GREEN   682   3
   18682   106.83 KB   1545

Untitled Marital Problems Story

By DaybreakerAnon
Created: 1st September 2021 03:20:19 AM
20th September 2021 02:56:33 AM

  1. Work in progress. Set in a pre-FiM alternate timeline Equestria.
  2.  
  3. >"Look at how they view your son. Your own son, for pony's sake! If it's taken the Canterlot nobility this many years to begrudgingly accept his place in the hierarchy, how do you expect they will react to her?"
  4. >Straight Talk keeps pace with you while awaiting your reply.
  5. >For a high-born unicorn, he's remarkably down-to-Equestria.
  6. >But he doesn't mince words.
  7. >It's nice to have ponies at your service who live up to their namesake, even if they shine light on uncomfortable truths.
  8. >Not that you didn't anticipate his assessment- you simply wanted to hear it for yourself.
  9. >Speaking of uncomfortable truths, there was another that incessantly gnawed at your heart.
  10. >Your son's... "limitations".
  11. >Countless hours had been spent in the Canterlot Archives over the years, combing through Starswirl's journals, looking for something- anything- that might assuage your fears.
  12. >The best solution presented itself with the arrival your latest "pet project".
  13. >"Princess Celestia?" Straight Talk breaks your train of thought. "Orders, Your Highness?"
  14. "Proceed according to my original plans."
  15. >"And what of the nobility, Princess?"
  16. >You turn to your chief-of-staff and smile.
  17. "The Sun is unyielding, Straight Talk."
  18.  
  19. -----
  20.  
  21. >Today is the day.
  22. >"By the gods, just like that!"
  23. >Cirrus Wisp moans at your ministrations.
  24. >Your fingers dance around her slick entrance, teasing the pink pearl that would intermittently peek out.
  25. >She scoots away from you panting and face flushed.
  26. >"Allow me to return the favor, My Prince."
  27. >You bring her lips to yours, electricity practically sparking between you.
  28. >She breaks the kiss, only to plant a trail of sloppy smooches down to your waistline.
  29. >Your hands are a blur as you work to unfasten the cords that keep your pants secured and suspended around your hips.
  30. >Cirrus Wisp's mouth is hot, wet, and everything you hoped it would be.
  31. >As she bobs up and down your length, you groan, happy to run your fingers through her mane as she tends to your member.
  32. >Oh yeah, it's happening.
  33. >You're totally gonna lose your virginity today.
  34. >Nothing could ruin this moment.
  35. "Ah! Jeez!"
  36. >Cirrus pulls her head back, concern clear on her face.
  37. >"What's wrong?"
  38. >"I believe you were a touch careless with your teeth, my dear," the last voice you want to hear at this moment answers her.
  39. >Cirrus gasps at the newcomer.
  40. >"Please," your mother says, smirking. "Don't stop on my account."
  41. >Wisp screams, then prostrates herself at your mother's golden-shod hooves.
  42. >"Princess Celestia! I- I- I am so-"
  43. >Mom smiles at her.
  44. >"You're so 'what', my little pony?"
  45. >"Sorry?"
  46. >"You have nothing to be sorry for, my dear," Mom says in her signature motherly voice, "provided you have not robbed the Prince of his purity..."
  47. >Now's a good a time as any to voice your displeasure.
  48. "We were regrettably interrupted before it could come to that," you retort, scowling at her with crossed arms.
  49. >Your mother kicks off her shoes, sits on her haunches and clops her front hooves together.
  50. >"Splendid!"
  51. >She leans down to the still-prone pegasus mare before you and whispers in her ear.
  52. >"It would have been most unfortunate if you had."
  53. >Mom coaxes Cirrus off the ground with a hoof.
  54. >"Rise, my little pony. No harm, no foul..."
  55. >Cirrus bows to your mom, then turns to you, her face a dynamic mix of embarrassment and regret.
  56. >"I'm gonna leave now, Anon."
  57. >"A wise decision, dear." Mom answers for you.
  58. >With that, Cirrus Wisp darts out your tower window like greased lightning.
  59. >"*tut tut tut* What am I going to do with you, Anonymous?" Princess Celestia asks as the struts up to you.
  60. >Recognizing your shame, you move to cover yourself but an all-too-familiar gold aura restrains you.
  61. >She gazes down to your still-erect member and grins.
  62. >"So THAT'S what you look like fully engorged," she says in a low, almost-growling voice.
  63. >To your utter shock, she reaches out and pats your cock with a bare white hoof, making it rebound like a diving board.
  64. >"No medial ring, and the tip is quite different," she says to herself, barely above a whisper. "How interesting."
  65. >Her feathers join in to cradle your balls.
  66. >"But more than enough to do the job and please a mare," she adds. "Excellent."
  67. "Are you fucking kidding me, mom!?" you yell at her as she walks towards your closet.
  68. >"Language, Sunshine."
  69. "You cock block me, intimidate my marefriend, fondle said cock, then chastise me about my language?"
  70. >"Are you implying I did something wrong?"
  71. "Mother. You basically dipped a hoof into the cesspool known as 'incest' just now. As in sexual relations between family members, which happens to by VERY taboo, in case you weren't aware."
  72. >"Don't take that tone with me, young stallion," your mother scoffs. "I am more than aware of what it is. After all, I was around when it was not only practiced, but encouraged in certain circles."
  73. >You have no words.
  74. >Mom resumes her short trek to your closet, magic chiming as she enters.
  75. "What are you doing?"
  76. >"Finding something nice for you to wear."
  77. "Why? Are we expecting somepony important?"
  78. >She peeks out from behind the door frame, excitement barely piercing the veil of composure she normally wears so well.
  79. >"She's already here and waiting to meet you."
  80. "Hold on a minute," you begin, raising your hands for emphasis. "I'm not ready to meet some dignitary or whoever-"
  81. >"Whomever, dearest."
  82. "Fine. Whomever she is, she can wait."
  83. >Mom floats several shirts and pants out, inspecting them as she exits the closet.
  84. >"What makes you think you can dictate the terms of your obligations to me?" she asks in an almost-disinterested tone.
  85. "I'm not in the right state of mind for this! My own mother just fondled me like it was no big deal! You can't just go around touching cocks- it ain't right!"
  86. >She chuckles.
  87. "Not only that, but you did it after placing such a big importance on my 'purity'! Seriously, what gives?"
  88. >Magic-enveloped outfits float in front of your naked form.
  89. >Your mother hums to herself as she lines up various combinations of garments in front of you.
  90. >"Ah! There we go. I love how this shirt brings out your eyes."
  91. "Are we seriously not going to talk about this?"
  92. >"Anonymous," she sighs, "would you prefer that I finish the job your little friend started?"
  93. "What!? NO!"
  94. >In an instant her snout is pressed against your nose.
  95. >Far into the depths of her eyes you see the smoldering embers of a fire threatening to spring to life.
  96. >"Then I suggest you drop the issue, lest I traumatize you further. Perhaps I'd start with the declaration of a national 'Penis Inspection Day', hmm?"
  97. >She caps off the encounter by giving your neck a long, drawn-out lick.
  98. >Just like that, the fire in her eyes is gone, and her gentle smile returns.
  99. >"Quickly, Sunshine. We mustn't keep her waiting!"
  100. >What in Tartarus was that?
  101. >Sure, Mom's had weird outbursts in the recent past when you've challenged her, but nothing like this.
  102. >She's never outright molested or threatened you before.
  103. >It was almost as if...
  104. >Oh shit, she's saying something.
  105. >"... how excited I am for you two to meet!"
  106. >It's probably in your best interests if you swallow your misgivings and play along for the time being, difficult as it may be.
  107. "So, uh... what's she like?"
  108. >Mom giggles.
  109. >"You'll find out soon enough! Your imagination will have to do until then."
  110. >Pulling the shirt she selected over your head, you give a hum of contemplation.
  111. "I'm imagining a pegasus mare..."
  112. >"Not quite..."
  113. "Ooh! Please tell me she's a tauress with massive teats!"
  114. >"Heavens, no. But it is my hope that you two will work together to improve our diplomatic relations with the minotaur empire."
  115. >Mom notices your perplexed look and sighs again.
  116. >"Anonymous," she begins, "there's so much you don't know; don't understand. There are events that I must set in motion, not only for the good of Equestria, but for your own well-being."
  117. >Now that you're fully dressed, she uses her wings to fuss with your hair.
  118. "My own well-being? Mom, what are you talking about?"
  119. >"Trust me, son. Things may be... rough... at first, but as long as you keep an open mind and heart, in time you'll grow to love her."
  120. "Love?" you chortle. "Heh, Cirrus won't be happy about that."
  121. >"Who?"
  122. "Cirrus Wisp? The pretty petite pegasus you scared out of here five minutes ago?"
  123. >Mom scrunches her muzzle.
  124. >"What about her?"
  125. >You groan.
  126. "I was hoping to introduce you under better circumstances, but Cirrus Wisp is my marefriend."
  127. >Your mother lights her horn, but not before shooting you a stern look.
  128. >"Not anymore."
  129. "Hold on," you begin to reply with a stern look of your own, "you don't get to decide-"
  130. >That was all you managed to get out before the golden aura enveloped you.
  131. >The chiming of your mother's magic rings in your ears and the next thing you see is a kaleidoscope of colors.
  132. >Reality lurches back to normal an instant later.
  133. >It never gets any easier, and this time is no different.
  134. "Mom," you groan while struggling to maintain your footing, "you know how much I hate to teleport."
  135. >She uses a massive ivory wing to steady you, then kisses your cheek.
  136. >"Chin up, darling. We're here."
  137. >Her magic chimes again, opening the massive wooden door before you.
  138. >It creaks as it swings open, allowing a faint, sweet smell to greet you.
  139. >Mom enters first, ever the paragon of poise.
  140. >You adjust your posture and follow, hoping to radiate the calm, confident demeanor your mother was known for.
  141. >This conference room, if you could call it that, was smaller than most the castle had to offer; more intimate
  142. >A single window on the left wall permitted a fresh summer breeze to flow, its curtains dancing with unsteady undulations.
  143. >To your right is a hearth, cold from its summer dormancy.
  144. >A round, rustic hoof-carved table stands to your two o'clock, and behind that is a sofa upon which sits an...
  145. "Alicorn?" you blurt out in spite of your lifetime of etiquette lessons. "There's another alicorn in Equestria!?"
  146. >Mom glances back to smile at you.
  147. >"Indeed, there is."
  148. "But that would make her a-"
  149. >"Princess," Mom finishes for you.
  150. >Said princess rises from the couch and gives you a nervous smile.
  151. >She's young.
  152. >Well, you're young too, but she's got to be younger than you.
  153. >She wears a silk sky-blue gown that flatters her physique.
  154. >You smile back at the beautiful young mare in spite of yourself.
  155. >The new mare flutters her wings as she approaches you.
  156. >"Anonymous," Mom continues. "This is Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, your betrothed."
  157.  
  158. Chapter 2
  159.  
  160. >Confusion.
  161. >Frustration.
  162. >Anger.
  163. >They are the most prominent emotions that make up the maelstrom currently raging within you.
  164. >Throw in a heavy dose of lustful thoughts for good measure.
  165. >For whom, it doesn't presently matter after being blueballed by your own mother.
  166. >That sounds worse than it is without the requisite context, though not by much.
  167. >A lesser stallion would cave to the overwhelming revelation thrust upon him, but not you.
  168. >You are Prince Anonymous, son of Celestia, the unconquered princess of the sun.
  169. >She is the epitome of composure, tact, and calculated action and as such, you have an example to emulate and perpetuate.
  170. >Granted, your outburst at the sight of this "Mi Amore Cadenza" was a misstep on your part, but could anypony seriously blame you?
  171. >After all, you thought Mom was Equestria's only remaining alicorn.
  172. >Precious few seconds have passed since your mother's announcement and in that time your eyes have darted from your mother to Princess Cadenza, and back to your mother again.
  173. >Mom's face is a strange mixture of joy and something that suggests, "Choose your next actions with utmost care."
  174. >You want to unleash your anger at her, to force her to understand what this unexpected hijacking of your life is doing to your psyche.
  175. >You want to roar with the fury of an enraged minotaur bull and flip the heavy wooden table that stands between you and this new princess.
  176. >You want to ravage Cirrus Wisp's cunt with your cock while your mother watches (purely to spite her and her schemes, of course), powerless to prevent you from usurping the dominant position in the family dynamic.
  177. >You want to do all this and more, but your gaze returns to Mi Amore Cadenza.
  178. >The young mare still wears her nervous smile, but it's faltering.
  179. >Try as she might, she can't hide her subtle trembling from your Celestia-trained eyes.
  180. 'Oh gods, don't cry,' your internal monologue says when you see the slightest hint of excess moisture accumulating in the large purple eyes that stare at you.
  181. >Mom always complimented your ability to charm strangers and familiar faces alike with nothing but a smile, so you play to your strengths.
  182. >Subtle breath in, brief pause, even subtler exhale, capped off by a transition to your "Prince Charming" smile.
  183. >The same smile that you used to break the ice with Cirrus Wisp when you first met in Cloudsdale.
  184. >Cadenza is a statue while you cross the room to greet her properly, her eyes growing wider with every step you take.
  185. >She finally moves when you come to a halt one pace away, tilting her head back as she fully comprehends your size.
  186. >As a human you enjoyed a substantial height advantage in this magical world of colorful little ponies.
  187. >Even Mom looks up if she wants to lock eyes with you, and she towers above everypony.
  188. >The pink princess's head barely reaches above your navel, a stark contrast from your mother, whose eyes are level with your collarbone.
  189. >You drop to a knee, maintaining eye contact until her irises are horizontal to your own.
  190. >She's lost in your stare, unaware of the arm that reaches for her right foreleg.
