• Published 16th Jul 2012
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Pony POV Series Season Three: Butterflies - Alex Warlorn



Discord beaten. Reality restored. But invisible wounds must heal too. Time for butterflies to fly.

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Pony POV Series Episode 41 "Butterflies Silver Spoon"

I've always been a follower not a leader. I would always just follow along, doing what I was told. Mom said find a nice stallion to be the trophy wife of before your beauty faded. Dad said be a prim and proper lady. Don't be friends with the hired help mom says. Just pretend to agree when Mr. Rich/Tiara talks about how only Earth Ponies earn what they have dad says.

Diamond Tiara said laugh at the fillies who didn't have cutie marks. I just did what I was told. It was a simple and easy way to live.

I never thought about how big my bed felt, until I suddenly didn't have anypony to sleep over with. I never thought about how shallow my dreams were, until they were all I had.

I never thought about how big my house was before, or how empty.

I never thought about any of it, until it all came crashing down. Strange how that works out, isn't it?

School field trip to Canterlot Gardens. Blank flanks arguing in front of ugly statue. Moving on. Back in Ponyville. Special hoofshake with Diamond Tiara. Heading home. To very weird weather. What are those pegasi doing-?! Can't they do their one job right-?!

Then the Alicorns go crazy and start raising and setting the sun and moon like they were fighting over a doll.

Then the ground turns into a checkerboard. Then houses start floating.

My mother's pet bird starts breathing fire and had a neck as long as a giraffe's.

Outside ponies go crazy, turn into monsters, or both.

I saw Diamond Tiara's mom flying in the sky.

I heard my mother screaming. I found her in our private beauty parlor. Or I thought it might be her. She had the body of a filly and wrinkled face like Great-Granny Silver had had. She was crying. She was putting on so much make-up it reminded me of a clown. But I could still see the wrinkles plain as day. Her tears made it into one big ugly mess.

She finally eyed me, she hid behind the parasol she always has, now twice as big as her. "Don't look at me!" She screamed.

That was when father kicked in the door. Holding the spoon shaped battle axe our family had owned since before Equestria was founded. "HA-HA! I HAVE FOUND MY TROPHY AT LAST! YOUR HEAD WILL LOOK GREAT ON MY WALL MY LITTLE SPOON!" He shouted like we were going to the carnival.

I shivered. Suddenly, I was looking out FROM my glasses, instead of through them. Confused and thinking my father was just being funny I rubbed my eyes. My eyes were gone! It was then it hit me; when I took off my glasses that my view had changed with them. I noticed in one of the parlor's giant mirrors (mom always did focus on appearance)... My eyes were on my glasses. My eyeballs were on my glasses! I took a step back. It hurt.

I looked myself over. My hide was now shimmering silver, but it was soft like tin foil. I poked it, and I pierced my skin.

In the reflective surface, I saw my father bring the axe up over my head. And it finally hit me that dad wasn't playing a game.

I ducked and ran, as the axe cut into the fancy polished marble floor. Mom just continued to shiver on the floor in disgust at herself. I ran out of the room. Father followed. "Come now my little Spoon! Just stay still and it'll be over quick! Honey is always saying how you need to preserve your looks! Well, as my trophy head, you'll always be pretty! Now just stay still so I can get your little head to the taxidermist!"

Tears came down from my glasses. I bled and left a trail as my thin silver skin broke as I tumbled over an imported couch. I thought if I made myself small enough he couldn't find me. "Come here dearie! Let papa make you a nice, pretty trophy! You'll look great on the wall! And you'll never need to worry about losing your looks like honey has! And think of all the weight you'll lose! Now just stand still for papa!"

Father cut the couch in two. I screamed looking into his grinning muzzle. "Now now! See all the trouble you're causing? I might have to clean the blood off your head before it's fit to be mounted! Now obey your father!"

We ran through the house like on a fox hunt. Father cheering and calling out to me as my heart tried to bust through my rib cage. I hid in a closet. He just smashed through it. I ran between his legs. I hid under my bed. I lost a good deal of my tail as I scurried out like a rat as the axe came down through my mattress.

I jumped off the indoor balcony that surrounded the first floor living room. I landed with a cracking skid. The silver skin on my belly nearly slid off. I tried to run as father took the stairs. I was stabbed by my own bones when I tried to put weight on two of my hooves. I was going to die. And I didn't even know why.

"Very good girl. Now stay still this time. Like the good little filly I know you are."

The wall of rainbow light hit everything. Father dropped the axe to the floor with a loud clank. He wanted to kill me with his bare hooves? His eyes looked on me with horror. I was looking out my face again. My skin wasn't paper thin foil. "Dust Mop! Clean Dishes! Somepony! Call a doctor!"

I was really leaving a big red stain on our ancestral family rug.

Clean Dishes as it turned out knew first aid. Apparently her name had been Clean Bandages before her scholarship ran dry. Guess that wasn't a wash rag on her flank after all. Who knew?

Apparently I wasn't the only hurt pony in Ponyville. Nurse Redheart and Tenderheart and the local Doctor were scrambling like crazy and doctors from outside of... whatever had happened, were being brought in by Pegasi and unicorn teleportation as fast as they could bring them. No pony would tell me what had happened. Maybe they didn't even know themselves.

When mother came in an hour later, now her normal self she saw me, screamed and fainted. When she came to, she stood up so fast that she bumped heads with Clean Dishes. "Where's my baby?! She is alright-?! Oh Celestia! Is she going to be okay?! Are these going to scar?! Will she walk again?! Why isn't anyone telling me anything?!"

Finally, the medical ponies came. Dad used words I never heard him use before when he snarled at them for being as late as they were. They looked exhausted and dirty when they came in. One was a medical unicorn with that red cross all medical ponies seem to have some version of as their cutie mark.

Skin mended, bones reconnected. He was apparently the best. Father kept yelling at him with words I didn't know the meaning of but I think he wanted him to work faster.

Clean Dishes took care of me for the next day.

I didn't have a single scar you could see.

Then, the next day, father came in, I screamed. I tried to jump out the window. Instead I got a face full of carpet and stuffed dolls and hooves tangled with blankets.

I curled into a ball and tried to make myself as small as possible. He hugged me, he kept whispering apologies. I tried to make myself smaller.

He left eventually. When he came next I just tried to hide.

Then came the time to get up and go to school again. I shrank before my glasses. The first day I wore contacts that made my eyes red, it was unbearable. I tried to go with neither. Falling down the stairs twice cured me of that fear.

I spent as much time as possible at Diamond Tiara's, school, anywhere as long as it wasn't home. Anywhere so long as I didn't have to be with father. I spent all of Nightmare Night at her house.

