Chapter 2: Return of the Prince
I woke up to a stifling heat that threatened to permeate my very being. I threw the blankets off of myself and grumbled in annoyance.
Summer was going to blow here.
It wouldn't be anything like my beautiful tundra home back on Earth, but I could make due for another few months until winter came. Such is the life of an avatar of winter, I suppose. This would take some getting used to.
I sighed and quickly took a cold shower and brushed my teeth before taking flight towards Ponyville.
As I flew through the highest reaches of the sky - where it was still nice and cool - I looked down with happiness at my home. It may not be as cold as I'd like, but I loved it here. It was about time to reveal to everyone that I was alive and well - again - so I decided to have a little fun with it. Focusing on Frostre...my power over winter, I began to summon dark whispy storm clouds...
Perspective change - Twilight Sparkle
It had been three months and not a tear fell. Last night, however, I had a dream about him. I felt the way he used to kiss me, the way he hugged me tight when I felt bad...even his laugh. It opened up the floodgates and I cried like a filly.
So there I was, sitting on my bed as Applejack, Rarity, and Spike hugged me tight. Even with their care and love, I could only think one thing...one wonderfully horrible thing.
It just wasn't the same.
As the minutes ticked by, I finally opened my eyes only to find Spike had gotten up, and was now staring out the window at something.
"Um, girls? I really think you should all come take a look at this." he said with obvious nervousness.
Grudgingly, I stood up off of the bed and walked to the window. My friends gathered around me, and we all gasped at what we saw.
Hanging over Ponyville was a massive swirling dark cloud, and out of it was falling...snow?
"It's tha middle of summer! What tha hay's goin' on?" Applejack nearly screamed.
The four of us bolted outside to stare at the strange storm cloud. We weren't the only ones, as we saw most of Ponyville staring up at the sky as well. As I was looking I spotted Pinkie, Lyra, and Vinyl walking over to us with equally confused expressions.
Pinkie shook her long straight mane out of her eyes and asked with an uncharacteristically soft tone, "Twilight, any idea what's going on?"
I just shook my head, my tears of sadness thankfully being replaced by awe and intense thought. "I have no idea, Pinkie. Wait, where's Rainbow?"
"Here!" yelled the aforementioned pegasus as she landed gracefully. "I know what you're going to ask, Twilight...but it's not us. We'd never schedule a snow during the middle of summer."
Our deliberation as to the cause of this freak occurrence was cut short by the sound of massive wing beats and howling wind. That's when we saw it - a tall muscular alicorn with a steel-blue coat and a flowing mane that looked just like Steel's used to.
'Wait just a minute.'
I looked at my friends to see them apparently thinking the same thing. The stallion landed in front of us gracefully and smiled.
"Hi girls, it's been a long time." he said in a deep, calming voice.
I froze. I'd know that voice anywhere. "S-Steel?" I barely choked out.
The clouds dissipated into nothing and the alicorn pulled me in close, holding me in a tight embrace. "I'm here, Twi. I'm home."
I started to doubt this was really happening. This must have been a delusion brought on my my loneliness and intense feelings of loss. These thoughts were shattered when he kissed me, full and passionately. After a minute or so, we broke away from each other and I couldn't help but smile.
He came back to us.
Perspective change - Rainbow Dash
I was frozen and speechless for the first time in a long time. Steel was back, and just after I had accepted the fact that he was gone. The gods must have a really messed up sense of humor.
He released Twilight and looked over at me, and I realized just how much he'd changed. He wasn't the same delicate-looking pony he used to be, now he looked like he could really do some damage. Also, he seemed to have grown taller, and I was pretty sure he was taller than Princess Celestia now. Lastly, his eyes weren't the solid gold color they used to be. Instead, only an eight-pointed star shape near his pupil was still gold, while the rest was a pale, icy blue. He looked a lot like...
This must be what Lux meant when she told us "the ritual" made two become one. He wasn't just Steel anymore, he was also Frostrender. Even with how much his looks had changed, he still had the same warm smile, same hearty laugh, and same loving gaze.
"Huh, what?" I said in a daze. Apparently during my thoughts I had gone off into my own little world, and now Steel was standing in front of me with a smirk.
"I know I'm hot, Dashie, but you don't need to gawk." he said with a wide grin.