  191. >Only when your fingers have wrapped around her fetlock does she break eye contact with a gasp.
  192. "It's truly my pleasure to meet you Princess Mi Amore Cadenza," you say in the warmest voice you can muster whilst raising her hoof to your lips.
  193. >C'mon, Anon... sell it.
  194. >Still looking in her eyes, you plant a gentle kiss at on her coronet.
  195. >"I-I'm charmed, My Prince," she responds with deep blush. "P-Please, c-call me 'Cadence'."
  196. 'Let's bring it home, now," you think to yourself.
  197. "Anon," you reply with another kiss, this time on her pastern.
  198. >Cadence giggles and surprises you by lunging forward, throwing her forelegs over your shoulders.
  199. 'All too easy.'
  200. >It would be impolite to not return the embrace so you hug her back, prompting Cadence to squeeze you tighter.
  201. >Plus, it'll make for a more convincing performance to your mom.
  202. >Damn, this girl is strong.
  203. >Mom chuckles to herself.
  204. >"Well! What a lovely couple you two make!" she almost sings. "I take my leave. Take advantage of this time and get to know each other, for the wedding is only three days away!"
  205. "THREE DAYS!?" you and Cadence echo back in mutual disbelief.
  206. >"YES!!!" Mom squeals, prancing in place.
  207. "How can you possibly hope to plan a royal wedding in three days?"
  208. >"Don't you worry, Sunshine. I've taken care of everything."
  209. >She trots to you and wraps you in a warm feathery hug, effectively partitioning you off from Cadence with her wings.
  210. >"Remember what I told you," Mom whispers in your ear. "Cadence is a sweet filly and will love you beyond comprehension if you allow her to."
  211. "Mom, this isn't-"
  212. >"Go chat with your fiance, dear."
  213. "Fine," you hiss into her ear. "But you and I are going to 'chat' tonight after I've finished with her. Count on it."
  214. >Your mother pulls away from the hug and smiles at you.
  215. >It's too big, too toothy a grin to be genuine.
  216. >Further augmenting the offensive smile is the distant fire that's returned to her eyes.
  217. >The door's latch locks into place with a dull metallic "click" following Mom's exit from the room, giving a sense of finality to your fate.
  218. >Cadence's hooves clip and clop off the flagstone floor.
  219. >Turning around towards her, you see that she's returned to the sofa.
  220. >Your new fiance shoots you another uncertain smile, this time following it up by patting the couch cushion next to her.
  221. >So lost in your own racing thoughts, it seems you've gone from standing meters away to sitting next to her in the blink of an eye.
  222. >The news, these plans thrust upon you, the implications, the weight of it all- it's starting to feel real, making for a sinking feeling in your stomach.
  223. >You don't bother attempting to return Cadence's smile with one of your own.
  224. >It's fortunate you have the presence of mind to not be angry with her.
  225. >She didn't ask for this... you think.
  226. >Nevertheless, here you sit in silence, paying the mare who is to be your wife no attention besides the occasional glance.
  227. >What should you do?
  228. >What can you do?
  229. >Your thoughts turn to Cirrus.
  230. >How do you break the news to her?
  231. 'Hey honey, the last month has been great and all, but my mom went and found a princess that I have to marry, so, uh... have a nice life?'
  232. >Yeah, that'll go over well with a spirited high-born pegasus like her.
  233. >Cadence's magic chimes through the silence at irregular intervals, but so consumed are you by your meditations that they go unnoticed.
  234. >Only when a pink hoof comes to rest on the back of your hand does your attention return to the mare next to you.
  235. >"So, Anon... care to tell me about yourself?"
  236. >You open your mouth to reply but stop before uttering a single word.
  237. >Shaking your head, you rise and step away from the sofa.
  238. "I can't do this."
  239. >"What do you mean?"
  240. "This," you say, waving your hand at the confines of the conference room. "Having my mother dictate my life to the last detail, as she's always done."
  241. >What can you do?
  242. "You know what? Screw-"
  243. >Cadence leaps off the couch and rushes forward to cut you off, her tri-colored mane waving like a flag on a blustery day in her wake.
  244. >"Wait!" she cries, then rises to place her front hooves on your chest.
  245. >"Anonymous, please, don't leave! I know you don't want me-"
  246. >There's no hiding your grimace.
  247. >She nailed you square in the emotional gut.
  248. >"-but I *know* we were meant to be together! Please, please give me a chance! I want to get to know you, I want to lo-"
  249. >Your index finger taps the mare's nose, silencing her.
  250. "Boop!"
  251. >Cadence scrunches her muzzle and her eyes go cross-eyed at the contact.
  252. "That's adorable."
  253. >Cadence huffs.
  254. >Time to put your charm to work again, Anon, and tell her what you think she wants to hear.
  255. "You're going to be my wife soon..."
  256. 'For better or for worse,' you want to add, but refrain from doing so.
  257. "...so I'd like to get to know you too, silly filly".
  258. >This makes her smile.
  259. "However, I want to spend quality time with you on *our* terms, not my mother's."
  260. >"Okay... what do you have in mind?"
  261. >Seems your improvised damage control attempt was a success.
  262. "How well do you know Canterlot?"
  263. >"Not at all. I've been confined to the castle since I've arrived."
  264. "My mother's been keeping you as a prisoner?"
  265. >"No! No, she's been wonderful, but she said I'm not to be seen in public until after our wedding."
  266. "But what about the castle staff? I know for a fact that they wouldn't be able to keep word of a new alicorn living in the castle a secret."
  267. >Cadence lights her horn, and it subsequently disappears.
  268. >"Illusory magic! It was one of the first spells Celestia taught me after I ascended."
  269. "Ascended?"
  270. >"I was born a pegasus," she answers. "My ascension only happened a month ago."
  271. "I didn't know such a thing was possible."
  272. >"Neither did your mother."
  273. "Weird," you say, stroking your chin. "Shall we?"
  274. >"But Celestia said-"
  275. "Celestia can get over herself."
  276.  
  277. -----
  278.  
  279. >Your heart is pounding with such ferocity that you're surprised Anonymous can't hear it.
  280. >Only twenty minutes into knowing each other and your betrothed is taking you out on a date!
  281. >Well, he didn't call it a "date" per se, but it's just gonna be you and him alone, so that counts, right?
  282. >Right!
  283. >Where is he taking you?
  284. >You know nothing of Canterlot, other than what the ponies of your home village said about it.
  285. >They said it was a beautiful city, but that it also home to the snobby societal "elite".
  286. >What makes somepony elite?
  287. >You had always thought the term pertained to ability, borne of natural talent or desire, and cultivated through hard work.
  288. >Apparently "elite" in Canterlot meant you were born into a wealthy (and therefore, well-connected) family.
  289. >Celestia had warned you about the general attitudes of these ponies in your etiquette lessons.
  290. >The thought makes your heart skip a beat- what if Anon was taking you to an upscale restaurant?
  291. >They'd see right through you!
  292. >Noticing that you've stopped in your tracks, Anon turns and asks, "What's wrong?"
  293. "I'm nervous," you answer, unable to look him in the eyes.
  294. >He smiles at you.
  295. >"Don't be," he answers. "I'll be with you every step of the way. Nopony would dare bother you."
  296. "If you say so..."
  297. >"I do. C'mon."
  298. >Following his lead through the castle, you notice the staff and guards bowing to and saluting him respectively as you traverse the pristine halls.
  299. >How does he move so fluidly on two legs, and so quietly at that?
  300. >Meanwhile, your hoofsteps might as well be thunder echoing off the polished tile floors.
  301. >Great, another thing to feel self-conscious about.
  302. >Celestia's sun warms your fur upon exiting the castle proper.
  303. >Anonymous leads you down a narrow cobblestone path to what you assume is a carriage house.
  304. >What a gentlecolt- he holds the door open for you.
  305. >Suspicions are confirmed upon entering the building.
  306. >Several carriages are parked in a neat row inside their respective bays.
  307. >Some are ornate and ostentatious, others more subdued in both form and decor, but all are immaculate.
  308. >Anon walks past you, bearing straight to an office at your ten o'clock.
  309. >Not a meter behind him, you catch a group of unicorn stallions scrambling to their hooves when Anon enters.
  310. >"Group, attention!" somepony bellows.
  311. >Heavy brass armor rattles and clangs whilst the guards snap to attention, and then all is silent.
  312. >"As you were," Anon says in a manner that reminds you of Celestia.
  313. >He motions for you to join him by his side.
  314. >"Boys, this is Pr- this is Lady Cadenza," he says to the burly stallions that stand abreast opposite him. "You are to treat any request or command of hers as if it came from me. Understood?"
  315. >"Yes, Your Highness," ten voices reply in unison.
  316. >Though you barely know him, you can tell by the way he carries himself, the way he speaks, his mannerisms... he's Celestia's son, through-and-through.
  317. >"Excellent. The Lady and I intend to visit the city proper and thus require my carriage."
  318. >"At once, Your Highness," a stallion with a red mane answers. "Bravo Team, saddle up!"
  319. >The five stallions of Bravo Team give a short cheer and rush out of the office, the penultimate one lingering to hold the door for you and your prince.
  320. >Anonymous rests his hand on the side of your neck, pulling you ever-so-slightly closer to him as you walk.
  321. >His touch is unexpected, but absolutely welcome, as he guides you to one of the smaller carriages.
  322. >This one is unlike the others in that it's devoid of any decorations, be it gold or jewels, save for an all-too-familiar sun-themed cutie mark on its charcoal grey doors.
  323. >It's also smaller than all the others, more elegant in its simple, sleek design; aerodynamic, even.
  324. "Whoa," is all you say as you behold the carriage that looks like it came from one of the science fiction books you totally didn't love to read when nopony was looking.
  325. >"Do you like it?" Anonymous asks as he opens the door for you.
  326. >You climb inside and take a seat.
  327. "I love it." is your hushed reply to your stallion after he sits beside you.
  328. >"Thanks, I designed it myself."
  329. "Really?"
  330. >"Yeah, though it was heavily inspired by the carriages from-"
  331. "Half-Decay Two?" you finish for him.
  332. >Anon's jaw drops.
  333. >"You know about 'Half-Decay'?"
  334. "Of course! I love Leaky Valve's writing! Freemane is one of my favorite fictional heroes of all time!"
  335. >"You're kidding me right now."
  336. "I'm not! Ooh! What do you think happened to Doctor Preen at the end?"
  337. >Anon continues to look at you in wide-eyed disbelief.
  338. >"I- I'm not sure. He might have been killed in the magical explosion, or he just as easily could've made it to the Collective's realm."
  339. >You take advantage of Anon's shock to scoot closer to him until your legs are touching.
  340. "I don't think he made it off the spire."
  341. >"We'll have to wait until Half-Decay Three comes out to know for sure," Anon says, shrugging. "If Valve ever completes it."
  342. "Right!?"
  343. >There's a knock on the partition, which startles you both from your mini geek-out session.
  344. >Anonymous slides the partition open, revealing the red-maned stallion from the office.
  345. >"Bravo Team is ready to roll, My Prince," he says. "Where would you like to go? Upper Quarter? Artisan's District?"
  346. >"No," Anon replies with a smirk. "Take us to Dent's."
  347. >An expression flutters across the unicorn's face, but it's gone before you can identify it.
  348. >"As you command, My Prince."
  349.  
  350. -----
  351.  
  352. >Conversation between you and your fiance dwindled to naught after your carriage crossed the castle drawbridge.
  353. >Not that you minded.
  354. >In fact, you'd anticipated this.
  355. >Cadence's stunned silence affords you more time to strategize.
  356. >Should you continue to feign interest in the young mare and tell her what she wants to hear?
  357. >Is placating her the best course of action, or should you be more forthright and work towards establishing an understanding of sorts with her?
  358. >Cadence stares out the darkened windows as your carriage navigates the streets of Canterlot, not bothering to hide her amazement at the alabaster city.
  359. >The lavish mansions and penthouses of the Upper Quarter give way to the chic boutique shops of the Artisan's District as Bravo Team pulls your carriage down the streets cut into the rocks of Canterlot Peak.
  360. >Further down the mountain is Restaurant Row, then the modest apartments of Canterlot's middle class.
  361. >The carriage comes to a halt ten minutes into the ride.
  362. >Counter Charge, leader of Bravo team, opens the door of your ride.
  363. >Cadence follows you out, taking stock of her surroundings.
  364. "Welcome to Lower Canterlot," you tell the wide-eyed mare.
  365. >Her posture is less rigid in this working-class neighborhood than it was in the Upper Quarter.
  366. >"Is this the place?" Cadence asks, pointing to the dingy door that read, "Dented Shield's Inn".
  367. "Indeed."
  368. >You crook your arm towards her.
  369. >She looks at your arm, then your face, confusion apparent in her eyes.
  370. >It only takes a moment for her to understand your intent, and soon, you're walking towards the bar door, her right primaries hooked around your forearm.
  371. >Another member of Bravo opens the door for your entourage, allowing Counter Charge through first, then you and Cadence.
  372. >The bar's dim lighting and rustic decor make for the perfect relaxed locale to get to know this beautiful young princess.
  373. >Silence overtakes the establishment as all patrons' eyes are locked on you and Cadence.
  374. >Counter Charge and another Bravo stallion flank you, their spears pointed to the ceiling in their magical grips.
  375. >"ANON!" a gravely voice roars from behind the bar, making Cadence jump.
  376. >A massive earth pony stallion trots to you grinning ear-to-ear.
  377. "DENT!" you yell back as you stride towards him.
  378. >You drop to a knee and hug the stallion with every last ounce of strength you can muster.
  379. >"It's been a long time, my boy! Too long!" he booms. "And who is this lovely tall filly?"
