Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ponies Unexpected

According to pony history, more than a thousand years ago it was bigotry, distrust, and fighting that attracted the windigos to the original homeland of the three pony tribes.  By feeding off the ancient ponies’ negativity, the windigos set about enclosing pony lands in never-ending snowstorms.  Those ancient ponies left their homeland to find new lands that later became the Equestrian nation.  Now, the modern generation of ponies will make a remarkable trek to rediscover what was left behind by the ancient ponies in their rush to flee to a new homeland.  When the modern ponies return to the homeland of the three tribes, what and who will they find?

Chapter 1:  Conservation Unexpected

A beautiful red and orange sunrise was illuminating a nascent blue sky, heralding the first few minutes of an uplifting spring morning.  After yesterday’s daylong torrential rainstorm, all open-air loving ponies as well as a few resident cows and donkeys were enjoying the warmth of Princess Celestia’s sunlight.  Alone or with a group of friends, ponies read books or newspapers.  Other ponies worked on planting seeds in their backyard gardens and planters, while a few ponies worked on their hoofcrafts.

One of these outdoor loving ponies is Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship.  From reading books, Twilight knows that regular exercise is an important part of keeping a pony healthy.  During her regular morning exercise walk upon Ponyville’s cobblestones streets; Twilight felt great as Celestia’s sunlight warmed Twilight’s lavender coat from hooves, to wings, to horn.

Twilight didn’t want her fellow Ponyville ponies to make a fuss over her unexpected accession to being a princess.  For example, Twilight wore her royal regalia only on special occasions, despite Rarity voicing her disappointment.  Thus, while Ponyville ponies, cows, and donkeys greeted Twilight with a friendly “hello” or “good morning, Twilight” these ponies didn’t do anything special for their one and only resident princess.  To the adult Ponyville ponies, Twilight was another helpful and kind resident who happened to become a princess.

Twilight’s walk took her past Ponyville’s schoolhouse, whose red walls and white trim contrasted with most other structures with beige walls and brown trim.  Twilight slowed down and then stopped to admire a sculpted bush that resembles a foal wearing a graduation cap that grows next to the school’s front door.

As a mind exercise, Twilight asked herself why that sculpted bush was there.  Twilight answered herself by saying, “To remind students of the end result of their attendance at the school, graduation.”  Then, Twilight smiled, confident that she was looking at Rarity’s artistic plant shaping.

Twilight heard hoofsteps approaching her from behind.  Turning her head, Twilight saw Cheerilee the town’s magenta coated school teacher.  A cheerful Cheerilee was carrying on her back two saddlebags, filled with textbooks and school supplies.  Cheerilee smiled as she told Twilight, “A happy day of friendship and harmony to you, Twilight.”

Twilight replied, “Yes Cheerilee, I know for absolute certain that today will be a wonderful day.  While I was eating my early morning hay and cheddar cheese on wheat bread breakfast pizza, I observed Rainbow Dash and her Pegasus friends clearing the skies of the few remaining clouds from yesterday’s rainstorm.”

As Twilight turned to resume her walk, Cheerilee said, “Could you wait a minute?  I have something important to ask you for the education of the foals of Equestria.”  Twilight turned to face Cheerilee again, “What do you think I can do to help the education of the foals of Equestria?”

Cheerilee tapped her left front hoof on the hard cobblestone street, and then said, “My students have asked me questions about ancient pony history.  However, I don’t have many answers to give them.  For example, the Cutie Mark Crusaders asked me how the ancient ponies got their cutie marks.  I felt ashamed that I was unable to give the Crusaders an answer to their question.”

After taking a deep breath, Cheerilee continued, “So Twilight, I was wondering if you could find lost pony history in the library of the Castle of the Two Sisters.  I’ve read about maps and history books that were hoof drawn or hoofwritten by early Equestrian settlers.  Some of these pony settlers had made the Great Pony Migration to Equestria.  I only ask you this, as I know that only you and your friends have the courage to enter the Everfree Forest.  And, the Everfree Forest is the only way to arrive at the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.  Could you please find that lost pony history for the students of Equestria?”

“No problem Cheerilee, as I’m always eager to work on a research paper.”  Twilight’s eyes grew wide with anticipation.  “In fact, I’m the one who should be thanking you.  It should take me about one or two weeks, depending upon how much undiscovered information I find.  And, it would be easier to read the books at the abandoned castle, instead of attempting to schlep all those heavy books to Ponyville.”

With an ear to ear smile, Cheerilee replied, “I’m sure that your time and effort will be much appreciated by the Cutie Mark Crusaders, the ponies of Ponyville, and all of Equestria.”

“Well, no time to start a new research paper like the present, I’ll see you soon Cheerilee!”  With a newfound spring in her step and thinking about her new research paper, Twilight trotted back to her crystal castle, an even happier mare than before she had her unexpected conservation with Cheerilee.

The afternoon of the same day, Twilight and her baby dragon friend Spike on Twilight’s back had flown to the library of the Castle of the Two Sisters.  They sat beside a long, wooden table while reading books, and sometimes taking notes on what they read.  Spike wore a burgundy blazer, with fancy embroidery and accented with pinstripes.  The blazer was a Hearth's Warming Eve gift from Spike’s friend Rarity.

After finding a comfortable sitting position, Spike began to read an ancient book about Hearth's Warming Eve.  Spike covers his mouth to conceal his yawn.  And then, Spike lowers the Hearth's Warming Eve book he’s reading to see Twilight.  Spike said to Twilight, “I do want to help Cheerilee update pony history textbooks.  Do you know what I love the most about modern Equestrian history textbooks?”