For a while, I was able to keep up appearances. But Diamond Tiara seemed too distracted for us to taunt the blanks as normal. Or at least when that white unicorn blank was around. Don't ask me what that was about, Diamond Tiara wouldn't tell me. She wouldn't tell me what that chaos monster had done to her either. That hayseed blank Apple bloom finally got her cutie mark, and spent all day showing it off at school. Diamond was actually angry, then again, the little blank did rub it in.

Then she went and got a -second- cutie mark? We knew this had to be bogus and called her out on her -second- special talent. But Applebloom pulled it off anyway. We looked like fools, again.

Then it turned out she had contracted some crazy ancient disease that made cutie marks appear all over her and act on them whether she wanted to or not. Princess Celestia's student or that zebra found the cure before she worked herself to death.

I thought Diamond was going to jump on the chance for revenge on the fraud. But again, she was being so distracted by nothing! She didn't do a thing! Even when we chatted between just the two of us it was like she was somewhere else!

Then came family appreciation day, and DT told me her newest plan to break the arrogant little blank by showing off her completely loopy grandmother to everyone at school! It was a brilliant and flawless plan, I knew Diamond Tiara was best pony.

This blew up in her face like Miss Pie's prototype Party Cannon MK II.

Turned out Granny Smith was the coolest pony around! She had single-hoofedly found the fruit that became her family business' staple, and had put their tiny farm on the map and had even brought Diamond's family income. And that was what caused Ponyville to exist in the first place and Diamond Tiara's family to make their fortune. It was so cool! It was incredible! The little blank had a history with Diamond Tiara's family that went back generations! The two were connected by fate! Maybe they weren't so lame after all! How couldn't I clap at that?

DT was livid. After she blew up in front of the class her dad figured she needed a lesson in humility.

Silver and diamonds look good together, Mrs. Golden Tiara had always said. But after that day ... everything changed. I just didn't know it yet.

After Diamond Tiara's 'lesson' she ignored the Cutie Mark Seekers or whatever completely, like they were ghosts, or maybe she was a ghost. I saw her actually turn in a test to Miss Cheerilee totally blank! Diamond Tiara might be a lot of things, but she wasn't one to do something like that...

I asked her what was wrong. She told me to be quiet, and I obeyed. Diamond Tiara had always loved her dad, I could tell. Even after the day everything went crazy, she hadn't changed how she'd thought about him at all. Me? I barely knew the stallion who fathered me. But with DT and her dad it was different.

Now it was the day of the monsters all over again. It was like Diamond had taken all the viciousness she had poured at Applebloom and her friends, and had redirected it full throttle at her father. It was actually kind of scary.

She had gone from seeing him as her world, to not being able to standing the sight of him! This wasn't like me and that stallion! Had the world gone crazy again? Now I did insist on knowing what was going on and didn't let up (like I thought friends were supposed to). Big mistake.

I had never been on the receiving end of Diamond Tiara's talent to rip ponies apart with just words; it was like the sound of her voice tore my ribcage apart and clawed my heart to shreds.

It's one thing to KNOW she's a bully and have her do it to you, it's completely different when you think you're friends!

I didn't want to believe anything she said was true, I didn't want to think she meant anything she said to me. You have no idea how horrible it was seeing that fury in her eyes, it was like she, or I was a stranger!

Diamond, had hurting Applebloom really become that important to you? Why? You said they were nothing. Blanks. Why should it matter if Applebloom is proud of her family or not?

Why, why did you turn on me? I've always been there for you. Even when nobody else wanted to be. I knew you were pretty inside. I stood by you no matter how much things backfired, even if I was humiliated right along with you. I didn't care if you were popular or not. Or that's what I kept telling myself.

And I suddenly found myself with nowhere to go.

Then the worst hit me, I was all alone.

Cheerilee kept asking why I was staying after school so much. I said I was just trying to study some extra, after all, I wear glasses, that must mean I'm supposed to study a lot right?

Cheerilee didn't believe me. I'm not as good a liar as Diamond.

I didn't want to be near the stallion who nearly cut my head off. And I didn't want to be near the princess who had torn my heart out. I had nowhere to go... No matter how much money my family had, I had nothing...

Then Applebloom and her friends thought it would be funny to be in my face! Jerk! What made a trio of talentless, blind, disaster prone blanks think they were better than me-?!

Cheerilee said if I ever needed an adult to talk to, I could talk to her. But how could she understand?

Then that orange pony, Applejack I think it was, spoke to me out of the blue. She assured me she was no kidnapper. She told me not to mistake my name for my destiny. That Cheerilee's name and cutie mark didn't imply she was a teacher but she was one all the same. And she asked, if I really thought my father would hurt me. And she told me that if I didn't even know the answer, it was time I got to know my father.

Easier said than done.

And those three fillies never stopped making sure I came to class, and they never stopped asking me what was wrong. Couldn't they tell-?! Weren't they laughing at it behind my back? To go from being best friends with the greatest filly on the planet to being all alone?

Gabby Gums. Those three hypocrites. All the times they looked down on me for helping Diamond Tiara tease ponies they go and do the same. Then they abandon her too. And Diamond didn't even demand I take over her 'job' as school printer? How could she forget me?

The last day I saw her was Hearts and Hooves day, I don't know why I smiled when I saw Alula given her that card. She had just looked so miserable until that day. But she looked confused instead of happy.

Then Cheerilee took us to the fog. And I was given everything I wanted. I was best friends again with the pony who had hurt me so badly. Then those stupid ponies had to end the dream! And I found out I had been hugging Applebloom! Why? Princess Gaia, why? I finally had her back! I finally had my friend back! And the worst part? The worst part was realizing just how badly I really did want to be her friend again!

Cheerilee led us away from the fog. I wanted to go back into it. Princess Gaia, I wanted to so badly! But the others would never let me! And that freaky gray filly with yellow eyes kept leading us out of the fog's warm forelegs! Ugh. No, not Derpy Hooves, when I say yellow I mean solid-her-whole-eyes-yellow!

Then the fog just vanished. And with it my world where Diamond Tiara was my friend again was gone forever.

Then the celebration happened. The one to celebrate what Princess Gaia had done. Apparently all the adults in Ponyville got to be foals again for a day and this made them all free of what the chaos monster had done to them. But what about me-?! I wanted the dream back! I wanted Diamond Tiara back!

Anyway, my parents absolutely refused to let me stay home from the celebration... But I couldn't stand to be with father at all! Even after he changed his name and melted down that... that axe into silver spoons, I still got cold chills just being near him!

