My sweetie – part 1
They tell you at the orphanage that when you get adopted you will be treated like a REAL son or daughter by a loving family. You never know who will want to take you in. You might become the little filly of the couple that could never conceive. Or go to live with a rich family and be surrounded by brothers and sisters that will love you forever and ever and keep you close to them. You may even be raised by the lone mare that couldn’t bear to be alone any longer.
They tell you of these wonderful things that await you, they assure you of a life worth living, that you just have to be patient for the right family to find you. But that isn’t always the life you receive.
At least, not for Sparkler.
Sparkler had spent her entire life in Mrs. Carewell’s Orphanage for fillies in Canterlot, watching as every filly around her was adopted by a loving family that needed to fill an empty place in their heart.
Sometimes a family would even return to adopt another filly, often the best friend of the one they had recently taken home as their beloved child.
But Sparkler never had any friends so she knew that they weren’t returning for her. I mean, who would want to adopt HER? She barely spoke. She never socialised. She never approached anypony for anything. She just wandered the orphanage awaiting the day that somepony might take pity on this poor foal and bring her home to love and cherish her. Yet here she was; the oldest filly in the entire orphanage, as lonely as the day she was abandoned here.
RING!!! RING!!! RING!!!
“.....Eugh....Shut up....” Sparkler muffled as she reached for her alarm clock.
It had been a long night. Like many before Sparkler had spent the night imagining what it must be like to have a place to call home. This time she imagined what it would be like to live with ponies that own a sweet shop.
The young pink unicorn began to take in her surroundings. All the young fillies had already left the dormitory. Unlike her, they had school to attend, so she was allowed to sleep later than they were. She heard the door opening and looked up to see a familiar purple earth pony carrying a tray on her back. It was Mrs. Carewell.
” Another restless night, dear?”
Sparkler shuffled slowly from her bed,” Yeah. Same reason as always.”
Mrs. Carewell was the founder of the Orphanage, opening its doors under the orders of Princess Celestia in order to give Equestria’s abandoned fillies a home.
The ageing earth pony carefully set the tray on Sparkler’s bed. She had brought Sparkler her favourite breakfast, fresh pancakes and apple juice.
Mrs. Carewell was the only pony Sparkler would open her heart to. She was the only one to show any real care for the young unicorn. She sat beside Sparkler and placed a hoof over her shoulder.
“Well it makes me happy to see you still have a glimmer of hope in your heart.”
Sparkler forced a smile,” I just wish somepony would notice me.”
Mrs. Carewell embraced her in a comforting hug,” They will, dear. They will.”
Moments passed by before Mrs. Carewell got up from the young filly’s bed.
“Now then, I think it’s about time you got cleaned up. Eat your breakfast and don’t forget to bring the tray into the kitchen when you’re finished, dear. You’re free to take a day out into Canterlot if you wish?”
The staff at the orphanage had decided due to her age and her ongoing loneliness that it might be best if they let Sparkler out into Canterlot during the day in the hopes that she might make some friends or even find somepony that will want to take her in.
Sparkler paused before answering,” Oh....yeah. Um... Maybe I’d be better off here today?”
Mrs. Carewell merely gave a tut in response,” Now dear, how are you supposed to find someone to adopt you when you wont even take the chance to socialise?”
Sparkler felt guilt wash over her. They had been giving her a big chance with these days outside. She would leave with a few bits to buy some lunch and be able to see first hand what life was like outside of the orphanage.
As much as she dreaded it, she finally agreed,”...Alright. I’ll go out today.”
With delight in her words, Mrs. Carewell left the room.
“Good! I'm glad to see you taking some responsibility. Ask Ms. High Note to give you 5 bits from the savings jar. Be back by sunset, dear!”
“I will be.” she replied. With a heavy sigh Sparkler got back to her breakfast, knowing what awaited her outside.
Sparkler took her time walking from the orphanage into Canterlot Centre. It was a lively place, full of different businesses and ponies from all over Equestria. Certainly it was a happy place.
If you had a family.
Every time that Sparkler set foot in Canterlot Centre she was shunned by any and all ponies. They didn’t have time to waste on this broken filly. They had businesses to run, places to be and ponies to meet.
After spending some time in and around the market, Sparkler decided to get some lunch. She made her way to her favourite sandwich stand; Aunt Violet’s Flowerbed Delights. Aunt Violet was a sweet old mare that would often give Sparkler a discount. She was probably the only pony around to notice this adolescent filly was coming from the orphanage.
“Good day Miss Sparkler, I haven’t seen you around in a while. I was beginning to wonder where my favourite customer had disappeared to.”
Sparkler approached the stand with a small smile on her face, this was the only place in Canterlot she felt welcome.
“Sorry to worry you. I’ve been helping out at the orphanage alot and its really been taking up my free time.”
Aunt Violet smiled back to her,” All water under the bridge dear. The usual I take it?”
Sparkler frowned; as much as she loved Aunt Violet’s daisy sandwiches, she was incredibly thirsty. If she wanted a drink she was going to have to settle for something smaller.
“Sorry Aunt Violet. I’m real thirsty so I'm gonna have to leave the daisy sandwich today. Could I have a grass Panini and some water instead please?”
What happened next was the sort of kindness Sparkler had grown to expect from Aunt Violet. She left the counter and handed Sparkler a daisy sandwich and a bottle of water. If only every pony was as kind as her.
When Sparkler reached for her change bag around her neck, Aunt Violet shook her head.
“Go buy yourself a treat, dear. Enjoy the sun while Celestia lets it shine.”
Sparkler was overjoyed. Maybe today would be a good day after all.
Or so she thought.
Sparkler decided to eat her lunch under an oak tree in the local park. Setting her bag beside her, she took out her daisy sandwich and dived deep into the delicious flavour, soaking up the sunlight as she ate.
She was halfway through her lunch when she heard some familiar voices. They were laughing. Laughing at her. These voices were the reason she didn’t like to leave the orphanage. Yet even on such a wonderful day, they had found her again.
And they weren’t going to leave her alone.
“Well, looky here. If it isn’t the little orphan girl.” the smallest of the four bullies began.
This group would never leave Sparkler be. Sometimes she could go a day without running into them, but more often than not they would find her. When they did, they would make sure she understood what was most likely the truth; no one loved her.
The filly amongst the group stepped forward. She was younger than Sparkler, sporting a red coat and black mane with white highlights. She spoke up,” You just don’t get it do you? You don’t belong here orphan. You belong up there.” She pointed a hoof towards the orphanage. ”Do the world a favour and stop showing your dismal mug around Canterlot. You’re supposed to be happy here you know....”
The little earth filly pinned Sparkler to the tree and forced two hooves into her face.
“....so put a smile on your face or get lost, orphan!”
The young unicorn welled up with tears. It never got any easier. Sometimes they would tease her, other times they would throw things at her. But nothing hurt more than this.
One of the colts grabbed her sandwich,” Check it out, how did an orphan like you get such a good lunch?” He threw it to the ground and lifted his hoof.
Sparkler lunged at him, only to be tripped by the filly. Her face hit the ground with a dull thud. The young bully held her in the dirt, forcing her to watch as they destroyed her food.
“NO!!! GIVE IT BACK, DON’T!!!”
It was too late. She knew it was too late from the moment he grabbed it.
They all laughed as he wiped his hoof clean,” Hah, I never liked daisies anyway.”
Sparkler began to spill loud sobs. They had taken what kindness she had received and squished it into the dirt. And for what? To make her cry? If so they’d more than succeeded.
The filly still had Sparkler pinned to the ground, barely letting her gather enough air as she cried.
“Well it serves you right you depressing li...WHOA!!!”
Suddenly Sparkler felt the filly being lifted from her chest, hearing as she fell to the ground behind her. As surprised as she was by this, she didn’t dare lift her head for fear of being attacked by the other bullies. Suddenly whoever it was that had saved Sparkler from further humiliation began to defend her from her attackers.
“Leave little filly alone!!! Fillies need friends, not hurters! Why hurt little filly?!!”
Not hurters? That didn’t make any sense. Was this a foreign pony defending her?
The bully slowly got to her hooves, “C’mon guys, lets go. Leave the orphan and the retard. They belong together.”
With that the bullies left. Now that they were gone, Sparkler decided to get up. She was a mess, covered in dirt and dust. Mrs. Carewell wasn’t going to be happy about this. She felt a hoof under her chin, ushering her to raise her head. She met the gaze of a pony that she had only ever seen bringing parcels to the orphanage. The weird speech finally made sense.
Sitting before her was the googly eyed mail mare, Derpy Hooves.
Before the shaken unicorn could say thank you, Derpy spoke to her.
“Little filly is hurt, bad or not good?”
Sparkler had no idea what she was talking about. Then the searing pain hit her. Sure enough, she had a long gash across her forehead where she had hit the ground face first. Derpy reached into her mailbag and pulled out a small napkin. Using Sparkler’s bottle of water she began to clean the wound and wipe away some of the dirt around Sparkler’s face.
“Better feeling now?” Derpy asked her with a small smile on her face.
Sparkler slowly nodded....then she wobbled...then she fell.
Before she could hit the ground, Derpy caught her.
“Oh no’s, not good. Where live? Where home for filly?” Derpy began to panic. She looked around to see if anypony could help her. But the park was empty. Frantically, she grabbed the water and splashed some over Sparkler’s face.
With a cough, she slowly came to again.
Sparkler had gone delusional. She was slowly recovering. Slowly. She had taken quite a blow to the head when she tripped.
This was getting Derpy nowhere. She thought back over what the bullies had said.
“Retard....together...orphan...ORPHAN!!!” She quickly glanced to the nearby orphanage.
Without haste she grasped the barely conscious Sparkler and flew low and gentle towards the orphanage.
RING!!! RING!!! RING!!!
Sparkler awoke to find she was in her bed at the orphanage. As usual she had been taken from her dreamy night by that annoying morning alarm. Wait, morning?
She jumped from her bed. All the little fillies had left for school. She could hear lunch being prepared in the kitchens. But how? She had only just eaten her own lunch.
“Oh thank Celestia you’re awake!”
The familiar voice of Mrs. Carewell brought some reassurance to Sparkler.
“Wha...what happened? Why am I back here? It’s only two in the afternoon. Well, it should be. I only just...” She didn’t even notice the elderly mare sit down beside her.
“Calm down, calm down. It’s OK. You had a run in with some bullies. They gave you a nasty nick on the head, but Mrs. Derpy brought you here when you started losing consciousness.”
Now she remembered. The insults. The beating. Being tripped as they destroyed her food.
Then she remembered the mail mare. She had defended her. Without a reason this mare had seen to it that the bullies left and even brought Sparkler back to the orphanage.
Sparkler quickly spoke up,” Is she here? I need to talk to her, to thank her.”
With that Mrs. Carewell began to build tears in her eyes. She brushed the hair out of Sparkler’s eyes and after a pause finally spoke.
“There will be plenty of time for that, dear.”
Sparkler stared back at her, confused by the sudden burst of emotions,” What do you mean?”
“.....She’s going to adopt you.”
Sparkler made sure to make her last few weeks at the orphanage her best. She wanted to leave being remembered as more than the oldest filly to be adopted. She was ecstatic, nothing could ruin her mood now. Not only was she being adopted at last but she would never have to set foot in Canterlot again. She decided to spend her final weeks helping out Mrs. Carewell in the school rooms.
“Now don’t forget to put those books in alphabetical order in stacks of five, dear. Otherwise I’ll have to hand them out one by one, you know how long that takes.” Mrs. Carewell was not only the founder of the orphanage, she was also the teacher. She would often spend her mid day coffee break talking with Sparkler. An older filly like her needed someone to talk to.
Sparkler struggled with the pile of books,” Whoa..... I could use a little help with these things...oof!”
Sparkler hit the floor, dropping the enormous pile of books around her. She looked up from under the pile, embarrassed at what she had done.
“Heheheh.... Sorry. I’ll, uh, clean this up right away.”
Mrs. Carewell started to pick up the books with her. In no time at all they had both sorted the books into four equal piles of five, each alphabetically ordered.
The elderly earth pony softly spoke to Sparkler,” You need to calm down dear. I know you’re excited and rightfully so but please try and concentrate on your work?”
Sparkler raised herself from the floor, dusting off her hooves,” I know, it’s just, this is it. In a few days, I'm going...home. I'm going home.”
Mrs. Carewell began to tear up. She had never been happier for Sparkler,” And I know you’ll be loved there. Otherwise I would never let you go from here.”
They sat in silence before Sparkler spoke up,” Oh, where is it I'm going to again?”
“Ponyville, dear. It’s a small town just outside of Canterlot, near the Everfree forest. Derpy has lived there for 12 years now. It’s a beautiful place, I know you’ll enjoy it.”
Ponyville, it sounded wonderful.
Derpy had been to visit Sparkler twice a week before her adoption. During these visits Sparkler and Derpy had a chance to talk with each other.
But Sparkler also had the opportunity to play with her soon-to-be little sister; Dinky Hooves.
Dinky always brought her dolls with her when she visited. Today she had brought her newest doll to show Sparkler.
“So, what's her name? You still haven’t told me yet.”
The shy little unicorn had been busy brushing her new doll’s mane while Sparkler tended to the one Derpy had brought for her to play with.
She softly answered Sparkler,” Oh. Her name’s Ms. Peaches.”
Dinky was still getting used to the idea of an older sister coming home with her, so she tended to stay quiet when she visited, not speaking until spoken to.
“That's a lovely name. Why’d you pick it for her?” Sparkler did her best to keep the conversation going, she didn’t like playing in silence.
Dinky answered back, eyes still on her doll,” Well whenever mom buys me something she likes to hide it somewhere she knows I’ll look. I found her in the garden under our peach tree so I called her Ms. Peaches.”
Sparkler smiled at the thought. It was a childish but meaningful way to give a gift. It made her more excited about moving in to think of such surprises being left around.
“Your mother must love you very much to give you such wonderful gifts, don’t you think?”
Dinky smiled back at Sparkler, making eye contact for the first time since she got here today.
Suddenly Derpy spoke up from behind them.
“Mommy loves her little muffin very much.” She nuzzled Dinky and held her beneath her wing.
When she got up again Derpy looked to Sparkler, a smile spreading across her face.
“Ready for the going time, sweetie?”
“Yes Mrs. Derpy.” With that she gave Dinky her doll and reached for her rucksack. Before she could grab it, Derpy lifted it and tucked it into her empty mail bag.
“Let mommy take your bag of keepsakes and clothings, she has to look after little filly now.”
They made their way into the main hall where some staff and Mrs. Carewell had gathered to see her off.
Mrs. Carewell looked to Sparkler with tears in her eyes. This was never easy. But with Sparkler it felt worse. She had been here for fourteen years and now she was finally leaving. She knew she would miss the little unicorn, but she was going somewhere where she would be loved and adored so long as she lives. So as hard as it was, she had to let her go.
Mrs. Carewell tried to say something to Sparkler, but before she could the young filly ran to her and hugged her tight.
“Goodbye Mrs. Carewell. Thank you for everything.”
Mrs. Carewell stroked Sparkler’s mane,” Goodbye Sparkler. Enjoy your new family.”
After a few moments they separated for the last time. Sparkler walked to the door to join Derpy and Dinky as they left.
This was it. Her new life.
At last she was free of the insults. She was free of the loneliness. Never again to sleep in a dormitory filled with young fillies still at school. Never again would she have to suffer the bullying. Never again would she be alone.
She was on her way now, off with her new family to a place she had dreamed of her entire life.
My sweetie – part 2
The walk to Derpy’s house seemed like an eternity. Throughout the journey a million and one thoughts were racing through Sparkler’s mind as she tried to imagine what the home of a mail mare might be like. Truth be told, despite the many other families she had imagined living with, the life of a mail mare’s daughter wasn’t one that had occurred to her.
Lost in her thoughts, she finally noticed Derpy had been watching her, a small smile across her face.
“Looking forwarded to new home time, sweetie?”
Sparkler, lost in thought, quickly answered back,” Oh...uh, yeah! I mean...yes! Yes I am.”
Derpy and Dinky both giggled at Sparkler’s messy response. With a heavy sigh, Derpy walked closer to Sparkler and began to comfort the unsettled unicorn.
“Worry nots, young filly. No needing for panic. Home is almost here.”
That’s what Sparkler was worried about. What kind of home? Was it a brick house? A shack?
Was she going to live in a decrepit apartment block filled with Celestia knows what kind of ponies?
No. No she wasn’t.
As they reached the top of a small incline cast in shadow the sun came into view. With it came the small town of Ponyville. Sparkler was taken aback by the bustling, happy town in front of her that would forever more be her homestead.
“What thinking of Ponyville?”
Mouth agape, Sparkler replied,” It’s beautiful! This is... is this really where you live?!”
Dinky jumped before Sparkler, bouncing happily.
“Uh huh! It’s awesome, isn’t it?”
Derpy stood next to Dinky, holding her under her wing. As Sparkler stared forth at her new hometown, Derpy took the opportunity to say what she had been wanting to for so long.
“Welcome home, sweetie.”
Much to Sparkler’s relief, Derpy’s house was in fact a lone rustic wooden cottage based just on the border of Ponyville.
The cottage had a small fence surrounding her plot of land, most of which seemed to be out back, forming a large rear garden. From their approach Sparkler could see a few trees growing in the back garden as well as a few plant stalks that had outgrown the height of the fence.
As they reached the gate, Derpy and Dinky stood aside, allowing Sparkler the honour of entering her new home herself. The unicorn let out a deep sigh. She gingerly placed her hoof on the gate handle. Lowering it, she gave the gate a gentle nudge forcing it to swing back with a creak in the hinges. She turned around to Dinky and Derpy, both of whom nodded for her to continue.
This was it, no going back now.
She sighed and moved forward to the cottage porch. Standing on her hind legs, Sparkler carefully pushed the large wooden door open, finally granting herself access to the cottage.
She couldn’t believe her eyes.
