Silver Wonder - Prologue
"Do you think it will be all right?"
"Don't worry dear, it didn't sound too critical to me."
A red mare with beige mane lay in a bed of the Ponyville healthcare, with a black maned, brown stallion standing at her side. Despite what the stallion had just said they were both slightly worried; the birth of their foal had occurred much earlier than expected - and while Nurse Redheart had told them such things had happened before and she knew how to handle it, it was also a bit risky. The door opened, and Nurse Redheart walked into the room holding something in her right front leg.
"I must congratulate you," she said to the two earth ponies. "You have given birth to a wonderful little filly."
"Do you mean... That she is okay?" the red pony - Willow, as she was named - asked as a tear appeared in her eye. "Oh Maple, I am so happy!" she then said and hugged her husband.
"Me too darling, me too..." he said as he hugged her back.
"Can we see her?" Willow then asked, as both looked towards the nurse and the little pony she held. Nurse Redheart smiled happily.
"Yes, of course." she responded and placed the tiny foal on the bed, just beside her mother. The filly was brown, with a bright grey beginning of a mane and tail.
"She's beautiful..." Maple whispered to his wife. They both fell silent looking at their sleeping infant. It was Nurse Redheart who broke the silence, now however with some hesitation in her otherwise so warm and confidential voice.
"There is something... Something you must know, though." The two earth ponies turned their eyes from the foal and looked at Nurse Redheart, who now had a sad expression in her face.
"Well, you see... Oh, I am sorry, but as she was given birth earlier than what is common for ponies, her eyes... They didn't get enough time to develop properly, so..."
"Do you mean she's blind..?" the brown stallion asked, even though he practically knew the answer already. The nurse nodded slowly. Another tear appeared in the red mare's eye.
"But," Nurse Redheart continued, "it is not actually as critical as it may sound at first. Early birth can give much worse handicaps than this. Also, other blind ponies I know and have treated often learn how to use their other senses - mainly hearing and feeling - to build up a sense of awareness." Both earth ponies now looked a bit dazzled, as if they didn’t know exactly how to react to what they were being told right now.
"As it seems, the other senses of a blind pony commonly become superior to one with sight, to compensate for their disability to see. It takes time of course, so she will need very much care in her early years." She then smiled a little. "But I know she’ll be all right, you will be great parents. It is a little wonder you have there, you know," she said and pointed towards the filly sleeping in her mother’s arms. "I'll leave you two with her for a while," Nurse Redheart said and walked out of the room. There is truly nothing more beautiful than parents love to their foal, she thought for herself as she closed the door. Willow looked up at her husband silently.
"Dear, I believe we are very lucky," Maple said. "As Nurse Redheart just told us, it could have been worse. But now our filly will be able to live a relatively common life. We should be happy."
"Yes... You are right, as always." Willow replied with a smile. They both looked at their foal huddled up on the quilt, still asleep.
"She has your coat," Willow said. “Brown like a spruce...”
"What shall we name her?"
"I don't know... But her mane looks almost like it is spun from silver." Maple scratched his head and pondered what his wife had just mentioned.
"Hmm... I cannot think of any tree with silver in its name." He looked quite concerned about this. There had for long been a tradition in the family to name the colts and fillies after kinds of trees.
"But Maple, remember what Nurse Redheart said? That it is a little wonder we have here. Wouldn't that be a good name for her?"
"You mean that we should break the tradition?" Maple asked his wife who nodded, not without a mischievous look in her eyes.
"Gramps is going to get mad."
"Yes, most likely."
"Silver Wonder... That is a good name."
Silver Wonder - Chapter 1
"But mom, I don't wanna go to school!" The little brown filly sat on a stool in her room with her front legs crossed and a sulky expression in her face, her iris-less eyes looking away from her mother Willow.
"Oh, but Silvie", the red earth pony said, "You have to. Every foal must go to school."
