• Published 18th Jan 2020
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16 - AlwaysDressesInStyle



Five years ago, sixteen mares founded a hotel in New Jersey called the Mareiott. These are their stories.

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Act I: Dewdrop Dazzle


Whinnyapolis: eleven years, nine months, and eighteen days ago

Much to my delight, spring had come early to the upper plains of northern Equestria. The snow had melted quickly, leaving lots of puddles behind. I was thrilled, but I’m one of the rare ponies that likes wet and rainy days. And puddles? I take to them like a duck to water.

I was in my element, while my bestest friend in the whole world, Snowy, was in mourning. Winter had passed, and she was struggling to hold onto it despite the ever increasing temperatures. Snowy’s a silly pony sometimes. There she was, trying to make a snowpony out of the rapidly melting slush, while I happily splashed through the meltwater the snow was leaving behind.

Snowy and I are a lot alike. So much so, I like to call her my sister from another mister. We were born less than three months apart. We each have one pegasus parent and one unicorn parent. We’re both named in line with pegasus traditions despite being unicorns. And we both really like playing in the rain and snow.

Not that there aren’t differences, of course. Our coats are similar, but I’m more on the greenish side of blue-green while Snowy’s firmly on the blue side. Our hair and eyes are completely different colors from one another. She’s better at magic – she’s already able to illuminate her horn and levitate things, while I can barely manage to wobble anything I try to pick up with my magical field. And, perhaps the biggest difference of all, is I’m a blank flank and she got her cutie mark playing in the snow a few months ago.

You’d think getting a cutie mark would make her happy, but she’s been pretty bummed out since not long after she got it. Our teacher thought for sure she was going to be an archmage someday, but now everypony just dismisses her as a wannabe. It makes me mad. She’s still the same awesome filly she’s always been, what does it matter if her cutie mark is of a snowflake instead of a shooting star?

Seeing the reactions of all the adults around us is why I’m not jealous that my friend has her cutie mark already and I don’t. Well, okay, part of me is a little jealous, but at the same time I’m worried my own mark will be as much of a disappointment to everypony as hers is. We both like the same things, so it stands to reason mine will be similar to hers. If I had to guess what mine’s gonna be, I’d pick waterproof boots for jumping through puddles.

But I guess expectations aren’t quite as high for me as they were for her. I can barely do magic at all, so no one’s planning my future for me. Well, except my parents. Mom wants me to work on the weather team like she does, while Dad’s hoping I’m a late bloomer and that my magic will get stronger eventually. But that’s all for future Dewey to worry about. Right now there’s puddles that need splashing in!



Whinnyapolis: eleven years, nine months, and zero days ago

The snow’s gone now, and so are the puddles. I’ve been begging Mom to make it rain for two days now, but she says the water levels are already too high, whatever that means. It may be warmer than it was a few weeks ago, but it’s still too cold to go down to the lake and go swimming. Snowy and I wandered the streets of town, dejectedly.

“Wanna go to the arcade?”

“Nah.” That was a lie, but my allowance was withheld this week because I tracked mud into the house. Again. Dad’s a bit of a neat freak.

“We could catch a movie? Or go for ice cream.”

I had to give Snowy credit; she was at least trying to have a good time despite the sunny weather. We just needed to think up something that doesn’t cost any bits. “Let’s go to the playground.” Snowy nodded at my suggestion and followed my lead.

We took turns going down the slides and pushing each other on the swings, then we spun on the carousel for a bit. Eventually we just started playing tag, dashing up and down the seesaws and weaving in and out of the rest of the playground’s equipment.

I stopped mid-gallop when I heard the quacking of a duckling. This will henceforth be known as mistake number one. Snowcatcher was it, and she was hot on my hooves at the time I came to a halt. She couldn’t slow down in time, and instead slammed into me, flattening me to the ground while simultaneously catapulting over me. She landed in a heap a few yards away, but quickly bounced to her hooves. “That totally counts as a tag! You’re it!”

I stood up and shook the cobwebs off. I’d taken the brunt of the impact, cushioning her fall, yet I didn’t appear all the worse for wear. “You win.” I conceded defeat and turned my attention towards the quacking I’d heard. I poked my snout into the bushes and found a few mallard ducklings sitting around a dried up puddle.

“Poor little duckies.” Snowy had squeezed in next to me.

I sat there looking from the ducks to the sky and back. If the weather team wouldn’t give them rain, I’d just have to do it myself. Horn sparking, I stood up and aimed it straight up into the sky.

“Dewey? What are you doing?”

I poured everything I had into a stream of raw magic with one basic request: rain. The clouds above turned from white and fluffy to dark and stormy. A minute later it wasn’t raining so much as it was pouring. I guess I’d overdone it. There was a flash of lightning behind me and I yelled to Snowy that we should head for cover.

“That wasn’t lightning! You got your cutie mark!”

I whipped my head around and much to my surprise I saw an umbrella sheltering a pair of hearts. That was way better than the galoshes I was expecting! “Woo-hoo!” I dashed through the rain, splashing in all the puddles along the way, Snowy struggling to keep up.



