Single Dadnon(still needs proper title)

shukaku20 Dec 25th, 2015 (edited) 12,085 Never
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  1. >Man, Pony schooling is really simple compared to human learning.
  2. >When you got teleported here three, no four years ago now, you were just about to start grade 8.
  3. >Arriving here, after all the meeting, learning and deciding was done, you were put in pony high school, where you would be for your age.
  4. >And everything was super easy.
  5. >Like, grade five easy.
  6. >In the start you were the weird smart transfer student who sat in the back, but that changed in your second year.
  7. >Because in your second year, there was another transfer student.
  8. >A cute pink Alicorn by the name of Cadence.
  9. >The kind of pony that instantly falls into the popular pony group.
  10. >Everything here kind of works like those high school dramas, just with no real drama.
  11. >Well, except for one thing...
  12. >You see, the jocks are jocky, but instead of guys, the jocks are girls.
  13. >The cheerleaders are guys, the nerds are more often female and the gossip engines are almost always colts.
  14. >You're kind of the wild card in all this.
  15. >But, since not many ponies wanted to interact with you, it's not like it mattered.
  16. >That is, until she came.
  17. >When Cadence got transferred in, the only free spot was next to you, in basically all your classes.
  18. >You figured she was going to be like the rest of the class and avoid or ignore you for the most part, but she actually was somewhat friendly, when not being hounded by the other ponies.
  19. >She was in line to be a princess after all.
  20. >You're pretty sure everything changed for you during that one Biology class, when your class started genetics.
  21. ~~~
  22. >"Alright, settle down class, I know how everypony gets when we get to sex and genetics, but can you keep your laughter in till class is done?"
  23. >It takes a moment, but the class eventually settles, and the teacher starts writing on the board.
  24. >"Now, if you all payed attention in biology last year, you should remember that to make a baby, you need a sperm and an egg."
  25. >"Also a stallion who'll put out!" One of the more malbehaved mares exclaims, which gets some laughs from other mares.
  26. >"Ahem, now as I was saying, you mix a sperm and an egg, and if everything is right, a baby will form."
  27. >"But what will the baby look like? That is where genetics come in."
  28. >"You see, ponies have 64 chromosomes in 32 pairs. When an egg or sperm is made, that 64 is split into two separate groups, each one creating an egg or sperm, depending on if the pony is male or female."
  29. >Raising your hand, the teacher notices, and says, "You have a question, Anon?"
  30. "Sort of. I just thought it might be interesting if I told you that humans have 46 chromosomes, unlike a ponies 64."
  31. >"Indeed it is, and can anypony tell me why?"
  32. >He looks around, and you find yourself doing so as well, and you notice Cadence has a somewhat strange look on her face, before she raises her hoof.
  33. >"Yes, Cadence?"
  34. >"It means that his sperm won't mix with a ponies egg, or a ponies sperm wouldn't mix with a human egg, right?"
  35. >"Exactly right. Similar to how dogs and cats can't breed together, or millions of other combinations of things."
  36. >"Sometimes, even things with the same number of chromosomes can't breed. It's all very complex, but for now, we're going to look at how they mix when they can breed."
  37. >Good old punnet squares, it's almost like grade three again.
  38. >After all, it's just basic fractions and copying stuff into boxes.
  39. >Scribbling down some simple notes, you make sure that nothing is different, before the teacher hands out a worksheet.
  40. >"Pair up or work alone and finish up this sheet for the end of class. Everyone has to turn in their own copy, so be sure to show your work."
  41. >Looking down to start the questions, you hear the desk next to yours shift closer.
  42. >"Would you like to work together, Anon?" Cadence asks as you look over.
  43. "Sure, I guess. I don't really need help though."
  44. >A smile fills her face, and you feel yourself glance away with a faint blush.
  45. >It's not often ponies are this happy interacting with you, and even less often it's a cute girl.
  46. >Peeking around, she asks, "Are you alright?"
  47. "Yeah, fine," you reply, eyes focused on the worksheet in front of you.
  48. >First question.
  49. >If a pony with a pure green coat and a pure Pink coat have a child, and green coats are dominant, what are the odds of their child having a pink coat?
  50. >Why are your cheeks warming up...
  51. "Well, this doesn't seem hard. Since green is dominant to pink, and the green is pure, when they have a baby, it will have a green coat."
  52. >"Yes, but the child will have the genes for a pink coat, since the mother is pure too."
  53. >Why do you feel like you're blushing more?
  54. >Scribbling down the answers, you find your eyes locked on the paper.
  55. >Quietly doing question after question in rapid succession, you see Cadence watching you closely when you look up.
  56. >"You're really smart, you know that?"
  57. "Huh?"
  58. >"Well, I've sat beside you for a while now, but I've never really gotten to know you."
  59. "I usually work alone, and I'm not part of any clubs, so I don't really socialize that much."
  60. >"Why not? You seem like a nice stallion."
  61. "And there's the issue. I'm not a stallion, or colt or whatever. I may be male, but I'm human, I'm different, alien."
  62. "Sure, there are some who are interested in that, but I'm rather plain, so I rarely hold any interest even if there was some to begin with."
  63. >"But why don't you try to make friends? I'm sure once ponies get to know you they'd like you."
  64. "Maybe, but things don't always work like that. Things are different for you, you're an Alicorn. Everyone likes you."
  65. >This gives her a bit of pause, and you use the time to return to your work.
  66. >Not like there's much of it left.
  67. >"Well, if everyone likes me, what about you?"
  68. "Huh?"
  69. >"Do you like me?"
  70. >Closing your mouth, you scratch your chin a moment in thought.
  71. "Well, I can't say I don't like you, so I guess yes."
  72. >"Then let's be friends. That way, you'll at least have one friend, and you can make friends together with me."
  73. >For the second time in under a minute you're left momentarily speechless by this mare.
  74. >Seeing your delay, she tilts her head, ears drooping ever so slightly and a small frown appearing as she looks at you.
  75. >"Do you not want to be my friend?"
  76. "Yes, I mean, no, I mean..."
  77. >Letting out a sigh, you gather your thoughts.
  78. "I'd be glad to try and be your friend, but I don't know if it will work."
  79. >"It can't hurt to try," she states, smile returning to her.
  80. >You find yourself smiling back before nodding.
  81. "I guess not."
  82. >"Alright! Now, let's finish up this worksheet and then we can talk some more."
  83. ~~~
  84. >"Hurry up Anon, or all the tables will be filled for lunch."
  85. "Fine, just let me drop off my books."
  86. >"No time, come on."
  87. >Magic grabs your sleeve, tugging you along behind the energetic alicorn.
  88. >You can't even find the will to frown as you follow her to the cafeteria, her energy infectious.
  89. >It always feels difficult to go against her when she's like this, but at the same time, she's really helped you become more social.
  90. >Reaching the cafeteria, she looks around before leading you to a table with several ponies at it already.
  91. >"Hey, thanks for waiting for me. It took a bit for Anon to get his stuff packed up before we could come."
  92. >"No problem, Cadence, we always have a seat for you at our table," one of the girls says, a mare with bright pink hair.
  93. >"Anon, well, he might have to sit in somepony's lap."
  94. "I'll just sit here," you say, rolling your eyes and sitting down in an open spot.
  95. >Cadence pats you on the arm with a smile.
  96. >"Don't mind them, they're just having a little fun. They don't mean any harm by it."
  97. >"Yeah, don't take anything double M says seriously, any friend of Cadence's is a friend of ours."
  98. "Double M?"
  99. >The mare in question sighs, before saying, "Mayor Mare, and I have no idea why my parents named me this. Canterlot doesn't even have an official mayor."
  100. >"Enough about me though, what brings you here, Anon? Besides Cadence that is."
  101. "Well, that's just it, Cadence brought me here because she wanted to each lunch together. Speaking of, mine is still in my locker."
  102. >"You can just share mine," Cadence says, setting a lunch box on the table, "The castle cooks always make too much for me anyways."
  103. >Scrunching up her face in what you assume is an impression, she says, "A growing mare needs to eat well," before laughing.
  104. >Setting out her foodstuffs, she motions to you, saying, "Take your pick. I like it all, so it's not like I'll miss anything."
  105. >Glancing at it, you notice a problem that bothered you a lot when you first got here.
  106. >Almost everything is made with hay or flowers.
  107. >Or both.
  108. "I'll survive with this," you say, scooping up the apple, the only piece of food without one of the aforementioned things.
  109. >Several of the mares at the table gasp, Cadence included.
  110. >"You can't eat just that Anon, it's nowhere near enough for a colt our age."
  111. >"Yeah, if you don't like her food, you can try some of mine. I don't mind sharing," One of the other mares says.
  112. "It's not that, I just can't eat flowers or hay. My body doesn't digest them well."
  113. >More gasps, and before you know it, fruit are being set in front of you, and even a yogurt cup.
  114. >"Eat your fill, Anon, we're tough, we can survive with less lunch," Mayor Mare says, doing a flex of sorts.
  115. >As ponies, and you, settle in to eat, one of the other mares, one with a fiery mane asks, "So, what led to you two being friends?"
  116. "Hmn..?" comes from you after you swallow the bite of apple you had in your mouth.
  117. >"Well, I've sat beside him is most of my classes, but he's never even said Hi, so I figured I'd take the first step instead."
  118. >"About time someone did," Mayor Mare says, "He's always sat at that back spot, looking all grumpy. Nopony had the courage to go up and talk to him."
  119. >"You never did either," the fiery maned pony says, "And I know for a fact you've been in three classes with him this year and last."
  120. >"And what about you, Spitfire? You, the mare who had the teats to try and ask out three different colts in the same day?"
  121. >"At least I have teats, but well, Anon's... Uh..."
  122. >Glancing around, Spitfire searches for the right words but doesn't seem to find them.
  123. "Different? Alien?" you supply, and she meekly nods.
  124. >"Yeah, I guess. With a colt, you know about what to expect, but you're like, a grey area surrounded by this wall of who knows what."
  125. >"I think what they're trying to say is they didn't know how to interact with you, and were scared to screw up," Cadence says confidently, "But all they needed to do was say hi."
  126. "Don't worry, I don't bite," you say, before chomping off a chunk of apple, quickly swallowing it, "at least, not most of the time."
  127. >Most of the girls at the table suddenly shift a little, pink visible in some cheeks.
  128. >Even Cadence is glancing away from you somewhat.
  129. >Suppressing some chuckles, you finish off the current apple before picking up the yogurt.
  130. >Peach flavoured, not bad.
  131. >Too bad they don't have any spoons, so you're stuck going in tongue first.
  132. >Licking out some of the yellowy dairy product, you notice Cadence and Spitfire suddenly having troubles with their wings.
  133. >At least, that's what you would have thought before your reading of the biology textbooks.
  134. >They were popping boners, and they knew it.
  135. >And from the smile you were giving them, they knew you knew.
  136. >Tomatoes had nothing on the red of their cheeks.
  137. >Taking another deep lick of the yogurt, you maintain eye contact with Cadence.
  138. >Deep, arousing licks.
  139. >Or something.
  140. >You're not entirely sure how this is sexy, but apparently it's working.
  141. >If you knew it was this easy to get mares hot and bothered, you would have done so earlier.
  142. >But all good things have to come to an end, and the yogurt cup is soon empty.
  143. "That was good, but what were we talking about again? Everyone went quiet all of a sudden."
  144. >"We were, uh... I forget."
  145. >"Excuse me a moment, I need to run to the washroom," Spitfire says, standing up suddenly, before hurrying off.
  146. >Cadence has managed to get her wings in check, barely, and is fixing you with a big smile.
  147. >"We were talking about how Anon and I became friends."
  148. "Yes, well, long story short, she asked to do a worksheet together, and one thing led to another and we started talking and hanging out more."
  149. >"Sometimes a pony or human, in this case, just needs somepony to just make the first move.
  150. >"To be friends, I mean," she say after a moments pause, slightly embarrassed.
  151. "Says the pony just packing a wingboner."
  152. >If you didn't know any better, you'd guess pony cheeks were self inflating given how fast they filled up, turning red at the same time.
  153. >Mayor Mare and the other pony at the table, a purple maned earth pony with a pink coat burst out laughing.
  154. >"Getting called out by a colt, some princess to be you are," MM says.
  155. "I dunno, it's kind of cute. Like a bird trying to show off."
  156. >If Cadence could puff up anymore, she'd probably explode.
  157. >"Oh come off it, Cadence, Anon thinks you're cute. Why are you mad?"
  158. >"Because... I... I don't know."
  159. "Never been bested by a 'poor widdle colt'?" you ask, emphasizing the last words.
  160. >"For a colt, you've got some teats, Anon. Feel free to hang with us any time."
  161. >Cadence is still stuck in embarrassed mode, so you give her a gentle shove.
  162. "You alright?"
  163. >"Yeah, just..."
  164. >The loud ringing of bells alerts you all that lunch is over, and to prepare for afternoon classes.
  165. >"I'd better hurry. I've got gym next, so I'll see you later," Cadence says, before running off.
  166. >Grabbing your own stuff, you head off to your next class as well, after saying goodbye to the others.
  167. ~~~
  168. >With winter past and spring starting to show it's face, signs of the next holiday are popping up everywhere.
  169. >Colts are talking about the mares they have their eyes on, or what they're hoping their marefriends will get or do for them.
  170. >Mares are trying to learn what colts want, sneakily of course.
  171. >All in all, not that different from Valentines day back home.
  172. >Here, it's Hearts and Hooves day, and like last year, you're sticking to the fringes of it.
  173. >You're just starting to settle into some social circles, so you're not expecting much besides the possible pity or all my friends get one candy.
  174. >Yeah, the ponies do candy hearts here, since chocolate is apparently poisonous to most sapient species.
  175. >Of course, red and pinks hearts are stuck up everywhere, couples writing their initials in some.
  176. >Even homework and worksheet questions get into the holiday spirit, with more romantic inclinations to them.
  177. >It's not even Hearts and hooves yet, and already you're tired of it.
  178. >Ducking under another heart bedazzled banner, you enter the school proper, heading for your locker.
  179. >Or at least, you would, except that hall door seems to be blocked by a prop wall.
  180. >A wall with a question.
  181. >Scrawled out in pink text is the question 'Is your name Anonymous?'.
  182. >Below it is two big buttons, one that says yes, and one that says no.
  183. >Since you are in fact, Anonymous, you press the yes button, and it makes a *Squee* noise, followed by a section of the wall, shifting aside like a door.
  184. >Curiosity piqued, you duck under the slightly short doorway, only to see another wall not far ahead.
  185. >And with another wall, comes another question.
  186. >'On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate this tuft?'
  187. >Below the question is a hole cut out of the wall, and in the hole is a pony's chest, puffed up and sticking out.
  188. >Given the colour of the fur, you can tell almost immediately who it is.
  189. >After all, there's only one pony you know with bubblegum pink fur.
  190. >But who'd say no to the chance to rub a ponies softest patch of fluff.
  191. >Reaching out, you tousle and rub that chest fluff, the pony on the other side accidentally letting out a quiet noise, before pushing into your hand more.
  192. >There's what looks like a chalk board, and a piece of chalk, and with your free hand, you pick up the white stick.
  193. >Still rubbing the ever soft heck out of her chest tuft, you draw a 1, before scratching your chin.
  194. >There's a very quiet sound on the other side, but you can't make it out.
  195. >But, with your chin now no longer itching, you write the 0 down next to the 1.
  196. >There's a sudden squeal, and the fur beneath your fingers dissapears with a pop, and another door panel slides open.
  197. >Poking your head through the hole, you don't see anything besides another wall.
  198. >Going through the door, you find the third wall and third question.
  199. >'Are you alone for the upcoming Hearts and Hooves day?'
  200. >A yes and a no button are here like last time, and just to have a little fun, you push the no button.
  201. >Dissapointed noises come from the other side, followed by fast scratching sounds, before another wall door panel opens.
  202. >The question on this wall has been rapidly scratched out, and replaced by another.
  203. >'Who are you going out with?'
  204. "Well, I planned on going out with a friend," you reply, checking the numbers on the lockers.
  205. >Yours will be in the next area, so now you just have to hope there aren't too many more questions or you'll be late for class.
  206. >Except the door to the next area isn't opening.
  207. >There's a tapping on the wall, right behind the question.
  208. "Oh, who? Well, Maybe Spitfire would like to go out with me. I'd have to ask, but I think she has been looking at Soarin' or Joe."
  209. "Really, I was kind of hoping someone would ask me out, I'm not really good with pony romance stuff."
  210. >The door to the wall shoots open, and Cadence hurries through, throwing out her fluffy chest and smiling.
  211. >"Anon, would you like to be my D-date for Hearts and Hooves day?" she asks with a stutter.
  212. >Oh god she's so fluffy.
  213. >Must resist urge to rub the chest.
  214. >Fuck it.
  215. "Yes, I'll go with you," you reply, reaching down and running your hand through her soft fluff.
  216. >Romance may not exactly be on your top priority list, but she went through all this trouble, it'd be mean to not at least try going out with her.
  217. >Oh god her leg is twitching, just from your chest rubs.
  218. "Not to spoil the moment, but we had better get to class, or we'll be late."
  219. >"Oh, right. I've got my stuff already, so I'll just open the doors for us.
  220. >Ducking into the next segment with her, you open your locker and grab your books and binders, idly noticing the question on the wall.
  221. >Multiple choice, asking which type of pony was your favourite, including all of the above.
  222. >The next segment has the question 'Do you dislike popular mares?'.
  223. >Cadence notices you looking at the question and shrugs a bit.
  224. >"It never hurts to ask."
  225. >In the next segment, you find the question, 'Are big mammaries and teats important to you?"
  226. >Your walking partner develops a bit of a blush, which deepens as you enter the next area.
  227. >'Are these big enough?' is written on the wall, with an arrow pointing to a small hole, about where her pelvis would be if she stood on her hind legs.
  228. >The next room is not exactly a question.
  229. >Rather, it just says, 'Put human penis here," with an arrow pointing to a hole at about the same height as the last one.
  230. "A glory hole. Really?"
  231. >"It might have worked. Especially if I let you play with my teats."
  232. >About to rebuke her, you stop and consider before chuckling a bit.
  233. "Okay, maybe it may have."
  234. >Cadence suddenly stops, as if a revelation struck her.
  235. >"Wait, really?"
  236. "Maybe. I doubt it though."
  237. >Smiling, she brushes up against your side.
  238. >"Well, I guess it didn't hurt to put it up."
  239. >Several more walls and somewhat relevant questions go by, including how good was the sex.
  240. >The last panel comes up, with the question, 'Will you go out with me?' on it.
  241. >As you pass, you push the yes button, which makes confetti shoot out of several spots, covering you and Cadence.
  242. "Okay, maybe not my best idea..."
  243. >"Ah, the teachers won't mind," Cadence says, "at least as long as we don't leave too much of a mess."
  244. >Entering the class, you see that there's still a minute or so before it starts, and most of the class is already here.
  245. >Watching you walk in with Cadence.
  246. >Covered in confetti.
  247. >Okay, so not the most inconspicuous entrance.
  248. >The sign Cadence is giving Mayor Mare probably isn't helping either.
  249. >Quickly heading to your chair, Cadence takes a wider path, passing by some of her other friends.
  250. >And judging by some of the high hooves being passes around, she's spreading the news.
  251. >It's rather embarrassing actually, and you're not like a normal colt.
  252. >Oh well, you did kind of sign up for this after all.
  253. >Sitting next to you, Cadence gives you that friendly warm smile she always wears.
  254. >Yep, things could always be worse.
  255. ~~~
  256. >Even though you did technically start dating Cadence, things didn't actually change that much.
  257. >Besides hanging out a little more often, things haven't changed that much for you.
  258. >Sure, you gave up your first kiss to a pony on your sort of first date a couple days later.
  259. >It may have just been watching a play at the local park together, but it felt right, so you finished off the show with a kiss on her cheek.
  260. >Needless to say, she blushed pretty badly, but quickly regained her normal perkiness.
  261. >Also one of the colts in your class saw, and that's what really started the rumor mill.
  262. >By the time Hearts and Hooves day actually arrived, you and Cadence were considered one of the "big couples" of the school.
  263. >The princess and the exotic colt, a match made in Elysium, or so they say.
  264. >In truth, you do actually enjoy spending time with Cadence.
  265. >She's confident, funny and friendly, almost never pushy about anything, and loves it when you rub her chest.
  266. >Admittedly, you're a little hooked on that soft fluff.
  267. >If it wouldn't be weird this early in a relationship, you'd totally take Cadence to bed and use her as a pillow.
  268. >Even so, your body has been dropping hints here and there about what it thinks of some private time with Cadence.
  269. >It's only been like, a week and a half though, and that'd be rushing it a fair bit.
  270. >With it being Hearts and hooves day though, today is looking like it's going to be busy.
  271. >You got a box of candy hearts with custom messages in them, and stowed it away in your locker yesterday, just so you didn't have to sneak it in today.
  272. >The decorations of the past week seem tame compared to the amount of Hearts floating about, dangling from the ceiling or hanging on walls.
  273. >Arriving at your locker, you find the bow wrapped box still in it's place.
  274. >The sound of hooves approaching from behind makes you quickly close your locker, turning to see Cadence there.
  275. "Good morning, Cadence," you say with a smile, one she returns readily.
  276. >"Good morning to you too, Anon," she replies, before tilting her head, "Is something wrong? You're looking a little nervous."
  277. "Just fine, though I suppose I am a little nervous. This is my first proper Hearts and Hooves day, after all."
  278. >"You'll do fine, Anon. It's not like we've been together for years or anything, it's just a day spent with a really close friend."
  279. >Again, that comforting smile is there, and shouldering your bag, you turn to head to class.
  280. >Something soft suddenly wraps around your back, and you look down to see a wing has been laid around you.
  281. >And Cadence is trying to look nonchalant.
  282. >Dear god it's cute.
  283. >Reaching down, you rest your hand on her shoulder, causing her to tense up for a moment.
  284. >She quickly relaxes however, and the two of you enter class.
  285. >The two of you barely make it to your seats before the bell rings and class starts.
  286. >You can tell some ponies are jealous, even though like a month ago, none of them cared much about you.
  287. >Though the colts are probably more interested in Cadence.
  288. >Doesn't mean you can't bask in the attention a little.
  289. >Classes go by a little faster than normal.
  290. >Probably because this holiday is such a big thing here that lunch time gets extended half an hour, the time taken out of morning classes.
  291. >With the bell's ring, you scoop up your bag and rush to your locker.
  292. >You didn't really have a plan for when to give the treats to her, so a long lunch may be the perfect time.
  293. >The real question now is where should you go with her?
  294. >"Anon, is something wrong?" Cadence asks, coming to a stop behind you.
  295. "No, I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget something," you say, hiding the package in your pack.
  296. >"Well, then are you busy during lunch? I was hoping we could go out to a nice place I know to eat."
  297. "Sure, that'll be great," you reply.
  298. >"Give me a moment to grab my stuff and we'll meet at the front door."
  299. >Closing your locker, you head for the entrance while Cadence runs off to her own.
  300. >Standing outside the front door, you realize you're kind of like the girl waiting for her boyfriend to arrive.
  301. >Or was it the guy who had to wait for the girl because she couldn't choose her clothing...
  302. >Then again, you've seen the girl arriving early to earn some sympathy points since the guy thinks he made her wait.
  303. >Stroking your chin, you're so lost in thought you don't notice Cadence trot up beside you.
  304. >"Hey, what'cha thinking about?" she asks, shocking you back to reality.
  305. "Ah, just things," you reply with all the eloquence you can muster while surprised.
  306. >Which isn't much, it seems.
  307. >"What kind of things?"
  308. "Just thoughts of back home, and how things are different here."
  309. >"I suppose back where you're from, things are all humany, rather than ponyish."
  310. "That's... well, that's one way you could put it."
  311. >"But enough of that thinking, let's get going. We may have a longer lunch, but it isn't that long."
  312. >She saunters off, and you hurry to keep up with her.
  313. >Street after street you follow her, before eventually coming to a somewhat secluded park.
  314. >"I like to come here to be by myself sometimes, since not many ponies ever come here."
  315. >Your stomach growls, and you remember something important.
  316. "I forgot I was planning on buying lunch from the cafeteria today! I didn't pack anything for myself."
  317. >Cadence laughs and pats your side with a wing.
  318. >"Don't worry, I planned for that, and made sure to get enough made for the two of us. And yes, it is safe for humans."
  319. >From her saddlebags, she pulls out a blanket that gets laid out, and containers of food.
  320. >Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, carrots with dip and to top it all off, strawberries and cream.
  321. "This looks good. I'm kind of jealous you have the castle chefs to cook for you."
  322. >"It's not that great. They only make simple stuff like this for me."
  323. >Sitting down with her on the blanket, you pick up a sandwich.
  324. "It's still better than forgetting to make yourself food."
  325. >"Well, you planned on buying lunch, so it's not like you forgot," she says as you take a bite.
  326. >Shrugging, you just enjoy the sandwich.
  327. >Food goes down quickly, and as Cadence packs up the leftover containers, you pull your gift out of your bag.
  328. "I know it's not anything fancy, but I got you this," you say, holding out the box for her.
  329. >She floats it up to her with her magic, smiling.
  330. >"You didn't have to get me anything Anon, though I did get you something too."
  331. >She pulls a box from one of her saddlebags, passing it to you.
  332. >Opening the lid reveals a heart shaped candy, an almost perfect copy of her cutie mark.
  333. "This is beautiful. It almost feels like a shame to eat it."
  334. >"Yours are wonderful too. What made you think to have messages written on them?"
  335. "It's like a candy from home that we use to show love, sort of."
  336. >An almost worried look takes her, and she tilts her head.
  337. >"Sort of?"
  338. "Well, there are ones you can get for friends too, and even ones for people you don't like too.
  339. >Okay, you're not so sure on that last one, but they should be a thing.
  340. >"I think they're the right ones, since I'd give these messages to you as well."
  341. >Noticing your hidden secret at the bottom of the box, she carefully maneuvers the candies around to get at it.
  342. >As a little something extra, you made a romantic coupon book, with coupons for free hugs, kisses and stuff like that.
  343. >It seems like the kind of thing a pony would like.
  344. >As she flips through it, you see her eyes light up, before she leans over and nuzzles your chest.
  345. >"I think you deserve something special for this," she says in a voice that makes your dick swell and your heart pound, "Stand up and close your eyes."
  346. >Complying, you hope that what she said wasn't sarcasm.
  347. >Moments tick by in silence, but you keep your eyes closed, blood pumping to all parts of your body.
  348. >Okay, so the coupons may not have been your best idea...
  349. >Your pants suddenly drop, and your underwear slides down, leaving your excitement exposed to the world.
  350. >A slight breeze chills you for only a moment before something hot and wet slides around your penis.
  351. >And it just keeps going, down and down.
  352. >Okay, the coupons were your best idea ever.
  353. >Every centimeter of you that enters her tingles with pleasure, the band that is her lips squeezing you perfectly.
  354. >Her tongue dances over your dick, sending shocks through your system and leaves you wanting more.
  355. >She starts to pull off, and almost instinctively, your hands reach down to the back of her head, keeping her mouth on your meat.
  356. >You can't see it, as your eyes are rolled back in pleasure, but even with your dick in her mouth, she smiles before going back in.
  357. >Up and down she bobs her head, tongue licking every inch of your meat that she can.
  358. >A pressure slowly builds inside you as pleasure numbs your mind.
  359. >Suddenly, you feel yourself bursting, and your tip hits the back of Cadence's throat.
  360. >Shot after shot of cum shoots into Cadence's willing and accepting throat, the haze of pleasure over your mind slowly lifting.
  361. >A long slow slurp pulls her from your slowly softening member, leaving it with just a sheen of saliva.
  362. >Pulling up your pants, you see Cadence licking her lips with a smile.
  363. >Clothing back in place and mind back to working, you reach out and pull her into a hug, rubbing up and down her back.
  364. "I, that was... Incredible. Is there anything I can do like that for you?"
  365. >Her nose rubs up under your neck, fur soft as can be.
  366. >"That was an extra gift for you, I don't need anything in return, though this hug is nice."
  367. "Then hugged you will be," you say, squeezing her close.
  368. >Squirming a bit, she turns so her back is to your chest, leaving her belly completely exposed to your hands.
  369. >Foolish move, dear pony.
  370. >With one hand, you brush through her thick, soft chest tuft, and with the other, you start slowly rubbing her belly.
  371. >Her wings stir against you, but are held in place.
  372. >Good to know that this kind of stuff gets her going.
  373. "You know, if a blowjob felt that good, I can only imagine how amazing sex must feel."
  374. >"With how long you lasted, it will be incredible for both of us."
  375. "Was it really that long? It only felt like two minutes at most."
  376. >"There's a lot of differences in stamina between colts, but finding ones that go longer than a minute is incredibly hard."
  377. "Some human guys will cum before sex even starts, while others can go for like, fifteen minutes or more."
  378. >"I guess I'm lucky then, since I got you."
  379. "I'd say I'm luckier. I got a friend who helped me become more social, and now that friend is my girlfriend, and is a super snugly pony to boot."
  380. >Resting there like that, the two of you almost lose track of time.
  381. >After hurrying back to school, the two of you continue the day as normal, the events of that lunch a secret from all.
  382. ~~~
  383. >Time with your marefriend, as is the proper term, became more and more intimate, though rarely in public.
  384. >On the surface, it was innocent teen love, sharing lunches and hugs, along with the occasional kiss.
  385. >In private, the two of you were adults, exploring and enjoying every inch of eachother's bodies.
  386. >Or at least, that's what you liked to tell yourselves.
  387. >Upon reflection, it was far more like two horny teens who got told they could have unprotected sex as much as they want and there wouldn't be any repercussions.
  388. >And that's basically what you did, but it wasn't entirely the truth...
  389. ~~~
  390. >Tidying up your mane, you look at your reflection in the mirror, smiling despite a small nagging sensation you've had for the last day or so.
  391. >For some reason, everything has felt a little bit off for the past day, and even now it's still off.
  392. >Thankfully, it's Saturday, and you've got 'plans' with Anon today.
  393. >You're so glad you met him.
  394. >Kind and cheerful but not needy.
  395. >Well, unless you count sex.
  396. >He's almost as horny as you most of the time.
  397. >Sometimes even moreso.
  398. >Add in his stamina and those fingers, and you're never disappointed.
  399. >Plus, you can flaunt him and not have to worry, since he's shown no interest in mares other than you.
  400. >Sure, he's friendly with mares more than stallions, but he has this mareliness to him, but it just fits his alienness well.
  401. >Like a mare with a member.
  402. >And to top it all off, he's totally genetically incompatible, meaning all the sex you could ever want.
  403. >Something you take full advantage of, whenever you can.
  404. >Like later today.
  405. >You, him, and some lube you, uh, borrowed from Aunt Celestia's toy drawer.
  406. >Hopefully he'll be open to try anal today.
  407. >You've wanted to give it a shot for a long time now, but it's always been one of those really iffy things for colts.
  408. >Most of them won't even consider it, and those that do usually require some bribing.
  409. >Anon, well, he's different.
  410. >He's done things to you few colts would do.
  411. >And willingly too.
  412. >You've probably felt his tongue inside your pussy more that most married mares would with their own stallions.
  413. >Dozens of different poses, most of which would be impossible with a pony partner.
  414. >You can feel yourself winking just thinking about it.
  415. >And there's that nagging sensation again.
  416. >A shake and a few stomps quells it, for now.
  417. >Everything in place, you grab your saddlebags and head out into the castle halls.
  418. >Knowing Anon, he'll probably be waiting for you just outside the castle gates, since "it's a hassle to get in", he says.
  419. >It's cute he meets you halfway, where most colts would expect you to pick them up.
  420. >Though that means you don't get to search around his dorm room while he's getting ready.
  421. >It isn't like you haven't been in there before, but there's something about looking through a colt's naughties when he's in the other room and could come out at any moment.
  422. >Nodding to the castle guards as you pass, you see Anon off in his usual waiting spot, smile already on his face.
  423. >Such a sweet colt, but too marely to be horsebando material.
  424. >Buck buddy, on the other hoof.
  425. >He's some prime grade Gryphonian peakberries.
  426. >Unf~
  427. >Why won't this nagging go away...
  428. >Arms open as you close, and you are swiftly hugged, held tight in a warm embrace.
  429. >Always affectionate and willing to admire your well maintained tuft.
  430. >Just like your Mom taught you.
  431. >Tufts tame Colts, Cadence, always keep yours as sharp as your blade.
  432. >Admittedly her sayings were a little weird, but she was a long standing member of the guard after all.
  433. >It's where you were gonna go before your alicornification.
  434. >Now, you have just about every door open in front of you.
  435. >"Hey, you in here, Cadence?" you hear, and you realize the hug is over.
  436. "Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking."
  437. >"About what?"
  438. "Lots of things, but I was also thinking... do you think we could try something new today?"
  439. >"Sure, what kind of thing?"
  440. "Let's talk back in my room. It's more of a private thing."
  441. >One of his eyebrows rises, and his smile takes on that certain, lusty kind of look you love.
  442. >"Well, if you wanted me to come back there, why'd you go through all the trouble of getting your bag?"
  443. >You give a shrug, before getting up.
  444. "Never hurts to be prepared."
  445. >He follows you as you head back to the castle, returning down the same halls you were in only minutes before.
  446. >It wouldn't be your first choice to bring him here, but if you are actually getting sick or something, it'd be better to be with the castle doctors.
  447. >And given how much this little bother comes and goes, it may well be the start of something.
  448. >Pushing your doors open, you gesture him in first, as is proper.
  449. >Now if only you could throw him onto the bed...
  450. >Your marely pride prevents you from telling other ponies about the times he did it to you.
  451. >Engaging your rooms lock, you toss your bag to the side, making sure to stealthily magic the lube somewhere nearby.
  452. >Turning to face Anon, you unsurprisingly find his face right next to yours, before your lips meet.
  453. >It always starts like this, a makeout struggle for dominance.
  454. >It's rather fun, in truth, though you wish he would just roll over and let you take over like a good colt.
  455. >As lips and tongue meet, you feel the nagging sensation increase, like a clenching in your gut.
  456. >But your mom didn't raise a colty mare, so you're going to get fucked in the ass, and he's going to like it.
  457. >Managing to get a little leverage, you push him back till he's sitting on the bed.
  458. >He's the one to break the kiss, and he asks, "So, what are you wanting to try, Cadence?"
  459. "We've always been open to trying new things, so I figured, why don't we give Anal a try?"
  460. >"Are you sure you're okay with it? It's not as simple as normal sex, after all."
  461. "Anon, I've spent the past day or so preparing, I'm pretty sure I'm ready for your dick in by butt."
  462. >"Well, when you put it that way," he says, stripping off his shirt.
  463. >Pulling over the lube, you apply some magic to warm it up.
  464. >Nothing kills a mood faster than cold lube.
  465. >Well, most of the time.
  466. >Extracting some with your magic, you start to apply it to your pony butthole when your stomach twists and you feel your rear legs give out.
  467. >It's not quite pain, but severe discomfort, and you feel your teeth gritting.
  468. >"Hey, are you alright, Cadence?" Anon asks, suddenly kneeling next to you.
  469. >About to answer him, a drip of lube hits your clit, and your back end clenches tight.
  470. >"Come on, I'm going to take you to the doctors," Anon says, reaching for you.
  471. "I'm fine," you say, lying to yourself.
  472. >Anon's arms suddenly wrap around you, and he heaves you up.
  473. >"No you're not."
  474. >You'd argue, but you're too busy trying to ease the pressure in your gut.
  475. >Halls rush past as Anon runs you to the castle doctors, several guards running off to find your Aunt.
  476. >You try to tell them not to, but all you can make are pained grunts.
  477. >The door to the doctors office is shoved open, startling the doctor at their desk.
  478. >"Doctor, Cadence is in pain, I think. She just suddenly started gripping her gut."
  479. >"Set her down on the table and take a seat. We'll figure this out," The doctor says calmly.
  480. >Anon sets you down like the doctor said, the pressure having faded slightly already.
  481. >The door suddenly swings open, and your Aunt walk in, several guards stopping just outside the door.
  482. >"Cadence, are you alright?" Celestia asks, concern evident in her voice.
  483. "My stomach feels like it's in a knot and my backside is involuntarily clenched tight."
  484. >With a notepad next to her, the doctor, turns to you.
  485. >"Have there been any other symptoms?"
  486. >Anon's hand settles on your back, and the cramping slowly fades.
  487. "There's been a minor nagging sensation I couldn't put my hoof on for the past day or so."
  488. >"Have you been around anyone who is sick recently?"
  489. "None that I remember."
  490. >"I see. Have you had any unprotected sex lately?"
  491. >Looking over at your Aunt, you can feel the intensity of her stare.
  492. "Yes, I have."
  493. >"And there's the solution," the doctor says, setting the notepad aside, "You're pregnant, and your body is telling you not to have sex."
  494. "H... how?"
  495. >"I'm a doctor, I could smell the lubricant the moment you came in."
  496. >Glancing away, you suddenly register what the doctor said.
  497. >You're pregnant.
  498. "It's impossible though, there's no way Anon and I could conceive!"
  499. >"Yeah, we even covered this in school," Anon says in agreement.
  500. >Celestia lays a wing on Anon's shoulder, and you see the doctor scratching her chin.
  501. >"I think some tests are in order," The doctor says, turning to her desk, "This is just a theory, after all."
  502. >The cramping has mostly faded, and you feel like you can walk again, so you nod.
  503. "Alright, what do we need to do?"
  504. >"Well, a simple pregnancy testing spell to start, but if that turns up positive, there's a lot more stuff we need to look at."
  505. >Magic gathers around the Doctor's horn, before a small orb forms in front of you.
  506. >You've heard of how this works, so you reach out and touch it.
  507. >Colours begin swirling around inside it before it glows green.
  508. >Buck...
  509. >"It seems that yes, you are pregnant, Cadence, though if what you say is correct, we need to figure out why."
  510. >Hours go by and you and Anon undergo numerous tests, genetic and otherwise.
  511. >Eventually, you find yourself with your Aunt in her study, resting.
  512. >"So, Cadence, would you like to tell us all about how today came to be?"
  513. "Well, uh, when I was transferred to school here, I wound up sitting next to him. We ended up chatting, then going out, and one thing led to another and here we are."
  514. >"Details, niece, How big is he? How skilled is he? What kind acts did you perform together?"
  515. >Sighing, you know you're not going to get out of this easily, so you start explaining about Anon.
  516. >It starts off simple enough, but by the end, you're basically bragging and Celestia is somewhat green with envy.
  517. >"You do make him sound like, erm, a most desirable mate," Celestia says with a cough, trying to keep her wings down.
  518. "He is, but... Well... I don't want this child. I want to abort."
  519. >The atmosphere of the room seems to freeze, and you can feel the intensity of your Aunt's stares.
  520. >"Why do you say that, Cadence?" Celestia asks, her normally warm voice strikingly cold.
  521. "It's too early, I can't let my life be ruined by some unexpected foal."
  522. >"What about Anon?"
  523. "What about him? He's not the one who has to have pretty much a year of their life be destroyed because of some accident."
  524. >There's a sudden slam on the door, before the sound of footsteps running away.
  525. >"I believe we have some things to discuss then, my dear Niece," Celestia says in a voice that makes your blood run cold.
  526. >She shifts herself to be in front of you, and you find yourself locked under those magenta eyes of hers.
  527. >"Long story short, you are forbidden by law to abort."
  528. "B-but..."
  529. >"Quiet. I'm surprised you do not know. For centuries now, Royalty and the consorts of royals in Equestria have been forbidden from aborting to ensure lasting bloodlines."
  530. >"On top of that, recent studies have shown that, at least in theory, Alicorns have a statistically relevant chance of bearing future Alicorns."
  531. >"And as a final point, endangering the life of an endangered species, living or unborn, is punishable by law."
  532. >Each point she brings up makes your heart sink further and further.
  533. >Barring some sort of miracle, you're going to have to bear this, whatever it will be, to term.
  534. >Twelve months of your life, of some of the best parts of your life, gone.
  535. >You won't be able to go to school like this, they can never know.
  536. >"You will have to study from here, should you wish to not return to school," your aunt says, as if reading your mind.
  537. >"Either way, you'll have to let Anon know."
  538. "Why? He's the reason I'm stuck in this bucking mess. He can just stew and suffer for a year, I don't care," you snap back.
  539. >In truth, you half expect her to strike you or something, but nothing happens, she just sighs.
  540. >"If that is what you want, I won't force you to tell him."
  541. >Rising to her hooves, she indicates for you to do the same.
  542. >"I'm sure there are things you want to do before your condition progresses, so I suggest you do them soon."
  543. >You may not be angry enough to storm out of here, but you certainly aren't soft about it.
  544. >Returning to your room, you begin to plan what you want to and can do with the last few weeks of freedom you have.
  545. ~~~
  546. >Rushing back to your dorm, your mind tries to comprehend everything that has happened.
