• Published 23rd Apr 2012
  • 11,474 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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Dances, Kisses, and a "Stellar" Vacation

“You let it all out to me two days later, on that same stretch of path...” murmured Cadance, wiping a single tear from her cheek. “I still remember every word.”

Shining Armor wrestled with the throw pillow between his teeth until it finally popped out, leaving him with a rather unpleasant toothache. Disgusted, he tossed the dirty cushion over the bedside behind him.

“Ok! Your turn!” said Cadance with a voice full of cheer, sliding the open diary in front of her husband.

“I...what?” murmured Shining Armor.

“It’s your turn, silly!” Cadance giggled.

“Wait, so you’re not mad anymore?”

“Well...no,” Cadance sighed. “I guess after reading that and...remembering us when we were younger just made me feel a little more relaxed on the inside. Besides...”

Cadance reached around and wrapped one leg around Shining Armor’s neck, using the stallion’s muscular girth to pull herself closer.

“I can’t stay mad at you!” Cadance finished with a giggle, followed by a short kiss to her husband’s cheek.

At last (hopefully), the worst was over. Feeling safe for the first time in a long while, Shining Armor leaned in close and returned the kiss, making Cadance blush fiercely.

“Are you sure you’re not mad anymore?” asked Shining Armor, keeping Cadance held close as he magically turned the pages of the diary, scanning the text for an interesting entry.

“Well, I’m not...that mad anymore.”

“Huh? Wait, so after all that--”

“You won’t mind sleeping on the couch tonight, right?”

“I-I--”

“Hold up! Stop, right there!”

Cadance slammed her hoof down onto the diary, right on top of one of the entries just before it was past.

“What’s wrong?” asked Shining Armor.

“I remember this day exactly!” exclaimed Cadance, swiping the diary away and beaming at the aged paper with exuberant eyes.

“And what’s so important about the day after our first kiss?” Shining Armor asked, looking over at the date scrawled near the top of the page. “Besides your little...visit that night.”

“I showed Twilight a very special dance while we were at the playground, among other things. Kinda like a happy sad dance, you know?”

Weeell...no.”

“D’oh, you weren’t there!” Cadance giggled, rolling her eyes. “It was so adorable when she did it for the first time! You’ve should have seen her, Shining! She was just bouncing around like a cute little jumping bean!” Cadance squealed.

“Twilight? Dancing?” questioned Shining Armor, raising an eyebrow. “I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s aaaall in here, Shining,” said Cadance, scooting the diary in front of Shining Armor. “Go ahead. Give it a read. I can wait.”

Shining Armor sent Cadance a suspicious glance, still somewhat skeptical about her very sudden changes in behavior. Just a few minutes ago, she was steaming with enough hot anger to evaporate the sweat from his brow, but now she’s as happy as a skip through the tulips? Her mind was a royally unstable time bomb with fuse that lit itself. There was no telling what she might do next.

“Well? Go on.” encouraged Cadance, waving him on.

After silently praying for a moment without mood swings, Shining Armor rolled his eyes down to the text. Hopefully, he could make it through the first few sentences without having to experience another one of Cadance’s unpredictable outbursts. He could barely take the pressure of having somepony constantly drill insults into his ear.