Canterlot: eleven years, six months, and ten days ago

There are few feelings worse than the one you get when you know you’re someplace you don’t belong. Snowy belongs here, not me. She’s bursting with nervous energy, not that she has anything to worry about. She’s got this. Princess Celestia’s School For Gifted Unicorns would be foolish not to accept her. Me, on the other hoof, I’m only here to support Snowy. They’ll dismiss me as unworthy and I’ll go back to Whinnyapolis while she stays here in Canterlot. I’ll miss her, of course. She’s my best friend. She’s my only friend…

One by one they pulled us inside a room to impress our evaluators. Snowy emerged from the room and I knew it was my turn. She held the door for me, and I entered the room of doom. Four ponies sat behind desks with clipboards in their magical auras. I gasped when I saw one of them was Princess Celestia herself. I hastily bowed, but she told me to rise to my hooves.

The first test was simple by unicorn standards. Simple for any unicorn other than me, anyway. All I needed to do was light my horn. The simplest of all unicorn magic, yet it was something I’d never managed to accomplish. I gulped. Princess Celestia was sitting right there in front of me, next to three gifted mages, and I couldn’t even make a spark of magic to impress them with. Two words came to my mind: epic fail.

Much to my surprise my horn lit up in a brilliant ball of light. It was then I saw Snowy hiding under one of the desks in the very back of the room. Snowy, you’re the best friend a filly could ask for. But they’re going to figure out that I cheated my way in when I fail every test I take. I just hope they don’t kick you out too.

I scrunched my face up in concentration and a faint orchid glow filled my vision. My own magical aura is mint green, so I didn’t even bother trying to use my horn. The objects in front of me levitated, dancing through the air as the observers scribbled notes on their clipboards.

The rest of the tests were no problem for Snowy, though they would’ve been too much for me. Eventually we were done, and Princess Celestia looked at the clock. “I think this is a good place to stop for lunch. We’ll pick up with the next in line in an hour.”

The other three reviewers left the room and I started to follow them but found myself restrained by a golden aura. “I’m sure you’re anxious to eat, Dewdrop, but I’d like to talk with you first. And you too, Snowcatcher.”

Busted. So very busted. That didn’t take long at all. Snowy emerged from her hiding spot and stood next to me as we awaited judgement. “Did you fillies know that every unicorn’s magic has its own distinctive signature? Or did you just think we wouldn’t notice Snowcatcher took the entrance exam twice?”

“I don’t belong here.”

Snowy nuzzled me. “Yes, you do.”

“I can’t even light my own horn.” I closed my eyes and focused as hard as possible on my horn. It sparked with a few hints of mint magic and gave off a faint mint glow. “That’s the best I can do. I can’t levitate anything at all.”

Snowy sighed. “She sells herself short. Do you have a lake near here?” The princess quirked an eyebrow but nodded. “Can you take us there, please?”

“An odd request, but I requested an explanation and you’ve piqued my curiosity. Consider it done.” With a brilliant flash we were standing on the shore of an alpine lake higher up the mountain. I could see the town of Canterlot below us, the castle standing prominently over it.

“Whoa. Can you teach me that? Please?”

Celestia smiled at Snowy. “We’ll see, my little pony. That’ll depend on Dewdrop proving she belongs in my school. Because if she doesn’t, I’m not accepting your application either.”

Snowy shrugged. “She will. If she’s not allowed in, I don’t want to go here anyway.”

“You can’t throw your future away like that.”

“I’m not. I have faith in you.” She patted my withers.

“No pressure.”

Snowy shrugged again. “No pressure. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll still be friends no matter what, and that’s the most important part.”

I sighed and stepped up to the edge of the lake. “What should I do?”

“Just be yourself, Dewey.”

I jumped into the lake. Even the summertime sun couldn’t take the chill out of this frigid water. In hindsight, I probably should’ve waded in slowly. Magic air bubble time. I spent the next twenty minutes exploring the bottom of the lake, not that there was anything of any interest. We were high up on a mountain, so there were no shipwrecks or even fish. Just a crystal clear lake. I could easily see Snowy and the princess on the shore, so I waved to them.

Twenty minutes is all the air supply I’ve got though, so I returned to the surface. “Thank you, princess. This lake is perfect.” I turned around to face the depths from which I’d just emerged and my horn ignited. My magic impacted the surface and suddenly the tranquil lake turned turbulent. Waves crashed along the shoreline and I fired a blast of magic into the sky as well. Soon it started pouring. “Because there are no fish in this lake, I don’t feel the least built guilty for what I’m about to do.” Two more blasts erupted from my horn, one towards the lake and one towards the clouds. The lake froze solid, waves and all, while the rain turned into snow.

“Thank you, Dewdrop, for that wonderful demonstration of your talents. Would you mind returning the lake back to normal now?”

I nodded at the princess’ request, returning the lake to its tranquil, liquid state.

“I haven’t seen a water elemental in centuries.”

“Did she pass her entrance exam?”

Princess Celestia nodded. “You were right, my little pony, she belongs here too. And our tests never would have discovered that.” She turned to me. “More importantly, Dewdrop, we have ways to teach you to harness your power over water to substitute for the basics. For example, there’s water vapor in the air around you, and you can use that in place of levitation. When you consider that water covers approximately 70% of the planet’s surface, then factor in that everypony requires water to survive, and then throw in the fact that water comprises about 60% of our bodies, having power over water is a truly amazing gift.”

