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[After-gala]Park of the Palace

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

Only a few moments after the Gala had officially ended, Ice Storm had told her very special marefriend to wait in park for her. She was already planning on throwing a small bit of an afterparty and the park seemed like as good of a place as any. Everypony was already here for the most part so they wouldn't have to go anywhere to be a part of the fun! She herself though had to go to her home real quick and fetch a small table, a cloth, and the five bottles of the Champagne that she had left over from Hearth's Warming Eve. It wasn't that far from the park to her shop and home so she was relatively quick in obtaining it. It looked like a lot of ponies hadn't even made it out yet! She sat the champagne on the now clothed table along one of the park paths. Specifically the one that intersected the exit from the Gardens and the ballroom.

 

That said, she couldn't have asked for a better night to do this with. Luna's moon was high in the sky, and her stars glimmered light down upon all of the ponies under them. Whether they stayed for the after party, or simply walked home, tonight was a wonderful night for stargazing. She would have to make some time for doing just that when she got home. At the moment though, there were a few more important things that she needed to take care of. Once more she looked into the nearly invisible pocket that was inside of her dress to make sure her ring as still there and it hadn't fallen out in her rush to get home and get everything here. Much to her relief, the ring was. She would have been heartbroken herself if she had lost something so precious to her at this point. With a soft smile she let the pocket close itself up and looked around the park. It seemed like the Gardens were just now emptying as well. She wondered how many ponies would end up sticking around. She supposed she wouldn't have to wait too long to find out.

 

With a small flick of her magic, she had the bases of the bottles surrounded in ice so that they would be chilled, and she began setting an array of glasses down along the table as well. She would be more than happy to pour a few drinks for other ponies while she was waiting for her marefriend, in what would be the most important night of their life for the foreseeable future. She also couldn't help but wonder if the princess would make an appearance as well. She couldn't get her hopes up too much though. It has probably been quite a long day for her already and rest would probably be good for her so she understood if she couldn't make it. Although she did note that the gardens looked a bit more scorched now than they did when they first went into the Gala earlier that night, making her wonder what happened in the gardens.

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Cerali wandered around, not willing to leave just yet. she hadn't done much, and she was determined to make this night memorable. she spotted a mare setting a table and trotted over. "hello! I'm Maran" she said holding out a hoof and smiling.

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Sunrise smiled as she saw the tables being set up, looking around at all the guests that had stayed behind after the gala had finished. It was nice, having this smaller get-together after a large event like the gala. The fiery designer walked hoped Silverheart would stay as well, he had been good company and she believed that they had a conversation to finish. In any case, she currently approached an icy unicorn mare that had brought the bottles of champagne as well as the tables.

 

"Pardon the intrusion." Sunrise said, smiling at the icy mare and the mare that had just introduced herself as Maran. "I would just like to thank you for bringing that champagne, it looks to be an excellent selection. I am Sunrise Skies, pleasure to meet you both." She remembered seeing the icy mare at the Crystal Faire, but she couldn't quite recall her name. Besides, she was certain she had never met the other mare.

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The Grand Galloping Gala was a success, but for Fire Heart the night was not done yet! The red unicorn entered the the park area pausing for a moment to admire the night sky. It certainly was a change of pace from the energy of the dance floor. But there was something else about this night. Ice Storm wanted her to come, not because she wanted to see her special somepony but because Ice seemed to want to tell Fire something. In her honesty Fire had something she wanted to tell Ice, something big. 

 

"I hope this works," she said as she made her way towards where Ice was.

 

"Hello again," she said giving her marefriend a kiss on the cheek, "Nice night, huh?" 

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For the likes of Prince Blueblood, Galas were all-night affairs.  Being on top of the Canterlot Social ladder meant things were expected of one, and being present at all such events to the very end, and overseeing their clean-up as well, was one such.  This could sometimes prove a bore, but not tonight.  Tonight, he really didn't want the night to end, not yet.  Not when it had gone so well for him, and for his date, Star Crusader.

