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Princess Luna made a soft, thoughtful noise in her throat, a soft 'hm'. Maybe what Ice Storm said was right, and it was simply the reappearance of another alicorn that might've been so frightening.. She supposed she could see some of the other reasons for their fear. Dealing with a pony from the era of the three tribes, never truly knowing the culture of that era.. despite what history taught. There was a great difference in learning about something, and experiencing it.

 

Dipping her head, Luna acknowledged this possibility. Yet, she felt her mind would always be focused on the lies ponies have fed each other about Nightmare Moon, about herself. For the time being, she let the topic pass, focusing on what Ice Storm's speech lead up to. "Sometimes some.. tact.. is required when speaking honestly about something, but to know that you are an honest pony is something I can appreciate. Out of the Elements that I once bore as my own, Honesty has always been strongest in me, next to Loyalty," she put in, addressing something she knew how to reply to.

 

"Keeping track of dreams becomes easy enough. The way the dream realm works entirely depends on how you might, say, organize something. When I dreamwalk, the realm arranges itself with each dream being represented by a door. I can open these doors and look in at will. I believe my sister had a different experience, when she so briefly had my cutiemark and my magic. As for how I know which needs my attention.. it's something that I can sense. Nightmares send out faint ripples the way a rock dropped into a pond might disturb the surface. It's nothing visible- only a sense that something is wrong. It's worse when the pony has a reoccurring nightmare, and it requires my attention the most because they can have a profound affect on a pony's psyche if not dealt with." It would be the third time that night that she'd say so much at once, and she had to clear her throat of the slight strain of it. She couldn't fault Ice Storm for having as many questions as she did, and it was solely her own problem. Luna hardly spoke so much around other ponies, save perhaps her sister to an extent.

 

"Any other dreams I leave alone. I mostly patrol for nightmares and do my best to help ponies work through their problems.." she trailed off, realizing that Ice Storm had commended her for her fortitude in dealing with them. The princess hardly knew what to say in response. "Thus far.. I do not believe so. I will admit it can be disheartening when I can't fully help a pony, but.. I do my best, and hope that what advice I give them will encourage them to find help in the waking world."

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Ice nodded a bit when the princess told her that sometimes tact was a required thing when trying to be honest. Tact was something that Ice Storm always had an issue with. It wasn't that she liked being blunt or disrespectful, which sometimes is what it could come across as, but it was just... Information, and most of the time it was something that she felt needed to be addressed. She took to heart though the fact that the princess appreciated that she was honest, and that out of the elements that she once bore, Honesty was the stronged, next to next to loyalty. A sentiment that Ice knew very well.

 

She also listened as the princess started talking about the dreams and how keeping track of them had become fairly easy. That the dreamworkd organized things pretty much exactly as you would expect it to. That when she dreamwalked, the dream world arranged itself where each dream was a door, and the nightmares had ripples around them based on the intensity of the nightmare that they pony was having. That it was usually worse when the pony has a recurring nightmare and it usually had to be dealt with as soon as it could to avoid possible damage to a pony's psyche. The pause and the throat clear didn't go unnoticed by Ice Storm. It was likely this was the most conversation that the princess had seen in a while.

 

After the short pause the princess said that any of the other dreams she left alone. that she mostly patrolled nightmares and did her best to help ponies work through their problems. She also heard the princess downplay the fortitude required to help a pony through something like that, but it was somewhat disheartening when she couldn't fully help somepony. Ice nodded. "Believe me... I know that feeling all too well. Perhaps if I had these then, things would have went different and I could have saved more," she said tapping her necklace. "That being said, I find it fascinating that the dreams can call out to you like they do. I imagine just like anything else though, that it can become overwhelming at times. Especially if you're ever hit with multiple dreams in succession that you weren't able to reach a conclusion in and be able to help with. With that in mind, I know I've asked a lot of questions, and I still have plenty more, but if you want to ask some of me, naturally go ahead. The night is young after all," she said with a soft smile. She wondered if the kitchen was open or not. She wasn't hungry at all, but some tea would do wonders right now. It would go a long way to help keep their mouths from running dry from the constant conversation.

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"Maybe so," Luna replied, "but you cannot save everypony. No matter how much you try, no matter how much you might want to, there will always be those few that slip through your hooves." A soft sigh left the mare through her nose, her nostrils flaring slightly. It was always a hard fact to face, to know that everypony couldn't be protected, couldn't be saved.. Nopony could overextend themselves that much. All anypony could do was wish for that better result, and come to terms that they did all they could.

 

"It takes time to learn the dream realm, to understand what it is your senses are telling you. Of course.. it is my magic that allows me to do what I can in dreams, and lets me dream walk. When I had my sister's magic and her cutiemark for a day, I was powerless to my own dream until she pulled me out of it and into Starlight's," the princess continued to explain with a little dip of her head towards Ice Storm. "It can be a little overwhelming, though I'm thankful my focus is only on Equestria itself, with the newest addition of the Crystal Empire since its return. It, specifically, was one such situation. There were many ponies who had nightmares, and some who still do, about King Sombra's reign over the empire. The fear he instilled in them.." Luna trailed off, frowning faintly. She knew that dreams weren't much of a reflection of what had already happened in the waking world, but the result of a pony's memories, feelings, things their minds often dwelt on even if they weren't too aware of it. It was because of this knowledge that Luna understood their nightmares about King Sombra weren't what actually happened, but their fears and their trauma. It still left her wary about him- none of them save the crystal ponies themselves really knew what he'd done during his reign.

 

She was letting herself dwell a little too much on him now that she knew that he was alive, and that Ice Storm had had some form of contact with him. Shaking her head a little as if to rid herself of those thoughts, she returned her attention to Ice. "Ah, well.. hm." Luna struggled to find questions to ask. "Why exactly did you end up homeless? What was 'your fault'?"

