After 5 years of dating, the moment has come for Flash to propose to the love of his life. But what kind of story would it be if there wasn't any conflict :) Sequel to 'How to Date a Princess'
For 5 years, Twilight and Flash have been dating. For Flash, it's been a magical experience that, despite the ups and downs, was all worth it. And so after much thought, he has finally decide that it is time to ask Twilight the ultimate question. He is going...to propose.
Now if only his bedroom door, Twilight's friends, and the randomly annoying antagonist will let him do that without any trouble. But given how it's almost Tuesday, the chances of that are pretty slim...
This story is a sequel to 'How to Date a Princess'. It is highly advised to read that first...both for story reasons, and for laughs.
The cover image is not mine, it belongs to jucamove1992 on DeviantArt.
Oh, hello, Mister Sun. Is it time to wake up already? Can’t you just go back down for like five more minutes? I’m sure Celestia won’t mind…
Ugh, fine. I’m up, I’m up, stop shining in my eyes already.
Flash yawned as he sat up in bed. Note to self, remember to close the blinds of your window before going to sleep. Normally, he used the light to wake him up just in time to start his day, but he had this entire week off, so he really didn't need to wake up at the crack of dawn today.
Ugh, less complaining, more moving.
Flash wearily dragged his tired and still sore body to the bathroom, walking into the door frame like he did almost every other morning. At least this time, he only hit it once, so good day already so far.
Once inside, he proceeded to perform his daily routine of showering, brushing his teeth, combing his mane, and preening. His eyes still looked bleary by the time he was done, as he was so used to the routine he could do it in his sleep.
Actually, he probably did fall asleep for a minute or two in the shower, now that he thought about it. He’d have to start running the cold water for longer if it wasn’t waking him up as much as it used to.
Despite the exhaustion caused by his own forgetfulness and the soreness caused by the guards’ new fitness program, Flash still couldn’t help but smile as he smoothed his mane down one last time. Tomorrow was the day. The day when he and Twilight would have been dating for five years exactly. Just the thought sent shivers down his spine, and not from the water this time. It had been a fun five years. Or at least, that’s what he would have said if he was trying to obtain the ‘understatement of the last five years’ award. They had been more than fun, they had been…magical.
Well, no duh, he was dating the Element of Magic.
Ugh, still too early for puns. Where was he?
Best mare in the whole world, or possibly the universe. Even her occasional freakouts that threatened to destroy the entire town were just part of who she was, and the fact that she was always able to deal with any trouble she accidentally caused made her even more amazing. That and her quirks made her just so adorkable. Talented beyond compare, more beautiful than anything he had ever seen, a personality more amazing than… than…
Ugh, still too early for thinking of good similes and fancy words.
ANYWAY, she was fantastic in more ways than he could count. But it was more than that. After everything he had been through these past five years, Flash was certain that she was the ONE!
Oh, yes, she totally was.
And despite the Gala being postponed this year due to Discord destroying half the castle with a brownie dragon (…yes, a dragon made of brownies that breathed hot fudge), Flash had, after much worry and frantic letters, finally come up with a plan. Flash chuckled to himself as he left his bathroom and headed for his bedroom door, thinking. It was the perfect plan too, and while he knew the universe would try to mess him up, he would be successful. He would do it.
He would ask the mare of his dreams to m—
Couldn’t he at least leave his room before the universe tried to ruin everything?
Flash groaned as his bedroom door, the one that just flew open and crushed him against the wall right as he was about to open it, continued to press into his now rather sore body. Curse you, Fitness Fridays. It’s been three days and he STILL hurt.
Also, why did his door hate him?
"Where are you, you jerk?!" an angry, female voice exploded. It sounded familiar, but Flash was in waaaaay too much pain to try and figure out who it belonged to.
“We know yer in here!” another familiar voice shouted, the door slamming into him again just as it started to ease off of him.
Ugh, why couldn’t this wait until after breakfast?
“Girls!” a third voice yelled and the door hit him AGAIN.
Dear Celestia, why would this not end?!
“We promised we’d give Flash a chance to EXPLAIN himself.”
“Yeah!” came a loud squeak, followed by a yet another smack of the door hitting him for a fourth time.
Annnnnd now it must be caught on something because now it was pressing itself against his bruised chest.
“We gotta talk to him first, then beat him up if it turns out he’s a no-good heart-breaker!”
Party in his room? Why didn’t he get an invitation?
Also, it was getting realllllly hard for Flash to think with his lungs being crushed between a wall and a really hard heavy door. Why was this damn thing so heavy? Air, my old friend, where art thou?
Dammit, who were these ponies? They all sounded so fam—
OH SWEET AIR!
Flash gasped as the door was finally pulled off his poor aching body. He fell to the ground and tried to catch his breath. Hopefully that would help make his headache go away so he could actually communicate in a somewhat decent matter because his legs were practically screaming NOPE at him and he hadn’t even tried standing up yet.
Alas, his guests didn’t seem willing to give him the chance to maintain any dignity because a pair of strong hooves suddenly picked him up and began to rapidly shake him.
Oh sweet Luna, whyyyyyy??? Now the room was spinning, and he still couldn’t even make out who his visitors were as everything was just a random mash of moving colors and shapes at this point.
Was that a rainbow or was his vision just that blurry?
“What do you have to say for yourself, you jerk!?” the first voice snapped.
Flash wasn’t really sure how they expected him to answer coherently when just thinking ‘I’m gonna be sick’ literally took all his mental energy.
Sweet Celestia, he was going to throw up. Could he get off this ride yet?
“Rainbow!” somepony else yelled, prompting the shaking to finally stop. Flash went slack in the grip of whoever was holding him and leaned backwards with a groan. Was the room spinning, or was that just his eyes? There were some more words that he couldn’t catch due to his brain trying to not leak out of his ears and then he was unceremoniously dropped on the cold, hard floor.
Why, Mister Universe? Why?
“Floas,” a distorted voice called out. “Or ooo ok?”
“Flash is currently watching the world spinnnnnnnnnn,” he replied drunkenly. “Please call back when the door no longer wants to dance…”
Somepony please make the room stop moving so much, thank you.
There were more muddled noises that he could only guess were words before somepony — or was it something? — ran out. A minute later, he felt something cold and wet press against his forehead. Flash still didn’t know who was doing what to him, but the cold thing felt WONDERFUL. He leaned into it, groaning in relief and slowly, the room finally began to return to focus.
And when it did enough for Flash to take stock of what was happening, he couldn’t help but gulp.
Did he break rule one without realizing it?
Please let it be that he didn’t break rule one.
All of Twilight’s friends were there, and none of them looked particularly happy. Rainbow and Applejack were glaring at him, using the very same glares they used on the nobles at the Gala and looking like they wanted nothing more than to beat him silly. As much as his guard instincts were telling him to defend himself, he knew he was physically in no shape to do so. Not to mention Twilight would kill him if he did.
Next to them, Rarity stood looking quite displeased, but she did look prepared to hold back Rainbow and Applejack, so that was nice. And Fluttershy…
Sweet, merciful Fluttershy was holding an ice pact to his head and looked like a sad little puppy. Awww. At least he would have someone to fix him up if the others decided to try and rip him limb from limb.
Also, WHY did they look like they were going to rip him limb from limb?
He should probably ask.
“Did I do something wrong?” Flash asked. “I have no idea what I did, but whatever it was, I’m very, very sorry.”
Please let that be enough?
Please, Mister Universe?
“Don’t lie! You know what you did!” Rainbow yelled, rushing at his face, only to be yanked backwards by a pale, sparkly hoof before she could touch him.
Thank you, Rarity.
Please don’t throw me to the Diamond Dogs.
Because apparently apologizing nicely was not enough for Mister Universe.
“Perhaps we should tell him what we are accusing him of BEFORE we start punishing him?” Rarity said, holding the now-upside-down Rainbow Dash by the tail in her magic. “Do remember that we still don’t know if Twilight’s worry is actually warranted. This could still be a misunderstanding.”
Twilight was worried?
If so, shouldn’t they be helping her rather than threatening him? The fact that his marefriend’s worry was making them go after him instead of flocking around her was very worrisome in its own right.
“What’s Twilight worried about?” he asked.
“It’smorelikeshe’shavinganotherfreakoutepisode,” Pinkie said quickly.
Oh, that was definitely a bit more concerning, especially after what she had told him with the Smarty Pants episode. Twilight was certainly logical, but sometimes she came to the wrong conclusion if she didn’t have all the evidence.
But that meant that he should go and talk to her, comfort her, and help prove that her fears are unfounded even if he didn’t quite understand them. That would be the normal way to solve this kind of problem.
Threatening him was NOT a way to solve this kind of problem.
“Ok, but then shouldn’t we go and calm her down?”
“Well, um,” Fluttershy the Nurse began, “You’re…kinda, sorta, what’s she’s freaking out about,”
“Twilight said that you were acting…nervous these last few weeks. Much more so than you normally do.”
“Yeah, even when you went with her through time to stop Starlight, she said you were less nervous then than you are now,” Pinkie said.
Flash blinked. That was…accurate, actually. The Gala had originally been set so that it would overlap with their anniversary perfectly, but after it was announced that it would be delayed only three weeks ago, Flash had suddenly found himself with absolutely nothing resembling a plan for their five-year anniversary. Which in turn meant he had absolutely nothing resembling a plan on how to pop the question.
Sure, there were plenty of places in Ponyville that he could take her, but they all just…didn’t seem to fit. This was a HUGE moment for their relationship, and going somewhere they could go any other day of the week just…didn’t cut it. He wanted to ask her after reliving the wondrous experience that had been their first date, though with hopefully less nobles.
So yes, he HAD been even more nervous than he ALREADY WAS. This had to be PERFECT!
Or at least a perfect as it could be considering that their anniversary just so happened to land on a TUESDAY!
Seriously, couldn’t the universe give him a break? Just this once?
“But then, you apparently stopped being so nervous just yesterday,” Applejack said, still glaring at him so hard it seemed as though knives were about to shoot out of her eyes. And not plastic butter knives.
Yes, you’re angry, message received.
But she was right too. He had just found out yesterday that his aunt Firefly, or Aunt Lightning as he used to call her back when she was in the Wonderbolts, had managed to get him and Twilight reservations for the best, and possibly the busiest, restaurant in Canterlot, one that Twilight really loved to go to whenever they had the time. Normally, it would take him up to two months to get a reservation, sometimes longer, so the fact that his aunt had pulled it off so quickly must have been a minor miracle.
So, yes, he had been feeling better because he now had the starting point of a plan. A plan he had spent all of last night finishing. He was still VERY nervous, but not Twilight levels of nervous.
But why would this cause Twilight to freak out?
“Twilight was concerned, and this apparently was magnified when she read a letter you left out on the kitchen table,” Pinkie said.
Letter, what let—oh.
Wait, could it actually be that th—
“This LETTER was written by some ‘Lightning’ chick, and was FAR too lovey dovey her to just be some random friend. She even called you ‘her little Flash,’” Rainbow said, growling at him and sounding quite threatening despite still hanging upside-down in Rarity’s magic. “And not only that, she said she got the two of you reservations for The Gilded Castle restaurant in CANTERLOT! Admit it! You’ve been cheating on Twilight!”
Flash tried to hold it in. He really did.
But he couldn’t take it.
He burst out laughing, startling Fluttershy into dropping the ice pack. But he really couldn’t focus on that at the moment.
SERIOUSLY!? THAT’S what they thought the letter was talking about!? While his aunt had a big, understanding, and loving personality, she was also so overbearing that the idea of her being anypony’s secret girlfriend was just…HILARIOUS. If the girls had met her, they would KNOW there was no way that she would ever have a secret coltfriend. There was just no way.
Should he be laughing this hard?
It was hard to tell given how foggy his head still was.
Rarity snatched him up by his tail, after apparently dropping Rainbow unceremoniously on the ground, and he was now dangling upside-down in front of her. Whoops. Guess she was mad now. Best clear this up.
If he could just. Stop. Laughing.
“Would you mind telling us WHAT IS SO FUNNY!? Rarity growled, bringing herself nose-to-nose with Flash. “If you are actually laughing at the idea of CHEATING on Twilight, I swear I’ll—
“She’s my AUNT!” Flash blurted out, cutting Rarity off and causing her eyes to widen. Oh, that expression was gold. Spike would love to see it.
“What?” Rarity asked, blinking. Behind her, Pinkie just tilter her head to the side while Fluttershy tilted hers in the other direction.
“Lightning is what I call my Aunt Firefly from her time in the Wonderbolts!” Flash said, finally managing to get his laughter mostly under control. “I’m not cheating on Twilight, especially with my AUNT!” Because, for one, YUCK! “The reservations are for me and Twilight! With the Gala postponed, I needed a plan for our five-year anniversary. My aunt has a lot of connections in Canterlot, seeing as she is a retired Wonderbolt, so I asked her for help.”
More like begged, but they didn’t need to know that. Luckily, she had been very understanding, just like always. Just like—
OH CRAP! TWILIGHT!
She was freaking out, all because of his own thoughtlessness! With Canterlot Castle damaged, a lot of the ponies who would normally go to Canterlot to talk to Celestia and Luna had been coming to her for help, which had been driving Twilight’s stress levels THROUGH THE ROOF! Combine that letter and his uncharacteristic worry and distraction and it was no wonder her stressed and sleep-deprived mind took the jump WAY out into left field!
And it wasn’t even her fault!
