Princess’ Twilight’s Heart belongs to one stallion but no pony must know about it.
Twilight finds herself falling head over hooves for her old foal hood friend. But she is a princess and he decided to become a guard. She doesn’t know how to break the news to Celestia and her friends. She is afraid that they’ll take him away.
Ps: the AU tag is there because I changed a bit the original story’s class structure and the way they interact, also Luna and Celestia do not retire and I bent the cannon magic system juuuust a tiny bit in order to add a truly happy ending.
Astral Shield was pacing around the lounge. He still couldn’t believe what he was about to do. But who could blame him? He was going to ask if he could be transferred to his old foal hood friend’s, who he hadn’t seen in years, brand new castle.
He had already asked captain Shining Armour and told him that the decision wasn’t for him to make, and sent Astral to Celestia. Yes he was a captain but since the castle was his sister’s he couldn’t make the decision, surely some noble would find the dumbest reason to blame him for corruption. And who better to send him than Celestia! No pony, especially no noble would dare to contradict her....He hoped.
The lounge door opened, a low grade guard appeared.
"Lieutenant Astral shield." He stood in attention and saluted. "Sir, Princess Celestia has summoned you to the throne room"
Astral nodded the guard to stand at ease. He gulped, he was so nervous, he remembered her perfectly but would she remember him?
The throne room’s grand door way opened. His heart almost stopped, he was breathing heavily. What he saw almost made want to run away. He was brave and trained to be a soldier but he had expected Celestia to be alone.
To her right sat Princess Luna, he didn’t mind her, in fact she was her second favorite princess. To her left sat Princess Twilight on her own throne that she used when she attended the court. Regal as ever. His heart beat faster than ever before! He never expected for her to be there.
Twilight’s eyes widened in surprise, standing right there in front of her, bowing low to her, was her foal hood friend! She almost couldn’t contain her excitement, but in the end she managed to regain her composure.
Celestia spoke first, her voice was calming to both of the young ponies in the room.
"Lieutenant Astral Shield? Shining Armour told me you wished to speak to us"
"US?! What did his captain say?! He only wanted to speak with Celestia and he didn’t mind Luna being there....but Twilight?....He wanted to surprise her "
Guess he was taking too long to answer because Twilight looked at him strangely.
"Y-Yes your highnesses."
Celestia lifted a hoof and motion him to stand, Twilight wanted to do the same but she didn’t know if she could, she hated ponies bowing down to her.
"At ease Astral Shield. Please, do tell us about your concerns."
Astral had to repeat the last word im his mind. Concerns? He had none, he was trying to ask a favor. How could he say favor in a way not to be implying himself as Celestia’s equal? But he didn’t have time to think as his mouth moved on it’s own accord.
"Concerns? I don’t have any your highness, I come to simply ask a favor of you."
Why did he say it like THAT?! Favor? That was such a common word, like one he would use talking to a friend.
Twilight was curious, she knew she could speak at any moment, as long as she didn’t interrupt the princesses. What kind of favor? She wondered as she tried to form the words. The she remembered her mother teaching he manners and the Canterlot noble’s way of speaking.
"What is this favor you’ve come to ask of us?" She said with a soft tone.
Twilight spoke for the first time in one of the hundreds of meetings that had taken place that day. Earning a confused then proud and happy look from the other princesses.
"I come to ask that I be transferred to the castle of Princess Twilight Sparkle, as a royal guard to serve and protect her." His voice almost gave in near the end.
Twilight’s stomach did a 180. Her own guard? She never had considered it. But she hated having ponies 'serve' her, specially her friends.
Seeing Twilight’s confused face, Celestia pondered the idea for a moment lifting her hoof to her chin. She would feel more comfortable with somepony guarding Twilight, and there had been moments she wished she had her guarded. Then she remembered, Twilight never liked to be treated like royalty or as better than anypony else. But she saw the way Twilight tried to step in to the conversation and knew he would help her get out of her shell.
"Yes, I shall grant you your transfer. You will be leaving tomorrow afternoon along side Princess Twilight Sparkle after her royal duties have been completed."
He let go the breath he didn’t know he was holding in. He bowed slightly.
"Thank you your highnesses" He looked up at Luna and Celesia, then he looked at the currently-processing-what-just-happened-Twilight and bowed low. "I am at your service your highness!"
His deep masculine voice took a moment to settle on Twilight’s mind, she hadn’t seen him ever since she had left to Ponyville, but he had changed so much. She was completely flustered and took all her will power not to blush too hard, instead a light pink blush crept up her face.
"U-u-umm...At ease Astral Shield" she copied Celestia’s pose.
Astral saluted and then walked out the doors.
Leaving the room in silence for a long moment. Clearing her throat, Luna spoke up.
"So... What is the story behind you two?" She asked shining a teasing smile at Twilight
Celestia rolled her eyes, such things were normal for Luna, yet she wondered, she thought she had seen them together before. She decided to play along.
"Yes, I was wondering the same thing, I think I have seen you together before."
"N-no! I-I mean, yes! But not THAT way!" Twilight was blushing furiously. "We’re just foal hood friends, we lived in the same neighborhood. He was...my...only friend." Her ears dropped as she looks at the floor from her throne.
"But still! Don’t you think he’s into you?!" Luna flew from her throne to Twilight’s face to gage her reaction.
"No. I don’t know what you’re talking about." Twilight said in a sincere tone.
"What do you mean you don’t understand?! Don’t you see how he looks at you?!"
"I think he acts perfectly normal"
"You...are a lost cause Sparkle"
Celestia and Luna laughed at the younger alicorn. Celestia couldn’t help but worry...that would break Twilight’s heart.
The rest of the day seemed to go by incredibly slowly for Twilight. The day court was boring as usual, just the ocasional noble who decided that they didn’t like one of the princesses, then the others would put him in his place, and if it was Luna who was targeted...she would warn them NOT to sleep that night.
Even in those funny moments, Twilight was anxious to get out of there and go say hi to her old friend. She figured the other princesses caught on and sped up the court, also Twilight could sense Luna’s smirk whenever they were the alone.
When it was finally finished, she quickly excused herself from the princesses and glided down from her throne. She was so happy, she looked like a filly running in a candy store.
The older princesses looked at each other before smiling and rolling their eyes at her display of obvious happiness.
She trotted around the castle’s long corridors she memorized from years of living there with Celestia. She made her way to the barracks where two guards stood in front of the door way.
She turned to one of them, they had confused expression. They rarely saw a princess near the barracks.
"Excuse me, is lieutenant Astral Shield inside? I wish to speak to him."
The guards looked a bit confused...They were friends with Astral and knew of his old connection to the princess.
"I’m sorry your highness, he is not at his quarters at the moment."
"What a shame..." She deflated a little, before inflating once more. "Do you perhaps know where I can find him?"
The guard had to think for a moment...Why would the princess want to meet Shield? But they knew better than questioning royalty.
"I believe he said he would take a fly in the royal gardens"
"Thank you very much. If he happens to come back before I find him, tell him to meet me at the tallest hill in the garden." She ordered the guards, she had never done it before, but it gelt weird ordering ponies....
"Yes your highness!" The said as the saluted and made a small bow.
She made her way to the gardens, if he made the decision then he had to be on break, her brother wouldn’t allow any guard to roam around during their patrol. She opened her wings and took of, if he was flying then she would find him flying as well.
She looked around the garden. She saw all of its beautiful flowers and bushes shaped differently. She was too distracted to see the shadow of a pony who flew just above her.
She let a small startled scream as a dark blue blur flew in front of her, inches from her face, then looped under her to appear behind her.
She looked behind her. A blue coated stallion with a messy purple mane and light blue eyes smirked at her.
"Astral!" She greeted him with a big smile.
"Twily!" He hugged her tight.
Twilight was a bit confused at the speed he had lunged at her, but then she hugged him just as tight.
"Twily....I missed you so much!" He said breaking up the hug so that she wouldn’t feel his heart hitting his chest.
"I missed you too Astral! How have you been? Oh it’s been too long." She slowly descended to the ground.
"Oh I’ve been all over the place...But you were missing so...everything was a bit dull."
"What?! Dull?! There was a changeling attack, the princesses went missing AND a crazy centaur decided to steal everypony’s magic! I think that’s the opposite of dull."
He sighed."Welp you got me there. Darn it Twi why won’t my charms work on you?"
She chuckled."They never do! Besides you don’t put a lot of effort on them! They’re so easy to undo."
"Is it that? Or are you just too smart?"
"Hmm....I think It’s both"
They both laughed as they joked around for hours. Then the time of day dawned on her, the sun was setting. They had been catching up for nearly six hours!
"Well um Astry, I’ll see you tomorrow!"
ASTRY?! Did I just call him Astry? This is so embarrassing.
"Yup!" She squeeked as she was 110% ready to fly away."Bye!" And she left.
And there was Astral Shield, when she left he gave a huge smile. Then he started to remember those las moments...'Astry' that word was nothing important...but coming from her? It made him blush.
Twilight sat on her bed in her royal suite. The room was circular, the walls were her Lavender color and the roof was the dark purple of her mane with little white stars all of it. Those stars were magically placed there by her.
She closed the door behind her with magic to reveal a dark alicorn behind it.
"Gah!” Twilight screamed as she fell of her bed.
"Relax Twilight it’s me."
"Luna?...What are you doing here?"
"Oh, you know..." she made circles with her hoof
"No I don’t"
"Come on Twilight Sparkle! You can’t be that blind!"
Twilight looked around the room. Luna was an esteemed prankster so she couldn’t be too careful around her.
Luna sighed."I see..."
"Oh nothing... see you in the morning"
What is it with dark ponies being good at scaring her?
The next day was a normal one, she finished up signing whatever was agreed upon court the day before.
She opened the closet doors and sighed. In there was her royal regalia…She hated wearing it, but, she had to take it with her to Ponyville and didn’t bring her saddle bags. She put on her gold hoof wear with gems that mirrored her cutie mark, she also put on her necklace resembling those of Celestia and Luna, and finally her crown.
She looked in the mirror. She had to be honest, she liked what she saw, the regalia was astounding and beautiful...But she hated how it cemented her status as princess.
She walked out of her room and was about to go down the stairs to her tower when. She crashed into somepony, her crown fell to the floor.
"Oh my apologies princess!"
Twilight looked up to see...who was he? He was a light yellow stallion with an orange-reddish mane and brown eyes.
He offered her his hoof and lifted her crown from the floor. She blushed, he was a handsome stallion indeed.
He bowed down to her.
"I am very sorry to inconvenience you I was not paying attention. I am here to inform you that lieutenant Astral Shield is ready to depart whenever you command”
"Thank you. You may stand"
With that she walked down the stairs. She walked through the halls of the castle and made her way to the throne room. Whenever she passed by a servant or a noble they looked at her in awe, nopony had ever seen her wearing regalia.
She turned the corner and walked down the long hallway leading to the dinning hall. There the guards opened the door for her. She was so ready to have breakfast and her mouth watered at the thought of Celestia’s pancakes with fruit faces.
"Good morning Celestia, Luna" She walked over to her chair along side the two other princesses. "How do I look?"
Celestia and Luna both looked at her with a pleasant surprise.
"Good morning Twilight, you look great. You really should wear your regalia more." Celestia answered.
"Yes, what seems to be the special occasion?"
"What? Oh no I just forgot to bring my saddle bags and I must take them back to Ponyville."
"You know Celestia maybe we should make a decree stating that all princesses over the age of 10 must wear the royal regalia" Luna looked at Celestia winking her to go along.
"Ha! Nice try Luna-"
"Actually I think that’s a good idea"
Both princesses laughed at the young alicorn and ate their pancakes.
