• Published 22nd Nov 2012
  • 6,749 Views, 672 Comments

An Expression Of Love - Fluttershy20

Twilight's in love with Fluttershy, and goes on an adventure with her to tell her that.

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Chapter 3

The road to Canterlot was old – very old. Before the railways came, it was only way of getting to the capital, but once the railway was built traffic along it ceased into almost non-existence. It wiggled its way across part of Whitetail Woods like a snake, then suddenly it turned right and keeping a more or less straight path right through the woods and then finally up the mountain to Canterlot itself. Due to the lack of traffic, the road was becoming one with nature once more as plants and weeds began to sprout up from cracks along the surface.

Yet despite the weariness of the road they travelled on, the two mares couldn’t help but amazed by the woodland around them. The trees that lined the road stood proud and tall, and their leaves were a beautiful healthy green. As well as the trees, the two saw some of the animals that called this piece of Equestria their home: birds of various types fluttered from their perches or flew from tree to tree, squirrels jumped across branches above them, and other animals like deer, foxes, badgers and butterflies watched them from the shadows of the trees.

Twilight took a deep breath of the fresh, cool air that seemed to come from this place. She felt relaxed, relieved, even – for the past few weeks she had worked and studied constantly to improve herself in magic, and it left her tired nearly every day, and not feeling too good from the lack of fresh air, not to mention leaving her spending less time with her friends. This felt like the greatest cure a pony like her could have – a getaway from being the Princess’s personal student and being a simple unicorn pony for once. She looked back at Fluttershy, who lagged a bit behind, but she didn’t care, for Fluttershy was looking beautiful.

Fluttershy’s face was lit up with utmost joy as butterflies flew around her, and one perched itself on her nose for a moment – causing Fluttershy to make a funny face which Twilight giggled at – before flying away again with the others. The pegasus’s eyes were wide and her head couldn’t stay still as it darted left and right towards the animals watching them. If Fluttershy had any fears about taking this old road before, they had almost certainly washed away now.

“This place is amazing!” Fluttershy shouted, bouncing up next to her companion. “Why I don’t come here often escapes me. Remind me to camp out here sometimes and enjoy the sunset and stars in the sky.”

“Oh, mind if I join you in that?” Twilight asked, her tone expressing her delight of the idea. “I do love a good bit of stargazing.”

Fluttershy stopped bouncing and looked at Twilight with a grin. “Of course. In fact, we could invite all our friends.”

“I’m sure they would love that.”

“I hope so, as long as Rainbow Dash keeps her scary stories away then I’ll be happy.”

Twilight smiled at her, and then looked up to see the sun was now at its highest point in the sky. They had walked for two hours straight and had since lost sight of Ponyville. Twilight’s hooves felt sore and her belly rumbled constantly, protesting the lack of food. Suddenly another rumble came from beside her, louder and sounding more ferocious. She looked at Fluttershy with a thin smile, who bashfully looked to the ground and her coat was going completely red. “Was that your stomach?” Twilight asked, trying desperately hard to suppress a giggle and failing.

Fluttershy gave a meek nod in response. “Sorry. I haven’t eaten since yesterday evening.”

“Well how about we stop and have some lunch?” Twilight suggested. “I imagine we’re not going to eat at a reasonable time tonight so it might be best we have something now.” Fluttershy nodded in agreement, then began looking around for a suitable place to stop. Twilight did the same for a moment, but stopped and facehoofed herself hard on the forehead. “Darn it!”

Fluttershy gave her a look of concern. “What is it?”

“I just remembered I never packed myself a pack lunch,” she explained. “I thought we would be there by now. But since the railway’s down, I won’t have anything to eat at all.” Her ears fell flat and she pawed at the ground with a hoof.

Fluttershy looked at her sympathetically, then walked up to her and gave a quick nuzzle in comfort. “How about I give you some of my lunch to have?” she suggested, smiling kindly at her.

Twilight looked up at her in shock. “I can’t force you out of your own food, Fluttershy. Have your own; I’ll just stick to the leaves and grass around here.”

“Oh, don’t do that, you might get a tummy ache. Besides, I made enough food to feed five ponies, and I couldn’t eat it all myself. And I don’t like eating on my own.” She leaned her head closer and gave Twilight big, irresistible eyes that nopony could say no to.

For Twilight, it was too much. She let out a small sigh and smiled at Fluttershy. “Thank you, Fluttershy. You are too kind.” ‘And that’s one of the reasons why I love you.’

Fluttershy grinned, then looked around for a place to stop. “See anywhere suitable and out of the way?”

Twilight started looking around for a suitable place to stop for lunch. She quickly found one that lay just off the road barely visible behind some bushes. “Come on, over there.” With that, she cantered off the road and into the bushes, with Fluttershy close behind.

Behind the bushes, the place they picked sat at the top of a hill that overlooked a part of Whitetail Woods. Trees covered the vast expanse in front of them, and the mountain the six of them had to climb up to get rid of that dragon stood proud and tall in the far distance. They could see the road that the Running Of The Leaves goes through during autumn, as well as a couple of travellers that took it to go to one of the smaller villages of Equestria. “Perfect,” Twilight said. “Just perfect.” She sat down on her haunches and with her magic took off her saddlebags and let out a sigh of content.

Fluttershy set herself down next to Twilight, and began to fiddle through her own saddlebags for their lunch: pancakes and lettuce sandwiches, something that she had since she was a filly. She split the lunch in half and passed it over to Twilight, who smiled in thanks and then began digging into the sandwiches. “Would you like a few pancakes as well?” Fluttershy asked. “I made enough for the both of us.”

