Having been imprisoned for as long as anypony, including the Princesses, can remember, a villainous reindeer makes the best of his time inside his snow globe.
All he knew was his globe. He was left inside of it as punishment for his devious crimes, but that was hundreds of years ago. Still, he sits inside his spherical home, his mind slowly degrading as each day passes.
He can't even remember what he did wrong in the first place.
The scary thing is, neither can the alicorn who put him there.
Regardless of how justified his situation is, he knows for sure that he will make the absolute best of it.
A cloud of white flakes flew up high into the water they were suspended in before trickling back down. Their steady but erratic dance created a very convincing mimic of a blizzard, despite how contained they were. If anypony else were around to see it, they might have been fooled into thinking that the globe actually contained a real, miniature world, with its own weather patterns. On its way down, the snow started to settle on a miniature glass house that borrowed heavily from the image of what houses looked like years ago.
Many years ago.
Hundreds of year ago, even.
After twenty seconds or so, the flakes all settled back down into the bottom of the terrarium. It was where they were destined to stay unless tampered with. The creature moving about inside the globe rued how still everything had become. With another flick of his antlers, the snow was once again suspended into the water, momentarily creating the illusion of a snowstorm.
"Hm-hmm!" he laughed merrily as he danced through the falling bits of white. His prancing pushed up some of the snow that had already started to fall back down, which increased the amount of time he had before he would have to push everything back up.
For a moment, he just stopped and stared straight up into the snow as it fell. His eyes grew unfocused, his gaze turning blank and emotionless. At that moment, he was running around. Even though he was motionless, in his head, he was free. The snow brought him somewhere else. Something about it made him remember. He couldn't remember much, but when he found a way to bring back some semblance of memory, he kept it.
And the snow, the very thing that surrounded him at all times, was his greatest treasure.
He just wished he could show his treasure off...his show was quite lovely, after all. Why wouldn't they want to see it? Of course they would like to, but his location on top of one of the tallest shelves in the Canterlot Royal Library didn't exactly give him a very consistent audience. In fact, he hadn't been noticed by anypony in...had he ever been noticed by anypony?
Just another part of his memory that escaped him.
Well, then he was just going to have to make new memories! He would be noticed! In fact, the very next pony that he saw was going to be his first audience! They were going to bear witness to his globe and what he could do with the snow!
"-haven't been in here in ages! It's like stepping back into my years as your student."
A voice! It was accompanied by the sound of hooves, so the voice was coming closer. This could be his chance! Strange, though, it sounded like more than just a normal pony's amount of hooves. How many were coming?
"Oh, I know! It's hard to believe that it's already been...eight years? That sounds correct. Time flies so quickly around here."
A shudder, starting up in his antlers, moved down his spine, leaving him feeling colder and more anxious than before. But why? What about the second voice disturbed him so? Oh, how he wished he could remember...
"Are you going to join me? I'm going to look through everything, see what's new...and probably re-shelve everything. Who knows how messy it's gotten in here without me obsessing over it?"
That was the first voice again. It was calm...sweet, even. It didn't provoke the same amount of mysterious terror that came with the second voice. Whoever owned the first voice was going to be his first audience!
"I'd love nothing more, but unfortunately, I have other matters that I must attend to. But do have a good time while you're here! Perhaps we could get back together sometime later tonight, after I lower the sun. Would that be okay?" the chilly voice said. He hoped it would go away soon. The sound of their hooves moved closer and closer to where he was kept, until they stopped almost directly under him. If the chilly voice wasn't there, he would have already started his show.
"That sounds fine, Princess! I'll be in here, probably losing track of time again," the nice voice said. He liked the nice voice. And apparently, the chilly voice belonged to some kind of Princess. The 'Princess' had said something about the sun that, once again, made him feel nervous. Maybe it meant something? Then again, maybe it didn't.
The room went silent for a moment while the two voices did something that he couldn't see. During this time, he took to pushing all of his snow to the center of the globe with his antlers, so that when he had his audience, he would be able to dazzle her! Because of the disconnect between his thoughts and his actions, he accidentally slipped and fell face-first into the pile of white flakes. He was so distracted by this that he almost missed the sounds of retreating hooves.
Hopefully, the chilly voice pony...the 'Princess', was the one leaving.
Once he had pushed himself out of the mound, he pranced over the edge of the globe so that he could see the owner of the nice voice and, hopefully, his first audience.
She was a purple pony with wings and a horn. She was pretty. Pretty purple. That would be her name to him, Pretty Purple. Or 'PP' for short. The reindeer snickered to himself, though he couldn't remember why what he was thinking was supposed to be funny. He just knew that it was.
Pretty Purple had somehow already gathered a stack of books from the shelves and was sitting with one, her legs tucked in underneath her. Prettier Purple. He wanted to show her his snow. She would see his white stuff and be super impressed and want to come see him every day!
Then...then he would be happy.
It was then that he realized that there was a problem with his plan: she was really absorbed in whatever book she was reading, and he was waaaay up on top of a bookshelf. How was she supposed to see his snow show? If she couldn't see it, then she wouldn't come back, and he would be alone...and...a-and...
Before he knew what he was doing, he felt the impact of his antlers upon the glass. He had charged it, even though he knew it wouldn't break. He hadn't tried doing that recently, but something in the back of his mind told him that it was futile. But breaking out wasn't his intention this time; he just wanted to be noticed.
He jumped onto his back hooves, his front ones pressing against the glass. His heart sank a bit as he saw that Pretty Purple hadn't even heard him. She was just going to continue reading her book until she left to do something with the chilly voice and...she would never come back. Never again.
Never, ever ag-
DUNK! DUNK D-DUNK DUNK DUNK-!
The bit of pain that came with bashing his head against the globe's barrier couldn't compare against the thought of spending the rest of eternity alone, with no one to see him and his snow. What kind of evil had stuck him on top of a bookshelf, anyway?! Even if it were just a normal snow globe, why on a shelf? What purpose did a snow globe serve if it wasn't even visible?
What was his purpose?
That thought stopped the barrage of headbutts for a moment. What was his purpose?
His purpose was being the best snow globe ever, of course! Why else would he be in there? He was destined to make it look like it was snowing inside, without any kind of outside interference or help. And that was what he-
A sharp gasp escaped him as the sound of splintering glass reached his ears. He wasn't the only one to hear the sound, however; the purple alicorn below also noticed it. Her ear twitched as she looked up. She wasn't too happy about being interrupted, but her curiosity overpowered her irritation, so she stood up.
"Hello? Is anypony there?" she asked the air. The little reindeer trapped in the globe liked her voice even more, now that it wasn't going to be followed by the chilly voice. It was the warmest he had felt in...had he ever felt warm? Again, his memory failed him. He assumed that if he hadn't felt warm in the past few days, then he had never felt warm. It just made too much sense to him. Nothing ever changed, so if something wasn't immediately familiar, then it was false.
But he had gotten Pretty Purple's attention! She was looking around the room for whatever had made the noise. It was his chance. Never before had he come so close to getting an audience! Now, all he needed to do was to help her zero in on his globe.
He resumed the headbutting; it had worked before, right?
Dunk dunk dunk dunk
Pretty Purple started backing up against the closest wall, her ears flicking in every direction as they tried to locate the source of the noise. She needed to look up, not around! So desperately, he wanted to call out to her. He knew she wouldn't hear his voice, though; nopony ever heard his voice. He wasn't even sure if they spoke the same language.
Then she looked up.
It took her a second to spot his globe, but a quick scan along the top of the shelves revealed his forever home to her. Her ears stopped flicking and instead locked onto his location, waiting to see if the globe was in fact what she had been hearing.
She flinched as he rammed his head against the glass one last time. Her eyes caught the movement as he ran around inside of the glass orb excitedly, sending up white flakes in every direction. Something or somepony was alive inside of the ball, and now she knew it.
Pretty Purple unfolded her pretty purple wings hesitantly, looking like she was about to take off. She stopped, seemingly changing her mind about taking to the air. Her wings folded back up before her horn lit up, her pretty purple magic channeling into it.
He had stopped his happy prancing so that he could look down to see what she was doing. The little buck ducked down lower so that he could see past the layer of snow that had settled on the outside of his globe. It covered the top, and he had no control over it for some reason, so he was forced to lean as low as he could to get the best view out of the clearer glass.
Their eyes met.
Somehow, despite their distance and difference in size, their eyes managed to lock together. Immediately, he felt a weight being lifted from his back that he hadn't even known he had been carrying. It almost reduced him to tears.
This was the first time he could remember looking into the eyes of another living being. Sure, he had heard them as they used the library every day, but he never took the time to get their attention. Why? Why had he never done exactly what he was doing now?
Pretty Purple's eyes lived up to the name he had given her. They were pretty. They were purple. But what he hadn't expected was the sheer amount of emotion he felt as he looked in those glimmering pools of...purple. He could feel her confusion. He could feel the slight anxiety she was experiencing. But most of all, he felt her curiosity.
She might have been slightly unnerved by the being inside of the globe, but she was vastly more interested in him. It was that interest that led her to surrounding his globe with her magic. He yelped and panicked as he felt his home move with her aura. The globe, after having been in the same exact position for so many years, moved away. Its absence exposed a circle of clean wood that the globe's base had covered for so long. It stood as a stark contrast from the surrounding layers of dust and grime that none of the maids had bothered to clean...ever.
His entire world lurched up in the bright purple cloud. The globe's occupant tore around his environment, sending up almost every white flake. After the quick moment of panic, he dove into the little hideaway inside the glass house and wiggled himself deeper into it. The only thing left visible to the outside world was his rear end, which wiggled a bit more as he tried to fit it inside. Normally, he could get inside if he focused and angled his body in just the right way. With how terrified he was at that moment, he had thrown concentration out and simply let his instincts rule him.
His globe floated gently down towards the curious alicorn below. He shivered slightly, waiting for every passing moment to be his last. She was so much bigger and more powerful than he was; she could have smashed his home with him in it and he wouldn't have been able to do a single thing to stop her.
But she didn't smash him. She just let his globe get closer and closer to her face. If his mind were any more rational or calm, he would have pulled himself out of the glass house to that he could have looked more presentable when she saw him up close for the first time.
Instead, the only thing she saw was his shivering behind sticking out of the hideaway.
"Uhm..." he heard Pretty Purple's voice boom over him as it reverberated inside the suspension liquid. She sounded really close now, and from the direction her voice was coming from...she was staring right at his little reindeer booty.
His new struggle began. He didn't want her staring at his butt! She was to be his first audience, and all she could see of him was his most private white fluffy zone! The surge of panic and embarrassment that shot through him pushed him enough to dislodge himself from the house. His little body tumbled back a bit, sending up a little cloud of snow.
The reindeer shook his head from side to side to get his bearings; being stuck inside of a dark place while the world around you moves is quite disorienting! He looked around, but almost dove back into the house when he locked eyes with the giant alicorn staring down at him. Both of her curious, purple eyes were even larger than his globe! She was just standing there, looking at him with an expression of shock that he couldn't quite read.
Oh, she was waiting for him to do something! But what could he do? He could show her his tree, or maybe his glass hideaway, or...
His snow. He could show her his snow! That must be what she was waiting for! She actually wanted to see him do tricks with his snow!
A single happy tear floated out from his bleary eyes and joined the rest of the water that surrounded him. He was finally going to have an audience. He was going to interact with another being the first time ever. She was going to be so impressed by his tricks that she would put his globe down lower so that he could show off for more ponies and brighten their day!
Or maybe...she would even keep him! A happy song threatened to burst from his fluffy white chest, but he pushed it down. Pretty Purple wasn't there to hear him sing. She was waiting for an awesome show spectacle! And by golly, he was going to give it to her.
An air of newfound confidence spread through him. He puffed out his chest fluff and struck a pose, the magic inside of him moving up until he felt his antlers tingle.
It was time.
To begin his show, he stomped his front left hoof. In response, the white flakes around him puffed up slightly, flowing around him like a personal cloud of magic. He spun around in a single circle, the snow following his movements and spinning. Instead of stopping as he did, however, the snow continued to spin, moving around him like rings around a planet. With a grin, he started doing a prance dance, the rings of snow staying with him.
He wished he could have seen it himself; from the look on Pretty Purple's face, he was already quite dazzling. It made him feel the best he had ever felt. She was already impressed, and he was only just getting started!
For his next trick, he whipped his head around in a semi circle and put more magic into his movements. The rest of the snow in the globe that had been untouched suddenly leapt to life. A blizzard was born inside the glass ball before Pretty Purple could even blink. The snow raged violently around, but the reindeer controlling it remained unaffected. He smiled happily at the giant alicorn before ordering the snow to stick to the sides of the glass, effectively blocking off any outside view.
Purple blinked at this and moved the globe around in her aura, trying to see if there was any section that wasn't covered in the white flakes. She couldn't find one.
Then, just as she was starting to worry slightly, a little circle of the snow was wiped away. The reindeer's smiling face peeked through the tiny window and stared at her. Despite her confusion and apprehension, the giant pony smiled back at him and clapped her hooves quietly. This made the performer so happy that he did an excited spin and powered down his magic. The snow floated down, as it was apt to do, and covered the scenery beneath it.
This included the tiny buck.
The only sign that he had been standing there moments before was a large white bulge in the snow. It was vaguely recognizable as the shape of a reindeer. Pretty Purple couldn't help herself and let out an amused giggle at the tiny buck's antics. He popped out seconds later, shaking himself off frantically. Though he at first appeared nervous that his mistake had cost him his performance, the happy smile adorning the face of his singular, giant audience member relieved his worries.
It didn't matter to him whether she was laughing, cheering or just smiling; as long as she was happy and entertained. If she was amused by his show, then he was living out his purpose.
For the first time ever, he felt like he had accomplished something important.
His knees buckled from the overwhelming joy spreading through his chest. He wasn't even done with his show, but he couldn't go on. The little performer crumpled down and collapsed against the bottom of the globe, prompting a shocked gasp from Pretty Purple.
What little snow that remained suspended gently floated down, covering the buck partially as he panted, trying to catch his breath. Even with how weak he felt, he still loved every second of it.
"Are you okay?" he heard the giant pony's voice boom over him. Her voice was so warm, so full of concern...it was so much better than the voices he normally heard from a distance during the day. Usually, the ponies that talked in the library were much more formal about what they said; they were usually just looking for something or needed help.
Pretty Purple was addressing him with a kindness that he hadn't heard before. It only sent another series of tingles into his chest, reducing him to a writhing, giggling mess. Purple's giant, concerned eyes watched him as he rolled around, singing a little tune to himself in his ecstasy.
"Excuse me? Can you hear me? Can you...understand me?" she repeated, her brows furrowing a bit in thought. The buck let his happiness flow out for a few more moments before rolling onto his belly and giving her a nod. Her eyes widened when she saw his response. To her, it must have been amazing that she was communicating with a being inside of a snow globe. "What is your name?"
"Blubble," he answered, the sound muffled by the water that filled the globe. He was used to it; the most noise he ever made was usually just happy sounds or grunts. No air bubbles came out when he tried to speak. Pretty Purple blinked and tilted her head. She needed a way to speak with him. Ever the efficient problem-solver, she starting sorting through every translation spell she could remember. It took some time, but she settled on a direct link spell that would let their minds click together like a bridge. Before she cast it, however, she wanted to make sure that the little buck was okay with having a spell worm its way into his mind.
"I'm going to cast a spell on us so that we can communicate, okay? I won't be able to hear every one of your thoughts. If you want to tell me something, think it and then act like you want to say it. The connection will only open when you do that, okay? Is that okay with you?" she asked, starting to gather her energy towards her horn.
The globe's occupant just sat there, looking up at her and tilting his head. He didn't really know what she was talking about, but she sounded nice about it, so he nodded. She gave him a warm smile before repeating the spell just as she remembered it, her magical aura gathering around the buck. With a snap very much like a plucked rubber band, the spell was cast.
"She's still looking at me and she's really pretty and she's big and why is she turning more purple?" his mind shot out, the link immediately overwhelmed. It seemed that whatever method she had told him to use, he hadn't used it. As a result, every little thought that was running through his mind the moment that the link was established flowed directly into Pretty Purple's head. The way he rambled on and on without any form of restraint reminded her very much of a certain pink friend of hers.
"Hold on, stop! Calm down calm down calm down!" she urged, her giant purple hooves waving back and forth over the buck's enclosure. He looked up at them and tilted his head to the other side.
"Big hoofers," he thought simply. After that random tidbit, his side of the line went silent. His eyes were locked up onto the purple beauty above him, waiting for further commands. He was her snow globe, after all. It was best to do what she said.
"Okay, good. Now...first of all, what can I call you?" Pretty Purple asked as she settled down and tucked her big hoofers underneath her body again. The buck followed her actions and tucked himself up in the same way as her. The mutual relaxation between the two calmed them both down a bit, though the buck was itching to show her some more tricks already. But what could she call him? He could tell her his name, but...what was his name? He hadn't introduced himself to another being in...ever?
"I'm a snow globe," he answered, his face a picture of serene honesty.
"Yes, but what's your name?" she asked again. The buck blinked in confusion.
"Um...I don't know? I don't think I have one," he responded. "Do you have one? I've been calling you Pretty Purple." The alicorn blushed again and turned her face away from him. The little reindeer was so confusing! She didn't know whether to feel sad that he didn't even have a name, or flustered that his name for her was basically him calling her attractive.
He wasn't even a pony! She hadn't seen one of his kind before, at least not up close.
"Y-yes. My name is Twilight Sparkle. Very nice to meet you!" she said. Though the buck was happy that he knew her real name, he couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed that her name didn't have any mentioned of the color purple in it. He had gotten so used to thinking of her as a giant purple pony that thinking of her as anything else seemed weird.
"Eh. You're still pretty and purple, so I wasn't wrong," he mumbled telepathically. Again, Twilight blushed, but she tried to ignore his lack of subtly and just took the complement.
"You're a reindeer, right?" she asked him warmly. She flashed him a smile, and received a flurry of happy, loving thoughts being blown over the mental link. Okay, so he was easily excited and was happy that she was talking to him.
