• Published 24th Mar 2013
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Listen For a Sparkle - Clarice



Snowdrop's final snowflake "star" has fallen with last winter's final snow. Twilight Sparkle is ready to begin the next level of her studies -- starting with bringing the blind filly back to the present and experiencing some new t

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Chapter 4

Twilight found herself blinking once again, the flashes of light difficult to clear from her eyes after the second time. She took a moment to look around the room, finding herself back within the hall to Canterlot Tower, within the castle, her belly on the velvety red rug which ran down the middle of the long room. The Princess lay in her throne at the far end of the room, slumped over and weak from holding the spell as long as she could. Twilight glanced to her side and slowly wiped away what was left of the tears in her own eyes, spotting a small, lightly colored pony still tucked carefully under her wing. She was back in the present, Snowdrop by her side, safe and sound.

A small sliver of silver moonlight shone across the room, skewed slightly by the tall windows which adorned both sides. Snowdrop knew she was no longer within her mother’s small Cloudsdale home. The floor here felt firm and cold under her small hooves, and even the sound of silence seemed to echo off the walls. Confused and scared, she remained completely still under the soft feathers of a wing – a wing that seemed a bit heavier than that of her own mother’s, but warm and comforting just the same. Its warmth felt close to that of the pony she had just rubbed her cheek against a few moments prior, but the filly was too frightened about whatever it was that had just happened to ask. Her eyes still stung slightly with a familiar tear, and she occasionally slipped out a soft whimper despite her best efforts to remain completely silent.

The Princess looked sick from overexertion. Luna must’ve been awake by now, it was certainly the moon which shone through the windows… but she was nowhere to be found. Twilight’s immediate reaction to dash over and help her teacher was quickly halted by a single wave of Celestia’s hoof, for it was at this moment the true beginning of her assignment became clear. The Princess could use her help, sure, but Celestia was going to be okay for sure. Twilight’s ear caught the weak sound of the small filly’s scared whimper, and remembered what she had been told. Snowdrop was her responsibility. She had just made a promise… well, a promise technically made over a thousand years ago, but it seemed to have been no more than five minutes. Promises were forever. Snowdrop would be happy, safe, and loved. Now was a time to make that true.

Twilight took a deep breath before looking to her side once more and back down at the small filly, afraid to speak but knowing it was the right thing to do. “Snowdrop?” Twilight leaned her head down and touched the tip of her horn to the whimpering pony’s little cheek, feeling the cool dampness of tears against the warm horn almost immediately. “Ssssshhhh… it’s me, Twilight Sparkle… you’re okay, Snowdrop…”

The pony talking to her sure sounded like the same one she had just been introduced to by her own mother, and the warmth by her cheek felt nearly the same too. She claimed to be the same pony. Needing to reach a final decision, Snowdrop weakly nudged towards the warmth near her cheek once more, finding the feeling exactly the same. She sniffled a few times, barely managing a whisper in her confused fear, “T-Tw… Twilight..? Wh-wher… whe… where a-are we?”

Twilight sighed softly, wishing somepony was by her side to help in the difficult scenario. She had barely said more than a sentence or two to the blind pegasus before the Princess’ magic had forced them both back here. “We’re in Canterlot, Snowdrop. Princess Celestia’s spell brought us both back here… but everypony’s alright.” Twilight folded her wing back to her side, slowly breathing out with the knowledge that the most difficult part of the task was done. This wasn’t exactly the exciting excursion she had imagined the Princess sending her on during the train ride this morning. “Do you remember what your m- erm, Mommy was telling you about helping me? …About why I was there?”

Snowdrop blinked twice, her small wings shivering in the cool air of the large room now that Twilight’s feathers no longer covered her. The strong little filly somehow mustered a tiny smile, sniffling only once before returning a nod. She didn’t know how it was that she had gotten here, or really even where this place was, but her mother did explain that Twilight needed her help. She was here to show everypony that she was something special. “Y-yes. Mommy said that you needed to take me for a while, b-because… because, umm…” Snowdrop looked down as her soft voice faded away to silence, unable to remember exactly why it was that the princess she had never heard of needed her help.

Pulling her head back slightly in surprise, the lavender alicorn giggled for a brief moment. The blind filly by her side was only seven years old, and somehow she seemed to be able to calm down faster than most fully-grown ponies would ever be capable of after such a confusing and scary scenario. Twilight found herself immediately less worried when she saw Snowdrop’s little smile. “That’s right!” Twilight couldn’t help but grin, some feeling of normalcy coming back after everything that had just occurred. Explaining the rest of this would be easy. “I need you to help me, because nopony else here knows how to make those special stars out of snow like you do, Snowdrop. But before we can do anything like that… I think we should go home. I don’t know about you, but this rug doesn’t seem like a very comfortable place to sleep!”

Hearing a happy giggle caused Snowdrop’s ears to perk up slightly. She reflected the cheerful sound by smiling a bit more, no longer afraid that Princess Twilight wasn’t a nice pony in any way. The mare wasn’t wrong, for sure – this rug and the room it was in were cold. “Y-you need my help making stars?” Snowdrop giggled back, happy to work on making more of the special flakes that had gotten her a cutie mark. Her mother had explained it as a flower with a blue stem and white petals that matched her mane. She had even found a similar-looking flower for Snowdrop to hold last summer, but the filly sometimes still wondered what it really looked like. She was curious about a lot of things, and the adventure she suddenly was just dragged into was no exception. “Where’s that, Princess Twilight? Is it in a big castle?”