He had been so worried about his own plans for the proposal he had barely stopped to consider HER stress levels and how SHE must be feeling with all the new work being shoved onto her! Not to mention that he had spent most nights writing to his aunt, which meant she never had the time to bring up her worries with him! Worse, his aunt had singed the letter as Lightning, just like she always did, which meant Twilight didn’t KNOW that it was his AUNT FIREFLY that she had met almost a year ago!
Oh Celestia, this was just as much his OWN fault as it might be hers. He NEEDED to clear this up, and possibly apologize to her for being SUCH AN IDIOT!
Was he overreacting?
HE DIDN’T CARE!
Flaring his wings, he tried to fly and right himself from his upside-down position. But the girls didn’t look like they were having any of it.
“And just where are you going?” Applejack asked as Flash fell back to his previous position.
“To Twilight. I need to clear this up. NOW!” Flash said, flapping his wings again and achieve the same results.
“And how do we know you’re not lying to us about Firefly and are just using this as an excuse to save your sorry flank from a beatdown, huh?” Rainbow asked, getting in his face again. “Last thing we need is you lying to Twilight and hurting her even more!”
Dang it, Rainbow, Miss Element of Honesty over there would probably be able to tell if I AM lying, he thought, but he couldn’t see Applejack to tell if she believed him or not.
Fine, FINE, whatever. He didn’t have time to be interrogated by Applejack anyway, and seeing as there was no other way, he just decided to give them proof and skip this nonsense.
He just hoped their big mouths wouldn't blab the surprise to Twilight before tomorrow night.
“If you Pinkie Promise™ not to tell Twilight what I am about to show you, I can prove I’m not cheating on her,” Flash said. Also, please hurry, the blood’s really flowing to my head and it is NOT HELPFUL. The girls shared a look, shrugged, and recited the motions. Good. Only one thing left now.
“Rainbow, look in my closet. You will find a safe in the back right corner. The code is 23, 55, 67, 09.” Gotta remember to change it later.
Rainbow just raised an eyebrow. “Trust me,” Flash said. “Once you see it, you’ll understand.”
After another ten seconds, she turned away and moved towards the closet.
“This had better be pretty convincing,” Rainbow said, sticking the upper half of her body into the closet. There was a series of clicks. “Because if it’s not, then you’re gonna regret…”
With the final click, Flash heard the safe open. He smirked. Guessing by her silence, he was in the clear.
“Rainbow? What’d you find?” Applejack asked, tilting her head in confusion.
“Is it bad?” Fluttershy asked nervously.
“Is it an apology cake?” Pinkie asked. Right, because a safe is where you keep cake…Actually, this was Pinkie, so maybe.
“…You can let him go, Rarity. He’s telling the truth.”
A statement Applejack could have probably confirmed if I had let her. Oh well, we’re on the clock here.
“Are you sure, darling?” Rarity asked. Yes, she’s sure. So if you can put me down already… “I mean, I want to trust him, but unless we can know for certain…”
Rainbow spun around with the box balanced on her hoof.
And Rarity released his tail faster than he had time to react.
OH DEAR LUNA WHYHYYHYHYHYHY! HE EVEN LANDED ON THE SAME BUMP FROM EARLIER!
Why did the universe hate him? WHY!!!?!?!??!?!?!?
Thankfully, the ice pack Fluttershy had dropped was still within reach, so Flash was able to pick it up and get it back onto his head again as he sat up and groaned. However, once his vision cleared up, it became clear the girls weren't watching him. All on them were mesmerized by the ring in Rainbow’s hooves.
It was a solid gold horn ring with a massive diamond on the front. Lining the rest of the ring were a variety of gems all of different colors, making the ring appear to have a glowing rainbow in the sunlight pouring through his window. It would have, in any other circumstance, cost him nearly a year’s salary, but when he had gone to ask for Celestia’s permission to marry her, shortly after asking Twilight’s parents, Celestia had insisted that she help pay for it despite his insistence that he could do it himself.
Shaking his head, Flash refocused on the present and the girls.
Rarity was squealing excitedly as she ranted and ranted about the gems and the diamond while dancing on her hooves so fast that Flash was almost certain only one hoof was touching the ground at a time. Fluttershy had her hooves over her mouth in shock and her wings had flared out, nearly knocking his lamp over. Rainbow had a look of pure surprise on her face, almost the same look that she had on when Soarin showed up in Ponyville to ask her on a date. Applejack had a look that just screamed ‘It’s about time, partner,’ and Pinkie Pie…
Pinkie Pie was vibrating in place so intensely that Flash thought there was a reasonable chance her face might…no, scratch that, her face had in fact VIBRATED OFF HER ENTIRE BODY and was now vibrating just as intensely next to her head.
That was SO creepy on SO many levels.
Flash didn’t really have the mental capacity to deal with that right now.
Not that he EVER had the mental capacity to deal with Pinkie, but he had more important things on his plate at the moment.
“Do you believe me now?” he asked, smiling as the girls all nodded. Pinkie’s face moved in perfect sync with her head, which somehow looked even weirder than the vibrating. Flash was starting to feel a little sick.
“Oh, this is so exciting!” Rarity squealed, opening her mouth to likely start asking thousand questions. A thousand questions that Flash really didn’t have time to answer.
Because Twilight was having a Smarty Pants meltdown and he needed to be there.
“Rarity,” Flash said, cutting her off before she could begin, “I know you want to hear everything, but Twilight needs me a week ago. So before things get out of hoof, could you please point me in the direction of my marefriend so that I can clear up this whole mess and apologize for making her worry? And Rainbow, please put that back where you found it. I REALLY don’t want ANYPONY ELSE to see it, ok?”
Rarity pouted as Rainbow put the ring out of sight, but nodded in understanding. Rainbow flew back into the closet, shutting the safe with a tell-tale click.
“This way, darling,” Rarity said as she moved towards the door. Fluttershy stopped to help Flash back to his hooves as Rainbow, Applejack, and a still vibrating Pinkie followed after Rarity. Flash just hoped Pinkie’s face would be back in place before Twilight saw her.
Twilight already had enough going on, he was sure.
The group quickly ran through the crystalline hallways and arrived at the throne room in less than a minute. But rather than burst in and startle the likely panicking princess, they instead oped to quietly open the main door.
Inside, the Golden Oaks Chandelier sat peacefully above the crystal map (Yes, he had asked about that). Nearby, a worried-looking Spike and Starlight Glimmer were watching a rather frazzled Twilight pace back and forth so intensely that Flash was surprised that she hadn't started wearing a groove in the crystal yet.
“Twilight, PLEASE calm down,” Starlight said, moving to try and stop her pacing, only to end up getting pushed across the floor as Twilight stubbornly kept moving.
Oh boy, this WAS serious. She was using her earth pony magic without even realizing it, and that meant a full on freak-out was even closer than he had thought.
“How can I CLAM DOWN!? You NEVER tell a mare to calm down, ESPECIALLY when the pony that’s spent the last five years with her might be off with some other mare right under her nose and she doesn’t know what she did wrong or why and she can’t calm down because everything she see makes her think of him and how he lied to her and…”
She was talking in circles too. Another bad sign.
Turning around, Flash motioned to Rarity and the others. Over the years, the group had developed a sort of hoof-language to convey messages without speaking, something that came in handy when preparing surprises for other members of the group. This sigh, however, was more related to Twilight.
‘Give me some time alone with her.’
The girls nodded, before moving out of the doorway as Flash began moving towards his panicking marefriend. Starlight and Spike immediately saw him, and apparently could guess what he was going to do, because they scurried for the exit without any protest. Spike did shoot Flash a worried glance, but Flash smiled slightly and signed ‘The girls will explain.’
Once the throne room door had closed again, Flash turned back to the love of his life.
Thankfully, she was so busy rambling nonsense and staring at the floor as she paced that she didn’t see her audience leave and be replaced with the unintentional source of her panic. Actually seeing her up close made Flash feel even MORE guilty for his carelessness than he did before. However, it also strengthened his resolve. One way or another, he was going to make this up to her.
At least, after all this time, he knew exactly how to snap her out of it. Stepping right into the path of her pacing, Flash waited until she was directly in front of him before ducking down and quickly capturing her lips in his own.
Hello, my dear…
Twilight squawked in surprise, her rant ending as she backed up and fell on her rear in surprise. Another time Flash would have chuckled, but he was too focused on calming her down to worry about that.
And, he WAS calming her down, or so he kept telling himself. She wasn't pacing and was no longer rambling, so she was certainly calmer than three seconds ago…right?
“W-What? But, how, when, how much—” Twilight sputtered. Ok, one of two wasn’t bad. Flash brought up his wing to her mouth and gently shushed her, ending her rambling and making her look at his eyes. Her purple orbs were large and afraid, but there was a small spark of hope underneath.
“I believe you might be mistaking my aunt for somepony else,” Flash said, smiling very softly at his love.
One recap of the events above (minus the ring) later…
Twilight groaned, lifted her head, pushed the pillow away, and tried to facetable again, only for Flash to promptly slide it back into position before she could hit the crystal.
“Please let me facetable,” she groaned into the fabric, trying for a third time only to be thwarted by her stallion once again.
He liked that.
He was her stallion…
Ok, seriously? After everything that’s happened today, you’re STILL thinking like that!? Focus, you moron…
“And let you hurt yourself and give you a headache? Nope,” Flash said, gently rubbing her back with his wing. “You get enough of those from the nobles.”
All right, to be fair, not AS many came around anymore after Twilight enacted a law that said they weren't allowed to bring up decisions that had already been decided by the other princesses unless it was a REAL emergency. Too bad ‘Castle Destruction via brownie dragon’ counted as an emergency.
But some did still come around, so she still got enough headaches in Flash’s mind.
“I deserve a headache. You got one because of me, so now I deserve one too.”
“Twilight, you DON’T deserve a headache,” Flash said, shaking his head. He knew this was coming. She felt guilty and now she was overcompensating to try and make up for it. He hated when she did this because it hurt her more than anypony else. He just hoped he could help make her feel better before she actually hurt herself or said something really outlandish.
And besides, he was the one to blame here, not her.
“You got crushed by a door, shaken senseless by Rainbow, dropped on the floor, held upside down by Rarity, then dropped on the floor AGAIN! And all on what is supposed to be your day off AND before you could even have breakfast, which isn't made yet because I was distracting everypony who could even make you breakfast! So I say I DO deserve a headache. Princess’s orders!” Twilight sat up, tossed the pillow across the room with her magic, and slammed her head down again.
Good thing he kept two pillows below the table ever since Spike had taken up her habit of facetableing.
Okay, so this MIGHT be a bit harder than he thought. But he had another plan. Rather than wait for her to try and facetable again, Flash took flight and immediately wrapped his hooves around Twilight’s barrel, lifting her out of her throne. Twilight squeaked in surprise, but grabbed hold of his forelegs as he ascended up into the chandelier.
He always loved holding her like this.
Once he reached the roots, he kicked out with his hind hoof, the vibration knocking loose a thick piece of cloth that he had tied between two strong roots about three years back.
Why was it there? Because he wanted to make a special place he and Twilight could relax after a long day dealing with princessy things. And what better place than a hammock surrounded by all her favorite memories?
Smiling, he flew over it and closed his wings, causing him and his love to fall perfectly into the hammock with her folded just so over him. The perfect place for him to hold her and comfort her while also preventing her from escaping or facetableing.
Though just to be sure, once they were in, he extended his wings again to wrap around her and hug her close. Twilight blushed, as she always did, and looked away nervously.
“I know you’re beating yourself up over this,” Flash said, gently nuzzling the top of her head. “But this isn’t your fault. Even if you overreacted, I was the one who made you worry with my own negligence. I should have helped you these last few weeks and given you the time to bring your worries to my attention. I was so distracted with my own plans that I neglected you, and you payed the price for it. And even if this was your fault, which it isn’t, I forgive you. This was just a big misunderstanding, and we can all let our imagination run away from us now and again.”
He had certainly let his imagination run wild on occasions, especially when he was thinking about Twilight or how tomorrow night might go.
Also, he was about forty-five percent certain that Pinkie’s imagination would LITERALLY run away at times. He didn’t have proof, but he KNEW he once saw a rainbow with two thin legs running out of Sugar Cube Corner, and no amount of rational argument would convince him he had seen anything else.
It was PINKIE! Rational arguments were like cupcakes to her. Here one second, inhaled by a black hole the next.
But that was not the point.
“I should have trusted you,” Twilight said, her voice tinged with sorrow. “In all these years, you’ve NEVER given me any reason to doubt you. But the moment you start acting differently, I immediately start jumping to conclusions and assume the worst about you. I panic for no reason and couldn’t even see the obvious flaws in my own argument against you, even though I KNOW you wouldn't do that to me. You deserve bett—”
YOU ARE NOT FINISHING THAT SENTENCE, MISSY!
DON’T YOU DARE!
Flash quickly tilted her head up and caught her in a passionate kiss. Twilight squeaked and tried to pull away like before, but Flash held firm. Slowly, she relaxed and returned the kiss as Flash gently caressed her with his wings. After holding it for at least a minute and a half, Flash broke away and looked her in the eyes.
“Don’t you ever say that,” Flash said, booping her lightly on the nose. “I don’t care if you aren't perfect, or if I occasionally get beaten up or turned into a cactus because of you.” (That had been one weird date.) “I love you, all of you. All your little quirks, all the chaos and randomness this relationship brings, and even at times like this. You are the only mare for me, and no matter how hard you try, or no matter what mistakes you make, we will work through them together. I won’t be leaving you anytime soon, and that’s a promise.”
“A Pinkie Promise™?” Pinkie asked, her head popping out above them.
