ARE YOU COMING WITH?
WHY DO I HAVE TO GO ALONE?
“Because shut up.” Cadence replied.
Shape Shift’s eyes rolled but the Changeling nonetheless buzzed away after Luna and his Queen.
Cadence watched her Changeling servant leave and turned down the opposite hallway. With Chrysalis out of the castle there wasn’t much Cadence could do, so she would wash up and plan some more. Passing through the many corridors of the castle, Cadence finally found her way to her personal chambers. The pink Alicorn cocked her eyebrow at the royal guard next to her door. Cadence wasn’t used to guards taking any notice to her, Celestia and Luna were much more important.
Walking up the guard, who promptly saluted, Cadence smiled at the stallion. “Hello guardspony, is something wrong? Guards usually don’t sit outside my door.”
The brown-coated guard dropped his salute and bowed slightly before speaking. “Sorry ma’am, Princess Celestia’s orders… or wait, would it be Lady Chrysalis’s orders? Anyway, Chrysalis told Celestia how the Changelings infiltrated the castle before your wedding. We are relocating guards accordingly.”
“Oh,” Cadence replied dryly. “Very well. If my Aunt thinks it is best, I won’t object.” Cadence nodded to the guard and moved into her personal quarters. Once she shut the door the Alicorn of love took on a dark look. “Now Celestia’s letting that bug direct our guards?! In the name of the Maker, what the hell?!”
Cadence used her magic to remove her tennis clothing and placed them in a hamper. The Alicorn made for the bathroom. “Next thing you know she’s going to replace Valor’s Shield as guard captain.” The mare snorted at her joke of a statement, yeah like that ever happen.
Stepping into her royal shower (which is totally different from a normal shower… somehow), Cadence turned the knobs and the shower’s enchantments came online. Water flowed from the showerhead and soaked the royal mare. Cadence sighed in relief as the stress of exercise seemed to lift from her instantly. The Alicorn’s magic took hold of her shampoo and squirted into her mane. Using her hooves to lather the shampoo, Cadence suddenly snorted angrily as her thoughts returned to Chrysalis.
“Stupid bug… trying to take my Aunt and do Maker knows what to her. Probably wants to use her as some sickening brood mother and make a bunch of mutant Pony-Changelings.” Cadence, satisfied the shampoo was sudsy enough, dipped her head under the shower’s nozzle and washed the shampoo bubbles out. She then grabbed her coat shampoo (why she needed two different shampoo’s for such things is beyond this author, but I’m not a equine expert so such confusion is understandable). Cadence made sure to cover every nook and cranny with coat shampoo, and I mean every nook and/or cranny… take that as you will.
As the mare stood under the spray of water and got the shampoo out of her coat an idea came to mind. It had occurred to Cadence that if Chrysalis were in fact out to commit some evil plot, she’d probably keep a journal or have some type of way to keep notes. Normally, one would think that was stupid, but Cadence believed that most villains Equestria had faced lately were rather idiotic in some aspect. Cadence knew now that she’d just have to find that journal or whatever Chrysalis had and show it to Celestia and it would prove Chrysalis’s evil. Cadence even entertained the thought of faking a journal but Celestia would tell it was a fake and ignore it. Cadence gritted her teeth at that knowledge as she turned off the shower and readied to step out.
Now, dear reader, take notes. Prepare to learn a great moral lesson: why you should never hold anger against your Aunt’s pony-bug lover whilst stepping out of your shower soaking wet. So enraged about Celestia’s trust of Chrysalis was Cadence that she forgot to properly dry her hooves off before stepping out of the shower. The Alicorn took one step onto the marble floor of her bathroom and…
Cadence slipped almost instantly, sending her falling into the bathroom’s toilet. The mare’s head slammed into the porcelain throne, punching her right in the eye. Jolting back in pain and holding her eye, Cadence once again slipped, sending her back first into the ground. The mare grunted as she collided with the floor, the wind knocked out of her. Cadence rolled around slightly in pain, holding her eye but feeling pain everywhere. She would remain there for almost five whole minutes.
