• Published 1st Jul 2012
  • 4,144 Views, 112 Comments

Shipping Wars - Soothing Stone



When Fluttershy invites Spike to a romantic-ish dance, everypony tries to figure out why.

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Chapter 5

Author's note: This is the part where the story shows why it's got a Teen rating. It's not explicit enough for a Mature rating, but you can tell what's being implied at the end.

It was Monday morning, and whoever was going to the Dance tomorrow would be making final preparations throughout the day. There was a thundershower out today, so most ponies took cover inside their houses unless it was necessary to go out.

Twilight opened her eyes, a little grouchy after some interesting dreams last night. So that's what Spike meant by asking Fluttershy to leave his dreams alone.

By instinct she looked over at Spike's bed, but he was still at Sweetie Belle's house. Were they hitting it off that well?

No matter. She went and did her morning preparations, and brought a saddle with an umbrella attached outside. The least she could do was say hi to Spike before bringing him home, and ask how the day went.

She opened the door, and a huge gust of wind blew inside, pushing books off the shelves and blowing the saddle off of her back. It turned into a storm, to get any rain out before tomorrow, she imagined. Twilight sighed and put the books back where they belonged, and merely teleported herself over to the lobby of the Boutique.

Once the purple unicorn had arrived, she looked behind herself and saw that the door had a closed sign on the door. Why would Rarity close her store on the beginning of the workweek?

"Rarity?" she shouted. "Are you there, Rarity? I'm here to pick Spike up!"

From the second floor, she spotted a white pony in white sleeping clothes and a cover over its eyes, but saw that it was Fancy Pants. "I dare say, who could be up and about at 6 in the morning? And the Boutique is closed!"

Oh Celestia no, Twilight thought. Fancy Pants spent the night here...were they THAT steady?

"Fancy Pants, what is the matter?" Rarity stumbled in, with a matching sleeping coat to match. Yep, going REALLY steady. She pulled the cover out and waved at Twilight. "I imagine you're here for Spike?"

Twilight nodded. "How did it go with him and Sweetie Belle?"

"Like you wouldn't dream. They were doing so many things together yesterday, and they were the most adorable thing I had ever seen. And that's no small feat," she said, nuzzling the side of her stallion.

"Yeah, I can tell. Where is Spike right now?"

"Twilight? You're here!" Spike emerged from the bedroom, with more than a few lipstick stains all over his head. He ran down to hug Twilight, and he had the most genuine expression of joy. "Thanks so much for letting me stay here! It was the best day of my life and--"

"I'm so happy for you," she muttered, trying to hide that everything about this scene, from seeing Fancy and Rarity together, along with Spike covered in lipstick, was making more than a little uncomfortable. "You can tell me all about it when we get home."

He nodded, and the unicorn couple waved them away as they went out the door. Hearing the bell ring, Sweetie came out and saw them leave, sighing.

"I can't wait to see him again," she breathed.

Rarity hid her laughing as she went back to her room for other Crusader activities.

"Young love," she said. "It's always the sweetest thing, isn't it?"

"Yes, of course," Fancy nuzzled back. "But I personally find you sweeter than anything in Equestria."

She giggled, waiting for him to say something like that since the last time they were together. "But you must admit they were meant to be together, much like we are."

"Indeed, I haven't found anypony that has fallen love as they have. But do you think Fluttershy will be fine? She was the one who gave Spike the idea to attend the Dance after all."

"I wouldn't worry about her. She might still be shy as a bat, but in the end she will find a stallion for herself. I just know it."

------------

"You let her kiss you for HOW long?" Twilight Sparkle shrieked.

Ever since they got home, Spike spilled all the beans about his time with Sweetie Belle. While it seemed to be as harmless as puppy love, some certain details were a little more outrageous.

"Yep! Best fifteen minutes of my life!" Spike gloated. "I didn't know much about her when we started, but oh boy..."

She lost it for a second and slapped him with a broom, before realizing what she did. "Oh, I'm so sorry Spike. I don't know what happened, I guess this is all new to me."

