A Sweet Day
On an island north of Equestria was a kingdom different from any other ever seen. Sweet Island was all made of candy and was home to a rare breed of ponies that never grew, but they were the fast ponies across Equestria, said that because of the high rate of sugar on their blood. The kingdom was also where was the Candy Flight Academy, the largest flight school in Equestria.
This kingdom was ruled by a wise and good king, King Candy. Something that no one but the king knew, was that the kingdom of Sweet Island was supported by a powerful ancient magic. Not even the king knew the origin of this spell, stored in a special room of the castle, the only tree of Rainbow Candies.
The legends about the tree varied greatly, some of the most common suggested that the seeds from which originated the tree had been blessed by the princesses of Equestria, Celestia and Luna, bolder legends suggest an even more ancient magic and the craziest suggested until tree had been created by the gods who created Equestria.
What was myth or fact nobody knew, but the truth was it didn't matter much to the citizens of Sweet Island, and most of those legends started from one of the Candy Ponies, and they were just young foals.
King Candy had a daughter, the little Vanilla Lightning a teal Candy Pegasus, with black, candy-coated mane. Her dream was to join the Flight Academy and become a racer, but her father forbade her.
That day, Vanilla was in one of the castle's windows, watching a race between Strawberry Ray, a young Candy Pegasus considered one of the best racers of the Sugarcube team, and Dusky Spark, a Pegasus from Fillydelphia studying at the academy.
"He has no chance." She said laughing, Dusky Spark was fast, but he wasn't a Candy Pony in Sweet Island, out there he might have a chance, since the lack of sugar decreased their energy, but there, Strawberry had the advantage.
She didn't notice when her father approached.
"What are you doing, honey?" King Candy asked curiously.
"Just watching the race." She said between a laugh and a sigh. "Dusky think he have a chance against Strawberry."
"Well, you don't think so?" He wrapped an hoove around his daughter's shoulders. "I don't know so much about racing."
They were silent for a while, until Vanilla sighed again.
"Daddy, why can't I race too?" She asked annoyed.
"It's not safe, sweetie. 'm Sorry." He gently ruffled her mane.
"Why not? Why others can but not I? I'm stronger than Cherry Comet, more agile than Caramel Tornado and faster than Chocolate Arrow, why they can and I do not?" The girl protested.
King Candy sighed, staring at her daughter sadly.
"I already told you how your mother died, sweetie?"
"I think not." Vanilla muttered, wondering what that had to do with the race.
"It all started when we went to Cloudsdale for an important race that your mother was going to attend."
"Wait!" The girl interrupted. "You didn't said Unicorns can't go to Cloudsdale?" She asked curiously.
"And they cannot, because only Pegasus can walk on the clouds, but I used a special spell only for that day, was an important competition to your mother. It all began after the event, she had won the first place for the second time in that kind of competition we were all very proud, but had a very unhappy person."
"Dusky Spark, who had received second place in the competition."
"Dusky..." Vanilla murmured, looking out the window, she didn't believe he already had race against her mother.
"He challenged her to a rematch, but wanted it in a completely unexpected place in the currencies of Equestria. I tried to convince her not to go, but she managed to convince myself that it was nothing more than a friendly race."
"And what did Mr. Spark?"
"Nothing. From his Part of it was really that, a friendly race, just to dispute a place to which he insisted be entitled. A race for their honor. But they were caught by a storm on the way. Dusky Spark returned after three days, with a broken wing. Meanwhile we look for any sign of where your mother could be, but only found her two days after, she was badly injured. She told us that she had herself thrown in a city that was under attack by a group of changelings. She didn't was able, but wanted to help, she realized too late that it was a hopeless battle, after the city was completely taken she managed to escape. I took her to the doctor as fast as I could, but didn't help much, she died a week later. I've been trying to raise you away from all this, but didn't help much either. Regarding Dusky Spark, I never saw him after that, at least until he came to the Academy last year."
Vanilla didn't know what to say, first by being somewhat upset because of the story. Knowing that her mother had died was one thing, but she had never imagined anything like this. Second, she realized how much her father was only trying to protect her and how much she had been wrong at times when she had been angry with him because of it and even start training hidden. At least she didn't did like Pumpkin Bolt, who ran away from home to join the track team, she would never do that.
