Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 195

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Chapter 195

I wake up, stretching my arms and noting that the potion did indeed wear off during the night. Aside from the deal of ruining Scootaloo’s life and nobody taking me seriously as a foal... it wasn’t that bad, I might do it again.

With another stretch I leave my room and get a shower going. I haven’t had one in a few days after all. Once my shower is taken care of and I dry off with the incredibly-small pony sized towels, I head for Twi’s room to get her up and- oh... right. Eh whatever, I’m hungry.

Coming down the stairs, I see Spike sitting at the table and poking at a piece of toast. He looks pretty bummed...

“Hey. What’s with you up so early? You know that you can sleep in since Twilight’s not around.”

He sighs and stabs the toast with a claw and uses it like a knife and fork. “I know, I just... don’t wanna get in the habit and all.” I can tell he’s not even trying to hide that lie. “Hey Anthony?”

“Need something, buddy?”

“Uh... well I was wondering if you knew where Twilight went.”

I shrug. “No sure idea, but a few places come to mind.”

Spike starts kneading his tail in his hands. “So if we just happened to go there... you think we might find her? I mean, not like I’m saying we have to, I can take care of myself and all that... just wondering.”

“Spike, do you want to go see if we can find Twilight?”

“Can we try and convince her to come back too- I mean, uh... maybe...”

Okay, I have to admit that’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard from him. “Well, I guess that we could try, though coming back will still be up to her.”

Spike seems a bit nonplussed at this, but nods. “So could we go now?”

“Let me get something to eat then we’ll go see Celly. Twilight’s likely to go there first if you ask me.” Spike agrees and he looks a bit better. I guess from a certain perspective Twilight is Spike’s mom and all. Never thought how hard the little guy would take it. Well, he’s doing better than I did when I went through it.

After breakfast, Spike and I head for the train station. After an hour or so of waiting for the train to Canterlot to arrive, we get on along with a few ponies who seem to be heading to Canterlot as well. The ride itself is rather uneventful, but we’re making good time up the mountain and soon enough we’re off the train and walking through the city proper.

I get the usual double-takes from the Canterlotians but I don’t draw much attention otherwise as we head for the castle. Getting there isn’t a problem at all but as we walk towards the throne room, I notice a large line of ponies that are neither servants or guards, meaning everyone here is in line and waiting for their turn with the princess.

“We really should just get in line...” Spike says as I Spark up to walk through the crowd.

“Oh fine.” I power down and sit down on the floor as I wait.

...the main problem is that there’s no way to gauge how long this will actually take. Some ponies go in and come out a few minutes later while others seem to take half an hour each. I understood that Celestia does a lot more than the fairytale princess type stuff but... I look ahead at the line ahead of me and the growing one behind. Half of these ponies look perfectly capable of just making their problems go away by throwing enough money at it, so what do they need help with that requires royal assistance?

Heck, some of these guys look outfitted to be royalty themselves in the first place, what a bunch of whiners! Credit where it’s due: If I was in Celestia’s position, I’d start screening them and roasting all the bratty imbeciles.

After a few ice ages, it’s finally our turn and Celestia actually looks a bit relieved, like she’s hoping I’m here to cause a disaster and make everyone else run away. As fun as it is making a scene and scaring the literal shit out of Canterlot, Twilight’s a bit more important.

“Hello Spike, Hello Anthony. Can I help you with something?”

“Nah, we’re just here to pick up Twilight.”

Celestia looks a bit confused. “Pick her up? She... isn’t with you?”

“No, I figured that it’s been a week since she ran off she must have been here.”

“She’s been missing for a week and you didn’t tell me!?” Celestia looks like she’s starting to freak out.

“No, because I figured she’d come see you. You’re practically her mom the way she talks about you!”

Celestia blushes. “Okay, point taken, but this really is bad. Especially considering she didn’t come see me about... what exactly happened, anyway? Why would she run away?”

I sigh. “I... kinda got a bit tired of her and pointed out almost all of her major flaws in front of the entire town and she just sorta... broke. She ran off without telling anyone where she was going. It’s been a week and we’re worried about her, especially since we now have no idea where she might go.”

Celestia nods. “I’m aware that Twilight has never taken the idea of failure lightly, and while she does have some... quirks, I fear that unloading on her like that and pointing out all of her shortcomings at once might have been too much for her.”

“Yeah, I said a lot of stuff. I meant it and I’m not taking back anything I said, but I do think I went a little too far.”

Celestia looks a bit pensive. “And what exactly did you say?”

I relay most of what I said, not leaving out any insults aimed directly at her as that is probably really why she ran off.

Celestia just seems to lose more and more of her ‘emotional mask’ as I continue with my recollection, becoming worried, her mane not doing that majestic ‘flow like a banner in the breeze’ thing by the time I finish, her expression clearly worried. “You said you... hated her, right?”

“Well... yeah. I mean I don’t hate everything about her, but... yeah.”

“This isn’t good. I honestly have no idea what she did in response, but I can make a good suggestion as to what she heard. I think she may have taken your words as... more than just words. See, in her mind, she might read the fact that someone hating her would mean she failed some aspect of making friends and... well, her rather overactive tendencies when the possibility of ‘failing’ is present has led to some very... difficult matters. But if she takes everything you said, as a whole, to heart... it’s likely that the results of her reaction will be... self-destructive.”

