Hello. I do things every now and then, including but not limited to: writing (pfft), editing, and developing software. Also, ponies.
52w, 2dMetroid Crossovers
3w, 2dThe Future 4 comments · 43 views
8w, 1dStuff and Things 0 comments · 23 views
21w, 2dA Slight Detour 2 comments · 61 views
22w, 2dThat's a Wrap 8 comments · 48 views
25w, 2dChecking In 1 comments · 32 views
27w, 2dLots of Text 7 comments · 55 views
31w, 6dFinally watched that season 3 finale... 3 comments · 53 views
32w, 5dA Little Behind 11 comments · 69 views
34w, 6dWhat does a Person Truly Need? 2 comments · 44 views
38w, 16hDot- The Sequel! 6 comments · 59 views
Puzzle lay comfortably on her back in the warm farmhouse bed, deeply asleep. Around the stony-gray pony was a bare room, two small windows letting in a hint of light from the rising sun. In the dimness of the early, early morning, a four-legged figure in a stetson stole up on the resting mare's prone form. The shadowy figure took a deep breath before shattering the silence that had reigned in the pre-dawn.
“Rise and shine, sugarcube!” shouted the hatted farmpony, a grin spreading on her face. “It's time to go to work!”
At the disturbance, Puzzle reflexively leaped out of bed with a yelp, falling off the side opposite Applejack and tangling herself up in the sheets. The orange pony stifled a laugh as the unkempt unicorn rolled around on the floor in an attempt to wrangle the linen bedsheets off of herself. After a mirth-filled minute of silence broken only by the sounds of struggle, the gray mare rose to her hooves, her back to the farmer. Puzzle's horn glowed with a dark green aura, and a pair of sunglasses rose up from the pack lying next to the bed, coming to rest on the unicorn's nose.
Without turning around, Puzzle enveloped the sheets in a magical glow and lifted them into the air over the bed. She silently straightened them out and laid the linen down on the bed neatly. Her now-frosty disposition leeched any remnant of light-heartedness out of the atmosphere. Sensing the mood of her new employee, Applejack tried to stave off the confrontation she felt coming.
“I was just tryin' to lighten the situation a bit,” explained the farmer. “No need to get all huffy about it; it is time to get started, anyway. Come on down and we'll grab a bit o' breakfast before we head out to the orchards.”
“Yeah, okay. I'll be ready in a second,” grumbled Puzzle. She waited until Applejack had left the room before levitating a small, worn brush out of her pack and quickly running it through her green-and-yellow mane. Not bothering to check her work, she tossed the old thing aside, hearing it clatter as it hit the floor. Puzzle trotted out of the room at a leisurely pace, her hooves making wooden clops as she moved over the rickety wooden floor.
Down at the breakfast table in the kitchen, the gray mare trotted in to see her boss whispering to a large red stallion, who upon seeing the newcomer, hastily turned and left the room. Applejack turned to see Puzzle trotting in and smiled sheepishly.
“Ah, hey there, I wasn't expectin' ya so soon,” stammered the orange mare. “I was jus' talkin' to Mac, my brother-”
“What were you saying about me?” interrupted the gray mare.
“Hold on there, don't get yourself all riled up. I was jus' tellin' him that I hired a little help for the farm, and that she- you- was a little uneasy around other ponies. I didn' want you two gettin' off on the wrong hoof,” Applejack explained in an even tone. She had to resist the urge to add “It'd be mighty easy to do that, knowin' you”.
“I'm sure,” said Puzzle, who finally took a seat at the table. She reached out with her magic and arranged a plethora of apple-themed foods in front of her place, drawing the edibles from the surrounding cupboards and cabinets.
