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A Hearth's Warming Gift Exchange! (See OP for Rules)

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(OOC: For this thread, please have your opening post be a description of your character entering the event and what their gift looks like wrapped. Don't tell us what's inside! Twi will randomly pair you with someone else during the thread. After this you can post in the thread with your pair as they unwrap their gift. Once they unwrap the gift you can tell them what it is they received.)

 

"Spike?" Twilight trotted through the great hall of the School of Friendship with her regular right-before-an-event-twilighting in full swing. "Did you remember to put the egg nog next to the muffin station?" She continued on, using her magic to adjust a garland here and a bauble there. "Oh! And the parchment for the gift list? Is it-"

 

"Up front next to the quill and ink a specially set up for you earlier, yes Twilight." Spike grinned and moved to catch up with his ever busy confidant. 

 

"Are you sure the invitations got distributed throughout Ponyville?" Why not stress in hind sight too? Right...right...heh heh *Twilight nervous laugh* 

 

Spike sighed and fluffed a cushion on one of the over stuffed couches that had been brought in for the event. The hall looked oh so cozy! Soft and comfy furniture, smells of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from spiced candles, trestle tables with delicious holiday snacks set up along the walls, and of course roaring fires in both of the hall's large fire places. 

 

"Everything looks perfect Twilight! I'm sure we took care of all the details you've gone over the list-" He rolled his eyes as Twilight levitated a huge list in front of her eyes. The dragon used a claw to lower the long scroll. "Time to try to relax Twi! This is gonna be so much fun!"

 

Twilight sucked in a breath and set down the list. "You're right Spike. I should just relax and try to enjoy the party. I'm just worried that nopony will show up!"

 

Spike patted his friend's front leg. "Of course they will! Who could resist an invite from the Princess of Friendship herself? This party is meant to bring the creatures from the school closer to the ponies of the community. I'm sure we'll have all kinds of interesting guests!"

 

"I hope you're right Spike!" She glanced at the gift exchange table. So far it had two gifts, one from herself and one from Spike. Twi's was wrapped in sparkling paper and done up with a large crimson bow. Spike was much smaller and wrapped in the best fashion he could do. The blue paper was a little rumpled and the tape wasn't put on quite right but it was done with all the care he had!. "Pretty soon this table will be full of gifts and this hall full of happy guests!" She mused, calming herself.

 

Outside a newly fallen layer of snow glistened under the rising half moon. Hopefully creatures from the town of Ponyville and the Friendship School would soon be enjoying the holidays together in Friendship!

-------------------------------
OOC Rules:
1- In order to participate, all you need to do is post! Your first post should include a description of the packaging along with any other details, but not what the gift is!
2- Staff will eventually pair characters up.
3- Once that is done, characters may reveal their gifts to one another!

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Cloudy_Skies_edit.pngS39 Livery badge - Warwick bear  ragged - Handelsgilletiggy_small.png

        Cloudy Skies                  Jasper Dragon          Azure "Iggy" Ignine

 

 

The happy atmosphere and relative quiet, was soon broken by the sound of a VERY over-excited kirin walking down the hallways at first only a few words were heard, but as they grew closer, the voice grew clearer... and it might have gotten a little awkward for the princess, because the voice was talking non-stop about Twilight being there at the celebration...

 

When the three Entered, indeed the Kirin couldn't hold in her excitement and made a beeline for Twilight, tossing her gift to Jasper, who, thankfully, was expecting this to happen and caught it easily, looking very annoying.

 

Indeed he wasn't the only one, the Hippogryph also seemed glad that they'd arrived and Iggy was heading over to talk to Twilight... no doubt ever since they'd gotten the notice specifically stating that the Princess of Equestria herself would be there, Iggy had not stopped babbling on and on about it...

 

Iggy ran up to Twilight "Your really Princess Twilight Sparkle!" she exclaimed, almost squeeing "Its such an honor and a pleasure to meet you! I've admited you for years and looked up to you and you inspired me to become a magical researcher myself! Its such an honor and a pleasure to finally meet you!" she repeated herself without even realizing it she was so excited "Can you please sign my book? I've read it no less than 17 times trying to learn everything I possibly could!" she pulled out a very well-read copy of the Journal that indeed seemed to have been read many, many times

 

At this point Cloudy sighed "she's making a scene...." he said, his claw going to his face "here, take care of mine too" he said, shoving his gift into jasper arms as well as he headed for the kirin "Iggy... come on, your making a scene" he whispered in her ear as he pulled her away

 

"But cloudy! This is THE Princess Twilight Sparkle! The font of magic herself! The queen of equestria! the princess of Friendship!" whined Iggy as she was drug away

 

By now Jasper made his way to the table, he glanced at spike and smirked a little, giving him a nod since he was a fellow dragon, then glanced at Twilight "Hey. Yeah, sorry 'bout iggy, she's kinda..." he shrugged, he then placed the gifts on the table.

 

Iggy's gift was rather wide and narrow and weighed quite a bit... no doubt Twilight would be able to take one look at it and know exactly what it was... it was wrapped in green paper with a red bow, fairly plain, but done with precision.

 

Cloudy's gift was in a larger box, about 6-inches in each direction, and bizarrely it had a pattern of seaponies wearing hearthswarming hats... strange but appropriate for a hippogryph..

 

Jaspers gift was completely flat and a large square (clearly a record album) wrapped in the most generic paper with holiday ornaments printed on it.

 

After depositing the gifts, Jasper nodded at the pair and went over to join his family at the refreshments table, where cloudy was still struggling somewhat to keep iggy from running back up there to pester Twilight...

