• Published 9th Sep 2012
  • 7,837 Views, 163 Comments

Twilight's Odyssey - DemPonies

In an Equestria without Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle gets lost in a crowd during the Summer Sun Celebration. Unbeknownst to her, she will set a series of events into motion that will change the fates of both the nation and her life, forever.

  • ...

Chapter 3: Talking with a Princess

✶✶✶ Odyssey

An MLP:FiM Fanfic by DemPonies

Chapter Three:

Talking with a Princess

A light. Somewhere off in the darkness it shone dimly, slowly growing in intensity until it made her eyes flicker. By instinct, she raised her eyelids, one after the other. She groaned in discomfort as she pulled the fringes of her purple mane away from her eyes. Squinting, her sight slowly adjusted to the light around her, emanating from a chandelier hanging from the roof, a couple of torches on the walls, and a blood-red sun halfway down the horizon from outside the window.

She herself laid in a wide, oversized bed, beneath a layer of white sheets and blankets, feeling sore all over. She tried to sit up, but the weight of her head kept her down. It felt like it had grown to twice its normal size while she'd been out and that it wasn't screwed on quite tight enough. She twitched and started to rub her temples as a sharp pain pierced through her head, shortly followed by a slight pounding.

W-where am I?

Suddenly, the sound of hooves against stone echoed throughout the chamber, and a looming, white figure approached her bedside.

"Ah, you're finally awake," said the silvery voice of what was undoubtedly a young mare. "Good, you've been out for quite some time." The figure spoke with a voice of authority, a magnetic presence. Yet, it sounded strangely akin to what the bedridden filly imagined she herself would sound like if she tried to speak—weary and cautious—but for entirely different reasons. Not just simple exhaustion, the speaker seemed to fear it would not be answered at all.

Stranger still, the filly recognized the voice, its sound resonating inside of her from sometime before. She suddenly gasped as it dawned on her. The Summer Sun Ceremony!

"P-princess Platinum!?" she croaked.

There was no doubt. Her vision was still blurry, and the Princess's lack of a crown was quite peculiar, but there was no mistaking that voice. In spite of her soreness, she jumped in surprise, somehow reaching a sitting position. If not for the numbness of her neck, she might have tried to bow. As it was, however, she risked it snapping like an old twig if she tried.

"Be careful," Guinemare said, stretching a hoof out to the filly's shoulder. "You are in the castle's hospital wing. You passed out from exhaustion a few hours ago, and you really should try to relax."

She nodded in response, leaned her head back against the pillow, and took a few deep breaths.

"That's better," said Princess Platinum while retracting her hoof. "Now, you know me, so I will presume you remember who you are?"

"Um," she said, brows furrowed. "Twilight... Sparkle..."

The Princess let out a light sigh. "That's a relief," she said. "It seems you have not suffered any major injuries. That also means you will most likely be your normal self soon enough, and"—she took a few steps closer to Twilight, a single eyebrow raised—"that you may be able to clear up a few things for me."

Twilight wasn't sure if it was a question, but she nodded nonetheless, unblinkingly. The Princess's steady, blue stare demanded more, however. "Yes, Your Highness," Twilight quickly blurted out.

"Very well," said Princess Platinum. "Now, do you remember what happened during your examination?"

"Hmm..." Twilight thought back. She did remember certain things. As she tried to recall, memories of the exam flooded before her eyes. Images of the tower raining down on her, smashed pieces of glass and furniture ravaging through the room amidst a storm of wanton magic, and her own scream drowning beneath it all. With a squeak, Twilight promptly pulled the bed sheets over her head.

From behind her fabric wall, she heard the muffled voice of the Princess say "I see that you recall"—a hint of amusement bubbling beneath the otherwise reserved tone.

Slightly lowering the top of her sheets, Twilight peeked over it with a single eye. She found Princess Guinemare standing next to her—a slight, calm smile on her lips. "Maybe you wouldn't mind telling me about it?" she asked, reassuringly.

