The clean scent of Dreams and the warmth of her feathers were Twilight’s enter world. She felt so tired, she could not remember a time where she had felt this tired before.
Dreams was singing that lovely lullaby again stroking a hoof along Twilight mane. Slowly the night's activities and her spell work surfaced in her mind. So I may have made a slight miscalculation in the amount of magic that was going to take. She thought to herself, starting to go over her mental mathematics looking for errors.
The song came closer and Dreams leant against her back. A moment later, pleasure shot through her wings. Twilight had just enough time to begin to start voicing her contentment. The sensations stopped, and the song halted.
“What you did was reckless.” Dreams’ voice was angry. “I know you have a good reason to do what you did but next time before more careful. If you ever pull a stunt like that again and it’s not to save the world you will not feel anything like this again.”
Twilight had never meant to worry anyone, and certainly not Dreams.
“You worried me,” Dreams whispered tenderly. A glance was all Twilight needed to see the shimmering moisture in Dreams' eyes.
Twilight rolled over, wrapping Dreams in a hug. “I’m sorry, but I had to do something. I was starting to hurt the ponies around me.”
Dreams sighed and stroked Twilight’s mane. “I don’t care about them as much as I care about you.”
Twilight smiled and kissed Dreams. “I know, and I love you too.” Twilight pulled back slightly. “But you know I could never live with myself if I hurt somepony accidentally and I could have done something to stop myself from harming others.”
“That is what makes you a good pony,” Dreams said, returning to the pleasant preening. This was by far one of the best things about having wings.
Knock, Knock, Knock.
Twilight groaned. "Can I not catch a break?"
“It might be important." Dreams said, helping both of them to their hooves.
Twilight let out a long-suffering sigh.
There the visitor knocked twice more before they made it from Twilight's bedroom to the main chamber.
The door opened, Night stood hoof raised to knock again.
“Night.” Twilight cooly greeted. Despite there conversation last night, the interruption was still annoying. Still, a knock on the door was much more pleasant than being dragged to Night by there pact.
“Twilight… I believe a situation has come up that we need to solve as a family.” Night said.
Twilight groaned again. “What did you do this time?”
“Me? You judge me too harshly.” Night pointed with a hoof out of the door. “Just look.”
Twilight looked past Night and at the obsidian ground of her doorstep. Deep in its reflections, she could see her friend Rainbow pinning Emerald Shade to the wall. “What the hay?”
“Exactly my thoughts, now care to help or do you want to trust me to discipline your friend correctly?”
Night turned and started walking back out onto the plain. Below them Twilight could see a spectacular magical fireworks display fading, she could see her daughter looking proud and Candice looking stoic.
“Do your friends become incompetent foals when you’re not around?” Night asked casually as she made her way to be above where their body was standing.
Dreams nodded after Night, her eyes saying Twilight would be missed.
Twilight kissed Dreams in parting and then cantered after Night, arriving there just as the mare sank through the floor. She stumbled, falling through the floor that now seemed it had forgotten how to be solid. “Night!”
The sensations of her flesh and blood body felt too tight and constricting. The flight in just her bare soul last night had spoiled her. She looked forward to doing that again.
Twilight felt her body move her gaze sweeping over the ponies in the room. “Do I have your attention?” her voice spoke under Night’s direction. She could feel that although Night was acting, she was not blocking Twilight in any way.
The weight of her new necklace shifted, reminding her of its presence.
“Rainbow,” Twilight snapped “Why are you threatening my guest?” She did feel guilty over being so harsh with her friend but attacking a pony for no reason.
Twilight staggered back, it took her a moment to realise a near crying Rainbow was now hugging her. “Your alive.”
Why would I not be? Twilight thought. Using her wing to wave off any response from Candice.
How would I know? Night answered.
Twilight wrapped a wing around her friend patting her back gently. “There, there everything is going to be fine Dash.” She looked around the room, looking at the rest of her friends for answers that her blue friend was currently unable to give.
This unexpected response interrupted several good lectures she had been ready to give back to back. Despite that, she could not hold it agasint her. It was too nice to know Rainbow cared so much.
Emerald Shade was being lowered to the ground gently in Candice’s white aura. The poor mare looked like she would have plenty of bruises in the morning. The wall that she was being pressed against had cracks in it speaking of the force with which she had hit it.
Twilight turned her attention back to Rainbow, she was the one most likely to do something, or rather something else rash today. Her horn felt Candice’s magic shift from telekinesis to a complex but low power usage healing spell. Twilight felt a slight smile form. It may have been the guard training, but Candice’s first instinct had been to help Emerald, that spoke well of her in Twilight’s book.
“Of course Mummy is alive silly,” Star said, teleporting onto Rainbow’s back.
“But the room…” Rainbow began.
“Oh, that…” Twilight started. She lifted a hoof to her necklace and subtly tapped a message. ‘Morning Nova’
Rainbows eyes looked up to meet Twilights. “Yes, that… what do you think I would think finding your room like that!?”
“I... “ Twilight sighed and walked over to the table “Let’s all sit down and have a calm talk.” Twilight smiled warmly and nuzzle Rainbow once before gently pushing her towards the table. The athletic mare held the hug a moment longer before flitting over to her seat.
Night walked them past where Candice was still healing Emerald's forming bruises. They attacked one of mine, this needs to be addressed. This is something we need to tackle together, they are your friends, but Emerald is my pony, I can not just let this go unanswered.
The golden necklace felt like it warmed a little, it vibrated against her neck. ‘Patchwork, thank you.’
Twilight's mind thought back to the ditched toy that still sat in her library. In a way, the name did fit her more than twilight did.
I’m not going to let you attack them. Twilight responded to Night.
“Join me.” Night said, draping a wing each over Candice and Emerald.