“Whoa there, sugar,” protested the farmer, her temper beginning to flare already. “Ya might be a guest here, but I don't think it's a guest's place to be emptyin' their host's pantry. 'Sides, ya don't want to eat too much or else you'll end up with a cramp when we start buckin' some apples.” Applejack reached out with a hoof, dividing the array of apple-tastic treats into a large pile and a small pile. She began pushing the bigger mound of food away from Puzzle's place. “I think you'll be okay with what ya have there.”
Puzzle levitated the few apple muffins that her employer had left, examining them with a cold, critical eye. As the orange mare replaced the foodstuffs in their proper containers, the unicorn mare began to eat one of the muffins. Neither pony said anything for the longest time, the room only filled with the sounds of chewing and the opening and closing of wooden cabinet doors. Despite the temperature being quite pleasant, Applejack shuddered.
“Ya know, ya might try bein' a little less cold sometimes,” commented the farmer dryly, failing to elicit a response from her employee. The orange mare suppressed a frustrated scowl and finished her cleanup. “Come on, let's get goin'. We ain't got all day.”
The last remnant of an apple muffin disappeared into Puzzle's mouth, who then stood up and followed her boss out to Sweet Apple Acres' orchards. The pair trotted past rows of apple trees, hooves kicking up trace clouds of dust from the dry ground. They had gone a fair distance before Applejack finally stopped, turning away so that the first rays of sunlight weren't directly in her eyes.
“Alright, Puzzle. I want you to go down this row here and buck the apples off of each tree. If ya ain't so good at buckin', I reckon ya can use your magic to pick 'em,” instructed the farmer. “Let me see ya try once.”
Puzzle nodded, then turned to face opposite the first tree in her row. She planted her two front legs and lashed out hard with her back two, hitting the tree with a wooden crack. The limbs of the tree shook a fair amount, jostling about half of the apples off of their perches. The force of the gray mare's buck was enough to push her forward, overbalancing her and sending her face-first into the dusty ground. Puzzle sputtered a bit as the orange stetson-wearing pony smiled in amusement.
“That wasn't too bad, sugarcube,” commented Applejack. “Yer form was pretty good, but ya need to keep your center a bit farther back, so ya don' fall head over hoof like that. Not bad for a first timer.”
“This isn't the first time I've worked on a farm,” protested Puzzle quietly. “When you move around a lot, you find what work you can.” Without waiting for a response, the gray mare turned and began magically pulling the remaining apples from the first tree.
The orange earth pony raised an eyebrow; she could tell that there was a lot behind that simple statement.
“Well, okay then,” said Applejack, suddenly anxious to just be away from this pony for a while. “I'll be a few rows down if ya need anything.”
Applejack trotted away from Puzzle in the direction they'd been heading, towards the rising sun. The gray pony just kept picking, as though nothing had changed; she continued down the line in this manner, silent except when her hooves impacted sharply on the bark of the apple trees. The sun rose a little higher in the sky, and Puzzle began to sweat from her exertions.
Buck. Rustle. Thudthudthud. Then the nigh-imperceptible snap of apple stems breaking under force from the unicorn's magic. It was maddening, the constant drone of the work. The bland, mottled earth passed beneath her like a treadmill, as though she were standing still and the earth were moving beneath her. Not even the slightest breeze blew, the moist morning air stagnating in shimmering pools between the apple trees. Buck. Rustle. Thudthudthud. Snapsnapsnap. Puzzle's eye twitched. She had to force herself to keep going, arduously following the pattern.
Buck. Rustle. ThudthudTHUDTHUD.
Puzzle's head whipped up at the anomaly, breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. She felt like she'd just woken from a nightmare, one that was far too familiar. From behind her sunglasses the unicorn looked at the trees around her, still somewhat in a dazed stupor. If she didn't know better, the mare would swear that those apple trees were blue.
Must be the work getting to me... I'm not as fit as I used to be, thought Puzzle. Maybe I just need a drink to get rid of these hallucinations. Oh, hey, a stream right over there. That's convenient.
