No Nose Knows

by Irrespective

Chapter 18: 18. - Ponyville Part 2

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Baked Bean couldn’t suppress his cheesy grin, even if he had tried. “You know, if you wanted some quality time together, I could have made room for you in my schedule. You didn’t have to foalnap me.”

“Yes I did,” Celestia replied, as she nuzzled her Bean. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too, and I’m glad you’re here. Your protégée is going to worry though,” he whispered into her ear.

“Not for long. I told Spike, Shining, Cadence and the Mayor I wanted to take you on a quick field trip. Once she meets up with one of them, it’ll be sorted out.”

“I still think she’s going to pop in on us and chew you out.”

“There is a good possibility of that.” Celestia withdrew far enough to look into Bean’s eyes, but no further.

“And how did my captive princess escape from her tower of imprisonment?”

She waggled her wings. “I flew, silly. These aren’t just for looks.”

“Did you seriously just up and take off?” Bean had to laugh with Celestia’s earnest nod.

“Seriously. I couldn’t stay focused in Canterlot. Every time I got started on a project my mind would drift to you. I just cancelled everything and then told Wysteria to send my guards to Ponyville as I flew away.”

“You are going to be in so much trouble,” he chided playfully.

“I don’t care,” she replied with a giggle. “What can they do? I am a Princess after all. I even brought our chaperones,” she added with a pointed wingtip towards Sergeants Clover Leaf and Hokey Pokey.

“Somepony will set Luna on your trail is what they’ll do. Where are we, anyway?” he asked, as he looked at the ruins around them.

“This is my old home, Bean. The Castle of The Two Sisters.”

Bean’s breath instantly stilled to a hushed awe, and his eyes went wide. This was a hallowed place, one that ponies spoke of in the most reverent of tones from the moment they learned how to walk. He’d seen sketches and old photographs in school, of course, but it was now obvious that those had only captured a fraction of the true majesty and devastation before him.

“Sergeants, could you stay here for a moment?” Celestia asked, and they both nodded. “Thank you. Come with me, Bean. I want to show you some things within.”

He nodded and followed as they entered through the remains of the old main doors. Sunlight filtered in through the holes in the roof, and Bean had to watch his step as he maneuvered around various fallen stones and debris.

“I can’t even recall the last time I was here,” Celestia remarked as she slowed and looked around the hallway. “I used to come every year to remember; a sort of pilgrimage if you will. It grew to be too much, after long enough. My heart couldn’t take the pain I felt at losing my sister. I finally had to stop or else I risked succumbing to a very crushing depression.”

“I can’t even imagine,” Bean replied reverently as they walked into a foyer.

Celestia sighed deeply. “There are times when this day has haunted my dreams for weeks. I’ve lived and relived the events thousands of times. So much was lost here, and all because of my blindness.”

He then turned and followed her into a large round room. The remains of a shattered stained-glass window was at the far end, along with two smashed and crumbling thrones that were weathered and worn. Scorch marks and potholes littered the floor, and Bean took it all in with profound and silent respect.

“Here,” Celestia said, as she slowed to a stop. “Right here. This is where I was when I watched my sister give in to the Nightmare.”

Bean could hear the pain of those ancient anguished words as if they had soaked into the ancient stones of this place and continued to reverberate through the centuries.

“Luna! I will not fight you! You must lower the moon, it is your duty!”

“And see, right there?” Celestia pointed with a hoof. “That was the statue that housed the Elements of Harmony.”

Bean quietly walked up and then put a hoof gently on the towering structure.

“Luna? I am… Nightmare Moon! I have but one royal duty now: to destroy you!”

He exhaled slowly. The air of both history and destiny was thick enough to chew.

“That was the last time the Elements answered my call,” Celestia continued. “I can’t say for sure why, but I think they somehow realized that Luna had fallen. Perhaps they were touched by my sister’s troubled heart? I wish I knew. They turned to stone after that, lifeless, cold, and devoid of their former power. I kept them here, in their appointed place, and I waited. I was convinced that they could be used to reclaim Luna, once they could renew themselves. I hoped and I watched for weeks at a time, but as those weeks quickly changed into months, then to years, my hope decayed and dwindled until it finally died entirely. I came to realize that my most earnest wish would go unfulfilled. I had to live with myself and with what I’d done. That kind of power was never meant to be used by one pony alone.”

