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Yours Truly p1

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From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Princess Celestia

Dear Princess Celestia,

This is the first day of being on my own. And so far, it doesn't feel any different. I keep expecting to hear the sound of Pinkie Pie bouncing down the street, or look up into the sky and see a rainbow. I keep thinking I can smell apples. And that I'm not seeing my friends right now doesn't bother me because I'm so sure they'll be by later. Even though I know they won't.

It's connected in my mind but not in my heart. And all the goodbye parties in the world can't change that.

Isn't that a good thing, though? Even though I'm leaving Ponyville I don't feel like I'm leaving my friends behind. I feel like they're still a part of me. That distance alone isn't going to keep us apart. We've been through too much for that to happen, for this to be the end.

It's going to be hard writing everything out by hoof again. I've grown far too used to having Spike with me - wait, that's not right. Surely there's no such thing as getting too used to having a friend nearby? And now I'm upset at myself for thinking this way. Spike goes into a Dragon Sleep, and he's not going to wake up for a hundred years, and I'm worried about having to do a little writing. Either way, I'm out of practise and my cursive has morphed into scribbles. Just one other thing to work on.

I'm looking forward to Hoofington. Professor Twilight Sparkle, can you believe it? Me, teaching? Actual students? I've been practising my lectures and preparing my course syllabus and I'm as prepared as I'm ever going to be. Remember that time you took me to Hoofington once, when I was just a foal? You showed me Starry Notion's old tower, and the scorch marks on the floor of the room where you created the sun. And I snuck out of my room and stayed up all night trying to create my own sun, because I wanted to be just like you.

Princess... promise me you'll visit? I made all the others promise that they would, but I want you to as well. Or at least promise me you won't forget to write. I don't have Spike anymore, so everything has to be sent through the mail, and sometimes mail gets lost or eaten or baked into muffins. So be sure to write plenty of letters, just in case some don't make it.

Your faithful student,
- Twilight Sparkle.

• • •

From: Royal Wonderbolts of Equestria Recruitment Council
To: Rainbow Miriam Dash

Dear R. M. Dash,

We are happy to inform you that your audition was successful. We would like to formally extend you an invitation to attend Sky Point in Cloudsdale in preparation for formal admittance into the Royal Wonderbolts of Equestria. We look forward to your reply.

Please find your uniform in the attached package.

Always Faithful!

- The Royal Wonderbolts of Equestria Recruitment Council

P.S.: Congratulations - Spitfire

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Twilight,

I've been missing you. Ponyville just ain't the same without you around. Been busy with the harvest but I'm making time to write because it's been a full few days.

Pinkie's probably the worst case. She keeps sighing, especially whenever she goes past the library. Rarity's not much better, she's trying to write you a letter herself but she keeps throwing it out because she thinks her hoofwriting is 'too messy'. At this rate I expect you'll be seeing it roundabouts spring.

Anyway, the main reason I wrote this is because Rainbow just got her acceptance letter from the Wonderbolts. She came over to my place all nonchalant-like, says, "I just got this letter, it's probably no big deal, why don't you look it over for me?" and she's shaking so bad that she drops it before she can even give it to me. I open it and read it and she's trembling like a leaf. You ain't never seen a scarder thing.

And so I look up and say "Congratulations". And in retrospect, I probably should have broke it to her more easy because she looked like she was about to have a heart attack. And then she screams a cheer like you ain't never heard and runs off to find Fluttershy. Runs back three seconds later to grab the letter back off me. You should have been there, that was the happiest I'd ever seen Rainbow, no mistake.

Anyway, like I said, wish you were here. With Rainbow likely to be heading out as well it looks like it's going to get awful quiet around these parts before too long.

Best wishes,
- Applejack.

• • •

From: Rainbow Dash
To: Twilight Sparkle

I got accepted into the Wonderbolts!! I was worried that the Buccaneer Blaze was too showy, but I did it, and they liked it, and I'm in the Wonderbolts, and they gave me the uniform and everything hold on I'll get a picture taken - there, there's a picture, and it looks awesome.

Hey I wonder if we're going to tour Hoofington, if we do I'll make sure you get front row tickets, wouldn't want my friend to miss out

Fluttershy says 'hi', I think. She needs to speak up more.

I need to go practise I'll talk more later.

- Wonderbolt Rainbow Dash

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Dear Applejack,

I miss you too. A lot. I keep thinking of apples while I'm here, but the only ones the school has are the kind of waxy, icky ones you get with conjuration magic.

Thanks for keeping me informed; I'm really happy for Rainbow Dash. In fact, I've got a weekend off coming up and I think maybe we should celebrate it by getting together, flying up to Cloudsdale and watching one of her training sessions? I can make it if you meet me half-way in the balloon. What do you think?

Oh yeah, and how are you doing? Personally, I mean. You've talked a lot about everypony else but you haven't said much about yourself. I'm curious.

- Twilight Sparkle.

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

That sounds like a mighty fine plan; a month is too long to go without seeing you.

- Applejack.

• • •

From: Pinkie Pie
To: Twilight Sparkle

Hey! It was super nice seeing you again at Rainbow's training session! Nopony told me where we were going, they said it was going to be a surprise, and I was kind of depressed so I didn't want to go but then I said, wait, I remember what happened the last time my friends wanted to take me to see a surprise, and then we landed to see you waiting for us and it was the best surprise ever - right up until the point where you said we were going together to see Rainbow Dash! And that was the best surprise ever! Except for the time when Rainbow Dash saw us all sitting in the stands and waiting to see her, and the look on her face - that was the best surprise ever!