'Wow, he sounds like me now.' I shoved him playfully and tried to tackle him to the ground with a hug. Instead, I slammed into what felt like a steel tower. I was dazed, but I felt a gust of wind and two hooves cradling me.
"I love you too, my Dashie." he said while standing up tall, holding me in his front legs. He leaned his head down and kissed me softly and slowly. Word's can't express how much I missed his touch.
Perspective change - Vinyl
The next hour or so Steel spent getting reacquainted with us all. We listened to his story of what he did back on Earth for the past six or seven months and we all shared what had been going on in Equestria. I have to admit, I got a bit squeamish when he told me he had to hunt and eat animals, but I got over it pretty quickly. It's not like he did it here, and it's not like he would be doing it as a pony anyway.
I hadn't realized how much I missed him when he was gone until he was back. It was like starving for a long time and then somepony giving you the most succulent gourmet meal in all of Equestria. Well...something like that anyway.
I hated to admit it - I mean I really did - but Steel was my inspiration for my music nowadays. I never had problems getting a show together or filling up the venue. However, before Steel came to Terra, I'd been having trouble coming up with anything new. And so, when he left, so did my inspiration. That of course wasn't the only reason I was glad he was back, but it was a significant part.
In my business I didn't usually have time for a relationship, but Steel wasn't my first...and I'm pretty sure he could tell that. I don't know what it was, but it seemed my past marefriends and coltfriends always would get too needy. Maybe they were afraid I was going to leave them or cheat on them or something...I don't know. I might be the party DJ of Ponyville, but I'm still every bit a loyal as any good pony should be. That was the reason that Steel and I gelled together so well, I guess. I was a part of his life, but not the whole thing.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy my alone time with him...
"Hey Vinyl, you alright babe?" he said softly, breaking me from my thoughts.
Besides Lyra, he's the only pony I don't mind - even like - calling me those "pet names". I did miss it though, so I smiled. "Yeah I'm fine, Steel. Just thinking about you, I guess."
He chuckled and stroked some of my mane out from in front of my glasses. "Well you don't have to just think about me anymore...you can touch me now." he said, putting extra emphasis on "touch".
That made me blush. I never blush. I swear in that time he was away, his personality changed. Not in a bad way at all, but still. He seemed more...playful, and laid back. I guess living alone in the wilderness with no one but a wolf to keep you company will do that do you.
I was giggling like a schoolfilly. Yep, it's all downhill from here.
"Well girls," he started, "I need to find my brother. Any of you know where he is?"
Twilight smiled and nodded. "Yeah, he's up at the training grounds in Canterlot. Are you leaving already Steel?"
He smiled that warm smile that I loved and nodded. "Yeah, I'm leaving. I promise I'll be back before nightfall though, okay? What say you all stay here at the library like old times? You too, Rarity and AJ. It'll be like a co-ed sleepover! Um, PG rated, though. We're not having an orgy or anything."
Applejack blushed but looked confused. "Uh Steel? Whaddaya mean by 'PG'?"
He chuckled and placed a hoof on her shoulder. "By that I mean don't do anything you wouldn't feel comfortable doing in front of Granny Smith."
Ah horseapples...he didn't...
AJ's face fell and all of us couldn't help but look sad as well. Steel's face became stunned and saddened realization.
"...she's gone, isn't she?" he said softly.
AJ nodded and let a few tears slip free. Steel pulled her into a tight hug without a second thought and cried with her. It was a good thing my glasses were still on, because I couldn't hold back from letting a few tears go as well, and all the others followed. Granny Smith was one of the last living memories of the founding of Ponyville, as well as the matriarch of the Apple family. That was a sad day, but we didn't blame Steel. He didn't know, after all. Steel pulled away from Applejack after a few minutes of hugging and kissed her on her forehead like a loving big brother would do. It must have worked, because she smiled.
Steel stood tall and flared his wings, which were now easily twice their original size. "Alright girls, sorry about that downer but I really do have to talk to my brother and then find the rest of my family."
Perspective change - Steelbreaker
I took off after saying goodbye and giving hugs and kisses - respectively - to all my marefriends and friends. My assumptions about my new body were right - I was slower than I used to be. The difference is that I could feel the extra power in my wings, and where usually the flight to Canterlot would tire me out, I felt like I could fly forever now. Well, if I was going too slow, that's what spells are for. I focused on the wing speed spell I'd used before and activated it. I felt a large drain on my magic, which confused me. Oh well, I'd ask Celly and Luna about it later.
