• Published 12th Apr 2015
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What Didn't Happen: After - Zeg



A Princess and a Queen share the same one dream, but on nights separated by over six centuries worth of time. Is the dream a warning of what is yet to come?

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Family Reunion

What Didn't Happen: After

by Zeg

Chapter X – Family Reunion

After sending off one of the guards posted just outside the archive’s entrance, Luna let Twilight know that she would find an escort waiting for her just outside the main gates of the palace grounds. She reassured Twilight that no harm would befall Twily in her absence, and even hinted that perhaps she may find something within the archives that could even cheer the young unicorn up a bit. With a quick thank you to the night princess and one last reassuring glance to Twily, Twilight departed from the archives, heading through the palace halls to make her way outside.

It was getting later in the morning, and the sun was climbing higher toward its apex in a clear blue sky. Twilight’s eyes darted about as she took in her surroundings, noting small details about the palace grounds that differed from the Canterlot from her own time, but most were minor. Canterlot’s palace really did have a timeless quality about it, seeing very little noticeable change over the centuries.

The city proper was a different story. While the traditional architectural designs of the city buildings had not changed much as the centuries had passed, it was safe to say that the vast majority of the buildings had been completely replaced within Twilight’s life time, many of them multiple times. Only some of the older historical landmarks that were already centuries old when she had been born had managed to stand the test of time. She felt a rush of nostalgia as she stepped outside the main gates and stood there looking down the path that she had traveled many times as a young mare on her way to and from private lessons with her mentor. Seeing so many long since gone buildings once again brought back many long forgotten memories.

Twilight flinched when her ear caught the sound of someone clearing their throat next to her, causing her feathers to rustle by her sides as her wings lifted slightly. Glancing to her right, she found the familiar face of a gray pegasus donning a suit of Nightguard armor looking up to her with a patient smile.

“Good morning, Princess,” Gale said as she took a few steps forward and bowed her head slightly before glancing back up with a sheepish grin. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”

“That’s my own fault. I had my head in the clouds.” Twilight took one last quick glance down the paved stone road, showing a quick smile upon her muzzle before looking back. “And good morning to you too, Gale. I didn’t realize that Luna was going to lend me her guard captain for an escort through the city, but I appreciate the company.”

“Well, Dancer and I are pretty good friends. I visit pretty often, so I know the way like the back of my wing,” Gale said, lifting and overturning her right wing with a quick flick before tucking it back to her side. “Are you ready to head that way?” she asked as she stepped up beside Twilight.

“Of course! Lead the way.”

The pair set off from the palace gates, Twilight trailing only half a step behind as Gale lead the way. They traveled at a casual pace while Twilight happily glanced about at the hustle and bustle of the town’s ponies moving from shop to shop, some pulling small carts piled high with goods to be delivered or being bought along with them. Quite a bit of trade goods flowed through the city even back in this time, and the main street ahead of the palace was an epicenter for trade deals to be made.

They hadn’t been traveling down the main road away from the palace for even a minute before Gale spoke up. “So, how different is it?” she asked, glancing back up and over her shoulder.

“The city?” Twilight asked. When Gale gave her a nod, she hummed as she took another quick glance around. “I can safely say that quite a bit does change six centuries from now. Quite a few of the buildings are completely different. But, you can still tell it’s Canterlot either way. Main street is still one of the busiest trade points in Equestria.” She glanced back down to Gale as she also added, “The city does get a bit larger in six hundred years. There’s practically buildings covering the countryside all the way from the mountain to Ponyville.”

“Seriously?” Gale asked as one of her eyebrows appeared to climb up to hide in her helmet. She looked forward, silently leading the way for a moment before shaking her head. “That’s hard to believe. There’s a ton of empty space out there. How can there even be that many ponies to fill that many houses?”

“There are quite a few more ponies,” Twilight noted. “And others. Not only are there quite a lot more unicorns, pegasi, earth ponies, and crystal ponies that call Canterlot and Ponyville home, but there’s quite a few griffons, minotaurs, and even some of the zebra that have lived there for generations.”