Snowy pouncehugged me and the princess giggled. “I suppose this means the two of you would like to be roommates?” We both nodded. “I’ll make sure the arrangements are made. There’s just one last thing. There’s still the little matter of the fact that the two of you were cheating. You could’ve just come right out and stated you were a water elemental instead of going to all that effort. We could’ve adjusted things accordingly. I think a suitable punishment is hoofing it back to the school.” She vanished with a pop, leaving the two of us standing there, gawking at the place she’d just been standing.

“I’m totally learning how to do that.”

“I wish you already knew.”

“Me too, Dewey, me too. Hey, you know, she didn’t say we had to go back immediately. Think this is one of those mountains that has snow year ‘round?”

“Only one way to find out.” I grinned.

“Race you to the top!”

“You’re on!”



Canterlot: nine years, four months, and sixteen days ago

I relaxed on the shore of what I’d come to think of as ‘our’ alpine lake. Snowy and I were the only ones who ever came here, and it was the perfect place to come to get away from it all.

Unsurprisingly, Snowy had excelled at the courses offered at the school, while I’d struggled. Part of me wanted to drop out and continue at the normal school back home, but the rest of me wanted to learn how to truly harness my powers so I could at least do most of the things other unicorns could do. There was no place else on Equus where I could learn this. And I didn’t want to leave Snowy behind. She was the whole reason I’d taken such a crazy chance in the first place.

There was a small rock next to the lake. Levitating it would be a breeze for any other unicorn, but my magic fizzled as I tried to grasp it. I’d have to use the water molecules to do the lifting for me. It was easier to practice by the lake since it was a large source of water. Pulling water from the lake and levitating it around and under the rock was no problem, nor was it an issue to lift the water with the rock coming along for the ride.

It was much more difficult when I tried to pull the water vapor from the air. There’s no lake in the classroom, so if I want to get a passing grade, I need to levitate by manipulating the water molecules around the object. I closed my eyes and reached toward the rock with my magic. Once I found the rock, I turned my attention to the air around it. When I focused, I could sense the water vapor. Then I moved the molecules where I wanted them, and up. I opened my eyes. The rock was levitating. Barely, but it was off the ground. I concentrated and lifted it higher as I watched it levitate in front of me. Success! I’d never be as good at levitation as other unicorns, but at least I could do it. At the expense of great personal effort on my part. I let the rock collapse back to the ground. Good thing I was used to grasping things the earth pony way, because I wouldn’t be using this spell with any frequency.

Lighting my horn up was an effort in futility. There were no spells that offered a way to convert water to light. I could freeze water vapor and use the resulting ice crystals to reflect light, but that was useless in a pitch black room. Even Princess Celestia had offered no suggestions, and instead offered a note to excuse me from taking the test. Sadly, that didn’t help me much in the real world when situations arose where I needed light and couldn’t produce any.

Princess Celestia had called this a gift. I felt like it was more of a curse. The things other unicorns take for granted are outside my reach. I’ll never be normal. I’ll always be ‘that freak that uses water to do everything’ to the rest of my peers. I sighed. If only they knew just how difficult it was for me to do the things they think are easy.

I looked at the peaceful lake. Gentle waves lapped at the shore in the gentle breeze. I could do anything with this water. My horn sparked with my mint green aura and the water in the lake shot up into the air. I shaped it into a duck then froze it, creating an instant ice sculpture. That was well beyond the abilities of most unicorns. I melted the ice sculpture, restoring the lake to normal.

My powers were incredible, but what good were they from a practical sense? I could control weather, sure, but so could a full third of the population. There’s a weather team job waiting for me back home. Ever since my magic manifested, Mom’s made it abundantly clear that she wants me to join the team someday. But that’s not what I want to do with my life.

I wouldn’t mind exploring the oceans, but twenty minutes of air at any given time is hardly sufficient. I could probably map the bottoms of lakes and rivers. Though having the ability to make light would help exponentially with that. The deeper it gets, the darker it gets.

I’m just a filly, and I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do with my life someday, but my options will always be limited.

I looked at the position of the sun – Snowcatcher’s class should just about be over. I trotted back down the mountain. With luck I can make it back to our dorm room before Snowy gets back.



Canterlot: seven years, four months, and twelve days ago (takes place in the aftermath of Season 9, episode 17: The Summer Sun Setback)

Princess Celestia is beloved by millions of ponies, and you’d be hard-pressed to find somepony who doesn’t like her. She’s ruled for over a millennium, and during that time the three tribes have, for the most part, come together as one. And then you have Princess Celestia’s School For Gifted Unicorns. A school specifically for unicorns run by an alicorn in a unicorn-majority city. It makes sense, the pegasi have flight schools, and unicorn magic is more diverse than that of pegasi or earth ponies. There’s a need for a school like this. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the perfect breeding ground for unicorn supremacists.