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To hear the princess tell her that it was simply impossible to save everypony... irritated Ice Storm a bit, but she knew the princess was right. No matter what happened there would always be a few that slipped through that she couldn't save. She didn't want to admit it. In fact every part of her wanted to tell the princess that she was wrong, but... there was just no way. That would require her to be everywhere at once, and... she was but one pony. There was only so much she could do. It was a difficult pill for her to swallow. She also heard the princess mentioned that it took time to learn the dream realm, and to understand what your senses were telling you. That it was her magic that ultimately let her do what she did, but inside the dreams and the act of dreamwalking itself.

 

She also mentioned that her dreamwalking was restricted to over Equestria as well. Something that she was very thankful of because even here at times it could get overwhelming. She pointed out the return of the Crystal Empire. Ice nodded. It made sense that many ponies there would still have some nightmares from the fear that Sombra instilled into them. She understood this. It was one of the reasons she wanted him close. She wanted to know what his intentions were the best that she could. Him working under her, or at least pretending to work under her was an important step in the process. The fact that he came surprised her. That alone made her question his intentions. Being that easy to find... meant he was looking for something. She wanted to know what.

 

Then came Luna's turn to ask a question, and it was Ice's turn to let out a long sigh, shifting a bit so she could get comfortable. "This is going to be a very long answer," she said taking a deep breath an relaxing. "I was born in Fillydelphia. My mother's name is Mist Weaver, and.... the stallion that Sired me.... is named Silvermane, though I refuse to ever acknowledge him as such. When I was growing up, my mother ran one of the best Aquariums in Equestria, and Silver was a top notch jeweler. Everything should have been okay. However, a rich bureaucratic, aristocratic noble pony by the name of Golden Hoof came into our lives," she said a hint of rage present in her tone, cause one of the orbs to glow a bit. "He was a very powerful pony, and he poured wealth into my family, turning them into one of the top names in Fillydelphia. However, he despised foals and anything to do with them."

 

"Of course, being a foal, I had my fair share of issues, but up to that point my family had been that.... a family. They cared. They ran if something happened. They say that money can change a pony.... Something I witnessed first hoof. I was very late to develop magic, on top of a few more embarrassing things... one of which I dtill fight with every night, and has actually gotten worse with age... That said, I never had any magic at all during the entire time I lived in Fillydelphia which was the tipping point for my family. it got to the point where maintaining the family name, became more important than me, and there's no way they could have a magic-less unicorn in the family. They started putting their noses into their wealth and they started completely ignoring me. To the point where it felt like I wasn't even there. On the night that I... ran way.... I stood in the doorway, yelling for an hour... they never even looked up at me... I was completely broken, and they had become completely apathetic to me. The no longer even cared if I was there or not. So... I left... albeit with the hopes that they would actually look for me, but... that never happened..."

 

"I left Fillydelphia via a series of wagons, and still with no magic at this point and made my way here to Canterlot. It was the only place outside of Fillydelphia that I had ever heard of and I thought to myself, 'The Princess Lives there! If there's going to be any place that has nice ponies in it, it's going to be there!' Boy, what a mistake I made for thinking that. Firstly, I had to climb the mountain up here myself. I stayed on the path naturally, but still, it was treacherous. It was two fold though cause that's how I discovered my ability to control ice magic. I got caught in a blizzard, felt a surge of energy, blacked out, and when I woke up, the storm was gone and I was in an igloo and I had my cutie mark. I'm still unsure of what exactly happened. However, I finally got here to Canterlot, and well things went from bad to worse."

 

"As soon as ponies here caught on that I wasn't 'Canterlot Blood' or born in Canterlot, they didn't want anything to do with me, despite the fact that I was just barely a filly on the young side? It was the day I learned to outright despise nobility. Not only had one destroyed my family, but I was alone, and hopeless in a place I didn't know anything about, and no pony was willing to help at all. So, I found a spot in the park, the one that the castle overlooked, and I slept on the tallest hill I could find that had a tree on it, and I would fall asleep outside looking up at the stars. Thinking back on it, I can summarize all of that up into nobility. I was homeless because of the destructive apathetic emotions that plague modern Equestrian Nobility," she finished letting out another sigh. She'd told this story many times before, but by the stars it never got any easier to tell. She was well beyond it now, but still, remembering it awoke both sadness and anger inside of her. To the point to where she hadn't even noticed until now that the spheres were no longer in the necklace and they were orbiting her slightly now.

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It was a solemn silence that Luna kept throughout the duration of Ice Storm's history, a deep frown on her dark muzzle and concern in her eyes. How could anypony turn away from their own daughter, all for money? Mere gold coins? If she hadn't been trapped within the moon, she might have seen Ice out on that hill during some nightly flight- but it all came back to 'if only's and 'if this hadn't happened's. It was inevitable, and so too was the cruelty of ponies.

 

Yet again Luna found an 'I'm sorry' trapped in her throat, one she knew would be pointless to say; no apology could fix the past, and it would be a waste of words. She swallowed it. "I hate to know that those who truly need help manage to slip under our notice. There is nothing I could have done, and I know you don't expect me to have done anything. All we can do is try to make improvements so that nopony can suffer the same way. As for the 'nobility'.. I fail to see what is so noble about them- I always have failed to see it. Mere delusions of importance and superiority. I wish to do something about it, but.. I'm not sure how, or if anything can be done at all. They think themselves greater all because of wealth and status.." It did something to ponies. Even her sister might be said to have been a result of it- not money, or wealth, but the love and praise of ponies.. it'd changed her from the sister Luna knew to something else.. at least for a while.

 

A heavy sigh escaped the lounging alicorn. The entire situation had been both a good and a bad thing. Her sister realized her error.. but as a result ponies forced her into the role of a leader of Equestria, trapping her in so many social routines and responsibilities all for -- their own benefit.

