• 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?

  • ...

Chapter 17- Cadance and Cozy

"I thought they'd pick Whirly Vortex for sure, her ideas for reducing the danger of the lightning-based tricks were really good," Thunderlane said, a big, goofy grin plastered all over his face. In fact, it seemed like his face might be stuck that way now, for it had not wavered for a second after the competition had ended and he was announced as the winner. Rumble was with him now, listening to his relieved prattle, while the Gamma Wonderbolt team had swarmed Cadance and Flurry after their selection was done. Cozy herself remained a bit in the background with Rumble and Thunderlane. She knew, of course, that she'd have to introduce herself to Rumble's big brother eventually, and that he'd never be in a better mood than now, but… what if he disapproved?

"Hey, bro, I've got some pretty good news myself, actually," Rumble said when Thunderlane stopped talking for a moment.

"Yeah? Something to make this great day even better?" His eyes were sparkling like a yearling's on Hearth's Warming Eve.

"If you can handle the fact that you're now the only pony in our family who's single, then yeah," Rumble said with a certain boisterous flair.

"You've got…!" Rumble nodded, grinning proudly and blushing at the same time. "Well I'll be! Who's the lucky filly? Or is it a colt?"

"She's right here," Rumble said and gestured Cozy over. She swallowed her worries. Rumble probably knew what he was doing, right? He'd not choose to introduce her if there weren't a good chance for her to be approved, right? "You know Cozy Glow, don't you?"

"Uh…" His goofy smile was replaced with a downright flummoxed look. "I… have read in the paper…" he said, while looking over Cozy with a slightly cocked head, like he was investigating some queer flower or something. "Like… you're the Princess's student now, right? You're not…"

Cozy eagerly shook her head. "Golly no! I'm not like that at all anymore, honest! Your brother helped me be a better pony and… and he's done a lot for me." Cozy looked over to Rumble for guidance.

Thunderlane shrugged. "Hey, it's not like I've got any right to butt in on my bro's relationships. If he thinks you're okay, then that's all I need to know. 'Sides, if Princess Twilight herself trusts you, then you can't be too bad." Thunderlane sighed, but there was a playful glint in his eyes. "But still… I've really need to get myself a mare. Can't have my little bro outdo me like that…"

"But that shouldn't be a problem for the newest Wonderbolt Coach, right?" Cozy supplied. Her knack for reading ponies told her Thunderlane was the sort of stallion who appreciated a good joke.

"Hah, I like the way you think," he said. He turned to Rumble. "You know, when I saw you coming to cheer me on, I had thought we'd grab a snack after. But when you're in Cloudsdale with your fillyfriend, you don't spend that time with your bro. 'Sides, I think I'll just take your fillyfriend's advice and hit up some bars on my own."

Rumble playfully nudged his brother. "Go get 'em, bro. I'll see you in Ponyville."

"Gotcha, see you." He nudged Rumble affectionately and waved, somewhat awkward, to Cozy. She waved back, then he left.

"He doesn't dislike me? Right?" Cozy asked, more anxious than she liked to admit. Their relationship would be much easier if Thunderlane accepted it, especially since Cozy did not have any relatives who could butt in.

Rumble shook his head. "Nah, or I think you'd have noticed. My bro doesn't really hide his feelings very well. Like he said, if I like you, then he is okay with it. And I do. You don't have to worry about that."

She knew most ponies didn't like her very much and she didn't want Rumble to get in trouble, but Cozy took the chance to nuzzle him quickly. Even if she had decided not to be too upfront with their relationship in public, she could make some exceptions.

A few minutes past. "Think they're done soon?" Cozy asked. She mostly managed to not glare at the congregation around Flurry Heart and Cadance. Flurry may be her friend, but it still chafed seeing her getting all this attention and adoration. Even if it wasn't Flurry's fault she was a Princess, and it turned out Flurry didn't necessarily want to be a Princess. That last part was just plain weird, Cozy had decided.

But just when Cozy was about to go up to them and ask, Flurry and Cadance emerged from the circus, the latter with her wings slightly lifted to create a barrier between the ponies behind her and her foal in front of her.

