• Published 7th Nov 2020
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I am my own OC - KittyrinnAiko

It started out as a blatant self insert and then morphed into something more.

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Chapter 30: Not the Arkenstone

It was nice to be back in the Keep, though our trip through Canterlot had me a bit on edge even now. Poor Sunset was a nervous wreck, and we were expected to come to dinner. Even Scootaloo would be coming to dinner being we were the ones she’d be staying with.

Do we really have to go to a state dinner?” Sunset asked plaintively.

Do I have to go?” Scootaloo asked. After all, the only reason Scootaloo was with us is that Spitfire had duties to attend to, thanks to the crisis, and that meant staying with Lofty and Holiday.

Ms Lofty?” Cadance asked. Lofty wasn’t sure what she should say.

We’re going,” I said flatly as I adjusted the dress that had been provided for me. Once I was satisfied with that I hung my pendant around my neck. “I know this is difficult, but you have to consider why Princess Celestia didn’t cancel the dinner.”

You think she’s sending a message?” Sunset asked. She likely already knew the answer.

Moonie strangely enough had been equally upset as the knowledge of the execution of her primary function warred with her desire to be a good pony. She hadn’t been a good pony today, and I’d had to reassure her that she’d likely not have had a choice in the matter and she was presently in doll form snuggling with Scootaloo. If placed in the same position, I imagine I might have done the same. At least the harmony stone that was part of the pendent was one that would not be affected by the taking of a life. As for the Hōju, I had no idea if it had any limitations. Not that I knew how to use it.

You know, right about now is when we could use a little of the old Sunset.” I offered. “Don’t let the nobles win.”

That’s easier for you to say, your not the one being targeted.” Sunset scolded.

Maybe that’s because they don’t see me as a threat,” I said quietly.

But I am?” Sunset asked.

At the very least you are an obstacle.”

Where I lived, we had our town bullies. The worst one was the son of a couple who owned most of the land.” Cadance offered. “He often got away with bad behavior because his father’s money insulated him. It’s the same thing with the nobles. - Sunset, we have to stand up to them. It’s the only way to get the bullies to back down.”

Let's keep in mind that I used to be one of them,” Sunset reminded us.

If it was me, I’d go.” Lofty offered.

Sunset?” Celestia called as she entered the chamber. “You’re not ready?”

She’s been through a lot,” I offered. “This is going to be difficult for her.”

Celestia went to Sunset and gave her a hug with a wing. “Just keep in mind that you’ll be by my side, and I will not let anything happen to you.”

Sunset nuzzled Celestia, and after a moment or two agreed she could do it.

And little Moonie looks down too I see,” Celestia mused. “Cheer up my little one, no pony is going to die, and you did what you had to do to protect the others. It kind of comes with the purview of that little green stone. It’s a very special stone related to the elements of harmony but unlike any of the others. It’s the stone that gives its user strength when faced with impossible choices. Which is part of the reason the nightmare took it from me. Its loss didn’t stop me, but then again, who’s to say that I might have been brave enough…” She let her words hang as the realization of how hollow that statement would have been.

I was fairly sure she was about to say she could have saved Luna, but we both knew better. I looked at Celestia with a deep sense of disappointment. She saw me looking at her and I saw it in her eyes and turned away. I was there, and so too was the stone. For all I know, my presence may have prevented something far worse from happening.

I’m sorry,” Celestia said softly. “No amount of lies to others, and especially myself will ever change the fact that the only thing I had on my mind that night was the desire to punish my sister for a transgression … that she wasn’t even guilty of. Luna?”

One day at a time, dear sister. One day at a time,” Luna offered softly.

So a short time later we entered a room filled with some very nervous nobles. Naturally, they’d all heard about the tragic events that had taken place only a few short hours before. The staff directed us to our places and everyone sat down.

I must say I was relieved to discover that the pink and well, dark pink maned mare I sat down next to, a Sakura-Hime, was in fact the wife of the Neighpon ambassador. Her husband a small unassuming white pony with fiery red hair and a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek. Yes, and his name was Kenshin Himura.As in the Battōsai. He kind of looked the part as well, save for the lack of a reverse blade katana and that he was a pony. He was presently wearing a purple kimono-styled jacket and Sakura-Hime wore more pink. She and Cadance should compare fashion notes as they were both wearing pink. I on the other hand – make that hoof – was wearing a dark blue gown with a delicate floral pattern in white that looked like flowers growing up from my tail. And yes, Rarity had made it. Don’t ask me where she got the material, though I’d a mind to make sure she wasn’t going into debt for it. I only wish she could have joined us, but she’d already had plans to be at a reception at the school. That and Rarity had needed the most time to recover after our harrowing trip through Canterlot and when she had, she continued on to the school. As it was I think she might have found the tense atmosphere at the dinner to be more than she could take.

