• Published 18th Apr 2021
  • 503 Views, 22 Comments

Approaching Disaster - FanOfMostEverything



The only thing worse than tallying up all of the creatures who can't make it to the Festival of Friendship is dealing with the uninvited guests.

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Less Than Stellar Outcome

Namepending Castle, aside from acting as an object lesson about deciding names before the crowd did, had a number of novel arcane properties. In her darker moments, Twilight suspected that one of them was an anti-anxiety aura, one she could overpower without conscious effort. If nothing else, the harmony crystal held up against her pacing much better than the floors of Golden Oaks ever did.

Twilight shut her eyes, brought a hoof to her chest, and took a steadying breath. Her fifth in as many minutes, but she was the only one counting. “Okay, one more time. Shining Armor?”

Spike shuffled the various scrolls, notes, and miscellaneous missives scattered about the Cutie Map until he found the Crystal Empire message-flake. “Sunburst still has the crystal flu, and somepony’s got to look after Flurry Heart.”

“Right. Even with Fledgling’s Forbearance, surrounding her with a bunch of noisy strangers and fireworks probably won’t end well for her, the Festival of Friendship, or Canterlot." It made perfect, logical sense, as much as Twilight hated admitting that. "The yaks?”

Spike pulled over a beautifully carved cylinder of wood, the Equish characters rendered in a spiraling bas-relief, with illuminated portrayals of the party Pinkie had thrown for the Yakyakistani delegation carved along the top and bottom edges. The craftsyakship was only slightly marred by tooth marks and a large crack near the salutation. “That yeti migration’s still going strong. Prince Rutherford said something’s got them even more riled up than usual. Nocreature’s going in or out of Yakyakistan for the next three weeks unless they want to risk getting eaten." Spike rolled the dowel in his claws, considering the postscript. "They would do it if you asked.”

“I know, but I can’t ask them to in good conscience." Twilight sighed. "Once-a-decade migration, and it just had to line up with the event."

After a few moments, Spike said, "I mean, we could reschedule. These aren’t the only no-shows."

"Goodness knows." Twilight shook her head. "But no. If it doesn't happen on the anniversary of my getting my wings, then the whole thing is just a self-serving exercise in ego inflation. I wouldn't want to attend that kind of thing." After a sigh, she said, "Have we heard back from Griffonstone?”

“Kind of. Gabby—you know, the mail-griffon?"

"And the hen who very nearly provided a breakthrough in dermosymbology." Twilight stopped in her pacing and gritted her teeth. "Except she didn't." She started to smell smoke. Probably something in the oven. Why was it getting so bright in here?

"Easy, Twilight." Claws at her side made her jump. She hadn't even heard Spike get up. "We've got enough to worry about."

"I'm fine. I'm calm." Twilight still lay down for a few moments and let Spike work some tension out of her withers. When she let as much time pass as she could spare, she asked, "What did she say?"

"They’re still arguing over who has the authority to respond officially," Spike said as he returned to his chair. "And that Gilda apologizes on their behalf. Kind of.”

Twilight considered her knowledge of the griffon, most of it secondhoof. “She insulted the intelligence and character of every other griffon?”

“And a few other things besides.”

“I hope you’re not getting any vocabulary out of that.”

“Gabby's good enough at filtering that stuff that she's practically the Griffonstone diplomatic corps." Spike chuckled. "And I learned plenty of curses back when Rainbow Dash was crashing twice a day and calling it Wonderbolts practice.”

Twilight gasped. “Spike! That’s a terrible thing to say about a friend.”

That got a shrug. “It’s true.”

“I never said it wasn’t, but it's still terrible."

A faint scream resonated through the map room. This being Ponyville, it wasn't the first time.

Spike raised an eyeridge. “Think we should check on that?”

Twilight shook her head. “That sounded like Roseluck. She probably saw a bunny or something.”

“You are focused.”

“This will be the first ever Festival of Friendship. Maybe the only one if it goes bad enough. I’d like to avoid that if at all possible." Twilight spoke faster with every thought, the last sentence practically tumbling out of her lips. After steadying breath number six, she said, "How about the changelings?”