Twilight’s eyes widened in delight and she nodded eagerly. “Oh, yes please. How could I refuse the third love of my life?” Fluttershy took a bag full of pancakes out and passed them over with her mouth. Twilight took hold of it with her magic, said, “Thanks,” and then began sorting out her half.

“The third love of your life?” Fluttershy giggled. “No offence, but only you would organise your loves in a order.”

Twilight giggled at the realisation. “Yeah, you’re right. You know me far too well.”

“Well, I have known you for three years now.”

Twilight stopped what she was doing and looked at Fluttershy in shock. “Really? It’s been three years since Nightmare Moon’s return?” Fluttershy nodded in response. “Wow, it just feels like it’s been only two.”

“I feel like it’s been longer since then. I mean so much has happened in three years with the six of us it’s unbelievable.”

Twilight smiled and gave a light chuckle. “Indeed.” She shook her head. “Anyway, I say we should eat, and these lettuce sandwiches look most enticing.” She picked one up with her magic, and began munching away. Fluttershy picked up hers and began eating, all the while gazing at the scenery before them.

“Whoa,” Twilight said suddenly, after she took a bite out of one of Fluttershy’s pancakes. “These pancakes are gorgeous!”

Fluttershy lightly blushed. “You’re just saying that.”

“Nope, I truly mean it when I say this. These have to be the best pancakes I have ever tasted.” Twilight stopped talking and finished off another pancake, confirming her belief to be the best pancakes she’d ever had. “What’s your secret?” she asked.

“Oh, I just made them and cooked them for a little bit shorter, that’s all,” Fluttershy replied. “Nothing special, really.” She took a canteen of water out and began to drink.

“Are you kidding? You’re going to have to teach Spike how to cook the way you do,” she said, before jokingly adding, “Or I’ll have to come and live with you.”

Fluttershy pulled the bottle away from her mouth and spat out the water in shock. She looked up and gasped when she saw Twilight’s face drenched with water, with her eyes covered by the forelock of her mane. “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry!” she cried, putting a hoof over her mouth. She looked back into her saddlebags and began looking for a towel. “Here, let me clean you up.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Twilight said, smiling and wiping her mane out of her eyes. “I think I deserved that.”

“No! Of course you don’t! Here let me dry your mane before you catch a cold.” She took the towel and began rubbing it on Twilight’s face to dry her off, muffling the unicorn’s protests. She moved the towel away from her friend’s face and began drying her mane.

“You don’t have to do this, Fluttershy,” Twilight protested, although her relaxed tone said otherwise.

“Of course I do. I made you wet, the least I can do is dry you off,” Fluttershy replied, as she rubbed the towel up and down Twilight’s mane. Eventually Fluttershy finished drying her friend off and set it back into her saddlebags. “I’m so sorry again, Twilight.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Twilight replied, smiling comfortingly. “It’s only water after all.”

“I know, it’s just I was a bit surprised you said that, that’s all. Nopony has ever considered staying around my house for longer than a night.”

“Why not? Your house is lovely and the very definition of the word ‘peaceful’. Why would anypony say no to staying there longer?”

“The animals, I guess,” Fluttershy answered with a shrug. “I don’t think most ponies could put up with them all over the place. But I would never give them up for anything.”

Twilight smiled admirably. ‘That’s another thing I love about you,’ she thought. ‘When it matters to you, you stand up for yourself and don’t take no for an answer.’ “Good. Don’t let anypony tell you otherwise,” Twilight said. She looked to where the sun was and saw it was moving out of its highest point and from now on would begin descending across the sky and towards the horizon. “We should get moving, or else we’ll have to camp here all night.”

Fluttershy nodded in agreement, then began throwing any remaining food she had left for the animals of the woods to have, while Twilight did the same. Once done, they put their saddlebags on their backs, trotted out of the clearing and went back onto the road, leaving no trace of them ever being there. As they walked, Canterlot and the mountain it resided on moved closer and closer to them with every passing second, and every second closer gave the two mares the realisation that the climb up the mountain is going to be a tough one. Nevertheless, they needed to get up to Canterlot.

Another half an hour later, Twilight glanced at Fluttershy and saw in her saddlebags the top of the cover of one of the Daring Do books she had borrowed from Rainbow Dash. “You’re enjoying that book, then? The Daring Do book in your bags.”

Fluttershy looked at her saddlebags and saw the book in question peeking out of the bag. She took a wing out and closed the pouch so it wouldn’t fall out. “It’s all right,” Fluttershy replied. “Not as good as the last one, or the one before that, but it’s still a thrill of a read.”

Twilight’s eyes widened at the fact that Fluttershy was actually reading it. “You know, I was surprised when you came to me and asked if you could borrow that Daring Do book after Rainbow had finished with it. And now you’ve surprised me further by saying you’ve read them.”

Fluttershy looked up from a group of ants she was watching and trying not to step on and gave Twilight a surprised look. “Really?”

Twilight nodded. “Yeah. I mean, I didn’t think you would be in to that sort of thing. That’s all action and adventure, something that you don’t like usually. Don’t take this the wrong way, but just looking at you and I would think you would be more into romantic stories, like the ones Rarity reads.”

Fluttershy giggled and shook her head. “Oh no, I can’t stand romantic stories. Too cheesy for my liking. Rarity gave me a few she thought I might like and I was glad to be rid of them when I gave them back. Don’t tell her that, though. She would be very hurt if she knew I didn’t like them.”

