Chapter 6: Cakes
I leaned back in my chair, sighing as Twilight carefully removed Lily’s collar. Lily, evidently, had more control over her own magic, as she didn’t burn down half the library once her collar was off. I’d just finished explaining everything to Twilight; the show, how it was centered on her, how it had told the story of all her lessons in friendship, and the fanbase that had diligently watched as that story unfolded. The tea Spike had brought remained undrank and had become cold. Lily helped in explaining the bits that I couldn’t find words for, like how the fanbase was considered highly unusual in modern culture.
Twilight was rubbing her temples, overwhelmed at this information. “Our story has been told to another world?” She asked, unsure how to react to this news. “Everything me and my friends have learned?”
I nodded. “I know this must be a lot for you to consider, Twilight... But know that the people who watch the show... they look up to you. They see you as the symbol that reminded us of what we had forgotten, or hadn’t taken seriously in years.” I walked around the table and lay a hoof on her shoulder. “You’ve shown us the values of friendship that humanity has taken for granted, and we are eternally grateful.”
Twilight looked up at me, smiling modestly. “Well, it wasn’t just me...” she said.
“Oh, yes, your friends also had a great part to play, Twilight,” Lily said. “And the alicorns- or, as we’d called ourselves, ‘bronies’, will take the time to grant you their thanks, but first, we need to meet with Celestia and find a way to free them.”
Twilight nodded. “Spike!”
Spike came bolting out of the kitchen, springing into a salute. “Yes, Twilight?”
“Prepare a letter to the princess; tell her a pair of alicorns are here, and they desperately need her help...”
“Hold up,” I interrupted as I saw something through the windows. A trio of pegasi, wearing the golden armor that identified them as Canterlot guards, were marching down the street towards the library. I crept up to the window and got a closer look. My heart fell when I realized that I recognized those three pegasi: they were the pegasi Lily and I had lost in Dodge.
“Shit!” I whispered. I reached for the curtains to close them but then remembered I’d reduced them to ashes. “Crap.” I turned to Lily. “Lily, we gotta go! The pegasi from Dodge are here!!”
Lily stood up from the table and stuck close to the wall. “What are we gonna do?”
I looked at Twilight and Spike. “We can’t wait for Celestia to get here, those goons will find us! We’ll head to Canterlot ourselves and beg for her help there!”
“Here!” Spike called as he flung the kitchen door open. “Head out the back door!”
Lily and I bolted for the kitchen but we both stopped. “Thank you...” I said to Twilight and Spike. “Thank you, so much!”
“Just be careful!” Twilight urged. Bang bang bang, someone was knocking on the door. “Go!” Twilight urged. Lily and I ran into the kitchen and through the back door. We carefully crept around the side of the library, listening carefully.
“How can I help you gentlecolts today?” We heard Twilight’s voice from the front door.
“We’re looking for two fugitives,” one of the Somber Blade pegasi said. “One gray with a black mane, one green with a red mane. Witnesses report two ponies fitting the description heading into this establishment, have you seen them?”
“Why, no, I haven’t!” Twilight said in an overly cheerful manner. “What kind of ponies are they?” Lily and I stared at the distant Canterlot; it lay in a direction that we would need to risk being seen in order to fly towards. Hoping the pegasi would be too focused on Twilight to notice us, we took off, flying at a slow pace towards the capitol.
Before we got far, however, off to our left into town I began to hear... music. I looked for the source of the music and spotted it: Sugarcube Corner. Before I could wonder what that music was, I could see the front door swing open and a familiar pink blob bouncing into the door frame.
Now, we were too far to make out exactly what Pinkie was saying, but one thing was abundantly clear: she was singing. And clearly whatever was making her sing was extremely contagious, as every other pony in sight was gathering towards Sugarcube and bobbing to her rhythm as she sang an upbeat tune. Indeed, as I started hearing the music growing louder, pounding in my ears I felt my body start moving with the rhythm. I quickly shook my head to remain focused, but I was too late. “THERE THEY ARE!”
We both swung around to see one of the pegasi pointing at us. His two chums turned from questioning Twilight, who tensed when she realized that we had been seen. “Freeze!” One of the pegasi yelled. These guys weren’t carrying unicorns this time; no amount of fancy flying through a dense, clustered orchard was going to let us lose them. My eyes drifted back towards the immense musical number that was gaining momentum back in town, and I had an idea that I immediately wanted to try, just for the sake of watching these goons humiliate themselves.
“Come on!” I yelled, smiling widely. I bolted towards Sugarcube Corner, Lily following me with a perplexed look on her face. The pegasi were in hot pursuit. As we approached Sugarcube, Pinkie’s song had gotten into full swing, and I could make out her lyrics.
And Buckston Creme,
Bara brith and Battenberg!