"Every fool, I'd say..." Silver replied silently so that her mother wouldn't hear. Willow walked out into the kitchen to make the breakfast.
"I know you will have a great time, honey", she said loudly from the kitchen. "Cheerilee is an old friend of mine, we went to school together. She is a great teacher! In fact, she sometimes had to act as a second teacher to me..." she continued smiling as she made up three salad sandwiches and took one into her daughters room. Silver started eating, a bit cheered up but not much. Of course it was good that her teacher was a friend of her mom, but how would she get any friends? It was easy for her mother to speak to ponies and make friends, because she could see, and so could her father. But all she could do...
"Awareness, Silvie. Always the awareness." Silver gained a slightly angry look on her face and turned towards her mother.
"Mom! I told you to stop pretending that you can read my mind. It is not funny!" The red pony looked at her daughter and smiled again.
"But you were thinking about making friends, right?"
"...Yes..." Silver Wonder said slowly and turned her head downwards, whereupon Willow walked over and hugged her.
"Don't worry Silvie, you'll get friends alright. I bet they'll find your awareness really cool!"
"Cool? Really? Are you sure?"
"Sure as an oak," Willow said with a convincing voice, and then closed one of her eyes with a smile. "Which eye is open?"
"The left," Silver said after a moment.
"That's my filly," Willow responded and nuzzled Silver on her brow, which made both of them giggle.
"Mom, I could have been thinking about spiders just as likely." Silver then said as her unseeing gaze turned towards her mothers face. She could not see her, but yet she knew her shape - it was the same with her father, and almost the whole house as well.
"Yeah, because that's something you'd think about." They both started to laugh. "Come now, you don't want to be late, do you."
"Okay, okay," Silver replied, trying to remain looking surly but failed. Going to school just didn't feel so bad anymore.
Silver and the teacher Cheerilee walked into the classroom. The students sat behind their desks, chatting with each other or drawing on the side of a paper.
"Let's quiet down please! Everyone, today you all have a new classmate, her name is Silver Wonder." Cherilee’s gaze now turned upon a pink filly with violet mane who seemed quite bored. "I wish you to treat her with the utmost respect. She... Do you wish to say it Silver, or is it better if I do it?" the fuchsia pony kindly asked Silver Wonder.
"You can do it miss... It's okay." Silver replied in a low voice. She felt it was better if the teacher said it; she was worried that if she did it herself she might lose the thread and prolong it. Hopefully Cheerilee would not do that; she was after all an adult pony and also knew her students well.
"Okay, Silver," Cheerilee said and looked at her class again. "Okay. She... is blind, so I'd wish you to help her should she have problems with orientating, okay?" All the students nodded and said "Yes, Cheerilee!" even though two of them did it with a great lack of enthusiasm. Some of the pupils looked a bit anxious about the handicap of their new classmate, while others looked more curious or surprised.
"Well," Cheerilee then said, "let's see where you can sit... Oh my, it seems every table is taken already. I'll go and fetch another one, just wait here everypony. I'll be right back!" She had just started to walk into the other room when Silver spoke again.
"Um... Miss Cheerilee? Can I walk with you? If it's ok, I would like to get a feeling of the rooms in here..."
"Why, of course Silver. Come here!" she responded and they both walked out of the classroom. It didn't take long until a quite chaotic discussion had begun amongst the students.
"...Blind? Does that mean she can't see?" an ochre unicorn colt asked slowly.
"Well duh Snails, don't you know that's what blind means?" an orange pegasus filly responded with an annoyed voice.
"Why is she wearing sunglasses? Brightness shouldn't bother her, right?" a yellow filly with a bow on her mane asked her friend sitting at her side.
"A 'feeling of the rooms', what kind of sentence is that?" the pink filly with a tiara said in a snooty and superior tone to the grey filly at her side. "And she didn't have a cutie mark either," she then continued. "Looks like another - Blank Flank!" they both said in chorus, which made the three ponies who called themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders look at each other. A new pony without a cutie mark? The trio fell silent, but they all had the very same thing in mind.
