• Published 4th Mar 2015
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The Traveling Tutor and the Royal Exam - Georg

A simple test with an unexpected result sends Princess Twilight Sparkle’s life in an unexpected direction, accelerating a high-speed collision course with the young magic tutor she met and fell in love with just over a year ago.

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Chapter 33 - What Goes Around

The Traveling Tutor and the Royal Exam
What Goes Around

Time: 6:45 A.M. 13 Hours, 15 minutes until Zero Hour
Scheduled Event: Waking
State of Bride Anxiety: Blissfully Calm

The annoying twee-whernk! of an alarm spell caused Green Grass to shift uncomfortably under his warm purple blanket and regard Her Royal Highness, Princess of Friendship from a wonderfully close range. It was still dark outside from the wan moonlight spilling through the closed windowshades, so there was no chance they had accidentally slept through the whole day and were missing their wedding. Still, Twilight would not have set the alarm spell if she did not need to be somewhere this early in the morning, so Green Grass squinted into the violet flashing light coming off her horn and kissed his future wife on the nose.

"Dear? Your alarm is going off. Didn't you have someplace you needed to be this morning?"

The only response was a muffled mumbling and the shifting of the damp patch of drool on his shoulder as Twilight wrapped both wings around him, which actually would not have been that bad if her flashing horn had not wound up just in front of his eyes. The longer the alarm spell went on, the louder and brighter her horn was going to get, so he gave her another kiss and reverted to the next-to-last resort.

"Twilight, you overslept and you're going to be late for school."

"Oh, no!" Twilight Sparkle vaulted out of bed and sprinted into the bathroom, being followed by a flurry of books, quills, and a saddlebag. Her voice became garbled and muffled from the toothbrush as she called out, "I've got a meeting with… Um…"

"Lemon Hearts and Diamond Rose to get your mane styled for tonight," said Green Grass while picking up a basket from the suite endtable and checking the wind-up clock. "I got your wingtip frosting kit, the curlers, and the mane gel you wanted. There's still ten minutes before your scheduled appointment and it should take you nine minutes to walk there with Crosswind."

"Not enough time!" Twilight's voice had a tinge of panic in it, peaked by the sound of Spike knocking on the door from out in the hallway.

"Hey, Twilight? Crosswind and I are ready for your appointment. If you're awake. And not doing something else that I don't want to know about. Ever."

"Coming, Spike!" called out Twilight as she bounded out of the bathroom, swept up the basket of manecare products in her magic, and dashed out the door. The groom felt a little miffed that the goodbye kiss that the bride had intended for him wound up on the lips of the startled door guard, but Green Grass walked over to the open door, kissed the same guard on the cheek, and closed the door before heading back to bed.

"That'll keep him awake the rest of the morning," said Green Grass with a yawn as he settled down in the covers, intending on sleeping until noon. Twilight had a full morning schedule of mane dressing, hoof polishing, coat conditioning, and horn waxing, but all he needed to do was run a comb through his mane and put on his tux for this evening, which would take about five minutes.

After all, it was not even dawn yet, which meant that Green Grass needed to catch up on the sleep he would be missing once the foal was born.

* *

"Good morning, dear sister," said Luna with a yawn as she slipped through the door into their breakfast nook. "Good day to you also, Cadence. So glad you could join with us to sup on this glorious dawn."

"Good morning, Auntie Luna," said Cadence, giving her fellow alicorn a kiss on the cheek that also carried a few blueberry muffin crumbs. From the devastation at the table, both alicorns had already been hard at work fueling both Sun and Love, although Cadence could catch the hint of a smirk on Luna's face as she stole a glance at the empty fourth chair at the table, as well as the suggestive lilt to her voice.

"Dost thy stallion not wish to dine with us this morn, or tis his mettle so exhausted by our glorious night that he is unable to rise to the occasion?"

"Auntie Luna!" chided Cadence through the remains of a second blueberry muffin. "You make it sound like I have Shining Armor tied to the bed until he can give me a foal. Aunt Celestia, aren't you going to defend me?" Cadence turned her best pleading look on the Sun Princess, which probably would have worked better if the both of them were not snickering.

