• Published 3rd Sep 2012
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Her Mother's Daughter - Nadake



Twilight, handmaiden to the Princess, is asked the impossible. And accepts.

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Chapter One

“Twilight, please take this message to Chancellor Evergreen.Tell her that I expect her answer by the end of the night.” A slip of paper was enveloped in a golden glow as it lifted off of the mahogany desk. It rose, and the drifted through the air, to land with a soft thump on the small writing desk of the unicorn attendant. With an absent minded ease, the paper curled, rolling itself into a scroll before the unicorn’s eyes. The golden light faded as the white form before the purple mare returned to her work, drafting yet another order for her armies to carry out, another letter to her nobility.

Twilight bent down, and careful to keep the paper dry, picked it up with her mouth. Only one edge of the paper was grasped between her teeth, and even that was a light touch, as light as she could manage. She turned to the door, and opened it with a brief thought and a whisper of power. The latch clicked as the knob turned, and the door jerked open half an inch.

“Oh, and fetch dinner on your way back.”

Twilight bowed to her Princess as she left the room, even knowing that there was no way for the ruler to see her gesture. She backed out of the room, careful to keep both her head low and the scroll above the floor. There was nothing wrong with the floor of course, like everything else in the Heart of the Dawn, the marble floor leading to the Princess’s personal chambers was spotless, the marble gleaming in the failing light.

Chancellor Evergreen, a young, shy mare who lived on the second floor, was the Ambassador to the neighboring country of Selene. Twilight had only seen the mare asleep once, while she was waiting in the Council Chamber during a small break between sessions. Between her duties as an ambassador, and the heavy burdens of translating the encrypted messages from her homeland, as well as arranging private meetings with Princess Celestia around the other duties the monarch held, work meant for a team of three ponies. Yet, somehow, she still found time to write rather impressive amateur mystery-romances, in between all of her duties.

The golden shoes denoting her position as the Princess’s personal handmaid chimed as they landed on the gleaming marble. Twilight walked through the long halls of the great spire. The Heart of the Dawn was a tower in the heart of Trottingham. To compare the building to a tower was like comparing a rock to a diamond. Correct in that they are both hard, and can be shaped. Other than that, they had nothing in common.

The Heart was a spiralling pillar of pure, flawless marble the Princess had raised from the depths of the earth when Helios was founded. Since that day, builders, sculptors, painters, and many others with a bent to the darker aspects of the mind had flocked to the Heart. Now the spiralling column little resembled the bare sided mount which had dominated the surrounding landscape. For centuries, artists had shaped and changed the great pillar into the beautiful halls and ornate carvings she now walked through and among.

In fact, as she walked, Twilight was forced to detour through several halls to avoid an area under remodeling. Feathertouch, the single most famous artist that Helios had produced in the last century was hard at work once more, was touching up the great carved story panels lining the walls of the Halls of Time. The panels chronicled the history of Helios, from the beginning with the Princess raising the Heart itself, to only one hundred years ago, where the ancient, half mad sculptor Bloodmane had depicted the violent, bloody war between the forces of the Light with the Dragons, Gryphons and many other unsavory creatures arrayed against the Dawn Guard.

It was a beautiful hall, and easily the most visited by aspiring artists and poets. The hall Twilight was now forced to walk through was decidedly less grand, having only the odd sculpture as a change from the constant, if beautiful, wall of marble. Here in the heart of the Heart, there was no natural light, instead the entire area was lit by thin, dim candles which would burn forever, unless the Princess herself broke the spell. Still, the darkness was unsettling for Twilight, accustomed as she was to the constant light of the sun during the day.

Even at night, she wasn’t truly without that light. The Princess herself shone in the darkness, emitting a soft glow lost in the glaring brilliance of the sun. The darkness scared the young mare, it hid things that the light of day would reveal. The darkness kept secrets, gave depth to otherwise shallow lies. It was everything that Twilight detested.

