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The Great Guru's Gaffe

by EmberQuill

The Great Dali Llama could feel in her toes that this retreat was going to be unique. Dali woke up during the dark hours of night and silently made her way to the peak hours ago to wait for the dawning of a new day. While she waited, she thought about those ponies that were still sleeping in their bedrolls. Rose and gold lights began to stretch over the tents gathered on one of the few flat clearings below. Just as the sun rose over the peaks of Smokey Mountain a hairy head peaked over the rise. The hulking shape of an unexpected guest temporarily blocked the light from reaching Dali.

Dali was unphased by this intrusion and closed her eyes to focus on soaking up the quiet. She breathed in and out slowly. She was centered and calm. Everypony looked to her to provide that to others too. It was the whole point of the retreat away from the bustling towns and cities in Equestria. The dark shape moved to sit next to Dali and the light finally reached Dali at the very peak, setting her white curly woolen coat ablaze with a wash of color. The warmth started to seep into her wool as she tried to relax with an extra body in her morning ritual.

After a moment of sitting in silence the guest cleared their throat and spoke in whispered tones that seemed to vibrate up Dali’s legs. “Ahem…Ms. Great Llama?”

Dali’s head swiveled to look at her intruder guest. She had to tilt her head back a bit to take in the full height of the Guerrilla seated next to her.
“Yes, honored guest?” Dali answered, no trace of irritation in her voice. Dali felt very proud of that, as she was a bit irritated by the interruption. “You can just call me Dali, or perhaps Ms. Llama. No Great is necessary.”

The guerrilla was seated cross-legged, but her head was still a llama neck length above Dali’s head. The guerrilla’s bright blue and orange hair seemed very loud to Dali. She was used to ponies varied colors, but this was her first time meeting a guerrilla with anything but a neutral color of hair. The few guerrillas that Dali had met were all black or brown. Although she had met a cream-colored guerrilla once.

The guerilla energetically pumped her head up and down nodding. “Ok…Ms. Llama. Can I ask you a question?”

“You may. But first what is your name honored guest?” Dali replied.

“OH! Sorry. My name is Gusti.” Gusti gestured to herself, and half smiled, but the smile didn't reach Gusti's eyes.

Dali waved her front foot slightly to tell Gusti to go on.

“Do guerrillas have a purpose?” Gusti asked, her voice started to get louder with the intensity of her question. “I mean everypony else has cutie marks as proof of what their meant to do…but guerrillas don’t. How are guerrillas supposed to know if they even have a purpose?”

A giggle slipped out of Dali. She quickly tried to cover mouth, but soon full belly laughs were rolling out. She had never heard such a silly question and Gusti was just so, intense about it. Dali knew she shouldn’t laugh. That it would likely hurt Gusti’s feelings, but it was just too much. Her morning meditation was interrupted, which she needed so she could remain calm and centered in front of everypony. Normally, no one was up and about this early, especially, on the first day of the retreat. Dali just could not help herself from laughing.

Gusti’s eyes widened with horror at the Great Dali Llama bent over almost rolling around on the mountain top, laughing at her. It was bad enough that the rest of the guerrillas thought she was too bright, too colorful, to loud. She was just too much she guessed. Now she had asked a serious question and the guru for finding yourself through meditation was laughing at her. Gusti quickly got up and moved away. Hot tears spilling down her face. She felt stupid and silly.

Dali was still laughing, but tried to stop Gusti from leaving. “Gusti, wait!”

Gusti didn’t wait though. She fled from her embarrassment and the teacher she had come such a long way to meet. Guerilla Grove was no small distance from the Smokey Mountains. She quickly slid down the mountain to the clearing with everypony's tents.

Other ponies were beginning to come out of their tents. They saw Gusti charging through camp and someone screamed, "Ahhh! Everypony we're under attack!"
She started packing randomly shoving her belongings into her back.

Many other voices started screaming as everypony panicked. Pretty soon most of the camp was being trampled.

This only made Gusti go faster. This always happened in Equestria. At least everypony didn’t scream when she ran in Guerrilla Grove. They just thought she should tone it down, not that she was going to attack anypony. But this didn’t make her feel better, in fact it made her cry harder.

She skidded to a halt in front of her tree tent, almost knocking into the tree trunk. She climbed the tree and then flipped the flap back and blindly started packing. She randomly shoving her belongings into her pack.

