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Day Nine: Strawberries And Love
By Sunshine Laughter


Hey sleepyhead. Time to wake up. It's a day nine morning, and that means we only have... um... let's see... you got here a day before me, so that...

"Huh? Wha? Unh.... Sunshine... I was having such a nice dream. What is it about you and mornings? I'm a pony of the night here. Always have been. More sleepy, less talky... nnnn..."

.... four more days until we ship out. Because I'm going with you, and your fourteen days is up in four days. Come on, Rosey-Posey-cute-little-nosey... I'ma lick your ears until you get up... mmnnn... ears... tasty ears... helloooo in there!!

"OH! You're impossible, you know that? There's no way I'm going to get any beauty sleep around you, is there?"

You don't need it. You're almost TOO beautiful as it is. I don't think I can take much more. Gonna have to find an ugly pony to cuddle with, so I don't just melt away from the pretty. You got nice ears, you know that?

"Hee hee! No! That tickles.... no! no! Now stop that, goodness, Sunshine! Hee hee hee! Alright, alright... what is it that has you so worked up... it's not... let me see... Muffin, Sunshine, it's still half an hour before the cafeteria even opens! So what's with the waking me up... mfff.... not that kisses are all....mmnnn... bad... but... "

I woke up and I couldn't sleep anymore and, well, you just looked so nice, and then... I just couldn't stand wasting any more of today, I guess. I watched you sleep for quite a while. The light kind of shimmers on your coat, did you know that? It makes it look like the ocean at sunset, when you breath. It's all sparkly, with the little soft, coppery hairs. And you smell nice too. And I was playing with your tail.

"You're certainly being romantic today, what with all the 'shining ocean' stuff and... what do you mean you were playing with my tail? What have you done to my tail, you little..."

I braided it! Look! It's cute! And that's 'shimmering' not 'shining'. Picked that word out special, I did. Don't hate on the multisyllables, cause words are like roses and they're my gift to you. And stuff.

"And stuff? You really are in an odd mood today! What brought all of this on, seriously?"

I... I'm not sure, actually. I guess I was just thinking about how we first met, and how well we've been getting along and everything. Remember, we talked for hours before I finally remembered to switch on the 'corder. You were so sad, there in the bathroom. I just... the moment I saw you... I just liked you. Even though I was still a human, I... I was thinking, before, while you were sleeping. I was attracted. To you. Even though you were a pony and I wasn't. Is that weird?

"Hee! Probably. Yeah, I'd say it's weird. And that's fine with me. If you hadn't felt that way, maybe we wouldn't have ended up together, right? I like weird. Stay weird, alright? Especially if it means you want to stay with me."

It was instant, Rose. That was what was so strange for me. It was like something in me just went 'ding!' and I knew I didn't want to be anywhere in the world except right there, sitting on the bathroom tile, next to you. I've never felt anything like it. It felt really strong, and really right and I didn't know what to make of it, except I was gonna be there with you.

"I kind of felt the same thing. Sort of."

Really? What, tell me what you felt? What was I like when you met me?"

"I was in the back of the bathroom because I didn't know anyplace else to go. I didn't want to be in the main room, because I was afraid Razor might come out and do something bad to me... Celestia, it's just impossible to think of Lavender as ever having been Razor now, you know? Sorry... it's just strange to think about is all... anyway, Razor was pretty vindictive and stuff, so I was hiding out, basically.

I kind of cried a bit, because those tiles are cold and I felt really alone. I mean, I'd just been ponified that day, and then my only friend kicks me out, yelling at me that I'm not really Millicent anymore and 'Where is Millicent' and 'I want Millicent back' and really bizarre junk like that, right? But then you walk in, and you kind of look all scared too."

I looked scared?

"Oh yes. You looked terrified."

I don't think I looked scared. I mean Gloria had just been all up in my face and everything, but I knew where the couch was. It wasn't like her kind could scare me or anything...

"You were scared, Sunshine. You were shaking. I could smell it in you. Pony noses, remember? It's not like you can hide emotions with noses like these."

Um... yeah. Alright. Fair enough. It's weird, isn't it? Sometimes, smell is almost too much!

"I know what you mean! When I put my nose next to you, after dinner, I can smell the food inside you, through you. Have you noticed that? It's a good thing we're changed enough to enjoy that kind of input, because I think, as a human, it would have seriously weirded me out!"

Oh, yeah. It's like a whole new world made out of smell. It's like a new sense. I can't even equate it with smell as I knew it before. Yeah, I've noticed that too. And that human doctor who wears the perfume?

"Oh, Luna, it's like a truck smashing into my nose at seventy or something! Perfume car-wreck!"

I can smell her even through the door. I smelled that once during dinner, even over the food. Seriously.

"I believe you. And I know she doesn't use that much, but from what I've heard, they're told not to wear any at all, right, because of just this thing."

Huh. I guess they have to do a lot of little things because of our better senses and all that. I never thought about it before.