"The Cutie Mark Crusaders?" Silver Wonder looked quite confused. She had hardly walked outside school to wait for her mom, when the three came after her and told her about their club. While the fillies Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom did sound very kind, their enthusiasm about their crusade was almost frightening to her. "Well, I do know about cutie marks, and how they feel...”
"Feel?" Sweetie Belle asked with an interrogative expression on her face. "Don't you mean, look..?" she continued, but stopped when Scootaloo quickly elbowed her. "Oh right... Sorry, Silver."
"It's okay. But yes, I mean feel. I need to know how something is shaped to gain at least a brief impression of it." She sat down, as did the other three after a moment. "It does not give that much of a substitute though... That's why my parents keep saying that I need to train my awareness," she then said and rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses. While she had always knew her parents were the best in the world, she found it a little annoying how they would repeat how important it was that she practised it. She knew that it was - but did they have to say it over and over?
"Awareness? What's that mean..? Ye mean like knowing what's going on?" Apple Bloom asked. Silver turned to face her.
"That's right. It's a bit hard to explain, probably easier to show. It is pretty cool, actually," she responded and then turned around so that she didn't face them. "Okay... Now one of you, hold up your hoof in the air." Silver Wonder closed her eyes and frowned, concentrating on listening and feeling whatever movement around her existed. The crusaders looked slightly puzzled, but after a while Sweetie Belle lifted her leg upwards.
"Umm... Sweetie Belle, you were sitting in the middle, right? ...It is you who raised your hoof."
All three of the Cutie Marke Crusaders sat speechless. How could Silver Wonder have known that? Was it magic? Was she psychic? Or did she have eyes in her neck, in some way? Sweetie Belle hadn't exactly raised her hoof loudly or quick, but yet Silver Wonder had known who of them it was. Scootaloo was the first to recover from her flabbergasted state.
"Wow Silver, you... just became 20 percent cooler, just like that." Apple Bloom let of a sigh and looked at her orange pegasus friend, whose statement had for long been a cliché in the town.
"Ye took that from Rainbow Dash, didn't ya?" she said and then looked at Silver once more, who had now turned around so she was facing them again. "But Silver, that was so amazing! How the hay could ya know Sweetie Belle held her hoof up?"
"Training!" Silver responded happily. As it seemed, her mother had been right about the awareness. "Since I can't see," she continued, "My other senses are practically forced to be taken to a much higher degree than those of ponies with sight."
"Wow... Couln't ye teach us, too?" Apple Bloom asked hopefully, thinking about what it would be like to almost have eyes in your neck. Silver looked unsure.
"Oh, I actually haven't learned much yet... I dunno if I would be able to, but..."
When she had begun the sentence all three crusaders had gained a quite disappointed face, which immediately switched into a hopeful one as Silver came to the end of it. "...But if you want to, you could come with me some day I train! My teacher is very rigid, but perhaps he could teach you something." This promise gave a bit too much excitement for Scootaloo, who started jumping around enthusiastically in a manor quite similar to a certain pink pony.
"Wow! Wow, that would be totally awesome!" she said happily. She then stopped her half controlled hopping and instead stood still, with her expression now changed to one similar to that of a royal guard. "'Why are you making faces behind my back, Diamond?'" she said with a much darker voice than her usual. All four fillies started to giggle, amused both by Scootaloo's speak and how surprised Diamond Tiara would have been, should she actually have been standing there.
"Yer trainer, ‘e must be really good at this, aight?" Apple Bloom then asked Silver.
"Oh, yes! He could notice a hair falling down outside his house... Uh, I think."
"Funny though," Sweetie Belle told Silver, "that you're so good at this, but haven't gained a cutie mark about it... or none at all. But still, now you can join the Cutie Mark Crusaders!" The four fillies happily kept talking about the club and what they would do on their next crusade, but what Sweetie Belle had said was something Silver Wonder hadn't thought about before. That was indeed a bit odd. Wasn't awareness her special talent?