After about a minute of flying, I arrived at the training grounds with a loud *BOOM* as I went subsonic again. A couple of the guards were training with Shining Armor and Ditzy, and I could see my brother off in the distance training with a few more of them with wooden swords.
Before I could go any further I felt myself stop, and I noticed a bright magenta aura around me. I looked down to see Shining Armor's horn glowing. He pulled me down to him and glared at me.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he growled.
I threw up my hooves. "Shining it's me, Steel, put me down!" His eyes widened and he dropped me on my back, knocking the breath out of me.
The guard captain stepped over to me with his mouth hanging open. "By Celestia, Steel? You're alive?"
I grunted and stood up. "I am now. Sorry if I startled you all."
I was nearly tackled to the ground by a gray blur with a blonde mane. "Steel! I'm so glad you're okay!" Ditzy hugged me tight and let slip a few tears before she realized all her guards were staring at her. She jumped off of me and cleared her throat. "Um, I mean it's good to see you are well, colonel."
I raised an eyebrow. "Wait...colonel? When did this happen?"
Shining Armor laughed and patted me on the shoulder. "You were given the rank of colonel posthumously. At my recommendation, of course."
"Oh...well thanks, captain. All the same, I'd rather you not salute me. Feels weird in peacetime." I said with a smirk. "Alright guys, well I need to see Darkflight. Things might get a little...heated. No pun intended. Keep your distance." They all laughed and I took to the skies.
As I landed near my brother, I decided to have some fun with him. Seeing as how he didn't know who I was yet, I thought I'd see just how hard he'd fight against a surprise attack. I activated a freezing aura around my body, making cold fog drift off of me constantly in the hot, humid summer day. I then created a full-body armor made completely of ice. Lastly I added a blue smoky energy effect to my eyes (eat your heart out, Lich King) to give myself an even more ominous appearance.
The two guards that he was fighting spotted me with wide eyes and stepped back. My brother turned around and shared a similar shocked expression before I charged him. He was caught completely off-guard and I broadsided him, knocking him to the hard ground. As he started to get to his hands and knees to stand up, I stomped my hooves, freezing him to the ground in a very vulnerable position.
I chuckled and dissipated my armor. "You know, you're lucky I'm straight because I could totally make you my man-bitch right now."
He stopped struggling and looked up. "Drew?" I released my hold on the ice and he broke it easily. He stood up and was shocked to find that I was now as tall as him standing normally. "Dude, what the fuck? Where have you been?" he said before launching a right hook at my jaw. I ate it...I kinda did deserve it after all.
I rubbed my jaw with a hoof and chuckled when he noticed a thick layer of frost on his hand. I dispelled my frost aura and smiled. "Still got those cement fists, I see. Nice to see you too, Mace."
He surprised me with a tight hug. "Dude...we all thought you were dead."
I returned the hug and patted his back. "Well technically, I was...at least here. On Earth, I was living on my own in the wilds of Alaska."
He released me and looked at me confused. "Alaska? You could have gone anywhere, and you went to fucking Alaska? It's cold as balls there!"
"That's exactly why I went there. Nice cool climate, not many people...it was perfect for me. Without you all on Earth, I didn't really have reason to stay around other people anymore. You all know I detest most humans." I said with a grimace.
"Okay that I can understand, but what's with all the cold and such? What happened to you?" he asked with increasing confusion.
I shrugged. "It seems that when Frostrender sacrificed himself to bring me back, we merged to be one person. I have his memories, as well as his power over winter. I'm thinking about changing my name to honor him, actually. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be back here."
He nodded and jerked his head towards Ponyville. "Mom and Jen are at Sweet Apple Acres right now. You should really go and see them next. Prepare for a long lecture, man. I don't envy you at this moment."
My happy demeanor deflated into one of loathing. "Yeah...I know. Not looking forward to that at all, but they both deserve to know I'm back. How have they been holding up?"