  380. "Dented Shield, this is Lady Mi Amore Cadenza." you say as you return to your full height. "Lady Cadenza, this is Dented Shield. He was one of my bodyguards for most of my life."
  381. >Dent gives a curt nod to the mare.
  382. >"A pleasure, my lady."
  383. >Cadence wastes no time in closing the distance with the burly stallion.
  384. >She stops short of him, holds out her hoof and says, "I wish a good harvest to you and your family."
  385. >Everypony is watching Cadence with varying levels of shock etched upon their faces.
  386. >Dented Shield taps the warped floorboards twice with a massive forehoof, then touches it to Cadence's.
  387. >"The earth provides for those that tend to her," he replies, as is the custom. "May your strength endure for many seasons at the plow."
  388. >They shake hooves, and the ponies watching the exchange begin to whisper among themselves.
  389. >Dent looks to you.
  390. >"I *like* this one, Anon," he says with a grin. "I take it you and the lady will be wanting a private booth?"
  391. "Yes, please."
  392. >"Right this way."
  393. >Situated in the furthest corner away from the main entrance is the best private booth Dented Shield has available.
  394. >It's rather nice for a dive bar in Lower Canterlot.
  395. >A brass candelabra stands alone atop the table, tarnished brass finish glinting in the flickering candlelight.
  396. >Dent waits for you and Cadence to settle in your seats before passing you the drink menu.
  397. >"Don't know why I'm giving you this," he scoffs. "Cider to start?"
  398. "You know me," you reply, handing the menu to Cadence.
  399. >"Forgive me, but is she old enough to be drinking?"
  400. >Cadence drops the menu.
  401. >"Of course I am!"
  402. >"Alright, Miss, alright. Didn't mean no offense by it."
  403. >"None taken."
  404. >As Cadence looks over the menu, Dent mouths the words, "Who is she?"
  405. >After ensuring the mare is still reading, you mouth back, "Fiance."
  406. >Dent's eyes grow wide.
  407. >Not wanting to practice lip reading any more, you speak up.
  408. "Cadence?"
  409. >"Yes?"
  410. "I'm going to step outside with Dented Shield for a minute while you look over the menu. Be back soon."
  411. >Cadence giggles.
  412. >"Aww, how cute! A couple of big strong stallions sneaking off to gossip like schoolhouse fillies!"
  413. >You scoff.
  414. >Dent's booming laugh carries throughout the tavern.
  415. >Cadence shoots you a toothy grin.
  416. >"Have a nice time, sweetie!"
  417. >Dent laughs even harder as he gives you a shove to his office, a few paces away from your booth.
  418. >Counter Charge and two of his counterparts take up positions near the booth entrance following your departure.
  419. >The click of the door latching has just reached your ears when you're unceremoniously tossed halfway across the room into a worn canvas chair.
  420. "I see you haven't lost your touch," you say, noticing how you've landed perfectly in the seat.
  421. >"Just like old times," he growls back.
  422. >You've known him too long to be fooled by his faux-neutral face.
  423. "What's got your harness in a twist?"
  424. >"What do you think?" he replies in a half-whisper. "That ain't no high-born pegagsus out there."
  425. "How do you figure?"
  426. >"Heck, ain't no pegasus gonna know an old-fashioned earth pony greeting like that, I guaranteee you."
  427. "So?"
  428. >"So!? Last I hear, you're courtin' some petite Cloudsdale noblemare, then you walk through my door with that giant filly in tow? "
  429. >He stares in your eyes.
  430. >"That girl's taller'n me, 'n got a huge, smothering raw magical presence, not refined like your mom... clearly knows the old earth pony traditions."
  431. "What do you want me so say, Papa Dent? I just met her an hour ago!"
  432. >"But you're set to marry her."
  433. "Yeah," you say, sighing.
  434. >"Your mom's doing?"
  435. "How could you tell?"
  436. >"I figure I'm not supposed to know about that... or her, for that matter."
  437. "Right again. Nopony's supposed to know about her until the wedding."
  438. >Dent sighs.
  439. >"Alright, I won't press the issue. But if you need to vent, you come find your Papa Dent, just like old times."
  440. >He gives you one of his signature not-quite-bonecrushing hugs.
  441. >"C'mon, let's not keep her waiting."
  442. >Time to put your mask on again.
  443. >You follow the gruff stallion out of the office, back to your booth.
  444. >The guards part and give the booth a respectable berth following your return.
  445. >"Did you two enjoy your girl talk?" Cadence asks as she flutters her eyelashes at you.
  446. "Oh, ha ha."
  447. >She gives your shoulder a playful shove.
  448. >"Have you decided on what you'd like, my lady?"
  449. >"Yep! I'll have a large glass of your unfiltered wheat beer and a double shot of Labarynthian blood whiskey."
  450. >Neither you or Dent can help the queer looks you give her.
  451. >"Oh, and get the same thing for Anon instead of that weak cider he apparently likes."
  452. >Dented Shield smiles.
  453. >"Right away, my lady," he says with a polite bow before muttering under his breath, "Boy, what have you gotten yourself into?"
  454. >You don't know where to start with this girl.
  455. >Cadence is apparently content to wait for your drinks in silence if the demure smile she wears is any indication.
  456. >Your former bodyguard is quick to return with your drinks.
  457. >"Here you are, lovebirds," he says as he sets the drinks in front of you. "A promising start for a wild night, if that's what you had in mind."
  458. >With that, he bows once more and is gone.
  459. "What did he mean by that?"
  460. >Cadence raises her shot glass with her right wing, so you follow suit.
  461. >"Pour the blood whiskey slowly into your beer in a spiral path," she instructs.
  462. >You comply with her wishes and watch how the viscous liquid becomes suspended throughout the beer, but never fully mixed.
  463. >"To our future together," Cadence with a grin says as she lifts her glass.
  464. "To our future together," you echo with the best fake smile you can muster.
  465. >You clink your glass with hers, then take a deep swig.
  466. >Good heavens, the blood whiskey burns.
  467. >The beer helps take the edge off though.
  468. "What- what do you call this concoction?" you ask, wiping your eyes.
  469. >"Back home, we call this a 'Minotaur Battlefield'."
  470. "Back home, huh? Where is that?"
  471. >"Last Chance."
  472. "Last chance for what?"
  473. >"No, silly. 'Last Chance' is the name of my home village."
  474. "That's a rather foreboding name."
  475. >"But a fitting one, considering it's just outside the border of the Undiscovered West."
  476. >You nearly spit-take your Minotaur Battlefield.
  477. >Cadence gives your back a few firm thumps with her hoof as you cough.
  478. "You... *cough* you're from the western frontier?"
  479. >"Yep! Last Chance is in the forest nestled at the base of the mountains that marks the boundary of the Undiscovered West. It's literally the last Equestrian settlement on the western border, hence the name."
  480. >This doesn't make sense.
  481. "What was a high-born pegasus such as yourself doing living in a desolate area like that? As far as I know, none of the noble houses have a presence west of Las Pegasus."
  482. >Cadence looks away and fidgets in her seat.
  483. >Her wings flutter and her ears droop.
  484. "Cadence?"
  485. >"Anonymous," she says, taking her time to look back at you. "I'm not from a noble house. I'm an orphan."
  486. >What.
  487. "Excuse me?"
  488. >Cadence sighs.
  489. >She traces her hoof along the tabletop's wood grain.
  490. >"I was found just outside the border of the Undiscovered West when I was a newborn foal. The earth pony couple that discovered me looked everywhere for my parents, but nopony ever came to claim me."
  491. >Your fiance continues to stare at the table, not daring to look up from the marred wooden surface while she relates her tale.
  492. >"Those earth ponies... they had buried their own foal, their firstborn, days prior to finding me. I was starving, freezing, not long for this world, and they took me in without hesitation."
  493. >Cadence thumps her hoof to her chest, then to the table.
  494. >"Pine Bough nursed me at her teat like I was her own foal. Blue Spruce protected me and spoiled me as much as a poor lumberjack could possibly spoil his daughter. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for them."
  495. "That explains how you knew that old earth pony greeting..."
  496. >"Last Chance is a very old-fashioned place," Cadence responds, nodding. "It's a hard place filled with hard ponies."
  497. "Hard ponies like you?"
  498. >She scoffs.
  499. >"I wish. Sure, I hauled timber, pulled stumps, and plowed clearings as soon as I was big enough to wear a work collar. But I was just a filly, and a pegasus at that. I didn't have the raw strength of my Papa and Mama."
  500. >You see a smirk creep over her face.
  501. >"But nopony had my heart," she adds as her chest puffs out. "I was never the biggest or strongest, but I always pulled my weight and then some."
  502. >It's your turn to stare at the table, as you've never felt more inadequate.
  503. >And to think, this pretty pink princess's origin story was all it took to throw your soft, pampered upbringing into sharp focus.
  504. >Being a bright pink pegasus in a town full of dull-colored earth ponies made her a prime target for bullies.
  505. >She had to learn to stand up for herself at a very young age, becoming adept at throwing hooves when the situation called for it.
  506. >Perhaps you should be the one in the silk gown and Cadence the one wearing the sword at your hip.
  507. >If her stories of foalhood scuffles had any truth to them, she could probably wield it better than you.
  508. >Whatever; beside the point.
  509. >Your new insecurities couple with the lingering emotions from earlier, making for a bitter brew in your gut.
  510. >Part of that could be the alcohol.
  511. >Regardless, it's left you uncharacteristically tongue-tied, so you let Cadence dominate the conversation.
  512. >She tells you of her home, her foalhood friends; the sequence of events that led to her ascension.
  513. >Throughout it all you both continue to drink, Cadence becoming more animated with every subsequent Minotaur Battlefield she puts away.
  514. >Say what you will about the minotaurs, their booze does what it's supposed to.
  515. >The blood whiskey carries your concerns away for future Anonymous to worry about.
  516. >You're able to forget about your new predicament and simply enjoy having a conversation with a pretty mare.
  517. >Cadence's magic chimes at infrequent intervals, but you don't see her aura or what she's using her magic for.
  518. >Inquiries into her magical activities only yield blushes and stammering.
  519. >She's reticent to speak to the nature of her magic, or fully explain her special talent.
  520. >If you weren't buzzed, you might press the issue more.
  521. >It's probably the booze, but you feel more drawn to her the more you look at her.
  522. >With every chime of her magic you become acutely aware of a growing need, a compulsion, to touch her.
  523. >Her eyes are inviting; her smile disarming.
  524. >That thick, fluffy chest fur peeking out of her low-cut gown is just begging your hand to explore it.
  525. >As if sensing your want, Cadence scoots closer to you.
  526. >You really shouldn't be doing this...
  527. >Another faint chime reaches your ears, but you think nothing of it.
  528. >You suddenly feel more cavalier about giving in to your impulses.
  529. >No words are spoken as you reach for her.
  530. >She shudders when your hand caresses her neck, eyes close in satisfaction when you run your fingers through her mane.
  531. >You hold a silent debate with yourself on whether taking this petting any further is a good idea.
  532. >Cadence brings about a premature end to your contemplation by scooting onto your lap.
  533. >Any remnants of inhibitions you clung to were banished to the moon when she licks your neck.
  534. >"I'm going to be your wife soon, Anon," she breathes in your ear. "Why does your heart feel closed?"
  535. >She plants a kiss on your neck, sucking softly on your skin before pulling away with a wet *smack*.
  536. >"I want to love you, Anonymous," she says before planting another kiss on your jaw. "Will you let me love you?"
  537. >You plunge your hand into that thick luxurious pink chest fur that's been teasing you since you met this pony.
  538. >Cadence gasps, flaps her wings a few beats, and hooks a hoof behind your head; pulling you to her.
  539. >Heavy, hurried hooves stomp on the hardwood floor towards you, causing you and Cadence to jolt.
  540. >She slides off your lap but leans against your chest, a deep blush set on her cheeks.
  541. >Dented Shield peeks behind the curtain that partitions your booth from the rest of the tavern.
  542. >"Head's up, Anon!" he growls just loud enough for you to hear. "Somepony's here looking for you."
  543. "Who?"
  544. >"I dunno," Dent answers with a shrug. "Some petite pegasus-"
  545. >"ANON! I know you're in here! Where are you?" a familiar mare's voice pierces through the tavern over Dent's whispers.
  546. "Oh, shit."
  547. >"Anon?" Cadence asks, rubbing a hoof over your chest. "What's wrong, honey?"
  548. "Cirrus Wisp," you groan.
  549. >"Who's Cirrus Wisp?"
  550. >"His *marefriend*!" Cirrus Wisp answers for you, fluttering over an apologetic-looking Dent. "Who are YOU, and why are touching my stallion?"
  551. 'Cirrus, this is Lady Mi Amore Cadenza.'
  552. 'Cirrus, I must speak with you privately.'
  553. 'Hey, Cirrus... a funny thing happened after my mom caught you blowing me.'
  554. 'Hey, listen up everypony! There I was, minding my own business when Princess Celestia pinned me against my bedroom wall and fondled my junk against my will. Funny thing is, I was rock hard for all of it!'
  555. 'He didn't fly so good!'
  556. 'Cadence, remember that part in Half-Decay Two when Freemane got his crowbar back? That was some good shit, heh heh heh...'
  557. 'Dent, if you ever truly loved me like a son, cave my head in right now. Please do me this kindness.'
  558. 'Let me bring you love from the field; poppies red and roses filled with summer rain~'
  559. 'Cirrus Wisp, I'm leaving you to start a harem with my mother, her new-ish assistant, and this fine leggy thing sitting next to me.'
  560. >Saying ANYTHING at this point would've been better than your present course of action.
  561. >Probably.
  562. >Instead you continue to sit in motionless silence, an arm still resting around Cadence's barrel whilst sporting a classic "I'm fucked and everypony knows it" expression.
  563. >Cadence takes the initiative.
