My Little Pony-Friendship is Magic
The Romancing Quest
By Doctor Scraps
Disclaimer: My Little Pony- Friendship is Magic is property of Hasbro and all affiliated parties involved, and the author claims no rights to any characters, settings, or events. This story was written for entertainment purposes only.
A/N: So, originally I was going to just leave this chapter as was...But then I took a long look at the reader response on here and on Equestria Daily. I then re-read Chapter 11 in it's entirety, and decided that...I was completely off my rocker. So, I would like to apologize for setting off course, and hope that this revision will feel more in line with the original feel of the story.
Twilight Sparkle was awoken by the sun spilling in through her window, warming the room pleasantly. She smiled to herself and relished in the comfort of her pillow and her blanket. She was woefully alone at this moment, the space that had occupied the large red workhorse now empty. Big Macinotsh got up, by Twilights logic, unreasonably early, even when he didn't have to be down on the farm. He was always so careful not to wake her when he let himself out, that she could almost swear he hadn't been there at all if not for his lingering scent on her pillow.
Another smell wafted in through the cracked door. The pleasant scent of breakfast being cooked. It coaxed her from her blissfully comfortable spot under her quilt as she rolled out of bed, and down the ladder.
Big Macintosh knew his way well around a kitchen. Coming from a large family like his, he'd often been roped into helping with cooking up the brunches and dinners whenever the family decided to come visit. Granted, Twilights kitchen was a far cry from Granny Smiths kitchen back down on the farm. Twice now he'd almost put the biscuit mix in the cupboard with the pots and pans, and kept opening the drawer where the mixing tools were for some reason.
As he stirred the oatmeal, he was gently interrupted by a smaller purple form nuzzling up against his side.
"It smells good." Twilight said, giving his a tender kiss good morning.
"Eeyup." Macintosh nuzzled her back, turning to trot over to the ice box. "Should be ready here in just a few-What in the…?" Macintosh jumped back a bit as a tray was thrust towards him as he opened the ice box, a baking sheet with several ornate cupcakes with orange frosting on them.
"Finally! You know how long I've been in here?" Pinkie Pie hopped out of the ice box, setting the tray on the nearby table. "At least ten minutes!"
"Bu-But…" Macintosh squinted his eyes and scratched his head. "I been in here for almost an hour, an…"
"…Don't. I stopped trying to understand how she does it a loonnnnggg time ago…" Twilight swished her tail against his, looking to regard Pinkie Pie. "…So, Cupcake delivery for breakfast?"
"Yup you betcha! Some strange pony came and woke me up real early this morning, saying it was absolutely IMPERATIVE that I make a special batch of cupcakes. At first I thought it was you, Twilight, but you don't have blue hair. Yours is more of a grape and watermelon flavor. Hers was ALL blueberry!"
"E-Eh…You don't say…" Twilight felt a bead of sweat slide down the side of her head, smiling uncertain but politely.
Pinkie Pie nodded with seriousness. "MMM HMM! She paid me for the cupcakes and asked me to make sure these got to you as soon as possible! Isn't that nice of her? I wish somepony would send ME surprise breakfast cupcakes!"
"Pinkie Pie, you work in a bakery, you can make cupcakes whenever you want." Twilight pointed out. Pinkie Pie paused, and both Twilight and Macintosh could hear the gears slowly creaking in her head.
"Oh yeah, huh?" Pinkie mused. "WELL! I promised I'd help Fluttershy collect eggs this morning. See ya!" And with that, the pink pony bounced back into the ice box, slamming the door behind her. Twilight and Macintosh exchanged worried and confused looks, then both let out a startled yelp as Pinkie bounced suddenly passed the kitchen window and down the road.
"…How in tarnation does she do that…?" Macintosh asked.
"…It's better not to ask…To ask such questions is to risk madness." Twilight said rather matter-of-factly. Both then turned their gaze on the tray of cupcakes that had just been delivered. A minute or two passed.
"…There's something wrong with these, aren't there?" Twilight asked.
"…Mmaybe…" Macintosh trotted over to the utensil drawer and returned to a spatula between his teeth. He then promptly began poking the cupcakes.
Twilight suppressed a smirk and shook her head. "…Brilliant investigation, Dr. Macintosh."
Both shared a laugh, and were promptly interrupted by a knock on Twilights door.
