All eight ponies sat in the living room, talking to one another. The tension was clear between the fathers, but mothers were doing their best to keep the mood light. Every now and again Marianna and Madeline would exchange worried glances when Rolando would shift uncomfortably, a dead-pan expression adorning his face, or Kester would begin to chuckle under his breath, a devilish grin lighting up his violet eyes.
"Octavia, which way is your restroom? I need to go freshen up," she said with a subtle hint of urgency. She cast a glance at Marianna as she said this, who nodded in acknowledgement.
"Actually, that sounds wonderful. I think I will join you Madeline," Marianna said.
"Down the hall and to the left, Mother. The bathroom is spacious enough for both of you to use the mirror," Octavia said.
"Thank you, dear. We'll be just a moment," Madeline said. As each mother passed their daughter, they both said the same thing.
"Keep an eye on your father until we get back," they said. Both Vinyl and Octavia nodded in unison. The two mares made their way down the hall, entered the bathroom, and shut the door.
"What do you suppose we do, Madeline? Our husbands look like they are about to go at each other's throats!" Marianna said anxiously.
"I'm not so worried about my husband so much as I am yours...I know what Kester is capable of, and it isn't pretty. We need to find a way to break the tension," Madeline said, bringing a hoof to her chin.
"It does not help that Rolando is sitting there like a rock with eyes! The last thing I want is fighting between our families..." Marianna said sadly.
"Believe me, I feel the same Marianna," Madeline said with a sigh. She then began to dwell on what Marianna had said. "...Wait, maybe we can play on that! We have the power to bring our husbands to their knees- the power of guilt."
Marianna then began to smile. "Madeline, you are a genius! I could kiss you, that is so brilliant! So then what we will do, is try to push our husbands to make nice, and when they refuse to budge, we hit them where it hurts," she giggled. "Oh this will be fun!"
"Marianna, I see us being very close," Madeline smiled.
"As do I Madeline," Marianna smiled in return.
"Shall we?" Madeline asked, as she opened the door.
"Absolutely," Marianna said as she moved past her.
Back in the living room, the space between Kester and Rolando had effectively become a war-zone. The tension was thick enough to have difficulty cutting with a butcher knife.
"Are...they going to say anything to each other?" Lyra asked quietly.
"If I know my father, he is sizing Rolando up...he is waiting for Rolando to make his move," Octavia sighed.
"My dad is doing the same. All he needs is Kester to do something 'uncouth' or 'boorish' and Dad will be all over him," Vinyl said. Bonbon looked confused.
"But I thought they were really nice..." Bonbon said, remembering to how Octavia and Vinyl spoke about them. It suddenly dawned on Bonbon- they were talking about each other's fathers. "Oh dear...this could be bad..."
"Tell me about it," Octavia and Vinyl said in unison.
"Yeesh...thankfully our parents were pretty accepting of our relationship..." Lyra said, the tension between the two stallions sending a chill up her spine.
"It's not that, Lyra. It has nothing to do with our relationship- it's accepting each other that they're having a problem with," Vinyl said. "My dad's too stuffy and stuck up to see Kester's a really good guy."
"My father is being too stubborn and childish to see that Rolando is not out to make him look bad for being more proper than he is," Octavia said. She let out a tiny sigh of relief when the two mothers returned and took their seats next to their husbands. Marianna made the first move.
"Rolando, please. Stop being so stubborn and try making acquaintances with Kester!" Marianna pleaded.
"It's no fault a' yers tha' Roly was born with a stick 'n his rump!" Kester chided with a smirk. Rolando flushed with embarrassment at the rude remark, and shot a glare in return.
"Kester!" Madeline yelled. "That was completely unnecessary!"
"Wha'? We all know it's true!" Kester said defiantly. Vinyl could not resist suppressing a snort of laughter, to which Octavia nudged her.
"Now is NOT the time for this, Vinyl..." Octavia whispered.
"What? It's funny..." Vinyl said.
"Oh, you would know- seeing as you were probably born with a stick in your brain," Rolando fired back, eliciting a shocked gasp out of Marianna.
"Rolando! That was directly offensive!" Marianna scolded, Rolando ultimately ignoring it as Kester began to laugh.
"Not bad, Roly. Not bad at all," Kester said with a smirk. "Oh, A'm sorry, A' forgot A' was dealin' with a stallion tha's soft in the head, an' ye' know wha' they say- 'soft in the head, soft in bed', but A'm sure ye know all abou' tha'," he chuckled. Rolando looked about ready to leap the entire distance of the living room and shove all four of his hooves right up Kester's rump.
