• Published 20th Mar 2018
  • 12,055 Views, 800 Comments

Serpent of the south - J-90

There is a creature in southern land's, that is nearly as old as the nation of Equestria. Once referred as the queen of the forbidden jungle, later imprisoned in Tartarus. Now it's free to roam the land once more.

  • ...

Chapter 17 The diplomatic ball.

Chapter 17 The diplomatic ball.

Canterlot, Royal castle.

The evening had arrived, and with it, the diplomatic ball, this time hosted in Canterlot. Most of the invited guests had arrived with no problems, majority of them receiving a greetings from the Princesses too.
This many visitors also had meant a lot of carriages and even few airships being parked at the castle front-area and in the airdocks respectively.

At the airdocks where only a couple of castle personnel, waiting any new arrivals. They where even told to be on the lookout for a 'peculiar' looking airship, that apparently was bringing a visitor from their southern neighbours. They even had received this info from the princesses themselves.

"Seeing anything yet?" one of the castle guards, doing the basic patrol rounds, asked from the castle staff member, who was sitting with the dock workers.

"Not sure. All I can see in the horizon is that large puff of smoke, that seems to be moving... Wait, there is something in it!"

And there indeed was an airship, design unlike anything seen in Equestria. It seemed to vent the seen smoke, maybe around two or three times more, before it started to slowly land in the vacant landing-platform.
Both the guard and the staff member where amazed by the look of the ship. Mostly how it even flies without anything visible lifting it up in the air.

After the ship had landed, it once again let out a little bit of smoke, before a door in its side opened up and out flew a hippogriff, wearing a fine looking sash and soon after a pilot jacket wearing griffin. The latter did not seem to notice the remaining smoke, while the hippogriff was coughing a lot.
"Sorry, I think the venting system seems to still have some hiccups in it." the griffing said casually to the hippogriff, while lighting up a homemade looking cigarette.

"You THINK??? Whatever Cid, just get Naja out, before she suffocates in there."

"Roger ma'am." Cid said while going to do just that. After few button presses later, a ramp was lowered in the back of the ship. And almost on the opening second, something big started moving inside.
"Easy there. Just back it up slowly. 'Beep, beep, beep, beep...-'" Cid called out, and then proceeded to do an obnoxious beeping sound, like what someone does to help a wagon or carriage to back up.

And out down the ramp came a huge, purple snake-tail. Soon the whole loosely coiled up serpentine mass had come out. Luckily there was more than enough room. Next the head-end rose up from the coils, revealing a six-armed, humanoid body, wearing a toga. And this creature also coughed a little.
"*cough*'Esuna'..." the snake-lady coughed up in a whispery tone, like she was verbally saying a spell, which in turn caused a dim bluish light to appear on one of her hands. she proceeded to bring the glowing hand on her chest, and it seemed to ease the coughing immediately.
"*inhale* Much better. You really need to enhance the ventilation in this mechanical beauty. Need a refresher Hera?"

"Yes please, Naja" she answered back, and soon both of them had clean lungs once more.

"Umm... Who do we have the pleasure of announcing?" the castle staff member asked, seeming a little wary of Naja, mostly due to her size and overall exoticness.

"Head Sage Hera, representing the free towns of Tanah kahijian and Southport. With me is my 'plus one', Lady Naja." Hera introduced herself and Naja as well, who gave the ponies present a polite nod. "And the chain smoker-supreme, is our pilot, Cid."
"Who'd like to inform that I have a serious 'no-touch'-policy on my ship, concerning the non-passengers. Meaning I WILL slap any overly curious-touchy-pony... HARD..."

"...Noted. Now allow me to guide to the reception hall. From there you can proceed to the main ball-room."

Leaving Cid to watch over his ship, Hera and Naja followed after the castle staff member. Naja obviously needing to slither a lot slower in order to avoid bumping into anyone.

Main reception hall.

"Welcome to the ball. Please, enjoy your time here." Celestia said politely, maybe a hundredth or so time this evening, to another guest, who gave a polite bow to her and left to the main ball room.
Luckily for the sun princessess sanity, her sister was with her, standing right next to her, also taking part in the greeting process. Even the knowledge of Twilight and her friends also being in this ball calmed her well. Her star-pupil, and now also a fellow princess, had even asked to talk about something when they had the time.

"Doing great sister. I think there should not be that many more guest coming this way. Then you can go talk to Twilight." Luna whispered to Celestia.

"I know sister. If only this could be only a little less boring. But thank you for being here."

"No problem sister."