Loathe the black cloak though she may, Twilight also had to admit the allure of the swirling shadows. And while the darkness held secrets and lies, buried within those falsehoods were the shining sparks of light. Like a pearl, the darkness coated those specks of light, those truths. Layer after layer, it shrouded that knowledge, and only with the most patient, and dedicated assault could one pull that small grain of truth from the shell of deceit.

It was terrifying. Horrible in its intensity. But it was undeniably beautiful. Nothing was constant there, nothing solid. Everything was the smooth flow of shade and the occasional dim glimmer deep in the shadows.

The slow, measured clop of the unicorn’s hooves on the hard stone swiftly became a quick trot. Twilight paced down the hallway, her eyes flicking through the shadows with each step. Her pupils dilated and contracted as she passed into, then out of each small island of candlelight. The dark seemed to close in around her, suffocating her as she walked further down the hall. And with each breath shallower than the one before it, her pace quickened.

She burst from that dim hall in a near gallop, her sides heaving as she slowed to a stop. Her eyes had been shut tight, the purple mare stood in the warm light pouring in through the high windows, her body shaking as she stood in the glow of the setting sun. Sweat beading along her body as she stood there, her muscles quivering.

“Get over it Twilight! You are too old to be afraid of the dark.” She snarled, still shaking.

For a time she simply stood. Unmoving, letting the soft light warm the chills the darkness had sent rippling through her spine. Eventually, the panic subsided, and her breathing evened. She looked up then, finally able to move, the odd quiver still playing over her body. She turned, looking away from the cold, uncaring wall.

Twilight looked about herself, trying to determine where the hall had lead. The windows of the Hall of Dusk were enormous. Facing west, they bid the Sun farewell as their sisters on the east greeted the celestial orb each morning. Now though, now they were a canvas, a canvas on which colors flowed and mixed and swirled.

The far off clouds were splashed with red and purple, garish slashes or crimson and blue criss crossing the low clouds. The bare mountain peaks surrounding the city stood in sharp, stark contrast to the gentle rolls and billows of the clouds. The colors spilled into one another, clashing and mixing, terrifying and beautiful. As she watched, they began to roil, writhing like a captured snake.

It was nice to see the splendor of nature. Any storm that neared a settled area was quickly tamed by the vigilant Weather Patrol, ensuring that only what was pleasant and helpful would occur. This was raw, the forces of nature flexing their muscles, reminding all who gazed at the horizon why they feared the wild.

A sudden, lone bolt of lightning leaped from the clouds, arcing through the air, before it was swallowed by the ground. That bolt shook Twilight from her trance. She turned from the window, and hurried down the halls once more.


“Oh, hello Twilight. What can I do for you today?” Chancellor Evergreen was sitting at her desk, scribbling away as she always seemed to be doing. The little notebook she was writing in was usually kept tucked neatly beneath one of the mint green wings, discreetly hidden while the ambassador was working.

Now though, the small book was lying open on the table, while the young pegasus wrote. Twilight had read a small part of the book once. It had something to do with a pegasus and a vigilante. It had been a very... odd book. It told a story, rather than convey information. When she had asked the pegasus about the oddity, the mare had only smiled shyly. “It’s my art, my talent.”

“Still working on that book then?”

“Always. I’ll never really be finished, not if anypony wants to read it. I’ll just keep on writing. It makes all of us happy.”

“Well, can you spare a moment to read this?”

“Oh. Another letter from the Princess. Yes, but please, give me one moment. I just need to finish this scene.”

A few minutes, filled with the scribbling and scratching of the feather quill on the page, and Evergreen looked up. She smiled at the patient unicorn. Tucking her quill behind her ear, the little pegasus stood.. The small writing desk she had been curled over, not unlike Twilight’s own desk in the Princess’s chambers. It slid onto the floor with a soft click as the wood struck the stone, sliding off of the crossed legs of the pegasus. Evergreen stretched out her wings, the green feathers whistling through the air as the mare flapped them a few times.

Twilight turned away, shielding her eyes from the small gust. The silk tapestries, all imported from Selene, rippled in the gale, before settling once more to their beautiful illustrations. They depicted some great meeting, hundreds of ponies from every tribe gathered about a central dais, all seemingly waiting for something to appear. Twilight had once asked the ambassador about the cloth. The only reply she had received was that infuriating, enigmatic smile, and a simple “The Wait.”