Princess Celestia, introduced us to the gathered ponies, said a rather interesting invocation where she reminded the nobles to be grateful for their homes, their families, their wealth, their place in polite society, and most importantly, their lives. After which the waiters brought out our first courses.

Tell me little princess, who is thy mother?” Sakura-Hime asked quietly shortly following the beginning of the meal. Well, I’d been introduced as Princess Celestia’s niece but Princess Celestia hadn’t spelled out who my mother was. There was also the issue that Princess Luna hardly looked old enough to be any pony’s mother.

My mother is the Princess of the moon.” I offered with just a touch of cheek. “She who had been the prisoner of the Night Mare banished for one thousand years. I myself got caught in the periphery of the spell that banished the Night Mare.”

Oh my, you should be a nine tail by now then.” She teased.

Alas, I have but the one. And most precious it is to me I can assure you. But allow me to introduce you to my mother. Princess Luna?” I called Luna to get her attention.

Yes?” Luna asked as she looked my way.

The Lady Sakura wished to meet my mother,” I offered. Luna smiled back at me.

Lady Sakura,” Luna acknowledged.

You know her mother?”

I am her mother, and I’ve got the scars to prove it.”

Oh right, silly me, Princess Celestia’s sister. Scars?”

Now dear, we don’t need to get into such things as that,” her husband, the ambassador, admonished softly. They were a young couple he of the fox pony persuasion, she a fairly ordinary pegasus and likely unaware of the perils of suckling certain types of foals. I’d no doubt he was keen on her not finding out any sooner than need be.

Mom, was I really that bad?” I asked.

You were a very aggressive little filly when it came to nursing,” Luna offered.

Across the table Glory Rose actually smiled. “Prince junior was rather aggressive.”

Mom!” Protested the colt a couple of seats down, nor was there a mother in the place who didn’t at least smile.

And your husband?” Sakura asked Luna.

I’d imagine he’s dead,” Luna offered.

Rumor has it he died in bed, from exhaustion,” I offered with a cheeky smile.

Nova, please,” Celestia scolded softly, possibly hoping no one understood what I was alluding to. Celestia turned her attention to Sakura ignoring the muted snickering coming from several of the mares, “Nova was trapped in limbo along with her mother. Her father should by rights be long dead. Such a shame though. If only I hadn’t been so naive. I allowed myself to be maneuvered into betraying my own sister.”

And still they try their best to control our every move,” Glory Rose offered. “Oh, not you dear,” She added to Prince Blueblood senior.

Princess Celestia,” began an alabaster unicorn with a pink mane and tail that was so bright it was nearly fluorescent. “A lot of us mares have come to realize something that’s been staring us in the face our whole lives, and that is that you are a mare. A mare who is in her prime and as such likely has the same physical and emotional needs as any other mare who is in their prime. And this, whoever it is who’s throwing a temper-tantrum…” She found that she was unable to finish her thought.

Has only proven why I can never reveal who Sunset’s father is, and why I chose to keep my personal life strictly off the record,” Celestia replied. “When Sunset was first trapped I was devastated because the chances of ever getting her out were very slim. And that’s when I finally realized that I needed to be more than just a mentor. Sunset needed her mother. Though I feared I’d never get the chance to correct my oversight.” Celestia looked to Sunset with a smile. “For Twilight, and many of Sunset’s predecessors, they had at least one loving parent. Unfortunately, Sunset’s magic was too wild and too powerful for her father to raise her. I placed her with a family I thought could handle her, and they dumped her the first chance they got. I did my best to teach Sunset, but I didn’t raise her. I didn’t provide her a loving parent, nor was I a parent to her, and I should have been. And now I have the chance to do right by Sunset.”

There were a few moments when no pony seemed to want to speak. I looked down the table and found I was able to pick out Fancy Pants, Fleur de Lis, Jet Set, and Upper Crust, a stallion that made me think he might be Ponyacci and quite a few ponies I couldn't even begin to name. Most were unicorns. Not that it surprised me. What I wasn’t expecting was that I’d see Bright Mac and Pear Butter. He gave me a wink, and I smiled back. I couldn't help but wonder if they’d followed us on the next train. The downside is that they were too far away for me to ask them about it.

