Twilight Gets a Puppy, Season 3

by TDR

One bad Apollo

Twilight Gets a Puppy
Season 3

One bad Apollo

[ Canterlot. Two weeks after the meeting with Chrysalis, mid summer]

“Did you need anything sir?” the receptionist asked.

“Nah, I'm good.”

Rahs shifted on the couch in the waiting area, these things tended to be a bit uncomfortable for any one not pony shaped. The moon dog sighed and shifted again, adjusting his teal coat to stop it pulling at his shoulders as he sat back, picking up a magazine and sighing as he read through the better Homes and Stables.

Normally he would have a book with him, but it had been quite a while since Twilight had visited Dr. Katts, and getting her to do so again hadn't been an easy thing. Luckily the shrink had had a rather sizable part of his day clear today to allow him to see Twilight and when she found out she wasn't getting out of it, his sister relented.

Applejack and the others had expressed some concern over Twilight's reactions to things lately particularly after what she had been through in the Crystal Empire. Her friends insisted she get some sort of counseling. It came to no surprise to any of them she already had a doctor she saw.

His sister had never been the most stable of ponies to begin with, in truth out of the lot of them,Spike was probably the most sane. Twi had her list of phobias and assorted other issues, Shining was crazy enough to join the guard to hunt monsters and think he could date a princess, granted that last had worked out for him. Rahs was a displaced carnivorous creature from another realm who was raised by vegetarians and along side a dragon and a basket case like his sister. While that in of itself wasn't enough to cause any issues, the fact such a odd and slightly tragic upbringing was perfect for a method actors tragic backstory was perfectly acceptable to him.

Still after the last few months it was a wonder any of them were doing well mentally.

Twilight was the worst of the three. She hadn't actually killed any thing, but the head trauma coupled with a near nonstop barrage of conflict and fighting in the last few months was taking it's toll. PETA, the Crystal Empire, the wedding invasion, it seemed like there had barely been any time to relax and the chaos and conflict was causing issues with his list loving sister.

He was rather surprised she didn't try to throw the changeling queen into the sun with how wound up she was. Thankfully Chrysalis seemed to realize that and aside from a few friendly jabs here and there, kept things civil and interesting enough that Twilight was more in 'study mode' than her recent 'burn the land and boil the sea' mode.

Still if Chrysalis was being honest with her intentions then that was one less problem they had to worry about, any further negotiations would b done by Luna, not the Sparkles.

Shining was doing the best. He was used to killing monsters. Rahs didn't know exactly how Shining was doing, but mom had mentioned he requested one of the guard psychiatrists from Canterlot. Evidently it was one he used after his first few missions with the six sixty sixth. Ponies were not naturally violent And being forced to kill never sat well with them.

Heck the whole Empire would probably need an army of shrinks.

Spike seemed to be doing alright, right now he was more than a little miffed he was missing the parade in Ponyville. Mom had come to take him to a doctor in Canterlot who was an expert on dragons to see how his arm and spine were doing. Most of his scales had grown back, but they were a different shade of purple than the rest of him. Velvet had eased his annoyance by promising to take him out for ice cream later, but he was still upset at missing the parade and the float his friends had worked so hard on.

Spike wasn't sleeping well, between the injuries hurting if he slept wrong and whatever was troubling his mind lately he always seemed tired and sluggish. He had watched his two older brothers kill a dragon and a witch wolf respectively and he was smart enough to know what happened to the buffalo he burned. Thankfully he seemed to be getting better on his own. Applebloom and his friends helped with that. Even if their little relationship never went past 'first crush' levels it was helpful to him.

Rahs himself... that was a bit trickier. He had never killed anything sapient before and while necessary,
he had spent a good week compulsively washing his hands as if trying to rid them of the blood that wasn't there.

Even when the Bone Hounds grabbed him he hadn't killed any of them himself. Still all three of his siblings got hurt and he felt like a failure for allowing that despite the fact he had done all he could just to keep Managarmr away from Twilight. He hadn't even known about the buffalo or dragon until later.

Beyond that claw washing compulsion, which he was over now, he didn't feel anything. No sadness for the life he took, no joy which he had expected if he really had become one of those monsters, just … nothing, it was like he had just killed something he was going to eat, he had no emotion over it one way or another.

No that wasn't quite true.

If he thought about what Managarmr was going to do to his siblings he felt a great deal of anger,enough to know that he wouldn't hesitate if put in the situation again. It reminded him of what he was told happened when he was still a puppy to the attempted foal nappers.

His training with Jynx had gotten a great deal rougher as he put more of his attention into it. Jynx had upped her own game to counter his growing skill. The alpha still trounced him more often than not, but she had to put more effort into it.

She had asked what had happened to him, evidently only getting a few details and noticing the new scars he had, though he hadn't wanted to talk about it. Maybe he should, her pack had been in conflict with the Bone Hounds before they were destroyed and she had to fight more often than not to keep her position and protect her pack, so perhaps she would understand.

That was something to look up later.

In short though they all needed a break, Twilight more than anyone else. Fortunately, one looked to be coming soon, at least for Twilight. As a reward for their aid in freeing the Crystal Empire, the Princesses were not only allowing, but paying for the expedition to Whinnyshire castle in the Everfree.

While this was not Rahs' idea of a vacation, it would be to Twilight. Anything found there would be Twilight's responsibility to check over and document. The scouts that had been sent in there recently had already started some of the clean up of the old castle and a path was being cleared through the forest.

They had found a number of artifacts and items of historical interest, but most importantly they had found a massive library untouched by time weather or animals, the spells protecting the place still in effect. Nothing was taken out of the ruins, but a number of repairs and wild life removals had taken place to make it safe for the research team.

It would be a different one this time as Moon Dancer and Sunburst had opted to stay in the empire to work on catching every pony up to the modern age as well as study anything they could find about the Empire. The pair were also secretly looking into was anything that might have been left behind by Solomon or Sombra, before whatever was still hidden was found by some pony less prepared. Although the Sombra was in a cell some where, he was supposedly not being very cooperative.

The only thing major the pair had discovered so far was a well fortified null room. Null rooms up until now had only been theorized due to the large amount of mithril needed to make one. Solomon had enough for quite a sizable room in a secure part of the palace's upper levels. What was already stored there would be investigated and either left there or moved some where else depending on use and risk. A number of the artifacts that Canterlot had would be moved there as well, including a strange puzzle box, a severed paw of a monkey holding two fingers outstretched, and a mirror rumored to be a prison for evil, created by Starswirl the Bearded.

The Monkey's paw Rahs was very familiar with. Celestia had checked to see if his magic eating ability could destroy it at one point.

All that had happened was one finger went down and Rahs had gotten too sick from the glut of power he ate to do anything else with it. It tasted like rancid fish.

Before Twilight's appointment they had met up with Luna and he had taken the lead in explaining the meeting with Chrysalis. Thus far Celestia still didn't know what Rahs was saying.

Luna was surprised at the situation, though it was fairly easy to prove that neither Twilight or Rahs were changelings, as Luna could still see the link. Given the singularly unique nature of the Sparkle's connection, none of them could be replaced without it being a easy check.

Luna agreed to a meeting in Ponyville as neutral ground, though she then made herself scarce, citing other business.

Rahs and Twilight didn't think much on it as they expected Luna was going through her own issues in regards to the return of the Crystal Empire.

Perhaps they could all meet up later for dinner.

[The Crystal Empire]

Shining Armor sat back at his desk with a small sigh. The reports were not good. There was going to be a lot of recovery needed for the crystal empire to be able to sustain itself. It was already too late in the season to grow anything and there was hardly any stores of food in the empire as it was.

The Princesses had offered what support they could, as had the dragons, but food and medical supplies were going to be tight for a while.

Bits were the easy part. Solomon horded wealth like a dragon and then when he turned on the rest of the world he had no where to spend the money. Even with that wealth if they had to pay for everything they needed they would be broke by next summer.

Not that it was all bad news, it turned out his sisters friends had some rather important connections as well.

Moon Dancer and Sunburst were pulling their own weight and then some with the glut of information recovered, even managing to find out that Cadence was legitimately of a noble family line that escaped when Solomon came to power. The town where Cadence grew up had a number of ponies who were distantly related to the empire simply due to the unusual surnames they had.

The pair had fended off or set fees for another groups wanting to come and investigate the Crystal Empire. They had used those fees to recruit a number of curse breaker and other skilled unicorns to aid them in dealing with the information and the possible dark artifacts they might find.

On top of that both of the unicorns had taken to teaching classes to bring the time lost crystal ponies up to speed on the modern world.

Shining and Cadence were strongly considering offering them tenures in the empire.

The farm land around the Empire was mostly abandoned, most of the ponies that lived there fell victim to the monsters of Solomon's rule. Applejack had come through on that front speaking with members of her family and a number of other farming families they had contact with. The first of that crew had arrived last week and were currently surveying the farmland for what could be grown and what was already growing wild that could be re-cultivated. If enough of the farms that had run wild still produced food, the shortage wouldn't be as bad as it seemed. There had also been talk about setting up unused land at the edge of the protective shield with green houses as it was too cold at those points to grow anything naturally.

By next year food would no longer be any sort of issue, that was the one thing all the farmers had agreed on.

Shining and Cadence were prepared to offer the land to any that would stay to tend it provided family of the real owners couldn't be found.

Rarity's help turned out to be unexpected and a number of crystal ponies were already singing her praises for helping them escape the fire and being the one to capture Sombra. That she then managed to convince some of the wealthiest fashion companies and designers to send supplies to the empire was a surprise. While textiles were not quite a necessity, the bulk materials sent along with older fashion lines and outdated work cloths could be turned into bandages, blankets and tents for those still without homes.

Then there was the other help Rarity gathered.

A veritable pack of Diamond Dogs showed up in the empire at the behest of their alpha to help shore up the mines around the empire and bring them up to code. The Jade Wolves had cut down on the time that it would take to get the empires primary export back up and running. It might take some time to find any crystal ponies willing to go back into the mines, but even thought he Diamond Dogs were only here for a short time they had already taken care of the burial of the crystal pony remains from the mines and set everything up for when ponies would be able to work the mine again.

Shining and Cadence had made the offers for them to stay to keep working the mines if they wanted, for decent pay and provided housing. Their Alpha Jynx had considered it, after all there would be no competition from other packs this far up, but thus far she wasn't comfortable with any of her subordinates enough to leave them alone. She did say she would look into it however.

The biggest surprise of that encounter however was the massive diamond dog asking Shining's permission to pursue Rahs more openly.

Cadence had quickly agreed for him.

They kept the agreement on the down low however as Rahs was gaining a rather cult like following of mares and stallions in the Crystal Empire for being the only one of their saviors who was still single.

Fluttershy had been surprisingly helpful. With the rise of Solomon the swarms of vermin grew as the standards of living fell. Her response had been rather quick and the city soon found itself the recipient of a large number of stray cats one of her friends had 'adopted' from a less than welcome situation.

Pinkie Pie had translated that statement to, three more PETA installations had been raided. Then she rambled something about a pony named Ted with a zip line and Shining had tuned the pink mare out.

While many of the felines still remained wild to hunt the rats, quite a large number had made themselves at home with the Crystal ponies and decided that a particular pony or another had adopted them, neither the pony in question realized it or not.

Fluttershy had also brought in a number of other ponies, who with a great deal of searching had come across a number of formerly extinct Crystal Dragon Flies. The group was quite certain that with a proper program, they could reintroduce them to the world to help curb the growing parasprite problem.

The yellow pegasus had also had a number of her animal friends pull fallen logs out of the Everfree forest to be shipped to the empire to help rebuilding a small gesture after the rest of what she did , but still welcome.

Rainbow Dash had surprisingly managed to help as well. In addition tot he support Prince Blueblood drummed up, Rainbow Dash managed to recruit a whole weather team to come up to the empire and take over the weather duties for the empire. The end result was a decent weather team that was far cheaper than the ones being offered by Cloudsdale. The team itself was paid a little better than they would have been in other places, even for working cheaper than what Cloudsdale had offered. Dash pointed out it was probably a estimate based on how desperate they were for a team and how much some stuck up bureaucrat could swindle for their own pockets.

Then there was Pinkie Pie. She had promised to help as well, though Shining wasn't sure what she had planned until a swarm of entertainers had come in on a train, Circus acts, musicians, confection artists and even simple street performers had shown up and started plying their trades.

While Shining wasn't sure of the how or why of it, there was a noticeable improvement of morale around the empire.

The problem now was the crystal ponies themselves. Out of three tribes of crystal ponies that had existed only the earth caste remained. The witch wolves and other monsters of Solomon's reign had found the flying ponies and magic rich unicorns the perfect meals and had wiped them all out. The trauma of the events shown through worse when it was found that most of the civilians left had never known anything save Solomon or Sombra's rule, and while the prince had not been as bad as his father, he was still horrid.

With them in the state of just now starting to accept that they were free, he and Cadence were put in the odd position of being stuck as rulers as no one knew anything else.

Rhede turned out to be immensely helpful at this point. Despite the stallions tendency to flirt with anything female, he also took no for an answer. He was something of a legend to the Crystal Ponies for being a robin hood type, or heck perhaps he even was the original legendary figure. In any event he was very well respected and knowledgeable of everything that was going on, even if the populace wasn't willing to speak to their new rulers for fear of reprisal, they were willing to speak with Rhede, and a number of issues were corrected because of his bringing it to Shining and Cadence's attention.

