“—and remember, Anny, make sure that the station is on three hundred and thirty-seven before you turn it on.”
The human nodded from his hiding place in the bush. Even though the guards were with him they still had to follow orders; keeping people out of the garden grounds was one of those orders…. Even though they were keeping it pretty loose for them.
“And you’re sure that song will be playing when I turn this thing on, right, Princess?” Anny asked Luna, who poked her head out from the adjacent bush and nodded.
“Yes, Anny,” she whispered/yelled. “We made sure to contact the radio station and send in your requested song.”
While this whole thing was Cadence’s idea--along with the song--Anny kept his mouth shut.
He nodded, looking up in the sky to see a large formation of clouds making their way towards where he was. Hopefully Twilight actually knows what she’s doing with those things, he thought, looking around for Shining.
“Shining,” he hissed before ducking his head back into the bush when a random patrol of guards --who, thought they could very clearly see the little group, ignored them with a shake of their heads--passed by. “Shining, where are you?!”
Cadence poked her head out from a tree to look down at the human. “Anny, I think Shiny’s over there,” she said, pointing at the tree right next to her. “I bought him this adorable little tree outfit the other day so he could be camouflaged like the rest of us.”
Anny whistled. “That’s actually a really good tree outfit…” he commented, almost falling out of the bush as he leaned forward to get a better look at the seemingly ordinary tree. “I really can’t—”
“Well, I’m here.”
Anny froze, slowly turning to see the possible owner of the voice that just chirped in his ear, and snorting back a laugh when he saw who it was.
“*Snort* hello, Shining, *giggle* it looks like you really dressed up for the occasion…”
Shining Armor rolled his eyes, adjusting the flimsy tree-shaped costume on his back. “Before you start, I know it looks dumb, so shut it and let’s get this started…”
Luna poked her head out of her bush and looked at the sun. “We still have a few minutes,
Young Anny; we believe that the sun needs to be a smidgen lower before sister decides to lower it.”
Anny nodded, looking back down at possibly Twilight’s greatest invention: the portable radio.
While not really all that special to the human, this was actually a major milestone for the ponies—the little fellas didn’t even have proper television.
Other than the thing taking an alicorn’s magic to keep powered, it still weighed over a hundred pounds, and it looked like it would blow up if you looked at it funny, it was entirely possible that Twilight could walk away with another scientific award.
…As long as the thing turned on.
And didn’t shock him… or explode.
“Alright,” Anny said, switching on various buttons and making sure that Cadence was keeping the thing on. “The guards should be distracted, right?”
Shining nodded, his paper mache leaves swaying in the wind. “Yep.”
“And Twilight’s ready with the clouds?”
Luna poked a hoof out of her bush and waved it around, a little purple hoof answering her from a cloud. “We believe so.”
The human then looked pleadingly up at Cadence, who was starting to sweat from the strain of powering the machine. “And, Princess, you’re going to keep that thing from blowing up on me, right?”
The princess of love shook her head rapidly, wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead. “Of
course, Anny,” she said with a grunt. “But could we least hurry this up? This thing uses a lot of magic.”
The princess of the night poked her head out of the bush, nodding at him. “Antaeus, thou may begin.”
Gulping nervously, Anny looked both ways to see if anyone was coming through the gardens. Seeing none, he lifted the big radio up in the air and carried it to the pre-ordained position, and, with a grunt, he lifted the heavy thing over his head after turning it on…
Celestia sighed as she slowly made her way to her bedroom, trying not to drag her hooves from sheer exhaustion. A long exercise route, an almost painfully dull meeting with the nobility, and her inability to drink anything sugary or sweet for either of those things left the usually chipper alicorn exhausted.
I can’t wait until I can just lie down and read that book that Anny—she stopped, rolling her eyes when she realized that she was thinking about that silly man.
…At least he’s not trying to woo me with chocolate and flowers, she thought in mild amusement and dread-filled resignation.
It was true; since Cadence was the princess of love, she knew that such boring things wouldn’t even phase the princess of the sun, so they had decided to think... outside the box.
“At least he didn’t seriously hurt himself when he was fired out of that cannon,” she muttered to herself, using a simple spell to open her door and slugging through it. “It was funnier than it should have been, but he really didn’t need to do that…”
It didn’t help when Celestia had confronted her fellow alicorns on the subject. To her distress, Celestia had discovered that not everything was Cadence’s idea—though, she counted her blessings when she found out that Luna hadn’t put in her two cents on anything yet—and that Anny was proposing some of the more silly of his wooing tactics.
