• Published 12th Mar 2013
  • 3,588 Views, 216 Comments

This is Cloudsdale! - deathtap

While doing a census of ponies in Ponyville, Twilight discovers something peculiar about pegasi. Ever the curious one, she decides to investigate and get to the bottom of it. Will what she learns change the way she views her friends? Probably not.

  • ...


"Squall?" The white mare's ears perked up and a sad smile spread across her face. She looked off at some point in the distance, her eyes focusing on some point between now and the past. "Well, he... he passed away a long time ago I'm afraid."

"Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't know."

"Don't be silly. How could you have known, Twilight?"

"How did you meet him, if you don't mind me asking?"

"That's two questions, dear," the mare chuckled as Twilight winced. "That's okay. I haven't had a chance to talk about Squall for a long time. I think my kids are sick to death of hearing me go on about him, so I tend to avoid the subject altogether."

Twilight walked next to Cupcake slowly keeping in pace with the older mare.

"You know, I first met him not far from here... or actually you could say I found him. We were so young back then. I was actually on my way to visit Canterlot as a tourist, but I lost my bit purse so I couldn't fly on the airship and there's no way else up there unless you have your own or have wings... or knew a pegasi who could carry you. Being from a poor family from a dominantly earth pony town, I had none of those. The only pegasi I knew were the members of the local weather team and most of them were older than me, so we never really talked.

Since I came all the way here, I decided that if I couldn't go up to Cloudsdale, I'd do the next best thing and get as close to it as I could, so I went under the city and saw Cloudsdale from beneath its enormous cloud. I explored for a while. It was wet, it was cold and it was kinda fun. That's when I saw him. He was half submerged in the water. At first I thought the worst seeing him like that, but as I approached I saw that his chest was going up and down. He was still alive. Cold, weak with a very high fever and shivering all over, but alive.

"When I tried to wake him, he shrugged me off. He kept telling me how worthless he was, that he had no reason to live, that I should let him die. Of course, I did as any sensible filly would do and didn't listen. I pitched a tent, lit my magical-powered stove and kept him dry and warm as I nursed him back to health myself. For weeks I made sure that he had food, was sleeping well and most of all, had somepony he could talk to.

"He recovered eventually. When he was strong enough to stand I wanted to get him home, but he refused. When I asked why not, he avoided the subject like the plague. Kept telling me that I wouldn't understand. So I asked him why he just didn't fly back up there, but then he showed me his wings. Both were badly damaged, one so badly that it almost looked petrified. It was injured by lightning. It took me a long time to get him to admit that to me. Pegasi who injure themselves while on duty are respected; nowadays that mainly means weather duty, but one upon a time it was all about military might. Eventually I found out that Squall actually tried to get the Gerousia to change their ways. Not completely, Twilight, so don't get excited. He just wanted the selection process to be more lenient, to allow more foals to survive. It wasn't as if he wanted to abolish it completely."

"The Gerousia did not like that, I suspect."

"Well, I think that's why they purposely destroyed his wings. Squall never admitted it to me openly, but I could tell. It was punishment for suggesting they change their inequestrian laws even slightly."

"That would explain him claiming that he was useless when you found him. That he didn't deserve any help. He was no longer... a strong healthy pegasi, so he just wanted to..."

Cupcake nodded, "I know, Twilight, but because of that, I ended up here. After he recovered, I wanted to stick around for a little while why he got his things together. For the first week he would glare at me and brood all day. I couldn't take it, so I told him to go out there and do something useful. When he said that was impossible... I slapped him."

"You slapped him?"

"Oh yes. Hard. I can still feel it in my hoof."

"You slapped the fallen crown prince of the Cloudsdale Procellárum royal family?"

At that, Cupcake laughed. "You should have seen the look on his face. I bet you that he had never been slapped before in his entire life before that."

Knowing all about royalty, Twilight understood perfectly.

"After I was sure he was done feeling sorry for himself, I left. Went home. For several months I lived my life as before, never once thinking about Squall, but one day my friends wanted to go visit Cloudsdale. They wanted me to go with them as their tour guide, despite me telling them that I'd never actually gone to Cloudsdale proper, only under it. They said that's the closest any of them have ever come, and that made me the expert by default. So off we went.

"We all went straight to Cloudsdale. Took the airship up. I saw it. It was lovely. Beautiful. They gave us these necklaces that allowed us to walk on the clouds. It was as enjoyable as any city could be. Fun, full of stores, shopping, friendly ponies... perhaps a little too friendly," Cupcake winked making Twilight blush at the hidden meaning. "When it was time to go home, I kept having this nagging feeling in me, so I dropped my friends off at the train station. I told my friends that I needed to go check on something and that they should go on without me. They thought that it was because of a stallion I had met, and they were right in part. Just I hadn't met him in Cloudsdale. After seeing them off, I went back to where I had left Squall..."