Seeing the ants coming into her path, she took to the air and fluttered to the other side of Twilight so not to hurt them. “Ever since I was a little filly, my parents would read me stories about a character going on a journey. Each they read me was different; some had me at the edge of my bed, and some had me begging my mum or dad to read more so I would know if the main character got out of a tricky situation alright, then I could sleep happily. When my mum and dad tried to read me a different sort of book, I always said, ‘Could you read me that one about the pony going over those mountains again please.’

“I have always loved adventure stories, Twilight: the journey, the imagery, the action, the suspense, I love it all. All because…” she trailed off, thinking of the right word to use.

“Because you love the escapism you got out of it,” Twilight answered for her, smiling in understanding.

Fluttershy looked at Twilight for a moment, then smiled and nodded in agreement. “I loved them, yet I envied so much. The characters in all of them were something that I’m not – brave, charming, strong in body and mind, and good looking. They were everything I always wanted to be. So every time I imagined the characters they would look like me and I’ll be doing all those things. Moreover, when I went to sleep I dreamed I was a pony travelling all of Terra seeing exotic animals, ancient ruins, majestic waterfalls, vast jungles, and watching dazzling sunsets. But every time I went to sleep, I knew that when I opened my eyes again, I’ll be back to the same boring, quiet, scaredy-pony Fluttershy.”

“Is that why you wanted to come with me on this trip, then? To know what it feels like to be one of those ponies you read and loved as a filly?”

Fluttershy nodded. “As well as wanting to keep you company, and because there was nothing to do at home, of course. But yes, I wanted to know how it felt for them, how did leaving their lives behind and coming back a different pony affect them. The only way I would know is doing it myself – minus the danger, of course.”

‘Well I hope that isn’t the case for you. I never want you to change at all, for you are beautiful just the way you are,’ Twilight wanted to say. “Fluttershy, I understand why you wanted to come, and I respect that, but you have got to stop being so hard on yourself. You are never boring, and you are certainly not a coward. You are brave in your own way, and I love hanging around with you. It’s just nice to be doing something more relaxing than running around after Rainbow Dash, or trying to find Pinkie in a game of Hide and Seek.”

“She hasn’t started playing that game with you, has she?”

“Oh, yes. She is impossible to find in any case, and she knows every spot in Ponyville so that makes it trickier. Did she play it with you?”

“She plays it with everypony at least once. I never managed to find her when it was my turn.”

“Same here.” Twilight suddenly shook her head. “But we’re getting off topic here. Whereas they do those sorts of things, you have little tea parties or picnics or little walks, and they are a nice change of pace compared to the rest of our friends. And don’t ever say you’re not good looking, Fluttershy. You are one of the most beautiful mares in Ponyville, and your short but extremely successful fashion career proves it.”

Fluttershy turned red once more. “You really think I’m beautiful?”

Twilight nodded, with a hint of pink on her cheeks. “I do,” she answered quietly.

Fluttershy smiled bashfully. “Ah, thank you, Twilight. You are such a nice friend. And… and you’re pretty yourself.” She looked away and saw a family of sparrows in one of the trees, not noticing the large blush on Twilight’s cheeks. Nopony had ever said she was beautiful before, except her parents but they didn’t count since they would say that. But Twilight… The unicorn was always nice to her, and was always complimenting her, but then again she complimented the others a lot as well, so maybe it was something Twilight did to make them feel better about themselves? She was right about her fashion career, though; the money she earned from that made her arguably the richest mare in Ponyville.

Twilight, on the other hoof, was thinking of a completely different matter. Fluttershy had never talked about her time as a filly, except when she met Rainbow Dash and acquired her cutie mark, but before or after was a complete mystery until today; some of it, at least. “How come you never told me before about what your parents read you when you were a filly?” she asked eventually. “We could have shared notes and made recommendations.”

Fluttershy looked at her again, this time her head was low to the ground. “I… I usually don’t like talking about myself. I get really uncomfortable when asked a personal question like my childhood.”

“Then why did you tell me about it?” A sudden fear came into Twilight. “I wasn’t forcing you, was I?”

“Oh no,” Fluttershy quickly swept her fears aside. “But I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m with you out here, alone in the wilderness where nopony else can interrupt us or listen into our conversation.”

“I think I know why – because you’ve loosened up a bit. You’re more willing to talk now about your past then you used to. Those assertiveness lessons helped you out more than you thought.”

Fluttershy shuddered. “Please don’t bring that up again, Twilight. It wasn’t exactly my finest moment, and one in particular I like to forget.”

“Sorry, but Celestia told me once to never forget our mistakes, or we’ll just make the same ones again. So learn from it, rather than forget it.”

“I know,” Fluttershy said, nodding. The two fell silent once more and picked up the pace a little by breaking into a trot. “So what was your favourite type of book to read when you were filly? If you don’t mind me asking,” Fluttershy said a while later.

Twilight gave her a deadpan look. “Do you even know me, Fluttershy? I loved every type of book when I was filly, and still do. If it had pages in it and a cover with a title on it, my nose would’ve been in it. In fact, thinking about it, probably every book in the Canterlot library had my nose in it at some point.”

Fluttershy giggled at an image that came into her head of a print of Twilight’s nose in every book in the Canterlot library. “But I have loved reading since a young age,” Twilight continued. “I love them for the same reasons you love adventure stories; that feeling of escape you get from a good book just makes you want to be that character, be in that world, be in that time.” She let out a little sigh. “Plus the ones where you learn new things are as much fun as fictitious books.”