"Yes! Well, I think so. I'm a reindeer, but I'm also a snow globe, you know? I don't know if I can be both or not," he reasoned, lifting his front leg and making a thoughtful gesture with it.
"Well, I have to call you something other than just 'Reindeer' or 'Snow Globe'," Twilight sighed. He agreed with her, but his mind was blank with what he should let her call him. Something that he liked...something that described him as a reindeer. He pushed up a bit of the snow, letting it float down around himself. The snow calmed him.
"How about just 'Snowy'?" he offered. The name, as obvious and silly as it was, made Twilight scoff at first. But the more she thought about it, the more it seemed to suit him. If he didn't have a name, and he was convinced he was part of the snow globe, why not call him something related to his home? She gave him a sweet smile as she set his globe down on the table next to her.
"Snowy it is. Now...what are you doing in that snow globe?"
Snowy stood up proudly and puffed his chest out, his wondrous chest fluff flowing in the water around him.
The larger purple alicorn looked up from her notes to view what exactly was so important to Snowy that he had flooded the mental link with a very loud and excited cheer. To her surprise, the little buck was curiously missing from the enclosure. It was empty, save for the snow, the little glass house, the pine tree, and...a newly formed snowpony with some suspicious antlers sticking out of the top.
"Very nice, Snowy," she chuckled, smirking to herself. Even though she had only spent about an hour with the little being in the snow globe, she could already tell that he was quite the goof. After she had let him know that she had seen his stunt, he burst free from the snowpony. The globe was briefly filled with snow as the buck shook himself off, trying to rid himself from the intrusive white bits. Once he was free, he did a quick spin and looked up to his giant friend, who had returned to writing down notes.
"What are you writing? Are you making a book? There are already a lot of those in here," he told her as he moved in circles around his globe, trying to find a comfy spot to lay down. He settled on a spot under his pine tree that had been worn down. It was apparently his favorite spot.
"No, I'm just writing down some information about you. I've never heard of a being locked inside of a snow globe before...and an intelligent one, at that! I'm still not sure whether to be amazed, concerned, or...I don't even know," she admitted. Snowy tilted his head at her. What was there to be confused about? He did things with snow to entertain her. She should just be happy with it! The Sweet Mother knew he was...
"...Well, if you're writing a book about me, can I be the hero? I want to be the hero," Snowy piped up after a few seconds. Twilight turned her gaze away from her notes again to give him an amused look. After a quick sigh and a mirthful shake of her head, she turned back to her work. Snowy huffed and rested his head on the snow mound he had built in front of himself.
"So..." Twilight piped up once her quill had stopped moving. "Have you always been inside your snow globe? Do you remember ever being outside of it?" Her question made Snowy start to remember, something he didn't enjoy. He looked up into nothing, his eyes unfocusing as they usually did. The purple alicorn, having not seen this behavior yet, paid close attention to every movement he made.
For the next minute or so, he just sat there, his expression blank. He twitched every few seconds, but was otherwise motionless. Finally, his mouth started moving like he wanted to talk, but Twilight could only hear the muffled water sound again.
"The link, Snowy. Use the link," she reminded him. The little buck's eyes slid back into their normal position before he shook his head to clear away the fog. The first thing she felt over the link was a wordless expression of pain. She flinched away from him, the unexpected sensation sending a dark shudder down her spine. Her wings rustled in response and her feathers puffed up. In the corner of her vision, she saw a dark look cross over the buck's face, one of deep-seeded hurt and unimaginable torment. By the time she turned to him, he was already back to his happy and goofy self.
"Ugh, sorry about that, Twilight. It happens sometimes. I'm not really sure why. But no, I can't remember a time where I wasn't in the globe. So that means I've always been inside of it, right?" he reasoned as his one hoof rubbed his throbbing head. Twilight gave him a suspicious glare, but he retained his happy smile. She could tell by the feelings tingling across the mental link that he was still just as ecstatic to be talking to her as before. But that still didn't explain or excuse the momentary darkness she had felt from him.
"Maybe," she answered. "But I'm not sure. How long have you been up there?" Snowy almost went back into the same state he had gone into for the first question, but his throbbing head deterred him. Instead, he just shrugged and started drawing in the snow to distract himself.
"I dunno. Probably a long time. Like...a month? That's a long time, right?" he said, his voice lower than it had been. Twilight realized that the drop in his tone wasn't from his previous painful feeling, but was rather just what he sounded like when he was contemplating something.
"Not really," Twilight chuckled as she wiped away a thick layer of grime and dust from the top of the globe. For a moment, she felt a pang of despair cross the link, followed by the phrase 'forever snow.'"I guess I could just ask Princess Celestia about- are you okay?" As soon as she had said the name of the Solar Princess, Snowy had shot up from his position under the tree and had once again shoved himself into the glass hideaway. This time, the force had been enough to push him all the way in. He was now completely hidden from the outside world. This odd turn of events shocked Twilight greatly. "Snowy? Snowy, what's wrong? Did I say something wrong?"
It took a few moments, but a little brown muzzle slowly peeked out from the hole. Twilight nearly gasped when she saw how panicked Snowy's eyes looked once she saw his face. "Y-yes...I'm okay...but...that name...it's scary..." he said weakly. Twilight sat down from the table, letting it wash over her; Princess Celestia's name had terrified him.
"Hey, hey...it's alright. It's okay. Nothing's going to hurt you. You're safe here," she tried to assure him. He poked his head out a bit more, but still remained in the safety of his glass house. "I'll keep you safe." Those words were like the very bells of Evermore to Snowy. She had proclaimed that she would protect him. The giant alicorn, even though she had no reason to, cared enough about him that she would be willing to do what it would take to make sure everything was okay.
She was his guardian. His giant, purple, beautiful guardian.
"I love you!" he shouted over the link. Twilight's eyes went wide when she heard this. Being the easily flustered and inexperienced pony she was, she simply had no idea how to respond.
"Uhm...w-what...?" she stuttered in response. Snow tilted his head up at her. Had he not been loud enough? She hadn't heard him. Only one way to fix that!
"I LOVE YOU!" he shouted even louder. The magical bands that made up the mental bridge trembled from the sheer force of his thought. Twilight was forced to mute him from her mind until she could calm him down; that last shout left her mind tingling as if her head had been struck.
"Snowy! That's...I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what to say to that..." she said out loud to the little buck. He looked like he was trying to respond to her, but she was still cut off from hearing him. Seeing that she wasn't getting it, he tried talking out loud like she was. Nothing but the water sound came out. Frustrated, Snowy leaned forward and shot his back legs out, kicking the fake pine tree. The snow that had settled on the branches was flung off and floated calmly down to cover the buck below. Instead of pushing the offending white powder off, he let it cover him.
Twilight realized that this was his version of sulking. Snowy stopped trying to talk to her and walked slowly back to his glass house. He squeezed himself back inside, the tight fit brushing most of the snow off. Then he was gone; once again hidden from the outside world.
"I'm sorry, Snowy. Please, come back out," Twilight pleaded, keeping her voice as motherly and warm as she could. When she didn't hear anything, she remembered that the link had been silenced. With a quick thought, the line reopened, allowing Snowy to respond to her.
But he didn't.
"Snowy?" she inquired over the link. His side of the line remained silent, but she could feel a cold shivering being sent across. He wasn't answering her verbally, but couldn't control his emotions enough to completely hide his feelings. Twilight fidgeted a bit, uncertain of whether she was willing to look in on his emotions or not. He wasn't answering her, so it was okay if she was just worried, right?
The faint vibrations coming over the bridge were of sadness and hopelessness. It came as a shock to Twilight how completely devastated he was that she hasn't accepted his declaration of love to her. What was going through his mind to cause such a dramatic response?
"Snowy, please come out and talk. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," she said softly to him. The line remained silent, but a faint feeling of hope started to form on the other end.
Then she heard a sniffle.
"I..." Snowy started. "I don't...I don't want to be alone...you're going to put me back on the shelf...and...and then you'll leave with Chilly Voice and...you'll never come back..." The purple alicorn couldn't stop the torrent of emotions from flowing through her. Her vibrant purple eyes blurred over and a couple of tears trickled down her face. It was the scariest feeling for her, being so distraught and not even knowing why.
"Snowy! I'm not going to leave you, I...you're not going to be alone! Please come out!" Twilight sobbed. She forgot to use the link instead of her own voice, so any passerby would have seen a young alicorn mare yelling at and making demands at a snow globe.
It wasn't exactly her best moment.
But it was far from her worst.
A short amount of time passed before Snowy peeked out from the house. The water around his face was a bit blurry, like it had been invaded by a foreign liquid. His eyes...they made her heart hurt. He looked so scared, like a lost puppy-
That's pretty much what he was acting like. Twilight started making the connections, and finally realized that all of his behavior so far was along the same lines as a puppy without a home; one that had probably never experienced what it felt like to be loved. When he started shouting about loving her...
Twilight started to understand.
He didn't say he was in love with her. No, what he had meant was that he loved her as his first friend; the first one he had probably gotten to show his snow to. It was the same kind of love one would received when adopting an animal from a shelter, and she...dear Celestia, she had rejected it and then silenced him.
No wonder he was so upset. He thought she was telling him that she didn't like him, or his show, and she was just going to put him back on the shelf and leave.
"Please don't go away..." he begged, his gaze moving down to the snow that littered the bottom of his home. He just didn't have it in him to move it back out into the outside, where it was supposed to be. Instead, he just nudged it with his hoof, watching as it stayed afloat for a second or two before floating back down. Its time suspended was as brief as his companionship with Twilight was going to be...
...at least in his mind. Twilight, on the other hoof, was having none of those thoughts.
"I'm not going to leave you, Snowy," Twilight said, her mind's voice taking on an air of authority that made the little buck blink. "In fact, I'm going to find out how to get you out of there so that we can be friends, and hang out, and...Snowy, would you like to come out of there?"
Snowy swallowed down the rapidly growing lump in his throat. "Get...out...?" he stuttered. "But...that's, uhm...I don't know..." He started to retreat back into his hideaway, his eyes darting from side to side anxiously. Twilight could tell that she was losing him.
"Snowy, don't you want to be out here with everypony else? You could make friends, and have a properly sized house, and...you could be happy out here. Please, Snowy..." Twilight pleaded. The buck's eyes drifted up to meet hers. In them, Twilight could see a good amount of fear and anxiety, but those were overshadowed by his uncertainty.
"I...b-but what about my snow? How will I make friends if I'm not inside the globe to show them my snow?" he asked. The alicorn's aching heart went out to Snowy. His whole identity was so attached to the globe that he didn't believe he would be able to make friends without first impressing them with tricks.
"You don't need your snow to make friends, you know. You could just talk to them and see if you have things in common, and go from there. My friends were the best thing to ever happen to me. I used to be rather negative towards the idea of going out and talking to ponies, but when I finally got off my rump and tried...Snowy, they changed my life. Every accomplishment felt so much better when I had ponies to share them with," Twilight ranted. Snowy just sat there, looking up at her the whole time. His eyes almost went unfocused again, but he noticed it in time to stop himself. The buck shook his head, clearing off what little snow was left on top of it.
"I don't...the snow worked for you, Twilight," he replied, though his tone hinted that he knew his argument was growing weaker.
"Yes, the snow was lovely, but when was the last time you did a trick?" Twilight asked. Snowy lifted a hoof to his chin in thought, but couldn't come up with anything. "It's been almost two hours. Two hours, and do you know why I've been sitting here this whole time?"
"Did you forget how to stand up?" Snowy asked. Twilight had the words she was about to say knocked out of her mind.
"Wah-huh...? No, no...I've been sitting here talking to you," she explained. Snowy blinked and tilted his head, trying to understand.
"Did...did you want to see more snow tricks? Are you bored?" he asked, starting to look a bit more nervous. Had he been boring her? Was she disappointed in him? She was quick to notice his inner turmoil.
"No! Snowy, I'm happy just talking to you. Your snow is nice, and you're very good with it, but I enjoy your company." Twilight looked down at the buck as he pondered over her words.
"So...you'd like talking to me...even if I didn't have snow?" he asked for clarification. Twilight gave him a large, warm smile. She was finally getting through to him!
"Yes! That's what it's like to have a friend. You can sit there for hours and do nothing but talk, and you'll never be bored. And if you do happen to get bored, you can be bored together," Twilight explained happily. Snowy held his head as it started to throb. He just couldn't understand how he could be of any value if it weren't for his globe. Wasn't his globe his purpose? Without it, wouldn't he be worthless? It just didn't make sense...
But Twilight was the one saying it, and she was super smart and pretty. She couldn't be wrong about anything.
"Okay..." Snowy muttered across the link. Twilight's ears perked, even though there wasn't any physical sound for them to pick up. Her heart leapt in her chest at his answer.
"Really? Snowy, thank you! I promise you, I'll help you settle in with everypony else and make lots of friends!" she cheered out loud. The sun outside of the library windows was getting quickly dimmer, a sign that it was getting later and Princess Celestia was finishing up her work for the day.
She still had plans with the Princess. She was going to have to leave her friend, at least for the night. And the way he reacted to Celestia's name before...bringing him along probably wasn't the best idea.
"I'm ready..." Snowy mumbled. His eyes were shut tight and he was trembling slightly, the anticipation filling him with worries and hopes. Twilight blinked in confusion, but was quick to realize what was wrong.
"Oh, no! I still have to figure out how to get you out. I've never heard of somepony stuck in a snow globe before...I want to find the proper spell to take you out without hurting you..." she explained, "or your snow globe." The second part was added on when she noticed the worried look in his eyes. Her assurance of the globe's safety made him visibly relax.
The sun had finally set, leaving the library dark except for some candlelight. Twilight's ears perked as the sound of approaching hooves caught her attention. These weren't the smaller sounds that a normal pony would make; they were the very familiar sounds that Princess Celestia's metal slippers made. She was on her way.
"Listen, Snowy, I have to go for the night, but..." A bolt of pain went through her chest at the hurt look he was giving her. "BUT! I have to start looking for a spell to get you out of there, so I'll be back in the morning. My friend Rarity's visiting with me, so I'll see if she wants to come along as well." The idea of another new friend brightened the buck right up. "And I'll leave the link open so that you can have someone to talk to. Just send some words down the line when you want to talk, okay?"
Twilight started packing her things away and didn't see the wide grin plastered on Snowy's face. He couldn't help it! Not only did he make a friend, but he was also going to be making more, and he also had a way to talk to someone other than Mabel! She was a very nice pine tree, but she didn't exactly tend to listen to his side of the conversation.
"I'm sure you'd like to get some sleep as well, after those awesome tricks you showed me!" Twilight assured him cheerfully. Snowy just tilted his head and tutted quietly.
"I can't sleep," he said simply. Twilight looked up from her supplies and raised a brow at him.
"Why? Is something bothering you?" she asked. He just shook his head before explaining.
"No, I mean I can't sleep. The globe doesn't let me," he said. Twilight's pupils shrank not only at this new information, but how casual he sounded about it. It was like it didn't even bother him...or he had forgotten that it should.
She was going to need to find out how to get him out of there before he went completely insane from constant awareness.
As the sounds of her mentor's hooves grew dangerously close to the library entrance, Twilight gave the globe a nuzzle with her cheek before darting to meet her friend. She might have been leaving Snowy alone for the night, but she was leaving him in much better condition that he had been in.
He was off the shelf now. If he wanted to show off his snow to other ponies, now all he had to do was sit there and do his thing.
He had a friend. However long it had been since he had had somepony to talk with, it was over now. The link was still active, and would remain so for as long as he was still in the globe.
The most important thing of all was that he had hope. He had something to look forward to. She would be back in the morning, maybe with another friend, and she would help him exit his home for the first time in ever. He wouldn't have to get his social understanding from eavesdropping on passing ponies in the library anymore.
As nervous as he was about such a big change, Snowy was unashamedly, unflinching happy.
Tomorrow couldn't come soon enough.
"I love you," he sent over the link. It hummed back a cautious, but positive response.
The first thing Twilight saw when she walked into the library the next morning was a crowd of bookish ponies gathered around the table she had been sitting at the previous night. They were oddly silent and all facing the same direction, as if they were all...watching...
"Snowy..." Twilight sighed to herself, though she couldn't stop the grin that was teasing her lips.
Just as she had assumed, the little buck was in his globe, performing a trick that he hadn't gotten to show her. This time, he was running in circles around the globe with a large cloud of snow trailing behind him. It looked to Twilight like the cloud was chasing him as he ran for his life. The obvious giggling he was doing across the mental link dispelled that illusion fairly quickly. Quietly, and silencing her end of the link as to not clue him in to her presence, she sat down at the back of the crowd and watched the show.
Snowy surprised everypony who was watching, including Twilight, by planting his tiny hooves on the glass of the globe and running around on the inside barrier. None of the ponies made any sounds, but some of them could be seen tensing up as they expected him to fall back down to the base and get consumed by the evil white cloud.
To their amazement, he didn't fall. His hooves carried him around the inside of the glass, making him appear to defy gravity. With how quickly he was moving around inside of water, he was pretty much defying it already. Snowy started running as fast as he could, making the cloud resemble a swarm of angry white bees chasing him around.
Twilight didn't even notice how wide her smile had grown.
When he reached the very top of the dome, so that he was standing upside down, he fell. A gasp or two rang out from the previously-silent crowd, coming from both a mare and a stallion. The snow cloud met him as he fell, and exploded. The entire snow globe burst into activity as a bomb went off, releasing a furious blizzard that completely blinded the audience to whatever was happening inside.
A few of the ponies stood up to get a closer look. Even from her position at the back of the crowd, Twilight could see the looks of worry covering their faces. What had happened to their tiny little performer? The purple alicorn knew better than they did, however; Snowy was an absolute master of all things fluffy, white, and inside his globe.
Just as she expected, the blizzard died down, revealing a completely unharmed reindeer whose face was almost splitting apart from its grin. Every single pony watching stood up and started softly stomping their hooves in applause. Perhaps they might have cheered, if not for the show having taken place inside of the most protected library in the world.
