Letters to Cozy Glow

by Fluttercheer

First published

Time after time, Twilight Sparkle tried to find out the reasons for Cozy Glow's actions and got rejected. But maybe a special team of ponies and creatures could succeed where she and her friends have failed. She was not going to give up so easily.

After Equestria almost fell at the hooves of Cozy Glow, Twilight Sparkle visited the filly in Tartarus multiple times. She had been talking to her, tried to get to the bottom of why she almost singlehoofedly brought down Equestria by manipulating her fellow friendship students and attempting to banish all of its magic into another realm.
But no matter how often she asked or how much she probed for an underlying reason behind all this, Equestria's youngest enemy only kept reiterating that friendship is nothing but power for her.
Cozy Glow was a special case. But she wouldn't be the Princess of Friendship if she were to give up on a struggling friendship student. Maybe she really was not able to teach Cozy Glow the true values of friendship and neither were her five closest friends. But maybe others could succeed where they have failed.

And so, Twilight goes and assembles a team of ponies and creatures to teach Cozy Glow about Friendship, Villainy, Betrayal and the struggle to choose between Good and Evil.
The only catch was that Tartarus' security level has been increased.
But that's what letters are for.

Set between Season 8 and Season 9.

Prologue: Princess Twilight Sparkle's Friendship Squad

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It was almost over. The end of the second school year at the friendship school was approaching fast. The school, and all of Equestria, had almost fallen to yet another villain who tried to conquer the kingdom. And this time, the villain was somepony who she had never expected to be a villain:

One of her own students.

Cozy Glow even was one of her most promising students. But her attempt at conquering Equestria and making it devoid of all its magic had shown that the lessons she received did not have the intended effect. The filly did not understand friendship, as much as she was pretending to understand, and it almost led to Equestria's fall.

But the crisis had been averted. Six other promising students of hers, students she could be rightfully proud of, had saved the day. The magic had returned to where it belonged and Cozy Glow had been captured and imprisoned in Tartarus, where she could do no harm anymore. Everything had returned to normal quickly and now, the finals were coming up for her friendship students.

But this wasn't what was on her mind right now. Not the only thing, at least. Not the most important thing. Something much different was on top of her priority list right now. And it had to do with the thirteen ponies and creatures that stood in front of her, here inside her throne room, right now.

They were all here. Despite that she had asked for them to come at such short notice, they had all followed the call. Even those who had to travel to Ponyville from a far away place. Twilight let her eyes glide over them, counted them and ticked each of them off on her mental checklist, just to make absolutely sure everypony and everycreature had arrived:

Starlight Glimmer

Tempest Shadow

Starswirl the Bearded




Apple Bloom


Sweetie Belle



Princess Luna


As she found once again that no pony or creature was missing, Twilight leaned back in her throne. It was time to explain her plan.

“Thank you all for coming,” she began. “And I'm sorry that my letter was so vague. I know that some of you are busy with other important matters far away from Ponyville.” She gave a demonstrative nod to the unicorn with the broken horn that stood to her left. “But it was necessary to call you, because I am faced with a difficult problem that neither I nor my friends can solve. I need all of you as teachers.”

Now movement came into the group that had gathered at the other side of the map. Murmurs could be heard across the group, before one of them addressed the request.

“I feel humbled, Twilight, but I am already a guidance counselor at your school. Are you really planning to promote me?”

“Do you want all of us to become teachers at the school?” Scootaloo, who stood between her friends, asked in place of all three of them.

“No. Not exactly,” Twilight clarified. “I need you to help me with teaching one of my friendship students in particular. She is.....” Twilight lowered her eyes. “She is a little behind on the concept.”

Five of the thirteen faces cleared up and then became serious instantly. The other eight kept their curious expressions.

It was Apple Bloom who addressed the elephant in the room, after a few seconds had passed without anyone saying something. “Are ya talkin' about Cozy Glow?” The filly frowned.

Twilight closed her eyes and sighed. “Yes,” she said, opening them again. “I know this sounds impossible. Maybe even delusional. And if any of you don't want to help, you can say no and I will respect your choice. What I ask of you is a lot, but I believe that Cozy Glow is not a lost cause. She is young and she can learn.”

“That's not impossible or delusional!” Starlight spoke up. “Have you forgotten how I seemed to be a lost cause? But you didn't give up on me. You believed in me and now see where I am.” She stretched out a hoof. “Count me in! I will do all that I can. Maybe I can do for Cozy what I couldn't do for Chrysalis.”

Twilight smiled. “Thank you, Starlight. I knew that I could count on you. About the rest of you.....” She focused on the entire group again.

“I will join your cause, Princess,” Tempest Shadow said. “I owe you and Equestria something.”

The face of the Princess of the Night appeared cold, but the answer she gave was in contrast to this. “I know very well about the woes of young foals, Twilight. I see their inner conflicts and the demons that haunt them in their subconscious every night. These young minds often suffer from more mental atrocities than most adults dare to imagine.” It was not a direct consent, but Twilight understood.

The three fillies in the group exchanged glances. There was a very clear hesitation in their eyes. A minute passed until Scootaloo took it on her shoulders to answer.

“We'll do it for you, Twilight.” Left and right of her, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle nodded.

“Trixie does not know this 'Cozy Glow' you're speaking of,” the stage magician chimed in. “But Trixie will help Starlight.”

“Far be it from to not help with guiding a young one back on the right path,” Starswirl implied his agreement with the plan. “But how exactly can each of us contribute to this plan of yours, Twilight Sparkle?” There wasn't so much doubt as there was curiosity in his eyes.

“I will explain it in a moment, Starswirl. Is there anyone else who wants to join?”

The heads of four of the remaining five nodded. Only Discord did not respond. The others turned at him in expectation.

As he noticed, Discord's eyes shifted. Literally, as they had left their place and floated across the room, past each pony and creature in attendance. “Oh, fine,” he said and snapped his claws. His eyes returned back into their sockets.

“Good.” Twilight nodded. “Now let me explain.” She leaned forward in her throne, placed her forehooves on the map and put them together. “I want that all of you talk to Cozy and tell her about what you learned. What Cozy Glow needs are different perspectives than those that me and my friends can offer. And I have faith in all of you that you can get through to her with your combined experience.”

She rested her eyes on Starswirl the Bearded. “Starswirl, you believed that Stygian had evil intentions when he took the artifacts from you and the other Pillars and you had to learn that you were wrong. You can teach Cozy how important it is to trust one's friends and to see things from their point of view.”

The old wizard's eyes remained as stoic as they usually were, but a nod signaled that he had understood his task.

Twilight's eyes wandered further to Stygian. “You, Stygian, know the pain of friends turning against you and you made the mistake of letting the darkness consume you in your time of weakness. You can pass on your story to Cozy Glow to warn her about treading this path.”

“I will do my best,” the low voice of the scholar rang out.

“Starlight Glimmer and Tempest Shadow.” Twilight looked at them. “Both of you lost touch with your friends or got even abandoned by them. And both of you made questionable choices because of this. You can teach Cozy Glow that friendship can't be forced and that one should never forget their ideals when seeking friendship. And, Starlight, you can demonstrate Cozy Glow that everypony deserves a second chance and that she will be welcome if she strives to be a better filly, with your ability to see the good in others.”

The two unicorn mares nodded, straightfaced and solemnly.

Next, Twilight looked to the middle of the group. “Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle,” she said. “I know you have the biggest reason to be wary of Cozy. But you helped her in true altruism when she needed you and this made her form a strong bond with you. You also selflessly helped Diamond Tiara despite all the trouble she caused for you. Your role will be to show Cozy that she has friends she can always rely on even in dark times and who will help her to get better no matter what. Your involvement might be the most important one.”

The three fillies looked uncomfortable with this and gulped, but they accepted their assignment with nods.

Twilight's eyes moved to her old friend. “Moondancer.” She paused for a moment. “You know how it feels when a friend you trust and rely on disappoints you. Cozy Glow disappointed her friends by abusing them for her goal and you can teach her how horrible such disappointment feels and what consequences it can have.”

“Thank you, Twilight. I will pass this on to her.”
Twilight smiled and then turned at Trixie. “You, Trixie, enacted revenge and it brought you to the dark side. This affected your mind in a bad way and you also know how hard it is to receive forgiveness for past actions. This makes you the ideal pony to let Cozy realize that being a villain can have consequences for oneself and you can show her that forgiveness is received much quicker when you work to earn it.”

“Trixie will see what she can do,” the mare answered.

Twilight addressed the only griffon in the group. “Gilda, you come from a society that does not hold friendship in high regards. You have plenty of experience with it how hard it is to inspire others to become friends who are not interested in true friendship. This experience of yours could be vital to make Cozy understand.”

“Leave it up to me, I'll turn this filly around.” Gilda chuckled and there was determination in her eyes.

“Discord.” Twilight directed her eyes at the draconequus. “You have been one of Equestria's biggest enemies in the past. But you were offered true friendship regardless and you took it. And when you relapsed for a short time, you had to learn how betrayal feels. You can teach Cozy that even the most nefarious actions can be forgiven and that the dark side is not worth it. Most importantly, though, you can help her see Tirek's true colors.”

“Very well,” he answered simply. Then he summoned a throne and sat down on it. “The Element of Chaos is on the case.”

Twilight turned at the changeling in their group. “Thorax, you left Chrysalis' hive, you made a true friend and you helped inspire all the other changelings to follow your example. You left your family and people to do the right thing. It will be up to you to assist Cozy in her struggle to choose between good and evil and to help her make the right decision.”

“Count on me, Twilight!” the ruler of the changelings spoke, optimistically.

“And lastly,” Twilight looked at Luna. “Luna, you have gained a special understanding of foals because of your dreamwalker duties. And you know how negative feelings can bring out the worst in us. I will need your experience and ability to figure out what potential problems have driven Cozy that far. But you have to do it without entering Cozy's dreams.”

The last sentence caused Luna to cock her head in surprise. “Pardon me, but why not?” she asked. “Checking on Cozy Glow's dreams would prove effective in revealing such problems quickly.”

“I understand and you are right, Luna. But I want that Cozy feels safe and that she develops trust in all of you. Spying on her dreams, against her consent, could ruin this for us.”

Luna seemed to ponder the thought for a moment. “I understand. I will stay out of young Cozy's dreams and use the means of normal conversation to find out as much as I can about her.”

“Thank you, Luna. Does anyone else have any questions?” Twilight looked at the group expectantly.

As no further questions were asked, she leaned back in her throne again. She appeared more relaxed, now that she had explained the proceedings in detail.

“There's only one problem with this plan,” she continued. “Due to Cozy's letter exchange with Tirek, the security level of Tartarus has been increased. Each letter that gets sent to a prisoner or that a prisoner sends to someone outside is now being read first. But the real problem is that no visitors are allowed behind the gates anymore. I could only get inside because of my connection to Princess Celestia, but she won't give permission to so many frequent visitors. But I have a solution for this.” She smiled confidently.

“What do we do?” Starlight asked.

“You will write letters.” Twilight smirked. “A nice way of using what Cozy did to our advantage and to cause something good. But, more importantly than this and the security level, is that I don't expect all of you to drop all their other obligations for visiting Cozy Glow in Tartarus all the time during such a long-term task. Especially those who don't live here in Ponyville.”

The idea found broad approval in the group.

“Excellent plan,” Luna confirmed the sentiment. “It is a pity I cannot enter into Cozy's dreams to bypass these restrictions, but written letters shall provide the young one with a documentation of our lessons.”

A smile formed on Twilight's lips. “Yes, Luna, exactly. This is another reason for why I decided to send letters to Cozy. There is not much to do in Tartarus and the more often she reads your letters, the better it will be for her.”

Twilight got down from her throne and trotted around the map. “Now you know almost everything that you need. Just two more things.” She stopped in front of the group. “Some of you don't know the extent behind Cozy's actions, so I will send you letters of my own to file you in. And once you start writing to Cozy, please stay in contact with each other and share your progress. A coordinated effort is necessary for this to work.”

The group nodded.

“Now.” Twilight approached Starlight Glimmer. “Starlight, I want that you start. You have dealt with Cozy once and you have the most sensitive approach. I need you to send the first letter.”

“Okay. I will do everything I can to lay the groundwork for your plan.” Starlight looked at her fiercely.

Twilight let her eyes wander over the faces of the ponies and creatures who had agreed to the effort.

“Are all of you ready for 'Operation Cozy Glow'?” she asked.

The answer of all the ponies and creatures was “Yes”. Her plan had been set into motion.

A Letter from the Guidance Counselor

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Dear Cozy Glow,

it's me, Starlight Glimmer. I bet you are surprised that I'm writing you, huh? And you probably expect that I am mad and that I will yell at you and list all the horrible things you did, like, betraying your fellow friendship students, joining forces with one of Equestria's most dangerous enemies and almost banishing the entire kingdom's magic. But, I won't do that.

Cozy Glow frowned, eyes getting narrowed. She let the piece of paper in her hooves sink a little. Then, very suddenly, a jovial expression appeared on her face.

“Well, golly, Starlight! You have such a great sense of humor! You should be a comedian!” The sarcastic snark in her voice betrayed her happy face.

From somewhere near her, a deep growl could be heard.

Despite what happened, I am actually not mad at you, Cozy. I am disappointed that you turned on us all and that you were even willing to banish me from Equestria so you could succeed with your plan. But I'm not mad.
And I know that we weren't exactly friends when you visited Princess Twilight's school.

“Oh, but you are wrong, Starlight! Everypony at the school was my friend! At least until Princess Twilight's stellar star students messed with my plan!” Cozy shifted her eyes and giggled. The tone of her voice slipped and got distorted into a cold, shiver-inducing cackle. Its echo menacingly reflected off Tartarus' walls.

You only came to my office to seek advice. But it meant something to me when you were there, Cozy. Being a guidance counselor at Princess Twilight's school is not exactly rewarding. She teaches friendship there, can you imagine how that decreases the chance that any students have social problems they need my help with? It's frustrating!
But you came to me and asked for help. After I helped you, my office was empty nearly all the time again and if the rare student showed up, they were more concerned with getting all their homework done or that they had to miss breakfast to not come late to school. You were the only one who came to me with an actual problem, Cozy.
It's weird but, if it hadn't been for your problems with friendship, I never would have felt what it actually means to be a guidance counselor! You gave me this chance and I will always be grateful for it.

