• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,801 Views, 65 Comments

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 5

The train rocked as it came to a stop at the station in Ponyville, ponies immediately springing up from their seats and trying to dash out the door only to find themselves stuck waiting to trot out one-by-one through the small door. Twilight sat uncomfortably stiff in her seat while she waited for the majority of the crowd to shuffle out before slowly sliding down onto her hooves. Thank Celestia that wasn’t a very long train ride! She couldn’t have remained in the same position much longer and might have risked waking the sleeping filly up.

Snowdrop was still sound asleep in the seat, curled up and oblivious to the happenings of the world around her, lightly snoring through her nose with a tiny smile on her muzzle. Twilight stretched her stiff forelegs for a moment before she carefully levitated the filly onto her back once more, balancing her weight evenly on each side to make sure she wouldn’t fall off. Treading her hooves as lightly as possible, the lavender alicorn stepped out of the train car and began slowly trotting home.

It would have been helpful if she had asked Primrose for some sort of schedule for her daughter, if only to know what would work to keep the filly’s days as normal as possible. Then again, that schedule would probably have differed greatly from the schedule that Twilight would need to develop for them both. The Princess had said it was her job to teach Snowdrop anything she might need to know. On top of that, sending the blind filly to a new school would not have been a good idea – Miss Cheerilee wouldn’t be expecting a new student, and apparently, some of the fillies in the class there were known to be bullies. That would risk breaking the promise to keep Snowdrop happy. But how set to a schedule was the mind of a young pony, anyway? Would changing her schedule be something that could be done immediately, or would she need to slowly ease into the transition? What exactly would this schedule be, anyways?

Twilight assumed that something similar to her own schedule would probably be the best one to adapt the filly to. With Snowdrop no longer needing to get up early for school, she could go to bed later. This would give Twilight time in the morning to work on her daily chores or anything else that might need to get done while the young pegasus was still asleep. The old tale of the pony now on her own back had said that she originally come up with her special idea after listening for the twinkles of stars. She seemed excited at the thought of seeing Princess Luna back when Primrose had mentioned there was a Princess that needed her help. Did Snowdrop enjoy the night more than the day? Signs sure seemed to point there.

Twilight’s thoughts diverted for a moment to think about the wonders she had studied of the nighttime sky. The princess in charge of raising the sun might have been her teacher, but there were wondrous things that could only be observed under the cover of darkness and dim moonlight. Astronomy was a fascinating science, and she hoped Snowdrop would find something of it interesting as well. She wouldn’t be able to teach the pegasus much of the magic that was her specialty, but there were plenty of other things she most certainly could! Already, Twilight had a long list of questions she would need to write down and slowly hint at to try and discover some of Snowdrop’s interests.

The moon was almost directly above them now. It must have been nearly midnight, and quickly the massive tree at the end of the street came into view. Twilight excitedly began to trot faster as the Library grew near, speeding up faster, faster… wait, was that..? With a glance back over her shoulder, she folded her ears down, hearing the filly yawning. Oops. How could she have forgotten so quickly!? Twilight immediately slowed herself down and stopped for a moment, hearing Snowdrop mumble something inaudible and go back to her soft snores. That was close… she was lucky she didn’t wake the little filly up in her moment of distraction. Snowdrop needed her rest, as all fillies and colts do, and there was no doubt this initial period of transition would be easier if it began on a good night’s sleep.

Trotting up to the door of the Golden Oak Library, Twilight used her magic to gently push the door open and make her way inside as quietly as possible. She immediately made her way across the main room to where a few of the comfortable reading chairs sat, lifting the tired pony from her back one last time and plopping her small, sleeping figure in the center of a chair with the most gentle magic she could. This would need to do as Snowdrop’s bed for the time being – the small room at the back of the Library had to be cleaned and have the books stored there moved before it would be a safe place for the blind filly to call her own.

Unlike Snowdrop’s restful slumber, Twilight wasn’t going to be getting any sleep tonight. A glance around her library quickly proved that this was no place for a pony that was both generally unfamiliar with the surroundings and wouldn’t be able to see where anything was. That statue on the center table weighed more than three or four ponies combined… what if Snowdrop accidently knocked it over and it fell on her? That was far too risky to leave where it currently was. The staircase which wrapped around the outside of the room, passing behind the chair where the filly currently lay asleep and up towards Twilight’s room, the kitchen, and the top observatory deck had no railing. The stairs themselves were uneven in length, and getting Snowdrop used to them was going to take some time. There was a telescope that hung down somewhat from an upper window, but that shouldn’t ever be too much of a problem. It’d probably just be best if Twilight set the prescient for Snowdrop that she followed herself as well – no flying in the Library. There were too many things to hit or accidently knock over with a gust of wind from the flap of wings. She should start looking for books and studying up on some of the developmental facts for ponies around Snowdrop’s age and develop a list of important events that should not be missed. The faster she could start all of this, the better, but… where to start first? What was the highest priority? How long was she going to have until Snowdrop woke up, anyway?

