• Published 7th Oct 2020
  • 2,883 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 3- A Once and a Future Princess

Cozy all but crooned in pleasure when she woke up the next morning. She had slept like a yearling in the virtually endless, Princess-sized bed and the cloud mattress was just perfect for a pegasus like her. She yawned and stretched her legs and wings before she rolled over to her back and rested in the cozy bed for another half an hour, as sunlight gradually began to filter into her room, lighting up the light-blue walls.

Eventually, she stretched again and rolled out of the bed fully. Bangs of her mane fell into front of her eyes and she batted them away. She always removed her ribbons before going to bed, as there was little chance for her to keep her curly locks in check during sleep anyway. She went into her bathroom and started untangling her mane and putting her ribbons back in it with practiced motions.

Once satisfied, she took a sip of water and went out for breakfast. She wondered what Rumble would have made for her today. He always made something good for her. She went into the common room and found Twilight was already there, munching on some pancakes with fresh berries and whipped cream. Another pile stood nearby, untouched.

"Good morning, Cozy," Twilight called. "Slept well?"

"Uh-huh," Cozy nodded. "I went to bed early yesterday."

"I noticed you were gone sometime after Octavia finished her performance," Twilight said. "You know, you could have just asked me to leave. You didn't have to sneak out."

"You're not my mom. I don't have to tell you anything I don't want," Cozy snapped. She would not show any weakness in her independence! She was not giving an inch more control to Twilight.

"But you can always tell me, if you want," Twilight said amicably. "Either way, I wanted to talk with you."

"You already are," Cozy pointed out and bit tenderly into a pancake to lift it over to her plate. She helped herself to a generous scoop of maple syrup to go with.

"You are making good progress in your friendship studies," Twilight began. "Despite it only having gone a few weeks since you came under my wing."

"I guess I don't need your help then," Cozy said. "I'm simply a natural when it comes to friendship."

"Yes, and no," Twilight said. "You have a good understanding of friendship. You know what a good friend should do and how they should act in many cases. That I do not doubt. However, given your history, it is clear that your practical understanding of friendship is not quite as good."

"Is too!" Cozy shouted. "I'm a great friend! If I wanted, I could turn all of Canterlot against you!" Only after her outburst did she realize that bragging about how to manipulate her friends might not be in her best interest.

Twilight looked meaningfully at her. "Your practical understanding of friendship is not quite as good. So, to help you learn that, I have decided to introduce another friendship student. After all, friendship is not a subject one can learn alone. And I understand if if you do not want to make friends with me."

"You're right that I don't," Cozy grumbled. Still, another student might not be a bad thing. While she was really happy for having a friend in the castle and another in Sweetie Belle, having a third would be fun. More friends made her stronger, and happier too.

"So to that end, you will have joint lessons together with my niece, Flurry Heart."

Cozy nearly choked on her pancake. She must have misheard; there was no chance that prissy, goody four-horseshoes was going to come here and try to become her friend. That was… not fair! Of all ponies in Equestria, how could Twilight pick the one filly she hated the most? Was Twilight doing this to punish her?

"Did… you say Flurry Heart?" Cozy asked.

"You know her?" Twilight asked. "You might have seen her at the dinner yesterday."

"Not really," Cozy said, feeling her heart sink. "I've heard of her and… stuff. But I haven't met her."

"Don't worry; you'll meet her soon. I'm sure you will like each other, Flurry is really kind," Twilight said, her naïveté almost palpable. "The two of us will still have our own discussions at times, but I think it's better if you try to get to know Flurry a little. So for the moment, I will draft up some activities you can both do together. Does that sound fun?"

Cozy shrugged. It was not like Twilight was going to listen to her anyway.

Twilight reached forward with a sympathetic look in her eyes. "It'll be fine, Cozy. You don't have to be nervous around her. I just want you to have another friend."