Twilight laughed again, getting up and back on her hooves. She had a lot more studying to do on raising fillies and colts, but everything was going to be just fine. Her experiences and observations both from the past and of Primrose with her daughter had been enough to get past the first of what was certain to be many struggles. “No… it’s in a town called Ponyville. It’s a big tree… so big that somepony was able to build an entire library inside!” The architecture of the Golden Oak Library was somewhat remarkable; especially considering it was still a living tree. She ended her quick description with excitement, imagining the pony who worked to carve out the inside some time before she had moved there. It must have taken years and yea- wait… that wasn’t important right now… “Ponyville is too far to walk to or fly from here, Snowdrop. We’ll need to take the train! Have you ever been on a train before?”

The filly thought for a moment, remembering hearing about trains once in school. Of course, there were none in Cloudsdale, but her teacher had explained that ponies in cities on the ground could use them to get to other cities quickly. Snowdrop had never left the cloud city she called her home, and therefore had never been on one of these trains, though a few of her classmates had. “Are they fun? Where do we get on the train, Princess Twilight? I’ve never gotten to go on a train!” She took a few steps forward on the carpet, knowing better than to venture too far without any real idea what it was she might be headed towards.

Talking to Snowdrop didn’t seem much different than talking to those three fillies that would occasionally pop in to her library asking about cutie marks and trying to get Twilight to test some ‘spell’ they had made up on them. Much like them, it appeared that this little pony’s mind moved on from question to question and idea to idea without much care as to the answer. Some books explained this as being distracted by excitement, which feasibly could make sense, at least in some scenarios. Twilight quickly trotted past Snowdrop and gently nudged her to the side with her left forehoof, following the long rug to the end of the room, making sure to look over and check that Snowdrop was still close by every ten steps or so. She increased her pace to a quick canter after turning back into the other halls of Canterlot Castle, taking the reverse path of what she had this morning. “The next train leaves in ten minutes… we’ll make it if we hurry!” The book’s explanation of being distracted by excitement didn’t only apply to young ponies – Twilight herself didn’t even realize she and Snowdrop had left the Princess alone in her throne until they were nearly outside and back into the streets of Canterlot.

Snowdrop made sure to listen closely for the hoofsteps on the hard floor, using them to follow Twilight as they made their way around the big building. It wasn’t particularly difficult for her to do, at least not compared to attempting to hear hoofsteps on clouds. These ones echoed every which way off the walls and floor. Helping Princess Twilight was going to be fun… she just got here, and already was going to get to ride a train! The excited filly remained quiet to ensure she wouldn’t miss a step, but any fears or sadness, at least for the moment, were gone.

Twilight stopped outside the front of the castle, remarkably surprised that Snowdrop managed to do the same before she even had to say anything or reach out to catch her with a hoof. The filly sure did seem to be incredibly aware of her environment. “Okay, we’re almost there, but now there’s going to be too many ponies to run like that. I know a shortcut we can take, though I have another idea of how to make this faster… be ready to hold on!”

The feeling of floating off the ground combined with a soft warmth all around her was strange. She wasn’t flapping her wings, so it wasn’t her flying, but her hooves definitely weren’t on the ground. Not a moment later, Snowdrop found her belly on soft fur, and brushed the tips of her forehooves on feathery wings. She had ridden on her mother’s back before too, of course, but not without her first having to either fly up or climb on. How Twilight had managed to make her float up and onto hers seemed odd. Regardless, Snowdrop knew what to do now, and gladly nudged herself forward until she could wrap her forelegs around Twilight’s neck. She was glad to have a little rest… galloping down the castle’s stairs was hard work! There weren’t a lot of those to practice on back in Cloudsdale. “Ready!” The excited filly held on tight as Twilight weaved her way through the alleys of her old shortcut, back towards the train station.

As they reached the train station, Twilight quickly trotted up onto the platform, slowing down before stepping into the waiting train. The two had made good timing, and she was happy to find a fully empty seat once stepping inside the second car. She finally came to a stop in front of the seat, glancing back over her shoulder with a quiet giggle once more. “Okay,” she whispered softly, “time to get our seats!” Twilight used the same simple levitation spell to lift Snowdrop off her back and place her in the seat closer to the window, then sitting down herself in the seat more towards the inside of the train. She looked out the window for a moment, spotting the moon not too high overhead. They would probably make it back to the Library before midnight. “The train should be leaving in just a minute..!”

Snowdrop finally caught her breath from the running through the castle after laying down on her side to get comfortable in her train seat, yawning once. She wasn’t sure exactly what time it was, but it had to have been past her bedtime. Princess Twilight was pretty awesome… letting her ride on a train and stay up past her bedtime?! She waited excitedly for the train to leave, hearing the muffled squeaks of rubbing metal outside a moment before feeling a gentle rocking motion as the train began to move. There was a squeak of a whistle for a second before the moving got faster, the squeaking from the wheels now just a soft pattern of taps every so often. She yawned again, stretching out her hindlegs and pushing against the side of her seat, lightly bonking her head off Twilight’s side before she could stretch out fully. Princess Twilight’s fur was soft and warm. With her eyelids growing heavy, she yawned one final time before curling up against her newfound pillow, the patter of the train’s wheels slowly fading into the silence of sleep.