"I'm sorry." Was all she could mutter.
"Not your fault, princess." He hugged her gently.
"No. I'm sorry for being so stubborn, I should have listened to you a little more. I promise to be a good girl from now on." Vanilla said, already on the verge of tears.
"I do owe you an apology. You're a Candy Princess, as your mother, the race is part of who you are. I shouldn't have even tried to take it from you, I should know that I couldn't do it, should have known from the first time, that while you were here with me, you would be safe. I want to compensate you with something special."
"What?" The small stepped back with a smile and her eyes shining with expectation, King Candy chuckled.
"It's a surprise. Come with me!"
Meanwhile, outside the castle...
"I won again!" Strawberry Ray, a young pink Candy Pegasus, cheerfully announced, landing softly beside her friends, Chocolate Arrow and Cake Candle.
Dusky Spark landed on the finish line after a while.
"I don't run to win here, you have so much sugar in the blood that has the triple of energy of any normal Pegasus. Sometime we still will have a race out of Sweet Island, then we'll see who will win, brat." He said seriously, turning away.
His gaze fell upon the castle window, where he saw the silhouettes of the king and the princess talking. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, then threw a quick look at the Candy Ponies still talking at the finish line. Dusky sighed somewhat angry and walked away, always looking to see if the three were still there. He had no time to waste on those brats, much less patience for it.
Sometime that would change, and when that time finally come, they would regret all that, specially Strawberry.
"Daddy, where are we going?" Vanilla Lightning asked, as she and her father followed by an underground passage in the castle. "It's where the Rainbow Tree is, isn't it?"
"The tree is not the only thing saved here. But yes, it's where the tree is, the heart of Sweet Island."
"Wow! No one comes down here, right?"
"The tree is very dangerous. A single rainbow candy in the wrong hooves can be a disaster."
They stopped in front of a chocolate gate with nine white chocolate horseshoes embossed. Vanilla thought she heard something and looked back frightened, she thought she saw a shadow, but it was only for a split second, it was likely that it was just her imagination.
Yet she still thought about saying something to her father. Looked at him and the door now opened, changed her mind. It was just that dark and scary place that was messing with her.
"Daddy, why the tree has to stay in a so dark place? I thought that plants, even the candy ones, needed sunshine."
"This one uses the light of the sugar crystals that exist in the caves."
The two entered a clearer cave, illuminated by the sugar crystals that filled it from floor to ceiling with a soft light. In the center of the cave was the Rainbow Tree. The tree trunk was a striped red and white, like the trees in Candy Cane Forest, but it was thicker like the trees in Laffy Taffy Forest, had gelatin leafs that shinny of all colors in the light of the crystal, forming rainbows of light throughout the cave. The Rainbow Candies were nothing more than marshmallows with the colors of the rainbow and had very few on the tree, besides being difficult to notice them amid so much color and thick foliage.
"Wonderful, isn't it!" King Candy said to his daughter, approaching the tree.
"Very! But what we came for?" Vanilla asked curiously.
The king didn't respond, was more concentrated, while wearing his magic to get a shovel that had been left in a corner and dig a small hole near the foot of the tree. the girl waited patiently until he returned to her, levitating a small box of white chocolate.
He gently placed the box on the floor and opened it, revealing a silver necklace with a heart-shaped ruby.
Vanilla approached suspect and touched the necklace with a hoove and stepped back, nothing happened. She lowered her head and touched it with her nose, still nothing, but she noticed something suspicious.
"It's not made of candy." She said, now staring at her father in surprise.
King Candy laughed.
"I know. I bought this to your mother in Canterlot before her first race. She said it was her lucky necklace." He used his magic to put the necklace on is daughter. "I hope to bring you luck too."
Again the little Vanilla didn't know what to say, just smiled excitedly.
"Thank you, Daddy!" She finally managed to leave out the words and ran to hug him. "I promise I'll do my best, I'll take care of me and will not let you down."
"Just being careful is already good. You never let me down."
For a moment the little pony froze. She was sure she heard something like laughter coming from the tunnel, but she had been wrong once, it was probably just her imagination. She definitely had to stop it, especially now that would have to focus more on her flying skills. That was the beginning of a wonderful new phase.
So why something told her it was just a dream?