No Nose Knows

by Irrespective

28. - Sick Day

Baked Bean couldn’t remember the last time he felt so hot.

He was used to heat of course, having worked with hot plates, ovens, torches, and other such implements of baking through his whole life. The lick of the flame and the searing kiss of fire had almost been like his first love, in a way. But this sandstorm that swirled and surged around him now? This was something else, something that could not care less if he was the the one cooking or the one being cooked. It was unrelenting, unfeeling, and felt no need to give him quarter or mercy.

That’s what the difference was, really. He wasn’t the one in control of this heat. This was not the tender touch that he could command and control and rebuke when it grew beyond what it should. It was past him, answering to another who had earned the crown of victory over it. It followed the siren song of the one who had conquered it millennia ago.

This would answer to none but the Princess who moved among mortals as the one known as Celestia.

The ground beneath him began to rumble, and he paused and glanced at the cracks that were forming in the parched earth. It wasn’t a full-out earthquake, he somehow knew, but rather more like somepony had taken the edges of the world and was giving everything a firm shake. He wanted to press forward, but with this movement he wasn’t sure he could maintain his balance.

He couldn’t just stand there, though. He tried to take few steps forward, but the shaking was just strong enough to knock off his balance and send him tumbling to the ground.


Bean groaned as the impact of the dream trip sent him back into reality. He then grunted at the odd nature of his subconscious, yawned, and then blinked a few times to clear the sleepiness from his eyes.

He then discovered why he had been dreaming of an earthquake and heat. Celestia was shivering fiercely, her whole body twitching uncontrollably as her teeth chattered, but yet she felt hot to the touch.

He glanced at the fireplace quickly. The flames had died out and had left barely glowing embers in their place, so it wasn’t because of that. He stuck a rear leg out from under her wing, and the room air felt normal enough as far as he could tell.

His concern started to grow, but he forced himself to remain calm. She was sick, that was as plain as the horn on her head, but he was sure a doctor could be summoned in short order if he could just alert a guard or some other staffer.

Bean slowly began to extricate himself from under her wing, but she seemed to notice this and she moaned a bit as he did so. It tore at his heart to hear it, but she needed help so he switched tactics and slid out as quickly as he could. Once he was out, he trotted briskly to the door and flung it open.

“Sir!” The two guards at the door replied simultaneously, and they came to full alert. “What is it?”

“Any chance one of you could go fetch a doctor?”

* * * *

Bean paced outside his bedroom door as he waited for Doctor Horsenpfeffer to finish her evaluation. Luna had appeared shortly upon hearing the clattering and banging of the guard while they had been summoning the doctor, and while she looked concerned she still maintained a calm and orderly demeanor.

“Bean, relax.” Luna offered in an effort to calm him down. “She probably just has the feather flu or something. If it was serious there would be a great many more medical ponies up here.”

“I know, I know. But I didn’t really think alicorns could get sick.”

“We do, though perhaps not as often as other ponies do.”

Then the door opened, and both Royals turned eager eyes to the periwinkle medical professional. She gave a short sigh but then offered a tired smile for them while she placed her stethoscope back into her black medicine bag. “Well, the good news is that Princess Celestia seems to have caught the feather flu.”

“Told you,” Luna quickly pointed out.

“The bad news is the same: Princess Celestia has the feather flu.”

“Huh?” Bean replied. He couldn’t handle riddles under the best of circumstances.

“The Princess needs rest right now more than anything, Your Highness. If she can do that she should be over this in a day or two, tops. The problem is that the Princess hasn’t taken a sick day in two hundred and fifty years. She still presses on, and thus her illness not only lasts longer but spreads. Feather flu is highly contagious, so if she keeps going like she always does she could start a pandemic.”

“Why am I not sick then?”

“Feather flu only affects those ponies with wings. Princess Luna would be at risk if she entered the room, but you have nothing to worry about.”

“Oh. That’s a bit weird.”

“A little.” The good doctor chuckled. “At any rate, the best thing right now is to make sure she rests. If you could keep her in bed somehow that would greatly help.”

“I can try, I suppose.” Bean shrugged. “I don’t think I could stop her if she really wants to get up though.”

“You may have more sway than you think, Bean,” Luna said with a chuckle. “If you tell her to rest, I am willing to bet she will rest.”