“Most definitely,” Flash said, not at all phased by her sudden appearance. This little trick of hers happened so often that he had grown immune to it. Pinkie grinned before vanishing back into only Pinkie knew where.
Yes, not even Celestia and Luna knew where.
And YES, HE HAD ASKED!
Wait a moment…he just got a great idea to prove that it was a promise.
“Actually, before we go to breakfast, can you open the throne room door from here?” Flash asked, a new plan coming in and completely flipping the old one on its head.
“Huh? Oh, sure, I guess,” Twilight said, clearly confused by his sudden request. Her horn glowed for a few seconds and a loud series of screams and thumps followed. “What the!?”
Flash chuckled as both of them looked out of their little perch to see that Rainbow, Rarity, Starlight, and Spike were all sprawled out on the crystal floor with Fluttershy, Applejack, and Pinkie behind them, sighing, deadpanning, and laughing respectively.
“Rainbow!” Flash called out, completely ignoring the fact that they had been trying to listen in on them. “Change of plan! Please go get Twilight’s surprise for me right now!”
Oh, the look of shock on their faces was PRICELESS. Chuckling, Flash once again flared his wings and took to the air with Twilight in his legs as just Rainbow tried to respond.
She failed, and in the end just ended up flying out of the room at such high speeds that she knocked over everypony in the pony pile again on her way out. But so long as she got the ring, all was good.
“My surprise?” Twilight finally asked as they reached the ground. She looked like she was torn between berating her friends for listening in on them or interrogating him with her gaze of death (or at least death by being too gosh darn adorable).
“Yes, your surprise, and the entire reason for this big misunderstanding,” Flash said, as he gently took her hooves in his own. It may not be the end of the perfect date he had planned, but he just knew that this was the moment. A moment to reinforce his promise to never leave her, and to make sure that his commitment would forever be etched in her mind.
“Twilight, you are the most amazing mare in Equestria. Even without your title or your magic, no pony can replace you. You’re kind, smart, funny, generous, humble, honest, loyal, silly, and above all else, the mare that has won my heart. Which is why now, one day less than five years into this relationship, I need to ask…”
At the perfect moment, Rainbow came flaying back in and literally threw the ring box at him with all her might. Flash, in one quick moment that he would NEVER be able to repeat no matter how much her tried, caught the ring box, knelt before his love, and presented the ring.
“Will you marry me?”
Twilight’s mouth dropped, her wings flared, and she gasped so loudly that Flash thought there might have been a good chance that even Celestia might have heard her in Canterlot. There was a squeal behind him, but he didn’t pay attention to that.
All his focus was on the most lovely mare in the world as he eagerly, and nervously awaited her response.
One second passed…
Two seconds passed…
Three seconds passed…
Oh sweet Luna, please tell him the he didn’t break h—
Twilight shouted in the Royal Canterlot voice before POUNCING!
Flash barely had time to see Rarity’s magic yank the ring out of harm’s way before he was epically GLOMPED by the Princess of Friendship. Once she had her prey, she locked all four of her legs and both of her wings around him like steel clamps before proceeding to give him the most passionate kiss that she could. It may not have been the most romantic or gentle, but BY CELESTIA was it amazing either way.
So, he simply closed his eyes and enjoyed his imprisonment for the time being. Heaven knows Twilight wouldn't be letting him so much as wiggle any time soon.
At least her wings were soft…
Ok, seeing as she is might kill you from sheer squeezing or lack of letting you breath between kisses, now is REALLY the time to focus…
Though it might not be such a bad way to go…
“Umm, Twilight?” Fluttershy’s voice called out. “I think Flash is turning blue…”
Saved by Fluttershy again. He would need to buy her a thank you cake or something.
“Hmmm? Ohhh, hehehe, oops. Sorry, Flash,” Twilight said as she eased her grip and broke the kiss while blushing adorably. She didn’t let go.
“It’s ok, Twilight,” Flash said, smiling a bit drunkenly. “Or is that Mrs. Sentry now?” Twilight giggled before giving him another kiss.
“Twilight, aren’t you forgetting somethingggg…” Rarity sing-songed as she levitated the ring box up and down slightly for emphasis. Twilight broke the kiss, looked at Rarity, then blushed again.
Always with the blushing.
Taking the box in her magic, Twilight slid the ring out of its place, gave it a quick spin to look at it more closely, then gently slid it over her horn. The ring slid about three quarters of the way down before coming to a stop.
“Well?” Twilight asked her still captive fiancé. “How do I look?”
Flash took a deep breath, held it, and let it out again as he felt Twilight lean up against him. The two of them were once again being flown to Canterlot in the royal flying chariot that had carried them to the Gala for their first date years ago. The evening air was warm, and the wind felt gentle as the pegasi flew, taking their time to allow both him and his date to enjoy the sunset as they ascended to the city on the side of the mountain. Flash was once again in his best suit, and Twilight wore a brand-new gown that, frankly, made Flash just want to stop and stare at her all night.
The dress was a light blue, almost like Rainbow Dash’s fur, and it hugged Twilight’s body perfectly, showing off all her curves in all the right ways. The swirling, wind-like accents that decorated the skirt were the same shade of purple as the bow tied neatly in the center of her back. Rarity had also added a second, very fine layer of…some other fabric to the outside of the gown. Flash had no idea what it was called and he didn’t care. All he knew was it was so soft and smooth to the touch that it made holding Twilight close to him even more enjoyable.
He didn’t even think that was POSSIBLE!
And her mane…Her mane was curled like it was imitating the flowing waves of the ocean and was decorated with small gem-covered bows, making the entire thing sparkle in the setting sun.
She was so beautiful that when he had first seen her, all he could do was stammer like an idiot until she kissed him and his brain jump-started back to somewhat functioning levels. But even when he got his power of speech back, he had no words to accurately describe how stunning she looked.
That, surprisingly, was a first.
And to top it all off, she was wearing her ring for the whole world to see, something that made Flash feel extremely giddy.
She was his fiancee.
And she wanted the whole world to know it.
That was the only intelligible thought he had amidst all the giddy squeeing in his brain —YAY.
“What are you smiling about?” Twilight asked, catching Flash’s attention as she turned to look at him with her eyes, her perfect purple eyes…
“Just admiring Rarity’s work,” he answered, stealing a quick kiss. “I think it may have been worth the trouble she caused yesterday.”
Trouble being a generous term, of course.
Heh heh, generous term…Ba dum, ching.
“She practically kidnapped me,” Twilight said, rolling her eyes. “No, scratch that, she DID kidnap me! Seriously, I know she was nearly as excited as I was, but that shouldn’t stop her from ASKING me to come and get fitted for a new dress.”
Flash shook his head and laughed.
Yesterday, after breakfast, Flash was escorting Twilight back to her room when a blur of white and purple zoomed in front of his eyes and when he blinked, he was short one alicorn. His guard instincts were the only things that made him sound the alarm as quickly as he did, and led to the somewhat…no, scratch that, incredibly insane scene of him and twenty-something other guards chasing after the white-and-purple blur that was carrying the (loudly protesting) princess they were all supposed to be guarding.
It wasn’t until they reached the Carousel Boutique that the white-and-purple blur slowed down enough for Flash and the guards to realize it was, in fact, Rarity. Unfortunately, it was a Rarity that had that look in her eye, and as such, she had adamantly refused to let Flash resume his guard duties (despite the fact that guarding her was his JOB!) while she worked. She kicked him out with a dire threat that if he even tried to enter the store, she’d sew him into a straitjacket.
Seriously, why was THAT the first thing she thought of as a punishment? And they said PINKIE was the crazy one…
Ok, Pinkie WAS the crazy one, but Rarity was DEFINITELY a close second.
ANYWAY, she HAD at least allowed another female guard to take over for him, but only after said guard Pinkie Promised™ not to tell Flash what was going on.
Flash knew Rarity well enough to know that when she pulled out THAT many stops, she was cooking up a very big and very pleasant surprise that he was going to absolutely love, but that hadn’t stopped him from being upset that his off-duty time with his fiancee had been cut so short. Not that he could afford to complain to the unicorn without facing her considerable wrath.
At least they had gotten to spend time together after she got back, and her exhaustion meant that he had another excuse to cuddle with her in their little hammock hideaway.
Rarity’s behavior would have been…forgivable, for the most part (even before he got to see whatever the super-secret project was, if it was even finished yet), but she nearly did the EXACT SAME THING TODAY. The only thing that prevented a repeat of the chaos was the fact that Twilight managed to sidestep and magic-freeze a frazzled and fashion-exhausted Rarity before any more kidnapping could occur.
Dear Luna, Flash could only hope the unicorn wouldn’t be this bad all the way up to the wedding. He already knew PINKIE was going to be crazy, and, given how Cheese Sandwich had been visiting Ponyville now more than ever, Flash just KNEW that there was already gonna be enough craziness to go around.
But when was he ever that lucky?
“Sorry, got distracted,” he said, scratching the back of his head. “And yes, I do think Rarity should have asked, but I also think that she was just a bit wound up with what happened. I’m hoping she’ll calm down once we start planning the wedding in earnest…but I won’t hold my breath.”
“Hopefully she will,” Twilight agreed, before smiling lightly. “I just wonder how our families are going to take the news. I know CADENCE will probably be worse than Rarity, but I wonder what the rest of my family will be like. Do you know how you’re family will react?”
“Well,” Flash said, rubbing his chin, “I’m sure my mom will be doing backflips, my dad will probably say—” he took on a gruff and inflated accent —“‘what took ya so dang long?’” He cleared his throat as Twilight giggled. “And my aunt will likely jump up and down while chanting ‘yesyesyesyesYES’ in increasing volume. Actually, I was kinda surprised you didn’t do that when I proposed.”
That earned him a light smack from his fiancee, who was desperately trying not to smile.
She was failing miserably.
“Oh shush you,” Twilight said, finally giving up and grinning widely. Flash stole another quick kiss before the two of them fell silent, enjoying the presence of one another.
It was only a few minutes more before they finally began to fly over the lit streets of Canterlot. Flash would have like to have a bit longer to enjoy the sunset, but he was sure they’d have more alone time once dinner was done. He was just thankful that despite the damage the brownie dragon had caused Canterlot Castle itself, the royal garden had, according to Twilight, remained completely untouched, save for a bit of stray hot fudge.
Which meant it would be the perfect place to go after dinner!
After all, what better place to celebrate their anniversary then where they first kissed?
It was PERFECT!!!
Better than perfect, if such a thing existed! Just the two of them, sitting in the spot where it all began, sharing a moment of love and excitement, remembering all the good and bad times that led them to this moment. All the playful banter, all the cuddles, everything!
Flash actually had a hard time just trying to articulate it!
It was just…that tingling feeling you get right before you open a present on Hearth Warming, or that pleasant warmth you feel when you embrace your loved ones after a long day of work. That golden glow just resting over your heart…It made him shiver in anticipation just thinking about it!
Annnndddd then he just remembered that today was a TUESDAY!
No, nooooooooo. Yes, I see you there Mister Universe. Don’t you even THINK about it. Seriously, you can torment me for the rest of the week, or the rest of the MONTH, but don’t you DARE ruin tonight!
As expected, Flash got no response. Hopefully, his message was received.
After another minute, the carriage made its decent and came to a gentle stop in front of a large, fancy gold building with ‘The Gilded Castle’ written over the backdrop of a purple palace above the front door. Flash hopped out and offered his hoof to Twilight, bowing like the gentlecolt he was playing the role of for the evening. Stifling a giggle, she went along, curtsying before taking his hoof and rewarding him with a gentle peck on the cheek.
He beamed like a idiot.
Ok, so he wasn’t a real gentlecolt, sue him. He was perfectly fine with being a blissfully happy idiot instead.
After thanking the chariot drivers, the couple made their way towards the front door as the carriage lifted into the sky to return to the castle ground. Or wherever it was that they kept the fancy princess chariots. Flash had never actually asked or seen where they went…
Eh, whatever. It wasn’t important right now. What was important was his fiancee whose mane was still sparkling in the dying sunlight, causing it to sparkle in a dazzling display…
Focus, big guy. Date night.
Shaking his head to clear it, Flash stepped forward and held the door open for his fiancee.
The Gilded Castle was regarded as the best restaurant in Canterlot, and the inside was decorated to match that reputation. The walls and the carved support beams were painted light purple and sparkled with swirling gold spirals. In the spaces between the windows, the owners had hung expensive paintings and other ancient trinkets, ranging from ships in bottles to shields and spears crossed like sigils. Flash was pretty sure he could see a suit of armor standing in the far corner.
The main body of the restaurant had enough tables to accommodate both large parties and single dates, and each one had a pure white, stain-proof (he had learned that on his first visit here) tablecloth and a single candle in the center. There were booths along the outer edges for a quieter setting and, for extra special events, there were private rooms open for reservation — provided you had the bits.
Flash’s wages were in no way meager, but there was no way he could get one of those coveted rooms without blowing through most of his savings, so he’d never actually been inside one. Not that it really bothered him much — it was quite fun to make faces at any nobles he saw nearby when he managed to get a table here. The fact that most knew they couldn’t mess with him and get away with it after what happened to Bull Horn just made it all the better.
Thankfully, it appeared that none of the truly bad ones were here tonight, so he should be able to restrain himself and just focus on his date.
Grinning, Flash took the lead as the two of them approached the small yet fancy podium that stood between them and the rest of the restaurant. A tan unicorn with a polished blue mane was behind it, currently looking over the reservations book. His cutie mark was hidden under a sharp butler uniform.
“Do you have a reservation?” he asked as they stepped forward, not looking up from the book.
