• Published 24th Dec 2018
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My Little Universe: Season 8 - EquestrianKirin



New Alicorn leader, New Diamond entorage, same old adventures.

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A for Effort

The next morning came by a little bit quicker than they probably would've liked, though mostly because White Diamond made sure they were all awake bright and early, whether they wanted it or not. Everyone "invited" was at attention, though of course there was some resentment when all was said and done. Even with Homeworld still in a state of disarray, this news was enough to bring most of them out and into the limelight to see them off, as if it was a celebration once again. The ship they were taking, which was Pink Diamond's ship as it turned out, was up and ready to go. Steven though was the last one to actually show up, him coming out with his bag, it looking a lot bigger than it was before (and a bit heavier too).

"There you are Steven, what kept you?" Peridot asked.

"Sorry, I had to do some last minute packing before we could go off," Steven said, setting the bag down by him and looking over some of the contents inside the frontal pockets.

"Ok, let's see here: we got our cooler for drinks and snacks, some movies in case we get bored. Hey, you think they like Sci-fi movies, or just stay with action films?" Steven questioned, looking at a few of the movies. A rather dumb question honestly, but at least he was considering a few things.

"I can't believe we're actually doing this," Yellow groaned, looking down to Steven.

"It's not like we had much of a choice Yellow," said Steven, "Besides, let's just think of this as a family outing. At least White's not trying to kill us this time, and if this all works, everyone will be happy."

"You and Blue said that at least thirty times straight now everytime I brought this up!"

"And now it's thirty one," said Steven, giving a thumbs up as he checked his bags again. No, Yellow didn't feel much better about it.

"Gems, say something to him, snap some sense into him or whatever you do," Yellow instructed the Harmony Gems.

"Sorry, Yellow, but we're all just as into this as he is," said Lapis Lazuli, "She'd done a lot of bad before, but that doesn't mean she won't change now. The least we can do is try."

"And if the worst comes to the worst, what then?" Yellow retorted. Lapis flew up to Yellow Diamond's head, and slyly showed her what looked to be a particular Portal Key, this one belonging to Steven as the key winked to her. Yellow sighed.

"So you're not completely incompetent today."

"Did you really think we were gonna do this without a plan B?" Lapis asked knowingly. Yellow Diamond didn't answer her, but Lapis knew better. No way she could forget their last encounters with White Diamond, and she knew the risks involved. In fact it was her who suggested the Portal Key in the first place. As they were going over that, Steven and Peridot were going over their own conversation as they began heading to the ship.

"Ok, I took the time with Sapphire to work out a few of our options on where to go. She was a bit peculiar on some of these choices, but she felt it was worth a shot," Peridot explained, bringing out a written list for Steven. He was no big universe navigator, so this could give him a hand in what to do. However …

"Alright thanks. … Um … 7. Kee uh, kee- Kihar …"

"It couldn't print Human English, sorry," Peridot admitted. "I'll explain them to you when we start heading out, so just put the coordinates into the autopilot, and the ship will do the rest."

"Thanks. But, you didn't pick any planets not family friendly, did you? I don't think going into war's the best idea for a vacation."

"No, of course not," said Sapphire, "But it'll help our mission a lot more. You can go to whichever you choose, it doesn't matter the order."

"Guys, the mission's important but that's not the only reason we're going. We're getting to know White, have some fun, it's not just a working task," Steven reminded.

"You know, you've been treating this rather … what's the word … naively? You're acting like she never met us before," Peridot pointed out.

"Steven had some experience lately," Sapphire simply said. Peridot didn't get it still, but then again there was a few weeks of time she couldn't even reform, leaving Steven alone in the world of Equestria so perhaps that did give Steven a more open mindset.

"Yeah, I have. I know we haven't been best buds the last two times we met, but I want to give her a chance. ... I just wish she didn't have to drag Bismuth into it though. She could've at least let her decide that on her own," Steven quietly admitted, looking back to the admittedly peeved blacksmith. Making it perfectly clear she didn't want to go into a diamond entourage, and here she was basically doing just that.

"I don't know what you're expecting from White Diamond, Steven, she's controlling everything else," shrugged Peridot.

"True blue, Peridot," Steven noted, checking the list of coordinates again. Without a picture to go off of, it was a little bit hard to say where he'd want to go first. Guess they'll have to figure that out inside the ship. Speaking of which, White Diamond eventually turned to the others.

"Having some problems, are we?" White asked, looming over them all. Even if White didn't say she'll not hurt them, Peridot still kept behind Sapphire just in case.

"Just finding out where to go," Steven replied, showing the list to White so she could read it over. White Diamond smiled.

"Good, good. And Peridot, do try to keep your bravery together. I already said I'm not going to kill you."

"E-Excuse me, but I don't know after everything else," Peridot said, but kept behind Sapphire for protection. White just giggled.