The two of them proceeded to greet a few more officials from some of the towns, until the staff member blew the announce-horn.

"Announcing, the Head Sage Hera from the free towns of Tanah kahijian and Southport,-" this announcement made Celestia look up, and saw a familiar looking hippogriff, whom she remembered seeing once before as a little one with its mother, now an adult. Something that still pulled her feelings every time she saw or met someone she had seen before-
"- and her plus one guest, Lady Naja!" the announcement finished up.´, causing Celestia to visibly stiffen a bit. Maybe even more so, when she saw a very, VERY familiar serpentine creature enter, wearing a modest toga.

The sudden stiffness was mostly caused by the single fact, that Celestia was completely unprepared for this. She had hoped to maybe patiently plan for the eventual negotiations or similar talks with Naja. And now she was right there, slowly slithering right towards her and Luna, who looked a little surprised, but managed to look a lot more calm.
Celestia was still stiff and silent, when the new guests reached them. Luckily guards present did not do anything aggressive; they mostly stared in awe at the serpentine creature and they where ordered beforehand by the princessess to only act if something actually hostile happened.

"Welcome to the ball, miss Hera. We hope you and your friend enjoy your time here." Luna greeted them, snapping Celestia out of her stupor.

"Thank you, Princess Luna. We hope the same for you as well." Hera answered, giving a polite nod to them. Naja followed with a small bow for her size, all of her hands in a different crossed position.
"Yes, hopefully nothing will ruin this event. And sorry for messing the carpet position here, but what can one do while possessing an ample rear-end coils moving around." Naja commented calmly, before following after Hera to the main ballroom, leaving behind a messily rolled carpet. Luckily the doorway was large enough for someone of mariliths size to enter without any trouble.

"...She's... She's here... She's actually here, right now..." Celestia managed to croak out, after finding her voice again.

"Yes sister, and she is a guest here. No need to get nervous." Luna tried to calm her sister down a bit.
"I can go do some pre-talk with them if you'd like some little extra time to think a way to talk to her."

"Yes, you do that. I do need calm my nerves a bit. Several more greetings should do it."

With this decision, Luna headed for the ball room, leaving Celestia to calm herself with the arriving guests. While this was happening, the castle maids went to straighten the carpet. Luckily there was no damage to the floor itself, other than few barely visible cracks on some of the tiles. Maybe floor itself was just sturdier stuff.

Needless to say, plenty of the local nobles, who had either gotten an mandatory-invitation, or had payed their way in some way, got silent as a hippogriff entered, followed by a marilith. And unsurprisingly, soon the initial silence turned into whispers and talks about the newly arrived duo.

"What is such a lowly hybrid doing here in this event?"

"Why are animals allowed here??"

"Oh great, the southern rabble is here."

There was plenty more of such comments, more or less racist or otherwise Equestrian nobles using demeaning terms about the two arrivals, who simply ignored them.
"Some hospitality from the so-called 'elite' of this society, that prides itself of being friendly and harmonious." Hera commented in a very calm manner, like she had expected this.

"Sure seems like it. I´guess some fancy looking fruits just like to stay in the tree and never leave it, and soon start to rot from the inside..." Naja said, making sure some of the closest pony snobs could hear them. She was not sure if some of them even understood the fruit metaphor.
"Luckily there should be at least one or two good ones present."

Not really stopping to talk to any of the nearest nobles, all of them giving either scared or elitist looks at them, two of them simply headed to the buffet table, which luckily was stocked for multiple species diets.
"Good evening ladies. What would you like?" table server asked, clearly managing to keep her cool before a much larger creature.

"I'd have some thin cut meat, please." Hera requested politely, and soon got a small plate, full of some finely cut slices of actual meat, not some fake stuff.

"Nothing much to me, I ate before coming here. But I would like something to drink, if you have a big enough glass for that." was Najas request, also in polite tone.

"Hmmm... Well I guess you can just take the punchbowl, we can order another one from the kitchens." server thought for a moment, before pointing at the said bowl.

"Why thank you." Naja said while picking up the fullish punchbowl on her hand. After that, they proceeded to find a free table in the hall, eventually finding one that was far enough from other tables. Not because they wanted privacy, but more due to Najas ample rears room-requirement in its 'lazy-coiled'-form, even though they would be able to have a private conversation there.
"So? How long until we get some conversation company?"

"I think it depends on what type will approach first."

