"Any changes?" Princess Celestia asked Dr. Castaway as he exited the room of Twilight Sparkle, the last of the six new mothers he had to examine.
The doctor shook his head somberly.
"No change, I'm afraid. To be honest, I'm amazed that they're all still alive. We've never had deliveries go that badly and not have the mother, the foal, or both die. They won't be having anymore children after this, I can promise that. Too dangerous" He told her, looking at the now closed door for a moment as though he expected Twilight to prove him wrong. But, of course, there was no sound from the other side of the door.
A week had passed since the six foals were born, and three of the mares had yet to awaken even once, though the doctor didn't doubt that they were still alive.
Only Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack had recovered enough to even open their eyes.
The doctor suspected that their more rapid recovery was due to them being earth ponies (and an unusually well-built and active pegasus) and, as such, being a bit stronger and more durable than the unicorns or the other pegasus.
Applejack was still unable to get out of bed, though that was more because the doctor and his assistants didn't want her to exert herself. They had been told that the orange mare had a tendancy to think she could do more than her body was capable of, and with there still being a risk of her hemorrhaging again at this point, they weren't going to take that risk.
As for Rainbow Dash, she was constantly slipping in and out of consciousness, proving that she had a while to go before she was fully recovered.
The longest she had stayed awake and aware of her surroundings was about five minutes, during which she named her son, Firestorm.
Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, had been up and about since the day she'd awoken, which was two days after the foals had been born.
At first Castaway and his assistants had tried to keep her in her room, if not in her bed, but she kept escaping by using methods that none of them could explain.
Eventually they gave up, though they did make sure that she took it easy. Which wasn't too difficult as the earth pony was still somewhat tired from the delivery and was much calmer than usual as a result.
The only thing she did that made the doctor somewhat nervous was throw a "two-day party" for the foals, and the worse that came out of that was that Pinkie nearly fell asleep while eating chocolate cake.
Seeing that the princess was worried, and realizing that he was at least partially responsible for her distress, Castaway tried his best to comfort her.
"Don't worry, your highness. As long as their health isn't declining, the chance of them recovering is close to a hundred percent. It's just going to take some time" he told her.
Celestia smiled slightly and was about to respond, when suddenly-
"Libby? How'd you get up there?" Pinkie could be heard shouting from the nursery.
Celestia excused herself before heading down the corridor to assist the pink earth pony and the young purple dragon who were watching the six foals.
Pinkie Pie glared up at the baby unicorn sitting on top of the tall window. She had no idea how the foal had gotten up there, but she knew she had to get down.
"You get down here right now young filly" Pinkie demanded to her friend's daughter.
The turquoise-maned foal simply smiled, her red-and-yellow eyes glittering mischievously.
"Lib-lib" she giggled, walking shakily from one end of the wooden plank to the other. All the foals were starting to babble now, despite them being about a week younger than was normal for that stage of development. They were developing normally in the physical sense, so the doctor said there was no reason to worry.
"Libby" was just a nickname for Rarity's daughter, as the filly's favorite thing to say was, of course, "Lib-lib".
Having been through a similar experience with Pound Cake when he was younger, Pinkie had a feeling that actually trying to get Libby down would not end well. Either she would end up getting hurt, which was bad, or the baby would potentially get hurt, which was even worse.
"Please come down, Libby. I'll give you a big piece of cake at your monthiversy if you do" the pink pony promised, smiling up at the foal.
Libby seemed to consider this for a moment. She then stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry at Pinkie Pie, before walking backwards to the other side of the plank in a very fluid motion for a pony that was just starting to walk.
Pinkie groaned in frustration.
"Do you need some help?" Princess Celestia asked, smiling good-naturedly as she stepped into the nursery.
The pink earth pony nodded quickly, explaining that she had no idea how Libby had gotten to the top of the window but now she needed help to get her down before she fell down and hurt herself.
The white alicorn nodded in understanding before using her telekinesis to grab the ivory-colored foal.
