• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,800 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

  • ...
5
 65
 3,800

Chapter 6

The morning sun slowly peeked rays of golden light through the windows of the Library, covering the chair slowly in its radiant heat as it rose higher in the sky over Ponyville. Snowdrop groggily stretched out in her seat, hearing the chirping song of a bird or two outside and figuring it was time to get up. Something seemed strange. The light beat of the train’s wheels no longer seemed to be happening, and it didn’t particularly feel as if she was moving, either. It seemed hot here. The filly slid herself onto her side, rubbing her head against the arm of the chair on which it now lay. That didn’t feel like Princess Twilight… where was she?

Snowdrop weakly flailed her hooves for a moment, bundling the heavy, somewhat slippery fabric somepony must have had put over her before it tipped too close to the edge of the chair and fell to the floor with a silent bounce. This place still seemed hot. But it had been chilly outside when she fell asleep… how far away was this place? Where was Princess Twilight? What happened? Unsure what exactly was going on, Snowdrop moved a hoof around herself looking for anything different. The soft thing on which she lay, whatever it was, seemed to go around in a half-circle before stopping at an edge. The filly nudged herself closer to this point, reaching over with her hoof and trying to see how far the drop was. Little closer… liiiitle closer… too close, too close, aahhh – oh. Pfew! It seemed like she had fallen just a tiny bit, onto the slippery fabric that was previously covering her. Good thing that wasn’t like the edge of the street by her house in Cloudsdale… Mommy always warned that falling from there would be very bad.

Snowdrop resumed her search after a moment, figuring whatever this fabric was held by wouldn’t break with her on it as well. All around the fabric was another different sort of floor. This was wasn’t soft like clouds, but it wasn’t cold like the one in Canterlot, either. It felt like there was some sort of pattern in it, too… straight lines meeting other straight lines at certain points, and sometimes a weird bump or rough spot that usually seemed to be circular. The straight lines seemed to go on as long as she could reach, so whatever kind of place this was, it seemed fairly big. Snowdrop stood up on the fabric and slowly put a hoof completely onto the odd floor, leaning her weight on it and ensuring it was safe. Deciding that the straight lines would continue for as long as the floor, she eventually made her way completely off the slippery fabric and took a step fully onto the different floor.

Stepping out of the ray of sun that had blanketed the chair and its immediate surroundings in its heat, Snowdrop slowly followed the straight lines of the floor around, still trying to figure out what this place was. The smell here was odd, though somewhat familiar. It smelled like school on the days Mrs. Windith made the other ponies practice “writing”… though she never had to. As her teacher explained it, the idea was to make certain shapes by drawing on “paper” with a quill. One colt in her class had been crying the first time they were working on it – apparently he accidentally bit himself trying to pull out a feather from his wing to write with. Those days were always boring. Mrs. Windith made her sit at her desk with nothing to do while the rest of the ponies practiced something she couldn’t see. Was Princess Twilight going to make her sit and be bored like that? Was she even here?

Not finding anything but more straight lines in the floor as she continued, the blind filly began to get a little worried. Snowdrop tried to remember what Princess Twilight had told her about where she lived. Some place with a library, in a town that was far away. A library… that smell… Snowdrop smiled and stopped moving around the room, keeping one hoof on a straight line in the floor so she wouldn’t get lost. The stuff Mrs. Windith said was called “paper” had the same sort of smell, though it was much stronger here. Mommy had one heavy thing made of this same paper she always kept in the kitchen, which had directions written in it for different foods to make... a “cookbook”, she called it. Snowdrop always wished she could see what was in that special cookbook. Whatever it was, the things smelled and tasted awesome when she made them! It was always exciting to wait and see what was for dinner when she got home from school and the paper in the cookbook made a weird noise as her mother flipped them and looked through it. This had to have been Princess Twilight’s library. Libraries were places with lots of books. But if there were so many papers and books here, why couldn’t she hear anypony making that same noise as the cookbook did?