“Spike, we don’t have the time for guessing games.  Just tell me what you think is the best thing you love about modern Equestrian history textbooks.”

“The best thing about Equestrian history textbooks is that my friends and I have entire chapters detailing our admirable achievements.”

Twilight smiled and then replied, “Spike, being remembered for doing praiseworthy achievements is not as important as doing those worthwhile achievements in the first place.  We Equestrian citizens would be living much poorer lives if it were not for all the celebrated and unsung hard work the citizens of the past did to make the Equestrian nation of the present possible.”

“Speaking of the past Twilight, do you remember the Hearth's Warming Eve pageant?  I’m reading a book describing the pageant with excerpts taken from Princess Platinum’s journal.  The Unicorn tribe Princess described in her journal that before she walked away from Dream Valley, the original homeland of the three pony tribes, to the lands that then became Equestria, she had most of the books of the three tribes put in a dry cave under her family’s castle - in case the three tribes could ever return to Dream Valley.  I guess that never happened.”

Twilight replied, “I sometimes speculate about what would have happened if the foalish Dream Valley ponies had worked together in friendship, respect, and harmony for mutual gain.  Instead their foalish antagonism, distrust, and hostility attracted the attention of the windigos.  The windigos feed upon the ponies’ disharmony to freeze the land, driving the ponies from Dream Valley to Equestria.”

Twilight puts on a sad face and then sighs.  “The three pony tribes were forced to flee Dream Valley in a very big hurry.  I suppose it makes sense that they couldn’t have brought everything they owned with them.   That’s a nice history lesson Spike, but how does that help us help Cheerilee improve classroom textbooks?”

Spike replied, “In the Hearth's Warming Eve pageant third and final act didn’t Smart Cookie, Clover the Clever, and Private Pansy ignite the Fire of Friendship that melted the ice in their cave and incinerate the windigos?  Without the windigos dark magic, Dream Valley would have thawed out.  Thus, we should have no problem finding the cave under Princess Platinum’s castle and recovering these books.  Look, there is even a detailed illustration of the cavern filled with books.”

Spike holds the book open so Twilight can see the illustration.  The illustration of the underground library fills both pages.  As Twilight examines that illustration, Spike tells Twilight, “Imagine all the forgotten knowledge you could rediscover for ponykind!”

“Spike, I’ve never thought about visiting ponykind’s ancestral homeland.  But I’m sure you are correct that Dream Valley has thawed out by now.  Without the windigos, there is nothing at all keeping those lands frozen.  However, I’m also sure that all the books in Princess Platinum’s library must have turned to dust long ago.”

Spike strokes his tiny chin with his left hand, while choosing his next words with care.  “Well, the Castle of the Two Sisters’ above ground library was built with Earth pony engineering and unicorn magic.  It has survived after a thousand years of neglect.  I believe that an underground library built with similar Earth pony engineering and unicorn magic would also survive intact.”

Twilight blinks her eyes, as if realizing what Spike is saying.  Then Twilight replies, “Spike … that makes sense.  Although I wonder why anypony has not thought of returning to Dream Valley, and then written a research paper on what happened to it after all the ponies walked away from it.”

“Twilight, you could be the first pony to return to Dream Valley.  To find all kinds of records that are now lost to ponykind.”

No Spike, not just me.  We and our friends will be the first ponies and dragon to return to Dream Valley.  We’ll rediscover and return that lost pony knowledge and have another epic adventure while we are at it!”

Using her levitation magic, Twilight pulls a book off a nearby bookshelf, floats it over to her, and then opens it.  “Smart Cookie’s journal describes that Dream Valley is on the same latitude as the city of Yanhoover, on the other side of the Western Ocean.  So my friends and I need to either walk around the Western Ocean like the ancient ponies did or use an airship to fly over the ocean.”

“I’m no expert on airship design.  But, I’m aware that there’s no airship that’s been built for such a long journey.  Such an airship would have to be at least twice as large as the biggest Equestrian airship built so far.”

“Twilight, as a princess; you have the money to have such an airship built.”

With a skeptical look on her face, Twilight asks, “I do?”

“Twilight, you have a princess travel budget from Princess Celestia that could pay for three airships.”

Twilight then said, “I’ll ask the Equestrian Airship Company to design and then build our airship.  I’ll also ask the Wonderbolts to act as the officers and crew of our airship.  Spitfire will act as our ship’s captain, while Fleetfoot, High Winds, Lightning Streak, Misty Fly, and Soarin will be the crew.  They will operate our airship and clear the skies of storms ahead of us, so we six ponies and one dragon can focus on finding that lost library.  The most important job is for you.  Spike, I’m depending on you to get us ready for a long journey.”

“You can depend on your number one dragon assistant to get us ready.”  From some unseen place, Spike takes hold of and then puts on sunglasses.

Twilight adds, “I suppose it is time for us and our friends to get ready for an epic airship journey across the Western Ocean!  But before that, we need to read more on Dream Valley, where it is and what was in it that made the ancient ponies call it their homes.”

Spike sighs with an unhappy face.  “I suppose that means more reading before we can get to the fun parts of this journey.”

Twilight replied, “Sometimes my faithful Spike, reading and researching a project can be as fun as doing the project.  Please open up your mind and heart to the joys of exploring a place via the written word.”

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

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