• Published 7th Aug 2020
  • 856 Views, 63 Comments

Scarlet: Broken Pedestal - Skijarama



Princess Twilight Sparkle has returned to a world that has gone without her for over four hundred years. With the aid of Scarlet Frost, she and her friends set out into the world, heedless of the changes, good and bad, their return has put in motion.

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Passion

It was the following morning, and Scarlet’s sleep had not been as restful as she'd hoped it would. Between her own anxieties over what they had been told by Nocturn and her concern for Primrose, who hadn’t uttered a single word after they departed from the Thrones, there had been little time for a peaceful slumber.

Luckily, she had a cure for at least one of her ailments. The quarters that Spike had seen fit to grant them was connected to what was, in effect, an artificial hot spring. Through some clever use of changeling magic and Spike’s fire breath, a pit had been dug into the floor of this extra chamber that could house seven to nine ponies, depending on how tight of a squeeze they were comfortable with. The waters that filled it were subtly colored with minerals, and streams of steaming hot bubbles rose from the far corners, permeating the air with the strong scent of sulfur and a thin haze of steam.

As Scarlet stepped into the chamber, the smell filling her nostrils and the steam already dampening her fur, she couldn’t help but give a relieved sigh. Lens and Primrose were still asleep, so she had plenty of time to be alone with her thoughts and get cleaned up. Moving slowly so as to let her body get used to the high temperatures, she stepped into the water.

At once, the tension that had filled her ever since they crossed paths with Nocturn began to seep away. Her muscles began to relax, and her heavy eyelids drooped of their own accord. A pleased sigh slipped past her lips as she fully immersed herself in the waters. She remained there for several minutes, allowing herself to get lost in her mind, the gentle, soothing feeling of the water lapping at her barrel.

Eventually, she set to work cleaning herself off, taking her time with it. She probably spent more time thinking than cleaning, if she were being wholly honest. In time, her mind inevitably wandered back to Twilight and her friends, and their plan to head to Newcanter to see the councils.

It was, probably, the best course of action for them right now. They would have Spike there to defend them, of course, but more than that, once in the city that served as the nation’s capital, they could begin working to clear the name of the free changelings that yet wandered the land as nomads. Most ponies knew of the nomads, of course, but none knew of their true nature; or, if they did, they were exceptionally few in number and very good at keeping secrets.

Setting the record straight about them and their nature would be a huge boon to the changelings as a whole. If they could begin to integrate with pony society without fear of losing their heads, then who knew what sorts of roles they could help fill in everyday life? Their powers of empathy and shapeshifting made them uniquely suited to a whole range of professions that other ponies would struggle with. Therapists, actors, construction. Hell, even soldiers, for those capable of turning into creatures of greater physical might.

“Like Sclera did to defend her child.”

Scarlet shook her head to dispel the memory. She tried to focus on the good that could come of such a revelation. She knew well enough that the changelings were, save for the ferals, a good bunch. Her time here in Sanctuary had taught her that. Though she was still the black sheep within the hive, often eyed with fascination and even skepticism, she had seen their compassion and tolerance firsthoof. They would fit right in.

Assuming, of course, that the ponies of New Equestria would accept the truth. Scarlet’s brow furrowed, and her expression darkened as her thoughts wandered back to one of her encounters with Silent Edge.

“A family of changelings capable of thought, speech, and reason without a queen to guide their actions? A family of changelings in possession of a magic relic that predates the Fall itself? Of course, I attacked them. Who knows what kind of threat they could pose if they were allowed to continue breeding? Who knows the damage a race of intelligent changelings could cause? Need I even tell you how alarming it was for the Council to hear of this? If the word were to get out to the public that there were intelligent changelings, ones capable of actively infiltrating our lives and our homes, the panic and paranoia that would spread would be nigh impossible to control.”

For all of Silent’s misguided arrogance and psychopathic malevolence, on that point, Scarlet had been of a like mind. The ponies of New Equestria hated changelings so intensely because of the Fall, and more so because of the packs of Ferals that still harassed and violated smaller communities. Even if the word were to come from the Councils themselves about the distinction, there would be many who would refuse to believe them, for one reason or another.

Then there was the clergy. Scarlet’s frown deepened as her mind wandered to the Church of the Five, and the countless ponies who were a part of that faith. While it was by no means required by law to worship the Five, it was nevertheless the expectation. The norm. Ponies like herself, who had distanced themselves from the religious side of New Equestria, were few and far between.

