Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Author's notes

Author's notes:    After years of encouragement from my friends to write a young reader’s book, I wrote Journey Unexpected.  My book’s central theme is dealing with unexpected events and unexpected people, while introducing to my readers to the ancestral homeland of the three pony tribes first described in the Hearth's Warming Eve episode.  I have named this first pony homeland Dream Valley, as the ancestral homeland was not given a name during the episode.

What am I telling my readers in a story about Dream Valley pony society that can’t be told in the Equestrian homeland?  I’m curious as to what could happen if Twilight and her friends decided to return to their ancestral homeland to discover what happened to it and who might be living there.

In addition, I considered how many real world people spend their time, money, and effort discovering their ancestral descents and sometimes visiting their ancestral homeland.  Using reality as a guideline, I would imagine that some Equestrian ponies would wish to visit Dream Valley.

My manuscript was inspired by my traveling to foreign nations, finding the unexpected, and getting used to things not found in the United States.  It was also inspired by the television show Connections by James Burke

My readers will see that separated from the Equestrian ponies for more than one thousand years - even before the births of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna - that the Dream Valley ponies developed a civilization far different from that of the Equestrian ponies.  Moreover, I hope my book will be used as an opportunity for artists and writers to reimagine what an alternative pony society could look like.

Dream Valley is also an excellent opportunity to create situations that can’t be done in the Equestrian nation, such as pony flash mobs.

Moreover, I wanted to introduce to my readers the metallic ponies, which over many centuries had become a distinct species of ponies.  These metallic ponies are based upon real world, Akhal-Teke horses.  When I first saw images of metallic appearing Akhal-Teke horses, I thought these images had been photoshopped or the horses’ coats had been dyed those colors.  No wonder that these unusual horses are Turkmenistan's national emblem.

Moreover, the Akhal-Teke horses are considered by horse enthusiasts to be the world's most beautiful horse breed.  Therefore, I can imagine that Akhal-Teke horses could be the inspiration to become a successful line of pony toys for Hasbro.

I assume that Dream Valley is on the other side of one of the two oceans that border the Equestrian homeland.  Otherwise, the Equestrian ponies or the Dream Valley ponies would have visited each other’s nations by now.

The Twilight's Kingdom episode showed that the power of friendship is a different and separate force from that of magic.  I propose that the power of friendship can not only be employed to defeat powerful enemies, it could also be harnessed for constructive uses, such as Twilight’s friendship engine to expand generation four’s storytelling opportunities.  My rationale is that the series has shown that the power of friendship can create energy to defeat villains such as Nightmare Moon; and therefore the same power of friendship could power an airship and achieve other outcomes as well.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Seventeen

Chapter 17:  The excitement, fun, and opportunity of the Unexpected

Eight days later, the friends find themselves sitting in the airship’s forward observation lounge.  The airship is flying above the clouds at night.  Lantern light is making contrasting shadows on the walls, objects, and ponies.  Twilight is sitting on a padded chair, uses her magic to bring their friendship journal to her and opens the book to the first blank page.

Twilight’s eyes lit up as she says to her friends, “The Cutie Mark Crusaders are going to love these descriptions of how the ancient ponies earned their first recorded cutie marks to appear on pony flanks.”

Sitting next to Twilight, Applejack appears happy playing her banjo for everypony’s enjoyment.  Spike appears content listening to Applejack’s music.  Rainbow is busy sorting a big pile of Pegasus pony merchandise based on none other than Rainbow.

Twilight starts writing in her friendship journal.  “After one memorable farewell party - my airship crew, my friends, and I have settled in our airship for the weeklong voyage back home.  While I’m happy to return home, I also feel sad to leave all my new, Dream Valley friends.”

Twilight smiles at a photograph of the farewell party, her pony and dragon friends, along with the Dream Valley friends she has made.  Standing on Twilight’s right side is Cameo Moderator while standing on Twilight’s left side is Spiffy van Hoosier.  Standing next to Spiffy is Newsie Newsworthy and Panorama, both wearing formal dresses.

Twilight continues writingFirst, this unexpected adventure and all the excitement and enjoyment we have encountered would never have happened if the Cutie Mark Crusaders hadn’t ask a question about how ancient ponies got their cutie marks, if Cheerilee hadn’t asked me to investigate the library of the Royal Pony Sisters, and if my friend Spike hadn’t suggested that we take an airship journey to Dream Valley.  We all owe Ponyville’s Cutie Mark Crusaders, Cheerilee, and Spike our thanks for finding unexpected friends and unexpected opportunities in Dream Valley.

“Second, I’ve learned that the unexpected can surprise and sometimes frighten a pony.  Yet, while our intended goal was to rediscover lost Equestrian history for Cheerilee’s textbook project; during our adventure to rediscover lost pony history, my friends and I found unexpected friends and unexpected opportunities.  It is funny that the unexpected things you find are often more valuable than the things that you intend to find.

“Third, while it was unexpected that my friends and I would purchase Pony Digital Assistants, we will be donating our wonderful tools and the rest of the Dream Valley technology we have purchased or were given to us, to Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns.  I’m sure that Celestia's students can and will make much better use of Dream Valley technology than we ever will.

“Also, I propose trading Dream Valley coal and their skill in building canals for Equestrian friendship engines and our skill in building railroads.  Most trade agreements are written in boring adult talk.  To make these talks more interesting for all involved, I suggest that Princess Celestia should hire Trixie Lulamoon and Cheese Sandwich to complete these complex trade agreements.  Who can tell what unexpected things could happen if we pair those two professional entertainers together to write out these trade agreements.

