CADENCE OF MEMORIES
MLP:FiM Fan Fiction
By: Scy Storm
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Loved the finale. Thought this idea up at work, spent a few hours crafting a bunch of dialogue. I really liked what I thought up, so I put it into words. I felt like Twi and Cadance needed something like this~ Not much else to say about it, I guess. Hope you enjoy it.
"Did you find it yet Spike?!"
Twilight scanned her eyes desperately over the shelves of the library for what felt like the thirtieth time. "Not yet!" came the muffled voice of the dragon upstairs.
The unicorn groaned loudly in annoyance, reaching the end of the library shelves and flopping back on her hindlegs. Where did she put it? She was just reading it the day before! "I don't think anypony checked it out... Did they? .. No! No, no, I checked the list several times!"
She stood back up and trotted to one of the shelves, where a missing space marked the book's empty spot. She stared there intently, a new thought coming to mind. "Come to think of it, I don't think it would be on another bookshelf. There wouldn't be any room for it!"
"I already double-checked the shelves of the books that got checked out, they all have their normal empty spaces."
"Ugh, I hope it didn't get stolen or something. Who would steal a book like that, anyway? Maybe if I just-"
Twilight yelped and nearly fell over, turning around to see Spike standing nearby, the missing book in his paws. A wide grin stretched across the unicorn's face. "Spike, you found it! Where was it?"
Spike glared at her. "On your nightstand."
An embarrassed blush hit Twilight's face, the unicorn grinning sheepishly. "Eheheh. Silly me."
"Yeah, yeah, and silly me for not looking there first," Spike commented as he held the book out for her.
"Well thank you, Spike, regardless of how you found it. Though, um, could you go put it back on my nightstand, please? I'm going to continue reading it tonight..."
Spike sighed loudly, his arms slumping downward in a dramatic show of annoyance. With a grumbling noise, he turned and walked back up the stairs. Twilight shook off her embarrassment and began making her way back toward the front desk. It was then the library's front door opened, causing the "Open" bell to ring. She turned in that direction with a smile, which immediately switched to a gasping look of surprise. A bright pink pony's hooves clopped across the floor of the library, absent of a slight metallic noise Twi would have expected in accompaniment. Her long mane gently swayed near one of her wings, streaked in hues of violet, rose, and gold. Her purple eyes, sparkling like the grin on her face, caught sight of the lavender pony standing in awe in the middle of the room. "Twilight!" the alicorn announced cheerfully.
Slowly, Twilight's shocked look stretched into a big smile. "Cadance!"
The unicorn galloped right up to her visitor, Cadance sitting back and catching Twilight in a tight hug with her forelegs. "It's so good to see you, Twiley!" she said, borrowing her husband's pet name for his sister.
Twilight tightly returned the hug, nuzzling against her once-foalsitter. "It's good to see you, too! What are you even doing here?"
The unicorn pulled away from her hug after a moment, Cadance smiling brightly at her as she loosened her forelegs. "I came to visit you, of course. Why else would I be here?"
"V-Visit me? But, you're a princess! Don't you have important things to be doing?"
"Aw, am I supposed to consider my sister-in-law as 'Not important?'"
Twilight blushed a little, shifting awkwardly. "W-Well, yes- I mean! No! I mean... You know what I meant!"
Cadance released a joyous giggle. "Yes, yes, I know what you meant. I'm just giving you a hard time."
The unicorn rubbed her head awkwardly, then glanced around, looking behind Cadance. "Is Shining Armor with you?"
The princess shook her head, her magic closing the door behind her once she noticed it was still open. "No. He's off doing field training with some new recruits. I had a lot of time for myself, so this is how I decided to spend it."
"You really had no princess-y things to do or anything?" Twi asked, genuinely confused.
Cadance shook her head with a slight grin. "Maybe a few things, but I'm not a princess today, Twilight. I'm not even wearing my regalia, see?"
The alicorn stood up and posed. She was indeed missing the golden vestments that commonly adorned her hooves, neck, and forelock. Twilight took note of this mentally, nodding once. "Well, yes, I can see that now."
Cadance giggled again, this time softer. Slowly she walked past Twilight toward the foyer of the library proper, eyes scanning around the shelves of books and various objects the unicorn put in place as decor. "I've only been doing so much since the wedding. I suppose they tend to go easy on new couples for a while. I had Celestia clear up my schedule so I could come here today. I also needed to know where you lived, of course."
Twilight trotted up behind her, watching as she took in the sights. "So you did that just to visit me?"