At first glance, that shouldn’t have been a problem. Snowy and I are both unicorns, after all. The asterisk to that is that neither of us are full-blooded unicorns. It had never been an issue previously, but tensions between the three tribes were running high. Unicorns had nothing good to say about pegasi or earth ponies, and while earth ponies and pegasi also grumbled about the other tribes, they were minorities in Equestria’s capital city. Many of them migrated, with pegasi fleeing to Cloudsdale and earth ponies moving to surrounding farm towns like Ponyville. Suddenly there were fewer targets to direct rage at. The resulting ‘tribal impurity’ from mixed parentage became the latest outcry, and Snowy and I soon found ourselves ostracized.

The school grounds were mostly safe, but that didn’t help us when we were off campus. We’d opted to see a movie, and we lingered at the ice cream shop afterwards a little longer than anticipated. It was well past dark as we trekked back to our dorm. Equestria is the safest nation on Equus, and with the exception of occasional invasions, Canterlot is likely the safest city in the entire world.

A gang of four of our classmates materialized out of an alley and stopped us. “Well, well, well, look what we have here, boys.”

“Looks like a couple of cute young fillies.”

“Looks like a couple pegasus wannabes. Check out their flanks. We’ve got a special little snowflake and a dumb umbrella.”

“A dumbrella!”

“My Mom’s a weather pegasus, dumbflank.”

“Half-blood.”

“My father’s a pegasus.”

“Two weak little half-bloods wandering the streets at night. You might want to consider paying the toll for safe passage back to school.”

Snowy readied a teleport spell but it fizzled out. “Oh yeah, we know you can teleport. I developed a blocking spell. Can’t have you leaving this party before it starts.” Ever since that day Princess Celestia winked us to the lake high up the mountain, Snowy’s become extremely proficient with teleportation. It wasn’t exactly a secret, and it was the last piece of proof we needed to know we’d been specifically singled out.

We could try running, but they were older, and had the benefit of longer legs. They’d catch us pretty easily. We could attempt to make a ruckus to attract the attention of the Royal Guards, but then it would be a he said-she said situation. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. Even if we managed to get away, now, we were never going to hear the end of it.

Four unicorn stallions, all of them older than us, and all of them students at the same gifted school as us. This wasn’t going to be a fair fight. We’d just have to even the odds.

“Aim down, full blast.”

Snowcatcher nodded and blasted a hole deep through the cobblestones, rupturing the water main I could sense below us. The street started flooding and we squared off against the older stallions. I wasted no time blasting one of the stallions full force with the water, then flash froze him. One down, three to go.

And then the street disappeared and we were falling. “Snowy?!?”

“Right here, Dewey. I teleported us all a mile straight up.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I figured it might give us a chance to talk things out. But it seems our company is too interested in screaming in terror to do any conversing.”

“I don’t blame them! You’re crazy, you know that?”

“I know. Anyways, thanks for blasting the one with the teleport blocker.”

“If I’d known you were going to do this, I might not have! You know more spells than anypony I know; couldn’t you have used something other than teleportation?!?”

“I have half a dozen spells going through my mind right now. But I don’t know if I could make any of them work without hurting anypony. I don’t care if it could be considered self-defense, I’d never forgive myself if I injured somepony. If we can’t talk things out with them, at least this buys us a few minutes to think up a better strategy.”

“Unless we splatter! How about you teleport them to a jail cell, and us back to our dorm?”

“Remind me to start teleporting us to and from locations around town from now on. Speaking of…” We winked again, once more coming out a mile above Canterlot. She turned her attention to the three stallions who could still speak. “So do you boys want to talk about why we find ourselves plummeting towards our deaths?”

“You’re crazy!”

She nodded. “Yes, but we’ve already established that. I’m not the one who started this fight. So why don’t you tell me why we’re all in this predicament right now?”

“Because you’re inferior to us!”

“Oh? Doesn’t look that way from where I’m falling. I can save us any time I want, yet none of you seem to have any spells at your disposal to get out of this situation. I can keep doing this all night, but if you’d prefer I can always find another spell to use instead.” She levitated a spell book out of her saddlebags and casually flipped it open as we fell. “Nope, nope, nope, definitely not. Wow, who came up with that one? Oh! This could work: Barker’s Gelding Spell. Would you prefer that one instead?”

Their eyes just about bugged out of their heads and I struggled not to burst out laughing at Snowy’s perfect deadpan delivery of that. She has to be making that one up. It was then that I looked down. “Uh, Snowy? Ground!”

“Hmn? Oh! Silly me, I almost forgot about that.” We teleported yet again and continued our descent. “Now where were we? Right, I think you three were about to promise that we’re all equals and that you’ll never call us half-bloods ever again. Preferably before I start getting tired since it takes about a dozen more teleports to bleed off speed.”

Three stallions swore to Celestia they’d never bother us again, and true to her word, Snowy teleported us again. Except this time, we came out sideways. That was immediately followed by another teleport. We continued coming out sideways or even upside-down as Snowy slowed our momentum to something that could survive a landing. The last teleport exited right above the river, and we all fell to the water below. The current was pulling us rapidly toward the waterfall. Snowy teleported us to the shore, but left the stallions in the water. “Going to keep those promises?” Three waterlogged unicorns nodded, and Snowy winked them to the shore as well.