“Any favourites?”

Twilight put a hoof to her chin in thought. “There was one I like the most. An adventure story, to be honest. The richness of the world the writer created, and the characters he made up were so realistic that I might have shed a tear when one of them died.” She giggled at herself at doing that. “What about you? What was your favourite story?”

“Oh, well…” Fluttershy’s eyes darted from place to place as she thought about it. She didn’t take too long to answer, however. “There was this one story where this pony had to go over these mountains and face a evil dragon on this tall mountain along with some ponies who originally lived there. That story had quite an impact on me. In fact, it may be the reason why I’m so scared of dragons. But what I remembered most about it was this song that the main characters sing when they’re leaving their home. I found myself humming it nearly every day afterwards. Thinking about it now just gets that tune in my head.”

“Care to share it with me?”

Fluttershy’s head went a bit lower and she shyly replied, “I… I don’t know… I mean, I like to sing, but I don’t think I’m that good a good singer, to be honest. I don’t think I could do the song justice, anyway.”

Twilight’s jaw dropped. “You are a amazing singer, Fluttershy. I remember watching you soothe all those bunnies after they had panicked through that incredible song you sang. Honestly, listening to you made me want to lie down then and there and go to sleep. And don’t worry about doing the song justice. It’s just me and you out here, so noone is going to be bothered.”

“Well… if you’re sure, then I’ll sing it for you if you like.” She gave one long look around incase there was somepony else nearby, then cleared her throat and began to sing. She started with a tune at first, to help her get into the beat of it, and soon she was bobbing her head up and down thanks to it. Then she began to form words, and although they didn’t suite her voice, Twilight couldn’t care less, for she loved to hear Fluttershy sing:

“There’s a road, calling you to stray.

“Step by step, pulling you away.

“Under moon and star.

“Take the road, no matter how far.”

The moment Fluttershy started singing, Twilight instantly recognised it, and began to sing also:

“Where it leads, noone ever knows.

“Don’t look back, follow where it goes.

“Far beyond the sun.

“Take the road, wherever it runs.”

Fluttershy looked at Twilight in shock when she noticed the unicorn was singing along with her, and then grinned and together they sung once more:

“The road goes on, ever, ever on.

“Hill by hill, mile by mile.

“Field by field, stile by stile.

“The road goes on, ever, ever on.”

While Twilight repeated the chorus, Fluttershy sung another verse:

“Mountain and valley, and pasture and meadow.

“Stretching, unending, for mile after mile.

“Fenland, and moorland, and shoreline and canyon.

“Bordered by hurdle and hedgerow and stile.”

Fluttershy paused for a moment, allowing Twilight to sing the next part:

“One more mile, then it’s time to eat.

“Pick some pears succulent and sweet.

“To the furthest shore.

“Take the road, one hundred miles more.”

Then they sang different bits at once. While Fluttershy sang one verse:

“The road goes on, ever, ever on.

“Moor by moor, glen by glen.

“Vale by vale, fen by fen.

“The road goes on, ever, ever on.”

Twilight sung another verse:

“See the road flows pass your doorstep, calling for your hooves to stray.

“Like a deep and rolling river, it will sweep them far away.

Both ponies raised their heads into the air, and sung the last verse together.

“Just beyond the far horizon lies a waiting world unknown.

“Like the dawn its beauty beckons, with a wonder all its own.”

The two ponies stopped singing and began laughing. The two hadn’t noticed but they were now at a trotting pace once more. “I never knew you knew that song, Twilight,” Fluttershy said, surprised but pleased.

“Of course I would,” Twilight replied. “Like I said before, my nose has been in every book in the Canterlot library. But that book the song is from, is definitely one of my all time favourites.” She looked ahead and sighed heavily. “Well I don’t know about you, but after that song I feel like galloping some of the way.” She stopped and put herself in a ready to gallop stance. “Want to have a race?”

Fluttershy looked at her hesitantly. She didn’t usually like to gallop, incase ponies saw her and laughed at her. She briefly considered saying, “I’ll prefer to walk, if that’s okay,” but the look on Twilight’s face held that back. The pony she was with was one of the few ponies that never laughed at her unless she told a joke (which is rare), was always patient with her, and always wanted what was best for her. ‘Twilight will never laugh at me,’ she thought. In fact, Twilight could be one of the few ponies she could beat at something, and still be a good sport about it.

Fluttershy backed up so she was next to Twilight, then put herself in the same stance. “You’re on,” Fluttershy said, grinning.

Twilight grinned. “Okay then. First one to tire loses. Three, two, one… go!” With that, Twilight broke from her stance and galloped forward with all her strength, laughing.

Fluttershy stood where she was, completely in shock at how fast Twilight had gotten. She remembered the unicorn was out of breath once just to get to Sugercube Corner, and that was ten minutes away from the library. ‘She’s quick,’ she thought. She grinned. ‘Now let’s see if those runs on the outskirts paid off.’ Fluttershy instantly broke into a gallop and moved as fast as her legs could take her. She soon caught up with Twilight, however, and was beginning to gain the lead. Twilight saw this and tried gaining speed. Soon both ponies were racing down the old Canterlot road, laughing as bushes and trees flew by, nearly sending some birds off their perches, but the two ponies were too busy having the time of their lives to notice.

Eventually, Twilight began to slow, until she finally stopped and collapsed onto her stomach, out of breath and panting for air. Fluttershy stopped instantly, spun around and charged back to Twilight’s side. “Twilight, are you all right?” she cried in concern.