“Stupid Gusti. Making stupid mistakes… again.” Gusti muttered to herself. “At least my tent is in a tree and can’t be trampled by everypony.”

Meanwhile, Dali who was not nearly as quick as a guerilla ran after Gusti, but she was too late to stop the damage. Dali arrived in the camp to everypony running around and screaming. Someponies were even cowering behind some bushes. Dali felt really bad about laughing at Gusti’s question and all the harm that had been caused because of it.

“We are NOT under attack everypony! Calm down!” Dali shouted to be heard. Dali’s voice was just adding to the noise. Dali found herself running to each and everypony to calm them each down. By the time everyone was no longer screaming. Gusti had finished packing and was gone.

Dali decided to do something that she normally didn’t have to do. She needed to find Gusti and apologize.

“Alright everypony, Gusti couldn’t have gone too far on foot. I’ll be back in a jiffy with our guerrilla.” Dali announced to everypony.

A pony raised their hoof.

“Yes Blueberry Twist?”

“Our guerrilla Dali?” he asked.

“Yes, OUR guerrilla.” She replied. Dali hung her head in shame, “I made a mistake and laughed at Gusti. I need to go and fix it.”

“but…but…but… you’re a guru! Gurus don’t make mistakes!” Blueberry Twist stuttered.

“Oh yes we do. We are just regular ponies… or in my case, Llama. And everypony makes mistakes. The important thing is to own up to our mistakes and to fix them.” Dali replied firmly.

“Speaking of which, I need to find Gusti.” She raced to the hot air balloon that had brought most ponies up the mountain, got in and lifted off.

Eventually, the air balloon made it’s way to the bottom of the mountain. Dali hadn’t found Gusti at all on the way down. She was feeling quite ashamed of herself.

She was getting ready to turn around and go back up the mountain when she heard a loud thump thump thump. She angled the balloon to land and started to go towards the rhythmic pounding. The smoke wasn’t as thick here as towards the top. So she could see a bit better. Dali picked her way through the trees until she came upon Gusti.

Gusti was banging her head on the trunk of a tree causing the noise. She was muttering under her breath and Dali couldn’t hear the exact words, but as she got closer the words became clearer.

“Big stupid guerrilla, only purpose is to scare people and make big stupid mistakes.”

Dali stepped on a branch and it snapped, Gusti stopped banging her head and looked up. Gusti’s eyes widened in surprise. She started to pick up her pack to leave again. She did not want to be around Dali.

Dali stepped in front of the pack to stop Gusti. “Wait Gusti please. What I did was hurtful and wrong. I am sorry I laughed at your question. I laughed because it seemed very silly to me.”

“No, I got that. I am very silly to you. Thanks for clearing that up.” Gusti replied, trying to reach around Dali to grab her pack.

“Gusti I do not think I am explaining this well. It was silly to me because of COURSE guerrillas have a purpose without cutie marks. Everypony has a purpose even without a cutie mark. It is very obvious to me.” Dali rushed ahead at Gusti’s confused look. “Llamas don’t get cutie marks either. You find what you love and do it. Be unapologetically you. THAT is your purpose. THAT is EVERYPONY’s purpose. The question was silly because the answer is so obvious to me. But I was wrong to laugh. The whole point of these retreats is because the answer is not so obvious to everypony.”

Gusti stood there, a bit in shock. No pony, or guerrilla for that matter, had ever apologized to Gusti before. She wasn’t sure what to do with it.

“Gusti, please come back to the retreat. Let me make it up to you. Let everypony make it up to you. I caused this whole mess. Please let me fix it. Even gurus make mistakes.” Dali pleaded. She hopped her eyes conveyed how strongly she meant every word.

Gusti looked at Dali skeptically and reluctantly nodded her head.

"Alright. I forgive you." Gusti replied.

Dali's sighed, "Thank goodness! You are OUR guerrilla Gusti."

They made their way back to the balloon and up the mountain. When they arrived the tents were back in order. Everypony cheered when they saw Gusti. Everypony had helped and spelled out 'Sorry!' in stones in the middle of the camp. It made Gusti feel good to know that others could get past her exterior. That maybe she could just unapologetically be herself and others would accept her too. She was ready to reset and make new friends.