“Yes, we do. A booth for two, under the name Sentry, I believe,” Flash said, trying to sound as sophisticated as possible.
Given Twilight’s suppressed snickering, he either had to work on his accent, or just the fact of him trying to act fancy was somehow hilarious to her.
Ehhh…so long as she was happy.
The butler flipped through his book, scanning the written names with his hoof. After a few seconds, he nodded and finally looked up.
“Ah, yes. Here you…are…”
It was slight, but the butler’s eyes widened a little upon finally realizing that Princess Twilight was standing in front of him, and then widened a fair bit more upon seeing her new ring.
Given how professional the butlers usually were here, it was a bit entertaining to see one of them actually break character, if even for only a few seconds.
But Flash did give him credit where credit was due when he managed to quickly regain his composure and motioned them to follow him, reaching for two menus with his magic. Smiling, Flash offered a hoof to Twilight before they began to follow the unicorn.
As they walked, Flash took a quick glance around. The restaurant was, unsurprisingly, packed with a large number of ponies, including Fancy Pants, Spitfire, and a few other ponies Flash knew but could not remember the names of. Many of them were distracted and payed them no mind, but a few actually looked over at him and his date and started openly gaping in shock.
Why is this so surprising? Flash though. Given how he had been with Twilight with five years, he would have thought the idea of him proposing might not be so outlandish at this point.
Oh well. Just like with Pinkie, Flash knew never to question the nobles. It was a pointless endeavor, and Flash had learned that several times over throughout the years. Sure, many of them were actually polite and not NEARLY as bad as Bull Horn, but his still had given up on trying to understand what went on in their heads.
Like, seriously? Why did Duke Long Winded come to Ponyville EVERY TIME he got a new clock? DID he REALLY need to tell Twilight about it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME?
Flash liked Long Winded just fine - he was always courteous and even bowed to Flash a few times - but he had long ago given up trying to understand the duke’s actions or logic.
Oh look, the table.
With a bow, the butler stopped before a booth about halfway to the back of the restaurant and laid the menus down on the table. Twilight returned the bow, as did Flash, before they took their seats. It was too bad the restaurant had a policy against upgrading ponies reservations above what they had already payed for. The poor guy looked like he really wanted to give Flash and Twilight one of the rooms.
Or at least that’s what Flash interpreted him constantly glancing at a nearby room and the slight sweat on his brow to be. He could be wrong.
“Your server shall be around momentarily,” the butler said, hastily leaving the couple alone at their table to scan their menus. It was well known that the restaurant would change their offerings rather drastically each month in order to constantly provide new and exciting food for the patrons, so both Flash and Twilight had learned to look for food before talking since there was no guarantee that what they had last time would still be on the menu.
Not to say that they minded. So many of the meals came from other countries and it was always exciting for Flash to see what new delicacy they had in store. That, and the one time Twilight had accidentally ordered that spicy Prance dish had been HILARIOUS! Even if he did end up coated in ice cream afterwards.
He probably shouldn’t have laughed at her so hard.
After a minute or two, a red unicorn mare with an orange mane in a similar outfit as the host appeared. “What can I get you?” she asked politely, her eyes lingering on Twilight’s ring for a second before looking away.
I have a feeling that this will be a common theme. Flash thought as Twilight ordered before mentally shrugging it off. So long as no one said she shouldn't marry him, he was fine with a bit of gawking. Maybe they appreciated his taste in jewelry. Wouldn’t that be fun?
“And you sir?” the mare asked, pulling Flash from his thoughts.
Maybe I should try and focus more…
“I would like the Italian Alfredo Pasta with a side of Spinach and Artichoke Dip, along with a Banana Llama to drink.”
The waitress blinked before trying trying to hold back a laugh despite the fact that she looked utterly baffled, and tried to discreetly look at his menu, which wasn’t exactly easy as she had to twist her head all the way to the right in order to look at the words the right way. Twilight pressed a hoof to her mouth, struggling to hold in her own laughter. Flash widened his eyes in pretend confusion, looked down at the menu again, and gave an overly-dramatic facehoof. “My mistake. The Bahama Mama to drink, please.”
The mare stifled another giggle as she nodded, wrote it down, and then disappeared back to the kitchen. Flash was sure he could hear her laugh harder as she moved away.
“Must you ALWAYS make that joke?” Twilight said, regaining a little composure as Flash playfully stuck his tongue out.
“Well, you were the one who made the joke in the first place,” he retaliated, which made Twilight raise an eyebrow.
“No, YOU accidentally called it a ‘Banana Mama,’ while I tried to correct you and accidentally called it a Bahama Llama. So it’s both our faults, not just mine.”
“All the more reason to use it then,” Flash said, earning a playful eye roll and a giggle from his love.
And if that was his reward, then even more reason to keep using the joke in the future. But maybe only every once in a while so it didn’t completely lose its charm.
From there, they slipped into easy conversation while they waited. Twilight had been studying some new potion books that Zecora had gifted to her before Canterlot Castle was damaged, so she filled Flash in on what she had learned so far. Or at least, some of what she had learned so far. Once she realized fifteen minutes had gone by, she quickly turned the discussion over to Flash, who told her of the new guard training that was being implemented. He knew she’d find that interesting because over the course of last year she’d tried to make sure everypony protecting her was using their time wisely. This usually meant letting the guards have more time for recreational activities so that they could stay focused and motivated while standing in place for hours at a time.
And Flash did have to admit, it had done wonders for improving the guards work ethic.
He couldn’t help but fall a little more in love with her when she said Fitness Fridays would just leave the guards sore and unprepared the next day and promised to talk to Shining Armor about it. If anypony could could talk some sense into Shining Armor, it was his LSBFF.
Her or Cadence. Either one so long as it meant he didn’t need to do Fitness Fridays anymore.
As they talked, their drinks arrived, followed by their meals. As Flash thanked the waitress, he caught a glimpse of a…rather hilarious sight.
No less than ten of the restaurant staff workers were sticking their heads out of the nearby kitchen, piled on top of each other and all wearing expressions of pure excitement. And given how they were staring at Twilight, it wasn’t hard to guess what had them all so excited.
“I think we have an audience,” Flash said softly, nudging his head towards the kitchen door. Twilight turned to look, her eyes going wide and a blush exploding across her cheeks as she caught sight of the staff. Their glee turned to panic and they all tried to immediately retreat, but all they did was cause a loud crash as the kitchen door closed. Flash chuckled as the rest of the patrons looked around in confusion.
Seems even fancy restaurant staff weren't immune to the exciting prospect of another royal wedding.
Eh, Flash couldn’t really blame them. He was quite looking forward to another royal wedding himself.
Especially with himself as the groom and Twilight as the bride…
“Oh dear,” Twilight muttered, shyly looking down at her salad. Flash reached across the table and gently patted her hoof. “I knew this was going to happen eventually, but I didn’t think it would be THAT bad.”
“It’s Canterlot,” Flash said playfully. “Everything is more dramatic here. It’s why Rarity loves it so much.”
“That’s true,” Twilight giggled. “And seeing as they were all smiling before they disappeared, so I’m sure they’re just happy for me…US! And besides, it’s not like my friends weren't doing the same thing yesterday.”
“Both good points,” Flash said, smiling as he dug into the spinach and artichoke dip. Dang, it was GOOD.
“And even if they were displeased, I’m a princess, so I can marry who I want. Cadence did, and so can I.”
“Insert Z-snaps here,” Flash said, earning a playful kick under the table. “Though I need to ask, DID ponies protest Shining Armor and Cadence’s wedding?”
He didn’t want to think anypony would given how CUTE those two were, but knowing the nobles…
“I asked them after their honeymoon, and they admitted there were a few nobles complaining about it,” Twilight said, though she sounded light and causal about it. “But seeing as they had Celestia and Luna’s blessings, there wasn’t much anypony could do about it without getting on the princesses’ bad sides.”
“Which no noble would dare do,” Flash agreed with a nod.
Well, not unless said noble was an idiot. Like Money Bags. Flash had to hold down laughter when he remembered Money Bag’s face when he was told off by Celestia at the Gala. Now THAT was funny.
Also, the taunting. Immature or not, the taunting made it all the better.
“That’s true,” Twilight said, and she shifted uncomfortably. “Actually…”
Flash knew exactly where this was going. “Yes, I did ask for Celestia’s, Luna’s, and your parents’ permission before popping the question. Celestia was calm and happy, though I SWEAR I heard her squealing in excitement once I left the throne room. Luna thought I was worthy of your affection, thought did give me a relatively minor I’ve-had-worse-from-Rarity warning. Your dad was happy I was ready to take such a step, saying that I was a good match for you. And your mom…”
“Hugged you to death?”
“She fainted, actually. Then woke up, fainted again, woke up, THEN hugged me to death while trying to break my eardrum with her squealing.”
There was still a bruised ring surrounding Flash’s chest and back from all that — Velvet was a lot stronger than she looked. At least his ears had finally stopped ringing.
“She actually fainted?! That’s gotta be a first.” Twilight said, chuckling.
“You never know, maybe she fainted when your dad tried to propose.” Flash joked. Twilight shook her head in amusement and both of them returned to their meals. They just cleaned the last bits of food from their plates when the waitress returned.
“I’ll clear these out of your way,” she said, smiling as she lifted the dishes in her magic, “and I’ll be right back with your dessert.”
Flash and Twilight shared a confused look.
“We…didn’t order any dessert,” Twilight asked, causing the mare to facehoof.
“Oops, my mistake. I forgot to mention that currently, all desserts are free and come as a part of any meal. A little measure we had to take given our…excess stock at the moment, and given the occasion,” her eyes drifting to Twilight’s ring again for a spit second, “I had assumed you would want some…I’m sorry if I was incorrect.”
“Brownie dragon?” Flash asked, smirking.
“Brownie dragon.” The waitress confirmed with a nod.
“I’m ok with that,” Twilight said, nodding.
Good to know that despite all the trouble that brownie dragon had caused, at least it meant they would have a free dessert. Which was even better with how much a normal meal cost.
It was less than a minute before the waitress returned, bringing out a large brownie shaped like the tail segment of a dragon tail that was covered in hot fudge, three scoops of ice cream, some whipped cream, and a cherry on top.
Dang, it was even bigger than all of Flash’s meal combined. If this wasn’t free, it might have cost MORE than their entire meal. Talk about being generous.
They eagerly dug into the dragony treat. Despite the size, the brownie disappeared quickly, though more of it ended up going to Twilight because Flash was full from dinner and couldn’t eat as much as he would have liked.
Not to say he didn’t eat a lot of it, but he was certainly jealous of Twilight’s bottomless stomach at times like this. Oh, if only HE were an alicorn. Then he could eat all he wanted and never feel full!
He could also use his magic to tease Twilight all the time, but he did that enough already…maybe…
Focus…date now. Daydream about endless magical boops later.
As they finished off the last of the dessert, the waitress returned, but Flash noticed she was acting a bit…differently. She looked very…nervoscited, and was constantly glancing around while still trying to keep herself calm and collected.
It wasn’t really working, but she got an A for effort.
She also didn’t have their check or move to take the brownie plate, which was unusual.
“Princess,” the waitress said, blushing slightly. “I’m sorry to bother you and I KNOW this must be a big date for you and all, given, well…” Her eyes drifted up to the ring on her horn. “But, ummm…”
Flash shushed her with a hoof, ending her rant and prompting her to blush even more.
Well, she didn’t need to be embarrassed. Chances were everypony else in Canterlot was going to have the exact same reaction when they find out. Plus, the happy sparkle in her eyes as she looked at the two of them was actually really sweet.
“You…want to know how I got engaged,” Twilight repeated, and Flash was impressed she managed to get anything out of that sentence. The waitress had spoken at the speed of Pinkie Pie, for crying out loud! Flash didn’t think that was possible!
“I think we can arrange that,” his fiancee said, prompting the waitress’s face to light up in glee and she squeed behind Flash’s still-in-place hoof.
“Do you have somewhere more private?” Flash asked, going along with Twilight’s idea. After all, it wasn’t like their engagement wasn't going to be made public knowledge over the next few days anyway, so what was the harm in telling a few ponies? “It’s still pretty crowded in here.”
The mare nodded, scooped up the remaining dishes, and began leading them back towards the main kitchen. Now that she was done talking, she was able to keep her face more composed, but there was a noticeable spring in her step, like she was trouble NOT bouncing around the restaurant like Pinkie Pie.
Flash laughed to himself as he extended his wing, something Twilight was perfectly happy to move under as they approached the kitchen. The waitress all but sprinted the last few feet and held the door open, allowing them to enter a scene they…hadn’t quite expected.
It was running like a busy kitchen would on a normal night — dishes being washed, meals being prepared, napkins tying themselves into fancy animal shapes — except for the fact that at least half of the work was being done by the chefs’ magics instead of employees. The chefs, the other cooks, and pretty much every staff worker who didn’t currently have an emergency to tend to were gathered right next to the doors, huddled in a massive blob of ponies that looked more excited than Pinkie on her birthday.
And that was saying something.
“Uhhh…” Twilight said, nervously fidgeting under Flash’s wing. Unfortunately, that was all she got to say before everypony started blabbering at once.
“So it’s TRUE!? Are you really engaged!?”
“Is there going to be another royal wedding!?”
“CAN WE COME!?”
“How much did the ring cost!?”
“Don’t ask that! I’m so sorry, princess!”
“Can I make the cake for you!?”
“Do you need catering!? Or ice sculptures? My cousin makes the BEST ice sculptures!”
“What is your dress gonna look like!?”
“Can I have your autograph!?”
“Who’s the lucky stallion!?”