Twilight looked over at the sleeping filly for a moment and sighed weakly, smiling as she realized exactly what the highest priority was at the present time. It wasn’t any of those things... something much more important was right in front of her! Making her way up the stairs to her room as silently as possible, Twilight tugged a blanket off her bed, neatly folding it into a thick square and magically holding it by her side. She slowly trotted her way back down the stairs once more, taking the descent slow so that her hooves wouldn’t make noise when landing on each lower step. Unfolding the blanket partially so that it remained doubled over, Twilight lowered the big piece of old, pilled fabric on top of Snowdrop, watching blanket touch the filly’s little wings before releasing her magical grip over it, breathing another sigh of relief as the rest fell lightly around Snowdrop and draped most of the big chair. Now the young filly looked more comfortable in her sleepy dreams. One concern checked off.

Making the Library a little bit safer was probably the next most important thing to do. The rest of Twilight’s initial preparations would be okay to do while Snowdrop was awake, though some would certainly be easier if she didn’t have to keep her eye on the young pegasus. That statue needed to go somewhere that it couldn’t topple over… or maybe she should just get rid of it. Rarity was always going off about how the Library was in serious need of some remodeling. But that was an antique! It had been here before she was, and anypony’s guess would be as good as hers in terms of figuring out who it belonged to. Perhaps the basement would be the best place to put it?

Twilight gulped as that thought quickly went through her head. The basement. Her makeshift lab was full of all sorts of sensitive pieces of equipment and dangerous things that nopony unfamiliar with them should be around, let alone a blind filly. The basement, luckily, had a door to the stairs heading down, but… who was to say Snowdrop wouldn’t ever mistake it for the door outside? Twilight knew should’ve put a lock on this door before now anyways, though the lavender alicorn wasn’t much of a handy pony in that sense. Applejack would probably be able to help her at some point, but in the meantime… a perfect idea! Taking a moment to focus on the heavy piece of carved wood and slowly exhaling a few deep breaths, Twilight surrounded the statue in her magenta magical aura, holding her breath before pulling it up and into the air. The heavy carving reluctantly parted with the table upon which it sat, wobbling shakily above for a few seconds before slowly drifting across the room. Still holding her breath and keeping her eyes carefully fixed upon the object she levitated, Twilight trotted alongside until the door to the basement was in front of her. She lowered the statue down and placed it directly in front of the stairs, dropping it against the old wooden floor with a small thud and nudging it into the door that now blocked them. Perfect! With Snowdrop here, there probably wasn’t going to be much time for experiments anyway.

With the statue moved and basement no longer a risk, Twilight took another glance around the room. The lack of a railing on the staircase was just going to be a risk they would have to take. Hopefully, Snowdrop would get used to the oddly-shaped stairs in time, and she would know to not venture too close to the edge. Stay on the right when going up, and stay on the left when going down. That way, she’d always be near the wall. Twilight took a few paces around the room and over to her desk, fumbling around for a fresh scroll and a quill. Pulling both out and setting them atop the writing surface, she began scribbling down various notes and ideas to refer back to later. Right up, left down. That was about all she could do for those issues, at least until Snowdrop was awake.

That extra book closet in the back of the Library had to have been pretty dusty. Spike used it on occasion as a place to store books that ponies returned if he thought they needed to be rebound, but otherwise the room lay dormant. Twilight grabbed the feather duster off its spot on the center table to go and take a look. The Library seemed bigger without that statue sitting on there… interesting. The door to the small room creaked open only partway before being stopped by a pile of books. Stepping inside, Twilight rolled her eyes. It wasn’t as dusty as she had expected, luckily, but it was long overdue to check the books that Spike thought needed repair. That dragon really needed to tell her when it was starting to get like this… the Crystal Empire probably hadn’t reappeared last time she ventured in here. Quickly running the duster across the piles of titles, Twilight began sliding books out through the door and restacking them behind her in the main room.