"Ah yes, that time you called me a clod I believe. That's hardly much of an insult to me, dear. In fact, I'm most impressed you were willing to bring a word out of retirement just to try and defy me. You can be so cute.~"

"I'm NOT CUTE! Steven, tell her!" Peridot insisted, but it was kinda hard to say that and be cute doing it, intentional or no. Steven actually had to turn away. The pouting anime face was just too much for him. Then White actually picked up the green Gem, holding her by the collar. White looked to the rest.

"Come along, children, the galaxy awaits all of us," White Diamond said, feeling oddly cheery about things.

"I liked her better when she hated us," Peridot quietly murmured. It just felt so weird seeing White diamond act this comfy around them. But it probably was best not to question this kind of fate, and she didn't really break down on seeing them acting more like them selves yet so that was something.

It took some time for them to get themselves inside and all settled, though the more reluctant ones out of the group namely narrowed down to Bismuth and Yellow. The two were the last to get themselves in there, as reluctant as they were to even do so. Yellow Diamond may have her reasons mostly paralleling Homeworld, but Bismuth was more on herself. White Diamond's treatment to them shouldn't be something they can forgive so quickly. At least she won't yet.

"So, you're doubting this whole plan too?" Yellow Diamond asked. Bismuth crossed her arms.

"Honestly, I didn't even wanna come on this trip. After everything she did to us, I'm not willing to give up my gem for her," Bismuth made clear. It didn't matter if White heard her or not, she was making sure that was well known.

"I don't blame you," Yellow replied. Guess this was something the two could agree on, as they too started to go onto the ship. This was a plan the two simply had to just roll with, namely because of White Diamond and the fact Steven might lose his head over this.
With the rest of homeworld overall keeping watch at their diamonds heading into the ship, everyone amongst the group were soon into the main room. Well, most of which, except for Steven himself, who needed to hang on behind as everyone else went on into the main control room. Steven stayed put off down the hall a little bit, until he was absolutely sure that the doors were shut up so none of the other Diamonds could see. White Diamond wouldn't appreciate what extra trinkets he had brought with him. Then he unzipped the biggest part …

"Are we aboard?"

"You got it, Connie," Steven replied. Connie took a moment to stretch, her arms and head poking out from the backpack. Thank the stars for very elastic bindings, otherwise this plan would never had worked.

"Sorry for the accommodations on our flight," said Steven, "This vacation kinda took me off guard, so I had to make due. You need anything? A snack? Maybe a beverage?"

"I'm good for now, Steven, though to be honest a pillow won't hurt."

"Got you covered," Steven said, opening another compartment and pulling out a pillow for Connie to rest her head on.

"Thanks."

"You're welcome. Wish I knew this would happen, maybe I could've made this easier. And maybe brought you in the first place," Steven said, as Connie got the pillow just right so she could lay down easier.

"Steven, it's fine. Soon as I heard you're going to be stuck here longer than overnight, I was gonna come up regardless. You're not gonna get rid of me anymore, no matter what you do," Connie reassured with a wink. Connie and Steven were not going to split on their adventures if they could help it, and Steven was fine with that. Steven smiled.

"Jam buds for life," said Steven, both he and Connie holding hands.

"Jam buds for life," replied Connie.

Good timing to finish that too: they both then heard the door open up from behind them. Quickly, Connie dove down into the backpack again, and Steven zipped it up as if there wasn't any stowaway inside that backpack. For some good measure, he also held a communicator, just to be on the safe side in case they heard him talking.

"Steven Diamond. My diamond insists that you hurry up," Yellow Pearl instructed, a hint of impatience and annoyance in that last bit of her voice.

"Ok, ok, just checking in one more time. Be right with you," Steven said. Yellow Pearl went back to report what Steven said, as Steven got the backpack on and brought it with him, precious cargo inside.

