The Pen is Mightier

by Blood_rose_doll

First published

A new pony moves to Ponyville

Aqua Pen is an author who has been all over Equestria. As she makes her way to Ponyville she moves in with Lyra and Bon Bon. This is her story as she finds her place in the cute little town and gets to know the princess.

Amazing art by heartscharm

Edited by my dad. You rock dad!

Proofread by mikemeiers. You're awesome!

A new town

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As Aqua Pen walked, the town known as Ponyville came into view. Aqua was a writer by trade and a unicorn by birth. Her coat was as her name would suggest: a delicate Aqua color, and her eyes were a rose pink. Her mane and tail were black with pink streaks. Her mane was styled in an updo that resembled a bow, and her tail was half the length of a normal mare's tail and was styled in an "S" shape. Her cutie mark was of a closed purple book with a red pen on top of it. She wore only her favorite lilac scarf and two matching saddlebags, each bearing a book on the clasps. As she walked into Ponyville she used her magic to pull a map from her right bag. She levitated the map in front of her face. Out of her left bag a pair of black rimmed reading glasses appeared and settled on her nose.

"Let's see here," Aqua said as she studied the map of Ponyville, pointing her forehoof at the red "X" marked on it. "They said the house was right here."

Aqua knew that she talked to herself sometimes, it was a silly habit of hers. She was so caught up in studying the map in front of her that she didn't even notice the pink earth pony sneaking up on her. Aqua rubbed her chin with her forehoof and let out a quiet "hmmm". She looked to the left, trying to get her bearings, but when she looked right she came face to face with a pink muzzle.

"Hi there!"

Aqua jumped back from the earth pony and stared at her in shock. Where had she come from?

"I've never seen you before, so you must be new and if you're new it means you don't know anypony," the earth pony said. "So let me be the first to welcome you to Ponyville. I'm Pinkie Pie!"

Aqua studied the strange earth pony for a moment before clearing her throat in a regal manner.

"I'm Aqua Pen and yes, I'm new to town. I was just trying to find the house where I'll be staying."

Pinkie pushed her face close to Aqua's and looked at the map.

"Why, that's right by Sugarcube Corner. I can show you the way."

Aqua looked from Pinkie to the map and back again. Not sure if she should trust this strange pony to lead her anywhere. Not having much choice, Aqua rolled up the map and placed it along with her glasses back in her bags.

"I would appreciate that, thank you."

Pinkie smiled the biggest smile Aqua had ever seen and started to hop off in one direction. Aqua struggled to keep up with the energetic pony and had to canter just to keep her in sight. When Pinkie Pie finally stopped, Aqua had to catch her breath. Aqua looked up to see that they were in front of a cute cottage that was painted white with yellow accents. She turned to look at Pinkie who sat just to the side of her.

"If you need anything, Sugarcube Corner is right over there. Be sure to swing by later and I'll have a special 'Welcome to Ponyville' cupcake waiting for you," Pinkie told her, pointing to a shop not far from the cottage. "See you then!"

Pinkie was off, bouncing towards the shop with the same gusto as before. Aqua shook her head slightly and walked up to the door of the cottage. Raising her forehoof she gave a delicate knock and waited. Soon the door opened to reveal a green unicorn. The unicorn gave her a questioning look.

"Hi, I'm Aqua Pen. I arranged to stay here for a few months."

The unicorn's eyes lit up, and she smiled.

"You have the right place! I'm Lyra Heartstrings. It's nice to finally meet you."

"It's lovely to meet you as well, Lyra," Aqua replied.

Lyra stepped back from the doorway and raised a hoof.

"Come on in. I just made tea you're welcome to a cup."

Aqua walked in and was greeted with an interior that matched the cute exterior of the cottage. Lyra led Aqua to the kitchen where she set her saddlebags on a chair back. Lyra looked at them quizzically.

"Is that all you brought?" Lyra asked.

"I travel light as much as I can. It's a much more free way to travel."

Lyra shrugged and made three cups of tea. She levitated them onto the table and then looked to the ceiling.

"Bon Bon! Tea is ready," Lyra called.

Aqua heard the clip clop of hooves above and shortly thereafter a pale yellow earth pony entered the kitchen. When she saw Aqua she stopped in her tracks.

"Bon Bon, this is Aqua Pen... our new roommate. Remember?"

"Oh, of course, it's nice to meet you," Bon Bon said.

"Same to you."

Aqua settled down at the table and levitated her tea to her mouth and took a sip. The tea was quite good and Aqua let out a contented sigh as her long journey seemed to slowly wash away from her bones. Lyra watched her for a moment and then broke the silence that lingered over the three.

"So I hear you're a writer," Lyra stated.

Aqua blushed and set her tea back on the table.

"Yes, though you've probably never heard of me."

Bon Bon took a sip of her tea and then looked to Aqua.

"What do you write?"

Aqua turned to Bon Bon and played with her cup between her front hooves.

"Mainly fantasy. I wrote the series called The Alicorn Prince."

Lyra perked up instantly and her mouth fell open.

"You're THAT Aqua Pen?!" Lyra asked in disbelief. Aqua nodded and she began to blush. "I love that series! Tell me... are you working on another story for it?"

Aqua nodded and looked to her saddlebags.

"I have the manuscript with me in fact."

Lyra's eyes went wide and she jumped up from the table. She walked around to where Aqua was and sat on the floor beside her. She slowly reached out a hoof and shook Aqua's.

"I can't wait! Does Prince Permafrost finally find his true love?"

Aqua thought for a moment and then finally sighed. "You'll just have to wait and see."

Lyra groaned but nodded. She trotted back around to the other side of the table and slowly sipped her tea. Aqua finished her tea quickly and picked up her saddlebags. Bon Bon stood and addressed the blue unicorn.

"Your room is at the end of the hall with the orange door."

Aqua nodded and headed up the stairs. She walked to the end of the hall and opened the orange door with her hoof. Inside was a four poster bed, a dresser, and a desk. It had a cute little window right over the desk.

Aqua walked in and pulled some things from her bags. She set her manuscript in a desk drawer and magically sealed it shut. She placed a pink scarf in the top dresser drawer along with her black shoes. She placed her glasses on the desk and her map next to them. Finally she drew out her lucky set of pens in all different color inks and placed them in another desk drawer, being careful to seal that one as well. She placed her saddlebags in the bottom drawer of the dresser and nodded her own approval at her set up. She exited the room and trotted down the stairs to the kitchen. Lyra and Bon Bon were still sitting there drinking their tea. Aqua cleared her throat and they both turned to look at her.

"I remember seeing a library on the map so, I'm gonna head that way." Aqua told them, pointing out the window with a hoof.

"You can't miss it. It's the big tree in the center of town." Lyra informed her.

Aqua nodded her gratitude and walked out of the cottage. It wasn't hard to find the library, she could see the huge tree from almost anywhere in town. When she finally made it to the base she was amazed at just how big the tree was up close. She approached and grabbed the doorknob with light pink magic. Slowly she opened the door and entered. As soon as she stepped in, she was knocked to the ground by a speeding pony. Her scarf flew off as she fell and landed on the floor. The pony who ran into her gasped. Aqua looked up at the white unicorn and slowly got back to her feet.

"Oh, darling, are you okay?" the pony asked. Aqua nodded and looked down at her scarf. "Oh! Let me get that."

The unicorn's blue magic enveloped Aqua's scarf and started to pull it off the ground. After only the first second a heart wrenching tearing sounded from the precious scarf.

"No!" Aqua picked up the scarf in her forehooves and could feel tears forming in her eyes. The white unicorn gasped again when she saw what she had done.

"Oh my! I'm so sorry!" She levitated the scarf out of Aqua's hooves and examined it. "You have to let me fix this, darling." Aqua shrugged and the white unicorn placed a hoof on her shoulder. "It's alright. I'll have it fixed up in no time."

She walked out of the library and Aqua followed her with her head down. The loss of the scarf was really hitting Aqua and she barely registered what was going on as they walked into a shop. After they entered, Aqua sat down, still in distress. She sat there mourning the loss of the scarf for a while until suddenly she felt something around her neck. She looked down and was surprised to see her treasured scarf, looking as good as new.

"My scarf!" Aqua looked up at the white unicorn and smiled. "How?"

"It's my job."

That's when Aqua finally got a good look at the shop she was in: it was a boutique filled with all kinds of dresses and outfits. Aqua looked back at the white unicorn and smiled again.

"Thank you. Let me pay you for this."

The white unicorn just shook her head and smiled.

"Nonsense! It was my fault that it was ripped in the first place. It's only right that I fix it for you."

"Well at least let me do something to thank you," Aqua pleaded.

"Oh, sweetheart, just remember Carousel Boutique whenever you need something new to wear. That will be thanks enough!"

Aqua nodded with a smile on her face.

"Thank you...ummmm..."

"Rarity," the white unicorn replied.

"Thank you, Rarity." Aqua said, sticking her hoof out to Rarity. "I'm Aqua Pen."

Rarity shook her hoof gently and smiled at her. Aqua looked out the window at the sun and jumped up.

"Oh, I really should get going if I want to make it to both the places I have left to visit."

Rarity opened the door as Aqua headed out.

"Come again," Rarity said.

Aqua nodded as she headed back to the library. She opened the door and walked in, this time without incident. She looked around the library and spotted something she had never expected to see. A baby dragon was putting books up on the shelf as if it was simply normal routine. When Aqua walked into the center of the library the baby dragon turned around and smiled at her.

"Hello. Can I help you with anything?" the dragon asked.

"Do you happen to have the new 'Daring Do' book?"

The baby dragon climbed up a ladder, pulled a book from the shelf and climbed back down. He walked over to her and held up the book she was looking for.

"Thank you," Aqua said, gratefully.

She levitated the book out of his claws and hugged it to her chest. She started to leave and opened the door to the library. She stopped short when she saw who was on the other side of the door. In her prencese stood none other than Princess Twilight Sparkle. Aqua bowed low to the princess, who giggled.

"It's okay you don't have to bow," the Princess said.

Aqua stood up slowly and the Princess walked past her into the library. Aqua quickly exited and galloped away from the tree. She stopped and caught her breath. She couldn't believe what had just happened! She had lived in Canterlot before but had never been so close to a real princess. She shook herself and started to trot towards Sugarcube Corner. She got a little lost along the way but eventually found it. As she stood in front of the shop, she wondered if she should really go through with it. She stood silently thinking for a minute before making up her mind and entering the shop.


She was greeted by a torrent of streamers, balloons and food. The shop was filled with ponies... some she recognized and some she had never seen before. But what really threw her for a loop was that the Princess was there.

She looked to Pinkie who was staring at her with a smile on her face.

"Welcome to Ponyville!"

A pony placed a hoof on her shoulder and she turned to see Lyra.

"Don't worry. You'll get used to Pinkie."

Pinkie, meanwhile, was bouncing up and down. Aqua sighed and held the book to her chest a little tighter.

"Thank you for the party, Pinkie, but I'm not really a party kind of pony," Aqua said. Pinkie's smile deflated ever so slightly. "But why is the Princess here?"

Pinkie looked over to where Twilight was talking with the baby dragon from before. Pinkie giggled and looked back to Aqua.

"Twilight wanted to welcome you to Ponyville like everypony else!"

Hearing her name, Twilight looked up and walked over to the them. Aqua had to fight not to bow so she wouldn't offend the Princess. Twilight smiled at her and held out her hoof.

"It's great to meet another new face!"

Aqua slowly shook the Princess's offered hoof and gave her a confused look.

"Another new face?" Aqua asked, just a little confused.

"Yes, about a month ago another mare moved in with Vinyl Scratch and Octavia." Twilight looked around quickly and then frowned. "I thought she'd be here."

Pinkie bounced up to them and smiled. "She went to get Rainbow Dash."