Spike gingerly picked up a hexagon of something translucent and green. One side had been covered in a waxy substance, with words scratched into the stuff before it had hardened. “Pharynx is attempting either sibling bonding or a coup. Maybe both. Thorax isn’t sure, but he definitely doesn't have time to make an appearance in Canterlot.”

"It's... probably just Pharynx trying to be a good older brother. I'm sure the Map would have alerted us otherwise." A chill ran across Twilight's spine as she considered her uncertainty with both that situation and the mysterious artifact she was using as a glorified coffee table. "So. The dragons? I don't believe they've sent a response yet.”

Spike shook his head and grabbed another scroll, this one singed along the edges. “Ember got back to me earlier today.”

“And?” Twilight looked closer as Spike unrolled the letter. "Wait, isn't that the invitation we sent her?"

"Not a lot of paper in the Dragonlands."

"Fair point," Twilight conceded. "What did she say?"

“‘Thanks, but no thanks.’”

“That’s it?”

Spike turned the scroll around so Twilight could see the four words scrawled on the back. “That’s it.”

“Ugh." She managed to resist the urge to smash her face into the Map, if barely. "The Pillars?”

That prompted quite a bit of paper shuffling. “Well, Star Swirl said he was too busy in his pan-Equestrian pilgrimage. Flash Magnus is apparently arranging some kind of massive training mission for the Guard who aren’t taking the day off—" Spike paused midsearch. "You’re sure about that?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. If she had to hear somecreature ask her that one more time... “It’s a Festival of Friendship. Spears and armor don’t exactly fit the theme. Plus, Celestia has promised me that any ancient sealed evils aren’t due to rear their heads any time soon. The rest of the Pillars?”

After double-checking the newest mail, Spike shrugged. “Kind of all over the place. If they’ve sent responses, we haven’t gotten them.”

“Well, it’ll be a moot point in a few days.” Twilight sighed and waved a foreleg. "Behold, the Princess of Friendship, who can't get any of her friends to come to her party. This must be cosmic payback for Moondancer."

Spike hopped out of his chair and moved to her side, giving her a reassuring pat on the barrel. “Hey, it's not like creatures are ignoring it.”

“Yes, but it's not all bad timing either. Both the Duke of Maretonia and the Sultan of Saddle Arabia basically sent the same answer as Ember, just in more polite terms. And King Angus the White—”

The Ponyville monster alert sirens went live. By the time their droning wails made their way through the twisting passages of Namepending Castle and into the map room, they formed a dissonant chorus that set Twilight's teeth on edge and made Spike curl into himself, claws over his earfins.

A quick, low-power bubble of silence brought the din down to something manageable. Twilight held Spike as he uncoiled himself. Once his breathing was under control, she asked, “Are you alright?”

After a few moments, he nodded. “Yeah. Sorry, it's just... you know."

Twilight said nothing, just nodding against his crest.

"Still, we should definitely check on that.”

“It’s just the biannual emergency preparedness drill,” she assured him.

Spike squirmed out of Twilight's grip and gave her a skeptical look. “Then why haven’t those sirens gone off since, you know, me?”

She smirked. “It’s Ponyville. We usually have disasters more often than drills.”

“Heh. True.” Spike hopped back into his seat. "So, King Angus."

"You're sure you're okay?”

Spike nodded. “It just caught me off-guard is all. So did you ever solve that maze? Or figure out why he sent it?”

“I've managed that much." Twilight looked to the map room's newest tapestry, a tablecloth-sized circular labyrinth of fiendish complexity, each path less than an inch wide. "It’s his response. That’s untranslated Minoan.”

“They write in mazes?”

She shrugged her wings. “It makes sense to minotaurs. I guess he assumed I could read it. Celestia says he thinks very highly of me based on what he’s heard. Though, given how the Saddle Arabian sultan needed a scroll longer than me to say 'no thanks...'” Twilight trailed off and sighed.

Spike scratched his head. “Can Celestia read any Minoan?”

“Just enough to order lunch.”

“And Sunset? The journal must've made that easy.”

Twilight grimaced. “Inviting Sunset means inviting her friends, whose local analogues are already attending. And her girlfriend. Who is me.”

“Yeah, that’s awkward on multiple levels." Spike cleared his throat and gestured towards a pile of more conventional scrolls and letters. "At least we’re getting guests from all across Equestria!”