Snowy's performance was over for the time being, so the observing ponies began to gather their things and disperse. Twilight chuckled when she saw a bunch of ponies lining up to the table, holding bit coins in their mouths as a way of paying for the show. Not seeing anywhere to leave the money, they stacked it up next to globe. Snowy was pressed up against the glass, watching in fascination as the pile of gold grew around him. Each time a pony dropped off a bit, they would bow their head in thanks to him before quietly walking off to continue their day.
The lack of ponies freaking out warmed Twilight's heart. She had expected at least some anxiety towards the little buck. Ponies didn't tend to do well with unnatural or strange situations, so their willingness to sit calmly and watch Snowy perform was quite the honest miracle.
Seeing as most of the ponies had already left, Twilight felt it was okay to approach the table. She stood up, the supplies in her saddlebags weighing her down slightly. When she got closer to the table, she once again broke out into a large smile.
A little gray unicorn filly, barely older than the Cake twins, was standing up on her high legs, her front half reaching just high enough for her to see into Snowy's globe. The buck in question was mirroring her actions, his front hooves and face pressed up against the glass.
The two just stared at each other, both smiling giddily.
Had Snowy ever seen a foal before? The way he was staring in wonder at her convinced Twilight that he had not.
"A baby one!" he said over the link, probably by accident.
Yep, he had never seen a foal before.
"How did you get in there?" the filly asked in a squeaky, high-pitched voice. The crack in her voice brought Twilight back to the way Sweetie Belle used to sound when she was much younger. Snowy tried to respond, and Twilight could hear him over the link.
"I don't know! How did you get outside of here?" he tried to ask her. He must have forgotten that the link was only set up between Twilight and himself. Not hearing any response, the filly pouted and tilted her head. Snowy realized at that point that she couldn't hear him. Instead of getting frustrated as he had done with Twilight, Snowy moved directly onto body language and shrugged as an answer. The filly saw this and regained her bright smile.
A feeling of pride hit Twilight. Snowy was already learning how to deal with his disadvantages, and it had only been a single day since he was taken off of the shelf! Still, she felt sad for the poor reindeer. He had sounded so excited to be able to talk with the filly, but his place inside the globe had prevented him from doing so.
"Do you like it in there?" the filly asked again. Snowy took a literal second to answer, his head bobbing up and down rapidly. As nice as it was that he was happy the way he was, his answer still disturbed Twilight slightly. Was he actually happy to be in there, or was he just in there for so long that he didn't know anything else?
She wanted to show him what else the world had to offer. What places would he like around Canterlot? Which stores or attractions would be his favorite? What food would he like the eat?
When was the last time he even tasted anything?
Twilight had been so caught up in her thoughts that she had missed the rest of the interaction between Snowy and the filly. She only noticed that they were done talking when the filly bumped into her on accident as she left the library. A couple quick apologies, a squeaky hiccup, and Twilight was once again alone with the buck.
She snuck behind him, which was easy, considering that he had returned his attention to the stacks of bits piled up next to his globe. Each stack was taller than his globe, so the sheer amount of bits dwarfed his home. He looked so happy that they were there, but...what could he even do with them?
"Hey, Snowy. Have fun?" she asked through the link. Snowy yelped, the sound audible through the water, and tried darting back into his glass house. He misjudged his aim, though, and smacked face-first into the side of it.
"Ugh...ouchie..." his voice said in Twilight's head. She rushed to rest of the way over to his spot on the table and pushed her face close to the glass so that she could get a good look at him. Besides for the visible disorientation he was experiencing, he didn't appear to be hurt in any way. The purple alicorn sighed in relief and sat back, taking off her saddlebags in the process.
"You should probably not run into that too many more times. I'm not sure how strong the glass is," Twilight said calmly as Snowy shook his head to get his bearings. He then looked up to her in surprise and confusion.
"Twilight? What are you doing here?" he asked. Twilight tilted her head at him, not understanding why he was asking such a question.
"Because I said I would come back?" she answered, trying to hold back her sarcasm.
"Yeah, but you just left! Didn't you have something to do with Chilly Voice?" Snowy asked again. A little cold pit started to grow in Twilight's stomach at his words. As much as she wanted to believe he was doing okay in his globe...he kept giving her reasons to be concerned.
"...Snowy, it's morning. I left last night. I already did everything I needed to do," she told him soothingly over the mental bridge. He blinked a few times at her before turning to look around at the library window. Just as Twilight said, the morning sun was peaking in through the glass, lighting up the room much differently than the candle light had done the night before.
Snowy's ears drooped a bit and the rest of his body froze. He started to look like he was about to sink into the same trance he had before; the same one that had cause both him and Twilight some pain. In order to avoid this, Twilight reached out to his side of the link before he could fully fall into his mind.
"Snowy, it's okay. So...uhm...I saw the show you were putting on. You and your snow are amazing!" she cheered. It was the only thing she could think to do to pull him back from the brink.
Luckily, it worked. Snowy trembled a bit before coming back to the present. He turned to her with a smile and nodded a bunch of times.
"You saw it? Did you see the audience? They loved my snow!" he cheered, overwhelming Twilight a bit. Having somepony shout into your head isn't exactly pleasant, regardless of their physical size. Twilight smiled through the throbbing in her head.
"It wasn't just your snow they loved, you know. They loved you, Snowy. They were stomping because you put on a good show with your snow. And they seemed to like it enough to donate, given the amount of bits you've accumulated," Twilight pondered. Snowy nodded and did a little prance around his globe until he was facing the mountains of gold coins next to him.
"Yeah! They gave me a bunch of yellow disks! So...what do I do with them?" the buck asked as he stared up at the towering coins. Wasn't that the world's greatest question? What was a reindeer trapped inside of a glass ball supposed to do with a bunch of bits? He didn't eat, didn't sleep, couldn't bring anything into the globe with him so he couldn't wear clothes...
"Hmm..." Twilight thought. "Well, there's not really much you can spend them on. Maybe you could get something for the ponies who come to see your show? Perhaps some snacks or pillows...or a stand for your globe so that you're not just on some random library table. You could put some lights on it, and-...oh, sorry, that would be pretty expensive. You only have around thirty bits or so...well, maybe you could save up!"
Snowy was cross-eyed by the time Twilight finished her verbal brainstorm.
"Uhm...snack and pillows sound okay. Can I give one disk for those?" he asked. Twilight shook her head and pointed to the stacked bits.
"No, they aren't worth that much. A pillow would probably be five or so bits on its own, and snacks would vary. You'd probably have to spend all of those just to get a few pillows and maybe some cheap snacks," she explained. Snowy bit his lip, looking from Twilight to his disks.
"But...but I don't want to give them away. My audience gave them to me..." he bemoaned. Well, it seemed that he wasn't going to give up his 'disks' so easily, especially after receiving them from his very first larger audience. Twilight just gave him a small smile.
"You know, I could provide some pillows for the time being. Snacks, too. They're not that expensive, and I've been receiving many more bits than I know what to do with," she told him. Snowy just gaped up at her like she was his personal goddess. Unbeknownst to her, she was starting to fit that bill.
"But...Twilight, that's really nice..." he whined. The purple mare in question chuckled at his tone and patted the top of his globe with a hoof, momentarily blotting out most of his light. As soon as her hoof made contact with the glass, however, she yelped and pulled it away.
It was as cold as ice!
Snowy just gave her a worried look as she dug her hoof into her side to warm it up. She looked between the buck and the glass, her confusion plucking the strings of their mental bond.
"Wh-whuh...why is...that's really cold!" Twilight said, still shaking a bit from the sudden chilling contact. It hadn't been like that when she had nuzzled it the night before! In fact, she didn't remember that crack in the glass...or the frost that was developing around it.
"I like the cold," Snowy said simply, giving a shrug to show just how little it bothered him. Twilight could do nothing else but stare at him. She had just barely touched the outside of the glass...how cold was it on the inside?
She got the feeling that it was much too cold for a pony to live in. And the crack...she hadn't even seen it the day before. How recent was it? Was it going to get bigger? What would happen if the globe sha-
"Twilight..." Snowy whined as he held his head. "You're really loud..." Twilight blushed when she realized she had been accidentally sending all of those questions out over the link, right into poor Snowy's head.
"Sorry, sorry! I'm sorry...sorry..." Twilight quickly apologized in a much quieter, more soothing tone. Snowy removed the hoof from his aching head and gave her a smile, already having forgotten about the questions she had forcefully shouted at him. It was just another reason for Twilight to be worried.
She needed to start working on getting him out of the globe.
"Moving on...I need to start looking for some information on your condition," Twilight explained as she moved to her saddlebags to unpack them. From its depths she pulled a bunch of blank parchment, a few quills, a large bottle of ink, and a baggie full of apple slices. Snowy watched her the entire time, but something she had said was bothering him.
"My condition?" he piped up. He started digging his front hoof into the snow nervously.
"You being trapped in the globe, I mean. I want to look around in the library and see if there's any other recorded cases of something similar happening so that I can get an idea of how to get you out without hurting you," Twilight answered without looking at him. She was busy getting her papers sorted on the table in a way that didn't violate Snowy's space.
The little buck looked down at his hooves, his eyes narrowing in concentration. Twilight wasn't watching, so she didn't see him start to shake slightly. She only looked up when she felt the worrying tingle of apprehension tug at her mind.
"Snowy? Is something wrong?" she asked. Snowy just twitched, unwilling to look up and meet her gaze.
"I...Twilight...I'm not sure..." he said weakly. Twilight dropped the supplies she had been holding in her magic and moved closer to the globe. The reindeer backed away from her worried eyes.
"Sure about what?" she pried. Snowy went silent for a few moments before sighing and glancing up. In his eyes, she saw a bit of fear, a lot of shame, and some disappointment.
"I'm not sure I want to come out of the globe," he finally admitted. Twilight's breath caught in her throat as the very thing she was fearing came to be.
He was happy being trapped.
"B-...but Snowy...don't you want to come out and make friends? I want to show you the world outside your globe! There's so much you haven't been able to see..." she pleaded, her eyes tearing up a bit. She knew that it was ultimately his choice, but just the thought of being locked inside of a glass ball until the end of time disturbed her greatly.
"I'm making friends, though! Look!" he piped up, turning and pointing at the stacks of bits with his hoof. Twilight had to concede that with his new location on the table, he was in a much better position to do what he wanted.
"But what about talking to others? All you can do right now is show them tricks! There's no bonding or communication going on, it's just ponies admiring you for a few minutes and then walking away, Snowy...oh..." Twilight stopped when she saw how far the buck's face had fallen. His ears dropped right along with his expression. She could tell that her words had just shattered his entire world. Having an audience was pretty much the only thing he wanted, and she had basically just said that his goal was pointless.
The link tingled with pain, but not like the pain she had felt the day before. This kind of pain was more broken...empty. Snowy turned and walked calmly back to his house. He was quick to squeeze himself inside and hide.
A feeling of shame and guilt washed over the purple alicorn. She didn't want to hurt Snowy, yet she kept saying or doing things to hurt his feelings...but she wanted to help him so badly! He was obviously not supposed to be in the globe, and his contentment with it was probably just a product of his time spent in captivity.
It was either that, or he had already lost his mind and Twilight's help had come far too late.
She didn't know what to do. She could apologize, but then what? Would she just end up saying something hurtful again a little while later? Twilight needed a way to help him, even if he didn't know he needed help.
She needed to find a way for him to come out.
Just as she was about to turn to start looking for some books to check through, the mental link tingled gently.
"I still love you," Snowy murmured quietly. "Please don't go away..." Twilight's heart sank a bit lower. He was such a sweetheart, and to have him locked up and only able to communicate with her...she nearly wanted to cry for him.
"I'm not going away, Snowy. I promise. I'll just look for now so I know what's going on. And if you decided later that you do want to come out, the option will be available. You don't have to if you don't want to, though. Does that sound okay?" she offered warmly. Though she couldn't see him, she could feel the tingle of acceptance over the link.
"Yeah...yeah, that sounds okay. And...if I come out, would I be able to go back in? Maybe it could be like my home! I go out during the day, and them come back when I feel like it. Could we do that?" he pondered, more to himself than to Twilight. Regardless, he deserved an answer for such an optimistic line of thinking.
"Maybe," Twilight responded, shrugging as she started to walk towards the bookshelves. "That's why I need to look. We'll never know unless we find out, right?" Snowy responded positively before going quiet.
"Oh, and Snowy...?" Twilight said, her voice low and sad. "I'm sorry about what I said..." Snowy went silent again, but answered as soon as he could gather his thoughts.
"It's okay, Twilight...I know you didn't mean it. You just don't know the power of snow! Don't worry, I'll show you how amazing it is," he answered somewhat ominously. The studious alicorn might have taken more issue with that, if she hadn't already started her search for a solution.
Snowy was once again alone, even though he knew he could reach Twilight over the link if he needed to. But he couldn't show her his snow over the link! He wanted more ponies to show his snow to! The feeling he had gotten earlier that morning when a bunch of the ponies in the library had gathered to watch him...it was bliss.
"He's over here! On the table!" a familiar squeaky voice said from just outside the library door. The voice was accompanied by many sets of hooves that filled Snowy's core with hopeful butterflies. Just as he had expected, a large pack of fillies walked into the library, following the one that had already seen Snowy's performance.
"There's no way there's somepony inside of a snow globe, Jitter! That's almost as silly as the time you said that you saw a-...bahwah-huh...?" the second voice stopped once the pack of fillies had gotten close enough for them to all clearly see the tiny reindeer staring at them with glee.
"See? Told ya," the familiar filly said, a smug grin pulling at her lips. The offending friend of hers just gaped like a beached fish. "Hey, Mr. Globey, would you mind doing some more tricks? My friends didn't believe me when I told them what you were doing."
Snowy nodded vigorously, his heart soaring in his chest. More ponies to show his snow to! Another audience! As he stomped his hoof down onto the base of his globe, the snow shot up into the water and created a cloud of white. The fillies all gasped before scrambling to find a place to sit down for the show.
"This is the life!" Snowy cheered in his head.
"What was that?" he heard Twilight respond over the link. His face grew warm as he realized he had accidentally said that directly to her, instead of to himself. The link's functionality was confusing to a being that had been locked away with his thoughts for so long!
"N-nothing, Twilight...just...uhm...love you!" he stuttered. He could feel her eyes rolling from the other side of the room. But it was at least a very warm, receptive eye roll.
Twilight spent hours searching through every section of the library she could, but she couldn't find a single trace of any past situation relating to Snowy's. It was like whatever had been done to put Snowy in the globe like that, it had only been done once. The closest situation she could think of was Princess Luna's thousand-year banishment to the moon, but from what Twilight understood, Luna hadn't really been conscious for much of that. She had spent all those years in a dream-like haze, unable to think properly or really process the amount of time that was passing.
It was closer to having her soul locked away than her entire physical being. Snowy, on the other hoof, was constantly aware...constantly awake. Twilight couldn't even begin to imagine how maddening it would be to stay away and locked inside of a tiny glass ball for...however long he had been in there.
Her notes had pretty much just been a list of books not to check again, as they hadn't contained any useful information. Besides for that list, she hadn't been able to gather anything that could help her.
The only useful thing she had brought were her apple slices, which had vanished very shortly after she had started looking. They had obviously been stolen by somepony, for a princess would never gobble down apples in such a barbaric manner.
Rarity was starting to rub off on her slightly.
With a sigh and a few blinks of her tired eyes, Twilight gathered her supplies back up and started her journey back to the table that Snowy was sitting on. Hopefully, those fillies that had gathered around him wouldn't simply pick him up and trot off with-
"Oh, shoot!" Twilight cursed. She had just left him alone with a bunch of grabby fillies! What if they did just pick him up and walk away? There was nothing keeping him rooted to the table! What if they dropped him?! His globe was just a glass ball full of water!
The panicked pony princess galloped back to her starting location, the fear coursing through her making her breaths quick and ragged. Visions of the globe, smashed and splattered all over the ground, flashed through her mind. Her heart nearly stopped when she imagined a tiny form on the ground among the pieces of glass, broken and bleeding...completely motionless.
"SNOWY!" Twilight shouted in desperation as she burst out from a row of bookshelves and back into the clearing where she had left her reindeer friend. There, staring back at her with confusion and worry, was a group of resting fillies and one curiously concerned buck. They were all laying around Snowy, whose globe had somehow found its way onto the ground. It looked like they were having some sort of slumber party, but the during the day. One of them must have found some pillows, since every young mare had her own cushion to rest on.
Even Snowy's globe was positioned carefully on a particularly frilly pink pillow.
"Loud," Snowy told Twilight in her head. Her eyes were wide and her pupils small; she was glancing all about the room, still so convinced that something was wrong that she wasn't calmed by the sight of a perfectly unharmed Snowy. "Scary," he told her again, trying to get her to snap out of whatever panic she was in.
"What's going on here?" she asked, her mane frizzing unnervingly. Her voice was definitely not as calm as it should have been, and the fillies took enough notice to know to back away from her.
"Princess Twilight?" the original filly asked, her voice betraying a hint of fear. Snowy caught on to how she address Twilight after a moment.
"She said Princess. Twilight, are you a princess?" he asked. Another shot of panic hit Twilight. Snowy had reacted so poorly to Princess Celestia's name. Did he have some deep-rooted fear of princesses?
"Uhm...I...Snowy, I..." she stuttered into the link.
"Pretty, purple, and princess. You must sure like that letter, Twilight," Snowy said innocently back to the now-flustered alicorn. She expected him to have a smirk on his face, but true to what she had seen from him, he was just looking up at her innocently. He was smiling, but it was more of a 'I love you' smile than a 'I made you blush' smile. Twilight forced herself to take a breath, her eyes closing tightly as she tried to regain control over herself.
"Easy, Twilight, easy..." she thought.
"Easy, Snowy, easy!" Snowy responded as he pranced excitedly around his enclosure. She let out a startled yelp at the sudden voice in her head. In her moment of disarray, she had forgotten that her thoughts were linked to another being, unless she willed them not to be. Of course, Snowy had heard her loud and clear.
The fillies, still unsure about Twilight, were moving slowly away from her. One of them took it upon herself to grip Snowy's pillow and drag it carefully away with them. The purple alicorn saw this and broke out of her thoughts.