"That's OK," he said as he recovered from the broom wacking. "But is that why you've been acting so strange lately?"

There was no trying to hide it, ever since the Fluttershy incident it was on her brain throughout the week. She nodded, and lowered her head in shame.

He looked around and leaned back on his feet. It was a weird time of all of them. From him to go to liking Rarity to Sweetie Belle was as strange as anything they had experienced, as well as literally everything Fluttershy had unintentionally uncovered.

But he knew Twilight had stayed the same, so he came to the pony who had become the closest thing he had to a sister, and tilted her head back so their eyes met.

"I can't explain what just happened, but you are always going to be family to me," he said. "Nothing's going to change it, no matter who's my special somepony."

Her spirits went back to normal, and she returned the favor by hugging the big, scaly dragon. "Thanks a lot, you have no idea what that meant to me."

She hopped off and backed away, and Spike went back to sharing all the details. He said it with such enthusiasm that it brought a tear to her eye, as he was showing signs of growing up throughout his long speech.

Meanwhile, Spike was in the best place that his life had ever been. Granted, it still hurt to realize Rarity was taken, regardless if he hid it as well as he did. But at the same time, Sweetie Belle sent his heart flying, and he was already talking about how they were going to have the best night ever at the Dance.

But before he could finish, they heard a knock on the door, and it sounded like whoever was knocking was a strong fella. "I'll get that," she said.

She went to see who it was, and found a Royal Guard waiting for an answer, along with two more waiting inside a carriage with a package inside. They remained unfazed through the storm, not moving one inch from the thunder piercing their ears.

"Are you Twilight Sparkle, the leader of the Elements of Harmony?" the Guard asked.

"Yes, that's me. Is that from Princess Luna?"

He nodded and told the other two to bring the package inside. It was a big box, big enough for a full grown pony to be encased inside. There was an address written for Twilight Sparkle on the top.

The Guards carried it on their backs, and lowered it slowly on the middle of the living room. It didn't appear heavy, just that they were trying to be careful with what they were delivering.

"These are the things that you had asked Princess Luna for through your letter," he reported. "Also, she wanted me to deliver this to you myself."

He pulled out a letter from inside a pocket in his armor, locked with the seal usually from Celestia's writings. "That is all I have to say. We ask for our departure from you, Princess Luna's love--I mean, assistant."

The lead Guard turned around to leave, but Twilight stopped him, saying "What did you say about me and Luna?"

The rest of the pegasi looked at the leader, realizing he slipped up by accident. "That you are Luna's assistant. Nothing more."

"But didn't you say--"

They all flew off before she could get another word in, disappearing into the eye of the storm.

She was even more confused by what had occurred than ever before. That had to be a mistake, she thought. But what about the letter she had personally sent for Twilight?

Spike watched eagerly as she went and unwrapped the letter, using her horn to hold it in the air. It read:

To dear Twilight Sparkle,

I have enclosed the demands you made inside the box for the Dance. It is the best dress anypony could find within the city of Canterlot, and I hope that it pleases you so.

In the meantime, I do await the moment we meet in Ponyville, for we have much to discuss. It has been a long time since the Royal Wedding and much has changed. When you receive this letter, I shall only be a few hours away from arriving, and request that I spend the night of Monday in your place.

Carry on with your studies,
Luna

"That doesn't seem too bad," Spike said. "But we're house NIGHTMARE NIGHT of all ponies--"

She shot him a look that stopped him in place, fidgeting his fingers in shame. "You are right, it doesn't seem too bad, but why would she be looking forward to meeting me?"

"Mmm, uhh, I got nothing. Let's see your present already!"

He tore through the paper covering on the box, stripping it bare. Just as fast, he dug his claws on its top plane and ripped it off. When he looked inside, he was taken in awe from the content's beauty and shiny build.

Twilight looked inside, and was just as awestruck as the dragon was. Somehow this made her Gala dress look backwards and ranked among Rarity's best.