Twilight raised a hoof in assurance. “I’m fine. Just a bit… knackered after that. I have to say… you’re much quicker than I thought you would be. Although… I imagine all those pancakes I’ve been eating haven’t done me any good. Remind me to go on a diet later.” She raised herself up and with her magic, took out a canteen of water from her saddlebags and gulped down half of it.

“You don’t need to go on a diet, Twilight. If anything you should gain some weight. There’s barely anything on you.”

Twilight smiled bashfully and looked away to hide the blush on her face. ‘Stay down, blush. You’re not welcome here,’ she told it in thought. The blush melted away and she looked back around at Fluttershy with a small smile. Before the pegasus knew it, Twilight had her in a hug. “Thank you, Fluttershy.”

“Um, there’s no need to thank me, Twilight. I was only telling the truth about your weight.”

“Not that. I want to thank you for coming with me. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time, being the Princess’s student and all. It was nice to have some fun like that, with a pony that knows how to have fun.” She pulled away from her and gave her a friendly smile. “I think I’m going to enjoy travelling with you.”

Fluttershy smiled, and placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “You’re welcome, and thanks for asking me to come. I think I’m enjoy travelling with you as well.”

Twilight’s smile grew a little bigger at that. “Well then,” she said, getting up from her sitting position. “I think we should get going. I would prefer it if we were up that mountain by nightfall.”

Fluttershy nodded in agreement, and with Twilight began trotting along the road towards Canterlot. The road’s gradient was beginning to move up, which made them realise that soon they would be under the shadow of the mountain, and from there the road would be a steep climb up. Nevertheless, they were ready for it.

‘Yeah,’ Fluttershy thought, looking at Twilight’s contagious cheery grin, ‘I think I’m going to enjoy travelling with you a lot.’

The road up to Canterlot wasn’t as tricky as they thought it would be. Age began to show in the road as weeds and holes began to appear in it, but none of them made the road treacherous and hazardous to their health as the path became narrower the further they went up. It was, however, extremely steep at times.

By the time they had finally navigated the mountain path and arrived on a flat surface, only the top of the sun was visible over the horizon, and the moon and stars began to appear. The two ponies set their rumps onto the ground and took a moment to catch their breaths. “That was… definitely… as steep as it looked,” Twilight said, looking back down at the path they just walked from.

Fluttershy nodded in agreement, unable to say anything due to being out of breath. “Do we… have any… more water to drink?” she managed to get out at last.

Twilight shook her head. “Sorry, I drunk the rest halfway up.”

“That’s okay. It’s your water after all.” Fluttershy took a deep breath, then got up and made herself ready to walk again. “Ready to walk again, Twilight? We’re not too far now.”

She was right. About ten minutes away was the front gate of Canterlot, with its drawbridge down and open to all, its gleaming white towers that shone bright even in the low sunlight, and its mighty palace, the greatest construction in all of Equestria.

Twilight nodded, then willed herself onto all four hooves. “Okay, I think I’m ready. Let’s go.” The two walked down the road towards the castle gates. Alongside the road, tall statues of ponies stood in heroic positions, with their faces gazing south towards the badlands, as if their stares would scare away any invaders.

“Who are they, Twilight?” Fluttershy asked, stopping to look at one.

“Oh, well I can’t remember the names of the others but I know that one is Scribe-a-lot,” Twilight replied. “He and the others along here were the original founders of Canterlot.”

Fluttershy looked surprised at this. “I thought Princesses Celestia, Luna and Starswirl the Bearded founded Canterlot.”

“You’re half right,” Twilight agreed, walking at a small pace with Fluttershy alongside. “The original Canterlot these ponies built was a large group of huts and crudely designed buildings, with one major hall in the middle. It wasn’t even the capital of Equestria back then, which was a long forgotten town somewhere north of here. In fact, it wasn’t even called Canterlot to begin with. But life was peaceful up here, so the first ponies stayed, and started trading with the other towns and began to build up the town, creating more homes as the town’s population grew, and creating a wooden palisade to protect it.

“It did little good when a dragon appeared. You see, below the city lie huge caverns filled with diamonds that would make anypony rich. This dragon had managed to find a way in, and managed to extract the diamonds and created his own hoard for him to sleep over. He was disturbed when ponies started digging their way into his caverns, however, and saw them as a threat. So he emerged from the caverns and destroyed the town, levelling it completely and driving any survivors off the mountain. When Princess Celestia and Princess Luna emerged after defeating Discord and taking Equestria under their wings, it became apparent they needed a capital to govern the country from, so they began searching for a place to build one.

“They searched all over, until Luna suggested this mountain, where the old town used to be. They had, of course, heard the tale of what happened to the original town, but it didn’t hinder them. They made their way into the mountain to find the dragon, only to find a skeleton clinging to a large group of diamonds in the caverns below. Knowing the mountain was now safe and secure, they begun building the royal palace for them to rule, and built a castle at the Everfree forest to retire and get away from the ruling of the country. Later it soon came apparent that other ponies should live up here, so they began to extend the area around the palace to house ponies of all three species, and other forms of life. And that, Fluttershy, is how Canterlot was founded.”

She froze when she realised she had just given a history lecture. She had warned herself not to do that anymore, since the last several times she tried she found most ponies fast asleep. So now Fluttershy had probably shared the same fate they did.

“Wow. So what happened to the dragon skeleton?” Fluttershy asked, her tone stating her genuine interest on the matter.