“Wow,” Gale commented quietly. “Canterlot has always been more of a unicorn city than anything else.”

“Olde Canterlot is still mostly unicorn,” Twilight said, tilting her head slightly. “The part that is up here on the mountain.”

They passed through an intersection and took a turn down a sidewalk beside a narrow street that led west from the busy main road. Twilight smiled as faded memories danced within her mind, stirred by the sights of the old shops around her. She was so absorbed in the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia that she nearly missed the hushed whispers coming from a group of unicorns up ahead. When she glanced over to find them stealing glances her way, she tilted her head and raised a curious eyebrow at them.

Finding a group of ponies in public whispering about her wasn’t an unexpected thing, here or back in her home time. Still, she was curious as to what exactly the group might be whispering about her. Where they wondering who the mysterious alicorn was, or perhaps concocting their own rumors that they would no doubt be spreading around town? Just as she was passing by the group on the sidewalk, they quickly stepped to the side to make way, each of them giving her a smile before bowing their head in respect.

Twilight’s mouth hung open slightly forming a small ‘o’ before she caught herself and quickly put on a friendly smile for the group and nodded her head in return. The random polite gesture from the group gave her a warm, fuzzy feeling, adding a little extra pep to her steps as she continued following along with Gale down the sidewalk. “That was nice,” she quietly commented.

A questioning hum came from Gale as she glanced back over her shoulder.

“That group back there,” Twilight said, barely jerking her head back toward the group of unicorns.

Gale turned her head to quickly glance back to the group before returning a confused look back to Twilight. “What about them?”

“Well, I just didn’t expect them to be that friendly to a strange alicorn they’ve never seen before.” Twilight stole a glance back over her shoulder at the group as they continued on their way. “I expected ponies to be curious, but it’s nice to feel welcomed.”

“What makes you think they wouldn’t recognize you?”

Twilight looked back to Gale, blinking once before asking, “I wasn’t really around that long, was I?”

“You’re sort of a legend here,” Gale said though a light chuckle. When she noticed the increasing confusion on the princess’s face, she stopped on the sidewalk turning toward Twilight. “You are the Princess of Time, after all,” she said, gesturing to Twilight with a flourish.

Twilight silently stood there, only blinking every few seconds. “The Princess of Time, huh,” she finally said, glancing over her shoulder to the sky back in the direction they had come from. She could just see a few of the taller towers of the palace peaking over the roofs of the nearby buildings. She had a fairly good idea of who she had to thank for bestowing that title upon her.

“Princess Celestia didn’t tell you about it?” Gale asked, drawing Twilight’s attention back to her.

Twilight silently shook her head.

“Well, you can thank her for the new title then. She commissioned an author to write a book about you a few years ago, right after everything that happened. It ended up being a best seller.”

There was a short pause while Twilight let the words sink in. “There’s a book about me here?”

“Oh yeah,” Gale said with a nod and another chuckle as she turned and started walking down the sidewalk again. “You seem a little surprised. I thought a princess like you would have quite a few books written about her by now.”

Twilight cantered a few steps to catch up. “Well, not really... about me,” she said. “I’ve contributed to quite a few works, and have authored a few on my own, but I’m never the subject matter. And my books are purely academic.”

Twilight absentmindedly continued to follow along with Gale as her mind started to wander. What sort of book had been written about her? Was it a factual account of the events that had occurred? It couldn’t possibly be, as most of the world didn’t know the details of what had actually transpired. She began to wonder how much the author might have embellished the story, and if the result could still be considered a historical account of events or would be more like a fantasy adventure novel.

She had to admit to herself that she was curious, but it was a book that she would never have a chance to read. For a fleeting moment, she wondered if it would be entirely unethical to obtain a copy before she returned home, for personal use only, of course. Typically, the thought of taking items from or leaving items in timelines that they did not belong in was something she would never consider, but her curiosity was leading her to reconsider, at least in this one instance. “Books from an alternate timeline,” she mumbled quietly under her breath.