“In conclusion, I wonder what other unexpected friends, undiscovered civilizations, and unidentified opportunities remain hidden on, above, or under the unmapped lands and seas of our world?  Whatever my friends and I discover during our future adventures, we will bring the magic of friendship to friends that we haven’t met yet.”

Twilight yawns, and then concludes her entry with, “But, for me it is time for this unexpected pony ambassador to return to my cabin.  Tonight I need to get some much needed sleep.  My friends and I will work to solve tomorrow’s problems tomorrow.”

The end

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Sixteen

Chapter 16:  Pony Picnic Unexpected

After several days of intense negotiating, Unexpected Ambassador Twilight and her close friends were enjoying a sumptuous picnic lunch.  The friends sat on a plaid picnic lunch blanket in the Royal Stewart tartan.  These friends are spending the early afternoon in a forested city park.

On the other side of a brick bicycle path, were cute metallic foals.  They were dressed in cute sailor suits and had a great time playing with their toy sailboats in a knee deep, reflecting pool.  The floor and sides of the pool were covered in ceramic tiles.  Two of these foals were Bard, a silver coated colt talking to his friend Cinnamon a copper coated filly.  In a confident voice, Brad told Cinnamon, “When I grow up, I’m going to marry a Pegasus mare.”

Cinnamon replied, “But, will your Pegasus mare move to Dream Valley, or will you move to Equestria?”

“I don’t know.  But, that’s years and years in the future, so why worry about it now?  I have much growing to do before I sail away to Equestria.”

“Speaking of sailing away, you sailboat is sailing away from you.”  Cinnamon pointed with her hoof to Bard’s sailboat that was being pushed with a slight breeze down the reflecting pool.  Lickety-split, Bard was trotting off to retrieve his sailboat, splashing water around his legs, his underbelly, and his sailor tunic.

The young foals didn’t notice Twilight and her friends.

Rarity said, “I do love the illusion spell you cast on us to make us look like metallic ponies.”

Twilight replied, “I didn’t have a choice in creating this illusion spell, or the fan ponies would never leave us alone.”

Twilight had cast an illusion spell to make their dull coats appear shiny metallic and to have Twilight, Rainbow, and Flutter’s feathery wings appear to disappear.

Twilight is using her magic to pour Applejack a cup of tea.  Smiling, Applejack told Twilight, “Oh, that’s ok sugar cube; you don’t have to pour my cup of tea.”

A smiling Twilight responses, “Applejack, we’re friends and neither my wings on my back nor my crown shouldn’t get in the way of me being nice to you.”

“Thanks Twilight, I reckon I can’t turn down a helping hoof from a good friend.”

Rarity then said to her friends, “Have you seen how these Dream Valley ponies fawn over Rainbow, Fluttershy, and the Wonderbolts?  The Dream Valley ponies smother them with attention like Rainbow obsesses over her signed, first edition Daring Do novels.”

Twilight replied, “By working together, we have collected an adequate number of books for Cheerilee’s history project.  We have also gathered a sufficient amount of information to give to Princess Celestia to tell her all about the ponies of Dream Valley and their society.”

Rarity added, “It will be a shame to leave so many dreamy metallic ponies.”  Rarity looks over at a group of muscular Dream Valley stallions and mares lifting weights at an outdoor gymnasium.  “But, I will return home for the sake of my family and for my friends.”

Applejack chimed in by saying, “As much as I’d love to stay and learn more about the art of Dream Valley baking, I’ve got my family’s apple orchard to run and a family to care for.”

Twilight said, “I see that travel is great for expanding your mind and making new friends.  I’ve seen that Dream Valley ponies have taken their society in directions no Equestrian pony has considered.  But, my friends and I have seen that despite all the wonderful ponies, places, and things in our ancestors’ homeland of Dream Valley, we know that our true place beings in Ponyville.  Let’s start packing, as we should leave Dream Valley in three days.”

Rarity looks at Twilight with pleading, puppy dog eyes.

Twilight then amended herself by saying, “Three days?  I meant to say seven days to pack up for our return voyage.  I’ll send a text message to the president’s personal butler Spiffy van Hoosier about our travel plans.  Pinkie Pie, please plan a farewell party for nine in the morning, seven days from now.”

Pinkie replied, “Yes Twilight, you’ll be pleased with my farewell party planning!”

Rarity smiles at Twilight.  Rarity then returns to ogling the metallic coated stallions.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Fifteen

Chapter 15:  Conservation Unexpected

Meanwhile, Princess Twilight, wearing her coronation dress and royal regalia walks with slow, graceful steps into the Rose Garden of the Dream Valley Presidential Mansion.  She is escorted by Spiffy van Hoosier, a stallion with a brushed aluminum colored coat, nickel silver colored mane and tail, and a tea set for his cutie mark.  Spiffy wears a black butler uniform.

On a brick patio, protected from the direct sunlight by a canvas canopy stands Cameo Moderator, the President of the Dream Valley Republic.  Cameo is an Earth pony mare with a coat of polished copper, with a mane and trail of metallic green jade, and a powdered wig for her cutie mark.  Cameo wears a white ruffle shirt and a black bow tie.  Being an Earth pony and thus attuned with nature, she often meets with guests in her nation’s Presidential Mansion’s Rose Garden.