Twilight was sitting on a bench at the castle gardens, looking at the evening sky, while thinking about several things. On top of the list at the moment where many questions to her mentor, concerning the two free towns down south. She wanted to know what the Sun princess had actually done in there to cause such sour relations between Equestria and the free towns, to an extent of kicking her and her friends out of town.
Well, the latter was mostly thanks to her losing her cool and ruining a local festival, which she felt a bit bad after thinking it over at the library.

This was followed by all of the questions she wished to ask from the marilith Naja, and maybe also the Head Sage Hera, mainly about their magic. Naja apparently had natural affinity to some magic, proven by her disappearing act back in Ponyville, and Hera seemed to wield magic strong enough to overpower and temporarily shut down magic of an alicorn. Her neck was still a tiny bit sore after the odd 'stopping-spell'. She had not never read about that type of time-magic, only other she knew being the time-travel-spell. Only had to hope that there was a chance to actually talk about that.

"Hey, Twi!" came a sudden shout, snapping purple alicorn out of her thoughts.

"What is it Rainbow?"

"There is this awesome airship at the dock, that just arrived! I would have checked it closer, but its foulmouthed griffin pilot threatened me away with a mop, saying that I can watch at a distance but not touch. And maybe there was some kid of breathing room thing too. Oh and that Naja lady and the hippogriff miss who 'time-froze' you, just arrived to the ballroom." colorful pegasus gushed about the airship, before telling about the new arrivals.

"They are?!" Twilight yelled in a rather excited tone.

"Easy Twi. You don't want to get frozen again?" Rainbow warned, surprisingly being the voice-of-reason at the time.

"No worries Dash. I managed to think only ten or so questions to try and ask from them." Twilight said, while heading to the direction of the ball room, Rainbow following after her just in case.

"Why good evening Naja. It's been a short while." a voice greeted the marilith politely, making her turn her head to its direction.

"Oh, hello there Bluey. I see you have no trouble walking, after your previous stay?" Naja said with a kind smile.

"Plenty of experience and practice, with all three." Blueblood commented back, then noticed the white hippogriff lady.
"Hera..." he said with a tiny bit of tone of being intimidated.

"Hello Bluey." Hera said back.

"Sooo... Is there something going on I'm not aware of?" Naja asked.

"Well let's just say that me and Scarlet are best of friends, and I might have tossed them out, after they ended up getting a bit too comfy on my couch, which I had to burn after failing to clean it." was Hera's answer, followed by her eating a couple of meat slices.

"You pushed Scarlet out in a fit at the time, and sent me flying with one of your gravity spells. I was sore downstairs for a week, even with the help from my ladies."

"And we all did talk it trough, several times in fact. Oh and Scarlet mentioned that you apparently still find my rear attractive."

"Which I'm ok of just looking, but not touching. I like to keep my hooves intact."

"Good boy. Just be happy with the booty you have."

During this exchange, Naja could not help but to smirk a little bit, followed by a sip of her drink, clearly finding it very entertaining. These two clearly had a fun history behind them, with Hera clearly being the more authoritative of the two.

"Well, I wish I could catch up with you a bit longer, but unfortunately my status requires I have to go talk to some other nobles, and act like a total rear-end while doing it. If you happen to need a place to sleep during your stay, my manor's door is open for you both and for your ship's pilot too." Blueblood said, before giving them a polite nod and heading to the other part of the ballroom.

"Say Hera. Who do you think will approach us next?" Naja inquired.

"Well, if I where a betting bird, I'd say one or two of the prin-" Hera answered, before being interrupted by two near simultaneous greetings.

"E-evening you two..."
"Greetings you two."

"Well, looks like you would've won that bet." Naja commented, while taking a look at the greeters. Who turned out to be the blue Princess of dreams and the purple troublemaker, both of the now noticing each other. And Rainbow Dash was there too, giving marilith a polite wave.
"Good evening Princess Luna, and you too purple nuisance I guess." Hera said evenly, slightly glaring at the purple alicorn, making her visibly flinch.

"Heheh... Yes, I'm really, REALLY sorry about what happened, please don't freeze me again..." Twilight said, sounding rather scared, even with her ears folded down in a submissive manner.
"No worries of that, as long as you behave when talking about cultural things of others." was Heras answer.

"Did something happen I should be aware of?" Luna asked.

"To put it simply, purple Twiggles here interrupted a festival at Tanah kahijian and got herself 'stopped' by Hera and kicked out of both towns until further notice." Naja explained rather nonchalantly.
"So what brings you here Luna? Hopefully not to find the answer to what I mentioned during our dream-chat... The answer is 'flexibly', if it even matters." she added with a small smile, causing blue princess to blush a little bit, clearly remembering what marilith was talking about.