"What's wrong, Silvie? Aren't you hungry?"
The whole family sat at the table and had dinner, however Silver had not eaten much. What Sweetie Belle had said went through her mind over and over again. Why hadn't she gained her cutie mark, if she now had such a good sense of awareness? Did it mean she just had to train it more and she would get it, or didn't she in fact have that much of a talent when it came to the point?
"Mhm... Not really," she said, but her rumbling stomach betrayed her.
"There is something wrong," her father replied, with his always so sympathetic voice. "Is it something about school? Wasn't it fun there?"
"No, it was fun, it is not really about that..." Silver hesitated for a moment. She was unsure of exactly what to say, but she felt she needed to talk about it - and her parents were the best parents ever, so she was sure they would understand. "I'm just wondering... Why I haven't gotten my cutie mark yet. I mean... Isn't awareness my special talent? Am I... Not good at it?" The parents saw now what had been troubling their filly. Not having a cutie mark in the younger years could easily make one dejected.
"Oh, sweetie," Willow said, "you shouldn't worry about that. If you haven't gotten your cutie mark based on that, that doesn't have to mean you aren't good at it - it is just that you still have the special talent hidden inside you." Silver seemed a bit happier after her mom had spoken.
"Definitely," Maple replied. "And it is there for you to find."
Silver started eating, now with her usual appetite, but still tried to talk between her chews of alfalfa.
"Three fillies at school... invited me... to their club. They are trying," she swallowed the sprouts, "to find out what their special talents are."
"Oh? Why, that sounds like an excellent idea! Was it those three I saw you with?" Silver nodded at her mom as response. "I would say you should accept the invitation," Willow then said, "They seemed like good ponies. See, I told you you would get friends!" she continued and patted her daughter on the forehead. She was right, Silver thought for herself, she had actually gained friends. Also, it hadn’t been as hard as she had thought first at all - in fact, it felt almost as if it had just happened by itself.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders, with their new recruit Silver Wonder, stood in the dojo room reserved for awareness training. Silver could not deny she that was a bit anxious - what if her trainer refused to show her new friends some exercises? He was quite eccentric and hard to understand now and then, but hopefully he wouldn't be unreasonable.
"Ah've been here before!" Apple Bloom exclaimed. "Rainbow Dash was to teach me karate, but Ah... Messed up."
"I bet she had black belt, huh?"
"Yeah, t’least that's what she told me."
"What belt do you have, Silver?" Scootaloo then asked her after a minute.
"Oh, there are no exact ranks in awareness, the trainer just evaluate when your training is finished." Not to mention that those who needs to use awareness usually can't distinguish colours, she thought for herself in tranquil, but she didn't feel the need for saying it.
"I see you have brought friends with you today, Silver?" a voice said from behind the four. All the fillies gave a smaller jump, except Silver who was used to his slightly shadowy behaviour.
"Wow, I never saw him..."
"Hi, Sensei! Yes, they saw the awareness, and they wanted to see how my training was. I hope that's okay?"
“Hmm...” the bright green stallion thought for himself. “Well, I guess that depends on if we are to train as usual, or if we shall show your friends some basic practise instead.” He himself had felt the exact same curiosity in his younger ages when he had first discovered awareness.
“How about if you just show us some basic stuff that we can get to practice, and then Silver can train her more advanced things?” Sweetie Belle asked with a cheerful tone. While she had not said as much as Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, she seemed just as eager as them to start learning this.
“Does that sound good for you?” Sensei asked Silver, who nodded. “Okay; first you must learn to listen. Sit down, please. Not too close, Apple Bloom.” The yellow earth filly was speechless once more. Neither of the three had actually said their names to Sensei, yet somehow he had... Seen, or felt, their names? It was awareness, no doubt, but at this degree it felt just supernatural to them. “Now then,” Sensei said slowly. ”The foundation of these techniques is noticing, noticing anything particular that is close to you...”