"…Oh, who could that be?" Twilight scrunched up her nose and trotted out to the door. The library didn't open to the public until nine, and she was really looking forward to Macintosh's breakfast.
She opened the door, clearing her throat. "Yes, can I help you…? The library doesn't open until-" She was suddenly all but run over by an all blue Unicorn and a female white Unicorn with purple stripes running through her mane.
"Twilight! My sweet little biscuit!" The white and purple Unicorn glomped onto Twilight, nuzzling on her affectionately. "I am SO PROUD OF YOU!"
"M-m-mom? D-d-dad?" Twilight squeaked. "I..I didn't know you two were visiting Ponyville."
"We wanted to surprise you, honeybunch, now where's that future son-in-law of mine?" Mister Sparkle glanced around the room, spying the big red stallion come trotting in from the kitchen.
"Ah, we got guests?" Macintosh asked as he suddenly found a hoof seized by the male Pegasus, whom shook it with great vigor.
"You must be Macintosh! I'm Twilights father, it is an absolute pleasure to finally meet you!" Mister Sparkle nearly exploded.
"Well, right kind to make your acquaintance at long last yerself, sir." Macintosh smiled, giving the smaller pony a firm hoof on the shoulder, almost knocking Mister Sparkle over.
"Oh, they're getting along! Wonderful! We were so worried when those flyers got passed around in Canterlot! But now I can see that all that worry was for nothing!" Mrs. Sparkle gushed as she hugged on Twilight.
"Ah, those…Well, I WAS going to tell you and dad, but things…" Twilight blushed and felt a Fluttershy moment coming on. "…Things just sort of happened, and I was…a little too busy to write you a letter…I-I'm sorry…"
"Oh don't be sorry, I couldn't be happier! My baby has finally broken out of her shell!" Once more Mrs. Sparkle gripped her daughter close, tight enough to elicit a croak from Twilight.
"Hey…Twi…" The group turned to see a groggy, sluggish baby dragon slither into the room, rubbing at his eyes. "…Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Sparkle…" He yawned.
"Spike! How are you, old chap?" Mr. Sparkle gave Spike a headlock and a noogie, which the dragon grunted and accepted with a touch of ire.
"…Ah, I didn't sleep much last night. Twilight, if Macintosh is gonna be spending the night, give me word in advance so I can…I dunno, move my bed into another room? You guys kept me up half the night…"
The room fell silent, as her parents eyes fell on Twilight with curiosity and suspicion. Twilight's face turned dark red, and Macintosh scratched the back of his head and coughed. Twilight let out a nervous laugh and immediately began shuffling Spike back into the bedroom. "Terribly sorry about it, little partner, but why don't you go ahead and take the morning off and then I'll see about getting you some sapphires for lunch, alright? Alright!" She braced herself against the door after shuffling Spike inside. "Hey! Alright, well we were just about to have breakfast so why don't we-"
Another knock emanated from the door.
Twilight suppressed the urge to scream, forcing a smile as she ushered her parents and Macintosh into the living room. "Well! I wonder who that could be? You three just have a seat and I'll be right there!"
Twilight mumbled under her breath as she trotted sharply to the door. "What is today? Pester Twilight Before Breakfast Day? Do I have a sign on my door that says 'Everypony I know, apply within'?" She was about to greet her new quest with the tartest 'hello' she could muster, but she found the words caught in her throat as a radiant smile beamed down at her amidst a rainbow main and shimmering white fur.
"Good morning, Twilight." Celestia bowed her head in greeting to her student.
"P-Princess! What a surprise!" Twilight scampered to bow in respect. "T-To what do I owe this visit?"
"Oh I have a meeting with Mayor Mare later today, and it was such a beautiful morning after raising the sun, that I thought perhaps I should check in on my dutiful student and see how her relationship was faring. You don't mind the intrusion, do you?"
"Not at all, m-my parents are here as well…Heh heh, please, my home is yours…"
Lyra and Bon Bon were on their way to the pond to feed the ducks, as was their ritual on days such as these, when they paused by the road to the Library, observing the four stoic white and golf Pegasus stationed outside.
"Well, must be nice to get house calls from the Princess herself." Lyra grumbled. "I wish I was important like that."
Bon Bon gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "You're important to me, now hurry with that baguette."