“So tell me Twilight, how are you today?” She took the message from the the unicorn, before placing it on the desk. Shaking herself once more, the mare settled back down to the small desk, this time lying on the floor like any civilized pony should, not hunched over the thing in that ridiculous manner.

“I see. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable. Please, tell the Princess that I will speak with her directly, as soon as I have the answer. Please Twilight sit. Would you like to talk about anything?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not sure. You seem... upset isn’t the right word. Troubled. Like there is something that has happened which has rattled you. If its not too invasive, would you like to tell me about it.”

“I really would rather not, Chancellor.” Twilight smiled at her companion, “But thank you for your concern. Now, unless you have any more messages for me to relay, I need to find supper for the Princess, and tell her what you said.”

“No, that is all. Please.” The mare gestured to the door, bowing her head slightly. Twilight nodded in return, before opening the door and stepping back into the hall. Once outside, the soft hustle and bustle of the Heart’s nobility could be heard. The thick oak door had temporarily sealed the young unicorn away from the hubbub of everyday life, but after taking a moment to collect herself, Twilight dove back in.

Near the black stone of the Ambassador’s Wing, there was little traffic. Most of the Heart’s inhabitants avoided the place, as if simply by being near it they would contract some deadly illness.

The walls of the Black Wing, as many called the residences of the various ambassadors and visitors, were almost barren, only the occasional carving relieving the stark nudity of the black granite. Spaced along the walls, much as they had been before, there were small sconces, each holding a small, ever burning candle.

Only a few steps away, the dark stone gave way once more to the gleaming splendor of the marble halls Twilight was more accustomed too. Far away, at the distant end of the hall, the sounds of clamoring voices, and clopping hooves could be heard.

Twilight stepped across the rippled line of stone, the distinct boundary where granite met marble. It felt strange, crossing that barrier. Like something held the air in place, trying to keep her locked within the dark wall. Like always when she left the wing, she pushed through it, feeling the thickened air slide along her body, pressing into her, confining her.

Her sides shivered, a rolling twitch passing along her purple frame. Once she stood on the sun drenched marble, the sensation passed, once again subsumed by the warm glow of the radiant glory of the sunset.

It really was beautiful. The vibrant hues, painted across the cloudy canvas stretching from the edges of the horizon. Her namesake was a glorious beauty, one which never ceased to awe her, no matter how often she has seen it.

“Oh, dear. I’m so sorry. Are you alright?”

Twilight turned, looking about. Belatedly, she realized that somepony had touched her, a slight jostle as her shoulder was nudged slightly.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I was lost in thought.” Twilight turned, a obsequious smile firmly in place as she looked at the poor pony who had bumped into her.

The stallion her eyes fell on, an earth pony which her kindest thoughts could only describe as homely, grinned sheepishly back at her. Twilight repressed her initial reaction to inquire as to what the stallion was doing in the Heart, fearing that her kindly meant words would be misinterpreted. After a slight pause, she quickly asked “How are you this evening?”

“Me? Oh, I’m fine. I came to deliver a message to Miss Evergreen.”

“Oh, are you from Selene then? Welcome to Helios, and to the Heart. Can I help in any way?”

A courier? Interesting. They were not unheard of, in fact, they were quite a common sight on the roads leading into the Trottingham, the city which had arisen around the seat of power in Helios. What was unusual was to see the courier in the Heart itself. Often, they would merely deliver the message, and the pages would carry the messages to their intended recipient.

If the courier was here, then it was urgent. Or something that Selene couldn’t risk being seen by idle eyes.

“She is in her quarters for the moment, with a message from Princess Celestia. Would you like me to escort you?”

“No, I thank you though. This is not my first visit to the Heart of Dawn.”

The stallion bowed his head slightly, then glanced about. He turned, realizing he had passed his destination, and set off at a brisk walk.