Just then the door behind Aqua opened and she turned to see who it was. Two pegasi entered. One was obviously Rainbow Dash from her rainbow mane. The other was light brown with blond hair. She had her mane styled to frame her face on one side and her tail was wavey. Her eyes were a grass green and her cutie mark was of a paintbrush with a rainbow splat behind it. The oddest thing about this mare was that she was covered in paint, from her hair to the smock she was wearing, in all shades of color. When she saw Aqua she walked over and held out a hoof.

"Hi, I'm Squiddles." Aqua shook the odd pony's hoof and smiled. "And this is Rainbow Dash."

Rainbow walked over and immediately noticed the book Aqua was holding.

"Oh my gosh, you're a fan of 'Daring Do' as well?" Rainbow asked, excitedly.

Aqua nodded and blushed a little bit. "Reading A.K. Yearling's work is what made me realize I wanted to be a writer, too."

Twilight's ears perked up at that and she took a step closer to Aqua. "You're a writer?"

Aqua nodded, the blush on her cheeks deepening.

"You should do a book signing! I'm sure everypony would love to have your autograph."

Lyra, who had been standing there the whole time, nearly collapsed with glee. She nudged Aqua until eventually she nodded.

Twilight smiled at her. "I'll set everything up. You enjoy your party."

With that the Princess left the shop followed closely by the baby dragon. Aqua sighed and turned back to the inside of the shop. There Pinkie stood with a big smile on her face, and it only grew when Aqua turned around.

"Let me introduce you to some ponies," Pinkie said.

Pinkie led her around the room and introduced her to all the ponies that were there. She introduced her to the Cakes and the Apples. She was introduced to Vinyl and Octavia. Finally she was introduced to Fluttershy.

After all of the introductions, Pinkie offered her a cupcake. Aqua took it gently and bit into it. The icing was super sweet and the cake itself was perfectly soft. As she was eating, a filly she recognized as Apple Bloom walked up.

Aqua swallowed the bite of cupcake and set it down on a nearby table. Apple Bloom smiled up at her.

"I was wondering if you could teach me and my friends how to be writers," Apple Bloom asked.

Aqua was taken back and blushed at the request. "You guys want to be writers?"

"Well you see we're trying to earn our cutie marks and so we're trying out all kinds of things. So I figured since you're a writer we could learn from you to see if we get our cutie marks from it."

Aqua rubbed her chin with a forehoof. She figured the little filly was being sincere but it seemed like an odd way to go about getting your cutie mark. She thought the idea itself was harmless so she smiled. "Sure. How many friends are we talking about?"

Apple Bloom perked up and her smile grew.

"Just me, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo."

"That sounds reasonable. You guys could swing by tomorrow," Aqua replied.

Apple Bloom started to bounce in place. "We'll be there."

Aqua started to look up and noticed Applejack walking over. She looked down at her bouncing sister and sighed. She looked back at Aqua and gave her a sympathetic look."I hope she's not bothering you."

Aqua giggled and shook her head. "I don't mind her at all. She reminds me of when I was a little filly." Aqua picked up the cupcake again and let it hover next to her. "In fact, she just asked if she and her friends could learn to be writers from me. I said yes."

Applejack looked taken aback. "Well that's mighty kind of you but you're new and she shouldn't bug you."

"It's fine, I have nothing to do tomorrow. I'm way ahead on my manuscript."

Applejack smiled and tipped her hat with her hoof. "Well, you're alright in my book!"

Aqua nodded and took another bite of her cupcake. Applejack and Apple Bloom left her alone to enjoy her treat. She mingled with the crowd for a while and enjoyed the other treats that were laid out. She held the 'Daring Do' book throughout the entire party and Rainbow Dash seemed to notice. She approached Aqua but this time she was flying just a foot off the ground.

"You really like that book, huh?"

Aqua looked down at the book and blushed. "Oh! I almost forgot that I still had it. But I respect books and think they should be treated with care."

Rainbow landed on the floor and curled up her wings.

"What do you write? I might have to try it."

"The first book is called A Shift in Time," Aqua explained. "The whole series is about an alicorn prince and how he deals with life and chaos."

"An alicorn prince?"

Aqua nodded and levitated a cookie off a nearby tray.

"His name is Prince Permafrost. He rules over the frozen north," Aqua said, taking a bite of the chocolate chip cookie. "I think the library might have copies of my books but I can't be sure."

"I'll have to ask Twilight," Rainbow responded.

Aqua almost choked on her bite of cookie. "Why would you ask the Princess?"

"Because she's the librarian... duh."

"I thought that baby dragon was the librarian."

Rainbow gave her a confused look and chuckled. "Spike? No, he's Twilight's assistant. She's the one who lives in and runs the library."

Aqua was suddenly very nervous about returning her book to the library. Rainbow seemed to sense this and placed a hoof on her shoulder.

"Twilight is a great friend if you get to know her. Regardless if she's a princess or not, she likes to be treated like a normal pony."

Aqua nodded but was still unsure. Treating the princess like she was an everyday pony was going to be hard but she decided to give it a try. If the princess wanted to be treated like everypony else she would treat her like everypony else. Squiddles approached and smiled at Rainbow Dash.

"Don't the weather ponies have a downpour scheduled for this evening?" Rainbow glanced out the window.

"Oh, I should get going. It was nice meeting you Aqua." And with that Rainbow took off out the door. Squiddles giggled as the door swung shut behind her.

"Aren't you on the weather team?" Aqua asked.

Squiddles looked at Aqua and giggled again. "Not all pegasi are on the weather team here. I'm a painter. I do my best work on the ground." Aqua also noted that Fluttershy didn't rush off either. Pinkie stood in the middle of the room and cleared her throat loudly. Everypony turned to her and went silent.

"The weather ponies are starting to get the clouds ready for the rain, so everypony should head home before you get soaked. Thank you all for coming."

Ponies started to leave and soon there were only a few left. The Cakes headed upstairs with their fillies and Pinkie started to clean up. The only other ponies were Aqua, Bon Bon and Lyra. Bon Bon walked up to Aqua and Lyra stood by the door.

"Ready to go home?"

Home. This was her home now, at least until she moved again. She had never felt so at home right away anywhere else. It was a nice town filled with wonderful ponies.

"Yeah let's go home."

The three ponies walked out of the shop and took the short walk back to the cottage. The weather ponies were hard at work overhead getting the clouds together for the rain. When they reached the cottage Lyra went in first, followed closely by Bon Bon and Aqua. Once inside Lyra turned back to them.

"Well today was a nice day but it's time to hit the hay." Bon Bon nodded and turned to Aqua.

"Sleep well." Aqua nodded and climbed the stairs closely followed by Lyra and Bon Bon. As she came to her room she turned to see Lyra and Bon Bon enter their room with a final wave of their hooves. Aqua waved back and walked into her own room. She placed the 'Daring Do' book on her desk promising herself that she would start it tomorrow. She used her magic to pull back the sheets and slipped into the comfy bed. She laid her head down. Just as she was dozing off she heard the sounds of rain on her window. She was going to like living here.

A trip to market

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Aqua awoke to sunlight gently streaming through the window of her room. She yawned and slowly got out of bed, then trotted downstairs to find Lyra and Bon Bon in the kitchen. Lyra perked up when she saw Aqua, which caused Bon Bon to turn and smile.

"Good morning," Bon Bon said with a nod. "How did you sleep?"

"Quite well," Aqua answered with a smile. "It's quieter here than in Manehattan."

There was a knock at the cottage door and Aqua started toward it. "I'll get it... it should be for me." She opened the door to find a unicorn mail pony on the other side. He tipped his hat to her and levitated a box out of his bag.

"Delivery for Aqua Pen."

"That's me," said Aqua, eagerly.

The mail pony pulled out a clipboard and pen.

"Sign here please." Aqua took the pen gently in her magic and signed on the dotted line. The mail pony handed her the box and smiled at her. "Have a nice day, miss."

"You as well," she replied, closing the door behind her. She carried the box into the kitchen and set it on the table. Lyra came over to inspect it.

"What is it?" Lyra asked.

Aqua opened the box to show that it was full of bits. Lyra and Bon Bon gasped.

"Who sent you all those bits?" they asked in unison.

Aqua chuckled at the silly ponies. "It's my share of the bits from my books that sold."

Lyra sat down and looked at Aqua, amazed. "I need to become a writer!"

Aqua chuckled and carried the box upstairs. She placed it in one of the empty desk drawers and magically sealed it. She walked back downstairs to find Lyra and Bon Bon eating daisy sandwiches. She was suprised to find one laid out for her.

"Thank you," Aqua said.

Bon Bon nodded while munching on a bite. Aqua levitated the sandwich up and took a small bite. The bread was soft and the daisies were fresh. Aqua smiled and took another bite.

"After the fillies leave I was planning on heading down to the market. Do you want me to pick up anything?"

Bon Bon shook her head no, but Lyra nodded. She quickly swallowed the bite she was chewing. "If you could buy a bit worth of apples from Applejack that would be wonderful. Let me get the bit for you." Aqua waved a hoof at her as she started to get up.

"I'll cover it, it's only one bit," Aqua told her.

"Are you sure?"

"Of course! It'll be my way to start paying you back for letting me stay here."

Bon Bon swallowed in shock and nearly choked on her food. When she finally had her throat clear she looked to Aqua.

"But you're paying rent."

Aqua chuckled as she looked over to Bon Bon. "Yes, but I have to pay back the kindness of allowing me to stay here at all... and the best way to repay kindness is with kindness." Aqua looked from Lyra to Bon Bon as they both stared at her in shock. "It's just how I do things, so you'll have to get used to it."

Aqua went back to her sandwich as the two ponies stared at her. Lyra was the first to recover and she sighed.

"I guess if you start to help out we can't refuse, even though you don't owe us anything."

Aqua shrugged and Lyra sighed again. Bon Bon finally recovered and frowned down at her sandwich. Aqua finished her sandwich just as there was another knock at the door. Aqua stood and walked over to the door opening it with her magic. On the other side stood three little fillies. Apple Bloom she regonized, but the other two hadn't been at the party. There was an orange pegaus and a white unicorn. She noticed they were all wearing red capes with a blue shield and pony on them. She smiled down at the fillies and stood back from the doorway.

"Come on in girls."

They filed inside and she led them upstairs to her room where they all sat on the floor.

"So you two must be Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo," Aqua said.

The orange pegasus jumped up and down working her wings like crazy.

"That's right I'm Scootaloo and that's Sweetie."

"I'm Aqua Pen. It's nice to meet you both." Aqua used her magic to open the drawer with her manuscript. She took out a blank page and put the manuscript back into the drawer, making sure to close it so the seal would reactivate. "Shall we get started?"

The three fillies nodded and Aqua smiled. "Have any of you written anything before?"

Sweetie raised her hoof into the air. "I wrote a play."

Aqua took out a blue pen from her desk. "That's great Sweetie. So you have some idea of characters and such."

Sweetie blushed and looked at the ground. "To be honest it wasn't as good as you think it was."

Aqua reached out and pet Sweetie's head with a forehoof. "I'm sure you're an excellent writer."

Aqua ripped the paper she held into three pieces and handed them to the fillies. She levitated three more pens from her desk. She gave a pink one to Sweetie a green one to Scootaloo and a purple one to Apple Bloom.

"Now to start off let's talk about creating a character. Let's pretend we're gonna play a game but the game has no premade characters. So to play you have to come up with your own character to face three trials. The most important thing about this is you have to think about why you do things. So say I say one of the trials is to get over a pit in a forest and you give your character an ax to chop down a tree. You have to think about why your character would be carrying around an ax. Understand?"

Three hoofs shot up in the air and Aqua nodded to Apple Bloom.

"What are the trials?" Apple Bloom asked.

"We'll get to that in a second."

Aqua pointed to Sweetie Belle next.

"Do our characters have to be ponies?" Sweetie asked.