  564. >"Hello there," she begins with an honest attempt at a disarming smile, "I am Mi Amore Cadenza."
  565. >Cirrus doesn't reply.
  566. >Understandably so- it's hard to talk when her jaw is clenched and her normally-cornflower blue face is turning red.
  567. >She's shaking now and wings are coming unfurled.
  568. >"Anon?" Cadence asks.
  569. >She nudges your shoulder.
  570. >"Anon, darling, I could really use your help right now," she whispers.
  571. >"WHAT did you just call him?"
  572. >Okay, maybe it wasn't a true whisper; more of a "you've got a solid buzz going and think you can still be discreet should the need arise" quasi-whisper.
  573. >Cirrus stomps up to your free side.
  574. >"Anonymous, get up. You're leaving with me."
  575. >You look to Dent.
  576. >He now stands further away from the booth with your guard entourage, all of them trying to hide their excited grins.
  577. >Assholes.
  578. >What should you do?
  579. >If you tell Cirrus things are over between you, she'll demand to know why and then you'll have to spill the beans about your betrothal.
  580. >Word of your impending nuptials would erupt across the land, making for a fiasco that you would be held accountable for.
  581. >Should you continue to do nothing, not only will it give Cadence the wrong impression, it'll afford these two mares an opportunity to escalate this tense confrontation.
  582. >That settles it; can't let things-
  583. >"He's not going anywhere." Cadence taunts. "He's mine and will be mine for all time!"
  584. >She wraps her forelegs around your torso and... starts gnawing on your shirt?
  585. >Wisp's jaw drops.
  586. >Bits are hastily piled in the center of the table from where Dent and your guards have gathered to observe the unfolding drama.
  587. >Weren't you supposed to be intervening?
  588. "Ladies," you begin, finally breaking your silence, "there's no need for-"
  589. >"Ladies!?" Wisp interjects. "If that foal is a lady, then I'm-"
  590. >"I'm not a foal!" Cadence retorts after spitting out a mouthful of your shirt. "I'm seventeen, thank you very much!"
  591. >She resumes nuzzling your chest and neck.
  592. >"GET. YOUR. HOOVES. OFF. HIM."
  593. >Cadence complies, if only to slam down the rest of her drink.
  594. >She licks her lips and smiles at Cirrus.
  595. >"Or else what?" Cadence asks in a sweet voice while her eyelashes at the other mare.
  596. >Cirrus looks like she's been slapped.
  597. >"Didn't think that far ahead, did ya?" Cadence asks as she slides out of her seat. "You high-borns are all the same- so quick to make threats but rarely possessing the fortitude to follow through when challenged."
  598. >Now free of the booth's confines and on all four hooves, Cadence shakes out her legs and begins to walk towards Wisp, who, to her credit, moves to meet her.
  599. >Dent and the boys have acquired popcorn.
  600. >Assholes.
  601. >Cirrus puffs out her wings.
  602. >Cadence responds in kind, her purple-tinged wingspan dwarfing that of her challenger.
  603. >Your (soon to be) ex-marefriend is undeterred by the obvious size advantage Cadence enjoys.
  604. >"'You high-borns'?" Cirrus scoffs. "You mean to tell me that you're not even from a noble house?"
  605. >"I'm not. I'm an orphan." Cadence declares loud enough for the entire tavern to hear. "I was found and raised by earth ponies on the western frontier."
  606. >You catch Dent nodding to himself, mouthing the words, "That explains a lot."
  607. >"Then let me explain something to YOU, 'Lady' Cadenza," Cirrus yells, giving Cadence a shove. "Peasants like you don't get to court royalty!"
  608. >Cadence growls at the word "peasants".
  609. >"And if you don't like it," Wisp adds, continuing to jab at Cadence's chest, "you can fly back to the hovel you crawled out of and cry to your mud pony mother-"
  610. >SMACK
  611. >Cirrus Wisp's head jolts from the impact of Cadence's hoof to her face.
  612. >"Say that again, noble bitch." Cadence spits at a stunned Wisp. "Insult my mom again."
  613. >Wisp rubs her cheek and smirks. "You're nothing, peasant. You're not even a true pegasus; just a filthy mud pony like your mom, only you've got feathers-"
  614. >Cadence roars and lunges forward, but Wisp is ready this time.
  615. >She dodges Cadence's heavy, alcohol-delayed foreleg blows and takes to the air, the tavern's vaulted ceilings affording her enough room to maneuver by wing.
  616. >Your guards move to intervene.
  617. >They're talked down by a smirking Dented Shield.
  618. >The bar's other patrons are quick to move to the room's perimeter as the fight develops.
  619. >For whatever reason you're enthralled by the spectacle of mare-on-mare combat and as such, stay where you are to watch the situation spiral out of control.
  620. >Cirrus Wisp presses the advantage of her speed and Cadence's intoxication, scoring several quick hoof strikes to Cadence's barrel and neck.
  621. >Cadence stands her ground- literally- choosing not to take flight.
  622. >She swings at Wisp with her forelegs and bucks when attacked from the rear, but none of her blows connect; all narrowly missing their target.
  623. >"You're going to have to do better than that, mud pony!" Wisp taunts. "I won Cloudsdale's 'Best Young Flyer' competition three years in a row!"
  624. >Cadence scowls, leaps back towards your table, and uses her wings to hurl empty beer mugs at the attacking mare.
  625. >Cirrus dodges the first and second, but the third hits the leading edge of her right wing with a heavy *thump*, sending her careening into the cushioned seat of an adjacent booth.
  626. >She's quick to scramble out of the booth and is immediately tackled to the floor by Cadence.
  627. >THUMP
  628. >Cadence lands a blow to Wisp's barrel, making her cry out in pain.
  629. >"That's for ruining my date!"
  630. >THUMP
  631. >"That's for calling me a peasant!"
  632. >Cirrus raises her forelegs to shield herself from the next blow, but they're immediately batted down.
  633. >Cadence grunts as she throws her final punch.
  634. >It connects with Cirrus's jaw, snapping her head to the side.
  635. >Bloody teeth escape from Wisp's mouth when her head bounces off the floor.
  636. >"AND THAT'S FOR MY MAMA PINE BOUGH!" Cadence roars over the unconscious noblemare.
  637. >Cadence flares her wings, snorts, stands up on her hind legs, then slams her forehooves on the wooden floor.
  638. >She throws her head from side to side, neighing at the top of her lungs; a clear challenge to everypony in the bar.
  639. >You're rock hard at what's transpired; so turned on.
  640. >This is hotter than the time Raven Inkwell lifted her tail and winked at you after she caught you oogling her flanks.
  641. >Fetish: acquired.
  642. >Oh yeah, you're totally having sexual thoughts about this later.
  643. >Cadence turns and struts back to your table, wings flared in an overt display of dominance.
  644. "Wow," is all you can say to the mare. "Cadence, that was..."
  645. >"Outstanding!" Dent finishes for you in his booming voice whilst securing bits won from your frowning guards. "You've done your kin proud, lass!"
  646. >Cadence squees and throws herself at you.
  647. >Your vision is awash with pink.
  648. >Bones, muscle, and sinew stand proud to Cadence's crushing hug.
  649. >There's her magic chiming again.
  650. >"Oh, Anonymous!" she coos in your ear as she clambers onto your lap. "I'm sorry, when she said those nasty things, I just- *gasp!*"
  651. >Cadence pulls away from her embrace to look in your eyes.
  652. >Her face is flushed crimson when she shifts her weight on the unexpected protrusion, eyes wide after confirming the source.
  653. >Rather than show embarrassment at your arousal, you own it, and seize her hoof in your firm grasp.
  654. >Your thumb strokes around her coronet and cannon; fingers simultaneously caressing the frog.
  655. >A small part of you wonders why you're being affectionate with the mare with who beat the shit out of your marefriend, when you should be rendering first aid to said marefriend.
  656. >Or be checking on her, at the very least.
  657. >Perhaps it would be best to calm Cadence down first.
  658. >Her blood is still up, so to speak.
  659. "Shh," you whisper into your shuddering fiance's ear, pulling her close.
  660. >Throwing caution to the wind, you follow that up with a kiss below her ear and another whisper.
  661. "You're a good pony, Cadence."
  662. >This good pony melts into you with a sigh, a dopey smile brightening her lovely face; chin resting on your shoulder.
  663. >One angry mare is out cold, the other pacified by your affections.
  664. >A cursory glance around the bar reveals Dent and the other tavern staff cleaning up after the brawl.
  665. >The bar patrons have gone back to tending to their own business, thank the Sun.
  666. >Counter Charge is talking to another member of your entourage who is scanning Cirrus with a lit horn.
  667. >An attempt to extricate yourself from the booth and join him is brought to a premature end by Cadence, who wraps all four limbs around you.
  668. >You snap your fingers and motion to Charge with your free hand.
  669. >"Orders, Your Highness?" Counter Charge asks.
  670. >"What's her condition?" you ask, pointing to Cirrus.
  671. >"Doc says she's got three broken ribs, a hairline fracture in her left cannon bone, broken jaw, and three missing teeth. Oh, and she'll undoubtedly have a concussion."
  672. "Shit."
  673. >Cadence ruffles her feathers in your embrace, letting out a soft, "Hmfph!" into your neck.
  674. "Can he patch her up?"
  675. >"It'd be a stretch with all those injuries, My Prince. Dental work can be very tricky. The safer course of action would be to take her to Canterlot General and let their emergency medical staff sort her out."
  676. "Is it safe to move her?"
  677. >"Doc's got an immobilizing spell set, but she needs immediate care.
  678. "How fast can you get her to the hospital?"
  679. >"Seconds if he and another one of the team take her in a joint teleport."
  680. "Very well. Make it happen."
  681. >"By your will, My Prince."
  682. >Cadence begins to peck at your neck; soft, short, kisses that tickle.
  683. >Doc and another unicorn lay down on either side of Wisp.
  684. >They charge their horns and yell, "No homo!" to each other before touching horns and teleporting themselves and Cirrus Wisp out of sight.
  685. >"Anon, my sweet..."
  686. >Cadence's breath is hot and smells of spiced whiskey.
  687. >She begins to grind her rump on your crotch.
  688. >"...aren't you going to pay attention to me again?"
  689. >By the gods, you can't allow this excursion to become more out-of-hoof than it already has.
  690. "Cadence," you say as you take care to lift her from your lap without touching any sensitive areas, "we need to leave. Now."
  691. >"But Anon..."
  692. "Charge! Where's the carriage?"
  693. >"Out back, Your Highness."
  694. "Good. Saddle up. We're leaving."
  695. >Charge and the remaining guards position themselves around you and a now-stumbling Cadence.
  696. >Heavy hoofsteps announce Dent's return.
  697. >"Off so soon?"
  698. "Well..."
  699. >Cadence stands on two hooves again in an attempt to pull your face to hers.
  700. >Dent chuckles while your fiance tries to kiss you.
  701. >"Good luck, Anon. Nothin' like a wild beauty to make you feel alive."
  702. >You toss a small sack to him.
  703. >He catches it, the contents jingling as he does.
  704. "Thanks for everything, Papa Dent."
  705. >Dent nods, smiling with a full sack of bits secured in his bite.
  706. >Cadence ceases her affections to bid your surrogate father figure farewell.
  707. >She returns to all fours then moves to give Dent a hug.
  708. >"Bye, Mister Shield! Hope to *hic* see you again soon!"
  709. >Dent drops his bit bag and laughs, returning Cadence's crushing hug with one of his own.
  710. >"You're a strong one, Cadence. I know you'll take good care of my boy."
  711. >The hug breaks.
  712. >Both ponies smile at each other.
  713. >"If you ever need anything, you come find your Uncle Dent, ya hear?"
  714. >The cool night air shocks your senses when you slip out the back entrance.
  715. >With the sudden drop in temperature comes a drastic increase in mental clarity.
  716. >You help Cadence inside the carriage while the guards hook up to their harnesses.
  717. "Take us back to the castle to drop of Lady Cadenza, then take me back into the city proper- Canterlot General," you say to Counter Charge.
  718. >"Yes, Your Highness."
  719. >The door has just closed and the carriage lurches forward, sending Cadence's face into your chest.
  720. >"Hey, you." She says with a coquettish grin. "Where were we?"
  721. "Cadence, let's slow down."
  722. >She frowns at you.
  723. >"Why?"
  724. "Because you're drunk. It's not right."
  725. >"You're drunk too, Mister," she retorts before sucking at your neck.
  726. >*pop*
  727. >That's going to leave a mark.
  728. >Once again, you try to gently lift her out of your lap.
  729. >The carriage hits a pothole, jolting you both.
  730. >Before you know it, Cadence has all four limbs wrapped around you.
  731. >"Why is your heart closed off, Anonymous?" Cadence asks as she rest her head on your shoulder. "Why won't you accept my love?"
  732. "It's not closed off!"
  733. >"Yes it is."
  734. "How would you know?"
  735. >You hear her magic chime again.
  736. >"Let me love you, Anonymous. I want you to feel it."
  737. >The chiming intensifies.
  738. >Warmth spills over your body; akin to slipping into a hot bath.
  739. >You feel surrounded by an overwhelming presence.
  740. >It envelops you; permeates your being.
  741. >You feel as if you're being hugged and you've naught a care in the world.
  742. >The dark confines of the carriage melt away.
  743. >Where once was the cold night is now the warm, comforting sun you've come to know and love.
  744. >Rolling hills surround you, covered by long grass that reaches your knees.
  745. >Soft giggling reaches your ears.
  746. >Whirling around to identify the source, you see Cadence prancing towards you.
  747. >She tackles you to the ground but the impact doesn't hurt.
  748. >You open your mouth to speak.
  749. >Cadence cuts you off with a kiss.
  750. >Raw, unfiltered energy courses up and down your limbs at her affection.
