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By No Means Perfect! (SPONSORED- Ponyville)

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The Princess if the Night made her way down the main road in Ponyville. She could see the large pavilion that marked the center of town quite clearly in the fading rays of day. Soon it would be time for the Hearth's Warming party. She worn finery fit for a Princess. Long shimmering swaths of fabric trailed down her back and over her ever flowing tail. This combined with her crown and sparkling shoes gave her the most regal of looks. 

 

"Times certainly do change..." She mused to herself as she walked. It was often that her thoughts returned to another time when she walked the roads of this particular town. She had changed, grown, and learned so much since her return. That time, though beginning to shroud in mist, still echoed through her consciousness more often than she liked or cared to admit.

 

"Let your thoughts rest in the present tonight. Thou hast learned much and grown much since that time. Thou need not worry anymore, friendship has overcome it all," She smiled as she said the last part. Twilight Sparkle had appeared in her field of vision. The Princess of Friendship had always stood as a beacon of hope for Luna. She cherished the purple alicorn in a way akin to her feelings for her own sister of the Sun. 

 

"It is time to revel in the magic of the season!" She proclaimed as she trotted up to her dear friend. "Twilight Sparkle! I am very much looking forward to spending this evening with you. We shall have a grand Hearth's Warming!"

 

The plan for the two was to use their combined magic in order to add a festive touch to town square. Sparkling lights hanging in mid air, a shimmer effect to the whole area, and or course an aura of pleasant warmth to cut the chill of the night air. It was Luna who had suggested holding the event outside, she liked using her own night sky as part of the decorations and to watch over the whole event. 

 

The alicorn's horn began to glow in anticipation. "So my dear friend? Have you you decoration spells? Let us combine our efforts to make this a specially beautiful night!"



Twilight was taken aback ever briefly by Luna's arrival. Not that the alicorn wasn't expected or that she wasn't on time, but rather Twilight found herself momentarily out of sorts. Still, that didn't mean she couldn't greet Luna happily. “Luna, it is nice to see you. I can't ait to spend the holiday with you,” she sad, her voice betraying little of her nervousness. It was always great to see the Princess of the Night in such good spirits. She was without a doubt the most dour and complicated of the lot and while it was all well understood, that didn't mean she didn't feel a pang of sorrow in her heart. Tragic mistakes and decisions marred her, yet here she stood defiant against the anchors that sought to drag her down and embracing the delight that was this season. Twilight may have been an inspiration to Luna, but Luna was inspiring to Twilight.

She had a feeling she would need it. Twilight was a mistress of the magical arts but that didn't mean she knew every spell possible, and was focused primarily on the complicated magics that governed the natural world. She had never been one for magic that was more form than function. She knew that such spells were important in their own way but she never found the sincere desire to learn them as a filly and as a mare she had a friend who was an expert in such matters. Sadly, Rarity was heading to the Canterlot festivities and would not be here. So she didn't have the spells on hoof from that particular source to help out. And to top it off, she needed to impress Luna- they didn't have a lot of time doing anything together and she was always the most critical of Princesses. So Twilight had dug into her books for what she thought was an impressive display worthy of the holiday and Princess Luna.

“Yes, I think I have something,” she said, her horn lit up and connecting with Luna's. She wore a simple dress and simple dress shoes, regal all the same yet lacking the exacting quality that Luna brought to the table. “I hope this works...” she muttered under her breath. The two alicorns' magic combined and Twilight took a deep breath as the spell took hold. There was a bright concussive flash that spread across the area. A few seconds later she lifted her eyes and observed...

“Oh no. I think we accidentally...umm, crystallified the area,” she said nervously. Indeed, both Princesses were now in their crystal forms and the ponies who had been setting up the party were also crystal versions of themselves. Meanwhile, ponies walking into the area were transformed instantly, not noticing until it was pointed out.

“Hahahaha....” Twilight's laughter languished behind her, trailing off into a groan. Well, this was getting off to a great start!

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Hearth's Warming Eve, now there was a truly special time of the year, a time to meet with friends, loved ones, and share the warmth of friendship with strangers as well. And for one pony, it was the last category. Lensblot wanders around in Ponyville, keeping the pavilion in sight as it was his first time in Ponyville as it was getting dark, so he wanted to keep one location that he knew in view at all times. He never really minded not having any true friends, it seemed a lot easier that way in fact. However he had been finally persuaded to go to one of the main celebrations by his family, of course he chose Ponyville instead of Canterlot, as although he would never admit it; he was rather fond of the little town and found it a calming change of pace compared to the bustling streets of his home. 

As he wanders about the Town Square he notices the two Princesses meeting up and conversing, the Princess of the Night wearing a rather complex regal dress, while the Princess of Friendship seemed to be opting for something a bit less complicated. Once again Lens almost wished that he had a slightly nicer jacket than the one which he was wearing now, the green jacket was rather nice and warm, but it was showing its age, starting to become rather threadbare. He brushes his sleeve gently to straighten it out as he goes to remove his sunglasses with a soft smile "Well, won't be needing these anytime soon." But as he puts them in his pocket, suddenly a painfully bright flash of light illuminated the area briefly, the flash surprising Lens as he jumps a bit, looking around "Well that was... interesting." As he calms himself, Lens tries to find a quiet corner as he sits down, looking up at the sky as the light fades, enjoying the soft transition of day to night, simply taking in the atmosphere, not yet noticing the crystallization. 

