• Published 7th Oct 2020
  • 2,891 Views, 191 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 2- A Party

Author's Note:

Since I kept getting asked, Flurry is slightly aged up in this story, to about the same age as when we meet the CMC back in season 1.

"Everypony quiet!" Chef Ramson suddenly shouted just behind him. Rumble stiffened and felt himself starting to sweat. The entire kitchen fell silent. "Can you hear that?"

Rumble didn't hear anything.

"Well, Tomtit? Can you tell me what that sound is?" Ramson asked in that encouraging tone that only ever discouraged him.

"I can't… hear anything," he said, fully aware that he just stepped into a hornet's nest.

"Oh? Because I hear something. I think it's the sound of that dish's first inventor turning in his grave so fast he could power the sun!"

"Oh…" Rumble said.

"Oh no," Ramson corrected. "Throw that abomination out of my kitchen and start over."

Rumble nodded and threw away one of his chocolate mousses. He had felt that one being a little looser than most, but he didn't think it was that bad. Then again, Ramson never would accept anything but the very best. Rumble shook his head. He had no time to dwell on that; he needed to remake the mousse from the ground up. To save some time he decided to start on the zest- he'd need it soon. The dinner was to begin within half an hour, and most of his mousses were done. He just needed a few more and then the zest.

Setting the chocolate to melt slowly, he began cutting off long stripes of orange peel with careful, circular motions. One long, narrow strip would look a lot better than many small.

When the Chocolate had melted, he mixed in the mint and prepared milk and eggs. He fell into a rhythm, looking around at his many components and working with each of them quickly, but carefully. This was simple for him now, so he barely needed to think a whole lot. Just let his eyes direct his hooves to what was needed.

It was a near thing, but he got his work done with five minutes to spare and clean up.

"Seems all you sad sods managed to pull through for all three courses," Ramson addressed the entire kitchen. "And thank goodness for it. Now, let's serve the desserts before any of you messes anything up. Get your lists and enter at my signal."

The finest chefs in Canterlot collected their individual contributions and placed them on trays before filing up and proceeding out of the kitchen and into the castle dining hall. Normally events like this one would be held in the garden, but it was now well into autumn and too cold to comfortably do that. Rumble balanced three trays, two on his wings and one on his head. He wanted to get a good look at the crystal ponies, but decided to wait until he was done with his serving duties. The sooner it was done, the sooner he would be safe from dropping something.

He and the rest of the chefs proceeded out into the dining hall and scattered down the aisles between the long tables, serving their food as they went. Rumble knew he was in luck, since it seemed he should deliver two desserts to the main table, where Twilight herself and all the most important ponies were seated. Coming up, he could see a partly bored and partly guarded Cozy Glow sitting by one end of the table, glaring daggers at anypony who stared at her. The contrast between her baleful gaze and everypony else's polite smiles was almost comical.

Rumble was about to head over to her to give her something to smile about when Ramson's fire-red magic began to pull him in the other direction. "Serve from the middle of the table and outwards, you dolt," Ramson whispered under his breath as he passed without even turning to look at him. Rumble swallowed and instead went to the other side of the table, close to the middle, up to a young filly with purple and turquoise mane and a very long horn… and puffy wings, even if they were now folded.

It was all Rumble could do not to trip over his own jaw when he made the connection. He was standing in front of Flurry Heart, the only natural-born alicorn in recorded history.

What… was he supposed to say?

"Hi!" Flurry Heart said for him. "Did you help make the food too? I thought only adult ponies did that."

"I, uh…" Rumble said lamely. He was not mentally prepared to speak with a pony like her! He was just supposed to serve her food and go over to Cozy. But he couldn't refuse to answer, could he? "I'm the only apprentice left," he said. "The others were fired."

"So you are the best one?" Flurry asked.

"I… guess?" Rumble said awkwardly.

Silence.

"Is… that for me, or…?" Flurry asked bashfully and pointed to the tray he was carrying.

Rumble jumped like he had been struck by lightning. "YES!" he said, loud enough for several ponies to turn and look at him. Feeling his cheeks burn in embarrassment, he placed the dessert in front of the young Alicorn. She smiled mirthfully at him.

"Thank you. This looks really good."

"I hope so," Rumble said, before beating a hasty retreat. He did not feel like making a fool of himself any more around her, or any pony at this dinner. He walked over to Cozy as fast as he could without running. Her glare smoothened slightly when he came near and her wings visibly relaxed on her back. Even if they were not open, any stressed pegasus would tense her wings, and in her mind she was not among friends right now.

"Good golly gee," Cozy sighed. "This had better be the best dessert you have ever made for it to have been worth coming here."

"I'm really happy with how it came out," Rumble said and gave her the dessert.

