Silver Swirl's Obligation or Silver Swirl's Obsession?
Princess Silver Swirl
Silver Swirl, unicorn princess of Friendship Gardens, was moping. To be exact, she was
curled up in a window-seat, with a dragon
by her side and a Mew on her head. She sighed deeply, causing two pairs of eyes to focus on
"You think about you-know-who, no?" asked the Mew slyly in halting English. Being a
Pokèmon, English was not her first
"Am I that easy to read, or are you just perceptive?" the pony wondered.
"Both," teased a third voice, this one speaking directly into the minds of the other two.
Its source, the dragon Jade, grinned
mischievously. "Or else Melisande is just using her psychic powers."
"I am not!" replied the Mew indignantly. "I wouldn't intrude on someone's privacy like
"I know, I know," assured Jade. "But really, Silvie, you've been rather melancholy
lately. Not that you don't have a good reason
to be, of course..."
"If you ask me, it's the princess thing. You have too much time... how is it said... ah,
yes, time on hooves." Silver Swirl grinned at
Melisande's use of the expression. "If you have things to do, you not always think of this faraway
"Hmm," mused Silver Swirl, "I do often feel guilty that we princesses are just living off
of other ponies' taxes, especially when there
are so many problems in the world. I wish there was something we could do for Friendship
"I'm sure there is, if you seriously want to help," said pragmatic Jade. "It's certainly an
admirable goal." She smiled a toothy
Silver Swirl was once again silent, but this time from thought rather than depression.
Her quick mind was already planning ways
she and her friends could do their part to make the world a better place.
* * *
At dinner the same evening, Silver Swirl was enthusiastic and bursting with her new
idea. She broached the subject gently. "You
know, I've been thinking..."
"Of course you have," interjected Princess Ivy. "What else would you be doing?
You've hardly left the castle in days."
Silver Swirl sighed. "I have my reasons for what I do. Anyway, I was thinking about all
of us royalty." She turned the last two
words over in her mind, wondering if they were grammatically correct. "Queen Sun Sparkle rules
over Friendship Gardens and protects the general
welfare" (the said ruler smiled at Silver Swirl) "and other important things. The ordinary ponies
have jobs. But we," her glance took in all of the
princesses, "just sit around, pursue our hobbies, and look pretty. Not that that's so bad, but the
other ponies are paying for it." She stopped talking to
allow her words to sink in.
"What do you suggest we do, go out and get jobs?" questioned Princess Morning
"Actually, no," replied the unicorn, enjoying the attention of the others. "I was thinking
more along the lines of volunteer
Princess Twinkle Star grinned. "That's just like you, Silv, trying to help out. But it's a
good idea. Elaborate."
"Well," continued Silver Swirl, "I was thinking we could each find a charity to help in
some way, or volunteer somewhere."
"Oooh, I could give a fashion show and donate the profits to charity!" enthused
"Maybe I could entertain the baby ponies at the hospital," considered Trixiebelle. The
other princesses buzzed to each other about
Silver Swirl smiled, radiant with happiness for the first time in a week. "So are we set
for, maybe, next Tuesday?" she asked
"Sure!" replied the others, not quite in unison but almost.
* * *
Silver Swirl twirled around her tower room. "I can't believe it! One of my plans to help
save the world actually worked!" She
stumbled and tripped over a toy Bulbasaur, getting up again without missing a beat. "What an
"You know where you are going?" questioned Melisande.
"But of course! The Friendship Gardens Animal Shelter."
"Secret Tale runs it, doesn't she?" queried Jade.
Silver Swirl nodded and got the expression on her face that meant she had remembered
something. "I'm going to find a phone and
call her!" The unicorn flashed a smile and winked away. The two remaining beings grinned at
each other, a grin that meant about twenty things at
once. They had barely finished grinning when Silver Swirl returned.
"She was delighted at the offer of help, of course, and I'm all set for Tuesday," she
responded, answering her friends' silent question.
"I'm so glad I can help all those wonderful animals!"
"Hey," projected Jade, affecting a hurt look, "aren't we wonderful animals?"
Silver Swirl chuckled and hugged the little dragon. "Oh, Jade, you know you and
Melisande mean everything to me. You're my
family." Touched by the sentimental statement, Melisande floated over and joined in the hug.
