Slow, but a decent chapter if you ask me. Just two small events. If I get any reviews today or tomorrow, I might just post the next chapter, which is a little longer and a lot more interesting.
I don't have much work done for my other stories so I won't be posting them for a while, but bear with me, and I'll try to have that changed sometime this summer, maybe even by late spring.
Disclaimer: I, Lord Genesis Shadow, do hereby state that I do not own the rights to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
I settled against the wall of the tent while Horatio walked out, the last show of the day going on between Bonzales, Jinkies, and Hokey the clowns with a few others. As he walked, he spotted me and smiled as he walked over. In just a few months, he had grown a fairly large mustache, possibly through magic, seeing as there was a magic boutique that catered to any clientele for most requests. As he walked, I whistled, making him look over and smile as he turned.
"Ace, my boy, you're really here!" He said, laughing proudly. "And without your cloak! My, you must have finally done what you needed to do to get that confidence I knew you had buried deep inside." I smiled as I turned to walk with him. "You'll have to tell me how."
"My parents." I said. "The last step, was coming home, and setting things right with them." He smiled. "And I'm here as one of the wedding planners."
"Ah, I'd heard your friends were here for it, so I wondered." He said. "Might I finally ask the names of your parents, now that you've squared things away?"
"Yeah…" I said. "If Sky's here." He laughed warmly and patted my shoulders with his wing.
"She's out back with Specs showing a few new aerobats a thing or two." He said. "Might we even get a chance to meet them?" I went to say yes when I heard a loud crash and a yell of pain. "That was Sky!" We ran over and I heard more hooves as I saw Sky stumbling out of a tent, onto to collapse with one of her wings sticking out at an obviously bad angle. "Sky!" We stopped by her as he helped her up. "Oh, dear, this looks like a dislocation…"
"Ugh, Ace, is that you?" She asked. "'sup?" She managed to stand up as I looked at Horatio.
"Three blocks down, there's a clinic." I said. "There's an old Pegasus doctor that should be able to help us fix this in a minute." He nodded and took off as Sky sighed.
"Ma-an, why today?" She asked. "I was gonna fly to Ponyville to find you." I turned and playfully pushed her chin with my hoof.
"You knew I'd be here." I said. "Royal wedding with Twilight's brother as the groom?" She laughed. "Wouldn't miss it… I couldn't, I made a promise." She slowly stopped laughing as hoovesteps moved closer, and I knew whose. "By the way, I made up with my family. And they wanted to meet you, Horatio, and everyone they can that helped raise me." She smiled, but stopped when my family walked over. "Sky, this is my father." I turned and gestured. "Blitz Stormrider." She was silent before I turned. "Sky, breathe." She shook her head and looked at me.
"S-seriously?" She asked.
"Yup, this is my boy, your sort-of-adopted brother." Dad said. Sky laughed nervously. "I know, and it's nice to meet you, too. Glad to know someone was looking out for my son when I couldn't, and I'm doubly glad someone kept him in the air now and then. Bet he taught you more than you taught him." Sky laughed and went to move her wing and winced. "Easy, now, that's no sprain." He looked at her. "Yeah, that's a big dislocation. I did that once, and…" He let out a quick breath. "It is not going to be a picnic getting it back in place, and you won't want to fly for a few weeks, or you'll hate flying for a few months. Again, I did that."
"C-can I help, at all?" Gale asked. Sky looked at her.
"Sky, meet my little sister, Gale." I said.
"W-wow…" Sky said. "I thought, I was seeing a young you, but, with poison joke again." We all laughed.
"Yeah, I heard about that." Dad said. "I can only imagine… A bat winged Alicorn. Now that would be a sight."
"And I'm their mother, Kerrigan Lightstrider." Mom said. "And, Gale, I think an ice conjuring spell would work later, after we get a towel." Gale nodded as I heard wings, and I turned in time to see a fairly older Pegasus stallion with glasses, wearing a white lab coat over his already white coat, a bow tie, and a kind expression.
"I hear that there's a young lady in need of my assistance?" He said. "Oh dear, that looks like a rather painful dislocation, but it doesn't look much more than a minor one. You're rather lucky, I remember a young Pegasus some twenty years ago, crash landed trying this, ridiculously difficult stunt he was working on, dislocated his right wing so bad I thought he'd never fly again, but fly he did, and he became a legend, so you, young miss, might live to find the same fate."