Aqua thought this over and finally shook her head. Lastly she turned to Scootaloo.

"Why was your character carrying an ax?" asked Scootaloo.

"Well, in my scenrio my character knows the forest very well and already knows there is a pit there. So when they have to cross it they make sure to bring along an ax," explained Aqua. "Any other questions?"

All three little fillies shook their heads and Aqua took out another blank piece of paper.

"To make things fair we'll all start with the same baseline. All your characters have to be from Ponyville and it can't be a living pony," Aqua instructed, flipping the paper on it's side and writing that at the top of it. "Now onto the trials. The first trial is as follows: you come across a bridge with a strong looking stallion gaurding it. He says to pass you must answer his riddle. The riddle is: I have seas without water, coasts without sand, towns with no ponies, and moutains without land... what am I? The second trail is as follows. You stumble along until you find an injured griffon who knows the way to the final trial. The third and final trial is as follows: following the directions you got from the griffon you discover a cottage with your goal inside all you have to do is open the locked door. There are 10 keys displayed next to the door."

Aqua drew the trials onto the papaer as she talked and put the description under each picture. She smiled when she finished and held it up so all three of the fillies could see it. Sweetie took off writing and the other two were close behind her. Aqua watched them until they were all finished. She picked up their papers and examined them. She saw that each filly had decided to model their character after themselves. Sweetie Belle had a unicorn, Apple Bloom an earth pony and Scootaloo a pegasus. She handed the papers back to the ponies and smiled.

"Let's read your characters out loud," said Aqua.

Sweetie took her paper and cleared her throat. Aqua giggled at her eagerness and nodded to her.

"I made a unicorn. She passed the stallion's riddle because she figured out the answer was a map. She is very smart. She healed the griffon with magic that she learned from helping out at the hospital. Finally she tried the key in the door and got it on the first try because she was always really lucky."

"Good job, Sweetie! Your character is nice and well rounded," Aqua told her. "Scootaloo you're up."

Scootaloo gulped and sighed.

"I made a pegasus. Instead of answering the stallion she just flew around him because she didn't know the answer. She helped the griffon with bandages from her bag that she brought. She always likes to be prepared for anything. When she got to the cottage she flew around it and found an open window because she always likes to open her windows on nice days."

"That's really good! Your character is very straight forward and easy to understand," Aqua stated. "Alright Applebloom that makes you last of all."

Apple Bloom nodded and picked up her piece of paper.

"I made an earth pony. When the stallion gave her the riddle she pulled out a book of riddles and found the answer. She had always loved riddles and always carried her favorite riddle book. The griffon wasn't too badly injured and so she used tree sap to stop the bleeding. She had learned that from her parents. Instead of using the displayed keys she lifted the mat to find the real key. She knew it would be there because she keeps an extra key under her mat, too."

"Wonderful! Your character is quite unique," Aqua said, beaming over the success of her students. "You all went about the trials differently and that's great. It shows how different you all are. Anypony can be a great writer, regardless of their talent."

Scootaloo looked out the window and jumped up. "It's almost Twilight time!"

The other two fillies jumped up as well. Aqua gave them a confused look.

"Twilight time?"

Scootaloo was already heading out the door but Apple Bloom turned back to Aqua.

"We go over to see Twilight and she teaches us new skills, but it's supposed to be a secret now." With that Apple Bloom turned and left the room as well.

Aqua blinked a couple of times in suprise and then collected her pens. She placed them back in the drawer and picked her saddlebags out of her dresser. She placed her bits in the right bag and slipped them onto her back. She adjusted her scarf and walked back downstairs. There she found the three little fillies at the bottom of the stairs.

"Weren't you going to see Twilight?" Aqua asked. Scootaloo looked away nervously and Apple Bloom nudged Sweetie Belle. Finally Sweetie cleared her throat.

"We were wondering if you would teach us more about being writers," Sweetie said.

Aqua noticed that all three of the fillies had their character papers in their hoofs. This made her smile.

"Sure, if you're still interested I would be glad to teach you again," she assured them.

The three little fillies smiled. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo placed their character pages in their mouths and walked towards the door. Aqua looked to Sweetie who still stood in front of her.

"We'll talk to you about when you can see us later," Sweetie told her.

Aqua nodded and Sweetie placed her character paper in her light green magic. She walked towards the door and Aqua followed her. When they got to the front door they found Scootaloo and Apple Bloom waiting for them. Aqua opened the front door and waved to the fillies as they left towards the library. Aqua waited until they turned the corner before she closed the door and headed off towards the market. She had passed it on her way to Lyra and Bon Bon's cottage so she knew the way. When she arrived at the market it was full of stalls and ponies. She noticed a stall full of apples set up in the middle of the road. She saw Applejack standing next to it and she trotted over. Applejack smiled when she saw her walking over and tipped her hat. Aqua examined the apples on the stall before turning to Applejack.

"Good day to you Applejack, Lyra wanted me to pick up a bit worth of apples." Applejack nodded and turned to her stall. She picked out a few nice looking apples and placed them in Aqua's left saddlebag. Aqua levitated a bit out of her bag and placed it in Applejack's waiting hoof. "Do you grow all these apples yourself?" Aqua asked.

"Sure do, our farm is just outside Ponyville."

As they were talking, Applejack's brother Big Macintosh walked up with a cart full of apples. Applejack smiled as he stepped out of the cart's harness.

"Is that the last load?"

"Eeyup," Big Mac replied, nodding a greeting toward Aqua.

While Applejack was talking to her brother, Aqua looked around and spotted a familiar face. She trotted over to the paint stall and smiled at the pony there.

"Hey Squiddles, buying paint?" Aqua asked.

Squiddles turned from examining the paints on display and looked to Aqua.

"Hey, Aqua. Yeah, I'm working on a sunset painting but I don't know which shade of pink to use." She pointed to two tubes of pink set up on the stall. One was the same shade as Agua's mane highlights and one was a lighter shade. Aqua looked at them for a second and then pointed to the lighter shade.

"Though I'm biased to the other shade I think this one would look the best if you're planning to do a sunset," Aqua advised.

Squiddles glanced at the other shade and then looked at Aqua. She giggled as she realized what Aqua meant. She reached under her wing and pulled out a bit. She placed it on the stall and picked up the tube of the lighter shade. She tucked it under her wing and smiled at Aqua. "Thank you," Squiddles said, gratefully.

"Any time! I have seen my fair share of sunsets," Aqua said with a smile.

Squiddles turned to walk away before glancing back at Aqua. "If you want to see my painting you should swing by the town center. I'll be painting there this evening."

Squiddles turned and trotted off. Aqua continued to walk the market and as she was looking around she spotted something she didn't expect: sitting on the book stand were her first three books, diplayed quite proudly. The images on the front covers stared at her and she walked over. The pony behind the stall gave her a shocked expression. The cream colored unicorn had a bubblegum pink mane.

"You're..." She picked up one of the books with her purple magic and flipped it around so Aqua could see the back. There staring back at her was a picture of herself. It was her editor's idea to put her picture on the back. Aqua sighed and nodded.

"Yes, that's me," she responded.

"Wait here." The unicorn diappeared behind the curtain at the back of the stall. Aqua waited for a full minute before the mare returned with a well worn copy of her first book. "Could you sign this?" The unicorn floated a pen to Aqua along with the book.

"Well, Twilight was setting up an offical book signing but I guess signing one before that wouldn't hurt." Aqua gently took the book in her magic and opened it to the cover page. She took the pen and with all the grace she could muster she placed her swooping signature on the page. "There you go." She handed the book and pen back to the grinning unicorn.

"Thank you!"

Aqua nodded to the unicorn and continued on her way. She finally arrived at her destination. The stall she walked to was full of streamers and ribbons in big rolls. The earth stallion behind the stall was a darker cream color with a forest green mane and tail. His cutie mark was of streamers and he wore a brown hat.

"How are you doing? What can I do for you today?" he asked.

Aqua studied the ribbons and finally smiled. "How many colors of ribbon do you have?"

The stallion look behind himself and seemed to count and then turned back to Aqua. "We have twelve primary colors and then light and dark versions of some of them."

Aqua rubbed her chin and thought about it. "Just give me the primary colors. I'll need a foot of each color."

The stallion went about measuring and cutting the ribbons. Soon the stall had all twelve cut and sitting on top of it. Carefully she picked up the purple ribbon and tied it lightly to the base of her right ear. She tied it lightly so she could still hear but enough so it wouldn't fall off.

"I never thought about doing that." Aqua giggled at the stallion and showed off her new ribbon.

"How much do I owe you?"

"We are actually having a sale today," he replied, pointing to a sign that read "Buy One Get The Second One Free". "So it'll be six bits."

Aqua took out the bits and as she was setting them down she noticed a small spool of ribbon behind the stallion.

"How much is that?"

The stallion turned as she pointed behind him and saw the rainbow colored ribbon. "That's expensive ribbon," he explained. "It would be two bits a foot."

"I'll take it!"

The stallion looked back at her, a bit shocked as she pulled out two more bits.

"You must really be dedicated to fashion!" Aqua shrugged as he started to measure and cut the ribbon.

"Not really, I just love ribbons." After he finished she placed all the ribbons in her bag. "Thank you."

"No, thank you... do come again."

"If you get in any more ribbons I'll be sure to stop by."

Aqua turned and walked back toward home. She was stopped by a lovely pony named Rose who complimented her ribbon. But other than that, the walk was uneventful. She opened the cottage door and walked in.

"I'm home, where do you want me to put the apples?" Aqua announced. She waited a few seconds before Bon Bon's voice rang from upstairs.

"Just set them on the table!"

Aqua walked into the kitchen and set the apples down on the table. She walked upstairs and went into her room. She placed her new ribbons on the desk and her remaining bits back into the desk drawer. She placed her now empty saddlebags into the dresser and flopped onto her bed. She levitated the Daring Do book over to her and opened it to the first page. She sighed and found a comfy spot on the bed. She levitated her reading glasses onto her nose. She read for a few hours and then looked out the window. The sun was just touching the horizon and she knew the sky would soon be alight with color. She jumped off the bed and stretched her legs. She placed the half finshed book back on her desk along with her glasses. She decided she would finish it first thing the next day.

As she was heading downstairs, Aqua heard laughter coming from the kitchen. When she peeked in she saw Lyra and Bon Bon eating dinner. "Hey!"

They both looked up at Aqua's voice and smiled.

"Would you like something to eat?"

Aqua's stomach growled at the prospect of food but she shook her head. "No time. I'm going to see Squiddles paint."

As Aqua turned to leave an apple floated in front of her face.

"At least take an apple."

Agua took the apple in her magic and walked out the door. As she made her way to the town center she happily munched on the apple. By the time she made it to the town center the apple was gone. She spotted Squiddles with her easel and a brush in her hoof. She headed over and nudged the paint covered pony. Squiddles turned and when she saw Aqua she broke out in a huge grin.

"It's good to see you made it in time," Squiddles said.

"Are you always covered in paint?" Aqua asked with a smile.

Squiddles looked down at herself and shrugged.

"I hardly notice, it comes with being an artist." She placed the paintbrush in her mouth and held up a palette with all kinds of paint on it. She watched as the sky became awash in the sunset colors and started to paint. Aqua stood back and sat down as she watched Squiddles work. She seemed to capture the very essence of the colors and transfered them onto the canvas. In less then an hour she had captured the sunset completely. It was almost as though she had taken a photo. She set her things down and took a step back from the painting. She looked it over and turned back to Agua.

"What do you think?" Squiddles asked.

"I think it's great. You did an amazing job."

Aqua walked up to the painting and looked it over. She could smell the paint but that was the only thing that told her it was, in fact, a painting.

"I usually do daytime sky views, but I got a request to do a sunset. I figured it would look best from the ground."

"Who requested it?" asked Aqua.

"Vinyl, she likes sunsets apparently."