So the first chance I got I snuck away and tried to find somewhere to hide... Except I had nopony to run to, and I couldn't stand being alone, not after being reminded of how much Diamond Tiara's friendship meant to me!

I had nopony to turn to I trusted... Except maybe... When you're a desperate pony, you'll turn anywhere...

Those three blank flanks had a show going on at the festival, which was pretty much empty when I got there, except for that white unicorn mare, who looked like she was struggling not to throw up. At least I knew my parents wouldn't come within fifteen feet of this mess.

So I took a seat and watched the single most violent thing I'd ever seen next to what my own father tried to do, and that's saying something. I had no idea where three fillies got that much fake blood.

I sat through it every time. At first, it was just to hide... But the more times I watched, the more I noticed how much effort they'd put into this. That they actually had fun doing it, even for a crowd of one. They actually appreciated that I was there and even gave me a smile once or twice... I MEANT something to somepony. I wasn't useless like Diamond Tiara had told me, I mattered...

So I decided to do the one thing I thought I'd never do... I asked if I could hang out with them... I had nowhere else to go...

And you know, I don't regret it... For the first time since that chaos monster turned the world on its head, I had FUN... They didn't once try to embarrass me or take revenge, the only thing they tried to do was make sure I was having a good time... It felt good...

Then Princess Gaia got up to make her big speech. Even if those blanks had given me a good time, there was still a void... I still missed Diamond Tiara... And it burned me up that she'd TEASED me with the idea of having her back! And now she was getting a festival for it?!

I got ready to kick a rock straight into her face.

Somepony beat me to it. Contrary to logic, it shocked me out of doing the same. Maybe it was because Princess Gaia didn't scream, she didn't call out to have the one that had done it lynched... She accepted it. She accepted that somepony had nailed her in the head with a rock?! How is that even possible?! She put it right in her speech how she knew some ponies would never forgive her for what she did. That she wants the good and the bad she did to be remembered ... Then she said that she just wanted to become a better pony than she was before... That hit me kind of hard...

Then she sung, in two different voices. I'm not sure how she did it... But one of them sang about how they'd felt so alone, like they didn't really exist... And how they belonged and now saw the world as it truly was...

I'll admit it, that made me cry.

The weird duet ended. The herd broke out into stomping hooves and cheers. I noticed Applebloom and the other two were crying too. I'm sure they probably had different reasons for it, but it felt good that I wasn't alone.

I heard Miss Cheerilee shout out over the herd, "Three cheers for Princess Gaia! Three Cheers for Princess Fluttershy! Three cheers for the Mother Princess!"

Everypony didn't need to be told twice. "Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay!"

I can't say I didn't enjoy the rest of my time with the fillies that day. It felt good to be with them. And it wasn't just the ice-cream talking.

One thing I found funny was how none of them seemed to be really 'in charge' more than the others. Applebloom put this crazy club of theirs together right? Shouldn't she be the leader then? But none of them really dominated the others. But didn't groups just naturally have leaders and followers? That was how herds worked right?

It felt... weird. I obeyed my parents, they follow Mayor Mare's orders, she follows Princess Celestia's orders, and the family servants follow my orders. But these fillies, they were just together. How could any herd not be just some aimless blob without a pecking order? But these fillies kept inventing and pulling off strange, daring, or patently dangerous ventures all the same. They were all different, but they acted more like one pony than three when they put their minds to do something.

The inevitable had to happen, and I was found by my parents. Father was relieved I was alright, and mother was upset I had wandered off.

I'm sorry about being brief about it, but seriously, those aren't details I want to go over. Oh, how did they react when they saw I was hanging around common ponies?

Mother told me kindly, "Dear you really shouldn't just try substituting Diamond Tiara just because you had a little tiff and she's been missing for a little while. I know that when they find her, that you'll go right back to where you were, being best of friends!"

Substitute? Is that what they were? Was I really just replacing Diamond Tiara with them?

"HEY!" Scootaloo snapped in my mother's face, "We're not 'substatoot' anything! Silver just asked if we could hang out! And we let her! End of story."

"You shouldn't tell your daughter not to make friends because she's lost a friend!" Applebloom added, ears pinned.

Sweetie Belle looked like a deer caught in the train lights.

Mother turned red and gritted her teeth. "You, little, urchins, how dare-"

I had never heard any pony talk so fast. "My big sister owns Carousel Boutique, we sell to Canterlot and super-stars! Applebloom's family founded Ponyville! Scootaloo is apprentice to Best Young Flyers' Reigning Champion and world record holder for Sonic Rainbooms!" Sweetie Belle threw in a quick bow while pushing her friends' heads down, "Madam!"

I actually looked at Sweetie Belle with appreciation at how she had laid it on thick with that last one, Diamond Tiara would have been proud. She had just single hoofedly averted making a lifetime enemy out of my mother.

Mother tripped over her words and coughed at Sweetie's sudden etiquette, "Well, still, little fillies should not talk back to their elders. Your parents should teach you better manners."

Applebloom and Scootaloo looked like they had been stung by a bee.

"Come along, Spoon." We managed a wave as mother pulled me along, with father remaining silent and keeping his distance.

+++

I can't fly, and there was no way on this side of the Everfree Forest I was getting near a farm, where I was likely to get covered in fertilizer or something. So that left me with only one real place I could go the next morning with Miss Cheerilee having put classes on hold once again. (I was shaking in my hooves at the amount of make up work we'd have to do.)

Getting out of the house wasn't as hard as it should have been. After all, what reason would I ever have for leaving the grounds if Diamond Tiara wasn't about for me to visit? All the same I told Dust Mop where I was going to be so my parents could know if they asked. She was confused, but having lived in my family's house as long as she had, she did as she was told.

"Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, how may I help you this fine, erm, day young miss?"

Miss Rarity seemed rather surprised and uncomfortable to see me. She acted like she saw a ghost. "Is Sweetie here?"

"Erm," The marshmallow colored unicorn shook her head, but it wasn't at me. "Why do you wish to know?"

"I want to talk to her."

"What about?"

I stopped in my tracks. What did I want to talk to her about? The filly who I barely knew anything about? "Anything she wants to talk about."

Miss Rarity looked at me, looking surprised. She breathed in deeply and let it out slowly. "She's upstairs in her room dear. She currently has guests at the moment already. I am very sure that they won't mind an extra playmate. Upstairs past the 'off limits' sign down the hall on the left, second door you'll see."

Foal's play for somepony whose lived in a house as big as mine. I thanked her and trotted where she directed.

"And Silver Spoon?"

I looked back at her, when had she learned my name? "Yes?"

"Friends and family are both incredibly important things to have, don't ever throw away either. And just because you love one pony, doesn't make you love another pony less."