The dress was one big flowing gown, and covered head to toe with a care to detail that was unbelievable. The chest area was in a satin-coated purple color, with a necklace made of star designs at the top. The bottom area was brighter, with a spot of black like the one on Luna's flank, but the moon was full and yellow. The whole dress had a modest amount of sparkles all over, and shined once the sun trickled through and into thee box.

"Oh my...it's so beautiful," she studdered. It was like getting a dress for the first time during her high school prom, the sheer excitement of wearing something she thought was so magnificent to such a big event. "Spike...write a letter to Luna..."

He couldn't stop staring at what was inside, but got back to his senses and got a quill and parchment. "Ready...how did she made that..."

"Dear Princess Luna, thank you thank you thank you..."

Before the dragon could write one word down, there was another knock at the door, and he walked over to let the guest in. She towered over both of them, and spoke with a voice that was still louder than most.

"Greetings, Twilight Sparkle and the dragon Spike," Princess Luna announced in her Royal Canterlot Voice. "Does thou enjoy the dress we hath delivered?"

The Voice shook Spike down to the core, flying back to the bark wood. Twilight was more used to it, and was able to stand her ground.

"Thanks so much for the dress!" she exclaimed. "It's one of the best dresses I have ever seen, and that's saying something knowing Rarity. You really didn't have to do that for me."

"Oh, but I had to," Luna responded, in a lower, more personal voice. "I understand how important this dance is to the citizens of Ponyville, and I wanted my assistant to make a good impression out there."

Twilight laughed. "It's going to be nice out there tomorrow. It's been a crazy time for all of us."

"How so?"

"Oh Celestia, where to begin..."

------------

"And then Spike realized that Sweetie Belle had a crush on him all along! Isn't that crazy?"

"We have been alive for milenia, and rarely do we hear of a tale as ridiculous as this one," Luna finally said, after hearing nothing but the story for a whole hour. "But does he love her?"

"Love her? You have no idea!" Spike answered back.

"I see. You still have lipstick on your face," said Luna. "But we must depart for the time being. Mayor Mare is requesting our aid to finish the final preparations for the Ponyville Palace Dance, but we shall soon return. Farewell, Twilight and Spike."

They bowed in respect, and Luna departed for the town hall. The rest looked at each other and grinned.

"Well, this has gone better than I had planned," said Twilight.

"Me too," said Spike. "I have a dance to get ready for!"

--------------

"What? How long have you been keeping this a secret?" Mayor Mare questioned.

"Since last Nightmare Night," Luna answered. "But that is not the matter at hoof. That is the reason why I want to make this night the most memorable you can make it."

Within the walls of the Mayor's office, things were getting heated as the two finished the last details of the plans.

"I understand what you mean, but this is on such short notice! A chandelier to be put in an old school gym, Celestia's personal band from Canterlot, and a redecoration? How are we supposed to pay for all of this, let alone put it together, in one day?"

"That will be my burden to handle. I'll do it all myself."

"Are you sure? This is ambitious, even for you."

She skirted a hoof around on the ground. "Do you doubt what we can accomplish, when it burns through our hearts to do such a thing?"

"I never question a pony who raises the moon and keeps this country together with her sister. You know that. But this...this is personal."

"I am aware my intentions are unusual for an event as modest as this, but it's all I ask for you, to approve this deed."

Mayor Mare paced around her desk in frustration. Granted, she believed the money could be placed in better places than this. But on the other hoof, she really couldn't question Luna in this. Luna was far and away above her in every conceivable way.

Then again, this was something Luna herself would take care of, right? And she had bottomless resources, not to mention this would make it the best Palace Dance ever. That was something she was wanting, ever since she met her future husband there.

So without further hesitance, she grabbed the blueprints Luna had delivered, inked the stamp well, and pressed "APPROVED" on it.

"You are aware that when what you're doing becomes public, everypony will know it in five minutes, right?" she asked.

"I will not say anything until I know my assumptions are correct. You're the only other pony to know, and I ask that you can keep it a secret for the time being."

"I can. But if you're right..."

"Then I will tell everypony that needs to know."