Inside were banners and balloons, streamers and confetti, cake and treats disguising the house in a multicolour madness. The entire lounge was unrecognisable, having been completely covered in a coloured collage of paper confetti and balloons.
Sparkler nearly jumped out of her skin. Derpy and Dinky had snuck up behind her when she wasn’t expecting it. But this shout brought her back to reality. In front of her was a party, dedicated entirely to her.
Fighting back the tears, she turned to Derpy and Dinky, still in shock with what lay before her.
“You did this....for me?”
Derpy gave back that same small, comforting smile,” Welcome home, my sweetie.”
Dinky jumped with joy,” WELCOME HOME SPAR...I mean....SISTER!!!”
Sparkler fought for a response,” I...you...thank you. This means so much, I just...”
Derpy embraced the young filly under her wing, nuzzling her cheek. The pegasus felt something warm drip down her nose, gently pulling back to find a tear from Sparkler’s welling eyes had dripped free, prompting her to cry.
“No need for teary weeping, sweetie. You’re a big filly. Come now, cake for time.”
Sparkler looked confused, she was still getting used to Derpy’s strange speech patterns.
“What do you mean? I, I mean I don’t want to sound rude, but...uh”
Dinky cut in before Derpy could try and explain,” She means time for cake.”
Derpy looked to her daughter,” Exunctaly!”
Sparkler found Derpy’s speech funny, but kept it to herself. She didn’t want to be rude. After all, this pegasus had brought her a life she finally felt worth living.
“Exactly I take it?”
Dinky giggled in response,” Now you’re getting it!”
Derpy lifted the cake slicer and gave it to her new daughter.
“Enough of chit changing, it’s cake munching times!”
Wiping away the tear marks on her cheeks, Sparkler took the cutter to the cake and officially began their little party.
“Good new days sweetie! Time to get upsies!”
That was a funny sound for her alarm to make. Sparkler slowly reached for her bedside alarm, finding a face instead. She quickly pulled away, smacking Derpy in the nose.
“OW! I'm gonna guessing that was no intentional movement, sweetie.”
Sparkler sprung from her bed. Now she remembered. She wasn’t in her dormitory. She was at home. Her home. One day there and she already managed to embarrass herself.
“Oh, I'm so sorry! I'm still getting used to being here. I didn’t mean to.”
The pegasus just rubbed her nose and put a hoof to Sparkler’s shoulder.
“No need for worry, accidentals happen every here and again. Go getting washed with Dinky, breakfast food will be readied and waiting for you in the downstairs.”
With that she left the room, rubbing her nose as she left. Sparkler looked to her surroundings, gathering what details she could. She had gone to sleep so quickly last night she didn’t even have time to take in the fact she now had her own bedroom.
“Certainly a godsend compared to my locker and dormitory,” she thought out loud.” I bet Mrs. Carewell would be happy for me knowing where I am.”
The pink unicorn finally got up from her bed and made her way into the hall. Turning left, she looked to the stairwell. There were two doors on her right and one on her left. Derpy’s room was just opposite her bedroom, a king-size bed in the centre of a violet room surrounded by various drawers and cupboards.
“That’s a bit....unnecessary for a single mare. Does she have a boyfriend?”
Sparkler didn’t even notice Dinky standing beside her. She reeled back in shock at the sudden realisation she was being watched.
“Nah, she just likes to spread her wings when she sleeps.”
Taken aback by the sudden appearance of her sister, she collected herself and made her way to the bathroom with Dinky. As they approached the second door on the right, Dinky rushed past Sparkler into the room.
“I'm brushing first!”
Sparkler was knocked off balance by her little sister, but managed to catch her balance before she could tumble to the floor. This was certainly a change; the little filly that would barely talk to her was now so full of energy and bursting with life.
Sparkler decided to tease her little sister on the subject,” I don’t get you Dinky.”
The little filly looked up, mouth half filled with foam.
Sparkler leaned against the doorway,” Well it’s just that whenever you came to visit, I could never get you to talk. Now I can’t get you to shut up.”
She braced herself for the inevitable nagging to come. But it didn’t. Instead Dinky just spat into the sink and told Sparkler a painful truth.
“Oh yeah, Mom told me not to get too close to you in case you couldn’t come home with us, so I tried not to talk too much.”
Sparkler felt her heart skip a beat.
What did she say?
Before Sparkler could ask for an explanation she heard Derpy call from downstairs.
“Breakfasting food time is ready!”
Dinky ran off, not even noticing she had upset her sister. Sparkler began to think to herself what she could have misinterpreted. Maybe Derpy just didn’t want either of them to get hurt if things went wrong. And if it did go wrong, would she have left her adoption at that or would she have given further appeal? Surely Dinky must have known this would hurt her sister. But she let it out as if it meant nothing to her.
Did she mean anything to either of them?
“No!” she exclaimed to herself, quiet enough that they wouldn’t hear, “They do love me, they have to. They threw me a welcoming party and everything! Maybe she didn’t hear Mrs. Derpy right. Yeah, that has to be it.”
Having forced the thought out of her head, she made her way downstairs. Great. One day here and she was already feeling unwelcome.
She made her way into the kitchen. It was fairly small, room enough for somepony to walk around the table and three chairs in the centre of the room. Dinky was already gorging herself with her own breakfast when Sparkler sat down. Before her sat two freshly made pancakes with syrup accompanied by a cup of hot coco.
“This looks amazing, thank you Mrs. Derpy!”
Derpy returned the compliment with a smile and got back to cooking her own breakfast.
Sparkler quickly wolfed down the delicious food before her, taking her time with the hot coco. As Derpy sat down to eat her own pancakes, she placed a basket filled with fresh muffins in the centre of the table.
“Fresh muffin bakes for my little muffin and my sweetie, enjoys!”
Before Sparkler could choose one from the overflowing basket of goods, Dinky grabbed a muffin lain with strawberry chunks and began to devour it.
Derpy quickly scolded her, “Slow pacing with foods or else tummy aching will gets you little muffin!”
Derpy turned to Sparkler and rolled her eyes, making Sparkler choke on her coco. As rude as it was she couldn’t help but laugh as one eye went the opposite direction from the other.
Looking to the basket, Sparkler decided to try what looked like a blueberry muffin. Derpy was watching her every move, anxiously awaiting her response to the treat.
Cautiously she took a small bite from one corner, still feeling nervous about eating anything this strange pegasus had cooked. But Dinky’s optimism drove her to at least take a bite. Then another bite. Then a whole mouthful. Before she knew it she had eaten the entire muffin.
She couldn’t believe it. This muffin was the single most delicious thing she had ever eaten!
“Whoa! How did you make this, it’s awesome!”
Derpy snickered and tapped her nose, quickly drawing her hoof away having forgotten the blow she received earlier.
“Mommy’s little secret where muffin goodness come from.” She told Sparkler quietly.
Regardless of what the recipe was, all Sparkler knew was she wanted more. Not a problem, considering there was a whole basket in front of her.
After the muffins disappeared Derpy took Sparkler aside to have a talk with her alone. She thought this was to shed some light on what Dinky had said to her earlier. But the subject never arose.
Derpy just sighed and put a hoof onto Sparkler’s back,” Can mommy have a favour from sweetie?”
Surprised but curious, the unicorn replied,” Sure, what do you need?”
Derpy pointed to her uniform,” Mommy need go work, but Dinky need school. Can sweetie bring Dinky school time?”
She was let down by the nature of the conversation, but nonetheless felt it her duty to help her new sister.
“Sure, I’ll make her a lunch and walk her there when she has to go.”
Derpy’s face lit up with a big smile,” You’re big helping to mommy, she needs helping sometimes.”
The pegasus then left for the kitchen again. She packed her mail bag with the letters that had been left overnight and put on her uniform; a blue hat and jacket marking her as the official mail mare of Canterlot and Ponyville.
Derpy nuzzled Dinky under her wing,” Goodbyeing my little muffin.”
She smiled at Sparkler,” Goodbye sweetie. Clean up the dishing before going school time.”
With that she took off out the back door on her daily routes. Sparkler watched as she circled back over the top of the house and disappeared from sight.
Dinky spoke up after a moment’s silence,” Um, did mom make my lunch for school?”
Her older sister closed the back door and made her way to the fridge.
“I promised her I’d take you to school, what do you want for your lunch?”
Dinky jumped up from the table and rounded on Sparkler,” How do you know where the school is?”
Sparkler chuckled at the thought. Typical of a filly to not think of the obvious.
“I don’t know where it is, but you do. So, like I said, what do you want for lunch?”
It took the filly a while to interpret what Sparkler said. When it finally sunk in her cheeks went red.
“Oh, right. I want a daisy sandwich, a muffin and a bottle of Sweet Apple Acre’s apple juice!”
Sparkler looked a little surprised. How could such a small filly eat like a shark?
“Tall order for a lunch, but I guess great minds think alike.”
The little filly stared at Sparkler, “Um, what the hay does that mean?”
Sparkler just rolled her eyes, but decided to explain what the term meant.
“Great minds think alike, it means two ponies like the same thing. Daisy sandwiches are my favourite lunch and apple juice is my favourite drink.”
Dinky thought on this, eventually cracking a long smile accompanied by a loud gasp.
“You mean we both have great minds?!!!”
As much as she tried to hold it all back, Sparkler burst into a fit of laughter. This was so typical of a little filly. She had heard many a similar thing from fillies at the orphanage. But for some reason it sounded so much funnier coming from Dinky.
Dinky grew red in the face,” STOP LAUGHING OR I'M TELLING!!!”
Sparkler quietened to a snicker. She hadn’t laughed in a long time. A long, long time.
“Okay, okay. I'm done. I swear. Now then, let’s get your lunch ready.”
The walk to the school was rather quick. Derpy’s house was on the same path, so there was no need to pass through Ponyville to get there. A good thing too, Sparkler had thought, this way she wouldn’t stop to admire the town on the way and keep Dinky late.
As they approached the school, Dinky ran ahead to join two other fillies.
“Seabreeze, Scootablu! Over here!” She ran off to join her friends.
It made Sparkler happy to see that Dinky had friends. At least this way she wouldn’t have to put up with the hardship Sparkler went through. As the young fillies and colts gathered outside the school, a mare with a pink coat and pale pink mane approached Sparkler.
The mare addressed her directly,” Hello there. My name is Ms. Cheerilee. You must be Dinky’s new sister. What's your name little one?”
Remembering her manners, Sparkler spoke up,” Hello to you too Ms. Cheerilee. My name is Sparkler. Mrs. Derpy was busy today so I promised to take Dinky to school.”
Ms. Cheerilee smiled at the notion,” How kind of you to help your busy mother. I'm sure you’re settling in nicely at home?”
After a pause she replied to the teacher,” Yeah, sort of.”
Cheerilee, a bit concerned, retorted the thought,” Is something wrong at home?”
The unicorn was taken aback,” No, no! Nothing’s wrong. It’s just so.....different.”
The teacher patted Sparkler on the shoulder comfortingly,” Don’t worry, sweetie. In no time at all you’ll feel like you were born there. Now if you’ll excuse me, these fillies and colts aren’t going to take their seats voluntarily.”
With that Sparkler left. She had been so deep in conversation with Cheerilee she had forgotten to say goodbye to Dinky.
The talk with Cheerilee had brought back her thoughts from this morning. As she walked home she began to develop an inner confliction. On one hand Derpy and Dinky had welcomed her into their home like family. But on the other they had gone as far as to not get attached to her before hand. The more she thought about it the more it troubled her.
Derpy had adopted her, but why? Apart from the welcome she hadn’t received any special treatment. But then again was Dinky getting any better? Apparently so. Derpy took every opportunity she could to call Dinky her little muffin. She cuddled her every time they met. Was she being shown special attention because she was Derpy’s real daughter? She fought with her memory for anything Derpy had given specially to her. But all that came to mind was being asked to take care of Dinky and clean the dishes. What was she, a maid?
“No! Shut up, shut up, shut up!” she told herself, attempting to pound the thought from her head with her hoof.
When she got home she went to her room and sat upon her bed, lost deep in thought.
“She calls me her sweetie. That’s gotta be special, right?” She had been trying to reassure herself of something that made her stand out to Derpy. “But wait. That teacher called me sweetie too. I'm pretty sure I've been called that alot come to think of it...”
As she thought back in her mind she could recount being called sweetie by both staff at the orphanage and Mrs. Carewell. This minor issue at the back of her head was now rapidly becoming a big problem. The more she tried to oppress it the more it forced itself upon her with new reasons to doubt Derpy’s love.
Only now she thought, what love?
My sweetie – part 3
Sparkler had spent her first few days in her new home mostly indoors, leaving only to bring Dinky to school. The filly had finally found herself settling in to the new way of life. She had adjusted to getting up every morning at six with Derpy and Dinky, eating a breakfast that was always freshly cooked and always accompanied by a basket of fresh muffins.
But Derpy had noticed that Sparkler wasn’t as content as she pretended to be. Something was wrong. Her mother’s intuition told her that much. With the weekend coming up, Derpy decided it was time they all went for a day into Ponyville.
Derpy had just returned from her mail route, Sparkler having prepared a dandelion wrap for them for lunch. After they finished she decided to talk her plan over with Sparkler.
“Weekend is tomorrow starting. Sweetie want come with mommy and Dinky for day in the Ponyville? I knows it will be much fun time.”
Sparkler looked up from the table,” Yeah sounds great.”
Derpy looked to her daughter with a look of concern. She knew something was wrong. But she hadn’t a clue what could be troubling her.
“What mattering you sweetie? You look like upset.”
The unicorn froze. She was making it too obvious that something was annoying her. But she didn’t want to bring it up; after all it may only be petty over-thinking.
“Oh... nothing just lost in thought. Everything has just come so sudden. But a day out might do me some good.”
Derpy wasn’t convinced, but even so decided to let it be,” If say you so.”
Derpy had decided it would be best to awake at their regular time rather than sleep in for a while, this way they could embark for Ponyville early to avoid the hustle and bustle of ponies coming out just before lunch time.
Derpy packed her mailbag with some bits and a parcel she had to deliver. There may not be any letters to deliver on weekends but she still felt an obligation to deliver parcels. She gave both Sparkler and Dinky 10 bits each to buy something in the market place.
“Just some moneys to buying a treat. Mommy will be getting lunches for all.”
Needless to say Sparkler was overjoyed. Unlike the orphanage this wasn’t money for food, it was money for her.
After a delicious breakfast of waffles and the usual hot coco, they all set off for the market place.
As they entered the market Sparkler readied herself for the usual bumping, shoving and insults she had received at the Canterlot market. But this didn’t happen. Instead she received a smile and ‘good morning’ from almost everypony that passed them. Already she felt at ease and she hadn’t even been to anywhere.
Around them stood many stands and market stalls, each with unique items on sale. Fruit, vegetables, clothing, and jewellery. You name it, they had it. Derpy decided to let Sparkler and Dinky take a look around while she gathered the groceries.
“Mommy has foods to get for fillies. Why not going to stands and look for something nice to buy?”
Without haste both Dinky and Sparkler set off for the stands around the market place. Dinky had been busy looking at the wares of a stand selling various sweets and treats.
“Hey Sparkler, don’t these sherbets look weird? They’re shaped like the fruits they taste like! Hey! Are you even listening to me?”
Sparkler was entranced by a small stand next to Sugarcube corner. It had various jewellery for sale, all made from sea shells. Her eyes caught one particular necklace, a giant half shell threaded through the middle with ‘sister’ inscribed across the front. She had to have it.
“How much for the sister necklace, sir?”
The Camanian stallion at the stand was in the process of engraving a bracelet. He laid it down and picked up the necklace Sparkler was referring to.
“Oh dat there’s a doozy, half’ta go right inta the ocean fer dat shell. Suppose I could part with it fer....oh, lets say 12 bits, eh?”
Sparkler frowned. She really wanted this necklace, but didn’t want to ask for more money of her adoptive mother. To her despair, she went to leave the stand. Suddenly both Derpy and Dinky appeared behind Sparkler to see what she was looking at.
“What's up, sis?”
Sparkler looked to the necklace again,” Oh nothing, it’s alright. I can’t afford it, I’ll just find something else.”
Derpy looked to the necklace in the stallion’s hoof,” How much?”
“12 bits missy.”
Dinky stared at the necklace in awe,” I like it too, I want one.”
With that the stallion raised a hoof to his chin, a plan coming together.
“Tell ya what, seein’ as yer sisters I’ll do ya a favour, eh? If ya both buy one, I’ll do a deal at 20 bits.”
Both their faces lit up at the thought. They handed their money to the stallion and adorned their necklaces, each a half of the same shell. Sparkler was overjoyed. The shell warmed in the sun, comforting Sparkler as it rested against her neck. To her this necklace officially branded her a sister for life.
To celebrate Derpy decided to buy them all something to drink.
“What feel you liking, Dinky?” she asked her daughter.
Dinky looked around, she already knew what she wanted, she just had to find it. After a few minutes she finally jumped in the direction of her favourite stand.
“Ooh, ooh! Over there!”
Derpy rolled her eyes, knowing where they were going and why,” Again, little muffin? Never enough of same drinking, can you?”
Dinky grinned widely at her mother, “Nope!”
They set off in the direction of the stand in question, arriving in moments. It was the only stand selling her favourite drink, the reason behind this being obvious. It was the Sweet Apple Acres stand, home to the finest apple juice bits could buy.
Running the stand was an orange earth pony with a bright yellow mane and cowgirl’s hat.
Dinky ran up to the apple farmer before Derpy and Sparkler had come into view.
“Mornin to ya Dinky, you here by yerself t’day?” The orange mare was familiar with her young regular and knew what she was here for, but manners pushed her to ask what she wanted anyway. Before she could do so she noticed Derpy and an unfamiliar filly approach.
“Good mornin ta you too Derpy, what can ah get’cha t’day then?”
Derpy looked to Sparkler and Dinky, both sitting by the stand examining their new necklaces.