Celestia help me... thought Shining Armor as he began reading.

~~~~~

Little Twilight Sparkle giggled with foalish giddiness as Cadance pushed the swing forward again, sending the filly high into the warm, sunny air. It was another beautiful day in the Canterlot Castle Gardens, and the conditions were perfect in every way for a day of play on the playground.

It was just the princess and her studious filly friend in the gardens today, or even outside of the castle for that matter, as the royals were due to appear at a very important court meeting. It felt nice to unwind knowing that the young princess would not be forced to attend such a horrendously boring event. Gussying up only to listen to drab political talk was about as entertaining as watching paint dry. How on earth does Celestia do it?

“I take it you're enjoying yourself?” asked Cadance.

“Yeah!” said Twilight. “But I still kinda wish my big brother was here...” Twilight frowned.

“Don’t worry, Twilight,” Cadance giggled, consoling the filly with a warm smile. “He’s just out for some training, that’s all. If he’s gonna be captain of the guard, he’s got to train for it, right?”

“I guess so...” murmured Twilight.

“There’s nothing to be sad about. Shining Armor will be back with us tomorrow. I’m sure of it.”

And sure of it she was. There was no way in Equestria Cadance would allow some cranky, old pony to keep such a charming stallion like Shining Armor away from her, especially not after last night, but such things had to be handled carefully. That old coot might be as dumb as a doorpost (if not dumber), but if word got out about what was really going on between them, she wouldn’t be the only one to receive punishment. As a young princess, punishments only went as high as the simple stuff. Cadance could handle a mild scolding from her aunt, but for Shining Armor, there was no telling what would happen to him. He could lose his shot at captain of the guard, face humiliation from his peers, or worse...

“--adance? Oh Caaadaaance!”

The pink princess was brought out of her rather unpleasant doom-seeing by a tiny purple hoof waving in front of her face.

“You stopped pushing me, Cadance, and you look kinda...down,” said Twilight, looking over her shoulder with worried eyes.

“S-sorry, Twilight,” Cadance apologized, pushing the swing forward again. “It’s just something on my mind.”

“What kind of something?”

Already, Cadance could tell that the little filly wasn’t going to let up, not even if she tried changing the subject. Shifting the conversation to something more pleasant wouldn’t work either, not with the mood Cadance was in anyway.

“Let’s not talk about it, sweetie,” said Cadance, putting on a little smile. “It’s a bit of a personal matter anyways.”

“Is it a good something?” asked Twilight.

“No,” Cadance replied, blandly. “But Twilight--”

“Is it a bad something?” Twilight asked, much to Cadance’s steadily-building chagrin.

“Twilight, please. Let’s just not talk about it, ok?” Cadance pleaded.

“Is it a--”

“Twilight!” Cadance snapped, making Twilight cringe. “Just...stop, ok? Please, just for me?”

“Oh, sorry...” Twilight frowned, hanging her head low in a sulk. “I just wanted to help.”

Cadance frowned, feeling immensely guilty for having upset her closest friend. What kind of foalsitter would she be if all she did was yell at sweet little fillies like Twilight, even if she only did it once? Once she saw the tears in little Twilight’s eyes, she felt sick to her stomach.

“Oh, sorry, Twilight,” Cadance apologized, stopping the swing to meet the teary-eyed filly face to face. “I’m just not in the best mood today. I didn’t mean to yell at you like that. I just overreacted.”

Cadance reached around and wiped a loose tear from the corner of Twilight’s eye. Twilight looked up and smiled, while Cadance smiled back.

“Better?” asked Cadance.

“Better,” Twilight replied. “But I’m the one who should be sorry. I got a little carried away.”

“I know. I just feel terrible for having done that.”

“It’s alright,” Twilight smiled. “Would a hug make you feel better?” she asked, jumping down from the swing seat and stepping up to her foalsitter.

“Huh?”

“Come on!” inviting Cadance with outstretched arms. “A little friendly hug won’t hurt, would it?”

“I...never expected this but...well, alright.” Cadance smiled cheerily, pulling the lavender filly closer to her where foal and sitter met in comforting embrace. What felt like only a few seconds soon passed on into minutes. It felt nice, but its warming effects wouldn’t last forever. Besides, it was starting to feel a tad awkward, even though Cadance knew they were alone for the day. Anypony could have been watching them.

