Pony POV Series Butterflies Pt 13 Silver SpoonI've always been a follower not a leader. I would always just follow along, doing what I was told. Mom said find a nice stallion to be the trophy wife of before your beauty faded. Dad said be a prim and proper lady. Don't be friends with the hired help mom says. Just pretend to agree when Mr. Rich/Tiara talks about how only Earth Ponies earn what they have dad says.
The chapter begins with Silver Spoon thinking about her role. She was always supporting Diamond Tiara and followed her as the second Bully. But the filly also acted the same with her parents, taking the advice of her mother to find a husband before she becomes too old and too ugly and never to befriend their hired help to heart. Her father always wanted her to act like a lady and to not argue with Filthy Rich about his racism. She never really thought about the consequences of her actions. If Diamond said to mock the ones without cutie marks, Silver simply did so. If her mother didn’t want her to socialise with her servants, Silver simply did so. It was the easy choice. But once Diamond Tiara was gone, the child felt empty, lost and without guidance.
She remembers the day of chaos when everything became nonsense. Many suffered under Discord’s evil, including her own family. Her mother was cursed into strange cross of a child and an elderly person and her wrinkles were always visible, no matter what she did to hide them. The Draconequus took her fear of aging and twisted it into a sick torture and caricature. The only thing she still can do is to hide from everything. But that is nothing compared to what Discord had done to her father. He has taken his old ancestral axe and is trying to KILL his own daughter with it. The mother at least only suffering herself but the Draconequus twisted the father into an insane murder. Soon the corruption reaches the little child as well and her eyes vanish and reappear on her glasses. Not only that but her entire body seems to have turned into soft silver and by merely poking it, she is able to piece her skin. In this state her father could kill her very easily. Just in the last moment she is able to dodge the deadly attack and in her insane state her mother will not be of any help towards her. To sum it up: The Draconequus placed a mere child into a position where her own father tries to murder her and her mother will do nothing about it. Not only that but her discorded father claims that he is something this to preserve her looks and that she as a nice obedient filly should follow his orders and LET HIM KILL HER. So far she did everything he told her to do for without asking questions. But what was once safe is now trying to murder her. Just running into a coach injures the little filly and she leaves a trail of silver behind. There seems to be no escape and her father keeps hunting her down no matter where she hides. Soon her fragile condition keeps injuring her and she can’t run anymore. As her father moves in for the kill…
… the rainbow of Harmony hits both and restores them to their normal states. But neither her fear of her own father nor the injuries she got from this desperate chase aren’t gone. Now back to sanity he desperately calls for his servants. Luckily Clean Dishes/Clean Bandages - one of the servants she wasn’t supposed to befriend - knows first aid and saves her life with this. But she isn’t the only one. Discord’s merciless chaos injured many, many ponies and if it would have just lasted a few seconds longer this child would have died. Eventually her sane mother returns but has a panic attack and in this state she is so worried about her filly that she is of no help for her own child. In the end the medical ponies come in and heal her. Understandably her father also has a mental breakdown and can only insult them to hurry up to heal the child he almost killed. He is unable to face that ugly truth of what he did and instead gets angry at those trying their best to help. Her body recovered soon but her spirit remains hurt. When she sees her father the next day she panics and tries to run away. Her father tries to apologise and has a mountain of toys with him. Is he trying to buy her love back? But it does nothing to lessen her fear. Silver is even afraid of her own glasses but since contacts don’t work for her and she desperately needs aid to see something, the filly can’t live without them. But she is much more afraid of her own father and tries to stay away from her home as long as possible.
And Silver Spoon isn’t the only filly who changed. Diamond has trouble to act like a bully around Sweetie Belle. After Discord turned both Sweetie Belle and Diamond Tiara into dolls that exchanged parts, the former bully has a connection with Rarity’s sister and afterwards the bully began to form a connection with Rarity, making it even harder to hurt the little sister of the pony that was so kind to her. When the Cutie Pox incident happened Diamond wasn’t able to bully Applebloom effectively but once the family appreciation day happened, Tiara had a new plan to humiliate the farm pony. Silver Spoon couldn’t be happier that things finally are back to normal but the plan backfires like Pinkie Pie's prototype Party Cannon MK II. We learn later how much of an epic failure this prototype was. Silver is completely exited about Granny Smith’s role and applauds her. In turn Diamond Tiara just became worse and worse and after her father told her a lesson about humility she became almost apathetic towards the CMC and her school work. But the hatred she always concentrated on the fillies is now directed on her own father and once Silver dares to ask why her friend is doing this she also becomes the target of Diamond’s bullying. What she hated before is now treated with apathy while what she loved once is now hated. It hurts Silver Spoon much more because she really believed the two were friends. After what happened the filly is unable to love her father anymore and now she has even lost her only friend, the one who she always supported.
