• Published 18th Dec 2011
  • 4,173 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 8: Misgivings

Chapter 8: Misgivings

Spike padded giddily down Stirrup Street, subconsciously navigating his way through the scores of hooves that trotted along the cobbled road. His mind, as per the usual, was on Rarity. It was a rare event that he could find the nerve to ask his caretaker for a couple hours to himself, which made the time spent with Rarity all the more precious to him.

Spike’s walked up to the wooden door of the Books and Branches Library and pushed the panel aside.

As the door opened, Spike heard the Cobalt’s voice. “… and this is Forgotten Equestrian Politics: Volume IV. This particular work has received some rather negative reviews from other scholars, but I think that if you just sit down and read it from an objective standpoint you will find that it contains much more than just a grain of truth. It comes very highly recommended from me, for what that means to you.”

“Well, if that’s the case, I think give – what did you call it, again? – Forgotten Equestrian Politics?” Tantalus nodded as the other stallion continued, “I’ve always been interested in interpretations of Equestrian history.”

“Very well then, here you go. It’s a rather quick read, but I do think you’ll find it quite enlightening.”

Spike watched as the dark-coated stallion smoothly levitated the leather-bound book to the earth pony, worry already working its way onto his scaled face.

Book securely stowed in the saddlebags that were strapped to his side, the hourglass-flanked stallion trotted pleasedly past the onlooking dragon, offering him a curt nod.

As the earth pony exited, Tantalus called after him, “Oh! And try to remember to have that book back by the end of the week; it’s a two bit late fee per day, otherwise.”

“Will do,” the earth pony said as he nodded. “Thanks again, Mr. Rooks.”

“No problem. I do hope you enjoy the book. Oh, and please come again.”

“I’ve no doubt that I will – on both accounts. Goodbye.”

With those words, the patron exited, leaving Tantalus and Spike alone on the library’s ground floor. The dragon was brooding, eliciting a rather puzzled look from Tantalus.

Cobalt doesn’t have the authority to loan out a book! How could he just step in and take over my job like that?

The dragon’s thoughts were interrupted as Tantalus opened his mouth to speak. “Well, hello there, Spike. Did everything with Rarity go alright?” At the forged look of confusion that materialized on the dragon, Tantalus chided, “Oh, that look isn’t going to get you anywhere; I know exactly what you’ve been doing on all those breaks you take. It’s alright; it’s perfectly natural – more or less. I think Rarity’s very lucky to be the object of such affection. But that’s not why you’re worried, is it? What’s wrong, Spike?”

Spike wanted to answer, wanted to make the interloper know his place, but found that he could not.

Tantalus watched, first shocked, and then surprised, as a flaming parchment projectile shot from the dragon’s mouth and came to rest in his outstretched claw. “A – A letter?” Tantalus said, taking a cautious step forwards.

“Yah,” returned Spike, “And it looks to be from Luna too. Twilight will definitely be surprised; the princess almost never sends her any letters – much less through me.”

“From Princess Luna? Oh my.” Tantalus’ ears folded back as he spoke, his hooves directing him to shy away from the letter.

Spike raised his brow; Twilight had not told him of Tantalus’s history, a secret which she had promised to keep closely. “Uh… I don’t think it’s going to bite, Cobalt. You’d better get used to it; it happens quite often around here. The letters are usually from Celestia, though.”

As Spike spoke, he padded over to the wall opposite the library’s loft and placed the scroll, still unopened, on the podium beside Owlowiscious’s perch. Tantalus trailed behind him, keeping his eyes fixed on the sealed letter.

Spike turned from the podium and faced the stallion. After a moment, Tantalus asked, “So, how would you feel if I stared working at the library? Twilight hinted at an offer earlier, and I think it’ll probably be the best job offer I’ll get here in Ponyville.”

Spike’s jaw fell slack as his pupils went wide. No! a voice inside his mind shouted. The dragon wanted to yell, to deny the stallion outright then and there. Cobalt was not going to be replacing him as the library’s caretaker. Never.