Cadance turned to the unicorn with a caring smile. "Of course I did. I've been thinking about you for a while now, Twilight. The wedding was the first time I saw you in... Goodness, years! And if it wasn't for you, there wouldn't have been a wedding."
The lavender pony blushed a little and looked away. "I just did what I had to do," she said, modest as could be.
The princess stepped forward and gently nuzzled Twi's nose. "All my focus was on the wedding back then, of course, but since then I've had a lot of time to think about many things. I find that I really miss you, Twilight."
Twilight blushed a little more, staring at her old friend curiously. "You miss me?"
Cadance nodded slowly. "I was your foalsitter for quite a while. We spent so much time together. After you became Celestia's student, we both grew up, and I feel like I barely know you anymore. Now that we're sisters-in-law, I decided to correct that."
Twilight stared silently for a moment, as the explanation processed in her head. "... Yeah. I get it now! That's so sweet of you, Cadance."
Now it was the princess' turn to blush a little. "I'm glad you think so. I realize all of this is... well, pretty sudden. Perhaps I should have had Celestia send a letter to let you know I was coming."
The unicorn shook her head. "It's alright. It's only the afternoon, and I don't really have much planned for today."
Cadance blinked a few times, then smiled brightly. "Then I guess I got lucky!"
Twilight couldn't help but giggle, though she began to feel some reservation after taking a cursory glance around the room. "I don't think you'll find the library to be very exciting, though."
"I don't mind it too much. I'm here for you, after all. But we could go roam Ponyville too, if you'd like."
"R-Roam Ponyville? But you're a princess, everypony is gonna freak out!"
Cadance chuckled and waved off the comment with her hoof. "I'm no Celestia or Luna, Twilight. But if they want to freak, then let them. I'm not a princess today."
"Well, alright then. I better let Spike know."
At that moment, the young dragon was coming back down the stairs. "Hey Twilight, I went ahead and fin- W-Whoa! Princess Cadance?"
Cadance smiled brightly. "Hello, Spike! Long time no see."
Spike walked up to the mares, a look of confusion on his face. "I didn't get a letter about you or anything..."
"Oh, Celestia didn't send one. This was a surprise visit."
Twilight nodded. "The two of us are going to leave now. We'll probably be gone for a while."
Spike perked up and nodded a few times, saluting once for effect. "Say no more, Twilight! I'll run the library while you're gone. ... Not that we get many visitors, anyway."
Twilight giggled and patted him softly on the head. "That's my number one assistant!"
The two mares cheerfully trotted their way out of the library then, Twi's magic holding the door open and closing it after. Spike sighed a little and glanced around himself at the library proper. "Guess I might as well kill some time. Hm, maybe those Daring Do books Dash loves so much..."
"... and that's pretty much what I've been doing in Ponyville. In a nutshell."
Twilight and Cadance walked slowly down the main road of Ponyville, the princess smirking privately at Twilight's use of the word 'nutshell.' She didn't have the heart to tell the unicorn just how long her diatribe was. Something told her they had walked the entire border of the town since leaving the library. "Your life seems a bit more exciting than you believe, Twilight."
"What? I'm just a librarian, really."
Cadance giggled just a little. "You're not always doing that. You're a larger part of this community, and you have plenty of activities with your friends."
Twilight looked away in thought, a pleasant smile coming to her face. "Yeah, that's true. Much different than my life in Canterlot, that's for sure."
"Plus, you left out a few interesting parts of your life."
Twilight blinked and glanced back in the alicorn's direction. "Huh? What do you mean?"
Cadance grinned knowingly. "Nightmare Moon and Discord, girl."
The unicorn suddenly blushed and looked away once more, sheepishly. "Oh. Yeah, I guess I don't talk about that much..."
Cadance couldn't help but laugh. "Perhaps you just don't want to brag. I understand that. I don't think I'd mind being a national hero, though, on two occasions nonetheless. Maybe three if you count Queen Chrysalis."
"H-Hey! You and Shining were the ones who defeated her, not me!"
"But we couldn't have done it without you, Twilight. If she and the changelings had taken over Canterlot and fed off of all of us, then who knows what trouble Equestria would be in right now."
Twilight lowered her head, blushing and smiling. "A-Alright, I get it."
Cadance chuckled, bumping her flank against Twilight's once as they strolled. "Okay, I'll stop. I didn't mean to embarrass you."
The lavender unicorn raised her head back up once more, trying to mentally shake off her modesty. Her ears then picked up the sound of the ponies around them catching sight of one Princess Cadance. Soft mutterings of excitement, little gasps of surprise, and even a few claps of hooves. Certainly not 'freaking out' like she had surmised would happen. This helped relieve her, at least a little. "I'm... sorry that we haven't been in any contact," Twi eventually said.
