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Dinner for... Two? [Closed]

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Dinner with a high ranking official of the Equestrian hierarchy, how exciting! She hadn't expected to be making such close and personal connections to powerful ponies quite yet, but here she is, trotting down the roads of their golden city with her 'plus one', as they call it around here. 

 

She must admit, she was a bit nervous. The purple mare had made it sound like a casual affair, but one does not attend a Royal's party- even a party of two- without expending some measures to strike a modest appearance. As such, Rose Compass had opted to dress in a dark blue coat with a light blue now for the occasion. For her, this was as casual as one could get, and it's not like she flaunt her show-sword around anyway- It would undoubtedly alarm the locals, and it didn't seem like a popular custom amongst Equestrians.

 

"I had a very good time last night," she spoke up after a long stretch of silence, bringing herself out of her thoughts to look at her companion for the eve. She must admit, no matter what she did or did not wear, she was quite... Beautiful. Soft colors really fit her well. "Thank you, Aloe, for spending Hearth's Warming with me. It wouldn't have been a special event without you."

 

Of course, Rose also made some attempt to dress her fellow mare up- whether she accepted it or not. A nice dress or- mostly as a joke- a pretty pair of pink socks. Maybe shoes to go with them.

 

Ultimately, It was her choice how she presented herself. Rose was comfortable with anything by this point. 

 

 

 

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

 

Last night had been a rather special night for Aloe, and one a bit different than she was used to. But there was a sense of companionship that came with it that she hadn't felt in a long time. Sure it was only one night together, but sounding the night with Rose... She was still tingling a bit from the thought. The plan for tonight though was a bit different and Rose insisted that she got dressed up for it. It was a dinner with Twilight after all. At least that's what Rose told her. Twilight being such a regular customer of hers it was hard for her to see her as anything other than just Twilight. 

 

Still, she wanted her new friend to be happy. She decided to pull out an old dress that she had. It was a blue sequinned dress that matched the color of her mane and tail. She also wore two pairs of pink socks that were just ever so darker than her own coat and then her aquamarine shoes that she wore to accent them. She walked right next to Rose and have her a gentle nuzzle as the mare thanked her for last night. 

 

"The pleasure was all mine. I had a wonderful time last night, and most importantly, no pony spent Hearth's Warming alone. I can say with certainty that you made it equally as special. I have to say though, you're looking pretty good when you're all dressed up like that," she said before blushing a bit as she realized what she'd said. "Not... That you don't already look good all the time and way just..." Aloe tried to correct before deciding that it was probably best for her to stop talking before she made things worse.

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Aloe would feel a single, chaste peck on her cheek, followed by a warm giggle from the green mare. "I must say, you look good in socks. You'll have to start wearing them around my place more often ~" a flank bump, and her teasing was over with. The only trace of the risque exchange was a light dusting of red on Rose's cheeks that lingered for awhile still.

 

"And I try to look presentable. These curls aren't always easy to maintain." She bounced one such set of curls in her hoof, watching them jostle once or twice out the corner of her vision before they settled back into place. "Usually I don't try to dress up too much, though. I'd damage and dirty anything I put on with my usual acticities- Oh, and speaking of, do you know of a hybrid pony named Scarlett? She owns an airship. Quite the impressive structure."

 

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

 

There was a soft chuckle and a small blush as she felt the light peck on her cheek before also feeling the flank bump. When she heard Rose say that she might have to start wearing socks like that when she came over to her house. "I'll have to keep that in mind when I do," she said bumping back. So far, Rose had been a very friendly mare, and Aloe felt happier around her than she had around just about anypony else. Only her sister right now could make her happier. 

 

She listened as Rose told her that she tried to look presentable, but that she usually didn't dress up to much cause her line of work, the clothing would end up destroyed. She could see that. She could easily see that. A bad potion mix and boom goes the potion and then to ash the clothes go. She then asked if she knew a hybrid pony named Scarlett. She has to shake her head. "I don't believe so. I don't think she's even been by the spa. And unless I'm getting supplies or I'm it for Hearth's Warming I don't really leave the spa that often. Something I should probably start changing soon," she said with a smile.

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"If you do open up for more hours, tell me. I can probably help out around the spa if you teach me what to do." She smiled brightly, clearly happy to help her around the place in the absence of her counterpart. "I may not be as good with my hooves as you are with yours, but I could certainly prepare the mineral and mud baths."

