• Published 23rd Apr 2012
  • 11,375 Views, 299 Comments

Diary of a Foalsitter - Hivemind



Princess Cadence's well kept diary entries of her time as Twilight Sparkle's foalsitter.

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Dear Diary...

I can’t believe it! Auntie Celly wants me to foalsit her own private student! She warned me about how energetic she can be at most times, but I was pretty sure that I could handle it...

A young Princess Cadance sat smiling on a rather uncomfortable wooden bench in the Canterlot Castle gardens as she waited patiently for Princess Celestia’s personal chariot to arrive. Several royal guards patrolled the areas around the gardens, some flying high, others scouting on hoof. As usual, the sun shone brightly in those warm afternoon hours, coaxing the several varieties of birds and insects from their hidden homes in the trees and bushes to frolic in the warmth of the sunshine. Cool breezes blew in from the east, rustling the tree branches and blowing fallen leaves across the fields of grass and stone walkways, making the afternoon seem that much more enjoyable.

Cadance twiddled the tips of her front hooves together while she hummed a rhythmic tune to pass the time. She turned her head left and right, hoping that there would be somepony nearby to talk to, but strict royal security protocols kept that dream just that, a dream. But today, she knew that her dream was about to become a reality.

After a few extra lonely minutes had passed by, Princess Celestia’s magically-drawn carriage swooped down through the skies above Cadance's head, and landed a few meters away from the bench. The carriage jostled in place as Her Royal Highness stepped down from her seat and started moving towards Cadance, only to stop half way when she noticed the absence of a certain passenger by her side.

“Come on, Twilight. You don’t want to keep Cadance waiting now, do you?” Celestia called out while looking over her shoulder.

A few moments passed by, and there was no response to Celestia’s call. Nothing could be heard, save the short, stroking winds that whistled through the equine's mane.

Is Twilight afraid of strangers? Cadance thought, worried. Oh, I hope everything works out OK...

“Come now, Twilight. Don’t be shy. She is a part of the royal family. There is nothing to be afraid of,” said Celestia as she tried at her best to coax her student out in the open.

After another round of patient waiting, Celestia’s calls were answered when the carriage began to rustle. It rocked gently back and forth, and a young, lavender coated filly peeked one eye out from around the corner of the carriage. Celestia turned around and smiled warmly, yet she decided to make no second attempt to coax the filly away from her hiding spot.

The filly moved her gaze over to Cadance. Thinking quickly, the pink princess put on a pleasant smile to match Celestia’s in comfort. The double dose of assurance must have done the trick, for after another moment Twilight stepped out from behind the carriage and slowly moved up to Celestia's front, her gaze dragging along the ground as she went. Cadance slowly stepped down from the bench and trotted over to Celestia’s side, keeping her head held high and her smile as calm and warming as before.

“Twilight, this is Cadance, one of the royal family,” said Celestia. The filly turned her head upward and stared up at Cadance’s bright pink face for a moment before moving her gaze down to the ground again.

“Hello..." Twilight said calmly and quietly, awkwardly staring at the tips of her front hooves.

Auntie Celly told me that she had never had much interaction around other foals before, mostly due to rarely being in a normal classroom. It was pretty obvious that she was socially awkward. I guess it happens to foals with private tutors. She asked me to fix it, and I wholeheartedly agreed...

“Hello there, Twilight,” Cadance started, “It’s very nice to meet you.” She lowered her neck and bowed her head to the filly.

Twilight slowly lifted her head to meet Cadance's tiny smile. “Are you my foalsitter?” Twilight asked with only a hint of curiosity visible in the corners of her nearly emotionless eyes.

“Why, yes. Yes I am,” Cadance replied with a touch of pride in her voice. Twilight rolled her eyes down to her hooves again, the expression on her face intermixed with variations of distant and bored stiff.

“She will be your foalsitter until the late hours of each day, Twilight," Celestia explained. "I am too busy to watch you after your studies, so I asked Cadance to play with you and take care of you for a little while.”