 

-----=====-----=====-----

 

EDIT_small%20changeling_3_by_frownfactory_dbdve5m-fullview.png

Fleeting Hope

 

The little changeling slowly made her way into the room, looking around one way then the other... she may have been a student there, but she clearly didn't know much about friendship yet, and the fact she was young and still a little nervous about her new form wasn't helping. It was ironic that she had once been so outgoing before she started at the school, but that was pure naivetae and innocence, now that the full reality had come and hit her right in the face, things were a bit more awkward for Hope.

 

She slowly snuck over to the table and placed her gift on it... It was a pine cone with a red ribbon tied around it... clearly she didn't fully understand the idea of the event, but being a changeling who had only lived a short while away from Chrysalis, it wasn't too surprising, and she did at least tie a nice bow around it!

 

 

-----=====-----=====-----

 

 

 

trixie_by_notsamuel_d7l031s-fullview.png?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7ImhlaWdodCI6Ijw9MTQzMyIsInBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcLzMzOWFlNjNhLTM5MzMtNGYwMC1hNDYyLTA5N2JkNWViZWVkOVwvZDdsMDMxcy1iNzBiYmNjMi1iMTI2LTQ2YzUtYTYwMi02YmU2MmRjM2YzMzIucG5nIiwid2lkdGgiOiI8PTE2MDAifV1dLCJhdWQiOlsidXJuOnNlcnZpY2U6aW1hZ2Uub3BlcmF0aW9ucyJdfQ.2830Lwqfxt318DWpZg26fG7gOBDN6ZvybHJbVyIlpPQ
The Great and Powerful
Trixie

 

 

 

 

Things were fairly quiet and calm, everyone seemed to be having a good time talking among themselves, but then the lights somehow dimmed, calling attention away from whatever everycreature was doing, and a loud voice rang out "AND NOW, TO FILL YOU WITH HOLIDAY CHEER, THE GRRRRRRREAT AND POWERFULLLLLLL TTTRRRRRIXIE!!!"

 

And with that there was a flash of smoke as magical fireworks lit up the room (thankfully without smoke) as Trixie made her appearance, bowing and levitating not just one gift, but a full EIGHT... all wrapped identically - in paper that was a pale green with a pattern of circles that showed Trixie's face wearing a santa hat... and the ribbon was purple with stars that all glowed brightly. Given the size, shape, and weight, though, clearly all eight were identical...

 

Trixie smiled "Seasons Greetings Equestria!!!" she called out as the gifts made a large circle around the room before landing on the table as the ever-boastfull mare winked and smirked at Twilight as she headed out into the still rather sparce crowd.

 

 

 

After all the excitement, ponies might notice that there was now a second empty table near the first one for the gifts, and that table seemed to be shaking slightly.......

 

 

The trio meerly rolled their eyes at trixie's antics, they'd heard about her and none were impressed...

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Tiger was walking down the street, whistling a carol to himself as he made his way to this advertised party. His spear held up using a hoof and a shoulder, a bag tied to the far end acting like a bit of a counter-weight. Despite the colder weather, he was still wearing nothing but his typical pants. No point in dressing up for this, not that he really had anything all that fancy he could wear anyways, so whatevs. The earth pony soon enough arrived at the place in question, a rather impressive school, it seemed. He shrugged to himself as he walked in, moving towards the gift table to deposit his present, removing it from the bag. It was a pretty nondescript box, simple red wrapping paper wrapped in a green bow. He put it one the table, glancing over at the vibrating table curiously before looking around the room. Seems there was a fair number of creatures here already, and he decided he'd go hang with that magic mare. Leaning his spear against the wall in a nearby corner, he headed over to Trixie.

 

"Hey there. Name's Tiger Blood, how's it hanging?" He asked as he stopped nearby her, giving a small wink.

 

---------------------

 

The next guest to arrive was a very purple unicorn. Or, at least she looked like a unicorn. Flux had been bouncing her way down the street, and that didn't change as she made her way inside. She waved happily at all the creatures already inside as her gift hung from her mouth. It was a rather circular package, though also relatively flat. It was wrapped in a sparkly purple paper with a pink ribbon tied around it. She smiled happily, loudly humming Hearthswarming carols as she made her way to the tables and placed her gift with the others. With that accomplished, she started curiously poking the vibrating table, giggling a bit as she did.

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Trixie blinked, somepony was hitting on her and they weren't drunk yet? it truly WAS a magical season!

 

Trixie smiled "You stand in the presence of The Great and Powerful Trixie!" several small magical fireworks sparked around her "sorry, old habits die hard, I'm a traveling performer" she explained "odd to see a guard this far out" she nodded at his spear "Did your commander send you here for leave or punishment?" she smirked, teasing

 

-----

 

The table jumped and in a flash of green fire turned back into the changeling, who gulped, looking nervous "h-hi! I'm hope, nice to meet you!" she said, clearly not recognizing Flux, but then that was kind of the point of a disguise...

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Bluebelle Banner.png

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

 

Or so everypony said.  For a certain blond-maned, alabaster-coated unicorn, such common opinions had been held in frank contempt for many years.  But, over time, the spirit of friendship had prevailed!  And Princess Bluebelle could only be thankful that she'd stopped being a scrooge while she was still young and beautiful.

She would grace this year's gift exchange instead of attending the fancier celebrations in Canterlot.  Mostly, this was due to her new involvement as the new Archancellor of the School of Friendship.  She wanted to spend at least a year out of the social calendar of the nobility, blending in to the more rustic traditions of the locals.  At the very least, it set a good example for the students!

