• Published 18th Dec 2018
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The Weary Travelers of Caelum - Monochromatic



Princess Rarity thought her life in the castle to be perfect. However, when tragedy strikes, she and her beloved must face the fact that sooner or later, whether they want to or not, all little princesses must one day become queens.

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~ 02 ~ The Book of Prophecies ~

Chapter 2
The Book of Prophecies

✶✶✶✶✶

It had only been a week since King Platinum’s announcement, and yet it felt to Twilight as if everything had changed much more than she’d ever been prepared for.

How silly it felt to think that a week ago she’d been concerned over whether Rarity was eating expensive truffles when the townsfolk were hungry. It felt like that had happened millennia ago. In the same way, it felt like the Rarity she loved had existed millennia ago.

The echoing of hoofsteps filled the empty halls of the castle, the night sky hidden behind the raging snowstorm that pummeled the windows every second of every minute of every day. So many thoughts went through Twilight’s head as she and the guards quietly followed Rarity and her advisor back to the princess’s room, but as she glanced at the windows and saw nothing but white, Twilight could only think of how much she missed the stars.

“Your lessons will start at seven tomorrow,” Quick Draft said, a conversation Twilight was only half-paying attention to. “And after that, at noon, we will go over the fundamentals of your first year of rule.”

“Yes,” said the princess.

Twilight couldn’t help but feel jarred by her reply. Moons ago, she’d dreamed of a Rarity who’d quietly agree to wake up at so-called ungodly hours, but now that she had it, well…

Well.

When they reached the Princess’s room, the stallion cleared his throat and smiled at the mare.

“You’ve been doing very well, Princess,” he said, donning the tone of sympathy Twilight noticed most everypony now addressed Rarity with. “We have… much less time than I expected, but your progress is remarkable.”

Rarity smiled curtly. “Will that be all for today, Professor?” she asked.

He composed himself quickly enough and cleared his throat. “Yes, Your Highness.” He bowed his head. “Good night.”

The princess and the guards watched him go in silence, and when he disappeared around the distant corner, Rarity finally turned to her bodyguard. Two mares stared at each other for a second that seemed eternal until Rarity opened her door with her magic and stepped to the side.

“Twilight,” she said without a hint of the affection that so often encompassed that word, “please secure my room for the night.”

And that was that.

Swallowing down whatever disappointment she felt, Twilight bowed her head and diligently marched into the room. She went into the bathroom and locked the small windows, after which she returned to the room and made sure the secret pathway leading out of Rarity’s room was shut in place. Once this was done, she made her way towards the bedroom windows but stopped at the princess’s desk and… and found nothing.

Every little thing was in place, from the quills to the scrolls to all the trinkets the princess kept. The only thing missing was the little romantic note Rarity usually left there for Twilight to find.

Things were different now.

Not dwelling on the matter further, Twilight forced herself to press on and inspect the bedroom windows. She banged them twice, secured the lock four times, looked them over six times, and once she’d run out of excuses to linger in the room she finally joined the princess outside.

“Room is secure, Your Highness,” she informed, bowing her head to her princess.

“All right,” Rarity replied, moving inside the room and turning back to face her guards outside.

Once again, her distant eyes met Twilight’s searching ones, and though Twilight offered a bright, loving smile…

“Thank you all. Good night,” the princess curtly said, averting her eyes away from Twilight’s and certainly not returning the smile when she politely closed the door, shutting herself in and Twilight out.

Just as she had every night after the king’s announcement.

Things had changed so very much since that day, but nothing more painful for the guard as the fact that Princess Rarity had seemingly finally taken to heart the notion that queens did not consort with their guards.

Twilight swallowed the pain, and the emotions, and—

And a long whistle rang through the room, followed by a pat on her back.

“Ouch,” said Silver Lance, though his look of sympathy evaporated in the face of the glare Twilight quickly directed his way.

“Instead of making comments no pony asked for,” she snapped, “go guard the eastern balcony.”

“Yes, ma’am!” he exclaimed with a grin, leisurely returning to his position until she pounded her hoof on the ground and he hurried off with a yelp.

Once he was gone, she turned to the rest and found them all obediently waiting at their stations, every single one doing the best they could to avoid eye contact.

A wisp of regret brushed her heart, and she repressed a sigh as she stood in front of the closed door, her heart and mind waging a terrible battle within her.

She was angry. She couldn’t help it! She was angry at being pushed away, she was angry at being shut out, she was angry that Rarity wasn’t allowing her to be there for her in such a terrible time. She was hurt, as well. She was hurt that her own feelings were being disregarded, she was hurt that her significant other wasn’t acting very significant otherly towards her, and…

And yet, she felt unable to complain. For all intents and purposes, Rarity was treating her exactly as a princess should treat her bodyguard, even if it was hurting both of them. In fact, if there was some solace Twilight could take from the entire affair, it was that she knew Rarity was just as upset as she was.

Upset at the king dying, upset at the storm, and upset at the fact that the end of their relationship had never been more real.

Sooner or later, the king had said, all little princesses must become queens.

“Twilight? Permission to speak?”

Twilight looked around and saw River Lily peering at her rather timidly for a castle guard.