At the contact, Twilight felt nothing unexpected, just the feeling of their bodies under her wings. There was the feel of the still active healing spell and the warmth of their flesh. She could tell that they were both mares that she found attractive, but that was it. None of Nova’s lust forced its way into her mind. Her mane stayed normal, not a single flame in sight. The necklace was working, she could feel it warming against her neck.
Hey, is that not being too familiar? Twilight mentally asked, but did nothing. She was too relieved that her thoughts were still her own to truly be annoyed.
She has just been attacked, this is showing we care and giving the others a message. Night defended her actions.
As they found a place at the table, Twilight could see everypony watching her with a mix of interest and worry. Rarities eyes glinted with anticipation occasionally flicking to Candice or Emerald.
Fluttershy’s eyes were fixed on Twilight's own. Oh yes, the invitation, what am I going to do if she accepts? Twilight thought.
Nova was happily tapping away in code her opinions of the ponies about. Twilight started to tap back a message about ponies had there own wants and desires too, that they needed to want ‘that’ too.
Well, but now we are bound to accept, or we may break her precious spirit. Night replied in a controlled tone.
Everypony was settled, and the silence was being to stretch. If they did not say something soon, there would be questions. Twilight opened her mouth to speak, unsure of what to say. Night used their wings to stroke down the backs of both of her ponies once before making a display of elegantly folding her wings. Both of the pegasus Element Bearers in the room were very much paying attention now.
The neckless vibrated with Nova’s approving purr.
Night… Twilight thought.
I distracted them, so give them your little speech already. Night sent back. A gentle, reassuring touch from Candice’s wing seemed to almost emphasise Night’s point.
Twilight focused on Rainbow. “I am truly sorry for worrying you Rainbow, I'm fine.” She offered her a smile that, after a moment, she shared it around the room.
Rainbow seemed to be rapidly calming down, her confident nature and military training reasserting themselves. “What happened Twilight?” She asked in an almost normal tone but made no move to leave the hug.
“I… I had a bit of an accident with my magic. Nopony was hurt, but I may have released a destructive surge of magic while in my room. I had to spend the night in a guest room.” Twilight answered. She could feel Night behind her eyes, watching the ponies for any reaction.
Rarity’s eyes shot wide, clearly thinking of the implication of uncontrolled magic could do. Fluttershy glanced to the white mare’s reaction before returning a now even more concerned look to Twilight.
Candice brushed a hoof over the burnt fur of her fetlock. Rarity, the detail-oriented pony, clearly noticed. “I’m sorry,” Twilight whisper-spoke, knowing that between Candice’s ever-active hearing augmentation spells and her cute thestral ears she would be able to hear. Fluttershy ears twitched.
“It’s alright, we can talk about it later. I do forgive you, though.“ Candice breathed out so quietly that, if not for her Alicorn senses, Twilight would not have heard it. It was not as subtle as whisper-speak but was an excellent attempt to have a similar effect.
Little Star hopped up in the chair next to Candice and nuzzled her studying the singed fur. “It will be ok, I studied medical books, let Doctor Star have a look.” Little Star said in whisper-speak and an edge of pride in the fact she could help.
Candice looked down to LIttle Star, her eye’s just wide enough to show surprise to Twilight’s Alicorn senses. She was clearly surprised that Little Star was able to hear her. In the same quiet ventriloquism she used earlier, “It’s alright, the burns are already healed, it’s just the fur that’s singed. Thank you though.” Candice smiled and reached out with her soft wing, stroking Little Star affectionately along her cheek.
Twilight smiled at seeing Candice getting on so well with her daughter. This might solve any potential foal sitting issues later on.
She added her own affection stroking her daughter’s mane. Or perhaps it was Night that performed the action, Twilight could not really tell. It felt nice, being completely in accord on something. Nova added her own thought that she wanted to ‘enjoy’ Candice’s touch. Twilight let herself think for a moment.
“Darling…” Rarity started clearly worried. Which was something the rest in the room picked up on.
Twilight held up a hoof. “You have nothing to worry about, she pointed towards her necklace. I have already seen to it that it will not happen again.”
The relief on Rarity’s face was evident.
Twilight used a brief pause to answer Nova. Upon consideration, she would not turn down or prevent Night or Nova from experiencing the joy of having their ley lines cleared by a trained pony, even if it would only be her Unicorn and pegasus ones. ‘Yes, later’ she tapped out.
Candice’s ear twitched towards the necklace. Twilight’s thoughts jumped for a moment.
She is a trained guard, of course, she knows that code. Night sarcastically added.
“How does a fancy bit of neckwear fix the problem?” Applejack asked.
“Last night I created this to stop my flames from harming others,” Twilight stated.
“Your flames?” Fluttershy asked, a bit worried.
Twilight hesitated. “Yes… you remember when I was trying to investigate Pinkie, and I went all white and my mane turned into flame?”
“Yeperoonies,” Pinkie said, suddenly bouncing in her seat for attention. “That was a doozy.”
“Well, as an Alicorn, if I do that… it has far more consequences.” Twilight said gravely.
“Is that why your room is nothing but a smouldering hole?” Rainbow asked.
Twilight nodded mournfully. She did not add that, now that Rainbow had been in the room and the likelihood of her flying here at high speed, and the disruptive effects of all her flight magic, any chance of her restoring any of the destroyed items were now gone. Her friend was motivated out of concern for her, she would not add that guilt to her.
“And… after my recent experience, my… self-control is not what it used to be,” Twilight admitted. She could see the looks of concern and care from all of her friends. It warmed her heart to see. She felt a slight wetness to her eyes.
Twilight would never know who was the first to move, she found herself in the center of a loving pony pile. All of her friends were here, she could feel their warmth against her. Each one’s embrace felt a little different as befitted their character.