She didn’t doubt that many ponies would herald the arrival of Twilight and her friends as the beginning of the world’s salvation. However, there would yet be those who question things. Those who would doubt Twilight and her friends. Doubt their legitimacy, doubt the truth of who they were, and in turn spurn their messages of peace and harmony as those of pretenders, of false prophets.

She shuddered at the thought. If Twilight and her friends did not tread carefully…

“Oh!”

Scarlet jumped in place when she heard Lens’ voice exclaim in alarm from behind her. She spun around and saw him in the doorway, a fierce red blush on his face. His eyes quickly flicked up to meet hers, and he began to back away. “I am so sorry, I had no idea you were in here. I’ll just, uh-”

Scarlet fought down the urge to laugh at him. She simply shook her head and gave him a reassuring smile. “No, no, it’s alright. Please, come in,” she said, beckoning to him.

Lens hesitated for several seconds, his blush magnifying. “Are… are you sure?”

Scarlet rolled her eyes. “Lens, this is hardly the first time you’ve seen me bathing, and it isn’t like we usually wear clothes like some other creatures. Come on, the water’s great.”

A few seconds passed before, finally, Lens smiled, his blush abating somewhat. With slow motions, he stepped into the pool, also relaxing once he was fully submerged in the water and approached her. “I didn’t see you in bed when I got up,” he said. “I thought you’d gone for a walk or something.”

Scarlet shook her head. “No. I didn’t sleep well. Figured a bath would be good to help me relax,” she said. She glanced past him at the entrance. “What about Prim?”

“She’s still asleep,” Lens answered simply. He came to a stop by her side, and she caught how his eyes very briefly roved over what was visible of her body above the water. “I think last night really took a lot out of her…”

Scarlet sighed, looking down into her reflection in the water. “As do I. Had I known what we would find out there, I never would have suggested we take that walk.”

Lens placed a hoof on her back, giving her a reassuring smile. “Hey, you had no way of knowing, and I think you handled yourself pretty well, all things considered.”

Scarlet hummed softly, leaning toward him slightly. His hoof felt good on her back. Maybe she could get him to give her a massage later. She returned the smile a moment later. “Heh. Thank you, Lens. You were pretty calm and collected, yourself. I was impressed.”

“Well, I learned from you,” Lens said, withdrawing his hoof a moment later, much to Scarlet’s dismay.

Scarlet raised an eyebrow. “You did? Odd. I was under the impression that, until recently, I was an emotional wreck,” she shot back with a hint of mirth in her voice.

Lens did not seem to find it funny. “I meant back during the war,” he clarified. This time, his hoof landed on her chest, right over her beating heart. His voice lowered somewhat. “You were collected all the time, back then. You never let it show if something was bothering you. You were an inspiration to all of us.”

Scarlet hesitated, her smile fading at the memory of her time as his superior. One of her hooves absently lifted up to clutch at his on her chest. Eventually, she looked away and sighed. “...It isn’t like I had much of a choice, you know,” she said quietly. A few seconds passed before she managed to give him a tiny smile. “But I thank you for the kind words nevertheless. Now, enough of that. This is a bathing chamber. We should clean up before we set out.”

“Set out?” Lens asked, raising an eyebrow. “What do you mean, set out?”

Scarlet paused, frowning. That had been an odd choice of words on her part, hadn’t it? She shook her head a moment later, moving to splash some water over her back with her tail. “I mean that we still have work to do, do we not? Repairing the damage in the entrance chamber. We’re still volunteering for that.”

Lens actually appeared disappointed by her answer. He looked down and away, his brow furrowing. “Ah… that. Right.”

Red flags went off in Scarlet’s mind. Lens had clearly thought she was talking about something else. Concerned, she reached her own hoof out to lift his chin until they were eye to eye. “Lens… what is it?”

“Huh?”

“Do not try to hide it from me,” Scarlet pressed gently, smiling as she stared into his eyes, allowing herself to get lost in them. “I may not do much to hide my feelings from you, but I never lost my touch with seeing if others are bothered. What’s troubling you?”

Lens blinked for a few seconds before sighing. “I… I thought you were talking about Twilight,” he confessed. “I thought maybe you had changed your mind about going with them.”

Scarlet blinked. While she had been worrying over them, sure, she had not given the idea of joining them a second thought. She had no reason to go with Twilight. She had everything she wanted here in Sanctuary. Well, almost everything, but she had no desire to discard it. A quiet life with Lens and Primrose, a safe place to call home, and a great deal of lost history to uncover and learn. What reason could Lens have to be disappointed by the desire to stay here instead of hurling themselves headlong into another adventure?