 

Oh, they'd made quite a pair on the dance floor!  The society papers would be talking about it for months afterward.  In addition to confirming a condition that caused him to swap genders, Prince Blueblood (as Princess Bluebelle) had confirmed publicly that his/her affections were definitely attached to one particular mare.  And what a mare!  Star Crusader was a towering amazon, the stoic and intimidating leader of his honor guard, and an absolute stunner as far as Blue was concerned.  Star wore a dress well, it had to be said.  As did Blueblood, right now...

 

The switch from male to female had not gone entirely smoothly, leaving him still in Bluebelle's dress.  From the look that his date gave him, however, he could tell that she really liked the look of him in it.  So, he was willing to keep it on for now.  It took him a little while to get used to walking in it, though, the dark blue fabric was stretched rather tightly over certain parts of his frame.  

 

"I suppose this is just one more thing to explain to Fire and Swift."  Blueblood remarked to Star as the ventured out into the open air.  "I would have thought that they'd be around here?"

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The Galas has ended. Or at least that stiff part that Squall reviled in happenings of similar nature. And thank Harmony for that, as it appeared that latest dose of fatigue staving elixir started to slowly wear off. Swift still had quite an amount of time before he will drop down asleep, but the eye bags were already showing and he last dance left him with shortness of breath. But he couldn't go to sleep yet - there was something very important that Squall had to do.

"Year earlier I wouldn't believe if somepony would tell me this, but now I am sure. I have to do something for them." Squall muttered as he and Fire walked into the into the Garden. Their gait was relatively slow, as nobelpony tried to conserve as much stamina of his as he could.

"By 'them' I mean Askr Moto. It's like....universe it self resolved to kick them while they down. And what happen to them....no one deserves this." he continued. Crimson mare could hear a first hints of building range with the unicorn. It didn't took much to guess towards whom. "...And neither does Sigurn. ESPECIALLY Sigurn. One who put's her own people before herself...one wo did ALL the right things. I...I know that life isn't supposed to be fair...but the way she ended up after this....is unacceptable."

Squall paused, as if he pondered really deeply over something. After this short reprise noblepony continued from where he left.

"And neither was how I thought....and acted about them. No one should judge anyone through the sins of their fathers. That Quilin reaction towards Sigurn's son was a final nail that helped me realize that. Now I know how her people are really like and I made a conclusion - I WILL find a way to fix Jarl Askr. She may have already accepted and resigned to what has happened, but I do not. Where is a will there is a way. I will walk to the end of the world to repair her visage if I have to Fire. To the end of the world. This the least I can do."

However further discussion about the caribou had to wait. As the pair walked through the park, they inevitably stumbled onto lovey-dovey combination of the Prince and his Star....and Prince remark as well.

On 7.08.2016 at 11:39 PM, PrinceBlueblood said:

"I suppose this is just one more thing to explain to Fire and Swift."  Blueblood remarked to Star as the ventured out into the open air.  "I would have thought that they'd be around here?"

 

"You thought correct, about later. And 'Not really' about the former....at least from my side." Squall started, to announce his and Fire presence.

"I gone through strange experiences, and met strange ponies before I settled in Filly, Blue. Heck, I was turned into chinchilla once - Don't ask - and compared to that, chronic gender switch is not that unusual, even if your ailment is more permanent." Squall explained, displaying some unusual understanding towards Blueblood situation....

"Although you could wear something unisex if you planned it from the start Blue. You can be prepared even if there is no reason, and sparing your dignity from another train-wreck is reason good enough." .....throught it didn't spared Prince from some scolding, in a way of a brutal honesty thrown towards him.

"What is surprising to me, is how you still on one mind. Yes, 'one' not 'sane'. As I was saying, I have quite an amount of experiences on my back. I did some tomb raiding in the past, read some ancient scriptures, met larger then life figures. All sort of things. I do not know what you managed to dig up yourself Blue, but from what I stumbled upon it's clear you not a first pony that ended as 2 in 1 package."

Unicorn paused to lean onto a nearby before continuing.

"But so far you are the first one that didn't ended with split personality disorder. That's....quite an accomplishment actually. Tell me Blue, how long you are like this?"