Gale obviously overheard her mumbling, if the light chuckle she let out was any indication.

“Well, here it is,” Gale said as she turned to face Twilight and gestured a wing to a nearby home. They now stood before a modest sized dark wood frame and gray stone brick house with a short decorative black wrought iron fence encompassing a well kept front yard.

Twilight quickly glanced around at her surroundings to try and get her bearings, feeling a slight bit embarrassed that she hadn’t been paying attention, but once she spotted the ivory towers of the palace off in the distance she had a decent idea of where they had arrived at in the western residential district.

“Well, I’ll leave you to it,” Gale said as she unfurled her wings. “Was nice to see you again, Princess.”

“You’re not coming in with me? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.”

Gale shook her head. “I’ve been by recently, and I don’t want to barge in on a family visit. Besides, I do need to get back, I’m sort of on overtime now,” she said, casually pointing a hoof up at the sun.

“Oh, right,” Twilight said, briefly glancing up at the sunny sky. “Sorry about that,” she said through a sheepish grin. Most Nightguard were not necessarily nocturnal, usually holding either a late evening shift that extended just past midnight or an early morning shift that began shortly before and lasted until a few hours past dawn. “I didn’t mean to encroach on your free time.”

“Not a problem,” Gale said with a dismissive wave of her hoof. She turned and trotted off down the sidewalk, calling back over her shoulder to say, “Tell Moondancer I said ‘Hi’,” before she kicked off the ground and took to the air.

“I will,” Twilight called back. She stood there and watched for a moment as Gale glided off toward the palace before turning her attention back to the house before her. Most of the homes in the western residential district were modest in size, and this one was no exception. Twilight stepped onto the laid-stone path that led from the sidewalk to the front door, carefully closing the fence gate behind her after entering the yard. Two small flower beds that mirrored each other lining either side of the steps that lead up to the front porch caught her eye and brought a smile to her muzzle.

Stepping up onto the porch, she stopped at the door and lifted a forehoof, turning it over with the intention of knocking, but she hesitated. She found herself wondering what she should say while she stared blankly at the closed door before her. It wasn’t every day that she got the chance to speak with someone she hadn’t seen in over three centuries, let alone family. “I guess I can start with ‘Hello’,” she mused as she reached out and tapped at the door. Only a few seconds later, her ears twitched at the muffled sound of hoofsteps growing closer to the other side.

The door’s handle glowed and twisted just before it was pulled open from the inside to reveal Moondancer on the other side. Twilight immediately took notice of the small pair of wireframe semi-circle glasses perched upon her muzzle, and the golden beaded chain necklace that they were attached to that was draped around her neck. She also noticed that Moondancer’s mane appeared to be much shorter than she recalled, ending in curls only slightly below her ears.

Moondancer’s reddish eyebrows furrowed as she peered out her front door directly at Twilight’s chest, then she slowly glanced upward until their eyes met. Her brows slowly lifted as her jaw fell open. “Twilight?”

Twilight smiled and nodded.

“I... oh my gosh! What are you doing here?” Moondancer said as a giddy laugh mingled with her words. “I mean, I’m glad you stopped by but, how?” she asked as she craned her head to the side and quickly glanced around Twilight.

Twilight’s smile morphed into a smirk as she said, “Would you believe me if I said that I just happen to be in the neighborhood?”

“Oh yeah, sure!” Moondancer said, following it up with a quick eye roll. She stepped back a few steps, pulling the front door the rest of the way open and gesturing inside as she said, “Please, come in.”

Twilight ducked her head ever so slightly out of habit to make sure her horn cleared the top of the entry way. Most homes weren’t built to accommodate the height of an older alicorn, which she had painfully found out by accident a few times in the past. Luckily, most homes had taller ceilings than doorways, allowing her to stand at full height while inside. She glanced from side to side as she walked into the home’s main living area, and took a few steps toward the hearth when she noticed picture frames setting upon it. Her eyes fell upon the picture frame nearest to her, and her smile grew when she realized she was looking at what must have been their wedding photo.