 

She would enter the great hall dressed in a fancy version of the school uniform, a smart black jacket with gold trim, with the hat of her office, a twelve-sided soft tam.  This hat was festooned with a sprig of holly and mistletoe, both for the season... and just to see how bold the guests were!  Held aloft in her magic was a gift, a black box with a white ribbon, square in shape, about a foot across and half a foot high.

 

Placing her gift with the others, she turned to the crowd, and beamed.  "Oh, it's so wonderful to see you all!  Claws and feathers, cloven hooves and solid, scales and chitin, all covering hearts that shine with the same flame!"  Indeed, the pictures from this event would certainly burnish the school's image internationally, bringing in more accolades, students, and tuitions.  "I must congratulate you Twilight, this does look wonderful.  How has Canterlot been treating you?  I hope I haven't been too much cause for worry in your absence."

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Tiger chuckled a bit at Trixie’s introduction, glancing at the spear as it was brought up. The stallion nodded and winked again before responding. 
 

“No ordinary guard, I assure you. I’m just on vacation for now though, and it seems like this thing will be fun.” He smirked, his eyes following the next unicorn that walked in. So many good-looking creatures in here, and that new one even brought an excuse for some holiday kisses. He’d have to make use of that invitation at some point. 
 

————

 

“Hi Hope, I’m Flux!” She giggled, pretty much assuming this was just some game her friend was playing. The changeling giggled a bit more before booping Hope’s nose. 

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Things seemed to have gotten rather loud by the time a certain pink-maned stallion had showed up at the Hall. Candy Cain had been preparing for this gift-giving event ever since he'd seen the advertisement during his daily commute through Ponyville. Back then, he's been ecstatic.  A gift exchange? That was just what Candy was looking for at this time of year! He'd just gotten done making his giant batch of candy apples when he heard of the event. That worked just swimmingly; he could send the confections there to start off his candy apple giveaway. After that, he could move on to delivering them to the doorsteps of other Ponyville residents that hadn't shown up to the gift exchange, all wrapped up in holiday-colored paper and bows. It was extensive for just food, but hey. He was going this far for complete strangers. Why not go a little farther?

Unfortunately, Candy had been so caught up in the idea of gift-giving that he'd gone and made a few "extra" treats. By "extra", Candy usually meant "several other batches". The stallion just hoped that they all liked sweets, because there was no reversing a dessert once it was made. It was created to be savored. Anything less was a crime of mass proportions to Candy. If something was wasted, the normally-cheerful unicorn would lose his cool. Candy had pulled up to the School of Friendship with his cart, which was laden with sweets of every kind: the numerous batches of candy apples, little chocolates, complex sugary designs that were too varied to count. Even though the thing was covered and locked up to combat the cold and weather so common in Candy's travels, the smell wafted through anyway.

Candy Cain had never actually been to the School of Friendship before, so it was understandable that he'd believe he had room to bring everything inside. Unfortunately, he predicted wrong. The front doors were, in math terms, "too small". Candy had resorted to bringing in only a couple things, which at least be polite. The stallion was just now entering the Hall, loaded down with a tray of candy apples on his back and a basket of assorted sweets hanging around his neck. Of course, the candy pony hadn't forgotten to bring a real gift: balanced on the top of his head, a rather flat, rectangular parcel wrapped in silver and topped with a green bow could be seen, wobbling slightly as the stallion walked. He would've given a greeting,but he A: was extremely busy focusing on not dropping anything, and B: didn't want to interrupt the ongoing talking. He resigned himself to setting the gift on the table and setting all the sweet things down beside him. "Oh, dear. . . If those had been the butter-creams, I don't believe I would've made it. . ."



 

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Trixie smirked "I was a little suspicious when you were wearing pants but not armor" she teased though she sighed "you picked a bad place for a vacation, or maybe a really good one... something insane is always happening here... I mean this town... its attracted two sets of researchers so far and neither has any clue whats going on" she said "hopefully tonight will work out better than most celebrations, it seems there's always a monster just waiting for the invitations to go out"

 

-----

 

Hope looked confused a moment then grinned "Flux!" she said, hugging the older changeling "I didn't recognize you! Are you hiding from sompony?" she asked, looking around as if expecting to see somepony suspicious just lurking around the school... it was amazing how much her mood improved having a friend around.

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Ponyville, again! Windwright hadn't been back here in a couple of years. This time he had carefully timed the dose of his special potion, so when he walked into the (new to him) Friendship Academy, he'd need to immediately scan for the perfect opportunity.

 

The pegasus adjusted his saddlebags and checked each of them for the parcels within as he lifted the goggles off his face. He signed the gift registry and shucked out of his cold-flying gear, leaving him in a knit cap and snow-patterned scarf of blue wool. After hanging his coat in the closet he made his full entrance, bicoloured wings splayed for extra warmth, his fur undyed for once, and mane still wild from the wind.

 

One package was making good on a bet, but the other was a relatively modest four by nine inch cylinder of cyan cardboard with a cap, tied shut by white ribbons making an eight point star and pulled into a festive bow. This he left on the table by the door, gently as a newborn foal.

 

"Pardon." he said as he set the package down, making his excuses to the overladen baker...? confectioner..? Chef. He'd need to remember to bring some of that back to Stormy. And maybe the pony responsible if the night went well. Mental note made to return to the candied apple table once his other two surprises were taken care of.

