Friendship is Shining: Twiley's Return

by Hopeful_Ink_Hoof

First published

Shining Armor's little sister returns to Ponyville

When Shining Armor first came to Ponyville, he brought his sister with him. After the events with Nightmare Moon, Shining stayed in Ponyville while Twilight Sparkle went back home. Now Twilight is back in Ponyville with her parents to visit, and guess who wants to stay?

A story set in what I'm calling The Shiny-verse

Sunrise Surprise

It was a calm and quiet summer morning in Ponyville. A morning that was being missed by the residents of Ponyville's library.

Both were still asleep. Spike laid in his basket, buried among his pillows and having the blanket pulled tight around him. Shining Armor was in his bed, the sheets tossed aside. The stallions front legs were wrapped around a pillow, pulling it against him as he rested his muzzle against it.

"SURPRISE!" two voices shouted.

Shining Armor jumped as was yelled at. Letting out a wicker of surprise. The stallions shifted and kicked, falling out of bed with a loud thump as his back hit the wooden floor. He let out a groan as he shifted to look around.

Two faces looked down at Shining Armor from the bed. One was the grinning face of a full grown pink mare with poofy pink mane. The other was a pale purple filly with dark purple mane. The pair watched as Shining struggled to sit up, blinking rapidly as he turned to stare at the two.

"Twiley? Pinkie Pie?" He rubbed at his face as he started climbing back into bed. "What are you doing here?"

"I came back to visit," Twilight answered.

"And I met Twilight and your parents at the train station and came with them to come see you," Pinkie said. "I even started making a big breakfast for everypony."

"Pinkie?" Shining asked as he climbed back into bed. "How are you this awake and hyper this early? You worked all day at Sweet Apple Acres too."

Over a week ago, Big Macintosh had hurt himself and it happened to be harvest season. For most of the week, Applejack had been trying to do the harvest on her own, as well as numerous other chores, and was quickly becoming exhausted. Unfortunately, she also refused any help. Yesterday, she finally gave in and accepted it. So Shining Armor, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy all helped Applejack get the apples. Shining Armor, for one, had been exhausted, and had been pretty sure the others were as well.

Except here was Pinkie Pie, fine and as hyper as usual. Even after suffering from food poisoning.

"Don't be silly," Pinkie said with a grin. "I grew up on a rock farm. It's going to take more than pulling carts of apples to tire me out."

"Well that's nice for you," Shining Armor said as he laid back down, "but I'm still worn out and would like to go back to sleep."

"Okey-dokey-lokey," the pink pony said. "We'll be downstairs having breakfast. I'll try to save you some waffles." Taking a hold of Twilight, Pinkie bounced across the room and out the door.

"Thank you," Shining said as he closed his eyes again.

"Uh." Spike moved over to the bed. "Shining?"

"Just five more minutes," the stallion groaned. Grabbing a pillow, he pulled it over his head.

"Okay," Spike gave a roll of his eyes, "but I don't think you realize that Pinkie Pie is downstairs cooking breakfast for your sister and parents."

"My parents!" Shining Armor shot up, eyes wide. "My parents are here? And they're downstairs with Pinkie Pie?" Tossing the sheets aside, the stallion jumped out of bed. As fast as he could, he ran out the room and headed down the stairs.

Spike stood there, watching. With a groan, he rolled his eyes, then started following after him.

Family Breakfast

Shining Armor came down the stairs and stopped. There before him sat his family around a large wooden table. His mother was a very light gray unicorn with white and pale purple mane. His father was a blue unicorn with a darker blue mane and tail. Between them sat Twilight Sparkle, with Miss Smartypants beside her.

"Mom? Dad?" Shining moved forward, looking at them. "What are you doing here?"

"Aren't you glad to see us?" Dad asked.

"Well, yeah. But why didn't you tell me you were coming?"

"Here you go!" Pinkie Pie shouted as she popped up beside the table. "Pinkie Pie's Super Delicious Secret Very Berry Waffles!" The pink pony set down five plates, silverware, a bottle of syrup, a can of whipped cream, and a plate that had to be holding nearly twenty waffles. She dealt the plates and silverware out to the four ponies like playing cards, sending the fifth to a spot just as Spike was walking up to it. Pinkie Pie then repeated the action with the waffles, dealing each of them two.

"There's plenty more if you want seconds," she said with a grin.

"Thank you Pinkie Pie," Twilight said as she reached for a fork.

"Yes," Mom spoke up, "Thank you Miss Pie. It was very nice of you to make breakfast for us. Spike! Manners!"

"These are delicious," Spike said as he grabbed the second one from his plate and tossed it into his mouth.

Shining Armor took his own fork and cut off a piece of one of the waffles. Bringing it to his mouth, he took a bite, and froze.

There was blueberry and blackberry, strawberry and raspberry. He could even taste cherry. And those were the ones he could identify. There had to be at least three other berries in it. The flavors did not mix though, or at least not completely. It was like he was tasting each and every individual berry on its own. At the same time, each had a hint of the other, giving a mix to balance the berries out so that one did not have a stronger taste than the other.

After ten seconds, he resumed chewing before swallowing.

"How is this possible?" Shining asked, turning to Pinkie Pie.

"Sorry, Shiny," Pinkie replied, "but that's the secret of Pinkie Pie's Super Delicious Secret Very Berry Waffles."

"Shining," his mother said, "we actually did come for more than just a visit. There is something your father and I would like to talk to you about."

"Ooh." Pinkie shifted. "This sounds super interesting." She looked a the clock. "I have to get going though. Need to get Sugarcube Corner. Customers will be coming in soon and we need to start baking for the afternoon. See you later."