Twilight watched as Cupcake wiped a tear from her eye.

"He was still there waiting for me. He built that house you stayed in. Carved it out of solid stone. He saw me and told me that he had built it for me. He had even tried to make furniture, the silly colt, but he didn't have the know-how. It was so sweet and silly, but what was worse was that he did it all for me and I just left him there all alone for so long. I felt so guilty that I did the only thing that seemed right. I stayed. Well, I first went back home, packed my things, then came here.

"For months we lived together, living our lives as if we were a couple. I started falling for him and he returned it happily, but he was just being a pegasus. He loved me, but the way pegasi love and what they do in the bedroom aren't... connected. To him it was like playing a game, but to me it meant so much more. I think he realized that towards the end and tried to make amends, but I was also a little bit older and wiser. He did not understand why sleeping with him made me feel so much closer, and that was my fault. I didn't understand pegasi and their open culture."

Twilight was shocked.

"Had my first two foals with him."

"Oh? Where are they now?"

"Starry lives in Manehatten, and Shooter resides in Dodge Junction. They come see me sometimes, but they have their own families to take care of now, and I've got way too many children to take care of. They understand. My kids from my second lover aren't as understanding."

"Wait! Wait, wait, wait. Are you telling me that you've given birth to a prospective heir to the Procellárum throne?"

Cupcake rubbed her head, "Well how about that. Never really thought about it that way, but yeah. I did."

"Are they pegasi?"

"Starry is. She's a beautiful white and indigo pegasi with golden eyes. When Starry was born, he kept trying to leave her outside to fend for herself. I told him that he was crazy, he said that I was weak for mollycoddling her, not letting her fend for herself. What he probably forgot was that in Cloudsdale the foals are safe because they are high above anything that can seriously harm them. Down here, well, I don't have to tell you the sort of nasty creatures you can find.

"It wasn't long after that when I started to really understand the pegasi mentality. They really feel no love for their offspring. And I know for a fact that it's not genetic. You've seen how close Derpy and Dinky are? I've got forty other granddaughters and daughters just like them. Even pegasi with pegasi offspring. It's a learned behavior and it has to be stopped-" Cupcake looked over to Twilight, "You've got me talking about that again."

Twilight shrugged, "I didn't make you. You just started on your own."

"You're a very clever girl, Twilight. I respect that."

"Have you ever met with anypony from the other Royal family?"

"No. Not really. The head of that household is worse that the Procellárum's head. He's terrible."

"What do you mean?"

"You see, when I discovered what was going on in Cloudsdale, I tried to confront them. When I discovered that Cloudsdale had their own laws and rules, it stunned me. I had no idea. Then when I tried to get some answers, they told me that I couldn't speak in the Apella... that's their special court they have up there for law changing and stuff like that. They said that I had to be a pegasi in order to speak. I tried to get Squall to speak for me, but he refused."

"I don't blame him. After they crippled his wings, I don't think he'd want to see them."

"That's the thing. He didn't think the Gerousia did anything wrong. Anyway, the Ephors at that time wouldn't even humor me-"

Twilight tilted her head to the side, "Ephors? Who or what are they?"

"They are the highest ranked members of the Gerousia. They are elected from the Gerousia and get the run of things. They have power like the two Royal families."

"I'm so confused right now. The Gerousia have senior members?"

"Yes. They oversee the going-ons of the city. They are different from the Cloudsdale families because unlike the Royal family, when an Ephor swears into his position, he does so with the words: Et Nebulam Urbem et vitam defendere. To protect the cloud city and life. It encompasses customs as well as military. The royal families swear to themselves, not to the city. Luckily for us the princess, sorry, princesses make sure that the pegasi don't go beyond their little city with their little army."

"I just still can't believe it. It's doesn't seem real."

"The main issue is that there's nopony who is willing to take this entire nonsense to the Gerousia. First off, it needs to be a pegasi. Secondly, he or she needs complex understanding of Cloudsdale law and must speak Equitatus. That and the populace of the city needs to vote in the Apella for the subject to be brought before the Gerousia and it must be acknowledged by three of the five Ephors."

"Wow. That... that does seem rather impossible. Why can't the princesses do it?"

"Something to do with ancient treaties and laws. I'm not fully sure, but I think the princesses can't interfere with their society and laws. The Canterlot Royal Decrees do not carry weight in the Cloudsdale courts. You're going to have somepony else for more info about that."

"It really seems hopeless."