"Oh, and here's Twilight eating her first plate of alfalfa!" Mrs. Sparkle giggled as she sat between Twilight and Celestia, the couch flanked by two of Celestia, an old photo book open in her lap. In it, a Twilight as a mere foal was sitting in her high chair, her face buried in a big plate of alfalfa like it was the most awesome thing ever. Celestia giggled softly, while Twilight withered with embarrassment. Her mother was showing her superior her baby pictures…
"Ah, and here she is, blowing out her birthday candles repeatedly because the silly filly thought she could get her Cutie Mark that way." Twilight puffed her cheeks while the two mares enjoyed another giggle.
Macintosh emerged setting out some fresh coffee. "Food'll be a bit longer. Need to make enough to go around, and all. Hope you don't mind the wait, Yer highness."
"Oh not at all, Master Macintosh." Celestia sipped her tea. "Hmmm…How about I give you a hand? I'm actually quite fond of the kitchen."
All four ponies sputtered into their drinks.
"Oh! That's not necessary, yer highness!" Macintosh held up his hooves. "It ain't no trouble at all not none!"
"Pish posh." Celestia was already trotting into Twilights kitchen. "Come, Master Macintosh, let's make breakfast."
Macinotsh swallowed and obeyed, turned to look at the group with a 'remember me as I was' glance. Everyone waved a hoof to him, unsure if they would ever see him again.
"You know…Really, I can take care of it…I've cooked for thirty or so ponies before." Macintosh said as Celestia used her magic to tie one of Twilights aprons on herself.
"But I want to her." She said cheerfully, following it up with a sigh as she set about to work, chopping some potatoes for the hash browns. "It can get so tiring having everyone insist on doing everything for you…"
"Well, I reckon that's so…" Macintosh got back to making the biscuits.
"So…how is everything between you and Twilight?" Celestia asked.
"Er…We're good. Takin' things nice and casual." Macintosh thought for a moment. "I mean, not casual as in, just foolin' around, no no, we…uh…we're takin' it easy…Not that Twilight is easy! No,s he, uh, she can be right hard sometimes…I mean-"
"It's alright, Macintosh. I understand…How was your visit to Canterlot last week?" Celestia asked, setting the chopped potatoes aside, suddenly spying a plate of orange frosted cupcakes. "Ooh, these are my favorite…May I?"
Macintosh felt himself go rigid at the mention of Canterlot, giving Celestia a nod as she gleefully nibbled on the baked treat. "Canterlot was good…We, uh, we were visitin' a supplier…for the farm…"
"You also visited Trixie, did you not?" There was a sly fashion in the way Celestia glanced at him, a dollop of orange frosting on her nose.
"We…uh…We met." Macintosh tried to focus on his cooking."You talked about something."
"Not…the trouble making variety, I presume…?" Celestia sashayed across the kitchen to set the bowl of chopped potatoes by his side.
"O-Of course not, ma'am, I would never…" Macintosh locked eyes with Celestia, who was now very close, staring into his with an enigmatic glimmer, like she was staring directly into his soul. It made Macintosh feel ashamed. Clearing his throat, his looked Celelstia in the eye. "…Nuttin' happened."
This seemed to satisfy the princess, a soft smile gracing her as she went about her duty in lending a hand in breakfast. Macintosh couldn't have felt more uncomfortable being alone in a room with a single pony if that pony had a stick of dynamite tied to her flank.
Celestia was already at Twilights. At current, she was doing something…Domestic. Her mood kept shifting from playful, to a sudden serious drop, but then it went back to being playful. She was in proximity to Big Macintosh, that much could be detected. That particular presence was hard to mistake. Macintosh's mood was in an even uncomfortable state. However, there was no indication that the expected chastising had or would even take place.
Princess Luna was most displeased. She had personally delivered evidence of Macintosh's meeting with Trixie to Celestia, evidence of infidelity…or at least infidelity according to the way things were done in Equestria…1000 years ago. Luna went from being displeased, to just feeling old.
Luna stepped out of the magic circle drawn in her darkened study, almost too tired to even care anymore. She was becoming the very definition of the jealous ex-lover, and she found it to be a most unattractive aspect. She had already made it quite clear that she and Macintosh could never be the couple that she wanted them to be. He would never be accepted by the high class as her consort. He would have been miserable. Nor could they have just gone on as they had. But they hadn't, not since Macintosh started having eyes for Twilight Sparkle. It made Luna both tired and annoyed, as she flopped onto her circular bed, draped in silken royal blue sheets.
