• Published 22nd Sep 2018
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Ponies in Hogwarts - KittyrinnAiko

A pony stranded in the past must go to another dimension and learn the ways of wizards before she can return to her own time.

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Chapter 29: What was that about a herding agreement?

“And now, I have got a puzzlement that is bothering me?” Princess Celestia offered, giving the two guards an odd look. “Everyone here has been here all morning?”

“I don’t really understand it myself?” Bright Star offered.

“Palace of the Sisters, up to Canterlot, and finished here at the Apple Farm in under fifteen minutes.” Spitfire offered. “Assuming you aren’t in on an elaborate prank to make me think they did it.”

“Ff-fifteen minutes?!” Celestia stammered out.

“If old widebody tried it, she’d break every window from here to Canterlot.” Moonie offered with a grin.

“What?!” Celestia asked glaring at Moonie and then turned to the wing that had Nova tucked up in it. The wing seemed to me shaking. “Laugh it up fuzzball.”

“You’re the one that gave her a sense of humor.” Nova offered. Luna could be heard laughing from the doorway. Nova was trying not to laugh, but she just couldn't seem to stop herself.

“She’s got you there, dear sister.” Luna offered from the doorway. She’d a big smile on her face. “Yes, I heard. - Shame on you Moonie, you should know my sister is sensitive about her weight.” The two guards were looking mighty confused by the friendly banter.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Moonie offered with a mischievous smile.

“So what brings you here?” Celestia asked of Luna while giving Moonie a dirty look.

“I was actually about to bed down for a few hours when I saw your chariot heading out to the Apple Farm. I just thought I’d fly on over.”

“Nova and Scootaloo buzzed the Canterlot control tower and the palace, and I’m being led to believe they did the round trip in less than fifteen minutes,” Celestia informed them.

“Did they now?” Luna said with pride in her voice.

“You don’t doubt it for a moment do you?” Celestia asked curiously.

“I figured out their trick.” Luna offered. “It’s quite liberating. Pity, it can only be done by a pony who has both wings, and is proficient in magic.”

“You don’t say. I wonder if there are any other horned pegasi that can do it?” Celesta mused.

“Not planning on making a fighting wing out of them are you?” Luna asked.

“Hardly enough to do something of that nature, and I’m sorry to say the magic in most isn’t fully developed due to a lack of appropriate nurturing when they were growing up.”

Nova poked her head out. “I think our two guard friends are really confused.” Nova offered. If the friendly banter had their minds going a mile a minute, the idea that there might be pegasi with unicorn horns was bit much. “A pony might think I’m an alicorn because of the things I can do, but in reality, it’s just me being clever. My base level of magic isn’t much different than a typical unicorn. I’ve yet to ascend.”

“I think you may be underselling yourself a bit.” Celestia offered in assurance.

“I’m just learning.” Scootaloo offered. “I don’t think mom has ascended yet either.”

“Horned pegasi or immature alicorns. One can never be too sure until the individual has been given the chance to shine. When Twilight ascended she was using a lot of magic at the time, and you are all infants when compared to ourselves.” Celestia offered. “Unfortunately it is far too common for individuals such as yourselves to be called artificial, impersonators, and pretenders. Yes, there are impersonators, but there isn’t a one that is presenting themselves as more than they are.”

“Doubt I’ll ascend any time soon.” Nova offered. “I’ve a hard time controlling that reserve of raw power I seem to be able to tap into. When I open up a gateway to another world all I’m doing is tickling it open. Once I get it started, I use the energy it’s creating. I’ve found I can use that same energy to generate some really nice lightning bolts.”

“Is that what you were trying to do when you dropped that hammer?” Loki asked.

“That was unintentional.” Nova offered. “I must have snagged it without realizing I’d done it. I certainly would never want to do that intentionally, knowing the harm it did to Moonie. - I was really going for a small sliver in hopes of stunning our quarry.”

“Fluttershy has ascended.” Celestia offered a moment later. She’d been told about the incident and had wondered how it was such a seemingly slightly above average power level could have managed it. “And none too happy about it either. Discord was playing one of his typical pranks, and now the poor thing is the ponification of nature itself.”

“So, um, Princess Luna, care for anything?” Granny inquired.

“I thank you, but I should turn around, and go get some rest.” Luna offered. “Oh, and Tia, I don’t know if they said anything yet, but Scootaloo got assaulted by a couple of our own guards this morning. Part of the reason I followed you over was to tell you in person. Afraid they overreacted, and went straight to excessive force.”