The tired pony trotted over to the little brook, her mind clouded and oblivious to the blue moss-like fungus that covered the bark of some of the trees in uneven patches. Puzzle reached the slow-moving waters and dipped her head down for a drink. She let out a yelp when she saw the reflection in the glowing water. There was a darker, twisted version of a grinning pony, vaguely resembling herself, and in the background she saw a giant tree-monster, branches arcing out like tentacles, several of which were reaching for her.
Stumbling back, Puzzle fully came to her senses at last. She looked around and held down a panicked shout.
“Applejack? Hey, I think you're going to want to see this!”
There was the sound of rapid, panicked breathing and the furious flapping of wings as the frantic Fluttershy flew faster than she had in a long time. The crisp, pre-dawn air stung as she raced up to her friend's cloud house, not too far ahead and above her, where she hoped to find refuge from the unknown danger that she felt bearing down on her as if from all sides.
Behind her, Fluttershy heard a little screech that immediately presented itself in her mind as a form of predatory battle cry, just before she felt something latch onto her tail. It felt as though she was being drained, like her energy was being sapped. The siphoning would have sent her into a lethargic semi-stupor had she not reflexively, instinctively lashed out with her back legs. Fluttershy felt her right hindhoof impact something soft and amorphous, rather like a water-filled balloon. With a yelp of terror tinged with pain and shock, the pegasus put on an extra adrenaline-fueled burst of speed, and the combined forces of the buck and acceleration served to detach the thing from Fluttershy's tail.
The frightened mare reached the boundaries of the cloud structure and burst through the puffy white door, slamming it shut behind her. There was a muffled thump, an impact on the door, and four spikes the size of a pegasus' feather punctured the fluffy material, wriggling around in search of prey. Fluttershy sat breathless, motionlessly listening to the sounds of the struggling creature, and a small part of her wanted to go and help the poor thing, maybe un-stick its... whatever those four things were, teeth, claws, the yellow pony couldn't tell.
With an unsettling, gurgling suction noise the spike-things pulled out of the door, the cloud springing back to fill the holes left by the appendages. From outside Fluttershy could hear a quiet sound halfway between a screeching and a clicking that reminded her of a disappointed grumble. Pity started to well up out of the timid mare's heart, and she felt bad for the creature. It probably had a reason for what it had done, just like that manticore with the thorn in its paw, and all she had accomplished was to exacerbate the problem by reacting out of some silly fear. Fluttershy resolved to go figure out what was bothering it and make it better, after she could get over her fear and calm down.
A groggy-looking, rainbow-maned pegasus appeared from a stairway in the back of the untidy front room.
“W-who's there...? It's like, not even six o'clock,” grumbled the blue mare, a sleepy, lazy slur in her voice. “F-Fluttershy? Is that you? What are you doing here?”
“Oh, um, h-hello Rainbow Dash,” acknowledged the yellow pony. She could feel the adrenaline and fright emptying out of her in the presence of her friend, drawing out some of the enthusiasm that had been buried under the events of the recent past. “I was just here to tell you a little news about Twilight, but I got, um, waylaid by a little creature. I'm going to go deal with her, or, well, I guess it could be a him, if you think about it-”
It was that moment Dash's brain chose to kick in.
“Wait, wait, what about Twi?” she interrupted, racing over and gripping her petite yellow friend in a tight grip, knocking aside a cloud table in the process. Fluttershy cringed. “Is she going to be okay? Tell me she is, tell me Twilight is getting better.”
“Yes, Rainbow, Twilight is going to be okay. We just found out a few minutes ago.”
“Aw yeah!” shouted the impulsive blue pegasus, leaping into the air. “I knew it! I knew she would pull through, Twilight's too tough to just let a few scrapes get to her.” Rainbow zoomed around the messy room in a victory lap of sorts, finally shooting out the front door and performing a dazzling flourish. Fluttershy tensed up, nervous that the creature might react and go after Dashie. Her fears proved groundless when Dash suffered no sudden incidents, even going so far as to start looping around her house in celebration.
