• Published 23rd Jun 2018
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Change: Avia - tom117z



Princess Avia is looking forwards to the Summer Sun Celebration in Ponyville, what could possibly go wrong with such a fun and active event?

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4 - Grandparents

Avia had never seen so many ponies in one place! Even in Canterlot, there hadn’t seemed to be that many wandering the streets, but now it was like a massive pastel zombie horde coming to consume them all!

…Maybe Avia had been reading too many books after all.

Still, the size of the crowd was mind-boggling to her. And it wasn’t just ponies, but she could see griffons, changelings… even a zebra or two. One, in particular, seemed to have set up a stand where she was selling all kinds of strange brews, her speech an odd pattern of rhymes.

There were a lot of other stands also set up. One mare was selling a whole bunch of confectionary, and Avia made a mental note to go visit that one later. Another was, for some reason, selling various types of rocks with a huge sign above her reading ‘pets for sale’. Weird.

Even weirder was the ecstatic wave that Pinkie Pie gave the mare in question, but Avia chose not to ask.

There were even more than Avia had time to examine as the group walked through town, some more crowded than others. It seemed, even though the main event wasn’t until the next night, that the Summer Sun Celebration was already underway. And throughout, the six Bearers of Harmony quite often giggled amongst themselves like they were teenagers again, catching up through various tales they had to regale on one another.

“Really, Sapphire is the spitting image of Sweetie Belle,” Rarity said with a titter. “Always getting into trouble, looking for that next big adventure with her little friends. She has taken a shine to my line of work, mind you.”

“I take it the Cutie Mark Crusaders are in town?” Twilight asked, knowing that Apple Bloom was a given since she worked at Sweet Apple Acres with her family, but the others’ occupations took them around Equestria when they weren’t doing their little cutie mark related quests.

“You kidding? You know they’d never miss a Ponyville hosted celebration,” Rainbow Dash stated. “And since all us Wonderbolts are gonna be here, Scoots was always going to. We are a big attraction to these things, you know!”

“Any chance to show off,” Applejack said with a roll of her eyes. “What’s it this time? A big flashy performance, or just bragging how ya’ll ‘single-hoofedly took down the changeling Empress’.”

“Come on, AJ, give us some credit. And I’ve never claimed that…” Rainbow retorted. “Beyond, like, one time!”

“One time too many, Sugarcube,” Applejack said with a smirk, causing Rainbow to just huff in response.

“Well, back to the topic at hoof…” Rarity interrupted the squabbling duo. “Sweetie Belle arrived a few days ago after finishing her concert in Manehatten, typically showering Sapphire with gifts on arrival. She does like to spoil her niece.”

“Sounds like Cadance,” Twilight noted mirthfully, Avia brightening as she stood up on her father’s back with a smile at the mention of her aunt. “Oh hives, we really are going to need a bigger carriage going home…”

And Avia couldn’t wait. And speaking of spoiling…

“Uh oh, trouble at twelve o’clock,” Façade joked as two very specific ponies became visible through the crowd.

Night Light and Twilight Velvet were briefly startled by the familiar voice of their son-in-law, but the two elderly ponies quickly grew wide smiles as their family members parted through the crowd.

Avia’s pony grandparents looked quite good for their age, having looked after themselves throughout their lives. Despite that, though, their waning years were clear. Their manes had lost much of their once vibrant colours, and creases could be seen along their features betraying the fact that they were well into their seventies.

But why would that ever stop them?

“Twilight!” Twilight Velvet cantered happily forwards and quickly embraced her adoptive daughter, one the Queen returned readily. “And you too, Façade! How are you?”

“I’m fine, Mrs Velvet,” Façade responded. “I hope you are well?”

“Oh, you know it’s just Velvet to you,” she chided, before giving him a sly wink. “Or Mum, if you’re so inclined.”

Façade blushed, and both Twilight and Night Light laughed at his indignation, the latter laying it out for him: “You’d best let her have one of them, or you’ll never hear the end of it.”

“I know… Force of habit.”

“Grandma!” Avia chirped, bolting over her father’s head and into Velvet’s waiting hooves. “Grandpa!”

