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Everything to Flourish

by hyreia

In the magical land of Equestria, a war ravaged the land. Two great nations fought for the resources buried in the earth: black gold and magical gems. They had used these to build
magitech metropolises that stretched to the clouds. They created empires spanning continents, connected by networks of communication and technology in ways magic alone could never do. In the end, they became addicted to their new resources and what it could provide. They built weapons with them to obtain more and plunged the world into a radioactive wasteland.
This is not that story though. We’re focusing on a much shorter story.
Hundreds of years later, two ponies of the Brotherhood of Steel were investigating a bunker recently discovered, tucked away in the Applelacian Mountains of Equestria. The Brotherhood was set on recollecting the technology developed during the great war. They saw it as their right to gather it and protect the ponies, just as the ancestors who built the powered armor they wore did. Whether it was right to restore such weapons that sickened the earth and choked life to near extinction was not a concern for them.
And it shouldn’t be yours, because this story is not about that either. This story is just about two ponies.
Spice Cake, the more tech-savvy of two, was still pouring over the broken console in the bunker. If it could even be called a bunker. It was nothing more than two rooms connected by a threshhold. It was impressive anyone found the tiny door on the side of the mountain. It seems over the years some ponies had. They had never gotten farther than this though. Anyone who came here simple squatted, marked up the interior, thrashed the console and left.
It was easy to see why they got angry. It took her while to repair the console and Spice Cake had to repurpose parts of her armor to do so. After all her work and effort though, there was nothing of real note on the console. Just one small, unencrypted text file:

“The beauty of the past will flourish again in the future, if at the threshold of the present, everything needed still lives.”

There was no network here. No maps. Not even a proof of a power source. No explanation for why this place was even built or even who built this place. It was likely there were bigger plans and when the bombs fell they just weren’t fulfilled. It seemed like there was nothing of interesting here.
“Are you done yet?” Green Bean asked from the floor of other room. Spice Cake wiped the sweat her scrunched brow before answering. The sun was shining into the little room from behind her. She wasn’t used to its heat or light. The Day of Sunshine and Rainbows wasn’t too long ago.
“There has to be something,” Spice insisted as she read the text again.
“There ain’t, Spice. Just relax and enjoy our little vacation.”
“This isn’t a vacation! We were sent on a mission!” she stressed. She stepped away from the console to stare at her partner, Green Bean, slouching in his half-removed armor.
“Spice,” Green stressed.
“Didn’t you think the timing was a little odd?”
“...what do you mean?”
“We get married and a week later our commander sends the two of us on a wild goose chase with extra rations?”
Spice Cake had never seen a goose but apparently they were slippery critters. She thought what Green Bean had said.
“... ...oh,” she realized.
“Yeah. This is a honeymoon,” Green Bean said as he patted the bare floor next to him. He had already setup ‘camp’: a few blankets and an flameless ration heater.
“Why would he do that though? Plenty of ponies get married. What’s makes us so special?”
“We’re not special,” Green Bean started then reclarified. “Well, that’s not what I meant. You’re special to me though, Spice. Just, The Day of Sunshine and Rainbows happened. The world is getting better. It’s time for us to live again.”
Spice Cake didn’t really know how to do that. Collecting technology to restore Equestria was all she knew. She got her cutie mark from a few special trics she knew to spruce up the preserved nutritional cake ration they had in storage for special occassions. She didn’t even know how to make a Spice Cake. She would love to though. Maybe some day.
“...Spice?” Green Bean walked over to his mare and nuzzled her. She had snapped back to the present and looked at her stallion before glancing back at the text:

“The beauty of the past will flourish again in the future, if at the threshold of the present, everything needed still lives.”