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

After a  few more moments, it looked as if more ponies had started to make their way out of the ball room and the gardens and start meandering in her direction. Among them was a pony that she didn't quite recognize from the ballroom, but she was certain that she hadn't seen every single pony that was present for the event for the evening. It was also entirely possible they were already in the park when she was setting everything up. She didn't mind either way. If a pony wanted to come enjoy themselves, she was more than willing to allow them. After all, the park itself was a public place.

 

The first guest that greet her was a somewhat chubby pegasus mare, although she would never say anything of the sort out loud. The last thing she'd ever want to do is have a mare distraught because of something that was said by her in a negative matter. She wasn't that kind of pony. "Hello there Maran. My name is Ice Storm," she smiled extending a hoof to shake that of the one that was offered to her. "Hopefully you enjoyed your night at the gala tonight? I know there was a bit of drama, but nothing compared to what the Gala is usually like. From my understanding, it was pretty tame this year. A first in a while," she finished as she noticed a few more ponies starting to head towards them.

 

One of them was a pony that she recognized, but couldn't place where from immediately. She was sure that it would come back to her soon enough though with a small bit of conversation. She was complimenting the assortment of champagnes that she had brought. "Actually, all of it is the same. I just figured we'd be drinking a lot of it. It's all Maroët-Chanpony. I had it imported from Prance for a Gala that I ran a few months ago. None of the bottles present have been opened, so it's had a chance to age a bit more from then," she smiled as the mare told her name and she instantly remembered where she knew her from. "Oh hey Sunrise! It's Ice Storm! We met up during the Crystal fair! How have you been!?" she asked happily before her mare of the night came over to them. She was more than happy to engage with all of her guests for this after part, but Fire Heart became the center of her attention as soon as she appeared.

 

Ice Storm returned the kiss on Fire's cheek as she had done with her with a smile. "It has been a most beautiful night so far, and the brilliance of Princess Luna's moon and stars only accentuate what has been almost a perfect night so far," she said with a small smile before turning to the other mares around her. "We'll be right back, help yourself to some of the champagne," she smiled before turning back to Fire. "Can you follow me real quick? We need to talk about something. Nothing bad I promise," she told her with a small smile before walking over to one of the fountains that was in the park that was still very much in view of everypony that was around them. She took in a deep breath. "Okay.... it's now or never..." she said to herself very quietly as she waited for her love to follow. With a small bit of her magic, as discreetly as she could, she removed the ring from her pocket, and made sure to try to keep herself between it and Fire as much as possible until she was ready to present it to her.

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Wow. That was the Gala.
 
Fire Walker was rather surprised on just how things had gone. No monster attacks. No drunk mares knocking over priceless statues. There had been some minor bits of drama she had spied or had heard about, but things had gone rather smoothly. While the pair followed the others out of the castle, they encountered the red mare’s father, who bore little Wind Walker on his back. While half asleep, the little filly was still able to ramble  on for a bit about meeting nearly all of the princess and a few other royal people from faraway lands. She also had several rolls of film that needed to be developed that her friend Fast Track had shot. From photos of the castle inside and out, to a small gaggle of little fillies that loved to tease the colt, all the way to their roomful of royalty. These were going to be interesting pictures!
 
After saying ‘good night’ to the pair, the red mare and Swift Squall made their way out into a small park that rested between the castle and the streets of Canterlot. She had hoped to get a few moments of private time with the stallion, but there appeared to be a small gathering of ponies meandering about. Miss Ice Storm was there, along with a few others...And also Prince Blueblood who was standing about in a dress. While it looked rather fetching on ‘Princess Bluebelle’, it just did not work on the stallion's well chiseled frame. Was this something he was able to control? Fire Walker caught sight of the icy blue unicorn as she absconded away with her date.
 