Libby sighed in disappointment as she was placed on the ground. Her lower lip began to shake as though she was going to start bawling. Before she could start, however, she was tackled by Meadow Lark.
The white unicorn filly let out a giggle as her brown-maned half-sister bit her ear and pulled gently. The biting didn't hurt, as none of the foals had teeth yet.
"Thank you" Pinkie said to Princess Celestia, smiling tiredly.
The princess nodded, silently saying "You're welcome" in return.
Feeling something nudge her stomach, Pinkie jumped slightly and looked down, smiling slightly when she saw Butterscotch nursing.
She licked her daughter's fluffy white hair before realization came to her. Butterscotch had been on the other side of the room; Spike had been playing with her and the rest of the foals while Pinkie tried to get Libby down. She had been there less than a minute ago. How did she get across the room so fast without making any noise?
Once Butterscotch finished eating, she pushed away from her mother and tackled Meadow and Libby. The three fillies then began to chase each other around the room, giggling.
Spike watched the girls chase each other. Suddenly, he felt something poke into his stomach. It didn't hurt, of course, but it was slightly annoying.
"Velvet, stop" he told the blue filly in a stern voice.
Velvet Star (partially named for Twilight Sparkle's mother, Twilight Velvet) looked at Spike, her head tilted slightly in confusion. After a few moments, she returned to poking the dragon's belly with her little nub of a horn.
Finally getting fed up with the poking, Spike grabbed Velvet under her forelegs and held her at arms' length, too far away for her to reach him, and growled softly.
"I told you to stop it" he told her.
The filly stared at Spike, a hurt and somewhat scared look on her face. Suddenly she began to cry.
"Oh! Oh no! Nonononono….It's okay, Velvet. I'm not mad, see?" Spike said, trying to comfort his best friend's baby.
She opened her watery eyes and sniffled slightly before offering a half-smile to the dragon, which he returned.
Wanting to keep Velvet from crying again, Spike began to play a game of "follow the leader" with her. The game mostly involved him walking around the room while she attempted to grab his tail; she was oddly entranced by it for some reason. The baby dragon walked through the nursery, occasionally looking back to see if the filly was still following him.
He paused in the game when he heard Pinkie counting; she sounded worried.
"Rox? Storm? Where are you?" she wondered aloud, calling to the two colts. There was no response.
Pinkie looked to the door; it was open. She started to walk towards the open door, pausing when she remembered that she still needed to watch Butterscotch, Libby, and Meadow.
The usually hyperactive pony looked at the three fillies, who were now creating a small tower-Butterscotch on the bottom, Libby on top of her, Meadow on top of Libby-trying to climb onto the window sill. Princess Celestia grabbed the pegasus filly gently by the scruff of her neck and placed her on the floor, before doing the same with the white unicorn.
"Don't worry. I can watch them for a little bit" Celestia told Pinkie, obviously knowing what the pink pony was thinking.
Pinkie nodded before heading out the room in search of the two baby colts.
"Pinkie Pie!" squealed the blonde filly, grabbing onto Pinkie's leg with a giggle.
Pausing in her search, Pinkie looked at the young girl with a slight smile.
"Hey Crystal. What's up?" she asked.
Crystal Lake seemed to consider the question. After a moment, she pointed up to the ceiling and said, "Firestorm".
The mare looked to where she was pointing, and nearly fell over.
Firestorm was indeed on the ceiling, but unlike Pound Cake when Pinkie had seen him in that situation, the cyan-colored colt was not flying. He wasn't flapping his wings, for one thing. For another, his wings were near the hooves on his hind legs, rotated so they could press against the ceiling. His forelegs were not touching the ceiling; he was standing almost completely erect, like Lyra would sometimes try to do.
Firestorm, also referred to as Storm, looked at Pinkie and smiled. However, his smile was not sincere; he seemed to silently ask, "You mad?" by smiling at the poofy-maned mare.
