Rereading it didn't help. No matter how many times the puzzled alicorn passed her soft lavender eyes down the worn parchment, the words made no more sense than they had before. Why so cryptic? Why so… demanding, even? The instructions were clear, in her elegant and refined lettering, and footed by a raised seal with a detailed portrait of the sun. There was no way this was a mistake or a prank, but then, what could it possibly mean? With a sigh, the reclining mare blinked to refocus her vision, and read the letter a final time.
I believe that it would benefit us both to speak tonight. I have everything I need in order to finalize the public announcement of your wedding tomorrow, but there are matters that we must discuss in private. Do not bring Shining Armor. Please meet me atop the astronomy tower as soon as you can slip out of your room unnoticed. Bring only yourself, and the voice of your heart. I will be waiting.
-Your loving aunt,
Princess Cadance closed her eyes, rubbing her temples with her hooves as she levitated the parchment over to the bedside table. One more read-through, and the alicorn was convinced that she would tear the mysterious note apart in frustration.
Bring only 'the voice of my heart'? What does that even mean?
With a sigh, the mare allowed herself to fall backward, her head hitting the pillow below with a muted thump. Casting her eyes to the side, Cadance took in the sight of the snow-white stallion with which she was sharing the bed, long since asleep and snoring lightly. A ghost of a smile crept across her face as she rolled sideways, lightly touching a hoof to the other pony's shoulder.
The stallion, Shining Armor, twitched slightly in response before pulling the covers farther up his body and settling back into his slumber. Cadance merely shook her head, rubbing her hoof along the tired male's form in slow circles as she tried to make sense of her thoughts.
Well… he's out. I can certainly 'slip out unnoticed' as she so creepily phrased it. The alicorn rolled her eyes, shivering slightly as the night air nipped at her exposed fur, no longer covered by the blankets that her beau had pulled toward himself. I really shouldn't keep her waiting. She's planning to stop everything in Canterlot short of time itself just for me and Shining… the least I can do is acquiesce to whatever this summons may be.
Cadance brought her hooves up to fully remove the covers from herself before swinging her hind legs down and touching them to the floor. Several deep breaths and a series of stretches later, she leaned forward onto all fours, standing straight and shaking her head in the semi-darkness.
This is just too strange. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. Aunt Celestia has never been one to mince words, and she's never called for meetings in private, either. If something important needs to be said, she's always been adept at saying it in front of everypony in a way that won't offend. So… why can't I bring Shining?
A tingling sensation worked its way up Cadance's body, beginning in her hooves and flowing steadily in a wave of pins and needles, reaching all the way out to her wingtips. Ever since receiving the note after a friendly, conversation-rich dinner with the other alicorn, something about the night had seemed… off. Where had Celestia been the rest of the day, and why was such secrecy needed?
Confusion and frustration began to blend, overpowering Cadance's thoughts with a blur of mixed emotion. The mare closed her eyes and breathed in deep, doing everything she could to calm down. A faint scent of vanilla reached her nostrils, wafting through the air slowly from atop the vanity. Cadance opened her eyes and slowly walked to the source; a single candle providing light to the otherwise darkened room. Thinking quickly, the alicorn brought the note over, enveloped in a blue glow as it moved through the air. With a lopsided frown, the mare deposited the parchment into the flame, watching unblinkingly as the paper began to char before her.
He doesn't need to see that. He'll just worry about me… like he always does. I'll be fine with aunt Celestia. But… still…
Though orders were orders, and she had already lingered for longer than she felt comfortable doing, a familiar tug in her chest urged Cadance back to the bedside once more. Slowly trotting around so as not to wake the resting stallion, the stealthy mare worked her way around the bed until she could see her fiance's closed eyes. The sight of his creased brow, clenched tightly as though etched in stone, did little to bring the alicorn any comfort. Hesitantly, she leaned in, planting her lips to his cheek before stopping to hover them just above his ear.