"Wait! Wait, wait...it's okay. I'm so sorry about...all of that. I just got scared. I'm sorry, girls," Twilight hurriedly apologized. They looked back at her and tilted their heads slightly, but didn't return to where they had been sitting. She had scared them, and she knew it. "Uhm...I see you've all met my friend, Snowy. Has he been keeping you company?"
The first filly nodded slowly and moved closer. "His name is Snowy?" she asked. Her voice was hesitant but she was willing to talk. Twilight gave her a little smile and nodded.
"Yes. At least, that's what he wants his name to be," she told Jitter. The tiny unicorn's eyes widened and she glanced between the globe and the princess in front of her.
"Wait...Princess, how do you know that? He can't talk in there," she asked, her tone more curious than demanding. Finally, something Twilight could explain easily; she was very good at explaining magic.
"Well, uhm..." Twilight paused, realizing she hadn't yet caught the filly's name.
"Jitter Bug," the filly answered.
"Okay, Jitter, well it's actually very simple. Do you know how a bridge works?" Twilight asked. The whole pack of fillies, having regrouped back to original position and closer to the princess, nodded simultaneously. "Good! Now, a bridge connects two points that wouldn't be connected otherwise. Both sides can send and receive cargo, unless one side blocks access completely, so that nothing can go in or out. In order to talk to our friend, Snowy, I built a bridge between our minds with magic."
She stopped a moment to let what she was saying sink in. A few of the fillies began excitedly whispering amongst each other. Jitter was the one to speak up. "So...you two can talk together...in your heads?" she asked, her muzzle scrunched up in thought. Twilight smiled warmly at her and nodded her head.
"That sounds...invasive..." a different filly whispered from the back of the group. The princess couldn't stop herself from chuckling at the filly's advanced perception. Usually, the privacy of others didn't really seem important to most ponies until they were a bit older. Even then, sometimes it never really hit.
Several times already, Twilight had tensed up while talking to Snowy, waiting for Pinkie Pie to somehow join in on the link's conversation. She didn't know why she was expecting it, it just struck her as something that the energized pink pony would figure out how to do. Privacy wasn't really something she knew too much about.
"It might be, but I made sure he was okay with it first. Plus, we can both close the link at any time if we want to," Twilight explained further. The fillies all listened intently, some of their eyes wandering over to Snowy to see if he was agreeing with her. The little buck was giving nothing away, as he was rubbing himself against his pine tree to alleviate some offending itch. A couple of the listening fillies giggled at Snowy's antics. Even Twilight had to smile slightly at how oblivious he was.
"So..." Jitter said, getting the alicorn's attention. "Can we open a link with him? I want to talk to him!" As soon as she said those words, the library was filled with shouts of approval from the group of fillies.
"Yeah, I want to hear what his voice sounds like!"
"I want to hear some of his stories!"
"He still has to tell us what it's like in there!"
"Uhm...g-girls...I...well, I'd love to link you all with him, but, uh...I wouldn't want to do something so invasive without all your parents' permissions!" Twilight answered desperately, her voice barely audible over the cheering fans. Somehow, they had all managed to hear her answer to their pleas.
"Aaaawwwwww!" they simultaneously and loudly moaned.
"SHH!" came an older mare's voice from somewhere behind them. The librarian on duty had finally found the source of all the noise, and by the irritated look on her wrinkled face, she was none to pleased about it. Twilight gave a little embarrassed grin to the mare and waved at her in an 'I understand' gesture. The ancient mare had been overseeing the library since Twilight was just a filly studying for her tests, and addition of the title of 'Princess' didn't change her behavior at all.
With a snort and a curt nod, the mare shrunk back into the shadows, presumably to go berate some poor foal for breathing too loudly. A shiver went down Twilight's body, the feeling of being watched still very much present.
"I think I might have known her as a baby," Snowy mused, his tone completely flat. It took Twilight a few moments of pondering to understand that he was actually telling a joke. The guffaw that came barreling out of her mouth was the furthest thing from becoming of a princess that one could imagine. She had no idea how ancient Snowy was, but the lack of a definite number made it even funnier to her. He could very well be much older than her...if that was even possible.
"What? Did he say something to you?" one of the fillies asked, having caught on to her reaction. Twilight took a few moments to calm herself down. It was so much harder for her after she saw Snowy just laying calmly with his legs folded under him, a smug grin written on his face. He knew what he did.
"Y-yes...heh heh hmm...eh-hem. Hee hee- he just told me a joke, is all. I don't think you girls would get it," Twilight deflected. They might have thought it was funny if they knew the details, but knowing the details was the part that might depress them and make them sad and worried about their new friend.
Luckily, the fillies just grumbled. They must have been used to moving on after being told they wouldn't understand something.
"Twilight? Are you over here?" a familiar, posh voice called out softly. Twilight's thoughts halted as she realized she had forgotten her own friend's visit. She had only just talked to her earlier that morning, how could she have forgotten already?!
"Yes, right over here, Rarity!" Twilight responded, just loud enough for Rarity to hear her without drawing out the wrath of the librarian. The white mare in question stepped out from between two rows of books, her glamorous purple mane somewhat frazzled. She was panting slightly and her legs shook from her approaching exhaustion.
"Oh, I finally found you...I still loathe the walk up here. And you always seem to drag me up here with you at some point whenever we visit Canterlot..." Rarity complained in a hushed but obviously irritated voice. She wasn't hostile, though, she was just whining out loud, like she usually did to ease her stress.
"Mhmm," Twilight responded with a dismissive wave of her hoof. "How was your morning?"
Rarity immediately forgot about her woes and launched into an excited tirade regarding the places in Canterlot she had shopped at and the ponies she had met. At this point, she knew most of the ponies that often moved about the streets of the city. Meeting only a new face or two per visit was getting to be routine for her. Being one of, if not the, hottest fashion designer in Equestria had its perks, and mama loved her perks.
Twilight had been so absorbed in what Rarity was telling her that she forgot about introducing her to the very reason she had invited her up for another visit to the library. The purple alicorn took a second to look around, her eyes wandering over to the little glass orb that contained her new friend.
Snowy was very aware of the new pony in the room. He was once again pressed up against the glass, his eyes wide and locked on Rarity as she obliviously prattled on about her earlier experiences. Twilight tried to get a hint at what he was thinking by listening to the link, but to her confusion, there was nothing but a broken static-like white noise coming from his end of the bridge.
What was he thinking?
How was he going to respond?
"-and, er...uhm, Twilight? Did you hear me?" Rarity stopped suddenly, her voice breaking through Twilight's thoughts and pulling her back to her friend. Twilight's face darkened as she turned back around to face the slightly-miffed white unicorn.
"Sorry, sorry! I was just, uh...well, to be honest, Rarity, I asked you to come here today so that you could meet someone," Twilight admitted. Rarity's eyebrow lifted and she tilted her head suspiciously.
"Oh?" she inquired. Twilight nodded and stood up, moving far enough out of the way that Rarity could see Snowy's globe clearly. The fashionista's eyes widened, but narrowed in confusion moments later.
"Yes, Twilight, that's a very nice snow globe. And you made me walk up all those stairs to see it because...?" Rarity asked, throwing Twilight an expectant look. Twilight sighed and planted her face into her hoof. She didn't have time for this.
Twilight's horn lit, casting both it and the snow globe in her glowing purple aura. The little decoration lifted and she carefully floated it closer to Rarity, trying to make her point clear without having to speak. Rarity backed away a bit, surprised by the globe's sudden invasion of her personal space. The words she had been gathering in her head died when her large blue eyes settled on the form inside of the glass ball.
Their gazes connected. Twilight held her breath, her anxiety levels raising for a reason she couldn't exactly pin down. It was like her nerves were being convinced to stress themselves out.
The two stood there for almost a full minute, just staring at each other. Rarity looked baffled, but Snowy's expression hinted that he was struck silent in awe. To him, it was like he was staring up the very image of perfection. The giant white mare was a goddess, and he was just a lowly servant.
Snowy regained movement first. He began frantically scratching at the glass barrier with his dainty hooves, desperately trying to break through to get to her. Rarity blinked and moved away, the tiny buck's sudden movements startling her out of her stupor.
Snowy was undeterred by her hesitancy towards him and continued his assault against the glass.
Twilight, worried by his reaction, tried to send a message to him over the link, but the only thing she got back was a painful tingling. The feeling was very similar to the one she had felt the day before, when he had gone cross-eyed and drifted away into his mind.
"What's...T-Twilight...he's...what...?" Rarity stuttered, desperately searching for some answers.
"Rarity, this is my new friend. His name is Snowy, and he's-"
"A reindeer," Rarity finished. Twilight just nodded slowly, still scanning her friend's face for any signs of an incoming freak-out. Luckily, the spark of life was quickly returning to Rarity's eyes. "Is he..." she started to ask.
"Is he real? Why is he in there?" Rarity asked softly, her eyes moving back up to meet Twilight's. Twilight answered by sighing and running a hoof through the top of her mane, the feeling soothing her slightly.
"Yes, he's real. As for why he's in there...I don't know. As far as I can tell, he might have been locked away in there for...far longer than we've both been alive. Maybe. I don't know...Rarity, I really want to help him. I think he was hidden up on that shelf the entire time, and...he...thinks he's only useful if he's entertaining others with the snow..." Twilight stopped when she realized tears had found their way down her face. This was why she didn't like explaining Snowy's story to others, like those fillies. Just thinking about how damaged he could possibly be...it brought out the waterworks.
Rarity moved closer and pressed her cheeks against Twilight's, wiping away some of the moisture that had been running down. "It's okay, Twilight...whatever he's been through, it looks like you helped him a great deal already. Now, I've never met a reindeer before, much less one locked inside of a snow globe, but that doesn't mean that others haven't. Have you talked to the princess about him, yet?" Rarity asked gently. Twilight shook her head slowly, the motion wiping most of the tears away and onto Rarity's white coat.
"He..." Twilight had to clear her throat before continuing. "He had a really worrying reaction when I said her name in front of him before...I think he's really afraid of her, for some reason. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but...I have a feeling that she might have had something to do with him being trapped in there," Twilight said quietly, so that Snowy couldn't hear. He probably wouldn't have paid any attention anyway; he was still busy pawing at the glass in the direction of his pristine white goddess.
"Oh...dear...is...Twilight, is he okay? He's been attacking the glass like that since he saw me," Rarity piped up. Twilight looked over to the buck just to confirm that he was, indeed, still trying to break out to get to Rarity. He was looking more desperate than he had when he started.
"Snowy, what are you doing? It's just Rarity. She's not going to hurt you, I promise," Twilight tried to assure him. The white noise had faded out, but was replaced with him constantly saying 'Everest' over and over. To Twilight's dismay, his eyes had crossed again and he apparently couldn't hear her.
"You're...just staring at him..." Rarity said, her face twisted in confusion.
"Oh!" Twilight chirped. "No, I set up a mental link between us so we can communicate. The liquid in his globe doesn't let him talk, so the link is the next best thing. We can only hear each other, but...he's not responding to me."
"Hmm..." Rarity mumbled as she lifted a hoof to her chin in thought. The little reindeer's eyes were no longer locked on her, since they were crossed. He was just looking in her direction. She didn't know who this little globe deer was, but from Twilight's reaction to his situation, she could tell he was definitely important to her. If she could do anything to help the poor dear, she would. "Would you be able to set up the link between us? I'm unfamiliar with whatever spell you used to do it."
"Oh, um...okay," Twilight said before quickly casting the spell over Rarity. The white mare noticed an irritating tingle coming from the direction of the frantic buck. To her, it resembled the feeling of running out of fabric the day before she was due to show a new line of dresses that she was only partially finished with.
"Snowy, dear?" she said hesitantly into the bridge. It was so odd to her, being able to hear her own thoughts as they rattled across the band-like mental bridge between her, Twilight and Snowy.
The tingling feeling of dread stopped.
"Snowy, darling, are you alright? You've been panicking ever since you saw me..." Rarity thought in as gentle a tone as she could. The buck stopped his assault against the globe and stared straight ahead. He wasn't even looking in Rarity's direction anymore. For a few awkward minutes, the three just sat there, waiting for something to happen or for something to be said.
Finally, after five minutes or so, Snowy responded.
"So white...like snow...know you somehow, but...know you...don't know you...who are you?" he rambled across the link to the two mares listening in. Twilight and Rarity exchanged worried glances to each other at how jumbled his thoughts were.
"My name is Rarity, and it's very nice to meet you, Mister Snow," Rarity said politely to him. Snowy blinked his eyes a few times, his eyes starting to focus once more. The two mares let out a sigh of relief as he looked up at them with the same look of adoration he had been known for.
"I'm a Mister?" he asked before curling up, lifting a leg and looking at himself. Twilight and Rarity blanched and quickly looked away, both girls unnerved by the sudden exposure. "Oh, look! Twilight, I got a thing!" the buck said cheerfully. His face was, as usual, completely devoid of any signs that he knew what he was doing.
"That's nice, that's nice, please put it away!" Twilight yelled out loud, enough to draw an angry glance from a pair of elderly eyes staring at the trio from behind a bookshelf. Snowy tilted his head and lowered his leg, the fluff on his butt covering up his unmentionables once again. Rarity's face had turns from white to pink, her left foreleg covering her eyes from such a lewd sight.
"You can look now," he told them. They both took their time looking back up, Twilight half-expecting to see him shaking his booty in their direction as a rude joke. Luckily, he was laying calmly under his pine tree with his legs folded. If the two mares hadn't just witnessed him look himself over, then they wouldn't have known anything was amiss.
"Snowy..." Twilight, trying to move past the embarrassment she was feeling. "You went into your head again for a little while...and you said a name over and over while you were. Does the name 'Everest' mean anything to you?"
Snowy froze up again, his eyes lowering to the bottom of the globe. A chill went through all three of them, Twilight and Rarity getting the runoff emotion from the little buck.
"I...I don't know. It sounds like it should be important, but...I don't...ugh..." Snowy had to stop when his head started throbbing. To him, that had been the sign to stop thinking about whatever it was that he was trying to remember.
So he stopped trying to remember. He just smiled innocently up at the two and shrugged.
"Guess not," he said contently. Rarity, having finally lowered her leg to look at him again, lifted her eyebrow. Whatever was happening with his memories, there was something preventing him from recalling much more than a few details from recent years. Neither mare knew what was happening, but they knew that they would do whatever it took to help the poor buck out.
Even if it meant talking to Princess Celestia about it.
"Oh, your form is so slim! I can't wait to try my hoof at designing something for you. Such a feminine figure, but with a masculine air. Eee~! This is going to be such a fascinating experience! What colors do you like the most?"
"I like white."
"...Because it's the color of snow?"
"I love snow!"
"Hm-hm. So I can see, darling."
"Did you see this one yet?"
"Not yet, Snowy...ooh! That was simply divine! You're simply a master of your domain...er, so to speak."
"I'm not a master of any dough manes."
"Quite. Well, that was lovely! That last one looked almost like a true blizzard! It's astounding how you can do that in such a small space. I couldn't even see you in that storm! Amazing~"
"So, what are you writing?"
"Oh, I'm just sketching down some early ideas for what clothes I could make for you, once you're out of your globe."
"Yes, clothes. The garments that a lot of ponies wear? Either for fun, fashion or functionality, clothing covers a vast array of uses. Have you...have you never worn clothes?"
"Hm...I think I've seen some sheets on ponies before...like that ancient book mare. She had something on her."
"Snowy, you can't tell me that you've never worn so much as a scarf before!"
"What?! This can't be! I simply won't stand for it! On my honor as a mare and as a designer, I swear to you that you will wear, at the very least, a scarf before the week is done!"
"Eh-hem, mm....sorry, darling. Sometimes, I get quite...passionate about my work."
"So...clothes to you...they're like my snow?"
"Well, yes, actually! We both share a love for beauty; the forms they come in just differ between us."
"As much as I love that you two are getting along so well, would you mind blocking me out of it unless you need something? I haven't been able to focus on anything since I left..." Twilight mumbled in complaint as she walked through an empty castle hallway. The link went silent for a few moments before Rarity responded, her tone hinting that she had become quite flustered.
"Er, sorry, Twilight. I forgot that we weren't the only two involved. Though, couldn't you block the line yourself?" Rarity asked, her blushing so intense that some of those emotions crept into Twilight and brightened her cheeks.
"Well, yes..." Twilight sighed. "But if I closed my end, then I wouldn't know if you were trying to contact me. If you block me out instead, then you can just reopen the link if you need me."
"But what if you need to contact us?" Snowy asked, his sudden mental voice surprising the two mares.
"Then I could just teleport to you. Besides, you're just staying in the library until I get back. There's very little chance of anything happening there, especially with that librarian lurking around," Twilight answered. A chill echoed over the line, originating from Rarity.
"...I think I can see her watching us. She's not listening in on the link, is she? Would she know how?" Rarity asked nervously. Twilight shared her shiver at the thought of that ancient mare somehow listening to their thoughts.
"I...I don't think so. I hope not, at least," the lavender alicorn thought uncertainly.
Snowy had stopped paying much attention at that point, and was singing a little song in his head. It was a cheery little tune that reminded both mares of the warm songs they usually heard every Hearthswarming.
"Snowy...?" Rarity suddenly asked. The buck didn't respond. "Okay, I think I figured out how to block a certain line. Twilight, can you still hear me?"
"Yes? Is something the matter? You apparently don't want Snowy to listen," Twilight said, her face twisting in confusion. Around her, the only sound she could hear from outside her head was the steady clopping of her hooves as she walked along the marble floor.
"Somewhat...just a little question about our dear friend," Rarity started, was interrupted by the mirthful chuckling of Twilight.
"Deer friend, Rarity~" Twilight teased. A tingling of exasperation reached her from Rarity's end of the bridge. "Okay, okay, sorry. That was just...heh..."
"...Quite. Now, Snowy seems to have acquired some, um...'wealth'?" Rarity asked. Twilight blinked before the memory of his towers of bit coins reappeared in her mind.
"Oh, yes. He had a crowd of ponies this morning that gave him tips for his show. He's taken to calling them 'yellow disks', I think. He wanted to spend them on things for his audiences, but at the same time, didn't want to have to give them up. I think he sees them as gifts from ponies who liked his snow," Twilight explained. Rarity didn't respond right away, but the burning 'smell' coming from the other end of the line let Twilight know that she was just thinking.