"N-no, I did not need that information. I mostly came to have a friendly conversation with you, since talking in the dream-realm can have its own problems. And maybe give some time for my sister to get her nerves in order before coming here to talk herself."

"Well that is kind of you to do fo your sister. And I think purple one has questions about somethings? Thanks to very mild drinking, I just MIGHT answer to some of them, IF I feel like it. Capiche?" Naja said, while lifting her drink a bit.

"Y-yes ma'am..." Twilight said meekly, glancing at Hera, as if still fearing another 'freeze'-treatment from the hippogriff lady.

"Normally I would stay and talk, but I think I see some of the representatives I came to talk to. Will you survive if I leave for a short moment?" Hera said, even pointing at the direction of some other non-pony guests.

"I think so. Go ahead Hera." Naja answered with a nod to the white hippogriff, who then headed to mingle with the other guests, leaving marilith with the two alicorns, and one pegasus, for a moment.
"So? What do want to know, Twiggles?"

"Can you maybe please stop calling me that?" Twilight requested.

"Hmmmm... No. Anything else?"

"Oh! How did you pull that floating and disappearing thing in Ponyville? Spike mentioned it." Dash butted in, before Twilight could ask anything.

"Oh that? I just had some materia up my sleeve, so to speak."

"What is this 'materia', if it is all right to ask?" Luna asked, before Twiligh could.

"Simply said, a crystallized mass of wild magic that I have managed to create through meditation. And don't ask about the process, because even I don't know how it works."

"Can you show one, or give just a small piece of one to study?" Twilight quickly blurted out her question. The latter half of the question made Naja visibly upset, even giving Twilight a piercing glare, which made her take a reactionary step back. Luna, and even Rainbow, got serious chills down their spine, just at the sight of said glare, wishing that nothing violently bad would happen due to this question.
"Absolutely not... THE biggest reason being that the materia-crystals themselves, are legitimately ALIVE... Would you harm a living being, even if it has an 'mineral'-based form, for small piece of knowledge?"

"N-no... I would not... Sorry if I offended you..."

"Forgiven, but not forgotten. And other reason is that materia likes to bond with the wielder, depending on both the wielder and the materia itself. And I think you would need some serious pre-training before even considering of thinking about the task of bonding."

"Why's that? Is there some special stuff required?" Rainbow asked.

"Well, can Twiggles sit still meditating? WITHOUT doing ANYTHING else, but breathe?"

"*Pfffff-* No way she can. Twi needs books almost anywhere according to Spike." pegasus said, while holding back laughter. Even Luna had a small smirk on her face. Twilight just looked embarrassed.
"So there is a important spiritual aspect to this materia bonding?" Luna inquired curiously.

"In a certain way. Materia's nature's vary greatly, as with any other being. These day, I have a good skill in said bonding, thanks to my overall experience. Well, maybe Hermes or Hera might have a little bit higher skill in bonding due to my absence. I still remember Hermes being first to bond with a Red materia at a rather young age back in the day." Naja explained, drifting bit to her memories.

"Why thank you miss Naja. It is good to hear you held my grampy Hermes in high regard." came out Heras voice. It would seem she had only had a short chat with the other guests she went to talk to.
"That is an understatement Hera. Your grampy could reflect a powerful magic attack with relative ease soon after initial bonding, wrecking some small islet. He was starting to improve a lot, before my forced absence. How was the talk?" Naja said with a smile, followed by a question.

"Agreed to talk with them about things in detail later in private. Any trouble with present ponies?"

"Not really. They asked a couple of questions about materia, and I told some very basic things about it. Nothing advanced, so no fear of any secrets leaking out."

"Good. The materia is one of the few defences we have against any potential attacks our town have prepared for... Just in case something bad happens." Hera commented, giving a light sideway glance at Twilight and Luna, as if trying to subtlety warn the two of not getting any ideas.

"So? is there anything else you'd like to talk about? That is not about the materia."

'All right Celestia. Just try and stay calm. It's just a casual conversation during a ball, not a high-strung situation waiting to explode..." Celestia thought to herself, while walking across the ballroom, receiving several polite, or rather hoof-licking, greetings and bows from the nobles.
She mostly gave a polite nod back to them, while her eyes where locked a the purple serpentine being at the little more private area of the room. Luna and Twilight seemed to be doing fine there, and Rainbow was there too.

After what felt like a small eternity, Celestia finally came to the hearing distance from the group. From what she could hear, they where talking about one of Twilight's experiments and about an airship owned by somepony named Cid.
Before Celestia took a step closer, she oddly had a short flashback about her old personal-trainer from almost a century ago; a large, wide-shouldered, brown furred minotaur with a metallic prosthetic-arm... Telling her his quote; "Don't f*ck up..." in a very threatening tone.

