• Published 7th Oct 2020
  • 2,879 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 6- Two Fillies and Their Friends

"Rise and shine! We don't have too much time little bro!"

"Mglrp?" Rumble asked, bleary eyed and dazed as he tried to get his bearings. He recognized the room he was in. It was his room back in Thunderlane's house in Ponyville, and the same room he had gone to sleep in the night before. In fact, the only thing wrong with it was the fact that the bright white cloud walls now went in a hue of purple and gold. Rolling over, he peeked out the window and saw the very first rays of sunlight barely peeking over the horizon. "Wh-what time is it?"

"Almost five in the morning! Gotta train, train, train today. We don't have much time left!"

Great. This was his weekend, and he had to get out of bed earlier than when he was working. Hugging the warm blanket close for another few glorious moments, he left the bed for the cold, unforgiving room.

"There's some porridge left if you want it for breakfast," Thunderlane said. "I've already eaten. When you're done, I'll be by the Cloud Silo."

"Right, sure," Rumble said. He shook his head to banish the most immediate tiredness, then took a deep, sobering breath. By the time he opened his eyes again, Thunderlane was already gone.

Well, if there was one good thing to be said about this, then it was that with how early Thunderlane was starting there was no chance Flurry would be done before him. That lucky filly probably was still sleeping.

He warmed up the porridge a little and started eating. It occurred to him that he did not know which one of the four main Wonderbolt teams was even holding this tryout. They all had different specialities, so the training to join one of them, even as a coach, would depend on what team was hosting the tryouts. Rumble did not even know what sort of training he was even supposed to assist with. Hopefully it involved some flying, at least.

He ate quickly and then flew off to meet his brother. Ponyville was nearly deserted, aside from a few enterprising ponies. He recognized Pinkie, who was bouncing down the street with a wagon of baking supplies behind her. She stopped to wave at him when he flew by. He waved back.

The Cloud Silo stood in the outskirts of Ponyville, and was used to store any special clouds sent to the town from Cloudsdale. With the untamed weather of the Everfree Forest, Ponyville could make many types of clouds on their own, but not all. Clouds for snowfall had to be made in Cloudsdale for example, and with winter slowly but surely approaching the silo would start to be filled up.

But there were still most of autumn before winter, and the place around the silo would be deserted for a while yet. So why in Celestia's name had his brother woken him up this early just to practice in a spot that would be free all day long?

Upon approaching the silo he saw Thunderlane had already moved plenty of clouds from over the Everfree out to an empty part of the sky next to the silo. Rumble flew closer and landed on the cloud his brother was pushing into place. "So what do you need me to do? 'Cause you know I said I had a thing later today."

"Yeah, I remember," Thunderlane said. "So, the retiring coach asked all participants to draft up a training schedule that we are going to present to him, and a Wonderbolt cadet will follow the schedule to see how good it is in practice. The best ones are asked to make another schedule which the Wonderbolts will use for a whole session, and then they vote for the best. I've already prepared some schedules, and I'd like to try them out on you, and then you can help me pick the best one."

That made sense, Rumble thought. Thunderlane would want somepony he trusted to say what he really thought. "Okay… I can do that. How many schedules have you prepared?"

"Just twelve! I'm halfway done, almost."

Rumble stared at his brother, hoping he was be joking. When no such indication came, he just shook his head. "No, you're done now. Pick… four of them, and I'll help you with those."

"Only four?!" Sweat broke forth on Thunderlane's forehead. "But… I don't know which ones I should pick! What if I choose the wrong ones!"

"Well, you're gonna have to choose all but one or two at the end anyways! Besides, if you just spend time coming up with new schedules instead of training how to present them, you're not going to get very far."

Thunderlane looked like he had been struck by lightning. A small, forlorn peep made it past his lips and his eyes began to tear up. "Uh… but we've got plenty of time to practice! The tryouts aren't until next week!" Rumble hurried to say.

"Okay… okay!" Thunderlane swallowed. "Right. I'll just need a few minutes to pick the first schedule and… then we can train. Right. Good. I've got this. No problem."

Rumble rolled his eyes. He knew his brother was a skilled flyer, and he had taught Rumble much of what he knew too. He would make an excellent coach, if only he could keep his nerves in check.

Flurry made mistakes sometimes, but she had resolved to at least not make the same ones twice. Or three times, in this case. The first morning she had risen in time, and her grandmother had made her rush to the castle. The next morning she had tried to rise half an hour earlier, only to have the same result.