“Thank you, Twilight,” said Cadance, pulling out of the hug, smiling.

“You’re welcome!” Twilight replied cheerfully.

“It was nice, but why don’t we try something...different?”

“Different?”

“Something...fun.”

“Fun?”

“How about a dance?” Cadance offered with a confident smile.

“A dance?” said Twilight blankly.

“Yes, a dance, silly filly!” Cadance tussled Twilight’s hair, making her giggle. “But this dance is a little bit special. It’s more a jig, really,” Cadance beamed.

“A jig? Kind of like what the Lyrish do?”

“...nooot exactly, but you have the right idea!”

“I don’t know much about--”

“It’s really easy to do, Twilight! Here, follow me. I’ll show you.”

Cadance led her uncertain filly friend to a large oak tree standing tall near the playground sandbox, taking her saddlebags with her.

“Why do we need those?” Twilight asked.

“I just thought we should do this in the shade,” Cadance shrugged. “I don’t want my bestest little friend to tire herself out in the heat, do I?” Twilight smiled sheepishly.

“I’m not gonna have to do anything fancy for this, am I?” asked Twilight.

“Not at all, Twilight. It’s very easy. Now, watch closely, and do what I do.”

Cadance waved Twilight back a few feet before merrily springing backward into the air and landing on all fours. Twilight stood back and cooed in awe.

“So, you ready?” asked Cadance.

“Yeah!” Twilight replied, sounding very much excited.

“Ok! Just watch and learn.”

The pink princess poised herself by bending her knees low to the ground before leaping off the ground and skipping in place in rhythm to her merry tune.

“Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake!” Cadance repeated the move before looking to Twilight, smiling and waving her on.

“That’s it?” asked Twilight, chuckling.

“Nope! That’s just the first part. Go ahead, try it!”

“Ok...”

Twilight nervously looked down at her hooves, doubtful of her ability to copy her foalsitter’s moves, even though they appeared to be very simple. She never danced before, except with her brother, but only once, and even back then it hardly felt like she was dancing at all, but more like flailing her legs wildly in hopes of convincing others around her that she knew what she was doing. After taking a moment to look back on it, she felt deeply embarrassed.

“Twilight?” said Cadance. “Is something wrong?”

“I...” Twilight mumbled a barely audible series of words before bashfully looking away from Cadance.

“Hmm?”

“I...don’t know how to dance,” Twilight admitted, hanging her head in petty shame.

“Twilight, is doesn’t matter at all if you can’t dance.” Cadance giggled. “All you have to do is skip.”

“Skip?”

“Yup! You should at least know how to skip, right? Just skip in place while you’re doing it. Go ahead, try again.”

Truth be told, Twilight never really learned how to skip either, not even with her big brother. She could definitely do it though. Anypony with four legs and brain could do it, but it wasn’t the fact that she could do it that was holding her back. Maybe it how she was raised that was problem, or rather how she raised herself. Rather than sticking with her parents minor attempts at making her more socially active, getting her to play with others her age, she usually filled her everyday routine with things that interested her, such as books and learning, until Cadance came along and changed all that.

“What are you waiting for, silly filly?” Cadance taunted playfully. “Just skip in place, like I did. It can’t be that difficult, right?”

Feeling a little more confident, Twilight raised her right foreleg in direct proportion with her back leg before bringing both of them down to the ground at the same time, making her leap into the air and land on all fours.

“That was great, Twilight!” exclaimed Cadance, filling Twilight’s face with embarrassed blush. “Do it again, twice this time.”

The little filly did as she was told, successfully, rewarding herself with a bright smile when she finished.

“Very good, Twilight,” exclaimed Cadance, clapping her hooves together with lighthearted joy. “Now, let’s do it together, ok?”

“Together?”

Cadance nodded. “Ready?”

“Ready!”

Throughout the afternoon, Cadance taught her little filly friend every step, slide, and movement she knew until Twilight had the entire routine memorized down to a tee. As the hours went on, the sun started to sink low into the sky, leaving behind a nice, orange and yellow hue that faded in from the withering blue, but the filly and foalsitter had not noticed this. They completely ignored the sudden change in lighting as if it were not there. They were in their own little world of merriment; just two friends happily spending time with each other. What more could they ask for? It was nice, very nice, until time finally caught up with them.

“Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!”

Cadance and Twilight fell flat on their backs onto the cool grass, bursting with giddy laughter. They meant to stop dancing once Twilight learned all the moves, but the slip-ups they both made over the hours were just too hilarious to resist.

“That was great!” exclaimed Cadance, giggling like a schoolgirl.

“Can we do it again Cadance?” Twilight asked with hopeful eyes.

“Again?” Cadance replied.

Pleeeease?” Twilight begged, putting on a smile so adorable that a foalsitter like Cadance could never hope to ignore. “I haven’t had that much fun learning in a long time.”

“Sure! Why not,” said Cadance. The pink princess rose to her hooves before helping Twilight up to her own.

“Ready?” asked Cadance.

“Ready!” Twilight replied.

“A one, and a two, and a one two ready--”

Suddenly, just as the funfair was about to begin, a loud bell tower chimed off in the distance, ringing eight times before going silent.

“Was that what I think it was?” asked Twilight, frozen stiff in a goofy-looking starting position.

“The bell tower?” said Cadance, confused. “The tower doesn’t ring until--”

As if nature was waiting for the perfect moment, a strong breeze whistled through the playground, rustling the leaves in the tree branches above them. Startled, Twilight squeaked and dove for cover behind Cadance’s legs. It was starting to turn into a scene out of a horror movie as a layer of fog began to cover the playground field, bringing with it an eerie chorus of nighttime critters that only added to the darkened atmosphere.

“...nighttime.”

“How did it get so dark so quickly?” whispered Twilight, quivering in fear.

“We’ve been playing here for so long that we didn’t even notice it...” Cadance murmured. “How that happened I don’t even...oh dear."

“Cadance? I’m a little scared...” Twilight mewled, squeezing one of Cadance’s forelegs tightly. “Aren’t the guards supposed to be here already? You know, to pick me up?”

“Don’t worry, Twilight. I-I’m sure they’re just running a little...late. Besides, this place is pretty well hidden. You remember how long it took us to get here, right? It would take a miracle for somepony to find this place.”

After a brief moment of silence, Cadance immediately regretted her choice of words. She could feel Twilight tighten her grip around her foreleg, shaking like a leaf.

“B-but don’t worry!” said Cadance with haste. “The royal guards have passed by this place several times before. I’m sure they know the way here.”

“Really?”

“Of course, Twilight. Aunt Celly wouldn’t want her brightest and best student to be in danger, right? She’s probably very worried about you right now.”

“It’s just so...dark.” Twilight whispered.

With a simple flick of her head, the tip of Cadance’s regal, pink horn flared up with bright, blue light, shining down onto little Twilight’s face.

“Does that help?” asked Cadance, smiling.

“Yeah. Thanks,” Twilight replied, smiling back.

“Come on. We need to get out of this fog. We can’t be too careful around this place at night,” said Cadance as she and Twilight started off on a blind trek through the pea soup murkiness, making sudden twists and turns whenever they happen to come across a tree or other obstruction in their path. “Now, how on earth do we get out of here?”

“You’re an alicorn aren’t you, like Celestia? Why not just fly me out?”

“A bit too risky, don’t you think? I can barely see the sky above us with all of this in the way. I don’t even know if I can carry you that far.”

“Hmm...I think I read something before explaining that some unicorns could--”

“Teleport?” Cadance interrupted. “Yes, but I can’t risk that either. If you’ve read about it, than you must know the dangers, right? If I tried it, and if you got hurt...” Cadance shuddered at such a grim thought. “Besides, I’m not exactly Star Swirl the Bearded. I still got a few tricks I need to learn first.”

“Then what should we do? Scream for help?” Twilight giggled quietly.

“No. Sorry, Twilight, but this isn’t the time for joking around. We’re still lost and--wait a minute...are those my hoofprints?”

Cadance stopped and turned around, looking down at the greyish indentations in the ground with a confused look on her face.

“Those...those are my hoofprints!” Cadance gasped.

“And there’s mine, right there!” Twilight added, pointing at spots in the dirt where it clearly showed the familiar imprints.

“Have we...argh! We’ve been going in circles!” Cadance groaned, falling flat on her rear.

