• Published 26th Mar 2015
  • 19,985 Views, 1,190 Comments

The Road Home - Pen Stroke


Discord tosses Twilight and her family into an unexpected adventure while the rest of Twilight's friend get to work on the new crystal palace. All together, they'll do everything to ensure that Twilight and her family have a place to call home.

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Yllissi Thgi Liwt

The Road Home

By Pen Stroke

Preread, Edited, and Reviewed By

Illustrious Q, BronyWriter, SaturnStar14, Applejack-fan

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Chapter 14

Yllissi Thgi Liwt

====================

"That... was... absolutely... delicious." Warm laughter rolled around the table at Cadance's words as she sat back in her seat, patting her pregnant belly and licking her lips.

The group found themselves in the warm, welcoming embrace of Lumberton. Much of the populace gladly welcomed the royal family of the Crystal Empire. Their presence, and Lumber Jack’s infectious enthusiasm, was rousing an impromptu festival from the quiet mountain town. Lumberton Lodge became the heart of the celebration. The rustic behemoth of a cabin, constructed of stacked logs on a stone foundation, often acted as a home base for tourists. Hikers in the Summer, campers in the Spring, and skiers in the Winter found the lodge and its staff wonderfully welcoming.

For tonight, Lumberton Lodge’s great doors were propped open to the street beyond, where dancing and food stalls had assembled amidst lantern light. The inn’s interior was crowded, but there was not one pony who complained about tight quarters. The space was filled with laughter, cheers, and song. At the largest table, Twilight and everyone else ate and drank merrily, enjoying a feast of a meal.

It was like a Hearth's Warming dinner with all the trimmings, and everyone ate greedily of the spread. No one was excluded from the table either. The Flim Flam Brothers sat to the left of Nyx, with Twilight on the right, telling of all the marvelous things they had invented in their dream world to her. Spike was on the other side of Twilight, regaling her with tales of his super heroic exploits in Maretropolis. On the other side of the table, Cadance and Shining sat. Maud was to their left, and to their right was S43 and Biscuit. The short Diamond Dog had eaten like a possessed canine. S43, disguised as a plain mare of greenish tones, had been allowed to sip ever so gently on Cadance’s love for such a craving-conquering meal.

And at the head of the table, roaring with laughter and eating almost as much as Cadance, was their self-proclaimed host. “Ah, Cadance, you have appetite like my vife had. Your child going to be big and strong, Lumber Jack is sure.” The burly stallion leaned back from his own plate, stomach satisfied. “But vhat of everyone else? Surely little doggie vould like another piece of pie.”

“Biscuit—” He burped as he laid sprawled out on the pony sized cushion he had been given. “Biscuit only wants to pass out.”

“Too bad. Lumber Jack vas impressed by how much little doggie was eating. Vhat about everyone else? Come, come, there is plenty to go around.”

“I think we’re good,” Shining said with a chuckle as he held and nuzzled Cadance. She settled into his shoulder, yawning and drifting gently on the edge of sleep. “Thank you so much for all of this. You really didn’t have to.”

“Ah, vhen best customers visit, Lumber Jack always does his best.” He rose from the table, stretched, and then began trotting towards the door. “But now, I see my beloved vaving to me. The street and its music are calling. Lumber Jack vill return, but now I must dance!”

“Before you go, has there been any word about the guards?” Twilight’s words caused many of the smiles around the table to fade into concerned expressions. Cadance came back from the edge of her nap, and joined everyone else who were looking to Lumber Jack. “I noticed someone come over and whisper in your ear earlier,” Twilight said.

Lumber Jack turned to face the table, putting a hoof down on the hoof carved pine. “I am sorry, but there has yet to be any vord. There no signs of struggle or beast attack around lake. We believe they wandered back into forest, searching for all of you once more, but cannot be sure.”

"If they haven't turned up by morning, I'll start helping with the search,” Shining said. “I know their guard training, so I should be able to figure out what they did and what they're going to—"

"We need a doctor!"

"Yes, yes... the pain, it is too much. The convulsions of this child threaten to rip me asunder. Get it out of me! Get it out of me! Then lavish me with love once it's out! But first, you must get this tiny pony out of my belly!"