  547. >Cadence is pregnant, you're the dad, and...
  548. >And she doesn't want it, or want you.
  549. >For hours now, you've been thinking, about the child, about your future.
  550. >This could literally be your only legacy in this world.
  551. >From what has come from the tests and what you know of genetics, this is pretty much a miracle.
  552. >Or magic, but either way, it shouldn't have been able to happen.
  553. >But it did, and you have a child.
  554. >Unborn, yes and...
  555. >She's not going to carry it.
  556. >Stumbling, you eat pavement, scratching up your knees, hands and face.
  557. >The shock jostles you from your thoughts, and you sit yourself up, ignoring the stinging cuts.
  558. >You can't help it as tears start to form.
  559. >You may not be the best parent material, but you'd still try, unlike Her.
  560. >Standing, you half-limp back to your dorm.
  561. >Blood stains your legs, arms and face, blood you'd willingly give, just to give your unborn child a chance.
  562. >There's nothing you can do though.
  563. >She's a princess, and you're just a family-less male, stuck in a mares world.
  564. >The dorm warden sees you returning and your injuries before rushing to your side.
  565. >Nudging you along, she takes you to her room, pulling out a first aid kit.
  566. >"Anon, what happened to you? Did you get into a fight? Did Cadence do this to you?"
  567. >Shaking your head, you sit down and let her nurse your wounds.
  568. >Dirt and grit are brushed off, water washes off more, and as a final touch, disinfectant.
  569. >It stings only a little, almost nothing compared to the revelation.
  570. >Gauze strip bandages soon cover your knees and hands, and a patch on your cheek where it got scraped.
  571. >"So, is everything alright, Anon? I've never seen you this reserved."
  572. "No, but I don't want to talk about it. I don't think I can talk about it..."
  573. >You feel her hoof pat your shoulder, and she says soothingly, "Well, I'm always here if you need someone to talk to."
  574. >Smiling, you nod and stand up, ready to head back to your room.
  575. >"One last thing, Anon, if you need to stay here, I'll sign for you to stay home from school for a few days."
  576. "Thanks," you say, before walking the hall to your room.
  577. >Inside, you crash immediately into your bed, tears starting to form again.
  578. ~~~
  579. >Despite your Dorm warden's offer, you ended up going to school on monday.
  580. >Maybe it was because you hoped Cadence would be there, and you could talk to her.
  581. >Maybe you just wanted the distraction.
  582. >Either way, things didn't exactly go well.
  583. >She didn't come to school any time that week, and the next monday, your classes received notice that she was going for a foreign learning program.
  584. >After that, you just sunk into where you were before.
  585. >The quiet human colt in the back of the room.
  586. >Your grades started to slip, even the friends you had made became distant.
  587. >You couldn't even stand to look at "Her" friends.
  588. >Slowly though, the anger and sadness faded, leaving only questions.
  589. >Questions you eventually put to words in a letter.
  590. ~~~
  591. >Making your way to your room after a slow day on the throne, you're surprised to find a letter at your door.
  592. >While you do get numerous letters daily, it's odd for one to have been brought to you directly.
  593. >Lifting it with magic, you turn it over to see the sender, and suddenly it makes sense.
  594. >Entering your room, the fireplace flares to life, basking much of the room in it's warm glow.
  595. >Your cushion beckons, and you answer it's call, settling into it's softness.
  596. >About to open the letter, a knot forms in your chest as you can almost instinctively know what it contains.
  597. >Breaking the seal, you unfold the letter.
  598. >"Dear Princess Celestia,"
  599. >"I know this letter is probably pointless, and it's probably not even going to make it to you, but I have to try."
  600. >"Since what happened, I've had a bit of a rough time, but everything feels alright now."
  601. >"As the pain lessened, I found I had questions left."
  602. >"Questions I could not answer nor had any way to get answered, save maybe this."
  603. >"I guess you could call this me reconciling with what will or has happened."
  604. >Pausing, you set the letter down, wiping away a tear with your wingtip.
  605. >You can feel the emotion of his writing, and it hurts.
  606. >What hurts more is the fact that, like he said, you can't really help him.
  607. >Picking back up the letter, you resume reading.
  608. >"I already know about what the tests said, how the genetics were mainly hers with some of mine to fill."
  609. >"I can't help but wonder, what would they look like?"
  610. >"What would they grow up to be?"
  611. >"Could it even happen again?"
  612. >Several discolorations blot the paper here, sadness left behind.
  613. >"Will I ever truly be a father?
  614. >"Maybe..."
  615. >"Maybe it's a good thing Cadence is aborting, a child is a lot of work right now."
  616. >"I keep telling myself this, but it doesn't make it any easier."
  617. >"A part of me is gone now, A part I never even got to know..."
  618. >"Anyways, thank you for what you've done, I know you're the reason I got a copy of the lab results, and beyond that, helping me live here."
  619. >"Thank you, From Anon."
  620. >The weight of a stone suddenly settles in your stomach, ill vibes resounding in you.
  621. >That's not how someone normally ends a letter.
  622. >Not a normal letter, at least.
  623. >Charging your horn as fast as you can, you teleport to his dorm, rushing to the Dorm Warden's room.
  624. >"P..Princess, what brings you here?" she asks, bowing as you enter.
  625. "Do you know where Anon is?"
  626. >"In his room, I believe. What's the matter?"
  627. "No time, I must hurry before it is too late."
  628. >Dashing down the hall, your hurry to Anon's room, crashing through the door.
  629. "Anon, please, rethink your decisions!"
  630. >He turns to look at you from his position on a chair, reading.
  631. >"Celestia? What are you doing here?'
  632. >Pulling him over, you wrap your wings around him in a tight hug.
  633. "I read your letter, Anon, Please, do not end your life over this."
  634. >The Dorm Warden just outside closes the door, leaving the two of you in peace.
  635. >"What are you talking about, Celestia?"
  636. "Your letter was a goodbye, wasn't it?"
  637. >"No, not really. Like I wrote, I've gotten over it, mostly. It doesn't bother me that much anymore."
  638. >Releasing him slightly, you can see him, quite calm but confused.
  639. "But the way it ended, it sounded like you were going to commit suicide."
  640. >"Oops?" he says with a guilty look.
  641. >Releasing him, you step back, sitting down.
  642. "My appologies, but I do care for my subjects, and reading your letter made me fear for your life."
  643. >"Sorry."
  644. "You don't need to be. Your letter was quite moving, and your concerns are quite valid."
  645. "Even our best scientists could not confirm how your DNA mixed, only that it did, and it may well be, as you wrote, a miracle."
  646. "But you should still look to the future. Live well and study hard."
  647. "Perhaps another miracle will happen."
  648. >You see him start to smile, and you spread your wings a bit to invite him in for a hug.
  649. >A hug he grants you, wraping his arms around your shoulders and neck.
  650. >"Thanks Celestia, I know you didn't have to come here, or even read the letter, but it means a lot to me that you did."
  651. "I care for all my subjects, regardless of gender or species."
  652. >"Does that include those not yet born," he asks, a faint glimmer of hope in his eyes.
  653. >A hope you can only answer with silence.
  654. >Cadence did wish for nobody to know she had to keep it, and you did promise her.
  655. >It does not make it hurt any less.
  656. >You just wish you could say something.
  657. >Anything.
  658. >"Don't worry, I'm not mad or sad or anything, Celestia, it's not our choice after all."
  659. >'But it's not hers either,' you think to yourself.
  660. >"Would you like to stay for dinner? I was planning on starting it soon and I can make enough for two."
  661. "Thank you, but I will be fine. I must return to the castle soon anyways."
  662. >Rising to your hooves, you nod to Anon before heading to the door.
  663. "Thank you for having me, Anon. I do hope you'll send another letter soon, hopefully one that's a little more happy."
  664. >"I'll keep that in mind, Celestia. Take care."
  665. >Calmly exiting the dorm, you give the Dorm Warden a smile, before exiting the building and teleporting back to your room.
  666. >Anon's letter still sits on the ground, right where it fell.
  667. >Picking it up with magic, you carefully fold it and return it to the envelope.
  668. >The envelope, you stow away under some papers in your desk.
  669. >A reminder of Anon's side.
  670. >A reminder of a father to be's sadness.
  671. ~~~
  672. >Like you said, you did end up sending letters to Celestia occasionally.
  673. >Most of the time, they were simple "hey, how are you doing?" kind of letters, but occasionally you had interesting events to talk about.
  674. >Her replies were always swift, usually arriving the next day.
  675. >You could almost call her your best friend.
  676. >Even though you did open up a little more at school after her visit, and made some friends again.
  677. >Something about her just let you be open with her, almost like your mom.
  678. >Mom...
  679. >How are they doing, back on earth?
  680. >If only they could know you're well.
  681. >Even so, now's not the time for such thoughts, as mid terms are coming up.
  682. >Sure, you did a lot of this stuff back before you came here, but now that you are in grade eleven, you've forgotten a bit of it.
  683. >Staring at the question, you sigh.
  684. >Okay, maybe a lot of it.
  685. >Maybe if you had someone to study with.
  686. >There's a sudden knock at the door, and you call for them to come in.
  687. >"Good afternoon, Anon, there's a letter for you," your Dorm Warden says, walking over, "It's from Celestia, so I figured you'd want it right away."
  688. "Thank's ma'am. Do you happen to remember much from high school?"
  689. >Looking at your worksheet, she smiles, drops the letter and backs out of the room.
  690. >"Sorry, I have, uh... things to do. Good luck, Bye."
  691. >The door closes suddenly, and you're left to your questions alone.
  692. >Also a letter from Celestia.
  693. >Maybe a distraction will do you some good.
  694. >Breaking the wax seal, you unfurl the scroll to read it.
  695. >"To Anon,"
  696. >"I hope this letter finds you well, as I know Mid term Exams are soon."
  697. >"Be sure to take breaks to relax while you study, it can help your long term focus and retention."
  698. >"Anyways, I'm planning on visiting in a week, so you can expect me then."
  699. >"Take care, and if possible, have tea and cakes ready."
  700. >"Sincerely, Princess Celestia."
  701. >Well, Looks like you have plans for next saturday now.
  702. >At least half of your exams will be over so there's less studying to do.
  703. >The problem is one word there.
  704. >Cakes.
  705. >As in plural.
  706. >You've heard Celestia really likes her cakes, but on your budget, even one full sized cake would break your wallet.
  707. >What to do, what to do...
  708. >Guess it's going to be plain pasta for a week...
  709. >Looking back to your worksheet, you sigh.
  710. >Time to pull out your textbook.
  711. ~~~
  712. >Textbook in one hand, kettle in the other, you simultaneously prepare for Celestia's visit, and study for your final two exams.
  713. >Setting the kettle to boil, you pore over Equestrian history, seeking to remember dates, names and places.
  714. >Compared to human history, major events tended not to wars, but natural disasters.
  715. >Or magical ones.
  716. >There were a lot of those.
  717. >Like the Anima leyline fracture that made the Everfree.
  718. >Or the spellbite plague that decimated what is now Appleoosa.
  719. >Wars over resources are one thing, but when the resource itself causes problems when people aren't warring over it, well...
  720. >Things certainly are different here.
  721. >There's a knock at the door, and you set down your book before heading over.
  722. >Pulling it open, you find Celestia on the other side, a basket held by her magic.
  723. "Hello, Celestia, how are you today?" you ask, moving to the side to let her in.
  724. >"Well enough. You wouldn't believe how much stuff I had to re-order and load in order to get today free."
  725. "You didn't have to do this, you know," you say, pulling out the cake and biscuits.
  726. >"No, it's rather important I did, but enough of that, this cake looks delicious."
  727. "Let me grab some plates and a knife. The water should be boiled soon."
  728. >"I'm in no rush," she says, though you can see the way she's eyeing the cake.
  729. >As you are about to step into the kitchen area, the kettle starts steaming, a shrill whistle ringing through the rooms.
  730. >Something stops you though, a second sound, one that cuts through the whistling moments after it starts.
  731. >A sound that stops your heart for a beat.
  732. >Crying, emanating from Celestia's basket.
  733. >Turning back, you see her lifting the basket up.
  734. >"Oh shoot, I was hoping to delay this a little," she says, her magic moving the kettle off the stove as well.
  735. >The whistling quickly dies, and from the basket, Celestia lifts a small pink foal from the basket, comforting them with a wing.
  736. >"There there, it's alright," she coo's softly, and the baby swiftly quiets.
  737. "I... is that?"
  738. >"Your daughter? Yes."
  739. >Walking over, your arms reach out almost instinctively.
  740. >She is raised out for you, tiny hooves wiggling in excitement as she sees you.
  741. >A tiny horn adorns her head, surrounded by amber mane.
  742. >Holding her close, you find she has wings as well, though small for her size.
  743. >Green eyes look back into yours, and you can feel your heart melting further.
  744. >She's without a doubt your daughter, and you don't bother trying to hold back tears as you hug and hold her.
  745. >"I cannot tell you everything, Anon, but what I can say is this. Raise her well, though I know you will."
  746. >"You're her father, and you're the only one who should be taking care of her."
  747. >"Cadence was glad to be rid of her, and while I can offer monetary support, there's nothing I can do for you publicly."
  748. "I understand," you say, gently rubbing your daughter's head, "I'll do everything I can for her, now and forever."
  749. >A bottle of milk is suddenly floated out of the basket and set next to you.
  750. >"She'll probably be hungry again soon, so you can warm up that. Also..."
  751. >A box is brought out as well, and again set next to you.
  752. >"... since you probably don't have anything for her, there's a few toys for her."
  753. "What about diapers?"
  754. >Celestia opens her mouth to say something, before closing it and looking bashful.
  755. >"Sorry, I'm kind of new to babies too."
  756. >Your daughter latches onto your finger and starts sucking slowly, so you pick up the bottle and take it to the kettle.
  757. >The water's still hot, so setting the bottle in it starts warming it evenly.
  758. >She's so small, carefully cradled in one arm, but she'll grow up slowly.
  759. >While the kettle heats the milk, you slowly stroke her head, her soft mane sliding under your fingers.
  760. >An ear twitches as you touch it, and your finger is released from your daughter's mouth.
  761. >Before she can start crying, you pull the bottle from the water and check it's temperature.
  762. >It's warm enough, so you set the tip in her mouth, and she starts sucking again.
  763. >With her nestled in your arm, you head back to the table.
  764. >There, you find Celestia face deep in the cake.
  765. >She looks up at you with a guilty smile, and you roll your eyes.
  766. "Go ahead. You brought me the greatest gift I could ask for, the cake is only the least of my thanks."
  767. >She digs back into the cake, while you make sure your little girl is pacing her self on milk.
  768. >A good chunk of the bottle is gone already, and she seems to be getting drowsy.
  769. >Pulling it away, her hooves wiggle for it a moment, before you tilt her up and begin patting her back gently.
  770. >After a bit, she burps and looks a lot more content.
  771. >"You'll make a great father, you know," Celestia says, daintily wiping off excess icing.
  772. "I know some things about child care, I have a younger sister, well, back on earth."
  773. >"You don't often speak of your family, or so I've heard. Are you afraid you'll miss them?"
  774. "I always miss them, but in truth, it's rarely a relevant topic. And besides, now I have a family here to take care of."
  775. >Rocking her gently, your daughter yawns and starts drifting to sleep.
  776. "Does she have a name?" you ask, realizing you hadn't bothered to before.
  777. >"Not an official one. Cadence called her something, but I'm not recording that as her name."
  778. "Then I'll call her... Venus."
  779. >"And so it shall be. There are papers you will need to fill later, but for now, would you like a piece of this cake?"
  780. >A cleanly cut piece is slid over to you on a plate, apparently obtained while you were distracted.
  781. "Sure."
  782. >Holding your daughter in your lap, you use your free hand to slice and eat the cake.
  783. >What remains of the rest of it is formed up inside her magic, before being siphoned into her mouth.
  784. >Not a side of Celestia you expected to see, but whatever.
  785. >The sound of the kettle whistling starts again, before being cut off succinctly as Celestia's magic moves it.
  786. >"She's quite the distraction, we almost forgot the tea," Celestia says, bringing the kettle and teapot over.
  787. "Well, she'll certainly be the focus of my life for the next say, twenty years."
  788. >"Hopefully not your only focus. You should always spend time with friends and, while it should not be your initial focus, intimate contact is important as well."
  789. "Give it a few years, Celestia. Right now, I'd rather get everything in line first, like a job, a home and all that stuff."
  790. >"What about your schooling?"
  791. "How could I finish it? I have to take care of Venus now, there's no way I'd be able to go to classes, and I'm sure other ponies would figure things out if they saw her."
  792. >"Hmn... When are your remaining exams?"
  793. "Uh... Tuesday at 1 and Wednesday at 9, why?"
  794. >"Leave Venus to me at those times, I will watch her while you finish those. As for the rest of the year, I will figure something out."
  795. >Your initial response of why catches in your throat, so you just smile.
  796. "Thanks, Celestia."
  797. >"Now, about this tea..."
  798. ~~~
  799. >Compared to the first few days of rushing for things you needed, your exams were easy.
  800. >After the first day, your wallet felt empty, but thankfully, Celestia held true to her promise of financial aid.
  801. >With bits to spare, you obtain a supply of diapers, baby milk(Which is apparently a thing here), and other sundries.
  802. >But with the basics down, the next problem rears it's head.
  803. >You're not going to be able to live at the dorm.
  804. >That means renting an apartment, or finding a really cheap house.
  805. >And to pay for that, you need a job.
  806. >And since you can't afford a babysitter, nor would you ever want to leave Venus with one, that means finding a job that will let you have Venus with you.
  807. >Staring at the help wanted part of the newspaper, you rub your temples.
  808. >This is going to suck, big time.
  809. >Venus has been sleeping fairly well lately, meaning you have been sleeping well too.
  810. >You usually only have to wake up twice each night.
  811. >Oh hey, Entry level office work, that might work.
  812. >Circling it, you continue down the list, circling most entry level jobs that don't require constant activity or are dangerous work-sites like construction.
  813. >An odd entry catches your eye, and you scan over it.
  814. >Masseuse needed, Training can be provided if applicant meets base skill requirements.
  815. >The location is a spa, so you mark it with a maybe.
  816. >A last resort, so to say.
  817. >With a list of places to go to, a pack filled with baby supplies and enough bits to grab lunch, you prepare Venus's baby carrier.
  818. >Since there's nothing designed for your body type, at least, none that are a reasonable price, you had to get the largest size pony one available and fiddle with the straps till it works, sort of.
  819. >It's far from the most comfortable thing for you, but it fits and it holds Venus securely.
  820. >Speaking of, you carefully and slowly lift her up, setting her in the carrier without waking her.
  821. >Today's going to be a long enough day as is, no need to get her going early.
  822. >Loaded up, you quietly leave, nodding to the Dorm Warden as you pass.
  823. >While she doesn't know the whole story, she's the on of the key reasons Venus hasn't been discovered.
  824. >Looking over your list you suddenly wish you had a map.
  825. "Guess I'll just have to wing it," you say to yourself, heading for the main street.
  826. >The first couple you find easily, but are rejected quite swiftly due to Venus and the working requirements.
  827. >Secretary and office work proves rather awkward and cumbersome, since the typewriters are designed for hooves, not fingers.
  828. >Others require magic, and are unicorn only because of that.
  829. >Interview by interview, hour by hour your options shrink.
  830. >While many places would willingly hire you, even though you're not able to finish high school, it's all brought back to Venus.
  831. >Dinner time nears and you notice a help wanted sign on the side of a restaurant.
  832. >Looking at the name tells you it's called "Hondo's Sports bar."
  833. >Admittedly, not the catchiest of names, or the best of options, but it couldn't hurt.
  834. >Walking in the front door, a warmth washes over you, despite the nice weather outside.
  835. >A pony hurriedly runs up to you from out at the tables, putting on a smile.
  836. >"Table for one?" she asks, and you shake your head.
  837. "I saw the sign outside, I'm hoping for an interview."
  838. >"Oh thank goodness. We've been really busy since we're short staffed. I'll go get the boss."
  839. >The mare runs off to the back, returning shortly with a stockier unicorn stallion with a small brown mustache.
  840. >"Well how do you do, I'm Hondo Flanks, and I hear you're looking at applying?"
  841. "Yes, I hope."
  842. >"You hope? Well, that's not very promising. Come, let's sit and chat."
  843. >Following him to an open table off to the side, you sit across from him, undoing Venus's carrier.
  844. >"Since I've introduced myself, how about you introduce yourself to me?"
  845. "My name is Anon, I'm a human, I'm looking for my first job, and I have a daughter."
  846. >"That so," he says, scratching his chin, "and I take it this is your little girl?"
  847. "Yes. Her name is Venus."
  848. >"And I take it there is a reason you have her with you when doing job interviews?"
  849. "Well, long story short, I'm the only family she has, and I can't afford anyone to take care of her."
  850. >"Not even family?"
  851. >Shaking your head, you sigh.
  852. "Another long story."
  853. >"Then something you could answer then. What do you think you could bring to the table if you worked here?"
  854. "Food and drinks," you reply, giving him a smile.
  855. >He lets out a chuckle, "Alright, I'll give you that. So, what kind of availability do you have?"
  856. "My schedule is basically free, though I'd prefer not to work too late, since I'd still have to walk home with Venus."
  857. >"I see. Now, about how far from here do you live?"
  858. "Right now, about a half hour walk, though I do plan on moving soon."
  859. >About to ask another question, Hondo stops when Venus lets out a quiet cry.
  860. "Sorry, just give me a second," you say before lifting your daughter from her carrier.
  861. >Hondo seems a little surprised, while you cradle Venus with one hand and dig for a toy with the other.
  862. >Finding her stuffed animal, you set it with her, calming her down.
  863. >"You know," Hondo says, resting his hooves on the table, "I'm sure the Princess would be willing to aid you, since your daughter is an alicorn,"
  864. "She is, but I'm not going to live off another ponies kindness. What kind of father would I be if I didn't try to provide for her myself?"
  865. >"Well said!" Hondo exclaims, slamming a hoof on the table, "I like you, Anon. Show up for training the day after tomorrow, and we'll see how well you can handle yourself and your daughter."
  866. "Just like that?"
  867. >"My friend, I have a little girl of my own, and between you and me, I've got another on the way. I know how you feel."
  868. >"Besides, having a foal with you really draws in the tips, especially from the evening crowd," he says with a wink.
  869. "Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Flanks, you won't be dissapointed," you say excitedly, reaching across the table to shake his hoof.
  870. >"Just Hondo, please," he replies, meeting your hand with a hoof, "I will see you then."
  871. >Venus lets out a happy gurgle, and you rub her head.
  872. >Scooping her up, you give her a snuggle, before setting her in her back in her carrier.
  873. >"Try and be here for Eight. The morning's always slow, so we can get a feel for how well you can handle yourself."
  874. "Can do. Have a good day," you say Venus's carrier strapped back on.
  875. >"You as well," he replies, waving as you head out.
  876. >Half a block later, you realize there's no way you'll be able to sneak Venus past at this time of day.
  877. >You could probably have Celestia teleport you there, but there's no telling if that's good for babies, and it increases the chances of running into her...
  878. >Idly wandering around, you eventually come to a park where you sit on a bench, pulling Venus from her carrier.
  879. >She gives a small yawn, so you bring out a small blanket and wrap her up before starting to rock her to sleep.
  880. >She's mildly unhappy with this, so you bring out the milk bottle and present the end to her.
  881. >It may not be very warm, but she starts drinking anyways, slowly settling down to sleep.
  882. >Several ponies pass, but none disturb you, which you're thankful for.
  883. >You may be an oddity, but not so much that ponies really react often.
  884. >Sure, there are the odd curious ponies, but even they aren't too intrusive.
  885. >Plus, it's not like you get out all that much.
  886. >And now you have a social heavy job.
  887. >This may not have been your best decision, but there's no turning back now.
  888. >Tilting your daughter upright, you pat her back, slowly getting her to expel the air buildup in her stomach.
  889. >Letting out a sigh, you set her sleeping form in the carrier, before heading back to the dorm.
  890. >Perhaps the Dorm Warden will let you stay in her room for a bit.
  891. ~~~
  892. >Training went well, and thankfully the "Sports bar" is also a family restaurant, so it had a foal-proofed area that you could leave Venus is when needed.
  893. >Most of the time you were dealing with small groups or couples, since you worked the Breakfast and Lunch shift, so you rarely had to leave her there.
  894. >While you aren't working full time, it's more than enough, when coupled with Celestia's funding, to let you save up to rent an apartment.
  895. >After learning you've gotten a job, Celestia decides to come for a visit, and you discuss with her about where you should look for apartments.
  896. >Venus grew quick quickly in the first few months, which Celestia assured you was normal.
  897. >By two months, she was quite mobile, getting into all sorts of places if you weren't careful.
  898. >Her magic started manifesting shortly after that, though it was mainly just short sputters of light from her horn.
  899. >Again, normal, according to Celestia.
  900. >It does unfortunately mean that she's waking up more often, as magic occasionally discharges and the light wakes her.
  901. >And of course, that means you get woken too.
  902. >Ah, the joys of parenthood.
  903. >Before the end of the school year, you found an apartment and moved out.
  904. >There wasn't exactly a celebration or anything, since you couldn't really tell anyone.
  905. >Celestia helped anyways, even going so far as to provide you with a table and chair set.
  906. >Nothing fancy, but you were far from going to look a princess horse's gift in the mouth.
  907. >Or however that saying went.
  908. >By fall, you were sending letters back and forth with Celestia on an almost weekly basis, discussing Venus's growth or work or just daily little problems.
  909. >At work you slowly needed to spend less and less time watching Venus, as she grows more capable of self entertainment.
  910. >One day, you get a real kicker as you're called in to work to not only handle a shift, but also to babysit Hondo's daughter, Rarity.
  911. >You had met her several times before, and she's often proven to be a boon as she would watch Venus for you when visiting work.
  912. >You learned later that Hondo's wife, Cookie, had gone into labour, and that they had another daughter.
  913. >A little pink and purple maned filly named Sweetie Belle.
  914. >And he did not let anyone forget it, since he had her with him most days at work.
  915. >Cookie always seemed a little exasperated with him, but she always had a smile too.
  916. >Maybe Ca...
  917. >No, she wouldn't be like that.
  918. >Through the grapevine, you've heard she's back at school and acting like nothing happened.
  919. >Apparently it became like you just dissapeared, and everyone forgot you.
  920. >You miss your old friends a bit, but you've become friends with some of your co-workers.
  921. >Minimal disposable income however, means you often can't go out shopping or things with them.
  922. >Venus also interferes with some plans.
  923. >Overall, she's rather well behaved, though since you're rarely more than a few dozen feet from her, most problems are solved quickly anyways.
  924. >The real problems began when she figured out how to open the gate to the foal area at work.
  925. >Needless to say, you were shocked when she was found toddling through the main area, looking for you.
  926. >She was walking and even running by 11 months, talking, albeit only a few words by 16 months.
  927. >Her magic use was focused enough for simple telekinesis by two years.
  928. >With Sweetie being only a few months younger than her, they often played together both at work and at other times.
  929. >Almost weekly, you have to send development reports to Celestia, since this is the first time an Alicorn has been born and raised.
  930. >All the current ones ascended when they were a teen or young adult.
  931. >Even so, you're strangely not that much of an oddity.
  932. >Sure, you're an alien monkey thing with a future princess for a daughter, but to others, you're a stallion working hard to care for his daughter.
  933. >Sometimes, you're extremely grateful that Venus is a pony and not a human or half human half pony thing, since it means you don't have to buy things like clothes.
  934. >Though with her wings and her shockingly early flight learning, they may have just gotten in the way.
  935. >Apparently pegasii don't really start flying till about five, but Venus was getting air time by three and a half.
  936. >And boy did that get her into some trouble.
  937. >It meant all your foalsafing went out the window, and you had to improvise new things to prevent her from getting into stuff.
  938. >While she isn't normally one to go against what you tell her, she's a curious little filly.
  939. >And that means locking everything.
  940. >Also, you're so glad magic and flight are mostly instinctive to ponies.
  941. >There's no way you could teach Venus any of it.
  942. >Celestia helps teach her tricks though, whenever she stops by.
  943. >Tricks she is always excited to show you again and again.
  944. >She's always so happy to be patted on the head and praised.
  945. >You'd say she's a daddy's girl, but with no mom...
  946. >It's nearly impossible to even go out to meet mares, between work and child raising.
  947. >Celestia gives you days off whenever she has one, as she'll spend the day foalsitting for you.
  948. >Imagine your shock when you get home and Venus calls out, "Auntie 'lestia, Daddy home!"
  949. >You don't mind it, but that doesn't make it any less surprising.
  950. >After that, Celestia tried to find more time to visit, and with some success.
  951. >All too soon, Venus started school, leaving you with less days you had to take her to work.
  952. >But with Venus growing, so too did the food required, and your monthly expenses.
  953. >The few raises at work you earned helped, but things remained tight, even with Celestia's aid.
  954. >She offered to give more, but she's doing more than enough already, which you thank her for often.
  955. >Eventually, it hit the point where you needed a second job, though only for part time.
  956. >It wasn't long before Celestia had her schedule shifted so she could foalsit Venus on the days you worked twice.
  957. >Everything went well, few things changing, until one summer, as Venus just turned nine.
  958. >It was time for the Summer Sun Celebration, to be held in a small town called Ponyville.
  959. ~~~
  960. >"Daddy, hurry, or Auntie 'lestia is gonna leave without us!" your excited daughter cries out, bouncing around you.
  961. "I'm sure she's not going to leave without her favourite niece," you say, packing some of Venus's sleeping things.
  962. >She's rarely problematic when going to bed, so long as she has her pony stuffie.
  963. >It was a gift from Celestia when she was four, a stuffed pony alicorn, deep blue with a sparkly mane that looks like stars.
  964. >If she doesn't have it with her, getting her to stay asleep becomes a real chore.
  965. >She's taken to calling it Moonie, since it has a moon for a cutie mark.
  966. >"Daddy, come on!"
  967. >With a sigh, you close the pack, hoping you haven't forgotten anything.
  968. "Alright alright, let's get going."
  969. >Bag over your shoulder and daughter running around your feet, you lock up and start heading for the Sky carriage grounds.
  970. >Thankfully due to Venus's excitement, the two of your do not get waylaid, as is usual with her.
  971. >Soon, you arrive at the elevated platforms, where Celestia waits.
  972. >Immediately upon seeing her, Venus calls out, "Auntie 'lestia!" and runs over.
  973. >"Good morning Venus," she replies, kneeling to give her a hug, "and good morning to you too, Anon."
  974. "And to you as well, Princess. How are you today?"
  975. >"Quite well, thank you. I take it you are ready to go?"
  976. "I'm sure there's something I forgot, but Venus was quite excited to leave, so I'll have to make due."
  977. >"Are we gonna ride this?" Venus asks, looking out from the front of the carriage.
  978. >"Yes we are, all the way to that little town down there," Celestia says, pointing off to a small area in the distance.
  979. >"Wow, it's so small!"
  980. "It will be bigger when we get there," you say, before gesturing for Celesia to enter.
  981. >She smiles before entering, seating herself on the large cushion.
  982. >Sitting down on one of the small ones, you set the bag aside and pull Venus from her perch.
  983. >You've never ridden one of these before, but hanging half out of the window like Venus was doesn't seems like a good idea.
  984. >"Flyers, whenever you are ready," Celestia says, and you hear some affirmatory replies from outside.
  985. >Seated in your lap, Venus is almost shaking with excitement as the carriage starts to move.
  986. >There's a lurch, and it takes to the air, smoothing out quickly.
  987. >Looking out the window, you see the city slowly growing smaller below you.
  988. >Passing the edge, the world just seems to plunge, and the carriage settles into a long, slow descent.
  989. >Releasing Venus, she immediately shoots to a window to look out.
  990. >"Wow! Daddy, we're really high!"
  991. "Yes, now be careful. If you fall out, I can't save you."
  992. >"Yes Daddy."
  993. >She pulls back, but keeps looking out the window in excitement.
  994. "What kind of plans are there for tomorrow," you ask, turning to Celestia.
  995. >"Not a lot. It's a fairly simple Celebration, but I figured you and Venus could use a vacation, so that's why I invited you."
  996. >Sighing, you smile at her.
  997. "You're always doing so much for us."
  998. >"Auntie 'lestia is the best Auntie ever!" Venus says, looking over.
  999. >Celestia lets out a quiet giggle, covering her mouth with a wing.
  1000. >"Unfortunately, I'll be busy with preparations with the mayor for most of today, so you two will have to have fun on your own."
  1001. >"Should you get lost, try and find my student, Twilight Sparkle. Knowing her, she likely has a map."
  1002. "Twilight, you've mentioned her before. The purple unicorn, right?"
  1003. >"That's her, yes. She'll have a baby dragon with her, she's hard to miss."
  1004. >There's a sudden *pomf* and Venus pulls her face back in the window, cloud stuck all over it.
  1005. >Giggling, she swats it off, before sitting down next to you.
  1006. >"How long is it gonna take, Daddy?"
  1007. "I don't know. Maybe you should ask Celestia."
  1008. >Venus's green eyes turn on the Sun Princess, who says, "It will be a little bit still. Don't worry though, it's not a long flight."
  1009. >The rest of the flight is fairly quiet, save a few questions here and there from Venus.
  1010. >She's just about bouncing at the door as the carriage comes in to land.
  1011. >A few moments after touchdown, the door opens and your daughter jumps out, looking around in wonder.
  1012. >"Daddy, everything is different! It's all so small!"
  1013. "That's because it's a town, and not a city like Canterlot. Less ponies live here, so they don't need big buildings."
  1014. >Bag back on your back, you exit the carriage and wave to Celestia.
  1015. >It starts off towards a large brick structure in the distance while you head over to catch up with Venus.
  1016. >She's not gone too far, being enthralled by the decorations everywhere.
  1017. >Scooping her up into your arms, you start looking around for a park or playground where she can play.
  1018. >Following the main street, you quite quickly find a schoolyard near the town hall.
  1019. >Several other foals are already there, playing.
  1020. "Don't go too far, I'll be around," you say, setting Venus down, "And make sure you have fun."
  1021. >Nodding, she runs off to the play structure, while you search for a bench.
  1022. >Looking around, you spot decorations going up at the town hall, held up by magic.
  1023. >That's not what attracted your attention though, rather, the pony putting them up.
  1024. "Rarity? Is that you?" you ask, walking over.
  1025. >The pony in question looks around, before spotting you.
  1026. >"Anon?! What brings you to Ponyville? Where's Venus?"
  1027. "The one and only, The Summer Sun Celebration, and playing at the school playground, in that order."
  1028. >She trots over to you, and you kneel down and give her a hug.
  1029. "It's good to see you. We've missed you coming around your dad's bar."
  1030. >"I do miss it, but I took over my grandpa and grandma's work here."
  1031. "Good for you."
  1032. >You give her mane a ruffle, and she gives you an indignant look.
  1033. >"Hey, I try hard to keep my mane looking fabulous, and it's hard enough without you messing it up."
  1034. >A brush floats out of one of her saddlebags, and she starts re-brushing her mane.
  1035. >With it back in it's normal, elegant whirls, she puts away the brush and says, "If you want to help, I'm in charge of decorating for the event tomorrow, and could use a hand."
  1036. "Well, as far as I know, I'm the only one with hands around here, so I suppose that means I should help."
  1037. >"I'd be ever so grateful, Darling. Now, hold this up while I measure it."
  1038. >Half an hour of assisting later, and she's headed off to another part of town, leaving you to stay and watch Venus.
  1039. >She's now playing hide and seek it looks like, with several of the other children at the playground.
  1040. >Returning to your prior quest, you eventually find a bench to sit on where you can keep an eye on Venus.
  1041. >You've never heard of her having problems socializing at school, but she does have a penchant for wandering off because something caught her interests.
  1042. >And in a whole new place, it's probably not going to be long before she finds such a thing.
  1043. >From your backpack, you pull out a book, but before you can even finish one page, your daughter runs up to you.
  1044. >"Daddy, do we have any snacks?"
  1045. "I'm afraid we don't Venus. Are you getting hungry?"
  1046. >"Just a little bit. I can wait for lunch time."
  1047. "Alright. Are you having fun?"
  1048. >She nods energetically, saying, "The ponies are really friendly. They let me play with them when I asked."
  1049. "That's good to hear," you say, ruffling her mane, "Now go on, enjoy yourself."
  1050. >With another nod she runs off back to play, leaving you to your book.
  1051. >Once again, you barely manage to read a few pages, before you're interrupted again, this time by a pink pony.
  1052. >"Hello Stranger, who are you? I've never seen something like you before, and I know all the ponys in Ponyville. That means you're new to town!. *GASP!* Two new friends in one day?! I have lots of planning to do!"
  1053. >Before you can say anything, she runs off at incredible speeds, leaving you alone on the bench again.
  1054. >Shrugging at the strange encounter, you return to your book once more.
  1055. >You finally manage some progress before you're interrupted a third time.
  1056. >This time though, the interruption is your stomach, and it's complaints of being empty.
  1057. >Admittedly, just grabbing an apple for breakfast wasn't going to keep you sated for long, but it's barely eleven.
  1058. >Sliding your bookmark into place, you stow the book back into your bag and walk over to the playground.
  1059. >The game seems to have shifted from hide and seek to tag now, and among the rushing foals you see Venus.
  1060. "Venus, come over here!" you call, Venus stopping on a dime before looking at you.
  1061. >She runs over, skidding to a halt in front of you.
  1062. >"Are we going Daddy?"
  1063. "Just for a bit. We're going to go for lunch, and then maybe come back if we don't find anything else fun to do."
  1064. >Trotting alongside you, she's on constant lookout for interesting things while you're looking for a restaurant.
  1065. >Eventually you find a nice little restaurant, and stop for lunch.
  1066. >Your selection is limited, but you eventually choose something, and Venus does as well.
  1067. >You've not done much in testing what she can eat that ponies can't, mainly because getting such things are difficult, and it's dangerous without medical assistance as well.
  1068. >She has shown some interest and tolerance of meat, the rare times you get it.
  1069. >There's a nice gryphon merchant who occasionally has shipments of it, though it is rather expensive due to shipping costs and acquisition.
  1070. >Celestia, was slightly disturbed by it, the one time she was over though, so it seems like it's not an alicorn thing.
  1071. >Your meals are soon brought, along with a slice of pie you didn't order.
  1072. >As you open your mouth to ask, the waitress says, "It's on the house, Hun. Keep your little sweetie happy now."
  1073. >With a smile, she gives a small bow and tip of her hat, before heading off to handle other customers.
  1074. >"I can have the pie Daddy?" Venus asks, looking at the steaming slice of dessert.
  1075. "Once you finish your meal, yes," you reply, and she immediately starts into her food with all the voracious energy of a child promised dessert.
  1076. >Which she is.
  1077. >Your own food is eaten at a more sedate pace as you observe how things differ out here.
  1078. >Clouds suddenly start dissapearing from the sky, a blue and rainbow streak punching through them.
  1079. >Weather pony, perhaps.
  1080. >The pie plate starts sliding slowly across the table, you focus on Venus and her half finished meal.
  1081. "I said when you finished your meal. That doesn't look done to me."
  1082. >"Yes Daddy," she says, looking a little downtrodden.
  1083. >"Oh let the girl have the pie," a mare from two tables over says.
  1084. "And I take it you're her mother then?" you asks, fixing a glare on her.
  1085. >"N.. no, but foals should be spoiled, right?"
  1086. "Since you're not her mother, and I'm her father, my word is right, and yours isn't. Now if you don't mind, I'm trying to enjoy lunch."
  1087. >Looking back, you see Venus staring at the table.
  1088. "Is something wrong, dear?"
  1089. >"Daddy... Who was my Mommy?"
  1090. >Letting out a sigh, you reach across the table and gently take hold of one of her hooves.
  1091. "When we go back home, I'll tell you. I was hoping you would be a bit older before you asked, but you deserve to know."
  1092. >Giving her a soft smile, she eventually nods, before turning back to her food.
  1093. >However, it seems her heart isn't in it, as she mostly just pokes at it.
  1094. >Looking away, you slide the pie over in front of her.
  1095. "Don't tell your Dad," you whisper, keeping your gaze averted, even after her excited squeal.
  1096. >The pie dissapears swiftly, and you finish off your own meal and pay for the food.
  1097. >Scooping up your daughter, despite her protests, the two of you head off to the edge of town.
  1098. >Here, tall birch trees make a forest, beams of sun cutting through the leaves, making a wonderful scene.
  1099. >"Wow, it's so pretty!" Venus says, before getting set down.
  1100. "Since We've always lived in Canterlot, I decided coming out here for a bit would be nice."
  1101. >Together, the two of you roam the woods for an hour, maybe more.
  1102. >Always sticking to paths, you revel in the beauty of nature.
  1103. >Eventually, you come out near the local hospital, leaves and twigs abound in your daughter's mane and tail.
  1104. >Tidying her up, you walk back to town, stopping briefly for ice cream.