So this morning she groggily left the warm, snug embrace of her bed one and a half hour before the train left. That left her with seventy minutes to make her bed, eat breakfast, brush her teeth and preen her wings a little. All of these things took at the most half an hour back home, so there was no way she could be late now.

At least, that's what she said ninety minutes ago. Now she wasn't saying anything; she was gulping down air while sprawled on a train seat. She did not even have the strength to reach up to the window and wave to her grandparents as the train left for Ponyville. It was scheduled to arrive at nine in the morning. But Twilight Velvet had still insisted she brought both lunch and a snack, plus plenty of bits to for even more food in Ponyville!

"How… much does she think I eat every day?" Flurry panted to herself.

It had been quite a while since she visited Ponyville. Twilight had lived in Canterlot ever since she ascended Equestria's throne, and then Flurry had stopped visiting. She had thought about seeing Sunburst a few times, but it never happened.

Well, that was changing today… after she had recuperated some of her lost sleep during the train ride. She made herself comfortable and folded her tail around her for warmth. She fell into a drowsy, cozy type of torpor, rocked by the train.

"Next stop, Ponyville!" The conductor called through the wagons after a while. Flurry sat up and dug around in her overstuffed saddlebags to find a packet of orange juice. That would help her wake up a little. The door slid open and the gray earth pony poked his head inside. "Ponyville station in five minutes, little miss. Follow the corridor to the back of the train and you can leave through the VIP exit. It's faster for you. Can I get you anything more? Something to eat or drink, perhaps?"

"No thank you," Flurry said, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes. "But thanks for offering."

"Of course, little miss," the conductor dipped his head and left.

"I've already got enough food for a week," Flurry continued to herself while glaring slightly at her overstuffed saddlebags. Nonetheless, she crawled under the straps and hefted them up. She left through the VIP exit, as suggested. She'd rather spend her morning with Sunburst than stuck in the crowd around the train.

She discreetly made her way to the Friendship School by flying. The bags were heavy, so she had to flutter quite a bit, but she made it work. As friendly as the town was, she did not feel like stopping to chat. She had a Crystaller to find, and if Flurry knew him as well as she thought, he would be in his office even if it was Saturday.

She landed by the entrance to the school building and pushed at the door. As she had guessed, it was open, even if the corridor behind the door was deserted. No student would be here today if they could help it.

Flurry had never actually been here to see Sunburst, so she did not know where his office would be. But he was the Vice-Headmare (Headstallion?), and that was almost the best job he could have in a school. And if schools were built like the Crystal Empire or Canterlot, then his office would be in the middle of the school in the tallest part of the building, and have a nice, big door.

Satisfied with her logic, she started looking for a room with a nice door. She found the gymnasium soon enough, then the library, then a stair up to the school ramparts.

She still didn't find Sunburst, but she did see Starlight Glimmer through a window. Flurry waved. Starlight responded by igniting her horn and suddenly appear next to her.

"Flurry Heart! It's been a while."

"Yeah, it has," Flurry said. She didn't know Starlight that well. She had been with Twilight sometimes, and she was Sunburst's friend, but that was nearly all she knew. "But I live with Twilight now, in Canterlot, so maybe we can see each other more often?"

"I'd like that," Starlight said. "But I think I know why you would come here on a weekend. Sunburst and I were correcting exams in my office. He should still be there."

"Great! "Where do I find-"

Starlight ignited her horn again, and before Flurry could finish her sentence, they had already disappeared and reappeared someplace else.

"-your office?" she finished lamely, her head turning this way and that to orient herself.

"Oh, Flurry Heart, what a pleasant surprise." Sunburst looked up from a stack of paper and smiled warmly at her. He looked just like he always did. He wore his teal cloak even if it was warm inside, and the scruffy beard and mane looked like he had just styled it with his hooves again. It made him look kind. "I was thinking to come visit you in Canterlot, but it seems you beat me to it. Some Crystaller I am, huh?"

"You are a great Crystaller!" Flurry said. "Twilight was even impressed by how long I could levitate a heavy book, and we have only just started our magic training!"

"Ah, the classical endurance test," Starlight smiled with that thinking-back expression grown-up ponies get sometimes. "I still remember how bad that was… even if I aced it myself, of course."

"Tsk, speak for yourself," Sunburst said, half a huff and half a smile.