"Anyway, you were pretty frightened, Sunshine. That's nothing to be ashamed of. You said she pulled a knife on you, that's pretty scary. I'd be scared, and back in the favela... well... that was then. Nevermind. But it's OK that you were scared. In a way, it was the best thing, because then I wasn't scared of you. I felt sorry for you, because of how I was feeling."

So you took pity on me, because I was little lost human in the big dark bathroom?"

"Hee! Something like that. Ow! Come on, help me unbraid my tail. You did this, help me undo it!"

Aww... I thought it looked pretty!

"You didn't do it right, though. It's all... off center, and... that's not how braiding goes... who taught you how to braid hair?"

Nobody. I... didn't much care for learning those sorts of things, so I never paid attention. My grams liked to do stuff with my hair, but... I just kind of put up with it. I probably should have paid attention. I kind of wish I had. She'd wash my hair once a week, and do it up and... I miss her. You would have liked my gramma. I wish she could have lived to be a pony.

"Umf... I wish I could have met her too. There, see? That could have ended up a knot. I don't even know how to undo a knot as a pony. No more braiding my tail, until you learn how to, alright?"

I'm sorry.

"Oh... don't look so sad, I didn't mean it like that. Listen, if you really want to braid tails, I'll teach you, alright? There, there. That's better now. A nice smile. You smiled at me when you first saw me, when I was lying on the floor in the bathroom. You just about grinned, it was the biggest smile, like you'd just found treasure or something. Not until you sat down, when we were first talking, that's when you smiled. I just loved that. It made me feel all better. It was like the sun coming out. Hey, Sunshine, how's that for romantic?"

Hee! So, you... felt... something for me, too?

"Of course I did, silly. That's what I'm trying to get across... careful, that's the last of it... ahh... you can just groom my tail there while I tell you how wonderful you are."

I can live with that.

"Heh! So, when you sat down and started talking with me, it just made me feel safe. And I didn't feel alone anymore. But the weirdest thing was that it all just felt natural, like I'd known you forever already. I'd never felt anything like that before. I just plain couldn't have, as a human. I wasn't... very trusting, back then. But... I was trusting of you, and I have no idea why. I don't think it was just because I was new to being a pony, either, because I haven't felt that way again with anypony else. It was just like... we fit... somehow."

Mff... yeah! I felt that way too! It was like... somehow I already knew you or something. It was really weird. Love at first sight, I guess. Wow, I guess it really happens, at least sometimes.

"Love at first... I.... well... so... um... that's what I felt when I first met you, Sunshine."

Hee! There. I think I have your tail all nice and neat. I'm sorry I braided it wrong. It just seemed like... well it was so much fun at the time, and... I suppose maybe I thought I did a better job than I did and that you might think it was cute... or something.


Yes, my delicious mare of the morning?

"Um... when you said... do you think you lo... um... nevermind. Hey, look! It's time for breakfast! Nearly, anyway."


Heh! You couldn't have timed that any better. I'm impressed. Strawberries sound good. I've always wanted to taste real strawberries, how about you, Rose?

"I didn't think it would ever be possible, so it's not something I ever really thought about. But that doesn't mean I don't want to. Strawberry flavoring is one of my favorites, so the real thing is probably going to be amazing, at least I hope so."

Alright, just give me a moment to get dressed, OK?

"... Whu? Heh?"

Hah! Hee hee hee hee...

"Heh hee hee hee!"

Oh... hee heh heh... I guess that's not... hee hee... a big part of our lives anymore, huh?

"Well... you kind of have to put on your holocorder."

Yeah... it's true, I kind of do feel a little naked without it. More naked. Hee hee!

"Here, I'll get the door. MPPHFF. There. I'm not sure we count as being naked, as such, Sunshine."

How do you figure - whoa! Let's hoof it, there really is a line forming, and fast. Strawberries really must be a big deal!

"Well, it's not like we show any skin. We've got lovely coats covering us. We have tails to cover our backsides, so... I figure we're dressed. That or the whole concept just doesn't even apply at all any... look! It's Jan and Meadowdawn! They're waving at us, come on, maybe we can join them."

Isn't that cutting in line?

"We're just joining our friends. Pony Breakfast Club, right? Jan! Meadowdawn! Good morning!"

"Please join us. We've been waiting for you to show up."

"Honeydrizzle had to go to the potty, she'll be back in a bit. Have you seen the rest of us?"

No, Rose and I just got out here, Meadow. We were lazing about talking until the gong sounded. Wait! here comes Newmoon and Lavender... heya, ponies!

"Hey, everypony! Didja hear? Strawberries today!"

"Yeah, like Lavender says, STRAWBERRIES! From Equestria! Anypony here ever taste strawberries before?"

"Jan here heard about the shipment last night. That's why we're already in line. Apparently a few other ponies heard about it too, which is why we're not first in line, but hey, at least we're here. Pony Breakfast Club rules!"

"Thank you so much, Meadowdawn, for saving us both a place in line. It's nice... to be... part of something."

"Good morning, Sun, Rose, Meadow, Jan, Newmoon, Lav! Where's Honey?"

"Aquamarine and Goldenrod! Honeydrizzle is in the bathroom. she is!"

"Pony Breakfast Club Rules! Whoo!"