"Oh, evening Princess Celestia. Are you going to potentially join our company, or just keep standing there, seemingly awkwardly sweating?" a familiar white hippogriff asked.

"Here, let me make some room." marilith commented, while coiling up a little bit more compact form, causing some tiny cracks on the floor-tiles. Taking the offered space, Celestia took a seat right next to the purple scaled coils, feeling a little tense out of instinct and past memories.
But this was now, she had grown a lot since then.

"Sooo... Ummm... How have you enjoyed the ball?" white alicorn managed to ask after short moment of thinking. This caused a raised brow from both hippogriff and marilith. Even Twilight and Rainbow looked a bit nonplussed about the way Princess did the question, while Luna rubbed the bridge of her snout for some reason.

"It's so-so. Server was nice, and a majority of the other pony guests have whispered some demeaning things behind our backs." Naja commented nonchalantly.
"Is there perhaps some unspoken rule that exempts the nobility from being harmonious and friendly to others?"

"I'm sorry about that. Sometimes the elite of society might end up looking down on others." was Celestias lightly disappointed answer.

"'Elite' being VERY subjective..." Hera said with an ample eye-roll.

"You must be Hera, yes? You have indeed grown a lot since I last saw you. How is your mother doing, if I may ask?"

"Almost fifteen or so years will do that to a little ones. And my mother is enjoying her well deserved retirement. Something I bet you won't be seeing in the near future."

This comment made almost everyone go silent, only for it to be broken by sudden laugh... Coming from the direction of Naja's chest.

"BffffffHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHA!!! BUUURNN!!! SHE GOT YOU THERE SUNBUTT!!!" came the laughing voice of some creature, made up from several parts of different creatures, that had somehow found its way right between the marilith's toga covered bosom.
"THAT WON'T BE HAPPENING FOR ALONG WHI-Aaaaaarghhh" creature continued, only to be silenced by bluish hand, closed around its neck, squeezing rather hard on the windpipe, proceeding to pull it out.

"Now, who are you, and give me say... Forty-two different reasons why I should not strangle you for invasion of my personal-intimate-space?" Naja said in a very threatening tone, while holding the mishmash of a creature, now with three hands. All of them having a tight grip.

"D-discord is my name. Spirit of Chaos and disharmony, and can't really think that many reasons when I'm being uuuuurrrrrrgh..." being named Discord croaked out, before getting cut off by Naja's strangle-hold.
"Better think quick, because I don't take too kindly to those who get up my chest without consent. It makes rather... Irritated." was Naja's rather cold answer.

"Um, miss Naja? Could you maybe let Discord go, just this once? If it's ok?" came a gentle voice next to them. A turn of a head revealed a familiar yellow pegasus with a pink mane.
"Well... All right then, Fluttershy right?" Naja relented, while receiving a nod from the timid pegasus, letting go of the hacking Chaos spirit.
"Thanks to Flutters, you got a one free-pass Discord. Don't waste it..."

"Ok... Well, off to annoy somepony else." Discord said, before disappearing with a snap of his fingers. Fluttershy went somewhere, most likely to keep an eye on the chaos-spirit, after giving Naja a polite bow.

"So you have a Spirit of chaos as an ally? Rather odd for a nation that is apparently heavily about Harmony for ponies, from what I have heard." Naja commented, while taking another sip from her drink.

"Well Discord used to be evil trickster, but we defeated him a while back. And just recently Flutters helped a lot in reforming him." Rainbow said.

"I thought that if he is taught about the magic of friendship, his powers could be used for good. And luckily it has worked well." Celestia added, maybe a little proud of the said plan working in the end.

"And do you have any safeguards in the case he would turn on you? He sounds a bit of an wildcard in many ways." Naja questioned with a raised brow.

"Are you saying that he might betray our friendship?" Twilight asked.

"I'm just saying, that one can never be too careful when dealing with, what I presume is, a natural tricksters with a powerful magic on his side. You never know if he gets a 'better offer' from someone and messes up your nation for sh*t and giggles."

"If I may interject, Discord really seems to enjoy Fluttershy's company to even think of betrayal." came another voice, this time from a pink alicorn with a white, blue mane unicorn with her.

"And who might you be? Princess Bubblegum?"

"Well that's a new one. I am Princess Mi amore Cadenza of the Crystal Empire, but just Cadence is fine. And this is my husband, Shining Armor." Cadence introduces herself and Shining, who gave a simple nod to marilith.