While the books were appreciated—she loved to read after all—last week’s fifty stallion dance romp was a little overboard. It was also odd that the human knew a pony that had trained circus tigers, and she couldn’t even begin to guess how he knew all of the Wonderbolts well enough to get them to do a flyby for her.
But, she just supposed that it was Anny’s friendliness and her subjects misguided thinking about her dating situation, so at least it was sweet that so many ponies cared about her, if nothing else.
But even with all of this silliness, she couldn’t find it in her heart to really tell the young man off; the way his eyes lit up hopefully after every one of his attempts and the slight disappointment whenever she just smiled and politely told him “No thank you”, almost broke her heart and at the same time she couldn’t keep the smile off her face.
“Well, he hasn’t done anything for the last few days,” she said, levitating her regalia off her body. “Maybe he’s finally given up?...”
She looked up at the clock, seeing that it was about time to lower her sun. A princess’s’ job is never done I suppose, she thought with a sigh while she walked over and opened her balcony door to see something that made her sigh.
There, in a opened-button shirt with some giant contraption raised over his head, was Anny.
Celestia looked up to see Twilight manipulating a couple of clouds.
The human weakly nodded. “Yeah, Twilight! This thing should be warmed up in a second or two!” He looked up at her and grinned. “Hiya, Princess!”
Twilight started kicking the clouds gently, the things turning grey as, to Celestia’s surprise, the thing above Anny’s head started to speak.
“Alrighty folks, this is Fan for Fan a Bam in the afternoon.” The machine spouted fan and exploding sounds. “We have a special song for somepony’s special someone!”
Celestia sighed, sitting on her rump. She could already tell that this was going to be a long one.
“Here is ‘Don’t stop the rain’ by the Mareniacs!”
Anny’s eyes widened and he looked over at Cadence’s tree. “Cadence,” he hissed. “This isn’t the right song!”
“Yes it is,” the tree said, Cadence wanting to keep hidden from her aunt. “You asked for this one; besides, this is a really good love song.”
Both Luna, who was still hiding in her bush, and Shining, who was trying his hardest to be a tree -- really, he was—facehoofed.
“I got dressed up like a tree for nothing?” Shining muttered to himself, flinching when Celestia gave him a disapproving look.
Luna once again poked her head out from her bush. “It matters not, Antaeus, this is the song thou have.” She poked her hoof out from the bush and raised it. “Begin the wooing!”
Celestia watched the now unsure looking human try to collect himself as the horrible, horrible song started.
“~Baby, don’t calllll me vain—~“
“Alright,” she heard Antaeus say. “You can do this, YOU CAN DO THIS!”
Despite herself, she smiled, watching as Twilight finally brought the clouds to their breaking point where they could no longer hold their storages of water, so with a kick she brought a rainstorm down on the human.
“~But you remind me of the rainnnnn—~“
Hitting his knees, Anny yelled, “PRINCESS! I LOVE YOU; PLEASE GO OUT ON A DATE WITH ME!!!”
Shining, who had all but given up on trying to be a tree, trotted over to where his wife was hiding and muttered up to her, “And how was this going to do anything?”
“~Whenever you leave, you make me cry!—“
Cadence poked her head out to looked down at her husband, her eyes lit up in excitement.
“What do you mean, Shiny? He’s standing out in the middle of the rain, playing music while he’s yelling his love to Aunty!”
She blinked, tears coming to her eyes. “This is beautiful…”
“~Please watch your thunder, cause I don’t want to fryyyyyy!~”
Alright, Twilight, Twilight thought as she hovered in the air, keeping a watchful eye on the group of clouds as the music played. The rainfall should be the ideal amount for proper romantic situations…
She hummed thoughtfully, not noticing that one of the clouds was starting to turn a little darker than the others. “I wonder why Anny used this song? I thought he wanted to use the other one that we talked about…”
More and more of the clouds started to turn an ominous shade of black, while Twilight turned her back on them to look down at the scene before her. “Huh, the princess doesn’t look too enthralled with this… Maybe I should make it rain a little harder?”
After thinking it over for a few seconds, the little purple mare gently flew down onto one of the black clouds, frowning when she saw how dark they were becoming.
“These aren’t supposed to be this dark,” she muttered before panicking slightly. “Oh, I hope I didn’t mess anything up!!”
And in her panic, Twilight Sparkle did what she always did when she panicked: trotted in place.
Which, as almost every Pegasus is taught as soon as they could fly, is not a smart thing to do when one was on top of thunder clouds.
Honestly, at the very least, Anny really has a set of lungs, Celestia thought as the human continued to scream nice—and admittedly welcoming—things at her.