"Well, that wasn't exactly what I expected."
All four crusaders were on their way home speaking about the training they had made. It was however hard for Silver to evaluate whether her new friends had been satisfied or not with what exercise they had been given.
"Can't say he din't impress me," Apple Bloom started, "but is this really how ye learned this kinda thing? This feels like... Yoga."
"Yeah," Silver began, "it isn't exactly magic, but yes, that is what I began with when I was little."
"Huh. Guess Ah'll have to give it a shot, then. There's yer mum, Silver." Willow stood just on the footpath outside the dojo and smiled when she saw her daughter coming towards her.
"Hi, honey! Are these your new friends?"
"That's right miss Willow, we're the Cutie Mark Crusaders!" Scootaloo happily replied before Silver could answer, "I am Scootaloo, this is Apple Bloom and this is Sweetie Belle!" Willow giggled. It did indeed make her very happy to see her daughter had gained friends without any kind of trouble despite her handicap, particularly since these foals appeared just as kind as she had guessed from the earlier impressions she had gained of them.
"Well then, say goodbye to your friends then Silvie!"
"Ok - see you tomorrow at school!" Silver waved at the three other fillies as she and her mother walked away. She already longed for the next day. Friendship was indeed something very enjoyable, she thought for herself.
Silver Wonder - Chapter 2
"So! Any ideas of what to try today?" The four fillies sat around the table in the clubhouse. Silver had just finished walking around to get a brief impression of it before sitting down at the table with the others, and she found it quite exciting since it was her first time there. It felt a little as if now she was a crusader for real.
"Hmm", Silver began, "Could you perhaps tell me what you did on the earlier crusades? I mean, so I know what not to suggest." The other three looked at her with a slightly concerned expression. Sweetie Belle was the first to begin to speak.
"...Suppose so, but really Silver, if there's something you want to try that we've done already we won't mind. Right, crusaders?" she asked Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, who both nodded with a smile.
"Yeah, definitely," Scootaloo then replied, "Besides, then we might discover something we didn't noticed back then too!"
"Wow," Silver said slowly. She didn't know exactly how to respond. For some reason she was surprised by their generous offer; while it made her happy it also made her feel a little guilty, as if she hadn't been expecting so much from her friends. "Thanks." she then said. Apple Bloom suddenly blinked and then got a huge smile on her face.
"Hey, Ah've got an idea - why don't ya decide what we'll do on the next crusade, Silver?" she said cheerfully. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle both agreed. Silver was however unsure. Was that really a good idea? She thought for herself. She wasn't really sure what she wanted to try, and the other three had after all been crusaders for a much longer time than her.
"Um... Are you sure?"
"Yup! What do you wanna do?"
"Well... Maybe we can help the librarian with something?" Silver had only been at the library once, but there had been no braille books there at that time - however, the librarian had said she would try to find some for her. That had been a while ago now, so she thought she might check that out too if they went there.
"Ye mean Twilight? Sure, why not?" Apple Bloom replied. Scootaloo was not very interested in potentially becoming an egghead, but she remained silent, as it was Silver’s first crusade. Still, as they walked out of the house after they had called out the Crusader Cry, she hoped inwardly that the next crusade would be something containing more action.
Twilight Sparkle had just had a cup of tea and a cupcake with Pinkie Pie at the Sugarcube Corner and were now on her way back to the library. As she walked towards it, however, she noticed three familiar fillies sitting at the door, along with a brown one she hardly recognized. It isn't often they come to the library, she thought for herself. And it seemed they had gained a new friend... But, hadn't she seen the brown pony earlier? She knew she had, just when and where?
"Hi there, Crusaders," she said to the four fillies as she walked up behind them. The three original ones gave a slight jump but the brown one didn’t, almost as if she had knew Twilight was there. "Can I help you with something?" The Cutie Mark Crusaders turned around to face the purple unicorn, and they seemed almost more energetic than usual - and that said a lot about them.
