• Published 10th Nov 2017
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As Hard As Velvet - Stormbringer



Princess Twilight Sparkle is amazed at the revelations of her mother’s past loves and career. Do we really know who our parents were?

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CHAPTER ONE: A Mother’s Confession

Today…

Princess Twilight Sparkle was walking through the Royal Guard wing of the castle. She was here to meet her parents, Shining, Cadence and Flurry Heart in the Guard’s office. Actually, as long as Twilight lived and went to school in Canterlot, she hadn’t been in this part of the castle since Shining was a cadet and the family escorted him to the barracks to start his training.

It was embarrassing that as she’d go down a hall or enter a room, somepony would call the troops to attention. Although she did find it a little funny when she reflected on it, that she actually now out ranked her brother.

As she navigated the final hallway, she noticed pictures on the wall of the past commanders and heroes. Twilight was only glancing at the portraits, but one reached out and stopped her in her tracks.

The face was the first face she saw when she was born. A face of the pony that had been her greatest support and her greatest love. But the rest of the picture and the plaque beneath were puzzling.

It was clearly her mother, quite a bit younger by 20 or 30 years. Twilight had heard that her mother had retired from the guard, but this was new. Unlike Shining’s uniform, her mother was in a black Royal Guard uniform and black beret. Both had an embroidered Ψ on them. On her shoulder board was a crown and a Ψ inside a wreath.

But the inscription under the picture blew her mind:

Field Marshal Twilight Velvet

Commandant, 1st Special Ψ Unit

There was a date span from before she and Shining were born.

Field Marshal Twilight Velvet?” said Twilight out loud. “1st Special Ψ Unit? What the hay is that?”

“Yes honey,” said a voice behind herself. Many ponies said it was hard to tell who was talking, the mother’s and daughter’s voice was almost identical. Before she became an Alicorn, to look them, the only difference was the coloration and cutie mark. “I guess this is something I should’ve told you before now. And after dinner at home, I promise to tell you everything.”

The two mares hugged, Twilight never felt as loved and safe as in her mother’s embrace. Even now that she was an adult.

“I never did like that picture,” said the mother as she and her daughter released the hug and turned to look at the picture.



Both Twilight’s were alone in Twilight Velvet’s ‘office’. The daughter had seen this room many times in the past, but it was the first time she really looked at the pictures, certificates and medals on the walls.

Twilight Velvet had come into the room, levitating a tea set. She served her daughter tea and then sat by her on the sofa.

“Darling,” said the mother, “you were the princess’ protégée, but I’m sure you know you weren’t the first.”

“Yes mom, I know that before me there was Sunset Shimmer, until she ran away through the Crystal Mirror because she felt that she wasn’t advancing quick enough. Before her, there was Cadence. But before her, I’m not sure.”

“Well that’s a good start,” said the mother, “but you’ve missed a couple.”

“Oh?”

“There’s no protégée currently. And as you know, there isn’t always one at any one time, sometimes there’s many, many years in between. You were the last in that position. But before you was Sunset Shimmer as you know. You’ve met her, or so I’ve heard.”

“Yes, she’s now a good friend, in spite of living in the human world.”

“That’s right, but there was another ‘dropout’ before Sunset Shimmer and after Cadence.”

“Oh, who? Do I know them?”

“As a matter of fact, you do.” Said the mother, “I believe she’s the best friend of your pupal.”

“You don’t mean…” said the daughter in wide-eyed shock.

“Her name is Trixie Lulamoon.”

“Trixie was Celestia’s protégée?” said the daughter in shock. “that explains a lot of her earlier attitude toward me. Then was Cadence before her?”

“Yes,” said the mother, “she was the first non-unicorn protégée for many, many centuries. And she was in the protégée position for many years, partially because she was elevated to an Alicorn Princess early and needed a lot of extra guidance. Also she was without a family so the princess adopted her as a niece. Our family was a kind of substitute family support while she was your foalsitter. It’s how Shiny and she first met.

But you knew all that (the daughter nodded her head). Several years before Cadence, there was a pony named Cassiopeia. A very bright and promising student. It was thought that she might become the next Alicorn Princess.”

“I think I may’ve heard the name but I’m not sure, what ever happened with her?”

“She disappeared, assumed perished in an expedition into the Arimaspi Territory. So sad, she was as nice a pony as you’d ever want to meet.”

Twilight remembered a simple monument in the castle gardens dedicated to Cassiopeia, but she never asked who it was.

“Who was before Cassiopeia?”

Twilight Velvet smiled and held her daughters hoof.

“That’d have been me.”

“You were Princess Celestia’s protégée?”

“Well don’t say that as if it were an impossibility! That your dumb ol’ mother might’ve been a special pony at one time.” Said the mother with an amused look on her face.

“No mom,” said the daughter hugging her mother, “I didn’t mean that at all! My mom has always been special. It’s just so much information is being dumped on me that I’m having trouble following.

Princess Celestia’s protégée.

A Field Marshal in the Royal Guard.

What’s a Special Ψ Unit?

And why were you never elevated to Alicorn Princess?”

“The last question first; because of my talents, being a princess would be too noticeable and a waste of my powers. I… Or we work in secrecy, kind of hard to be an Alicorn and sneak around. (The daughter nodded in understanding this firsthoof.)

Next you may have only heard it called the Special Unit. It’s a unit of the Royal Guard, answerable only to Princess Celestia. And now, thanks to you and your friends, to Princess Luna as well.

Most of the work is clandestine.”

“You were a spy? Like Special Agent Sweetie Drops of Celestia's Monster-Hunting Agency?”