"And I'm going to take friendship lessons too soon, with Twilight's other student," Flurry said proudly.

"Right… Cozy Glow," Starlight said, looking pensive. "I suppose Twilight knows what she is doing, but still…"

"I was surprised by that announcement as well," Sunburst agreed. "Personally I was just waiting for her to take you on as a friendship student, Flurry. I never expected her to take on Cozy. Though I suppose she needs friendship lessons pretty badly."

"I'd say," Starlight said with some edge to her tone.

"Actually, Twilight wants me to make friends with Cozy. But she hasn't been very kind to me… do either of you have any ideas for how to make friends with her? Since you are the Headmare and Vice-Headmare of the school of friendship, that means you have some secret way to make everypony love you, right?"

"Uh… I've not really met her myself," Sunburst said.

"And I'm not the best pony to ask for advice on how to handle Cozy Glow… Last time we met didn't go so well."

"Oh… what happened?" Flurry asked.

Starlight blushed. "Perhaps you can show me some of your magic? Maybe I could even give you some pointers. I'm quite good at magic, you know."

"Okay!" Flurry said. "Look at this! I can levitate six things at once easily!"

She grabbed some inkhorns, a couple of books and decided to challenge herself by picking up the large plant on the desk too.


Having had an afternoon, night and morning to really consider the issue, Cozy Glow was certain Flurry Heart was a greater danger than she had first thought.

Everything she had determined yesterday was still true, of course: Flurry, for all her sickening sweetness,was a Princess, and no pony with a head on his shoulders would say no to being friends with a princess. That already made Flurry dangerous, but her mentality must also be considered.

Flurry had been born with everything. Her toys probably cost more than what a normal pony family made in a year. Cadance, the Princess of Love, would have spoiled her filly rotten. From being raised like that, it stood to reason that Flurry considered herself entitled to everything she wanted. Friends included. Rumble included.

Cozy's stomach twisted uncomfortably at that thought. Flurry clearly was not an adversary to take lightly. Realistically, even if it hurt to admit, the only thing Cozy had over Flurry was her smarts. Flurry was a princess. She was prettier than Cozy. She had magic. She had infinite wealth. Even her coat color was similar to Cozy's, only brighter, crisper. Flurry's wings were beautiful and much fuller than her own as well.

Cozy looked down on herself, for the first time angry at her coloration. She glared at her small, stupid wings.

And even aside from all that, Cozy recognized a shrewd manipulator when she saw one. Clearly Flurry had asked Rumble to meet her here in Ponyville to spend time with him alone. It was the same tactic Cozy herself had used to ingrain herself near Twilight.

Always be near your mark, always offer help when needed. Make sure you are seen, make sure you are always considered. Eventually, they will start to come to you even when you are not around, and then you have won.

If Flurry was as manipulative as Cozy suspected, then Cozy's best bet would be to catch her by surprise. But how could she surprise a pony who acted just like Cozy would have? The answer had come late last night: she had to surprise herself, and do something she had not considered.

So she had to get help from somepony else, somepony who did not think like she did.

She knew who to ask. Sweetie Belle was the most naïve, most trusting pony Cozy knew. Whatever advice Sweetie Belle gave, it was going to be something Cozy herself would not have thought about in a million years.

Cozy pondered this as she went off the midday train and into Ponyville proper. She knew the way to Rarity's boutique: she just had to "…follow the largest street from the station to the market, with Town Hall. Then take to the right. Her house is a round, white building." Cozy smiled when she remembered Rumble's directions from that night.

Granted, Sweetie Belle might be with her parents, but at least then Rarity should be able to direct Cozy there.

On her way to the boutique plenty of ponies stole glances at her, but at least they were much less hostile than she was used to. In Canterlot, ponies would sometimes even turn around and walk away rather than pass too closely to her. Here, ponies just looked curious. A few even waved uncertainty. She was surprised by how much her spirits lifted from such a small gesture. So much so she was brought out of her grim mindset and waved back. Twilight's tenure as resident Princess of Friendship had clearly left its mark on the ponies here.

The sign in the Boutique window said it was open, so Cozy guessed she could just walk right in since that's what the customers would do. But she also knew Rarity was finicky with the details sometimes, so she decided to knock like a proper guest.

"Come on in, please! I will be right with you!" Rarity called from the inside. Permission granted, Cozy opened the door just as Rarity entered from the kitchen. "Oh my! What a surprise to see you here, Cozy Glow. Twilight gave you the weekend off?"