"Thank you," she said and started eating. Since she did not possess any magic, she dipped her muzzle into the glass bowl and licked the mousse carefully. Rumble could see she was a little out of practice -a small dab of mousse got on her nose, but other than that, she was neater than a foal of her age could be expected to be.

"You are very clean when you eat," Rumble remarked. As of late, he had begun to learn how to best navigate around Cozy's volatile temper, and compliments were something she never tired of.

"I'm a future princess. I can't be sloppy, now can I?" she said and took another small lick.

"I guess so," Rumble said. "Hasn't there really been anything interesting during the dinner? I heard Octavia Melody was going to play."

"Haven't seen her yet," Cozy grumbled. "But I wish she'd hurry up. I can't leave until she starts playing and everypony else looks away."

"Sneaking out, huh?" Rumble asked. "I won't tell."

"No you won't, because you are my friend, and you shouldn't tattle on your friend unless you get a really good offer to rat them out!"

He would have nudged her, but he couldn't really do that at the dinner table.

"I guess it isn't all bad…" Cozy said, the frown on her face now smoothened out entirely. Having somepony to talk to had already improved her mood. "I mean, at least I can spy on that filly Princess. She's just so sickeningly sweet all the time! Like she doesn't even know how to say anything other than 'thank you, this was really good'. Hah, she's just as pathetic as I imagined."

"For your information, I've talked with her a little," Rumble said, rather pointedly. "And I think she seemed nice."

"Oh?" Cozy looked interested at that. "What did she tell you? Anything interesting?"

"Uh… just that my dessert looked tasty," Rumble said. "And that I must be the best of the apprentices, because I'm the only one left."

Cozy's eyes narrowed momentarily. "So she said exactly what I said she always says then?" Rumble decided not to answer. Cozy may be his friend, but he was not going to let her backtalk another pony like that. "Actually, feel like doing me a small favor?" Cozy said, her eyes brightening again.

"What? 'Cause I'm not getting into any more trouble tonight," Rumble said. He had managed this far without any major screw-ups, and he was more than keen on keeping it like that. And knowing Cozy, a "favor" could mean anything from complimenting somepony's mane to slipping a laxative into their drink.

"Could you just ask her what her favorite ice cream is?" Cozy asked sweetly. "It says a lot about ponies. You can't trust ponies who like licorice, for example. Ponies who like vanilla are boring, and ponies who like blueberry are cute and lovable and destined to become Princesses. It's what I have heard, anyway."

"But I like vanilla! Rumble protested. "Where did you even get this from?"

"Experience," Cozy smiled. "I like blueberry the most, by the way."

"You don't say?" Rumble grumbled, but filed that away as a potentially useful factoid. He happened to know that another of Cozy's weaknesses was her fondness for good food and especially sweets. "And for that matter it's not like I can just walk up to Flurry and ask her something. She's a princess! Why would she even talk to me for?"

"Well, I'm going to be a princess, and you talk with me just fine," Cozy said. Her eyes contracted and her smile turned sinister, daring him to imply that he held Flurry Heart in higher regard than her.

Rumble very much did not dare to imply that. "Y-yeah… guess you're right," he said.

"Good," Cozy chirped and took a lick at her dessert again. Rumble backed away to think exactly how to ask Flurry Heart anything… if he just approached, it would look strange to everypony else… a random chef- no, apprentice chef, walking up to talk with one of the five living goddesses among mere mortals. But then again she had seemed kind, even curious enough to actually ask him a few things too. It wasn't certain, but Rumble's gut told him she would not mind him coming up and talking to her. Everypony else might, but…

"Oh, whatever." Rumble shook his head and went over to where Flurry Heart was sitting.

While Cozy did not seem to like her very much, they at least seemed to agree that this dinner was, in fact, a tedious affair. Flurry laid with her head against the table and was now working to discreetly balance a spoon on the edge of her empty bowl while also keeping a wary eye on her father, who sat next to her. He seemed wholly absorbed in a conversation with another pony.

"Hey again…" Rumble said, doing his best to treat this as any conversation, rather than one involving a deity.

"Are you here to tell me dinner is over?" she asked with a sigh as her spoon fell over. "Please tell me you are."

"Sorry… but I heard Octavia Melody is going to perform soon," Rumble said. "You know her? She's the best cellist in Canterlot."

"Oh, yeah! She played for me on my fifth birthday in the Empire!" Flurry said. "Wonder if she remembers that."

It's not like she would forget playing for a pony like you. Rumble thought. "Anyway… just curious, was my dessert any good? 'Cause… you know, grown-ups never take you seriously when you ask."

"Tell me about it," Flurry said. "But it was really, really good. I've never had orange made like that! How do you actually do that? It was so sweet."