  1105. >The day goes by slowly, with the park, Dinner, some wandering around and then finding the apartment Celestia rented for taking up the rest of it.
  1106. >Settling Venus down with her Moonie stuffy, the two of you are in bed early, since the Celebration starts at dawn tomorrow.
  1107. >Bright lights from the tree building down the street hamper your attempts till you get the curtains closed properly.
  1108. >'Morning' comes with much fanfare, ponies everywhere waking other ponies who slept through the night.
  1109. >Venus is still mostly asleep, cradled in your arms with Moonie.
  1110. >Everyone is gathering at the town hall for a big speech from Celestia, before going outside for Celestia raising the sun.
  1111. >While that's not how it works on Earth, you've adopted a fairly open apathy to things here.
  1112. >If it's how they work, why question it.
  1113. >Taking a seat at the back wall, you hold up Venus so she can see clearly.
  1114. >Well, she'll be able to see once she's done rubbing her eyes.
  1115. >A pony walks up on stage, addressing the crowd.
  1116. >It takes a moment, but you suddenly recognize her as Mayor Mare, though her mane has gone white or been dyed.
  1117. >It seems neon pink wasn't good for looking professional.
  1118. >Her speech concludes, and she goes to introduce Celestia, but when the curtains are pulled, she's not there.
  1119. >Any sleepiness is suddenly gone thanks to the shock, and in moments, a dark cloud starts swirling above the room.
  1120. >For lack of a better term, it pools around a balcony before a black alicorn steps forth from it, deep blue armor covering parts of it.
  1121. >"Oh, my beloved subjects. It has been so long since I've seen your precious, little sun-loving faces."
  1122. >Several voices come from parts of the room, demanding to know where Celestia went.
  1123. >"Why, am I not royal enough for you? Don't you know who I am?"
  1124. >"Big Moonie!" your daughter exclaims, jumping up from your arms.
  1125. >The alicorn's almost serpentine eyes turn on you and your daughter, and a smile forms, fangs poking past lips.
  1126. >"My, my, a young alicorn. I did not expect to see one such as yourself here."
  1127. >Deep blue magic suddenly surrounds Venus, pulling her from you and to the alicorn.
  1128. >"Come now, my dear, you will aid me well in my conquest of this land. As for the rest of you, I do hope you enjoyed the last day, for the night shall now last forever!"
  1129. >Cackling evily, the Alicorn suddenly teleports away with your daughter.
  1130. >For what feels like an eternity, you stand there in shock, pulse pounding in your ear, before you see a purple unicorn run off with a small purple dragon on their back.
  1131. >Realizing that that must have been Twilight, you rush after her.
  1132. >She's Celestia's student, she must know something.
  1133. >Several other ponies seem to have the same idea as you, and chase after her as well, a blue pegasus passing the lot of you in terms of speed.
  1134. >The lower half of the door does not survive it's meeting with you, slammed off it's hinges in your haste.
  1135. >Twilight is poring over a book, and running up, you slam a fist next to her, towering over her.
  1136. "Where is she! WHERE DID THAT BITCH TAKE MY DAUGHTER!" you yell, causing her to cower back somewhat.
  1137. >"I.. I don't know for sure, but she probably went to the old castle, out in the Everfree, but we can't..."
  1138. >The moment you hear your destination, you're already leaving, grabbing an atlas as you rush past the shelves.
  1139. >From the corner of your eyes, you thing you see Rarity, but you have no time to make sure.
  1140. >You have to find her.
  1141. ~~~
  1142. "Twilight, was it? What did you tell Anon?" you ask, making sure your mane wasn't messed in the rush.
  1143. >"I just told him NightMare Moon probably went to the old castle in the Everfree. He's a colt, he's not going to go in there, it's too scary."
  1144. >Your eyes go wide, and you rush to her, grabbing her face in your hooves.
  1145. "Do you realize what you've done? NightMare Moon took his daughter! He will rip apart that forest to find her. She's literally his only family in the world!"
  1146. >"It can't be that bad..."
  1147. "Darling, he babysat me when I was younger, and I often watched his daughter and my little sister while he worked. He is far from your average air-headed stallion."
  1148. >"But what's goin' on?" Applejack asks, "Nothin's been explained."
  1149. >"It was foretold that on this day, the stars would aid in NightMare Moon's escape, and she would return to bring about nightime eternal. According to this book, the only way to stop her is to find the Elements of Harmony, which are supposed to be at the old castle in the Everfree."
  1150. >"What are we waiting for then? Let's get out there and kick her flank," Rainbow says, crass as usual.
  1151. >"It's not that easy," Twilight says, "The Elements haven't been found in a millenia."
  1152. >"They ain't getting found by us staying here, let's get moving," Applejack says.
  1153. "I agree. We need to find Anon before anything happens."
  1154. >Twilight packs away the book she has, before heading out with the rest of you following.
  1155. >Hopefully nothing has happened to Anon...
  1156. ~~~
  1157. >Brushing past trees, you follow the faint path through the forest.
  1158. >In the distance, you can see a glow through the trees, the remnant of the castle casting a silhouette around the light.
  1159. >If what Twilight said was true, that alicorn that stole Venus should be there.
  1160. >Thankfully there's a full moon tonight, and the world is well lit because of it.
  1161. >A ratty looking bridge becomes your only way to cross a chasm, and it's the only thing to slow you.
  1162. >The castle looms swiftly, and you rush in the main gate.
  1163. >Much of the wood has rotted away, cobwebs and plants taking hold all over.
  1164. >The source of the light grows closer and closer, till you reach one of the few intact doors you've seen.
  1165. >Trying the door, you stumble through as it opens suddenly, pulling you in.
  1166. >"Greetings, my little... Ah, you."
  1167. >Glaring up at the Alicorn, sitting upon the remaints of a throne.
  1168. "Where did you take her? Where's my Daughter."
  1169. >"She's... indisposed at the moment. I must thank you for bringing her to me, however. She will prove to be a powerful pawn to my conquering of the world."
  1170. "I won't let you!" you shout, running at her.
  1171. >Everything starts gets heavy, and you notice a deep blue aura covering you.
  1172. >"Calm yourself, I will not harm her. I would gladly accept your aid, should you wish to pledge yourself to me eternally."
  1173. "I will never..." you start, struggling under the weight of her magic, "I will..."
  1174. >Suddenly, Twilight bursts in the door behind you.
  1175. >"NightMare Moon! Your princess and foalnapping days are over!"
  1176. >"And you think you can stop me?"
  1177. >Pawing the ground, magic grows in Twilight's horn before she starts charging NightMare Moon.
  1178. >"Are you serious?" NightMare Moon says, looking down at Twilight.
  1179. >Lowering her own head, she charges as well.
  1180. >The weight of the magic on you fades, and just before the two ponies collide, Twilight dissapears with a teleportaion.
  1181. >She re-appears at the throne, magic recharging instantly.
  1182. >Lightning shoots out, arcing between five spheres scattered around the throne.
  1183. >Nothing happens, and NightMare Moon laughs.
  1184. >With a stomp of her hooves, the orbs are shattered, but with the distraction of Twilight, you have enough time to tackle her from the side.
  1185. >Bringing a fist down at her face, it's stopped by magic, which slowly drags you off her.
  1186. >Scrambling from beneath you, she gets to her hooves, but there's a commotion at the door.
  1187. >Rarity and a bunch of other ponies run in, and what happens next can only be described as a heroic, but silly speech followed by jewlery and a rainbow laser.
  1188. >As everything clears, There is not NightMare Moon, but a smaller, lighter blue alicorn.
  1189. >Heavier hoofsteps come in from the hall, Celestia entering in a halo of light.
  1190. >"Teacher!" Twilight exclaims, though Celestia ignores her for the moment.
  1191. >Instead, she walks over to the blue Alicorn.
  1192. >"S... sister... we missed you," the blue alicorn says, nuzzling Celestia's neck.
  1193. >"I missed you as well, Luna, but I believe there is something you need to do first."
  1194. >Nodding, Luna turns to you, saying, "Follow us, we shall lead you to your daughter."
  1195. >Behind the throne, and through several doors, she leads you to what looks like it was a bedroom at one time.
  1196. >Moving the bed aside, a chamber below is brought into light.
  1197. >Down there, your daughter looks up, and upon seeing you, she immediately takes to the air, flying into your arms.
  1198. "Venus, are you alright?" you ask, holding her close.
  1199. >"I am Daddy, the mean pony didn't hurt me."
  1200. >Venus's stuffie floats up, held by Luna's magic, brought over to Venus.
  1201. >She grabs it from the magic, pulling it into her chest and burying her self in your chest.
  1202. >Opening her to say something, you cut her off with a stare, and a wave of your hand.
  1203. >Sitting down, you hold Venus close, whispering comforting words for her.
  1204. >You hear Luna trot in place a moment, before respecting your wish and walking away.
  1205. >After a while, Celestia walks in, asking, "Is everything alright?"
  1206. "We're fine, she's just a little shaken up."
  1207. >"Auntie 'lestia, hug!" you daughter says, reaching out to Celestia from your arms.
  1208. >Letting her go, she rushes over and buries her face into Celestia's chest tuft, white wings encircling her.
  1209. >"It's going to be okay, Venus. NightMare Moon is gone, and my sister Luna is back."
  1210. >"Your sister?"
  1211. >"The blue alicorn. Something bad happened long ago, turning her into the evil NightMare Moon. Now she's back to being my little sister."
  1212. >"She's still a meanie!" Venus says, before hopping back into your arms.
  1213. >Standing up, you nod to Celestia, and start back to the throne room.
  1214. >"Well, I hope today isn't completely ruined for you, Venus, since there's all sorts of stuff going on in town."
  1215. >Your daughter is suddenly bursting with excitement, the day's trials seemingly vanished in the wind.
  1216. >"We need to get back, Daddy. Hurry!"
  1217. "Alright, alright, let's get going."
  1218. >Giving a small wave to Rarity and the other ponies, you head out the entrance and back into the forest, the dawn sun rising from the horizon.
  1219. >A beautiful start to what will hopefully be a good day.
  1220. ~~~
  1221. >The day goes on with fun and celebration, but on the train ride back after lunch, Venus is suddenly very quiet and un-energetic.
  1222. >Lying on the seat next to you, her head is on your thigh, eyes closed in what looks like rest.
  1223. >Her breathing and pulse are far too erratic to be sleeping though, her heartbeat quickening whenever the train showed signs of slowing down.
  1224. >Running a hand down her mane draws her eyes to yours, and you give her a warm smile.
  1225. "Whatever's bothering you, sweetie, I promise it will be alright."
  1226. >"But Dad," she replies with a pout, "I'm not Sweetie, I'm Venus."
  1227. "Oh, my mistake. I forgot I wasn't babysitting for Hondo right now."
  1228. >Giggling, she makes a swat at your leg with a hoof, and you grab her around the barrel.
  1229. >Pulling her into your lap, you force her into a hug.
  1230. "But seriously, is something bothering you? You've been rather quiet."
  1231. >"Well, you've never talked about who mom is, so this must be important."
  1232. "It is, but that doesn't mean you have to not be yourself. You're my daughter, first and foremost, and nothing you say will change that."
  1233. >She nuzzles your arms, murmuring, "Thanks Daddy."
  1234. "You're welcome Sweetie."
  1235. >"DAAAAaaad!"
  1236. >Squirming free, she hops onto the seat next to you, briefly sticking her tongue out at you.
  1237. "It's not that much longer till we're at Canterlot. Make sure you're not missing anything."
  1238. >Looking to both sides, she remembers everything is in your bag, before giving you another look.
  1239. >Sticking your tongue out at her, she smiles, which you return.
  1240. >For the remainder of the trip, she watches out the window, enjoying the scenery while you make more progress in your book.
  1241. >The walk home is quiet, a heavy feeling mood slowly setting in, despite you dispelling it earlier.
  1242. >Making your way up to your apartment, you pause at the door.
  1243. >The last wall of your daughter's innocence.
  1244. >At least, the last wall pertinent to her conception.
  1245. >You feel her hoof rest on your leg, and she says, "It's alright Dad, I'm a big girl."
  1246. "I know you are, Venus, I'm just... scared, I guess."
  1247. >"You're not the one learning who their mom who they've never know is."
  1248. "I suppose you're right. Come on, we're not going to get anywhere standing around like this."
  1249. >Unlocking the door, you enter, setting your bag aside.
  1250. >Venus follows you, heading to the living room chairs.
  1251. >Climbing onto one, she waits while you stop in the kitchen a moment, getting a drink of water.
  1252. >Taking a seat opposite her, you stroke your chin.
  1253. "Where to start... I'm sure you've at least figured out that I was young when I had you, right?"
  1254. >"Mhmm."
  1255. "Well, back when I was in High School, I met a mare that, at the time, I thought was really nice, and pretty, and all around great."
  1256. "We started dating, and one ting led to another, and we soon started, well, having sex."
  1257. >"Ewww, I don't need to hear about that, daddy."
  1258. "Anyways, Because I'm a human, and she's a pony, we thought 'There's no way she could get pregnant'."
  1259. "But surprise surprise, it suddenly turns out she's pregnant, with you."
  1260. "Here's where things get a little... unhappy. You see, she didn't want to have you."
  1261. "Now, I'm sure School has taught you about the princesses, right?"
  1262. >"Yes. There's Princess Celestia, Princess of the sun, and there's also a new princess, Princess Cadence, Princess of love...*Gasp!*"
  1263. >"Is Cadence my mom?"
  1264. "Yes. it's why your coat is the colour it is."
  1265. >"But why didn't she want me?"
  1266. "I'm not sure. You see, after we learned she was pregnant, she talked in private with Celestia."
  1267. "I ended up hearing that she wanted to have an abortion and get rid of you."
  1268. "Celestia asked her if she knew what I wanted, and she said she didn't care."
  1269. "After this, she just dissapeared for a year. Nobody knew anything, and I," you say with a hiccup,"I thought you were gone, before I even had you."
  1270. >She opens her mouth to say something, but with a gesture you silence her.
  1271. "I started sending letters to Celestia, she was one of the few who knew anything, but even she couldn't tell me anything."
  1272. "And then, only a few days after you were born, Celestia showed up for a meeting, and she had you."
  1273. "She didn't tell me anything about Cadence, but it didn't matter, I had you, I have you..."
  1274. >Jumping over with a flap, she lands on your lap, nuzzling into your chest for a hug.
  1275. >"I'm glad you did Daddy. I don't care if I could have been a princess there, I'd rather be a normal pony here, with you."
  1276. >Wrapping her in a hug, you fight back tears, knowing the only secret you had from your daughter is in the open, and she accepts it.
  1277. >"Wait, does this mean I have to call Cadence, Mom?"
  1278. "Not if you don't want to. I have many names I'd prefer you call her, but you're a lot too young to be saying them."
  1279. >"Like Buttface? or Teatless?"
  1280. "Hey now, missy, who taught you to talk like that?"
  1281. >"Mares at your work. They're always yelling it at the projecto Crystal. Well, they said Flankface, but I think Buttface sounds funnier."
  1282. "I guess it makes sense," you say with a sigh, "at least you don't have to be there during the big games."
  1283. >"Why is that, Daddy?"
  1284. "There are a lot more mares, and they are a lot rowdier, and that means a lot more cursing."
  1285. "And no daughter of mine is going to be crass like those mares."
  1286. >"Fine, then I'll just be sissy like a colt."
  1287. "No you're not."
  1288. >"Then what can I be?"
  1289. "You will be you, and that's all there is to it."
  1290. >"But what will I be? I haven't gotten my cutie mark yet, so I haven't discovered my special talent."
  1291. >With a laugh, you lift her off your lap and set her on the opposing chair.
  1292. "Maybe you'll be like me and not have one, but given how much pony is in you, you're more than likely going to get one."
  1293. "But back on topic, now that you know who your mother was, you must promise not to tell anyone. It's fine to talk about it with Celestia, and actually, she probably knows some things you may want to, but tell nobody else."
  1294. >There's a knock at the door, interrupting your conversation, and you rise to answer it.
  1295. >Opening the door, you're surprised to see Celestia on the other side.
  1296. "Ah, Princess, we were just talking about you," you say with a smile.
  1297. >"Oh? What kind of things were you saying?"
  1298. "Most recently, I was commenting on your vast supply of knowledge, but please, come in, I can start some tea."
  1299. >"While our sister may prefer coltish drinks such as tea, we prefer coffee, thank thee" you hear from behind Celestia, Luna stepping into view.
  1300. "Alright..." you say, heading to the kitchen.
  1301. >"Luna, that was rather rude," Celestia says, catching your daughter as she comes running over from the living room, "and hello to you, Venus."
  1302. >"Auntie, why did you bring your meanie sister?"
  1303. >"Now Venus, she's not mean. Come and let's sit, I'll tell you a story."
  1304. >"Okay Auntie."
  1305. >Making sure the water is boiling, you fetch your tea bags and instant coffee.
  1306. >Preparing cups for the three of you and some apple juice for Venus, you grab a small plate of cookies too.
  1307. >"And, well, I was young, I didn't notice the changes till it was too late," you catch from the other room, "her jealousy and loneliness were starting to eat away at her."
  1308. >"Far too soon..."
  1309. >Whatever she was going to say is drowned out for you by the sound of the kettle whistling.
  1310. >Pulling it from the stovetop, you fill the mugs, mixing Luna's coffee in.
  1311. >Setting teabags into Celestia's and your own, you bring the four cups and cookies into the living room.
  1312. >"Ah, thank thee, colt," Luna says, floating over her cup of coffee, "Could we bother thee for a touch of cream?"
  1313. "I don't have any cream, will milk do?"
  1314. >"That will suffice."
  1315. >A quick hop over to the fridge later, and Luna has her dairy.
  1316. >"Again, thou have our thanks. Thou may return to thy duties, as we have no further need of your assistance."
  1317. >"Luna, you can't say things like that nowadays," Celestia says, looking over in disapproval.
  1318. >"Why not? Is it not a stallions place to maintain the house? To cook, to clean, to gather firewood, and other such acts?"
  1319. >"Well, yes, but no at the same time," Celestia says, "It can vary a lot."
  1320. >"We are confused, sister, please, elaborate."
  1321. >Scooping up Venus, you set her in your lap as you sit down, setting her drink and your own on the small side table.
  1322. >"It's true, even now, most stallions manage house life, cooking meals, cleaning and such, but there are others that work to help provide for their family."
  1323. >"And in the same way, there are some mares who stay home and tend for the house and foals, rather than the the stallion."
  1324. >Luna looks down, deep in thought for a moment, before saying, "Ah, then Anon is the type to work, while his mare handles the home?"
  1325. >"No, I don't need a butt faced mom, Daddy is the only one I need," Venus exclaims from your lap, punctuating her statement with a stuck out tongue.
  1326. >"We do not..." Luna starts, before being cut off by Celestia.
  1327. >"I take it you have told her, then?"
  1328. "I did, somewhat. I think that at some point, you should talk with her about it, but I don't thing now's the time."
  1329. >"Time? For what? We are confused."
  1330. >"It's a long story that I will tell you some other time. For now, relax, dear sister, and enjoy some quiet time with nice company."
  1331. >Raising her coffee to her lips, something seems to click for Luna, mid sip.
  1332. >Unfortunately, that causes her to spit out what's in her mouth, dark brown coffee coating some of your carpet and a portion of Celestia too.
  1333. >"Anon is the sole parent of Venus?!"
  1334. >"Yes, Luna, he is, and you'll excuse me, I need to borrow your bathroom, Anon."
  1335. >As Celestia walks out, Luna's magic flares to life.
  1336. >"Our apologies, we shall clean this up."
  1337. >Held by blue magic, the coffee rises from the carpet, none left behind.
  1338. >It gathers up before she sets it in one of the cups and sits back in her seat.
  1339. >"Oh, it has certainly been far too long since we used our magic with such accuracy."
  1340. >Letting out a breath, she reaches out with magic, grasping her coffee cup.
  1341. >The same cup she dumped the floor coffee in.
  1342. >Upon taking a sip, she suddenly spits it out, making another mess on the floor.
  1343. >With a cough, she looks away, pulling the coffee from the floor once more, before floating the coffee cup to the kitchen.
  1344. >"We believe that is sufficient coffee for now."
  1345. >In your lap, Venus is holding back giggles.
  1346. "Venus, why don't you go and grab one of our games?" you say, setting her on the ground.
  1347. >"Alright. Is everyone gonna play?"
  1348. "I think so. Luna?"
  1349. >"Yes, we shall participate. It will be interesting to see how things have progressed in a millenia."
  1350. >Removing things from the coffee table, you take a seat on the carpet, Luna joining you after a moment.
  1351. >Venus returns soon, Wonderbolts Super Derby Game floating above her in magic.
  1352. "Not going easy on us, huh?" you say, and from behind Venus, Celestia laughs.
  1353. >"Indeed. Though maybe a bit of first time luck from Luna might help tip the scales."
  1354. >"Of what do you speak?"
  1355. "Let's just say our odds of winning are pretty low. Venus wins this game most of the time."
  1356. >"We shall see about that," Luna says, a fire sparking in her eyes.
  1357. *Twenty minutes later*
  1358. >"H... how? We were so certain of victory. We had such a mighty start as well." Luna says, staring down at the board.
  1359. >"It's not where you start but where you finish," Venus says sagely, before smiling, "You did really good though. Better than Daddy on his first time."
  1360. >"Well, you did play against me almost fifteen times that day," Celestia says, gathering the pieces up.
  1361. >"We demand a rematch. We shall not lose again!"
  1362. "While you guys do that, I'll be getting Dinner ready."
  1363. >"We leave the kitchen to you then," Luna says, already intent on the start of the game, "We await what you shall prepare."
  1364. >"Luna, that's rather impolite, you know."
  1365. >"What? We simply stated that we will leave him to his culinary preparation."
  1366. >"Yes, but telling a colt to go to the kitchen is seen as rather sexist."
  1367. >Leaving the two princesses to their discussion of sexism, you start searching through your cupboards.
  1368. >Your search come up short of anything quick, so you pull out some pasta and ingredients to make a decent cheese sauce.
  1369. >Setting water to boil, you remember some ground manticore you have in the freezer.
  1370. >It may not be a tomato sauce, but some meat will still fit in nicely.
  1371. >With your sauce pan and frying pan on the stove as well, you're running out of room, but thankfully, this is all you'll need.
  1372. >It's not long before the meat is simmering, and you can hear your daughter's ears focus on the doorway.
  1373. >She almost has a sixth sense for this, and she always asks...
  1374. >"Dad, can I have some?" comes from the other room, and you silently chuckle to yourself.
  1375. >And in truth, there's no reason to say no today, since there are two princesses here who can help if something goes wrong.
  1376. "Sure, I suppose it's fine today," you reply.
  1377. >"What are you asking about?" Celestia asks Venus.
  1378. >"Daddy's cooking meat, but he doesn't let me have any. He says it might not be good for me, but it always smells so tasty."
  1379. >"It has been a Millenia since we last tasted meat, but as best we remember, it was not unpleasant."
  1380. >"Most ponies would never even try it in their lifetime, but as an Alicorn, it's not as... how do I put it... We don't have the same digestive problems normal ponies have with it," Celestia says, "I myself occasionally have some when dealing with gryphon delegates, though rarely too much."
  1381. "So you two are fine if I mix in the meat with all of it?"
  1382. >"Yes, it will be fine," Celestia calls back, "but I'm curious, how come you never told me you eat meat?"
  1383. "It never came up."
  1384. >"Well, I suppose I never messed around with your kitchen so I never found any."
  1385. >"Aha, and now thou art the one being Sexist, Sister."
  1386. >"No I'm not, it's just this isn't my house, so I'm not going to go digging through his things."
  1387. "So you're telling me all the times you foalsat Venus, you never made her food?"
  1388. >The silence that follows makes you shake your head and sigh.
  1389. >"It's not my fault I don't know how to cook. And it isn't like I didn't feed her, I just ordered in."
  1390. >"Ordered in?" Luna asks.
  1391. >"Well, you see, nowadays, there are some restaurants that..."
  1392. >Draining the grease from the meat, you make sure the pasta isn't sticking to the bottom, and the cheese sauce isn't burning.
  1393. >After turning the sauce down to keep warm, you add the ground beef to it and stir it up before grabbing bowls.
  1394. >"Impossible, how did thou..."
  1395. >Sounds like the game is wrapping up.
  1396. >Noodles boil and the table is prepped, all while your daughter finishes off Luna's hopes of wining the game.
  1397. >With the pasta finally soft and cooked, you drain out the water and scoop in some butter.
  1398. "Alright you three, Lunch is ready."
  1399. >First to the table is, unsurprisingly, your daughter, followed shortly by Luna.
  1400. >Celestia comes in a moment later, probably lingering to tidy up the game.
  1401. >Sitting down, Luna says, "This smells wonderful. Tis been too long since we last enjoyed a colt cooked meal."
  1402. "A thousand years on the moon must have at least taught you something about cooking."
  1403. >"Nay, we spent much of the time gathering our magic and plotting. Most of what we ate was raw fruits and vegetables."
  1404. >Servings are scooped, cheese and meat sauce is poured on top, and the moment a bowl sets down in front of Venus, she's all over it.
  1405. >The first couple mouthfuls go down quick, but after that, she slows enough to breathe between bites.
  1406. "So, how is it?"
  1407. >"It's really good, Daddy, but the meat, it doesn't taste like the other meats you cook smell."
  1408. "That's because the other times, it's usually steak or similar. This time, the meat is just to help support the flavour and add a little texture."
  1409. >As befitting a princess not in public, Celestia is close to shoveling it in, barely stopping to breathe.
  1410. >"Your cooking is excellent as always," She says, daintily wiping her mouth with a hankerchief, "Could I bother you for seconds?"
  1411. "Help yourself," you say, gesturing to the pot and saucepan.
  1412. >Digging into your own meal, you contemplate how busy today has been.
  1413. >It's actually rather surprising that Venus hasn't crashed yet, though the train ride probably helped.
  1414. >Dinner goes by rather quietly, and as you thought, it's not long before Venus is yawning.
  1415. >While you tidy up, Celestia and Luna head for the door, despite Venus's protests.
  1416. >"Today was... fun. We enjoyed ourselves, and we hope that you will allow us to return."
  1417. "Of course. You're always welcome to visit, just make sure you're not coming when Venus is in School and I'm at work."
  1418. >"I'll be sure to bring her along when I foalsit sometimes. I have the feeling she wants a re-match for her defeats today.
  1419. >"We shall not let her remain undefeated, regardless of her age."
  1420. >"I'm not gonna lose either," Venus retorts, puffing out her chest.
  1421. >With a wave of her wing, Celestia starts off, Luna following behind.
  1422. >Venus lets out another yawn, and you kneel down to pick her up.
  1423. "Come on, lets get you ready for bed, you've had quite the busy day."
  1424. >She just nods sleepily as you carry her to the bathroom.
  1425. >A busy day indeed.
  1426. ~~~
  1427. >"Letter for Celestia," a mail pony says, walking into the throne room suddenly.
  1428. >Turning from your book, you nod and float the letter from her.
  1429. >"A letter from one of your many suitors?" Luna asks, looking over from her cushion next to you.
  1430. "From Anon, actually."
  1431. >"Is there a difference? You seem as close as those wed, oftentimes."
  1432. "He is a friend I can be myself around. I do not need to maintain the formalities of a princess around him."
  1433. >"We know. Thou were rather rude when consuming his pasta before."
  1434. >Not giving her the satisfaction of an answer, you open the letter, unfolding it.
  1435. >The first thing you see is that this was sent from his work, since it's done on their stationary.
  1436. >'Dear Celestia and possibly Luna,'
  1437. >'I don't know who'll be there and available, but I have to work a double shift at work, and I need someone to watch over Venus for the evening today.'
  1438. >'I know this is rather last minute, but I don't have anyone else I can ask, and it's going to be far to busy at work for me to keep her there.'
  1439. >'I'll make it up to you if you can, if you can't just let me know, I'll figure out something."
  1440. >'Your friend, Anon.'
  1441. >"What does it say?" Luna asks, trying to peer over at it.
  1442. "Anon needs a foalsitter for the evening because of his work, but I can't go because there's an important meeting this evening."
  1443. >"We can go!" Luna replies immediately, her wings flaring slightly in excitement, "We shall sit upon Venus all night, if we have to."
  1444. "It doesn't work like that, Luna, but if you want to watch over her, I'll let Anon know."
  1445. >Jumping to her hooves, she says, "We shall go prepare then. We obtained a game that we wish to play with her."
  1446. "Oh, and when did you get this game?" you ask, quirking an eyebrow.
  1447. >"We have gone outside the castle without you," She replies, looking away nervously.
  1448. "Really now. Where did you go to get this game?"
  1449. >"We went to... uh," she starts, looking around to no avail, "Oh teats to it, we gave bits to one of the castle servants and had them obtain it for us."
  1450. "Being truthful is a good thing," you say, "Now go get that game, you still have about two hours before school ends, and I feel like it might be best for you to pick her up there."
  1451. >"Is that not an excessive amount of time? It should only take us a brief walk to arrive there."
  1452. "Call it a hunch," you say, covering your mouth with a wing as you chuckle silently to yourself.
  1453. >Luna runs off to her room, and you prepare a letter for Anon.
  1454. ~~~
  1455. "Where is Dad?" you mutter to yourself, anxiously looking around the entrance of the school, the vice principal watching over you from nearby.
  1456. >"It has been half an hour, do you think we should send somepony to see where he is?" she asks, looking up from her desk at you.
  1457. "I'm sure he was just held up at work, he'll get here soon," you reply, trying to keep calm, despite your wings poking out, ready to take off in a panic.
  1458. >Dad's never late, something must have happened...
  1459. >Suddenly, there is a very loud "Aha!" from outside, and someone walks through the door.
  1460. >"We knew we could find the school on our own," Luna says, puffing up her chest.
  1461. >"H.. hello Princess, what brings you here?" the VP asks, standing up and bowing in the same motion.
  1462. >"We are here to pick up Venus that we may seat ourselves upon her."
  1463. "You're going to sit on me?"
  1464. >"Tis explained in this letter," she says, rummaging in a saddlebag till she pulls out a somewhat crumpled piece of paper.
  1465. >The letter is passed over to the Vice Principal, who adjusts her glasses before scanning over the letter.
  1466. >"It seems things are in order. Venus, you are free to leave with the Princess."
  1467. >Rising up, you walk over to Luna, making sure nothing is missing from your saddlebags.
  1468. "What's going on?" you ask nervously, "Why isn't Daddy here to pick me up?"
  1469. >"It seems Anon has to work extra, and he requested ourselves or our sister to watch over you for the evening."
  1470. >Letting out a sigh of relief, you retract your wings after their earlier nervous fluttering.
  1471. "Auntie Celestia must be busy if she's not coming," you say, and Luna nods.
  1472. >"She has an important meeting this evening so she could not come, but fear not, we shall entertain you."
  1473. >Stopping, you watch as Luna starts heading down the wrong street.
  1474. "Um, Princess, where are you going?"
  1475. >"Hmn? Just Luna is fine, and is this not the way to your abode?" she asks, looking over her withers at you.
  1476. "It's this way," you say, pointing in nearly the opposite direction with your hoof.
  1477. >"Ah, our apologies, we seem to have gotten our directions confused. Perhaps it will be better if thou led, as thou have likely walked this path a great many times."
  1478. "You're not the best with directions, are you?"
  1479. >Her ears tilt back a little, and she nods, "We will admit, our navigational sense has gotten... rusty, after such a long time on the Moon."
  1480. "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get it back," you say, patting her side with a wing.
  1481. >Your vision is suddenly covered in blue, as one of her wings reaches out over you in a sort of embrace.
  1482. >"We are not so weak that we need comfort, young one, but it is appreciated. Now, let us hurry back, We brought a game for us to play."
  1483. "Tired of losing at Wonderbolt's Super Derby?"
  1484. >"That was only twice," she says, before puffing out her chest, "And we are certain that we will win this game."
  1485. >Stopping, you look up at Luna and smile.
  1486. "So, what happens if I win?"
  1487. >"Art thou attempting to make a wager?"
  1488. "You mean a bet? Yes."
  1489. >"Then a bet it shall be. If we win, thou shalt prepare dinner for the two of us."
  1490. "And if I win, hmn..."
  1491. >Pausing in though, you idly paw at the ground with a hoof.
  1492. "Aha! If I win, you have to kiss Daddy when he gets home, but you're not allowed to tell him why."
  1493. >Luna's wings flare up a bit, and you can see the fur of her cheeks darkening with red.
  1494. >"K... kiss a colt, without his permission? Is that not a simple way to get in trouble?"
  1495. "I know Daddy, he'll be fine with it."
  1496. >"If thou say so. Then we have a bet."
  1497. >Reaching a hoof up, she meets it with her own.
  1498. >Deal sealed, you hurry on your way home, Luna easily keeping pace.
  1499. >"Thou are certainly in a rush to face thy defeat."
  1500. "We'll see, Luna."
  1501. >Up the apartment stairs, you reach the door, digging in your pack with magic for your key.
  1502. >Unlocking the door, you gesture for Luna to enter, locking it behind her.
  1503. >"Shall we use the kitchen table or the living room table to play on?" Luna asks, shrugging off her saddlebags.
  1504. "The kitchen one, it's bigger. Just give me a moment to put my stuff in my room."
  1505. >"We shall prepare the game then."
  1506. >Running to your room, you skid a little as you try to stop on hardwood, coming to a stop perfectly inside your bedroom door.
  1507. >Nailed it.
  1508. >Shrugging off your saddlebag, you stop a moment and look around, thinking if you'll need anything.
  1509. >Quietly tapping a hoof, you slowly come to the conclusion you'll be fine, and turn back to the kitchen.
  1510. >A board is set on the table, pieces scattered in coloured groups.
  1511. "What game is this?"
  1512. >"It's called War of the Tribes. Tis a game about the age before unification."
  1513. "The Christmas thing?"
  1514. >"We have not heard of this, Christmas, is it a holiday?"
  1515. "Hearth's Warming. Daddy just calls it Christmas."
  1516. >"Ah, yes, that is correct. This game is a fair bit more directly competitive, compared to the game we played prior."
  1517. >Taking the green, earth pony pieces, Luna gathers the blue Pegasus ones.
  1518. >"To start, we need to set out units like so," Luna says, floating the instructions so you can see them.
  1519. "Is it always the same? doesn't this mean one side is always gonna win?"
  1520. >"Not entirely. These positions are based on the actual formations during the war, and since no side was able to take an advantage, it's a rather fair start."
  1521. >Setting your pieces out in the proper places, you look at the map of very old Equestria.
  1522. >Lots of places on it aren't there anymore, and lots of places that there are now aren't there.
  1523. >"It is... jarring. This map is of the world we remember, but now, to come to this age... many of the places we knew are gone, and all of the ponies we knew as well, save our sister."
  1524. >Opening your mouth, you try to say something, but nothing comes.
  1525. >"Our old friends, few as they were, our advisers and guards. Even that kind old lady who ran the bakery..."
  1526. >You can see her wings and ears drooping, tears forming in the edges of her eyes.
  1527. >Jumping up onto the table, you cross to her and hug her, neck, wings and all.
  1528. "I really don't know what to say except that everything is going to be alright. Your old friends may be gone, but you can make all sorts of new ones now too."
  1529. >Her chin rests on your back a moment, before she pulls out of the hug with a smile.
  1530. >"We thank thee, Venus, though we must also ask. Is thy father not going to be angry with thou, walking upon the table?"
  1531. >Looking down, you see some scuffs where you walked.
  1532. "Oops."
  1533. >"Fear not, we shan't tell your father of this, but we would do well to clean it immediately lest we forget."
  1534. >Nodding, you take to the air, floating to the sink to wet a washcloth.
  1535. >"Ah, We almost forgot the snacks!" Luna says, sliding from the chair to the floor.
  1536. >She trots to the front door where she dumped her saddlebags, while you wipe up your scuff marks, making sure not to land on the table so you don't make more.
  1537. >As you wipe of the last marks, your sitter returns with bags and bags of candy and popcorn and bottles of sugary drinks floating in her magic.
  1538. >"We were unsure as to what manner of snacks you enjoy," she says after setting the bags down, "so we decided to obtain a selection of them."
  1539. "Sandy Shores Saltwater Taffy! Playfield Flavour Poppers! Wonky's Caramel Corn! How did you get all these, they're from all over the city?" you ask, looking at all the bags.
  1540. >"We, uh... we were... waylaid on our way to your school, so we decided to obtain snacks along the way," she says, glancing away as her muzzle scrunches.
  1541. "You got lost," you say, holding back a giggle, "I should have guessed, since you were late to pick me up."
  1542. >"Tis not our fault," she replies quickly, snapping back to look at you, "'tis all these tall buildings, they make it difficult to see things from a distance."
  1543. "You'll get used to it. I heard Daddy got lost, and that's how he found his job."
  1544. >"That sounds like an interesting tale, but for now, we believe it is time to start the game."
  1545. >Nodding in agreement, you hop up onto your chair, magicking over a bottle of Strawberry and Kiwi popping drink.
  1546. >"Now, we shall go first, so that you may observe and learn how to play."
  1547. >Reading from the instruction book and moving at the same time, Luna's pieces traverse the board like little armies, which they kind of are.
  1548. >"Do thou understand?"
  1549. "I'm pretty sure," you reply, starting your own turn.
  1550. >Picking up the first of your pieces, you move them forward, others following.
  1551. >As your turn ends, Luna immediately starts hers.
  1552. >Troops aggressively cross the battlefield, propelled by Luna's magic.
  1553. >"Our soldiers will crash down upon thee like a wave crushes a small vessel."
  1554. "Oh yeah!" you exclaim back, wings fluffing out.
  1555. >Marching your mares forward, their green races to the blue wall of Luna's units.
  1556. >Luna pops open the bag of taffy, setting a couple pieces next to you.
  1557. >"No need to fill up before the dinner thou shall cook."
  1558. >Unwrapping a piece, you stuff it in your mouth, glaring at the board as Luna makes her move.
  1559. >Conflict is imminent within the next few turns, but then, you both knew it was going to happen from the start.
  1560. >The gap between units drops significantly by the end of her turn, both sides being only a move or two away.
  1561. >And there's no time like the present to strike.
  1562. >The front of your line reaches spots of hers, and dice start rolling.
  1563. >As the proverbial dust clears at the end of your turn, two of your units are defeated, but so are five of hers.
  1564. "Ha, it's my lead," you exclaim, pointing a hoof at her.
  1565. >"For the time being, perhaps, but now it is my assault."
  1566. >You can do little more than watch and roll as her units collapse on yours.
  1567. >Troops fall one after another, barely making a dent in their forces.
  1568. >By the time her turn ends, the casualties have turned against you severely.
  1569. >You're about to retreat your troops, when you realize that it wouldn't work.
  1570. >Her troops can move just as fast, and that means she would just get to attack for free.
  1571. >Starting on the left side of the battle, you engage some attacks and getting three kills for one death.
  1572. >Moving units from the right over to fill the spots you just cleared, you launch more attacks with the recently moved units.
  1573. >By the time your actions are done, you've barely overtaken the kill advantage, and you let out a sigh.
  1574. >"It seems you are not as foalish as we thought," Luna says, starting her turn, "But it will not be enough to conquer our tactics."
  1575. >Her troops spread and start surrounding yours, picking off a number of the outer layer units.
  1576. >The small lead you had is instantly destroyed as she loses only a single unit while you lose half a dozen.
  1577. >In this position, you can hardly make any attacks, while she can make almost twice as many.
  1578. >You need to get more groups to the front.
  1579. >You surprise yourself, and Luna, when you let out a low growl, glaring intently at the board.
  1580. >Her front line is strong, with three units per space in almost every spot.
  1581. >"Are thou ready to prepare our dinner?" Luna asks, teasingly, and you snort.
  1582. "I haven't lost yet," you retort sharply.
  1583. >Retreat is not an option and her front line is strong, but...
  1584. >Behind the strong front wall, she has a layer of single units.
  1585. >Starting your attack, you aim at a point where her front wall is only two units.
  1586. >The dice favour you, and they fall, letting you move a new cluster into that spot and attack her weak back line.
  1587. >Pushing through the opening, you move almost all your troops through, picking off almost ten of her back line soldiers.
  1588. >Her confident smile turns to a frown as the tempo swings into your favour.
  1589. >Your lead may be slim, but this time, your positioning is better and your losses will likely be fewer.
  1590. >Round after round go on, the units dancing around eachother for better positions and more advantageous attacks.
  1591. >Luna's offensives are powerful, scoring numerous kills every time, but her defenses often have gaps that you find and use to even the score.
  1592. >Eventually, the game is winding down to the last few rounds, only a dozen units on the board.
  1593. >Seven Blue and five Green, plus it's Luna's turn to attack.
  1594. >"This is the end, Venus, we shall claim victory soon!"
  1595. >Starting her attacks, you roll your dice in defense.