“Gee, get to the point, guidance counselor!” Cozy rolled her eyes.

But, let's get to the point of this letter.

Cozy Glow's pupils shrunk.

I am writing you, Cozy, because I want to tell you that I still like you. Yes, you've done bad things and you caused a lot of trouble. But I don't believe that you are really such a horrible, power-obsessed filly like everycreature thinks it of you right now.
Maybe you heard about Queen Chrysalis once. She is one of Equestria's biggest threats. She tried to conquer Equestria with her changeling army twice and she even attempted it a third time before she got finally overthrown by her own people when they saw that she was just abusing them for her own gain. Princess Twilight told me she has been a menace for Equestria for more than one-thousand years now. She attacked villages and kingdoms regularly, was feeding on their population with her army and enslaved those who remained.
Chrysalis has done things that are far worse than what you did, Cozy. But I forgave her. I offered her peace regardless. And she rejected me and swore revenge, but that's not the point.
The point is, that you are not evil, Cozy. Chrysalis is evil, but you aren't. I don't understand why you did what you did, but I believe in you, Cozy. Deep inside, you are a good filly. And if there is anything you ever want to talk with me about, I want you to know that I am here.
You might not be a student at Princess Twilight's school anymore but, if you want, I can still be your guidance counselor. There is nothing I would enjoy more!
I am unfortunately not allowed to visit you, but you can find my address on the envelope. If anything is bothering you, Cozy, write me and I will do everything I can to help you. And even if you don't respond to my letter, I hope you won't mind if I send you another one day.
I like you and I care for you, Cozy.


Starlight Glimmer

Cozy Glow put the letter down into her lap. “Oh, golly, look at this! The counselor cares!” she spoke, the sarcasm having returned into her voice. She snickered. “But let's go and see what happens!” The shout was aimed at no one in particular.

Cozy folded the letter in and placed it in a corner of her cage. “It sure is boring down here and I bet her letters will be hilarious to read!”

Having disposed of the envelope by crumpling it and tossing it out between the bars, Cozy curled up on the metallic bottom of her cage. Her smile as she fell asleep was sardonic.

A Letter from the Princess of Dreams

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Cozy Glow was sitting upright in the middle of her cage. In her lap lay an envelope and she looked down at it in surprise, having just read the return address. Cozy averted her eyes from it and looked straight into the cage opposite of her.

“Golly, Tirek, look at this! We got a letter from a princess!” There was a certain cheer in her voice, but it was filled with snark.

Tirek turned his head around only begrudgingly. “You mean you got one. I have no interest in receiving letters from Equestria's princesses. Not as long as they aren't infused with their magic.” He growled and turned around to face the wall again.

“I don't think it is. But maybe they will let me out!” She answered, smiling, and took the letter into her hooves. With haste, she began ripping off the envelope. “Maybe they realized how awfully wrong it is to lock a little filly like me in a scary old cage!” There was no actual fear in her eyes as she spoke these words.

Having freed the letter inside, Cozy unfolded it and began to read.

Hello, Cozy Glow.

I am Princess Luna. But you may simply call me “Luna”. I hope you will forgive me and my sister for what we had to do. We do not like sending ponies to Tartarus but, sometimes, we need to for the safety of our kingdom.

Cozy began to laugh.”Wow, princess, only three sentences in and you already start to kiss my flank. Not that I would let you anywhere near it, but that's a really impressive talent for brown-nosing!” She lifted her right hoof and made a cheering gesture.

Though, I ensure you that I harbor no ill will towards you, young Cozy. I think we have never met before, but it's not uncommon for me to engage with foals. Since I was a filly myself, I have the ability to walk the dreams of ponies. I use it frequently to help foals like you through their nightmares.

The eyes of Cozy Glow narrowed. “You better don't dare to look there.” Her voice had become low and searing.

I have seen countless predicaments in those nightmares, horrible abominations that only the minds of the most troubled of my subjects can conceive and unspeakable things.

Cozy Glow's hooves began shaking while her eyes became slits. “I have a troubled mind?”

With this, I am able to see behind the veil of your actions. Hardly anyone is truly evil. But many ponies suffer from mental ailments that–

Cozy Glow's face got distorted in anger. Her pupils shrunk and she gritted her teeth. The letter got wrinkled as her shaking hooves tightened around the paper. She crushed her hooves together and crumpled up the letter into a small ball.

Pure hatred was emitting from her face. “So the Princess of Dreams thinks that I'm INSANE!” She craned her neck and her muscles bulged as she screamed the last word.

The enraged, mad filly raised her hoof and flung the paper ball out of her cage. It hit Tirek right on the back of his head. The centaur's eyes grew and he turned around fully. He looked at his little cellmate and squinted his eyes.

“Let's see if the Princess of Dreams will still spout INSULTS like this once she hears from ME!” She spun her head around and shot a hoof at Cerberus. “Bring me something to write,” she hissed.

Stoically, the three-headed beast took an ink bottle, some paper and a quill into its mouth and dropped the items into Cozy's cage.

The filly snatched at them and pulled them close to her. She dipped the quill into the ink bottle and put it down on the paper violently, poking a hole into it. It started moving over the paper in an aggressive tempo.

To Princess Nightmare Moon

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Hello, Princess of Dreams.

It is me, Cozy Glow, the insane filly you and your old dumb sister locked up down here in this filthy hole!
Oh, it's so amusing how you sent me a letter just to INSULT me by calling me “insane”, when you are the one who almost killed her sister!
Oh, what do you say? You are surprised that I know about this? Aww, I'm so very sorry to shock you to the core, princess! Gee, it must suck for you that it was your stand-in cardboard princess who let me know about this! Headmare Twilight told me exactly what she saw in her vision; how you shot your beloved sister in the chest and made her crash through a roof of your castle!
What? You say this was only Nightmare Moon who did this? Not you? Haha, aww, but of course it was you! It was all you who lost control.
I only tried to make friends and to become a good Empress of Friendship for everypony, even you! But you plunged our world in darkness because you were jealous of your sister and hated her and you even tried to murder her... Gee, I wonder who is the more disgusting villain, you or me?
And it's even worse, you even pin all the blame on some night demon that lives in your mind! Golly, princess, do you have any shame at all? I at least admit that I tried to send all of Equestria's magic away. But you are just a thousand year old sicko who lies to ALL of her friends and her older sister.
You know what? I just got a very good idea! YOU should be sitting here in Tartarus in my stead... Princess Nightmare Moon!
But you aren't... It's just poor old me who got locked up here! I've got to say, you really are an awful pony and princess that you allow yourself to run free while you let me rot in here... You really are a horrible, shameless pony and ruler.
I'm sure you know what's the word for somepony like you. For a pony who locks up the innocent ones while staying in power herself. What is it? Now? Oh, come on, princess! Really? Aww, too bad. Guess you have your wires crossed... as usual! But don't worry, let Cozy help you!
The word your stupid, retarded princess brain can't come up with is “Tyrant”. Sorry, that was too fast... Let me spell it out slowly for you. “T-Y-R-A-N-T.” A tyrant! Remember that good this time, princess. Because that's what you are, a tyrant.
Forget how I called you “Princess Nightmare Moon”. You are TYRANT Nightmare Moon! That's a much better title for you, so accurate. It couldn't be more accurate for a lying scum who nearly destroyed her kingdom and the entire world, almost killed her sister and abuses her power to avoid the eternal punishment she deserves. Who feels so great and superior because she is older than a thousand years and bigger!
I wonder, are there many ponies you boss around with your power? I bet there are. I mean, so much power and so little brain mass, a good tyrant needs to compensate for this somehow, so they make everypony believe they are stronger by abusing their power! That's how it works, right? You don't need to answer that question, I know that's how it works!
But there are so many things you don't understand... After wetting your coat on the moon for thousand years after your own sister banished you, I bet you still have issues to grasp how Equestria works today! I can only imagine how embarrassing it must be to constantly step on other ponies' tails because you are still stuck in your old, awkward ways... but I really like to imagine that! It makes me feel so good down here, imagining how you are Equestria's laughing stock.
Princess, princess, there are so many things you don't realize... Like, how much I hate you.
You know, I don't want you to spy on my dreams, like you do it with all those other foals who you manipulate. But right now, I really, really wish you would come into one of my dreams tonight. In my dreams, I can do everything! Including beating down on your head until I can see just how little brain there is inside of it! Wouldn't that be fun? No, not for you. But for me! For me, it would be the most funny thing I've ever done!
I invite you to come, princess. Just this one time. Then you can find out how power feels when it's aimed at you.
Come into my dreams, Tyrant Nightmare Moon. Me and my sharp toys will wait for you.

Your faithful, insane filly,

Cozy Glow

Luna let the letter sink. She frowned, wrinkles on her forehead. There was a deep concern in her face, so much, that the pony sitting next to her immediately noticed.

“Sister?” Celestia asked. “Did you get concerning news?”

“Indeed. The little one suffers more than I imagined.” Luna's voice was strained. She looked to the side.

Princess Celestia wrapped the letter into her magic, levitated it over and began to read. As she was done, her expression was the same.

A Letter from a Hurt Friend

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Dear Cozy Glow,

my name is Moondancer and I heard that you are very angry lately, so I want to help you. I know a thing or two about being angry at another pony and let me tell you that it's nothing wrong. You are right with the way you feel about Princess Luna.

Cozy Glow lowered the letter in her hooves, a dumbstruck expression appearing on her face. She needed a moment before she continued reading and spent this time with staring out between the bars of her cage, not particularly focusing on anything.

When we are angry, we sometimes say or do things that we don't mean. But we always react angry for a reason.
I used to be friends with Princess Twilight once. We are friends again now, but there was a time when we weren't because she disappointed me.

“Disappointed, pfft.....” Cozy Glow held a hoof at her lips and stiffled what otherwise would have become a loud and enormous laugh. “Do you expect me to feel sorry, Moondancer? You should have known better, friends will always disappoint. You can't trust them!”

It wasn't always easy for me to be friends with others. I was shy and scared of other ponies. Twilight was the only pony whose company didn't make me shake. When I began to trust her, I invited her to my birthday party. But she didn't show up. It happened just when I started to think that she will never disappoint me.

“Told you!” Cozy showed her teeth and smirked.

But she did and I WAS disappointed. I felt so hurt by her neglect. And I was so mad. I forgave Twilight, but even now it still hurts to talk about it.

Cozy scrunched her face.

I could only forgive Twilight years later, when she came back and begged me to forgive her. But not before I screamed at her. Not before I showed her all the pain she caused me and how she made me feel in those years. I screamed and almost punched her with a stick even.
But I did not regret it and I still don't regret it. When somepony causes you trouble and hurts you a lot, especially if it's a friend, then it's normal to react mad because of all the hurt.

Cozy Glow's ears faltered and folded in as she reached the end of the sentence. She did not notice.

And that's why your reaction was okay, Cozy. Princess Luna said something that hurt you and it's normal to get mad because of this. And nothing you did means that you are insane. Reacting mad doesn't make you insane and what you did in Twilight's school does not either.
We all have our reasons for what we do and getting mad just means to get rid of the things that hurt so you can feel better again.

It was at this point that Cozy felt a sudden, strong urge to stop reading. She put the letter down, then dropped it where she sat. Her eyes had no shine in them.
Tirek noticed. “What's wrong? Longer sentence?”
“Golly, nothing like that,” Cozy responded, but the usual fake cheer wasn't in her voice anymore. “I just need to sleep now.”
“In the afternoon?” Tirek questioned.
Cozy did not answer. Not paying the centaur more heed, she lowered herself and rolled in on the cold floor of her cage. The letter she didn't finish got covered by her tail.

A Letter from a Villainous Showmare

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Dear Cozy Glow,

the Great and Powerful Trixie demands your attention!

Cozy Glow hadn't even read the first line completely as she already put the letter down. “Powerful? Golly, this is how you start a letter! Princess Nightmare Moon should take lessons from you!” she smirked. Then her eyes narrowed and a sly grin built up on her face. “Go on, Great and Powerful Trixie! You already have my full attention!”

Trixie has heard that you were a very naughty filly! Did you really manage to seize control of Twilight Sparkle's school all by yourself?! But Trixie does not write this letter to judge. No, Trixie is amazed that you succeeded with this!

“Oh, do you want me to teach you, Trixie? I can send you letters and explain you all about it! I can make you even Greater and more Powerful!” Cozy cheered.

Tirek stirred. “Yes, because that worked so well the first time we tried this.” His voice was ripe with sarcasm.

The veins on Cozy Glow's neck protruded again. “SHUT UP!” she scolded. “It was your plan that failed!”

The centaur shrugged. It was an intentionally unimpressed gesture. “I only told you what to do, the execution was on you and you failed horribly with that. Any pony you'd try to teach how to take over Equestria would fail all the same and end up here, annoying me even more!” He squinted and his eyes were burning with bottled-up rage.

Cozy Glow huffed audibly. “Just wait until I found a way to get out of here. What I'm going to do then will make you look like a roach in comparison!”

“Roaches are importunate.” Tirek's lips curled up into a vicious smile. Instead of giving another rebuttal, Cozy ignored him. More interested in reading on, she cast her eyes on the line where she left off.

And Trixie hopes that this letter does not make you angry. If it does, send your revenge to Twilight Sparkle. This is her idea, not Trixie's, and Trixie only writes you this letter because she owes Twilight Sparkle something.
But before you enact revenge, let Trixie tell you that revenge is a bad idea. Trixie knows, she tried. Twilight Sparkle bested Trixie in a magical showcase once. Trixie returned a few years later with the Alicorn Amulet after saving up enough money to buy it in one of Canterlot's dark and shady corners. Trixie beat Twilight Sparkle with it and exiled her from Ponyville. Then Trixie took over Ponyville and ruled over it as Great and Powerful Queen.

Cozy Glow whistled and a smile appeared on her face.

But the amulet also made Trixie become insane. Trixie still shakes sometimes when she looks at wheels. Don't ask.
After this, Trixie was suddenly really popular. Many ponies all over Equestria began to talk about Trixie, but not in a nice way. And some ponies still do that. Twilight Sparkle forgave Trixie and her friends forgave Trixie, too. Trixie even found a new friend with Starlight Glimmer! Today, the shows of the Great and Powerful Trixie have many ponies coming to them again, but a few never returned and they give scornful looks and whisper behind their hooves every time they see Trixie. Some ponies never forgive.
Trixie had to learn the hard way that being a villain is not worth it.