The little family of a unicorn, a dragon, and a Mew--
different in species but connected nonetheless-- had the same thought in their respective minds:
how lucky they were to have each other.
* * *
Silver Swirl looked through her bag one last time. Treats? Check. Yarnballs? Check.
Rubber toys? Check. "All set! See you at
Melisande looked peevish. "Why we can't come?"
The unicorn sighed. "I don't want you or Jade getting hurt, or catching anything if an
animal is sick, or being mistaken for the
animals, or any other bad things like that."
Jade gave a skeptical glance. "But it doesn't matter if those things happen to you?"
Silver Swirl smiled with a strange glow in her
"It's different for me. It's so much better for me to go through small discomfort for all
those animals-- those animals..." Silver Swirl
struggled to put in words the love and responsibility she felt for all of the creatures at the shelter,
and finally settled on adding, "This is an obligation
for me. I could never just stand by and let them go un-helped." The two other creatures nodded,
not quite understanding but willing to believe. Silver
Swirl waved and winked out of sight.
Silver Swirl materialized outside the Friendship Gardens Animal Shelter. She flipped
her mane and pranced inside, where she was
greeted by Secret Tale at the front desk.
"Hi!" exclaimed the red-and-purple-maned earth pony. "I'm so glad you came! So are
Silver Swirl smiled broadly and displayed her bag. "I brought toys and treats for them.
Let's go; I want to get started right away!"
She skipped behind the other pony, who led her to a large area filled with animals. Silver Swirl
gazed, delighted, while Secret Tale began to
"Well. The cats are getting groomed right now, the dog cages are being washed, the
rabbits and guinea pigs are being played with,
and food is being prepared. Which would you like to do?"
Silver Swirl looked eagerly towards the adorable rabbits and guinea pigs; she loved
playing with animals. However, duty was
duty... "What do you need the most help with?"
"Probably the dog cages," replied Secret Tale, "but you can do something else if you
"No, no, that's fine," assured Silver Swirl and rushed off to start scrubbing.
* * *
Four dog cages later, Silver Swirl mopped her brow and grinned. "Done!"
Wingsong, another worker, grinned back. "Great. Would you mind helping us set them
up for the dogs-- you know, with cushions
The volunteering princess agreed readily and made the cages extra homelike and
comfortable, adding one of the toys she had
brought to each one. She thought of the dogs' happiness in discovering new playthings, and felt
herself smiling yet again-- or was it one smile that had
been on her face all day?
"May I go meet the animals?" she requested of Wingsong.
"Sure, go right ahead!"
Silver Swirl winked over to the dogs. Sniffing the treats in her bag, they rushed toward
her. She sank to her knees and proceeded to
give them her gifts. A horrible sadness mixed with her joy as she hugged a little collie. They
were such nice animals, and they needed homes so badly.
What could she do? Her eyes wandered toward the cats and she had an idea.
"Hey!" she called to Hip Holly, who was grooming the felines. "Do you have any
purebreds over there?"
"Let me check," the translucent pony shouted back. "Um... yeah, we've got a little
Maine Coon. Very docile; he'd make a great
pet. And he's already gotten all his shots!"
"Can I use your phone?" Hip Holly nodded and tossed Silver Swirl a cellular phone.
The unicorn caught it (but just barely!) and
dialed Tabby's number.
"Hello, Tabby. Can I have Tamara's number? I found a purebred cat here at the shelter.
Okay, thanks." She quickly dialed
"Hi, Tamara? This is Silver Swirl. I'm at the animal shelter and there's a little purebred
cat here, a Maine Coon. I was wondering
if you would be interested... yes, Hip Holly says he's really sweet, and he's gotten all his shots.
