The Sparkle in my Pie

by Kamahari-Akuma

Chapter 1: Nightly Stroll

Hotels, depending where you go, can be luxurious, or down in the dirt. In the grand, magical capital of Canterlot, you have the former, just cranked up to levels of overdone fanciness. In most suites, you would find two queen sized beds, enough to fit a party of four at the most, with possibly some extra room if your suite came with a small living area with a couch, then your fifth or fourth party member could sleep there. Most hotel staff would laugh if you asked them to fit in an extra bed in a suite for a party of six. However, when such a request is made by Princess Celestia, had she had said to add in a Jacuzzi, or the Hotel Manger himself in a clown suit, no one would've asked twice. While the last part of that wasn't mentioned to the group accompanying said hotel manager, a unicorn by the name of Refined Luxury, the lengths a pony would go to please the Princess didn't escape Twilight Sparkle.

"Just goes to show you how well respected the Princess is.", Twilight remarked.

"Still doesn't explain WHY we have to stay here, when we could just easily catch the next train ride home," Rainbow Dash complained, forelegs crossed as she slightly hovered above her friends and their guide.

"Rainbow Dash, darling." Rarity sighed, "Last time I checked, Canterlot just barely missed a complete and total takeover by those Changeling ruffians! It would be unbecoming of the Princess to send us immediately back to Ponyville until the Royal Guard has made sure that Canterlot is secured, not to also mention make sure none of the outlying towns or cities have contracted refugee Changelings after that nice sendoff Shining Armor and Princess Cadence prompted upon them after ruining their special day!"

"Couldn't have put it much better than that Rarity," Twilight responded, receiving a nod of approval from Rarity, and a groan from Rainbow Dash. "Although," Twilight mused, "I'm wondering how the Royal Guard is going to make sure that no Changelings are still around in the outlying towns. After all, whatever magic the Changelings use to generate those disguises doesn't suffer from the usual photoreceptive mishaps that most illusionary spells tend to be subject to-"

"Twilight, mind speakin' Equestrian fer five seconds sugarcube?" Applejack called out from the back of the group, holding a hoof to her head like she had just survived Berry Punch's 'Dante's Burning Spirits'.

"Mirrors Applejack you silly filly!" Pinkie cheerily replied.

"Beg pardon Pinkie?" Applejack inquired, while everypony else gave a look that pretty much asked the same thing.

"Think about it Applejack! When you look in a mirror you're just seeing a reflection of yourself not how everypony else sees you! In a mirror, the colors of Dashie's mane would start from red on the left and purple on the right on the end, but to us her mane starts from red on the RIGHT side of her mane, then is purple on the left side, and Twilight's just wondering how the Changelings don't make that mix up because the way their magic works is like if you looked at yourself in a mirror!" At the end of Pinkie's explanation, everypony started to give her a mixed look of worry and surprise, having possibly given the group the laypony's version of Twilight's insight.

"Here we are ladies", Refined Luxury piped up before anypony could just question what came out of Pinkie's mouth, "Suite number 207!" As the manager opened up the door with his magic, everypony, except Fluttershy, rushed up to the door to have a good look inside their suite for the while. Reactions were mixed between Rainbow and Applejack whistling, Pinkie and Twilight ooing at the interior of the suite, and Rarity acting as ecstatic as if Fancypants himself was in the room.

In front of them was a modest sized living area, consisting of a white cotton couch, with golden filigree stitching all around the edges and the arms of the couch, and a glass table with gold trimmings nearby. Off to the side was a midnight blue hued reading chair with silver filigree stitching used in the same fashion as the couch, with a reading lamp nearby that had images of moon decorated all around the lampshade. Beyond that were three queen sized beds, each sharing a sun and moon motif on the headboard and the main comforter blanket, all three positioned so that there would still be room to walk in between them. On the walls were the same sun and moon motifs, but each side of the room was dedicated to each celestial body, the right side showing the glory of the Sun, giving a visage of a sunny day, while the left side of the room showed the beauty of the Moon, with twinkling stars on the wall for added effect, giving a visage of a clear night. In between these two works of art was a moderately large window, which had a very scenic view of the landscape beyond Canterlot in the throes of Luna's Night, the Moon just hanging onto the top of the window in question.

"It's...nice," Fluttershy spoke up over the awestruck ponies, getting a decent look at the interior herself.

"These shall be the keys to your room milady’s," Refined Luxury spoke up, holding up six individual keys for the group, each were then grasped in magenta light as Twilight passed each key to everypony in the group. "Your bathroom is around the corner in the suite itself, if you wish for refreshments there is a water tank just down the hall, if you have any questions at all or would like to request something be sent up to your room just go downstairs to the reception desk or use the Letter-Work Matrix via the sheets of paper we have supplied in your bedside tables."