Listening closely for anypony flipping those papers and making that noise, Snowdrop perked her ears up as another noise grew loud for a quick moment before fading back to near silence. It sounded like a pony snoring! Was that Twilight? The filly curiously waited another few moments for the snore to rise up, taking a few steps towards the sound before waiting for another sleepy beacon.

The soft portions of the sleeping pony’s snore grew louder as Snowdrop got closer to them. She continued heading towards the sound with one hoof still following the lines of the floor as the sound grew louder and louder, all the while becoming easier and easier to follow. She eventually was forced to stop, rather abruptly, and took a single step back as her nose bonked into some sort of wall in front of her. At least the wall wasn’t hard like the floor… it seemed pretty close to whatever she had been laying on before. Somepony had certainly fallen asleep above this wall. Was this where Princess Twilight was? It seemed like a strange place, but then again, she had never been here. Snowdrop propped her forehooves onto the soft wall and tried to reach her head over the top of the wall, searching for any clue of who this pony was.

Twilight mumbled weakly into the binding of her book, awoken by some sort of tickling on her horn. With a groggy yawn, she opened her eyes, squinting and nearly shutting them again in the bright morning sun. Taking a moment to stretch, she grumbled under her breath, “Eughh… w-what time is it..?” A blurry look around through eyes still unadjusted to the sunlight which shone through the windows found no timekeeping device in sight, only a small pony seemingly perched up on the chair she must have fallen aslee—Snowdrop! Oh no, ohnonon… Twilight nearly jumped up from the chair, the feeling of morning grogginess disappearing while she scanned the room. Nothing seemed out of place, except for a blanket left crumpled up on the floor near the other chair.

With a soft sigh of relief, Twilight cleared her throat and ended the filly’s searching by quietly calling out, “Good morning, Snowdrop!” Pulling the book which had unknowingly served as her pillow from beneath her forehooves, Twilight levitated the old guide onto the small table which sat between the two chairs. “I see you’ve found you’re way around the Library already!” Twilight nudged herself closer towards the side of the chair, quickly pulling Snowdrop up beside her before the filly had gotten back down from leaning up on the side of the seat beforehand.

Snowdrop stood quietly for a moment in thought, standing with her hooves on the seat and trying to feel the surface of whatever she had just been lifted onto. Recalling the familiar feeling here to that of the chair she had been in a few minutes ago, she sat down, questions forming in her curious mind. She leaned towards her left in the seat, against the side of the chair, before accidentally brushing a hoof against some feathers and quickly repositioning herself the other way round to lean against Twilight. “I… I didn’t even know this place was t-the Library… is this where you live, Princess Twilight..?”

Giggling gently, Twilight nodded and looked around the room once more, still surprised the blind filly had managed to find her without accidentally running into anything in the unfamiliar place. “It is. Welcome to the Golden Oaks Library, in Ponyville!” She looked down at Snowdrop against her side with a warm smile, subtly nudging herself back towards the middle of the chair and closer to the filly. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I was going to read until you woke up, but… it looks like my body had other plans…” She yawned once, “… kind of like you on that train! It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes after we left Canterlot that you were sleeping!” With another soft laugh, Twilight’s mind changed gears, spawning a thought of curiosity. “How did you know I was in this chair, anyways?”

Snowdrop’s muzzle flashed a quick grin for a second, turning her head to look up towards where Twilight’s voice was coming from next to her. “It was easy… I just listened for a minute or two… you’re a loud snorer!” The filly let out a quick giggle, her uncertain worries about this place all but forgotten knowing that Princess Twilight was here.

Twilight looked down at the filly with a sheepish smile, unsure how to respond to that. Was she snoring loudly? Nopony had ever said she did before… though nopony had been around her sleeping much at all since her days at home in Canterlot. But if it worked to allow Snowdrop to find her, that means it was a good thing, right? “Well, umm… that’s… that’s good! I’m glad you were able to find me!” Twilight laughed once more, trying to come up with something good she could use to change the subject. “I think we’ve got a lot of work to do today, Snowdrop. The best thing to start with would probably be showing you around the Library. Does that sound good?”