 

There's a short stretch of silence, and she perks up, remembering what she wanted to talk about initially. "Oh, and Scarlett is actually a retired navy captain. She has a very capable onboard technician, and experience in battle. I've conscribed her assistance in the hydra expedition, so you need no worry. I can introduce you, and probably that thest- er, Aerion to her sometime next week if you want."

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Twilight had a busy day of royal business behind her. The needs of a nation never fully rested and simply invested themselves in her more and more as time went on. And with a single day of frivolity spent on a holiday she was pulled back ever harsher into the quagmire of affairs. Quagmire, did she say? Perish the thought! As much as she would rather have spent time with her friends she actually relished the grind of running a country. Few activities could be so rewarding to those who invested themselves into them and she was predisposed to doing so from an early age. She loved to find and tackle problems and work out solutions to long0existing dilemmas, no matter how long the process would take to play out.

 

None of that was to say that she enjoyed it more than having a pleasant social evening, of course. While solving a trade dispute between Seaddle and Stalliongrad that wasn't fully able to be countered by existing legal frameworks was thrilling in its own way she would still rather have her dinner. Which, as luck would have it, had its own intrigue. She had invited Rose Compass, a strange yet very intriguing alchemist, to dinner. Some of her theories were better served as being just that but that didn't make her thought processes any less important and respectable. Twilight had done her research on Compass and was excited to have her in.

 

Twilight always shared her table with somepony. It was often with a friend, but banquets were a common occurrence. She dined with important heads of state and locals of all flavors on more special days. There were a dozen reasons to invite ponies over and tonight it was pure interest. The dinner was relatively standard fare for a royal's dinner- though with Alicorn portions, since she had a devastating appetite- and of the highest quality, but what was on the plate mattered far less than the company you kept.

 

She sat in an adjoining hall to the dining room, finishing up some work as she waited for her guards to inform her that her guest had arrived. And indeed, in time, they made contact and got back to Twilight. She excused her guard and prepared herself, with the slightest of frowns. It had been a private invitation, and thusly, she had only told the cook to prepare two meals. She sighed as she entered the dining room, her horn aglow. A third plate on the table. Cutlery. She cut out exactly one-third of her portion and gave it to the third plate, meaning she'd likely need a whole other meal later to satisfy her appetite but so be it. A drink. It took only a few seconds but it was a few seconds lost in a small amount of consternation. There were topics that she wanted to discuss that would need to change, and she was still a little vexed that she had not been asked for a plus-one.

 

Still, that was no reason not to have a wonderful meal. When she was ready she took her spot at the head of the table and her horn lit again, opening up the doors to her guests. Wait, was that Aloe-
"HER HIGHNESS AND SOVEREIGN OF ALL EQUESTRIA TWILIGHT SPARKLE, PRINCESS OF FRIENDSHIP-"
Oh, fiddlesticks, she forgot her obnoxiously loud and enthusiastic court aide Town Crier was here. His hat was soon on his mouth as he yelled into it in confusion.


"Town! Thank you, please. You're dismissed," she asked, wondering just how she managed to lose track of him so easily when he was so loud and so unnecessary. A good sort, but lets say his employment had more to do with a simple favor for a month than a great desire.
"Rose, please come in and take a seat. Aloe- I didn't expect to see you here," she said as she got up and trotted over, more so to distance herself from the awkward start. "How have you been? It has been a while!"

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~~~Aloe blossom~~~

 

 

 

Aloe Blossom nodded to Rose when she told her that if she opened up more hours that she could probably help her out a bit in the spa. Truth be told, she would love that. To have somepony there that she felt that she could trust, and have at least a common understanding of how the mixing of ingredients and the like worked... Rose would be an easy pony to teach the simpler stuff. Some of the basic shampoos, conditioners and herbal treatments that they offered at the spa should come pretty easily for her. With her potion making experience she might even be able to boost some of their effects. She also informed her that Scarlett was a retired Navy Captain and that they had been hired on as part of the expedition to the Hydra. She shivered a bit at the thought of it, making her sequins sparkle a bit. She wasn't entirely sure yet if she was looking forward to that or not, but she already told her friend that she was going. Plus, after the way things had been here recently... She wasn't about to let Rose go on that adventure alone. Er rather, without her present for it. "That sounds great! I can't wait to meet them. The better they can fight the more I won't have to," she said with a smile.

