• Published 18th Dec 2011
  • 4,171 Views, 72 Comments

A Tale of Two Ponies - Silicas

Luna is pregnant with a colt sired when she was still Nightmare Moon. What will come of this?

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Chapter 2: Trust and Kindness

Chapter 2: Trust and Kindness

Luna trotted to the castle’s public hall. Her hoofsteps were light as she tried to avoid making any sound. As soon as Luna eyed the throne room’s interior, she spotted Celestia. The sisters’ eyes met, and the elder rose to her hooves.

As Luna walked slowly inside, Celestia spoke.

“Everypony has left the room.” It was neither a request nor a command, but a simple statement of a fact that was moments from being true. Guards, servants, and nobles collided with one another as the hall emptied.

With her magic, Celestia closed the doors that separated the throne room from the castle’s public hall. She retained her composure until the closing ‘click’ had stopped echoing through the stone room.

“Luna, are you all right?” The sun princess’s voice was steady, but her eyes betrayed anxiety.

Luna looked up into her sister’s eyes and spoke her lie. “I made a… miscalculation with a spell. I… I was knocked unconscious. I only awoke just now.”

“Luna,” Celestia countered, “I scried a dozen times. You were nowhere to be found.” Celestia’s head was cocked to the side. She tapped a hoof in impatience.

“I do not doubt that,” Luna returned, “But, you see, it was a spell designed to deter scrying. I can only assume that it succeeded.”

“You were neither in your wing of the castle, the library, or any of the laboratories.”

Luna shifted her rear legs and looked back to the ground. “Sis, I was trying to hide myself; I did not want to attract attention.”

“Why?” Celestia pursued.

Luna fixated on a patch of floor to her side, doing her best to feign embarrassment, and did not answer.

Celestia’s eyes widened as a soft “oh” escaped her mouth. This time, it was her turn to break eye contact. “I’m sorry, Luna. I shouldn’t have pressed you.” Letting out a restrained sigh, Celesta relaxed. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”

Luna nodded and approached even closer to Celestia, unfurling her wings expectantly.

As Celestia embraced her, Luna whispered, “I’m so sorry.”

In her mind, she continued, So sorry for lying. So sorry for hiding. But I can’t let you know about Starshade – not yet, at least.

Releasing Luna and stepping back, Celestia addressed her sister in a more formal tone. “I don’t know how long you were out for, but you don’t look well. Why don’t you let me summon the doctor and see if she can do anything for you? I can handle the pack of nobles that are going to come rushing in the instant I reopen those doors in the meantime.” The sun princess nodded her head towards the closed doors.

“I think all I need is some rest, ‘Tia,” insisted Luna.

Celestia smiled. “Okay. Just try to stay out of trouble.”

“Of course.”

The younger princess trotted towards a wooden door along the room’s western wall. Just as she was about to push aside the door, Celestia added, “Oh. And try to eat something. You are looking pretty thin.”

Luna nodded and, opening the door, scurried out before her sister had any more chance to press the issue.

Twilight Sparkle looked up from the book she was reading. She glanced at the baby dragon on the other side of the room. He had also turned his head towards the source of the noise.

Grimacing, Spike said, “Ouch. Bet that one hurt somepony,” and, without skipping a beat, the returned his attention to the shelf that he had been organizing. Twilight’s number one assistant had an important date that night.

Twilight’s curiosity and concern, however, had been peaked. “Hey Spike?”

Spike did not look away from his task as he mumbled, “Yah?”

“Can you watch the library for a second? I’m going to go check on that noise; it sounded pretty bad and somepony might need help.”

In a vacant tone, Spike answered, “Sure.”

Twilight descended the library’s staircase and pushed open the candle-inscribed exterior door. She blinked several times as the reflection from the white walls of the buildings just outside blinded her.

Twilight squinted as she looked down the road that ran in front of the library. The source of the commotion was evident: An overturned apple cart lay several meters away, one of its wheels still spinning slowly. Just beside it, Applejack was standing angrily over a grey mare that Twilight recognized as Ponyville’s mailpony.

“Can’t you even tell where you’re goin’? Now I’m gunna have to pick up all these apples. And half of ‘em are prolly ruined, too. And I hope to Celestia this cart ain’t broken; it’ll run me forty bits just ta get it movin’ again.”