In an effort to break the ice, Twilight smiled. “Granted.”

“Why not take Princess Rarity to the shrine tomorrow? Praying might make her feel better,” she suggested.

Twilight’s very first instinct was to say that there were no such things as goddesses looking from above, but she was also well aware that she was part of the minority who thought that way. Furthermore, even though there were no gods to help, she wasn’t going to refuse an opportunity to help her princess.

“That’s a good idea, River,” she said. “I’ll suggest that to her tomorrow.”

Pleased, River Lily resumed her station for about a minute before clearing her throat again.

“Twilight?”

“Yes?”

“Permission to look out the window real quick?”

Twilight playfully rolled her eyes. “Very quickly.”

With a giggle, the guard walked to the nearby window and pressed her muzzle against it, looking up towards the sky.

“I can barely see anything,” she reported back. She turned to Twilight and licked her lips. “Maybe that’s why the king is sick. The goddesses can’t see that he isn’t doing well, and so they can’t help him.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Somehow, I doubt that a storm is going to stop two goddesses from knowing everything, River.”

River turned back to the window for another moment before returning to her position. She opened and closed her mouth several times before speaking up. “What about you and…” She drifted off after that, and Twilight decided she did not want to know the rest of the question. She had a notion of how it would end, and her mood didn’t need any more dampening.

Taking one last deep breath and settling in for what promised to be a long, long night, Twilight looked at the snowstorm through the window and wished that if there really were any goddesses out there, they might actually do something to help.

⟡⟡⟡⟡⟡⟡

Rarity did not want to wake up.

Of all the things in the wide, damned world that she wanted to do, waking up was not one of them, especially less so when she wasn’t really waking up at all. No matter how hard she tried and prayed and wished and hoped, she couldn’t wake from the nightmare she’d been rudely plunged into.

But she had to wake up, for hope only died when the cannons rang through the kingdom.

...That, and Twilight would wake her up, of course.

Right on cue too, as the moment she finished her thought, three loud knocks pounded her door.

“Your Highness?” called a voice that she both dreaded and sought. “Your Highness, are you awake?”

She did not answer immediately. Instead, she dwelled on the fact that Twilight had knocked, and her heart twisted ever so slightly. Twilight Sparkle, who never before hesitated to barge into the room and levitate her out of bed, now knocked politely like a… like a guard should.

“Your Highness?” Twilight called again, and when Rarity once more did not reply, she heard the door creak open. Their eyes met briefly across the room, and Twilight stepped in though she did not close the door behind her. “Your Highness, it’s six in the morning.”

“Thank you, Twilight. You’re excused,” she said, returning the formality like two fillies pretending they were socialité acquaintances.

Twilight did not leave immediately.

“Princess, I… Would you be interested in going to the Goddesses' shrine today to pray?”

Rarity furrowed her brow, and despite her intent to keep herself strictly professional, she could hardly suppress all her emotions.

“To the shrine? To pray?” she asked, lifting her head and blinking at her guard. “You want to go to the shrine of the Goddesses to pray? Dear stars, I really must be dreaming.”

“Your Highness,” Twilight said curtly. “I mean it.”

For a split second, Rarity wanted to flutter her eyelashes and say that she meant it too, darling, but… but it hurt to pretend that all was as it should be, and so she quietly agreed instead.

“All right. I shall put it in my schedule,” she conceded, and after saying so, cleared her throat and added, “Is there anything else you’d like to suggest?”

Twilight stammered her reply. “Did… Did you need me to go over your schedule for today with you?”

“Oh.” Rarity looked away towards the wall, not daring to look at Twilight as she spoke up. “That’s not necessary. I only have my tutoring from seven to midday, and after that my lunch with Fluttershy at one. I’d like to spend some time with Papá after that, and we can go to the shrine afterwards. Once we’re done, I’ll retire to my quarters after dinner for some light reading. Oh, and then there’s the meeting with Fancy at four in the afternoon.”

“Right,” Twilight said after a pause. “I’ll excuse myself now.”

The princess winced at the sound of the shutting door. She couldn’t blame Twilight for being upset! She would be too, frankly, and she was very much upset, but… but there were only so many things a little princess could handle when fate came storming in.

And even then, well, it wasn’t her bodyguard’s place to know her schedule, or be her secretary, or be her lover. No matter how hard she looked for it, she did not see a way out of their situation, and until she did, well…

The sooner they both learned their place in the world, the less painful it would be—especially considering her dear advisor had mentioned political marriages as one of their upcoming subjects of conversation.

⟡⟡⟡⟡⟡⟡

“Close the blinds, will you, Rarity?”

Sitting across from her father in the reading room, the king holding a book in his hooves, Rarity tried not to think too much about what it meant that he was too weak to use his own magic.

“Y-Yes, Papá,” she said at once, her horn lighting up and the blinds closing soon after, light draining out of the room.

Once this was done, the king smiled and looked back down to his book, and Rarity couldn’t help but stare and notice. Notice his trembling lips, his pale coat, his tired eyes, and how a single week had seemed to whisk away half or more of his life.