The filly gave a small shrug of her shoulders. It certainly wasn’t too exciting, but it would make it much easier to get around rather than having to keep her hoof on those lines in the floor. “Mmhm!” With a tiny nod, Snowdrop stood back up in the chair and took a step forward, hopping back down onto the ground with the lines below.

Following the filly’s lead, Twilight slid herself out of the chair and stretched once more, feeling a bit sore after having slept with her head in a book and body curled up in a chair. This wasn’t a new feeling, though – it had to have happened at least once a month. Suppose that’s the risk you take when you try to do any form of studying late at night! She scanned the room for a starting place rapidly, her eyes stopping as they caught the door to what would become Snowdrop’s room. The filly would be by herself most often starting there, so it would only make sense to lead from that point in the Library. “Okay. Just follow me, like you did yesterday! I’ll explain things as we go… and don’t be afraid to ask questions!” Twilight began heading towards the door near the back of the room, making sure Snowdrop was following.

As they stepped through the door and into the small room near the back of the Library, Snowdrop moved her head around curiously, scanning the room for any sounds or other clues as to what it might be. She took a few steps forward, leaning down with her head near the floor before quickly pulling it back up with a squeaky sneeze. She sniffled once, noticing the sounds here echoed much faster than in the other room. It must’ve been smaller. “What’s this room?”

Twilight looked at the floor after Snowdrop sneezed, still finding spots of dust present there after her cleaning from the night before. Nothing that can’t be cleaned later… there’s more important things on the agenda right now. “I used to use this room as a place to keep books I need to fix, but the ponies who built the Library designed it as a bedroom. You’ll have to help me pick out some blankets and things for in here at some point later today… this is going to be your room!” She took a step back, “If you take a few more steps forward, you’ll walk right into the end of the bed. There’s a window on the left side of the room from where you’re standing right now, too! If you turn around and come back towards me, there will be a small desk on your left, and going straight will take you back into the main room of the Library, where we were before. Am I explaining this okay?”

Snowdrop silently trotted forward, reaching out a hoof to touch the bed. She then turned around, going back the way she had come and using her left forehoof to feel for anything that might be the desk Twilight had mentioned. After seven steps, she found some object that felt much like the floor going upward, taller than her, but eventually becoming flat on the top. It didn’t feel quite like her old desk in Mrs. Windith’s classroom in Canterlot, but it was about the same size. They were both flat like that on the top, too. She turned once more and counted her steps, this time only needing to take six before she felt the puffy bed on against her hoof and turning around once more. “Okay… I think I’ll remember that…” With a satisfied grin, she made her way back the seven steps to the desk, standing next to Twilight once more.

Pleased but somewhat surprised, Twilight turned around and stepped back into the main room. “Very good! We’ll be done in no time if you’re able to remember everything like that!” She giggled cheerily, continuing to her right and around the large circular room and talking as she went. “This is the main room of the Library, where most of the books are. It’s shaped like a circle… can you tell?” Taking a quick look back towards the door as the two circled the room, Twilight continued, “If you were to go straight out of your room and across the middle, you’d end up at the door to go outside. But you always need to go in a circle like we are now. There’s a heavy wooden table in the middle of the room that doesn’t feel very good to hit your horn- erm… I mean, head... on. Trust me. About fifteen degrees past that door is the main desk for the Library. Another… perhaps thirty degrees past that is the st—“ Twilight stopped as Snowdrop suddenly spoke up, pausing her explanation to answer the filly’s question.

“How come you’re talking about the temperature, Twilight? I know it’s not fifteen degrees in here… it feels warmer than that…” Snowdrop looked up in front of her, towards the lavender alicorn whose hoofsteps he had been following as they stopped making noise against the warm, hard floor.