  1596. >Three attacks, one win, one loss, and one tie, leaving Luna with three groups of two and you with two groups of two.
  1597. >There's no strategy at this point, just brute force and luck.
  1598. >Mostly luck, as you manage to take out one of her units, and tie the other attack.
  1599. >By some manner of fate, the game winds down to a one on one.
  1600. >As the final dice roll, a victor is decided.
  1601. >"It seems chance favours you today..." Luna says sadly.
  1602. "Don't be sad, Luna, it was a really close game," you say, gathering your defeated pieces.
  1603. >"We know, but that does not make defeat any more palatable. Still, a wager is a wager, we shall get started on Dinner."
  1604. "I'll get the game tidied so we can eat when it's ready."
  1605. >As you gather pieces into the appropriate slots, you idly watch Luna looking around the kitchen.
  1606. >"Where does thy father keep his utensils?"
  1607. "They're in the drawer to the right of the sink."
  1608. >"Ah, and, uh... Do thou know where he keeps the pots and pans?"
  1609. >Hopping down from the chair, you pull open another drawer for her.
  1610. "I'll help you find things, since you've never used the kitchen here."
  1611. >"Thank thee,"
  1612. >Working together, you get dinner done in no time, and while Luna may not be the best cook, she's not bad either.
  1613. >"Now, since we forgot the snacks during our epic battle, I believe we should indulge for desert," She says, bringing over the candy bags again.
  1614. ~~~
  1615. >Slowly dragging your tired body up the stairs, you're thankful that tomorrow is Friday, and the last day of your work week.
  1616. >Fumbling with the key in the door, you eventually get it unlocked, and enter.
  1617. >There's no rushing daughter, which surprises you, but you find out why when you enter into the living room.
  1618. >She's fast asleep, curled up on Luna's side, who is herself quite asleep.
  1619. >Quietly approaching, you carefully scoop up your daughter, stepping over the empty drinks to carry her to her bedroom.
  1620. >Given the amount of candy wrappers lying around, they must have crashed off a sugar rush.
  1621. >Something to talk with Luna about for next time, but you can't exactly fault her for it either.
  1622. >She must have been trying hard to make a good impression.
  1623. >Tucking Venus in, you give her a kiss on the forehead, just below her horn, and close the door.
  1624. >Returning to the living room, you see Luna sitting up, though still mostly asleep.
  1625. >"Ah, thou have returned," she says, before yawning, "we were simply resting."
  1626. "Thank you for watching over her," you say, giving a small bow, "It means a lot to me."
  1627. >"Twas no problem, she's quite well behaved," she replies, picking up her saddlebag with magic.
  1628. >Walking with her the short distance to the door, you open it for her.
  1629. "One last thing, less candy next time," you say before bowing again, "And again, thank you for watching her."
  1630. >"We will endeavour to remember that," she says, before pausing one step out the door.
  1631. >"Ah, we nearly forgot," she says, and before you can ask what, she turns around and leans up, kissing you on the cheek.
  1632. >Again, before you can ask anything, she's off down the hall like a shot, leaving you confused.
  1633. >Exhaustion rears it's head in the form of a yawn, so you decide to say fuck it, and head to bed.
  1634. >Crashing into your pillow, you're soon off to the land of dreams.
  1635. ~~~
  1636. >The sumptuous smells of baked goods and fruit wash through the dining hall as you take your seat for breakfast.
  1637. >All around the table, castle staff and guards sit, enjoying their breakfast, or possibly their dinner, depending on the shift.
  1638. >Your sister beside you, your niece across the table and her coltfriend and newly promoted guard next to her.
  1639. >Even now, you're still mixed at how well she moved on, though at the same time, Anon did as well.
  1640. >He just didn't have very much support for moving on.
  1641. >Hmn, your tea tastes a little bitter today...
  1642. >Turning to your sister, she's rather energetically digging into her breakfast platter.
  1643. "Do you have any plans for today, Luna?" you ask, setting your tea down.
  1644. >"None of note, though we were hoping we could visit Anon and Venus later," She replies when you hear the room suddenly go quiet.
  1645. >Though this is false, your mind just stops registering background noise, ears almost immediately turning in Cadence's direction.
  1646. >Surprisingly, she has no immediate reactions, and Shining, as expected has none either.
  1647. "I suppose we could stop by after school ends, though it depends on how busy court is today."
  1648. >"Excellent. We have studied hard to improve our strategies, and victory shall be all but assured."
  1649. "Lost to her again?" you ask with a sly smile, knowing full well it will rile her up.
  1650. >"It was marginal," she retorts, punctuating it with a jab of a hoof, "It all came down to chance and the will of the dice."
  1651. "I wonder how others would feel, knowing a princess lost to a filly?"
  1652. >"Do I hear my Aunt lost to a filly?" Cadence says, leaning on the table, "At least it wasn't a little colt, am I right?"
  1653. >This earns her a nudge from Shining, but she simply rolls her eyes.
  1654. >"But anyways, how is Anon? I haven't seen him since school."
  1655. "He doing well, and Venus has grown into a wonderful filly."
  1656. >"If it weren't for her lack of mark, we would think she would have a mark for games."
  1657. >"Venus doesn't have a mark? How old is she?"
  1658. >'You know full well how old she is, Cadence,' you think to yourself angrily.
  1659. >"Ah... we do not know, we never asked."
  1660. "She's Nine and a half right now, the prime age for finding her cutie mark."
  1661. >This gets a twitch out of her, and you find yourself smiling a little more truthfully.
  1662. >She likely knew where her child dissapeared to, but never cared.
  1663. >Now, well, it seems she has some interest now, given how long she's been with Shining now.
  1664. >She's had several coltfriends after she got back into school, before settling with Shining.
  1665. >"He really shouldn't have had a foal that young," Cadence says, "You should wait till he's an adult and has a mare to support him."
  1666. >If it wasn't for the others around, you swear you'd drag her prissy ass over the table to you and slap her shit.
  1667. >With your hoofcups on.
  1668. >No, for now, you must be civil.
  1669. >"Perhaps he should have waited, but he has done well with what he has, mare or no."
  1670. "I agree. For a single father, he has managed to live well and raise her properly."
  1671. >"I can't imagine she's grown up to be much of a mare if she only has a colt to learn from," Cadence says, "A father is important, but without a mare to teach her the ropes, she'll flounder in real life."
  1672. >Shining gives her another nudge, saying, "I'm sure a father could raise a daughter well, without the help of a mare."
  1673. >"I'm sure he can, dear," Cadence replies, "But sometimes what a colt sees as marely and a mare sees as marely can vary a fair bit."
  1674. >"Well I think he deserves praise for standing up and raising his child when whatever greedy, uncaring mare who dumped it on him went off to do her own greedy stuff."
  1675. >Your smile grows a little more natural again, and you sip your tea.
  1676. >This is why you like Shining, after all.
  1677. >Honest, friendly and skilled.
  1678. >A bit like Anon, actually.
  1679. >The kind of colt that can go far as long as they work hard.
  1680. "In any event, I must be off, There's a few folks already in line for day court, and it's best to not let such things build up."
  1681. >Rising from your seat, you grab one last cupcake with magic, bringing it along for the trip.
  1682. ~~~
  1683. >With your only Aunt who knows the truth gone, you can now dig for some real information from your new Aunt.
  1684. "Does Venus know anything about her mother?" you ask, "I'm sure Anon knows who she is or was, but she may not."
  1685. >"As far as we know, she has yet to say anything about her mother, so it's likely she knows naught."
  1686. "That's too bad. I can't imagine growing up while not knowing your mom."
  1687. >"She has done well enough with Just Anon, I believe she will do fine. Thou sound rather concerned, Dear Niece,"
  1688. "While I may not be a mother yet, I'm sure my dear Shining and I will want children somewhere down the line."
  1689. >"Yes, the pitter patter of little hooves, it will be wonderful, sweetie."
  1690. >Giving his cheek a nuzzle, you lick off the syrup that transfers over.
  1691. "Make sure you clean yourself up before patrol, Shiny, not that I mind you being a little more sweet."
  1692. >Luna rolls her eyes at your little PDA, making you smile.
  1693. "Come now, Aunt, you will learn to enjoy such things as you find yourself in love."
  1694. >"While we are sure Shining is a desirable colt in this day and age, we much prefer a more colty colt, such as Anon."
  1695. "Anon, Colty? Are you sure we are talking about the same Anon?"
  1696. >"Well, he is large, and not a pony, so we feel like he would be rather memorable."
  1697. >"Oh, that minotaur sort of guy? I know him," Shining says, "he works down at Hondo's Sports bar. The boys and I often go there to drink."
  1698. "He works in a bar? What kind of father is he?"
  1699. >"He is the sole caregiver of Venus, so he works to support them both."
  1700. "But a bar? Couldn't he work in an office or something?"
  1701. >"We do not know the specifics, but if you wish, you could come with us and ask later."
  1702. >Before you answer, Shining rises next to you.
  1703. >"I'm going to go get cleaned. We have an inspection before patrols today," he says, before waving goodbye with a hoof.
  1704. "Take care and be safe, Shiny," you call to him.
  1705. "Now, what were you saying again?" you ask, looking back over at your Aunt.
  1706. >"We were curious if thou desired to come visit Anon and Venus with us," she says, before stuffing a muffin into her mouth.
  1707. "I'll pass. She doesn't need to meet me yet," you say lifting up your coffee before freezing as you realize what you said.
  1708. >"Perhaps," Luna says, taking a deep sip of her coffee, "We suppose meeting too many princesses at once could be overwhelming for a young filly."
  1709. "Yes, It would be, wouldn't it," You say nodding rapidly.
  1710. >"But, she also has been foalsat by both Celestia and ourselves, so it wouldn't be difficult for her to handle another. There must be another reason you do not wish her to see you."
  1711. >Your muzzle scrunches as you look away, unable to meet Luna's gaze.
  1712. "I'm just... not good with foals," you say quickly, using the first idea the came to mind.
  1713. >"And yet you desire them with Shining. She is well behaved, and would be good experience if thou desire foals of your own."
  1714. >Her insistence slowly grates on you, and eventually, you snap.
  1715. "I just don't want to see her again, alright?!"
  1716. >"But thou haven..."
  1717. >The air around Luna starts to flicker and spark, her eyes staring you down with an intensity that would send a colt running in tears.
  1718. >"We understand now. We should have recognized earlier."
  1719. >Your ears turn back, and you brace yourself.
  1720. >"To think you were her mother, yet you abandoned her on him."
  1721. >"Explain to us, why? What could bring you to abandon a colt with your shared foal?"
  1722. >Cowing under her gaze, you open and close your mouth, trying to find the right thing to say.
  1723. >But as hard as you think, nothing comes.
  1724. >No valid reason for you to dump them, besides your personal image and lack of desire.
  1725. "I was not ready for her. We were supposed to be incompatible, and even magic couldn't explain how our genes mixed, just that they did."
  1726. >"Regardless, thou should not have copulated with him if thou were not prepared to bear a foal."
  1727. "Things work differently now, Aunt," you snap, "We have protection to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but since we both thought we couldn't make a foal anyways, we went unprotected."
  1728. >"That does not change the fact you abandoned a colt to raise a filly himself," She retorts, slamming her hooves on the table
  1729. >Rising to your hooves, you angrily stare across the table at her as she does the same back.
  1730. "It was our choice at the time, and I didn't want to even carry her, but some stupid laws prevented me from getting an abortion. If those stupid laws weren't in place, we wouldn't be arguing about this."
  1731. >"Thou desired WHAT!?"
  1732. >There's a cracking noise as her hooves hit the table, and what few ponies that weren't watching the spectacle were certainly doing so now.
  1733. "I wanted to Abort, but Celestia wouldn't let me, and I don't give a buck what you think."
  1734. >Turning on your rear hoof, you storm out of the dining hall, heading for wherever.
  1735. >At this point, you don't care, you just want to get away from her.
  1736. >Away from your past...
  1737. >Shaking your head clear, you walk out into the sunshine, taking slow breaths of the crisp, clean air around the castle.
  1738. ~~~
  1739. >Shaking with rage, you storm from the dining hall, pausing just long enough to down the last of your coffee.
  1740. >Marching straight into the throne room, you see Celestia on her throne, talking with a pair of supplicants.
  1741. >Upon seeing your mighty rage, she speaks briefly with the ponies, before walking over.
  1742. >"Calm yourself, Luna, what's wrong?"
  1743. "We learned of Venus's conception, and in brief, we desire to punish Cadence."
  1744. >"It's far past that time, sister, and she suffered for it already."
  1745. "But she desired to..."
  1746. >You're cut off as Celestia's hoof covers your mouth.
  1747. >After a sigh, she says, "Talk with Anon about it later. Venus already knows who her mother is, and she is fine."
  1748. >The flames of rage slowly settle down to a simmer within you, but your muzzle is still scrunched in a frown.
  1749. >"I know it doesn't seem fair, dear sister, but things have gone well for them."
  1750. "We know, but..."
  1751. >She pats your shoulder with a wing, giving you a warm, sisterly smile.
  1752. >"It will be fine. Find something to do for now, and when we go visit them later, you can talk with Anon about it."
  1753. >With a snort then a sigh, you let your feathers unruffle, anger disspating with it.
  1754. "Fine, Sister, we shall endeavour to entertain ourselves till we can visit Anon."
  1755. >Leaving at far more sedate a pace, you decide to head to the library.
  1756. >Perhaps some study may help you acclimatize better.
  1757. ~~~
  1758. >Tidying up a table after a customer, you're carrying the tray back to the kitchen as the doorbell dings as a new customer enters.
  1759. >You can barely hear the doorpony greeting them, but the voice that answers sends a chill down your spine.
  1760. >You look to the schedule, but you know there's only one other waiter on duty right now, and they're out on their 'lunch' break.
  1761. >Keep calm, don't react, don't acknowledge you have any history.
  1762. >You are a waiter, and that's it right now.
  1763. >Pulling out your notepad and pencil, you head out into the tables.
  1764. ~~~
  1765. >Why are you here?
  1766. >What made you decide to come here.
  1767. >You're not even very hungry.
  1768. >Sure, your altercation with Luna cut your breakfast short, but you could tough it out till lunch.
  1769. >Instead, you are now at Hondo's sports bar, looking over their breakfast menu.
  1770. >Despite it's name, it has a good selection throughout the day on top of a nice list of drinks.
  1771. >"Can I take your order?"
  1772. >The voice makes you freeze, and when you are able to look over, you see him, much as he was way back then.
  1773. >Just taller, and heavier set.
  1774. "I'd like a pancake platter, haybacon on the side and a glass of orange juice," you reply almost mechanically.
  1775. >It's been years, and you love Shining now, but something about the sight of him leaves a tingle in your gut.
  1776. >Or it could be your nethers.
  1777. >The sex was damned good.
  1778. >Staring off at the projecto-crystal, you try and focus on the replays of the games, but keep finding your eyes wandering to Anon as he handles other customers.
  1779. >Several minutes pass, and suddenly a tray is set down in front of you.
  1780. >"Pancake platter with hay bacon and OJ. Can I get you anything else?"
  1781. "No, I'm good, thank you."
  1782. >He walks away, and you expel the breath you didn't know you were holding.
  1783. >You knew he wasn't a normal colt, but part of you expected him to shout, to yell, to hit you or something.
  1784. >Not just... disinterest.
  1785. >Stuffing a strip of haybacon into your mouth, you contemplate why.
  1786. >No, you know why.
  1787. >He's moved on, and in truth, so have you.
  1788. >You've got a perfect life, a wonderful colt and no worries.
  1789. >Yet why is something missing...
  1790. >You need a drink...
  1791. ~~~
  1792. >Scarfing down the last of your sandwich, you're just about to bite into your apple when one of the teachers walks up to you.
  1793. >"Venus, there's somepony here to see you."
  1794. >Quicly packing up what remains of your lunch, you follow them to the front.
  1795. >There, there's a pony who makes your normal smile to turn to a frown.
  1796. >This is your first time seeing her in person, but there's no mistaking her.
  1797. >You're shocked at how much she actually looks like you.
  1798. >Or rather, how much you look like her.
  1799. >There's no question, she is your birth mother.
  1800. >"Venus, is it? It's nice to meet you, my name is Cadence."
  1801. "I know who you are, princess," you say flatly.
  1802. >"Wonderful, that makes things a lot easier."
  1803. "I know all about you," you say, staring her down.
  1804. >This causes her to pause, and you to smile slightly.
  1805. >Before she can say anything more, you turn to leave.
  1806. "I'm going back for recess," you tell the teacher escort before hurrying to your locker.
  1807. >You're not sure what happened between the teacher and Cadence then, but you hope it was funny.
  1808. ~~~
  1809. >Squeezing past the assorted foals, fillies and parents, you head to the door to the school to pick up your own bundle of joy.
  1810. >Ducking under, you see her watching for you, jumping up the moment you enter the door.
  1811. >"Hey daddy, was work good?"
  1812. "It was fine, but..."
  1813. >"Did something happen?"
  1814. "We can talk about it later, at home."
  1815. >"Alright. I have an interesting story from today too," she says, putting her saddlebags on, "so we better hurry."
  1816. "Is that so," you say, leaning down, before scooping her up onto your shoulders, "you better hang on tight then."
  1817. >Crouching extra low so that she doesn't get bopped by the doorframe, you start out into the sunlight.
  1818. >You can hear her laughing from her heightened perch, hooves holding onto your head.
  1819. >Her saddlebag starts to slip, so you grab it from her and continue on uninterrupted.
  1820. >Setting her down outside the building, the two of you head up, but are surprised to find guests outside your door.
  1821. >The good kind of guests.
  1822. >"Auntie Celestia!" Venus yells, rushing over to hug her favourite mare.
  1823. >Returning her hug with her wings, Celestia nuzzles her head, asking, "Venus, how are you doing?"
  1824. >"Alright, Auntie, and hello Auntie Luna. Did you keep our promise?"
  1825. >"Of course we did. We are a mare of our word."
  1826. "Promise?" you ask, looking over at the two.
  1827. >"Just a secret between mares, nothing you have to worry about Daddy."
  1828. "That just makes me more worried."
  1829. >Venus just giggles, digging her key from her pack with magic before unlocking the door and heading inside.
  1830. >Celestia follows Venus, but Luna waits for you to enter first.
  1831. "So, what brings you two down here?" you ask, putting away your work stuff.
  1832. >"Well, Luna was just begging to come down and visit, and after last time, I felt it would be better not to let her wander here alone," Celestia says, giving a look to Luna.
  1833. >"We were not begging," Luna retorts, glaring back, "We just wished to visit Venus and also discuss things with Anon?"
  1834. >"Adult things?" Venus asks, poking her head out of her room.
  1835. >Turning red in the cheeks, Luna looks away, but glances at you from the corner of her eye as she replies, "No, well, sort of. We have something that we feel needs to be discussed privately with him."
  1836. "Give me a bit to clean up, then we'll talk."
  1837. >Heading to your room, you pick up some clean clothes before heading to the bathroom for a shower.
  1838. ~~~
  1839. "Would you like anything?" you ask, heading to the kitchen for your afterschool snack.
  1840. >"We would not mind a glass of water," Luna says, while Auntie Celestia says she's fine.
  1841. >Getting a cup of orange juice and a cookie for yourself, plus Luna's water, you trot back into the living room area, the lot held in your magic.
  1842. >"I see you've been practicing with your magic," Celestia comments, "your control is quite steady."
  1843. "I haven't really started learning any spells yet, but I use my telekinesis all the time to help out around the house."
  1844. >Your magic around Luna's glass is suddenly crushed, but it floats over to her held calmly in a deep blue aura.
  1845. >"Should you wish, We are sure we could teach you spells to crush those before you or beguile their mind."
  1846. >"How about we start with something simpler, Luna," Celestia says, a brief gold light causing icecubes to form above Luna's glass before dropping in.
  1847. >"Creating ice is a colt's magic. A mare should learn spells to blast away foes and such."
  1848. "Can we play a game instead. My mom tried to visit me at school today, but I don't wanna deal with her."
  1849. >Both princesses suddenly get very quiet, looking at you.
  1850. >You can almost swear you hear Daddy humming in the shower.
  1851. >You know he does, he did it when he washed with you when you were younger.
  1852. >"It seems this morning was only the beginning," Celestia says, "I may have to have a discussion with her."
  1853. >"Thou mean you know thy mother?" Luna asks you, "How did you learn?"
  1854. "Daddy told me all about it. About how him and Cadence were together, and how she didn't want me, so I got left with him."
  1855. >"We learned of thy birth this morn," Luna says, sitting down on one of the seats, "And we were rather dissapoined with her."
  1856. >You can tell, her wings are starting to fluff out in anger.
  1857. >"To think she abandoned her own daughter and colt,"
  1858. >Reaching out a wing to pat her back, Celestia says, "Calm yourself, Luna, now's not the time to get angry."
  1859. "Yeah, it doesn't matter now, as long as that flank face stays away from me and Daddy."
  1860. >A smile forms on Luna's face, and she reaches out to pat you with a wing.
  1861. >Unfortunately, the pat is hard enough to knock you from your seat as she says, "Well said, Venus."
  1862. >She adds an oops as you pick yourself up and get back into the chair.
  1863. "It's alright, I'm fine."
  1864. >"Sorry, we did not mean to knock you from your seat," Luna says, giving a small bow.
  1865. >"How about we start a game while Anon is in the shower. We should have time for one, I think," Celestia says.
  1866. "He's not gonna be that long," you say, and the two princesses chuckle a bit.
  1867. >"We are sure we will be able to play a game of Wonderbolts' Super Derby before he is done cleaning himself up," Luna says
  1868. >Standing up, you smile at her.
  1869. "Then maybe we should make a bet? If Daddy is done before the game is over, you have to do some thing for me, but if you're right, I'll do something for you?"
  1870. >"I'll take that bet," Celestia says. After all, you've already done one with my sister before, I think I deserve a chance at this."
  1871. >"But sister, T'would be an easy victory for us, why should we give the reward to you?"
  1872. >"I just think it would be more fair to..."
  1873. >Heading to you room, you grab the box off your shelf.
  1874. >You can hear the two heatedly discussing who will take their side of the bet, and over that, you notice the shower has stopped.
  1875. >Hurrying, you manage to set the game down before you hear the bathroom door open.
  1876. >There's silence for several seconds, before Luna says, "Celestia claimed the wager first."
  1877. >You just start laughing, while Dad walks in confused.
  1878. >"Did I miss something?" he asks, leaning on the back of the open chair.
  1879. "Just some banter between girls," you say, hopping into the chair he's leaning on, "Nothing to worry about."
  1880. >"And like earlier, that just makes me worry more," he replies, reaching down and giving you a quick hug.
  1881. >"Now, you were saying something earlier about an interesting thing at school?"
  1882. "Well, uh..."
  1883. >"Her mother decided to visit her today," Luna says, tone cold as ice.
  1884. >Dad rubs his temples with his hands, before saying, "That makes two of us then. She showed up at work today as well."
  1885. "Did anything happen Daddy?"
  1886. >"Nothing strange," he says, lifting you up by the barrel and sitting in your spot, setting you in his lap "I'm more worried about you."
  1887. "Me?"
  1888. >"Well, it was your first time meeting your birth mother," he says, wrapping his arms around you, "I have no idea how you feel."
  1889. >How do you feel...
  1890. >Cozied up in the warmth of his embrace, you stop and think.
  1891. >When you saw her, you weren't angry, just...
  1892. "Maybe... disgusted? I don't know, something just doesn't make me like her."
  1893. >"Tis an understandable reaction. She sought to be rid of you before you were born, and abandoned you shortly after."
  1894. "I guess, but... It's hard to say what I felt."
  1895. >You let out a sudden squeak when Daddy gives you a squeeze.
  1896. >"How about we put all this behind us and enjoy the evening. I've got a surprise for dinner, if you wish to stay, princesses."
  1897. >"Gladly, Anon. We greatly enjoy your cooking."
  1898. >Celestia nods, and you get set down.
  1899. >"Well, the game's out, why don't we play a round or two before I start dinner?"
  1900. "Yeah!"
  1901. >Setting out the game board, the four of you gather around the coffee table to play.
  1902. ~~~
  1903. >Tucking Venus in to bed, you head back out into the livingroom, where Celestia and Luna still remain.
  1904. >"Is she asleep already?" Celestia asks as you take a seat.
  1905. "Maybe not asleep, but trying."
  1906. >Licking her her lips, Luna says, "It has been far too long since we had a steak of such quality. Who is thy butcher?"
  1907. "She's not so much a butcher as a merchant who gets meat in occasionally. I'll introduce you some time."
  1908. >"That would be appreciated."
  1909. >"Our cooks can prepare some for you, Luna," Celestia comments.
  1910. >"Indeed, but it tastes far inferior to this. We wish to know so..." she says, her voice fading, a little pink rising in her cheeks.
  1911. "I'd be glad to cook for you if I have time," you say with a smile, and she smiles back.
  1912. >Clearing her throat, Celestia says, "Back on topic, do you think anything needs to done about Cadence?"
  1913. >Your smile fades, but not to the point of a frown.
  1914. "For now, no, but if she pursues anything, you may need to talk with her about it."
  1915. >"We disagree, but will trust thy judgement, Anon."
  1916. >Rising from her seat, Celestia nods, "Alright, but I think it's time Luna and I headed off. I personally need to sleep before sunrise tomorrow, though Luna could likely stay the night if she wished.
  1917. "Well, I have no beds to spare nor a couch, so I'll have to decline. Also, I have work in the morning."
  1918. >"I know, I was just saying," Celestia says, nudging Luna as she passes.
  1919. >"While we appreciate your suggestion, we would rather sleep in our own bed, thank you," Luna says, following Celestia to the door.
  1920. "Take care," you say with a wave.
  1921. >"And yourself as well," Luna replies, waving with a wing.
  1922. >Just past the door, the two of them dissapear with a teleportation spell.
  1923. >Locking up, you prepare for bed yourself, hoping this morning was just an isolated occurrence.
  1924. ~~~
  1925. >Your snow boots crunch in the snow as you trot to the castle, hooves kept warm in their depths.
  1926. >The other fillies may have laughed when you went to school in them, but one cold snowy day was all it took to get them to change their tunes.
  1927. >They were the ones shivering and trotting in place at the school doors during recess while you were out frolicking in the snow.
  1928. >Daddy's always looking out for you, and that's why you're out helping him right now.
  1929. >Every year, Daddy sends a card inviting Auntie Celestia over for Hearth's warming, or Christmas, as he calls it.
  1930. >And now, with Luna too, he want's you to deliver them in person.
  1931. >Waving to the guards as you pass, you notice they're dressed up a bit like you to keep themselves warm while they work.
  1932. >Shaking off whatever snow got on you in the entrance, you trot towards the throne room where Auntie Celestia will be.
  1933. >You've only been in here a few times, but finding the throne room is really straight forward.
  1934. >Since it's straight forward from the main door.
  1935. >You're sure Dad would have liked that joke.
  1936. >As you walk into the throne room, Celestia smiles and rises from her throne.
  1937. >"Venus, welcome, what brings you here?"
  1938. "Well, it's Christmas time, so I'm bringing you and Luna your Christmas invitations."
  1939. >Gesturing to one of the guards, she sends him off to get Luna.
  1940. >"I'm sure she will be quite glad to receive the letter herself."
  1941. >Digging the letters out of your bag, you figure out which one is for Celestia, and hold it out for her.
  1942. "This one's for you."
  1943. >Opening the envelope, she pulls out the letter, scanning over it.
  1944. >She covers a giggle with her hoof, folding the letter back up.
  1945. >"My, he certainly has a sense of humor. I'd be glad to come over for Hearthswarming morning, or rather, Christmas morning."
  1946. >The door the guard left through opens, and a sleepy looking Luna walks in.
  1947. >"Fow what reason did you rouse us this early, Sister?" She asks, rubbing her eyes.
  1948. "Hi Luna!" you call out with a wave, and through her sleepyness, she notices you.
  1949. >"Ah, young Venus, what brings you here?"
  1950. "Daddy has a letter for you, and I'm being his little helper elf and delivering it."
  1951. >"We thank you," she says as she reaches with magic for the letter.
  1952. >It takes a minute of squinting at the letter, before she says, "Pardon our ignorance, but what is this, Christmas?"
  1953. "Well," you start, smiling, "It's this holiday from Daddy's world, and..."
  1954. >Half an hour of explaining later, Luna is almost as excited as you, and also wide awake.
  1955. >"Alert your father that we eagerly await the time to come over," she says, folding her letter beneath a wing.
  1956. "I will. See you then," you say, waving as you head back to the entrance.
  1957. >"Take care, Venus," Celestia says.
  1958. >Waving to the guards as you leave, you hurry home, making sure to avoid any ponies who try to talk to you.
  1959. >Being an alicorn means ponies think you are going to become a princess, so they want to be your friend for that.
  1960. >You've heard things Celestia has said to dad.
  1961. >How lots of important families have suddenly been trying to birth a colt.
  1962. >You may not know everything, but you feel like it's them trying to make a Daddy for you to be the Mommy with.
  1963. >At least you would be a better Mommy than the pink princess.
  1964. >Noticing a pony looking at you a bit too intently, you hurry up to home, where Daddy will have hot chocolate ready.
  1965. >The real stuff, not the fake cocoa that ponies use.
  1966. >The thought of the tasty snack awaiting you hurries you further, and before you know it, you're rushing inside your home.
  1967. >"Did you deliver the letters, Venus?" he asks, holding out a toasty warm cup of cocoa for you.
  1968. "Yep, and they're both gonna come for Christmas."
  1969. >"Good to know. Have you thought about presents for them yet?"
  1970. "I have one for Celestia, but I still need to think of one for Luna."
  1971. >"Well, you'd better hurry, there's not much time left."
  1972. >Sipping your chocolaty drink, you nod.
  1973. ~~~
  1974. >A thick coating of snow covers the streets of Canterlot as you and your sister casually trot to Anon's apartment.
  1975. >Few ponies are out and about, and those that are wave or bow as you pass.
  1976. "Tis very quiet for a holiday," you comment, gracefully keeping snow off yourself with magic.
  1977. >"It's a time for family, so most ponies are at home with their loved ones."
  1978. "We are glad that Anon and Venus consider us close enough to invite us for such a holiday."
  1979. >Ahead, Anon's apartment building grows closer, and with it, the promise of wamrth from the cold.
  1980. >Ponies may be resistant to cold, but even so, you don't have even a scarf to help keep yourself warm.
  1981. >Your sister decided not to tell you how cold things got so you could prepare.
  1982. >Rushing inside the entrance, you shake off the cold a bit, making your way up the stairs.
  1983. >Celestia follows a lot slower, moving with a millenia's elegance.
  1984. >Looking at the door numbers, you find Anon's and knock.
  1985. >Excited hooves rush to the door, and the portal is opened for you.
  1986. >"Luna! You're here! Is Celestia coming too?"
  1987. >"Do not worry, Venus, I'm here," your sister say from down the hall.
  1988. >"Well hurry up, Daddy said we can't open presents till you get here."
  1989. >Stepping over her, your nose pulls you as a delicious smell wafts from the kitchen.
  1990. >Looking inside, you're surprised when Anon is right there, seemingly about to lean out to say something.
  1991. >"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" Venus starts chanting, looking over at you and Anon.
  1992. "Wh... why?" you barely manage to ask before Anon's face fills your vision, his lips meeting yours.
  1993. >The kiss isn't long, but your body and mind lock up.
  1994. >You're snapped out of it as Celestia says, "Come now Luna, are you that embarrassed by being kissed by a colt? I thought you were marelier than that."
  1995. "We are marely," you say, turning to look at her, "We were just caught unaware by the kiss."
  1996. >"Well you might want to move then," Anon says, drawing your attention back to him.
  1997. "W..." is all you can get out before you're kissed again.
  1998. >This time you don't lock up, but instead stumble back.
  1999. >Celestia walks past you, covering her mouth with her wing, a smile likely hidden below it.
  2000. >"My dear sister, please keep your colt kissing habits to a minimum today."
  2001. "But it wasn't..."
  2002. >"Oh ease up, Celestia," Anon says, stepping back into the kitchen, "You know full well what mistletoe means."
  2003. >Getting back on your hooves, you look around, before noticing a small cluster of plants dangling from the kitchen doorway.
  2004. >Pulling it down, you barely have a moment to look at it, before Venus starts tugging you to the livingroom.
  2005. >"Come on, I wanna start opening presents."
  2006. >Stowing the mistletoe in your scarf, you let Venus lead you to the seats, a small decorated tree adorning one corner of the room.
  2007. >Under the tree, brightly wrapped boxes cover the floor, Venus sitting and staring at them, hooves twitching in excitement.
  2008. >Wiping his hands off as he walks in, Anon kneels down next to Venus.
  2009. >"Alright, we'll get started, since you can't seem to wait," he says, pulling out a box and looking at a tag on it.
  2010. >Setting it in front of Venus, her magic immediately flares to life, it and her hooves tearing off the wrapping with vigor.
  2011. >Anon pulls out another box, setting it in front of Celestia.
  2012. >"This one's for you," He says, and she takes it from him.
  2013. >From her saddlebag, she pulls out a package of her own, passing it to him.
  2014. >"And this is for you, Anon."
  2015. >He takes the gift from her, and you find yourself looking at the wall.
  2016. >A hand pats your shoulder, drawing your eyes to Anon.
  2017. >"Don't worry, Luna, none of us expected you to know how things like this work."
  2018. "But we should have asked, or tried to learn."
  2019. >The hand on your shoulder moves to rub your head, making you scrunch.
  2020. >Moving back to the tree, he pulls out another box, bringing this one to you.
  2021. >"What's more important is spending time with friends and family."
  2022. >Peeling off the layers of paper on the box, you open it to find a stack of game boxes.
  2023. >"Since you need some practice to beat me, and this means I can visit you at the castle to play too," Venus says, looking up from her new stuffed cat at you.
  2024. >A smile overrides the scrunch, and you nod to Venus.
  2025. "Thank you, and we look forward to watching over you when Anon needs a sitter."
  2026. >Celestia pulls another box from her bag, while Anon fetches more from the tree.
  2027. >"This is for you," she says, floating the box to Venus.
  2028. >You watch as she tears into it with the same voracity as before, bits of paper flying everywhere.
  2029. >The object shines brightly as it's revealed, a silver crown, similar to Celestia's and your own.
  2030. >Her gasp is loud, and the crown adorns her head in an instant, her body rushing to Celestia for a hug in the next.
  2031. >"It's so pretty, thank you Auntie Celestia!"
  2032. >"You're very welcome, Venus. You might not be a princess, but that doesn't mean you don't need a crown."
  2033. >Venus runs off to the bathroom, likely to look in the mirror.
  2034. >More gifts are opened, and breakfast is had, loaded to the brim with waffles and bacon.
  2035. >Board games are played, mainly Wonderbolt's Super Derby, since Anon got Venus the expantion as a gift.
  2036. >It is past noon by the time you and Celestia are packing to leave, and while Venus and Celestia say goodbye, you pull Anon to the side.
  2037. "We... I want to thank you. You've been such an important friend when I was afraid nopony would accept me after a thousand years."
  2038. "You don't care that I'm the princess, and you forgave me, even after I..."
  2039. >Shaking your head to clear it, you take a deep breath.
  2040. "Anyways, it means a lot to me, and while I don't really have anything to properly thank you with, I just wanted to say thanks."
  2041. >Pulling out the mistletoe, you hold it over his head and lean up for a kiss.
  2042. >Your lips meet his before he can say a word, and the moment you break it, you turn and run for the door like a schoolfilly after confessing to their first crush.
  2043. "Bye," you say, hurrying with your sister out and away.
  2044. ~~~
  2045. "Is something wrong, Daddy?" you ask, walking into the kitchen after Luna ran away with cheeks as red as an apple.
  2046. >"I don't think so," he replies after a pause, kneeling down to pick you up, "but I do think Luna's starting to get used to more modern language."
  2047. "Really? I keep hearing her use that we thing."
  2048. >"True, but she doesn't use thou's and thy's anymore. I'm glad they could come today though, it made everything much better."
  2049. "Yeah. Did you see the crown Celestia got me? It's just like theirs."
  2050. >He pulls the crown itself off your head, tousling your mane as he does so.
  2051. >"You mean this one? I think it does make me look like a pretty princess, doesn't it?" he asks, setting it on his head.
  2052. >Giggling, you use your magic to pick it off his head and set it back on your own.
  2053. "It just looks silly on you," you say.
  2054. >"Whatever you say, princess," he says, bowing and tilting you back, "I think we should look at making lunch soon though."
  2055. "Good idea."
  2056. ~~~
  2057. "Are you sure this is a good idea, Sister?" you ask, looking at yourself in the mirror.
  2058. >"A date can't hurt, and besides, it's Hearts and Hooves day, you should experience the holiday first hoof."
  2059. "Yes but... for me to court a stallion, isn't it a little..."
  2060. >"Oh don't worry about it," she says, holding up assorted mane clips, "He's not the type to care about your wealth or power, though it never hurts to flaunt a little."
  2061. >Finally setting on a moonstone crescent, she pins your mane down into a manageable wave.
  2062. >You're not sure how it works, but your mane is held close to your body, cascading off the curves of your shoulders and wings.
  2063. >"Now, do you have your saddlebag and bits?"
  2064. "Yes, I prepared them earlier,"
  2065. >"And the bouquet of flowers?"
  2066. "Also prepared. I may not have courted a male since before my banishment, but I remember the basics," you say, puffing out your chest tuft somewhat.
  2067. >"What if he wants to put out at the end of the date?"
  2068. "Then he is not a true stallion. They must save themselves for wedlock before copulating."
  2069. >Your sister rolls her eyes a little, before saying, "Well, I would have said, make sure to bring a condom, but if that's what you want."
  2070. "Colts these day are far too frivolous, they do not understand the weight of their actions."
  2071. >"Even Anon?"
  2072. >Pausing, you stare at yourself and Celestia in the mirror.
  2073. "He... did not make the best choices, I will admit, but he did the best with what he got."
  2074. >"So long as you are honest with yourself."
  2075. "So, where am I to meet this mystery colt?" you ask, rising to your hooves.
  2076. >Setting the brush and spare clips aside, she says, "He'll be at the Canterlot Central park, on the bench right by the fountain at Eleven."
  2077. >Picking up your saddlebag, you set it on your back, grabbing the bouquet of fresh roses from the desk.
  2078. >Courage hardened, you head for the door, ready for this "blind date".
  2079. >Your sister assured you the pony was not actually blind, it just meant neither side knew who the other was.
  2080. >Exiting the castle, you take a brief look at the sun to estimate the time you have till you must be there.
  2081. >...
  2082. >Well, either way, you should have plenty of time to get there, it's not hard to find the central park, after all.
  2083. ~~~
  2084. "So, I need to dress up why?"
  2085. >"Because you have a date to go to," Your daughter says, doing her best to brush your hair with her magic.
  2086. "Oh, and who decided this?"
  2087. >"Well, I did, Daddy, now hurry up, you have to be there by Eleven."
  2088. >Sighing, you pick up your daughter and seat her in front of you.
  2089. "Alright, let's start from the beginning. Why did you decide to get me a blind date?"
  2090. >"But she's not blind..."
  2091. "Not the point. A blind date is when both people don't know the other."
  2092. >"Oh," she says, rubbing her head, "I think I get it."
  2093. "Now the question is why?"
  2094. >"You are the reason," she says, poking your chest with a hoof, "you never even try to go out and meet others, even though we have Auntie Celestia and now Luna to foalsit me."
  2095. >Trying to come up with an excuse, you find there are none.
  2096. >You don't really have any true friends, just work colleagues, and acquaintances.
  2097. "Alright, I'll go, but who's going to watch over you?"
  2098. >"Auntie Celestia is already on her way, I think. I told her to get here early enough that you could get to the big Central park for Eleven."
  2099. "And how will I know who my date is?"
  2100. >"She'll be at the fountain bench."
  2101. >Letting out another sigh, you rub her head before setting her down.
  2102. "Alright, I guess I better get going soon then. Don't open the door for anyone but Celestia or I, alright?"
  2103. >"Yes Daddy," she replies, smiling up at you.
  2104. >Grabbing your bit bag and keys, you lock up as you head out, Venus' smile the last thing you see inside the apartment.
  2105. >Your apartment is a decent walk from the central park, but you have time to spare right now.
  2106. >Not much time, but enough to look around as you go, Hearts and Hooves decorations everywhere.
  2107. >Most shops are closed, save a few relevant ones, such as flower shops and jeweler's.
  2108. >Restaurants and cafes everywhere are bustling with business, couples and herds enjoying time together.
  2109. >Weaving your way around ponies walking along, you eventually make it to Canterlot Central Park, where a great many couples are out and about on picnics and such.
  2110. >Surprisingly, the bench by the fountain is unoccupied, despite it's romantic positioning.
  2111. >There aren't any ponies around it, meaning you must be early.
  2112. >Taking a seat, you begin waiting for your blind date.