Cameo walks over to Twilight saying, “My name is Cameo Moderator.  I’m the elected President of the Dream Valley Republic.  You have already met my butler, Spiffy van Hoosier.”

Twilight replies, “My name is Twilight Sparkle, and I’m the Princess of Friendship of the Equestrian nation.”  After a healthy hoofshake, Cameo invites Twilight to sit down on a comfortable sofa.  Cameo sits on a sofa opposite Twilight, with a low table with a tea set and cookies on it.

Spiffy says to Twilight, “I would find it acceptable if you called me Spiffy.  If you need anything, Princess Twilight all you need to do is ask.”

Looking at Spiffy, Twilight said, “Spiffy, just call me Twilight.  Also, there is something about you that reminds me of my own devoted servant and dear friend, Spike the dragon.”

While bowing to Twilight, the stallion said, “As you wish, Twilight.  I have pride in the fact that my Hoosier family has been attending to the needs of Dream Valley’s presidents and their visitors for more than eight hundred years.”

Twilight replied, “Wow that is a long time for a family to have one job.  You must tell me some of the interesting stories about your family sometime.”

Cameo asked Twilight, “Besides you are there any more Equestrian Princesses?”

Twilight turns her attention from Spiffy to Cameo.  “Besides me, there is Princess Celestia, who controls the Sun, Princess Luna who controls the Moon, and Princess Cadance who spreads love, while protecting the Crystal Empire.”

“Dream Valley ponies have wondered for generations who or what is controlling the movements of the sun and the moon.  If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the difference between Princess Cadance being the princess of love and you being the princess of friendship?”

Twilight’s eyes grow bigger and she appears confused.  “I’m not sure what the best way to answer your question is.  Nopony has ever asked me the specific details of our job descriptions or if there is any overlap in our duties.  Come to think of it, our job descriptions have never been written down.  That is something I’m going to do after I get back to my homeland.”

Twilight looks at Cameo’s shoe-gloves, then asks, “Cameo, do you know what the shoe-gloves are based on?”

“There is an old pony legend that says that our ancestors were once legendary creatures known as human beings who lived on another world.  After these humans walked through a magic gateway to our world, these humans became the three pony tribes and other species as well.”  With a laugh, Cameo adds, “We both know that’s just an entertaining bedtime story for foals.”

Twilight responses, “Sometimes, even the most embellished of legends are based on a kernel of truth.”

Cameo gives Twilight a skeptical facial expression.  And then she asks Twilight, “Ok, here’s another question.  Why didn’t anypony from the Equestrian nation ever see what had happened to their ancestors’ homeland before your arrival?”

“I’ve been wondering about that same question.  As far as I know, Everypony in Equestria assumed that Dream Valley was buried under a deep layer of ice and snow.  No Equestrian pony had ever thought to come here and see what happened to Dream Valley with their own eyes.  Dream Valley had become more myth than fact.  It took three young fillies, their school teacher, and Spike, my dragon friend, to suggest a journey to retrieve knowledge lost to Equestrian ponies.”

“The same thing happened with the Dream Valley ponies.  We assumed that all the ponies that had emigrated out of Dream Valley and didn’t return hadn’t survived the journey to a new land.”

“Cameo, the fact is that about half our world is unknown to Equestrian ponies.  I would think that with all our Earth pony science, Pegasus flight, and Unicorn magic, we ponies would have made a complete map of our world by now.  There are even uncharted areas of my home nation.”

“Ambassador Twilight, may I call you Ambassador Twilight?”  After Twilight nods her head, Cameo continues by saying, “My mapmaking cartographer ponies will give you copies of the maps of my nation, as well as maps of the other known kingdoms on this continent.  What do you say to that?”

“I say, on behalf of my nation, thank you.  Let’s learn from the past, but also move forward.  Let us work together in friendship and harmony to build a better future for all ponies, dragons, griffons, zebras, and all other intelligent species.”

“That sounds very nice, but where should we begin to build our friendship between the ponies of our nations?”

“I can start off by giving you these books on Equestrian history.  I wish I had more to give to you, but I didn’t know that there were ponies living in Dream Valley.”  Twilight’s horn lights up as three books levitate out of Twilight’s saddlebags and land on the low table between Twilight and Cameo.

The Dream Valley President than said, “I’ll give these books to the Dream Valley History Museum.  Our pony historians will love reading each detail of how our long lost relatives are living.  Is there anything you want to add, Ambassador Twilight?”

“I think that our nations should exchange professional ambassadors.  Then, our professional bureaucrats, university professors, and business ponies can consider what trade routes to use for ponies and goods to travel between our two nations.  Cameo, what goods do you think Dream Valley ponies can sell to Equestrian ponies?”

“Dream Valley ponies would love to trade our PDAs, our canal technology, and our vast, Dream Valley coal reserves for Equestrian trains, airships, and Friendship engines.  Dream Valley ponies joke with each other that if you drag your hoof on the ground here, there’s a good chance your hoof will get covered in coal dust.  Ambassador Twilight, how do we determine how many tons of Dream Valley coal do you think is a worthwhile trade for one Equestrian friendship engine?”

With a sigh, Twilight said, “I see we have many days of complicated and intricate negotiating ahead of us.  Being an adult is so complicated.  And thus, I wonder why when I was a young filly that I was in such a hurry to grow up.”