Now Silver has no friends left and doesn’t even view Silver Axe as her own father anymore. She just calls him “the stallion.” But she isn’t alone. The CMC try their best to be there for her and Cheerilee offers her own advice. Then after Applejack saw the Truth, the farmer tries to tell her that her name is NOT her destiny and if she doesn’t know if her father truly WANTED to kill her, then she should get to know him better. It is very sad if you think about it that a daughter is not sure that her father would never think about harming her if he was sane.
Silver doesn't even understand why the CMC try so hard to help her. Then the Gabby Gums incident cements her view on them deep down being just the same bullies she and Diamond are. But she is insulted that Tiara didn't even ask for her assistance as a school printer. Silver saw her the last time on Hearts and Hooves day and despite everything Diamond had done and said to her she was still happy that her friend got one card from Alula. She wasn't envious but just relieved that others also cared for Diamond. Tiara herself was too broken at this point to realise it. Then Cheerilee leads the fillies into the fog and Silver's wish is merely to be reunited with Diamond. That was her only desire at this point. But eventually the heroes were able to break this illusion. And even in the dream she wasn't alone, she was hugging Applebloom. Afterwards she realises how strongly she wants to be friends with Diamond again. Silver was willing to go back into the fog to embrace that illusion again but the others and especially Cheerilee won't let her do this. Not only that but a strange grey filly with completely yellow eyes keeps leading them around the forelegs of the fog. Soon Princess Gaia is defeated and her fog is gone. As the celebration happens Silver is still terrified of her own father. Not even melting the ancestral axe into spoons and changing his own name could regain her trust. She just wants to get away from home but now that her only friend is gone, she has no other place to escape to.
But then she remembers three blank flanks that were there for her. As she arrives at their show there is only one other other guest there and the show is so violent and disturbing that Silver’s parents would never get close to this. At first she is only here to escape her own family but over time she notices how much effort the CMC had put into it and how much they enjoy to perform for others. They like her company, to them she does matter. Slowly she opens up towards them and asks if she could just spend some time with them. And they do agree without hesitation and try their hardest that she will have fun. But her hatred for Princess Gaia isn't gone and she seriously considers throwing a rock at her. Yet someone else is faster. As Fluttershy accepts this as a consequence of her action, Silver Spoon is shaken by this display of kindness. The pegasus just forgave the one pony who threw a rock into her face and will continue to try to become a better person. Not only that but Fluttercruel's part of the song of being alone and fearing to not exist also moves the filly. But Silver Spoon isn't the only one who cries and the fact that the CMC have a similar reaction allows her to not be ashamed of showing such emotions.
Silver has trouble to understand how the CMC can even work without a clear leader. She is so used to this strict leader structure from her own life and what she saw of her family that it is a genuine shock to see that there are other ways of living. And despite everything Silver believes in the CMC do work and also manage to pull off so many impressive feats for such young fillies. Maybe there is a special reason that these three are able to do all of this. Eventually Silver’s family finds her and her mother arrogantly reminds her that she doesn't need to replace Diamond with them. The filly wonders if this was really the reason that she did spend time with the other children and both Applebloom and Scootaloo are furious. But Sweetie is able to defuse the situation by pointing out VERY politely that Silver Spoon spends time with fillies of families who DO matter even in the eyes of the local Ponyville rich. At the next day Silver still needs a place to go to and since she can't reach Cloudsdale and is afraid of the "dirty" farm, the Carousel Boutique is the only option left. Rarity is shaken to see her after all that happened but eventually she allows the filly to meet her sister. Before Silver can go the white unicorn gives her the advice that she doesn't have to choose between family and friendship and that the love for one person doesn't mean that you automatically love somebody else less. Silver is actually impressed by Rarity's fame and Sweetie's good taste and merely seeing the inside of the Carousel Boutique is enough to allow her to appreciate this. The CMC allow the filly in without hesitation and talk about their show at the festival. Unsurprisingly the CMC take what Rarity and Applejack said as compliments. They can be rather dense sometimes but Rainbow did genuinely enjoy some action scenes. Yet even they noticed that nobody enjoyed violence against the bad version of Princess Celestia. Okay there was one but that was Celestia in disguise. Silver actually tries to point out why everyone hated that and saw this as bullying against the Princess. But the CMC are too innocent to really understand this argumentation and she tries to explain it in a way they can understand. Silver tells them that stories, where Applejack, Rarity or Rainbow Dash would be painted as the villains, would be an insult towards the real ones. The true heroes try so hard to do the right thing and to help others. She also reminds them at the Gabby Gums incident but before she can continue Spike walks into the room.