But she had to pick the one pony Cozy already hated, the one pony whose very existence vexed her? She didn't meet Twilight's look. Instead she just stared at her plate of pancakes. They suddenly felt a lot less appetizing. She had just barely begun to accept, if not enjoy, Twilight's presence in her life. Now she had to see and talk to Flurry Heart, the living testament to her own failures, every day?

"It'll be fine, Cozy. I promise." Twilight patted her on her mane a little before leaving the room.

"Good golly," Cozy moaned and felled her ears backwards.

"Are you quite certain you have everything? Shouldn't you take just one more sandwich?" Twilight Velvet asked. Without waiting for an answer, she put a whole box of sandwiches and some fruits in Flurry's saddlebags.

"I'm fine. Honest," Flurry said and inched closer to the door. She didn't want to be rude to her grandparents, but she also didn't want to be late to her first day. Or have to haul the entire pantry with her, which was an all too real prospect unless she could get on her way soon. "I don't need anything more; I'll be back in the afternoon anyway."

"Now, now, little miss. You are still a growing filly, and I will not have you go hungry," Twilight Velvet said and pushed an apple into Flurry's hooves. "Or cold. Night Light dear, don't we still have Twilight's old scarves somewhere in the attic? Could you bring it down here?"

"I don't need a scarf! It's just fifteen minutes up to the castle and it's not even winter!" Flurry protested as Night Light took off to the second floor of the house. "I'm fine! And I really need to go now! I can't be late for my first day!"

"Tsk, you won't be late dear; this will not take any time at all," Twilight Velvet said. "It is autumn, and little fillies should not go outside without a scarf."

"I'm not little!" Flurry snapped. She felt her wings flare in annoyance.

Twilight Velvet only smiled at her. "Well, same goes for big fillies too."

A turquoise scarf came floating down from the attic, enveloped in Night Light's yellow magic. "There we are," Twilight Velvet chirped and quickly tied the far too long scarf around Flurry's neck.

Then she magicked the saddlebags over her back. Flurry Heart had to actively brace herself for when the weight landed on her shoulders. Even when Flurry had arrived last evening with all her stuff from the crystal empire, her saddlebags had not been half as heavy. But she didn't have time to complain. She had to leave, right now!

"Bye! I'll be back later!" Flurry said and backed out of the door.

"I'll have a meal ready for when you get home!" Twilight Velvet waved from the door.

The moment she was out of sight, Flurry Heart broke into a gallop. The heavy saddlebags bounced uncomfortably on her sides, but she could not afford to slow down. She would have flown, but with such a heavy load it wouldn't be any faster.

So instead she ran.

Up the street, past pedestrians, through the castle gate, across the courtyard and park, past the throne room and the surprised guardponies, and then finally up the stairs where she and her parents had gone yesterday. She had to crawl up the last steps, her chest heaving and her lungs screaming for more oxygen. Uncaring to if anypony saw her, she let her hooves fall out from under her until she laid splayed on the top of the stairs, her legs and wings pointing in every direction with her heavy saddlebags pressing her down. There she caught her breath and promised herself that tomorrow she was going to get out of bed half an hour earlier.

The door opened in front of her.

"… huh?"

She jumped up on her hooves again, her whole face feeling hot with embarrassment. Rumble looked at her, slack-jawed and frozen in the middle of a step. He had a few empty plates and jars of berries balanced on his head and wings.

"Uh…hi!" Flurry said, studying the floor intently. "Good… morning."

"Yeah… good morning," Rumble said. "Uh… I'm just going to… go now," he said and trotted around her.

Flurry Herself waited a little more until the worst of her panting and deathly embarrassment had passed before going into the wing proper.

There were a few doors here. One was at the far end of the corridor and shut, and to her right was another one, also shut. The one where they had met Twilight yesterday was ajar, as was the one closest to her, just to her left. She shrugged and pushed the closest one open. She found herself in a small library, oaken bookshelves towering around her and with just a few small tables along the far wall for furniture. There were no windows. Instead, the light came from a cluster of strange, glowing spheres that hung in the middle of the room. Some were larger than her and some barely larger than her hooves. Most of the floor was bare, probably to leave room for their magic training.