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sunrise over Lake Superior on Lover's Day

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter 14:  Bad vibes at the shopping arcade Unexpected

The next day finds Rainbow and Fluttershy walking within a glass roofed, shopping arcade.  The stores are filled with merchandise, some familiar and some alien to the two pony friends.

The trouble started with Chitchat Grapevine a young unicorn mare with a shiny tin colored coat with a polished pewter mane and tail, with the portraits of two ponies talking for a cutie mark.  Chitchat takes a secret digital photo of them with her PDA and then sends it to her friends.  Chitchat’s friends send the digital photo to their friends who rush over to the arcade.  Soon, a pony flash mob surrounds Rainbow Dash, but ignores Fluttershy.

Chitchat points at Rainbow with her hoof while telling her friends, “That’s the hero that gave us all those Pegasus treasures from the abandoned cloud city to us ground ponies.”

In response, Rainbow Dash puts on her favorite pair of sunglasses and smiles.  “There’s no need for all of you to get pushy.  There’s a limitless supply of Rainbow Dash awesomeness to satisfy everyone’s needs to meet Equestria’s greatest flyer.”

On the edge of the crowd, Fluttershy speaking in a quiet voice said, “Not to disagree with you or anything, but you know that Spitfire may disagree with you about being the best Pegasus flier.”

Walking around the assembled mob of Dream Valley ponies is a young Earth pony stallion with a polished stainless steel coat and a metallic red mane and trail, with a push mower for a cutie mark.  He walks over to Chitchat and then asks, “Chitchat, Rainbow is mobbed by other ponies.  What about talking to the yellow Pegasus?”

Chitchat replies, “Lawn Care, don’t pay any attention to Fluttershy.  According to my friends’ online blogs that I’ve read so far, the yellow mare is more of an Earth Pony who happens to have wings, than she is a real Pegasus.”

Understandably, Fluttershy was a bit miffed at being described as not being a real Pegasus.  Fluttershy said to herself with a cute, yet angry face, “I’m not as good at flying as my friend Rainbow.  But, I’m still a real Pegasus.”

Fluttershy flies over to hover above Rainbow Dash, and then says “Rainbow, we’re leaving!”

Fluttershy scoops a surprised Rainbow up in her four hooves.  Fulttershy flies upward and then down the wide arcade hall.  The Dream Valley ponies give chance down the hall, but they give up when Fluttershy, still carrying Rainbow in her hooves escapes out an open window.

An exacerbated Rainbow asks, “Fluttershy, why did you carry me away from my fans?”

“Some of those ponies are mean, and those mean ponies said that I wasn’t a real Pegasus.”

With a surprised look on her face, Rainbow said, “Well then, I don’t want to be around those Dream Valley ponies if a few of these said bad things about you.  Come to think of it, even Twilight does not get as much attention for being a princess in Ponyville, than Fluttershy and I get from these glossy coated and air-headed Dream Valley ponies.  Let’s fly over to the market and see if there are Dream Valley novels that are similar to the Daring Do novels.”

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Friday, April 22, 2016

More pictures of painting the King Manor staircases

Ground Floor and alley entrance

First floor

Between the First and Second floor

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Thirteen

Chapter 13:  Observations of Dream Valley Unexpected

After nightfall, within the airship’s observation lounge, Twilight and Pinkie are both reading books about Dream Valley.  Twilight tells Pinkie, “I’ve found that trade between Dream Valley and Equestria could be very advantageous to both nations.  Dream Valley ponies have goods and resources that Equestrian ponies want to buy; while Equestrian ponies have goods and resources that Dream Valley ponies want to buy.”

Pinkie answered back, “That’s nice, but how will Dream Valley and Equestrian trade happen when their nation and our nation are on opposite sides of the Western Ocean?”

“Well Pinkie, I don’t think modern ponies are going to walk to each other’s nations like the ancient ponies did.”

“Twilight, my pink hoofs are aching just thinking about that long walk.  And to think those Earth and Unicorn ponies walked or the Pegasus ponies flew all that distance without one candy store, without one bakery, or without one Hay Burger franchise along their journey.”

“We could build a railroad and a road along the same land that the ancient ponies took to immigrate around the Western Ocean to walk to Equestria.  That would mean a two week journey by rail or a three week journey by road.  At least, we can propose building that railroad and road to President Moderator and Princess Celestia.  What do you think, Pinkie?”

“Applejack’s really good at construction.  Let’s get her to supervise construction.  Applejack might even become the Princess of Really Big Construction Projects!”

“Pinkie, what you said makes sense, I mean makes sense for this world.  I suppose that someday Applejack could become the Princess of Really Big Construction Projects.  But, we need to consider all possible trade options and then choose to build the best ones.  We could build fleets of passenger and cargo airships.  But, our existing Equestrian airports are too small for a huge increase in trade.  We could build more oceangoing ships, but somepony needs to chart safe trade routes in the Western Ocean between Dream Valley and our Equestria.  This is one of many topics that I and the President of Dream Valley will talk about.”

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Twelve

Chapter 12:  Job offer for Fluttershy Unexpected

Meanwhile, Fluttershy was pulling a Pegasus sky cart, still painted in a military dull gray and full of ancient paintings of famous Pegasus commanders, from the abandoned Pegasus city to Twilight’s airship.  This was Fluttershy’s third round trip that day, and she was getting tired.  From high in the air, she sees a series of wide roads built as loops connecting unusual appearing homes.  Yet, when Fluttershy landed on one of these roads, she saw that these homes are for animals and that she was in a zoo.