Bean looked around the room. “Celly, I don’t… I don’t even…”

“You see why I had to stop coming, yes?” She let out a grim chuckle that held no joy. “There was so much I missed out on, so much I could have done differently.”

Bean turned to her and found his notebook floating in her magic before him. He gently took it, and saw it was open to his How to Woo Celestia page. She had added another item in her column:

Love me despite my failures.

“Celly, I…”

“Your father is not the only one who has had to live with the consequences of arrogance. Luna tried to tell me. I had some warning as to what would happen, but I did nothing. I couldn’t believe it. I had the endless praise of my ponies, surely Luna did as well! She was just ungrateful, or was a glory hog. I passed off her concerns as those of a pony who just wanted more, ever more. Even as I watched her fall into corruption before my eyes, I believed it all to be a show to gain attention. I didn’t take it seriously until it was far too late.

“Bean, when you rejected the divorce papers and told me you wanted to try to make our relationship work, I knew I had to bring you here. I have been worried that you fell in love with the Perfect Princess of the Sun, the Celestia who leads graciously and rules in peace. You must understand that I have and will continue to make mistakes. Some of them have been quite egregious, but the worst mistake I have ever made was ignoring a problem which nearly cost my sister, forever.”

Bean thought for a moment. “Do you fear this will happen to us?”

“I fear that as you learn about the true me—as you discover all the parts that don’t fit the perfect princess persona—that you will become disgusted by what you find and walk away. There has been darkness in my past, and you will come face-to-face with it sooner or later.”

“I don’t think I will walk away.” He smiled, and he sat so he could hold her hooves. “Shadows can’t exist in total darkness, after all. They need light, until they cease to be with the full power of the midday sun. You were a sun rising then, but now you are the sun shining forth with majesty.”

He then moved in to touch her nose gently against her neck and nuzzle upwards. “And while I mean no disrespect to your sister, I think the love we have is of the type that you don’t want to lose.”

“I don’t,” she whispered, her voice heavy with emotion. “But what if my true self is unforgivable in your eyes?”

“I love you, Celestia,” he whispered back, and his heart skipped with her fluttering breath. “And I also trust that, no matter what the outcome was, the decisions you made in your life were generally meant to be good, especially after what happened here. We all make mistakes, and I am more than willing to be forgiving of yours. I hope you will be forgiving of mine, too.”

“I’m pretty extra sure I can be,” she replied, and they both laughed a little as they pulled back to look at each other.

“You know, I also love how warm and expressive your eyes are,” Bean remarked, and Celestia blushed a bit. “They get so dark when you’re feeling low, and they sparkle when you laugh, almost like… lilacs in the spring.”

“They do, hm?” she asked. “I hated the color as a filly.”

“No, they’re…” he leaned in, “…they’re just…” his lips puckered, and so did hers, “perfect…”

A loud bang and a bright flash of lavender both interrupted and killed the moment, and Bean found he had recoiled a few feet backwards out of shock.

“AH HA!” Twilight shouted. “I found you!”

“Why, good afternoon, Twilight!” Celestia looked at her student with impeccable calm, which was a far cry from Bean, who was clutching his chest and hyperventilating slightly at Twilight’s abrupt arrival.

“Good afternoon, Princess,” Twilight called over her shoulder in her mentor’s general direction while she marched up and confronted Bean. “Look, you can’t just disappear like that! I’ve torn apart half of Ponyville looking for you! I’m responsible for your safety while you’re here, and I can’t do that if you run off on me! If you wanted to see the old castle that’s fine, and we could have made arrangements to wait until the Princess got here, but you’ve got to tell me these things so I can plan appropriately.”

“Twilight,” Celestia flatly said.

“Now, since you’re still new to being a royal I’ll let it slide, but I expect you to be more professional next time.” A quill and scroll appeared in front of her out of nowhere, and her magic began scribbling as she continued. “Thus, for all future visits I will need you to submit an itemized itinerary, complete with your arrival day and time, time and date of departure, and if you are travelling with or without Celestia.”

“Twwwiiiillliigghhttt…” Celestia tried to call out to her.

“I will need a list of all intended and requested stops and scenic locales you wish to frequent, and how long you intend to stay at each place. I can then coordinate with the shop owners and the other local ponies to keep everything on schedule, and…”

“Twilight, what is the square root of a negative number?”