"Well, I think she'll love it," Aqua said, turning back to look at Squiddles who was smiling at her.

"Thank you."

Squiddles walked up next to Aqua and looked at the painting. She picked up the palette and carried it to the side of the town center. There was a faucet there and she used it to clean the paint off the palette. After she was finished, she walked back and placed the palette in saddlebags that Aqua hadn't noticed. She did the same with her paintbrush.

"Do you want help carrying the painting back?"

Squiddles looked up at her with a shocked expression. "That would be really nice. That way I don't have to wait for it to dry." Aqua picked up the painting with her magic, making sure to only grip it on the sides and back. Squiddles quickly folded up the easel and tucked it under her wing. She placed the saddlebags on her back and turned to Aqua. "Ready?"


Squiddles nodded and started to walk off in one direction. Aqua noted they were going in the exact opposite direction from Lyra and Bon Bon's cottage. Aqua followed close behind Squiddles, being careful not to drop the painting. Finally Squiddles stopped in front of a white cottage with green accents.

"This is it," Squiddles said as she opened the door and held it for Aqua.

"Thank you."

Aqua walked in and saw that on the first floor where there should have been a living room was instead a studio filled with paintings. Squiddles quietly set the easel back up in the middle of the room while Aqua looked around at all the paintings. Every one of them was from the viewpoint of a pegasus. It was amazing it gave the sense of being a pegasus to an earth bound pony like Aqua. She always wondered what it was like to be a pegasus, because her mother was a pegasus. She and her unicorn father both lived in Canterlot.

Squiddles cleared her throat and Aqua saw that she had finished setting up the easel. Aqua blushed and placed the painting down on it. When she was sure it was steady she let go of it with her magic.

"Thank you very much, Aqua," Squiddles said. Aqua nodded and looked back at all the paintings. "I should head off to bed now."

Squiddles opened the front door and Aqua jumped after a second.

"Oh right! I'll go." With that Aqua walked out the door. She turned and waved at Squiddles as she was closing the door. Squiddles waved back and closed the door quietly.

Aqua sighed and started her walk back to her cottage. As she walked she looked up at the sky, which had by then turned to night. Aqua always loved the moon and stars it gave her inspiration to write her books. The sun gave her inspiration as well, but she couldn't look at it like she could the moon. The moon glowed without being hurtful and the stars always twinkled just right. She had never noticed it until a couple years ago when she stayed up really late to finish her manuscript, but somehow the stars had looked different that night and since then they have always been her favorite part of the night sky.

Aqua was staring at the stars and so she barely noticed that she had already made it all the way home. She walked inside and up the stairs. She figured Lyra and Bon Bon were already asleep so she went straight to her room. She pulled back the covers of her bed and slipped under the sheets. She pulled out her ribbon and set it on the desk with the rest. She curled up and faced the window so she could see the night sky. She watched the sky for a while until she finally drifted off to sleep.

To help a friend

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Aqua woke to the sound of gentle knocking on her room door.

"Coming." Aqua called as she crawled out of bed. She quickly stretched her legs and fixed her scarf. She opened her door to find Fluttershy on the other side. "Hi, Fluttershy." Aqua was quite shocked to see the yellow pegasus. Fluttershy, for her part, looked extremely nervous.

"Good morning, Aqua," Fluttershy responded as she rocked back and forth in place.

"Is there something you need?"

Fluttershy ‘eeped’ and hid her face behind her mane. Aqua remembered her being this shy at the party, too. Finally, Flutter seemed to gather her courage and she sighed. "I was looking for somepony to help with the animals I care for... just for the day. I came for Lyra but she said you might be available."

Agua thought about it and then looked longingly at the 'Daring Do' book on her desk. "I would love to help, Fluttershy."

Fluttershy perked up at that. To Fluttershy’s confusion Aqua tied a yellow ribbon to her ear. After giving her new friend a few strange looks Fluttershy smiled. "Thank you so much! I'm sure the little sweeties will love you."

Fluttershy turned to leave and Aqua followed her downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, waiting with a paper bag in her magic, was Lyra. She smiled as she saw Aqua behind Fluttershy and levitated the bag to her.

"I knew you would accept. I made you breakfast, it's a hay burger," Lyra said. Aqua took the bag gratefully in her mouth. She could smell the burger through the bag and it made her stomach growl. "You can eat it on the way to Fluttershy's cottage, it's a bit of a walk." Aqua nodded and looked to Fluttershy.

"I guess we'll be going now, if that's alright with you," Fluttershy whispered.

Aqua nodded again and Fluttershy started for the door. Aqua was close behind her and stopped at the door to wave to Lyra who waved back and closed the door behind the other two ponies. As Aqua and Fluttershy walked, Aqua took her hay burger from the paper bag and took a bite. Fluttershy watched her out of the corner of her eye as she ate. Soon the burger was gone and they reached the edge of Ponyville. As they walked through the trees Aqua, cleared her throat.

"So why do you need help with your animals today?"

Fluttershy looked at her and then looked to the ground avoiding eye contact. "I have to go see Zecora."

"Who's Zecora?" asked Aqua.

Just then they arrived at Fluttershy's cottage, Aqua gasped. The small, rather cute cottage was surrounded by a beautiful clearing. Flowers were all over the place in every different color and animals ran about everywhere. Fluttershy missed the shocked expression on Aqua's face and continued up the hill to the cottage door. Aqua quickly caught back up just as Fluttershy reached the door.

"Zecora lives in the Everfree forest. I need to see her because a couple of the bunnies are sick. I've tried everything I know but the poor little things just seem to get worse." Fluttershy opened the door to the cottage and Aqua glanced to the Everfree forest just on the outside of Fluttershy's clearing. She quickly followed Fluttershy into the cottage to find three bunnies in pet beds lying in the livingroom. Along with them was Rainbow Dash. She looked up and smiled as Aqua entered.

"I see you found somepony. Hi Aqua," Rainbow Dash said.

"Rainbow Dash? What are you doing here?"

"I offered to watch the bunnies while Fluttershy went to find somepony to take care of them. Sorry to rush off but I need to get back to my training." With that, Rainbow walked past Aqua and out the door. The second she was outside she took off with her usual flair. Fluttershy went over and checked on each bunny before turning back to Aqua.

"All you have to do is watch over them and feed them in an hour. The carrots are in the kitchen. Be sure to cut them up first. I'll be gone a couple hours at most. Can you handle that?" Fluttershy asked. Aqua saw Fluttershy get more confident with each word until she was staring Aqua down, waiting for an answer.

"Sure, Fluttershy. That sounds easy enough. Your bunnies will be in good hoofs."

Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief and started for the door. "I'll ask Angel Bunny to assist you before I go." Fluttershy walked out the door and Aqua trotted over to it. There she saw Fluttershy talking with a white bunny. After Fluttershy finished what she was saying, she flew off towards the Everfree forest. The white bunny watched her go and then turned and hopped up to Aqua. She bent her front legs forward so she was more level with the bunny.

"Are you Angel?" Aqua asked.

The bunny nodded and hopped by her into the cottage. Aqua followed and then noted the time on the clock inside. It was 8:30. Aqua made a mental note to watch the time as well as the bunnies. She sat on the couch so that she could look after the bunnies on the floor. Angel hopped up on the couch next to her and laid down. Ten minutes went by and Aqua was beginning to wish she had brought her book along with her, she figured it was no use sulking about it now and resigned herself to just watching the bunnies.

After another ten minutes or so Aqua stood up. She started to pace in front of the bunnies as Angel looked up at her, confused. Aqua opened her mouth to explain herself when one of the bunnies started to moan. She looked over at the little brown bunny and saw that it was shivering and trying to cover itself with it's bed. Agua glanced around and saw a small blanket on the arm of the couch. She levitated it over to the bunny and gently wrapped it around the poor thing. The bunny sighed as the blanket wrapped around it and the shivering seemed to stop. Aqua smiled at the bunny and went back to pacing.

Aqua paced for a few more minutes before she sat back down on the couch. She waited in silence, watching over the helpless little creatures. Finally after what seemed like forever, it was 9:30. Aqua stood and walked into the kitchen to find carrots and a knife already laid out for her. She quickly went about cutting the three carrots up into small little chunks. She placed each sliced carrot in a bowl and then carried the three bowls out into the living room. She sat down on the couch and hovered each bowl over to a bunny. She carefully took out a piece and offered it to the little brown bunny. The bunny eagerly ate it up and looked to the bowl for more. It took about five minutes before the little bunnies had eaten all of their food. Aqua stood from the couch and took the bowls into the kitchen. She walked over to the sink and began washing them. She was just finishing when there was a knock on the door. She walked over to the door, a bit confused. She opened the door, and on the other side stood Twilight. Again, Aqua had to fight the impulse to bow. The princess looked surprised when she saw Aqua, but smiled nonetheless.

"Hello Aqua, is Fluttershy home?"

Aqua shook her head and pointed to the Everfree forest. "She went to go see somepony named Zecora because her bunnies are sick. I'm watching them while she's away."

"That's awfully nice of you. Oh, that reminds me... I set up the book signing for tomorrow. Everypony will be there. It'll be at the library, so be sure to show up on time. It starts at noon."

"I have no plans, I'll be there," Aqua replied.

Twilight smiled and spread her wings a bit. "Also I read your first book , you are quite the talented author." Aqua blushed and put a hoof to her face. "I'll be getting my copy signed as well." Aqua's blush deepened and she used her hoof to try to hide her face.

"I should get back to the bunnies," Aqua said.

Twilight looked past Aqua into the cottage and nodded. "I need to find Fluttershy, anyway."

With that, Twilight spread her wings and flew off towards the Everfree forest. Aqua watched her go and then turned back into the cottage. She closed the door with her back hoof and walked over to the couch where she sat down and faced the bunnies again. She watched them for another ten minutes before she stood and started to pace again. Aqua always paced when getting anxious or bored. She was both anxious and bored, so pacing was inevitable. She paced for nearly five minutes, constantly looking at the bunnies to make sure they were ok. Finally she sighed and sat back down on the couch; just as the door to the cottage opened. Fluttershy walked in and without even glancing at Aqua checked on the bunnies. That's when Aqua noticed she had a small pot-like thing in her mouth. She quietly poured some sort of goop on her hoof and spread it on the closest bunny's back. She did this for the next bunny as well and then came to the one wrapped in the blanket. She fumbled with the blanket with her hoof until Aqua lifted it off the bunny for her. Fluttershy smiled around the little pot and rubbed the goop on the last bunny. Fluttershy set the little pot down on the end table and turned to Aqua.

"Thank you so much for watching the bunnies for me," Fluttershy said. Aqua jumped up from the couch and walked over to Fluttershy.

"No problem, I was happy to help." Fluttershy wrapped her hooves around Aqua's neck and pulled her in for a hug. Aqua was taken by surprise at first but nuzzled Fluttershy's neck. "You're a good friend."

Fluttershy let go of Aqua, and was surprised to see a shocked expression on her face.

"We're friends?" Aqua asked. Fluttershy gave her a puzzled look and tilted her head to the side. "It just seems like you accepted me as a friend really fast even though we just met." Fluttershy giggled and waved a forehoof at Aqua.

"I guess that's Pinkie Pie rubbing off on me. She makes friends really fast, but you did something for me even though you didn't have to. That makes me consider you a friend," Fluttershy explained. "You know... if that's ok with you."

Aqua smiled at Fluttershy as she pawed at the floor.

"That's fine with me," Aqua responded.

Fluttershy looked up and smiled. She pulled Aqua into another hug, this time, Aqua wrapped a hoof around her neck. Finally they separated and Aqua smiled at Fluttershy. She hid her face behind her mane and Aqua frowned at her.

"Ummm, I have to take a shower, so if you don't mind."

Aqua looked down at Fluttershy's hooves to see she was covered in caked on mud and twigs were sticking out of her fur.