"Wait," Shining Armor called out. "Pinkie, could you take Twilight with you? Maybe introduce her to the Cake twins so she has somepony to play with while we talk?"

"Do you want to?" Pinkie asked Twilight.

"Can Miss Smarty Pants come?" the filly asked.

"Of course." The pink pony gave a grin.

"Can I help you bake?"

"Well you might have to talk to Pumpkin about that, but I don't think she'll mind too much."

Grabbing one of the waffles, Twilight shoved as much of it into her mouth as she could fit. She then grabbed the doll and climbed down from her seat. The young unicorn filly then followed quickly after the pink mare as they left the library for the morning.

Parental Proposal

"So," Shining mother said as she looked around, "this is where you live?"

"Yes," Shining responded. He looked around too, trying to figure out what else to say about it.

"Do you like it here?" his father asked.

"Yeah." Shining turned to look at him. "I have friends here and while they may not have as many plays, I never really went out to them anyways." He took another bite of his waffles.

"Twilight mentioned you made some interesting friends," Mom responded. She looked at the door again. "That Pinkie Pie seems nice."

"Yes," Shining replied. He was going to say more, but his mother continued.

"A bit of an odd mare, but nice."

"Yes. Sh-"

"Seems to be a very optimistic mare."

"Yes. In-"

"Seems to be a talented cook as well."


"Works at a bakery if I understood correctly?"

"Yes. It-"

"Seems to be good with foals."

"Yes. Th-"

"And she was the first mare you met when you arrived?"

"..Yeah.. Al-"

"And she's been around ever since?"

"Yes. I me-"

"Have you two started dating?"

"Ye-NO!" Shining jumped slightly. He could feel his face heating up.

"Oh." The older mare narrowed her eyes. "So, when are you going to?"

"Now, sweetie," Shining's father interjected, "You remember what Twilight told us." He turned toward his son and grinned. "He's supposed to marry a pegasus name Fluttershy."

"What?!" Shining's voice cracked as he cried out. "No. That's-"

"Actually," Spike piped up, "Shining is kind of interested in a farm pony named Applejack."

Shining Armor's jaw dropped open as his mouth suddenly went dry. His eyes bugged out of his skull as he turned to stare at Spike. The stallions jaw started to move up and down, but no sound came out.

"Applejack?" Shining mother repeated. "I think I remember Twilight mentioning her. Very strong? Comes from a large family?"

"That's her," Spike answered.

"And you say she's a farmer?"


"Oh, wonderful." The mare turned to face her husband. "A farmer from a big family. Do you know what that means? She will want to have lots of foals."

"Foals?" Shining squeaked out.

"Soon we'll have more grandchildren than we could count!"


"Alright," Shining's father said, "I think that's enough teasing of Shining, sweetie. He looks like he's about to burst." The older stallion took another bite of waffle. "Besides, I doubt all this teasing is going to make him want to do us any favors. Mmm." He turned back to his son. "Although with food like this, you could do worse."

Shining Armor stared at them, eyes wide with one of them twitching. The sound of stifled laughter slowly penetrated his brain, bringing him back to the moment. His eye stopped twitching as one of his ears did so to find the source. Turning toward the sound, he found it was his mom.

The mare had a hoof up in front of her mouth. Despite that, the edges of a wide smile could be seen around it. There was a twinkle in her eye as she looked at at Shining, still snickering. Her entire body seemed to rise and fall with the suppressed laughter.

"I'm sorry," she finally said. "Your father and I just couldn't resist."

Spike and Shining's father joined in on the laughter for a moment as well.

"What?" Shining finally managed to blurt out. "You mean you don't want me to get married and have lots of foals?"

"I don't think we would go quite that far, son," his father said.

"Shining," his mother said, "your father and I love you very much." Reaching out she placed a hoof against his. "We want you to be happy." Letting go, she leaned back again. "But we hope that some day you will find a mare..." her eyes narrowed and lips quirked up "or stallion to love, settle down, and start a family."

"Neither of us are in a hurry though," Shining's father added. "Besides, that's not why we came to visit. We did want to see this Ponyville and everything, but we're also here to talk to you about your sister."

"Twiley?" Shining shifted, looking between the two older ponies. "Is there something wrong? Is she in trouble?"

"Shining Armor," the father said with a laugh, "always ready to run to the rescue. No. She's not in trouble."

"Actually," the mother interjected, "we're hoping to keep her out of trouble. You see, since Twilight came back, she's practically talked about nothing other than you and her visit to Ponyville."

"Either talking about you and your friends," the father picked up, "or about a friend she made her named Apple...Blossom?"

"Apple Bloom."

"Yes. Her."

"Mostly," the mother continued, "she talks about how much she can't wait to come back and visit Ponyville again."

"So you brought her back to see if I would watch her the rest of the summer?" Shining asked, looking between his parents.

"Actually?" His father shifted. "We were thinking longer."

"How much longer?"

"A year," his mother answered, "to start. If it works out, she can stay longer. If not, she can come back to Canterlot and come to visit you from time to time."

Shining Armor shifted and started to think. A large portion of him liked the idea. It would mean he would get to see his sister all the time. At the same time, he was worried. Doing so meant taking care of Twilight, and that was a big responsibility. Not just for a day or week either, but a full year. No parents, or guards, or princess, to help. He would have some friends, and several have experience with foals, even if not their own.

"You don't have to decide right away," his father said. "Take some time to think about it. We are aware it's a big responsibility."

"You two think it's a good idea though?" Shining asked.