"Well ma lost her oldest son...how the fuck do you think she took it? As far as Jen, she wasn't much better off...but at least she had friends to distract her. I mean mom had Mac, but he's not the most talkative guy." he said with a sigh. I nodded to him and headed to the palace to grab Venn. He'd been left alone in my room for long enough.
When I arrived back to my room, I found a very frightened wolf dodging around the bed trying to avoid a guard.
"Stop! Leave him be, he's a friend." I yelled at the guard.
I recognized the guard as Brightwing. "And who are you exactly?" he asked with a tint of hostility.
I stood tall and glared at him. "I'm the recently returned Prince Steelbreaker."
He was unconvinced. "I don't believe you, stranger."
I chuckled. "Okay then...remember when we were training before the war and you thought you could take on Corporal Ditzy Doo? If I remember correctly she said, 'if your dick was as big as your ego, you'd be able to please a full grown white dragon.'"
His cheeks became red with embarrassment before he stepped forward. "Prince Steelbreaker? Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't know." He immediately dropped to a knee.
I rolled my eyes and gestured for him to stand. "Come on, Brightwing. You know how I feel about bowing. No harm done, you didn't know it was me." He stood and smiled. "Anyhow, I have to go and see some friends to let them know I'm okay. I'd appreciate it if you could tell all the guards and palace staff that I'm back and such, so that they don't have the reaction you do." He nodded and left the room.
I looked down at Venn and sat down in front of him. "Venn I'm curious...can you understand everything I say?" He nodded and let out a small bark. "Really now? Any idea how? I could be wrong, but normal wolves where we come from don't understand human speech." He shrugged and stood up. "Alright then, that's good enough for me. Anyway, we're going to go see some friends of mine. They're ponies too, and I'd appreciate it if you could be civil with them. Also, I know you're probably hungry by now, but I have a proposition for you." He looked at me with an interested gaze and seemed to be smiling. "Well, I have the power to change your body to something more...fitting for civilized living. As well as the fact that you will be able to eat and process vegetables for nourishment, since eating meat is frowned upon in this society. Would you like me to do that for you?" He seemed to have a nonchalant look and shrugged. "Oh, right...not like you have anything to compare it to. Well, I'll have you meet a friend of mine then. His name is Moonfang, and I did the same thing to him. He's a wolf of sorts as well, but he looks quite a bit different than you. I have a feeling that you two will understand each other better than I could." He seemed to smile and nodded. I stood up and started the long walk to Ponyville, with Venn following me.
We arrived in the small town about two hours later, and I was thankful it was not even midday yet. We walked to Fluttershy's house and I motioned for Venn to wait while I went and spoke to my friends. I strode up to the door and knocked on it, hoping that Fluttershy and Moonfang would be home. A minute or so passed before the butter-colored pegasus answered shyly.
"Umm...h-hello. C-can I help you?" she said in a cute voice that made me want to "dawww".
I smiled and bowed. "Hello Fluttershy. I’m home."
Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and she launched herself at me, hugging me tight. "Oh Steel! I'm so happy you're back! I just knew you couldn't be gone, I just knew it!"
It felt weird that Fluttershy was showing such affection to me, but then again it was Fluttershy. You can't tell me that you wouldn't want to hug somepony so soft and loveable...and if you do, you're a heartless bastard of a donkey.
I returned her hug with fervor and nuzzled into her soft pink mane, causing her to giggle and blush. "I'm glad to be back, Fluttershy. I'm so sorry I scared you and everypony else." She nodded and nuzzled back against me before releasing me and floating to the ground. "Hey 'Shy, is Moonfang home?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yes, he is. I'll go get him for you! Please come in, and bring your friend too." she said while motioning to Venn.
I raised an eyebrow. "You're not bothered by my friend here?"
She shook her head. "I don't judge any animals anymore. Moonfang used to be a timberwolf, and look what he's become now. He's one of the most gentle beings I've ever met." she then scampered off upstairs.
I heard whispering from upstairs, and then an exclaimed "WHAT?" before she came back downstairs, Moonfang following close behind. As soon as Venn saw him, he started growling. Moonfang saw the wolf and growled right back, albeit deeper and louder.
"Hey, HEY! Behave, the both of you. You're both my friends, and I'd appreciate it if at the very least you could be civil with each other." I said, nearly shouting. Both wolves looked at me and relaxed, although they held a bit of a glare contest for a moment before Moonfang turned to me with a wide smile.