I unfroze the fourth, and one final teleport found Snowy and I in our shared dorm room, sans the stallions. Snowy collapsed from the effort, that last teleport being beyond her safe range. All that mattered was we were safe – she’d be fine after two hours of rest. It wasn’t the first time she’d pushed herself too far, nor would it be the last. Levitating her with water molecules was a new challenge, but I managed to get her tucked into bed.

Equestria’s a safe nation, but every once in a while, you run into a few idiots who think they can just take whatever they want. The truth is, there’s always a bigger fish.



Canterlot: seven years, two months, and three days ago (takes place during Season 9, episodes 24/25: The Ending of the End)

There’s always a bigger fish. Always. And that bigger fish was now attacking Canterlot. The school was being used as a shelter, but only for unicorns. Pegasi and earth ponies were on their own. Even though nopony kicked us out, Snowy and I left in disgust. Snowy teleported us to our favorite lake; our safe haven away from the rest of the world. Nopony ever bothered coming up this way.

We watched as an unknown pink alicorn with blue hair demolished everything in her path as she made a beeline right for Canterlot Castle. “Flurry Heart?”

“She’s not that old, and her hair’s not blue. I have no idea who it is. We’re too far away to get a good look at her. But she looks to be about our age.”

“Are you telling me you don’t have a binocular spell in your inventory of tricks?”

Snowy pondered that for a minute, and flipped open her saddlebags. “There’s got to be something like that in here.”

“Page 97.”

Snowy flipped to the page and found what she was looking for. “How’d you know that?”

“Just because I can’t perform most of the spells in there, that doesn’t mean I can’t memorize the names of the spells and what they do. Ever since we were attacked a few months ago, I want you to have options other than just dropping us all from a mile up. I’ve seen what happens to you when you go past your limits, and splattering isn’t the end I’d wish for either of us.”

“You’re never going to forgive me for that one, are you? I can go a mile at a time constantly without tiring. It’s when I go more than a mile and a half that’s the problem. Suffice it to say I’ve learned to judge distance really well.”

“Suffice it to say I came up with my own emergency contingency plan if you ever pull that stunt again. As long as there’s enough water in the area, I can make a giant water slide to gently bring us down to a splashdown in the nearest body of water.”

“Nifty!” She was now sporting a pair of magical binoculars. “Some mare with a rook cutie mark is draining everypony of their magic. Looks like she’s got some kind of artifact. Any ideas?”

I shook my head. “Nope. What are we going to do?”

“Nothing right now. I’ve run every scenario I can think of, and there’s nothing the two of us can do to stop her. She’d walk all over us just like she did all those Royal Guards that are desperately clinging to her legs.”

“So we’re just going to sit here and watch Canterlot burn?”

“Until there’s something we can do to put an end to it, we don’t really have a better option. What’s the smarter course of action? Making a valiant, though ultimately worthless sacrifice, or developing an effective strategy to help? For example, the best thing we can do at the moment is this…” There was a flash and a pop, and suddenly an earth pony mare and her two foals were standing next to Snowy, confused. “There are caves further up the mountain. You’ll be safe up here.”

“But you’re unicorns. Why are you helping us?”

“We’re half-bloods. They don’t want us in the shelter either. Dewey, show her the way to the caves and then get back here. We’re going to have a lot of company very soon.”


When I returned, there were dozens of pegasi and earth ponies gathered around our lake, along with two griffons, a zebra, and even a dragon.

“I got everypony, and uh, everycreature I could find.” She continued scanning the streets looking for stragglers. An explosion drew her attention, along with everyone else’s, to the castle. More than half of the structure was just gone, obliterated in a flying field of debris. Snowy’s horn glowed and more ponies joined us as she rescued maids and guards from the remains of the castle.

My stomach twisted in knots as I watched the debris settle on the valley floor far below. “Was anypony in there?”

One of the maids shook her head. “That was the stained glass wing. Princess Celestia has more stained glass windows than the castle had windows to put them in, so she had just dedicated that new wing specifically for the windows. We’d already evacuated it.”

“That was half the castle!”

“The princess really likes stained glass windows.”

“Dewey! Use the moat.”

I turned my attention to Snowy, and then the disaster scene below us. Flames were licking the remnants of the castle. “Get me down there.”

“Listen up, everypony. There are caves up the mountain. You’ll be safe there.” Snowy pointed the way.

The three Royal Guards Snowy had rescued rushed up. “If you’re going down there, take us with you.”

“One of you needs to stay here to protect the evacuees.” They looked amongst one another and one of them volunteered to stay behind. And then Snowy winked the rest of us right into the middle of the chaos.

The smoke stung my eyes as I directed the water out of the moat and onto the blaze. While I concerned myself with putting out the fire, Snowy and the guards searched the smoldering remains for ponies to rescue.

Thankfully the castle had been built next to a waterfall, and there was a constant stream of water to pull from. I had the flames extinguished by the time Snowy and the guards returned with more survivors that had been hiding in the caves under the castle. Miraculously, there were no casualties, and only minor injuries. It could’ve been much, much worse.

I found Snowy gazing down the mountain and it didn’t take a genius to know what she was pondering. “Oh no, you’re not going down there. Not without me, anyway.” She didn’t even bother responding, she just winked us halfway down the mountain, and then winked us the rest of the way.