The yellow pegasus moved over to the edge of the cloud platform and looked down; just on the edge of a small wooded area, she saw a small dot moving in the direction of the Everfree Forest a moderate distance away. Fluttershy considered going after it to set things right, but thought it would be better to learn a bit more about it first; the yellow mare hadn't been able to place whatever it's species had been, so a stop at the library might be useful.
Thoughts of the library reminded her of Twilight, and why she'd come here in the first place; specifically, that she was still supposed to go get Applejack. She waved a hoof to signal Rainbow, who flew down to meet her.
“Rarity and I are trying to get all of us together to support Twilight,” Fluttershy said, “so if you wouldn't mind coming to the hospital in a bit, we would all appreciate that.”
“Of course I'll be there,” said Dash. “Who's already on their way?”
“Oh, well, there's myself and Rarity, and Rarity has probably found Pinkie Pie by now, and I was supposed to get Applejack as well-”
“So AJ doesn't know yet?” Rainbow interrupted.
“Sweet, I'm on it. You go right on back to the hospital, I'll get Applejack.”
“O-okay,” said Fluttershy, turning her head away meekly.
Dash blasted off towards Sweet Apple Acres without another word, leaving a rainbow contrail in her wake. Fluttershy flexed her wings in preparation for taking off when she felt like she was being watched. She turned to look, but only glimpsed a red blur slipping away up some cloud stairs. She considered investigating, but a little part of that constant fear she had bubbled up in her. At this point, she really just wanted to get back to the hospital, where it was safe. Fluttershy could always ask Rainbow Dash about it later, anyway.
It occurred to Twilight how cliché it would be to awaken slowly, with her vision blurry and her movements sluggish. She wondered how her friends might react, sitting around in the hospital room expectantly. They would all be huddled in a semi-circle around the bed, she could see it in her mind; Applejack would be the strength for the group, reassuring the worried Fluttershy. Rarity would be fussing over-
With a snap, Twilight opened her eyes, realizing at last that she was really awake. The dim room was empty, save for one seat in the far corner; its occupant was tall and dark and hard to make out. Before she had a chance to feel afraid, the stranger spoke.
“Ah, Miss Sparkle, you are alive and well. It is good news indeed,” said Princess Luna.
“P-princess...?” mumbled the unicorn.
“Yes, Twilight, I am the princess. Thank you for stating that which was very well known.”
Twi cringed at the unusual harsh tone of the Princess.
“Where are my-” began the unicorn, before Luna interrupted.
“I apologize for being short with you, Miss Sparkle,” said Luna. “I must needs speak with my sister about the cause of my frustration. Your friends, though, are currently on their way, if I overheard correctly.”
As if they had practiced it, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Nurse Redheart burst into the room. Each of them paused, gaping at the sight of a completely calm Princess Luna looking expectantly at them. Redheart's face contorted in confusion about whether to bow or rush to check on Twilight's condition; she settled on a respectful nod, which Luna reciprocated. The doctor hurried to the hospital bed and began to check on the various readings that indicated Twilight's lifesigns.
Pinkie Pie bounced over to the Princess and wrapped her in a big hug, breaking the midnight mare's shell of studied indifference. Luna tentatively wrapped her hooves around the pink pony, the barest smile on her face. After a moment of embracing the Princess, Pinkie hopped away and to the bedside where the other two were.
Twilight looked up at her friends with an appreciative smile, trying to defuse some of the worry that was evident in Rarity's expression.
“I'm alive,” said Twilight.
“Yes, well, that wasn't always going to be a certainty,” replied Rarity.
Over the white unicorn's shoulder, Twilight noticed Princess Luna twitch.
“Well, she's okay now and that means that it's time for a party!” Pinkie Pie whisked her Party Cannon out of nowhere and almost fired it before Nurse Redheart leaped between Pinkie and the Cannon.