"Cadence!" Twlight exclaimed happily, then proceeded to do some kind of dance with the pink one, with a happy rhyme included.

"Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!"

This was followed by a increasingly oud cracking sound, as Twilight's hoof hit one of the thin cracks, caused by mariliths natural weight, making it grow at a comically rapid pace. The result was it spreading to all the other cracks on the floor around Naja finally giving in and breaking apart, causing the floor to collapse under her coils, which made ponies around her to take a step back, while Naja and Hera where rather calm about it. Luckily the drop was not that deep; Naja's head only was now on the floor-level of the ballroom.

"...There's a coin under the table."

"Once again, sorry for the floor collapse. The dance is just a thing me and Twi do when meeting after a while." Cadance apologized maybe a third time to Naja, after they had gotten her back from the hole, which was being fixed, and strengthened, behind them. by few guards and Celestia.

"And I say, once again, its not a problem Empress Cadance. I have experienced much worse than a faulty floor." Naja said back, with a casual hand wave of her middle-lefty, which was also holding the found coin nimbly between its fingers.
"Plus, I didn't even spill my drink."

"It's Princess, miss Naja."

"No, if you rule an empire, you're either a Queen or an Empress."

"Crystal Empire is actually a city, that is doing just fine, without me changing my title.

"Wait. If it is a city, shouldn't it be, say a 'Crystal city'? To my knowledge, Empire by definition usually means a group of states or countries ruled over by a single monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state. Now that I say it aloud, Equestria almost fits the bill in some ways, when you think of it."

"I assure you, Equestria is not an empire, and it has been a long tradition to use titles of 'prince' and 'princess' among royalty." Celestia joined in the conversation. The hole was getting new tiles behind her, Twilight helping guards this time.

"Oh? Since when, may I ask?" Naja inquired.

"Ever since our mother left. She allowed us to keep the title, since usually the 'promotion' to actual title of a King or a Queen would require a prince or a princess to both be married and having no other on the same level after that. And since our sister is still *cough*desperate*cough* single and that Equestria's power-structure is officially more of a diarchy, there has been no King or Queen for about thousand years or so." Luna explained, also joining in the conversation as well.

"Ah yes, I think I remember seeing her once. You where just a little foal, sleeping during it back then. And I think you are still cute as you where back then, as far as I remember."

"... Well, thank you." Luna managed to say, with a light blush, while hoping her sister not snapping of the indirect reminder of the said day. The day when their late father died when chasing after this serpentine being, as mother told her when she was old enough.

"Y-you... Actually have seen Queen Faust, when Princess Luna was a foal???" Twilight piped in, having been listening their conversation, looking very curious.

"I did. Even saw her racist, or maybe rather speciest, piece of work of a husband. I was caught by some manner of a carnival runner while sleeping. Broke out of the cage, stabbed the ringmaster and fled. Only for the King to try and chase me..."

"What happened then?..." Twilight asked. Even Rainbow looked a bit curious, while Celestia seemed to be experiencing a flashback of the said event.

"Well, to put it in simplest of words; In a fit of rabidly growing anger, due to being chased by a murderous individual... I killed him out of instinctual act of self-preservation, with this spell." Naja answered calmly, sounding a teensy bit sad-like, followed by her raising one hand held open, closing it into a fist, causing a small firecracker-like explosion to happen on her eye-level. Maybe to keep the spell from hurting anyone by accident.

"Wow... Was the spell, like boosted by that anger, making the explosion bigger?" Rainbow asked, almost excitedly. Twilight was rather wide eyed.

"Pretty much, yes. Aside from me, there was only one witness to it... And she's standing right next to you." Naja said, proceeding to point at someone. Who turned out to be Celestia, who came came back from her flashback.

"Is...Is this true???"Twilight asked Celestia, after finding her voice. Even Luna was looking at her sister, maybe prepared to step in if something happened.

"...Yes... It hurt so much to witness it... I was very young and temperamental back then, but it does not excuse my actions of sending out wanted posters, nearly bankrupting the nation... Or my unprovoked attack when seeing you again, the duel, the second attack, my decision of banishing you to Tartarus..." Celestia began saying, looking rather ashamed.
"And after thinking it through a long while, it may have been for the better for many things in the long run, for my late father to go, due to his violent tendencies in politics. For what it's worth... I am truly sorry for what I did to you... And hoping for a chance of forgiveness in turn..." she continued, even lowering her head, waiting for the potential answer from Naja.