“Three finest of apple juices please, Applejack. For me and daughters both.”
Applejack tilted her head in confusion,” Daughters? Beg pardon?”
She looked to Sparkler, straining to find a resemblance and more importantly a reason to have never seen her before.
“Uhm, Derpy, care explainin this t’me?”
Dinky cut in quickly before the pegasus could even open her mouth,” Adopted this week!”
Applejack reeled back in shock, “SHE’S A-WHAT NOW?!!!”
Suddenly Sparkler gasped out loud, taken back by the earth pony’s reaction. She slumped behind Derpy for cover, who was furious with Applejack’s outburst.
Derpy shouted back at the farmpony, “What the HAY! You hurt little filly’s feelings!”
Dinky looked on, both scared and angry. Alot of ponies had stopped in their tracks, staring at the scene before them.
Applejack, realising her foul play finally reacted to her wrongdoing.
“Oh, oh my gosh ah'm so sorry! Ah didn’t mean it! Just surprised me a bit there, uh, here lemme get them drinks, no charge. Oh gosh Derpy ah’m awful sorry.”
She stepped out from the stand and approached the cowering, shivering Sparkler.
“Ah’m awful sorry girl, its just took me off guard a bit, y’know? Anyway ah can make it up to ya?”
Sparkler didn’t say anything, she just sat silent in the dirt. After a moment Derpy beckoned Applejack to get up, Sparkler wasn’t going to speak to her anytime soon.
“Laters come to house if like, fix then, not now when you busy.”
Applejack sighed sorrowfully,” Okay, ah’ll swing by later. Once again ah’m awful sorry.”
After such an embarrassing public display, Derpy decided to take her daughters to the toy store in the hopes the warmer atmosphere might cheer Sparkler up. The toy store was a huge building shaped like an upside down spinning top with windows and a door cut into it. Derpy opened the door to allow both Dinky and Sparkler in. Sparkler was still feeling dismal, but when she walked inside her mood lifted from woe to awe.
The whole store was buzzing with life. Row after row of toys galore. Dolls, trains, balls, trampolines, board games, sports games, so much stuff to take in that that Sparkler uttered only one word.
Both Dinky and Sparkler headed for the doll section of the toy store. There were so many different dolls to choose from; some were factory made like the Smarty Pants range, others were hoof-made pieces of art, lovingly stitched together thread by thread. On a nearby table some dolls had been lain out for fillies to play with.
Dinky rushed over to the table, picking up a Smarty Pants doll wearing a white apron.
“It’s the newest one out; they gave her a painting stand thingy and paintbrush with mixer!”
Sparkler chuckled at Dinky,” It’s called a canvas stand, silly. And the mixer is called a palette.”
Dinky picked up a boxed Smarty Pants doll from the shelf beside her, reading the description on the back of the box, “Hey, you’re right!”
Once again Derpy emerged from behind Sparkler, quiet as a caterpillar. The pegasus had a habit of taking Sparkler by surprise like this. Sneaking up from behind and waiting until she was inches away to start talking.
“Little muffin loving doll with artsy stuffs. Want doll, do you?”
Dinky jumped for joy at the mention of the word ‘want’.
“Yes Mommy, please! I really want it!!!”
Derpy and Sparkler giggled at the happy filly’s reaction. The pegasus took a boxed Smarty Pants doll to the mare at the till.
The mare flicked through the pages of a catalogue in front of her. She stopped at a section dedicated to the Smarty Pants dolls and went through the list.
“Ah! Here we go. ‘Arts and crafts time Smarty Pants’, that’ll be 30 bits please.”
Derpy reeled back, surprised by the expensive quote.
“What you say?! 30 bits’es! That is outraging! I buy made by hoof doll week of last for 20 bits, why this so expensive?”
Sparkler didn’t need to think on what Derpy was saying to understand the problem. 30 bits was an awful lot for a doll. That kind of money would buy 10 apple pies, or lunch for 6 or Celestia knows what else!
Derpy glanced back to her little daughter. She was looking up at her with eyes that could melt iron, practically begging without the need for words for her to buy it.
With a heavy sigh, Derpy reached into her mail bag,” Well, for you little muffin I has no say in mattering of doll price.”
She gave the 30 bits to the shopkeeper and put the doll in her mail bag.
“Now thens, home timing for us three. A fun day for all but mommy growing tiredness so we must flee.”
Home time already? Did they not just come in here to help cheer Sparkler up? If so then why wasn’t she getting anything to bring home? She was just publicly humiliated, but instead of comforting her Derpy just decided to spoil her young daughter with yet another doll. Did she not just recently get Ms. Peaches?
“No, I'm just being stupid...” She reassured herself silently.
Sparkler felt her mood dampen, maybe she was just thinking too much on this again.
My sweetie – part 4
When they arrived home, not a word was mentioned of the incident at the apple stand. Derpy just unpacked the groceries she had bought and began preparing dinner while Dinky ran off to play with Smarty Pants. Sparkler sat alone in the lounge, feeling like the dirt she had lain in earlier.
“Why won’t they come and talk to me?”
Did it not occur to either of them that this was a time she would need comforting? Is that not what families are supposed to do at a time like this?
Before she could think on it further, a knock came at the door.
Derpy looked up from the onion she was dicing, “Sweetie, please be getting door for guest.”
The unicorn slumped off of the sofa and answered the door. As if she didn’t feel bad enough already, before her stood the orange pony that had humiliated her earlier.
Derpy called out from the kitchen, “Who be it sweetie?”
The filly tried her best to respond, the event earlier replaying in her head, “It’s uh...”
Applejack called out to her, “It’s me, Derpy. Ah swung by just like yah said ah should.”
The sound of dicing stopped. Derpy silently came to the door to greet Applejack, a stern look on her face.
“Thanking you, Applejack. Why don’t sweetie and you talk in back garden bench? Sun still out for day time yet.”
Sparkler nodded and led Applejack into the rear garden. Come to think of it, she hadn’t yet set foot in the garden. All she knew was that it had a peach tree at least. She opened the door and let Applejack into the garden first.
She nodded once at the notion, “Thank yah kindly miss...?”
“My name is Sparkler, Ms. Applejack.”
The garden wasn’t much to behold from first impression. Just some grass and a stone path. Yet still Applejack insisted on walking to the very bottom. At least it should have been the bottom. The path stopped at a vertical drop, beyond which a harvest of all manner of fruits was in full bloom; apples, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, lemons and even some Sparkler had never seen before.
The filly was stunned at the sight. She didn’t even know they had their own fruit growing in the garden!
“Take it this is yer first time in Derpy’s back garden.”
Sparkler, still in awe, nodded slowly.
Applejack spoke up, “Well lemme tell yah did you ever wonder why her muffins taste so good? She never buys fruit fer’ em. She grows it all herself, fruit in her muffins is never any more than a minute off’a the branch. Makes a difference, don’t it?”
They sat on a bench overlooking the fruit garden. A hummingbird had been pecking at one of the peaches. After making its way through the soft, fluffy skin it took a few chunks from the flesh underneath before flying off towards Ponyville.
After what seemed like an eternity, Sparkler decided to confront the apple farmer with what had been on her mind since earlier.
“Ms. Applejack, why were you so surprised to know I was adopted? Is adoption that big a deal around here?”
Applejack put a hoof on Sparkler’s shoulder, a comforting smile across her face.
“Now sweetie there is nothing wrong with being adopted. Nopony is going ta judge you fer it around here. If anything ah'm happy t’ see such a young filly having a place to call home and such. Ah’m awful sorry fer makin’ you feel so bad earlier, really sincerely sorry.”
She began to twiddle her hooves, “Its just...well, y’see Derpy gets alot’a gripe fer bein a single mother, more so fer the way she is. They have a doctor and social worker come check in on her an’ Dinky every fortnight. So it really surprised me t’see that even with all the hardship she goes through they let her take another filly into her care.”
Hardship. The word acted like a catalyst, beginning to draw all of Sparkler’s silly worries and complaints together. She turned to Applejack, brushing her off before her mind could set her feelings in motion.
“Thank you for apologising, I'm glad you came by to talk.”
Applejack spread a smile across her face, relieved to know that she had redeemed herself.
“Aint nothing to it, sugar cube. Glad yah’ll accept my apology. If you’ll excuse me, Big Mac needs a hand planting the new field. Just remember if ever y’need somepony ta talk to, yer more than welcome at Sweet Apple acres.”
The apple farmer got up from the bench, making her way into the house again. Sparkler walked behind her in silence, not daring to speak for fear of exploding.
Derpy had just finished preparing the vegetable stew she had been working on, leaving it to simmer on the stove.
“All well again with sweetie? Better together friends now?”
Applejack looked back to Sparkler, “We settled the matter fer good, didn’t we Sparkler?”
The conflicted filly withdrew herself from her thoughts, snapping back to reality.
“Huh? Oh, yeah we had a good talk. Thank you for coming, Ms. Applejack.”
Derpy left the kitchen, leading Applejack out of the house. Sparkler made her way to the lounge, trying her best to rid herself of the thoughts racing through her mind. As she looked for something to do, she heard Derpy and Applejack talking at the door. Curiosity beat her better judgement and she quietly approached, trying her best not to get caught.
The filly placed her ear to the door, listening in to what they were saying, having caught Applejack mid sentence.
“...ah know. Somethin definitely aint right. Ya need tah convince her to step up her game or the social worker wont have it.”
The door closed and Sparkler heard Derpy move for the lounge. The unicorn quickly but silently moved back to the sofa, doing her best to look innocent.
As Derpy trotted into the living room, she met eyes with Sparkler and beckoned her to follow.
“Come with mommy into gardening place, she has something to saying to you.”
Sparkler felt a lump gather in her throat. This HAD to be an important talk. It just had to be. Whatever she had talked with Applejack about had to be of some relation. Sparkler followed her into the garden, scared by the thought of the subject to come. Derpy led her into the fruit patch, looking to a set of overalls and tools.
She turned to Sparkler and smiled, ready to pass on what she thought to be a meaningful responsibility.
“Mommy will teach sweetie to looking after the fruits. After all, sweetie is mommy’s big helper isn’t she?”
Sparkler was shocked. Utterly shocked. She had been brought here to learn how to garden. This was no heart to heart talk, it was just another duty added to her growing list.
“Oh, um yeah, sounds great. Uh, thanks Mrs. Derpy but can we do it tomorrow? I'm kind of tired right now.”
Derpy thought on the notion, she had been hoping to teach her now, but agreed anyway.
“Ok then, sweetie. We’ll work the gardening time tomorrows.”
Derpy brought Sparkler back inside for dinner. The aroma of the stew filled the room, removing Sparkler’s worries momentarily as her mouth watered. She had never eaten home brewed stew before. Derpy walked to the stairway in the lounge, shouting up to Dinky.
“Stewing dinner is ready, my little muffin. Leave doll be and come eat!”
Dinky rushed down the stairs and bolted into the kitchen, nearly taking Sparkler off her hooves. She threw herself to the table, diving into her stew before it could cool.
“AGH! Hot! Hot!”
Shaking her head at the young filly, Derpy poured her a glass of water, “Told before to be slow with food. No rushing, no pain.”
The pegasus placed a bowl in front of Sparkler, beaming a familiar small smile.
“Eat up yummy stew, good for fillies and very deliciousness.”
Sparkler didn’t need to be told twice to eat the delicious food before her. But as she ate she started to feel a knot in her stomach clench. Her mind was still overworking itself with her emotional issues and had begun to take an impact on her physically. After eating half the stew, she began to feel her stomach lurch, ready to empty itself if she dared eat another bite. The unicorn got up from the table, brushing off a quick excuse as she left.
“I'm not really that hungry right now, Mrs. Derpy. I'm still feeling tired. I think I'm just gonna go to bed now.”
Derpy was taken back by the move, “But it only be seven. Little early for bed, no?”
Sparkler looked to the floor, for fear she would show more reasoning to her leave.
“I know, but I could really use some sleep.”
Derpy looked to the stew, “Food no good for sweetie?”
Not wanting to offend, Sparkler quickly corrected her, “No, the food is delicious. I'm just not hungry right now.”
Now Derpy knew something was wrong for sure. But she also knew that when someone wanted time alone, they more than likely needed it. Reluctantly, she let her go to bed.
“....Okays. If you hungry later, I’ll make something for you sweetie.”
The unicorn forced a smile, “Thank you, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Derpy called out as she left, “Goodnight, my sweetie.”
Sparkler made for the stairs, trying not to bring attention. When she reached the upstairs hall, the heartbroken unicorn ran into her room and threw herself onto her bed.
Everything was coming together. It all fit. She started muttering her thoughts aloud.
“I knew it, I knew it, I knew it was too good to be true. She doesn’t love me, neither of them do. They just want it to look that way so she doesn’t get in trouble! That’s why I'm here, isn’t it? To do the work she can’t cope with! Look after Dinky, clean the dishes, make the lunch and now I'm growing the food!”
She picked up a picture from her bedside drawer. It was a framed photo of her and Mrs. Carewell. She hugged it tight, tears welling up in her eyes.
“You said they would love me. You wouldn’t let me go if they didn’t! But you let me come here anyway. Why did you let me go?!”
She sat on her bed, sniffling quietly as the sun went down.
“Goody morning time, sweetie. Feeling fine today?”
The familiar voice of Derpy failed to bring comfort to Sparkler this morning. She was still at conflict with herself. Suddenly, Derpy began to giggle. What could be so funny at a time like this?
“Um...is something wrong, Mrs. Derpy?
Derpy led Sparkler to the mirror on her bedroom wall, “Mane is chafed and choked young filly, restless snooze time I take it?”
True to her word, Sparkler’s mane was a train wreck. With a deep sigh, Derpy lifted a brush from her drawer and began to fix her mane.
“Not to worries, mommy is good with the brushing. She will fix your messy mane.”
In not time at all Derpy had fixed Sparkler’s mane neatly, just as she liked it. The pegasus bore the usual small smile on her face, looking at Sparkler as she stepped back to allow her up.
“I’ll be down in a minute Mrs. Derpy. Just need to wash up.”
Derpy was still feeling deeply concerned, but today she had a plan to make Sparkler feel better.
Sparkler sat back on her bed. Today was the day she would get to the bottom of things. If Derpy wasn’t going to say anything, she would. Sitting on her bedside drawer was the necklace she had bought the day before. She put on the necklace and stared deeply at the engraving. This necklace had to be proof that she meant something to Derpy and Dinky. Sparkler made up her mind. She knew what she had to do.
But would she get to?
As she made her way to the bathroom, Dinky rushed past her and fled down the stairs.
“You could at least give me a warning next time, Dinky!”
The filly shouted back behind her, “Sorry, too hungry to stop!”
Sparkler entered the bathroom and made her way to the sink. She stared into the mirror, trying to reassure herself she had nothing to fear.
“Okay you can do this. Just talk to her when you go out to do the gardening. I'm sure it’s just a silly mix up, she’ll explain everything.”
She looked her reflection in the eye, “I'm sure she will, right?”
Sparkler quickly brushed her teeth, deciding to save the shower for after gardening, she’d need it then more than now.
With her hygiene taken care of, she set off downstairs for her breakfast. Sitting at the table for her was a fresh bowl of oatmeal and the usual cup of hot coco. She had been so long upstairs that Derpy was already in the middle of her own breakfast.
The pegasus got up from her seat and walked to her mail bag. She put a few parcels into it and turned to Sparkler.
“Mommy has deliveries today, no mail for Sundays but always parcel delivering. You look after Dinky for me while mommy gone, okays?”
Sparkler nodded, taking her newest order without a word in return. Derpy smiled and returned to her breakfast.
Sparkler ate what she could of her oatmeal, stomach still tangled at the thought of the up and coming talk with her adoptive mother. As she ate on, Derpy got up from her seat again and went to the kitchen cupboard.
After shuffling around the inside she finally took her head from the cupboard, emerging with two hairpins between her teeth. She trotted over to Dinky, beaming a smile at her. She rounded on the little unicorn and slipped the hair clips into her mane.
Now Sparkler could see they were a pair of hoof made hairclips, each with a muffin design at the tip. Yet another loving gift for Dinky.
“Little muffins for my little muffin, how I love my filly.”
Dinky hopped on her seat, “Thanks mom, they’re beautiful! Wait until Scootablu and Seabreeze see these!”
Sparkler tensed. She felt the spoon in her hoof warp.
Derpy walked to her mail bag, digging her hoof deep into it.
Sparkler slammed her hoof to the table. Her bowl leaped onto its edge and slowly rolled to the floor, shattering into a messy pile of oatmeal and shards.
Dinky let out a scream, bringing a hoof to her mouth. Her eyes widened at the sight of her sister.
Derpy was shocked at the sudden burst of anger. She looked to the unicorn, who had started shaking. Before she could get a word out, Sparkler jumped ahead of her.
“That’s it? Just give her something and leave?”
The room fell silent. As Sparkler began to whimper, Derpy made her move. She rested her hoof on Sparkler’s shoulder, trying to get to the bottom of the outburst.
“Sweetie, what's wro –“
Sparkler lashed out, knocking Derpy to the floor.
The pegasus shook her head and sat up, confused and even slightly frightened. What was so wrong and why wouldn’t she let her find out?
“Sweetie, just let me-“
Sparkler stomped her hoof at the floor. The rage was building to a brink, her heart racing so fast it began to ache.
“Shut up, just shut up!”
Dinky rushed to Derpy’s side and shouted at Sparkler, defending her mother.
“Leave mommy alone! Why did you hurt her?!”
Sparkler finally let the knot untie, but not in a way she had ever imagined it would.
“She knows why I hurt her. It’s because she hurt me! She didn’t adopt me to love me! She adopted me to use me!” She stared into the pegasus’ eyes, rage controlling her every word.
“Isn’t that right? I'm just here to make sure you don’t get in trouble! I'm not here to be a daughter, I'm just your maid! Do the dishes, make the lunch, look after Dinky and do your gardening. You couldn’t cope on your own so you got me to it all for you!!!”