Twilight sighed and, letting the blankets hit the side of the bed, emerged from underneath her make-shift cover. She immediately gazed down, fidgeting with her hooves, at the mere thought of talking about her examination. Even if the Princess hadn't asked so nicely, however, refusing your monarch just wasn't something one did.

So, Twilight told the Princess everything she could, from the day she'd helped raise the sun to her last recollections of the examination. The only thing she left out was her run-in with Madame Mirage, as she didn't quite understand it herself, and her memory of that event remained a bit fuzzy.

"...and that's all I can remember, Your Highness," Twilight finished, slowly turning her gaze up towards the Princess.

Guinemare had stayed silent throughout the story, listening intently. Only now did she close her eyes and breathed in.

"That's an amazing tale, Miss Sparkle," she said, her face breaking out into a sidelong smile. "You must be very special."

Twilight didn't know what to say. Me? Special?

"Me?" she asked, wide-eyed. "Why?"

Before the Princess got a chance to answer, a sound like the cross between a burp and a hiccup came from the other side of the bed.

"Garp!" it said.

Twilight cocked her head to the side. "What was that?" she asked.

"Garp!" A bulk at the end of the bed bounced, a short wave spreading across the sheet.

There it is again! Twilight leaned forward to get a closer look.

The Princess, meanwhile, raised her hoof to suppress a giggle. "I believe it's time I introduced you to your latest admirer," she said. Her horn lit up and a purple aura covered the sheet. Slowly, it moved along the bed, gradually uncovering its hidden possession.

It was a little thing, not even tall enough to reach up to Twilight's eyes despite standing on two sets of scaly claws. The legs held up a small, pinkish body with a head almost the size of the rest of it, balanced by a tail that ended in a sharp, triangular shape. On its back, a ridge of green spikes grew in a straight line from out of its head all the way down its spine.

As Twilight eyed the creature, their gazes suddenly met—its wide, reptilian eyes twinkling like stars as they looked up at her.

"Garp!" it said again, snapping Twilight out from her entrancement. She promptly returned to scrutinizing the critter, her jaw slightly agape while it kept gawking at her.

For a moment, absolute silence reigned as both the filly and the creature eyeballed each other, the Princess quietly observing them both from the sidelines.

As Twilight leaned back and forth, examining the thing from different angles, she found the pink ball of scales mirroring her movements. Still staring.

She scanned every body part—the scales, the eyes, the claws, and more—rapidly checking each off one at a time on a mental checklist. Slowly, it became all the more obvious to her what it was.

"It's a dragon."

Not meaning to say something so painfully obvious out loud, Twilight let out a nervous laugh, trying to suppress the urge to bang her already aching head against something hard.

The Princess, however, simply said "So I see," a humored glint in her eye. "It bears resemblance to a certain dragon egg, does it not?"

Looking over it again, Twilight did find the pinkness of its scales rather familiar. "Is this... the egg from the examination?" she asked. "You mean I did it!?"

Princess Guinemare chuckled and began to nod.

Twilight couldn't help but beam until she realized: It must have been what that big monster that tore down the ceiling was. The smile blew out as quickly as it came, leaving Twilight with a bitter taste in her mouth.

Her glance started to shift awkwardly between the Princess and the dragon. Settling on the Princess, Twilight asked, "Um, why's it looking at me like that?" She could still see it staring at her from out of the corner of her eye.

The Princess gave something akin to a shrug. "I suspect it's just hungry," she replied in a calm, low-key tone.

Twilight, though, reacted quite vigorously. Wide eyed, she rapidly turned her head towards the baby dragon. "Then, w-what's it looking at me for?" she asked again. Its glistening stare suddenly took another meaning when she thought of it being hungry. Returning its unblinking look, she slowly crept backwards until most of her body leaned against the headboard. "I don't have anything," she said before giving a loud gulp.

Guinemare took a step closer. "Don't worry," she said. "I think the reason he looks to you is because you hatched him. He seems somewhat attached to you."

"Garp!" he said again, as if to confirm the fact.

"Really? What gave you that idea?" Twilight said, rolling her eyes slightly. "Your Highness," she hurriedly added, a sheepish smile on her lips.

