Three days remained before the six mares could bring their young children back to Ponyville.
The foals were all excited to make the journey, mostly due to Pinkie Pie promising that as soon as they got home, she would throw a massive "Coming Back to Ponyville and Introducing All Our Friends to the Babies" party. Though, whether it was the party itself or being able to meet the ponies that their mothers and Spike talked so much about that got them excited no-pony could really say.
Either way, they seemed to become more and more excited as the day to their leaving Canterlot for Ponyville came ever closer.
They also became more and more verbal.
That was one issue that Twilight Sparkle and her friends knew they were going to have to face when they returned home.
Their children were still physically babies, being about three months old, but they spoke as well, if not better, than many school-age fillies and colts.
No-pony had seemed to be bothered by how quickly their pregnancies had been progressing; As long as both the mother and the baby were healthy, something like that was normally thought to be an odd coincidence. Though, in this case, some ponies had likely theorized that a brother or cousin or some other relative of Doctor Hooves had fathered the six foals of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony and his "time powers" somehow affected their growth in the womb.
However, now that the foals had arrived, the girls knew they were going to be asked plenty of questions.
Of course, explaining why the foals could already speak so well would be no problem compared to explaining their…unique appearances.
There weren't any ponies, or even creatures that could breed with ponies, with the red-and-yellow eyes that Velvet, Meadow, and Roxbury had, and while it would be easier to guess where the foals could have inherited their sharp teeth from, it still wouldn't answer any real questions.
The foals looked too much like purebred ponies for it to be easily believable that they could have been fathered by a dragon. Not to mention the fact that the only dragon all six of them ever came in contact with on a regular basis was Spike, who was still considered a baby himself by dragon standards. So, if any-pony theorized that the foals had been sired by a dragon, the first "logical" conclusion they would come to for the father's identity would be extremely…disturbing, to say the least.
But, other than that, things were going very well for the mares and their foals; and they would rather focus on the good then worry about anything negative.
That was why they became filled with dread when the Princesses said that they needed an audience with the young mothers, and only the mothers.
"Anything you have to say, you can say in front of us, Princess" Firestorm had told Celestia, his tone rather snotty to show annoyance at not being allowed in the room for the discussion.
The other foals were also upset that they would not be allowed to hear what their mothers and the rulers of Equestria were talking about, but they didn't take their anger out on the princesses. Instead, they were trying to butter up their mothers, to varying degrees of success, with Fluttershy coming the closest to actually breaking.
However, the six of them were persistent and told their children-and they made it perfectly clear what they were saying-that they were not to come into the room until their mothers told them they could. They were also not allowed to listen by the door; After all, that would make keeping them out of the room basically pointless.
As one would expect, the foals did not take this very well. Most of them simply began to pout and whine, clearly thinking that if they annoyed their mothers enough, they would get what they wanted.
Firestorm and Meadow, however, took a different approach.
The cyan-colored colt simply flew away in a huff, his wings smoking as he did so.
"I'll go follow him. Make sure he doesn't make anymore goo-bombs" Roxbury said as he trotted away in the same direction Firestorm had been flying in; apparently he was more worried about the trouble the pegasus could get into then whether or not his mother and his "aunts" would change their minds about letting them into the room during the meeting.
"Should I go?" Rainbow Dash questioned unsurely.
Celestia shook her head and told the rainbow-maned mare that even if her son did manage to create some "goo-bombs" it wouldn't be an issue; the bombs were completely harmless.
"You may speak for yourself" Luna said somewhat coldly when her sister said that the goo-bombs were harmless. She had good reason to be annoyed at this statement; just the day before, she had spent three hours removing the sticky and gooey yellow-green substance that came out of the bombs off her coat.
"If you say so" Rainbow Dash said, though it was clear she wasn't fully convinced.
Meanwhile, Meadow Lark was desperately trying to get Fluttershy to look her in the eye. By this point, she had fully realized that she could basically control ponies (and other creatures) if she could get them to make direct eye contact with her. The catch was the fact that she couldn't make other ponies do what she wanted unless she got the eye contact. And Fluttershy seemed to be very aware of this fact, as she kept her eyes shut while her daughter attempted to pry them open.
"Oh, my…" the yellow mare began, her voice low and her eyes still closed, "It looks like Meadow Lark would like to go straight to bed without desert after supper tonight".
Meadow instantly got what her mother was implying and stopped trying to force her eyes open. Finding out what the older ponies and the princesses would be discussing was not worth the risk of not only having to go to bed early and losing desert.
"Well, I'm getting bored" Libby said, walking forward to stand by Meadow Lark's side. The pegasus filly nodded her agreement.
"Me too. Let's go find something fun to do".