"If the universe intends on doing that, we must be the ones to hold out our hooves to help them back up.", the mare added, "Not sure about the Quilin girl, but I won't judge her, since we only saw a small fragment of what had happened. I'm sure there was far more to their story than what we had seen." As for a story, she REALLY wanted to hear Prince Blueblood's. How did this all happen? Strong case of Poison Joke? Did he anger a powerful unicorn? Whatever happened, this reminded her of a book she read while in high school. The officer wondered if Blueblood was given the gift, or even the curse of immortality like Orlando had gained, along with the ability to shift between male and female forms.
 
"If you would do us the honor, your Grace.", Fire Walker snatched a bottle of Champagne and several glasses. She hoofed over the bottle to her Swift, who could use his magic to pop the top. "I'm incredibly curious how you ended up this way."

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Ahh what an event that was! The Grand Galloping Gala certainly was full of surprises. For both good and for ill it seemed. In busying himself with trying to find the heroines of Equestria, Prince Lián had missed the vast majority of it! His first hope in mind as he wandered into the Park of Canterlot's Palace is that his sister was fairing well. Accounts of what happened told him that she would be greatly shaken by the experience, probably fearing that Equestria, or more so Long Guo, would look down upon her. Accidents happen, but to the Traditionalists of Long Guo?...He shook his head to himself, if Fluttershy was still with her, he knew she was in good hooves.


The second thought that crossed his mind was Mei. The dear friend of he and his sister, and admittedly long time crush, was here! It had been such a long time since the prince had a chance to speak with her. It felt like ages. When they crossed paths earlier, Lián was still trying to hand out gifts. Which thankfully Mei seemed understanding of, especially with her clear state of distress. It likely helped that he promised to meet her in the Park to speak with her about what troubled her.


Having done away with the more cumbersome royal attire, Lián had 'downgraded' to a shimmersilk vest of similar colour, still housing the royal emblem on the back. Could one ever downgrade from a shimmersilk vestment to another? Quietly he wandered over to a more quiet area of the park to wait on Mei's arrival, as it seemed that most of the other visitors here were having their own moments, and the Prince didn't wish to interrupt those.

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In all honesty, she had been this close to simply turning tail and leaving this horrible dream behind.

 

But the ancestors had funny ways of bringing light out of darkness, a fact that Mei herself had discovered when she had, on her way out the veritable front door, bumped into a familiar face that she had completely forgotten was even attending the Grand Galloping Gala. The gallant prince - who had grown up so handsome, by the by - still looked much the same despite their time apart, even if her memory warred with the shimmersilk-clad Qilin of the present. Meeting up with Lián had been a welcome distraction to her dark thoughts, and though the Prince hadn't been able to stand around and chat with her, he'd promised to meet up later if only she would stick around. 

 

Something that Mei had, despite everything, readily agreed to, because Lián was here.

 

And equally exciting was the chance to meet up with YUE again, the bright blue Qilin having, yet again, forgotten that both her dear foalhood friends were here this evening. To think that only moments earlier she had been determined to storm out of the Gala!...and truth be told, as Mei glanced around the park carefully, the idea was still very much appealing. 

 

...Not because she wished to avoid certain individuals, no, of course not. Nothing of the sort. 

 

There was no one to avoid, however - thankfully - and Mei smoothed out her silken dress a bit before entering into the park proper, from one of its many entrances. She could easily pick out Lián a bit removed from the small groups of ponies already milling about, his change of clothing doing nothing to hide its luxurious make, and Mei was quick to make her way over to him, a grateful smile breaking out over her face as nothing and no one untoward jumped out at her from the bushes to drag her off to frozen tundras.

 

"Did I make you wait?" she breathed, softly, as if afraid of alerting some one else to her arrival. Contrary to the proud strut that she was more accustom to, Mei was almost hunched in on herself, tail drooping downwards instead of straight out, as if actively avoiding drawing attention onto herself. "I'm sorry - I took the long way around, and - and well," Mei sniffed, delicately brushing out a spot for her to sit on the cool grass before flopping down, any elegance and grace she normally possessed seemingly drained out of her at the moment. In any other situation she might have been mortified at herself...but for now, she was safe. 

 

Because Lián was here.

 

 

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Cerali grinned as she watched everyone gather in the park, then frowned. "hm.... who should I talk to?" she mused, examining everybody in the group. she shrugged and slipped over to Sunrise. "hello!" she said cheerfully. 