Here, the letter ended abruptly, close to the bottom edge of the paper. Cozy Glow frowned and folded in her ears. “Too bad..... This letter started so promising, but it ends on a really disappointing note!” Shrugging, she crumpled the letter and the envelope together and tossed the paper ball out of her cage. “Goodbye, Great and Pitiful Trixie!” she commented the gesture. Then she turned to a pile of small pebbles and started to stack them on top of each other, a deep frown on her face.

~ * ~

A few days earlier.....

“And you are really sure you want to send Cozy Glow the letter like this?” Starlight cocked her head and gave the mailbox that came ever closer a doubting glance before she turned at Trixie.

“Trixie is sure!” the other unicorn mare exclaimed.

“But you didn't write a whole lot and you came to the point so quickly. It would be better if you had taken some more time with it. And I'm not sure if it was the best idea to tell Cozy that some ponies will never forgive her for what she did.”

“I tried!” Trixie suddenly snarled into Starlight's face. “I am not a therapist, I did what I could!”

“Okay, then.” Starlight retreated, but with a raised eyebrow. “I really hope this won't backfire then.” Having read Trixie's letter, she was not filled with confidence. But before she could say more, the envelope had been thrown into the mailbox by her friend.

A Letter from Three Traitors

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Dear Cozy Glow,

this is Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. Princess Twilight asked us to write you, so here's a letter from us. But don't get any wrong ideas, because all three of us are still disappointed of you, Cozy. What you did really wasn't nice. And I'm not talking about draining all magic from Equestria or working together with Tirek. I'm talking about how you used us for your plan. You never wanted us as friends, just as puppets.
What Sweetie Belle said! How could ya dare ta abuse us like this! Ya already got us banned from Twilight's school once, ah guess that wasn't enough, huh? Ya were only satisfied after ya...
Scootaloo says ah should calm down. But ya deserve gettin' talked ta like this! Whatever did ya think?! We cared for ya when ya sat cryin' at our clubhouse! Was this all just an act, too?! Ya planned all of this right from the beginnin', didn't ya?! It was all lies, the entire time! And now ya sittin' in a rotten, stinkin' prison under the ground! Ya know, what? Ahm hopin' that ya'll never get
Hey, it's me, Scootaloo, taking over. Apple Bloom got a little carried away there. But, Cozy, she is still right. You betrayed us. We all thought you are our friend, not a crazy supervillain who just saw us as instruments. I really liked you, Cozy. You had some cool ideas and hanging out with you was always fun! It sucks to think that nothing of this was honest. Why did you do this to us? Was all this really to try and conquer Equestria?
Sweetie Belle wants to take over again. But I want an answer from you one day.
That sums it up, Cozy. Scoots and Apple Bloom said what I couldn't say, but we all feel the same way. We are hurt, disappointed and sad. And we talked about what you did for a long time and we all agreed that we don't want to be your friends anymore, not even if you are ever allowed to leave Tartarus again.
But... Princess Twilight said that she has hope for you. She says you can learn. And she asked us to help you. Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and I trust Twilight, so we agreed. But we are doing this for her, Cozy. We won't forgive you right away. If Twilight is right and you aren't a completely lost cause, then you need to work for your forgiveness.
We are here if you want to send us any letters. And we will write you some more. But don't mess it up. We will only give you one chance, Cozy.

Apple Bloom ..Scootaloo ..Sweetie Belle

“So, that's how it is, huh?” Cozy Glow snarled as she had finished the Crusaders' letter, eyes still fixated on it. “But what about you then? Didn't you betray me, too? You tried to stop my plan, even though you claimed to be MY friends! Isn't friendship mutual in Ponyville?”

The grip of her hooves becoming tighter, she caused wrinkles to appear on the paper. “If I am a traitor, you are traitors, too.”

Having said that, Cozy shoved the letter to the side. With empty eyes, she stared blankly into the darkness outside of her cage.

A Letter from a Naive Old Stallion

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Dear Cozy Glow,

my name is Starswirl, the Bearded. It has come to my attention that you strayed from the right path, a lost soul in need of guidance.

“Nope!” Cozy Glow exclaimed, then shook her head. “I'm exactly on the right path! Not down here, but just wait until I get out, then I will have a new plan and Empress Cozy Glow will rule over you!” She cast her eyes back on the curvy lines that adorned the paper. “Now let me see what you have to say, Starswirl, the Beardo!” The smile on her face turned into a perky grin.

And I shall provide this guidance, as Princess Twilight Sparkle asked me to.

Cozy raised an eyebrow. She cocked her head. “How Princess Twilight Sparkle asked you to, hmm? Well, doesn't that sound familiar!” Sarcasm creeped into her voice again. “Gee, the principal must really think there is hope for me to fulfill her great friendship vision..... So bad I'll have to disappoint her.” Cozy poked her lower lip to the outside and let it quiver. Her face gave the perfect impression of a filly who was about to tear up any moment.

I already defended Equestria over a thousand years ago, when the princesses that rule it now were still young and unexperienced fillies.

“That old, huh? Golly, I really hope writing this didn't break your hooves! It would be so terrible if I wouldn't get another letter by you!”

And as such, I have seen many foes who tried to take Equestria by force. I and a group of ancient heroes, the Pillars of Equestria, defeated them all. Except for one...
Our strategist (or the brain of our group, as you will likely call it), a scholar named Stygian, listened to the whispers of an evil that is perhaps older than time itself. He invited it to take over his mind and body and when he returned to us, Stygian was all but gone and there was only The Shadow.

“How dumb.” Cozy smacked her lips. “What's the worth of getting power by someone else who will only control and abuse you for their own gain? That's so ridiculous. If you want power, you need to take it for yourself and get rid of those with more power than you!” Cozy sighed in disapproval.

But it was not Stygian's fault... it was ours. I and the other Pillars sent Stygian away. He had taken our six powerful artifacts and attempted to create duplicates of them. We all agreed that he had evil intent with this plan, so we cast him out. And we banished him and the monster that controlled him into another dimension, together with us, to keep Equestria and the world safe.
But we made a grave mistake. For all that Stygian wanted was to be like us, a hero, to fight alongside us as an equal. Equestria has seen a thousand years come and go before we learned the truth and could see our mistake. It was thanks to your teacher and your guidance counselor that we became aware of Stygian's true intentions.
Stygian was our friend, but we have assumed the worst of him. And we all have paid a great price for our distrust.
I vowed to not make this same mistake again and I shall not make it with you. Stygian has taught me an important lesson. And maybe you can teach me something, as well, young Cozy Glow.

Cozy pursed her lips and her pupils shrunk. Then she broke out in maniacal, amused giggling. It lasted for about a minute before she wiped some tears out of her eyes and continued reading.

I am aware that you are different than Stygian. Stygian sought power to fight the forces of evil in our world, but you sought power solely for your own benefits, to rule over Equestria and its citizens with an iron hoof, as their empress.

Cozy Glow frowned. “What do you know about my intentions, you freaky, old stallion?” she asked between clenched teeth.

But, regardless, I have faith that there was something more noble than this about your intentions.

Cozy squinted her eyes.

By Stygian's example, I learned to see things from the perspective of others even when their actions are ambigious. I shall not judge you before I know you better, young one.
I have to end this letter now, but more will follow. Know that I believe that there is some good in you, like it is in everyone.

Yours faithfully,

Starswirl, the Bearded

Cozy Glow folded the letter carefully and laid it on top of the other three letters in the corner of her cage. “So you want me to stop craving power. Let's see if you won't bite out your old teeth trying, Starswirl,” she spoke in a menacing voice.

A Letter from the World's Weakest Scholar

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Dear Cozy Glow.

My name is Stygian. I am a scholar.

“Stygian?” Cozy Glow let the letter sink and looked in front of her with a puzzled expression, lips puckered. Following a certain instinct, she inched to the corner of her cage and began to flip through the small pile of letters that lied there. “Where's your letter, Starswirl, the Beardo?”

As she had found it and taken a look at it, her expression cleared. “Oh, just the weakling who can't gain power by himself. Golly, that's going to be another boring letter.” Her ears lowered themselves against her head and a frown emerged on her face.

Maybe you remember me. I was told that my story has become a lesson at Princess Twilight's friendship school. It seems you haven't learned anything from it. I hope I can change that.

“Just as I thought, another boring letter.” Cozy scrunched her face and stuck out her tongue at the letter. Ironically, it was mere boredom that made her keep reading, as there wasn't much else to do in the underground prison. “Go on, Stygian, tell your weakling lecture of ultimate weakness.”

When I let The Shadow take me, I wasn't thinking anything. My friends had turned on me and I was lost and forlorn. I had no hope anymore. But then I heard a voice talking to me. I knew I was sitting inside the Well of Shadows.

As she was reading “Well of Shadows”, Cozy's ears perked up slightly.

And I knew the history of this place, I studied it before I found the Pillars. I should have known better than listening to the voice. But in this moment, I felt so lost that I ignored the warnings my mind gave me.

“Weakling,” Cozy Glow whispered.

I knew that The Shadow was talking to me. I should have been terrified, but I was happy. I needed someone to talk, to tell about the pain I felt. I had no other friends than the Pillars who cast me out. I welcomed its dark, otherworldly whispers inside my head. It listened to me. The Shadow understood and it convinced me that revenge was the right reaction. It would help me, it said, and I agreed.

“Revenge,” Cozy repeated. “I like the ring of this word. But you are still a weakling for not getting your revenge alone, Stygian.” Now some of the snark had returned into her voice.

But it did not help. I was led on the path to my own demise by The Shadow's words. I became its host and I empowered it to descend on the world. My decision brought darkness over Equestria and it nearly ended the world as we know it.

“Golly, nice story!” Fake cheer crept back into Cozy's voice. She used it to hide a cold shiver that went down her spine. “B-But what's the point of it all?”

I have heard that you did something similar, Cozy Glow. You formed an alliance with one of Equestria's most perilous fiends. Just like I did, you sought the help of someone with more power than you. I don't know if your intent was revenge but, just like my decision, yours could have brought doom for Equestria.
I ask you, what makes you think that Tirek would not have used you like The Shadow has used me?

Here, the letter ended abruptly. Stygian's farewell and his signature were the last remaining lines she could read. Cozy Glow lowered the letter, puzzled and surprised over the unexpected end.

Once the surprise had ceased, she shrugged. “I still did most of it by myself. I only needed Tirek's help for the spell, but everything else was my plan. You're still a weakling.”

She looked down at the letter in her hooves, then out of the cage, at the other letters in the corner and out of the cage again. Eventually, she shrugged once more, folded the letter neatly and added it to the others. Then she turned at Tirek.

“As if you were smart enough to betray me.” She held a hoof at her mouth and giggled.

Tirek raised an eyebrow and gave her a confused look.

A Letter from another Friendship Expert

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Hey, Cozy Glow!

My name's Gilda. I am the leading friendship expert in Griffonstone and I heard you're having serious troubles with friendship. I'm writing you to fix that!

Cozy's eyes stopped flying over the paper at the end of the paragraph. She threw her head back and broke out into amused giggling. It lasted for a few seconds, then evolved into full-blown laughter of a high volume.

Tirek looked up, annoyed. “What's so funny?”

Cozy Glow had her eyes closed now, not honoring the question of the centaur with even just a glance.

“Hahahahaha!” Cozy sighed in bliss. “Oh, Gilda, Gilda, whoever you are..... you are very funny.” She wiped some tears off her left eye. “Me, having trouble with friendship? It shows you don't know who you're talking to! But let me tell you.....”

Cozy cleared her throat.

“Gilda, Griffonstone Friendship Expert, I am Cozy Glow, Equestria Friendship Expert! Guess what?” She giggled, covering her mouth with one hoof. “I don't think you can teach me anything!”

Tirek squinted at the filly. “You're talking to yourself.”

“Shut up!” Cozy snapped back. “Villains always talk to themselves!”

“I'm sure I would know about this.....”

Cozy ignored him and finally directed her attention back to the letter. “Keep going, Gilda! There isn't much to laugh about down here, you know?”

I heard a few things about you, Cozy. I can tell you're a pretty tough nut to crack. You had lessons at a school that teaches friendship and nothing stuck. But I'm not worried about this. See, griffons don't know true friendship. For centuries, the people of my kingdom became driven by greed and the only thing that united us was all the gold we possessed.

“Oh, really?” Cozy Glow lowered the letter, smirking. “Didn't you say you're a friendship expert, Gilda? Doesn't sound like it, if you ask me. But hey, I could teach you everything you need! If I make my way to Griffonstone, Princess Twilight never has to teach any griffons, cause I will take care of this for her!” A vicious grin built on her face. ”And I'll get a whole army of griffons to fight for me and invade Equestria. Golly, that is a plan, I think I know what I am going to do once I'm out of here!” Cozy gripped the letter tighter and continued reading.

Then the day came when we lost all our treasures and since then, griffons only fight with each other anymore. Griffonstone saw civil wars between different factions of our people every three or four months, when one ended, the next one broke out almost immediately afterwards.

“Let me teeeeeeeach you!” Cozy chirped, smiling widely.

“You know she can't hear you, right?” Tirek inquired, but got ignored again. Cozy's face was pure bliss and her eyes sparkled from fascination.

I wasn't any better. But my friend Dash and her friend showed me that making friends is a much cooler way to spend your time than fighting and going to war.

“I can agree with that!” Cozy shouted.

So, now, I am teaching friendship to all the griffons in Griffonstone. It's not easy, but we made progress. And I will do the same thing with you. When I'm finished with you, Cozy, you will understand that friendship doesn't mean to dominate other ponies.

Stay sharp!


“Oh, absolutely!” Cozy commented the end of the letter with enthusiasm. “Sharp like a knife! And you are so right, Gilda, friendship means to work together and to help each other out. Friends always help each other with reaching their goals!” She smacked her lips, a subconscious movement that she did not even notice.

Still captured by the letter's content, Cozy moved her eyes back to the top of it and read it all again. Then she folded the letter neatly. “You're going on the pile!”