  751. >The colors of your surroundings become more vibrant; the features, hyper-focused.
  752. >Blue cloudless sky and green hills whirl around to form a kaleidoscope of sorts in the background.
  753. >'I want to love you, Anonymous,' Cadence's voice echoes in your mind. 'Why won't you open your heart to me?'
  754. >You force Cadence away from you, breaking the kiss.
  755. >'Anon? What's wrong, darling?' you hear her say in your mind while smiling at you.
  756. 'This! It's too much!
  757. >You try to yell for your guards to no avail.
  758. >'Anonymous, please! Don't fight me!'
  759. 'No! Stop this at once! I cant take it!'
  760. >With that thought, your veins are ice.
  761. >The interior of the carriage seems to warp and stretch into place around you, bringing Cadence back with it.
  762. >You push her away- not out of malice, but reflexive reaction to everything you've experienced.
  763. >Her rump hits the carriage floor and she grunts.
  764. "What- *gasp* was... THAT?"
  765. Cadence returns to the seat beside you.
  766. >"Anon," she begins, reaching for you, "that was me. That was..."
  767. >You recoil from her touch.
  768. >"...my love... for you."
  769. >She hangs her head and sighs.
  770. >"I guess you weren't ready for that yet," she whispers before turning away. "I'm sorry."
  771. "Cadence-"
  772. >The carriage comes to a sudden halt.
  773. >Familiar spires loom outside the windows.
  774. >Cadence tries to stifle her sniffling and wipes her eyes.
  775. >The door swings open.
  776. >"My Lady, Your Highness, welcome back to-"
  777. >Your fiance is a blur of blue and pink as she leaps from the carriage and into the air.
  778. >Despite the distance she's put between herself and the carriage, you can her pained sobs carrying through the still, silent night.
  779. >"Did we do something wrong, My Prince?" Counter Charge asks with concern in his voice.
  780. "No, Counter Charge." you say.
  781. >You brush yourself off upon exiting the carriage and scan the sky for any sign of Cadence.
  782. >She's nowhere to be found.
  783. "It was me. I fucked up."
  784. >There's a snapping sound and a blistering surge of heat beside you.
  785. >"Oh, my son. That doesn't even begin to describe it."
  786.  
  787. Chapter 3
  788.  
  789. >Thank Harmony for the numbing effects of alcohol.
  790. >It certainly took the edge off your unexpected teleportation to the throne room.
  791. >The heat radiating off your mother on the other hoof... that was harder to ignore.
  792. >Despite her public facade remaining perpetually unblemished, she had become more intense in private.
  793. >She hadn't always been like that.
  794. >Her subtle behavioral changes started recently; three months ago, perhaps?
  795. >There's the all-to-familiar chime of her magic, a blast of golden light, and finally, she stomps her hoof.
  796. >Great, she's sealed and soundproofed the cavernous hall.
  797. >"What do you have to say for yourself?"
  798. >No.
  799. >You're not going to allow her to control this conversation the way she's controlled your life.
  800. "I should ask you the same question. In fact, I will."
  801. >Mom looks like you just slapped her muzzle, though she's quick to hide her shock.
  802. >"Excuse me?"
  803. >You take several steps away, making a point to show your back to her.
  804. "Let's review the events of this afternoon, shall we?"
  805. >Following a fluid pivot on your heel, you step towards your mother, around whom the air is shimmering.
  806. "You interrupt what was going to be the most intimate moment of my life..."
  807. >Her eyes narrow.
  808. "...intimidate and threaten my marefriend, then you proceed to... ugh! You know what you did! What has gotten into you? It's like you turn into a completely different pony, then back to yourself, at the drop of a feather!"
  809. >She opens her mouth to retort.
  810. >No rebuke comes from her, though shock creeps across her alabaster face.
  811. >The heat around her has attenuated enough for you to move closer.
  812. "You know what? I'd be willing to let that go, but then you had to twist the knife."
  813. >Mom's stern expression falters.
  814. >You've never had this kind of immediate success in any verbal attack you've levied against her, so you continue to press lest you lose the initiative.
  815. "Everypony knows you as Princess Celestia, the kind, beautiful, benevolent leader that leads with a gentle nudge from her wing. But lately, you've become more of a iron-hoofed dictator than princess, at least with me!"
  816. >She gasps at the word "dictator", raising a hoof to cover her open mouth.
  817. >"Sunshine, I only wanted-"
  818. "Only wanted what!? To control me? To destroy the one relationship I made completely independent of your influence and approval? Why? Why am I being forced into this marriage!?"
  819. >"TO SAVE YOUR LIFE!"
  820. >The words hit you with a fresh wave a heat so intense that it actually knocks to you the floor.
  821. >Thunder rumbles through the throne room.
  822. >You pick yourself up off the floor to see Mom stomping to you, her eyes aglow with amber light.
  823. >"Did you honestly think I've enjoyed this? Having to invade your privacy with perpetual surveillance? Why, I've never scryed so much since I banished-"
  824. >She cuts herself off and clears her throat.
  825. >Your ears are ringing and your head spins.
  826. "Mom," you say, raising your hands to signal a temporary truce, "what do you mean, to save my life?"
  827. >Her eyes widen upon realizing her folly.
  828. >The furious heat that had been emanating from her body moments ago might as well be a distant memory.
  829. >You're quick to reach for her.
  830. >She sighs when your palm slides to her withers.
  831. >Mom closes her eyes and envelops you with her massive wings; a peace offering that you return with both arms.
  832. >"I've been dreading this day since the moment you were born," she says into your shoulder.
  833. >Another sigh.
  834. >Her hug tightens, and then she chuckles.
  835. >"You'd think after ruling as Equestria's monarch for nine-hundred and eighty-seven years that naively hoping to prevent the inevitable would be beneath me."
  836. >She pulls away, lighting her horn as she does.
  837. >"Come with me," she says, barely above a whisper.
  838. >The two of you walk through the castle halls in silence.
  839. >Mom leads you towards the castle's eastern wing.
  840. >You've never spent much time in this part of of the palace.
  841. >It houses the dungeons, and, well... come to think of it, you're not sure.
  842. >If the dungeons had a single occupant in your twenty short years, you'd be utterly shocked.
  843. >Mom holds out a wing, signaling you to halt.
  844. >She faces right, inspecting the bare wall and its unremarkable bricks.
  845. "What are we-"
  846. >Mom lights her horn again, causing a golden hemisphere to materialize from its tip; convex side facing up.
  847. >The magical dome extends to the floor to contain you and your mother.
  848. >Familiar feathers wrap around your torso, pulling you close to their owner, who looks at you.
  849. >"Ready?"
  850. "Um, I guess?"
  851. >She scowls.
  852. >Right...
  853. >Mama, *The Princess*, didn't raise no indecisive, timid stallion.
  854. >You straighten your posture; left hand rising to rest on your sword's pommel.
  855. "Onward!"
  856. >"That's the spirit."
  857. >Mom struts towards the wall with you secured in her wing.
  858. >You know better than to voice your concerns about walking face-first into a brick wall after being silently reprimanded for your lack of temerity.
  859. >However, you know she felt your body involuntarily stiffen before reaching the wall.
  860. >Good thing there's no guards here to see this.
  861. >Speaking of, where were all the guards on the way here?
  862. >That's the last thought you entertain as you make contact with the wall.
  863. >Only there's no wall.
  864. >Rather, it's still there, you've simply passed through it.
  865. >Bone-chilling cold cuts to your core as you phase through brick and subsequent meters of solid granite.
  866. >Had your mother's wing not been wrapped around your waist to guide your path, you would have become disoriented almost instantly.
  867. >After all, when walking through stone, you can't see a thing, as you've discovered.
  868. >But how can you breathe?
  869. >Magic, obviously.
  870. >You roll your eyes at how so much can be attributed to the catch-all explanation that is "magic".
  871. >Small points of light are now visible, and the cold subsides.
  872. >Though you can barely see, you're no longer phasing through rock- of that you're certain.
  873. >Additional points of light appear and come into focus from all directions; blues, whites, even reds and yellows.
  874. >They sparkle above, below, and all around you and your mother, who suppresses a violent shudder.
  875. "Mom", your voice echoes in what must be a cavern of sorts. "Where are we?"
  876. >She releases her hold on you.
  877. >Her hoofsteps echo like your voice did a moment prior.
  878. >Were it not for the multitude of star-like lights her body blocked, you'd have no way to track her movement, hoofsteps notwithstanding.
  879. >"A-Anonymous..." Mom's voice wavers. "I haven't set hoof here since the night you were born."
  880. >A cone of golden light erupts to your one o'clock, illuminating your mother.
  881. >Her eyes are closed; her head, bowed.
  882. "What-"
  883. >There's a new light source, a single truncated cone from high above.
  884. >It illuminates your surroundings, revealing a cavern.
  885. >The walls are rough, hewn in wide swaths to create a quasi-hemispherical cavity approximately fifteen meters high and forty meters in diameter.
  886. >Looking closer, you realize the "starlight" you had seen earlier was actually emitted from the rock itself, which meant...
  887. "We're under the mountain."
  888. >Mom nods.
  889. >"Near the heart of Canterlot Peak, to be precise."
  890. "What is this place?" you ask, looking around at the various objects the cavern contains.
  891. >There are chests, piles of books, crates... all bearing similar silver markings you can't quite identify in the dim light.
  892. >Mom's wings droop, as do her ears.
  893. >"This... is a monument to my greatest failure." is Mom's hesitant reply.
  894. "What do you mean?" you inquire, gawking at the spectacle before you. "You don't fail. You're Celestia, Princess of the Sun! The Unconquered One!"
  895. >Mom bows her head again.
  896. >"If only that were true..."
  897. "Of course it is! How else could you have ruled-"
  898. >Then you see it, another pony standing on a platform in the center of the cavern, directly under the light.
  899. >You gasp at the sight, then move with long, purposeful strides towards the imposing newcomer; ready to draw steel if need be.
  900. >Were you not so intrigued by this pony, mom's sobbing would have given you pause.
  901. >It's only as you ascend the stairs to the platform this pony occupies that you realize she's actually a statue.
  902. >Nevertheless, it's the most life-like statue you've ever seen; carved and painted with exquisite, unparalleled detail.
  903. >Shorter than Mom by a hoof or so, this mare is lovely, lithe, and sports a tight derriere that [spoiler]EXCITES YOU SO.[/spoiler]
  904. >Now within arms reach, the beauty of this mare is fully apparent, making your heart skip several beats.
  905. >You look into her teal eyes.
  906. >They're serene with a hint of playfulness, much like the smile she wears.
  907. >She takes your breath away.
  908. >So drawn are you to this gorgeous mare, you reach for and touch her before becoming fully aware of your actions.
  909. >Your hands try to brush away the midnight-blue bangs that partially obscure her right eye.
  910. >Mom joins you on the platform, as evidenced by her sniffling.
  911. "Who is she?" you ask, unable to tear your eyes from the statue.
  912. >"D-do you like her?"
  913. "She's the most beautiful mare I've ever seen."
  914. >Mom chuckles, wiping her eyes as she does.
  915. >"Don't let Cadence hear you say that."
  916. >Your heart drops into your stomach.
  917. "Yeah..."
  918. >"You know, I carved and painted her from memory..." Mom says, gesturing to the statue.
  919. >Wait.
  920. >It's only now you notice the statue's folded wings.
  921. "Do you mean she's-"
  922. >Mom sighs.
  923. >"Yes, Anonymous. That is your Aunt Luna."
  924. >Well, this is awkward, admitting to having the hots for your Aunt.
  925. >You turn to Mom with a defiant smirk.
  926. "I still stand by my earlier comments about her. She's absolutely gorgeous."
  927. >She laughs in spite of her somber mood.
  928. "You know I've never seen a realistic depiction of her."
  929. >Mom simply nods.
  930. >She doesn't elaborate, despite your silent desires for her to do so.
  931. >Chances are Mom is thinking about Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon, a tale she's only told you once.
  932. >The memory is a wound on your mother's heart that you know has never healed.
  933. >You give Mom the time she needs, but the feeling something is wrong intensifies the longer you wait.
  934. >Your legs tremble, then buckle beneath you.
  935. >Golden magic catches you before you crumple to the ground.
  936. >"Are you alright?"
  937. "Yes."
  938. >Mom continues her wistful stare at Luna.
  939. "Not that I don't like basking in Luna's beauty, but what does she have to do with my betrothal to Cadence?"
  940. >"It stems from a moment of weakness from me."
  941. >You remain silent.
  942. >Mom takes her time to face you again.
  943. >"I wanted nothing more than to be reunited with Luna, to try to make things right after failing her as a sister."
  944. "Okay..."
  945. >"From my understanding of the Elements, their effects against foes last a millennium, give or take a few years. Naturally, I didn't want to wait that long to get my sister back."
  946. "Naturally."
  947. >"I spent centuries researching ways to extract Luna from her prison. Every potential lead was inevitably the same, yielding nothing of value to me. But one day, an archaeologist discovered a notebook of Starswirl the Bearded I thought to be lost- a notebook detailing his research into portals."
  948. >You don't like where this is going.
  949. >"I immersed myself in Starswirl's text at every opportunity. The majority of the work was theory, penned shortly before his sudden disappearance. It was up to me to test his hypotheses."
  950. >Unpleasant questions are bubbling in your mind.
  951. >Didn't she say she was last here when-
  952. >"Finally," Mom continues, breaking your train of thought, "I felt I had a solid enough understanding to experiment. I came here, to the very platform we're standing upon, to test the spell. The portal worked, only not in the way I anticipated."
  953. >Mom runs her feathers through your hair; the way she has your entire life.
  954. >"My human son... a being only known to ponies in legends prior to your birth."
  955. >Your blood runs cold.