“Avia! Oh, how are you, my dear?” Velvet asked in a maternal manner, giving the filly a smooch on the head before allowing her husband to also have a quick cuddle with their grandchild. “Oh, if I’d known I’d run into you I’d have brought your present!”

Avia gasped. “You did bring one!? What is it!?”

The mare chuckled, bopping the filly on the nose. “Now now, you’ll just have to wait and see.”

During the exchange, Night Light slinked over to Twilight and whispered into her ear: “It’s Canterlot Cantabiles Volume Thirty-One, signed by the original author. It’s a rare edition.”

“Now I’m jealous,” Twilight said with a small laugh, watching on as Avia begged a playful Twilight Velvet for hints and clues. “That’s when it gets good. I’m sure Avia will love it.”

“You think so? I mean, I have an inkling she’s so much like another little bookworm I once knew…” He feigned ignorance, tapping his chin in thought.

A light purple gossamer wing smacked him lightly around the head. “Hush you.”

“Ah, honey… Why would I ever do that?”

“You’re the worst kind of pony.”

“And you love your dear old Dad all the same, eh?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Yes, Dad. I do…”

He couldn’t help but give her a smirk of vindication, eliciting one further roll of the Changeling Queen’s eyes.

“It’s totally a book!” Avia announced, confident in her assertion. “Am I right? Is it a book?”

Velvet hummed in thought. “I don’t know, is it?”

“No fair!” the filly whined. “You can’t answer with a question!”

“Can’t I?”

“Grandmaaaa!”

Velvet giggled. “You will just have to wait and see, dear. I promise that you’ll receive it soon.”

Avia tried to hide her gleeful impatience, nodding in turn. “Okay…”

“So, where are you and your friends heading?” Night Light asked, examining the sizable group of changelings and ponies.

“Twi’s just heading over to the library, Mr Light,” Applejack answered. “Get all done and settled in for the celebration.”

“Oh, it’s like a homecoming!” Velvet commented. “Don’t let us keep you from your fun! We’re just seeing what’s out and about in town.”

“Mum, it’s no trouble,” Twilight assured. “We don’t see each other enough as it is. I’d like to chat a while longer.”

“No no dear, we can catch up once your father and I are done browsing,” she responded. “We will be over to the library in a little while, so don’t let us keep you. I’m sure you’ll have some organising to do.”

“It isn’t exactly my library to organise anymore,” Twilight muttered with a small kick to the dirt.

“I’m sure the nice librarian won’t mind, dear. But really now, you have a library to sort and I have shopping to do!”

“And I have to stop her from spending all our bits,” Night Light muttered from one side, heard by almost all but Velvet herself.

“Alright, if you’re sure,” Twilight conceded. “You can come on over this afternoon, things should be calming down later on. Most of the activity will be tomorrow.”

“I find that hard to imagine with all the current hustle and bustle,” Velvet noted. “But yes, we will be sure to. Do mind how you go, won’t you?”

Twilight snorted. “It’s just a walk from here to the Golden Oaks, what could happen?”

“Shall I answer that or will one of you?” Façade asked to his wife’s fellow Element Bearers, who all stifled their laughter.

“Very funny. But I’m a Queen, not a troublemaker,” Twilight shot back, before turning to give her parents a final embrace. “I love you guys.”

“And we love you, Twily,” Night Light replied.

“And me!” Avia shot up in between the group.

“Yes, and you!”

And with that final interaction, the group parted ways with the elderly unicorn couple. Velvet immediately dragged Night Light to some nearby stand or another, while the main group continued their jaunt to the library.

And after some more idle chatter, the fabled tree came into view.

There was a lot of activity in the large space around the library, more stalls and activities having been prepared for adults and children alike. A small group of the latter were playing on an arcade machine being operated by a brown stallion in a strange multi-coloured hat with a small rotor blade on top. The tree itself had several banners and flags being hung from it, giving the entire area a joyful Summer Sun Celebration feel.

In other words, home sweet home.

The door was open, and Twilight strolled into the library amidst a wave of nostalgia. It looked much as it always had, books lining the outside with a table in the centre containing a pony head bust. One nearby doorway led into the kitchen, another would lead down into the basement where, as far as Twilight was aware, a lot of her old research equipment still laid to that very day. And then, finally, some stairs led up to the upper level where the bathroom and bedrooms would be found.