  2113. ~~~
  2114. "Binoculars?"
  2115. >"Check."
  2116. "Emergency snacks?"
  2117. >"Check."
  2118. "Sneaky hiding blanket?"
  2119. >"Check."
  2120. "Looks like everything is here then," you say, looking to your partner in making family go on a date causing.
  2121. >Okay, you need to figure out a better name for that.
  2122. >Slinging the saddlebag over your back, you leave Anon's apartment, Venus following behind, locking the door as she leaves.
  2123. >According to Venus, Anon left not too long ago, so you should have no problems getting to the park before him.
  2124. >And of course, there's no way Luna could have gotten there already.
  2125. "Ready Venus?" you ask, and she nods, holding onto your leg.
  2126. >Charging up, you teleport the two of you just outside the park.
  2127. >"Whoo... dizzy..." Venus says, wobbling next to you.
  2128. >Steadying her with your magic, the nausea settles and she springs back to her normal self.
  2129. "Better?"
  2130. >"Mhmm. Where are we gonna watch them from?"
  2131. >Looking around, you spot a somewhat low traffic cafe on the edge of the park with a great view of the fountain.
  2132. "How about over there? We can grab something to eat, and watch over them at the same time," you say, pointing with a hoof.
  2133. >Turning to look, she nods, "Looks great. I wonder what they have there."
  2134. >Minutes later, you're seated at a somewhat secluded table, looking over the menu and watching the fountain bench out of the corner of your eye.
  2135. >"Hey, there's Daddy," Venus suddenly say, and looking off where she is, you see Anon at the far edge of the park.
  2136. >It doesn't take him long to get to the bench, which is still empty.
  2137. >He takes a seat, looking away from you, though you crouch a little, just in case.
  2138. >Your meals are ordered and delivered before Luna arrives, on the opposite side of the park from where Anon arrived.
  2139. "Luna's here," you say, and Venus looks up, her face stuffed with sandwich.
  2140. >Peeking through the bush, she spots where Luna is, actually on time for once.
  2141. >"Time for this to start," she says, before taking another overly large bite of sandwich.
  2142. ~~~
  2143. >Remain calm, it's only a single date.
  2144. >Albeit with a stallion you do not know.
  2145. >In a world you are still unaccustomed to.
  2146. >Oh buck this may be harder than you thought.
  2147. >Looking up, you see the bench, and your heart leaps.
  2148. >Anon is there!
  2149. >Is he the stallion your sister set you up with?
  2150. >About to run over, you suddenly freeze.
  2151. >But you haven't confessed to him your feelings, how can you do this without being awkward.
  2152. >Giving a little stomp, you shake your head free of these coltish thoughts.
  2153. >You like him, and he is your friend, so you should be able to do this easily.
  2154. >Just trot up to he and offer him flowers.
  2155. >Simple as that.
  2156. >Just walk forwards.
  2157. >It's not hard.
  2158. >You did it all the way here.
  2159. >Why...
  2160. ~~~
  2161. >Looking around again, you notice Luna down the path, seemingly lost in thought, staring straight down.
  2162. >Rising from your seat, you make your way over, patting her on the shoulder.
  2163. "Hey, Luna, what brings you here?" you ask, taking a step back as she looks up.
  2164. >"I... we... date, you, flowers?"
  2165. >Scratching your head, you motion to the bench.
  2166. "How about you sit down, you seem a little confused, flustered, maybe."
  2167. >Escorting her over, you  sit next to her.
  2168. "So, what brings you down here?" you ask again.
  2169. >Taking a deep breath, she looks up at the fountain.
  2170. >"To be brief, my sister set me up on a date, and..."
  2171. "Did it not go well?"
  2172. >"I got set up with you, it seems."
  2173. >This makes you stop, hand half raised as your mind processes what she said.
  2174. "Were you told your date would be at the fountain bench?"
  2175. >"I was. Were you not informed of it?"
  2176. "No, since Venus set me up for a blind date with a mare at the fountain bench."
  2177. >"I think there is some scheming going on," Luna says, glancing around, "but since they went through the trouble to set this up, it would be a waste to not use it."
  2178. >Pulling a bouquet from her bag, she holds them out to you.
  2179. >"I wasn't sure what flowers you liked, but colts always like roses, so..."
  2180. "They're beautiful, but I don't know if they'll last till I can get them in a vase at home."
  2181. >"But why would you do that? Are they not the manner of flowers you like to eat?"
  2182. "Humans do't eat flowers, at least, not normally."
  2183. >She gasps and her magic reaches to take the flowers back, but you pat her shoulder.
  2184. "It's alright, they're a nice thought, and I thank you for them."
  2185. >Her magic fizzles out, but she still looks unsure.
  2186. >"I will make it up to you then. Where would you like to go for our date?"
  2187. "How about we take a walk for a bit, before heading somewhere for lunch?"
  2188. >"That sounds agreeable," Luna replies with a smile, rising to her hooves.
  2189. >Standing with her, the two of you choose a direction and start off.
  2190. ~~~
  2191. >After what looked like a shaky start, it seems Daddy and Luna are heading off together.
  2192. "Ready to go, Auntie?"
  2193. >Three cupcakes disappear down her mouth in an instant, and she nods.
  2194. >She pays for the food, and the two of you sneak off after Daddy.
  2195. >Him and Luna aren't walking too fast, so it's easy for you and Celestia to follow from a distance.
  2196. >You can't tell where they're going, but they're talking, and they seem to be happy.
  2197. >It's a good sign.
  2198. >Right?
  2199. >"I wonder where they'll stop for lunch? We'll need to figure out where to watch from when they settle."
  2200. "Maybe they'll do a picnic. That way, we'd have lots of places to watch from."
  2201. >"I don't think they will. They don't have any food for it."
  2202. "Aww..."
  2203. >Celesia pats your head, just like Daddy does when you're sad.
  2204. >"I'm sure if our plans go well, they'll go out on more dates, including picnics."
  2205. "But is this alright? Are we supposed to push them together like this?"
  2206. >"It's not likely anything bad will come of this, and even if they don't end up in love or anything, They'll still be friends after all."
  2207. "And you'll still be my Auntie," you say, smiling up at her with your biggest smile.
  2208. >Celestia smiles back down at you, "Well, we'd better keep moving, or they'll get away from us."
  2209. >Looking back down, Daddy and Luna just turned a corner a lot of streets down.
  2210. "Right!"
  2211. >Hurrying up, the two of you sneak around the corner after them.
  2212. ~~~
  2213. >"She said that?" Luna says, holding back laughter.
  2214. "Yep, and boy did her friends facehoof. They ended up dragging her out of the bar not long after as she passed out."
  2215. >"As one would imagine, working at a bar certainly brings storys to you, doesn't it?"
  2216. "Not as many as you might think, but then, I almost always work days, and not nights, so few ponies are actually drinking."
  2217. >Bushing up against you as she walks, Luna's wing is unsteadily opening briefly, before retracting.
  2218. >Taking her cue, you reach out and rest a hand on her far shoulder.
  2219. >She stiffens, wings rising, before settling a wing around your back.
  2220. >It's warm and very comforting.
  2221. "Have you thought of any place you want to go for lunch?" you ask.
  2222. >"I already said we can go wherever you want," she replies, gently shoving you with her shoulder.
  2223. "Well, I don't really know anything in this area, so how about we stop at the next interesting place we see?"
  2224. >"That sounds fine."
  2225. >It's not long before the two of you come across a small restaurant, modestly decorated for the holiday.
  2226. >What's more interesting than the decorations is the smells coming from it.
  2227. >You're almost tugged in the door by your noses, Luna just as interested as you are.
  2228. >"It seems we have found our lunch spot," she says, licking her lips as the two of you sit at one of the many empty booths.
  2229. >"Hey there, what can I get for you?" A pony says, coming out from the back.
  2230. >"Oh, your majesty, what brings you to our humble restaurant?" they ask, bowing to Luna.
  2231. >"We're just looking to have lunch. Would you be able to bring us a menu?"
  2232. >"Of course," the pony says, bowing again, "I'll grab it for you right away."
  2233. >Menus are brought swiftly, and scanning over them, you realize what that smell was.
  2234. >"Our restaurant caters to all species, so you may want to stick to things you know."
  2235. "I thought I smelt something familiar," you says, scanning over the menu.
  2236. >Scanning over the menu, you don't immediately notice Luna slowly scooting around the bench.
  2237. >You do notice, however, when her wing wraps around your back.
  2238. >Smiling, you shift over, your hip touching hers.
  2239. ~~~
  2240. >The horn ring, or the saddlebag clip...
  2241. >Or maybe the mane brush.
  2242. >Oh Aunt, why did you wait till the last minute to do this?
  2243. >Turning, you look out the window, perhaps hoping for some strike of inspiration when you notice something.
  2244. >Your aunt and, well, daughter, half hidden and observing a restaurant across the street.
  2245. >It's nothing to do with you, you have more pressing concerns.
  2246. >Like picking out a Hearts and Hooves day gift for Shining.
  2247. "But which one would he like best," you mutter to yourself, staring.
  2248. >Stopping, you find yourself glancing to the window again, and those beyond it.
  2249. >Why are they there, who or what are they watching?
  2250. >Back to your options, you just shrug and grab the mane brush.
  2251. >At least it doesn't have to match an outfit or anything, unlike the ring or clip.
  2252. >Paying for it, you stealthily walk out of the store, keeping an eye on the two till you're at a place where you can see them, but they won't see you.
  2253. >Namely, hiding in a tree.
  2254. >With their attention to the ground, they'll never notice you.
  2255. >Upon further observation, you can figure out that they're watching somepony inside the restaurant across the street.
  2256. >But from your perch, you can't tell who.
  2257. >Anon, probably.
  2258. >You don't have to wait long, and you're surprised to see Luna exit the restaurant.
  2259. >When she holds the door open for Anon, however, you almost fall from the tree.
  2260. >Date pairing is supposed to be your thing.
  2261. >Besides, Luna is too old school, there's no way she'll click with a modern progressive kind of stallion like Anon.
  2262. >And yet the two of them walk off, side by side, smiling and talking away.
  2263. >He even has his hand on her shoulder.
  2264. >You have to investigate closer.
  2265. >Following behind Venus and Celestia, you eventually reach a nice, though somewhat secluded park.
  2266. >Kind of like where...
  2267. ~~~
  2268. >Sitting down next to Luna, you're a little surprised when she sits sort of like you.
  2269. >"I was wondering, what was your home like? I know you've been here for a long time, but you must remember things from before then."
  2270. >Looking up, you stop and think.
  2271. >With everything that's happened, Earth has often been far from your mind.
  2272. "My family, it was my dad and my mom, me and my little sister."
  2273. "Dad was always off to work early in the morning, while Mom left for work after me and my sister left for school."
  2274. "Of course, Dad would be home before school ended, and we'd help him cook dinner so it's ready when Mom gets home."
  2275. "On the weekends, we would go out to movies, or to the park, normal family stuff."
  2276. >"You must miss them..." she says, reaching a wing over your shoulder.
  2277. "I do, but life goes on, and you can't stay sad forever. Besides, I have Venus now."
  2278. >"It's the same for me, I guess. Being banished for a thousand years is much the same as I had no friends or family but my sister anymore."
  2279. >Reaching over, you take hold of her hoof in your hand.
  2280. "The same, but we both also have new friends, and maybe, eventually, new family."
  2281. >Looking over, her face is bright red, stars popping and sparking in her mane.
  2282. >You could swear they formed a shape there, but it could just be your imagination.
  2283. "Are you alright, Luna?"
  2284. >"Yes, we, I, I'm fine, it's just... er, Oh, I wonder what kind of bird that is," she stammers out, pointing to a tree in the distance.
  2285. >Leaning against her, you follow her hoof and spot a small patch of pink feathers in the trees.
  2286. "I can't say I know. It's an interesting colour though."
  2287. >Her body is stiff against you, but flushed with heat.
  2288. >Okay, so you know you're teasing her, but these reactions are too cute.
  2289. "Are you sure you're alright?"
  2290. ~~~
  2291. "Don't blow this, Luna," you whisper to yourself, watching your sister struggle with Anon's affections.
  2292. >"Just kiss Daddy, it's all you have to do," Venus says beside you, probably louder than she should have.
  2293. "How do you know that?"
  2294. >She shrugs, looking up at you, saying "I dunno, I just know it's the right thing."
  2295. "It seems a bit early for a kiss though," you muse.
  2296. >You don't notice Venus start to move as you look back up at your sister and Anon.
  2297. >It's not till she's snuck up behind the bench that you realize she's moved.
  2298. >Catching yourself before you call out, you can only watch as she creeps under it.
  2299. ~~~
  2300. >"Kiss him," rises up, so faint you can barely hear it.
  2301. >You briefly turn to look, but come face to face with Anon, and you hear it again.
  2302. >"Kiss him."
  2303. >It's not the voice of Nightmare Moon, so perhaps it is your conscience.
  2304. >But still, to kiss a colt like this...
  2305. >"Kiss him," it comes again, a little more forcefully, though still barely perceptible.
  2306. >Gathering your will, you take the advice of your conscience.
  2307. >Leaning forward, you press your lips to his, pushing your tongue past his lips shortly after.
  2308. >If you're going to do this, you're doing it all the way.
  2309. >The hand around your hoof squeezes gently, and you feel his tongue meet yours.
  2310. >Oh buck you're actually kissing him, and not some quick one either.
  2311. >He pushes back against you, but marely pride keeps you on top.
  2312. >Metaphorically.
  2313. >There's a cheer from underneath you, followed by a thud, and a quieter "ouch".
  2314. >Anon breaks the kiss, gently pushing you away with a hand, before reaching under the bench.
  2315. >Confused, things suddenly make sense when he comes up holding Venus who is rubbing her head.
  2316. >"Now what are you doing under there?" he asks, setting her in his lap.
  2317. >"We were watching you and Luna to make sure nothing goes wrong."
  2318. "We?"
  2319. >"Auntie Celestia and me," she replies, pointing to a bush.
  2320. "Sister, come out from there," you say to the bush, and as Venus said, your sister exits it, brushing twigs and leaves from herself as she does.
  2321. >"Sorry, Luna, but we had to be sure things would go well. You're not exactly the most social of ponies."
  2322. >"And you don't go out enough Daddy," Venus adds.
  2323. >He just rubs her head, when you notice something.
  2324. "Anon, you might want to check Venus over," you says, covering your smile.
  2325. >"Oh?" he says, lifting up Venus, turning her around.
  2326. >It takes only a few seconds before he notices what you did.
  2327. >Venus is squished to his chest immediately, and he just about jumps up from the bench.
  2328. >"Congratulations, you found your talent, dear."
  2329. >"Huh?" Venus says, with all the grace and elegance of a ten year old.
  2330. >"Take a look," he says, setting her down, and pointing to her flank.
  2331. >There, clear as day is her cutie mark, a pair of red hearts, bound by a golden ring.
  2332. >"She'll need a cute-ceanera later, but for now, I think we need to head off and leave you two lovebirds alone," Celestia says, floating Venus up onto her back with magic.
  2333. >"Bye Daddy," Venus says, riding away on Celestia, leaving you and Luna alone in the park again.
  2334. >At least, that's what you thought at first.
  2335. >"Cadence, where are you?"
  2336. ~~~
  2337. "Cadence, where are you?" You call out, scanning the park your spell led you to.
  2338. >You almost immediately notice Luna and Anon, seated on a bench together.
  2339. >...
  2340. >Oh.
  2341. >Oh my, there's some gossip here and you know it.
  2342. >"Hello, Luna, Anon, how are you today," you say with a small bow.
  2343. >She is a princess after all, and it's respectful.
  2344. >"Ah, Captain Shining, what bring you here today?" Luna asks, nodding to you.
  2345. "Well, Cadence and I have Dinner plans, but I haven't seen her all day. If I may ask, what brings the two of you here together?"
  2346. >"Celestia and my daughter thought it would be a good idea to set Luna and I up on a blind date with eachother, since both of us have been out of the dating game for a long time," Anon says, taking hold of Luna's hoof in his hand.
  2347. >Using your will, tempered by all your training, you can keep from blushing at this PDA, but it's hard.
  2348. "Things have been going well then, and don't worry I won't stick around you long. I just need to pinpoint this tracking spell on Cadence."
  2349. >"Allow me," Luna says, horn glowing, "Those of the royal family can track the others of the royal family more easily."
  2350. >A blue beam shoots out of her horn, going straight at a tree, which suddenly shifts, before there's a thud, the beam panning to the ground below.
  2351. >Ground that now has your marefriend on it.
  2352. "There you are, Cadence, I've been looking all over for you, I need to know where we're going for dinner tonight, so I can get the right outfit ready."
  2353. >"Well, honey, I kind of wanted it to be a surprise," she says, rubbing her flank.
  2354. >Already sore and you haven't even given her your gift yet.
  2355. "Well, I can't just show up wearing whatever. Restaurants work hard to make an atmosphere, and I want to match it."
  2356. "Will I even have time to get my mane done now? Oh shoot, my appointment!"
  2357. >Grabbing your marefriend with your magic, you drag her off with you.
  2358. "You can tell me on the way, I have to hurry or I'll miss my hooficure."
  2359. >Outside of the park, you set her down and look deeply into her eyes.
  2360. "So, when did they start going out together?"
  2361. >"Uh... I don't know. Today, I think," she replies, and you frown.
  2362. "You don't know? You're the princess of love, you should be able to tell."
  2363. >"That's the thing, it doesn't make sense. They shouldn't match. Luna's old fashioned, extremely so, while Anon is rather progressive, I guess."
  2364. "And?"
  2365. >"It should be like mixing oil and water, it just doesn't work, at least, not for long."
  2366. "Maybe this will be the same then," you say, looking up to see the spa, "Ah, we're here. I won't be long sweetie."
  2367. ~~~
  2368. "So, um, what do we do now?" you ask, doing your best to keep from nervously rubbing your hoof on your leg.
  2369. >"Well, I guess we could go see a movie or something," Anon says, still holding your hoof.
  2370. "I've never seen one, are they good?"
  2371. >"I couldn't really say, I've only seen the occasional foal movie with Venus."
  2372. >He scratches his head, before shrugging.
  2373. >"I guess we can just go and see what's playing, for better or for worse."
  2374. >Nodding in agreement, there's a sudden pop, and a folded piece of paper appears in front of you and Anon.
  2375. >Inside is a letter from your sister, as well as movie tickets.
  2376. >"Have fun~<3, signed Celestia," Anon says, reading off the letter.
  2377. "It seems she's helping us further."
  2378. >"Shall we go then?"
  2379. ~~~
  2380. >Unlocking your door, you turn to Luna, who is smiling, though with a hint of nervously.
  2381. "Thank you for the fun time, Luna, it was really good to get out."
  2382. >"Myself as well, I enjoyed our time together."
  2383. "If you want, I'm sure I could get Celestia to foalsit this saturday, we could go see another movie together or something?"
  2384. >"WE'D BE GLAD TO!" she exclaims, a little over-enthusiastically, slipping into ye olde speech.
  2385. >Reaching out to stop her from jumping, her wings already flaring out, you lean over and give her a kiss.
  2386. >This causes her to lock up, before pushing back with the kiss.
  2387. >She's a fighter, you'll give her that.
  2388. >Your tongues press against eachother, alternating who's mouth they're in.
  2389. >The door suddenly opens, bathing the two of you in light, and Venus says, "Ewww, Daddy..."
  2390. >"Oh let them enjoy themselves," Celestia says as you and Luna break apart, both of you blushing a bit.
  2391. "Er, well, I'll see you Saturday then," you say, and she nods.
  2392. >"I'll see you then. Are you ready to go, Sister?"
  2393. >"Whenever you're ready," Celestia replies, stepping past you.
  2394. >A tugging at your pants leg draws your attention to Venus, who says, "Come on, Daddy, it's time to get ready for bed."
  2395. "Yes, coming."
  2396. >Giving Luna one last quick kiss on the cheek, you enter your apartment, giving a small wave as you close the door.
  2397. >Rosy blue cheeks and teal eyes are the last things you see on the other side as you close the door.
  2398. ~~~
  2399. >"Come on, we have snacks over here!" your daughter calls out as a herd of little fillies and foals run past you, the snack table about to be raided.
  2400. >Stepping back, you look around for Celestia, the instigator of this whole party.
  2401. >Spotting her with some dignitaries at the entrance, you make your way over.
  2402. >"Ah, and here is the father of the lady of the day," she says as you approach, the dignitaries looking you over.
  2403. "Yes, but Celestia, isn't this all a little much?" you ask, gesturing to the converted throne room and dining hall that now serve as a pair of party rooms.
  2404. >As you stop next to her, she pats your back with a wing.
  2405. >"Anon, I know she's your daughter, but sometimes you forget she is an alicorn too. The first Alicorn actually born to ponykind."
  2406. >"Imagine the uproar that would have come about if the first Alicorn earned Cutiemark was not announced and celebrated publicly?"
  2407. >"She is going to be an important pony in Equestria's future, and while you may be bringing her up somewhat secluded, she will have to come out some time."
  2408. "I just want her to grow up like a normal child."
  2409. >"I understand, all to well. As an Alicorn, your freedoms are somewhat limited, as you are an idol of society."
  2410. >Turning, you watch her run past again, a bit of icing adorning her cheek.
  2411. >"Though I suppose she's a bit young to act the part yet."
  2412. >Clearing their throat, one of the delegates says, "If I may, can we return to our prior discussions?"
  2413. >"Ah, yes, of course. Go, enjoy yourself Anon, nothing bad can happen, and I assure you, nothing will."
  2414. >A gentle shove with magic gets you on your way, so, like Venus before you, you head for the snack table.
  2415. >Several stallions mill about here, sipping on tea provided fresh by castle staff.
  2416. >"Anon, is it?" one asks as you approach, "This is quite the party, you must tell me how you booked here for your daughter's cute-ceanera."
  2417. "Yes, that's me, but unfortunately, I can't help you with your question. I was not the one to book here, Celestia set this up for Venus herself."
  2418. >With a sigh, the colt nods, "I see. It figures the princesses would prepare things for the new Alicorn."
  2419. >"Mares always going above our heads for these things, am I right?" Another says, getting some chuckles and nods from others here.
  2420. >"I hear that. Just the other week, my Alpha went and purchased a new desk for her study, and didn't even ask for my help. And by Celestia does it clash with the bookshelves."
  2421. >Murmured agreements pass through the group, including things such as, "no aesthetic sense whatsoever," and "I bet she didn't even barter."
  2422. >The talk is cut short, however, as a cart of snacks is brought in and set next to the table.
  2423. >"If I could bother you, sirs, We're looking at new recipies for snacks for the royal wedding, and we'd like to get your opinion on them."
  2424. >"Oh, hmn... I suppose I could take a day off my diet, if it's for something important like this," one says, mouth already watering slightly at the smell.
  2425. "Can I ask who's wedding it is?" you ask, picking up one of the miniature cakes.
  2426. >"Why, it's Princess Cadence and Shining Armor's, of course. Haven't you heard? It's been what everypony is talking about recently."
  2427. "This is the first I've heard of it," you reply, taking a bite of the snack, "And by the way, these are really good. Maybe a little overboard on the icing if it's supposed to be a snack, but otherwise great."
  2428. >"We'll keep that in mind."
  2429. >"Back on topic though, how could you not have heard?" one of the stallions says, "It's the talk of, well, everywhere."
  2430. >"You really must get out more, find groups to gossip with, Anon," another says, patting you on the thigh, "Your mare must keep you busy if you haven't heard of this."
  2431. "Well, you see," you say, grabbing another mini cake, "I don't have a mare. I just don't have time to get out much."
  2432. >Your legs are suddenly covered by hugging colts, several of them patting you on your back.
  2433. >"You poor colt, how could a mare leave you with a child..."
  2434. >"And you don't even have a mare to help you right now."
  2435. "That's not exactly true. While I may not have a wife, I am dating right now."
  2436. >"Oh?" one says, and they all release you, smiles forming on most of their faces.
  2437. >"Now this is something I have to hear," another says, "I know colts in most circles of mares, and I haven't heard anything about anypony dating you."
  2438. "It's not really anything important, and we just started back on Hearts and Hooves day."
  2439. >"Come on, don't hold out on us, share."
  2440. >"What's she like, and more importantly, what's her figures like?"
  2441. "Figures?"
  2442. >"Does she have money, property, carriages, things like that."
  2443. >"A mare that's just 'Nice' isn't much good for a herd, if you know what I mean."
  2444. >You're interrupted by Venus running up to you and tugging on your sleeve with magic.
  2445. >"Daddy, Auntie Celestia got a bouncy house to play in, come look!"
  2446. "Alright, alright, I'm coming," you say, before turning to the colts, "It was nice meeting you."
  2447. >"And you as well," they reply, before you run off after Venus.
  2448. >"I wonder what mare he's dating?" one asks after you've gone to the other room.
  2449. >"I'm pretty sure whatever mare would be dating him would be bragging about it. I know my Alpha would be."
  2450. >"Oh I know what you mean. Mine when foal crazy when she heard that a new Alicorn was born back then, and to be honest, I'm glad we only had one filly in the end."
  2451. >"You're not the only one, friend I heard Fancy's entire herd went pregnant at once to increase their odds."
  2452. >"Ugh, There's no way I could deal with that many foals at once."
  2453. >Conversation is interrupted, as Princess Luna herself walks over to the group.
  2454. >"Excuse me, gentlecolts, but would you happen to know the whereabouts of Anon? There are some things I would like to discuss with him."
  2455. >"He just left to the bouncy castle, Princess."
  2456. >"Thank you."
  2457. >Watching Luna head to you, the colts look to eachother.
  2458. >"Do you think...?"
  2459. >"Nah, couldn't be. She's just here because it's an alicorn cute-ceanera."
  2460. >"And probably these mini cakes. They're delicious."
  2461. ~~~
  2462. >Staring at yourself in the mirror, you admire your fine red suit, with matching pins.
  2463. >A few last touches with the brush, maybe a little coat shine here, and...
  2464. >Maybe you should wear the green coat...
  2465. >"Shining Armor, sir? We need to get going, the wedding will start soon."
  2466. "Oh alright, I suppose this will have to do. Can't keep my love waiting."
  2467. >Following your subordinates out the door, you join them in the royal carraige, now set to go to the Grand Canterlot Marriage hall.
  2468. >"It's a shame Princess Luna is out helping the patrols while you're getting married, Captain."
  2469. "I know, but with all the military heads coming to the wedding, someone has to organize the troops."
  2470. >"If I may, captain, I'm somewhat jealous. You have such a beautiful and marely wife to be, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful family start."
  2471. "Don't sell yourself short, you've got quite the wife yourself," you reply.
  2472. >He blushes a little, rubbing the back of his neck, "She is, isn't she."
  2473. >The carriage hits a little bump, jostling you, but thankfully not messing up your mane.
  2474. >Everything would be ruined if your mane got messed up.
  2475. >Other than that, anything could go wrong and it would still be fine.
  2476. >It's not long before you arrive at the Hall, and with your guards at your side, you enter the building.
  2477. >Already at the altar is your soon to be wife who you love very much and would do anything for, no matter how she looked.
  2478. >Anything.
  2479. ~~~
  2480. "Hold your positions mares, so long as our shield stands, they cannot enter the city!" you shout out, voice echoing down the wall.
  2481. >Damned blasted Changelings chose one hell of a time for an attack.
  2482. >With all the captains at the wedding, discipline is down and the troops are itching to go out and fight.
  2483. >At least the colt guard is at the castle and guarding the wedding. They'd be a liability out here with what training they have.
  2484. >Another series of thuds ring of the barrier, the changelings still bashing mindlessly at it.
  2485. >Weaker willed mares might crack under the pressure, but like the barrier, the soldiers of Canterlot stand strong.
  2486. >Until cracking is heard.
  2487. "Ready your spears, mares, for today, we stand to protect all we hold dear!"
  2488. >Speartips glint in the sunlight as they are raised, pointed at the chitinous menace outside.
  2489. >More cracks start to form, driving the changelings into an excited flurry.
  2490. >Chatter dissapears, and soon the only sound is the banging of changeling on barrier.
  2491. >Some say the wait is worse than the actual battle.
  2492. >They're wrong.
  2493. >An ominous creaking grows louder, and it's only a moment before the shield breaks.
  2494. >Almost immediately, the changelings collide with your troops, the line holding but many changelings making it past.
  2495. >Your pegasus troops can only halt so many.
  2496. >In fact, it hardly seems like even the ones you're facing are interested in you.
  2497. >Blasting a large group back with magic, they suddenly use the gap to split and fly around you.
  2498. >Swatting down several with your spear and magic, far too many get past.
  2499. "Fall back, hunt them down. They're not here to fight, so we have to stop them from getting what they want."
  2500. >Like the well trained soldiers they are, the troops slowly fall back into the city, bringing down changelings left and right.
  2501. >What could these accursed love sucking bugs want?
  2502. >Love sucking...
  2503. >Anon! Venus! The wedding!
  2504. >Rushing straight into the city, you head for Anon's apartment.
  2505. >Your sister is at the wedding, and there's no way she would lose, but Anon's just a male.
  2506. >A large and strong male, granted, but even he can only protect Venus so well.
  2507. >Still, you must protect the ponies of the city, and you take down Changelings wherever you find them.
  2508. >You're halted when you come across a family besieged by a large horde, and you bring your weapon to bear.
  2509. "Come, vile insects, and meet your end!" you shout, rushing into the fray.
  2510. ~~~
  2511. >Today's the day of 'Her' wedding, meaning it's a one day holiday, meaning you have the day off work and Venus is home from school.
  2512. >"Hey, is lunch almost ready, Daddy?"
  2513. "Soon, Venus, make sure you get cleaned up."
  2514. >"Yes Daddy."
  2515. >Barely a moment later, you hear the tap start up, followed by a sudden thud against the livingroom window.
  2516. >Rounding the corner to look, you immediately spot the black pony bug thing crashing against your window.
  2517. >It must be a changeling, given it's appearance.
  2518. >You've never seen one in person, but you saw pictures in school, and this looks just like it.
  2519. >It makes you jump when it rams the window again, Venus scrambling from the bathroom to your side.
  2520. >"Daddy, what is that?"
  2521. "Sweetie, hide in the bathroom and lock the door. Don't open it at all."
  2522. >"But..."
  2523. "I'll be fine, but I have to make sure nothing happens to you."
  2524. >She nods and runs to the bathroom, the lock clicking into place.
  2525. >With no fly swatter around, you instead grab a knife from the block.
  2526. >The window cracks and shatters, several changelings swarming through past the initial one.
  2527. >Their eyes immediately turn to the bathroom, which you rush past them and stop in front of.
  2528. >They hiss at you, but eye your knife warily.
  2529. "If you want her, you're gonna have to go through me first," you taunt, taking an aggressive stance.
  2530. >The changelings mill around confused for a brief moment, eyes locked on you, before they burst into motion.
  2531. >Around through the kitchen and straight from the window, they charge.
  2532. >Knife at the ready, you brace yourself.
  2533. ~~~
  2534. >Ensuring the safety of the family, you take off again.
  2535. >It hasn't been long since the barrier fell, there's no way the changelings have gotten far.
  2536. >Anon lives closer to the middle of the city, so he should be safe for now.
  2537. >From the corner of your eye, you spot a pair of changelings dragging a mare into an alley.
  2538. >Turning after them, your hoofcups send up sparks as you round the corner, ready to fight.
  2539. >Both changelings freeze before dropping their quarry and turning to face you.
  2540. >They hiss at you, the intimidation lost on your experience.
  2541. >You've faced down armies, a pair of love sucking parasite bug ponies aren't gonna scare you.
  2542. >Within the narrow confines of the alley, you don't have much room to move, but then, neither do they.
  2543. >Your standard issue spear may have given out in the last fight, but you don't need it to deal with them.
  2544. >Magic gathers around your horn, the air snapping and crackling.
  2545. >One diving from up high, the other charging along the ground, the black masses in the shadows of the buildings approach.
  2546. >A blast from your horn brings down the flier while the other meets your front hooves as they jab out.
  2547. >Chitin cracks under the might of your strikes, the changeling tumbling to the ground.
  2548. >Grabbing the mare with magic, you pull her to safety and set her inside a building before starting to run again.
  2549. >These accursed bugs are moving faster and more efficiently than you expected.
  2550. >Left and right, they are attacking and capturing your citizens, but above that, your heart worries for Anon and Venus.
  2551. >Helping those you can as you run, you find yourself at Anon's apartment.
  2552. >Even from outside you can tell things are wrong.
  2553. >Numerous windows are shattered, and you can smell blood from out here.
  2554. >Despite the smell, much of the building is clean, as you pass through the entrance and up to the his floor.
  2555. >It's here where you encounter the first changeling, or rather, the first corpse.
  2556. >First several corpses, all piled on the wall across from his door, oozing green blood all over the nice hardwood.
  2557. >Despite this, everything's quiet.
  2558. >Entering the apartment, the already strong smell of blood becomes overwhelming.
  2559. >Once white walls are covered in green blood, holes and the occasional flecks of red.
  2560. >You can barely take a step without hearing the crunch of changeling chitin or hear the squish of bloodsoaked carpet.
  2561. >The kitchen is destroyed, shattered dishes and utensils scattered everywhere.
  2562. >Corpses fill the floor, there's even one in the sink.
  2563. >You don't have to look at the carnage long, as you notice Anon slumped up against the bathroom door.
  2564. >You're at his side in an instant.
  2565. ~~~
  2566. >This is wonderful.
  2567. >You could not imagine a better wedding.
  2568. >Your marefriend is such a wonderful singer.
  2569. >Hey, your little sister best friend forever just showed up with your marefriend.
  2570. >My she really let herself go, not like your marefriend beside you.
  2571. >Oh, hey, your marefriend just transformed into a princess sized changeling.
  2572. >By Celestia you love your marefriend.
  2573. >Oops, looks like your marefriend just zapped Celestia accidentally.
  2574. >She really must be more careful.
  2575. >Hey, where is your sister going with those ponies?
  2576. >Aww, but oh well, as long as you're here with your soon to be wife, everything will be perfect.
  2577. >How sweet, the changelings are making a bed pod for Celestia to rest in.
  2578. >No need for you to do anything at all but stand here and love your wife to be.
  2579. >And, of course, look fabulous.
  2580. >From head to hoof, you are the epitome of handsome.
  2581. >Your marefriend that isn't a changeling, on the other hoof, she needs to get cleaned up.
  2582. >Oh well, at least you're not marrying her, and instead are marrying the totally hot and lovable changeling one.
  2583. >Looks like your little sister best friend forever just came back, along with her friends and a whole bunch of changelings.
  2584. >Thank goodness she's not going to miss the wedding.
  2585. >All of a sudden, ratty Cadence runs up to you, Sexy and ruttable changeling Cadence diving at her to stop her.
  2586. >As she does, that elegant wings of her create a breeze.
  2587. >A breeze that messes up your mane...
  2588. >Numerous gasps sound out across the hall.
  2590. >Both your wife to be and that black Whorse flinch, magic gathering around you at an alarming rate.
  2592. >A shield spell erupts from your horn, expanding at a rapid rate, pushing any and all changelings up and away.
  2593. >It doesn't stop until it covers the city, throwing the mane wreckers to the wind.
  2594. >"Are you alright Sweetie?"
  2595. "I'm fine, Cadence, I just can't believe I was about to marry that Manewrecker."
  2596. >She smiles and wraps a wing around your shoulder.
  2597. >"How about we both get cleaned up and do this properly?"
  2598. "You know me so well, love, this is exactly what we should do."
  2599. >Shoulder to shoulder, you and your marefriend walk to the carriage to get cleaned up.
  2600. "You really do need a shower, honey."
  2601. ~~~
  2602. >A heavy warmth presses down on you, the smell of blueberries and ozone filling your senses.
  2603. >Your arms are too heavy to lift to your eyes, but as you try to move, the weight shifts.
  2604. >Stars dance overhead as you open your eyes, seemingly close enough to touch.
  2605. >"Anon, are you awake?"
  2606. >The stars move, and Luna's face shifts to fill your vision, concern easily visible.
  2607. "Luna? Yeah, I'm awake," you say, trying to push yourself upright.
  2608. >You stop when a pain shoots through your arm, and when you're not able to lift the weight on your chest.
  2609. >The weight that is an amber mane with a pink horn poking through it under a blue wing.
  2610. >"Don't move too much, Anon, you are still quite injured," Luna says, retracting her wing so you can see Venus is alright.
  2611. >Numerous bandages cover your arms and torso, testament to how intense the fighting was.
  2612. >Getting one arm up over Venus, you can feel her chest expand and contract with her breathing.
  2613. "What happened? Is everything fine now?"
  2614. >She nods, looking down, but as her mane covers her face, you can see tears forming.
  2615. "Is something wrong? Did something happen?"
  2616. >"It's... It's just..."
  2617. >She suddenly shifts forward, nose nuzzling into your neck.
  2618. >"I don't know what I would have done if anything had happened to you, Anon."
  2619. >You'd wrap your other arm around her, but it's locked in place by Luna's body.
  2620. >"Come on, I'm trying to sleep over here," comes from beyond the curtain around your bed.
  2621. >"Be quiet sister, I'm trying to have a moment with Anon right now."
  2622. >The curtain is pulled back, and Celestia rolls her eyes, saying, "Then just mare up and tell him you love him instead of dancing around it like a colt."
  2623. >"Auntie?" Venus says sleepily, stirring under your arm before noticing you're awake.
  2624. >"DADDY! Daddy you're awake!"
  2625. "Yes, I'm here Sweetie, are you okay?"
  2626. >"Mhmm, but you're not. I don't want you to do that again Daddy, I want you to stay safe with me."
  2627. >"I agree," Luna says, sitting up and freeing your arm, "and so, while your apartment is being cleaned, you will remain with me at the castle."
  2628. "But..."
  2629. >"You don't get a say in this, Anon, it's a royal decree," Celestia says, sitting up, "And besides, it's not like you have anywhere else to go."
  2630. >Your daughter is now sitting on your chest, giving you her biggest puppy dog eyes to date, leaving you only the option of sighing.
  2631. "Alright, I'll stay at the castle, once I get released from here."
  2632. >"Good news then," A doctor pony says, walking in the door, "You're free to leave, as long as you make sure to change your bandages frequently and rest a lot."
  2633. >"What say we take this back to the castle then? We still have snacks from the wedding," Celestia says, starting to get up but being stopped by the Doctor.
  2634. >"Sorry, but you still need to stay here for a few more days. You took some nasty magical backlash, and we need to make sure there is no permanent damage."
  2635. >"B..but the cake..."
  2636. >"I'll be sure to save you some, Auntie," Venus says, hopping off the bed, Luna following her.
  2637. >It takes you a bit of work, but you get on your feet, sore as hell but moving.
  2638. >Walking out with Luna on one side and Venus on the other, you have to squint a bit as the sun hits you outside.
  2639. "So, what was it that Celestia was talking about before Venus woke up?" you ask Luna.
  2640. >"Oh, nothing important," Luna says, looking up at the sky.
  2641. >Together, in the warmth of the sun, you walk to the castle, your new home for the time being.
  2642. ~~~
  2643. >They call me Clit Kelly, Personal Detective.
  2644. >Investigator of things for money or pleasure, and the current is one of the former.
  2645. >Something went down at the Corral street Apartments during the invasion, and your client needs to know what.
  2646. >Poring over maps and scraps of information you have already found, you jump when the curtains are thrown open.
  2647. >"Dear, you know that reading with just that lamp is bad for your eyes. It's a wonderful day out, you should let the sun in."
  2648. >Your colt's a sweet one, but has no sense of mood.
  2649. >"And you should get out there, and ask the guards, I'm sure they know what's going on."
  2650. "Alright love, and don't worry about keeping dinner warm if I'm late, just stick it in the fridge."
  2651. >"If you want, but I'm planning on making your favourite tonight..."
  2652. >Pausing mid hat grab, you mentally curse him.
  2653. >He knows you can't resist spring dandelion rolls.
  2654. "Well, I'll see. This is an important job."
  2655. >Setting your signature hat on and with a flick of your trenchcoat, you head out into the streets.
  2656. >It's pretty easy to find the apartment building, it's all roped off and stuff.
  2657. >Plus you can smell it from several streets down.
  2658. >While it's not an overwhelming smell, it's a faint unpleasantness that has kept many windows closed.
  2659. >What you know is a lot of cleaning crews have been sent up there, and few have lasted more than a day or two.
  2660. >Approaching the building, you notice a pony leaving the building, right past the guards.
  2661. >Catching up with them, you get their attention with a pat on the shoulder.
  2662. "Excuse me, My name's Clit Kelly, I'm a Personal Detective and I was wondering if you could help me by answering a few questions."
  2663. >"Sure, ask away."
  2664. "I know you can't probably say much about why the building is locked down, but anything you could tell me would help."
  2665. >"Oh, it's quite the tale. One of the folks who lived here, his daughter was targeted by changelings, and he fought and killed dozens of them to protect her."