Though he really shouldn’t be doing this in the rain like that… Oh, I hope he doesn’t catch a cold… The alicorn started to rise.
“I should at least get him out of that and dried off,” she said to herself while silently wondering why none of her guard had spotted Anny and his friends yet. “And it might be a good idea to ask him where he got that contraption of his and—”
The clouds overhead, finally supercharged to bursting, shot a single bolt of lightning, the deadly stream of electricity attracted to the only metal thing near it, namely Anny’s portable radio.
Faster than Celestia could see, the lightning hit its mark with an even louder boom, Anny hitting the dirt with a yelp while the machine all but exploded above his head.
“OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOOOOO!” the human cried as he rolled around, Cadence,
Shining, and Luna rushing to his side as Celestia gasped.
ANNY!! She thought, her massive wings spreading as she charged off her balcony while her horn glowed with a spell and destroyed the pack of clouds.
“MOVE!” she snapped in the Royal Canterlot voice, her family scrambling out of the way as she landed right next to the slightly twitching Anny.
Almost without thinking, she leaned down and started looking him over as a healing spell surged over Anny’s body.
“Anny, Anny, can you hear me?” she said slowly, nuzzling him.
“The seven’s on Tuesday, Uncle Bobby,” the human—who was now sporting a brand new afro-- mumbled before twitching again.
The white alicorn patted his cheek with a hoof while Luna, Shining, Cadence, and Twilight crowded around him.
“I’ll go get him some help!” Twilight yelled, launching through the air.
“Get Doctor Stitch, Twilight!” Celestia yelled, casting an angry glare at Shining, Luna, and Cadence, each of them looking shamefully away from her.
“Do you see what happens when you three play around like foals?” she snapped, angrier than she had been in a long, long time. “You three should know better than to—”
She stopped when Anny coughed and slowly opened his eyes. “I got hit by lightning, didn’t I?” he asked, yelping when a relieved Celestia wrapped him in a hug.
“Antaeus, don’t you dare scare me like that again, do you hear me?” she said, wrapping her wings around him. “Do you feel okay enough to let me pick you up? We really need to get you to the hospital.”
Anny blinked, patting her on the back. “Yeah, Celestia, I think, I’m alright,” He twitched hard, his body stiffening for a second before returning to normal. “… Actually, how about we get going?”
Ten minutes later…
Doctor Stitch listened carefully with her stethoscope, trailing the cold piece of metal along Anny’s back while Celestia looked on.
“Breathe deeply,” she muttered, her eyes closed in concentration. “And out…. In again…”
Anny sighed, clenching and unclenching his burnt fingers as he looked over at the still angry princess in shame.
Oh, now I ruined it, he thought, wincing when the doctor moved the metal to his chest.
Look at how mad she is…
The doctor hummed before backing away from him, wrapping the stethoscope around her neck. “Alright, it looks like you’re fine, other than a few burns that is.”
The human and alicorn blinked in confusion while the doctor grabbed a clipboard and started to write something down on it.
“Excuse me,” Anny said. “But are you sure?”
The doctor nodded. “Yep, you’re a lucky one. You must have touched wood instead of metal when that machine of yours got hit… Or somepony upstairs loves you.”
Celestia snorted, glaring at Anny. “Yes, he WAS lucky…”
“And what about the twitching?” Anny asked before twitching, Celestia using a wing to keep him from falling over.
The doctor shrugged. “We’ll run a few more tests, maybe have you stay here for a day or two for observation. But, honestly, I think that it’ll go away on its own.”
Anny nodded, pulling on his shirt as the doctor left the room, leaving him with an angry princess. Oh, here it comes…
He was expecting the ridiculing silence, but what he got was a rather sad look from the mare, which was what hurt him a lot more.
“I’m disappointed in you, Anny,” Celestia said after a minute of silence, getting out of her chair.
Anny sighed. “Me, too, the plan didn’t work again… and I got hit by lightning…”
Despite herself, the alicorn smiled as she made her way toward him. “And will this finally make you cease in your silly quest?”
She almost stepped back when she saw the fire in his eye.
“Not until I get you!” Anny said, rising to his feet and looking in the princess’s eyes.
She sighed, leaning up and wrapping her friend in a hug. “You won’t get me, Anny,” she whispered. “I’m not a pony that can have a special someone.”
Anny’s grip tightened around her. “And that’s what I’m trying to change, Princess.”
The two held the hug for a little longer until Celestia broke it, smiling sadly up at him before nudging him with a wing. “Come on, Anny, let’s get you into a hospital bed. You just sit there and rest while I go look for a wheelchair for you to use.”
Anny tiredly nodded, sitting back down as Celestia opened the hospital door to see her sister and Cadence. The alicorn bit back a pang of anger.