"Oh, of course! I'll give you your privacy. Just let me know if you ever need anything else," Aqua told her.

Fluttershy nodded as Aqua left the tiny cottage. As Aqua walked back to Ponyville she decided to head home and finish her book. As she was walking, she could barely contain her excitement. She had made her first friend in Ponyville! She was practically bouncing with each step as she walked through town. As she was walking she saw Applejack pulling a cart. She walked up to Applejack who smiled at Aqua.

"Good day, Aqua," Applejack called out. "What's got you so excited?"

"I just made my first friend in Ponyville!"

"I reckon it's either Lyra or Bon Bon right?"

Aqua shook her head and Applejack raised an eyebrow.

"It's Fluttershy."

Applejack almost tripped in surprise.

"That shy pony actually asked you to be friends!?"

Aqua shook her head again. "No, I did a favor for her and she said she considers me a friend now."

Applejack chuckled and then stopped walking. Aqua stopped next to her. "That makes more sense," Applejack replied. "Well sorry to cut ya’ short, but I’ve got a lot of work to do up near the barn, and your house is the other way. Oh, I almost forgot; Granny Smith wanted me to let you know she's looking forward to your signing tomorrow."

Aqua nodded and looked in the direction of her home. "Tell Granny Smith I look forward to seeing her tomorrow."

Applejack nodded and then started to walk toward the Apple farm. Aqua waved goodbye and then turned in the direction of home. It didn't take long to get home from there and she was soon walking through the door of Lyra and Bon Bon's cottage. She was greeted by the sight of Bon Bon dusting the living room bookshelf. Aqua smiled at her and Bon Bon smiled around the feather duster in her mouth. She set down the duster and walked over to Aqua.

"Welcome home. How was Fluttershy's house?"

"Her bunnies are fine for now. I hope they get better soon."

"That's good to hear." Bon Bon walked back over to the bookshelf and pulled a book out. She set the book on the table next to the door and Aqua saw that the book was A Shift in Time. "I have to set your books out or Lyra will forget them tomorrow." She walked back over to the bookshelf and pulled out Dreams of Love . Aqua blushed as Bon Bon placed it on the table and went to get Year of Fate. As she set it down on the table she looked up at Aqua. "Do you have a title for the new book?"

Aqua nodded and her blush deepened. "It's called The Last Heart."

"I like it. Why do you blush every time somepony talks about your writing?" Bon Bon asked.

"It's embarrassing. I've never gotten this much attention for my writing in any other city."

Bon Bon nodded in understanding and placed a hoof on Aqua's shoulder. "You don't have to be embarrassed. I'm sure everypony understands." Aqua nodded and slowly her blush disappeared.

"Thank you, Bon Bon."


Bon Bon went back to the bookshelf and picked up the duster again. She resumed dusting as Aqua went upstairs. Aqua walked into her room and hopped onto her bed. She grabbed the ‘Daring Do’ book off her desk. She grabbed her reading glasses and placed them on her muzzle. Aqua opened the book to where she left off and started to read.

Soon the book was finished and Aqua looked up to see the sun was about to set. She yawned and set the book on her desk. She placed her reading glasses on the desk and untied the ribbon from her ear. She walked downstairs and opened the fridge. Aqua decided to make a garden salad for herself and her roommates. She whipped up three garden salads in ten minutes and placed them on the table. Aqua walked upstairs and knocked on the door of Lyra and Bon Bon's bedroom. The door opened magically and Lyra stood on the other side. She smiled when she saw Aqua, and Aqua smiled back.

"I made dinner," Aqua told her.

Lyra brightened up and she turned to look into the bedroom.

"Bon Bon, Aqua made dinner. Let's go eat."

Lyra walked out of the room and downstairs. Soon Bon Bon exited the room and followed her marefriend down the stairs. Aqua followed them downstairs and into the kitchen. They ate in silence and soon they were all finished. Aqua stood from the table and looked at her roommates.

"I'm gonna take a shower before tomorrow. See you in the morning," Aqua stated.

Bon Bon nodded and Lyra waved at her. Aqua climbed upstairs and into the bathroom. She used her magic to turn on the water and took off her scarf. She placed it on the sink stepping into the shower gently and sighed as the hot water hit her sinking into her fur. She levitated the soap into the air and started to scrub her body. Aqua washed her hoofs until they started to shine and made sure to undo her manedo before she washed it. She enjoyed the feel of her mane against her neck as washed her tail as well, washing over her cutie mark and the rest of her body she washed herself off. Stepping out of the shower she turned off the water and grabbed the towel hanging on the wall. She dried herself off and grabbed her scarf. She walked to her room and placed her scarf in the top dresser drawer. Aqua looked out the window at the night sky walking up to the window she opened it. She felt the slight breeze come in and move through her still-wet mane. She sat at her desk and opened the drawer with her manuscript. Aqua took out a black pen from her desk starting to write, she stayed up for another hour, writing. After she finished, she yawned and put her things away. She climbed into bed and closed the window.

Tomorrow would be a long, busy day.

Book signing

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Aqua woke to somepony gently shaking her. She yawned and rolled onto her back to find Bon Bon smiling down at her.

"I've never seen you with your mane down," Bon Bon said. Aqua smiled up at her and yawned again.

"I never take it down unless I take a shower," Aqua replied.Aqua rolled back on her side and climbed out of bed. "Good morning by the way." Bon Bon giggled and walked towards the door.

"Good morning."

As Aqua walked over to her desk, her mane was being magically put up. Aqua looked at her ribbons and placed a hoof to her chin. Bon Bon walked over just as Aqua's mane was finished being placed in a bow shape.

"I like this one," Bon Bon said while pointing to the rainbow ribbon.

Aqua smiled and tied the ribbon to her right ear. She levitated her scarves out of the dresser and let them float in front of her face.

"Which one do you think?" She looked to Bon Bon and pointed to the scarves. Bon Bon examined the scarves and 'hmmed'.

"I like the pink. It doesn't match your mane but it matches your eyes." Aqua wrapped the pink scarf around her neck and placed the purple one back in the dresser. "Is the purple one special?" Bon Bon asked.

"My mother gave it to me before I left Canterlot."

"When did you leave?"

"When I was 16 I set off to see the world to inspire my writing. So five years now."

Bon Bon looked shocked and walked closer to Aqua. "And you never went home to visit?" Aqua shook her head and Bon Bon gasped. "Why not? Your parents must be worried about you." Aqua looked down at the ground and crossed her front hooves.

"I write to them, but I told them I'd be famous across Equestria before I came home. There are still places that don't know about me." Aqua looked up just in time to see Bon Bon give her a disapproving stare.

"A couple of the ponies in town are going to Canterlot in three days. I will get you a ticket on that train. You are going to visit your parents."

Aqua sighed at the pony in front of her. "If you insist, I'm sure my mom will be so happy she won't be able to stay on the ground."

"Your mom is a pegasus?"

Aqua nodded and then pointed to her horn. "I got this from my dad's side."

"What do your parents do?"

"Well, my mom is Graceful Flyer. She specializes in small time aerial shows. She's no Wonderbolt but she does much more intricate flying rather than speed flying. My dad is Jasper Stone, he's a jeweler. He owns a little shop in Canterlot. My dad was hoping I would take up being a jeweler, too, but it was never for me." Bon Bon walked over to the door and looked back to Aqua.

"I'm gonna run down to the station to get your ticket. The book signing is in a couple of hours... don't be late." With that she opened the door and walked out.

Aqua made sure her scarf was on properly and then followed her out the door. Aqua walked into the bathroom and checked on her mane. She had styled her mane plenty of times so it was in a perfect bow. She picked up a hair brush from the sink and brushed her tail back into an 'S' shape. When she was satisfied, she placed the brush down and exited the bathroom. She trotted down the stairs into the kitchen to find Lyra reading a book at the table. Lyra looked up and saw Aqua.

"Good morning."

Aqua nodded and walked over to the fridge. She opened it up and took out an apple. "What are you reading?" Lyra closed the book and Aqua saw it was Year of Fate. Aqua tried not to blush when she saw the title. "Why are you reading my book?"

"I was thinking about it and I had to go back to check a part. When I started reading it again I just couldn't put it back down," Lyra said, looking up from the book to smile at Aqua. "This one is my favorite."

"What were you thinking about?"

Lyra set the book down on the table and stood up. "I was thinking about when Prince Permafrost and Living Dream were trapped in that cave. I love that scene." Aqua took a bite of her apple and quickly chewed it.

"A lot of ponies do," Aqua said.

"It's a good scene. It shows how much Living Dream loves Prince Permafrost."

"It actually started out as the death scene of Living Dream," Aqua said. "But I decided that I would change it."

Lyra gasped and walked up close to Aqua. "You were gonna kill off Dream?"

Aqua nodded and took another bite of apple.

"It was my editor's idea. She thought the fans would be heartbroken and it would sell more books, but I told her it just wasn't the way the book was supposed to go. She caved after a while and agreed that it was my story to write. It turns out fans actually love that scene." Aqua took a few more bites of her apple while her words sunk into Lyra.

"Being a writer must be tough."

Aqua chuckled and waved a forehoof at Lyra. "Not for me. I don't try to please everyone like some writers, I just write what I want to. If fans don't like it that saddens me but I don't let it change how I work." Aqua finished off her apple and threw the core into the trash can. "I'm gonna go get the 'Daring Do' book so I can return it today."

As Aqua started to leave the room a green blur rushed past and suddenly Lyra was in front of her. "Wait!" Aqua looked behind herself into the kitchen and back to Lyra. How one pony could move so fast was beyond her. "Does that mean you have plans to kill off Living Dream later in the series!?"

"No." Lyra sighed and visually relaxed. "And if I did I couldn't discuss it with you."

"Is that a yes or no?"

Aqua shrugged and walked past Lyra and up the stairs. She heard a loud groan come from below her and she giggled. Aqua entered her room and levitated the saddlebags out of the dresser. She placed them on her back and put the 'Daring Do' book inside the left one. She set the reading glasses from the desk in the right side and dropped her bits in there as well. Finally she placed her set of pens in the right side and smiled. She trotted back out of the room. Aqua walked down the stairs and past a sad looking Lyra. Aqua smiled and left the house. She looked up and frowned at the sky above her. The clouds covered most of the sky and the sun was even hidden, the weather ponies said it would be a clear day. Aqua looked to the left and saw a familiar rainbow tail hanging off a low hanging cloud.

"Rainbow Dash!" Aqua called up to the cloud and a cyan head popped up on the other side of the cloud. Rainbow smiled down at her and flew down to the ground.

"Hey, Aqua!"

Aqua gave Rainbow Dash a disapproving stare that she was borrowing from Bon Bon. "The sky is awfully overcast."

Rainbow looked up like she just noticed it and shrugged. "I'll get around to it after I finish my nap." Rainbow looked back to Aqua and seemed to notice something. "Cool ribbon."

Aqua lifted a forehoof and let it brush over the ribbon on her ear. "Thank you but you really should clear the sky."

Rainbow sighed and sat on the ground. "Alright, alright, I'll get on it."

Aqua smiled and placed a hoof on Rainbow's shoulder. "You'll feel better when it's not looming over you, then you can enjoy your nap that much more."

Rainbow nodded and stood back up. "I'll get started then."

Rainbow took to the sky as Aqua waved after her. Again she felt the wonderful daydream of how amazing it would be to have wings like that. Aqua sighed wishfully and looked back at the ground. She took a second to try to remember where she was going. "Oh yes, I have to go see Rarity," she recalled.

With that Aqua was trotting off towards Carousel Boutique. It wasn't too long of a walk past the library and in ten minutes she was walking in the front door of the cute little boutique. A bell chime signaled her arrival and the door shut behind her. She was caught in wonder for the second time that day when she saw all the dresses and outfits. Rarity appeared from behind a curtain and smiled at Aqua. The unicorn herself was, as her clothes, a thing of beauty; Aqua wondered how she styled her mane.