  2666. >This information causes you to skip a step, almost falling on your face.
  2667. "Is he alright?"
  2668. >"He's a little roughed up, but he was released from the hospital yesterday. Apparently he stopped by to pick up a few things."
  2669. "That's good to know. Is there anything else you can say?"
  2670. >"Not really, I'm afraid," she replies, "Hope it helped, have a nice day."
  2671. >She takes her leave, and you don your hat again.
  2672. >Well, you have what you need for your client, so it's time to get paid.
  2673. >But once that's done, you have something new to investigate.
  2674. >For pleasure, and if your hunch is right, profit on top.
  2675. ~~~
  2676. "It was so nice of your sister to watch Venus and show her how day to day princess work goes."
  2677. >"I'm just hoping nothing goes wrong, leaving them in the castle alone."
  2678. "It's a fully staffed castle, what could go wrong?"
  2679. >"She kept the bouncy castle," Luna says, completely monotone, "There is now a room for it and everything."
  2680. "Why?" you ask, looking down at her.
  2681. >"She uses it when she thinks nobody knows."
  2682. >Pressing your hand to your face, you rather poorly suppress your chuckles, Luna joining in.
  2683. "Well, if it keeps her happy, I guess it doesn't matter much."
  2684. >"Ah, we're here," Luna says, drawing your attention up.
  2685. >The Haystack...
  2686. "A fast food place? Really?"
  2687. >"I've seen several around the city but never had the time to go in. I'm curious."
  2688. "If it's what you want," you say with a shrug, walking up.
  2689. >Before you can reach the door, it's pulled open by blue magic, and you turn to see Luna making a small bow.
  2690. >So that's how it is.
  2691. >Walking inside, she follows with her head held high, before looking around, fascinated.
  2692. >"This is very different from the restaurants I've been in," she says, ignoring the many staring patrons.
  2693. "It works differently too. You order at the front, and the food is prepared quickly."
  2694. >"Really? Fascinating."
  2695. >Walking over to the counter, you scan the menu, and as you suspected, it's mostly hay based.
  2696. >"What do you recommend, Anon?" she asks, coming up next to you.
  2697. "I can't eat most of it, so just go with what sounds the most appealing to you."
  2698. "I'll have... the Dandelion spring wrap, with no flowers," you tell the cashier.
  2699. >"And I shall have a double haycon burger and a large order of hay fries."
  2700. >The cashier nods dumbly, fumbling with the register.
  2701. >"That will be, uh, is it together or?"
  2702. >"Are we not together ordering?"
  2703. >"Well, uh, yeah, I guess so. That will be fourteen bits."
  2704. >Your bit bag is already out and you set the required amount down before Luna can get her bag out.
  2705. >They're picked up by the cashier, and put in the till before she says, "It'll be ready shortly, princess, sir."
  2706. >A tray is set out, along with napkins and pony dipping sauce for the fries.
  2707. >The sauce being strange mix of fruits, veggies and flowers that apparently tastes good.
  2708. >You can't eat it, so you've never really been that interested in it.
  2709. >In the back, you can see the food being prepared, hay fries being boiled and haycon and haypatties being grilled.
  2710. >Your wrap is quickly finished, wrapped, and set on the tray.
  2711. >Soon after, the fries are done, Luna watching the whole process with rapt attention.
  2712. >In no time at all, the double haycon burger is done, and the two of you take your tray to a table.
  2713. >Since Luna has the tray in her magic, you pull out her seat for her.
  2714. >Not one to be outdone, she sets the tray down, sits, and pulls your seat out with magic.
  2715. >While you sit down, she takes her food from the tray and undoes the covering on the burger.
  2716. >"It's quite surprising how quick this was all prepared," she says, lifting the food, "Why is it that things you or the castle staff prepare take longer?"
  2717. "Well, it's a lot about quality and the type of food," you start, before taking a bite from your wrap, "These things require little prep time, so they are ready quick, unlike, say, pasta, which requires time to boil."
  2718. >Taking a bite of her own, Luna's face goes pensive as she tastes the food.
  2719. >"I see. This is nice, but hardly something I would seek for dinner."
  2720. "It's designed for those who don't have time to prepare a meal, they can just stop here on their break or way to somewhere, and grab a quick meal."
  2721. >Taking another bite, she nods, before picking up some fries, dipping them and chowing down.
  2722. >Your own meal is quickly finished, and Luna's doesn't last long either.
  2723. >Patting her belly, Luna leans back in the seat.
  2724. >"That was an acceptable meal," she says, "where do you want to go next?"
  2725. >Leaning on the table, you catch her off guard by reaching out and grabbing a hoof, causing red to spread across her cheeks.
  2726. "Well, I heard there's a game shop not far from here that's doing a game day, so if you're interested..."
  2727. >"I'd enjoy that," she replies, managing to keep her voice steady, "What of the tray?"
  2728. "There's a spot for them on the way out, along with a garbage bin for the wrappers."
  2729. >Grabbing the tray as you rise, you deal with the garbage while Luna opens the door for you.
  2730. >Following her outside, you don't notice the pony in a trench coat and hat scribbling away at a pad.
  2731. ~~~
  2732. >Today must be your lucky day.
  2733. >Two huge scoops that'll make you fat stacks of bits, no problem.
  2734. >Just got to get them down to the Canterlot Daily, and they'll be front page tomorrow.
  2735. >Or maybe the day after, they'll probably want pictures of Luna and her coltfriend together, and you didn't bring your camera with you.
  2736. >Scarfing down the last of your fries, you grab your notepad and rush off to the newspaper headquarters.
  2737. ~~~
  2738. >Sipping your morning coffee, you glance down at the newspaper, before setting the cup down quickly.
  2739. >"Interesting news, sister?" Luna asks, and you nod.
  2740. "You could say that. Anon, you may be interested in this as well."
  2741. >Passing the paper over, the moment she sees the headline, she spits her coffee out, coughing.
  2742. >She tries to hide it away as Anon looks over, but before she can get it far, he's reached out and snagged it.
  2743. >"A Second royal wedding soon? Princess of the night has a new night time buddy."
  2744. "Look below that as well," you say, gracefully taking another sip of coffee before scarfing down a donut.
  2745. >"Stallion fight off horde to protect daughter."
  2746. "It seems you're quite the celebrity now, Anon, though they don't know it's you who killed all those changelings."
  2747. >Venus cuddles into Anon's side as you say this, him wrapping an arm around her for comfort.
  2748. >She's had it rough after the encounter.
  2749. >She can barely leave her dad's side without you or Luna there, she can't sleep without him holding her and she's jumping at shadows.
  2750. >Something needs to be done to help bring some confidence back to her.
  2751. >And you have an idea as to what to do.
  2752. "Venus, I'd like for you to come with me after breakfast, I want to show you something you might like to see."
  2753. >"Sure Auntie," she replies, looking over Anon's lap at you.
  2754. >Luna looks at you curiously, and you dismiss the looks with a wave of your hoof.
  2755. "You should be spending more alone time with Anon, Luna, I have yet to hear sounds I don't want to hear coming from your room, and you've been dating for several months now."
  2756. >"Sister!" she exclaims, "You know I would never do such things with a colt before mar... m..."
  2757. >Her cheeks go red, and even Anon chuckles at her nervousness.
  2758. >"The weights on you, Luna, if you want me to... spend the night, I'm ready."
  2759. >"Yeah, why dont you want Daddy to have a sleepover with you?" Venus asks, perking up as the topic leaves the changelings.
  2760. >"Well, er, you see... Adult sleepovers are different from child sleepovers, because, uh..."
  2761. >"Because you get to have sex?" Venus chimes in.
  2762. >"Yes, uh, aghh..." Luna manages to get out, before going completely red in the face and covering herself with her wings.
  2763. "Let her be, Venus. If you're ready, how about we get going?"
  2764. >"Alright Auntie," she replies, hopping up and trotting over to you.
  2765. >Grabbing a donut to go, you leave your flustered sister with an amused Anon.
  2766. >Hopefully she'll mature a little more as she and Anon get more intimate.
  2767. >She's just a little too stuck in the old ways.
  2768. >As you lead Venus through the halls, she asks, "Where are we going, Auntie?"
  2769. "Telling you would ruin the surprise, wouldn't it?"
  2770. >While you're not sure if she agrees, she doesn't bring it up again, but then, it was only another couple minutes before you reached your destination.
  2771. >Pushing open the doors with magic, you lead Venus out into the royal guard training field.
  2772. >Almost immediately, the active Sargent notices you, and calls a halt.
  2773. >"Form up, Fillies, we have a Princess on the field!"
  2774. >Quick as can be, there's a line of royal guards saluting before you.
  2775. "At ease," you say before walking up to the Sargent and whispering, "I'd like your help with something, you see..."
  2776. >Whispering your plan, she nods with a smile.
  2777. >"Well then little missy, my name's Iron Heart," she says, looking down at Venus, "and I'm the one in charge of these here guards."
  2778. >"And this sorry lot, well, they're looking at some serious re-training after getting shown up by a poor little colt protecting his daughter."
  2779. >The change in Venus is almost immediate, and she takes an aggressive stance, saying, "My Daddy's not some poor little colt, he's stronger than any of you are."
  2780. >"Is that so?" Iron replies, puffing up a little, "Then I take it you're pretty tough as well, huh?"
  2781. >"Yeah I am!"
  2782. >"Well prove it then. Let's see how you handle grown mare training."
  2783. >Chest puffed up and determination in her eyes, Venus follows Iron Heart to one of the many structures around the yard.
  2784. >"This here separates the real flyers from the walkers. Cloudy, hook up and show her how it's done."
  2785. >The named pegasus walks up to the thick, cloud covered wall and pulls out a harness hooked to a cord.
  2786. >Strapping herself in, she turns from the wall and takes off, hovering above a start marker.
  2787. >"And go!" Iron calls out, and Cloudy starts flying away from the wall, just above the ground.
  2788. >The cord starts to stretch, her flight slowing as she fights harder and harder to make progress.
  2789. >Unable to make it any further, she gets suddenly sprung back into the clouds as she stops flying.
  2790. >"Only eight marks? You're losing your touch Cloudy. I expect you to be at ten by the end of the week."
  2791. >"Yes Ma'am, Sorry Ma'am," Cloudy says, pulling herself from the wall and unhooking herself.
  2792. >"You're up, kid," Iron says, leading Venus up to the wall.
  2793. >Venus follows, but starts to get nervous as she reaches the harness.
  2794. >"Don't worry, this thing's safe as can be. Or are you scared?"
  2795. >Venus starts to puff up again, but falters.
  2796. >"A little..."
  2797. >Iron pats her on the back with a laugh, "of course, I mean, who isn't. Everyone has things they're afraid of, and there will be a lot of times scary things will happen. The best thing to do is mare up and face them."
  2798. >"So, what do you say, want to spend some time with us real mares?"
  2799. >Letting out a fake offended gasp, Iron bows to you.
  2800. >"Of course, not to say that other mares you spend time with aren't real mares either..."
  2801. >Venus looks back to you, and you smile and wave your hoof.
  2802. "Go ahead, I'm sure your father won't mind you spending time here."
  2803. >A smile bursting out on her face, she runs up to the harness, and Iron starts hooking her in.
  2804. >Slowly walking away, you idly watch as she struggles against the line, guardmares cheering her on.
  2805. >Once inside, you find your way back to the throne room, where your day court is about to begin.
  2806. ~~~
  2807. >Your book reading is interrupted as the door to your suite at the castle is opened.
  2808. >In runs your daughter, covered in mud.
  2809. >"I'm back, Daddy," she exclaims, running up for a hug.
  2810. >You manage to stop her jump with a hand, setting your book aside.
  2811. "cleaning first, then hugs."
  2812. >"Alrght."
  2813. >Moving to the en-suite bathroom, you start warming the tank while she neatly scrapes off clumps of mud.
  2814. >Well, neatly as she can, anyways.
  2815. >With the water sufficiently heated, you turn on the shower and lift your filly into the spray.
  2816. "So, are you gonna tell me why you're covered in more mud than a bog beast?"
  2817. >"Well, Auntie Celestia took me to the Royal guard training ground and let me hang out with them and try their stuff."
  2818. "And I take it you did the whole obstacle course?"
  2819. >"Mhmm. Well, most of it. I'm not strong enough to do some of it, but it was still fun to do."
  2820. >Scrubbing down her mane, you watch the brown turn back into her normal amber colour, pink coat appearing under the mud.
  2821. >"So did you and Luna have fun while Auntie and I were away?" she asks after a handful of water rinses her face.
  2822. "And what kind of fun would would we have without you or Celestia?"
  2823. >"You know, adult sleepover fun."
  2824. >Scruffing up her mane, you dunk her head under the stream of water.
  2825. "And who told you stuff like that in the first place?"
  2826. >Shaking her head, water splashes everywhere, including you, and she replies, "Well, you did at first, sort of, but school has started doing some sex education classes."
  2827. "Already? Well, better safe than sorry."
  2828. >"Well I'm gonna wait till I find the right someone for me, like Luna is for you."
  2829. "Really now, and how can you tell?"
  2830. >"It's my talent, Daddy," she says, pointing to her cutie mark, "I'm good at knowing who is good for who, or something like that."
  2831. "You did set Luna and I up together, and that's worked out well so far."
  2832. >Venus fixes you with an unamused stare, saying, "It's a lot better than just working out, Dad, you're always happy with her, even when you aren't doing much. You love her, and she loves you, but she's still scared about admitting her feelings."
  2833. "Then what should I do?"
  2834. >"Spend time with her. When she's ready, she'll say it."
  2835. "What about you then, what kind of colt do you think you'll fall in love with?"
  2836. >"I dunno, I'm still too young for that stuff."
  2837. >Turning off the water, you pick her up and set her on the mat, grabbing a towel.
  2838. >With a good, vigorous wipe down, your daughter is soon puffed up and fluffy, fur standing at every which angle.
  2839. >Scooping your now fluffy daughter up, you give her the hug she wanted.
  2840. "Now get yourself presentable, it's almost time for lunch," you say as you set her back down.
  2841. >"Alright," she replies, looking for her brush while you move back to the main room to switch your shirt.
  2842. >Can't have lunch with the princesses in a wet shirt, as much as they may like seeing you with a wet white tee shirt.
  2843. >Or would it be wet pants or boxers or something.
  2844. >Either way, you start off to the public parts of the castle, ready for lunch.
  2845. ~~~
  2846. >Being part of a Celebrity couple, or close enough, is rather demanding despite mass media hardly extending beyond newspapers and the rare magazine.
  2847. >Still, you and Luna managed to get easily a dozen invitations a month to various big events, or parties.
  2848. >There was admittedly less mares hitting on you at work, but at the same time, Hondo would not ease up on you about it.
  2849. >Apparently this is the biggest gossip in all of Canterlot, or even Equestria.
  2850. >You'd believe it too, you've already gotten a few letters from Rarity asking for your measurements and if she could make your suit for the wedding.
  2851. >She was rather dissapointed when you told her there weren't plans for a wedding yet.
  2852. >Of course, the look on Luna's face when she accidentally received one of the letters from Rarity was worth a million bits.
  2853. >When you got hold of the letter, you learned why.
  2854. >Rarity had sent a VERY detailed letter about ways to get Luna to propose, tricks for pleasing a mare, and to top it all off, diagrams of the sexual poses with the highest chances of impregnation, modified for human frame.
  2855. >The letter you replied with stated that she should seal such things separately, and questioned whether that information was from experience.
  2856. >Between all this, you were quite thankful that your apartment got fixed before the royal honeymoon ended.
  2857. >You doubt you could handle living in the castle with Cadence, even if your rooms were on opposite ends.
  2858. >Unfortunately a lot of your furniture was made useless, but pretty much everything that was in the bedrooms and bathroom are fine.
  2859. >Eating meals on the floor is best when in your own home, or something.
  2860. >Still everything ended up getting replaced over time, and soon most things are back to normal.
  2861. >If you counted being the center of attention every time you went out normal.
  2862. >Until, just at the end of summer, you got an unusual invitation.
  2863. >One from Celestia herself for a special party.
  2864. >And with the invitation, a small box and a note.
  2865. >'If my sister won't take the lead, maybe you should.'
  2866. >Looking inside the box explains everything.
  2867. ~~~
  2868. >Ugh, why must dresses be so uncomfortable.
  2869. >You'd much rather let your tuft run free, but no, the dress has to be cut perfectly so your regalia lines up with it, leaving no fur exposed.
  2870. >On the other hoof, you do look really nice...
  2871. >Like, you'd rut you good.
  2872. >Hopefully Anon thinks the same.
  2873. >Your heart pounds at the thought of Anon, his soft smile and warm hands.
  2874. >His marely attitude, yet coltish softness.
  2875. >How he treats you like a pony, not a princess.
  2876. >This feeling, it's so unmarely, but...
  2877. "But I love it," you say quietly, wrapping your wings around your chest, embracing the human that is not there.
  2878. >Looking in the mirror again, you make sure everything is perfect.
  2879. >Hair is neatly combed, regalia polished and shining.
  2880. >Steeling yourself, you walk from your room, guards forming up behind you.
  2881. >The party has already started, as told by the faint sounds of music and chatter you hear as you near the main halls.
  2882. >By the sounds of it, it's almost as big as the Grand Galloping Gala.
  2883. >The doors are opened for you, and the moment you step into the room, spotlights are turned on you.
  2884. >"And here's the lady of the night, quite literally," Your sister calls out, her voice echoing across the room.
  2885. >Looking over, you see her and Anon, next to the thrones.
  2886. >The crowd parts, and with your guards at your side, you make your way down the alley.
  2887. >Countless fancy dressed ponies are around you, most mares, but you can see Anon has eyes only for you.
  2888. >And you certainly have eyes for him.
  2889. >A slick black suit covers him, with small, tasteful decorations.
  2890. >In the looks department, he's more than a match for any of the colts you have seen here.
  2891. >And he's all yours, sort of.
  2892. >Nearing, you notice Venus waving from beside Celestia, done up in a cute little dress of her own.
  2893. >Once she's older, colts will be lining up at her door, and not just because she's a princess.
  2894. >"Your dress looks wonderful, Luna," Anon says as you near.
  2895. "You look great as well," you reply, managing to keep your voice calm.
  2896. >If it wasn't for the ambiance, you're sure he could hear your heart pounding away.
  2897. >But the mare must be the strong, confident one, and you are a mare.
  2898. >"Everyone, we are gathered here to celebrate my sister and her coltfriend being together for six months, so please, enjoy the festivities, and be sure to congratulate them if you have the chance."
  2899. >Hooves stomp all over, applauding your pairing.
  2900. >Anon smiles and waves at the crowd, and you step up next to him and do the same.
  2901. >You don't notice it till it happens, but he wraps his arm around you, holding you to his side.
  2902. >Even through your dress, you feel it's warmth, and you shift your wing to cover it.
  2903. >Many of the colts dotted about the room swoon at this tenderness, and more than a few mares cozy up to their own colts.
  2904. >"But please, go on, enjoy the celebrations," you sister says, nudging the two of you with a wing.
  2905. >Making your way down onto the dance floor, Anon follows while couples start dancing again.
  2906. >Still, a circle remains around the two of you, an open bubble for the two of you to share.
  2907. "So, uh, how do we dance together?"
  2908. >"Well, I have an idea, but I don't know how well it'll work," Anon says as a slow dance tune starts up.
  2909. "We can try, so please, lead away."
  2910. >He kneels, and for a second, you take a half step back.
  2911. >"Put your front hooves on my shoulders," He says, "I don't remember all the details of how it works, but I saw this when I was a kid."
  2912. >You comply, but panic slightly as he stands again, leaving you awkwardly balancing on your rear hooves.
  2913. >His hands reach around to your back, and he says, "Take slow steps to match me, and that's all you need to do."
  2914. >Your first couple steps are unsteady, but as the two of you build a rythm, they become easier, though still strange.
  2915. >Soon the two of you are making small circles, dancing around the open area for the two of you.
  2916. >Quite a few ponies have stopped to watch, but you don't care.
  2917. >It's just you and him, dancing in your own private world.
  2918. >Leaning in, you rest your cheek against his.
  2919. >Breathing in his scent, soaking up his warmth.
  2920. >But all too soon, the song ends, and something a little more fast paced starts.
  2921. >Your hooves touch the floor again as Anon lowers you, and you fight your urge to blush as you notice how many ponies were watching.
  2922. >"How about we grab a snack. I've never danced much here, so I'd just make a fool of myself if I tried."
  2923. "I'm sure you can't be that bad, but lead the way if that's what you want," you say, following him through the parting crowds.
  2924. >Mare, this suit does wonders for his butt.
  2925. >His active enough lifestyle really keeps him healthy.
  2926. >Something you wish you could say more of yourself.
  2927. >If it wasn't for Anon, you'd probably just spend your time in the castle, reading books or things.
  2928. >Thanks to him, you've learned about all sorts of modern things, and seen all sorts of places you'd never see from castle life.
  2929. >Thanks to him...
  2930. ~~~
  2931. >Making your way to the table, you're glad to be out of the crowds.
  2932. >The few times you've tried dancing, Venus has noticed, and told you to stop.
  2933. >And coming from her, that means something.
  2934. >At the long banquet tables along the wall, you find drinks and snacks a plenty.
  2935. >Picking up a glass of punch, you can barely take a sip before nobleponies a plenty surround you and Luna, all asking questions.
  2936. >Luna takes the lead in answering, giving you a chance to eat at least one miniature cake before you have to talk.
  2937. >Eventually, the topic of Venus comes up, and more specifically, her mother.
  2938. >"I can't believe a mare would abandon her own daughter with a colt. And an alicorn filly at that."
  2939. "I'm going to say this once, so listen. I do not care about her birth mother, but I am also not going to throw her under the carriage either. It's in the past, and it doesn't matter."
  2940. "And besides," you say, wraping your arm around Luna's shoulder, "I have a wonderful marefriend."
  2941. >"Well, uh, maybe not for long," Luna says, glancing away nervously.
  2942. >Furrowing your brow, you look over at her, and see her fumbling with something under her wing.
  2943. >"Would you, Anon, accept my hoof in marriage?" she asks, pulling out a small box which opens with her magic.
  2944. "I was wondering if I'd have to be the one to propose," you reply, pulling out your own ring box, before accepting hers.
  2945. >Cheers roll out in the crowds, a spotlight immediately turning on the two of you.
  2946. >Ponies watch intently as Luna magics her ring onto your finger, a silver band with blue gemstones.
  2947. >You hold yours awkwardly for a moment, realizing ponies have no fingers, before she proffers her horn.
  2948. >The ring slides on effortlessly, as if it was sized for it.
  2949. >Admittedly, it probably was.
  2950. >Smiling, you grab her under her forehooves, lifting her up for a kiss.
  2951. >A long, romantic kiss.
  2952. >The kind of kiss that makes Venus look away, since you can see her from the corner of your eye.
  2953. >The kind of kiss that gets colts giggling and mares looking away with blushes.
  2954. >And you can't blame them, you snagged the best alicorn wife possible.
  2955. >The kiss breaks, and you find yourself gazing into her cyan eyes.
  2956. >Those beautiful orbs you could watch forever.
  2957. >"Anon, you're staring..." She says, leaning back and smiling a bit.
  2958. "Is it wrong to do so?"
  2959. >"I wouldn't say so, but others might."
  2960. >"Alright, fine," you say, letting her front half down.
  2961. >She briefly nuzzles your chest, before turning and standing beside you, ready to face the crowds.
  2962. >Crowds that are magically parted by Celestia, now your sister in law.
  2963. >Wow, I guess this means you're now a prince, unless Luna drops her royal title.
  2964. >Though that sounds like a basket of trouble in its own right.
  2965. >Making your way through, you nod and wave at the numerous shouts of congratulations.
  2966. >Venus pops out of the crowd, rushing to you.
  2967. >She jumps into your arms, giving your neck a hug.
  2968. >"Way to go, Daddy, I knew she was perfect for you."
  2969. "Well, it's not every day a filly gets to pick her mom, but I think you made a good choice."
  2970. >Your little girl suddenly floats up, held by Luna's magic.
  2971. >I guess she's not just your little girl anymore.
  2972. >Venus is deposited on Luna's back, and before long, the three of you are back with Celestia at the head of the party.
  2973. >"So, you finally worked up the courage, my dear sister," Celestia says, "and I even sent Anon a ring for you, just in case you couldn't."
  2974. >"I was simply waiting for the right time, Celestia," Luna replys with a briefly stuck out tongue.
  2975. >Camera ponies push through the crowds, snapping photos, while news reporters put on their hats to look proper while trying to get an interview.
  2976. >However, none can approach too close, a shield springing up to keep them away from you and Luna.
  2977. >Giving a smile to the cameras, you grab Luna's face and pull her in for another kiss.
  2978. >Cameras flash in rapid succession, ponies cheering and gawking and trying to do the same with their own colts.
  2979. >Venus tries to hop off, but you grab her and bring her in between you and Luna for the first family hug.
  2980. ~~~
  2981. >Ah, you are so glad you set up your honeymoon to last through the whole end of summer and just long enough into fall to get some seasonal beers before you had to leave.
  2982. >The Mareibian islands were the perfect destination for you and Shining.
  2983. >Sun, sand, sea and colts walking around in coconut testicle bras.
  2984. >Really made you want nuts, ifyouknowwhatImean.
  2985. >But it's nice to be back in Canterlot though, you missed your royal bed.
  2986. >Sure, a five star hotel is nice, but your bed is beyond top of the line.
  2987. >Ultra plush, smell proof, stain proof and best of all, self cleaning.
  2988. >And those poor cleaning ponies who had to handle yours and Shining's room must wish their bed had that.
  2989. >Since while you're in no rush for a filly of your own, Shining wanted to give it a shot.
  2990. >A lot of shots, actually.
  2991. >You're surprised how well he was walking after the amount of fun the two of you had.
  2992. >Hopefully nothing too interesting happened while you were gone.
  2993. >While Shining directs the guards back with the luggage, you wander off to the nearest news stand.
  2994. >Shining kept you... distracted from checking the news, and you need to check up on hoofball team standings.
  2995. >Hopefully the Canterlot Royals have kept hold of their top place, the Appleoosa Storms have been better than usual this season.
  2996. >Seeing the headline of "Royal wedding soon!", you turn to the pony running the stand.
  2997. "Hey, this paper is really outdated, me and Shining had our wedding months ago."
  2998. >"It's not for your wedding, Princess," the pony replies, "Buy the paper, take a look."
  2999. >Tossing two bits on the counter, you open the paper and spit your non-existent coffee all over it.
  3000. >Luna and Anon are getting married!
  3001. >Why the buck weren't you informed.
  3002. >And more importantly, are you going to have to go to it?
  3003. >Mare, you were hoping you wouldn't need to open your Autumn Amber Ales right away...
  3004. ~~~
  3005. "Look, I get you're excited to make my suit, but did you have to attempt to strip me down..."
  3006. >"I need to get your measurements right..."
  3007. "In front of my daughter?"
  3008. >"Alright, I may have been a bit overzealous, but this is truly a momentous event."
  3009. "Cadence got married only months ago, and I've heard you designed her dress."
  3010. >Sitting back, Rarity, fixes you with a rather dissapointed look.
  3011. >"Anon, while it was a pleasure creating a dress for a friend of a friend, and a princess no less, you are a whole different story."
  3012. >"You were like a second dad to me," she starts before pausing a second, "or maybe more of a big brother, but also you're one of a kind and you'll a direct prince of Equestria or maybe even a king, unlike Shining who is mainly a prince in title like Cadence."
  3013. >Tape measures tighten around your thigh, drawing your attention back to what is happening.
  3014. >"Anyways, just stay still so I can get these measurements done. I know the wedding isn't for a little bit, but I need this suit to be perfect."
  3015. >Letting out a sigh, you have to tense up when Rarity gives you a sharp stare.
  3016. >Ten minutes and dozens of measurements later, and she's got all she needs.
  3017. >Setting her notepad and tape measures aside, she sits down, you doing the same.
  3018. >"So, how are you holding up? I hear colts get really nervous and flighty before their wedding."
  3019. "Really now, where'd you hear that?"
  3020. >"Oh, you know, places," she says, glancing away nervously.
  3021. >You fix her with your best teasing smile, staring her down.
  3022. >"Really, I just heard it around..."
  3023. >Your smile grows, and she finally caves, burying her head in her hooves.
  3024. >"Fine, I read romance novels, okay. They have good stories, just don't go telling anyone."
  3025. "I don't plan on it, you're my friend after all."
  3026. >Looking up from her hooves, she smiles back, settling into a more normal seated position.
  3027. >"So back to the question, are you doing well?"
  3028. "To be honest, I'm sort of nervous. Like you said, this is a really big thing, and unlike what I heard of Shining Armor, I'm not going to be mind ccontrolledinto complacency for it."
  3029. >"I heard you got targeted during the attack, at least you didn't get captured or worse."
  3030. "I wasn't the one they wanted," you say, shaking your head, "It was Venus."
  3031. >"Still, I'm glad the two of you are safe and fine."
  3032. >The front door suddenly opens, and Luna and Venus walk in, loaded with treats.
  3033. >"We return with Ice-cream," Luna proclaims, before freezing as she sees you in only your shorts.
  3034. >Rarity said she needed the measurements to be precise, and you've known her long enough to trust her.
  3035. >Venus has seen you in this or less at times, so it doesn't bother her too much, but Luna.
  3036. >She goes full on red in the face, trying to look away but unable to stop staring.
  3037. >Rising from your seat, you walk over and pick the unlicked Ice-cream cone from her magical grip, giving it a long, sensuous lick while staring right into her eyes.
  3038. >You're pretty sure you hear a few drips, but the ice-creams are still cold and unmelting.
  3039. >"Daddy, I picked you out a blueberry one, since I knew you'd like it," Venus says, hopping into the chair you left with her own cone.
  3040. "You made a good choice," you say in agreement, giving it another lick before turning from Luna.
  3041. >"I need to borrow your bathroom," Luna says, hurrying to the aforementioned room.
  3042. >Despite it being fall, it's still warm out, so you open the window, letting a breeze into the living room.
  3043. "So, do you have any plans for my suit, Rarity?" you ask, taking a seat on the last open seat.
  3044. >"A few, but I think I'll keep them a secret for now. It's bad luck for a mare to see her colt's outfit before their wedding after all."
  3045. "If you say so."
  3046. >Venus suddenly lets out a gasp of pain, and her hooves go to her head.
  3047. "Brain freeze?"
  3048. >She nods, her cone suspended by magic, a bite taken out of the scoop.
  3049. >Shaking your head, you take a lick of your ice-cream again, this one far less sensual.
  3050. >It takes a minute or two for Luna to finish her business, but after that, she joins you in the living room.
  3051. >But with no seat available...
  3052. "You can sit in my lap if you want, Luna."
  3053. >She blushes again and replies, "I can sit on the floor just fine. So, what brings you here... Rarity, was it?"
  3054. >"That's me, and I was here to get Anon's measurements for his suit, but I've finished that."
  3055. >"Then you are his tailor, I take it?"
  3056. >Rarity shakes her head, mane bouncing with it's curls, "No, just an old friend he used to babysit. In truth, he led me to my career in fashion."
  3057. "Really? That's news to me," you say.
  3058. >"Well look at you, always wearing clothes, and yet they were always casual compared to the formal clothing us ponies wear when we do."
  3059. "Not having fur or a sheath can do that. Humans wear it because it protects our body in the same way your fur does."
  3060. >"I thought as much, seeing your chest like that," Rarity says, gesturing to you, "There's almost no tuft to keep you or your mare warm."
  3061. >"I th.. think he is just fine without a big tuft," Luna stutters out, staring at your bare chest.
  3062. >Reaching out, you rub her head, pausing to gently tug on and tweak an ear.
  3063. "I'm glad you like it, dear."
  3064. >The same blush from when she walked in rises again, until Venus interrupts you.
  3065. >"Stop teasing her Daddy, you two can have all the adult fun you want after you get married."
  3066. "Fine, fine, it was just a little affection," you say, raising your hands, careful not to have ice-cream drip on your head.
  3067. >Rarity lets out a laugh before hopping down from her chair.
  3068. >"If you'll excuse me, I have a few stops I'd like to hit before I have to head back to Ponyville. Take care, you three."
  3069. "You as well," you reply, "See you around."
  3070. >"Bye Rarity!" Venus calls out, and Luna gives a farewell to her as well.
  3071. >After the door closes, a silence hangs in the air for a moment.
  3072. >"So... what shall we do now?"
  3073. >"Board games!" Venus says, hopping up to run and get the games.
  3074. "I'll get the snacks then," You say, rising yourself.
  3075. >"Then I will, uh... what do I need to do?"
  3076. "Sit there and look pretty."
  3077. >"Uh, alright..."
  3078. ~~~
  3079. >"Luna, you look amazing in that dress," Celestia says, eyeing you front to flank.
  3080. >In a totally sisterly, "make sure she looks good for her wedding" kind of way, of course.
  3081. "I only hope Anon thinks the same," you reply, looking over yourself in the mirror.
  3082. >"Don't get too nervous, that's the colt's job."
  3083. "I'm fine, I have fought off changelings, survived a thousand years of insanity and lived with you. A wedding is nothing compared to that."
  3084. >A wing bats the side of your head, and you shove Celestia back with your shoulder.
  3085. "You should probably look at getting dressed as well, the Ceremony starts pretty soon."
  3086. >"I'm the minister, I can't wear anything fancy, remember."
  3087. "Maybe not while running the ceremony, but for the party afterwards, you should be prepared."
  3088. >"Are you trying to hook me up? That's Venus' job."
  3089. "Not at all, but if we are all going to be enjoying ourselves, you should wear something suitable."
  3090. >Your sister pauses, before grinning.
  3091. >And as her sister, you don't like that kind of grin.
  3092. >"Speaking of enjoying ourselves, I suppose there's a secret about Anon I know that I never told you."
  3093. >Quirking an eyebrow in curiosity, she lean into your ear.
  3094. "Oh..."
  3095. "Oh!"
  3096. >Now that is something you hadn't heard...
  3097. >The bigger question is, how does she know this?
  3098. >Before you can ask, Celestia pats you on the shoulder with a wing.
  3099. >"Don't worry about how, just think of what this means for you, you lucky lucky filly."
  3100. "Yes, but I don't want to force him..."
  3101. >"That's the best part, I heard he's totally open about it, though I guess it means I'll have to watch Venus often."
  3102. "I don't suppose the bouncy castle you kept has anything to do with that?"
  3103. >"Hey, just because it's meant for children doesn't mean adults can't enjoy it either."
  3104. >Rolling your eyes, you turn to your desk, grabbing up your cue cards with magic.
  3105. >Now how did that speech go again...
  3106. ~~~
  3107. >"Sir, please, stop fussing and let us handle this, we're professionals."
  3108. >Letting out a slow, exasperated sigh, you stay just as still as you were before, which is as still as humanly possible.
  3109. >Apparently not still enough though, but the half dozen fashion and aesthetic ponies assigned to you do their best despite it.
  3110. >Meanwhile, Venus just watches from the side, smiling.
  3111. >If she's getting a kick out of this, she's good at hiding it.
  3112. >"Just a bit more and... Done."
  3113. >Stepping back, the ponies look over you, examining you closely.
  3114. >"Well my friends, this was certainly a challenge, but I think we pulled it off."
  3115. >"Never thought I'd have the pleasure of prepping a Prince to be," another says, bouncing excitedly on his hooves, "And look at the job we did."
  3116. >"Some of our best work yet, no question."
  3117. >Chatting amungst themselves, they wander from the room, leaving you with Venus.
  3118. "I didn't think getting dressed for a wedding would be so..."
  3119. >"Coltish? Tiring? Handsomifying?"
  3120. "I'm pretty sure that last one isn't a word, but I was going for binding. I can barely breathe in this suit, let alone move much."
  3121. >"Maybe, but you do look fancy."
  3122. >Walking over to the mirror, you look yourself over.
  3123. >And she is right, you look incredible.
  3124. >The suit fits your body perfectly, showing form but concealing skin.
  3125. >Even the little pins and clips that the colts spend half an hour arguing over really fit the overall look.
  3126. >If only you cared enough about looks to want to learn little things that.
  3127. >Letting out the belt a notch, you can breath a little easier and still look amazing.
  3128. >"You wait here, Daddy, I'll go get my dress on, and then we can go."
  3129. "Don't take too long. If I fall over, I might not be able to get back up myself."
  3130. >"As long as you only fall for Luna, I'm okay with that. She can help get you up later."
  3131. >And with that, she skips out the door, heading to her guest room.
  3132. ~~~
  3133. >Looking out over the crowded benches of ponies, you wait at the altar beside your sister.
  3134. >Dress perfect, breath flawless, and mane completely under control.
  3135. >You even made the stars in it stay in the shape of a heart with A+L in it.
  3136. >Hopefully he notices.
  3137. >Your sister has, and she has made several off-hoof comments about you being just like a filly with her first crush.
  3138. >To which you have told her to buck off several times, but she does have to minister the ceremony.
  3139. >One of the guards enter, whispers to the musicians, and a slow, but happy and peaceful tune starts up.
  3140. >Moments later, the main doors open, and you get your first look at Anon in his wedding suit.
  3141. >...
  3142. >You never thought your heart could beat this hard.
  3143. >If it wasn't for the music, ponies in the back row could probably hear it.
  3144. >Slowly, he walks to the front, the gathered ponies unabashedly staring.
  3145. >Staring at your stallion.
  3146. >You find your chest puffing up in both pride and for intimidation to protect him.
  3147. >It's not needed, however, as he has eyes only for you as he walks up the aisle.
  3148. >Where normally his mother would walk with him, a sign she accepts giving her son to the bride, instead Venus walks, before taking a seat in the front.
  3149. >Murmurs go through the crowd at this, but those who know him shush the others.
  3150. >Reaching the dias, he stands across from you, looking at you.
  3151. >Turning to look at him, you find yourself staring into his eyes, just as he gazes into yours.
  3152. >Something locks the two of you like this, love, most likely.
  3153. >Yes, you love him, and you're not afraid to admit it.
  3154. >Why else would you be here.
  3155. >"And now, before I begin, I believe the two of them have things they would like to say to eachother," Your sister says, giving you your cue.
  3156. >But while you fumble to figure out where to begin, he starts instead.
  3157. >"Luna, when I first met you, I can honestly say I was ready to kill you."
  3158. >"You stole my daughter away, and at that time, there's no way I would have thought you'd steal my heart."
  3159. >"Things changed, however, and I got to see the real you, free of the dark shell you had taken on."
  3160. >"Slowly we became friends and learned more about eachother."
  3161. >"And more than just my friend, you became good friends with Venus too, just like your sister had, but in a different way."
  3162. >"When Venus and Celestia set us up for that date on Hearts and Hooves day, I can say there were few things that would have kept me from going, if I knew it was you."
  3163. >"There, you showed me sides of you I never saw before."
  3164. >"A soft side, like a nervous schoolfilly, but at the same time, you had the courage to do things you were afraid to."
  3165. >"And from that first date, look at us now, dressed up fancier than ever before and about to be wed for life."
  3166. >As he finishes, you can hear some softly spoken comments in the crowd, many colts swooning at the sweetness of his words.
  3167. >Opening your mouth, you stop, swallow and steady your nerves.
  3168. "Anon, I'll admit my first impression was... somewhat unorthodox, but I'm glad you let me prove I was not what I seemed to be then."
  3169. "Being with you, even as the least of friends, I still discovered more about myself and the new world around me every day."
  3170. "With you and Venus, I could adapt to modern life in a judgement free environment, where I didn't have to be a princess."
  3171. "And you never saw me as one either."
  3172. "I was Luna to you, sister to Celestia, not one of the diarch rules of equestria."
  3173. "To be treated like any other pony, I can't explain how nice it felt."
  3174. "With you, I didn't have to bear the burden of royalty, I could just be myself."
  3175. "When my sister and your daughter set us up for a date, I almost didn't go."
  3176. "Me, with a colt I didn't know, that's what I thought, but when I saw you, my nervousness changed."
  3177. "I was nervous, not because of meeting with a stranger, but because of seeing you in a romantic light."
  3178. "As the date progressed, everything felt natural, being by your side."
  3179. "I suppose even then, my heart belonged to you, I just didn't know it."
  3180. "Not until Venus got me to kiss you."
  3181. "After that moment, we became something more, and with you by my side, I feel as though I need nothing more."
  3182. "What I mean to say is, Anon, to say I love you doesn't even begin to explain everything, but it's a start."
  3183. >With a sharp step, Celestia draws all attention to her as you finish your speech.
  3184. >"As princess of Equestria, I am proud to pronounce you Wife and Husband, for as long as your love shall burn."
  3185. >Magic glows from her horn, and you lower yours as Anon raises his hand.
  3186. >When your rings near, Celestia's magic engulfs them, infusing them.
  3187. >A vivid red heart hangs between the rings, formed by the magic poured into them.