After closing the front door, Moondancer followed Twilight back into the living area. “So really, what does bring you here? It’s been... well, a few years, hasn’t it?” she asked as she walked up next to Twilight, who looked down to her. “You are taller,” Moondancer said as she took a step back and looked Twilight up and down. There was easily a head height’s worth of difference between them.

“It’s been a few hundred years for me,” Twilight said.

“A few... hundred,” Moondancer said as her eyebrows raised once again. “Wow, that will take some time to catch up on.”

Twilight let out a quiet chuckle. “I won’t bore you with all the details.”

“Well, there has to be some reason why you’re here. Not that I’m suggesting that you wouldn’t want to visit, but I really can’t imagine that you just got bored one day and decided to skip across space and time only for a visit.” Moondancer paused mid-thought and tilted her head slightly. “Actually, how did you even know where we lived?”

“Gale showed me.”

Moondancer silently mouthed the word ‘ah’ as she nodded her head. “So you’ve already been to the palace then?”

Twilight nodded and cast another quick glance around the room. “It’s a very nice home you two have.” One wouldn’t call the surroundings extravagant, but it could definitely be considered a comfortable, cozy place for a couple to live. “Is my brother here?”

“Not right now, but he’ll be home in a little while.”

Twilight nodded once, letting out a sigh. As much as she would have loved to spend time catching up, there were important tasks ahead of them that shouldn’t be delayed. “I actually need to speak to you privately before he gets here.”

“I knew it,” Moondancer said as she squinted her eyes slightly. “So, there is something going on then.”

“Unfortunately.” Twilight considered where she should even start, tilting her head from side to side while she weighed her options in her mind. The visions? The odd changelings? Twily?

A low groan broke the moment of silence as Twilight’s stomach decided right then would be a good time to make a complaint. She quickly tucked a foreleg against her belly in a failed attempt to silence it.

Moondancer eyed Twilight with a wide-eyed glance and a barely suppressed smirk. “Are you okay there? That sounded serious.”

“Well, I sort of skipped breakfast this morning,” Twilight admitted, following it up with a weak laugh. It was a bit embarrassing for her, considering that she really had completely forgotten to make time for eating something before leaving the palace. Perhaps she had gotten a bit too used to her meals being scheduled, prepared, and brought to her by her staff. She honestly couldn’t remember the last time she had needed to ask for something to eat.

A knowing smile appeared on Moondancer’s muzzle. “Well, you’re not the only one who’s guilty of forgetting to eat when she’s busy.” She began to trot off toward the kitchen, calling back over her shoulder to say, “Let me at least pretend to be a good host and fix you some brunch or something, then we can talk. Do you like tea or coffee?”

---

Twilight had insisted that Moondancer keep to ‘whatever is easiest’ while fixing the late morning meal, which ended up being oatmeal flavored with maple syrup, toast with peach preserves, a platter of apple slices, and freshly brewed coffee with sugar and creamer. While Moondancer was busy preparing brunch, Twilight had begun to tell her story, including every relevant detail she could recall from the moment she had found the message in her old journal up until the present moment. Over an hour had passed while they spoke. Twilight finished off the oatmeal and toast prepared for her, leaving them to share the apple slices over cups of coffee while she continued her tale. Finally, a moment of silence fell upon the room when she reached the end of her story.

Moondancer stared blankly down at her mostly empty coffee cup, tapping her hooves on its sides and rotating it slightly side to side. She finally let out a sigh and said, “Wow, this is all... really something.” She glanced up and across the table to Twilight with a serious look in her eyes. “I can see why you wouldn’t want word of this end-of-the-world thing getting out. It would cause a panic.”

“Yes, so we’ll have to keep all of this just between us.” Twilight’s ears fell back and she added, “Even the part about little Twily. I’m sorry, I’m sure you don’t want to keep that from Shiny.”