“Before you ask, I’m fine.” Scootaloo offered. “My body shielding kicked-in the moment they hit me. Subsequently, I’ve only a little bruising. - I may have been partly responsible. When they didn’t want to let me in and showed no signs of being interested in finding out if I was alright to come in, I just teleported right on past them.”

Princess Celestia let out a sigh. “Don’t blame yourself. You’ve as much right to enter that castle unannounced as any of the primary occupants, and they should have known that. - They’ll be looking at a court-martial now.”

“Court-martial?” Sweetie asked moments after sticking her head out. Luna smiled and walked over to Celestia.

“Afraid the penalties for any form of assault on any pony with both wings and a horn are very steep. - In the line of duty is not a valid excuse if they can’t demonstrate that the individual was an active threat.” Luna offered. “Scootaloo, it might surprise you to learn that I’ve had some similar experiences. There are just too many ponies who seem unable to think for themselves. Nor does it help my reputation when I’m forced to defend myself from zealots who can’t accept that there would be ponies with both wings and a horn other than Celestia.” Luna peered through the cracks that revealed what Celestia had under her wings. “I thought you were looking a little wider than normal.” Luna offered and chuckled as eyes peered up at her. “How many do you have in there?”

“One mare, a teen filly, and three foals.” Loki offered with a smile.

“You have such a contented look on your face you and Rarity should go find yourselves a stallion.” Luna teased. She leaned over and nuzzled the top of Nova’s head. “Nova, be sure to be back through the portal by eleven.”

“I will.” Nova offered. “As full as I am someone may need to carry me.”

“Why would she need to be out by eleven?” Princess Celestia asked.

“They can hear each other think.” Luna offered. “Right now Little Nova is asleep. Which is what I should be doing.” Luna turned towards the door. “I don’t suppose it’ll be a problem too much longer.”

“No, I suppose not.” Celestia echoed. There was a hint of sad resignation to her voice.

“Well then, I’m going to get some sleep. Good day to every pony.” Luna offered.

“Night mom.” Nova and Loki say as she walks out.

“I adopted him over a thousand years ago,” Luna calls as she exits.

“So you're the son I tried to drop the palace on,” Celestia says with a smile. Her statement purely for the benefit of the two guards as she was aware of the animosity between the guard force now at the Palace of the Sisters and the English pegasi. As for the fights, it seemed the guards would start them, and the English would end them. The English pegasi were of much tougher stuff then the Equestrians. Not only were they strong fliers, but they had the strength of earth ponies. Princess Celestia was quite surprised when she learned that Alalme was showing an aptitude for magic even without a horn.

“I did kind of get caught up in that banishment,” Loki added returning the smile. “I suppose I’d have had a roof collapse in on me if I hadn’t.” He had a good idea of what Celestia was up to. “What happened back then is still fresh on my mind. Kind of like, I think the phrase is, watching a train wreck in slow motion. - Waking up a thousand years later with the palace looking like… well, it was a big shock.”

“And my bad choices are coming home to roost it seems. We’ve ponies whose lives were turned upside down, and now, many generations later, their decedents have found their way home. Only they never had the fiction about my sister being jealous drilled into their heads by the nobility, generation after generation.”

“Your majesty?” Morning Glory asked.

“It was my selfishness and my rash actions that caused my sister to transform. To be possessed. - I endangered what was left of her little family. Very few ponies know she had a family, and King Sombra had targeted her in his war against me. The war was hard on her, she needed time, and I just needed to be more understanding. Instead, I pushed her over the edge.” Granted that Princess Celestia was intentionally leaving out important bits of information, but then the two guards didn’t need to know any of it. They didn’t need to know that Luna had intended to join in a herd agreement with King Sombra, that she intended to become his queen, or that she’d foaled the stallion's son. All they needed to know was that the English pegasi remembered far better than the ponies of Equestria.

Applejack looked at Princess Celestia and was dumbfounded and shocked. She could tell there had been a bit of impromptu performance art going on, little white lies for the benefit of the guards, but Princess Celestia truly believed what she was saying about causing Nightfall.

“Aunt Tia, it wasn’t all your fault.” Nova offered. “I honestly believe Sombra had found a way to taint her. I saw the thing that had possessed her. It just hadn’t taken root right way.”

“As true as that may be, a lot of lives were disrupted because I made the wrong decisions.” Celestia offered and then decided it was time to change the subject. “So how is your summer vacation going in the human world?”

“Well, so far we all got proper identifications for moving about among the nonmagical humans, went shopping, and broke into the Royal garden at Buckingham.” Nov offered.

“One Miss Daisy blew her cover, but her majesty was delightfully surprised.” Loki offered with a big smile. “Long story short – she knows where are all ponies now.”

