complained, and turning to Matt she pleaded. "Do I have to?"

Matt chuckled a little, ushering the filly along to the back with a wing. "Yes, I'm afraid so, my little pony. Besides, if you don't go to sleep now, Santa Hooves will pass you by. And you've been a good filly this year, right?"

Madeline nodded. "Yup, super duper extra good! But it's really too bad Miss. Frost doesn't believe in Santa Hooves, or Hearth's Warming Eve. She's a real grouch."

"Yeah, she is," Glow teased, and then she asked Ash. "So, what does Snowfall think a better Equestria looks like, exactly? I really wanna know."

"Ponies working hard, learning, and using their abilities for the benefit of Equestria. Or something along those lines," Ash answered. "I don't know, she says she learned it from some old professor whose name I can't remember."

Both Holly and Glow giggled at that remark, before there came a thunk and the sound of foals laughing and running about.

"Oh, I don't know," Matt commented with a smile. "I'd say it looks like we've got everything on Snowfall's list right here. We've all worked hard over the year, learned a lot, and have been using their talents for the benefit of all. And all of that went into organizing and hosting this here party. If Snowfall can't see that, well that's too bad on her part, 'cause she's missin' out!"

"I don't know about the rest of you, but I think a perfect Equestria looks a lot like a Hearth's Warming Eve party." Holly added, and many ponies nodded their heads in agreement.

Snowfall suddenly found that she was filled with a new emotion, regret. "I don't get it. I've treated them all so horribly, and given them nothing but bad things to think of when it comes to me. Yet here they are, laughing, eating, drinking, playing, and having a good time. And they still find a good word or two to say about me. Is this what it's like to care about others? To embrace the magic of Hearth's Warming?" She thought to herself.

Unaware of Snowfall's internal monologue, the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents commented out loud. "Me too! It's too bad it's going to be the last one ever! Ever! Ever! Ever!" As she spoke the last line, a ghostly echo began to sound, and a mysterious fog began to roll in. In the distance, one could hear the clanging chimes of bells in the clock towers as they struck the hour.

Stricken with a sense of dread, Snowfall eyed the spirit. And she had to blink and rub her eyes to be sure she wasn't seeing things! The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents was turning a ghostly white in color, with each passing second more and more color was draining from her, as she slowly retreated into the fog bank. Frantically, Snowfall called out! "Spirit? What do you mean? What's going to happen?!"

"It's not my place to predict the future, Snowfall Frost," The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents answered ominously. "I'm sorry, I should've told you this sooner. As the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents, I don't get to hang around for very long. Just 'til midnight on Hearth's Warming Day."

"B-but it's not Hearth's Warming Day, it's Hearth's Warming Eve!" Snowfall protested. "Spirit, please, don't leave me! I don't want you to go!"

"That's very touching of you, Snowfall," The spirit commented, even as the chimes only echoed ever louder. "But you're powerless to intervene with the spirits. Mr. D tried, and it cost him his physical form. Because of you, Hearth's Warming Day will never come this year, or any year to come."

"No, that can't be!" Snowfall exclaimed, and desperately she pleaded with the fading spirit. "Please! I need to know! About that girl! About little Madeline! She's gonna get better, right?! Right?! If not by her own hoof, then surely by my hoof or somepony's else's, right?!"

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents only answered. "The future is clouded, and even if it weren't I'd be powerless to say what it holds for sure. But I do know this, if things continue as they are and these shadows remain unchanged, Madeline won't get better, and neither will anypony else. If you wish to know more, you'll just have to wait. There's still one final spirit you must meet with tonight. And what she has to show you, might just be the most important thing you'll hear in your entire life. Sorry our time together was so short, but I'll always live on in your memories. Don't forget what I have shown you, you have the power to change the present, and bring presents to all." And just as the clock struck twelve, the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents vanished with no evidence left behind of her existence.

Snowfall was not alone for long though. The bitter biting winter wind came blowing in, as did blinding snow and ice, as the temperature plummeted far below what should be normal for this time of year. Yet amidst this wintry tempest, Snowfall could make out the presence of a large, looming figure. Even bigger than the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents had initially appeared to be. Said figure was cloaked in a dark hooded cloak, which made it impossible to tell who or what it was. And not a sound could be heard from it above the roaring wind.

Still, Snowfall crept forward a little, just enough to be able to make out the sound of breathing from the looming figure. And she asked it. "I assume I'm now in the presence of the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Yet to Come, correct?" The figure nodded. "You're here to show me the future my actions have caused, aren't you?" Snowfall asked, and the figure nodded again. "Look, I don't know what it is you wish to show me. But I want to say, I'm sorry. I had no idea the holiday meant so much to so many ponies."

At last, the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Yet to Come spoke. And when she did, she spoke in a loud and echoy voice. "It's too late, Snowfall Frost."

"Why?" Snowfall asked the spirit. "Surely, you're here to show me how miserable my Hearth's Warming Eve is, and how terrible I've made it for others, right?"

"No," The spirit replied ominously. "For now, there are no more Hearth's Warmings left for me to show, either to you or to anyone."