Ditzy Doo was attempting, unsuccessfully, squeeze in a few words in between Applejack’s. Rising to her hooves, the grey mare tried to skirt past the irate farmpony, but Applejack adjusted her position to block her. Ditzy planted her haunches on the ground and turned her head to fetch something from one of the saddlebags on her back. Twilight recognized the star-inscribed seal on the roll of parchment which the mailmare extracted; whatever it was, it was from Princess Luna herself.

Applejack had barely noticed the scroll. Extending a foreleg, the farmpony launched into a long-winded criticism of the mailmare’s inconsistent delivery schedule. As Ditzy’s wall-eyed gaze began to tear over, Twilight stealthily advanced to the scene. Raising a hoof and placing it on Applejack’s shoulder, she waited for her orange friend to stop talking.

Applejack halted mid-sentence and turned her head towards Twilight. “What’s up, sugarcube? Is somthin’ wrong?” She did not sound pleased.

“Well, you are giving this pony a pretty hard time,” answered Twilight. “Since it doesn’t look like anypony is hurt, why don’t you let – uh…” Twilight Sparkle turned to Ditzy and, smiling, said, “I’m sorry. I don’t seem to remember your name.”

“Ditzy Doo,” the gray mailmare responded unsteadily.

Applejack huffed. “Everypony just calls her Derpy. I’m sure ya can see why.”

Twilight Sparkle glared at her friend. After a moment of silence she continued, “Why don’t you let Ditzy say what she has to say? She has a letter from Luna, and I’m sure this crash was just an accident.”

“Well of course it was an accident, sugarcube,” interjected Applejack, “but my apples are all bruised now and I think my cart’s broke. This isn’t the first time Derpy’s crashed into some unsuspectin’ somepony. Somethin’s gotta be done.”

Twilight cut off Applejack with another tap on the shoulder and a sidelong glance of disapproval. The unicorn looked directly at Ditzy and, reaching out a hoof, encouraged, “Go ahead.”

“I’m really sorry, Applejack. I thought I had another meter or two before I hit you.” The gray mare shook her mane. “I don’t know what went wrong.” Ditzy extracted a half-full coinpurse from her saddlebags and continued, “I have the bits to pay you for the damage, but Princess Luna told me to deliver this letter really fast.”

“Well why didn’t ya just say so?” Applejack said. “If the Princess sent ya to do a speedy delivery, then don’t let me get in yer way. After yer done, why don’t ya just stop on by Sweet Apple Acres an’ we can get this all sorted out.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Twilight chimed through an overzealous smile. “Why don’t you head off now, Ditzy? I’ll round up a few ponies to help Applejack and I right the cart and collect these apples.”

Ditzy nodded and took wing. Applejack and Twilight watched as the navigationally challenged mare wove her way through the streets to the edge of town, nearly causing another collision before she vanished around a tight corner.

“How did a pony like that get a job as a mailmare?” asked Applejack in a resigned, almost rhetorical tone. “And what the hay do bubbles have to do with any of it?”

Twilight Sparkle chuckled. “I’m sure it all makes sense to her. Now, let me get these apples into a pile so we can sort out the good ones.”

Fluttershy quietly chewed her daffodil sandwich, eyeing the apple that lay beside the empty plate with some reluctance. The mare stopped chewing and swallowed the bite of daffodil and bread in her mouth. For a moment, she savored the crisp, almost-bitter taste of the white and yellow flower.

Looking back at the untouched apple, the mare picked up the stem of the fruit in her teeth and stepped away from the table. Leaving her sandwich on the plate, she trotted to the far corner of her cottage and sat down across just from Angel, who was busily nibbling on a bit of carrot. Leaning her head down, she carefully placed the apple just within the rabbit’s reach.

The furry creature eyed the fruit enviously; apples were his favorite food. Fluttershy watched as Angel sniffed the red fruit. All at once, he dove at the apple, squeaking. Fluttershy smiled, she simply loved watching animals eat – or do anything, for that matter.

Lost in thought, Fluttershy almost missed the sound of soft knocking at her cottage door.

I usually don’t get visitors at this time of day. Oh, I hope nopony’s pet is hurt.