“Yes, but it feels a little hollow." Twilight looked from that stack to the rest of the table. "This is supposed to be a Festival of Friendship, but so few of my friends will be able to make it.”

Spike chuckled. “You know, it says something when you’re upset because your friends can’t make it. And when the ponies who have RSVP’d count as only a few of them.”

That coaxed out a weak smile. “I guess that is one way of looking at it.” Twilight drooped. “But they’re not there for me, they’re just there for an alicorn. If the creatures I’ve met personally don’t want to come, then—”

A deafening roar shook the room as much as it echoed in it. Dust fell from the roots of Golden Oaks as pony and dragon both tried to keep their footing.

Spike looked up, frowning. “Okay, now I know that isn’t part of a drill.”

Twilight just focused on cleaning up the piles of correspondence the roar had disrupted. “It’s like Princess Celestia taught me, I can’t let ponies assume an alicorn will take care of everything.”

“Twilight, that was clearly a dragon.”

“If it were a genuine emergency, I’m sure Rainbow Dash would’ve flown in by now to tell us." Twilight picked up a stack of telegram cards and rapped them against the side of the Cutie Map before flicking through them. "Now, the western buffalo tribes—“

“Rainbow Dash,” Spike echoed flatly.

Twilight gave him a hard look over the edge of the cards. “Yes. I believe you've met. Blue pegasus mare, Bearer of Loyalty, used to carve furrows in the fields outside Ponyville twice a day?”

“Training at Wonderbolts HQ right now?”

“What?" Twilight summoned her day planner in a burst of magic, flipping through it as she kept talking. "No she isn’t, she…" She trailed off as she reached the current week. And the big rectangle stretching across the whole thing, clearly labeled RD: WONDERBOLTS. Her ears drooped. "Oh dear.”

“Um, Princess Twilight?" Both looked up to see a pegasus standing in the map room's doorway, so anxious her eyes were darting about like a chameleon's. "So sorry to barge in, but there’s kind of a giant dragon on its way to the castle.”

Twilight straightened up and nodded, quietly sending the day planner back to her bedroom. “Thank you, Ditzy, I was about to take care of that.”

“Oh." Ditzy Doo wiped her brow with a wing. "That’s a relief.”

"Yes, yes it is." And with that, Twilight galloped for the nearest balcony. She could've teleported, but she needed the extra time to think.

Spike followed along, moving on all fours to keep pace. “Really?”

She could spare a bit of attention to answer him. “It’s like Cadence told me during that awful airship cruise. Half of being in charge is acting like you know what you’re doing.”

“Well, it’s gotten us this far.”

"That's what I keep telling myself." The last parts of the ninth contingency plan clicked into place in Twilight's mind. "Listen in, but try to stay out of sight. I trust your judgement on this one."

Spike nodded. "You got it." He veered off just before Twilight approached the balcony.

The sight of what awaited her made her immediately throw out Plans A, B, and E through H. "Dragon" undersold just what hovered in front of Namepending Castle. It dwarfed Torch, just as wide but built more sinuously, dangling in the air like an immense silk scarf with no apparent need for wings and casting much of Ponyville in shadow. Cervine antlers and mustache-like tendrils couldn't distract from a mouth the size of the Carousel Boutique, nor the clear intelligence in the eyes behind it. And, of course, there was the small matter of how the entire crimson behemoth twinkled like a night sky seen through a glass of red wine.

All in all, it barely cracked the top ten most awe-inspiring things Twilight had ever seen. “Can I help you?”

“Princess Twilight Sparkle?” it said at a surprisingly reasonable volume, though deep enough that Twilight could almost feel her bones shake.

She nodded. “That’s me, yes.”

The dragon grinned, revealing far too many teeth. “Wonderful. I must request that you come with me.” It writhed its coils until it could hold out a relatively dainty forepaw—which still had as much surface area as the balcony—where Twilight could hop into it without needing to spread her wings.

She didn't take the opportunity, just leveling a flat stare at the creature. “I’m afraid I must decline that request.”

It loomed down to better stare down at her, filling Twilight's field of vision with red stars, the two supergiants that were its eyes burning with barely restrained fury. A single immense eye ridge rose. “Are you?”

Twilight tamped down the urge to yawn in the titan's face. No point being rude. “I am. I am not going to just sit back and let you kidnap me."