Cadance glanced at her, and smiled a sweet little smile. "It's okay, Twiley. Life just got in the way for both of us. I only foalsat you for so long, after all."
"'Only so long?' It was a year at least. It was so fun! I remember it all like it was yesterday."
The princess giggled a little, glancing away from Twilight and eying the surroundings, observing the various ponies going about their business, some of them waving at her in admiration. The two were passing through the market district, so various stalls lined with products for sale could be seen dotted around the area. "So do I, Twilight. You were such a cute little filly."
Twilight blushed unseen, tilting her head in thought. "It's just kind of silly to me that I look back on it so fondly. Maybe it's just easy for me to remember basically the first friend I had, even if you were just my foalsitter."
"Yeah, that'd probably do it. Though I suspect I have a few different reasons for remembering our time together so fondly."
Twilight blinked once and turned her glance back toward the princess. "What does that mean?"
Cadance turned her gaze forward, her expression growing forlorn, if ever so slightly. Twilight began to get worried. The princess opened her mouth as if to speak, and paused, wondering what to say. A loud female voice snapped her out of her reverie, however. "Don't tell me how I should do it!"
The two mares gasped, turning their attention toward the direction of the yell. It came from the nearby flower shop, where the trio of hometown flower ponies stood in front of the building. Rose and Daisy stared each other down angrily, while Lily stood in the open doorway, looking slightly frightened. "What is your problem, Daisy?!" Rose yelled next.
"My problem? You're trying to change up all our procedures!" Daisy replied.
"No I'm not! I just want to test some new growing methods!"
"Why?! The existing ones work just fine!"
"I know that, but that doesn't mean we can't try new things to improve production!"
The poor pink pony at the doorway trembled as she watched her friends argue. "G-Girls! It's not that big a deal..." she said, meekly and ineffectually.
Daisy stomped one of her hooves on the ground, causing Lily to squeak and shut her eyes. "I'm not changing my whole system of flower growing, Rose!"
"You don't HAVE to, it's just a test, and it would be the same procedures with some different implements!"
"Ugh, why do you have to be so hard-headed?!"
"You're calling ME hard-headed?!"
Twilight stared from afar with a look of shock and bewilderment. She'd never seen any of the flower girls get into a fight before, in her whole time living in Ponyville. Briefly she wondered what she could possibly do to ease things up, but quickly remembered who was standing next to her. She turned her attention to Cadance, the princess returning her glance with a look that said 'I got this covered.' The alicorn focused slightly, her horn flaring up with a modest blue glow, a large magical heart immediately inflating off of the tip. Bathed in blue energy, the heart floated toward the two arguing ponies, splitting into two and fluttering around them before coming together again with an exploding pop. The two mares stopped arguing immediately, blinking in confusion. Nearby, Lily perked her ears, opening her eyes again at the sudden sound of quiet. "G-Girls?" she stammered.
"Goodness, what are we arguing for?" Daisy spoke up, a sad look in her eyes.
"Oh, Daisy, I'm so sorry," Rose replied, stepping forward and hugging her friend.
Daisy returned the hug, a smile coming to her face. "No, I'm sorry, Rose. I'm being so stubborn over nothing."
"I don't mean to take away all of our growing methods. I know tradition means so much to you."
Daisy pulled away from her. "But... So should evolution of such methods. I really want to see what you've learned now!"
Rose backed up and smiled brightly. "Then what are we out here for?"
The two friends immediately turned and trotted through the front door of the shop, walking right past the stunned final member of their trio. Lily stood there with wide eyes for a moment, attempting to process what just happened. She eventually settled for a relieved sigh, and turned to join them, closing the door behind her. Cadance and Twilight walked up afterward, a wide grin on the lavender unicorn's face. "It still amazes me, after all these years," she noted.
Cadance stepped up toward the various flower pots that sat in front of the building, housing many types of decorative flowers grown by the trio inside. "What? My magic? You saw it a lot when you were younger."
"I know. I was just a little girl then, of course it amazed me. Nowadays, though... It still does, somehow. There's just no spell like that."
"Well... 'Want It, Need It' is pretty close," Cadance noted, grinning at the thought.
"Ugh, don't even remind me of that one."
The princess giggled softly, slipping her nose into a daisy growing out of one of the pots and inhaling its pleasant scent. "I still get a lot of use out of it. I don't go on many ambassador missions anymore, so a lot of the time I'm restoring peace in Canterlot, and helping ponies find love. Lots of ponies love getting married by me, as well. A grand wedding in front of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza..."