 

-----

 

He politely made as close to a beeline as he could to the back of the room, weaving between ponies and creatures not engaged in conversation to make his way to Princess Twilight. He bowed on the platform and pulled the other package out, this one was a rectangle longer by double than it was wide, and about four inches deep. "Good evening, princess. I don't know if you remember me, but I was here a couple of years ago and lost a drinking contest to you and a few other participants. I've delivered several of the winnings from that night, but it took a long while for me to find out what you'd won. Apparently my inquiry got filtered by the mailcarriers as an attempt to try to sell you something." he coughed and shuddered. Never again was he going to brave the postal offices to try to demand an explanation for anything. He proffered the parcel as if making an offering. "But! as I promised, I present to you my educated guess as to the culmination of my wager. I have another gift for the exchange proper, this is yours."

 

-----

 

Whether she opened it right away or waited, as soon as the package was out of his hooves, Windwright dipped his head and backed off to turn his attention to the OTHER princess in the room. He seemed to be good at finding Ponyville when there were two Princesses in attendance. He had about fifteen seconds or so if his gut was right to make his introduction really count. "Good evening, princess Bluebelle. Happy Hearthswarming!" he said, bowing politely before stepping in and putting a friendly kiss to her cheek. And he HAD timed it right, for no sooner had his lips reached her than the potion took full effect, and the stallion's body rippled as muscles and mass rearranged.

 

Windy stepped back and winked at the princess, brushing her mane back under the knit cap and adjusting her scarf to her new body as the last of the changes set in. "I'm never one to turn down a mistletoe invitation." She said, grinning mischievously.

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It seemed Twilight was busy.  Too busy to talk to Bluebelle, which a few years ago would have irked her pride.  As a point of fact, had the reason she hadn't done so not been a stallion the unicorn mare knew personally, she might have nursed a small wound in her ego.  But it was hard to be mad at Windwright; the alchemist had been very helpful to her throughout the years.  When she (thanks to Twilight) had discovered the possibility of gender fluidity, Windy had been one of the ponies who had helped them navigate through the sometimes-treacherous transitions until she got the hang of it.  Once having done so, the Prince(ss) had wanted to extend assistance and sympathy to those she saw in similar situations, and Windy had again proven a good partner in this effort.  It was by no means so formal a charity as IMAGINE, for instance, more an official support of House Platinum to Windwright's personal and professional efforts.

 

In time, the stallion finished greeting Twilight, and turned to Bluebelle, taking some advantage of her open invitation.  She giggled, pressing a hoof up to her lips to stifle the laughter as she saw Windy transition before her eyes.  "I had honestly wondered if anypony would be so bold as to go for the lips, but I suppose Royalty still bears a form of majestic intimidation, certain Princess's attempts at informality notwithstanding."  She pointed a look over at Twilight.  "And Happy Hearthswarming to you.  Business is good, I trust?"

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Image result for holiday twilight sparkle image.png

 

Twilight beamed brightly as she saw the hall beginning to fill up with guests! It was just what she'd been hoping for! She magically stoked up the fires in their respective hearths as a very excited kirin made her way to the Princess.

 

"Yes, it is me!" She smiled kindly, happy to be able to make other creatures happy. "I'm so glad you all could make it to the festivities! It's going to be such a fun evening!" She took the offered book in her magic and opened it to the front page. Her name began to appear in golden script on the parchment, enchanted there by her power. It glittered long after the inscription had been finished and once the book was closed she levitated it back to the kirin's claws. 

 

She next smiled to the hippogriff her new friend had spoken to. "So, I take it your name is Cloudy?" She nodded slightly. "It's wonderful to meet you and your friends..." She trailed off, inviting the kirin and the dragon to give their names. 

 

Next the Princess noticed another princess in her midst! Bluebelle was looking as radiant as ever this evening! As she made her greeting Twilight inclined her head in respect to the princess who now looked after her school. "I'm so glad to be able to get some time t come back to the School! It looks wonderful Bluebelle, you certainly have surpassed my hopes!" She chuckled at the mention of being worried after her. "Oh, you're not a cause for worry! I wouldn't have chosen you for the job if I didn't think I'd left the school in the best of hooves! I hope you've had everything you've needed!" She smiled. "You'll let me know if there's anything I can do for you I hope?" She knew Bluebelle had changed so much and that she was and would continue to be a wonderful role model for the students of the school. "I hope the position has been what you've expected?"

 

"Canterlot has been wonderful!" She sighed. "Busy of course, and I do miss the school and my friends here but," She nodded reassuring herself. "Yes, it has been a good change for us!" She glanced at Spike as the little dragon made his way over to Candy Cane. "I have a few ideas for the school if you'd like to chat over some eggnog later?"

 

Next a pegasus that Twi remembered from a few years past. "Yes of course! Windwright is it?" She remembered back to the night in question and blushed slightly. She'd let herself go a bit that night. Not exactly a princess sort of night there. At any rate, he offered her a packaged gift noting it as his end of a bet. "Kind of you to remember! Thank you Windwright!" She used her magic to start opening the package and jested with him. "I wonder if you'd take me up on another bet tonight? You never know where this party might lead!" She laughed pleasantly, wondering herself what the night might unfold as. 

 

_____

 

Spike blanched just a little as the older dragon entered the room. He'd not be expecting his own kind to show up tonight but hey, it would give him a chance to practice his self esteem and courage. When Jasper looked his wave Spike waved and trotted up.

 

"Hi!" He glanced around. "Didn't think there would be other dragons here tonight!" He laughed nervously, hoping the other dragon would be forthcoming in his attempt at friendship. "In fact, I'm not sure I've even seen you around town." He scuffed his claw. "My name's Spike by the way!"

 

(OOC: I think I responded to everyone. Please let me know if I missed anyone!)