More than a quarter mile of formerly pristine forest at the base of the mountain was littered with the wreckage of what had until recently been the stained glass wing of the castle. The two of us spent the rest of the day and half the night combing the remains, but thankfully the maid had been correct, there was nothing there but broken masonry and shattered glass. I think Snowy may have invented that boot spell she used, since I don’t recall seeing that one in any of the spell books she has. Regardless, it was nice not to have to pick shards of colorful glass out of my hooves after traipsing through the debris-strewn woods for hours on end.

We teleported back up the mountain, but things were quiet. Most of the city of Caneterlot was intact; the mysterious alicorn’s rampage had been limited mostly to flinging carts and wagons out of her way as she stormed the castle. Canterlot Castle had taken the worst of it, and I couldn’t help wondering if the remains would be torn down and replaced, or if they’d rebuild it from what was left.

We returned to the caves where we’d left the others. They were empty, but rather than try to determine if it was safe yet, or if the guards had evacuated everypony else to another, safer location, we decided to just call it a night and sleep there in the cave. We were absolutely exhausted from searching through all the wreckage, and we were covered head to hoof in soot from the fire in the castle. Even though it’d been years since the last time we’d gone camping, it was just like old times snuggling up next to Snowy for warmth, and letting her soft snores lull me to sleep.



Canterlot: five days ago

My freshly minted diploma adorned the wall of our shared apartment, right next to Snowy’s. Both of them rattled when Snowy announced her return by slamming the door. I looked up from the pot of rice I was boiling for dinner. My aura never faltered as I kept the water at the ideal temperature. Snowy does all of our baking, but when it comes to boiling, stoves have nothing on my horn.

“So things didn’t go so well?”

“Prone to understatement much?” Snowy’s tail was lashing back and forth like an angry cat’s. “No, things didn’t go well.”

“What are we going to do now?”

“You can still take that weather team position back in Whinnyapolis. Your mom’s been keeping that spot open for you and you know it.”

“And you know as well as I do that I didn’t spend the last eleven and a half years getting an education just to go back home and be a weathermare.”

“You tied your star to mine and unfortunately for both of us, my star just crashed and burned. Cut the rope now and you can still save yourself.”

“Not happening. I tied my star to yours, as you so eloquently put it, because your star shines brighter than anypony I know. It’s almost impossible not to get swept up in your enthusiasm. So you had a minor setback. So what? You planned for this, didn’t you? You always have a contingency plan. Remember the day the Terrible Trio attacked? I would’ve rushed in and had all my magic drained, but you took a wait and see response, and we ended up rescuing ponies instead of needing to be rescued ourselves. You’re more creative than I am. You’re smarter than I am. I know you’re going to argue that, but seriously, don’t. I’ve seen your test scores and I’ve seen mine. What’s the backup plan?”

“I was thinking I might move back home to Whinnyapolis to make snowflakes for the weather team.”

I raised an eyebrow at that. Menial work or not, I could see her enjoying that. Still, it would be a tremendous waste of her talents. “You dream big – surely you have other dreams.”

“I may dream big, but you ground me. I need you. And if you want to go home to the weather job that’s waiting for you, so will I.”

“And I need you. So there’s no breaking up this duo. I already told you I’ve got no intention of taking that position. Together we can accomplish anything. Whatever you’re planning, I’m in. You know that.”

“Are you sure?”

I nodded and she tacklehugged me. “I’d follow you to the ends of Equus, Snowy.”

“I was thinking about going a little beyond that…” She levitated a book over to me. “Here’s the contingency.”

It was my turn to ask, “Are you sure?”

She nodded. “Doors have closed in Equestria, but there are windows opening on Earth. Let’s get in with the first wave of immigrants so we can establish ourselves early.”

I looked over the requirements. “Snowy, have you read these requirements? The first wave of immigrants leaves this week! How do you expect to learn all this in five days? Not to mention get the paperwork processed?”

Snowy’s horn glowed. “Hold still, this is going to tickle…”

“Parlez-vous français?”

“Oui.”

“How do I now know half a dozen languages I’ve never even heard of?”

“Like you said, I always have a contingency. I already studied everything, I just transferred the knowledge from my brain to yours. I’ve already got my passport. You can have yours the same day you apply.”

“How did you have time to learn all this and still manage to get your senior project done?”

“Studying these human languages was my relaxation time from the stress of working on my project.”

“You’re the only pony I know who thinks taking a break from studying means studying something else instead.” I swirled the rice around the pot, creating mini currents to keep all the kernels cooking evenly. I noted with irony that I was literally stirring a pot while figuratively stirring Snowy’s.

“Hey! I know how to cut loose and have fun. Remember karaoke night?”

“Nopony will ever forget karaoke night. Though there are many who’ve tried…”

“They rebuilt.”

“Rebuilt this city on rock and roll…”

Snowy couldn’t help herself and burst out laughing despite her foul mood. “You’ve been saving that one, haven’t you?”

“For months,” I admitted, as I poured the rice into a strainer, draining the water away. With subtle manipulation of the water vapor in the air, I dumped the contents into a pair of bowls and levitated them over to Snowy. That took all my concentration, but it was worth it to have the same basic ability most unicorns took for granted. Snowy made school look easy, while I earned my degree the hard way. “Dinner is served.”