Every eye in the lodge was turned to the front door, where a sizable group had stormed into the lodge amidst shouts and melodrama. The missing guards were at the lead of the group, the four of them supporting a field assembled stretcher on their backs. They, however, were the only unique faces amongst the group. The mare on the stretcher was the spitting image of Cadance, though her belly was swollen to the point of near absurdity. Another Shining, Twilight, and Maud were behind them, each panicking like chickens with their heads cut off.

Lumber Jack turned to face the group while Shining and Twilight rose from their seats. The guards looked amongst themselves, panting to catch their breaths and making no effort to hide their confusion. The clones of Shining, Twilight, and Maud had fallen silent as well, clustering close together and inching towards the door. Yet, the copy of Cadance kept on going, bemoaning her condition so that all of Lumberton could hear. "Oh! By the white horse of the sun, I can feel it. I can feel it... dragging itself out of me. Hurry! Hurry rock ponies! Oh the pain and agony of this is unbearable. Oh, if only I was born a superior changeling, who does not need to worry of foal birth and must simply trust in the hive’s glorious queen for its continued existence."

A chirping filled the air, like the sound of a cricket. It emanated from the doppleganger of Shining, and the sound made the melodramatic Cadance snap her mouth shut. She abruptly sat up in the stretcher, as if every drop of pain she had been screeching about was gone. She looked across the room, eyes eventually settling on the Cadance seated at the table. They stared at one another for a few seconds, then there was a second chirp. The fake Cadance’s eyes moved up a little, focusing on Maud who had stood up from her seat as well.

In a burst of fire, the four changelings dropped their disguises. They were bruised and battered. The changeling leader, who had been the one impersonating Cadance, had some bandages around his middle. Still, despite their injuries, they moved with incredible haste. Stumbling and fighting over one another, they dashed out the door and took to their wings. All the while the leader screamed to the heavens, "Flee! Flee! It is the Gray Terror!"

The changelings soared towards the tree line, their panicked chirping growing into a symphony in the night. Other silhouettes joined the original few, changelings that had been on the edge of Lumberton following the retreat. The lodge they left behind was deathly silent. Flash Sentry, Gem Shield, Lapis Lance, and Ardent stared at the real Shining, not daring to move a muscle until someone else did.

Shining took a step away from the table, and the four guards snapped to attention, letting the stretcher constructed out of tree limbs clatter to the floor. The rest of those sitting in the lodge began to whisper, murmuring about the changelings and questioning what was going on. Shining came to a stop directly in front of the four stallions, eyeing them while wearing a firm frown. His gaze moved between each one, and then he chuckled and waved a hoof. "At ease, soldiers. Sit down and eat something."

"But... but sir... we just—" Flash Sentry tried to say.

"You thought we had all been thrown by the Ouroboros in the same direction. When you recovered, you hear Cadance shouting about going into labor. I doubt I would have done anything different if I had been in your position." Shining turned to look at the lodge. "And rest assured, the Crystal Empire will be addressing the slight changeling presence that has been uncovered in these mountains. None of you are in any danger at this time. These changelings are... very disorganized.”

“They’re stupid,” S43 said coldly, drawing a few more whispers and murmurs from the crowd in the lodge.

“No matter how you’d describe them, I'll be dispatching Crystal Empire forces to deal with the outpost as soon as we return."

The mood in the lodge lifted thanks to Shining's confident words. The four guards nearly collapsed from exhaustion and relief, and Shining couldn't help but laugh as he caught them with his magic. Soon, a few of the young mares from Lumberton had swooped in, flirting and giggling as they helped the guards to a table where they could eat and rest. Shining followed, but as he did, Cadance leaned over and tapped S43 on the shoulder.

"I don't know entirely how hives work, but if you aren't compelled to go back, I think the Crystal Empire can make room for another refugee. Biscuit’s already volunteered to be a royal gem inspector. You'll be carefully watched for at least a little while, just like Biscuit, but I imagine you'd like to get a fresh start away from all those... other changelings."

S43 smiled. "Idiots, princess. They are idiots from a bad clutch, but I guess that's where I got lucky. They were born without brains, I was born with enough free will to tell my queen to go get her horn stuck in a tree. The Crystal Empire I saw in your dream, Princess, is exactly where I want to be."

Cadance smiled and gave S43 a reassuring pat on the shoulder, then sat back up straight in her seat. She used magic to serve herself another piece of pie. Then she looked over at Maud. "Now what was all that 'Gray Terror' stuff about?"