Emerald Shade giggled, almost sounding drunk. Twilight felt a feather brushing the hints of tears from her eyes, by its scent, it was Candice.
Twilight reached out with her magic wrapping Candice in a brief hug with her magic in thanks.
Little Star teleported joining the hug. Fortunately displacing Pinkie a little instead of there being a teleportation related accident.
She somehow has a greater mastery of teleportation than you do. Night stated, her mental voice sounding awed.
Hug now, complex magic conversations about how our daughter knows these things later. Twilight sent back, enjoying the embrace. Mentally she adjusted the necklace allowing just a hint of Nova’s power to creep in. Her limbs otherwise occupied, she used her magic to tap the necklace. ‘This is just a friendly hug, no sexy times here’ she tapped out, keeping it simple so Nova could understand.
The warmth of Nova filled her body, strengthening her, she could feel the force of her hug increase a little as her body temperature rose a touch.
A wave of gratitude and childlike joy flooded into her from Nova as ‘thank you’ repeated a few dozen times as Nova’s excited enthusiasm being enough to actually shake the necklace.
Twilight let herself purr, closing her eyes and just enjoying the fact her friends were here for her.
Twilight was not sure how long she had been in the hug, and frankly, she didn’t care. The only concern that she had was the possibility of using up all of her friend’s lives before figuring out a solution for that particular problem.
Twilight’s Alicorn senses alerted her to hoof steps approaching from outside the room. The clopping on the crystal floor stopped. There was a hum of magic and the sound of the hinges as the door opening a bit.
A pony inhaled then the confident tones of Starlight’s voice called in. “Shall I get Twilight?” Twilight could imagine Starlight looking into the room. “Oh.” She said. Before a hesitant clop of a hoof and a slight dragging of another. Starlight as turning to leave likely feeling left out.
Twilight felt Little Star’s horn light as her aura wrapped Starlight in magenta magic, teleporting her into the group hug.
A moment later, Candice and Emerald were teleported into the middle of the embrace.
Twilight could feel Night trying to stay distant and aloof but was failing. There was melancholy that the love was not directed at her but joy at the sensations she was feeling. Why did everything to do with being an Alicorn have to be so complicated? Or was she just a special case and got all the excitement of an interesting life?
Twilight let a happy giggle escaped from her and nuzzled Star. It was not long before a peaceful sleep claimed her again.
Spikes voice calling out in the next room woke her. “Little Star, you need to clear the table the food is ready now.”
“Ok,” Star called out carefully.
Twilight had fallen asleep in the middle of one of the best hugs in her life. By the scents and sound of the unique breathing and rhythms of their hearts, some of her friends had left.
Rainbow’s was there with her ever-present scent of storms. Her powerful heart was beating the slowest, needing to put almost no effort into keeping the blood flowing around her sleeping body.
Fluttershy smelt like a mix of many different animals and that particular something extra from the Everfree. Now that she knew about it, she could detect the faint hint of thestral that marked her as a hybrid. Her heart sounded soft, just like the mare herself, and it was beating fast. She was nervous and excited. Twilight could feel the mare’s wings around her, they were not going to let her go anytime soon. Twilight didn't quite know what to do with the mare. Legally, because of the small thestral wellspring she had from Twilight’s magic, she could be defined as one of her chosen. All of an Alicorn’s chosen were part of their guard. Which meant in a very real way, Fluttershy could be considered part of Twilight harem.
Pinkie Pie’s scent marked her as a sugar elemental that might have hugged a pony once or twice. Her heart seemed to be playing a happy tune. If it was anypony else, she would have immediately teleported them to the hospital, fearing a heart problem. But for Pinkie, it was just her normal incomprehensibleness.
Candice was an intriguing mix, being Luna’s chosen, she smelled a little like Luna. The broad feathers Twilight could feel against her carried a distinct addition a unicorns arcane magic adding a little spice to the mix of pegasus and thestral. Taken as a whole, it was an exotic and enticing blend. The fact it would easily provoke thoughts of pleasant activities to her mind, was just more proof that Candice was literally born to fan her desires. By her steady heart rate and breath, she was clearly awake and aware, but not drawing attention to the fact.
She could still feel Rarity’s, Applejack’s and Starlight’s magic in the Dining Room along with Spike and Little Star. Emerald was gone, there was no hint of where the mare was to any of Twilight’s senses. That was a shame she was hoping to have a talk with her.
Twilight could hear little hooves galloping a few strides in the next room and them the pop of teleportation. Her horn localised the arrival point an instance before Little Star popped back into existence.
“Mummy, Mummy, Mummy. Foods ready.”
Twilight shifted her senses from paying attention to the ponies around her to the delightful aroma of Spike’s cooking. Inhaling deeply, she let herself just enjoy it for a moment.
“Mummy!” Star called again.
Smiling, Twilight opened her eyes and looked at her daughter. “Good morning, My Little Star,” she said.
‘Patchwork share food’ Nova either asked or demanded. Without tone or inflexion, she just could not tell. That was the problem with their current form of communication. Twilight disliked being called Patchwork, but it was an accurate description of what she was.
‘Promise to behave’ Twilight tapped.
‘Promise’ was Nova’s immediate response.
Candice’s wings gently retreated first as the hug started to be dismantled. With so many limbs involved, this would take a few moments to resolve without somepony getting something twisted or sprained. Rainbow stayed asleep, and Fluttershy clung to Twilight.
Night leaned in and nuzzled the yellow mare. Fluttershy froze for just a moment then returned the gesture. The warmth Twilight could feel meant Nova approved, but she did nothing, not even offering a tapped comment.