At first the child is terrified of the bady dragon, even as he acts friendly and calm. Silver Spoon’s reaction shows that she never met Spike and believes that all dragons eat ponies. She really had a protected lifestyle to miss something like that. The dragon lived for one year with Twilight in Ponyville and even if it would be very understandable that she wouldn’t know him, it seems strange to miss a dragon that lives in such a small town as Ponyville. But her reaction to learning that he rather eats gems is pretty hilarious. It is another thing that completely shakes her world view. While he heard that she and Diamond bullied the CMC, he is willing to give her at least some trust if the other children believe her. But he hints that this could change soon if she would hurt his friends. The dragon is here to help them with their newest plan to gain their cutie marks. It involves lighting fireworks and a living flamethrower is very useful in this situation. Apparently the last time someone let them near mere matches they managed to summon a fire elemental.
So what could go wrong this time? They also use a flux-capacitor (borrowed from Dr. Whooves), a rocket and railway tracks. That can not end well. With these items mere children were able to violate half of the known laws of physics and several unknown ones. Applebloom brought a piece of the Smooze with them but it seems that Spike is able to stop the slime very effectively. And this just happens after Applebloom sang about how nothing can stop it. Scootaloo is singing the intro theme of 3,5 generation about Rainbow Dash, herself, Cheerilee but it seems that she is no longer able to say Starsong’s name after she was erased from existence. From now on they will believe Lickety-Split’s stories and it is nice to see that Spike is smart enough to see if they have brought more unwanted passengers with them. According to Doctor Whooves they managed to travel sideways through time. I just wonder who the first one who managed to do that was. Maybe it was Twilight. So far she didn’t get a time travel adventure in the Pony POV Series. Applebloom is just happy that they didn’t alter time in their quest to learn what their cutie marks would be. By now Silver can hardly believe what they do regularly and how they keep on questing for cutie marks if they weren’t able to gain any by doing that until now. They start to think about it and eventually realise that the quests itself and the time they spend with each other is what they truly enjoy. That they are all blank flanks brought them together but what keeps them together is their friendship. So even if one of them manages to gain their cutie mark, it would not end their connection. It would be more likely that after celebrating it, the one who gains her cutie mark would try twice as hard to help the others to gain their own ones. And they think that it was more than the money of their families that brought Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara together. But Silver Spoon realises that before her development she would have done what her parents had told her and abandoned Diamond if her family would loose their riches. The filly is absolutely shocked to realise what a puppet she was.
But the CMC are able to distract her and they move on. Silver Spoon begins to think about Spike and the age he will be able to reach and suggests that he should invest in a bank account to become rich the easy way once he is an adult. That is a very good idea. I wonder if other dragons had ever done something like that. Spike begins to share some of his tales with them and in them he is always the hero who saves Rarity from great danger like the Diamond Dogs or the giant dragon that attacked Ponyville. Thinking about it, the last one isn’t a complete lie. The fact that the dragon was Spike saved Rarity’s life. She could reach his heart. Silver has trouble to believe the fact that he is the personal assistant of Twilight Sparkle who is the Personal Apprentice of the eternal Sun Goddess herself. When you spell it out like that it does sound slightly strange… But Silver Spoon is afraid that they will just replace her now with the dragon. She fears that she will be soon forgotten and that their friendship doesn’t matter at all. In this moment she remembers what Rarity told her and has an existential crisis. She always thought that following orders would be the right thing to do and would make her a good pony. Spike pragmatically points out that blind obedience is not always a good thing and could lead to her doing horrible or self-destructive things. The dragon doesn’t allow himself to talk about the Smarty Pants incident but is able to tell them at if he had followed Twilight’s orders blindly as her sanity eroded and not warned Princess Celestia the situation could have become MUCH worse. True loyalty means standing up to your friends if they are about to make a horrible mistake. Silver remembers how strange Diamond acted and that she could have told somebody else. She knew her better then anybody, she knew that there was something very wrong with her but she was afraid of changes of her status quo and Silver kept following her. She acted like nothing was wrong.