Tell me, Miss Nova was it?”

I’d imagine that’s close enough,” I offered to the elderly stallion, and to my surprise, it’s Sakura and her escort who bristle at my being addressed so casually. It’s a formal dinner and a certain amount of decorum was expected. Personally, I hate formal dinners, but when at one it’s always important to address ponies by their proper ranks if at all possible. “I mean, I don’t mind being addressed casually in a casual environment.” I offered politely enough, but the admonishment was loud and clear, the proper protocol should be maintained where appropriate and the old duffer should know that. Not like I hadn’t already been introduced.

Yes, um, well, I’m to understand you were one of the individuals who discovered the Arkenstone.”

No sir, sorry, I did not,” I replied. “I unearthed a geode in which was contained a crystallized mineral which I’m to understand is being dubbed the Arcano stone. While its properties are impressive it pales in comparison to the Arkenstone of legend which is more properly called the 'Eorcnanstan' in old ponish, the Precious Holy Stone. The Arkenstone is a stone required for kingship, and you’d have best take care not to be loose with thy tongue by calling things what they are not.”

Or people,” Sunset added.

I, I’m afraid I’ve never heard of it?” Celestia admitted possibly wondering where I’d heard of such a thing.

Oh I have,” Sunset offered. She’d undoubtedly read Tolkien as well. “I recall seeing something about it in some dusty old tome. It was unearthed by a race known as Dwarves from the very root of a mountain. There was even speculation that it might be a Silmaril which would be an ideal item to test to see if some pony was worthy to be king because no mortal or creature of darkness could touch it for long without suffering greatly.”

I gave her a look and she back at me. We both knew full well what we were doing, and I had to bite my lip in order to maintain a straight face. But then again, who’s to know it’s not a real thing in this world.

Lord Canterbelle,” Luna began on spotting the old fool beginning to work up a bluster, “Please do remember that Princess Nova is my Daughter. And she is your senior and not the other way around.”

Let's not push it,” I offer. Lord Canterbelle knows when someone is being cheeky.” I turn back to him. “Still though, we wouldn't want creatures thinking we’ve something we haven’t.”

Yes, right, wouldn't want that,” Canterbelle offered gruffly momentarily after getting elbowed by his wife Dame Betty Bouffant. “I was curious as to the methods you used to unearth and open it without destroying it in the process?”

To be honest, it’d been there under hoof for quite some time,” I explained. “Some pony would trip on it every now and then, but any time some pony would go back intending to dig it up they couldn't find it. At least not until some pony else tripped on it. We’d even found the remains of several more stones that had been shattered through the action of some pony stomping them into the ground.” I caught a glimpse of Bright Mac rolling his eyes, “I used what I imagine is a very old Earth pony technique to locate and pop it out of the ground. Princess Cadance gave me a likely spot to strike it, so I did. Also, I didn’t strike down, I struck at an angle in the fashion required to break a chip off.”

With your shoes?” Dame Betty Bouffant asked.

Adamantine,” Luna offered. “The shoes I got for her are adamantine. They are indestructible and will likely go into the vault containing the royal jewels when she’s outgrown them.”

Luna, dear,” Celestia began. “Why did you give her shoes made from adamantine in the first place?”

Because she’s part kitsune and part alicorn. You’ve seen the blue flame she can produce. That blue flame erodes everything else shockingly fast and the enchanted fire can erupt most alarmingly when she is upset. Adamantine was the only thing that held up.”

Foxfire, while relatively harmless to living beings, will burn away any material that’s not pure enough used as a shoe,” Ambassador Himura offered. “That leaves crucible steel or adamantine since silver and gold are too soft to be used for hoof wear.”

We had an adamantine source in those days,” Luna offered. “I’m under the assumption that the mines were lost to the Everfree.”

Wait, you had an adamantine source?” Celestia asked.

Didn’t you know? How did you think I was paying for all my excesses, as you called it, back then?” Luna asked while looking at her sister with a pained look in her eyes. “Prior to our betrayal, we were poised towards becoming one of the richest kingdoms in the world.”

I must confess that I honestly thought we were impoverished,” Celestia offered. “All part of the manipulation I suppose. That and I never once thought to just ask. I was such a foal back then.”

Every now and then one is found on my holdings, only for it to be ruined by mishoofling,” Lord Canterbelle explained.

We found that the very presence of the fully charged stone had a peculiar tendency to attract ponies to it,” Cadance offered. “Of our little group the pegasi were affected the most. They became entranced.”

The alicorns in the group were affected the least, with earth ponies being the next least affected,” Luna informed him.