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"Yeah, seems kinda quiet now though. Maybe the monsters are having their own holiday party today." He chuckled, winking a bit at Trixie again. "Don't worry, I'll protect you if anything happens." 

 

He looked around some more, raising an eyebrow as the new pegasus changed from a stallion to a mare as they kissed the mistletoe mare. Was that what happened when they kissed her? Well, probably still worth it, he'd have to find out later he supposed.

 

----------------

 

Flux giggled at Hope's words, hugging the younger changeling happily and shrugging a bit at the question.

 

"Not that I know of! Old habits die hard though, too used to walking around like this I guess." Flux shrugged again, looking around the room. She waved happily at anyone that happened to look her way, not really recognizing any of them yet. At least, she didn't remember meeting any of them before... Oh well, meeting new friends was always fun!

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Cloudy smiled back at the princess "Yes, ma'am" he said,pointing at the kirin "Azure Ignine, or Iggy as we call her" he then indicated the dragon "and he's Jasper" the griff smiled "like you guessed, I'm Cloudy Skies, just Cloudy is fine, your highness" he paused "and sorry for Iggy's persistence, she kinda idolizes you and if you let her she'll probably talk your ear off with whatever her latest discovery is since she's researching magic"

 

"Hey!" exclaimed Iggy "there is nothing wrong with sharing research!"

 

"except that this is the princess and she's busy" defended cloudy

 

Iggy rolled her eyes, glancing longingly at her idol clearly she would want nothing but to spend all night talking to twilight...

 

-----

 

Jasper looked at the smaller dragon, just a tiny bit tempted to try and frighten him, but he knew better than to do something like that... he'd heard the way these ponies talked about Spike fighting off changelings and saving cities, and knew that if he pissed this pint-sized powerhouse off, Jasper'd probably get his head handed to him... The dragon nodded instead "they call me Jasper" he said "we just moved here so iggy could study the murderforest... I mean the everfree" he paused, lowering his voice "and be glad you weren't here when we moved in, Iggy botched another spell and covered the town in dust and soapy water trying to clean the house we rented... your lucky your unicorn is so good at magic, you have no idea what its like to live with a kirin who botches spells all the time" clearly unlike iggy, he had not read the journal so he didn't realize that in years past, twilight was almost as bad as iggy....

 

-----

 

Flux smiled awkwardly "We were told to use our natural forms, that its more honest that way" she explained "I kinda... I feel odd doing that... I'm still getting used to it"

 

-----

 

Trixie giggled "Oh I'm not worried, I've got thrice-enchanted mithril-silver knives in case a monster attacks" she explained, though as with anything Trixie said it was questionable if she was telling the truth of exadgerating to boost her ego "and becides..." her horn glowed as she lifted up her cape so the other pony could see her wings, then let it fall back down "Only a complete fool would attack here with two alicorns present" she smirked

 

(( XD Yep, she's using the "artifact" from the other thread that gives her wings too, not that it will help her any in a real fight since they dont boost her powers, but they DO boost her ego 😜 )

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Inside the alchemist's package was a piece of parchment with dilution instructions, a spritzer filled with a pale amber liquid, and a carrying case loaded with four vials of a viscous amber substance that looked almost like sap, as well as two empty vials. Each vial was fitted with a rubber stopper and clearly meant to be reusable. When tested, the spritzer contained a fragrance that was living oak and old books, a rarely used hearth and frequently changed flowers, and a hint of the scents of Ponyville at large. Hopefully, if they'd done their research correctly and gotten the bouquet right, Windwright had bottled the scent of Golden Oak Library from a photograph.

 

---

 

Windy herself chuckled and made a gesture to accompany the word "Booming." She smirked and let the word hang there for a couple of beats, then added "My marketing ponies are trying to branch out to Whitescar, the Empire, and Neighpon, but not a lot of call for cosmetics in the first, and the logistics for all three are a nightmare. I understand I have you and yours to thank for what inroads have been made."

 

She fidgeted a little to hide the discomfort of her internals continuing to shift around. She'd need to work on this formula more, currently the biggest wave of visual changes happened all at once, aside from some of the more obvious differences that would happen over the course of the next few minutes if anyone was being rude, but internals still took forever to finish shuffling.

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“Heh. Well, fair enough.” Tiger chuckled again, looking at the wings. He’d gladly look for those daggers, maybe sneak in a kiss or something, but he doubted she’d appreciate him getting all up in her stuff like that. He hummed to himself slightly as he looked around the party. 
 

“Nice to meetcha, Trixie. Maybe we’ll meet up on the road somewhere. Or later in the party, one of the two.” He bid his farewells to her for now, walking off. It was a pretty meandering path initially, though it seemed to lead him steadily towards Bluebelle, not that he minded. Once arriving, he tapped her shoulder, smiling at her. 
 

“So, ready for another kiss?” He asked, waiting for her response before trying to go in. If in the affirmative, he would lean in to kiss her on the lips. 
 

——————

 

“Mmm, I guess so. Hard to break habits though...” Flux shrugged, letting the disguise fall to reveal the reformed changeling underneath. She was still just as purple as that pony form, with a pink shell and wings, which she buzzed slightly to stretch them out a bit. 

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Bluebelle smiled at Windwright's good news concerning her business, though the edges of her lips were slightly twisted in sympathy.  The pegasus was putting a brave face on it, but some amount of discomfort with the not-quite-instantaneous transformation she was undergoing could not help but make themselves apparent.  It almost seemed unfair to the Princess that her own situation should be so relatively painless.  Perhaps it was to assuage this twinge to her conscience that she worked so closely with Windwright...