-------------

The stitching machine was furious within Rarity's Carousal Boutique. Her own dress was finished by now, but she had received another special request from Cheerilee, just for the Dance. She said in her request that it would be her first dress in years, so this had to be extra special.

She levitated all the pieces she would need in a single file row on the table, getting the sewing machine fired up. Thank goodness the storm was still going, as nopony would come over and ask why the store was closed.

But somepony did come over and knock at the door, right before she knitted the first pieces together. "Who could that be, in such a fierce storm?" she asked.

She went to the front door, and found Cheerilee trying to hide underneath a hilariously small umbrella from the rain. "Let me in, please!" she pleaded.

Rarity hurried to change the lock, and opened the door for her, wind trying to get in. Cheerilee ran inside, her mane and tail dripping wet.

"I've been living in Ponyville for years, and never have we had a storm like this before," said Cheerilee, receiving a towel from Rarity to dry herself. "How's the dress coming along?"

"Oh, it's coming along splendidly!" said Rarity. "I got all the materials ready, all I have left to do is to put it together myself. And that's not always the hard part, darling."

Cheerilee looked around the workstation, and found a drawing of the proposed dress on a bench. It was very modest indeed, and it looked like it wouldn't take long to do after all.

Once she was all dried off, she pulled up a chair next to the sewing machine to watch Rarity do her work. The designer went back to work, and sewed together the first part of Cheerilee's evening attire.

"So are you going to the Dance yourself?" Cheerilee said, pointing at the finished dress Rarity made for herself.

Rarity grinned and nodded. "I've been waiting for this day for months, in matter of fact. I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"I know what you mean. That's why I wanted you for this, because I want to make a good impression on Big Mac."

"Oh, that big stallion? I already know about it, I cannot deny I am a little surprised that you would choose him as your suitor."

"How did you--"

"But that's not the important thing. What does matter is that I am proud that one of my old friends has finally found the one. So have I, recently."

"Are you going to say who it is?"

"Fancy Pants," she moaned in a dreamy accent.

Wait a minute, THAT Fancy Pants? Cheerilee had seen him on magazine covers before, naming him one of the most influential ponies in Canterlot, and that place was flooded with characters that all of Equestria was aware of, Octavia, Photo Finish, and now Fancy Pants, dating a Ponyville citizen...

"Are you sure it's Fancy Pants you met?" Cheerilee couldn't help but ask. "You are aware of who he is, right?"

"How are you doing with those dresses, Rarity?" Fancy Pants asked, coming in from the back to deliver a roll of material for his mare to use.

"Fan--Fancy Pants..." Cheerilee gasped. It was true. Rarity had somehow managed to land the ultimate stallion, and there he was, sitting right in front of them!

"Who's this? Oh, beg your pardon. You must be Cheerilee," he greeted her. "I've heard many things about you. You were quite the teacher, Rarity tells me."

"Oh my...is this really happening?"

"Indeed," Rarity said, as she and Fancy nuzzled their heads together. "That was what I was saying during our first date. He is really quite the charmer."

"Rarity...Fancy...I don't know what to say. I'm happy for you, that's all I have."

"And that's all you need to say, Cheerlie," said Rarity. "Aw, here we go. Your dress is ready for tomorrow!"

Rarity moved the dress to a mannequin, and the dress was appropriately purple all over, matching with Cheerilee's coat. It was decorated with the designer's signature gems, green and yellow in color range, and it was made with material comfortable enough that it felt like it could be worn anytime she wanted to look nice.

The earht pony thought it was amazing, and she couldn't wait to see how Big Mac would respond when he saw her in it.

"Thank you, it's even better than what I wanted!" she exclaimed. "How many bits for the outfit?"

"You can have it for free," said Rarity. "It's for a friend after all, and I received enough business to last me a while. But you probably should keep it here until it clears up tomorrow, I'll keep a good eye on it."

But that wasn't the focus anymore on Cheerilee's mind, as the thought of having Big Mac see her in that dress evolved to whenever or not Big Mac was safe through the storm, and the idea of seeing how he was doing crossed into her head. "You're very kind, but I gotta go. See you tomorrow, Fancy Pants!"