There were also the anonymous donors of goods and supply's. One of them had even supplied a few hundred repair ponies with gear at no cost what so ever to the empire. The workers had set out to rebuild the burned houses and even better, bring modern plumbing to the time lost empire. The crew mostly kept to themselves and evidently brought their own food supplies as they didn't dip into the Empire's stock. They also worked rapidly on full rotation shifts, they changed out rather rapidly however as a number of them left with every train as the same number of other ponies replaced them. There must be something wrong as the ones leaving always looked a little ill and bloated, but there were never any complaints. Still perhaps he should have some one look into this 'Favorable Change' construction company, something seemed fishy despite the welcome help. It might be nothing, but Cadence seemed rather irked by their presence, though she wouldn't say why.

All in all Shining Armor knew nothing of how to run an empire and Cadence was only trained in the political aspects of it, so after a good bit of discussion they decided to split the issue. Cadence dealt with the legislative stuff as well as the other political fluff and negotiations and Shining would deal with the judicial stuff and keeping everything in motion.

To that end he set out to run all of it like it was one big Guard brigade. Repairs and food preparation would be first and for most. Getting everything back in working order was first, modernizing everything was second. He had the Heart Guard patrolling in shifts at all times to maintain order and offer aid when they could. He himself took a few of these shifts as well, doing his best to be out and seen among the recovering populace.

The few upper class nobles that remained or had risen to power under Solomon and Sombra's rule were under a strict watch. The soldiers that worked for Sombra were kept locked up to be dealt with later.

They didn't have the resources to watch them all all the time if they were freed. They were fed and watched over and the less angry or violent ones were allowed out on work crews to work in some of the more strenuous or unsafe tasks that were needed. The ones that did so without any complaint or went beyond what was expected were noted for later as possible parole candidates. The ones that were violent or tried to escape were left in the cells with plans to send them to Alpalcatraz after there was time for a trial.

There was a lot left to do before there would be time to relax, but things were looking up. Though he still wasn't sure he was fond of that statue the Crystal Ponies had insisted be raised.

[ Crystal Empire]

Trixie Lulu moon's left eye twitched as she looked up at the massive statue in the central courtyard of the Crystal Empire. She had been hired to come work as an entertainer for a while though one of the talent agency she was a part of. The pay was decent and the timing was good, plus she would be one of the first to see an empire that had been missing for a long time.

A perfect crowd who had never seen any of her tricks of course she had been allowed to set up in the main courtyard before the palace.

That was where she say the statue. A life sized rendition of the four legendary heroes of the empire with their new Princess.

The four figures stood facing out ward towards each of the cardinal points on the compass. Posed as if floating above the other four, wings spread wide and clutching the Crystal Heart in her fore hooves was Princess Cadence herself. She was facing north towards the palace with the inscription of ' The Hyper and Beloved Crystal Princess Cadence Sparkle.'

Also facing north was a statue of Shining Armor. The stallion was depicted as much more robust than he was in real life, but that was clearly artistic license was taken. His plaque read, The Heroic and Stalwart Crystal Prince, Shining Armor Sparkle.'

Facing the west towards where Trixie had learned a college had once stood and would soon again was perhaps the most expected of the statues given all the mare had done already. Twilight Sparkle had her own statue that had artistic license added.

That mare had never looked like a super model.

Her plaque had read, ' The Noble and Mighty, Twilight Sparkle.'

Facing the east towards a library was a smaller statue that had been raised so it looked like the little dragon was standing tall on a jutting bit of crystal. They had captured Spike's likeness fairly well.

His plaque had read. 'The Honorable, Brave, and Glorious Prince Spike Scale Sparkle.'

Evidently the little dragon was a local favorite as he had three titles.

It was the last statue that had started Trixie's eye twitching and it was also the one she had first noticed.

Her favorite moon dog was posed giving a sweeping theatrical bow, his fanged face split into a smile as his pose had his eyes focusing on whoever stood in a certain spot under his statue. He was facing south towards the main gate and his pose seemed to convey that it was bidding welcome to any who entered.

Trixie didn't notice any artistic license with his statue.

What she did notice was the plaque.

'The Great and Powerful Prince Rahs Sparkle.'

The eye twitch increased a little before the blue mare sighed.

“Fuzzy's gonna get it for this...” The Great and Powerful and upstaged Trixie growled.