Rarity didn't appreciate that joke too much.
"He's been trying to give them to me. I'm not sure what I should...eh-hem...Twilight, I think he thinks I'm some sort of goddess. As flattering as that might be, I don't want him giving away his hard-earned belongings just because my coat is the same color as his snow," Rarity said over the line.
"Is he trying to do it right now?" Twilight asked.
"Yes. I don't think he realizes that I blocked him from the link. He's pointing at the stacks with his darling little hoovsies...sorry...and then he looks up at me. It's honestly very adorable, but I worry about him. Every time he smiles at me, I can't help but remember his little 'episode' when he first saw me. I know you said you didn't know how long he's been locked away inside that snow globe of his, but...oh, I just want to help him! He's such a little sweetheart, and it hurts to see him suffering like he is! Twilight, do you really think the Princess will be able to help him?" Rarity ranted. Twilight's mood took a sharp turn for the worst as her thoughts were pulled right back into the realm of tragedy.
He just wanted to be useful...to be loved.
"Oh, that's another thing," Rarity piped up suddenly, breaking Twilight from her sadness. "He's told me that he loves me a few times already...again, it's flattering, but just as concerning. Does he behave like that around you?"
"Yes, that's just how Snowy is. He's a very lovey little reindeer," Twilight answered, a smile spreading across her face. She was so caught up in her conversation that she didn't notice the obstacle blocking her path in the hallway until she collided headfirst into it. Twilight jumped back and shook her head, trying to regain her bearings.
"Your sense of surroundings needs work, Twilight Sparkle," said a very regal voice from the same spot Twilight had smashed into.
"Princess Luna?" Twilight asked, her face flushing a dark purple and her breath catching in her throat. The dark blue alicorn blinked sleepily down at the smaller princess and nodded once. Her starry mane was traveling in all directions, the multiple constellations torn beyond recognition. Princess Luna's eyes were squinted and cracked, showing just how recently she had awoken from her usual slumber.
"Yes, it is I. At least, it was the last time I checked..." Luna mumbled before opening her mouth wide and yawning. Her yawn was long and expressive, yet still somehow commanding. She might have been able to sway a room full of angry ponies with such a yawn.
"Awake early?" Twilight asked, her eyes wandering over Luna's sorry state of exhaustion. She was answered with a slow shake of the head and another yawn.
"Nay, Twilight. I was awoken by a group of young fillies making off with an assortment of the cushions from my room. I tried chasing them down as they ran, but, silly me, I forgot to remove my sleepy mask and ran into a wall," Luna grumbled irritably. Twilight lifted a hoof to her chin in thought. Something about that sounded awfully familiar...
"Did you get them back?" Twilight asked curiously. Luna started to shake her head, but shrugged after thinking about it for a moment.
"Nay, though I know where they are. I found the group of thieving fillies wandering around looking for their chaperone. I just returned from helping them find their careless guardian. They informed me that they left my cushions inside of the library, for whatever reason," Luna explained, her eyes opening a littler wider. Her body was waking up, regardless of how much she just wanted to go back to sleep. Her large, piercing gaze traveled over Twilight's slightly anxious form. "You are coming from that direction, actually. Knowing you, you were probably just in the library. Am I correct?"
"Y-yes, Princess," Twilight answered bashfully, subconsciously scuffing her front hoof along the marble floor.
"Did you happen to see where those young ones left my belongings?" Luna asked, taking a step closer and looking past Twilight, towards where the library entrance was. Twilight shifted from side to side nervously, a feeling of panic starting to spread through her. Rarity and Snowy were still there, doing whatever it was they were doing. What would Luna do if she saw Snowy? Snowy seemed absolutely terrified of the mere mention of Princess Celestia's name...would he react the same way to Luna?
"Oh! Uhm...y-yes, actually. I...I just saw them leaving before I walked out myself. They left a bunch of pillows laying around on the floor," Twilight stuttered in response. Luna's frown increased slightly.
"On the floor? Ugh, they will have to be cleaned...perfect. Fantastic. Just the way I wanted to spend my time for rest," Luna ranted under her breath. Twilight flinched at the anger brewing deep within the Princess of the Night. This is not the mood Twilight wanted the princess to be when she met a being she might already be hostile towards.
"Would you mind showing me where exactly it was they were left?" Luna asked. "I do not want to spend my time searching for them, and I refuse to ask that ghoul of a librarian. The last time I walked by too loudly, she hopped out and started threatening me. On my life, I swear, if she wasn't so obviously senile from age, I would have had her removed from Canterlot."
Despite the tension from the potentially volatile situation coming up, Twilight couldn't help the smile that came to her lips from the thought of that nasty librarian trying to intimidate an immortal alicorn. She was starting to sound more and more like an old dog barking at a predator much younger, faster and stronger than itself. Regardless of her limitations, she just had to be heard.
"Sure, uhm...I mean, of course, Princess," Twilight answered before turning herself around and marching back the way she had came. Behind her, Princess Luna followed sluggishly, her steps uneven and clumsy. She gave several more yawns as she went, not even paying attention to Twilight's nervous lip-biting. All she had to do was follow the purple blob in front of her until she found her pillows, then she could go back to bed. Cleaning them could wait.
The trip back to the library was both the long and short. It was long in the sense that the marble hallway seemed to stretch on forever, teasing her with a destination she wasn't sure she wanted to reach. At the same time, it was over far too quickly, and by the time she had lead Luna through the library doors, she was no closer to planning her next move than she was when she had walked into her.
The two passed by the librarian, who was following in a colt's shadow as he carried a book under his wing. To Twilight, he wasn't breaking any rules, but she knew that ancient mare would find something to take offense to. She cursed herself when she realized she had only been paying attention to the librarian's antics as a way to distract herself from the tension.
"Rarity? Snowy? Can either of you hear me?" she tested over the link. She had been trying over and over to reach her two friends, but again she was rewarded with silence. It seemed that after her last request, Rarity had listened and blocked her from listening in on herself and Snowy. Twilight cursed herself yet again for her lack of foresight. Now, thanks to her advice, she was going to have to have Luna walk right in on them without a single shred of warning.
Just then, the line tingled with a connection.
"What color is my fluff?" Snowy asked innocently.
"I-it's white. Please, Snowy, it's not appropriate for you-"
"I know this fluff is white! I'm talking about this fluff!"
"It's white! It's white, it's white, it's white, now please! Lower your posterior!" Rarity frantically thought.
"Oh...okay," came Snowy's simple response. Twilight wanted to immediately shout through the link to warn them, but that sudden transfer of words beat every single straight thought she had out of her brain. Her mind was somehow stunned into silence. The implications of what was going on...Twilight shuddered at the mere mental image of Snowy shaking his little reindeer booty at Rarity. The white unicorn's mental panic was fitting enough.
They came out from a row of shelves, right into the clearing Twilight had spent the better part of two days in. The purple alicorn's breath caught in her throat when she saw that Rarity was sitting at the table, her eyes still focused on the living being inside of the snow globe. She was still fairly far away, but she could see that Snowy was still moving around, doing another series of tricks for his snow-white goddess. Rarity watched him attentively, a small smile gracing her face. They were both oblivious to the two new arrivals.
Luna's eyes were at first drawn to her pillows still scattered around the floor of the library, but the series of movements coming from a snow globe on the table caught her attention. Her eyes widened when they locked on the little buck's performance.
Rarity looked around and saw the two princesses standing there, her own eyes widening in response.
Snowy pushed up a bit of snow and threw it in an arch over his head, creating a snowbow. He didn't notice the others locked in a battle of silence; he was having too much fun playing with his snow.
About a minute passed by in which only Snowy moved. Then Luna came back to life. She stomped forward towards the small orb of glass resting on the table. Twilight's body twitched as she tried to force it back into action. She needed to protect Snowy! Whatever he did to cause that glare of horror on Luna's face, he didn't deserve to be punished any further!
Rarity was frozen and silent, her eyes watching the dark alicorn as she came closer and closer to the table. Her face was even whiter than it normally was.
"S-stop! Princessprincessprincess, wait! He's not-!" Twilight's words died in her throat as she watched Luna stop her march right in front of the table. Her large blue eyes stared down into the ball of suspended water, watching the tiny figure of Snowy as he played. A few more moments of silence passed as Luna stared, unblinking, down at the imprisoned buck.
Snowy flinched out of nowhere and looked up, tilting his head at the new visitor. Twilight waited for him to try contacting Rarity or herself over the link, but his side remained oddly quiet. Luna and Snowy started making facial expressions at each other, as those in a conversation would do.
Twilight blinked in confusion. How was she-? Oh, the linking spell. Something like that was obviously well-known to a ruler who had to travel to distant lands and communicate with creatures of all shapes and sizes. But what were they saying? Snowy was acting fine enough; he didn't appear terrified of her at all. In fact, he looked positively enthralled at being able to show off his snowy to yet another giant pony. Their inaudible conversation was accompanied by the tiny buck's playful teasing of the snow inside his globe.
After a few minutes of mysterious communication, Luna turned back around to Twilight and took a few steps her way. The purple alicorn cleared her throat, getting ready to speak, but Luna shook her head and walked by, motioning for Twilight to follow. Twilight let out the breath she had been holding and obediently followed along. The two walked between two rows of bookshelves, deep enough that they were out of earshot of the table.
Twilight stole a glance up at Luna's face, almost letting out a gasp when she saw the look of horror she was wearing. Luna turned to meet Twilight's gaze and opened her mouth to speak.
Nothing came out at first.
"He...how long has he been in that glass prison?" Luna asked shakily. Luna looked down at the ground, trying to figure out how to respond to that question with anything other than 'I don't know.'
Nothing came to mind.
"I...I'm not really sure, honestly..." Twilight admitted. Luna nodded her head in reluctant acceptance. "What did you and Snowy talk about?" Luna tilted her head in surprise.
"You've spoken to him as well? Ah, I should have figured. You are rather bright when you are not wandering blindly in hallways," Luna tried to joke, but the mirth quickly fell from her face. A pit of worry grew in Twilight's chest. Whatever Princess Luna was thinking about, it was bothering her greatly. "And to answer your question, I just asked some basic questions about himself. He's quite the little sweetheart...like he's more fawn than buck. His snow seems to be all he can really think about, and when I asked him a question about his past..."
"Did he freeze up again?" Twilight asked, concern shining in her violet eyes.
"Yes...but that wasn't all. His memories aren't just forgotten, there's...I felt a force blocking the flow in him. When he tried recalling his history, I could feel something inside of him, pushing back and causing him discomfort. Whatever it is that's inside of him, it's not just a spell. It's alive. There's a presence inside of the poor buck that is selectively hiding memories from him and using pain to dissuade him from thinking about those topics further," Luna explained, her eyes shimmering with forming moisture. "There's...another thing he mentioned, when I asked why I had never seen him in the dream realm."
Twilight tensed up, already aware of what was truly bothering Luna so much.
"He can't sleep in there," Twilight answered gloomily.
"Y...yes...now...a being's mind, regardless of power or mortal status, needs sleep in order to compartmentalize thoughts, store useful information, and generally clean up. Sleep gives us the ability to start each day with a fresh slate, so that we may take in another collection of information to be stored. However, when a being is deprived of that sleep..." Luna stopped talking and simply moved her mouth, words trying to come out but failing.
"The mind becomes cluttered and starts to degrade..." Twilight filled in yet again. Luna just nodded slowly.
"I...I could feel him. His mind is...it's...Twilight Sparkle, he is very far gone already. I do not condone the actions of whatever it is inside of him that is blocking his memories, but without them...he would have shut down by now. I also took a look at the age of the wood. I'm not an expert, but I can tell aged woodwork when I see it. It doesn't matter how long he's been in there right now, Twilight, what matters is that we get him out of there and help him." Luna ended her declaration with a firm stomp of her hoof. The sound echoed into the vast emptiness of the library, causing an ancient librarian to hiss out in irritation.
Twilight took a few moments to let everything they had just said to each other sink in.
Something was inside of Snowy, keeping him from remembering his past.
He was already very far lost in the realm of insanity, and the thing blocking his memories was inadvertently saving him.
Snowy had been in his globe for at least a very long time.
None of that mattered at the moment. What mattered was removing Snowy from his globe.
He needed to be free.
"Should we...should we ask Princess Celestia for help?" Twilight asked shyly. Luna's head whipped around and her response was sudden.
"NO!" she shouted into Twilight's face, blowing her back. Angry shuffling started to move towards the two of them from somewhere farther down the row of books. "AND DO NOT COME ANY CLOSER, YOU OLD WITCH! THIS IS MY CASTLE!"
The shuffling stopped and was followed by a distant, angry grumbling as the librarian slunk back into the shadows.
"Twilight, I know Celestia's work when I see it. I know that she's the one to put poor Snowy into such a horrible prison, for reasons unknown. Between my banishment and my return, something happened that caused her to trap and suspend a being inside of a solitary prison where he could not sleep," Luna said, her tone dark and seething.
"Should...should we be worried about why she did it...?" Twilight mumbled. In her heart, she knew that Snowy was not the kind of being who would do something deserving of such a harsh fate. In fact, the punishment he was given was one she wouldn't have even wished upon her worst enemy. Luna huffed and kicked at the ground.
"Nay. Her reasoning is unimportant. I know of how long periods of existing in solitude can affect one's mind," the princess sighed, looking out of the library window and into the open sky. At the end of the day, her previous prison would be visible, just as it always was.
She wasn't completely aware for the duration of her banishment, something she was endlessly thankful for. She couldn't even imagine what staying awake for hundreds of years could do to a po-...reindeer.
"Like I said previously, right now, we need to focus on safely removing him from the globe. If there is still a reason for him to have been locked away, we will deal with it once he is free. I did not feel any sense of darkness or hostility coming from him when we conversed, so I doubt that he will be a problem. He just seemed like he...like he wanted to play."
Twilight licked her lips and swallowed after noticing how dry her mouth had become. "Do you have any ideas of how to help him? I was searching for hours, but found nothing..." she lamented to herself. Luna tilted her head in thought before nodding once.
"Yes, I believe so. Follow me, please," she requested. Together, the two set off into the darker ends of the library.
Not only did he get to show his snow tricks to a bunch of new ponies, he also received a bunch of yellow disks and made new friends! And all within the same few hours! One of his best new friends, the snow white unicorn named Rarity, was looking down at him through the glass, a distant expression on her face. She was very obviously lost in thought, but he couldn't hear whatever it was she was thinking.
It must have been some private stuff. The others had been shutting him off a lot lately. Why? It didn't really matter much to Snowy; he was still just ecstatic that they were even there with him in the first place. The feeling of having ponies know he existed...why did it feel so unnatural? How long had he been on that shelf? Twilight had said something about his mind not properly processing the passing of time, but...how was he supposed to know that she was right?
He still wanted to think that it had maybe been a month.
Twilight and Princess Luna, his new giant blue alicorn friend, had gone off somewhere else in the library to do who-knows-what. That was okay with Snowy, since Rarity was still there with him. It was a shame she was keeping her thoughts to herself.
Oh, her eyes were twitching a bit from not having blinked in minutes. Snowy knew what to do! He had picked up a trick earlier, when Rarity had gone off on a rant about all the clothes she was going to make for him and how famous he would be as a male model, whatever that was.
He moved himself into the way of her gaze, turned around and bent his front end lower to the ground, his booty moving in hypnotizing circles. Rarity's eyes slowly widened as he danced, the large tufts of white fluff on his butt flowing with the water in the globe.
Snowy continued patiently, knowing that it would probably take a few seconds; a couple to break her out of her original thoughts, and a couple more for her to process what she was looking at.
"S...Ssssss....Snowy?! Wha-why? Stop that! It's s-so...so lewd!" Rarity shrieked into his head, her legs moving up to cover her blushing face. Snowy obeyed and stopped his dance. With an innocent smile, he turned back around and sat down on top of a particularly comfy pile of snow. He had made it earlier as a seat, as he usually did. At least, he thought he usually did it...
His face fell a bit. Oh, how he wished he could remember...
"Snowy, I'm sorry for yelling like that. Is something wrong?" Rarity's voice entered his head, breaking his from his impending thoughts. He laughed to himself, noticing how they had just broken each other out of their worries. He never had somepony to keep his thoughts clear like that before! It was pretty nice.
"Yep! It's okay Rarity, you didn't hurt my feelings. I just started thinking about my memories again. Um...how long do you think I've been in here?" Snowy asked out of nowhere, rubbing his tiny hooves together nervously. Rarity blinked down at him before frowning slightly. She let out a small sigh that caused Snowy's expression to fall.
"Oh, darling, I simply don't know...I couldn't even make an educated guess. When it comes to mysteries regarding Canterlot and this castle, I'm not nearly as in-the-loop as the Princesses. If Twilight and Princess Luna couldn't make a guess more accurate than 'a long time', then I definitely wouldn't be able to...I'm sorry, dear. I really, really am..." Rarity told him softly, a sad but calmly look in her big, beautiful eyes. Despite the feeling of hopelessness her answer gave him, Snowy managed to overpower it by focusing on how warm and loving her tone was. He adored being cared for!
The little buck leaned back against Mabel and cuddled up into himself, embracing the warmth he felt. It made him a bit itchy, so he rubbed his back from side to side against Mabel's bark. It wasn't real bark, but it was abrasive enough to relieve his itchies.
When he looked up, he saw that Rarity's expression had changed to one of amusement. She hid her smirk behind a hoof, still remembering to look dainty. Snowy returned her smile and continued scratching.
"Got an itch, there?" she asked, trying to hold back her giggling.
"Nope, I think it's g-"
"I do NOT have to alert my sister to everything I do! She is not the ruler over me! And if she thinks she can just keep something like this hidden from me, then she-" Luna's voice cut off as suddenly as it had sounded. It wasn't even through the link. She has just shouted loudly, her voice bouncing around the library walls that Snowy had known so well.
"AND STAY AWAY FROM US, FOUL WITCH!" Luna demanded further. Snowy's ears had folded down as he stared in the direction of the angry alicorn. He didn't know what was going on over there between Twilight and Luna, but he somehow knew that he was the cause of their ire.