"Get down here right now, young colt" Pinkie demanded, her voice sounding so unlike her own it was almost scary.
When Firestorm didn't do as she said, she decided to try a different tactic.
"I said….RIGHT NOW" she demanded again, this time using the voice that was normally reserved for ponies who had broken a Pinkie promise.
It had the desired effect; Firestorm instantly ran across the ceiling to one of the walls, then ran down the wall to the floor. Once his hooves were on the ground, his wings slide back to where they were supposed to be.
Now that the colt was safe on the ground, Pinkie returned to her usual cheerful self. She patted Crystal in order to comfort the young filly who had been scared by her outburst before picking up Firestorm and placing him on her back.
With the young pegasus on her back, Pinkie continued looking for the green earth pony.
"Storm? You know where Rox is?" she asked, turning her head slightly to look at him.
Firestorm nodded, confirming he did know where Rox was. However, he shook his head when Pinkie asked him to tell/show her where he was.
Sighing in mild exasperation, Pinkie continued walking through the castle, occasionally calling every variation of the colt's name she could think of.
"Rox? Roxbury? Russet?" she called, never getting a response.
The pink pony began to get a little nervous as she realized that she was running out of places to check on this floor. At only a week old, foals couldn't walk down stairs without falling, so if Rox had tried going to one of the lower levels…
Pinkie's mind was dragged away from her worried thoughts by the sound of laughter, followed by a snort.
Pinkie turned around to see a soaking wet Roxbury Russet being held by the scruff his neck by an equally wet Ocean Breeze. The unicorn mare wasn't wearing her usual hooded cloak, so Pinkie was able to see her cutie mark: a trio of wavy lines.
"He climbed into my bath. He may have eaten the soap. I don't know" Ocean Breeze said curtly, placing the green colt on the floor. As though responding to the statement about the soap, Roxbury burped as soon as he was on the ground; bubbles came out of his mouth, causing both baby boys to giggle.
The pink earth pony sighed in relief.
"Thanks Ocean Breeze. I-" she stopped speaking as she realized that the pony she was thanking had already left.
Pinkie blinked in confusion for a couple seconds before picking up Applejack's son and taking both colts back to the nursery.
To her complete and utter surprise…things were quite calm.
Considering how wild the fillies had been acting when she had left, and the fact that Princess Celestia had once admitted to not having worked with young foals in several hundred years, Pinkie Pie had expected to return to find the room half-destroyed, with Spike and the princess cleaning up.
Instead, she returned to find that the four fillies were all sleeping soundly; the only sound in the nursery other than the soft snores of the foals were the sound of one of them sucking on a pacifier. Pinkie considered the idea that the foals had been messing with her all day, but dismissed it almost immediately.
Despite the fact that her energy had mostly returned to her, she still found herself growing tired rather easily. She just wanted to get to bed, and not waste time considering the idea that the babies had been purposefully messing with her.
The earth pony placed Firestorm into his cradle, finding herself pleasantly surprised when he remained lying down; he even closed his eyes, to her utter shock.
Once he was in bed, she turned her attention to the young earth pony colt, who was still dripping wet, as well as completely naked.
Her first order of business was to dry him off, much to Roxbury's disdain; the colt whined and squirmed as his "aunt" rubbed him down with the towel.
After the male foal was dry, Pinkie put a fresh diaper on him and placed him into his own cradle. Like all the cradles, his was marked by an image of his mother's cutie mark, which, in his case, meant three apples.
Roxbury, clearly not happy with having to go to bed, pouted. He sat up in bed and opened his mouth, about to start screaming.
Pinkie braced herself for him to begin his tantrum and no doubt wake the other five.
However, to her surprise, something almost like a melody filled the room. It was soft, composed of gentle wind through reeds, crickets chirping, some nocturnal songbirds singing softly, and the occasional quiet hoots of an owl.