"Astral Hurry up! We’re going to loose the train."
"Princess, It’s not my fault that you decided to take a nap!"
"Are we seriously blaming each other? Cause’ I’m not the one that took forever taking a bath!"
"Oh if you would like, next time I’ll go stinky like a foal on the train."
"Well, that way you’ll look like one” she muttered underneath her breath.
They arrived at the station just in time to see the train leave.
"Darn...We missed it" he said panting from all the running.
"We...could always...fly there" She said between breaths. She took in a few breaths to regain her composture."After we take a break of course"
"As you wish" she winked at her to which she responded by rolling her eyes."Aw come on! Losen up! Here I’ll treat you to lunch and then we can go."
"My,my,my are you asking me on a date?" Her neck perked up as she shot him a teasing smile.
"You know what? I am."
"Wait, wha-" she blushed as Astral took her by the hoof and led her to her favorite restaurant.
They made their way over to her favorite restaurant. It was a simple restaurant that had a certain charm to it. It had brick walls with wood columns and it was decorated with lots of plants intertwined with each other and sticking to the walls. It stood out from the other Canterlot buildings.
They entered and most of the eyes in the restaurant turned to see them. Most of them were confused. Why would a princess dine in such a place. Whatever was the case, she wasn’t alone. That was even stranger, the princess never had a royal guard with her. But after a while they continued as if nothing was wrong.
They sat down on a table for two and she lifted the menu with her magic.
"You got nice taste" Astral said, he lifted the menu with his wings. "They have a lot of variety of flowers."
"Y-yes they do.” There was an awkward silence." Are you sure we have time? I don’t want to worry my friends, they’re expecting me-er...us to arrive in an hour."
"I can assure you that we’ll get there in time."
"How exactly? I’m not the fastest flyer"
"But I am, I’m also the strongest so I can carry you"
"Yeah right I’m not that fast but I can still beat you in a race." She looked at him with a determined look as she called the waiter over.
"You’d only beat me using magic to enhance your wing power."
"Astral you’re a GENIUS! Why didn’t I think of that?!-"
"Good day your highness, may I take your order?" The waiter said doing a slight bow. She knew her since she often went to dine there, and was the only pony that got used to seeing her there.
"Oh! Um yes...Well I’ll have the flower salad special, and he’ll have-"
"I’ll have the same as her"
"Ok, I’ll be back shortly with your orders.”
"So..." He started. "You finally came around?"
"Wearing your regalia! You told me you hated it, to be honest you look beautiful with them."
She blushed slightly." T-thank you, b-but I’m only wearing them for today, I forgot my saddle bags in Ponyville and I have to take them with me."
"Such a shame, I really was hoping to keep on seeing you with them.”
"Ok stop that"
"Stop using your 'charm' you do know it wont work on me right?"
"You say that it won’t work yet you blush every time I complement you." He smirked at her.
"I do no such thing!”
"Luna has rubbed off on you.”
"Indeed" she rolled her eyes." Don’t change the topic.”
"Ok, ok jeez. Any hunter, and myself will tell you that it isn’t the hunt but the chase that’s most fun."
"You’re joking right? THAT is the reason?"
"Yes. You’ll see Twi, according to my calculations, by the end of the month you’ll fall head over hooves for me.”
"I don’t think so Astry"
The waiter brought the food and they dug in. The flower salad was delicious, there were daisies, tulips, sun flower petals, and last but not least, Astral had asked the waiter to add a rose to Twilight’s salad.
They started talking about various topics and laughing together, drawing a lot of attention to them. They lost track of time after about 15 minutes into the conversation. They talked about Ponyville, Twilight’s friends, her battle against Tirek, her new castle...
When they finished, Astral decided to pay the bill ignoring Twilight’s protests. They got up and started walking to the exit. He stopped as Twilight asked the waiter what time it was. The waiter told them it had been about an hour and a half.
"Oh, oooh no, no" She looked at him worriedly."We have to hurry!" Then she looked back to the waiter."Thank you so much Salty Brew, everything was great as always”
Then she looked at Astral who was still putting on his armour and saddle bags. She had to admit he looked rather good in armour. But she didn’t have time to think about that, she needed to get to Ponyville before her friends worried too much for her.
They finally got out of the restaurant, she opened up her wings and started to flap them. She got up for about 4 feet before she fell to the ground with a thump and a clink when her regalia too hit the floor.
Astral looked back and helped her to her hooves.
"Who knew it was hard to fly with the weight of the regalia."
They both looked at each other for an answer for the new found problem. Astral hummed as he brought his hoof up to his chin.
"Oh! I know! We could go back to the castle and get one of the smaller royal carriages and I could carry you."
"Are you sure? I heard they’re very heavy plus you have the extra weight of tour saddle bags"
"Then I’m not sure what we can do”
They stood there in silence for a moment thinking. Then with a victorious 'Aha!' Twilight spoke up.
"I could carry your stuff with my magic”
They both nodded before galloping back to the castle. There Twilight made her way to see if princess Celestia or Luna were in their room. Celestia wasn’t but Luna was. She knocked on her door.
"Who is it?"
"Um...Luna? It’s me Twilight"
"Twilight aren’t you supposed to be in Ponyville? Come on in!"
Twilight spoke as she entered the room.
"Well, yes but we missed the train, so we grabbed a bite to eat and lost track of time."
"Y-yes, and we were wondering if we could borrow a...carriage? N-not the big royal ones! But the little ones."
"Forgive me for questioning but why don’t you fly there?"
"W-well, Im not the fastest flyer and I certainly don’t have the endurance to fly all the way there with this extra weight." She pointed at her regalia and foot wear.
"Oh! Of course you can! Why do you need my permission anyways, you ARE a princess too."
"I just felt more comfortable asking first, thank you by the way."
"No problem Twilight now get going, don’t want to worry your friends."
"Bye Luna, have a good rest of the day."
"Fair well Twilight"
With that she descended the stairs and nodded to the stallion who waited for her. They made their way to the where they held the carriages. They entered and talked to the pony in charge of them, Aero Carousel.
“Princess? What brings your highness here?"
"Good day Aero, Princess Luna allowed us to take one of the small carriages to Ponyville."
Aero looked at Astral then to Twilight in a confused way, he took a moment to think before nodding and motioned them to follow.
"Of course follow me."
They followed him trough row upon row of carriages before stopping before one that was medium size. He motioned at some guards to start preparing to depart.
Astral looked at Twilight confused. He was supposed to be taking her, he wasn’t supposed to ride with her. She returned to the look before shrugging and whispering to him.
"The princesses always told me something when I didn’t want to be pampered: Just enjoy it”
He smirked."Wow princess I didn’t know you were like that”
"Oh spare me"
He helped her get on before climbing on himself. Aero finished ordering his men before bowing to the princess and saluting to Astral. Twilight gave him a thankful nod before the guards started to gallop before taking off.
Astral looked at Twilight, she had a big grin, he knew she, as humble as she was, always loved riding on carriages. To the sight Astral smiled.
"You know? This isn’t too bad. I had a great idea”
"Yeah, you did"
————•———— Meanwhile in Ponyville.
"Spike you sure she was supposed to arrive in the train?" Applejack asked the worried dragon.
"Yes darling, Twilight would’ve never missed the train." Rarity
"I’m sure! Celestia sent me a letter telling me the time."
"Um...Why would Celestia tell you? Isn’t that abir much?" Rainbow asked crossing her front legs.
"What do you mean Rainbow?"
"I mean that she is always controlling and keeping and eye on whatever Twilight does! Haven’t you noticed?!"
"Well, yes she does kind of knows about everything she does, however I don’t see the problem-"
She was cut of by Spike."Look!" He pointed with one of his claws at the sky.
They watched a canterlot carriage fly on top of the train station, pulled by four members of the royal guard. They galloped of following it to see what the hay was going on.
They arrived just in time to see it land, they were behind it so they couldn’t see the passengers. They couldn’t believe their eyes as a pony from the royal guard got of the carriage and held his hoof in the air to help their friend Twilight off the carriage.
She nodded to the guards who then took off again heading for Canterlot.
They were baffled as she was wearing not just her regalia but her crown! They new she hated wearing them, the crown a bit less but still she disliked wearing it in public.
"Ok, what the hay is goin’ on?" Applejack asked to her friends who shrugged in confusion.
They started walking over to her but were stopped by Rainbow Dash. By "Wait girls, it could very well be a changeling."
"Ok, Dash you’re being ridiculous.”
"Um...Actually..." Fluttershy spoke up with a timid tone. "I agree with Rainbow on this one...I-It isn’t like Twilight to arrive by carriage wearing regalia." At the strange look her friends gave her she hid behind her mane.
Applejack sighed."I don’t like it but fine, guess we’ll just keep our distance."
"OoOooOh like a stealth mission!" Pinkie said and jumped, then she put on a black ninja suit.
They followed Twilight keeping their distance so they wouldn’t be noticed by her nor the guard. They saw how she and him talked and laughed together.
Before the knew it they arrived at the castle. Twilight opened the door with her magic before going in. And closing the door behind them.
"Ok if we’re going to confront them it might as well be now" Applejack suggested
"Already on it!" Rainbow went ahead and broke down the door startling both ponies inside.
"Rainbow? What’s wrong?! Why did break down my do-?"
"Don’t act like her changeling" Rainbow said with venom in her voice.
"Changeling?! Im not a-"
Rainbow suddenly jumped at her. Astral tackled her before she touched Twilight. They both fell to the ground, Astral got up faster than her and adopted a defensive position in front of Twilight.
"Rainbow this is ridiculous! I’m not a changeling!"
By this point, the other mares and dragon had arrived.
"Rainbow calm down, Ah believe that this is the real Twilight"
"If you’re really her, tell me something only she would know."
Twilight took a moment to think." At the beginning I was trying to avoid the castle because it didn’t feel like home and you girls made me a chandelier with the memories we had in the library."
There was an awkward silence, Rainbow realized her mistake and quickly changed her position to a calm one. Astral followed suit.
"What even made you think that?"
"Um...a lot of things!"
Applejack put a hoof to Rainbow’s mouth.
"What she meant was...Sugarcube all of this isn’t like you... I mean, you arrived late and in a carriage no less, with a guard AND wearing regalia."
"Oh, that all has an explanation, let’s go to the throne room I’ll explain everything."
"And that’s what happened." Twilight finished telling them the events of the day and the day before that one. She made sure to avoid anything that may have put Astral in the potential-suitors-for-Twilight list her friends always had.
"So... let’s see if I got it straight, he’s your new guard and old foal hood friend?"
"I don’t see what’s so hard to understand-"
She was interrupted as Starlight entered the throne room. She looked around the room examining everypony’s expression when she locked on to Astral. She turned her head in confusion but decided to ask later.
"Hey girls, Who’s the new friend?"
"Oh, um hey Starlight, this is Astral he’s a foal hood friend and-“
"He’s going to be Twilight’s guard!" Pinkie jumped up from her
"Ooooh, that explains a lot. Although...He’s going to either have a easy job or a hard one." Starlight said containing her laughter.
Astral looked worriedly at Twilight who returned the confused gaze. She turned back to her new pupil.
"What do you mean?" She was searching in the back of her head for the answer but none came to mind.
"Easy because it’s Ponyville and nothing bad ever seems to happen and hard because you can stay up all night reading in the library.” Starlight turned to look at Astral."And I don’t think anypony except for you and maybe Princess Luna-" She turned to look at Twilight."Can stay up three days in a row."
Twilight gave a nervous laugh. Before shooting a glance at Starlight daring her student to keep talking.