After taking off the cart’s harness, and getting a drink of water from a fountain, Fluttershy saw a mare about her age.  This mare has a zinc coat, a white gold mane and tail, a pink heart for a cutie mark.  The mare wore a forest green blazer, a white shirt and a green tie.  The zinc coated mare taps her hoof on her PDA several times, smiles, and then walks over to Fluttershy.

The zinc coated mare spoke to Fluttershy, “You must be the Pegasus Fluttershy.  My name is Warm Heart, the chief zookeeper for Chancellor Puddinghead’s Zoo.  But, don’t let the name fool you.  This zoo has been rebuilt; contracted in size and expanded in size so many times that Puddinghead’s original Zoo has been reduced to one fountain, topped with an ancient bronze statue of her.  What brings you to my zoo?  We have few pony visitors on a weekday, and never had a Pegasus pony visitor, that is until today.”

“Well, I was getting tired from pulling this Pegasus cart, so I landed here.  Is that OK with you?

“Fluttershy, I don’t mind, as the paved path you landed on is wide enough to park five carts side by side and still have sufficient room for ponies to walk past them.  Where did you get that cart?  It looks so ancient.”

“My friend Rainbow and I found this cart in the cloud city armory.  By the way, you must have a wonderful job taking care of the many animals here.  I see several species that I don’t recognize and I’m skilled at taking care of animals.”

“Fluttershy, you have skills in taking care of animals?”

“I sure do Warm Heart; take a look at my photos.  I had one of the airship crew members transfer my photo album into my PDA.”  Fluttershy extends her hoof, so Warm can see photos of Fluttershy’s home and all the animals that she cares for on her PDA.

After seeing about one hundred photos, Warm said, “Fluttershy, that’s impressive.  I could use some extra help around here.  Could you considering working for me at my zoo?  There is more than five hundred different species of animals here.”

“I don’t know what to say.  I’d love to work here, but I don’t want to leave my animal friends in Ponyville.”

“You could bring your animals to this zoo.  I’ll even pay for their travel expenses and I’d make sure that they will be well cared for.”

“You’ve given me something to think about, to consider Warm Heart.  Thanks for taking your time to have a delightful conservation with me.  Well, my friend Rainbow will be cross with me if I’m late delivering these Pegasus artifacts to Twilight’s airship.  So, I’ll be going now.”

Fluttershy puts on her cart harness, and then flies up and toward Twilight’s airship.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More pictures of painting the King Manor staircases

Floor two

Floor three

Between Floor three and Floor four

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Eleven

Chapter 11:  Literature for Pinkie Unexpected

Twilight’s diverse group soon found themselves walking down an artistic pedestrian boulevard.  The boulevard was paved not in cobblestones like in Ponyville.  Instead, the boulevard was paved with brightly colored, rubber titles.  The easy on the hoof titles created large patterns depicting rain, flowers, and the waves of the sea.

Twilight thought of the many references she had found in the Dream Valley Republic about the sea and ocean-going ships.  She wondered why Dream Valley ships hadn’t sailed to her homeland.  In fact, on the airship voyage to Dream Valley, she had seen few ships on the ocean.

Twilight said, “Newsie, I’ve seen many references in the Dream Valley Republic about the sea and ocean-going ships.  So what is the reason why Dream Valley ships hadn’t sailed to Equestria?  In fact, on the airship voyage to Dream Valley, I had seen few ships on the ocean.”

Newsie, acting more like a tour guide than a journalist, replied, “Most Dream Valley ships don’t leave sight of land.  There are several reasons for this cautious approach to sailing, the most important reason is; oh, here are, at the Princess Platinum University and Library.  Not only did Panorama and I earn our journalism degrees here, this university is also the site of the Unicorn tribe’s royal castle.  But, since the University and Library have been rebuilt so many times there is very little of the original, above the ground structures remaining.  All the books that Princess Platinum saved in her cavern have been copied and published as either paper books or as electronic books.”

The University is protected by a wall that is ten ponies tall, with an ornate wrought iron, double gate.  The university itself is a series of white marble structures with much detail and statues of ponies befitting of a home for pony royalty, rather than as a home for classrooms and books.

Above the library’s ornate entrance gate is a stature of three Earth and three Unicorn ponies, raising the national flag of Dream Valley.  The flag is an image of a smiling Earth pony mare and a smiling Unicorn pony mare giving each other a happy brohoof.

Pointing with her hoof at the national flag, Twilight asked Newsie, “That’s the same image that’s on Dream Valley dollars.”

Newsie replied, “Yes.”

“I assume that the Dream Valley ponies built a university library around Princess Platinum’s book collection and that library has only become bigger over the many centuries since the Great Pony Migration?”

“Yes Twilight, we Dream Valley ponies have an uninterrupted history going back for seven thousand years.  When I was a journalism student, I spent my library time in the library’s Journalism section.  But, I’m sure that you can find a book on every topic that you can image.”

With wide eyes, Twilight replied, “Thanks for everything Newsie.  I’ll talk to you soon.  I’ve got many books to read, so goodbye for now.”  Twilight’s rush to get into the vast library was so fast that a rainbow with sparkles appeared behind her flowing tail and hind legs.

With a nonchalant tone in her voice, Pinkie told Panorama, “Well, there is nothing interesting for me here, Equestrian’s best party planner, in a dusty old library.”

Panorama replied, “Oh, really?  When I was planning my husband’s birthday party, I found an entire bookcase of books on party planning.”