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Ah, there they were!  Stepping carefully, so as not to trip himself up in his own clothes, he walked up to the pair.  Swift, of course, seemed to lose no time in giving his views upon the situation, and Blueblood tried to take them in good humor.  "This..."  He gestured down to his be-dressed self.  "Wasn't exactly part of the plan.  Still, I can't help but think it somewhat serendipitous.  After all, I've just found out how much Star likes the look of me in a dress!"  His laughter was a mixture of bemusedness and nervousness; it would have been a much more surprising revelation if one didn't know that Star Crusader was the daughter of Star Breezer, a.k.a. The Brazen Duchess.  Being more stoic than her mother, Crusader didn't wear her tastes so ostentatiously, but apparently she was indeed her mother's daughter, in this one respect at least.  The Prince was a little apprehensive to inquire in what other respects she might be, but that wasn't a topic for public conversation right now.

 

"Well, seeing as you want the whole story, we probably should sit down."  He led the way over to the picnic table, picking up one of the bottles before going over to one of the gazebos.  "Let's see... where to begin... it's a long story.  Well, two long stories; of Star and I, and of my changes.  They're rather intertwined, at this point."  He thought, as he uncorked the bottle and began pouring out a cup for each of them.  "I suppose I might began where Star and I first met; that was a little bit before I was hit with my whole gender-changing thing.  It was a little bit after the Crystal Faire; Jarl Sigrun had just finished helping the Crystal Empire clean up, and as an initial diplomatic gesture, invited an Equestrian diplomatic party to... well, a party, at her Hall in Whitescar.  I, er, got drunk on the mead and ended up challenging the High King of the Caribou to a duel."  He still flushed in embarrassment at the memory.  "It was a short engagement. Actually, we never landed a hot on each other.  I ended up using the quarterstaff as a kind of pole vault and landed right in his antlers.  Got stuck, in front of Auntie and everyone.  Star here extricated me, and managed to get through the rest of the evening without treating me like a walking joke.  That was my first promising sign, I guess."

 

Blueblood sipped his champagne to wet hist throat a bit.  "The next part you were there for, Fire, so I won't go into detail.  That was when we were investigating that curse in my Summer House, right when Star Crusader was actually assigned to my honor guard.  That was when I knew how well we worked together, but not much more than that I think.

"But, now we come to the part of the story I think you were waiting for, right?"  The Prince smirked, snorting a bit.  "Ah, you'll remember I needed to back in time for a trip to Las Pegasus with Auntie Luna.  Well, that was... something.  Nopony can quite remember what it was, but I ended up getting very sick from it.  Seriously ill, in fact.  Can't quite remember with what, started with an M, I think."  His face grew sour in the manner one does when recalling illness.  "Anyway, I wrote to Twilight Sparkle for help, and she came with a spell ready.  Unfortunately, I ended up sneezing on her while she was casting it, so it went a little awry.  It restored me to a healthy body... just a healthy mare's body.  I discovered over the next few weeks that it wasn't exactly stable; certain things will trigger a switch from one to the other, but so far, I've found no way to actually stop it."

 

He sighed, taking a deep draft of his glass.  "And the thing is, though... I'm not sure I want to at this point.  It wasn't as traumatic as I thought such a thing would be, which caught me off-balance.  Well, so did walking in my new body, but Star helped with that."  The Prince smiled up at his guard, giving her a quick nuzzle before continuing.  "I try not to think about the implications too much; maybe that's how I keep so stable?  I don't know.  I lived for years as a male without questioning myself, just because I was born that way.  I didn't choose it, but I didn't bother about it particularly.  And I think that's served me well; I had too much to do figuring out how to look good in my new body to have any time to waste on angst."

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Oh yes, Ice Storm, of course. Sunrise smiled at her, nodding as she excused herself to speak with her love in private. 

 

"I understand, Ice. Thank you again." Sunrise said, watching her go for a moment before heading towards the champagne and pouring herself a glass. 