Cozy nodded. "I haven't run away again, I promise. I thought I could see Sweetie Belle! Is she here?"

"She is, actually," Rarity said. "In her room."

"Golly, what luck!" Cozy chirped. "Thanks, Rarity."

"You are welcome, dear," Rarity said.

Cozy nodded and flew up the stairs. She already knew which room was Sweetie Belle's. She had spent plenty of time there when she was sick and on the run from Twilight that one time. She pushed the door open and found the filly in question sitting by a table with a pot of tea in front of her and a few stuffed animals on stools.

She turned to Cozy with a slight look of annoyance, but it softened when she saw who it was. "Oh, Cozy Glow! I didn't know you were going to come visit today or I'd have set the table for one more," she brightened. "But then again, Sir Alfonso was just about to leave anyway. You could take his place." She indicated a stool with a teddy bear.

Cozy debated whether she wanted to waste her time with this nonsense, but decided to play along. It was a friendly thing to do. "Thank you, Sweetie Belle. Sorry for being late to your tea party." She flew over the table and pushed the teddy bear off of her chair. Sweetie Belle put six bags of tea in a cup and poured hot water.

"I didn't know you were going to come, or I'd have waited for you," Sweetie Belle said.

"I didn't know I was going to visit until last evening," Cozy explained. "Twilight gave me the weekend off."

"That's great! That means the two of you are really starting to get along, right? She trusts you!"

"Tsk… I guess I don't hate her quite as much as I did before," Cozy conceded, even if she had to spit out the words. "But she is still not my friend," she assured, mostly for her own sake. Sweetie Belle looked dejected at Cozy's hostility. And, since she had already admitted to Rumble that she did, at least, respect Twilight, it was not more than right she let Sweetie Belle in on some of her deeper feelings too. "But… I suppose she isn't that bad all the time... she's better than I thought..."

Sweetie Belle brightened. "I'm sure you will be great together soon! Now that you've given her a chance, you will soon see she is a good pony." Cozy decided not to bicker anymore about it; Sweetie Belle had always thought Cozy should forgive and forget. But forgiveness was going to be a slow process. And even if it came, she knew she would never forget what Twilight had done to her.

But Sweetie Belle was a special friend. Aside from Rumble, Sweetie Belle was the only pony Cozy considered a real friend at all. And she was the only pony Cozy had ever apologized to. That was how much she valued Sweetie Belle's friendship. "Actually, Sweetie Belle, I didn't just come to play. I want to do that too, but I also need to ask something."

"Uh-huh?" Sweetie Belle looked up from the dozen sugar cubes she was about to dump in her own cup of tea. "What?"

"I need some help… It's kind of a friendship problem, but not really. It's weird."

"Shouldn't you ask Twilight?" Sweetie Belle asked. "I mean… friendship problems are pretty much her thing."

"Golly... and here I thought you, as an honorary graduate, would be just as qualified..." Cozy said. No way she involved Twilight in this. She was already on Flurry's side. Cozy needed friends, not enemies.

"I mean... sure I am," Sweetie Belle said with a bright smile. "How can this friendship graduate help you, Cozy Glow?"

"Well…" Cozy suddenly felt a twinge of discomfort. While not as biased as Twilight, Sweetie Belle was still not going to approve of how she had treated Flurry Heart, even if Cozy explained why she did it. But that did not change the fact that she needed Sweetie Belle's help. "… do you know of Flurry Heart?"

Sweetie Belle nodded. "That's the Crystal Empire Princess's daughter, right? She is an alicorn too, and since Twilight's brother is the father, that means Flurry is Twilight's… uh…"

"Niece," Cozy supplied. "That's her. Twilight asked me to study friendship together with her."

"So cool!" Sweetie Belle said. To Cozy's chagrin, there seemed to be quite a bit of envy in Sweetie Belle's voice. "Studying with the youngest alicorn ever! And with Princess Twilight as your teacher!"

"Well…" Cozy flicked her wings and squirmed. "I said I didn't want to study with her… and then I never spoke to her again. Twilight was really mad about that too."

Sweetie Belle cocked her head to the side. "Why did you do that? Did she do anything to you?"

"Not… really," Cozy had to admit. "But I can't study with her, I just can't,” she added when she saw Sweetie Belle's mouth twist into a frown the way it did when she was getting mad.

"And why not?"