“Circle, actually. Just one time around,” Twilight corrected, grinning coyly.

“We should have at least heard from the guards by now!” yelled Cadance, moving to stand back up. “Where are they? We can’t just keep wandering around like this!”

“Couldn’t they just be--”

“Lazy? Standing around like a bunch of good little drones with that...stupid look on their faces? I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“—what I heard, Princess Celestia is even lazier on Saturdays,” echoed the beyond creepy voice of somepony nearby.

“...h-hello?” Cadance whispered, struck with immediate fear, as if it had been waiting for her.

“Well, from what I heard, it’s nothing but cake and hard cider all night long,” Another voice spoke up, this one sounding as gruff and disturbing as a back alley street thug. “Royal duties my flank...”

Cadance felt scared out of her wits, but not so much as little Twilight, who had taken to hiding behind her pink tail as soon as she heard the sudden voices. Fearing for Twilight’s safety, Cadance doused her magical glow light and quickly gathered her senses, poised to strike at a moment’s notice should she ever have to resort to violence in order to protect her filly companion. A few quick blasts of energy should buy them enough time to flee to safety. She began to back up, keeping a steady pace so Twilight could follow along. Even without her light, Cadance could still see fairly well with help from the faint glow of the moon peering in through slits in the fog. She turned her head left and right, scanning the rolling grey for any signs of danger. She needed a plan, and she needed one fast. Luckily for her, they seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

Pssst, Twilight!” Cadance hissed, looking back at her charge.

“W-what? Are they gone?” Twilight whispered in reply, peering out from behind her foalsitter’s tail.

“I don’t know, but here’s what we’re gonna do. I need you to stay as close to me as possible, ok? We’re gonna make a break for it. Hopefully, we’ll find a way out of the gardens. If we make it to the city, we’ll just follow the signs to the boot camp and get help from there. Understand?”

Twilight nodded, slowly stepping out of cover.

“Now, on three. One...two...”

Just as she was about to make a run for the hills, Cadance felt three taps on her shoulder from behind. She stopped dead in her tracks, frozen stiff with fear.

No mare could have ever screamed louder. Cadance whirled around and nearly fell backwards after she caught sight of two glowing, yellow eyes peering at her like a ghostly phantom. The next few seconds seemed to fly by in a blur. The haunting figure lunged at her, but Cadance was quick on her hooves. She quickly slid out of the way, making sure to drag Twilight along with her.

“Wait, your highness!” shouted the rough-voiced figure. Cadance, unfortunately, was too petrified to understand.

Startled and full of fear, Cadance opted to do the first thing that came to mind. Before one could even blink, the pink princess reared back around and delivered a swift, hard buck right in the assailant’s face. Their unseen oppressor fell backward and slammed into the ground like a tree fallen by a lumberpony, motionless and silent.

“Oh no...” Cadance murmured. “That was an accident! I-I didn’t mean to--”

“Princess Cadance?”

The dumbstruck princess and her equally surprised friend looked over their shoulders to find an armor-clad, pegasus royal guard staring back at them with wide eyes. This guard was much smaller than Cadance had expected; much younger too, unlike the usual pack at Canterlot Castle, what with a shorter figure and smaller wings. Besides the usual getup, the guard had on what appeared to be some kind of special flight helmet that covered most of their face, with holes cut out for the eyes and ears, and a thin grill covering both the nose and mouth.

“It’s a royal guard?” said Twilight, raising an eyebrow.

“Finally!” exclaimed Cadance, throwing her hooves up into the air. “We’ve been waiting here forever. Thank goodness you’re here. Please, we need your help. Somepony, or something, tried to attack us. Twilight and I tried to get away, but--”

“Forgive me for interrupting, your highness, but you seemed to have knocked the living daylights out of my partner over there,” spoke the now surprisingly high-pitched voice of the pony behind the mask.

“Your partner?” questioned Cadance, confused.

How could something so otherworldly and terrifying even come close to resembling a pony, let alone a royal guard? There were no similarities whatsoever besides the legs, the tail and the...hooves, the mane, and the...golden armor and identical flight helmet.

“Uh’ oh.”