Anger only mostly suppressed, the dragon snapped, “Don’t you have enough bits from that zebra bracelet of yours to live on?”

“Not for the rest of my life, I don’t,” Tantalus returned. “Besides, I don’t have anything else productive to do; it would be foalish of me to not start earning a living.”

“Library work won’t pay well,” Spike countered.

“I know. But what else could I do? I don’t have any credentials; in fact I’ve almost no history in Equestria at all. The only other thing I might be able to do is teach magic, but what pony here in Ponyville needs a magic teacher?”

“Nopony,” admitted Spike.

Tantalus shifted his weight gently, sliding back onto his haunches and leaning in close to the baby dragon as he spoke. “Besides, it’ll take some load off Twilight – with her not having to manage the library so much – and I’m sure it will give you plenty of free time to help with her studies.” With a raised eyebrow the stallion hinted, “And maybe even spend some more time with Rarity?”

Spike turned his head from Tantalus, arms crossed. Before the baby dragon could find something to say, Twilight pushed open the library’s door and trotted inside.

As the mare entered, Tantalus saw that her sides were laden with saddlebags filled to the bursting with what appeared to be an assortment of roots, leaves, and grasses. The purple unicorn was too occupied with the bags to notice Spike’s discontentment.

Barely looking up from her shed saddlebags, Twilight said, “So, Cobalt, I met a pony on the street that said you lent him a book from the library. Did you really do that?”

Tantalus’ ears folded back as he said, “Yes.”

Twilight smiled. “Well it seems he was quite pleased with the book you helped him find. I appreciate you taking the initiative and lending it out to him; just because Spike and I are gone doesn’t mean that this place needs to close down. I know I hinted at an offer of working here earlier, but what would you say to an official request?”

“I’d be much obliged, Miss Sparkle.”

“What about you, Spike?” asked the mare, finally looking upwards.

The brutal scowl on the dragon’s face was answer enough.

“Don’t be silly, Spike. You’ve been asking for more and more free time lately, and I think it’d be good for you to make use of the lightened load. You can’t stay cooped up in here tending books all day; even Owlowiscious gets out every once in a while. Besides, it’d take a world of a burden off my back; you may sort the books, but in the end I seem to be the one who issues cards and collects fees.”

Tantalus took the momentary pause to interject, “If it’ll cause a problem between you and Spike, I think I’ll have to decline your offer. I don’t want to shake things up.”

Twilight shook her head. “Don’t worry; Spike and I have been through this before when Owlowiscious started helping me. I thought we’d’ve moved past this by now.”

“I’m not jealous, Twilight,” the dragon lied in response.

“I’m sorry, Spike; but do you really think that Cobalt helping out around here is a bad idea?”

Spike averted his gaze as he answered, instead directing his eyes towards the library’s wooden floor and idly grinding a claw gently against the wooden surface. “No. I don’t.”

“Very good, then. Now, did anything else happen while I was away?”

“Yes,” Spike answered, perking up at the opportunity to assist Twilight. “A letter came in. It’s from Luna.”

“From Luna?” Twilight repeated.

“Yah,” Spike said, pointing a claw. “I set it over there on the podium. Lemme grab it.”

“Don’t worry, Spike. I’ve got it,” assured Twilight. Within moments, the scroll was in the grasp of her magic, hovering just inches before her muzzle, unfurled. “Well, it may have had Luna’s seal, but it’s from Fluttershy. She probably asked Luna to send it for her. It says that she’s coming back to Ponyville, and that she’s bringing along a young colt to live with her. It looks like Luna found him on the street and adopted him, and then asked Fluttershy to look after him. So that’s what she’s been doing all these months! I wonder why she kept it so secret.”

“Probably didn’t want word getting out that the once-Nightmare-Moon adopted a colt,” offered Spike. The baby dragon shrunk back at the look of disapproval that Twilight shot at him. “Just sayin’.”