“The more sleep she gets, the faster she’ll get over this,” Doctor Horsenpfeffer added. “Just do your best, keep an eye on her temperature, and keep any and all pegasi away from her.”

“All right. I’ll do what I can.”

“Thank you. Try to have her drink lots of orange juice too. A little extra vitamin C never hurts.”

Bean simply nodded in reply, and Luna thanked the doctor for making the late night visit.

“Well, I suppose I should return to my duties.” Luna sighed as Horsenpfeffer walked away. “Let me give you something first.”

“Lavender?” Bean asked after Luna had conjured up a large bouquet and presented it to him.

“A very effective sleeping aid.”

“Oh. I’ll put them near Celly then.”

Luna nodded with a smile. “I will also monitor both of your dreams closely, unless something pulls me away. I doubt Celly will be dreaming much, but an untroubled mind would be beneficial to her as well.”

“Thank you.”

“Good night, Bean.”

Bean watched Luna walk away before returning to the interior of the room. A few candles remained lit, and two delightful pools of magenta focused on him as he returned to his beloved’s side.


“Luna says it will help you sleep,” Bean said over a sneeze from his beloved

“Let’s place them just over there. Also, could I trouble you to bring me a blanket? I still feel cold.”

“Sure. Which one?”

“There is one in the closet, a nice blue quilt on the shelf by my dresses. If you don’t mind, that is.”

“Of course not. I’ll be right back.”

Bean knew right where to look, but the weight of the quilt did catch him off guard. He stumbled back a step and grunted as he adjusted, and he heard feathers rustling in the other room.

“I got it!” he called out. “I’m fine!”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yeah,” he said with only a little strain. “This is a thick quilt.”

“Luna gave it to me as a Hearth’s Warming present when she first returned. I usually wait to pull it out until winter, but I just cannot get warm tonight.”

“This thing is huge!” Bean remarked while he tried to unfold it. “You might have to send a search party in after me.”

Celestia gave a slight laugh before being consumed with a round of coughs. “Luna also remembered me being larger and taller than I actually am.”

“It looks warm though,” he replied as he pulled the blue mass of comfort over her. “And cozy. She did good.”

Celestia gave a tired smile, lifted her wing for Bean, then sighed as he settled in next to her.

“Anything else you need?” he asked.

“No. I should be all right now,” she said with a cough. “I hate getting sick.”

“Well, I’ll take care of you, don’t worry,” he replied with a quick nuzzle.

“I appreciate that,” she said through a yawn. “Hmm. You know, this reminds me of my mother in a way.”


“Mm, yes,” she replied as she closed her eyes and relaxed her head. “I can remember one time, when I was five or six perhaps, when I got sick with a cold. She bundled me up in a soft, warm blanket, and she sat me up on her lap and read all the books I would ask for. She made some kind of soup that filled me with delight from my horn to my tail, and then she simply sat and sang soft lullabies to me until I fell asleep.”

“That sounds amazingly wonderful. You had a good mom.”

“I did,” she said with a soft smile. “And now I have you to snuggle with.”

“Provided you want to keep me.”

Her wing tightened a bit around him, and her breathing slowed as she drifted into Luna’s domain.

“I never want to lose you.”

Bean felt a tear tickle his cheek as she began to snore softly. He had wondered earlier if their fight had made her regret her decision to stay with him, but it appeared it had not. He realized that he would probably still feel slighted if Celestia wasn’t sick, but he could put that aside and deal with it later. For now he needed to focus on helping her.

His own injuries could wait.

He smiled a bit and booped her, then began humming quietly as he too started to join her in the realm of dreams. Whether his little tune was being recalled from a distant memory or if he was catching nonsense notes from the midnight air was unknown, but in the end it didn’t matter. The tune was pleasant enough to bring out a small smile from Celestia’s lips, and Bean felt his own smile growing as he partook of the sight before him. He was amazed all over again that this mare had chosen to remain with him, but instead of feeling overwhelmed Bean found he felt content and pleased. He was fine with feeling amazed, but he realized he was grateful too.

Perhaps that little feeling of gratitude could make all the difference in the end.

* * * *

“Good morning, my dear.” Bean laughed a little as he received a round of coughs and a sneeze in reply.

“Meh,” Celestia verbalized how she felt afterward. “Is it time to raise the sun?”