Old habits kicked in quickly for Twilight Sparkle, and instantly she stopped talking so her brain had full power to calculate the equation her teacher had given her. Bean could have sworn he heard the crunch of mismatched gears grinding as Twilight’s eyes unfocused for a moment.

“There isn’t one. It’s an imaginary number,” she replied by rote. Her eyes then snapped back to normal. “Wait. What? What’d I do?”

“Bean didn’t know I was coming today. He was under the impression I would be in Canterlot, catching up on work. I ambushed and foalnapped him.”

“You stole him?!”

Celestia shrugged. “More or less. Is that a problem?”

“Well, no. I guess not. He is your husband. This is just very unexpected.”

“I can be spontaneous at times,” Celestia replied, but then she laughed. “Don’t you remember that game of snooker I played against your mother and father, and—”

“YES! Ha-ha,” Twilight nervously cut in. “Yes, I remember. I wish I didn’t, but I do. So, since this was all an honest mistake, may I ask why you came here?”

“I wanted to show Bean what he married into. It is crucial he understands the history of what happened here.”


“You know, it would be nice if somepony could tidy things up,” Celestia casually remarked. “Now that Luna is free of the Nightmare I think I might come back to visit from time to time.”

“Really? You might come back?” Twilight asked, as they turned to leave the room.

“Perhaps. But if I do I will submit an itemized itinerary for your review.”

“Oh! Heh heh…” Twilight rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment.

“Would it be possible to make a quick stop at the Tree of Harmony, Twilight?”

“Of course!” she smiled. “Not a problem at all!”

“Tree of Harmony?” Bean asked. “What is that?”

Bean couldn’t find the words.

It was a hundred times—no, a thousand times worse than when he had struggled to describe the sunflowers. The Tree of Harmony was just beyond his vocabulary.

Transcendent was about as close as he could ever get.

Though the visual sight of it was majestic enough, it was the the feel of it that was making the deepest impression. It was like he was awash in eternity, destiny, and harmony all at once, and that confluence of essence then flowed out to influence the lives of all ponies, wherever they may be.

“Have you made any progress with the keys?” Celestia asked as she looked the chest over.

“Not yet,” Twilight replied. “I’m actually really baffled.”

“Well, all we can do is trust in Harmony. The answers will be revealed to us, in time.”

“So, how vulnerable are we without the Elements?” Bean asked.

“That is, sadly, a question we can’t fully answer.” Celestia walked over to the tree and looked up into the tangled crystal branches where the six Elements of Harmony glittered like colorful fruit. “But I know the Princesses of this Kingdom will do everything they can should something arise, Elements or not. We are not totally helpless without them.”

Celestia paused, then slipped one golden shoe from her hoof before gently placing it on her symbol on the tree. Her eyes closed, and for a moment Bean wondered if she had stopped breathing.

He then walked up and placed his hoof on hers. It was a simple gesture, but he somehow felt like, in so doing, he had made their relationship all the more real.

It was an odd but yet wonderful feeling, and he hoped he might feel it more with her. In fact, it matched the feather-like touch of something else deep within the tree that seemed as if it too approved of their pairing, and was looking forward to seeing what kind of fruit they would bear in turn.

Lifting her hoof off the tree, Celestia looked down at Bean and smiled just as brightly as the sunshine glittering through the crystal tree above them. He returned it in kind, she nuzzled him quickly, and then they both turned back to Twilight.

“We should probably return to Ponyville now. Do you think I might be able to share a quick tea break with you and your friends before the party? I would like to see how they are all doing.”

Twilight couldn’t be any happier. “Of course, Princess! We can meet at the library if you’d like.”

“That sounds wonderful, thank you.”

Bean gave one last glance to the Tree before he left, but what he then saw made him pause for a moment. Somehow, Celestia’s symbol on the trunk of the tree had changed while they weren’t looking, and the new engraving seemed oddly familiar. Celestia’s stylized sun remained, but now there was a book on top of it, an open book with words that he couldn’t read.

Bean glanced down to his own flank. The book on the tree was nearly identical to his own cutie mark, save for the words. Why had the tree added his book to her symbol?

He glanced back up, and then he blinked. A glint of light had caught his attention, forcing him to look back up at the tree where Celestia’s symbol remained completely unchanged from the first time he had seen it. He blinked several times, then shook his head before turning to follow Celestia out of the beautiful cave. It was probably a trick of the light, or his own tangled thoughts playing tricks with his eyes.

Still, he took one last look back before they started on their trip back to Ponyville, just to make sure.

