• Published 4th Oct 2016
  • 14,471 Views, 1,273 Comments

Making Family - Cirrus Sky



You can find a home, but sometimes you have to make a family. Sunset is working on that.

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Mother

Starlight greeted the pair at the door to the palace. “Hi Sunset, Twilight! You're just in time to see the climactic final battle!” Starlight's smile was glossy and a little fake. The unicorn looked like she was actually very panicky.

“The role-playing game went that far again?” Twilight groaned. “I asked Discord not to do his magical lands in the castle of friendship...” Starlight's frantic head shaking cut her off.

“No no... Not that one.” Before Starlight could say more, they were interrupted by a deep mulberry shaded unicorn in armour rolling a portable fire shelter through the palace entrance space.

“The Princess and the pegasus are having a polite-off. I've already had to extinguish several small fires. Spontaneous combustion has become a hazard in the palace today.” She looked to Twilight with a smirk. “Princess Celestia can be aggressively polite, it is rather impressive.”

“Thank you Fizz, for not letting the castle go up in flames.” Twilight looked like she was getting a headache. “What in Equestria is going on?” She turned to Starlight again, trying her best to ignore the sound of the heavy fire shield's metal wheels on the crystal floor.

“Princess Celestia and her counterpart have been, ah, discussing Sunset.” Starlight winced a little. She had gathered that much from what “Mirage” had said, the “unicorn” had even suggested they get out of the castle for a while to avoid trouble.

“Okay, great.” Sunset almost face-hoofed. They entered in behind Tempest and Starlight, keeping an eye out for any fires. “Mom was not happy with the Princess. She thought that a child needed more support than I had and has probably given Princess Celestia a good lecturing.”

“Cadence told me a little, about when you were in the palace.” Twilight said quietly so her voice would not carry to the others. “You needed a family and the Princess wasn't one.”

“Pretty much.” Sunset kept her emotions level. Right now she had to stop her Mom and the Princess coming to blows. “Is there anyone who can explain how things have gone since we left?”

-*-

The two friends had left the palace, chatting happily. Starlight had taken Chrysalis away to explore and everyone else in the castle seemed to be busy playing a game. The Princess had left a moment and returned with a pot of tea and a tray loaded with everything needed to make a tasty drink.

“Twilight likes to live as normally as possible here, so there aren't any staff to bring tea. I thought we could use some for our chat.” The Princess set the tray onto the table she had ushered the Principal to. There were couches by the table and the tray also had some slices of cake.

Hopefully the talk would be pleasant. The tea had steeped and golden magic poured the brew into two teacups. “This is a blend I tend to enjoy, it can be taken with milk and sugar or whatever you prefer.” The Princess said.

“A little milk would be nice.” The Principal said. The sparkling magic returned and soon a tea, exactly as she liked it, was set in front of her.

Using hooves to lift a teacup had felt more than a little strange, but Celestia had managed to adapt in order to drink her tea. She was sat across from the Princess, the larger pony holding a cup aloft in a cloud of golden magic. “What did you want to talk about?” She looked up at the Princess. She did not find the mare intimidating.

“I had hoped to hear how Sunset was, in your world.” The Princess said, putting down the cup on a matching saucer. “She seems very happy right now, so much more than in the past at the palace.”

“Yes, she certainly has improved greatly since I took her in.” The Principal replied, her tone level and polite. “I was shocked at how she had been living.” She sipped the tea and put the cup down again. “She was very good at hiding away, herself, her true colours before Twilight visited. Then her true circumstances afterwards.”

The Princess stirred her cup of tea, giving nothing away. “She learned to keep things close to her chest.” At a sharper look from the pegasus she closed her eyes and exhaled. “Court politics were not kind to fillies of unknown heritage who reached such starry heights.”

“She had a mother.” The Principal replied. “Sunset told me about Sunshimmer and their home in your city.”

Again, the Princess kept her features schooled. “You misunderstand me. Sunset did not come from one of the old families, the Unicorn Court.” She shook her head. “Before I took the sun, Unicorns raised it, those of the greatest power could work to move the sun and they and theirs became politically powerful. Once I held the sun, I had to allow those who had lost that power to take positions of influence. Over the centuries they have guarded their lineage and celebrated their heritage.”