“I think so, but Luna just checked in on us from the balcony so I think she’s raising it today.”

“She is?” Celestia asked, and she groaned when Bean nodded. “Ugh. She better not complain about it then.”

“About what? The hives?”

“No so much that. She—”


“That—” Celestia said with a long-suffering sigh “—is what I meant.”

Bean looked on in amused horror as Luna, from within a magical shield, pranced into the room and blew out the small flame that had been burning on one of her wingtips. There was smoke rising from her back and from a few patches of singed hair on her sides, and it appeared that a few of her feathers had been turned to charcoal.

“You are hereby prohibited from ever getting sick again.” Luna announced, as she checked her other wing for any open flames. “And are you completely sure there is no way to turn down the temperature on that thing?”

“Still no,” Celestia replied.

“Lousy hot ball of air,” Luna grumbled.

“Hydrogen, actually.”

“Unless something changed in the last thousand years, I do believe hydrogen is still a component of air.”

“Told you she gets grouchy,” Celestia remarked to Bean with a weak smile. “Thank you for raising it, Sister.”

“Yeah, well, you owe me for that,” she replied as she turned her focus to Celestia. “I will think of something horribly embarrassing for payment, don’t worry.”

“I’m sure you will.”

“So, are you feeling any better from last night?”

“Slightly. I’m not cold anymore but I still feel very congested, achy, and tired.”

“But at least your condition is improved. I have informed Chef Beet to prepare oatmeal for you and to have it brought it up here. There should also be more orange juice for you as well.”

“Orange juice sounds good,” Celestia sighed with a quick nuzzle for Bean.

“Rest, dear Sister, and I will check on you again later.”

Celestia nodded, and Luna teleported away without further comment.

“All right. Now that she’s gone I can get some work done before day court. I just need my—”

“No, you don’t.”

Celestia slowly turned to face her husband. “No?”

“No,” he repeated. “You need rest, and the doctor told me last night you’re really contagious. You can’t do any work today.”

Bean wasn’t sure if she was impressed or irritated. He really hoped it was the former so he wouldn’t have to get into another fight with her already.

“Are you telling me no?” she asked. “Me? Your princess, your ruler, your bringer of the day?”

“I am telling my wife no. The fact that you are a princess and that you bring the day is irrelevant. You need to rest.”

She gave him a curious look for a moment, but then moved in and gave him a quick boop. “If you insist, then. But I really do hate to cancel everything today, especially day court. It would be horrible to find out a pony had made a long and arduous journey so they could offer their petition to the throne, only to find there is no opportunity for them to do so, leaving them with nothing.”

“Couldn’t Luna take over?”

“She could, but she never has shown any interest in doing so since her return. I almost believe she is afraid to handle the affairs of Equestria alone.”

Bean’s eyes darted back and forth as he thought through an idea that had just come to him. “What if… what if I helped her?”

“You?” Celestia asked with a cough. “You want to run day court with Luna?”

“Yeah. So long as she helps me out, I bet I could handle it.”

“I don’t know. I believe you could handle everything in time, but you haven’t had a lot of education or training yet. But if Luna was there, and if Wysteria helped out too…”

“Whatever it takes to keep you in bed.”

“Or I could just keep myself under a shield. That way nopony can get infected.”

“That is not resting twice,” Bean replied sternly.

“Oo, you’re so cute when you’re angry.” Celestia chuckled.

“I am not,” he retorted sourly. “I am very serious when I am angry, and I should be taken seriously.”

“But while being cute,” she replied with a soft laugh. “All right. If Luna is willing to keep an eye on things and if Wysteria will take notes for me to review, I think that will work.”

“You have to stay in bed though,” he said with what he hoped was an even sterner look, “and no work. No papers, no meetings, no nothing. You are allowed to snack and to drink orange juice and water and to sleep.”

“And now you are giving me orders,” she chuckled again. “All right. I promise I will not do anything work related.”

“And if something comes up that I can’t handle, I’ll come consult with you,” Bean offered.

“Sounds good. May I read a book while I rest?”

“Yes,” he said with a smile.

“Good. I have two or three that I’ve been meaning to get to in the last three hundred years.”

“That’s a long time to put off a book.”

She gave him a coy smile and a mischievous wink before a knock came at the door.

“Good morning, Your Highnesses!” Wysteria offered as she pushed in a trolley with a domed tray. “I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well, but Chef Beet made some delicious oatmeal for you.”

“Makes me wish I could smell,” Celestia muttered.

“I apologize in advance for this,” Bean said to Wysteria as they walked down the hall.

“Hey, I’m more than happy to help you out if it means the Princess will actually stay in bed,” she replied. “The last time she was sick she ended up giving half the staff in the palace—including me—the pony pox. She really just doesn’t know how to not work.”

“Well, she’s only just recently had the option to take a sick day. I think she needs to learn how to delegate a little bit better.”

“She is doing better about that since I first got hired, but you are right. I get the feeling she just wants to make sure because she cares.”

“I can believe that,” he said  with a laugh. “This will be good for all of us in one way or another I bet.”

“I certainly hope so.”

* * * *

Bean and Wysteria entered the throne room through the staff entrance and chatted about the upcoming session of Day Court. Wysteria remarked that the day would probably be slower due to it being a weekday, which helped Bean’s nerves slightly, but he did admit to being a tad bit worried.

“You’ll do fine.” Wysteria patted his shoulder in reassurance.  “If it is a tricky decision, I can pull some strings and have whoever it is remain in Canterlot until Celestia can render judgement. However, I think between you, me, and Luna, we’ll be able to handle most of the petitioners.”

“Where is Luna, anyway?” Bean asked as he looked around quickly for her.

“She said she’ll be right down. She had to take care of some hives first.”

“Oh, okay then. I thought she was just kidding about that.”

“No, she really breaks out. But only a little bit.”


“She’ll be fine, don’t worry. Go ahead and have a seat while I finish up a few details. Luna should be down by the time we start.”

Bean simply nodded before moving to sit as instructed. Up to this point, he had been maintaining pretty well, but he hadn’t anticipated being on the throne by himself.

And now he was. Not as some kind of stunt or reward, not for a photo opportunity. This was his throne, before his ponies in his country.

The full weight of what that really meant began to settle in on him. In the previous day courts with his beloved, he had felt like a spectator, or perhaps like a reporter being given an inside look at how Celestia went about her day for an upcoming article. All he had to do then was sit back and watch Celestia move Equestria along.

But it was becoming clear that this would not be how things would remain. Since he fully believed Celestia when she had told Minister Wise and the two bickering pegasi that he was her equal, that meant that he would be issuing edicts. His word would become law for millions across a vast and prosperous land, and he would be responsible for the results of his actions.

Bean took a deep breath in. He had agreed to this. Celestia had warned him, she had given him a way out. Even now it was still a valid option. He could ask for the divorce, walk away from this tremendous responsibility.

But how deeply would that cut? He shuddered as he thought about how devastated he would be if she was the one to ask him. He couldn’t, not now. He was too emotionally invested.

There wasn’t a thing in the whole of Equestria that could convince him otherwise.

But that led him back to the original thought, and he closed his eyes while he inhaled and exhaled slowly and deeply.

“I can do this. I can.”

“Yes, this should be quite droll.”

“Gah!” Bean jumped sideways, but still managed to remain in the seat. “Discord?!”

“Hey-o Bean-o. Miss me?” The Mismatched Master of Mayhem asked with a delighted grin.

“Uhm…” Bean wasn’t quite sure how to answer that. He really had not missed him, but he didn’t want to offend the Lord of Chaos.

“Don’t worry, I know you did.” He ran a paw over the cushion beneath him. “Ooh! Very nice! No wonder she sends Twilight and her friends off to do her dirty work. If this was my throne I’d never get off my duff either.”

“Look, I really don’t need…” Bean started, but then he stopped himself. If he was going to be Celestia’s prince, he needed to act the part. “Discord, unless you are here to make a petition, I will need to respectfully ask you to leave.”

“Relax, mon capitaine, I’m not here to cause any trouble.”

“You’re not?” he blurted before he could help himself.

“Nope! I’m sure you’ll cause enough of that without my help. I’m just here to watch the fun.”

Well, that was inspiring. Discord smiled and wrapped an arm around Bean in a friendly embrace, much like a boa constrictor.

“Do me proud, Bean-o.”

He snapped his talon, and in a flash of light he moved from Bean’s side and into one of the stadium seats that had just appeared out of nowhere. The seats ran the length of the throne room and back up the other side, and more Discords began to file in from large archways that were at either end of the seats. The real Discord was sitting on the front row and perhaps ten feet away from Bean, and he was now sporting an oversized foam finger on his paw with BEAN IS #1 emblazoned upon it, a large tub of popcorn, and a ballcap with two soda cans tied to it. He waved at Bean gleefully, let out a shrill whistle, then shoveled in a large talonful of popcorn as a few fellow Discords sat next to him.

“Are you okay, Your Highness?” Wysteria asked as she walked around the throne and glanced at the bedlam. “I can have the guards clear him out if you want.”

“Do you really think they could?” he wondered aloud. As capable as the Royal Guard may be, he was genuinely curious as to how they would go about doing that.

“No, not really.” Wysteria admitted. She gave a glaring glance to the draconequus as he playfully waved back at her. “But I will personally award the Hoofbel prize to the pony who can,” she snarled a bit under her breath.

“I guess he’s fine, so long as he behaves himself,” Bean said while he took his turn glaring at two Discords who seemed to be fighting over a bowl of nachos. They both laughed nervously and smiled sheepishly, and another bowl of nachos appeared to end the feud. “How much longer do we have before day court starts?”

“Well, it really should be starting now,” Wysteria admitted. “But I’m not sure why
Luna isn’t here yet.”

“Who’s the first petitioner?”

“Let’s see…” She glanced down at her trusty clipboard. “Oh! That’s interesting. It’s a unicorn by the name of Starlight Glimmer. She wants to start a new town out near Manehattan.”

“Why is that interesting?”

“I don’t recall anypony else asking to start a town the whole time I’ve worked here. It’s interesting that she wants to start a new one rather than move to a place that’s already established.”

Bean thought about this for a moment. While interesting and perhaps a bit odd, there didn’t seem to be a reason why this Starlight should be denied. “Send her in, Wysteria. Maybe we can figure out why she wants to do this while we wait.”

“Of course, Your Highness.” Wysteria nodded to the guards at the door. The massive double doors then swung open, and Bean took a deep breath again as his hoof touched his Celestial Crystal.

This was now his court.

He then noticed that Discord and his fellow… well, Discords, since he couldn’t think of a better name for the duplicates, had suddenly become deathly silent. The light in the throne room dimmed, and Bean groaned as he noticed every single Discord in the room was now dressed in long, hooded black robes that obscured their eyes but left the cheerfully malevolent smile visible.

A distant bell began to knell as all of the Discords followed Starlight Glimmer’s approach, but interestingly enough she seemed to be unperturbed, and even seemed to revel in the attention in a way.

“Here ye, there she!” A Discord shouted from beside Bean. He unfurled a long scroll and cleared his throat before proceeding. “The Court will now hear the petition of one Starlight Glimmer, who is accused of equality! How plead you before this Tribunal?”

“Tribunal?” Bean asked. “What tribunal?”

“Well, since you’re flying solo at the moment I thought I would help,” Discord replied as an aside but with a huge grin. “C’mon, Bean-o! You’ll still make the final call, I promise.”

“This is your idea of… never mind.” Bean began rubbing his temples. “All right, fine. But please try to have some decorum, all right?”

“Decorum, gotcha,” Discord replied with a wink from under his his hood. “That’s some kind of grubworm, right?”

“Of course he thinks it’s a worm.” Bean groaned again. He had the feeling he’d be doing that a lot today. “Back to the topic at hoof. Miss Glimmer, you want to start a new village, correct?”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“Where, exactly, are you proposing to found this new settlement at?”

“I’m so glad you asked, Your Highness!” she replied with an overabundance of enthusiasm. Several large maps floated out of her saddlebags and she proudly held them aloft in her magic. “I would like to build Our Town here, just to the northwest of Manehattan.”

Bean then stood and took a few steps closer to the maps with Wysteria and Discord.

“‘Just to the northwest?’” Wysteria asked in confusion. “Miss Glimmer, you are aware that the location you’re proposing is many miles outside of the regular trade routes and guard patrols, right? You will be, for all intents and purposes, on your own. Isolated.”

“I certainly hope so, ma’am. That is the whole point.”

“It is?” Bean asked, as he glanced at Wysteria briefly. “Why?”

“For a fresh start, your Highness. I want to create a place with no distractions from outside, where we can be self reliant. A blank slate, if you will. This will be my chance to make the perfect place to live.”

There was something that didn’t sit right with the way she said that, but was there some sort of legal precedent to stop her from pursuing this?

“Prince Bean?”

“Yes, Miss Starlight?

“If I may be so bold, what does your cutie mark mean? The princesses’ are rather straightforward, but yours? I must admit it’s rather puzzling to me.”

“Well, it…” He stalled and glanced back at it briefly. “Well, it’s… huh. I suppose it’s just a blank book.”

“Really? That must be frustrating, if I may say, to be bound to something so vague.”

“Well, I’m not really bound to it.”

“Oh?  It is something you’re going to have to live with for the rest of your life. That sounds pretty bound to me.”

“I suppose,” he replied. Now she really was creeping him out, and that smile wasn’t helping. “But in a way it’s rather open to interpretation. It brought me here in a roundabout way after all. Yes, I didn’t get my mark in being a prince, but perhaps my cutie mark helps anyway. Much like how blank pages provide the opportunity to create a new world out of words, I too have this new opportunity to make a difference in ponies lives, much like your request to start a new life in a new place. It is a part of me, and though I may not fully understand it that doesn’t make it bad.”

“Perhaps.” She seemed placated but her gaze rested uncomfortably on his flank.

“May I have this map for a second?” he asked as he pointed to one, and Starlight gladly levitated it into his hooves. “Thank you. Allow me to consult with my advisors for a minute.”

“Of course, Your Highness.”

Bean gave her a wary look before moving back and behind the throne with Wysteria and Discord. The savvy secretary then caught the meaning of his glance and put up a soundproof shield before they continued.

“Well? What do you think?”

“I think I feel my skin crawling every time she speaks, that’s what I think,” Wysteria replied.

“Yes, I’m getting that vibe too, but what about her petition?”

“Well, she does has everything in order: the application, building permits, fees and dues. I really don’t see why she couldn’t be allowed to go start this little commune of hers.”

“Yeah, but that’s just it. She wants to be isolated, intentionally. What kind of a pony wants that?”

“There are a few ponies that prefer solitude, Your Highness. The paperwork shows a small hamlet of about twenty ponies or so. Maybe they’re just all tree huggers and want to live in that minimalist fad that’s been going around.”

“Hm.” Bean tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Could be. A lot of ponies thought the Apple family had gone nuts when they settled down near the Everfree.  Discord, what are your thoughts?”

Discord held up a talon and a squeak emerged from his throat, but then he stopped with a puzzled look. “Wait. You want to know what I think?”

“Yeah. You run Discordland, right?”

“Discordland?” he questioned. “Oh! That city I made up in… dah…” he stammered for a moment as he realized what had escaped out of his mouth, “I mean, hah! Of course! I am an expert on new settlements, how kind of you to ask for my expertise!”

“Relax, Discord,” Bean replied with a hearty chuckle. “I was pretty extra sure you were making it up all along. But really, what do you think?”

“I… well, nopony has ever really asked me what I think, except for Fluttershy. You really want to know?”

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t serious,” Bean replied with a grin.

Discord teared up for a moment, placed a furry fist next to his quivering lower lip, and smiled like he’d never smiled before. He then reached out, grabbed Baked Bean, and gave him a gigantic hug.

“You’re all right, Bean-o,” he offered in all sincerity. He then snapped his talon, and Bean found himself back on the ground and looking at Discord in a dark brown trenchcoat and fedora.

“All right, here’s the scoop. But keep a lid on it, see?” He said in a harsh whisper while glancing around to make sure they weren’t being watched. “Bean-o, I don’t like it, not one bit. She’s up to something.”

“Why do you say that?” Wysteria asked.

“Exhibit A: the application,” Discord replied as he pulled it out of his coat and held it out in his talon. “She filled it out in triplicate. Triplicate!”

“What?” Bean had to ask. “Why does that even—”

“No, he’s got a point.” Wysteria cut in.

“Care to explain?” Bean asked with a little exasperation.

“All forms need to be filled out in triplicate to get processed properly, but she is the first pony to actually have all three ready at the time of her application. Nopony has ever had all their paperwork ready to go right off. And look,” Wysteria began flipping through the papers on her clipboard with her hooves. “Environmental study, done. Impact usage analysis, done. Stormwater mitigation plan, done. Every last thing you need to do any kind of construction is done. Nopony is that well organized, not even me. For her to have all this ready means she’s been planning this for… years, probably. That’s really eerie.”

“All right. So she’s exceptionally organized,” Bean summarized.

“Twilight Sparkle is that organized,” Discord added. “This is the sign of a seriously disturbed mind, and I should know. Which brings us to Exhibit Two: that smile.”

“Smile?” Bean repeated.

“Exactly. I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit. I know smiles, and that smile? That’s just not right.”

Bean caught on to what Discord was saying this time with no trouble. Starlight Glimmer’s smile hadn’t waned, hadn’t faltered in the slightest during her whole time there. It was perpetual, and that really made it seem forced.

“Ok, so creepy unending smile.”

“Exhibit Next? That cutie mark!” Discord leveled the statement as if that was the most condemning thing about all of this. He leaned down and threw a furry paw over Bean before he continued. “Who has a mathematical symbol on their flank, I mean really?”

“Let’s see.” Wysteria’s eyes drifted upward as she thought. “Professor Cosine at the University has a math based cutie mark, and Deputy Plum Level has a math equation in hers, my third-grade teacher, Missus Millimeter, had two plus two equals four for her cutie mark, The Mayor of—”

“Fine, finefinefine.” Discord interrupted with an annoyed huff. “Strike Exhibit Next. But I’m telling you, Bean-o, I trust her about as far as she frowns.”

“Okay, but does any of that prevent her from going forward with this?”

“Well, no.” Discord was finally forced to admit. “I don’t suppose it does.”

“All right. Thank you, Discord,” Bean replied with a deep sigh.

“I can put her application aside until one of the princesses can take a look at it,” Wysteria offered.

Bean fiddled with his Crystal as he thought. What would Celestia do in this circumstance? How would she rule? Should he just pass it on?

No, he wanted to figure this out. He wanted to show he could be useful. “All right. I think I know what to do,” he finally announced. “Discord, can I ask you for a favor?”

Discord leaned back slightly and gave Bean a leery look. “Favor?”

“Yeah. Could you keep an eye on Starlight for me? Just check in on her randomly and see if she’s up to something.”

“What’s in it for me?”

“A Royal sanction to spy on a pony?” Wysteria dryly offered.

“Nah, I do that already. How about your first-born, Bean-o?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Second born?”

“You’re not getting any of my borns.”

“Well you’re no fun,” he replied with a huff. “How about one hour of your life every umpth Tuesday?”

“That… really doesn’t sound any better.”

“Oh, come now mon capitaine!” Discord replied. “That’s my tea day with Fluttershy. She keeps telling me to bring a friend, and now I can bring you!”

“I guess…” Bean stalled out in thought for a minute. “Celly could come too, right?”

Discord scoffed. “Please. We’re talking about Fluttershy here. You could invite Queen Chrysalis along and she’d still be fine with it.”

“I doubt that,” Bean replied. “But that doesn’t sound too bad, I suppose. I agree, with the understanding that I might need to cancel if something important comes up here.”

Discord gave a squeak of joy. “Done! I’ll watch her like Maud watches Boulder.”

“I… I have no idea who that is, but thank you all the same,” Bean offered.

Discord again grew misty-eyed and Wysteria nodded with a smile before the shield dropped and all three returned to their spots.

“I see no reason why you can’t go forward with your plan, Miss Starlight,” Bean announced. “The Crown will accept your petition and application, on the condition that you allow a contingent of inspectors and specialists to insure things are up to code and specifications during construction.”

It may have been his imagination, but her smile seemed to twitch slightly. “Oh, your Highness,” Starlight scoffed and waved a dismissive hoof. “That will not be—”

“I am going to insist on that.” Bean ordered forcefully. “To build a town in the middle of nowhere is quite strange, Miss Glimmer. I believe it would be in the best interest of the Crown to make sure you are not attempting to cover something illegal, yes?”

“Of course, Your Highness. Your inspectors will have free access to all the pertinent information they need.”

“Good. Did you have anything else to bring before the Court?”

“No, Your Highness. I have received everything I need.”

Bean nodded, and Starlight’s smile still held fast as she followed a pegasus guard out of the hall.

“Impressive, young Beanmeister.” Discord offered from under his hood. He steepled his fingers and smiled wickedly before continuing. “Most impressive. Soon your journey on the path of Royalty will be complete!”

“What are you talking about?” Bean asked.

“I dunno.” Discord shrugged.

All light in the room suddenly shut off with a loud clank, and an upbeat song from a pipe organ began playing from nowhere as spotlights danced across the hall. Bean looked over at Discord and he tried to ask what he was doing, but instead he found himself once again in Discord’s furry and excited embrace as he pointed to the staff entrance.

“Royalty and Draconequus!” Discord’s voice boomed out of the ceiling. “Coming on the court now for the home team, in the number two spot, batting .302 over the last three seasons and back in the game after a long stay in the penalty box, everypony’s favorite tortured ruler, Princess LLUUUUNNNAAA!”

The crowd of Discords erupted into cheers and applause as a spotlight followed Luna’s quite thoroughly confused entrance. The light slowly increased as she did so, and by the time she reached Bean and Discord they had returned to normal.

“I would ask what is going on but I fear the answer would be more confusing than the question,” Luna remarked, as she took in the still-cheering crowd.

“Discord wanted to help out today,” Bean said, and Discord nodded his head with enough force to make a rattling noise. “He actually was really helpful with the first petitioner.”

One eyebrow peaked as Luna gave Bean a sly smile. “Oh? You started without me?”

* * * *

“Thank you, Princess!”

“Not at all. Good day, fair subject!”

Luna chuckled as she waved to the departing petitioner before offering a satisfied sigh. “A most charming stallion,” she remarked to Bean. “My sister should have told me day court was this easy. I would have offered her a day off many moons ago.”

“I don’t think this is normal,” Bean replied. “Five petitioners in two hours?”

“It is unusually dead, Your Highness,” Wysteria added. “Usually we have this many petitions in the first fifteen minutes.”

“But if these petitions are indicative of what she usually contends with then she has greatly exaggerated her workload. Perhaps I will run day court on my own sometime.”

“I’m sure Celestia would appreciate the day off, Your Highness,” Wysteria said with a slight roll of her eyes.

“But since we speak of Celly, I understand you had a disagreement with her yesterday,” she flatly remarked to Bean.

“A small argument. Nothing to worry about.”

“Hmm. Was the argument her fault or yours?”

“Well, it was hers. She accused me of pandering to her when I was just trying to be nice.”

“And the incident with the citron pressé?”

“Heh, you heard about that?” he asked as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. “Yeah. Not my best moment, but she never told me what was going on. I just assumed it was for lemonade.”

“I see. May I offer a small piece of advice?”


“From what I have heard of the incident, I believe my sister was more in the wrong than you were, especially with the lemonade. It was not fair of her to assume that you knew about Prench customs since you are an upscale cook and can make Prench meals.”

“But that’s just it: I can’t. My family specializes in Caballian and Equestrian dishes. My mom always said the Prench were too snobby.”

“But does Celly know that?”

“Uh…” he stalled out in thought. “I guess not.”

Luna nodded. “Exactly. In her mind, you are fluent in foreign customs because of your background. She had no way of knowing that you did not know.”

“So that was my fault?”

“In a way. If you ever find yourself making an assumption, Bean, ask somepony about it and make sure you are right first. You will avoid a lot of headaches and angry ministers by doing that.”


“My sister could have handled the situation in a more controlled and professional manner, however. I intend to speak to her about this as well.”

“Thank you. That would be nice.”

“I won’t make a habit out of this, however. You need to work out your difficulties with your wife without a mediator. In fact, you should really talk to her about what has happened.”

“I should?”

“Open wounds that are not treated will fester and decay. Your relationship with Celly is your responsibility, not mine. You need to deal with these issues as they come.”

“Oh, right,” he said thoughtfully. Though he had no idea how to even start that sort of a conversation with Celestia he knew that she was right. He needed to be the one to discuss the issues with her, not another.

“Wysteria, send in the next petitioner,” Luna called out.

“There’s nopony to send, Your Highness,” Wysteria replied over her shoulder as she looked down the hallway.

“Oh. Well, I suppose this would be a good time to relax.  Tell me, Bean, do you enjoy—”

A sudden coughing fit overtook her, and Bean watched her hack for a good twenty seconds before she finally brought herself under control.

“You’re not getting sick too, are you?” he asked with concern.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I had a shield up when I visited this morning. I am not getting sick.”