“Hardly,” said the mother rolling her eyes as if somethin demeaning had been suggested. “Celestia's Monster-Hunting Agency handled minor annoyances like bugbears and ursa majors.”

“Minor annoyances!” said the daughter taken aback, “I’ve fought a bugbear and an ursa minor. They were a bit more than a minor annoyance!”

Twilight Velvet giggled at her daughter’s reaction.

“My sweet girl,” said the mother holding her daughter’s hoof, “I know that what you did was not minor to you. You and your friends have faced major peril. But honey, there’s so much more out there that if the common pony knew about, they’d make your friend Fluttershy look like a paragon of bravery.”

“I… I never knew,” said the daughter. “what kind of monsters would those be?”

“A fiendish kind of life form that hides both in the shadows and in the light of day, they live off of the suffering of others. Ones who inflict pain and misery for no more reason than it amuses them. Ones who have no other moral code other than what pleases them. Evil is too mild of a word to describe them.

Death and destruction is their calling card. Broken homes, broken families and broken lives are evidence of their presence.

A predator in the truest sense of the word.

Unfortunately, most of the time, they have to be fought with the same cruelty, violence and finality.”

“They sound truly frightening, have I ever seen one?”

“Yes, my darling daughter, you see them all the time.”

“Oh?”

“They’re none other than your fellow ponies.”


The daughter sat in shock, then she put together what her mother just said.


“Are you saying that you’ve killed ponies before?”

“Yes my dear daughter, and I’m not proud of that,” said the mother, neither looking ashamed or proud, “but there are worse things that I’ve had to do to them.”

“Like what?” asked the daughter, not sure that she wanted to hear.

Twilight Velvet looked at the closed door, her horn glowed violet and the door opened.

“Shiny,” called the mother, “could you come in here?”

Shining Armor came into the mother’s room.

Yes, mom?”

“How’re you, Cadence and Flurry Heart doing, my strong and handsome son?”

“We’re doing great, thanks”

A look came over Velvet’s face, her horn glowed. Shining’s face went blank for a moment. Then the mother spoke again.

“How’re you, Cadence and Flurry Heart doing, my strong and handsome son?”

The daughter looked confused with her mother repeating the question.

“Mom, it’s been so terrible, the Crystal Empire was overthrown by a troop of deranged Filly Guide Scouts. Cadence, Flurry Heart and I barely escaped with our lives.” Said Shining, then with tears in his eyes.

“Then Cadence left me for a buffalo and is now selling cotton candy in the circus and Flurry Heart is doing a lion tamer act.

And I’ve been reduced to having to be a stallion’s room attendant at a gentlepony’s club.”


The daughter didn’t know if she should be appalled or break down laughing. The mother just smiled at her daughter, then turned her attention to her son. Her horn glowed again.

“How’re you, Cadence and Flurry Heart doing, my strong and handsome son?”

“We’re doing great, thanks”

“Thank you sweetie,” said the mother, “can you close the door on your way out?”

“Sure mom,” said Shining as he left.

After a moment;

“A Special Ψ Unit is about psionics,” said the mother, “we’re mostly involved with memory retrieval, implanting and psychic warfare.”

“That’s amazing,” said the daughter, “I didn’t think that was legal.”

“It isn’t,” said the mother, “and I hope the Princess of Friendship doesn’t have her poor old mother thrown in the dungeon for what I just did to Shiny.”

“Mom, you know better.”

“I know, but as to legality. There are many things that professionals do that would be illegal for most other ponies to do. Police, soldiers, special agents. They all do things that are legal because they’re done in the name of the Crown.

I know that’s been a poor excuse for some atrocious acts, but for the most part, it’s how ponies are kept safe. And perhaps, they sleep soundly not knowing anything about this.

And when it’s a black ops unit, like a Special Ψ Unit, then it’s our job to help those ponies who are effected to forget about us. Not as a punishment, but to actually alleviate any possible repercussions against them by the ones we fight. The few that figure it out are made to look like crackpot conspiracy theorist. It’s best if the common pony don’t even know or believe we exist.”

The daughter looked frightened and cringed in her seat.

“You’re not going to have to wipe my memory, mom. Are you?”

Twilight Velvet looked gently at her daughter.

“No honey, for two reasons. First, you’re a Twilight. There’s a reason you carry that name. All Twilight’s have been deeply linked. If you work at it, you can discover this.

Second, you’re an Alicorn now, and a princess. You have a need to know, and you’re not susceptible to psionics except perhaps by multiple Alicorns.”

The daughter sat and thought.

“So you’ve never used those powers on us at home?” asked the daughter.

“Who? Me?” said the mother looking slyly amused.

Twilight Velvet closed her eyes for a moment. Her horn glowed. Several minutes later, as Twilight and her mother were talking about more mundane topics, Night Light came into the office levitating a tray with slices of pie and ice cream.

“Here,” said Night Light, “I brought my favorite girls some dessert.”

The father put the tray down, then a strange look came over his face.

“Velvet!” said Night Light, “you’ve done it to me again!”

The husband and wife laughed, kissed then Night Light left.

“So that’s why Shiny and I never got away with anything!”

“Would I do that to you?” asked the mother in mock astonishment.

The two Twilight’s burst out laughing.

“Mom, can you tell me anything about your career?”

“I think I can now tell you a few things. I only hope you’ll be able to sleep at night.” Then with an odd gleam in her eyes, “although I will have to kill you afterwards.”

Twilight was concerned until her mother laughed, and let her daughter know that was a very old joke among the security community.

“Well…

It started right after I graduated from C.S.G.U…”

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