Derpy started to tear up, her heart broken by the outburst. She had no idea this was the impression she had made on Sparkler, the thought tore her apart.
“That’s what you and Applejack were talking about isn’t it? Step up my game or the social worker won’t buy it!”
She looked down at the floor, she couldn’t keep her eyes on the pegasus anymore. Suddenly she remembered the necklace. The necklace she had bought together with Dinky. Now this necklace had become a part of the lie she had been living. The necklace that had warmed her heart the day before had become ice cold in the morning air.
Ice cold, just like Derpy.
Derpy tried to speak, “Sweetie, please...”
Sparkler grabbed the necklace, tearing it free from her neck.
“Sweetie? Is that what I am? That's all I am, isn’t it? Everyone calls me sweetie! There's nothing special about that and there never has been!” She pointed her hoof at Dinky, “HER! She’s special! She’s your little muffin, so what am I? I'm not special to you at all! I'm just here to make sure your REAL daughter isn’t taken from you! But me, I'm not your daughter...”
She raised the necklace above her and looked deep into Dinky’s tearing eyes.
“...and I'm NOT your sister!!!”
The shell broke into hundreds of tiny shards. Dinky felt her heart break with it and started to cry. She had been disowned by her own sister, the only physical link between them in pieces on the floor.
Sparkler suddenly snapped back to reality. Her body froze. What had she done? This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen! She was supposed to talk with Derpy later! Not this. Any way but this. She immediately regretted the outburst, but there was no changing it now.
It was already too late.
Derpy finally lifted herself from the floor. Without a word she made her way into the lounge and sat on the sofa, eyes never lifting from the floor beneath her.
Sparkler rushed from the heart snapping scene, stumbling up the stairs and into her room as fast as her hooves would take her. She locked the door behind her and dashed under her covers, letting out everything that had built up in the bottom of her heart. Sob after sob in a never ending flow of tears that soaked deep under her fur.
Not long after the incident, she heard through the floor as Derpy talked quietly with Dinky.
“It not little muffin’s faulting, she doesn’t hate you. Something be wrong with sweetie. Leave sweetie alone, little muffin come with mommy to delivering the parcels. Make you feel better being away from here.”
She couldn’t believe it. They were leaving the house.
They weren’t coming to make up, or yell at her. They weren’t coming to argue or fight. They just weren’t coming. They were leaving her to be just as she had been at the orphanage all those years.
Against her better judgement, Sparkler stayed where she was. She was far too upset to even consider leaving her room. The air beneath the sheets grew painfully thin. Yet still she cried for what felt like an eternity of painful sorrow.
Eventually she began to feel herself drift off, sniffling into her pillow as she slipped into a deep, sorrowful slumber.
My Sweetie – part 5
Chirp, chirp! Chirp, chirp!
“Wha... dang birds...”
Sparkler slowly opened her eyes, quickly shutting them again as the unexpected burst of daylight cut deep into her retinas. With her hoof to her forehead this time she opened her eyes again, trying to block out as much sunlight as possible. She looked to her bedroom window which overlooked the front of the house. Some birds had decided to perch themselves on her windowsill, taking the opportunity to sing a sweet melody, well at least it would have been sweet had it not brutally forced Sparkler awake.
The unicorn rose from her bed, her lungs aching from the almost endless flow of tears. The whole morning played through her head as she began to wake up. She knew this wasn’t something she could fix. She messed up. Shouting at Derpy was bad enough, but she had attacked her as well and made Dinky cry.
Now they won’t talk to her. Neither has approached her. They’ve just left her to wither away in her own sorrow. She sat on the edge of her bed, afraid of what may come when they finally have to talk to each other. Will they send her back to the orphanage? It seemed like a rational thought. But then what?
“No! I don’t want to go back. They’ll hate me! Nopony has ever been sent back to the orphanage.”
She had to figure out something. She wanted to make things right again, but she also wanted answers. Regardless of her actions she still felt she deserved an explanation to her worries.
Moving from her bed, she stepped out onto the floor and looked to her bedroom mirror.
She yawned and looked deep into her reflection, “Well I knew this was coming.”
Her mane was a disastrous mess and her fur around her eyes soaked to the skin with tear stains. She approached the mirror and picked up a nearby hair brush. She wasn’t used to fixing her mane herself, normally it would hold its shape and when it didn’t Mrs. Carewell or Mrs. Derpy would have fixed it for her.
She looked to the brush in her hoof, “Well it can’t hurt to try I guess.”
The filly began brushing her mane, afraid to use magic in case she lost control of the brush somewhere she couldn’t reach. When she finished she sat back to admire the mediocre job.
“Hmm...Not bad. Not as good as when Mrs. Derpy fixed it but-“
A sudden realisation washed over Sparkler.
Where was Derpy?
She normally woke the unicorn up every morning at six, but with the sun out so bright that time was obviously long gone. She quietly trotted into the pegasus’ room, finding her bed empty. Next to the bed Derpy’s alarm clock confirmed what Sparkler had assumed to be the worst. The clock read just after ten o’clock on Monday morning. The filly felt the anger within her building once more.
“Oh so it’s bad enough they left me yesterday morning now they leave me alone again? What, they don’t wanna talk to me at-”
Maybe it was because she was just awake or maybe it was because of how wrought her mind was, but once again something had triggered late at the back of her head. It wasn’t just morning, it was Monday morning.
She had slept an entire day.
“Wha, but they, didn’t they even think... ugh what is WITH these ponies!”
She slumped onto Derpy’s bed and stared blankly at the ceiling. There were no more tears, no more sniffling or heartache.
There was only hatred for these ponies that ruined her sombre life.
She sat up on the bed, thinking on what had just passed through her head, “Maybe it’s a little too harsh to hate them... isn’t it?”
She shook her head and flung her hooves onto the bed, “Ugh I can’t even think straight!”
Her stomach grumbled loudly, bringing pain with it as it clenched. It occurred to her then that she hadn’t eaten since the morning before and even then she hadn’t eaten anymore than a few spoonfuls of oatmeal. With all her emotions unleashed on Derpy and Dinky the day before her stomach had finally decided she needed food and fast.
She left the pegasus’ room and made for the stairway at the end of the hall.
“Maybe there’s some stew left, I might actually be able to enjoy it at least.”
She slowly walked down the stairs, afraid of what might happen if Derpy was down here already.
As she turned into the lounge she found herself very much alone in the house. Derpy was no where to be seen and neither was the little unicorn filly that had defended her the day before. As she moved through the lounge she made her way to the kitchen. She was a few hooves away when she picked up on the delightful scent of blueberry pancakes and muffins. When Sparkler entered the kitchen she was greeted with an unexpected sight.
Derpy had made her breakfast. Despite hurting her both emotionally and physically she still made her breakfast. Sparkler thought long and hard on this. Nopony in their right mind would do this if they didn’t love somepony.
So why did Derpy?
“Maybe...maybe I should... oh why is this so damn hard!”
The unicorn’s mind was twisted more than ever now. She had reassured herself she wasn’t loved, yet before her was something that may say otherwise.
Her stomach growled once more, sending pain through her gut as it cried out for food. She approached the breakfast before her. The coco was so cold it had developed a skin and the pancakes were so stale they had begun to crust.
“Ew, well that’s that ruined. Wonder how these are.”
Cautiously she lifted a muffin from the bottom of the basket and took a small bite. It tasted as good as they always did, a burst of strawberry filling her mouth as she chewed.
It was only when she rustled out a few extra muffins that she noticed something had been placed next to her plate. She moved away from the basket to get a better look at the unfamiliar item.
It was a small yellow hoof made doll with button eyes and a yellow mane and tail. The doll was very old, covered in stitch repairs and stains. Some of the older repairs were neat and tidy whilst the fresher repairs looked like the work of a young filly that didn’t know the first thing about stitching.
This doll was new to her eyes, something that surprised her a little.
“How come I’ve never seen you before? Dinky’s shown me all her dolls, where’ve you been hiding?”
She lifted the doll to take a closer look. It was obviously hoof made; there was no tag, no printings and no dyes. It was all lovingly put together and filled with soft and plush wool stuffing, not a common thing with the dolls of today. Somehow she knew this doll was special.
As she went to place it on the table, her eyes caught sight of an envelope sitting where the doll had been. Derpy’s mind must have been off focus today if she had missed a letter.
“She must have forgotten this, she’s probably still upset.”
She lifted the envelope to find an address. But there was none to be found. No address, no name, no stamp, no numbers. There was just a single word written across the front.
This wasn’t right. Something about this made the unicorn panic. Whoever left this letter had obviously left it for her, but why was it with the doll? Curiosity got the better of her before she could come up with a conclusion. Sparkler grabbed the doll and the letter and ran straight to her room.
Sparkler stared at the envelope before her on her bed. This entire morning came as a shock, one thing after another bringing fresh questions to her mind. But now she was going to get to the bottom of it. Now she would start seeking out the answers.
“Alright, this letter’s gotta mean something. I just hope it means something good.”
Gingerly she tore open the envelope and peered inside. The envelope contained multiple pages all folded together. As she took them out she began to feel her stomach curl again, this time because of nervousness. She folded out the pages and finally looked upon the contents.
“What the hay?”
The pages were all part of a long letter, a letter addressed to her. Nervous but curious, Sparkler began to read the letter.
My dearest Sparkler,
I understand if you do not wish to talk to me after yesterday, just know I already forgive you.
She couldn’t believe it. Derpy had written a letter to her. More surprising a letter she could understand. Sparkler was shocked, this was Derpy; the renowned googly eyed mail mare with a speech impediment, yet this letter was flawless.
She tried to make light of the discovery, “Must be great for written telegrams I guess.”
With her fun over, she began to read on.
Right now it is obvious you are both confused and frightened by your troubles, troubles I had foreseen. I was not aware of the extent of your problems and cannot forgive myself for not taking action sooner. I thought all you needed was time to adjust but now I know there was more to the problem than that.
Know that here and forever more you will always be special to me. I know it may seem like I am paying special attention to Dinky but please remember she is but a little filly barely past ten years old. She too is adjusting to new surroundings, having an older filly suddenly move into her home isn’t something a filly at her age will take to easily. She may be bursting with energy and look as happy as a young one can be, but deep down this change to her life is affecting her as much as it is you.
I want to tell you what it is that makes you special but as you know my speech is not perfect. That is why I beg of you to read every last page of this letter, it will convey to you everything I want to say to you personally and hopefully put to rest as many of your fears and doubts as possible.
Sparkler had always hoped for a chance to talk with Derpy before her outburst, but it seems that Derpy knew this would not be possible. As much as she would prefer to talk face to face it would seem this letter would have to do.
You said to me that there is nothing special about being called sweetie. I can only blame myself that you thought this. Whilst it is true that sweetie is something many ponies will have referred to you by in the past, to me it means something much, much more.
When I was but a filly, much younger than you, I experienced many hardships and went through many traumatic experiences, each a pain in my heart.
My mother had married my father out of her love for him. They had been called the perfect couple, barely out of each other’s sight, never out of each other’s mind. She wanted her perfect relationship to never change; she wanted to feel as if the world revolved around the two of them and nopony else.
Then I was born.
From an early age it was obvious to everypony around that my mother had not wanted me. She hated me. She didn’t want me in her life. I was nothing but a barrier between her and my father that needed constant attention. The only one that gave me attention was my father, something she detested. Time spent with me was time not spent with her.
My father was the mail pony of Canterlot. With an extra mouth to feed he had begun delivering both mail and parcels in order to make ends meet. This angered my mother as the extra hours at work meant more time away from her. In his time away she would have to look after me. To her this meant making my meals and nothing more. The rest she left to him.
Throughout all of this resentment of my existence I only found comfort from two things.
My father would always play with me after work and taught me many things in my years before I was to attend school. He kept me content and made sure to tell me he loved me every day.
The only other thing that kept my mind off of my mother’s hatred was my favourite toy. Before my grandmother passed away she had made me a doll. A small yellow doll with button eyes and a short yellow mane stuffed with soft wool that was lovingly put together stitch by stitch.
Her name was Ms. Sweetie.
My sweetie – part 6
Sparkler’s heart sank to the pit of her stomach. Things were beginning to add up. Derpy wasn’t ignoring her; she was giving her space to adapt to her new way of life. Now that she thought about it the notion made sense. As for Dinky, it had never once occurred to her that Dinky was having problems of her own. Problems she had no doubt worsened.
She had alot to make up for.
“Oh Celestia...what have I done? What do I do now?”
She looked around her room, lost in thought. Then she remembered the letter, there was still much to go through, pages left unread. But if she felt this bad after one page, could she bring herself to read the rest? She lifted the letter, but her hooves kept shaking. She tried magic but her horn refused to work. So she straightened the pages and laid them on the bed, sitting over them ready to read again.
“I have to, she spent so much time on this and I swore I’d find the answers. I have to read on.”
She slowly lifted away the top page and began the letter again.
As I'm sure would be obvious a filly like me was an easy target for bullies. Somepony unloved was easy to push around. They knew no pony would come to help me, so they did their best to make sure I never felt wanted. But I never gave in, I never let what they say get to me, because throughout it all I had Ms. Sweetie.
They took her from me and threw her about the park and the town, ripping into her coat and mane. Throughout everything she endured as much as I did, always with me until the end. Every rip and tear serves to remind me to never give up. I didn’t then and I wont now.
It only took one day off of work for my father to find out what had been happening to me. He was to meet my mother and I in town after lunch. As he approached he heard laughter from a group of young fillies and colts and was shocked to hear my screams over the top of them. As the bullies pushed me down and circled around me he stepped in and scared them off. However it was not the bullying that annoyed him. It was my mother. She was standing by a market stall waiting for them to leave, never once intervening.
That was to be the worst day of my life.
When we arrived home my father and mother broke into a hideous fight, shouting at each other for what felt like an eternity. They were arguing over me. My father would never deny his love for me, something my mother could not bring herself to say. It only took one sentence to push her over the edge, ending the argument then and there.
He told her he cannot love her if she won’t love me.
That night my father slept by my side, he knew how upset I was by the entire situation. After all this argument was about my life, my existence and her failure to acknowledge me for what I am; her daughter.
The next day I awoke to find my father had left for work already. I made my way downstairs, cautious in case I crossed my mother. I found her alone in the kitchen, a plate of muffins ready for me.
She told me not to worry about last night, it was all over and soon everything would be okay. With that she ate a muffin and told me to try one. The fruit in the muffins was new to me. They were a strange red berry of some sort. The muffins were delicious and we had soon eaten the whole plate together.
I had never seen berries like those before. She told me they were a secret and she was going to show me where to get them. I was excited to find out where these delicious fruits came from and the fact that they were a secret made me all the more ecstatic. I had no idea what she was planning. If I had, I would have run away from her as fast as I could.
She put me and Ms. Sweetie into the family wagon and together we set off far outside Canterlot and deep into a forest I would not know the name of for years to come. A place I would grow to forever fear.
She took me to the Everfree forest.
The journey was long and harsh. The woods and sounds frightened me, but Ms. Sweetie told me not to be afraid. She was with me and that was all I needed for comfort.
We finally came to a stop near the entrance to the underground caves. My mother told me to get out of the cart and wait for her; she said I would be safe there while she went to get the berries. So I stayed. Minutes passed, then hours. Eventually I went looking for her, but the moon was already out and she was nowhere in sight.
She abandoned me.
I took Ms. Sweetie and decided to stay inside the cave entrance, at least here nothing could get us. The night was cold and gruesome, but with Ms. Sweetie to comfort me I soon fell asleep.
I awoke to find the sun was rising, dawn just setting over the horizon. Then I remembered where I was and why. It didn’t take me long to figure out she wasn’t coming back, so I decided to try and find my way home myself.
I searched for hours for any sign of something that might lead me in the right direction, but to no avail. Suddenly I heard the familiar sound of a waterfall. I knew there was a waterfall fountain in Canterlot town so I rushed straight for the sound of the rushing water, hoping that this was my ticket home.
As I neared the source something happened that would forever change my life. A loose root from one of the many trees tripped me as I galloped. I tumbled down a large incline and smashed my head against a large rock. It took me a few seconds to come to, but when I did I was confused by what was happening. My vision was twisted. I thought I was just dizzy and sat still to let it pass, but it never did. Something had happened to my eyes when I hit that rock, something that would never change.
When the pain subsided I found Ms. Sweetie sitting on a fallen tree hanging over a cliff next to the waterfall. I got up from the ground and tried to adjust to my new sense of sight. As I climbed out I misinterpreted the distance between the cliff edge and Ms. Sweetie, swatting her off the log and plummeting with her into the roaring waterfall.
I screamed aloud, but no pony was going to hear me over the raging water below. I tried to flap my wings, but they couldn’t do anything to slow me down, they were barely developed. I hit the water hard, feeling myself dragged backwards into the current. But instead of flowing with the water I faced a different fate.
My back hoof had become stuck under a rock beneath the water.
Panic took over and I began to struggle, tugging my leg and thrashing beneath the surface. I thought I was going to drown, but for some reason I had yet to inhale any water. Finally I realised that there was something out of the ordinary.
Beneath my head there was a thin leak of air coming from the underground caves.
The bubbles had been giving me air when I breathed in, I hadn’t even realised no water had been entering my lungs. I took advantage of the situation and used the bubbles to keep me alive while I tried to figure out a way to get loose. As it turned out the current had been pushing me deeper beneath the rock and it was my refusal to flow with it that had kept me there.
So I let myself go with the flow of water. I thought my leg would just shake free, but I turned in a way I shouldn’t have and yelped as my leg twisted free. After almost an hour under water I finally found myself at the surface, careening down a rushing river. As the river dragged me I realised I had lost Ms. Sweetie. She was gone. I couldn’t go on without her. So I gave up. I stopped struggling, I stopped swimming and let the current drag me.
