• Published 30th Aug 2017
  • 1,155 Views, 132 Comments

Octavia's Eleven - Tumbleweed

When Octavia's priceless cello is stolen by a greedy dragon, it's up to a ragtag crew of musicians, scoundrels, and special agents to get it back. But things are never that easy, especially once a certain princess gets involved.

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Some Notes on the Text

From the desk of George MacIntosh Fresian--

Under normal circumstances, a summons to the court of Princess Twilight Sparkle would be the highlight of any academic's career. Her reputation as a patron for all branches of scholarship is widely known-- not to mention her reputation for friendliness and a generally sweet disposition.


I am loath to admit that, as I looked over the invitation, I was reminded of a time I was called into the principal's office when I was a little colt. Or, given the subject of the summons, I felt the same sense of impending dread that Flash Sentry so often describes so often in his memoirs. Still, the letter was worded just sternly enough that I didn't dare decline. And thus, I bought a ticket for the next train to Ponyville.

Princess Twilight Sparkle met with me in her library-- a monument to scholarship, if there ever was one. I could have spent hours perusing the rows upon rows of shelves, poring over the texts there, but the presence of the Princess of Friendship and Magic distracted me. Princess Twilight Sparkle sat in an old chair, worn to the point of maximum comfort. She wore no crown or other sign of her station-- in fact, if one ignored her wings, it'd be easy to mistake her for just another unicorn (albeit one slightly taller and more serene looking than the usual).

“George-- can I call you George?” Princess Twilight set a steaming cup of tea on the table in front of me, then poured one for herself.

“Of course, Princess.”

“You don't have to be so formal.”

“Oh, er, yes. Anything you like Pri-- Twilight.”

Princess Twilight smiled, as if reminded of some long-running joke. “I've been following your work for quite some time, you know.”

“You have?” My voice may have cracked.

Princess Twilight nodded. “Your paper on Clover the Clever's political maneuverings to preserve the peace during the
first few years of the United Three Kingdoms was fascinating.”

“That was my graduate thesis.” I said, stunned. “I didn't think anypony outside of the university even knew it existed. You read that?”

“I did!” Princess Twilight beamed with girlish enthusiasm, enough to make one forget she was an ageless being of untold magical power. “A lot of ponies only know Clover the Clever from Hearth's Warming Eve plays. They don't know the real Clover was a talented-- but complicated individual. History has a tendency to overlook a pony's flaws-- especially when those flaws don't fit the story that a particular historian wants to tell. And sometimes the reverse is true, when someone's talents and achievements are all forgotten just because they wind up playing the villain.”

I swallowed, nervous. “This ... is about Flash Sentry, isn't it?”

Princess Twilight's smile faltered, if just a little. “It is.”

“I promise you, everything I've published is exactly what Sentry wrote, without the slightest embellishment.”

“That's the problem.” Princess Twilight blew on her tea to cool it. “I've done some research of my own-- and from everything I've gathered, the memoirs you found are the genuine article.”

I trembled, just slightly. “You're ... you're not going to blacklist me, are you, Princess?”

“Of course not. I don't believe in censorship.” Princess Twilight sipped her tea and set her cup back on her saucer. The little clink of porcelain was as loud as a judge's gavel. “But.”

“But?” I winced.

“Regarding your last letter, on the most recent installment you're preparing for publication ... “

“Ah, yes.” I shrank down in my chair. “I, er, thought it might be prudent to contact you, given the subject matter. Even if my lawyer says that there's no real grounds for a libel case.”

Princess Twilight arched a brow, and went back to her tea again. “That's correct.” She said, primly. “And I will admit, I've learned a great deal from Flash Sentry's memoirs myself. And, given the subject of the latest installment, I think it's important to provide some ... context.”

“Context?” I blurted. “You mean--”

Twilight Sparkle just smiled again, dazzlingly so. “I'm going to help you annotate the next volume of the Flash Sentry Papers.”