Twilight arched a brow for a moment in confusion. The temperature? She hadn’t mentioned anything about the temperature… just that is was fifteen degrees from the main door to the desk, but that wasn’t temperature, that was… oh! She smirked for a moment at her own silliness, remembering the age of the filly she was busy explaining this all to. There’s no way she would have been taught arc angles yet… that type of advanced geometry probably wasn’t even taught to all ponies. Perhaps it was something she could teach Snowdrop later. “Those degrees don’t mean the temperature, Snowdrop, but… let’s just count in steps. We’re right near the door that goes outside now… count how many it is until I say we’re at the desk!”

Snowdrop smirked, the step count already in her head from before being instructed to do so. It was often the easiest way to remember how to go back the way she had come, if she ever got lost anywhere. Counting steps had become a habit after years of following her mother around. “It’s been fifty-four steps for me from the door we started at to here! I was already counting!” She giggled happily, taking the short amount of steps from this door to the library desk, stopping once more as Twilight’s hooves grew silent. “Umm… I think that was either four or five steps. Let’s say five!”

Giggling in reply, Twilight continued her trek around the room. “You’re good at this… I thought we were going to need to take notes on how to get around the Library, but you’re doing it for the first time and already keeping track. Have you done this before?” She stopped once more, the stairs up towards her room now at her right, and turned around to look at the filly following behind her. “What’s the count on that one, Snowdrop?”

Without any hesitation, the blind pegasus replied confidently, “Nine! Nine steps!” The filly smiled, “What is it that’s here, Twilight?”

“The circle of the room gets a little bigger here, and there’s some stairs going up if you take a step or two to the right. We’re going to go up them, but he careful… the steps aren’t even in length! You can go slow… just make sure you don’t trip.” Twilight began trotting up the stairs backwards, going very slowly to make sure she herself didn’t fall, and watching Snowdrop just in case. “When you’re going up these stairs, remember to always stay on the right. If you’re going down them, however, stay to the left.” The lavender alicorn smirked to herself, reciting the rule idea she had thought up to keep the filly away from the open edge of the staircase.

Snowdrop carefully felt out for the next step in front of her with her hoof, making sure she didn’t bump into the next small hop upward and fall over her own hooves. As she was instructed to do so, she took a sideways step, brushing her right wing up against a wall before continuing further. After eleven steps, she stopped once more, waiting for Princess Twilight’s next explanation.

“There’s a door here on the right that goes to my room. If you ever can’t find me for some reason, and I’m not calling back to you if you say my name, knock here. I’m going to try my hardest to not fall asleep on accident again, but… I can’t make any promises.” She giggled sheepishly, heading further up the staircase after a moment.

With a little practice knock on the door, Snowdrop started counting the steps once more and going up further, following Twilight’s lead. After just another five steps up, the hoofsteps she was following grew faster, and the floor appeared to be flat once more. She stopped once more, awaiting the description of this place as well.

Twilight looked quickly in the pantry for what she had in regards to food, finding very little stored away. Admittedly, she wasn’t exactly one to cook often, preferring the ease and speed of going out to get a meal the majority of the time. In some ways, that might need to change now… though only time will really tell. What did fillies like to eat, anyways? It was too long ago for her to remember now. Would they have had the same things all those years ago? “This is the kitchen. I don’t think you’ll need to worry too much about actually making food, but if you’re ever hungry, this is the place to come. It looks like we’ll need to go shopping for that too… but you can pick out whatever you’d like to get when we do! Anything… but it can’t all be sugar.” She shivered for a split second, the thought of Snowdrop on a sugar rush and acting something like Pinkie passing through her head. That would certainly be something to avoid.

Snowdrop nodded slowly, relatively uninterested in the kitchen area. After all, she didn’t really know how to cook anything, so it’s not like whatever was around would matter much to her. Finding snacks was easy enough to do anyways… just pick whatever was around that smelled the sweetest! Those choices tended to be delicious. “What’s next..?”