"Oh darling how wonderful to see you again. What may I help you with?"

"Well, you see, I kind of need a dress."

"What do you mean 'kind of' dear?"

Aqua fiddled with the end of her scarf that dangled just below her chest. "Well, I have an invitation to the Grand Galloping Gala."

"Oh my, that's in a week!"

Aqua nodded and looked down to her hooves. "I didn't bring my dress from last year and plus it's frowned upon to wear the same thing two years in a row. So I was gonna have a dress delivered from my favorite designer like I always do, but then I saw your work. So I decided to commission you to make my dress this year." When Aqua looked up Rarity was beaming.

"You want me to make you a dress to hobnob with the rich and famous? You chose me over a well-known designer? I would be honored to do that for you! Luckily nopony in Ponyville is going to the gala this year so I have time to make it."

Aqua was taken back and it took her a second to process what Rarity had said. "Nopony in Ponyville is going to the gala? What about the princess?"

Rarity giggled at something before answering Aqua. "After the disaster from two years ago Celestia hasn't sent us an invitation. I guess that means Twilight doesn't have to attend. I don't think Cadence attends either." Rarity seemed to think about it for a minute and then shrugged. "Now about your dress."

Rarity levitated over several measuring tapes and let them float around Aqua. Aqua took off her scarf and saddlebags, standing up straight. Rarity levitated over a clipboard and pen while the measuring tapes went to work. With the practice of a master seamstress, Rarity measured out all of Aqua's body and wrote down the numbers on her clipboard. Rarity floated the measuring tapes away and placed them on a nearby shelf. Aqua smiled and lifted her saddlebags back on her back. She put her scarf on and turned to leave.

"Just a few questions before you you go, darling."

Aqua turned back to her a little surprised. "Questions?"

Rarity chuckled at something and nodded. "After my friends started wanting dresses made to their liking, I decided to ask some standard questions. What's your favorite color?"

Aqua stared at her perplexed for a second. No one had ever asked her that before. "It's lilac."

"Oh, just like that lovely scarf from the other day. That color looks good on you. How do you feel about gems on a dress?" Rarity wrote on her clipboard and looked up at Aqua expectantly.

"Um, I never had any gems on my dress before but I think it's pretty."

Again Rarity wrote something on her clipboard and then looked back up at Aqua. "Last question: do you have a favorite style of dress?"

"Not really, I'm just not a fan of super small dresses that don't even cover the whole body. I like the dress to cover that and more."

Rarity nodded and wrote something on her clipboard. "Would you like to wait for a sketch or do you have somewhere to go?"

Aqua played with her scarf again and Rarity cocked her head to the side. "Actually, I like for the dress to be a surprise... so if you could not tell me until it's ready that would be nice." Aqua continued to fiddle with her scarf and Rarity smiled.

"I can do that." Rarity floated her clipboard and pen over to a nearby desk. "Do you have any ideas for your dress?"

Aqua shook her head and smiled at Rarity. "As long as it's not bubblegum pink like last year no one will say I wore the same dress."

"That I can do."

"Good luck, then. How much do I owe you?"

Rarity thought it over for a second and then smiled. "Twenty bits." Aqua was surprised and took out the bits. "Plus," Rarity continued. "You have to go out with Spike and I the next time we go looking for gems."

Aqua chuckled and set the bits down on Rarity's desk. "You've got a deal."

"Rarity!" A small voice that Aqua recognized called from upstairs. The next second a little white filly ran up to Rarity. Sweetie Belle stopped and took in a deep breath. "It's time to go see Apple Bloom. Will you walk with me to the farm?" Rarity looked up at Aqua then back down at Sweetie.

"I just took on a big project. Sorry Sweetie, but I can't take you."

Aqua cleared her throat and smiled when both ponies turned to look at her. "I can take her. I have no plans until the book signing."

Sweetie smiled and trotted over to Aqua's side. Rarity looked at them and gave Aqua an uncertain look. "Are you sure?"

Aqua looked down at the filly next to her and nodded. "Positive." Rarity smiled at them and nodded as well.

"Well, then thank you very much Aqua."

With that Aqua and Sweetie exited the shop. As soon as they made it outside Sweetie took off toward the Apple farm. Aqua shook her head and then trotted off to keep up with the little filly. Aqua looked up at the sky to see Rainbow Dash had, in fact, cleared the clouds--and in record time, too. Aqua looked back down at Sweetie Belle trotting in front of her. After walking for ten minutes they made it to the edge of Ponyville. Aqua could see the farm on the top of the hill and figured it was another ten minute walk. Sweetie Belle glanced back to make sure Aqua was still there before starting up the hill. Aqua was close behind her and soon they had made it all the way to the farm. It had taken ten minutes just as Aqua had suspected. Aqua smiled at the farm as she walked through the archway that signaled the entrance to the farm house area. It was a cute barn and house (not that she had seen many in the cities). Just as they were walking up to the house, Big Mac walked out. He nodded to the mares and continued on towards the orchard. Just as he entered it Applejack walked out pulling a cart full of apples.

Applejack greeted the two. "Howdy Aqua... Sweetie. What brings y'all around?"

Sweetie ran up to Applejak before Aqua could respond. "I came to see Apple Bloom, we have a Cutie Mark Crusader meeting."

Applejack chuckled at the energetic filly. "She's in the house, go on in."

Sweetie Belle didn't need to be told anything else and ran inside. Aqua giggled at the silly filly and then looked to Applejack. "Were you out collecting apples?"

"I go out apple bucking every day of harvest season."

"Sounds fun."

"Would you like to give it a try?"

Aqua fiddled with her scarf before she responded. "I'm not an earth pony though."

Applejack chuckled and slid out of her harness. She walked over to Aqua and stood in front of her. "Twi and Rarity helped by using their magic once. I just thought you would like to try the old fashioned way first."

Aqua looked up at Applejack and finally nodded. "I would like that."

Applejack walked back over to the cart and slipped back into the harness. "Just let me drop this off at the barn and we'll get started." Applejack trotted off to the barn easily pulling a very heavy-looking cart. A minute later she returned with an empty cart and motioned with her head for Aqua to follow. Aqua followed silently into the orchard. After a couple of minutes they came across Big Mac bucking an apple tree. Aqua watched in amazement as the apples fell from the tree and landed in baskets set up around the base.

Aqua turned to see Applejack walking over to her brother. "Would you mind if Aqua gave apple bucking a shot?"

Big Mac acknowledged with a glance toward Aqua.


Applejack tipped her hat to her brother and walked over to a tree with baskets under it. She motioned Aqua over and smiled. Aqua trotted over to the tree and looked to Applejack. "Now all you need to do is give her a good kick with both back legs." As she said this she kicked her back legs up through the air.

"Will that hurt the tree?"

Applejack chuckled and patted the tree with a forehoof. "Not unless you can kick as hard as Big Mac here." Aqua glanced over at the powerful-looking stallion and shook her head. "Then you don't need to be worrying none."

Aqua nodded and turned her back to the tree. She raised one of her back hooves to the tree only to find she that was too far away. She backed up a couple of steps and then braced her front hooves on the ground. She reared up and kicked her back legs out as hard as she could. They connected with the tree and she placed them back on the ground. She turned to see half the apples had fallen from the tree and most had landed in the baskets.

Aqua let out a sigh and looked to Applejack. "How was that?"

Applejack chuckled and picked up one of the apples from the ground, placing it in one of the baskets. "You're a natural... for a unicorn."

Aqua picked up the rest of the apples off the ground and placed them in the baskets. She looked up at the tree and sighed at the apples still hanging there. "Could I give it another try?"

Applejack looked up at the branches and nodded. "One more time should get it done. Make sure you give it all you got."

Aqua nodded and turned away from the tree. She reared up and with all she had in her she slammed her back hooves into the tree. She heard the dull thuds as the apples landed and she turned to see that she had indeed knocked the rest of the apples down. Aqua smiled and looked to Applejack. Applejack returned the smile and walked over to Aqua She placed a hoof on Aqua's shoulder. "That was great."

"I can't believe I did it." Big Mac walked over and nodded to Aqua. "Thank you guys for letting me try it, it was fun." Aqua picked up the apples from the ground and placed them in the baskets.

Applejack looked at the apples in the basket and smiled. "You didn't bruise any of them, either. You sure you're not a farmer?"

Aqua chuckled and held a hoof to her face to hide her smile. "Quite sure."

Big Mac walked over to the empty cart and began to fill it with the fallen apples. Aqua lifted her baskets up and helped fill the cart. Big Mac smiled when he saw this and continued to fill the cart as well. When the cart was finally full, Big Mac put on the harness and walked out of the orchard with it.

Aqua glanced at the sun and let out a small gasp. "I have to go now, but thank you for letting me help today."

Applejack nodded and started to walk with Aqua out of the orchard. "Come around another time I'm sure Granny and Applebloom would love to see you."

Aqua nodded as they made it out of the orchard. Big Mac was walking back from the barn with a now empty cart. He nodded to Aqua and she waved to him. "Goodbye Applejack, see you soon."

Applejack tipped her hat to Aqua and walked back into the orchard. Aqua left the farm and headed into town. Soon she was standing in front of the library with half an hour to spare before the signing. Aqua smiled and opened the door with her magic. Inside Spike ran around frantically with books in his hands. The whole library floor was covered in books and the shelves were empty. Surprised, Aqua walked into the library.

Spike looked up and saw her. "Aqua you're early!"

"What happened here?"

Spike let out a nervous chuckle as he looked around the library. "Twilight was up late going over all the books and she forgot about the signing today."

Aqua looked around at all the books before looking back to Spike. "Do you want some help?"

Spike's face lit up at that. "You would do that!?"

Aqua nodded and Spike pointed to a stack of books next to him. "You can start there... just put them back where they belong."


For the next twenty-five minutes, Aqua and Spike put the books away until everything was back in its place. Finally Spike sat down on the ground and let out a sigh. "Thanks for the help Aqua, without it I don't think I would have finished in time."

Aqua giggled and looked around the now-clean library. "Happy to help! Now there's only one book left to put back." Aqua pulled out the 'Daring Do' book she borrowed and put it on the shelf in its place.

Just as Aqua let go of the book the library door opened and in walked Twilight. She looked around and smiled. "You guys put away all the books? I freaked out when I remembered the book signing." Twilight walked over to Aqua. "Thank you for helping Spike."

"I was happy to."

Twilight lifted a desk from against the wall and placed it on the opposite side from the door. "You can sit here to sign," Twilight said as she placed a stool behind the desk

Aqua took out her pens and placed them on the desk.

"What are those?" asked Twilight.

"They're my lucky set of pens. I thought it would be good to sign with." Aqua smiled and set her saddlebags on the ground by the stool. She walked over and sat on the stool. She looked over to Spike and then to Twilight. "I heard you aren't going to the gala."

Twilight looked taken aback and took a second before she responded. "Where did you hear that?"

"Rarity told me. I thought since I was going you might be going as well."

A look of confusion bloomed on Twilight's face. "You're going to the gala?"

"The invites come every year direct from the Princess... starting two years ago. The first came with a short letter that said she enjoys my books."

Twilight gasped and looked to Spike. "Celestia did that?"

Aqua's face broke out into the tiniest smirk--so tiny to the ponies who looked at her it appeared as if her face didn't move. "Never said it was Princess Celestia."

Twilight's head snapped back to look at Aqua. "Luna!?"

Aqua flinched at Twilight's sudden outburst and nodded.

"She actually reads your books?"

"Apparently." Aqua glanced down to find her tail was just barely touching the floor. She briefly wondered how clean the floor was then looked back up a Twilight. "Is there something wrong with that?"

Twilight who was looking at Spike shook her head and looked to Aqua. "Nothing wrong with it, I was just surprised."


"Luna isn't much of a reader."