As they left, a sharp light and sound detonated just next to Cozy. She yelped and took flight before she recognized it as Twilight teleporting into existence next to her.

"You all done?" Twilight asked.

"Yeah, and my bro got the job!" Rumble said proudly.

"Then give him my congratulations the next time you see him," Twilight said. "Did you two enjoy yourselves?"

Cozy nodded. "Uh-huh."

"Think we could take the small-talk back at the castle?" Cadance asked, casting a wary glance at a pair of tourist ponies, who were firing off their cameras as fast as they possibly could. "Before we get accosted again."

Twilight giggled. "Sure. Come closer."

They all huddled up around Twilight again and Cozy closed her eyes. The feeling of cobblestone under her hooves was her first indication that she was back…

Home. She was back home.

"Actually…" Cadance said once they had arrived. "Could I have a few words with you, Cozy? In private, if you would allow that?"

Cozy bit the inside of her mouth. Being alone with a potentially angry alicorn was not something she wanted. If Cadance knew how Cozy had treated Flurry, then she was going to get the earful of the century… but Cozy was good at reading ponies, and it didn't feel like Cadance was angry with her. She seemed more curious than anything. She could ask to have Twilight stay…

But she also wanted to prove to everypony, herself included, that she was not afraid of a Princess. That she could take care of herself.

She nodded. It was better to put her trust in her own instincts than in Twilight. Friend or no, it was always better to rely on her own abilities than anypony else's. "Okay. We… could go for a small walk?"

"Splendid!" Cadance chirped. "We'll be right with you, Twilight. Also, if Shining has woken up, tell him that if he wants to practice combat magic with Flurry, he will have to do it before her bedtime."

"I'll tell him, but I can't make him listen," Twilight said.

"I wouldn't ask the impossible of you," Cadance said with a resigned smile.

Twilight smiled back, before guiding Flurry and Rumble back to the castle.

"Shall we go then?" Cozy asked, looking up at Cadance. She was taller than Twilight, although not by a whole lot.

"Sure," Cadance said. She was walking slowly so Cozy could follow next to her, despite her shorter legs.

She did not say anything else. They just went next to one another, out of the courtyard and into a private section of the castle park. In summer, this place was filled with flowers of ever color and the most bewitching scents in all of Equestria. Now, in late fall, most plants had already dropped their leaves, which had of course been raked up and taken away by the groundskeepers. A few evergreen trees stood by the path though, giving the garden a fresh feeling nonetheless.

"Would you look at that?" Cadance said when they had gone for a few minutes. She indicated a tangle of green twigs that grew strangely in a tree, off from the path. "Mistletoe."

Cozy hurriedly backed away from the tree, just in case. One should not tempt fate with The Princess of Love. Cadance tittered, broke off a small piece and put it in front of Cozy, on the garden path. "I think you will find a use for that, won't you?"

"Golly… is it that obvious?" Cozy asked before she realized that Cadance of course had seen Cozy and Rumble hold hooves at the circus. One would not have to be a love-expert to make the connection.

Cadance nodded. "It's sweet, if you don't mind me saying. Young love is very beautiful to see."

"But that's not what you want to talk about, is it?" Cozy said and moved to take the mistletoe in her mouth. Cadance magicked it away.

"Not with your mouth, mistletoe is poisonous," Cadance informed her and dropped the sprig into her hooves instead. Cozy stashed it in her mane. "Believe it or not, it is precisely what I want to talk to you about."

"But… Flurry's cutie mark and… and stuff," she finished awkwardly. If Cadance was not angry with her, then Cozy didn't particularly feel like bringing up what had happened between her and Flurry.

"I will admit I am curious," Cadance said patiently. "Flurry was oddly quiet about some parts. But seeing you two now, it's clear that whatever did happen between you is behind you, and that's the important part. I don't want to be the pony to tear open healed wounds with my curiosity, at least not now. My little one has enough to think about as it is, without her mother butting her muzzle where it doesn't belong.”

Cozy looked quizzically at Cadance. That was a much clearer, more logical reasoning than she had expected. Since when did grown-ups believe that fillies could think for themselves? "You are good with foals, aren't you? Twilight wouldn't leave anything like that."