"Steel...it has been far too long. I've missed you, friend...we all have." he said with a shaky voice.
I smiled and stepped forward to hug him. He returned the gesture and we broke a second later with smiles. "Well Moonfang," I started, pointing to Venn, "this is Venn. He's a wolf from my world. I asked him if he wanted to become like you are, and he's not really sure about it."
Moonfang seemed genuinely interested. "Oh, is that right?" He then turned to the young wolf sitting next to me. "Well young Venn, I can tell you it is not only an honor, but a gift. I can tell you, I do not miss living the wolf lifestyle. Here there is no need to fight for survival, and there are always those who will help you if you are kind and willing to receive help."
Venn seemed to be mulling the thought over for a few minutes before turning to me and nodding. "Well," I said while gesturing to him, "I think that's an answer. Venn, I'll contact Princess Luna and have your change set about later today." The wolf nodded and looked towards Fluttershy, as did I. "Hey 'Shy, I have to go see my mother and sister. Think you can watch out for Venn until I get back?" The mare nodded and smiled, so I quickly turned and left the home, taking flight as soon as I got outside.
I landed outside of Sweet Apple Acres soon afterwards and saw Big Mac plowing the north fields. He spotted me and trotted up with a smile. "Well howdy, Steel. Been a long time, pardner." he said while patting me on the shoulder.
I smiled and returned the gesture. "I take it AJ already explained everything?"
He nodded and chewed a bit on the piece of hay he had sticking out of his mouth. "Eeyup. If yer here lookin' fer yer ma and sis, check inside tha house. They're waitin' fer ya."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh boy, I can't wait. Well Mac, it was nice knowing you." He chuckled and went back to plowing.
I entered the house after knocking only to be met with a fierce glare from my mother. She pointed towards the couch with a rigid leg. "Sit...now."
I complied without any argument and started to feel nervous. 'To think after fighting an army of gryphons, my mother still scares me.' Jen was already on the couch waiting for me. She didn't look mad at all. Instead my sister looked as happy as could be, and hugged me tight when I sat down. I hugged her back, enjoying the fact that only one of them was mad at me. After I released the hug, I was surprised by a hoof to the jaw. 'Ugh...that's gonna swell. That makes twice in the same place.'
"Now then, care to explain just where the hell you've been all this time?" asked the golden-maned mare, glaring at me.
I kept trying to make up some sort of excuse in my head before I sighed and just decided to tell the full truth. "Well, after I died - yes, I actually died - I somehow got sent back to Earth. I've been living there for the past seven months. Before you ask, no...I'm not really sure how I got sent back to Earth. I lived and survived in the wilderness of Alaska until Frostrender came to get me. Along the way, I made friends with a wolf I call Venn, and now here I am."
She stared at me confused before responding. "Okay, why were you in Alaska? And why didn't you just live in Virginia, where our house was?"
I chuckled and smiled. "Because for one, I hate Virginia. I grew up in Kansas...Virginia is a shithole by comparison. Also the fact that I could not keep up a house payment along with all the other bills on my own. Besides, something about me has changed. From what I can gather from Frostrender's memories, he made me the new avatar of winter. Heat has always bothered me, but now it's unbearable. Notice how much I'm sweating right now?" I asked, gesturing to the glistening sweat on my coat.
She eyed me with uncertainty, but then shrugged. "Okay then, why don't you just make yourself cold or something?"
"Well because if I do that, anything or anyone I touch would be frozen." I explained. I then stood up and smiled. "Well mom, I am honestly sorry for what I put all of you through, but I had to make a choice. No one should have to die simply because I was too chickenshit to do what I did."
She stepped forward and hugged me with a smile. "I forgive you, son, I'm just glad you're okay. Please try and keep from getting into that type of situation again, will you?"
I nodded and returned the hug for a moment before releasing and stepping back. "Well, I've got one more thing I have to take care of before the ceremony in the middle of town around three o'clock. I'll meet you all there, okay?" With that, I stepped out of the house and flew towards the mountains to the northeast of Canterlot.
I landed on a mountain peak overlooking a large lake in a valley and scanned the area, looking for Gilda. 'I hope she's still here.' I took to the sky again and flew around, looking for the young gryphon before spotting a brown and white feathered figure resting in a tree next to the water. She was sound asleep, and I smirked before bucking the tree hard, causing her to tumble out of it with surprise.
