In not too long, you arrive at the castle. From the outside, it's obvious there's one heck of a party going on inside. As you walk inside, the scene serves to prove the point. Loud music, bright lights, and lots of ponies dancing their flanks off.
You make your way through the crowd, getting a few bumps before reaching the refreshments table. A saving grace from the ponies dancing, you pour yourself a glass of punch. Turning back to idly watch the dancers, you notice you're next to a familiar face.
"Hey Shiny." You greet the wannabe guard happily. Hey, out of all the guests, it's one whose company you don't mind. He looks over to you with...uncharacteristic apathy.
"Oh. Hey." He takes a sip of punch.
Gee. Figured he'd be a bit happier to be at his best friend's birthday party. Ah well, you aren't one to complain, you'd rather not be here either. It's like torture.
Speaking of torture, you wonder where Cadance is. The sooner you see her, the sooner you can leave. You pull the crystal heart out of your pocket, admiring it for a brief moment. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can go back to C-
"ANON!!!" Speak of the devil. The pink princess beelines through the crowd, coming right for you. Once she makes it to you, she prods a hoof right into your chest. "My party started an HOUR ago, where have you been?!"
As you prepare to bullshit her a small story, her anger subsides. Instead of staring at you, she looks down. Her eyes go wide, accompanied by a soft gasp.
"Oh Anon..." She puts a hoof to her mouth. "It's beautiful..."
Fuck. Sorry about this, Chrissy...
"Yeah...happy birthday, Cadance." You hand her the crystal heart, smiling the best fake smile you can muster. She doesn't deserve it.
She's speechless as she stares at it. Her reflection in it is flawless, as is the crystal heart itself. After composing herself, she throws her arms around you, planting a deep kiss. You return it reluctantly.
"OH THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" She shouts in excitement over the beautiful gem. Still holding tightly, she leans to your ear. "This deserves something special after the party..."
You throw up in your mouth a little.
Letting go, she happily stares at the heart once more. "I'm gonna go put it on a necklace!!" Lifting the heart with magic, she gives you a wink. She then trots off through the crowd, into the halls of the castle.
Still recovering from the thoughts that entered your mind, you sip some punch to wash down the awful taste she left in your mouth. Watching her leave is the best sight you can think of right now. Though the sight looks a bit...different.
Is that...a cutie mark?
"Anon, ohmygosh, that gift was BEAUTIFUL!" A few of Cadance's friends walk over, complimenting your gift. These are the same mares who, years ago, would have shunned you and made fun of you for being human.
Funny how dating a Princess can change things.
"Yeah, I thought she'd like it." You smile, rubbing the back of your head. They giggle.
"She always talks about how good of a coltfriend you are." One of the mares mentions. The group giggles lightly. You can only wonder what kind of things Cadance has told them.
"Well, uh, I guess I try to be what she deserves." Considering how you put little to no effort into this relationship, that statement holds water.
One of the mares swoons. "If only I could find somepony to make me that happy..." It's easy! Find a legitimate reason to blackmail a colt, and you're golden.
"Shining..." A mare steps forward, rubbing her front hoof, shyly looking away. "Would you..um...like to dance?"
Aww yeah, way to go Shiny! "I appreciate the offer, but I'll have to decline." ...what?
The mare frowns, dejected. "Oh..okay..." The mare walks back to her group, the others giving Shiny mean looks as they leave.
You could have sworn he would have jumped on this opportunity. "Killing them softly, eh Shiny?" You prod.
He sips some punch. "Not my type."
Chrissy flies her way to the castle. Sneaking around the sides, she carefully dodges being seen by the random guard or two. She's on a mission, as she often was.
This time however, there was going to be no following, no watching from afar, and certainly no staying hidden.
Making her way across the windows, she lands on a balcony around the back of the castle. Quickly changing into a Royal Guard, she walks in casually. The other guards nod as she walks past. Perfect change, as always. Walking through the corridors, she keep her mission clear in her mind.
"Find Cadenza...find Cadenza..." After a few minutes of searching the corridors, she winds up with nothing. The occasional guest or two, even a couple escaping the dance floor to kiss.
That reminds her, Anon's here somewhere.
Focusing on the task at hand, she continues her search. As she approaches the main party area, a pink pony comes galloping towards her.
"Pardon me, excuse me!!" She shouts, dashing full speed through the halls. Chrissy steps to the side, allowing Cadenza to pass.
Chrissy turns back, and notices the pink princess take a left, running into a nearby room. She was carrying something too. Whatever, what matters is that she's away from everyone, and all alone.
'Perfect.' Following Cadenza's trail, she stands right in front of the door. 'Guest Room'. Quaint.
Looking around, she notices no one nearby. A devilish grin creeps across her face.
"...and after that, we have to run this obstacle course..." Shining sighs heavily. "Don't even get me STARTED on the obstacle course..."
The last few minutes has been idle conversation with your male compatriot. He continues to drone on and on about his training.
"It can't be all bad, can it?" He shrugs lightly in response. "I mean, it has to be building muscle, or something to that nature." With a smirk, you elbow him in the shoulder. "Come on Shiny, ladies love a stallion in armor!"
"Not all of 'em." His deadpan stare tells you it's time to drop it. What's his problem with mares? Could he be...nah. You've seen him check mares out before. He's just out of it today, apparently.
A few more minutes pass. You dread Cadance returning, wearing that crystal heart around her neck. The gift she believes you ever so thoughtfully got for her...on the same note, you somewhat aren't looking forward to returning to the changeling without the heart! You got catch 22'd, it seems.
Suddenly, the lights in the castle dim. Up near the thrones, Princess Celestia is seen. The crowd cheers as their ruler makes an appearance. It's not even a spectacular display, she just...walked out. Benefits of being a beloved ruler, you suppose.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlecolts..." she begins, and the crowd goes silent. "Thank you so much for coming to my niece's 16th birthday party."
Looking around, everypony has their eyes up front, and have stopped what they were doing. You grab more refreshments. Princess Celestia near her throne? Nothing special.
"Now, before we go back to the dancing and music, I was hoping to have a word from our birthday girl!" The crowd cheers. Celestia smiles, and looks around. "Where is little Cadance?"
"HEY! I'm not little!" Cadance walks out of the hall, sporting the b-e-a-utiful crystal heart that she doesn't deserve. Everyone laughs, and the pink princess happily trots her way up to her aunt, giving her a big hug. You notice something odd, however. As she left with the heart, you could have SWORN she had a cutie mark...
"Thank you ALL for coming tonight, and thank you SO much for the amazing gifts..." She sounds fake. Well, she actually sounds pretty sincere and convincing, but you know all too well when she's faking sincerity. "However, not to sound unappreciative..."
Cadance looks out, scanning the audience. Her eyes lock on you. Of fucking course.
"My favorite present is, by far, this spectacular crystal heart, given to me by none other than my special somepony!"
Dammit. All the eyes in the room turn to you. Boy, you sure LOVE being the center of attention. You give a sheepish wave to the crowd.
"Come up here, Anon!"
Are you fucking serious? The ponies in the crowd start cheering and clopping their hooves. No matter how badly you want to shy away, you have to put on a decent display, as usual...wearing a small smile, you walk to the throne, standing next to Cadance.
"Anon, thank you so much. It means a lot to me..." The princess smiles, as her head moves in closer to you. Really? A kiss? In front of the crowd. Ugh, royalty...
The crowd clops their hooves, knowing she expects a sign of affection. Swallowing the rest of your dignity, you go in, planting one on her lips.
You're all but certain that Cadance doesn't have fangs.