The way she said it, there was something almost... pleading about it. There was something familiar in her voice.

I was left totally confused but I just nodded like a good filly and trotted up the stairs. As I walked, I could tell Sweetie Belle wasn't bluffing to my mother about her elder sister's fame. Some of her designs were set out in rooms I passed, clearly labeled, and just as Sweetie Belle had told mother, many of them were for famous ponies whose names I knew. I half expected to find one for one of the Princesses by the time I was done. I couldn't help but think how mother would react if she saw all this.

I found the Cutie Mark Crusaders all present and accounted for. Sweetie Belle's room was... fairly impressive. She certainly had the proper tastes of a high class filly. The room felt cluttered, but that was what happened when you didn't spend the money on a live in maid I guess.

"Oh, hey Silver Spoon." Sweetie Belle said like we were old acquaintances instead of former enemies. "Come on in."

"What brings ya'all here?" Applebloom asked happily.

"Oh, I, I just wanted to see how you were all doing, after yesterday. I mean, you put so much effort into that show yesterday and -"

"Yeah! Isn't it great? Rarity said she never saw anything like it!"

"And AJ called the entire thing unbelievable!"

"And Dash said she loved the part where I tore the eye out of the cyclopes and crashed the monster into the army of zombie pegasi!"

"Though I think nopony liked where you beat up the bad version of Princess Celestia." Sweetie Belle said.

Scootaloo shrugged, "Yeah, I thought everypony would be laughing their manes off at that part. I mean, how much silly can you get? But I think that white Earth Pony hanging out with Twilight seemed to like it."

Just how oblivious can these fillies be-?!

"Maybe... " I heard my own voice saying, "Maybe they thought you were being bullies to Princess Celestia?"

The three gasped. "What in tarnation?"

"Applebloom language!" Sweetie Belle said on reaction alone.

Scootaloo protested, "But that wasn't what it was about! Twilight's book said comedy was absurd or silly violence. What's more silly than anyone being able to beat up The Princess and The Princess being bad?"

How was I going to explain the refined tactics of bullying to these three pure innocent naive fillies?

"Well, you see, lots of ponies love the Princess, so um," I'm more used to dishing this out than explaining it. "What if someone did a show where your big sisters were shown as mean nasty ponies? And Scootaloo, what if someone did a show where your teacher was a sadist who threw fillies into the Pegasus Machine?" Sure, I wasn't a pegasi, but knowing all the urban legends and boogiemen of the other tribes came with the territory of being a bully.

"That wouldn't be fair!" Sweetie and Applebloom shouted together.

"Rainbow would NEVER do that!" yelled Scootaloo, looking rather upset. "And that thing isn't real... "

I must admit, I was rather impressed Scootaloo had already come to realize that.

"Ponies feel the same way about The Princess. And let me sum it up another way: 'Gabby Gums.'"

Applebloom gasped, "But this is a show! Not news!"

"Lots of adults are too busy living their lives to notice."

Then my spotlight got stolen by the advent of one scaly purple baby -dragon- walking into the room. I yelped and scurried back.

"Hi, Spike." Sweetie waved.

"Hey Sweetie Belle." The dragon waved back.

"Hey," Said Scootaloo to the new invader.

"You-?" I looked about in confusion seeing their calm faces. "You know each other?"

"Sure Silver Spoon." Sweetie Belle said, "Spike's... a good friend of big sister's."

"You're friends with a dragon?"

"Sure. Why not?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Erm, that is, don't dragons eat ponies?"

Spike just grinned. "We can actually eat anything. I prefer gems."

My head spun.

"Saaaay, aren't you one of those ponies who's always making fun of Applebloom and her friends?"

"We... made up?" I answered like it was some lame brain excuse.

"That so?" The tiny fire breathing monster eyed me carefully. The others nodded. I wondered if he was going to eat me. "Whao kay."

"HUH? That's it?"

"You say you've made up? I think I'll give ya the benefit of the doubt this time, I mean for now."

This time?

"What ya'all doin' here?" Applebloom asked the dragon. I swear, couldn't the Apples afford elocution lessons like Diamond Tiara's dad had for her?

Sweetie broke in. "You see, when I told Spike about our Cutie Mark plan we've been getting the fireworks for, I realized that he could really help us."

Scootaloo asked, "Really? Help how?"

"Well, remember how none of our families will let us near matches after we accidentally summoned that fire elemental?"

+++

Us four fillies and one baby dragon stumbled away from the wrecked rocket. Its wheels still spinning in the air from its fall off the old railway tracks our group now staggered alongside. The smoke from the burned out fireworks slowly rose into the air. Dr. Whooves had already borrowed back the flux-capacitor the CMC had borrowed from the scrap pile in his backyard.

If I told you what had just happened, then you'd probably never believe me. I was there and I hardly believe it! Just know that we probably violated at least half the known laws of physics and, according to Dr. Whooves, several unknown ones!

"Nothing-can-stop the Smooze~," Applebloom sang in a rather contrarily upbeat voice, her eyes still spinning.

"Smooooooze," said a tiny purple blob on Applebloom's shoulder that Spike efficiently incinerated on the spot.

"Rainbow Dash always dresses in style," Scootaloo sang skipping along fluttering her wings, "I'll teach us games to play. Maybe we'll hear a story from Cheerilee, or maybe one of... whose melody again?"

"I had no idea Rainbow Dash's ancestor was a fashion designer," Sweetie Belle said using me as support.

"I think I'm going to have to apologize to Lickety-Split for laughing at his family stories," Spike said checking Applebloom and himself over for any more hitchhikers, then the rest of us and the surrounding area. I was never going to laugh at Lickety-Split's stories again.

"What," I panted, not used to running for my life, "What do you think, Doctor... Doctor Whooves meant... when he said that was... was only... only the second time he had ever seen... anypony... travel sideways through time?"

"Doctor Whooves says a lot of things." Applebloom brushed it off. "At least we didn't alter history or somethin' like that."

"Well, we didn't learn what our Cutie Marks were going to be. What do you think those humans in business suits meant by 'cancelled?' " Scootaloo asked.

"Who cares? It's not like it's the end of the universe," Applebloom said as thunder boomed in the far distance.

"Are all your... expeditions, this hazardous?" I asked.

"Naw, normally we just blow up Sugar Cube Corner or set Twilight's house tree on fire." Scootaloo waved off.

My jaw dropped.

"Kidding!"

I let out a sigh of relief.

"Though we did get chased by that squid one time." Sweetie Belle chimed in.

"What was it doing in that lake anyway?" Scootaloo asked, giving an eyebrow.