 

But whatever moved her charity, she wasn't going to argue with good results.  "You're quite welcome.  I have good intelligence that by next Hearthswarming, the civil war will likely be over, which should improve logistics somewhat for all of us.  No more North Sea raiders, and the like.  I'm even hoping to get some caribou students to this school in the near future, we already have some from the Empire, and Neighpon."  She gave a pat to the alchemist's shoulder.  "But enough business talk!  Go mingle, have a good time!"

 

Twilight finally saw fit to acknowledge her presence!  Alright, so the slight irritation was certainly unjustified on Bluebelle's part, but even after so much had changed, some old habits of the heart still lingered.  Being marginally royal, perpetually compared to their disadvantage to the alicorn Princesses didn't do much for Bluey's esteem, but this was not a season to air such grievances.  Tamp them down, and let the better angels of one's nature have their day.  

Certainly didn't hurt that the lavender mare led with compliments.  A gentle word dissipates much annoyance.  "Oh, why thank you!  It was, admittedly, a bit of an adjustment, and I've had some issues with settling my household in the town.  Altogether, though?  I found that I could indeed do good work here, and I haven't lacked for anything!"  She chuckled.  "But I'll certainly remember that offer, don't you worry!  Hope you don't regret it~"

 

With that good-natured bit of foreshadowing put into play, the Princess turned around, to be greeted by the handsome mug of Tiger, taking her up on the mistletoe's offer.  With a smile, half-lidded eyes sparkling like aquamarine gems, she gave a wordless affirmation in the form of a kiss to the lips, lingering with a soft, sweet touch.  "Hmm, Happy Hearthswarming, handsome.  You wouldn't happen to be one of Twilight's guards, would you?  Because if not, there's a spot open in mine~"

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image

Friendship school? Bah Humbug, Martini didn't need no stinking friendship school! But he was being made to go by his parents, they figured that his ego could use a little checking in, and even more he needed to make friends and not just focus on work, work work.

Buuut this was very far from the islands, and it was cold here, and it was snowy, and what the heck was even a Hearth? Did it have to be warm because it was so cold here? Martini believed so, far far too cold here!

The Griffon entered the building, bundled in a warm scarf, a sweater, and a hat... too, too cold here... Tucked under one of his wings however was a lovely present wrapped in sunset  colored fabric, medium in size and had a lovely, tropical smell coming from it, with a lovely lemon yellow ribbon tied all around it to make a bow.

After making sure the present had survived the flight, Martini made his way over to the gift table, and gingerly sat the present down, before moving over to what seemed to be a hat/scarf rack, and hesitantly removed his hat and scarf..but he was keeping the sweater on, sure it hid some of his slick, panther like physique, but it was a burden he was willing to bare this cold, wintry day..

Did one introduce themselves at these events? Martini had no idea... there seemed to be a LOT of creatures as is here..

A light head tilt as Martini tried to take in the current roster of characters...

Hnn, an Alicorn Princess (Maybe two? The blue one didn't look familiar) A dragon, another dragon, another griffon, and...a interesting pony with extra fluff, a  unicorn, a changeling... earth ponie-

At this point Martini shut his eyes and held a wing to his head.. Nope, not  trying to memorize anyone else, toooooo many creatures, just..pick the hostess and greet her and thank her for the invitation, that should be enough..
 

Granted she did seem quite busy... Opening a present of sorts?

Bah, being social at social events was passe anyways..where was the food at?

Sweet, Muffins and eggnog! Since everyone else was busy chattering, and socializing, Martini just...strutted his way over and helped himself to a muffin and a cup of eggnog, after all you couldn't visit if your mouth was full of muffin now could you?

Exactly HAH Checkmate Parents, don't have to attend friendship school, already excellent at being diplomatic with other creatures!~

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Image result for holiday twilight sparkle image.png

(gift exchange partners will go up early next week!)

 

Twilight listened intently as Cloudy introduced himself and his companions. She also noted that Spike had taken up trying to make friends with Jasper. That was good! She did want him to have time to socialize with other dragons of course and that fact that one had made it to the gift exchange was serendipity! 

 

As Iggy spoke of sharing studies the Princess beamed happily! Of course she did have greet and speak with other guests but there was plenty of time to go over a bit of the kirin's findings. 

"Ah, well try as we might it's hard to separate a scholar from her learning, wouldn't you say Iggy?" She winked at Cloudy, letting him know she appreciated his efforts to forestall his friend. 

 

"So then, what you been researching recently?" She questioned what she hoped to be her new friend.

----

 

Spike was happy the dragon, Jasper he now knew was up for talking to him. He'd been ignored on purpose by many of his own kind and wouldn't have been too surprised if this dragon did the same! 

 

"M-murder forest?" He gulped as Jasper described the Everfree. "I mean it's got plenty of stuff lurking in it so maybe that's not a bad choice for name!" 

 

Then he began to describe his dealings with his kirin friend. Spike smiled knowingly, glancing over at where Twi was speaking to a kirin and a hippogriff. "Ah! Well, you know great mages didn't start out that way. Oh wow, the stories I could tell you about Twilight..." He giggled, thinking of multiple occasions where spells went awry. "Has your kirin friend ever tried an transfiguration? Not sure if that's even a kind of magic they can do."