He had no chance to give a reaction, as Cheerilee dashed outside and went out the door inside the ravaging heart of the storm. She was shocked as the animal had gotten worse over time, with tree branches swirling all around, and sheets of rain falling down to the ground.

She panicked and wondered if it was worth the dash to Sweet Apple Acres, as Rarity held the door open for her to come back in. "It's too terrible out there, dear!" she shouted. "It's not worth it, whatever it is!"

But it didn't matter, as Cheerilee went ahead and galloped for Big Mac. With every step she took, the storm ravaged on, acting as if it was furious somepony would resist its power. She kept pressing through, keeping him in his thoughts. She had to make sure he was safe through the weather, it was getting worse by the minute.

After struggling through the first round, she managed to escape downtown Ponyville, and Sweet Apple Acres was in sight. It was even more pessimistic than she thought, with a tree down here and there, and debris everywhere. She had to help him somehow.

As she entered the compound, she spotted Big Mac by one of the barn buildings, struggling to get all the cows back inside. They were almost all in, expect for one stray one that had taken a hit by a branch to the back leg, and even he had trouble moving the heavy calf forward.

"Sweetie!" Cheerilee cried. "Let me help you with that!"

His eyes bulged in surprise when he saw her coming forward to help. "No, you can't be here! There's bark flying everywhere!"

"No, I'm helping you get this one in!" She went and got the other half of the cow covered, and began to push. The cow still hesitated to move fast, but with Cheerilee he was going a little more now.

"Push!" she commanded, as they finally made movement. Big Mac watched her face, with absolute concentration in her eyes. With that, he kept pushing too, and they finally got the cow inside. He hurriedly pushed the barn door open, and looked around to see the sky light up with lightning everywhere.

"Inside, now!" he commanded, to the direction of an empty barn building. The house was too far away to be safe, and they galloped inside and shut the door all the way.

They caught up with their breaths inside, with Big Mac laying down and Cheerilee doing the same next to him. "You know how foolish you were, running in the middle of the rain like that?" he complained. "You could've died, and I mean it!"

"I know, but I had to see if you were fine," Cheerilee huffed, hugging Big Mac as they continued to catch their breaths.

"But I can take care of myself!"

"It didn't look like that when I got over here."

Her words stumped him, and he said nothing as their coats were dripping wet in the hay floor. The wood of the barn shaked violently with the wind, somehow sticking together through the test.

Neither said anything to each other for a while, as they witnessed the storm's fury through the building's one open window high above, at a second-story level. All they could see was the color grey, and occasionally white when there was a lightning strike.

She felt safe as she held onto Big Mac, confident they could handle whatever would come their way for that one moment. He just paid attention to the rain, not realizing she was snuggling up to him more and more.

"You think they'll still have the dance tomorrow?" she brought up.

"Eeyup. It might be a doozy of a downer, but the Dance is indoors. Always have been."

"I know. But it looks so bad outside."

"Don't worry about it. We'll just stay here until it's over, and--"

"Cuddle with each other?"

A part of him wanted to gag, as it sounded just like something she would say when she was under the love poison, but the winning part thought it was the most adorable thing ever. He smiled and wrapped his hooves around Cheerilee in a hugging motion. "Eeyup."

With the green light, she came up and kissed him directly on the lips, placing a hoof on his cheek. He kissed back, continuing to hug her.

She moved on to wrapping her hooves around his neck, as the cuddling session continued. It was one of the best kisses she ever had, and he thought the same too. They kept going, rolling around in the hay as they were lost in each other's touch.

What happened next was the most magical moment of their lives.

After the moment was over, they looked outside the window to see the storm was over, and the night sky took its place. They got up and went outside the barn, and over to the doorstep of the Apple Family's house. There was a note on the front door from Granny Smith, saying that the family was taking cover inside Fluttershy's place, since it appeared to be more sturdy than theirs.

Because of that, Cheerilee ended up sleeping over inside, sleeping in bed with Big Mac by her side.

The Dance was almost here at last.