“Well,” he said after a minute, his eyes still following the lines of his novel, “are you going to read your book or stare at me for another hour?”

“I wasn’t staring at you!” the princess protested heatedly, levitating her book and planting it in front of her face. After half a minute, she put it back down and continued looking at her father. “Papá?”

“Yes?”

“Papá, you have sent word for Doctor Azalea, haven’t you? When will he be arriving?”

The king looked up at her and frowned. “Rarity.”

“Father.”

The king opened his mouth to speak, but several hacking coughs came out instead, each and every one making Rarity flinch.

“Yes,” he said after he was done, with weary eyes and a weary voice. “I’ve asked Doctor Azalea to come see me at your fifth request.”

“Good!” she replied, pleased by the news and relieved by it as well. She had heard from one of the maids that her brother’s cousin’s sister knew of somepony that needed ten different diagnoses to find a doctor competent enough to cure them, and she was sure that was the case with her father.

A shiver ran down her spine, and when she looked around towards the nearby chimney, she saw Iron Accord already filling it in with fresh logs. Her eyes then drifted near the room’s entrance, towards where Twilight was stationed, and as soon as she looked that way, their eyes briefly met.

Neither smiled.

“Rarity,” the king called, and the princess snapped to attention, tearing her eyes away from her bodyguard.

“Yes, Papá?”

“King Golden Dunes of Saddle Arabia and his son Prince Ochre will be coming to visit me next week. Golden wants to make sure he wins one last game of poker before I croak,” he said, ignoring Rarity’s whine at his remark. “You’ve met the prince before, when you were a child. Do you remember?”

Rarity faltered. “Er, vaguely, I think. Am I to assume you want me to entertain him during his stay?”

The king grinned. “I would appreciate that, yes. He’s a good stallion.” He paused for a moment to cough and when he was done, he peered at her curiously. “How are you finding your lessons with Quick Draft?”

Rarity harrumphed. “Unnecessary, frankly. I think the professor is taking your cold far too seriously.”

“A good ruler must be prepared,” said her father.

“Yes, but he’s being fatalistic. Delusional, even!”

“Rari—”

“And, on top of that—!” She restrained the desire to look at Twilight. “He also had the completely distasteful and ridiculous idea of instructing me on royal intermarriages and the like! What an absurd notion!”

King Platinum laughed brightly. “I didn’t find it funny when I asked him to teach you about them today,” he said, and his wide smile certainly contrasted with Rarity’s quickly sobering expression.

“Papá, I don’t need lessons on that! Why would you—” She held her tongue and pressed her back against the chair, aghast. “Is that why King Dunes is bringing his son? Is that it?! You’re marrying me off?!”

“Rarity,” he said, composed, “of course not. Calm down.”

Calm down?! How can I when you’re apparently marrying me off?! You’re not even de—You’re going to get better, Papá! Why are you being so hasty?! Wh—”

“First of all!” the king boomed, loud and clear and silencing. “Rarity. I can assure you the prince is not interested in courting you.”

What?! Why not?!” she demanded, ignoring Twilight rolling her eyes in the corner. “I am a fantastic catch! Not that I even want him, but—!” She harrumphed and looked away. “Well, good! I’m not even interested in him!”

“The prince is already engaged to a neighboring princess. He is only coming because his father is visiting me,” the king replied, amused by his daughter’s embarrassed but still indignant blush. “Second of all, dear daughter, shocking as this may be to you, you are not the center of everypony’s world.”

“I am well aware, father,” Rarity said curtly, fascinated by and intently staring at that wall over there.

“In fact, the only pony in this world whose world revolves around you is Twilight, no doubt at the cost of her sanity,” he continued, a broad smile on his lips when Twilight failed to mask a snort as a cough.

“Rarity,” he continued, “do you know why it is so important to know the rules of everything, even things you dislike?”

“No, papá,” Rarity emotionlessly droned on. “I do not know why it is so important to know the rules of everything. Why is it important?”

“Because only by knowing the laws like the back of your hoof can you properly break them.”

Her eyes widened.

“Break them?” she asked, well-aware they’d been talking about the laws of marriage, and well aware of Twilight seemingly looking out the window even though her alert ears were pointed towards the king. Rarity cleared her throat and readjusted herself on the sofa. “Papá, whatever do you mean?”

But he did not say anything else on the matter.

He simply looked out the window, the light’s shadows thinning his already near-skeletal face, and sighed.

“Damn weather.”

✶✶✶✶✶

The goddesses were dead, Twilight thought, if they had ever existed in the first place.

From her post at the entrance of the temple, she took in the scene of her princess kneeling before two large distant statues of two ponies who, if alive, clearly did not care.

On the right side sat Lady Celestia, a soft smile on her lips. Often associated with guidance, power, warmth, and strength, she was the deity believed to raise the sun every morning. On the left side was Lady Luna, her stoic expression not unlike Twilight’s. The younger of the two, she was associated with influence, balance, wonder, and magic. And at both their hooves were dozens of offerings—expensive food and expensive relics that Twilight felt would have better served the living.

Truthfully, Twilight couldn’t afford to believe in goddesses.