Celestia rolled her eyes, but did not stop her ongoing destruction of the mountain of breakfast items heaped up at the table. "I believe Luna is the expert in regards to stallions, ropes and knots. Why I remember one time—"

Whatever embarrassing family revelation was about to be revealed was abruptly cut off as a large blackberry bagel was vigorously shoved into Celestia's mouth, and Luna took up the resulting conversational slack. "We had hoped that Twilight Sparkle would join with us this morn, but she has been called to engage in a battle to the death with an army of cosmetic products, the number of which seem wildly excessive for one of such natural beauty. We would summon her paramour in her stead, but—" Luna concentrated for a moment "—he is currently in the Dreamlands."

"Slugabed so late in the day?" asked Celestia, glancing outside to where her sun had long since begun its climb into the sky. "We really should do something about that."

"Whatever do you mean, dear sister?" asked Luna, assaulting a massive green-pepper-and-onion omelet with reckless disregard for any safety equipment or innocent bystanders. "Our powers should only be used with restraint, not for our entertainment."

"But just this one time, Luna," begged Celestia with her own mournful eyes and trembling lip that just dripped with royal insincerity. As well as a few crumbs.

After due consideration (and omelet consumption), Luna sat her empty plate to one side and picked up a nearby silver tray.

"Auntie Luna!" chided Cadence, scattering a few crumbs across the table from her scone. "Shining Armor told me what you did to him on our wedding morning. Do you think it's a very good idea to wake up Greenie the same way?"

"Yes," declared Luna as her horn lit up and a diagram of the Royal Guest Suites appeared across the silver tray. Small labeled dots indicated the positions of the Royal Guards in the corridors and the servants cleaning the other suites, as well as one greenish dot with a tiny 'zzzz' above it still immobile in the central suite. "As you can see, he has returned to slumber while the rest of his boon companions have awakened to face the Day."

"A tragedy," tsked Celestia, putting aside an empty glass of orange juice.

"We would fain wager that we could give the lazy stallion such a dream that he would not stop running until he has passed nearly a hundred lengths of corridor."

"No, Luna," chided Celestia. "You lucked out with Shining Armor. I don't think you could get more than fifty with Green Grass. He's developed quite a thick skin. Remember, he has been exposed to both Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie."

"Aunties!" Cadence put one hoof down on the breakfast nook tile with a tiny 'click.' "I can't believe you're considering using dream magic on that poor colt on the morning of his wedding! He's been through griffons and Royals and Blueblood—" Cadence paused to shudder "—and so much more just in order to marry Twiley. He's taking responsibility for his actions and standing up for the first time in his life, and I should know, because I met his parents. He is voluntarily accepting Twilight Velvet as a mother-in-law, both of you as his aunts, and a career in Ponyville while supporting his new bride as she travels across Equestria. You should both be ashamed of yourselves." Cadence paused to take a drink of orange juice and regard both of her aunts, who were each fairly radiating an aura of pure and untainted innocence. "Besides, I have a much better idea."

* *

Time: 9:45 A.M. 10 Hours, 15 minutes until Zero Hour
Scheduled Event: Absolutely, Positively Nothing
State of Groom Anxiety: Anticipatory

Over the last few months, Green Grass had become gradually used to waking up to a warm alicorn. The metabolism that drove both wings and horn along with the amount of magic Twilight could generate made her seem as warm as the sun at times, giving him an odd sensation of photosynthesising under her glow, much as green grass would under the real sun. Even with the strange thought lurking in the back of his mind, spending time in her presence gave him a far better glow than being sprawled out on the warm grass while reading, or luxuriating in a hot tub while reading, particularly if those activities were shared with somepony having a similar interest. The warmth this morning seemed much hotter than normal as a set of warm feathers ran up and down his sides and a nose nuzzled into his short mane. As much as his mind preferred not to think during a morning nuzzle, there was something far different from Twilight Sparkle's normal affectionate attention, and a series of blinking warnings floated up in his mind. For starters, the hoof that was tracing its way up his side was far larger than Twilight's, as well as being almost snow-white, and he opened his eyes the rest of the way with a sudden hammering of his heart.

"G-good morning, P-princess Celestia," he stammered, trying to bring his rapid heartbeat under control. "I m-mean Princess L-luna," he continued. "W-what a vivid d-dream you have this m-morning. B-both of y-you. V-very i-imaginative."

