• Published 11th May 2013
  • 8,477 Views, 1,090 Comments

Denuo Fortuna - Firecaller



She was a unicorn on the run. She needed somewhere to hide, somewhere quiet and boring. The tourist pamphlet was out of date but the place sounded ideal... Ponyville

  • ...
28
 1,090
 8,477

PreviousChapters Next
Chapter 14 - The Twilight of Hope - Part 2

Chapter 14 - The Twilight of Hope - Part 2

Sunbeam lay on the floor holding a paper bag firmly to her face.

She only sound in the library was the crinkle of paper bag as it inflated and deflated before a click of a hoof on the wood floor as Twilight took a step towards Sunbeam with a smile. Her reward was a cringe and a penetrating glare from the mare.

‘Well, at least she’s breathing normally now. She's also not hiding the fact at all that she’s frightened of me. In fact I’ve never met a pony so open about it. I need to try and gain her trust so..’

“Who are you and what are you doing in the Princesses house?” Greywing’s sudden demand totally derailing Twilight’s chain of thought.

Scowling at her advisor for upsetting her plan even before she had started it, she snapped back. “Greywing! This is a public library, she has every right to be here. In fact, I wish more ponies would come in here.”

“She’s an unknown Princess and I don’t like that. She’s new to Ponyville so no pony knows her.” Walking forwards, he leant in towards Sunbeam. “Who are you, where are you from and what are your intentions?”

“Sheesh, paranoid much there?” Spike cut in, mirroring Twilight’s thoughts.

With an exasperated glance at Greywing, Twilight trotted forward to address Sunbeam, who had switched her glare to the advisor, the glare itself now intensifying many times over.

“Ignore him Sunbeam, you are welcome here." Trying to channel Fluttershy’s tone and pitch in her voice she continued. "Are you feeling any better? You’re breathing is a lot more steady and calm now.”

With the bag fixed in place, the mare nodded, still glaring at Greywing.

“I take it from your... exclamation earlier, that you were not expecting a Princess as a librarian?”

Sunbeam’s eyes glazed over as her eyebrows rose. The bag inflated twice before a long, slow shake of the head.

“Bit of a shock then I suppose.” Now Sunbeam focused on her. A certain dragon, now terrified of yellow ponies, would have had flashbacks before two slow nods followed.

‘At least she is responding to external stimuli now. Need to keep the ball rolling while keeping everypony calm and the situation civilized. Let's see, what’s everypony likely to find relaxing?’

The lavender alicorn tapped a forehoof on the ground, tilting her head backwards in deep thought.

“I know! Spike will you some tea going please. We can all have a nice, relaxing cup of tea round the table and talk like civilised ponies.” The last part directed clearly towards her advisor.

Spike headed off to the kitchen with a “Sure thing Twi, right on it.”

“We can all get to know each other, you too Greywing, won’t that be fun!”

Both the mare on the ground and the guard winced in unison.

“Twi, can you give me hand a second?” Spike called out of the kitchen.

As Twilight headed for the kitchen, Greywing raised a hoof to his face, pointed at his eyes with it, then rotated it to point at Sunbeam with a jab.

With narrowed eyes, Sunbeam slowly took a hoof away from her face and...

Greywing’s head jolted back in shock at the obscene gesture.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Twilight set the tray with the pot of tea and cups down on the table with a faint click. Both Sunbeam and Greywing had moved to the table but were watching each other so intently that they had missed Twilight’s arrival.

“I said, I hope you two have been getting on.”

Both jumped at Twilight’s voice. Greywing started to examine ceiling while Sunbeam looked down to play with the paper bag in her hooves.

Mentally, one had been thrown in the deepest, darkest dungeon in Canterlot and left to rot. While the other was now missing certain parts of his anatomy due to frostbite.

Studying both of them it occurred to Twilight that it had all the same signs as certain other meetings she had sat in on. At least this time neither party were about to throw armies at each other.

“It’s nice to see everypony has made it to the table.” Twilight managed to keep most of the sarcasm from her voice.

“Are you feeling a bit better now Sunbeam, do you need another paper bag?”

“No, thank you.” Was the embarrassed reply, the mare not looking up from her hooves.

“Well, let’s start this by introducing ourselves. I am Princess Twilight Sparkle, Element of Harmony, Bearer of the Element of Magic, also Librarian of Golden Oaks Library.”