"It’s more like," Apple Bloom said eagerly, "if we can 'elp ya with something! Silver 'ere just joined the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and she thought we should see if we have a talent connected to books in some way!" Now Twilight remembered who the filly with sunglasses was, she had been at the library a month ago. Twilight recalled how she had felt slightly guilty that she hadn't had any braille book in supply for the blind filly back then, and even more so now, as she had forgotten to get one.
"Um... Yeah! I think you could actually..." She was just about to continue when Silver spoke.
"...Miss Sparkle," she said hesitantly, "I was also wondering... Have you perhaps gotten a book for me?"
"Yes, I have!" Twilight said, forcing a smile. "I was just about to go fetch it! Perhaps you could help Spike with the library and support the customers while I go and get it? Just let me speak with him for a minute first, if you could tell him to come outside." The four fillies nodded happily and rushed into the house. Twilight walked away to quickly take a letter to the princess about borrowing a book or two; the royal library was definitely the best place to find a good braille book. She was pretty anxious about letting those foals free inside her house - she still remembered what Fluttershy had told her had happened when they slept at her place - but as it seemed the newcomer Silver was a little more sensible, and would hopefully lower what chaos the crusaders might make. Yet, she hoped with her whole heart that Celestia would respond quickly...
Maybe books aren't so boring after all, Scootaloo thought for herself. She had now found one book containing facts about the Wonderbolts and one book about all kinds of scary beasts, plus a Mane Jack comic magazine that she decided she would read until Twilight returned. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle had served the only customer who has entered the library so far - Apple Bloom had asked what book she wanted, whereupon Sweetie Belle brought it down with telekinesis. It had gone relatively well; it had only slammed into Spike once, and that without making him particularly dizzy. Silver Wonder had at first been walking around the large room, and now sat down on the stair at the side of the table where the catalogue was placed. Spike crawled up on the stool at it while recovering from the hit Sweetie Belle had given him with the book.
"How is it helping the librarian?" Silver asked the purple dragon, who were now checking the bump he was about to get on his forehead.
"...Not bad, I guess," he said to the little brown filly after a moment, "I am not exactly as interested in books as Twilight is, though." As he spoke the doorbell rang, and as he turned to check who had entered a white unicorn with indigo mane walked inside. Spike stopped talking immediately and instead tried to hide his ugly swelling with a spine, without much success.
"Hi big sis!" Sweetie Belle called out as she saw her sister.
"Hi, Sweetie, Twilight told me you were here," Rarity said with a smile. "We need to go, we don't want to be late for the dinner with the Onyxes, right?" Sweetie Belle looked up at her older sibling with a sad face.
"Oh but sister, we're on a crusade! And it is Silver's first one, too!" she said and pointed at Silver Wonder, who in turn became slightly self-conscious.
"No no, it is okay... Besides, it doesn't appear as if we have gained a cutie mark from working with books, right..?" The three original crusaders looked at each other’s and Silver's flank, but she was right, no cutie mark could be seen there. Apple Bloom and Silver looked disappointed, while Scootaloo had a touch of relief in her face. She thought to herself however, that had she not noticed that some books was actually interesting, the relief would have been much larger.
"All right..." Sweetie Belle agreed. "Bye friends - see you tomorrow at school!" she said then and waved to them as she and Rarity walked outside. Spike had been looking at Rarity with a clouded gaze all the time she was inside the house, but now seemed to regain his consciousness. Apple Bloom looked at him confused. Then the door opened once more, and Twilight came inside. Silver raised her face - this felt like a pony carrying a book.
"Here you go, Silver!" Twilight said happily to Silver. "Mounte's The Divine Comedy, in braille! From the royal library!" Twilight's interest and enthusiasm for classic literature had apparently overruled her common sense; The Divine Comedy wasn't exactly a book written for foals. But even so, Silver didn't look discouraged at all.