The rustling of covers to his other side preceded the gentle running of a dark set of feathers up his ribs and a soft, cool voice whispering into the back of his ear. "Lord Green Grass, we are disappointed. Did not Twilight Sparkle inform you of the proclivities of alicorns and droit de seigneuse?"

"Her Right of First Night?" In silent desperation, his eyes flickered to the closed window and the few thin rays of sunlight that snuck through the closed curtains. "It's still morning."

"It's more of a guideline instead of a rule," said Celestia, stroking his mane back and looking deeply into his eyes.

"Besides, thou hast already shared thy bed with our newest sister," purred Luna as she ran her cool nose up the back of his neck. “And given her a foal too.” Gentle dark lips nipped at his ear. “I’ve always wanted a foal of my own.”

"R-r-really i-interesting d-dream, P-p-princess L-luna," stammered Green Grass. "I'd l-like to w-wake up now."

There was a sharp knocking at the bedroom suite door, almost immediately followed by Princess Cadence bounding in with a cheery, "Good morning, Greenie. I found a few things we need to get done this morning before—"

The Alicorn of Love cut off with a happy squeal, looking back and forth between the three ponies curled up on the bed while her hooves danced a happy jig of joy on the cold bedroom tiles. "Aunties! You didn't tell me we were going to start this morning! This is wonderful! Let me go get Shining Armor and we can—"

* *

After the panic-filled screaming and rapid clatter of hooves died away, three alicorns picked themselves up from the floor of the Royal Guest Suite, each of them laughing their plot off.

"H-he's a lot faster than he looks," chortled Cadence as she tried to pull a book off of her horn, a side-effect of having been body-checked into the bookshelf by Green Grass' rapid passage through the doorway she had been occupying.

Luna was just laying on her back in the middle of the floor, waving her legs around and clutching her gut.

"A colt of many talents," said Celestia through bursts of her own laughter. "Did you notice that he managed to pick up his hat while fleeing in terror."

"The wager!" gasped Luna, taking several tries before she could roll to her hooves. "We must check his progress." She floated a silver serving tray out from under the bed where she had stashed it and began her scrying spell.

"He's still going," said Celestia, sounding somewhat astonished. "Look at how fast he navigated that corner. Thank you, mi Amore," added Celestia as she slipped her golden shoes back on and stuck her head under the crown that Cadence floated over.

Luna merely waved a hoof in dismissal. "Tis something called Parker, which the non-winged races use to navigate sharp corners at high speed, although it leaves hoofprints upon the walls. The Pink One showed it to me once." She watched the magical map projected on the platter while retrieving her own shoes from under the bed and slipping into them. "And he is still going. You do not suppose he has been spooked away from the wedding, dearest sister? After last night's incident with Blueblood, he must have been considerably distraught."

"He had Papercut personally deliver a Get Well Card last night," said Celestia, still entranced by the motion of the little green dot on the scrying spell. "Signed it Love and Kisses from your newest cousin, Green Grass. P.S. You're still invited to the wedding if you can make it."

"Undaunted by a challenge," mused Luna as the last of her uncontrollable giggles died away. "It would seem to be a family trait. Look, he is slowing down now. At the… dessert section of the kitchen?"

"With Shining Armor," said Celestia, peering intently at the map. "I wonder just why he is there. And now he is… no, they are retracing his rapid steps. Mi Amore, what do you make of your husband…"

Celestia turned to look at Princess Cadence, only to find an empty room with a blue glow around the closed door and balcony windows. Well, that and a small note that read 'Revenge is Sweet' in Cadence's flowing hornwriting.

"Behold, dear sister." Luna gestured towards a glowing scrying window she had conjured in midair which showed Shining Armor and Green Grass pelting through the castle corridors with a fully-loaded dessert cart trailing behind them. "The loyal princes gallop to avenge themselves upon our prank. Methinks they plan on pelting us with pastry in order to put us to a sticky end indeed. Whatever shall we do in return?"

Celestia examined the two galloping stallions and the bouncing dessert cart behind them, paying special attention to the collection of double-chocolate pudding cakes with little chocolate rosettes on them that seemed to be stocked in great abundance. She licked her lips and gave a theatrical sigh. "I'm afraid all we can do is sit here and wait until we receive our just desserts."

The two alicorns giggled like schoolfillies while arranging themselves into the proper stance for the receiving of airborne pastries…

Unaware of the vines that had begun to slip into the room behind them.

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