Twilight shrugged her shoulders and continued to stare down at her hooves, her facial expression refusing to shift.

“I’m sure that we’ll have lots of fun together. Don’t you think?” Cadance cheerfully asked.

“I guess so...” Twilight sighed.

“I’m sure that you two will get along nicely.” Celestia turned away and walked back to her carriage before stopping in front of the single stair lift just above the ground. “I must return to Canterlot Castle to assist my royal officials in a few diplomatic issues. Take care.”

“Goodbye, Auntie Celly!” yelled Cadance as she frantically waved a hoof in the air.

Celestia put a hoof to her mouth and giggled into it before giving a short wave back. “Goodbye, Cadance. Goodbye, Twilight. I will see you back at the castle later tonight."

Celestia and Cadance gave one last wave to each other before Celestia stepped into the carriage and took off into the sunny afternoon sky, a small group of pegasus guards nearby breaking formation to trail behind her.

“So, Twilight...” Cadance started. Twilight looked back up at Cadance, her blank expression still stuck on her face as if it were held on with super glue. “What do you like to do for fun?” Cadance asked.

As if it were a routine to her, Twilight yet again turned her gaze down to the ground to stare at the tips of her front hooves some more. She kicked up a small tuft of dirt with one hoof and shrugged her shoulders, clueless.

“I don’t know,” Twilight murmured, shrugging her shoulders again. “Ever since I started taking private lessons with Princess Celestia, I haven’t had that much time for fun.” Twilight's blank expression shifted at last, albeit into an unfortunate and depressing frown of loneliness.

Weeeell...have you ever been on a playground before?” Cadance slyly asked.

Twilight gave another light kick to the soft ground beneath her hooves. Clearly, trying to excite the lavender filly with vocal advertisements of fun was not going to get Cadance very far in her career as a foalsitter. She needed a different approach, a way of slowly warming up to the filly instead of trying to befriend her on the spot, and she needed one fast, otherwise she would be spending the rest of her foalsitting days sitting silently on a bench with a unicorn who was only interested in learning rather than having some fun once in a while.

“I've read about them before, and I remember passing by one once when I went into town with my mother, but I've never visited one before," Twilight explained.

Taking the first steps in her newly thought-of approach, Cadance stood up, turned around, and beckoned Twilight to her side with a spot of warmth in her smile and a gentle wave of her hoof. With slow and steady grace, Cadance lifted a front leg into the air and pointed her hoof at a colorful patch of ground off in the distance, surrounded by trimmed oak trees and field after field of vibrant flowers of all kinds.

"It's right down there," Cadance pointed out. "It's usually vacant in the afternoons, and the equipment is kept in great shape. Does that sound like fun?"

Twilight cocked her head and raised an eyebrow, curious, but retractive.

"I don't know," said Twilight, shrugging.

“C’mon, look at it this way. You like studying, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, think of it like...studying...about playgrounds!”

“What’s the point in that?”

“It’s always good to learn new things, right?”

Feeling the first steps of her new approach coming together, Cadance lowered her hoof to the ground and stepped off the stone walkway onto the finely cut grass beside her. She motioned Twilight to her side and the two started walking along the dry green pasture towards the distant fun land.