The Princess, however, did not seem to mind, but rather, returned the smile. "Well," she said, "apart from his undivided advertence thus far, he followed you here and struggled when anypony tried to move him." The Princess suddenly paused, as if catching herself doing something inappropriate. With a clearing of the throat, her face promptly straightened out, and her voice took a more formal tone. "We have since come to the conclusion that it would be the best for all if you took the responsibility to look after the creature."

Twilight's eyes grew wide, her jaw slackened. "Me!? B-but..." she stammered. "I wouldn't know how to take care of a... dragon."

It was true. In all the books she'd read, only a precious few had even mentioned dragons, let alone said anything important about them. Even Dragonology, A Reference Guide contained little but the very obvious.

"Nopony does, really," the Princess said. "We know they prefer a diet rich with jewels, of which you'd be given many, courtesy of the crown." She locked her sight straightly unto Twilight. "We had hoped that you would at least consider it."

"Well..." Twilight rubbed the back of her neck with her hoof. I did hatch the thing, she thought. I suppose I share some of the responsibility. "I guess I could try. What do you usually do when this happens?"

Princess Guinemare raised a single eyebrow in response. "Usually?" she asked. "Miss Sparkle, I've never heard of anything like this happening before. In fact, it wasn't even meant to happen this time."

Twilight shook her head, not sure she'd heard right. "Wait-what!?" she exclaimed. "B-but the examiners told me to—"

The Princess raised a hoof into the air.

"The last test isn't there to measure your magical abilities," she explained. "It's meant to be a test of character; to see what applicants would do when faced with insurmountable odds. Dragons possess a natural resilience to magic. Hatching one would be a task fit for a group of experienced mages, not school-aged foals. Still, what would she try? Would she crack or persevere?" She looked up, past Twilight, and, with a smile on her face, said, "It seems your solution was brute force." She snorted, grinning. "As good a strategy as any."

Not sure what to say, Twilight remained quiet, looking at the Princess whose gaze, with a jolt, returned to Twilight.

"Excuse me, Miss Sparkle," she said in a distant voice, as if her thoughts were occupied elsewhere. "It was not my intention to keep you from your family for this long—"

"My Parents? They're here!? Are they hurt?" Twilight frantically looked around the room for any sign of them.

"No, they're next door and perfectly healthy," Princess Guinemare assured her.

Twilight breathed out a sigh of relief.

"I asked them for some time to speak to you privately," the Princess went on. "I even offered them the chance to see your new quarters while they waited. They insisted on staying close by, however, and now that you've both told me about the exam and agreed to take care of the little dragonling, I'll go send for them."

"My quarters?" Twilight asked, cocking her head to the side before her eyes lit up. "You mean in the school? Did I pass?"

Princess Guinemare gave a half grin. "You could say that," she said. She cleared her throat again and her face turned emotionless. "Well, then. Farewell, Twilight Sparkle. I'm sure we'll meet again." With those words, the Princess turned around and walked away.

Twilight watched silently, following her trail.

As the Princess reached one of the room's wooden doors, she suddenly looked back. "Oh! One more thing," she said. "Congratulations on that mark of yours." The door swung open, encased in a purple glow, and the Princess left the room, leaving a perplexed Twilight behind.

What did she mean by that? Twilight suddenly gasped, shifted and turned—despite her numbness—until she could see the pink six-pointed star, surrounded by five white miniatures, decorating her haunches.

Yes! She flew up from the bed and stretched her hooves into the air. "Ow!" Clutching her left shoulder, she slumped back against the mattress with a light groan.

Staring up at the ceiling, the sudden silence began to lay heavily on her. What a day, she thought, rubbing her eyes. "The exam, explosions, and the Princess herself to boot. Anything else I forgot?"



As the sun slowly made its way past the horizon, the enchanted torches inside the castle came to life, their flames illuminating the otherwise pitch dark corridors for its denizens. One such figure walked down one of the more luxurious ones, the sullen light of the torches throwing the flickering shadow of a lanky stallion—barely more than a colt—up against the busts and tapestries of ancient monarchs, many of which he shared a likeness, that adorned the walls.