"Also, the Continental Breakfast starts approximately at seven-o'clock a.m. sharp. We hope you enjoy your stay at the Trotton Inn and Suites," Refined Luxury pronounced as he bowed, then headed off in the same direction they had come from. The group then proceeded to file into the room Fluttershy closing the door behind them, making sure it was locked.

"I do really wish I had the foresight to bring my usual personal effects," Rarity complained as she motioned towards the bathroom, "then again, nobody expected a Changeling Invasion."

"Okay Rarity, we get your point already, can you just stop whin-", Rarity then shot a nasty glare at Rainbow, "uh, complaining, yeah! I meant complaining about your lack of shampoo! Never even said a thing about whin-", she was then interrupted by a pillow still enraptured by a magenta light.

"Well in any case," Twilight piped up, "six ponies, three beds, who's going to bunk with-oof!"

"I call Twilight!" Pinkie shouted as she pounced on Twilight's back, giving her a headlock in the process as Pinkie's forehooves embraced Twilight's neck. "What? Something wrong?", as Pinkie looked around the room to see the faces of her friends, there were some odd looks from everypony present.

"Ah well, nothing's wrong in particular dear, it's just that, uh."

"Never expect you to offer up to sleepin' with Twi of all ponies," Applejack responded, continuing on the train of thought Rarity left for anypony else to pick up on.

"Aw come on girls," Pinkie responded, unintentionally increasing her grip around Twilight's neck in the process, "I sleep like the dead, even the Cakes would back me up on that!"

"Pinkie!", Twilight gasped, "can't-gah-breathe!"

"Oops! Sorry Twi!" Pinkie responded as she let go of Twilight. As Twilight regained her breathe, Pinkie was off to her side, bouncing in place, humming a fast paced ditty.

"Well," Twilight began, "As much as I'm flattered by your, um, enthusiasm about this whole ordeal Pinkie, if nopony minds I'm just going to step out for a bit for some fresh air."

As Twilight began moving towards the door, Rarity piped up, "Darling why would-ah." Even before Rarity could finish her question, Twilight shot a good majority of the ponies in the room a look that said, 'If I'm going to be sleeping with Pinkie tonight, I'm going to need a few seconds to prepare for what might as well be a long night.'

"And don't worry girls, I have my room key in case everypony is asleep by the time I'm back," Twilight proclaimed to the group, jiggling said key enwrapped by her magic.

After Twilight left through the suite door, there was a moment a silence. Which was then broken by Pinkie, "So Rarity, you sleeping with Applejack?"

"Oh heavens NO!"
"Horseapples! Y'all ain't gettin' me in tha same bed wit HER again!"


Twilight started trotting towards the receptionist's desk once she reached the first floor, and noticed something interesting happening as she approached the said desk. At the desk was a pony that Twilight recognized as one of Luna's Night Guard, the midnight blue armor and bat-like wings being a dead give-away from the time two of said ponies escorted Princess Luna to Ponyville last Nightmare Night. From what she could tell, it looked like he was speaking to the receptionist in charge of the graveyard shift and was getting nowhere with her from the look in his eye, while the receptionist, an earth pony, was being adamant about whatever subject she was discussing with him, yet from what Twilight could tell, she was somewhat intimidated by the said guard, which wasn't hard to understand, given how Princess Luna 'decorated' her Night Guard.

"Excuse me sir? Is there a problem here?" Twilight spoke up as she got closer to the desk, which prompted both guard and receptionist to turn to recognize her.

"Ah, Miss Twilight Sparkle, just whom I was expecting."

"Oh?" Twilight questioned.

"There was a request by your bro-I mean, the Captain of the Guard, that you were to be escorted, should you be going out alone during your stay here in Canterlot."

Twilight couldn't help but giggle at the slight slip-up the guard made when referring to her brother, Shining Armor. It didn't surprise her that her brother would want at least one pair of watchful eyes on her while Canterlot was still in a state of worry over any Changelings that may have avoided the reignited Barrier-Maximus Spell he had cast in unison with Princess Cadence. What did surprise her though was that Shining Armor had Luna's Night Guard to be her escort.

Last she checked, Luna's Night Guard was a separate division of the Royal Army, whom only answered to their own commanders and ultimately to Princess Luna herself and Shining Armor's station as Captain of the Guard only gave him power in Celestia's division of the Royal Army. Another thought struck her, that perhaps due to the distress Canterlot and the whole of Equestria was in, that possibly the two divisions were working in concert with each other until such time that the Changeling threat had gone down to a level of lesser concern, but no less in overall threat to the kingdom. Perhaps she would ask for clarity on this later if she happened to catch the ear of either Princess or of her brother. Speaking of which…

"When was this request put in? Last I checked he was supposed to be in the middle of his Honeymoon with Cadence right now, so he really shouldn't be giving orders for the time being."