Soon they are in their clubhouse and Silver is impressed what the fillies managed to create. There she notices that there is a locked box and the children are absolutely horrified that it might spread like an infection if they would try to throw it away or that Spike might abuse it. Then Scootaloo shows that diplomacy will not be her special talent and accidently reveals that it is the love poison. Both Silver and Spike break down laughing from the sweet tale. It is funny until you really think about it. But once they reveal that the potion completely overrides the personality with an artificial love Spike is no longer interested. He loves Rarity too much to do something like this to her. But since they ARE children they can effortless switch topics to comic books just afterwards. Scootaloo doesn’t like the newer developments like the reveal that Superstallion needs to tune out most of the cries for help or he will go insane from hearing so many cries, he will not be able to answer. Silver pragmatically points out that being a hero 100 % of the time would never allow you to rest and will kill you sooner or later. Even heroes can’t be perfect, usually overcoming their own flaws and weaknesses and still being able to stand up for others is what makes them a hero. The pegasus misses the simpler times when comics didn’t try so hard to be realistic and fantastic at the same time. And none of the fillies seem to be fans of retcons that retrospectively change the events into something fake, bring back famous dead characters or take the easy route and just say that this character turned evil because he was possessed and now he or she is good again. All these things serve the status quo. The heroes are often trapped in endless circles of heroism and if new writers appear, old character development is cancelled to make room for a fresh start (and to allow them to repeat famous stories in different forms). But Spike just enjoys the action scenes. Silver Spoon feels like the fifth wheel (and she IS the fifth member of this group) yet eventually she is willing to try a comic herself. In her privileged life her mother surely didn’t allow any room for comics. There are also a lot of references to famous comic characters: Superstallion (Superman), Batmare (Batman), ScarePony (Scarecrow), Mareneto (Magneto – Welcome to die!), Iron Pony (Iron Man), Wonder Filly (Wonder Woman) and Loki as himself.
They just enjoy they time together and Applebloom has brought them something sweet to eat. Silver is just amazed by the raw energy and endurance these other children have. But she can see that Spike also notices that this is very impressive for fillies and it is not just her fault for being too slow. Soon Scootaloo tries out some new maneuvers with her scooter and takes her friends with her. Even now Silver has trouble to understand why the pegasus should do so much for them if she doesn’t have to. Then they run into Junebug and Spike tries to apologise for what he did when he was taken over by his dragon nature. He fully admits that he was a greedy jerk but by her reaction it is clear that she is not over it and she decides to avoid him for now. Forgiveness isn’t easy. The CMC are there for him but it just reminds the dragon that he wanted to steal Scootaloo’s treasured scooter as well. Sometimes it is the hardest to forgive yourself. Silver wonders what happened to him and they basically give her the abridged version of what really happened. She doesn’t believe them. She was raised into the belief that personal secrets must be hidden and that lies are a constant companion. So she can only conclude that the fillies and the dragon share a secret. Next the Cakes appear and as Silver sees their children her first reaction is to think that Mrs. Cake must have affairs.
As Pound Cake flies around, Silver Spoon is sure that Scootaloo MUST be envious on his ability to fly.