"I think I can handle it."
All eyes turned to Astral. That made him nervous and seeing no way out turned to Twilight for help. She cleared her throat.
"Astral is a part of the night guard so he’s pretty used to it."
Astral gave a nod confirming what she just said. The conversation eventually moved onto other things, he didn’t pay much attention, In his mind thoughts were running all over the place. If he was to become Twilight’s special somepony he’d need to impress her somehow.
After a while his mind went back to the conversation. Somehow now they were arguing about the best Wonderbolt trick. They mentioned that Rainbow was a Wonderbolt and that Twilight’s favorite move was the 'Triple Loop Tornado'.
The move consisted in doing three vertical loops high in the air before coming down in a way similar to a tornado and lifting up at the last second.
He could do it with a lot of practice, he was a great flyer, if he hadn’t become a guard he would’ve been a Wonderbolt. But nevertheless he was scared, that was one of the hardest trick to pull off and the most dangerous.
Sweet Celestia Twilight! Why do you have to make it so hard?!
His face showed a little frustration, Twilight noticed the change in his expression and snapped him out of his line of thinking.
"Astral is everything alright?"
"W-wha?..." he took a moment to process what had just happened before answering."Yes Princess. The conversation just...reminded me of something..."
"Care to share?"
Horse dung! What do I say?!
"Um...sure...It reminded me of the times I attempted some of the tricks."
Ok, that should do it, 'detailed' enough to seem real, but vague enough to let me improvise
"You can do tricks?" Rainbow asked as she flew towards him with a defiant expression. He guessed she was still a bit salty about the fight.
"Yes." He puffed up his chest proudly as he returned the expression Rainbow was giving him. Twilight rolled her eyes. She knew they would be going head to head, but not this early in their friendship.
"Show me what you can do. But I’ll warn you I’m the best flyer in all of Equestria so I’m not so easily amazed."
"We’ll see about that."
Astral looked over to Twilight who facehoofed but nodded to him. She also leaned in and whispered in his ear.
"Put her in her place."
Astral looked at the princess with a determined looked and nodded and saluted. The others were a bit taken back, Twilight wasn’t one to enjoy petty competitions. But they shrugged it off seeing how Rainbow was demanding to know what she had told him and the two ponies doing their best not to laugh too much.
They made their way to a hill that overlooked Ponyville on one side and a grassy field on the other. They brought along some judges that when told what was going on quickly jumped to the opportunity. The judges were the Cutie Mark Crusaders and most of the school foals in Ponyville.
Astral took of his armor for the first time in Ponyville. All of Twilight’s friends except Rainbow Dash, and some of the town mares who had decided to watch the competition looked at Twilight with envy. Twilight shrunk under their gaze and laughed nervously trying to avoid the wrath of the mares.
She turned to the school foals.
"Ok judges, tell me what you would like to see."
The school foals looked at each other for a moment. They knew the wanted the same thing.
"A timed obstacle race!"They all said in unison.
Twilight nodded before flying up to the two pegasi that prepared for anything. And explained the race circuit.
They had to do three laps passing through the cloud rings and doing a flip each time, then they would have to fly up and do any trick for bonus points.
They both looked at her and nodded. Astral knew exactly what he wanted to do, but he needed practice.
"I’ll let Rainbow go first, I need to prepare for my trick." He smiled and winked at Twilight with a big smile quickly enough so only she could see.
Twilight flew back to the hill with Astral to the hill. He went to practice behind the hill in slow motion. He flew slightly up, did the three loops and started to dive to the ground spinning like a tornado before opening his wings and lifting off. His hooves almost touched the ground.
Good now I’ll just have to do it faster...easy right?
He went back to sitting next to Twilight to wait for Rainbow.
Twilight started a count down spell and used her Royal Canterlot Voice so that Rainbow would hear.
"Ready, Set, BEGIN"
Rainbow took off in a flash leaving a rainbow trail behind her. She looped around each ring. The three laps were done in about 15 seconds. She then took of to the sky, reaching the cloud line and lazily fell backwards, she turned around to face the ground and gained speed, and doing a fly by the hill. Everyone was amazed, the school foals were in an uproar and the CMCs were about to announce her the winner before Twilight stopped them and nodded to Astral.
She looked at Rainbow with a huge smirk. She knew Astral better than anypony and knew that Rainbow had underestimated him.
"You got too cocky Dash.”
"What do you mean? There’s no way he can best THAT."Applejack protested.
"Yes darling, I’m with Applejack on this one, there is no way."
"I wouldn’t be so sure...He may be a pegasus but since he was a foal he had a way to...'make' the impossible possible."
They all looked at her a bit confused, asking for an explanation. Twilight chuckled a evilly and looked directly at Rainbow, who was more confident in her than anypony present.
"Ready, Set, BEGIN”
Astral took to the sky in a flap, he passed the first ring in a blink of an eye. His loops were closer to the rings, showing of his agility and also taking less time. His laps were done in 12 seconds. Rainbow’s jaw dropped at the sight. He flew up higher, did three vertical loops to get as high as the cloud line before tornado-ing down almost to the ground before ‘standing' on the air and shooting up. He did a victory fly by copying Rainbow before plopping in front of the judges.
Twilight looked at the trick amazed. He knew? Her heart was raising, a light blush appeared on her face and a radiant smile came to her lips. She had never really felt like that before. What is this?
She giggled underneath her breath and got up, walking over to the judges.
"So who will it be?"
“Are you kiddin’?!" Applebloom asked incredulously."Astral obviously won"
“Yes! That was awesome!" Sweetybell added.
"Well I still think Rainbow’s the best. But I guess Astral won..." Scootaloo looked a bit down.
"Well I think that settles it." Twilight turned to look at Rainbow and Astral. Rainbow was still baffled and Twilight could tell she was extremely salty and Astral was trying to stop himself from smirking at Rainbow while putting on his armor.
Everypony stayed there the rest of the afternoon. Astral switched back to guard mode and followed Twilight around.
They stayed there long after everypony had left because Twilight really wanted to watch the sunset. When the sun finally started going down she motioned to him to lay next to her.
"How did you know?" She asked not taking her eyes away from the sun.
"I have my ways."
"You told me when we were little and I confirmed it today listening to your conversation."
They both stayed in silence for a while. Not known to the other one but both of their hearts were beating rapidly inside their chests. Astral broke the silence, he had to know one thing.
"Did I manage to catch my prey or is the chase still going on?"
Twilight’s heart skipped a beat, she was blushing furiously. Where had THAT come from?!
"I-I um...Well...” She took a minute to regain her composure."Almost, but I’m afraid it got away"
Twilight’s eyes shot open. She was walking home through her favorite route, a stone path with many houses that had various potted plants.
In front of her was a small dark blue coated colt. He had his wings opened in a defensive position but his body was ready to attack.
In front of them were other three slightly bigger colts, probably a year or two older. They each sported a mocking smirk.
"Oh? And what are you going to do?" Said one of them lifting up from the ground and looking down on them.
Another one didn’t miss the opportunity to jump in. "He’ll probably call upon 'the magic of astrals' and shield her."
The rest of the group laughed. Twilight could only lower herself more to the floor. She looked around hopelessly, her favorite book was on the ground next to the colts. Her eyes started to tear up. She looked up again, she saw Astral smiling at her, his face was bruised and scratched all over.
"Don’t worry Twi, I won’t let them hurt you."
He looked back to see the earth pony of the group jumping to the chance to tackle him. His body moved on it’s own. He dodge the attack jumping to side. Everything was slow motion for her. She saw as Astral’s front hoof hit the ground, he used them to shoot himself backwards and kicking the earth pony’s face. Then the two pegasi jumped into action. They both tackled him making him fall to the ground with 'thump'. They both started to hit him while pinning him to the ground. Astral managed to find a moment when the pins lost strength and lifted himself of the ground with a jump and threw the colts off balance. He then started punching them with all his strength, granted it wasn’t much since he was himself beaten.
The scene raged on for around ten minutes, the colts deciding in the end to run away. Twilight finally worked up the courage to lift herself up and walk over to Astral. She hugged him before both of them started crying on each other’s shoulders.
They were interrupted as Astral started to glow and his cutie mark appeared. Twilight didn’t have time to react before the world faded with a flash of light.
"Gagh!" Twilight’s eyes opened violently she was also breathing heavily. She put a hoof to her face.
Again?! That’s the third time this week
She got off her bed and got into her bathroom. She needed a nice cold shower. Her bathroom wasn’t very different from her bathroom in Canterlot, a circular room with white ceramic bath and shower.
Twilight washed her mane and coat with a lavender scented shampoo. She made sure not to open her eyes and to get the shampoo in her eyes.
Still...Why would I dream of him? I’m not crushing on him like practically every other mare in Ponyville. Am I? No, of course not. I only like stallions with brains and that are capable! Both traits that he had and more-
Twilight shook her head violently and put away that line of thought, she didn’t like were it was going. But she still couldn’t fight back the warmth creeping up her face and ears despite taking a cold shower.
When she was finished she wrapped a towel around her hair and walked out. She dried herself with the other towel and magically made her bed. Now ready she opened the door to her room.
She almost bumped into Astral like the other days but remembered in time that he was always outside her door. He didn’t even flinch when she opened the door.
"Good morning Astry"
"Good morning princess." He took a while to think. If he was going to ask it might as well be now. "Um...princess, have you been having nightmares as of lately?"
That question took her by surprise.
"H-how di-did you know?"
"Well...” He was obviously nervous about what he was going to say. "I might come of as creepy but I don’t care. I always pay much attention to the sounds inside your room." His face showed a slight blush but she ignored it. "And I heard you rolling on your bed and murmuring something.
Twilight was a bit taken back. She didn’t know if to be happy that he would go the extra mile to keep her safe or be a little creeped out. Nevertheless she smiled.
"Thanks for being concerned Astry" She studied him for a second maybe two. "How about...You go out of guard mode and enter FHF mode?"
Astral’s sirius face only slightly changed. "Twi, are you sure you’re ok?"
The word 'Twi' echoed in her mind, it reminded her of the dream she had. She dismissed the thought and placed it in the back of her mind.
"You were always paranoid" she let out a slight giggle that caught Astral off guard a before she could start talking again he interrupted.
"What is this I hear?”
"What do yo-"
"Could I have possibly have caught my prey this soon" he leaned into Twilight with a playful smirk.
She pushed him away with the slightest tint of pink on her cheeks.
"You wish! I have to tell you that this bunny knows a lot about avoiding hawks" She rubbed her hoof on her poofy chest and pretended to admire it.
"So...You’re telling me I’m good at what I do?"
Twilight’s face became pinker as the blush made it’s way up to her ears."N-No!...UGH...Let’s, Let’s just go and have breakfast"
"As you wish princess" he winked at her, she responded by rolling her eyes but giving him a playful smile.
They entered the dining room and saw Spike preparing breakfast.
"Good morning Spike."
"Mornin’ Twi, Astral. Did you sleep well?"
Astral glared at Twilight. "No, she didn’t."
"Okay, I admit it, yes I had a nightmare-"
"Third one this week."Astral cut in.
"But it ended happily."
"Really what was it about?" Spike asked raising an eyebrow.
Twilight started to sweat. She didn’t want to tell them, it would be like accepting defeat. If only she could find a distraction or something.
As if on cue, when Twilight opened her mouth, Starlight came in. She was almost about to start kissing her feet and praising her for interrupting.
"Hey Starlight, sleep well?" Please change the focus of the conversation.
"Good morning Twilight! It was good how was yours?"
"Horse apples" she murmured behind her teeth.
"She has been having nightmares, it’s the third time this week. But...She doesn’t want to tell us."