"I don't have all the details myself, but in consideration of what happened to Princess Cadence involving the Changeling Queen, Princess Luna wanted to make sure that the request was carried out to prevent repeat attempts by the Changelings, especially given your position Miss Twilight Sparkle."

"Ah, well I guess that makes sense," Twilight responded, recalling all too well the conditions and state she had found Cadence in when the disguised Changeling Queen had placed Twilight in the middle of the underground caverns below Canterlot. "Well, I was going to take a quick stroll outside around the hotel, so I guess that means you're going to join me then?"

"If I didn't, Princess Luna would have me by my wings in the dungeons right next to Discord."

"Ah, well, okay then," Twilight responded as she motioned towards the receptionist, "and since I'm staying here you'll-"

"Remember to let you in, no questions asked? All part of my job dearie."

"Ah, okay, thank you very much then," Twilight then turned back to her escort, "shall we start heading out then?"

The guard nodded, then the pair began walking over towards the door. After they were far enough away from the receptionist's desk, Twilight piped up, "So what were the two of you so embroiled about before I got there?"

"Some rumor about Captain Hecarim and his blue ribbons."


Twilight didn't stroll too far away from the hotel, but she couldn't help herself from looking around, occasionally catching a look at some building or business she had visited during her time growing up in Canterlot. While most called her reclusive in her younger years, to say she was curious was an understatement. Twilight had often, at least, visited the majority shops in the several districts that compromised the city of Canterlot once or twice in an attempt to satisfy her hungering quest for knowledge, especially when looking up the different kinds of trades of practices that were native to Canterlot.

The district she was in mostly catered to tourists, usually ponies or foreign travelers that stayed at the hotel, holding many businesses that were either gift shops, textile shops, restaurants, or even pubs, though most locals dismiss their existence in their fair city. Although it was rather late in the night, Twilight could see some of said businesses, the pubs especially, were still burning the midnight oil. Had she been back in Ponyville, knowing her own habits, Twilight would've been doing the same thing, pouring over books and research notes that she had in the library, or collected from hours of study in her laboratory in the basement.

Her thoughts were elsewere, thinking about how Spike was doing spending the night in the castle at Celestia's request, when she bumped into something, or somepony, hard. "Oh, I'm so terribly sorry I didn't see you there!" Twilight scrambled as she recovered from the little mishap she had run into with the stranger in front of her. As she saw that her collision with this other pony didn't cause any serious harm to either of them, she started to take in whom this pony was, at least physically. The first thing that clicked in her head was the pony's size, being rather close to Rarity's associate Fancypants in size, and like him was a Unicorn stallion. A nearby lantern gave her enough light to make out clothing and colors, his physique consisting of a light blue coat, a well-kept, yet slick deep violet mane, and he seemed to be wearing a white pinstripe suit. From what Twilight could see, he was probably a high class noble, considering it was Canterlot.

However, there seemed to be something, off, about this Unicorn that Twilight couldn't place a hoof on about him. His eyes were a decent shade of green, but they almost seemed, soulless, as if he had no true care for his fellow pony. What's more, he had a certain odor about him, but it wasn't like cologne, she had that pungent smell still up in her nostrils from years of having to be in the presence of several nobles, even Prince Blueblood himself on one occasion, when speaking with Princess Celestia. The smell was something she couldn't trace a clear thought to, it was so off.

"Oh no worries my dear," the noble offered up a hoof as he spoke, his voice dripping nothing less than pure sincereness, despite this air he was giving off to Twilight, "if anything, your well being is greater than my own. In fact, perhaps I should take you back to my home, where I can make sure your not hurt in any way."

"Sorry, but she already has a place where she's staying for the night," Twilight's escort spoke up, reminding her of his presence, and alerting said presence to said noble, yet the look in his eye said otherwise.

"Ah, hello Wrath," the noble addressing Twilight's escort like an old friend, "keeping the street's clear this most wonderful evening?"

"How drunk are you, it's ten minutes after midnight," Wrath had responded, catching Twilight off guard as she registered what he had just said.

"Ah, but I'm sober tonight Wrath," the noble continued as if he didn't realize he was just insulted, "so no worries about that. Besides, shouldn't you be keeping watch in another district right now?"

"I'm escorting Miss Twilight Sparkle here during her stay in Canterlot tonight," Wrath continued, "so I hope you weren't planning on doing anything unsightly to Miss Twilight Sparkle. While I'm standing right here," Wrath added on his last sentence with emphasis and a slight upward movement with one of his eyebrows.

"Oh no no no no Wrath, my intentions were nothing like that!" The noble continued, any anger or rage he may have towards Twilight's escort was well disguised by his sincere words, "I just happened to be taking a quiet stroll in the city tonight-"

"In this district? Of all places? Your residence is quite a long trek from here you know," Wrath interrupted, his suspicions not being abated by the noble's story.