With that, the two fillies ran off, leaving Velvet and Butterscotch alone with the adults.
The remaining fillies didn't even say anything; they just ran off as well, finally leaving Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie alone with the alicorns.
Princess Luna gestured towards the large doors which led into the hall filled with stained glass windows with her head. The younger mares took the hint and stepped inside.
(Note: All of these next segments take place at the same time, so you can basically read them in any order)
"I can't believe they wouldn't let us hear what the princesses had to say" Firestorm cried, slamming his hoof onto the floor of the kitchen. The chefs were all away, as the next meal would not have to be ready for several hours. "They treat us like foals!"
"We are foals, Firestorm" Roxbury said flatly, nodding towards the diapers that both he and the other colt were wearing.
Firestorm scowled, clearly unhappy with his brother bringing up the stupidity of his past statement.
"Of course you'll side with them, you little goody-two-hooves" he muttered angrily, spreading his wings in an attempt to look more intimidating. The green colt rolled his eyes and sighed.
"They have no right to tell us what to do!" Firestorm said, continuing his rant.
Roxbury raised an eyebrow before pointing out that their mothers had every right to tell them what do to; they were, after all, responsible for them even existing. Firestorm snorted.
"Well, maybe you have to listen, but I don't, cause unlike you, I got awesome powers" he bragged, shaking his head slightly as he did so.
And, while he knew he didn't need to, he decided to show exactly what he was talking about when he said he had "awesome powers". He focused his gaze on a glass that was set on the table. His gold-colored eyes began to glow slightly. Suddenly, the glass shattered, as though some-pony had had smashed it with a hammer. Both colts had to dart underneath the table to avoid being hit by the broken pieces of glass.
The green colt turned to the cyan colt and said, "I have powers, too."
"No, you don't. If you did, you would have used them by now. You're the only one who hasn't done anything awesome. You haven't changed the way you look at all, and we can all do that. You never let yourself get hurt, so I bet you can't even heal" he accused, jabbing Roxbury in the side with a hoof, receiving a glare in response.
"Or maybe" Roxbury began, clearly struggling to keep himself calm, "I just don't want to put myself through pain I don't need to go through."
Firestorm scoffed once again and rolled his eyes.
"You're just a normal weirdo" the pegasus said, jabbing the earth pony in the side again. Said earth pony growled angrily.
"Do that again. I dare you. Do that again" he said, his voice clearly showing threat.
Unfortunately, the other colt didn't seem to understand what he was being set up for. He pulled his foreleg back, and then pushed it towards Roxbury's side. Right before the pegasus's hoof touched his side, Roxbury reached out his own hoof and touched a shard of broken glass that was lying on the floor. As soon as his hoof made contact with the glass, his coat changed, shifting from regular pony fur to a coat made of jagged pieces of green-tinged broken glass.
Firestorm tried to stop himself from making contact with the earth pony's now sharp side, but it was too late. His hoof ended up getting pierced by the sharp points of glass and he whimpered softly in pain before starting to suck on the wound. As his injury started to heal itself, Firestorm turned his attention back to Roxbury, who was now back to normal.
"So, you can turn yourself into whatever you touch?" he questioned. Roxbury simply nodded, and Firestorm squealed in delight. He suddenly jumped up and started to flutter his wings as he burst into flames.
"That is awesome!" he exclaimed, placing his hoofs onto his cheeks. "I mean, it's not as awesome as what I can do, but it's still awesome".
Roxbury smiled slightly and got to his feet.
"Well, help me clean up" he said to Firestorm, who was no longer flaming. When the cyan pegasus asked why they had to clean up, the earth pony colt simply said, "You want Luna to yell at us again?"
Almost immediately, Firestorm dashed out from under the table and went to collect a couple of small brooms and a dustpan.
The yellow pegasus and white unicorn fillies wandered through the castle halls, desperately searching for something to do. They couldn't believe how boring the palace was, considering how large it was. Someplace this size would usually have something fun for young ponies to do, but not Canterlot Castle.
Libby and Meadow wished they could go outside, but they knew they couldn't; ever since they and the others had found their father's stone body, they hadn't been allowed in the gardens.
None of them could understand why, and when they asked their mothers, they refused to answer.
Finally, the two fillies stepped into a large open room with a tall pedestal placed in the center of the room. Placed on top of the pedestal was a red cushion with what appeared to be a white ball with dark red diagonal stripes on it.
"You think you can get the ball down?" Meadow asked Libby, who seemed to consider the question for a moment before turning her attention to the ball on the pedestal.
She squeezed her eyes shut and her horn began to glow with a soft turquoise-colored light, as did the ball. The ball levitated about an inch off the cushion before the glow around it vanished and it dropped back onto the cushion.