~~~~~

“Again, I’m very sorry about all this,” Cadance apologized as she levitated a bag of ice onto the massive, swelling black eye of a very grumpy pegasus guard trainee, victim of her rather unpleasant royal welcome. The guard’s helmet was removed due to the intense pain of the expanding bulge, revealing the face of a rather handsome young stallion with a white coat and a short, golden mane.

“It’s fine, your highness,” mumbled the guard, flinching when he felt the ice sting against his injury.

“I still can’t believe you snuck up on her like some cold-blooded killer,” The second guard chuckled. “That was hilarious how she just smacked you right in the face like that! N-no offense, your highness.”

Cadance was deeply surprised. Since when do royal guards exhibit any other emotion other than dull lifelessness and a blank stare? An interesting coincidence indeed to see one do it openly, let alone in front of a princess or any other royal official who actually has a sense of humor.

“None taken,” replied Cadance. “You two don’t look like the usual guards who come by to pick up Twilight every day.”

“Argh! I knew we were forgetting something!” grunted the injured guard.

“Well, our alone time was nice while it lasted,” The other guard replied, blushing.

“Alone time?” said Cadance, raising an eyebrow.

“You’re voices sound really weird with these big helmets on,” Twilight spoke up as she fondled the golden headpiece nearby.

The injured guard opened his mouth to speak, but his strangely giddy partner spoke up first.

“We’re recruits at the training grounds here in Canterlot,” explained the guard through slightly muffled words.

“That’s where my big brother’s training at!” Twilight chimed in.

“Your brother?” replied the guard.

“Just out of curiosity, do either of you know a pony named, Shining Armor?” asked Cadance.

“Junior Captain Armor?” said the injured guard, still wincing in pain. “Yeah, we know him. We train with him too, but not all the time. He got his flank told off hard today by Old Ironsides, our Senior Commander. It sounded rough too. We could hear that old coot yelling at the top of his lungs for miles.”

“Really?” asked Cadance, one eye twitching.

“Yeah. I feel sorry for the poor guy,” the other guard spoke up. “My name is Star Strider by the way, and this is--”

Shhh! We’re not supposed to give away our names!” hissed the annoyed other. “We’ve already broken enough rules as it is! You’re gonna get us both kicked out!”

“Aww, come on, Steely! It’s not like anypony’s around to hear us, besides the princess of course.”

“Speaking of which, what are you doing out here?” asked Cadance.

“And what’s with these helmets?” asked Twilight, pointing to the intact golden headpiece on Star Strider’s head. “They don’t look like they do much of anything.”

“We received a message from Princess Celestia to retrieve her private student from the Canterlot Castle Gardens. Apparently, today’s royal court meeting was put on lock down after Her Royal Highness choked on a piece of cake at the dinner party that followed. As weird as this may sound, the captain of the guard interpreted it as an assassination attempt and ordered that all guards remain at the castle to tighten up security. Everypony else was out training in the field, so we accepted the task, hitched up to one of the royal carriages, and flew our way over here to find you. Oh, and these helmets? Pegasus recruits are required to wear those stupid things when we leave camp for aerial maneuvers training. I think it’s just a safety issue, but do you really think a pegasus would be dumb enough to crash into everything in sight? They’re bulky, they’re heavy, they provide absolutely no support in flight, and they don’t have good ventilation. You sweat like a dog in these things, and they really make a mess of our manes.”

“Then why are you still wearing yours?” asked Twilight.

“Oh, I don’t really know, actually. Here, let me fix that.”

After wrestling with the head strap on the back of the helmet and struggling to wiggle it loose, the helmet finally slide up and off the guardian’s head, revealing not the face of another valiant stallion like Cadance had expected, despite previous behaviors, but rather the face of a beautiful snow-colored mare, smiling a warm smile that seemed to completely shatter every royal guard practice and tradition at the source. Mares in the Royal Guard were considered to be quite the interesting sight these days, like coming across a rare bird while out on a morning stroll.

“Surprised?” asked Star Strider, smiling timidly.