Stranger things had happened, after all.

“I do hope you can forgive my little outburst from this morning, your Highness,” Rarity said with a nervous chuckle, and she smoothed out a non-existent wrinkle from her breezy green summer dress.

“Call me Bean,” he replied cheerfully. “And I already have.”

“That is most kind of you,” Rarity replied with a smile.

“So, how is business for you?” he asked while shifting slightly on his cushion.

“A bit slow to be honest, darling, but it’ll pick up again soon. I have several fall fashion shows that I’ll be participating in, and that always drums up interest.”

“That’s good to hear.” Bean took the offered teacup from Twilight with a smile and a quick sip. “Have you ever thought of expanding, maybe opening a second store?”

“I would love to, but there are some details to take care of before I could do that. Though, if I did, I suppose Canterlot would be a good place to start.”

“Either there or Manehattan. Canterlot might be more expensive in rent but I’m not sure how their tax rates compare.”

“That does make a difference. But I do believe Canterlot would have more of the clientele that I’m after. At the very least I have more name recognition in the capitol.”

“Well, if you do open up there, I will give you my official royal seal of approval and send everypony I know to you.”

“Why, that would be fabulous, darling!” Rarity positively beamed.

“Hey, Bean!” Rainbow shouted from the other side of the library. “What kind of tea is this?” She then leaned over and nudged Pinkie Pie, who looked much improved from earlier. “Watch this. His nose is, like, freakishly awesome.”

Bean frowned. “I don’t know what kind of tea this is.”

“What? How could you not know? Just smell it.”

Bean sighed, then dipped down close to the cup. Whatever it was, it wasn’t anything he was remotely familiar with. His parents had always drank smooth, relaxing herbal teas, and whatever this was definitely had more energy to it. He too a deep whiff, then a quick taste.

“Well?” Rainbow asked immediately.

Bean fought hard not to gag. If this was tea, then he was a kidney bean. “I still don’t know,” he managed to get out. “I’ve never had this type of tea before.”

“What?! You’re pullin’ my tail. I saw you sniff out those carrots with Fluttershy and the apple trees with A.J.”

“Food and beverages are two different things,” he replied defensively. “I’ve never been able to tell one tea from another. They all smell pretty much the same to me.”

“Well that’s lame.”

Rainbow Dash then found herself at the receiving end of one of Celestia’s patented glares, and the colorful mare chuckled nervously as one of Celestia’s eyebrows slid upwards to emphasize her displeasure. “Uh, I mean…”

“Everypony’s talents manifest in different ways,” Celestia said in a kind but stern tone. “There is nothing wrong with only being able to distinguish the differences in food. Is Fluttershy ‘lame’ because she does not fly as fast as you? It is the same ability after all.”

“Of course not! Fluttershy’s flying is perfect!”

“And so is Bean’s delightful nose.” She displayed her preference by giving said nose a brief kiss, as well as a quick lick to collect the last few drips of tea still on the hairs of his upper lip. “See? He’s delicious,” she added while Bean spluttered.

“To be fair, I have personally wondered why I’m only good with food,” Bean offered. “I probably need to study my beverages more.”

“Just be very careful about disparaging others talents and abilities,” Celestia concluded.

“I will,” Rainbow said morosely.

“So, since we’re all here,” Twilight cut in now. “I wanted to ask and see if anypony has had any ideas about the chest at the Tree of Harmony?”

The reply from all was scattered head shaking and murmurs of no.

“Well, keep your eyes open. You never know where we might find those keys.”

Bean stuck a hoof in the air. “Have you maybe considered keeping a journal?”

“A journal?”

“Yeah. When us Beans try to come up with new recipes, we would keep a record of things that we thought might be inspiring, like if the smell of bread baking gave us any thoughts, or if we were travelling somewhere and saw something that looked delicious. Maybe if you each kept a record of your friendship lessons, you could get some inspiration that way. Then, you could share what you’ve seen with one another, and one of you might see something that was missed. Two sets of eyes on an event kinda thing, right?”

“It would give me a series of data points to correlate,” Twilight mused.

“And writing down your friendship lessons has given you a lot of insights in the past, right?”

“Yes, it has. What do you think, girls? I personally think It’s not a bad idea.”

“It’d help to keep us on the lookout during the day, too,” Applejack stated. “Ah’d be more observant of what’s goin’ on around me if ah know ah’ll be writing it down.”