"Well, to answer your question: No, I can't get the ball down" Libby said to the pegasus, panting softly. Meadow Lark smiled gently and patted the white unicorn on the back before flying up to the ball.
"Okay, then I'll just push it off, and you catch it" she suggested to Libby.
Libby nodded and positioned herself next to the pedestal. Once the unicorn was standing in the right place to catch the ball, the pegasus went to push it off the cushion and onto her back.
However, before her hooves could make contact, a small cracking noise caught her attention.
Curious, the young filly leaned closer to the source of the noise, the ball.
Suddenly, through no apparent force from either of the ponies, it literally leapt from the cushion and onto the ground. Feet seemed to have magically appeared on the bottom of what the fillies still believed to be a ball, and it began to run around the room.
"It's alive!" both fillies screamed in horror, clutching each other for security.
They only separated when the "ball" charged in the direction of the pedestal, which they were standing in front of. The "ball" smashed into the stone pedestal and completely broke apart, revealing that it wasn't a ball at all, but rather a dragon's egg.
"Oh, he's cute" Meadow said quietly, looking at the newborn dragon.
"I'll say" Libby agreed.
"Come here little baby" Meadow cooed, her gaze still focused on the small dragon, who was currently licking himself clean. The unicorn seemed to be a little confused at the last statement her sister had made.
"Oh, you were talking about the dragon? I thought you were talking about him" she said, pointing at a rather odd-looking colt who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
The colt was older than the two fillies, old enough to have started school, if only recently. His coat, eyes, and mane all looked as though they had been colored with metallic paints. The coat was a bronze color, his eyes were silver, and his mane was colored like gold, with visible flecks of bronze scattered about. He was a pegaus, and his wings, while mostly bronze like the rest of his body, had feathers tipped with gold. The most eye-catching things about him, however, were not his colors, but rather his stripes and the small nub of a horn on his forehead. Obviously the colt was part zebra, evidenced by the golden stripes that ran along his back and around his legs. Even more amazing was the fact that he had a unicorn's horn, along with a pegasus' wings, though based on the size of the horn (it was only as big as that of a newborn pony's), it was clear that it was more a simple growth than an actual tool of magic.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he asked the two fillies.
"I'm Meadow Lark" Meadow began, pointing towards herself, before motioning towards Libby. "And this is my sister, Lotus Blossom. Every-pony calls her Libby. And we just wanted to play with the ball on the pedestal…though I guess it was actually an egg…"
Libby then vanished from where she was standing and reappeared next to the colt.
"What about you? What's your name?" she questioned.
The striped colt hesitated for a few moments before answering the question. "Uh…My name is Token. Token Medal".
"Well, what are you doing here?" Meadow asked, smiling as the baby dragon rubbed the side of his head against hers.
Token told the fillies that he was told that he was the guardian of the egg and the dragon inside it, and that he was doing what his job entailed: guarding the egg.
"Really? You get to take care of this little cutie? You are so lucky. What's his name?" said Meadow Lark, looking from the dragon to Token and back to the dragon.
Token responded by saying he didn't think the dragon had a name, to which Meadow said, "Then I'll name him, since I'm pretty sure he hatched because of me".
She looked at the infant dragon sitting next to her. He was a burgundy color with a cream belly. He had small tufts of what appeared to be white fur on his "elbows", as well as on the tip of his tail. His claws had webbing between them, the same color as his belly. The same webbing was visible on the sides of his tail. He also had what seemed to be a layer of cream-colored skin stretching from his "wrists" to his "ankles", just like a flying squirrel. After a few more moments of studying the dragon, Meadow finally came to a decision on the name.
"Fin. Your name is Fin" she told the newly named dragon. Fin responded by sticking out his forked tongue and licking Meadow Lark on the cheek, causing her to giggle slightly.
Token smiled at the scene…until he felt some-pony kiss his cheek. He turned to Libby, who was still standing next to him and was now blushing madly.
"Why did you…?" he began to ask, only to stop when he realized how embarrassed she was. So, instead, he simply smiled, apparently guessing why she had kissed him.
"Okay, Velly-belly" Butterscotch said, wrapping a foreleg around Velvet's shoulder and bringing her closer. "Time to do your stuff."
The dark-maned unicorn's expression changed from one of annoyance at the nickname to one of confusion.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
The butterscotch-colored filly sighed in annoyance and rolled her eyes. Clearly she was hoping that the unicorn would understand what she meant without any actual explanation.
"You know, the thing where you can turn yourself into a painting on the wall" she told the unicorn filly. "You do that, turn yourself invisible, and then go into the room and listen to what our Meemas and the princesses are talking about".