  956. >"You could imagine my shock when the portal didn't bring forth my sister, but instead, a human woman from another world. My shock turned to absolute horror upon realizing that not only had I summoned a mythical being to my realm, but a pregnant one in active labor, at that."
  957. "Y-you mean to tell me that-"
  958. >"I did everything I could, Anonymous, but she had lost so much blood before I pulled you from her womb. As I held you, naked and bloody in my aura, your birth mother repeated a phrase several times in her native tongue. I couldn't understand her language, but what she said sounded very similar to 'Anonymous' in Equestrian."
  959. >Your vision is blurry.
  960. >Mom pulls you close.
  961. >"She passed before I could ask for an explanation," she says, fresh tears falling on your neck. "I thought you dead, like her. But then I said the word that became your name, and you took your first breath."
  962. >You pull away, not bothering to hide your emotions.
  963. >"Sunshine..."
  964. "Y-you mean I'm not your son after all?"
  965. >"Anonymous, look at me."
  966. >Her words are a command that you are powerless to disobey.
  967. >"I may not have carried you in the womb, but I have been your mother since the moment you were born. You were the foal I always wanted, but didn't deserve. I nursed you and raised you as my own. Make no mistake, Anonymous, you ARE my son. Nothing will change that."
  968. >You collapse into her waiting embrace.
  969. >Mom holds you until you lose track of the time.
  970. >Finally, you regain your composure.
  971. "Mom?"
  972. >"Yes?"
  973. "What did you do with her body?"
  974. >She closes her eyes.
  975. >"I cremated your birth mother's remains with a pillar of fire summoned directly from my Sun, an honor I've never bestowed upon anypony before or since. Then I personally scattered her ashes across every corner of Equestria."
  976. "Oh."
  977. >You contemplate this for a while before voicing your next question.
  978. "Why must I marry Cadence?"
  979. >She pulls away, her eyes somber.
  980. >"Every creature born of this plane is blessed with magic; the amount and capacity for utilization varying from species and individual. It's an integral part of our beings; crucial to survival here. Magic binds and sustains us..."
  981. "But?"
  982. >"But, as you are from a different plane of existence, you have no magic." Mom continues with a sad expression. "As such, your body's grasp on its life-force is tenuous at best."
  983. "That doesn't make any sense!" you counter. "If that were the case, I should have died as a child!"
  984. >"You almost did."
  985. "When?"
  986. >"Before your second birthday. You were playing with Philomena in the garden when you collapsed and fell into a coma. It was then that the doctors and I fully uncovered the extent of your magical disability. Fortunately, we also discovered that by channeling raw magical energy into your body, you could be revived, if only for a short time."
  987. "So how have I been able to go this long without-"
  988. >"You haven't, Sunshine," Mom interrupts. "Ever since that fateful day, I have been channeling raw magic into your body when you sleep at night. Every night, without fail. Why do you think I keep you on such a short leash, for lack of a better phrase?"
  989. >Your heart drops into your stomach for the second time.
  990. >How could you have been unaware your entire life?
  991. "So when you said the marriage was to save my life..."
  992. >"I wasn't exaggerating. As you've grown older, so has your body's requirements for magic to remain healthy. I noticed three moons ago that you suddenly required a drastic increase in magic to keep you sustained, a disturbing trend that has unfortunately worsened."
  993. "Then why would marrying Cadence fix that?"
  994. >"Another Starswirl theory. Basically, by binding your life force to hers, your condition will be remedied."
  995. "What do you mean by 'binding'?"
  996. >"It's a two-part process. The first part is a spell performed during the wedding."
  997. "And the second?"
  998. >"His notes simply say, 'The binding is completed during the act of love'."
  999. >Heat rises to your cheeks, though not for long.
  1000. "Wait. This is just a theory. How do you know it will work? If I just need to marry somepony, why can't it be somepony I choose? And why so soon?"
  1001. >Mom's face grow dire.
  1002. >"Anonymous, theory or not, this is unfortunately the only option you have. I've spent years researching and consulting with Equestria's brightest minds, trying a find a way to cure you. As for the spell, it would only work with beings of immense magical power. I assumed you'd much prefer Cadence to the alternative."
  1003. "The alternative being?"
  1004. >"Me."
  1005. >You explode into laughter.
  1006. "You can't be serious!"
  1007. >Mom stomps her hoof.
  1008. >"Unless you can think of a way to bring your Aunt back from the moon within a week, it's either me or Cadence, Anonymous!"
  1009. >This shuts you up.
  1010. >"The amount of magic I must transfer to you has begun to affect my ability to move the sun. Your needs grow exponentially."
  1011. >You hear fear in Mom's voice for the first time.
  1012. >"I won't be able to sustain you much longer."
  1013. >Ice runs through your veins at Mom's admission.
  1014. >Your body begins to tremble.
  1015. >"One month ago, in fact," Mom continues, "I was on my way to your chambers to finally inform you of your condition and to make you aware of my plans to marry you. I became aware of Cadence and her ascension as I raised my hoof to knock on your door."
  1016. "No way."
  1017. >"I can show you my sketches of my wedding dress if you don't believe me."
  1018. "But I'm YOUR SON. You can't-"
  1019. >A blast of heat from your mother evaporates the tears that lingered on your face.
  1020. >Her eyes are no longer magenta.
  1021. >"Can't? CAN'T!? Like Tartarus I can't! I am the Alpha and Omega! I lost my sister- I WILL NOT LOSE YOU!"
  1022. >As soon as is happens, it ends, and her eyes are back to normal.
  1023. >Your ears ring as her outburst echoes throughtout the dim stone chamber.
  1024. >Mom grimaces, then continues.
  1025. >"There is NOTHING I won't do to keep you safe, Anonymous. Nothing. If I have to marry and make love to you to save your life, so be it."
  1026. >It's getting hard to stand again.
  1027. >You sit at Luna's hooves.
  1028. >Mom joins you.
  1029. >Neither of you speaks for some time.
  1030. >Another question rises in your mind above the others.
  1031. "If I need so much magic to survive, how will binding myself to Cadence fix that? Won't that just drain her too?"
  1032. >"The process changes you at a fundamental level. It'll make you capable of retaining the magic necessary for you continued survival."
  1033. "Are you sure about that?"
  1034. >"Yes."
  1035. >You scoot until you're touching front her, then lean aft to rest your back against her warm white coat.
  1036. >Her wing keeps the cavern's cold atmosphere at bay.
  1037. "I take it you know what happened with Cadence?"
  1038. >"Obseved every second, heard every word."
  1039. "I feel bad for hurting her feelings, but she essentially tried to molest me-"
  1040. >Mom snorts in spite of herself.
  1041. >"Molest you?" Mom's voice is bright with amusement. "By the Sun, that couldn't be further from the truth."
  1042. "But you heard her! She was saying stuff like, 'Let me love you', and 'Don't fight me'!"
  1043. >"Anonymous," Mom responds, her tone now severe, "what Cadence mentioned was true- your heart is closed off."
  1044. >She strokes her hair before continuing.
  1045. >"I suppose that is another failure of mine. So consumed I was in protecting you, in trying to guard you from any form of distress, that I inadvertently kept you at wing's length from any pony that wasn't me."
  1046. "But not with Dent."
  1047. >Mom laughs; a genuine, musical outburst.
  1048. >"Ah yes, Dented Shield. What a card. You two connected so strongly from day one, who was I to interfere? Honestly, I should retain him on the guard payroll, as much time as he spends keeping an eye on you in 'retirement'."
  1049. "You're not angry with him for letting the fight continue, are you?"
  1050. >"Angry?" your Mother echoes, chortling. "Who do you think gave him the idea to talk your guards down?"
  1051. >Craning your neck around, you see Mom's horn glow.
  1052. >'I've got more tricks up my sleeve than you realize, Sunshine,' her voice rings in your mind. 'As far as I'm concerned, Cirrus Wisp got what she deserved from Cadence.'
  1053. >Laughter escapes you in spite of your continued concern for Cirrus.
  1054. "Still, you can't think that Cadence's reaction to Cirrus was becoming of a princess."
  1055. >"Perhaps. Perhaps not. To be fair, you're basing your standards of how a princess should act on what you've seen from me."
  1056. "Good point."
  1057. >"Cadence is her own princess. Her own mare. She'll need training, to be sure, but it's important she be allowed to remain true to her nature."
  1058. "Which is?"
  1059. >She ceases fussing with your hair.
  1060. >"As I am the embodiment of the Sun, so too is Cadence with Love."
  1061. >Your eyes grow wide at her statement.
  1062. "You mean-"
  1063. >"Yes," Mom interjects with a nod. "Cadence is Love incarnate. Everything she does, she does with unrestrained passion. Her actions with you in the carriage, she did them out of a genuine desire to reveal who she is to you, to forge a connection with her future husband; ill-conceived as her plan might have been. There was no malice in her intent, Anonymous. She *wants* to love you."
  1064. >This doesn't ease your concerns.
  1065. >If anything, they're exacerbated.
  1066. "She's so young."
  1067. >"And naive. But then again, so are you."
  1068. "Hey!"
  1069. >Mom licks your face and blows a raspberry at you.
  1070. "She thinks we're destined to be together. She honestly believes I'm her true love, like this is a fairy tale."
  1071. >"Can you blame her? Cadence- an adopted pegasus from a poor family- defeats a sorceress without any magical knowledge or training and spontaneously transforms into the zenith of pony forms. She's then summoned before me and informed she's now a princess. Sounds like a fairy tale, no?"
  1072. >Another good point.
  1073. "When did you get the idea to have her marry me?"
  1074. >"As soon as I was convinced that she was a genuine alicorn, and that her heart was pure. I meant what I said earlier, Sunshine. Cadence is capable of love beyond comprehension, for she is Love. And she wants to share herself with you."
  1075. >That reminds you of another concern.
  1076. "But why me? Because you told her to?"
  1077. >Mom frowns.
  1078. >"I can't be certain, but I don't think so. I think part of her is searching for family and a sense of belonging after the untimely death of her parents-"
  1079. "What!? She didn't say anything about that!"
  1080. >"It's still a tender subject for her. They passed shortly before her ascension."
  1081. "How did they die?"
  1082. >"It's not my place to say. Cadence will tell you when she's ready."
  1083. "If she ever talks to me again," you say, shoulders slumping.
  1084. >You rise from the platform.
  1085. >It takes more effort than it should.
  1086. "I need to talk to her."
  1087. >Mom hums and closes her eyes; horn alight again.
  1088. >"Unless you've suddenly gained the ability to fly and cloudwalk, you won't be reaching her soon."
  1089. >Opening her eyes, Mom stands to her full height and spreads her wings.
  1090. >"And the hour is late," she says, noticing your shaking legs.
  1091. >She charges her horn, then touches it to your head.
  1092. >Warmth spills over your body, making you tingle at the extremities.
  1093. >Mom grits her teeth, and you see her eyes change color again.
  1094. >But that doesn't seem to be the only thing that's changing.
  1095. >'Close your eyes, Sunshine,' you hear Mom's voice in your mind. 'Please... I don't want you to see me like this.'
  1096. >You respect her wishes.
  1097. >It hurts to see her like this.
  1098. >Though you can't deny you possess a morbid curiosity about what the process of charging you does to her.
  1099. >A chorus of hums rings in your ears as Mom's spell intensifies.
  1100. "Will you be alri-"
  1101. >'You needn't worry about me, my son.'
  1102. >Her lips press on your cheek.
  1103. >'I love you. More than anything.'
  1104. >Crackling sounds join the hums that fill your ears.
  1105. >The scent of ozone reaches your nostrils, then you feel yourself falling.
  1106. >You open your eyes in spite of Mom's wishes.
  1107. >Fire surrounds you but does not even singe a hair.
  1108. >There's a roar, then laughter.
  1109. >The sights and sounds come and go too fast for them to fully register in your mind.
  1110. >Your back hits something soft, breaking your fall, then the world goes dark.
  1111.  
  1112. -----
  1113.  
  1114. >So close!
  1115. >Who needs inhibitions?
  1116. >Certainly not you!
  1117. >Why have you been holding yourself back all this time?
  1118. >You are supreme; the Alpha and Omega!
  1119. >You are The Unconquered One!
  1120. >Anypony stupid enough to defy you will BURN.
  1121. >As you strut around the platform you spread your wings and laugh.
  1122. >Her face stops you in your tracks.
  1123. >Those teal eyes extinguish your burning passion in an instant.
  1124. >Damn those beautiful eyes.
  1125. >Curse your weakness.
  1126. >Curse your stupidity and arrogance.
  1127. >Curse your pride.
  1128. >Shame consumes you again, and you weep.
  1129.  
  1130. -----
  1131.  
  1132. >You awake with a jolt, gasping for breath and flailing your arms as you try to gain your bearings.
  1133. >Moonlight shines through a nearby window, illuminating the familiar decor of your room.
  1134. >Thank the Sun, you're-
  1135. >The Sun!
  1136. "Mom!"
  1137. >Grunting, you [spoiler]do a barrel roll[/spoiler] and flop off your bed with with the grace of drunken minotaur.
  1138. >Doors, guards, tapestries, windows, are a blur as you sprint faster than you thought possible, en route to Mom's chambers.
  1139. >The massive double doors bearing her cutie mark offer little resistance to your panicked entry.
  1140. >Mom rises from her bed, startled by your explosive entrance.
  1141. >"Anon!"
  1142. "Mom!"
  1143. "Are you alright!?" you ask each other in unison.
  1144. >You breathe a sigh of relief, then collapse on the mattress.
  1145. >Strong forelegs pull your chest to hers.
  1146. "Hi."
  1147. >She chuckles; amused but tired.
  1148. >"'Hi' yourself," she answers with a yawn. "Come to tuck me in?"
  1149. "I was worried about you after what I saw."