"Honeydrizzle's back, that's the last of us! We're all together now!"

"Hi! Wow, everypony's here now. I just stepped away a moment ago. Morning, everypony. Ooh! Our new members, too! Newmoon, Lavender! Pony Breakfast Club is the best!"

You know, Rose, I really like this. I like our little Brekky Club.

"I do too, Sunshine! We're all such friends now!"

Yeah... I guess we are. Hey, grab a tray, everypony!

"I wonder what else will be served, other than the strawberries of course."

"Who cares, Jan? STRAWBERRIES. From Equestria? Does anything else matter?"

"Actually, Meadowdawn, it rather does, at least to me. I am hoping for some cream. Or perhaps even some french toast."


"Cream was traditionally served with strawberries in many parts of the world, Sunshine. According to what I have read, it enhances the experience of eating strawberries."

"I'll just be happy to have real strawberries no matter what. But if they have cream, I'll be sure to try it with them Jan!"

"I think it should be very good, Newmoon. Oh, and welcome to your first official Pony Breakfast Club. You as well, Lavender."

"Thank you! Oh, hello! Ooh! Yes, strawberries PLEASE! And what else... pancakes - hey, Jan, they have pancakes, that's kind of like french toast - yes, I'll take some of them too... they're haycakes? Cool! Oh! Oh! Yes, I want the juice, too! It's orange juice? It's real too? Wow! This is gonna be GREAT!"

Haycakes please! Those must be the strawberries! Oh, please! Ooh, eggs. Thank you. Juice? Sure!

"Haycakes for me as well, orange juice, strawberries and do you have any cream? Yes, please. And I would also like some of the scrambled eggs, too."

"Oh, wait! I want eggs as well! Please? I didn't know there was eggs."

"They say eggs make your coat shiny. But I think it's because of our big brains."


"We're lacto-vegetarian herbivores for a reason, I believe. It takes a lot of protein to sustain sapience. Frankly, I am surprised that despite being pony-like in form, that Equestrians do not eat meat."

Ewww.... wow. Even the thought of that really gets me. Wow. I think eggs are enough.

"I kind of see Jan's point. Most of the old Earth animals, when they were alive, the most intelligent ones ate meat. At least as part of their diets. All the great apes did. Actually, I think even the monkeys did too."

"That is correct, Rose. Apes and monkeys both ate meat regularly, about once a month. It has been theorized that the need to hunt for meat is one of the primary factors that drove the evolution of intelligence in humans."

"But what about ponies? What made them smart, then?"

Celestia. Celestia and Luna. Don't forget, Equestria isn't like our universe. Things don't evolve there. Everything was created, not formed naturally. Or so they keep telling us.

"That's a strange thought, isn't it Sunshine? Hang on, gotta carry my tray to the table. MFF..."

MNFFF....MFF... Ah! There! Hey! I didn't spill anything! Not a drop!

"I lost a berry!"

I'll get it. Fmfff.... here. Here you go!

"Wow, thank you Sunshine!"

Not a problem, Aquamarine. I guess these things are precious, every little one.

"Excuse me, Newmoon? Could I sit there? I want to be near Aqua."

"Oh! Sorry! I was just so eager... I wasn't paying attention."

"Alright! Alright! The Official Breakfast Pony Club is now in session!"

"Hee hee hee!"

"Hah hah!"

"Oh, sweet Luna... I can't believe these... strawberries...."

Oh, sweet, loving Celestia... I've never tasted anything like it! They're tart, yet sweet... oh, so sweet, and the smell and the juice...

"Historically, some have considered strawberries the greatest of all fruit. Oh, attention everypony! I have an announcement to make!"

Jan? What is it?

"Yes, what it it Jan... oh.... straaaaawwwberrrriiieess...."

"Yes, well... I'll wait for Honeydrizzle to... come back to us..."

"Ahhmmm.... sorry... sorry Jan... but, well. You know."

"I do indeed. I have enjoyed the strawberries greatly myself. Especially with the cream, I highly recommend it. First, everypony, I have managed to achieve THIS!"

JAN! That's amazing! You... you're lifting a strawberry with your horn! Congratulations!

"That's WONDERFUL Jan! I knew you'd finally get your magic! Isn't it lovely, Sunshine?"

"JAN! I am really, really impressed!"

"I wanted to demonstrate this to all of you. I have come to see you all as... well, as my friends."

"We are!"

We're all friends at the Breakfast Pony Club!

"Oh, I agree Sunshine! We're all friends!"

"Um... us too?"

Yes. Of course, Newmoon and Lavender. Friends.

"Thank you, Sunshine."

"I have a second announcement!"



"Ooh! What is it?"

"I have finally chosen a proper Equestrian name for myself. I think it is an important step in our new lives to choose a new name. Names have power, I reason, and in choosing a pony name, we commit ourselves wholly to our new species, our new nation, and our new existence."  



...O...K. That's some pretty grand speechifying there, but...

"Oh, don't tease, Jan... I mean... just..."


"Muffin, what a drama queen..."

"Snowflower. From now on, I am named Snowflower. I am Snowflower the unicorn."