The door to the kitchen opened onto complete, if loosely controlled, chaos. A haze of steam wafted lazily from many great cauldrons where soups of every kind and make simmered in smug content. Vegetables sizzled in grease as the many chefs seared, fried, and sauteed everything from broccoli to carrots.

Far away from the entrance, the confectionery delights which graced the high tables were being made and decorated at a truly mind-boggling pace by a miniature pink whirlwind. That mare had to have at least ten hooves.

“DUCK! DOOR!”

The reaction was instantaneous. Twilight, and every pony near the small entrance to this cacophonous dungeon, dropped to the floor. Overhead, a large... thing, flew through the air, and out the door, barely squeezing through the opening. It looked like... a moose? A chocolate moose? A chip of brown fell onto Twilight’s hoof, knocked off as the thing bumped into the door, and licking it, she savored the rich dark flavor. Definitely chocolate.

Rolling her eyes and grinning at the truly horrible pun, Twilight stood back up. And dropped once more as a second moose hurtled towards her. This time, the mare was not as prompt and one of the hooves of the rearing monster caught on her horn, the sharp tip carving out a sliver from the underside of the dessert’s hoof.

“OY! What in the bleeding heavens are you doing down here? Essential personnel ONLY! Why don’t any of you ever read the sign? Horsefeathers, why did I even buy the thing? YOU! What in the name of Light do you want, then get out of my kitchen!”

Twilight straightened, feeling the strip of chocolate begin to curl down from her horn, landing on her face. Reaching up with a hoof, she transferred the delicacy neatly into her mouth, smiling at the taste.

“Oh come on Colonel, you know who I am at least.”

“Aye, and I know perfectly well that you’re not supposed to be here! SPOON! LESS SUGAR!” The small black sheep roared, scaring the filly stirring what looked like yet more chocolate. The gnarly old cook, known only as The Colonel, let out an annoyed huff. Even if he was used to Twilight coming into his kitchen, it was the bloody principle of the thing, as he often told everypony nearby.

“Well Colonel, you know how much I like it when food tries to kill me, but I do actually have a reason for coming. The Princess asked me to fetch her meal, if you would please work your special magic to whip something up...” Twilight trailed off, letting the wheedling tone, and the unspoken challenge, work on the sheep. While the chef thought, and throughout her conversation, Twilight was continuously dodging as ladles of hot soup, slices of steaming bread, and thick vegetables flew through the air on wings of unicorn magic.

“Alright, but I dinna want this happening again, aye?”

“Aye.”

Twilight grinned. The Colonel only let his accent thicken when he was excited. The clever old goat... err, sheep, had something planned. Now hopefully he would make at least enough for a young unicorn to eat after her Princess was finished...

Suddenly, the door banged open. Everypony, and The Colonel, turned to see what was wrong now.

Twilight groaned softly, seeming to collapse in on herself. Tall. Check. Blonde. Check. Blue eyes. Check. This was not going to be pleasant.

“Well, what have we here? Shirking your duties, Miss Sparkle? Hardly behavior fit for the personal maid of the Princess, to be seen here of all places. You might ruin those lovely books of yours.”

Lord Blueblood, fifth Earl of Trottingham, and heir apparent to the Heart. He was also arrogant, rude, self assured, and more than commonly corruptible. And here he was, with Twilight backed into a metaphorical corner, with his smug smirk covering the only exit to the room.

“What would your dear brother think, to find his sister in such company. Tisk tisk. You are quite pretty enough you know, you don’t need to surround yourself with filth to attempt to show it. A fleece might have a diamond in it, but you’ll never find it through all of the dust, and dirt, and mud.” Blueblood grinned, eyes flicking to the turned back of the Colonel as he spoke.

The sheep’s back stiffened at the words, though he refused to turn to the stallion. Instead, he seized a long knife from the block next to the cutting board, and set too with a will. Beneath the skilled, deft hooves of the sheep, several onions disintegrated.

Blueblood’s eyes narrowed as the sheep blatantly ignored him. His sneer reversed direction for a moment, and he bared his teeth in annoyance. He looked around the room, passing over the hunched forms. When they settled on the smallest, most frightened mare in the room, a filly barely larger than the ladle she was stirring a pot with.