He isn't supposed to know. She wants me to just… sneak out, for whatever reason. But I can't just leave him in the dark. What harm could it do to tell him?
"…Shining? My love?"
A sharp intake of breath was the stallion's response, and Cadance moved back to give the male some space as his eyes fluttered open. Shining Armor let out a colossal yawn, turning it into a satisfied smile as he beheld the blurry image of the pink mare standing before him.
Cadance blushed, smiling a little and grateful for the lack of light save the small, flickering visibility afforded by the singular candle. Use of her birth name was always something reserved only for him, and only in private. The sound of his pronunciation of the foreign word caused her heart to flutter, even after so many years together. With just the one word, the alicorn began to feel a little bit more confident, and leaned in for a full kiss.
Shining Armor reciprocated, allowing his lover to take the lead. The stallion ran a gentle hoof through Cadance's multicolor hair, before dropping it back to the mattress and breaking away to smile.
"What's going on? Can't sleep?"
"Not exactly." Cadance fidgeted, stepping lightly on her hooves as she breathed out a sigh. Even though she knew that it wasn't what Celestia wanted, the sight of Shining Armor's curious eyes shattered all sense and caused the words to tumble from her mouth before she could stop them. "Aunt Celestia wants to see me. Alone."
"Now?" Shining Armor let out another yawn, shifting uncomfortably beneath the blankets as he wrinkled his nose. "But Cadance, it's like… sleep o' clock in the morning…"
Cadance laughed lightly, bringing a hoof up to bop her lover lightly on the nose. A lame joke was just what she needed in such a strangely tense situation, and hearing his pathetic efforts at humor lightened her spirits enough to smile once again. "I know. I'll be quick. Promise me you'll try to sleep without me for a little while?"
"It'll be hard, but I'll do my best." The unicorn gave a final yawn, shaking his head as his dark blue mane tumbled into his line of sight. "Have fun."
Cadance cast her eyes to the ceiling, wondering how dense her mate could possibly be. Couldn't he see the obvious signs of worry in her features, the restlessness with which she kept shifting?
"I will. Dream of me." The alicorn leaned in for a quick kiss, capturing Shining Armor's lips and pulling back with a light blush.
"I always do."
A scarlet flush covered Cadance's cheeks as she turned away, walking quickly through the bedroom to reach the door. Though her heart was still beating erratically as she placed her hoof upon the door handle, the scent of vanilla was just a little bit sweeter and more calming than it had been before.
A swath of glittering stars painted the night with droplets of illumination, each pinprick of light offering a beautiful and solitary glow against the darkness. Cadance kept her eyes trained skyward as her naked hooves clopped against the rough stone of the parapet, the sensation somewhat unfamiliar. The sight of her other aunt's creations had always amazed the alicorn, and she found that the sight was slowing her journey considerably. Even with apprehension slowing her hooves, the sheer amount of beauty in the night sky was enough to mire her steps all its own.
I don't want to be here. I don't want to talk to her… everything is going as it should, so why this clandestine meeting all of the sudden?
As Cadance continued to make her way across the stone, her hoof impacted a ledge, causing her to stumble forward and snap her eyes back to the path ahead. Before her lay a small staircase, leading up to the turret that was her destination. There upon the raised platform stood Celestia, her back turned and her soft magenta eyes locked upon the stars as well.
"Careful, my niece. It does no good to be so drawn to an unreachable ideal that you lose sight of the ground in front of you."
Cadance coughed and brought a hoof up to hide her embarrassed blush. As quickly as she could, she hopped up the steps two at a time before silently taking her place next to the larger alicorn. Once again, her eyes found their way to the stars, and she began to mull over Celestia's words.
Knowing her, that's some metaphor for what this entire meeting is about. Certainly doesn't make me feel any better…
Despite her misgivings, Cadance began to smile, entertained by her thoughts as she kept her attention on the spattering of lights so far above. A familiar sensation of warmth enveloped her entire body, and the pink mare allowed herself to relax under the light sensation. She knew without looking that Celestia's wing was wrapped around her, and the comforting feeling immediately chased away all of her fears. Slowly, she closed her eyes, content that all was right with the world.
