When Aqua woke up, ponies were frantically running around while Twilight was yelling for everypony to go home. Aqua, who had stepped outside for some fresh air, darted inside immediately. That was two days ago when Tirek showed up. Everypony was still shaken up by the fact that just yesterday Tirek was in town and destroyed the library. There was apparently a huge fight too, judging by the destruction near town. But yesterday Twilight had invited everypony to her new castle to tell them that all was fine once again. She even did so with a song.
Even though things looked grim for the ponies in Ponyville, Aqua was still going to Canterlot today. She was towel drying her mane and tail after a nice shower. Aqua was humming the song from the other day and though she was still unsure about the whole "everything's fine" view, and was determined to have a good day. Still humming, she finished up in the bathroom, styling her mane and tail. She took the lilac scarf from the side of the sink and placed it around her neck before exiting the bathroom. Walking downstairs, she found a hay and lily sandwich in her usual spot at the table. She smiled brightly since lilies happen to be her favorite flower to both eat and look at. She sat down and took a bite. Lyra, who was making another sandwich, smiled at her, just as Bon Bon walked into the room and sat down to her own sandwich. Before she took a bite, Bon Bon turned to Aqua with a smile.
"Excited for today?"
Aqua chuckled at her friend. "Of course I'm excited, Bon Bon. I just wish you two were coming as well."
Bon Bon gave a sly smile at that. "Next time."
Aqua laughed and shook her head. Bon Bon was going to make sure that Aqua visited her parents more often since she was now just a short train ride away. Aqua finished her sandwich and waved goodbye to the two mares as she exited the kitchen. She walked outside and then glanced up at Canterlot. The city looked glorious. Even from this distance it seemed to defy gravity as it stayed attached to the mountain. She smiled for what may have been the tenth time just that morning and started her walk to the train station. In fifteen minutes she could see the station and she stopped in her tracks. There in front of the station waving at her was Twilight, but she wasn't alone: Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Spike stood with her. Aqua approached cautiously and Twilight met her halfway.
"Good morning Aqua!" Twilight called as she neared Aqua.
Aqua gave a small wave when she finally stopped in front of Twilight. "Why is everypony else here?"
Twilight blinked in confusion a couple of times and then laughed. "Everypony else wanted to come as well." It was Aqua's turn to blink in confusion. "After everything that happened the last couple of days, everypony agreed we need a vacation even if it's only for a day. So Rainbow got somepony to cover for her on the weather team and Fluttershy got a babysitter for her animals."
Aqua glanced at the gathered ponies and sighed. "That's all well and good. I just don't know how my parents will react." It was one thing to come with the princess. It was an entirely different thing to come with the princess and all her friends. Aqua just hoped her mom or dad didn't faint. Twilight gave her a comforting smile and tilted her head to the side.
"It'll be fine I'm sure," Twilight assured her.
With a simple nod, Aqua walked past Twilight and over to the group. She looked at an each pony and finally at Spike. He was holding a set of saddlebags; they were pink with blue diamonds on the clasps. Aqua shrugged internally and addressed the ponies in front of her.
"Before we go I have a small surprise. I sent a letter to my mom the morning everything went crazy. I asked her to save us seats at her show so when we get to Canterlot we are going to see her perform." There was a second or two of utter silence before Rainbow Dash flew up into the air.
That led to everypony else all agreeing at once and Twilight stepped up to Aqua's side. "That was very nice of you, but did she save enough seats?" Everypony went quiet and looked to Aqua in anticipation. She looked to Twilight and smiled.
"I told her eight, though at the time I didn't think all of you would be coming." Aqua was silently applauding herself for her own forethought. She hoped to Celestia that they all enjoyed her mom's show. Aqua herself thought her mom was amazing and so gorgeous once she got into the air. Of course her shows were more for ponies who enjoyed that sort of thing. She gave an internal sigh and looked back at the assembled ponies. "We should get going, we don't want the train to leave without us."