"Oh, thank you so much, miss Sparkle... How long can I keep it?"
"As long as you wish - the princess gave me her allowance to have it here. As long as you return it, of course."
"Understood, and thanks again!"
Maple stood in the kitchen baking a garlic pie, when he heard the outer door open, and close. While Silver quickly went into her room, Willow walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
"Hi, darling," Maple said and kissed his wife on the cheek. "How was your day?"
"Not bad, there was quite a lot though," Willow responded with a tired smile. "Bright Dawn asked for permission to build an aquatic museum, and Varnish reported that he had been robbed of his typewriter... Again." Maple gave of a short laugh.
"He has always been paranoid... I bet he just placed it somewhere and then forgot that he had done it."
"Yeah, that's what the mayor thought too." Willow worked at the town hall as secretary for Mayor Mare, and they had over time become good friends.
"Mm, it smells delicious," Willow continued and sniffed in the air. "What is it?"
"Garlic pie. Should be done in around fifteen minutes."
"Yummy. Oh, I almost forgot, guess what braille book Silvie has started to read?" Willow said and looked at her husband with an almost childish face.
"Um... The House on the Other Side?"
"Nope - The Divine Comedy!"
"Really? I am impressed, I must say, reading that at her age. I mean, since it is written as a poem, and all..." He had himself read it a couple of years ago, and he still remembered how it took some serious effort to both appreciate it as a poem and follow it as a story at the same time.
"Indeed... It does contain quite a large amount of aged language too, right? Our little Silvie..." Willow said and looked out of the kitchen at Silver's door with motherly love. "She had really done well..." The two ponies fell silent and watched the door to their filly's room, then each other, both with a happy and peaceful face. Lately, it had felt like most of the concern that Silver would not be able to live her life, without being looked after almost all the time - it had existed inside them since her birth, even if they had tried to ignore it - had disappeared.
"Could you watch the pie for a minute?" Maple then asked Willow, whereupon he walked out of the kitchen to Silver's room and knocked on the door.
"Hi, honey," Maple said to Silver as he walked into her room. The walls in Silver's room were white, with no particular decorations of any kind. In the corner to the left stood her bed, with a sofa at the opposite wall. Silver was now lying there and reading her book, but sat up when her father entered. "How is the book?" he said and looked at the filly. Silver appeared unsure of her opinion so far.
"Well... I like it, but there are many hard words... And the way Mounte expresses himself sounds a bit funny sometimes." Maple smiled. The Divine Comedy was after all a very old book; Mounte had written it about seven hundred years ago and it was inevitable for the Equestrian language of these days to not have differences compared to how it was back then. It wasn't strange Silver didn't recognize all words immediately.
"Are there anything in particular you're thinking about?"
"Well," Silver said and turned back a few pages, "this Murgilius who helps Mounte says 'sordid' here, what does that mean?"
"Hmm... I believe that means vile, or greedy." Silver got a confused look on her face in response.
"But, why didn't he write that then?"
"You see Silver, Mounte lived a very long time ago. And at that time, ponies spoke like this, with words that now are aged. They thought that was just normal."
"Really? That's funny - you mean they used these words 'thy' and 'shalt'?" she said and poked at some braille characters.
"That's right," Maple answered with a nod.
"Did they speak in rhyme, too?"
"No... That, they didn't," the brown stallion said merrily.
"Hi, Silver! Fun ya could come an' visit us!" Apple Bloom called out from the chair where she sat and had lunch. She had been asked by Applejack two days ago to invite Silver to the Sweet Apple Acres, so that they would get to meet her new friend. Silver nodded smiling with her white stick in the mouth. She had explained earlier that she had to have it when she was walking alone, so that she wouldn't trip on something - noticing immovable objects with awareness was close to impossible.