Mares and Fillies more than colts,” I added. “Seems to be the sparkly effect.”

Afraid I’m well acquainted with the sparkly effect, it has a tendency to overpower my dear wife when she’s out shopping,” Lord Canterbelle offered only to get elbowed by said wife.

I was relatively immune because I could sense a strong magical aura about it, and not knowing what it was I feared it might be dangerous to any creature that touched it.”

After that the conversations moved to more mundane things considered appropriate dinner conversation by Canterlot polite society. Whoever they may be. Theater seemed to be a hot topic.

That was dirty,” Sunset whispered to me as we made our way back upstairs and to the royal quarters.

Maybe,” I offered. “Ever hear of a kids' show called My Little Pony?”

Ya, why?” Sunset asked.

To paraphrase Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean, you better start believing in ponies, you are one.” Sunset just gave me a pained look.

What?” Cadance asked.

One world’s fantasy may well be another world’s reality, and who’s to say the Arkenstone doesn’t actually exist as in the fantasy writers are somehow seeing into other worlds.”

You know, that’s a really scary thought,” Sunset admitted as we entered into one of the larger reception areas within the area known as the Inner Palace. “Afters,” Sunset offered in response to my confusion.

I’m probably going to need tutoring in modern deportment and protocol,” I offered. I will admit that I was delighted to see Bright Mac and Pear Butter already in the room along with the Neighpony ambassador. Lord Canterbelle was there along with a number of earth ponies and pegasi. Most of whom looked like they’d a fair amount of liquid assets. Few had been at the dinner.

Welcome my good Barons, Baronets, and guest,” Celestia called to the assembled group.

Alright, maybe it’s something other than afters,” Sunset whispered.

Baron Macintosh, Lady Pear, it’s so good you could come,” Celestia said as she walked over to Bright Mac and Pear Butter. “I see so few of the Apples.”

Motherthinks we are at a Granger’s meeting,” Bright Mac offered with a smile. “Oh, she’s as bright as ever, save in certain aspects. She’ll insist she is a founder of Ponyville to any pony who’ll listen and refuses to acknowledge that a Title goes hoof and hoof with the grant to the land Sweet Apple Acres consist of. She has a bad case of salt of the earth and I’m afraid there's no cure. That is to say, she is, I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but she seems to be selectively delusional. She gets these notions in her head. The world conforms to her and not the other way around and I fear she has been that way for a very long time. If Father hadn’t have told me that I was going to be a Baron and that it came with certain responsibilities before he’d passed on I’d not had a clue. To make matters worse mother has no concept of inflation and tries to pay our hired hooves the same they were paid forty years ago, and she deals with the Rich family the same.”

Well, I’m not sure what to say?” Celestia replied dumbfounded.

Well, you will just have to branch out and not tell her about it,” Sunset offered. “The Rich family is cheating you, and, and it’s past time you did something about it.”

I already have put certain plans in motion, though they don’t as yet know,” Bright Mac offered. “Oh, and Princess Sunset, I heard about your run-in with Miss Rich. Do have a care.”

Sunset?” Celestia asked looking back and forth between the two.

Diamond Tiara,” Sunset offered in a tone that barely hid her dislike of the filly. “After a week of her example of how not to behave in polite company I may have lost my temper. And Baron Macintosh, I can’t help but think you’ve been getting a raw deal from the Rich family for a very long time. They’ve grown quite wealthy off your family’s hard work. Or at least that’s the appearance of it.”

Bright mac said nothing, only nodding his head. I suspected that Granny Smith had been the one handling the finances while old man Arkansas worked the farm. The downside to this arrangement was that Granny really didn’t have much of a head for finances. Something Mr Rich was all too ready to capitalize on. Diamond Tiara having been born into a family that thought nothing of taking advantage of others never had a chance to become a well-adjusted filly.

Princess Celestia, the filly is an absolute crashing bore who by the virtue of being spoiled rotten thinks she is better than everyone,” I offered, making sure to be extra polite given the company. “She wears a tiara everywhere she goes, and by some absurd stroke of irony, her cutie mark is also a tiara. In short, she has a false cutie mark by virtue of a deep sense of self-entitlement nurtured from a very young age. Meanwhile, she lords it over every pony she deems beneath her, ourselves included, and has even gone so far as to state that any pony who doesn’t have a cutie mark should be rounded up and sold to griffins so that they can be made useful. And yes she includes all foals because any pony without a cutie mark is less than worthless in her eyes regardless of age.”