  3188. >Retracting her horn, both you and Anon return to your normal stances, the heart fading to nothingness as the rings move apart.
  3189. >"You may now kiss the Colt."
  3190. >Rearing so your hooves reach his shoulders, his arms holding your sides, you lean up to meet his mouth with yours.
  3191. >As your lips embrace his, cheers rise from the crowd, bells ringing overhead and indoor safe magic fireworks go off with brilliant flashes.
  3192. >Though they could just be the sparks of love in your eyes, you're not sure.
  3193. >And truthfully, you do not care, either.
  3194. >Because nothing could make you happier right now.
  3195. >The kiss breaks, and the two of you turn to face the crowds, Venus running up to the two of you.
  3196. >"Yay, you're my mommy now!"
  3197. >Scooping her into a hug with your wings, she nuzzles your chest, Anon's arm draping over your shoulder.
  3198. >This is your family.
  3199. ~~~
  3200. >Ugh, the wedding was bland, despite being set in the castle, and their reception after wasn't much better.
  3201. >At least they managed to bring in a nice beverage bar.
  3202. >From foal safe ciders and juices, to fruity stallion drinks and beers.
  3203. >Your favourites though are the harder stuff.
  3204. >So, while Shining's been off chatting it up with other colts, you've been trying to blur this day out of your memory.
  3205. >Or if not, just get totally blitzed so you can at least enjoy it.
  3206. >Other mares like you hover around the drinks, enjoying the free access to expensive booze.
  3207. >Speaking of, is that a bottle of 867 Ponyville Apple whiskey?
  3208. >Popping the stopper, you breath in the heady aroma.
  3209. >Looking around, you make sure nobody is watching before hiding it under a wing.
  3210. >Nobody will notice it's gone, and besides, it's probably from the royal cellar anyways.
  3211. >Looking around, Shining's still off with his coltfriends, and there isn't much else of interest going on, so you make your way for the door.
  3212. >Might as well be bored and drunk in your room where you have your magazines for some alone time.
  3213. >After all, there's no way Shining's going to want to put out tonight, he'll be too gossiped up to care.
  3214. >Taking occasional sips from your... acquired whiskey, you wander the halls, aiming for your own room.
  3215. >Though it seems your navigating while drunk need a little work, as you end up at Celestia and Luna's rooms instead.
  3216. >Shrugging, you shoulder open Celestia's door, walking into her room.
  3217. >She won't mind, after all, you're family.
  3218. >Flopping into the cushion in front of her fireplace, you pull out the bottle and take another drink.
  3219. >Mare this is good stuff.
  3220. >Laying back, you relax and enjoy a good drink, until you hear a sound from Luna's room.
  3221. ~~~
  3222. >Finally free of the crowds and the party, you and Luna make your way up to her room for the night.
  3223. >The halls are quiet, unlike where the party is still going, punctuated only by the sound of Luna's hoofcups on the floor.
  3224. >She's nervous, walking side to side with you, but you can say the same about yourself.
  3225. >You've not had any romantic contact since, well, before Venus was born.
  3226. >But you love this mare, and even if your skills may be rusty, you're gonna do your best.
  3227. >At the door, Luna opens it with magic, letting you enter first.
  3228. >Her room is still the same as the last time you were here, a little messy, but livable.
  3229. >As Luna closes the door, you unbutton your shirt, your suit jacket already put away before the reception.
  3230. >You're barely halfway down the row of buttons before Luna's magic turns you to her.
  3231. >Her tiara clatters off to the side, but you can't look as she rears up, leaning in for a kiss.
  3232. >Your hands meet her shoulders, your body being slowly pushed back as she steps forward, pressing her lips to yours.
  3233. >Her tongue barely has time to enter your mouth before you're pushed onto the edge of her bed.
  3234. >Fighting back, your hands run along her back, drawing down the dress's zipper.
  3235. >Easing off the kiss, she steps back and helps you pull the dress from her body.
  3236. >As the elegant fabric slides off her ample rump and into a pile on the floor, she pushes up again, this time, her nose rubbing your neck and shoulders.
  3237. >You can feel her inhaling, but at the same time, the remaining buttons on your shirt are being undone one by one.
  3238. >Not one to be outdone, you take one hand to her wing, massaging the main joint.
  3239. >The wing expands at your touch, Luna's breathing changing to faint panting as your shirt is suddenly teleported off your body.
  3240. >With gentle yet firm pressure, she pushes you onto your back, sliding her soft as velvet stomach up your body till her head is over yours.
  3241. >She leans in and you greet her with a kiss, pulling her face towards you with a hand on the back of her head.
  3242. >Your other hand removes the hoofcup from her, tossing it aside.
  3243. >The second comes off easily as well, after switching which hand is doing what.
  3244. >Soft fur graces your fingers as they trace down her forelimb before reaching the hard edge of her hoof.
  3245. >Beneath that, however is a squishy and soft pad, which you massage with your thumb.
  3246. >Her mouth opens in a moan, giving the two of you a breath of fresh air in the kiss.
  3247. >Before she can recover, you push yourself, and by extension her, upright mostly.
  3248. >Sliding yourself from under her, you almost immediately notice two things.
  3249. >One, long black lace socks run up the length of her rear legs, the top holding firm halfway up her thigh.
  3250. >And two, a pair of pure white panties restraining the rump you know.
  3251. >A look up at her face finds a blush and vaguely glancing away eyes,
  3252. >"I thought you might like the look of them, even if they are a little different for me."
  3253. "You didn't have any that matched?" you ask, running a hand along her side and flank.
  3254. >"Ugh, trust a colt to care about matching something we'll just be removing soon anyways."
  3255. "Oh I never said I don't like them," you say, hooking the waistband on both sides, "I just thing they would have suited you much better had they been, say, purple or black."
  3256. >Giving the band a short but swift upwards tug, she bites down on her hoof to avoid letting out a loud moan, the panties squeezing her puffy pony pussy and pout just right.
  3257. >Letting go, they snap back and cause a jiggle in her glutes, while you kneel down behind her.
  3258. >"They belong to my sister, so sorry they don't match me."
  3259. >She gives a gasp as you press your thumb to the cloth, right below the ring of her butt,
  3260. >Slowly dragging your thumb down, you feel her hips buck as you make first contact with her lower lips.
  3261. >A bulge pops out at the bottom of her slit, her clit pushing against the fabric to meet you.
  3262. >Tracing the rest of the way, your thumb pauses on her sensitive little love button, wiggling and pushing it.
  3263. >Almost instantly, you can feel the panties get damp, a thick scent leaking from her.
  3264. >"Stop teasing me, Anon, or else..."
  3265. "Or else what?" you ask, giving her sensitive nub another push, making her hips buck again.
  3266. >She suddenly pushes back, knocking you over and sitting down on your chest, slowly grinding there.
  3267. >While a wet spot forms, you feel your pants coming undone and sliding down past your ankles.
  3268. >Reaching your boxers, her grinding becomes a little more frantic and she shifts back, leaving a wet smear up your chest.
  3269. >About to question why you were getting a face full of lunar goodness, you suddenly feel warm breath wash over your erection.
  3270. >Like a dog who caught a rabbit, she doesn't seem to know what to do with it, so you take the lead, grabbing her panties at the hip.
  3271. >Feeling your hands on her flanks, her face leaves your boxers, turning to look at you as you slowly slide the fabric off her backside.
  3272. >Her dock slides from it's hole, ethereal tail phasing through the cloth as it moves, soon passing over her jet black ponut.
  3273. >Touches of pink are visible at it's core, and as you move further down, the vivid pink of her insides are clear as day in between her plump pussy lips.
  3274. >The scent in the air thickens as you release it's source from it's prison, and with it you catch a faint scent of blueberries.
  3275. >Leaning in, you inhale slowly, her musk filling your nostrils before you stick your tongue out, just close enough to give her pleasure point a lick.
  3276. >Even this small contact is enough to make her back arch in pleasure, her body sliding back a little, trying to get your tongue back on her clit.
  3277. >Grabbing under the front of her rear legs, you carefully slide out from under her, your dick dragging across her soft chest as you do, till you're sitting and her voluptuous flank is in your face.
  3278. >And in the next moment, your face is in her flank, lips meeting hers, licking and sucking her sensitive folds.
  3279. >Setting her rear hooves down, she pushes herself into your face, moaning at your ministrations.
  3280. >Fluids leak freely from her, and those that don't get caught by your mouth leak down your chest.
  3281. >While you suck her clit, a particularly thick splurt comes out, marking her climax, her knees shaking and twitching.
  3282. >Letting her rear end lower, you find your shaft lovingly cradled between the two cushions that make up her flank, her clit leaving sticky sweet kisses on your length.
  3283. >Her breathing slowly settles, heartbeat becoming more regular before she shifts off you.
  3284. >"It would be unjust of me to accept your willing foreplay without returning it in kind," she says, turning and resting her chest on your legs.
  3285. >With a pop, your boxers, which were barely on your body anyways, get teleported off.
  3286. >Warm breath caresses your dick again, but this time, it is swiftly followed by a gentle kiss.
  3287. ~~~
  3288. >Alright, now how do you pleasure a colt's penis without your vagina...
  3289. >The logical answer is with your ponut, but right now, you need to figure out how to do it with neither of those.
  3290. >Inhaling, you breathe in the thick musk that clings to it.
  3291. >So, if you can't put it in your holes, maybe you should simulate the same sort of feeling?
  3292. >Opening your mouth, you lower it to his tip, but hesitate.
  3293. >"You don't have to, love, we can go straight to the main course if you want to."
  3294. "No, I have to do this, my marely pride wouldn't let me go without pleasuring you in kind."
  3295. >Swallowing quickly, you lower your mouth around his shaft.
  3296. >The taste hits you immediately, and like the scent, it's not exactly pleasant, nor is it particularly unpleasant.
  3297. >It just is.
  3298. >This doesn't seem so bad.
  3299. >Now all you need to do is go up and down, right?
  3300. ~~~
  3301. >Peering through the keyhole, you watch as your aunt gives what has to be the most rookie blowjob you've ever seen.
  3302. >Even Anon hardly seems impressed by it.
  3303. >If that was you, you'd be making his eyes roll back in his head.
  3304. >Taking his length to the hilt and licking his balls at the same time, wrapping your tongue around his shaft as your lips leave little trails of lipgloss.
  3305. >Makes the whole thing taste better, a mare secret.
  3306. >Plus most of them are safe enough that they help act as lubricant.
  3307. >Most of them...
  3308. >Shuddering at the memory of the time you used a chamomile ginger lipgloss and managed to get Shining to do Anal after...
  3309. >That's a night you'll never forget.
  3310. >Focusing your attention on the action through the hole again, it seems they're about to get to the real fun stuff.
  3311. >You really should stop watching, but the Apple Whiskey is saying you should stay.
  3312. ~~~
  3313. "Are you sure you want it like this?" you ask, gently rubbing her flanks as they slowly grind against your shaft.
  3314. >"It is the way it is supposed to be on a couples first time, or so I've heard," she says, giving a wiggle.
  3315. "As you wish," you say, taking hold of your shaft and lining it up with her already slick and winking marehood.
  3316. >Pressing in, the resistance you'd expect isn't there, and you're suddenly all the way to the hilt, hips to hips with Luna, who's breath seems to be caught in her throat.
  3317. >Below your shaft, her clit presses itself against your balls before retracting briefly.
  3318. >Taking a firm grip on her sides, you slowly pull out, the velvet smoothness of her inner walls causing almost no resistance.
  3319. >It's been so long, you'd forgotten how wonderful...
  3320. >Well, even if she is a self absorbed cunt, the sex was great.
  3321. >But here, something feels different, warmer.
  3322. >Pushing back in, you find more resistance, her body squeezing your length as it fills her again.
  3323. >As you make slow, steady thrusts, her body grows used to you, just as you get a feel for her.
  3324. >Once it seems she's ready for you, and can breathe again, you pull almost all the way out before grabbing her sides further up and slamming yourself into her, the clap of her butt against your stomach echoing briefly in the room.
  3325. >Her wings flare out and her head tilts up, tongue dangling out.
  3326. >Several more hard thrusts are all you need to make her climax again, but after not handling it for so long, you're not too far off.
  3327. "Luna, please, turn onto your back, I want to look at your face our first time together," you say, pulling out, despite her bodies protests.
  3328. >"I.. if you want," she gasps out, still quivering from pleasure.
  3329. >With a little effort, she rolls onto her back, wings splayed out on the bed and her rear legs held close together, covering her teats.
  3330. >Taking hold of a leg, you gently massage up it's length with your thumb, ending at the hoof.
  3331. "There's no need to be nervous, I love you for who you are, you shouldn't have to hide anything from me."
  3332. >While still nervous, she lets you part her legs, and you can see the source of the nervousness.
  3333. >Nestled between those legs is a pair of rather large for a pony teats.
  3334. >"I de.. developed them when I became an alicorn. They're bigger than normal, so I'm always worried ponies will think they're weird if they see them..."
  3335. >You're not sure how you never noticed them, though it may have just been you never looked, but you reach down and rest your hand over one, cupping the fatty mound.
  3336. "I don't mind one bit, Darling, they're part of you, and all of you is beautiful and wonderful, so these must be too.
  3337. >Blushing and trying to cover her blush at the same time, her hooves cover her face ineffectually.
  3338. >With one hand, you subtly line yourself up again, while with the other, you pull a hoof away from her face.
  3339. "I want to see you, to see how you feel when I'm with you," you say, pressing into her.
  3340. >Her blush fades a little, and she manages to focus on you, teal eyes gazing into yours as you set a steady pace.
  3341. >While one hand holds her side, you reach out with the other, and after a moments hesitation, she sets her hoof in it.
  3342. >You can still feel her winking, though it's against your pelvis, rather than you jewels, and the speed is testament to how good she feels.
  3343. >As she climaxes for a third time, you ease up a little but if you were to stop, you'd never manage to cum.
  3344. >Instead, you watch as she shakes and quivers in pleasure as you continue to thrust into her extra sensitive slit.
  3345. >"Anon, harder. rut me harder," she says, hoof pressing against your hand, "Fill me with your seed and prove you are my colt!"
  3346. >Harder, faster, you pound into her with all your might, and before she can manage to focus enough to say more, you feel your own climax approach.
  3347. >Grabbing her hips, you pull her close, pushing yourself as deep as you can go as you feel what seems like too much cum starts firing off from your tip.
  3348. >You can feel your warmth flooding her, and when you're down to just idle twitches, you slowly pull out, your member slowly going flaccid.
  3349. >Breathing deep, you sit on the bed next to her, reaching down to rub her stomach just as she does herself.
  3350. >"It's warm," she says simply, a blissful smile on her face.
  3351. "Are you alright with this? I mean, it's not impossible you could get pregnant."
  3352. >Her hoof rests itself on your hand and she replies, "If it's your child, I would bear it a hundred times over, my love."
  3353. >Lifting her upright, you pull her to your lap, wrapping your arms around her.
  3354. >"I'm supposed to be the one cuddling you, Anon, not the other way around..."
  3355. "Too bad, my little moon pony, but I'm the big spoon tonight."
  3356. >Squirming in your grasp, she spins around enough to be able to kiss you.
  3357. >"I think it would be a waste if tonight were to begin so soon, don't you?" she says with a half lidded smile, magic gently working you up again.
  3358. "I do as well," you reply, running a hand down her side before sliding under her belly.
  3359. >Taking hold of one of her nipples, you give it firm but gentle twists and pulls.
  3360. >Biting her lip, she uses magic to pull your hand from her, resting it on her flank.
  3361. >"Since you feel so adventurous, perhaps you'd like to explore a different part of me?"
  3362. "Oh?" you say, leaning in, "Could it be you want me to fill your flank too?"
  3363. >"And ponies say colts don't like Anal."
  3364. "I'm not a colt," you whisper, "And I like your butt just fine."
  3365. >"Keep teasing me like that and we may never get to sleep," she says, rising to stand over you, before sitting on your lap, magic still stroking you.
  3366. >And now, rubbing your shaft between her mammaries as well.
  3367. >Her soft as silk horsetits.
  3368. >Wrapping your arms around her back, you hug her close, kissing the tip of her snout.
  3369. >You can still feel the moisture on her legs from your prior fun, but you could care less.
  3370. "Do you have the stuff for anal, or are we gonna wing it?"
  3371. >"We need things for it?"
  3372. "Usually you need lubricant and preparation, and condoms are usually a good idea as well, just in case."
  3373. >This puts a bit of a damper on her mood, so you reach up with a hand to scratch her ears.
  3374. "Though, I guess we can use what we have and a little magic to make up for it though."
  3375. >Whispering your plan in her ear, she nods slowly, her magic releasing you.
  3376. >"I will return shortly," she says, hopping off and trotting to the en-suite washroom.
  3377. >While she prepares, you idly handle yourself, looking around at the mess the two of you made.
  3378. >The cleaning staff is going to have a fair bit of work to do, the sheets and the floor both have developed a serious case of the puddles.
  3379. >Rising, you move over to a clean part of the bed, and moments later, Luna leaves the washroom.
  3380. >"I think this should be enough, right?" She asks, turning around and wiggling her rump at you.
  3381. >What looks like liquid magic oozes from her plump pony ponut, leaving trails of sparkles down her inner thighs.
  3382. >Any limpness that may have started vanishes instantly, your little soldier standing at attention in front of that beautiful ass.
  3383. >Her eyes spot this, and she smiles at her answer.
  3384. >"It seems you're eager to go. Just let me... oh!"
  3385. >Walking over, you squat and push yourself into her, the magical lubricant making entry easy and smooth.
  3386. >Before she can say anything, you grab around her chest and push yourself in.
  3387. >Each inch is a world of pleasure, her inner muscles clamping down on you and the magic lube tingling ever so lightly.
  3388. >Her body tries to squeeze you out, but the lubricant prevents her from getting purchase.
  3389. >Not that she wants you out.
  3390. >Especially with the way her body is pushing back against you.
  3391. >Taking a deep breath, you pick her up and move her onto the bed, leaning on her as you catch your breath from the effort.
  3392. >"You could have waited, love," Luna says, "My butt isn't going anywhere."
  3393. "That's no fun though," you say with a pant, gently thrusting inside her ass.
  3394. >"True, but now you're tired, and I want you going harder. I'm not built of glass."
  3395. "No, you're loaded with ass," you say, giving her cutie mark a slap.
  3396. >This makes her yelp, before pushing back harder, muscles clenching and pulling on your shaft.
  3397. >After another spank, you grab her by the thighs and thrust in.
  3398. >Flesh slaps on flesh and lube leads to squishy sounds mixed in.
  3399. >All the while, Luna moans and you grunt, the smell of sex rising again in the room.
  3400. >Her body is winking, and with a hand, you reach down, catching her clit as it pokes out.
  3401. >This pulls her over the edge quite violently, her body shaking and a rear hoof kicking harmlessly.
  3402. >But you are far from done.
  3403. >Already recovered from your first, your body is clinging on to your second orgasm tight, not willing to let it happen easily.
  3404. >So you handle it the hard way, just like Luna asked.
  3405. >Unceasing in your thrusts, you slowly turn her onto her side, raising one of her legs so you can access her belly and teats.
  3406. >And boy do you enjoy them.
  3407. >Unlike the tiny things you vaguely remember Cadence having, like this, hers have enough mass you can jiggle them around.
  3408. >You can barely stand to blink, though the pleasure is strong enough to make you want to close your eyes, but you can't stop staring at your wife's face.
  3409. >The carnal pleasure etched on her features, tongue dripping out like a dog in heat.
  3410. >Even with the weight of the day starting to push down on you, there's no way you can disappoint her.
  3411. >She wanted it in her butt, she's going to get it in her butt.
  3412. ~~~
  3413. >Buck your aunt, Buck Anon, buck this whole wedding.
  3414. >This is her first time with him, how the buck did she get him to do anal?
  3415. >It took you months before you could get Shining in your butt, and even then it took a full days work to earn it.
  3416. >Her, nah, he just goes in without complaint.
  3417. >Then again, he was really open back then.
  3418. >Did you really have to break off from him like that...?
  3419. >I mean, it's not like you had a social life while pregnant, it wouldn't have changed much.
  3420. >Staring into the bottle, you take several deep drinks, trying to drown the thoughts brought by your prior ones.
  3421. >You've got your own husband now, and of a good bloodline.
  3422. >Your children will be amazing, even if they don't come from Anon...
  3423. >Shaking your head, you hear a sound down the hallway, so you turn tail and slink off quietly.
  3424. >No point getting caught drinking here.
  3425. >Who knows, maybe you can start warming up Shining for tomorrow.
  3426. ~~~
  3427. >Having already led Venus to her room, you take slow, elegant steps back to your room.
  3428. >Partly because of habit and partly because you may have drank a little too much and would stumble and fall if you moved too fast.
  3429. >Stopping just short of your sisters door, you notice a wet spot in front of it, and the smell of mare musk rising from it and the door.
  3430. "Well, looks like she couldn't make it all the way in first," you say to yourself with a chuckle.
  3431. >As you pass, you pause to press your ear to the door, listening for any lewd sounds.
  3432. >A smile forms when you hear slick slapping of flesh on flesh as your sister hopefully gives Anon the ride of his life.
  3433. >Leaving them to their fun, you continue on, only to step in the puddle you noticed with your rear hoof.
  3434. >An awkward grimace and hoof shake later, and you're back in your room.
  3435. >Hopefully they're not up too long, you do need to sleep off these drinks.
  3436. ~~~
  3437. >Luna's hoof rests gently in your hand, Venus sitting patiently on the other side with Celestia while the four of you wait for the castle doctor.
  3438. >Several guards had their physicals set for today, so it's already after lunch, which Luna voraciously devoured.
  3439. >Just one of the things that has led you here.
  3440. >Others include sudden irritability, mild nausea and the fact the two of you have had sex at least a dozen times in the past few weeks.
  3441. >She has been walking funny some mornings, but she's also been happier than you've ever seen her before.
  3442. >At least when she's not getting suddenly angry.
  3443. >The last guard finishes their checkup, and with bows as they pass, it's just the four of you and the doctor, once she washes her hooves.
  3444. >"Princesses, prince," she says, with a small bow, "what can I do to help you?"
  3445. >"We were hoping you could do the pregnancy test with me," Luna says, "It seems I've been showing signs of it, and proper confirmation would give us the answer."
  3446. >"Of course Princess."
  3447. >Magic shapes itself into a sphere, floating in front of Luna.
  3448. >Without hesitation, she reaches out and touches it.
  3449. >Gentle green light pours from it the moment her hoof touches it.
  3450. >Giving her hoof a squeeze, you can feel her excitement through it.
  3451. >Pulling her into a hug, your free hand finds itself drifting to her belly, where a new life resides.
  3452. >You see Venus look up at Celestia in confusion, who leans down to whisper in her ear.
  3453. >The confusion turns to joy, and with a flap, she jumps over to you, landing in your lap.
  3454. >Nestling herself between you and Luna, you're able to embrace your family.
  3455. >New member and all.
  3456. ~~~
  3457. >Because of the wedding, Dad gets time off work, and because she's now pregnant, your new mom gets less castle duties, despite her protests.
  3458. >But being just a child, you still have to go to school.
  3459. >Dad still helps you study, since he was really good at this stuff when he was younger.
  3460. >The real problem, however, is...
  3461. >"Uh... um... Would you, maybe... go out with me?" a colt asks, holding up a flower for you.
  3462. >Because you're now part of the ruling royal family, just about every colt around your age is wanting to date you.
  3463. >And while most of them are nice colts, you're just not interested.
  3464. >Your talent also lets you know how they feel as well, for the most part.
  3465. >Sure, you could just use them then dump them, but you'd be just as bad as the teatless cunt who hurt your dad.
  3466. >Besides, while you wouldn't admit it to anyone except maybe Dad, you kind of want to find your perfect partner, just like he did.
  3467. "I'm sorry, but I'm just not looking for a special somepony right now," you say to the colt with a small shake of your head.
  3468. >He bows his head, a little dejected but you know he wasn't really serious anyways.
  3469. >Turning, he returns to his gaggle of colt friends, and the crowds that had started to form dissipates.
  3470. >It's become far too often after the marriage, though it seems like word has spread enough that you're not interested.
  3471. >Rather than a couple "confessions" a day, you maybe get one every day or two.
  3472. >The other, more pressing issue is...
  3473. >Opening your locker, half a dozen love letters fall out, another dozen or so still inside.
  3474. >For those who are to scared to do it in person or come from another school, they send these here.
  3475. >Most of these are from rich colts with well to do families who are more interested in prestiege than who you are.
  3476. >Moreso than the colts from here.
  3477. >Some of the ones here, you'd totally hang out with, but they're more interested in becoming your family than your friend.
  3478. >At least Dad is getting just as much attention as you are, since mares a plenty now want to get him to make a herd.
  3479. >He always respectfully declines, regardless of who it is.
  3480. >Not that you'd approve of them anyways.
  3481. >Luna is all he needs, and she's the only mom you want.
  3482. >At least they don't follow him home from work, often.
  3483. >The apartment is only so big, and with Luna moved in with some of her stuff, there's not a lot of space left, even with them sharing a bed.
  3484. >Scanning through the letters, making sure you don't miss an important one, before tossing them all in the trash bin.
  3485. >You've read enough of them to know what they're gonna say, and frankly, you don't give a buck.
  3486. >You'd use the F word, but dad took meat away from your meals for three weeks last time you did.
  3487. >It really sucked when he did stir fry and steaks during that time.
  3488. >Your stomach grumbles, but that's to be expected, since it is lunch time.
  3489. >Taking your lunch bag with you, you head for the cafeteria.
  3490. ~~~
  3491. >Putting on your saddlebags, you dump the last few love letters of the day as you pass the trash bin.
  3492. >With a wave goodbye to your friends, you head to the front to wait for Mom.
  3493. >Dad's been making her come pick you up, both to make sure she keeps exercising, and to help get her used to the neighborhood.
  3494. >And this means she's always a little late, on a good day.
  3495. >Sitting on your normal bench, you almost immediately notice something different from normal days.
  3496. >Today is going to be one of "those" days...
  3497. >A rich, snobby looking colt with several mares around him carrying extra bags and books.
  3498. >He's not the first, but that one of the biggest herds you've seen sticking around one.
  3499. >There's like, 5 mares at his beck and call.
  3500. >And judging by how fake those smiles are, they're not entirely happy to be there.
  3501. >It seems luck is not on your side, as there's no sign of Mom, and he has spotted you.
  3502. >Ponies move out of the way for him as he makes his way over, gesturing to one of his mares shortly before arriving.
  3503. >She runs ahead and pulls a cushion from one of her bags and sets it on the bench, dusting off the area around it.
  3504. >Stepping aside, she ducks her head as he lifts himself onto it, settling down into it's velvet surface.
  3505. >"Excuse me, but would you happen to be Venus? Since you're here, I take it you got my letter."
  3506. >"I've heard a lot about you, and wanted to meet you in person."
  3507. >"Oh, but I forget my manners, my name is Alabaster von Shaft, Heir to the von Shaft family," he says with a bow on his cushion.
  3508. "Nice to meet you, as you've already said, my name is Venus."
  3509. >"I can imagine it would be quite hard to mistake you for anypony else, after all."
  3510. >He gives a high pitched, giggly laugh, covering his mouth with his hoof.
  3511. >"Yes, well, your identity aside, I was hoping you'd grace me with your presence for a date. Saturday, perhaps?"
  3512. >And there it is.
  3513. >Letting out a sigh, you're about to turn him down when Mom's voice cuts in.
  3514. >"I think that is a wonderful idea. You should really go out more with your friends, and bring them over too."
  3515. "But Mom, I don't want to go on dates, I don't want to deal with colts right now."
  3516. >"Don't be like that dear," she says, resting a wing over you, "He seems like a fine young colt, you should at the very least give him a chance."
  3517. >Looking up past her wing, you see her smiling down at you.
  3518. >"Ah, Princess, It's er, a pleasure to meet you," Alabaster says, "What brings you here today?"
  3519. >"I'm just here to pick up my sweet little daughter from school," Luna says, nuzzling your cheek embarrassingly.
  3520. "Then let's get going mom. I'm sure Dad's waiting for us with a snack."
  3521. >"Not until you accept the nice colt's offer. One date isn't going to kill you, and I'm sure Anon would say the same."
  3522. "I'll go home alone then," you say, starting to get up before you're stopped by your mom.
  3523. >"What time should she pick you up?" she asks, looking over at Alabaster.
  3524. >"Oh, uh, Five should be fine. Let me write down my address for you," he replies, motioning one of his other mares over.
  3525. >Getting out writing supplies, he rather meticulously writes down his address, before giving it to Luna.
  3526. >After getting the paper, she finally lets you up, and you waste no time in hopping off the bench, fluttering a distance before landing and starting your walk home.
  3527. >Luna hurries to catch up to you before falling into step.
  3528. >"What's wrong dear?" she asks, leaning down to look at you.
  3529. >With a huff, you look away, continuing your walk in silence.
  3530. >She tries a couple more times to get an answer out of you, but you stay firm.
  3531. >Reaching home, you bound up the steps to the apartment, far faster than she can.
  3532. >Rushing inside past Dad, you enter your room and close the door.
  3533. >Knowing them, Mom will ask him to talk to you, and you'll be able to explain in private this way.
  3534. >Daddy will understand your side.
  3535. >You know he will.
  3536. >It's only moments before she arrives, and you can sort of make out them talking.
  3537. >Not long after, you hear a knock on your door, and Dad asking, "Can I come in?"
  3538. "Yes you can," you reply, sitting on the edge of your bed.
  3539. >The door opens, and he walks in a plate of cookies in one hand.
  3540. >Judging by the smell, peanut butter, freshly baked.
  3541. >"So, what's wrong?" he asks, sitting on the bed with you, setting the plate between the two of you.
  3542. "Well, Mom set me up on a date that I really don't want to go to, but now I have no choice."
  3543. >"Really now? Why would she do that?"
  3544. "Because 'he's a nice young colt', or so she says, and I should, 'give him a chance'."
  3545. >"And is that a bad thing?"
  3546. "Yes. It's pointless, I can tell. It's my talent, and because of it I know none of them actually even care about me."
  3547. >"Them?"
  3548. "I get asked to be special someponies daily, if not more often, and I get dozens of love letters each day, all of them stupid and pointless."
  3549. >Dad gives you a little shove, saying, "Well, how come you never told me you were such a hit with the colts? I never would have guessed I'd raise such a charmer."
  3550. "Ugh, it's not like that, Dad," you groan, shoving him back, "They only like me because because I'm an alicorn and you married mom."
  3551. >"So you're saying I didn't raise a wonderful young filly who all the colts would love to get?"
  3552. >Letting out an annoyed huff, you take a cookie and bite into it.
  3553. >The warm, fresh taste melts your hardness, and you quickly down it.
  3554. "What do I do now? I can't just not go, but I don't want to have to deal with a snobby colt either..."
  3555. >"Well, where are you going to go with him?"
  3556. >Opening your mouth to reply, you realize you don't actually know.
  3557. >Nor do you know if he has plans.
  3558. "I dunno. Nothing was arranged besides a time, since mom did it all."
  3559. >"Then how about we make a plan, just in case?"
  3560. >A curious glance up spots his smile.
  3561. >The type of smile you'd expect on a scheming colt.
  3562. >A smile you are actually happy to see right now.
  3563. ~~~
  3564. >Tugging at the shoulders of your dress again, you make sure it sit's right, arriving at the Von Shaft family mansion.
  3565. >It's... impressive.
  3566. >The main building is rather plain, but at each of the four corners of it, there are massive stone towers, each one topped with a flared out platform and the white banner of their family.
  3567. >Huge rose bushes rest at the bottom, full of life and covered in beautiful red roses.
  3568. >As you approach, the gate opens, a well paved path leading up to the main door.
  3569. >Trotting up the steps, it isn't long before you reach the house.
  3570. >The door opens before you can knock, a servant pony on the other side.
  3571. >"Welcome, miss, we have been waiting for you," she says with a bow, "Sir Alabaster is just finishing his preparations now."
  3572. "Alright," you reply, stepping inside so the door may be closed.
  3573. >The main hall around you is simple, and decorated with portraits of older generations, you'd guess.
  3574. >Powerful mares, and handsome stallions fill the portraits, a testament to their family lines.
  3575. >You don't need to wait long, surprisingly, before Alabaster appears at the end of the hall, coming from another part of the house.
  3576. >"Sorry to keep you waiting, It took longer than expected to find the right suit to wear," he says, slowly walking down the hall.
  3577. "I just got here, there's no problem."
  3578. >"Oh good. My mother had a carriage prepared for us, so we should have no problem making it to dinner on time."
  3579. >With a bow, the servant opens the door for you two, a carriage already on the path you left just minutes ago.
  3580. >Walking up to it, the doors are opened, you enter one side, and him the other.
  3581. >The insides are plush velvet, and scented faintly with vanilla and cinnamon.
  3582. >He lays down on his stomach as the carriage starts to move, side facing you.
  3583. >"I've gotten us a reservation for five thirty at The Creamy Rooster, paid for by my parents, of course. I am the one who asked you out on this first date, after all."
  3584. "That's a rather fancy place for such short notice," you comment, and he waves your comment off with a high pitched giggly laugh.
  3585. >"Nonsense, my family is well connected. Even if we arrived there with no reservation we could get in without question."
  3586. >A mostly quiet ride follows, punctuated by him attempting to make small talk, but you always answer with no room to continue.
  3587. >Finally arriving at the restaurant, the carriage slows to a stop, doors opening for you and Alabaster.
  3588. >Stepping down, he moves beside you, walking in with you.
  3589. >Inside, he looks up at the greeter, saying, "I have a reservation for five-thirty, under the name Von Shaft."
  3590. >Looking down, the well dressed mare looks at him, before saying, "ID sir."
  3591. >Turning to the side again, he reveals his cutie mark, which the greeter examines before nodding.
  3592. >"Very good sir, right this way."
  3593. >She leads you through the tables till you reach one at the far wall.
  3594. >"A menu will be brought shortly."
  3595. >Pulling out his chair for him, he sits down, and you do the same.
  3596. >Moments later, the menu's are brought, and upon looking in them, Dad's plan becomes possible.
  3597. >Still, you look over the whole thing, since who knows, maybe you can come here with mom and dad another time.
  3598. >"The food here is excellent, I'll have you know, we often come here when my father doesn't feel like cooking."
  3599. "Well, I think I've decided, how about you?"
  3600. >"I can't decide. I usually have the Rainbow Lasagna, but I'm in a bit more of a veggie popper tray mood..."
  3601. "It's your choice, and I don't think we're in a rush, after all."
  3602. >"Hmn? Yes, I suppose."
  3603. >It takes over five minutes for him to pick, but when he does, your orders are placed and he's none the wiser.
  3604. >"So, why do you go to that school? Being an alicorn, you should be able to go to Celestia's school for gifted unicorns, like I do."
  3605. "Because that school is close to my home and Dad can afford for me to go there."
  3606. >"But you're an alicorn, and a princess to be now. Surely they could cover the costs for you."
  3607. "I wasn't going to be a princess back then, and I'm pretty sure Dad didn't know he'd be marrying a pony who was trapped on the moon until only like, a year and a half ago."
  3608. >He's about to reply but your drinks are brought, drawing both your attentions from the topic.
  3609. >"Your food will be out shortly. Is there anything else you need?" the server asks.
  3610. "I'm fine, thank you," you say with a polite smile.
  3611. >"I'm good for now as well," Alabaster says with a dismissive wave.
  3612. >"Very good then."
  3613. >Turning back to you, Alabaster says, "You know, I'm surprised you are still not seeing anypony yet. You could pick whatever colt you wanted."
  3614. "Maybe the right one just hasn't shown up yet," you say, turning to look away.
  3615. >"Or you just might not be looking. You were going to say no to me before, weren't you?"
  3616. "I was, yes. I think it's too early for me to be looking for a coltfriend."
  3617. >"Too early?" he says, leaning back, "Most fillies are looking already, to ensure their future family."
  3618. >"And it goes without saying, if you were to join my herd, your spot as alpha would be guaranteed."
  3619. "And you'd get princehood, because of that," you retort, turning to face him, "And is that not the reason you're interested in me? I know for a fact we've never met more than briefly, so you couldn't like me for who I am."
  3620. >"That's not..."
  3621. >Unable to say his lie, you roll your eyes and look away again, waiting for the food.
  3622. >He doesn't say anything else till the food arrives, plates set before you.
  3623. >His plate bears a rather appealing array of small balls, food baked inside a dough crust, all presented tastefully.
  3624. >Your own is a little more plain, steak, mixed steamed beans and rice.
  3625. >Starting with a few beans, you savour the balance of flavours, expertly topped with butter and herbs.
  3626. >The rice is done up similarly, and is equally as good, but what you're looking forward too is the centerpiece.
  3627. >Just sitting there, it's smell is making your mouth water, so taking up both knife and fork, you cut off a piece, it's brown skin revealing a perfect, soft pink middle.
  3628. >Medium rare, just like Dad makes it.
  3629. >Taking a bite, you hardly need to chew as it comes apart in your mouth, juices coating your tongue.
  3630. >"I... is that..."
  3631. >Cutting another piece, you hold out the fork to him.
  3632. "Would you like some?"
  3633. >He gags, and covers his mouth, shaking his head quickly.
  3634. >With a shrug, you eat it, making soft sounds of pleasure as you do.
  3635. >He can't hold on, and suddenly jumps down and runs for the bathroom, ready to puke his guts out.
  3636. >While he's gone, you swiftly, but politely eat your meal.
  3637. >Flagging down a server, you get your half of the bill and pay for it, as well as leaving your compliments for the chef.
  3638. >It seems he's been in the bathroom long enough, as a staff member is knocking on the door as you leave.
  3639. >Spreading your wings, you fly up, looking for the way home.
  3640. >Thankfully, you can find some familiar waypoints, and before it starts getting dark, you're home.
  3641. "I'm home," you say as you enter, and almost immediately, Dad pokes his head out of the kitchen.
  3642. >"That was quick. How'd the date go?"
  3643. >"Yes, I'm curious as well," Mom says, making her way over from the living room.
  3644. "Well, we wen't to a nice restaurant, but just after getting our food, he ran to the bathroom, and didn't come out till after I had finished and left."
  3645. >"Thats.. unusual. Was he ill?" Mom asks.
  3646. "Not that I could tell. I guess he just couldn't stand the cooking there, even though the chef did an amazing job."
  3647. >"I guess I don't need to cook for you then," Dad says, "So, what'd you have?"
  3648. "Nothing too fancy. It was a steak with beans and rice on the side. I can't remember what they called it though."
  3649. >"You ate meat in front of a colt? No wonder he got ill," mom says, "That was very inconsiderate of you."
  3650. "I'm not the one who set us up, Mom, that was you, remember."
  3651. >"If you didn't want to go, you could have said no."
  3652. "I did, but you said yes for me after."
  3653. >"Well I..."
  3654. >"Hey, no fighting or there's going to be no Burgers this tomorrow," Dad says sharply, silencing the two of you.
  3655. "Yes Daddy."
  3656. >"Yes Dear."
  3657. >"Now, get yourself cleaned up, Venus, and make sure to hang your dress for proper cleaning. Luna, dear, can you get dishes ready? the foods almost done.
  3658. >Running to your bedroom, you're glad the date went according to plan.
  3659. ~~~
  3660. >"Attendant, could you go fetch me some fried bananas and cinnamon toast? I desire more for lunch."
  3661. >"Yes, your majesty."
  3662. >Trying to focus on your breakfast, you find it difficult not to occasionally glance at your Aunt and her slightly bulging belly.
  3663. >Not to mention her cravings.
  3664. >While she doesn't spend as much time here, only handling court on occasions, when she is, it's hard to miss her.
  3665. >Ponies gravitate towards her, mares looking to congratulate her and look for a chance to get in on the royal family, and colts wishing her and her child to be well.
  3666. >A child, like Shining wants...
  3667. >And boy has he tried.
  3668. >If you didn't clean out his seed after it's had time to try, you'd look pretty heavy into a pregnancy of your own.
  3669. >Not that you're complaining about the sex, it's just, if it hasn't taken yet, it might just be the wrong time.
  3670. >But then there's Luna's belly.
  3671. >Barely a few months after their married, and she's already with a foal, even with the weight of fall setting in.
  3672. >It makes you feel... empty.
  3673. >Rising up, you excuse yourself from the table, lunch half eaten and left behind.
  3674. >You need to take a walk, clear your head.
  3675. >Passing through the front door, a guard joins you, following just behind.
  3676. >But rather than entering the city, you walk into the gardens, letting the mellow fragrances wash over you.
  3677. >They help calm your mood, but do little to fill the void you feel.
  3678. >Sitting on a bench, the guard surprises you by sitting as well.
  3679. >"Honey, is something wrong?"
  3680. >Looking over, you do a double take when you notice it's Shining under the helmet and armor.
  3681. >Letting out a sigh, you look up to the sky.
