We finally moved today! Sparkler and I are out of Canterlot for the first time, and we’ve found a little town nearby. It’s a really nice little place, and it seems a lot friendlier than Canterlot, hopefully it’ll stay that way; looks can be deceiving after all.
Sparkler and I trotted down the dusty path away from our old home in Canterlot. We had said all of our goodbyes and even managed go shopping for a few last second necessities this morning, and now we were off to find a new home.
We decided on the move a few months back, after my last concert.
The night had started out nicely enough; the air was cool and the sky was clear as glass with the shining beacon of the moon overhead. I chose to play my rendition of Anamorphorses, which I had always enjoyed hearing on the harp. I got so lost in my music I didn’t even notice that the crowd got into a ruckus.
After I finished playing, the crowd looked so upset, I didn’t understand; had I messed up or been out of tune? The only one that looked excited for me was Sparkler, who was in the front row, as usual.
The next day in the Canterlot Times I saw why they everypony looked so upset; the paper had put out a review on my performance, and it wasn’t flattering at all.
“While Miss Lyra’s musical transposition of Anamorphorses was moderately impressive, many compositions, especially popular classical pieces, are better left untouched. I applaud her attempt, but, as much of the audience will likely agree, perhaps this mare should stick to the practice hall until she gains the skill necessary to compose her own work.”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading; I had worked for months on adapting that piece to the lyre, and practiced for hours every day for two months after that! I threw down the paper onto the floor of the apartment, and spent the rest of the day in my room. I cried at first; I didn’t know what to do. I loved playing the lyre so much, but it just seemed like I wasn’t meant to. I had put my heart into that performance, but apparently that’s not enough; nothing is enough.
After a while I just stared at my lyre sitting in the corner next to the music stand and the stack of sheet music. “I thought this was supposed to be my ‘special talent’” I told myself. That’s what we’d all been taught since kindergarten right? That you earn your cutie mark after you find your special talent, and mine had appeared after my first time playing the lyre! So why did it seem like nopony was impressed by my playing?
Aside from Sparkler. She always supported my playing, and constantly reminded me that it was beautiful. I really needed to talk to her now, to see what she really thought of my performance the night before. But she was out with a client, and I had no idea when she’d be home, so I curled up and continued to stare at the lyre, alone.
The path grew narrower as we descended the mountains away from Canterlot, and soon we were surrounded by steep cliffs and rock walls.The path was overcast by the shadow of the rocks, and a breeze from ahead of us flew through my mane; good weather for a walk by my standards.
“How far do you think it is to a town Ly?” Sparkler asked me as we walked.
“I’m not sure; a few ponies told me there should be one within a few hours down this path” I responded to her with hope in my voice.
Sparkler turned to me with a half-concerned look on her face, “Do you think they’re right? How many ponies have actually made this walk before?”
“Oh don’t be so negative. We’ve only been walking for 20 minutes! We’ll get there” I told her with a smile. I was trying pretty hard to hide how nervous I actually was. My knees were wobbly, and it was a wonder I hadn’t stumbled or tripped. I wasn’t sure if my nervousness stemmed from being away from home for the first time, or from the thought that Sparkler may be right, and that it would be days or weeks before we found a town.
She flashed me her patented ‘if you say so’ look, and then turned back to the road ahead. She was always thinking like that, and she didn’t trust what many ponies said in Canterlot. She always told me that “they’re all just trying to impress everyone and make you think they know everything.” I didn’t always believe her, but I could see where she got the stereotype.
After another 10 minutes of silence I turned to her with a smile, “So do you think there will be any other musical ponies there?”
Sparkler thought for a second before turning to me, “I’m not sure. I mean I’ve seen a few ponies from out of town play concerts up in Canterlot, but not very many,” she must have seen my disappointed look, because she quickly continued, “But there probably will be, where you live doesn’t decide your talent, I’m sure you’ll find another musician to play with” she finished up with a smile.
Sparkler’s always cared about how I feel, and went against her own nature at times to prove it.
The day after the concert, she came home in the mid-afternoon after meeting with her client; her saddlebags filled with new gems, I think they were emeralds.
She yelled for me as she closed the door, but I didn’t go out to meet her, I just yelled “Ya, I’m here” and stayed in my room.
A moment later I heard her hoof steps coming down the hall toward my room. “Hey Ly, are you alright?” she asked quietly through the door.
I didn’t answer, I didn’t want to lie to her and tell her I was fine. The door clicked open and Sparkler’s head poked into my room. She was frowning, and she had the newspaper curled in her mouth. I rolled over and groaned.