Oh yeah, I wrote this because I noticed Rarity was upset, and throwing her notebook across the room, and saying things like "Alas! I shall never phrase this accursed letter correctly!" and then falling on the couch and bursting into tears, and when I asked her what was wrong, she said that the letter was giving her trouble, so I took it and posted it along with mine so that it wouldn't give her any trouble anymore! It's right below this one!

If you ever need to celebrate anything, you know who to write to! Be sure to write soon because it takes time for the letter to go both ways and then to plan the party and get to where you are and throw the party, but it doesn't have to be a party, we can just hang out. Any time with my friends is a party enough for me.

- Pinkie Pie

P.S. When I said "You know who to write to" I meant me (Pinkie Pie)

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Twilight Sparkle

My dearest Twilight Sparkle,

In your absence, Ponyville has been a positively desolate place. Many times have I turned, sure that the lavender unicorn who had been such a stalwart companion in my times of need would be present, only to have my hopes cruelly dashed. Your absence has left a far greater rift than you would ever know. I am positively beside myself no, who uses 'beside herself' these days? surely I can think of something better than that.

- I feel like the light of my life has been lost in a stormy sea (perhaps too come-on-ey.)
- I deeply regret the loss of my most treasured companion (urgh, sounds like an obituary. She just went to Hoofington.)
- Your absence lends a feeling that is crawling under my coat; a wound that will not heal (what the hay is this)

To Do:

- Make sure Twilight is properly valued

- Include invitation for her to come by any time

- Inform her as to the state of my business (small talk)

- Ask about how she's doing, what Hoofington's like

- Comment on how much I miss Spike. It's not the same without him around. Ensure that he's sleeping comfortably.

- ESP: include query about Deep Pockets who lives in Hoofington. Subtly. I don't want to appear churlish in my very first letter to Twilight in her new home!

Signature Practise:

Rarity. RARITY. Rarity. Rarity

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

You didn't answer my question.

I want to know how you're doing.

- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

I'm not sure what you want me to say is the thing. I'm the same Applejack I've always been; I work the farm and buck apples. I could go into detail but I'm sure you'd be bored stiff.

- Applejack.

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Try me.

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

All right. If you think you can take this bull by the boring horns, I ain't going to stop you. Have the long version.

Currently there's a bad bout of Blue Leaf going through the southmost field, worst we seen for eight years. If you don't know, Blue Leaf's a crop disease that comes around every so often. It's like a blue fungus that grows over the top of the tree's leaves and basically suffocates the tree. It grows on contact too, which means it mostly spreads when a stiff breeze blows infected leaves through healthy plants. We've got a spray that can clear it off, but it's hard work to get through and we don't have much time. I asked the pegasus ponies to try to make sure that there's no wind for a couple of days while I get this sorted out, but Cloud Kicker ain't no Rainbow Dash and every so often a breeze gets through that sets us back hours and hours of work.

Then there's the financial problems. See, thing about seasonal work like farming is that you get a sudden boost of cash and then you got to live off that for the next year - and the year after that if something goes wrong with the harvest. I seen plenty of would-be farmers figure that they could live well when the money comes in, and then come to us in some bad winter with their hats in their mouths begging for some of what we had. And while we make enough on paper to keep us comfortably afloat, that's never the problem. The problem is the unforeseen, unpredictable one-off expenses. Granny Smith needs a new hip. Big Macintosh needs his back fixed. Barn needs to be rebuilt. Lose a crop to Blue Leaf. And while we're still in the black right now, there's no way to know if we'll have enough to cover every single disaster that's bound to happen this year. So I'm worried, and I'm worried about stuff that might not even happen and I can't do nothing about, which is the worst kind of worried.

Good news comes with the bad, though, and there's no sense filling an entire letter with misery and complaining. I've got my health, which is the blessing you always count first and then, if you've got any sense, stop at. I've been planning out the irrigation channel I'm going to run through the centre of the field and it's all working out in my head. I've had Pinkie over a few times so we could cook together, and after a bit of loggerheadin' about taste we made a dare that each of us would learn how to make a type of food they'd never done before. I think I'm going to try my hoof at French because she'll never see it coming. You know with French there's wine everywhere? Really, absolutely everywhere, never have a meal without it. The entire cookbook reads like a conspiracy so the Berry family can stay in business, and I wouldn't put a move like that past them.

What else? Winona chased a fox into Reichenbach Falls, you know, with the tar pits? And she got stuck there. Complete tragedy, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth even thinking about it. See, Rarity got to her before I did, and next I saw my poor dog she'd been styled beyond recognition. And she got airs about it too, the mutt, wouldn't even risk a bit of mud in case she messed up her hairstyle. Nothing worse than a dog with airs. Had to take her out back and toss her into the pig pen. She sulked for hours but seemed to forget the entire experience right around dinner time, at which point we were the very best of friends once again. Can always count on a dog.

Pinkie Pie's been at a loose end, but not in a bad way. She's sad about you and Rainbow being gone, of course, and she's clearly bored out of her skull, but - well, you know that feeling you get in the air just before the thunderstorm hits? That feeling like you should be running for cover? That's the feeling I'm getting with Pinkie Pie. She's planning something, and frankly, I'm scared to ask.