Maud returned to her seat, gently replaced her napkin into the collar of her dress, and then reached into her pocket. "I got Boulder back,” she said as she pulled the small stone out for all to see.

~~~

“With the crystal locomotive the guards used at the bottom of the ravine, we’ll probably just have to wait for the next train. Flash Sentry left early this morning to tell everyone back at the empire we’re safe, and carried some orders I had for the general. But, I think Cadance would be more than happy to stay here in Lumberton until the train arrives.”

Twilight nodded as she and Shining sat on the patio of the Lumberton Lodge the next morning. The others were still asleep or were just getting themselves out of bed. Twilight would have likely joined them, but she slept so well she couldn’t help but get out of bed early. It had been a dreamless sleep, and such a thing was a welcome blessing after the many nightmares she had endured. “I guess there’s no sense rushing at this point anyway. For once in my life, I can’t even imagine doing research right now.”

Shining openly laughed as Twilight took a sip of her coffee. Not tea, but good black coffee. “Never thought I’d see the day.”

“After all the impossible things we had to deal with on this trip, that shouldn’t be the thing that surprises you the most.” Twilight set her cup down. “I mean, how could an Ouroboros get that big!? What is it feeding on, napping dragons? Not only that, but we were dogged by diamond dogs, chased by changelings, and it all happened because of a random rock slide. The last time I heard of such a crazy adventure, it was one of your Oubliettes & Ogres campaigns back in school. The one where your character reached his max level, I think.”

Shining nodded. “I remember that one. It was pretty crazy. Gaffer had never been the GM when a character was likely to hit max level. He really pulled out all the stops. A world-ending curse being cast by a world-ending creature with the help of a world-ending sized army. I remember, there was this one roll where—”

The giggling and singing of a filly cut Shining off, causing both him and Twilight to look to the street. There they saw Lumber Jack walking with a young filly they had gotten to meet the night before, his bespectacled granddaughter, Pink Rose. Her songs were one of triumph, and her laughter could not be contained as she pranced about her grandfather while wearing her filly scout uniform. “I’m getting a scooter. I’m getting a scooter, and Golden Shoe can’t stop me. I’m getting a scooter.”

“What’s all the celebration about?” Twilight asked as Lumber Jack and Pink Rose climbed the steps to the lodge. Up to that point, Lumber Jack had been all smiles while watching his granddaughter prance in joy. Yet, when Twilight’s words hit his ears, he turned to look at them. His smile fell, and he stared at them as if only just becoming aware they were sitting on the patio.

Pink Rose, however, was not as stunned. She went galloping up to Twilight and Shining, and pulled out a scrap of paper from her filly scout sash. “I just got the check for the biggest filly scout sale ever!”

Shining whistled, seeing the number written on the check. “That has to be a lot of filly scout cookies.”

“It is! The person who ordered the cookies is going to be giving them out at this big party!” Pink Rose laid the check out on the table. It was a funny thing. The paper seemed to be two kinds of materials that were fused together. One side was almost like construction paper, while the other was the kind of card stock that Twilight would expect to be used for a high quality business card. The lettering was uneven, the numbers nearly illegible, but as her eyes wandered she noticed the bottom of the check, specifically the signature line. In those two blanks, two things had been scrawled out, perhaps the most legible letters on the entire check.

Memo: Yllissi Thgi Liwt
Signature: D. Cord

Twilight’s eyebrow twitched.

“Now, now, Pink Rose, didn’t I teach you it is rude to bother ponies.” Lumber Jack scooped up his granddaughter and dropped her on his back. He was wearing his smile again as he quickly took the check and passed it back to Pink Rose. “Twilight and Shining vere having nice talk over coffee. That coffee smells good. Think I’ll have a—”

“Lumber Jack, how did you end up at the lake again?” Twilight asked, an almost dark rumble in her voice. Her horn was glowing, her magic holding down Lumber Jack's hooves to prevent him from stepping away. “You mentioned a map.”