"I made them mad..." Snowy thought to Rarity, his tiny mental voice even more muted than normal. He pushed his body closer against Mabel and flopped down, trying to hide as much of himself behind the tree as possible. Rarity was quick to object to this.
"You are absolutely not the cause of this, Snowy! It sounds like the princess just...has some issues to work out with her sister, is all. It's probably nothing more than a family problem that they will have to sort out between themselves. You need help, and we're going to give it to you. Do not blame yourself for one single second, darling," Rarity assured in a warm but firm voice.
Snowy just leaned more into the tree, his mind wandering to her mental voice. It was the same as her normal speaking voice. Was his? He hadn't heard himself talk out loud in...had he ever heard himself talk? Rarity took his silence as rejection of her assurances and sighed.
"Fine, then. I will go over and check on them. Twilight knows the most about you, but she might not be able to convey such information with an angry, older princess there with her. Princess Luna seems quite...vocal tonight. Will you be okay over here for a few minutes?" Rarity asked. Snowy shook his head and cleared his thoughts before looking up at her.
What had she been telling him? Something about checking up on the other two. That sounded okay, they might need a third opinion. He responded with a nod to the giant white unicorn. Rarity gave him a worried look before turning and beginning her walk to the epicenter of that last royal shout.
"If you need anything, just call, dear," Rarity told him.
"Okay Rarity. I love you," he answered from his hiding place behind Mabel. He couldn't see her face from where he was, but he did see her trip and almost fall over her own legs. She quickly caught herself, cleared her throat, and continued onward into the maze of shelves. Once she was out of sight, Snowy huffed and snuggled against Mabel some more, right in the groove he had made over time. Such a sign of wear was probably evidence of just how long he had been there...right?
Probably not a month.
...Maybe two months?
Snowy's ears perked up as an odd, but strangely familiar, voice entered his mind. It didn't feel like it was coming from some magical bridge like when talking to the three in the library with him. This voice felt like it was coming from all around him.
He quickly hopped to his hooves and did a quick spin to make sure nothing else was in there with him. It didn't take long to assure himself that the only things inside the globe were himself, his snow, his housey, and Mabel.
Snowy pressed himself back against the fake pine tree, using its familiar roughness to give him a sense of security.
"Buck..." the whisper came back. Again, it wasn't a sound he could figure out the source of. The very water around him seemed to be speaking. Was the globe alive? Had he been consumed by a glass ball and lived in its stomach?
Snowy shivered as he realized that whatever the voice was, it had a direct link into his thoughts and could read what he was thinking, whether or not he wanted to send it over the link.
"Who are you?" he asked, trying to stay calm. The glass ball was supposed to be his domain; his barrier between the outside world and his little area. The thought of something else being inside with him scared him greatly. Very much like how the voice was entering his mind against his will, the entity seemed fine with invading his special space.
The voice didn't respond at first.
"You...do not remember me," it sighed. "Of course you do not. Of course..." It seemed to get really sad for some reason, which triggered something in Snowy. First rule of Snowy's Globe: there will be no sad times in Snowy's Globe!
"H-hey...do you want to see a trick? Watch!" Snowy cheered as he gathered some magic into his antlers and swished his head to the side. The snow inside the globe rushed to follow the direction he was pointing, creating a small wave of white powder. It settled over half of the scene inside the globe. Snowy himself was half-covered with it.
The voice chuckled softly after a few moments of Snowy standing there, looking like a two-faced snowbuck.
"You have not changed. I am glad," the voice said, sounding much more upbeat than before. It also sounded fairly feminine to Snowy. At least, he thought it did. He had only really had conversations with mares so far.
"You know me?" Snowy asked, getting more used to the concept of thinking to talk. Not having a bridge between minds was feeling more and more natural. She went silent again.
"We have...known each other for...a long time..." her voice said softly, full of hurt. Snowy flinched at it and looked around his enclosure, trying to make sense of her words. They had known each other for a long time? How was that possible? Was she something inside of the globe?
As he thought, he felt another itch start to irritate the skin along his back. Snowy instinctively pushed himself up against Mabel again and rubbed the itchy spot. He felt the familiar groove he had worn into the side of the tree long ago, its smoothness something he always took comfort in. It was a solemn yet firm reminder of the time he had spent in the globe. It was...
Something he had known for a long time.
The buck stopped his itching, a feeling of realization creeping up on him. His brain was trying to send him some signals...some memories. As usual, the memories hit a blockage and stopped forming. But this time, something different happened.
The memories were let through.
Snowy fell backwards, the feeling of recollection startlingly new to him. He saw and heard things that had been seemingly lost to time.
A feminine voice.
His own voice responding to it.
He saw himself facing the very tree he sat before in the present time.
Two voices laughing at some forgotten joke.
His body pressing up against the tree lovingly, almost like he was trying to cuddle with it.
"M...Mabel...?" Snowy thought, his lips trembling. Some moisture floated from his eyes and into the water. He was too overcome with emotion to say or do much else. He had a memory! Something that seemed so far away had just up and popped into his head, like it had just happened! He fell onto his side and tried to collect himself.
"...Yes...do you remember anything else?" Mable asked, her voice a bit more cheery. A undertone of regret was still present, though Snowy didn't catch it.
"N-no..." Snowy replied. "Just...just some, um...times when we were talking..." He rubbed at his head with his hoof, still expecting the usual pain to hit him as it always did. It kept feeling like it was starting, until he realized that it was just his imagination.
"Okay..." her voice said. Her lack of engagement allowed Snowy some time to clear his head. When he was finally able to sit back up, he did so with a large smile on his face.
"I missed you! You haven't talked to me in forever! I think I talked to you, though..." Snowy thought excitedly. A pang of hurt was sent over to him.
"I know...I am very sorry I have not been here for you. I just could not..." she cut herself off after that and went silent.
"Couldn't...you couldn't what?" Snowy asked, tilting his head to the side.
"Nothing. Just...it is nothing..." Mabel whispered.
"Well, uhm...okay...so what did you want to do? I could get you something! Like...snow. And maybe sooome...water?" Snowy had stood up and pressed himself against Mabel again. "Okay, so I don't actually have anything I can give to you, but maybe I could show you some tricks! I can do some pretty neat things with my snow!"
"I...would love to watch some tricks...but..." Mabel started. Snowy tilted his head to the other side, his neck hurting.
"But...butt?" he asked. Mabel actually giggled a bit at his innocence.
"Butt...I need you to do something for me first. Something that could help both of us," she said. Her tone was sounding more and more eager, like she had been planning on saying those words for a long time. Snowy responded with a tiny little, instinctive booty shake. He didn't know why he did it, it just felt right. He was excited! Mabel had laughed at his joke and now needed him for something!
"What can I do?" Snowy asked, his eager eyes locked onto the fake, talking pine tree in front of him.
"Do you see that crack in the glass? Right where you hit it yesterday?" Mabel's voice floated into his head. Snowy looked around a bit, facing the side of the globe he had attacked while trying to get Twilight's attention. That was yesterday? Snowy felt like he had done that only five or six minutes ago.
"Yes?" Snowy answered, looking back around to Mabel.
"I need you to keep hitting it."
Snowy blinked and looked at Mabel incredulously, not sure how to respond to that. Yes, he had attacked his globe earlier, but only because he was trying to get Twilight's attention! He didn't want to destroy his home. What would happen to his snow if the glass broke? What would happen to him? To Mabel? To his housie? To his-
"It will be okay. I promise," Mabel's voice piped up, seemingly responding to his inner panic. Could she read his thoughts? Eh, it didn't matter much to him. She was nice and she was Mabel; that was enough for him.
Snowy gave a hesitant nod before turning to the crack again and observing it. The crack was still there, something he was somewhat thankful for. Having things jump time periods was starting to get on his nerves. Constant variables were his friends! He began his trek over to the crack in the glass, but stopped after a few steps.
"Hey, Mabel?" he asked.
"...Yes?" her soft, feminine voice responded.
"What does it feel like? Being a tree? I've always wondered..." Snowy's mental voice inquired bashfully. He even went as far as scuffing his hoof along the bottom of the globe.
Snowy could almost feel Mabel blink in surprise.
"It is...uhm...sticky..." was her answer. Snowy lifted his head and looked back to her. She said it felt sticky, being a tree. She felt sticky...and she said that to describe her experience of being a tree...
"Hublubub ublub!~" Snowy chortled out loud, his voice coming out as nothing more than garbled bubbling. He fell onto his side and rolled around, his legs kicking up into the water. Mounds of white fluff were blown upwards as he collided with them. In seconds, the entirety of the glass orb was filled with falling snow, it's seemingly lone occupant doing his very best to displace every single white particle. It became a blizzard of the most beautiful variety, nothing but shadows visible from the outside world.
Mabel started giggling along with the tiny buck, and soon they were both laughing harder than they had in many, many years. For both of them, the feeling of absolute mirthful bliss was almost alien...but it was a very welcome sensation. The blizzard raged on around Snowy, blowing off all of the snow from Mabel's branches before replacing it with new snow.
It was shame that none of Snowy's new friends had been around to witness such a feat of emotion and reindeer magic. Such a spectacle had only been witnessed in its life-size version during the time before Snowy's entrapment.
It took a few minutes for the two to calm down again. Snowy was glad he didn't have to breathe; otherwise, he would have ended up heaving from such violent laughter. Oh, and he would have drowned long ago, too.
The buck stood himself up on wobbly legs. With a smile, he felt an image flash into his mind of himself as a young fawn, his legs even more unstable than they were now. The joy he felt from Mabel's joke distracted him from realizing that he had remembered something else.
Mabel had gone silent again, but Snowy could feel a tingling warmth emanating from her side. It was gentle and caring, almost nostalgic. Whatever she was feeling, he could feel it too, and he loved it.
"O-..hehehee...okay. I'll do that thing you wanted me to do, now," Snowy told her. Mabel made a little humming sound that made Snowy feel even better. He liked that hum. It made him feel safe...familiar...
Snowy wondered for a moment if any of the others had heard his conversation with Mabel. He could still hear Princess Luna's voice getting louder every few seconds, so he assumed that they hadn't.
Positioning himself in front of the crack, Snowy again felt bad for what he was going to do. He didn't want to hurt his home. But if Mabel said it would be okay, then he knew it would be. She was Mabel! She wouldn't lie to him, especially after that super funny joke she had told. Being funny is the most certain sign of honesty.
The crack had grown since he had first made it. Maybe it was from the snow tricks he had done, or maybe it was just the age of the glass. Even from inside, Snowy could see frost staining the outside, all around the splintering glass. He tilted his head in thought.
It was almost like a metaphor. The frost was like him, trying to reach out into the outside world, but still unable to because of its dependence on the globe. And the globe was like-
"Buck?" Mabel chimed, a bit of worry in her tone. He shook his head from side to side to help gather his thoughts, some snow following the magic still tingling in his antlers.
"Sorry, just thinking again. Oh, and my name is Snowy," he explained to her.
"No, it is...n-...okay..." she answered. The globe grew colder at that moment, giving Snowy the first chill he could remember ever feeling. If it was cold enough to make him cold, then it was pretty darned cold. It was the sad kind of cold that one would feel when having lost someone in a blizzard and knowing that they wouldn't make it.
Snowy shivered off the strange feeling and went back to his task.
"Okay, so...like..." he thought to himself as he reared up on his back hooves. With a grunt of effort, he jumped forward and shoved his front hooves against the same spot he had been smashing his head into the day before.
"That is not hard enough, B-...Snowy..." Mabel said softly to him. His face grew warmer at having given such a weak performance. He hadn't gotten to show her any of his snow tricks yet, so she must have thought he was useless already. Snowy would not live with being weak! He had to follow through with his mission!
With a louder grunt, he threw all of his weight against the crack and even tried using some of his magic to push the snow up with him.
"Keep trying...you are doing well..." Mabel cheered gently. It was less of a cheer and more just words of reassurance, but they boosted Snowy's confidence just the same. It was time for the lightning round!
"EHH EHH EHH EHH EHHHH!"
"Snowy...?" Mable's voice came up just as he was about to strike again. He stopped and fell against the glass, using it to keep himself upright on his back legs.
"Yes?" he responded curiously.
"I...I love you..."
Well, that's sweet of her. She was surely the best fake pine tree a reindeer could hope to spent eternity inside of a snow globe with.
"I love you too, Mabel," was Snowy's answer. Without waiting, he started to attack the crack again, hoping against the odds that whatever happened when it broke would be good. He didn't want to just spill out and flop around like fish.
That would be stupid.
"Everest..." Mabel's voice came again, though very faint.
"Hm?" Snowy stopped again.
"My name is Everest, not Mabel..."
Whoa, what? Since when? It had always been Mabel, ever since he...had given her that name. Did he name someone without asking them if they already had a name? Oh, now he felt like jerk.
"Sorry! I just...okay, so you said your real name is...Everest..." Snowy's mind came to a grinding halt. Just saying that name out loud made his body start tingling all over. Something about that name was special...something was familiar...had he said that name recently? Someone had...Twilight. She told him that he had been muttering it when he first saw Rarity...
It meant something.
Whatever it was about her real name, it was super important for some reason.
"Snowy?" Everest inquired, nudging him with a thought.
"Everest...that name...it's...really nice..." Snowy answered, too caught up in his own thoughts to give a coherent response.
An approaching set of hooves from the outside caught his attention, making him lose his thoughts about her name. The girls must have been returning. It was strange, though, the sounds were louder, and...from only a single pony. It was definitely louder than Twilight or Rarity would have been, so it must be Princess L-
Long, flowing rainbow mane and tail.
Golden, amethyst-studded regalia.
Intricate sun mark stamped proudly on her flank.
Large, violet eyes...
...locked on Snowy's globe.
The globe seemed to freeze from the inside. The water itself solidified for a moment, before it quickly grew warm.
Snowy's eyes were locked with Celestia's, his body frozen in terror.
It was her. The very alicorn whose very name brought feelings of horror and despair...she was right there, looking at him. Her face was frozen as well, not a single part of her body still moving.
Celestia's mouth started moving up and down, like she was trying to say something. When nothing came out, she lifted a hoof to her muzzle and covered it. As her eyes remained locked with Snowy's, he noticed that her gaze started to blur, almost like she was tearing up over something. What it was, he didn't even want to know.
He could feel Everest in there with him. The only emotion he could sense from her was the one that was starting to overpower him and boil the water inside the globe:
Snowy might have yelped from how hot the water was getting, but he was still locked in a staring contest with the horrified princess. Celestia, in turn, had frozen with her hoof still covering her mouth. She was definitely crying now, if the long, thin trails of moisture running down her cheeks were evidence of anything.
She let out a stifled sob.
She was openly crying now, the sound of her sadness mixing with the new sound of a group of approaching ponies.
"Princess Celestia?!" squeaked both Twilight and Rarity.
"Sister!" shouted Princess Luna.
"BREAK THE GLASS!" Everest's voice boomed, seeming to shake the globe itself. Snowy yelped and scrambled to comply. The power in her voice was even more frightening to him than the immortal alicorn that he had always feared standing only a few pony-lengths away. He began attacking the crack with more ferocity than he had even known himself to be capable of.
"Snowy, what are you doing?!" Twilight's voice entered his head, but something was quick to stifle it.
The ponies that had been surrounding the globe were forced back, the biting cold rush of wind shooting past them. They were all forced to shut their eyes tightly as moving air and frozen moisture whipped against them, pushing the lightest princess and Rarity back farther than the larger two alicorns. Shelves full of books were pushed over easily, the paper within tearing away and soaring along with the wave of white motion. Even the tables were sent flying away, smashing against the stone castle walls and sending splinters scattering in the same direction as everything else.
After what seemed like an hour, the wind calmed. The ponies present started to pick themselves up, Princess Luna having shielded herself, her sister and her friends. The overwhelming sound that had escape the globe when it had shattered had reduced itself to an imposing hum.
Princess Celestia, her face stained with now-frozen trails of tears, stared in shock where the globe had been, her mind still not having caught up with her. The only thing she was vaguely aware of was that she was now cold and wet. In fact, so was the entire section of the library around them.
Snow was everywhere. It hardly even resembled a library anymore. The toppled shelves were half buried in the frozen liquid, forever ruining the information that had been stored there.
Twilight rose on shaking legs, helping Rarity up as she did. Her eyes blinked open painfully. The wind had whipped against her face for a few harsh seconds before Luna managed to shield them. Beside her, Rarity coughed and shook her head, her mane frozen flowing behind her.
Princess Luna winced and exhaled, the shield spell disappearing and letting in some of the snow that had piled against it. Without the light from the shield, the four ponies could better see the area around them.
If this were any other situation, Twilight would have most likely broken out into sobs from seeing so many books destroyed. Her eyes didn't even wander to the shelves, however; they remained staring straight forward, vigorously scanning the area directly in front of her...where Snowy had been.
Where she could no longer see him. All she saw was snow.
Snow and a faint blue mist creeping around the room, illuminating it slightly.
"S-...Snowy...?" Twilight stuttered weakly, her hoof raising up and pawing the air pitifully. Rarity finally managed to open her eyes, having had to rub her eyelids to get them thawed enough to break apart. Her eyes widened as far as they could go when she managed to take in the scene around her.
Celestia was still as frozen as the snow piled at her hooves, but Luna was looking around with a piercing glare. Even she, with her advanced vision, had trouble picking up any kind of smaller details through the blue fog. It rolled along the top of the snow like a cloud, concealing it from view.
Carefully, Luna took a few steps forward into the drifts, the cold substance squishing under her weight and surrounding her up to her knee. Her body tensed up at sudden change in temperature, but she shrugged it off and continued forward. Step by step, her hooves crunched the freshly fallen mounds of snow. The mist, curiously enough, swarmed around the hoofprints she made, trying to hide them.
Luna left her sister behind and moved forward into the snow, her eyes remaining vigilant. Twilight followed behind her after a few moments, her legs still trembling and weak. The sudden change in temperature caused the air to burn her lungs, making each panicked breath she took painful. Even Rarity managed to move herself to follow, her legs just as weak as Twilight's.