Suppressing a scowl Sunbeam wasn’t impressed. ‘Nice to know... now. Funny nopony thought to mention that fun little fact. “Oh by the way Sunbeam, funny thing, the librarian is a princess, isn’t that a hoot?” Yeah. At least she’s trying to be nice. Giving me paper bag as I collapsed into a quivering heap on the floor for example. Goodbye self-esteem I will hold fond memories of you.’ Looking up at Greywing she added. ‘As for you Greywing, you are just a royal pain-in-the-flank.’

“Okay Greywing, introduce yourself.”

“I am Greywing, personal advisor to Princess Twilight Sparkle, hoof-picked by the Captain of the guard himself, Shining Armour. Also her bodyguard, so don’t try anything!”

‘Oh please. You’re just a meat shield.’

Twilight scowled at Greywing. “That last bit was unnecessary Greywing.” Turning to smile at Sunbeam she continued. “And you are?”

‘Bucked.’

“Ahem.” After two taps on her chest with a hoof, she replied. “I’m Sunbeam.”

In the silence that followed, she realized that perhaps they wanted more.

“I’ve been in Ponyville for under two weeks now. Met all the Elements of Harmony, bought a house and spent most of that time recovering from injuries received in Ponyville .” Looking aside she added in a muffled voice. “Welcome to Ponyville.”

“Yes, I did notice you injuries, hard to believe they happened in Ponyville, what happened?”

With a shrug, Sunbeam answered. “Took on five timberwolves, turns out there were six.”

“Oh yeah, she totally saved the CMC.” Spike enthusiastically added.

“The what?” A confused Greywing asked .

“The Cutie Mark Crusaders, three fillies. Timberwolves had them trapped in a tree when Sunbeam charged in and stated zapping them, the Timberwolves I mean.” Spike replied while making ‘zapping’ motions with his claws.

Shifting uncomfortably on the cushion when the other two ponies turned to look at her with astonished expressions, Sunbeam added. “Well, maybe I’d have put it in slightly more tactical terminology but essentially correct.”

Both Twilight and Greywing mouths hung open.

Twilight recovered first with a shake of her head. “Oh, excuse me. Where are my manners? Tea?”

“Err, milk, two sugars please.”

Pouring the tea from the levitated pot Twilight asked. “So, if you’ve bought a house already, what is your source of income, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Had some bits left to me as an... inheritance. Now working at ‘The Swift’.

Bringing a hoof up to her face, Twilight asked. “Please tell me that Quick Service isn’t still trying to get mares to wear that thing he calls a uniform?”

“Oh he is, I persuaded him not to press the issue with me.”

‘Oh, a definite smirk there.’ Twilight noted.

“So, how does working there tie-in that with your cutie mark, if at all?”

Jumping out of the cushion and totally the wrong conclusion Sunbeam swung her head round to stare at one of her ‘new’ cutie marks.

‘Buck, buck, buck... she’s an alicorn, of course, she can see through the enchantment, how did I forget that?’

Turning to bolt, she found herself running on the spot while floating in a lavender magical field.

Twilight shook her head. “You were doing so well.”

‘I’m so dead.’

“It would seem that you are having what could be medically termed an ‘episode’.”

Sunbeam just let herself go limp in the lavender aurora head hanging between her forehooves, while Twilight scrutinized her with a sad look on her face.

“I could tell from the moment you met me that you are terrified of me.” Twilight’s voice sounded pained. “But you were able to control those fears, right up until a moment ago when, for some reason, the very act of asking about your twin hoof cutie mark set you off. However you appear to be recovering quite quickly though. So what are frightened of? Me or the whole alicorn princess thing?”

Sunbeam let out a long breath. ‘She sees the new one! Right, get a grip, you’ve got a chance.’

Attempting to collect her thoughts, she babbled out. “It’s not you, personally, I actually quite like you. It's the whole ‘alicorn princess’ thing.”

Twilight leaned forward. “But why?”

Sunbeam leaned back, her only course of action while still being levitated, and lied with the truth. “It’s something I’ve always remembered having. Brought up with it I suppose. Just an irrational fear, I guess.”

‘If you can consider fearing the Day Princess will make you relive every terrifying moment you’ve ever had over and over ‘irrational’.’