Lumber Jack opened his mouth to reply, then forced a laugh as he glanced away. “Ah, Brainy Grape, you put me in tough place,” he said before looking back at Twilight. “Do not be mad. If I had known vhat vas happening, I vould have rushed to your aid. But, ve vere not told as much. I simply heard of a house that appeared at top of mountain. My little granddaughter, she needed to sell her cookies. I took here there, thinking house owner vould at least have the money for filly scout cookies. Did not realize ve’d encounter your good friend the draconequus. He vas villing to buy. Just asked that ve take map, and vhen it rang like bell, that ve go to vhere X marked spot.”

Twilight held her breath, puffing out her cheeks as she tapped her hoof against the table like trying to squash numerous bugs in quick succession. She tilted her head skyward, then finally exhaled as she sank into her seat and let her head rest on the table. Her magic dissipated, freeing Lumber Jack from the short-lived bindings. “He is so turned to stone when I get back.”

“Is not all bad. You had vonderful adventure, right?” Lumber Jack said.

Shining cleared his throat. Though Twilight couldn’t see it, she imagined he was shaking his head. “You should go have some coffee. It really is good.”

“Yes, yes, I vill do just that. Have good day, my friends.” Lumber Jack's heavy hooffalls signaled his departure. The door to the Lumberton Lodge opened and shut, and once more Shining and Twilight were alone on the refreshing morning. Yet all the vigor had drained away from Twilight as she stared at the table, eyes hid by the bangs of her hair.

“You really think Discord was behind all of this?” Shining asked.

Twilight managed to turn her head upward, resting her chin on the table as she looked across the table to her big brother. “Yes, yes he was. Of course he was. Who else could have made a Ouroboros get that big? He was probably doing it as some weird test to make sure I 'deserved' to learn the repair spell. That any good friend would want to make sure I was magically capable of handling such a powerful spell. Don’t you think Princess Celestia would have tested me if she thought the spell was too advanced for me? Stoned or not, I am not trusting any shred of mail he delivers ever again.”

“Is that why you wanted to come to the Crystal Empire, to look up a spell?”

“Yeah,” Twilight said. She could not summon up the will to lift her head off the table. So she just cracked her mouth open, made a straw out of magic, and used the straw to drink a few sips of her coffee. She then laid out magical letters on the table. “I was going to tell Cadance and you once we got to the empire on the train, but we all know how that turned out. Still, Yllissi Thgi Liwt is the name of the spell. It’s supposed to be an old griffin spell that can repair just about anything. I was going to use it to fix the library.”

Shining stared at the spell while Twilight drank her coffee through her straw. He tilted his head, bit his lip, and then laughed a little. That laugh fell into a frown, then into a smile, but then back into a frown. Eventually, Shining brought a hoof to his face, rubbed his eye, then sighed before looking back at Twilight. “Um, you said Discord delivered the letter from Princess Celestia, right?”

“Yes,” Twilight said, not taking her lips off her magically-manifested straw.

“How mad would you be if I thought Discord may have forged that letter?”

Twilight tensed, a surge of air going back up her straw and causing her coffee to splatter. The straw dissipated, and she sat up from her seat and slammed her forehooves down on the table. “No! No, he wouldn’t dare! That was a letter from Princess Celestia about a spell to help me fix the library! That’s going to let me fix everything!”

“I hate to break this to you Twilight, but…” Shining called on his own magic, forming a copy of the spell Twilight had written out on the table. He then lifted it up, flipped it the whole spell horizontally, then counter turned some of the letters and adjusted some of the spacing. He then laid it back down on the table. Twilight felt a shiver crawl down her body as she read the new words formed by the same letters.

“Twilight is silly,” she said aloud. She gritted her teeth and flared her wings. “Twilight is silly.” She puffed her cheeks and began to shake, as if her body was trying to contain an explosion. “Twilight. Is. Silly!” She managed to keep herself standing there at the table for a few more seconds, then she took off from the patio with the force of a firework. She flew high into the sky, screaming into the morning air like a vengeful storm rumbling across the landscape.

“Discord!”

