Many Kinds of Love

by LuminoZero

First published

Her friends never understood why Clover was unshakably loyal to the spoiled Princess Platinum. The truth was far less complicated then they imagined.

Clover the Clever owes all she is in life to the whim of the unicorn princess. Platinum isn't perfect, but Clover has seen first hand the good she can do.

Thanks to my proofreaders: Skeeter the Lurker, Mook Massacre and Flint Sparks.

A Heart that Shines like Platinum

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My name is Clover the Clever, Royal Advisor to Princess Platinum of the Unicorn tribe. At least it was, I do not believe that title is appropriate anymore. I had kept another journal, at the recommendation of my mentor, Star Swirl the Bearded, but it was lost in the 'Endless Winter' that assailed our lands.

Since this is a new book, perhaps I should start at the beginning. I know not where I was born, or even much of my early life. I know I was a slave, as were many under the rule of the Unicorn King, Sombra. I do not even know who my parents were, though I suppose they were slaves as I was. The first memory I have is likely so because it was the first spot of color in what must have been a bleak existence. Star Swirl suggested that perhaps I am blocking the memories out as a coping mechanism, but I cannot say.

The princess claims that she found me wandering in one of the royal gardens, though I have no idea how I would have gotten there. I was just a filly at the time, and she not much older than I. What I do remember is how bright she was, how happy she seemed to be to see me. She spoke, quite a lot actually. I don't remember if I said anything, dressed in rags and covered in dirt, but the princess seemed not to care about such things. I remember shouting, from someone who must have been a guard pony, and I recall being dragged away into the darkest parts of the castle.

I remember being terrified, huddled in a corner of a stone cell with a large metal shackle around my neck. From this point on, I can never forget. Into the cell walked the stallion of nightmares, the Unicorn King. His eyes burned with sickly green flames, his tooth filled smile looking like a predator's maw. The massive armor he wore made every one of his steps seem to shake the world around him. I remember, more than anything, those eyes. Even now, when he is long since gone, those orbs haunt my nightmares.

What happened next changed my life forever. The princess bound up to me, seemingly unaffected by the aura of fear the stallion projected, and wrapped her hooves around my neck. She seemed totally unfazed by the collar around my neck, or the obvious terror I was experiencing. Her embrace was warm, an odd sensation against the cold stone and metal. I was far too scared to be insulted by the words she spoke, even though I should have been.

"Can I keep her, Daddy? Pleeeeeease?" I could not help but smile awkwardly, as the hostile aura from the king diminished. I should have been angry that she was treating me like a pet, I should have been terrified of the prospect of being a different kind of slave, but I wasn't. I was, for the first time I can recall, happy. Of course, I did not comprehend the emotion at that time, I merely knew that my body was warm and light.

The king decreed that his daughter would not associate with common rabble, and I felt my heart sink into the stone itself. Her eyes must have beaten back his own gaze, however. He then declared that her 'toy', me I suppose, would need to be formed into one worthy of a princess. He left that dark cell, and I could have sworn that it was the brightest and warmest place in all the world.

I was cleaned, dressed, and made to at least look presentable to a princess. However, I was just a filly slave, I needed more than to look the part. The king himself ordered me educated to be a powerful and worthy unicorn, so I would not be an embarrassment to his daughter. It was through this that I met my mentor, Star Swirl the Bearded. I remember his annoyed glare at the messenger as he the king’s order was relayed.

Later on in life, I learned that the king and Star Swirl had a rather precarious peace. The king did not wish to move against him, and Star Swirl wished to study the magical properties of the Crystal Empire. So, while the two did not agree, they at least agreed to stay out of each other's way. I recall Star Swirl at first compared tutoring me to 'paying rent'.

He changed his mind quickly, if his attitude was any indication. I have heard that I showed a great talent for magic with only the most basic of training. Star Swirl, noticing this, gave me my title after I managed to solve Gemini's Paradox within the first month of my training. It has been said that the mind of a foal holds a simple wisdom, but I am not sure Star Swirl believed it until he'd seen it. I will never forget the look of shock on his face as he checked his papers, nor the great pride I felt when he was the first to declare me 'Clover the Clever'.

Though I cherished the time I spent with my mentor, not a day has passed where I do not recall the one who gave my life meaning, who gave me a future. I was the faithful servant to Princess Platinum from the moment I arrived in that world. Willingly, I served her every whim. I weathered her tantrums, and cleaned up after them with not a word of complaint. I yielded to her every command, even if it interrupted my studies or would serve to get me into trouble. She was my everything, and even at that age I knew I owed all I was to her kindness. Not to say that she was perfect, far from it. I pray she will forgive me for my indiscretion, but her spoiled nature did win through very often. Pampered with everything she could want from a young age, she was the very picture of entitlement. Still, I stood by her, never wavering in my support.

Star Swirl told me, before he departed from the kingdom, that I would be the one to guide the princess. We were both grown mares by that point, but just barely. He knew something was coming; he always was two steps ahead of everypony else. Not long after, Princess Platinum was sent away by her father to rule an offset of the empire on her own. She was delighted with the prospect, and I recall the elation in her voice when she declared what she would do for her people. It was then that I realized how ignorant the princess truly was. She knew what slaves were, but she did not understand what truly heart-wrenching lives they lived. I will never forget the look in her eyes when she saw what her father's empire had done to the realms he had subjugated.