"Yes, well, that I did, Dr. Pochard." Dad said. The doctor looked over and a flash of remembrance came over his face.
"Ah, Mr. Stormrider!" He said cheerfully. "My goodness, it's been far too long! How have you been, dear boy? How is your, oh, well here you are, my dear Kerrigan. Goodness, how time flies."
"Yes, it has been some time, Ducky." Mom said.
"Um, not to, interrupt, but, m-my wing?" Sky asked.
"Oh, oh, I'm terribly sorry, I sometimes do that, lose focus on things." He said. "I uh…" He spotted me so I calmly gestured.
"I'll still be here." I said. "Let's help my injured step-sister first." He nodded and walked over to her.
"Okay, let's see…" He said. "Looks like it's just barely out of place, so I'll have to, have the help of, Mrs. Lightstrider, to pull the wing forward before putting it back in place. I believe you know the spell?"
"Yes, it's a simple one." Mom said.
"I, I can make some ice, to help with the pain." Gale said. The doctor jumped slightly and looked at her.
"Oh, you startled me, young lady." He said. "Goodness me, I… I, um…" He looked between me and Gale and I pointed to Sky. "Oh, right. On the count of 'three'." Sky's wing began glowing as dad and I got ready to brace her. We knew what was coming, Sky didn't. "One… Two!" Sky's wing was forced back into place with a loud yelp of pain, and she staggered into me while Gale began focusing, a dark blue aura forming as a towel floated over, and a lot of ice formed above it before falling in, and then becoming two. "Terribly sorry, young miss, but it was necessary to make sure you couldn't prepare too much. It would have made the relocation more difficult, the joint would resist it, and thus make it hurt far worse." Sky nodded.
"I, am gonna sit down now." She said.
"Just a moment…" Mom said. She moved the two bags under and on top of the joint before a few pieces of string wrapped around both wings. "There, that should help. Get a Unicorn to remove that in fifteen minutes, and you'll feel worlds better."
"Listen to her, she knows a thing or two thanks to 'Gold Blitz', here." Pochard said. Sky laughed as she settled onto her knees, and I sat down. "Now, you, my young lad, may I…" I opened my wings and he looked at them. "Remarkable. I've never heard of anything like this before in my entire life, and that's saying something… Well, it would say more if I were an Alicorn and had lived a thousand years, but still, at the experienced age of sixty two, it does say a bit." He felt my wing and I laughed.
"H-hey, ticklish membranes." I said, laughing quietly.
"Yes, I thought as much, sensitive." He said. "But I don't see anything that would keep you from flying on, dear me, Blitz's level, possibly even… Then again, that move, would be a tiny stretch, but that's a maybe at best."
"That move is one he learned, and mastered." Dad said. "I never said it until he came home, but I'm proud, of my son, for learning my Cloud Shredder." Pochard looked at him and then at me.
"My word, you're his son?" He asked. I nodded as I closed my wings. "Yes, I see it now, there's, a passion, deep in those eyes, not quite for flying, but it's there. A, dedication… And then there's that spark I saw in your mother's eyes… I wonder…" He looked at Gale as she hid slightly behind mom's leg. "Might you be…"
"My sister." I said.
"Yes, the same spark, the same passion, and dedication." Pochard said. "It's certainly there. You two certainly are your parents' children, or my nom de guerre's not Ducky, and it is."
"Ducky?" Sky asked.
"A pochard is a kind of duck." Gale said.
"That's part of it, but I also earned the nickname for my love of swimming." He said. "Sometimes I wonder if I were meant to have been born a duck, but I'll settle for being, Ducky." We all smiled as he adjusted his glasses. "Well then, as a doctor, young miss, I recommend two weeks keeping that wing laid up, possibly tied up to prevent nighttime unfurling." Dad groaned as mom laughed.
"Blitz still has that problem." She said. I raised an eyebrow.
"What, you don't?" He asked.
"No, not since I was seven." I said. He looked away.
"Ah, you got lucky." He said. Sky laughed along with the others.
"Maybe, or maybe it's my wings." I said.
