• Published 2nd Dec 2019
  • 823 Views, 160 Comments

Twilight's Reign - James Pwyll



Twilight now rules over Equestria, and she is determined to rule it well

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Connections

"Do you ponies know how much my wings ache when I'm called down here for your littler get-togethers?! I swear I'm gonna be putting my back out coming this far from Griffonstone like this!"

The words weren't exactly what Twilight would have wanted to hear after the arrival of her guest, but she knew full well at this point that, when it came to Griffonstone authority figures, Grandpa Gruff was all they really had to offer. So, taking a deep breath, she composed herself as best she could, smiling to her elderly visitor. "Mr Gruff, I realise such journeys are difficult for you, but I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that..."

Alas, she didn't get to finish, as the doors of the throne room opened yet again, revealing not only Flash but Twilight's counterpart from the Dragon Lands, Princess Ember. Flash naturally began to announce her, only to be halted by Ember herself, who placed her claw on the stallion's lips before he could even get a word in. "No need, bud. Everypony already knows me here." She chuckled as Flash seemed taken aback by this, then flew over the rest of the room, landing right before Twilight's throne. "So, first visit by foreign leaders. Pretty exciting, eh Twilight?"

Twilight smiled, happy to see that Ember's attitude hadn't changed towards her since her coronation. Sadly, Grandpa Gruff was not so thrilled. "What?! You never told me I wasn't the only one coming here!"

Twilight sighed. "I realise this is a bit of a surprise, but I wanted the two of you here to discuss an important matter, and one that, hopefully, will please you especially, Mr Gruff."

The old Griffon snorted, incredulous to that claim, but Ember seemed more curious about it. "There's not some big magical problem on the horizon we need to know about, is there?"

Twilight shook her head. "Not at all. But with this new age of peace coming into its own, we all have to come to terms with the fact that, in the last few years, Equestria and all the nations that surround it have become much more intertwined than they used to." Nostalgia came to her. "It wasn't that long ago that groups like the Changelings or Hippogriffs were completely unknown to the general public of Equestria, and Griffons and Dragons were known primarily for being hostile." She blushed at that one. "Um, no offence."

Ember shrugged. "Meh, none taken. Even I'd have said that about us."

Twilight, glancing down to Spike, continued. "But now? Now, we all know one another. We're friends instead of enemies or bitter neighbours. The world is changed, and it's likely to keep on changing in the future."

Grandpa Gruff coughed unceremoniously to that idea. "Don't remind me! I remember the good old days when we Griffons never used to be worried about anycreature but ourselves! Now look at us! Always having to think about 'relations with other people' and all that hogwash!"

Twilight frowned, but took on a more mischievous look soon afterwards. "If you like, I can call Gallus in here to speak with you. I'm sure a fine young Griffon like him could give you a few courses on getting along with others."

Gruff grimaced. "No thanks! The boy's been unbearable enough about that stuff as it is! No need to ask him to talk about it too!"

Ember, who had been thoroughly amused by her feathery companion's bluster, soon turned again to Twilight. "Well, we all know the world's changed, Twilight, and you won't hear me complaining about it. But I'm guessing you have some plan about it?"

Twilight nodded, looking down to Spike again, who stood from his throne and, after sharing a smile with Ember, cleared his throat and spoke. "How would you two feel about a greater degree of transportation infrastructure between your lands?"

Gruff hacked and wheezed. "Speak plain ponish, boy! Some of us aren't used to fancy political jargon!"

Spike rolled his eyes. "I'm asking if you'd be willing to allow the construction of transport lines like trains in and between your countries?"

Gruff's one good eye bulged out at hearing that. "What?! You want us to let you build a bunch of flimsy pony trains in Griffon territory?!"

Spike nodded confidently. "Pretty much. Yeah. With all the different creatures around Equestria growing closer and closer, we decided it might be a good idea to actually help connect them more. Make it easier for people to get from one nation to the other."

Ember, for the first time today, seemed uncertain about that. "Don't know if you noticed this, Spike, but Dragons and Griffons can fly. We kinda don't need to use stuff like that."

Spike nodded again. "True. But the journeys can often be long. And as you can see from Gruff here, it can be kind of a drain." Seeing the oldest person here suddenly cough incessantly, Spike arched an eyebrow. "I can imagine a few Dragons would want the journey to be easier too."

Ember smirked to Gruff, then sighed. "Yeah, you got a point. I still remember how much my wings ached when I visited Ponyville that one time."

Twilight looked to her. "And then there's the matter of those without flight. The Yaks being the primary case there. One account by a Yak visitor said they travelled for about a week before even being within sight of Equestria one time."

Ember shuddered. "Ugh! A week of travelling in snow?! No thanks!"

Spike then pointed to both her and Grandpa Gruff. "Griffonstone and the Dragon Lands are pretty close to one another, so we got to thinking that, if this big plan was going to happen, it might be worth starting it out with the two of you. You know, try it out and see how it sticks?"

Ember tapped her chin. "It might work. But I don't think I need to remind you that the Dragon Lands aren't exactly the safest place to be even at the best of times. Pits, lava, that sort of thing? Kinda hard to make train tracks in an environment like that."

Grandpa Gruff stepped forward shortly afterwards. "And the passes around Griffonstone are darn-near deadly to those who don't know em! There's a reason our nearest trains stopped so far away!"

Twilight, stepping forward, smiled to them both. "I assure you, transport infrastructure and engineering has come a long way recently. With enough time and know-how, I'm confident we can create a viable means of getting this network running properly." Then, after just a pause, she smiled again. "And you know, if you're still worried about we ponies not doing a good job, perhaps we can see this as an opportunity for greater cooperation?" As she saw the looks of confusion she was getting from that statement, she began to explain herself. "You're right, we ponies don't know those lands very well. But your peoples do. If you allow this new era of connectivity to begin, your people, perhaps even you yourselves, might have an important part to play in it becoming a reality."

It took no time whatsoever for Ember to understand what she'd meant by that. "You mean you want us and ours to help clue you in on how to build all this without making a mess of it?"

Twilight nodded. "Indeed. Think of it as a greater chance for us to grow closer as nations. Working together on something that'll join us as never before." She then looked to Grandpa Gruff. "And if the trains succeed, we can also consider having our airship services extend to your lands as well, and you could help us navigate the dangerous air currents that surround your skies."

Gruff, having listened intently to all of this, scratched the side of his head, half worried and half uncertain. "Well...it's not something I'd have thought about. Inviting more creatures to Griffonstone. Trains and airships and who knows what else just coming along like that?"

Spike gestured to him. "Well, wouldn't you want to maybe to go a place like the Crystal Empire for a visit without having to worry about tiring yourself out from it?"

Gruff thought on that, then twisted his beak into what, generously, could be called a smile. "That does sound mighty sweet." Then his usual grumpiness reasserted itself. "But I don't gotta tell ya this here's gonna be difficult. Most creatures don't work together on much, and what you're asking is for something more than we've ever done together before."

Twilight nodded. "You're right, it is. But if we can come together to fight the likes of Chrysalis and Tirek, we can come together to accomplish anything."

Ember, folding her arms, chuckled, then leaned over to Gruff. "She's got ya there, old-timer."

Naturally, Gruff frowned to that. "Alright, I'll agree to this fancy-schmancy plan of yours! Just tell me what I need to do so I can get back home already! All this optimism is making my boils flare up again."

Turning away, Spike did his best to hide his disgust. "I really didn't need to hear that."

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