"Ponyville does seem to be a smaller and more relaxed town than Canterlot," Shining's mother answered. "Plus she already has at least one friend here. I'm kind of worried that if she doesn't then... well.. she'll just withdraw into her books and never make any other friends."

"You don't think she'd make friends with ponies where you live?" Spike asked.

"Most of our neighbors don't have foals Twilight's age," the father replied. "The few that do seem to be trying to preparing them to enter Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. The poor fillies are under so much pressure I'm worried they're going to snap if they don't make it and have no idea how to have fun."

"That seems like an exaggeration," Spike said, narrowing his eyes.

"There is a lot of pressure in some families to get in," Shining Armor told the young dragon. "Even if a pony doesn't become a personal student to the princess, it's still seen as a very prestigious school. Some see it as proof of how powerful their magic is while others want it for the opportunities that it come with graduation." He turned toward his parents. "You don't want Twilight to go?"

"Twilight doesn't seem as interested in it as you," his father answered.

"Besides," his mother added, "she's a very bright filly. I'm sure she can learn much on her own when it comes to books. What Twilight needs is to develop better social skills."

"That makes sense," Shining said, "but what about you two? Aren't you going to be lonely with both of us moved out?"

"Actually," Shining's father gave him a big grin, "we were thinking that if Twilight stays here, you mother and I would go on a third honeymoon."

Shining Armor let out a groan and shuttered.

"Third honeymoon?" Spike asked. "Don't you mean second."

"Oh, we went on a second honeymoon when Shining got accepted into the academy," the mother responded. "In fact, that was when we-"

"I'M NOT LISTENING!" Shining shouted, covering his ears. He then started singing as loudly as he could, his eyes closed. The other three looked at him. Shining's father let out a chuckle, shaking his head. His mother rolled her eyes. Spike just stood there, blinking in confusion. The young dragon felt like he had missed the punchline of a joke somehow.

Twiley and Two Cakes

"Here we are," Pinkie said as she stopped.

Twilight's eyes went wide as she stared at the building. It looked like a giant gingerbread house with a cupcake stuck on top of it. The edging on the roof looked like white icing, and the columns on the side of the door looked like giant peppermint sticks. Twilight licked her lips as she continued to look at it.

"I know what you're thinking," Pinkie Pie said. "No, you can't actually eat Sugarcube Corner. It's not actually made of gingerbread. You can still lick it, but it just taste like normal wall."

Twilight sagged as her mind went through what she was just told. First there was disappointed. She was hoping she could take a bite, or maybe a lick. Next came relief. If Pinkie Pie knew what Twilight was thinking, then that meant that other ponies had thought the same thing. Maybe even tried. That lead to another thought that made Twilight look at Pinkie Pie again.

"Why have you licked walls?" the filly asked.

"Well, let's see..." Pinkie Pie rubbed her chin, thinking a moment. "I licked the wall when I first arrived, hoping it tasted like gingerbread but it didn't. I licked another time when somepony asked if it did and to demonstrate that it didn't. One cake thrown by a frowny foal, three food fights, four frosting frustration, and one time when I tried a new recipe and the cake exploded. So... a lot?" She gave a shrug. "Come on. I'll show you around and introduce you."

Twilight considered asking how a cake exploded, but decided not to. A bell rang as the door was opened. Twilight followed Pinkie inside and started looking around.

"Welcome to Sugarcube Corner," a voice called out. Behind a counter stood a pale blue mare with a mane that was two shades of pink and looked like frosting. She gave a gentle smile as she caught sight of the young filly.

"Hi, Mrs. Cake," Pinkie said as she popped up beside the other mare. "Twilight, this is one of my bosses, Mrs. Cake. Mrs. Cake, this is Shining Armor's little sister, Twilight."

"Hello Mrs. Cake," Twilight said as she walked up to the counter.

"Nice to meet you Twilight," Mrs. Cake responded. "Are you here visiting your brother?"

"Sort of. My parents are talking to him. I'm hoping they'll let me stay the rest of the summer." She smiled up at the two mares. Her gaze then started to move lower, looking at the display case full of baked goods.

Twilight saw cakes, cupcakes and muffins. She saw what looked like mini pies as well as full sized. There were cookies and brownies. There was also something she did not recognize.

"What's that?" She pointed at the treat. It was the size and shape of a brownie, but was bright yellow instead of chocolate brown. There was also something white on top of it.

"Are they good?" the filly asked. "How much are they? I have a couple bits left over from my allowance."

"Tell you what," Pinkie said. "You help me make some later, and you can try the first from your very own batch."


The sound of hooves on steps started echoing through the shop. Twilight turned to look at the staircase, and watched. Down the stairs came a creamy looking pegasus colt with a chocolate colored mane and tail. He stopped as he noticed the filly staring at him.

"Uhm... Hello?" he said, getting a gasp as the purple filly seemed to suddenly be standing in front of him.

"A pegaus!" Twilight squealed, "That's near my age. Wow. I'm Twilight Sparkle."

"My name's Pound-" before he got the rest of his name out, Twilight was no longer right in front of him.

"No cutie mark," the filly noted. She then took a hold of a wing and unfurled it. "Wow. Those look great. Are you able to fly yet?"

"Sort of," Pound replied. "I can hover and glide, but actually taking-"

"What are you doing to my brother?" another voice asked. Coming through a doorway was a yellow unicorn with an orange mane and tail. Standing behind her was a tall and thin earth stallion with similar colors.

"Sorry," Twilight said as she let the wing go. "I've just never seen a pegasus my age before."

"Really?" Pound looked at her curiously. "Where you are from?"

"Canterlot. All the ponies there my age seem to be unicorns."

"Does the mean you never met an earth pony before Ponyville either?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Not my age," Twilight answered. "Apple Bloom is the first one I've met." The filly shifted. "Wait. Did you say brother?"

"Yeah?" the yellow filly said, tilting her head.

"And that's your dad," Twilight pointed at the yellow stallion behind the filly, "is your dad, Mr. Cake, right?"

The orange filly turned to look at her dad.

"Yeah, but I don't-" she let out a noise of surprise as Twilight was suddenly in front of her. Twilight reached up to grab the other filly's head, looking at it.

"I thought you'd be used to ponies popping up, Pumpkin," Pinkie said with a giggle.

"So both your parents are earth ponies," Twilight said as she looked at the horn, "but you're a unicorn and your brother is a pegasus."

"So?" Pumpkin growled, pulling away.

"So!" Twilight hopped and down excitedly. "This is incredible. I've read stories about two ponies having a foal that was neither of their type, but I've never seen it before in real life. This needs to be studied. Can you use magic yet? Do you have some sort of talent with plants?"

"You're weird."

"Pumpkin Cake!" Mrs. Cake scolded.

"But mom, she is."

"Twilight is just excited and curious. This is all very new to her. There's no need to be rude to her. Now apologize."

"But-" Whatever Pumpkin was going to say next stopped in her throat when she saw that look on her mother's face. The yellow unicorn let out a sigh and turned to face Twilight.

"Sorry I called you 'weird.'"

"Sorry for making you upset," Twilight replied. "It's just that everything in Ponyville is so different from Canterlot. Everything seems nice and friendly, and there is so much neat stuff to see."

"Well... I guess I can understand that."

"So," Pinkie Pie said as she popped up between the two fillies. "Are you two ready to start baking?"

"Yeah!" the pair shouted in unison. Twilight then turned toward Pound Cake.

"Are you going to join us?"

"Maybe another time," the young colt answered. "I'm supposed to help dad with some of the deliveries then pick up some stuff for Fluttershy."

"Okay," Twilight said, giving a wave. She watched as Mr. Cake joined Pound and the two of them headed out of Sugarcube Corner. Once the door was shut, she then followed Pumpkin into the kitchen.

Pinkie let out a giggle. The noise drew Mrs. Cake's attention.

"Is there something funny, Pinkie?" She asked. From what she had observed, Pinkie was one to be easily amused. Sometimes, it was difficult to figure out whether something happened, or the pink pony was just laughing at something in her own head.

"Not really," Pinkie replied, "buuuut.... I think Twilight might have a little, itty-bitty, teensy-weensy filly crush." She then bounced into the back.

Mrs. Cake watched the three in the kitchen a moment. She then turned and looked at the door her husband and son had gone again. Her mind started to work on the idea of Twilight having a crush on Pound. Before she could get very far in the thought, the bell rang, bringing her back to the present. Smiling, she greeted the customer and resumed working.

Filly Pick-up

Shining Armor walked through Ponyville, his parents following not far behind. The three of them trotted through town, heading toward Sugarcube Corner.

"I never asked," Shining Armor said as he turned to look at his parents. "How did you get into the library? I mean I'm pretty sure we locked the door."

"Pinkie Pie let us in," his mother answered.

"Pinkie Pie? I thought that she came with you from the train station?"

"She did" Shining's father responded. His pace began to slow down. "It was actually odd now that I think about it. She was right behind us all the way until we were in front of the library. Then just before your mother knocked, she opened the door from the inside. I didn't even notice when she vanished."

Shining Armor gave a nod then turned to look ahead again. That left the question of how did Pinkie get into the library. He would have to ask her about that. Since they were going to Sugarcube Corner, it was possible that he would see her and get to ask.

"Here it is," he said as they reached the gingerbread style shop.

"How cute," his mother said as she looked at it.

"Yeah." His father licked his lips. "I hope their food tastes as good as their building looks."

"Night," the mare scolded, "we just finished talking over breakfast."

"And then we walked here. I'd say that was enough to work off the meal. Besides, it is after noon, which means lunch time." Grinning, the older stallion took the lead, heading toward the shop. His wife gave a shake of her head and trotted after him. Shining Armor stood where he was a moment, letting out a small laugh before following.

"Welcome to Sugarcube Corner," Mrs. Cake said before seeing who it was. "Oh, Shining Armor. Hello. These must be your parents then."

"Yes ma'am," the young stallion said as he moved forward. "Mom, Dad, this is Mrs. Cake. Her and her husband own and operate Sugarcube Corner."

"Nice to meet you," Mrs. Cake said.

"You as well," Shining's mother replied. "I hope that Twilight wasn't too much trouble."

"Well there was a little awkwardness when she met my son, but no real trouble. She's been helping Pinkie and Pumpkin in the kitchen with some baking. A little obsessive about getting the measurements exact it seems."

"Yes. Twilight has always been a very precise filly."

"Twilight!" Mrs. Cake called out toward the kitchen. "Your brother and parents are here."

At the call, the young purple filly came running out from the door to the kitchen, skidding to a stop in front of them then leaping to wrap her front legs around her parents. Pinkie Pie bounced in behind her, carrying a box tied with string in her teeth. She was followed by Pumpkin.

"Did you have fun?" Twilight's mom asked.

"Yeah," Twilight responded. "Pumpkin and I helped Pinkie make a cake, and brownies, and muffins. Ooh, we also made something called lemon squares, and the cakes are letting me have the whole batch as payment."

"And here they are," Pinkie said before setting down the bakery box.

"I already tried one," Twilight continued, "and they're really good. Who knew something so sour could make something so delicious."

"That was very nice of them," Twilight's mother said before turning to Mrs. Cake. "Are you sure it's okay though?"

"It's fine," Mrs. Cake assured her. "She worked hard on them and was very proud. Besides, Pinkie Pie eats more than that during her shift, and Pinkie did say Twilight could have some for helping."

"Alright. Thank you." Twilight's mother then turned to look at Pumpkin. "And who's this? Did you make a new friend?"

"This is Pumpkin Cake," Twilight answered. "I don't know if you would call us friends yet, though. I kind of made her mad because I was really curious about her brother."

"Hello ma'am," Pumpkin said. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too," Twilight's mother responded.

"So, what's going on?" the unicorn filly asked.

"Well," Shining answered, "Mom and Dad would like to get a tour of the town and to meet the others. I thought that we would go to Sweet Apple Acres next."

The filly jumped up, letting out a small gasp.

"Do you think Apple Bloom will be there?"

"Probab-" was as far as Shining Armor got in response before the young filly was up and running for the door. Her parents blinked in surprise then took off after her. Grinning, Shining Armor turned to begin following.

"Wait!" Pinkie called out, making him jump. "Don't forget this." She held up the box of lemon squares.

"Oh, Right." He took a hold of them and set them safely on his back. "Thanks."

"No problem Shiny-hiny."

"Uhm... you didn't say that in front of my parents, did you?"


Shining let out a sigh of relief then turned to leave, following after his sister and parents.

Big Apple Advice

"There it is!" Twilight shouted as the gate to Sweet Apple Acres came into view. With a burst of speed, the young filly started running again.

"Twilight!" her father shouted before running to catch up. Twilight slowed down, turning to look at her father as he moved beside her.

Then past her.

"Race ya!"

"No fair!" the filly shouted, now running to chase after her dad and race toward the farm.

"Are you sure three foals weren't enough?" Shining Armor asked his mom, grinning.

"Oh, hush," she said as she picked up her pace to try and not get too far behind. Shining Armor chuckled and continued at his regular pace.

"I WIN! I WIN!" Twilight shouted as she made it through the gate.

"Yeah," her father agreed, "you won this time. But I'm getting closer." Reaching out, he ruffled her mane with his hoof.

"That was some good racin'," a feminine voice said, drawing the attention of the two unicorns. Approaching them was an orange earth pony mare with a blond mane and tail wearing a hat.

"Howdy Twilight," she said. "Nice to see ya 'gain."

"Hi Applejack," Twilight said with a grin. "This is my dad. Is Apple Bloom here?"

"She's in the barn with Big Macintosh," Applejack replied.

Twilight nodded and took off again, running around the edge of the farm house and heading for the barn. Applejack watched her a moment with a grin before turning her attention back to the filly's father. Taking a step forward, she offered the stallion a hoof.

"Nice to meet ya'," she said. "Name's Applejack, and this is Sweet Apple Acres."

"Night Light," the stallion responded as he shook her hoof. "That's my wife, Twilight Velvet, and my son, who you already know."

"Howdy ma'am," the mare replied. "How you doin' Shinin'?

"Fine," Shining answered with a smile. "How's Macintosh?"

"He's in the barn if you want to see yerself." She then turned back to the two older unicorns. "I could take the two of ya on a tour if y'all'd like."

"That sounds lovely," Twilight Velvet said. "I don't think we've ever been to an apple farm before."

"Well admittedly," Applejack said, "there ain't much to see. But I'll show what I can." With that, she started to walk, heading toward one of the orchards.

Shining Armor watched the three of them go. He then turned and headed for the barn. As he approached the door, he saw two streaks, one purple the other yellow, shoot out and fly across the field. There was the sound of barking a dog also came out of the barn and started chasing after them. Shining Armor watched the three disappear, then poked his head into the barn where a large red stallion with orange mane stood.

"Hello Big Macintosh," Shining said as he came in. "I see that you're doing better."

"Eyup," Macintosh said.

"Hey... could I talk to you about something?"


"Well..." Shining moved closer to the large farm stallion. "I've noticed that you're parents aren't around. I haven't really talked to Applejack about it, but I think it's a sensitive subject."


"I'm not going to intrude on the matter, but I do need to ask one thing about it. Have they been... away?... for a while?"

"...Eyup..." Big Macintosh shifted, one of his ears giving a twitch.

"So..." Shining moved to look at him, "that means you've helped raise Applejack, right? You and her have been raising Apple Bloom?"

"Granny's helped a lot," Macintosh answered. "What's this 'bout?"

"My parents are asking me to have Twilight stay with me for a year or so," Shining told him. "And..." he rubbed at his mane a moment and sighed. "I like the idea of having her around, but I'm also not sure if I can deal with the responsibility. I mean I would be the one taking care of her and having to deal with what to do when she misbehaves."

"And ya thought that I could help since ah've had to do that with AJ and Bloom?" Macintosh asked.

"Yeah. I know it's not the same thing, but I was hoping that since you've had some experience raising younger sisters, you might be able to give me some advice."

"Shining," the red stallion said in his slow, deep way, "You love yer sister, right?"

"Yeah," Shining answered.

"Wanna keep her safe?"

"Why wouldn't I?"

"Then you'll do fine." Macintosh placed one of his large hooves on Shining Armor's shoulder. "Yes, there will be times when you have to make tough choices, but you've done that before. And there will be times when she gets mad at you, maybe even say she hates you. But she won't mean it. She'll understand that it's because you love her and want to keep her safe. Some times she'll apologize, some times she ain't gonna. That ain't the hard part.

"The hard part's gonna be when you have to keep from not helping her. When you want to protect her, but need to let her make mistakes. That's gonna be the hardest part, wantin' to be a big brother, but needin' to let yer sister grow up and learn to take care of herself.

"You're gonna do it though. You're gonna do it and you might screw up a bit, but you're gonna do it and you're gonna do your best."

"Thanks," Shining said, giving a small smile.

"And here's the barn," Applejack said as she pulled the door open. "'n would ya look at that? There's Big Macintosh and Shinin' Armor."

The two stallions turned to look at the three ponies standing there. Big Macintosh gave a nod but said nothing.

"Did you two enjoy the tour?" Shining asked as he moved toward his parents.

"I had no idea there were so many types of apples," his father said, turning to look off at the fields.

"Indeed," his mother agreed. "It was rather interesting. I'm sorry that we can't stay longer, Applejack, but we should get going if we want to meet the others before this evening."

"We better go find Twilight then," Shining said as he moved out of the barn.

"Ah'll help ya," Applejack said. "Big Macintosh, why don't you introduce the nice folks to Granny Smith?"


With a smile, Shining Armor started walking toward the orchards with Applejack moving to catch up. The two walked quietly a moment, Applejack's eyes shifting toward Shining Armor.

"So," the mare said gently, "Mind me askin' what you were talkin' to my brother about?"

"I was asking him what it was like to raise a little sister," Shining answered.

"He say anything interestin'?"

"...That he knows you didn't mean it when you said you hate him?" Shining looked out the corner of his eye at Applejack, seeing her cheeks turn bright red.

"Yeah," she said, "I admit I might have said that a time or two. Suppose it was easier to be mad and and blame somepony else." She sniffed. "Glad to know he understood though."

"He also said that he knows I'm going to do it," Shining continued.

"Do what?" a voice asked.

The two turned to look at two pairs of eyes staring up at them. One pair was the big purple eyes of the purple unicorn filly, Twilight Sparkle. The other is the golden amber eyes of a yellow filly with a pink bow in her red mane. It had been the yellow filly who had asked the question.

"Sorry Apple Bloom," Applejack stepped in, "but it's a matter between Shinin' Armor and his folks."

"Did they ask if I could stay the rest of the summer?" Twilight asked, standing up and stepping forward.

"Not exactly," Shining responded. "I'll explain it to you later."



"Pinkie Promise?"

"You know about Pinkie Promises?"

"Pinkie Pie and Pumpkin Cake told me about them earlier."

Shining Armor looked at the two fillies, then over at Applejack, seeing the grin on the mare's face. Letting out a sigh, he adjust his stance for better balance with his hind legs.

"Cross my heart," he made an x over his chest, "and hope to fly." Balancing on his hind legs, he fluttered his front ones like wings. "Stick a cupcake in my eye." With that he brought a hoof up to touch his eye. "But for now, it's time to get going. Mom and dad still want to meet Fluttershy, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash before it gets too late."

"Okay." Twilight turned to her friend. "See you later, Apple Bloom."

"Yer sayin' good bye a little too soon," Applejack said. "We still all have to go back to house first. Now c'mon."

Twiley Tuckered

"Oh my. It seems somepony has worn herself out."

Shining and his parents turned to look. Fluttershy, a yellow pegasus with a pink mane and tail, stood in the living room, looking down. Twilight was curled up on the rug in the middle of the floor. The filly's mouth hung slightly open and her eyes were closed. Her body rose and fell with the rhythm of her gentle breathing.

"Well it has been quite a busy day for her," Shining said moving to look down at her.

After leaving Sweet Apple Acres, Shining and his family had managed to catch sight of Rainbow Dash. It had taken some shouting and running, but they had managed to get the flying mare's attention. After introductions, and some asking from Twilight, the family of unicorns had followed the pegasus out to a field where she performed some stunts. While watching, they ate some of the lemon squares, offering some to Dash when she came in for a landing.

Next had been Carousal Boutique. It had been very exciting for Twilight and Shining's mother as well as Rarity. Rarity was excited to have another mare from Canterlot and to hear about fashion trends. Shining and Twilight's mother found the designs on display fascinating, as was the fact that Rarity collected the gemstones used herself. So much so, that the mother was going to come back tomorrow to have some outfits made.

Finally they had come to Fluttershy's cottage. It had taken some coaxing, but the pegasus had been convinced to come out and meet them. Once introduced, Fluttershy was willing to invite them in. It had been quite shocking to see so many animals living in the cottage.

"Thank you for your hospitatlity," the mother said, "but it seems we should get going back to the library."

"Just one minute," the father said. "Alright Angel, since we have to get going, how about we make it interesting? What do you say? All in?"

The rabbit looked up from the cards in front of him to the blue unicorn. Narrowing his eyes, Angel rubbed his chin a moment as he stared at his opponent. With a nod, he reached out and pushed a pile of carrots beside him into the center of the table.

"Ha!" Shining's father said as he shoved the carrots in front of him into the center as well. "Four ace!" He dropped the five cards, showing four aces and a five of spades.

Angel gave a smirk and set down his cards, revealing that they were all hearts in order from nine to king. The smirk grew wider as he crossed his front legs over chest. The father's eyes went wide as he looked at the rabbit's cards, then narrowed as he glared at his opponent.

"You're not a bunny," he growled, "you're a shark."

Angel grinned and hopped forward. He took a hold of the carrots and started pulling them over to him.

"Alright," the father said with a sigh. "Let's go."

"I'll carry Twilight," Shining offered. His horn glowed with the energy of his magic as he took a hold of the sleeping filly to set her onto his back. The young filly shifted, opening her eyes a moment. After a quick glance at her brother, she let herself settle down again and went back to sleep.

"It was nice meeting you, Fluttershy," Shining's mother said again.

"You too," Fluttershy said. "You can come again. Uhm... that is if you want to."

"I will," the father said. "That rabbit and I are going to need to have a re-match."

Angel grinned and waved at the unicorns. The older unicorn gave the rabbit one last glare before heading out the door. Fluttershy gave them one last wave before shutting the door. The three unicorns walked in silence until they were past the bridge and heading for Ponyville again.

"So," the mother said, "That's the Fluttershy that Twilight has told us all about? I can see why she wanted you to marry her."

"Not this again," Shining groaned.

"Personally," she continued, "I still think that Pinkie Pie would be a better choice. She knows how to cook and turns out she's experienced with foals."

"What about Rainbow Dash?" the father asked. "She's in very good shape and extremely energetic."

"Oh," the mare perked up with a grin, "what about Rarity? Such a sophisticated unicorn with aspirations would be a wonderful companion for Celestia's personal student. Perhaps I could get a sense of her interest in Shining tomorrow while discussing possible outfits."

"Okay," Shining said. "I think this joke has run its course."

"Alright, alright," she said with a chuckle. "We'll stop. In all seriousness, you seem to have some wonderful friends. It's nice to see that things are working out for you."

"Thank you."

The four of them continued back to the library. Three of them walking and one being carried as she slept. They made their way through Ponyville, watching the other ponies who passed them as they went. Several times there were comments about how cute it was to see the sleeping filly be carried. It made Shining Armor blush, but he otherwise just kept going on without acknowledging it. The group reached the library with the young stallion pushing the door open.

"Hey, guys," Spike started, but stopped when he was motioned to be quiet. "Sorry. So how'd it go?'

"It was fine," Shining whispered. "Everything okay here?"

"Yeah. Nothing really happened."

"That's good. Oh, we got you a snack." With his horn, he pulled out a small bag and handed it to the young dragon.

Spike opened the bag and looked inside, finding several opals. Grinning widely, he grabbed one and stuck it into his mouth, crunching down.

Shining Armor smiled as he watched the dragon eat excitedly. Moving past him, he headed for stairs and climbed up. Turning, he went into a bedroom different than his own. Carefully, he used his magic to lift the filly up. She opened her eyes as she was set back down on the bed.

"Are we home?" she asked, rubbing at her eyes.

"Yeah," Shining Armor answered, "we're home. You seem to have had a lot of fun."

"I did." Looking around, she found her doll and pulled it against her, nuzzling the belly. "I wish I could stay forever."

"Sweet dreams," Shining said before giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Morning Announcement

Dear Princess Celestia,

Some times it is nice to have a friend you can talk to. Not only do you have a pony that will be willing to listen, but also someone who might see things a little different. Also if it is something that friend has experienced, then it's possible that you could learn something from it. What you're told may not be what you want to hear, but that's not always a bad thing. By having a friend who has been through something, you can better understand them and what you might be facing.

signed, your faithful student,

Shining Armor

Shining Armor rolled up the scroll and set it for Spike to mail when the young dragon woke up.

In the kitchen, the young stallion started going through the cabinets to see what he had and trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. He had to make something special. There was not much in his cabinets and refrigerator though. He could make waffles or pancakes, but they had eaten those yesterday. Besides, there was no way he could match Pinkie Pie's amazing waffles.

After some consideration -- and having no real alternative -- Shining Armor decide to make oatmeal. Not exactly a favorite, but maybe some honey and strawberries added to it would make it more flavorful. Fortunately he still had plenty of both. The honey was easy enough, just had to pour it in at the right time. The strawberries would need some cutting, so he would have to do that and keep an eye on the oatmeal to be sure it did not get burned.


"Morning, Spike," Shining said. "There's a letter waiting to be sent to Princess Celestia on the table."

"What are you doing?" Spike asked as he moved to the table. Grabbing the scroll he took a deep breath and blew. A gout of green flame burst from his mouth, igniting the scroll and burning it into smoke that floated away.

"Making breakfast," Shining Armor answered.

"I know that." Spike gave a roll of his eyes. "It's just that normally you don't cook breakfast. You just have something boring like toast or whatever, or we have cereal."

"Well we don't normally have the rest of the family visiting. Besides, I want everyone having a nice meal when I mention my decision."

"What decision?"

The stallion and dragon jumped slightly at the question. The two turned to catch sight of the purple unicorn filly standing in the doorway.

"I'll tell you after we all started eating," Shining Armor told her. "If you really want to know, wake up mom and dad and tell them that breakfast is ready."

With a grin, the filly turned and dashed for the stairs, shouting for mom and dad. The sound of hooves striking the steps echoed through the library as Twilight galloped up to the second floor.

While Twilight got the parents up for breakfast, Spike began to set the table while Shining Armor made sure that the oatmeal was ready. Satisfied, he stirred the honey in then put it into five bowls. Finally, he added strawberries to it.

"Shining," his mother called out as she came down the stairs. The white mare stepped into the entryway to the kitchen, horn glowing. Floating behind her in an aura of magic was Twilight Sparkle.

"Would you mind telling me," the mother said slowly, "why you decided to send your little sister to wake us up?"

"Breakfast was ready and she wanted to help?" Shining asked, tilting his head to one side. "I don't understand why you're upset. She's woken you two up before, and so have I when I was near her age. Where's dad?"

"You're father will be down in a moment." She set Twilight down. "He took a full-speed flying filly to a very sensitive part of his body and is waiting for the pain to subside."

Shining Armor winced.

"What does that mean?" Spike asked.

"I'll explain when you're older," Shining answered. "You go ahead and start eating. I'll check on Dad."

"No need to check on me," the father said as he came down the steps. "I'm fine. A little sore but fine. It's not the first time I've had a hyper child hit me in the..." his eyes glanced at Twilight and Spike, "...stomach."

"Well, breakfast is ready," Shining Armor said as he motioned toward the table.

"But what about the decision you mentioned?" Twilight asked, looking up at him.

"Decision?" their father repeated.

"Does this have to do with what we discussed yesterday?" their mother asked.

"Yes," Shining answered, "and something I promised I would explain to Twilight." He looked at her. "How would you like to stay with me in Ponyville?"

"Like for the rest of summer?" Twilight asked, ears perked and a grin on her face.

"Actually, Mom and Dad were thinking for a year to begin with."

Letting out a squeal of excitement, Twilight jumped up and grabbed her brother, hugging him tightly around the neck.

"Yes!" she shouted. "Yes. Yes. Yes." She let go, hopping excitedly.

"Do you know what this means? I'll get to play with Apple Bloom. I'll get to spend time with the Cakes." She let out an excited gasp. "I'll get to go to a new school! This is so great! I have to tell Apple Bloom!" The young filly turned and started running for the front door.

Halfway across the main room, an aura of pink energy engulfed the young unicorn, lifting her up. She blinked as she floated back to the kitchen where her parents, brother, and Spike stood. She turned her head to look at her brother, whose horn was glowing while he grinned.

"Maybe the news could wait until after you've eaten breakfast?" Shining Armor suggested as he set her back down.

"Oh," the filly said with a slight smile. "Yeah. Okay." Once the magic dissipated, she headed for the table.

"Shining," his mother whispered, "are you sure? I mean, we were hoping you would, but we expected that you would need more time to decide."

"I'm sure," Shining assured her. "I talked to Big Macintosh about it since he had to do something similar with his own family. He told me that yeah there are going to be some hard times." He turned to look at Twilight as she started to grab a spoon and dig into the oatmeal. "But over all, it would be worth it."

"So there's going to be three of us living here now?" Spike asked, looking around.

"Yeah." The young stallion gave the dragon a rub on the head. "Hope you don't mind too much."

"It's fine," the dragon answered with a shrug. "Besides, how much trouble can one filly cause?"

Back to Canterlot

"Express train to Canterlot, now boarding on track one."

"There's only one track," Spike said as he stood on the station platform, watching ponies begin to board.

"Well that's us," Shining Armor's father said.

"Are you sure that you want to stay, Twilight?" her mother asked, looking down at her.

"Now, Velvet," the father said, "this was our idea for her to stay with Shining."

"I know," she responded, "but now we're actually talking about leaving our little girl here. I'm not sure I can. We haven't actually decided what to do yet. We could come back next weekend. Or stay in Canterlot for the summer so you can come back if you change your mind. Or you could come back with us, just until you get settled in here."

"That doesn't make sense."

"I'm having separation anxiety!" the mother yelled. "It doesn't have to make sense." She turned and looked back at her daughter again. "I knew this was coming, but now that it's actually here..."

"Mom," Shining Armor said gently, "she'll be fine. We'll be fine."

The mare let out a sigh. Her horn glowed with magic, grabbing Shining Armor, Twilight Sparkle, and Spike. She pulled the three of them in close, wrapping her front legs around them and giving them a hug.

"My children," she said with a sniff, "growing up so fast." She wiped at her cheek.

Shining Armor shifted and moved to hug the other three back. Shortly, Twilight Sparkle and Spike both did the same thing. Not wanting to be left out, their father moved to join in the group hug.

"It's not like we'll never see you again," Shining said. "You can come visit any time, and we could come to Canterlot after you get back."

"You're right." The mother let them go and took a deep breath before turning to Twilight Sparkle. "We still have to figure out what we are going to do, so you have time to change your mind. If not, write to us in a week."

"Okay," Twilight said with a nod.

"Promise you'll take care of them," she said to Spike.

"You can count on me," the young dragon replied with a nod.

"All aboard!" a voice called out.

"Come on," the father stated. "We need to get on."

The older mare gave a nod, then moved to her children again. She gave each one of them a kiss on the forehead. With that done, she turned and started walking toward the train.

"It probably doesn't need to be said," the father said, "but some things are nice to be heard. We are proud of you." He gave his son a pat on the shoulder, then ran to the train to catch up with his wife.

The three stood on the platform and watched. When they saw their parents out one of the train's windows, they all began to wave. Each stayed where they were, watching the train as it began to move and pull out of the station. Slowly, the waving subsided as the train grew further and further away.

"Are they going to be okay?" Twilight asked as the train grew smaller.

"They'll be fine," Shining answered. "Although judging from mom's reaction, we might actually end up with a little brother or sister next year."

"Really?" The young filly perked up as she looked at her brother. "I'm going to be the best big sister ever. I wonder if there are any books I should study." In one moment, the filly was up and running as fast as she could back toward Ponyville.

"Are you sure this was a good idea?" Spike asked as they watched the young unicorn run off.

"Probably not," Shining answered, "but I'm sure it will be entertaining. Come on. Let's go before she clears half the shelves."

Return to Story Description

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