“Wait, you’re telling me that you think Twilight might actually kill herself just because I-” With the hard, dead serious look Celestia is giving me, I get it. “Okay, so the plan is to find Twilight and hope that she hasn’t spent the last week attempting suicide.”

Celestia nods, and Spike has my leg in a vicegrip, clearly scared. Celestia stands up, but lets out a heavy sigh. “I’d like to come with you as this is something that I’d also like a personal hoof in, but I can’t leave.”

I’m about to ask why, when the door to the throne room is knocked on and a snobby ‘Hurry up in there!’ comes from the other end.

The princess rolls her eyes. “I decided to perhaps lighten my daily load by having a sort of... well... All the ponies who need something from me can come by and explain their problems or desires... I didn’t realize that making it only ten days a month when this can be done was a terrible mistake. I’ll have to help the rest of my ponies, but good luck. Twilight, though stubborn at times, can be... delicate.”

Spike, still clinging to me for dear life, looks really terrified and I walk out, being mindful of the dragon latched onto me. As I exit the throne room, I pass by the impatient mare. “Finally! You sure like to waste everypony’s time with trivial-” I lump the mare on the head with a fist and continue on, the mare throwing a bitch-fit. But Celestia seems to give my response a pass and I’m free to leave.

Once outside the castle, Spike tentatively uncurls from my leg, shaking a bit. “So, where would Twilight go?”

“I’m... not sure. You know her better than anyone in Ponyville, I’ve only known her a few years. What do you think she’d do?” I respond.

Spike seems a little out of it, but gives a suggestion. “Bookstore? I mean, I know that sounds kinda vague, but I doubt she’d really go anywhere other than Canterlot... or maybe the Crystal Empire.”

“Crystal what?”

“The Crystal- oh yeah, you weren’t there ‘cuz of the poison stuff. Anyway, she might have gone there to be with Shining Armor and Cadence.”

“Cadence is at the Crystal Empire? Why?”

Spike sighs. “I’ll explain later, I’m gonna send them a letter. In the meantime, we can check Canterlot.”

“Right... uh... I don’t have paper or a quill.”

Spike groans. “I left my stuff at the library, come on, let’s see if we can’t buy some.”

Once we have an entire writing set, because Canterlot is too ‘business centered’ to just sell individual supplies, Spike writes down the letter and sends it off before turning to me. “Okay, she has two favorite bookstores around here. Assuming they haven’t been bought out in the last year or so, they should still be around here.”

I nod and Spike gives me directions as I carry him along. The first one Spike directed me to seemed to have been jinxed and was now some sort of ‘Oceanic Sundries’ type place. The second one is still a bookstore, and though the owner is not only the same and recalls Twilight, he hasn’t seen her in about seven months.

Spike thinks hard. “The castle library?”

“Why didn’t you suggest that when we were at the castle?”

“Because I’m panicking right now, alright!?”

“Chill, Spike. We’re gonna find her.”

“I’m sorry, but I just have this... bad feeling in my gut, like she might’ve already-” with a fiery burp, Spike spits out the response letter. Cadence and Shining Armor haven’t heard from her in three weeks, and if she was there she’d have sent something in advance.

I shake my head. “This doesn’t mean anything other than she isn’t in the Crystal Kingdom or whatever. She’s probably still alive, now let’s head for the castle again.”

The Castle library and it’s various wings and connected rooms have no sign of Twilight, and Spike suggests probably the dumbest place yet as we’re walking along the streets of Canterlot once more.

“A doughnut shop? Really?”

“Hey, Pony Joe’s is great! Plus he’s a good friend of ours, it’s possible.”

“Well, the idea that she’s gorging herself on doughnuts is better than her offing herself, fine, where is it?”

Spike looks around for a bit. “Uh, just a few blocks from here then take a left and another left.”

Following his instructions, Spike and I end up in front of a doughnut place, made easily noticed by the giant doughnut on top of it.

Walking in, the stallion behind the counter greets us happily. “Hey there! Well, hiya Spike. Whatcha doing here?”

“We’re looking for Twilight, actually. Have you seen her?”

“Yeah, but that was, like a week ago or something. She came by looking like somepony just kicked her puppy or something and got her usual ‘maybe failed a test’ order then left. Poor kid looked awful, but she wasn’t really talking much, just kinda drooping over her coffee. You check the castle?”

“Yeah, first and third place we looked, no sign of her.” Spike says, looking down at his feet. “This was our last chance.”

Pony Joe shrugs. “Well, when you find her, let me know. Never seen that mare so depressed before. She looked like most ponies do when they’ve decided to just give up and go home.”

Home! Spike and I look at each other, clearly having the same thought. She might have at least told her parents. They should know where she went. Rushing out the door of the restaurant, we make our way to her parents’ house.

We get there and rush in the door without knocking. I haven’t really seen much of the house, so I just head for the living room. When I walk in, I see Twi’s mom and dad looking very upset. Stars looks at me in the way only a mom can, glaring into my soul, she manages to make her next sentence a deadly threat.

What did you do to my daughter?!” Next Chapter: Chapter 196 Estimated time remaining: 3 Hours, 57 Minutes

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