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((oh yes, pyro, right now he'd get slapped for looking for her weapons... give her time to get smashed though and she'd take his hunt for her weapons in a completely different light..... XD))

 

Trixie opened her mouth to say something else but suddenly found herself without a conversation partner... and she had thought that things were going well... it was times like these that reminded her why she had turned to evil in the first place... not that she would go back now, but oh did she ever think about it a lot...  it didn't help that nopony else at this party had even acknowledged her! after she made a huge entrance and did the eye-catching maneuvers with her gifts --- and even brought multiple gifts! she was still being completely ignored... She needed a drink to calm her nerves... but she knew that if she started she probably would finish too and it would be highly inappropriate to get that drunk here where not only her colleagues and bosses were watching, but also her students...  she finally just went back to standing there idly munching on whatever food she could find out of frustration...

 

-----

 

Iggy grinned triumphantly at cloudy

 

the griff sighed "well I tried" he said, letting iggy go

 

the kirin was almost bouncing pinkie-pie style, she was so excited "Again it is such an honor, Princess Twilight Sparkle!" she said "my current hypothesis is that there is some kind of core of negative emotions in the center of the everfree that is powering everything, because I'm sure you've seen creatures like the wolf golems - that is the timberwolves - lose their animation magic if they venture too far. Not only that, but I theorize that is may actually be some kind of intelligence that is sad and lonely - hence the negative emotions that the forest projects and why it can be repelled by a town like ponyville. I'm currently tying to learn enough to forge a path through it in hopes of discovering this core and if it IS an intelligence, then perhaps speaking with it and learning its story --- but right now I'm having to learn the specifics of many of the plant and animal species that make it a dangerous journey..." it was clear that cloudy had not been kidding, iggy was going to keep on going until somepony stopped her and would indeed talk twilight's ears off if not interrupted...

 

-----

 

Jasper shrugged "I dunno, whats it do?" he asked, pondering the word a moment "you mean like changing stuff? let me show you something" he closed his eyes and focused on the fire in his belly and instead of the normal black smoke, translucent white steam began rolling out his nostrils until he stopped "That's thanks to one of iggy's misfired spells, now more than ever everycreature thinks I'm some kind of Ice dragon" he sighed as he spat a tiny -blue- fireball into his claws "doesnt help the confusion when my fire's blue..." 

 

"Oh she can do any kind of magic - or botch any kind. She says it takes a lot of small tweaks and modifications to pony magic for a kirin to use it, but I think she just sucks at magic" he smirked, at least partially joking "And much as what your saying makes sense, I find it hard to believe the glorious twilight could ever have made mistakes" the way he rolled his eyes made it clear he didn't share the reverence of iggy "and yeah, if you didn't catch it before, iggy is a huge fangirl of Twilight. sometimes I wonder if she only saved me so she could have her own dragon so she could be 'just like twilight!'" he snorted, again clearly not 100% honest with his feelings, but also truly fearing that on some level deep down inside...

 

-----

 

Hope hugged her again now that she was back to her changeling form, clearly that made the younger creature much more comfortable "I came here 'cuz I was told I needed to make friends and learn, but I dont think I did it right" she said, looking at how her pinecone stood out from all the other gifts... "I dont understand all these weird things the ponies do just because its cold outside... does the cold make them think bad?" yes, it was very clear how little the changeling knew about hearth's warming...

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Tiger gave an appreciative murr of his own as the mare returned the kiss, smirking a bit at her words to him. Well, it seemed he wasn’t turning into a mare, at least not as fast as that other guy. That was kinda a bummer, actually. Part of him was looking forward to seeing how good he’d look as a mare. Oh well, though, not like he didn’t already love being himself. 
 

“Well, that is quite the tempting offer, beautiful~” He responded, winking with a chuckle. “Might just have to take you up on that. Don’t worry, Twilight has no claim to me yet. Guarding a pony like yourself would be my pleasure.” He added, smiling at her. It would certainly be a job with a great view, that was for sure. 
 

——————

 

Flux giggled, hugging Hope back as she listened to the other’s words. She giggled some more at the end, smiling at her friend. 
 

“Well, it’s the thought that counts? Who knows, maybe your gift partner will plant a tree with that.” She said, trying to reassure Hope about her gift. “And I think it’s about driving off the bad stuff, or at least that’s how it started. Something about ponies getting together and driving off some evil spirit things with love and friendship. Who knows, maybe they’re still doing it by continuing to celebrate every year, kinda like that crystal heart thing.” Flux shrugged, not entirely getting it herself. For her, it was mostly just an excuse for get-togethers with friends and family, presents, and having fun. Not that she needed an excuse to do those things, but it helped get even more creatures on board to do it with her. 

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Bluebelle giggled, such a rough charmer, this Tiger!  So appropriate to his name.  "Indeed?  Well, as she is the host, I feel that courtesy would dictate that she have the first chance to take you up.  If not, do come see me; I was being serious in my offer."  She really could use a bolstered force of guards.  One wouldn't think that being Archancellor of a Friendship school would require much in that way, but if Princess Twilight's experience was anything to go by, you never could tell.  They could let in another megalomaniac.  That was the trouble of being open to reforming ponies and other creatures for the better; you couldn't always know which ones would just end up going worse.

 

And even in the best case scenario, there was still the issue of the local "murder forest," as the dragon guest so eloquently put it.  Bluebelle cast an eye from him over the span of the guests, all seeming to be in lively conversation... save two.  Oh, that certainly wouldn't do!

 

Walking over to Trixie, she tapped the put-out looking unicorn on the shoulder.  "Hey," she whispered in a voice of soft silk, "The best cure for being lonely is to reach out to another, especially this time of year.  Observe."
Turning to look over Trixie's shoulder, she called out to the colorful griffon stuffing himself by the snack table.  "Yoohoo!  Are you one of my new students?  I think I recognize the picture your parents sent me, Mr.... Martini?"

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It was time for another Hearth’s Warming Eve, and as the years before, the Pegasus pony known as Fire Walker had a ton to do!
 