As she had added it to the other five ones, Cozy could not avert her gaze from Gilda's letter for a while. “Oh, Gilda, I hope you write again soon! I want to learn everything that is to know about Griffonstone! I can't wait to visit you there once I'm free!”

A Letter from a Sappy Bug

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Dear Cozy Glow,

my name is Thorax. I am the new leader of the Changeling Hive.

“Oh, really? The new leader?” Cozy perked up. “What happened to the old one? Did some good old backstabbing happen?” She wiggled her eyebrows.

Once, I was like you. I was a threat for Equestria and I stood loyal at the side of my former queen, Chrysalis. I was committing crimes against ponies in her name. But one day, this changed.

“So, another former villain..... Well, isn't that nice,” Cozy Glow grumbled and stuck out her tongue. “Please tell me that you at least backstabbed her and that you overthrew her in a bloody and merciless battle for dominance!” Cozy stiffled a yawn.

I was attacking Canterlot together with Chrysalis and my people. I was always a timid changeling, different than the others, and when I saw Princess Twilight and her friends fight for Equestria, I knew I couldn't do this anymore.

“Princess Twilight here, Princess Twilight there..... Get to the point!” Her voice became shrill at the end.

I was hiding until the battle was over. And after our army was defeated and we had been chased out of Canterlot, I got separated from the rest of my hive. I used the chance to run away and I never turned back. I have never returned to my hive, until the day Chrysalis was defeated.

“Now we're talking!” Cozy Glow had begun slumping in the middle of her cage, but now she sat up straight and her mouth formed a vile grin. “It's time for backstabbing!”

Chrysalis had kidnapped Princess Twilight and her friends, the royal family of the Crystal Empire and even Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. I managed to reach Ponyville and I led Discord, Starlight Glimmer and her friend Trixie through Chrysalis' hive. And when we arrived in Chrysalis' throne room.....

“Yes, yes, what happened then?” Cozy's eyes were glowing and she seemed like in trance.

…..I did the opposite of what Chrysalis has taught me. Instead of stealing love, I was giving love. And the other changelings followed my example. We all gave love to Chrysalis and this transformed us into a new kind of changelings.

Cozy Glow looked at the paper in her hooves, dumbfounded. “Gee, sappy like this? That's the most boring way of backstabbing someone I ever heard about.....”

The changeling hive blew up by all the love energy. Starlight Glimmer offered Chrysalis forgiveness and a new chance among us, but Chrysalis just mocked her, swore revenge and fled. And then we.....

“And then you lived happily ever after as a commune of sappy bugs.....” Now, Cozy finally yawned, loud and demonstrative. “You really bore me, Thorax, I can't even read until the end..... Your letter puts me to sleep.” She crumpled the letter to a ball. “Maybe Cerberus wants to play with it,” Cozy spoke and tossed the ball out of her cage. It landed right on Cerberus' nose, whose six eyes looked down in surprise.
“I'm taking a nap now, I bet this won't be any more boring than your excuse of a letter, Thorax,” Cozy said while she curled up right where she sat. A second later, the walls of Tartarus echoed her snores.

A Letter from Dipcord

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Cozy Glow lay in the middle of her cage, still asleep, her breath going steady. She started to blink as loud, thunderous stomps rang through the underground prison. Drowsy, Cozy sat up. She yawned without restraint, forehooves sunken in her lap. Her eyes were heavy-lidded and her vision still blurry.

While she rubbed her eyes and yawned again, something got dropped into her cage and on her hindlegs. Cozy opened only one eye to look at it, the other one still covered by her hoof. She could barely make out that it was a thin piece of paper.

“Another one?” Cozy closed her eyes and let a new yawn escape, a big one this time. “Already?” She smacked her lips to try and make the sticky feeling in her mouth go away. Then she took the envelope into her hooves.

Cozy opened it slowly, failing with the first few attempts before she could finally pull out the letter. She unfolded it but, as she wanted to start reading, her glance only fell on white, empty paper. She blinked twice, then rubbed her eyes again, believing not to be fully awake yet. When she looked back at the letter, it was still as empty as before.

“Golly..... Is this some kind of joke? Who would send an empty letter?” Cozy yawned a fourth time. She was already about to crumple the letter together with the envelope, making it just another piece of junk to clean up for Cerberus, as she heard ominous, rolling laughter.

“Not so fast,” a voice said.

In one corner of the letter, Cozy's eyes caught a faint movement and, only now, she could see a small, drawn figure peeling itself out of the paper. It had no colors, just a silhouette of thin pencil lines. It appeared to Cozy like an unfinished sketch of what was supposed to become a finished drawing one day, but its size was as small as someone tried to hide it. The shape of the tiny figure, however, was familiar to Cozy.

“Discord,” she said and frowned.

“The Lord of Chaos, to you!” Discord's deep voice corrected her. He now stood on the paper as a solid figure, the flat lines somehow forming a three-dimensional body.

“Whatever.....” Cozy shrugged, then presented Discord a yawn. It happened more for demonstration's sake, than tiredness, this time.

“Whatever, whatever.....” Discord mimicked her voice. “You know, that's just like my reaction when I heard about this little plan of Equestria's youngest princess.” His voice took on an amused tone at the very last word.

Said tone coaxed a snicker out of Cozy, but she suppressed it quickly and gave Discord a glare. “I don't think that you of all creatures are here to teach me something.” The trademark sneer in her voice had returned, gone from it was all tiredness. “I'm sure you are not even supposed to be here, Dipcord.”

Discord's laughter rang out again. “I am certainly not,” he spoke. “But doing it like this is so much more fun than the old-fashioned way, don't you think?” The word “FUN” appeared in big, bold letters on the paper. They rapidly flashed in all colors of the known spectrum and also in a few colors that Cozy could not even begin to describe.

The filly looked at the lettering for a few seconds, then her pupils dilated and a slight headache kicked in. Cozy closed her eyes, held a hoof at her forehead and groaned.

“I am sorry,” Discord's mocking voice echoed into her ears “did I forget to add a seizure warning?”

The sentence had barely left his tongue, as Cozy's eyes shot open again. Grinding her teeth, she let her right hoof come down on the paper, aiming for Discord's tiny figure. The flashing letters disappeared and Discord merely jumped aside with a graceful leap.

“What do you want from me, Dipcord?!” Cozy hissed at the draconequus.

Discord frowned up at the filly. “Hmph. No fun, huh? I just wanted to do this the nice way..... Twilight Sparkle really was right about you.” He snapped his claws and teleported away before another hoof hit the paper.

Discord reappeared on Cozy's head. “So much anger, so much hatred and so much pain.....” he commented, nonchalantly.

Below him, Cozy Glow growled loudly, confirming Discord's assessment.

Discord's frown deepened. “Acting like this won't make that dark spot in your heart go away.”

Before Cozy Glow could strike at him again, Discord teleported back onto the paper. Cozy's hoof hit her mane, like she unsuccessfully tried to swat a fly.

“There is a whole list of things I am supposed to go through with you,” Discord addressed her again. “But for now, I will only tell you this, my raging young villain.” He pointed behind Cozy, at the bulky figure in the other cage, who was still sleeping.

“You might want to stay away from this centaur the best you can manage,” he spoke to Cozy sternly. “I have worked with him enough to know that he will stab you as soon as you are not needed for his plans anymore.”

Immediately as Discord had ended, he disappeared. The empty paper remained in Cozy's hooves for a moment longer, then it disintegrated alongside the envelope that had contained it.

Cozy Glow, still red in the face, gnarled her teeth. “How often do I have to say it, this blockheaded fool cannot betray ME!”

The angry, frustrated scream that followed the statement woke Tirek up. Confused and sleepy, the centaur glanced around in his cage.

A Letter from Commander Tempest

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Dear Cozy Glow,

this is Tempest Shadow, first-in-command of Your Highness, the mighty and fearsome Storm King.

Immediately as Cozy had finished reading this first sentence of her newest letter, a serious and solemn expression appeared on her face. She lowered the letter slightly and lifted her left hoof at her head for a salute. Cozy remained in this pose for a few seconds, then she directed her attention back at the letter. “I feel honored to receive a letter from you, Commander Tempest!” Her face was full of honest admiration.

I have heard all about your achievements and I know that we have many things in common. I am just like you, Cozy Glow, I have also sought cooperation with a powerful ally to achieve my goals. The Storm King is a warlord who controls one of Equus' most terrifying and merciless armies. And I am the one who directly commands this army.

Despite the fact that Cozy Glow already knew Tempest Shadow and could tell what the former Storm King commander was going to say next, thanks to a very intense lesson at Princess Twilight's school about the possible consequences of abandoning a friend in a time of need, of which Cozy absorbed only the most important parts, the filly stayed silent and followed the letter with unbridled attention. She did not even realize that the commander nowhere implied how she was not serving the Storm King anymore.

Under my command, the Storm Army conquered kingdoms, made their rulers bow and shiver in front of my master and obtained supreme power for him by heisting the most powerful, magical artifacts their kingdoms possessed. We have burnt down houses and entire towns if we found resistance. No one could stand in the way of the army I commanded.

Cozy Glow whistled. The broad smile indicated that she couldn't get enough of hearing the exploits of her idol.

Of course I was not doing this for him. I had my very own plans. The Storm King was merely a puppet I used for my benefits.

A broad smile formed on Cozy's face. She had to stop reading for a moment, to wipe a single tear out of her left eye.

My goal was to heal my broken horn and to get the magical power back that I could wield once, a long time ago. His power was supposed to serve me, to reclaim old friendships I have lost when I was even younger than you are now. It would have been so easy to use the power of my horn against him, if he hadn't betrayed me.

Cozy flapped her ears back and her admiring smile turned into an expression of empathy and compassion.

The game of power is a very dangerous game to play, Cozy Glow. You should always know who you can really trust and who is your enemy.

Cozy Glow squealed and pressed the letter against her chest, tightly. “Oh, this is so wonderful to get a lesson from you, Commander Tempest! I wish you could be my teacher, instead of that friendship princess!” Her cheeks were glowing in a bright pink.

You are like me, Cozy Glow. You just have a few more things to learn. You are going to hear from me again.

Commander Tempest Shadow

Having finished the letter, Cozy Glow was frozen in reverence for a few minutes. Only slowly, she managed to move again. Her body shivered and her hooves shook as she folded the letter and put it back into its envelope with diligence.

“You get a special place! As special as a place can be in this cage!” She placed the envelope in the farthest corner, where she was sure she could not accidentally tarnish or damage it while being asleep.

After this, Cozy Glow called for Cerberus' attention. She made her demand clear and a few minutes later, she was sitting on her haunches in the middle of the cage, an empty sheet of paper in her lap and a quill in her hooves.

“Your letter really deserves a response, Commander! I hope we can be great pen pals!” Cozy put the quill down and started to write, her face filled with satisfaction and eager anticipation.

To my Master, Commander Tempest

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Dear Commander Tempest Shadow

Hello, Commander Tempest!

Commander Tempest Shadow!

“No, that made it worse.” Cozy Glow stuck the quill into her mouth and looked at the ceiling of her cage. Her tongue played with the branches of the feather while she was thinking. A smile appeared on her mouth as a solution entered her mind.

“Greetings, Commander Tempest!” Her smile grew wider. “Better! But not perfect yet. Just needs a little something.....” She pondered some more. “Greetings, Commander Tempest Shadow, Spearhead of the Supreme Army of Your Highness, the allmighty and fearsome Storm King!” Now Cozy grinned. “This has a very nice ring to it, Commander Tempest will love it!” A squeal emphasized her decision. She brought the quill down again.

Greetings, Commander Tempest Shadow, Spearhead of the Supreme Army of Your Highness, the allmighty and fearsome Storm King!

I just wanted to say thank you for your letter and, well, gush over your powerful greatness!

Cozy Glow blushed, looking at the part she had just crossed out.

maybe ask you a few questions, if you don't mind.
My old teacher told me a lot about your exploits as a hero and adventurer in the Storm King's army! By the way, how is the King doing? I bet you still rack up victories against his enemies wherever they stand in your way, because really, how else could it be, my wonderful, heroic and always victorious master!.

Cozy Glow's wings flared out from the excitement and passion she felt and stood erected. The filly gave a little cough, blushing more brightly.

I wish I could have heard more about you. Those lessons were the only ones that I really enjoyed..... But these pesky creatures ruined my plan and made me getting kicked from the school.....

A small tear appeared in her right eye. She reached up and wiped it away.

But it's all okay now!

Cozy set up a smile.

Because now I can talk to you and find out about everything that I missed! I hope that this letter will reach you soon, I can't wait to talk more with you and to learn from you, Commander Tempest! I think you will be a very good teacher for me! Please tell me everything you know!

Your loyal student,

Cozy Glow

Cozy Glow put the quill down and let her eyes fly over the letter. She gave everything she wrote a thorough check. At the end, she nodded.

“Okay, this sounds good!” she determined. “Now I just need to write it all up on another sheet, this letter should be only the best for Commander Tempest!” Cozy reached for a second sheet of paper and laid down on her belly. As she began to write, she kicked her hindlegs into the air and hummed happily.

~ * ~

Far up north, in the Crystal Empire, Tempest Shadow put down the letter she just read. “Excellent,” she spoke with satisfaction and leaned back. “Everything works as planned.”

From behind, Glitter Drops looked over her shoulder. “I really hope you know what you're doing, Fizzlepop,” the turquoise mare said, scrunching her mouth.

A Letter with a Useless Friendship Offer

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Cozy Glow stared intensely at the envelope in her hooves. The name she read on it reverberated in her mind. She turned the envelope; one time, two times, three times, before she finally brought herself to open it. Very slow, she pulled out the letter, then put the envelope away. It took her another minute before she unfolded the letter and started reading it.

Dear Cozy Glow,

this is Moondancer. Do you remember me?

Cozy Glow cocked her head and squinted her eyes, pondering like she was actually supposed to give an answer on Moondancer's question.

I was writing you when you were very upset over Princess Luna's letter.

Cozy Glow huffed.

And I was wondering how you are doing now. It's been a while since my first letter must have reached you. I hope that my letter helped you, Cozy, and that it made you feel better. I want that you feel good.

“Really, huh?” Cozy tilted her head even more. “I'm not so sure about that. What would you gain from making me feel good, Moondancer?” She put a searing emphasis on Moondancer's name. It sounded like a warning.