Twilight continued, “Well, whatever the cause, I’m sure Luna and Fluttershy had good reason. Fluttershy and the colt will probably be here in less than a half hour, too.” The mare turned to Tantalus. “I’m sorry, Cobalt, but I think this means your housing situation is going to be in jeopardy. Anyways, I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, I’ll try to round up Pinkie and Rarity. Spike,” she said, facing the dragon, “could you find Rainbow Dash and ask her to go get Applejack? She should be at the farm.”

“Right away, Twilight,” chirped Spike as he rushed out of the library.

Tantalus watched as Twilight followed the dragon with her eyes for a moment before looking back him.

After a moment, she asked, “Do you think you could watch the library for me? Actually… scratch that.” Twilight, with a wink, corrected, “Now that you work here, just keep doing your job.”

“Of course. But if what you said is true, you probably don’t have much time – especially if Pinkie’s going to need to prepare a ‘welcome-back-to-Ponyville-and-hello-new-colt’ party.”

Twilight chuckled. “I didn’t think of that, honestly. Anyways, I’ll be sure to find her first.” With a smile, the mare finished, “Thanks so much for taking care of the library. I promise when this all clears up I’ll discuss your payment and schedule with you.”

“Whenever is best. There’s no rush at all.”

“Of course. I’ll see you at the party.”

Tantalus returned the mare’s smile. “I look forward to it.”

This time, the stallion really was enthusiastic about the pending celebration; he was particularly interested in meeting Fluttershy, and was intrigued by the colt which Luna had seen fit to adopt.

Figuring it could do no harm, Tantalus picked up the letter with his magic and scanned the hoofwritten text. His eyes stopped abruptly, caught on the name of the colt.


The parchment dropped to the floor as the stallion staggered backwards. It’s just a coincidence. It’s just a coincidence, Tantalus tried to reassure himself.

Sitting on his haunches, lost in thought, Tantalus Starshade waited for somepony to enter the library and distract him from his worries.

The crisp high-altitude air tore through Starshade’s teal mane as he leaned his head further out of the carriage. The colt drew a deep breath and forced open his eyes. Down below, the ground shrunk ever further away as the royal carriage climbed higher and higher into the Equestrian sky. Starshade, in the distance, could just make out the winding Everfree River. The colt turned his gaze upwards.

Just above him, a pocket of sparse clouds swirled in their westbound course. He wondered what they felt like. Fluttershy knew, of course, and had tried to explain the feeling, but the pegasus had yet to experience it for himself. Oh the times that he had asked her to take him flying! She had always said “no”, of course; explaining how it would be too dangerous or how it would draw too much attention.

But, by Celestia, this little pegasus wanted to fly! Even if his wings were too small to support him.

Starshade forced his body even further out of the carriage, allowing his forelegs to dangle against the frame’s exterior while his back legs remained hooked securely around the thin brass bar at the base of the door. The air was cold, almost too cold, but Starshade was much too occupied with the sensation of airflow against his body to notice his light shivering.

He knew Fluttershy would stop him as soon as she noticed, but he was determined to enjoy every moment of that false-flight that he could. This was what pegasi were meant to do; Fluttershy’s animal obsession was just an anomaly, an unnatural aberration. Now Starshade understood the mare’s stories about Rainbow Dash.

What kind of pegasus wouldn’t want to be the fastest flyer? The obvious answer came immediately. Well, one like Fluttershy.

But Starshade did not want to be like Fluttershy; he knew that much. And, now, he was certain that he wanted to be like Rainbow Dash.

What was that thing called? A “cutie mark”? Yah. I’m going to have wings or an airstream or something like that for a cutie mark. Defin–

As he thought, the colt’s gaze had wandered downwards once again. The carriage jerked sharply, filling Starshade’s stomach with the most uncomfortable feeling he had ever experienced. For a split moment, he knew he was going to die.

The colt blinked. He was still alive and still clinging tightly as ever to the carriage door with his rear legs. The invigorating wind was still whipping his mane into a disorganized frill of teal hair. The sickening sensation of falling had vanished, only to be replaced by one much worse. One that caused him to shake his mane in an attempt to banish it.

He was not afraid; he was a pegasus! He had just been caught off guard. He was going to love flying, just like Rainbow Dash.

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