"Maybe she doesn’t have to, she can always talk to Princess Luna about them."
"Maybe...But never mind that let’s eat cause’ I’m famished"
They all ate their breakfast. It was pancakes with strawberries and blueberries on top. Twilight and Astral left before Spike and Starlight finished, she had some work to do.
They walked through the corridors in an awkward silence.
Should I tell him? I’m going to loose the chase anyways. No, if I’m going to loose I might as well hold onto the last moment. UGH, why is this so complicated?
They finally arrived at the door of the library. Astral changed to guard mode and took position in front if the door.
"Yeah how about no. Go back to FHF mode and come inside, close the door behind you."
A little confused Astral went into the library. He was amazed at the room, he hadn’t entered a castle room apart from his.
"Wow, this room is amazing! Where did you get all those books?."
"You haven’t been here before? I gave you permission to roam around during your free time."
"No, I haven’t besides, I’ve been working on other...things."
"It’s a surprise."
Twilight pouted."Fine!" She looked around and started levitating some books over to her desk.
"So um...Why am I here?"
"Because...We need to set some rules."
"Oh?" He lifted one eyebrow and flew next to Twilight.
She cleared her throat."Yes. Number one, don’t tell ANYPONY about it."
"Because if word reaches Princess Celestia, Luna or my brother you are doomed."
"Ok Twilight you’re being ridiculous. Why would they take me away?”
"Why?! What would the nobles think if I get together with a guard?! It could damage both our image and the crown’s!”
"Princess Cadence and Captain Shining pulled it off. Why can’t we do the same?!"
"Oh yes, why wouldn’t anypony confront the princess of LOVE and the CAPTAIN of the guard about their romance?"
"So you’re accepting that we have something going on?”
"N-No! Get back to the point!”
"Fine...I guess you have a point, but, I still think it’s ridiculous. You have as much say in this as Princess Celestia, Luna or Cadence."
"Leave it like that, please. It makes me feel more at ease." She looked away from him and her ears folded back. "It’s just that...After all this time, we’re finally reunited...And I don’t want you to go"
"Technically you were the one to leave."
"I know..." She got up from her chair and started walking out.
"H-Hey, we’re are you going? We...You still need to list the other rules." He started flying towards her but stopped himself. "I-I’m sorry Twi...I didn’t mean to-“
"Don’t you apologize! I just...We’ll talk later. Don’t go back to guard mode and don’t go into my room...Take the day off.” With that she opened the door to the library and walked out shutting it behind her.
"UGH!...Why am I so bad at this?" Astral almost shouted in frustration.
He thought for a while pacing around the library. He was working on a present for Twilight’s birthday next week, but now it had to also be an apology present. Or maybe he could make two.
He stopped pacing as the door to the library opened. In came Starlight and an idea came to mind.
"Starlight! Just the unicorn I needed to see! Listen I need your help with something."
"Okay, Okay, Let’s see if I got this straight." Starlight brought her hoof to her muzzle. "You want me, to make an illusion spell with a 360° view of the night sky and movable stars to infuse it into an artifact, for a mare you’re trying to impress."
"Well...When you put it like that it does sound a bit hard to-"
"I can do it, but I’ll need some help"
"Really!? Of course I’ll help! Just tell me what I have to do."
"First, I need you to get a special flower that lives in the Everfree"
She used her magical telekinesis to search and grab a book from the library. She quickly turned to the page were, a small rose-like light blue with a gradient to purple flower with little white spots was drawn.
"They’re said to copy the image of the night sky and so we can-"
"Use it along side a simple illusion spell, to get the night sky almost perfectly copied." Astral cut in with a big smile appearing on his face.
“Exactly. Next, I’ll need you to find..." She lowered another book from the shelves. "A 'Meteorisi' flower, this one’s a little harder to find...It needs some...dishonest acts..."
"Get to point. What do I need to do and where?"
"You really love this mystery mare don’t you?"
"Yes." He said with the most secure voice he could ever produce.
"You need to steal it from the only place where it grows..."
"Steal..."He paused for a moment. "I’ll risk it. Where?"
"The Canterlot Royal Gardens"
There was a deafening silence. Astral was a royal guard, every part of that statement went against his duties. He was willing to steal from a cave, forest, greenhouse...But the Royal Gardens?!...
He stood still for a moment. Then he considered, if it would make Twilight happy, he would do it! Granted, he didn’t know if it would, but he was willing to take the chance just for her.
"W-what part of the garden?" Cold sweat dripped down his face.
"W-wait you’ll actually do it?!..." She sighed. "It’s near the center. According to the book, it’s a white flower with a yellow gradient, and it grows in bulks to up to ten flowers."
"So they wont be hard to spot”
"Yup. It’ll probably be easier during the night, the white should stand out."
He brought his hoof to his chin thoughtfully "You’re right, also I have many comrades in the Lunar guard, they’ll hopefully let me get away but I’m not taking any chances...So...during the guard change when everything is less guarded.”
"Okay, but be careful with that one."
"You might not know, but, my second name IS careful.”
"Right...Well next, you’ll need to get a power source..." She stopped to think. "If you’re doing this for somepony, then you must love them very much." He nodded so she continued. "So we should get a power source that works with love... any ideas?"
Astral hummed, he knew a lot about magical artifacts and ingredients from listening to Twilight rant about them when they were foals but he didn’t remember any that used love to power themselves.
Another second passed, none of them spoke, they were too busy thinking. Then three, four, five seconds passed. Then, Starlight’s face lit up with an idea.
"The Crystal Heart!-"
"Yes, Starlight but I’m not going to steal it to use it to power a spell."
"No you nitwit, the Crystal Heart runs on love, so, if we can find somepony, and I know who, that can find out from what crystal it’s made from, we can use the crystal’s abilities to power the spell."
"Yes that’s a good idea. But it completely ignores the fact that we’re miles away from the Empire! When we get our response, it’ll be Tw- The mystery mare’s birthday!”
"I have an answer to that as well." She turned to the door and peeped her head out."Spike?" She called out to him.
A few moments later, Spike came into the library.
"Could you please send a letter to...Princess Cadence...err no, Sunburst?"
"I’m sorry if it sounds rude, but why not send it by mail?"
"It’s um...Kind of urgent"
"Okay in which case." He pulled out a quill and scroll."Start dictating"
My friend wants to make a very special gift to a ‘mystery' mare (I know who it is, he’s very bad at faking).
To complete the gift, we need a magical power source that works on love. We were hoping that you could find out, from what crystal the Crystal Heart is made. Or if Princess Cadence can enchant a crystal to have the same magical properties of a power source for a spell that runs on love.
The gift is kind of urgent since the ‘mystery' mare’s birthday is nearing. I would really appreciate if we could get a response sooner or later (please). Send it through this magic signature.
Your friend, Starlight Glimmer
With that, Spike sent it off.
"Okay so now Astral you get the flowers while I prepare for the spell, if everything goes too well we will have the gift ready for tomorrow, if it goes poorly, we’ll have it...in about five days."
"Okay, thanks so much Starlight I owe you one big time!"
Astral left the library and walked through the corridors to get to his room, leave the more useless parts of his armor and prepare for his little quest. He passed by Twilight’s room on his way and couldn’t help but listen in. She was singing the lullaby that her mother had sung them, before throwing herself onto the bed and continuing. Astral couldn’t help but blush, her voice to him was angelic.She’s just so...perfect. Then, at the sound of claw steps nearing he regained his posture and continued on his way.
Astral placed his hoof-wear on the ground next to his closet. He didn’t need them, this after all needed to be a stealth mission. He also took off his helmet, they were easy to spot and apart from protecting his head, served only to intimidate. He then put on his favorite armor, his Lunar guard armor. He also emptied his saddle bags and put them on.
He looked around the room scanning for anything he might have forgotten. He then looked at his Day-Guard armor and noticed his family sword. He couldn’t believe he almost forgot it! He took the sword and fastened it around his waist.
He exited his room, he was very nervous. He could definitely go into the Everfree to retrieve the Night-Rose but he couldn’t accept the fact that HE lieutenant Astral Shield of the Royal Guard, was going to steal from ROYAL property. The thought only made him sweat and shiver slightly.
He continued walking through the corridors of the castle, he was nearing his favorite part of the castle, Twilight’s room. If he told anypony that, they would look at him with disgust, nopony would understand him...He didn’t like the room because of...Um....the ‘privileges' that came with it, he hadn’t even been inside. No, he liked it because he could insure his love was safe, he liked it because he could serve her and be there to assist her if she ever was in danger.
He walked up to the door, he wanted to tell her that he was going to be gone for the day but he didn’t want to worry her or explain himself. He placed his ear against the door. A happy smile came to his lips and a slight blush to his face. She was sleeping and snoring peacefully, at least she wasn’t having nightmares.
He continued walking and made his way over to the library inside, Starlight waited for him.
"Okay I’m ready to leave."
"Astral wait, before you go, take this." She handed to him a drawing of the flowers. "They should help you if you have problems recognizing the flowers."
"Thanks Starlight. Any news from...um...Bursting...er....Sunbuster?"
"Sunburst, and yes. He told me he was going to start by asking the princess since finding the Heart’s components is going to be harder. He also said that if he finds out he’ll send a letter as soon as possible."
"Okay...and um...Thank you Starlight.”
"No problem Astral, now get going, those flowers aren’t going to find themselves."
And with that, Astral trotted out. He got to the front door when there was a knock. Astral slowed down as not to seem to be in much of a hurry. He opened the door and almost had a heart-attack.
His mood then turned from bubblely happy to annoyed. In front of him was his nemesis, a yellow coated unicorn with a light-orange mane and brown eyes looked at him with a smog grin on his face.
"Sunfire Claw?! What are YOU doing here?!"
"Astral Shield, It isn’t a surprise to see you.”
He cleared his throat."Princess Twilight isn’t receiving guest at this time so I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you yo leav-"
"Oh no no no, you got me all wrong, I’m now working here, I’ve been sent here by Captain Shining Armor. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to meet with the Princess or with her student."
"Princess Twilight has asked to be undisturbed, her student is in the castle library to your right. Now, if YOU would excuse ME, I have some business to attend."
Astral walked out of the castle and flew off in the direction of the Everfree.
Why does HE out of all the ponies have to be the one sent here?! He’s no doubt going to interfere with my plans in someway I just know it.
He shook away those thoughts as he arrived at the border of the Everfree Forest. He needed to concentrate. He pulled out of his saddle bags the paper that Starlight had given him.
The paper apart from having a drawing also had instructions. Where to find the flower, how to pick it, what NOT to do with it... And just in case if he couldn’t find it talk to a 'zebra' named Zecora for help?
He walked into the forest, his senses alert to any kind of danger. He walked trough, looking down at the paragraph of instructions that showed where to find the Night-Rose.
Walk straight until you reach a cliff
He stopped, in front of him was a large cliff...Well it was more like a canyon and looked back a the paper.
The flowers should be in the cliff side, but be careful, predators lurk around there.
Astral pulled out his sword and started to slowly fly down the canyon walls, keeping an eye out for the flowers.
Out of nowhere a loud bird screech filled the canyon. Astral looked back to see a giant multicolored bird flying towards him at full speed.
Astral used his sword to push way the bird’s beak that was about 5 inches from his face. His strength caused the bird to change direction all of the sudden and hit Astral with it’s wing.
Astral was sent flying out of control into the ground. The bird quickly recovered and started flying towards him. Astral regained consciousness to, again, the bird trying to impale him with hi beak. He rolled over dodging the bird and causing it to quickly change position to land. The birds claws sunk into the dirt bellow and cracked when the bird pulled up.