"It is possible, the musculature is different." Pochard said. We looked at him and he gestured, so I opened my wing. He pointed at a few spots. "In the case of feathered Pegasi, like the three of us, the muscles open like so." He opened his wing as I closed mine. "Now, open again." I opened my wing and dad nodded. "As you can see, in our case, it's like opening a folding kite, opening out and up in addition to the forward motion. In your case, your wing unfolds similarly, with one lacking motion. It opens straight forward and out due to the wider base, but it can open like a normal wing. It's extraordinary, and offers a slightly wider range, a longer beat, allowing more power and more easily sustained gliding. Though, considering your parents, your bones being slightly denser than average, the strengthened wing muscles, wider range, longer span, and stronger beats, they all work together to make up for the increased weight."
"I knew he was a super flyer from the moment I met him." Sky said. "Those wings, no way could he be anything less than amazing, if he ever put his mind to it." I smiled.
"If I'd have encouraged him, I think he would have been better than I ever was." Dad said. "But I'm happy as long as he's doing something he truly enjoys."
"I understand you finally resolved your situation with your parents." Princess Celestia said. I simply nodded while looking out at the city. "The rehearsal is tomorrow, and I finally get to speak to one of my brighter students, and apparently, your sister." I smiled a little. "If she's half as gifted as you could be, I think I may just take her on as a student, if she would accept such an invitation."
"Mom tried to talk her into that." I said. "Gale, wanted to learn from mom. Figured, if what you taught her was enough to make her who she is, and what she learned on her own improved upon that, then what better teacher could there be than our mother? Who would be more fitting?"
"I would have to agree." She said, laughing quietly. "How do you feel about the wedding?" I thought about how to phrase it. Since I'd invited my mother, I was helping the others, and while Princess Cadenza was apparently more accepting of the changes, she was still, demanding. "Your silent thought speaks volumes. But understand that weddings are very stressful on the mares, far more than the stallions, or so I've heard."
"Dad said the same, but reversed." I said. "He said that while the bride is stressing about the plans and making sure everything goes smoothly, perfectly, the groom is worried about her, worrying that he's not going to be perfect, considering what he needs to do to be perfect, wondering if changing who he is to be perfect will make her unhappy because he's changed from who she's familiar with, so many things are going through his mind, worrying about the best ways to make her happy, especially on her big day." She sat next to me and nodded.
"From a married stallion like Blitz, it must be more than I thought." She said. "All throughout their wedding, she was so worried about the little things, the catering, the dress, the decorations, the reception, her vows, and being good enough for Blitz…" She looked at me. "But he was so nervous, I could actually feel it rolling off of him. Everypony that went within ten feet of his room that day became nervous until they were out of the hall. Everypony that went near Kerrigan, tried to calm her by reassuring her everything was perfect. Blitz simply went for a flight to calm himself down, and lost track of time. He made a dramatic entrance through a window, apologized, and that was all it took to give them both the strength they needed to go through with the ceremony." I laughed quietly.
"I don't doubt it." I said. "From what mom told me of what he was like before then, it's how he usually was, doing stuff like that to help her calm down when things got too hard for her. No matter what, he'd pull off some stupid stunt, put himself in danger, and when she was happy he was alive, he told her everything would be alright, and, it worked. She'd calm down and laugh… Like, when she was pregnant with me. When they saw my wings on the ultrasounds, they worried, a lot, until dad flew out to help get a hydra into a place that became known later as Froggie Bottom Bog, and all the while, mom's terrified he's going to get torn apart by it…" I laughed. "Three days later, he comes back, one leg in a sling and he's walking on three, wings out for balance, and he says 'sorry I'm late, the victory party ran a little long'." She laughed with me. "Mom cooled off right there and said that no matter what, as long as I was healthy, my wings wouldn't define who I would become in a negative way." She nodded.