Pretty much everyone near them was looking at them, clearly waiting for something to happen. Finally Naja indeed did something. Which was to simply pet the white alicorns head with one of her hands.

"...Forgiven, but not forgotten..." Naja said calmly, accompanied with a small head tilt.

Celestia lifted her head, looking very relieved. Before she could say anything, she was silenced by finger on her nose.

"BUT, I am are still rather sore-ish about the whole imprisonment-thing. It was maybe... Nine hundred and fifty years too long, considering my crime on you was done in self-defence situation. And maybe a little more sore about the said imprisonment separating me from my friends for a long, looong time... While being chained up in some cave, that you apparently have named with the same name as THE worst place in afterlife back in my home world. All the while you sat on your 'ivory tower', ruling over a nation that adored you, like a fluffing goddess. And it did cause some problem with your sister, if the history books are to be believed." she continued, still in a calm tone.
"So, you can consider yourself on some manner of probation period. In other words... Don't...F*ck...Up... Are we clear?"

"Very. I would like to talk more with you and Hera, but it would seem that my former pupil has had a mild stroke from hearing all of this. It would be better that I confirm them to her in a more private place." Celestia said, while also glancing at the purple alicorn, who was frozen still, with her mouth hanging open.

"And I will be coming with you, to ensure you don't twist anything about potential answers to her..." Luna added in a rather serious tone.

With that, the two princessess carried the newest of them somewhere else to recover, leaving Naja with Cadance, Shining and Rainbow. And as a bonus, the floor was now fixed.

"So, what are you Princess of?" Naja asked from Cadence.

"Oh, I'm the Princess of Love... It means I can help and give good advice to couples of all sorts with their emotions, and if necessary enhance them momentarily. I don't and can't make anyone actually fall in love... So many lawsuit attempts back in those days... It needs to happen naturally, meaning that no magic or potion or some other stuff won't cause REAL-love to happen." Cadence explained, remembering some things of her past, when her talent started blooming, causing some confusion.

"Good. Nothing good ever comes from forced affection." marilith concurred with a nod.

"Agreed... Sooo... Is there any-... Creature that has caught your eye?" pink princess agreed, followed by an excited question, with a somewhat unnerving smile.

"Ooh boy, she's on her 'matchmaker'-mode now..." Shining Armor commented when seeing his wife's expression.

"Uuuh... Not really, due to me being a rather unique being in this world. Besides, who would want a lady with a two-ton rear-end that can crush stone with ease. And then there's the danger of my nightly coiling crushing the potential partner. Used to try using a pole of wood to control the instinct, only to find it broken to pieces when waking up." Naja explained, while giving her tail a light pat to emphasize her point.

"Oh don't worry, I'm certain that there is someone out there for you, despite your size and the rest of your 'package'. After all love always finds a way." Cadence said, giving Naja a knowing wink.

"So do death, evil, war, money, taxes, the flu and some other more or less nasty things, like say; A sealed away entity from the distant past. No offence meant, your view is nice to hold on to." Naja commented half-jokingly.

"... Yeah, those are true too...Well I hope we can talk more later. Me and Shining have to soon go back to the Empire to prepare some things for the visit of duke and duchess of Maretonia. So, see you later then I guess." Cadance said, soon walking elsewhere with Shining following behind her.

"They seem like a nice couple." Naja said, with Hera nodding in agreement.

Later at the ballroom balcony...

"So, the whole party has been rather decent for now." marilith commented, while looking at the now starry sky with Hera, both having finished their chosen refreshments and after listening almost an hour-long explanation from Rainbow about The Wonderbolts, before she went to look for her friends.

"Indeed it was. And luckily no other nobles tried to come and talk crap about us." Hera added.

"So how do you think Cid is doing?"

"Well considering the lack of his odour, he is most likely still with the ship, potentially keeping too curious ponies away with a mop. He used wield a spear and some other pole-weapons one time."

"Sounds interesting."

They traded few more good hearted barbs about few more random things, before they heard a polite cough behind them. And there stood Celestia.

"Oh, hello again Celestia. Is Twiggles functional again?" Naja asked.

"Yes, Twilight has recovered and is spending some time with her friends. They should be heading back to Ponyville in the night train by now. She just had to go write her mental notes in her little research papers at the Golden Oaks library. Sometimes she's more of a scholar than... Oh who am I kidding, she has always been a scholar." white alicorn said.

"I sensed those kind of vibes off from her during our conversation. If only she was a bit more calm during her recent visit to our towns, I would have been clad to maybe tell her some things about our magic." Hera joined in.