Twilight tapped her chin with a hoof, while filing away ‘brought up with’ for future study. “You are self-aware enough to realise the problem, even able to control it to a degree. So you’re rational mind is strong enough, mostly, able to overcome this fear so treatment should be able to start from an progressed setting. Hmmm, it would be unorthodox to mix the object of fear with the practitioner trying to help, but given your level of control demonstrated I might get away with it...’

Twilight blinked. “I mean this could work. I could help you overcome these fears, both through treatment and through controlled exposure. I could show you that you don’t need to fear me, alicorns, alicorn princesses.”

“Oh, no. Wouldn’t want to impose on your important time.”

“Nonsense.” Twilight’s face hardened. “You agree that being irrationally frightened all the time is detrimental to a pony.”

“Well, I suppose.”

Twilight carried on. “So, the best thing is to control or remove that irrational fear.’

“Yes.”

“And treatment would do that?”

“Possibly.”

“And any treatment should be done with minimal inconvenience on the lifestyle of that pony.”

“Well, yes.”

“You are currently doing research in the library and therefore plan on coming back?”

“Yes? Can I ask...”

“So coming back to the library would have minimal inconvenience to you, right?”

“Yes....err...”

“You previously agreed that treatment should take place with minimal inconvenience, right?’

“Hang on... well, yes”

“So treatment in the library would have minimal inconvenience to you right?”

“I, I, yes?”

“So you want treatment in the library for minimal inconvenience to you, right?”

“I guess so... yes?”

“So you want your treatment to be in the library, for minimal inconvenience to you, right?

Yes

“You drive a hard bargain, but I accept your terms.”

“Good... Wait, what?”

“I accept. You want me to treat you, in the library, for the minimal inconvenience on your lifestyle. I accept your terms.’

“Oh... good?”

“Let me just go get my schedule. I’m going to have to rearrange virtually everything to fit you in, but this is important to me... everypony”

After being released from Twilights magical field , a bemused looking Sunbeam watched Twilight bounce off.

Greywing leaned in with a smirk. “She likes you if she’s willing to rearrange her entire schedule. Seriously though, you really that scared of her?”

“I’m not scared of her, I’m scared of what she could do. Its the difference of being scared of the dark, and being scared of what’s in the dark.”

Twilight shouted, “Found my schedule, this is going to be fun!”

Sunbeam shook her head. “I still get the feeling that I’ve been hustled.”

“Her teacher is Princess Celestia. And she’s been hustling entire countries for millennia. You think you had a chance to begin with?”

“Story of my bucking life.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunbeam had finally got home about an hour ago, after arranging months worth of sessions with Twilight.

Now sat at her desk, ‘The List’ hovered next to her, the quill poised, as she contemplated the next addition to it. This was important. It needed to be done and it needed to be accurate. The less time spent out actually completing it the better.

‘Lets see, carrots, mushrooms, apples. Hang on... Nope got apples.’

The quill drew a neat line through ‘apples’.

‘Ugh, shopping. That means talking and socialising with ponies.’

She laid her head down sideways on the table, quill and parchment still hovering. Her gaze came to rest on the hula filly doll on her desk, an impulse buy she’d admit to if pressed. Raising a hoof and gently jabbed at it, setting the head with flower garland necklace bouncing over the grass skirted body. She repeated this twice more, until on the third time where she tapped the doll too hard, causing it to fall over. It lay there, looking forlornly at her as she stared back.

‘Why am I still here? I could just leave, the money isn’t worth it. Twilight will be asking all kinds of questions in those sessions that I really won’t want to answer.’

Tearing her eyes off the doll, she gazed out the window.

‘Getting dark now, end of the day, and what a day that was. Another glorious day in Ponyville.’

With a scowl, she sat up and tore open a draw. Out floated some old paperwork, flicking through them she found what she was looking for.

The Ponyville tourist pamphlet.

The scowl deepened as she searched for an author, a publishing house, anything that would incriminate somepony.

‘Clever, not putting who’s responsible for this travesty on it. Well mark my words, I will find you, and then...’

She took a deep calming breath.

‘...The word ‘horrific’ will appear on your autopsy report.’

Tossing the pamphlet over her shoulder she laid her head back down on the desk.

‘Ugh, what would any normal pony do now?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bar Service watched Sunbeam sit down at the bar.

“Wow, you look rough.”