I looked at them in amazement and confusion. "How? How can you be so cheerful about it? It sounds like you've done a hundred things, and none of them made your cutie mark realize. I'd have given up and just stayed a blank flank. I'd live longer."

"I'd agree with you there," Spike huffed.

"Ya know." Applebloom stopped suddenly with Spike bumping into her. "I never really thought about it. It's just what we do?"

"So it's routine?" I asked.

"No, it's not that," Sweetie Belle said. "We all just like being together, and trying to earn our cutie marks is a great reason to be together."

"But-but being blanks is the only reason you're together."

"No," Scootaloo said, "Being blanks is what brought us together. We've stuck together because of each other. Did me and Sweetie dump Applebloom when it looked like she earned her Cutie Mark or she dump us? You and Diamond Tiara didn't stay together just because your parents both had money, right?"

Was it? Would I have stayed with Diamond Tiara if her family had gone broke? Who am I kidding? My parents would have said it would have been unsightly to be seen with ponies who had lost everything and I would have abandoned my best friend like the good little obedient filly I'd always been. I felt horrid. I don't care what anypony else said, Diamond deserved better than that.

Good little docile Silver Spoon, always doing what she's told, no more, no less. Make friends, don't make friends, be kind, be cruel, like a good little filly should.

"Come on," Scootaloo said thankfully taking me out of my reflections, "I left her over here."

"Her?" I asked.

"My scooter, duh," Scootaloo said with a smile while taking out of the bushes the little thing with the familiar wagon.

All four of us got in, abandoning the wreck in the middle of the woods that the defunct rail line cut through. No, we didn't bother to douse the fireworks, so sue us. My parents could buy your law firm.

"Ugh. Geeze Spike, you sure you eat jewels and not bricks?" Scootaloo grunted as she supplied the motor power.

"Pst. I'm a dragon. I'm gonna be able to pull the whole lot of you along while you're all in the old pony's home."

"You should invest in a bank account now," I said thinking of my economics lessons I hadn't slept through. "By the time you're an adult dragon you could buy Ponyville."

"Really? Hmmm."

"If I don't get the strength to fly after pulling you guys all back to Ponyville, I'm taking a long flight off a short cliff."

"Scootaloo!" Sweetie Belle snapped.

"Only joking."

"Not funny."

"Hey I ever tell you guys about the time I saved Rarity from a horde of Diamond Dogs?"

Sweetie Belle eyed the dragon. "Big sister says she saved herself, and you all showed up in time to help her cart along all the jewels she collected from them in pennies."

"That's penance," I said.

"Well, that's how she tells it. Now are you going to believe your big sister, or the guy who's gonna be able to arm wrestle Ursa Majors when he grows up?"

"Big sister."

"Ouch."

I watched as the girls' attention was all directed to the small fire breathing monster as he spun together one recounting of his adventures after another, each one with him as the hero and Miss Rarity as the damsel.

He was also the one who saved Miss Rarity from the giant dragon who stomped through Ponyville. I wouldn't know, mom stuffed me in the basement until she was sure the monster was gone.

Apparently also he was the Number One Assistant to Princess Celestia's Personal Apprentice Twilight Sparkle. That one I almost believed on account of it being too crazy to be made up.

I let out a low growl I had learned from Diamond Tiara. Was I just the flavor of the week? First these ponies want to be my friend more than anything, and now that the big lizard shows up I'm pushed aside for the new show? What right did he have?

"Friends and family are both incredibly important things to have, don't ever throw away either. And just because you love one pony, doesn't make you love another pony less."

Where did that come from?

"What right do I have?"

"Huh?" Applebloom looked at me.

"I'm, I'm a good pony right? I always do what I'm told, that makes me a good pony right?"

"Always doing what you're told? Everything?" Spike asked. "Oh come on, that's not good, that's boring. What if someone told you to jump off a cliff?"

"Well," I thought, I crossed my forelegs and leaned over the side of the wagon looking outward. "What if it was somepony important? And they knew something you didn't?"

"Look kid-"

"Silver Spoon." I looked back at him.

"Silver Spoon. Take it from somedragon who takes a lot of orders. If I just did whatever Twilight told me, well," Spike scratched his face. I knew that face even if these fillies didn't. Twilight had done something bad, and Spike knew it, but if he said it now, he'd be stabbing her in the back. Dragon or pony, his body language screamed it. "A lot of the mistakes she made when she wasn't thinking straight would have hurt a lot of ponies. Big part of being loyal to someone is to know when they -wouldn't- be telling you to do something if their head was on right."

Diamond Tiara's snarling face flashed in my head.

"I see," I whispered.

+++

"And you built all this by yourself?" I asked unbelieving.

"Well, AJ had the club house before us, I just kinda fixed her up some." Applebloom blushed.

"'Some?' Applebloom, this place was good as condemned when we first saw it."

"I gotta agree with Scootaloo on this one." Sweetie Belle said.

The club house the fillies put together for themselves was amazing. Well, it wasn't fantastic or anything, but the idea that one Earth Pony had been able to put all this together, I was left in awe.

I also noticed a small box in the corner, covered in locks and chains and 'danger do not open!' 'This means you!' stickers with the lid welded shut.

"What's in there?" Seriously, they might as well have painted a neon sign above it to draw attention. No, I wasn't stupid enough to want to open it.

All three shuddered.
Scootaloo said, "Something really bad."

"Then why don't you just get rid of it?"

Apparently something about wanting to dump it or bury it in the ground but worried the plants might absorb it and pass it through their fruit. Or dumping it down the drain but worried it might then infect the entire water supply. And wanting to give it to Miss Twilight Sparkle for safe keeping but panicked when they thought Spike might use it on Rarity.

"I might use what now?" Spike scratched his scalp.

"Just what's in here?" I tilted my head.

"Nothin'."

"Rarity's ugly reject dresses!"

"Yeah! No way it's a love potion! Oops." Scootaloo said, then banged her head against the floor boards.

"Love Poison actually." Sweetie Belle corrected.

Both Spike and I were rolling on the floor ready to bust a gut by the time the CMC finished recounting their tale start to finish. "And Miss Cheerilee really said Honey-Woomy-Bear?" I gasped out.

"That was the abridged version." Sweetie cringed at the sickeningly sweet memory.

"So that stuff works?" Spike asked.

Sweetie looked ready to skewer Spike where he stood.

"It replaces the pony's real personality with that of a love sick idiot who acts nothing like their real self," Applebloom said.

"Oh. So it doesn't secretly reveal their true feelings they've just kept hidden?"

"No."

"Dang."

