• Published 29th Mar 2019
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A Hearth's Warming Story; Limestone Daphne Pie Saves Hearth's Warming - Jay Watson



Twilight has invited her all her close friends and families to her castle for a big Hearth's Warming celebration

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Spanish Castle Magic

“Thank you, sir! Happy Hearth’s Warming to you folks!” The cab driver was grateful for Sunspot’s tip, not expecting the short trip from the station was going to pay off so well.

Sunspot liked to do that; seeing his generosity making other ponies smile. The six of them stood at the edge of the walkway that led up to the castle doors.

“Starlight, this is where you live?” Firelight was astounded by its magnificence, seeing it for the first time up close.

“It’s even more awesome then I imagined!” Nova was giddy with delight. It was like walking in a dream for her.

“It’s truly something to see!” Sunspot was very impressed. Pictures and vivid descriptions didn’t do it justice.

“I can’t believe we’re actually here!” Even Stellar Flare caught some of her daughter’s excitement. This was a thrill of a lifetime. Not many ponies ever got to spend the holiday with royalty.

“C’mon, everypony. Follow us.” Starlight and Sunburst led them on up to the door, both of them enjoying watching their families have that ‘first time’ experience of actually stepping inside Princess Twilight’s home. Everypony had it on the first visit; the castle had a tendency to overwhelm its visitors with its size and crystalline construction.

Starlight leaned over to speak into Sunburst’s ear. “I’m glad they decided to be with us today. You must be proud of them.”
“I am. I wanted to share this with all of them. I’m happy your dad came today, too. I know how much you wanted him to see where you live now.” Sunburst kept one eye on his family as they walked up to the door, grinning at the sight of his sister’s wide-eyed expression of mind-blown awe.

Starlight opened the double doors of the castle for them, the foyer of the castle now coming into view as they stepped through the doorway. For the first-time visitors, it was something unimaginable. The castle was decked out in resplendent holiday decorations. The length of the grand entry hall was adorned with garland and red ribbons. An enormous string of flickering multi-colored crystals hung from four opposing points on the walls to meet at the chandelier that hung from the center of the ceiling. The whole inside space seemed to twinkle and glimmer from hundreds of little colored lights. A truly magical spectacle to see.

From out of one of the side rooms came the party’s official maître d’ and guest greeter, carrying his clipboard and ready to check in his guests.

“Greetings and salutations! Happy Hearth’s Warming everypony!” Spike was glad to have more to do and was taking his role very seriously. He was decked out in a white collared shirt, red bow tie and black jacket with long tails. He had a job to do and was going to make Twilight proud.

“Hi, Spike. Happy Hearth’s Warming.” Starlight was glad to be here with him too.

“Hello everypony. My name is Spike and I am your official Hearth’s Warming celebration host-dragon for the evening. We have a wonderful evening planned ahead so if everypony will follow me upstairs, we’ll get all of you situated in your rooms and the food to the kitchen for any preparation you might need.” Spike read his practiced greeting off his clipboard, having spent most of last night trying to come up with something sufficiently official sounding.

“Lead the way, my good dragon.” Sunburst encouraged, eager to introduce his family to his hostess and the other guests. Spike led the small group of guests up to the second floor, telling them all about the evening’s celebration and the festival planned in Ponyville for the following day.

Even the second floor hall and guestroom entryways were adorned with garland and a small wreath with a small card on the bedroom doors to indicate what family slept where.

“Stellar Flare and Sunspot, this is your guestroom. Let me know if there is anything you might need that is currently not on hand.” Spike opened the door for them, lugging in their bags. Sunburst’s parents were duly impressed by the room’s accoutrements. It was as luxurious as one could expect as a guest of royalty. Standing in the room, anypony could get the feeling they were in a magical place.

“You get my room to stay in, dad.” Starlight took him to a room across the hallway and opened the door. With a quick spell casting, Starlight commanded the candles to light, making the room a warm and welcoming environment.

Firelight plopped his bags down by the bed, somewhat surprised by the look of her room. He had half-expected it to look something like her old room back home. But it wasn’t. It was clean and orderly, the clothes away in the dresser drawers, bed made up and the area rug clean.

Even Starlight’s workspace and study area was tidy. Her spell-books and scrolls were all neatly stacked up or bundled in a cubby for safekeeping.