“No, Pinkie,” said the nurse, “we've been over this before. No parties in the hospital, and especially no parties in the patients' rooms. Especially when the patient is in a state like Twilight's.”
“Wait a second.” Everypony turned to look at Twilight, who coughed a little before continuing. “What do you mean by 'a state like mine'?”
“Oh, well, uh-” Nurse Redheart stammered.
“What, what is it?” asked everypony but Luna simultaneously.
“It's that poison.” The nurse turned her head away for a moment and sighed. “Most of whatever that stuff is has disappeared, but there's still some residual contamination in her system. The problem is that the substance's levels of concentration in her body have increased during the time I've been here, if only by a minute amount. And, you see, it's- I believe Twilight's body is somehow producing it. Unless, of course, the poison can replicate itself, but I highly doubt that.” Seeing all of the stunned faces, Redheart winced. “I'm sorry, I didn't want to spoil your cheer, but I think you should know the fact of the matter. Her wounds can be healed for now, but if things keep up, she'll start feeling the symptoms of the poison again in the not-so-distant future. Speaking of healing...” the nurse trailed off as she left the room to find the unicorn medics.
The energy inside of the hospital room was subdued once more. Twilight's expression was one of deep thought, and she seemed oblivious to the worry that her friends exuded like an aura.
“Well, shucks, Twi, I don't rightly know what to say.” Applejack shuffled her hooves uneasily. “I'm mighty sorry 'bout ya gettin' roped into that fight with Trixie. I saw it comin' but I let my own problems come first, and now you're all laid up in the hospital, and poisoned, and- and-” the farmer had to stop as her voice choked up.
“Applejack, it's not your fault that I am where I am,” said Twilight, finally snapping out of her trance. “Trixie is the only pony to blame, and I'm willing to bet there's some kind of ulterior motive involved with her. There's no way Trixie could be so... so violent on her own. I think it was the blue energy she had; I couldn't read it, it wasn't like any magic I've seen before. I think- no, I know- that this weird poison is at the root of it all; now if only I could get back to the library and do some research on it.”
“I hope you're right, Twi,” said Applejack, hanging her head in fatigue. “I hope that there isn't a pony who would do things like she's done.” The orange mare ran her forehoof through her mane, a sheepish grin forming on her face. “Although, if there ain't nothin' else I can do here, I do kinda need to get goin', there was somethin' Puzzle wanted to show me. So, I'll see you later, Twi. You get better now, ya hear?”
Applejack had to struggle to keep her voice even, and left in a hurry.
“To-day is nigh, little ponies,” said Luna, taking advantage of Applejack's departure to speak. “If you have any business you need to attend to, go; I will remain here to watch over Twilight.”
Each of the four remaining friends pursed their lips, thinking, until Pinkie Pie let out a giant gasp and blasted out of the room.
“You know, I do have quite a bit of work to do,” said Rarity. “I should really get started on it.”
“Yeah, and I've got a lot of... stuff... to do. Yeah, stuff!” Rainbow blurted. She inched closer to the door.
“I really should feed the animals their breakfast, I bet they're starving, the poor things. I'll be right back, though, don't you worry, Twilight.”
Rainbow Dash exploded out the door, followed by a huffy Rarity. Fluttershy came and stroked Twilight's mane with a gentle smile before she too left the room.
Twilight sighed with relief; she felt okay. Her friends were okay, everything was okay. Kind of.
“Princess Luna, I don't understand.” Twilight turned to the midnight pony, a familiar pensive gleam in her eyes. “Why are you here? Don't you have royal duties to attend to?”
“My duties to my subjects require that I speak with Celestia, and I know without a doubt that she will return to the scene of her works.”
“Her works? Princess, what's going on? Does it have to do with the blue energy that Trixie used?”
“Twilight Sparkle, I find no reason that I cannot trust you,” said Luna, “so when I tell you that it would be better to remain ignorant of this matter, I pray you have faith in me as well.”