 

Her gaze fell to the bare coffee table between them. "I think we can at least still try to change things. I have confidence I can change the entire situation with my sister, with the way ponies always look to her and never me. I may like my solitude, and I may have an aversion to socializing.. but I can't let myself remain invisible and have my accomplishments credited to Celestia alone. This situation with the nobility can be fixed, too, though I know it will upset an order that has always been, especially when they want to hold onto their lofty positions in society." In time. It couldn't and wouldn't happen all at once. Shaking her head, as if trying to rid herself of an irksome fly, Luna returned her focus to Ice.

 

She could see the spheres orbiting the mare's neck and recognized it for what it was: old memories dredged up half-healed wounds, and even wounds that were still raw. She knew Ice was upset. "All we can do about this now is work towards what we want for ourselves so that we can find the happiness that has once been denied us."

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The words that the princess spoke in response to what the princess told her... that she hated how those that truly needed help could so easily slip under their notice, and that because of circumstances, there was simply nothing that she could have done herself on the matter. She added that she knew she probably didn't expect anything to be done either. She did say that the only thing that they could do was make sure the proper improvements were made so that no pony ever had to suffer the same way. Ice nodded. "Princess... you've already done more for me than you could imagine, and that was before we even had our conversations tonight. Like I said before, the moon was my rock. The only thing on many nights that... kept me from doing things I would later regret, or just ending things completely. You've done more for me, than my own family ever has. I'm doing what I can with STAR to help with that too. I'm keeping an eye on areas like Fillydelphia, Like Manehatten, and like any other metropolis area in Equestria for similar situations, to give those ponies that want or need a way out, and need a place where they can feel like they are important, we'll take them in, give them shelter, care, nurture, and proper military training as well," she started as she heard the princess speak her own views on nobility.

 

It seemed that the princess and herself shared the same sentiment in that regards. The noble class in Equestria for the most part weren't noble. They way they acted... she's always failed to see it. She commented on the mere delusions of importance and superiority. She wanted to do something about it, but she wasn't really sure how, or if anything could be done. "I know exactly how. By showing them what it actually means to be nobility. Protecting those that can't protect themselves is noble. Going out of your way to do something to help somepony else, a pony that maybe you don't even know. That is nobility. The act of being noble means that you are to help the less fortunate, not help take advantage of them. I have more than enough wealth now to be able to join their little charade, but I refuse to do so, because I would much rather spend my time helping and protecting others than sitting at a party eating Hors d'oeuvres trying to figure out where my next sum of bits is coming from," Ice spoke as the princess continued.

 

She said that she could always change the perceptions of how ponies look at her sister. That while she enjoyed her solitude and aversion to socializing, but that she couldn't let herself remain invisible and let Celestia get credit for all of her accomplishments. She further stated that the issue with nobility could be fixed, and Ice nodded. Of course Luna mentioned that they probably wouldn't like the changes because it would disrupt their silly believes and lifestyles, but Equestria would ultimately be better for it. She also watched as the princess shook her head a bit, as if trying to get some of the thoughts out or get rid of a fly. She added that the only thing they could do now was work towards what they wanted to be, and so that they could find the happiness that was denied to them.

 

"That's why I opened my Frozen Delights stores. Before all of this, I used my magic to make snow cones, ice cream, all sorts of frozen goodies. I have stores here in Canterlot, in Ponyville, Seaddle, Hoofington, Baltimare, and now in Las Pegasus inside the Hotel and Casino that's currently being built. Of course, under that hotel and casino, is where the Primary HQ for STAR will be. Of course, you are always a welcome visitor there Princess once it's operational, or if you ever want to use it as a way to get away. It is completely off the grid and not on any blue prints or record, so it would be easy for you to disappear for a few days if you needed to relax," she offered.

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"I feel it's important to remind you that I am not responsible for the moon.. Yet, I have not forgotten our earlier conversation about it being a symbol of hope to look up to. That I might be a symbol of hope, too. It's easy for me to forget that when I never had a personal hoof in helping actively- only unwittingly." She dipped her head to Ice Storm and allowed the mare to speak on the matter further, of how she was trying to help society as a whole with her business and her acquired wealth.

 

"Perhaps money doesn't change all ponies," Luna quietly put in. "Perhaps through the way you're trying to help others, you can try to set a true example for other ponies to do the same. You're already part way there, and you can use what you've built thus far to benefit those who society has failed." It heartened her to know that at least one pony was trying to make a difference among a thousand others that simply chose to keep walking, only focused on themselves- or those who simply stood by and watched when they had the power to help. It was saddening, but at least they had ponies like Ice.

 

"Hm," Luna mused. A place to escape to? She wasn't sure how well she'd take to a place like Las Pegasus. She'd never been there before, but she'd heard about it. It was a popular vacation spot for ponies to go to to unwind. Various games, rides, performers putting on exciting shows for the crowds.. it certainly sounded appealing enough. Though there were the crowds, the possible noise associated with that.. At least the space Ice Storm spoke of might be quiet enough for her to relax in and focus on something beyond her own struggles. "I'll have to remember this, should I ever need to get away from my own situation for a while. I'm grateful that you'd offer it to me- not that I'm suggesting there's any reason you wouldn't." A small, amused smile flashed across the moon princess's muzzle, indicating it as a small jest.

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“You are that beacon of hope princess. You may not be responsible for the moon itself, but you are the one pony that everypony else thinks of when they look at it. For as long as you are, that's not something that will ever change. As far as having a hoof in being able to help, that's simmering that you are able to do now, but even then, there is only so much you can do if no pony ever brings it to your attention that something like that is happening. I pray that you're not ever present you witness it first hoof though, or myself in that matter. I don't think the pony responsible for such most treatment would be walking away, or at all. May the stars forbid that we're both there…” Ice commented in response to the princess.