Hope the others back home weren't getting into trouble.

~~~~~~

"Here Twilight, got the last box of books right here."

"Careful, careful."

And with a thud onto the floor, Twilight's remaining books were finally brought in. The weeks had come and gone for Equestria, and for Canterlot specifically. And for today, as requested by Twilight, she was getting some of her personal items from her old home in the tower, and making a new place of stay within the castle itself. As she was the princess of Equestria now after Celestia, things needed to make amends and some things needed a few changes. Twilight got plenty of help in getting this all ready, with some of the Gems and ponies coming by to give her a lending hand and hoof. Twilight breathed a sigh of relief once the books were completed (which were the longest part).

"Thanks again for helping me move, you guys," said Twilight, "It would've taken me all day to get these altogether."

"Think nothing of it, Twilight. I mean, you being the new princess of Equestria, you were bound to move in eventually," Jade said, as she was getting some of Twilight's personal trinkets hung up along the wall. Jasper, Rainbow Dash, and AJ did a collaboration work in bringing in Starswirl's hourglass, placing it down in the correct spot. With the sudden drop, Rainbow quickly had to push on the object to get it back into place. Jasper took a breath.

"Why're we moving all of this again? This is literally exactly like your old tower," Jasper pointed out. And indeed, it surely seemed to be. The structure of the place had a similar look to it as well.

"I know Jasper, but Luna says it might be better for me if I live in the castle instead of the tower," Twilight explained, as she, Spike, and Starlight were bringing the books onto the bookshelf. Jasper shrugged.

"Eh, guess so," Jasper said. "By the way, this in the right spot?"

"The hourglass? Hmm … put it to the left," Twilight said. Ok, nothing too bad. So Jasper and Rainbow helped move it over a bit. However, as they were doing so, Twilight spoke up again.

"No, no, wait, too far, move it to the right!" Twilight said. And so they did …

"Hmm … uh, back a little."

And they did so.

"... Ok, maybe to the -"

"Twilight!" snapped Jasper.

"Uh, I-I mean, perfect."

Geesh. Why be so picky about placement? Well it was a good time to pause the work anyway, because soon as they were done with that, they then heard the door open up, and showing that a pair of the guards had arrived into the room. One of the unicorns had something rolled up in a scroll for Twilight.

"Morning, princess, uh, hope we're not intruding," said one of the guards.

"No, it's fine, we're just making the finishing touches," Twilight replied, levitating some of the books onto the shelf. One of the said guards went over to her.

"Well then, here's the schedule for today," said the guard. Seemed like a simple process, and as the guards went off and left for their own work for the day, the others paused for a bit and went over to Alicorn Twilight.

"Well, I don't have to write the schedules anymore," said Spike.

"Looks kind of big, don't you think?" noted Starlight. Twilight didn't really think too much of this though, waving it off with her hoof.

"Come on, this is nothing to me. My morning routines are just as big," Twilight said. Spike as a witness can easily vouch for that.

… And then she unraveled it. She had her magic holding onto just one end of the list, so everything else rolled on down from one end to the other, stretching out in a rug-roll effect. Jade and Spike were victims to the rolling paper, and only Jasper was strong enough to grab it before it could roll out the window. The catch: it was across the room, and only half the list. Spike scrambled a little bit before getting themselves out thanks to Rainbow Dash.

"Wow. Got your work cut out for you, huh?" Starlight said. Twilight just stared on for a little bit, before she looked onto the list in question. Twilight … needed a minute to contemplate this list of to-dos. Twilight took a deep breath, hoof to chest before bringing it forward.

"O.K. what's the first thing on our to-do list?" Twilight wondered, checking it over. Well while it was nice to have a pre-made schedule to be written out for her, it probably would've been nice for her to write this sort of thing out instead of just being given a random list by the guards. Well, what was she to expect anyway? She gave it a bit of a lookover.

"Hmm, let's see … Make a few public appearances. … Settle a worry over timberwolf issue. Have a discussion with the Dragonlord. Check the regrowth of Appaloosa ... And THEN have lunch?!"

"We'll help you out, Twilight," offered Jasper. Though, Twilight quickly covered up the trouble. sure it was a lot to take in right away.

"No, no, I'll be just fine. All part of being the princess of Equestria and all," Twilight said.

"You sure now?"

"I'm fine! You go, and I'll just stay and here and handle these princess duties. Thanks again for helping me get settled in. Just you watch me now," Twilight replied, as she went on and trotted out the door.

(several hours later)

*THUD*

"Told you," Starlight sighed.

That really summed up how Twilight felt once the list was FINALLY done, throwing herself onto the nearest comfy bed in her new room. Meetings, public appearances, educate, problem-solving, it was all bottled up for ONE DAY, and Twilight was exhausted. Her entrance did not go unnoticed by Starlight and Spike of course, who for the most part was handling some housework to pass the time among other things … and apparently figured she would push it a bit too far too.

"Rough day, huh?" Spike asked.