“Ly, don’t pay attention to that haybrain. Your song was beautiful last night, and I don’t care what those high class ponies say” she tried to reassure me as she put her hoof on my back.
“He’s a music EXPERT Sparkler, it’s his talent to know what bad music is” I replied.
“Oh come on Ly,” she said as she trotted around the bed to see my face, “just because it’s his talent doesn’t mean he knows EVERYTHING. He’s just a pony after all, and ponies make mistakes.”
I nodded once, “But now I’ll never be able to get another gig here, my reputation is ruined” I moaned into my pillow.
“No it isn’t. Ponies around here know you’re a fantastic musician, they won’t let one bad review change that” she argued.
I lifted one eye out of the pillow and looked at her, “Yes it will,” my eyes started to water up again. “They’ll think I’m a washout, there are so many musicians in Canterlot, and they won’t choose one that belongs in the practice hall” My voice started to crack between tears as I pictured my career crumbling down around me.
“You don’t belong in the practice hall and you know it. You’re amazing” her voice grew more stern.
“Not in Canterlot” I sobbed; mainly due to the review, but partly because of Sparkler’s tone. I hated when she got upset like this.
She was silent for a minute, her eyes filled with worry. “So what?” I was going to yell at her, how could she say that? Could she not see how upset I was? It’s what she said next, I almost didn’t believe it. “We don’t have to stay here if you hate it, we can go somewhere else if you think you need to Ly; get a fresh start away from all of the stuck-up ponies around here.”
I pulled my muzzle out of the pillow and turned to Sparkler, dried tears streaking my coat, “But, what about your work here? Your clients…” I didn’t want to ruin her future just because I wasn’t happy here.
“It’ll be fine. I’ll finish up with the clients I have right now, and we can go somewhere else. I’ll find work wherever we go” she tried to reassure me.
I didn’t know what to say, I never expected her to drop everything like that; not for me. I was touched, but I couldn’t let her do that, she had so much to live for here; her work, her sister…
Before I could argue, she cut me off, “Now cheer up! I’m supposed to be the negative one, remember?” she laughed and slugged me on the shoulder lightly.
I joined in her laughter, “You’re right Sparkler. But where would we go?”
“Doesn’t matter, we can just get up and walk out of Canterlot whenever we’re both ready, and wherever we end up is where we’ll be,” she smiled and stood back up. “Together.”
We had been walking for almost 3 hours, without seeing a single town. We didn’t want to stop walking, so we ate as we moved. We had packed enough food to last a few days, just in case; mostly bread, a few cupcakes, and a bunch of alfalfa and hay; our favorite snacks.
We had left the mountains about 2 hours into our walk, and we were trotting through a lush green field between the foothills. The path had changed from dirt to an assortment of rocks, most of which were sturdy, but we’d had a few close calls with falling.
“You can barely see Canterlot from here” I said to Sparkler as we walked. I had turned to see how far we’d come, and the city was barely visible in the mountainside. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fathom that we had actually left home. It was amazing, and yet, something seemed so wrong about it. I knew it was probably just the way anypony would feel after leaving home for the first time, being somewhere new and unknown.
Our hooves pushed us forward, the rocks knocking against them almost rhythmically with each step. The sun had reached full height, hanging directly above our heads, and bathing us in its warmth.
Suddenly, the sound of rock wasn’t beneath our hooves any longer, and before us was a beautiful sight.
A town, pretty small from the looks of it, was nestled into a valley between the foothills. There was a large windmill in the center of the town, and we could see a couple of small farms on the outskirts.
My heart fluttered, the first town I’d ever seen outside of Canterlot! It was so exciting, the nervousness I had been feeling about leaving home washed away, replaced by pure joy at being somewhere new. My coat tingled as I took in the sight.
“Shall we check it out?” Sparkler asked me, a smile curled across her muzzle.
I nodded practically bounced down the hill toward the bridge leading into town.
The place was bustling with activity. Ponies walked to-and-fro everywhere we looked, either visiting shops or running errands for work. Overhead, pegasus ponies shot through the air, carrying decorations and food all across town. My jaw hung open in awe as we trotted down the main street.
A thought suddenly popped into my head, and I turned to Sparkler with wide eyes. “Hey Spark, tomorrow is the summer sun festival right?”
“Oh, yes! It is” she said with a smile. We both loved that celebration; it was one of our favorite days of the year. “Why?”
“Wasn’t that supposed to be in a little town like this one?” I asked her, a smile starting to spread across my muzzle as well.
She thought for a second, then her mouth gaped open in joy, “Yes! It is! This must be where the festival is!”