But she isn’t anymore. At first the Pegasus was furious to being outperformed by a newborn while she was cursed with underdeveloped wings. She cried, she hated him but there was no point in being angry at him. Anger needs something to build up and if the other person doesn’t even understand what you are talking about then anger can’t grow. But Hatred is another story. Hatred can endure and seek other targets to express itself. Hatred can be like an addiction, making the person always come back for more because of the short moment when they are able to express their hatred and the pressure diminishes. But by this point Hatred will always be back. Letting it out on its own terms will never make it go away completely. The only way to free yourself from it at this point is to let go of it. Scootalloo found Fluttershy and she seemed to be the perfect target. She could take a stone thrown to her head, so something like this shouldn’t matter to her and Scootaloo would feel better afterwards. Fluttershy had to listen to a speech about how she betrayed every pegasus in existence by wasting her gift of flight. But by this point Fluttershy had joined with Flutterrage and was able to express her anger at this unprovoked attack. She takes the other pegasus to the smallest and highest cloud she can find. Here Scootaloo will neither be able to run away from Fluttershy nor from herself. Fluttershy tells her that she is acting immature even for her age and that she is small. But after her anger starts to vanish, her kindness returns and she asks her WHY she said all these hurtful things. After learning the reasons the older pegasus tells her that this is just a phase newborn pegasi can go through and that she should ask Sweetie Belle what she thinks about Pumpkin Cake outperforming her. And Sweetie Belle didn’t care about it at all and just thought that the child was cute. Now it really makes Scootaloo feel smart. Silver Spoon immediately realises that this is something her parents should have told the pegasus. But in her case… Soon Scootaloo regreted what she did and how lowly she treated Fluttershy just to be angry at somebody. It gives Silver flashbacks to when she and Diamond bullied the CMC for their blank flanks. Compared to this impressive character development the stunt show itself does almost not matter anymore but Silver is impressed of what the pegasus that is unable to fly is willing to do. That takes a lot of bravery.
Eventually Silver invites the CMC to the Ponyville Theater and the play that is happening there is a reference to the Simpsons episode where Sideshow Bob and took over Springfield as a republican mayor. Here the villain gives a similar speech about the “evil” Celestians/Republicans. It makes the CMC realise how easily the line between a satire and an insult can be crossed. It is strange how often you need somebody else to show you when you have done something wrong. Of course you thought it was the right thing to do, otherwise you wouldn’t have done it. But seeing somebody else do something very similar can sometimes make you understand what you really did. The next play is Pater Pan and they each enjoy or a moved by a different aspect of that play but overall share the same positive opinion about it. But the scene where Pan talked about never having to earn cutie marks in Never Never Land did open old wounds for Applebloom. Scoots and Sweetie immediately want to learn about her time in the Everfree Forest but she asks them to give her some time to think about it. And they are willing to wait. But eventually she shares the Story of the Blanks with them. Now Silver truly understands how strong and determined Applebloom really is. And she also understands that Ruby was the one who guided the children and their teacher through the fog of Princess Gaia. The earth pony feels better afterwards, freer and happy that her friends are willing to believe her.
But that wasn’t the biggest shock of that day for Silver Spoon. That happened just after the play. Applebloom can’t believe that Pater Pan would want to live without his family and Scootaloo has also trouble with this idea because of her own experiences. But Silver talks way too adult about how family merely cares for you so that you will carry on their legacy. It is somewhat disturbing to hear this from a little child. By now her own connection to her family is so dead that she is merely able to see family as a function to continue life. Applebloom instantly tells her that family is about more and that families raise their children out of love. It is really heart-breaking to hear Scootaloo talk about how wonderful family is and how it should be. While her biological family is not there for her, her connection to Rainbow Dash is so strong that she is able to understand how a family should be. But Sweetie Belle understands that this is about Silver’s own family and asks her if she really does believe that they don’t love her. At this point Silver Spoon only seems to see herself as an investment for her family and that she is not even her own person. Spike doesn’t believe that she truly thinks that.
In return Silver screams that they know nothing about her but Applebloom calmly points out that her parents did seem worried about her at the festival. Spike, Applebloom and Scootaloo no longer have their parents with them and in the case of the dragon he never even got to meet his mother or father. The privileged filly just wants to run away but she will never outrun these energetic friends. Applebloom would be willing to do almost anything to meet her parents for another day and Scootaloo reminds her that she can be happy that she still has her parents. The pegasus isn’t feeling superior, she just wants to the other filly to understand that she still has a family that loves her on her side. As Scootaloo cries Silver feels hurt and is shocked to realise that seeing her crying was something she and Diamond always found hilarious when they bullied the CMC. Despite her parents so often avoiding her, Sweetie Belle still would never be willing to live in a world without her parents. She knows that they love her and asks Silver if she truly wanted to live in a world without her parents. Finally she is able to understand that her mother panicked after her child got injured because she loved her that much. The earth pony is forced to realise that her parents do love her. It shocks her to understand how horribly she had treated them and she starts to cry.