“So I hear,” Celestia replied. “Now I’m to understand that none of the present rotation has been through the portal?”

“The mirror is in our control, and the primary threat has been eliminated.” Loki offered. “We simply hadn’t needed anyone, it is our home on the other side, and I don’t know if they’ve even been trained for it.”

“We’ve the one squad of dedicated security, and they are more like family then security.” Nova offered, giving Loki a smile. Alalme and Scootaloo had a smile for him as well though Apple Bloom and Sweetie just gave him a smirk. “I suppose we can trust these two.”

“What makes you say that?” Scootaloo asked.

“Well if Applejack let them sit at her table, they can’t be all that bad.” Nova offered.

“They showed me they were hard workers, and that makes em good ponies in my book.” Applejack offered.

“Unlike some of them others. Coming onto the farm, and just helping themselves to apples as they please.” Granny offered. A slight frown crossed Celestia’s face at the news of the thievery. “Sure I was wary about them English pegasi when they first come here, but they’ve proven themselves to be industrious hard workers. To think they’ve built a small town right on the edge of the Everfree. And they’ve gumption enough to drive off timber wolves, and other dangerous critters all on their own. Best part is the way they build up in the trees doesn't get the forest riled up.”

“So where are the guards we did have?” Scootaloo asked.

“We rotated them to the Island Eques project,” Spitfire informed her. “We’ve only just recently learned that the place is known locally as Skull Island. The locals and I use that term loosely being the locals are inhabitants of other islands, only remember the island in folk tale and legend. From what we’ve learned, and discovered on the island, it had been favored among pirates who were daring enough to brave the reefs, and the dangerous creatures inhabiting the island.”

“Ah, so I’m to be a pirate princess am I?” Scootaloo asked with a big grin. “Awesome.”

Dash just had to laugh.

“Well, it’s certainly going to flavor the history we are going to present to that world.” Spitfire offered and added to Dash’s laughter.

“It won't be long and I’ll have to be away, and I’ve way too much food in me to do any serious flying.” Nova offered as they made their way out into the farmyard shortly after finishing their extended breakfast. “I figure by the time I get back to the portal it’ll be time for me to go.”

Princess Celestia slowly made her way over to her waiting chariot with Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Spitfire. Alalme and Loki were playing with the foals in the yard, and Nova had hung back with Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle. “Best I get back.” Nova offered a moment later. “Listen the rest of you can hang out if you want. Apple Bloom, I’m sure you’d like to spend some time here on the farm, and Sweetie, why don’t you head home, and we’ll see you later, say this evening? Maybe you might even want to spend the night?”

“Home?” Sweetie asked.

“You know what I mean.” Nova offered, giving her a nuzzle. “As much as we want you and Apple Bloom to be an official part of our herd, which isn’t actually official till we go down to the courthouse, neither of you has that option until you are a little older.”

“So what about you?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Luna says I’m seventeen, I must be seventeen. To be honest, I can’t really dispute that. Try to imagine finding yourself bouncing from world to world and how difficult that would make it to keep track of your age. Alalme is an adult by both English, and Equestrian standards, we know Scootaloo is old enough now, and Loki is an adult as well. Granted I doubt Luna will let any of us get an actual marriage certificate for a while yet. - I’m surprised he hasn’t been made lieutenant yet.” Nova explained while casting a glance towards the young stallion. “Look, if the two of you can get permission from your elders we can all sign one of them ‘Intent to Herd’ agreements.” Sweetie Belle Apple Bloom’s eye lit up. Just the mares though. We won't be bringing Loki in officially until we've all decided how we wish to proceed. Sure I'd marry him right now, but it's against the old laws to pressure anyone into a marriage agreement they don't want."

"I'm perfectly fine with Loki." Scootaloo offered. "I mean, he is starting to grow on me, and it's no secret you have a huge crush on him. What about you two?"

“You know, I should go help Granny.” Apple Bloom announced with a smile on her face and rushed back inside. Sweetie smiled and trotted over to Princess Celestia.

"Something tells me that's your answer." Nova offered with a big smile.

Inside Apple Bloom found Moonie, and the two guards helping Granny clean up the breakfast table. Apple Bloom pitched in stopping a short time later her eye-catching a rather unusual scene out in the yard. Princess Celestia had Loki backed up to a fence, he was in a seated position, and they were nose to nose. Goldwind, bless his heart, was on Loki’s head trying to stare down Celestia while Alya and Rose pressed to either side of him in a protective manner.