Cadance smiled. "I know Twilight likes to have control, but she means well. I have just had some more experience than her. Foals can't always be controlled, and trying only makes things harder for everypony involved."

Cozy nodded.

"But back to the matter at hoof." Cadance stretched herself a little higher. She could be a stately pony when she wanted to be. "Rumble is a pretty nice colt, isn't he?"

Cozy nodded, feeling a bit wary. She had no idea what Cadance wanted with this discussion.

"You really love him. And he loves you too," Cadance said. "I just wanted you to know that I have seen, more than anypony, how much good loving somepony can do for you. Now, forgive me for assuming, but I am willing to bet that your love for Rumble somehow played into you making friends with my daughter."

"How do you figure that?" Cozy asked. Cadance was not wrong, but Cozy wanted to hear just how she came to that conclusion.

"It's all about how you act around each other," Cadance explained. "Your friendly bickering when discussing the Wonderbolts at breakfast, the shyness when you wanted him to take your hoof at the circus… little things like that tells me you don't fully know each other's boundaries and signs yet. And if so, then the timing of your new relationship coincides too well with my daughter's cutie mark to be a coincidence."

Note to self: Cadance may be the least magically skilled alicorn, but she was clearly the most clever of the bunch. Twilight may know more than her, but Twilight was a control freak and prone to relying on book-smarts before anything else. Twilight was intelligent, but Cadance was… smarter? At least those were what Cozy thought would be the words.

"Golly… you're right. Rumble was part of why Flurry and I became friends," Cozy admitted. "But why do you care about me and him?"

"Two reasons," Cadance said. "First because I love seeing young love grow and flourish between two ponies like you. It fills my heart with happiness."

"Sure." Cozy rolled her eyes. "Anything real?"

Cadance smiled slyly. "Fine. How is this for real: Since Twilight has been very tight-lipped about you in her letters to me, that tells me that things have been… rocky, between the two of you. But now, when I come to visit, you are both friends with each other from what I can see. I suspect your relationship with Rumble is helping your relationship with my daughter and Twilight too."

Cozy felt her respect for Cadance grow. She was, in a way, not too unlike Cozy. The least imposing of her ilk, but with a keen mind for ponies and politics. In a less friendly environment, Cozy suspected she would have been a deadly schemer in her own right. And Cozy respected that.

"Okay… that's pretty real," Cozy admitted. "But why are you telling me this? What do you want with me?"

"Nothing, Cozy," Cadance said patiently. "I just wanted to confirm my suspicions… and one more thing, if you'd listen."

"Well, I've listened this far, haven't I?" Cozy said.

Cadance nodded. "Then I want you to know that if, for any reason, you want advice on love, you can always ask me. Like I said, I want to see your relationship grow and bloom, and I'm ready to help you if you need it."

Now it was Cozy's turn to giggle. "Golly, I won't need that! I'm good with ponies, and Rumble already likes me!"

Cadance smiled knowingly. "Don't be too sure. If there is one thing I've learned about colts, it's that they are all dense as bedrock. Sometime, I can promise Rumble is going to do things that will leave you scratching your head for how stupid it is. At those times, it can be comforting to have a sensible pony to talk to… and when it comes to love, you will have to forgive me for not trusting a pony who's only real love is books."

Cozy laughed at that. "Golly... I'll keep it in mind."

Cadance nodded. "Very well. Good luck with that mistletoe. Nopony forgets their first kiss, so better make it special."

Cozy nodded, blushing a little. Cadance took wing and Cozy started making her way back to the castle, thinking. Of all the alicorns, Cadance was the one she had always written off as a minor concern at best. An alicorn only by name and without any impressive accomplishments or skills. But talking to her, even as short as this, revealed that there certainly was a depth to her. Just like with Cozy herself, Cadance's abilities were not as flashy or tangible as with the other princesses, but still no less respectable.