"Cadance… have you any idea why I have summoned you here?"
Cadance let her guard down, drawing herself closer into the warmth provided by the swanlike wing enveloping her. Beneath that light touch, she felt protected. Even after so many years out on her own and so much time gone by, something about being close enough to the Princess of the Sun to feel her natural warmth brought all of Cadance's fears to rest and loosened her tongue.
"No. Though I hope that it's not something bad."
Celestia's laugh rang out like a chorus of glass bells, echoing lightly into the night. "You were never one to value appearances in private, hm?"
The sleepy mare shook her head, nuzzling closer into the comforting wing only to have it pulled away from her. Cadance sheepishly looked up to see Celestia smiling down at her, awaiting a response to the obvious query.
"No, I guess not." Cadence took a quick breath, before leaning forward and wrinkling her nose. "But it isn't bad, right?"
"'Bad' is relative, dear niece," Celestia began. "I suppose that the word I would choose for this situation is… serious."
"Serious?" Cadance tilted her head as she slowly sat upon the stone, letting the coolness sink into her backside. "Serious usually isn't good…"
"Cadance," Celestia interrupted, "I will preface this now with the statement that what we are about to speak of is not something you are going to wish to hear."
The smaller alicorn tensed immediately, knowing that the shift in tone signified that pleasantries were over.
"All the same, I would rather shoulder the responsibility of having this conversation with you than have you arrive at the same conclusion after it is too late."
All semblance of comfort drained from Cadance's body as the words slowly processed in her mind.
Too late? Shoulder the responsibility? What does that ev-
"My niece, I know that you have enjoyed the benefits of being a princess, while still being a part of normal society for the majority of your life up to this point. Correct?"
Cadance looked up at Celestia, puzzled by the sudden inquiry. "Well, yes. Ruling just isn't my destiny, so I took on the life of a common pony. That's how I started foalsitting, and… you know the rest."
Expecting a warm laugh lead only to disappointment as Celestia walked forward, unwilling to face the smaller mare. Slowly, the ivory coated monarch dipped her head, breathing in the night air as she collected her thoughts before speaking. "But you are not a 'common pony', Cadance."
Confused, Cadance rose to stand. "I know. But that doesn't mean that I can't coexist with them." Sudden realization swept over the mare as she stood, and she creased her brow in an unamused gesture. "Is this about Shining Armor being a unicorn? I thought you of all ponies would support such a thing!"
Celestia turned slowly, her eyes full of sadness. "Yes, Cadance. It is."
The smaller princess flew into a rage, her wings flaring as she stepped forward in anger. "Aunt Celestia, how could you? I love him with all of my heart! I don't care about… about bloodlines, or whatever the problem with that i-"
Celestia raised her hoof, holding it up in front of herself for silence. Despite her quickly escalating temper, Cadance stopped her ranting and resigned herself to heavy breaths.
"You misunderstand. Cadance… you are an alicorn. There are benefits and detriments that come with that fact. Being so integrated with the three common breeds of pony, I do not believe you have realized the possible drawbacks of this proposed marriage."
"Drawbacks? Princess Celestia, start talking sense!" Cadance became incensed, beating her wings furiously as she neared the point of tears. All decorum and pretense went out the window as her thoughts bubbled over, placing Shining Armor's honor before all else in her mind.
"Cadance, please!" Celestia's tone became desperate as she walked back over to the fuming mare, trying once again to wrap a wing around her niece's form. Cadance resisted and stepped backward, shaking her head as she stomped a hoof into the stone below.
"No! I'm not listening to any more of this! Give me a reason to even consider your words beyond this point! You call me up here in the middle of the night, insult my fiancé, and treat me as though I'm a foal who doesn't know her own physicality!" Cadance stomped again, her entire chest burning with a mixture of exasperation and anger. "What aren't you saying?"