The dragon sighed, forcing Twilight to shield herself against the strong, saliva-misted winds. "Miss Sparkle, you are putting me in a very uncomfortable position."

She crossed her forelegs once she dropped the barrier spell. Okay, maybe this called for a little rudeness. "Do you have any idea what my schedule looks like? I don't have time to get kidnapped!"

"Miss Sparkle, I am Draco, the constellatory dragon. And as Mother always said, you can't spell 'constellatory' without ‘story’. That's what the constellations are, stories written in the sky. When we descend from the heavens, we have no choice but to act the part. I am not merely a dragon, I am Dragon, trope and archetype. I terrorize villages because that's what dragons do. I hoard treasure because that's what dragons do."

Twilight rolled her eyes. "And you kidnap princesses because that's what dragons do." She sighed and muttered, "The Ursa Minor was never this bad."

Draco chuckled, wisps of smoke flying everywhere. Dragons, Twilight realized, have excellent hearing. "Well, bears tend to be rather benign in stories, don't they? So long as they aren't provoked, of course."

"Of course," Twilight grumbled.

"Fortunately for both of us, dragons are also very intelligent, and thus I am aware of my own predilections. If you resist, I fear that convention would demand that I lay waste to this charming little village in the ensuing struggle." Draco gestured towards Ponyville. After the sirens had gone off, the town had gone into Tirek-class emergency status: remain indoors and away from windows until the all-clear party. "Given what I've heard about you, I assumed you'd prefer the more efficient option."

“What you’ve heard about me?” It was grasping at straws, yes, but Twilight was happy to stall however she could. “I can’t even get a taxi in Manehattan; how did you hear anything about me?”

That got another laugh, the smoke clouds making the sky increasingly overcast. “I believe you are familiar with the term limits of the Dragonlord, and other such minutiae of dragon law?”

Twilight cleared her throat. “I can neither confirm nor deny that.”

“Oh, I believe you can,” Draco said with a literally brilliant smile. “After all, I am the one who enforces those laws. And when I saw an unfamiliar alicorn aiding one of the competitors in the Gauntlet of Fire, my word, I had to meet such a daring pony myself. Once I cleared out my own busy schedule, of course.”

“Of course,” Twilight said, rolling her eyes.

“Now, we’re both busy entities, so why don’t we continue this conversation elsewhere?” Draco gave a meaningful glance at the town. “Unless you’d prefer a more… crassly physical way of resolving this.”

“Well, you’re right about one thing.” Twilight smirked as her mental countdown, which had started when she'd spotted the one green wisp of smoke, reached zero. "I do prefer the most efficient option."

Draco tilted his head. "Why do I suspect this doesn’t involve cooperating with me?"

"Because it doesn’t. I happen to know another dragon." Twilight didn't dare turn away from Draco, but she couldn't help but give a proud smile. "One who's nothing like the stories. And he got in touch with the one princess you'd never dare kidnap."

The dragon gave a thunderous scoff. "I can't imagine who you could possibly be ref—"

DRACO!” If the scoff was thunder, the shout was a meteor impact.

Physically, Draco stayed the same, but he seemed to shrink in on himself almost as much as his pupils did. Slowly, inexorably, he turned his head to the source of the shout. "M-Mother?"

Luna hovered some distance from the balcony, scowling at him. "What did I tell you about giving in to your narrative compulsions?"

He tried to grin. He certainly managed to bare his teeth. "W-Well, it was so long ago. You can't possibly expect me to—"

"Dragons have excellent memories, young drake."

Draco glared at Luna. "I am over two thousand years old, Mother, I—"

“You are going to your room this instant, that’s what you are,“ said Luna, matching the glare effortlessly. "I didn't raise you to talk back to me like that."

Draco roared, driving Twilight back with the buffeting winds. "You barely raised me at all! You were always with Orion, or Cassiopeia, or the twins, or one of the other pony constellations! Because that's what this is really about, isn't it, Mother? You're ashamed of me! You've always wished that I could be a pony, or a dumb beast, or a set of black-hole-riddled scales! Well, you know what? I—"

Luna drifted closer to the castle as Draco's rant went on. "This has become rather personal," she said as she lit her horn, carefully directed Royal Canterlot Voice somehow cutting through the tirade without putting any more strain on Twilight's ears. "Please excuse us." And in a burst of antilight, both moon and stars were gone.