They entered the train station and walked past the ticket booths to the platform. As they set foot on the platform the train whistle could be heard. Aqua glanced to the side to see the train chugging up to the station. As she waited for it arrive she looked around at the ponies near her. The platform was pretty empty compared to the big cities,only a few other ponies were there. She saw Octavia talking with her housemates Vinyl and Squiddles. The only other ponies on the platform was a group of mail ponies, all in uniform. There was the unicorn that had delivered her bits and the pegasus that had taken her letter to her mother. The pegasus was light grey with a blonde mane and a bubble cutie mark. The grey coat of the pegasus reminded her of her dad's mane even though his mane was more the color of stone. Somepony touched her shoulder from the opposite side of where she was looking.
"Aqua, the train's here," Twilight stated.
Aqua turned to see the train was in fact pulling into the station. Aqua watched as the train stopped and the conductor stepped out. Octavia was the first to step up to him and hand over her ticket. Twilight pulled eight tickets out from under her wing. Bon Bon had said that she gave the tickets she bought to Twilight so Aqua wouldn't forget it. Aqua had sighed in response to that. Bon Bon was used to taking care of Lyra so she treated Aqua the same way. Aqua didn't really mind but she wasn't Lyra she didn't need a new mother.
The grey pegasus was the next to step up to the conductor and hand over a ticket. So she must be Derpy Aqua thought. Twilight stepped up to the conductor and he tipped his hat to her. She smiled and handed over the tickets. He counted them and then counted the ponies with Twilight. With a smile he motioned for them to enter the train. Twilight stepped on first and Aqua was right on her heels. As she entered the train she saw that it was half empty. Derpy was sitting all the way in the back and Octavia had found a place in the middle. Twilight sat in the very front and patted the seat next to her. Aqua walked over and sat down next to Twilight. The other ponies filed on and sat near the pair in front. After a couple minutes of silence, the train whistle blew and it started to move. Finally the quiet on the train was broken by Rainbow Dash.
"So Aqua, what kind of tricks does your mom do?"
Aqua looked behind her to find Rainbow Dash and Applejack. She frowned slightly at Rainbow Dash before she answered. "She doesn't do a lot of tricks per se, she's more of an elegant flier than a trick pony." Rainbow Dash seemed to think this over and frowned. "She does a few tricks but they are smaller ticks then what you are used to."
"Oh," Rainbow said simply and went silent.
Aqua hoped she hadn't disappointed her before she even saw the show. Twilight though seemed intrigued when Aqua turned back around. Before Twilight could speak an elegant voice rang from the other side of Aqua.
"Personally I'm looking forward to seeing your father's shop. Don't get me wrong I'm sure your mother is fantastic, but accessories are on my list of favorite things," Rarity said. Aqua turned to see she shared a seat with Spike. Aqua glanced behind them to see Flutter and Pinkie sharing the seat there. What an odd combination those two make thought Aqua. "Would your father happen to do custom accessories?"
Aqua looked back to Rarity and smiled. "He actually lets ponies design their own jewelery if you ask."
Rarity's eyes lit up and a huge grin spread across her face. "I will have to ask to do that then."
Aqua nodded and turned to look at Twilight who was staring out the window. Aqua edged forward a little to see out the window herself. Outside, the scenery chugged by at a decent rate. Canterlot was only an hour away by train but it was four hours on hoof. Twilight turned from the window and saw Aqua stretching to get a view out the window. Aqua quickly settled back down into the seat and scooted back into her spot. Twilight gave her a kind smile.
"Would you like the window seat?"
Aqua shook her head quickly and turned so she was staring back at the other passengers. Derpy was no longer in her seat and was flying to the front. When she made it there she stopped in front of Rainbow. "Hey, Rainbow Dash!" Her voice was slightly louder than normal speaking volume so the whole train car could hear her. "You're going to Canterlot too?" It seemed she knew Rainbow Dash well by the way she smiled at her. Rainbow didn't seem to share her enthusiasm and gave a small sigh.
"Yes Derpy, we're going to visit Aqua's parents."
Derpy swung her head to look at Aqua and her eyes lit up.