Twilight looked back at her with a look of shock. “Did you listen to what I just said?”

“Of course I did,” Fluttershy replied, nodding. “What kind of a friend I would be if I didn’t listen to my friends? Not to mention I found that really interesting. So what did happen to the dragon skeleton?”

Twilight broke out of her shock and answered, “They buried it with all the honours a dragon receives at a burial. What that means I don’t know for Celestia and Luna never told me what they did to it.”

“Well all the same that was fascinating. I barely knew how Canterlot came about until today. Thanks for sharing that with me, Twilight.” Fluttershy suddenly shivered as a wind crept up behind her and crawled over her. “Could we go inside please? It’s starting to get a bit cold.”

Twilight nodded, still in shock. “Of course, come on let’s get out of here.” She turned around and led Fluttershy over the drawbridge and into Canterlot itself, smiling to herself. ‘I made the right call in asking just Fluttershy to come with me,’ she thought. ‘No offence to the others but they do have a shorter attention span than she does.’

The two of them were soon inside the royal palace, thanks in part to the guards merely glancing at them and letting them pass. They moved away from the open door and towards the staircase leading into other parts of the palace. “I can’t believe we actually made it,” Twilight said as they trotted up the staircase.

“I do,” Fluttershy said. “I knew we would make it in the end.” She suddenly yawned. “I feel tired, Twilight. Could we find somewhere to go to sleep please?”

Twilight yawned also. “Agreed. Come on, this way,” she said, gesturing with her head the corridor heading right from the grand stairs. They followed the corridor until they came to a T-junction. They turned right, only to stop and freeze in surprise at the rather tall pony walking towards them.

“Princess Celestia!” Twilight called, a wide grin on her face seeing her teacher, and her idol.

The Princess of Equestria looked at Twilight in shock at seeing her, but that shock faded quickly and was replaced with a large grin at seeing her. “Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student,” Princess Celestia greeted her. Twilight ran up to her and gave the Princess an affectionate nuzzle, which Celestia returned. “It’s so good to see you again after a long time, Twilight,” Celestia said, grinning. “Your appearance has made my day.”

“It’s good to see you too, Princess,” Twilight replied, grinning as well.

Celestia smiled at her, then noticed with a quick glance Fluttershy sitting at the edge of the corridor looking a little nervous. Celestia smiled warmly at her, comforting her to some degree. “And hello to you too, Fluttershy.” The Princess walked up to Fluttershy and gave a comforting nuzzle, shocking the pegasus to the bone. “It’s good to see you, my dear.”

‘Okay, stay calm, Fluttershy, it’s no big deal. It’s just the ruler of Equestria giving you a little friendly nuzzle. No biggie,’ she thought. “I-it’s good to see you too, Princess!” she squeaked, a little dazed from the close contact from the Princess.

Celestia pulled away from the pegasus and looked back at Twilight, not noticing the swaying motion Fluttershy was doing and looking like she was about to faint. “So what brings you two here, Twilight?” she asked. She had a quick look around for the rest of her friends. “Is it just the two of you?”

“Oh yes, it’s just Fluttershy, and me,” Twilight replied. “And we’re here for a bit of research.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow in confusion. “Research?”

“Yep. Research. Looking into the study of flora of Equestria and possibly beyond, and Fluttershy is a suitable assistant for the job at hoof, since she knows so much about plants and animals already. So I asked her if she could assist me on this and she agreed, so we’ll be staying in Canterlot for a bit, then setting out again.” She finished and gave her teacher a wide grin, hoping it would work and she would see through the half a lie she just told.

Celestia raised her eyebrow a bit more, not entirely convinced Twilight was telling the full truth. If Twilight wanted to do research, Celestia thought, then surely she wouldn’t be up here dragging Fluttershy about, since the library she lived in had just about everything her student needed to study with. Although she was worried about her, it appeared it was definitely about plants, so she decided to let it slide for now. “Do you know yet where you would be staying?” Celestia asked.

“Um, not sure about that yet, but we should go and find someplace soon. I feel like falling to sleep here and now after that walk.”

“Well how about I help,” Celestia offered. In an instant her horn lit up its golden hue and a dark bronze key quickly appeared and floated next to her. “I think this is yours anyway.”

Twilight took the key with her magic and stared at it incredulously. “Is this… is it really…?”

Celestia nodded in response. “It’s been left untouched since you left, Twilight. I have planned for some time to get it refurbished and such, but something seemed to stop me from doing so. Anyway I will let you two get on and get some sleep. It sounds like you need it after walking to Canterlot. Goodnight, you two.” With that Celestia turned away and trotted down the corridor towards her chambers.

“Goodnight, Princess!” Twilight called. “And thanks!” She suddenly remembered something. “Oh, Princess!” Celestia stopped and looked back. “Could you let know Spike know that we made it to Canterlot alright please? I imagine he might be worrying about me.”

Celestia smiled warmly. “I shall get to that straight away. Goodnight, you two.” With that, she turned away and walked down the corridor, disappearing from sight in the darkness.

Once the Princess was gone, Twilight looked to Fluttershy, who still hadn’t broken out of her daze and was still swaying from side to side. Twilight knew the cure for this, since she was in it once herself and her brother had to snap her out of it. She slowly walked up to the pegasus, leaned in close to her ear, and shouted, “FLUTTERSHY!”

The pegasus was gone in a yellow flash. Twilight looked up to see her clinging onto one of the chandeliers. “What happened? Why am I up here? Why does my ears ring!” she demanded.

