• Published 7th Oct 2020
  • 2,964 Views, 192 Comments

The Once and the Future Princess - Silvermyr

Cozy Glow was a Princess, and she has vowed to become one again. Flurry Heart is and alicorn and destined to become a Princess one day. Can they help one another grow, or are there some gaps that not even the magic of friendship can bridge?

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Chapter 14- Flurry Heart, The Redeemer

It was not really late, but it was late enough that Curio decided he could close his shop without missing out on much business. He went out from behind his counter and opened the door to his little antique store. A quick look up and down the street revealed that there were no customers coming to him right now, so he hung out the "closed" sign on his door handle.

Of course, just because his store was closed it didn't mean his workday was done. He went into the back of his shop and up a narrow stair to his living quarters above his shop. Compared to the cramped space below, where various oddities and trinkets fought for space on his shelves and in the display cases, his living quarters were surprisingly neat. A wooden table with two armchairs, a bookcase and some smaller tables with potted plants and some especially interesting curios he had bought. Two doors led to his kitchen and his bedroom, respectively.

On the table there was an album next to a candle and a magnifying glass, and a few letters regarding a certain deal he and his colleagues were working on.

While he officially only had his antique store, Curio had plenty of other skills to his name, for those who knew the right ponies.

Blueblood was one who did know the right ponies, and he was also one who wanted his sigil collection evaluated by a professional. So he came to Curio.

Curio sat down in the armchair and opened the album. He tied the magnifying glass to his hoof and started working. He had to check the seals for any damages in the wax, and any imperfections in the sigil itself. And, of course, he had to make sure they were authentic.

Several of Blueblood's sigils were indeed rarities, and nearly all of them were flawless in quality. The Blueblood family was ancient and had always been one of the finest in Canterlot. And every one of them had contributed to this magnificent collection of sigils. Including the current Prince, who had managed to get ahold of both Princess Cadance and Princess Twilight's sigils somehow.

A ripple of magic washed over Curio, causing him to nearly drop his magnifying glass straight onto the fragile wax sigils. It was a soothing, invigorating feeling… if strange. What was this magic? Where was it coming from? Blinking in confusion, he left the table and opened his windows.

The street looked normal… but a few other ponies were walking by, all in the same direction.

"Huh…?" He mumbled. He went down the stairs, out the door and locked it, then he followed the herd. By instinct, he knew to follow the herd if there was something strange afoot.

They congregated on a larger street leading directly up to the castle.

He looked up at it. At one tower, specifically, waiting for… something. He didn't know what, but he knew something was coming.

If the last stream of magic had been a ripple, then what he felt now was an entire ocean. A prodigious burst of magic washed over him, and it felt… wonderful. It felt like his entire spirit had lifted and bloomed like a tree in spring. A smile appeared on his face, and he fell to his knees, bowing his head in the direction of the castle.

Coco Pommel brushed an errant strand of her mane out of her eyes with her hoof and allowed herself a deep breath as she pushed away from her sewing machine. Picking up a pair of scissors, she carefully cut the pieces of thread still connecting her latest creation to the sewing machine. Once the garment was free, she carefully carried it in her mouth over to a waiting rack where the rest of her costumes hung, waiting to be collected by the producer of Bridleway's latest show: A high-end production of "The Kirin King".

"Another job well done," she said to herself, looking at the fruits of her hoofcrafts with a proud smile.

Suddenly she felt a pleasant tingle in her hooves. It traveled up her legs and made her shiver slightly, a hum of comfort escaping her lips. She balked slightly, surprised by the sensation and it's sudden appearance. What was happening? Why was she feeling this?

Then… a pulse of magic struck her, almost like a gentle, warm wave of water. It felt invigorating, like her very heart was swelling in the gentle embrace that tickled her inherit earth pony magic in a way she had never felt before.

She knew what to do. It was an instinct she had since birth, and just as natural to her as eating, drinking or sleeping.