"Why not?" Snowfall inquired. "Even if my future can't be changed, surely others' futures will not suffer the same fate? Please, I'll do anything, spirit! But you must let me help!"

The spirit only shook her head. "You will succeed in erasing the holiday of Hearth's Warming forever, as you wished, Snowfall Frost." She explained.

"And what happens? Why is it that everything is hidden by snow?" Snowfall reluctantly asked.

But rather than reply with words, The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Yet to Come sang in a dark and ominous voice:

I see a cold wind blowing through.

And I see days neither fun nor free.

I see only a future caused by you!

But I also see a path not meant to be!

The future should be filled with magic.

Both dreams and wishes brought to life.

But the days ahead are only dark and tragic.

There's no time for hope when all is strife!

Whatever there might have been.

All the dreams that ponies share.

Now, because of you, Snowfall Frost!

The future is a only cold nightmare!

As the spirit sang, Snowfall saw what appeared to horses made of ice and snow, driving blinding blizzards that buried entire cities and towns! Horrified, she exclaimed! "Windigos?! But, they aren't actually real! It's just a little filly's story! Professor Flintheart said so!"

The Spirit of Hearth's Warming Yet to Come replied firmly. "They are all too real, Snowfall, and your actions will allow them to return. The future of Equestria shall be bathed in a blanket of eternal snow! That is the fate you've brought on it!"

Horrified at this revelation, Snowfall grabbed the edge of the spirit's cloak and pleaded desperately with it! "No! I never meant for any of this to happen! I didn't understand! I didn't see how important Hearth's Warming really was! Please, spirit! Let me go back! I haven't cast the spell yet! Is there still time?! Tell me there's still time to make things right! I'm sorry! I won't try to erase the holiday ever again! I see now, that it is important! That it is worth celebrating! Whatever wrongs I've done in the past, it doesn't have to define my future or Equestria's future! Send me back to the present, let me give those ponies the present they deserve!"

All of a sudden, the wind stopped, and Snowfall opened her eyes! She found herself laying on the floor of her study, as though she'd just had a bad dream. Of course, Snowfall knew otherwise. That was no dream, it had all been real. She'd been lucky enough to be blessed with a chance to change the future. Eyeing the potion that she'd whipped up, Snowfall instantly felt her heart fill with dread. Just looking at the bubbling green liquid made her feel ill. "I don't know what I was thinking trying to create such a spell!" She said to herself, as she rushed over and took the cauldron off the hearth. She quickly carried out of her study and down the hall, pouring the contents right down the kitchen sink! "Never again!" She vowed, as she swore she saw a windigo briefly emerge from the drain and let out a faint whiny.

Shaken with fright, Snowfall carefully carried her now empty cauldron back to the study, and snuffed out the flames on the hearth. The room grew dark, but only until Snowfall remembered the candles, and lit a few. Only then did the mare pause to take some deep breaths, and boy did she need them. The entire experience had left her badly shaken. "What I've seen tonight, I don't know if I'll ever truly be able to forget it." She thought to herself.

Just then, there came the sound of bells chiming, announcing that it was midnight. Pushing open her study window, Snowfall looked down at the street, eyeing the colt that had previously needed a crutch, but retained the gift given to him by the Spirit of Hearth's Warming Presents. She shouted down to him! "You there, lad! What day is it?!"

Curious but also worried, the colt called up to Snowfall! "The clock just struck midnight! It's officially Hearth's Warming Day, ma'am!"

"Hearth's Warming Day!" Snowfall realized to herself! "There's still time to make everything right!" Then to the colt she replied. "Right you are, you're a smart young lad. Have you ever considered dancing lessons?"

"I have, but up until a few hours ago I could not walk on my own power," The colt answered. "Then it was like magic, this spirit appeared and with her powers my legs could move whenever I wanted them to. I don't know if I have the money to afford dancing lessons though, ma'am."

Snowfall laughed. "Not to worry, youngster. I shall teach you myself. You stop by my place every afternoon at exactly four o'clock, and I'll set up a studio for you to dance to your heart's content. I'll consult only the finest books on the art, and work with you step by step."

"I shall look forward to that, ma'am!" The colt called, walking off. "See you this afternoon!"

"Oh, I should think not, lad!" Snowfall said with a chuckle. "This afternoon would be Hearth's Warming Day afternoon! You deserve to spend the day with those you care about! But I expect to see you at my doorstep the very next day at the designated time," She watched the colt run off, before she then turned her attention inward. "Now, to give Ash Cratchet and all those party goers something to talk about." She said to herself, as her horn began to light up.

The party at Glow's was still going on, even as the midnight hour arrived. Music was playing, drinks were flowing, and ponies of all different species were chattering up a storm.

All of a sudden, there came an unexpected knock at the door. A few ponies stopped partying, but most went on celebrating without hesitation. Most likely a guest had arrived late.

But when the door was opened, there stood the last pony anypony had expected to see out and about on Hearth's Warming, Snowfall Frost! She was even wearing her top hat. "Oh my goodness, can it be?!" Glow exclaimed.

"Snowfall Frost?" Holly asked.