“What in tar-nation?” Granny asked on looking out the window. Celestia’s mood seemed stern, but the foals were making it hard for her to maintain her resolve. The others out in the yard were torn between concern, and the desire to start laughing.

“Bad timing is my guess.” Apple Bloom offered. “Poor Loki probably doesn’t even know what’s going on.”

“Well, perhaps you’d like to let me in on it?” Granny inquired.

“Nova and Scootaloo were discussing the possibility of filling out an intent to herd with Sweetie and me - that is adding our names onto an official form with Nova, Alalme, Scootaloo, and presumably Loki.” Apple Bloom explained while Granny began backing her into a wall.

“You ain’t old enough to be going around getting yourself hitched to no pony’s post,” Granny warned. “Sweetie is even younger.”

“It’s just an intent form, not a marriage license.” Apple Bloom pleaded. “Nova just didn’t want us feeling left out. - She and Alalme already have one of them what you’d call common law agreements and they’ve included Scootaloo being as they’ve all got foals to take care of.”

“And Loki?”

“Princess Luna would geld him if he tried anything.” Apple Bloom announced. Granny’s eyes widened, a smile formed on her lips, and she just started chuckling.

“Darn toot-en she would, she’d do it,” Granny said as she backed off. “Tell you what, I’ll talk to your brother and sister 'bout it, and then we’ll see.”

“You’d say yes?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I’m not again’ it. Not with a colt deterrent like Princess Luna as part of the package. - come on now, let's finish up here.”

“Princess Celestia.” Nova scolded. Celestia was still trying to stare down Loki and Nova had decided it had gone on long enough. “Need I remind you what happened when you did that to me?” Celestia’s gaze broke, and she shifted to Nova. Nova, for her part, couldn't help but wonder what her life might have been like had she the fortitude to not back down all those years ago. “Furthermore, the intent to herd agreement is between us mares. We haven't even discussed the matter with Loki.”

“Oh,” Celestia said softly.

“Right now the only one he is officially dating is myself,” Nova added as Celestia backed off. “Save your ire for the guards at the palace. For Harmony’s sake, it’s just an intent to herd form between mares.”

“Mom says the sooner I can get him down that aisle the better,” Scootaloo added with a smirk.

“I think I can understand that.” Dash offered. “Considering your circumstances.”

“Does my sister know about this?” Celestia asked.

“Considering he boldly proclaimed his intent in front of the entire student body and faculty of Hogwarts, I’d say she’s got a pretty good idea,” Nova informed her. Nova had a big smile. “Granted that at the time he was only asking for myself, and of course an interest in Alame was unspoken being humans have some strange notions concerning herds. Their word is harem and seems to have some awkward connotations. - They don’t herd.”

“They don’t?” Celestia asked. The idea that humans didn’t herd was completely alien to her.

“Not really no.” Alalme offered.

“And when they do they’ll even hide it from their own partners,” Nova informed.

“That is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard of.” Celestia offered, her ears cocked at different angles. “Downright unhealthy too. It’s no wonder they are so prone to violence.” She turned back to Loki. “I’m sorry, you can get up.” She smiled. “You’ve some staunch supporters in those foals too it seems. - they are so cute when they are being protective.” The three foals were still giving her the stink eye. Celestia dropped her ears and lowered her head. “Forgive me?” Fortunately Rose, Alya, and Goldwine were quick to forgive and forget and a moment later they were back to climbing all over Princess Celestia.

“I’ve decided to head back to Canterlot,” Celestia announced a moment later. “I think it best I do not interfere in the investigation as it could impact Berrytwist’s future career. She being a friend of the crown, we need to avoid any sign of favoritism.”

“I don’t really understand it myself.” Spitfire offered. “She was an excellent officer under Princess Cadence in the Crystal Empire.”

“I can,” Nova said. Her voice was devoid of emotion. “In the Empire, they were actively seeking out, and driving off threats whereas the guard force here seems to be little more than glorified security.”

“Afraid I can’t really dispute that,” Spitfire admitted. “What would you suggest?”

“Now hang on, you can’t seriously be asking Nova, she’s hardly any older en Apple Bloom?” Applejack protested.

“And she’s the first pony who agreed with your idea to corral that critter we were after.” Dash pointed out.

“More importantly, she’s a combat veteran from what I hear,” Spitfire added. “It changes a pony. Not always for the better, but it does change a pony. Makes the young ones grow up really fast.”

“Combat separates the wheat from the chaff.” Nova offered. “The ponies protecting the Crystal Empire, those out on the frontier, they are seeing combat. All be it in limited forms. The guard force here, all they are doing is standing around with nothing to do.”