There are many wonderful cakes,
And we make them to an extreme!”
The surrounding crowd began to sing in a chorus. I fought a sudden instinctive urge to join in, and looked back at the pursuing pegasi as we flew directly over the crowd. The song was clearly having an effect on them, they were faltering as they moved their bodies to the beat. Their eyes widened when they realized what I was doing, so they tried plugging their ears... but I was having none of that.
I screwed my eyes shut, channeled my horn, thought the word ‘Dance’ as hard as I could and directed a flow of magic to the pegasi. The trio suddenly stopped in midair and snapped their forelegs to their sides. Another flow of magic and they dropped to the ground and joined in the chorus, singing louder than anypony else down there and dancing Thriller like their lives depended on it.
Lily and I hovered there in the air, clutching our guts at the display as we laughed hysterically. When we managed to calm down we decided it would be best if we left before the song ended... which was depressing because the songs were some of the best parts of the show.
- - - - -
We flew quickly towards Canterlot, still giddy about our escape. Our high spirits diminished somewhat when we thought that simply flying into the capital city might be allowed by the Royal Guard. Thankfully, once again the ponies must have assumed us to be royalty since they let us land in the gardens on the edge of the city without any trouble.
We marched through the streets of the city towards the castle to take in the sights. We immediately deemed the place to be Rarity’s style; a great deal of high society, influential-looking ponies, some of the fanciest looking stores and restaurants I’d seen, and everypony had their noses held in the air like they were expecting a sneeze.
As we climbed the stairs into the castle the royal guards all sprang into a salute as we passed. The entrance hall seemed to be a more public affair for the city, but any doors leading higher into the castle were guarded. Unsure of how to proceed to meet the Princesses, I sheepishly approached one of the guards. “Um, excuse me, we know you might get this alot, but we need to meet with the princesses, is there any chance you or somepony else could make that happen?”
The guard eyed me over, glancing from my horn to my wings before looking straight ahead again and remaining silent. Before I could jokingly wave my front hoof in front of his face, he suddenly pointed at one of the doors off to the side of the hall. “You’ll have to speak with our Lieutenant about that,” he said before returning to his ramrod-stiff posture.
“Thank... you?” I said tentatively before leading Lily to the door he pointed us to. Beyond the door was a cramped yet organized office. Two cushions sat in front of a basic desk, behind which a yellow-colored, white-maned pegasus wearing the usual Royal Guard armor was rummaging through the drawers of her desk. On the desk were a couple pictures, one of her at a younger age, and one of her in a stallion’s embrace.
“This better be good,” she said harshly, without looking up from the drawers. “I’ve lost my good pen and if you’ve got bad news for me, you’re gonna wish it was brought by somepony...” She looked up at us. “...else,” She finished silently when she realized who she was speaking to. She recovered quickly and sprang into a salute. “Lieutenant Sky Bolt, at your service, your majesties.”
I shook my head. “We’re not royalty, but we were hoping to speak with the princesses, as soon as possible.”
“Lives are on the line, Lieutenant,” Lily urged.
Sky Bolt nodded. “Of course, I’ll head up myself and see if they’ll see you. If you two would have a seat right there...” She gestured to the cushions in front of the desk. Lily and I sat down while Sky Bolt hurried out the door. We sat in silence for a few minutes before Lily spoke up.
“Maybe we should try to get in touch with Pete and Jake, let them know what we’re up to?”
I nodded and reached into my saddlebag, this time with my magic. I withdrew the orb and held it up for both of us to see into it. “Pete?” I called into the orb. “Jake? You guys there?” The orb remained silent. I held it up to my ear to try and listen; all I heard was a faint... squishing noise. I furrowed my brow. “That’s odd...” I muttered. I held the orb to Lily’s ear so she could hear, and she grimaced at the wet noises.
I stowed the orb back into the bag just as the door opened again. Sky Bolt entered the office and came around the desk. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that Princesses Celestia and Luna are away on secret business, I don’t know where they could be.”
My heart sank. “Is there somebo- er, somepony else we could talk to?”
Sky Bolt began to shake her head and opened her mouth to speak, but a different, very familiar voice rang through the room. “I’m available for a meeting.”
All eyes in the room fell on the source of the voice; one of the pictures on Sky Bolt’s desk, the one of her as a filly, was moving. The filly was smiling rather mischievously, gazing at us with strangely red and yellow eyes. “Please, come up and see me,” the filly spoke in the familiar voice.
Sky Bolt opened her mouth to protest, but without warning there was a ‘Pop’, and Sky Bolt’s office vanished around us, replaced by a completely different room; one higher up in the castle, with a door to a balcony, a large vanity mirror, a wardrobe and a king-sized bed. In the bed lay a draconequus that I recognized immediately.
“May I be the first to say,” Discord said. “Welcome to Canterlot!”