~~~

“You sure you saw her?”

“Yeah, she glided over town and landed on the other side of the river.”

Nyx’s hooves and Spike’s claws thumped against the boards of the wooden bridge which connected the homes of Lumberton to the heart of its industry. The mills bordered the river on the south side as it flowed west to east, sporting large water wheels from their sides. The wheels turned without rest in the river, the relentless march of water down to the ocean driving the saws that cut the region's famed timber. The smell of sawdust hung almost constantly in the air, and the road was peppered with the flakes and bits of wood that were shaken free by the mill workers as they went to and from their homes.

Under the noon hour sun, the lumber mills were at their quietest. The many hard working stallions and mares were on their lunch, and were congregating in the singular park which stood amongst the mills. Normally, despite working for competing companies, the workers would mingle, laugh, and speak of the day’s labors. There was camaraderie, but on this day it was all put on hold because of an unexpected intruder in the workers’ normal routine.

Twilight sat in the gazebo which itself stood on the river’s bank. There, she looked out across the river, her magic turning and twisting constantly as she manipulated the water. She had formed a sculpture of the Golden Oaks Library, almost every facet and detail accounted for and at percent one-half scale. She was entirely enthralled by her efforts, taking no notice of the onlookers as she continued to spell cast. She didn’t even turn her head as Nyx and Spike managed to squeeze through the crowd and ran closer.

“Are you okay?” Spike asked as he and Nyx stepped up into the gazebo. “Shining told us what you two figured out. He then rallied almost every pegasus in town to go looking for you. Cadance would have probably gone too, but Shining managed to convince her to wait at the lodge for you to come back. She is mad and… and Twilight, what are you doing?”

“I’m going to see if I can turn water into a tree.” Twilight didn’t turn her head, just kept her eyes focused on the water. Spike took a step closer, shifting his perspective on Twilight. He saw the damp lines of fur on her face as well as the spots on the gazebo’s wooden floor where her tears had fallen. A small fabric bag rested on the gazebo’s nearby railing.

“Did… did Discord say something when you found him?”

“No, because I didn’t find him,” Twilight’s magic faltered, part of her water sculpture falling back into the river. She rubbed at her eyes with a hoof, then went right back to her original position as she tried to reform the fallen branch of her liquid library. “By the time I found his lair, he had already sold it. Some griffin is going to turn it into a ski-resort or something. Discord even gave it away for free. A huge manor of a tree he grew out of a mountain, and he just gave it away for free. All the owner had to do was show me a table.”

Spike glanced back at Nyx, who could only shrug with her shared confusion. “Why would Discord want you to see a table?” Spike asked as he looked back at Twilight.

“So I could see these.” Twilight’s magic wrapped around the fabric bag, and tossed it behind her. It hit the floor of the gazebo and spilled, tiny figurines with familiar colors tumbling into view. Spike stared at the pile of pieces before reaching out to one that shared his purple and green colors. “It was all Discord. He had a map of the mountains, and these… game pieces laid out. I don’t know how he did it. No one was mind controlled, as far as I could tell, but this whole horrible trip has just been a game for him.”

Twilight shuddered, rubbing at her eyes again as anger billowed in her voice. “And the spell, the spell that was supposed to fix everything is just a big lie. Twilight is silly. I can’t believe I didn’t see that. I let Discord trick me, and now all the other repair spells are probably worthless. Too much time has passed. An errant wind probably blew all the ashes away. I’ll never be able to fix the library now.” Her magic surged, and the sculpture she had been so painstakingly working on burst. Water splashed into the river and onto the banks, and all that was left behind was a sculpture of the library as it now stood: a twisted, splintered stump.

“What happened to the library?”

Spike clenched his teeth as both he and Twilight turned around. Nyx was looking at both of them, her mouth trying to form words that her mind couldn’t grasp. Spike looked at Twilight, and saw a similar expression. All their effort to shield Nyx from the truth had just been blown away. “What happened?” Nyx asked again as she looked at the splintered sculpture in the river.

Twilight’s magic vanished, her liquid library collapsing back into the river as she quickly rose to her hooves. She reached out for Nyx, but the little filly pulled away. “I… I was going to fix it before you came home. I just… I just wanted to fix it. I’m sorry. The library is…. During the fight with Tirek it….” Twilight’s closed her eyes and hung her head. “It’s gone. I teleported to it, just for a second. I just wanted a vantage point of the fight, but Tirek saw where I went. He fired a blast and… it was coming too fast. I couldn’t stop it. The only thing I could think to do was grab Owlowiscious.

“It was my fault,” Twilight said, stomping her hoof. “I made a mistake. Tirek wouldn’t have destroyed the library if I hadn’t gone there. I got everything burned to ash and cinders. My first gala dress, the one Rarity put so much work into, its gone. My Slumber Parties 101, gone. Smarty Pants and the Mare-Do-Well costume, gone. All the pictures I’ve taken with my friends, gone. Our home… it’s gone.”

“Everything?” Nyx asked, a tremble in her voice. She was shaking her head, as if that might make the words go away. She moved up to Twilight, trying to get eye contact. “W-what about our favorite story books? W-what about my treasure book? What about our bed? What about Spike’s comic books and his pictures of Peewee? It… it can’t all just be gone.”