She turned towards a corner in the room, and she fell to her knees, bowing.

While she never reflected over it until she read the newspaper the next day, her bow was directed towards Canterlot.

"Hmmm… And thou art quite certain that 'moonshine' is indeed slang for illegally produced alcohol today?" Luna asked her sister, feathers ruffling in annoyance.

"Everypony knows that, Luna," Celestia said. She levitated up a fruit drink and took a sip, barely moving a muscle from the deck chair where she laid, soaking up the warmth of the sun at the beach. Luna knew that her sister, being the Sun Princess, rather liked sunbathing. In fact, it was what she did the most nowadays.

"Tis an insolence to my beautiful moon!" Luna huffed. "We shall have to write a strongly worded letter to Princess Twilight to make sure this is rectified! Moonshine shall once again signify the soothing, beautiful light of my moon! Not… not alcohol!" she stomped her hoof into the sand, hard.

"Fine, sister," Celestia said. "Now, if you are done, would you please stop blocking the sunlight?"

"We had hoped for some support from our elder sibling," Luna grumbled. "Your former student is more liable to listen if you too support me in this endeavor."

Celestia sighed and ignited her horn. At first Luna did not notice any difference.

Then she saw her shadow move as the sun suddenly changed position. "Fine, I will sign whatever letter you send." She took another slurp of juice. "You know, it's nice to not have to care about such silly things anymore. Now it's Twilight's problem."

"Tis not a silly thing," Luna mumbled. "But I agree with your sentiment, dear sister."

Luna was just about to go back to their mansion and start drafting her letter, when she felt something. Or a premonition of something. Something she had only felt once before, so long ago it felt like another life. She had not thought about that feeling for many centuries. It was as close to being forgotten as something can be! And yet, now there was no mistaking it. She let out a little gasp in surprise as she understood the implication. Behind her, she heard her sister stir from her deck chair.

"Sister, do you feel it too?" Luna asked.

"I do, Luna." The innocuous frivolity in her voice was gone. This was Celestia, the sovereign immortal Princess of the Sun, Stewardess of Equinity. "We must go to Canterlot and-"

The wave of power washed over them.

And they too, like every other pony, fell to their knees.

"What…happened" Flurry asked when the strange light receded. It had come so sudden! Just when she touched Cozy's hoof.

It hadn't felt threatening, in fact it had felt pretty good, but it… had never happened before! Also, what was up with everypony around her? Both Twilight and Rumble had their heads pressed against the floor, bowing to her, and Cozy looked about as confused as Flurry herself felt, looking around this way and that for some explanation. She still had her hoof outstretched.

"Oh… golly," she summarized. Her voice was still wavering a little, but now it was mostly just confused. "What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything," Flurry said. She went up to Twilight and poked her on the shoulder. "Hey… what are you doing?"

Cozy gasped next to her. Flurry turned to the other filly. She was covering her mouth with both forehooves and was staring in shock at Flurry's flank. "Uhm… Mommy says that's rude," Flurry pointed out.

"You-you…" Cozy stammered, still without taking her eyes off Flurry's flank. "Your cutie mark..." She pointed.

Flurry's heart felt like it took a leap straight up into the air. Almost as if in slow motion, she turned her neck to look over herself.

And on her flank, where there had previously only been her blank coat, she now had a cutie mark, like all the grown-up ponies did.

Two branches, crossed at the bottom and curled around. But aside from the slim, green leaves, she also had a few black fruits of some sort on the branches. She didn't know what it meant, but it didn't matter. A smile began to tug at her lips. It grew and grew… and grew until it felt like it took up her whole face!

"I got my cutie mark! I GOT MY CUTIE MARK!" She flew forward and embraced Cozy. She just had to. If she didn't find an outlet for her happiness she was going to explode! "MY CUTIE MARK! I GOT MY CUTIE MARK!"

She saw Cozy wince from Flurry shouting in her ear, but right now she barely even cared. Nothing bad could happen now! This was the best day in her life!