Cupcake stopped in her tracks and seemed to be struggling to say something. "Well, there is one other way."

"What's that?"

"If the speaker can speak Equitatus, is a pegasus and, and this is the important part, is a member of either royal houses in Cloudsdale, then they don't have to get a vote in the Apella. They can automatically talk straight to the Gerousia. There they can ask for a vote in the council for the pegasi. A majority vote would overrule the decision the Gerousia make. I think. It's been a long while since I've read up on Cloudsdale court system."

"Well... why not your daughter?"

"Starry? I don't think she'd count because she's not from Cloudsdale. Her father was, but not her. She'd need to get voted by the Apella, and the chances of that happening are next to impossible."

"What about the other Royal family members?"

Cupcake continued walking again. "There are a few who have left Cloudsdale, but they would never take this on."

"Why not?"

"Those family members would have left because of some misdemeanor. Maybe they stole money from the city, or embarrassed the heads of their households. Some small ridiculous reason to sent them away. But... there is one..."

Twilight's ears perked up and she trotted to walk by Cupcake's side, "Really? Who? Where?"

"I don't know where. I just know that somepony from the Iridum house left years ago," Cupcake replied.

"Well, that's our best shot! Where can I find this pony?"

"Not a clue. You're best asking another Cloudsdale pegasi. I'm going to have to end this conversation here. I don't want the younger ones to know all this yet. They will learn eventually."

"You never did tell me how Squall... passed on."

"Protecting me. They came for me one night, just to harass me, but Squall didn't care. It was a terrible accident because the colts who attacked us didn't know that Squall's wings were damaged. They brought him up and dropped him..."

"I'm sorry, Cupcake. I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have asked that."

"It's okay, Twilight. There's no use hiding it, and as painful it is to remember, I am happy that I got to talk about him. Anything else you need to know before we go in?"

Twilight shook her head, and the two of them walked into the kitchen to the shouts and sounds of the children.

"Thank you for walking me back to the train station, Derpy, but you really didn't need to."

"I know. Did you have fun?"

Twilight didn't quite know how to answer that.

"I meant meeting my Ma, my sisters and brothers..."

"Of course! Of course, Derpy. It was so amazing. You have such an amazing mother," Twilight replied hugging her friend in a silent apology for misunderstanding.

"I know. That's who I want to be like the most. Like Mama Cupcake." Derpy fidgeted for a moment, "Do you really have to go back? Why don't you stay a while longer?"

"Sorry, Derpy, but I've got to finish the census, and it's due tomorrow. There's no way I can be done by then if I don't leave right now."

"Why not ask Princess Celestia for an extension then?" Spike suggested.

Twilight had thought about it, but decided that she would need to work on the census and then sent the pegasi information to her mentor when she got a chance to get them to open up.

"I need to find the daughter of the Iridum family house, Derpy."

Derpy nodded, "Okay."

"You work in the mail service. Do you know anypony from the Iridum house?"

"Of course I do, Twilight."

"No, I didn't think you wou- wait, what?"

"I said, 'of course I do, Twilight.' I know her very well," Derpy giggled.

"How well?"

"Very, very well."

"Can you introduce me to her?" Twilight asked, hope flooding her veins.

"That would be kinda weird, but if you want I could. She is your friend too, you know." Derpy turned back and looked down the path back to her mother's place. "I better get back. Dinky might be worried."

"Derpy, wait! Who do you mean?"

Either the gray mare didn't hear her, or the loud whistle from the train announcing its imminent departure drowned out her voice. Spike and Twilight rushed through the crowds and literally boarded the train just in the nick of time.

A Brief Guide to Cloudsdale, the brochure read.

Opening it, Twilight quickly devoured everything she could about the pegasi. Anything that would help her track down the Iridum family member. If Derpy knew who she was then she had to be near Ponyville, which was convenient. As she read she came across something especially interesting. A note about the two Royal families.

The Procellárum family got its power and fame from producing the first storm cloud generator during the Second Renaissance... she skipped ahead, ... one of the most discerning features of the Procellárum family are their larger wingspan. The average length of a pegasi wing is...

Flipping the brochure's page, she came across the next family. The Iridum family is famous for producing rainbows that it uses to magically enhance the purity of the water... the most discerning feature of the Iridum family is their unique manes and tails. While the average pony might have two or three constant hues, the Iridum has no less than four, and sometimes more, hence the origin of their namesake. Iridum is Equitatus for rainbow.

Twilight slowly put the brochure down and stared at the mug of tea in front of her.

There was only one pegasus in Ponyville with a multicolored mane.

Author's Note:

inequestrian - inhuman (in case you missed it)

Procellárum - storm
Iridem Iridum - rainbow