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Late Fees [Canterlot] Attn: SteelEagle & TacoBob

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Blizzard sat at his desk. His quill was held in hesitation as he attempted to put his words onto paper. It had been one whole season since he had his run in with that other ice mage and Princess Twilight Sparkle. While he was grateful that he was aloud to leave with such ease...after all he had been granted permission long ago when he was a colt... Ice Storm, or at least that what he though her name was, made him feel like a common burglar. He took a few deep breaths, this time he would do things the right way. That was the reason he needed to write this letter after all. 

 

Spoiler

 

Dear Princess Twilight

Princess Twilight Sparkle,

I am writing you to schedule my return trip to Canterlot, and more specifically the library at the School for Gifted Unicorns. I know that we got off on the wrong hoof, and I hope to be able to avoid the confusion of our first run in. I know that your time is valuable as the ruler of Equestria, and now the head mare of the School for Gifted Unicorns as well. I enjoyed our previous magic discussion, and look forward to future ones.

 

Blizzard Blitz

The Wizard of the North

 

 

 

With a quick flash of his horn, the scroll would vanish, hopefully transported directly to the Princess of Friendship, though if not, his spell had a secondary address...Canterlot Castle itself. Now he just had to wait for a response. Magical mail delivery was not that advanced of spell, however, over such distances, it did drain a fair bit of aura. As he waited, he give his notes on the book another once over. It was something to do after all.

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Twilight found herself swamped in missives and dispatches from across Equestria and beyond, the litany of tasks in front of her seemingly endless. However, she relished it. There were diplomatic overtures and treaty negotiations galore. Approved rotations for the Guards and REA movements, and more hidden dispatches for EPIC and STAR. And that was just the boring stuff. Personal correspondence galore draped her desk in ever-growing amounts as she took her time to read and respond to as many of her citizens as possible. She loved hearing about their lives and when they sought her aid she was more than willing to do what she could. It was her pleasure and honor to do so.

 

Of course, sometimes things change. And when Blizzard's message popped in front of her, it couldn't help but change her immediate priorities. It looked as if the mysterious fellow was making his way back. Interesting! She wondered what he would be after this time. Based on their last contact and what she had discovered since she assumed he was less than a complete friend of Equestria, but that was fine. Just sending her a letter was proof enough for her that there was that spark inside that could blossom into something greater, and she was happy to see if she could be the one to help with that. She began composing her response immediately and with nary a few moments of spell-writing she was finished, and sent her letter to the exact arcanic location that the letter had been delivered from.

 

Moments after Blizzard sent his letter, Twilight's letter would appear in a flash in the same location and position down to the centimeter. It was written in Twilight's own impeccable horn-writing with the stationary of her office in full and complete detail. The words, however, were far simpler.

 

"Dear Blizzard Blitz,

I am so happy to have received your letter. You may arrive at your normal time and I will be more than happy to meet you where we met before. I will bring tea and snacks and a full and happy mind for conversing with a mage of your skill. Keep well and safe until then, and may Harmony preserve you.

Dearly,
Princess Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, Sovereign of Equestria"

 

------------------------------------
Twilight was indeed stationed correctly, with a list of titles she thought might interest him and lacked the arcanic residue that would indicate previous...unknown rentals. On the desk stood a station for tea and biscuits and a host of smaller snacks, as well as three seats. One for Twilight, one for Blizzard Blitz, and another for a friend. And employee? But mostly a friend. "Tea?" She asked her compatriot before Blizzard arrived, having already poured a cup for herself.

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Fire Walker had spent the earlier day running around and taking care of an assortment of tiny errands. While she was not asked to lead a squad of soldiers to chase away an enclave of Diamond Dog thieves, or to reunite warning neighbors to the north. Of course there was no warring neighbors anywhere at the moment. She had little jobs. Mush them all together and you might get one proper sized mission. She could at least feel useful for the moment.
 
Once she returned to the purple princess' side and dropped off some needed supply, the red mare was happy to help with troop rotations. At least for the R.E.A and the many guards who roamed the busy streets of Equestria. She knew and grew up with many, and also trained a good deal of them as well. She had a good eye on what squads should go where. She stayed away from the EPIC and STAR jibber-jabber as the whole cloak and dagger stuff made her stomach turn.
 
They had a place that they needed to go, and away they went. To the spot. Thankfully tea would be there along with little butter biscuits and scones.  "Oh, Yes, of course please..". It was very very hard not to refer to Sovereign of Equestria as 'Princess', but the purple one preferred to be called Twilight. Year of training demanded it! "Thank You Twilight.."
 