We looked back around the town at the decorated buildings and food stands down the main street. Everypony seemed just as excited as we did about the upcoming celebration; they were all smiling and galloping around town to prepare the festivities.
“Hey, you look lost!” a little voice said excitedly.
We looked down to see a little orange pegasus, just a filly. “Oh, yes, we are new here” Sparkler responded to her.
“Oh, is it your first day here? Do you have anywhere to stay?” she asked us.
“Actually, no, not yet” I told her, still smiling despite the fact.
“Oh! Then you should go try the Rustled Mane Inn,” the filly advised us, “they may have a room or two open” she seemed confused as to why we had come without anywhere to stay.
“Well thank you, we will try that” Sparkler replied with a smile.
“No problem,” the filly shouted back as she sped away on a scooter, propelled by her wings. “And welcome!”
“Well that was unexpected” Sparkler said to me as we continued to trot through town.
“How so?” I looked to her with a puzzled expression.
“We’d never have seen that in Canterlot. Nopony there is nearly polite enough to ask a random stranger if they’re lost; at least nopony that I’ve met.”
She had a valid point, and for once it wasn’t just because of her negativity. “Ya, you’re right. I guess we’ve found a pretty nice town then!” I exclaimed with a big smile.
“Yes. I just wish I knew what it was called” she replied.
“I’m sure we’ll figure it out at some point. But first let’s try to find that inn.”
“Yes, about that” Sparkler pointed her hoof toward a tall brown building. The lettering on the outside read ‘Rustled Mane Inn’.
We had found it; unfortunately a smaller sign in the window read ‘no vacancy’.
“Where can we go now?” she asked me with a frown.
“There must be another inn or hotel somewhere in this town,” I replied to her, “Let’s try down this way” I pointed down a random street, pretending I had a reason to think anything would be down there.
We trotted down the store lined street, and may have stopped once or twice to look into some of the shops. Sparkler seemed especially fond of a ruby encrusted broach in a shop called Buried Beauty. I made mental note of that for later, deciding I would get it for her sometime; that is if I can get enough money to afford it.
We found 2 other hotels within the town, both of which hung ‘no vacancy’ signs outside their doors. We were about to give up hope when Sparkler sighted a small wooden sign on a corner.
“Hmm, Triple Hooves Apartments. Do you think they’ll have any openings?” she asked me.
“I hope so, it may be our last hope to find somewhere in this town” I replied as we trotted over to the corner office of the complex.
The lobby was really homey with a few comfy looking couches around a birdbath and some paintings hung on the walls behind the desk. The pony working the desk at the time shot us a warm smile as we entered, “Welcome to Triple Hooves Apartments! My name is Cheery Smiles, how can I help you today?”
Sparkler was the first to reply, “Nice to meet you Miss Smiles. We are just wondering if you have any apartments open right now.”
Cheery looked down to the ledger on her desk, studying it for a moment before looking back up to us. “I’m so sorry, we just closed a deal on the last apartment we had yesterday.”
I was bummed, if only I had pushed for us to leave one day earlier…
“That is alright. Thank you for checking for us,” Sparkler replied to the receptionist calmly. “do you know of any places that might have an opening?”
Cheery shook her head and frowned, “No, I’m so sorry. This is the only apartment complex in Ponyville. You could try the hotels, but with the Summer Sun Festival, I don’t know if there will be any openings there.”
“It is quite alright,” Sparkler replied. “Thank you for your help Miss Smiles.”
We stepped back into the street, and looked to each other. “Well this is not good” my friend spoke first.
“Nope, not at all. But at least now we know this town is called Ponyville!” I stated with a little grin.
Sparkler giggled a bit, “Leave it to you Ly. We find out that we have nowhere to stay and you’re excited about learning the name of the town,” she threw her hoof around my neck and hugged me close. “Any ideas on what to do now?”
I pulled out of her hug and looked around for a minute, trying to find something, anything that could help us. “Let’s see…bakery…farm…park…Park! That’s it!”
“What? What is it?” she asked me as I grabbed her ear in my mouth and started galloping toward the park, “OW! What in Equestria are you doing?”
“Jutht trutht me,” I tried to say while holding her ear. I let go of her and galloped out ahead, “I have an idea that might work!”
We found a temporary place to live near some forest outside of town. It’s in a small cluster of trees just on the edge of a forest near town. It’s only temporary until we can find a real place to live, but it’s good enough for now. I just hope we can find it before winter hits.
The forest behind our ‘home’ is actually pretty spooky too. It doesn’t look right; the trees all look dead and it’s so dark, even during the day. I don’t think I’ll be going in there anytime soon.