• Published 10th Nov 2019
  • 4,058 Views, 42 Comments

Run Away With Me - semillon



One week after Flurry Heart is crowned the Ruler of the Crystal Empire, she runs into Cozy Glow.

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Two

The Crystal Empire thrived under a radiant sun, glistening and glittering in the light. Pride was visibly shining in each and every citizen as they went about their days, smiling and nodding politely to each other.

Princess Flurry Heart, Ruler of the Crystal Empire, watched from a table at the end of the castle balcony as her realm thrived. She loved her ponies, and they loved her, and even now, she could still feel the connection that she felt between them the week previously.

Her coronation was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The joyous energy that the magic of the Crystal Heart instilled in them was still alive, glowing like a lone fire in a forest at night.

Flurry had just finished arranging the accommodations for the Abyssinian diplomats that were due to arrive at the palace in a few hours. The Empire and Abyssinia were reaching the end of negotiations for a new stance on tariffs on gem imports and ewe wool, and tonight would be the first time she would be meeting with the country’s representatives.

For now, though, she had a few minutes to herself, and she was going to watch her ponies live their lives.

It was a cliche thing to say, but she loved them passionately. She loved her ponies. And they were her ponies. They had always been, in her heart, but until last week it hadn’t felt so...so real. Now they were her charge—her responsibility, until the end of her reign.

Hopefully it would be a long reign. She didn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

“Hot cocoa?” came her father’s voice from behind her, coupled with the nutty scent of a warm mug of the chocolatey beverage.

“I’d love some,” she said, turning her head to watch Shining Armor pull up a seat right next to her. She leaned her head on his shoulder, draping a wing over him as she took a bright pink mug from his telekinetic field with her own magic, and she brought it to her lips to take a sip.

The hot cocoa was delicious. The perfect temperature to drink, with a nice, slightly bitter edge to the chocolate flavors that betrayed the luxurious quality of the beans. Flurry drank greedily, downing nearly half the mug before she pulled the mug away from her lips, sighing softly as warmth spread through her chest.

“Thanks, Dad.”

He kissed the top of her head. “Watching the ponies again?”

“That’s what you charged me to do at the coronation. Watch over them until the end of my days.”

“My Princess,” said her father. “I know you’ll do great things for the Empire.”

There was a moment of quiet. A last chance to retreat, because they both knew that there was a conversation coming. One that neither of them wanted to have. But neither of them left, and whether it was because it was more trouble than it was worth or because they were reasonable ponies who wanted to face problems head on, it was time.

Flurry closed her eyes, blocking out the beautiful day. In her mind’s eye, she saw an alicorn, pink and beautiful with a mane like a nostalgic sunset.

“Have you talked to her?” she asked.

“No,” her father responded. “Please don’t ask me why. I couldn’t tell you.”

Flurry’s tail swished. “Because you don’t want to?”

“Because I don’t know,” said her father.

Flurry wasn’t sure what to say to that. She took another sip of her cocoa. “Well, if you don’t want to talk to her, you could at least be there.”

Her father sighed. “She needs to be alone.”

“You don’t want to see her, either,” said Flurry.

“That’s not true.” Shining’s voice grew quiet.

A pony cleared her throat behind them. Flurry opened her eyes and turned at the same time as her father.

A topaz colored crystal pony stood perfectly poised. Her onyx mane and eyes were sleek and polished.

“Citrine,” said Flurry. “What is it?”

“Your highnesses...” Citrine bowed. “I have come to inform you that the Abyssinian entourage has been delayed by several hours. They expect to arrive in the Empire tonight, when the moon is at its highest.”

“Delayed?” asked her father. “By what?”

“A sudden storm, my prince.”

“So…” Flurry said, furrowing her brows. “That means—”

“That your day has been completely cleared,” finished Citrine. “If you would like, there is some work to be done on planning your public appearances at Equestrian events for the near future, but that can be pushed to the side for today. Your mother relished in her free time, and up until the last year it seemed to help her. I would suggest doing the same, Princess.”

Flurry Heart looked to her father, who wore a contemplative expression on his face.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Citrine is correct,” he said. “But I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, Flurry. This kind of free time won’t be a regular thing for you to be able to indulge in.”

“I know that,” Flurry huffed. “That means that I should seize the chance, right?”

“I almost wonder if you shouldn’t.”

Flurry tilted her head. “Why?”