Twilight gathered her wits and rose to her hooves. She leaned sideways to look at the mark. "Flurry… you… got your Cutie mark for making friends with Cozy?"

"No." Cozy shook her head. She looked back at Flurry. "I think it was for… making me a better pony."

"Olive branches," Twilight said. "A laurel made from olive branches…"

"But what do olives have to do with me?" Flurry asked, tilting her head in confusion. "Am I going to be a farmer?"

Twilight laughed, even if Flurry didn't really see what was so funny.

"No, Flurry. An olive branch is a symbol of peace, forgiveness and redemption. And the laurel is an ancient Pegasus emblem, signifying their greatest leaders."

"Commander Hurricane once had to best a Windigo in a flying contest, and when he won, he was given a laurel of rime as proof of his victory," Rumble pointed out. "The North Wind Laurel is a pegasus legend! And the best student at flight school every year is still given a laurel."

"Oooh…" Flurry said, looking at her cutie mark with sparkling eyes. Then, she frowned in confusion. "...what is redemption?"

"It's when you make a bad pony good," Cozy said. "It's… what you did to me. I'll be… better, now."

"I like that word," Flurry decided. "It sounds nice. Redemption."

The four of them sat in silence, but it was a familiar, nice kind of silence. Flurry couldn't feel anything bad from anypony. Things were going to be just fine from now on, she was sure.

"So… do you want to go fly a little, Cozy?" Rumble asked. "I've got to get back to the kitchen soon, but…"

Cozy wiped the remaining tears of her cheek with a forehoof. Then she took a few, somewhat choppy breaths to calm herself. "Aren't you mad at me?"

"Nah," Rumble answered. "If you apologize, I know you're really sad about what you did. Besides, I don't want to start our relationship by being mad at you. So, you up for a short flight?"

Cozy nodded, her cheeks flushing red. They stood up from next to Twilight and went together to the balcony, a little bit closer to each other than usual. Even if Flurry didn't really know the ins and outs of love yet, she understood that she should probably leave them alone for a little while. Sometimes, mostly in the evening, her mom and dad really wanted Flurry to go to bed for some reason. Maybe this was the same sort of thing? Rumble even held the door for Cozy. Outside, they both stopped and looked at something below the balcony.

Rumble spoke first. "That's… weird."

"Uh-huh," Cozy nodded. "Twilight, you might want to see this… and Flurry too." She waved them over with a hoof.

"What do I want to see?" Twilight asked and made her way over to them. Flurry followed, curious.

When she came out on the balcony her jaw dropped.

The entire Canterlot statuary garden… and the way up to the garden… and the streets surrounding the castle… every nook and cranny was packed with ponies, looking up towards her. The pegasi of the city had made their way up on the surrounding roofs. She was used to crowds, but this was on a whole new level from anything she had experienced before. It looked like the entire city had gone out on the streets.

And the moment she stepped outside and put her forelegs on the railing to see better, a deafening cheer from the sea of equinity below her nearly knocked her off her hooves again.

"For getting your cutie mark," Twilight whispered.

"Why would anypony…?" Flurry Heart mumbled. She shrunk back behind Twilight. Used to crowds or no, she did not want everyone in the city to be looking at her and cheering for her. It felt… strange and overwhelming.

"Last time an alicorn got her cutie mark, it was probably the single most important event in pony history - when Celestia and Luna learned to raise the sun and moon," Twilight said. "It's the basis for ponykind's way of living. I suppose this event must have triggered something in these ponies, to come and pay their respects."

"Just imagine the cute-ceañera," Rumble said and flashed her a smile. Flurry tried to smile too, but felt her stomach twist at the idea of everypony bowing down to please her… again.

Twilight looked down over the railing. "Well… I guess you don't want to handle this on your own, do you?" Flurry shook her head vigorously. Twilight chuckled. "Then I will prepare a press release and take care of it for you. Then I am going to get in touch with your mom and dad. I'm sure they will want to come and congratulate you… and I would recommend that maybe you should play inside today? If you want to stay here overnight, I can try to get in touch with my parents."