"Twilight. I think it's time that I show you how to really have some fun!" Cadance exclaimed as she and Twilight continued across the lavish green fields.

~~~~~

They arrived at the playground not even five minutes later, not a word spoken between them for the entire trip. The air smelled of freshly cut wood chips and the brightly colored instruments of entertainment gleamed in the sunlight, practically begging to be used. Just as Cadance had predicted, the playground was completely vacant, save herself and Twilight, who were standing in silence next to the playground's big, red sandbox that occupied an empty corner of the low lying hill valley from where the playground was constructed.

"So, Twilight, what do you think?" Cadance asked.

"I...still don’t know..." Twilight mumbled.

Cadance enthusiastically guided Twilight through each part of the playground, showing off the slide, the teeter-totter, and her personal favorite, the swings, describing each of their stops in brisk detail that would have certainly been appealing to the eyes of any other filly. By the time they got to the swings, Twilight had resorted back to staring at her hooves, the level of emotion on her face somewhere in between distant and disinterested.

A yawn cut through the air of twittering birds and seemingly endless disquisitions, silencing Cadance immediately. Curiously looking over her shoulder, her mouth hung open slightly when she finally took notice of the filly’s weary state, eyes glossed, eyelids drooping, and back slouched.

“Are you tired, Twilight?” Cadance asked. “Do you need some rest?”

“No, I’m fine. Just a little...bored is all...”

“A playground? Boring?”

“I just don’t know much about this playground stuff, even from what I’ve read. Reading and studying are my main forms of entertainment, and this kind of stuff just isn’t that interesting to me, and I’m usually interested in a lot of things."

“Come on, Twilight. There’s gotta be something that you like to do!”

The air of awkwardness only managed to thicken when Twilight put a hoof to her chin and leaned against it, her mind drifting off into deep thought like an old stallion. For as long as one would usually wait, the pink princess expected an answer from the filly within a minute a two, but after an arduous five minute wait, the only reply that Cadance could get was a simple shrug of the filly’s shoulders.

Cadance let out a long, drawn out sigh. Her attempt to establish friendly relations with the purple-haired unicorn by physically advertising the promises of fun fell flat. She could practically feel the weight of her own folly press hard against her conscious while her inner self scolded her like a frustrated school teacher would scold an inattentive foal.

The pink princess sluggishly rose to her hooves, her head shaking with inner guilt as her warm smile slowly faded into a frown. Dragging her hooves on the ground, she moved and positioned herself behind the nearest rope bound swing seat, dropping to her haunches on a smooth patch of dirt behind the seat upon arrival. Twilight stared at her depressed caretaker from the opposite side of the swing seat, barely a hint of emotion on her matted face.

Suddenly, as if she was hit with a jet of laughing gas, Cadance’s face was stamped with a wide, unnerving grin, leaving no trace of the somber mood she had before. Her front right leg reared up, and she placed her hoof on the swing seat, gently rocking it back and forth with careful motions.

“Here, climb up,” said Cadance, lightly patting the seat three times with her hoof.

“Huh?” Twilight replied, disbelievingly sneering at the invitation.

“Come now, Twilight. Studying can’t be the only thing that you like to do, right?”

“B-but—” Twilight stammered.

The seat wiggled in place, the knots in the ropes that attached the seat to the swing set bar above hammering away on the wooden bottom as Cadance gently pushed the seat back and forth with her hoof, emphasizing her point. Twilight cringed under her foalsitter’s unavoidable look of "You know you want to," an expression that brought with it an unrelenting feeling that was just too much to bear.

“Can’t we just read a book or something?” Twilight pleaded. Cadance would have none of it. The desperate filly’s pouts were only meet with another set of raps on the swing seat, followed by another, and another.

An air of defeat hanging over her head, Twilight grunted with annoyance and begrudgingly climbed onto the swing seat, adjusting her seating position accordingly for comfort. She felt uneasy when she had to sit on a hard, wooden substance with her back pointing upright instead of arched, her legs becoming as stiff as boards when her haunches aligned with her spine. She shimmied in place and was soon able to find some room where her legs could drop off the front lip of the seat, left to slowly dangle over the edge. It wasn’t much, but the thought of having to look at the foalsitter’s unwavering expression again quickly made her reconsider her decision of attempting to convince Cadance to do something else.

Reeeady?” Cadance playfully asked.

“I guess so...” Twilight grunted.