Flash facehooved. And then he did so with his other hoof as well just to make sure he got his point across.
Who was the lucky stallion? Gee, what a great question. It CERTAINLY couldn’t be the GUARD CAPTAIN standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER! Really, it ONLY made sense for her to invite somepony COMPLETELY UNRELATED to her special dinner to celebrate her engagement, right???
BECAUSE WHERE WOULD BE THE LOGIC IN INVITING HER FIANCE!?
Were his ears starting to steam from anger or annoyance? He couldn’t tell.
Shining Armor said there were no such thing as a stupid question. Flash begged to differ.
“Yes, I’m engaged!” Twilight squealed excitedly as she bounced a bit on her hooves. That prompted the rest of the crowd to fall quiet and listen. She turned to the pony that had asked about attending. “Probably! I’d love to have you all come!”
That earned her a few excited squeals from the audience and an excited giggle from Twilight. “I have no idea how much the ring was because I didn't ask, but don’t worry about it! And I think my friend has the cake covered,” she added, looking at the chef who offered to bake. He pouted, but brightened when she thanked him for the offer. “Now who was the one who asked about ice sculptures? I think they would be a good idea! The dress is a work in progress, but Rarity’s designing it, so it will look amazing! And yes, I would be happy to sign an autograph for you!”
Flash couldn’t hold back anymore.
“AND I’M THE LUCKY STALLION!” he exclaimed.
There was a loud popping noise as every single jaw in the group dropped open. Twilight, however, giggled, tucked her head under Flash’s and nuzzled him excitedly. Chuckling, he returned the gesture and pulled her in for a quick kiss.
What could he say? Her excitement was infectious.
Apparently more infectious than he thought, because all the ponies found their voices at the exact same moment and let out a loud ‘AWWWWWWWWWWW….” that made Flash laugh and almost made his ears hurt.
“Hey! Isn’t he your guard captain?” someone in the back piped up.
“Yes, he is,” Twilight squealed, nuzzling Flash again as he tired to strike a brave and heroic pose. He probably just looked like a goof, but it did earn him a few ‘oohhhhhhhh’s from the audience.
“HE IS!? OHHH THAT’S JUST LIKE CADENCE AND SHINING ARMOR! HOW ROMANTIC!”
“Did you ask him? Or did he ask you!?”
“When did you get engaged!? Was it just recently or have you been keeping it a secret until closer to the wedding?”
“Was there a big romantic gesture beforehoof?”
“Did he freeze up when he tried to ask you!? Oh…wait, did YOU freeze up when you tried to ask him? DID SOMEONE FREEZE?”
"Was it during the meteor shower last week? That would have been so ROMANTIC!”
Oh right, that was a thing, Flash thought. Damn, that would have been great! Really would have saved me the trouble. Why didn’t I think of that?
Oh, right. Panic about not having a plan and long court session exhaustion.
Yeah, that makes sense.
The barrage of questions continued for about ten more seconds before Twilight managed to find a gap in which to speak, and once again, silence fell as they listened to her with rapt attention.
Even Flash had to try not to stare in awe.
Twilight not only had remembered every question that had been thrown at her, but she also remembered who asked what and made eye contact as she answered them. She even stopped now and again to make sure she had addressed everypony, even though she had a near-perfect memory. Flash suspected it was her way of making each worker feel included, as though signing autographs when an excited cook rushed off to grab a stack of parchment and a quill wasn’t enough. As though writing down each pony’s name to add to their guest list wasn’t enough.
Ah, he liked the sound of that. Guest list. For their wedding. Their perfect, finally-officially-in-their-future wedding…
And Twilight was personally inviting all of the waitstaff despite the fact that all they did was ask to hear the…well, no, that wasn’t true. They had helped to make the evening extra special by showering him and Twilight with so much kindness and enthusiasm even though neither of them knew the servers’ names. Flash knew for a fact that most of the nobles would give them nothing but kiss-ups or disdain once the news broke.
But even so, Twilight was smiling and acting as excited and social as she would if she was talking to Applejack and Rarity and the rest of the girls. She was treating each and every member of the staff like a dear friend, even though they had all just met for the first time.
Twilight was, for lack of something more original, perfectly in her element. Making friends, interacting with others as an actual pony rather than just a princess, and spreading the magic of friendship all around the kitchen.
It sounded a bit cheesy when he thought about it like that, but what else could he say?
What else could he expect from such an amazing mare?
“Oi, everypony calm down,” a low, accented voice cut in from the nearby freezer. “Might I remind you we still need to COOK? I’m sure the princess and her fiancé can answer yer questions while you still do the job we get PAID to do.”
Why was that voice so familiar? Flash couldn’t quite place it—
Then a VERY familiar earth pony with a brown coat, a dark brown mane, blue eyes, and two soup spoons over a large pot as his cutie mark stepped into the kitchen.
“Soup Spoon? You work here now?” Flash asked in surprise, earning a hearty laugh from the stallion as he placed down the box he had grabbed from the freezer and swept Flash into a massive hug. He certainly hadn’t been here when they came eight months ago. At least, Flash didn’t think so. This WAS his first time coming back into the kitchen, so Spoon could have been here for years and Flash might have never known.
“Of course I work here, boy,” he laughed as he ruffled Flash’s mane despite the pegasus’ struggles to escape. The old earth pony had always loved to do that when Flash was a colt. “How’d you think yer aunt got those reservations? And I can see you put them to better use than I would have, treating yer fiancee to dinner and all.”
“You know each other?” Twilight asked, looking between Flash and Soup Spoon.
“He used to be the owner of my favorite pizza place when I was growing up,” Flash said, smiling widely. “He would watch me sometimes if my parents were too busy, and I eventually just started calling him ‘Uncle Spoon.’ Though I still never understood why a pony named after soup and spoons would open a pizza place. And I’m even more surprised that he’s not still there.
“I’m also trying to figure out how going from pizza to high dining is possible,” he added jokingly, earning an epic deadpan stare from Soup Spoon. “Sure, Uncle Spoon is AMAZING in the kitchen, but I’ve only ever seen him make pizzas. How exactly do pizza skills transfer to five-star cooking?”
“Oi, that’s enough out of, whipper snapper,” the chef exclaimed, giving Flash a you-cheeky-little-colt-smack on the back of the head, prompting a giggle from the still excited Twilight. “And to answer your first question, I gave that old shop over to my daughter, Pizza Crust. She’s a natural, let me tell you. But it’s good to see my favorite customer stop by.” He ruffled Flash’s mane again and grinned. “But you gotta tell me: how did a silly little colt like you end up engaged to the Princess of Friendship?”
Oh, dear, this could take all night. “How much time do you have? Because if you really want to know, you’ll need to hear about the last five years of my life, give or take.”
“Maybe not QUITE that long,” Soup Spoon chuckled, looking at the not-quite-controlled-because-waitstaff-workers-were-still-staring-at-Twilight chaos behind him. “At least tell me how THAT came to be.” He pointed at the ring on the alicorn’s horn.
What followed was an abridged version of had happened the previous day starting with when Flash woke up and ending with Twilight putting the ring on. And though the waitstaff continued to move around the kitchen, cleaning and preparing dishes, it was obvious they were hanging on every word.
When Flash got to the part with the doors (well, more like one very persistent and very, very heavy door), Twilight looked away in guilt, but Flash was quick to pull her close and reassure her it wasn’t her fault, something that the waitstaff must have found adorable because they basically were cooing in the background. It was almost louder than Soup Spoon’s chuckle and comment about how only Flash could have so much trouble with doors.
When the workers heard that Twilight’s friends thought Flash was cheating on her, they all gasped almost melodramatically, to the point where Twilight winced as though she was listening to glass breaking. One waitress even fainted, but was luckily caught by another server who was standing near her.
Thankfully, the couple was quickly able to clarify what was really going on. When Soup Spoon heard that the girls thought Firefly was Flash’s secret girlfriend, he slapped his knee and laughed his head off. At least Flash wasn’t the only one who thought it was funny, though the earth pony didn’t have to deal with the whole my-aunt-should-not-be-thought-of-as-my-girlfriend creepiness.
That was going to show up in a nightmare sometime soon.
Flash felt a sharp stab of guilt when he began talking about how he realized that the whole misunderstanding was mostly his fault, but Twilight ended that with a quick kiss and a nuzzle to let him know it wasn't just his fault, earning another ‘awwww’ from the audience.
Twilight tried to take over the story when they got to the throne room, but Flash quickly realized that she was being WAY too hard on herself (again) and quickly jumped in to point out how her rationale was justified and how it was still mostly his fault. When she tried to take more of the blame, they ended up basically bickering like an old married couple until Soup Spoon just forced their lips together and told them that they were both to blame and should just get on with the story already.
Both of them blushed and laughed before moving onto them calming down, Flash's explanation of the misunderstanding, and at long last, the proposal. Soup Spoon in particular seemed very impressed that Flash had actually managed to CATCH the ring box and not just let it hit him square in the head. Flash shot him a deadpan glare, but he knew from Twilight’s giggling that he was NOT going to live that down anytime soon.
There were a few times they had to stop so that Soup Spoon could yell at the rest of the staff to ‘quit standing around and do your JOBS!’ But other than that, the story progressed without much interruption, and all of the workers actually gave a little cheer when they were done.
“Well, that’s ONE way to propose,” Soup Spoon laughed. “Makes my proposal seem as boring as cabbage soup.”
“I still might have preferred that,” Flash said, chuckling. “Less heartache for Twilight, and less physical pain for me.”
Not that he didn’t have his own share of heartache, but he had been more concerned with Twilight’s than his own at the time. That and he wasn’t sure how much of it was actually heartache instead of physical chest pain.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” Soup Spoon said, his tone becoming calmer and more serious. Oh great, he’s using the ‘it’s-time-for-a-life-lesson-son' voice my dad always used to use. Any chance we could just skip the lesson? The door was a really good teacher already, okay, thanks. But Soup Spoon wasn’t Luna and couldn’t read his mind, so Flash knew he was getting the speech either way. “Even if it was a bit chaotic, the two of you mended the damage, and I can guarantee that you’ll have an even stronger relationship because of it.”
“I still wish it had seventy-five percent less doors,” Flash snarked in a deadpan voice, carefully rubbing his head and being sure to avoid the bumps. He got a laugh from Soup Spoon and a playful giggle and peck on the cheek from his fiancee.
Yay. Flash thought as he felt himself smile dreamily. If getting hurt meant more kisses from his angelic princess, maybe a bump or two would be worth it.
“HAHAHA! You two really are perfect for each other if a single little kiss makes you look like a love-drunk colt!” Soup Spoon laughed. Flash actually felt his face get hot, but maybe that was because Twilight giggled and kissed him again. It was hard to tell.
Either way, he was right. They were perfect for each other, and Flash would thank the heavens every day for being allowed to meet such a beautiful and talented mare…
“So what else do you have planned for tonight?” Soup Spoon asked, bringing Flash back to the conversation.
“We’re headed to the royal gardens,” he said. “It was going to be the place where I had planned to propose, but now it’ll just be a good place for us to remember how this all began.” He grabbed a quick kiss from Twilight, which made the chef smile.
“Ahh, young love. Nothing like it. I remember my first date with Sweet Treat, all those years ago. But I won’t hold up your night any more that we already have.”
“C’mon, Soup, now you got me wanting to hear some of your old stories. Tell Twilight about how you somehow managed to get your head stuck in the dishwasher!”
The waitress returning some dishes behind them snorted so hard her nose dipped into the salad bowl and came up smeared with dressing. Without turning around, Soup Spoon passed her a napkin, shaking his head. The old earth pony was seconds away from giving Flash his patented ‘don’t-make-me-swap-the-tomato-sauce-for-hot-sauce-you-little-rascal’ glare, but all Flash could focus on was Twilight trying — and failing — to hide her giggles behind her hoof.
“You’ve heard that one enough times that YOU can tell her about it if you want it,” Soup Spoon deadpanned. “Now GIT, go enjoy the rest of your date.”
Boo, Flash thought as he stuck out his tongue. Soup Spoon’s voices and crazy gesticulations were hilarious. But he had to admit, he was looking forward to the gardens. Though why did he feel like he was forgetting something…?
Show up? Check.
Wear pants? They normally didn’t wear clothes, but tonight, check.
Stare open-mouthed at his fiancée? Definitely check.
Remember he was in public and regain focus while also telling her how beautiful she was? Oh, yeah, double check.
Tease and flirt with her? Check.
Keep all bad nobles at a good length and make sure not-so-bad-just-a-bit-annoying-nobles didn’t take up too much of their time? There were no nobles yet so far, so check.
Nope, he was all good.
“Maybe next time,” Twilight said. “Unless you want to weave your way to the front to talk while we pay?”
Oh, right. The bill. How had he forgotten that?
Oh yeah…Excited waitress and story time.
That was it.
As far as silly and ridiculous interruptions went, this last one was actually pretty fun.
“Actually, the manager poked his head in while you were talking,” a waiter called out. “He said the meal was his early wedding gift to you two. You’re good to go!”
Well, that was certainly nice of him. When did he even come in? Flash hadn’t noticed anypony wearing extra-fancy clothes or whatever would help him distinguish a manager from other waitstaff, but he HAD BEEN a bit distracted by the cheering squad to really notice anyone coming in from the back doors.
And that manager likely had things to do to keep the place running, so Flash could understand why he didn’t stop to say hi. Or maybe he was a bit harried by the fact that the kitchen was even more chaotic than usual. Or intimidated because a princess was here. Or both.
Either way, they would have to add his name to their guest list.
How else could they repay such a generous gift?