“I know of that problem, we have to deal with a similar issue at home.” The Principal considered what the Princess had been saying and what she was avoiding.

“It was not simple. Twilight's family has long been associate with the crown and while her parents were of a more modest house, they are still a part of one of the high families of Canterlot. Sunshimmer was not even a unicorn. By the time Sunset became my student, she was an orphan.” The Princess averted her gaze, the stern eyes glaring at her own were a literal self-recrimination. Something she had spent a thousand years seeing in every mirror.

“I could not lie and fabricate her a history, it would have been found out and she would have faced worse treatment.” Princess Celestia did have the grace to look pained.

“How unfortunate.” The Principal knew she was getting disgruntled with her counterpart. “It is a pity that someone so young had to face such an obstacle as being low born.”

“There was nothing that could be done, so I taught her and mentored her, provided a home for her.” The Princess drained her cup and set it back to the table.

“A roof you mean.” The Principal said calmly, she had finished her tea also, unimpressed with the Princess. “A home is loving, a place for family. Sunset had a roof and meals, but little by all accounts.”

“To favour her would have been a risk. Cadence was dropped into the court already an Alicorn, it was expected for her to become a titled royal and therefore some relationship had to be put in place.” The Princess was not moving to prepare more tea, instead she was focused on her countepart.

“So you neglected a motherless child in an adverse environment.” The Principal was taking no prisoners. She had not lived as long as the Princess, but she knew herself well enough to read the older Celestia. “Then you tantalisingly show her a route to family that only ends up creating a selfish and mean brat.”

“Sunset was not neglected!” The Princess raised her voice. Somewhere in the palace there was a shout and a crash.

“I think you'll find that emotional neglect is as damaging as physical neglect.” The Principal stated. “I have had to guide Sunset through healing from real emotional damage, hurt, pain and fear. Even prevented desperate and unrepairable attempts at escape.” That was one she hoped the Princess could understand, to lay out exactly what Sunset had tried to do was still too painful for her mother, but surely even here in this colourful world, the Princess was not so innocent or naive.

“I never knew...” The Princess gasped at the meaning implied. “There were no signs to see.”

“Of course there weren't! She had to shield herself and lie just to remain safe! You had no intention of being her mother, yet you did not tell her that. You saw no signs because of the distance you kept from her!” The Principal had not shouted, but her words were firm and unyielding. “She needed a mother and instead had an instructor.”

“I could not take on a child!” The Princess shouted back. Decorum forgotten.

“You took on a child the moment you bought her into your palace.” The Principal said, voice level. “Did she look to be a tool, useful for the future? Someone to prepare for service as a cog in whichever machine she was most needed in?”

“Sunset was talented, gifted. I thought it would be best to guide her power.” The Princess finally blinked. “I failed.”

Silence reigned between the two. The Princess set about making more tea.

-*-

“When we got back from the lake Tempest was putting out small fires. It looks like the gamers didn't notice anything.” Starlight explained. “I went to check on them and they are both just sipping tea at the table making comments that sound nice, but you could cut the tension with a knife.” She blinked, there was another crash and the sound of lit flame.

“Right.” Sunset steeled herself. Tempest had already gone ahead with the fire shield, so hopefully there would be protection for her Mom when she got to them. “I'm going to go see them.” She cast her favourite fire-proofing spell on herself and then looked to the other two mares. “I think I would be better off going by myself.”

“No problem!” Starlight replied quickly. Twilight looked unsure a moment, but Starlight grabbed her and made the alicorn nod, the unicorn had something of a manic grin.

“Oh boy...” Sunset went on to where she had left her mother that morning. How had Discord and Luna missed all that?

-*-

The Castle of Harmony's ballroom was impressive, large enough to host the best of parties. However the party it hosted today was not the type that High Society considered traditional. Also, the décor was not to their tastes either.