“Actually, yeah,” replied Cadance. “So, Steely—“

“Steelwing, your highness. It’s Steelwing.”

“Is your eye feeling any better?” Cadance continued.

“Not really,” replied Steelwing, keeping the ice pack pressed against his face. “Can’t you just use your…I don’t know, “princess powers” or something to fix this, or at least take some of the pain away?”

“I don’t know. I could try, but I don’t want to risk—“

“Allow me, princess,” Star Strider pro-offered, stepping closer to Steelwing with a wider, sensuous smile on her face.

“Star, not here! You’re gonna get us both—“

Suddenly, Star Strider reached forward, gripped Steelwing’s head, and planted a quick kiss on the young stallion’s cheek.

“Better?” asked Star Strider, giggling when Steelwing's pale cheeks began flaring up with embarrassed blush.

“…better,” replied Steelwing, putting on a little smile of his own.

Once again, Cadance was completely blown away. Nothing made sense anymore. The old singularity of standing around like a statue emitting less emotion than a glass a water seemed to shatter into a thousand pieces in her eyes.

“Could you keep a secret, your highness?” asked Star Strider, eyes glistening.

How could she not? It was love after all. Cadance admired the concept of love more than anything in the world. She could never, nor would ever, turn down such a captivating warmness between two ponies.

But there were always exceptions. Fortunately, this was not one of them.

“Of course,” Cadance replied happily.

“Thank you.”

~~~~~

“We’re all set and ready to go!” chirped Star Strider as she helped little Twilight into the royal carriage compartment.

“We’re are sooo dead when Ironsides gets a hold of us,” mumbled Steelwing while he hitched himself to the front of the carriage.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” said Cadance. “I’m a princess, technically, and I won’t allow it! Besides, I still have questions to ask him.”

“Are you coming, your highness?” asked Star Strider, stepping aside to free up space to the door.

Cadance shook her head. “No thanks. I need to make a little stop in town first. I’ll just fly myself back to the castle later.”

“Do you need us to take you to your destination first?”

“It’s just a short walk away. I’ll be fine.”

“Suit yourself,” said Star Strider with a modest shrug.

“See ya’, Cadance! Today was fun!” said Twilight, peering out from behind the open carriage door.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Twilight,” Cadance giggled, giving a short wave. “Don’t forget to practice, ok?”

“Can do!”

After waving goodbye to each other, the carriage door was shut and locked. Star Strider hitched herself to the carriage alongside her lover, and within minutes, the carriage was off towards Canterlot Castle. The phrase, 'young and in love' was the topic of Cadance’s thoughts to follow, but Star Strider and Steelwing couldn’t have been much younger than herself anyway; maybe just a year or two younger, quite the surprising age to begin royal guard training, but the benefits were there.

“Speaking of royal guards…” Cadance whispered to herself, following along with her own musings. “I think I’ll pay my personal royal guard a little visit.”

~~~~~

Out of the all the destinations in the royal city of Canterlot, the Royal Guard Training Grounds, hooves down, has got to be the most poorly protected area in the entire city. Cadance really wanted to meet the idiot who thought that two, and only two, 'intimidating' guards at the front gate alone was the perfect idea for protecting an entire complex. The only other defense against intruders was to blackout the entire base, dousing every torch except for the ones at the front gate; as if they thought it would make it less suspicious.

After sneaking past Tweedleblind and Tweedledeaf, Cadance slinked her way through the grounds, passing many neatly arranged tents and buildings until she finally found the barracks tent, where the stallion of her blissful thoughts rested his perfect little head each night. She poked her head in through one of the tent flaps to check the area. Everypony inside was fast asleep, some snoring like a freight train, others snoring louder than a freight train, but she wasn’t interested in these ponies.

No, she was more interested in her electric blue-haired sweetheart sleeping soundly near the back of the room. A full day away from him was simply unacceptable. If she remembered correctly, a certain dead pony caused him some trouble today, but she’ll deal with that later. Right now, she had to sneak through an entire room filled with sleepy, muscle-bound walruses to get her prize.