“Okay, what’s going on here?” Firelight turned around to look at his daughter.

“What do you mean?” Starlight hadn’t a clue what her dad meant. But he had a smile on his face.

“Who are you and what have you done with my daughter? This is not her room. At least, not the kind of room I remember her having.”

“Oh, that! I like my room like this now. It suits me better.” Starlight liked showing it off. Firelight looked around the room more closely, picking up details about his daughter he might have missed during their conversations. Above her dresser was a mirror, affixed along the perimeter of the glass were six photographs.

“Are these your friends?” Starlight came to stand beside him.

“That’s a picture of me with Rarity, one with Fluttershy, a picture of me trying to bake with Pinkie Pie,” She pointed to each photo, putting a face to the names she had mentioned when talking with him. Firelight enjoyed hearing how his daughter had so many friends now.

“Who’s the one in the wizard’s cap? A friend of Sunburst?” He didn’t recall her telling him about another magician pony friend.

“That’s Trixie. You remember me telling you about her, right? She and I went on that terrible road trip, trying to get to Saddle Arabia to do those magic shows…”

“Oh, that’s her!” He was glad to finally put a face to the pony from Starlight’s story. He thought it quite the humorous tale of adventure for his daughter to have experienced. Even better that it didn’t sour the friendship she had with Trixie after the whole plan fell apart. He couldn’t help but laugh a little when recalling the story.

“You’re not still laughing at that story, are you?” Starlight couldn’t believe it was that entertaining to her dad after this long. That was so many moons ago.

“Sorry, it’s just a really funny story, that’s all.” He got his snickering under control and added pensively. “Memories to last a lifetime, I’m sure.”

Starlight was happy to share a little more about the supportive group of friends she had now. She knew how much he worried about her, though she wished he didn’t.

“You two joining us or are you alright on your own?” Spike poked his head in the room, checking to see what was taking the Glimmers so long to drop off their stuff.

“Give us a second, Spike.” Starlight used her magic to carry aloft the pans of bread ready for baking. “Let’s get these in the oven downstairs but keep your jacket on. There’s something else I want to show you.” Out in the hallway, Spike led them back to the stairwell while continuing his instructions.

“Everypony with a contribution for this evening’s meal should follow me to the kitchen, where we have an ample number of stoves at your disposal. Otherwise, you are encouraged to help yourself to the appetizers and mingle with the other guests.”

As Sunburst walked down the flight of stairs and into the main hallway of the castle with his family, he could already see his sister was thrilled beyond belief to be here and dumbstruck at getting the chance to meet Spike. He could only guess how she was going to react when meeting Twilight. He hoped she wouldn’t get all fangirly on Twilight or her friends. He’d made her promise.

“For her close friends,” Spike mentioned to Sunburst, getting his attention away from his thoughts, “she’s arranged for a special gathering in the lounge tonight for a private gab session and slumber party.”

Nova couldn’t believe what her day was turning into. Now she was going to get to hang out with the princess and her close friends on top of it all at a slumber party! She was going to get the chance to ask every question she’d ever wanted to ask the princess. She had almost twenty-four hours to slip them in any conversation she could manage.

Spike pointed out the various rooms for the guests to spend their time relaxing in. “On this side of the hallway we have the livingroom as well as the lounge and on the opposite side is the castle’s library, ballroom and dining hall. The library, lounge and living rooms have their own fireplaces to sit by and have lots of comfortable seating for all.”

Sunburst recognized Twilight’s friend Apple Jack sitting with what he guessed was her family in the livingroom. They were all huddled together looking at something in one elderly pony’s lap. In the lounge area, Starlight spotted Pinkie and what she thought was her family sitting with two other ponies she didn’t recognize.

“Through here, please.” Spike held open the kitchen door for them, allowing easier access to the workspace where Twilight and her mom were busily making more appetizers. Twilight looked up from her work, seeing who was entering the kitchen.

“Starlight! Sunburst! I’m so glad you made it!” Twilight trotted right over to greet her guests. “Happy Hearth’s Warming you two!” She hugged each of her friends tightly. She stepped back a little, allowing them more room, waving them in to join her and her mom. “Come in! Come in!” Both Starlight and Sunburst were both glad to be here and nervous as heck to have their families in tow. All three parents first placed their meal offerings on the counter space before bowing to the princess of Equestria.