No, Celestia, she thought to herself. They’re fully grown fillies and they know what they did wrong; there’s no need to yell at them.
Luna looked up at her sister in concern. “Sister, pray tell, is Antaeus okay?”
Cadence tried to look past her and into the room. “Oh, Aunty, we’re so—”
Celestia raised a hoof. “It wasn’t me that you hurt, Cadence, the one that should be apologizing to is in that room there.”
The white alicorn couldn’t help but feel a teeny bit of satisfaction when the two flinched.
“May we see him?” Luna asked, her ears pinned to her head.
Celestia nodded. “He is in there, resting, so please don’t do anything to excite him while I go look for somepony to get him a wheelchair.”
The two alicorns nodded before rushing past her, Cadence gasping when she saw Anny slumping in his chair with an exhausted look on his face.
Rushing to his side she wrapped him in a hug, nuzzling his cheek. “Oh, Anny! We were so worried!”
The tired man smiled while he patted her on the back. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” he told her, looking around the room. “I’m just a little tired… Where’s Twilight?”
Luna frowned. “Young Twilight retreated to her mother’s house and has refused to come out of her room. Shining Armor is trying to calm her down.”
Anny frowned, feeling horrible. “If you see her, could you tell her that I’m okay and that I want to see her?”
The two nodded as Celestia entered with a wheelchair and a pair of guards. “Alright, Anny, can you get up or do I have to help you into it?”
Before he could reply, Anny was lifted into the chair with a simple spell, Celestia making sure that he was properly in the chair before turning him around and pushing him through the halls.
“What are the guards for, Celestia?” Anny asked as he looked at the two burly stallions.
The alicorn grunted, turning the corner. “They’re here to insure that there’s no funny business with you.”
“So… They’re my guards?”
“If you want to believe that, then yes.”
Anny nodded, letting the alicorn push him through the halls and into a room.
“Come on, let’s get you into one of these beds,” Celestia said, gently levitating him into an empty bed and tucking him in.
Leaning in to give her friend one last nuzzle, she whispered, “Now you stay here and get better. I’ll be very upset if my running buddy isn’t there helping me keep pace in a few weeks.”
Anny chuckled, patting her snout gently. “Alright, Princess, I’ll be good.” His grin grew when she gave him a look. “And I promise to keep away from anything too dangerous next time I ask you out.”
I guess I’ll have to take that, the alicorn thought before turning toward her guards. “Please make sure that Antaeus stays in bed until he is properly healed.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” they said in unison, saluting her before trotting over to Anny’s side.
The human and guards watched as the princess said her goodbyes and left the room before one of the guards turned toward Anny. “You were hit by lightning?” he said in interest.
Anny nodded, debating whether or not to push the emergency button just to see what happened.
The two guards looked at each other before, quietly, both of their hooves went up into the air, presented to the injured man. With a little smile, Anny accepted the hoofbumps before the three quietly sat/laid there, each of them ready for a long, painfully boring night.
“Will that be all, Highness?” A guard asked the princess, who nodded.
“Yes, that will be all,” she said. “I believe that I will turn in early; you may return to the barracks.”
The alicorn watched the guard nod and leave her chambers before slowly making her way toward her balcony.
“I never thought I’d be rid of them,” she muttered, looking over her kingdom for a moment before spreading her wings and taking off, making sure not to draw anypony’s attention.
After a quick spell to evade her guards, a group of children running around, and a gaggle of nobles, she finally landed in the city-proper, looking around shiftly before making her way through her city.
Alright, hopefully she’ll be able to help me, Celestia thought, eyeing the streets wearily as she trotted down back alleys. While such a thing was very unbecoming of a princess, she had to do what needed to be done, hench the sneakiness.
Today was the wake-up call that she needed. Today she learned that Anny wasn’t going to give this up without one heck of a fight. While this wasn’t a problem in itself, all of the other players in this game were making it very difficult for her to just tell him, really tell him, no.
So, like any good player, she needed an ace in the hole, though she was surprised that she needed to bring out this particular mare.
Am I going a little overboard with this? She thought, stopping in her tracks. Anny simply wants to take me out on a date… Maybe if I just let him take me—she stopped that thought with a shake of her head.
No no, none of that Celestia, she thought to herself angrily. You can’t… You have too many responsibilities to play the blushing mare. You have to do this, for the good of the kingdom. With a nod she started down the path again.
After what seemed like hours, the princess made it to the back of an unidentifiable inn and calmly went through the back door and into the small kitchen there.