She screamed before landing on the ground with a thud. After shaking her head she looked up at me with fear. "Wh-who are you?"
I smiled and extended a hoof to help her up. "Is that any way to greet the stallion that's going to help you make things right with Dash and her friends? Sorry I'm late by the way. Some things...came up."
Her eyes widened in surprise before she smiled. "Prince Steelbreaker? I thought you were dead!" she said, her voice cracking a bit.
I chuckled and nodded. "Well yeah, I was dead. Thanks to Frostrender, I've got this new body and I've been able to come home. I know it's been a long time, but I hope things didn't go badly with my...disappearance."
She sighed and shook her head. "Well I mean since I wouldn't fight in the war, Highmount labeled me a deserter, so I've been stuck here. The princesses made sure I wasn't lonely, but I haven't really been able to go anywhere."
I smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, I'm sorry about that Gilda. Anyway, I think we should get this over with right about now, since the longer we wait, the longer you have to stay here. That and the fact that I have a ceremony I have to attend in a few hours. You ready for this?"
She sighed and nodded. "Yeah. This is gonna be really awkward, but I gotta make this right. If not for myself, then for Dash."
We nodded at each other and took flight towards Ponyville.
We flew through the sky high enough so that anypony below would only see two dots in the sky, indistinguishable from a bird unless you were looking for us. After about twenty minutes or so, we arrived in Ponyville and landed on a cloud high above a field near Sweet Apple Acres. I then ordered Gilda to wait while I went to go get Dashie.
Perspective change - Rainbow Dash
Today was a pretty chilled out day, so I was napping on a cloud near the library when Steel landed on my cloud softly, waking me up.
"Hey Dashie," he said, leaning down for a kiss before continuing, "I got someone who needs to talk to you. Can you follow me please?"
I could feel the urgency in his voice, so I nodded and we flew off towards Sweet Apple Acres.
We arrived a few minutes later, and I stopped as soon as I saw who was waiting for us.
I eyed Steel with confusion and just a little anger. "What is she doing here?"
He sighed and shook his head. "She's not here to make trouble, Dashie. As a matter of fact, she's been spending the past seven months under the care of Celestia waiting for this moment. She wants to apologize and get rid of this bad blood between the two of you."
I was utterly shocked at this point. Apologizing was something Gilda had never done in all the years I'd known her...but to wait seven months for it? Had I not been so dumbfounded, I might have been flattered. I guess if she was willing to wait for Steel this long just to say sorry, I owed her the chance to explain herself. Reluctantly, I nodded and we flew over to the lone cloud, landing on it.
As soon as she saw me, I noticed her eyes light up with happiness, but that quickly faded as sadness overtook her. Spending so much time with AJ, I could tell when somepony was faking...but she was actually sad. My emotions were everywhere at this point - one part of me wanted to knock her off that cloud and beat her senseless...while another part wanted to hug her tight like I used to and tell her it was alright. With that in mind, I decided it would be best to let her speak first.
She held her head low for the longest time before finally looking at me, with tears in her eyes. Yet another thing I'd never seen Gilda do - cry...but she was crying. I couldn't control myself anymore at this point, and I stepped over to her to give her a big hug...but she stopped me. "No Dash...let me speak first." I nodded and sat down on the cloud in front of her. She took a few shaky breaths before speaking. "Dash, I know I haven't been the best friend to you, and I did make a fool of myself when I came to visit last time I came here. I just want you to know that I'm sorry, and I'm going to fix this. It's just that after I saw how you'd moved on so easily, I freaked out a little. I felt like you abandoned me. Still, I know that's not excuse for how I acted." She let a few more tears fall down her feathered face before continuing. "I know I might have lost you for myself, but I'm okay with that. Really...I am. I miss you though, Dash. My life feels empty without you in it, and I'm going to make sure that I become the kind of gryphon you'd want in your life so that I can have you back in mine. You were my best friend - my only friend, really - and I want that back. I just want to stress that I'm not just doing it for you, I'm doing this for me. Being a bitch isn't good no matter where I live, so I have to change that. You deserve a better friend, and I'm going to make sure I can be one." She smiled and nodded. "I'll be staying in the mountains around Canterlot. I hope someday you'll visit. Bye Dash...it's great to see you again." She then flapped her powerful wings and flew off towards Canterlot, soon disappearing in the wispy clouds of early afternoon.