 

"Greetings again, Prince Blueblood. This was a lovely gala." She said, sliding into the conversation after he had finished speaking. She gave the group a small bow, taking a sip as she came up from it. 

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The garden area was certainly filling up as Fire greeted her marefriend. Why it seemed many of the Gala guests she saw before were here now! But the conversations around her at the time didn't matter so long as she was with her. 

 

 "It has been a most beautiful night so far, and the brilliance of Princess Luna's moon and stars only accentuate what has been almost a perfect night so far. Can you follow me real quick? We need to talk about something. Nothing bad I promise," 

 

"Oh, uh...sure!" as she watched Ice move towards the fountain. It certainly wasn't something so serious that Ice wanted to be alone to tell her. Otherwise why would she hold a party? As Fire made her way there she patted a small invisible pocket in her dress, making sure that the precious cargo was still inside. She knew tonight was her night to do this, but when was her only guess and her nerves were starting to get the best of her. 

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To pass the time, Lián had been humming to himself as he gazed up at the star filled sky. As different was Equestria and Long Guo was, the sky made him feel as though home wasn't very far away. It certainly wasn't as though Equestria was bad or that he wasn't enjoying himself! Far from it. It's just natural for one to get a little bit homesick when you're a whole continent away!
 

The wait wasn't long for Lián, before he finally caught a glimpse of Mei making her way into the park. Still as breathtaking as ever, though anyone with functioning eyes could see she was troubled. She always carried herself with the air of an empress, and to see her so droopy and down was more than a little disheartening for the prince. Still though he smiled and shook his head. "Not overlong." he said as he plopped down next to the other qilin. "Besides, since when have I ever really minded waiting on a friend. Something's troubling you, what is it?" the prince gently placed a hoof on Mei's shoulder. He sincerely hoped it was something he was able to help with. Seeing her sad was torture...

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The bushes by Cerali rustled, before the head of a unicorn burst out of them.  Fortunately, with a body still attached below.  "Heya!"  He waved, scattering leaves and twigs in his enthusiastic greeting of the disguised changeling.  "Is this where the party is?  I've been waiting all night for it to start, nyahaaha!"  He was quite a sight as he emerged from the shrubbery, his white mane tangled into an almost literal bird's nest (a crow was currently roosting in it), while his purple coat and black robes were streaked with dirt.  He looked like he'd been through a bit of a scuffle, to say the least.

 

"I'm Chipper Demise, what's your name?"  He flashed her his trademark 'this-pony-might-not-have-all-his-marbles' grin, half-lidded eyes still roaming over the grounds.  "Say, you didn't happen to see a young caribou trot past here in a hurry, did you?"

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"uh, yeah..... I'm Ce- I mean Maran. and no, I have not..." she said, thoroughly confused. she examined the pony, and decided that he was indeed insane.

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Chipper cocked his head at the strange hiccup the mare made in introducing her name.  "Maran, eh?  Sure, we'll go with that!  Nyahaaha!"  His grin didn't change, but there was a glint under his eyelids that might have served as a warning.  The unicorn might be mad, but he was also sharp.  If the disguised 'ling felt unsafe because of his magic, or the skulls sewn in silver on his robes, then knowing that he might actually know her secret wouldn't help matters in the least.

 

If Chipper did know it, however, he wasn't choosing to show it, yet.  "Aw, too bad.  I wanted to see if I could cheer up my friend, or at least do something.  Some qilin broke his heart on the dance floor.  Maybe I should fetch hers for him!  Nyaha!  But it would probably look all black and ugly; it'd have to be to do that to him."

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~~~Ice Storm~~~

 

Timeless... That was how Ice Storm felt right now. Every step felt like a mountain, ever second an eternity while she waited for Fire to make her way over to her in front of the fountain. She could feel the pressure building inside of her, her beating heart acting as a drum inside her head. The constant Thump-Thump....Thump-Thump...Thump-Thump echoing through her mind as she watched her marefriend get closer and closer to her. At the very least the other ponies that she had been conversing with seemed to understand that she had to take care of something, and while they may not have known at the time, the ring, the location, the anxiety that she was sure that she was displaying for everypony to see clear as day. If anypony would have known better, or known who she was, they would have thought that she was getting ready to go into a battle that would doom Equestria if she lost. A few moments later Fire Heart was in front of her. She took in a deep breath.