She got her leaves of choice ready. Normally it wouldn't have been her fifteenth choice, but she needed to stay away from caffeine for the next ten or so months.  They were meeting somepony, but who? Prince Blueblood? Princess Cadance? Muggo' Ale? She doubted it would be the last one, but it would be fun if it was.
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Blizzard Blitz

The lowly unicorn began his return trip to Canterlot after receiving Twilight Sparkle’s letter. He levitated the books he had checked out into his saddle bag before grabbing his cloak and throwing it over himself. It was going to be a long journey, though with it now being winter in Equestria, he found the journey to be quite a bit more in enjoyable then trips past. Perhaps it was because he no longer felt the need to seek his way through miles upon miles of land, or perhaps it was the company he soon would be joining. 
 

Blizzard had arrived in Canterlot just as the majestic city was beginning to wind down for the evening. Though he got more then a few glances, he ignored them and made his way directly to the grand library. There would be no slipping in the side door this time, after all he had an invitation from the young ruler of Equestria herself. 
 

The white unicorn could smell the tea and snacks as he entered the grand main hall as they soon lead him to the room he had met her before. “Your highness,” he would say with a somewhat shallow bow. His eyes however were drawn towards the red pegasi in the room as well. “Captain, I presume?” He nod to her as a sign of respect. “May I?” as he motioned a hoof at a char on the side near Twilight. Undoing his cloak, he would hang it upon the back of the chair. 
 

“I must thank you for loaning he this book,” as he levitated it back onto the table. “It was very useful in fixing my magical mistake from years ago.” He would smile to both before sitting down, wondering how long it wound take the princess to notice that his coat was no longer infused with ice and snow. Blizzard himself would make a rather potent tea mixture, adding a bit of honey for flavor and stir it slowly, waiting for it to cool. He would also levitate a few briskets and snacks onto the table where he was sitting.

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She poured the tea, relieved to have Fire Walker here. Truth was that she wasn't afraid of Blizzard Blitz and knew she could handle it even if something went wrong, but having a mare as capable as Fire Walker was always wonderful. She was also friendly and intelligent and while her role as Captain of the Twilight Guard was necessary, what was even more necessary was the warmth of the love and care that radiated off of her as strongly as her name would imply. They would need to bring that same heat if they had any hope of melting the shell of ice around Blizzard in conjunction with Twilight's honest and hopeful engagement. "Thank you for being here. This should go well, but you know how everypony worries if I don't have protection," she said with a sigh right before Blizzard entered.

 

The first thing she noticed was that his coat was free and clear of the magically infused frost elements that had so artfully dictated the manner in which he was to be engaged. It was a more pleasant experience, dealing with a stallion whose heart of ice was a little less worn on his metaphysical, metaphorical sleeve. Any barrier between connection that was tossed aside was one barrier she was willing to let die, at least for now. "Captain, this is my friend, Blizzard Blitz. Blizzard, this is Fire Walker, the Captain of the Twilight Guard," she said with a smile. It was always good to expand the circle as she allowed them to get to know one another. And look at his tea game. Very strong! "Good choice. And I am happy to hear that the book helped. Knowledge used well is always good knowledge well used," she said as she offered him a scone. "You certainly look well, but how are your travels?"

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"Always happy to be of service..." Oh Oh! Her brain wanted her to stay 'Your Highness'! She must fight it! Hundreds of years of loyalty to the crown was in her blood. "Twilight."
 
Thankfully their guest was here.  And it wasn't Muggo' Ale, Dunder, Princess Luna, or even Pony Joe, it was...this guy...
 
She had no idea who he was. Did Ice Storm have a brother? If her sister-in-law from Trottingham was here, Jammy would probably say he looked a bit dodgy. Thankfully Fire Walker was a very mature pony. She at least tried not to pre-judge. It took a moment before she realized that this was probably Blizzard Blitz, a unicorn that was once part of the school of magic and vanished! He was later caught stealing spell-books. She was curious why he left the school? Maybe it wasn't challenging enough and he demanded more complex spells. The school probably did not allow him to use such spells. Maybe they were worried about his safety? So to gain such higher powered spells, he would need to swipe them! Sounded like he was a Hedge-Wizard! Twilight Sparkle had mentioned him in passing before.
 
"You assume correctly.", the mare responded with a friendly, and not at all overpowering smile. It was honest and warm. The good purple princess had sent him a book and helped? Fire wondered what that book was. As she waited to hear more about this, she fixed her tea with a bit of milk and cinnamon. Mmm.
 
 
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The white unicorn's horn would glow as a cube of ice would appear in his tea, cooling it a bit more. "My travels went well. It is always easier for me to traverse Equestria this time of year, and I don't have to be quite as careful...at least now that I've been able to tweak the 'Cold Weather Adaption Spell.' I'm sure that you both are aware...from your other friend...," there was a bit of venom in his voice when he mentioned Ice Storm indirectly, "that Ice Mages have lower body temperatures then most. It was a misinterpretation of the original spell with that fact that lead to my...how would I say it....less then friendly appearance." Taking the scone he would take a bite. "I've left a parchment with how that spell can be tweaked to adapt to other environments, with a disclaimer of course. I certainty would not attempt to use it on a trip to a desert. I don't think the flaming mane and beard would not be a good look for me," he'd say as he tried to inject a bit of humor.

 

"I presume that all is well in Equestria? Normally when something of importance happens, news dose make it up to the Frozen North." As Blizzard's tea was now cool enough for him to drink. "I was a bit surprised to say the least when I had company so quickly after our first visit, though I believe that was Ice Storm's idea..." the amount of dislike and distrust of that mare was apparent at him just saying her name. "I do trust her mission went well as we only had the opportunity to chat ever so shortly before we parted ways."

 

"Hm...Fire Walker...of the Walker family? You have really lived up to your family name," as he gave a quick, but subtle hoof salute. "I commend your achievement Captain." as he drank more tea.

 

"So then, I assume that after my last visit somepony would have done a background check on me... I can assure you that it's not as bad as it may have seemed...or as Ice Storm may have made it seem." The unicorn sighed deeply,  as he put a hoof up to his forehead. "I am the son of Spring Thaw, an instructor at the School for Gifted Unicorns, and Storm Runner. I believe Storm Runner was a Sargent under your father Captain..." Blizzard would take a bit of a biscuit before continuing his life story. "I literally grew up within these walls and was enrolled in the school when I was old enough... though I never felt truly welcomed. The other students thought I didn't earn my place here and only got it because my mother taught in the school."

 

Blizzard would finish off his cup of tea and would begin making a second. "I was a A+ student my whole life. Year after year, I would hope my grades would be good enough to have Princess Celestia notice me, to have her for at least one class. Sadly, that never happened. I felt like I was a second rate student. Most of my advanced learning I had to do on my own." Blizzard's facial expression told the story. "This is how grew in my magical prowess," as he levitated his old library card, stamped for access to advanced sections. "I guess being a teachers son had one advantage." as he chuckled as he finished making his second cup. "Oh, before I forget, here." as he levitated a jar of REA Surplus Coffee. "If I remember correctly you asked about this." as he placed it before the princess.

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It was not unusual or unexpected that the topic would turn to Ice Storm. They had not gotten off to a great start and Twilight had heavy doubts that Ice's venture up north had enamored him with her any more than could be feared. Still, it was a good sign that it had not been worse and this meeting was taking place. "Please do not hold Ice Storm's vigilance against her. She is a wonderful mare and a great friend to all of Equestria. However, her watch and seeking out of danger to the nation often leaves her seeing the darker shades of our shadows rather than the sun that we bask in that creates them. A wonderful trait to have for somepony trying to keep the nation safe, even if it sometimes leads her to unnecessary confrontations," she said with a sigh at the end. It was all true, but for all of that Twilight wouldn't trade Ice Storm for anything. 

 

Luckily, the topic at least briefly moved on. He had modified a spell for weather adaptation and was offering it. How thoughtful! "Ahh, how useful. I'll have to peruse it!" She said, her horn lit up while she allowed part of her aetheric self to find this parchment (heavy with his aura) and read it. It was a good piece of work. She didn't know how it would necessarily fit into that category- already so many fantastic spells of its nature- but few could compare to the intricacy of the aetheric web he had woven to make it work. Sometimes spellcraft wasn't about the result of the spell or the power of it. Sometimes spellcraft was about the art inherent in the design of a spell and this was certainly an attractively designed spell. That was worth ten ordinary if effective spells, at least to a discerning mage like Twilight.

 

As she did that he asked her how things were, which she was always happy to respond to. After all, every morning in Equestria was better than the last. "All is as well as it can be. Always a thousand petty matters that are boiling and a hundred more concerning ones that demand attention, but nothing that cannot be handled like those that came before," she said confidently just as she stopped admiring the spellcraft and returned in full to the table. Just in time, too, because Ice Storm came up again. "It was both of our ideas, to be fair to Ice Storm. A powerful mage in the frozen north. We had to learn more," She said bluntly but with no small amount of mirth, then shook her head with a smile.

 

He then started started running down his family history. Some of the bitterness that came with being treated differently was still present. The traumas of our youth are rarely discarded when we leave those years, and many times they carry the sour seeds of discontent that burrow deep into the soul. It came from a variety of actors. Students that looked at him askew because of his familial relationship with faculty. The former Princess Sovereign of Equestria Celestia and her laser focus on what she wanted in a personal pupil. A sense of isolation that came from competing pressures. It was a perfect setup for troubled magical development, if not in skill and practice, then in form and emotion. And that was keenly displayed in his latter history.

 

Nonetheless, she felt sorry for how his journey started and hopeful that it would get better. "Fillies and colts can be cruel as often as they can be kind, and often times in unequal measure. Celestia always kept what she was looking for in a pupil to herself- I know it had little to do with pure academic performance," she said execusatorily before she received the coffee. "Ah, thank you. Fire Walker, pop quiz. The whole, unabridged history of REA coffee, stat," she said playfully as she dropped the surplus near her Captain.

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Ice magic could be rather scary. An adult pony’s body was made up of seventy percent water. An  unicorn that specialized in ice magic, or as one would call an ‘Cryomancer’ could truly mess a fella up. Just apply all that magic to a pony's bare flesh and Walla! You got yourself a horrible way to die. Actually, most ways of dying tend to be horrible. Hopefully she'd kick the bucket while sleeping. Sleeping when she was very old.
 
She bit her tongue with the stallion mentioned Ice Storm. Fire Walker tried her very best, but she never managed to make peace with the mare. Not like they were in an never-ending feud, but the unicorn stole her colt-friend away from her! Her beloved Dunder! And this was not because the ice-wizard was able to charm him away with her icy-good-looks, but it was some sort of scheme she had and it utterly failed, leaving the officer with a broken heart.
 
"Yes, I am.", the mare responded with a tiny bit of pride. "My family has been serving the princesses since the day after they vanquished the former King Discord." Wow. What an utterly crazy world she lived in. King Discord. Discord the Cruel. Discord the Mad. The Spirit Of Chaos whose cruelty was only limited to his imagination.  During this month, she had attended at least two weddings where he was a guest. During both of those weddings, she was happy to fetch him a class of punch. This was probably Fluttershy's fault. She was the beauty that tamed the beast.
 
"Thank you good sir.", the mare replied without an single ounce of sarcasm. "I'm just a humble little ol' trainer who sometimes goes on crazy little adventures with ponies as crazy as I. And sometimes I have tea with royalty."  Her smile vanished as he spoke of his parents. More so when he mentioned his father. "Oh yes,  Sargent Storm Runner. My father had mentioned him before. Said how broken he was when you were presumed lost. Something my dad told me that he was under the impression that your father did not believe you had died, but had to have survived. Said if any pony could have conquered the frozen north, it would have been you, and he was right."  She said with a wink.
 
Her eyes fell upon the current ruler of the land the pegasus was currently standing in.  "History of the Royal Equestrian Coffee. Hmmm.", she grinned, "Shortly after Princess Celestia and Princess Luna gave Discord a good whooping, they started work on the super important parts of restoring a kingdom. Addressing borders, cleaning up crazy pockets of wild magic and trying their best to restore connections to old allies. While they were unable to create trading alliances with the dragons and griffons and other 'High' races as they were called, we did manage to keep them from murdering us in our sleep. Which was good. While the good alicorns were doing the important stuff, they gave lesser, but still very important duties to ponies who had served them during their war against Discord. My great-great-great and a buncha greats-more Grandfather helped to build the first base near the castle that is now in the Everfree." Which was now a clubhouse for some teens. How did that happen?
 
"There was one very important thing all good officers required and that was coffee. The Princess requested the help of their Head, Royal Chef to find the best coffee bean they could use, but he actually passed away shortly after the Discord-War was over. His letter was received by his daughter, the small, but brave Crema Cortado! This little brave little donkey went on this epic adventure, which I really don't need to go into great detail, as they made a few movies, musicals, book-series, action-figure collection, ice show, comic books, and there's a ride over at Whinny World based off the movie..Or the comic book..I forget.. er..it was all based off her adventures. She gains new friends, defeats and befriends a cranky Ophiotaurus named Kerberos and even saves the princess Callidora. And together they discover a coffee bean so potent that we would later mass produce and use for our special suppository-strength R.E.A coffee ever since then."
 
"Oh, I forgot.", she blushed, "There was an junior-officer a few years ago who tried to change our beloved coffee to..er..", she shuddered, "Instant coffee, but we chased him up a flagpole and made him bring our old coffee back. The end.", she added with a grin. Yep. She was only a few weeks pregnant, but she was already going a little bit mad.
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