“Oh no, he doesn’t need to—” Twilight began.
“Too late,” another waitress yelled. “He already pulled out some of his own money and put it in the register.”
Poor Twilight. Her brow was furrowed as her mouth tried, and failed, to form words but just ended up creating a bunch of adorable stuttering squeaks instead. It was the look she got whenever she really wanted to argue against something but couldn’t think of a logical argument to support her reasoning. Luckily, Flash had just the compromise.
“Be sure to tell him thank you, then,” he said as he began to pull out some bits. “And please consider this a tip.”
“And what a generous tip it is,” Soup Spoon said, smiling happily as he took the money. “I’ll be sure your waitress gets it. You two have fun now.” He waved as Flash and Twilight began to exit the kitchen. They returned the smile and wave, and Flash moved to hold the door for his lady.
The restaurant was considerably more empty now and easier to navigate. Glancing at a nearby grandfather clock, Flash saw that it was nearly closing time. Their story had taken WAY longer than he thought it would.
Maybe he should skip the funny faces next time…nahhhh. Everypony knows stories are better when you make funny faces while telling them. Just ask Pinkie.
As they walked towards the front of the restaurant, a few of the waiters and waitresses gave them a quick and subtle wave or wink, though they at tried to remain professional. Flash smiled and returned the gestures shamelessly, earning a few curious looks from the remaining patrons. When they got it back to the entrance, the host gave them a low bow over his reservation book, which they returned.
Flash took a deep breath as they stepped outside. The sun had set, allowing Luna’s moon to rise above the land and light up the sky. The street lamps and lights from the building windows casted a warm glow all around them. It was so peaceful, and the light was just enough to make Twilight’s ring shine with its subtle rainbow.
By her, she was beautiful.
Was that weird to say?
He almost facehoofed. ‘Was that weird?’ Is it weird to compliment your future wife after you swear to her name like a deity?
What is wrong with you?
Don’t do that again.
Also, focus you goof…
Once the mental scolding was over, he extended his wing, and Twilight happily took her place under it as the two of them turned towards the castle and began walking. She pressed close to his side, close enough for him to feel the silky material of her dress and a few locks of her soft mane and how warm she was…
Smiling, Flash turned his gaze to his fiancee, whose mane was shining in the faint light. Her expression was serene, even carefree, and the sight of it made his heart flutter a bit. It was such a far cry from yesterday, or even two hours ago. The moonlight added an extra twinkle in her eyes, and he found himself remembering their first date, and how wonderful the garden had been as Twilight told him more then he would likely ever know about all the plants and animals, and how her face was just alight with wonder the entire time. It had been amazing, and now here they were five years later, returning to where it all began. How he was looking forward to this…
But then…the universe cackled.
It was subtle, very subtle, but as Flash was turning to look at the stars above them, he saw something out of the corner of his eye.
Something that MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT BELONG.
Both wearing pure black armor and, even though they were trying to be subtle, Flash could see them carrying weapons.
That was NOT guard armor. No. Flash knew from his training that there was no way that armor was from any royal guard or the nobles’ private security. Both of those types of guards usually had colored armor to identify them, and they would NEVER carry weapons out in the open like that unless they were on patrol (royal guards) or on their noble's properties (security).
Heck, the nobles’ guards weren't ALLOWED to carry weapons outside of their assigned properties after Duchess Tight Lip used that power to harass non-nobles for money nearly three hundred years ago, and Flash knew that because he had learned of that law on his FIRST DAY of guard classes!
Which meant they had to be mercenaries.
Flash chanced a second glance and saw that the armed ponies were moving at exactly the same pace as he and Twilight were. Not only that, their eyes were following them and their expressions clearly indicated that they weren’t just looking for an autograph.
He couldn’t be overreacting, could he?
“Twilight,” Flash whispered, keeping his voice calm, yet hard enough to let Twilight know something was up.
“Yes?” Twilight asked, sounding concerned.
Good Luna, he REALLY hoped he was overreacting.
“Don’t look, but we’re being followed. Two unicorns, armed with weapons and armor. Not closing in, but not moving away.”
He felt Twilight stiffen, and he squeezed his wing around her reassuringly. “Don’t speed up. But be ready to fly or cast, just in case.” Twilight nodded subtly, then returned her head to its place on his shoulder.
They continued walking towards the castle. Part of Flash really wanted to just try and fly to the castle as quickly as possible, but doing so would take them out of the lamp light on the streets, making it much easier for enemy pegesi to catch them unaware. Especially if they were wearing black armor. And Flash KNEW that if the mercenaries WERE after them that they wouldn’t be alone. You’d have to be crazy to take on an alicorn princess with just two ponies, no matter how talented they might happen to be.
Especially one that had saved Equestria no less than three times.
Flash just hoped that they could make it to the castle gate before anything happened. But given that it was Tuesday and the rest of the night had been going so well, he had a very bad feeling about the whole situation.
And sure enough, within three blocks of the castle, three more unicorns dressed in the same armor stepped forward, blocking their path with sinister smiles.
Flash spun Twilight away from them without slowing down and led her towards the only open path — an alley to their left. So it was a trap, he thought, cursing as he looked to see if the unicorns were following them. But if the plan was to trap them, why weren’t there any pegesi to keep them—
Flash reacted on instinct and threw himself behind his fiancee just as they entered the alley way, his wings flaring out as he spun towards the course of the noise.
A bolt. A crossbow bolt, stuck in the stone three feet away just outside the entrance to the alley way and glowing faintly with greenish-silver runes.
Looking up, Flash saw that there were at least three more ponies on the roofs, all of them aiming loaded crossbows at Twilight.
Not him. TWILIGHT.
Grrrrrr. I swear, if they hurt a hair on her head, they’ll WISH it was Shining Armor that got his hooves on them! Heck, they’ll wish it was LUNA compared to me!
No. He had to stay calm. Lesson one of guard training: keep calm, stay with your charge, and don’t escalate the situation unless absolutely necessary.
“F-Flash…” Twilight asked, her hoof shaking slightly as she reached out to grab his shoulder. Flash squeezed it reassuringly.
“Just stay calm,” Flash said softly, gently beginning to walk further into the alley. He didn’t WANT to, but he was unarmed and unarmored, so it wasn’t like he had much choice.
Any spell Twilight cast would make her horn light up, which would be a dead giveaway even if Flash tried to cover it with his wing, and there was no way he was going to prompt retaliation so quickly. Even she did cast a spell to get them out of there fast enough, the enemy could very well have something to halt her teleportation and create a magical backlash against her, which would take her out of any fight for several precious seconds.
They had already managed to maneuver the couple right into their trap far too easily.
Even worse, based on the color of the runes, Flash was SURE that crossbow bolt was made of antitherium, an anti-magic metal known for being able to punch through magical shields with ease for being nearly impossibly to redirect with spells. Even IF Twilight had time to reinforce her shield to its maximum potential, it might not be enough. Plus, that metal had the potential to completely stop a pony’s magical circulation, making them extremely weak and vulnerable, making it virtually POISONOUS.
Which was why it was ILLEGAL to begin with! So long as those bolts were in play, there was NO WAY he was going to risk any kind of retaliation against Twilight!
ESPECIALLY NOT TONIGHT.
Also, he was going to have some SERIOUS WORDS with whoever was in charge of the guard. Date night or not, he KNEW that there should be more guards out and about at this hour than there currently were, and that at least TWO should be watching him and Twilight at all times.
Seriously, was he the ONLY ONE that payed attention at the academy?
Still keeping himself between Twilight and their adversaries on the ground, Flash begrudgingly backed further into the alley. From the light of the moon, he could see that it led to a dead end. As they walked, two of the crossbow unicorns teleported and appeared above the alley, while the other five moved to block the entrance.
Flash and Twilight stopped about twenty feet from the far wall and turned around, and Flash saw that more ponies were entering the alley behind them.
Ok, think, think…
There were quite a lot of ponies, at least fifteen by Flash’s estimate, so they weren’t underestimating Twilight’s powers. They hadn’t attacked yet…save for the warning shot, so they clearly wanted them, or at least Twilight, alive.
And they were now letting somepony in the back move up towards the front, so clearly their boss wanted speak with the—
“Are. You. BUCKING. KIDDING. ME!?” Flash screamed at the top of his lungs as none other than MOTHER BUCKING BULL HORN emerged from the group of mercenaries.
SERIOUSLY!? WHY!? JUST…JUST WHY!?
He had been stripped of his title and shamed for all to see at the Gala! And then he’d been sent Canterlot’s best mental institution for moderate schizophrenia once Celestia’s doctors eventually realized that his delusions of grandeur were WAY too nuts to be normal! He’d been there ever since!
SO. WHY. WAS. HE. HERE!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?
Flash had to fight from simply turning and smashing his head into the nearest wall in frustration, annoyance, or just because of how STUPID THIS WAS.
MAYBE ALL THREE!
“If it isn’t the peasant and her pet,” Bull Horn mused, and his tone more annoying that that of anypony Flash had ever know or would likely ever know as he glared at the disgraced noble. “So nice of you to stop by.”
Somehow his voice had gotten MORE ANNOYING during his time away!
“Bull Horn,” Twilight growled, moving so that she was standing next to Flash rather than behind him. He should have, no, he WOULD have stopped her, but he was so taken back by the fact that she had actually GROWLED that he wasn’t sure what to think. “How did you get out?”
Bull Horn scoffed, making Flash glare at him even more intensely.
If that was even possible at this point.
“Did you truly think I would stay in that accursed prison forever? Bribing the guards was FAR too easy.”
Yes, it would have been nice if you had stayed there FOREVER! as Pinkie would say. And thank you for telling us that, as we now know that Money Bags was likely the one to get you out since he’s the only pony that could bribe the guards, and that would WANT him out of the mental institute.
Ok, maybe that was a stretch, but seriously, WHO ELSE WOULD HELP THIS ASSHAT!? He REALLY hoped the Canterlot guard would arrest Money Bags after this.
Also, can the plot PLEASE demand Pinkie? Maybe a cart of anvils too? Pretty please? With cookies and pizza on top?
Unfortunately, no pink ball of chaos and frosting appeared, so Flash guess they were on their own.
“How much did it cost for them to let you out of your straitjacket?” Flash asked jokingly, only blink in surprise as Bull Horn actually growled at him.
Oh dear, he may have just accidentally broken the ‘do-not-escalate’ rule without meaning to.
“That filthy garment will be burned along with the rest of that madhouse once I regain my status! The same goes for those mind controlling drugs!”
Wait, seriously? They actually kept him in a straitjacket? I distinctly remember learning in high school that only violent patients get…oh, right. Rage shift and major lack of wanting to be there would likely lead to a very violent Bull Horn.
Though he REALLY must be off his rocker if he thinks medications designed to help him are ‘mind controlling drugs’! I helped Twilight review the laws pertaining to those drugs just last week and I know for a fact that they are only used in severe situations. If he’s required to take them, it’s his own damn fault!
Also, please tell me somepony got a photo of him in a straitjacket.
Flash NEEDED a photo of that.
“And how exactly do you plan to regain your title?” Twilight asked, her voice hard. “I doubt either princess is willing to restore your title, and this little diversion of yours just makes that outcome all the less likely. In fact, you’re just making them all the MORE likely to extend your sentence permanently.”
The duke didn’t seem abashed. In fact, he SMIRKED and opened his mouth.
Great, he was about to start monologuing. Flash just knew it. Mean or sensible, almost every noble he had ever met just LOVED to talk. Even the really nice ones like Fancy Pants did, though he at least let Flash and Twilight join in on the conversation. If he wanted to hear nobles prattle on for hours, he would have Twilight hold court.
Given what had happened last time with the duke’s rage shift, maybe Flash could bait another one out without prompting retaliation from the archers…at least towards Twilight. The mass of raw magic would certainly draw attention from nearby unicorns, who might then call the guards. It might even attract Luna's attention, given how close they were to the castle. She was still up at this hour, that much Flash knew, so it would certainly be worth a shot.
Besides, it wouldn’t be a romantic date if he didn’t mess with some nobles.
“Before you start ranting, can I just ask one liiiiiiiiittle question?” Flash asked, smirking slyly.
“And what kind of idiotic question could you POSSIBLY have?” Bull Horn huffed, flicking his mane back in contempt.
Oh, don’t worry, it will be well worth it.
“Do you have any tape?” Flash asked, trying not to smirk as Bull Horn’s snobbiness was replaced with outright confusion.
“Yeah, tape. You know, sticky plastic, usually used to wrap presents?” He paused to let Bull Horn stammer and sputter before turning to the mercenary on the noble’s left. “No? Well, how about you?”
“Nope, sorry,” the mercenary said, shrugging, which made Flash blink in surprise. He hadn’t actually been expecting an answer. But the guy had had an oddly amused look on his face that made Flash think he was just glad for the excuse to not listen to Bull Horn rant.
“Darn. Well, how about you?” Flash asked the next one. “No? Well how about you? No? Seriously? Does NO PONY have any tape?”
“Is scotch tape ok?” a pony from the roof yelled down.
Ah, a savior at last.
“Yes, scotch tape would be perfect!” Flash yelled back.
“I don’t have any.”
OH, COME ON!
“THEN WHY DID YOU ASK IF SCOTCH TAPE WAS OK IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE ANY…ugh. Forget it, forget it. Does anypony have tape of ANY kind? Anypony?”
“Enough!” Bull Horn yelled, glaring at Flash fiercely. “We have you trapped, and you are about to spent the rest of your life serving your betters. What MORONIC reason could you POSSIBLY have for needing TAPE!?”