"It won't work, Macintosh…Your sister and her friends would run me right out of Ponyville after that last display. I'm better off alone." The voice of Trixie had grabbed Luna's attention as she was going about her stroll among the people in disguise…her way of getting to know her subjects by observing and interacting. It was the marvel of a well made cape and hood. As far as anyone knew, she was but one of many students from the academy with a penchant for dramatic aversion of the sun.
"I can handle mah sister, and if need be, knock some sense inta her if she gets rowdy." Macintosh was walking alongside her. Luna raised an eyebrow curiously, starting to shadow them as they made their way across town from the market.
"But why?" Trixie stopped suddenly, forcing Luna to duck behind a refuse bin. There was an unpleasant odor that distracted her from paying attention to what was being said. Now Mac was talking, with her only catching the end of his statement.
"I'm more than willin' to give this a shot if you are…At worst, we both get run outta Ponyville."
"You're willing to put a lot on the line to make her happy. I envy that about you, Mister Macintosh." Trixie sighed. Luna saw none of that thick headedness now. She was fully disarmed, but seemed more than ready to bring up her defenses if need be. What was Macintosh up to?
"When ya love someone, there's no limit to how far you need to go. We both love her…Right?"
"Yes…Yes, I suppose we do."
"Then what's the problem? She wants ya at be part o' her life…as much as ah wanna be part o' hers."
"The race was just us being bull-headed foals with no idea what we was doin' to Twilight. I see that now. And it was right selfish of us not to see it."
"If you haven't noticed, Mister Macintosh, I can be very selfish."
"An I don't buy into that. I'd bet the farm that's none but an act you put on to go with that "Great and Powerful" title you carry 'round."
Trixie scoffed. "You act like you know me so well, Macintosh."
"Maybe I wanna."
"Maybe I wanna see what it is Twilight see's."
Shortly after, the two continued on their way, Luna hanging back, her mind calculating and arranging everything she just heard. Macintosh, consorting with both Trixie and Twilight, together? The very notion nearly made her thought process shut down. How shameful! How inappropriate! Twilight was already neglecting her duty to her studies in the endeavor that led to this, and now she was bordering on the precipice of an entirely delinquent relationship with more than one pony!
Celestia WOULD hear of this.
…And Celestia apparently did not give a grain…A quick glance back revealed they were all eating breakfast now…And being very merry together. How could she approve of such a thing? Maybe Macintosh denied any and all. He must have recognized the Cupcakes were a warning of Celestia's impending arrival so he made up an alibi. Granted, she had only requested the cupcakes of the Pink One to ensure that Celestia first visited Twilight, to catch them early in the morning, perhaps doing something inappropriate for two Ponies not yet wed.
Luna stopped herself…She had one of her socks clenched between her teeth and was pulling on it angrily. She was angry, very angry indeed. Macintosh had been hers, and all hers, for those brief few weeks until he started to stray from her…Reverse Psychology had failed to draw him back…And now he was so far gone away from her…
"This isn't how things were supposed to work out!" Luna kicked her feet and collapsed in a heap on her bed. "I don't approve, I don't approve, I don't approve! Why does no one ever care about what I approve of?" She sulked into her sheets. "…I'm a princess too you know…"
"Thank you so much for breakfast, Twilight. And it was a pleasure meeting you again, Mr. and Mrs. Sparkle." Princess Celestia bade the group farewell, finding it time to get on with her royal schedule.
"Oh, it was our pleasure, your highness." Twilight bowed. "I'm always happy to receive you in my home."
As the royal party took their leave, there was a heavy sigh of relief. No matter how…aloof and casual the Princess acted in front of her subjects, she never disappointed in bringing ponies on edge. Macintosh in particular was happy to see the princess leave. All through breakfast, she was casting him studious glances, like she was trying to read his mind.
"Well…Guess I should make myself useful." Macintosh announced. "Sis might need a hoof loadin' the cart…"
"Aw…" Twilight pouted. "Well, I'll be sure to have something nice made for dinner tonight, as thanks for all the hard work." She nuzzled up on Mac, eliciting a adoring squeal form her mother.
"Such a nice young pony." Mrs. Sparkle mused as they ventured back inside. Twilight was about to shut the door behind her, when she heard a distinct "psst" sound. More precisely, a "psst" sound coming from her bushes. Her curiosity trigger, she trotted over to the shrub.
"Yes…?" She asked the shrub.
The bush shook some, and she heard a softly uttered "oh bugger", before a unicorns horn poked out of it.