  1150. >"You don't need to worry about me, Sunshine. It was nothing I couldn't handle."
  1151. "Still," you say, scratching your head, "that was a lot to go through back in that cave. For both of us."
  1152. >"Indeed."
  1153. >Her eyes implore you to continue.
  1154. >There's so much to discuss, and you don't know where to begin.
  1155. >Might as well start with the first issue that comes to mind.
  1156. "I don't want to marry Cadence."
  1157. >"I know. But you must."
  1158. >You wriggle away from your mother to better look at her.
  1159. >But you can't look at her for what you have to say, so you roll onto your back and stare at the four-poster bed's canopy.
  1160. "Well, you did say..."
  1161. >"Anonymous. You don't want to marry me either."
  1162. "But wouldn't it be for the best?"
  1163. >"How so?"
  1164. >You frown; struggling to formulate a diplomatic response.
  1165. "Cadence ascended by her own merit. And what does she get as her reward? She has to marry me. Not for love, but to fix a problem she had no fault in creating. It's not fair to her."
  1166. >Mom follows your lead and rolls onto her back to join you in staring at the crimson canopy.
  1167. "If you ask me," you continue, "this marriage is as contrived as any done for political reasons. She and I share no love. At least I know you love me... and I, you."
  1168. >The words make you cringe.
  1169. >"That's a very different love than the kind shared by a husband and wife."
  1170. >An idea strikes you.
  1171. "Did Starswirl's notes explicitly say that a wedding has to be involved for this binding process to work?"
  1172. >Contemplation furrows her brow.
  1173. >"Well, not exactly..."
  1174. "So, in theory, you could just perform the spell and then we could... y'know..."
  1175. >You pull the pillow out from underneath your head and cover your face with it.
  1176. "...and nopony would ever have to know."
  1177. >You wait for her reply.
  1178. >It doesn't come.
  1179. >After a few minutes you drag the pillow off your face and tilt your head to the right.
  1180. >"I suppose you have a point."
  1181. >Another uncomfortable silence.
  1182. >"Are you sure?" your mother asks. "It's not too late to change your mind."
  1183. >You pause.
  1184. >You don't want this.
  1185. >Would marrying Cadence be worse?
  1186. >It's not like you want her either.
  1187. >And you don't like the prospect of being trapped in a marriage that would very likely be loveless.
  1188. >Yes, this is for the best.
  1189. >Nopony will ever have to know what happens here tonight, after all.
  1190. "Yeah," you say, turning towards those waiting magenta eyes. "Let's do it."
  1191. >"Very well."
  1192. >Celestia closes her eyes.
  1193. >A tear rolls down her cheek.
  1194. >She charges her magic, says something in Old Ponish, then touches the tip of her horn to your sternum.
  1195. >The light of her magic intensifies, then it disappears completely.
  1196. "Was that it?"
  1197. >"The first half of it, at least," she says with a slow nod.
  1198. "So now..."
  1199. >"Now... we make love," Celestia says, clambering off the bed.
  1200. >She returns to the bed, rests her forelegs on the mattress, and looks back to you, her face looking as conflicted as you feel.
  1201. >"Let's not make this any more awkward by delaying what needs to be done."
  1202. "O-Okay, M-"
  1203. >A bare white hoof presses to your mouth.
  1204. >"Celestia. Or 'Tia', if you prefer. Anything but what you're used to calling me."
  1205. >Her horn lights again, and you're lifted from the bed.
  1206. >Your clothes are removed in her aura before you're set down behind her.
  1207. >It's feeling real now.
  1208. >Too real.
  1209. >That you're not hard makes you cringe again and your soon-to-be lover frown.
  1210. >"Don't think about it," she tries to reassure you. "Just let nature take over."
  1211. >Your hands hover above her cutie marks.
  1212. >She nods her approval, then uses her magic to force your hands onto her rump.
  1213. >You give each full cheek a squeeze, then another, and another.
  1214. >"There you go..." Celestia says after a quiet moan as you knead her immaculate ass.
  1215. >Emboldened, you give Celestia's flanks one last squeeze before dragging your fingers rearward from her cutie marks.
  1216. >Her plot is so much hotter near her tail.
  1217. >A tail she just flagged to reveal...nothing.
  1218. >You frown at the distinct lack of genitalia.
  1219. "Celestia, what-" you begin to ask as you look from her rump to her face.
  1220. >Teal eyes glare back at you.
  1221. >"Taking the coward's way out, I see." a new, venomous voice growls at you.
  1222. >You yelp, stumbling away from the pony that's taken your mother's place.
  1223. >Dark wings spread, blocking the moonlight that had shined upon the bed.
  1224. >Those beautiful, terrible eyes shine with a blinding white light.
  1225. >"Is everypony in your life merely a means to an end? Have you no empathy? Have you no shame?"
  1226. >The floor beneath you dematerializes, and your gut feels like it's trying to escape through your mouth as you fall.
  1227. >"You do not deserve either of them!"
  1228.  
  1229. -----
  1230.  
  1231. >Once again, the familiar sights of the castle rush by you as you sprint towards your mother's chambers.
  1232. >This time, however, you're painfully aware that you're not dreaming, evidenced by the shallow cut on your forehead; droplets of coagulating blood trailing down your right temple.
  1233. >Considering that's all the damage you took after knocking your dome piece on the nightstand after flailing yourself out of bed in a panicked frenzy, you're rather fortunate.
  1234. >Guards notice your condition.
  1235. >They shout and run after you, but you're so focused on reaching Mom that their words don't register.
  1236. >Finally, you've reached those familiar doors that bear her cutie mark.
  1237. >They don't budge.
  1238. "Mom!" you yell, pounding on the doors with hammer fists.
  1239. >No reply.
  1240. >Two guard stallions are on scene a moment later.
  1241. >"Your Highness! Is something wrong? How did you get injured?"
  1242. "I'm fine, boys," you say, whirling around to face the guards. "Had a bad dream and took a tumble off the bed."
  1243. >The guards exchange quizzical looks.
  1244. "Have you seen the Princess?"
  1245. >"I'm afraid we haven't, My Prince."
  1246. "If you cross paths with her, please tell her I must speak with her immediately."
  1247. >"Yes, Your Highness."
  1248. >They bow, then about face to resume their patrol.
  1249. >Mom's chamber doors continue to deny you entry.
  1250. >You slide your back down the left one until cold stone meets your ass.
  1251. >The guards' hoofsteps grow quieter.
  1252. >Luna's words echo in your mind.
  1253. >For it being her first-ever appearance in your dreams, she sure gave you a lot to think about.
  1254. >Stupid subconscious.
  1255. >"Is everypony in your life merely a means to an end?"
  1256. >That question doesn't sit well with you.
  1257. >Not that anything Luna said left a warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest, but that one in particular was unsettling.
  1258. 'What is that supposed to mean?' you ponder in silence.
  1259. >For being royalty, there were not many ponies you'd consider to be part of your life, at least in any major, influential sense; notwithstanding Mom.
  1260. >You don't know what to think about Mom.
  1261. >Obviously, you love her- that's not the issue.
  1262. >Her overbearing nature and recent mood swings, however...
  1263. >At least Dent has stayed the same.
  1264. >Straight Talk is okay, but he's all business and you've never had much of a reason to interact with him.
  1265. >Your body guards are cool, though you don't talk to them unless you need something.
  1266. >Raven Inkwell is fun to flirt with, and you know she's aware of the fact that she makes your peepee hard enough to cut diamonds, but you've toned it down with her since Cirrus came into the picture.
  1267. >Cirrus...
  1268. >Shit, you need to check on her, especially if Cadence is still hiding in the clouds somewhere.
  1269. >Another unsettling question bubbles to the surface of your mind as you rise from the floor.
  1270. >What is it that you see in Cirrus Wisp?
  1271. >Sure, she's pretty and checks all the social boxes.
  1272. >Her athleticism is impressive.
  1273. >You get along well enough with her, but is that enough?
  1274. >Shuffling back to your quarters, you contemplate your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-marefriend.
  1275. >She more or less goes along with whatever you want to do; never wanting to challenge you or the status quo.
  1276. >You've never cared for how stuck-up she is.
  1277. >Not much different than any member of the nobility you've interacted with, truth be told.
  1278. >So why did you pursue her?
  1279. "Because Mom didn't ordain the relationship," you say out loud, stopping in your tracks. "I went after Cirrus because Mom wouldn't approve of her."
  1280. >That's it, then?
  1281. >Laughter escapes you; bitter and sarcastic.
  1282. >Your relationship with Cirrus Wisp was nothing more than an act of rebellion against your mother.
  1283. >Regardless, you can't help but feel like you've led her on, which will only make breaking up with her that much more difficult.
  1284. >It's odd that you were even able to carry on the relationship as long as you have, as Mom normally would've nipped that in the bud.
  1285. >Come to think of it, you asked Cirrus to be your very special somepony right around the time your fiance said she ascended.
  1286. "No wonder Mom didn't catch on. She was too distracted by Cadence."
  1287. >That can't be the case, as she admitted to surveilling your activities through scrying to the point of "invading your privacy" before that.
  1288. "Uh oh..."
  1289. >Your heart sinks as you realize Mon probably saw your fooling around with Cirrus before today.
  1290. >Which means it's likely she also witnessed your surreptitious finger-blasting of her trusted assistant in the Canterlot Archives two months ago.
  1291. >In retrospect, Raven really was painfully obvious in showing her interest in you.
  1292. >But you are Anonymous, and your ability to be tragically oblivious is unparalleled.
  1293. >Back to the topic in question, if Mom knew of your few unwholesome encounters with two of Equestria's eligible bachelorettes, why didn't she intervene before today?
  1294. "It's because Mom is a super rad lady, heh heh heh..."
  1295. >Yeah, that's totally the reason- Mom's not opposed to you experimenting with mares, so long as it doesn't go too far.
  1296. >Better that than you being a colt-cuddler.
  1297. >It's not like she's been pumping so much magic into you to keep you alive that it's been affecting her ability to tend to her responsibilities as she would normally.
  1298. >'I don't want you to see me like this.'
  1299. >That crazed laughter.
  1300. >You grimace at the recollection of what you witnessed in the cavern.
  1301. "I hope you're okay..." you whisper aloud in the deserted hallway.
  1302. >The past eight hours have been some of the craziest of your life and you have yet to fulfill your duties for the day.
  1303. >Might as well stop delaying the inevitable and get to the hospital, though you should freshen up first.
  1304. >Lethargic legs carry you up the final stretch of stairs to your chambers.
  1305. >Rounding the final corner, you see a familiar pink mare knocking on your door, still dressed in her gown from earlier.
  1306. >"Anon? It- It's me, Cadence. Can we talk?"
  1307. >She waits a few seconds.
  1308. >"Please?"
  1309. "Hey," you call to her.
  1310. >Cadence gasps and spins around.
  1311. >"Hey..."
  1312. >Neither of you move; each weighing words and strategy in silent observation of the other.
  1313. >"Will you please talk with me?" she asks, finally breaking the tense silence.
  1314. >Cirrus will have to wait.
  1315. "Yeah," you answer while moving to your door. "Come on in."
  1316. >"Wait. What happened to your head?" Cadence gestures to your cut with concern in her voice.
  1317. "I had a bad dream and fell off the bed. Hit my head on the nightstand along the way."
  1318. >"Are you okay?"
  1319. "I'm better now that you're here, really. You don't know how much I've been worried about you."
  1320. >Cadence turns away, but not before you see her eyes light up ever-so-slightly.
  1321. >You're not lying, either.
  1322. >Cadence follows you through the door.
  1323. >Her hooves clop against the worn stone floor, but stop soon after crossing the threshold.
  1324. "Is something wrong?" you ask, locking the door behind her.
  1325. >"Yeah," she says with a sniffle. "There's a lot wrong."
  1326. >So much for scoring any points by admitting you were worried about her.
  1327. >Your body stiffens as Cadence takes a deep breath.
  1328. >"I can't tell you how excited I was for today, Anonymous. To finally meet you after weeks of watching you from afar! I hoped today would be magical, that we would 'click', that you would be as excited to meet me as I was to meet you, but you weren't."
  1329. >Her words cut, penetrating the social armor you've acquired from a lifetime in the public eye.
  1330. >"Even during our date, your heart continued to focus on a mare who doesn't even love you. All while I was sitting by your side, desperately trying to connect with you, trying to unlock your guarded heart."
  1331. "Cadence, wait. I..."
  1332. >The words die in your throat.
  1333. >All you can think about is how bad you feel for disappointing Cadence.
  1334. >She flutters her wings and waits for you to continue with a cocked eyebrow.
  1335. >'You do not deserve either of them!'
  1336. >Those final words from your nightmare, that indictment- it steels your resolve.
  1337. >You must fix this.
  1338. >If not for you, then for Cadence... and Mom.
  1339. "Look. You have every reason to be mad at me. You deserved better from me today, and I am truly sorry that I couldn't meet your expectations."
  1340. >She huffs and looks away.
  1341. "You're right, you know. I was thinking about Cirrus Wisp throughout our date..."
  1342. >That draws a growl from the mare.
  1343. "...but I'll be honest, a lot of those thoughts dealt with how I was going to break the news of my betrothal, and, well... how I was going to break up with her."
  1344. >Cadence's ears perk up and swivel towards you.
  1345. "It's a lot to process, you know? Being told completely out of the blue that you're going to marry a princess you didn't know existed."
  1346. >"Try being transformed into one sometime." she retorts with a soft chuckle.
  1347. "I'm not pretty enough for that."
  1348. >The indirect compliment chips away at her lingering frown.
  1349. >Her eyes lock onto you when you dare to touch her neck.
  1350. "Above anything else, I'm most sorry for how I reacted to you during the ride back from the bar. I didn't know how to deal with something so intense- not that it makes it any better!"