 

She listened as the princess spoke about her, and how that perhaps money didn't change everypony. That she herself was an example. A wealthy mare trying to do what she could to help benefit those that society has failed. That perhaps she could set the example herself for what being nobility actually meant. Ice nodded. “That's been one of my goals since my fillyhood. To show up the nobility and prove to them that a pony like me can be successful and build themselves up around them without their assistance. To ultimate prove to them that she simply, then are not needed and knock their egos down a bit. There are some that have taken a few pages out of that, others resent it and try to label it as fake money because I actually worked to get to where I am. I know I'm but one pony, but, I can at least try to be that one pony that makes a difference. That brings the needed change to better society as a whole,” she continued.


The princess then spoke about the of offer for her to stay in the base when she needed a break from things. That she appreciated the offer and was grateful for it, before staying with a smile that there wouldn't really be a reason why she wouldn't. “You'd be correct. There's no reason why I wouldn't, but at the same time when dealing in secrets it's always best to be absolutely clear about everything. I didn't want you thinking for whatever reason you wouldn't be welcome at a secret base that you're, by technicality, presiding over, considering I answer to you directly,” Ice added with a smirk of her own.

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Luna understood the connection then: she and the moon were seen as synonymous with each other. It was something she was aware of before, but she'd never really considered it beyond a surface connection. They truly knew that she wasn't responsible for the moon, but ever since she'd first raised it it'd been her moon, even if ponies back then never caught onto that right away.

 

"They would not be," she murmured her agreement. Would she kill a pony for it? No.. Murder was something she would never touch. What would she do then? Luna would never know until it happened; the most she felt she could willingly do is frighten them, make clear they'd committed a terrible crime.. and have them locked away.

 

The moon princess tried to shift her thoughts towards something else that wasn't so negative. "Some ponies are too blinded by jealousy," she added, speaking as quietly as she had before. She had no place to speak about jealousy. "Perhaps in time you can encourage them, and other ponies blossoming within a rich family, to put in the effort that would make them worthy of their acquired wealth, rather than merely sitting back and having everything handed to and fed to them."

 

It was a shame so much would take so long to change, and only one pony within this very room would get to see the results of it for herself. "Indeed." Luna allowed herself a soft chuckle. "Maybe I'll get to see this base of yours, should I ever be given a reason to remove myself from the majority of society's eyes for a while. So, what other questions might you have for me?"

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Ice Storm didn't ignore the statement of jealousy, but nor did she react to it either. There was no point. Instead she simply listened as the princess told her that she could in time start encourage others to be more like her. The ones that came from a rich family, and teach them to put in the effort that would make them worthy of their wealth. "I would like to hope that I can be that beacon. I am but one pony though that holds no real position of authority or power. I can preach helping others and preach respect until I'm blue in the face, and none of them would listen I'm afraid. I might be able to sway one or two, but society as a whole has kind of failed. Every single pony that is in STAR right now... is a pony that somepony else turned their back on. Some wanted to be in the guard but were deemed a liability. Then there's Tempest. I don't even need to try to explain what she went through, myself. Others where Society literally tried to rip them apart, just as nobility had succeed in doing with my family..." she said.

 

When the princess mentioned that maybe she would get to see this base of hers, should she ever need to remove herself from societies eyes for a while. Ice nodded with a smile. It would be nice actually to have the princess make an appearance at least once. Perhaps it would give those serving in STAR even more resolve knowing that they had the full support of at least one of the princesses. That because of that, they all would have connections that could get them out of some issues as long as they weren't too over the top with them. Even with Luna being a princess there was still only so much leeway she would be able to grant on things without making it obvious that she was helping them and that she to, was part of a bigger picture. When she put forth the question though if Ice had any more questions for her. Ice nodded. "A couple yes. Firstly, thinking back to the Opalus Spheres, and STAR... While I might be the commanding officer of STAR, I um... I'll be the first to admit that I don't have any proper guard or military tactical training. Normally when I've had to fight, I've used guerilla tactics. I guess what I'm asking is... with the addition of these, do you know of anypony that would both be strong enough, and willing to help me train and hone my magic for combat purposes? When the situation comes down to it, I want to know how to be able to properly fend off attacks without having to rely on my magic all the time," she stated simply.

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Another of many soft sighs this night escaped Luna and she lowered her head. "I know. I could not say who, exactly, is responsible for this failure or if it's on all of us. We can only try to subtly change things and discourage certain behaviors.. that I don't know." It was a big issue, too big for any one pony to handle on their own. It'd be far better if they could simply start over. The thought came unbidden and Luna frowned, choosing not to pay attention to it; instead, turning her attention onto something she could deal with.

 

Luna listened, pondering what Ice Storm had to ask about. There weren't very many ponies she knew that she could trust with any sort of training in combat. Tempest Shadow just might be one such pony Ice could turn to about it, though that depended on if the mare was willing to teach Ice. There was also the problem with Tempest's inability to use magic properly, at least until a horn prosthetic was made for her. Her sister was, she felt, terribly rusty and more prone to diplomatic approaches than fighting. There only seemed one possible option, and this opportunity was something Luna was going to take advantage of while she had it. "There is one pony.."

 

The lunar princess lifted a bare hoof and gestured. "There is myself. I have always been the better fighter between my sister and myself, far more active.. and though my experience of time within the moon doesn't feel as long as a thousand years might have felt to Celestia, it still feels like it's been far too long since the last I've had a proper battle.." Attempting to destroy her sister at the height of her transformation into the mare who called herself Nightmare Moon wasn't so much a battle as it was a vicious hunt- Celestia refused to fight back. Understandably so, but she wouldn't mention the past again. "There hasn't been anypony I could properly spar with without having to hold back most of my strength, and even then I fear being too rough with them. With you and your Opalus Spheres.. perhaps you'll have a chance to face off against me. I'll be able to hone my skills again, and teach you as well."