Twilight frowned, but nodded.
“I... I guess I can live with that.” Twilight looked away, her mind still churning away. “But what about the poison, then? Is it even a poison? Have you seen it before? I couldn't sense it at all, it was like a magical fog.”
At that, Luna's ears perked up.
“Child, did you say that the poison was akin to a fog?” Luna's voice was intensely, deceptively soft.
Twilight flinched before responding.
“Y-yes, Princess Luna. If that's a bad comparison, though, I'd be more than happy to-”
“No, Twilight Sparkle, I am glad you said what you did. I believe I have some personal experience with your poison.” The midnight mare leaned forward in her seat, staring evenly at Twilight. “I have been contaminated by this substance myself.”
Twilight let out her breath in some hybrid of a gasp and a snort.
“You? Princess Luna? Have been exposed to it? B-but when? How? Are you alright?”
“I am not sure, my little pony,” said the Princess. She twitched almost imperceptibly as she spoke, her eyes briefly gleaming with a sickly blue hue. “However, I wish to study this substance, and I believe you are the most apt pony to help me do so. Would you consider assisting me in my research?”
“I'd be happy to help you, Princess.” Twilight's face was an open book, showing off all of the questions she still wanted to ask. “I'll get started as soon as I get out of the hospital.”
“Thank you, Twilight,” said Luna. Her face lost its energetic expression, returning once more to the reserved, aloof look one might expect from a Princess. “I expect you will keep this conversation confidential. Especially from my sister.”
“Puzzle!” called Applejack. “Hey, what was it you wanted to show me?”
The farmpony trotted down the rows of recently-bucked trees, until she reached the spot where she'd left her new employee earlier in the morning. There was no sign of Puzzle, although the apple baskets that she'd filled lay around the bases of the trees, the last of which was only half-filled. As she approached the spot, Applejack noticed a strange luminescence from up ahead, a sickly blue pallor amongst the trees.
A frown slashed its way across the orange mare's face as she took in the scene; a good number of apple trees had a phosphorescent-blue glowing moss growing on the bark, as well as a few scattered splotches of the stuff across the ground. The half-filled basket lay at the base of a tree with only trace amounts of the blue fungus.
Applejack looked around suspiciously, before finally noticing the hoof-marks in the ground a short way off. She trotted closer to inspect, and her heart sank. There in the dirt were several sharp scuffs, almost certainly made by a pony that was in a skirmish. On further investigation, she found a faint trail of hoofprints leading further away from the farmhouse and Ponyville; they'd been made by somepony in a rush, probably a panicked flight. Applejack's stomach began to churn, uneasiness clawing at her mind.
“Puzzle?” she called again, not quite so loudly. The farmer began backing up slowly, keeping a wary eye out for any surprises. “I don' like this,” muttered Applejack. “I'll be back soon, Puzzle, jus' let me get some backup.”
Princess Celestia sat still in her temporary quarters, resting after raising the sun. She leaned against the window frame, staring blankly out the clear glass portal. From her vantage point in the upper room of the town hall, she watched below as ponies began going about their day-to-day business. None of it really registered in her mind, not the warm, clean glow of the sunrise nor the lively sounds of friendly chatter amongst ponies.
Why couldn't I have just cut off this plague at the knee, when it was still in its infancy? What will my mistake demand of the ponies of Equestria? Of me? Of... Twilight? My Twilight? What will she suffer at my hooves?
Nothing, if I have anything to say about it. I'll keep you safe, Twilight. No matter what it costs me.
There was a sharp knock at the door.
“Yes?” Celestia didn't even turn away from the window.
“Princess, urgent news,” called a guard from the other side, “Queen Chrysalis wishes to speak with you regarding the recent troop movements!”
Celestia's ears pricked as her interest arose, and she turned to face the door before opening it with her magic. She gestured for the stallion to come in and explain.