That statement got Pinkie’s attention even more than the words all you can eat free cupcakes.  “There is an entire bookcase … on party planning … here in this library?”

Panorama replied, “I never counted those books.  But, I’d guess that this library has two or three hundred party planning books.”

“Wow!  This old library does have interesting books.”

Pinkie’s eyes get big and then she also dashes off through the library gatehouse.  Pinkie, without Twilight, walks down rows of bookshelves.  Pinkie checks her PDA automatic mapping feature while she walks.  Pinkie smiles when she sees that some of the Dream Valley student mares and stallions are wearing vests with many sophisticated Dream Valley electronics, making them appear like high technology versions of Hearth's Warming Eve Trees.

When Pinkie finds an entire bookcase filled with party planning books, her face takes on the same appearance as when she first saw Rainbow Dash’s Sonic Rainboom.  With one of the happiest faces to ever appear on the face of a pony, Pinkie said to herself, “I could spend years here reading about party planning.  The information in these books, combined with what I already know, means that I could become the most famous party planner in Dream Valley, the most famous party planner anywhere.”

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Painting the King Manor staircases

Floor three

Floor four

Floor five

Sunrise on a porch in King Manor apartment

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Ten

Chapter 10:  Boat ride Unexpected

After days of buying books, Pinkie and Twilight, along with Newsie and Panorama are riding on the Dartmoor Pony a steam powered, canal boat in a tree-lined canal.  Two Dream Valley Unicorn mares named Captain Quarterdeck and first mate Roadstead, as well as a deckhoof Earth pony stallion named Afloat were the boat’s crew.  Wearing sailor berets, sailor tunics, and slip resistant boat shoes for their rear hooves, these ponies are keeping the boat moving.  These boat ponies would take time to point out landmarks and every hour offered food and drinks to the four pony passengers.

This boat was built for a comfortable ride for about twenty to thirty passengers.  But Twilight had rented it so she could travel without being bothered by Equestrian pony fans.  In fact, the fan ponies had become so annoying that Twilight had used her magic on herself so her coat appears to be a steel gray Tungsten, while a wildflower pattern sundress hid her wings and cutie mark.

Twilight wrote in her group’s journal, “I didn’t know how Pinkie did it, but on her own she had turned her pink coat, mane, and trail the bluish color of polished cobalt.  I didn’t ask how Pinkie had turned from a bright pink to shiny cobalt.  Similar to Pinkie Sense, this is something that I have stopped attempting to understand, but accepted as Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie.  The fact is that Pinkie has a magic that I don’t comprehend nor understand, but accepted as something that is outside of my ability to understand with observation and science.”

On the canal shore, Pinkie sees some brightly colored flowers, and then she bounces to the other side of the boat to get a closer look.

Every time their rented canal boat was going to pass by another boat, Pinkie would blow her crystal flugelhorn.  Pinkie thought blowing her horn was fun.  But, it also meant that Captain Quarterdeck had one less thing to worry about as she guided her boat deeper into Dream Valley.

From talking to the boat ponies, Twilight found out that Quarterdeck, Roadstead, and Afloat had met each other in the Dream Valley Republic’s navy.  After their enlistment was over, they pooled their money and then bought a new canal boat and had been taking passengers and mail along the valley’s canal network for two years.

Twilight’s canal boat comes to a stop next to what looked like to her eyes to be the bottom of a huge and robust ferrous wheel.  But, unlike the Equestrian ferrous wheels Twilight had seen that were built to entertain ponies, this canal wheel was for moving boats up and down a steep hillside.  The canal wheel had two water-filled gondolas, suspended by four huge rotating rings, where boats could enter on the bottom and exit on the top, or vice versa.

Twilight’s canal boat begins to ascend counter clockwise as a coal barge descends.

With Panorama operating her television camera, The Unicorn Newsie, holding a wireless microphone in her magic, begins to speak with Twilight.  “Ponies and cargo travel in Dream Valley as well as to and from our distant provinces by our canals or by our roads.  Of course, trade and travel slows down during winter, as the water in the canals freeze solid and snow makes travel by road rather difficult.”

Twilight asks, “Why don’t you use trains?”

A confused Newsie asks Twilight, “What are trains?”

Twilight uses her magic to levitate a book out of her saddlebags and opens it up to a picture of an Equestrian train.  Twilight says, “Trains roll on steel tracks and have engines designed to pull carriages for passengers and freight along steel tracks.  Trains in my nation carry passengers, mail, and freight, while they almost never are stopped by winter’s cold and snow.

An amazed Newsie tells Twilight, “I’ve never seen anything like that train contraption in Dream Valley or in any of the nearby kingdoms.”

“So what you’re telling me Newsie is that Dream Valley ponies invented and built amazing canals, but not trains?  From my pointy of view, these Dream Valley ponies are living unexpected lives.”

Bouncing by on her hooves, Pinkie tells Twilight, “Oh Twilight, think of all the unexpected things that have happened in your own life.  As a foal, did you expect that Princess Cadence would become your foalsitter?  Before you enrolled in Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, did you or your parents expect that you would become Princess Celestia’s most faithful student?  Did you expect that you would meet such diverse Ponyville friends?  Did you expect that you and your friends would become the bearers of the Elements of Harmony who would overcome Nightmare Moon, Trixie, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Trixie again, Discord's black thorny vines, the Mane-iac, and Lord Tirek?”