Getting up weakly, Cadence looked into the mirror positioned above her sink. The Alicorn of Love had quite the nice shiner of a left eye. The mare groaned in pain. Regardless of this annoyance, she would continue with her plan of finding anything that could incriminate Chrysalis. Cleaning herself up as best she could (leaving the black eye untampered with as trying to cover it only lead to the mare looking ridiculous), Cadence departed from her bathroom and out the door of her personal chambers.
“Hello Princess… WHOA! Princess Cadence! What happened to your eye?!” The guard at Cadence’s door looked fearfully at her. “Do you require me to fetch medical aid?”
“No, no. I’m fine.” Cadence said reassuringly. “Everything’s fine, I was just attacked by a toilet, but everything’s okay now.” Cadence walked off, leaving a very confused guard.
Cadence snuck along the hallways of the castle (actually she just walked but snuck sounds better). The mare’s destination was her Aunt Celestia’s room. She would raid Chrysalis’s personal effects and find anything incriminating.
It was easy enough to get in, she was a Princess, it’s not like they could tell her she couldn’t go in unless Celestia gave them specific orders (which she hadn’t). Walking into the royal bedchambers of her beloved aunt, Cadence looked around. Celestia’s room was magnificent, adorned in royal white and gold and Sol symbols everywhere… on everything.
“Geez…” Cadence said. “I think my Aunt has a sun fetish. I mean I know she’s the Alicorn of the Sun but the amount of sun symbols in this room is a little absurd. You don’t see me putting hearts on everything I own.” Cadence giggled. “Well, I do put heart-shaped hickies on Shining every time I get but that’s totally normal.” Cadence shook her head. “Alright, enough talking about when I make furious sexual intercourse with my husband. Must. Find. Evidence!”
The mare looked around. As far as she could tell, everything belonged to Celestia. There was nothing even remotely resembling something a Changeling would own. Moving to the bed, Cadence could sense the magical enchantment that had been placed upon it to make it grow larger to accommodate its new second occupant. Looking at the end table, Cadence saw a small journal. The mare used her magic to bring it to herself and opened it, reading a random entry.
…Luna’s getting anxious, she hates being cooped up in the castle. What’s worse is she has no social skills that are acceptable in this era. Honestly though, last estrous I caught her walking up to a maid and telling her to bend over! Maker, give me strength. She treats many ponies as minions and not the equal subjects they are.
Nightmare Night is coming up soon and she seems to be curious about it. This is the cure I need! I plan to explain the holiday to her and then, subtly, encourage her to go to Ponyville for the holiday so she can connect with the populace. I have an abundance of hope that my faithful student can show her the ways of friendship of this day and age. I thank the Maker for Twilight; I would not have my sister again if not for her. I am positive that if anypony can change my sister, it’s her.
Cadence shut the book; certain that it wasn’t the one she was after. Placing it back on the end table, Cadence looked around for any other object that could incriminate the termite infecting her home.
As if fate was on her side, and the mare certainly thought it was, Cadence saw a suitcase that wasn’t Celestia’s (no suns anywhere on it). Walking over to the rectangular container of personal objects, Cadence used her magic to open the suitcase and…
Celestia had a disgruntled look on her face as she glared at the chessboard in front of her. The royal Alicorn was not used to losing at chess, it was the one game that she could honestly call herself a champion in. Still, the inability to move her King out of harm’s way from the opposing pieces meant that she was had to admit defeat.
The mare sighed heavily. “Ugh, I regret ever teaching you to play chess…” She said glumly to her chess companion.
Philomena the Phoenix cocked her head slightly at her sighing master. The magical bird had become quite good at playing the game her owner loved so much and it made the avian happy to know she could do something relaxing with Celestia, though the Alicorn didn’t look so relaxed right now.
“How you can beat me in six turns using only pawns will never cease to befuddle me…” Celestia remarked, her left eyebrow twitching angrily. The princess swallowed her pride and smiled at the Phoenix. “Oh well, good game as always Philomena. It’s good to see that you’re getting…”
Philomena’s head shot up and she looked towards the epicenter of the blast, her senses shifting to high alert. Her head bobbed left and right like a machine or puppet, trying to figure out what was happening.