 

It was about this time that they had entered the castle proper and were making their way towards the dining hall. Once they were there, the doors opened and one of the guards began bellowing out, almost right next to them. Apparently he had forgotten that they were inside the castle and not outside. Princess Twilight had then dismissed him and greeted the two of them. She seemed surprised by the fact that Aloe was here and then confirmed the sentiment by saying that she hadn't been expecting to see here here and asked how she'd been. "I have been well... The spa is every busy... Sometimes a bit too busy, but then I met Rose here a couple weeks ago or so, and she's been helping me restore a bit of society into my life. Apparently staying cooped up in the spa all the time is bad for my health," she said with a smile.

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Rose simply smiled and nodded, her smile a rather brittle thing. She could sense that Aloe didn't really want to go... She'll have to talk to her about it when they find a private moment and clarify a few things. "Just know that you can back out at any moment. I simply thought it would be nice to include you for the trip."

 

Aaaand is that the sound of obnoxious nobility she heard? Oh, no, it was the sound of an obnoxious announcer heralding his much more modest charge. Gods below, she loves those guys and she doesn't know why. 

 

She gave 'Town' a wink as he made his way out before addressing current company, beaming as she threw a foreleg over Aloe's shoulders in a friendly gesture, nuzzling her without shame. "I've been helping her get out for some fresh air from time to time." Then she gave Twi a more apologetic smile, "Apologies, I suspected the invitation was private but getting Aloe out of Ponyville for awhile should be good for her. Stretch those legs a bit, aye?" This latter part she directed back to Aloe.

 

Saying this, she did monitor the alicorn's mood rather closely. For some reason she was feeling... More self-aware this time around, although she was confident nothing bad would happen. It was still a social visit, after all. 

 

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Aloe and Rose? Equestria was full of surprises. She had known Aloe a little since her time in Ponyville and while she had never gotten close enough to truly know the mare she knew enough to know she was talented, intelligent, and kind. Rose was a interesting one on her own and together they created a pairing that she would never have suspected in a thousand years. But such was the nature of a relationship. All it took was one chance meeting, one chance glance, one shared laugh to start something truly special and while there was certainly no guarantee a relationship borne out thusly was destined to last there were stranger tales of romance woven in the fabric of Equestria.

 

"Well, thank the sun for that. I mean your spa is one of the best I've ever been in but there are plenty of things better. Like a special somepony," she said as she sipped her tea, allowing the flow to land as she sat her cup down. "I hope your sister doesn't miss you too much. Leaving her to work the spa alone at times? Talk about horrifying," she said with a titter as she started to eat gently. "How did you two meet, by the way? I've only met Rose once before so I can guess why you like her but I'm sure the story has something more to it," she asked with no small hint of excitement. She loved hearing the stories of how couples first started. Sometimes it was very simple and other times it failed to be so, but it was always interesting to her. 

 

While she maintained the conversation, she did start another. This one? In Compass' mind which, if Twilight was right, would not startle her guest too much. It started with a quick flash of her horn as some scones arrived, which provided a cover for the real spell. Her voice came in calm and even, not too much emotion presented at first as the spell started off conservatively. No reason to startle even a seasoned magical mare with a loud intrusion, no? So she continued to drink and make merry with both of them as she spoke with Rose in as private a manner as she could imagine.

 

"I'm sorry for this intrusion, Rose. I hope you don't think me rude," Twilight's voice came through clear, or she certainly hoped so. You only had so much control over perception and reception therein, of course. "I did want to talk with you about some business matters. If you would indulge me?" She asked hopefully. Truthfully she had a lot she wanted to discuss, but she wasn't going to force it too far unless Rose was open to it.

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

 

"Back out? and let you have to fight that thing alone? Not a chance! I might not be a good fighter... or be good at navigation... or.. be good at anything that might actually be useful on the expedition... but I can massage... and keep company, and at least try to contribute in someway," she said with a smile that slowly transitioned into a bit of a saddened look as she realized just how little help she would actually be if she went on this mission. Still, she would at least try. She'd never done an expedition like this before so she wasn't sure what exactly she was or wasn't going to be able to do. maybe her knowledge of pressure points would make her a better fighter than she gave herself credit for. Who knew?

 

At the mention of the spa, and hoping that her sister would be okay running the spa in her absence  her demeanor shifted even more towards the sour. She knew that Twilight hadn't been to the spa in a good while, so it wasn't really her fault but still. "Actually Twilight. Lotus hasn't been around as much at all recently... I spent most of the holiday season keeping things steady on my own with a bit of help from Bulk Biceps to make it through the winter. I wish she'd come home more so that we could run things like we used to," she said with a small sigh.

 

When the princess asked how they had met, Aloe looked back up to her, completely missing the cast of the spell that Twilight had used so was none the wiser of anything else that was going on in the room. "Well, believe it or no, we actually met when Rose came into my spa for a treatment. She told me that it was the first time that she had ever been to a spa, so I gave her a full works treatment for a the basic price. From there she'd been back a few more times trying out some of our other services and one thing lead to another, and now here we are," she said with a soft smile starting to return to her.

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Rose smiled, her eyes going soft as she planted a peck on Aloe's cheek. "Oh, one thing lead to another alright. I've tried alll her services ~" she giggled, a rosy dusting to her cheeks as she turned her attention back to Twilight, all sunshine and roses. "She creates her own products as well, and in a process similar to my potioncraft. I was pleasantly surprised to find a common interest in an unrelated procession."

 

There was that thing again. A mental blockade, stitched together by a million intangible threads. This time it seemed to let her through without a fuss, perhaps sensing her intentions to communicate. "Oh, I take no issue with this. Please, elucidate me on these business matters, I am eager to hear what you have to say ~"

 

Rose took a cup of tea and brought it to her lips, taking a dainty sip as she focused on the purple mare. She didn't seem the least bit distracted.

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She was a little worried about Lotus, based on what Aloe was telling her. The Spa Sisters were just that, the Spa Sisters. Separating them was like splitting an atom and the resultant fallout seemed just as dramatic in theory. In practice however it looked everything was a lot simpler and likely not as dramatic as she imagined such an event before. "Oh, well then. I guess things change. I'm sure she'll be around more. We all have our wandering impulse but we all find our way back. And even if not, at least there is Bulk Biceps. Is he at least a little more gentle now than he was last time I tried him?" She asked, her back feeling phantom pains. She had once put in the wrong request and while he had done what he was told to do...well, the ponyslaughter of a princess through an aggressive massage would have been a very unique headline.

 

Then Rose mentioned using *all* of the services, and she let out a single large laugh before stifling it. Well, being honest with your feelings was not always better than being honest with your body. It could all lead to the same outcome, and the many roads a relationship could travel down. "Well, I guess that makes sense. Don't buy it 'till you tried it? Is that the phrase?" She asked with a laugh, shaking her head.


"I am very happy to hear this," she said as she looked at Aloe. "Though truth be told I hadn't counted on guests tonight, I'm very happy to have you here tonight as a guest of honor," she sighed, "I don't have as many ponies from Ponyville over as I'd like."

 

******
 

"First and foremost, I think you have the right mind for the line of work you're in. That is rare for somecreature so young. And I think you have a very bright future. You may not find the exact answer you seek, but your quest for it will lead you to great things nonetheless. As such, I think you are exactly the kind of creature I would like to have as the official Royal Alchemist in the Research Wing of Canterlot Castle. Does this offer interest you?" She allowed the question to sit for a few moments, giving Rose the chance to think it over.
Then her tone changed ever so slightly. "Of course, there is a caveat. It is a position that requires the utmost trust to be placed in you. You aren't just an alchemist who will have access to vast resources. You are one of those who will represent Equestrian scientific goals. If it is ever discovered that there is...deception in such ranks, it would cause a crisis. Not just publicly, but privately."
A pregnant pause.
"So- do you have anything you would need to tell me if you were to take this position?"

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"Well, for one," she started, trying to keep the annoyance out of her mental voice, "I'm not nearly as young as you think I am. Though my body may be in its youth, my experience spans centuries." She knew right off what the alicorn meant to imply through her thinly veiled accusations, not the least of which relating to her relabeling of 'somecreature.' or, perhaps, she was being paranoid. Old habits and all that... "And I have found what I sought, once before. I achieved my goals... Then it all went do wrong.

 

A deep reservoir of pain flooded the mental link; the pain of dying, the pain of birth, betrayal, and an innumerous number of abstract concepts that would bend the mind of mortals. Then, just as suddenly as it came, it stopped, as it cut off from the source.

 

Rose retained her cordial smile throughout, never once allowing her feelings to crack the sturdy facade she had built for just such an occasion. "I intend to set things right in this life. To do things differently. To do them the right way. Equestria is a new land with new opportunities, but it's alien at the same time. I cannot remake my magnum opus with the materials here, but I can try to make something in its likeness, given time."

 

Rose sighed, confused by her sudden outburst but yet feeling lighter for it. She turned and smiled softly at Aloe. "Your trust in me is not Ill-founded, however... I cannot make this decision now. I've found that the notion of being apart from Aloe is an intolerable one, so wherever she chooses to go, I will follow. Know that If I remain in Ponyville, I'll still strive to report my findings to you, though. It's the least I can do for a fellow scientific mind."

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

 

Aloe Blossom just kind of blushed and smiled a bit as Rose commented about her trying all of her services knowing full well that the Princess would know what that implied. And on cue the Princess had to stifle a laugh before regaining her composure. She wasn't surprised though. In her time at Ponyville the princess was very familiar with the spa and the services that they provided. She did see the look of concern though on her face when she mentioned that Lotus wasn't around nearly as often as she liked anymore. She did give a bit of encouragement though, saying that at some point everypony has an urge to explore but she imagined that Lotus, and the family that she had would be back in Ponyville soon enough. She then recounted an encounter with Bulk Biceps the last time she was at the spa. When she asked if he was a bit gentler... Aloe gave a hesitant laugh. "Eh... heheh... um... a little bit maybe? He did tone it down a little bit when Rockhoof nearly broke his back... he's still quite firm though, which attracts it's own particular clientele. He has ponies that show up specifically for his style of massage," she said with a smile.

 

When Twilight mentioned that she hadn't really planned for Aloe to be here tonight, it did make her heart drop a little bit, but she did perk back up when she heard the princess say that she was glad that she came. She added that she didn't get enough guests from Ponyville that she would like. Aloe nodded with a smile. "Honestly I probably wouldn't have come tonight if it wasn't for Rose inviting me. I was already over at her place last night anyway and it just kind of made sense to accept the offer. Besides, it beat going home and being alone," she said solemnly. She then listened as Rose commented on the similarities of her own craft in combination with Aloe's to which Aloe nodded. "Honestly we use a lot of the same techniques but with different ingredients for different effects. Making a spa product is a lot like making a potion except it's the oils and the salves that do all the work," she added.

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She suppressed the desire to flash a mental smile to Rose, even as she could feel Rose's emotion rise. Her defenses were quite good and had delayed Twilight longer than she had thought possible. It was very exciting! The miasmic defense that was ordered despite appearances and offered tremendous resistance. But, in time, she had discovered just who Rose was. She did not know the details, she did not know the why, but she knew Rose was not just a Changeling, but a very special one. She had skills that belied her appearance and abilities that transcended normality. Just the sort of creature Twilight liked to have close by. Still, the pain she felt was real. Twilight would not press.


"I understand that you need time. Take the time you need. And if you need to talk more openly about this, then I am here for you. I cannot say I know what your life has been like, but know that I am a friendly ear to all creatures, whether they be Pony, Yak, or Changeling," she said with a happy flourish near the end. She believed the best in others and even those who had secrets often had reasons other than evil for them.


*******
 

Well, Bulk Biceps getting a little gentle would be an exciting development in and of itself, so she'd take her victories where she could. Moe importantly it seemed as if the connective tissue between the two was more than surface level. They were creators of different kinds but using some of the same methods. Creative types could only help themselves so much when a spark was found between them It was in their nature to create, after all. "That does make sense. Who knows what will come of this, but it should be exciting to see. Oh, are you two enjoying your food?" She asked inquisitively, wondering whether or not it was too fancy r not fancy enough. She was always tinkering with the royal menu, much to the playful chagrin of her chef. 

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Rose picked at her food in as polite a manner as she could, giving the query a modicum of thought. Levitating what looked to be a cherry tomato picked from the garden of the gods, she popped it into her mouth, contemplating its texture and flavor with a mostly neutral look. "It's a fine meal."

 

She knew instantly that it wouldn't fit her own tastes, though, and folded her hooves over the table, sampling the drink with much more vigor. Just like at the party, she lacked any kind of restraint when imbibing in alcohol, gulping down a quarter of the glass in one go then calmly placing it back down with a small smile. "You know what would go good with this? A freshly steamed and buttered haddock. I could probably show your cooks how to prepare it, along with other Andalusian cuisine. I was raised in a wealthy House, so I took the liberty of apprenticing under one of our servants... For a short while, at least.

 

A mixed array of expressions clashed across her face: humor, joy, and a touch of sadness. Also embarrassment for some reason, judging by the brief flicker of a blush that emerged. "If there's a harbor nearby I could instruct them on how to catch it, too, although... " The tapped her chin, squinting into the middle distance.

 

She glanced at her two dinner companions quizzically. "Is fish part of the Equestrian diet? Forgive me if the notion offends you, it's simply common practice where I come from."

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

Aloe nodded as well when The Princess asked about how the food was. "Indeed, this salad is delicious! I don't know what kind of dressing your chef used on it, as I don't recognize the flavor, but I would love to know how to make it myself!" Aloe replied before continuing to munch on said salad. The texture and pop of the tomatoes, the snap of the carrots, and whatever this divine sauce was, it was all masterfully put together and made her taste buds dance. There was only one combination of flavors that she thought were better, but that wasn't for polite company. Instead she simply smiled as she turned to Rose who mentioned another food item that would go well with the wine that they were served. It was apparently a fish of some sort. When she asked if it was a common thing in Equestria to eat... Aloe honestly couldn't answer.

 

"Well, I don't know about other places in Equestria that are less landlocked than Ponyville or Canterlot, but I've personally never had fish. Although I would not be opposed to trying it at least once. After all, you never know what you might find yourself enjoying. I do know that a lot of the Hippogriffs that come to The School of Friendship from Mount Eris think most varieties of fish are good, so perhaps we can ask them what would be some good ones to try when we get home," Aloe said with a smile before looking back to Twilight for approval. At that same point she didn't know if it was actually legal or not for ponies to eat meat or not.

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Twilight was pleased that they were enjoying their meal. She was always trying something but tonight's dinner had been more plain than normal, since she had intended a rather serious discussion with Rose regarding possible employment ad the value of truth. That, and there was still debate as to whether or not her species had the same functions of taste buds as others or even required direct sustenance, so she was playing conservative. She needed to get more hay fries. Something a little more than what she had now, maybe some variety of pasta. Maybe all of it. She ate more than fifteen thousand calories a day and felt a slight hunger at nearly all times. Something, anything could sate it.

 

Possibly even fish? Twilight wouldn't count herself among those who would seek it out. There were a lot of in-built ideals and thoughts that rattled against that cage. Not that she hadn't tried it before.
"When I was in Talinopolis I was served some fish. I don't think it was a play on my nature, but sometimes they can be so..." She sighed, less in exasperation and more comically. The Griffons and their Kingdom always tried to position themselves to win petty victories against an Equestrian Princess who they both needed as an ally and could never truly threaten. They were an odd bunch. "Haha. Anyway. Some ponies do eat fish. Not many and in most places it is considered somewhat...unethical. I remember there were rumors that a neighborhood colt and his family were fish-eaters and it followed them. Having said that, we actively trade in it with meat-eating nations, and the harvesting and consumption of fish is certainly not illegal. I didn't much care for it myself," she said with a shrug as she continued eating. She didn't like the texture and had felt horrible the whole time, but when in the Land of the Griffons, do as they do. 

 

"Of course, as creatures of all types enter Equestria in larger numbers, the stigma of meat-eating non-sentient animals has started to dim. Though it was fun seeing Gallus adjust his diet for a while," she said with a laugh, remembering the semesters that passed before the School could find a fishery near enough and willing enough to supply them. "I am sure I can get you in touch with a local fishery. I've heard good things about the fisheries of Fet Loch."

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Interesting. Where she grew up, a piscine diet was neccesary to acquire protein, in lieu of harvesting crab and oysters. Nodding, she smiled and relegated herself idle chatter. The meal was mediocre at best in her opinion, although she suspected that wasn't without reason. "Thank you, I would appreciate that very much. 

 

While I don't need it... " She touched her chin with a wan smile, recalling all of the fantastic meals she had back home. "Having access to a familiar food wouldn't hurt."

 

Here, she paused, thoughts of steamed and fried fish evaporating from her mind as a much heavier topic weighed on it. Her lips straightened, and she looked between the two with slight confusion. "What was this about a school of friendship, though?" She chuckled once, the very notion amusing to the ex-pirate. "Quite the superficial subject, isn't it?"

 

While she let this question settle in, she took the time to subtly analyze Twilight, see what makes these alicorns so special. 

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~~~Aloe Blossom~~~

 

 

 

Twilight's answer on the diet of most ponies and the thought processes of most of them seemed to be about what she expected it to be. It wasn't really illegal to eat fish, but at the same time, most ponies found it a bit immoral. Meat eating at all was a touchy subject for most, but Aloe didn't see any harm in at least trying it. It made Rose quite happy to hear that Twilight would be able to get her in contact with some fisheries though. Aloe nodded as well. "And if you teach me how I could help prepare them for you," she said with a smile to Rose as she popped another tomato into her mouth. When she asked about the school of friendship, Aloe would take a back burner on this one..

 

"I think I will let Princess Twilight talk about the School of Friendship. It was her that created the School of friendship to begin with," she said with a smile. To be honest, she was kinda interested in the tale itself. She knew the basic just of the school and what it was for, but hearing how everything started would be a great story. A story that she would in fact, very much like to hear. She watched Twilight herself while she awaited an answer.

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"Friendship is not superficial. Friendship, and all it entails, enables the purest reflection of who you are to be shown, and for you to perceive the truth in others. In its honesty, friends can see one another as they truly are, and accept all the foibles and grandeur that comes with it. It engenders a true loyalty between creatures that can stand thicker than any other constant. Through the generosity it promotes friends share with one another and you discover the warmth and love that it can create. Through kindness and compassion you will discover depths of feeling that you did nt you possessed, and in showing it, help others feel the same. The laughter you share between friends can make the darkest of days bright, and it helps create magic. They all do. The magic of friendship can never be explained but only felt, but the best I can describe it is...friendship is the most powerful magic of all," she rambled excitedly, her eyes growing larger as she discussed the greatest scientific and emotional subject of all times.

 

Pause.
Of course, she could have done better than slowly get on top of the table as she spoke and then start hovering, the flap--flips of her wings the only sound as she ended, her all-too wide smile and giddy neigh as she took flight betraying her regal position.

 

"Oh, sorry," she said blushing before landing and once again taking her seat. She coughed and continued. "Outside of the emotional greatness that friendship provides, the school itself is important to the fostering of good relations between the many creatures of this world. Friendship, or the possibility of it, is within the nature of all creatures. The bonds formed are brought back to their homelands, enriching all cultures and bringing more and more creatures together in tight bonds of fellowship and care. It wasn't me, my friends and fellow professors, Discord, or even Celestia and Luna who saved us not long ago. It was those values we teach at the School and their spread within and without Equestria that saved us. Friendship saved us," she smiled and sighed, "and I am blessed to be its Princess."

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"... So you run a cultural exchange program." Rose eventually said after sorting through the absolute insanity that came out of this mare's mouth. She could already see ponies- and most other creatures- for who they truly were, and she didn't need friendship for that, just perception and intuition. 

 

'Loyalty' could also be aquired in a myriad of ways that fall short of her description of friendship. Currency is one choice, although obviously the least likely to last. Comaraderie is her preference, standing together in the face of hardships. She wasn't friends with her old crew, but she was loyal to them- and they, in turn, were loyal to her... Even if the original Rose terrified them to no end.

 

She did have to think about generosity and compassion, though. Looking over at Aloe, she could feel this fabled warmth. Something within her yearned to make her smile, to make her laugh, to show her all the wonders of the world and beyond. She'd take this pony to the ends of the earth and back again if she so wished, and she'd ask for nothing more than her love and company.

 

This wasn't mere friendship, she knew. Maybe it started off that way, but everything escelated so fast... she had, perhaps, made friends of her eerily named counterpart, but she couldn't be certain. The hybrid captain was also a pony of interest, but that bordered more along the shores of 'drinking buddies.'

 

Did she have any friends? Did she need any? Here is a monarch, vastly powerful in her own rights, proclaiming it to be a virtue transcendent, but could it just be youth and delusion that molded her mind so? The mare is brilliant, she can tell, but one so young... 

 

She shook those thoughts from her head. A negligible matter to be approached at a later date. She mentioned something else that attracted her attention, and not in the good way.

 

"Discord? Certainly you are not referencing the fabled being I think you are..." 

 

 

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