"I know you! You sent that letter a couple of days ago. I just got it to the mail depot before I had to rush home." Aqua nodded to the mail pony, she seemed like a nice enough sort Aqua just wished she would lower her voice a bit. Derpy turned back to look at Rainbow Dash. "Why are all of you going to visit her parents?"
Twilight stepped down from the seat and walked to the aisle so she was closer to Derpy before answering her. "It's sort of a vacation after everything that happened."
Derpy looked to Twilight and nodded. "Oh, ok!" This seemed to satisfy the mail pony and she flew back to her seat all the way in the back. Aqua thought she was a bit different but so were a lot of ponies. Aqua decided she liked this mail pony. Twilight returned to her seat as well and Aqua shut her eyes. Without meaning to, Aqua fell quickly to sleep.
The clouds felt nice under Aqua's hooves and she stretched her wings out. She jumped off the cloud and dived through the air. As the ground came into view, Aqua spread her wings and pulled up so she was parallel to it. She smiled as the wind rushed over her while she flew as fast as she could. She tilted her wings and started to ascend back into the cloud cover. Aqua punched through a cloud and let out a heartfelt 'woot'. Finally she slowed down and landed gracefully on the cloud cover. Aqua flopped onto her back and let out a sigh, it was a good day for flying.
Aqua was gently shaken awake and she opened her eyes to see Twilight. "We're here, Aqua."
Aqua looked out the window to see that they were pulling into Canterlot station. Aqua yawned and covered her mouth with a hoof. She stepped down from her seat just as the train stopped at the platform. She walked to the front of the train and exited past the conductor. She looked up at the castle towering above her and sighed. It had been almost a whole year since she had last seen this sight. Aqua trotted through the station not bothering to check if the others were following, she could hear their excited chatter. Once she made it to the street she turned left and walked toward the theater street. Ponies all around were bustling here and there, one even bumped into Aqua.
"Excuse me," The stallion said before darting off. Aqua shrugged it off and continued on her trek. Five minutes later she was standing in front of the theater with only a few minutes to spare before the show started. She trotted over to the ticket taker mare and smiled.
"Hi, I'm Aqua Pen and these are my guests." She gestured to the other ponies hot on her heels. "We have reserved seats."
The ticket taker looked over a sheet she had on a podium and smiled. "Of course, Miss Pen. Right this way." She gestured to the door and Aqua gladly opened it and walked through. When the door opened a stallion in a red vest walked up to them.
"Seat number?" He asked in a deep voice. He had a stoic look and what seemed like a permanent frown.
The ticket taker stuck her head through the door behind Aqua. "This is Miss Pen, the daughter of the star."
The stallion looked only slightly impressed and turned towards the theater seats. He looked back over his shoulder at Aqua. "This way please." With that he looked back ahead and walked to the front of the theater. Aqua was quick to follow him all the way to the second row. He motioned to the empty row of eight and he even gave what must have been his version of a smile. "Here we are, please enjoy the show."
Aqua saw where the seats were located and let out a small sigh. Her mom had reserved them seats in the VIP section. Aqua glanced back at Twilight and thought if anypony deserved these seats it was her. As Twilight made her way to Aqua she smiled at her. Aqua motioned for Twilight to go into the row first and Twilight humbly shook her head. It finally ended up with Twilight and Aqua in the center of the row. Spike was sitting next to Twilight with Rarity next to him and Pinkie on the end. On Aqua's side it was Fluttershy, Rainbow, and then Applejack on the end.
They sat in silence for about thirty seconds before Twilight leaned towards Aqua. "How long before the show starts?"
Aqua leaned a little closer to Twilight and whispered to her, "Just a couple of minutes." Twilight nodded and leaned back away from Aqua. Aqua leaned back as well and stared at the stage. The next couple minutes seemed to go by really quickly and soon Aqua's mom was trotting onto the stage. Aqua smiled up at her mom and Graceful scanned the crowd then she looked down at her daughter. She grinned from ear to ear and then cleared her throat.