Snowfall nodded. "I was hoping I wasn't too late for the party? I brought gifts and everything." It was then that the music stopped playing, and everypony became aware of the presence of their up til now unannounced guest.

Ash could hardly believe her eyes, and spat out her drink in shock! "Boss?!"

"What do you want now, Snowfall Frost?!" Matt remarked, his eyes narrowing on Snowfall as he cast an angry glare. "Come to order my dear Ashley back to work, on tonight of all nights no less?!"

Snowfall shook her head. "I was wrong earlier, about Hearth's Warming Eve, and about Hearth's Warming in general. It's not all about just singing and presents. The singing and presents are all about celebrating the ponies in our lives. The ponies we should listen to more often: our friends. So, I know it's not much but, here. Think of this as my long overdue present. A way for me to say thanks for all the hard work you've done for me, Ash Cratchet."

"Wow," Ash remarked, ripped open the hastily wrapped box presented to her. It turned out to be a potion of some kind. Reading the label, she commented. "Dragon toenail? Uh... thanks? I think?"

"I was in a hurry. I'll do better next time. I promise." Snowfall responded, she couldn't help but feel a little guilty for her hasty gift giving.

But Ash replied to Snowfall. "Ha. You kidding, boss? No one's ever given me dragon toenail before! And coming from a pony like you, that just makes it even more awesome! Now come get some eggnog and have fun! We're gonna dance the night away!"

"Well, I have one more gift to give to you. Something I'm sure you and your husband will greatly appreciate," Snowfall said to Ash. "I think it's time I raised your salary up a few notches. That way you can afford to save more for your family, and treat them better. And as for that kid you're caring for, I'm gonna see to it that she gets the best medicine money can buy. And if that doesn't work, I'll personally pay for her to have a vacation in Applewood on the west coast. The sea air should do her some good."

"Oh, Snowfall, you didn't have to do that! But I'm glad you did!" Ash happily exclaimed. "Wait til I tell Madeline about this! She'll be through the roof!"

"And from then on, it was always said that of all the Hearth's Warming Eve celebrations, Snowfall's was the Hearth's Warmingest." Twilight narrated.

"And what about Madeline?" Starlight asked with worry. "What happened to her?"

Twilight smiled, and narrated further: "And little Madeline did indeed get better. And Snowfall Frost became something of an aunt to her. In fact, Madeline was heard to say on that fateful Hearth's Warming Eve/Hearth's Warming Day: 'May Faust bless us, everyone!' The end." And with that, Twilight closed the book, placing it back on the shelf.

"That was a good story," Starlight commented. "Makes me wish I'd have read it sooner."

"Well, you're welcome to read it on your own whenever you want. And of course, for however many Hearth's Warmings you continue to stay at the castle for, you can expect that we'll read it together again, voices and all," Twilight said to Starlight. "After all, you're part of the family now."

"Yup, you'll make a pretty cool big sis!" Spike playfully teased, poking at Starlight a little with one of his claws.

"Guess you can call it a night if you really want to, Starlight," Twilight told her student, as all three left the library. "Spike and I are heading downstairs, and if you wanted to, you'd be welcome to join us. But the choice is up to you. If you still want to go to bed early, we'll try to keep it down a little."

For a little while, Starlight hesitated, even after Twilight and Spike left to join the party. Sure, everyone gathered seemed to be having fun, and some of them Starlight knew quite well. But after all the years of less than wonderful Hearth's Warming memories, was she about to risk opening up her heart and taking part in the festivities, simply because they'd been brought to her doorstep?

But eventually, Starlight found that try as she might, a part of her missed those Hearth's Warming memories of old. All the times spent staying up late with Sunburst as a little pony, singing songs and playing in the snow, while the adults drank eggnog and cider, and shared delicious treats. Then they would curl up by the fire place for stories, or decorate a giant tree that would reside in the center of the house. And the next morning, they would wake to find presents and presents galore. Maybe this celebration here and now wouldn't be exactly like those, but it sure beat just moping around on the holiday. So Starlight came downstairs amidst the sound of ponies laughing.

Twilight soon took notice. "Welcome to the party! Happy Hearth's Warming, Starlight." She greeted.

"Happy Hearth's Warming, Twilight." Starlight replied, and then she began to sing:

Hearth's Warming Eve is filled with presents.

And some take you by surprise.

A story shared by your good friends.

That makes your spirits rise.

Sometimes you just let go of the past.

And Enjoy the present while it lasts.

And really it's not that much to ask.

With good friends by your side.

Oh, now it's time to celebrate!

A chorus of ponies joined in and sang:

Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

Singing with them, Starlight added:

All together, feeling great!

And the chorus replied:

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

Happily, Starlight sang to herself:

Can hardly wait!

We'll party 'til late!

It's our favorite date!

And now, full of holiday cheer and festive spirit, Starlight joined a massive chorus of ponies that all sang together:

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!

And thus a good time was had by all, on the most wonderful of nights, in the most magical of towns in all of Equestria. All would look back on the joyous celebration with nothing but good memories. And like all good memories, the celebration never faded from the minds of those lucky enough to have attended it that fateful night.

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