• Published 29th Dec 2019
  • 1,606 Views, 175 Comments

A Cozy Hearth's Warming - SoloBrony



In the last story, Cozy Glow became a super hero. Mostly because of brain damage. Now she has to juggle studies, super heroics, friend-making (ugh), and... destiny? All before Hearth's Warming – can't a former megalomaniacal psychopath catch a break?

  • ...
4
 175
 1,606

Lashing out

Twilight, Sunset and I stared at the cutie map in stunned silence. I watched Sunset's cutie mark dance with mine for a while before finally shaking my head.

"So we're supposed to solve a friendship problem in Ponyville? The most friendly place in Equestria? The map specifically chose a horrible ex-villain and a foreigner to solve a problem here?"

Sunset twitched when I said 'horrible ex-villain', but visibly relaxed when I finished the statement. A pony who cared might actually look into that. Twilight just shrugged, still staring at the map.

"I... guess so? The map doesn't really make mistakes with this stuff, in my experience, so there must be something only you two can solve. I mean, I shouldn't be surprised! You're both brilliant, and you have a lot of insight I don't. Still, it's kind of disappointing to think there's some big, important issue left unresolved right here in town."

Sunset trotted over to me and set a hoof on my withers, meeting my gaze with a winning smile.

"Hey, we made a good team against that Ursa the other day. I, for one, am looking forward to getting up to more adventures with you."

I considered that for a moment, and then huffed slightly and smiled. "Alright, yeah. This might be kinda fun. And it's not like I don't want to hang out more, I just really figured we could do it outside of super hero hours this time."

Sunset's grin just deepened. "Trust me, I know all about heroics getting the way of your social life. You've just gotta get used to the two worlds overlapping all the time. Once you accept it, it gets a lot easier."

... Huh.

Huh.

"Huh. I guess I'll do that, then. Thanks. We should probably go look for this problem, right?"

Sunset nodded and held up a hoof towards the door with a dramatic flourish. "Lead onwards, Quillon! Because I never really learned my way around Ponyville!"

I snickered and turned to leave, just before Twilight chirped up.

"Say, Sunset? How'd you know you were being summoned?"

Sunset laughed. "Oh, it was super weird. My cutie mark appeared on the back of my hands and started glowing, and I had to stick my hands in my pockets really fast. My teacher yelled at me for leaving my phone on in class!"

Hands? And what the heck is a phone?

I gave Sunset a sympathetic eyeroll and shrug.

"I totally hate it when that happens."

She snickered. "Right? Let's get a move on."

We managed to get outside before she realized we didn't have phones in Equestria and I was just messing with her. It was good for a laugh, and we continued throwing jabs at each other for the next few hours as we searched for some sign of a problem in Ponyville without success. We finally decided to give up and grab some milkshakes, bantering the whole way and straight into the line in the store.

"So then I just screamed 'Flying Hydra Punch' and knocked it right on its rear with this massive, flaming uppercut!"

"Oh come on, you did not!"

"I totally did! You want me to demonstrate on you, missy?!"

Sunset laughed and held up a hoof.

"I'm good, thanks! I'd like my chin to stay where it is! So why would you call your attack like that, anyway? What are you, some kind of comic book character?"

"Trying to be!"

Sunset froze for just a second at that and laughed again.

"Fair enough, I guess! But I don't think you're nearly cliche enough to make that really work, Quillon."

"Not yet, but I figure if I just start eating way more food than any pony could reasonably digest, do a bunch of ridiculous training that has nothing to do with fighting, and make sure to act like a total idiot when it comes to socializing, I'll be most of the way there."

"Nuh-uh! You forgot the tragic backstory!"

"Oh, I've got that covered, don't worry."

Sunset giggled and was about to make another comment when the cashier – a grey earthpony stallion – called out at us angrily.

"Hey, unicorns! You're holdin' up the dang line! Make your order already!"

It took me a second to realize that between my horn and the cloak hiding my wings, he was referring to me.

How dare this slovenly rube address me like that? I'll get back at him! I bet I could get the health department to shut his precious little place down with a little sabotage!

OR, I could be mature and stop holding up the line, and not let every little thing draw me into drama and stupidity while I hurt everypony around me.

He's still a jerk, though!

Sunset and I meekly trotted up to the counter to make our orders. The worker irritably took them down and made our shakes, being overly forceful and irate the whole time. The end result was shakes that were visibly sloppy compared to the others in the store, with mine even having some of the ice cream improperly mixed and spilling over the side of the glass slightly.

Sunset quirked an eyebrow through the display and stared at the shakes pointedly after he slammed them down.

"Sir? Is there some problem?"

The stalion huffed. "Just take your shakes and get back to Canterlot."

Sunset was visibly confused, but I'd put the situation together already and leaned forward.

"Okay, spit it out. What's your problem with unicorns? I thought the rumors dividing Equestria were dealt with at the Battle of the Bell."

The cashier snorted. "What, you think the Canterlot crowd gets a pass from me after kicking my daughter out of their shelter, just because we banded together for survival in the end? She almost froze to death trying to make the run back to Ponyville! All because she didn't have a horn!"