Shining began to answer, and after testing a few ways to start his sentence, gave up and shook his head. “You’re right. You should enjoy this while you can.”

Flurry smiled, turning to Citrine. “I’ll just be one communication spell away if you need me.”

Citrine bowed her head and walked off of the balcony, into the palace. When she was out of view, Flurry threw her father a questioning look.

“Are you sure you’re fine with me taking off?” she asked.

Shining sighed. “I know that you know how big of a responsibility being ruler is, but…”

“Dad,” said Flurry, putting a hoof over his. “I’m not going to run from this.”

She nuzzled his neck lovingly, until she received a nuzzle in return.

“Okay, sweetheart,” said her father. “It’s your day. What are you going to do?”

Flurry pulled away from him, flapping her wings experimentally. “Something that you’ll approve of. I was thinking of visiting The Portal.”

“I do approve of that,” said Shining. “And are you going to be flying?”

“I like flying,” said Flurry. “It gives me time to think about things.”

She bent her legs and leapt into the air, flapping her wings hard, until she was elegantly fluttering above her father.

“Be careful,” Shining said.

“I’m a god, Dad,” Flurry teased, looking to the north, where just beyond the city was an endless landscape of white. “Nothing can hold me down.”

“I love you!” Shining called as she took off, flying toward the tundra.

“Love you too!” she called back.


Flurry loved flying in the tundra. She loved how the air weaved between her feathers like ribbons of cold silk. She loved the sound of wind rushing through her ears. She loved the soaring in her heart as she glided through the air, above the giant ocean of snow that sprawled out for miles and miles, and feeling the vague sense of fear that licked at the most primal parts of her mind. The feeling that she could get lost in this place, swallowed up like she was nothing. Like she wasn’t one of the most powerful creatures alive.

She had only been to The Portal once. Back when it first opened, her mother had taken her to it to help scan for any unstable magical properties, and any signs of danger at all. They had found none, of course, and contacted Auntie Twilight immediately. After a couple of weeks, an Equestrian science base had been built, with crystal pony academics being invited to come and contribute to the study of the anomaly, and Flurry hadn’t heard any word of it since.

The day after her coronation, everything she knew about The Portal changed. Flurry had thought that it was a harmless magical side-effect from some sort of powerful magic. During their initial tests on it, it seemed to be resistant to all attempts to send anything through. But it was glowing and shaped like a giant disc, so the name was apt.

It turned out that she was wrong. The Portal was, indeed, a portal, and nopony had any idea where it led.

At the furthest reaches of her vision, Flurry saw indigo light surrounded by a ring of silver. Her heart beat double-time. She sped up her flying. The base—named Fort Oculus by her mother—sat vigilant around the portal. With Twilight’s help, the stationed unicorn scientists were able to erect a series of metal bunkers that surrounded The Portal’s front in a crescent shape. Every bunker contained living space, storage, and one aspect of research. Around the rest of The Portal was fences lined with outposts and watchtowers, both of which were manned by a combination of Crystal Guard and Royal Equestrian Guard.

Flurry flapped her wings, gliding down until she landed where the front gates to Fort Oculus were.

The several crystal guard ponies that stood in front of the gates kneeled upon seeing her, being joined by their royal guard brethren not long after.

“Who’s in charge, here?” asked Flurry Heart, after they all had risen.

To the front came a weathered unicorn stallion that Flurry didn’t recognize, with a gray coat, a light blue mane and an easy smile. “My Princess,” he said, kneeling a second time. “I am Captain Last Stand. How can I be of service?”

“I’ve been curious about The Portal,” said Flurry. “I realize that any important updates will get to the castle immediately, but I think I’d like for the ponies stationed here to tell me about it themselves. As I understand it, circumstances have changed.”

Last Stand nodded, and turned to bark at his troops. “Let us inside!”

The gates to Fort Oculus opened, and as Flurry and Last Stand trotted inside, she saw The Portal up close for the first time in the last year.

It stood almost as high as the castle, coming up short by a dozen metres or so. It was indigo on the whole, but it shifted constantly, like Luna’s mane but without the stars. The night sky, devoid of sparkle. Inky purples melded into dark blues and became purple once more, and Flurry could barely keep track of which was which.

The Portal made no sound, but it looked loud and deafeningly quiet at the same time. It was unnerving and beautiful, and there was an air of mystery surrounding Fort Oculus that Flurry could feel in the air. There was something here to be solved. A journey to be undertaken. Part of her felt jealous of the scientists.