“Your highness.” Stellar Flare bowed with such practiced grace and fluidity, denoting her well-honed upper-class etiquette. Her husband, daughter and Firelight Glimmer did likewise, showing proper respect. Both Starlight and Sunburst groaned with embarrassment. Twilight just had to deflate their expectations a little.

“Oh, pbthh, on that! There are no princesses here today, only ponies!” Twilight’s loud raspberry took the tension right out of the room, leaving her guests a bit confused.

“You must get that an awful lot, sweetie,” Velvet commented. She had first witnessed the Pie family do the same thing at their first meet with her daughter a few hours ago.

“I’ve gotten used to it, mom.” Twilight didn’t mind, it was just part and parcel with the job.

“Dad, you don’t have to be so formal with my friend.” Starlight reached down to raise her father to his hooves, wanting him not to look so square right then.

“Twilight isn’t that kind of princess, mom and dad. She likes informality when away from her royal obligations.” Sunburst was just as red-faced as Starlight, wishing they’d told their families ahead of time about this one tiny detail. His family got up, both his mom and dad clearly unsure of what so say or how to act. Nova silently moved up alongside her mom, getting closer to Princess Twilight. Her whole body seemed to be buzzing in excitement.

“Oh, I’m sorry… princess?” Stellar was not sure how to address a princess informally, suddenly looking painfully clueless.

“How about just calling me Twilight? That’s easier for everypony to remember.” It never ceased to amaze Twilight to see anypony’s reaction to her being ‘normal’ around them. She guessed there was always going to be that mystique of her being a ‘princess’ that caused some to stumble when speaking with her.

“Forgive me, Twilight, I was not made aware of your preference.” Firelight spoke up first to address his daughter’s friend and mentor.

“You must be Firelight Glimmer.” Twilight could tell by his polite and formal manner, not to mention his streaked aqua-marine colored mane and tail, that this was Starlight’s dad.

“Ta da!” Starlight weakly announced him to Twilight, still a little embarrassed. “I promised you I would wrangle him into attending. I keep my promises.”

“Twilight, this is my mom Stellar Flare and my dad, Sunspot.” Sunburst made the introduction, saving his mom from any further embarrassment.

“A pleasure to meet you both.” Twilight could see they were still a bit nervous, getting used to being here with her and her family. She looked down at the filly standing next to Stellar Flare.

“And who might you be?” Twilight could see the stars in the young pony’s eyes as Nova looked up at her.

“Twilight, this is-”

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Princess Twilight, I totally love your friendship journal! The stories and lessons you and your friends told are so awesome! I’ve read my copy so many times! I can’t get enough of it!” Nova lasted but a few seconds before devolving into a quivering mass of fangirl. But Twilight didn’t mind.

Sunburst’s folks were mortified by Nova’s behavior. Stellar Flare planted a forehoof to her forehead in frustration while Sunspot cringed to the point where he had to look away. Sunburst finally found his voice.

“Nova! What did I tell you? I thought you were going to be cool around Twilight and her friends!” He’d thought she would’ve lasted longer, as had her mother. But the pressure must have been just too great for Nova to contain.

“If you have your copy with you, I’ll sign it if you’d like.” Twilight gave Nova a quick distraction so as to allow her mom to introduce herself to the guests.

“Twilight Velvet; very nice to make your acquaintance.” She shook hooves with all of them, grinning.

“My pleasure and Happy Hearth’s Warming to you and your family.” Firelight was all smiles when meeting the princess’ mother.

“An honor for us both.” Sunspot was relieved to discover both the princess and her mother seemed very approachable ponies and hoped the other guests were the same.

“I’ve got my journal right here!” Nova tore through the carrying bag she kept with her at all times to find her most treasured item, presenting it to Twilight with great enthusiasm. Twilight used her alicorn magic to take the journal from her young fan. She always had a quill and ink bottle handy in the kitchen for scribbling down notes or whatever when she might need to.

“What to say… what to say…” Twilight tapped her chin with the tip of the quill, contemplating her words over the open journal. With a quick glance at Nova, who waited with bated breath, she began to write. She’d thought she’d give her fan a real thrill.