Scootaloo dove into a pile of comics she had apparently gotten on loan from her mentor. The others all gathered around her. I simply followed the herd.

"Hey," Scootaloo read, "Superstallion needs to tune out ninety-nine percent of the cries for help around the world he hears with his super hearing to keep from going crazy?"

"Well," I launched into thinking about it without thinking. "If you have senses like that, and you want to have a normal life. If you were a hero constantly, how would you ever sleep?"

"I think I liked these comics better when they just had Superstallion and Batmare with her Bat-Cannon redirecting the course of the Planet of the Zombie-Ponies from colliding with Equestria."

I noticed Applebloom give a little shiver at the mention of 'zombie-ponies.'

"Actually," Sweetie Belle said reading through another comic, "They retconned it to being a dream caused by ScarePony's Ghostie Gas."

"Ah dangit." Scootaloo nearly threw the comic across the room. "That adventure was so cool! Why do the authors always have to make the old stories be holograms, or a diversion, or that pony was possessed and didn't really turn evil after his city got blown up and he wanted to reset the universe to fix it?"

"It does kinda make ya feel lousy if everything ya read turns out to be bogus somehow." Applebloom spoke leafing through another, "I mean, Ah thought Mareneto was dead, again."

"Who cares? Look at Iron Pony punch Loki in the face! Ka-pow!" Spike said his face buried in another.

Me? I was left totally confused on what they were even talking about! Eventually I eyed a copy of Wonder Filly and inched my way through the panels.

"HEY!" Sweetie Belle said, "We could be Cutie Mark Crusader Super Heroes!"

"We did that last week." Scootaloo didn't look up.

"Oh right."

Believe it or not, the day was still young, okay by now it was half past noon, but Applebloom had brought along various apple confections she had liberated from her family's stockpiles. They weren't zap apples of course, those sold out in days, usually before they were even picked from what Applebloom said.

Did these fillies ever get tired? From the look on Spike's face, he was amazed as me at how fast these girls flirted from one venture to the next.

Scootaloo wanted to try out some new maneuvers with her scooter and I swear it's like these fillies are joined at the hip. Spike and me just came along for the ride. It was kinda awe inspiring seeing how well they fit together, like they had been cut from the same cloth. No, like they were all cut from different cloths, but complimented each other perfectly.

Dragging along an extra pony and one dragon was taking its toll on Scootaloo but she didn't complain, something else I found weird, she wasn't a servant, so why wouldn't she?

At the park, we ran across a yellow pony whose name was apparently Junebug who was planting flowers. Don't ask me what flowers have to do with a beetle that shows up during the summer. She politely greeted us but looked hesitant around Spike.

"Er, June, sorry about last time, I was kinda just excited about everything," the purple dragon said profusely to her. "I didn't mean to bother you like that... Actually I did. I was being a greedy jerk and I'm sorry."

Apparently used to dealing with plants more than people the yellow pony replied, "Um, okay, that's alright, I think, uh, I have a lot to do right now so, I don't mean to cut this short but-"

Spike sighed. "I gotcha." The CMC moved closer to him as Junebug began planting flowers on the other side of the park.

"Spike? You okay?" Scootaloo asked.

"I... I never apologized for trying to steal your scooter did I?"

"Twilight explained, it was just a phase all dragons go through, right?" Scootaloo asked.

"Yeah, just a phase." Spike said lowly.

A sense of uninvolvement was battering at me. I didn't like it. "Can someone please explain to me what's going on?"

Thankfully Sweetie Belle did. Apparently during and right after his birthday, Spike had hit a 'phase,' as Twilight called it, where a dragon begins collecting their hoard, and Spike not having been raised by dragons, went nuts before some kind words from Rarity helped the urge burn itself out.

These ponies stank at lying. I take that back, they were fairly good, but they would have never cut it in high society where lying through your teeth was an expected part of the game. I hadn't practiced handing them out but I knew them. A filly like me raised to be a part of the game of little white lies and blatant falsehoods? They'd have better luck trying to outstare a cockatrice.

But as part of the game, flat out saying they were lying was improper, and I didn't care about their 'dirty little secrets,' yet. Being made a secret keeper was a sign of loyalty and trust among high class ponies, like me and Diamond. They had the same 'he did something bad, but would hurt him to say what' look Spike had talking about Twilight earlier.

As it happened, a middle class working family was also at the park that day. The Cakes, I think they had catered to my birthday once or twice, and they had catered to Diamond Tiara's Cute-ceañera. But I didn't remember them having a pair of babies with them. They were, a pegasus and unicorn? How did that work? I wondered if Mrs. Cake had been seeing other stallions. What? You're surprised a filly my age knows about that sort of thing? You don't understand the upper class as much as you say you do then, miss.

Then I got a double helping of confusion and surprise when the baby pegasus began -flying-! In diapers, not looking a year old, and flying! Check please. Less strange was the giant flood of purple slime I saw earlier today (or five thousand years ago depending how you did the math).

Then I remembered Scootaloo, who very much -couldn't- fly. There was only one logical reaction she'd take! I took one look at her and saw... she as happily waving at the flying baby?

Maybe I was poking the Ursa with a stick, but my curiosity this time wouldn't let me go.

"Scootaloo."

"Yes?"

"I just noticed. You're okay that that baby can fly, and you can't?" It felt like something Diamond Tiara would say, it gave me comfort. But... it was different, I wasn't trying to hurt her, it was pure curiosity... That felt strange.

Scootaloo thought for a moment putting a hoof to her chin and then looked down at the grass.

"I'll admit, when I first saw Pound Cake flying, I was hurting inside, it was awful. I've been struggling to fly with wings that just won't grow all my life. And this little colt comes along, born from two Earth ponies, not even potty trained, begins flying around when he's just a month old!

"I actually ran and cried where no pony could see me. I actually -hated- him. A stupid baby and I hated him. Or I thought I did. All my effort, all my sore wings and bruises and cracked hollow bones, and he's flying around without even learning. But I couldn't be angry at a little baby who didn't even care if I hated him or not!

"I needed something, anything to lash out at, something I could just be angry at and feel good about being angry, somepony I could treat like they weren't even a person and not feel the least bit guilty about. I ran into Fluttershy. I snapped and told her how much I hated her squandering her gift of being a pegasus. How much I hated her for acting like an Earth pony and acting like her wings weren't even there half the time. I told her she was betraying every pegasus in the world for living the way she did.

"She looked ready to cry, then suddenly she looked angry. I tried to run away and fast but she caught me anyway. She then took me up to the smallest and highest cloud she could find and dropped me on top of it. I was scared stiff.