“Love you too Bar. Double Jackie D please.”

Bar Service turned round and filled up a shot glass. “Bad day off I take it? That’s lousy if so.” He said without looking round.

“Not as relaxing as I’d hoped.”

“Well, just to give you a heads up. Quick’s gone and installed those metal sheets you may have noticed on the walls. Looks like they are for you to chill instead of having buckets of ice everywhere. So if he see’s you he’s gonna ask. Looks like another hot one tonight, so could get busy.”

Sunbeam nodded and looked round the still fairly empty bar. Basically a big rectangle, with light wooden paneling on all walls from halfway up, below that the wall was painted a dark green. The bar counter itself was a dark wood with a selection of harder drinks hung up behind it. Stretching nearly three-quarters along the back wall it had several doors behind it, one of which to Quick’s office. Circular tables and low chairs filled in most of the space inbetween the bar and the walls. The entrance was facing the bar with a large smoked glass windows on the left side. The metal plates had been put up on the side walls over the wooden paneling and to the right of the entrance.

Not taking proper attention she took a bigger a sip from the glass than planned, causing her to splutter and wince.

‘Okay a few more shots like that and I’ll be up to interacting with ponies.’

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Dang it Rainbow, you said you’d have the weather fixed by now.” Applejack pointed a hoof at the cyan pegasus.

“They were supposed to re-route the first batch of new clouds here, but nopony changed their destination details in Cloudsdale, so currently they are on the way to Manehatten. Next batch is still being put together.”

“It is rather warm darling, any a clammy coat is so unbecoming. Is there anywhere that wouldn’t be so humid?”

Pinky bounced up and down with a hoof in the air. ‘Oh, Oh, I know, I know. Pick me, pick me.’

Twilight smiled and point at Pinky. “Yes, the pink mare in front has a suggestion.”

“The Swift. What with Sunny chilling the place and the refreshments. It super-duper cool.”

“Ugh, that uncouth establishment, however, if it is the only cool place in town... One could make sacrifices I suppose.”

“Umm, I don’t like it, what if there are any more nasty stallions like last time.” A nervous sounding Fluttershy commented.

Rainbow flew over to her and gave a hug. “Hey, no worries, after last time I’m sure they’ll leave you alone... bruiser. And besides, we’ll all be there.”

Twilight looked around. “Well, if there are no objections then, let's go to ‘The Swift’.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Please Sunbeam.” Quick Service whined.

“Oh for buck’s sake... Table two, heads down.” She shouted out.

The ponies on table two looked at her quizzically for a second, before slowly bending down.

Lowering her head Sunbeam aimed at the metal sheet to the left of the bar. The white beam hit the middle of the sheet, frost quickly covering it.

Twisting around she pointed her head towards the sheet by the entrance, she called out. “Table eight, heads down.”

This time, the ponies immediately ducked as a white beam shot across their heads.

She twisted back round to face to the right of the bar. “Table eleven... duck.” She suggested. The ponies on table eleven dived for cover.

In less than ten seconds all three of the sheets were covered in ice and she was still sat happily the bar with her drink.

“Right, happy now, Quick?”

She turned to look at him puzzled by his lack of response. His mouth was hanging open, as was Bar Service. The whole bar seemed to be quiet.

“What?” Turning round she saw the reason for the silence.

Princess Twilight was stood at the entrance with the rest of the Elements of Harmony. Her mouth hanging open staring at Sunbeam. She’d seen everything.

Turning back to the bar she let her head fall onto the bar, or would have if her horn hadn’t of got in the way and taken the brunt of the impact.

“Buck, buck, buck.” She stammered out, holding the base of her horn.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunbeam sat at the bar, her head laid sideways on it, an ice pack placed on the base of her horn.

“Would you like a straw?” Bar Service asked with a grin.

“Buck you.”

“Now now Sunbeam. So if you can do ice, why do you need an ice pack?”

“Just hurt horn, doing magic hurt more. Don’t like hurting.”

“You know I do have a way to take your mind off things.”

“I can hear those lewd smiles gentlecolts,” Sunbeam said loudly from her position on the bar.

The other stallions at the bar attempted to look innocent.

Bar Service continued. “A pegasus, a unicorn and a manticore walk into a bar...”

“Oh come on.” Sunbeam sat up, still holding the ice pack to her head with a hoof.