Astral seeing an opportunity got up and slashed at the bird’s open wing. Unfortunately, he was still very dizzy due to his fall and missed. The bird was furious, it went to attack again but with a quick flap, Astral avoided him.
The bird wasn’t finished moving when Astral charged at him and used his sword to cut his sides as he flew. This time he ducked to dodge the wing and land.
The bird screeched in pain and looked back, this time, Astral could see anger in it’s eyes.
Astral opened his wings so that when he landed he could much easily do a sharp turn. He then used his sword to aim for the eyes. He cocked his head, and with the speed his wings provided him he slashed at the birds eye.
"That’s going to leave a scar..." He joked mostly to himself. "BEGONE!” He demanded, his deep military voice echoed through the canyon.
The bird looked at him with anger, then fear and lastly, sadness as he flapped his enormous wings to escape. Leaving behind a bunch of multicolored feathers on the floor.
Astral inspected the feathers. They were beautiful, there was a big variety of colors and gradients. The smallest feathers were as big as his own, there had to be at least a hundred of them. He got an idea of what to do with them and picked some up. He placed them in his saddle bags and chuckled to himself.
I’m a hopeless romantic
He almost put his sword away but decided to keep it out...just in case. He looked around the canyon for the flowers. Fifteen minutes passed and yet he didn’t find them, all the while a sharp pain in his backs haunted him. He was going to give up when he spotted a small patch of grass coming out of a cave. He decided that it didn’t hurt to look.
He went into the cave. He was amazed by the beauty of it. The cave had stone wall with a couple of rocks peeping out here and there, plants and vines hung from the ceiling where there was a small hole that let in the sunlight and he guessed the moonlight too. In the center were a couple of flat circular boulders that had grown moss, on top of them were several Night-Roses. The ones that the light hit, were opened and had random stars here and there. Astral knew they were inaccurate and so he shifted his gaze over to a small bunch in the corner, they were closed and there was only three.
Astral used his sword to separate the moss from the rock like a carpet and cut it into small squares around the flowers roots and placed them in his bags making sure not to hurt the flower in anyway.
Then, satisfied he went out of the cave and took flight. He flew on top of the Everfree’s tree line and made his way over to Ponyville. While he flew he always payed attention to the town folks. He loved to see the ponies smile and play.
He flew faster, always making sure not to hurt his flowers and ignoring the pain in his back. He stopped in front of the door to the castle and gently pushed it open. He walked over to the Library.
"Starlight I got what the flowers.”
"Great, set them on the table I’ll be on it in a minute."
"Okay, if you need anything I’ll be in my room."
"Actually wait, you have a....um...roomate."
"What do you mean-?...No...Not Sunfire" His face showed his worry.
"Um...yes, It’s just for today and tomorrow, just so Twilight can prepare another room for him."
Astral turned around without saying anything. When Starlight heard no reply, she peeped from behind the pile of books that blocked her vision. But Astral was already gone.
He walked through the corridors without paying attention. He didn’t even notice he was about to pass Twilight’s room. All of the sudden he bumped into something and fell on his flank and a sharp pain crept it’s way up his back...again.
"Ow..- Astry?! What happened to you?!"
It took a while for Astral to catch up to the world.
"Huh? Wha? Oh! Twilight I-I, sorry." He laughed sheepishly under his breath.
"Astral...What happened to you? Why are you covered in blood?!" She lifted Astral in her magic grip.
She opened the door to her room and gently put Astral on her bed, magically taking off his armor and saddle bags.
She went pale when she saw a rather big gash on his lower back.
"W-What happened to you?”
"Um...I was...Exploring the Everfree Forest when I had a run-in with this dumb giant bird.”
"Stand still this WILL hurt"
She channeled her body healing magic trough her horn and into Astral. The gash started to close and Astral started screaming in pain. When the gash was fully healed she patted his head.
"There, you should be completely healed. Anyways do you need help with your bags? I can carry them to your room-"
"I didn’t know that you wanted me this badly in your bed."
Twilight lit up like a Heartswarming tree light. She rightfully threw him off her bed and hit him with her pillow.
"Are you SIRIUS?! THAT’S you’re first thought?!”
"Ow, Ow, OW! Hey stop!"
"Get out! Shoo!"
She threw him out her door and made sure she hit him with his stuff.
We laughed to himself and continued to his room. He opened the door and found Sunfire on the other bed next to his. Astral walked up to his desk trying to ignore Sunfire.
He opened his saddle bags and found a set of feathers that he was looking for. They were eight feathers, a yellow one that faded into a light pink, light pink one that faded into a hotter pink, a light orange one that faded into a blonde, a white one that faded into a dark purple, a light blue one that faded into a yellow-ish, a light purple one that faded into a purple, a lavender one that faded into a dark blue, and the last one was a blue feather that faded into a dark purple mane.
He took all the feathers and did his best to bend all the points into one. Next he grabbed some glue and used it to stick the points so they didn’t move. He made them into a mane accessory that looked like the tail feathers of a peacock.
"Who is that for?"
"Why? Do you love her? You know, she’ll never fall in love with a commoner like you. She’ll probably marry somepony with noble heritage, like me."
Astral go up and took his little arts and crafts project into his wings. "No I’m not, we were just very good foal hood friends and I’ll give this to her as a birthday gift." He said in a cold tone.
He passed through the door and was ready to close it when Sunfire spoke in a trasiego manner.
"Oh good, cause’ I’m planning to ask for her hoof in marriage and with my family’s influence she’ll have to say yes."
That statement almost made Astral take out his sword and show that noble trash why a giant bird feared him. But he just walked out closing the door behind him. He hated Sunfire for that same reason, he’s always bragged that when he became lieutenant, he would marry the Princess.
What made Astral sad though was that he spoke truth, the Princess would likely have no other option than to marry him. His family was leader of one of the biggest factions among nobles, it contained almost half the nobles in all of Equestria. It made his heart ache.
He walked over to Twilight’s room he could hear her coming out of a bath. Had he really spent that much time on the-?
He didn’t have time to continue his thought as Twilight opened the door. She was in a white bath robe.
Astral blushed a bit before clearing his throat and speaking.
"I...know you probably don’t want to see me...after my little stunt today and...I’m sorry."
"Astral I-" He put a hoof to her lips not letting her continue.
"I’m not finished... I wanted to give you this as an apology..." He presented his gift to her.
Her face lit up and she blushed furiously."Wow Astral...I-it’s beautiful!"
"Can I?..." he gestured to her mane.
"Y-y-yes you can."
He leaned in and placed it on her head. The feathers were a little smaller than pegasus feathers but they still were big enough to poke out from behind her ear.
"They came from the giant bird I defeated, during the battle some came off and when he fled as well." He looked at her nervously. "D-Do you...Like it?"
"Astral..." She looked at herself in the mirror. "I LOVE IT!"
Astral’s lit up with happiness along side Twilight’s. Twilight ran up to him and hugged him, making Astral’s heart to race. They stayed like that for a while until Twilight pushed away from the hug, they were both blushing furiously. She gave a nervous laugh.
"Maybe we should get ready for dinner...It’s um...getting pretty late." She pointed at the window. The sun was setting and Astral knew too well what that meant.
Astral entered his room, he had been preparing for the 'heist' he even made the artifact they were going to enchant. It was wooden amulet, Astral had taken a small chunk of the remains of the Golden Oaks Library and had rounded it to look like a pendant. He also made a round hole in the middle, were he was going to put the power source. He made sure to hide it away from Sunfire.
He started preparing his stuff. He didn’t want to be seen with guard armor, that would launch an investigation and Sunfire would probably rat him out. So he took a different approach, his coat was already a dark shade of blue and his mane was a dark purple so he wouldn’t stand out. The only problem were his eyes, they were light blue so they would stand out too much. He hopped that whoever saw him, mistake him for Princess Luna’s secret son or something.
He of course took his sword with him, he didn’t plan on getting caught but it never hurt having something to defend himself with. He took his saddle bags and reluctantly turned to Sunfire.
"I need to run some errands around town. Could you take over Princess duty for me just this night?"
"For how much time?"
Astral hummed. The flight to Canterlot was around 30 minutes long, he would then have to get to the gardens without attracting too much attention so... 13 minutes? Then find the flower without getting caught, 10 minutes and return...45 minutes.
"An hour and a half? Maybe a little bit more. It shouldn’t take me too long.”
"Ugh, fine. Doesn’t give me enough time to woo the princess but I guess that’s fine."
"You know you aren’t allowed to 'woo' anypony during work hours right?"
"Some rules are made to be broken."
Astral just rolled his eyes, oh how he hated him. After that little exchange he and Twilight had in the afternoon, he was almost certain that Sunfire stood no chance today. Then he walked out of the room.
It’s not a heist, I’m just picking flowers from Royal Property that just happen to be the rarest flowers in all of Equestria.
He repeated that to himself to calm down. This time, the castle’s corridors seamed to be smaller. He was at the front door in no time. He gently pushed it open with his front hoof. He started walking out but his legs failed him, they were shaking and they made it horribly hard to move.
He opened his wings and hesitated for a moment. His right ear started twitching, it was a little solution he had when he was too nervous. He stood there for about a minute, his wings opened and his right ear twitching. Then finally with one decisive and strong wing flap he took off.
Flying was a walk in the park for him, he could probably fly from Ponyville to Canterlot five times in a day without getting tired. But now time was of the essence he could risk going as fast as he did in the race and rest i Canterlot for a while before sneaking his way to the gardens.
And so he took off leaving a trail of dark blue behind him. Astral looked around him, he was passing the valleys between Canterlot and Ponyville that he loved so much at tremendous speed. He looked straight ahead, The mountain were Canterlot sat was fast approaching. He decided he didn’t want there be any record of him being there so, instead from entering through the front gate like EVERYPONY was SUPPOSED to, he changed direction so that nopony were to see him approaching through the side of the city.
When he was facing directly the right side of Canterlot city and had just passed the gate he flew up and passed the cloud line. He flew on top of the clouds, ever so often peeping his head between the clouds to make sure he didn’t miss his target.
Once he was right on top of Canterlot he flew down. He was extremely nervous and tired from the flight. He made his way over to a familiar bar that his brother ran.
He sat down on one of the tables and waited. He took a quick glance at the clock... 8:06...He had 19 minutes before the guard change along with the Princess change. Soon a violet pegasus mare with a light yellow mane walked up to his table.
"Good evening sir could I bring you any-...Astral?"
"Hey Twinkle... How’ve you been?"
"I’ve been good thanks big brother...So um...What brings you to Canterlot? I heard you got transferred to Twilight’s castle."
"Well yeah...that’s kind of what brings me here, I’m making her a present and I need some ingredients from Canterlot so I came as soon as I got some free time.”
"You’re still in love with her?"
"N-N-No! It’s not like that! Were did you get that idea..."
"Oh c’mon Astral it’s sooo obvious! You know you can’t lie to me."
"I-It’s just a birthday present!"
"Then why don’t you just buy her something in Ponyville?”
"B-Because...because...I want it to be special, I haven’t been able to give her a proper present ever since...You know what."
A few moments of awkward silence passed.
"A-Anyways you must be tired from that flight! What do you want? Free of charge, promise."
"Hmm...Maybe some tea."
Twinkle Shine looked at her brother worriedly.
"What are you going to do?"
"What do you-?"
"What... ingredients are you looking for?"
"That’s not really important"
"Yes, it is. Tell me Astral you KNOW you’re a horrible lier."
He sighed in defeat, she was right, he had never been able to lie to her. "The Meteorisi flower..."