"Rough day? Seriously, I had to put in what I do in a month into ONE SINGLE DAY! That's three meetings, six checkups around the countryside, settle at least four different monster issues and worries just after lunch, AND make a total of twelve public appearances all over Canterlot. My jaw's ready to fall off right now, I smiled so much," and Twilight collapsed again into bed. She'd be very proud of getting so much done all at once if she wasn't so tired.

"Twilight, it's alright. That's a lot, but think of it this way: soon as Equestria gets it's hooves settled, things will slow down and it'll flow a lot better. Besides, you did so much in one day, that's amazing even for you," Spike said. Twilight calmed down and looked over to him and Starlight Glimmer.

"Yeah, I know it is. Just didn't realize just how much was left in disarray since Celestia -" Twilight couldn't even say it right away, the image flashing through her mind as her mouth clammed up, and a shiver ran through her body as if someone placed ice on the back of her neck. "... passed on. Equestria's lucky to have made it, and there's so much to fix."

"Well, it should be a great thing that you're helping everybody out," Starlight said, hoof on her shoulder, "I'd bet Celestia would be very happy to see just how much you've done since she left."
And Twilight felt that same shiver run through her again, strong enough for Starlight to feel that same shiver run by her. It had been a few months still since Celestia lost her life in the Netherlands, but the effect of her passing still hung in the air around the Alicorn. Not just in extra work, but a bit of mourning as well.

"Yeah. And it does feel good for helping other ponies with their friendships too. And help them be good too," Twilight added. Starlight knew what she meant by that and nudged her playfully. both shared a chuckle.

"Ok you," Spike said with a smirk, "the princess of friendship doing her magic work." a joke still, but it still was a nice one, as Twilight went on for her next pastime: reading a good book. She levitated one out of one of her shelves. The others relaxed a bit too, Spike also finding a good book, along with some fancy choice of words.

"It's kind of funny, ain't it? Ponies now asking you for friendship advice as if you knew it your whole life?" Spike said.

"What's so funny about that?" Twilight asked, pausing her reading for a brief moment. What Spike said next was probably something not supposed to be brought up.

"You know, because you were famous for being such a bad friend. And then off to Ponyville, and next thing we know here you are -"

"Spike, what're you talking about? She had great friends before I met her," Starlight cut in.

"I know, I mean before she met them. You know, during her filly days, while she lived in Canterlot."

"Oh. … Huh. I … didn't know that about her." Starlight pondered a bit on this, as Twilight spoke up next.

"Spike, I had great friends in Canterlot, you know that."

"Come on, Twilight! Look at your pictures: you see any of them before you moved to Ponyville? and look at you now: the Princess of Friendship and now of Equestria," Spike pointed out. The pictures Spike was pointing out were of different moments throughout her time as Celestia's student, many of which had her with her friends for company. Some were just the mane six, and others down the line included the Crystal Gems. Twilight walked over, and looked on to one in particular depicting a particular wedding party, thinking on it just a little more, until it struck her like a train.

"OH MY GOSH, Spike you're right!"

"And that two points of me over Starlight's one," Spike said, smugly. Starlight just sighed, rolling her eyes at that comment, but -

"This is a disaster!" Twilight shouted, starting to pace in worry, "I got so caught up, I just flat out left what friends I had here in Canterlot! I can't even remember their names right now. You really think they thought I was a bad friend?!"

Oh boy, what did Spike do? Starlight was pretty much left in the dark about the details, not sure what to say. It was hard to give support to something she knew little about.

"I-I only meant that you've come so far. You're a great friend now and -"

"Oh, I feel terrible," Twilight stated, cutting Spike short, "Hard enough I've been going through all these changes, but here I am living in Canterlot for over a year now, and I didn't even bother with any of them!" Twilight ended her statement when her head hitting the wall. Now Starlight went over to her.

"Twilight, you're a princess. I mean, who's gonna blame you for being so busy anyway with these meetings, world issues, and boy, paperwork."

"But I left Canterlot in such a complete mess when I first left. Just like my last friendships," Twilight paused for a bit, thinking back on it. How long years had gone by since Twilight had seen or heard of any of those ponies? Years? How could she even forget them after moving back into Ponyville for easily a year now? The alicorn then made her decision.

"That's settles it: I've just got to make it up tooo …" Twilight suddenly stopped herself cold when her mind went a bit blank. Good thing Spike had his good memory with him to help her out.

"Oh! Uh, Minuette, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, Lyra Heartstrings, and Moon Dancer," said Spike.

"Right. Thanks for that Spike. You two can do what you want, I got some plans to make," Twilight said, galloping off away … only to come back and add "[Uh … make a list of their names for me so I can remember, please?"

Twilight bolted off to handle just that, leaving Starlight Glimmer and Spike alone in the room to contemplate Spike's little mistake of bringing that up. Starlight took one glance over to Spike.

"And now the score's all tied up," Starlight said, Spike losing one point for starting this problem in the first place. Spike just groaned.

"Me and my big mouth."