"Hello, and welcome to the show." Her mom's voice was sweet and it sounded very airy. Her coat was a deep purple with a blueish gray mane. She had light purple eyes and her cutie mark was of a pure white swan with its wings extended straight up. "My name is Graceful Flyer and here are my backup fliers." On cue, five other pegasi filed onto the stage and stood behind Graceful. Taking a moment to wink at her daughter, she bowed to the crowd. After she came out of the bow she took to the air. The backup fliers took to the air as well and started to circle Graceful. For her part, Graceful was amazingly elegant off the ground. She tilted her head back and performed a simple backflip. As she came out of the flip she folded her wings and let the ring of ponies catch her. With the simplest of her tricks out of the way, she finally let loose. Flying this way and that across the stage, flipping and twirling through the air. She picked up her ribbons halfway through the show and Aqua even heard Twilight gasp in awe. Finally she flew as high as she could and then just let herself fall. As she flipped and twirled she got closer to the stage. At the last possible second she straightened out and gave one powerful flap. She touched down gently on the stage and the crowd erupted in cheers. Even Aqua's row was cheering like crazy. Rainbow had taken to the air and was whistling while clapping her hooves. Aqua glanced at Twilight to see her smiling and clapping her hooves as well. Aqua smiled and looked back up to her mother. Graceful was a little out of breath but she smiled brightly at Aqua. Graceful waved to the crowd and disappeared backstage.
As Twilight went to stand Aqua touched her shoulder. "Wait here until the theater empties out then we're going to meet my mom." Twilight sat back down and Rainbow finally returned to her seat. It only took a couple of minutes before the theater was empty. Graceful peeked out from around the curtain on the edge of the stage. "It's clear," Aqua called to her. She stepped out from behind the curtain and Aqua jumped up from her seat. She practically galloped up to the stage and hugged her mother. Graceful started to flap her wings and when Aqua let go Graceful was off the ground. She was beaming down at her daughter.
"It's so great to see you Aqua! I didn't think you would come after everything that happened." Graceful was flying a little higher as she spoke until Aqua had to look up at her. Aqua smiled at her mom and then glanced back as she heard the sounds of hooves on wood. The rest of the ponies and Spike had traveled up to the stage as well. Graceful saw Twilight and landed on the stage. She walked over and bowed to the princess.
Twilight reacted the same way she had with Aqua, she giggled. "No need to bow, ma'am." Graceful looked uncertain but rose from her bow. She looked to the other ponies and nodded to them. Twilight saw this and jumped in surprise. "Oh, let me introduce my friends." Graceful looked to Twilight and shook her head.
"I know who your friends are, I think everypony in Canterlot knows you and your friends." Graceful held out a hoof to Twilight. "It's lovely to meet you and your friends. I never thought Aqua would make such famous friends." Twilight blushed ever so slightly and shook Graceful's hoof. "Also please just call me Graceful, everypony who knows me does."
Twilight nodded and then Rainbow Dash flew up and shook Graceful's hoof. "I have to tell you, you were amazing! When Aqua said you didn't do tricks I was a little disappointed but then, wow! I've never seen flying like that!"
Graceful's wing’s started working like mad and soon she was off the ground again. "Thank you so much! To get such a compliment from you means a lot." Graceful was so excited she did a small backflip in the air. Aqua shook her head at her mother's excitedness but the rest of the ponies all agreed at once just like before. "You guys are so sweet I'm sure Jasper is going to love you." Graceful finally landed and hugged her daughter again. "I'll see you guys at home for dinner. Tell your father to make hay burgers." Hay burgers happened to be Graceful's favorite food.
"I will, mom! I'll see you later." With that Graceful disappeared behind the side curtain and was gone. Aqua turned back to her friends "There is another show soon so we should go see my dad now."
The ponies and Spike nodded. Aqua led the way out of the theater and stopped at the street. She turned to the ponies behind her and smiled. "My dad's shop is a little bit of a walk from here, so make sure to keep up." The ponies nodded and they were off.