Before Aqua could respond the door to the library opened and in walked the book vendor. She smiled when she saw Aqua and walked up to the desk. She held Aqua's other two books in her magic. She placed them on the desk and looked up expectantly at Aqua. Aqua picked up a purple pen and opened both book covers. She placed her graceful signature on both the books and closed them behind herself. The book vendor's face lit up at this and she took the books off the desk.

"Thank you ever so much, Miss Pen!"

Aqua chuckled at her enthusiasm and waved a hoof at her. "You're welcome... and please just call me Aqua."

The vendor's face broke out into a huge grin and she nodded rapidly. "I sure will, Aqua!" With that she practically skipped out of the library with her newly signed books in tow.

Aqua immediately looked to Twilight. "What do you mean Luna isn't a big reader?"

"Just what I said. Luna doesn't read as much as Celestia."

Aqua thought this over for a second and then smiled. "So she picked my books out of all the books out there to read? I feel honored."

Twilight nodded absentmindedly as she walked over to the stairs. Instead of taking the steps though she unfurled her wings and flew up them. This was the first time Aqua was able to see those princess wings in action; she held back a gasp. They were so much cooler than pegasi wings. They were bigger, and by the looks of them more powerful too. Aqua heard a door close and she snapped her attention back to the desk in front of her. On the desk now sat her three books with a grinning Lyra standing over them. Aqua shook her head slightly at the silly pony and signed them with an orange pen.

Lyra was dancing in place as Aqua signed the last one. "This is so cool. I can't believe I know someone famous across Equestria."

Aqua gave Lyra a strange look. "You know the princess though."

Lyra stopped dancing and seemed to think this over. "But it's just Twilight. I've known her for a couple of years before she became a princess. You've been famous longer then she has."

Aqua knew that was true but she also knew Twilight and her friends had saved Equestria a couple of times. Still, now that she was a princess, Aqua had not expected Twilight and her friends to still be here in Ponyville when she arrived. "Well, I'm not as famous as a princess and I'm certainly not known all throughout Equestria yet, but thank you."

"Of course we're friends now. I'll always have your back." When Lyra finished speaking the door to the library opened again and in poured a line of ponies. Lyra smiled when she saw this and picked the books up with her magic. "I better not block the line I'll see you at home."

Aqua nodded and Lyra headed out the door past the line of ponies. Aqua gave a small smile to the pony who walked up to the desk as she started to sign.

An hour later the line had thinned down and Granny Smith walked up to the desk with A Shift in Time sticking out of her saddlebags. She placed it on the desk and smiled at Aqua. "I must say I don't really like fiction but your book was intriguing."

Aqua smiled brightly at the older mare and nodded. "That's sort of what I was going for so thank you." Aqua flipped open the book cover and signed it with a pink pen. "I hope you read and enjoy the others as well." As Aqua looked back up at Granny Smith she smiled.

"I guess I could give 'em a try."

Aqua closed the book and placed it back in Granny's saddlebags. "That's all I can ask."

With a nod Granny turned and headed out the door. Aqua smiled after her, then turned back to the line.

Half an hour later the line had dwindled down to the last pony, Rainbow Dash.

"How was your nap?"

Rainbow smiled down at Aqua. She was currently flying two feet off the ground with her book between her front hooves. "It was awesome! I dreamed I was flying with the Wonderbolts."

"Oh you like the Wonderbolts?"

Rainbow Dash almost fell out of the air and looked at Aqua shocked. "They’re my idols!"

Aqua giggled and stood from the stool. "I'm sure Soarin would love to hear that, Spitfire is a little tougher to crack but I'll be sure to tell them."

This time Rainbow did fall out of the air, and landed with a thud. "You know the Wonderbolts!?"

"I do, I meet them every year at the gala. Plus Fleetfoot and Soarin like my books." Rainbow looked at Aqua dumbfounded and Aqua giggled again. "Would you like me to get you some autographs?"

Rainbow seemed to snap out of her trance and shook her head. "I already have their autographs."

Aqua was slightly taken aback by this but shrugged it off. "Do you still want mine?"

Rainbow looked at the book on the ground as if just remembering it. She picked it up and placed it on the desk. Aqua took out a blue pen and signed the book. As she looked up she saw Twilight had reappeared. Aqua didn't know how long she had been there. With a gentle smile Twilight placed her own copy of Aqua's book on the desk. Aqua picked out a green pen and signed Twilight's copy.

Twilight took the book back and opened her muzzle to speak. "You're just full of surprises. So you know the Wonderbolts?"

Aqua shrugged and looked to the side to see Spike had reappeared as well. "My mother is their competition, so it's only natural that I know them. We became sort of friends but we only really meet at the gala."

Twilight's face scrunched up in confusion. "Your mother?"

"Her name is Graceful Flyer. She does aerial shows as well."

Twilight's wings perked up at this. "I've heard of her but never seen a show before. You're from Canterlot?"

Aqua nodded and walked around the desk so it wasn't between them anymore. "I was born there but I left years ago to pursue my career. Of course, at Bon Bon's suggestion I'm going back in a couple of days."

Rainbow perked up at this. "Oh you mean with Derpy?"

Aqua shrugged her shoulders but Twilight nodded. "Octavia is going as well. She has to practice for the gala."

As Twilight talked she moved the desk and stool back into their original positions. Aqua stepped up so she was closer to Twilight before she spoke. "So I'll be riding on the train with them then?"

Twilight nodded and turned to look at Aqua square on. "So who is your father?"

Aqua gave Twilight a strange look. "Jasper Stone. He's a jeweler."

Twilight gasped and took off up the stairs to the upper level. Aqua stared after her in shock for a moment before turning back to Rainbow who shrugged. Twilight was back downstairs in a flash, holding gilded hoof slippers with pink sapphires in the shape of her cutie mark embedded in them. Twilight smiled brightly and held one closer to Aqua so she could inspect it.

Aqua could recognize her dad's handiwork. "My dad made these."

"You can tell that?"

Aqua looked to Spike and nodded.

"He taught me all he knows about jewelry and gems before I found my talent for writing. Are these your princess hoof slippers, Twilight?" Twilight nodded with the same bright smile. "Wow, my dad must be even more popular now. He always was amazing at his job but I never thought he would make hoof slippers for a princess."

Twilight set the hoof slippers down on the desk and then looked back to Aqua. "Your parents are amazing, Aqua."

Aqua blushed deeply and giggled. "I'm sure they would love to hear you say that."

"Why don't I tell them then? I'll go with you to Canterlot."

Aqua was taken aback by the suggestion and quickly shook her head. "You don't have to do that."

Twilight chuckled softly and waved a forehoof at Aqua. "I know that. I want to. Plus, it'll be nice to meet the stallion who made my hoof slippers."

Spike perked up at this and walked over next to Twilight. "Count me in as well."

Everypony turned to Rainbow who looked shocked for a second. "Oh, I can't go. The weather team needs me that day... but thanks for the offer." With that Rainbow picked up her newly signed book and flew from the library.

Aqua turned back to Twilight. "I'll ask everypony else as well but I think Rarity will be busy with your dress unless she has no other orders." Twilight put a forehoof to her chin and seemed to think something over. "I also don't know if Applejack will be up for a trip, but I'll ask."

While Twilight was talking Aqua glanced at the door to the library. "Do you have somewhere to be?"

Aqua snapped back to look at Twilight and shook her head. "Not really, I just wanted to get to know the town layout today."

Twilight giggled lightly and opened the library door.

"Go on, I'll let you know who's coming with us later."

Aqua nodded to Twilight and picked up her saddlebags from the floor. She walked out the open door and watched as it closed behind her. Off she went through town. In a few hours she had seen everything in town and could walk there, no problem. A half hour later she was walking into her shared cottage. Over a salad dinner, Aqua filled in Bon Bon and Lyra about her day. Then she climbed the stairs to her room and sat down at her desk. She put away all the things in her saddlebags and then put the bags away. Then she took out her manuscript and got to work. When she was happy with the work she had done she looked up to see night had fallen. Yawning quietly, she put her manuscript away and climbed into bed. She had no idea how hectic it would be when she woke up.

Canterlot part 1

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When Aqua woke up, ponies were frantically running around while Twilight was yelling for everypony to go home. Aqua, who had stepped outside for some fresh air, darted inside immediately. That was two days ago when Tirek showed up. Everypony was still shaken up by the fact that just yesterday Tirek was in town and destroyed the library. There was apparently a huge fight too, judging by the destruction near town. But yesterday Twilight had invited everypony to her new castle to tell them that all was fine once again. She even did so with a song.

Even though things looked grim for the ponies in Ponyville, Aqua was still going to Canterlot today. She was towel drying her mane and tail after a nice shower. Aqua was humming the song from the other day and though she was still unsure about the whole "everything's fine" view, and was determined to have a good day. Still humming, she finished up in the bathroom, styling her mane and tail. She took the lilac scarf from the side of the sink and placed it around her neck before exiting the bathroom. Walking downstairs, she found a hay and lily sandwich in her usual spot at the table. She smiled brightly since lilies happen to be her favorite flower to both eat and look at. She sat down and took a bite. Lyra, who was making another sandwich, smiled at her, just as Bon Bon walked into the room and sat down to her own sandwich. Before she took a bite, Bon Bon turned to Aqua with a smile.

"Excited for today?"

Aqua chuckled at her friend. "Of course I'm excited, Bon Bon. I just wish you two were coming as well."

Bon Bon gave a sly smile at that. "Next time."

Aqua laughed and shook her head. Bon Bon was going to make sure that Aqua visited her parents more often since she was now just a short train ride away. Aqua finished her sandwich and waved goodbye to the two mares as she exited the kitchen. She walked outside and then glanced up at Canterlot. The city looked glorious. Even from this distance it seemed to defy gravity as it stayed attached to the mountain. She smiled for what may have been the tenth time just that morning and started her walk to the train station. In fifteen minutes she could see the station and she stopped in her tracks. There in front of the station waving at her was Twilight, but she wasn't alone: Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Spike stood with her. Aqua approached cautiously and Twilight met her halfway.

"Good morning Aqua!" Twilight called as she neared Aqua.

Aqua gave a small wave when she finally stopped in front of Twilight. "Why is everypony else here?"

Twilight blinked in confusion a couple of times and then laughed. "Everypony else wanted to come as well." It was Aqua's turn to blink in confusion. "After everything that happened the last couple of days, everypony agreed we need a vacation even if it's only for a day. So Rainbow got somepony to cover for her on the weather team and Fluttershy got a babysitter for her animals."

Aqua glanced at the gathered ponies and sighed. "That's all well and good. I just don't know how my parents will react." It was one thing to come with the princess. It was an entirely different thing to come with the princess and all her friends. Aqua just hoped her mom or dad didn't faint. Twilight gave her a comforting smile and tilted her head to the side.

"It'll be fine I'm sure," Twilight assured her.

With a simple nod, Aqua walked past Twilight and over to the group. She looked at an each pony and finally at Spike. He was holding a set of saddlebags; they were pink with blue diamonds on the clasps. Aqua shrugged internally and addressed the ponies in front of her.

"Before we go I have a small surprise. I sent a letter to my mom the morning everything went crazy. I asked her to save us seats at her show so when we get to Canterlot we are going to see her perform." There was a second or two of utter silence before Rainbow Dash flew up into the air.


That led to everypony else all agreeing at once and Twilight stepped up to Aqua's side. "That was very nice of you, but did she save enough seats?" Everypony went quiet and looked to Aqua in anticipation. She looked to Twilight and smiled.

"I told her eight, though at the time I didn't think all of you would be coming." Aqua was silently applauding herself for her own forethought. She hoped to Celestia that they all enjoyed her mom's show. Aqua herself thought her mom was amazing and so gorgeous once she got into the air. Of course her shows were more for ponies who enjoyed that sort of thing. She gave an internal sigh and looked back at the assembled ponies. "We should get going, we don't want the train to leave without us."