Just as Star Swirl predicted, the princess confided in me. She knew I had been a slave, and asked me what I thought. Ever her faithful servant, I answered honestly. She then asked a question that I had never been expecting from her.

"Clover," she asked, "do you hate me?"

"Never, my princess," I had answered her. Still she continued with her questions.

"Why not? What my father has done is unforgivable. Look at how everypony suffers, we owe our subjects better than this. No unicorn should be forced to live as such."

"Because," I said, "you gave light into my life, princess. Everything I have done was possible because of you. I will serve you faithfully, all the days of my life." For the first time in many years, she embraced me. She was warm, as I remembered well.

The following years were difficult on her. Princess Platinum was the first to stand up against the mad reign of her father. The small slice of the kingdom she controlled was nothing compared to the might of the Crystal Empire. Were it not for the appearance of a miracle, I am certain that I would not be here to write this page. Two ponies, I call them this because I lack a better word, flew down from the sky. One glowed like the sun, the other shimmered like star light. I can only speculate what happened, because when the light cleared, the entire Crystal Empire had vanished.

I have never seen Princess Platinum cry as hard as she did that night. She had long since accepted that she would have to fight her father, but the way the issue resolved left her without any closure. The two mysterious ponies looked down upon us, and then left. I have no idea why they left, or where they went, but I feel confident that we will see them again some day.

There was peace, for a time, until something occurred that I am quite sure the history books will record in great detail, for such major events are usually well documented. The 'Endless Winter' began. I will not go into specifics here, as the story is far too long and complicated, but it will help to give a time frame for this writing.

I write now as Clover the Clever of Equestria, it still feels so foreign to write that. Upon the 'Great Thaw', myself and the princess returned to the castle we had erected in this new land. I have made many new friends, and great strides have been made for all of pony kind. Still, it is now that I think about what one of my new friends, an earth pony named Smart Cookie, asked of me.

While we were telling tales of our lives and keeping our spirit's bright in that forsaken cave, we learned quite a bit about each other. I suppose the reverence in the way I spoke of the princess confused them, because of how her actions can appear.

"Why do you follow her?" she asked me, and I could tell by her tone that she intended no offense. My answer was clear and honest. "Because she saved my life. She is the reason I am anything at all."

I continued, and I pray the princess will forgive me for the words I spoke. "Because she is vain and prideful. Because she is haughty and arrogant. Because she is blind to the plights of those who are not before her gaze. She needs me, and if this allows me to repay the debt of life I owe to her, I will gladly spend all of my days to help guide her."

Star Swirl had been right, just as he always was. I was the one who would help and guide her. I would help her to be an enlightened ruler, and to put aside her own self-importance for the good of all ponies. The next question was what truly shocked me.

"Do you love her?"

My answer came practiced and cold, despite how I felt. "There are many kinds of love." Thankfully, she dropped the topic. Still, I repeated it to myself quite often in the coming days.

After we returned to the castle, I could see that her attitude around me had changed. She did not claim that she had saved the land. She pushed me to the front, declaring that I had saved us all, and her. She confided privately in me that she believed I would be a better ruler than she. I refuted her, saying that a powerful leader like her was needed in these troubled times. The pony who had stood up to her vastly superior father without an ounce of fear in her being.

It was a week later when she revealed the great secret she had been keeping from me. She had heard everything, even frozen in the magical ice. She knew every word I had spoken, and knew they were true. She relieved me from her service, she said I was no longer bound to serve her.

And I asked how things would change. She still thought I served her because of some debt, some obligation. That ceased being true many years ago. I serve Princess Platinum because I wish to. Because she is kind and, in spite of all her faults, because I love her. She is the one who brought light and happiness into my life. Without the light she gave to me, I could not have passed it on to the other ponies. I cannot imagine a life without her, as her mere presence fills my heart with joy.

Even when she is spoiled. Even when she whines and complains. Even when she fails, the light of her heart shines brightly.

Clover pulled the quill back as she looked over the freshly-written pages. She hadn't intended it to be quite so... gushing. Still, it was good to write things like this out, though if Star Swirl ever saw this book he would chastise her for being an emotional little filly. She thought for a moment longer as she held the quill aloft.

A voice broke through the darkness of the room, as the candle on her desk flickered. "Clover, are you there?"

"Yes, my princess," came the dutiful answer as Clover placed the quill back into the inkwell and set the book out to dry.

"Cloverrrrr..." she whined, "it is still so cold outside."

Clover rolled her eyes as a smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "I will put on a fire for you, my princess," she said.

"No, that will not be needed. Please keep me warm?" she spoke in such a sweet and innocent tone. Clover knew it to be one of her many tricks to get her way, but she also knew that such things were useless against her. She needed only to ask.

"Of course, my Platinum," she finished, blowing out the candle and slipping into the large, warm bed.

Many kinds of love indeed.