  1351. >You take a step closer whilst sliding your hand along her long neck to cup her cheek.
  1352. "Had I known that you were trying to share the essence of who you are with me, I wouldn't have pushed you away. I didn't mean to reject you like that, Cadence."
  1353. >She doesn't reply, though she searches your face with a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
  1354. "Do you think we can start over?"
  1355. >Cadence appears to give it serious contemplation.
  1356. >"No. We can't."
  1357. >Her answer conjures a mix of disappointment, regret, and sadness in your chest, to the point of causing physical discomfort.
  1358. "Oh..." is all you can say. "I guess I'll-"
  1359. >Purple-tipped pink feathers press upon your lips.
  1360. >Cadence shoots you a mischievous grin.
  1361. >"But that doesn't mean you can't make it up to me."
  1362. "How?"
  1363. >Though your room is illuminated by naught but the gentle light from the full moon, her crimson-flushed face is obvious.
  1364. >"Cuddles."
  1365. "Really?"
  1366. >"Mmm-hmm!" Cadence replies with vigorous head nods. "In... in y-your bed."
  1367. >Those last three words send an adrenaline surge through your body.
  1368. >Your remaining internal reservations are vanquished by your desire to repair whatever damage you've done in your fledgling relationship with your fiance.
  1369. >There's also the fact that you've been repeatedly aroused today with no release, which makes the prospect of laying in bed with this gorgeous mare all the more enticing.
  1370. >Hopefully she can't hear your heart jackhammering against your sternum.
  1371. >With a trembling hand you reach for her left wing.
  1372. >Her primaries wrap around your fingers, allowing you to guide her to your mutual destination.
  1373. >Cadence stops short of the bed, retracting her feathers from your grasp.
  1374. >Her magic chimes, and her horn finally reappears.
  1375. >Tail swishing in a lazy figure-eight, she looks at you with fluttering eyelids.
  1376. >"Would you help me out of this?" she asks, tugging at her dress with her magic.
  1377. >It's your turn to blush.
  1378. "S-sure..."
  1379. >Cadence's deepening blush speaks volumes as your gentle touch guides her wings out of the slits in her gown.
  1380. >She stifles a gasp when your fingers rake up her spine, pulling the silky dress's hem over her rump.
  1381. >And what a rump it is- full and undoubtedly muscular, but sporting just enough fat to make for a shapely and feminine rear.
  1382. >"Like what you see?"
  1383. >She giggles at your attempt to stammer a response, then shuts you up by planting a soft kiss on your neck.
  1384. >"It's okay, Anon, you can look. I don't mind."
  1385. >Another soft kiss lands on your collarbone.
  1386. >"But how about you finish undressing me first?"
  1387. "L-lewd..."
  1388. >Cadence giggles harder.
  1389. >She bows her head so you don't have to reach too high when pulling her dress over her horn.
  1390. >Blue energy secures the garment from your grasp, depositing it on a chair in the far corner of your room.
  1391. "Well," you say, motioning to the bed. "Shall we?"
  1392. >"Not yet. You haven't taken my bow out," she chides.
  1393. >Your fingers caress her silky mane whilst your untie the sky blue bow.
  1394. >Now free of its binding, her long tri-colored mane falls around her neck, curls bouncing at the ends.
  1395. >Cadence stops you once again when you turn to the bed.
  1396. >"You forgot the other bow..." she whispers, giving her rump the slightest shake as she speaks.
  1397. >You're no stranger to a mare's anatomy, and it's not like your fingers haven't gone spelunking in two different mares' caves of wonder.
  1398. >The way Cadence asks you to undo her tail binding... she makes it feel like its the most erotic thing you've ever considered, hence your nervous, shallow breaths.
  1399. >A light blue crystalline heart adorns her flank; a flank your hands hover over.
  1400. >You make a point to keep your palms above her tailbone as your fingers struggle with the blue ribbon's tightly-bound knot.
  1401. >"Anon?"
  1402. "Hmm?"
  1403. >Cadence turns her rear towards you, her neck following to maintain eye contact.
  1404. >"Focus on my eyes as you untie it."
  1405. "But I need to see-"
  1406. >"Listen to what your fingers tell you," she interrupts with half-lidded eyes. "I'm in no hurry."
  1407. >You obey her commands and your fingers set to work, but Cadence has other plans.
  1408. >She sways her hips to and fro, forcing you to clamp your thumbs on her ribbon-wrapped dock to hold her steady.
  1409. >Cadence gasps, but continues to lock eyes with you.
  1410. >The mare changes her tactics, pressing her rump against you as you continue to fight the knot.
  1411. >Both of you shudder when Cadence makes contact with you.
  1412. >You decide to fight fire with fire and pull her tail.
  1413. >She lets loose a surprised squeal, then retaliates by grinding against your thighs.
  1414. >By the Sun, the heat permeating your pants from this mare is impressive.
  1415. >The knot finally relents, and you unravel the turns of ribbon around her tail.
  1416. >No sooner is the ribbon free of her tail does Cadence take several quick steps away from you and the growing heat accumulating in your trousers.
  1417. >"Thanks, Anon!" she says with an innocent, cheerful smile.
  1418. "What!? Hey! That's... that's not-"
  1419. >"Not what, honey?" Cadence asks, tilting her head.
  1420. "Tease."
  1421. >"I don't know what you're talking about. C'mon, let's get you ready for bed."
  1422. >Her aura surrounds you, pulling at your shirt.
  1423. >You lift your arms, letting it slide over your head and arms.
  1424. >Cadence allows you to finish disrobing, though she frowns when you keep your underwear in place.
  1425. "What?" you ask, sliding under the sheets.
  1426. >She follows you lead, scooting closer underneath the blankets until her chest presses against you.
  1427. >"Why didn't you finish undressing?"
  1428. >Her breath tickles your neck like it did at the bar.
  1429. "Because I'd be... um... exposing myself to you."
  1430. >Cadence giggles into your neck.
  1431. >"A little bit of tail-play and you can't keep it in your sheath?"
  1432. "Cadence... I don't have a sheath."
  1433. >"Oh... well that explains the underpants."
  1434. "Indeed."
  1435. >"You should take them off anyways."
  1436. >That you hesitate more than a second spurns the mare to snake her hind legs around you, pulling your closer.
  1437. >With no space between you, there's no hiding your reaction to her teasing and touch.
  1438. >"It's okay, darling," she breathes into your ear. "We're engaged, after all..."
  1439. >Cadence gyrates her hips and slides her legs down yours, pulling your drawers as she does.
  1440. >Her magic finishes the job, freeing your member to slap her belly once it clears the waistband of its cotton prison.
  1441. >"That's much better, wouldn't you say?" she asks, wriggling against you.
  1442. "Y-Yes, it sure is."
  1443. >Your bashfulness earns another giggle from the mare, though that might have been caused by your cock rubbing against her nipples.
  1444. >Cadence gives your jaw a light peck, so you respond by pulling her close.
  1445. >With your arms around her barrel, you stare into her eyes, which glint in the moonlight.
  1446. >"What are you thinking about?"
  1447. >You want to tell Cadence about everything that transpired with your mom following your return to the castle.
  1448. >You want to tell her of the hidden cavern, your Aunt Luna, the story of your birth...
  1449. >The reason the two of you are to be wed.
  1450. >But you don't.
  1451. >You've already ruined the mood once- you wont do it again.
  1452. >"Anon?" Cadence asks with another kiss to your neck, jolting you back to the present.
  1453. "I was thinking about our little bar adventure."
  1454. >"Oh yeah? Which part?"
  1455. "The beating you put on my marefriend."
  1456. >Cadence growls.
  1457. "Er... ex-marefriend."
  1458. >A fresh blush washes across Cadence's muzzle.
  1459. >"I guess I did take things a bit to far..."
  1460. "No. She shouldn't have said those awful things."
  1461. >"Damn right she shouldn't have."
  1462. "Besides, I..."
  1463. >You're not sure if you should finish voicing that thought.
  1464. >"You what, Anon?"
  1465. "Promise not to tell anypony?"
  1466. >Cadence nods.
  1467. >Her hoof slides off your shoulder and slips between your bodies.
  1468. >"Of course, honey. You can trust me with anything."
  1469. >She creates a bit of space between your lower halves, affording her hoof the space to reach your member.
  1470. >You gasp, a reaction that goes unacknowledged.
  1471. >"You were saying, love?"
  1472. "I uh..."
  1473. >She moves your cock from between her teats to between her legs, then wraps said legs around you again.
  1474. "I thought it was really hot."
  1475. >Cadence starts to grind her lips along your shaft, teasing it with occasional winks.
  1476. >"You thought *what* was really hot?"
  1477. >She's soaking every inch of you with her sliding.
  1478. >Not wanting her to do all the work, you begin to add your own slow thrusts, matching her rhythm.
  1479. "I was really turned on when I watched you fight. Beating Cirrus to a pulp. Seeing you act like a wild mare. It got me so hard."
  1480. >"I remember," she says giggling. "My poor Anonymous, getting all worked up without a chance for release..."
  1481. >Your tip is making regular contact with her ponut at the end of each thrust.
  1482. >"Too bad we're not married yet," Cadence continues, increasing her tempo. "Your mother was very adamant that we both must enter this marriage as virgins."
  1483. "Not to mention, she's been watching everything we do like a hawk," you add, after sucking air through clenched teeth. "Scrying on our every moment together; hearing every word spoken."
  1484. >You slide your hands to her rump and squeeze.
  1485. >It's better than you imagined, everything you could hope for; firm, yet pliable.
  1486. >"Could you imagine if we were up to no good?" Cadence asks, her voice giddy. "How would your mother react if she saw us engaged in premarital hoof-holding?"
  1487. >Her breathing quickens; growing more labored as she drags her winking pearl across your length.
  1488. >"Good thing we're *gasp!* be-haaaaving ourselves..."
  1489. "Cadence, I-"
  1490. >Sensing your peak drawing near, Cadence doubles her tempo, abandoning all pretense of innocence as she moans into your ear.
  1491. >Cadence clenches her legs around you, and flood of warmth rushes over your cock; dripping down your legs.
  1492. >"ANON! AH- HNNNNNNG!"
  1493. >Cadence rides out her orgasm whilst moaning your name, grinding her hips as she does.
  1494. >This brings about the end for you, driving you to buck your hips with reckless abandon.
  1495. >"C'mon, love! Don't hold back!"
  1496. >With one final grunt, you thrust as far as you can against Cadence.
  1497. >Your shaft, still standing parallel to her lips, reaches higher than before, sending your tip into her dock.
  1498. >The floodgates open, and you paint her dock and ponut with rope after rope of your thick seed.
  1499. >All either of you can do for a while is hold each other while catching your breath.
  1500. >There's only one thing left to do.
  1501. "Cadence."
  1502. >"Yes?"
  1503. >You cup her flushed cheeks in your palms, then pull her close.
  1504. >Cadence stifles a gasp, closing her eyes as your lips draw near.
  1505. >She sighs into your mouth when your tongues meet for the first time.
  1506. >Her magic chimes, and once again, you feel as if you're sliding into a warm bath while being hugged.
  1507. >This time you don't fight it.
  1508. >But you can't give yourself to the experience either.
  1509. >The best you can do is kiss your fiance and hope that this is a step in the right direction.
  1510. >Focused on kiss, you don't notice the tears leaking from Cadence's closed eyes.
  1511.  
  1512. -----
  1513.  
  1514. >"Miss Wisp, you really ought to stay overnight for observation!"
  1515. "I've made up my mind. Send the bill to my father in Cloudsdale."
  1516. >You don't stick around to hear any more of the doctor's protests.
  1517. >Magic is truly amazing.
  1518. >Without it, you'd be laid up in Canterlot General Hospital for weeks!
  1519. >Thankfully, this is Equestria, and you have access to the wonders of unicorn doctors.
  1520. >Sure, the past three hours were rough, as the procedures you underwent were anything but pleasant.
  1521. >That doesn't matter- you're fully healed and itching for revenge against that pink whorse.
  1522. >First things first, find Anonymous and let him know you're okay.
  1523. >He better have a damn good reason for not being by your side during every second of your hospital visit.
  1524. >The lights of Canterlot shrink to pinpricks in a matter of seconds, and soon, you're above the clouds.
  1525. >You watch the night shift guards make their patrols around the castle grounds, biding your time for the perfect opportunity.
  1526. >After a half hour of focused observation, you've got their patrol routes memorized.
  1527. >Ready... dive!
  1528. >The wind makes your eyes water as you descend straight for Anon's tower.
  1529. >You overshoot your destination- an intentional maneuver- corkscrewing to slow yourself without straining your freshly-healed wing.
  1530. >A few more flaps, and you're hovering by Anon's southern window; your favorite ingress point.
  1531. >What you see makes your blood boil.
  1532. >Anon is sleeping in the embrace of another mare- the mare responsible for putting you in the hospital.
  1533. >You're beginning to see red, but then you notice something else, something that makes you freeze.
  1534. >That pegasus isn't a pegasus.
  1535. >She's got a horn, too.
  1536. >You gasp in spite of your fury.
  1537. "Another princess?" you wonder aloud. "There's another princess in Equestria!?"
  1538. >"Indeed, there is." a vaguely-familiar voice answers from behind you.
  1539. >You try to turn, but your wings are seized in place, as is the rest of your body, though you don't fall.
  1540. >"You shouldn't have returned," the voice continues with a hint of remorse.
  1541. >It's hot... too hot for an autumn night.
  1542. "Please..." you grunt, struggling against your invisible restraints, "...let me *ugh!* go!"
  1543. >"I'm sorry, but you've forced my hoof."
  1544.  
  1545. Chapter 4

Untitled Marital Problems Story

by DaybreakerAnon