He grinned once more. “You, come here.”

“M-m-me, s-sir?” The pony asked, her silver coat shaking uncontrollably as she looked at that evil smile.

“Y-y-yes.” Twilight could feel her eye twitch as she fought back her own snarl. She had been bullied her entire life, until the Princess asked her to be her personal maid. Usually, Shining Armor had been there to defend his friend, but not always. And Twilight hated bullies, ponies who hurt others, then hid behind their families, or their money. Blueblood was a bully.

The mocking echo of the frightened stutter echoed around the almost silent kitchen. The other ponies turned away, focusing once more on their tasks. The only one who seemed unaffected by the tableau was the pink mare in the back of the kitchen, still industriously decorating a massive cake which occupied almost the entire surface of the counter before her.

“I said, come here. NOW!”

The filly slowly trudged over to the noble, her head hung low to the ground, quivering with each movement. Twilight was nearly vibrating with rage by now, wanting nothing so much as to wipe that smug, cruel smile from the stallion. She had been on the receiving end of many such smiles, and she knew that nothing but abject humiliation was awaiting the poor pony.

And there was nothing that she could do about it. The overgrown colt outranked her, whether or not she had contact with the Princess, and without the express wishes of said Princess, Twilight couldn’t interfere. And the Princess might not help her the next time she intervened on her own.

“Y-y-yes s-s-s-”

“Sir. You will address me as Sir, or my lord, servant. Do you understand?”

The grey pony nodded slowly, still shaking.

“Answer me.”

“I-I unders-stand s-sir.”

“How long have you been working here, servant?”

“A year s-s-sir.”

“Well then, by now you should have a basic knowledge of the culinary arts acceptable for the high tables of the nobility. Or are you limited to preparing base fare, fit only for the trough?”

“I c-can cook sir.”

“Very well then. I would like you to prepare and deliver my meal to my quarters within the hour. Now, you are to prepare several vegetables, slicing them into quarter inch slices, and arranging them in a series of circles, stacking row upon row, until you-”

“DOOR!”

The shout came from the far corner of the room, interrupting the vindictive pony. The cake came flying at the door, even faster than the moose has only minutes ago. Twilight, the Colonel, and the little filly, as well as every other pony between the corner and the door dropped flat again. Blueblood however was not drilled to obey the immediate command. Instead, he turned, looking to the source of the shout.

As the monstrous confection slammed into him, the room erupted into gales of laughter. Their merriment was only reinforced as he toppled over, landing with a thick, wet splat on the stone floor.

“Go on lass, I’ll send up your food once we get this fool out of the way.” The Colonel managed to control his laughter long enough to squeeze out the sentence, before he lost his head completely at the weak twitches of the buried stallion.

“Will he be okay?” The sheep nodded helplessly to her in reply, rolling on his back. Twilight herself was hard pressed not to join in with the festivities. A few of the younger cooks began to cavort about the mess, pausing only to take small licks of the confection.

Chuckling, Twilight left, slipping around the mess coating the stone, and the pony, taking a deep breath of the relatively fresh air of the corridor.


“And then he just stood there, and the cake plowed into him. Oh, it was so funny. You could only see one hoof shaking through the muck.” Once more Twilight chuckled, shaking her head at the almost poetic justice of the haughty bully being buried beneath a mass of sugar and flour. By now, Blueblood was most likely back on his estate, complaining to the legion of sycophants who seemed to follow him like a mourner’s wake.

“Well, you certainly seemed to have fun. Did that put a stop to the dinner plans, or are they bringing it up here?”

“Oh. I’m sorry Princess. Yes, The Colonel said that he would bring the food up in a moment. Is there anything else Princess?”

“Not at the moment Twilight, thank you. Would you care to join me for supper?”

“I would be honored Princess.”

Twilight finally felt her shoulders relax. The Princess wasn’t annoyed, she was amused. Food was on the way, and her message had been safely delivered. Now, if she could only curl up with a nice book, this would be perfect.