"She told me I needed to grow up. She told she had already stopped pretending to be an Earth Pony in a pegasus' body. And she told me just how small I was really being. Then her whole attitude changed and asked me what was really bothering me, that kind of surprised me.

"I told her. She laughed. She apologized and said that all foals start out like that. Their gifts go wild when they're little but settle down as they get older and they learn how to actually use them. She then told me to ask Sweetie Belle how she felt about Pumpkin Cake.

"And Sweetie thought Pumpkin was just cute. When I brought up Pumpkin being able to do magic, Sweetie wondered if I was being weird. She didn't care. She said all unicorns go through magic surges, but that doesn't make them magic prodigies. So yeah, I felt kinda small then."

"Didn't your parents teach you that sort of thing if it was common for all ponies?"

"My parents... kinda missed that part."

"Oh."

"I apologized to Fluttershy first chance I got... But I haven't forgotten how I felt. I was angry and hurt, I couldn't be angry at who I wanted to be angry at, so I was angry at a pony I didn't think it would matter. But it did... "

"Blank flanks! Blank flanks!"

I shook my head free of the memory. But it remained at the back of my mind at Scootaloo's whole performance. It was like a parasprite eating at the back of my mind. As for Scootaloo's show? I didn't know the first thing about stunt performance so I couldn't tell you if it was inspired or cliche. But it was daring, and that's after the whole time travel episode we'd began the day with. Made me wonder how this pony hadn't broken her neck already.

Don't ask me why I did what I did next. All I knew was that memory wouldn't leave me alone. "HEY! You ponies want to see a real show? My family has a tab at the Ponyville Theater! We can watch as many shows as we want!"

Applebloom tilted her head, "Ya'all sayin' our show wasn't real?"

A spark of panic went through me. Wrong move. "I think you can get some inspiration from it!"

"Oh, right, that sounds nice." Sweetie Belle smiled and nodded.

+++

"Your guilty conscience may make you vote for Lunacrats, but in your hearts you know you want the Celestians in charge who will strip you of your freedoms and rule you like a king! And when they get in! I get out! Me and all my criminal buddies! Bwahahahha!" Cackled the villain as the ponies dressed up as royal guards dragged him off stage.

In a small VIP seat with the others Scootaloo raised an eyebrow, "This play doesn't make a lick of sense. How does that bit even fit in with the rest of the story?"

Sweetie Belle said, "I'm starting to think the fella' who wrote this play doesn't like Princess Celestia."

I looked at her dully, 'You think?'

"I guess this is kinda what you meant about our play, Silver Spoon... " She finished.

Applebloom declared maybe a little too loud, "Ah think whoever wrote this play has never MET Princess Celestia!"

"I think they've never even been to Canterlot," Spike added, I wonder what he knew about that. "It's still not as bad as that last play though. What's the fun of a giant battle with everypony apologizing every five seconds?"

"Silver Spoon Ah'm startin' ta think these here plays aren't all that fun," Applebloom said.

I looked at the leaflet, I saw what play was due next after the intermission. "I promise. You girls will like this next one."

The title of the next show read 'Pater Pan.'

The girls liked the show. They were surprised at how a filly was playing the role of a colt. I had to explain it was for the sake of the wires. They could be done with unicorn magic sure, but it had been part of the play's original style, and the theater had wanted to stay true to that. Though Applebloom did find the idea of an Earth Pony flying without wings thanks to Flutterpony Dust down right enchanting. Scootaloo joked she wanted to know where to get some.

Scootaloo did like the part where Pan started killing the pirates and turning them against each other. Spike was shocked where Tinker Bell drank the poison Hook had left for Pan. Spike of course was cheering for the crocodile.

I think I heard Sweetie Belle sniffle a bit at the end where Pan met Wendy Bird again as an old mare.

We all left the theater in an unspoken agreement after that play ended.

"Hey Applebloom you okay?" Spike asked shaking her a bit.

"It's nothing."

"Ever since the part where Pan talked about how foals never had to earn their cutie marks in Never Never Land you looked scared."

"It just reminds me, of when I was alone in the Everfree Forest."

"Really?" Scoots and Sweetie got into her personal space. "When? How? Why?"

"I'll... tell ya when we're all back at the club house."

"Why not now?"

"I... want a bit to think it over."

This pacified them enough to accept the small wait. How much time she'd have to tell it was another matter. Celestia's sun was going to be setting soon enough.

No. I'm not going to tell you what Applebloom told me, Spike, Sweetie and Scootaloo. But I'll never think of Applebloom as weak, or 'just' a blank ever again. And now I know how much meaning to Applebloom that gray filly we had kept seeing, when the fog kept trying to take us all back in during Princess Gaia's reign (and failing). And I'll never look at Everfree Forest the same way again either. She actually thanked us afterwards, she was happy to share it. She told us she felt finally free now that she had shared it with us.

But that wasn't here nor there, yet. The bigger knocking to me happened as we trotted back to the clubhouse.

"Ah can't believe that 'Peter Pan' wanted to live without his parents," Applebloom said.

"The day he was born? Because he didn't like what his parents were planning for him?" Scootaloo asked.

"Your parents are just there to provide for you, to make sure you carry on their legacy. If you could live without them, why wouldn't you?" I breathed out.

Applebloom and Scootaloo turned and looked at me like I was crazy.

"How can ya'll say that?" Applebloom asked in shock.

"Why not? Parents just make you. Like something at a factory. You're around only because they know they won't be forever."

Everyone stopped. I bumped into Sweetie Belle.

Applebloom got a determined look on her face that sent me for a loop. "Parents don't 'make' ya, they raise ya! They don't build ya, they rear ya! Parents look after ya, they're there for ya! They love ya! They teach ya how ta be a mare!"

"Parents are the ones you can always turn to no matter what," Scootaloo said getting in my face, I didn't shove her away like I should have. "They're-they're-" Scootaloo's lips quivered, "They're wonderful to have! You know when you wake up alone in the dark that they'll come for you! They're everything when they're around! Or that's what parents are SUPPOSED to be!"

Feeling scared I trotted back several paces, the fillies just trotted along with me.

"How-how can you say that?" I gasped out.

"Silver Spoon, isn't that what your parents are like? Don't they love you?" Sweetie Belle asked, the look in her eyes. I couldn't bear it.

"I'm just an investment to them! When I'm in danger it's an investment in danger! I'm not a pony to them!"

"Girlie. I don't buy that," Spike said.

"What do you know! What do any of you know! You don't know me!" I felt tears coming down my face.

"Yer ma and pa sure seemed worried at the festival to me."

"Let me tell you something kiddo," Spike said, "You could have everything you want, and it would STILL SUCK without your mom there with you!"