“Merci.” She reached for a bottle of ketchup, drowning her dinner in red. I opted to cover mine in butter, allowing it a few moments to melt into the rice.

I levitated my glass of cider towards hers. “To open windows and new beginnings.”

She clinked her glass against mine. “To new beginnings and old friends.”



Pine Barrens, New Jersey: today

“Page 46.”

Snowy flipped to the appropriate page and the bus seats lit with a soft orchid glow. She repeated the cleansing spell three times before we were satisfied enough to sit for the journey. The entire interior still smelled like the chemistry lab back at school, only with less smoke. Well, at least until the engine started.

“Well, we’re here. What’s the plan?”

Snowy shrugged. “I don’t really have one yet.”

I arched an eyebrow at her. “Since when do you ever not have a plan?”

“When I need more data. We need a source of income and a place to live. I figured we could let the duchess at the consulate help with that. That’s her job, after all.”

“Seems anticlimactic for you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

I shrugged. “Nothing. It’s just the Snowy I know would be telling the duchess what she wants to do with her life, instead of asking her for suggestions.”

“Well forgive me if having my dreams shattered and then my life upturned as I move to a completely different world cramps my plan making.” Agitated tail flick? Check.

“I just thought you’d have planned it all out before making the decision to come here.”

“Even I can be spontaneous.”

Had I been drinking something, she would’ve been wearing it. Instead I snickered. “Since when? Let’s be honest, you planned this ‘spontaneous’ trip to Earth months ago. Which means you’ve had more than enough time to come up with a patented Snowcatcher Great Idea.”

“I know what you’re trying to do, Dewey.”

“Oh?”

“You’re goading me into coming up with a plan.”

“Is it working?”

“Yes.” She stood up.

“Where are you off to?”

“I’m going to go make some inquiries. There are dozens of ponies on this bus. Maybe inspiration will strike once I find out what brought everypony else to Earth.”

“Good luck.”

Fire of motivation lit under Snowy’s hindquarters? Check. I’ve known Snowy my whole life. I know where the buttons are and I know just how to push them. She hides it well, but lurking under her modesty is an ego. I don’t insult her pride often, but I‘ll do it in a heartbeat to stop her from wallowing in doubt and self-pity. She knows my buttons too, and I’d probably be a weathermare back in Whinnyapolis if not for her pushing mine from time to time.

I closed my eyes, content in the knowledge that Snowy would have a plan by the time I awoke. The seats weren’t the most comfortable in the world, but the monotonous sound of the tires on the pavement lulled me to sleep regardless.

I awoke sometime later to Snowy in my face. “Hotel.”

I blinked my eyes, trying to get the sleep out and process what I’d just heard. “Hotel?”

“Hotel,” she repeated.

I could live with that. It was a plan, it was a goal, and it was something we could work towards together. I nodded. “Hotel it is.”



New York City, New York: today

I looked out the window of the consulate at the incredible city outside. Closely paralleled to our own Manehattan, Earth’s Manhattan was significantly bigger and busier than its Equestrian equivalent. The sidewalks were crammed with people and the roads were filled with cars. I could just catch a glimpse of the United Nations building through the window, but there was another building between us that blocked most of it from view. Equestria had built their consulate as close to the UN as possible.

Behind me, I could hear the others debating the specifics of our upcoming hotel, but I didn’t feel much need to offer my two cents. Whatever Snowy thought worked best would get my vote. She absolutely hated having a yes mare, but in all the years I’d known her, I’d never once come out ahead in a debate with her, and neither would these mares. Not even the duchess.

So I stood silently, listening to the others. Snowy could deal with the objections as they arose, but I wanted to get a feel for what each of these other mares was like. Ploomette was adamant that the hotel had to be located within the New York City metro area, but immediately shot down Rainbow Flash’s suggestion of using the empty rooms in the consulate building. Cherry Pie appeared to know a few things about business, but she clammed up the second Snowy asked about her qualifications. Diamond Rose just liked the sound of her own voice. Whatever her background, she seemed more concerned with amenities like hot tubs than crucial things like where we should locate the hotel in the first place. Lily Blossom hadn’t said a word, and indeed I could see a scowl on her face every time I caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window. Feathermay was indecisive, often agreeing with whoever had last spoken. Honeybuzz was laid back, interjecting only periodically and after a lot of thought. Sunny Rays’ sense of humor did little to ease the tensions in the room. And saying Bifröst thought outside the box would be an understatement. She left the box back in Equestria.

The duchess was already losing her argument about wanting the hotel to be as close to the consulate as possible. Snowy was fine with ‘New York metropolitan area’ but firmly refused to be in the city. She’d outmaneuvered Ploomette by showing her the land prices in the city and surrounding suburbs. It was significantly less expensive the further you got from the city. Honeybuzz chose that moment to ask what land prices looked like near the portal, suggesting there’d be a market as traffic through the portal increased. Ploomette nixed that one as ‘too far from the consulate’ before Snowy could weigh in. Then she explained why she wanted it to be so close. It wasn’t just for ease of commute, but rather she wanted us close so Equestrian visitors to the consulate would have all the comforts of home if they so desired, and it would serve as a place she could invite human guests to experience Equestrian culture for themselves.