"Oh, hi, Flurry! Welcome!" Twilight chirped from one of the tables, behind a small pile of books. Purple magic caught them and floated them away to the bookshelves. "Are you ready to begin your magic training?"

"Sorry I'm late, auntie," Flurry said.

Twilight giggled. "You're not late. I counted on my mom not letting you get away for a while. You're still here earlier than I thought you'd be."

"I ran all the way," Flurry said morosely.

"Then let's take a moment for you to catch your breath," Twilight said. "Please, come and sit with me, and we'll see what can be a good way for you to learn."

Flurry put her saddlebags down and took the indicated seat across from Twilight. She was both curious and a little apprehensive to learn from her. She really liked Twilight, but she did not actually know how her teaching methods were. Hopefully she was not too strict… Twilight probably thought Flurry was already really good at magic, and she didn't want to disappoint. Even if Sunburst had taught her a little, she did not know how good she really was.

"So, since I don't know your skill or power, I thought we should start with something simple, just to see what we are working with." Twilight ignited her horn, and one of the smallest glowing spheres came flying down. "The changelings made these for me as a coronation gift. They are made from a glowing ore found underneath their hive. It's really hard, so to get an idea of your power, I want you to try and hold it down."

Flurry cocked her head to the side. "Why would I need to hold it down? Does it fly?"

"No. But I will try to lift it. You will just have to hold it down for as long as you can.”

"Oooh… I get it!" she swallowed nervously, but this was not hard. And something in her aunt's face and voice calmed her down too. Twilight placed the unassuming glowing sphere down on the table between them and placed her hoof on it to stop it from rolling away. A lilac field of magic surrounded it and lifted it just a little.

"Whenever you are ready, push it down," Twilight said.

Flurry swallowed and took a deep breath. She needed to be absolutely clear in her head to do magic. Feeling stabile, she grabbed the ball with her magic and pulled it down so it rested against the table. Almost immediately she felt it pushing back, like she had tried to force two of the same poles of magnets together. She willed more power into her horn to make it stay. Twilight replied in kind, making it push back even harder.

The power increased quickly. Soon Flurry was pushing more into her horn than she could remember ever doing. She felt sweaty and her breathing was a bit off. She had to hold her breath so as to not be distracted. In the meantime, Twilight just looked back at her with an encouraging smile. Her horn was glowing strongly, but she did not seem the least strained.

"Uhh…" Flurry grunted and squeezed her eyes shut, but it was all for nothing. She felt the small ball lift, and she could do nothing to stop it. She let go of her magic, and then her eyes shot open as a loud smack came from the roof. She looked up just in time to see a little bit of glowing dust fall down like snow from a small indent in the roof.

Flurry blushed in embarrassment. "He he… I guess I shouldn't just let go of my magic when you are not expecting me to…" she said sheepishly, praying Twilight wasn't too cross with her.

"I suppose this presents a good opportunity to teach you one of the most important rules with magic," Twilight said. She did not sound angry, but there was a certain sharpness to her voice. This was not a joke, and definitely something Twilight expected her to learn, remember, and apply on her own. "Before you involve your magic for anything, be it to use a spell or to cancel one, always think of the consequences. Magic, at its core, is power. It is your ability to enforce your will on the world around you. It must be handled with extreme caution and respect, always. Some of the greatest dangers Equestria has faced have been magical in nature, and often not due to malice, but through mistakes or disrespect for the powers at play. Do you understand?"

"Uh-huh," Flurry nodded, feeling stupid. "I'm sorry, auntie. I really am."

Twilight smiled and put a hoof on her shoulder. "Don't be. You are here to learn. I made similar mistakes too, when I was learning under Celestia. Every unicorn does. But this lesson is one of the most important ones I will teach you, and one you will learn to hate me reminding you about. Because I will remind you often."