Sunset gasped. "That's awful! Why would they do that to her?"

I set a hoof on Sunset's withers. "Things got really ugly in Equestria leading up to that whole confrontation. I heard about how the unicorns shut themselves off in the magic school; I'm not that surprised."

The stallion squinted at me. "Heard about it? Well where were you, then?"

This one's easy. Just make up a story about—

No! No more lying and manipulation!

I leaned over the counter a bit, glaring up at him.

"I was busy trying to destroy Equestria along with Tirek and Chrysalis."

UGH! What's even the point of talking to this waste of space?

Shut up!

The stallion reared back, his eyes going wide in recognition.

"You're Cozy Glow! I heard your coat color changed, but I didn't know—"

Forget the map, let's just blow this whole thing off!

UGH, SHUT UP!

I waved a hoof and cut him off.

"Yes, yes, I've HEARD it all already, save your shock and indignation. Now listen up; somepony did something awful to you – or somepony you care about, in this case – so you're being a total boor to random strangers who happen to have horns. I did the exact same thing, venting my anger about stuff in my past on ponies who had nothing to do with it. So tell me something, ice-cream pony..."

I popped my wings through the hidden cuts in the cloak and flew up to his face, uncomfortably close.

"Does any of that make you feel good about yourself? Do you go home and take a deep breath and say," I put on a bad imitation of his much-deeper voice, " 'YEAH, I sure was a JERK to those random unicorns I saw today! I can sleep just great tonight!' Think somepony will build a statue in honor of your efforts?"

More than anything, the stallion seemed confused by my presentation, and that just made me more angry.

He's literally too stupid to get the point! Stop wasting time doing what Twilight and some arbitrary MAP tells you to do!

The voice in my head was also just ticking me off, making it hard to think straight. What I said next came out a lot more forcefully than I intended; I didn't have the vocal strength to speak so powerfully before I became an alicorn.

"Does doing this make you feel warm inside? Huh? Does it? You proud of yourself?"

The stallion glared at me and shouted back.

"So what?! I just let ponies walk all over me and I'm supposed to be the bigger stallion?!"

Something about his behavior reminded me of a long-buried memory; something from way before Twilight's school. I felt my stomach invert on itself, an icy, wet sensation of dread creeping up my spine. I crushed that under sheer, blind anger, but when I spoke my voice came out calm – though it barely sounded like me anymore.

"Do you even get why that's what you're supposed to do? It's because it has to end with you. Taking your anger out on others will just make you miserable, them miserable, and soon it will come back on you again. It's pointless. It's stupid. And you already know that or you wouldn't have bothered trying to justify this horseapple nonsense to me. And you can kiss your business goodbye—" I gestured to his customers, who looked thoroughly disgusted at him, though just as many looked alarmed to realize who I was, to be honest, "—as soon as ponies find out that you treat unicorns this way, since nopony in Ponyville is going to want to be near you."

The cashier was about to make a retort, but I cast a spell that distracted him. The two poorly-made milkshakes on the counter transformed into an old pre-Equestrian symbol; a coat of arms with a unicorn horn below it, signifying that unicorns who trespassed would be attacked. He stared at it for a second before I saw recognition dawn in his eyes, and that was enough for me; I flew right out of the store before folding my wings back into my cloak.

Sunset teleported to my side a moment later. I saw her open and close her mouth as she kept pace with me and tried to work out what to say. We'd gone about thirty paces before she finally settled on something.

"Quillon, are you okay?"

"Nope."

"Right, uh... wanna talk about it?"

I bit back a particularly nasty invective.

"Let's wait until tomorrow, when I've calmed down."

"For a second I thought you might just demonstrate that flying punch after all."

I shook my head, starting to shake as the adrenaline bled off of me.

"I didn't want to hurt him, I wanted to just ignore him and leave. I probably should have; I doubt my rant made any difference."

Sunset set a hoof in front of my barrel, causing me to stop in surprise. Then she turned me around, and I saw the pony's customers streaming out. After a few moments, he came out and called after them in a panic.

"Oh, I think you made a difference, alright. I doubt he'll be giving unicorns any more trouble – at least if he likes having a job."

I groaned. "Great, I ruined another pony's life."

Sunset turned my head to look at her, and fixed me with a serious expression.

"Quillon, there's nothing wrong with what you did. You just spoke your mind and stood up to someone doing something wrong, even though it hurt to do. I mean, maybe you could have been more... I dunno, diplomatic? But on the other hand – er, hoof – maybe your way was the only one that would get through to him."

I shuffled and looked at the cashier, who glanced in our direction; he looked less 'angry' and more 'dismayed'. I didn't particularly like either option.

"Maybe, I guess. I think I'm just going to go home; we didn't find the friendship problem yet, and the sun's already setting, so we'll just try again tomorrow."

Sunset shuffled in place and looked like she had more to say, but finally just concluded with, "Alright. See you then."

I took the train home, and spent the whole time trying to get old-Cozy to shut up and not think about the memory I'd recalled in the shop.

Author's Note:

Old-Cozy may be evil, but you can't deny she's practical.