“Foods ready, we should get up.” Twilight thought about it, the nuzzle was friendly, but could mean so much more. She wanted to know what Fluttershy was thinking. She had the magic to be able to just look and find out, but she would never use it, she was not Celestia.
Star was bouncing on the spot, almost seeming to be trying to do an impression of Pinkie, waiting as Fluttershy and Twilight got to their hooves.
Rainbow was still fast asleep, cradled in Candice’s wings. Night reached out a wing towards her, twitching a feather to let lighting dance over it.
NIght? Twilight mental asked.
You know it won't hurt her. Night playfully responded.
Candice moved her own wing into place to block, shielding Rainbow.
“Fine, you wake her then.” Night said, turning and trotting off to the Dining Room.
Twilight watched as Fluttershy offered a grateful smile to Candice before following. Little Star, the bundle of energy, was teleporting between Twilight’s and Fluttershy’s backs repeatedly. Candice’s magic formed another copy of her hearing augmentation spell but this time applied it to Rainbow. Technically, casting augmentation spells on an unwilling pony could be considered a minor crime, but nopony ever presses charges unless it was done with mal-intent.
Rainbow proved her title as the champion of sleep, ignoring the amplified sounds. Twilight could feel Rainbows pegasus magic extended to the area around her deadening the sound by preventing it propagating through the air. Suddenly all the effort involved in waking the mare over the years made so much more sense.
Candice seemed to take that as something of a challenge flaring her own magic in a disruptive pattern, trying to break Rainbow’s control of the air around them.
‘Food’ Nova tapped.
Twilight laughed and turned her attention from the strangest magical duel she had heard of and teleported Star, Fluttershy and her self past the doors, into the Dining room. She would get more practice with teleportation, she had to catch up with her daughter after all.
Rarity, Applejack and Starlight sat at the table in the Dining Room a sound bubble around them. Clearly, they had been talking and taking precautions about being overheard.
They are likely talking about me, aren’t they? Twilight thought.
Given that Rainbow knows how sharp are hearing is, yes.
The table itself was piled high with all sorts of foods, this was not a meal, this was a feast. With the connection to Nova still open she could feel the hungry rumble from Nova.
‘Remember our table manners’ Twilight tapped.
‘Nova good filly’ Was the response.
Little Star teleported to the ground, and the world’s smallest timberwolf charged her and was lifted in her magic and pulled into a hug. The small wooden creature was covered with magical runes, each glowing with Star’s magenta magic. The core of the creature was a small bundle of self-sustaining spells.
It seems like you were not the only one practising enchanting. Night thought.
“And who is your little friend,” Fluttershy asked, immediately interested by what appeared to be a pet.
“This is Thorn,” Star said, full of pride.
“Most impressive work, My Little Star.” Night said.
Fluttershy looked confused. “Work?” She asked.
“I made Thorn,” Star smiled and pranced a little bit.
“Little Star put it together like a jigsaw puzzle. She has a talent for creating it seems,” Rarity said happily.
Starlight continued “, and then it came alive. You might want to teach your daughter about responsible magic use.” Starlight narrowed her eyes at Twilight like still annoyed about the trip into the Everfree. “Creating something that looks like a timberwolf in a room with a farm mare is not exactly the wisest decision. Applejack nearly smashed the little golem when it started to run around.”
Twilight studied the little construct for a moment. Each piece of the creature was enchanted with a separate Come-to-Life spell. All of them were linked to a central core that granted it a semblance of intellect. “Well, if I had to grade it, I would give you an A star. You work is truly amazing here.”
If happiness over being praised could allow a pony to ascend Little Star just would have. She was radiating enough joy to start to challenge Pinkie.
“But” Twilight said, and Star froze. “You have to make sure others in the room with you know what you are doing. You have to also warn them before doing anything that could distract or alarm them. It is not just good manners, it also helps keep everypony safe from accidents and mistakes that might be caused by the misunderstanding.”
Little Star thought for a moment and then nodded. A scroll flashing into existence labelled ‘rules for using magic’. The new lesson Twilight had provided being faithfully recorded. Twilight smiled proudly at her.
“Now, let's finally get that food” Twilight said, picking Star and her new pet up in her aura and heading for the table.
One major benefit of constantly channelling a small amount of Alicorn magic to strengthen herself, was it also augmented her senses, included her sense of taste. She was definitely going to be taking advantage of that here.
The meal was excellent, and even Pinkie seemed impressed with how much Twilight was eating. Rarity seemed horrified. She did not care, this was a much a gift to Nova as it was a treat for Twilights own senses.
Night was the one she had to restrain, Twilight guessed a thousand years on the moon gave a pony a great appreciation of the simple things like food.
For a time nothing existed other than the simple joys of good food and happy conversation with her friends.
Twilight had already eaten what seemed like four ponies worth of food before the last two ponies decided to join them.
Candice entered alongside a slightly embarrassed Rainbow Dash. Candice’s attention focused on Thorn with interested before she headed for a seat. She offered a smile towards Little Star, showing her approval of the creation.
Rainbow went off like a food-seeking missile joining in on the feast. Twilight put a few weak shields over her friends’ food, to stop crumbs and the like from the hovering rainbows enjoyment of the meal, to spoil others.
“Sheeze, sugercube, and I thought Big mac could eat a lot,” Applejack said.
Twilight let out a content sigh and offered a smile to her friend. “Well, the food is just so good, and I am a growing Alicorn after all.” Twilight giggled. “You do not want to know how many tons of cake the palace goes though.”
Applejack seemed to be looking for a joke, or a lie, and when she realized there was not, her eyes went wide. “We are not offering any Princess an all you can eat buffet ever again.”
