Evergreen Skyline

by Reddling Rain

First published

[Oneshot] Tree Tops is born as the only earth pony in a pegasus family of loggers. After meeting another pegasus pony his own age with green wings, Tops earns his cutie mark, forever branding what he cannot enjoy on his side.

[Oneshot] Tree Tops is born as the only earth pony in a pegasus family of loggers. After meeting another pegasus pony his own age with green wings, Tops earns his cutie mark, forever branding what he cannot enjoy on his side.

Part of a "Loose Ends" Series of short stories.

The Meeting

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It's always the same thing every week, it never changes.


I can't even help blow the leaves off! Tops turned himself towards a branch, drawing air through his teeth and over his tongue before exhaling with fury. A leaf above his face buzzed violently, but kept itself attached to it's brethren. Tops leaned back with a sigh, ruffling up his mane so it maintained it's windswept appearance. Unlike the rest of his family, he could not fly around and keep his hair in the styles they did, and instead had to work to keep his mane looking disorderly and unkempt.

It was just after luncheon in Whitetail Woods, and Tree Top's brothers were working hard to blow all the leaves off a tree with their wings before they felled it. While they were supposed to be watching him and playing with him, neither had time to care for an earth pony as they competed to see who could blow off more leaves. Staring distantly at them, Tops quickly slunk into some bushes, staring up at them as they beat their wings.

"Eh, Tops! Don't go too far, colt!" Top's older brother called from above. Tops said nothing as he turned further into the bushes, beginning to wander away towards the fresh springs. He enjoyed taking a bath there when his brothers were working, not only because of the refreshing cool water in the middle of the summer, but also for the tranquil sounds of water running over rock. Tops closed his eyes blissfully as he wandered towards the splashing noises of the smaller pool.

He had learned to carefully count the steps from the bushes to his favorite spot. A few smooth rocks cropped out at odd angles, which made them perfect for laying against when he only wished to relax. The sounds of rushing water became more apparent as Tops pushed through a bush, breathing in fresh air as a wave of water splashed into his face.

Tree Tops emerged from the water coughing and sputtering, looking around at the break from his normal routine. Looking around the fresh spring, the only creature he could make out was a duck, which was currently drying itself off in preparation to take flight.

"No duck splashed me with all that-" Tops once more descended into a sputtering mess as a bucket of water was tipped over above him, slamming a downpour of heavy liquid onto his head and back.

"Who is doing that!?" Tops cried, shaking himself dry and looking around in annoyance. Above him was another pony, roughly his own age. It was hard to tell if they were a filly or a colt, but that didn't really matter to Tops.

"You got me soaking wet." Tops said, his tone dropping back to normal levels.

"I just wanted to wash you off before you got in the water, we wouldn't want the fresh springs to smell like unwashed pony, would we?" The pony said. Tops shook his head at the pony's accent. It was very hard to understand why his R's were rolled an insane amount, but he was at the very least understandable.

"Well, no, I guess you have a point..." Tops mumbled, shivering at a gust of wind. Trotting over to the pool, Tops plunged in. He felt his whole world lift as his body cut the water, sinking down until his hooves touched the bottom. With a little kick, Tops pulled himself up, heading for some more shallow rocks. When his head emerged from the water, Tops found himself staring at the foreigner.

"You're really lucky you can do that." The foreigner said, flapping his long, emerald green wings. Tops had already forgotten about his bath and was now totally distracted by the green pony. Those green wings, they could be his wings...

"You know, pegasus ponies can't really do that. It would be just awful to clean our wings after our feathers got all soaked." said the foreigner.

"You're the lucky one... look at those wings..." Tops said to himself dreamily, leaning forward. Those emerald wings were just his colour, and wouldn't look out of place on his sides...

"Anyway! I was hoping that you might be able to help me." The pegasus smiled, "I'm hoping to be able to complete a census on the surrounding area as part of one of my study projects. Is there a town around here?

"T-Town?" Tops blinked. "Yeah, there's one right outside the forest, I could show you."

"Alright, let's do it!" the pegasus said, extending his wings and then turning away, running towards the treeline before taking off and looping around, circling the fresh springs below.