Rushing to her hooves, she called that she would be at the door shortly. Glancing back at Angel, who was sitting contentedly beside a few slobbery scraps of apple, Fluttershy opened the door.

Rainbow Dash sat calmly just outside the threshold of the cottage, her wings folded loosely at her side. The expert flyer was eyeing the pink-maned pony with an expression of nonchalance which looked almost forced.

Fluttershy paused briefly before saying, “Hello. Uh, do you need anything?”

“Not really,” Dash answered. She looked away from Fluttershy and began idly inspecting one of her forehooves. “I was just wondering if you were doing anything cool – or if you wouldn’t mind watching me practice a few new tricks.”

“Well…” Fluttershy responded reluctantly as she tipped her head towards the ground and averted her gaze, “I was just eating lunch, but I – I suppose I could watch you for a little while, if that’s okay?”

“Yah. That’s cool. Why don’t you just follow me?” The blue pegasus gestured somewhere in the direction of the Everfree forest. “I’ve got an awesome spot right at the edge of the forest that’s already all staged out and stuff.”

“Okay,” Fluttershy mumbled as she glanced back at her unfinished daffodil sandwich, which was still lying, now abandoned, on her small eating table.

The yellow mare turned back around, forced a smile, and followed her friend out of the cottage.

Fluttershy walked slowly back to her cottage. She had spent much more time helping Rainbow Dash than “a little while” could possibly have implied.

Something seemed a bit off as the mare approached her cottage door. Fluttershy could not place the feeling’s source with any degree of precision, but the cautious pegasus nonetheless opened the door slowly, muscles tensed and ready to react at a moment’s notice. Still standing in the threshold of the door, Fluttershy scanned the cottage interior for any sign of disturbance. As far as she could tell, there was none.

Fluttershy stepped forward and let the wooden door close behind her. Glancing back, she saw a silent Pinkie Pie sitting just in front of the door.

Facing forwards, Fluttershy continued trotting towards the daffodil sandwich on the table. As the realization of Pinkie’s invasion hit her, the pegasus jumped instinctively, head rotating to fixate on the still unmoving pink mare.

“I’m sorry. Did I scare you?” Pinkie Pie said.

“Oh… no,” replied Fluttershy, still visibly shaking. “It’s alright.”

“That’s just great ‘cause I was trying the be real quiet so I wouldn’t. But now that you know I’m here, I can finally tell you!”

“Uh… Tell me wha–”

“That Derpy came by with a letter for you, silly,” interrupted Pinkie.

“A… A letter? What was it about?” Fluttershy asked before adding, “If you know, that is.”

“Luna wants you to do something special.”

“How… how do you know that?”

“It was obvious, silly. I recognized the seal on the letter, and Derpy was acting so weird – said it had to be delivered only to you. Isn’t that just so great! When she told me that she was looking for you, and that she had a letter, and when I recognized it was from Luna, I just had to come and congratulate you! I was thinking about throwing you a ‘you-just-got-a-secret-letter-from-Luna party’, but I was out of letter-shaped balloons. And you can’t do a letter party without the right balloons, so I just waited for you here.”

“Oh… How long have you been waiting here?”

“About six hours.”

“Pinkie, I was only gone for two.”

“I know, silly,” chirped the pink mare. Continuing in a more dejected tone, the party pony said, “Well, I’m sorry I couldn’t throw you a party. See you later!”

Pinkie Pie rose to her hooves and, pulling open the door with her teeth, bounded out of the cottage, oscillating up and down as she bounced away to wherever it was that she went after ambushing unsuspecting ponies.

A letter? From Luna?

Fluttershy could not imagine what Luna was writing to her about; they had not met on good terms during the previous Nightmare Night. She also wondered why the princess had not used Celestia and Twilight Sparkle to relay the message. Why send Ditzy all the way from Canterlot? Unless, Fluttershy realized, the alicorn had an animal problem that she did not want Celestia to know about. The yellow mare tensed.

What if Luna accidently hurt Philomena and now she need my help to make sure that she is okay? I couldn’t get away with birdnapping Celestia’s pet after what happened last time. Oh, I don’t know if this is alright.

Fluttershy realized that she was shaking again.