~~~~~~

Next morning couldn't have come soon enough for Twilight Sparkle. As Starlight Glimmer and Spike were off doing who knows what, Twilight Sparkle woke up bright and early and before any of the guards could give her any schedule (she left them spinning in a daze, she raced by them so quickly), Twilight was off on the town. As she went along, Twilight kept the list she had on her of her friend's names for some reference, and Spike even made sure to put in some pictures of each pony to make sure Twilight didn't screw up.

"Ok, Twilight. The first stop: Minuette. She should be right around … here," Twilight told herself, her eyes finally finding what looked to be the right place. The house Twilight stopped in front of was notable amongst the other houses thanks to the big hourglass mark on it. If the drawings were right, Minuette's cutie mark would be exactly this. Twilight went towards the door, hoof going right on to knock the door. Her thoughts started to wander on her has she waited for the pony on the otherside of that door. What sort of life was this pony going through while she was off doing who knows what? The pain and turmoil they must be going through for when she left them like that. Twilight tried not to show it too much, but it was a rough thing to contemplate.
Well, all the same, she still had to confront her past somewhat, so she kept herself calm and stood there waiting as the door began to open up. Soon, out came a female unicorn pony with a Maya blue coat, periwinkle mane and tail with a pigment blue streak, dark blue eyes, and a cutie mark of an hourglass.

