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It had taken nearly six months to get her little palace the way she wanted it again. The Cloud family crest on all the tapestries, the lovely carpet rugs laid out, nice and tidy. The vineyard was at least in decent shape. Having been tended by some pony at least. Taking over the books had been a chore in and of itself. However, Stormstride found it now to be simplistic and rather amusing. She had selected her own servants, bought a few that were "owned" and then set them to work in the household. Though she made certain that the servants had large spacious quarters. Well tended servants oft did far better work. As her mane dresser was brushing the last knots from her mane and tail, Stormstride looked upon herself in the mirror. She had become rather shapely and graceful since she had taken the title of minor noble. She had also indulged a bit in the local culture. Making well and certain to be seen and heard when she had the chance and it was her turn to speak. She had become a regular at Heart Stopper's court. Watching and snickering with the other unicorns. Her eyes cast to the lavish dress. the wedding dress she was going to wear today. It was a beautiful thing. A pure Kastrotian design. The soft, silken fabric that covered her from neck to hoof in a long soft draping. Golden tail bangles, engraved with both the Heart family crest, and the smaller Cloud family crest. Stormstride had her ears pierced now, displaying a rather elegant set of ruby and sapphire earrings. Having come from her personal bath to her private chambers for dressing she smiled in the mirror. Watching her mane dresser work her own magic. Stormstride was fair. Most of these ponies didn't make a wage. But in exchange, they had free room and board in a secure castle. Storm had selected several ponies as her own personal guards. Trained them in her style of combat and tactic. And added to that she saw too it that every foal on her lands was given a decent education. Beyond the basics, and into more socialite matters. Art, history, politics. She wanted every pony under her crest to understand how the laws worked and were made. Though many had no say so in such a matter, it was at least better to instruct them to a level they could easily understand and know the laws. This made matters much easier to deal with when it came time for Storm to handle her own court matters. IN six months the castle had gone from an over sized storehouse, to a rather lovely little castle. Housing surrounded the outer wall, made for servants and field workers alike. Each was set up for a small family. There was a large public bathhouse for them as well. But inside, things were more lavish. Stormstride kept a few of the prettier ponies on the top floor with herself. Ponies like her mane dresser and her interior designer. Housing them in comparably luxurious quarters. Feather Touch however, shared her room with her. Except for today. Today he was in a rather large guest room, being prepared by the castle tailor. Feather had it better here than he had ever had it in Canterlot. All the supplies he would ever need to make his candles, oils, and lotions were brought right to his own personal work space at no cost to him. He was tended nightly by a full bath treatment with Stormy. The food was amazingly good. Stormstride had hired a chef that knew both Equestrian and Kastrot styles of cooking. The castle had fireplaces in every room. And he and Storm often sampled the wine together. This was a rather amazing thing. And yet in the back of his mind, he felt this creeping feeling. That something was not right. That Stormstride was in danger of becoming something....evil. His ear perked to the sound of music floating up the stairwells. Thunderbuck was warming up his instruments. He had arrived a couple months ago with CaramelCream. The sweet young pony ran her hooves off. Up and down the stairs, learning and exploring everything she could find. Storm was content to let her do so as long as she tended to her lessons. And CaramelCream was always first one to class. Feather Touch had taken to the foal. He often awoke to find her snuggled between he and Stormy, cuddling under his wings. She had once called him daddy. It had startled Feather a fair bit. Being suddenly called her daddy like that. She had not said it since then. But he secretly wished she would. Today, she was serving an important role. She was the flower foal, and in charge of leading the guests to their places in the courtyard. Thunderbuck was set up on a proper stage. His home was in the courtyard, a small cottage with supplies for him to repair and maintain his instruments. Stormy gave him an allowance to purchase instruments, though he often bought the broken ones. He had begun to look into opening himself up to instrument repair for hire. This would allow him to generate greater income. The courtyard was very delightfully decorated, adorned with the Heart family crest on each seat and on the main podium. Under it was the Cloud family crest. Both were polished and gleaming in the bright warm sunlight. Stormstride had made certain the weather would be clear today. She had hired a cake maker on Heart Stopper's suggestion. Though her own chef would be providing the refreshments and foods aside form the cake. The table was set up with plenty of chairs in case other guests arrived late or were to happen upon the wedding. Back in her room, Stormstride looked at herself in the mirror. The gold and silk dress upon her body. It was simple, but lavish at the same time. It was had several gem studded necklaces and anklets at her hooves. Stormstride had allowed her mane dresser to do her make up today, making her look more the part of both a noble lady, and a ravishing bride. Stormstride thanked her mane dresser and let her go for the day. She was going to have the rest of the day off, to relax after several hours of hard work. Storm moved to her balcony. Looking out over the courtyard. She saw her brother below. He was already dressed in a new tux and wearing his mask. She had had it polished for him and repainted the way he liked. It made him comfortable and she thought it made him look like a mysterious stallion like that. He had also put on a bit of weight. Not fat, but enough that he no longer looked as though he was hungry all the time. She saw the guests beginning to arrive and smiled, moving down to the main hall to greet them and offer wine until the ceremony started. As she came to the entry way, she looked up. The chandelier was still off to the left a touch. Her horn glowed faintly as she used her magic to move it into the proper place. She would have to have a construction pony in here soon to fix that. She did not want that rather expensive piece to crash to the ground. She saw CaramelCream looking in one of the large mirrors. Smoothing out her dress and making certain her orcid mane piece was in the proper place. Coming over she gently nuzzled the foal on the ear. "Hello my sweet foal. how are you feeling?" Caramel smiled at Storm, whom mouthed her words again. CaramelCream, being deaf, had to rad lips, and had grown very skilled at it. Once she understood what Stormy said, she smiled and spoke. "Im happy Momma. You and daddy are getting married today!" Storm smiled happily to the foal. "Indeed little one. Now you go prepare your flower basket. The guests are arriving and soon you will help them to find their seats." Caramel smiled and trotted off happily. Stormstride walked to the doors of her castle, magically opening them and smiling brightly as she greeted her first guests. "Welcome to Castle Cloud!" she said cheerfully.