• Published 11th Oct 2021
  • 391 Views, 15 Comments

The Many Lives of Strawberry Sunrise - Silent Whisper



Most new ponies feel alone when they first come to Ponyville, but Strawberry Sunrise is far less alone than she thought.

  • ...
0
 15
 391

Strawberry Sunrise

Strawberry Sunrise

Dear Journal,

I’ll be upfront. I don’t want to write in a Queen-forsaken book. It’s evidence, I said, and a distraction when I should be making my field reports, but would our dear queen-to-be Miasma hear anything of it? No! She’s got Her Majesty, Glory of the Hive, wrapped around her wingtip. Something about “acting like a pony?” Bah. Lovestruck fillies write in diaries. Full-grown mares do not. I, of course, am neither, but the point still stands.

Needless to say, I didn’t win that argument. Once the Queen stepped in, it was over and I was wrong. When it comes to the Queen, I am, and I accept that, but with Miasma? Not a chance in Tartarus. She’s in the wrong, and she knows it, that conniving nymph! I swear, she spends all her efforts trying to get my attention for the most ridiculous ideas.

Today marks the day that Strawberry Sunrise moves to Ponyville. I’ve got my ticket here with my cover name on it and everything. Being a pegasus was at least a slightly more reasonable choice. Thank the Hive some of them have a bit of sense in their head. If it were up to Miasma alone, I bet she’d have me be an alicorn. The point of a disguise is to avoid detection, but Hive knows she’d want me to be far more showy than what’s practical.

But nooo, along with the clothes (stolen), photographs (magazine clippings), furniture (painted changeling resin), and food (fake), I get to lug around a fun little book to write in!

Oh, the joys.

At least I’m out of the Hive and on my own mission at last. Anything to be out of that swamp.

- Strawberry Sunrise


Dear Journal,

How I hate that infernal music!

I’m trying to get sleep like all ponies are supposed to need, and I get woken up at the buttcrack of dawn to what feels like every single equine in this town caterwauling in chorus. None of them are off-key, and I hate that. I hate the instruments, I hate the morning, and I hate Ponyville!

Stupid book. I only brought it with me to the Market so I don’t have to look any pony in the eye. My training never brought it up specifically, but I think a good-morning-glare would be suspicious.

You know who responded to my initial report?

Miasma!

You know what she sent?

Stickers! For this useless book!

Can you guess what she didn’t send?

ORDERS!

So now I’m stuck here, writing to… Hm. Who in our Queen’s beloved name am I writing to? To myself, I guess, about the morning sing-along. What am I supposed to report back? The only concerning observation I’ve made is that every single fluffy horse thinks sunrise is a good time to-

Sunrise. My name. Oh, ha-ha. Scratch that, I’m never telling Miasma about the early-morning serenades. She’d think it’s hilarious.

- Strawberry Anything-But-Sunrise


Dear Journal,

Still no orders on what, specifically, to monitor. They just said to keep an eye on anypony suspicious. The Pink One is watching me. She’s never nearby when I look up from writing, but I can feel her gaze when I look back down. That’s suspicious enough, right?

My Queen, my real queen and not that early-hatched nymph, bless her foolish heart, will want to hear about this, I’m sure.

I bought a strawberry from the marketplace. It was only fair to try one, right? It’s in my name. I don’t exactly look like a fruit, but I should at least know what ponies think of when they say my name. Besides, my latest “orders” consisted mostly of a long-winded lecture to purchase food items. I’ve been told that most ponies like eating things, and from what I’ve observed, that’s uncomfortably close to the truth.

Turns out, strawberries are terrible. It only makes sense that a pony would name themselves after something so sickly. Stupid ponies. Stupid plant-based diet. I miss the delicate crunch of swamp bugs. No two bites were ever alike!

- Strawberry Sunrise


Addendum to my previous entry:

Apparently, you aren’t supposed to eat the strawberry leaves. Or the stem.

Stupid fruit.


Dear Stupid Pulpy Mess,

The Pink One accidentally kicked you in the fountain and I’m happy about it! You hear me? HAPPY!

I only dried you off to maintain my cover (and yours. Flimsy tree mush.) I didn’t ask for a party! I didn’t ask to be welcomed! Somepony had the audacity to compliment the stickers on your cover. If only more of them had peeled off, so I’d be targeted with less empathy! You don’t matter to me, little book!

Do you know what they said when I tastefully complained about the singing? They apologized. For what, I don’t know. For being ponies? They don’t know any better. They act like a grub trying on new forms for the first time. Except they’re stuck like that, and don’t even know it. Or were they sorry about waking me up so early? Bah. I don’t need more than an hour or two of sleep. It’s not my fault equines are so inefficient!

The Pink One said she’s sorry about getting you wet. She offered to get me a new one, but I refused. This book… tastes like home, or like I felt when I first arrived. I couldn’t tell her that, of course, but she accepted my halfhearted excuse. Said she still missed her home sometimes, too. Her sentiment tasted genuine, her empathy, and that puzzled me more than I’d ever write in my report back to the Hive.