"You’re sirius..." she leaned closer to him." Are you mad?! You’re going to break into the gardens? Ok you do need the tea, I’ll be right back."
"Wait! Twinkle, don’t tell anypony I was in Canterlot ok?"
"Consider it forgotten"
Astral looked back at the clock...ten more minutes.
After downing his tea and saying goodbye to his sister. Astral made his way to the central plaza, he had about... two minutes left before the guard change. When he arrived, everything was as he would expect, nobles walking with his head held high and some with tuxedos. Actually now that he payed closer attention, you stood out more if you didn’t have your head held high.
If Twilight were here she would kill me.
Astral lifted his head high and walked and elegant as possible while also hurrying. He went up the stairs to the castle front garden. Some guards were stationed there, but as if on cue, the bell announcing the guard change sounded. They let their posture slip up and started walking inside.
Amateurs, they should have stayed at the doors, oh well, makes my job that much easier.
Astral walked in the front door, he acted as if he had permission to be there, and if he had somewhere to go. Soon, two guard ponies from the Lunar guard came galloping.
They passed right by Astral, thinking the other guards had let him trough. Now Astral was inside Canterlot Castle, he walked through the corridors until he saw at the end of the hallway, two guards taking up position.
He hid behind a pillar, since he didn’t see any nobles coming his way, he assumed that court wasn’t in session. If he got caught now, he wouldn’t have Twilight’s present AND he would probably loose his carrier... He needed a distraction. He stood still thinking, until he got a literal brilliant idea. He took out his sword and using some conveniently placed and polished vases, he deflected the moon’s light into one of the guard’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Then, he did the same with the other one, he use the small window of blindness to fly right by the guards, into the private royal wing.
He avoided patrols by hovering near the high ceiling. And staying in the shadows, his dark coat allowed him to do that, and whenever a guard saw his tail as turned the corner, the probably thought it was Princess Luna, this was after all, the private wing.
He eventually got to the doors that led to the gardens, he used his same moonlight trick to blind the guards guarding the open archway. He the slipped in unnoticed.
The gardens were astounding, they had flowers of all kinds, there were dragon flowers, blue roses, tulips of all kind, bushes, fountains, statues, Princess Luna, tall trees, 'milflores' and wait...
His amazed expression was interrupted as he took in what was right in front of him... Princess Luna with amusement painted all over her as he walked along the gardens taking it all in. His face expression turned from happy to confused and settled in absolute horror. He threw himself to the ground in the lowest bow he could muster.
"Y-Your highness! I-I am so sorry for this intrusion... Please I beg for forgiveness!"
Luna picked him up with her magic so that he looked at her, and motioned with her wings to shut up.
"Shh...Astral, we do not want thou-...you to get caught. We know why you’re here, and we want to help."
"Pardon? I... Don’t... How does your highness know?”
"Oh please it was obvious you had feelings for Twilight when you came to court that day. And we-...I have your back on that matter, I went into your dreams today when you had a nap and discovered your little plan."
"Oh...W-wait so you knew I was coming?"
"Yes, that’s what I just said, now the Meteorisi is that way." She pointed a hidden path that was basically invisible from the entrance, and probably was invisible from the skies. "You do not have much time, for a patrol is coming this way in a few moments you must go, get the flower and return to me."
"Do not question me."
He saluted and galloped off towards the path. It was covered in moss and the bushes around it met together in the middle making it seem like one single bush as well as making an arch way on the inside.
The path continued to go descend until it led to an underground. There was row upon row of Meteorisi flowers, they were beautiful. The flower was white like Starlight said and had a yellow gradient, but different from the drawing, it had small specks of a pinkish tone at the tips of each petal. He grabbed a bunch and quickly tore it with it’s roots. A bit barbaric but, according to Luna, he didn’t have much time.
He placed them in his saddle bags and galloped his way back. He stopped right as he was about to leave, a bat pony guard bowed in front of Luna, his voice raspy and deep.
"Princess Luna, I have received new of an intruder in the castle!"
"An intruder?! Have a search party look everywhere in the castle for this intruder. Do you know who it might be?"
"No princess, the guards were temporarily blinded somehow, he suspect a unicorn with knowledge of blinding spells. And the guards who got a glimpse, could only see the tip his tail."
"Does not matter. Go, find this intruder!"
The bat pony galloped off with an impressive speed. He then disappeared behind the garden’s archways.
After a few moments of waiting Luna motioned for Astral to come out of hiding.
"Princess Luna...What do I do now?"
"Do not worry young Astral, I will teleport you to Twilight’s castle. Anywhere in particular inside the castle where you wish to go?"
"Could your highness teleport me to the library?"
Luna ignited her horn, a light blue aura surrounded Astral and with a flash off light, he was gone. In time for a group of guards to enter the gardens to search for the ‘criminal'
Astral popped into existence in the middle of the castle’s library with a flash of light and light blue sparks. He was going to be sick. Teleportation wasn’t very kind to first-timers. He fell to the ground with a 'thump’.
"Never...again" he mumbled beneath his breath.
He lifted himself off the ground, he placed his saddle bags onto the table and started off-loading the flowers. He found a peculiar flower he did not pick made it’s way into his saddle bag. It was like a blue rose but something was different about it, but he couldn’t put hi hoof on it. With it though was a note.
'When and ONLY when you are in absolute need, eat this flower. It well help you defend those you hold dear. Do NOT tell anypony of this flower. Not the Princesses, not friends, not anypony. Keep this a secret.
Astral stood there a little confused. Should he listen to a random piece of paper that magically appeared on his bag? He decided to put that thought to rest, he wanted to get the spell over with. He pulled out the rest of the flowers and placed the rose and the note at the bottom of his saddle bags.
He went up to his room to leave his saddle bags and take back with him the artifact that he had made. He passed by Spike on his way there, they just greeted each other casually and continued on their way.
He was about to turn the corner to Twilight’s room when he heard arguing. He turned the corner and-
"No! I am NOT kissing a poor excuse of a gentlecolt like YOU" she said as she pushed...wait, Sunfire?!
"Oh c’mon Princess, it’s not like you have a choice." He went to lean in.
"EXCUSE ME!?" She slapped Sunfire right across the face making him fall to the ground.
Sunfire got up and walked up angrily to Twilight. "I descend from a powerful noble family! You will not dishonor ME like this."
Twilight remained unmoving not even flinching as he stood in front of her and was glaring down at her.
Astral couldn’t take it anymore, he started walking up to Sunfire with a murderous gaze. He growled at Sunfire to get his attention.
Both Twilight and Sunfire turned to see Astral. Twilight looked at him with determination and Sunfire looked at him with hatred.
"Get away from her royal highness-" he stomped his front hoof on the castle’s floor, sending a loud noise resonating through the castle. "Now!"
Sunfire scowled, his horn started glowing in a orange aura. Astral didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and pulled out his sword. Before Sunfire could fire a spell, a lavender beam struck me him, sending him flying towards the wall.
Twilight’s face was of pure anger. She walked up to the stallion on the ground. She glared down on him, with a fury only ten fully grown dragons could match. The stallion shrunk under her gaze.
"Astral, bring me Spike. Now..." She didn’t advert her gaze from Sunfire and in fact she ignited her horn once more.
Astral nodded and turned around. He didn’t need to go get him since both him and Starlight were running over to see what had happened.
"Astral what is-"
"Spike take a letter to Shining Armor.”
Dear Captain of The EUP Shining Armor,
I send you back this guard, Sunfire Claw, that you have sent to guard me. He has brought disrespect to both me, my castle and the crown for having the audacity to force himself to me. I leave his punishment up to you. I would also like to give credit to where it is due, to Lieutenant Astral Shield for doing his service and protecting his princess.
Yours truly, (a very livid) Princess Twilight Sparkle
Then, when Spike finished rolling up the scroll and placing her royal seal, she took it from him using her magic and tied it around Sunfire. Them with a flash of lavender sparkles he was gone, teleported to her big-brother.
Twilight turned back towards her bedroom. Opened the door said 'Good night' with an obviously angered tone and slammed the door behind her. Leaving a very confused Spike, a very terrified Starlight and a very dumbfounded Astral.
After that little fiasco, which he was thankful for, Astral went to get the artifact and then went down with Starlight and Spike to library were they prepared for the spells.
In one of Canterlot’s towers, ten mares prepared for one of the biggest nights of the year. Rarity made some last-minute arrangements to the dress Twilight was wearing. Twilight wore a light purple gown with an extra pink cloth that split the gown into two, she wore her mane in a bun similar to her crystal form, she also wore her crown and hoof wear.
"Are you sure about this Celestia?" Twilight asked, anxiety was obvious in her voice.
"Don’t worry Twilight." Celestia responded with a comforting tone. "I’ll distract the nobles so you can enjoy your party with your friends."
"Y-Yes but what about you? I don’t want does childish nobles to ruin the party for you."
"Oh, trust me, I have my ways to amuse myself with them."
"Relaaaax Twilight." Pinkie cut in the silence of the conversation. "C’mon practically all of Equestria is attending the party."
"Although I wouldn’t frase it that way... She’s right darling, you should enjoy your birthday party."
"I-I guess your right." Twilight sighed in defeat.
"So...Are you girls ready? Sorry I just can’t wait!" Cadence was ready at any moment to open the door and gallop out.
"Yes, the dresses are ready but, I must go check if the boys are ready and managed to get into their suits." Rarity walked over to the door. "I’ll be back when they’re ready."
"UGH c’mon why do we have to wait for them?! I heard they were serving cider!" Rainbow’s mouth started watering just thinking about it.
"Well, I believe she is right Rainbow Dash, better see if they need help so we all make our entrance together."
"Thank you princess" Rarity then exited the room.
Rarity opened the door to the room the boys were occupying to get ready. What she saw almost made her heart stop. Spike was struggling to get into his small tuxedo, Shining Armor was struggling to get his badge into place, Discord was wearing a monstrosity instead of the suit Rarity made him, Astral was wearing his sword, Big Mac was the only one that had gotten into his suit but was confused trying to help Spike.
"Sweet Celestia what are you doing?!"
Rarity quickly got to work, her horn flaring into action, she first solved the easiest problems, she fixed the badge that Shining insisted he wear and took off Astral’s sword.
"H-Hey!" Astral protested but Rarity ignored him
"Now Spikey, you just need to find the holes for the head and arms then you can fit in your spikes." She lifted Spike’s tuxedo and helped him.
"Now, Discord what in Celestia’s name is that?!"
"You don’t like it? I made it myself. I believe that the colors match pretty well." He said while he adjusted the ridiculously big bow tie.
"Wha-No!...I mean, Discord... If you want to learn to design I’ll gladly teach you, but right now I’ll really appreciate that you put on the suit I made you...Please." That last part came off as more of a plea than a question.
"Fiiiine" Discord snapped his finger and got into his suit.
"Okay...I’ll go tell the girls. Discord, Astral and Big Mac you boys go ahead and wait for us in the main hall. Shining Armor, you follow me to the girl’s room to make your entrance along side Princess Cadence."
Astral waited, he was seated in the round table reserved for the princesses and their friends. The hall was filed with nobles all impatient to meet with the princesses. The hall was adorned with lavender ribbons and the most beautiful flowers. Astral also noticed an increase in the guards and patrols.
For a while he sat there, thinking about when he should give Twilight her gift. He knew Spike and Starlight had an idea of who was his ‘mystery' mare was but he didn’t want to confirm their theory. He also needed to avoid Luna and Cadence, the last one was going to be harder than he thought, he knew how close Cadence and Twilight were.
All of the sudden, the trumpets sounded and a stallion spoke from the bottom of the grand staircase.
"Please welcome, our heroines who have fought for Equestria numerous times!"