Just calm down, Fluttershy. It’s going to be alright. Just go down to the mail office and pick up the letter from Ditzy. It’s probably nothing, maybe she just wants to apologize for Nightmare Night. …Four months afterwards. …And with a letter to be delivered in pony. …That Celestia wasn’t supposed to know about. …Right.

Pushing aside the building’s thick wooden door, Fluttershy entered the Ponyville offices of the Equestrian National Postal Service.

Though it was only three hours past noon, the interior of the space was lit dimly. The dank air that filled the room made Fluttershy uncomfortable. Diffuse light from clouded glass windows fell on the assorted boxes which were stacked along the inside wall. To Fluttershy, the office looked more like a warehouse than a place of business.

A bell sat on a small wooden desk near the front of the cramped space. Ditzy Doo was nowhere to be seen, so Fluttershy approached the bell slowly. The metal implement was pockmarked with spots of rust and hung lopsided on its support.

Unsure as to whether the device might crumble under her touch, the mare gently tapped its top. A dull ring sounded, resulting almost immediately in the sound hurried shuffling from behind a closed door at the back of the room.

Soon, the door opened and Ditzy Doo’s head appeared. The wall-eyed mare looked confusedly about the room, her misaligned gaze eventually fixating on Fluttershy.

“Are you Fluttershy?” asked Ditzy as she trotted to the small table.

“Y – Yes. I was told you had a letter for me?”

“Of course. I’ve got it right here. It’s from Princess Luna herself; she told me to deliver it just to you.”

The mailmare proudly fetched the letter from her saddlebags and placed it in front of Fluttershy, smiling intently.

“Thank you,” said Fluttershy. “Do you mind if I read it here?”

“Not at all,” Ditzy answered, “But I am still wondering why Luna wanted it delivered just to you.”

“Well, if it’s not something too important, I promise I’ll tell you,” offered Fluttershy before she picked up the letter with her teeth and backed up to sit on a sturdy looking palette.

Holding the parchment roll in her hooves, Fluttershy gently tore away the dark blue ribbon that held it closed. As the fiber tore, the mare felt a slight tingling of energy pass through her teeth, as if some enchantment had dissipated.

Unrolling the scroll, Fluttershy eyed Ditzy nervously before reading the message to herself.

Miss Fluttershy,

I require your presence at the Canterlot castle as soon as possible to discuss an offer of extended employment. Though we have not yet met each other formally, and our brief interaction during the Nightmare Night festivities went less than perfectly, I hope that such an offer is appropriate to make.

Your caring actions and humble demeanor have been made known to me primarily through the praise which my sister, Celestia, has given them. I require an individual possessing such a gentle and kind disposition, and of the several ponies of which I thought you are undoubtedly the most genuine.

Such employment would last for the span of several months – and perhaps even longer than a full year. You would be required to lodge in Canterlot, but would of course be permitted to bring along whatever is necessary to keep you happy and comfortable. Furthermore, you would most certainly have sufficient spare time to tend to any of your current obligations which could be transferred to your Canterlot residence.

As I am sure is already evident, this is a matter of great importance and requires a degree of secrecy. Please let me assure you, however, that what you would do for me is for the best – and will certainly mean very much to me, and, by extension, to my sister.

With hope,

~ Princess Luna

Fluttershy’s brow was furrowed as she completed the letter. While she was touched that Celestia had complimented her kindness, she was unsure why Luna was looking for that particular trait.

Ditzy Doo was beginning to lean in towards Fluttershy, her eyes squinting as she tried to read the hoofwritten text.

Fluttershy instinctively withdrew the letter from Ditzy’s view. “I’m so sorry, but I don’t think Luna would want you to read this.”

“Oh,” Ditzy said in a defeated tone as she leaned back and turned her head away, “I’m sorry that I looked. Is everything okay?”

“Y – Yes. I think so,” Fluttershy answered. “But I’m going to have to leave for Canterlot. Would you mind holding any more mail for me here until I return?”

“No problem,” Ditzy said, nodding.

“Okay. Thank you very much for getting this to me, Ditzy. Do I owe you anything?”

The mailmare shook her head vigorously as she spoke. “No. Luna paid me a lot already.”

“Okay. Uh… Is it alright if I take this?”

“Of course.”

“Thanks again, Ditzy.”


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