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Ice nodded as she listened to the princess speak on the final thoughts on the nobility issue. She said that she couldn't say exactly who was responsible for the failure of how society had progressed and transformed, and that they could only try to do subtle changes and try to discourage certain behaviors.Ultimately, in Ice Storm's mind it didn't matter who started the problem. It was probably started several generations of nobility ago, and perhaps could be phased out by simply teaching new nobility what it actually meant to be a noble. The only thing that ultimately mattered, was that something was being done to at least attempt to fix it. She herself was doing that, but like she told the princess... she is only one pony. Still though, if she actually got STAR off the ground, and they became the force to be reckoned with like she wanted to be. Then, and only then, could she actually start changing a few things around here as her force solidly, and secretly became the right hoof of the princess.

 

Then of course Ice nearly fell out of her seat when the princess answered her next question. When she gestured to herself, Ice Storm wasn't sure what to think at first. Would she be able to live up to the expectations that Luna would no doubt have for her? Yes.... yes I can... she thought to herself as she heard the princess explain to her that she had always been a better fighter than Celestia, and she was far more active in the role. She added that while to here it didn't feel like her time in the moon was that long, it probably felt long to Celestia. She added that it still felt like it had been far too long since she'd had a proper battle. She continued by stating there hadn't been a single pony that she could spar with that she didn't have to hold back most of her strength with, and even then she feared that she was being too rough with them. That perhaps with her spheres, she would have a chance to face off against her. That Luna would be able to hone her own skills while teaching Ice hers as well.

 

"Princess... I... I don't know what to say! I would be honored for you to train me! I just hope that I can live up to the expectations that come from doing so. It's not that I don't doubt my abilities, nor my ability to learn, more of... I don't really know just how powerful these things are. I've learned how to control them thanks to Twilight, but so far everything I've done with them has been minute. Even teleportation magic has no real effect on me afterwards anymore. I've never really pushed them to see what they could actually do... So I hope that I can give you that chance to open up and use your abilities to the fullest extent that you can like you are hoping to. I know that I can be capable of a lot... but how much.... I truly don't know," she admitted to the princess.

 

Perhaps this would be for the better though. At the very least, she would get the absolute best training that anypony could ever ask for, and she.... could honestly very much use the training. It was true that everything she had been doing up to this point had been marginal compared to what she could be doing... If she didn't find a way to use these to their full potential... then she would just be wasting the gift that she'd been given. That was something that she definitely didn't want to do. At the same time though, she didn't want to underestimate herself either and accidentally hurt Luna if her power was more than she could even comprehend was possible for a mere pony. It looked like they would find out though. She took a deep breath before looking back towards the princess with the same conviction she had before when she first brought up STAR and the pack that they made. "Princess Luna, It would be my honor to become your apprentice and to train my techniques under you. I will not let you down," she said aloud but more to herself trying to convince herself there wasn't anything that she couldn't do at this point.

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Princess Luna smiled and lifted a hoof to Ice Storm's gushing, though she did pay attention to what the pale mare had to say about what she was capable of. If Ice didn't have any real combat experience, they'd have to take it easy and work their way up. Even with the artifacts Ice possessed, the princess was worried she might seriously hurt her during a sparring session.. Only the first of them would tell how much Ice would be able to stand up to- and even then, she was still but a mortal.

 

Trying to soothe her own worries, Luna took a breath and slowly let it out, trying to be as subtle as possible about it. It wouldn't do to let herself get worked up and allow anxiety to get the best of her over something like this. She had offered to teach Ice, after all.

 

"You need not worry about expectations. I think you will do well. Mind you, this will not be like a class, where I'll grade you on your performances. This is for you to learn how to properly fight, how best to react to hostiles and their attacks, how to plan.. as well as how to improvise. Fighting is quick and, oftentimes, messy. Sometimes knowing certain fighting styles or discipline isn't enough for you to achieve victory. You have to be flexible, and you have to know when to strike, what sort of opening to look for.. when to take advantage of your opponent, and when to take a risk. Oftentimes, a fight in which your life or another's is on the line is swift and over before you'd think."

 

The alicorn couldn't help the information that came tumbling out with her attempt to dissuade any ideas Ice Storm thought about her expectations and desires not to let her down. Luna hardly thought Ice would let her down. Some ponies just weren't made for fighting- they either didn't have it in them, or it was too difficult to master. There were even some ponies who might be quite good at it, but used their skills for all the wrong reasons.. It was a complex situation.

 

"As it would be too late at night here to even begin, especially after all the time we've spent conversing.. I couldn't allow you to go home at this hour. Perhaps, for the time being, you might like to stay here at the castle," Luna casually offered. She was in a good mood, despite everything they've talked about- she might as well spare Ice from walking home in the quiet dark of the middle of the night and provide her with a bed a little closer to her current location.

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As the princess explained everything about what her expectations and everything would be, she breathed a sigh of relief, but still, she hoped that she would be graded a little bit. whether it was a physical grade or not would be a different thing entirely but she'd definitely need to know what her areas for improvement were. She told her that this was for her to learn how to properly fight, how to best react to hostiles, and how to improvise. That was one thing that she had learned with EPIC. No plan ever survives first contact. The ability to be able to improvise was paramount, but at the same times, missions still needed to be done. She added that fighting was often times quick, and often times, messy. That sometimes knowing different disciplines and styles wouldn't be enough either. That she would need to be flexible in order to achieve victory. When to strike, what openings to look for, when to take advantage, when to take a risk. She further stated that a fight where somepony's life is on the line is usually over very swiftly, and often times, is without thought. Ice Storm nodded.