“To Nova, Thanks so much for coming to my Hearth’s Warming celebration. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time while visiting the Castle of Friendship. Your good friend, Princess Twilight Sparkle.” Twilight made sure to use the big sweeping style of script for the signature, even adding a twinkling ‘star’ at the end of her name as a personal touch.
When Nova received the journal with Twilight’s personal message and signature, she was euphoric. Nova actually fell over onto the floor, clutching the journal to her chest and squealing gleefully. Her family was again embarrassed but everypony else only smiled at watching Nova lose her mind with happiness.

“That’s some super-fan you have there, Sunburst.” Starlight watched her best friend squirm uncomfortably at the sight of Nova’s behavior.

“Well I’m glad to help give somepony an extra special Hearth’s Warming gift.” Twilight thought it adorable how Nova was so thrilled and how Sunburst winced at seeing his sister freaking out.

“Okay! Okay, Nova! That’s enough. You got the autograph you wanted. Time to reel it in and settle down. Be cool, remember?” Sunburst spared his parents having to correct Nova, trying to recover some semblance of cordiality in front of Twilight and her mom.

“Do they always react like this, Twilight?” Velvet watched as Nova managed to keep it together enough to regain her composure, her mother and father clearly upset with their daughter’s outburst.

“Meh, to some degree. Thanks to Cadence, I’ve gotten better at handling situations.” This particular run-in with a fan was quite alright. It was for a good friend’s little sister, so how could she not want to please her guest?

“If you need an oven, Twilight made sure there were plenty to use.” Velvet stepped aside to show how her daughter had accommodated everypony who brought something to share.

“Let’s get the bread in and baking. We’re due up with the second course of tonight’s meal.” Starlight wanted to get going with the next part of her reason for bringing her dad with her today.

“If either of you would like, we have warm cider on the stove ready as well as chilled on tap,” Velvet offered, but Starlight was hustling the bread into the oven as quickly as she could and moving her dad out of the kitchen. The oven was hot and in went the bread, to be ready in about an hour’s time, plenty for Starlight to do what she had been planning to do for many moons.

“If it’s alright with you, Twilight,” Starlight closed the oven door, all eight loaves fitting on the two racks inside. “I’d like to show my dad the inside of the school. He’s never seen it before.”

“That’d be perfect. We’ve got some time before everypony else arrives and we’re ready to sit down to eat, so a tour of the school would be a good idea.” Twilight was happy to accommodate her guest.

“You really should see it. Twilight took myself and her father on a tour when the school first opened. It’s quite breathtaking.” Velvet remembered the grandeur of the school’s architecture and how she and her family were impressed by it.

“Sounds good to me.” Firelight was looking forward to it already.

Starlight was glad that Twilight and her mom agreed that she should show her dad the school. It would give them some alone time to talk like she wanted.

“Let’s get going, then. I want to be back in time to check on the bread.” Starlight set the timer on the stove, an added precaution in case she was late getting back.

“We’ll keep an eye on it, so you two take your time.” Velvet waved their concern away with a hoof and a smile.

“Thank you, Velvet. We shouldn’t be too long.” Firelight followed after his daughter, waving to Velvet and Twilight as he exited.

“He seems like a very nice stallion. I’m happy she convinced him to attend.” Twilight couldn’t help smiling. She had been planning this for quite a while and so dearly wanted everypony invited to be here. To see her guests happy and excited to be here filled her heart with joy.

Starlight slung her parka on quickly, leading her dad to the front door of the castle. Before they got into the day’s festivities, she wanted to show off one last place. She’d brought him pictures to look at but they didn’t convey the whole impact.

Author's Note:

Hey everypony! Here is the fifth chapter of this story I've been working on. IT's the set up for the next chapter which I'm most excited to showcase. I've always wanted to do a scene of Twilight dealing with fans; imagining how I'd probably react if I were a young pony and meeting my favorite heroine for the first time and up close.
Since I wasn't able to find anywhere a floor-map of Twilight's castle I came up with own idea; I gave the castle an 'upstairs' for the bedrooms and the rest of the castle we see more of as the 'downstairs'. If anypony out there has such diagrams of the inside layout of Twilight's castle, or knows of where to find them, please let me know.