"Don't you know how LUCKY you are-?!" Scootaloo and Applebloom said together, they looked at each other in complete surprise.

A part of me wanted to run. Badly.

"If Ah could have just one more day with mah parents I'd trade mah mane for it!"

"Parents are a gift," Scootaloo said softly like I was ignoring some fundamental truth, but, she didn't sound -superior- about it. Was this pegasus ever going to stop confusing me?! Was, was she -crying-?

Stop it, stop it please. I held my hooves to my head. If this had been weeks earlier and we saw her crying, I'd have just followed Diamond Tiara in MAKING her cry... So why did I feel like this now?!

The herd gathered around me. Concerned adults stopped and took a look at the scene I was making. This wasn't proper. That made it worse.

"I'd never want to be without my parents. I'd never want to be in a world where I didn't have them." Sweetie Belle gently moved closer. She wasn't being condescending or mean, she sounded worried. "You'd want to be in a world where you didn't have yours?"

"Dust Mop! Clean Dishes! Somepony! Call a doctor!"

"Where's my baby?! She is alright-?! Oh Celestia! Is she going to be okay?! Are these going to scar?! Will she walk again?! Why isn't anyone telling me anything?!"

I fell to my rear hooves, and sobbed. I felt so ugly.

The fillies and dragons looked at me. They weren't laughing.

"Silver Ah didn't mean-" "-Ah man-" "-it's okay just let it out-" "-are you hurt?"

The Cakes, who happened to be nearby with their foals, came over to see what was wrong with the filly who was crying with her friends.

I barely answered their questions. They accepted that.

The Cakes gave us a place where I could finish crying without everypony watching. They weren't in my family's employ, why didn't they ask for a favor in return? Diamond would tell me they were just serving the upper class ponies. But they weren't being submissive about it either! The others all just waited patiently for me. Why didn't they leave me behind? How could they be so... kind to a filly who was their enemy?

"How much?" I managed to croak to the Cakes as we left.

"Eh?" Mr. Cake responded confused.

"How much will you charge my parents for helping me?"

"Charge?" Mrs. Cake responded from where she was tending to her foals.

"You mean to tell me you helped a stranger for nothing?" My head hurt.

Mr. Cake knelt down to be on my level, he, the tone he used, it was so strange, "There are no strangers in Ponyville."

It was like being hit by a gail wind.

In Ponyville, there was no such thing as a stranger. All this time I thought I was alone, there were so many I could've turned to but I never realized it...

My parents. When was the last I had even tried to hug them? When was the last time I had even said I loved them? What kind of cruel filly was I?

We made it to the club house after I finished crying, Applebloom as promised told her story, and as I said I realized how strong she really was.

The day was waning however, and we all had family waiting for us back home. Don't ask me why I stuck around to the end. We exchanged hugs and left. Applebloom, having the least distance to go, left last.

"Applebloom... " The word wasn't one I was used to saying, but I made due, "Thank you. Today was a," I swallowed, "a good day."

"Yeah, we really saw a lot didn't we?"

"And you didn't get your cutie mark."

"Yep."

"And you don't care."

"Nope. Cause I got to spend time with friends."

"But that makes it a waste."

"How can time spent with friends ever be a waste?"

"... You love being with your friends don't you?"

"Don't you?"

"It always just felt, natural to be around my friends, friend, before."

"Sounds like friendship to me!"

I look at this filly, no wealth, her family doesn't carry their legacy like a badge, no sophistication in the least. But she'd done more with herself than I ever had. And maybe I had grown a little too.

"I really really better get home. My dad is waiting for me," I said.

"Ah gotcha. Thanks for hanging out with us today, it was fun!"

"You're welcome... " I began to trot, but stopped. "Applebloom."

"Yeah?"

"Don't let your friends drift away. Never. Or you'll find a hole in your heart that you'll never be able to fill."

"Ah, ah think Ah got whatcha meant, goodnight Silver Spoon. Maybe we'll see each other again real soon, if that's alright with you."

"Goodnight Applebloom... And I think I'd like that... "

"... Silver Spoon?" She asked looking back to me.

I look back to her. "Y-yes?"

"... Let me finish before yah say anything. But Ah used to tell myself that you and Diamond Tiara's Cutie Marks were just useless, that yah had no real purpose."

I felt like I'd just been stabbed in the heart, what Diamond Tiara had said rushing back to my mind.

"But Ah was wrong, and Ah'm sorry Ah ever thought that."

"W-what?"

"Ah realized it on Family Appreciation Day. When yah were the first pony to start clappin' for Granny Smith, even though Diamond Tiara was still tryin' to hurt me an' her. That's when Ah noticed somethin' about yer Cutie Mark Ah hadn't ever noticed before. There's that little heart right there in the handle of it. How you've been actin' today and at the festival just proved it to me. There's a lot more to you and yer Cutie Mark than Ah thought... Maybe the same thing's true about Diamond Tiara... Anyway, goodnight, Silver Spoon."

As we parted ways, I looked back at my Cutie Mark, at the little heart in the handle. It was something even I had never noticed before... Maybe I belong in the 'Cutie Mark Crusaders' more than I thought. After all, I may have found my Cutie Mark... But that doesn't mean I'm done finding out about it...

And I'm finally free to explore it.

+++

There was a knock on the door, Twist's parents were busy so she opened it herself. Her heart jumped a little when she saw who it was. "Hiya Twist."

"Whao, er, hiya Applebloom."

"Been a while, mind if Ah all come in?"

"Whao, eith, be my guesth." The candy making pony made way and let the other filly enter. They had a lot of catching up to do.

+++

"Daddy? I'm home."

+++

Dear Princess Celestia.

I'll admit I was surprised when you asked me to help organize the notes to the latest round of interviews of the various points of view of Ponyville's population of ponies. Like any bout of organizing it's proven to be relaxing and comforting to me. The interviewers were a strange herd to work with. But it's also been enlightening, and I think I understand why you gave me this assignment.

There are a thousand and one tales in Ponyville, one for each link in the chain that connects us ponies together, each one as special and unique as the next. I fear to say there are not enough books in Equestria to contain all of the stories it holds. And if you try to write them all down, you'll never get anything but cliff notes on most of us. It is a task that no one pony can do alone, or should attempt alone. The best each pony can do is write but a small piece of the puzzle in the most in-depth detail we can. So in future generations, if they wish to explore the Ponyville that existed after Equestria was saved from eternal chaos, all they need do is explore our books.

Each of us has a story to tell, but no one pony can hope to write them all down. So we'll do our best to write down but a few to get a glimpse of our world to future generations.

-- Your Faithful Student Twilight Sparkle