 

"I'll have to try to remember than, and I'll make some notes of those things, as well as notate areas that I seem to struggle in and give me points of practice in between training sessions," she said to herself, taking the mindset that if she was going to do something like this, and the princess was going to be her mentor through it, and trainer, then she would have to give everything her all. Failure was never an option to begin with, but it now became even less of one. She wasn't about to let the princess's name go down with her. Not with how Celestia's student became what she was. IF she failed... that would only further the issues she was trying to help resolve.

 

All of her confidence and posture though immediately left her as soon as the princess asked her to stay the night in the castle and she immediately let turned crimson. She knew that the princess wasn't inviting her back to her quarters or anything like that, nor was she even contemplating it. There was a much more.... embarrassing concern on her mind. "As much as I would love to stay here for the evening, and every part of my being wants me to say yes.... but... I don't know if that's wise... Because I didn't bring anything to help with my little um.... overnight issue.... and I don't want to ruin one of the fancy mattresses or the sheets that are on them..." Ice said with a blush trying to hint at the issue to try to save the embarrassment of having to come out and outright tell the princess of the night that she still wet the bed. She didn't want to think of what that would do to the rapport that they had built over the night...

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Luna bit her lower lip, gradually piecing all the details together. If Ice Storm really dealt with such an issue even now as an adult.. Luna wasn't sure what could be done to help, or if she'd be willing to insist Ice stay the night at the castle at the risk of her embarrassment. She couldn't do that- though the castle staff often kept silent as far as she was aware. No, if she thought they kept their silence, she would be a fool. Ponies were naturally gossipy sorts. Outside of the castle they would certainly talk about whatever they'd dealt with on the job that day, or night, to their companions.

 

"In that case.. If there is nothing I can do to change that, or offer you something that can help in any way.. The least I can do is offer a guard to escort you safely home, though I do not wish to imply that I think you can't handle yourself. With those artifacts around your neck, you'd likely easily discourage any petty criminal. It's only out of.. habit, and so that I don't look as if I'm 'tossing you out' or anything of the sort." A smile twitched at the corners of her mouth, revealing some of her amusement over a statement she intended to be lighthearted. She had no experience with the problem Ice Storm often dealt with, so she had no idea how she could truly help the mare.. Her mind might jump to the suggestions of spells or enchantments, but.. it wouldn't really be fixing the root of the problem. Luna was torn.

 

"If anything.. We'll have plenty of time for you to return to the castle for training. I don't intend on starting early in the morning. I've never been a morning pony, or one who can thrive on less sleep."

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As Ice listened to the princess, she kicked herself a bit mentally. It wasn't that she didn't want to stay! She wanted to, but she just wasn't sure if it was the best idea or not. It seemed Luna agreed when she seemed to catch on what Ice was implying. Ice was at least thankful that she didn't have to come outright and say anything to the princess about it. When she said that if there was nothing that she could do to change that or offer her something that could help in anyway, then the least that she could do was to offer her a guard to escort her home. She added that she didn't think that she couldn't handle herself. In fact she was positive that she could, especially with the artifacts. She didn't want it to seem as if she was getting tossed out of the like, and was out of habit as well. Ice nodded.

 

"I'll be honest, I'm not even sure what can be done to help. I've been battling this problem ever since I got my magic. I've... been to many doctors about it, but nopony can pinpoint a cause. They hypothesize that it's because of my affinity to ice. It... makes a little bit of sense because it's gotten even worse since I've gotten the amulets. As far as something that could help... you wouldn't have to have an infirmary here in the castle would you? One that would have... Items that could help contain it, for a pony that may be injured and can't move while there? If so we could um... Swing by there... or something.... I just... I really don't know what to do here. If I stay... and I don't have anything to help protect everything else... I'll make a mess and ponies will find out, if I go home alone, as you said ponies might get the wrong idea... but at the same time if a guard escorts me home... they'll inevitably ask why I couldn't stay at the castle..." she sighed. "What would you do in my hooves princess?"

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"Eh, well.." Princess Luna reviewed the possibilities, averting her eyes from Ice Storm's face while she thought about it. There wasn't a lot that she could do for Ice Storm's situation, not unless a cause and a solution could be found. She knew a little of pony psychology too, and knew that such problems sometimes stemmed from other issues and indeed, Ice had been steadily neglected more and more by her parents, and eventually abandoned entirely. Maybe there was something to it, among whatever else was perpetrating the problem.

 

"The castle does have an infirmary in case any of the guards are injured in the defense of the castle and its inhabitants, or if anypony living here were to need medical assistance of any kind. I'm sure it must have something that could help you during your stay here, if you want to stay." Luna pinched her lips together in thought and lifted her eyes to the door of the parlor, eying its arched shape and smooth wood in thought. "I can show you the way there. It's usually scarcely staffed at this hour since Canterlot never has too much to worry about. One of the few times we've had to use the infirmary actively was after Chrysalis and her army attacked Canterlot. There were some injuries, among guards and citizens alike. The Storm King and his army was a.. different matter, but I'm rambling, I suppose."

 

Luna shrugged and returned her gaze to Ice. "Whenever you wish to retire, I can show you the way to the infirmary so you can get what you need. I might distract the staff while we're there, since it seems to be an issue of some embarrassment to you, which is entirely understandable."

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Ice Storm sighed a bit in relief when the princess mentioned that there was an infirmary here in the castle and that she was sure that she would be able to find something there to help. Ice was also sure of it. Surely the infirmary staff would have something there that would be for a pony that had an illness or injury that prevented them from leaving the bed. It would be highly impractical otherwise. She didn't comment on what she should do though, and Ice felt a little bad for putting the princess on the spot a bit in a situation that she barely knew about. She also added that whenever Ice wished to retire, She could show her the way to the infirmary so that you could get what you needed, and that she could distract the staff to help avert her some embarrassment. Ice nodded. "I think that would be best to do now then. After all, in the event that they don't have what I'm looking for there, or at least, not any that would fit... protection does no good if it doesn't fit right... then I wouldn't have any choice but to go home for the night."