Flurry felt her anxiety lessen by every word Twilight said. Her teacher had this under control. She didn't have to worry.

"I'll stay inside too then," Cozy said. "We could play something, or lay a puzzle. I have loads of puzzles!"

"No flying?" Rumble asked.

"I want to! I really do," Cozy hurried to say. "But can't you see our friend doesn't want to be alone right now? Golly, Rumble, good thing I'm here to show you how real friendship is supposed to work."

"Yeah, yeah…" Rumble rolled his eyes behind Cozy's back, making Flurry giggle. "But can we at least do something other than puzzles? I'm lousy at them."

"Hide-and-seek?" Flurry suggested.

Cozy beamed. "Okay! Rumble, you're it! Come on, Flurry, I know just where to hide!" Cozy took her hoof and pulled her up. They ran out the room quickly, leaving a confused-looking colt behind.

"Hey, that's not fair!"

Cozy giggled. Flurry giggled too.

"Princess, can you please tell us how you think Princess Flurry Heart's new mark will impact her future in Equestrian politics?"

The fifty or so reporter ponies, representing just about every major newspaper in Equestria, all looked away from the pony who had asked the question and back to her, their notepads and pencils ready to copy down her answers. Again Twilight had to consider every word she said three times over, for they were going to be repeated, analyzed, discussed and dissected by her own political advisors, the mayors in every city, and by the common pony. Any mistake or poor choice of words could potentially be blown way out of proportions and then take far too long to set right.

As it often was, Twilight decided that too little information was better than too much, especially since she could barely even fathom a guess to the question herself.

"It is still too early to speculate in that, but it is my sincerest hope she will put her unique talents and gifts to use for the wellbeing of us all! In this age of friendship and tolerance, her cutie mark is sure to only strengthen Equestria's bond with her neighbors."

The ponies began writing. By the looks of it, they were writing something much longer than what she had said. Hopefully they would not print something too outlandish…

"Any further questions?" Twilight asked.

Everypony in the room raised a hoof. Twilight pointed at Featherweight, who had flown here directly from Ponyville to represent the Foal-Free Press. He would probably ask an easy question.

"Princess, rumor has it that you have been mentoring both Princess Flurry Heart and Cozy Glow. Have they interacted at all? Are they friends, enemies? What is their relationship?"

Twilight winced, but hid it quickly. Not only was it wrong of her to give everypony in Equestria even more reasons to dislike Cozy, but if the truth about what her student had done right under Twilight's nose ever came out, it would cause a scandal.

"Their relationship is good," Twilight said. "They have grown to respect and appreciate one another, even if their start was a little rocky. Cozy has proven a very talented student in her own right, and one I am proud to have taken on." Hopefully the last part would help Equestria put Cozy's past transgressions behind them. Twilight knew she was still disliked by most ponies outside the castle.

Featherweight followed up with another question before Twilight could stop him. "Allegedly Princess Flurry Heart and the apprentice chef Rumble were seen in Ponyville some time ago. They went bowling and were seen together for several hours. Is it possible that the young Princess may be having her first crush?"

"N-no!" Twilight almost shouted. "I can tell for a fact that there is nothing going on between the two of them." She did not even want to invite the idea of something like that, not now that everything had finally been resolved.

More scribbling. Twilight had a feeling that some editor was going to make assumptions based on her hasty answer. Hopefully nothing came of it, but if things got too out of hoof she would have to publicly deny this rumor in the future… and pray any lingering doubts in Cozy's mind were soothed by Rumble's and Flurry's own assurances, despite what the press said.

She had to resist the urge to glare at Featherweight. If he had just asked something simple like he was supposed to, this potential headache could have been avoided.

"That is all the time I have," Twilight declared. "The press conference is over."