  3682. "It's complicated. Even more than I'd like."
  3683. >"Start simple then, Dear, what made you feel blue?"
  3684. "Luna, I guess..."
  3685. >He chuckles a little, saying, "Well just because she is blue doesn't mean you have to feel that way because of her."
  3686. >Giving him a soft whack with your wing, you manage a smile.
  3687. "Not like that, it's just... she reminds me of things."
  3688. >"What kind of things?"
  3689. "Well, I'm pretty sure you know you weren't my first coltfriend, right?"
  3690. >"Obviously," he replies, giving your side a nudge, "How could a mare like you not have had at least a couple coltfriends over the years."
  3691. "Point taken. You probably know you weren't my first time then, either. Well, there was, umm..."
  3692. >"It may be colty, but just let out your feelings, Cadence. It's just me here, nopony is going to judge you for your previous ruts."
  3693. >His smile is sincere, his eyes, non-judgmental, just waiting for you to open your heart to him.
  3694. >If it will stay, however, has yet to be seen.
  3695. >Gathering your thoughts, you take deep, slow breaths preparing for the consequences of your words yet unspoken.
  3696. "I... had a child."
  3697. >His smile vanishes, replaced by concern, but before he can say anything, you gently cover his mouth.
  3698. "She's still alive and well, but I've never been her parent."
  3699. "It was a choice I made over a decade ago, and while I don't regret it over much, I wonder what could have been instead."
  3700. >"I think... I think you need to explain everything," Shining says, before resting his head on your shoulder, "And I promise I'm not mad, it just feels like there is more here than meets the eye."
  3701. "You're too smart for your own good sometimes," you say, leaning on him as well.
  3702. >You spend the next half hour at least explaining everything, from you and Anon getting together, your thoughts at the time, and what you now know his were.
  3703. >The whole time, Shining just listens patiently.
  3704. >As you finish, sounds stop, and the temperature seems to drop, sending a chill down your spine.
  3705. >Only your heart and his breathing can be heard, until he says, "I... I'll need a day to think."
  3706. >He gives you a nuzzle and stands, the spot he was in feeling far too cold.
  3707. >"Don't worry, I just need to figure some things out, I'm not mad, it's just... this is a lot to take in."
  3708. >Despite your brain telling you otherwise, your gut feels like this is the last time you are going to see him, walking away slowly.
  3709. >It is not a good feel, but this had to happen some time.
  3710. >And better now than later.
  3711. >With a now heavy heart and a half full belly, you debate finding a bar or raiding the royal cellars, but decide against it.
  3712. >Shining is in a delicate state right now, no use aggravating it by getting drunk.
  3713. >Sighing, you head for the library, maybe a book will help out something.
  3714. ~~~
  3715. >Hanging up your helmet, you move to sit on your chair.
  3716. >It may be a cushy seat, given your position, but it does little to comfort you.
  3717. >Your concerns are of the mind, not body.
  3718. >Well, maybe your wife's body too, but that's besides the point.
  3719. >You're a dad, sort of.
  3720. >Step Dad?
  3721. >Your wife has a child, but at the same time doesn't.
  3722. >And she's had it for a long time.
  3723. >On top of that, the child is the daughter of the new prince of Equestria, and step daughter to Princess Luna now.
  3724. >Things are really stacking up, but does it really matter?
  3725. >It's not like Anon's her colt on the side, they've been apart since she got pregnant with Venus.
  3726. >But it does prove one thing.
  3727. >Alicorns can get pregnant, which is compounded by Luna becoming with foal recently.
  3728. >Now it's only a matter of time until you and Cadence gets your own little bundle of joy soon.
  3729. >Still, maybe you should get to know your step daughter, of sorts.
  3730. >And you know just how to do it.
  3731. ~~~
  3732. >"I'm so glad I could get all of us here for dinner," Shining says, clapping his hooves, "The chefs and I have been working hard to provide a wonderful spread for us all."
  3733. >Looking over at Celestia, you see her shrug.
  3734. >"I thought, since we're all family now, what better way to get to know each other than a nice family dinner."
  3735. >Carts are brought in, trays of food set on the table.
  3736. >Shining sits next to Cadence and across from Venus, who is between you and Luna.
  3737. >"I wasn't exactly sure what would be best for all of us, so instead of making customized things, we made a feast for all of us.
  3738. >Covers are lifted and smells fill the room.
  3739. >From green salads, baked peppers and fresh bread, to pasta, potatoes and meat, food for all kinds covers the trays.
  3740. >"This all looks wonderful, Honey," Cadence says, giving her best smile to him.
  3741. >"Thank you, but do be carefully, Cadey, some of this stuff isn't safe for us."
  3742. >"That's right, Cadey," your daughter says, putting inflection on her nickname, "You wouldn't want to kill anyone. Could you pass me the potatoes, since you can't have them."
  3743. >The dish is slid over, while you get some salad for yourself.
  3744. >Dishes shuffle around, and soon some distinct patterns form.
  3745. >As you would expect of a normal pony, Shining's plate is Vegetable heavy, with some bread and pasta accompanying it.
  3746. >Cadences is similar, but with less of a healthy balance and more butter.
  3747. >Venus, Luna and yourself share a similar spread, with cuts of meat, salad and pasta, though you and Venus have potatoes, while Luna does not.
  3748. >Celestia is a middle grounds, with no meat or potatoes, but a balanced dish of most everything else.
  3749. >But with the plates loaded, a silence settles over the room, punctuated only by the sounds of silverware on dishes.
  3750. >As you eat, you notice Shining looking around, occasionally opening his mouth, but nothing comes out.
  3751. "So, Shining, I heard you're captain of the guard. That must have taken some hard work."
  3752. >"Very much so," he replies, suddenly smiling, "but I stayed focused, and eventually made to to where I am today."
  3753. "A prince, just like me."
  3754. >"Sort of," He says, "You see, I'm only a prince in title, I don't actually have any ruling power, unlike you. Of course, I could be a farmer, or clothier or anything, and I'd be happy, just being with my wife."
  3755. >Cadence leans into him, nuzzling his cheek.
  3756. >"I'd be glad I married you too, no matter what I was."
  3757. >Silence starts to settle back in, before Shining says, "There's... one main reason I brought everyone here today though..."
  3758. >"Earlier today, I learned something. Something I'm sure you all knew already."
  3759. >"That my dear wife, has a daughter..."
  3760. >He looks down at Venus, before adding, "One who she left behind."
  3761. >"Pffft, she didn't leave me behind," Venus says, "she tried to get rid of me so she could keep living her perfect princess life."
  3762. >Coughing, he continues "Anyways, at the very least, I wanted a chance to get to know my extended family, even if you don't see me as such."
  3763. "Wouldn't that depend on if Venus and I consider Cadence family?" you ask, sincere in tone, "She's not really related otherwise."
  3764. >He gulps, before sitting down and staring at his food.
  3765. >After a minute or two of relative silence, Celestia speaks up, "So, when are you back to work, Anon? I heard they have you on Honeymoon leave."
  3766. "Soon, I hope. I'm running out of things to do to pass the time at home."
  3767. >"I know that feeling, Anon," Shining says, almost jumping at the conversation, "if it weren't for my sweet Cadey, I'd be trying to work on some weekends."
  3768. "Really now?" you ask, rubbing your chin as you look at him, "I'd figure you'd be out with the boys enjoying yourselves every weekend."
  3769. >"Oh, we get out, no question, but you can only spend so much time with a guy before it starts being too much."
  3770. "How so? Most of the guys I see are like an inseparable flock of birds, always with each other."
  3771. >"My Shiny isn't just another colt," Cadence starts, before Venus lets out a loud burp.
  3772. >"Oh, pardon me," Venus says, covering her mouth with a napkin.
  3773. >"Excuse me, Attendant, could you fetch me a lemon?" Luna asks one of the servers waiting at the entrances.
  3774. >"Of course princess," they say with a bow, before hurrying off.
  3775. >Celesta looks over at her sister, asking, "A lemon? Really?"
  3776. >"What? It's what the baby wants right now."
  3777. >At those words, you notice Shining look down and towards his wife.
  3778. >Knowing her, she's probably sneaking a hoof over or some magic or something.
  3779. >It's not long before a lemon is brought for Luna, with several spares.
  3780. >Before you can take another bite, she cuts it in half, and starts sucking on it like a hungry foal.
  3781. >You can't help but laugh as her muzzle scrunches up like she walked into a window.
  3782. >She turns to you, lemon still on her mouth like a silly nose.
  3783. >Pulling it off, you cut it into manageable slices.
  3784. "Here, eat it like this, it's a lot less sloppy this way," you say, wiping a drip off her chin.
  3785. >Before you can stick your finger in your mouth to lick of the drop, Luna's lips meet yours, the lemon juices seeping into the kiss.
  3786. >The two of you are suddenly pushed apart from below, your daughter mixing muscle and magic to accomplish this feat.
  3787. >"Not at the table, Dad, save it for later."
  3788. "Alright, fine," you say, casually sticking the drop of lemon juice on the tip of her nose.
  3789. >She scrunches, much like Luna did, before licking off the drop.
  3790. >"Blegh, how can you eat so much of this, Mom?"
  3791. >"It's what my body wants right now, so it tastes good," Luna replies before sticking another slice in her mouth.
  3792. >"At least you're not worry eating, Anon," Shining says, gesturing to you with his fork, still covered with lettuce, "I've seen a number of my own troops pack on up to twenty pounds just because their mare got pregnant and kept working."
  3793. "It could be worse, I suppose. Being in the guard means you can just work them harder to help them lose the weight."
  3794. >Shining chuckles, before replying, "I do, most of the time. They'll often complain at first, but when they see the scale numbers going down they really get motivated."
  3795. >A clattering draws the talk to a halt, and several carts roll in, desserts covering them.
  3796. >You find yourself shifting out of the way as a cake rolls in, and you feel Venus doing the same.
  3797. >The eyes across the table from you have an almost predatory gleam to them, the magenta orbs focused heavily on the incoming sweets.
  3798. >All other food is ignored by her, the platter the cake is on being floated to the table before the carts even arrive.
  3799. >Magic cuts a clean piece out, sliding it onto her plate purely as a formality.
  3800. >Three bites is all it takes.
  3801. >The next slice takes four.
  3802. >Everyone scrambles for desserts before they're gone, one by one sucked into the seemingly unending snack pit that it Celestia's stomach.
  3803. >They may all have magic, but hands have their own perks, and you snag a slice of pie and ice cream.
  3804. >Much of the remaining deserts find themselves on Celestia's plate, the remaining dinner being carted away.
  3805. >Luna starts squeezing the remaining lemons on her ice cream, and you notice Shining look down again, somewhat downtrodden looking.
  3806. "Is something wrong, Shining? You're looking kinda sad."
  3807. >"Oh? No, I'm fine, it's just..."
  3808. >He looks at Cadence before continuing, "We have been trying for a foal, but with no success so far, and seeing Aunt Luna like this is..."
  3809. >"I'm sure it's just a matter of time, Shiny," Cadence says, resting a hoof on his shoulder.
  3810. "Have you checked with a doctor? Just to be sure, you know," you say.
  3811. >Shining visibly swallows, but replies, "That is a good point, we'll have to see about making an appointment."
  3812. >"Appointment for what?" Venus asks, looking up from her sweets.
  3813. "Just a checkup to make sure everything is going fine," you say, patting her head.
  3814. >"You mean to make sure her baby maker isn't all grouchy and bitter about having to have me?"
  3815. >"That isn't very nice," Luna says, "Regardless of how you feel, you should be polite with company."
  3816. >A loud slurping sound draws all eyes to Celestia, who is reaching the bottom of her glass.
  3817. >"A lesson my sister seems to have forgotten."
  3818. >Celestia looks up from her drink, a glob of cake icing on her nose.
  3819. >"We're all family here, aren't we? Why are you all so serious?" she asks, tongue sticking out to lick off the icing.
  3820. >You find yourself smiling, her simple remark breaking the mood of the room.
  3821. "Fair enough," you say, "but it still doesn't excuse Venus' attitude."
  3822. >Venus pouts a bit, before caving as you look at her, and she says, "Sorry."
  3823. "Now, while this has been fun, I think it would be best if we headed off," you say, rising from your seat, "before something that shouldn't be said is said."
  3824. >Grabbing her brownie piece in her mouth, Venus hops up with you, Luna standing in a more measured pace.
  3825. >"Your cooking is excellent, Shining, thank you," Luna says with a small nod, "Take care, sister, I will see you tomorrow."
  3826. >"Get home safely," Celestia replies, before another slice of cake falls prey to her.
  3827. >Resting a hand on luna's shoulder, the three of you walk out of the dining hall and eventually, back home.
  3828. ~~~
  3829. >"Your container is here," the mare says, passing you an oddly shaped jar, "and you are free to use whatever materials are around. If you need something different, feel free to ask and we'll check our supplies."
  3830. >With that, she walks out and you lock the door behind her.
  3831. >You never thought it would be this awkward to get your genes tested, but here you are, in a room filled with porn.
  3832. >Setting the collection jar on the table for a moment, you look around, scanning the numerous magazines on the tables.
  3833. >Oh, is that a Victor's Secret catalogue?!
  3834. >Picking up the catalogue, you flip through the pages, looking at the fashions of a few years ago.
  3835. >Until you hit some pages stuck together, reminding you of why you're here.
  3836. >Letting out a sigh, you move the jar to a usable spot, close your eyes and think of Cadence.
  3837. ~~~
  3838. >"No need to worry about your husband, Princess," the doctor says, eyeing her tools and your nether regions they are in, "The room is specially made so nopony can peek on him or just walk in."
  3839. "That's nice," you say before a shiver runs down your back at the cold instruments, "but I'd rather not have you talking too much while you're working on me."
  3840. >"Sorry, sorry, just force of habit, you know. So many mares worried about their colts."
  3841. >Your insides spread just a little more, pushed by the implements of medicine.
  3842. >"Alright, we're ready for the main part now, just stay as still as you can, it may feel weird, but it's perfectly harmless."
  3843. >For a moment, you feel nothing but the slowly warmed instruments inside you, but soon a soft pressure forms inside you.
  3844. >It doesn't expand, but it moves slowly, in places you've never felt before.
  3845. >After less than a minute, it vanishes, and the doctor sits back.
  3846. >"Whew, that never gets easier," she says, "but it's done. It'll take us a week or so to do our testing, but in the mean time, you're free to keep trying."
  3847. >The implements are removed, and you find yourself clenching a bit, to make sure they're all gone.
  3848. "So that's it? They did it with blood, way back when."
  3849. >"That may have been different testing. This is genetic compatibility, specifically to find troubles getting pregnant."
  3850. "What were you doing then, if I may ask?"
  3851. >"Well, if we want to test with you and your husband, we need some genetic material from you both, specifically the sexual kind of material."
  3852. "Wait, does that mean you...?!"
  3853. >"Yes, I extracted a very small number of eggs from you. And before you panic, this won't do much of anything, since you Alicorns can, at least in theory, breed for life."
  3854. "I see. Do we need to make an appointment for the information when it's ready, or will you send mail or something?"
  3855. >"We will send you a letter, but if there's anything major, we'll have to ask you to come in."
  3856. >Giving a nod, you walk back to the main lobby, where Shining is reading a coltsmo magazine.
  3857. >"Done dear?" He asks, looking up the moment you enter the room.
  3858. "For now, yes. It'll take a bit before they have the results ready," you say, picking your saddlebag up from the rack.
  3859. >"So I heard. Hopefully it will be good news."
  3860. "I hope so as well," you say, giving his cheek a quick nuzzle.
  3861. ~~~
  3862. >Trees pass by as you, Luna and Venus ride the train to Ponyville.
  3863. >Since this was the last week of your honeymoon leave, you figured heading down to visit Rarity for Nightmare Night would be nice.
  3864. >That, and Luna plans on visiting there on Nightmare Night anyways, since that's where the old castle is.
  3865. >Something about collecting a bounty from foals.
  3866. >"Dear please, come join me, there's plenty of room on the pillows."
  3867. >Looking over, you see your wife beckoning you from a massive bed of pillows and blankets.
  3868. >Apparently Celestia set this up for her, "just in case".
  3869. >Venus is entertaining herself with a comic book, Flying Nocturnal Mammal Mare, by the looks of it.
  3870. >Sliding off your seat, you shift over to the pregnant pony holder that fills up most of the floor.
  3871. >She may still be early into it, but you can tell her belly is a little fuller than usual.
  3872. "What's up, my little moon pony, feeling lonely on the soft, warm floor?"
  3873. >"Oh quiet you, is it wrong for a mare to want to cuddle her colt?
  3874. "If it's in public, yes, or so I've heard."
  3875. >Instead of a retort, she just grabs you with magic and pulls you down into the softness.
  3876. >Both the pillows and her.
  3877. >It's not long till Venus decides to join in the family snuggle pile, and the three of you doze off till you arrive.
  3878. ~~~
  3879. >Holding up a finger to shush you wife and daughter, you open the door and duck inside.
  3880. >As the bell dings, you hear, "Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, where *Gasp* Anon, what are you doing here, you should have sent a letter, I would have had tea ready, and..."
  3881. "How are you doing, Rarity?" you ask, ignoring her panic.
  3882. >"Darling, I don't even have biscuits," she says, heading for the door, "I'll have to run to SugarCube Corner, and..."
  3883. "Rarity, calm yourself," you say, grabbing her shoulders, "We're going to be here for a while, there's no rush for anything."
  3884. >"But..."
  3885. "Don't go colty on me, Rarity, I need you to make us costumes."
  3886. >Her eyes suddenly gleam with inspiration, a smile forming.
  3887. >"Yes, I can do that. But still it's impolite of me not to at least put tea on."
  3888. >She heads to the kitchen, while you find a seat, along with Luna.
  3889. >"Miss Rarity, is Sweetie Belle here?" Venus asks, following the fashion pony to the kitchen.
  3890. >"She's out with her friends, darling, but she'll be back by dinner time, I'd guess."
  3891. >"Daddy, can I go out and play with her?" she asks, turning to you.
  3892. >Scratching your chin, you rise.
  3893. "How about you and I go get snacks, Venus, and if we find Sweetie on the way, you can join her."
  3894. >"Do I get to have one of the snacks if we do find her?"
  3895. "Maybe."
  3896. >A lower lip sticks out at you, and after a moment, you sigh.
  3897. "Okay, fine, you can have a snack if we find her."
  3898. >Venus rushes to the door ahead of you, and before you leave, you turn to your wife.
  3899. "Try not to bug her with your cravings too much, Dear."
  3900. >Luna smiles and waves you off with a hoof, so you step out into the sunlight.
  3901. ~~~
  3902. >"Princess Cadence, while we were going over your data, we uh..."
  3903. "You found what?"
  3904. >"Well, against every gene set we had, yours couldn't pair with any of them."
  3905. "None of them?"
  3906. >The doctor shakes his head, "No pony, griffon, minotaur, we even tried changeling, which is VERY adaptive, but no luck."
  3907. "What about Shining, is he normal?"
  3908. >"There's no problems with your husband. His genetics line up with what's expected, which unfortunately means he doesn't match for you, either."
  3909. >Letting out a brief sigh of relief, you find yourself staring at the ground.
  3910. >That means you're the problem, but you've had a child before.
  3911. >It must mean that Anon...
  3912. "What about Human? Do you have any of that genetic?"
  3913. >"You mean the prince?" The doctor asks with a raised eyebrow, "No, we don't have a record for him, why?"
  3914. "He impregnated Princess Luna, perhaps his genes contain some secret."
  3915. >The doctor taps her hoof on the table in thought.
  3916. >"Hmnn, perhaps, but we can't just ask a colt to give us his genes."
  3917. "I'll ask him, we are sort of family, after all."
  3918. >"In my experience, it's best to be gentle when easing him into the idea. A lot of colts are rather reserved about, you know."
  3919. "At least my dear Shining has nothing to worry about."
  3920. >Getting to your hooves, you shake hooves with the doctor, and head for the door.
  3921. >"Oh, before you go, Princess, the sooner you get the sample the better. Your sample will only last a few days longer before we'll need a fresh one."
  3922. >Your lower back shudders, and you nod.
  3923. >That's not something you want to feel again.
  3924. >Now to find Anon.
  3925. >And convince him to cum for you.
  3926. >This may have seemed easier before you thought about it.
  3927. ~~~
  3928. >Leaping out from behind Rarity's dressing rooms curtains, you let out a spooky roar, getting your dad and mom to jump a little.
  3929. "Spooky, huh," you say, giving dad a better look at your costume.
  3930. >"Very. Rarity did a great job with it," Dad says, pulling the dragon hood over your head.
  3931. "Daddy, stop it," you groan, swatting his hand away, "Where's your costume?"
  3932. >"It'll be a surprise for later," he replies, "right now, I think your friends are waiting for you outside to start candy hunting."
  3933. "Oh, right!" you exclaim, grabbing your candy bag.
  3934. >Hurrying for the door, Dad catches you by the shoulder.
  3935. >"Stay safe, and be sure not to wander off into the dark. This might be a nice town, but I don't need you getting lost on me."
  3936. "I promise, Dad," you say, "And I'll have Sweetie and her friends with me the whole time."
  3937. >He lets you go, and you wave goodbye to him and Mom.
  3938. "I'll see you when I've gotten all my candy."
  3939. >"Well you won't be eating it all, not right away."
  3940. >The door closes, and you spot Sweetie Belle and her friends right away.
  3941. >"Venus! Over here!" she calls and waves, the others turning to you.
  3942. >"Howdy Princess, yer lookin' mighty spooky," Applebloom says, covered in fake stiches and with a crazy black and white mane.
  3943. "Your costumes are great as well," you reply, flexing your cloth covered wings "Did Rarity make yours too?"
  3944. >"Mhm, my sister is the best fashionista in town," Sweetie replies.
  3945. >"She made my costume almost as cool as Rainbow Dash," Scootaloo says, waving a wolf clawed hoof in the air.
  3946. >"Well, we best get movin' if we want to get as much candy as we can," Applebloom says, hefting her sack, "We already got a few candies on our way here, so ye'll have ta work hard to catch up."
  3947. "Aww, no fair. lets get going then."
  3948. ~~~
  3949. >Two hours later, and you're hauling a red wagon with Applebloom, all four of your bags of candies in it.
  3950. >Ahead of you is one of the banes of your life.
  3951. >A gaggle of colts glancing your way.
  3952. >It seems your friends have noticed too, since they're puffing up their chests.
  3953. >Before anything else happens though, a peal of thunder rings out, and a dark figure steps from the shadows.
  3954. >"Ah, what tasty looking foals I see, almost as delicious as candy."
  3955. >The colts squeal and run, throwing hooffulls of candies at the dark shadow.
  3956. >Glowing teal eyes turn on you and your friends as the candies float up the shadowy blue aura sticking them in a bag.
  3957. >"And you little fillies, brave, facing me, Nightmare Moon!"
  3958. >Lightning crackles across the sky, illuminating the tall dark mare.
  3959. "Nice costume, mom!" you exclaim, and she huffs.
  3960. >"Not even gonna let me have my fun?" she asks, sticking out her tongue.
  3961. "This is my candy," you reply, moving your bag behind you to guard it.
  3962. >The Cutie Mark Crusaders do the same, until mom smiles.
  3963. >"Keep your sweets, dear, and your friends too. I'm off to find more foals to... aquire candy from."
  3964. "Have fun, and don't let dad catch you."
  3965. >She gives a nod, before dissapearing into the darkness again, though you can see she's just sneaking back between the houses.
  3966. >"Where'd she go? She didn't teleport like miss Twilight does," Sweetie says, looking around.
  3967. "Didn't you guys see her back between the houses?"
  3968. >"Really? It's too dark in there for me to see," Scootaloo comments, squinting.
  3969. >"Must be because of your dad, since he's not a pony."
  3970. >"What must be because of me?" you hear from behind you, and you look back to see Dad there.
  3971. >Dad dressed up in the most coltish prince outfit you could imagine.
  3972. >Instead of outright laughter, you manage to hold it back to coltish giggling.
  3973. >Well, for a little bit, at least.
  3974. >"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up," he says, hands going to his hips.
  3975. >Hips covered by giant poofs of fabric, the bottom of his pants flaring out as well.
  3976. >His shoulders are equally poofy, the whole outfit a pinkish purple with green accents.
  3977. >Rarity even got him a little tiara.
  3978. >A foot taps on the ground while he waits for you to finish laughing.
  3979. >Once you have finished your laughter, he asks, "I'm looking for your mom, have you seen her?"
  3980. "She just went off that way," you say, pointing down the alley with a hoof.
  3981. >"Thanks. She didn't do anything weird, did she?"
  3982. "Not really. She just scared a couple of colts."
  3983. >"Maybe I should have made your costume instead of my sister," Sweetie says, holding back the last of her laughter.
  3984. >"Yeah!," Scootaloo exclaims, "The costumes you made for our talent show were great!"
  3985. >"Next time, maybe," dad says, "Right now, I have to find Luna."
  3986. >Following your direction, he heads off while you wave.
  3987. "So, anywhere else we need to go for good candy?"
  3988. ~~~
  3989. >Where is he...
  3990. >Tapping your hoof on the ground, you ponder the past two days.
  3991. >You've checked for Anon everywhere. His home, his work, around the castle...
  3992. >You even checked Venus's school, but it seems she's out for a week, the same answer you got from his work.
  3993. >Asking your aunt is out of the question, she'd be too interested in why you want to find him...
  3994. >There's only one option left open to you.
  3995. "Shining, Darling, have you heard anything about where Anon has been? I have something I need to ask him."
  3996. >Your dear, beloved husband looks over at you, before sighing.
  3997. >"I'm guessing there was a problem at the doctors?" he asks.
  3998. >Your too smart for his own good sometimes husband.
  3999. "Well, it seems that Alicorns can't breed with anything they have a sample for."
  4000. >"So that means there must be something about Prince Anon, since Venus exists."
  4001. "That's exactly what I thought, but I haven't seen him in days, and he's not around as far as I can tell."
  4002. >"What do you need my help with then? Can't you just wait till he's around?"
  4003. >You find yourself looking away at that, your discomfort at the thought of having to go through that again quite clearly visible.
  4004. >"Is my big strong mare afraid of what he'll say?" Shining goads, moving over and bumping you with his shoulder.
  4005. "There's more too it than that," you reply crypticly.
  4006. >"Are you afraid of needles?"
  4007. "It's... personal; nothing for you to worry about."
  4008. "But back to the point at hoof, do you know where Anon went?"
  4009. >"I may..." he replies, giving you a smile you don't like.
  4010. >"... But then, I have been wanting to visit the spa recently, but work has been heavy..."
  4011. "I'll get you an appointment, full service."
  4012. >"I love you dear, he's gone down to Ponyville for a while, Wanted to visit friends for Nightmare Night and more."
  4013. "POnyville! There's no way he'll be back in time then."
  4014. >"Back in time for what?"
  4015. >You don't answer him, you're too busy running for the spa then train station.
  4016. ~~~
  4017. "Thank you again for the use of this lounger, Rarity," you say, popping a piece of sugary goodness in your mouth, "It's quite comfortable."
  4018. >"You're quite welcome, princess," Rarity replies, "But if I may ask, where did you aquire all that candy?"
  4019. "Call it a little Nightmare Night fun."
  4020. >"I see... Did you happen to see where Anon went off to? I haven't seen him since breakfast."
  4021. "I believe he said he wanted to go shopping, get some local foods and whatnot."
  4022. >There's a sudden slam of the door opening, and both you and Rarity do a marely and totally not scared jump.
  4023. >Anon ducks in under the doorway, several bags of groceries dangling off his arms.
  4024. "Dear, what's wrong?"
  4025. >He doesn't answer, but you get what you want to know as Cadence walks in behind him.
  4026. "What brings you down here to Ponyville, niece? I thought you wanted nothing to do with my husband, so why are you here with him?"
  4027. >She sits down by the still open door, glancing around nervously.
  4028. >"Well, you see, it's kind of complicated..."
  4029. "I'm listening."
  4030. >Your husband sits next to you, just in front of the lounger.
  4031. >There's a moment of silence, where you and Anon stare at Cadence, before she says, "As you know, Shining and I have been trying to concieve, but with no luck so far."
  4032. >"We went to the doctors last week and had testing done. The results came back yesterday, and it seems I'm completely incompatable with everything."
  4033. >"Or at least, everything they had samples for," she says, before turning to Anon.
  4034. >You immediately, reach a wing down over his shoulder protectively.
  4035. "You had your chance, I'm not letting you use him again."
  4036. >Before anything more is said or done, Anon lets out a laugh.
  4037. >A strange laugh, different from his normal cheerful one.
  4038. ~~~
  4039. >This is rich.
  4040. >Absoulutely karmic.
  4041. >As though the universe has finally righted a huge wrong.
  4042. "So, now that you want a child, it's up to me if you get it?" You say through a smile.
  4043. >Her ears tilt back and she keeps looking everywhere but you before nodding.
  4044. >"I don't need you to impregnate me, we don't think, but something about your genetics makes it possible for an alicorn to get fertilized."
  4045. >"If you give a sample to the doctors, they may be able to figure out how to let Shining get me pregnant."
  4046. >Brushing Luna's wing aside, you stand and walk over to Cadence.
  4047. >She manages to look in your eyes as you look down at her.
  4048. "Sorry, but no," you say, grabbing her around her barrel and lifting her just enough that you can throw her out the door.
  4049. >Pulling the portal shut, you walk back over to your wife and smile.
  4050. "Now, about this candy," you say, grabbing the bag, partly hidden by the lounger, "I'm pretty sure you didn't get these yourself, did you?"
  4051. >"Now before you go rushing to any conclusions, dear, these are offerings to keep away Nightmare Moon."
  4052. "Oh? Did my big strong mare lose a contest of wills with Nightmare? Maybe I should look for a better mare then."
  4053. >Magic grabs your hand, the one holding the bag and she pulls you closer.
  4054. >"I'll split it with you, 30/70. Please?"
  4055. "Make it 40/60, and you have a deal."
  4056. >She stares at the bag of candy, before nodding, "Fine. I don't see why you don't want me having this stuff though."
  4057. "I can't see the reason either, but I know it's there," you say, resting a hand on her belly, "and it's a very important one."
  4058. >Silence hangs between you two for a moment, before Luna nods.
  4059. >"I'll try to eat less candy, we wouldn't want something to happen to them."
  4060. >you lean down and give her a hug, setting the candy aside.
  4061. >A hug she returns with a wing.
  4062. "What do you say I get started with lunch? I got all sorts of good stuff from the market."
  4063. >"That sounds grand," Rarity says from the back of the room, "and do prepare enough for the Cutie Mark Crusaders as well, they'll be back soon."
  4064. "Will do."
  4065. ~~~
  4066. >Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, you stare at the closed door for a moment before sighing.
  4067. >Honestly, it could have gone worse.
  4068. >This failure is all on you.
  4069. >You're not likely going to get anything out of him today, it'll be best to just go home.
  4070. >You didn't even bring any bits to get some local snacks and drinks.
  4071. >Ugh, today sucks...
  4072. >Ahead of you, a group of fillies walk out from a side street.
  4073. >Among them, Venus.
  4074. >Do you really need Anon's genetics?
  4075. >Couldn't you just use the end result, and work back from there...?
  4076. >Just take her back to Canterlot, have the doctors do some science, and you and Shining get to have a child.
  4077. >Close to passing, you and her eyes meet and you feel those thoughts fade.
  4078. >They're replaced by an emptiness that is getting far too familiar lately.
  4079. >You pass by without so much as a word to her, ready to go home.
  4080. ~~~
  4081. >Your eyes follow Cadence as you pass, but it seems she's not looking to interact with you.
  4082. >The bigger question is why she is here, and coming from over by Rarity's place.
  4083. >That's where you, Mom and Dad are staying.
  4084. >You pause a moment, before picking up your pace a little.
  4085. >The CMC do it with you, and before you know it, you're at Rarity's house.
  4086. "We're back," you call out as you push open the door.
  4087. >"Good timing," Dad calls back, "I'm getting lunch ready so the four of you better clean yourselves up."
  4088. >While your old and new friends run off to the bathroom, you linger for a moment.
  4089. "Everything's okay, right Dad?"
  4090. >"Of course it is; why do you ask?"
  4091. >You can see his smile from here, as he works on lunch.
  4092. "Oh, no reason," you reply before hurrying after your friends to the bathroom.
  4093. ~~~
  4094. >With your vacation over as well as your Honeymoon leave, you're finally able to be back at work.
  4095. >The boss was glad to see you back, and it pulls some work load from the others.
  4096. >But with how this world works, it's probably going to be you stuck with Maternity leave.
  4097. >Depending on how early they want you off, you may only have a few months before you have to stop working again.
  4098. >Setting the tray of dirty dishes in the kitchen, you grab a quick drink of water before heading back out to the tables.
  4099. >Drifting through the aisles, you refill water or coffee as ponys need it.
  4100. >The door bell rings as ponies enter, and you make your way to the front.
  4101. "Welcome to Hondo's," you say, smiling at the group of guard ponies, "Table for how many?"
  4102. >"Just four, Anon," one says, his voice familiar till he takes off his helmet, "The rest of them still have patrols."
  4103. "Shining, it's good to see you. Just this way."
  4104. >Leading him and his friends to an open table, you set menus for them before letting them know to raise a hoof when ready to order.
  4105. >There's another ring marking another group entering, the lunch rush starting.
  4106. >Another group arrives before Shining's group is ready to order, and by the time they have their food, at least half the tables are filled and all three of the floor staff, including you are getting busy.
  4107. >Table by table, you handle customers, and as Shining's group is on their way to pay, he pulls you aside for a moment.
  4108. >"There's something I want to ask you, do you have a moment where we could talk in private?"
  4109. "You'll have to wait till the lunch rush is over, but I should be able to take a few minutes then to chat."
  4110. >He nods, and after paying, sits down in the seat by foal friendly area.
  4111. >The lunch rush burns on, and after the majority of customers have left, you grab another drink from the kitchen.
  4112. "I'm taking five, Boss," you say to Hondo as you pass, and he nods.
  4113. >Stepping back out into the main building, you wave to Shining and head out the door.
  4114. "So, what's up, Shining?"
  4115. >"I need a favour. I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't important."
  4116. >He pauses, and you gesture for him to continue.
  4117. >"I know Cadence went to find you before, but I have the feeling she couldn't tell the whole story."
  4118. "Her genes are incompatable with anything the doctors had, so you want me to provide a sample for them so they can see if they can figure out why my genes work with Alicorn DNA?"
  4119. >"Well, in brief, yes."
  4120. "And I assume you understand why I said no. Or perhaps you don't, and that's why you're here."
  4121. >"Revenge then? No, it doesn't seem right..."
  4122. "Can you imagine what I went through then? When I heard Cadence wanted to get rid of Venus?"
  4123. "I had no family, only a few friends and they were through Cadence."
  4124. "I'm not compatable with ponies, but by some miracle, I was with Cadence."
  4125. "Venus was my chance at a family, maybe my only chance."
  4126. >Seeing the weight of your words on him, you pat his shoulder.
  4127. "Give me three months to let her think, to feel even a fraction of what I felt. After that, I'll give you what you guys want."
  4128. >He freezes a moment, before smiling.
  4129. "You must swear not to speak a word of this to her though."
  4130. >He nods so hard his helmet wobbles, and after setting it straight, he prances off.
  4131. "I hope this doesn't bite me in the ass," you mutter to yourself heading back inside.
  4132. ~~~
  4133. >You couldn't get him to agree, Shining tried but got nothing.
  4134. >You've even asked Celestia if she could ask him, but she turned you down.
  4135. >This is a problem you have to fix yourself.
  4136. >Staring at your reflection in the mirror, you sigh.
  4137. >This is a problem you can't fix yourself.
  4138. >If only you had done something, anything different back then.
  4139. >If you had talked to him about it, maybe he would have agreed to split after the birth.
  4140. >Maybe he could have convinced Celestia to let you have the abortion, and the two of you could stay together.
  4141. >With protection, of course.
  4142. >Shining would have found a nice mare or a few, started a family...
  4143. >Shining...
  4144. >You're just dragging him down with you, aren't you...
  4145. >He deserves a family and foals, and you can hardly give him the first one.
  4146. >He hasn't even tried to get you to herd with another mare.
  4147. >He's just...
  4148. >Un-marely tears start to fall from your cheeks, your reflection blurring in your eyes.
  4149. >Maybe you should let him go, let him find a nice mare to start a family with.
  4150. >Somepony who can give him a foal...
  4151. >The emptiness that has become more and more common lately settles in again, weighing down your gut.
  4152. >A gentle knock rings out from the door behind you, and Shining's voice calls out.
  4153. >"Are you alright in there, Cadey?"
  4154. >Swallowing the lump in your throat, you quickly wipe your eyes and reply.
  4155. "Yes, I'm fine, just doing, you know, mare things."
  4156. >The door slowly opens and you can't find the will to tell him not to come in.
  4157. >His steps are slow and measured, till he's standing next to you.
  4158. >Without a word, he nuzzles you, cheek to cheek.
  4159. >"I'm sure everything will end up fine eventually," he says, "And remember, I do love you."
  4160. "I know," you reply, nuzzling him back, it's just.. sometimes..."
  4161. >"I'll leave you to it then," he says, "just be sure to hurry, I have colt things I need to take care of in here."
  4162. >Giving him a small smile, you nod before turning back to the mirror.
  4163. ~~~
  4164. "You know, I figure your belly would be bigger than it is, given you're four and a half months in," you say, gently rubbing your wife's slightly rotund stomach.
  4165. >"Were you expecting me to be a roly poly pony, dear?"
  4166. "Well, I was thinking your belly would grow like other mare's I've seen, but I guess since the foal is the same size but you're bigger, it makes sense."
  4167. >"Don't tease mom about her getting fat, Daddy," Venus says, hopping up onto the couch next to you.
  4168. >"I'm not fat, I'm pregnant!" Luna retorts, sticking her tongue out at your daughter.
  4169. >There's a sudden, hurried knock at the door, and despite her soft protests, you slide out from under Luna's head and stand.
  4170. >Opening the door, you have barely a moment to recognize the pony on the other side before they collide with your chest.
  4171. >You can barely make out thank you's between her tears of joy and blubbering.
  4172. >"Geez Cadence, I thought you were a mare, not a wimpy little colt," Venus says, looking over the back of the couch.
  4173. >Cadence looks past you with a teary faced glare, before bowing in front of you.
  4174. >"I know it's far too late to say sorry, but I also have to say thank you."
  4175. >"You gave me a gift you had every reason not to."
  4176. >"Sorry, and thank you."
  4177. >Kneeling down, you pat her head, before gently shooing her out the door without a word.
  4178. >It seems she understands now.
  4179. >With a small wave, you close the door on her and make your way back to your wife, still lying on the couch.
  4180. >"So...?"
  4181. "Well, it seems like she got the message."
  4182. >"Wonderful, now could you go and make me a sandwich? Baby's hungry."
  4183. >Reaching over the back of the couch, you poke her nose with a smile.
  4184. "You're the only one who could say that to me and not get called out, you know that?"
  4185. >"But why are you saying this then?"
  4186. "Oh, no reason," you say, walking to the kitchen as she gives you a little pout, "One sandwich, coming up."
  4187. ~~~
  4188. >Sitting next to your wife, you hold her hoof tightly as she goes through the wonders of birth.
  4189. >It involves a lot of swearing.
  4190. >Like, you're pretty sure half these swears were lost to time.
  4191. "I know it sucks, dear, but please, there are foals here."
  4192. >"Just a few more pushes, Princess, they're almost out," the doctor says, blankets, hot water and other medical stuff at the ready.
  4193. >Teeth clenched, she give it her all, and moments later, there's a soft crying as your new child is brought into this world.
  4194. >There's some quiet murmurs between the doctor and nurses as they clean the child, before turning to the two of you with smiles.
  4195. >"Congratulations, Prince, Princess, on your new baby colt."
  4196. >A bundled up foal is passed to you, his deep blue face showing no signs of his previous distress, a few locks of a silver mane poking from the blanket.
  4197. >Giving his cheek a gentle rub, you hold him over for Luna to see.
  4198. "He's wonderful, don't you think?"
  4199. >"Absolutely," Luna replies as Venus is let in.
  4200. "You have a brother, Venus," you say, motioning her to fly up onto the bed with Luna.
  4201. >"Can I hold him?" she asks.
  4202. "As long as you're careful," you say, holding out your son for her.
  4203. >Accepting her new little brother in her hooves, she looks down at him.
  4204. >"You know, dear, we never thought of a name for him."
  4205. "Do you have any ideas, Venus?"
  4206. >"Um...."
  4207. >Slowly rocking him, she goes into deep thought for a moment, before saying, "I think Noctis fits him."
  4208. >Turning to Luna, you see her nod in agreement, and with that, you carefully wrap a hand around her and your son.
  4209. "I think that will do just fine as a name."
  4210. "Our new son, Noctis."
  4211. ~~~
  4213. End.
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