Rumble went to rejoin Ramson in the kitchen, so Twilight brought Flurry alone up to her wing. While Twilight didn't want to bother her with the preparations for her party, there were some things that needed her participation. She guided Flurry to the library, where Ponyville's resident party planner had set up something that looked more akin to the Equestrian army's command room. A large map of Canterlot laid over the table and small wooden figures had been placed at seemingly random spots. Bulletin boards stood around the table, filled with long diagrams and lists. In the corner stood one of Pinkie's many party cannons, and the chief of staff herself had donned a blue stahlhelm and a field marshal's uniform, complete with several distinctions and orders, most of which went in the shape of various baked goods.

"Mein Fräulein Twilight," Pinkie chirped with a salute. "Just say the word, and I will transform this city into the biggest, bestest cute-ceañera ever! Just you leave everything to good o'l Pinkie Pie! Especially the cakes! So I can eat them after! Oh, and that reminds me, do you have the key to the castle armory? I stacked some confetti in there for your coronation, but then Rarity said it wasn't appropriate, so I figured I'd save it in case of a confetti emergency, but this is way, waaaay more important!"

Twilight had almost forgotten how excited Pinkie could get when planning a big party. Seeing her sweet friend again made her feel like a weight on her heart had lifted. With Pinkie around it was easy to just forget responsibilities and duties for a while, and just be a pony getting ready for a party. "I will get you the key," Twilight said. "But before I do, I thought you should have the time to talk things over with the cutie marked pony herself."

"Oooooh!" Pinkie zipped over the room so fast she left the stahlhelm hanging in the air. She stopped by Flurry's side and stared at her cutie mark. "Leafy!"

"It's a laurel! It's a thing for princesses!" Flurry said with a pout, sounding almost offended at the description of her mark. "It's not… just leaves!"

"Leafy is good though," Pinkie said. "But never mind that. Now…" She retrieved a small table from nowhere in particular and sat down with a top hat and a cup of tea next to her. "Take a seat and tell me everything you want for the party. I mean, except for orange ice cream, blue balloons, laurel decorations, and no dark chocolate, since those things are obvious."

Twilight could see Flurry hesitating. She had met Pinkie before but probably not often enough to not be a little bit intimidated by all her antics. And Twilight could admit that an excited Pinkie was difficult to keep up with, even for somepony who was used to her.

Flurry tapped the table with a hoof, as if to confirm it was really there. Then she sat down. "I… well… I don't really want a big party," Flurry admitted. "Just with me and my friends and parents. Like a birthday party. No need for everypony else to be involved, right?"

"Hmm… hu-hmm…" Pinkie stroked her chin. "I see… a small big party for your closest ponies. Tell me more."

"But still with good food and playing." Flurry said. "Like peekaboo and-"

"-Pin the Tail on the Pony, got it," Pinkie said.

"Yes, I love that game," Flurry said.

"Hmm… in light of this new information, I will have to make some changes to my party plans," Pinkie said and pulled out a notebook from her mane. She scribbled something before she ran back over to her map and started moving the small wooden figures around. Flurry followed her curiously.

She hopped up on the table. "What are you doing?" she asked. "It looks fun. Almost like that board game I have back home."

"Serious parties are serious stuff," Pinkie said, looking over the map with the scrutiny of a battle commander. "Hmm… You like oranges, pink and white coloring and bloom decorations. But I need to ask, should the decorations be orchids or daisies?"

"Uh…" Flurry said. "I don't know how orchids look. But I like daisies."

Pinkie shuffled some more pieces around on her map. Twilight once again found herself wondering what exactly went on in Pinkie's head. Did she have some idea about what she did on the map, or did she just move things around at random? Or did her brain simply work on a higher understanding than most ponies.

Somepony came into the room behind her.

"How is it going here?" Cadance asked subtly. Pinkie and Flurry did not even seemed to have noticed her entry. They were both now absorbed in their party preparations and had long since left Twilight behind. "They look like they are having fun."

Twilight nodded. "Did Cozy talk to you? It took me some time before I got that far. But I suppose she might not have a grudge against you… you are probably the only one of us she doesn't blame for anything."

"And she really wants to be a friend to Flurry," Cadance pointed out. "Anyway, I'll tell you what I learned. In your room?"