The farther they moved into the snow, the more violent the blue mist became. The air around the trio started picking up again, seemingly trying to blow them back the way they came.The larger blue alicorn felt an ominous twisting in her gut.
Something didn't want them there.
"Be careful!" Luna had to shout over the growing sound of wind. The mist grew thicker with each step they took into the crunching snow. It became harder and harder for them to see each other, much less anything in the snow.
The wind became stronger.
And with it, the snow started falling.
Twilight looked up, her jaw lowered in shock at the sight. Dark blue snow clouds had reformed along the ceiling of the room, twisting and congealing until the stone could no longer be seen. Snow fell steadily from the dark mass and was sucked into the growing blizzard winds.
The light from the sun outside the window was quickly blotted out by the growing storm, leaving the group in a darkness that was only illuminated by the glowing blue fog. The library candles had long since stopped burning.
"Eugh!" Twilight heard a pained shriek behind her. She turned her head and saw Rarity, her eyes shut tight again, the wind overpowered her ability to see. Thinking quickly, Twilight took a few steps back and whipped her tail out for Rarity to grab onto.
Rarity felt the tickling of hair on her nose and seemed to get the idea, opening her mouth and latching on just hard enough to be able to tell where they were going. Ahead of them, Luna had caught on to their problem and backed herself up, her own swirling blue tail flowing back to Twilight. The younger alicorn tried to bite into it, but instantly recoiled as she felt her teeth sinking into what felt like floating blue sand. Luna rolled her eyes and settled for using her magic to pull Twilight along by her horn. As much as Twilight would have preferred some other form of guidance, it would have to do.
They could no longer even tell that they were in a library. Around them, they could see nothing but the snow that had already fallen, its depth increasing rapidly from the new layers being added by the blizzard. Luna tried illuminating her way with her horn, but the light was quickly consumed by blue mist. Darker the room became, the three ponies now hardly able to see.
Luna's eyes snapped onto a shape sticking out of the snow in front of her. The mist was trying to cover it from her vision, but her eyes saw through enough to know that it was the shape of an antler.
But something was wrong.
The antler was the same size as it should have been on any normal deer.
Not the tiny antler from the buck she had seen inside the globe.
The snow crunched down with more force as Luna moved towards the shape. Getting closer, she could see that it was indeed an antler, its form twisting up out of the snow like a calcified flower in a tundra. Behind her, Twilight was finally close enough to see the antler as well, though through squinted eyes. Rarity was oblivious, her eyes having been shut again.
Twilight let out a gasp and moved forward, dragging the white unicorn behind her. Luna barely had time to blink before Twilight's magic snapped out and grabbed onto the antler.
"Snowy! I got you, it's-!" her words died in her throat, though they could only just be heard over the roaring wind anyway.
She expected to pull her friend from the snow.
She didn't expect the antler to come loose immediately.
Her eyes shot open, ignoring the pain from the bitter cold air shooting into them. In her magic, just a few inches from her face, a full sized antler dangled pitifully in the air. There was no reindeer attached.
Luna watched her with a pained expression, witnessing the younger alicorn's mind snapping. Tears that might have fallen from Twilight's cheeks were instantly frozen at their source, painfully blurring her vision.
She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. She wanted to be warm. She wanted to be away.
She wanted her tiny friend.
"Mmm..." a faint, muffled voice could be heard. The three all heard the sound, their heads turning to face the direction it had came from. The problem was, the wind and fog swirling around them made it sound like the voice was coming from every which direction. They were each facing a different direction.
Silently, without another word or even glance at each other, the three reformed their lifeline formation and moved towards where Luna thought she had heard the voice. Twilight, her magic flickering from mental anguish, brought the severed antler to her and placed it on her back lovingly. She had given a quick glance and confirmed for herself that, yes, the formation of bone was indeed the same shape as the one that had belonged to her tiny reindeer friend, just much, much bigger.
They moved steadily forward once more, Luna remembering this time that she could shield them. The mist outside the dome swirled around, trying to find some way in to once again blind them.
Rarity's eyes were open again, but they were locked on the broken piece of bone lying across her friend's back in front of her. She didn't say anything or try to stop their search, but inside, she was hurt. She had hoped for a moment that everything would be okay for the little buck, but now she had a hard time keeping that flame of hope lit.
This time, the sound was closer and easier to track. Luna picked up her pace towards where she knew she heard it. The mist tried desperately to blind the area outside the dome, but it couldn't get in to blind the short distance in front of them.
It didn't take long before the dome moved over a brown spot in the snow. The three looked down at it, their hearts skipping a beat simultaneously. It wiggled a bit, then scrunched.
The brown spot revealed itself to be a fuzzy little nose, sticking out of the snow and trying to take it deep breathes despite the bitter cold. Three pairs of eyes locked onto the shape in the snow, the owners all rushing forward with barely contained joy in their steps.
But just as they were about the reach him, they heard a noise.
The mist surged forward, this time with a shape.
The voice was colder than anything they had experienced throughout the whole ordeal. It shot through their bodies, tearing Luna's shield from her mind and shattering it. They were once again exposed to the bitter elements swirling around violently. This time, they were overpowered almost instantly and sent flying backwards, away from the nose in the snow.
They tumbled through the mounds of frozen powder, getting covered completely. The three couldn't focus enough to cast any kind of spell, but were caught in a bright golden glow that had appeared just before they hit the stone wall.
"Sister! Twilight!" Celestia's voice broke through the blizzard. The three airborne ponies were carried down to the eldest princess and set down on a clear section of floor right before another dome appeared to shield them. "Are you okay? What is ha-"
"CELESTIA!" the voice boomed again, drawing the attention of the four ponies. Outside the dome, from the direction they had been sent flying away from, a figure grew in the darkness. The mist that had filled the library flowed into it, making its presence that much more threatening. The figure was become larger by the second, until a point where they could no longer see any mist. Even the blizzard that had been raging had disappeared, making the destroyed section of library almost visible again.
A pair of piercing blue eyes opened in the area outside Celestia's dome, looking in on them with a hateful, chilling glare. Twilight and Rarity shuddered, not knowing what to think. Luna glared back, her mind snapping back into a combative state that she hadn't fallen into since before her banishment. Celestia wilted under the glare, knowing exactly who it belonged to and why they were staring at her with such hatred.
"You...MONSTER!" the owner of the eyes shrieked, a ball of blue light slamming into the golden shield. Celestia winced, feeling the cold chill shoot up through her body, even through the dome.
The ball of light had illuminated the outside for just long enough for Luna to get a glimpse of their assailant. Her eyes blinked in stunned confusion. Not in ages had she seen such a being, though it made sense with what they had been enduring.
The snow, the mist, the cold, the blue eyes.
The ghostly, transparent form of a creature only heard of in stories.
"A...Windigo?" Luna mumbled to herself. The eyes broke away from Celestia for the first time since they had opened and focused on the darker blue alicorn. A little ball of blue light formed again, but this time hovered behind the creature, illuminating it.
Twilight and Rarity watched in awe as the being revealed itself completely. Though even in the light, its body was not too easy to see. It existed mostly as a faint blue outline, with some of the familiar blue mist swirling around inside of it to make it look slightly more solid. The most tangible part of its body was its terrifying blue eyes, which held no irises. They were just shining blue lights that chilled the ponies to their very cores.
"I'm...I'm s-" Celestia's weak voice started.
"NO!" the windigo shrieked again, its focus returning to the solar princess once again. The ball of blue light whipped around and slammed into the dome, once again snuffing the only source of light besides for the two striking blue eyes.
"Do you...HAVE ANY CLUE AS TO WHAT YOU PUT HIM THROUGH?!" the windigo shouted so loudly that Twilight and Rarity were forced to cover their ears to keep from going deaf. Celestia lowered her eyes to the floor, her entire body trembling. "NINE HUNDRED YEARS, CELESTIA! YOU FORCED HIM TO REMAINED IMPRISONED IN A SMALL GLOBE OF GLASS AND WATER FOR NINE HUNDRED YEARS! HE WAS AWAKE THE ENTIRE TIME! YOU BROKE HIM! YOU BROKE. MY. BUCK!" With every word, the windigo would slam another orb of blue light against the shield, making it crack. Celestia was reduced to tears again, her eyes wide open and focused on the floor.
As Celestia's shield shattered from the constant force, Luna cast her own, a smaller but stronger blue dome forming to take its place. The windigo had rushed forward the moment the shield broke, but slammed into the new one and cursed in a loud, violent language that had never been heard by any of the ponies present.
"ENOUGH!" Luna shouted in a volume that rivaled that of the windigo. "ENOUGH OF THIS!" The wind outside the dome swirled around, causing a sound that sounded very much like a growl.
"I have no quarrel with you, Princess of the Night. Or your other two friends. You showed Buck kindness, and listened to him. For that, I thank you. But I will not forgive you getting between the Sun Tyrant and myself. She has hurt him in ways that I cannot ever forgive. I ask you to please lower your shields. This is between Celestia and-"
"NO! I WILL NOT LET YOU ATTACK MY SISTER!" Luna roared in response.
"I WATCHED HIM TRY TO KILL HIMSELF! I TOOK HIS MEMORIES TO MAKE HIM ABLE TO WITHSTAND BEING TRAPPED FOR SO LONG, WITH NO END IN SIGHT! SHE MADE ME BREAK HIM! HE'S BROKEN NOW AND I...I...I had to be the one to do it to him..." The windigo's voice faded as it started to sob.
Twilight watched and listened intently, trying to make any kind of sense of what the windigo was saying.
"Who...who are you?" the Princess of Friendship asked meekly. The eyes opened, their expression having gone from hatred to pure misery. Little drops of blue light fell from them, falling into the snow below and freezing on contact. Though unfocused, the windigo's eyes managed to fall onto the one who had started the sequence of events that had led to this.
"Everest..." Celestia choked through her tears. Twilight's ear flicked as she heard this, unsure if Celestia was saying this to her or not. The name struck a chord with Twilight, making her mouth go dry.
"I...know that name...Snowy, he-...he kept repeating it before...and-...S-Snowy!" Twilight suddenly shot to her hooves and ran up to the side of the dome, ignoring the windigo glancing down at her. "We have to make sure he's okay! He's just buried in the snow over there! I have to-!" Twilight ranted, jumping up and scraping at the shield with her hooves.
"He is fine..." Everest's voice came out, the calmest they had heard her be so far. From behind her, a large ball of blue mist came forward, revealing the dark shadow of a body enveloped in it.
"B-but...his antler..." Twilight stuttered, pulling the bone from her back with her teeth and showing it to the entity hovering just on the other side of the thin blue barrier.
"It will grow back..." Everest assured, moving the ball of mist closer. Another ball of blue light formed above her head and moved down, illuminating the face of the one Twilight had been nearly clawing her way through a shield to find.
Snowy was right there in front of her, fully sized. The first thing Twilight noticed was just how small he actually was, even outside of the globe. He truly was not much more than just a fawn, being maybe slightly older than a young adult.
The second thing she noticed was that he was unconscious, the first time in apparently nine hundred years. His furry chest moved up and down with his breathing. His eyes were shut, but she could see that they were moving around under his eyelids. Then her eyes wandered up to the top of his head, where only one antler remained, the stump of his previous one still visible where it had snapped.
Twilight's eyes kept moving up until they reached Everest herself, who was something out of history book for her. Though, she noticed that the windigo didn't look exactly like how the books had described. Instead of being mostly long, thin and horse-like, Everest had many features of a pony. Her face was rounded, muzzle short, and her mane flowed around her like Luna's. But she was definitely not a pony. Twilight could see through her and noticed that her entire back half trailed off into a ghostly wisp.
Twilight, despite all that had happened, all the destruction that had taken place and all the tensions floating around, couldn't stop herself from smiling at the sight of her friend alive and well, and finally getting some much needed sleep.
Rarity snuck up behind her to get a look at the unconscious reindeer. Just like Twilight had done, Rarity couldn't keep a large smile off of her face once she looked over the reindeer's fuzzy body.
"He's okay...he's...he looks so young..." Rarity said, a ping of sadness evident in her voice.
"He is. He was only a fawn when that...TYRANT...locked us away!" Everest grew loud again, her eyes shooting back up to Celestia. The larger princess, who had looked up from the floor to check on the buck, took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly. Twilight looked up at the windigo fearfully, unsure of what to think about all these things she kept saying about Celestia.
"Everest. Whatever happened, whatever my sister did...do not go about this with violence. It will solve nothing," Luna said, trying to remain calm in the face of such a legendary, mysterious creature. Everest's gaze hardened, but remained locked on Celestia.
"You do not understand, Night Princess. Celestia hurt both of us in ways unimaginable. I cannot and will not forgive her for making me destroy the mind of the one I love just to keep him alive. I will NOT be leaving until Celestia's very BONES ARE FROZEN SOL-!"
Everest's impending attack was halted by the sound of an ear-piercing batty cry. From somewhere high up on one of the shelves, a smaller form flew out at Everest and somehow landed on her.
Everest let out another one of her wails, twisting and turning to attempt to get the being off of her back. Her focus broken, the mist surrounding Snowy faded and let his body slide softly into the snow below him. While Everest was distracted, Luna lowered the shield and used her magic to pull the body of the unconscious reindeer over to them.
Rarity and Twilight prepared a spot to set him down, clearing away some of the books and debris hiding under the snow. Luna set him down a gently as he could, but the two younger ponies practically ripped him from her magical grasp. They supported his weight together, though he wasn't very heavy at all.
There, after all the heartache they had been through in the past hour, they could feel Snowy's coat pressed against them. The soft white fuzz on his chest made contact with another living being for the first time in hundreds of years. Their combined body heat soaked into him, making his soaked body shiver a little less. They both held him tightly, afraid that letting him go would mean losing him for good.
Only a short distance away, Everest whipped around violently, trying to rid herself of the feral old librarian that had attacked her. Whenever she twisted one way, the old bat would twist the other, throwing her off balance no matter where she tried going. Her anger blinded her from the reindeer currently safely tucked away in the caring embrace of the purple and white ponies-
-until the librarian twisted in just a way that forced Everest to face the direction of both her fallen lover and most hated rival. She froze solid, momentarily trapping the attacking pony in ice. The air in the library grew frigid again, Everest's eyes gleaming with the light of her very soul.
"NO! YOOUU WIIILLL NOOOOOT TAAAAAAAAKE HIIIIIIIIIIIM!" Everest wailed, her features lengthening slightly as she took on a look closer to what Twilight had always believed windigos to look like. Her body went from being ice to nothing more than mist in an instant, the librarian falling from her and landing in a mound of snow below.
Then she charged. Everest galloped on the air towards the group, her eyes gleaming like blue fire and her mane flowing around her wildly. But the time the librarian had bought them gave Luna the chance to prepare for this. She had been preparing a spell for this very moment, and right before the attacking ice spirit could reach them, she cast it.
Everest was blown back right before her translucent hooves could reach the reindeer she loved, her expression turning to despair as she was taken by the dispelling magic she had been hit with. The group of ponies watched as Everest, along with her misty essence, was carried through the nearest open window. She wailed the entire time, but not in anger. Her wail was one of desperation and loss.
Rarity and Twilight held their ears shut until the wail was nothing but a faint echo. The room around them regained the calm atmosphere it usually held, despite the amount of damage that had been done to the surrounding area.
The four ponies waited for almost a full minute, expecting something else to pop up or happen.
When nothing did, they all took a collective breath and let their bodies relax for the first time in awhile. The only sound they could hear around them was the creaking of cold wood and the steady breathing of the unconscious buck in their grasp.
"Will...will she be able to come back?" Twilight asked, her eyes still gazing down at the face of her sleeping friend. It was just so surreal to her to be seeing him up close, almost the same size as her. Luna leaned against the wall behind her, breathing deeply. The spell she cast had taken a lot out of her, not to mention having to withstand Everest's constant barrage of light orbs earlier.
"Eventually...but...not for a good...few weeks..." Luna responded between breathes, her eyes locked on the window she had shot Everest out of. She was worried to spell wouldn't work on a windigo, but the lack of a charging, rabid ice demon was evidence enough for her to prove they were safe. "Right now we...need to get him...in bed...and taken care of..."
Twilight and Rarity looked down at Snowy, noticing that his muzzle scrunched slightly whenever a stray snowflake was blown onto it. They looked up and nodded to each other, Twilight wrapping the reindeer's frail body in her magic and lifting it. Carefully, the two navigated their way through the field of broken wood and snow towards the library's exit.
The librarian had found a spot next to one of the fallen shelves and curled up next to it, mourning the books she had spent her life protecting. Tattered and soaked pages lay scattered around her, forming a nest of misery for the elderly mare to stew in.
Luna looked over to her sister, who remained frozen during the last moments of the confrontation. In fact, she had remained mostly useless for most of the last hour, only helping once with a shield. But even that had quickly crumbled under the weight of her apparent guilt. Luna really wanted to go off on her and demand to know exactly what was going on and why, but she was too exhausted to do much more than sit there and gaze out of the window.
Outside, the clouds grew dark and the wind carried with it a stinging chill completely inappropriate for the time of year. A single flurry of snow fell above Canterlot, followed by another one miles away.
For as far as the eye could see, the clouds blotted out the sun.
"Be gone, cursed one! You bring nothing but death with you!"
"How did you do that?"
"I'm so hungry..."
"They will not accept us. They do not appreciate the beauty of it as much as you do."
"Can I call you mine, Buck?"
"You would go as far as to starve my people? You will not be-!"
"RELEASE HIM, SUN TYRANT!"
Princess Luna awoke with a jump and let out a sharp hiss of pain. For the first time in awhile, her dream walking magic cancelled out without her willing it to. The world around her that had moments earlier been a swirling mess of thoughts, sensations and emotions regained the orderly definition of reality. Her head still buzzed with countless feelings that she knew weren't her own. A purple blur shaped itself into that of Twilight Sparkle, who was on the other side of the hospital bed from her, giving her a worried expression.
"Are you okay?" Twilight asked. Luna blinked a few more times, trying to wake herself back up.