Speaking of feel good, I got you something! I found this on a flea market in Canterlot last weekend and I thought you would like it!

Cozy Glow cast her eyes down onto the envelope. She noticed a little bulge in it and realized how she must have overlooked it earlier while deciding whether to open it or not. She put the letter down in her lap and reached for the envelope. Turning it, she shook the little object out of it. A green crochet bracelet fell onto the letter. In the middle, the word “COZY” was stitched onto it with big, bold, pink lettering. Her name. The bracelet had landed right under the next sentence.

The vendor called it a “relaxation bracelet”. You look at the word on it and it eases you. I'm not sure if it works but, if it does, I hope it will help you to be more calm, Cozy. You were on edge lately.

Cozy Glow picked up the bracelet and looked at it for a good long while. A slight trembling went through her lower lip. Her face darkened. Cozy emitted a long-stretched whistle and flung the bracelet out of her cage. Cerberus ran past it, panting, his stomps letting Tartarus shake.

“I don't need any dumb gifts,” Cozy muttered. She picked up the letter again and continued reading.

And, to be honest, I hope you will accept this as a sign of friendship. Because I would really like to be your friend, Cozy. I heard that you are an extraordinarily friendly, kind and helpful filly. And I would like to know more about such a nice filly as you, maybe you can tell me something about yourself in a letter?
I need to finish this letter now, but I will write again soon. I hope to hear from you, Cozy!



“What would you gain from that, Moondancer?” Cozy asked the same question as before. “And what would I gain from it? There's no way for you to help me with anything while I'm locked up in here.” It was a harsh response, but Cozy's voice lacked the energy it was known for. It sounded dull and distant.

“I don't care,” Cozy whispered, before she proceeded to stare blankly out of the cage.

Another Letter from that Persistent Mare

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Dear Cozy Glow,

this is Moondancer, again.

“Yeah, again,” Cozy Glow repeated. “You are persistent, Moondancer, why sending another letter? I thought silence for three weeks makes it clear enough that I don't care. Your brain must be pretty dumb if you can't even take a hint like that.”

It's been a while since I wrote you and because you haven't responded, I figured you probably won't anymore...

“Oh, hey, some real brain activity!” Cozy set up a fake shock expression, framing her widely opened mouth with her forehooves. “How long did it take you to figure that out, Moondancer? You really are one genius!”

So, instead, I decided to write you again.

Now Cozy Glow frowned and all the mockery and fake cheer disappeared from her face. “So, instead, I decided to harass you, Cozy Glow!” the filly reworded the sentence. “Golly, Moondancer, am I your toy now?! I don't even understand why I keep reading your shit. Did you put a freaking spell to allure me to keep reading on this letter?!” There was no sign of regret over the switch to a more aggressive language in Cozy Glow's face.

And I want to apologize. I guess something in my letter must have upset you and that's why you didn't respond. I'm not sure what it was,

“Oh, go ahead and guess, Moondancer!” Cozy Glow snarked. “Show me your best theories!”

but whatever I said to upset you, I am sorry that I did. That's not my intention, I want to make you happy, Cozy Glow, not angry.

“Want that I feel good, make me happy!” Cozy Glow chirped. “A lot of care from a pony who doesn't even know me.” She cast her eyes down and her face darkened somewhat. “You're a liar, Moondancer.”

And I hope I can make up for it by talking about something that's fun. Yesterday, I visited the vendor I told you about again. After buying your relaxation bracelet, I asked him to make me my own and he finally had it finished yesterday! The word on mine is “Silence”. It's a reference to libraries. They are always silent and it is so relaxing to sit there and read a good book! And with this bracelet, I can carry this feeling with me wherever I go!

“Wooooooooh!” Cozy Glow returned to mock the letter.

Now both of us have a relaxation bracelet, isn't this amazing? I really hope you like your own, it was a perfect surprise find of a gift for you!

“Cerberus had a blast with it.” For a split-second, a vicious grin appeared on Cozy Glow's face. Then it turned into a disappointed frown. “First fail number one and now fail number two. Moondancer, you really don't understand anything.”
Cozy Glow's hooves began shaking and she couldn't hold the letter anymore. It dropped to the metallic bottom of the cage. Unable to sit any longer, Cozy Glow curled up, with her back pointing at Tirek, so he wouldn't see the tears that began flowing down her face.

A Letter meant to cheer me up...

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Cozy Glow lay in her cage, sleeping. Fitful breathing lifted her small chest. She whimpered and moaned in her sleep and her hindlegs seemed to kick at something invisible. It was in this moment that Cerberus approached the cage and that he dropped a letter inside, which landed on Cozy's hindlegs. As the paper touched it, Cozy's eyes shot open. A short, but all the more intense, scream left her throat and she sat up instantly. Frantic, Cozy Glow inched into a corner of her cage and leaned herself against the bars. Her eyes were closed as she kept whimpering and she pressed her face at the bars like she could squeeze her head through them.

Her whimpering slowly became weaker as the reality of her surroundings began to kick in. As she remembered again where she was, Cozy opened her eyes. They were bloodshot and the coat under them was wet. In a sedative manner, Cozy Glow moved her face away from the bars and brought herself in a more convenient sitting position. Her forehooves hang limb in front of her stomach and she looked at the cage floor with an absent, tired expression.

She remained like this for a minute, then her expression changed. A deep and loud growl rang out from her throat and she began beating the metal bars around her. Cerberus returned. He looked down at her sternly and knocked with his paws against the cage ceiling, but to no avail. Cozy Glow kept trashing and kicking her prison, until her forehooves and her hindlegs hurt from the violent outburst. She sat down, limp, and breathed heavily. A few new tears trickled down from her eyes as she rubbed over her aching legs. Cerberus stayed for a few seconds longer, staring down at her, then the beastly guard walked away.

Cozy sniffed. Finally, she noticed the letter. Feeling the need for distraction, she picked it up with her wings and opened it. The hoofwriting and the address on the envelope were familiar to her. They felt strangely etched into her memory.

Dear Cozy Glow,

Sweetie Belle here. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are here, too, but for now, it looks like I'll be the one talking with you.

Cozy Glow sniffed, wiped over her nose and continued reading.

We were asked to write you again now, because the others seem to think you aren't feeling well and... I am actually not sure why they asked us. I said we would write you again and that we will give you a chance and that is still true. But I don't understand why they want us to cheer you up. Neither do Apple Bloom or Scoots. They don't want to talk with you right now.
You made us think we are friends, but then you only hurt us, Cozy. So why would we be the right ones to cheer you up when you feel bad? After you made us feel very bad... We don't get why they chose us. None of us feels like we can cheer you up right now, even if we wanted. But they didn't let go and kept insisting, so, here we are, I guess.

A few tear drops fell on the letter, soaking the paper right at the end of the sentence Cozy just finished reading. She paused for a moment to dry her eyes. Gulping and with shaking wings, she searched where she had left off as she was done.

So... how are you doing? I guess it could be better, it probably isn't very cozy down there in Tartarus. Scoots says that was a terrible pun. She's probably right. Apple Bloom is snickering, though.
Scoots says I should ask you about cutie marks. You know we help ponies with getting them, right? I don't remember if we told you. Those are our special talents. What's yours, I wonder? A rook cutie mark is pretty unique, I think. So, are you good at playing chess? That you are and we were the pawns on ya chessboard!
And that is how Apple Bloom feels. But not really different from how we all feel. But you know that already. So... I actually don't know what else to say. We were only asked to write this letter, it wasn't our own decision. So, did this cheer you up? I hope it did, because writing this letter is very hard.
So, I think that's it. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom have nothing to add. Maybe write back, if you want.

Sweetie Belle

Cozy Glow sniffed again. Wordlessly, she cast a shy glance out of the cage, at Cerberus. Cozy folded the letter, now sniffing continuously, and placed it in the corner on top of the others as neatly as she could with her shaking hooves. She looked at Cerberus again and, in a weak voice, asked for something to write.

Provided with the necessary material, Cozy Glow brought the quill down on the paper. After scribbling a few lines, she shoved the finished letter, alongside the quill and the ink bottle out of the cage.

Cozy Glow lay down flat on her stomach, staring and waiting while tears glistened in her red eyes.

To the Cutie Mark Crusaders...

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Dear Cutie Mark Crusaders,

please tell Starlight Glimmer to send me a letter.

Cozy Glow

Starlight sent me a letter...

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Like in trance, Cozy Glow sat in the middle of her cage and stared down at a letter in her hooves. Her eyes were still red, like they had been for a couple days now, and her mane was sticking out into many directions. Instead of opening the letter, she turned and turned it in her hooves, over and over again. She went on with this for so long, that even Tirek began to wonder.

“Will you never open that letter?” Tirek asked, unable to look at the strange behavior any longer.

Cozy Glow twitched. She stopped the rotating and began to remove the envelope, with mechanical movements. Her eyes widened as she unfolded the letter. She gulped as she started reading.

Dear Cozy Glow,

it's me, Starlight. Which was probably unnecessary to say. It's not like you don't already know that from the address on the envelope... But, anyway, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, your friends,

Cozy Glow's eyes narrowed.

said that you want me to write you. So, here I am! I told you that you can count on me, Cozy.
And I'm surprised that you asked for me. I guess that means something pretty big has happened. I know from Moondancer that you didn't answer her letters. She thinks that you are mad again because she reminded you on Princess Luna's letter and that her friendship offer came too quick for you.

Cozy closed her eyes and sighed. She shook her head before she opened them again and continued.

Are these two things the reason why you want to hear from me? Or is it something else? I want to help you, Cozy, but there isn't much I can say if I don't know what happened.
I need you to write me back, Cozy. Then we can talk about whatever problem you have. Maybe you don't want to, but if you don't write and tell me what happened, then I won't know how I can help. So, please write me, okay?
I hope to hear from you soon, Cozy!



Cozy Glow sighed again, putting the letter away. “What choice do I have, Starlight?”

Being asked for it once more, Cerberus brought her paper, quill and bottle. She opened the bottle and dipped the quill into it. But as she brought it to the paper, her hoof suddenly stopped.

Cozy Glow sat and stared at the paper for many minutes before she finally started to write.

To Starlight...

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Dear Starlight Glimmer,

so you got my message, that's good. I'm not sure why I'm writing you... I shouldn't. I just feel I have to. Isn't this strange? I'm just feeling very bad lately... Ever since that letter by that persistent mare who acts like she is my friend, even though she isn't... And never will be... I don't care about her. She is the reason why I have nightmares... Ever since her dumb, stupid, good for nothing LETTER. I don't care about her, she doesn't deserve to be my friend... She isn't. She isn't... And she never will be...
I don't remember the nightmares after waking up... But I know they were there... My head hurts when I wake up at morning and I always sweat. What is it? Why is it doing this? Why is my dumb mind doing this? I just want it to stop... Tell me, Starlight. Tell me how I can stop these nightmares. I will never write you again, but I need to know how to make it stop.
Tell me. I expect an answer from you. And if you don't answer, my next letter won't be so nice...

Cozy Glow

A Letter from Another Hurt Friend

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Dear Cozy Glow,

I'm really happy you wrote back! For a while, I was worried you wouldn't when your letter seemed to arrive late. I'm very glad you did, because you are hurt and need help to make these nasty nightmares stop.

Cozy Glow sniffed. “Thousand points, Starlight! That was the correct answer! Cerberus, give our happy winner her prize!” Cozy Glow sneered in a sarcastic fashion as she was finished reading the line.

Unfortunately, you weren't very specific in your letter. I can tell that Moondancer's friendship offer overwhelmed you, Cozy. And the fact that you have nightmares sounds like you are afraid of accepting somepony as your friend. But I don't know why. And without knowing that, I can't tell what would make your nightmares stop...

Cozy's ears folded tightly against her head and her eyes turned desperate and pleading.

I can only make guesses what happened... There probably was a friend who was hurting you a lot one day and you lost trust in friendships because of that... Something like that has happened to me, too.

Cozy's ears went back up and her eyes began radiating an intense curiosity.

A long time ago, when I was still a filly, my friend Sunburst just left me one day after he got his cutie mark... He discovered his talent in magic and went to attend a magic school far away. And he never talked to me again since, he didn't even answer any of the letters I sent him... He was my only friend, but his magic lessons were suddenly more important than me...

Here, the writing of the letter became a little crooked, which Cozy acknowledged by raising an eyebrow.

I guess you went through something similar. I didn't become afraid of friendships, I just made a lot of wrong friends and these friendships always broke, so I need to know what exactly happened to you before I can help with the nightmares.

Cozy Glow frowned.

That's something I can't demand from you. But I think it would help you to talk about it. If you can, please tell me why you are afraid of making real friends.
No matter what you tell me, I will support you, Cozy.



Cozy Glow let the letter sink. The expression in her face was stoic, with a look in her eyes that hinted at deep contemplation.

Starlight, I feel better...

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Dear Starlight Glimmer,

thank you for your letter! You know what? I feel better now! Everything's peachy down here in Tartarus again! I was reading your last letter and, GOLLY, you wrote SO MANY encouraging and uplifting things in that letter! It really made me feel good and all fuzzy inside!
I went to sleep last night after reading it, like, the thousandth time (because I love it SO MUCH!) and guess what? This was the first night without any bad dreams in two months! Yes, really! No bad dreams for eight whole weeks! Isn't this amazing?
You said you need to know why I am afraid of making real friends (which I'm not, everypony is my friend!), but now you don't need to know anymore!
Everything is good again now, so I don't need more letters or questions from you. Now you can make all those other wanna-be friendship teachers write me again! Except for Moondancer. I don't like this mare, she is not allowed to write me. But everypony else is good in my book, so make them send tons of letters! And if you can, make Commander Tempest write me one!


Cozy Glow

P.S.: Really, make Commander Tempest write me a letter!

A Dream Conference

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Far away from Cozy Glow and Tartarus, in a place of limitless possibilities, a band of thirteen creatures had gathered. They stood in the middle of a vast expanse of space, stars floating around them in a purple void, and were grouped around a circular stone table, that appeared to be carved out of massive granite. They were all standing, however, there were no chairs for them to sit down on. Unhappiness was plastered on each of their faces, stress and chagrin. The atmosphere was charged, they all felt tense, but the absence of chairs was not the reason for it.