It wasn’t easy, but after tiphoofing through the aisles and diving into cover whenever somepony did so much as twitch, Cadance made it to Shining Armor’s bedside. He was even more handsome up close. The lovely princess gently shook the stallion by the head until he began to stir.

“Just five more minutes…” grunted Shining Armor, turning over on his side.

Five more minutes? Much too long of a wait. Royalty never waits.

“Guess who!” Cadance whispered into Shining Armor’s ear. This time, she got a better response out of him.

“Cadance?” said Shining Armor, mumbling as he began to stir again.

“Surprise!” whispered the pink princess in reply, giggling.

“Cadance!?” Shining Armor gasped, shooting up from the bed.

Shhh! Quiet!” Cadance hissed.

“What are you doing here?” asked Shining Armor, whispering back.

“I’ll tell you later! Get up and follow me.”

“Why?”

“Later! Here, meet me behind the tent in a few minutes.”

“W-wait!”

Before Shining Armor could get a few words out, Cadance darted out the barracks tent, leaving him behind, groggy and confused.

After slipping out of bed and stretching his legs, Shining Armor quietly walked past his fellow trainees and made his way outside. Remembering what Cadance said minutes earlier, he slithered around the corner of the tent into the back alley. The long corridor was one of cold and darkness, with little light shining down from the moon high above.

“Cadance? You back here?” Shining Armor called out in a hushed tone of voice.

“Right behind you…” whispered a familiar voice from behind. Shining Armor gasped and turned around, where he was greeted by an even more familiar pair of lips pressing against his own.

“Miss me?” asked Cadance, breaking away from the affectionate moment, fluttering her eyes seductively.

“Meh. A little,” Shining Armor shrugged. “But seriously, what are you doing here?”

“I just thought I’d come around and see the stallion I care about. Is that a little too much for you?”

“N-no! Not at all, but couldn’t it just wait until tomorrow? You could’ve been caught sneaking in here!”

“Firstly, no, it couldn’t wait, and secondly, caught by who? Those two featherbrains at the front gate? They couldn’t catch a cold even if they were trying! Speaking of which, somepony who mentioned they trained with you told me that old bag of bones gave you a hard time today. Are you alright?”

“I’ll be fine. I’ve been through worse.”

“Good, just so long as you’re not hurt…”

“I’m a pony of steel!” Shining Armor laughed. Cadance laughed along with him. “It’s gonna take more than a few shouts in the face to take me down!”

“Will you be with us tomorrow?”

“Of course...well, so long as Old Ironsides doesn’t put me to work at the crack of dawn…again.”

“You take as much time as you need. Don’t worry about him. I’ll make sure he doesn’t get in your way.”

“How are you going to do that? He might be old, but that pony’s built like a brick wall!”

“Do you really think he’d ignore a princess? Don’t you worry your pretty little head. There are…alternatives for disobeying royalty. He won’t raise a hoof in your direction. I promise.”

“Thanks, Cadance.”

“You’re welcome,” said Cadance with a warm smile. “I should probably get going. It’s getting pretty late.”

“You’re leaving?”

“A princess needs her rest, right? It gives me some time alone to think...about you.”

“Alright. I’ll see you tomorrow...love.”

Being called “love” made Cadance’s heart leap with stride. Only a day after their first kiss, and already they were acting like a couple much closer to each other than a simple romance fling. Only good things could come from this. Cadance could feel it in her heart, much like the same feelings she had for Shining Armor.

After a quick kiss goodbye, the two lovers left the alley going in two separate directions, just in case somepony may be watching, as low as the odds were. Shining Armor returned to his bed while Cadance took to the skies, flying as fast and as hard as her regal body would allow. Blithful dreams of her beloved flooded her mind like an ice cream tsunami; sweet enough to put a smile on anypony’s face. Just the thought of it made Cadance a little peckish. Ice cream sounded like the perfect midnight snack right about now. Maybe she should ask where Celestia keeps her secret stash, and if there was room on the moon for two...