"KESTER!" Madeline yelled, embarrassed to no end. "Rolando, I am SO sorry for Kester's behavior!" Kester raised a foreleg.
"No apologies, Maddie. A' want ta' see wha' Fancy Kilt is goin' ta' do abou' it," Kester said.
"If I am 'soft in the head' as you say...then surely you are brain-dead," Rolando replied cooly. Marianna brought her hooves to her face, making every attempt to hide her shame.
"Kester...please do not take anything he says seriously, he is-" Rolando then cleared his throat loudly.
"Marianna, he knows full well what he is doing. He is more than prepared for my wit. Of that I am sure," Rolando said, staring Kester straight in the eyes. The other four simply watched in awe as the mudslinging match continued, the comments slowly getting worse and worse. It got to the point where the two were on the verge of attacking one another directly. Marianna and Madeline then decided now would be the best time to enact their plan. Marianna then began to cry, to which Rolando immediately shifted focus.
"Marianna, dear...what is the matter? Are you alright?" Rolando asked, placing a hoof on her back. Marianna immediately shrugged him off.
"Take your hoof OFF of me!" she yelled, choking back sobs. "How could you be so cruel to ponies who will become our family?! I should have expected this out of you!" Marianna yelled as she cried.
"M-Marianna..." Rolando said, every last ounce of his ego crushed into nothing by his wife's tears.
"Y'see? The bloody idiot made 'er cry. A' knew A' was right about him," Kester said, looking at Madeline. He recoiled slightly when he saw that Madeline was absolutely livid.
"Oh, and how are you any different? You were doing the EXACT SAME THING he was!" Madeline yelled, causing Kester to swallow his ego to attend to his now-furious wife.
"Maddie, A' was only jus'-" Kester started.
"Just what, Kester!? Taunting the soon to be father-in-law to our daughter?! Was it not you who always harped on the fact that 'family is everything, and anypony who turns their back or talks down on family is lower than the dirt he walks on'!? Well guess what, Kester- THEY ARE FAMILY NOW," Madeline punctuated with an air of finality. Kester looked like he had just seen his home burn down. Remorse filled his eyes, the true scope of his childishness now coming to light.
Rolando then looked over at Kester, who looked back. "What say you to taking a walk, Kester?"
"Aye, tha' sounds like a good idea..." Kester said, getting up from his seat. The two stallions got up, and exited the house. The moment the door shut, both mares went back to normal, shocking the remaining four.
"Wha- how!? Mom, how'd you do that?!" Vinyl asked, in complete awe.
"Oh Vinyl, it comes with experience. You know how your father can get, so I developed a mechanism to get him back under control," Marianna giggled.
"Mother...that was incredible...I have NEVER seen you talk Papa down that way," Octavia said, completely impressed.
"Just like Marianna said, it comes with experience," Madeline winked.
"That was nothing short of inspiring..." Lyra said, awed by the performance.
"They could be actresses," Bonbon said.
A moment later, there was a knock at the door. When Octavia answered, she blinked in surprise. Standing in the doorway was a Royal Guard, dressed in full armor with layers of warm clothing beneath.
"Good evening. Would you be able to spare a moment?" The pegasus said, his piercing blue eyes standing out amongst a sea of white fur and snow.
"Absolutely. How may I help you, officer?" Octavia asked, the other mares making their way to the door.
"I'm not really on duty at the moment, so you can call me Aquilinus. No need to worry, fillies. You're not in trouble, I'm just delivering a message," the stallion said jovially. "I just have a question- do these stallions belong to you?" he said as he took a few steps back, showing two other guards standing next to Rolando and Kester, who were very much confused. Marianna and Madeline sighed as one.
"What did they do?" They said in unison.
Aquilinus laughed. "Nothing at all. They just can't be outside right now. I'm under orders to make sure that all Ponyville citizens and visitors stay indoors until the blizzard subsides," he explained. Kester and Rolando made their way past him, and re-entered the house.
"How long until it passes?" Octavia asked, Vinyl standing next to her. The others retreated back into the house, so they didn't hear what else was said.
"Oh, just a day or two. Shouldn't be all that bad. Well, I have to get moving. Stay safe!" Aquilinus said as he moved away from the house, followed closely by the two other guards. Octavia and Vinyl remained silent, processing what he had just said. They looked at one another, and sighed.
"We are in for the ride of a lifetime..." Octavia said.
"You have no idea..." Vinyl muttered.
The two then shut the door, bracing themselves for whatever may come in their home-turned-prison.