They entered the train station and walked past the ticket booths to the platform. As they set foot on the platform the train whistle could be heard. Aqua glanced to the side to see the train chugging up to the station. As she waited for it arrive she looked around at the ponies near her. The platform was pretty empty compared to the big cities,only a few other ponies were there. She saw Octavia talking with her housemates Vinyl and Squiddles. The only other ponies on the platform was a group of mail ponies, all in uniform. There was the unicorn that had delivered her bits and the pegasus that had taken her letter to her mother. The pegasus was light grey with a blonde mane and a bubble cutie mark. The grey coat of the pegasus reminded her of her dad's mane even though his mane was more the color of stone. Somepony touched her shoulder from the opposite side of where she was looking.

"Aqua, the train's here," Twilight stated.

Aqua turned to see the train was in fact pulling into the station. Aqua watched as the train stopped and the conductor stepped out. Octavia was the first to step up to him and hand over her ticket. Twilight pulled eight tickets out from under her wing. Bon Bon had said that she gave the tickets she bought to Twilight so Aqua wouldn't forget it. Aqua had sighed in response to that. Bon Bon was used to taking care of Lyra so she treated Aqua the same way. Aqua didn't really mind but she wasn't Lyra she didn't need a new mother.

The grey pegasus was the next to step up to the conductor and hand over a ticket. So she must be Derpy Aqua thought. Twilight stepped up to the conductor and he tipped his hat to her. She smiled and handed over the tickets. He counted them and then counted the ponies with Twilight. With a smile he motioned for them to enter the train. Twilight stepped on first and Aqua was right on her heels. As she entered the train she saw that it was half empty. Derpy was sitting all the way in the back and Octavia had found a place in the middle. Twilight sat in the very front and patted the seat next to her. Aqua walked over and sat down next to Twilight. The other ponies filed on and sat near the pair in front. After a couple minutes of silence, the train whistle blew and it started to move. Finally the quiet on the train was broken by Rainbow Dash.

"So Aqua, what kind of tricks does your mom do?"

Aqua looked behind her to find Rainbow Dash and Applejack. She frowned slightly at Rainbow Dash before she answered. "She doesn't do a lot of tricks per se, she's more of an elegant flier than a trick pony." Rainbow Dash seemed to think this over and frowned. "She does a few tricks but they are smaller ticks then what you are used to."

"Oh," Rainbow said simply and went silent.

Aqua hoped she hadn't disappointed her before she even saw the show. Twilight though seemed intrigued when Aqua turned back around. Before Twilight could speak an elegant voice rang from the other side of Aqua.

"Personally I'm looking forward to seeing your father's shop. Don't get me wrong I'm sure your mother is fantastic, but accessories are on my list of favorite things," Rarity said. Aqua turned to see she shared a seat with Spike. Aqua glanced behind them to see Flutter and Pinkie sharing the seat there. What an odd combination those two make thought Aqua. "Would your father happen to do custom accessories?"

Aqua looked back to Rarity and smiled. "He actually lets ponies design their own jewelery if you ask."

Rarity's eyes lit up and a huge grin spread across her face. "I will have to ask to do that then."

Aqua nodded and turned to look at Twilight who was staring out the window. Aqua edged forward a little to see out the window herself. Outside, the scenery chugged by at a decent rate. Canterlot was only an hour away by train but it was four hours on hoof. Twilight turned from the window and saw Aqua stretching to get a view out the window. Aqua quickly settled back down into the seat and scooted back into her spot. Twilight gave her a kind smile.

"Would you like the window seat?"

Aqua shook her head quickly and turned so she was staring back at the other passengers. Derpy was no longer in her seat and was flying to the front. When she made it there she stopped in front of Rainbow. "Hey, Rainbow Dash!" Her voice was slightly louder than normal speaking volume so the whole train car could hear her. "You're going to Canterlot too?" It seemed she knew Rainbow Dash well by the way she smiled at her. Rainbow didn't seem to share her enthusiasm and gave a small sigh.

"Yes Derpy, we're going to visit Aqua's parents."

Derpy swung her head to look at Aqua and her eyes lit up.

"I know you! You sent that letter a couple of days ago. I just got it to the mail depot before I had to rush home." Aqua nodded to the mail pony, she seemed like a nice enough sort Aqua just wished she would lower her voice a bit. Derpy turned back to look at Rainbow Dash. "Why are all of you going to visit her parents?"

Twilight stepped down from the seat and walked to the aisle so she was closer to Derpy before answering her. "It's sort of a vacation after everything that happened."

Derpy looked to Twilight and nodded. "Oh, ok!" This seemed to satisfy the mail pony and she flew back to her seat all the way in the back. Aqua thought she was a bit different but so were a lot of ponies. Aqua decided she liked this mail pony. Twilight returned to her seat as well and Aqua shut her eyes. Without meaning to, Aqua fell quickly to sleep.

The clouds felt nice under Aqua's hooves and she stretched her wings out. She jumped off the cloud and dived through the air. As the ground came into view, Aqua spread her wings and pulled up so she was parallel to it. She smiled as the wind rushed over her while she flew as fast as she could. She tilted her wings and started to ascend back into the cloud cover. Aqua punched through a cloud and let out a heartfelt 'woot'. Finally she slowed down and landed gracefully on the cloud cover. Aqua flopped onto her back and let out a sigh, it was a good day for flying.

Aqua was gently shaken awake and she opened her eyes to see Twilight. "We're here, Aqua."

Aqua looked out the window to see that they were pulling into Canterlot station. Aqua yawned and covered her mouth with a hoof. She stepped down from her seat just as the train stopped at the platform. She walked to the front of the train and exited past the conductor. She looked up at the castle towering above her and sighed. It had been almost a whole year since she had last seen this sight. Aqua trotted through the station not bothering to check if the others were following, she could hear their excited chatter. Once she made it to the street she turned left and walked toward the theater street. Ponies all around were bustling here and there, one even bumped into Aqua.

"Excuse me," The stallion said before darting off. Aqua shrugged it off and continued on her trek. Five minutes later she was standing in front of the theater with only a few minutes to spare before the show started. She trotted over to the ticket taker mare and smiled.

"Hi, I'm Aqua Pen and these are my guests." She gestured to the other ponies hot on her heels. "We have reserved seats."

The ticket taker looked over a sheet she had on a podium and smiled. "Of course, Miss Pen. Right this way." She gestured to the door and Aqua gladly opened it and walked through. When the door opened a stallion in a red vest walked up to them.

"Seat number?" He asked in a deep voice. He had a stoic look and what seemed like a permanent frown.

The ticket taker stuck her head through the door behind Aqua. "This is Miss Pen, the daughter of the star."

The stallion looked only slightly impressed and turned towards the theater seats. He looked back over his shoulder at Aqua. "This way please." With that he looked back ahead and walked to the front of the theater. Aqua was quick to follow him all the way to the second row. He motioned to the empty row of eight and he even gave what must have been his version of a smile. "Here we are, please enjoy the show."

Aqua saw where the seats were located and let out a small sigh. Her mom had reserved them seats in the VIP section. Aqua glanced back at Twilight and thought if anypony deserved these seats it was her. As Twilight made her way to Aqua she smiled at her. Aqua motioned for Twilight to go into the row first and Twilight humbly shook her head. It finally ended up with Twilight and Aqua in the center of the row. Spike was sitting next to Twilight with Rarity next to him and Pinkie on the end. On Aqua's side it was Fluttershy, Rainbow, and then Applejack on the end.

They sat in silence for about thirty seconds before Twilight leaned towards Aqua. "How long before the show starts?"

Aqua leaned a little closer to Twilight and whispered to her, "Just a couple of minutes." Twilight nodded and leaned back away from Aqua. Aqua leaned back as well and stared at the stage. The next couple minutes seemed to go by really quickly and soon Aqua's mom was trotting onto the stage. Aqua smiled up at her mom and Graceful scanned the crowd then she looked down at her daughter. She grinned from ear to ear and then cleared her throat.

"Hello, and welcome to the show." Her mom's voice was sweet and it sounded very airy. Her coat was a deep purple with a blueish gray mane. She had light purple eyes and her cutie mark was of a pure white swan with its wings extended straight up. "My name is Graceful Flyer and here are my backup fliers." On cue, five other pegasi filed onto the stage and stood behind Graceful. Taking a moment to wink at her daughter, she bowed to the crowd. After she came out of the bow she took to the air. The backup fliers took to the air as well and started to circle Graceful. For her part, Graceful was amazingly elegant off the ground. She tilted her head back and performed a simple backflip. As she came out of the flip she folded her wings and let the ring of ponies catch her. With the simplest of her tricks out of the way, she finally let loose. Flying this way and that across the stage, flipping and twirling through the air. She picked up her ribbons halfway through the show and Aqua even heard Twilight gasp in awe. Finally she flew as high as she could and then just let herself fall. As she flipped and twirled she got closer to the stage. At the last possible second she straightened out and gave one powerful flap. She touched down gently on the stage and the crowd erupted in cheers. Even Aqua's row was cheering like crazy. Rainbow had taken to the air and was whistling while clapping her hooves. Aqua glanced at Twilight to see her smiling and clapping her hooves as well. Aqua smiled and looked back up to her mother. Graceful was a little out of breath but she smiled brightly at Aqua. Graceful waved to the crowd and disappeared backstage.

As Twilight went to stand Aqua touched her shoulder. "Wait here until the theater empties out then we're going to meet my mom." Twilight sat back down and Rainbow finally returned to her seat. It only took a couple of minutes before the theater was empty. Graceful peeked out from around the curtain on the edge of the stage. "It's clear," Aqua called to her. She stepped out from behind the curtain and Aqua jumped up from her seat. She practically galloped up to the stage and hugged her mother. Graceful started to flap her wings and when Aqua let go Graceful was off the ground. She was beaming down at her daughter.

"It's so great to see you Aqua! I didn't think you would come after everything that happened." Graceful was flying a little higher as she spoke until Aqua had to look up at her. Aqua smiled at her mom and then glanced back as she heard the sounds of hooves on wood. The rest of the ponies and Spike had traveled up to the stage as well. Graceful saw Twilight and landed on the stage. She walked over and bowed to the princess.

Twilight reacted the same way she had with Aqua, she giggled. "No need to bow, ma'am." Graceful looked uncertain but rose from her bow. She looked to the other ponies and nodded to them. Twilight saw this and jumped in surprise. "Oh, let me introduce my friends." Graceful looked to Twilight and shook her head.

"I know who your friends are, I think everypony in Canterlot knows you and your friends." Graceful held out a hoof to Twilight. "It's lovely to meet you and your friends. I never thought Aqua would make such famous friends." Twilight blushed ever so slightly and shook Graceful's hoof. "Also please just call me Graceful, everypony who knows me does."

Twilight nodded and then Rainbow Dash flew up and shook Graceful's hoof. "I have to tell you, you were amazing! When Aqua said you didn't do tricks I was a little disappointed but then, wow! I've never seen flying like that!"

Graceful's wing’s started working like mad and soon she was off the ground again. "Thank you so much! To get such a compliment from you means a lot." Graceful was so excited she did a small backflip in the air. Aqua shook her head at her mother's excitedness but the rest of the ponies all agreed at once just like before. "You guys are so sweet I'm sure Jasper is going to love you." Graceful finally landed and hugged her daughter again. "I'll see you guys at home for dinner. Tell your father to make hay burgers." Hay burgers happened to be Graceful's favorite food.

"I will, mom! I'll see you later." With that Graceful disappeared behind the side curtain and was gone. Aqua turned back to her friends "There is another show soon so we should go see my dad now."

The ponies and Spike nodded. Aqua led the way out of the theater and stopped at the street. She turned to the ponies behind her and smiled. "My dad's shop is a little bit of a walk from here, so make sure to keep up." The ponies nodded and they were off.