 

"Fire Heart... Ever since I met you, that fateful night when we got trapped in Luna's castle together... You've held a special place in my heart... A place that, the more time we've spent together, and the more things we've done together, has grown, and grown, and grown. From the night at the park a few years ago, the adventures, the dances, the times we've been sick... You've been there to help me up when I'm down and I've tried to be the same, even if I can't always get into the dorms. The special place that has been in my heart for you, is now my whole heart... and I think about you all the time while you're in class or at the dorms and I always eagerly await your daily visit to my shop."

 

"With that in mind, I know that your going to be graduating soon... And will be looking for a place to stay outside of the dorms, and I can honestly say my life would not be complete with out you. Which is why... not only am I asking you to move in with me.... but..." Ice Storm said as she knelled down on her hind hooves before bringing the ring from behind her back and placed it on her hooves that she was now holding up to Fire. "but also asking you to spend eternity with me... Fire Heart.... Will you marry me, and be my bride?" she asked, her heart racing and simultaneously running through every single positive and negative reaction that could be had as she presented the ring, custom made with swirling rose and white gold before coming together in a pinwheel at the center with fire-ruby and a crystal clear Ice-white diamond almost fused together in the center. A testament to the strength of what she felt was their bond. For this moment, everything in her world stopped, and the only thing that mattered, was the mare in front of her.

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As Fire Heart approached Ice, she her heart began to beat more than even meeting her marefriend. Partly it was because of the anticipation of what Ice was about to say, but Fire knew better. She knew it was something that she was prepared to do, and tonight was the perfect night. There was the fear, too, of her being rejected by Ice, but there was also the nervousness of what if she said yes. It was like she was stuck in limbo and just wanted this moment done and the truth known. 

 

Fire listened as Ice recalled the moments that the two met and formed a bond of friendship and then something more. Then it shifted to the future, specifically where Fire was to go after graduation. But then it happened, that wondrous moment! 

 

Which is why... not only am I asking you to move in with me.... but... but also asking you to spend eternity with me... Fire Heart.... Will you marry me, and be my bride?" 

 

"Oh Ice, from the moment I met you, I knew there was something special about you. Little did I know how special our lives would be at that time, but I believe that we were meant to meet that snowy night. From that point, not a day went by that I didn't think about you. Then it was that time at the park when things were going upside down for me that I knew the truth, we love each other. We've been together more that we've been apart, and even when I was in class or you were at your shop we remembered our love."

 

She paused as with a flicker of her magic she pulled a box from the pocket in her dress and opened it revealing a ring. The ring was white gold with a diamond lotus on it. In the center of the flower were blue and red petals resembling their love. 

 

"Which is why I say yes, Ice Storm, I will marry you and be your bride, if you will be mine as well." 

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Cerali winced at the implication that he saw through her disguise, then blanched as he mentioned fetching the Qilin's heart. "o-okay....." she said, not sure how to act towards this strange unicorn. "so, um...... what do you do for a living?" she asked in an attempt to make small talk

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This conversation... could be going better.  Even Chipper, socially oblivious as he normally was, could tell that.  This 'Maran' was blanching, and seemed unenthusiastic about this who conversation.  But how to change that?  How to get the mare excited about life, and life lived in his proximity?  A puzzle, certainly.  Fortunately, his conversational partner him the perfect opening!

 

"Ooh, good question!"  He bounded up on the table, perching on it's edge like a bird, using his two back legs, while one of his forehooves tapped his chin thoughtfully.  "Well... I cure curses, and make them too!  I save lives and raise the dead, and then send the undead back with fire!  I speak to birds, make friends with animals, brew potions... all kinds of awesome stuff!  Nyahaha!"  His hoof had shot up once he had his inspiration, which caused him to overbalance and fall backwards over the table.  He sprang up soon after, though, the bird that had been nesting in his head flapping about and cawing.