"And now, here you are, proving that very point." She said. "From a shy and nervous young colt to a confident, brave, and loyal hero of a stallion." I sat up just a little taller, and suddenly a silver medal was set around my shoulders, and I looked at it. "For your bravery and heroism in the face of chaos and danger, and loyalty above and beyond the call of friendship, I want you to have this, the Medal of Friendship." I stared at it. It was in the shape of seven ponies standing together, some closer than the others, two at the front. I recognized each general shape. Two Unicorns, two Earth Ponies, two Pegasi, and one pony in a cloak with a braided ponytail. They were all faceless, but it was obvious by their silhouettes who they were. "It is a new honor, one that I will be sure to give each of your friends before you all leave. And I also want you to take this to your home, and put it somewhere you'll always be able to find it, to look at." She made a picture float over and settle on the rail where it was safe. It was a picture of me and my family from earlier in the garden near the golden apple tree.
"I know just the place." I said, smiling. "I'll put it right beside my bed, so when I wake up and put on my glasses, it'll be the very first thing I see, and the last thing I see before I go to bed."
"I'm sure they're quite proud of you." She said. I nodded. "I will take my leave now, if there is nothing you wish to speak about."
"There is, one thing." I said, looking up at her. "You had the whole thing planned long before I got here. You were just waiting for an excuse to have me invite my mother to something." She smiled knowingly, and I had a small smirk. "I think now was the absolute best time to have asked this of me. Thank you."
"You are more than welcome." She said. "You have more than earned this closure, and the revelation of having a sister…" She laughed quietly. "Truthfully, Gale's existence as Kerrigan's daughter was a surprise even to me. I am certain my own sister is going to be quite happy to meet your mother, and your sister. If she gets along with them as she gets along with you, I'm sure they will become fast friends." I nodded and stood up, bowing as she walked toward the door. When she walked out, I picked up the picture and walked over to my bed and set it down where I could easily see it, and I smiled before setting the medal beside it.
'I'm glad I did this.' I thought. 'I need to remember to give Rainbow a big hug and buy us both a big tall mug of apple cider later.' Before I could remove my glasses, the door opened and I looked over to see Twilight. "Hey, what's…"
"Cadance is evil!" She said. I blinked several times rapidly.
"O-kay…" I said.
"Please, Ace, you have to believe me!" She said quickly as she walked over. "She's using a spell on my brother to, brainwash him!" I slowly fixed my glasses as they began sliding down.
"Twilight, calm down, breathe, and start at the top." I said. "It's like I started reading a novel right in the middle." She let out a sigh and sat down.
"I went to talk to Shining Armor about the wedding." She said. "I was worried that something was wrong, and, I was right. I started telling him something was rotten about Cadance, when she showed up, they went to another room, and she used some kind of spell on him to make him stop arguing with her when he had a headache. She's using him, but, I don't know why… Yet." I sat down and put a hoof to my chin.
"She certainly hasn't been remotely pleasant, but evil?" I asked. She seemed about ready to give up hope when I closed my eyes. "Describe the spell, if you can. Don't forget that I'm quite well read when it comes to all manner of spells, and there was a time when I had access to a book on hypnosis and other mind altering spells." As I opened my eyes, she had a smile, a very small one, but it was there.
"All I saw was that it made his eyes glow green and go all, googely." She said. I closed my eyes again as I thought on the spells.
"it's been some time, so, give me a moment…" I said quietly. I went through all of the spells I could think of, but after a few minutes, nothing came up but a legend, and it was impossible thanks to the barrier, and even Cadance wouldn't let that barrier fall. "No, nothing, but that's not to say you're not right." I opened my eyes. "If I can get permission to spend an hour in the royal library during the rehearsal, I'm sure I can find something in the mind alteration area. Not like anyone would tell me I can't go back because I'd use it, right?" She laughed. "One hour to me equals five decent spellbooks, and I'll do one master level, two adept, an intermediate, and a novice just in case. That would cover the strongest and weakest, and just about all in between." She suddenly hugged me, catching me off guard.
"Thank you." She said, her voice shaking slightly. "I couldn't tell the girls because they're bridesmaids now, and the princesses wouldn't believe me, not even my parents, not even Spike." I slowly patted her back with my right hoof.
"Well, it may be unofficial, but, I am Rainbow Dash's backup." I said. She laughed as she stepped back, and I stood up. "Go get some sleep, and I'll see you tomorrow at the rehearsal so I can tell you what's going on."
"Don't forget, the real wedding happens at noon." She said. "If you get caught up, don't be late for it. But, just in case, I'll have a guard find you just before then."