Six mares came out, Starlight was also included. They all sported beautiful dresses. They went down the stairs and they were seated on the same table as Astral. They were stopped only by a few nobles but other than that, they were seated rather quickly.
Then the trumpets started again, this time they sang the royal welcome. Everyone looked towards the stairs waiting for the princesses to make their entrance.
"Please welcome, their royal highnesses, the Princesses of Equestria"
The ball room fell silent as the princesses and Shining Armor walked down the stairs. Immediately they were bombarded by nobles trying to get on their good side. Princess Celestia was moving them away from the staircase as much as possible so Twilight could pass.
The trumpets then sounded the royal welcome again. This time Astral did look up.
"Everypony please welcome, her royal highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria."
The crowd erupted in a multitude of cheers, various nobles deserted Celestia and made their way over to Twilight. She had a radiant smile.
Astral couldn’t help but blush, he was staring right at Twilight. His heart was in danger of coming out of his chest and his throat was completely dry. He looked away from her to avoid anyone noticing his destress. He looked over at the the table. Five mares were talking and laughing but Starlight, Spike and Luna were looking at him with raised eyebrows and huge smirks.
It took Twilight five minutes to get to the table. I took the joint effort of all of the princesses to get her to the table. When she finally sat down, she was seated between the princesses and Astral, who was trying not to die from his heart skipping multiple beats.
The party went on as planned, the dance floor was opened and the guests started dancing to the medieval music. The princesses and Twilight’s friends were all chatting and laughing together sometimes hinting at Astral’s plan without giving any details. Starlight, Luna and Cadence were giving each other knowing nods and mischievous smiles, which made everyone look at them as if they had grown a second head.
After a while Twilight started getting quieter. Some of the mares went to the dance floor and started dancing.
"U-um excuse me, I need some fresh air." Twilight stood up and walked over to the balcony.
Astral sneaked away from the table. He walked over to where Twilight was with a worried expression.
"Are you okay?"He asked
"I’m fine, I’ll be there in a minute." She looked back in surprise but then continued to look out.
"Twilight, I’ve known you for how long? Eleven years? Don’t try to lie to me. What’s worrying you?"
"Nothing, Astral honest...I’ll be there in a second."
"Twilight you shouldn’t keep it in, tell me.”
"I-I guess I’m just paranoid, Shining told me there was a breaking last week. And I guess I’m just worried for everypony."
"O-Oh! Don’t fear because I am here!" He puffed out his chest in pride and gave a fake powerful laugh."Ha, Ha, Ha!" He then walked over to Twilight and smirked down on her.
"Then I should be even more worried." She rolled her eyes and smiled at him.
"U-Uh what? No! You should feel save!...UGH why are you so difficult?"
"Maybe because I’ve battled a giant centaur and have looked Nightmare Moon in the eyes?"
"Good point... Anyways are you feeling better?"
"If tell you that I am would you go back and enjoy the party?"
"Maybe...Actually no because I won’t believe you."
"Oh great now you make me feel guilty."
They stayed in silence for a few seconds, looking out on the Equestrian landscape. Then Astral had an idea.
"D-Do you...want to dance with me?"
"No!...I-I mean I don’t have problem with you...It’s just that...you know I can’t dance.”
"I can teach you."
"Sure you can but...I don’t want anypony to find out." She looked nervously at the dance floor and gulped.
"Who said we’re going to the dance floor? We’re going over there." He pointed at a small hidden court yard in the gardens. It had a fountain depicting the two sister and it was only illuminated by the moon.
"You sure? How are we going to get past the guests?"
"Are you honestly still doubting me?"
"What do you mea-Aaaah?!"
Astral scooped her up in his arms and glided down to the court yard. Twilight was grabbing onto him for dear life. When they got to the ground she jumped off him.
"I can’t promise anything."
"Astral!" She then started chuckling and soon Astral joined in.
"Okay so...should we get started?"
"S-sure just t-tell me what to do- Woah!"
Astral lifted them both on their back hooves.
"Okay now, don’t freak out but..." He placed one of his hooves on her waist. They both blushed like crazy but they ignored it. "N-Now place your hoof on my shoulder."
She did as he asked and placed her hoof on his shoulders. That brought them closer together. The music was loud enough to reach the empty court yard. Astral then led her hoof and his farther away.
They both moved to the beat of the music it was slow so Twilight was able to keep up. After a while, Twilight started to relax, her movement were more fluid and she stopped looking at her hooves to avoid getting mixed up.
"You know you’re learning faster than I did."
"I have a good teacher...But I think the student bested the teacher" She smiled.
They continued to dance across the court yard teasing each other all the way. Then Astral lifted Twilight up.
"H-Hey! Put me down!"
"Why? You look so cute up there? I think I might never put you down."
"Grr...Put me down or we’re going back to the castle!" Twilight’s blush intensified when she remembered the complement.
"Fine. You’re no fun."
Astral put her down probably a little too fast and she stumbled and fell into his chest with a 'oof'. She looked up at him with an annoyed look.
"You could’ve warned me!"
"I thought you said you had bested me."
Y-Yeah but...Let’s just...continue dancing?"
"Sure thing Princess"
They danced again, this time a bit faster. At one point Twilight rested her head on Astral’s chest. She could feel his muscles through his coat. She was so close that Astral could smell the lavender shampoo she had used on her mane.
Then the music stopped they remained in the same position for a while. They would’ve stayed that way too if it weren’t for the sound of approaching hooves. Both of their ears flicked toward the sound and they went back to four hooves, always blushing light red heartswarming lights.
They acted as if they were just walking around the gardens but none of them said anything. Soon enough a guards pony unicorn came walking in. They both took a moment to process what was happening. Then Astral and Twilight recognized him...
"Sunfire Claw?" Twilight said in a cold and angry tone. She was about to throw him off Canterlot but decided against it since it would make her a murderer.
"Your highness,Astral Shield... you’re being searched for ever since you disappeared from the party."
Twilight and Astral looked at each other in worry. For them timed had seemed to stop, they were too caught up in the moment they forgot about the party entirely.
"How long...were we gone for?"
"Almost half an hour now."
"O-Oh! Then we should be getting back. Let’s go Astry-...Astral."
"The nobles won’t be happy when they hear this." Sunfire grinned in anticipation towards them.
"Why would they be upset that I went on a walk and brought my guard along?" Twilight retorted.
"I’m not talking about that...Your highness." He said with venom dripping from his voice. "I’m talking about your little...moment."
Twilight almost froze, there was no way that he had seen them right? She looked back at Astral who was giving her the same deadpanned look.
"There was no moment." She finally spoke.
When there was no response she continued.
"You shouldn’t invent rumors like those."
"Drop the act, I saw you dancing. I must say, I was waiting for the kiss so I could catch you both red handed." The venom never stopped coming out.
"You shall not speak of this! That’s an order!” She was now about to throw him right into the wall.
Seeing that the conversation led nowhere, she teleported both her and Astral to the balcony. If they didn’t look guilty then, Sunfire had confirmation now. They both looked at each other with terrified faces.
They started walking over to the table.
"Wha-What are we going to do?!" Astral asked in a hushed tone so only Twilight would hear.
"Act as that never happened." She looked over to her friends who had already noticed them.
They sat down in silence like to foals who had just been grounded. Everyone looked at each other with worried glances...Well everyone except Luna and Cadence...they had already pieced most of it together. Celestia was the first to speak.
"Twilight is everything okay? We were really worried."
"Y-yes! Everything is fine we...just went on a walk and well...lost track of time. We’re sorry we didn’t want to worry you guys."
"Oh don’t worry about it!" Pinky dismissed the idea with a hoof. "Nopony found out!"
Twilight and Astral tensed up. How could Pinky know? Then they decided not to push it, if she didn’t know they didn’t want it to look like they did anything.
"A-Anyways...Did any of you dance?" Twilight broke the ice.
"Me and Shining Armor gave it a go, although the nobles didn’t take their eyes off us. So we got uncomfortable and came back." Cadence responded.
"Discord wanted to dance but...I was too shy." Fluttershy added.
"There was this noble asking for you Twi!" Rainbow added. "Apparently there’s a long line of nobles asking to dance with you."
"Not happening! I-I don’t know how to dance." Twilight quickly added. "Besides I don’t like to mingle with the nobles. Heck, when they surrounded me when I got off the stairs it rook all of my energy not to scowl at them."
They all laughed and had a good time at the party. Having Pinky around kept away most of the nobles but some occasionally came to greet them. Astral and Twilight kept looking back worriedly, seeing if they spotted Sunfire anywhere, but they never did.
The party went on for the whole night, throwing off the sleeping schedule of Princess Luna and Celestia. They all retired to their chambers once the guests were gone. The sun was supposed to rise in about an hour after the retired. Astral took this opportunity to give Twilight her gift.
Knock, Knock, Knock
"Twilight you in here?"
"Astry?... Come in!"
Astral went into the room, Twilight was reading a book on her carpet.
"W-What are you reading?"
"A book about ancient myths and legends." Twilight closed her book and placed it on the table with her magic. "Is everything okay? Sunfire didn’t appear... Did he?"
"No...that’s a relief. I came to give you my birthday present!" He lifted his wing to reveal a little box.
"Astral...You really shouldn’t have!"
She opened the box. Her heart skipped a beat at what she saw, a wooden pin with lines and swirls like the ones she had seen in old runes, inside was a beautiful crystal, shaped like her cutie mark.
"W-Wow Astral...I-I don’t know what to say...This is-Thank you!" Her eyes lit up with wonder and happiness.
"That’s not all! Use an activation spell on it." He smiled at her and he was also blushing.
Twilight used it and in a blink of an eye, a dark blue transparent dome formed around them. Astral sat down next to her. Twilight looked at it with confusion but when she saw the stars on the floor and realized what it was, she gave Astral her biggest and more radiant smiles.
"I was thinking we could...you know...complete it together?...What do you think?"
Twilight then jumped Astral and gave him a big hug.
"I LOVE it! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"
"It’s no problem at all I-"
Twilight then gave him a kiss on the cheek, when noticed what she had done she blushed furiously.
"Remember what you once told me?"
"Don’t.You.Dare.Apologize" He looked right into her eyes and pointed his hoof on her chest.
The distance between their lips began to close. The candle started going out as the both closed their eyes and kissed.
Light came in through the window as the morning sun graced Equestria. Twilight who was having a rather pleasant dream turned away, trying to stay in Luna’s domain. After a bit of unconscious struggling she finally started returning to the real world. Twilight’s seances slowly started to come to her. She felt something touching and tickling her ears.
Wind? Why is there a wind inside my bedroom? Did I leave the window open?
Twilight’s eyes slowly opened, she was in her room, no surprise there and the window was close so why was there wind? She then felt something move in the bed next to her.
Spike? Why are you- "AH!"
Her heart stopped for a moment, she looked over her shoulder to see Astral sleeping next to her. Her first reaction was to get out of bed but her hoof got stuck on the sheets and she fell to the ground with a 'thump'.
Astral at the sudden scream quickly woke up and jolted out of bed.
"Wha? Is everything ok?!...Where am I?"
Twilight emerged from the other side of the bed, during the confusion, a pillow fell on her face, impaled by her horn. She was looking utterly confused and terrified.
It took sole moments for Astral’s brain to catch up. There was a mare...Twilight on the other side of the bed from which he just got off... looking at him with a look of terror... He didn’t have time to think.
Knock, Knock, Knock
Both of them looked at each other with terror. Twilight took the initiative and pointed at him then at her. The meaning of the gesture was clear to him, Astral nodded 'no' slowly. They both seemed to relax.
