“Goodnight Ivy.” Twisted Tonic said to his serpent companion as she slithered into her intricate gold basket. The pine green unicorn hopped into bed, bundling up in his sheets, and snuggled into a comfortable position with a periwinkle unicorn plush with a broken horn. With a blissful sigh, he prepared to drift off to sleep.
But after a few minutes, he felt strange, as if somepony was watching him. When he opened his eyes, he saw a pair of bright blinking eyes looming over him in the darkness.
He let out a shrill scream, one of absolute terror, and he swung the periwinkle plush at the mysterious intruder. Startled and confused, Ivy the snake tumbled out of her basket and quickly flipped a nearby light switch.
Tonic looked over at a nearby wall, which now had green slime splattered all over it. In the middle of the slime was a pair of eyes and a mouth.
“G-gooberry?” Tonic stammered, surprised, and a bit disturbed, that the slimepony had not only broke into his wagon, but was also watching him sleep.
“Hey Tonic.” Gooberry sheepishly bleated. “What’s up?”
After scraping the slimepony off of the wall, Tonic set her on a chair. “Okay, why were you watching me sleep?” he inquired.
“I watch everypony sleep.” Gooberry said as she reformed into a vaguely pony-like shape. “Even the woodland critters.”
“But why?” Tonic pressed, still confused as to why and slightly disturbed knowing that this might not have been the first time she was in his wagon.
“To learn more about them.” she explained, forming a pair of googlasses. “Question though; what is love?”
“Baby don’t hurt me.” Tonic quickly muttered.
“Nothing, it’s nothing. Why do you want to know?”
“Raven came home one night from a movie, acting all weird.” the slimepony described, “When I asked him, he said it was love.”
“No, I’m pretty sure that was th-” Tonic began to deadpan before Gooberry interrupted him.
“I wanna know what love is.” she begged, kneeling on her knees, her eyes glimmering with curiosity, “I know you can show me.”
After a few seconds of stifled laughter and watery eyes, Tonic looked down on the green slimepony before him. “Okay, okay. We’ll start your lessons in love in the morning. After I sleep. Without you watching me.”
The next day, after a quick breakfast, the pair made their way up a flight of old, dusty stairs. “These two are the consummate lovebirds.” Tonic explained to Gooberry as he led her down a hall, passing several doors. “I’m sure they have a lot to say about love.”
The pair stopped in front of a door, where Gooberry noticed two cartoonish stickers; one opossum face and one raccoon face. Tonic knocked on the door a few times, and they were shortly greeted by a grinning opossum.
“Tonic!” the opossum laughed, a big grin plastered on her face and a bowl of steaming hot mac & cheese in her paws, “What brings you around here?”
“Hey Patty.” the unicorn began, “Is Maine home?”
“Nope. Nope.” Patty said, leaning in the doorway. “In fact, you guys just missed hi-”
Suddenly, there was a loud crash as Maine stumbled out of the bedroom, into view, tied to a chair. “Guys, help!” the little raccoon yelled, flailing helplessly on the floor, “That’s my mac & cheese!”
“Sorry Tonic.” Patty calmly said, stepping back into the apartment and giving the pair an ominously kind smile. “But Maine is going to be busy today.”
As the menacing opossum slowly closed the door, Tonic caught a glimpse of the terrified raccoon quivering in fear.
The two stood at the doorway, frozen in fear and shock. They heard muffled yelling, a few thumping noises, and then silence. Without a word, Tonic quickly led Gooberry out.
“Okay, these two are the best examples I know of sibling love.” Tonic explained, leading Gooberry to a window.
The two stealthily peeked into a room, where a little green filly sat in front of a vanity. A purple pony sat behind her, brushing her short, pea-green mane.
“This is Snew Pea, and her sister, Sweet Pea.” Tonic said, “See the sisterly love radiating off of them?”
Gooberry watched the two ponies enjoy a bonding moment together. She felt warm and fuzzy, and not because she had something growing in her this time. The little slimepony wondered if she was feeling something like love.
After finishing grooming her sister, Sweet Pea gingerly tied a big purple bow around Snew Pea’s neck. The two shared a warm embrace at the bedroom door, and the elder sister went off somewhere, leaving the little pea all by her lonesome. As soon as she shut the door, Snew Pea walked over to her bed and ducked under it.
Tonic and Gooberry watched curiously as the filly dug around at the mess beneath her bed, only to emerge with a pony bust made of peas. She longingly peered into the bust’s pea eyes, whispered sweet nothings to it as she ran her hoof through its pea mane.
“What is she doing?” Gooberry asked, pressing her gooey muzzle against the window.
“Nothing. Let’s get out of here.” Tonic said as he pulled the innocent slimepony away from the window.
“So why are we at a boutique?” Gooberry inquired.
The pair were now hiding in a snozzberry bush behind a popular boutique, watching a young, slender goldenrod unicorn with a short, choppy aquamarine mane. Wearing a little red dress, she posed and observed her figure in front of a large mirror.
“This is Glitter Shell.” Tonic explained, “She is the best example of self-love I can think of at such short notice.”
“Self-love?” Gooberry repeated, cocking her head sideways.
“Being comfortable with who you are.” Tonic said, almost overdramatically. “Loving who you are and not being shy about it! Look at her, doesn’t she just emanate confidence?”
But just as Twisted Tonic finished her spiel, a group of fillies entered the boutique, led by a very short and round blue unicorn. As soon as Glitter noticed, she immediately ducked behind a potted plant, and threw together a diguise with a coat, a scarf, and a pair of horned rim sunglasses.
The two sat on a park bench, watching ponies pass by. Resting after a long day of walking around town.
“Hey Tonic?” Gooberry began. “Love’s complicated, isn’t it?”
“Very.” he replied.
“It’s still love though.” she continued.