Princess Luna stood at one side of the table, her appearance epic and regal as usual, but her face was adorned with worry, concern and desperation. A proposal of hers had been rejected just now and it made the Princess of the Night anxious as a result. Luna stepped forward and put her forehooves down on the table. It vibrated slightly.

“I must insist!” her voice bellowed, full of strength and demand. “Cozy Glow has suffered nightmares for eight weeks, we cannot allow that her mind will remain unaided like this! Twilight Sparkle's command not to enter her dreams can no longer be honored!”

The crowd sighed and murmured. Twelve faces rested on Luna, faces of resistance and opposition.

“I understand your worries, Princess.” Starlight Glimmer took the floor and spoke up. “But I don't think it is a good idea to do this. Cozy trusts us..... starts to trust us, anyway. Entering her dreams would breach that trust. It would be an invasion of her privacy, I can see Twilight's point here. And I think it would also scare her. She already reacted with fear to Moondancer's friendship offer, just imagine how she would react if you would get even closer to her.” Starlight's eyes were pleading, urging the princess not to do what she thought would prove to be a very bad idea with terrible consequences.

“I agree,” it came from one corner of the table, in a dry, smoky voice. Tempest Shadow stirred and locked eyes with Princess Luna. “I made progress. I have managed to gain the trust of this filly. She listens to me and would do everything I tell her. She even wants to be my student. All the progress would be lost if Cozy Glow shuts us out and refuses to talk because you dug too deep, Princess.”

Luna's face shattered and fell apart. They still didn't understand. She turned at her old mentor Starswirl. “At least you will agree, right? You are my teacher and mentor, surely you will see it the way I do, Starswirl?” Luna gave him a cautious smile.

The old wizard remained stoic and calm, but he shook his head. “I am afraid I have to agree with the rest of us, albeit for different reasons. I have heard about the threats the young one spoke out to you and some ponies have more power in their dreams than others. It would be too dangerous to explore the dreams of young Cozy as long as she hates you that much.”

“We agree with ya!” A higher voice from the other end of the table, with a slight country drawl, rang out.

At Apple Bloom's side, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle nodded.

“Yeah, you always helped us, Princess Luna!” Scootaloo remarked.

“And without you, we still wouldn't understand many things,” Sweetie Belle added.

“And what's the most important, the sooner ya find out what is wrong with that Cozy Glow, the sooner we don't have ta help her anymore!” Apple Bloom's face became stern and dark.

Once more, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle showed their support with nods.

Luna's face lit up. But only for a moment, as Stygian spoke up to oppose the three fillies.

“And I disagree,” the low voice of the scrawny stallion in his cloak rang out. “Starswirl is right. I have studied dreams and dream magic and how the mind can control and alter a dream. A pony who possesses a lot of anger can do many devastating things in their dreams.”

“And we still can't forget Cozy's privacy.....” Moondancer chimed in. “I agree with Starlight and Twilight. I don't understand why Cozy rejects me, it is so confusing..... But if Princess Luna enters her dreams without Cozy's agreement, she could lose her trust completely and never talk to any of us ever again.” Moondancer's face was filled with grief.

“I think I understand why she rejects you, Moondancer.” Starlight Glimmer looked up and over to the other mare. “Cozy is afraid of establishing a real friendship. Her reaction on your letter has shown that clearly. I think she might have been betrayed or abandoned by a friend, like it happened with me and Sunburst.”

“Or with me.” Tempest Shadow's voice trembled slightly.

Moondancer nodded, her face clearing up a bit. “Or like with me and Twilight. I think this could be the reason..... But would that really be enough to make Cozy reject true friendship completely? I have spoken about her with Twilight, Cozy Glow is so different than me, she is confident and outgoing and never has fears talking to anypony.....”

“Heck if I know!” A frustrated, deep voice blurted out before Starlight could respond anything. Gilda threw her claws into the air, then propped her head up on one of them, looking morosely around the crowd. “Now that we know that Cozy Glow is scared of true friendship, this makes everything harder for me! How should I teach her that friendship is a great thing if she is afraid of it? I never had to deal with a griffon who didn't care about friendship because it scared them..... I could use a hint from her dreams.” Gilda gave Luna a hopeful glance, a small smile building on her beak.

“Pointless!” Trixie's voice suddenly rang out and the rest of the group looked at her. “It doesn't matter if Princess Luna snoops around in Cozy Glow's dreams or not, it would be a completely pointless thing to do!”

“Why?” Starlight asked, tilting her head and giving her friend a doubtful glance.

“Easy!” Trixie responded with confidence. “Because this filly has lost her mind! Trixie can see that she is completely insane.”

Around her, twelve pairs of eyes narrowed in disapproval.

“Don't give Trixie looks like this, Trixie knows what she is talking about!” she shouted, not phased by this reaction. “Trixie was obsessed with power because of the alicorn amulet and the longer Trixie was wearing it, the more insane she became. Cozy Glow is obsessed with power and power obsession turns a pony insane. That's why she had those nightmares, it means Cozy Glow's sanity is getting lost. That's why it's pointless to look into her dreams, you will only find more madness, Princess.” Trixie closed her eyes, crossed her forelegs and nodded, to underline her explanation.

“I really don't think that's the case with Cozy..... And it's really mean to say that,” Starlight scolded her friend.

Trixie opened her eyes again. “What? Any better ideas?” Trixie shot back and huffed.

“I have a better idea,” Thorax responded. His face showed a glare, anger over Trixie's suggestion apparent in it. “Cozy Glow is afraid of making friends because she struggles to decide if she should be good or evil.” Thorax' forehead became clad in wrinkles.

“After I left Chrysalis' hive, I was wandering around aimlessly. I stayed hidden and did not dare to approach anypony, not even in disguise. And even after Spike offered me his friendship, I hesitated to take it and he had to convince me first. I was not sure if leaving Chrysalis was really the right decision and everyday I was trying to decide if I should return to the hive. I didn't want to make any friends, I knew it's a pony thing to do and that I would decide for the good side if I did. I wasn't ready to make this decision yet, so I avoided making friends. I'm sure Cozy Glow feels the same way.”

“And what do you think about her nightmares?” Luna asked the changeling, bringing the topic back to what was on her heart. “Do you not think I should aid Cozy in her dreams so that she will never have such nightmares again?”

Thorax looked at the princess, his face becoming somewhat softer. “I think they are a good sign. Her nightmares mean that she is close to choosing the good side. She only needs a push into the right direction.”

“By entering her dreams,” Luna tried it again.

“No,” Thorax turned her down. He shook his head. “Cozy Glow sees you as a villain, Princess. If you enter her dreams now, against her agreement, it would give her the feeling that villains can do anything they want without being stopped. It could sway her to the dark side for good.”

The confidence in Luna's face faltered and she shrunk a little. “I suppose this makes sense..... I will stay outside of young Cozy's dreams then..... with hesitation.”

“Very good! I think that's a splendid idea!” Discord came floating past Luna, a disinterested, bored look on his face, but a mischievous sound in his voice. He had been circling the table the entire time, occasionally plucking some stars off the dream fabric and throwing them into his mouth, where he let his teeth crunch down on them with delight. The draconequus had not paid much attention to the meeting and it was the first time since they had all gathered that he said something.

“Because”, he continued, “where would be the fun in entering her dreams and finding out everything all at once? Our audience would be so disappointed if the mystery gets solved that quickly.”

“What audience?” Apple Bloom cocked her head and gave him a riddled, confused look.

Discord only flashed a cocky grin, owing her an answer, and kept circling around the table and the gathered creatures.

Starswirl cleared his throat. “Let's bring this conversation into a sane direction again..... I am not very experienced with the troubles that a pony might carry in their mind. But I think it's obvious that the problem of the young one is that she cannot see Moondancer's true intentions. She does not understand that Moondancer wants to help, because she fails to slip into Moondancer's shoes.”

Not far away from Starswirl, Stygian's face brightened, the outward signs of a transpiring epiphany. “This must be the solution.....” he breathed.

Instantly, all eyes were on him, weary eyes that craved an end of this meeting.

“Cozy Glow could not see it from Moondancer's point of view and that's why she misunderstood her actions. If a friend betrayed her and that's why she is afraid of real friendships, then maybe this friend of hers did not really betray her, maybe they intended to do something else and Cozy Glow just did not understand because she failed to see it from her friend's view!” Stygian put his forehooves on the table and rose up, excited because of his realization.

“Oh, really?” Apple Bloom asked, a snark in her voice. “Ya mean like Cozy failed ta see it from our point of view?” She gestured with her hoof at herself and each of her two friends.

“Um-hm.” Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle nodded together, their faces dark and serious.

“Yes,” Stygian confirmed. “Cozy Glow did not understand that you didn't betray her friendship, that you just wanted to protect your kingdom and home.”

“Great, so Cozy went and betrayed us instead.....” Scootaloo dropped her head and sighed, eyes closed.

“Not necessarily,” Stygian suggested.

“Huh?” Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow. “Ya ain't serious, are ya?”

“I am. It might not have been Cozy's intent to betray your friendship.” Stygian resisted the glare of the filly undeterred.

“That's..... Yeah, sorry, but that's completely ridiculous,” Sweetie Belle judged the suggestion, bluntly.

“Yeah, Cozy Glow is just a rotten, no-good filly, of course she betrayed us!” Apple Bloom huffed, her face turning slightly red.

Stygian did not falter. “When I took the artifacts of my friends and wanted to replicate them, I did not try to betray them. I just wanted to find a way to be as strong as them and to fight at their side. But they didn't understand what I was trying to do, they could not see it from my point of view, and so they thought that I am a villain who turns against them.” Stygian increased the intensity of his stare at the three fillies. “Maybe Cozy Glow was the same. Maybe she had very important reasons for what she did, reasons that you don't understand, and that is why she had to stop you. I never tried to betray my friends, maybe Cozy Glow did not betray you, either. She could not see your actions from your point of view, but neither do you try to see her actions from her own point of view.”

Apple Bloom raised a hoof and opened her mouth to say something, then her angry expression changed to one of surprise. She took her hoof down again, eyelids lowering, then looked down at the table. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle followed her example. All three of them stayed silent.

“So, are we going with this?” Starlight Glimmer took the floor as Stygian did not say more. “That Cozy Glow feels betrayed by a friend, but that this friend of hers did not really betray her and Cozy just believes they did because she didn't put herself into her friend's shoes? Are we taking this approach in our next letters? I think it is a good theory about Cozy's reason and that it's worth a try, but what do all of you think?” Starlight let her eyes glide over the gathered ponies and creatures.

Tempest Shadow huffed and her answer was a growl, coming out between her gritted teeth.

“I don't agree with it. I think Cozy Glow has a very different reason for acting like this,” Thorax responded.

Starswirl and Stygian nodded, the former with closed eyes, the latter with a stern look on his face, but both of them silently expressing their agreement.

“Trixie does not agree. Cozy Glow is just insane and needs a different kind of treatment.”

“I am on Starlight's side,” Moondancer announced. “I felt so betrayed by Twilight and I think Cozy goes just through the same thing.”

“Oh, do whatever you think is right to make that dark spot in Cozy Glow's heart go away, I don't care.” Discord continued munching away at the stars.

Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle did not answer Starlight's question. They just eyed the table, sunken in thoughts.

“I'll take it!” Gilda spoke gruffly. “Anything that gives me a hint what I should do with that filly now.”

“I agree, as well,” Luna said as the last one. “I cannot enter young Cozy's dreams to find out what is wrong, but I am willing to try out any idea that offers itself.”

Starlight looked at each pony and creature as they cast their vote on the subject. Then she nodded. “Okay, so we have six creatures who agree with the new plan, three creatures who disagree with it and four abstentions. That settles it. We will try to make Cozy realize that her friend from the past did not intend to betray her, to fix her fear of true friendship.”

Six creatures nodded, while Tempest Shadow let out a longer and sharper growl than before, neither the sound nor the expression in her face doing any effort to mask how much she detested Stygian's theory.

“Now we only need to decide who will start this new approach and will send Cozy the next letter,” Starlight continued. “Princess Luna and Moondancer are unfortunately being ruled out, this leaves only myself, Starswirl, Stygian and Gilda. And if none of you mind, I think I should be the one who begins and send Cozy another letter. We can't just simply tell Cozy that her friend did not mean to betray her, if what we think is true, she will be a hurt a lot and reject us if we are too direct about it. We need somepony who will gently dig for information, without upsetting Cozy.”

“Go ahead,” Gilda prompted her, casually waving a claw at Starlight. “I never had to teach friendship to someone with a problem like this, I need more infos before I can figure out what to do.”

“I think the choice is excellent,” Starswirl spoke confidently. “I can teach the young one to see things from the perspective of her friend once you have succeeded to find out what happened in her past.” The old wizard stroke over his beard.

“I agree,” Stygian simply said.

“Okay. I'm glad you're seeing it my way.” Starlight gave the griffon and the two ancient ponies a nod each. “I guess that means we are done here. Princess Luna?” She turned at the princess.

“It seems you are correct, Starlight. This dream meeting is hereby over. I will set you all free of this shared dream now and let you back into your individual dreams. Rest well, ponies and creatures, for we have an important mission to accomplish.”

Most creatures of the crowd nodded, then they disappeared one after another, until only Luna and Discord were left. The draconequus continued his business, not paying heed to the princess.

Luna did not pay heed to him, either. She fixated the table, from under sunken eyelids. “I hope I am doing the right thing, young Cozy Glow.”

A Letter about Kites!

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Dear Cozy Glow,

hey, Starlight here!

“Starlight!” Cozy Glow beamed, eyes growing wide and sparkling. “How nice to hear of you! Be my guest in these four prison walls that are my home now! You are definitely so much better than this friendship pest from Canterlot, come on, get comfy in my cell here!”

“She's not really here,” Tirek informed her, looking down at Cozy sternly from his own cell.

“Oh, she is, of course she is, you dumb, old centaur!” Cozy Glow waved the letter at him, giving him a smile. “She is right here!”

Tirek dropped his head, sighing with half-lidded eyes. “I should really request to get moved to another part of Tartarus.”

“Nope!” Averting her attention from the letter, Cozy Glow shot a hoof at Tirek, a stern look in her own eyes now. “You'll stay here!” She refocused on the letter, ignoring Tirek's grumbling.