"... Minuette?"

Three. Two. One. …

"Twilight Sparkle! You ol' so-and-so, what're you doing here?!" Minuette asked in glee. … In glee. Well, ok.

"Minuette, hi," said Twilight, honestly taken aback by this … surprisingly good behavior. Minuette was quick to see the wings Twilight Sparkle had on her, and then got an idea, her magic pulling out a camera.

"Look at those wings, huh? Hey, think we can take a picture together? I tried telling my co-workers we used to be friends, but they never believed me!" Minuette was mainly saying this all in good vibes, but hearing that just reminded Twilight what the main problem was in the first place. Still, Minuette was still going a little bit quick for her, already posing for the camera with a big smile on her face. Good thing she rested her cheeks from smiling yesterday, otherwise she'd probably break those jaws of hers as she smiled here. Luckily for her, it was just one picture, so she didn't have to keep that smile for very long.

"Oh, that's a keeper!" beamed Minuette. Twilight still needed a minute.

"Well … Minuette's treating my absence better than I thought. Still, let's get on with it," Twilight thought, knowing what she had to do. As Minuette put her camera and photo away, Twilight cleared her throat.

"Oh yeah, right. So what're you doing here? I mean, you're here ALL the time, but you never come to see me!" Minuette asked kindly. Twilight Sparkle needed to get this out there, and after a sigh she didn't hesitate.

"... I came to apologize."

"For what?" Minuette asked.

"Before I first left Canterlot, I never truly appreciated my friends. You, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, and Lyra. I didn't know how important friendship was, but I've learned so much when I moved to Ponyville, and what it means to be a good friend. I've never been a good friend to any of you, so for all that … I'm sorry."

And then … Minuette laughed.

"Don't worry about it, it's totally fine! Yeah, you left in a bit of a hurry, but hey, water under the bridge. Besides, you've been busy with all sorts of stuff, being the new Princess of Equestria and all, so who can blame you for that?" Minuette said with a smile.

… Just like what Starlight had said. Twilight heard Starlight's words repeat in her head after Minuette gave that word of reassurance. But as with the conversation so far, Minuette was just a little bit ahead of Twilight, and soon she got an idea.

"Hey, I just got the greatest idea! I was just about to head off to see Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine at the donut café. Wanna come by and say hello?"

"Of course!" Twilight beamed. How could she not miss this chance to see them all? Not only does this make finding them easier, but she could get reacquainted with them all right away too. That, and getting a bite to eat wouldn't hurt.

"Fantastic! I cannot wait to see what they think when they see ya. come on, let's fly! Get it?" and Minuette laughed as she trotted on ahead. Twilight thought this would be a bit harder to deal with, but in a way she breathed a sigh of relief. At least Minuette wasn't as "traumatized" as she figured of it, and she trotted off with Minuette to see the other two.

…….

Twilight and Minuette made it to the donut café off in town in no time at all. It was a cozy little place in the city of Canterlot, notable from the sparkling donut sign up front. Even with the shortage lately, the donut place was still going along fairly well for what it was, with a decent amount of customers enjoying their morning donuts (sounds familiar, doesn't it?). Twilight and Minuette got a seat at one of the round tables, and sure enough Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine were joining them there. Both mares looked similar in appearance, though with different coloration: Lemon Hearts was a light yellow coat with a blue-tinted mane, and Twinkleshine with a goldish grey fur color and light pink mane and tail.
It took less than five minutes for the four mares to get into a good conversation.

"It's true!" continued Minuette, "Twinkleshine spat out her oats when she heard you became Equestria's new princess."

"We saw you at your first coronation," added Twinkleshine, "That was some shindig."

"You saw me there?" Twilight asked.

"Sure we did. We see you all the time, doing all sorts of things. Guess you were just too busy to notice."

"Yeah. Guess I was," Twilight said. She had already apologized to the other two after first seeing them, and their reaction was about the same as Minuette, though it still was a slight burden to carry over her head. At least it felt like it.

"You remember our old friend Lyra right?" asked Minuette, "She lives in Ponyville too. We're always visiting her there, or she's over here visiting us."

"Hmm … Lyra, Lyra - oh, I think I saw her actually yesterday," said Twilight, thinking a little bit on the name (or picture rather).

"You did? How's she doing over there? Last time I heard of her she's been trying to build up her house again," said Minuette. Twilight took a bite of her donut.

"Well, I saw her with the construction crew actually. I didn't really have much time though. To talk to her, I mean," Twilight admitted. Most of her time in Ponyville was helping out AJ with the farm, regrowing what crops that weren't lost from the mutated Parasprites way back when, but that didn't mean she was completely blind to everything else. Lyra took the time to help build some of the houses back up by the sound of it, but as with Minuette, Twinkleshine, and Lemon Hearts, Twilight didn't had time to talk to her so details were a bit vague.

