SteelEagle

By No Means Perfect! (SPONSORED- Ponyville)

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Naj heard the announcement for 'last call' for donations, at least as far as raffle tickets were concerned.  She was still curious, and while her conversation partners were speaking among themselves she wasn't  she wasn't participating much in the current discussion.  And it's not as though the donation boxes were that far away either, it wouldn't cause any problems for her to slip away for a moment to make a donation.

 

Naj promptly did so.  She didn't have an item ready, as some ponies did.  She did however carry a small supply of bits.  While she wasn't willing to give them all away, she liked to save a few for special circumstances, she didn't need them all either.  She placed a respectable sum into the nearest donation box, smiling at the pony working at it, before heading back to rejoin her friends' conversation.

 

---

 

Swift Squall didn't see the issue Naj had, guiding her over to a nearby bench as he explained that the gifts weren't about the expectation of reciprocation, but because he wanted to, or that was the spirit of the season (she wasn't quite sure which).  She still felt sense of unease at not having something to give him in turn, but she supposed this settled the matter.

 

Although that explanation paled in comparison to the story he told next.  Wow, Naj had never realized just how much she could have an effect on others.  She had always found it a little strange that Squall had considered her a friend so soon after convincing him that she didn't intend harm, but now it make some sense.  She had, in a way, unintentionally affected his worldview for the better.

 

“That's...wow, I had no idea.” Naj smiled.  “I'm glad I could have such a positive effect on someone.  Though I will note for future that I enjoy just spending time with friends, at least as much as any gift.  Though, I have to admit, now I am curious,” she said, as she intently watched him reach into his coat.

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Lens laughs slightly at her answer "I suppose so, though if you want the general response to me, it is mostly indifference." he grins "Cold indifference with minor window breaking frustration." he waves his hoof gently to wave the topic away. He shrugs "You're the boss, boss. I haven't the foggiest on how to perform... Hotel? Oh um I'm actually not staying in Ponyville, but certainly I can walk you home and share a pint or two or three." he chuckles, offering her his hoof.

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Ejaz took a moment to think, so far, he had drank seventeen cups, which puts him in second place, glancing around, Ejaz relaxed in his seat before he noticed the two cups he had filled for Bolt, tilting his head at the sight, the pegasus reached over and grabbed them and pulled them over to him. The dragon didn’t drink any? It fairly confused the stallion that the dragon came then left without drinking any of the cups the pegasus had filled.

 

“Well.... Can’t let these go to waste... right?” Ejaz mentally asks before drinking the two cups slowly as to not upset his fairly full stomach, placing them down once they were empty and admitting that if there was even one more full cup, somepony could put a kill spell to his head and Ejaz still wouldn’t be able to finish it, so nineteen was his limit. The beige stallion was honestly pretty impressed, he didn’t think he could get to twelve let alone one cup away from twenty.

 

“Welp.... I... I’m done.... I got... seventeen, eighteen, nineteen cups.” Ejaz announces in a defeated voice before taking a deep almost sad sigh.

 

“Yeah I’m not flying for the next four hours...”

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“Don’t let it bother you.”, the mare whispered, “He’s young and headstrong and also a dragon.”, Fire Walker pointed out, “I’ve dealt with dragons before and they can be a proud race. He’ll eventually find his place in life and grow out of the first two of those phases. I was probably a hundred times worse than he when I was that age.” Do dragons age slowly? She knew they lived for a very long time, so that probably was the case. Come to think of it, why would anypony in their right mind challenge a dragon to any sort of eating or drinking contest? They had stomachs of Mithral! They eat stones, rocks and gems for crying out loud!
 
She let out a elegant, but profound snort, "I seriously doubt we have enough alcohol in all of Ponyville that could make one caribou drunk...And Alicorns are probably another league.", she added, "If I ever brave another drinking contest in my lifetime, I'll stick with ponies I know. As for Eggnog, just be weary of drinking too much as there's a reason why you normally only have a small glass of that stuff."
 
The officer smiled back at Naj, "I'm happy you came here and that our people eventually settled our differences." Well, not -all- of her people as the Queen was still on the loose, and whatever happened to those pesky changeling princesses they battled during Nightmare Night? They had disguised themselves as Princess Twilight and her companions and were more than a hoofful in battle.What a odd little world they lived in. With every battle and with every foe, they always ended up making new allies in the end. From the Caribou to the changelings, while things could be at their darkest, they always had a bit of light to reach for at the end.
 
"Happy Hearth's Warming Eve."
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"Either that, or pride will come before fall....." Squall mused in a whisper in answer to Fire's words about Bolt possible growth. He however fiercely shook his head about later part of the comment. "No, there is something else. I dealt with those like him before, it's...." he paused. Was this really a day one should spent on worries? Shouldn't Swift let Princess Twilight deal with this instead? "Never mind. We shouldn't bother with this anymore." he dismissed the issue at hoof. It was time of joy after all.

 

"Not quantity but quality Moto. I heard about beverages that could drop kraken after one cup." Squall recalled but didn't elaborated what kind of drink could have such power. "Eggnog or not, I prefer contest's of other kind."

 

Swift couldn't help but smirk at Ice's reaction for both of her gift's. "Your expression is a comment enough. But I took enough of your time, and we will see each other soon enough. Go to your wife." nobelpony encouraged the blue mare. "And Ice.....Happy Hearth's Warming." he wished his friend as she departed to her home in Canterlot.

 

 

"We rarely have idea how much our lives would be different if not for each other." Swift pointed out in answer to Naj's realization.

Nobelpony didn't kept the changeling in suspense. What Swift pulled out was...envelope? No, TWO envelopes. Orange stallion opened one of them post haste and inside it was....a ticket? Still, it's border were the color of glittering gold, and writing was crimson ink so it couldn't be just an ordinary ticket.

"I figured out I will give you something practical. This allows you to board any carriage, train and airship in Equestria, from it, and to it. And it's valid for your lifetime. I also made sure to register you in Equestria Ministry of Transportation so you could have replacements in case you loose this one." Squall explained before giving Naj her first present.

"And a second present....well, I couldn't bring it with it so I brought a photo. It's also a reason why ticket didn't cover passage at sea. I bought you a boat! Oh and I hired all the staff I covered all the future maintenance cost. Here it is!" Swift explained, before showing his friend a picture of boat in question.

"....Sorry if it comes like white elephant. I...well we didn't talked about our tastes. I just hope you like it." Swift said before pausing for a moment.

 

 

"Happy Hearth's Warming Naj." he said before giving the changeling a hug. After a short moment Squall broke the embrace and looked at Fire.

"Let's go Dear. We have so much to see." he said before looking back at Naj. Despite everything, his friend didn't had anyone to spent the Eve with. Leaving her alone didn't seemed right, she didn't deserved this. And may he be damned if Swift wouldn't do anything to prevent this!

"Spring....why don't you come with us?" he asked before standing up and offering Naj his hoof.

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