The cupcakes were, predictably, strawberry-flavored. The universe mocks me with these sweets! Otherwise, the party was… adequate. Equines are strange.

- Strawberry Sunrise


Dear Journal,

I’ve found places for the housewarming gifts the other ponies have left me. If anything, it’ll help with my cover story. Most of them taste like mindless affection, too! I say most, of course, because the gaudy glass orb with a strawberry inside (again with the strawberry!) tastes of a haughty sense of obligation, as though the need to parade the quality of the gift was more important than the act of giving itself.

My reports are less regular, as time goes on. I was told that this is to be expected, as an infiltrator settles into their role, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. I haven’t heard back from the Hive for a while, but that’s okay. Miasma was sending me recipes the last time I complained about the food, and she’s got the taste buds of a toad drunk off of its own toxins.

I wonder what that makes me, for almost liking how a few of them turned out?

- Strawberry Sunrise


Dear Journal,

The Pink One showed up again. She left a box of cupcakes at the doorstep when I didn’t answer the knock. It was only an hour after sunrise, for Hive’s sake! I don’t know what she expects from me, or anypony, for that matter.

None of the cupcakes were strawberry flavor. They were something swirled with chocolate. I’ve come to learn many flavors since I’ve started here.

I hope The Pink One hasn’t been reading this, but the anti-peeping spell I’ve got on it should be enough. These ponies follow their own strange code of ethics. They think it’s rude to snoop, and I’m not inclined to correct them.

I’ve taken to flying down the streets in the evenings, when the crickets begin to sing. It’s not unlike the swamps of Everfree, if I don’t look down. Feathers feel distinctly different than chitin, but I cannot say that I hate it. Any of this. Most ponies haven’t bothered me since the party, save for the one exception. I can respect that.

- Strawberry Sunrise


Dear Journal,

Miasma wrote to me today. The Queen is ill.

I… want to go home.

- Strawberry Sunrise


Addendum to previous:

I can’t go home. Not without somepony asking why I’m leaving. What would I say? Sick family doesn’t even begin to cover how I’m feeling. My being, the center of my existence, my lifeline is unwell. My Queen is so much more than Mother to me.

Does she need me? Questionable, not worth debate. Could I be of help if I were there? Doubtful. Do I wish I could fret with the rest of my siblings? Absolutely.

Miasma, odd as she is, will have to fret enough for the both of us. It’s rare that they’d tell infiltrators so quickly. We’re usually the last on anyling’s mind. Dare I find it strange, that she reached out to me so soon?


Dear Journal,

I hope she’s okay. I’ve heard nothing back and have been wearing down the rugs in the entryway of the house for want of news. There’s been no letters. Perhaps that’s a good thing? They’d tell me if it got worse, wouldn’t they? I’m sure Miasma would send word. I’d even accept another one of her terrible ideas on How To Be More Pony right about now.

I swear, the moment I get a letter, I’ll consider singing with the other morning horses in the streets! A litany to the postal service, and the ‘lings that infiltrate it!

Oh, silent book, don’t you ever tell her that I miss that from her, or I will leave you in the fountain next time!

There was another box of cupcakes on my doorstep when I opened it this morning, to check for news. I don’t remember hearing a knock. Orange basil flavor, this time. It wasn’t nearly as sweet as I thought it’d be. Neither are the townsponies in general, I think, but I mean that in a good way. I’m left well enough alone, for the most part, which means I can watch from afar.

If I had to leave, I wonder who would notice? The Pink One, surely, but few others. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got the Hive. I’ve got Strawberry Sunrise, in all her equine glory, and I’ve got you, don’t I? I can’t say that you’re a friend, but it’s… nice, not writing alone. Again, don’t tell Miasma.

I wonder if the recipes would taste better if I bought a pony book of them. I’ll have to ration the budget the Hive siphons off to me, but I think I can do it.

- Strawberry Sunrise


Dear Diary,

Inheritance is a funny thing.

One moment you’re a live pony, and the next you’re a dead swampling!

Funny, that.

Mum says that enemies make good fertilizer, and I’m half tempted to give him a final bit of usefulness to keep some plants alive. She also says it’s a terrible idea to keep the same spy under the same cover for too long. She’s right. She knows everything.

The ‘ling before me was getting sentimental. You can taste it on his pages! It’s kinda funny, looking back at what he wrote. Too blind to see what was right in front of him, yeah? Same could be said for me, Mum says, but I’m different. I already know I’m sentimental. Besides, I like it here already! Strawberry Sunrise. Fits like a shell.

It feels wrong to sign off like the swamp-bug did. I’ll just use the name my Hive gave me. I’ve got a feeling that she’ll rotate me out with another ‘ling from the Golden Coast sooner or later. Wouldn’t want to repeat mistakes, right?

- Scout