"It's not easy being a princess, huh?" said Twinkleshine.

"A LOT harder than I thought it was, especially nowadays since Celestia's -" Twilight only paused as a shiver went through her, but she didn't want to show those feelings this time "... passing," Twilight admitted. Hard to say since the schedules didn't begin until yesterday, but that was something Twilight will have to get used to, one way or another.

"Well, it's great to see you now, Twilight," said Lemon Hearts, making Twilight smile. "You must be up to your horn in work now."

"I'll say. but nothing I'm not used to much. What about you guys, what're you up to nowadays?" Twilight asked.

"Oh, nothing too fancy: I've been checking out some of Starswirl's literature," said Minuette, "Though there's this one time I sponsored for a toothpaste product."

"No way, that was you?" said Lemon Hearts, "I thought somepony just made her mane to look like you!"

"Nope, that was all me," stated Minuette.

"Congrats, Minuette. What about you two?" asked Twilight.

"Me and Lemon Hearts had been in the baking business together," said Twinkleshine, "We've been collaborating with Sugarcube Corner since Ponyville's been stuck in hard times. Pinkie and Velvet are helping in our company too."

"Great to hear, you guys. I could go on about what I did, but I think that would take all week," Twilight said, putting a joke into the conversation herself. Such a big history she could write an entire book on it. Maybe several seasons worth by now of the years she had with the others.

"We got all the time in the world, so it's fine," said Lemon Hearts. Twilight then started to realize something else with this group. There was Lyra Heartstrings, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, and Minuette, but there was just one pony missing she had to apologize to. However, none of them even mentioned her just yet.

"What about Moon Dancer? What's she up to?" Twilight asked. Most of the conversation had been pretty smooth, but this question got the talk to a bit of a halt for a brief moment.

"Hmm … eh, any of you heard from Moon Dancer?" asked Lemon Hearts.

"Oh yeah Moon Dancer. Yeah, we know her. Wonder what she's up to?" added Twinkleshine.

"Yeah," said Minuette, "I always liked her. We just kinda lost touch with her after you left."

"Really? Where is she?"

"Hmm … I think she's living by the stadium. Right? Wanna go check?" Twinkleshine asked. However, Lemon Hearts took a glance off out the window, and actually got a pleasant surprise.

"We don't have to, look!" Lemon Hearts said, pointing off out the window.

What kind of luck do they have? Twilight looked outside with the others, and sure enough they soon found sight of another pony going on down the sidewalk, just passed the donut café and towards her own destination. This was also a unicorn like the other three, though this mare had a look more matching Twilight if anyone. Her mane and tail was a sort of purplish red, with violets striping through it. Her main coat was more of a yellowish grey though, her eyes dark purple like Twilight. In fact, one could argue it was just Twilight with a different color to her. Course it wasn't a true exact copy of her: her mane was tied in a bun, and she wore a wooly sweatshirt, her eyes showing off some reading glasses as well. Well, there was no time like the present.

"Hold my donut," Twilight said, as she got up and went on towards the door. She made her apology to the other three, and Lyra will be done in due time, but with Moon Dancer just outside, why would she wait any longer for it?

"Here it goes. ……. Moon Dancer?" Twilight said once she got closer. Moon Dancer didn't even notice her at first, her nose deep into a book of hers. However, Twilight was a bit more persistent, and teleported so she was in Moon Dancer's way.

"Do you mind? I'm trying to get to the library," said Moon Dancer.

"It's me, Twilight. You're old friend," Twilight said with a smile … only for Moon Dancer to levitate her, and walk right passed her, hardly even breaking her stride as she continued to the library. WOW.

"Yep, that's Moon Dancer alright," said Minuette. "Always focused on her studies. Hey, just like you were!"

"... Yeah. That's exactly how I used to be. Was she always like this?" Twilight asked. The trio took a minute to think back on it.

"Uh … well, she was shy, but she did try to throw a party once. You know, to put herself out there, but since there she kinda just stopped. We tried asking her a couple of times, but she kept refusing so we just stopped," explained Minuette.

"A party? …" Twilight needed to work her memory way back on the clock on this one. These were friends she had before she even left Canterlot, let alone all that other stuff she did. She thought a little bit longer than she should, but then …

There you are, Twilight! Moon Dancer is having a little get-together in the west castle courtyard. You wanna come?

The reality hit her like a freight train.

"Oh clod, the party! That's the same day I left Canterlot altogether! Oh my gosh, I didn't realize that was so important to her. I've got to make it up to her!" Twilight decided. It was a quick decision, but she had to do something for her. She trotted off a bit but then turned back to the other three.

"It was a fun visit, girls, we'll meet up later," Twilight promised. and with that, she galloped off to catch up with Moon Dancer.