As Silver walked up to the table she spit out the stick, cleared her throat and then said in a more ceremonial voice, "How art thou today - does the hay taste okay?" It sounded as if she had been practising the sentence. Apple Bloom looked puzzled. She wasn't eating hay, but she understood Silver couldn't see what she was eating. It was more the odd way she spoke that had confused her. Yet, she did recognize those words in some sort of way.
"Um... I was just speaking with older words, and tried to compose poetry." Apple Bloom still looked thoughtful; then suddenly the memory stroked her.
"Ooh! Ah know now where Ah've heard that - Princess Luna said thou, and stuff like that!" She remembered now the strange words the princess had used when she had visited Ponyville; Apple Bloom had however been far to excited by the Nightmare Night to bother pondering them. "Bet she's a bit more traditional, havin' been away for a thousand years and all that."
"Yeah... Must be really hard for her to adjust herself, Equestria has changed so much since she was..." Silver didn't finish her sentence. Being banished to the moon truly sounded like a horrible fate. Neither of the two fillies wanted to think about how it must have felt for the princess when she was imprisoned; not to mention how Princess Celestia must have felt, seeing her sister turn into such an evil being and being forced to imprison her... Apple Bloom shook her head and return from her reflections.
"So Silver, let me introduce you to the Apple family - at least, those who lives 'ere permanently. Sister!" The door to the house opened and an amber pony with yellow mane looked out from the doorway.
"Huh Apple Bloom, did ye want something? Oh hi, you must be Silver Wonder!" Silver nodded her head by way of an answer. "’Ti's nice to meet ye indeed," the orange mare said as she out on her hat and walked out to shake Silver's hoof. "Hey, yer any hungry?"
"Well... A little, perhaps..." Silver responded sheepishly. If there was something she didn't like it was to be a burden to other ponies; it was mainly because of everything her parents had to help her with.
"I'm Applejack by the way, ‘case Apple Bloom din't tell ya. How 'bout some apple pie?" Before Silver had been able to give an answer Applejack had went inside the house. Silver felt a little hesitant, but she tried to persuade herself that Applejack could hardly think it was that much of an effort to get her a piece of pie, when she had such an amount of enthusiasm. The door opened once more, and a large red stallion with a relaxed look on his face walked out. He hardly showed any major reaction to Silver being there except a slight nod in her direction.
"Morning, bro," Apple Bloom said. "So Silver, this is my big brother, Big Mcintosh." Silver turned towards him; from his movement she could feel he sure lived up to his name.
"...Good day, Mr Apple," she then said after a second.
"Mornin'," he responded and turned his head towards his sister. "Applejack's up yet? Ah heard some rattlin' from the kitchen, or was that you?"
"No, that was probably her." Apple Bloom said. Big Mcintosh nodded and looked into the window.
"Nice exploit of 'er, bein' up this early an' all. Ain't like 'er. Silver, yer any hungry?" Silver looked pretty confused. Was everyone in the Apple family really this eager to give away food just like that?
"Um... Applejack said she would get me a piece of apple pie, so..." While she didn't want to give any of the family members too much to do, she didn't want to offend any of them when they were being so generous - however, it didn't seem to matter at all to the stallion.
"kay. If ye want an apple, just ask."
Silver lay in her bed, still reading the book. It was a little hard for her to concentrate because of what had happened over at Sweet Apple Acres; thoughts and pondering kept swirling around in her head over and over. At first she had thought that Applejack and Big Mcintosh had felt compelled to offer her something - now, however, she just felt ashamed because of that belief, that she hadn’t understood it was just generosity from their part - friendship. She moved her hooves around on the page. Murgilius appeared as quite a friendly pony, and so did Mounte; she had yet to work out though, how Mounte could have been through all this, with minotaurs, ghost and three-headed dogs.
But to that second circle of sad hell, she read as her eyes slowly began to close,
Where ‘mid the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw... She yawned in tiredness.
Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell
Their sorrows. Pale were the sweet lips I saw... The sweet quilt of sleep slowly fell over the brown filly.