Celestia lowered her gaze to the parapet, unblinking as she stood incredibly still. With one eye hidden behind her mane, the elder mare stood silently in the night breeze, letting the cold sensation rush through her fur as she considered her words carefully. For several seconds she waited, until Cadance's furious breathing slowed to a more normal pace. Without locking eyes, Celestia spoke softly.
"Cadance, how old am I? How old is Luna?"
Cadance froze, completely unprepared for the seemingly random question. Though she knew not why, her hooves began to go numb, and her flank dropped back to the cool stone as she pondered. "I… have no idea. Older than most ponies. At least a thousand years. Why?"
Celestia raised her eyes with hesitation, searching Cadance's features for a sign of understanding, only to be met with a puzzled stare. "Cadance, alicorns are immortal. We cannot die naturally."
All at once, the world went silent, and Cadance's mind became completely blank. The numbness crept from her hooves all throughout her body, causing her mouth to run dry and all movement to cease. The pony stared straight ahead into Celestia's face, watching in disbelief as the tearful older mare slowly approached. Once again the large wing extended to wrap around Cadance's shaking body, but this time, all that she felt was cold.
The dryness of her lips made forcing out a single word a herculean effort for the shattered mare. Cadance blinked as everything around her became a blur, the entire world subjected to a filter of tears. Neither pony was quite sure just how long they stood, aunt embracing niece as the younger mare struggled to stay standing. Of all the things that could have been spoken of that night, Cadance had never expected this.
"You're telling me that… you're saying Shining Armor… he's… I'm going to…"
"Yes. It is inevitable." Celestia tightened her hug, bringing both wings down to try to circumvent her niece's trembling. "As a unicorn, he will… not be able to be with you forever."
Cadance continued to weep, pressed tightly into Celestia's chest. The problem had been in her face the entire time, but nopony had ever brought it to her attention it until now. In the span of seconds, the day spiraled from one of the best in recent memory to the absolute nadir of her life, and Cadance stumbled forward, clinging desperately to the larger mare.
"I was afraid of this. I thought for a long time about whether I should call you here, especially now. In our time apart, I feared that nopony would have alerted you to the truth of the matter, and that being so sheltered, you might not have arrived at the conclusion on your own."
The pink alicorn only sobbed harder, her tears dampening Celestia's chest as the older mare's own tears dripped downward into Cadance's mane.
"Perhaps it is best this way. I can speak from experience."
Cadance drew her face back, looking desperately up at her relative and mentor. "What?"
Celestia sucked in a breath and wiped her eyes with a hoof, blinking to better compose herself. "Over a millennium ago, I was in the same situation as you are now. I will never forget the night when I realized that he and I were… not meant to be compatible."
The smaller mare lowered herself into a prone position, staring blankly as she listened to the tale. To her surprise, Celestia moved to lie down directly beside her before continuing, her eyes mostly dry and her voice clear and careful.
"On that night, I made a choice. A choice that you must now make for yourself."
Cadance continued to tremble as she sniffled, completely unwilling to begin thinking about such things. "Wh-what did you choose?"
"I chose to continue."
Once again, silence reigned, save for the muted noises of the nocturnal fauna about the castle grounds. Cadance remained quiet, her eyes long since run dry and her head pounding with a terrible, piercing pain. Try as she might, no thoughts would surface beyond a crippling sense of despair, interrupted only by Celestia's continued speech.
"The thought of him, of how much of myself I lost when his time came, still haunts me to this very day. It left a scar upon my soul that I fear can never heal, Cadance. And yet, the love that we shared is one that I would never trade." Celestia leaned down to nuzzle the insecure mare before her, and was met with no response. "I still wonder if I made the correct choice."
"Why?" Cadance managed to croak out. The alicorn cleared her throat, coughing dryly into her hoof before trying again. "Why are you telling me this? Why couldn't I just have lived in ignorance until later?"