The alicorn winced a little after she said it. Twilight couldn't help doing so herself, as well. "Where did that name come from, anyway?"
"It's just a fancy Princess sort of name. My real name is Cadance, always has been. The fancier name is an ancient custom... Honestly, I don't know why they bother anymore. Celestia and Luna have nothing like it, or at least not anymore. They're simply called by their full titles in certain royal ceremonies. Thankfully, though, I don't have to put up with the name much anymore."
Twilight nodded in understanding, and briefly pondered about her past in Canterlot. "You mentioned ambassador missions? I think I remember those. That's why I hardly ever saw you."
"Yes, but you had your own studies as well, Twiley. Plus a shift into a generally anti-social mindset."
The unicorn blushed a little in embarrassment. "Y-Yeah, I know... But you don't go on those missions anymore?"
Cadance's gaze perused across the many flower pots, admiring the care and handiwork the flower mare trio put into their profession. "Not very often anymore, no. Especially after the wedding. Eventually I'll have rule over my sect of Canterlot and won't have any time for that anymore. I'm not exactly looking forward to that, but... at least I have Shining there with me."
She came to a somewhat larger flower pot, filled with roses of a delightful pink color, one very similar to her own coat's hue. Twilight watched her quietly for a moment, more gears turning in her head. "You know, Cadance... I don't even know how you and my brother met."
Cadance stared at the pink roses in front of her, a thoughtful smile stretching across her face. She leaned forward and breathed in the scent of the closest one.
O-Oh... For me?
Of course they are. I saw them and thought of you.
Thank you... They're beautiful.
Yes. That's part of why I thought of you.
"Oh? He hasn't told you about that yet?"
Twilight shook her head, unseen by the princess. "Truth be told, we haven't talked a lot since the wedding. We've sent a few letters back and forth, but that's it. I didn't want to interrupt a newly-married couple or anything."
Cadance stepped away from the flowers. "I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I told you."
The unicorn's eyes lit up brightly. "Really?"
Cadance glanced in Twilight's direction and saw the excitement written all over her face. She couldn't help but smirk. Somehow, she knew where this was going to go. "It's not a very exciting story."
Twilight snickered softly. "Of course, princess. Ponyville Park is just a ways away, how about we go there?"
The alicorn trotted up next to her, smiling. "That sounds delightful."
A gentle breeze blew through the trees of Ponyville Park, carrying the sound of rustled leaves across the air for the ears of the ponies who trotted through it. Several foals ran around giggling, getting in their last few minutes of playtime in the late hours of daylight, shortly before their parents called them to come home. Princess Cadance bowed her head, regarding a few admiring ponies that passed by the pair of old friends trotting down the main walkway of the park. "I had figured that you'd met my brother when you became my foalsitter," Twilight said.
Cadance nodded. "Yes, I knew of him back then. We didn't see each other much, obviously, since you didn't need me to foalsit you if family was able to."
"So... You didn't have a crush on him back then or anything?"
The princess couldn't help but giggle. "Well I certainly thought he was a handsome pony. But, nothing besides that. I was still young and learning the ins-and-outs of being a princess and a member of royalty in general."
The two found a quiet spot in the park, near a large oak tree. Twilight sat down on the grass, attention focused on the alicorn. "So what changed?"
Cadance sat down as well, settling into the grass. "Eventually I was older, experienced, and essentially done with my schooling. Given my powers, they decided to send me on those ambassador missions. You already know about them."
"Yes, I do... I think. You traveled outside of Equestria to meet with the leaders of other nations and facilitate the reinstatement of prior allegiances. Right?"
The princess chuckled. Twilight had a knack for being very well-spoken at times. "That is a good way of putting it, yes. I've met gryphons, zebras, the jirafi... It was an amazing experience, although not without its fair share of worries. I was a young princess traveling to distant lands, after all, only occasionally coming back to Canterlot when it was necessary to prepare for another trip."
"So where does Shining Armor fit into this?"
"Is it not obvious, Twilight? They don't send a young noble out into the world without an escort. I had a troupe of royal guards who accompanied me during my travels."
The light bulb turned on in Twilight's head. "Oh! So he was one of them?" she asked, smiling brightly.
Cadance nodded and grinned, amused by Twilight's enthusiasm. "Indeed he was. I felt very comfortable with him there, since I knew him a little from my foalsitting days. Even having guards with me, it felt a little scary being so far from home, and a little lonely without my family. So he made sure to talk with me a lot, as a friend, instead of as a stoic guard pony. It definitely kept my spirits up."