“Feel free to make use of the library. I keep telling you, but you never seem to remember.”

“Oh. Um, thank you Princess. I’ll... be right back. Do you need anything else?”

“No, thank you.”

Twilight paused in the doorway, her entire body going rigid for a moment.

She shook her head, and continued down the winding hall leading down from the crest of the Heart, the private chambers of Princess Celestia herself. Here, perched so far above the ground, the houses appeared to be little more than a filly’s toys. Small colored dots, barely visible at all, moved about the streets, pausing here and there, moving faster then, slower then. The lights of the city illuminated the darkness, sending rays of color into the sky.

Twilight loved times like these. Standing above everything, shrouded in the soft light of only of a few candles, gazing down upon the flickering glow about the city, where hundreds of torches, lanterns, and lamps sent, late afternoon light flooding over the cobblestones.

Twilight smiled, turning from the window. It was nice, to know that ponies weren’t in the dark, afraid. That they had light, and warmth, and friends. She set off down the hall once more, trekking ever further down, closer and closer to the base of the monolith.

The winding hallway which lead to and from the Princess’s private chambers were barren, save a few gilt inlays in the marble floor. The soft gold gleamed in the light of the many candles lining the walkway. It twisted and turned, offering no cover save the bends in the walls themselves. It was the last line of defense, should anything ever attack the Heart, a long hall, which could be collapsed, or flooded, or simply used to focus a magical attack as it rebounded through the halls.

In all of recorded history, only once had this beautiful, simple trap been sprung. Almost a two decades before, there had been an assault on the Heart by the Dragonkin. Wyverns, dragons, ampitheres, lindorms, the quarreling factions of Ryias had banded together, and attacked Helios. To this day, nopony knew what they were after, and none of the assailants had survived. They had cut a bloody path through the lower halls of the keep, killing ponies in numbers that were unheard of in civilized times.

But here, as they sought entry into the very bedchambers of Princess Celestia, they were smote. Whatever it was that they sought, the Princess was willing to kill them to protect it. She had stood before the great oaken doors that separated the opulent, lush interior of her abode from the stark emptiness of the long hall. The Princess had flooded the corridor with power, lashing out with the fury of the sun itself as she destroyed the dragons. When she was done, barely a second later, not even the ashes remained.

Twilight shivered. It was not one of the many stories the Princess herself had told her. It was a piecemeal affair, the assembly of the many accounts and whispered stories of that ruinous day. But she had never for one minute believed that the Princess would ever hurt anything unless she had no other choice. She would do anything to save as many as she could.

“Twilight?”

Twilight jumped, emitting a shrill squeak at the voice from behind her. She turned her head, looking for the speaker, and grinned. “Shining! What are you doing here at this hour?”

Her foalhood friend and self styled ‘brother’, Shining Armor matched her smile with ease. He pulled the mare in for a hug, pressing her tight against his chest, covered in heavy muscle, nuzzling her mane. “I missed you little sister.”

“Agh mffd ou oo.”

“Huh? Oh, sorry Twilight.”

“I said, I missed you too. Wow, you really are strong.”

“Well, being one of the leaders of the army does that to you.”

“You got promoted! That’s great!”

“Yeah, well, the higher your rank, the more paperwork you do.”

“Why do you think I like it?” Twilight’s wry voice made the stallion laugh, a hearty laugh which Twilight could almost feel. She knew that her friend wanted to protect everypony, and that he was a tactical genius. But she still hated that he was a part of war, of an act which ended in the loss of life. At least now, he was less likely to be one of those lost.

“Well, I hate paperwork. Because no matter how much you do, there’s always more. Not like fighting, then you know when it’s over.”

“Soo... how’s Cadence these days?” Shining armor asked as both ponies began to walk down the hall. This wasn’t the long hall Twilight had been walking through when she had been lost in her own thoughts. This was one of the many Story Halls, interweaving connected pathways whose walls were lined with statues and carvings, each telling a piece of the long history of Helios.