By now, you are probably sick of hearing from me and sick of it that no one else is writing you.

“Oh, absolutely not, go on!” Cozy Glow flopped down on her belly, with a smile on her face. “Feel at home, tell me everything you want!”

But the good news is, that I'm just writing you to talk! You know, talking about this and that, how annoying doing the laundry is, the weather in Ponyville lately, our favourite hobbies... Nothing serious, just small talk!

“Great!” Cozy beamed again, closing her eyes for a satisfied expression and lifting her head slightly.

And hobbies are a great way of starting a conversation, so let's start with this! You know what I really love, Cozy? Kites! Ever since I was a young filly in Sire's Hollow, I loved to fly kites with my dad! I bet you love flying kites, too, because what filly doesn't?!

“Sure thing!” Cozy piped up, kicking her hindlegs into the air. “But I won't tell you who I was flying kites with, that's a cozy secret!”

There's nothing better than flying a kite on a wide, grassy field during a warm summer afternoon... When you see it move past the drifting clouds in the sky, you can let your mind drift with them and it feels like they're taking all your worries away... Try picturing it, Cozy.

“Oh, I do! I am picturing it and it looks sooooo beautiful, Starlight!” The expression in Cozy's face became dreamily.

Isn't it relaxing?

“It certainly is, Starlight!”

I know you can't fly a kite where you are right now, but if you keep imagining this, Cozy, it will ease your mind and you are going to feel a lot better. And once you are out of Tartarus one day, you can come to Ponyville and we can go and fly kites together!

“Oh, that would be absolutely lovely, Starlight! Get me out of here quickly and we can fly all the kites you want!” A bit of the usual snark returned into Cozy's voice now, her cheeriness unable to mask it.

And until then, it would be great if we could talk more about kites together! What kites were you flying, Cozy? How did they look? A kite can look like anything you want, they are easy to build, all you need is colored paper, a couple sticks and thread, then you can build any kite you can think of!
How would you build a kite, Cozy? If you want, send me a letter and tell me. I would also love to see how such a kite built by you looks like, so send me a drawing of it if you can!
I hope you liked my letter and that reading it was fun for you and I hope to hear from you, Cozy!



“Oh, of course it was, Starlight! Your letter was much better and more fun than the letter of that mare from Canterlot with her annoying requests!” Cozy looked down on the letter for a moment, then folded it neatly. “You go on the pile to the others!” she chirped.

Then, Cozy Glow leaned back against one of the bars of her cage. Hindlegs stretched out, she sighed, with a smile on her lips.

I love small talk, Starlight!

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Dear, lovely Starlight!

Thank you for your letter! And no, I am not sick of hearing from you, in fact, I really, really, really love your letters! Just go on and write me many, many more, they are such a HUGE joy to read!
You say you want to have small talk with me and that's absolutely great! Like, it's so great that I ran miles in my cage! You know, all the way around the sides of it! Small talk is what I want to hear, so tell me everything you have and what's happening to you! I'm so eager to learn about your days, Starlight!
Like, your love for kites! This is really so fascinating, what you described me, I could really picture it! I totally forgot that I'm sitting in this stinking, rotten cage, you know? I want to hear many more such things, so geek out about everything and as much as you want!
I can't tell you who I was flying kites with, but I've done it myself and it really is fun! The kites I was flying always had the shape of grapes and other fruits. I don't remember why anymore... but that's how they looked!
If you get me out of here fast, Starlight, then we can rebuild those kites, I remember exactly how they looked! But you really need to do it fast, if not, I might forget how to build them!
Oh, trust me, I would really love to draw the kites I was flying for you, but down here in Tartarus, there aren't any pencils to do what with and they would just look bad without colors... But, like I said, get me out of here quick, then I can draw them for you and you can watch!
I count on you, Starlight!

With so much love!

Cozy Glow

~ * ~

Trixie leaned in on Starlight, her eyes fixated on the letter. “Don't you think she exaggerates just a tiny bit?”

Starlight smiled down at the letter. “No, I think she is just very happy to have some distraction from her nightmares.”

A Letter with no Value...

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In the middle of her cage, Cozy Glow was lying on her left side, boredom written on her face. She flashed a look at Tirek, scrunched her mouth and looked down on the cage floor again. Cozy tapped with a forehoof on the solid metal, continuously, and drowned her lethargic mind in that activity like it was an exciting game that offered joy by distraction.

The pegasus filly remained like this until the ground began to shake and heavy steps approached her cage, which brought new life and spirit into her. Cozy shot up from her position and rushed to the bars of her cage, from where she could see Cerberus stomping towards her. The letter he held between his lips could be seen from afar, standing out from his dark fur.

“Give me this!” Cozy shouted into his direction. She reached outside between the bars with her forehooves like that could seriously shorten the distance between her and the beast who carried the letter she anticipated.

As Cerberus finally stood in front of the cage and leaned down towards her, Cozy got ahold of the letter and snatched it away from him. She sat down on the floor and began to rip the letter open, no care or diligence in her movement, just rush. She was not even looking at the return address.

“You better be a letter from Commander Tempest! That's all I need!”

To her dismay, though, the first lines of the letter indicated that it wasn't from the pony she had hoped to read from. Cozy Glow dropped her ears as she began to read.

Dear Cozy Glow,

wow, I have to say, your response letter really took me by surprise! The way you talked there was happier than I expected and friendlier too. Really reminded me on that filly who came into my office one day~

Cozy Glow frowned. “Free me and I come into your office as often as you want.....” She perked up, slightly. “I'll even bring the artifacts we need, then we can conquer and rule Equestria together!” A malevolent grin built on her face.

I could tell from your letter that what I told you really helped to make you feel better. Who wouldn't feel better, really, if it's kites you're talking about?

“Did it make me feel better?” Cozy's frown returned. “All you do is distracting me.”

Unfortunately, I can't bring you out of Tartarus just like that. Twilight says no and Princess Celestia and Princess Luna do, too. And, I actually have to agree with them... You aren't evil, but you were trying to conquer Equestria and become its new ruler and if we allowed you to be free right now, you would try it again somehow.

“That's correct!” Cozy Glow beamed and grinned.

But the last thing I'd want is that you are sitting in there forever... We can't risk that you team up with any more enemies of Equestria or find another magical property to try and bring doom over the kingdom, which is why we have to keep you there for the time being. But know that the letters we send you and the conversations we have only serve the purpose of turning you from an enemy to a friend of Equestria.

Cozy Glow snickered and rolled her eyes, now a smug smile playing around her lips. “Oh, Starlight, Starlight..... But I am a friend of Equestria. I have done so many things to become a good ruler of Equestria, a ruler so much better than these pesky princesses who do nothing but farting into their thrones all day. A ruler of true friendship, what can a princess do that an empress can do even so much better? Equestria would have been in such good hooves with me, it's not nice to call me an enemy.” Cozy poked out her lip. “Did any of my efforts even matter, Starlight?”

And I know you can do this, Cozy. I know you can change and become a true friend of us all.

“But I already am.” Cozy's voice and eyes turned pleading.

I will always believe in the good in you, Cozy, and so does Twilight. And Starswirl thinks the same.

“Just another old farter.” Cozy Glow's features did not indicate any impression.

My work in the school is a little tight this week, suddenly, there are so many students who need my help! It's nothing I'm complaining about, but it means I have to make this week's letter shorter than I want to.

“Nothing of value lost.” Cozy Glow shrugged.

But I am sending something else to you besides this letter, which will probably take more time to arrive, but will help you pass the time down there in Tartarus.
Don't give up, Cozy. I know things have been rough for you lately, but whatever it is that ails you, we will help you make it become better if you trust us and listen to us. I believe in you, Cozy.

Lots of love!


Cozy Glow put the letter down. A frown built on her face again, then the boredom creeped back onto it. She crumpled the letter, whistled and threw it out of her cage. Then she lay down and started with the tapping again.

“Almost sounds like music if you do it for a while,” she drawled, with only a slight trace of cheer in her voice.

A distraction to make my boredom go away

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Cozy Glow's incessant hoof-tapping on the bottom of her cage came to an abrupt halt as Cerberus approached her cage once more, only two days after Starlight's letter and therefore much earlier than Cozy Glow expected. Cozy first looked up tiredly, then her eyes became huge and began to sparkle and she left her lying position and shot to the cage bars. She stuck a foreleg out and made grabbing movements again, like she did when Starlight's latest letter arrived.

Cerberus was carrying a package in his mouth this time, not a letter. It was just thin enough to fit between the bars of Cozy's cage. As it lay in front of her, Cozy Glow ripped open the package's cardboard, in an almost violent fashion, and hastily unearthed the content that was inside.

A colorful, thin box made of metal came into view. It was adorned by the picture of a filly who had a red colored pencil sticking between her lips. It was long and reached from the filly's left cheek all the way over to her right cheek. The filly displayed a happy smile, slightly contorted by the pencil, and her cheeks were puffed up. Next to her was an assortment of colored pencils that took up the rest of the space on the box' lid.

Cozy Glow's eyes began to sparkle more, brighter than the eyes of the filly on the package did, and she rushed to open the lid. A set of twenty-four pencils greeted her inside of it with a spectrum of bright colors that would put a rainbow to shame. Cozy Glow lifted the box out of the package and giggled.

“Oh, Starlight, that's the best thing you could have sent me!” There was no snark in Cozy's voice and no sarcasm as she spoke the words. “Now I finally don't have to be bored anymore!”

Under the box was a stack of paper. Not a particularly high stack, but high enough to keep her occupied for a good while, Cozy deducted by taking a short glance at the stack. And she could always use the backside of each paper, as well, if one side wasn't enough.

Of more interest than the drawing paper was another piece of paper that was fixated on the inside of the lid with simple tape. Cozy removed the tape carefully, took the paper out and turned it around. Her widening smile indicated that it was a note by Starlight.

Here is a little gift for you, Cozy. The days in Tartarus are dark and lonely, but now you have something to fill your place with happier colors.
And I hope this will help you to fill your mind with colors, as well. I would be very happy to see some of the kites you are going to draw, I hope you will add a few of your drawings to your next letter. They would look great on the corkboard in my office, right next to the drawings by the students who came to me for help.

With love,


Cozy's eyes collected water as soon as she had finished reading the note. She gulped and her lower lip quivered. Tears of joy running down her cheeks, Cozy folded the note neatly and placed it on top of her stack of letters. Then she carefully put down the box with the colored pencils next to her and one of the drawing papers in front of her. The package also contained a sharpener and an eraser, which she took out, as well, and situated on the right side of the paper. Cozy discarded the empty package by leisurely tossing it out of her cage, before she flopped onto her belly and reached for the first colored pencil.

Kicking her hindlegs into the air, Cozy began to make a drawing. She shivered while she made it and her hooves were slightly shaking as she drew the irresistible picture that had forced itself into her mind all of a sudden.

But very soon, Cozy's skilled hooves had drawn a bunch of purple grapes and a strawberry to the right of them..... The two fruits touched each other ever so slightly.

Thank you, Starlight!

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Dear Starlight,

wow, I'm so happy because of your gift! There's nothing but drawing I do anymore! I draw kites, many kites, SO MANY KITES! And I need to draw a lot more before I can show them to you! Like, I'm even drawing so much that I have hardly time to write this letter to you, Starlight!
But I wanted to say thank you, I really do! Your gift finally makes this place like a home! Almost! I hung some of my drawings on my cage bars, now it looks like I have tapestries hanging there! Or like a wallpaper! And once I've sent you some of my drawings, you can hang them up in your office! Then you'll know that Cozy is always waiting for you here!
But before that, I need to draw so, so, so, SO much more!
Thank you for this gift, Starlight! Now I'll go and end this letter and draw more! Once I send you my drawings, everypony will see what a cute, little and innocent filly I am!


Cozy Glow

P.S.: Send more paper soon!

A Letter of Many Colors

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Starlight was sitting in her guidance counselor office, right hoof raised and waving towards the door. Silverstream was standing there, with a grin on her beak, waving back and then leaving the office. The door closed behind her and then Starlight was alone.

The guidance counselor hung her head slightly and sighed, eyes closed. “Finally,” she breathed in relief. From all the students who came to her these days, Silverstream definitely was the unique one, with the most unusual, and difficult, problems. But now her counseling hours were over for the day and she had time for other things. Something had been on her mind for the entire morning already and now she could finally dedicate time to it.

Starlight looked down at her desk and reached for a drawer, which she eagerly opened. She pulled out a large envelope, rectangular in shape and thick and heavy in her hooves. “Cozy Glow” was written at the backside, in pink letters, and under it, “TARTARUS” with a new color for each letter. Starlight chuckled and placed the envelope on the table. She was about to look inside, as the door suddenly sprung open again and Silverstream poked her head into her office. The young hippogriff looked distraught and nervous.

“Counselor Starlight, are you really sure that the anatomy of acorns isn't important for friendship?”

Starlight frowned at the interruption, but she did her best to set up a smile for the anxious teenage hippogriff. “Yes, Silverstream, I'm really sure about this. There has never been a broken friendship because of acorns at any time in Equestria's history.”

Silverstream's expression eased again, if only slightly. “Okay, Counselor Starlight!” she chirped, then retreated her head and closed the door.

Starlight sighed again. She decided to wait, eyes drawn to the door. After the first minute, it rattled slightly, but then stopped again and she heard once more clawed steps walking down the corridor and away from her office. She waited some more and when she was finally being sure that Silverstream would not return, Starlight looked down again and returned her attention to the envelope.

No desire to waste any more time before she could satisfy her curiosity, her blue aura lifted up the envelope, opened the flap and hovered out a stack of paper. The topmost one was a letter, adorned with Cozy's hasty, yet somehow still tidy, writing. Starlight lifted up the letter and simultaneously leaned back, her full attention on it now. She began to read.

Dear lovely, most wonderful and precious, fantastic and awesome, Friendship School Counselor Starlight!

Here, Starlight already stopped reading and put the letter down a little. She laughed, but also raised an eyebrow. “An odd greeting.”

How are you doing? I am doing just peachy down here, your pencils help a lot to pass the time! I even drew a clock and hung it under the ceiling of my cage! It always shows the same time, but a filly has to do what she can to get comfort in Tartarus!

Starlight felt a small twinge in her heart at these words and frowned.