Standing on her hind legs, Pinkie added, “Twilight, part of growing up is dealing with unexpected events in our lives.  Yet, as a result of all those unexpected events, we pony friends are living far-out, groovy, and terrific lives.”

Twilight puts a hoof on her chin, considers Pinkie’s words for a moment, and then tells Pinkie, “When I was a blank flank filly, I had no idea how wonderful my life would turn out.  I suppose that my life has been a series of unexpected events, between weeks or months of predictable routine.  However, what were these foalish ponies thinking when they build canals that froze for three months during winter?”

Pinkie added, “Twilight, from the point of view of the Dream Valley ponies, Equestrian history seems as strange to them, as Dream Valley history appears to us.  Twilight, you should accept the fact that simply because these ponies invested in canals but not railroads does not mean that they are worse off than you or better off than you.”

While Twilight considered Pinkie’s observation, Twilight’s rented canal boat comes to a stop at the top of the boat wheel.  And then, the boat continues down the canal, now lined with homes and retail businesses.  The boat’s public address speakers come to life, as Quarterdeck’s voice interrupted Twilight’s thoughts.  “On behalf of Roadstead and Afloat, I would like to thank our passengers for choosing our canal boat.  Please look around and take all your belongings with you.  Please walk with care off this vessel and we hope to see you soon for another pleasant journey.”

Twilight’s boat came to a stop in a marina dug out of the ground beside the canal.  Quarterdeck and Roadstead used their Unicorn magic to attach the boats mooring lines to the dock, while Afloat used his shoe-gloves to put the boat’s gangway down, allowing the four ponies to walk to the dock, and then walk to the shore.

Twilight said, “Quarterdeck, thanks for the ride.  I’ll send you a PDA message when my friends and I will need a ride back to our airship.”

Pinkie added, “You guys have a great boat and your cookies are wonderful!”

Then, the four ponies walked into a city park, where they saw an outdoor concert with six musician ponies making upbeat trumpet and piano music, on a stone stage for an audience of thirty ponies dressed in business attire.  But, much to Pinkie’s dismay, their group or in this case Twilight didn’t have time to listen to music, no matter how good the music was.  Pinkie started talking to the journalist ponies, leaving Twilight to consider all the things she had seen so far in Dream Valley.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Nine

Chapter 9:  Food and fashion Unexpected

In Crossroads City, Applejack and Rarity are trotting toward a bakery.  Applejack is paying attention to an image printed on a canvas store window awning that is a stylized apple that also looks like baked bread.

Rubbernecking at the metallic ponies, Rarity tells Applejack, “I never imagined that there is an entire nation that is populated with handsome, metallic ponies.  I could live the rest of my life here!”  Rarity has a dream sequence where she is the center of attention in a lavish, Busby Berkeley like musical.

Ignoring Rarity’s emotional display, Applejack walks up to the store’s front door, sniffs the air, and then says, “I do love the aroma of baking apple pies.”  Then, Applejack sees inside a glass display case that these pastries are fluffy pancakes, imprinted like waffles to resemble whole apples.  “Wait, those treats don’t look like pies, these look like apples.  Rarity, what in tarnation are these treats?”

Those treats, whatever they are, are too cute.  And they must taste divine.  I’m sure that Sweetie Belle would love these in her school lunch box.”

Walking out from the store’s kitchen is a Dream Valley, Earth pony mare with a brushed aluminum coat, with her metallic purple mane and metallic purple trail done up in buns.  She is wearing a white apron and a green shirt.

Trotting up to Applejack and Rarity, the brushed aluminum mare says, “My name is Confectionery and from your dull coats you two must be those Equestrian Ponies.  Welcome to my humble bakery.  I was taught in school that all the ponies that left Dream Valley had froze.  I never expected to see the descendant of the emigrants return to Dream Valley.  So, what can I help you with?  Have you come to buy some of my treats?”

Applejack said, “What are those pastries in your display case?  They have an aroma of baked apples, but they don’t look like any apple pie I’ve ever seen.”

The baker pony said, “These are my apple-shaped cakes, a type of baked pastry.  About fifty years ago, there was a shortage of apples, combined with a surplus of wheat.  To make the most of the apples we had, my grandmother decided to make an apple shaped pastry made with sweet waffle batter, filled with sliced apples and cinnamon applesauce.”

Applejack replied, “I’ll take two, one for me and one for my friend Rarity.  From the display case sign, I believe that these are two dollars each, for a total of four dollars.”

Rarity chimed in, “Applejack, I’ll pay for these treats, as I am the element of generosity.”  Rarity used her magic to float four Dream Valley dollars out of her saddlebags and over to a happy Confectionery who said, “Equestrian ponies bought my pastry and that means I can advertise my pastry as world famous.”

Applejack said, “You Dream Valley ponies sure do things a bit different than in Equestria.  I’m still getting used to paying for things with dollars instead of with bits.  But, different does not mean better or worse, just different.”  Applejack sniffs the air in the bakery.  “You know, I could spend months and months here finding new ways to sell my family’s apples.  I bet a cartload of my family’s apples that I could live and learn here forever!  What do you think, Rarity?”

“My dear Applejack, after we eat our apple treats; let’s walk to Crossroads City’s most popular fashion boutiques.  I’m sure that after more than one thousand years of isolation from Equestrian society, that Dream Valley fashion culture rivals the fashion cultures in Canterlot and Manehattan.  Dream Valley fashions, the fabrics, the colors, and the patterns are … I have no words to describe them.  I also could live here for years studying centuries of Dream Valley fashions.”