"It's…” Cozy shook her head. "You won't get it, but… whenever I see her, I just get so… angry. Like I want to hit her. Because I did things no other pony has done just to try and become an alicorn. And whenever I see Flurry Heart, or hear her name… it hurts, because she got everything I've ever wanted just because she was born in a nice bed. I worked so very hard, I did so many bad things that will always be with me... and all I ever got was to be locked away in a pit and then inside a block of stone."

"But it isn't her fault she is a princess," Sweetie Belle said. She did not look angry anymore. "It's not fair that you are angry at her for something she didn't do, is it?"

"Rumble said that too," Cozy admitted. "And… and I really wanted to try! I was going to try and give her another chance! But I overheard something yesterday. She is going to try and steal Rumble from me! And that's something she is doing and that I can be angry with!"

"Uh… how does one steal another pony?" Sweetie Belle asked. Then she suddenly gasped and put her hooves in front of her mouth. "She didn't kidnap him, did she?"

"What? No, of course not! She is trying to make friends with him!" Cozy explained. "And she took him here, to Ponyville today!"

Sweetie Belle sighed. "That's not stealing, Cozy. It just means that she is looking for a friend too." Her voice had taken on a lecturing tone, like she was trying to explain something to a stubborn filly. It irked Cozy to no end. "And even if you don't like Flurry, that doesn't mean Rumble mustn't. In fact, since you are silly in hating Flurry just because she is an alicorn trying to make a friend, that means Rumble is right and you are wrong."

Cozy bit back a sharp answer. She could not afford to snap at Sweetie Belle; she needed her help. So instead she took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "I only have two friends. That's all I have. You don't get it, because a friend means more to me than it does to you… and Flurry is a Princess. If…" Cozy hesitated. She suddenly found the wall behind Sweetie Belle's right shoulder very interesting. "If they become friends, why would he ever even look at me?"

Something seemed to spark to life in Sweetie Belle's face. "Are you jealous of her?"

Cozy really wanted to say she was not. Jealousy was petty and stupid. Cozy knew she harbored traits many ponies considered evil. She was, or at least she had been, a megalomaniac. She was deceitful. She even harbored downright sadistic and sociopathic traits, deep inside her heart. She knew that, and she had accepted those sides as parts of her, even if she had vied to never let them lose again, for her friends' sakes if nothing else.

But jealousy was nothing she identified with. It was so silly next to her calculated scheming. Jealousy did not belong in a world-conquest strategy, it belonged on the schoolyard.

And yet… and yet…

Jealousy meant you wanted something another pony had, right? And you could not like that pony because she had it and you did not? Well, that sure sounded like what Cozy felt with Flurry. She wanted to be an alicorn… she wanted those full wings.... she wanted that crispy clear coat… and she wanted Twilight and Rumble to see her, think of her.

"I suppose I am," she admitted quietly. She sighed and laid her head to rest on the table, ears folded down. "Golly, this must be a new low… jealous of a prissy orange-lover…"

"A what?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"She likes orange ice cream," Cozy explained. "Only nasty ponies like orange ice-cream. Is what I have heard."

"Oh… what about pistachio?"

Cozy looked up at Sweetie Belle. "Pistachio lovers… can help you get your feelings straightened out when you don't understand them yourself."

Sweetie Belle smiled, but it was not her open, genuine smile. It was like Sweetie Belle tried to smile like a Con Mane villain. Secretive and sinister. Cozy recognized that sort of smile very well. She had worn it herself plenty of times. "What are you smiling about?"

"Hmm… I'll tell you later," Sweetie Belle said. "Right now, I think we need to find more information about Flurry and Rumble! You said they were here, right? Come on, I've got some spy gear!" She crawled in under her bed and started pulling at a large box.

"Wait, what? But… you just said Flurry could make friends with him if she wanted! Why do you care about them?"

"Cause I just realized something!" Sweetie belle called from under the bed. "Do you want my help or not?"

"Sure, but-"

"Then help me with this! I'll tell you what I think about this thing with Rumble after I have all the facts, okay?"

Cozy hesitated for a moment, then shrugged to herself. Sweetie Belle may be naïve and a little silly at times, but Cozy had meant it when she said she understood feelings almost scarily well. That uncanny understanding was the only reason Cozy herself had been freed from her statue prison in the first place.

And Cozy had always known to make use of other ponies' talents when they offered to help, and she was not about to stop now.