Gripping the sides of the swing seat with both hooves, Cadance slowly stepped back a few feet before releasing her grip. The hinges creaked under the strain as the seat, with its unamused passenger onboard, swung forward and away from Cadance before losing momentum and swinging backward. Cadance put her hoof to the backside of the seat as it was coming back, slowly bringing it to a halt.

“How’s that?” Cadance asked.

“It’s fine, I guess...” Twilight sighed. The lively caretaker nodded at the filly’s reply. She was finally starting to break ground, albeit at a slow pace, that strangely projected a mental representation of somepony chipping away at a rock with a blunt pencil. She mentally patted herself on the back, silently congratulating herself for having come this far, even if she knew that the distance was puny in comparison to the great leap that was the quest of establishing a true friendship. Her confidence level rising, she daintily pushed the swing seat forward again, then caught it when it swung back. The filly looked calm, but with a sense of nervousness; nothing that a little forced playtime couldn’t fix.

Cadance put a little more effort into her third push. Twilight flinched, but she appeared to be alright when Cadance caught the swing as it came back. She pushed it a fourth time, using the same amount of force as before. The lavender filly did not flinch, but her nervous expression did not change either. The smiling foalsitter eventually entered into a droning cycle, daintily pushing the swing back and forth as if she were the filly’s mother. The minutes dragged on, and Cadance was thankful for that, for it meant more time for her to warm up to Twilight some more, but it looked as if she barely made a dent in her progress.

But as they approached the top of the hour, Cadance took surprising notice to something; something amazing.

Twilight was smiling. After coming so far, she was actually smiling, her changed expression barely kept hidden by small tufts of purple and pink hair strung over her eyes and ears.

Deep within Cadance’s mind, a chorus of angelic trumpets blared a victory tune that resounded around her ears and echoed off into the brightest corners of her soul. One small step for her; one giant leap for a foalsitter.

The more than exuberant princess decided against acknowledging the filly’s hidden happiness and instead chose to speed up her progress by pushing against Twilight’s back as the swing came hurtling back, sending the swing seat into the air higher than ever before. Cadance thought that she could hear the purple-haired filly faintly giggle under her breath, the sound dissipating into the air as the wind whooshed past Twilight’s head when the swing came back. She caught the swing just in time to hear Twilight stop giggling.

“Hmm?” Cadance hummed suspiciously.

Twilight’s eyes went wide in sudden realization, shocked at her folly of having unknowingly released her pent up emotions, a thin line of embarrassed blush drawn above her upper lip.

“See, Twilight?” Cadance started. “A playground isn’t boring. It’s meant to be fun!”

“Well...” Twilight softly murmured.

“And by that cute little look on your face, I think you would agree with me, right?”

For Twilight, there was no chance of hiding the fact any longer. Her mouth opened and closed several times, her brain trying its best to come up with an excuse to try and hide her painfully obvious discomposure, yet no real words escaped her lips. She stammered in her place with what few tidbits of actual words actually managed to depart through her clenched teeth. Defeat once again looming over her head, she quickly sealed her lips to prevent further embarrassment.

An air of personal victory danced around Cadance’s mind as she chuckled under her breath with delight.

“Just say it if you need to, Twilight,” Cadance proffered.

“I-it was...nice,” Twilight whispered.

“There. That wasn’t so hard, right?”

“...right.”

With nothing left to hide, Twilight put on a little smile and slowly turned her head to look over her right shoulder.

“Could you... do that again, please?” Twilight shamelessly asked.

With no need for words, Cadance smiled and nodded her head in acknowledgment, silently accepting the filly's request. Twilight sighed with relief before turning her head back around, keeping her smile on her face without regret. With a song in her heart, Cadance gently pulled the swing seat back before blithely pushing it forward, restarting the cycle, watching her new friend soar through the warm afternoon air, the wind blowing through her mane.

For the whole afternoon, It felt like Twilight and I were the only two ponies in the world. Two friends, together, playing in the afternoon warmth.

Unfortunately, our playtime together was a little short-lived. The sun was going down, and the fireflies were starting to come out, signalling the coming of night. We stopped playing for a little while so we could watch them in the glow of the walkway lights, but that time was short-lived too! Not even five minutes later, two royal pegasus guards arrived to pick up Twilight. At first, she was a little sad to be going so soon, even I felt the same way, but I promised her that we could play on the playground as many times as she wanted in the future.

It’s only been a day, and I can already tell that we’re gonna become great friends...