I will admit that our dealings with the Rich family have been less than mutually beneficial.” Bright Mac admitted. “Princess Nova, what would you say about my cutie mark?” His cutie mark was a sliced green apple with a gold star in the middle and I can only imagine he hoped to test me in some manner by asking about his cutie mark rather than address Sunset’s statement.

Right off hoof I’d say occupational with an affinity towards apples. The gold star might suggest you are really good at what you do. Stars normally convey an affinity to magic and the night, but may also represent one who will be accomplished in their field above others,” I offered. “You have dreams but you are grounded as well. It’s possible you may be better at Earth magic than you realize. The next time you find yourself tripping over a stone you might try popping it out like how I did.”

Well, I,” Bright Mac all but found he was at a loss for words.

Assuming of course you weren't meant to be a big star on Bridleway in New Yak.” He had to laugh at that idea. “As I look around me I see lots of cutie marks that convey affinities towards occupations, the earth, the sky, magic, and leadership. And yet despite the company not one crown, tiara, or anything related to being found with the exception of Fancy Pants, only his cutie mark is three stylized golden lilies. The top half of three fleurs-de-lis to be exact, and while they may represent nobility, they are not crowns.” I can see the thoughtful looks in the eyes of the ponies around me and I know that they have but to look at heraldic designs to known I’m right. To be considered a crown it must be obviously a crown and not just suggested. If it was simply a matter of suggestion then the closest cutie marks in the room to that of a crown would be Princess Celestia’s and Sunset Shimmer’s suns as both could represent the image of a crown from the top down.

I’ve had my run-ins with the filly as well,” Luna offered. “I’ve no doubt the filly was intentionally trying to provoke us, and I can’t help but wonder if she was behind Pinkie’s reaction to me.”

You can’t mean a filly was trying to entrap you?” Celestia asked. Her tone indicated she was stunned.

Yes, and she’s rather blatant about it as well,” Luna offered.

She couldn't possibly be related to this morning’s troubles could she?” Celestia said softly.

She’s a pain in the flank, but I doubt she would do anything like that,” Scootaloo offered. “Her standard go-to plan anytime some pony tries to take her down a notch is to run to daddy.”

True,” Lofty offered. “I’ve had to apologize for Scootaloo on multiple occasions. Nor did it take me long to realize Scootaloo wasn’t the one at fault on most occasions.”

Let us hope I don’t find myself in a position where I must apologize to any of our subjects,” Celestia said softly while looking down at Sunset.

I’m sorry,” Sunset offered while dropping her head.

I’ll not fault you,” I offered. “Truly if she hath been a colt I’d have thrown down on the little bitch.” My remark gained a few chuckles from the gathered ponies who aren’t quite sure if I mean it or not.

Sunset looked at me, an unbidden smile cracking her face.

There’ll be none of that either, young filly,” Celestia scolded.

Now sister, she’s my filly,” Luna cut in. “I’ll be the one to decide when she is due a scolding. And I’d say that we both owe a great deal to her indomitable nature. Nor has she ever backed down from a fight if it meant protecting another or sticking up for what was right.”

Which brings us to the very reason we are all here,” Celestia offered as she turned to address the gathering. “As is the custom of long ago the Barons are gathered whenever there is some pony who is to be considered for a knighthood. To include six young mares for their actions in rescuing my sister Luna from the Night Mare that had possessed her.”

Might I ask what the nature of the Nightmare was?” spoke one of the Barons.

Baron Fields,” Celestia began.

If I may?” I ask. “I mean I was there when she fell to it.”

Let’s hear what she has to say,” Lord Canterbelle offered.

It’s a type of spirit. Likely one of King Sombra’s victims. Common myth and folktale lump it into a category referred to as a Shadow Pony. It feeds off of anger, resentment, hatred, and betrayal. Yes, I’ve done my research in my desire to understand what it was. Granted that information is sparse and contains a lot of conjecture. When it targets an individual it will attempt to possess them, a little at a time. A strong-willed individual may be able to keep it at bay for years in which case it may eventually move on to easier targets. In an ironic twist of fate, I may well owe my existence to it given my mother’s alleged string of inappropriate behavior.”

Well, as our wives have pointed out,” began a Baron Strudel who I recognized from an Apple family portrait. “There is nothing evil in a young mare seeking out the attention of a stallion. - Princess Nova, I have no doubt that you are the product of love and not the product of shadow-pony induced excess.”

Thank you,” Luna said softly.