“Well how ELSE am I going to get you to shut up?”
Oh, his face was PERFECT. Flash wished he had a camera.
“Hhhrg…” Bull Horn grunted as both his eyes began twitching and his teeth began grinding. The mercenaries around him started to snort and snicker and Twilight facehooved. At least he was now the likely target of the crossbows rather than Twilight. If all else, she might have a better chance of avoiding injury now.
“You might want to try taking a few deep breaths to calm down,” Flash said gently yet patronizingly, causing the unicorn’s twitching to intensify. “Seriously, it looks like that blood vessel in your forehead might burst at this rate.”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTHS!” Bull Horn roared, silencing the mercenaries, but Flash still kept chuckling to himself. The ex-duke glared at him, which was probably all he could do right no—
“I am a NOBLE! Not some…LOW LIFE PESANT to be mocked!”
Yes, you are. And that was probably the kindest way Flash could phrase it.
“That is why YOU will be restoring my title!” he exclaimed, pointing at…
He couldn’t be THAT crazy, could he?
“You can’t be serious,” Twilight said, her voice so deadpan that Flash couldn’t have said it better himself.
“Oh, but I am,” Bull Horn smirked. Flash groaned internally.
Apparently, he IS that crazy, he thought.
But wait…he knew that smirk.
Oh, oh please tell me he’s not…
“You, princess, will be coming with me, and—”
Crap, I guessed I just delayed his inevitable reaction.
Actually, why does it HAVE to be inevitable anyway? Why does he just HAVE to start monologging?
Ugh…Seriously…Why…Just…Just WHY!!! Even the mercenaries look like utterly bored! Did he unload all of this to them beforehoof? That sounded exactly like something Bull Horn would do. No wonder they look over it already. If I were in their horseshoes, I wouldn’t care about the rant either, even if the moron WAS paying me.
Not that I really care now, but still.
Flash knew he should probably at least TRY to listen to SOME of what this idiot said to get some evidence to use when the ex-duke inevitably got arrested, but for the life of him, he could just not. Care. Less. He missed the first five minutes because he was rolling his eyes so hard his brain got dizzy. Even Twilight looked glassy-eyed.
Ugh…this is even WORSE than court. Somepony please just shut him up…Oh Luna, one of the mercenaries is even sleeping while still standing up! And another two are reading books! And even TWILIGHT isn’t even paying attention anymore since it looks like she’s trying to turn her head so she can read the books’ titles! Which is actually rather adorkable, but I can’t enjoy it because this idiot won’t shut up! DEAR LUNA, LET THIS END!!!
But despite his best efforts, Flash did still catch parts of the manic speech.
“—and the Rego herb will make sure you don’t get any ideas, princess—”
You’re an idiot. Just…an idiot, Flash thought. Part of his training was to learn what could, and could not, harm the princesses And while the Rego herb, which Flash had actually seen Twilight study, COULD put ponies into trances where they were open to suggestion, those trances were A: not the same as complete control over the pony, B: easily broken, even with just some water to the face, C: COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE against alicorns, which was EXACTLY what TWILIGHT was now, D: something Celestia would easily be able to identify the cause of should it somehow have any effect on Twilight, and E: YOU’RE STILL AN IDIOT.
Oh, wait, he was talking about Flash now.
“—and that…RUFFIAN…will serve a much better purpose of cleaning my toilets—”
Annnnnnd there’s the traditional ‘villain-is-stupid-and-leaves-the-hero-alive-cliche.’ Even if he WASN’T a hero like Twilight, per say, he WAS still a trained guard, one that was more than capable of coming up with a plan to escape and free Twilight. Plus, his disappearance would DEFINITELY set off alarm bells at both the castle here in Canterlot, and back in Ponyville. Maybe even enough for a royal search party.
Or maybe a ‘We Found Flash’ party once he was rescued.
…On second thought, sure, let me be kidnapped. I want to know what unique kind of cake Pinkie would make for our rescued party. Something that tastes like oranges and blueberries and chocolate and maybe a touch of key lime just for the hay of it.
“—then, my son will take he place by your side, as he should, before—”
Seriously? Twilight being with ANYPONY else, ESPECIALLY MONEY BAGS, after Flash had already PROPOSED would raise so many red flags for Celestia that she would probably arrest Money Bags right on the spot.
Also, thank you for confirming that Money Bags is involved, you idiot.
“Sorry, I’m happily engaged,” Twilight said, apparently having pulled herself away from the mercenaries books. To make her point, she gestured to her new ring. Bull Horn instantly stopped ranting and his mouth fell open in pure shock.
Wait, seriously? You’ve been staring at us for at LEAST ten minutes, and you are just NOW noticing the ring? Dear Luna.
Even the mercenaries look surprised by how oblivious he is.
“YOU…HOW DARE YOU TRY AND PROMOTE THAT PESANT TO THE TITLE OF PRINCE!” Bull Horn raged, his mane exploding into flames as he entered a rage shift.
Yes, got him!
Now all Flash had to do was keep the duke from hitting them for about the next thirty seconds or so until he burned himself out and—
Did Bull Horn call him a prince?
“I’d be a prince?” Flash asked, looking to Twilight for conformation. Between the stress of the proposal, the excitement of her saying yes, and everything else that had been going on, he had actually forgotten that Shining Armor had become a prince after his wedding.
Partly because he still just called him ‘Captan Armor,’ but Flash was surprised not only that he had forgotten that, but that NO ONE ELSE had bothered to mention it. Though given how they were going to have a ‘royal’ wedding, everypony else probably just assumed that he knew that he would become a prince. Flash had to resist the urge to facehoof upon realizing how oblivious he had been.
“Technically, yes,” Twilight agreed with a nod, not taking her eyes off the currently-on-fire ex-duke, her horn now softly glowing in case he decided to attack. “But I…don’t quite know how much authority you would have. I did try to read up on it a year ago, but the laws are so old and it was taking so long to translate them from Ancient Equestrian that I just decided to put it off until you proposed to me or until I proposed to you.
“I…actually kinda forgot about it after we stopped Starlight and I began planing her friendship lessons. It wasn’t until yesterday that I remembered that I needed to read up on it, and I figured that since Celestia and Luna helped write the laws, we could just ask them tomorr-”
“I REFUSE TO ALLOW THAT AIRMMPH—“ Bull Horn began, only for the glow Twilight’s magic to cut through the raging power and seal the unicorn’s mouth shut.
Wait, what? Part of what made rage shifts dangerous was that they tend to interfere with other ponies’ magical abilities as well as magnifying the user’s power. How did Twilight just…ignore that?
“Do. NOT. Insult. My fiancee. With that kind of language,” Twilight growled.
Flash was very VERY alarmed by this growl.
Twilight looked…stressed wasn’t exactly the right word here. Her jaw was clenched, her eyes were ever so slightly shrunken, and her mane was beginning to show the warning signs of springing out in random directions. She didn’t even seem to care that the mercenaries had all drawn their weapons. Or had woken up, in that one sleeping pony’s case.
“Um…Twilight, honey? Are you ok?” Flash asked cautiously. Maybe it was a stupid question to ask because OBVIOUSLY many things were wrong with the whole situation, but he wasn’t sure what else to say right now. He could see some telltale signs of an impending freak out, but there was still something…different about this.
Something very, very different.
“Flash,” Twilight said, her voice smooth and quiet yet holding some hidden tone of…anger, maybe? Anger seemed like a distinct possibility. “Please let me…deal with this UTTER pain in the flank.”
Ok, yep, definitely anger. Very, very strong anger. But before he could speak up, she cut him off. “You have spent these last five years protecting me, and I love you for doing that, but I need to deal with this on my own…understand?”
“You know I can’t stand by and let you get hurt.”
“I’ll be fine.” Twilight’s magic flared in order to strengthen her hold on the struggling Bull Horn. More locks of her mane sprung out.
“I don—” Flash began, only to be swiftly and forcefully, yet gently, pulled into a passionate kiss with his fiancee. He thought he heard a muffled squeak of a protest somewhere, but then the sheer amount of magic inside Twilight started to course through his lips and everything just felt far, far away.
The heat from her power buildup was quickly pouring and pooling inside of him, making his limbs go limp and turning his insides to mush. Every nerve was tingling and all it was doing was making the kiss feel twice as amazing as normal…like he was drinking in the sun…
When she released him, he thought that he might melt into a puddle right there.
“All I ask…is for one minute with no interference,” Twilight said sweetly as steadied him with one hoof. “Can you do that for me?”
Flash’s mind was buzzing, but the reality of the situation started to sink back in as he took in the sight of struggling Bull Horn and the worried-looking mercenaries. He didn’t want to let her do this alone, but he felt so empty-headed that he couldn’t think of any argument that would talk her out of it. At least, not before she exploded from the magic built up inside of her.
“Sixty seconds. That’s it,” he said “I’ll be counting.” He had no idea how he was still thinking semi-rational thoughts, or if he could even count to right cranberry. Number. He meant number. He hoped that Twilight had a better plan than he pineapple. Did. Better plan than he did.
“Thank you,” Twilight said, giving him another electric peck on the cheek before taking a few steps towards Bull Horn, placing the still dizzy Flash behind her. “Now then. I am going to release your mouth. But if you so much as TRY and insult Flash again, you WILL regret it. Understand?”
This is going to be a long sixty seconds…for all of us…
Fifty-eight-point-three-four seconds later…
Flash was unsure if he should be scared beyond the capacity for rational thought…or incredibly aroused.
Maybe a bit of both.
Immediately after Twilight had released Bull Horn’s mouth, he had completely disregarded Twilight’s order and had called Flash a name so offensive that…well, it made Twilight suddenly bursting into her OWN rage shift very very VERY justified.
Yes, the love of his life had burst into flames in order to defend him, and he had to say…it made Bull Horn’s rage shift look like a match next to a star. Which might explain why Bull Horn’s rage shift had ended almost instantly and he had immediately tried to flee from the alleyway.
Yeahhhhhhh…no such luck on that front.
Twilight had, in probably the most one-sided fight Flash had ever seen, taken down all of the mercenaries without so much as looking at them. The ones on the roof had been yanked down before they could get shots off with their crossbows. Two of them became desk lamps and the other one was shoved head-first into a nearby dumpster so that only his hind hooves were sticking out rather comically.
Flash wasn’t sure which fate was worse.
The ones that tried to get between her and Bull Horn had met a similar fate — all of them were turned into house plants. Well, all except two that tried to surrender — Twilight tied them down with glowing red magical chains.
Then, as Bull Horn tried to flee, a now flaming Twilight had grabbed him and dragged him back to her, dangling him in front of her by…his tail?
Well, Flash THOUGHT it was by his tail, but given the pathetic whimpering he was making while Twilight yelled at him…he couldn’t be one-hundred-percent sure that she wasn’t grabbing him by his…
Nope. Don’t think about it. You do NOT want that image in your head.
Just focus on the fact that Twilight is approximately ten times hotter while on fire, with only about half of that being related to the actual fire.
Also, rule forty-two: Don’t forget your anniversary…EVER!
“NOW IF I EVER SEE YOU AGAIN, I WILL NOT BE LETTING YOU OFF WITH ANY MORE WARNINGS…UNDERSTAND?!” the flaming yet sexy demon that was his fiancee asked, receiving a whimpering nod from Bull Horn. "Good."
And with that, there was a flash of red light and Bull Horn was replaced with…a newt in a glass cage.
Seriously? A newt? WHY!? Yes, he certainly DESERVED to be turned into something to humiliate him further, but why a NEWT? That wasn’t really Twilight’s style. Did rage shifting mess with her perception of reality? Or maybe she just REALLY didn’t like newts? Should he really be focusing on this right now? It was hard to tell given how his head was still a bit dizzy.
Oops, better catch the fiancee.
Sure enough, Twilight let out one final deep sigh as the rage shift came to an end before falling sideways right into Flash’s hooves. Somehow, her dress and ring were still perfectly intact. The only fatality was her well groomed mane.
Oh well, she was still beautiful… Focus…
“That was more than a minute,” Flash said, his voice returning now that he was no longer as terrified. “Also, that was HOT!”
“I…was…on FIRE!” Twilight exclaimed breathlessly as she rested in his grasp. “Of…course…it was…hot.”
Oh Twilight, always missing the double meaning.
“The OTHER kind of hot, honey,” Flash said, smirking as he watched Twilight think for a few seconds before her face reddened like a cherry.
“What? Is there a reason that I can’t say that my angelic fiancee is hot? Or would you prefer the term ‘smokin'?” he added in a fake, fancy accent. Twilight reached up and smacked him lightly in the head.
“Oh…shush,” Twilight muttered, stealing a quick kiss. Flash gladly returned it, breaking it just in time for the moon and the sun to come crashing down into the alley way.
Or at least their respective princesses…
“Twilight! Are you all right!?” Celestia cried in a panic, rushing up to the pair.
“I’m ok,” Twilight said, sounding quite a bit stronger now. “Just…tired.”
That was probably the understatement of the night, because she tried to get back onto her own hooves and ended up falling right back into Flash’s.
“Are you certain?” Luna asked, her voice concerned as guards, both Solar and Lunar began to flood into the alleyway. Took you long enough. “We could feel your magic flare halfway across Canterlot. And on the way over, we spotted two unconscious guards on a nearby rooftop, specifically the ones we had sent to look after you.”
Dang, you must really have some good eyesight. Also, good to hear they were just unconscious. Flash thought. He had actually thought they might have been…well, killed. His academy joke had just been a way to push that horrible idea out of his mind so that he could focus on the present danger at the time.