His steps echoed through the corridor. Passing many a lesser door, he finally reached his destination: a large, gold embellished doorway at the end of the hall. There, a lone guard stood by its side. Either by his fair coat or the glimmer of the coronet resting behind his horn, the guard recognized and saluted him.

"Prince Regal," he said.

The Prince waved a hoof dismissively. "Yes, yes. At ease, guard."

The armored stallion lowered his hoof and the grip around his lance loosened slightly.

"There, that's better," said Prince Regal. "Now, would you mind opening the door for me? I would like to speak to my sister."

The guard looked forward, far above the much shorter prince. "Her Highness, Princess Guinemare, is not in her chambers at the moment."

At that, the Prince raised an eyebrow, rubbing his chin. "That so?" he muttered, looking slightly to the side before abruptly clearing his throat. "Well then," he said while lowering his hoof to the floor, returning his attention to the guard, "I suppose I will just have to wait for her inside."

The guard blinked a few times, not offering an immediate response. Finally, he said, "It would not be appropriate to let anypony into Her Highness's bedchamber without her permission."

"Guard." Prince Regal raised his short, squared off muzzle as high as he dared without risking his coronet falling off his luscious silver mane, glaring deeply into the stallion's eyes. "Do you mean to say that I—a Prince of Unicornia—cannot go where I please in the Castle of Unicornia?"

Maintaining an emotionless facade, the guard said, "No, Your Highness."

The Prince raised an eye-brow. "Would you suggest that I wait out here, like common plebe?"

"No, Your Highness."

"Well then!" he said in a voice that left no room for argument. "That leaves a single option, doesn't it? If my sister holds any objections, she may tell me so herself."

With another salute, the guard's horn lit up, followed by the rattling sounds of turning keys and the opening of locks. A magic aura suddenly engulfed the door and it slowly turned open, revealing a room shrouded in thick darkness, nothing but a small ray of moonlight shining through a crack between the curtains of a distant window.

The Prince lit up his own horn and walked inside, the spell's azure light guiding him as he made his way through the room. A few steps in, as he placed his hoof on what felt like an expensive Saddle Arabian rug—no doubt the gift of an ambassador or another—he heard the thud and clicking mechanisms of the door closing behind him.

The Prince raised his head slightly. Alone, he thought.

Regal resumed his walk to the one beam of white light by the end of the room, across the rug and past the shining blue star caused by the reflection of his sister's round mirror. He walked around the giant bed with its translucent canopy all the way to the window beside it and pulled its crimson curtains apart.

The moon had risen high by now. Its pale light flooded through the room, uncovering the hidden silhouettes of maps and paintings placed between the bookcases of the delicately adorned stone walls, as well as a dark mahogany desk to the room's left.

Regal walked up to a fireplace by the other side of it, and, with a wave of his horn, set it ablaze. He stared into the sparkling fire for a moment, its dancing flames reflecting in his eyes.

The minutes passing away, waiting for his sister, the Prince inattentively gazed across his sister's bedchamber. Regal suddenly stopped as he came upon a glimmer by the opposite side of the room.

There, among the desk's quills and papers, it rested: The Platinum Crown. A headdress of a not too surprising metal, adorned with sapphires as big as acorns. He'd missed it in both the darkness and the moonshine, but now, with the fire's hot blaze, it glistened like a star.

What is this doing here? he thought. It's not like Gwyn to let it litter like this...

For what felt like an eternity, he stood perfectly still, staring at a relic older than Equestria itself. He quickly scanned the room again and, on a whim, took the coronet off his head and put it next to the crown with a thunk. With both his hooves in a firm grip around it, he raised the crown above his head.

It's heavier than I thought, he mused.

Just as the crown reached the tip of his mane, he heard the locking mechanisms unravel from the door. His eyes widened. He hurried to put the crown back to its place, reached for his coronet and—



Princess Guinemare looked around her room. "What are you doing here?"

"Why, waiting for you, of course," he said, a wry smile on his lips as he adjusted the coronet on his head ever so slightly. "What else would I do?"