Last Stand was leading her to a series of bunkers, one of which Flurry recognized at the main research station.

“Is everypony here doing okay?” she asked, thinking of the guards at the gate. “Supplies are well stocked?”

“We’re fine, Princess,” said Last Stand. “Though some of the guards are a little put off by the new residents.”

“New residents?” Flurry asked.

“I probably should have mentioned this at the door, but I think they might have something to say that you’ll take a greater interest in than what the scientists have to say about the portal. Would you like to meet them?”

They reached the main science bunker. Flurry could hear chatter coming from inside, the clatter of machines and equipment coming underneath it.

“Lead the way,” she said. “Is their bunker nearby?”

“It was specially built for them,” said Last Stand, saying no more on the matter.

He led her past several more bunkers filled with either guards or scientists, until they were out of the main cluster altogether. Flurry looked around, looking for any remaining buildings, but couldn’t find any until she opened her mouth to ask Last Stand if he knew where he was going.

At the edge of the base, near the fence, completely alone, was a single building that was three stories tall. It scarcely had any design or aesthetic decoration built into it—it was simply rectangular, outfitted with a normal amount of windows.

“Captain?” asked Flurry. “Will you tell me who these newcomers are?”

“If it’s all the same to you, Princess, I’ve been asked not to in the case that you came by unannounced.”

“By who? Auntie Twilight?”

“You’ll see.”

Last Stand walked steadily in front of her until they were a couple of yards out. Then he stopped, bidding for her to go on with an outstretched hoof.

“You’re not coming with me?” Flurry raised an eyebrow.

“Forgive me, Your Highness,” Last Stand said, his easy smile growing slightly. “Everyone has their limits. May I be dismissed?”

“...Yes,” said Flurry. “So, they’re in there?”

“She is,” said Last Stand. “The other two went into the tundra a long time ago. They haven’t returned yet.”

Last Stand left after bowing yet another time, leaving Flurry alone in front of the strange building. It was odd. Ponies usually seemed to be eager to pair her with bodyguards who would proceed to stay as close as they physically could for the rest of the day.

Flurry stepped up to the building, knocking on the door a couple of times as loud as she could.

Nothing happened. Flurry waited, after a moment pressing her ear to the door to listen for hoofsteps.

Still nothing. Flurry grabbed the door’s handle and tested it.

It opened easily. It looked like whoever lived here had no regard for locks.

Flurry stepped inside. The inside of the building—the house— looked normal enough. It was almost like a house. There were wooden floors, heated and made softer with magic, and a kitchen and what looked like a living room, and a personal bedroom parallel to a bathroom.

Loose sketches on sturdy off-white paper littered the floor of the living room, depicting summery landscapes that made Flurry think of Saddle Arabian beaches. She walked past them, heading towards the bedroom. The rest of the house was soundless, but the bedroom contained a faint scraping sound and the quiet feminine hums of a young mare.

Flurry strode up to the door and knocked on it, then stepped away. She noticed that her wings were flared out and quickly folded them back in. It wouldn’t be very good if it looked like she was trying to intimidate whoever was behind that door.

Hoofsteps paced idly behind the door. Whoever was inside was clearly taking their time.

Flurry considered announcing herself before they had a chance to see her first. That wouldn’t be fair though, so she waited, and when the door opened she had to look over her twice before she could believe it.

Cozy Glow stood at the door, wearing an exquisitely tailored nighttime robe. Her mane, blue ringlets curling ethereally downwards, stopped at her knees. Her coat, still wet from a recent shower, looked like it may have been made of cotton candy.

Flurry’s stomach did a flip as Cozy’s topaz eyes settled on her. She stepped back again.

“Cozy?” she asked.

Princess... Cozy purred, smiling at her with half-lidded eyes, only managing to keep the intimate guise for a second longer before she smiled wide, flitting forward to embrace Flurry with the whole of her strength.

A barrage of questions left Cozy’s mouth:

“How are you?”

“I didn’t know you were coming!”

“Are you cold? Want some cocoa?”

“How was your coronation? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.”

Flurry hugged back as best as she could until found that she could handle it no more, and gently eased Cozy off of her.

They stared at each other, at a loss for words, before they erupted into mutual grins.

“It’s been, what, four years?” asked Flurry. “I thought you were—”

“The Kirin were so so nice, but in the end they needed some time to settle into their new city,” said Cozy. “Tirek and Chrysalis figured that it was time for a change of pace! And then the best thing happened!”