Ponies prayed for them to save them, prayed for them to bless and protect their princess just as the princess herself prayed for her father. Gestures and words that, ultimately, would not protect against a sharpened blade, or a spreading sickness, or the biting cold.

It was a somewhat fatalistic mentality, but Rarity’s life was never more safe than when Twilight didn’t waste time thinking that deities from above would ever deign to help in times of need.

Her ruminations came to an end when Rarity’s praying did the same and she stood up, prompting Twilight to do so as well. When Rarity turned towards the entrance, their eyes met and Twilight was disheartened to see Rarity’s puffy, red eyes.

She stepped forward. “Rarity?”

Rarity merely shook her head.

“We’re going back to the castle,” she quietly said, and again shut the door on a conversation that was very badly needed.

Twilight watched as Rarity walked past her and out the temple, and she had no choice but to silently follow. It was still daytime outside at least, though the snow raining down on them made that count for little.

Rarity had stopped by the entrance, and though Twilight initially assumed it was because she was waiting for her to cast a shield over them, she found out it was because she was inspecting a big, dragon-hide-bound book.

“What is that?” Twilight asked immediately, casting a shield above them and protecting them from the snow. “Where did you get it?”

“I just found it,” Rarity replied. She pointed to a patch of snow just outside the door. “It was lying there.”

“Your Highness!” Twilight yelped, snatching the book away and moving it far from the princess. Once she ascertained the book wasn’t a trap, and once she ascertained nopony was around, she turned back to Rarity, furious. “You shouldn’t be grabbing unidentified objects just lying around! You know that!”

“Twilight, it’s a book.”

“The leather could be poisoned! The book itself could be a trap made to look like a book, or even something to make us stop for an ambush!”

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Fine, Twilight. Whatever you say.”

“I’m serious, Your Highness.” She sighed. “I’ll keep the book and inspect at the castl—Princess!”

Rarity held the book against her chest. “I found it! I should be able to look at it first!” she declared, before promptly opening the book, taking a look, closing it and then ceremoniously hoofing it back to Twilight. “Nevermind, you can have it. The illustrations are pretty, though.”

“I—What?”

Twilight opened it herself and was surprised to find a very beautiful but completely unreadable picture book, written in ancient Equish and featuring illustrations of Equestria and the goddesses. She closed the book and looked it over, trying to no avail to find some clue to its origin or owner. It was, after all, what seemed to be a very rare book, and indeed something that not just anypony would own.

“How could someone just lose this?” she asked, aghast.

“Maybe they didn’t lose it. Maybe they wanted me to have it,” Rarity suggested, taking the book back and leafing through its pages to look at the illustrations again.

You? Why would they want you to have a rare book like this?”

“Twilight, are you trying to imply something?”

“I’m absolutely implying something, Your Highness.”

“Pardon me, Twilight Sparkle, but I have always loved books more than you have!” she hotly defended, now more intently looking through the illustrations. “I have always appreciated our finer art—” She cut herself off, focused on the book. “Wait. I’ve seen this before.”

Twilight took a closer look and saw an illustration of two heavily-clothed ponies walking up a mountain during a snowstorm.

“I’ve seen this before!” Rarity repeated, tapping on the illustration with her hoof. “But where…?” She gasped suddenly, making Twilight yelp when she dropped the book onto the snow. “Twilight!” she whispered urgently barely letting Twilight pick up the book. “Quick! Is the market still open?!”

“The city market? In this weather? No.” She narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

“What about that pony—” Rarity said, completely ignoring the question, the words coming out at a mile a minute. “You remember your birthday party? The one where we had that fight and I snuck out of the castle? I met a merchant there with a stall filled with relics related to Lady Celestia and Lady Luna! You and Pinkie came too, remember?!”

“Yes,” Twilight said. “Inkwell’s stand. She—”

“Do you know where she lives?! You need to take me to her, immediately!”

“What? Why?”

Rarity hesitated for a moment. “I can’t tell you,” she said.

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “You ‘can’t’ tell me?”

“It’ll just be easier to explain once we’re there, alright?” She gestured towards the gate leading out of the temple garden. “Come now!”

Or,” Twilight said, not budging an inch, “you could just explain right now.”

“I already told you! I can’t! Will you stop questioning me?!”

“No, I won’t, because the fact that you don’t want to tell me means we shouldn’t be doing anything. Besides, even if you did tell me, Inkwell lives on the other side of the city! We can’t go there in this weather, or at least not without a carriage and—”

“Twilight Sparkle,” Rarity said, “if I have to walk to the other side of the city by myself, I will.”

Twilight snorted, closing the temple doors. “No, you won’t.”

✶✶✶✶✶

“Princess Rarity?!”

Though Rarity offered Inkwell a brilliant smile, Twilight couldn’t find it in her to do the same. Night had fallen, they were far away from the castle, the carriage Twilight had asked a guard for had yet to catch up, and Rarity was being infuriatingly Rarity.

“Inkwell! How nice to see you again! May we come in?”

“See you again?” Inkwell blurted out, lost. “Princess, I… We haven’t met before!”