Twilight pressed her hooves together in front of her chest, her eyes sparkling. "Aww... That's so sweet of him! ... So I guess that's when...?"
Cadance nodded, a modest blush crossing her cheeks. "Yes... That's when the sparks flew between us. We both felt it, and it only became deeper as the travels wore on. We didn't do anything about it, however, since the missions and everypony's safety took precedence. Once we finally came back to Canterlot on a more permanent basis, however, we officially started courting."
A confused look came across the unicorn's face as she listened. Something didn't feel right to her. "I see... What then?"
The princess sighed happily, pleasantly lost in her thoughts. "It was so wonderful. We were perfect for each other. We kept it quiet, however, since I was a princess and he was quickly becoming captain of the royal guard. The Canterlot paparazzi would have had a field day with us every day. I suspect that's also why he never told you about it, and let you keep to your studies in Canterlot and here in Ponyville. Once we were ready, however, we announced the wedding, planned it, and... Well, you know the story from there."
She turned her eyes back to the unicorn, who looked as confused as ever. Twilight rubbed one hoof on her head, processing the story. "So... That's it?"
"Yes, Twilight. That's it."
The unicorn's jaw dropped slightly. "But... Nothing scary happened during your missions? You didn't get kidnapped by some gryphon bandit and Shining never came galloping bravely to your rescue? Nothing like that at all?!"
Cadance shook her head and smiled. "Nope. Everything went swimmingly."
"B-But... That doesn't make any sense!"
"It doesn't, hm? I think you read too many romance novels, Twilight."
Twilight opened her mouth to say something, but instead blinked a few times, a huge blush coming over her face. "Uh..."
Cadance broke into a bit of a giggle fit, as Twilight tried to shake off her embarrassment. "Sorry, Twilight! I did warn you it wasn't very exciting!"
The purple pony shook her head around a bit, and smiled, eventually breaking into her own giggle. "I guess I did get my hopes up a bit, didn't I?"
The two friends shared their laughter, Twilight eventually sighing a little, going quiet for a moment as her mind drifted back to something that happened earlier. It brought a sudden look of worry back to her face. "Cadance... Can I ask you something?"
The princess tilted her a head a little at Twi's sudden mood change. "What is it?"
"What did you mean earlier? You said you had different reasons for remembering our time together so fondly. Then you... seemed a little sad."
Cadance's expression sunk a bit. "Oh, yes. That."
"Is... Is something wrong?"
After a moment of silence, a gentle smile came over the princess' face. "I guess it's time for me to tell you about that. It's really so silly, I shouldn't be dwelling on it anyway."
"D-Did something happen to you back then, Cadance?"
Cadance shook her head, smiling sweetly at the worried unicorn, hoping to assuage her fears a bit. "No, nothing happened to me. It was just a very stressful time for me."
Twilight tilted her head. "Foalsitting me was stressful?"
The alicorn giggled softly. "No, Twilight. My youth was stressful. I was under a lot of schooling, both normal pony schooling and special... princess training, I suppose. Being born into royalty is not all sunshine and rainbows. It's a lot of work, and a lot of pressure. Absolute tons of pressure in my case."
"Hmm? Why's that?"
Cadance glanced at herself, her wings stretching out widely. "Because of these."
Twilight thought for a moment, before it clicked. "Oh! Because you're an alicorn."
Cadance eyeraised, her wings closing. "You use that term? ... Wait, of course you do. You're Twilight Sparkle, you're very well studied."
The unicorn smiled a little and nodded, feeling a small sense of pride. "I know it's a bit of an old term, but I've always liked the way it sounded. ... I can also see why that would be an issue."
Cadance nodded herself, glancing downward at the grass below. "I'm not like Celestia or Luna. That has been known since I was young. Still, being in their bloodline was pressure enough, but being the same race as them on top of that? I could just feel the weight of everypony's lofty expectations on my shoulders, and it only got worse after I discovered my special talent and really got into my studies."
Twilight curled her forelegs against herself a little. "I... had no idea."
The alicorn turned her glance upward, glancing at the sky through the leaves of the tree above them. "Of course you didn't. I wasn't going to tell all of this to a little filly. But... You were the reason why everything got better for me."
Twi stared at her with a look surprise. "Er... I was?"
Cadance lowered her head back down and nodded gently, smiling gingerly. "It started the very first time I met your brother. We both studied at Canterlot University. I was a princess-in-training, and he was aiming to be a member of the guard ponies. We didn't know each other well, but he had a great sense for what was happening to me, and he was concerned. All of my free time was spent being depressed and stressed out. That's when he recommended the foalsitting."