"It would have only made things worse," Celestia replied. "As much as it hurts now, if you choose to leave, then I can cancel the wedding plans and you both can find other partners in time." Celestia once again raised her hoof to silence Cadance, who had yet again adopted a furious look. "I am not saying that that is a good move, but it is an option. You must think about not only him, but yourself, as well. Do you want to continue forward, knowing that one day, it will end in heartbreak?"
"I…" Cadance began, but immediately closed her mouth. The gravity of the situation was slowly beginning to sink in, and a crushing sense of self-doubt was quick to chase the tingling numbness.
"Dearest niece, this is not an easy decision. However, it is a very personal one. Please, tell me your thoughts, and perhaps it will help you to reach a conclusion."
Celestia pulled the other mare in as tight as she could before settling into a comfortable position, her head rested atop that of Cadance. The younger alicorn accepted the touch, and found that she had no more tears left to give as she spoke in hushed tones.
"I don't know what I'm feeling. I love him with all of my heart, and I would never question that, but now I can't help but wonder… is it fair to either of us to continue?"
"When I lost him," Celestia began, "I felt as though my world was ending. After so much shared, after exchanging bits of ourselves that nopony else was allowed to see… how could those parts of me not die along with him?"
"I don't know. I suppose they would have to. But…" Cadance looked up into Celestia's eyes, searching for answers that the other pony refused to give.
Do I push? Should I challenge her?
And still, the bitter wind continued to blow. Celestia remained silent, almost infuriatingly so, content to merely hold her niece's gaze. It was a game that both mares were quite used to, and one in which Cadance was still learning the rules. The pondering princess closed her eyes, and the answer came almost immediately.
…bring only myself, and the voice of my heart. She wants me to.
"…would it not be worth it? If I am to know love so that I might share it, as is my calling…" Cadance leaned down to look at her cutie mark, smiling sadly at the sight of the framed teal heart upon her flank. "…then I must also know the potential pain of loss that comes with it. I found my purpose in sharing the wonders of love with those who aren't feeling it, but given my upbringing, I must also learn to help others through tragedy caused by love."
"Noble. But is that not a bit clinical?"
Cadance looked back to the elder mare, puzzled by the words.
"You speak from a rational standpoint, Cadance. While your heart is in the right place for the good of all those around you, as it always has been, I have learned through experience that when it comes to affairs of the heart, rationality has very little room to stay. How do you feel on a personal level? Do you love him enough to stay with him until the inevitable end?"
If nothing else could be said, Cadance would have to agree that the night had been full of surprises. Fresh tears cascaded down her face, despite the mystery of their origin. The numbness became fleeting, replaced by a desperate and sorrowful warmth as she closed her eyes and began to reflect.
Countless memories of late evenings under the stars, warm embraces, and sitting silently together swam through her thoughts. Coming home to a bouquet and a hastily scribbled note, apologizing profusely for his absence and promising her the world upon his return. The day of her first personal loss, when they had talked well into the following morning, sharing secrets and more in a secluded grove. The night that he had proposed, vowing never to leave her side no matter what would have to be given to fulfill that promise.
"I am willing. To deny him my love out of fear for his safety would be betraying us both, and he has given me everything." Cadance rose to stand, flaring her wings and smiling through the tears as Celestia nodded in encouragement. "I have pledged to give him myself, and he has done the same for me. All of my love, all of my misgivings, and all of my fears belong to him, and his to me. This is another test of that vow, and it isn't one I intend to break."
Celestia extended a wing, gently brushing the feathers across Cadance's cheek to wipe away the lingering trails of tears. "I am glad to hear it. Cadance, you have my blessing, as well as my eternal support. Knowing what you now know, it may become difficult not to think of the future. Do not hesitate to call upon me when you are in need, and I will do what I can to support you. This will not be an easy road to travel."