Most involved getting gifts! Getting gifts for her family. Gifts for her hubby-to-be and his family. Gifts for her friends. Gifts for her co-workers. Gifts for her neighbors. A few gift donations to the local ‘Favors For Foals’ charity. She also had to purchase an gift for Princess Twilight’s Festive Hootenanny! And since this was in an actual school, this was going to be one of those rare dry parities for her. The eggnog would be milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, egg yolks, and nutmeg. No rum. No  bourbon. And no Cognac. This was a safe party. Thankfully she had a trip to Fillydelphia for a holiday visit to her old friend Muggo' at his family tavern coming up later this week.
 
So she would have to trudge through this little party for the time being. "Hmm.", she muttered to herself as she entered the rather impressive school. She really didn't know any of these creatures. Many of different species. There was a small dragon, that might be a little friend of Spike's. An Kirin, Changeling, a rather skinny Hippogryph...And that blue mare that took over Ponyville not that long ago. What was her name? Tipsy? There was sweet little Flux. The first changeling the royal guard wasn't sent to beat over the head with something unpleasant.  Prince Blueblood was in his female form. This was still something she had yet to get used to. The Pegasus pony kept an rather generic looking gift wrapped with a big red bow. What was it? Who was it for? Soon all would be revealed.
 
And there was Princess Twilight, a mare that was always in the center of attention. Wow. Things had sure changed over the last few years. Seeing that she had her hooves full, the mare nodded politely at her occasional boss and found a spot to put her gift. As she did so, Fire admired the well decorated hall.  Now who was she going to talk to?
 
 
 
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Stellar Drift had been invited to Ponyville, by his friend Rose, for some kind of Hearthswarming gift exchange event. While he wasn't usually much for social gatherings, especially big ones like this, Rose had promised him she'd be there and he could hang around her to feel more comfortable. So here he was, plainly wrapped gift in his saddlebag, approaching the place he was told to come. He walked into the School of Friendship's Great Hall and his jaw dropped. He'd heard about the new school and its difficulties starting up. He knew the school was there, and he'd been to Ponyville a few times, but he never actually went to see the place. The building was really quite spectacular. Then he became painfully aware of the crowd. Ponies and creatures cheerfully greeting each other, all in the spirit of Hearthswarming. He loved Hearthswarming, himself, but only with close friends and family, really. He didn't normally do the whole crowds thing. Speaking of which, he began looking around for Rose.

 

=================

 

Compass Rose blinked herself awake. "Oh, horseapples!" she exclaimed, to herself "I'm late! I knew I was going to oversleep. I hope Stellar's doing okay by himself until I get there." she bolted to the door, and opened it but immediately regretted it "Aah!" Rose covered her eyes and closed the door. "What kind of an idiot are you, Rose?" she chastised herself "It's daytime, you'll need some protection." she grabbed her sunglasses and her brown sun hat from the rack by the door and put them on before heading out. Normally, the sun'd be too hot to fly in, but it being winter, now, she felt comfortable enough to spread her wings. Carrying her small gift, carefully wrapped in colorful paper with a cute bow on top, she flew over town toward the school."I wonder if anypony else brought something sweet." she hoped.

 

=================

 

Cocoa Nut bounced about the hall excitedly giving a cheerful "Happy Hearthswarming!" to anypony who'll listen. Then she saw somepony she recognized and she yelled across the hall "Hey! Tiger!" and trotted gleefully toward him. "I thought I smelled vinegar, in here, somewhere!" she joked with a wink "Who's your marefriend, here?" she smiled happily at the mare and after her name had been given she greeted back "I'm Cocoa Nut! I own the Cocoa Hut down the road.... s. It's a new place. Just moved in! You should come by sometime." she offered a wink.

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Hope nodded, though at the mention of the crystal empire she glanced at spike and gulped, she gently pulled flux's head down to whisper to her "you see the dragon over there? Not the big scary one, the little purple one... I heard that he fought and killed a while army of changelings that invaded the crystal empire" she said, clearly more than a little scared from the very altered rumors.... quite amazing how 'Spike befriended a lone changeling that was hiding in the empire' had morphed into 'Spike defeated an entire army of changelings who had invaded the empire'

 

-----

 

Trixie tensed up and gulped, if bluebelle felt her wings... a single bead of sweat ran down her face, though she smiled, unfortunately as she did, a bit of glitter from one of the presents (or possibly some prop of trixie's...) made its way up the trickster's nose, "ah-ah-ACHOO!" as she sneezed, the jerking made her wings shoot straight out, not only smacking bluebelle, but drawing attention from the entire room

 

Trixie blinked as they all looked her way "what?" she wiped her nose, then she realized "oh horseapples...." she muttered, pulling her had down to cover her eyes as she folded her wings back up and covered them with her cape.

 

-----

 

Even Iggy stopped in the middle of her talk with twilight and turned to the sound of the sneeze followed by the silence, and her jaw was slack "there's... there's another princess?!?!"

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Stellar twitched at the sneeze offering a compulsory "bless you." to the empty space beside him. Then he blushed, looking around before he saw a blue pegasus across the hall with her wings out, her magician's hat covering her head where he'd have otherwise seen a horn. Her garb seemed somehow familiar to him. Maybe, from the looks of it, a performer who'd been around. He thought little of it, and continued to look for Rose.

 

=================

 

Rose landed by the door and opened it, heading inside to look for Stellar. She trotted casually about the hall looking this way and that, but not in the direction she was going. She was still a little groggy from having just woken up, and not quite as attentive she normally would be.

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