“You have a good story Sunbeam then?” Ask Thunderlane.

An evil smile appeared on her face. “Settle down gentlecolts, Bar can you get me another shot or three, while I tell all of you the story of the ‘two mares and the candlestick maker’.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fluttershy looked up. “Well, I guess, umm, that’s it’s my round then?” With a gulp, she looked at the now full and noisy bar.

“I’ll come up with you Flutters.” Applejack stood up. “Need to speak to Sunbeam over there, so might as well get this over and done with.”

Turning round Applejack noted that most of the stallions at the bar were clustered around Sunbeam.

As Applejack got closer, she could hear Sunbeam over the noise of the bar.

“...And that, gentlecolts, is the origin of the phrase ‘burning the candle at both ends’.”

All the stallions around her turned bright red, several brought hooves up their mouths before they all rapidly dispersed. Even Bar Service looked a little unsteady, holding onto the bar for support. Sunbeam had put her head back down on the bar, her shoulders bouncing up and down in laughter.

“Oh their expressions Bar, I can’t breath...”

Steeling herself she went up to Sunbeam.

“Hi Sunbeam.”

The laughing petered out. After a moment she sat up and twisted round to face Applejack.

“Hiya Applejack.” Her tone cool but not hostile.

“Look about earlier, I wanna apologize for my lack of manners, I was brought up better than that.”

Sunbeam looked at her for what seemed an age to Applejack before a smile split her face.

“It’s okay AJ, in fact, you stopped me making a darn fool of myself, so in a way, I should be thanking you. But I’m gonna guess you just want me to accept it, right? So I do. Accept it that is. The apology I mean. Argh, I accept your apology. Bar, how many of these have I had?” Sunbeam held up an empty shot glass.

“If you’re gonna keep telling stories like that... way too many!” Bar Service called out.

Sunbeam pouted for second before sticking her tongue out at him.

“Well thank for that sugar, I appreciate it. Well just going to help Flutters get the round back to the girls.”

Watching Applejack and Fluttershy head back to their table, a crazy idea popped into the mare's head.

‘Oh why do they come to me after a couple of drinks?’ She sank her face into a hoof. ‘I’ve gotta do it now, it’ll just eat me up if I don’t. I really should cut down...'

Bracing herself she stood up. ‘Okay, lets do this.’

With unsteady legs, she approached the table with Twilight, her chosen target.

As she walked towards the table, Twilight noticed her advance and followed it with a puzzled smile.

Stopping by the table, Sunbeam’s shield of alcohol to started to burn off rapidly at the realisation that all eyes were now on her.

‘Okay let’s do this... while I still can.’

She took a deep breath.

“Twilight... I didn’t say it earlier but thank you for trying to help me. It means a lot to me.”

Twilight waved the comment off, the beaming smile betraying her nonchalance.

“Nonsense, helping a pony is what pony should do.”

“That’s right sugar, I’m sure if you’ve got a problem any of us would be willing ta help.”

“Indeed darling, saving dear Sweetie Bell does put me in your debt... and don’t you even dare to think that those silly little things I made for you make us even.”

Various nods and sounds of affirmation followed from around the table.

“Uh, thanks, I mean thank you. Uh... bye.”

“I think we plumb embarrassed the poor mare there Twi.” Applejack dryly noted as the white-backed unicorn ran from the bar.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Damn it! Running away like that I should have...”

‘It’s what you always do, you’re nothing but a...’

“Oh shut up! Twilight is going to help me and I am so going to be free of you!”

Sunbeam tilted her head as if listening for something. A smile grew when whatever she was listening for didn’t make a sound.

“Looks like I’m a stayin’ Ponyville. Lock up your... um” Her ears dropped as she was unable to find a suitable finishing to the sentence.

After a couple of seconds of reflection, she added.

“But please, I beg you Ponyville, no more adventures. Pretty please.”

Author's Note:

Ugh, that chapter just wouldn't flow. Hence the delay.

Unedited and not my best work, I just needed to walk away from it for the time being and move on. I will be coming back to edit the 'buck' out of it later. But for now, for better or worse, its out there.

Any glaring errors I will try to correct. For now, the chapter is concluded and if I make the quote: 'A conclusion is simply where you stopped thinking.'

Now, someone pass me a beer please.

PreviousChapters Next