Twilight smiled, walking a little faster, hiding her amusement from her friend. “Oh, shes alright. I think she has her eye on somepony though. An officer in the army.”

“What!”

“Yeah, he’s supposed to be one of the best, strong and handsome and smart.”

“I bet I could take him.”

“I don’t know Shining. He’s kinda scary, but he looks like a nice pony at the same time.”

“I could definitely take him.”

“I hear that she hasn’t been asked to Hearts and Hooves day yet. This could be your big chance.”

“Do you really think so? I mean, after everything you’ve said...”

“What happened to ‘I can take him’?” Twilight paused, letting her smile widen.

“I can, but... if he makes her happy, then. Well, I guess he’s the right one for her. Hey, why are you smiling.”

“Because you’re an idiot.”

“Huh?”

“She wants you to ask her to Hearts and Hooves day silly.”

“Why you little, come here.”

Twilight laughed, and began running, the laughing Shining Armor chasing after her, yelling dire threats of not so temporary harm as they ran through the halls. Twilight for her part shrieked like a filly every time he came close to her, shooting off down another corridor, running even faster than before.

“GOT YOU!” Shining roared in triumph, launching himself at the maid. He tackled her, sending both ponies to the ground, as he twisted in midair to land on his back, Twilight cushioned by his body.

There was a thump of impact as they landed, and Shining grunted at the force of the blow, but he still smiled. His grin dimmed however, when he realized where they were. And just whose pink hooves he was staring at.

“UGH!” The garbled shout came out more as a mangled yelp, and Shining shot to his feet, dumping Twilight to the soft floor of the library with a glorious lack of grace and care. “Cadence, umm, hi.”

The pink unicorn glared at Shining, her soft blue eyes narrowed. A fire almost seemed to be blazing within her, and even Twilight didn’t know whether it was rage or... something else.

“And just what do you think that you are doing here, Shining Armor? And look at what you did to poor Twilight. Its okay Little Light, I’m sure he didn’t mean it. Did you Shining Armor?

The anger was clear now, a frozen rage which sprouted ice within Twilight’s veins, even from the periphery of its center. Shining stood petrified under that icy voice. “Well.”

“Ug, er, um, chi, uh, N-no! I’m sorry Twilight, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Um, Cadence?” The unicorn ignored her, glaring at the stallion.

“Little one, can you find your book on your own?”

“Yes...”

“Shining, come with me. Goodnight Twilight.”

Cadence spun about, her tail held high, nose in the air. She marched out of the library, trailed by a contrite Shining Armor.

“Umm, well, nice seeing you Twilight.”

And with that, his tail flicked around the corner and Twilight was left alone in the cavernous library. She was the sole creature moving about the large room, filled with dusty volumes and heavy tomes. Row upon stacks upon piles of books littered the library, spilling out of the shelves, covering the floors, tables, and occasionally the statuary.

The books ranged from histories to biographies to genealogies. A treatise on the use of herbs for healing sat side by side with instructions on how to create a hot air balloon. This was the Helian Library, and it had no rival in the known world. It had texts on almost anything that the mind could imagine, and many things that it could not.

Twilight had been systematically reading through this treasure trove since she could recall, working her way slowly through philosophy and legal works, then almost inhaling histories, sciences, and magical texts.

“Now, where would you be?” Twilight murmured to herself, pacing along one long aisle near the middle of the library. Sidestepping a scattered few lying about on the thick velvet carpet, her hoof caught on one slim red volume, causing her to stumble. Stepping on another book, she lost all balance, and toppled to the ground, knocking the wind out of herself.

Groaning, she stood back up, careful to avoid any loose books underhoof. Looking down, she saw that the book she had tripped over originally had no title. The soft red cover on the book was blank, save for a small section along the spine, where a tiny sun was drawn in black ink, rising over the horizon.

Twilight cocked her head, able to make neither heads nor tails of the odd little book. Setting it on top of a small pile of books, she decided to pick it up when she left. Continuing down the aisle, Twilight slowed, beginning to read the spines of the books as she passed, searching for one she had yet to read. It was the section on pony anatomy, including the odd book on the psychological reactions to certain things ponies tended to have.