"Um, not to be rude," Twilight started up, catching the attention of Wrath and of the noble, "but it's getting REALLY late, and I'm starting to feel very tired," Twilight giving a fake yawn as she spoke.

"I see. Shall we be returning to the hotel then?"

Twilight nodded, prompting the noble to speak, "Well then I shall not rob a very lovely lady of her beauty sleep. Cheerio Wrath, hope we see each other again!" The noble turned to leave, letting Twilight catch a look at his cutie mark. It was shaped like a dollar sign, the capital S with two vertical lines striking straight through it making it all but obvious, but there was something odd about it. Most dollar sign cutie marks were some shade of yellow, green, or gold, having a look of distinct luster about them, and often appears in pairs or multiples, but this one was solitary and looked as if it were carved straight from a large grey stone.

After the noble was well out of earshot, Twilight turned to Wrath, "Who was that? You acted like you knew him personally," Twilight questioned.

Wrath sighed then turned to Twilight with a look of sternness, but she could see a look in his eyes, a look of complete concern. "Miss Twilight Sparkle," he began, "if I can be frank with you, don't try to get involved with him. He isn't worth a second of your time."

Twilight was at a loss for words. She had never really heard those words come out as advice before. Sure, Princess Celestia often told Twilight to keep away from certain nobles because of concerns she had, but here was a pony telling her to avoid this one noble like he had some contagious disease.

"Now, shall we start heading back now? Don't want to add another blue ribbon to Captian Hecarim's collection."


Twilight quietly opened the suite door, hoping to not wake up any of her friends who were most likely asleep by now, considering how long she had been out for. As she closed the door behind her and took a good look inside the suite, she could see Rarity and Fluttershy asleep in one bed, and Applejack and Rainbow Dash asleep in another, with something of a snoring contest going between them. In a bed close to the large window in the suite, she could see Pinkie, but not sound asleep like the others, instead she was awake, and from what she could see, was writing with a pencil in her mouth, in some book of sorts, despite having seen neither in her possession when at the wedding, or even as they were walking to their room earlier.

As Twilight approached the bed, Pinkie looked up to see her, and just as Twilight reached the bed, she could've sworn Pinkie stuffed the book and pencil in her mess of a mane. She shook her head as she remembered that this was Pinkie she was dealing with. The mare had hiding spots for everything, possibly even the kitchen sink, and could make stuff pop out of thin air as if they were there, just out of sight.

"So did you enjoy yourself Twilight? I mean come on how COULD you not enjoy yourself its nighttime and you really really REALLY enjoy the night sky! You would probably be up at this hour back in Ponyville which would make Princess Luna extra special super-duper happy that you actually stayed up to appreciate her nighttime! Do you think Princess Luna knows when people are looking at the night sky like through the stars whenever people make wishes on them? I hope not because that'd be so creepy and probably awkward considering-OOMF!"

Even though Pinkie WAS trying to whisper and keep quiet, Twilight put her hoof over Pinkie's mouth to at least hush up her long-winded ramblings that seemed to diverge onto several topics faster than light could travel, if such a thing was possible, but being Pinkie Pie, chances are that would be possible. "It's been a long day Pinkie," Twilight whispered, "how about we both get some sleep so that the others don't have to wake us up once its lunch time, okay?" Past Twilight's hoof, Pinkie let out a sound of muffled approval.

Twilight moved her hoof away from Pinkie's mouth and the both of them started crawling into the bed. As Twilight settled in, she could smell the confectionery aroma that always seemed to follow Pinkie, despite probably haven washed off the agents that caused said aroma to linger in the first place. The curse of having to live and work in a bakery twenty-four seven she surmised.

"Hey, Twilight?", Pinkie whispered even lower than earlier, which took Twilight by surprise, "nothing happened while you were out for your stroll, right?" Twilight never took Pinkie for being highly perceptive. Sure anypony else in her circle of friends, except probably Rainbow, but Pinkie?

"No," Twilight whispered, lying through her teeth, "nothing happened at all."

"...Okey dokey lokey, if you say so Twi," Pinkie whispered back.


As Twilight slipped off into the realm of sleep, Pinkie felt uneasy for some reason. When she asked Twilight if anything happened, she could see Twilight was somewhat stressed out, worried perhaps about something. Pinkie tried to believe it was from the day's rollercoaster of events considering the wedding between Shining Armor and Princess Cadence, but Pinkie could tell it wasn't from that. At the wedding, Twilight was in full-Twilight mode, dealing with problems as they came, and focused on her own investigation of Princess Cadence-then-Changeling Queen. Whatever was on Twilight's mind, it was something she didn't know how to deal with, or something she hadn't figured out how to solve yet.

What's more, Pinkie could smell, past her own cloud of confectionery sweetness, a smell that was, familiar, one she never felt she'd smell again.

It smelled like home.