• Published 14th Feb 2016
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True Love - Shakespearicles

Twilight seeks the meaning of True Love on Hearts and Hooves Day

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What is Love?

It was Hearts and Hooves Day in Ponyville. Ponies from all walks of life were out enjoying the mild, sunny day with their special-some-ponies. The quaint town was a romantic destination for ponies from surrounding cities, seeking to get away from the busy, urban environment for a long, romantic weekend. Every inn and bed-and-breakfast in Ponyville was booked solid.

Princess Twilight Sparkle put together her day-bag in her tree castle, and a modest sun dress that served to cover her wings and cutie mark. To the locals who knew her before her ascension, she was still the same old Twilight, and they treated her as such. But for those that she did not know personally, her now-recognizable cutie mark and wings garnered attention that she could do without. Make no mistake, Twilight took her role as a princess very seriously. But she didn't like being a celebrity.

She headed out into Ponyville. She didn't have a special somepony for the holiday, but that didn't bother her. She wasn't going out to look for one either. Not that she didn't want to have a special somepony someday, but it wasn't her plan for today. No, today she was on a mission for scientific research.

She had done well in her studies on the magic of friendship. But in the wake of her brother's wedding in Canterlot, she realized that she understood precious little about the magic of love. Changelings fed off of love, or rather, its magic. Chrysalis, the Queen of the changelings, had used that magic to become even more powerful than Princess Celestia. And subsequently, Twilight's brother, Shining Armor, and his wife, Princess Cadance, were able to use the power of their love to repel the changeling invasion. That kind of power was a wonder to behold.

And that warranted investigation.

As it happened to be the case, the newlyweds would be in Ponyville for the romantic weekend. The 'Princess of Love' herself would be the perfect pony to speak with about the magic of love. And if one were to be in Ponyville for Hearts and Hooves Day, the place to be was Sugarcube Corner. The family-owned-and-operated bakery was known across Equestria for having the most unique, innovative, and delicious pastries in the land. Twilight made haste through town in that direction.

The bakery was on the block adjacent to Town Hall, between it and the train station. Its central location made it impossible to miss for tourists new to the area. As Twilight neared the locale, it was not as busy as she had anticipated. But then, it was still only mid-morning. Most of the ponies would be here in the late afternoon and evening for a post-dinner treat with their dates. But Twilight had the inside info about a particular pair of ponies that had arrived into town the previous night, and would be here for a late brunch. Twilight walked up to the bakery that resembled a gingerbread house, pushed the door open, ringing the bell as she stepped inside.

"I'll be there in just a minute!" she heard Mrs. Cake call from the back of the kitchen. The interior was different from its usual layout. The function room was combined with the front dining area. Mr. Cake, the primary owner of the establishment, moved like a yellow blur, filling the space with extra tables and seating to accommodate for the anticipated increase in customer traffic later that day. A few of the tables were already occupied with pairs of ponies seeking the early-bird specials, or perhaps, avoiding the forthcoming crowd. Among them, in the corner booth, was Twilight's goal; her brother and new sister-in-law. But before she trotted over, she stopped herself.

"An important part of scientific research is observation," she mentally reminded herself, "Observation -without- outside interference." Twilight refrained and took a seat at the breakfast bar set up at the front counter.

"Welcome to Sugarcube Corner, where every treat is sweet and the- oh, hello Twilight," Mrs. Cake cut her rehearsed greeting short as she stepped out from the kitchen, recognizing the lavender pony. "Or should I say, 'Princess' Twilight," she teased. Twilight blushed and grinned. Mrs. Cake had known Twilight long enough that both knew the title was unnecessary. "What can I get for you dear?" she asked in that delightful accent of hers. Mrs. Cake had grown up just north of Grain Bay, an area known for its dairy farms. And she never shook the dialect.

"Oh, I'm not really hungry, Mrs. Cake," Twilight said.

"Oh, are you looking for Pinkie then? She's doing a delivery at the moment, but she should be back soon, quick as she is, don't cha know."

"Actually I came here to do some research," Twilight explained. Mrs. Cake developed a worried look on her face.

"Oh, uh, I don't know, Twilight. We're still recovering from when you and Pinkie invented that calf feed," Mrs. Cake said nervously.

"Caffeine," Twilight corrected, "And I still think that is has many useful applications when in the hooves of the right pony..." both ponies shuddered at the flashbacks of the pink carnage from the 'incident', as it had come to be known. "...just not Pinkie."

"Not Pinkie," Mrs. Cake repeated.

"Not me what?" Pinkie Pie asked from the doorway. "Hi Twilight! What's up?"

"We were just talking about the caffeine incid-"

"WHY!? Do you have more!?" Pinkie asked with unnatural excitement.

"NO!" Twilight and Mrs. Cake answered in stereo.

"Aww." Pinkie bounded inside, grabbing the brown package from the counter, glancing at the address of the next order. "So what is it then? Is there a friendship problem? Or a monster attack!?"

"No Pinkie, I just came to grab a bite to eat," Twilight said.

"Silly! You can't eat a bite! Unless it's a bagel bite. OOH, I have an idea! Let's make bagel bites!"

"No thank you," Twilight said.

"Besides, you have orders to deliver," Mrs. Cake said, shooing her out the door.

"Okay. Bye Twi!" And with that, Pinkie bounded back out, to make her next delivery.

"Wow. I still can't imagine what it must be like living with her," Twilight said to Mrs. Cake sympathetically. Mrs. Cake thought for a moment, trying to sum up the experience in an appropriate analogy.

"Imagine... having a alarm clock, that goes off at random times, day and night. But instead of ringing, it plays music records, but it plays the music way too fast and too loud. If you can imagine that, then you'll have some idea of what it's like to live with her."

"You know, I've never asked, but how did she end up living here with you?" Twilight asked.

"Hi, my name is Pinkamena Diane Pie. I'm new in Ponyville. I just moved here from my family's rock farm, due to several party-related incidents. I just need a place to stay for the night until I can find a place to live."

"Well... we do have a spare bedroom upstairs you could use..."

"Great! I'm sure I'll only need it for a day or two until I can get back on my hooves."

It had been -years- since that day.

"Oh, that's a story for another time, dear," Mrs. Cake said with a twinge in the corner of her eye. "So now, what was it you said about some 'research'?"

"Oh, yes, I'm studying 'true love'," Twilight replied, "I've done so well studying the magic of friendship, but now I need to study love." She turned and looked over at where Shining and Cadance were sitting. They were across from one another, sharing a pastry, feeding bites of it to one another, holding hooves, and exchanging little kisses between each bite. Shining shuffled in his seat, moving over to her side of the booth, beside her, as they snuggled against one another. Twilight sighed. "Isn't that wonderful?" she asked Mrs. Cake, "I came to observe them so I can study and take notes about their True Love." Mrs. Cake let out a half-snorting laugh. Twilight turned back to her.

"What's so funny?" Twilight asked. Mrs. Cake composed herself and pointed at the couple.

"That? That over there? That's not True Love, dear," Mrs. Cake said as plainly and as assuredly as if Twilight had accused them of being a pumpkin.

"I BEG your pardon!" Twilight bristled indignantly, "But when the changeling queen fed on his love for her, she became more powerful than Celestia! And it was the power of their love that repelled the changeling invasion from Canterlot! If that isn't True Love, then I don't know what is! And I don't know how you can claim that it's not!" Mrs. Cake tried not to laugh at her again. It wasn't Twilight's fault, after all. The poor filly was still young and naive about the romantic notions of love. Mrs. Cake pulled up a chair and sat down beside her.

"Twilight dear, let me tell you about True Love..."