I drew another clock too, just for you, so you can see how it looks! It's attached!
Now I bet you want to know what else I send you, hmm? I was drawing a lot just for you, Starlight! You asked me to show you the kites I was flying and so I have drawn them all! There are grapes and strawberries, oranges and lemons, bananas, apples, melons, raspberries and even a tomato! The last one is not really a fruit, but you can make wine with it, so it fits in with the others!

“Wine? From tomatoes?” Starlight's face formed an amused expression. “Well, I definitely heard about crazier things, I might try it!” She smiled and continued reading.

And now you know all the kites I've built and was flying through the sky, Starlight!

“Great!” Starlight cheered and she looked down upon the letter with a satisfied, happy smile. “Now I would only like to know who she was flying kites with anymore.”

I bet you're really longing to do this together with me now, aren't you, Starlight? Well, your problem can be solved, you just need to convince those princesses on their fancy thrones to pardon me from my sentence and then I will make Equestria's sky full of kites!

Starlight frowned again. “Won't be so easy, unfortunately.”

And I hope you like my drawings, you can decorate your office with them, Starlight! I'm sure your corkboard could use some color!

Starlight turned her head at the corkboard. Various drawings were already on it. “A lot of students draw something for me to say thank you, but I'm sure I can fit Cozy's drawings in somewhere,” she thought.

And now I'll go and draw some more, because your present really is so beautiful, Starlight! Just make sure to send more paper soon, okay? Because I'm already running really low on it!

With lots of love!

Cozy Glow

Starlight put the letter down and placed it on her desk next to the rest of the stack of paper that had been in the envelope. A simplistic drawing of a clock greeted her eyes. It had a green background, black pointers and black numbers. The time they showed was three o'clock.

Starlight carefully lifted off the picture to reveal the other drawings and put it to the side. The fruit drawings came into her view and Starlight went through them with a careful eye.

“I'm not sure, does look like a fruit to me,” Starlight commented as she looked at the drawing of the tomato.

At the last picture, Starlight stopped before she put it away. She brought it closer to her face and narrowed her eyes, looking at it more concentrated.

“This looks familiar.....” she said. “Where have I seen this before?”

Starlight pondered the question and, as she could not find an answer after a few minutes, put the drawing of the grapes and the strawberry into the left drawer of her desk. The rest of the drawings, including the clock, she hovered over to her corkboard, where she diligently began to arrange Cozy's drawings between the drawings by the students, with a wide smile on her face.

“For me, you are still a student here, Cozy.”

A Request to my Master, Commander Tempest

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In the middle of her cage, lying flat on her belly as usual when she was writing, Cozy Glow just wrote down the last few lines of a letter.

Just make sure to send more paper soon, okay? Because I'm already running really low on it!

With lots of love!

Cozy Glow

Cozy put the quill away and pushed the letter into the envelope she had prepared, together with her drawings of the last few days. She wrote Starlight's address in Ponyville on the frontside of the envelope, then turned it around, reached for a pink pencil and wrote down her name. After she wrote “TARTARUS” on it, in eight different colors, she whistled for Cerberus and flung the letter at him. Cozy smiled satisfactory as the three-headed beast carried it away.

“Just a little more,” the young villain chirped. “Once Starlight has read this letter, she'll be wrapped around my hoof and then I will get out of here very soon.” A vile and dastardly grin appeared on her face and her eyes glistened menacingly. And immediately after speaking the sentence, Cozy laid down again and started to write another letter.

Greetings, Commander Tempest Shadow, Spearhead of the Supreme Army of Your Highness, the allmighty and fearsome Storm King!

I still remember your first letter, Great Commander, and I read it every day while I wait for new lessons by you. The guidance counselor is sending me a lot of letters lately, but I'd rather hear from you again, Master. I desire your lessons, but I have a humble request to make and I know I can trust you with this.
I have reason to believe that my time of freedom will come soon now and once I am out of this prison, I want to leave Equestria and pay a visit to Griffonstone. There's this wanna-be friendship expert, Gilda, and she told me how much griffons struggle with friendship. They are perfect for my next plan to unite all of Equestria under my friendship rule. But I know that getting to Griffonstone won't be easy...
Once I am free again, they won't immediately trust me. They will guard me, probably give me a room in the friendship princess' castle, and they will make sure I'll stay there. I can find a way to sneak out and leave Ponyville at night, but once they notice that I am gone, they'll write my name on a wanted list. All guards in Equestria will have my picture and name then and they will search for me and check every pony that looks suspicious.
I could make it to the east coast of Equestria just fine if I only travel at night, but from there, I'd need to get onto a ship that leaves for Griffonstone and that would be a huge risk of getting discovered. To make it out of Equestria without being seen, I'll need another pony to help me...
I know you have connections to the Storm King's fleet, Great Commander Tempest, and that you can make a safe escape route for me. I assure you that we are on the same side and my request for help comes from my great admiration for your abilities, Master.
In a few weeks, I will live in Ponyville and I will make my way to the Crystal Empire in secret. I will join you there and I hope you will grant my request for help and bring me out of Equestria in one of the smaller airships of the Storm King's fleet.
It won't be to your disadvantage if you help me, Master. Once I rule Equestria, I will make sure to give you a position of power that the Storm King can't offer.

Your loyal student,

Cozy Glow

The Commander responded!

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Dear Cozy Glow,

I have received your letter and I was reading it with great interest and a high regard for your plan to escape from Tartarus. Be vigilant, though, my student. Leaving the prison that holds you captive at the moment is an accomplishment not many have succeeded with, the princesses are zealous about keeping their kingdom free from anyone who challenges them. Princess Twilight will only recommend your release if everyone in our team confirms that you are ready. I have the information that they don't plan to let you out soon. But keep working hard and once the time of your release comes, I will welcome you in the Crystal Empire and help you with your needs.
We are the same, Cozy Glow, both of us have been betrayed by others in our past. Never trust those who failed to be your allies when you needed their allegiance and loyalty, no matter who tells you that you should reconsider their actions.
But you can always trust me, my student, as long as we work together, you will unfold your potential and come out successful in the end.
I await more correspondence from you.

Commander Tempest Shadow

Cozy Glow put the letter down with an expression of pure satisfaction. “This is excellent. The Commander is on my side and will help me, just like I thought,” she spoke while she folded the letter with slow and careful movements. “Now I only need to sway the rest of them. The Commander says they are not convinced, but they will all be very soon.”

Cozy Glow laughed maniacally as she put the letter back into its envelope. In front of her was a stack of paper and as Tempest Shadow's letter rested safe on the pile in the corner of her cage, Cozy dipped the quill into the ink and began to write on a letter she knew will only be another one of many steps in the plan she had made.....

A Letter to the Brave Changeling King

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Dear Thorax, Brave King of the New Changeling Hive!

I remember your letter very well and I finally want to respond to say thank you for it! Your letter helped me to see so many things from a better perspective!
Like, how you left your evil queen and decided to go your own way... That was very impressive. I don't have an evil queen that I could leave, just a grumpy, useless centaur who gave me a plan that failed. And he was just my pawn. But it's almost the same, isn't it?
You were used by your evil queen and I used an evil lord by making him my ally. And you left your queen and just like you did, I can leave my evil lord. Not physically, of course, that's hardly possible here in Tartarus. But I don't have to be like him.
I can be a better filly than I was before and that's what I want to be. Starlight says she wants to fly kites with me and once I have proven you and the others that I am not a villain anymore, I can finally do this with her. I can hardly wait!
I hope you will send me more letters, King Thorax. I don't have your first one anymore, because I was stupid and threw it away... But I will keep all the new letters you'll send me, I promise.
Please, write me soon and give me more lessons. I'll listen to all of them, I want to learn more about you and how you chose the good side.


Cozy Glow

A Letter to the World's Most Famous Scholar

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Dear Stygian, Renowned Scholar of Equestria!

Your letter left a great impression on me! I'm sorry I that I'm answering it so late, the days are busy even down here in Tartarus, if you would know, haha! Maybe you want to study it one day, it's a really strange phenomenon that a filly can do so much down here! I hope catching up on answering your letter now won't be too late.
I am so sorry that you had to make this experience. Being controlled by an ancient demon must be horrible and so traumatizing! I don't want to imagine my mind and my body being controlled and suppressed by a monster like that... Will this happen to me, too? If I keep seeking power? Tirek can't do this, he can't possess a pony, but you showed me there are monsters who can... I don't want to have that happen to me. And I don't want to destroy Equestria because I sought power.
You are right, Stygian. Power really is dangerous business. I shouldn't seek it out. I shouldn't try to control other ponies. I shouldn't manipulate them. I should only live in peace among them. And friendship! Real friendship.
I think you have opened my eyes, Stygian. You are so wise, you definitely aren't a scholar for nothing. Your studies made you very wise and I'm glad you're passing on some of your wisdom to me. With your wisdom, I can become a better filly, I know it. Thank you so much!
I hope you will write me again, I can tell there is more wisdom you can teach me and probably even more adventures you can tell me about! Again, thank you so much for helping me, Stygian!


Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Real Friendship Expert

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Dear Gilda, my Favourite Friendship Teacher!

It was so great to hear from you! You know, I am very interested in friendship, too, and I worked hard to make many ponies become my friends! But I pale in comparison to you. Gilda, you teach all the people of a war-torn kingdom about friendship and manage to unite them. This is so impressive, I am not even worthy to write you, that's how great you are, Friendship Expert Gilda.
I tried to make many friends, too, but I completely failed with it and all that came to be were fake friendships. I truly thought if they become my allies and help with my plan, it means they are automatically my friends, too! But that was so wrong... Now I see this.
I don't really understand friendship, but you do, Gilda. Please teach me. I am lower than you. But I want to rise as high as you are, so I can stand at your side as equal friendship expert and will finally be able to make true friends!
If you teach me everything you know about friendship, I will not question any of your lessons and do everything you want, Gilda.
I admire your friendship expertise and want to be just like you.

Your new student,

Cozy Glow

A Letter to a Showmare who deserves Forgiveness

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Dear Great and Powerful Trixie!

Wow, I'm so sorry that Princess Twilight did all of those horrible things to you! You didn't deserve this. The princess can be so nasty sometimes, isn't it? Poor Trixie..... But Cozy would never do this to you! Cozy is your friend! Your real friend, no manipulation this time!
There are some ponies who don't forgive you, Trixie, but Cozy forgives you for conquering and enslaving Ponyville!
And I hope you'll forgive me, too, Trixie. I really don't want to be a villain anymore, it's bad and it caused so much trouble and pain... I hurt many ponies by making them think they are my friends before they found out that I only used them for my selfish plans... This was so bad, I feel like a monster for doing this. But I want to receive forgiveness, I want to show that I'm a better pony and that I deserve to be forgiven!
Will you help me, Great and Powerful Trixie? I forgive you and you forgive me? I'm sure the two of us can achieve so many great things together if we forgive each other. Like you and Starlight!
Please respond soon, Trixie, I wanna be your friend and talk with you about everything!


Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Funny Draconequus

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Dear Lord of Chaos,

I loved your “letter”, it was really funny! I know I didn't say it is, I acted really annoyed and angry, but I laughed so much after you were gone! You did this to cheer me up, isn't it? And it worked, haha! I only started laughing after you disappeared, but it worked!
And your advice worked, too! I am going to stay as far away from Tirek as I can! Which will be even easier once I have been set free from Tartarus. I can't avoid him much here, but if you convince the princesses of letting me out soon, then he can't be a bad influence on me anymore.
I'm not evil, I'm not even really a villain, technically. It was all just Tirek who used me and corrupted me! A bad, stinking centaur who pretended to be my friend and then just hurt me and used me for his plan... I want to get away from him, I don't want to see him anymore...
Please help me to get out, Lord of Chaos... You have been betrayed by Tirek, too, and he did the same thing to me. Please help me to leave and I promise I will be a better filly...

Your friend,

Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Magnificent Wizard from the Past

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Dear Starswirl, Legendary Teacher of Equestria's Princesses!

I have waited for a letter from you with great anticipation, so I can learn and benefit from your wisdom. But, oh, you made such a terrible mistake by suspecting your friend Stygian and betraying him, I was so shocked to read about this! You are such an ancient and wise wizard, I thought mistakes like that would never happen to you.
But it's fine, Cozy has made a mistake, too. I betrayed many ponies who could have been my friends. They all thought I was honest and then they learned I was just using them. This was so awful and I regret it.
We both did awful things, didn't we, Starswirl? But we learned from it. Cozy has learned from everything bad she did and changed!
I had noble intentions with my plan, just like you said, and there is a lot of good in Cozy Glow! You will see everything of it, once I am out of this dark and scary prison!
We understand each other so well, Starswirl, I can see that when reading your letter. I am sure you will put in a good word for me when you talk to the princesses... right?

Yours faithfully,

Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Night Princess

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Dear Luna, Princess of Equestria's Night,

I have to apologize. I said many bad and shortsighted things in my letter to you. It wasn't nice to call you “Princess Nightmare Moon”. It wasn't nice to say you almost killed your sister. It wasn't nice to make stabs at your mistakes. And it wasn't nice to crumple your letter and throw it away. But maybe you can resend it and then I will read all of it.
I hope you will forgive me for my words.


Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Three Fillies who are Still my Friends

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Dear Cutie Mark Crusaders...

I am sorry. I really am. I was thinking you betrayed me... And that really hurt... But you just tried to help me, weren't you? My plan was so evil... And you tried to stop me... But I didn't understand and so I started to resent you... And that was so wrong...
I always liked you, I really saw you as my friends... And maybe we can still be friends?
The time down here in Tartarus changes a filly... I am not the filly you saw in the basement of Princess Twilight's friendship school anymore... I used you for my plan, yes, but now I want you as my true friends... Can you forgive me? Can I be your friend again? Maybe you can be my tutors at the friendship school again?
Cozy would do everything if it could become the same again... Please forgive me...

Your Eternal Friend,

Cozy Glow

A Letter to the Persistent Mare...

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Hello, Moondancer,

this is Cozy Glow. I have read your letter and you are right. I was hurt and it's not wrong to scream out the pain. I also got your relaxation bracelet and it's helping wonderfully.
We probably won't meet, but I hope you'll believe me that I've changed and that you will put in a good word for me.

Cozy Glow