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Hearts Warming Eve.....how long had Boulder Dash celebrated with his family?  Far too long the blonde maned blue eyed stallion thought as he trudged through the snow of the Ponyville.  Dressed in a black scarf and matching wool cap, the tomato farmer dragged a sled behind him he was hooked up too.  Unfortunately winter wasn't a good season for tomatoes and the Boulder Family Farm needed a second source of income during the season....what better way then Hearts Warming trees grown year round for the season.  Ponies came from all over Equestria to pick one of the Boulder trees and none was more important then the Ponyville town Center Hearts Warming tree that he was carrying behind him on the sled.

 

The large and tall spruce had been picked put especially by the Ponyville Council and now it was Boulder Dash's job to deliver it as he enjoyed the Cold crisp air.  As he approached the town center however he saw what looked like a bright flash followed by his hooves slipping on what he thought was ice at first causing him to fall face first on the ground with an Earth shaking thus.

 

"What in Tarnation?" he cried out as he picked himself and looked down to see the street crystalized.  "What in the name of Celestia happened?  I take a wrong turn and wind up in the Crystal Empire?" he asked in confusion.

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Ponyville again. Windwright generally liked this time of the year, it practically printed her distributors money since they'd started making mane-care gift packages, but being in Ponyville always made her apprehensive. The pegasus had read a few newspapers from the town, and things that would have been front-page in Rainbow Falls got justifiably relegated to page four here. She didn't like it one little bit, and had actually accidentally overdosed on her potion by ingesting it in its syrup state two weeks ago. She was worried about another bugbear attack, or an Ursa Major or...

 

-FWOOSH-

 

She dived below her counter, peeking out only after the flash of light was over. It had come from the town square, which she'd wisely set her kiosk about fifty yards from down the thoroughfare. Princess Luna was there, as was Princess Sparkle (The entire reason Windy had made the trip here, honestly, had been to use the draw of both princesses to generate traffic he could use to raise brand recognition), both were standing in...oh no...no, no nooooo. 

 

Windy hadn't brought ANY of her Crystal Empire dye bases or conditioners. And was...that fwoosh expanding..? This warranted observation, and the alchemist perched on her stall's counter with her forehooves balancing on the donation bin she'd set up next to it for shampoos and conditioners for the local orphanage ("We'll match every ounce donated!") while she craned for a better look. Which is when the strapping farm-pony discovered a moment too late that there was a sudden friction-differential.

 

"Oh, horseshoes..." she says, flying over to make sure he was alright, her medical kit in the bags tucked neatly under her wings. No way she was leaving the stall without it in THIS town. "Let me help. I think the Princesses were planning this, but forgot to tell anypony. Name's Windwright, I'm a chemist. You okay?"

 

Since Princess Luna had 'helpfully' warmed the area up and rendered Windy's coat thickening serum moot, she'd taken off her winter gear, save for a scarf and ear muffs, leaving the snow-flake design Stormy had drawn into her coat on full display. A dozen symmetrical crystalline flakes connected in a string that wound up one foreleg, across her back, around her belly, and down the opposite back leg, like an oversized necklace.

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Holiday Lights? Check.

 

Tables set up with Holiday Snacks? Check.

 

Ridiculous Holiday getup complete with silly looking at with a jingle bell in the pompom? Ugh. Spike looked his current hat and sweater over before deadpanning and returning to his list. Check...

 

Presents, tinsel, banners. Everything that was on Twilight's list seemed like it was in order! Great! Rolling the parchment up, the little dragon stuffed it into his sweater. He had to give it one thing, despite the really gaudy look, it sure was warm! Maybe if Rarity was here she could rescue him from what she was sure to call a fashion faux pas. But alas! Business took her to Canterlot for this Hearthswarming, and Spike had to stick behind to make sure that everything was juuuuuuust right 'for the festivities', as Twilight put it. Spike was so sure it had nothing at all to do with Princess Luna coming as well. Twilight sure was like a book herself sometimes. An easy read!


Well with everything taken care of and the list triple checked, maybe now Spike could actually start partying rather than cartographing...Was that for lists? Or was that maps? Eh whatever. Whistling a Hearthswarming tune, Spike sat out from the town hall to-WHOA HEY WHAT DUCK FOR COVER. Shoom and woosh went...whatever that was. Spike felt around over himself...yep, everything attached. What on earth was that anyway? Well it didn't tear apart the fabric of reality so that was a plus. Getting back to his feet, the dragon reached to grab the hat that had fallen from his head and noted the now glistening quality to not only it but to his claws as well. "Huh?" Spike donned his hat and got a better look at himself, legs, tail, frills. Sparkly! Crystal!...Oooooh! Twilight must have spiced up the decorations! How oddly spontaneous he thought as he withdrew the list and looked it over again.

 

Spike shrugged, stuffed the list back away, and dusted himself off before making his way off to Twilight and Luna. "Hi Princess Luna great to see you made it!" Not that he really doubted she'd come, but it was nice to see her. Spike smiled and turned to Twlight with a little salute. "Alright that's the list checked, checked, and triple checked. Everything's where it's supposed to be. And I gotta say Twilight, the big crystally spell makes everything look even better!" the dragon paused and stared at his sweater and slumped. "Well almost everything..." Spike tugged the garment forward and grimaced. The sweater, already covered in designs of pine trees and presents and ornaments and holly now looked like it was graced by the lovechild of glitter and sequins.