“And guards with nothing to do lose focus on where the real enemy is.” Soarin pointed out.

“What I’d suggest, concerning Commander Berrytwist is that you send her to the Ghosts.”

“You know about the Ghosts?” Celestia asked.

“I do now,” Nova said with a sly smile. “Keep in mind I’ve been to several different dimensions. Each with its own unique traits, each having remarkable similarities. - Sending her to the Ghosts will look like a demotion to the crowd who will want her demoted.”

“You’ll make a fine officer someday,” Celestia said with a smirk.

“I already am an officer.” Nova corrected. “Speaking of which, how is it my potential future husband is still an Ensign?”

Loki's ears dropped.

“OTS is waiting for any of the Bolts who wish to further their career in the guard.” Princess Celestia replied.

“They don’t want to give up being Bolts.” Dash supplied.

Nova looked at Loki who just shrugged his shoulders with a sheepish look on his face. “Any chance we could keep certain elements of our uniforms?” Nova asked as she turned back to Celestia. “Such as pins, and combat gear like my daggers? - not to mention I can’t fly in daylight without my goggles.”

“Regulating who’s allowed to wear what, and when might go a long way towards reigning in the fakes.” Spitfire offered. We could make it a crime to present oneself as something they are not. Add it to the laws concerning fraud and misrepresentation.”

“Because of my experiences, I’ll never be anything less then a Shadowbolt,” Nova stated. Loki got up, and stood at attention.”

“It is I who stands against the dark.” Loki quoted. Nova joined. “While the land sleeps I stand watch. Ever vigilant. Ever faithful.”

“Oooo, they are giving me goosebumps.” Dash teased.

“Me too. Stop that.” Moonie scolded. She was glowing. “You know what happens if I get worked up.”

“Whoops, sorry about that,” Nova replied with a big smile followed by a laugh.

“Hang on, what?” Applejack asked.

“Dear sweet Moonie is the pendant she’s wearing,” Celestia explained, with a big smile on her face. “If she gets too worked up it super-charges her, and the excess magical energy gets expelled in a cleansing wave of energy that radiates outward.” As if to emphasize her words Phenik chose that moment to show up and landed on Moonie’s back. Moments later she was joined by Peewee, Philomena, and several of the local phoenix. “She was originally nothing more than a bodyguard spell.”

“I sure hope that doesn’t happen at the Queen’s tea tomorrow,” Scootaloo commented as she watched the antics of the phoenixes.

“Ya, wouldn't that be awkward.” Nova concurred.

“Hang on one minute here.” Applejack protested. “You mean to tell me that, that there Princess Luna look-alike isn’t even real?”

“She’s real enough.” Nova offered. “She learns, she’s capable of independent actions, thinking, and experiences emotions just like any other pony. - and the best friend a pony could ever have.”

On hearing what Nova had to say, Moonie trotted over to her, and they nuzzled noses.

“And that’s why I fiddled with her programming,” Celestia whispered, mostly to herself. “And now,” Her volume back up, “come along Sweetie. I’ve much to do.”

“Oh, I could try fixing the broken windows with a spell I learned.” Sweetie offered. She started to follow Celestia, but then she turned back and gave each of her potential herd mates a hug.

“Don’t worry about missing tomorrow's tea with the queen,” Nova called, as Sweetie climbed onto Celestia’s chariot. “If you’re not on time I’ll send Phenik to fetch you.” Celestia looked back with a big smile on her face, closed a wing around Sweetie Belle, and gave the guards pulling the chariot the go-ahead to take off. Celestia turned back, the pegasi guards pulled forward, running down the field to gain speed, and slowly lumbered aloft as the ponies on the ground waved.

It'd be a while yet before Celestia and company were out of sight, but that didn't mean any pony on the ground was going to just stand there waving. Rose had a brilliant idea. She rushed back into the house, grabbed hold of her cloud booster seat, and propelled it out the door while jumping on top. The cloud scooted on out over the yard, and as she began to flap her little wings things started getting interesting. It wasn't quite flying in the normal sense, but she was airborne. Nor did it take her very long to figure out how to turn it. Goldwine and Alya seeing her scooting past rushed inside, retrieved their boosters and were soon racing about the yard with Rose.

"Now how is it I never thought of doing that?" Scootaloo asked as the three went scooting on bye.

"You and me both," Nova replied as she watched the three foals race about the yard on their little airborne scooters.

Author's Note:

Seems like 4k words is the limit at which Grammarly starts having issues.

For anyone not familiar with Nova's back story, she wasn't able to fly until she was twelve-ish. Her first attempts at flying required a magic assist due to a lack of proper flight feathers.

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