 

"What about you, eh?  What's a pretty mare like you do every day?"

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"oh!" she said, rather impressed. she normally wouldn't believe somepony if they said they did all that, but, well.... he did look-and act- the part.

 

she blushed when he called her pretty. "oh, I'm just a teacher." she said, waving a hoof. "nothing impressive."

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It really wasn't seemly to complain about one's problems, especially not on a night of happy reunions and foalhood friendships. No matter how one was feeling, a good conversation needed at least two participants, not one consistently running her mouth to bemoan her problems. That was simply unseemly. 

 

...

 

"Everything!" Mei blurted, and with that simple word couldn't contain the bottled up feelings that threatened to burst at a moment's notice. "Oh, everything went wrong today," she groaned, and only just barely managed to resist the urge to flop over onto her side and wave her hooves around like a little foal in the midst of a temper tantrum. Because she had more self control than that, thank you very much. 

 

Though, she couldn't quite control it, her hooves settling on waving about to pointedly puncture the air in time with her words. 

 

"Just awful," the vivid blue Qilin continued passionately, with another vehement but utterly meaningless jab in the air, "and it's all his fault. He told me he was a Reindeer, but he's really a - a Caribou, and ooooh he made me out to be a fool," Mei spat, eyes burning as she remembered the moment of utter humiliation that had swept through her at the realization...before it had been quickly overturned, because Caribou"He lied to me," she moaned, head tilting back dramatically towards the starlit sky, "he lied, and he's a Caribou - and - aiya!" 

 

Steam running out at the end of her rant, Mei let her head fall sideways onto Lián's shoulder, surreptitiously attempting to wipe her eyes as she felt the beginning pinprick of tears threaten to fall, more remains from her earlier pain than anything. "This has got to be the worst night of my life," the Qilin sniffed, voice muted slightly as she buried her head further into the prince's shoulder. 

 

Maybe she could just, sit here with Lián and...and forget about Caribou and poems and Canterlot framed against a setting sun for a little while.

 

 

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YPqzNU8.png

 

 

Hunger, satiated. 

 

Justice, prevailing. 

 

Can't, control!...

 

The night of most righteous galas had ended on a distinctly low note for many, Dawnguard had been able to find out afterwards, but for him, there had been nothing but swift and mighty justice. But of course! With his mighty spear hoof cleaving the way forward, the buffet tables had all but fallen unto him, allowing him to satiate the raging hunger that had threatened to tear him in twain! And aside from a fulfilling meal, he'd even had the great honor of enjoying a few dances, featuring a young Qilin maiden, a serving girl, and an elderly matron that had pinched his cheeks until the blood had become a permanent fixture for a solid ten minutes.

 

Yes, indeed - at least for him, the Grand Galloping Gala had been a most fortuitous night. 

 

...Though it didn't seem to be staying that way. The white Pegasus veritably froze, like a dog on the scent, as the scene in the park unfolded before him, and he only had a moment to lament the absence of his loyal spear Daybreaker before he was off like a shot. 

 

For great Justice!

 

"Halt, vile necromancer!" Dawnguard cried out, landing directly in front of the maiden with his wings outspread, mane falling roguishly in front of his face in a way that - probably - gave him a slightly dangerous look...yes, his blue eyes blazing by the dim lamplight that shone throughout the park. A shining vanquisher of Avenging Righteousness that would never stand idly by against the forces of pure EVIL, writ pure across his robes by skull and ravens' wing! 

 

"Have the blackened agents of Darkness grown so bold?" the white Pegasus intoned, shifting stance slightly to curl his spear hoof in front of his face, though it was still angled down somewhat to allow his mane to better frame his eyes that pierced into the necromancer's darkened soul like the spark of a thousand dying suns. "To gather fair maidens in the heart of Canterlot itself, for what sinister purpose has yet to be divined unto my third eye!...stand back miss!" Dawnguard instructed, using his wings to attempt to usher the targeted mare further back, "lest this foul mage use his dark magics to enchant you!" 

 

 

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