What is a worry is Fluttershy. She's not handling Rainbow being away well, and she's clearly pining for something. She's got her own attempt at a letter coming but she keeps asking that thieving rabbit for advice, which seems a mug's game no matter what way you slice it. I heard the shouting from out here when Pinkie nicked and posted Rarity's first draft, and even though the drama was something awful, I'm still mulling doing the same thing with Fluttershy's letter to Rainbow. It's clear that girl needs some kind of help.

Oh yeah, on that topic, I promised I'd do Rarity a favour and tell you that, and I quote, "I think it would be in everypony's best interests if that draft you got sent never arrived". She also said something about being "Forever in your debt", just in case you ever wanted to pull one over her at any point.

Ah, darn, I just realised I've been doing exactly what I resolved not to do and gone off into the lives of everypony else and not mine. I'm sorry. What do I have left to say about me?

Well...

Well, the sun's been setting as I've been writing this. I'm at Bay Hill Lookout right now, looking out over the orchards. Sky's red and gold, with big clouds like some clumsy painter spilled his ink all over his masterpiece. Normally I come up here to plan, helps me divide the fields in my eyes as well as my head. Downside of which means that this place feels like work. But writing this letter has really unwound me, and I'm noticing just how nice it is up here for the first time in a really, really long time. Wish you were here, Twilight. Wish I could be telling you all this in person.

Ah, but if you were here, I'd just make a careless apple pun and throw the moment away. Maybe it's better to write. Don't make as many mistakes.

I'm going to head down now. If you managed to get through this all, Twilight - and I don't blame you if you didn't - then I'm asking you to return the favour. Tell me about yourself.

- Applejack

• • •

From: Pinkie Pie
To: Sky Horse Shipyards

I need six hundred balloons, a cream cake, 0.35 metric tonnes of confetti, an aerial cruise ship with accommodations for two hundred, and a treasure map. Oh, and some pirates.

- Pinkie Pie

• • •

From: Sky Horse Shipyards
To: Pinkie Pie

You're going to have to supply your own cream cake. We're not bakers.

Sincerely,
- Sky Horse Shipyards Inc.

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash,

I'm sorry I haven't written sooner. I haven't known what to say.

I still don't.

It feels like something's ended. Twilight's gone. You're gone. Pinkie Pie's drifting away. Rarity's thinking about moving to Canterlot. Soon it'll only be me and Applejack. That's fine, though. I know that Applejack won't ever go anywhere.

But you're the one I don't want to lose through all this. If everything else falls apart, I hope that I still get to see you.

- Fluttershy.

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Dear Applejack,

Applejack, you're mistaking going slow with being boring. I know what it must be like to be surrounded by ponies who do things that nopony else can do, ponies who can cause Rainbooms or defeat Ursa Minors. But there are things that you can do that I know for sure that I can't, and those things are just as important and interesting as anything loud and flashy. I've spent my entire life studying magic, and I can barely imagine what a normal life would be like. Your letters give me a chance to see that. Don't think I don't value them.

I've been swept off my feet as a professor, but I love it. I'm surrounded by the collected writings of Equestria's greatest unicorns. My colleagues are geniuses and I can talk to them about high level magical theory. The campus is beautiful. It's an old stone building and a collection of ancient wizard towers. There's a river choked with willow trees, and a library that puts my tiny one in Ponyville to shame.

But I'm so disorganised it's embarrassing. I have to write everything out myself, and my memory is awful. I miss having Spike. I know he's going to be sleeping for decades while he grows, but I keep wondering if I could come up with some kind of spell to accelerate him through it, so I could have my friend back. A spell to skip the boring moments in life. Like the time for the pot to boil. Or like the moments in between letters.

You know my short term memory's always been shot? I write everything down, and make enormous use of schedules and timetables because I often can't remember them without help. Sometimes I zone out for moments in conversation and forget where I am and who I'm talking to, and I have to reconstruct the events that lead up to that moment through logic and imagination. And I've got really good systems for figuring out where I am using minimal details and cues. Maybe that's what makes me a good researcher? Because I've had to get really good at spotting connections and making logical leaps out of necessity. It all happens so fast most ponies don't even notice it.

Hoofington is everything I ever wanted. It already feels like home. The Princesses, both of them, come by regularly to discuss magical theory. And it's amazing what they know, and it's even more amazing what they don't know that they know. I made an offhoof joke about the Spirits of Harmony to Princess Luna, and she mentioned that she knew them personally. When pressed, she told me where to find their ancient sanctuaries all across Equestria, and seemed astonished when I told her that scholars had searched for the locations of the Spirits for generations. She hadn't known that the knowledge had been lost. Name any moment from history, any, and they'll give you a firsthoof take that is usually wildly at odds with the body of written down information on those events.

But for some reason, I haven't entirely settled. The food is rubbish, for instance. The chef has two modes: fancy cuisine or army rations. This means that I've either got the choice of eating in the teacher's lounge on finery which just isn't satisfying, or going down and eating with the students which just isn't tasty. And every time I eat a meal I get nostalgic, nostalgic for moments I've never had. A simple meal at Sweet Apple Acres, where food is made with care for others, and not as a way to inflate your own pride.

And while my colleagues are really smart and interesting, well, they're just colleagues. We talk, but always about work. But I'm not too bothered. If I could finds friends like you and the others even one time in a lifetime that makes me lucky.

I did some reading on Blue Leaf, and there are ways of dealing with it, but they're all much less efficient than your technique. I think that I might be able to come up with something better, though, so give me a few months to work on it.

And thanks for telling me about that sunset. Reading that was the first time I felt really homesick. I need to take the time to watch more sunsets, it's so easy to forget or to be too busy.

Thank you again for writing to me.

Your friend,
- Twilight Sparkle.

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash,

Thank you for flying all the way down to Ponyville to visit me. I still can't believe you snuck away from your training like that. I hope you didn't get into trouble. I had detention once and it was awful. I had to wring all the mud out of dozens and dozens of clouds and I wouldn't wish that on anypony. But then I suppose if I didn't there would have been a mudstorm over Fillydelphia and then everypony would have gotten muddy...

I'm writing to tell you that Pinkie had her own going away party today. She didn't call it a going away party, though, she called it a "Relocating To Begin Implementation Phase" party, and I was worried because she hadn't invited you or Twilight, but she looked me in the eye and said "The party will come to them." And then she started laughing, though maybe it was more like cackling.

But now she's gone. And I was wondering if I could see you again? If you could get some time off or away from training again, if it's no bother. If you wanted to.

- Fluttershy.

• • •

From: Fancy Pants
To: Rarity

Dearest Lady Rarity,

My dear, I would like to thank you first and foremost for your gift of socks that you mailed Fleur and I along with your Hearth's Warming card. I hope you forgive this small indiscretion of mine, but in those, Fleur looks positively ravishing. Not only that, she speaks glowingly of both their warmth and comfort. And this gave me an idea! I realised that this was a trend that could surely catch on.

What do you say, Rarity? With my backing and your talent, we could undoubtedly make socks a fashion trend that would envelop the entire pony world. Nopony and nothing would be safe. If it has legs, we shall put those legs in socks. Winter Wrap Up, hoof in a sock. Running of the Leaves, hoof in a sock. Every single event, a hoof in a sock. Glorious.

I've got a charming little storefront in Canterlot you could operate out of, if you felt so inclined. So, what do you say, my dear? Up for a little revolution in the world of fashion?

Yours most sincerely,
- Fancy Pants

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Fancy Pants

YES TAKE EVERYTHING I HAVE

I'll have to consult with my cat, but consider me interested [wait, why am I consulting with Opal over this? I don't want him to know think that I'm a crazy cat lady]

This is the best offer and you are the best pony [Rarity, I swear, if you cannot demonstrate some basic self control then I am turning this letter around and driving me home]

I like your moustache and I had an idea for moustache socks [... I can't have written this.]

After some consideration, I have come to believe that your proposal has merit [a bit stuffy but it'll do, no reason to stress out about this too much or else I'll come up with more stupid ideas]

OH MY GOSH I'M GOING TO BE WORKING WITH FANCY PANTS!!!!!

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Fancy Pants

Dear Fancy Pants,

After some consideration, I have come to believe that your proposal has merit. I shall prepare a small range of samples and head out to Canterlot presently.

Yours sincerely,
- Rarity

• • •

From: Fancy Pants
To: Rarity

My dearest Lady Rarity,

I am jolly thrilled to hear that you accept. I must say, though, this idea of moustache socks seems quite fascinating. I had until this moment been deliberating on what we could do to provide a male version of this fashion trend but, by golly, you've already gone ahead and done it for me! Why don't you bring a sample of those with you when you arrive in Canterlot?

All the best,
- Fancy Pants

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Fancy Pants

Yes. That is a thing. That I shall do.

- Rarity.

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight,

It's the strangest thing, these letters. I feel like I've learned more about you after you left than I knew when we were together. Thanks for taking the time to write, it's come to get right quiet here in Ponyville recently.

The memory thing, especially, I never imagined of you. Normally when talking to somepony smarter than you, you assume they're just generally smarter than you and that's the end of it. I didn't figure that there'd be something to do with thinking that you'd be worse at than me, or that this problem could be the reason you came across as smarter. When you need to use books to remember, you must get really good at books, right? No wonder it was always your first resort.

I'm glad to hear you like Hoofington. Being honest, there was some small part of me that was hoping you'd get sick of it and come back to Ponyville. Just a small part, though, because you being happy is much more important than me being lonesome. It's just that Ponyville's lost some energy now that everypony's moving away. It's just me and Fluttershy now, which means that most problems get settled in very different ways than they used to. Quieter, safer, for sure, but never really quite as fun.

Fluttershy's doing surprisingly well recently. She finally sent off that letter to Rainbow and, next thing you know, Rainbow flies right on down to visit her. From what I hear, she just dropped everything she was doing and came to visit. Fluttershy's been walking on air ever since. It's sweet to see.

Rarity got a big business order and moved out to Canterlot to see it through. Pinkie's got her mystery project and is heading in the same direction. Hopefully they'll keep each other company. More likely they'll spend it fighting, though - Pinkie mailed another one of Rarity's drafts and Rarity was pretty enraged about it.

But it's just... I don't know, I shouldn't be writing this. It's just a bit lonely, And I'm just a bit jealous. Fluttershy has Rainbow coming down to see her, Pinkie and Rarity can keep each other's company, And that kind of leaves me outside the circle a bit. All I really have that's mine right now is writing these letters to you, and you're a scholarly pony who probably writes hundreds of letters every day, and it's probably not as big a deal to you as it is to me. I don't really have anypony else I can talk to, other than you, like this. Family's fine, but family ain't the same as friends. I'm sorry to pressure you, Twi', but your letters are the only contact I got left and I don't want to lose that.

Yours,
- Applejack

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Dear Applejack,

Please, Applejack. Don't worry about me not writing back. Don't worry about being left behind. I'll still write to you, no matter what. I do go through a lot of letters each day, true, but they're all students asking for extensions, colleagues asking for help; ponies needing things from the Professor and not caring - well, not having time - for the pony. And that's not their fault, they've got their own lives. But your letter is the only part of my life these days where I'm free to unwind, be myself, and think my own thoughts alongside yours. So don't be fearful, don't worry about me drifting away like the others. I'll be here. I promise.

It's winter, which means it's crunch time for the students. We hold the final exam on the first day of Spring, when the Weather Unicorns use magic to change the seasons, and the old tree in the middle of the courtyard blooms. The actual language of the school's programme hasn't been revised for centuries, which actually means that if the tree doesn't bloom then we can't hold the exams at all. There are a lot of rules like that, ancient, meaningless rules that we all follow. It seems silly, but the University is a place built on magic by inspired magicians. They had reasons for a lot of the strange rules they set down, and breaking them often has unexpected consequences. There's this one rule in particular about never passing notes, for any reason. Somepony tried that in Professor Sharpe Note's class and the words on the note wrote themselves into her forehead. She had to walk around with "Whitefire is really cute" on her face for a week, poor girl.

There's also the rules that were made because the founders were senile. There was an injunction against going on the fourth floor of the main building, something everypony took very seriously. They didn't know why - spell gone wild, ghosts, curses, the most ridiculous things you ever heard educated ponies saying. I went up there to investigate and found a floor of empty classrooms, as well as the old Chancellor's office. It had some of the most fascinating and rare books I'd ever seen in it, just lying around, collecting dust. I've come up here almost every week since I found it and there have been no signs of any disturbance, mystical or otherwise. In fact, the office is so nice I've actually cleaned it up and moved some of my things up here. It's private, so nopony can find me, which means I come here if I want to be alone with my thoughts. Like when I'm writing this letter.

I think that if I can achieve anything this school will truly appreciate, it's testing each of these nonsense rules and finding out which ones are important and which ones are superstition. I can't think of a better legacy than a series of solved mysteries.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Well, I did forget, but I wrote it down - I found a far more efficient way for dealing with Blue Leaf. You might not like it, but it works in all the models I make. When you notice a tree is infected, you have to stampede at least twenty ponies around the tree until all the leaves have shaken free. It'll also strip a lot of the healthy trees around the infected one, but it contains the situation before it can get any worse.

And remember, Applejack, like I said before: Don't worry about this. Your letters are more important to me than you know.

Yours,
- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Pinkie Pie

Dearest Pinkie Pie,

Firstly, I would appreciate it if you stopped kidnapping my customers. At very least, have your sky pirates wash before they attack Canterlot again. Every minute I had to spend in the presence of those ruffians had to be answered with an hour of cleaning and styling! And would it be such a frightful impossibility to get them to eat an orange every now and then?

Regardless, I did not write this letter to discuss our personal differences. I find myself needing some advice and, well, you are the only pony who I can really trust to keep a secret.

It's about Spike. I'm spending more time missing him than I think is healthy, and it's cutting into my productivity almost as much as the pirate attacks are. He was really getting to be quite the charmer towards the end, and, well, he was prepared to sacrifice for me. I've got ponies from all over Canterlot asking for my time, and yet they expect me to be an accessory for them. Like it's my job to make them look good, and any time I ask for something in return they look at me with horror, like I've just committed some incredible faux pas. I thought Blueblood was the exception, but he's the majority.

And I keep thinking of Spike and what he was prepared to give up for me. And how I never really gave up anything for him. I treated him the exact same way as I'm being treated now, like courting was just a one way street.

Oh, Pinkie. I'm at a loss. What should I do?

Most sincerely,
- Rarity

• • •

From: Pinkie Pie
To: Rarity

Well, if Spike makes you happy, and you miss Spike, and Spike has a - AAAH I ALMOST SLIPPED UP why don't you go and see Spike? Or if he's all sleepy when you get there, do a spell that'll skip you to when he wakes up? Or do a spell that'll make a party that'll wake him up! If you're unhappy, you should do what makes you happy!

Oh yes, and if you ever want to see your cat again, you will send me the patrol schedules to the castle by the next full moon.

- Pinkie Pie

• • •

From: Rarity
To: Pinkie Pie

Do what makes me happy? And give up my business in Canterlot just when things are starting to go well? Hmph! Obviously I went to the wrong pony for advice!

Take your dumb patrol schedules. You've got no idea how difficult it was to acquire these.

- Rarity

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash,

I really enjoyed your last visit. I can hardly believe how fast you've become. I mean, I always knew you were the best, but ever since you started training with the Wonderbolts you've become even better. That move you did, last time, where you tied those clouds together with that rainbow? It was amazing.

Did you want to come by again sometime soon?

- Fluttershy

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

I'm sorry again for doubting myself, and for doubting you, Twilight. I just had a bit of a dark mood. I'm not the sort to worry about how other ponies see me, but when you get told for so long that you're boring you start to believe it. Sorry to be, well, clingy.

It's good to hear you've got the courage to move into the creepy, haunted, and locked off section of the magic school. I ain't never heard any ghost stories start with that line. And rule about the tree blooming before the exams made me laugh; it's a good reminder. Before you can study books, you got to make sure that you're going to be able to eat!

Now, I took a group of ponies down to June Bug's farm, where she's been having some trouble with Blue Leaf herself and tried out the trick you came up with, and it worked like a charm. Truth be told, I was expecting some big magical ritual thing, or complex machinery. I wasn't expecting something so practical. Something good in Ponyville must have rubbed off on you.

As a result of the stampede, there were a lot of broken branches and trees dead from the Blue Leaf already, so it was a group effort to clear 'em up. We started piling them and were getting ready to haul the entire lot out to a ditch. And that's about when Apple Bloom pipes up and tells us we're doing it wrong. Without waiting for another word, she grabs Mac's saw and is in there, cutting and slicing and sawing. I went over to stop her, because it was dangerous for a little filly to be working with tools like that, but by the time I get closer she'd already sawed all the wood. Another couple of minutes, and she had made it into a wooden wagon, which was stacked high with all the remaining wood. And sure as sunlight there was a saw-and-apple cutie mark on her flank.

I'd never been prouder in my whole life.

Yours,
- Applejack

• • •

From: Spitfire
To: Fluttershy

Dear Fluttershy,

I apologise in advance for writing this letter.

Our new entrant and mutual acquaintance, Rainbow Dash, is currently enrolled in the Wonderbolts Advanced Flight Training. This is a regimen that requires commitment, dedication and focus. Rainbow Dash has been displaying none of these. Despite her natural skill, she is neglecting her training to make multiple long distance flights to and from Ponyville. To visit you.

We all want to see Rainbow Dash be all she can be. You have a part to play in making that happen. Would you be able to try and help her focus? Try not to invite her away from her training. Help her prioritise. Figure out what's important to her and important to you. I've tried talking to Dash about this directly but she is defiant. I believe it has to come from you.

I can't make you do anything you don't want to, but please, consider Dash's future. She could be one of the greatest fliers in Equestria - if she put her mind to it.

Sincerely,
- Spitfire

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash,

I really enjoyed our last meeting. It was good to see you. It's always good to see you.

But, thing is, I've got the annual bunny census coming up and it's slow and boring work, and I'm sure you've got better things to do than help me count bunnies. Maybe you shouldn't come around until it's done?

- Fluttershy

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash,

Um, wow, I didn't expect you to help me with the census. I'm still amazed you flew all the way out here to help me count bunnies. You were a really big help and you made a really big job go faster. The bunnies thought so too. We're all still thinking that you were the coolest thing ever.

So, um, how are you for this weekend?

- Fluttershy

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Dear Applejack

Oh wow, my congratulations to Apple Bloom! Carpentry is a wonderful job and it's plain that she enjoys it, and I'm looking forwards to seeing what she makes in the future!

It's funny, though; I've never seen a pony as blind to what makes them special as Apple Bloom. We could all see what her talent was, clear as day, but why couldn't she?

But in a way, wasn't that the point? If she, and the others, sat down and thought about it at any point they would have figured it out. But they never did that because they were so busy helping each other to find their talents instead. It's like they knew if they ever achieved what they were searching for they wouldn't have cause to be friends any more.

I hope they find a new cause. That their friendship proves stronger than that.

Yours,
- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight,

I see what you're really talking about. And it's sad, for sure, but its part of how the world works. See, when I was younger, I knew a filly called Daydrop. We were inseparable, did everything together. We mostly competed in rodeos and talent shows, and even had a bit of a group act going. We were just fillies, though, and most of the time our act ended with us tied up in the other's lasso. And then we'd argue for hours about whose fault it was.

And then...

I started working the farm. She committed to being a showpony and started travelling to keep up with all the shows. And we just... drifted apart. Without ceremony. Without nothin'. My life had just changed to not have a spot for her any more, and I forgot what it was like when it did. We only really saw each other when a rodeo came to Ponyville, and then we'd compete like in the old days, and wind up in a salt bar together. But there was this... gap. Like we didn't share common interests any more. Like all I knew how to talk about was apples, and all she knew how to talk about was rope tricks. And we each had our own friends and our own lives and we'd just trail off into these silences where we weren't sure how to bring back the magic that'd kept us going before. Stuck in a crowded room, desperately searching for something to say, some funny story to relate, wanting to make an excuse to leave but not having the courage to. Telling a story that's important to you and getting an awkward "that's really nice" in return.

I don't know how it happened, but my best friend became a pony who I just exchange nods with at the show. Nothin' more between us.

And it's happened other times, too. Good friends just drift away. They're still where they were, there just stops being time or reason to see them. The things you have in common stop being uniting factors. Or they're busy, so you leave 'em alone, so they'll have more time... and then you just stop asking. And just stop going around. And then the friendship's gone, like fog in the sunlight. And you didn't even notice it happened because now you're with your new friends, the next stage of your life.

Cycles rise and fall. Friends once closer than your own heart stop being recognisable. Regrets so sharp they make your chest hurt when you finally get around to remembering them.

- Applejack

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Applejack,

Darn it, Applejack. I've been crying all day because of your letter. It can't be true. I'm not going to let it happen to us. Not with you.

You're the only pony I talk to. Who I really, truly talk to. I've come to love the sight of that grey pegasus landing outside more than anything else, because I know that means I'm about to get a letter from you. I've found myself drifting, staring at the sky, waiting for your responses. It's like my life is being lived in between letters.

It's like it's something more than friendship at this point.

Do you feel the same way?

- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash

All right. I have to say this. You can't keep doing this, Rainbow Dash. You can't keep flying all the way down here just to see me. You've got to study and train to keep up. This is your dream, and you can't give that up just to see me.

- Fluttershy

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

Dear Rainbow Dash

I know I was kind of harsh in my last letter, and I'm really sorry. I didn't mean you should never come down and see me. It's been weeks. Maybe if you could find some time off, I could come to Cloudsdale to see you or something? If that would be okay?

- Fluttershy

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

I'm so sorry, Applejack. I was out of line and I made a stupid mistake and I said some things I shouldn't have and I can't imagine what you think of me. I didn't mean it. I was just rambling.

But please don't let it end like this, this silence, this nothing. Don't just turn your back on me, please. I take it back, I take it all back - can we just still be friends? Nothing else, just friends?

I'm sorry.

• • •

From: Rainbow Dash
To: Fluttershy

What do you want from me, Fluttershy?

Come over. Stay away. Come over. Stay away. It's like you're two ponies. Half the time you're smiling because I'm with you and half the time you're worried I'm going to be late in getting back. Your letters are all like this too. Some of them are asking me to come over and see you. Some of them are making excuses for cancelling dates you never asked me on.

I can stay. I can go. Pick one.

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Twilight,

When I got your second letter, I kicked down the door to the Post Office and yelled for a good ten minutes at the mailmare. I ain't never been so angry in all my years. And... I don't really regret doing it. She deserved it, for the pain she put you through.

Because I wrote you a letter. I swear as I'm the Element of Honesty that I wrote you a letter. And it was long, and beautiful, and poetic and it was writing like I'd never known I could even make. I'd worked on that letter all day to get it just right, make sure it came from the heart. And I'm scrawling this on a notepad in a wrecked post office.

But the letter must have gotten lost, and as Celestia is my witness, I wasn't the one to lose it. My answer then will have to come in a much shorter and direct fashion, a way that doesn't nearly do justice to you or what you deserve. And it's that I feel the same. Your letters are what I live for these days, and while not all my thoughts are about you, it's quickly getting to be that way.

I'm giving this to Derpy with the threat that if she doesn't run like Nightmare Moon were chasing her all the way to Hoofington and not stop until she's put this in your hoof, she'll wish that it were Nightmare Moon that was after her. I wish I could find the words to make this letter right, but I'm too angry to think and every moment I'm putting this off is hurting you all the more. And I can't have that.

- Applejack.

• • •

From: Fluttershy
To: Rainbow Dash

I can't. I can't pick one. You're asking me to choose between your dream and mine. I can't make that choice. I can't.

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Dear Applejack,

Thank you.

I'm sorry. I'm shaking too much to write. But not so much I can't write this. I think I love you, Applejack.

- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Rainbow Dash
To: Spitfire

I quit.

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Dear Twilight,

It's like one of those days when everything is right with the world.

Sun's up. Spring's here. Working the fields again. Feeling strong. And looking forwards all the while to my evening on Bay Hill where I'll be able to relax and write. It's another wonderful sunset. The sky's like a golden road leading from one horizon to the other. No artist could ever paint this in half the detail it deserves.

First off, Rainbow Dash came home. Permanently. She just quit the Wonderbolts. Upped and left. Didn't even tell 'em, she just left a note. She's staying with Fluttershy and it's sweet. One of those things which was meant to be. I don't know what they're going to do, what they've said to each other. But I think, whatever it is, it's for the best. Fluttershy was pining away without Dash, and Dash was spending all her time flying down here to see Fluttershy. Keeping them apart was doing nopony right.

Spring Dance is coming up, and wouldn't you know it, I actually got invited. First time that's happened in two years. Turned him down, o'course, I like to think I could do better.

Irrigation channel is working beautifully. If everything stays right, I reckon this year's crop will be the best in a while. I'm even going to try growing some strawberries. Always wanted to try growing strawberries but never really felt comfortable in doing so. I reckon I can pull it off.

Oh yes, and Pinkie Pie swung by to see off our cooking contest. She's got an eye patch now, by the way, but it switches eyes every time I look away for a few seconds, so I figure she's not been hurt by anything. Anyway, the contest came down to my French verses her "Pirate Grub". I won pretty handily, on everything except the drinks. Turns out that Big Macintosh, who was our judge of the day, prefers cheap rum to quality wine. Who knew?

Anyway. I hope you're doing as well as I am. Because I think I love you too.

- Applejack

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Applejack,

It's spring.

Which means that everything's a disaster right now.

Remember the old tree, the one that blooms when it's time for exams? Turns out some bright spark of a student got the idea that if they poisoned the tree to not flower when spring came then there'd be no exams at all. And they were right - the university rules forbid it, and nopony but me has the courage to try and break them. I like to think that I have the problem in hoof, though. I set two extra credit assignments to the class - one for anypony who cures the tree, and one for anypony who discovers the culprit. With luck the situation will resolve itself.

I'm so glad to hear about Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash getting together. Will they be going to the dance together? For that matter, will you be going stag? I'd love to join you, but the only way for my workload to decrease right now would probably be a fire. That is, if you don't think you can do better than me!

Congratulations on beating Pinkie, too. I really admire that you were willing to go so far out of your comfort zone to learn new things. That takes courage. Same thing with the strawberries.

I'm sorry I can't make this longer, Applejack. It's like winter didn't wrap up here, it just migrated indoors and turned into paper. I promise I'll write more as soon as I can.

Love,
- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Twilight,

The tree's sick? Darn it, if that ain't a case of putting the cart before the pony if I ever heard one.

Alright, let's do this and let's do this right. Tell me the exact type of tree you got going there and exactly what's wrong with it.

- Applejack.