"Candied zest," Rumble said. "You boil the orange peel multiple times so they get soft, and then you boil them again on low heat with syrup. Roll them in sugar, and they are done."

"Did you know that I really like oranges, or was that a lucky guess?" Flurry asked.

"Lucky guess," Rumble admitted.

Flurry smiled. "It's rare I get to try anything new. Everypony always looks up ahead of time what I like."

"Sounds good," Rumble said. "Always getting your favorite food, huh?"

Flurry hesitated for a moment, then she looked down at the table. "Yeah, I guess."

Rumble waited politely for her to continue with something. She had seemed rather talkative so far, but now she fell silent. "I had better get going," he said. "Thanks for… liking my food," he finished, a bit awkward.

Flurry smiled again at his clumsy good-bye. "Hey, just one thing; you cook here every day?"

Rumble nodded. "Yeah, I do."

She seemed to brighten a little at that, for some reason. Rumble guessed it was just his brain playing tricks on him with making the Princess friendlier than she was. "Bye… uh, what's your name?"

"Rumble," Rumble answered.

"Bye Rumble. Be seeing you!"

Rumble bowed down, as was customary (he forgot that before… Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid Rumble!) before he backed away, once again as fast as he dared. He did not even care that ponies were looking curiously at him when he stopped to catch his breath by one of the table. The stress of having Ramson keeping track of him all day, then talking to a new Princess, and then finally having to think twice or thrice around everything Cozy said lest he might end up as an accomplice to regicide, had left him exhausted.

He came back to Cozy just as the room began to quiet down. Twilight stood up from the throne in the center of the table. "And now, Octavia Melody from the Canterlot Royal Quartet will grace us with a few pieces. Miss Melody?"

Octavia stepped up on the stage on the other side of the room, carrying her cello. She sat down on the small stool in front of a music stand. "Indeed, Princess. I will start with a piece composed by one of my close friends, called Overture."

"'Over' is right," Cozy mumbled. "I'm getting out of here. You coming?"

Rumble nodded. Since the serving was done, he was officially free for the rest of the evening. He really did not need to sneak though. As the first tones began from Octavia, the two of them crept along the back of the room, behind every pony transfixed by Octavia's music.

"Wait a sec," he hissed to Cozy, who huddled behind a heavy curtain. He went out and casually opened a door out of the room. A few ponies turned to look at him, but took no further notice. He went out with a quick wink towards his hidden friend. They barely got three steps before Cozy dashed out of the same door, closed it behind her and came up next to him with a satisfied look.

"That was easy!" she said. "Heh, Twilight's gonna freak out when she notices I'm gone."

"I hope you're not planning any mischief," Rumble said. "I'm not gonna let you ruin anything for her."

Cozy rolled her eyes. "I know. But I don't need to do anything more than this. She's too much of a control freak to not worry about me. So I'm just going back up to my room. No mischief at all."

Rumble sighed. "So you got me wrapped up in your prank again?" But his voice lacked any real edge. After all, who really got hurt from a prank like this? And while Rumble was not a psychologist, he suspected Cozy needed to rebel a little against Twilight still, for her pride's sake. And if this was how she did it, then Twilight still got away cheaply.

"Aw… but it's much more fun to have somepony to plot together with," Cozy said with a small grin. It was hard to say if her cutesy look was genuine or if she was just messing with him (again). "Besides, I don't let just anypony into my schemes. So you really should just take it as a compliment."

"Great… thanks," he said while shaking his head.

"You're welcome! Oh, I just remembered. What ice cream did that prissy pony Princess like anyway?"

"Orange, I think," Rumble said. "Let me guess, ponies who like oranges are some of the nastiest out there?"

"No," Cozy said, her voice quiet and bitter. "No, orange-lovers are ponies who have everything they want, but they have never deserved any of it."

Rumble sighed. He did not like how she talked about Flurry like that without even giving her a chance, but at the same time he could understand where Cozy was coming from. She had literally gone through Tartarus and back, done things that had a given place in every history book, just to fail to get what Flurry Heart was born with. It had to sting badly for a proud pony like Cozy.

He decided not to comment on it. Flurry was soon leaving again, and they would be back to their flight lessons and friendly talks. No point in angering Cozy over something that was soon going to resolve itself; she was a pony who was quick to anger and slow to forgive when she wanted to. "I think I'm going to hit the hay soon," he said instead. "So… see you tomorrow?"

"Count on it. You owe me a flight lesson for tricking me into this dinner!" Cozy chirped, her mood suddenly much better.

"Yeah, I guess I do," Rumble said and turned away. "Good night."

"Good night to you too!" Cozy said and flew off towards her own room.