“What made you think that?” she asked after several seconds, leaning over to start sloshing water over his back so her hooves had something to do.

Lens shrugged, not paying her ministrations much mind. “I don’t know, honestly… I guess, in the end, I was hoping we’d get to help them,” he admitted helplessly. “I mean… it isn’t every day a goddess returns to the world, now is it? Every day a window to help shape the future of the land opens up in front of you…”

Scarlet frowned. As she spoke, she continued rinsing him off. “Lens, we are still wanted fugitives in New Equestria. Several counts of treason, several counts of murder, and even counts of terrorism and arson after that debacle in Shimmervale. If we went with them, we would only make things harder on them, and we’d be putting our own lives in danger.”

“Would we, though?” Lens asked, raising an eyebrow. “I mean, yeah, you’re not wrong about us being criminals. But if we went with them, it would be in the company of seven highly revered figures from our history, all of whom are seen as saints and heroes at a minimum. Combine that with what’s recently been brought to light about the changeling race and the curse, and do you really think the Councils will still want to punish us?”

Scarlet leaned back, taken by surprise. In truth, she hadn’t really thought about it that way. It would require taking advantage of the status of Twilight and her friends, but Lens did make a point. They could probably get their names cleared, or at least have their sentence greatly reduced, if they went that route.

“...Perhaps not,” she eventually relented. “But that does not change the fact that the world is on the precipice of sweeping and lasting change. I cannot know if those changes will be for better or for worse. It’s a rocky road those mares have ahead of them, with who knows what dangers lurking by its edges. I don’t want to put you in danger again…”

“I know that Scarlet, I know,” Lens said quietly, nodding his head in understanding. “And honestly, I can’t blame you… You went through a lot. But… I dunno. I just thought you’d want to do your part to make sure those changes were for the better… I know I do.”

Scarlet raised an eyebrow. “Huh?”

“If Twilight and her friends screw something up, there’s a very real possibility that things for Sanctuary, and by extension, us, will get worse,” Lens clarified. “The secrecy of this place is already pretty much doomed to go out the window in the coming days. The Councils know, and for good or ill, we all know that soon, New Equestria as a whole will know about it. But with Spike’s complete lack of experience with the politics of the modern world and Twilight and her friends being mares out of time by four hundred years…”

He sighed and looked back the way they had come. “...I’m just scared, Scarlet. If something goes wrong, and these peace talks go poorly… what then? Will New Equestria send armies to wipe this place out? What will happen to us? To Primrose?”

He turned back to face Scarlet directly, his eyes boring into hers. He raised his hoof to her chest again. “...To you?”

Scarlet’s heart skipped a beat. There had been such a wellspring of emotion behind those two words.

“I don’t want to run the risk of that happening,” Lens went on, pressing his hoof into her chest more before sliding it around her neck so he was holding her in a loose half-hug. “And… we were given a chance to do something to make sure it doesn’t.”

Scarlet hesitated for a second, mulling his words over. Now that he mentioned it, he had a good point. Neither of them wanted the other, or Primrose, to get hurt. It was simply their solutions that differed. While Scarlet desired distance from the coming changes, Lens wanted to do all he could to make sure those changes were desirable.

A short term solution versus a long term one. There were risks with either route, big and small.

The more Scarlet thought about it, though, about the possible future that lay in wait, the more her own conviction in staying out of things began to shake. She had seen how deeply their new lot in life troubled Twilight’s friends, and she had seen how jittery the alicorn herself was. They were woefully unprepared for the world around them, for what they were to face beyond the gates of Sanctuary.

Without a hoof to guide their way, to make sure they kept their heads up and didn’t fall for the cruel tricks this world would inevitably throw at them, they would fail… and the results could be calamitous.

She looked up into Lens’ eyes, so close to her own by this point. She saw the fiery determination burning inside them, the driving desire to do his part to keep his family safe. A passion she shared. It resonated within her, sending her heart fluttering in her chest. She swallowed heavily, her heart starting to beat heavier in her chest.

Her mind wandered to Primrose, sleeping peacefully in the other room. For a split second, she imagined a future in which the peace talks failed, or some other unforeseen disaster came to pass… And she saw Primrose, back pressed to the wall of her own room, as ponies who simply did not know any better came forward with weapons drawn…

“...Scarlet?” Lens asked softly, drawing her out of her morbid reverie.

Scarlet blinked and looked away to hide her face behind her mane. “I… forgive me, I just… I was thinking…”

Lens hummed and gently pulled Scarlet’s wet mane back with his hoof. “What about?”