“Yes, we have!” the princess insisted, pushing her way in and taking off her coat. “On Twilight’s birthday two years ago! I came to your stand and you tried to sell me this book, remember? I was wearing a gorgeous black cloak. Surely you must remember?”

“That was you?!” Ink stammered.

Twilight cleared her throat, wanting to get this charade done with. “Inkwell, the princess has something she’d like to show you.” She threw the unicorn a pointed stare. “Don’t you, Your Highness?”

“Oh, yes!” Rarity exclaimed. “Vitally important affair, yes.”

“Goodness, please do sit down then,” Inkwell said, closing the door after Twilight had stepped in. “Can I offer you some tea? Food?”

“I’m perfectly alright, thank you,” said the princess, settling down on a floor cushion. “Twilight, do you want anything?”

“No, thank you, Ink,” Twilight said politely. Inkwell’s cupboard would surely be as bare as anypony else’s in this weather. No sense in imposing on it.

“Well then!” Inkwell cleared her throat and sat opposite the princess. “What’s this book you need me to look at?”

“Here it is.” The princess looked at Twilight and loudly cleared her throat, prompting Twilight to actually give the book to the pony. “We’re not sure where it came from, but I think you might know more about it.”

“Goodness, is this dragon-hide? I’ve only seen three dragon-hide bound books in my life!” Inkwell exclaimed, stroking the cover with fascination. She opened it up and her quiet awe became loud shock at the sights inside. “Dear goddesses! This is the book of prophecies!”

“Yes, I knew it!” Rarity exclaimed, further confusing Twilight. “That’s the book you showed me, isn’t it?!”

A book of prophecies? Why would Rarity be interested in that? Or even know about it?

Inkwell nodded. “Yes, yes, but…this is ancient Equish! This edition must be centuries old!” She flipped through the pages, mesmerized. “And the illustrations! Where did you find this?!”

“That doesn’t matter!” Rarity exclaimed, jumping up and going to the mare. Her horn lit up with magic and she turned the pages over, finally stopping at a very specific drawing. “This one! This is the one I’m interested in!”

“This? But this is The Weary Travelers of Caelum.” Inkwell’s eyes widened and her sights darted between Rarity and Twilight. “Princess, surely you’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting.”

“What? Suggesting what? ” Twilight interjected, upset at being left in the dark. She took several steps forward. “What’s The Weary Travelers of Caelum?”

Inkwell cleared her throat. “Twilight, you’ve heard of Mount Caelum, haven’t you?”

“The mountain past Windswept Valley?”

Inkwell nodded. “Yes. The kingdom’s highest mountain, said to be the final resting place of whoever tries to reach the temple at its peak. Well…” She looked at the book. “Legend says that long ago, an earth pony climbed to the temple above Caelum to seek an audience with the goddesses. When she came back weeks later, she wrote down dozens of prophecies, including…”

Inkwell handed her the book and Twilight found herself staring at the same detailed illustration of two ponies climbing a mountain during a snowstorm.

“I don’t understand,” she said, looking back at the two mares. “Why is this important?”

“Look closer!” Rarity exclaimed. “Aren’t they familiar?”

Twilight balked at her. “Familiar?”

She looked back down at the drawing, examining it in more detail.

One of the ponies, she noticed, was covered in the familiar insulated armor she and other guards donned every winter, which in fact she was wearing at that precise moment. The sheath of a sword poked out from under the cloak, hitching it up and revealing what looked like a coat the same color as hers. The other pony, she noticed, was garbed in what was unmistakably royal clothing that covered most every part of the pony save for her purple, curled tail.

The Weary Travelers of Caelum,” Inkwell continued, glancing between her two guests, “foretells that a noble pony and their guard will one day scale the mountain to seek audience with the goddesses and ask for a miracle to save their kingdom.”

“Look at them, Twilight! They look exactly like us!” Rarity exclaimed. “Inkwell, don’t you think so?!”

Inkwell cleared her throat uncomfortably. “The resemblance is uncanny, yes.”

And it was. And immediately Twilight understood why Rarity had brought them there.

Curiosity got the best of her.

“What do they need to save their kingdom from?”

Inkwell hesitated. “No pony knows for certain. Some texts don’t mention it, others claim a terrible illness will befall the kingdom, and others…” She swallowed. “...Others mention an endless snowstorm.”

Twilight spoke again. “Do they succeed?”

Inkwell shifted uncomfortably. “No one knows. No version of this book that I’ve read ever mentions it, and well… as I said, most ponies who climb Caelum don’t often come back down.”

The guard took that in and made a choice.

“Right,” she said, closing the book and promptly putting it back inside her saddlebag. “Thank you, Inkwell, but we should leave now. The princess has duties to attend to and lessons early tomorrow.”

“What? Lessons?! Twilight! Do you not understand what this means?” Rarity asked, staring at Twilight with shock. “This is how—!”

“I’ll be waiting outside,” Twilight interrupted.

She gave Inkwell a polite nod before promptly turning around, opening the front door and then stepping out into the freezing cold, which might as well have been warm and cozy compared to how she felt. The only joy she felt was at the fact that the carriage had finally arrived. At least they wouldn’t be freezing on their way back from this pointless expedition.