“Good call,” Twilight said, popping yet more food into her mouth. Twilight could almost imagine she had a furnace insider her, turning food straight into thaums of magic. Nova’s content rumbling and the tapped messages asking Twilight to try this thing or that, kept her at the table, eating longer than any of the rest.
It was good that Nova could be interested in something other than violence and sex. Nova wanting to try all the different foods just seemed like a foal in a candy shop. In this case, the foal being one that would never feel sick and could eat the whole store.
Given that she was an Alciorn, that made her part Earthpony, she could likely have started eating the walls of said store as well, be it wood or stone. Not that that would be a particularly pleasant experience.
The conversations continued. Rainbow Dash seemed very interested in Candice’s flight performance with her extra-large wings and actual tail feathers. This seemed to result in Candice offering both demonstrations and lessons to the consummate flyer. Though the lessons seemed to be more in the line of combat training rather than flight.
Rarity and Fluttershy were talking about the invitation Night had given out. If it was not for Twilight’s senses, she would not have picked up about the little detail that Fluttershy was interested in the offer, and not just for a single night.
Pinkie talked to everypony about anything, once or twice it resulted in a bizarre coincidence of the pony she was talking to, knowing what it meant. Every one of her words was filled with pure undiluted happiness. It was infectious in its own way. It was hard not to have a grin whenever Pinkie shared one of her jokes or performed a seemingly impossible stunt.
Starlight looked like Twilight was the prime suspect of a crime. It was unnerving. Starlight clearly knew something was wrong and yet she did not seem to be able to puzzle out quite what. Perhaps she was simply guessing because of something she sensed. If that was the case, she would simply forget about it. What could she possibly think that Twilight had done?
Twilight wanted to leave that judging look behind. A thought struck Twilight. With how Candice was gifted to her and they had just teleported here, she doubted Candice even had her own toothbrush, let alone anything else.
“Has shipping being arranged for your personal effects?” Twilight asked Candice.
“No, haven’t had time to arrange that. With how I came into your service, I wasn’t really given any warning that would have allowed me to prepare.” Candice said, not even a hint of unhappiness in her voice at the issue.
“Then how about we just pop over to Canterlot and grab your stuff now?” Twilight lit her horn letting her power build,
“What about LIttle Star? Is she good here on her own?” Candice asked.
Twilight looked to her daughter. “Can you please guard the castle and look after my friends again, My Little Star?”
A flash of magenta magic and Little Star was now decked out in her pith helmet with its runes around the rim and cloak decorated with magical symbols.
Some of her spell work needs to recorded, she is better protected than the elite guard. Night commented.
Twilight just smiled in response.
“Nice work on the helmet there Little Star. Looks like your mom’s lab safety spells in there.” Candice commented.
“Thank you,” Little Star said to Candice as Twilight picked her up and nuzzled her.
“See you later, My Daughter,” Twilight said.
“Bye, Mummy, Bye, Candy,” Star said. This resulted in Candice ruffing Little Star’s mane a little bit in affection.
Twilight smiled and finally released the teleportation spell in her horn.
They were gone.
Candice and Twilight parted ways after teleporting to Canterlot. Candice had headed off to collect her own things. Twilight herself was just collecting a few things from the Castle. Trotting through the corridors she had long ago memorised, was almost a mindless task.
She could tell Night was ready for trouble.
Rounding a corner, she came across one of the last ponies she wanted to see.
Blueblood just stared at her. Twilight could feel her necklace tremble as the fire within thrashed about. For once, Twilight was more than happy to agree with Nova’s opinion even if she would never take any action against him.
Just as she was about to pass him, he spoke. “I am sorry, Princess. I offer my apologies for my conduct. It was must unbecoming of my position.” Blueblood bowed respectfully.
Twilight froze. She was going to say ‘Come again?’ or ‘What?’ but Night silenced her.
Night turned their body to face him and levelled a regal stare at him. “Your position as Celestia’s nephew may have shielded you from consequence.” Night smiled. “Nevertheless, thank you, I accept your apology.”
They began walking away “I am afraid I have business to attend to. Until next we meet, Prince Blueblood.”
Why did we let him off that easily? You know what sort of a pony he is? Twilight mentally asked.
Of course, my host. I have been at this game longer than you. How he acts next will be what we judge him by. We will see if he is turning over a new leaf or was just cowed by your display of magic.
Twilight’s mind flashed back to her anger at him, the want to end him. That is not me.
Twilight? Night asked, real concern lacing her mental voice.
Twilight felt her body want to shudder, but Night countered each motion.
Having collected a few things she wanted to, and now with a book floating in the air before her muzzle, Twilight made her way towards where she was going to meet Candice. Her Alicorn senses making it even easier than it used to be, navigating without looking where she was going.
If she listened carefully, she could even build a mental picture of the world around her just form the way the sounds of her hooves clopping on the ground bounced off the walls and other surfaces. As to that the fact she could hear their heartbeats and beats of other ponies, she could avoid even stationary ponies.
She filtered out most of their conversations and miscellaneous sounds she could hear. She did not need to know all the casual gossip, but she knew her mind would record it all.
Almost to the meeting point, Candice’s voice grabbed her attention, she was not at the meeting point, but instead was over in a different direction.
“Did you just insult Princess Luna? Because it sure sounded like you did, Sergeant.” She heard Candice say to a guard.
It looks like somepony just agreed to be our entertainment. Night commented.
Twilight knew where this was going and popped her book into her currently reading pocket.
“There is only one true Princess,” the Solarguards voice stated.
Extending her senses, it was easy to locate Candice and the stallion she was talking to. Her destination zeroed in Twilight teleported behind the Solarguard unicorn. Twilight could feel Night’s approval as she whispered with a menacing purr, “And what does that make me?”