Nopony could argue with her rationale. She even suggested that once we got our hotel up and running, we could look at expanding to a second location by the portal if we were profitable. It wasn’t an order, as the duchess had no authority to make decrees, but she outranked everypony else present. She didn’t need to decree it. She stated it, and nopony objected, not even Snowy. Then it was decided to limit the search to the outer suburbs for a property that hit the sweet spot between size, price, and location.

Snowy did what she does best: solve problems with logic. And I did what I did best – I listened to the ponies she was conversing with. Snowy’s brilliant, but she’ll never be a herd pony, or ‘people person’ as they say here on Earth. That falls to me. And now that I had a grasp on the agendas each of our new business associates has, I could work with Snowy to make sure everypony gets what they wanted. Some will take higher priority than others, and determining the order of importance jumped to the number one spot on my task list.

The others, meanwhile, were using Ploomette’s laptop to find a suitable property. They were all crowded around the device, jostling for position. Once again, I stayed off to the side, observing. I could tell a lot about the mares by watching them. Diamond Rose was self-important, and needed to be as close as possible to the device. Honeybuzz, Flitterheart, and Lily Blossom stayed near the back, though the latter was mostly out of disinterest. A hierarchy was forming, and that was another thing I’d have to nip in the bud. We’re all equal partners in this.

Ploomette was steering the computer, since none of the rest of us had ever even seen one except in pictures. There was no shortage of properties for sale in southwestern Connecticut, northeastern New Jersey, Long Island, and the southernmost counties of upstate New York. Once Ploomette figured out how to filter by location and price, the amount of properties available to look at decreased dramatically. To the point where there was absolutely nothing suitable within our budget. Ploomette kept increasing the price until results started showing up. The first good fit showed up in Wayne, New Jersey. It was everything we wanted: a vintage mansion with a large, spacious yard. The only downside? It was triple what we could afford. The next best option was almost five times our budget.

“I guess it’s this or nothing.” Ploomette picked up the phone.

“Wait! We can’t afford that. We should look further out.”

“We’ll just have to get a mortgage.”

“We can’t. I promised these mares that at the very least, if the business venture failed, we’d keep the roof over our heads.”

Ploomette put the phone down. “If you wish to tap into the market for New York City, you need to be close to the city. This is already too far away, but I don’t see any better options. Do you?”

“No.”

“Then if you wish to be hoteliers, this is your chance. If you want out, speak now. I can still assist you with other career options.”

I held my breath. This was the moment of truth. If anypony objected, it was over. The house of cards would collapse and we’d all be looking for new paths forward. Would that be the worst possible thing? Running a hotel isn’t exactly my first pick for a career choice. I silenced my internal objection with logic. It’s better than no plan at all, which is what we have without this. Then I reminded myself that customer service wasn’t my strong point, let alone Snowy’s.

The room remained silent. Nopony wanted to be the first to abandon ship. Cherry Pie opened and closed her mouth a few times. Every time she got ready to object she stopped herself.

“If you fail, I’ll hire you on to work at the consulate. All of you. You risk only the bits you came here with.”

“I’m still in.” Snowy levitated a bag of money from her saddlebag and dumped the funny looking bills out on the table. “That’s my stipend and every last bit I had saved up prior to leaving Equestria.”

I opened my saddlebags. My own money joined Snowy’s on the table. “My vote of confidence.”

“I’m still in.” Flitterheart fluttered to the table and placed her cash next to mine. Snowy quickly separated the piles and labeled them. One by one the rest of the ponies also added to the pile on the table.

“My stipend. I’m keeping the rest.” Lily Blossom was the last pony to speak up. She pulled the necessary amount of money from her saddlebags and walked back toward one of the corners.

“That’s all I ask of any of you.” Snowy looked at the pile of money on the table. She counted out exactly the amount of the stipend for everypony there and returned the rest. Snowy levitated some money from her own pile to make up for the shortfall on Diamond Rose’s. She turned to the snow white mare. “Your percent of the proceeds will be garnished until you’ve contributed the same amount as everypony else. Further, I’m assuming control of your vote on all matters that come up until such time as I’m paid back in full. Are there any objections to this?”

There weren’t, though Lily must have found it funny since she snorted in laughter. Everypony had quickly figured out who was going to be running the day-to-day operations of the business. Snowcatcher was the one with the plan. Objecting would mean taking on more responsibility personally, and nopony present thought they could do a better job. At least not yet. Sooner or later there’ll probably be internal politicking, but for now everypony’s on the same page.

“You’ll gain control over my vote as well, Snowcatcher. You shall be my proxy, as I won’t be available to assist in the day-to-day operations. I’ll have the paperwork drawn up as soon as we have a property purchased.” Ploomette once more picked up the phone. “If there are no further objections, I’m going to call the realtor and schedule a tour of this property.”

Not bad, Snowy. Adding in your own vote and mine, you've got a quarter of the total votes.

Author's Note:

Story notes for this chapter: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/887807/story-notes-16-dewdrop-dazzle

Ask Dewdrop Dazzle questions related to the story: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/961273/meet-the-mares-dewdrop-dazzle

Big thanks to RoyaleFanaticGal for the fanart of Dewdrop Dazzle & Snowcatcher!