Spike dashed to Twilight's side. "You okay?"

After a few moments spent figuring that out, Twilight nodded. "Yeah. I think I am. And I think we're done worrying about the Festival for today."

Spike laughed at that. “I think it’s safe to say you don’t have anything to worry about there, Twilight.”

“How so?”

“A creature you’d never even heard of wanted you all for himself. Whatever’s tripping creatures up, it’s not you.”

Twilight gave that an uneasy grin. “Not sure if that’s a good thing.”

Spike smirked and continued, “And you’re good enough friends with the mare who moves the moon for a living that she came as soon as she found out.”

That got a nod. “Okay, that does work better to boost my confidence.”

“And just because some of your friends can’t make it doesn’t mean they aren’t your friends.”

“True.”

“Heck, the festival could go even worse than what just happened, and that wouldn’t change how you’re a great Princess of Friendship!” Spike threw his claws into the air for emphasis.

“Now you’re going a little overboard.” Still, Twilight found herself smiling. “Did you spend that whole time thinking of ways to cheer me up?”

“Did it work?”

“It definitely put a dent in my self-doubt. I suppose the Festival is more symbolic than anything…” Twilight hesitated, looking towards Canterlot. She could almost imagine she could see the preparations taking place in front of the castle, just next to the red smear of Draco. “But it is still the very first one.”

Spike shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s not like some big, smoky, princess-hunting monster will actually crash the party.”

Both of them took a few moments to consider that. “Spike, make a note to review the royal intelligence reports when we get the chance.”

“Yeah, probably a good call. But for right now, Sugarcube Corner?"

"Sugarcube Corner." Twilight knelt to let Spike hop on her back. Once he was secure, she took off, putting her own shaky understanding of the Royal Voice to work:

"We're clear, everypony! Pinkie, start the We're Not Dead party!"

Author's Note:

Based on "Secret of My Excess," Ponyville does have air raid sirens it uses for monster attacks. Or at least that one.

It really is a shame the show didn't do more with starbeasts.

And yes, this is my explanation for why the movie has a marked absence of previously established non-pony sapients. Sometimes these things just don't work out.

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Comments ( 22 )

Not having seen the movie, this was still a nice one. Couple of little chuckles, leading up to a bigger laugh from the seemingly random resolution of the crisis. Which in turn became a nice little headcanon, emminently stealable at that.

Good job. :twilightsmile:

10776358
All you really need to know is that none of the established characters other than the other princesses and the Mane 6 are even mentioned despite the fact that they should have been for fairly self-evident reasons, the Guard was so incompetent that it forgot to exist, and the monster who crashes the Festival of Friendship can't reasonably be described as smoky.

morion87 #3 · 3 weeks ago · · 2 ·

Twilight grimaced. “Inviting Sunset means inviting her friends, whose local analogues are already attending. And her girlfriend. Who is me .”

Am I missing something here? I can see what Twilight means. Good luck explaining the Rainbooms being the doubles of the Mane 7 in a way that won't cause a panic. Among other things.

But unless I missed something. (very possible with me), that ship doesn't feel like it belongs here. Just added more words for the sake of it.

Love the story either way.

10776401
A sane person needs a reason not to do things they like, and no such reason is present here. I'm not going to go to the point of downvoting you, but this should be self-evident to anyone who understands that other people exist.

"We're clear, everypony! Pinkie, start the We're Not Dead party!"

So in Ponyville is that a biweekly, monthly, or whenever we have a Tirek level event?

Cause I could really easily see that at min a monthly considering Pinkie Pie and Ponyville needing to take the edge off with some special "cider" or its like. Though you do wonder how the children/foals unwind in those cases.

Ah, it's already posted.

“Yeah, but it’s not like some big, smoky, princess-hunting monster will actually crash the party.”

derpicdn.net/img/2020/8/30/2434179/large.png
Bonus points for the double meaning of "Smokey"

10776401
This is more a line directed at the Oversaturated universe and the fact that Ponyville still has no clue about the human world. That and having doubles of the friends that will show up alongside the ones that are not would get mightily confusing when or if the others mount a surprise arrival or comments that they came but did not know of the situation they ad been in. While it would be nice to have them it would offer way more trouble down the line than it be worth.