Flurry nodded. "Okay, auntie."

"Now, let's proceed with what all young students at Celestia's school hate the most: the endurance test." Twilight levitated down the thickest book Flurry had ever seen. "Hold this for me, will you?"

Cozy manipulated the tweezers with her mouth to carefully place the enchanted gemstone in the middle of the intricate filigree mesh that made up the core of her Rook artifact. Loosening her jaw just a tiny bit, she retracted the tweezers from the gemstone slowly, glancing in the array of mirrors every now and then to be sure she was not accidentally hitting something from another angle.

She released a breath when the tweezers were successfully out of the way. She spit them out on the table and reaffixed the artifact's cover. It was a rook, looking just like her cutie mark. In fact, making this little artifact had given her her cutie mark.

It was a simple little thing. When you held it and said the magic words, it started glowing. Hardly something that would help her conquer the world, but it had been the start of her understanding of how artifacts worked. And that knowledge had, in fact, helped her to conquer the world (almost).

Cozy picked up her rook. "Cozy glow," she said. The top of the rook started to shine. Cozy smiled, happy she had been able to repair it successfully. She put it away and jumped down from her stool.

Only then did she notice her door was slightly open, and that a certain small alicorn filly was standing just inside, hesitation written all over her face.

Cozy flicked her ears backwards and glared at the intruder. "What are you doing here? This is my room!"

"Uhm… Twilight said you would be my study buddy for the friendship lessons," Flurry said, though she had retreated out the door at Cozy's angry greeting. She tried a smile, but Cozy could see she had been caught off guard by her hostility. Good. "I'm Flurry Heart. What's your name?”

"Cozy Glow," she answered. She didn't want to answer, but it wasn't like she had a choice. Twilight had decided these were her friendship lessons now, and Cozy was not going to give her the satisfaction of complaining.

Flurry looked quizzically at her. "That's weird. My mom once said a pony named Cozy had been really really mean to auntie Twilight."

"I suppose she didn't tell you how your aunt was really mean to me first, did she?" Cozy spat. She did not have to defend her actions to this prissy filly. There was no chance she understood what it was like for Cozy. Not when she had been born with everything Cozy had struggled so hard to get. This prissy orange-lover had no moral high ground here.

"Auntie Twilight isn't mean!" Flurry bristled. "She has always been kind to me, and everypony else loves her too!"

"Hah," Cozy laughed without mirth, then nailed Flurry Heart down with her glare and started to advance on her. "Everypony loves her, huh? Well I don't. I hate her. I don't want anything to do with her, and I don't want anything to do with you either!”

Flurry shrunk back and wrapped her tail around her for protection. She looked at once confused and distressed. "What- what have I done? Why are you so mean?"

"It's more the fact that you exist at all," Cozy whispered to herself. Then she turned her back on Flurry. "Since Twilight wants you to spend time with me, I suppose I'll let you into my room. But I don't want to be your friend."

"But… how will we learn friendship then?" Flurry asked. Her voice was quiet and submissive. Cozy was a bit surprised that an alicorn could be such a pushover. Even Twilight behaved with more dignity than this.

Cozy glanced over her shoulder. Flurry was still outside the room. "I don't need to learn friendship with you," she said. "I have other friends."

"But I don't!" Flurry protested. "I don't know anypony here."

"Oh golly gosh, poor you," Cozy said sarcastically. "Then why don't you run back to your aunt and cry? You probably expected me to adore you just because you're a princess, didn't you? Well, I don't. Perhaps you just have to work to build friendships for once? Perhaps you have to work for anything, for once!" Flurry's ears laid plastered against her skull and she looked down into the carpet. "Are you going to come in or not?"

Flurry smiled shakily. "Twilight said you liked chess."

Cozy huffed, but she could not exactly deny that. Besides, beating the living daylights out of Flurry Heart at chess should be satisfying. She went to find her chessboard and pieces.

Author's Note:

Happy tenth pony-anniversary! Because that's today, apparently.