She left the meeting room through a discreet side door to the shouting and talking of the reporters. Now they'd all hurry back to their offices and have their notes written into proper articles, just in time to appear on every front page in Equestria tomorrow.

But that was an issue for Future Twilight to deal with. Present Twilight had one last thing to take care of, before this whole business was completely over and done with. She retreated to her private wing and looked into Cozy's room.

The filly in question was sitting in front of a half-finished puzzle of Cloudsdale. She had managed to piece together the frame and some of the cascading rainbows.

"Cozy? Can I come in?"

Cozy looked up with a puzzle piece in her mouth. She spat it out and felled her ears. "Uh-huh."

Twilight entered and laid down in front of her student, on the other side of the puzzle. Cozy did not meet her eyes, but by the way her ears were flat against her head and her legs tucked underneath her barrel, it was clear that she felt uncomfortable. "You're angry with me, right?" Cozy asked silently, still avoiding Twilight's eyes. The shame and resignation in her voice was palpable.

"Do you think I should be, Cozy?" Twilight asked. "Do you think your actions deserve me being angry?"

She nodded. "If it hadn't been for Rumble standing up to me… I think I would have hurt Flurry. Or tried to."

Twilight nodded sagely. "And had you done it, I would have had to give you a lecture." Cozy swallowed, just hearing how Twilight said that word. "Even now… I could be angry and disappointed at your behavior, but... you are clearly regretting what you did and what you felt. And if I had been more watchful… or more understanding of what a filly your age might be going through, this might not have happened. But even regardless of that, you didn't hurt me. Flurry, and to some degree Rumble, were the only victims of your… episode. I talked with them, and none of them wants you punished. If I was angry with you or punished you, it would not make you learn your lesson any better, and it would not make any of them happy."

"You can… choose when you're angry?" Cozy asked. By her look, that was the strangest, most wondrous thing she had ever heard.

"No, but given some time to think things through, I can usually control my anger and replace it with something more useful," Twilight said. "I have never found anger to help me deal with my problems."

Cozy hummed uncertainly. "So… I'm not getting punished?"

Twilight shook her head. "No, Cozy, but I hope I don't have to say that I expect you to have learned your lesson." She fixed Cozy with a stern look. The little pegasus fidgeted under her stare.

"I don't want Flurry to go," Cozy said. "I want her to stay here, so I can be her friend for real. So… you can continue teaching her. Us both, if you still want to, after what I've done."

Twilight's eyes softened, and she smiled at the small pegasus. She had already assumed that's what Cozy wanted, but it felt reassuring to hear her say it. Hearing her say it made it feel final, somehow.

"Like I said, Cozy, both of you are my star students. You don't have to worry that I will ever change my mind on you." Twilight put a hoof on top of one of Cozy's. "But I hope that the next time something makes you angry, or sad or just confused, you will come to your friends for help rather than carry it inside you. We will help you carry your burden, Cozy, if only you let us help."

Cozy looked down."Golly… I've always faced my problems all alone. I'm not… weak."

"I know, Cozy. A weak pony couldn't have done a fraction of what you have," Twilight said. "But you know there is power in friendship. But you don't need to trick ponies into giving it to you. I promise… when you have real friends, all you have to do is ask."

Cozy gave a small nod. "I'll try. But if it doesn't work, then it's your fault!"

Twilight chuckled. "Deal." She reached a hoof forward.

Cozy bumped it.

Satisfied, Twilight nodded. "But that's not all I wanted to talk about," Twilight said, ruffling her wings and standing up, scanning the room for the object of her interest. "I was wondering…" She spotted it on Cozy's desk. The strange quill she had held before. "About this."

She approached the desk to pick it up.

"Don't touch that!" Cozy screamed, just as Twilight brushed her hoof against it. The quill vibrated, stood on the tip and then lifted into the air. Twilight barely managed to pull the hoof away before the quill darted down again with enough force to lodge the tip into the wooden table, just where her hoof had just been.