The green colt's mouth remained opened, but instead of screaming, he yawned, falling back onto the mattress and closing his eyes.
It wasn't until that moment that Pinkie Pie realized that Princess Luna had raised the moon and turned day to night.
The solar princess seemed to just realize this as well, as she blinked once, apparently mentally thinking about how many hours had passed since she raised the sun that morning before heading towards the door. She paused once to speak to the poofy-maned pony.
"Goodnight Pinkie. Some-pony will be up soon to watch them for the night" she informed before heading to her chamber to sleep.
Pinkie sighed in relief. She had nearly forgotten that there were many ponies in the castle who complained of having nothing to do, who volunteered to watch the foals at night and sleep during the day.
Pinkie was grateful for this, as it allowed her to get some sleep.
Yes, she always seemed to have energy to spare and her blood was probably at least ninety-percent sugar, but she still needed to rest.
Pinkie yawned, covering her mouth with one of her front hooves. She would go to bed in a moment.
First, she figured she would make sure the babies were situated-give the night "nurses" an easy start to the night.
The two colts, Firestorm and Roxbury, were her first stop. Both boys were sleeping soundly, though Storm occasionally flapped his wings in his sleep. Perhaps he was dreaming of flying, a dream young pegasi who hadn't yet learned to fly apparently had quite often.
Next was her own daughter. Butterscotch was also sleeping comfortably. Her position was somewhat odd—she had laid herself diagonally across the mattress, rather than vertically or even horizontally-but besides that, there was nothing else to note.
Pinkie paused to nuzzle her daughter gently before moving onto the cradle that contained Velvet.
Her heart stopped for a moment. The blue unicorn filly wasn't in her cradle.
Blue eyes wandered to the next cradle, the one that was supposed to hold Meadow, and found it empty as well.
Pinkie began to panic, remembering what had happened when Pound and Pumpkin had vanished from site when she had first babysat them.
Almost without her realizing it, her gaze went to the ceiling, though she doubted little Meadow would be there.
Her attention was snapped away from the ceiling when she heard a snore. It was obviously from a male and was too deep to have come from either colt.
Pinkie stepped towards the source of the sound, smiling and sighing in relief when she saw what is was: Spike had taken a cushion from a sofa and made a little bed out of it; and curled against his body was Velvet, sleeping softly and sucking on her own front hoof.
Seeing that Twilight's baby was fine, Pinkie once again began to worry about Meadow.
'Where is she?' Pinkie wondered, glancing around the room for any sign of the yellow pegasus filly.
Suddenly she noticed a strange lump rising from Libby's cradle, something too large to have been hiding there when Pinkie originally began checking the foals.
She was there in the blink of an eye.
When she reached the cradle, she found Libby asleep on her side, sucking on a pacifier, and Meadow Lark sitting up next to her.
The pegasus filly gave a smile that was very reminiscent of her mother's "But I am weak and helpless" smile, clearly trying to keep Pinkie from becoming angry.
She blinked her red-and-yellow eyes once, causing them to water slightly before she closed them and laid down, at least pretending to sleep.
Pinkie went to put Meadow into her own crib, the one marked with butterflies, but decided against it; Libby and Meadow were nearly inseparable and letting them sleep in the same cradle for the night would do nothing but make them happy.
If it didn't hurt anything, why do anything to prevent it?
Finally, Pinkie Pie started to head out of the nursery and back to the room she was staying in while at the castle, intent on getting some sleep.
On her way out, she did something for each of the slumbering baby ponies: stroking Libby's turquoise colored mane and Meadow's feathered wings, causing both to sigh in contentment; very gently nudging over the pillow Spike and Velvet were sleeping on out of the direct moonlight; kissing Butterscotch on the forehead (a gesture that seemed to disgust the week old foal, as she grimace immediately afterwards); tucking Firestorm in; and gently tousling Roxbury's golden mane.
After this, she whispered a soft "Goodnight" before going to "her" room and going to bed.