Giving a glance around the kitchen, Twilight shrugged, knowing the rest of the Library wasn’t places Snowdrop would be able to get by herself. There was the upper observatory deck, but that had a ladder going up to it which had rungs too large for a filly’s hooves, and the basement, previously barred shut by the heavy statue. “Unless I’m forgetting something… that should be everything! Would you like to go through it again, to practice?”

Another moment of silence was followed by a shake of the filly’s head, accompanied by a small “Mm-mmm” signifying no. “It’s fifty-four steps across the big library to the door outside, five steps from the door to the desk, and nine..? N-nine steps to the stairs from the desk.” She grinned happily, “Then the stairs are eleven to your room, and five from your room to here. And I need to always stay on the right when going up, and always stay to the left when going down!” Snowdrop took a few steps on the flat floor of the kitchen over towards Twilight, “Did I forget one?”

Twilight had to think to herself for a moment, recalling the path taken around the Library’s main rooms. “I… I don’t think so. I should note that there might be ponies in the main room downstairs during the day, so make sure you always go right when you come out of your room, and continue right all the way around the room. That way, you shouldn’t need to worry about accidently hitting anypony or anything!” She took a deep breath, surprised at how simple that process had been. “Of course, if it’s fifty-four steps to get across the main room of the Library by staying near the wall, it’s one hundred eight all the way around, in a full circle. By staying to the right, every door and the staircase will always be on your right as well.” Thinking if there was anything she was forgetting, the final rule popped into her head, nearly forgotten due to how naturally obvious it seemed to her. “Ah! No flying inside… there’s too many things to accidently knock over with the gusts of wind produced by wings! I don’t ever fly inside either.”

Snowdrop nodded once more, the instructions starting to blend together as Princess Twilight began to get more and more specific. Some of them seemed unimportant… it really wasn’t that hard to get around just by listening and feeling for certain objects, anyways. The longer she was here, the easier it would become – just like it did walking home from school every day, too. After two years of that, she didn’t even have to worry about getting lost if there was construction and a street was closed! It was easy. Flying inside wasn’t allowed, but it was harder to hear and nearly impossible to feel anything and determine where you were going mid-flight. That wouldn’t be an issue at all. “C-can we do something fun now, Princess Twilight?”

Twilight looked down at Snowdrop and tried to prioritize their day, wishing she’d had the time to write a checklist earlier. “Well, as long as it’s also at least semi-productive, sure. We’ve still got a lot to do today! How about…” She thought quickly, having a hard time finding a solution, considering she really didn’t know all that much about what Snowdrop liked to do. Would she want to just go to the park? Go shopping? Get something at Sugarcube Corner? Shopping would probably be a good idea to do next. “How about we go get that food and those blankets and things we need? I’ll need your help picking things out!”

The blind filly trotted right up by Twilight’s side, reaching upward and tugging gently on the tip of a feather, wanting to ride on the Princess’ back again if they were leaving. Shopping isn’t very fun… but I want to be able to pick my blankets! Do you think they have something really warm?”

Caught by surprise, Twilight stood confused as Snowdrop pulled at her wing for a moment before realizing what the signal meant and leaning down until her belly touched the floor, waiting until the filly grabbed on. With two little forelegs wrapped weakly around her neck, Twilight got back up and proceeded down the stairs, heading for the door to go outside on the sunny spring morning. “I think we’ll just have to wait and see! You never know what we might find if we look hard enough!”

Snowdrop shivered in the chilly air as they left the warmth inside the Library, hearing the sounds of birds chirping and the occasional pony passing by. Some would say hello to Twilight, others seemed to just remain quiet as they passed, with the exception of their hooves. The filly pulled herself closer and held Twilight’s neck tighter in her forelegs, cuddling herself in the back of the Princess’ mane to keep warm as they made their way towards their destination.