Philomena cocked her head towards her owner, who was staring at her with eyes half closed and a coy smile on her face. Philomena looked at Celestia with concerned look, as if she was crazy.
Celestia waved a hoof at Philomena. “Oh, please. Ever since Luna got back I’m quite accustomed to stuff randomly exploding. I just hope it was nothing too serious. So, another game?”
Smoke billowed from Celestia’s room. Her room’s side balcony was engulfed in black smoke. As for Cadence, she was flying through the air at moderate speeds. The mare’s coat and mane were blackened in several places and she had an angry look of disappointment.
“I don’t know no what to feel right now.” She said, crossing her fore legs. “Should I be mad at my aunt for booby trapping her room or laud her for such clever thinking?” Cadence thought back to mere moments ago, when she opened the suitcase and her aunt’s voice filled the room saying ‘Gotcha’! Cadence knew it was Celestia’s booby trap because of the fact she had been blast away with solar magic, something Chrysalis did not have access to. It was, unfortunately, something she could not blame on her nemesis. “Oh well.” Cadence finally remarked. “Better start flying before I land on the ground and hurt my… OOF!!”
Cadence, in her time of contemplation, had failed to realize she was hurtling towards a wall. The Alicorn impacted hard, leaving a sizable dent as well as severely cracking the pristine white surface. Pulling her head from the Alicorn shaped indentation, Cadence sighed heavily as her pupils spun and little Changelings of confusion buzzed around her head. “Ow… that hurt. I suppose I probably should have steadied myself before actually thinking about what happened.” Cadence began to pull her limbs from the hole. “Well, at least it can’t get any…”
Cadence’s eyes widened as she felt her piece of the wall breaking apart from the main structure. The mare whimpered. “Oh this isn’t going to be good…” Looking down, Cadence saw that she was right above the Castle’s rose garden. “And that’s going to hurt.”
The wall finally gave way and Cadence found herself plummeting into a very large rose bush. The wail of pain she let out was enough to catch even Celestia’s attention, enwrapped in her chess and mostly oblivious to the world. Despite catching her attention, it would take Philomena plucking at her hair to finally move the Alicorn to see what the problem was.
Five Hours Later
“So, mind telling me what you were doing a rose bush Cadence? Or should I ask why you were snooping around my room?”
Cadence looked up at her aunt scratched, bruised, and wide-eyed. It had taken four hours to remove the Alicorn from her position in the rose gardens (It wouldn’t have taken so long if they had just cut or magiced their way through but the royal gardeners would have none of it. They had worked too hard on those rose bushes to have them cut to ribbons or infected with foreign magic). The pink Alicorn sighed and looked away from her aunt, thinking.
“Well?” Celestia asked, tapping her hoof in an annoyed manner. “Why did you go into my private quarters Cadence? Don’t act as if I can not deduce such things, I’ve lived long enough to pick up on certain things.”
Clearly not all things… Cadence pondered as she looked back to her aunt, a sad expression on her face. “I’m sorry Aunt Celestia, I was trying to find something.”
“And what was that?” Celestia inquired.
“I, uh, lent something to Chrysalis and I needed it back today but she’s not here and I didn’t want to disturb you.” Cadence lied, it was actually quite easy, considering. “I saw the suitcase and reasoned that since it wasn’t yours it would be Chrysalis’s. I opened it to see if she had put the thing I lent her in there and it turned out to be a bomb…”
Celestia cocked at eyebrow at her niece. The fact she had not, in her explanation, told Celestia what the object she had lent Chrysalis was threw up several warning signs. The white Alicorn reasoned, however, that if Cadence was unwilling to talk about it and Chrysalis had not asked Celestia for the item it must have been something personal and private. Taking this as an explanation, Celestia did not inquire about the item and simply sighed. “I understand Cadence, but please, next time call me and ask for help and do not go sniffing around a Goddess’s bedroom like that. You’re just lucky it wasn’t Luna’s room.” The Alicorn shivered, a terrible memory rushing back to her. “Anyway, I’m returning to the throne room now, if you need anything don’t hesitate to ask.” With that, the Princess turned and left Cadence with her thoughts.