"Yes, Twilight. I am...I will be fine. There were just so many thoughts running around at once. His mind is still trying to sort out all these different moments, and it seems to be having a hard time figuring out what happened when," Luna answered. They both turned their tired eyes down to the sleeping face of Snowy. He rested on the bed in a deep sleep, surrounded in a nest of blankets that Twilight and Rarity had wrapped around him.
It was still strange to Twilight, seeing the young reindeer at this size. All of the features of his form that she couldn't make out inside the globe were obvious to her now. She hadn't really noticed just how fluffy certain areas of his body were, such as his ears. Whenever they flicked around in his sleep, she noticed the fluff inside each one swirl in the breeze. His chest was probably the fluffiest part of his body, but she already knew this from seeing him in the globe. His face was even a bit fluffy, especially around his cheeks.
Twilight's eyes caught sight of his horn stump again and she flinched. She was worried how such a bump to the head would affect him, not to mention how he would take the loss of an antler when he woke up. From what she had seen, his antlers were very much like her horn and were used to channel his magic. Just the thought of her horn snapping off made her shudder.
"He's been asleep for two days now...are...are you sure he will wake up...?" Twilight asked weekly, lifting a hoof to rub at her eyes. Both Princess Luna and herself had been up all night, watching over the buck in case he woke up. He hadn't been awake since his release from the snow globe, and they wanted to be the first thing he saw, just in case he freaked out. Twilight's eyes had grown dark purple rings under them and were fairly sore. Just keeping them open was becoming more and more of a struggle. Luna was used to staying up all night, but the mental strain of walking through a broken mind tired her out more than she thought it would.
"I am...very certain. But that doesn't mean that him waking up will be the end of his ordeal. I have a feeling that our troubles will only increase when he wakes," Luna said, casting a weary eye out the window. Snow had been falling steadily across the landscape. A few pegasi zipped around, trying to combat the untimely formation of snow clouds. They tried their hardest to dissipate the freezing sky puffs, but seemed to have no control over them.
They were not normal clouds.
A biting chill blew in through the window, prompting Twilight to reach out with her magic to shut it. With a soft click, the window latched shut and cut off the freezing air from entering the room. Beneath them, Snowy stirred a bit, the lack of his comforting cold disturbing his sleep. After a few moments, he calmed back down and went back to barely moving. His only signs of life were his rising and falling chest and pained expressions.
Twilight sighed and leaned down, rubbing her cheek against the fluff of Snowy's face.
"We're waiting for you, Snowy...please feel better," she whispered to him. The buck didn't wake up, but the pain on his face went away, leaving his expression neutral. Luna smiled softly at the small display of affection before a louder click drew her attention. Her ears flicked towards the door to the hospital room they had been occupying just as a snow white unicorn mare stepped through it.
Rarity walked into the room backwards, carefully maneuvering a few large bags through the doorway with her magic. Twilight and Luna watched her with tired eyes, wondering just what the fashionista had brought with her. Rarity was humming a little song to herself as she pulled bag after bag through the door, unaware that she was being watched. She only stopped her song and shut the door after no less than fifteen bags of who-knows-what were stacking neatly against the wall.
"Good morning, Princess Luna, Twilight, any news on-" she started as she turned around, but stopped when she saw the others were giving her an odd look. "What?"
Twilight snorted a bit but it came out sounded like more of a snore.
It might have just been a snore.
"Oh, goodness, Twilight, you look positively exhausted! And you too, Princess Luna! What has been going on?" Rarity asked, raising a concerned hoof to her chest.
"Haven't pulled an all-nighter in awhile," yawned Twilight. Luna looked down and motioned to the sleeping buck.
"His mind is still in shambles. Just being there makes me feel as unfocused as everything going on around me. There's not really much I can do to help. By the time I figure out what's going on, he's already moved on to a different thought, a different memory, a different...nightmare..." the dream-walking princess explained sadly. She hated the feeling of being useless in a situation like this. It frustrated her to no end, like an irritating itch that only got worse as you scratched it.
Rarity sighed and looked over Snowy's body, noting that the blankets were just as snug around him as she had left them the night before. They had been watching over him in shifts, with Rarity watching during the day and Twilight helping Luna during the night.
"Well, I'm here now so you two can go get some rest. I'm certain you need it. Those rings under your eyes look dreadfully sore, Twilight," Rarity told them as she walked over and gave her friend a small hug. She didn't hug Luna, but the larger alicorn didn't seem to mind. Luna still wasn't the biggest fan of physical affection and preferred keeping her own little personal bubble.
Princess Luna got up to leave, but Twilight stopped her.
"Did...did you happen to talk to...Cel-"
"No, not yet, Twilight. She hasn't been herself. And as much as I want to be mad at her for what I think she might have done in the past...I cannot stand to see my sister in such a state. When she will let me in, I will be there for her. Once she's settled back into her normal self, then I will kick her flank," Luna answered with a bit of a huff.
"But...you heard what Everest said..." Twilight whispered.
"Yes, and I heard it as she wailed like a banshee, destroyed a section of the Royal Library, and tried assaulting us. She might be telling the truth about what Celestia had done to her, but she is obviously not without fault," the sleepy blue alicorn said in a way that hinted that she was done with the conversation. Twilight groaned and followed her out of the hospital room, her gut twisting anxiously. She didn't want to think her mentor, the one being she looked up to the most, could go as low as trapping a young buck in a globe for hundreds of years out of malice, but she didn't have much in the way of other explanations.
Rarity listened for a few moments until she could no longer hear the sounds of hooves upon granite. She then resumed her humming and shut the door to the room, her magic lighting up the surrounding area as a few bags floated over to her. She pulled up a chair and sat next to Snowy, looking down at him with a thoughtful expression. From out of one of the bigger bags floated a long, striped piece of clothing. It was white and blue with masterfully made tassels covering either end. She then carefully used her magic to circle it around the reindeer's fluffy neck, trying her hardest to not move him.
"Scarf," she declared proudly as she examined her hard work. The scarf looked excellent on him, flowing down and around his chest floof. He looked so snug! Her humming grew in volume as she turned back to her bags full of experimental clothing options. So many garments, so little time!
This went on for a couple of hours, Rarity trying on little pieces of clothing that she had guessed the measurements for. Not all of them fit properly, as to be expected, but her expert eye had done its work and guessed most of his body proportions properly. Even if most of them fit, she was only truly satisfied with a few. Most were sent back to her bags for being not quite the right color, or not matching Snowy's fluffy coat well enough.
She ended up lifting the bottom of the bed covers up to get at his adorable little reindeer hooves. For these, she had no idea what to make. They were unique to her and she had to experiment a lot more before she was going to be able to find some bit of fashion that would add to their feminine look.
"Those...mine," a soft voice came from above her. She squeaked and jumped back from the bed, letting the covers fall back down over his legs. Beautiful blue eyes looked up and met a set of piercing brown eyes. The room went quiet for at least a minute, Rarity too stunned to move. They had told her over and over again what she was to do if he woke up while she was watching him, but in her stupefied state, she drew a blank.
The reindeer coughed gently, his eyes breaking away from hers to take in the room around him. It was like nothing he had every seen before. Everything was too clean, too white, too perfect and too...open.
His mind started to catch up with him, little by little. Pieces of scattered memory clicked into place.
"Rarity," he stated. He sounded uncertain, like he knew something was different. He took another look around, Rarity's eyes following his every movement. His eyes flicked from Rarity to the room around him, then back down to the scarf she had made him. "You're small now?" His voice was raspy, but that wasn't surprising to her. He hadn't used it fully in so long.
Rarity met his confused gaze. "No, Darling, you're just the proper size, now," she answered.
"Oh," was his simple response. "How...did you get in my globe?" Rarity flinched, having expected this line of thought from him, just not so soon. She had secretly hoped he would have woken up when Twilight and Luna were around him; they would be able to handle his initial questions much better. She knew she would have to tell him that his globe had been destroyed when he busted the glass, but she didn't know how.
Suddenly, his ears flopped down and his eyes went wide. His brownish color lost some of its definition. He was giving her an absolutely terrified stare, but why? She knew she hadn't said it, besides for in her mind.
"Oh...!" she gasped, raising a hoof to her mouth. She had forgotten about the mental link! Now that she thought about it, she could finally feel it again for the first time since he had broken free from his globe. From his end of the link, she could feel a panicked tingle. He looked around the room again, the details sinking in fully.
He wasn't in his globe.
He was with Rarity.
He didn't feel the usual comfort of cold. His mind was sending all kinds of red flags to him, telling him that he shouldn't have been that warm. The cold was good, the cold was familiar. He loved the cold. He loved a lady of the cold.
"Where...is she?" he asked Rarity, his eyes swinging back around to meet hers. Rarity noticed that his voice was a tad bit deeper and more foreign than the voice his mind portrayed. This added some more intimidation to his interrogation. Rarity looked out at the window, refusing to meet his eyes. The buck followed her gaze and looked out the window as well, seeing that it was steadily snowing.
He scrambled to get up out of bed, but his weakened limbs and head injury convinced him that the floor was a better place to visit. He let out a very deer-like blanch and fell to the ground. Rarity rushed over to the other side of the bed to aid him in getting back to his hooves. He didn't fight to get away from her, a relieving sign to Rarity that he didn't hold anything against her. He was much more focused on getting to the window.
The reindeer jumped up and pressed his front hooves against the window, looking at it in confusion. He had seen windows before from on top of his shelf, but he had never been tasked with opening one. Rarity's magic surrounded the lock a few seconds before a soft click was heard. He turned to Rarity and gave her a thankful nod before pressing the window open.
Without the glass sealing the room from the outside, the chilly winter air blew in, caressing the reindeer's face and surrounding him in the same loving cold he had known for so long. His scarf fluttered around him, drawing his attention. He stared at it curiously, not sure what to think of the new garment. It was warm, but in a good way. It was soft and made his insides flutter with same feeling the cold breeze gave him.
It made him feel loved.
Snowy was content to stand there for a few minutes with his eyes shut, letting the snowflakes blowing in from outside land on his body. The scarf fluttered around as he gently ran a hoof along its soft texture. It was a strangely serene scene to behold for the white mare in the room, watching the buck live his first moments of freedom in nine hundred years.
He opened his eyes soon after, but confusion fell across his features when he took a closer look at the outside world.
"I thought you said we weren't in a globe anymore," he pondered as he stared at the giant pulsing blue dome that surrounded the entirety of Canterlot. Rarity walked up beside him, pressing her body against his to stabilize him.
"That's not glass, Snowy. That's a shield spell that Twilight's brother is currently casting," she explained to him.
"Snowy?" he asked, turning to her. Her blood ran cold and a shiver went down her spine.
"Y-yes...? That's...your name, or...at least the one you were okay with..." Rarity stuttered. He raised a hoof to the side of his head that was missing an antler, rubbing out the pain that had been growing.
"Right...yes, right...Snowy..." he mumbled, his eyes going unfocused as more memories started flowing in, the name he had given himself acting as a trigger. Standing next to him, Rarity noticed that he was a good bit taller than her, but his body was also thinner, more streamlined. She couldn't help a small pout reach her lips. The things she would do to achieve a body shape like his! "But...I remember my other name now..."
"Oh?" Rarity questioned, her lips going dry.
"Yeah...it's Buck. Buck Frost." He came out of his unfocused state, but this time Rarity noticed that he hadn't felt any of the pain he had felt back when he was trying to remember in the globe. The white mare hmmm'd in thought. She had heard Everest yelling that back during the confrontation, but Rarity had just assumed she was yelling it as a vague term for male deer. In truth, they had heard his name several times already.
"Buck...Frost," she said to herself, testing out the sound. "It's...a very nice name."
"You can call me Snowy, though...hearing you say 'Buck' doesn't really sound right to me..." Snowy said with a shy rub of his leg. As improper as it was to ignore a gentlecolt's real name in favor of a nickname, Rarity couldn't stop herself from agreeing. To her, Buck sounded too masculine for him. Not to mention it had some inappropriate implications in pony culture. Snowy was much softer, much more cute. It matched him all too well.
She blushed as she noticed Snowy giving her a shy, flustered look.
She squeaked and closed her end quickly, cutting off the flow of thoughts concerning how cute she found the fluffy reindeer. He rubbed at his scarf in embarrassment, noticing after a few moments that he actually had no idea where it had come from.
"What is this?" he asked. Rarity took a few steps closer, admiring her own work and how well it matched him.
"Why, it's a scarf, dear," she started, intending to explain further. The word had clicked something in his head together and triggered another, more recent memory.
"Oh! This is a scarf!" he yipped with glee. He quickly buried his face in the soft material and rubbed it around. "It's very lovely. Did you make this?" Rarity basked in the feeling of having her work appreciated so much. It especially made her feel good about giving some cheer to one who had been through so much already.
"Why, of course, darling! Nothing but the best for my friends," she beamed, her cheeks glowing a rosy pink.
"Thank you!" Snowy was too fast for her to see coming, his excitement overpowering the lack of energy he actually had. His front legs wrapped around her and pulled her close, drawing her into a tight hug. Her face with buried in a sea of chest fluff. She couldn't see, and the only thing she could hear was the steady heartbeat of the warm cuddle-bug latched onto her.
She loved every moment of it.
And she was quite disappointed when he decided to let go.
"I can't wait to show this to Everest, and Dawn, and mother, and-" he started, but something else in his mind clicked and froze him solid. His eyes started flicking from side to side, like he was reading something in fast motion. In his mind, an endless series of lifetimes started playing. Years and years of thoughts, sights and feelings were brought back into reality. Things he had been forcefully made to forget were clear again.
And it broke him.
Rarity could only stand there and watch helplessly as the young buck realized just how ancient he truly was. His legs collapsed from under him, sending he sprawling to the cold floor below. But this time, he didn't bother getting back up. A loud, painful wail escaped his throat. Tears from the loss of everything he had loved fell freely from his cheeks, dripping to the hard floor and forming tiny pools. Choked sobs rang out and echoed around the room. It was such a depressing sight, to see one go from absolute joy to pure despair in only moments.
Rarity climbed down, ignoring the fact that she was getting dirt from the floor all over her pristine white coat. She pressed her body into his, giving him something to latch onto. He quickly accepted the sensation and wrapped his hooves around her again. The realization that this was the first living creature to cuddle him in hundreds of years only made him cry harder. Rarity didn't mind the feeling of wetness spreading along her back. With her magic, she lifted the end of the scarf and dabbed his eyes with it.
Her body sent calming warmth into him, and he didn't know how to feel about that. He had thought cold was the ultimate comfort for so long, that the idea of something warm being comfortable made him doubt his beliefs.
Over the next half hour, he cried out nine hundred years worth of emotions. When the sobs became hiccups, and the hiccups became sniffles, he finally spoke.
"Y-...you know...I remembered that I've cried about this before...long ago...after the first hundred years, I think...I...I knew they were gone. They couldn't have lived that long...then it was two hundred...then three..." he mumbled in her ear, the soft heat of his breath tickling her slightly and making her ear flick against his nose. He scrunched a bit but continued. "How could I have forgotten? I didn't even remember their names...my own mother...my sister...I-"
"Snowy," Rarity interrupted him by pressing the scarf to his lips. "This isn't your fault. You've been through something that very few other beings have. You were trapped inside of that globe for nine hundred years. That's so many lifetimes, so many generations...the fact that you're here with me, right now, talking as if you've always been here...you're an amazing gentlebuck, Snowy." He blinked a few tears away, the sound of both his real name and his nickname confusing him a bit. "And you didn't forget them. Your memories were being blocked by Everest while you were imprisoned. She kept you alive...she kept you happy. Now, I can't say I agree with her method of using pain to make you forget, but...her block is gone now. You didn't forget them. You remember them now, so soon after waking up for the first time. Isn't that right...?"
He sniffled a little more, pressing his face into her mane and hiding. "Uh...I...I guess so...but where is she?"
"Everest?" Rarity clarified, her body losing some of its heat at the thought of how cold she had been only days prior. Her mane snuffled with the movement of his head as he nodded. "She's...outside the shield right now. She was dangerous, Snowy...she attacked us!"
"She's not evil..." Snowy mumbled, heating her mane up with his breath. "Can we let her in? I need to see her."
"Snowy...we can't! She would only attack us again!"
"I could talk to her! She'll listen to me!" Something was bothering Rarity.
"What...exactly what is Everest to you?"
"She's my mate," he answered simply. Rarity's eyes widened as everything snapped into place. The winter spirit hadn't been just some evil entity claiming ownership over a host body.
They were mates. They were in love.
When Everest had accused Celestia of 'Breaking her Buck', she wasn't referring to Snowy as a piece of equipment that Celestia had rendered useless. She attacked Celestia because she locked Snowy, a mortal being, away for hundreds of years and broke his mind.
She was attacking the one who had hurt her beloved.
Rarity thought back to that wail Everest had let out when she was being blown out of the castle window. The look in her eyes, the pain in her voice...
She was losing the one she loved all over again. And now she was being kept out, the large blue shield surrounding Canterlot acting as a giant snow globe for him to be trapped in again.
Except this time, while Snowy was trapped in the globe, she was locked out of it.
A large tremble shot through Rarity. She knew this was only going to get worse. Things had been done that couldn't be undone, and they had taken everything away from a powerful, vengeful spirit of winter.
But here, right now, she was warm. Snowy was warm, and his embrace helped calm her.
It took her a few moments to realize that he breathing had fallen into a steady rhythm. She had been pondering the implications of recent events for a lot longer than she thought, and the stressed buck had cried himself to sleep against her back. That was okay, he probably needed it. The room was serene once more, except for the cold breeze and occasional snowflake that would blow in through the window.
That sense of peace was broken when Twilight burst through the door and skidded to a halt a short distance away from the prone pair.
"Rarity! Is everything okay, I felt a lot of panic and stress coming from your end of the link! Is he okay? Are you okay? What's going-" The purple alicorn shut her mouth when she noticed that the body of the reindeer was now on the ground instead of in the bed, and it was wrapped around her best friend.
"Hello Twilight, this is Buck Frost, but you can keep calling him Snowy," Rarity said calmly from her position on the floor. "He's just lost his family and is going through a really hard time. I'm sure he could use a hug."
Behind her, with his face still hidden in her mane, Snowy slept.