“There’s more to this, Green. I know there is,” she insisted. “Ponies don’t just build things for no reason.”
“Yeah, not now but they did back then. Ponies built things just because they thought they looked nice.”
“Looked nice?” Spice thought about what he said and looked back at the text: ‘The beauty of the past...’
“Yeah. I don’t know what this was supposed to be, but ponies were weird. Maybe they just liked the view,” Green said as he walked behind her and back towards the entrance. Spice turned to look. The sun was setting over the mountains. It was a beautiful sight. Even with the rusting cityscape to the south.
“Beautiful things that flourish…” Spice repeated the words. “ cakes?” Green Bean laughed. It wasn’t a mean laugh though.
“Cakes didn’t flourish, ponies baked cakes. The plants they used for the cakes flourished though.”
“Right. Flour stalks and icing trees and... stuff,” she mumbled. She wasn’t the history buff Green Bean was. He did have a way of telling her about it though. That was what she saw in him in the first place.
“Flour isn’t a plant. Flour came from wheat,” Green clarified for her.
“No... flowers are a thing though? I’ve seen the pictures,” Spice insisted. She had heard the Elites still grew some of them. She didn’t know what they tasted like though. She thought they’d taste like the spices in cakes.
“Flowers are a different thing. Spelled different for a reason,” Green clarified. “Flowers are beautiful though.” He came over and kiss his wife. “Kind of like somepony I know.”
Spice rolled her eyes and in an effort to get away from the lovey-dovey turned back to the monitor on the console.
“Flowers flourished? Flowers flourished! What did they need?” Spice asked. Spice was no gardener.
“Water, sunlight, dirt?” Green suggested before nudging the other pony away from the console and towards camp. It was easy considering he still had the power armor on his legs still on. “Come on, we can worry about this tomorrow.”
Spice nodded. She was ready to call it quits. She saw the light of the setting sun make its slow crawl down the far wall of the other room. She followed her own shadow cast on that wall and followed her hooves down to where she stood. There was that that space between the rooms.
Wasn’t that a threshold?
Maybe that the grooves in the floor weren’t just for a long-lost door to slide on?
“Green? Get me some dirt,” she asked as she started to pull out her canteen.
“Dirt? Like… dirt-dirt? From outside?”
“Yeah! Hurry! The sun is setting.”
Green got his mare what she wanted and went outside and scoop up a pile of dirt.
“Alright… dirt. Where you want it?”
“There! On the threshold,” she pointed at the floor between the rooms. Green Bean obliged and dropped it right there. “Stand back! No out of the sun!”
Once again Green humored her and stepped back to watch his wife pour her entire canteen onto the threshold. And then silence.
“ what are you doing?” Green finally interrupted.
“That’s all flowers need, right?” she asked and stepped on the dirt, maybe it wasn’t soaking in all the way?
“It’s okay. We’ll get more water tomorrow, hon.”
“No! What else do flowers need?” she saw the light sliding down the wall. Pretty soon it would be whisked away past the floor and out past the horizon.
“A green hoof,” Green Bean explained. “It takes a speicial kind of pony to grow plants. Cutie marks and all that; patience and love.”
“A green hoof?” Spice asked and looked at her partner. “Take off your boot!”
“Spicy...” Green called his wife that petname she hated. “Not a literal green hoof.”
“Please?” she begged. How could he say no to that face?
Green Bean rolled his eyes patiently then finished stripping out of his power armor. Spice Cake had already pretty much dissassembled hers just trying to get console into a semi-working state.
Green Bean took his green hoof and with great ceremony stepped onto the forming mud on the entrance to their impromptu camp.
“Do it again!” She begged. “Harder?”
Green Bean gave her a grin.
“Don’t be like that. Please.”
Green obliged and stepped onto the dirt. Still nothing.
“What else do they need? Patience and love?”
“You wanna make out in the mud next?” Green asked her. Spice sighed. Spice saw the sun’s light slipping to the ground now. She decided this was useless.
“No. Let’s go to bed,” Spice admitted defeat.
“Excellent, come on, our honeymoon awaits,” Green said as he literally swept her off her feet on onto his back. Spice grabbed on frantically so she wouldn’t fall.
“What’re you doing?!” she asked, startled.
“It’s tradition: the stallion always carries his bride over the threshold to their new home. It shows I’ll provide for you and support you,” he says as he looked down at the mud he was standing in. “Even if it’s getting dirty…”
“That’s sweet… but I don’t want to live here,” Spice said. She loved when he brought up weird facts he knew.
“Just the honeymoon then,” he obliged. He stepped carefully over that muddy threshold.
There was a loud electrical ‘ping’ noise and the sound of gears in the walls engaging. Spice gripped him tighter.
“What was tha- ah!” she was cut off when the whole room started growing… wait, no, the floor was sinking! Loudly and slowly into the ground.
Wait, this was an elevator? Spice realized.
“” Green Bean asked.
“Hm?” Spice asked.
“The beauty of the past will flourish again in the future, if at the threshold of the present, everything needed still lives,” Green Bean repeated back to her. He was listening and cared!
“The answer was love?”
Suddenly, a crack of light appeared in the walls and grew. Out below them was a green field spreading out around them in all ways lit by solar powered lights. The green field was overgrown with every color she had ever seen. As they grew closer to the ground she realized what they were.
“Flowers!” she said in amazement. She got off her stallion’s back and looked over the fields. There must have been millions. There were storae structures down here too. No doubt, full of the seeds to these things. This bunker was a storage shelter… for flowers. Of all things to save… someone had thought to save beauty.
“Water, sunlight, dirt… and love,” Green Bean said as he turned to his wife and kissed her.