“Captain Wuzz and his brother, Zzuw the Bow! I thought you lost to the Chasm of Mire.” A dragon with a wizard hat and trailing beard exclaimed to two tired looking warriors trekking towards them. The pair had been obscured by the tall crystals that broke through the grey earth of the Wasteland of Qor.

“My friends! You survived!” A blue earth pony decked out in furs with a sword twice her size ran to meet them, kicking up dust. The tall warriors leaned against each other for support, halting so their friends could join them now.

“Eeyup!” A red unicorn knight cheered.

“I rolled a natural twenty, we escaped by the skin of our teeth.” Zzuw spoke, unlike his brother he had short shorn hair, a long section spiked up into a mohawk.

“Hey, no breaking character! The Great and Powerful DM Trixie commands it!” The voice of the magician spoke from the sky. “So try not to mention the rolls like that!”

“Sorry.” Discord the former human muttered. “I swear, she is stricter than Cadey is.” He whispered to Luna, the earth pony giggled.

“Zzuw, Wuzz, you must tell us more of your escapades.” The barbarian winked.

“Lou-Nah, my dear compatriot, woe to us, for the mire was mire-some and we were mired to our considerable necks!” Wuzz struck a dramatic pose.

“Ahem.” Trixie butted in again. “You are all heartened to find your friends have survived their earlier peril. But the noise of thundering hooves fills the air from the western horizon. How do you proceed?” Indeed, the noise of many stamping hooves drifted across the game-scape.

As two lifelong gamers, the human visitors were really enjoying Oubliettes & Ogres in the magical land of Equestria.

-*-

Ignoring the odd noises coming from further in the palace, Sunset took a steadying breath. She knew that both Celestias had been discussing her. Her past, her present, maybe even her future plans.

Turning a corner she saw them, sitting at a table with tea. But they both subtly glared at each other. “Hi Mom.” Sunset called as she trotted over. Maybe it was a little left-over of the old her who revelled in the Princess wincing, or her sense of justice making an attempt to force the mare to see exactly what had caused their rift, but Sunset was going to carry on calling her Mom, well, Mom.

“Sunset. Did you enjoy your afternoon with Twilight?” The pegasus was immediately warm and welcoming. She lifted a wing for Sunset to come and stand under. The unicorn hurried to accept the hug, there were sensations and contact she had desired or missed when away from Equestria.

“We had a great time, her friends are like mine, just a little more grown up.” Sunset nuzzled her Mom and smiled. “And I got to have so many of the dishes I missed, there just isn't anything like them back home besides the fact we probably can't digest most of them as humans!”

“You'll have to show me some of those, it will be interesting to try what you like to eat here.” Celestia couldn't help a smile. Sunset had called the land through the portal her home. Equestria, even though she was here, was not home to her now.

“I must take my leave.” Princess Celestia said, she stood and looked to a window. “I am needed at the palace.” She inclined her head to the two smaller ponies. “If you visit Canterlot, I would be happy to receive you at the palace.”

“Goodbye Princess. We'll definitely take a trip to Canterlot, so I'll see you there.” Sunset smiled to her mentor. They had reconciled and Twilight had helped her see how much the Princess had changed since her days as a student. But it looked like her Mom had shaken the mare behind the mask.

The Princess bowed slightly and teleported away.

“You really told her off didn't you?” Sunset asked her Mom quietly.

“I think I did.” Celestia shook her head. “I intended to let her know my feelings on your upbringing. I possibly got carried away.” She draped a wing over Sunset. Despite only having her wings for a few hours, it felt utterly natural and was such an amazing sensation for her maternal instincts.

“We'll have to make nice when I show you Canterlot.” Sunset nuzzled her Mom again, the wing over her was soft and warm, it felt like fierce love and protection. Amazing to the former orphan.

It took some kind of mare to stand up to the Princess.

And that was her Mom.

“We should go tell Twilight that the Princess left, and see if we can extract the others from their game!” Sunset stood close to Celestia as they walked through the palace. Hoping things might be a little better when they visited the city.

Author's Note:

Two Celestia's argue.

Things catch fire.