As my mind began to falter I suddenly found myself being lifted free of the water. I thought I had died at last and my spirit had broken free of my body.
How wrong I was.
Sparkler didn’t realise she had begun to cry again. She had no idea how difficult a life Derpy had led. She had experienced hardship far beyond anything Sparkler had been through.
“I can’t believe it. This is...this is too much for me.”
She let the tears spill, ashamed of how she had treated Derpy the day before. After a few minutes she recollected herself and pushed on with the letter.
When I awoke in the hospital I was greeted by my two greatest comforts. My father had fallen asleep beside my bed and next to him on the drawer sat Ms. Sweetie. When he saw I had finally woken up he hugged me so tight I couldn’t breathe, both of us crying in each other’s hooves.
When we finally broke free from each other’s grasp he pointed to my flank and told me to take a look. There on my hip was a string of bubbles. It came as no surprise to me that these were my cutie mark. The bubbles had saved my life, I was happy to wear my story on my flank, always a physical reminder that life will always throw a miracle to those who need it.
As it turns out he had set up a search party to explore the everfree forest. He found the berries my mother had and knew right away where they came from. As they searched one of the pegasi had found Ms. Sweetie and alerted my father. They knew I wasn’t far and eventually they found me drifting in the river, my body limp and my leg broken.
On that day I learned that the doll that had been my salvation in my time alone was also my salvation in life. Never again would I give up, not after all we had been through.
I did not escape my horror unscathed. My blow to the head had crossed my eyes permanently. But there was more to worry about. My time in the icy water coupled with the emotional stress I suffered had permanently affected my speech, something I would not recover from. I'm sure now you are aware I can easily gather words together, but when I try to speak my mind fails to portray them. Yet still I try and that is something I will never stop, even if it can be confusing I bear it proudly as a part of who I am.
My father had left my mother for good after her attempt to abandon me. She was never to be seen by us again. As sad as it may sound, never once did I miss her. My father was just happy that I was safe.
From that point on he decided to have me home schooled. He knew with my new ailments I would never settle at school. Twice a week a special teacher came by after lunch to help me learn for myself. My father did everything he could to make sure that when I grow up I would be able to live a normal life just like everypony else.
Every morning he brought me with him on his mail routes, teaching me to cope with my new coordination and eventually how to fly. I always enjoyed our time together. He never let me out of his sight and always taught me to be my best.
When I was 20 years old we decided to move to Ponyville. Their mail pony had just retired and they were desperate to find a replacement. My father took over for him and together we covered deliveries to both Canterlot and Ponyville everyday. The money he earned covering both routes allowed him to buy this cottage, a moderate place for us both to live with our own land.
I began to use the land to my advantage. The muffins my mother had given me had always been a bad memory on my life. I decided it was time to change this memory and make good of it. With my father’s help we dug out the back garden and began to grow our own fruit.
Muffins had always been a treat I enjoyed as a filly, now I was going to make them my speciality. After a long wait for the first harvest and a lot of trial and error I finally created what many call the perfect recipe for muffins. That is what I wanted to share with you in the garden.
I wanted to pass my recipe on to you.
My sweetie – part 7
Sparkler felt sick. The guilt within her was overwhelming. Every sentence, every word was bringing more and more answers to her questions, more and more explanations to her worries and would have put her mind at ease had she not wrongfully accused Derpy yesterday. Now she just felt like dirt.
The letter was almost over, the suffering coming to an end. Having come this far she pressed on, regardless of how it would make her feel.
Two years into our new home brought with it a change in my life I was not prepared for. When I was 22 years old the winter was a record chill, the coldest it had been in over a hundred years. Snow had covered everything but the rooms beneath our roofs, the trees covered in icicles and the paths had blended into the hills. But even in such harsh weather my father was never one to miss a day of work.
The snow had picked up, becoming a raging blizzard over night. I begged him not to go, but he told me that he must. Ponies needed their mail today as each letter brought with it a forecast warning of incoming fierce weather. Reluctantly I let him go, his mind was with the ponies that needed the alert. So he left to deliver the mail to both Canterlot and Ponyville.
Thankfully he returned safe and sound. But the worst was to come.
Overnight he began to cough, his eyes became bloodshot and he began to shake. The next morning I called for the doctor. My father had developed a bad case of pneumonia and unfortunately could not be helped. All I could to was look after him and hope for the best.
But the best never came.
The next morning he never woke up. In his sleep he had passed away. The pneumonia had sapped him of what strength he had after delivering the mail and developed quickly. I was distraught with sorrow. After the storm passed he was buried at the Ponyville cemetery. I didn’t want to bury him near his parent’s graves in Canterlot. I wanted him as close to me as he could be.
Not long after he passed away I took on his role as the mail pony. After all I went with him everyday and knew the route like the back of my hoof. A few months later my despair came to an end. I found love. Love I thought would last forever. But life taught me that isn’t always the way.
I met a young unicorn stallion two years my elder in Ponyville. He had moved there to become apprentice to the local carpenter. His name was Fire Strike. We were madly in love with each other. He learned to live with my disabilities and grew to love me for who I was. But a year into our relationship something happened that would change my life forever.
I became impregnated with Dinky.
I decided to confront him as we were relaxing in my home one night. He picked up on my unsettled feelings and asked me what was bothering me. So I told him. I told him a miracle was on the way to both of us, somepony was coming that would change our lives forever. His face bore both confusion and fear, maybe he had no idea what I was talking about. But I knew he understood when he saw me rub my bloating stomach.
He knew and he didn’t like it.
He screamed at me, blaming me for letting this happen. He said this was going to ruin his life forever. I refused to argue back. I knew it wouldn’t help. So I let him get his mind straight before asking him what to do. But he never answered me. He just opened the door and left. I cried that night for the first time since my father’s funeral. I didn’t move from my couch that night, I lay there in tears until I fell asleep.
The next day his mentor came to my house looking for him. He saw I had been crying and thought we had argued. I did my best to explain but he couldn’t understand me. So again I pointed to my stomach and said three words that explained everything.
“Our little muffin.”
Fire Strike had left town. I didn’t want to go after him. I had been hurt by love too many times. For weeks I isolated myself. I didn’t want to speak to anypony because I thought they would leave me like everypony in my life had done time and time again. My mother left me, my father died and my lover abandoned his commitments. Everypony had left.
All but Ms. Sweetie.
The doll had been in my treasure chest for years. I went to the chest to remove all memories I had kept of Fire Strike to burn them, he was dead to me and these memories were now too painful to keep. Then I saw her. I saw the scars, the stains and the rips. She brought me to my senses.
It was thanks to her I had never given up before. I wasn’t going to now. So I did what any sensible pony would. I took my life into my own hooves and solved my problems myself. But I couldn’t do everything without help.
I sought out help from the mayor. She assigned me a social worker and a benefit plan to help me through my pregnancy. The pegasi of Cloudsdale took turns delivering the mail during my time out of work. After a long time the day finally came that Dinky came to be. My little muffin was finally ready to face the world.
Now Sparkler felt awful. Derpy has never had it easy. Yet still she never gave up. Her strength at heart was phenomenal and throughout everything it never fully gave way. If only she had been this strong.
She continued to read the last of the letter.
It has not been easy raising Dinky alone, that much I will admit. But never have I let it get to me. The social worker is always trying to find ways to help me cope at home. Setting up ways to help me avoid future obstacles and coping with my finances. I am sure the mention of the doctor has made you worry, but do not be so hasty. The doctor is not coming to see me.
The doctor is here for Dinky.
I do not know if you have picked up on it, but Dinky has a phenomenal appetite. When she was young I never thought much of it. But frequently she would be sick and soon I began to fear the worst. As it turns out her huge appetite is a stomach malfunction, making her think she is hungry when truly she is in no need of food. The doctor is here to monitor her condition and comes with the social worker so that both can be seen to at once, rather than apart.
Now Sparkler saw that Derpy had more to deal with than anypony she had ever known. If Derpy had adopted Sparkler to help her at least she would have been justified in needing it. She had no idea that Dinky had problems of her own to deal with, but the more she thought about it the more she noticed the problem Dinky had been born with.
She read on, eager to finish the last of the letter.
I believe I have covered all you need to know about me, but now I need to tell you where you come into this. It is time you know why you were adopted.
This was it. This was the part of the letter Sparkler had been most curious about. Why was she adopted? Now she was going to find out the truth behind it all. She was going to find out what made this already troubled pegasus give her a home.
I have been the mail mare for Canterlot and Ponyville for 12 years. In that time I have seen many ponies move into the area and out of it. I know all ponies in both towns and where they live. I make it my duty to know this, it helps to be more casual in your profession you see.
It surprised me that after so many years in Canterlot all of a sudden a filly like you showed up out of nowhere. I hadn’t seen you before and you bore no resemblance to anypony I knew of. I was curious of your origin. I thought you may have been visiting family, but if so why were you always alone and depressed?
It wasn’t until the day I saved you from those bullies that I learned who you were and why you appeared out of the blue.
Mrs. Carewell told me that you were allowed out in the hopes you might make some friends or find an adoptive parent. I knew you needed somepony to care for you. You had no one. You had no friends or family and had suffered much hardship just like I did at your age. But unlike me you did not have Ms. Sweetie. That is why I adopted you. You needed a home, a family and more so love. I wanted to be your family. I didn’t want you to live on alone. I wanted you to come with me and know a life worth living.
I wanted to look after you like Ms. Sweetie looked after me.
I hope this letter has answered some of your questions my dear daughter. I will always love you no matter what you think of me and I hope you will talk to me soon.
Your loving mother,
Sparkler wiped the tears from her face. Everything fit together now. Her adoption was for a reason, not a purpose. She was not resented or here to be used.
She really was loved.
For a while she just sat there, everything in her mind began to re-adjust itself. The thoughts in her head that led to her resenting Derpy now rearranged themselves. No longer did they form hatred, they reassured her she was loved through and through by her new family. Derpy had given Sparkler everything and even when it was thrown in her face she still did all she could to make amends with her.
Suddenly she realised she was being watched. The unicorn looked up from her bed and met eyes with Derpy. She had no idea how long she was standing there and frankly she didn’t care. She was just glad to see her mother again.
Before Sparkler could say a word, Derpy took a deep breath and spoke up.
“You getting mommy’s letter?”
The unicorn looked to the floor. After a few minutes she slowly nodded.
“You read all of letter?”
Once again Sparkler answered with a nod.
“You...can you... will you....forgive mommy?”
Sparkler looked to her hooves, more tears dripping onto the letter before her. Slowly she got up from the bed, eyes glued to the floor. The filly trotted over to Derpy, sitting on the floor inches away from her, refusing to lift her head. She felt a hoof under her chin and her gaze was lifted to meet the pegasus.
Without a second thought Sparkler lunged forth and embraced Derpy in a loving hug, a hug Derpy returned. They sat in each other’s hooves for what felt like an eternity. Nothing could break this perfect moment as they forgave each other without the need for words.
The time passed by peacefully, silence hanging in the air. At least until a certain hungry filly’s stomach spoke up. Derpy broke the embrace and giggled at the blushing Sparkler.
“Stomach soundings mean you not eat. Feeling like sandwiches of daisy and teas? Does that sound goody?”
Sparkler smiled at Derpy and responded with words that took Derpy by surprise.
“...Yes mom. Your sweetie would like that very much.”
Derpy brought a hoof to her mouth. Sparkler called her mom. For the first time since moving in she finally called her mom.
As Derpy worked away preparing lunch Sparkler sat deep in thought. Derpy picked up on the silence and decided to confront her to find out what was on her mind.
“Sweetie, what be bothering you?”
Sparkler looked up, not wanting to draw attention, “Hm? Oh it’s nothing really.”
Derpy turned to face her and looked her sternly in the eye.
“You know what be happening last times so pleasing tell mommy what’s wronging you.”
Not wanting to ruin the atmosphere Sparkler spoke her mind.
“Well, it’s kind of silly. I just don’t understand how you always manage to sneak up on me without making a sound. It’s been bugging me for a while now.”
Derpy merely giggled, “Silly filly not thinking straightness.”
She unfolded her wings and gently flapped, lifting a few inches into the air. Without a sound she lightly glided across the kitchen and landed next to Sparkler.
The unicorn’s face drooped at the thought of such a simple conclusion.
“Well that was blatantly obvious.”
DING! DING! DING!
As the school bell chimed, the little foals inside ran to their bags and began to make their way home to Ponyville, all but one unicorn filly that had stopped at the top of the hill.
Dinky was frightened to go home from school. Yesterday was the worst day of her life and now she was to face the inevitable aftermath. Was Sparkler still angry or had she not talked to her mother yet? The walk home lasted forever in her mind, hoping things weren’t as bad as she thought they could be. She saw her house in the distance just over the hill from the school.
Scootablu tried to reassure her, “Don’t worry. I'm sure things are fine. It’s been a whole day.”
Dinky looked to the house beyond the road, her hooves refusing to move.
“I know, I'm just scared. I don’t want her to shout again. I really hope she got mom’s letter.”
Seabreeze approached her friend and comforted her, “Look don’t worry about it. My family fight all the time and it can get really bad sometimes. You just gotta go home and let them sort it out.”
“Okay, thanks guys. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Her friends set off towards their homes in Ponyville, leaving Dinky to walk off alone down the path to her house. She hadn’t told them that she was brought into the argument; she was afraid they would tell Cheerilee and bring home more trouble. So she set off for home, afraid for herself as much as for her mother and sister.
Dinky approached the house with as much anticipation as Sparkler on her first day here. She took her time, listening out for any signs of shouting or worse. She opened the door slowly, stopping in her tracks as she heard somepony in the kitchen. Then a second voice spoke up, followed by something that gave Dinky hope that it was all over.
She heard laughter.
The filly trotted towards the kitchen to inspect the source of laughter. She found both Derpy and Sparkler sitting together at the table, smiling at each other as they sat down to a cup of coco. She couldn’t help but sit back and listen to them both, praying to the princesses that they weren’t arguing. She heard Derpy speak up.
“You needing make up to Dinky for wrong doings. How plan?”
Sparkler thought for a moment before replying, “I dunno, I never really got to know much of her interests other than dolls. What do you think she’d like?”
Derpy immediately brought forth an idea, “She liking club meeting of blue the weather pegasus Rainbow Dashing. Why not be taking filly to meeting?”
The unicorn retorted the thought, “You mean that stuck up pegasus that lives off of her bragging rights? No thanks.”
Dinky spoke up, both Derpy and Sparkler unaware of her presence, “But she’s amazing!”
Sparkler snorted, “Oh she’s amazing alright, an amazing pain in the fla- ”
Derpy and Sparkler jolted their heads towards the doorway, finally realising a third party had spoken up unannounced. Dinky quietly stepped out from behind the door and trotted into the kitchen. The tension in the room grew as both Derpy and Sparkler fought for a way to explain yesterday.
Sparkler jumped from her stool and approached her little sister, “Dinky. I want to, I need to... I'm sorry about yesterday. I...”
The older filly reeled back, a hoof to her face where Dinky had struck her. Derpy shouted down the little unicorn.
Dinky looked sternly to her sister, “Don't you ever hurt mom again! She was only trying to be nice and you hurt her!”
The filly started to sniffle, turning her gaze from Sparkler to the floor, “You hurt her. And you hurt me.”
Dinky felt a pair of hooves wrap around her. She looked up to find Sparkler hugging her, regret in her eyes as she held her little sister.
“I'm sorry I hurt mom. I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm also sorry for not thinking. I was so washed up in my own worries that I didn’t even consider your feelings. Can you forgive me?”
Dinky looked up to her sister, then to Derpy. The pegasus nodded her head, reassuring her that Sparkler was telling the truth. If her mom could forgive Sparkler then so could she.
The older unicorn broke the embrace and sat back at the table. She began to feel her heart relax for the first time since that fateful day in Canterlot. Sparkler had finally redeemed herself. From here she was going to do what she should have done from day one.
Love her family like they love her.
Derpy broke the moment, relieving the tension in the air.
“Now then, what feeling likeness for the dinner time? We could be having stew again, sweetie didn’t get to enjoy the food time when she last had stew.”
Sparkler looked to Dinky, allowing her to decide.
“What do you think, hungry for stew?”
The filly bounced on the spot with anticipation, surprising Sparkler as to how quickly her young mindset changed at the mention of food.
“Oh my goodness I love stew! Yes please!”
The night was moving in fast, daylight disappearing over the horizon as the moon moved in to take the sun’s place in the sky. Sparkler and Dinky had taken off upstairs after their filling dinner to play in Dinky’s room. The little unicorn brought some of her favourite dolls to her older sister for her to play with while she tended to her new Smarty Pants.
The two sisters sat in peace, a bundle of doll accessories and clothing scattered across the floor from their game of dress up.
Dinky looked to her older sister, “Sparkler, why do you still play with dolls anyway?”
Sparkler gazed at the dolls before her. It had never occurred to her before that she might be too old for dolls. But she didn’t care if she was or not, she enjoyed every minute she spent playing with them, so why should she stop now?
“Well I never had much of a chance growing up to play with dolls. When I did lay my hooves on one from the play room the fillies would always take it away or cry until I gave it to them. So to have the opportunity to play with them is something I cherish. I'm not gonna let my age get in the way of that.”
Downstairs Derpy shouted up to the fillies, “Little muffin, sweetie! Beddings of time!”
Sparkler rose to her hooves, “Come on, let’s go. Gotta get you to school tomorrow bright and early remember.”
The two gathered up the dolls and other playthings from around Dinky’s room, putting them into a small pink toy chest near her bedroom door. Dinky began to yawn loudly, the day had taken its toll on her and now she needed rest. Sparkler was just happy to have ended the day for her in happiness.
They went into the bathroom together to brush their teeth and wash up for the night. Sparkler decided to wash her hair and face, the tear stains still very much profound beneath her eyes. With the water from the shower gushing in her face she thought she heard Dinky talking to herself. Curious, she stepped out of the shower to see what she was up to. The little filly was brushing her teeth at the sink, reciting every movement she made.