“What you’ve said… I see where you are coming from, I do, and I cannot deny that helping them would increase the chances of a favorable outcome. But…” Scarlet turned back to him, a war raging within her heart. “I just… I don’t know. Is it truly worth the risk to ourselves? To you and Prim? I gave up everything for you two… Even with the possible promise of an even happier ending at road’s end, I just… I don’t know if I could walk it, with or without you, when it is so wrought with peril. If something were to happen to you two...”

The two fell silent for several seconds. The sound of bubbles breaking upon the water’s surface and the lapping at the pool’s edge were the only sounds for several seconds. Then, with a gentle smile, Lens drew in and locked his lips to hers in a soft, but passionate, kiss. Scarlet was briefly taken aback by the contact, even more so when the foreleg he had curled around her pulled her in. Their chests pressed together close enough that she could feel his heart beating through his chest against her own.

A moment later, she returned the kiss, her eyes fluttering closed. She couldn’t help but notice, with some small hint of amusement, that neither of their lips were in particularly good shape. They were dry and rough after all those days on the road, creating a strange sort of friction as the kiss deepened. It was a strange feeling, but… also somewhat intoxicating. They remained locked together like that for some time before they eventually came away for breath, their separation marked by a gentle smack.

Lens’ cheeks were flushed, and his breath had gotten a little heavier during their contact. He smiled at her. “That’s what I’ve always loved about you…” he whispered, his breath tickling her nose and her lips. She felt his other hoof find her shoulder under the water, brushing gently against her. A shudder passed through her from the feeling. “When you love something, you love it with everything you have… You give it your all… with so much fire, determination… and passion.”

Scarlet could feel her own cheeks heating up from the whispered praise. All of this sudden physical contact and intimacy… it was waking something up. Her tail flicked behind her a few times, a warmth she had not felt in some time blooming to life in her core. She stared into his eyes, subconsciously licking her lips in a search for anything that remained of his taste. When she spoke next, her own voice had dropped into a similar whisper. “And that’s what I have always adored about you,” she echoed, wrapping her own forelegs around him to return the embrace. “Your thoughtfulness, your intelligence, your knowledge… You were always the reason to my passion, weren’t you?”

Scarlet shuddered again. She dove in for another kiss, pushing him back somewhat. Lens grunted in surprise before reciprocating the gesture. Scarlet felt his hoof under the water rise up to start caressing her cheek, and the warmth within grew even hotter. A few seconds passed, and she pulled back and lidded her eyes at him, lowering her voice into a sultry purr. “...Not to mention, you are just so cute when you squirm.”

Lens gulped, the flush in his cheeks spreading to his neck. He opened his mouth to say something, but Scarlet did not give him the chance to even begin. She darted in again, locking her lips to his yet again. This time, though, her tongue pushed forward to invade the inside of his mouth. Lens’ eyes shot wide open in shock, and already she knew that he would be putty in her hooves. What little resistance his tongue gave died in a moment, as did the rest of him.

Scarlet pushed him back, and back, exploring the inner confines of his mouth eagerly and almost desperately. It had been a long time since they had kissed like this. Not since the war, when they had taken each other by the water’s edge. A needy moan escaped her, and she gave him one more push. His rump met the edge of the pool, forcing him up onto his hind legs so he was pinned completely against it by her weight.

As she felt his hooves coiling tightly around her, exploring her body, she moaned into his mouth. It had been far too long since she felt like this, since she had indulged in these feelings. They had some time to kill right now, and they were alone. She was going to savor every part of it. Every part of him. She pulled away from his lips a second later, panting for breath and staring into his wide, dumbstruck eyes for several seconds.

“Well? What say you?” she asked, licking her lips and wiggling her brows at him. She leaned forward again, though not to kiss him. She let her lips come to rest right by his ear before whispering directly into it, being sure to press against him even more as she spoke to drive the message home. “Shall I make you squirm?

When she pulled back, she found Lens staring at her for several seconds. Then, with a crooked smirk spreading on his lips, he gave her a janky nod. “Uh… y-yes? Yes please?”

Scarlet giggled at his nervousness. He must have gone just as long without this as her, then. That was just fine with her. It would be fresh and new and wonderful for both of them. Without another word, she lowered her head, planting her lips against his chest in a gentle kiss and working her way slowly but surely down, drawing a soft sigh out of him that only spurred her on.

Soon enough, the rest of the world faded from their minds. It could wait.

Author's Note:

And now you know what the sex tag is for. ^^