“They’re here too?” asked Flurry.

“Yep!” Cozy beamed. “Ask me what the best thing was!”

Flurry stretched her wing out, leading Cozy to the couch. “What was it?”

Cozy’s own wing unfurled slightly to brush up against Flurry’s, making her giggle.

“Friendship map!” chirped Cozy. “We’re here to solve a friendship problem! Us! The map thinks that we’re worthy! Isn’t that so golly-gosh-darn-absolutely-just-so amazingly exciting?”

“A friendship problem?” asked Flurry. “What, here? In Fort Oculus?”

“No, silly! Through The Portal. About a few weeks from now, to give everypony a last chance to get some last minute research done.”

“Oh. I guess that—” Flurry’s eyes widened. “Wait, what?”

“It’s crazy, right?” Cozy giggled.

“So we’ve confirmed that The Portal leads somewhere, right?” Flurry asked. “But we haven’t figured out just exactly where it goes.”

“Yeah!” said Cozy. “The super nice scientists have been trying so hard to find out what’s behind it, but they haven’t cracked that code yet! It looks like me, Chryssy and Tirek are gonna be the first! Isn’t that great?”

Flurry furrowed her eyebrows. “No. That sounds dangerous.”

Cozy giggled. “Yeah. We might die.”

“Don’t joke about that!” Flurry snapped, wings flaring.

“I’m not!” Cozy said, holding her hooves up. “We really might die. The head researcher, Honeycomb, said that there’s a chance that The Portal is just something that rips up living matter into particles. But the Friendship Map has other ideas, so I’m pretty confident that we’ll be fine.”

“This is—it’s ridiculous!” Flurry hissed. “Why was I never informed about this?”

“I was going to visit you today, actually…” Cozy said, leaning in to nuzzle Flurry. “Thanks for saving me the trouble, princess.”

Flurry shivered, visibly.

Cozy scooted closer to her, looking concerned. “Flurry? Oh, geez, are you okay?”

Flurry ran her tongue across her top teeth, her heart pounding loud enough that she could hear the blood rushing around in her ears. Her massive wings folded in slowly as she looked away, to the window and the snowy expanse outside.

“Flurry?” asked Cozy, voice quieting.

Flurry swallowed. Her throat was suddenly sore. “I missed you.”

“I know,” replied Cozy, pressing her snout into Flurry’s shoulder. “I missed you too, princess. Even got Chrysalis to transform into you a couple of times so I could see your goofy face again.”

Flurry couldn’t help laughing. “You’re lying.”

“Nope! You should see Chryssy’s imitation of you. It’s uncanny.”

Flurry turned to rest her snout on top of Cozy’s, breathing out slowly as the tension she was feeling left her body. “I don’t like this.”

“Why?”

“The map hasn’t done this before. Nopony’s ever been asked to risk their lives for a friendship mission.”

“Oh, come on,” Cozy snarked. “We’ll be fine. Remember that time we almost took over the world?”

“Except you failed,” Flurry said. “Horrifically.”

Cozy rolled her eyes. “My point is, you need to calm down.”

“How can I?” Flurry sighed. “I was hoping that when you came back, you would come to the Crystal Empire, but not like this. I was hoping that you would come to the castle—or at least write me a letter. And then everything could be like...like how it used to be.”

Cozy frowned. “I’m sorry, princess. I was really just planning to surprise you. I had this plan to bring you a tub of our favorite ice cream—the place down the road from the castle still makes honeycomb lavender, right? Then I would break into your bedroom and we’d talk. For three whole hours. Then I’d ask you to come with me.”

“To Fort Oculus?” Flurry asked. “Why?”

“Not just to Fort Oculus,” Cozy said, smiling.

Flurry blinked, searching her mind for all the possibilities for a moment. Tirek and Chrysalis were welcome at the castle, so it wouldn’t be to meet them. The three former villains didn’t seem to be close to anyone in the other bunkers, so that option was out.

Then it clicked.

Flurry blanched, pulling away from the pegasus to stand up. “Cozy, I was coronated literally last week!”

“So?” Cozy asked, keeping her smile. “Who cares? You could get your dad to take over things for a while! Two weeks is enough time to get everything in order.”

“I couldn’t do that to him! I wouldn’t even know when I was returning!”

“You’re worried about me being unsafe, right? Well, why not come with me to make sure that I am?”