Twilight smiled as she found the book, a relatively small one on the causes and meanings of pegasus wing motions. It was a bit dry, if it were like any of the others, but anything was interesting if she put her mind to it. For a moment, Twilight stood, her head bowed and her eyes closed. Slowly, magic began to swirl about both her horn and the book. As the book came away from the shelf, leaving a narrow gap between itself and its compatriots, Twilight grinned. Perfect.

On her way out of the library row, she slid the small book on top of the anatomical text, wrapping both in the soft purple glow of her magic. Then she left the room , trotting to make up time as she turned once more to her Princess, and her duty.


“I have no choice. Damn them all, they have me cornered. I need your help. Please?” Twilight froze at the door to Princess Celestia’s chambers. There was another voice sounding from within the suite. Deeper, more resonant, but with the same soft tone of command lacing every syllable.

“I can try. I’m sure that together, we’ll think of something."

"Now, I think we should invite my handmaid into the room. The corridor can’t be comfortable. Twilight.”

The door opened slowly, and Twilight stepped into the room. She flashed a guilty smile to the Princess, bowing before turning to her guest.

Her eyes widened as she saw who was standing near the fire merrily crackling in the hearth. Framed by the great marble carvings surrounding the fireplace, stood a tall pony, her body, from hoof to horn was the black of deepest night, silver armor gleaming. Twilight’s breath caught as she looked upon the flowing mane, interspersed with points of white light as it slowly moved in an unseen wind.

“P-Princess Luna.” Her voice came out more than slightly strangled as she hurriedly bowed again, a rigid, formal bow. Her knees bent, and she knelt on the cold floor, her head bowed still lower, until the tip of her horn hovered just above the floor, only a thought away from almost insulting servility.

“Please, do not trouble thyself. We do not wish to burden thee by our presence.”

Twilight waited another moment, to ensure the correct protocols were observed, before rising from the floor. Then she surveyed the Princess, and her guest. Princess Celestia seemed oddly ill at ease, her gaze flicking between both ponies every few seconds. As if some news borne by Princess Luna had distressed her, news Twilight was not to hear. From what she had overheard, the Princess of Selene was in need of assistance.

“Twilight, as I am sure you know, this is my old friend, and fellow ruler, Princess Luna. She has come from Selene to conduct a very delicate series of negotiations. I would like you to assist her in any way you can. She knows much of our history, but I fear that some of our newer customs may confound her.”

“I am more than capable of determining what is needed, Celestia.” Her face contorted, a haughty pout replacing slight embarrassment.

“Be that as it may, do you think that it would help anypony should you mistakenly break the customs the nobility hold to? I do not know what Selene’s nobility are like, but if they are anything like my own are, then there is little doubt that every indiscretion will be noted. Which will not aid you in any way. Thus, Twilight, I need you to help Princess Luna. Please ensure that she does not inadvertently cause mischief.”

“Yes, Princess.” Twilight nodded, her head dipping into another bow for a moment.

“And Luna.”

“Yes?”

“Please try not to cause too much trouble intentionally, please. I have to live with them.” Princess Celestia smiled, letting some small portion of the suns warmth seep through the action. Or maybe that was only Twilight’s perception.

Luna though, merely grinned. “I would never dream of causing trouble for you. Goodnight, Celestia.”

She turned, and strode out of the room, leaving the oak doors ajar.

“Twilight.”

“Yes Princess?” Twilight, who had moved to retrieve her dropped books, straightened.

“Please accompany her for the duration of her stay. Both to aid her, and... please keep me informed of her activities.”

“Yes, Princess.” Twilight bowed her head, and turned, leaving the room. And leaving the Princess to her thoughts.

Author's Note:

Hello. I would just like to make a note here, that I have started up a Patreon. If you would like to support me, and my writing, then I would be very grateful to you, but regardless I will continue to write.

Hugs and Kisses,

Nadake

P.S. I hope you enjoy the story so far, and continue to in the future :twilightsmile: