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 The Lights of Harmony

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EvenMotion
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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   16/10/2012, 5:34 pm

"I didn't raise you to be such a wild filly did I? I did my best to give you an education and to keep you safe and what do you do? You choose the most uncouth careers possible to pursue! An athlete? A bartender? Now the guard? Next thing, I expect you to say is that you're some fillyfooler!"

Lightning stood by her mother's side as she addressed the Princess. This had gone on for almost an hour now. After Twilight Sparkle came in with some first century scripts with some poorly worded laws, they had been going on and on about the rights the Houses earned after the War of the Night.

Her mother's blue mane shuddered under her rapid movements. Her light colored eyes dug deep into her side. "The wording still stands as a literal block towards recruitment! Its an inherent conflict of interest to both be on the Council of Tribes and to be serving in the royal guard! It's like being the knight for two Princesses!"

Princess Celestia leaned back into her throne, rubbing her temples. Before Lightning had arrived, her mother and her uncle - Princess Sapphire and Prince Blueblood - had been harassing her since this morning. She had just sent Twilight back downstairs for a later ruling she barely remembered from the third century. It would be something that would decide this, at least.

"But both Princesses are still serving the same country. Serving both is serving the interests of the country over the rulers."

"Back in the day that was called Espionage!" Sapphire shrieked. "I will not have you using my daughter as a pawn in your game to tread all over the council's rights."

"One of my first proclomations after I banished my sister was to permanently remove myself from being able to touch those rights," Celestia said calmly. "I have no intention of taking or trampling on the rights of the council."

Princess Sapphire wasn't buying it. Lightning knew her mother better than that. It was always her way or the highway.

"Of course, regardless of the outcome, Lightning is liable for charges of treason and espionage, under The Council's Law," Blueblood spoke. "If we could settle here without further argument - since you've already seen the laws - we could spare her those punishments."

The Princess looked down at Lightning with... pity? No, it definitely wasn't that. Worry. The princess was worried about her.

The doors to the throne room opened once again, as a disheveled looking Twilight Sparkle trotted into the room. "Found it!" She crossed the floor over to Celestia. "On the 251st Summer Sun Celebration the Council of Tribes removed ban on serving in the Royal Guard, as part of an effort to rebuild communities across the country. In all of the law records on file in the law archive, there is no redaction of that decision."

A shocked silence passed over the room. "As my daughter, she still owes the family fealty. She must serve this fealty until the Council deems that it has been fulfilled."

Celestia moved to object, but held her tongue.

Twilight looked mortified. "Fealty? You're demanding that your own daughter pretend to be your peasant?"

"That's barbaric!" Princess Sapphire yelled. "How dare you question things you know nothing about! It is the Royal Family's right to claim, keep and even marry its foals. We will decide what is in her best interests until we deem that she is fit to make that decision on her own."

Twilight opened her mouth to yell, but the Princess held up a hoof. "Very well. I will aquiesce in this matter. Just know that she has... had, a special claim on her talents. It's a shame that you've decided to waste them."

The two unicorns bowed and walked down the hallway. Lightning looked up at the princess. She looked hurt by what she was forced to do. Lightning didn't blame her. Mom always won. Two of the nearby guards came over to her.

"Private Lightning." Celestia said. Her voice was steady and soft.

Lightning bowed.

"As per the claim of fealty, I can no longer honor the rank which you have painstakingly earned. It is no longer my right to do so. Unfortunately, I must also take away your armor."

The guards on either side of her helped her remove her plates and her horseshoes. Twilight left through the back door on the edge of either vomiting or crying, whichever would have come first. As soon as she was stripped, she saluted the Princess one last time.

"Dismissed."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 9:25 am

"...It's not possible..."

"...I'm sorry Gold, but it is...I wish I could offer you better news than this."

"...It's not your fault, Fine. You only heard what was told to you.....rrrrRRRAAAHHH!!!"

The wooden counter splintered and nearly collapsed from the angry and hate-fueled hoof of Gold Andromeda. She pulled it out slowly, blood slowly oozing from the open gash she had gained.

"SHE'S HER OWN FAMILY'S FUCKING SERVANT?!!!!"

Every one of the figures surrounding Gold stayed silent, knowing that no words would calm her down. And no words could even be said.

Gold swiped the injured hoof across the counter top, slamming it into the cash register and launching the plastic box into the wall, putting a large hole in the wall and shattering the register.

Her tears of anguish flowed like small rivulets down her face, dripping onto the floor.

Fine Print's mascara ran down her face as well. It hurt her to have to bring such painful news to Gold.

Especially when that particular incident had happened only two days ago.

Her eyes caught the sight of Pyro Technic.

The mare was sitting absolutely still on the floor, her head bowed down low as her mane, no longer held in a ponytail, draped over her head like a curtain of a reversed flame. The thick welding goggles she had worn were on the ground in front of her, the insides of the glass lenses stained with tears.

Axle Nut sat at the table, a large bottle of unmarked whiskey in front of him. His mane was a mess, his hooves were stained with axle grease, and his eyes were bloodshot from silent tears. He kept muttering 'fealty' over and over again under his breath.

Stone Wall had gone upstairs, not saying a word. But the echoing sound of a shattered vase and an oath to the imminent slow, painful death of all that was Platinum was all that they needed to hear to know how she felt about it.

And now, Fine's eyes went back to the one who was suffering the most out of all of them.

Gold Andromeda.

She was hunched over the splintered counter top, her right hoof bleeding, her mane even more messy than it usually was, her headphones on the floor, her body heaving from the deep, shuddering breaths she took. Her eyes no longer held any glint or shine, marred by the red capillaries that snaked and webbed across the orbs, tears all used up.

To Fine Print, it was like looking into a bloody, icy hell that not even Tartaurus could ever hope to achieve.

Gold opened a drawer, which promptly fell onto the floor, and pulled out some gauze usually kept on hoof in case of some accidental burns by faulty merchandise. she wrapped her hoof, placed a little weight on it to test it out, then stepped away from the counter. She brushed her mane back into something that resembled her original style, walked over and picked up her headphones, ans started towards the front door.

Fine started after her.

"Where are you going, Gold?"

Gold stopped, not even looking back.

"I'm going to go visit Lightning."

"...The Platinum home is heavily guarded, and I'm sure Princess Sapphire has barred anyone from coming within a mile of the place."

"...I know...and I couldn't give two shits for what they think."

"......"

"....Are you coming or what, Fine Print?"

"...Just try and stop me. I never like the nobles anyways. Bunch of egotistical assholes who have a stick shoved so far up their asses that they could pass off as a gilded tree."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 1:33 pm

Lightning's eyes slowly opened to the dim light of the room. Her room. The prison she thought she'd finally escaped. The room was spacious - a fireplace burned brightly on the other end of the room. To the right was a small table and an old couch still in pristine condition. On the other wall was a large book case filled with many volumes of history, fiction, and some small technical pieces. She'd already exhausted that shelf plenty of times. A huge curtain covered the many windows on the right wall. The maids had let her sleep in today.

She rose from her bed, pushing the satin blanket off of her coat. Her stomach rumbled. A quick double check around the room revealed the warm pot of tea and cookies on her nightstand - as well as several cubes of sugar.

The door swung open to her room and she cringed, almost huddling herself against the wall. But she relaxed when she noticed who it was.

"Ninny?"

Lightning smiled and lowered herself to a sitting position. The young unicorn filly happily bounded across the room and grabbed her tight. Lightning ran a hoof through her fire-red mane, stroking it softly.

The filly giggled and planted her hoof softly on lightning's nose. "Hi, Ninny!"

Lightning stifled a chuckle. "Hey, Red."

The filly looked upset for a moment, turning her head towards the door. There was no one in the hall. "Mamma doesn't like it when you call me that."

Lightning raised an eyebrow and straightened her face. A small moment of silence passed until they finally giggled quietly to one another. "Mom doesn't like you coming into my room."

"I know..."

Lightning's eyes flicked to the door. "How come you're home from school?"

"Miss Lucid just had her foals today, so we got the day off of school!"

"Oh? No substitue teacher?"

Red shook her head. "Miss Lucid was teaching math, when all of a sudden she got really quiet and fell on the desk. Mr. Score came in and said Miss Lucid got a message from Mr. Lucid that their foals were coming and she had to go right away!"

Lightning tried to stifle a chuckle. Her sister was still to young to know that she went into labor in the middle of math class. No wonder she was home.

"Ruby?"

Both girls froze. Lightning reacted first, prodding her to leave the room. "Go," she whispered.

"Ruby? Where's my little Princess?"

Ruby - Red - did her best to hurry out of the room, but was stopped at the door by their mother. The last pony either of them wanted to see.

"Princess Ruby! You know better than to go into rooms when ponies are sleeping." Sapphire seemed unamused. But she was soft and warm towards the foal.

"Yes, mamma."

"Go run along and play. I heard that your friend Majesty wanted to build a snowpony."

Ruby seemed excited at the prospect and hesitated slightly before bounding down the hall. Sapphire watched her go, waiting a few moments before entering and closing the door. Whatever demeanor she had before was gone now.

"I see you're still settling in."

Lightning's whole body and mind seemed to seize up, locking herself away from her mother.

"Loose Leaf brought you tea earlier as well. Quite the initiative she has." Her mother paced over to the fire. She watched the flames for a while, just letting Lightning stew within her thoughts, blocked away from the rest of the world. "I suppose I should get to the point."

Sapphire paced back to the door, turning to face the pegasus. "Our family archives are currently being rewritten in Trottingham, to preserve whatever knowledge is decaying. We are also beginning the process of digitizing some of these records. While I know you do not have the skill for either calligraphy or copying, they need another hoof sorting them into their proper storage. So I am sending you there for your own good. Perhaps you can get some use out of you and manage to stick around. Goodness knows it hasn't worked well in the past, but I have the utmost confidence that you'll succeed. At least you won't break any vases flying around the house."

With that, she passed through the doorway.

"Leaf will retrieve you at seven tomorrow morning for the flight over. The airship is arriving tonight. When you're finally ready to stay out of the way, you may make your way to the kitchens for some lunch."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 2:08 pm

Fine Print looked around in confusion. They were in the right districts, but they were heading in the wrong direction.

"Um, Gold, deary? Are you sure you know where you're going?"

"Yes."

"But, the Platinum residence is the other direction."

"We're not going there right away, Fine. I know about the guards these nobles think they can use as meat shields and intimidating little decorations, so I'm not just going to walk right up there and demand to see Lightning. I'm fucking pissed, but I know when to keep a cool mind. For now."

Fine Print now followed with uncertainty.

"Then where are we going?"

"Here."

Gold stopped in front of the tall, ornate blue gate, and no guards to be seen except at the front door. The mansion was very large, mostly white and blue. Two large towers decorated each side with a small blue flag on top of both towers.

Gold calmly stepped forward and tapped on a large red button mounted below a speaker that was located on the brick supports for the gate.

After a while, a known voice spoke up.

"Yes, who is this?"

"It's me, Gold Andromeda. I'm here to talk to you about something very important to me."

"Hmmm, do come in."

The gates opened on command and Gold walked through without even hesitating. Fine Print quickly caught back up.

"You know him?!"

"He's an acquaintance and friend to my family."

Gold gained a faint smile.

"And he's exactly who I need to talk to."

They reached the front doors, where the guards gave a quick salute and stood back, opening the doors for the two mares.

Gold and Fine entered the main lobby of the mansion, where a familiar stallion stood waiting for them.

His light gray, almost white coat gleamed underneath the fine black dress suit he wore, the monocle adding to the visage. His light blue eyes, mane, tail, and small mustache matched perfectly, the single light gray strand in his mane added wisdom and age to his appearance. His cutie mark was three gold crowns with purple jewels.

He gave them a light smile, which didn't affect Gold, but made Fine's legs wobble. She voiced the absolute confusion she felt.

"You mean you know HIM?"

The stallion chuckled.

"I knew her since she was born. I even stood in the lobby of the hospital she was born at."

Gold waved a hoof.

"I don't have time to reminisce with you, Fancy Pants. I'm here to ask for your help on assisting a mare who has become quite important to me."

Fancy Pants lightly rubbed his chin.

"Do come in my office. You might have to explain to me what it is you plan on doing."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 3:13 pm

"What is she doing here?"

Lightning froze in her place. She had gone two days without a major incident. But now, she knew she was in for it big time. She had walked in on her mother's book club - the most sacred thing to her.

"I thought you said you took care of that problem."

Lightning backed herself into the kitchen, trying her best to pray that her mother wouldn't follow her in. If she did, there were only two options. Either flee to the Everfree forest, or face her mother's wrath. She never had the chance to pick the first option.

The doors opened once more. Sapphire glared at her daughter, taking very deliberate steps towards her daughter. Oblivious to this development, one of the cooks had come over to help her.

"Are you alright Princess Lightning?"

"Do not address her as Princess in my house," Sapphire snapped. "Does she have a horn?"

The maid stammered for a moment, "But... isn't she your daughter, your highness?"

A loud crack echoed through the kitchen as Sapphire's hoof landed a solid slap on her cheek. "You're fired." The maid looked mortified and confused. After a moment or two, she left the room crying. The rest of the workers in the room stood stock still, not wanting to disturb the scene.

"Out."

The other workers filed out as quickly as they could manage, turning off stoves and machines as they passed them by.

"What was my one rule about my book club? There was only one."

Lightning just stared at her like she was looking a Timberwolf in the eye.

"Never interrupt my book club. I mean, haven't I taught you that? Did you not pay attention? Did you spend the entire time outside of my home unlearning the rules you needed to survive?" She paced around the counter, pushing one of the pans off the hotplate and onto the counter.

"I spent years teaching you how to behave properly. After these past two days, I saw that you had still retained that knowledge. I thought that I could finally let you live your own life in Trottingham. But it appears that I was wrong."

Lightning was quicky enveloped in her mother's magic. She trotted towards the cellar door and opened it. As she walked down the stairs, Lightning tried to resist her capture. But that only lead to it getting tighter.

Sapphire sighed. "I didn't think I'd have to use the other room again, but it appears that that will be the case."

She stopped by the last rack of wine and opened the door at the end of the hall. The room within was small and dimly lit. A small fireplace - almost forgotten, it seemed - sat on the left side of the room. Across from the door was a small bed with stale clean linen and an old nightstand. Other than that, the walls and room were bare, save for some firewood.

Lightning was gently placed on the bed as the aura disappeared. "I swear to Celestia, if I have to break you to get you to behave, I'll do it. I will break you like the mutt you are. Don't test me and don't let this happen again. I'll send Loose Leaf to start the fire if the chimney is clean."

Sapphire passed back through the door, closing the door shut behind her. It locked with an audible click, leaving her completely alone.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 3:41 pm

"So, let me get this straight..."

Fancy Pants sat up straighter in his office chair.

"You want me to get you tickets to the next Spring Garden Party that will be hosted at Canterlot Castle in only a few days with fake ID's? You also want me to get you an audience with the Princesses while they attend the party? Not only that, but you want me to help you gain access to the Canterlot Castle archives?"

Gold's face showed no real emotion.

"Yes."

"That is....quite a price you are asking of me, Andromeda."

"Oh? And what would you want in return?"

Gold suddenly tackled Fine Print out of her chair, with Gold now standing over her. Gold's eyes turned towards Fancy Pants as she slowly nuzzled at Fine's nose.

Gold held a sly smile, but Fine was sweating bullets.

"Maybe a little....entertainment?"

She leaned over and lightly nipped at Fine's ear, who faintly gasped.

Fancy Pants lifted a handkerchief from his suit with his magic and lightly dabbed at his forehead.

"No no. There won't be any need for that, Andromeda. I could never ask a mare to perform such deeds in order to gain a favor."

"Good."

Gold stood up and calmly walked over to her chair and sat down. She looked back at Fine Print.

"Hey, Fine. You alright?"

Fine was still flat on her back, her eyes wide, her face crimson, and a small drop of blood was coming from her nose.

Fancy Pants looked over at her.

"Will she be alright?"

Gold waved a hoof.

"Eh, she gets like this sometimes when she has an unexpected sexy moment with another mare. She'll be up in a few minutes."

She turned her gaze to Fancy Pants.

"Listen, Fancy, after what I told you and what I went through with this mare, you must have a pretty good idea why I'm doing this."

He nodded.

"I may have said the price was steep, but not payable."

"But I would still feel guilty for not giving you a little compensation. I'll give you 25% of my store's profits, a guarantee that your name won't be mentioned, and a large batch of Pyro's explosive oatmeal cookies should we get found out."

Fancy Pants rubbed his chin in contemplation.

"Hmmmm...I don't know..."

He raised a brow and gave a small smile.

"With little chocolate pieces in the cookies and extra peanut butter?"

"Absolutely."

"Then you have a deal, Andromeda."

Gold smiled as she looked back at Fine, who was now getting back on her hooves.

"Hey Fine, you're going to be my date to the Spring Garden Party in a few days. Make sure you where something nice."

Fine's legs gave out on her.


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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 4:03 pm

Lightning rummaged through the new package one of the maids had left while she was napping. It was standard - a few cookies, a small tin of crackers, and at the bottom was a brand new book. She smiled.

This room was one of the most horrible places she had ever been. As a child, she'd been in here so often, that just by saying "the other room" she'd start shaking. Her mother would lock her in here for a day or two, and then let her out, hoping she'd learned her lesson to perfection. When she didn't it would be a longer stay.

This time was different. She had been in here for a week so far, with very little comfort. On the first day, she remembered the bathroom door was a hidden panel in this room and she actually peed on the floor. Of course she was scolded for that, and nearly died from the humiliation. But so far, she'd been able to use the bathroom sink to wash herself. It ate up a ton of time, which was nice.

But the closeness of the room was starting to grate on her nerves. Having been raised in such small spaces, her instincts for being trapped had been suppressed. But now, they tugged on her mind. It was becoming hard to sleep, feeling as though she would be caged for so long. So far she had managed.

Lightning rolled over on her bed, drawing the blanket around her. Yesterday she had used the time to keep up as many training regimens as she could. But today, she was physically and mentally drained.

Her only conscious effort was to think about the outside world. Specifically, she thought about Gold. Was she ok? Was she earning enough coin? How were her friends?

But even with concern, she felt a little bit of remorse. She didn't return Gold's feelings completely, she realized. Lightning had been caught up in the fact that she finally had a friend, that she had mistaken that joy for falling in love. It would be foolish for her to believe that she could really find someone like that in the world she lived with.

Her eyes closed, letting her slip into a restless nap.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   18/10/2012, 4:35 pm

In the dark basement of Gold and Stone's electronics store, a group of ponies had gotten together with only a few lights and candles to lighten the room. On the table were a series of maps and diagrams, showing time tables and schedules of the guard shifts for both the castle and the Platinum mansion.

Gold handed out watches of different styles.

"Remember to synchronize your watches when we launch this plan in a few days."

They all nodded.

"Good. Mist? How has your research into illusion spells going?"

Mist Negus, a unicorn mare with a sea green coat, a dark blue mane, and bright green eyes that seemed to glow in the darkness with a shot glass full of mist raised her hoof.

"I found my father's old illusion spell book. I'll be able to disguise us easy to get into the party. And I'll make sure to slip a little something into a few selected drink mixes. Just enough to either make them run for the bathroom or have them hallucinate."

Gold nodded.

"But only if they think you're prying too deep. All you need to do is eavesdrop on conversations."

She turned towards Axle.

"Axle, you'll defense. If someone get's suspicious, you distract them, or offer them a tainted drink from Mist."

"Gotcha."

Gold turned towards Stone.

"Stone, I hate to leave you out of the espionage, but you'll be pretty hard to hide, so, you are our exit strategy. Your size and speed can get our carriage out of the party before anyone recognizes us."

She looked at Pyro.

"Pyro, you'll be recon at the Platinum mansion. Make sure that no guards see you. And if you see an opening to grab Lightning, don't take it. We just want to get her help, not start an all out war. All you need to do is scout out the premises while the higher ups are gone so we can plant surveillance. Bugs behind a picture frame, anyway will work."

Gold then motioned to Fine Print and Fancy Pants.

"Finally, we three will gather what we can get from Canterlot Castle. Fancy Pants will get us an audience with the Princesses if we find exactly what we are looking for in the archives. Be it an old dusty law tucked away into the corner, or blueprints of the Platinum mansion, I don't care. Just as long as we gather enough to locate the approximate location of Lightning. The, we can plead our case to the Princesses, if we can obtain this information legally. If we gain it illegally, we'll just casually give it to the Princesses. Like leaving it out in the open, or tossing it to Twilight Sparkle."

Gold shook her head.

"If what Fine told me is right, she was disgusted with what Sapphire had done. I'm sure we can convince her that she 'accidentally' stumbled across the tome."

Gold looked around the table one more time.

"Everyone clear so far?"

They nodded.

"Then we'll continue this planning tomorrow, with better updates in guard posts and disguises."

She waved a hoof.

"All right, this meeting is adjourned."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 4:08 am

(( I'll set the scene for the Garden Party, as not much has changed with Lightning. ))

The evening sun finally fell behind the horizon. The nobles watched both princesses as a simple glance passed between them. Luna's horn glowed and it appeared as though the sky was being painted with stars and mist. The moon glowed bright as it passed over the mountain and into the sky.

The nobles gathered stomped their hooves in approval, bowing respectfully.

"May your evening pass in comfort and joy," Princess Luna said. The nobles turned to their idle chatter with one another. The princess of the night exchanged a few light words with Celestia before disappearing into the sky.

The princess looked over the crowd. All kinds of ponies from the upper echelon of society had come to attend. The Wonderbolts were on one side of the garden, with Rainbow Dash doing small tricks and signing autographs. Somewhere within the crowd, she could see some of the Canterlot University professors chatting with some of the nobles - likely alumni. Somewhere in that crowd she thought she saw a flash of purple, but she wasn't sure. After a moment she realized that it was - except she seemed uncomfortable.

Celestia made a point to cross the distance between them, giving her greetings to those who did so first.

"Hello, Twilight."

The other ponies said their quick goodbyes and shuffled back into the crowds.

"Something seems to be bothering you." Celestia said. It wasn't really a question.

Twilight looked away, shuffling from side to side.

"You don't have to stay here, if this is making you uncomfortable."

Twiight shook her head. "That would be rude."

Celestia smiled, "Did that stop you from taking cookies from the kitchens?"

Twilight pouted. "That was when I was a filly."

"Just call it..." She mulled it over for a moment. "A break to grab some punch."

Twilight hesitated and then nodded. "I'm going to go back into the library for now."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 5:52 am

Gold cast her gaze around.

Everyone was in place.

Only a minute ago, she had finally managed to check in with everyone. Pyro had successfully gotten into the mansion thanks to an invisibility spell, Axle was milling about, Mist was handing out drinks, and Fancy Pants was with her and so was Fine Print.

Of course, Gold had completely forgotten how popular Fancy was with the other nobles, for their entire group was swamped. With so much attention on them, Gold, or rather 'Onyx Nebula', wouldn't be able to communicate with the others.

A hitch in the plan, but Gold saw an opening.

Twilight Sparkle was heading for the castle.

"Fancy darling, I think I could use a drink. I'll be right back."

Gold, her mane dyed black and her coat a slate gray, with her cutie mark covered to show a green nebula, backed away as Fancy nodded, fully understanding the case.

"Onyx, why don't you take dear Binding Words with you. I think you both could use some refreshments."

Fine, or Binding Words, untangled herself from Fancy Pants and followed after Gold. Her coat had been dyed tan with her mane a light red. A bound scroll covered her cutie mark.

They both crept away. Fine took this time discuss the problem.

"With Fancy gone, we have no way to get inside."

"Yes, but I found another way in."

Gold whispered back as she stepped up to a familiar purple mare.

"Excuse me, Twilight Sparkle? Listen, my friend and I have been dying for a chance to see the inside of the castle library, and, um, well...."

'That's right, play the coy card'

"...Would it be alright if you showed us to the library? I've always been curious about the history of the Tribes and my friend here has always been one to read about old laws from so long ago. Please?"

Gold gave an innocent smile.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 5:59 am

Students?

Twilight was a little confused that the two mares hadn't been fooling and fawning over her at the moment. It was strange to say the least.

"Are you students at Canterlot University? I can get you in there, but... I can't if you aren't a student."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 6:25 am

'Shit, didn't count on that. Special talent, don't fail me now.'

Gold's expression turned forlorn as she cast a gaze at Fine, who caught on and also became saddened.

"...I see. I should've know that we would have to be students at the University just to see the library."

Fine went over and patted Gold on the back in a reassuring manner.

"It's okay Onyx. All we have to do is become students, right?"

Gold scoffed.

"Like that would ever happen. We were only invited here because Fancy Pants got us tickets as a favor. My parents could never afford to send me here. Not like they would anyways. They think it would be best to send me to Hoofington instead."

Gold turned around, her wings drooping and a small sniffling sounding from her.

"Come on Binding. I knew visiting the library with Princess Celestia's personal student and getting a chance to read some ancient works was too much to ask for."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 8:07 am

"Hold on," Twilight said. "I think it'll be ok, as long as I go with you. You know, to make sure nothing gets broken."

Twilight lead them through the empty halls of the castle towards into the library. As they passed through the doors, the sheer size of it was enough to set Twilight at ease.

"Everything in here has been kept in pristine condition. Anything before the second century has been recopied onto microfilm, which you can read over by the computers." She pointed a hoof in that direction. "Anything in particular you're looking for?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 8:55 am

Gold, happy that they were able to get into the library, rubbed her chin.

"Hmmm....do you have anything on Feudalism? I've always been curious about the oaths the Tribes took. And I suppose Binding will want to read about Equestria's political history?"

Fine nodded.

Gold turned back towards Twilight.

"Thanks for allowing us to be here, Ms. Sparkle."

((Meanwhile, at the Platinum mansion))

Pyro floated slowly across the hallways, making sure to stop and increase the strength in her invisibility spell should a guard pass by.

To many, Pyro Technic would pass off as a somewhat crazy unicorn mare with a strange fascination with fire and explosions, and have the attention span of an ill mouse.

But only those who personally knew Pyro had ever had the chance to see who the real Pyro is. When Pyro feels that her friends are threatened or in danger, her mind snaps to that of a college-level professor. Her wits get sharper, and her thinking becomes faster.

Pyro does not let her friends down for any reason. And only Celestia and Luna themselves could stop her from completing her mission.

Plant surveillance bugs in the Platinum mansion.

She had memorized the blueprints flawlessly.

Pyro did a small count.

'Let's see, I've planted over fifteen bugs so far. Most in the main halls, a few in some bedrooms, some in the bathrooms, and of course, the kitchen. Now, I just need to put a few more down, and I'll be able to get out of this place. I think the music room and library would be a good place to start with that.'

SHHticticticSHH

Pyro tapped her earpiece a few times. Ever since she planted the bugs in the kitchen, particularly, around the cellar, she'd been getting some interference from the mic. As though some magic was interfering with the wave frequency.

She stopped her floating.

If what Gold had told her was right, these bugs utilized a sound sensitive crystal and a form of magical detection in order to pick up the sound and transfer it into the crystal.

Pyro thought over the static.

'Could I be detecting a barrier being interfered with? All it would take is someone kicking the barrier to....'

Pyro's eyes widened.

'...Could Lightning be in the cellar?'

Pyro knew that she would be putting the mission in danger, but she had a hunch that Lightning would be in the cellar or at least somewhere near the kitchen.

'.....I have to risk it.'

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 10:49 am

"Well we do have a section on Feudalism. But I've been using it so..." Twilight lead them over to the table in the center of the room. Piles upon piles of books sat in uncomfortably wobbly towers. Some stayed open on the table and many of the scrolls or reprints of older material lay unwound.

"Sorry. Funny you should ask for that. I've been doing research at Canterlot University because I've exhausted everything here. Its too bad I can't take a look at the three tribes' family archives since they moved it to Trottingham."

She frowned. "Anyway, if you have any questions, I'll be moving around. If you want to go to the party let me know."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 11:27 am

Fine, making sure that Twilight wasn't looking at her, placed a hoof on her communicator in her ear.

((meanwhile, at the Platinum mansion))

Pyro slowed herself to a stop in the kitchen.

"Pyro, the archives are a no go. You'll just have to look for Lightning and finish bugging the mansion. And remember: Do not try to escape with her. We just need to know where she is until we can get her out of her fealty."

"Roger."

Pyro slowly lowered herself onto the floor and muted her hoofsteps as she walked around the kitchen. She pulled her earpiece off and began to sway it back and forth across the floor, her unicorn magic set to detect the faintest trace of interference.

Of course, the strongest pulse was from the cellar.

She opened the door and slid into the cellar, closing the door behind her. Pyro then brought the earpiece back up, intensifying it's sensitivity.

She was detecting a barrier near the wine racks.

Pyro quietly ran her horn near the wine racks, looking for a bypass.

A door near the wine racks, marked 'storage', glowed faintly.

Pyro grinned as she trotted to the door. It was locked. She leaned down and let her magic flow into the simple lock. It was now unlocked.

She slowly, but surely, pulled the door open. Pyro lit her horn, a red glow helping her see into the darkness.

"Lightning? Are you in here?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 1:28 pm

The soft form of Lighting sleeping on the bed rose and fell with every breath she took. The table by the door held an empty tray with a still steaming pot of tea and a half-drank cup. Little crumbs of bread and bits of peppers littered the plate. The fireplace warmed part of

She whined slightly, almost as if in pain, and turned to face towards the door.

-------------

"Mama?"

Princess Sapphire looked down at the young filly - a younger Lightning - and grimaced. She looked out over the hill they had in their summer home in Trottingham, with a view of fields and fields of wheat. "Yes, dear?"

"Why do I make you sad?"

Sapphire bit her bottom lip and didn't look back at her daughter.

"Mama?"

"Lightning. I want you to listen to me carefully. Are you listening?"

Lightning nodded.

"A long, long time ago, there was a great big drought that swept through Equestria. It was a time when the Princess fell gravely ill. She leaned on our ancestors for help and we swept in to do our job as promised. But we failed."

Lightning looked upset and a bit shocked.

"Ponies starved, just like the times before we were at peace. But this time, we didn't fight. We stayed together. Even while we dwindled, we huddled closer for a time, until even the purest of the three tribes had to mix." She licked her lips together, trying to find the words. "You are a Princess, Lightning. But you're not supposed to be mine."

"Wh-what?"

"You are the true heir of House Hurricane. The only heir of House Hurricane, carried through my blood."

Lightning whimpered and her ears fell flat against her head.

"I don't expect you to understand. Those times... were hard. Our family did a lot of bad things back then. But one of us was brave enough to save such a noble house. While the others let those of the other royal lines die of starvation, the other held fast to her beliefs." She drew a hoof, tentatively, trying her best to show love to something she abhorred. The family secret that loomed over the head of every Platinum heir, and it lay in their family tree. "I show you respect because I must. Because I must be strong enough to keep you safe. You're the biggest chip this family has to play."

Lightning sniffled. "I'm sorry Mama!" The filly, so confused buried her head deep within the mare's coat. Her face contorted slightly, but she held fast.

"I'm sorry too, my little one."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 2:05 pm

Pyro pulled her head away, the glowing from the book she had at her side gone.

Her tears fell slowly. She leaned forward and whispered to Lightning.

"I'm sorry, Lightning. I hope you can forgive me when we're all together again."

Pyro mumbled a small enchantment, the book glowed faintly before she then rested it next to Lightning. She then pulled out a pen and paper, wrote down a message, and placed the paper on top of the book.

It read "With all our hope for you. Only you can see and utilize the book. Use only when alone. Contact spells on page 30-32, invisibility spells on page 46, and homing beacon spell on page 28. Your dreams have given us the answer, and we will be there to break your shackles, lost one of House Hurricane. Don't lose the chalk I've placed inside the book."

Pyro slowly slipped out of the room, closed and locked the door, and left the cellar. She tapped her communicator.

"I think I found the chink in their armor, Fine. Look for the Commander Hurricane family tree, their history with the Princess Platinum tree, and any or all drought-related disasters that had occurred while they were alive or were involved."

((meanwhile, at Canterlot Castle))

"Roger."

Fine looked around. Gold was still talking to Twilight on the theory on fealty and vassals.

"Say, Ms. Sparkle? Forgive me for the sudden subject change, but it only just occurred to me. I have seen the old plays and all, but do you have anything regarding the family tree of Commander Hurricane? In the Equestrian law I have read, I hardly ever see anything proposed by House Hurricane. Makes me curious of what they did over time."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 2:34 pm

Twilight scrunched up her face in thought for a moment. "That's kind of an odd change in topic. The three houses have kept, updated and publicly released that information. You could probably find it online, but they're in the locked cases in the early ages over there."

Twilight used her magic to sift through the books, pulling out something with a sand-colored cover. "As for House Hurricane, they died in a huge drought as far as I know. Only a few of the distant relatives survived. You can read about their policies for defense and military strategy during the Nightmare conflict in here."

She let it settle down on the desk. "These are really odd questions you've been asking me. What are you working on? This doesn't seem anywhere close to what the history department usually does. This is the stuff of doctoral work."

Her face hardened a little bit. Something was a bit fishy about this. She eyed their cutie marks with further suspicion. Her mind drifted towards her magic, but she held back. There was a reasonable explanation. But she wasn't sure if they would be forthcoming with it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 3:11 pm

Gold's eyes narrowed slightly. Twilight's body language was telling her everything.

"I assure you with my life, Ms. Sparkle, that we carry no ill will. We are simply helping a 'friend' of ours."

Fine stepped up and started to go through the family tree. Her keen eyes, and a little spell she got from Mist, helped her absorb the information faster.

"Hmm, Ms. Sparkle? You say that there are no known blood lines for House Hurricane? Well, I think you may be wrong."

She pointed at a small picture that was in the book, then pointed at a paragraph.

"According to the doctor's notes from the year 231, during the Great Drought, it seemed that a member of House Hurricane had seemed to develop a bond with the Platinum line. The doctor dismissed it as a close friendship, but his notes say otherwise. And according to the, ahem, physical examination of a mare in the Platinum blood lines, she seemed to have been carrying a foal that she claimed was from her husband. But that doesn't seem to add up, for she was never seen with another pony and reportedly disappeared without a trace, written down as a tragic death of the Great Drought."

Fine shifted a few pages over until she found another picture. She pointed right at it.

"This mare was found near death at a dried watering hole and a destroyed cabin. She carried the symptoms of having given birth only a few days before, but she seems to match the inscription of the pregnant mare."

Her eyes narrowed.

"She said she doesn't remember a thing."

Gold's eyes narrowed as well as she took a hold of another book.

"The number of births don't seem to add up. The Platinum family had apparently gained a large increase in foals, same thing with the Hurricane family."

She pushed the book aside and went through a book about the history of House Hurricane.

"Hmm, around the year of 231, the same year as the Great Drought and this strange increase in foals, there was an unknown string of deaths in the Hurricane family. All of them stallions...."

Gold rubbed her chin as she gazed at Twilight Sparkle.

"Ms. Sparkle...is is possible that there may be a hidden Hurricane blood line in the Platinum blood line? After all, I know that the current holders of Platinum have a pegasus daughter, the first one in 800 years."

Her gaze hardened.

"I suspect that there is Hurricane blood in the Platinum veins. And Platinum is hiding one lost Hurricane-born pegasus."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 4:11 pm

Twilight scratched her head for a minute, trying to keep up with the mare at hoof. But at the same time, she was trying to decipher who it could possibly be. She didn't look familiar, she didn't seem to be around the school but that made sense.

When she mentioned the pegasus, her mind seemed to click into place.

"You're the mare from the hospital. The one that pegasus saved." Twilight smiled triumphantly. "No wonder you're looking into all this stuff. While I admit, that is interesting, I don't really see how her being a descendant of House Hurricane would-"

Twilight's face brightened. "Oh. Oh! I see!" She dug through the piles of books, sifting through each one, and tossing the ones she didn't need behind her into a neat pile with her magic. She placed one of the scrolls on the table and rolled it out.

"That case you were mentioning is a little bit off. The story was created by the family to keep the nobility from fleeing the country. Essentially, if they hadn't, Equestria might've become some small nations. Very obscure history. Only two other tomes exist on the tribe leadership during the drought. Most of the paper was reused for... well, food."

She grimaced, flipping through the pages. "Here. 'Typhoon, the last holder of the title "Lord Hurricane", was briefly married to Princess Topaz. The drought started about twenty years beforehoof and he was one of the few ponies in charge of rationing what little food was growing. When they married, the nobles thought it was a sign of the end of the aristocracy. With mixing of blood, they assumed that they were trying to move towards elected leaders. The quick cover-up forced them apart only a year later. But not before their first foal, Prince Upper Crust, was born."

"As for the rest of the line, the drought dragged on for another twelve years. Typhoon and his brothers were the last of the house, and they died during those years. The closest relative was a fifth cousin - once or twice removed from the family - who took over after things started becoming more normal."

Twilight swallowed. "I think your friend might just be able to be let go for this. But... she won't have any family members. The Platinum's will probably exile her if this information gets to the Princess."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 4:25 pm

Gold's eyes flashed green and ruins appeared on her body in a deep red. Her colors changed back to normal and the ruins disappeared.

"From what I know of Lightning, she isn't really doing to well with her family anyways. Of course, I cannot speak for her. If you want to see what she thinks of this little piece we have, I suggest seeking her out and telling her yourself."

She bowed her head.

"I violated her privacy, so I am the leader in all this. If you wish to have me arrested, feel free. But I'll be happy on the executioners block, courtesy of the Platinum house, when I see Lightning standing as a freeborn pegasus, no longer being held hostage by a giant lie and an oath that can never exist."

Fine stepped forward, her disguise still standing. She pulled her hoof away from her ear.