I'm just going to say that Luna admonishing Draco was delightful. Utterly delightful. Twilight's so used to this whole thing that the monster siren doesn't even phase her anymore.

Though, the "smoky monster" thing got me thinking of a FiM version of Erebus.

10776463
I dont think so...

Glimglam just has to say she had a misfire on a simulo duplexis, and everypony goes, "Ohhh, that thing again..." and the citizens return to their usual lives...

"The count is three and two, with two outs, bases loaded. FOME is eyeing the pitcher; that last one painted the inside corner a little too close, but it caught just enough for a called strike..."

"FOME makes a couple of swings to check his timing, as the pitcher steps off the mound, rubbing up the ball, and looks at the pitching coach. I gotta think a few signs are getting shuffled here...."

"And the pitcher is back up, kicking some dirt away from in front of the rubber, as FOME sets up in the batter's box. FOME is a consistent hitter, and even though behind in this count, he's still dangerous. This thing is nowhere over yet..."

"FOME has steadied up, waiting for the offering, holding the bat high up, like Musial used to do. The pitcher shakes off two signs, then nods and kicks the glove up. He comes to the stop, gives first a glance; the runner has his lead, but just on the edge. No good for an easy out...."

"He stretches, and fires. Looks like his money pitch, the fastba..."

CRACK!

"Holy Smokes, folks! FOMR got all of that and more!!! It's lifting, lifting..."

"BACK...BACK...AND IT'S OUTTA HERE!!! GOODBYE, MR. SPAULDING!!! Second deck ringer; you could hear it bounce against the seats up there...!!!"

"There he is, folks!! You can hear the *ting* from his teeth with that massive grin!!"

"Fan Of Most Everything does it again, folks!!!!"

More star beasts, please. And more angry mama Luna to go with that. This was good.

Sunburst still has the crystal flu

A non-crystal pony has a crystal pony virus? I expect that to be either benign or fatal.

Twilight looked to the map room's newest tapestry, a tablecloth-sized circular labyrinth of fiendish complexity, each path less than an inch wide.

That'll keep the kids busy at the restaurant.

“Yeah, but it’s not like some big, smoky, princess-hunting monster will actually crash the party.”

derpicdn.net/img/2020/9/7/2440319/large.png
"As the lord of chaos, I'd advise against saying things like that."

Did that end up being plan C, D, or I?

Draco might be in even more trouble depending on what time of day this takes place and whether Luna had to be woken up.

Twilight ultimately learned that although it was in her nature to spread friendship, festivals weren't really her forte. School, on the other hand...

This is absolutely delightful! I love all the little worldbuilding touches--especially the "all-clear party" :pinkiehappy:

Having constellations be living tropes and archetypes is an interesting concept. Of course, that raises interesting questions about where they came from to begin with (especially if they're only a couple thousand years old and consider Luna to be their mom, which raises further questions of its own...)

Pinkie knows planning a party can't be easy :moustache:

10776358
You're welcome to claim the stuff on starbeasts for your own. There are few better forms of flattery than "headcanon accepted."

10776384
Not smoky, but those airships definitely came with their own storm system. Either way, it's a sky full of black clouds.

10776401
I never claimed to be above self-indulgence. :derpytongue2:

10776458
Bold of you to assume Pinkie can't arrange foal-appropriate destressing activities. (Also, you may have cracked why she keeps inventing new holidays.)

10776460
Not what I was going for, but I'm willing to roll with this interpretation.

10776464 10776591
When Luna calls herself "Mother of the Stars," she's not being figurative. She may have adopted them, but she still expects better.

10776563
That only goes so far. Especially when the "duplicates" keep calling ponies horses, struggle to walk, can't figure out magic, keep talking about things nopony's heard of, are being herded by a mare who's vanished for years... Oh, and the Twilight somehow traded wings for glasses.
That said, glad to hear I knocked this one out of the park. :twilightsmile:

10776733
Thanks! Always fun to flesh out the world wherever I can.

10776783
The stars have always been there. The constellations less so; mythopoeia needs myth-makers. Draco's age is more of an estimate than a hard number, especially since part of that time was the Discordant Era.