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The small miracles in life were often unexpected and rarely without some manner of drawback, but she would take one right about now. The first pony her eyes came upon didn't seem to notice he had been Crystalled, and whether that was willful ignorance or a focus on more enticing topics remained to be seen. Twilight was willing to allow him to not be entirely aware at the current moment of the change-over. She didn't know him. New to the area or simply a tourist? She'd have to learn more as the party drew into the night. She smiled and nodded. “Welcome to our Hearth's Warming Eve party. Please, make yourself at home and enjoy it. I'm Twilight Sparkle. Just who may you be?” She asked, her voice as clear and clean as it could be when she was panicking internally about ruining the spell. It was supposed to make ponies shine, not sparkle, and being Crystallified might have...consequences as the night drew on.

The first major problem was a pony who fell to the ground, his hooves not entirely agreeing with the new texture of the street. She looked down- indeed, it was crystal. As crystal ponies their hooves would quickly adapt and they'd have no problem walking in it, but that split second of movement would have caused problems. She winced. Luckily, he looked like a strong stallion- reminded her of the Apples in a way. And to make it worse he had the town's Hearth's Warming Eve strapped to his strong back. Her horn lit up to remove the burden from him. She gave it to Luna, who could hopefully take it inside of town hall and have it take the place of honor. “I'm so sorry! Something went wrong- but don't worry, you look great. Everything's fine! Hahahaha,” she laughed nervously, rubbing the bakc of her neck. Silence. “The tree looks great, by the way.”

Of course she wasn't the only one here. A Pegasus mare had flown over to check up on the stallion after his nasty crash. She was a chemist- Windwright- her mind was drawing a blank, but then again she dealt with so many ponies. It was rare to see a chemist in these parts but it was a nice reminder that you didn't have to cast spells to be capable of outrageous feats of magical import to help your fellow pony. She was quick and got there before Twilight. Even had a medical kit on hoof- on wing, actually. That was good. They had medical professionals on stand-by but they were dealing with some other falls at the moment. Nopony had been seriously hurt, but that didn't make Twilight feel better. “Nice to see somepony moved quickly for that tumble. A pleasure to meet you! I'm Twilight Sparkle, who are you?” She asked, talking helping her try to calm down. Try.

Luckily Spike showed up just then and helped. He noticed the change, was jazzed by it. Why wouldn't he be? It could only remind him of the place that adored him the most! He deserved such praise, for that act and ten thousand smaller commitments he made. All of that and keeping that dragon greed in check. He was a wonderful Equestrian, pony or not, and an even better number one assistant and a great friend. “Excuse me- I'll be right back!” Twilight said to her conversationalist at the moment, picking Spike up with her magic and having him as a passenger as she trotted inside, where the celebration was both letting guests in and still being set up. When she had a modicum of privacy she let out a despairing moan. “This wasn't on purpose, Spike. I absolutely flubbed the spell! Me- flubbing a spell! I was supposed to alter the aetheric flow of nearby elements to allow us to shine like stars, each one with a subtle alteration and all of it willing. Instead I caused a cascading crystalization! I messed up such a simple spell-” she leaned in, looking around with the eyes of a failure, “and in front of Princess Luna, to make it even worse! Uggghhhhhhh!” She threw her head up in a frustrated snort.

“Spike, get the eggnog.”

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Lens finally looks down at his hooves, noticing the sheen he frowns for a second, before looking up again, he would be surprised but after his experiences, there was very little that could happen spontaneously and surprise him. More nowadays it was when something went right that he found himself surprised. It was at that moment he looked out at the ponies coming in, when suddenly one topples over like a sack of potatoes, making a thud like somepony dropped  an equally heavy sack of horseshoes. Lens winces at the sound, half surprised the pony did not shatter from an impact like that. Luckily though it seems somepony more qualified and willing was on their way to help the guy, and so Lens just relaxed again, humming to himself as he watched a certain dragon run across to Twilight and Luna, before looking back to the stars.

He was so content with his stargazing he nearly missed the fact he was being talked to, turning his head to look to the pony who was currently speaking he was somewhat surprised to see that it was the Princess of Friendship herself, then again, considering her title, he then began to wonder why exactly he was surprised that she would be trying to socialise with a pony she had not befriended yet. He nods to her with a kind smile "I shall certainly try my best to enjoy it, Princess. My name is Lensblot." he answers in his usual slightly tired tone of voice, before the Princess then went to check upon the fallen pony, giving him time to stargaze again.

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As Boulder Dash looked up, he saw a female Pegasus fly over to offer a hoof to him.  Though he wasn't hurt at all he accepted her hoof in getting up as she introduced herself.  "Thank ye kindly for the offer Windwright Ma'am but I'm okay.  This ole head of mine has taken more blows then you can shake a stick at.... strangely it only gets stronger.  My name is Boulder Dash Ma'am" he explained with a tip of his cap.

 

As Boulder Dash looked around he came to realize the change not only in the area but in himself as well posing a bit to look at his crystalized form.  "We'll looky here... I do declare I resemble one of Ma's Hearts Warming Crystal figurines.....better to have a head full of crystals then one of concrete as Ma would probably tell me" he said in humor.  However as he looked up he saw a pair of crystalized Unicorns run over to him and Windwright to check on them.....wait a minute were those wings?  The only ponies who had both horns and wings were.....WERE! 

 

"Great Celestia!" he stated in shock as he took off his cap and bowed to the two Princesses, not quiet recognizing the younger one but certainly the dark and beautiful Princess Luna.  After a brief introduction from Princess Twilight Sparkle and an explanation as to what happened, he rose from his bowed position as he saw them rise up the now crystalized tree.  "Your Highnesses I do apologise fer any uncouth behavior on my part, as my Ma as raised me to be a gentlecolt.  My name is Boulder Dash yer Highnesses, owner and current head of Boulder Tomato Ranch.  I'm honored you like the the tree, my family and I worked on it all year for our home town" he explained in his country drawl.