"That's a pretty name!"

"I like it!"

"It does suit you. Did you just go on your color, or...?"

"My white coat was a factor, that's true, Goldenrod. But the idea also came to me in the moment when I finally succeeded at lifting a small object. I've been very worried that I would never have any control over my magic at all. I still can only lift and move very small things, and as you can see...."


"I got it! Oh... ulp. Sorry. Hey, you can have one of mine... I still have one. Here, just take mine. I didn't mean to gobble it."

"It's alright, Meadowdawn. But... I will have a strawberry from your plate as compensation. They... they really are good."

"Oh, I completely agree!"

"Hear hear!"

"So, when I found I could finally do anything at all with my horn, I felt like... I felt like I had just come out of a very long winter, and was seeing the first sign of spring. As in the old motion pictures. I am sure you have seen images of flowers growing as winter vanishes. Thus 'Snowflower'. To me, the name suggests that I may yet have hope of potential."

That is a beautiful sentiment for your name, Snowflower. Welcome to the Breakfast Pony Club, Snowflower the Unicorn!


"Who can do real magic now!"


"Huzzah? Meadowdawn?"

"Yes, 'huzzah!', it's a real word, Newmoon. It's fun!"

"Then... HUZZAH! Um... for Snowflower!"

"Thank you, everypony. Whoo! I dare say this is one of the happiest Breakfast meetings yet!"

"You know, Snowflower, it really is."

"I agree with Rose. It just seems happy today. Maybe... maybe it's the strawberries?"

"Hee hee! Strawberries are pretty amazing, Aqua, but... I think it's just... we're all here now."

We're all here? I'm not sure what you mean by that, Meadowdawn.

"It just seems complete now, somehow. With Newmoon and Lavender being so nice, and there's nine of us now, and we all have proper names, and we've all agreed to be friends, too. It's... it's like today was the official day we really became... the Pony Breakfast Club. We're complete."

"I see, Meadow, it's like we're a team now. It's like were ready."

Yeah... Rose. I get it. We're ready for Equestria now. I think that's it. We, all of us, we have each other. And we have names. And we all have a hoof up on the abilities that define what we can do... like Snowflower finally getting her magic. And I can fly, and Rose can grow plants and all of us can... do the stuff we need to be able to do. At least a little. Equestria doesn't seem so strange now. I feel like I can fit in.

"YEAH! I do too! I think maybe Sunny has it!"

'Sunny'? I'm... Sunny, now? When did I become 'Sunny'?

"Just now!"

"You have to admit it's kind of amazing somepony hasn't called you that yet. I mean, we call Honeydrizzle 'Honey' most of the time, and you just know everypony's going to call Snowflower 'Snow' for short. It's just a natural thing, I think. Sunny."

"Personally, I would prefer to be called 'Snowflower' in its entirety. I mean, I just came forth with the name, let me enjoy it a while before it get's shortened for the convenience of others. Please!"

"Sunny is a cute name, Sunshine!"

I suppose. But then you have a one-syllable name, Rose. Can't shorten that any further. 'Ro' maybe, but that just sounds beyond lazy.

"Ro, Ro, Ro my boat! Hee hee hee!"

(Yeah, you just give me a chance...) Fine. Fine. Call me 'Sunny' if you have to, but at least call me 'Sunshine' occasionally. It's only two syllables, for muffin's sake!

"Ommmmnnnnn.... Oh... PONY, I love strawberries!"

"Um hmmm..."

"Snowflower? If you magic a strawberry into your mouth, does it taste different? OOH! Can you float one of mine into my mouth?"

"YES! Me next! I wanna try a floating berry!"


The arising of Equestria has brought profound changes to our world, and offered us all new ways to see both ourselves and others. With the advent of the Conversion Bureaus, what defines a person under both law and custom has been greatly expanded and redefined. With the expansion of personhood comes also an expansion of the nature of relationships of all kinds.

We at the Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations are here to help in the new, and complex times.

Whether you are currently in a romantic relationship with a native Equestrian, or a Newfoal, or you are considering a relationship with a native Equestrian or Newfoal, the Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations exists to provide in depth counseling and relationship services to all qualified Red-Grade or higher employed workers within the world corporate structure.

Whether the need is couples-or-more counseling, cross-cultural adaptation, or sexual and social concerns, the Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations is on call, 24 hours a day, with a trained staff of both Human and Equestrian help ready to assist you in your time of crisis, or even if you merely have questions or concerns.

This is a Worldgovernment Assisted Program with a sliding scale rate. We even provide free services for qualified, ranking corporate workers.

Touch now or say 'FREE!' to see if you qualify for free, or reduced cost.

Once, humanity was alone in the cosmos. But now we have new friends, new lovers, and new lives thanks to the expansion of Equestria. There is no reason to feel alone or isolated, and there is help for all of us beginning new relationships in our new, exciting, and much larger worlds.

Please note that the Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations is a counseling program and does not provide contacts for interspecies dating, nor does it provide Species Conversion services of any kind. The Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations is not responsible for the actions of those who receive assistance or counseling, nor from any other causation, implied or overt. The Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations does not promote interspecies relationships, but only provides support for those already in existing relationships, or those already considering such relationships.  

The Yutani-Tyrell Center For Interspecies Relations is your doorway to a bright new future and a better life with the one you love, or the one you want to love. Because while friendship may be magic, love is what the magic is for.™


"Don't you have language class?"

Yeah. But it isn't like I'm doing that well or anything. Equestrian is hard, and today was supposed to be on the three scripts they use and frankly... I don't think I'm going to be doing a lot of writing in any case. I'm a pegasus, my job will be flying and weather and stuff like that. I didn't get the impression that there's a lot of paperwork with any of that.

"Sunshine! They told us about making those kind of assumptions. Any pony can do just about any job, remember? Just because you have wings doesn't mean you are consigned to a life of doing weather. You might want to start a business, or write your memoirs... who knows, maybe you might even end up doing stuff in Canterlot for the court - you never know!"

Memoirs? Doing stuff in Canterlot? Like what exactly?

"I don't know... but I bet it would have writing in it. Canterlot is the capitol, and all governments have lots of paperwork. Governments always have paperwork. I'm not saying anything about Canterlot seriously, it's just that knowing how to write is really, really important. We are getting the special treatment getting to go through a Bureau, remember, not like most people in the world. I think we should make use of it."

Rose, I understand what you are saying. But... I really want to see what you do. You skipped class to see me fly. I want to see you grow those flowers. I want to taste them when they bloom. I want to see your special magic.

"Sunshine... I'll grow lots of things for you. I can show you some of it after dinner! I don't want you to give up something important just for this..."

This is like your graduation thing, isn't it? It's kind of a big deal, isn't it?

"Well, it's not that big of a deal. Yes, it is kind of like a final exam sort of thing, but it isn't like any grade I get is going to matter or anything. Miss Floret just thought that it might give us something to work towards. A feeling of accomplishment!"

And you've been working for this. You go to the greenhouse almost every night and practice. Lately, you've been getting up in the middle of the night or early in the morning to tend your berries. Don't think I haven't noticed.

"I didn't mean to wake you. I'm sorry. I thought you were sleeping."

That's not important, Rose! This exam-thingie is what's important. Obviously, this is important to you. I feel bad that you didn't think I would want to see it, to be there for you.

"It's... not exciting... like flying is. It's just... growing plants. It's kind of slow."

Not exciting? NOT EXCITING? Rose! Come on! All of our lives we've been living on a dying planet, the ecosystem is wrecked, all the beauty the Earth once had is only in old movies and documentaries, and everything to eat is artificial! You can make things grow. Sweet Celestia, Rose, think about that! Yeah, I can fly. I'm happy about that. But... flying doesn't feel magical - I mean, I know it is, I know every time I flap my wings I'm violating every law of physics there is here, but... it just feels like normal. Like trotting in the sky, alright?

But growing things! You put your hoof down, you sing a song or tell a story and green, beautiful, tasty things start crawling out of the ground, eager to make you happy! That is so magic it's almost creepy!

"My plants don't crawl!"

Rose, they move in real time. They wiggle and squirm, turning and... growing. It's just bizarre as muffin and twice as awesome! You can't tell me that isn't awesome. I mean... they do crawl. It looks like crawling to me. It's completely fairybook stuff. Flying is boring compared to that! You can make plants wriggle right out of the soil! The first time I saw it, I was actually a little scared!

"It isn't scary at all! My plants love me. I can... tell. They just want to grow. They're just peeking their little heads up to say hello!"

Hello? Little heads? Rose... listen. I want to cheer you on, alright? I want to be there while you win the grand prize or... whatever the goal is. I just want to be there for you, like you were there for me when I flew for the first time. Same deal. Only... it's yours. It's your plants. I want to see them. I want to see this. Do you not want me to come?

"No! Of course not! I would love to have you there. It's just... I just didn't want you to give up something you might need, that's all. I just figured it wasn't that big of a thing."

You've been working on this all week, and you didn't think it was that big of a thing. No. Rose - I like you. A lot. I like that you're an earthpony. I like your special affinity with growing living things. I like your magic. I like your smile. I like the way you smell, and how nice you are, and how you try to help me, and, well, everything about you. I like cuddling with you and making love with you and... I want to be with you in Equestria. I care about what you do, and what matters to you. I care... I care a lot. Alright? A... a lot. And I want to be there for you. When you grow your flowers today.

"You really do, don't you?"

What have I just been saying? I'm not asking you to feel the same way, and I'm not... I'm not trying to tie you down or anything, I just care is all, and I would like the privilege of seeing you out-grow all the other ponies and make delicious flowers and win the big prize and be brilliant. That's all.


Whoa, what was that for? I don't mind, I mean you can kiss me all you.... MMmmmphhh mmmm....

"It's for caring, Sunshine. It's because I feel the same way about you."

Maybe. We've only known each other for a week and a half. I don't expect you to...

"This is stupid. Stop. Just stop, Sunshine."

What? Huh? Did I do something wrong?

"One of us has to say it, it might as well be me. I love you. I've fallen head over hooves for you. I don't know how that can happen, I don't know if it's because we're ponies and that's how it works now, I don't know anything except that I feel like I've waited my whole life for you.

And it isn't that you make me feel good in bed, or that I like kissing you, it isn't passion talking. I know passion, and besides, neither of us is in heat. I love you, I don't know how that can happen so quickly, but it did, and now I've said it, and I've probably messed up everything but I just couldn't take all this dancing around.

So now you know how I feel. If you need to leave, I understand. I need to get to my class, alright?"

Wait! Waffff!

"Ow! That's my tail!"

Yeff, I knowf. Ftop afeddy, affight?


I... I love you too. No, seriously! I've felt so strongly about you I couldn't stand it, from the first time we met. I just figured you couldn't possibly feel the same way. I mean... it's nuts, it's crazy, it's...

"Says the talking blue pegasus that can violate physics with her wings."

Yeah.... um, there's that. OK. So... we love each other. We... both admitted it. Both of us. So now what?

"So, we relax, Sunshine. I think we've been kind of worrying about whether we felt the same way about each other. I know I've been worrying about it a lot. I was afraid you couldn't possibly feel the same way in such a short time. Especially considering how sure I feel inside, and..."

I felt the same way! I felt totally worried that you didn't feel the way I do! I kept telling myself, hey, it's just a 'Bureau romance', that you just felt lonely and hurt because of Razo.... Lavender and everything, and you just needed someone to be safe with and.... and....

"Come on. We can talk about this more, later. I really do want to show off what I've learned. We love each other, it doesn't make sense, and I'm alright with it. How about you?"

I'm totally alright with it!

"Well... alright then."

"Rose Vale! I'm glad you could make it."

"Um... sorry Miss Floret. I... got caught up... in stuff... and..."

"Hmmph... so I see. Well, Take your place. Have your marefriend stand over there, please, with the rest of the observers."

Marefriend? Cool! Is it that obvious to everypony?

"Hee! I guess so. OK, wish me luck... marefriend!"

Hee! Luck. Mmmph.... Mmmm.

"Mmm.... Ok, shoo. Over there."

"Rose? Are we... ready yet?"

"Sorry Miss Floret."

Hmmm... I didn't think there'd be others here. Hi!

"Hi! So you're the pegasus that Vale goes on about. My name's Velvet. Velvet Night.

Wow... what a cool name. Velvet Night. Pony, that is one awesome name. I'm... Sunshine. Sunshine Laughter.

"I know. Vale talks about you constantly. Mostly to her plants, but pretty much to anypony else, too. I'm here for Gladiola. She's the pale yellow one over there. White mane, kind of curly? Yeah, that's her. She and I got hitched about a month before they revealed Equestria popping up in the ocean. We were trying to get a permit to have kids - I was Blue Level, did product packaging design, she was my manager. Office romance, but it worked out. Couldn't get a permit, but now I guess we can have all the foals we want in Equestria! Go figure!"

Um... well. Indeed. Congratulations... or... something. Hey, it looks like they're about to begin!

"Yeah. It's pretty exciting, isn't it! Your mare fill you in on how it all works?"

Not... as such. I understand they need to grow something within a time limit... or some such...

"Heh. Hey, don't feel bad. I had to drag it out of Glads. She was like 'Oh, you're a magical unicorn and this must be so boring for you' and such. Pff. I think growing things is pretty amazing, and besides, agriculture is the foundation of all civilization. Well, it used to be, before nanotech, but still, the point is valid because we never would have reached nanotech without agriculture first, am I right?"

Uh... yeah... so... how does all of this work, anyway?

"Every pony in the class gets a box of dirt, right? The dirt is special, it's Equestrian dirt, imported dirt. High thaumatic content, or so I'm told. They each get one seed. The seeds are these edible flowers. Glads tells me they're kind of like an old extinct Earth flower called a 'hibiscus'. It used to be used to make soft drinks and candies and stuff. This is the closest thing to it in Equestria. A real treat, or so she tells me. We haven't had it in the cafeteria yet. So, they get this seed, and they have exactly half an hour to grow it and get it to bloom."

Is there some kind of prize or something? I had the impression that there was a competitive part to this.

"Oh, biscuit, yeah! Big old prize, if they do it right. They get to eat the flowers! Apparently these things are dee-lih-shusss. I mean, really yum. Glads is going to let me share hers when she wins."

Um... so the prize is getting to eat the flower? What if everypony makes their flower bloom?

"Then Floret judges on size and color. And it's not just one flower. The winner takes all here, Sunshine. Whoever wins is gonna be up to their hocks in the tastiest flower in Equestria! And that is going to be my Gladiola, of course!"

It is, is it? We'll just see about that, mister fancy name. I say my Rose Vale is going to make her flower bloom like the sun and shine twice as bright!

"Glads has been practicing every night and morning for a week. Give it up now."

My Rose has been doing the very same thing! She can make plants squirm, Vel-vet. Squirm. No, I mean crawl. Craaaawwwwlll.

"Crawl, squirm, meh. Glads made a dandelion tie itself in a knot. Saw it myself. Grew up, curled over, through, a knot. It's gonna be flowers for dinner tonight."

Yeah? Well we've got the power of love on our side! L- O - V - E. Love. I can taste those petals right now. In my mouth.

"Love, Ok. We've got the power of practice and study. I've been helping Glads memorize the entirety of the Foals Guide To Magical Gardening, fourteenth edition. You just tell her the page number and Glads can quote the text. I'll think of you as I chow down on flowers, featherpillow."

The... entire book? To..together? Um... well.

"It's in the bag. Don't worry, little pony, you fillyfoolers never had a chance. Growing things is reproduction, and that's always the province of stallions and mares. Maybe I'll toss you a flower at the end, how's that?"

FILLYFOO.... Oh, you sad, still-human little horner. It is SO on, now. You listen up, you anthropocentric fake-ass pony - in Celestia's world - OUR WORLD, there is NO DIFFERENCE between straight and gay - they don't even have a word for that Muffin human Swirl, because love is LOVE in Equestria, and whatever dung you got off the hypernet here in Hairless Ape-Land doesn't mean Cinnamon anymore!


"Why you flappy little featherduster! GLADS! SHOW 'EM HOW IT'S DONE! BY THE BOOK! You think you're all native, do you? You're a newfoal like the rest of us, and the laws of Nature still apply. Fillyfooler."

Heh. You got that wrong, monkey-brain. In Equestria, there is no nature, only ponies making everything work. And that's where you fail, psudo-pony.

"Do we have a problem here? Do you two need some time outside?"

Um.... no. No! Sorry, I'm very sorry... miss.... uh...

"Floret. The instructor's name is Floret, you silly pony. I am so sorry for my previous outburst, Miss Floret. This pegasus was being entirely troublesome and..."

"QUIET! Both of you. I don't know what your issue is, and I do not care. But if there is any more shouting, you will be asked to leave. Am I clear on this matter?"


"Oh I quite assure you that..."


"Ah. Ahem."


"Yeah, laugh it up while you can, carpet queen."

At least I know how to keep house properly, needle-horn. Now excuse me, I have to do my show.

"Your show?"

See the holocorder hanging around my neck? Say hello to your millions of adoring fans, pin-head.

"No one told me this would be holocorded! I object! I did not give my consent to be holocorded! I want that stopped now! I want every copy erased! I..."

You don't need to give your consent, Velvet Darkness, because I've got a primary mandate from the Worldgovernment and the Ministry Of Propaganda And Infotainment. And you are so being watched from every kiosk and terminal, holoscreen and recorded straight to romball right this moment and there is nothing you can do about it.

"T-that's Velvet NIGHT. Not 'Darkness'. And... I... of course have the utmost respect for the Worldgovernment and the Ministry and..."

And that is what separates the ponies from the monkeys! MUFFIN the World Government, and the Ministry can go straight to Cinnamon Swirl. I am a PONY, and a loyal subject of Their Majesties the Princesses Celestia and Luna of Equestria, and love is LOVE, and some stallions need to get gelded, and my beautiful, lovely, TASTY Rose is going to win this thing. So shut your fool muzzle!

"Why I... Gah!"

Indeed. Fool. OK, all of you watching, the contest here is already in progress, sorry about that, but I needed to deal with a monkey in a pony suit first. So, what you are seeing here is about fifteen earthponies and as many boxes of very special soil imported directly from the homeland itself. In each, a single seed from a very special flower, considered to be one of the tastiest in all of Equestria. I am told that it resembles the extinct hibiscus of Earth, for those that may want to know.

"I'm the one that told you all of that! You're just paraphrasing ME!"

Hush, monkey. Now, as you can see, each of the ponies, including the lovely Rose Vale, considered by those in the know to be the front runner in this competition...

"I object!"

...are each approaching the issue of how to use the powers unique to earthponies in order to grow their seeds. I'm seeing soft singing, some apparent storytelling, a few ponies are... dancing... and one is down on her belly doing what seems to be praying... or something.

"That's my Gladiola. She's invoking Luna, goddess of night and fertility. By. The. Book."

Yes, it is praying, and probably a good idea, considering the hopeless situation she's in against a talented professional like Rose Vale!

"Professional? What do you think this is, the F-Zero competition? It's a classroom in a Bureau!"

Let's see what our star competitor is up to, shall we? Rose Vale, mistress of pony agriculture...

"Mistress of what?"

... seems to be talking softly to her plot. Of soil. She's whispering to her box. Her container of soil.


Shut up, you. I can't quite make out what she's saying, but it seems to be working, there, there is a green shoot poking it's little head up to say hello!"

"You can't hear because you're yapping like a dog. Maybe if you'd just shut up..."

Go polish your horn, Velvet. OK, I'm going to creep a little closer, and see what she's telling her plant... shhh.... shhh...

"... and so when Sunshine told me that she loved me in return, my heart just started to sing! I just wanted to burst out in song, because it felt so wonderful! Oh, you have no idea, little plant, how beautiful it is up here, with all the love. Can you feel it? Inside me? Oh, I just want to share it with you, it's soooo glorious and..."

Wow... it's growing, Rose! I can't believe it! It's just rising and stretching up, and the leaves are uncurling and... I had no idea you were so powerful... Oh, Rose, this is amazing!

"I am so glad you finally get to see this, Sunshine! Hello, my little plant, this is Sunshine! She's the one I was telling you about! She really is my Sunshine, too. She saved me when I was lost and alone, and she cheers me simply by being near me. I love it when she puts her wing over my back, it's soooo soft and warm and I feel so safe, like a baby bird under the wing of it's mother, only better. And she's a great kisser that.... MMmmmnnnph.... Mmph.... Mmmm..."

Mmm... mnnn... Oh.... Oh, my... Mnnnph.... mnnn...

"Ah... oh... let me get my breath, Sunshine! Goodness! Oh, Mmnnnph.... mnnnn...."

Whoa! Hey, Rose, look! Look - the flower is opening! Our plant has a flower already, and it's opening right up! It's so beautiful! It's all red and pink inside and dappled with dew and it... looks... kind of like...

"I know... Hee hee hee!"

Hee hee hee! Oh, my!

"Hee hee! Oh, Sunshine, it really does... and it is so beautiful, just like you."

Like you, you mean. Oh, I am so happy to be here with you for this. It's so amazing, the feeling! I had no idea it was possible to feel a plant growing like this, it's just...

"I know! That's what I wanted to share with you! I didn't know if anypony other than an earthpony could even feel that..."

Maybe it's because I'm with you and...

"ALRIGHT, alright, you two. CLASS! CLASS! Attention, everypony!"

"Miss Floret?"   "Yes?"     "What's going on?"

"Everypony... we've got a winner, but... I'm afraid it needs to be disqualified. Sorry, Rose. Interference, I'm afraid."

Oh, Rose... Oh gosh... I'm so sorry...

"I - It's.... OK, Sunshine."

"Even so, there is something educational in this, so everypony gather around! Alright. Now take a look at this flower."

"Woo!"   "Wow!"   "How did that happen so quickly?"    "I had no idea that was even possible!"

"Yes, it is a completely formed blossom. A fully mature plant in.... let's see... seven minutes, more or less. This is an unusual result, and it is something useful to know, so listen up.

As you already know, earthpony magic is governed by your emotions. Unicorns use magic with their minds, through will and concentration. Pegasai use magic with their bodies, with their wings, their hooves, with their very physicality. But Earthponies use magic from the heart. Emotion is the key, and whatever it takes to get that emotion flowing - positive emotion, remember, because 'bitter feelings make bitter fruit', right?"

"Right!"  "Right!"   "Yup!"

"Now what Rose Vale and ...Sunshine was it? What Rose and Sunshine have done is demonstrate the power of strong loving emotions on plant growth. That's why I let this happen, so you could see the scale of what is possible, under the right circumstances. Now this sort of growth is not always possible, obviously, and it is hard to arrange deliberately - though not impossible, by any means. There's actually an advanced course, taught in Equestria, on the use of passion in agriculture. There have even been historical circumstances of young lovers saving entire crops with their... lovemaking.

This is the power of positive, loving emotion in action. Some of the best growers in Equestria tell their plants the bawdiest tales, or regale them with stories of loves past, or wished for in the future. Remember what you've seen here today - this, I think, makes a bigger impression than anything I've been telling you over the past week.

Now, that said, I have to disqualify this entry, because this was supposed to be about individual mastery, and not about cooperative effort. Most growing will be cooperative, but you need to learn the basics, first.

So, everypony, return to your plants and we will continue, as best we may, until a proper winner is determined. Everypony back, go on, it's not over yet."

"Yes, Miss Floret."

"Now, as for you two."

I am so sorry, Rose.

"I said it was alright, Sunshine! I got to share this with you... and that's what I most wanted!"

"In this case... you and your marefriend should bow out, Rose. You both did an amazing job, but this was single competition, you understand. I'm really impressed, though. I think you should keep your flower, you earned it, and... let's just say, it belongs with you now. If you were a stallion and a mare, and you wanted to conceive, I'd be telling you to run back to your room and share the flower. There are a lot of special things that can be created with earthpony magic, and a lot of common plants have secondary uses and powers under the right circumstances. But that is still another line of study.

I will say that you might want to share your flower soon, because it still offers... certain... benefits, when grown in this manner. If you are so inclined, of course."

Rose. I'll take the flower. You... follow closely.

"Hee.... eee.... um.... thanks... Miss Floret.... eep!"

"Heh! Oh my... what a blush. Have fun, you two. OK NOW! The rest of you, let's get it togeth....


Mmnnn.... Iph gwot fee fwower. Fan you geff fee dfor?

"I've got the door, Sunshine. There, take it in.... Hee! Alright! We're going to miss lunch, you know that!"

Pffu... That is manifestly not true. We have lunch right here, flowers for lunch, and I count three.

"Oh.... OH! Oh my! Hee! That recorder...."

Goes off right n


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