“Sorry, Fluttershy. But you were in a ‘contact with the Princess’ daze, as my brother called them, and I had to break you out of it by shouting in your ears. The ringing should pass quickly. You can come down now.”

Fluttershy let go of the chandelier and fluttered to the ground with a shameful look. “I looked like a total idiot in front of the Princess, didn’t I?”

Twilight giggled. “No you didn’t, Fluttershy. I’ve seen stronger ponies than any of our friends fall into that daze, and they looked stupider than you did.” She patted the pegasus on the shoulder. “I wouldn’t worry about it. Besides, I’ve done it myself, and I have the photo to prove it. Anyway, I have us a room for the time we’re here.” She showed her friend the key.

Fluttershy gasped. “Where did you get that?”

“Celestia gave it to me,” Twilight replied. “And I know exactly where it is. Follow me.” With that she trotted down the corridor with Fluttershy close behind, who was confused and curious about where they were going.

Twilight led the pegasus through the palace, going right one way, then suddenly going left another, before realising she went down the wrong way and had gotten lost, so had to turn back. “Sorry,” Twilight said sheepishly after the fifth time it happened, “it has been ages since I’ve been in this part of the palace.”

Eventually, Twilight found the right way out and led Fluttershy into a part of the palace the pegasus had never seen before in her time in the capital. It was a large area of towers and large rectangular buildings that stood spaced out across a wide land of grassland with a single tree at their centres. A few ponds were dotted here and there, all of them full of amazing water lilies of various colours.

“Where are we, Twilight?” Fluttershy asked, curious of this new place. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this place before.”

“You haven’t. In fact, not many pegasi come here at all, so you’re privileged to be here. This,” she reared up and spread her forelegs out wide, gesturing the buildings around, “is part of the School For Gifted Unicorns. These in particular are the dormitories of the school, for those living too far away to return home after school finishes for a day.”

“So you stayed here when you were part of the school?” Fluttershy asked. Twilight nodded in response. Now all the pieces were coming together in Fluttershy’s head. “So that key the Princess gave you. That’s the key to your…”

Twilight cut her off with a nod of confirmation. “We should be nearly there actually. Ah ha! There it is.” She pointed to a tower that was at the far end of the dormitories. It was pretty tall, compared to the rest, with a long spiralling staircase that ran around it like a helter skelter, which stopped near the top and the path went under a large dome that was golden with a single, large arch window.

“That’s where you used to live?” Fluttershy asked. Twilight nodded, sighing as old memories came back to her. “Wow. I can imagine you here, to be honest. Probably lying by that pond there with a book in front of you, with other ponies like you talking about your day as they sat around you. You probably miss it here.”

Twilight visibly and noticeably winced at the last part. “You’re right about the first part, Fluttershy. The rest, though… let’s just say I preferred the company of myself and nopony else.”

Fluttershy looked shocked. “But, Twilight… you mean to say you didn’t have any friends here?”

Twilight nodded sadly. “My choice, really. Back then I thought friends got in the way of what mattered to me; being good at what I was. So I avoided social contact when I could and concentrated on my studies and my books.”

“But what about Spike? Wasn’t he your friend?”

Twilight winced again. “I never considered Spike as a friend. He was my assistant, and that was it. Well, in a way we were close, but not as close as we are today.” She looked at Fluttershy and smiled. “But that’s when you and the girls came in. You five opened up my eyes and showed friendship is the greatest thing a pony needs. It helped me out and it helped my relationship out with Spike.” She gave Fluttershy a quick, friendly nuzzle. “So thank you for being my friend.”

‘Yep, a friend you could lose if you tell her how you truly feel about her,’ a vile voice in her head told her. Twilight ignored it to the best of her ability, but it still resonated in her head like the ringing you hear after listening to really loud music. “Come on, let’s get inside and go to sleep. Big day tomorrow.” She led the pegasus, who decided to walk rather than fly, up the staircase and to the large light blue door with two hearts on its face.

Twilight got the key out from her saddlebags, then opened the door and walked inside, with Fluttershy following close behind and shutting the door behind her with a hind leg. The place was dark, but she could see the large windows across the walls of the tower revealing the night sky of outside. Suddenly a bright light blinded her as Twilight powered up her horn and for a moment the room disappeared in a flash of white light.

When the light cleared, the room she was in was lit up with candles in the corners, and she could see the beauty of this place. A stairway spiralling up to the next floor was in front of her, while to her left was what she considered the bedroom, and a room to the right of the stairs was, she guessed, the bathroom. She took off her saddlebags and left them by the door, and then walked up the stairs, curiosity guiding her every step.

When she arrived up on the next floor, she gasped at the sheer number of books that this place held. ‘Now I know why Twilight liked this place,’ she thought to herself. Along the left wall was a large bookshelf full of books ranging from subject to subject, which was strange for she always considered Twilight to be organised and would keep subjects at different parts. ‘But then again she does have a baby dragon as a assistant,’ she reasoned. ‘Spike is a sweetheart but his organisation skills are lacking.’

She looked from the bookshelves to the large hourglass by the large window that looked out across Canterlot, showing a beauty she had never before seen of the city. She looked right to the desk where Twilight used to study, and then finally above where a long row of bookshelves were on another floor. All of it, like Celestia said it was, was left untouched since Twilight had left for Ponyville. It felt like stepping back in time for Fluttershy; this world was something she and her friends had been briefly told about, but never seen.

She and the rest of her friends barely knew about Twilight’s life before coming to Ponyville. They knew she was a bookworm, and loved her for it, but Fluttershy never knew it actually blocked her from making friends. It saddened her to think that Twilight was without friends for so long, and she began to wish she had been by Twilight’s side in those times. Her and Spike as her friends. That way Twilight would’ve had friends, and so too would Fluttershy.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Twilight’s voice made Fluttershy jump out of her skin for a second and making her take to the air before coming back down onto her belly. Twilight giggled, and quickly helped her up. “You alright?”

Once Fluttershy’s heart rate slowed down, she nodded. “I’m okay, thanks. Just looking at your old home. Where did you go to, anyway?”

“Just to the bathroom for a quick wash-up,” she answered. She noticed something in Fluttershy’s eyes that looked like sadness, something she hated seeing in her friend’s beautiful eyes. “Are you sure your all right?”

Fluttershy was about to say, “Yes,” and drop the matter. Instead she said, “I wish I could have been with you, Twilight. I wish I could have been your friend back then and kept you company. It must feel horrible looking back and knowing you didn’t have anypony to talk to – except the Princess, of course.”

Twilight smiled affectionally. ‘Your kindness knows no bounds, Fluttershy.’ “To be honest I don’t really think about it anymore. It’s all in the past now.” She suddenly yawned. “Right, I’m going to bed. I hope those pillows are as comfortable as I remember. I’ll show you to your room.” She turned around and made it halfway down the stairs when she suddenly stopped instantly. ‘I don’t have a guest room, silly,’ she realised with widening eyes. ‘I don’t even have a spare bed, or a couch for her to lay on, so that means…’ She blushed to the point she thought she might faint.

“Twilight, are you all right?” Fluttershy asked concernedly. “Are you going to show me the guest room?”

“Um… you see… I-I just remembered that… I don’t have a guest room,” Twilight explained, trying to keep a reasonable composure despite the heavy blush. “And I have no couch for you to sleep on, so… so… so.” She quickly turned around and blurted out, “Would you mind sleeping with me tonight?”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened and a fant pink blush appeared on her cheeks. “Um… well… oh my… I…” She quickly sighed in relief when she realised what Twilight actually meant. “Um… sure. If you’re okay with it, that is.”

“I’m fine with it… and you know… that’s not what I meant…”

“I know what you meant. No need to explain,” Fluttershy quickly said, laughing awkwardly. Twilight laughed awkwardly as well, and then the two fell silent. The two stood in front of each other for a long moment in awkward silence, glancing at each other from time to time as the blushes on their faces melted away.

Finally, the silence was destroyed by a fake cough from Twilight. “Right. Now that we got that out of the way, follow me.” She led Fluttershy down the steps to the bedroom, which, to Fluttershy’s predictions, was exactly resting next to the door. It was simple in its furnishings: a large bed that was fortunately big enough for two ponies, a single light for when Twilight wanted to read a book, a small bookshelf for favourites, and a large door leading to the balcony outside.

“Pick whatever side you want,” Twilight said, gesturing with a hoof.

“Oh, I’ll have this side, if that’s okay,” Fluttershy replied, pointing to right side closest to the door. “I sometimes have to get up for the bathroom in the night. But don’t worry I’m as quiet as a fish.”

“Ah that’s goo… Wait, what? Like a fish?”

Fluttershy shrugged. “They can be surprisingly quiet when they need to.”

Another moment of silence followed. ‘I hope we don’t have many of these,’ Twilight hoped. ‘It’ll make things pretty complicated.’ “Uh huh. Well, hop on,” she said, jumping on the bed and moving to the other side. She then brought herself underneath the duvets and rested her head on the pillow, watching Fluttershy pull the duvet aside, then jumping under them as well with such elegance. “Comfortable?” Twilight asked.

Fluttershy rested her head on the pillow, then moving it about to get the comforting feel of it. “Oh yes. This is comfortable,” she announced a little while later. “Thank you, Twilight. And you’re welcome as well.”

Twilight raised her head from the pillow. “What do you mean?”

“Earlier you said thanks for me being your friend, but I never got to say you’re welcome for it. I dread to think what my life would’ve been like if you and the others weren’t in it. So thank you, for being my friend.”

Twilight smiled, and rested her head back on the pillow, the feeling of sleep quickly approaching. “What are we doing tomorrow again, Twilight?” Fluttershy asked, resting her head on the really comfortable pillow.

“Well, since we’re here, we’ll have a look at the books here to see if they have anything on the flower, and if not we’ll head over to the Canterlot archives. How does that sound?”

“That sounds good,” Fluttershy said in an almost drowsy tone. “Goodnight, Twilight.” She closed her eyes, let out a small sigh and fell asleep.

“Goodnight, Fluttershy,” Twilight whispered. Twilight smiled as she looked at Fluttershy’s sleeping form. She hoped one day this would be more of a common thing the two of them would find themselves in, only that time in each other’s embrace rather than separate from each other. ‘There’s still plenty of time for that, Twilight,’ her thoughts whispered to her. ‘You can still be with her.’

‘I know,’ Twilight replied. ‘But I can’t force her. I love her too much for that.’ She rested her head on the pillow and with a flick of her horn she put the light out, shrouding the room in darkness.

Author's Note:

So here we go, the third chapter of the story. I just like to say thank you to all of you for favouriting this and I hope you're enjoying it so far.

For those wondering, the song Twilight and Fluttershy sing is called 'The Road Goes On', from the musical version of 'The Lord of the Rings', something that I had the privilege to see several years ago and loved every second of it.