"…G-good morning, Twilight…"
"Trixie…? Is that you?" Twilight drew back the limbs, revealing the curled up unicorn inside, who was staring up at her with a slight hint of indignance in her eyes.
"…Is Macintosh in residence?" She asked simply.
"Er…No, he just left to go see Applejack." Twilight tilted her head, glancing around before leaning into the bush. "What are you doing here?"
Trixie's expression didn't divert much from the stubborn look as she sat there in the shrubbery, except for the slight blush that crept across her cheeks. "Well, to be honest, I am not entirely sure what led me out here this morning. Nonetheless, I'm here, we both can attest to that…and I think perhaps there was some things that I wanted to discuss with you…"
"Oh I see…That's great, because there was something I wanted to-"
"Hey Twilight!" A voice called to Twilight, as she looked up from the bush, to see Rainbow Dash coming in for a landing on her walkway.
"Rainbow Dash, wow, a few more and I'll have seen everyone this morning." Twilight giggled.
"Uh, right." Rainbow Dash gave her a confused look before continuing. "Anyhay, my informants in the field have reported that a certain show pony may be in town, for nefarious purposes." She saluted, as though she was delivering a combat report.
"And when you say your informant, you mean Scootaloo, right?" Twilight asked, a little amused.
Rainbow Dash waved a hoof dismissively. "Yeah, yeah, look what I'm saying is ponies have seen Trixie sneaking around town, and we both know she can't be up to anything good. We're keeping an eye for her, so don't you worry."
Twilight shook her head in some dismay, but smiled all the same. "Well, I appreciate the intel, Lt. Dash."
After Rainbow Dash left, soaring off to do whatever it was she did with her day, Trixie pondered perhaps that she was due for a mane-dye and a name change. She contemplated how The Great and Powerful Stephanie would look in lights.
"So, where were we…?" Twilight poked her head back in the bush.
"We're not getting anywhere with this…" Sweetie Belle kicked a little rock as she and Applebloom strolled along. "No one wants to talk to us about their love lives."
"Yeah, if Scootaloo dun come up with nuttin' from Dash, we may as well…Hold up…" Applebloom stopped, ducking into the tall grass along the road.
"What? What is it?" Sweetie Belle asked. Applebloom yanked her into the grass and pointed towards Twilights treehouse.
"Twilights place?" Sweetie Belle asked, confused. "What's so strange about that?"
"Why's Twilight talkin' inta that bush?" Applebloom watched on.
"Twilight, are you alright out there?" Twilights mother called from inside.
"Just fine, Mother, just cleaning my step!" Twilight called back, before regarding the bush. "…I'll open a window upstairs…Can you manage?"
"Twilight?" Her mother called once more.
"I still don't see…" Sweetie Belle was starting to lost her patience.
"Wait wait, who's that comin' outta that bush?" Applebloom asked.
Up ahead, they watched on as Trixie tip-hoofed out of the bushes and cast some sort of spell on her own hooves, before beginning to scale the treehouse. Up on the second floor, they saw Twilight open a window, and wave to Trixie, looking around rather suspiciously before vanishing back inside. Trixie climbed up to the window, and scampered inside, shutting the window behind her.
"What in tarnation…?" Applebloom muttered.
Sweetie Belle pondered for a moment before the light bulb went off in her head. "OH MAH GOSH!"
"Sssh!" Applebloom hissed. "What what?"
"I read about this in sisters books! It's ah…Infe…Infidel…Infinite Deli Meat?"
"Ah, thanks Rarity. Yes, Infideli-SIS!" Both fillies jumped, now face to face with a rather cross Rarity.
"So, it's true what I've been hearing about you three going around and asking embarrassing questions." Rarity scolded.
"Bu…But we was only tryin' to help." Applebloom sulked.
"And sis! We saw something bad! Like, real bad!" Sweetie Belle insisted.
"I know you did, I saw it too." Rarity shook her head with a sigh. "I'm the one who got her into all of this, and now I feel I've led her down a dark path of heartbreak and despair… "
"What do you mean, sis?" Sweetie Belle asked.
Rarity narrowed her eyes, staring off into the distance. "She has tasted a forbidden fruit, the Love Triangle…She can no longer be satisfied with just one, and now she toys with both of them…Oh, my dear dear friend, what have I done to you…? But fear not, Twilight!…Big Sister Rarity has a plan."
To be continued…