In response to the explanation, Velvet also sighed. She told Butterscotch that she couldn't spy on their mothers and the princesses.
When the earth pony filly asked why the unicorn couldn't use her ability to see what was being said in the other room, the unicorn responded: "I can only turn myself into a picture if there are already pictures there".
"Is that all?" Butterscotch asked with a laugh. She then began to walk off, a mischievous grin on her face.
"What are you doing?" Velvet questioned, her tone making it obvious that she wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer.
However, Butterscotch completely ignored her and just continued walking away.
Irritated, Velvet teleported in front of her sister, causing the other filly to bump into her, due to not expecting the teleportation. Now that she had Butterscotch's attention, Velvet once again asked what she was planning to do.
"I'm going to get some paint so when can hoof-paint some pictures on the wall and you can do the spying" the white-maned pony explained. Velvet looked at her as though she thought Butterscotch had totally lost her mind.
"And how will that help?" she asked.
"You just said you need a picture to already be on the wall, so we're going to paint a picture on the wall. Duh." Butterscotch answered, as though it were the most obvious answer in the world. The blue-grey foal raised an eyebrow.
"You do realize that the wall we need to draw a picture on is inside the room, don't you?" she asked, trying to point out the lack of logic in the earth pony filly's plan.
Blue eyes widened in what seemed to be a mixture of realization and horror. Suddenly, Butterscotch's body began to shake and her eyes narrowed.
"I HATE LOGIC!" the butterscotch-colored filly shouted, her mouth right next to Velvet's ear.
Said unicorn rubbed the now ringing ear, sarcastically thanking her half-sister for causing her to go deaf, and also completely ignoring the tantrum the other filly was currently throwing. It was only when she regained her hearing that she said anything to Butterscotch.
"Are you sure that you're the oldest?"
The tension in the hall was thick as the six Element Bearers prepared themselves to hear what Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had to tell them.
They had been hoping to relax for the last few days before returning home, but apparently they wouldn't get that luxury. They were anxious to hear what the princesses had to say, and the fact that neither Celestia nor Luna were speaking didn't help matters.
Finally, it was the princess of the night who broke the silence.
"When you came here, we told you that we wanted to observe your foals during the first months of their development. Do you remember that?" she asked the six mares, who all nodded in response. "And we said that if we viewed them to be dangerous, we would take the necessary precautions. We have decided that the foals must be viewed as potential threats".
As soon as the last word left her lips, she was greeted by protests from the six mothers, as well as Spike. The seven of them were practically shouting as they tried to argue against what they assumed Luna was implying would have to be done. They argued that the foals were just playing around, being naughty and mischievous like any normal foals would be, and that they didn't mean any harm by it.
"You can't kill them just because-" Twilight Sparkle began, only to be cut off by Celestia speaking up.
Clearly the princess of the sun had realized that her little sister was just going to end up digging herself into a very deep hole if she continued giving the entire "lecture" herself, and had decided to help.
"You misunderstand us, my little ponies. We have no intention of killing your foals, now or ever" she assured them.
The pegasi, unicorns, and earth ponies looked somewhat confused at this statement. Obviously, they were wondering what the precautions actually were, if they didn't involve the extermination of the foals, on the basis that they would grow up to be dangerous.
Celestia continued: "We know that you will do the best you can to raise them correctly, and we are certain that you will do an excellent job of it."
She smiled slightly as she added, "You already are".
Six small smiles mirrored her own as she said this last statement.
"However," the younger mares and the young dragon instantly tensed their bodies in preparation for what they were about to hear, "we cannot forget who their father is, or the fact that they have powers no other pony has…powers that may be hard for any-pony to control, even the ponies in whom these abilities have manifested".
She didn't bring up the fact that foals clearly shown an attachment towards Discord, mostly due to the fact that she knew Twilight Sparkle and her friends were most likely already aware.
"Therefore, when you return to Ponyville, we will have two of our…special guards accompany you, as well as their families" Celestia concluded.
She paused to allow for questions.
Applejack was the first to ask any questions regarding what the princess had just told them.
"What, exactly, are they supposed to do?" she asked, raising an eyebrow slightly to show she was skeptical of what the co-rulers of Equestria had planned.
Celestia opened her mouth to respond, but it was Luna who answered: "It will be their duty to help monitor the foals, as well as detain them and alert us should things get…out of hoof. Depending on how bad things become…".
Her tone showed the true, somewhat threatening, meaning of her words.
"Don't you worry, Princess" Twilight Sparkle said, looking from Celestia to Luna and back again. "We will make sure that it never comes to that. You have my word."
The others nodded in agreement.
Apparently satisfied with this vow, the princesses of the day and night dismissed their guests.