Moondancer shrugged her shoulders. She rested an elbow just on the edge of the table and nestled her forehoof just under her chin to lean upon it. “He knows that I can’t always talk about work,” she said quietly. She glanced down at her coffee cup again, giving it a thoughtful stare while she traced her free forehoof around the cup’s rim. “But, to think that you actually found her by accident like that. It’s almost unbelievable. Queen Chrysalis spent a lot of time trying to reach out and talk to her again but wasn’t ever successful. I guess now we know why. All that time searching, and she was actually stuck in the queen’s head.” She went still, silently staring at the almost empty cup for a few seconds. She let out a short laugh and shook her head. “As strange as that is, I’m still really glad that you found her. And of course I’ll come along with you two to help out in the Crystal Empire.”

Twilight gave Moondancer an apologetic smile. “I’m really sorry about asking you to cut your leave short.”

Moondancer dismissively waved her hoof. “Oh, don’t worry about that. Honestly, I’ve been ready to get back to it. Three months being practically stuck at home turned out to be a little boring at times, though I did get to catch up on some reading,” she said as she arched her neck back to glance over at a bookshelf behind her.

Twilight jerked her head back suddenly in surprise. “Stuck at home? No one actually told me why you were on leave. You didn’t get hurt, did you?” she asked while a worried look spread across her face.

“No, of course not,” Moondancer said, quickly sitting up. She tilted her head slightly to the side, squinting her eyes as she said, “So, Gale didn’t tell you.” When she saw Twilight return her statement with a confused look, Moondancer let out a chuckle. “And here I was wondering how long you were going to wait to ask about him.”

Twilight blink-blinked and her ear’s twitched as she tried to figure out exactly who Moondancer was referring too since she had already asked about her brother. “Him?” she asked as she tilted her head slightly.

A wide smile spread across Moondancer’s muzzle, the kind someone might wear when they knew something that you didn’t. “Come here,” she said, waving a hoof and prompting Twilight to follow her as she left the table, leaving the dining room and crossing the living area to the adjoining hallway.

Moondancer made her way to the doorway nearest the end of the hall and gently pushed the half closed door open with her magic to walk into the dimly lit room. Twilight ducked her head and peeked into the room after her. All she could make out were odd shapes of shadows that were cast upon the walls by a solitary lamp sitting on a small table across the room. Moondancer touched the lamp with her magic, and it slowly brightened to help chase the shadows away and bring more color to the surroundings. The walls, which had seemed almost black at first, were actually more of a dark blue and had silver stars painted upon them. There was also silver star shaped decorations dangling from the ceiling as well, giving the room the appearance of a starry night sky. Twilight’s attention was drawn back down when she noticed Moondancer’s horn glowing, and she saw her reaching over into...

Twilight let out a quick gasp when she realized she was looking at a foal’s crib.

Moondancer lifted an infant foal with her magic, prompting him to make a few fussy noises as he squirmed about until she managed to get him wrapped up in a blanket. “Ooh, I know. Shhh, it’s okay,” she cooed as she tucked the foal against her chest in one foreleg and gave him a quick nuzzle. “He’s usually a little fussy when waking up,” she said as she sat down next to the crib and waved for Twilight to come closer.

As Twilight approached, she was able to get a better look at the foal, finding that he had a dusty gray coat that appeared to be speckled with white spots. One of the larger spots along the left side of his muzzle had the semblance of a star. In contrast, the messy tuft of hair on top of his head seemed pitch black at first, but when the dim light shined upon it at just the right angle there was a noticeable dark blue sheen. “Oh my goodness,” Twilight cooed, wearing one of the widest smiles in Equestria at that moment while she gently tickled him just under his chin with the tip of her hoof.

He responded with something sounding like a gurgling giggle.