 

Ice thought about it for a second and if she absolutely had to, she could walk home by herself, as long as a guard escorted her back to the door. She wasn't sure if she could get back to the front door from here to begin with, without some assistance from others. However she remembered that she used to walk home alone all the time and sometimes it was this late, but she never had to come right back the next morning for anything, and the princess offered... she would feel bad if she said no, but she would feel worse if she had an accident and ruined sheets and a mattress and the princess fount out second hoof about what happened. It was easier to be straight forward with the issue than it was for her to find out in the morning when Ice didn't say anything. "Once I have what I need, I can just put one or two into my saddle bag that I keep the books in. I definitely don't want to um... walk through the castle with one of those on..." she said blushing... That was definitely something she didn't want to have to explain to a guard later.

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"Indeed not," Princess Luna solemnly agreed. She understood Ice Storm wished to keep this secret, and understandably so. If the mare intended on staying within the castle, and she was serious about it, then Luna could only try to be a good host and ensure Ice had what she'd need for the night.. no matter how embarrassing the problem. The alicorn shifted on the sofa she was sprawled on, rolling more onto her stomach than her side and stepped off of the couch.

 

Luna stretched out her legs and wings, relieving her muscles. "So, shall we? The quickest that we can get this over with, the better for you, no? And I can show you to thy quarters, perhaps in the lunar wing. My part of the castle hardly has anypony in it- 'tis mostly me, and a few patrolling guards making sure that there is nothing out of the ordinary," she offered, extending a foreleg out to the small, pale blue mare to help her up out of her seat. It was a polite gesture, one meant to show kindness. If and when Ice accepted it, Luna would step back to give Ice room and strolled around the coffee table, idly levitating her silver shoes from beneath it on the way towards the parlor door. She didn't feel like wearing them anymore tonight, especially with the night wearing close to the 'early morning' hours.

 

Once Ice Storm was taken care of, Luna decided that she would spend what little time was left to look in on the dream realm before it was close to her own bedtime. She doubted there was anything that required her attention tonight, but she wouldn't neglect it, even for a night. The dark princess opened the door to the parlor and glanced back at Ice, waiting for her to follow- if she was ready to.

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Ice Storm nodded with a smile as she accepted the hoof of the princess and stood up with her help. She mentioned that it would probably be best for her to stay in the Lunar Wing since other than herself and a few of her guards there was rarely anypony that was ever there. She also noticed that the princess while she levitated the shoes over, she made no efforts to put them back on. Apparently she was starting to feel the some of the effects of the long night already and she was certain there was still more that the princess would need to do before the morning hit. Considering that it was already in the wee hours of the morning, it would probably be essential that they made the final preparations with a bit of haste. Ice hadn't meant to keep the princess for as long as she did, and she felt a bit bad, but at the same time, she was happy that the princess took so much time out of her schedule to socialize with her. Especially considering the fact that the princess had stated before that she wasn't usually one for Socializing.

 

She watched as the princess opened the doors to the parlor once more and she picked up her saddle bags and draped them over her back as she started to follow back into the parlor. she couldn't help but still fill a bit ashamed of why they had to go to the infirmary to begin with, but there was nothing she could really do about the issue. Ultimately, she was still ashamed that she even was dealing with this issue. Try as she may though, she'd come to accept the fact that it was likely never going away. And while she would never openly admit it, the foalish garments were... actually a welcome commodity on some of her rougher days, even if they served to remind her of the issues that made her need them. "The Lunar wing sounds splendid. Aside from the emptiness that you mentioned, I would presume that it would be fashioned in Lunar Decor, which, has always been appealing to me. The darker blues make the details of everything around them stand out even more," she commented as she started to follow the princess.

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When she saw that Ice Storm was ready, Luna stepped out into the hallway and started off. The paths she took began to take them towards the outer wall of the castle towards the side that face the mountain, evident by the tall, arched windows lining the hallway they stepped out into. It lead up to a pair of equally tall, wooden doors bearing the same arched design as the rest of the castle.

 

"It wasn't, initially, but ever since I have returned and been given my own part of the castle, I ensured that it was changed. If it was to be mine, I wanted to make it mine. Dark carpeting, the walls of various shades of blue in pleasant, simple designs.. I could describe them in detail, but it may be best you see them for yourself," Luna finally replied as they approached the doors. They both opened at the push of her magic, moving inward. Within, the infirmary. It was a long room with a high ceiling, one wall lined with tall windows of stained glass in no particular design. Curtains flanked each of them, to be drawn across them whenever needed. Both walls on either side were lined with clean, white beds, each with their own privacy curtains. Currently they were all unoccupied.

 

At the end was a wooden desk in one corner, for a couple of the staff to sit at so that they'd be close at hoof whenever they had patients. Two, normal sized doors were set in the walls- the nearest was no doubt an office for whatever healers resided here during their shift, and the other no doubt the storage of all the materials they would need for their patients. There was currently one pony sitting at the desk in question. Upon their entrance, they'd set aside a book they'd been idly flipping through and straightened up, at attention. Luna approached the pony to speak with them, intent on gaining Ice Storm access to the medical supplies without giving them much of a reason, her tone a neutral one.

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Ice couldn't help but take a look out the windows as the two of them were walking through the corridors of the castle. The path they took lead them along the part of the castle that looked out upon the mountain, and you could see the moonlight reflecting off of the snow from the higher elevations of it. Looking at it, perhaps it was one of the other reasons she had grown accustomed to the night as much as she had. Cold has a natural affinity towards darkness. Darkness in of itself means an absence of light, which in turn means an absence of heat. That might also be what a majority of blues were called "cool colors". They didn't have the same warmed that both red and yellow had surrounding them. However when you got into blue flame and light, it was among the hottest. It was interesting how the sciences worked like that.

 

The princess spoke while they walked about the decor, and about how it wasn't before. However, she told her that if this part of the castle was to be hers, then she was going to see to it that she had made it so. The dark carpeting, which must feel absolutely divine on a pony's hooves after being on the hard floors, and the transitional and dark blues on the wall. She added that she could probably describe them in quite detail but it was probably for the best that she saw them herself. With that she pushed open the doors to the infirmary that was on the Lunar wing. The room itself was massive! That was to be expected though for what it was. It was exactly as Luna had descried to her, and curtains hung in the windows waiting to be pulled as needed as well as curtains around all of the currently empty beds that were in the infirmary.

 

At the end end, there was a wooden desk as well as a couple of doors. One of which looked like an office, and the other looked like a supply room. Currently there was a pony that was at the desk. No doubt they were probably just watching over the place and waiting until they were needed, and as soon as the two of them entered the room the pony sat up. Ice Blushed a bit. No doubt the pony would ask why they were here, and what they would be taking out of the supply room. Naturally they would have to know of it so that they could keep proper track of the inventory, but the prospect of having to tell another pony why they were here still made her feel a bit uneasy. This was a medical professional though, so she had some condolences in that fact. She would wait for the princess to speak before adding any information that they might need.

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Princess Luna subtly took a deep breath to calm herself as she stepped up to the pony's desk, keeping her face neutral. Ponies, she noticed, often tended to seem a little intimidated by her, and she had an inkling it was all because her approach wasn't like her sister's. She was distant, almost cold like the moon, and serious in demeanor. It wasn't something that she could help quite yet; all she could do was to offer the desk pony a small, awkward smile.

 

"Ah, evening. We come to ask for some.. medical supplies.. for my guest and companion. Would she be allowed to fetch them?" Luna queried, trying to keep the hesitance she felt out of her voice. If she presented this confidently as something she wanted from them, they might simply allow it without question. After all, she didn't want to reveal something about Ice Storm that the mare wanted to keep secret. She had no intention on embarrassing her new friend..

 

"Of-.. Of course," the desk mare replied, clearing her throat and reaching for a piece of paper and a quill. "What is it that you need?" The pony's jaw twitched as if she were about to speak further, and decided against it. Though it was clear that they were intending to write down whatever the supplies were for inventory purposes. If they ran too low on something, they'd have to put in a request for more. It rarely ever happened- mostly just bandages for small cuts or scrapes, or whatever other sort of accidental injury somepony might run into around the castle. There almost felt like there wasn't much of a need for the infirmary, but having one would always come in handy should anything like the changeling invasion happen again.

 

Luna glanced nervously Ice Storm's way, wanting to leave it up to the unicorn to answer.

 

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Ice Storm listened to the princess speak as they approached the desk. For the first time tonight, Ice felt.... feeble. She heard the princess tell the mare behind the desk that they were here for some medical supplies for her guest and companion, and asked if she would be allowed to fetch them. She was relieved when the mare said that she could but that relief was short lived as she asked what was needed. Of course they would ask... Ice thought to herself. She was already mostly aware that they were going to anyways. There wouldn't be anyway around it. Her face turned a bright crimson as both the princess and the mare at the desk looked at her. It appeared that Luna was going to leave it up to herself to answer the question. As calm and collected as she had been most of the night, the nervousness could be seen in her.

 

She finally took a deep breath and sighed. There was no way of getting around this now. It would be easier just for her to come out and say it. She looked back up to the mare behind the desk, her cheeks still red as she steeled herself for what she was about to say. "I need a couple of diapers... I've wet the bed since I was but a filly, and while most grew out if it, I never have. In fact, it's gotten worse as I've gotten older. The princess invited me to stay here for the evening due to training beginning in the morning, and it already being so late. I wish to take her up on the offer, but I can't do so without some sort of protection because I cannot in good conscious allow myself to stay someplace so extravagant and risk destroying it because of an accident out of thoughtlessness," she spoke, her face bright as could be. Of course, the only reason she spoke anything about it was because this was a medical pony. She wasn't about to get any hope that any of the staff here could succeed where other doctors couldn't, but she also knew that a medical professional couldn't disclose any information without customers permission.

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The icy mare's honesty was.. commendable, but Princess Luna couldn't help scuffing her hoof against the tiles and glancing away from the desk pony, who made a noise in their throat and scribbled it down on the paper.

 

"It's not unheard of.. I suppose. Generally its just the elderly who need such things if they're beginning to struggle with bladder problems. Occasionally few ponies younger than that may still deal with such a problem as you do, depending on what's causing it.." The desk pony pushed the paper aside and shrugged, gesturing towards the infirmary storage's door with a hoof. "Grab what you need for the night. I've already recorded it."

 

The princess stepped back from the desk and seated herself, shedding that slight second-hand embarrassment she'd felt for Ice Storm having to admit such a thing, but she was at least honest. Luna had been fully prepared to simply distract the desk pony somehow so that Ice Storm could grab what she needed. It wouldn't be required now, and Ice would be able to get what she required for the night. Which meant.. Ice would get to stay in the castle for the night! Though Luna couldn't help pointing something out to her new friend.

 

"It wouldn't be a thoughtless act should you ruin one of the beds. You have no control over such a problem.. It is not as if you're doing it on purpose. Besides, the beds are easily replaceable." Now that she'd said what she needed to say, Luna fell silent and waited for Ice to grab what she'd need so that they could move on.

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