While Rarity spent her day shopping for dresses, Applejack spent her day shopping for practical work clothing.  They each returned to the airship pulling a cartload of very different clothing.  But, they didn’t mind as they saw that each other had bought sets of clothing that made them very happy.

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ponies Unexpected: Chapter Eight

Chapter 8:  Adventures in the clouds Unexpected

Rainbow and Fluttershy are flying among the decayed buildings of a long abandoned and dilapidated Pegasus cloud city that overlooks Dream Valley.  The stone structures on the mountain and the cloud structures around the mountain remain intact, yet show signs of long neglect.

Rainbow looks at the time neglected structures and then tells Fluttershy, “I’m sure that somewhere in these ruins are the homes that our ancestors once lived and worked in, laughed and loved in.”

Fluttershy replied, “Ponies hating other ponies turned this once beautiful city into an abandoned ruin.”

Both Pegasus ponies gasp as they fly lower and slower, and then landing before the front gates of a grand structure.

After Rainbow reads the inscription in the arch above the gates, Rainbow in an excited voice told Fluttershy.  “I can’t believe this is Commander Hurricane’s palace.  I wonder if we can recover anything for the Dream Valley National Museum and the Ponyville Museum.”

A happy Rainbow and a timid Fluttershy walk into Commander Hurricane’s palace.  The palace appears to have been deserted in a hurry, with belongings scattered on the ornate floor.  Paintings hang on crooked angles on the walls, while furniture sits in piles, awaiting pony furniture movers that never came to collect them.

With an even more excited voice, Rainbow said, “I can’t, I can’t believe that I’m walking in … Commander Hurricane’s palace.  I can’t believe that I’m walking on the same floors that so many generations of great Pegasus ponies have walked on.”

In a meek voice, Fluttershy said, “Ponies, please pardon our intrusion.”

Rainbow rolls her eyes, saying “Fluttershy, there is nopony here to apologize to.”

Rainbow points to a grand dining hall with heroic portraits of famous Pegasus military leaders.  Rainbow said, “From reading Commander Hurricane’s confidential journal, this is where he and his staff ate their last meal in Dream Valley.”

Rainbow then makes a yucky face as he walks past the discarded tables, covered by faded tablecloths and dirty dishes.  Rainbow then said, “It looks like the Pegasus ponies were in such a hurry to leave that they didn’t take the time to wash their dishes before they flew away to find a new homeland.”

Rainbow and Fluttershy walk into an ornate bedroom.  The furniture and floor are covered in discarded clothing.  Fluttershy walks over to inspect the commander’s writing desk.

With her hoof, Fluttershy picks up a snow globe that contains a miniature of the Pegasus city.  Fluttershy shakes it with her hoof and the globe appears to be snowing on the miniature Pegasus city.  Fluttershy puts the snow globe down with a sad expression on her face.  Fluttershy told Rainbow, “How ironic that Commander Hurricane would own a snow globe of this city.  I wonder what other secrets we’ll find here.”

“I don’t know,” Rainbow replied.  “But, we will never know until we make the effort to explore this stronghold and the city around it.”

These two Pegasus friends walk into a room that’s full of pony armor and weapons still on rows of racks.

With a shocked face, Fluttershy says, “Oh my, look at all the weapons.”

“Fluttershy, of course there would be weapons here.  After all, Commander Hurricane took pride in governing “a mighty tribe of warriors”.  Rainbow Dash shines as if illuminated by a theater spotlight.  “And thus, you shouldn’t be surprised that warrior ponies would make and keep so many weapons.”

Fluttershy responded by saying, “Look at all the metal that could have been used to make miniatures of Rainbow Dash.”

“That is correct, wait, what do you say?”

Fluttershy blushes and then adds, “Well, I’m very thankful that Pegasus ponies have grown out of our ancestors’ warlike behavior.”

“I’m also happy that we Pegasus no longer live for battle nor do we look down upon our earthbound kindred.”

“When we’re flying high in the sky, it is kind of hard not to look down on Earth and Unicorn ponies.”

“What, oh that was a joke?  Nice one, Fluttershy.”

Rainbow looks around the armory and sees a full-body suit of Pegasus armor that has enclosed wing and tail covers inside a locked steel cage.  “The inscription says that this armor belonged to Commander Updraft, the first pony commander.  Commander Updraft claimed that her unique armor increased her agility, endurance, speed, and ability to summon combat thunderstorms.  But, only a very few exceptional Pegasus ponies have been able to fly while wear it without crashing.”

Rainbow adds, “I wonder why Commander Hurricane left that valuable armor here and why it was locked up in a steel cage.  Why haven’t I heard about Commander Updraft’s magical armor before today?  Anyway Fluttershy, it looks like we got some work ahead of us.  We need to find or have some craft ponies build a Pegasus transport wagon, and then start getting the best of these artifacts to our airship.”

“There may still be Pegasus Air Force cargo carts in the cloud city armory.  Um, Rainbow, what are you thinking about?”

“I was thinking that if I repaired and restored Commander Hurricane’s palace, I’d own a home that’s as big and grand as Canterlot castle.  I’d have to convince some Pegasus ponies to move to Dream Valley to maintain such a gigantic home.   But, living in this palace would be so awesome!”

My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, Copyright © 2010 Lauren Faust, Hasbro Studios, and DHX Media