Cozy galloped over and took the quill in her hooves. "Oh golly! I didn't know that would happen! Honest, I didn't know!"

"Can you explain that to me?" Twilight asked. She kept a wary glance at the quill. "Since you made it… isn't artifice an exact science, just like normal magic? The runes imbue the artifacts with certain properties, directed by its maker. That's… all, right? Artifacts aren't alive. They can't just… do stuff because they want to." Even as she spoke, she realized how little she knew about this particular form of magic. She had no research at all to back up what she just said… and besides, Cozy was a prodigy in this craft. Arguing with her about this was like Twilight telling Applejack how to buck trees.

Cozy shrugged and grimaced at the same time. "Golly… you're not wrong, but you're not right either… Do you know how pegasus and earth pony magic works?"

"Pegasi has weather magic, and earth ponies are uniquely connected to the soil and plants," Twilight said.

Cozy shook her head. "That's not all. When we do things with our hooves and wings… When we connect with the stuff we do, we put a little bit of magic in them too. When an artist paints a picture, she puts a little bit of herself, heart and mind and… stuff, in it. Or when a Wonderbolt flies, her passion for flying makes the trick a little bit easier. So when I make my artifacts... I put part of me inside them as well." She lifted the feather. "And this… I put all my worst parts into. I don't know what it does, but it will try to do whatever I would have done when I was… bad."

Twilight glanced at the quill again. It looked normal. "Should it be destroyed then?"

Cozy turned away as if to protect the quill. She could hold it without problem. "I think I want to keep it. As a reminder of… how my friends helped me become a better pony. It's not dangerous to me."

"Why did you make it anyway?" Twilight asked. "Did you mean to threaten me with it?"

Cozy lowered her eyes in shame and nodded slowly. "I hoped… that maybe I could scare you into picking me over Flurry… since I never thought you would choose me otherwise. But I didn't… know what I was doing. I wasn't myself when I made it.”

"I know, Cozy. I know you weren't yourself," Twilight sighed. She decided not to comment on the rest of Cozy's admission. "However… I cannot in good conscience allow you to keep it without some oversight. It's not that I don't trust you, but what if Flurry or Rumble accidentally touched it? It's a dangerous thing."

"Oh…" Cozy felled her ears. She was disappointed, but not defiant. "In the beginning… it was supposed to be… a present for Rumble. His own magical quill, but then when I got mad so I made it… into this instead," she added silently.

After a moment of silence, seeing how Cozy's expression dropped, Twilight sat down in front of her and smiled. "You know… let me think for a little while, and I could probably come up with something," Twilight said. "Perhaps a box that only you can open, so you can safely store the quill when it's not in use?"

Cozy brightened. "And a lock spell! If you enchant my door so that it can only be opened when the quill is in the box, there is no chance anypony but me can use it!"

"Good idea," Twilight said. "Let me figure out exactly how to do that, and I'll have the spell in place tomorrow, at the latest."

Cozy nodded. They looked at each other. For the first time… Twilight could call Cozy's look friendly. Of course, Cozy was still Cozy, and Twilight knew she'd still be plenty of headaches ahead of her due to this particular filly. But from now on… at least she wouldn't have to carry a nagging feeling in her heart that Cozy was still an enemy, somewhere deep down. No. Cozy was a friend, in her own way. With a sincere, happy expression, Cozy moved closer and nuzzled Twilight's cheek. "Thanks, Twilight," It was quick, but nonetheless just as affectionate as only a little filly could nuzzle somepony.

"You know… I think Rumble is about done in the kitchen for today," Twilight noted, looking down at the little pegasus.

"… Oh," Cozy blushed. "I'll go meet him then!"

She was gone in a flash. Twilight looked after her, fondness in her eyes. She had not expected this when she took the throne after Celestia. In fact, she had not wanted to release Cozy at all. It was all Sweetie Belle's doing.

But seeing Cozy Glow now, made her feel like it was the most important decision she had ever made.