Rarity emerged a minute later, closing the door behind Twilight and slamming her hoof on the ground.

“Twilight,” she shouted. “Wha—”

“No,” Twilight shouted back before turning around. “Absolutely not.”

Rarity followed after Twilight as she made her way to the chariot, her heavy stomps leaving footprints in the snow. “You don’t even know what I was going to suggest!” she protested, not that Twilight could understand her in the storm.

Biting down a desire to muffle Rarity and whatever she was saying, Twilight turned around and cast a barrier around them, keeping the storm and its deafening roar out.

“What did you say?”

Rarity cleared her throat. “I said! I said that you don’t even know what I was going to suggest,” she repeated, and at Twilight’s stare, she amended her reply. “...Very well, you know exactly what I was going to suggest, but it makes sense!”

“I said no,” Twilight answered again, not bothering to hide her irritation.

“But Twilight—! Our history is built on legends! Our kingdom!” Her horn flashed, the book coming out from Twilight’s bag, and she brusquely tapped her hoof on its cover. “This is how we stop this storm!”

“That is how we get killed,” Twilight shot back. “You heard what she said. The probability of us coming down alive from that mountain is slim to none, and you want me to risk your life on an incomplete prophecy?”

They stared each other down briefly until, finally and foolishly, Rarity spoke up.

“If you loved me,” she said, “you’d do it.”

Twilight gawked at her, completely disarmed, the snowstorm almost fading to a whisper around her as she processed what had just been said.

“What?”

And to that, the princess smiled coyly, almost teasingly. “If you loved me,” she repeated in sing-song, which she doubtless thought was cute, “you’d do it.”

And make no mistake, Twilight Sparkle loved her. Loved her enough to spell out just what exactly she thought about her as an entire week of being treated like anything but a loved one smashed to the forefront.

“Am I a joke to you?”

Rarity’s playfulness died. Quickly. “What?”

“Am I a joke to you?” Twilight asked again. “Because that’s what it feels like I am.”

“What? No!” Rarity said, ears lowering. “What’s wrong with you? Why would you eve—eek!” Her protest was cut short when the barrier around them intensified, blocking any noise from coming in or coming out. She turned to Twilight, confused. “Twilight, I’m doing this for us!”

For us?!” Twilight snapped, having half a mind to grab the book and chuck it on the floor. “You’re doing this for you, like everything else you do. You don’t think about anypony else but you.”

“That’s… that’s not true!” Rarity gasped indignantly.

“No? Then why did you push me away all week?! Was that for us?” When Rarity faltered, she slammed her hoof on the ground, watching Rarity flinch. “Well?!”

“Yes!” Rarity stammered, trying to hold her ground. “Yes, it was!” At Twilight’s shocked expression, she continued. “Let’s face it, Twilight! Did you really think we’d be able to continue our romance if my father dies?! Really? I was getting us ready for what I thought was inevitable, but now—!” She pointed to the book. “Now we have this! We can fix this!”

“Fix this?” Twilight asked, realizing Rarity was completely blind to the problem she’d just brought up. “Then what, Rarity?”

“What do you mean?” the princess cautiously asked.

“What if we go there and we don’t find the temple? Will you just cut me off again, then?”

“No, because I won’t let that happen! We’re going to find the temple and we are going to fix this! End of discussion!”

“And then what?” Twilight continued, relentless. “What if we find it and save the king? He lives for another few years, and when he dies of old age, then what? Then you cut me off?!”

“I’d never!” Rarity shot back immediately, tearing up. “How could you even think—”

“What was this week, then?!”

And in Rarity’s sudden silence, Twilight found her reply.

She drew herself up, grabbing the book from Rarity’s grip before gesturing to the carriage.

“Your Highness,” she said, somberly. “Go back into the carriage.”

But she didn’t.

She stayed there, reddened eyes on Twilight, anguish on her face until she finally found her voice to express the reassurance the guard had been longing to hear.

“I love you,” she said, piteously but sincerely. The misbehaved child offering the words she thought fixed everything. And they had. They did. They would.

But not right then.

“Your Highness,” Twilight repeated, unwavering. “Please, go back into the carriage.”

And with that, before Rarity could even try to reply, the barrier around them disappeared and the howling wind and its deafening roar returned, the blinding snow shielding Twilight from whatever reaction her words had brought about.

For once, the princess did not protest and did as she was told, avoiding meeting the guard’s eyes as she walked past her and towards the carriage, getting in when Twilight’s magic opened the door for her.

“Aren’t you going in with her?” asked one of the guards pulling the carriage when he noticed Twilight closing the door after Rarity.

“No,” she said, starting to walk. “I prefer the storm.”

✶✶✶✶✶

Author's Note:

For those of you who might not remember, Rarity visits Inkwell's stand in the marketplace during the events of "The Princess's Gift" where she also sees the illustration for the first time so I'LL HAVE Y'ALL KNOW I'VE BEEN SETTING THIS STORY UP SINCE AUGUST 2016.

Anyway, I hope y'all enjoyed the chapter, thank you for being patient with my slow updates and, as always, if you see any typos, let me know please (preferably via PM) <3

Comments ( 49 )

Nice.