 

Seeing Princess Twilight feel a little sad about her spell and never one to let a young filly, pony, or mare feel sad in his presence, Boulder Dash reached with his hoof and placed it on her shoulder in a reassuring manner.  "Princess Twilight Ma'am don't you dare at all feel bad.  We all make mistakes.....like missing the target of your sling shot and hitting the back end of the ranch bull as a teen Colt for example.  But this here ain't no mistake at all.  Heck it's Hearts Warming, which means a good surprise that brings us all together is never a bad thing.  So no worrying that pretty little royal head of yours on my watch Ma'am" Boulder Dash explained with kindness in his words.

 

Boulder Dash then glanced at Princess Luna and bowed his head to her as he said, "It is a great honor to make your acquaintance Princess Luna and if it is not to bold, I wish to personally thank you for all you have done for me and my fellow sailors over these many years."

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Ejaz was happily taking in the sights of ponyvile, happy he had decided to stay long enough to witness this. It made his heart warm with comfort as he simply walked around town to see everypony preparing for holiday events. The mechanic himself had half-a mind to help, but felt as if he’d be mire of a burdan as he had no idea what to put up or decorate with. Even seeing all of this just utterly amazed him, the primary reason being that he hadn’t been present for an event such as this in a long time, since he was a colt. The reason being that he was always in the middle of traveling when this time passed, and so was no where near any town to see what they did.

 

Ejaz then paused in his tracks as he noticed the white flash and flinched as it reached him. Once he felt no pain, the mechanic glanced around and noticed the crystalization of the environment, and then the crystalization of himself. Eyes widening in surprise, Ejaz opened his large wings before flying close to the ground in the direction of the souce. However, as he was groggy in a way he didn’t notice at first, Ejaz lost just enough control in the air to fall onto the floor, and slide all the way down the road. Eventually coming to a stop right in front of the two princesses with a slight chuckle, finding the slide to be quite fun. Upon noticing the two alicorns, Ejaz smiled brightly fron the floor.

 

“Hello! I didn’t see you two here sorry.” He swiftly apologizes as he rises to his feet, before glancing around.

 

”Um... Misses? Question? Have either of you two seen where that transformation explosion came from? I’m really curious as to who did it... cause it definitely made everything look so much nicer...” Ejaz asks and explains as he glances around before looking at Twilight and Luna with a happy yet relaxed expression. The mechanic seemed to have no sense on how to talk to royalty (as proven by his lack of phrases such as your highness, or princess, or any of the sort), if he did, then he had simply chosen to treat the two alicorns as if they were everyday folk. As for which one was the case, well only the mechanic knew.

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Despite the fact that much of Ponyville's celebration was to be held outside, that did not mean that the inside of Twilight's castle was not ready for the season.  The large atrium was strung with garland, wreaths line the halls, and even the roots of the old library that hung over the Map table were adorned with magical lights. 

 

The castle was not only filled with holiday cheer, it was also filled with something unusual for the season:  Birdsong.  A pale yellow pegasus stood before two long perches of song birds.  Each colorful bird sported a tiny scarf and a hat.  The birds were chirping Hearth's Warming carols, but something was not quite right.  Some birdy was off key.  

 

Fluttershy tapped her conductor's wand against the music stand in front of her to get the birds' attention.  "That was lovely everyone!" she said encouragingly.  "But, um, Bernard, you were a little flat.  Like this, please."  The pegasus sang wordlessly, but perfectly on key.  At the end of the verse, she addressed the feathered choir again.  "Now, lets try again.  1, 2..."

 

Before she could say three, a wave of magic passed over Fluttershy and the birds.  Fluttershy gasped as her coat turned crystalline, as it had when she had visited the Crystal Empire.  The birds did not react so well, flying off in multiple directions in a panic.  "Oh my!" Fluttershy gasped.  "Oh, everyone, calm down please!  Bernard, your hat!!"  

 

The pegasus' calming words had no effect as the little songbirds flitted about randomly.  Trying to soothe her friends, Fluttershy took to the air.  "Don't worry, I'll figure out what's going on!" she said, and flew toward the castle's large doors.  As she exited the doors, Fluttershy was greeted with an unusual sight.  Ponyville, rather than being the country village it usually was, now looked like a scene from the Crystal Empire.  The streets, buildings, and ponies all had a crystalline sheen.  Despite this, Fluttershy was able to spot two ponies at the center of the effect.  Fluttershy flew toward the pair of Alicorns.  "Um, Twilight?  Princess Luna?  What's going on? I mean, not that the effect isn't lovely, but..."

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While Hearthswarming was certainly a celebration centered around the history of Equestria and the uniting of the Pony tribes, over the last 1,000 years the holiday and it's spirit of friendship and unity staving off the winter chill had resonated internationally.  Most especially, though sadly infrequently, in the frozen lands of the northern continent, where stout and fierce caribou clans alternatively clashed and came together under the sleet and snow.

 

Whatever could be said against his fellow caribou, and Halvard had to admit much could be said against the vikingr, all could appreciate the need for a winter feast!  Not only were celebrations good in themselves, if the winter routine was not broken by some bright spot around which the clan could congregate, they would all go stir-crazy, and start to tear themselves apart.  So, at least, the legends went, which is why the gods had caused the mistletoe and the holly to grow in these late months, bright green, red, and white reminders to not let the grey wholly swallow one's mood and mind.

 

This was actually Halvard's first visit to the (in)famous Ponyville, and he was determined to enter in style.  Of course, as usual, his fur was dyed with the blue colors of his clan, but in place of his beloved armorplate, he had decided instead to arrive in a fur-trimmed coat, crowned with leaves and berries of intertwined holly and mistletoe.  The overall effect was as if he had stepped from an illustrated foal's book of winter legends; a strong but benevolent spirit of the wild forest, welcomed into the warmth and lights of the town once a year.

 

He wasn't alone, though.  With him was Sigrun, also on an inaugural visit to the heartland of Equestria, together with him to represent their kind, and hopefully symbolize the start of an accord that might possibly patch up the... excesses of their brethren.  With a bit of luck, it could be hoped that the arriving guests would not be reminded of the horrors of the past-

 

"Wait, what is that?"  He had been specifically pointing at the enormous crystalline structure in the center of the town, not the sort of architecture that he had been led to expect.  Indeed, it seemed to clash with the rather hoary thatched-roof milieu of the rest of the town.  At least, temporarily, for just as he was speaking, a wave of crystallizing energy burst forth from the towers, first washing over the previously-homestyle houses, before rapidly rushing over to the pair of guests from the north!

 

The transformation was as rapid as it was unexpected.  One minute, Halvard was a hoary symbol of winter.  The next, he sparkled like a giant fur-set sapphire, crowned with rubies and diamonds.  He stopped in the middle of the street, heedless to how many ponies were staring at him, as he stared as his upraised hoof, and then at Sigrun.  "I.... have to say, this is very much a surprise."

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Hearth's Warming preparations were in full swing as Lore Weaver exited the castle to take in the festivities. Hearth's Warming was always a wonderful time for the unicorn. He remembered his foalhood in Canterlot and the magic of the season there. Even though he is a stallion and moved to Ponyville that magic still remained strong! 

 

"Everything is looking so great!" Lore said as his eyes panned across the area near the castle entrance, "I can't wait to check out the square! Maybe the ponies there can use my help."

 

He was about to reach the square when suddenly a magic blast struck him! 

 

"Huh...wha? What was that?" Lore said looking around. Being a unicorn, he was used to sensing magic, and this was something big! 

 

"I feel fine...I think," Lore said moving around a little, "but where did that magic come from?"

 

Entering the square she saw Princess Luna and Twilight among many other ponies helping to decorate. 

 

"Hello Princess Luna, Hello Twilight ," Lore said giving a slight bow before noticing that something was different, "You two look...sparkly. Did this have to do with that magical blast I felt a short time ago?" 

 

 

 

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Sigrun had to admit this visit had her feeling a bit nervous now that she was actually here. Things in Whitescar had calmed down, it seemed even the rebels were drawing back their attacks for the time being. Given the events of the last Gala she had bee worried that things may have soured since she'd last visited this land. Her worries seemed to be for naught though as she approached the town of Ponyville with her mate and his new apprentice: Calder. She'd heard many things about him from Halvard, some very good, others very tragic. Even with his heritage she was happy to give the young bull a pleasant first impression.

 

Her own choice of outfit was a good compliment to Halvard's own. She wore a fine looking gown made of a rare fabric gifted to her family a long time ago. It was a flowing dress with a minor enchantment that allowed the hem of the garment to gain an ethereal appearance similar to shifting colors of an aurora when the fabric was rustled by any motion. On her back was a furred cloak the color of silver. What she felt was the most appropriately festive piece of her ensemble were the branches of holly and sprigs of mistletoe hanging off her antlers.

When Halvard raised the very valid question as to what the giant crystal structure in the of town was Sigrun smiled and opened her mouth to speak. The burst of magical energy made her words catch in her throat. Without really thinking she hopped in front of younger bull as if trying to shield him from some attack!  She braced and winced for impact.. but none came. One eye opened then the other, she looked to her hooves and noticed the crystalline sheen over her fetlocks. She looked over the rest of her form and then to Calder and Halvard, "Um... Sorry, old habits die hard I suppose." She looked over at her reflection in a nearby store window opening her mouth and seeing that even her teeth were affected! 

"Must be some festive magic... it's very impressive."

 

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Lensblot? The named sounded familiar but just out of reach for her. She couldn't pin down who he was couldn't put her hoof on what made him sound familiar to her. His smile was kind but he had been stargazing intently and she had ruined it. Well, that was rather poor form of her. Then again you didn't normally come to a party to stargaze. She could understand it- she would have done the same but a few years ago. His friendly nature informed hr that while he may not be a social butterfly, he wasn't necessarily damaged goods to the degree she had been. That was a good sign to start with. “Pleasure to meet you, Lensblot,” she said as she looked up. “Any star or formation interest you in particular?”
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Twilight would never be entirely comfortable with ponies bowing and freaking themselves out fiercely in deference to her. Truth be told she imagined this was what Celestia had learned to contend with thousands of years ago and she was sure she would grow accustomed to it one day. For now however as Boulder went down she looked nervously around. Everything was fine. Everything was good. Astounding amounts of awkward confusion may inform her interactions now with Luna but she hoped that it wouldn't cross over to her interactions with others. “Please, no need to be so formal. You're a guest here- and more than that, I think your tree will tie everything together,” she offered excitedly, happy to move on past the crystal mistake she was responsible.