Slowly, the small disaster area cleared into a room that one could trot in easily. The magically held feather duster whisked away months of ignored or otherwise skipped cleanings as Twilight continued further inside. Both ironically and conveniently, the book closet was actually designed to be a bedroom for somepony, at some point in time. Perhaps the ponies that carved out the tree and built the Library thought there would be such an avid reader that they would need a place to sleep after staying up too late to go home? Twilight laughed quietly at this thought… that pony would be her, if she hadn’t already been living there! A puffy bed sat atop a portion of floor higher than the rest, creating a remarkably comfortable-looking place to sleep without needing to take up any additional space. One side of the carved platform stretched out wider than the other, and here, on the opposite wall from the head of the bed, there sat a small desk. Like nearly every other room in the Library, the wall above this desk had been cut into, making a two-shelf bookcase that looked to fit perhaps ten books at most. The side of the room that only had enough space between the bed and the wall for a pony to trot forward or back in, such as they would when getting in or out of the bed, sported a small, circular window. The silver light of Luna’s moon creeped partway up the windowsill here. Twilight’s immediately put down the duster and trotted over to the window, worried that Snowdrop might somehow fall or fly out of it and hurt herself. The window was no more than a pony’s height off the ground, and it looked too small for anypony to even make it through without some real effort. Happy there was nothing to worry about there, she gave herself a nod of approval, figuring the room clean and usable now. Snowdrop would need a few things before she could call it her own, but at least tomorrow night the filly would have a bed to sleep in.

With that matter completed as best she could without Snowdrop’s own help, the preparations looked to be done. Twilight carried the piles she had made from the books in the spare room back behind her desk, leaving them pushed up against the wall for the time being. It must have been past four in the morning by now, and this was no time to be considering the task of flipping through each of those books, marking down pages where the paper pulled away from the binding and going through again to fix them. Just the idea of doing that made Twilight yawn… but she couldn't give in to being tired! She needed to keep going and keep working!

Levitating her scroll of scribbled notes off her desk, Twilight made her way around the Library in search of a certain section. The bookworm came to a stop in front of a wall of books, scanning over spines filled with text far too long to belong in the title itself. The letters looked as if they had needed to be squished to even fit there… and that was the book she needed. That one, right there! She slid the book out from its organized resting place on the shelf, carrying it over with the scroll towards where Snowdrop lay asleep, yawning again. Equestrian Adolescences, Fifth Ed. – A Comprehensive Analysis… surely this would be a good place to start her research. Twilight remembered portions of this book from reading thoroughly through it a while ago. The author had devoted large sections to differences between growth and development in pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies… certainly something that would prove helpful here. With a slight hop up, Twilight pulled herself into the other reading chair and began to get comfortable, laying the book out in front of her and preparing to write more on her scroll of notes.

Snowdrop’s soft snores were quite obvious once Twilight stopped moving about the Library. Glancing up from her book after no more than three minutes after sitting down, the lavender alicorn found the filly with her head hanging on the edge of the chair, her body still curled up under the big blanket. One forehoof lay on top of the folded piece of heavy fabric, and it looked as if Snowdrop had pulled her covers up to her chin at some point in the past few hours. Twilight smiled warmly at the sight of the filly that the Princess was holding her accountable for, pleased that everything so far seemed perfectly alright. Tomorrow, hopefully, she would be able to say the same.

Yawning once more, Twilight took her body’s sign of needing sleep as a reminder to focus on the task at hoof. By staying in this chair, not only would she know when Snowdrop woke up, but she would be able to rest sitting down while taking notes. Sleep? She didn’t need sleep! Just taking a load off her hooves was surely enough! But this sure was a lot of work, so far… was this what Cadence felt like when she was Twilight’s own foalsitter? Was Princess Celestia giving her this assignment so she would see what it was like to foalsit? Maybe. Twilight rested her head down in the binding of the open book in front of her to think, recalling some of the memories of her days with Cadence. Those were things she could try with Snowdrop, too! Something to write down… but in a minute or two. It felt nice to put her head down, and close her eyes… and thinking about all the stories from her days as a filly… and… and… Twilight’s body finally gave in to its own need for rest, drifting the mare’s thoughts unknowingly into dreams while her breathing slowly faded to that of sleep like that of Snowdrop’s tiny snores.

Author's Note:

A bit of a transitional chapter, not the most interesting one for sure.

It might be a week or so before I can update again, unfortunately... going to be out of town and too busy to devote much time to writing over the next few days. But stay tuned! The adventures start just as soon as Snowdrop wakes up!