Really? This afternoon? Great! Bye!" She hung up
and tossed the phone back to Hip Holly. "Tamara says she'll come see the cat this
"That's fantastic!" bubbled the other pony. "Nothing makes us happier than when a pet
Silver Swirl nodded enthusiastically. She was glowing inside. The cat would be one
more animal with a good home if Tamara
adopted him. She, Silver Swirl, would have perhaps saved a life. If that wasn't helping, nothing
* * *
When Silver Swirl winked home for dinner, tired but jubilant, she was greeted by all the
other inhabitants. Everyone headed for
dinner (most had worked up quite an appetite) and they went around in a circle, recounting the
day's experiences. Ivy showed off a gorgeous lilac
dress and confided the very large amount of money her fashion show had earned. Morning Glory
passed around pictures of how lovely the park
looked-- she had cleaned up all the litter and planted some new flowers, as well as repainted the
benches. Trixiebelle had entertained the sick baby
ponies a great deal; they had enjoyed her jokes and tricks and been excited at meeting "a real
princess". Crystal and Twinkle Star described how they
had made and delivered meals to housebound ponies, and Silver Swirl reported on her work at the
shelter, including how pleased Tamara seemed with
her new cat. Everywhere the princesses had gone, other ponies had expressed gratitude and
"So, same places tomorrow?" suggested Silver Swirl. The other ponies looked
surprised. "Making the world a better place doesn't
happen in a day, you know," she reminded.
"I guess I could see if the Dream Valley Park needs tidying up," agreed Morning
"Maybe I could give a jewelry show!" considered Ivy. Crystal, Twinkle Star and
Trixiebelle approved the plan as well.
"Terrific!" declared Silver Swirl, and winked away to her tower room. She then winked
back, cleared her plate and glass, and
disappeared once more amid giggles.
Jade and Melisande were waiting in the tall east tower and delighted to see Silver Swirl
again. "So, how was it?" projected
"Oh, it was great," replied Silver Swirl, removing her hair clips from her mane as she
gazed out at the mountains through the
window. "I'm going back tomorrow. And guess what; I found a purebred cat, and Tamara
adopted it! Isn't that wonderful?"
"Very good," approved Melisande. "I am happy that the cat has home."
Silver Swirl yawned (which set off yawns from her two friends) and quickly brushed her
teeth. The three creatures said good night
to each other, Melisande used her psychic powers to turn off the light, and they all went to bed.
Instead of tossing and turning as she usually did, the
unicorn fell asleep within a few minutes.
* * *
Everything went well the next day at the animal shelter. Secret Tale and the other
workers were quite pleased to see Silver Swirl
return. The princess greeted the animals, many of which she remembered, and went straight to
work. Cupcake gave lessons on how to make "gourmet
pet food", which really did smell appetizing to Silver Swirl. Winking proved to be very useful in
serving many animals swiftly. Millie the guinea
pig's nails needed clipping, and Silver Swirl held her still during the process. The nervous animal
gave the unicorn a couple of scratches, but nothing
serious, and the marks felt like badges of honor to Silver Swirl-- they seemed to prove she truly
cared about the animals.
Flash entered the shelter, contemplating the addition of a rabbit to her household. Silver
Swirl spoke as persuasively as she could,
singing the praises of a sweet little lop-eared bunny. To her supreme delight, Flash left the shelter
with the rabbit, whom she named Snuffles.
Silver Swirl's mood was joyous when she came back to the castle. Once again, the
princesses shared their stories, and once again
Silver Swirl suggested that they return to their places of volunteering the next day.
"But I don't have any new fashions left!" protested Ivy.
"Oh, I guess you'd better take the day off," replied Silver Swirl.
"Um, Silv, there aren't really any more parks nearby to clean," explained Morning Glory.
She had a worried look in her eyes.
"Oh," replied Silver Swirl. "Well, how about the rest of you?"
"I have a drum lesson tomorrow," said Twinkle Star very quietly. Silver Swirl looked at
her friend, but the pegasus' gaze was
lowered towards the floor.
"I'd planned to visit a friend," Crystal fidgeted with the pink part of her mane as she
"You know, I've been feeling really tired," Trixiebelle's voice was much less cheerful
"Oh." Silver Swirl then did what she had done the previous night, winking away,
reappearing to clear her things, and winking off
again-- only this time, there were no giggles.
* * *
"They just gave up!" Silver Swirl raged to her friends in the tower. She paced around
the small room, stopping to smile sadly at a
photograph of a filly, clearly a younger version of Silver Swirl, standing beside a colt.
"Not every pony has the time to volunteer every day," was Jade's response.
"But it's only been two days! Don't they care about helping and being good ponies? I'll
show them all! I'm going to volunteer
every day!" The Mew and the dragon exchanged worried looks as the unicorn punched the pillow
with her hoof and hurled herself into bed.