“Wow…” Avia looked over her mother’s old home with a starry-eyed look. “So! Cool!”

“Well, I’m glad you approve,” Twilight commented as she trotted in, examining the shelves. “Hm… Not the system I’d use, but effective nonetheless.”

“Heh, right there’s the spot where Dash decided books were a good air break,” Applejack said with a chuckle, pointing at a specific set of shelves.

“Hey, it’s more like they chose me,” Rainbow retorted. “It’s not like I meant to crash.”

“Well, accidents do happen, darling,” Rarity added in. “And more than their fair share has occurred within this tree.”

“Just like all those times Twilight went totally crazy!” Pinkie Pie added in a little too happily. “Ah, weren’t those the days?”

“Yes, Pinkie… quite.”

“I still remember inviting you and Applejack for my first slumber party,” Twilight reminisced with an amused shake of her head. “Wasn’t that night eventful…”

Avia gave a sharp gasp. “Slumber party!? Oh, we have got to do that sometime!”

“We’ll add it to the list,” Façade said, patting his daughter on the head.

“I should go check on my animal friends,” Fluttershy then announced, looking towards the others regretfully. “Sometimes the increased noise can stress some of them out, so I want to check that everything is okay at home.”

“Yeah, and I still got cider barrels to fill for the celebration tomorrow,” Applejack concurred.

“Ha, you bet you do!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “Isn’t a party without them!”

“And I’ll be sure you take it easy,” Applejack retorted with a raised eyebrow. “Last thing we need is you intoxicated.”

“Yeah yeah, Miss Killjoy,” Rainbow shot back. “But either way, I do need to check in with the weather teams. Still got some work to do before things are perfect for the princesses.

“I think we all do, the Summer Sun Celebration is a most busy time after all,” Rarity pointed out.

“Yeah, and some of it may need organisation… If you catch my meaning,” Rainbow Dash said while taking to the air and jabbing Twilight with a sly elbow.

Twilight tittered behind a hoof. “I guess a Queen’s job is never done. I’ll see what I can do after we’ve settled in.”

“I’m sure some of our changelings wouldn’t mind helping out,” Façade suggested. “Coordinating the effort over the hive mind would be a start.”

“Good plan,” Twilight responded over the hive mind itself, shooting him a smirk. “All drones, anyone wishing to assist with the preparations respond with confirmation and prepare for instructions.”

“Oh! Are we doing hive stuff now?” a younger voice sounded over the hive mind.

“Avia…” Twilight said verbally, shooting her daughter a small look of irritation. “What have we talked about when it comes to using the royal link?”

“Oh, uh… sorry.”

“I’m gonna assume you were doing the ‘talking in your heads’ thing and just go with it,” Applejack commented from the side. “Well, Sugarcubes, I think we all need to get busy with the preparations.”

Twilight nodded. “I agree. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

“And super mega parties to plan!” Pinkie added in, before throwing a super serious salute. “Don’t worry, your Queenliness! Everything will be amazing by the time the princesses get here!”

“Come on ya’ll,” Applejack spoke up, opening the front door and motioning for a swift exit. “Let’s leave them to their family business and get on with ours.”

“We shall catch up after all is said and done darling,” Rarity said in farewell to the Changeling Queen.

“Or when she comes around organising, for old times’ sake,” Pinkie Pie remarked as she bounced out of the tree. “See you later, Twilight!”

“Try not to have too much fun without us,” Rainbow Dash said, shooting Avia a playful glare. “Especially you, squirt!”

“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” Avia recited, and then swore that she saw Pinkie Pie turn to stare right at her from outside.

“Right. Well then, later changelings!” Rainbow concluded, flying out the door.

“Yes, well… I hope you enjoy staying here again,” Fluttershy said, beginning to move off herself. “Call if you need anything!”

“I will, Fluttershy,” Twilight assured. “Thanks.”

And with that, the Element Bearers had all filed out of the library back to their own tasks for the day. Applejack glanced over to the Changeling Queen from where she was holding the door, tipped her hat in farewell and then slipped out herself.

The door shut, and then the three changelings had the place to themselves.