• Published 4th Jul 2022
  • 637 Views, 56 Comments

The Nail - Boltstrike58

In which Fizzlepop Berrytwist, the Element of Magic, must face her greatest challenge.

  • ...

Chapter Two: A New Case

Despite having spent a good portion of her life in the city, Fizz honestly didn't care for Canterlot. Sure, it was the location of Equestria's central government, and the princesses lived there, but beyond that, she didn't see anything really special about it. For her, the fact that so many of Equestria's elite, upper crust ponies lived there was a downside, seeing how annoying they were. She'd had several debates with Rarity over this. Thankfully, over time, Rarity had softened on her opinion. She'd realized there were more valuable things in life than being the elite pony everypony should know, or whatever.

If Celestia had called all of them to Canterlot, it must've been for something important. So Fizz wasted no time in buying train tickets for her and her five best friends, and set off for the mountain city with all due haste. In what seemed like no time at all, they were disembarking from the train and dropping onto the platform.

"So did Princess Celestia say what it was she needed us for?" asked Rainbow, who was flying above the group as usual. "Is there another Equestria threatening villain whose butt we need to kick?"

"She didn't specify, actually," replied Fizz. "She just wanted us to come to Canterlot. She didn't even make it sound that urgent."

"Aw," Rainbow whined. "I was hoping we'd get to look awesome saving Equestria again."

"Don't worry, Rainbow!" said Pinkie Pie, bouncing up to her friend's height. "With our track record, I'm pretty sure something evil will come along that we have to defeat! Besides, the story needs to have some conflict!"

"I'm always up for another adventure!" chimed in Applejack. "Though I wouldn't complain about a break either. It's only been a couple of weeks since we convinced Discord to reform, and then you got your princess wings."

Fizz smiled as her friends continued to debate. She wasn't going to voice her opinion, but she would've liked some quiet time as well. She still needed to get fully accustomed to her new wings. Thankfully, it was going better than when she'd had to learn to use her magic in a completely new way. It had taken her months to even figure out how to levitate things again. Her magic hand ability was the product of hours upon hours of practice. She knew some more advanced spells, but didn't need to use them for everyday things.

Strolling up the road, the six mares soon found themselves at Canterlot Castle. The royal guards stepped aside to let them in without question. Fizz already knew the quickest way to the throne room, so she led the others.

"Oh, to live in such a glorious palace!" squealed Rarity. "Really, Fizz, you should ask Princess Celestia when you're getting your own castle."

Fizz suppressed a snort of laughter. "I'm content to wait as long as possible for that. I don't think a castle would really suit me."

"Well, it looks like we agree on something," came a voice from down an adjacent hall.

Fizz groaned internally, but she nonetheless turned her head towards the source, as did the others. Stepping out of the nearby hallway was a white unicorn stallion with a blond mane, wearing an outfit that screamed "expensive."

"A castle certainly wouldn't suit a crippled pony like you," Prince Blueblood continued. "Neither do those wings you have so unfairly stolen from much more deserving ponies."

Fizz narrowed her eyes, and a few sparks of loose magic jumped out of her horn, but she gave no other sign that she was anything more than annoyed. She'd dealt with this loser more than enough to be used to his insults.

"What do you want, Blueblood?" she asked. "Don't you have a rock to crawl back under? Or some snooty party to attend where nopony actually eats anything?"

"Not when unworthy ponies pervert the name of royalty," the prince growled back. He looked over the other five, his eyes lingering on Rarity for a minute. "Looking at the company you keep, I'm more convinced than ever that Aunt Celestia made her greatest mistake in choosing you."

Fizz opened her mouth to snap back, but before she could, Rarity stepped in front of her.

"Leave Princess Fizz alone, you scoundrel!" snarled the fashionista. "She has more dignity in one hair than you have in your entire body!"

"Thank you, Rares, but you don't need to—" Fizz began.

"Yeah! Back off, creep!" added Rainbow Dash. "Who's more worthy of being an alicorn? You?! You couldn't become an alicorn if you all you had to do was tape wings to your back!"

"Girls, it's really not a big deal—"

"They're right!" chimed in Fluttershy, who stomped up to Blueblood and gave him the full power of the Stare. "You should be ashamed of yourself, you pathetic—"

"GIRLS!" Fizz yelled, causing her horn to shoot out a few bolts. She stomped one hoof for extra emphasis. Surprised, the other five turned to look at her. "Come on. We don't need to keep Celestia waiting to deal with this idiot."

With that, she turned on one leg and stomped down the hall. After about one second, she heard the others following after her. She shot a quick glance at Blueblood, who was still paralyzed from the Stare. Fizz allowed herself a small smile at the sight. That would shut him up for a while.