"And I suggest you hurry up and figure it out, Ms. Sparkle, before Sapphire has her shipped to Trottingham to rewrite the older records. And we never see her again."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 4:30 pm

A small smile spread on her lips before she genuinely started to laugh. As best as she could she slowed it to where she could speak once more. "Executioner's block? Geez, we're not back in the drought times. I think she'll be more than grateful to be back out here. By being concerned, you haven't violated her privacy. Even if you did, that's something you take up with her. I'll compile a list together if you'd like and give it to the princess."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   19/10/2012, 4:52 pm

Gold's head rose and her eyes widened. She felt a hot itchy feeling behind her eyes.

She smiled as the tears started to fall.

"Yes, a list would be fine. Just as long as Lightning will be okay."

Fine tapped her communicator in her ear.

"Drop everything, mission accomplished. We have a free mare on our hooves. Feel free to mill about, but don't stay too long."

Fine sighed in relief.

"At least I know this won't be my last night on Equestria. I guess all that hogwash that Blueblood spews from his mouth on a day-to-day basis is all that it really is: hogwash."

Gold laughed at that before she started whispering to herself.

A faint ruin appeared on her head before disappearing.

((meanwhile, at the Platinum mansion))

The book glowed faintly. A message, written in an arcane language, appeared over the note Pyro left behind. It shifted in language before settling into a modern one.

It read:

"The light shines bright on you, Lightning. I may not know what your relationships are in the house of Platinum, and I apologize if you lose someone you are on good terms with. I don't know if it's my own selfishness, or the need to see a pegasus fly without bound wings, but I hope you forgive me in the future. Please keep the book with you, should someone attempt to harm you. It will protect you with it's magical properties. I hope to see you around, White Lightning.

Signed,

Gold Andromeda"

((meanwhile, back at Canterlot Castle))

Gold gave Twilight a big smile, her eyes almost glowing with relief and happiness.

"Thank you, Ms. Sparkle, for all your help. I don't know what this will bring upon me in the future. but I'll just be happy to see Lightning again. Even if she won't see me back. I apologize for deceiving you, but I pay back what I owe, always. And as I told you, I owe Lightning more than anything I could ever give back. But Celestia dammit if I don't try."

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PostSubject: Re: The Lights of Harmony   20/10/2012, 1:55 am

Lightning awoke to the sound of yelling. A lot of yelling. Although the voices were muffled by the floor above her, she couldn't quite hear what they were saying. She clutched onto the book Gold had left for her - how she got into the house without being caught, she had no clue. Guards didn't usually leave the compound, or, at least leave the gates. She had figured her mother had been out and about again. Typical.

Above her, Twilight Sparkle was losing her temper. After that revelation at the garden party a few nights ago, she was determined to put Princess Sapphire back in her place. She was armed with a notice to release White Lightning from her custody, so she may take rightful place at the head of House Hurricane.

"You would rip her from her family to leave her alone someplace else? That's insanity!" Princess Sapphire roared. "I would have thought the Princess' student would have more civility than to barge into my home - with guards no less - and ask to steal my child!"

"The circumstances are plainly written in the history books! Your ancestor followed the Tribal Decree of 221 SSC." Twilight lifted a copy of the history tome. "'All those of the noble houses may, if believed that their house will crumble, marry or make arrangements to continue their lines of succession.' Princess Topaz was made a pariah for following that order, and was the only pony to carry on the Hurricane line of succession." She stomped her hoof. "I'm willing to guess that because of how pure your family has kept the bloodline, this will be the one and only pegasus ever born to your house. Topaz was skilled-"

"Address my ancestors with the dignity they deserve, Ms. Sparkle."

"Lady Sparkle, Princess."

Sapphire scoffed, but aquiesced.

"Princess Topaz was skilled in magic that would hide away imperfections in gems. It is possible she cast a similar spell on the bloodline, sealing off the pegasus ancestry until it was weak enough to come through. But only once."

She lifted another tome from her saddlebags.

"Starfire the Enightened?" Princess Sapphire said incredulously.

"One of the greatest court wizards who ever lived. Many of his advances in magic as a form or medicine or healing are still in use today. He was also Princess Topaz's mentor. I wouldn't be surprised if he helped her-"

"Get to the point," Sapphire snapped. "All I see so far is reasonable evidence that she's the next heir to House Hurricane. But she's still my daughter."

"That's where it gets complicated," Twilight sighed in frustration. "We know that you gave birth to her, but we're not really sure she's genetically yours."

Sapphire laughed. "You're joking. You're joking right?"

Twilight shook her head. "Until it can be determined, she cannot be claimed. Which is why I've come to serve this order." She smiled politely. "If you'd like I could have the Princess come instead."

Sapphire mulled it over. Considering who Princess Celestia sent to serve a legal order, it wasn't likely a bluff. "Then I'm sure she'll be willing to have a representative from each tribe on the council to sit in on this decision making?"

Twilight sighed. "She is obligated to do so, should you wish. But it will make it difficult to decide on who to do the test, as the council must also approve the pony in question."

"We will comply with the order. But until we arrive, you are only allowed to hold her at the castle. She may not leave Canterlot-"

"I'm aware of the usual claim. I've researched every book on the Tribal council in the last week."

Sapphire nodded. "Feather?"

A sky blue pony in a fine suit entered the room. He bowed deeply, letting his forest-green mane touch the floor. "Yes, Princess?"

"Please fetch Lightning and bring her to the guard barracks. Granite and Swifthoof will escort her to the castle when she is ready."

"Of course, your highness."

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