The unicorn spun on the spot, ready to defend himself from an imminent attack. Upon laying eyes on Twilight, he recoiled, his mouth sputtering for a moment as it seemed to try and say five different things at once. At least four of them seemed to look like they were going to be insulting.
“Why are you delaying my Guard?” Night said in a dangerously calm voice.
“She has no right to be here… Princess.” The guard stammered.
Do you mind what happens to this cur? Night asked Twilight.
Regrettably... yes. Twilight responded, surprising herself with her own sentiment. She wasn’t as alarmed as she felt she should be at the tempting thought of putting this guard in his place. Free from Celestia’s shackles she was beginning to wonder, who was she becoming?
‘He’s mean to Gift. Can I burn him? Please?’ Nova tapped out in the necklace. Her necklace seemed to want to jump at the irreverent guard with each tap.
Twilight saw Candice suddenly look at Nova’s necklace, her eye’s visibly widening. “Protective isn’t she?” Candice asked in the quiet ventriloquism that she used earlier.
Calmly, Twilight stated, “Well, if it’s only a matter of permission, then I authorise her to be here.”
Why do you have to make this dull? Night bemoaned.
“Sorry princess, you’re not in my chain of command. I can’t take that decree from you.” The guard said, not sounding sorry in the slightest.
Candice stepped up, “You haven’t read the regulations book in the last five years, have you? Regulation 78.289 states that ALL Princesses have the authority to make a decree like that when it comes to their own guard. I am her guard.”
“Sorry citizen, but that regulation has been contested by the Nobel Council. To keep things clear, we have defaulted to the regulation book from fifty-eight years ago,” The guard smugly said.
For a mortal, this guard's bravery is only exceeded by his stupidity. Night commented. Twilight could tell that Night was planning on how to show him his folly in impeding an Alicorn.
Twilight leaned in, “And when did this happen?” Her voice dripping with intent.
“Yesterday.” The guard said simply.
Blueblood. Twilight thought.
I doubt he would have apologised if it was up to him. Unless something made him change his tune suddenly. Night commented.
Twilight tapped her hoof on her chin for a moment, that particular text coming to mind.
What are you up to? Night asked.
You'll see. Twilight answered, grinning.
Twilight’s grin was as menacing as one of Night’s. “Then I command you to deliver all texts on hmm... Guards who have been disciplined for displeasing a Princess as you can find from the library, and two of the finest cakes from the best bakery in the city.”
“You can't command me, Princess.” The guard said levelly.
“No not as your Princess, but as Celestia’s former personal student, I can. Check page four hundred twenty-seven, second paragraph,” Twilight said as she just conjured the text whole from her magic.
Don't try and out ‘book’ the Princess of Books. Night laughingly added.
The stallion read the offered pages with growing dread.
Candice for her part, was just looking at him like she was watching somepony realise how badly they had just screwed themselves.
The text reads that anypony that has held the position of the Princess’s personal student my task any servant of the crown to retrieve books and/or cakes. Unless they are performing a task critical to the safety of the princess.
“Now run along minion," Night said
“You can't do this,” the guard said.
“I do believe I just did,” Night continued.
He stupidly continued, “The guards are critical to her safety. The living areas are critical to guards. Thus the living areas are critical to the Princesses safety.”
“As you did not bow to me offering the proper respect I could have you jailed for a week starting now?” Night threatened.
He bowed, looking like he was eating something foul. “My apologies, Princess.” Twilight did not think she had heard that her title sound like that much of a slur before.
‘Burn’ Nova tapped, offering her violent suggestion.
A course of action formed in Twilight’s mind, just the thought of flexing her magic in such a public display brought a smile of anticipation to her muzzle.
“Which apartment is yours?” Twilight asked casually, lighting her horn with enough magic to drive the stallion to the ground.
Her new guard slightly shook her head at the stallion. "Top floor. Third from the left on this side of the building. He made mention that the ‘personal effects of a Nightmare Moon Cultist is considered evidence’ before you showed up." Candice stated while pointing to the building she was near with her wing.
The stallion on the ground flinched when Candice informed her of what he had said.
I knew she had good taste. Night thought.
I don't think he meant it as a compliment. Twilight added good-naturedly.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The guard demanded, struggling to get the words out past the magical pressure.
With a menacing grin, Twilight said, "Oh just some urban remodelling and apparently an evidence transfer."
She could feel her grin slip into being a little eviler as Night started to grasp her plan.
Visualising her target and gripping it in her magic, Twilight trivially made the needed calculations in her mind. She was struggling to hold back a laugh. This is going to be good.
Night channelled pegasus magic though their wings gripping the air ready to reduce the shock wave, that much displaced-volume was about to cause. Not caring for the Guard, she only protected Twilight and Candice.
There were two blindingly bright flashes of magenta light and a boom of an arcing teleport.
The breeze from the arrival of something so massive caused everypony’s mane and tail to be thrown into utter disarray. Twilight felt a foal like glee as she slowly rotated Candice's enter apartment in the air above them.
Everypony in Canterlot probably heard that. She had shaped the boundaries of the teleport effect carefully ensuring it would be loud, but avoiding shattering any windows.
The terrified awe of the guard just added to her joy. She was using her special talent, and her mastery over it was being recognised. That was enough to make anypony happy.
Candice looked up at the floating room. It wasn't nearly as massive as Starfall was, but it was bigger. "You're not going to drop it on him are you?" Candice asked with the barely detectable edge of a joke.
“I would not want to get your stuff dirtied with his blood,” Night replied.
Twilight watched the Guard shaking a little, she did not know if he could still hear anything or if he could just read lips.
Feigning consideration for a moment, Candice replied. "Fair enough."
Twilight could feel her necklace vibrating. It felt very much like laughter.