“Princess, we received word not three minutes ago that Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings wanted to speak with you personally about the recent troop movements. She asked you arrange a meeting place and time as soon as you were available.”
“Very well,” said the Princess. She briefly considered her course of action before continuing. “Inform the Queen that I shall meet with her at the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters in thirty minutes. I want you to assemble a contingent of guards and meet me at the edge of the Everfree in ten. Until then, I have something I must attend to.”
Celestia nodded for the guard to leave, then turned back to face the window. As soon as the door shut with a soft click, Celestia summoned her magic and teleported to the Ponyville Clinic. She appeared in the lobby, surprising the nurse on duty at the counter and causing her to drop her newspaper in her haste to bow. The Princess merely waved a hoof, dismissing the petite mare, before she made her way with purpose towards the now-familiar room that Twilight occupied.
She paused upon her arrival at the door, and took a moment to compose herself and clear the thoughts of Chrysalis and the changelings and the blue poison from her mind. Celestia was here to see Twilight, to speak with her, and none of those distractions would get between them. With the barest of tremors, the Princess of the Sun lifted a hoof and knocked gently on the door. From within she thought she could hear a faint whisper before Twilight acknowledged her.
“Yes? Who is it?”
“It's me, Twilight.”
“Princess!” Twilight called from the other side of the door. “Come in!”
Something about Twilight's tone seemed off, and it made Celestia more than a little nervous. Still, she opened the door and trotted in. She had to strain to hold a panicked gasp when she saw Luna sitting smugly in the opposite corner of the room from Twilight. Instead, she offered a nod to her sister.
“Princess! You're here!”
At this outburst Celestia allowed her attention to turn to Twilight, a look of such fondness coming over her face that the latter's cheeks began to flush. The white princess moved to the edge of the bedside, her softly-flowing mane brushing against the white sheets.
“Twilight, I'm so glad to see you're okay.” Celestia spoke with an unusually tender voice, a rare break from her stoicism. “You had me worried for a moment.”
“I- I just don't know what to think, Princess.” Twilight tried to run a hoof through her mane, but a sharp pain forced her to quit halfway through the motion. She began to speak rapidly, words tumbling head over hoof out of her mouth and traces of tears forming in her eyes. “I don't know what happened, Trixie just came out of the blue and she wanted to fight and I tried to avoid it but she wouldn't quit and then I was trapped on the stage and I was only trying to defend myself and I'm sorry Princess, I'm sorry I couldn't find a way-” She was silenced by a golden shoe gently pressed to her lips.
“Shh, Twilight, shhhh. I know. I know you meant no harm in this. You would have avoided it if you could have found a way. Sometimes, though, you fail, Twilight. Nopony can be perfect, not even me.”
“I'll say,” Luna said, snorting. Twilight gasped at that, and Celestia turned to look at her sister with a guarded expression. “I've held my tongue out of respect for your concern for Twilight, but I need to speak with you, Celestia, I can't wait any longer. I think it would be best that we take this outside.”
“Luna, I don't have time for this. Queen Chrysalis needs to speak with me about the troop movements and I simply wanted to check on my dear student before I left.”
“Oh, returning to the scene of the crime, eh?” said Luna, taunting. Celestia's expression became one of studied ignorance. “Don't think so little of me, Celestia, I know that you made an extra special visit already. If you will not even acknowledge it, then I shall have no part in this anymore.”
With those words and a venomous flash of her blue eyes, the Princess of the Night tore off her jet black crown, threw it to the ground with a ringing clatter, and stormed out of the room.
There was a long, long silence after that.
“Princess, what is happening? I don't understand.”
“I- I don't know, my faithful student.” Celestia hung her head a bit, her lie sounding hollow even to herself. “I just know that I'll take care of you, my Twilight.”
The white alicorn leaned over and gave her student an affectionate nuzzle, then turned and levitated Luna's crown into her possession and trotted out of the room.