“This is our little colt, Star Gazer,” Moondancer said, giving him another quick nuzzle on his forehead. “Believe it or not, there was a meteor shower the night after he was born. It was a beautiful night, so I decided to take him out with me to watch it, thinking he’d probably just sleep through it all, but he didn’t. He stayed awake through the entire thing. After that, we decided to do a little more decorating in his room,” she said as she nodded to the silver stars hanging overhead.

“He even has a little star on his muzzle,” Twilight said as she quickly tickled the star shaped birthmark, eliciting another foalish giggle. “Well, congratulations,” she said as she sat next to Moondancer and embraced her in a wing hug.

“Thanks,” Moondancer said, leaning into Twilight’s side. After spending a quiet moment watching over Star Gazer together, Moondancer glanced up to Twilight and asked her, “Do you want to hold him for a bit, Auntie Twilight?”

“Of course I do!” Twilight said as she excitedly tapped her forehooves together. Moondancer carefully lifted her little colt up with her magic and floated him closer. Her pinkish aura mingled with Twilight’s magenta aura as Star Gazer was carefully passed from one to the other.

Twilight carefully tucked Star Gazer close to her chest with a foreleg, leaning her head in closer over him. When he noticed her looking at him, he smiled back at her and reached out his tiny forelegs. “Hey there,” Twilight singsonged, leaning in just close enough so Star Gazer could touch the tip of her nose with one of his tiny hooves.

A lock of Twilight’s mane slipped from behind her ear, falling to dangle next to her face and just within Star Gazer’s reach. He noticed it and quickly latched on to the lock of violet hair with both forehooves, and began guiding it to his open mouth.

“Oop! You don’t need to eat that,” Moondancer quickly said as her magic pulled back the loose lock of Twilight’s mane, rescuing it from a slobbery fate. “And now you know why I got my mane cut short. He’s got a thing about trying to chew on everypony's mane,” she said to Twilight while rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

Twilight let out a quiet giggle and tucked her mane securely back behind her ear. While she had many friends over the years that had children of their own, this was the first time in centuries that she had gotten the chance to meet a new foal from her own family tree. “Auntie,” she quietly said as she momentarily closed her eyes. For a fleeting moment, visions of a mischievous little light-pink alicorn filly came to mind. “It’s been quite a while since I’ve been called that,” Twilight said as she opened her eyes once again and a bittersweet smile appeared upon her lips. However, the smile quickly faded as she let out a sigh and glanced toward Moondancer. “Now I feel terrible about asking you to travel with me.”

Moondancer laid a hoof upon one of Twilight’s and shook her head. “Don’t. If there really is something threatening our entire existence, I want to be there to help stop it if I can.” She leaned in closer and gently ran her fetlock over Star Gazer’s head and through his mane. “I’ve got a really good reason to help right here.”

Both mares looked back toward the room’s door when they heard the sound of the home’s front door opening and closing. There were a few seconds of quiet only interrupted by the sound of someone’s hoofsteps walking into the living area, and then they both heard Shining Armor’s voice as he called out. “Hey, Dancer! I’m home!”

“In the foal’s room, Shiny,” Moondancer called back. She tapped on Twilight’s shoulder to get her attention, then touched the tip of her hoof to her lips as she made a quiet shushing sound.

Twilight smiled and nodded back.

“So, there’s definitely something going on,” Shining Armor said from the other room. “One of your old pals from the guard stopped by this morning for some adjustments.” There was the sound of what was probably a heavy set of saddlebags being set down upon the floor in the other room, then the sound of Shining Armor’s hoofsteps as he began to make his way down the hall. “He said the Nightguard went to the forest after we all saw that bright light the other night. Wouldn’t say what for but—” Shining Armor froze at the bedroom doorway with his mouth agape and his widening eyes focused on Twilight.

Moondancer could help but laugh at the surprised look on her husband’s face. “We have a guest, Dear,” she said with a chuckle.

“Twily!” he said as he rushed toward her and embraced his sister with a hug, which she returned by wrapping one of her wings around him. “I can’t believe—I mean, wow, look at you!” he said as he leaned back and looked up into her eyes. He furrowed his brow and sat up a little bit taller as he used his hoof to measure the height difference between the top of his head and her’s. “Really, look at you. Are you taller than me?”