Edit: press f to pay respects for dead and cancelled fics.

“Because only by knowing the laws like the back of your hoof can you properly break them.”

gasps ooooh he knows!!!!! I mean, I noticed him knowing last chapter but HE KNOOOOOWWWS

“No,” Twilight shouted back before turning around. “Absolutely not.”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
The most Twilightish answer to ever be Twilighted

“If you loved me,” she said, “you’d do it.”

That's cheating Rarity and you know it

“No,” she said, starting to walk. “I prefer the storm.”

I let go of a breath I didn't know I was holding

I'LL HAVE Y'ALL KNOW I'VE BEEN SETTING THIS STORY UP SINCE AUGUST 2016.

Mono, when I was reading the Bodyguard AU and read The Princess' Gift, when I arrived to this story we have in front of us right now, trust me, I noticed.
And I bow to your storytelling. You know that.

Lovely.

T,T this a sad chapter

56

Glad to see more of this, thanks for writing!

Lovely to see an update. Looking forward to more!

This story is shaping up to be really good.
I thought it was going to be an straightforward adventure story and then you threw in this entire chapter and that ending. Now I just feel sad for both of them and wonder how it going to go.
As always Mono, you are a brilliant writer.

Hey that's mY HEART YOU'RE PLAYING WITH!!!

“Because only by knowing the laws like the back of your hoof can you properly break them.”

Nice. Now if only these two would realize what he's implying.

“If you loved me,” she said, “you’d do it.”

The exact wrong thing to say. You don't use love as a bargaining chip. It says exactly what you think of the concept.

Mind you, they're clearly going to go up the mountain. Prophecies are pesky things in that way. But there will be a fair amount of heartbreak between now and then.

Dam that chapter was hype.

9725459
Honestly, it was never a problem
You should see how many comments I have in Across the Shimmering Sea

And other places. Seriously, don't worry about me, I only do this because I'd like whoever reads my content (to be posted) to comment just as much.

Also I could put them all in one comment but I like to post them before I can think too much to make it genuine. I'll think about it though

JMP

“Am I a joke to you?”

Rarity’s playfulness died. Quickly. “What?”

“Am I a joke to you?” Twilight asked again. “Because that’s what it feels like I am.”

Ok, I laughed at that because meme, but this was an actual serious scene and I think this is the first time I've seen "Am I a joke to you" used seriously.

Rarity....even if this works, her father won't live forever. The best way to make sure they can continue their relationship once Rarity becomes Queen is to do as her father says: learn the rules, so you know how to properly break them. He knows. He's probably known for a long time. I don't think Rarity and Twilight are as subtle as they think they are.

I understand Rarity's desperation here, and they're probably going up that mountain because it's the freaking story title, but still....I hope there's nothing there. Maybe once the final pretense of the King not dying of illness fades, Rarity can grow. If there are actual goddesses that would grant Rarity's prayer to end the snowstorm and heal her father....she wouldn't be able to grow as a character. She would feel vindicated, and Twilight would be left with less ground to get her stubborn princess to better herself.

9725364
I think they did, but refused to give in to hope after hiding it for so long.

This was a good chapter, filled with... well, what's the opposite of "heartwarming moments"? Heart chilling moments that still feel good. I really like the direction you're taking Twilight and Rarity's conflict this story. Bodyguard AU Rarity always felt less mature than your other Raritys, to a sometimes frustrating level (in a clearly deliberate way), and it will be interesting to see if she develops past that here.

Oh my goodness.

Bodyguard AU Rarity has always frustrated me, but right now that frustration has honestly reached peak levels. I cannot reiterate how much I hope that she grows along this journey - which I know she will, because I've read the story after this one (chronologically) where she's the Queen - but it's just SO FRUSTRATING watching her childish fits and justifications and the way she used their relationship as a bargaining chip.

THAT'S NOT HOW A RELATIONSHIP WORKS RARITY

PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID GUYS. DON'T DO THIS IN A REAL RELATIONSHIP.

“This? But this is The Weary Travelers of Caelum.”

Can’t wait for the next chapter!!!!!!!

I find myself eager to see how this Rarity grows as a character. Undoubtedly the pair are going to wind up going on this journey, but Rarity really needs to learn how to accept the reality that her father simply isn't going to last very long regardless of her actions. Even if solving the prophecy magically cures her father, she'll still have only a scant few years with him before she winds up being Queen. This is why he's trying to teach her how to break certain laws; he almost certainly knows what's going on between Twilight and Rarity.

Almost as irritating is Rarity's belief that her father is trying to marry her off. As a soon-to-be Queen, I'm pretty sure it would be within her power to decide that she doesn't want to be just married off to some prince. Being married to her Guard is an entire other can of worms, but as Queen she wouldn't have to marry some prince if she didn't want to.

God I love this story. So much setup.

The sooner they both learned their place in the world, the less painful it would be—especially considering her dear advisor had mentioned political marriages as one of their upcoming subjects of conversation.

Keep telling yourself that, Rarity. We all know you don't really believe that, deep down.

But he did not say anything else on the matter.