"... Clod?" asked Lemon Hearts. Twinkleshine just shrugged.

…….

"Did you hear all that?"

"Every word! … what did they say?"

~~~~~~

Twilight Sparkle kept her more than quiet watch over her former friend, as Moon Dancer moved off from the donut café, and over towards the library in question. The whole walk was a little bit odd for Twilight, not even a word spoken as she went along. But in a sense, this was a blast from the past to how she used to act before the whole friendship thing sunk in. Moon Dancer didn't notice the other shadow of hers, nor did she really bother all too much as she entered the Canterlot library. Twilight knew what she had to do, and she wasted little more time in going into the library to see her. By the time the alicorn came into the building, just the act of closing the door echoing around the library, Moon Dancer already had quite her share of books along her table.

"There she is. Ok, think Twilight, how do -"

*SSHH* said some of the other ponies. Twilight buttoned her muzzle, but the task was still at hoof. But first thing's first: how to approach this? Moon Dancer easily was gonna be a little bit more difficult to get to, especially now that Moon Dancer actually knew she was there.
Quietly, Twilight began to go and approach the busy mare, trying not to be too bothersome in her approach, and soon the alicorn was a few seats away from Moon Dancer, close enough to be next to her, but not too close so it was invasive. Moon Dancer tried to keep her focus on her book.

"Hi, Moon Dancer? Can I talk to you for a -"

*SSHH!* said Moon Dancer. However, this shush was alone this time, no one else hearing them. Moon Dancer looked around and found that Twilight had made a sort of bubble around them.

"What's this?"

"A bubble of silence," Twilight replied, "I haven't seen you in a while, Moon Dancer, so I thought we can … catch up?"

"For what purpose?" Moon Dancer questioned, looking back to her book. Twilight kept her calm.

"... Because we're friends?"

And Moon Dancer popped the bubble right away, the sound alone bringing another round of *SSHH!* to the alicorn. Moon Dancer didn't look like she wanted to talk, but Twilight didn't want to give up. So she kept her voice down and …

"... I'm sorry about the party," Twilight whispered, the voice actually making Moon Dancer jump a little bit. Another barrage of shushing coming from the others again.

"What party? Look here, Twilight Twinkle -"

"Sparkle."

"Whatever. You got the wrong pony, I don't DO parties, ok? And right now, I need to do some studying, and you're not helping me," Moon Dancer made harshly clear, as her eyes went back to her book.

"But you did once before. And I was too busy in my own studies to take your feelings into account," said Twilight. Moon Dancer tried acting like she wasn't listening, her hooves covering her ears. Twilight needed to try and rebuild something with this, and didn't want this conversation to end on a bad note. Then her eyes looked to the book …

"...…. So … you working to be a scholar?"

"No."

"Oh … how about a scientist?"

"No," Moon Dancer groaned.

"... So you're just … studying?"

"Don't you have any princess stuff to do?" Moon Dancer snapped, before slamming her book shut, another barrage of shushes echoing again from annoyed ponies. So studying just for the sake of it. Twilight felt that Moon Dancer might be in a worse boat than how Twilight used to be, but then again if Twilight hadn't found friendship important, then this probably would've been the end result.

"Moon, please, is there anyway I can do to make it up to you?" Twilight asked once more.

"Look, the last thing I need right now is for ponies wanting to be friends all the time and keeping me from studying. I've tried friendship, and it's just not for me -"

"But you're not studying for anything!" Twilight suddenly cut in.

*SSHHH!* the library echoed. again. Twilight cringed once again on the shushing, and Moon Dancer had basically about enough of this. So, she got her books, and started to walk out.

"Moon Dancer, wait," Twilight said, rushing outside to see Moon Dancer now at about ten feet away from the library. Moon Dancer still stopped on that voice, glancing back once again to see the worried Twilight standing there.

"Listen to me, please, I was a very bad friend before, but I'm willing to make it up to you now. Just tell me what I have to do, and I'll do it. Please," Twilight insisted. Moon Dancer adjusted her glasses again.

"Twilight, stop it. You don't have to do anything to make up for anything. Besides, you got bigger problems."

"I do?"

"Princess!"

The call made Twilight jump and turn around, just to find those same guards she ran passed earlier. The two guards looked frantic a bit, and they were trying to find Twilight all day so far.

"Princess, there you are! Where have you been, we've been worried sick," said one of the guards.

"Sorry for running off on short notice, but I had some old friends to get to," Twilight said, looking back to Moon Dancer, but the Unicorn didn't seem too fancy on this idea. However, the schedule was then presented to Twilight, this one not as big as yesterday, but that was only because Twilight missed a few things. ONLY because of that.

"Your schedule's been far too delayed, princess. Nothing personal, you understand, but a princess needs to keep to her duties," explained one of the more experienced guards. Moon Dancer rolled her eyes.

"Well, looks like you have your work cut out for you. You handle what you have to do, I'll just stay out of your way," Moon Dancer said, before walking away like she planned to do anyway. Twilight wanted to say something, but the guards seemingly weren't giving Twilight much of a chance to reconnect with Moon Dancer, the schedule needing to be done. Not able to stop her, Twilight sighed in defeat.

"... What'd I miss?" Twilight asked, looking at the schedule in dismay. A princess's job is still a requirement.

She'll try Moon Dancer again when things weren't so hectic.

… As Twilight was getting to her schedule again, all of this conversation was observed by the notable figures hidden off just out of sight. The donkey did feel a bit humbled on the news to some extent, but all the same, pretty intriguing news to hit this mule's ears. His companion, which looked less like a pony and more like some odd human-like bird, was also peaked with interest. Both went off away into the darkened alleyways (surprisingly dark for daytime), and the two sneaky spies didn't have to go off too far into the place to take sight of their own quarry as they slipped into an abandoned basement of Canterlot.

And he was keeping to the shadows himself. It was hard to tell what this was specifically, or what race he was, as his whole body was covered up in the shadows, the only thing visible for the moment being his red eyes, and yellow from something around his neck. The donkey cowered slightly on seeing him, the bird hopping off of him.

"Bray. Budgerite," the figure warned, "I want the report. All details."

"Y-Yes my almighty king," said the bird Budgerite, her hands placed as a sort of shape on impulse. "T-Twilight Sparkle. Uh, that's the purple Alicorn just outside, uh, SHE'S the new princess of Equestria."

"Yeah, I heard too," said Bray.

"That all?"

"No! You're not going to believe this," said Bray. He was very skittish himself, and he took a deep breath before saying boldly "Celestia is dead! Done! Six feet underground!"

"... Celestia? … Dead?" The shadowy figure then stepped out into the limelight. The figure was hoofed of sorts, but not equine at all. A bit like a ram perhaps, but with a goblin-like face, the lower jaws jutting out sharp teeth in his grin. His coat was a prominent blue, his huge curving horns darker in tone along with his diamond-hard, cloven hooves. Budgerite felt that it might need some more convincing, as the tone didn't sound too much as convinced.

"Bray, I told you to get some evidence before coming back here," she peeped.

"Wha - no you didn't! When'd you say that?!" retorted Bray. But luckily for both of them, the Ram laughed.

"Well lads. The great and mighty Celestia herself. STONE. DEAD. What a piece of luck for us, eh?" and then the ram went back to chuckling again, finding glee in what could be argued as Equestria biggest loss since, well, ever. The laughing stopped when he looked to the bird-human hybrid.

"What did we come here for, eh? Budgerite?" A quick question Budgerite was not prepared for.

"Huh? Here? We uh we uh, whatdidwecome - OH! pfft, that's an easy one! We've come to take over Equestria," said Budgerite, feeling much better that she thought it out right away. The ram nodded.

"Right. And who's patch was Equestria? Bray?" asked the ram again.

"Eh? … It's Twilight's patch. Her. Outside," Bray answered. But the ram didn't care for that answer, growling menacingly as Bray cowered, him putting his hooves over his head.

"Twilight is NOT Equestria's queen, and you know it. She hasn't been given that title yet, and according to the laws of royalty … say it …"

"T-That means she's t-t-technically not in charge. Queens and Kings are," Budgerite stuttered.

"Exactly," said the ram, "Even with the wrong title, that Alicorn buck Celestia somehow duped every creature into think she was the rightful ruler of this place, even King Sombra. And by all rights, it should've been him in charge!"

"But didn't he get banished to the icy north or something?" Bray asked, sitting back up. The ram got a toothy grin on his face again.

"Which leaves takeover all the easier. And with Celestia stone dead, what's going to stop us from making it our patch from now on?"

"Luna? The Elements of Harmony? The Crystal Gems? … The royal guard?" Budgerite said, putting in some reality before he could go over the edge … just for the ram to shove her right to the nearest wall, his horns pushing her in.

"You questioning me?"

"No no nonononono, I-I'm just thinking there's still trouble! Don't shatter me, please!" she pleaded. But the ram did eventually step back, that move more of a warning than anything.

"Doesn't matter. Canterlot's the central hub of Equestria, and soon as we take control here, we got the whole world in our hooves. And who's gonna stop us, eh?!" As the ram laughed on the idea, he swung his front hooves up, which accidentally knocked Bray back. He didn't get his footing in time until he found himself falling into some barrels. When the ram, and Budgerite turned and looked, Bray was head first inside one of them, his back hooves flailing as he tried to get out. The ram just groaned.

"Get him out, somebody," said Grogar.

Author's Note:

It ain't easy bring a princess, ain't it? Always wanting to do your own thing, but then that nasty schedule's always coming in and messing up things. Oh well, Moon Dancer, we'll get back to you when Twilight has time.

for now, I'll leave you all shocked at the reveal of MLP G1 villain Grogar and company ^^