“So Candice, would you like a bite to eat or shall we head home?” Twilight asked while trotting away, floating the section of the building along with her as casually as if it was a shopping bag.
Twilight felt a little embarrassed, but Night did not let her show any of it as more and more ponies looked out from their windows or came out on to the street to watch the scene. With each step she took, her embarrassment fade replace with a swelling sense of accomplishment. She could tell both Night and Nova approved.
Candice looked up at the chunk of building, "You could have just taken my stuff and left the building intact you know. I was just about to go grab it all since I literally only have a few things that would fit all in a saddlebag.”
“This makes more of a statement.” Night responded with a matter of fact tone.
"Stop harassing your new guard?" Candice asked, raising an eyebrow.
“And the only reason they are not crushed under an iron hoofed rule they could never escape, is because we chose to rule benevolently.” Night retorted.
Twilight flicked her eyes doubtfully towards the palace for a moment. In whisper speak, "Or at least I hope that is the truth."
In her own version of it, Candice replied, "I hope it is too. I can't escape the idea that it might just be a pleasant narrative though."
The sound of galloping hooves and clanking armour caused Twilight’s ears to twitch. She spoke in whisper-speak, “It seems that we have attracted a small fan club. A whole detachment of Solarguards are heading this way. They will be with us in a few minutes.”
Nearly as quietly, Candice asked, “What are you intending to do about that?” Her tone seemed amused.
“I am debating on whether to just let the Nightguard following us, deal with them.” Night said, nodding her head to one of the nearby shadows.
“Or we could just talk to them or just teleport home,” Twilight added. She knew that Luna’s guards would act in her defence if she asked. If this was a few days ago, she might have let them. Now with things improving little by little with Celestia, she did not want to cause too much of a scene. She mentally went over what she had just done. Ok perhaps I do want to cause a scene just not a conflict She thought.
So long as you do not start calling yourself great and powerful, you should be fine. Night playfully commented before turning her attention to Candice and speaking aloud. “Your thoughts?”
"You're the Princess, though letting them say their piece might make things easier later. Maybe even repairing the building that you're actually not supposed to be taking off with unless there is a level three or higher emergency," Candice replied.
“I am almost certain an angered Alicorn counts as much worse,” Night said, almost keeping the chuckle from her voice.
“Yes, but it only applies if you are responding to the emergency, not causing it,” Candice retorted.
“Oh, ok. I take your point. Next time I will just execute them for their disrespect,” Night answered. If it was not for the fact that Twilight could feel Night was playing, she would have commented. Instead, she just watched to see what Candice would do.
"That is not at all what I was getting at. You know that." Candice replied levelly.
"Night, don't be like that," Twilight said aloud, figgering she should set a good example. Besides, she had an idea. “All we need to do is file the right paperwork by the end of the week, we will be fine.”
Mental scoffing Night responded. “You and your paperwork.” Twilight ignored her.
Candice looked at Twilight for a moment. Her face showed appreciation for the support. She could see Candice was still getting used to the idea of having multiple minds in control of their shared body. As normal Candice was doing a good job adapting fast.
Twilight pulled multiple scrolls from her pocket and started filling out the forms. The forty seconds she had until the guards got there, was more than enough time with her using twenty quills. Twilight was no match for Rarity’s level of control precision but taking a step back from controlling her body allowed her to come close.
Night looked to Candice and said in whisper-speak, taking on a tone that sounded a little more Nightmare and a little less Twilight. “These Solarguards are pathetic. If I truly meant harm, half the city could be gone by now.”
Candice replied in kind, “Yes, but the Solarguards are not trained or even intended to take on Alicorn level threats. They would be getting civilians out of harm's way, not throwing their lives away trying to stop an Alicorn.”
“Then they have been trained poorly, either that or my… Celestia did not wish there to be forces that might have the chance to stop her,” Night replied.
“Probably the latter honestly. Luna is training me to be her champion. I don’t know yet how capable I will be in the end,” Candice added.
The quills held still for a moment. “Would you two stop complaining about the Alicorn that runs this city, she might be able to hear you.” Twilight whisper-spoke back before returning to her paperwork.
Night inhaled deeply, Twilight shifted her attention back to the bodies senses enough to work out what had caught her attention. It was the unmistakable scent of hay-burgers and other unhealthy food.
Night started them off in a stately but fast walk towards her new goal.
The armoured forms of three dozen ponies rounded the corner ahead of them in good order. Twilight could see their formation was crisp and official-looking. Even Twilight could tell it should have been on a parade ground and not anywhere near a real threat. The dozen smarter, better equipped, unicorns that were moving into positions on the roofs of the surrounding buildings would likely be the larger threat.
Once, this situation might have worried her, either due to embarrassment or fear. Instead, her mind calmly assessed the situation different spell arrays and combat options forming themselves into a plan of action.
Twilight smiled sweetly. “Hello gentlecolts, I did not request an escort for such a minor errand, but I thank you for your diligence.”
Twilight could hear Night laughing in her mind. Things did seem to turn out better when they were working together.
The guards stopped, it was almost as if they had just run into a wall. Twilight imagined it must have been quite a sight, seeing an Alicorn Princesses taking a stroll with part of a building, add to that her friendly words. I wonder if this is as close as I'll get to causing ponies to react to in the same way Pinkie sometimes provokes?
Don't even think about that mare, else you might summon her. Night cautioned.
You have to say her name out loud for that… normally Twilight ended weakly, remembering hearing Pinkie after a Pinkie Promise was made in her mental library.
Twilight floated the completed paperwork over to the apparent leader of the guards. They looked over each sheet one by one. The guarded armed ponies seemed restless. Clearly, they were expecting trouble,, they were expecting a fight but found nothing.