"What's wrong, Fizz?" asked Applejack. "We were only trying to stick up for you. It ain't like that creep is gonna get you in trouble or anything."

"That's not the problem," replied Fizz. "Look, I appreciate your efforts, but I can fight my own battles. I've been dealing with that loser Blueblood since I was a filly, I can handle a few snooty remarks."

"Oh. Okay," said Fluttershy. "Sorry about that. We didn't mean to imply—"

"I know you didn't," said Fizz. "I'm not mad at you. Just forget about him. He's not worth remembering." The others all nodded, though they looked a little guilty.

The rest of the trip to the throne room passed in silence. Soon, the six mares were approaching Celestia and Luna's thrones. While her five friends bowed, Fizz stayed standing, merely smiling up at her teacher. Celestia had told her so many times she never had to bow, even before she became a princess.

"Princess Fizzlepop. I'm glad you all made it here safely," said Celestia. "We have a few more guests on the way, but that shouldn't take too long."

"So this meeting's not anything especially urgent?" asked Fizz.

"Nothing apocalyptic," replied Luna. "But it is something we are concerned about."

Fizz gave Luna a polite nod. She recalled the day Luna had been released from the grip of Nightmare Moon. She'd had her doubts about the princess of the night, even after Celestia told her the whole story. Were they just supposed to forgive the whole trying to take over Equestria thing? But after meeting Luna on Nightmare Night and spending some time with the socially awkward princess, she'd decided Luna could be trusted.

A knock at the door suddenly drew her attention. Turning, Fizz and the others watched as a turquoise aura enveloped the door before pushing it open. On the other side stood a pink alicorn mare and a white unicorn stallion.

"Cadence. I didn't know you were coming," said Fizz. "This must be big if Celestia's even calling you in."

Fizz and Cadence weren't the best of friends or anything, but Fizz had no reason to dislike her. It was just that Cadence, as the Princess of Love, was focused on sappy stuff that annoyed her. Then there was her husband Shining Armor, former captain of the royal guard. He was polite and civil, but he always seemed to be depressed about something. Fizz had asked Cadence about it, but the alicorn had only grown quiet, eventually saying that it was family troubles. Fizz, not wanting to pry, had backed off.

"From the letter, it did sound important," replied Cadence. "Sorry for the late arrival."

"It's no trouble," Celestia assured her. "Now, we can finally begin the meeting.

"Last night, a discovery was made in the Canterlot Royal Library archives, particularly the Star Swirl the Bearded wing. We found that certain books and scrolls are missing from the collection. As you know, that wing is restricted, only accessible by myself and Luna, as well as ponies who we authorize to get inside. However, no ponies have been granted our permission over the past month."

"Meaning somepony stole them," summarized Fizz.

"That is what we believe," replied Luna. "Nopony in the royal guard reported any kind of break-in. As such, we have increased security around the castle. We're increasing restrictions to the archives until we can recover the stolen materials. We have no clues as to the identity of the thief right now, but we want all of you to be on the lookout for similar thefts. One of our theories is that somepony may be attempting to gather forbidden knowledge across Equestria."

"What exactly was stolen?" asked Cadence. "Maybe we can build a more concrete theory if we look at the contents of those books."

Celestia levitated up a list. "From what I recall, most of them consisted of Star Swirl's notes on Discord's chaos magic, as well as other unusual forms of magic. Not that anypony could harness chaos magic just from reading those materials. In fact, only a few of our highest level unicorn mages could even hope to comprehend them."

"So whoever stole that stuff, it's useless to them?" asked Rainbow Dash. "All they can do is try to sell it for a bunch of bits?"

"Not necessarily. Remember, we don't know anything about who the thief is," Fizz reminded her. "They'd have to be pretty good at magic to get past all of the security here."

"As I stated, we'd like you all to keep an eye out for anything suspicious," Celestia continued. "If you see anything, don't hesitate to inform us."

"You got it, Your Highnesses," said Shining Armor, speaking for the first time. He gave a salute, but Fizz could tell it was half-hearted.

Celestia gave him a nod. "Then you are all dismissed. Except for Princess Fizz. I'd like to have a quick word with her in private."

The others all nodded, and proceeded to trot out of the room. Even Luna left without protesting. Fizz approached Celestia's throne, where the larger alicorn proceeded to drape one of her forelegs over Fizz.

"I'm guessing this isn't a top-secret conference where you tell me some details you couldn't say in front of the others," she said, nuzzling into Celestia's chest.