VERY VERY glad to hear that they were still alive.
“We could also feel the rage inherent in your magic,” Celestia added, causing Flash to chuckle.
“Given that the aggressor was Bull Horn, that’s not too surprising,” he said, pointing towards the newt that was currently trying unsuccessfully to escape its glass cage. There was a brief pause for about three seconds, before Celestia facehooved.
Wow. Flash never actually thought that Celestia would ever be so exasperated that she would facehoof. Except maybe with Discord.
“Really Twilight? Again?” Celestia said, letting out a long breath while Twilight gave a nervous laugh.
Wait, what did she mean, ‘again’?
“I maaaaayyyyyyyyyyy not have been in the best mindset, given how I had a rage shift and all…ehehehhe.”
“Ok, now I have to hear this story,” Flash said, a sly smirk working its way onto his lips as his fiancee seemed to remember he was there and tried to hide behind her own wing.
“Agreed,” Luna said, smiling as she lit her horn and began changing the transfigured mercenaries back into ponies and gesturing to the guards to restrain them quickly. Celestia sighed and let out a slightly amused chuckle.
“Shortly after Twilight became my student, some of her classmates got the idea that she was getting good grades only because of her connection to me. So a few months later, three of them attempted to confront Twilight. I had been teaching her transfiguration spells at the time, so she decided that rather than teleport to my office or call for a teacher, she would instead turn the students into newts.”
“It wasn’t my fault though,” Twilight protested from under her wing. “They were gonna drop ‘The Complete Collection of Star Swirls Advanced Spells’ into a mud puddle! There are only three copies of the book left in all of Equestria! I couldn’t let them destroy it! And I didn’t know it was enchanted against mud…” she added shyly.
So the only other time she’d turned someone into a newt due to a rage shift…was when a special book was threatened?
She loved him as much as she did rare and exotic books?
That made him feel all tingly inside.
“So does that mean that you love Flash as much as you love pristine and one-of-a-kind books? He should be happy to receive such a compliment,” Luna said, smirking.
Dang it, Luna, stop reading my mind! I get enough of that from my mom!
“Getting back on topic,” Celestia said. “Do either of you happen to know why Bull Horn is here in the first place? He was still at the mental hospital a month ago when the guards were sent to check up on him.”
“Money Bags bribed the hospital to let him out,” Flash said. “Or threatened them. I’ll be honest, I only heard about ten percent of his monologue…at most.”
Luna hid a smile.
“He also wanted to try and hypnotize me with a plant I am immune to, turn Flash into a janitor, and have me date Money Bags,” Twilight snapped. “So, in reality, his plan was doomed from the start.”
“If that’s true, what caused you to rage shift?” Luna asked as she used her magic to help remove the mercenary still stuck in the dumpster. “Right now it sounds more like he was just being annoying and deranged, rather than rage inducing.”
“Bull Horn insulted me,” Flash said casually. “So Twilight decided to talk with him about his behavior.” He smirked. “It was a good talk.”
“No it wasn’t…” The mercenary that had been in the dumpster weakly muttered as he was pulled out.
“He called Flash the most insulting term you can call a pegasus,” Twilight clarified, causing Celestia’s and Luna’s eyes to widen. “That, combined with the fact that he was trying to RUIN our engagement celebration, led to me…losing my temper.”
Celestia smiled before pulling Twilight and Flash into a hug. “Your anger was quite understandable and justified…to an extent. Just don’t make a habit of turning ponies into newts, ok?”
“I won’t, I promise,” Twilight agreed, returning the hug. Flash, who was kind of in the hug since he was still helping Twilight stand, grinned and gave Twilight a reassuring brush with his wing.
Now if only his wing was long enough to reach Luna, then they could have a—
No, wait, she had wrapped her wings around all of them.
YAY, GROUP HUG!
“Also, I must say that I am very pleased to hear that you accepted Flash’s wedding proposal,” Celestia said as she and Luna released the two of them, her tone and eyes implying to Flash that she was actively trying not to bounce around Canterlot, squealing YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES like Twilight did whenever a new book arrived at the castle. “I do hope you don’t mind that I’ve already begun preparations for another royal wedding.”
Hopefully this one will have fewer evil changelings and just have the nice, colorful reformed ones instead. Flash REALLY didn’t want to be stuck to the wall with green goop again.
He still wasn’t even sure HOW he had gotten stuck to the wall in the first place. He just woke up that morning before the ceremony and there he was.
That wasn’t really important right now though…probably.
“I don’t mind,” Twilight said, “but you might want to coordinate with the girls on the preparations. And while me and Flash haven’t discussed this too much yet, I was hoping that we could have the wedding after the Festival of Friendship I had been planning? That way I’m not stressing about the festival during our honeymoon.”
Or before, during, and after the wedding, Flash thought, silently agreeing that the wedding would be best after the Festival of Friendship.
“I think that would be perfectly fine,” Celestia said, smiling widely.
“Indeed,” Luna said, nodding. “That will also give us plenty of time to prepare, and for me to work on a gift I have planned.”
Oohhh, a gift?
“What is it?” Flash asked, only to receive a smirk from Luna.
“Now, why would I tell you? That would ruin the surprise!” She flared her wings and took to the sky. “Come, sister! Let us leave the love birds to their celebration! We have work to do!” And with that, she was gone, some her guards quickly flying to catch up with her.
Celestia shook her head, though she was still smiling. “I’d best get after her. Enjoy your night, my little ponies. Oh, and before I forget…” Her magic reached out and grabbed the still-transformed Bull Horn before she took to the air as well. Most of the rest of the guards began to carry the mercenaries out of the alley and towards the castle, likely to put them in the dungeon where they belonged.
However, four of the guards, two Solar and two Lunar, were waiting near around the entrance to the alleyway, watching him and Twilight expectantly. Given what had happened, it was actually nice to have an armed escort now, though he hoped they wouldn't need it once they got to the castle.
Kinda hard to share a romantic kiss in the moonlight when your being watched by heavily armed ponies.
Eh, he was sure they could still make it work.
“You ready to walk?” Flash asked Twilight. Instead of answering, his fiancee pushed away from him so she try and stand under her own power, took a step, and nearly fell over again. “I’ll take that as a no.”
“Just…give me a minute,” Twilight said as she tried again, but Flash rolled his eyes and ducked his head under her, swiftly lifting her onto his back. “Flash!” she exclaimed, trying to slide off, only for Flash to use his wings to keep her in place.
“No arguments, my princess,” Flash said, happily strolling out of the alleyway and down the street, much to the amusement of the guards now following them. “You took care of Bull Horn and his goons, so now it’s time for me to take care of you. What kind of prince would I be if I didn’t treat my fiancee like a princess?”
Disregarding the fact that he wasn’t a prince yet, that BEING a prince was something he had completely forgotten about but shouldn't have been surprised AT ALL about, and the fact that she was ALREADY a princess.
Either way, he just wanted an excuse to hold her close, even if that meant carrying her down the street towards the castle like a tired foal. Twilight grumbled and wrapped her hooves gently around his neck for support, likely realizing that she wouldn’t be winning this argument.
Which she wouldn’t.
Smiling to himself, Flash continued down the street towards the castle. Part of his mind still lingered on Bull Horn, but not nearly as much as he thought it would. Sure, the moron had tried to do something stupid and violent, but in reality he just came off as a delusional idiot. It was actually pretty hilarious to watch him make a fool of himself.
The mercenaries might not have been so fun…ok, they were actually pretty terrifying for a while, but even they lost some of their threat when Flash remembered that one that actually managed to fall asleep during Bull Horn’s rant. They may have been a real danger, but given how quickly Twilight was able to dispatch them, and the fact that even they didn’t seem to take Bull Horn seriously, it was hard to let that fear ruin the enjoyment he felt as seeing Bull Horn get taken down for a second time. Maybe that was why Flash didn’t feel the same flame of anger that he did after their last encounter with Bull Horn.
Bull Horn was just a joke now, even to his own hired ponies. A crazy old unicorn with nothing left to his name that was trying so desperately to regain his status, while still failing in every conceivable way. Heck, even his escape and hiring of the mercenaries had likely been orchestrated by his son.
That, and knowing that he would likely never have to see Bull Horn again, made Flash feel more satisfied than angry. Especially since Celesta and Luna were likely to increase security on Bull Horn to make sure this didn’t happen again.
And arresting Money Bags. THAT was a very nice early wedding gift if he did say so himself.
Though Flash still wished he could get a picture of Bull Horn in a straitjacket, just for laughs.
He felt Twilight shift slightly and realized that they had reached the main gates of Canterlot Castle. Or, at least, what was LEFT of the gate. The archway had collapsed during the brownie dragon attack, and only the left door was still in place. There was some scaffolding visible in the moonlight that implied repairs had begun, but it was clear that much more of the focus had been on the castle itself. Even now, there were still a few ponies moving supplies up to the platforms jutting out of the damaged walls.
Those ponies deserved a raise.
There also appeared to be a lot more guards around, but what else would be the response when a princess was attacked? Or was it because Celestia and Luna had decided to abandon their guards and fly to the rescue, leaving their protectors to play ‘chase’?
Probably a bit of both, really.
As they walked under the gate, Flash and Twilight were saluted by the four Lunar guards standing watch. Flash returned the salute before heading towards the entrance to the gardens. Looking back, he saw that two of their appointed personal guards remained at the gate while the others kept following him and his fiancee towards the garden.
Not that he minded. Better that than have something ELSE unexpected happen.
Turning forward again, Flash saw the garden entrance approaching, something that made him smile.
“Do you remember our first date?” Flash asked gently, earning a nod from the princess he was still carrying.
“Like it was yesterday,” Twilight muttered softly, nuzzling the back of his neck as the two approached the gate.
Flash had to agree. Despite everything that had happened over the last five years, both big and small, that first night was still just as clear as it had been the time it happened.
When he entered the garden itself, Flash slowed down a bit so that he and Twilight could enjoy the sights and sounds of the place, just like they had all those years ago. The gentle noise of the nocturnal creatures and the soft glow of the nighttime flowers gave the garden an almost mystical feeling.
As they walked, Flash saw the gazebo through the trees and bushes. It looked just the same, standing silently around the flowers and plants while remaining untouched by the destruction of the castle. But that wasn’t Flash’s target. He walked past it and soon found himself climbing a very familiar hill.
“I’m sure you remember this hill,” Flash said, smiling as he felt Twilight hug him tighter.
“It was here that I kissed the world’s most amazing mare for the first time. We may have shared many such kisses over the years, but the one we had right here, five years ago exactly, was still the best one we’ve ever had to date. Well, except for the one we had a few minutes ago when you were on fire and all. Maybe one day we’ll share one that’s even better than that one, too. The only thing I think that might be able to top it would be our first kiss as a married couple.
“Hehehe…To think, I hadn’t even realized that I loved you until the carriage ride to the gala. The way the sun made your hair sparkle, the way it gave you this other-worldly glow that only served to make you look more beautiful…It made me think back to the good times we had shared as friends, which led me to realize just how special you were to me. I’m surprised I didn’t realize how I felt about you sooner. But everything that has happened since then has helped me realize that I wasn’t wrong.
“I do love you, and nothing will change that. No matter the danger that arises, no matter the boredom caused by the court, no matter the wacky situation you will inevitably get us into next Tuesday. I will be there with you through it all, and I promise that I will always be there when you need me most…From now, until the day I die.” He laughed. “Sorry if that was a little too cheesy, Twilight, but I meant every word of it.”
Then he blinked again.
Twilight’s breathing was slower, her grip still tight, and she had just snored.
Oh Luna, please no.
He turned his head and, yep, Twilight Sparkle, the love of his life, was currently FAST. ASLEEP.
He desperately wanted to facehoof, of maybe faceground, but he didn’t want to accidentally lose his balance and throw his future wife off his back. So, he did the next best thing.
He whined to the heavens.
“Please tell me she didn’t fall asleep while I was being romantic,” Flash moaned quietly, desperately hoping that he wasn’t THAT boring.
“I think she fell asleep about a minute before you started, sir,” the Lunar guard called over, her voice just loud enough to hear. “Back at the garden entrance. I will say that your speech was quite good though.”
Well that’s a small relief. At least she didn’t fall asleep while he was being romantic. On the down side, he would probably need to repeat his speech once she woke up.
Ah well. At least she’d probably get a laugh out of hearing what had happened.
And her laughter would make it all worth it.
Smiling to himself, he turned his head and managed to place a small kiss on the cheek of his fiancee. Twilight murmured happily in her sleep before turning her head so that she was facing the other way. Flash chuckled and began moving towards the castle. Best follow her example and get some sleep. They had a long few months ahead of them.
Meanwhile, in the Chaos Realm…
Discord smirked as he shoved another scoop of book-flavored ice cream into his mouth as the screen in his microwave showed the final moments of Twilight and Flash’s date. The Lord of Chaos was currently relaxing in his favorite stuffed armchair, clad in a yellow and pink bathrobe and enjoying one of his favorite shows.
Next to his head, a detached eagle claw was holding the final piece to a ship-in-a-bottle that he had spent the last five years working on. Said ship had an orange and purple hull with two masts, the first with a purple sail marked with a starburst decal and the second holding an orange sail with a two-tone blue shield with a lightning bolt on the front. On the main bow of the ship, there were little replicas of Flash and Twilight who were currently playing shuffle board while also having an intense make-out session.
With a final snap of his fingers, the words ’S.S. FlashLight’ appeared on the hull of the ship in flashing blue and pink neon lights.
Now if only he could finish the ’S.S. CheesyPie’ and ‘La Saint SoarinDash’.