Alright, scratch finding incriminating evidence off the list of how to defeat Chrysalis in Celestia's room, too dangerous. Cadence sighed and got up. Shaking herself free of any remaining rose bush debris, the royal mare decided to go to the Castle’s post office, she was expecting a delivery today and now was as good a time as any to retrieve it.
Luna went for the throne room door, her shopping trip done and her presence in the Lunar Guard barracks required. Opening the throne room doors with magic she saw Shape Shift standing behind it. “Hello Shape Shift.” Luna said as she patted him on the head as she passed.
The Changeling stood there for a few minutes, unsure of how to respond to what had transpired. That’s when Cadence appeared, covered in bruises, cuts, and a nice black eye. The beaten pink Alicorn plopped right next to her servant. “I suppose that your little mission didn’t go well.” She grumbled, tilting her head towards him.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Shape Shift asked via his little marker board.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Cadence replied.
“I will ground pound you.”
LIKE YOU DO WITH SHINING WHEN YOU TWO ROLEPLAY?
Cadence shot a glare at the Changeling, who responded by starting to scribble something on his board.
BOW CHICKA… WHACK!!! Shape Shift fell to the ground as Cadence took the board and hit his head with it.
“You’re an idiot.” She told the Changeling as he marveled at the stars around his head. Cadence sighed once more and then ignited her horn. “Well, this day might have been a bust, but at least I have comfort food.” The mare brought the ice cream tub out from seemingly nowhere with her magic. The pink Alicorn hugged the frozen treat from her favorite ice cream parlor. “Oh vanilla ice cream, you’re the only thing I can rely on right now.” With that said (And Shape Shift whimpering over being called less reliable then ice cream), Cadence popped the lid and took a scoop of ice cream in her magic. “Come to momma!”
It was then that Shape Shift recognized the tub of ice cream. Instead of trying to stop it, however, the Changeling simply allowed what was about to transpire to transpire (Karma’s a bitch like that).
Cadence smiled once more and plopped the chuck of ice cream into her mouth and happily gulped it down. Her eyes instantly widened.
Throne room of the Crystal Palace, Crystal Empire
“The line of succession is clear Prince Regent. You must produce an heir as soon as possible.”
Shining Armor cocked an eyebrow at the Crystal Pony Magistrate, Valued Traditions. “Right… you do know that Cadence is an Alicorn right? She’s gonna live forever or close to it, so there’s no rush to make foals yet.”
The magenta mare Valued Traditions huffed at her Prince Regent. “True, Prince Regent Armor, but you are not so immortal. Princess Cadenza cannot always be in the Crystal Empire and you will not last forever, so we need an appropriate amount of heirs to ensure we always have a legitimate ruler upon the throne, lest we have another travesty as ex-Lord Regent Sombra.”
Shining rolled his eyes. “Alright fine, how many heirs is an ‘appropriate’ amount?”
“At least seven.” Valued said rather matter-of-factly.
“WHAT?!” Shining yelled. “I need seven heirs to secure the throne?!”
“It is tradition, Prince Regent, that the Crystal Empire’s leaders have many foals.” Valued stated. “But to correct your statement: I do not mean you have to have exactly seven heirs.” Shining sighed in relief. “I mean that you and Cadence must procreate successfully at least seven times. That does not mean that one of those seven couldn’t be twins or even triplets.” Valued smiled at her knowledge of the Crystal Empire’s traditional way of ruling. “And that is why… um, Prince Armor? Are you alright? Why are you on the floor?”
Shining Armor twitched savagely on the floor, unsure how to proceed. The stallion groaned. “This is… I can’t even think right now. Off topic, I can totally sense that Cadence has just gotten a bad case of diarrhea… but it doesn’t matter…” The stallion covered his face. “It’s gonna be child’s play when compared to keeping up with this tradition!”