He simply looked out the window, the light’s shadows thinning his already near-skeletal face, and sighed.

Oh. Oh.

He Knows. And he doesn't mind! :pinkiehappy:

“No,” she said, starting to walk. “I prefer the storm.”

Angst. Angst all around.

So Celestia help me, I want to go in and knock some sense into the both of them.

9725587
Remember not what the prophecy says, but what the narrative says: Mount Caelum is the final resting place for whoever tries to find the temple at the peak.

Don't you think that's just so wonderfully vague? It could mean any number of things. After all, when we close the toy chest for the last time, isn't that our final resting place, after a fashion?


I'm just talking, really. I don't know anything. You should know better than to listen to anything a halfwit says.

I need to have more!!! :fluttercry: I tried to hold off on reading this story until there was more to it but I caved and now I need more.

Maginficent! I await your updates!

After catching up on TEL/TEK, now I’m caught up on this AU too!

It’s been great reading tons of glorious shipping fuel of the finest quality so far. I like the levity of this series, which allows it a simplicity rare in TEL/TEK. The vignettes of lovers stealing moments for each other manage to never feel like enough, even after so many stories.

This last instalment is taking an intriguing direction, apparently more in a high fantasy/worldbuilding way. I’ll be looking forward to more.

Also I’ll be terribly sad when King Belle will inevitably pass away

I keep pressing the space where the next chapter button is. What manner of heresy is this?

Real life trumps any magical storm.

Good day. Could You tell me, when will You continue the story? Some readers are asking.

10157790
Still waiting...

10232534
Hey Grand!

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know when it’ll update. I want to say soon, but other stories are my priority right now :(

10232935
Don't be sorry!! There's nothing wrong with asking c:

10232941
it is intresting and some readers are asking.

Please, please updated it's just that amazing....

*pokes story with stick*
"is it dead?"

“ The Weary Travelers of Caelum ,” Inkwell continued, glancing between her two guests, “foretells that a noble pony and their guard will one day scale the mountain to seek audience with the goddesses and ask for a miracle to save their kingdom.”

Ooooh, that's a terrible cliffhanger... I'm sure it'll work out to some extent (I'm personally expecting that the storm is in some way because Celestia is sick, I'm guessing they'll manage to stop the storm but not cure the father) but it's painful to have to wait for more! :raritydespair:

Still, take all the time you need to get it written. A late but amazing story is always better than a rushed or otherwise lacking one, and of course taking care of yourself and your muse is more important!

Which story is the first story in this series?

It was great getting caught up on this. I had honestly forgotten that they hadn't even left yet as I refreshed my memory with my reading, since the last chapter had left off on such a dramatic note. My mind just conflated it with them probably leading the castle until I could correct that error. Still, I'm absolutely thrilled to see the resurfacing of Inkwell, the unfolding lore, and most importantly: the purple girlfriend drama.

11012139
🤗 there's no sad hug emote so just pRETEND ITS SAD

Annnnnnnd my day is now ruined 😭 Canceled?!?! Why?!!!

9725034
In case anyone is like me and continues to think about dead fics way too much, and more specifically how to reconcile this fic with the lore of "the Queen's secret crush", then I came up with a little synopsis for the rest of this story that will hopefully allow you to reach some closure.

After having the fight at the end of chapter 2, rarity and twilight would spend some time apart talking to their friends. Rarity would speak to fluttershy and pinkie pie who would each give her an item, while twilight would talk to rainbow dash and applejack who would each give a peice of advice (these will be important later). The king would then go into critical condition causing rarity to pack up and leave for the mountain without telling anyone. Twilight would catch up and they would fight again with rarity finally swaying her by saying that she is willing to risk her life and position to protect those she loves.

As they travel up the mountain they would run into situations that would test their loyalty, honesty, kindness, and laughter (in any order) where the advice/item given by the appropriate friend helps them solve it. Finally generosity is tested, and after rarity makes some sort of appropriate sacrifice it is revealed that these were all deliberate tests done by luna to see if they were worthy. She takes them inside the shrine at the top and revealed that celestia is sick and cannot raise the sun properly which caused the long winter (yes I did steal this from 'yours truly' I only steal from the best) and as such, there is nothing they can do. Both our heroines are struck by despair before rarity once again announces her willingness to risk everything and try anything and attempts to move the sun on her own but burns out her magic. Twilight, moved by this, then professes her own love and dedication and tries to move the sun herself, succeeding and passing out.

Finally would be a pretty quick denouement where rarity hauls twilight back down the mountain on her back as both of their magic will be gone for a while. Rarity gets back in time to share last words with her father who reveals that he knows about the their love and gives his personal blessing as a father, but not as a king (as rarity should give it to herself as queen) before passing away and rarity being announced as the new queen as the snow begins to melt.

Just pretend that monochromatic wrote all of this and it's very good and hopefully you can have some closure and move on.

11120272
Wow. I came back to this story after a very long while just to see if it was still in hiatus and was genuinely sad to see that it was cancelled. However, your synopsis for how the story could have worked out, apart from being a nice read for me, helped me get over the initial shock at the very least, so thank you very much for that.

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