Perspective chance - Steelbreaker
I smiled and hugged Dash close and kissed her forehead. "That was really big of you, Dashie. I'm proud of you."
She smiled and nuzzled into my chest. "Thanks for this, Steel. I hate to admit it, but I really did miss her a lot."
I nodded and smiled. "Well I'm glad I could help you out, Dashie. Anyways, we have a ceremony to get to, so let's get to the town square, okay?" Dash nodded and we took off towards the center of town.
We arrived a few minutes later to a large gathering of ponies, almost as many as were at my coronation ceremony in Canterlot. This made me a little nervous, but then again I was never good with huge crowds. We landed behind a building so that nopony would see us and stepped up behind the stage, meeting Celestia and Luna. I smiled and gave each of them both a big hug, which they happily returned.
"So Steel, are you ready for your ceremony?" Celly asked with a hint of a smile.
I nodded. "As ready as I'm going to be. Just let me get my regal-wear on while you speak to them."
She nodded and headed up with Luna to the stage to say a few words before I'd come on. I spent this time creating a royal regalia of hoof caps and a chest piece out of ice, as well as a small crown. Around this time I heard Luna announce me, and so I walked up to the stage. All the ponies in the audience gasped when they saw me, but I smiled at them all.
"Ponies, don't be afraid...I am the same prince you remember, though I may look different. I wish to make an announcement, however. Because of Frostrender's sacrifice to bring me back to all of you, we are now one and the same. To honor him, I will be changing my name to Frostbreaker from this day forth. Furthermore as the new avatar of winter, I will be sure that every winter from this day forward is one of beauty for all of you. I ask that nothing change between us, and that you look upon me as simply another friend to you all. Thank you for your time and devotion to the princesses, and may you all live a long and happy life."
The ponies stared for a moment before cheering and stomping their hooves in applause. 'Well, that went better than I expected.' I stepped off of the stage again to meet all my friends and family behind it. They were all talking about my new name, while Venn - whom Fluttershy had brought with her - followed close to me, not leaving my side for even a moment. Everypony seemed fine with him, so I assumed one of the princesses or Fluttershy had already explained everything.
As the day wore on, it became time for Venn's big transformation. Because my powers had apparently been severely drained the past seven months, Celestia and Luna set about changing him the same they had my brother. After the change was over, we all marveled at the new being standing before us. He looked a lot like one would imagine a werewolf looks, except that he easily stood tall and had a gentle expression, as opposed to one of feral aggression.
Venn stood on shaky legs before smiling at me. I stepped forward and smiled back. "Alright, Venn, what I'm going to do now is the same thing I did for Moonfang. I'm going to be transferring to you all the knowledge I have about common social etiquette as well as the knowledge of how to speak in our tongue. I warn you, this might hurt a bit...but the pain won't last long."
The wolf looked a little apprehensive, but nodded and braced himself. I let the magic flow through my mind and touched my horn to his forehead, passing the knowledge on to him. I had to lower my head to keep in contact as he dropped onto all fours, writhing in pain. Only a few minutes passed before it was over, and Venn panted for a bit before standing up on two legs again.
"Hello? Oh wow, this is great!" said the young wolf, a large smile on his face. I could hear Celestia giggling from behind me and I smiled at the wolf.
"Alright Venn, you'll be staying with me in the palace as my personal guest, if that's alright with you. What do you think?" I asked with a grin.
Venn smiled and nodded. "Sounds good to me. Umm...guards aren't going to be chasing me like that one this morning, are they?"
I shook my head and chuckled. "No, I'll explain everything to them when we get there. So long as you behave, there'll be no problem. Something else I want to mention is that you won't need to eat meat anymore in this form, so you can live just fine eating most of the same foods that we do."
He nodded and smiled. "Thanks. Yeah that's a good idea, because some of these ponies were looking really tasty up until a few minutes ago. I'm still hungry, though. Can we get something to eat?"
I chuckled and nodded, and we all began the long trek back to the palace.