"It will be one that I am willing to travel with him. Even when… it ends. He will never leave my thoughts."
"Then I request only one thing of you, in return for my offer of being a pillar to lean upon."
Cadance took a deep breath, doing her best to regain her composure. Again she looked to the stars, inhaling the crisp air and letting the icy bite of late evening flood throughout her body. "Anything."
"Do not make the same mistake that I did," came the cryptic response. "Go to him. Cherish every moment that you have together, and spend every day embracing the love that you have found. Time, for him, is finite, and to give him anything less is to devalue your love."
"I will." Cadance sniffled, and primed her wings for takeoff. "I promise you… I will. My love for him is pure, and it isn't going to waver despite this situation."
Celestia nodded and turned away, her voice cracking slightly as she composed a response. "I pray that you are right. Now please, waste no more time here. I will finalize plans for the wedding, and it will be made public tomorrow."
Cadance extended her wings to fly off, but stopped herself in mid movement. Curiosity won out over caution, and the impulsiveness that she had gleaned from so much time with her lover trumped sense. "What about you?"
"Me?" The larger princess turned, one eye hidden safely behind her flowing pastel mane.
"Will you ever be able to love again? On a deeper, personal level?" Cadance fidgeted, praying that her question wouldn't offend. As she watched Celestia's wings droop, she felt inclined to rush over and apologize, but froze in surprise as she received a response.
"Perhaps. Perhaps I will consider, after seeing your own love light the way." The Princess of the Sun offered a sad smile, before quickly dipping her head with a knowing look. "Go. This time is yours. Do not squander it with a brooding mare who has made her mistakes. Focus instead upon avoiding your own."
Cadance rushed forward to nuzzle into Celestia's chest, overwhelmed by emotion and unable to put her thoughts into words. "We'll talk again soon. Thank you, aunt Celestia. For everything."
"You are most welcome." The elder pony returned the embrace before lightly nudging Cadance away from her. "I wish to be alone with my memories. Go forth, and create your own."
Cadance merely nodded and smiled, before running off the lip of the tower and spreading her wings to fly back to her slumbering stallion.
A series of clacks rang out as Cadance's hooves touched down upon the balcony, chased by a long shadow created by the falling moon. The mare turned to gaze at the sky a final time, noting that a sizable portion of the night still remained.
Good. I wish for nothing more than to feel his warmth at my side right now.
Carefully, Cadance unlocked the balcony windows with a muted blue flash to gain admittance to the bedroom. There, still in the position she had left him, was Shining Armor, smiling in his sleep. Cadance mirrored the smile and approached the stallion, stepping lightly to ensure that he was able to continue his rest. The alicorn stood still for several minutes, watching silently as the blankets rose and fell in a soft rhythm. Her smile began to droop into a solemn grimace as something tugged at her heart, and the mare looked away with uncertainty.
One day, I'm going to lose him. Shining Armor is… my love is… going to die.
Cadance nodded in the darkness, suddenly feeling very cold. Without so much as a glance, she pulled the balcony doors shut with a swirl of magic. Slowly, she looked back to her mate, shaking her head with determination.
But that day is not today. Until then, no, even afterward… it is my duty to both him and myself to show him the purity of my love.
Resolute in her goal, the determined mare nodded to herself and walked to the vanity mirror, where her vanilla candle had burned out. The remnants of the letter lay charred atop the pooled wax, casting eerie shadows within the glass. With a soft sigh, Cadance lifted a brush from atop the polished wood, and began to pull it through her mane while gazing at her reflection in the traces of moonlight.
It's going to be difficult. Especially if… he realizes.
Cadance blinked, suddenly suspicious. The mare stopped brushing, and instead turned to look back at the sleeping stallion atop the bed. Shining Armor continued to lay unmoving, completely silent and seemingly lost in a dream.