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As she was speaking to Boulder and Windwright, somepony slid in. Should have flown but judging by the expression it had been a testy incoming after the flash. Another mark against her failed magical spell. Like the others he didn't seem hurt. Indeed, he popped back up casualy and approached conversation with the Princesses with a sense of carefree ability that was refreshing. No bowing or kowtowing to her rank. “This would be my...fault, I guess. Glad you like it though. I am Twilight Sparkle, nice to meet you. Who may you be?” She asked, pleased to meet new ponies. Also importantly pleased that he wasn't upset.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upset though- Fluttershy was. Not gravely. Not even upset really. Just more taken off-guard perhaps, though she was always just one small event away from being dreadfully taken out of any equation. She had come a great deal from her starting point, hiding behind her mane when meeting a new pony. Anypony that thought she hadn't changed- she may still be a little bitter about the friendship journal's release- was a fool. Still, it was always nice to see her. Friends made everything better. Not all the time, but most of it.
“I'm sorry, Fluttershy. It was an accident. I meant to do one spell and I did another and I...” she hovered up to speak softer. “I failed! Such a simple spell. I must look like a total fool in front of Luna,” she revealed, wanting Spike to get back with the eggnog already. “Was everything okay back at the castle when you left?”

Lore was not far behind. Well, looked like her castle was emptied a little early. She knew the library was open for some reading of Hearth's Warming classics but had expected them out a little sooner. He seemed a little more concerned. He was in charge of the Royal Library in her castle, the one she had opened to the public at least. Lore Weaver was skilled in his work a good friend, and knowing that she had worried him was another strike against her incompetence in the moment. He may have sounded positive...but she knew. Oh, she knew. “No one ordered it. I made a terrible mistake! Uggh. Such a simple one, too. I think it is just visual. I think,” she said, allowing the pregnant pause to take hold.

In this pregnant pause, the caribou revealed themselves. She recognized the three of them immediately, friends and miracle workers alike in the frozen north of the Whitescar. Halvard, Calder and Sigrun were a trio of caribou who were working overtime to change the perceptions of their kind that had taken hold in Equestrian mythology and history. Halvard looked striking in his dyed fur- whether that was just what he wanted or something he chose as a familiar symbol of his kind was up for debate.
Not that it mattered- he sparkled now. Sigrun looked a little more wary, though she spoke well of the current circumstance. “Welcome to Ponyville!” she said trotting on over with a smile nervously showing. She was worried about the crystal spell. She was also worried about ponies being worried about caribou here. “I'm so happy you could make it to our party!”

Please get back with the eggnog soon, Spike.

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If Sigrun was nervous than Calder was about ready to jump out of his skin as he walked along between Sigrun and Halvard. The fact it was clear as day he was a runt around them being bearly as tall as their shoulders made him feel silly. Having only three legs did not help. Buy with the time that passed he learned how to walk well and do other things, for the most part he got around just fine with three legs and almost forgot that he was down one sometimes. But being in a new land with a lot of new faces around him made everything about him stand out, most of all around Sigrun. Well he’s heard about her he never got to meet her until today. They had time to greet another before coming but there was not much time to get to know her. So he felt most of today will be exploring that and learning more about the somewhat scary looking cow.

 

Of course he did feel better with Halvard along for this, the older bull made him feel safe and in many ways like a guiding father to help him with new things. As much as it made Calder feel embarrassed and never spoke up about such things, it was starting to feel like he had a real family. But the real test will be what Sigrun thinks of him. Not that he wanted a family, such things were for calves! He was a big bull and needed no such trash, or so he keeps telling hs self.

 

The best part of this was his new outfit, before taking him for this trip Halvard took him out shopping. Anything he wanted for the trip he was allowed to get. It took some nugeing from Halvard to really get what he wanted. But he was happy with what he had! His mane was done nice in a Bun with two long ropes of braided hair hanging off the sides of his head, the ends tied up in nice red bows. His clothing was oddly out of place between the two caribou being styled loosely after Long Guo outfits, flowing blue silk, white four around the neck and end of the legs with the rear part being long and flowing almost like a dress, but he did cut the end so it did not drag in the snow or dirt and looked less ‘dress’ like. It was hardly the most fiting of outfits for a caribou but Calder felt beautiful in it.

 

Looking around the town he did like how it looked! The homes were colorful but rustic, charming. But the big tower thing… was so ugly! Was that where somepony lived? What was their name? Well he’d hear it later, no way that ugly thing did not belong to somepony with power or this town will have removed it ages ago! “Uglier than H-” His comment about the bolding was cut short as Sigrun jumped in front of him as as magic washed over them like a wave. He yelled like a filly jumping to hide underneath Halvard, shouting a few cuss words in their native tongue. He hate to say it but Sigrun was scary looking so having her jumping at him was uncalled for. But before he can ask why she did that he was stopped cold as he looked at her… than up at bull he was hiding underneath. Confused was far to soft a word for how he felt. Looking down at himself Calder was taken back to see his legs looking like white diamonds before slowly changing to a dark black color over the rest of his body before going back to white around the tip of his muzzle , matching his fur color! “What in the name of the gods was that?” He asked in thare native tongue scooting out from underneath Halvard and hoped no one will ask why just did that.

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"Oh c'mon Twilight it's not that bad! You could have turned everything grey and grainy." he replied with a nod. Honestly that would have been kinda cool! It would have made everything feel like one of those really old detective films. The ones where the hero's always stepping towards the camera to monologue or something. "It's alright Twilight! Everypony will love it. I'll be back in a jiffy!" with a nod the little dragon zipped off towards the refreshment table. The night was only just beginning so surely the table wouldn't be...that...crowded. Spike slumped as he watched the already formed line slowly move. Looks like ponies reeeaaaallly liked their eggnog.