Tops stared up in awe at the pegasus. Each wing movement and each graceful turn was a reminder of what he, Tree Tops, was supposed to be doing. But if only h could get up there...

"Oh, that's right, you're- haha!" The pegasus cried, swooping down like a bird of prey. Tops let out a squeak as the pegasus flew right at him, grabbing Tops in his legs and pulling the earth pony close to his chest. Tops expected to be dropped to his doom at any moment, but the pegasus held onto him tightly. Underneath the scrawny build of his foreign companion there was a lithe and strong pegasus more than ready to carry Tops around.

Tops looked to either side, memorizing the look of green wings on either side of him. He could almost feel them carrying him upward, letting him take off into the sky. These wings weren't just a symbol of being a pegasus to Tops, but something greater. Wings to him represented completeness and freedom to be who he really was. With emerald wings spread to either side, Tops could go anywhere and be anything he wanted to be. He could just fly up into the sky and touch the clouds, free the ground's trap forever.

"You aren't that light you know. Which way do we go?" The pegasus asked, annoyed. Tops shook is head, trying to figure out where the voice had come from. Looking down at the hooves on his chest, Tops felt a sinking feeling as he pointed to the west. Although Tops tried his best to imagine how the wings felt, he could not get back to that same feeling. They just seemed to be so natural- They were his wings. These were the wings he was born with, and they were flapping to propel him through the air as his hair whipped back, staying windswept all on it's own in the free sky.

For the first time in his life, Tops was being who he was meant to be, living the way he was meant to live- and it all had a hallow, dreadful feeling underneath the surface. It was a panic that rose to his chest, leaving him almost in tears as he landed with the other colt in the town square. They touched down near a fountain that showed a pegasus, earth pony, and unicorn all standing together, founders of the town.

"Ah, here we are!" The foreigner said. He let go of Tops and flapped a little to land nearby. Tops barely blinked as his hooves tapped the ground.

"I don't think I ever got your name. I'm Census, and I make censuses. Who're you?" Census smiled at Tops, leaning forward with his wings still outstretched.

"...Tree Tops." Tops said distractedly, looking away and brushing his hair back.

"Well, it was nice to meet you, Tree Tops. We'll have to hang out again someday! I'll find you at the spring." Census said. Tops simply nodded, sitting down on his rump and staring at the fountain.

"Hey- hey, cheer up." Census said. "I don't like goodbyes either, I've had to say far too many of them. Maybe we can meet up later today after I finish with the town records. Do you have a town hall or a library here?"

Tops just pointed down the street to a large sign that read "LIBRARY" on it. Census laughed to himself and gently nuzzled Tops. Tops looked up from his mopping, somewhat taken aback.

"Here, you can have this feather." Census said, holding out a small green feather. Tops blinked at the feather, then at Census, who sighed.

"Hey, I like your cutie mark okay? We'll meet up and you can tell me all about it later." Census pushed the emerald feather into Tops' hooves before rushing off, leaving the earth pony blinking slightly.

My cutie mark?

Tops looked down at his flank. It took a few moments for him to take in what he was staring at, and he didn't believe it. Warm, salty fury welled up at the edges of his eyes as he crushed the feather angrily and threw it into the fountain, turning and sprinting back towards the surrounding forest. Tops didn't much care where he went, so long as he didn't have to see any pegasus ponies and didn't have to look at his cutie mark.

Tops didn't return home that night, and by the time he made it back to the springs where he was supposed to meet census, it was already dark. The sound of moving water was the only think to keep Tops mind off his mark as he stared at his flank, aghast at what he had earned for a cutie mark. Despite his best attempts, tears began to roll down Tops' cheeks once more as he buried his face in his hooves, slipping into a dark sleep.

Tops' dreams were always bad. they were not bad because they were nightmares or scary, but rather, because they mocked him. His dreams were a world all of their own, casting the normal world in a cold light.

But at least in Tree Tops' dreams, his cutie mark made sense. He'd sleep the day away if it meant that he could spend more time with those glorious emerald wings on either side of him. Just one more minute with that freedom in his hooves, lifting him up into the sky.

But every time Tops had that dream, it was always so bittersweet. Tops knew that no matter what he did, the next morning he would wake up without those wings, and now his cutie mark was going to be a permanent reminder on his flank every waking moment.