"Of course not, my faithful student. Well, former student," replied the princess. "I just wanted to check in with you. See how you are progressing."

Fizz took a step back. "Well, I do have to admit I haven't gotten fully used to these yet." She gestured to her wings. "Not that I'm ungrateful for them or anything, but they keep messing with my sleep."

"Not surprising. I remember my first few nights with my wings. Cadence had similar problems with her horn. How are your flying lessons coming along?"

"Good. Rainbow Dash is a good teacher. She hasn't started trying to get me to do stunts yet, so that's nice."

Celestia gave a small giggle at that. "I'm glad. How about your magic? Is it still working the way it should?"

Fizz gave a small grin at that. "You know you don't need to keep checking on that. It's not like I've done anything to it."

"You're right, I apologize." Celestia's warm smile shifted to a slightly displeased frown. "Blueblood didn't come up to you on your way here, did he?"

Fizz shrugged. "He did, but don't worry about it. I can handle that waste of air." She lowered her ears a little. "I've gotten used to complete strangers staring at my horn (though that doesn't happen much in Ponyville), and Blueblood's just a pest I can ignore, but I wish my friends would stop acting like I'm helpless because of it. I'm in great shape, and words don't hurt me anymore."

"That's still happening? Have you ever tried to get them all together and talk about it?"

Fizz looked down. "The last time it was a conversation topic between all six of us was when I told them what happened to me. They were all very nice, assuring me they didn't see me as anything less because of it, but they dance around the topic like they're terrified of offending me. I've got thick skin, they don't need to worry about that. All I want is for them to treat me like any other pony."

Celestia reached down with her hoof, patting Fizz on the wing. "I'm sorry, Fizz. For now, I'd advise you to gently correct them when they make mistakes, and let them learn how you want them to handle it. I believe trying to force it will only make them feel unnecessarily stressed."

Fizz looked her teacher in the eye. "Alright, I'll give it a try. Thanks, Celestia. By the way, I was wondering..." She cut herself off. Fizz had wanted to bring this up for quite a while, but talking about it with Celestia didn't feel right for some reason. There was somepony else she thought would understand better.

"Was there something else?" asked the solar alicorn.

Fizz shook her head. "It's nothing. We can talk about it another time."

"Alright. If you insist."

The two shared one brief hug, before Fizz trotted out of the throne room to join her friends.

"Well, that was kind of a bust," complained Rainbow Dash, as the six mares headed back towards the train station. "I wanted an Equestria-destroying monster to blast with rainbow lasers, not some boring stolen property case!"

"I don't mind," said Fluttershy. "It'll be nice to have a quiet adventure for once."

"I agree," chimed in Rarity. "Whenever we have an epic, long-winded quest to save Equestria, I always fall behind on my orders, and have to pull multiple one-nighters just to get back on schedule."

Fizz was quiet as her friends continued to talk around her. She was thinking about the reality she now lived in, a reality where she was a princess. Back when Celestia had first taken Fizz under her wing, Fizz had never imagined reaching this status. Oh, she knew there were noble ponies who objected to her ascension. Blueblood was their leader, after all. But something she hadn't discussed with Celestia was what she was going to do as a princess. Would she have her own kingdom or something? She;'d come close to bringing it up in their last conversation, but she wanted to save it for somepony else. Somepony very specific.

"Hello, Fizz? Equestria to Fizz?" came Applejack's voice, knocking Fizz out of her thoughts.

"I'm sorry, what were we talking about?" she asked.

"We were just wondering if you were gonna come back to Ponyville with us," said Pinkie. "Or were you gonna stay here in Canterlot, maybe search pawn shops for those stolen books?"

"Oh, okay. No, actually, I was planning to make a trip back to Coronet Circle. I realized I haven't talked to mom in a while, and I wanted to check in with her." It was embarrassing for Fizz to admit that, but she hated lying to her friends even more. Plus, Applejack probably would've seen right through it.

"Alright, if you're sure," said Applejack. "We'll check Ponyville's pawn shops. A smart thief likely wouldn't have sold that stuff anywhere near Canterlot, anyway."

"Thanks, girls," said Fizz. "I should be back in Ponyville sometime tomorrow."

The six mares began making their way back towards the train station. However, they didn't notice a single bird sitting on a nearby rooftop watching them intently. The bird's eyes were not normal, glowing a bright shade of red.

Miles and miles away, a pony watched through the bird's eyes in a puddle of water. She grinned to herself. Using birds as eyes always worked.

With a pulse of magic, the bird's vision zoomed in on Fizz. The pony raised a hoof to her chin.

"Hm. Interesting."