Being Silver Swirl (in other words, as stubborn as an ox), she kept her word. Every day
she appeared at the shelter, working quietly
and efficiently. She still smiled at the animals, but the only thing that seemed to make her truly
happy was when a pony came in and adopted a pet.
She was too busy with her mission to notice that the other princesses seemed to be avoiding her.
When she talked to them, the subject was always how
well things were going with the animals and how happy volunteering made her. She was
exhausted at the end of each day, barely having time to talk
with Jade or Melisande. If she had dreams, they were about the animals.
"Are you happy?" Melisande asked one day.
"Of course I'm happy! Can't you see how much good I'm doing? I think I've really been
making a difference." She then
proceeded to speak of a dog who had gotten a cold.
That night, after Silver Swirl fell asleep, Jade and Melisande had a conversation.
"This is very bad," Melisande intoned solemnly. "Silver Swirl needs help. She needs...
she needs..." she tried to find the right
"She needs to learn that too much of anything is unhealthy, and that she doesn't need to
spend every moment volunteering to be a
good pony," Jade finished. "I think I know just who can teach her that. Melisande, the three of
us are going on a little trip to the beach tomorrow."
The small dragon curled up and closed her eyes, leaving the Mew to wonder what her friend had
* * *
When Silver Swirl woke up the next morning, Jade was perched beside the princess's
"I called Secret Tale and told her that you wouldn't be coming today," the dragon
informed. "You need a day off, and there's
someone I'd like you to meet."
"You what?!" gasped Silver Swirl. "Jade, how could you? I have to go today; the
animals need me! Oh, Jade, you know how
important this is to me!"
Jade looked into the unicorn's eyes. "Silvie, a while ago you said that Melisande and I
are your family. If you still believe that,
please let us, as your family, help you." Silver Swirl sighed and nodded. Melisande hopped onto
her Silver Swirl's head and Jade sat on her
"Wink to the Friendship Beach," Jade instructed, "and I'll tell you where to go after
that." The three disappeared from the tower
Friendship Beach had an air of tranquility that morning. A few seagulls circled
overhead, shells were scattered over the sand, and a
sea-green pony was frolicking in the waves. Jade immediately flew to the pony; and Silver Swirl,
using her magical power of flight, followed.
"Seabreeze," Jade addressed the other pony, "I would like you to meet Princess Silver
Seabreeze's green eyes twinkled. "Pleased to meet you," she said, and she did seem
genuinely pleased. Silver Swirl couldn't help
"Jade thinks I need a day off," the unicorn explained. "I guess she wants me to spend it
here." The dragon nodded and Seabreeze
"Well then, what do you want to do first? We could swim, or build sand castles, or look
for seashells, or just sleep in the
The two ponies, the dragon and the Mew did all that and more. When it was time to
leave, Silver Swirl felt refreshed and, in a
strange way, healed. Jade suggested that they fly back to the castle instead of winking.
"Okay, Silvie," Jade said once they were on their way. Silver Swirl sighed; she knew
that a lecture was coming. "Did Seabreeze
seem like a happy pony?"
"Yes," replied Silver Swirl.
"Did she seem like a good pony?"
"Did she make any mention of volunteer work?"
"Do you understand the point I'm trying to make?"
Jade continued anyway. "Too much of anything, even helping, isn't healthy. You don't
need to spend every minute volunteering to
be a wonderful pony. And every pony helps in his or her own way-- don't try to force others to
do things your way."
"What do you want me to do?" asked the unicorn humbly.
"I think you should only work at the shelter five days a week, and I would suggest
apologizing to the other princesses for putting
pressure on them."
"Okay," said Silver Swirl. "I do have a question, though. How do you know Seabreeze
"Seabreeze and I are sisters," answered Jade softly.
Silver Swirl blinked. "How exactly does that work?"
"I used to be a pony," Jade explained patiently. "It seems that my special power is to
transform into a dragon. However, I'm not
sure if I can change back."
"How come you never told me?" Silver Swirl questioned.
The dragon sighed. "I was afraid that your expectations of me would change when you
"Oh," said Silver Swirl awkwardly. The rest of the flight was silent.
* * *
Silver Swirl apologized to the other princesses, and they didn't seem to be angry. Many
of them had plans to volunteer again in the
Silver Swirl made a quick phone call before going to bed that night, and she fell asleep