In the end I’ve only myself to blame for Night Fall,” Celestia offered. “The Nightmare gained full control of Luna only after I confronted my sister for crimes she did not commit. I found myself fighting a malevolent spirit with all the power of an alicorn and I did not yet fully realize what had happened as clouded as my reason had become. I even delude myself into thinking if only I’d had a certain artifact I could have saved her, but the truth was, I wasn’t trying to save her. I wanted to punish her.”

Such creatures are rare,” Ambassador Himura offered. “And such are the downfalls of court intrigue when one has been misled.”

Now typically the Ambassador wouldn't be present at a meeting such as this,” Lord Canterbelle pointed out. By the looks on his face, he likely wasn’t happy about the Ambassador being privy to the conversation.

And normally you’d be correct,” Princess Celestia replied. “Nor would you, save in that one of the individuals under consideration is your granddaughter Rarity. Lord Barometer is here to represent the two pegasi being considered. His excellency is here in lieu of the absence of anyone from Nova’s father's family. We have our suspicion of who her father was and it’s possible that Princess Nova is also a member of the Neighpon royal family.”

Why am I being knighted? I’m only a filly. Nieghpon royal family?” I ask. I’m a bit dumbfounded at the news. Not that it wasn’t a possibility but I’d an urge to start speaking in a nasal tone and seek out the attentions of a lead character. Hang on, that’s me? Damn it, am I doomed to be Cat from Red Dwarf in love with only myself?

You and Cadance pulled me from that cursed mirror,” Celestia explained.

Oh, alright,” I replied. OK, so maybe I’m not a complete Marry Sue but then it just occurred to me that I probably shouldn't be here for this meeting. “Should Princess Cadance, Sunset, and I even be here? And maybe Scootaloo probably shouldn't be here either.”

The whole idea of being both a princess and knighted just strikes me as a bit much. Granted that it did mean certain privileges an ordinary princess would never have. Which when I think about it, doesn’t really amount to much.

I just wanted every pony to have a chance to meet you,” Celestia offered. “But you are right so the three of you can go now.”

Can I go too,” Luna asked.

No, you must stay if you wish to return to my side as my equal where we rule Equestria together.”

And then Princess Luna surprised Princess Celestia by bowing low to her. “Princess Celestia, though I may enjoy an equal vote in the parliament, the days where we could rule as equals is long past. You are the Grand Dame, the Crown Princess, and Regent in all but name and will continue to be until such time as you should choose to advocate another. And until such time I do hereby swear my fealty to you.”

Luna, what are you doing? Don’t you wish your place in the governing of Equestria restored?”

I do, and in good time I will, but I will not be a ruling princess. Not the now at least, for me to assume the position of co-regent at this time could potentially cause confusion and at its worse, a schism may occur. In fact, the arrangement we had may even have been what caused our parting in the first place. I will not be the shadow on your rule over Equestria. Will you not accept my pledge of loyalty?”

I walked over to join my mother and bowed as well, “And mine as well.” Silence reigns in the room. “If Mother feels there is a need to do this then that is good enough for me nor can I fault her reasoning on this in that our declaration sends a message of unity.”

I must confess, while perhaps a bit dramatic, I can not find fault in these actions,” Lord Canterbelle offered. “Accept their pledge of loyalty as it will help to confound those who would undermine you, and let us continue.”

Very well,” Celestia replied and knelt slightly to acknowledge our pledge. “I, Celestia, do hereby accept thy pledges of fealty.”

Should I do likewise?” Cadance asked as we straightened out.

Only if Princess Celestia requires it,” I offered. “The thing is, your cutie mark contains something few do, and that is a great destiny that awaits you.”

Destiny?” Cadance asked.

Your cutie mark links you to the Chrystal Heart of the Chrystal Empire. It is more than just a symbol, it’s an ancient relic of considerable power,” Princess Celestia offered. “You are the heir apparent in absentia.” Celestia hesitated a moment. “It would be beyond presumptuous of me to ask you to swear an oath of loyalty to me when you yourself may one day find yourself wearing the crown of an Empress.”

When that day comes I will be Empress in name only, and if not fealty then I will pledge to always be your friend and loving niece,” Cadance offered.

Princess Celestia went over to her and the two embraced. “And now,” Celestia said a moment later as they separated. “The four of you may go. Princess Luna, you will stay so you can observe how we do this. I think you will find the proceedings a bit on the loose side as we tend towards informality behind closed doors.”

Indeed,” Luna replied.

We save the pomp and circumstance for public displays such as the actual knighting,” Lord Canterbelle offered with a smile.

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