10777331
Twilight really should have gotten her on board much sooner. And she might have if she didn't have such a convenient way to send invitations across the globe. :moustache:

10776608

A non-crystal pony has a crystal pony virus? I expect that to be either benign or fatal.

Turns out those Crystal Heart makeovers have some long-term immunological side effects.

Did that end up being plan C, D, or I?

A little of each. Call it the Morshu Contingency.

Twilight ultimately learned that although it was in her nature to spread friendship, festivals weren't really her forte. School, on the other hand...

Best to stick to her strengths. Now, if Pinkie were the Princess of Friendship...

“Now you’re going a little overboard.” Still, Twilight found herself smiling. “Did you spend that whole time thinking of ways to cheer me up?”
“Did it work?”
“It definitely put a dent in my self-doubt. I suppose the Festival is more symbolic than anything…” Twilight hesitated, looking towards Canterlot. She could almost imagine she could see the preparations taking place in front of the castle, just next to the red smear of Draco. “But it is still the very first one.”
Spike shrugged. “Yeah, but it’s not like some big, smoky, princess-hunting monster will actually crash the party.”
Both of them took a few moments to consider that. “Spike, make a note to review the royal intelligence reports when we get the chance.”
“Yeah, probably a good call. But for right now, Sugarcube Corner?"

*A few days later, while reviewing the royal intelligence report...*
Twilight Sparkle: "SPIKE!!??"
Spike: "Yo, what's up?"
Twilight Sparkle: "So--from what I see here, you really did more than just think about ways of cheering me up for the Festival."
Spike: "Oh? Whatever do you mean?"
Twilight Sparkle: "Admit it! You scripted that entire encounter with Draco and then having Princess Luna pop in to 'supposedly rescue me'!?"
Spike: "I most certainly did not script it!"
Twilight Sparkle: "It says here that on Tuesday of the previous week, you met with Princess Luna, and that together, the both of you left on her chariot to the Far North for several hours--which just happens to be where Draco resides! :twilightangry2:"
Spike: "'Scripted' would be going too far to describe it. Nopony could possibly predict you to that degree. We did choreographed it, though. His conversation with you was strictly ad-libbed. :moustache:"
Twilight Sparkle: "SPIKE!! :twilightangry2:"
Spike: "Hey, I knew you were going to be disappointed by everypony declining your invites. And I also knew you were going to need cheering up as a result. So, I did what I could to help. :moustache:"
Twilight Sparkle: "And if I had been kidnapped by him? :facehoof:"
Spike: "Princess Luna was standing by, ready to 'rescue' you. :moustache:"
Twilight Sparkle: "Or if I ended up deciding to fight and it resulted in Ponyville being destroyed before Princess Luna could intervene? :twilightangry2:"
Spike: "Draco was game for that, too. He said he could always use the excuse of exercising to keep himself in shape and it's more fun than trashing his neighborhood like every day with nopony about--he says it's kind of boring doing calisthenics all alone. Besides, it's not like you could really hurt him in any event. To be honest, I think he could use a friend to drop by once in awhile. He was way too happy to jump in to help. Besides, Ponyville's fully insured and we would just log it as being part of the usual monster drill. The cost for such simulated destruction is covered by our Equestrian-Farms Insurance coverage. :moustache:"
Twilight Sparkle: "Y--you did that--for me!? :twilightoops:"
Spike: "Me, Princess Luna, and Draco. Because we all love you, Twilight. :moustache:"
Twilight Sparkle: "Awww.... :twilightsheepish:"

10777380
Oh it was never a doubt that she does. Its just without alcohol to relax you from some of the existential dread, which is something Pinkie would never serve foals, you wonder what type of activity she would bring to the table so to speak.

That was a great read, and it reminded me that I have yet to finish my Aurelion Sol pony story.

Namepending Castle

Incredible

"And the hen who very nearly provided a breakthrough in dermosymbology." Twilight stopped in her pacing and gritted her teeth. "Except she didn't." She started to smell smoke. Probably something in the oven. Why was it getting so bright in here?

FoME you really gotta stop being so clever all the time my doctor says it’s bad for my health

The image of using the Map as a coffee table is great, and pretty much exemplifies the entire story.

Nice :)

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