Twilight gasped. "So it was him that got you to me? ... Well, actually, that makes perfect sense. Mom got back into working again, and Shining always seemed like he was making time for me."
"Yes... He didn't want to say anything, but taking care of you was cutting into time he needed to use on training. Not that he would ever consider that more important than you, of course. Consequently, having me take up foalsitting you solved both our time problems. Luckily for me, you and I became friends quickly."
The unicorn couldn't help but smile. She remembered being sad that her brother was leaving her with a foalsitter, but Cadance ended up being wonderful from the start. "So I guess looking after me was therapeutic, in effect?"
"That and more, Twilight. You were so fun to be around and play with, it was impossible for me to be stressed out or depressed. I still had a hard time of it, but then i knew I had little Twiley to look forward to. I spent so much time with you, I was almost afraid of the day I didn't need to foalsit you anymore."
"Then it happened... When Celestia took me as her student," Twi remembered, her ears lowering slightly.
"That's right. I was so happy for you, though I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me. Thankfully, I never lapsed back into my old habits. I kept my head high and approached my future as best as I could. I guess... I feel like it's my time with you that helped me do that. It's like I grew up alongside you, and was a better pony for it."
Twilight felt her eyes getting misty at the princess' confession of sorts. Her worries were all gone, replaced instead by a look of happiness. "I'm... I'm so glad foalsitting me had that effect on you..."
Cadance simply beamed. It actually felt wonderful to get that off of her chest, to the pony who needed to hear it the most. "It's also another thing I can thank Shining Armor for. He's brought so much joy to my life, even indirectly."
Twilight nodded enthusiastically. "You two are a perfect couple! I'm so happy you ended up together."
The alicorn sighed wistfully. "One little meeting, all those years ago. One assignment together with the troupe of guards. I wonder what I would have done without him. He's just so wonderful, caring, strong... Plus he's the most handsome pony in all of... Equestria... aaand I'm saying all of this in front of his sister."
A blush crept across her face, while a loud giggle came from the unicorn nearby. "Oh, don't be so embarrassed, Cadance. I know my own brother and how amazing he is."
"... Yes, that's true, you know all about him. I just think I was going a little too far there."
Twilight shrugged a little. "Well you don't need glasses to see he's a handsome pony, either. I'm sure plenty of mares in Canterlot are jealous of you."
Cadance eyeraised, and a grin crept across her face. "Interesting. Perhaps I'll tell him you said that."
It may have been impossible for Twilight's face to go any redder. "Hey! D-Don't... I didn't mean it like... ... Cadance!!"
The alicorn burst out laughing, her forelegs folding across her chest. "Ohh, the look on your face is priceless! I can't wait to see the look on his!"
Twilight stomped one of her hooves onto the ground, a desperate look in her eyes. "Don't tell him that! I'd never be able to look at him again!"
Cadance stifled her giggles, and stood back to her feet. "Alright, Twilight, I won't say anything to him... if you can catch me."
With that, she took off running through the park. Twilight gasped, stunned for a moment, before quickly breaking out into a gallop, chasing after her alicorn friend. Cadance ran with surprising speed around the grassland of the park, aided by the long strides of her legs, laughing like a filly the whole way. Twilight galloped after her, the two running in broad circles around the tree they had rested near. The unicorn was several feet behind her, and didn't appear to be gaining any ground after a solid minute. Fearing she'd quickly get too tired to chase, an idea suddenly came to her head. Grinning, her horn flared up with magenta-colored energy, and she blinked out of view. Cadance barely had time to notice the disappearance before Twilight blinked back into existence directly above her, dropping onto the alicorn's back and causing her to squeal as she hit the grass. "Ha! Gotcha!" Twilight yelled.
Cadance lay stomach-down on the grass, her legs spread out, Twilight's hooves planted on both sides of her body. "Hey! No fair!"
Twilight lifted her chin high with a proud smile. "You said I needed to catch you. You never said how!"
"... Darn, you're right. Alright, you got me. I wasn't going to say anything to him anyway!"
"I don't believe that for a second!"
Cadance's horn glowed briefly, and she blinked out from under Twilight, reappearing in front of her. "No, really! I just wanted an excuse to run around like a silly pony."
Twilight blinked a few times, and smirked. "Well, you certainly managed that," she deadpanned.
Cadance smirked in return, and then quickly gasped as something came to mind. She grinned widely at the unicorn and rapidly tapped her forehooves on the grass. Twilight saw the motion, and knew immediately what it meant. She smiled brightly and stepped into position with the alicorn mare.
"Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!"
The two repeated their childhood tradition perfectly, for the first time in many years. After the customary dual rump wiggle, they collapsed to the grass together, giggling like schoolfillies all over again. "I can't believe we still know that little dance," Twilight noted after.
"Really? We only did it every single time I ever foalsitted you. Sometimes multiple times!"
Twilight couldn't help but laugh again. "I guess that'd do it!"
Cadance giggled once more, before releasing a huge sigh and resting her head back. "I really needed this. This whole day."
The unicorn stared up at the sky with a bright smile. "You know... I think I did, too."
The two laid in happy silence for only a moment, before a loud rumbling noise snapped the reverie. It came from Cadance's stomach. The princess blushed. "... Looks like there's something else I need."
Twilight laughed. "Oh, shoot. If I knew we'd be at the park, I'd have prepared a picnic."
"Well this whole meeting was sort of sporadic, anyway," Cadance noted as she stood back up.
Twilight stood up as well, smiling brightly at the princess. "How about we go back to the library and have supper there?"
The alicorn nodded, returning the bright smile. "I'd love to."
One thump, a flop onto the fabric of his small bed. That was all it took, and immediately, Spike was snoring. Twilight giggled a little, using her magic to tuck him in right and wrap him in his blanket. The young dragon smiled and curled up, his snores quieting. The unicorn smiled, bending down and giving him a little kiss on the forehead, before trotting her way toward the balcony extension of the library's upper floor. Cadance was already there, seated down on a cushion, looking out at the evening sky. The sun was still visible, though the sky was turning ever more orange as it slowly set in the distance. She turned her head and regarded the lavender unicorn, as Twilight sat down next to her. "Spike fell asleep?" the princess asked.
"Like a rock, as usual. I'm surprised he had the energy to help me clean up."
"He did prepare quite a nice meal, and he is a rather talkative dragon."
"That's just because he doesn't know you very well. He did the same thing to Princess Luna once, while we were visiting Canterlot."
Cadance nodded, turning her attention back toward the sky. "He is certainly charming. You've raised him well, Twiley."
Twilight blushed and rubbed her face with a hoof, looking out at the horizon as well. "Um, th-thanks, I guess. He may be a baby dragon by age, but he grew up fast, at least mentally. I sadly don't understand dragons as much as I'd like to, at least not yet."
Cadance nodded once more. "I'm surprised you've taken care of him his whole life. He said you hatched him as your entrance exam? That'd be when you became Celestia's student."
"Yes, that's right. I didn't get to take care of him right away, though I really wanted to..." Twilight felt a little embarrassed, remembering her heartbroken younger self when they took her hatchling away. "Some aides at the castle took care of him at first, for a few months, I believe. A wyrmling requires some special care at the early stages of its life. Eventually, Celestia had them return him to me. I was so happy that I didn't even question why she was letting a little girl raise a dragon."
Cadance turned to her and smiled warmly. "Because she knew you could do it. I always did say you were anything but a regular ol' unicorn."
Twilight blushed again and smiled bashfully. "Y-Yeah, I guess so. I don't even really think I'm 'taking care' of him anymore, though. That just makes him sound like my pet. He's my number one assistant... and my best friend."
"Perfectly understandable, Twilight."
The two mares looked back out toward the horizon, a calm silence coming over them as they watched Celestia's beautiful sunset. The silence felt a little awkward to Twilight, after basically spending the entire day talking to Cadance about anything they could think of. The beauty of the sunset giving away to night helped ease her conscience, however. One of her favorite sights.
The unicorn twitched as the princess suddenly broke the silence. "Y-Yes, Cadance?"
"I'm really glad I came out here today. Thank you so much for spending all this time with me."
Twilight smiled warmly toward her. "It was no problem at all. I'm really happy you came. I'd love it if you visited me again, maybe Shining too if he's able."
Cadance looked downward, seeming to be a little embarrassed. "I still feel awkward showing up unannounced and then leading you around Ponyville all day."
Twilight gently laughed off her comment. "It's no trouble. Besides, we already decided we really needed a day like this, right?"
"Yes... Yes, that's right. I was able to get a lot off my chest earlier. That felt nice."
Twilight remembered Cadance's confession from earlier in the day, about her troubled teenage years, and how the foalsitting job really helped her. The unicorn simply nodded quietly. Inwardly, she was still in slight disbelief over that revelation.
"I wanted to say some other things as well, Twilight..."
The unicorn blinked and glanced back toward the princess. Cadance curled one of her legs bashfully, but turned to look her direction, smiling warmly. Twilight nodded once. "What is it, Cadance?"
"Well, this sounds weird, but... I'm proud of you."
"What? Proud of me?"
Cadance nodded slowly. "I know I was just your foalsitter, but... That foalsitting job meant so much to me. Much more than you were aware of before today. The most I told you back then was that I was lucky to be your foalsitter. I feel like it's been far too long since I got to see you and tell you the whole truth, and for that I'm sorry."
"It-It's alright, Cadance. Really."
The princess nodded once more and continued. "It's just... You were a wonderful little filly, who brought me so much happiness. I never thought of you as my foalsitting job, I always thought of you as like a little sister. I was so proud of you when you got taken in as Celestia's student, and now, seeing how far you've come... I'm so proud of you. I feel like you were destined for all these great things that happened, and it was so great that I was there to share some of the time with you before it all came to pass."
Twilight felt a little overwhelmed. Her face glowed as she tucked her chin bashfully. "Th-Thank you..."
"I... I don't mean to pile this all on you or anything. I just think it needed to be said. You gave me a lot to be happy for. Heck, even indirectly. I did marry your brother after all. Wonderful ponies seem to run in the family."
"C-Cadance..." Twilight stammered, her face positively warm from the unexpected stream of compliments.
Cadance smiled brightly, though perked a bit when she realized a few of her own words from before. "Mm... Funny. I just said I always thought of you as a little sister, and now we actually are sisters."
The unicorn raised her head back up, momentarily over her embarrassment, her eyes widening in revelation. "Oh! That's right, isn't it? Well... We're in-laws, at least."
The princess giggled softly. "A sister is a sister, as far as I'm concerned."
Twilight nodded, a happy, though shy smile on her face. "If anything... I'm honored to be a part of the royal family."
Cadance cast her eyes to the side as she thought about that statement. "I heard the same thing from your brother. Your parents, as well. They were quite humbled."
"O-Oh? Well, I'm glad to hear it."
"I'll tell you the same thing I told them."
The alicorn turned her eyes back toward Twilight, matching gazes with her. The unicorn tilted her head a bit. "W... What's that?"
Cadance's smile was wide, warm and caring. With an air of complete certainty, the princess of love spoke. "It's an honor for me to be a part of your family."
Twilight stared at her with wide, shaky eyes, her mouth hanging open. Cadance quietly held her warm smile, her entire demeanor showing her words to be genuine. Twilight's lower jaw quivered a bit, as if she wanted to say something, but couldn't form the words. All of Cadance's statements had finally overwhelmed the poor unicorn. Soon enough, she gently bit her lower lip, a few tears falling down her cheeks. Cadance's smile faded with a slight worrisome feeling, just before she felt the unicorn latch onto her body in a hug. Twilight squeezed around the pink alicorn tightly, pressing her wet face into a nuzzle against her chest. "I love you big sister!" she finally blurted out.
Cadance sat there, momentarily stunned, as the unicorn gently sobbed happy tears into her pelt. She quickly wrapped her own forelegs around the pony, her eyes watering. "I love you too, little sister..."
They held that position for what felt like minutes, Cadance closing her eyelids and letting a few tears escape. For the two of them, it was a moment of pure happiness that was far, far overdue. Twilight sniffled a few times, regaining her composure and slowly releasing her hold on the alicorn. Cadance loosened her own hooves, letting Twilight pull away, the unicorn wiping her leg across her face. "I'm alright now..."
Cadance giggled softly, leaning forward and giving Twi's forehead a little kiss. "I better go now, before Shining gets worried about me."
Twilight nodded, a bright smile plastered on her face. Cadance stood up, extending her wings and leaping gracefully from the balcony, taking to the skies. Twilight leaned over the balcony, watching the always majestic sight of an alicorn in flight. After a moment, she raised her hoof up and waved. "Bye Cadance! Come back soon!"
The princess smiled brightly and waved back. "I will Twilight! I promise!" she yelled in response, before bearing down and flying at travel speed in the direction of Canterlot.
Twilight sat back down on her cushion, letting out a happy sigh, watching the moon rise into the sky as her emotions balanced themselves out. Soon enough, she trotted back into her home, closing the balcony doors behind her. Slipping into the covers of her bed, she noticed her book from earlier sitting on her nightstand. After a quick loving glance at her sleeping dragon companion, she hovered the book to her hooves and held it place. With one more happy sigh, she opened to her bookmarked page and settled in for some late night reading before what was sure to be a very pleasant sleep.
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Characters/Locations used without permission