She looked back and forth across the room. "Hmm, I suppose." Guinemare quietly stepped inside, the door slowly closing behind her. "You have to excuse my absence," she said. "There was a pressing matter that required my attention."

"The eastern tower?" Regal asked as he slightly moved away from the desk.

His sister raised an eyebrow. "You know of it?"

"Hard to miss when a whole tower is falling apart." He flicked his head, saying, "Honestly, I'm a little hurt that I wasn't called upon."

Guinemare shrugged. "Well, there wasn't much that needed to be done once it was over." She walked further into her room until she stood next to the hearth fire. "I only arrived in the aftermath myself, and I didn't really think of summoning you... Not wanting to waste your time, of course."

Regal broke into a strained, sidelong smile. "Of course," he rasped. He theatrically cleared his throat and said "Well, I trust it's all been looked over?"

Guinemare nodded. "As far as can be done, for now at least. I checked in with the filly."

"In that case"—Regal made a small bow—"I would like to offer my assistance."

"I don't think that will be necessary—"

"But I insist!" He took a step closer. "I know of this pair of mares that could be most helpful. They're reliable, discreet, and can either make it instantaneous, prolonged or—"

"What are you talking about?" Guinemare's brows furrowed.

Regal paused for a moment. "Why, to make this problem... go away, of course." He spoke in the same casual tone most would talk about a slightly embarrassing misdoing. "It's the most obvious answer."

Guinemare wrinkled her muzzle for a moment, raising her upper lip in repulsion. Before long, however, her face tensed and she turned to look straight into Regal's eyes, glaring intensely. Her eyes seemed to glow on their own, the rest of her character cast in shadow as flames from the fireplace whirled behind her.

"Listen, little brother," she said, an electrifying sting in her voice that caused Regal's back-hair to stand on end. "I won't 'make away' with her. She's a filly, and a rather innocent one, at that."

Despite his surprise, Regal managed to snort in indignation. "Oh, please, spare me!" he said. "You saw the devastation she cause. She's a danger. To both herself and others, but, most importantly, to us. You have to be able to make the hard decisions—"

"There is nothing hard about making difficult situations 'go away'!" Guinemare growled. "The hardest, and oftentimes right, decision is to live with and make something good out of them. I talked to her and saw no malice. She could be a great help and asset, given time."

Regal froze stiff, dumbstruck. He started to stammer in an effort to find the words. "B-but... Orphic says—"

"I don't care what your teacher says—"

"Well, you should!"

Ignoring him, Princess Guinemare raised her voice to practically a shout. "I won't hurt foals because of what they might do," she said. "Not in my Unicornia! Not for as long as I am monarch!"

Regal stomped his hoof against the room's rug-covered floor."There you go again!" he said, clenching his teeth. "You've been sitting on the throne for a few years and suddenly you think you're Father!"

At that moment, silence swept across the room. Time slowed down, and he shivered as what felt like a cold breeze passed by him, running down his spine. The tension laid heavy in the air, so thick one could cut it with a kitchen knife.

Guinemare whipped away from her brother. Shoulders raised, she stared into the hearth's fire with a hanging head.

Regal broke the silence. "Gwyn, I—"

"Get out!" Two simple words said, and not a movement made.

Regal didn't move either. He didn't dare. His jaw ajar, he stood there for the longest time, staring in disbelief at his sister.

"Leave!" she finally hissed.

Slowly, he closed his mouth, and his face darkened. He made a mock bow behind her back and said "As you command... Your Majesty." With those parting words, Regal whipped around and started walking towards the door, holding his head up high. In silence, he left the room, unopposed. The door opened quietly from the inside and Regal walked out, past the saluting guard and out the hallway, never looking back.

Sometime later, far away from the prying gaze of his sister's chambers, the Prince stopped in front of an empty stairway, listening to the torches' sparkling flames and staring into the dark abyss. The moment soon passed, however, and Regal snorted, lit up his horn, and descended down the endless gulf of shadows in a steadfast pace.

He had decided it was time to see his teacher...