Candice for her part, just sat down and assumed a rather casual guard position near Twilight.
“Now if there’s nothing else?” Night said.
“... They all seem to be in order,” The leader of the detachment said.
“Sir, you can’t be serious.” One of the lieutenants stated.
“The laws say that princesses can do anything they wish with residences they own and any additions must conform to local ordinances… it says nothing about removing features.”
“She has taken the whole apartment,” the Lieutenant said in exasperation.
Twilight kept the sweet smile on her face and moved to walk past them. Reaching out with her magic, she rotated the whole apartment out of the physical world, depositing it into a new pocket. Well, that was surprisingly easy. She thought.
Night took control again, heading them straight for the nearest Hayburger.
This time it was Twilight that was laughing in her head. Today was turning out to be a great day.
“Ahh, a ghost!” A pony fled at the sight of Twilight. That was not the reaction she normally got. The rest of the customers were now focused on her.
Candice just facehooved “Apparently, somepony did not read the redaction.”
The ponies parted for them as the advanced in. The queue stepping aside. Twilight nodded thankfully to those that allowed her past. As soon as they got to the counter, Night ordered thirty hayburgers.
As soon as the taste hit their tongue, Night seemed to lose the ability to think. Yes, they were good, but they were not that good.
“Want some?” Twilight asked after devouring her fifth burger. Who knew that Nightmare Moon could have been defeated with a simple plate of hayburgers. Twilight thought. There was no response from Night.
“I could go for a couple,” Candice replied.
Twilight indicated with a wing for Candice to sit and partake. Night was still relishing the taste too much to notice that she was losing some of her coveted hayburgers.
Candice paid for and got her own drink. The workers seeing who she was with offered no complaint.
Three more burgers perished.
"So does this count as a date?" Candice said jokingly.
“Hmm?” Another hayburger met its untimely demise as Twilight cast an invisible privacy spell. "Would you like it to be?"
Candice looked at Twilight, "I'd like to take you out on a date, show you some places I found on my trip to Equestria, share stories. Have a night of stargazing with some good books after in front of a fireplace. What do you think? Sound good?"
Twilight looked up at Candice for a long moment. Here before her was a mare that was cursed or blessed with being made just for her. Turning her away would be like trying to tell a fish that it could get over its water breathing habit. The fact that said mare was honestly almost as attractive as Dreams and might be able to be more so, if she put a bit more work into her appearance, made things less complicated.
Twilight nodded "I think I would like that very much... I am just not sure when there will be time... And I am not sure some of my friends would be happy if I go as far as trying to make more time."
The privacy spell altered adding an illusion effect to it, hiding Twilight reaching out with a wing and brushed it over Candice's. Candice smiled at the contact. "It would be nice to get to know you better... You seem to know me better than I know you, yes you have told me your story but that's not the same," Twilight said.
Candice, still smiling, “I would love to. We could chat a bit to make more time with Luna’s help. Have conversation time in the dream realm.”
“Sorry... That is something that will not work... I don't dream anymore.” Twilight replied.
“How is that? Luna does,” Candice countered.
Twilight was curious but also a bit concerned, “Being an Alicorn... I end up where my... Other family is. I don't know how much Luna has told you...Nor how much I should say.”
“Maybe we should have a talk about that with Luna. You might just be missing something. Luna is an Alicorn, and we talk in the dream realm, so I know it's possible.” Candice added. She looked hopeful that she might be able to be of actual help to her.
“She is the Alicorn of dreams…” Twilight said.
“Yes, which means she's the best one to ask about it. It's worth a shot. If it's 'nothing can be done' then you've lost nothing. Or you could learn something new about Alicorns, and of its something new, then we both gain time together.” Candice added.
“She would have noticed by now and has not raised it as an issue,” Twilight said, trying not to get her hopes up.
“That doesn't mean it isn't worth asking, she might just be waiting for you to get used to things. Is the potential gain worth the price of asking your betrothed about it?” Candice pointed out.
Twilight wrote on a scroll and handed it to one of the Nightguard shadows that were nearby.
Candice looked like she had years of stories to share with Twilight. "Would you like to hear about my past adventures in the meantime? I don't usually talk about myself much to others, but you deserve to know what I've been through."
“You know it would be easier if you just turned her into a book.” Night teased out loud so Candice could hear.
“I don't mind you reading me like a book, but I would prefer not to be turned into one,” Candice said with a smile on her face.
“Hmm, what shelf would I put you on?” Twilight asked thoughtfully
“Might need a new shelf, it would vary depending on who's reading. For some I'd be adventure, others would be drama. For you, I'm hoping the magic/science and romance sections.” Candice added to the little game.
“Or perhaps a secret little one, full of guilty pleasures?” Night asked.
“I'll give you all the pleasure you desire, You just need to tell me it's what you want. That goes for all of you. I feel bad about what happened with Nova. I’d like to make it up to her at some point.” Candice stated with a slightly sombre voice.
‘Gift is nice’ was tapped out on the necklace.
"I'm very glad you came up with that necklace, it's not only ingenious, it's amazing and useful in more ways than one." Candice brushed a feather along the crystal. "Can you feel that, Nova?"
Nova replied ‘No’.
Candice had Twilight’s attention. She noticed that Night and Nova were also listening with interest.
“What do each of you want? How far do you want to go? What can I do to please each of you?” Candice asked.
“You want Nova to feel something?” Twilight asked.
“That would be nice,” Candice said simply.
“We need to go somewhere else then,” Twilight stated.
“Why?” Night asked, waving a wing towards the crowd. "They can detect nothing."
“I'm better with somewhere else,” Candice added her voice to the vote.
Night gave a quick nod and charged Twilight’s horn with shadowy magic. A flash of magic later and they were gone.