But her friends are with her. Applebloom says that she should let it all out. The Cakes walk over to them and wonder why she is crying. They give Silver a place where she can cry without everybody else seeing it. As they ask for nothing in return, she just can’t understand their kindness or the patience of her friends. She thought was alone all the time. She thought that they have no reason to help her. When Silver asks them why they are doing this for a stranger, they merely say that there are NO strangers in Ponyville. Finally the filly understands that she was never alone but decided to be alone. All this time she could have reached out for help and she would have gotten it. Again she is reminded how cruel she treated her parents and she doesn’t even remember the last time she hugged them or told them that she loved them. After that she was told Applebloom’s story and soon it is time to go back to their families.
Eventually only Silver and Applebloom are left. It is hard for her but Silver Spoon is able to admit that she enjoyed the day she spent with the CMC. They didn’t get their cutie marks but what does that matter compared to the wonderful day they just had? Silver still thinks way too adult and pragmatic and wonders if a day with an unreached goal might be a waste but they did achieve one goal: They spent time with the persons they loved. Silver Spoon always took her own friendship with Diamond Tiara for granted. That was just how her life was like. But now that her life did change, Silver Spoon began to change with it. She is finally able to see how much the filly she merely bullied before had managed to do despite lacking everything she once thought was important. Now she decides that it is time to think about her father and walk home before he gets worried. But before they go their own ways Silver pleads the other filly to not loose her friends or the loneliness in her heart will leave her empty. Both decide to meet again but before the day is over Applebloom has to admit something. She once thought that Diamond Tiara’s and Silver Spoon’s cutie marks and destinies were useless. It really hurts to hear that from a friend but the earth pony did change her mind. It happened on Family Appreciation Day when Silver was the first one to applaud Granny Smith despite knowing what her one and only friend Diamond wanted to happen. Only then did she notice that Silver Spoon’s cutie mark contains more than you can see at the first glance. There is a little heart on the handle of the spoon. And she showed at the festival and on this day they just had how kind she really can be. Applebloom wonders if Diamond also has something good hidden under the role of the bully.
Silver has to admit that even she never really noticed the heart or thought about it. Merely getting her cutie mark is not the end, it is only the beginning of her journey to herself. Soon Applebloom visits another friend she hasn’t spend time with for quite a while. And as Silver Spoon walks back home, she is finally able to call her father “daddy” again.
The story ends with Twilight organising the notes of the interviewers and really enjoying it. She realised that every life in Ponyville has its own tale to tell, its own struggles, its own failures, its own triumphs and its own journey. These lives are all connected to together they are much more than the sum of the individual pieces. They all write their own tale themselves. Twilight knows that truly writing them all down is impossible but these few stories allow at least a glimpse into the very soul of Ponyville.
Overall this was a wonderful story driven by character development. There was no villain to fight or a catastrophe to prevent. It was the story of a lost soul and how others managed to guide her back to the light. Silver Spoon was more then simply the second bully from the very beginning. She had a backstory and her own views that shaped her into the person the others were only able to view as a bully. And if her life hadn’t changed that drastically she could have been unable to ever become more than a bully.
The sudden changes and hardships nearly broke her completely. But the Cutie Mark Crusaders were there for her. And slowly she did open up towards them. Even as she still followed some of her old ideology they showed her that there are other ways to live and that she can find happiness. And in the end she is able to embrace what she has learned and her new friends allow her to love her family again.
Spread your wings little butterfly. You will be able to fly high.
Thank you dude. *hugs* My chapters where the characters AREN'T caught up in saving the world but the souls of their loved ones through the REAL magic of friendship are my favorites.
Yes, I have to admit while an adventure is often a wonderful possibility for interaction between characters and character development, the quiet moments often shine more.
These allow more focus on the characters themselves and show a very different struggle that is often easier to connect with. With the right mindset Sweetie Belle standing up to Silver Spoon’s mother can be just as impressive as the heroes of the Elements standing up to the reality-warping Princess Gaia.
Then again I love it the most if stories feature both of these kinds of tales: Slice of life stories and adventures. The reader can see how the characters grow in both and become more experienced and powerful for the next struggle. Sometimes you can see that the adventures let them grow as characters while the slice of life tales prepare them for the next adventure.