“Upf, downf, shide tuh shide, lerft, rightf....” she spat the froth into the sink, “Spit!”
Sparkler watched on, very confused, “What was that all about?”
Her sister looked up from the sink and wiped her lips clean with her small pink towel.
“Dentist told me to remember how to brush properly or my teeth will go bad.”
Sparkler chuckled, “So you do that every time you brush?”
The filly nodded in response and left for her bedroom.
Sparkler had just finished washing her mane when she realised now was a bad time to have done so, she was supposed to be going to bed. Now her mane was soaking wet and would take a long time to dry.
She wrapped a towel around her mane and began scouring the bathroom for a solution, but there was nothing that could dry her mane any faster than the towel she had. Then she remembered something she saw earlier, although she didn’t know how it could help if she didn’t know how to use it.
Derpy had a hair dryer in her room.
“It can’t be that hard to use. I’ll just set it to a high heat and be done in no time!”
Derpy was sitting on the sofa in front of the fire, enjoying a hot cup of mint tea before bed. She relaxed her mind, feeling at ease now that Sparkler had finally settled in to her new home. The pegasus felt proud of herself for having given the unicorn such a wonderful place to be. She took a sip of her tea, savouring the minty freshness. She was about to swallow when Sparkler came down the stairs behind her.
She called out to Derpy, “Um, mom? Can you help me with something?”
Derpy spat her tea into the fire, falling into a fit of laughter as she clutched her splitting sides. Sparkler’s mane looked like Vinyl Scratch had come over to experiment. The hot air had raised her hair so high it covered her horn, disfiguring it into a brutal form to rival the mayor’s wig on Nightmare Night. Derpy couldn’t move from the floor, her spread wings preventing her from rolling as she lay on her back in stitches.
“Alright, alright! You had your fun, you gonna help me or what?”
It had taken Derpy half an hour to fix Sparkler’s mane, the tufts and strands had refused to stay down without a fight. With her mane straightened out Sparkler made her way to bed at last. Derpy followed her in to her bedroom to tuck her in, a novelty she had never experienced before. The filly clambered into her bed and lay on her side. Derpy grabbed her blanket between her teeth and glided over the top of the filly, draping the blanket over her and nuzzling it beneath her hooves.
“Good nightingale Sparkler.”
The filly returned the notion, “Goodnight mom.”
When she left, Sparkler looked under her blanket having felt Derpy drop something on her leg when she tucked her in. She pulled out a small yellow doll with button eyes and a yellow mane and tail stuffed with plush wool.
“Good night, Ms. Sweetie.”
My sweetie – part 8: epilogue
“Good mornings of time sweetie!”
Sparkler opened her eyes, rising from her first well rested sleep in over a week. She yawned out loud and turned to face her mother sitting beside her bed. Derpy bore that same familiar smile across her face, the smile that brought comfort to Sparkler every time she saw it.
“Good morning mom. What's for breakfast?”
Derpy stood back as Sparkler got out of bed, waiting for her to walk with her into the hall. Sparkler stretched out her stiffened legs and opened her curtains, letting the rising daylight fill her room. She accompanied her mother out into the hall and followed her as far as the bathroom.
“We eating toasted sammich of marmalade. Be readying and washed for leaving little muffin to schooling time.”
Suddenly the filly in question bolted out of the bathroom and down the stairs, her stomach guiding her to her breakfast. Derpy shook her head and looked to Sparkler.
“I swearing to Celestia. Little muffin eats like shark.”
Sparkler giggled, that was her thoughts exactly when she got here.
The kitchen was filled with the cool early morning breeze, birds beginning to chirp in the trees outside as Celestia’s daylight woke them from their slumber. In the kitchen the three ponies gathered around the table found warm comfort from the morning air as they drank their hot coco, blankets draped over their shoulders. While they all sat enjoying their breakfast, Sparkler decided to bring up the subject she had been discussing with Derpy the day before.
“Mom and I had been planning for us to do something together Dinky, but we’re out of ideas. So is there anything you want me to do that could make up for everything? Something we can do together?”
The little filly ran to her schoolbag like lightning, returning with a flyer between her teeth. She gave the flyer to Sparkler who read over the contents with anticipation.
“The Sisterhooves Social? What's that?”
Derpy giggled with joy, she knew this was the perfect way for them to get to know each other and enjoy a day together as sisters.
“Applejack hosting Sisterhoovy Socialise every year at Sweet Apples Anchor. It time of games and competition for sisters only. It perfection for little muffin and sweetie!”
Sparkler remembered the apple farmer from the town market. They had got off on the wrong hoof when they first met. Maybe this was a way to get a fresh start with her as well.
“Sounds great! How about we go ask Applejack for the details later?”
Dinky thought for a second, another idea still determined to pull through, “But what about the Dash club meeting? It’s a few days later we can still go.”
Her mother shook her head, “Having to leave meeting little muffin. Mommy looking aftering Tootsi Flute for Lyra and Bonbon and sweetie not want to going.”
Upon hearing that Derpy was to babysit, Sparkler came forth with a solution.
“Hey mom why don’t you take her to the meeting, I’ll look after Tootsi Flute for you.”
Derpy was concerned with the suggestion. Sparkler may be old enough to look after herself but to look after a filly may be asking too much of her.
“I don’t knowing. Not sure if sweetie can handling little filly by herself.”
Sparkler knew she was more than capable of looking after a filly. She tried her best to put Derpy’s mind at ease.
“Of course I can. I helped Mrs. Carewell look after fillies at the orphanage all the time. Not to mention I've been looking after Dinky when you’re not around. Keeping an eye on one filly for an afternoon would be easy.”
The pegasus thought on the idea for a few minutes. It was true that Sparkler would have been capable of looking after Tootsi Flute, but she didn’t want Bonbon and Lyra to get the impression she was making Sparkler look after her instead. Eventually she came up with a solution that would keep her mind at ease.
“How bouting this. Mommy has to do shopping time after meet. I take little muffin to meeting of the Rainbows Dash club and you taken Tootsi to Ponyville park land. Mommy and Dinky will joining you there after meeting time for picnic in the sunlight.”
Sparkler was happy with the solution. At least this way she wouldn’t have to deal with that pompous pegasus appreciation club.
“Sounds awesome, I've never had a picnic before.”
Dinky hopped on her seat, happy to get the best of both options.
“Yay! I'm gonna tell Scootablu and Seabreeze all about this.”
She scrunched her cheeks, “It’s gonna be so awesome!”
The Sweet Apple Acres farm had been decorated from top to bottom with balloons, streamers and ribbons. Anypony unaware of the farm would have easily mistaken it for a party. The land was filled with many ponies that had come to watch the events. Many sister pairs had gathered to compete against each other, some in it for the prizes but all in it for the fun.
Sparkler and Dinky arrived just in time to pick out which colour bandanna they wanted. They were unsure what colour they wanted, what would represent them as sisters?
“What do you think Dinky? I'm not good with picking colours.”
The filly looked over the bandannas before her just as unsure as Sparkler. The bandannas were being given out by Applejack’s older brother Big Macintosh. They both looked to him for help.
Dinky spoke up to the stallion, “You any ideas Mac?”
He grabbed a pair of blue ribbons and gave them to the sisters, “Eeyup. A pair a’ blue ones, jus’ like yer mama’s uniform.”
They both put on their bandannas, happy as could be with Big Mac’s choice. With their bandannas picked and their fee paid they set off for one of the smaller events; pie eating. Sparkler knew if they were to win a prize anywhere it was here, she just had to make sure to keep up with Dinky.
The contest was being monitored by one of the farm assistants. He paired them up with another team and laid out four fresh apple pies.
“On the count’a three ya’ll start yer munchin.”
Dinky’s mouth began to water at the sight of the pie.
“One, two, three!”
Dinky tore into the apple pie, devouring every inch of it. Luckily for her Sparkler was just about capable of keeping up with her and they both finished long before the other team could.
“We have a winner! Way ta’ go blue team!”
They were both handed a large blue ribbon by the judge. One event in and already they had their first prize. This day could only get better.
“Think we should try the pig contest Dinky?”
Dinky looked to the pig pen, curious of how such a contest even worked. They trotted over to the judge to find out the rules of the game.
“Hello sir, we were just wondering how this game works. It’s our first time here you see and we haven’t heard of this game before.”
The stallion turned his attention to them, lifting his hooves from the gate he was leaning on.
“Now this here’s an easy one, but ya’ll gotta be fast on yer hooves. We’ll let two teams into this here pen and set out the pigs. Then ya got ten seconds ta find the biggest pig ya can. Then we come in an’ check t’see who got the bigger of the two, couldn’t be simpler girls.”
They were soon joined by two other ponies and let into the pen. They stood a few hooves from each other and got ready for the game to start. The stallion trotted over towards the pig pen, another farm assistant ready at the lock.
“Ready! Three, two, one, release the pigs!”
Dinky and Sparkler ran through the oncoming pigs, looking for the tallest one they could find. After all a tall pig must be big in body as well they thought. Suddenly they spotted a huge white pig in the crowd and laid a hoof each onto it. The whistle blew and the judge came in to inspect the choices.
“Good choice there girls, white ones always grow up nice an’ big. Now let’s see your...”
The judge stared at the pink pig with the other team and then back to Dinky and Sparkler’s own pig. It didn’t take long for them all to see they were almost identical in size and shape.
“What the – CARAMEL! I told ya t’ keep Petunia in the pen ya stupid foal!”
He walked over to the ribbons on the gate, coming back with two in his mouth. He handed a ribbon to both teams, each taking their prize with joy.
“Well girls, looks like this here’s a draw. Well done ta both o’ ya.”
Sparkler and Dinky left the pen, laughing at the mix up. It didn’t feel like they had won their prize properly but at least he had complimented their choice which was good enough for them. Next up was the main event. The one they had been looking forward to the most.
The big race.
Granny Smith was sitting on the plinth with Big Mac, both there to judge the race. A crowd had gathered on the benches to watch the teams compete in the main event. The old mare struggled with the megaphone, Big Mac whispering into her ear to tell her it was facing the wrong way.
“Now’s the event ya’ll been waitin fer. The sister social...er... the social hoof... oh dang nabbit, you know! The big race!”
Sparkler and Dinky chuckled at the mare’s struggle to speak. It reminded them of Derpy.
“We have five teams this year fer the event, so all ya’ll teams head out t’ the finish line, ya hear!”
Everypony turned to face her, confused by her directions. Big Mac whispered into her ear again.
“Eh? The startin’ line! And may the best sisters win!”
All the ponies lined up at the starting line and leant forth in preparation. Sparkler and Dinky were determined to bring home another ribbon to Derpy so they had to win this.
“On yer marks, get set.... GOAH!”
Sparkler and Dinky leapt off into third place, determined to catch up with the rest of the teams. They soon overtook another team and held second place, until they were passed by Sweetie Belle and Applejack at the pie eating part of the race. A surprise given their earlier victory, but still they pushed on.
They managed to overtake them on the way to the grape juicing, but when they got to the barrel Dinky struggled to get into it, her hooves slipping from the top.
“I’m stuck, help me up!”
Sparkler stopped chucking grapes and went to help Dinky. Applejack and Sweetie Belle had passed them again, but they were going to catch up no matter what. She pushed Dinky in. She began hopping around inside as if someone had mentioned food to her. When they finished they quickly set the jar of juice on the stand and rushed to the chicken coop.
Seeing Applejack and Sweetie Belle ahead of them, they decided to copy their idea of working together with one egg between them. As they laid it in the basket they rushed off, determined to beat them on the last stretch.
They were too late.
By the time they had the egg in the basket, Applejack and Sweetie Belle had finished. They ran the last stretch, coming in third. Despite not coming in last, Dinky was upset with the loss of the race.
Sparkler hugged her at the finish line, “Hey don’t worry. We still got two ribbons to bring home right?”
She looked back at the two other teams, both still struggling with their eggs. The younger filly from the group behind them ran off alone, leaving her sister to catch up.
Sparkler looked back to Dinky, “Not to mention we finished together so I’d say we did pretty well.”
Dinky smiled and hugged her sister back, “Yeah I guess you’re right. I'm thirsty, wanna get juice?”
Sparkler rolled her eyes, “Need I ask what you want?”
The two sisters sat in the shade beneath a tree by the barn, watching the farm assistants clear up the decorations. Applejack approached them from behind the barn. She was happy the two were getting along, happier to see they came here together.
“How’d ya’ll find the Social? Did ya have fun?”
Sparkler looked up to the apple farmer, “Yes we did. We had a great time, thanks Ms. Applejack.”
The farmer ruffled Sparkler’s hair, “Jus’ call me Applejack sugar cube.”
Dinky looked up from her juice, “Applejack Sugarcube? Is that your full name?”
Applejack and Sparkler laughed at the childish depiction. Sparkler never grew tired of Dinky’s racing mind, every day she found something new to make her laugh. The young filly grew red in the face and began to pout.
“Now sweetie, ya’ll know we’re jus’ messin with ya. All in good fun is all.”
The sun began to set over the horizon as the late afternoon rolled in. Sparkler noticed Dinky was starting to slouch and decided it was time for them to go.
“We had better get going. Thanks again Applejack, we had a great time together.”
Applejack blushed, “Don’ mention it sugar cube. Ya’ll are welcome here any time. You best get little Ms. Dinky home before she falls asleep on ya.”
The two got up from up from beneath the tree and set off for home, taking their prizes with them as they left.
The walk home through Ponyville was peaceful. The town was closing up for the day, the sounds of customers replaced by the noise of shopkeepers bringing in their stands and locking up their stores. The night began to loom as Dinky and Sparkler made their way towards their home on the other side of town.
As they approached the cottage they noticed something unusual. All the lights were out. Had Derpy left to go get them from the farm? If so they would have to wait on her to come back and Sparkler knew Dinky wouldn’t hold out much longer. As they reached the door Sparkler gave it a nudge, relief washing over her as it opened.
As the lights came on they were both greeted by a multicolour madness. The entire lounge was covered from top to bottom with balloons and confetti. The walls had been lined with streamers and ribbons hung from the doorways. The biggest surprise was laid out on the cupboard near the latest addition to Derpy’s picture wall.
A giant cake was sitting beneath their new family photo with ‘world’s best daughters’ inscribed in icing.
The pegasus glided over to her daughters, smiling at them both.
“Big party for my little muffin and my sweetie.”
She hugged them both tight beneath her wings, Sparkler and Dinky returning the embrace lovingly.
Dinky looked up to her mother, still upset about earlier, “We won two ribbons, but we didn’t win the big race.”
Derpy brought them out from under her wings and sat in front of them both. After a short pause she finally spoke the words on her mind.
“I don’t need ribbons to tell me how good you are. You are both the best daughters a mother could ask for...”
She looked deep into their eyes, “...and I love you both so very much.”
That night they all sat together in the lounge, packed around the sofa under a warm blanket as Derpy shared her poetry with her daughters. Derpy loved writing poetry. It was a comforting way for her to speak her mind. Each poem was a beautiful manuscript of the truth around her. She had an eye for detail and loved to write about what she saw each day.
When she finished her last poem they sat back with a cup of hot coco each. After a few moments of silence, Dinky finally decided to get something off her mind. It was something that had been bothering her about her sister every time she tried to make sense of it.
“Sparkler I've been wondering something about you from we met that’s kind of bugging me.”
Sparkler looked to her sister, curious of as to what could have been getting to her all this time.
“What do you mean?”
Dinky looked to Sparkler’s flank, “Why is your cutie mark three diamonds?”
Sparkler smiled and chuckled lightly. These diamonds were her own sad story. But now that she was with a family she loved, they meant something more to her than they ever had before. Derpy looked to her, slightly curious herself of their origin. Sparkler decided to let loose her story, not wanting to keep anything from anypony ever again.
“Back at the orphanage I was a quiet filly. I barely spoke to anypony but Mrs. Carewell. But even somepony like me has dreams; I had one that became so strong it decided to surface on my flank.”
Dinky looked to the diamonds, “You want to work in a mine?”
Both Sparkler and her mother giggled at the filly’s fast working mind.
“No silly. I was always desperate to find a family. Every night I dreamt of living with somepony different; bakers, florists, farmers anypony that caught my imagination. But there was one thing that never changed no matter who I dreamt of staying with. I always wanted to live with a loving mother and father.”
She pointed to her flank, “That is what these are. They are a symbol of the perfect family; me and my two parents.”
She turned to Derpy and Dinky, “At least I thought that was the perfect family. But I was wrong. I realise now that I have the perfect family right here.”
Derpy hugged her daughters tight as Sparkler finished her story.
“I have my mom, my sister and me.”
My sweetie – Magic isn’t my thing – part 1
The afternoon had come in to full swing, bringing with it a huge rush as the ponies of Ponyville began overwhelming the high spirited market place. Some stopped for lunch at the local cafes, others sampled the wares of many stands and front displays as the day pushed on ahead of them.
Just outside of Ponyville the sun had reached the centre of the sky, sitting directly above a small cottage that was home to a young family of ponies. At their comfortable home both Derpy and Sparkler prepared to handle the gardening. The midday was always the best time to do so; the sun roaring right above their garden made it both easier to see and gave comforting warmth to the two ponies as they worked away at the fruit plants before them.
They both trotted side by side down the tiled path before them into the muddy walkways between the many rows of plants.
“Don't be forgetting plentiness of water for plantings to grow well, sweetie.”
Sparkler loved gardening. It was one of the few things she and her mother did together. She didn’t know how to tend to the trees, so she did her best to look after the berries growing at the front of the garden. The blackberries were in full bloom and the small flower buds were sprouting over the stalks. Some strawberries were being choked by a tiny weed that had nestled between two of the plants, sapping the life from them as they grew.
“I wont, just let me get rid of these weeds first.”