In fact, knowing him, he already knows…
Cadance allowed herself a sad smile, before turning back to the mirror and pulling the brush downward once again. The alicorn's heart stopped in shock as she stared ahead into the reflective surface, and the brush dropped from her grip. Her reflection hadn't moved.
"Yes. You're exactly what I need…"
More quickly than she could react, Cadance's reflection turned to face her, with bright jade eyes in place of where the soft lavender should have been. The doppelganger smiled maliciously as she reached a hoof out through the mirror, grabbing Cadance by the throat and stifling the princess' scream before it could escape her. With a colossal effort, the reflection pulled the struggling mare into the mirror, forcing her downward behind the glass before stepping outward into the bedroom, stumbling a bit as she moved off the vanity and to the floor.
Startled at the muffled noise, the imposter's breath hitched as she cast her eyes to the bed. Shining Armor shifted only slightly before pulling the blankets tighter around himself and releasing a sigh. The intruding creature allowed herself a wicked grin and turned back to the mirror to see Cadance pounding noiselessly against the inside of the glass. The disguised pony moved closer, her eyes flashing with a satisfied glint as she licked her lips. A laugh escaped her in a reverberating echo, accompanied with a greedy smile.
"Don't worry, Dear. I'll relocate you soon enough. But first, I wish to have some… fun."
Cadance opened her mouth to scream from behind the glass, but no noise reached the two occupants of the room as she watched her double climb into bed. Shining Armor stirred and rolled over, only to find the copy of his love staring lovingly into his eyes while she ran a hoof through her windswept mane.
"I've returned, my love."
Shining Armor smiled in content, as Cadance began to sob from behind her reflective prison.
"How was the meeting with Princess Celestia? Everything okay?"
"Never better," the mare replied. "Though now, I'm feeling a bit… tense."
Shining Armor leaned upward on his back, only to find a hoof pushed into his chest, forcing him back downward to keep the mirror out of view. He raised his brows in surprise, and smiled up at his supposed lover. "I can imagine. Princess Celestia might be a wonderful mare, but still, she's kinda intimidating."
"Mm…" the changeling replied. "Though I think you can help me relax. I know for certain that I can help you." The imposter noted Cadance screaming in her peripheral vision, tears cascading down her face as she sobbed and lunged at the glass, desperate to escape. "Lie back, my love. Let me do all of the work."
"Cadenza?" Shining Armor inquired, and tried to lean upward once again. A sudden weight forced him back down as the other pony moved to straddle his chest, running her hooves up to his shoulders as she leaned in and captured his mouth. The two shared a passionate kiss, and the alicorn slid her tongue into the stallion's mouth, catching him by surprise. Shining Armor tried to lean back, only for the copy of Cadance to bite his lip, drawing a little blood before letting him break the contact.
"Just lean back. Let me show you just how much I care…"
Cadance watched with horror as she saw herself lick under her fiance's chin before her replacement wrapped her hooves around the stallion and began to writhe in pleasure. A green glow wrapped around Shining Armor's horn as the double continued to straddle the stallion, and he leaned up to return the aggressive affection. With a quick motion, the unicorn rolled atop his new lover, and pressed himself downward atop the mare as Cadance's heart shattered and her world came crashing down around her.
Author's Note: So… about Pie & Pegasi being updated next. I promise that it's on its way soon! I just graduated from college days ago, so my schedule has basically cleared for much of the summer. I'll be doing a lot more writing, and I'm sorry for the lull in new material lately. Consider this my comeback. As for this idea… it came to me all at once, and was just too delicious not to pursue immediately. It's pretty clear during This Day Aria that Cadance's love for Shining Armor is legitimate, and I wanted to strengthen that beyond what little of their actual relationship we got to see. In addition, if their love is strong enough to knock the changeling army out of Canterlot and cause Celestia to fall over for a little bit, it should be focused upon somewhere. That, and I'm sure we're all wondering just how and when Chrysalis made her move. Here's my take on things. See you soon with Pie & Pegasi chapter five, and then Night chapter two!