Knock, Knock, Knock
"Twilight, are you alright? I heard screaming" Cadence’s voice asked from behind the door.
It took Twilight a few double takes before answering. "Y-Yes I’m fine...just... a nightmare."
She motioned at Astral and to a nearby window as she quietly opened it with magic. Astral nodded in understanding before he started tip-hoofing to the windows.
Twilight looked at Astral in the eyes and moved her mouth in a way that said 'sorry' without any sound coming out. Then before he could react she pushed him with her magic out the window.
Cadence entered just as Twilight closed the window. She looked around for a moment before setting her sight onto Twilight who was visibly nervous for almost being caught.
"Um Twilight...Did something happen?"
Twilight was petrified. Did she know? "W-What do you mean?"
Cadence used her magic to close the door and started fixing her bed. She also lifted the pillow off of Twilight’s horn.
"What I mean is that this bed was way too messy for you to only have had a nightmare."
Twilight almost sighed in relieve but she stopped herself. "Nothing happened Cadence, it was just a nightmare."
"Really? A third voice spoke from behind the door, that caused the two alicorns to stare for a moment. The door opened to reveal Princess Luna. "Want to try again?"
Cadence looked back at Twilight who was glaring at Luna, then back to Luna who had a huge smirk on her face. Cadence then looked back at Twilight.
"Don’t lie, tell us what’s wrong." The tone was gentle but also commanding.
Twilight had to get an answer out and fast. She turned towards the window Astral used to escape, that gave her an idea. "The sunlight slowly woke me up and when I finally did, the sun’s rays hit my eyes and blinded me for a second."
Luna smirk receded, clearly it wasn’t the answer she was looking for for. Cadence on the other hand was a bit confused.
"How could the sunlight blind you if none of the windows face towards the bed?" Cadence asked lifting an eyebrow, Luna also lifted an eyebrow...Somehow, Twilight thought, Somehow she knew.
"You see...I-It reflected off of that!" She pointed at the gift Astral gave her.
Luna and Cadence looked over to where she pointed at. They both had shocked expressions in realization. If they didn’t know... They now had to know.
Cadence walked up to it and examined it, she lifted it up in her magic. "What is this?"
"I-I got it...Yesterday as a gift..." Twilight was now sweating buckets. She watched as Cadence lifted it and prepared the activation spell.
The room was encased in a dark blue dome. The stars that had been on the floor were now all up on the sky. Twilight couldn’t help but smile at her’s and Astral’s handy-work. She looked over to see the amazed looks on Cadence’s and Luna’s faces, Luna’s had a tinge of pride in it.
"Some gift!" Cadence complemented.
"Thanks." Twilight giggled a little which made Cadence look at her with a teasing smile.
"Did some stallion possibly capture the heart of Princess Twilight Sparkle?" She leaned closer.
Luna followed suit also with a teasing smile. "Yes...Where were you that half an hour you went missing?"
"I-I-I said, I went for a walk...In the gardens!" Twilight’s face lit up with a strong blush.
"You didn’t answer my question...” Cadence continued.
"I-I... What?...No! Of course not..."
"Are you really trying to lie to the alicorn of love?"
"Aw...Twilight has a crush! Tell us, who is it?" Luna cut in.
"N-Nopony." Twilight’s voice came as a squeek.
"Is it... Shadow Quill? Golden Heart? Moonbeam Light? Dream Voyage?-" Cadence started listing off the stallions who had presented themselves to Twilight.
"No! None of them...As a matter of fact, nopony. Now if you would excuse me, I’m going to... Take a shower." She huffed and turned towards her bathroom and opened the door desperate to get away.
"Astral Shield?" Cadence asked as a last desperate guess.
Twilight froze for a moment but then continued. “N-No." then she slammed the door.
Finally inside she created a sound barrier around the bathroom. She opened the small window that let light into the bathroom and looked out to find Astral. She found him hiding just bellow the window sill, crouched down so nobody saw him. She motioned to get his attention and teleported him in.
"What were you THINKING?!" She screamed at him.
He flinched a bit but then he brought his wings to his mouth. "Shh...they’ll hear you!"
"Sound barrier." She motioned at the the slight aura radiating from the walls. "Now tell me...Why were you in MY bed." She blushed at the reminder.
"Well...If I remember correctly, we fell asleep while we completed the sky." He responded, a slight blush came onto his face.
"NO! No no no I’m not that kind of stallion." He quickly responded his blush only intensified.
Twilight sighed in relief. She then went over and prepared a bath with her magic.
"Somepony will likely go to your room to wake you up and I don’t want them to find your room empty." She lit her horn once more to teleport him back.
"No please spare me, I hate teleporting, it makes me sick..."
"You’ll get used to it dating me." She moved closer.
"So...you accept defeat at my hooves?" He cleaned his hoof in his fur and pretended to admire it.
She rolled her eyes at him. "Maybe..." she leaned into him giving him a light kiss, which he returned, then she teleported him into his room.
She dispelled the sound barrier and went into her now ready bath. She relaxed her body as the warm water touched her. She still couldn’t believe she was dating someone and blushed at the thought.
She suddenly heard the door shoot open. She jumped at the loud sound. She turned around to see Cadence, looking right at her with a mad expression.
"W-What is this? Don’t you know the meaning of Privacy?!" Twilight tried. She looked over to the door and saw it was about to fall of it’s bearing. "A-Are you MAD?! What did you do to my door!"
"Twilight Sparkle..." Cadence said between mad pants. "Explain...This...Now!" Cadence lifted with her magic a suit, Astral’s suit.
HORSE DUNG! BUCK! CELESTIA DAMN IT!
"Well...you see..." Twilight trailed off trying to find an explanation. "He was...going to give it to Rarity...But he couldn’t find her...So he told me to give it to her!" She tried.
Cadence’s rage seemed to lessen, she was no longer panting, now she looked more confused. Cadence then sighed in relief.
"Oh good, I cant believe I actually thought that you had..."
"CADENCE! Shut up! I don’t need to think about that!"
"But it’s something normal-"
"Stop!" Twilight used her magic to grab her muzzle and close it she got little resistance. "Can I now continue to take my bath in peace?...And can you stop going through my stuff?!"
"O-Oh yes, sorry." Cadence then closed the door with a lot of care so not to worsen it’s state.
Twilight was left there alone. She pondered for a while, she would need to lie a lot, she hated lying especially to her friends and family... But did she really have a choice? She washed her mane. If she were to tell Celestia, she probably wouldn’t be mad, and she sure wouldn’t tell the nobles. Her friends on the other hand, she knew Applejack could keep a secret, Rarity would probably end up revealing it somehow although it was unlikely, Rainbow Dash would reveal it giving how reckless she was, Fluttershy wouldn’t but it would tear her up and Pinky... She would probably yell it before she could tell her to keep it a secret.
She stayed in the bath for a bit longer. She knew she could always count on Celestia since she was the mother of poker faces. But she decided to ask Astral first.
She got out of her bath and got ready for breakfast, her stomach grumbled for not having eaten since the party’s start. She dried her mane and coat. She looked over to see her regalia again on her counter. She had started liking the things and decided to try and wear them for the day. She fixed on her hoof-wear, little chest plate thing and crown. She opened the door to her room and walked out.
She made her way over to the dining table, she ran into Astral at the entrance and went in first. Inside were the other princesses and her friends and she could tell once again that she’ll need to lie a lot. She sat down next to Celestia and Luna and started eating, all the while making up excuses in her mind.
Twilight walked around the gardens with Astral right behind her. He still wasn’t on guard duty so he left behind everything except for his precious sword. When Twilight found a place away from the sight of any one walking around the gardens and castle. She sighed and fell down on her flank.
"You haven’t told anypony right?" She broke the silence.
"Nope, I was hoping you would. I’m not really... too comfortable around everypony. Just Shining! He’s cool." Astral finally answered.
"Well, I was going to talk to you about that..." Twilight trailed off. She motioned at a tree that was nearby that offered a great shade and they both walked over.
"Oh? Who do you want to tell?" Astral was looking for the answer in his head.
"Princess Celestia..." She answered looking back to gage his reaction.
His face turned from surprise, to confusion to concern. "Are you sure? I mean, I see why she would be the best option but... I just... don’t know if it’s the best idea."
"Don’t worry, I have a plan!" She was telling herself more than him. She leaned closer and nuzzled his neck and he returned the favor. "Don’t worry, I’m sure everything will turn out fine!".
Astral nodded. He draped his wing around her to pull her closer. She was surprised at first but then she stopped resisting. A blush came onto her features. They stayed there for a while, watching from their 'hiding' place the ponies down below go on with their daily business. Astral was the first to speak up.
"Hey Twi? Is it ok if we... repeated..." A sight as rare as Tarterus freezing over snapped Twilight out of any worries she had, Astral was blushing like a schoolboy. He cleared his throat when he noticed Twilight staring at him with amusement. "Last night’s um..." He looked away in shame.
Twilight took the opportunity to give him a peck on the cheek. Astral’s ears perked up and he looked back at Twilight who was also blushing.
"I believe you already know my answer" Twilight mused
They smiled and drew closer. And once again they were sincronized. Their lips grew closer as everything around them seemed to fade-away, ignored.
'Oh dear Faust, here goes nothing!'
Twilight found herself knocking on the door of Princess Celestia’s study. She felt her body tightening from anxiety. Yes, she had a plan, but she was about to use it against a pony who had lived for thousands of years and who was a master at reading her.
At first there was no response, so she knocked again, a bit louder this time. She heard a slightly annoyed voice ask from behind the door.
"Who is it?"
"Um...Princess? It’s me, Twilight. Can I speak with you? I-It’s okay if you’re busy it can wait."
The tone quickly changed from annoyed to genuinely happy. "Twilight! Of course you can come in." Celestia opened the door with her magic. "I’m sorry I just thought you were somepony else bringing me more work."
Celestia got up from her chair and sat down on the carpet she always had for situations like these. Twilight followed suit and made herself comfortable.
"You know, this carpet felt much bigger when I was a filly" Twilight shifted a bit when her hooves touched the cold floor.
Celestia chuckled a bit before speaking. "So, what is it that you want to discuss?"
"Well I was wondering... Now that I’ve been a Princess for around three years... Will I ever get a normal love life?"
Princess Celestia was a little taken back. "Well... I would say 'no you will not'... The crown on your head means that you can’t really get involved with anypony outside of the most powerful nobles unless you want to possibly start a war."
Twilight visibly tensed up. She made up her mind she would bot tell her, yet she needed to dodge a bullet.
"Have...You or Princess Luna ever... broken that rule?" She instantly regretted it as Celestia studied the mare trying to read her. She started thinking about anything else so that her body language wouldn’t give her away. And...Maybe it worked, she wasn’t certain but she was pretty confident.
Celestia sighed. "Yes, Luna once did. She fell in love with a bat pony who returned her feelings. She did an amazing job hiding him, even from me." Celestia looked out the window remembering something.
"Princess... You don’t have to answer if don’t want to but... How did you find out?" Twilight asked cautiously.
"One night I had problems sleeping so I went to look for Luna and get some advice. She wasn’t at the throne room attending court so I went to check her chambers. The door was already halfway opened and there were no guards in the hallway so...I went in and walked in on them..."
Twilight’s ears dropped back.
'Note to self, always lock the door.'
Celestia’s ears also dropped back in shame. "She tried to explain but I was furious, I ended up... banishing him from Central Equestria. And well that started the rift between me and her that later became a canyon..."
Twilight nuzzled her teacher comfortingly. She could tell that a long awkward conversation was going to follow. But during that time all she could think about was how hard her new secret romance was going to be.