Sparkler was having trouble digging out the tricky weed. It had wedged itself nicely between the roots of the plants. She didn’t dare use the trowel for fear of damaging the strawberries and she couldn’t pull it out. Hearing her aggravation, Derpy glided over to see what Sparkler was struggling with.
“Weedings is nasty buggery. Why not trying the magic of horn to loosen dirt and pulling frees?”
Sparkler brought a hoof to her chin, looking down at the weed that had wasted so much of her time today. It had never occurred to her to use magic.
“Okay, I’ll give it a shot. Don’t know if it’ll work though, I don’t use magic often.”
She directed her horn at the weed and began to struggle. Eventually her horn began to glow bright pink as it surrounded the weed with a similar aura. She focused her mind and tried with all her might to shake the weed free, but her magic had proven as useless as before.
“Dang it, I don’t think it’s gonna work. Can you try mom?”
Derpy chuckled at the filly, “Little filly not think straightness. Easiest of solutions simple before you’s.”
The pegasus leaned in towards the weed. Grabbing it between her teeth she gently tugged it free and ate it.
“Not most tastiest of snacking, but food none the more or less.”
Sparkler decided to take a long and vigorous shower. The dirt from earlier had worked its way deep beneath her fur and tail. Twigs from the plant stalks had somehow managed to tangle themselves into her mane in places. After having cleaned up she made her way downstairs to join Derpy in front of the fireplace.
The pegasus was deeply entranced in her new poem, carefully selecting her words as she wrote about her day with her daughter in the garden. Sparkler was sure the weed incident would come into it somewhere.
Derpy finally realised she was being watched as she wrote. She turned to Sparkler and smiled at her.
“Not to be watching as mommy writes the poem words. If want read laters when finito. Finding something to keep busy why nots?”
That was a problem that had come to Sparkler’s attention lately. She had nothing to do during the day. When Dinky came home they would play together and when Derpy came back from her mail route they would enjoy lunch together and do the gardening. But any other time of the day she had nothing to do to keep herself occupied.
“I would mom, but I don’t have anything to do. At least not until Dinky gets back from school. I've been really bored when you and Dinky haven’t been around. It’s starting to bug me.”
It hadn’t occurred to the pegasus that her new daughter didn’t have a hobby. She had her poems and Dinky had her dolls and friends, but Sparkler didn’t have anything to do. She thought long and hard on the subject.
“What doing when at orphanage? Surelyest you not being boredom there.”
Sparkler thought back over her time at the orphanage. All she ever did there was keep to herself and dream of what life could come her way.
“I never really did much there. I just helped Mrs. Carewell and thought about my future home.”
Suddenly an idea sprung in Derpy’s mind. Thinking back on Sparkler’s attempts at magic she brought forth her plan to the unicorn.
“Why notting try to hone on skills of the magic? Could use of the practice my thinks.”
Sparkler pondered the suggestion. It was true her magic skills were mediocre at best. Lifting small objects was no problem to her, but trying to perform tasks with them was no easy feat. Surely it couldn’t hurt to learn some self control with magic. For all she knew it could become of great use in her daily life.
“That’s a great idea! But, how do I learn magic? I taught myself what I know so far and I don’t know anyone that could teach me anything else, at least not for free.”
Sparkler had made a fair point to Derpy. There were some unicorns willing to teach others how to utilise magic but they would only do so for the right price and even then they could only hone their student’s talents in their own special field of work. This thought troubled Derpy. She would happily pay for the lessons for Sparkler, but what was she going to learn and where?
Suddenly an idea burst into her head; there was somepony that could help her learn magic. Even better she could help her for free. Princess Celestia’s prized pupil and owner of the Ponyville library; Twilight Sparkle. She owed Derpy a favour. The pegasus had agreed to deliver her mail for her to the Princess after her assistant, Spike, took ill. After all, getting in to see the Princess directly meant under going strict searches of her belongings and dire security measures.
“Going to library whilst Dinky at school. There find Twilight Sparkle, library’s owner. She will train to learn magical powers of horn use for free. Telling her Derpy sent you and she will be help you.”
Sparkler wasn’t one to read books, but if they could help her learn more about her natural abilities then she would more than happily study them. She climbed off of the sofa and beckoned goodbye to her mother.
“Bye mom, I’ll be back soon. Thanks for the idea by the way. I know this will keep me occupied for a while.”
Or so she hoped. Her waning magic skills didn’t instill her with much confidence, but if it would keep her busy it was worth a shot.
The town of Ponyville was as welcoming to Sparkler as ever. Not an insult crossed her path, but always ‘good afternoon’ and ‘how are you finding your new home’ from many a pony. Near the outer edges of the town she finally came across the old Ponyville library. It was a tall, hollowed out oak tree with a balcony and other additions seeping through the leaves and branches that made up the roof of the building within.
She gently tapped her hoof on the door and awaited a reply. After several minutes she heard tiny footsteps from within the library. As the door opened she found herself looking over the top of a young, purple scaled dragon. She looked at the dragon with much confusion. Would it understand her if she spoke to it? Could it even talk? She was about to try and say something when the dragon beat her to the punch;
“No thank you, we have plenty of grit, I am quite happy with my ethical views and we gave at the office.”
The dragon yawned and slammed the door in Sparkler’s face. The unicorn took a few steps back from the door. She was both confused and ever so slightly frightened. The dragon didn’t even let her speak, he just shunned her off like a common political book basher.
Suddenly Sparkler picked up on shouting from within the library. Things were getting weirder and weirder with this place the more she stood around but she felt compelled to stay and see this out. The door swung open again, only this time Sparkler was greeted by a purple unicorn with a straight lying mane and starburst cutie mark.
“I’m so sorry about that. He’s been reading way too many comic books lately. My name is Twilight Sparkle, what brings you to the library miss...?”
The filly gathered her manners, “My name is Sparkler Ms. Twilight. My mother sent me to meet you. Something about a favour you owe her.”
The purple unicorn was both astounded and confused. She didn’t owe many favours to anypony she could recount. Even if she did she didn’t recognise this filly before her, so it must be a very vague favour from somepony estranged.
“Huh, I don’t recall owing a favour to anypony in particular. Why don’t you come in and we’ll discuss the details.”
They both headed inside the library. Sparkler had a long tale to tell no matter what way she put it.
The purple unicorn was astounded with the tale presented before her. She heard from Applejack that Derpy had adopted a filly, but she had no idea who it was. Yet here she was before her and she needed her help, something Twilight was more than happy to oblige.
“So you’re Derpy’s daughter then? I didn’t expect you to be so old, but then again age doesn’t matter I guess. So what is it you need my help with anyway?”
The filly took a sip of the tea Spike had brought in for them and proceeded to tell Twilight of her predicament.
“Well, I didn’t grow up in a magic-bound environment which I'm sure you’re aware of. Basically I stink at magic. But I want to get better, even just enough to help me with basic things like combing my hair and moving things around me. The most I can manage is lifting a spoon, if I'm lucky.”
Twilight thought on the subject. For a filly this old it wasn’t natural to have so much magic locked away.
“Why don’t you show me what you can do? It’ll give me some ground to work with. Try lifting your cup without spilling.”
Sparkler set down her cup and took a deep breath. She pointed her horn at it and focused her mind with all her might. Slowly her horn began to shoot sparks that eventually enveloped the cup in a pink aura. The cup levitated into the air for a few seconds and held its contents before crashing to the ground as Sparkler lost concentration.
She looked at the mess on the floor, “Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry Ms. Twilight. I tried my best, but I just couldn't hold my magic any longer.”
Twilight ordered Spike to clean up the mess on the floor. She took Sparkler to the book shelves beyond the sitting room. The older unicorn looked to the shelves and began removing multiple books, bringing them to her eyes as she mused the titles and contents. After a few minutes she had gathered a small pile of books in a wagon for Sparkler to bring home.
Twilight looked to the younger unicorn, “Before you go, let me give you some pointers. I noticed something when you used your magic that is a vital mistake.”
She demonstrated with a unicorn bust before her, “You need to fully concentrate on your magic when you use it. You were forcing it on yourself, commanding yourself to lift that cup. Magic isn’t a command, it’s an ability. Imagine your horn as an extra hoof with extended reach. You need to move things yourself, not stare and hope with sheer willpower.”
Sparkler grabbed the wagon pull string between her teeth and set off for home.
“Thanks a bunch Ms. Twilight! I’ll bring these back as soon as possible.”
Sparkler sat on her bedroom floor, the books all laid out neatly in front of her. There were 12 books in total, some as boastful as to guarantee that the user would become just as talented as Star Swirl the Bearded when they've read through the contents. Sparkler decided to start with the thinnest book. It was a small, red bound book with various tips on conjuring magic and a step by step guide to the best mindset to conduct spells.
“This is more complicated than I thought. But if fillies at magic school can do it then so can I.”
The contents were mind boggling; proper stance, diet for best results, emotional stasis for conducting magic. After she read through the mental guidelines she finally came to the spell section. The unicorn flicked through the list;
“Minor repairs, basic manipulation, guide light – aha! Levitation.”
She carefully read over the spell. As detailed as it was, it wasn’t difficult to get into focus. She placed a book in front of herself and focused. At first she tried to will it to move, sending sparks from her horn. But when she remembered what Twilight had told her she suddenly felt an invisible force leap forward from her, throwing her back against the wall. The unicorn looked up to see not only her horn glowing brighter than ever, but now the book was immersed in a similar light that held it in the air.
“I did it. I did it! It’s working!”
Sparkler laughed to herself as she moved the book across the room in mid air, almost like controlling a limb, free of her body. Twilight was right. There was more to magic than willing it to be. She decided to test her newfound ability on other objects about the room. Picking up her hairbrush she made an attempt to straighten out the hairs that had been tangled in twigs earlier.
At first it was working well for her, but soon she began to lose her grip on the brush as her mane became entangled and swallowed the brush beneath it.
“Dang it, I knew this was a bad idea.”
She had moved too far too soon. Sparkler had only just learned one measly spell and she had leapt forth to try and fix her mane, something she couldn’t even do without magic.
“Okay, enough of this....next spell!”
Flicking through the books the unicorn began to attempt many spells, some successful, others not quite so. She could brighten her horn like a torch, flick through the pages of books and even manage to almost make her bed successfully. But some spells backfired horribly.
The kitchen was filling with the aroma of ripe, sizzling vegetables as Derpy prepared the casserole for dinner. She was almost finished dicing a red pepper when she heard the light sound of sniffling behind her. When she turned around she found herself eye to eye with a teary Sparkler, Ms. Sweetie in her hooves.
“Mom...I'm sorry, I didn’t mean to, I just...”
Derpy looked on confused. She approached her daughter and looked to the doll.
“What mattering with Ms. Sweetie? Why sweetie upsettings?”
Sparkler held the doll out in front for Derpy to see. Her right front leg had been torn clean off at the seam, the woollen stuffing leaking from the hole in her side.
Derpy looked at the torn leg and examined it closely, “What teared leg off?”
“It was a spell. It was supposed to let me play with her like a puppet, but I lost control, I'm so sorry.”
The pegasus hugged Sparkler tight, a small comforting smile spreading across her cheeks.
“Worry nots over accidental. Ms. Sweetie been throughs worsen. Mommy fix her laters for you. Don’t cry no mores little filly.”
Sparkler left the doll with Derpy and went back to her room.
She overlooked the books in front of her. She had rushed herself into this too quickly, instead of pacing herself she was taking leaps that had lead her to break Ms. Sweetie.
“Maybe that’s enough for today. I’ll pick up again tomo...”
Something under her bed caught her eye. Lifting the blankets draping over the edge she reached under and pulled out a leather bound green book. It was big and by the looks of the pages very old.
“Another book? ‘Transmutations and transformations, 500 ways to improve your looks through the simplest of books’. I don’t remember this one.”
She flicked through the aged pages of the large book. It was full of complex spells, all for cosmetic changes and alterations.
“What is this, a make up book? I bet Ms. Aloe and Ms. Lotus would give their cutie marks to get this book.”
As advanced as this book was, Sparkler’s curiosity drove her to attempt at least one spell. She flicked through the pages and came across the perfect one for her;
“Untangle spell; remove those pesky knots and tufts from your delicate mane and tail.”
She looked to the brush that was still tangled at the back of her mane. It had worked its way deeper when she rushed downstairs to give Ms. Sweetie to her mother. Remembering what Twilight had told her, she focused on the brush and followed the movements given by the spell very carefully.
In no time at all the brush fell free of her mane, which was now as neat and tidy as when Derpy herself brushed it for her. Happy with the result she decided to try something else.
“Mud remover; discard those hard to reach mud stains from your beautiful hooves. Let’s see if this one works.”
Looking at her hooves, Sparkler ignited her horn and watched in awe as mud broke free from her fur and gathered on the floor, some she didn’t even notice was there in the first place.
“Whoa! Wait until mom sees this.”
The young unicorn yawned loudly and felt her magic wane. She was exhausting herself using this much magic so soon.
“Maybe it could wait until tomorrow I guess.”
My sweetie – Magic isn’t my thing – Part 2
The sun began to rise over the horizon, casting a dim red aura across the land as it slowly crawled its way to its rightful place in the sky. The mere chirping of the birds waking from their slumber was enough to draw Sparkler from her own as she found herself awake before her mother and sister. The early morning chill hung in the atmosphere, bringing the unicorn to a shiver as she rose from her bed. Slowly she trotted across the creaking floor of her bedroom and searched through the wares of her wardrobe. The pink filly emerged from the wardrobe with a green hooded shirt. It was a present from Applejack to make amends for the incident in Ponyville a few weeks ago.
“Oh colt it’s cold today. Maybe I should wait until after breakfast to show mom my magic.”
Sparkler slowly tip hoofed her way across the empty, barren hallway and into her mother’s room. Derpy always kept her bedroom door open during the night. It was the only way she could sleep soundly as the silence from beyond her bedroom reassured her all was well. If anything were to happen during the night, Derpy would certainly be alerted.
The filly slowly peeked around the far side of the bed, cautious not to wake the blissfully unaware pegasus. The alarm clock held the key to Sparkler’s next move. If it was just before six, she would wake Derpy up. But if it was too early, she would have to go back to bed. However, she found herself faced with neither choice. It was only half past five in the morning. That was too little time to go back to sleep and too much time to take from their slumber. The filly trotted back to her room.
“Great, half an hour to kill in utter silence. Fun times, Sparkler. Fun times.”
The cold, dry morning air had reduced Sparkler to a shiver as she huddled for warmth beneath her blankets. Soon though, she would have a piping hot bowl of porridge in front of her and some hot coco with marshmallows and muffins! The unicorn brought her hood up over her head and ears. Time passed as slow as the sun’s journey to the centre of the sky. Bored out of her wits, Sparkler finally decided to occupy herself. She left the comfort of her bed and approached the wagon of books across the room. There at the top of the pile sat the beauty therapist’s dream.
“If I’m gonna show you off, I might as well practice.”
She flicked through the aging pages within and found the very spell she wished to show Derpy after the gardening. Having cleaned her front hooves yesterday, Sparkler focused her magic on her back hooves. She prepared herself for the same tingling sensation she felt yesterday by the spell’s influence. But what followed was not a tingle.
Sparkler’s magic waned and faded as she tumbled over. She sat upright and quickly brought her hooves before her. Around the base of her hooves, the spell had removed all the remaining dirt, but for some reason it had also tugged free some of her fur. A patch was missing along the lower area of her left hoof, exposing it to the air. Sparkler rushed to the book and examined the spell closely to see where she had gone wrong. The unicorn was puzzled. She had followed each and every step as clearly as last night, so why did it hurt her this time?
“Something mattering, sweetie?”
Sparkler didn’t even realise that her mother had entered the room. She realised now why Derpy was here. She had woken her up with her screaming as the spell went asunder.
“Oh I'm fine mom; just fell getting out of bed is all.”
Derpy approached her daughter, yawning as she neared her. The pegasus hugged Sparkler tightly beneath her wing and nuzzled her cheek.
“Silly filly. Might as wells be for up time now. Point not in going back to bed. Please waking up little muffin for me.”
As Derpy left the room, Sparkler revised the spell once more. She couldn’t have gone wrong; she had followed everything step by step and word by word. Maybe she was just tired. She trudged into the hall and into the small, pink walled room beside her own. Dinky was sound asleep in her bed, no doubt peacefully dreaming of things beyond Sparkler’s wildest imagination. She nuzzled the little unicorn.
“Wake up Dinky, time to get up for school.”
The purple hued filly tossed and turned before settling herself against the wall in defiance.
“I don’t wanna get up. I feel sick today.”
Sparkler giggled at her little sister. This was a new perspective in fillies she had never seen before leaving the orphanage. There, fillies and colts did as they were told because they had no choice, but Dinky knew how to pull Derpy’s heartstrings. Unlucky for Dinky, Sparkler knew how to get under her skin.
“Well then, I suppose that means no breakfast or muffins for you. In fact, no food at all if you are sick. You’ll have to stay in bed all day, I guess.”
The little filly huffed at Sparkler in defeat. She slowly rose from beneath her blankets and rasped at her older sister.
“Fine, just for that I’m getting the first muffin Sparkler!”
Dinky pushed her sister aside and rushed out the door and down the stairs like lightning. Her enthusiasm and endless supply of energy always puzzled Sparkler. But nothing beat Dinky’s bottomless stomach. For a 10 year old filly, she could certainly eat her way through a meal and fast.
The pink unicorn left her sister’s room and returned to her own. Surely what had happened earlier was a one-off mistake. She had fully managed to perform these spells last night so it shouldn’t be a problem now. Sparkler grabbed the book from her bed and went downstairs to enjoy the hot breakfast she had been looking forward to from the moment she had woken up.
Sparkler entered the kitchen to find Dinky already half way through a cherry muffin. As usual, Dinky had rushed her porridge down her throat. In the time it had taken Sparkler to retrieve her book, the little unicorn had managed to devour her breakfast and begun attacking the muffins in the basket.