Twilight’s head sank deeper, a few tears escaping her eyes and falling to the gazebo floor, but her tears were not alone. Nyx’s eyes were water. She kept shaking her head, even as she dropped back into a sitting position. She rubbed at her eyes, and was trying to form words but couldn’t. The truth had fallen on her like a flood from a busted dam, and Twilight was offering no condolences. Spike felt his chest tightening as he watched the two. He kept glancing back and forth, hoping Twilight would say something to make Nyx feel better. Hoping Nyx would manage to say something to make Twilight forgive herself. But neither did. Nyx was reeling, and Twilight was guilt ridden.

Spike even felt himself starting to tear up. He had lost a lot too. He had lost his home, his basket, his gems, his comic books, but he had been sad about that and then got over it. His family hadn’t. Twilight had been in denial, trying to fix the problem so it would be like her failure, her mistake in the heat of combat never happened. Nyx hadn’t been given the chance, the policy of trying to hide the truth from her now bearing rotten fruit. Something had to be said. He couldn’t just stand there and just watch them be like this.

“I don’t care!”

Spike’s loud shout made Nyx and Twilight look over at him, tears still fresh on their cheeks. “I don’t care about all that,” Spike said, his claws balled into fists. “You know what I was worried about when I was Tirek’s hostage. I was worried that I’d never get to see you two ever again. But Twilight, you and everypony else beat him. You sent him back and saved the day. You even saved Owlowiscious. He’d have been hurt or worse if you hadn’t thought to save him. Twilight, what happened to the library isn’t your fault.”

“But Spike—” Twilight tried to say, but Spike continued on, not allowing the interruption.

“No buts. You saved Equestria. You were amazing, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. It sucks. I’m sad that the library is gone too, but it could have been a million times worse. But you can’t change the past. You should know that better than anyone. You actually tried! The only thing you shouldn’t have done, we shouldn’t have done, was keep this all a secret.

“We’re a family,” Spike said, walking closer to the filly and mare. He reached out his arms, gesturing for a hug. “We shouldn’t have secrets like this, because we only end up making it worse for each other. We can get through this. I know we can, but we have to be there for each other.”

Nyx and Twilight glanced at one another, tears still dancing in their eyes but smiles now forming on their faces. They moved closer, the three tightly hugging one another in the center of the gazebo. “I’m sorry,” Twilight said. “If there’s anything I learned on this crazy adventure, it's that you two are strong enough to know the truth. I promise to try and be better about it in the future.”

“But is it still okay to be sad about the library?” Nyx asked, her limbs trying to hug Twilight and Spike with all the strength they could muster.

“Yes,” Twilight said with a nod as she nuzzled into both of their faces. “It’s okay to be sad. Losing our home is a sad thing, but we can be happy too. We can be happy we’ve survived. We can be happy Cadance and Shining will be having their foal soon. We can be happy that our friends will always be there to help us in Ponyville. We just… we just have to be honest with ourselves.”

“Hey, that’s what I just said,”

Spike’s attempt at humor brought laughter to Twilight and Nyx, and before the two could react Twilight had scooped them on in her magic. She spun them around twice, laughing as they squealed in delight, then she pulled them back into another tight hug. “We’ll always be a family,” Twilight said as she kissed Spike and Nyx’s foreheads. “I won’t let anyone ever change that.”

“I won’t either,” Nyx added.

Spike nodded firmly, puffing out his chest. “I’ll make a dragon’s oath on it,” he said as he and Nyx were let down by Twilight. The three smiled at one another for a few moments, then Twilight’s eyes happened to flick up. Her cheeks flushed, and she forced her smile wider. “Uh oh, what is it now?” Spike asked.

“Oh nothing, just that we have a bit of an audience,” Twilight said. She lifted a forehoof and waved it gently, causing Nyx and Spike to turn around. Nearly every mill worker who had been on the extremities of the park earlier were looking at the trio. They were all smiling as they ate their lunches, and some even waved back.

Nyx joined Twilight in gently waving to the onlookers while Spike chuckled and whispered in Twilight’s direction. “Want to continue this heart-felt family bonding back at the lodge?”

“Yes. Yes I do,” Twilight answered.

Author's Note:

Things are starting to wrap up. Only one chapter left. I hope everyone has been enjoying the story, and as usual, please report typoes through PM. Also, a special thanks to everyone that has been abiding by that request. It is greatly appreciated.