 

C'mon c'mon. For a season of giving some ponies sure seemed more intent on taking. Would there even be any eggnog left? Knowing Twilight she was probably whipping herself into a tizzy rather than taking a second to breathe and realize that this probably looked better than what she originally planned! What was it that painter used to say? No mistakes, only happy accidents? Something like that. Either way, he soooo didn't want to be the one to tell Twilight they were out of eggnog...Especially with more and more guests still arriving, including high profile ones like Sigrun and Halvard. Spike hadn't really ever got the chance to talk to them, but from Twilight they sounded like alright ponies...er...caribou! The baby dragon had to constantly resist asking if he could poke their antlers, cus those looked really cool! "I wonder if Twilight has a spell to make someone grow antlers...Maybe Starlight does if she doesn't." he mused to himself as FINALLY he reached the destined eggnog bowl!...And there was plenty left! A great sense of relief washed over Spike as he dipped a healthy sized glass for Twi...better make it two, it seems like a two glass night.

 

With less speed than before as to not spill the nog, Spike meandered back towards the...growing crowd around Twilight. Maybe three cups would have been better? "I'm back Twilight! The line was suuuuper long, but I got you a couple glasses!" he said with a smile as he held out the glass for his friend. Here's hoping he wouldn't be playing waiter all night if she decided to have him fetch drinks for the crowd, hooboy.

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Halvard was used to his mate's habits enough by this time that he had expected Sigrun's leap in front of the wave.  It seemed that Calder had not been briefed, however.  "She's protective, even though she sometimes leaps at the harmless for that reason."  He explained to his protege, noting that of the three of them, he seemed to most naturally take to the Crystalline look.  Perhaps it was his outfit that did it; Halvard had thought Calder's choice of garb a little odd at the time, but now it looked prescient.

 

In any case, the effects of the magic were impressive on all three, drawing looks from all guests.  Taking it upon himself to lead them out of the crowd, Halvard shouldered through to greet Princess Twilight.  "And a Happy Heartwarming to you, Princess Twilight.  Though, I must ask..."  He spared a moment to look around, uncertain of how many of the stares were merely curious, or technically hostile, "Was this magic conceived as a sort of pointed reminder?"  He managed to keep a straight face just long enough for Twilight to start freaking out, before bursting out laughing.  "Don't worry, we won't take offense at the decor choices, but we would have appreciated the word of warning.  My chosen garb works in it's original hoary form, but right now I feel somewhat... gaudy, I have to say."

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Boulder Dash nodded happily to Twilight Sparkle as he watched the tree go up and motioned to it proudly.  "I'm glad you like it Ma'am, we prepped it all year and Mayor Mare herself picked it out for the celebration this year.  My family has called Ponyville our home for Generations now and do what we can for friends and neighbors" he explained as he went over to the tree.  As he did, he opened his saddle bags and pulled some ornaments his mother had asked be put on the tree.

 

Boulder Dash went about placing them around the tree, letting them be seen but allowing space for other ones to be placed later.  The last one he placed on was a tomato shaped ornament that had belonged to his father.  Placing the ornament on the tree, Boulder Dash came to realize it was the first time seeing the ornament since his father's passing and he took a moment to take of his cap and bowed his head for a moment.

 

"I hope I can make you proud Pa.  I can never be half the farmer you were... but I can gosh darn try too.  I love you Pa.....Happy Hearts Warming" he thought as he looked up and allowed a tear to fall down his cheek.

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Kojo was actually kinda excited about this party in the town. Usually he just went back to celebrate Hearth's Warming on his family's farm. This year though, he decided to check out the town's festival. The small dragon smiled as he walked down the street, waving at all the ponies and others he saw along the way. Once in the center of town, he looked around at those already gathered there, his eyes eventually settling on Princess Luna, though he just now noticed something off about everyone around. Why was everyone all crystaly? Come to think of it... Kojo blinked as he looked down on himself, glittering like some kind of emerald. Huh, this was new...

 

"What happened? Why ah we ahll crystalay?" He asked as he approached the two princesses, looking between them curiously.

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Lens looks back to the Princess, noticing she had not yet wandered off, even more peculiar was that he could see the mental cogs were turning in her head, starting to make him wonder if they had met before. He didn't recall ever meeting a Princess, but then again, the years did sort of blur. Her next question made him chuckle a bit, as he shook his head "I'm afraid I ain't that intelligent, Princess. I just owe a lot of my success to the night and the Princess who governs it, like many in my predicament, I look up to her and try to follow the example of standing against corruption. So every so often I sit and reflect back on things. Though if you feel a need to show the formations and constellations I am more than happy to learn a few." He nods with a smile, before remembering what he was going to ask. "By the by, don't suppose Rarity will be here at all? I've brought along a little something for her, a nice gift for a good client." he explains as he adjusts the sleeve of his jacket.

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The mare landed and checked her 'patient' over quickly. "Well, nothing seems to be broken or anything. Not that I'm a doctor." She said. She turned to the princess and bowed low, her bi-coloured wings spread wide. "And actually we've met before Princess, but I was a stallion at the time and we were at the Gala so you were sort of busy. My name's Windwright, I gave you the sachet that should have smelled like old books." Granted, Twilight had been helping quell phoenix-fires at the time.

 

"I've got a stall I need to get back to though, I'm operating a donation drive for shampoos and such! The spell worked remarkably well though, and I'd be fascinated to find out how many other spells would be boosted that well by sympathetic alicorn magic."

 

Her mane was actually not affected all that much beyond being semi-translucent and sparkling. The crystal spell never really knew what to do with it. She bowed again and flew back to her stall, actually feeling good about the evening's prospects now that she saw the crowds.

