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Ah, festivities. While Rose was never one to celebrate many occasions, she did so love the effect it had on the ponies and other creatures around her. Ponyville was alive with cheer and good will, creating an atmosphere that compounded the generally sunny disposition of the town that was already there. With all the charity and gift giving transpiring, Rose found herself absorbed into the customs and traditions, deciding that it was time for her to give something back to the denizens of Ponyville as well. To this end, she decided setup shop near the fountain, where she'd have easy access to water, and to curious passerbys. It's not like she relocated her whole lab, she just brought out some basic equipment- none of which broke health codes- and a few sturdy tables. A large sign printed on a banner above it proclaimed that today she was in the business of making "Proposterous Potions", and welcomed anybody with a thought or idea to come up and pitch it to her. She'll try her best to make what you describe, and without a fee. Oddly enough, she even dressed up for the occasion, bearing a purple cloak that hid her verdant figure. Snacks were laid out under the sign: cups of cognac, a bowl of satsuma, and another one with walnuts. Now, all she had to do was wait and see if her plan comes to fruition. She is curious what it is these Ponyvillians want, after all.
Fluttershy and Rarity had been out of the singing game for quite some time. Though Rarity would continue to exercise her hobby of being a talented soprano for the Ponytones, Fluttershy would usually only sing to her animal friends, and once at a private show for her friends to see. She wanted to do something nice for the citizens of her town but was persuaded by Rarity to do the traditional thing during Hearth's Warming Fluttershy never looked forward to doing. Sure, Fluttershy could sing songs casually in public, but the moment she took notice that others took notice of her, it struck irrational fear in the yellow pegasus' spine. It was too bad, too. She was a very talented singer in her own right who did it for the right reasons. She enjoyed it. But deciding to go with Rarity on a carolling trip with just the two of them ended up being something she would agree to attempt. And maybe after one slightly uncomfortable holiday evening bellowing out her songs in the first snowfalls of winter in Ponyville, she would be closer to be less afraid of being heard singing. "Thanks for suggesting this idea to go carolling throughout Ponyville, Rarity. It was a good idea." Fluttershy hesitated. "Even though I may not be too excited about singing in front of other ponies." She smirked a nervous smile. Fluttershy was walking away with Rarity from the unicorn's boutique and into the direction of the residential zones of Ponyville proper. The sun had already set and Ponyville's street lamps speckled a friendly constellation along the pathways. Fluttershy was wearing a cozy sweater and a pair of earmuffs with pink flower designs on them. If the paths were clear of the light snow that fell earlier in the day, she would have no problem keeping warm through the evening.
Winter would be horrible without Hearthswarming. In fact, without Hearthswarming, Winter would probably be eternal! It had been so long since the days of the Windigoes running wild that most ponies tended only to think of winter as a time to play in the snow, feast on stored food, and cuddle up with loved ones in a warm house. And, when that got old, they just got up and made winter go away. Just how amazing a triumph like that actually was could all too easily be taken for granted. And up until recently, Prince Blueblood had taken it for granted. Just one more day in the Canterlot social calendar, with associated duties: go to see (and be seen) at the Annual Play, attend all right parties, give just the right amount above the expected amount of bits to various charities, and the like. Recent years had changed that. And changed him. Not only was he striving to be a better pony than he had been, but he’d traveled wider, and gained new perspectives. In particular, his recent diplomatic trips to Whitescar had shown him just how much open doors, open hearths, and sticking together actually mattered, when one couldn’t simply wrap up winter. So, this year, Blueblood had decided to pull out all the stops. He’d take a page from the aristocrats of old, and hold a feast open to all comers, whatsoever their class, nationality, or species. A bold step, for a pony noted for their snobbishness, but certainly the right move if one wanted to improve their reputation after being so noted. Upon mentioning this plan to his marefriend and Honor Guard, Star Crusader, she suggested that Blueblood use her own family seat in Fet Loch to host this gathering, as the country setting would be slightly more appropriate to the old-fashioned celebration that he was planning. And thus, the Prince set off for the northern marches of Equestria… ~***~ “Is everything ready?” It was the seventh time today that Prince Blueblood had asked that question. And the answer was the same as it was the past six times: the cook was in the process of whipping up the feast, the Duchess’ manor was ready to receive any influx of guests, and the weather pegasi had the snow falling right on schedule for a white Hearthswarming. But… the guests weren’t here yet. Had he not sent out enough invitations? Had he not made them obvious enough? Public posters had seemed a little vulgar to him for this sort of thing, and it would have been folly to put them up in Canterlot if a diverse group was what he wanted. But surely, ads in the major papers would have been enough to get the word out. Maybe ponies just didn’t want to do this sort of thing anymore? All the old celebrations and rites, the Coverly dance, climbing the greasy pole, snapdragon and plum pudding… had Equestria left such things behind? *Or is it just me?* If the Prince had to be perfectly honest, that might be the reason he hadn’t seen guests yet. After all, perhaps being snowed into an isolated house with Blueblood, of all ponies, wasn’t their idea of a good time, especially for Hearthswarming. Or maybe he was just being paranoid. After all, the holidays had barely begun. Time enough for the guests to arrive for the festivities...