"Yes, she did mention her mess up during our conversation after recovering from her stroke. She has always put me on a pedestal ever since she was a fresh student in my school. If only she would get out from her books more, maybe even find a nice stallion."

"So basically she is into books more than socializing with the members of opposite gender, and maybe actually getting some action, outside of some erotic novels?"

"Well... Pretty much on the point miss Naja. Even Twilight's mother has been asking about her dating life, and she has asked me for an advice. I can only tell her to try and go outside and socialize. And she still hasn't done anything like that, from what I hear."

"Give it time. Maybe one day she finds some nice male to study with... So any other reason you came to talk to us?" Hera said in positive tone, switching to more even tone when asking her question.

"Well, actually yes... I hoped if we could schedule a negotiations for potential talks of diplomatic relations between your towns an Equestria. I mean of course trade routes and the like." was Celestias hopeful request.

"It is not my place to decide such a thing. I may hold a rather high position in my community, but I don't hold any politically official sway over the Council's decision on the matter. But I can pass on your message, but the decision most likely will take time" Hera answered.
"But I warn you... Like my mother, majority 'cough*allofthem*cough* of the Council will not appreciate any attempt or suggestion of trying to get us to join your nation, and we like our independence very much. So if these talks do happen, you better choose your representatives wisely. Because if there is even a hidden attempt of trying to get something off from us, without something of equal value given in return, the talks are over in an instant... I hope that part is clear?"

"Crystal. I hope the answer won't take long... May I offer the castle guestrooms for your use?"

"No need for that. Your nice nephew has already offered a spot in his manor for our stay." Naja commented, while starting to slither her way towards the airship-docks, with Hera following next to her.
"Have a good night." Naja said, while shivering very slightly due to some errant whiff of cool night breeze.

With that, the two left Celestia standing alone on the balcony, clearly confused.

"Did... Did they just call my nephew nice? Maybe I should go get my ears checked?"

Later at Bluebloods manor garden...

"And that should be all for today sir."

"Good to know. I hope you enjoy your day off tomorrow."

Blueblood looked after his trusty butler leaving the garden, while enjoying some nice hot drink himself. Unfortunately his thoughts where interrupted by a horrid stench, that was similar to a tobacco of sorts. This was followd by a hum of an engine, which source was revealed to be an airship, hovering right above the manor garden. Obviously several manor workers came out to look what was happening.
And soon it landed, crushing some really ugly flowers nopony had tended to properly for ages. Followed by ships door and ramp opening and a familiar duo consisting of hippogrfii and a marilith, soon followed by a griffin in a pilot jacket.

"Sorry for the flowers, but had get a good landing angle so the ramp had room behind it. Oh and mah name's Cid." griffin said, while lighting another smoke.

"It's no problem. Never really liked those specific ones all that much. And I guess this is about my offer earlier?" Bluey said, while making a small bubble of breathable air around his snout.

"Yes indeed Bluey. We would appreciate a trustworthy place to stay, while Cid does some small fixing up with the engines of the ship." Hera answered, nodding a bit at the back of the ship.

"I told that pink-hyper-pony to not touch it, and unsurprisingly, she ended up breaking something on it, messing the engine up for long range flight. And I don't really like the idea of stopping over a dozen times to fix it during a trip home." Cid explained a bit.

"And I think she also learned her lesson after those few whacks from your mop. Also our lungs would like if you did something to the ventilation system." Hera added.

"Yeah, whatever, I'll see what I can do, but it might take a couple of days at most if you want a direct flight back home."

"That's fine by me. If thing's go well, nothing too bad should happen in those couple of days." Naja said, soon following after one of the manors maids showing her way in from a side-loading door for supplies.











Somewhere else a couple of days later...

"'Is he friend, or is he foe?' the pony wonders. I can assure you... I am no friend. I am Lord Tirek, and I will take what should have been mine long ago."

Intimidatingly glowing yellow eyes fading to dark... The glow transferring into a two pieces of jewelry... Simple rings, worn in two hands. One slender and lightly blue, held gently by the other, a muscular red-

*PANICKEDGASP* Celestia reacted to her dream, waking up with a start.

"Sister, are you alright?!" came a worried question from Luna, who had rushed in the bedroom.

"I just had the most terrible dream." white alicorn said, sounding lightly scared.

"Why do you think I am here? You know as well as I that this was not a dream, but a vision of potential things to come..."

"Then we don't have much time.. The stronger he becomes, the more we are all in danger... Maybe even significantly already..."

Author's Note:

Yes, it's alive still.:twilightsmile: