Epilogue: The Magic of Friendship
Dear Princess Celestia,
Sweetie Belle, Rarity's sister and the third of the golem fillies, finally got her cutie mark. When she and the other two initially came to explain it to me, I admit I freaked out just a bit, as Scootaloo made it sound like Sweetie had received her mark simply for not murdering a pair of bullies from their school. After getting further details directly from Sweetie Belle though, I believe her talent is not nearly so morbid.
After initially discovering the latent magic in the three fillies, it seemed obvious to me that they each represented their respective tribes in an almost symbolic way. As their talents manifested, this seemed even more clear. Scootaloo found that her talent led her to be—among other things—the fastest pegasus on record. Apple Bloom, in the earth pony tradition, grew a tree larger than has been seen in hundreds of years, and appears to have a powerful connection with lifeforce itself. As such, the fear I confided to you around the campfire that night was mostly because I know how powerful unicorn magic can be, and I feared Sweetie Belle—her veins literally coursing with that magic—would certainly manifest a talent for it as well. That combined power was very frightening to even contemplate.
But a most curious and amazing thing has happened. While there is no doubt that Sweetie Belle's ability with unicorn magic is great—perhaps even greater than my own was before I got my wings—I think her true talent is not in unicorn magic, but rather, the magic of friendship itself, something I've learned in recent years to be even more powerful.
I know that may sound ridiculous, but I think it's true. She's explained to me how she got her mark for singing to three timberwolves, and in her own words, "apologizing" to them for the one she had killed. Her friends corroborate this statement, amending that she was actually playing with the three as though they were "family pets." On top of that, I've also heard from Rarity and Applejack both that Sweetie has led her friends to make friends with the bullies I mentioned earlier, even inviting them to join their club.
That said, her mark itself is certainly odd, even though it seems to back up her story. It consists of three musical notes in front of a wolf's paw print. I've attached a sketch of it for you. As you'll recall from my letter last week, the filly herself has somehow transformed her previously injured leg into a metallic canine paw as well.
Many ponies in town find her and her metallic limb an odd sight to say the least, but it's certainly not doing any harm. Sweetie herself insists it's a sort of memento of the wolf she was forced to slay, and talking with her, she seems like a perfectly well adjusted and normal filly in every other way, despite the odd appendage.
The other members of the trio likewise seem to have embraced their new abilities quite well. Scootaloo, as I mentioned, easily out-flies any pegasus around, yet when she's not racing—or talking about the physics of racing—she, too, seems just like any other filly her age. Rainbow Dash continues to give her lessons in stunt flying, and I think it's great for both of them to spend time together as sisters. Of course, Scootaloo herself has a lot to teach, and both Dash and I have been spending time learning her strange techniques for supersonic flight and wingless hovering. I find it fascinating, both on a personal level, as well as academically. Tell Luna that I hope to one day fly up to her realm myself, and see the sky as it's meant to be seen.
Applejack's sister, Apple Bloom, is doing great as well. I owe her more than I can ever say, and I still get choked up when I think about what almost happened. The thought that I could've lost one of my best friends, save for that amazing little filly... Words aren't enough, but I can think of no way to repay her. I'm sure I'm not alone in my thoughts either. All of my friends feel that we owe everything to Apple Bloom for saving Applejack when none of us could.
I hope, now that all three seem to have received their cutie marks and realized their potential, we won't be in for anymore surprises for a while. Those three are still going to be a powerful force in the world, regardless, but I think I can rest a bit easier knowing we at least have some handle on what to expect now. As much as I love seeing new magic, it was getting a bit tiring, having to recalibrate my definition of impossible on a weekly basis.
Anyway, I hope you've been able to make progress with the Caribou. I hear that Gunnar enjoyed his impromptu visit to Ponyville, so maybe that will help with negotiations. If not, you could always threaten to send the Cutie Mark Crusaders his way if he doesn't agree to your terms. Just kidding, Celestia!
Lastly, looking at these fillies and their situation, and especially Sweetie Belle, I can't help but find parallels in my own life. Here's another young unicorn, finding she has an incredible talent for magic, and doing incredible things with it. Yet, unlike me, she seems to have skipped the decade of lonely study, and leapt directly into the literal magic of friendship. I foresee only good things for her in the future because of it, though I confess, there is a small part of me that might be a bit jealous. I can only imagine where I might be now, had I started my life with good friends beside me like she has, rather than waiting until moving to Ponyville to find them. Ah, but if wishes were fishes...
I can't go back in time and change things—and you know I've tried—but in all seriousness, I really am so happy to be where I am. I know I've said this many times over the past few years, but thank you so much for insisting I come here to make friends in Ponyville. My life is infinitely better because of it. Since moving here, I have seen so much, learned so much, and enjoyed so much that I fear I'll never be able to remember it all. Even in times like these, where I feel I'm barely on the sidelines at best, so many amazing things happen here, things I count myself lucky to be even the smallest part of. These three fillies, literally three wishes come true, are just the latest part of it.
Your friend, and always faithful student,
"Yeah, Sweetie?" Apple Bloom said.
"I was just thinking about how we all have those same stars on our cutie marks."
"Yeah. We're Stellar Sisters!" Scootaloo chimed in.
"Right, but we said that's kind of like Twilight Sparkle's mark, how her own stars represent the other Elements of Harmony."
"Well, I was thinking maybe we're kinda like that as well."
"In what way, Sweetie?" Apple Bloom said, not sure where this was going.
"You know how the Elements can combine their powers, and they're even more amazing when they do?"
Scootaloo connected the dots first. "Are you girls thinking what I'm thinking?"
A grin slowly spread across all three faces as they prepared for their three way hoof bump and signature rallying cry.
The world would never be the same.
And that, as they say, is that! Thank you all so much for reading, commenting, liking, favoriting, and sharing this story. A writer without an audience is not a happy beast, but I'm now happier than I ever would've thought possible back when I began work on this story. I hope you all enjoyed the ride! I know I sure did.
As promised, here's the alternate cover art I almost used. I like to think this would perhaps be the cover of the European edition if this story were a book.
Update: There's now a (mostly) standalone Christmas Special set between this and the sequel. Cinder Claws: The Caribou Legend Of Kol-Klor
Oh right, and did I mention there's a sequel?