Twilight let out a short giggle at her brother’s antics. “Seems I am just a bit.”

“Well that hardly seems fair,” he growled through a smirk as he reached up and hooked one of his forelegs over her neck, pulling her head down next to his. He managed to reach up and give his ‘little’ sister a quick noogie before sitting back and saying, “You know I’m still your big brother even if you’re taller.”

“Of course,” Twilight chuckled. She quickly blinked a few times when she noticed that she was starting to get misty-eyed.

“Ah, I’ve missed you,” Shining Armor said as he leaned in for a second hug, which Twilight gladly accepted. They remained in a quiet embrace for a few seconds longer before Shining Armor leaned back again and looked up at his sister. “So, I’m going to throw a wild guess out there and say that you had something to do with that bright light over the Everfree,” he said as he poked the tip of his forehoof against her chest.

“I have no idea what you could possibly be talking about,” Twilight said with an obvious smirk on her muzzle, feigning innocence as she glanced up at the ceiling and shrugged her shoulders.

“Aha! I knew it.” He stood and walked over to stand next to Moondancer, leaning against her and holding the back of his hoof up near his mouth as he spoke in a stage whisper. “Twily never could hide anything from me.” He nudged her shoulder with his elbow and gave her a wink.

She responded by rolling her eyes and shaking her head. She cocked an eyebrow and gave Twilight a look that seemed to silently say, ‘Can you believe this guy?’

Shining Armor looked back up to Twilight and asked, “So, here to save the world again?”

“Shiny, Dear....” Moondancer gave him a stern look and shook her head.

“Alright, alright,” he said. He sat next to her, pulling her into a hug with his foreleg. “I know when I’m supposed to keep my muzzle out of stuff,” he said, leaning in to kiss her on the side of her muzzle, which managed coax a smile out of her. Shining Armor then stood and approached Twilight, looking up at her. “Glad you’re here, whatever the reason is. So, what do you think about your new nephew?”

Twilight’s horn was aglow while her magic formed a transparent magenta butterfly that was fluttering around in front of Star Gazer’s eyes. She made it land upon his nose and giggled when the little colt’s eyes crossed to try and focus on it. “He’s adorable.”

“He is right now, but you should hear him when he’s exercising those little lungs of his. Isn’t that right, Star Gazer.” Shining Armor reached up and tickled the little colt’s tummy, eliciting a high pitched giggle from him. “Hah, yeah.” He glanced up at Twilight, arching one eyebrow as he said, “Kinda surprising how much noise can come out of something so tiny, right?”

Moondancer stepped up beside Shining Armor and tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. “Hey, Shiny. I’m actually going to need to help your sister out a bit while she’s here.” She glanced up at Twilight and asked, “How long do you think the trip will take?”

Twilight took on a thoughtful look, letting her eyes wander while scrunching her mouth to one side. “Well, if we left as soon as we could... say, this afternoon perhaps, then maybe we would only be gone a day or two.” She looked back down to the little foal resting in her foreleg giggling at her magic butterfly and smiled. “Don’t want to keep you away from family for any longer than is necessary.”

“Well, don’t you two worry,” Shining Armor said as he lit his magic. “Come’re little colt,” he said as his blue magical aura surrounded Star Gazer and lifted him up to hover just in front of him. He pressed his muzzle against Star Gazer’s tummy and blew a raspberry, causing the little colt to let out another loud giggle. He then tucked Star Gazer snuggly against his chest with one foreleg. “You two can run off and do all the super secret royal stuff you need to. The little stallion here and I will hold the fort while you girls are doing your thing. Right, Star Gazer?”

Star Gazer let out a tiny sneeze and followed it up with a cheerful sounding gurgle.

Shining Armor chuckled. “I got this. I’ll stay home with the little guy while you girls go save the world.”