After nodding to a few of the cooks, who motioned for her to go into the other room, she turned the corner to see the inn’s owner, Cheap Skate.
“Hello, Princess,” the stallion said before bowing. “And how are you on this fine day?”
The alicorn sighed, her gaze wandering—looking for any unfriendly eyes. “It has been very eventful, my little pony,” she admitted. “I trust that my very special guests are already here?”
Cheap nodded. “Yes, Princess; they’re a little confused as to why you had the meeting pushed today. Though, if you don’t mind me saying….”
The princess cleared her throat. “That, my little pony, is between me and them, now.” She magicked a rather sizeable bag of bits and hoofed them over. “Here is your payment. Remember—”
“You were never here, Highness,” the stallion said, weighing the bits in his hooves, trying not to lick his lips. “And I will make sure that you aren’t disturbed.”
“Second door to the left like always?”
“As always, Princess.”
With one last nod, Celestia slowly made her way up the rickety wooden stairs, trying not to feel a sense of foreboding as the hallway’s lights flickered.
Alright, Celestia, let’s get this over with so you don’t have to dance on eggshells with them.
Taking a deep breathe, she made her way down the halls until she reached room number thirteen. Humming, she muttered, “Now, what was the code again? Three taps if I remember
Tap, Tap, Tap
“Come in,” a distinctly Prench accent said through the door after a few seconds, Celestia steeling herself before opening the door to darkness.
“Did you come alone?” another voice demanded as the alicorn stepped into the dark room and closed the door. “There was nopony that followed you?”
“No,” Celestia assured, trying not to roll her eyes at the mare’s silly theatrics. “I made sure to come alone and that I wasn’t followed.”
“She didn’t use a password, Fleur, that might not be Aunty!”
“But it might not be, it could be one of Aunt Luna’s tricks!”
She listened carefully before sighing. “Fleur, Blueblood, could you please turn on a light? This isn’t a spy movie.”
One of the ponies in the room giggled before flipping the lights on, revealing supermodel extraordinaire, Fleur de lis—who was trotting in place excitedly-- and Blueblood, who was right next to the door with a lampshade in his hooves like he was going bash her over the head with the thing.
One little look from her and a sheepish grin from the prince later, and the three were settled.
“Are you sure, Votre Altesse?” the unicorn teased, walking over and bowing to her ruler. “You made it seem like one, no?”
Celestia smiled, leaning down to nuzzle her. “There’s no need for that, my little pony,” she said. “You’re here for something important after all.”
Not wanting her nephew to be left out she also gave him a nuzzle, the prince returning it with a little smile.
Fleur nodded, walking around the room. “Yes, your letter and Blueblood said as much,” the mare chortled. “You have a lover boy and you wish me to snatch him up, yes?”
The alicorn couldn’t help but cringe at that. “I wouldn’t put it like that,” she defended, looking away from the mare. “Anny’s just a little confused right now and I believe that you two would go well together.”
Fleur raised an eyebrow. “That is what you said of Fancy,” she said, trying not to smile as Celestia flinched.
Blueblood cleared his throat. “Actually, that was more my fault than Aunty’s, Fleur,” he said, running a hoof through his mane. “If I’d known he was…”
The mare shrugged dismissively. “Not that I am upset with him-- there is no shame in a stallion loving another stallion-- but now you wish to set me up with a Singe chose?”
“Not a monkey,” Celestia corrected. “A human, and yes, if you wish we can start as soon as possible.”
Fleur walked cat-like around the alicorn, a slightly confused-yet-amused look on her face.
“Why do you not just humor the colt, Princess? Everypony needs someone to snuggle up with at night.”
Blueblood nodded, sitting on his rump. “I have to agree with her, Aunty, surely one date wouldn’t hurt you.”
The Princess sighed. “Please, Fleur, jus—”
The unicorn raised a hoof, giving the princess a big smile. “Don’t worry, Princess, I will see this
human and make up my mind, until then you will have to deal with him.”
For the first time that day, Celestia smiled, nodding at the mare. “That is all I ask.”
Blueblood and Fleur watched as the alicorn’s horn glowed for a second, the princess laying what looked to be workout gear at their hooves.
“There you two go.”
Blueblood paled. “But Aunty…”
Fleur nudged the stallion, a sly smile on her face. “Aw, is the bébé afraid of a little sweat?”
The stallion stiffened, glaring at his friend. “It’s not that!” he snapped . “I’m…. just not… the athletic type…”
Celestia smiled, walking over and patting him on the shoulder. “ Too bad, Blueblood,” she said as kindly as possible while the stallion groaned and Fleur giggled. “You’re in this with the two of us, so you’re going to sweat with us!”