“Why?” Flurry asked, panic rising in her voice. “Why would I do that?”

Cozy’s smile dropped, and Flurry felt her heart tear itself apart. The pegasus stood up and began walking towards her, and Flurry wanted to back away too, but she couldn’t. She was frozen. It was like she was watching a movie. She could see what was happening from behind her eyes, but wasn’t in control of her actions.

She watched as Cozy approached her, walking not unlike a cocky tomcat until their noses bumped into each other softly.

“So you could be with me,” whispered Cozy, her breath smelling like birthday cake with extra sprinkles.

Flurry’s horn lit up. She didn’t realize she was teleporting until Cozy was gone, and she was knee-deep in snow, and there was a cabin five yards in front of her.


Flurry remembered the cabin from her childhood. Her parents had commissioned it around the same time that she met Cozy.

Getting them to come around on her was a long, arduous journey, but eventually it did happen, and when Cozy became a proper part of their family, the cabin became their designated vacation spot.

The cabin stood, snow caked on the roof, strong and warm and rigid. The wood had always reminded Flurry of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate that, in the snow, was dipped in fondue. The sight of the cabin made her hungry, warm, and comfortable at the same time.

Smoke billowed out of the chimney.

Flurry walked up the cabin’s front steps, her heart racing, and she opened the door.

A sight similar to Cozy Glow’s current residence greeted her, sans the drawings on the floor. The cabin had wooden floor and walls, and blankets strewn over couches and loveseats. It smelled like hot cocoa. It also smelled like her mother.

And, right on time, her mother walked into the room, a vacant smile on her face and a mug of cocoa in her magic. It took her a moment to see Flurry, but when she did, it was like the muscles on her face were slapped awake.

“Sweetie?” called Princess Cadance. “This is a surprise.”

“You’re here,” said Flurry, taking in the sight of her mother for the first time in days. Part of her wondered if this was a dream. “You’ve been here the whole time.”

Cadance’s lips twitched. “You’ve found me.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Flurry said. “I didn’t mean to teleport here.”

“Stress teleporting?” asked her mother, taking a seat on the couch. “You should see the arcanologist.”

“I don’t need him. Cozy Glow’s back.”

“Cozy’s—” Cadance raised an eyebrow. “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“Auntie Twilight’s stupid map wants her to go through The Portal.”

“Oh. Well, the map usually knows what’s best,” said Cadance, taking a peaceful sip of cocoa. “How was your day today, sweetie?”

“You…” Flurry said, but couldn’t continue. You’re talking to me like you haven’t left my life. You’re acting like nothing’s wrong. Why are you here? Why didn’t you tell me where to find you? Do you not care? Do you care about anything anymore?

Cadance caught the look in her eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry I wasn’t at the coronation.”

Flurry walked to the couch and lay beside her mother.

“Want some cocoa?” asked Cadance.

“No.” Flurry turned her gaze to the floor. “I should go. There’s—there’s a lot of work to do. I have to plan my appearances in Equestria for the next bit.”

“Okay,” said Cadance warmly. “See you later, sweetie.”

“Why did you abdicate? No.” Flurry shook her head. “Did you know what you were doing?”

“I still don’t know what I was doing,” said Cadance.

Flurry turned and looked at her mother—really looked at her.

Cadance’s eyes looked tired, but they didn’t look torn. They looked bright, in fact. Brighter than they had looked in recent years. Cadance looked young and old at the same time, and she didn’t look like a princess.

Cadance did not look like a princess. She looked like a normal pony. Somepony who had a good life, with a husband and a child and a job that she cared about, and it was funny, because Cadance had none of those things, but more than that, Cadance looked happy.

Happy without her daughter. Her husband. Her job that she cared about.

“You’re crying,” said Cadance, furrowing her eyebrows.

“Why did you leave?” asked Flurry.

Cadance didn’t even try to answer. She simply shook her head.

“You should have been there,” said Flurry. “I didn’t know what to do. I stuttered throughout my entire speech. But they all cheered anyway, and that should have made me happy. I should have felt like everything was going to be okay. But instead I just wondered where you were, and what you were doing, and why you weren’t watching the moment that my entire life’s been building up to.”

Cadance went to answer that, but Flurry was already halfway through her teleportation spell.




The cabin and her mother disappeared in a flash, and in their place was Flurry’s throne.

The sight of it made her knees weak.