It took us about an hour and a half to walk all the way back to Canterlot, so by the time we got there the twilight of early evening was upon us. The guard at the gate looked a little scared when he laid eyes on Venn until I explained the situation. He nodded and told me he'd pass the word on. We all then proceeded to the dining hall where meals were already prepared for us. I sat down to Celestia's right, and Venn sat beside me.
"Umm, Frost? What exactly is that?" he asked while pointing at some mushroom and carrot soup.
I smiled and gestured to the soup. "That is a mushroom and carrot broth of my own recipe that the kitchen staff make now. It's pretty good. Moonfang liked it, so I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it too. The mushrooms in it contain a large amount of proteins to account for there not being any meat. Dig in, I know you're hungry."
Venn nodded and clumsily grabbed a spoon, taking a spoonful of the soup to his mouth. He smacked his lips a couple of times before smiling and nodding, eating the rest of the soup.
After dinner, we all parted ways for awhile while myself and Venn made our way back to my room. When we arrived, I gestured to the room and looked at Venn. "Okay Venn, this room is now yours. I stay in Ponyville most of the time, so I rarely use it. Washroom is around the corner and has everything you could need in it, including a bath, which I recommend you use."
He smiled sheepishly and nodded. "Yeah...it's been awhile since I've been able to bathe properly. Not much running water in the tundra."
I nodded and chuckled. "Well now you have all the modern amenities to use in civilized society. Anyhow, I'm heading to Ponyville now. Do you need anything or are you good?"
He shook his head. "No, I think I'm good for now, thanks Frost. I'll meet you in town tomorrow then." I smiled and left the room, taking flight out of the palace and heading towards the library of Ponyville.
After another twenty minutes of flying, I landed outside the front door and walked in, only to be knocked to the ground by four mares of varying colors. After a few minutes of hugging and kissing, they let me up and I smiled at all of them.
It was good to be home.
The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, save for meeting Spike. He had grown a lot since I last saw him. He was now almost as tall as me, and had the same muscular build that my brother did. His spines and cheek ridges were now sharp, and he had two pointy canines sticking out of his mouth at all times. He had a large pair of horns growing out of the top of his head, facing back, and his claws were longer and sharper than before. He then challenged me to a hoof-wrestling match...and won. I now held a newfound apprehension towards the young dragon.
After things settled down, we all headed up to the observation deck, where I proceeded to make drinks for everyone. Rarity and Spike might as well have been connected at the hip, as they never left each other's side the entire night. My brother and Applejack were much the same, except they spent most of the time out on the balcony making out. Luna and Celestia both arrived a short while later, and all the ponies in the room welcomed them with hugs and smiles. After fixing a drink each for the princesses, I set about asking about my changes in magic. Apparently while my power with ice and winter-related magic was powerful, anything else would leave me feeling very weakened until or unless I built up my skill with them...which was why I felt so drained after using a simple wing enhancement spell. I'd have to keep that in mind for the future.
As the night wound down, Spike, Rarity, AJ, and Dark all retreated to their respective rooms within the house while the rest of us lay on the large bed on the deck. I closed my eyes for a moment until I noticed no one was talking. I opened my eyes to see six sets of eyes filled with what could only be lust and/or longing.
Two hours...two hours! Walking thirty miles in the snows of Alaska didn't leave me this tired. I need to find some sort of exercise to do or something, otherwise these girls are going to kill me. Luckily all of them were tired out as well, as they each started to close their eyes and fall off into slumber. The last mare awake was Celestia, and she had the biggest smile on her face I'd ever seen.
"What?" I asked with a smile.
She smiled back and sighed contentedly before nuzzling into my neck. "Nothing Frost...I'm just glad you’re back. I was utterly broken when I lost you...and now it's as if the greatest gift I could ever be given has been bestowed upon me."
I chuckled and held her close. "Well I feel the same about all of you, Celly. You all mean the world to me, and I'd do anything to make sure you're all alive and happy. I promise I'll try and refrain from such drastic actions in the future. I don't want you to cry ever again, if I can help it."
She smiled and held me tight as I felt sleep begin to overcome me. She leaned close and kissed my cheek. "I love you, Drew."
I smiled and equally large smile with my eyes closed and held her tight as well. "I love you too, Celly. Goodnight, love."
A few minutes later I fell into the most restful sleep I'd had in months.