“Remember what's the doctor pony say to you. Little muffin must pacing her selves or choking will happen agains.”
Sparkler giggled at her little sister. She never missed a moment to tease her when Derpy told her off. The filly rasped in Sparkler’s direction, sending crumbs and cherry skin across the table. Derpy quickly shoved her hoof into Dinky’s mouth and frowned at her. The pegasus removed her hoof and gave Sparkler the same disappointed frown; she was at fault here as much as Dinky was.
“Enough of argumentals! Apologising at onces both of you. Don’t thinking I didn’t hearing upstairs antics.”
The two unicorns turned to each other and apologised silently under their breath. Derpy beckoned with her hoof.
“Louders, mommy hearing mumbles not apology.”
The two fillies looked at their mother with their heads hung low.
Derpy nodded her head in approval. She lifted a table cloth with her teeth and ran it under the hot water faucet, steam billowing from the stream of water as the air reached it. The pegasus trotted back to the table and cleaned away the mess of crumbs and debris scattered by her daughter’s rasping. As she made her way towards Sparkler she noticed the ancient book her daughter had brought with her.
“Ooh, this spells book you want showing me todays?” She flicked through the pages of the book, “Looked old and complication for such a young filly. But if helps cannot argument.”
Dinky got up from her chair and approached her mother for a better look at the mysterious book. The pages creaked and creased as the pegasus shifted through the many spells and enchantments within.
“You try many of spells within book?”
Sparkler looked up from her porridge. A knot was beginning to set in her stomach. A feeling she hadn’t experienced in a long time.
“Only a few so far. They worked fairly well I think.”
Derpy smiled and began flicking through the book again. The pegasus was deeply entranced by the book’s contents and curious to see the outcome of at least one spell. She quickened the pace, her mind set on finding one particular spell that could help her this morning. After a few minutes of endless paper turning, she stopped at a certain page half way through the book.
“Mommy’s eyes drooped from early morning waking. Spell makes me look betters again.”
Sparkler took the book from her mother and overlooked the long and complicated spell.
“Exfoliation 101; hide those nasty wrinkles and creases to make you look 20% younger in 10 seconds flat.’ I dunno mom, sounds kind of complicated.”
Derpy cuffed her hoofs together, almost begging Sparkler to try the spell. Unable to turn away from her mother’s pleading eyes, the unicorn finally agreed.
“Alright I’ll try but I don’t know if it’ll work. I haven’t tried this one.”
The pink filly looked through the spell cautiously. Maybe now, as she was wide awake and warmed up, nothing would go wrong. She pointed her horn at Derpy and focused her mind. Slowly, her nerves calmed, her body went stiff and her concentration focused on nothing but the spell. Her horn glowed bright pink and surrounded Derpy in a magical aura. It glowed brighter and brighter and bri....
Once again, Sparkler found herself flat against the wall with a pounding headache. She slowly opened her eyes to find Dinky staring deeply at her.
“You okay sis?”
Sparkler looked up from the ground. The chair she had sat on had toppled and her bowl had been smashed into pieces on the floor. The kitchen was filled with dust and smoke. Beneath the cloud came a squeaky, unfamiliar voice.
“It working, I looked younger?”
Sparkler froze. She couldn’t believe what was before her eyes. She finally gathered her words into a sentence.
“Y-you look younger alright...... Much..... much younger, mom.”
There before them stood a young, grey filly pegasus with googly eyes and bubble stream cutie mark. They couldn’t believe it.
Derpy was a filly.
Silence hung over the Ponyville library as the early morning rolled on. Twilight Sparkle and her dragon assistant both slept in the comfort of their beds as the sun on the horizon warmed the morning chill. A gentle comfort for those who were rising from their slumber. Today was to be quite the busy day as always. She had books to deliver to various ponies in the town as well as her report to the princess and not to forget her research into a remedy for chipped hooves. She had a lot to look into if she wanted to avoid going back to formula.
Suddenly the peaceful morning was interrupted by a loud pounding. The purple unicorn shot up from her bed and stumbled across the floor, almost stepping on Spike as she fled for the door. Who could be here at this early hour? And in such a drastic frenzy that needed them to almost kick the door down?
She approached the door cautiously and peered through the spyglass. She met gaze with the googly-eyed mailmare peering through the other end.
“Derpy, what's wrong? Why are you here at this time of the morning?”
She opened the door to talk to her face to face. What she found was a surprise. Derpy wasn’t speaking to her on her level; she had flown up from the ground to look through the eyeglass. Behind Derpy stood Sparkler. She had a book in her hooves that had gone missing last night. A book she had borrowed from the Canterlot private library.
“Oh dear, what happened? Come in and tell me what's going on.”
Twilight overlooked the spell thoroughly. Everything Sparkler had done to complete the spell was correct. Every step, every preparation and every precaution had been taken. She knew there was only one solution to the problem and one source of its origin. She turned her attention to the small filly pegasus sitting before her.
“Well, I’m afraid the spell isn’t to blame here. She followed it correctly as far as I can tell and I know personally that this spell works like a charm.”
The unicorn made her way to the panicking pink filly sitting beside her. She knew Sparkler had magic problems, but not this bad.
“Sparkler, the problem is your magic. You didn’t get any self control training as a young filly, so it seems to me that your magic is still as prone to overpowered bursts, just as a toddler’s. Technically, you didn’t do anything wrong. You just don’t have control of your limitations just yet.”
Sparkler started to sniffle. She felt horrible for turning her mother into a filly. She had good intentions. But her rush to accomplish control of greater magical abilities had led her to screw up big time. After a few minutes of silence, Derpy asked the question on everypony’s mind.
“Is this permanent changed or temporarily? Can’t go working like this, can’t does anything!”
The pegasus began to panic again. The thought of not being able to work or cook or do any of the tasks she had to today was filling her mind and beginning to upset her.
Twilight stood in the centre of the room and attempted to calm down the ponies before her.
“It’s okay, it’s alright. This is only temporary. Something like this shouldn’t last any more than a day at the most. Large bursts of magic like this can only sustain themselves free of control for a limited time.”
Twilight beckoned the two ponies to get up. She looked Sparkler in the eye and wiped away a tear from her cheek.
“Don’t worry. If you need this much help with your magic, then I’ll help you set up some minor basics personally. At least then we can get this all under control.”
Derpy and Sparkler left the library together. The journey home was long and silent; neither pony said a word to each other. Deep in her mind, Sparkler knew today would be a day like no other. The unicorn knew she would have to cover all of Derpy’s chores and responsibilities as well as her own.
Today....... She would have to be the mom.
My sweetie – Magic isn’t my thing – Part 3
The walk home to the small cottage on the hills was long, tedious and uncomfortable. Sparkler could only feel lucky that most of the town was still asleep at this time of the morning. The last thing she wanted was to explain to half the town why her mother was now a child as young as Dinky. The thought of explaining what she herself didn’t understand, made the unicorn feel uneasy. Derpy knew that Sparkler was upset, but she couldn’t do anything to make her daughter feel better. The pegasus turned her head towards her, attempting to calm her down. After all, she was her mother and she was needed now more than ever.
“Been thinked. Maybe magic isn’t your thing. Finded newly hobby for entertain and…..and…”
A thought ran through Derpy’s head. A memory. She was a filly again. And just like when she was a filly she was struggling to form even barely comprehensible sentences. It had taken her years to learn with the help of a specialist tutor and her father how to talk as well as she could. This was going to make things all the more difficult for her today. Sparkler looked at the pegasus with concern and worry.
“Oh no, I didn’t hurt you too, did I?”
Derpy shook her head and pointed her hoof towards the cottage that had come into view over the hills. Sparkler looked to their home and then back to Derpy with confusion. The filly Pegasus rolled her eyes and mimed writing a letter.
“Oh, you’re gonna write down what you’re trying to say. That’s what you’re saying, right?”
Derpy nodded her head and set off low in the air towards the house, leaving Sparkler to catch up.
As Derpy entered the small cottage she glided up the stairway and straight into her bedroom. The house seemed so much bigger than she remembered. The doorways were huge and her bed was large enough for her to make a fort beneath the sheets. As unfortunate as it was to her daily life, being a filly again was bringing back cherished memories of her childhood, and her father. It was an old perspective she had not seen in years. She stared deep into the photograph of him she kept beside her bed.
“Celestia rest his soul.”
Her attention returned to what she had set out to do. The pegasus scrambled to her bedside drawer and began rummaging through the scattered items within. After a few seconds, she pulled out a scroll and a quill and carried them off between her teeth. As she trotted downstairs, she found both Dinky and Sparkler huddled together on the sofa. The pink unicorn had stopped sniffling at last, as she found comfort in her little sister’s hooves.
“It’s not your fault; you didn’t know your magic was unstable. Besides, you never learned how to control it anyway.”
Now Sparkler felt really bad. She did know her magic was unstable. She had just chosen not to believe it and tried it anyway. Now she had caused a mess that she couldn’t fix no matter what she tried. Derpy trotted over to her daughters and dropped the quill and scroll on the floor. The pegasus lifted a tub of ink from the coffee table and began to scribble on the parchment. After a few minutes, she scanned over the note and lifted it between her teeth.
She passed the note to Sparkler and pointed at it with her hoof.
Don’t worry about what has happened today. It was an accident after all and accidents do happen from time to time. To clear up what you said earlier; no you haven’t hurt me. Remember that as a filly, I needed a lot of help learning how to perform basic tasks using my new visual perspective.
Now I find myself back at square one again and am finding it hard to speak, so forgive me if I seem a little unresponsive. I know this is asking a lot but I need you to cover what chores I cannot do today. I have listed them below and I need you to fulfill each one as I do every day.
For now, I think it is best if we just get Dinky ready for school and stop off to tell Love Letter that I cannot deliver letters today.”
Sparkler nodded in agreement. Right now, Dinky is their top priority. She shouldn’t have to be held back because of a problem between her mother and sister. Sparkler trotted into the kitchen to make Dinky’s lunch, leaving Derpy and Dinky alone on the sofa together.
Dinky sat and watched her mother as she examined her younger self. It had always been strange to Dinky when she tried to imagine her mother as a filly, when they had been looking at the family photo album. But here she was, right in front of her playing with her hooves.
The unicorn filly was entranced. She had expected her mother to be angry or sad at this cruel twist of fate, but all Dinky could see in her eyes was wonder. It was almost as if Derpy was enjoying being a filly again. The more she watched the pegasus, the more she began to think that being a filly for a day might not be such a bad thing.
“Your lunch is ready, Dinky. I made your favourite sandwich for you and packed an extra muffin as well.”
Dinky felt herself pulled back to reality. Thanks to the ensuing panic that morning, she had completely forgotten about school. She quickly glanced to the clock above the mantelpiece; it was already ten past eight. She had twenty minutes to get to school or she would be in real trouble with Ms. Cheerilee.
“Oh horse apples I’m gonna be late! Come on! Let’s go, let’s go!”
The walk to Ponyville School was making Sparkler uneasy. Derpy had insisted that she’d come along the trip with Sparkler and Dinky. Derpy needed to stop at the post office to see her boss, once they had left Dinky in Cheerilee’s care. She would have to try to explain what had happened to her today. This was something she and Sparkler knew was not going to be easy.
The trio approached the small school building ahead of them. Outside in the playground Dinky’s classmates had gathered together to wait for Ms. Cheerilee’s arrival. Sparkler stopped at the fence as usual and bid Dinky farewell.
“Okay mom, I guess we’d better go see your boss now. Mom?”
The little pegasus had vanished from Sparkler’s side. The pink unicorn looked around but couldn’t spot her mother anywhere. She wouldn’t have gone off to see Love Letter without her, would she?
No, she wasn’t off without her. Sparkler knew exactly where she was, and she knew it could only mean trouble.
“Mom, no! Come back!”
Dinky heard Sparkler’s cries and immediately turned to face her sister. Instead, she found herself face-to-face with a googly eyed, filly pegasus. Dinky was both shocked and scared.
“Mom what are you doing? You can’t come up here! They’ll all see you like…like this!”
Derpy smiled at the little unicorn and continued walking alongside her. Dinky had no idea what her mother was up to. Maybe she just wanted to see what it would be like to walk to school as a filly. After all, she had missed out on that precious opportunity, thanks to her oppressive mother.
“Fine, come up to the school. Just don’t talk to-”
The familiar Trottingham accent made Dinky jump. She had expected Derpy to turn away at this point, but instead she just stood there, smiling at little Pipsqueak.
“Who’s your friend? She sorta looks like you! Is she your cousin or something?”
Dinky felt a lump at the back of her throat, preventing her from giving the answer she had to give.
“This is… uh… she’s-”
Sparkler finally caught up with her little sister. Cheerilee had arrived at the school, just as the unicorn took off in a panic. The school teacher approached the group before her, intent on finding out what all the commotion was about.
“Sparkler, why on earth did you rush off in such a hurry? Is Dinky okay?”
The magenta earth pony finally noticed the new filly pegasus standing in front of her. She hadn’t been informed of any new students arriving at the school. Was this pegasus the cause of the commotion?
“Oh, hello there little filly. My name is Ms. Cheerilee. What’s your name?”
Derpy opened her mouth to speak, but instead of words, all she managed to utter was a discreet gargle. Frustrated, she pointed her hoof towards Sparkler. Scootablu and Seabreeze had gathered beside Dinky and Pipsqueak, eager to find out why everypony had gathered around. Derpy pointed to the pink unicorn again. Giving in, Sparkler finally explained the origins of the mysterious filly.
Cheerilee chose not to believe what she had just heard. There was no way this filly was Derpy. But then she noticed the bubble stream cutie mark on her flank; Derpy’s unique signature cutie mark.
“Will somepony please explain this to me clearly?”
Inside the school, Dinky, Derpy and Sparkler had gathered in Cheerilee’s office. The teacher prepared herself a cup of coffee in an attempt to calm her unsteady nerves. If what she was told was true, then how did it happen? How could a fully grown pegasus be reverted to a mere child? Shrinking she could contemplate, but Derpy hadn’t merely shrunk. She was even behaving like a child as well. The filly was rocking back and forth contently on her chair with a wide smile on her face.
“Alright, somepony please, for the love of Celestia, explain to me what has happened here.”
Sparkler looked up to meet gaze with Cheerilee. The teacher wasn’t annoyed or angered, she was confused. Reluctantly, Sparkler told her what they had experienced that morning.
“Ms. Twilight let me borrow some books from the library to help me improve my magic. There was a book she didn’t mean to give me, which had a lot of tricky spells in it. Mom wanted me to try some beauty spell on her to make her look younger and… well... it kind of backfired.”
Cheerilee looked at the small grey pegasus before her. ‘Backfired’ was something of an understatement, but she chose to leave it at that for the fear of upsetting Sparkler.
“So what are you going to do? I mean, who is going to deliver the mail today for everypony?”
Sparkler had once again forgotten about the mail. They should have been to see Love Letter by now!
“Oh no, I totally forgot about that! I mean, we were going to go but then mom went off with Dinky for some reason and-”
Derpy pounced off of her seat and approached Cheerilee’s desk. The filly floated up towards the supplies and took a piece of parchment and a quill. Before the teacher could say anything, Derpy had already scribbled a quick sentence on the scroll and given it to Sparkler. The pink unicorn read over the note and reeled back in shock.
“You want to go to school?! Have you lost it, you can’t be seen like this!”
Cheerilee looked at Derpy with much confusion. Why did she want to go to school? She knew she had duties to do, filly or not. Staying here would only get in her way and put pressure on her already upset older daughter. Despite her better judgement, she decided to at least enquire.
“Derpy, why do you want to go to school?”
The pegasus hopped back onto her seat and pointed at Sparkler. She gave the unicorn the only instruction she could muster.
Sparkler knew what Derpy wanted her to say to Cheerilee. The fact brought new light to the situation. The unicorn began to see some justification to her mother’s troublesome request.
“Mom never went to school when she was little. Her problems with speech and sight meant she needed a special tutor to come see her every week. She never got to go to school.”
Cheerilee was surprised by the claim. She knew there were ponies that needed help from tutors when they were ill, but never had she heard of a pony being fully home schooled. But now, Derpy had the chance to experience school for herself, even if it was just for one day. Somehow, it seemed selfish to keep this opportunity from the pegasus.
“Alright. You can stay here today Derpy. Just try your best to blend in and don’t make yourself noticed. This will be strange enough for the class as it is.”
Sparkler’s jaw dropped. She was sure the teacher would have denied such a ludicrous request. Before she could even speak, Cheerilee lead the three ponies out of her office. Dinky made her way to class alongside an overjoyed, bouncing, cheerful Derpy. Sparkler stopped Cheerilee in the hallway, eager to find out why she had agreed to let Derpy stay.
“Ms. Cheerilee are you crazy? There is no way she can stay here. It’ll cause havoc!”
The earth pony faced Sparkler.
“Sparkler, I have lived in Ponyville my entire life. When Derpy and her father moved here, I knew she was different. I just had no idea the extent of her problems. The fact that she has never set foot inside a classroom, I’ll be honest, has made me pity her.”
The two ponies stared down the hallway, watching the grey filly before them. Derpy joined the rest of the foals outside the classroom, waiting for Cheerilee.
“Now she is faced with the chance to experience something most kids these days disregard. What kind of teacher would I be, if I denied her that request?”
The pink unicorn understood fully well what Cheerilee was saying. This was a once in a life time opportunity for Derpy. Now, come to think of it, if she did stay here, it would make things a lot easier for her. All she had to do was tell Love Letter that Derpy couldn’t deliver mail today, rather than tell this morning’s story all over again.
With a wave to both Derpy and Dinky, Sparkler set off towards the town of Ponyville. She had some work ahead of her at home, but it was nothing she couldn’t handle.
“Looks like magic really isn’t my speciality, but it sure has its benefits for others.”
As the sun began to rise towards the centre of the sky, Sparkler made her way to the post office, beginning her own unusual day.