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The sound barrier exploded as the blue stallion sized dragon zipped over the meadows that connected the northern mountains to Ponyville. He reached his destination in record time wandering into Ponyville his mind buzzing with excitement. Bolt wasn't called here by the neon night or the fancy spells on display, no as a egotistical dragon he didn't buy into pony holidays such as Hearth's Warming. The herd mentality of gathering together during the winter was enough to make Bolt roll his eyes and shake his head dismissively. Most years he found it fun to stomp on ginger bread houses and setting Hearth's Warming trees ablaze, however this year he was on his best behavior because he finally got a chance to meet the purple Princess he was completely smitten with. Bolt would never outwardly admit he had a thing for Twilight but tonight was the night he had a chance to meet her. Stepping into the town square the blue dragon took note has his claws and scales started to shimmer.

"Huh....that's new." He commented walking through the crowed of ponies suddenly the fearless reptile stopped dead in his tracks catching a glimpse of Twilight, his eyes grew wide as he gazed upon her crystal form, he couldn't help but admire her shiny coat and the way her mane was neatly styled into an updo. He started to wag his tail almost like an excited puppy before catching wind of how he was acting and recomposing himself. "Come on man relax, you slay Hydras compared to that this is nothing."  No matter what he told himself his heart started to beat faster and faster, he however pushed ahead determined to at least impress her by the end of the night. He quickly looked around at all the happy ponies filled with the festive sprit and it gave him some comfort, he had nothing to worry about he was like a lion among sheep here with the exception of the princesses of course. Using his speed he zipped over attempting to get as close as he could to the royal trio although some others that had introduced themselves first still blocked his way. Bolt went to toss those in his path over buildings before quickly stopping himself closing his claws as he dropped onto all fours. He knew the moment he hurt anybody he'd either be ejected or worse fighting the pony he was trying to impress. He exhaled embers from his nostrils annoyed and waited his turn as smoke started to bellow from his jaws.

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Ejaz nodded in understanding, he honestly didn’t mind being like this, it was beautiful, and wasn’t really harming anypony so it was no problem. Ejaz nodded as to say goodbye to the princess and turned to head out before jumping as he noticed a bird fly past him in small clothes, and noticed other animals of similar kind leaving the library. Ejaz tilted his head at the sight before noticing Fluttershy and piecing things together, opening his large wings and flying up towards the mare.

 

”Um... excuse me mrs? Your um... Your birds are leaving...” Ejaz informs, flying with a single wing to use the other to point towards the location some of the panicked animals were fleeing from. The stallion figuring already that he was going to help the fellow pegasus without needing to be ask.

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E9VF1tI.jpg

 

 

 

 

Sigrun heaved a sigh despite the smile on her face, the cow walked up beside her beloved and planting a kiss on his now shiny cheek. "You're worrying yourself over nothing, My love. Now you're handsome -and- shiny." She smiled at him and looked down to Calder, offering her hoof to the young bull beneath her mate. Calder found the end of his nose lightly prodded by the chieftain's hoof, "I believe that's my mate you're hiding under, Need a hoof up?" A toothy, but slightly awkward smile punctuated her offer as she helped the bull up. 

 

Antlers were lowered carefully in a bow to the purple pony princess, "We're quite glad to have made it, Princess Sparkle.  It's good to finally meet you after all that your fellow Princess Cadenza told me about you on my clan's last visit to the empire. You're town is quite the sight to behold and... the tower at the center is definitely eyecatching." Her head soon raised back up to reveal the smile on her muzzle, "Happy hearthswarming!"

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Calder took note as Halvard informed him Sigrun was one to jump in front of things at the first showing of danger. Well a brave trait to have he had a feeling it can get bothersome, if harmless. At least in safe places. If real danger is around he will be most thankful for it! Taking her hoof he helped pull himself up, doing so rathe easly even with a back leg missing. “Yes ma'am, sorry ma’am.” He says to Sigrun as his nose was boobed, he was unsure if she was just being playful or warning him. It seemed playful but he will refrain from driving underneath Halvard next time he was in danger and aim behind the bull.

 

He brushed snow off his clothing and admired how he looked, this was not too bad looking… His new diamond like legs looked good with his blue silk and white fur trim, the black flint like color of his chest fur was nice and hidden beneath the blue for the most part allowing his white legs to really glitter in the snow. Along with the red bows in his long braided hair it all matched rather nice! Truly he did pick this outfit well, even if it was rather plan compared to Halvard or Sigrun he felt that was fine. He did not want to steal the show, he was just a tag along with them after all. Speaking of that both of them were greeting some pony… horn and wings? That makes her… somepony important or something. Like the sun and moon maybe? Well everything was saying hi to her so he moved over to do the same.


Well Halvard and Sigrun had their way of greeting her, Calder did it his ex-clans way. “Hæ! Höfðingi ættarinnar.” What just translated as ‘hello chieftain of this clan.’ A simple and safe greeting as he leans his head down all the way, pushing the tip of his antlers into the snow to cover them, that was the proper way from his old clan to greet somebull better than you.  the real hard part was next, speaking to her not in his native tongue. He rarely ever needed to talk to ponies in his life so his skill in speaking with them was… lacking. But he hoped it was workable. “Greeting much of glory to you and clan of Sparkle.” He says in an extremely thick accent  before he stands back up and smiles, hoping he did not butcher that to bad, it sounded about where it needed to be. He can’t help but feel somewhat sorry for this pony of clan Sparkle, so many were greeting her! Being important must be so bothersome sometimes with all this greeting and meeting. He was glad he didn't have to deal with such things.

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