Twilight nodded. She doubted Flurry would listen to anything but Pinkie right now, but better not take any risks. They left the room and went to Twilight's study. Twilight closed the door.

"You should also know," Cadance said with a measured tone. "Last evening I heard some of what you talked about with Celestia and Luna. I didn't want to interrupt."

"About what they thought about Cozy?" Twilight asked, though she already knew the answer. And just like yesterday, it was not a subject she looked forward to discussing, even if she knew she had to.

Cadance nodded. "Their stances on it were rather clear, weren't they?"

"You could say that again," Twilight sighed. "I see where they are coming from but… they don't know her like I do. It's not right to write her off as quickly as they did."

"I agree," Cadance said. "I don't know exactly what you see in her, but she appeared pretty clever. Curious and thoughtful. And… well, she really is in love. I refuse to believe somepony who can love another like that can be truly evil."

Twilight had to be impressed. She still found Cozy difficult to read, but Cadance clearly had managed to divulge quite a bit in just her short talk. "It feels good that you say that." Twilight admitted. "I obviously think she is telling the truth about everything, but if the Princess of Love does it too, then nopony can argue she has really changed."

"She still has her secrets, I suppose," Cadance said, looking slightly above Twilight's head. "But from what I could gather, she seems to be the real deal. I think she deserves your close attention, and, if you ever decide to let her ascend, I think I can back that decision. I didn't feel like she was hostile to me or to Flurry… and just like you have always said yourself, the things she have done speaks volumes of her potential. I suppose it's almost like Celestia with Discord. He too learned… mostly, to use his abilities for good. And if you could do the same with Cozy, then I think we will all be better off for it."

"Is that… the whole reason?" Twilight asked. The way Cadance didn't quite meet her eyes led her to believe Cadance might have thought about more than she let on.

Cadance smiled sheepishly. "Well… I suppose being a mother myself makes me want to believe in the innocence of little fillies and colts. And seeing her flustered around a pony she likes makes me… well, hate the idea that she was ever put to stone. Behind everything she did, she is still a filly, just like my own little Flurry. And an orphan too. Did you know?"

Twilight nodded. "Yes. I tried to investigate some of her past before. She lived in Cloudsdale, Spring Rain Orphanage or something like that. I can look it up if you want. But I didn't really learn too much. They didn't know who her real parents were, and I suspect somepony jumped through plenty of hoops to hide it. I guess Cozy might still know, but I'm not going to pressure her into talking about it. If she feels like she wants too, then she already knows I will listen."

Cadance sighed. "It… made me sad to hear. I couldn't imagine growing up without parents. Nopony deserves that." Her eyes dwelled on Twilight. "Do you think… she will ever see you as her… mother?"

That was a question she was not prepared for. Her, a mom? To Cozy? Her mind stopped her before she got any further. She knew the answer. "No. even if she has forgiven me for what I did, and I'm not sure she has, entirely, she will never forget it. She will never love me like that, I don't think."

Cadance felled her ears. Clearly she, like Twilight herself, had wanted another answer. She was silent for a few moments, deep in thought.

"Well, anyway…" she continued, slightly awkward. "I just wanted you to know that knowing where Cozy started from and how long she has come makes me believe she can become worthy of ascension one day. I don't know when or how, but I definitely think she has it in her." She smiled quickly. "An intelligent, socially awkward foal with the potential to become a Princess… Now, where have I seen that before?"

Twilight didn't know if she was supposed to feel proud, offended or just laugh at the notion of being compared to Cozy Glow. Especially since she felt like the comment might have hit a little too close to home.

She settled on a simple "tsk," and nudged Cadance with her hoof. Cadance chuckled.

"AND A GOLDEN ORANGE THE SIZE OF AN ELEPHANT!" came Pinkie's excited voice from the room down the corridor.

Cadance and Twilight both looked at the entrance. "I should never have let Flurry plan her party with Pinkie Pie," Cadance said with a sigh. "Come on. If we don't do something their ideas will cause a financial crisis."

"A hallmark of a good Pinkie Party, I suspect," Twilight said, groaning and laughing at the same time.