• • •

From: Twilight Sparkle
To: Applejack

Applejack,

It's a Fire Cherry tree, and it's not blooming. There's a faint blue discolouration on the leaves, which also got a strange, sharp smell to it. The bark is peeling off in strips and some of the branches are very brittle. No matter what magic we use on it, we can't make it bloom; only generate these small, hard seed pods.

Yours,
- Twilight Sparkle

• • •

From: Applejack
To: Twilight Sparkle

Twilight,

Alright, sorry about the size of the attached package. What's wrong with your tree can be fixed, but it'll take time, and you need those blossoms now. So, I went out and purchased a Fire Cherry from a friend and had it mailed across to you; plant it in the courtyard and you should be golden.

Now, what's wrong with yours isn't a spell. It's a weed, we call it Old Memory. You put the weed under the bark of one tree, leave it for a few months, then extract and put it under another type of tree. The weed then starts messing with the new tree, making it more and more like the old one. From what you described, your tree got muddled into thinking it's a Eucalypt. Find the pony with the Eucalypt and you'll find your criminal.

Now that that's all dealt with, I'll respond to your last letter properly. Sorry my last was so short.

I did end up going to the dance, and I did end up going solo. It was a nice evening. I know you missed it last time around, so I'll try to describe what it was like, and a bit of the history.

When its wintertime, we stock up a lot of food and firewood so that we won't run out in the middle of a blizzard. We usually stock more than we need too, to be on the safe side. And so, if everything goes well, by the time we wrap up winter there's usually a fair bit of surplus. So everypony piles up all the firewood they didn't use, and sets out all the food they didn't eat, and there's a celebration. Normally there's between four and eight bonfires; this year we did six, which wasn't too bad.

So there are these six bonfires and tables with food and drink, in the middle of an open field under the stars. Fireworks are sent up. Most of the town comes to watch. The bonfires are set in a circle, the centre of which gets quite hot. Couples enter the circle to dance, normally five, six couples at a time. And they dance until the heat gets the best of them and they have to back out. Daydrop once explained it to me that the more devoted the couple, the longer they'd be able to keep dancing, even through the heat. Like a challenge to see which pair is prepared to go through the most to stay together.

Most pairs last ten, perhaps twenty minutes? Lyra and Bon Bon typically win the event, though. Lyra can tango, you know? She's really good. And over the top about it, too, puts on the mask and hat and rose in her teeth and everything. She spends the entire evening in character. My favourite was, "How can you stand the heat that long?" "Ze fires of passion, my friend, are far fiercer than ze mere burning of wood". So they wow us all, as usual, and we think that it's going to be the end of it. And then Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy step into the ring.

And they start dancing. It's a curious and sweet thing to watch, those two. Rainbow keeps coming forwards, challenging, and Fluttershy just steps around her, behind her, coming up by her side. Rainbow keeps looking for resistance that isn't there; you can see it with every step. Tense and waiting for a fight that's not coming. And then there's these moments where she relaxes and for a few seconds they're dancing in perfect harmony.

But it's hot in the middle of those fires, and before long they're both sweating. They keep going, though - Rainbow's being stubborn and Fluttershy's not complaining. And then, Rainbow sweeps her up, stops - and she drops her. Fluttershy falls backwards as Rainbow flies up into the clouds. And then there's the crack of thunder above, and Rainbow dives back down. She catches Fluttershy just before she hits the ground, and they kiss at the exact moment it starts raining. The bonfires quickly go out as the rain starts pouring.

Rainbow breaks away. Stands straight. Says, "We're going to dance here all night."

I didn't know the girl had such a romantic side.

Yours,
- Applejack.

Distance can drive us apart. It can also bring us closer together.

After all is said and done, and the ponies have gone their separate ways, the only way they have to keep in touch is through letters.

Thanks to RBDash 47 for the formatting.

Equestria Daily page: [link]

P2: [link]
© 2012 - 2021 Thanqol
Comments15
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Came back to this piece more than 4 years later, and it's still moving. I've actually been searching for it for a while, but couldn't really remember enough to find it. Found it, in a complete coincidence, through TVTropes!
Thanqol's avatar
I'm glad the story continues to be an inspiration!
This was such a truly well written piece, with amazing and in-depth characterization, and such a realistic take on growing up and friends moving away and the hardships and insecurities that come with it. I look forward to reading part 2!
Thanqol's avatar
Thank you. It's a story that draws a lot from my life.
Wow. This was BEYOND beautiful. I've never been a huge fan of letter-sending stories, but I've just been amazed at your talent. I didn't spot any errors, but if you ever need help with grammar or anything pertaining to the English language, I beg of you, ask me!
Thanqol's avatar
Thank you. I'm always glad when something I create touches someone.
i realy want to thank you for this beatifull story it's a bit of words but it's true words from inside, Thank you

PS: sorry for my really bad english i'm french =)
Thanqol's avatar
I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
RANDOMNUMBERS8192's avatar
First, absolutely beautiful. I've never seen TwiJack, FlutterDash, or Fancity written so well.

Second, you know something is going wrong with everypony's heads if Rarity is being funnier than Pinkie.
Thanqol's avatar
I'm glad you enjoyed my story!
Athelind's avatar
MrHugoDrax's avatar
Wow will have to come back tomorrow to finish this..
zsxd's avatar
aaaMAZING!!
the-pink-dragon's avatar
I LOVE this story! Thank you so much for uploading it here! Oh, and I love rarity's letter writing process. It's adorable.
RBDash47's avatar
"Yes. That is a thing. That I shall do."

I hear this in Rarity's voice every time I read it and it makes me laugh so much.
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