The other five then agreed that keeping journals was, at the very least, a good start and better than sitting around and guessing. Twilight agreed to keep the journal collection in the library, but in a place where the girls could get to it whenever they wanted, and then all six thanked Bean for the idea.

He humbly took the thanks, and then he simply sat back and listened as the Ponyville friends began chatting about their previous adventures with each other and with Celestia. He had, of course, read about some of their adventures in the newspaper back home, but he was interested and quite amazed to hear the smaller stories, like how Applejack and Rainbow Dash had lost a ‘Running of The Leaves’ race to Twilight (and she had come in 5th place herself), or how Pinkie Pie had managed to create “at least a hundred dozen copies” of herself in something called a Mirror Pool, if Rainbow’s story was to be believed. He was amazed they had been through so much together, and at how strong the bonds of friendship were between them. It wasn’t hard to see how they had managed to rally together every time Equestria had needed them.

After perhaps an hour or so of this, Spike entered the library darted into the room with a quick greeting to everypony, and then he whispered something in Pinkie Pie’s ear. As soon as he did so, Pinkie grew a gigantic smile, but when the secret exchange was over Pinkie shooed him back outside quickly.

“Prince Bean?” she then said. “Could you come over here?”

He did so with a wary smile, but he felt his excitement inexplicably growing while the other mares in the room surrounded him by the main door.

“Prince Bean,” Pinkie grandly announced, “it is now high time for…”

“A PRINCE PARTY!” The Element Bearers all shouted at once. Pinkie then threw open the front door, and a large cheer broke out from the crowd that was assembled outside.

“C’mon!” Pinkie shouted, as she grabbed his hoof and dragged him outside. “It’s time to par-tay!”

Pinkie Pie was truly a master party planner.

Bean smiled as he looked over the ponies on the dance floor. The party had been so wonderful that he didn’t really want it to end. He had been worried that Pinkie would go all out and over-the-top, with his face on large poster boards and everything being bean-related somehow. Instead, it was much more like a simple birthday party. There were plenty of cupcakes and pies and ice cream to sample, but the only Bean tie-in was the bowls of assorted jelly beans that were scattered around for everypony to enjoy.

There were also plenty of games for ponies to play, with things running from a ring toss and a dunk-the-Mayor tank to Sister Says and tag. The ‘Round With The Prince’ game she had mentioned the other day had actually turned out to be a fun contest to see who could sink a putt from a further distance on a miniature golf green, and he had loved the ‘Guess What is In The Box’ game as well. Upbeat music provided by the local D.J. played in the background, and the yellow balloons scattered about made the whole thing complete. Celestia had happily joined in the festivities, and she even managed to win a small stuffed bear from the ring toss game, much to everypony’s delight.

At dusk, everything had been put on hold to allow Celestia to lower the sun. There was a respectful reverence as it slid behind Canterlot Mountain, but then there was a large shout and cheer of joy when Luna’s moon drifted upward.

He secretly hoped Luna had heard it.

Once done, it was time to dance under the stars. Bean was initially hesitant to join in, since he had no idea how to properly dance. However, once he saw Twilight’s own ‘interpretive effort,’ he decided to simply cut loose and to copy Twilight’s unique—if not a little back-breaking—style. Once that happened, everypony else simply joined in with their own interpretative dances as well, and Bean felt like the fun had been doubled, at least.

However, the hour was growing late and he had spied his wife yawning daintily behind a hoof once or twice in the last few moments. He knew there was no way either of them were going to escape a wagon load of work tomorrow, and so he took a little initiative and summoned Pinkie Pie over.

She was somewhat sad at first after he explained it was time for them to leave, but she had also understood and nodded in agreement. She then quickly made her way over to the D.J.—her name was Vinyl Scratch, wasn’t it?—and lifted one headphone off of her ear to speak to her. A nod and then a microphone was given to Pinkie, and the music came to a stop so she could explain.

“Hey everypony! Are we having a good time?”

“Yeah!” The crowd roared back.



Pinkie giggled and snorted once. “I think this has been the bestest ‘New Prince in Equestria’ party since the one we had for Shining Armor, am I right?”

“That was our wedding reception, you hijacker!” Shining shouted.

“Potato, potahto,” she replied, and everyone laughed. “Sadly, though, the Prince and Princess need to leave. I know!” She added over the sad groans. “I don’t want them to go either, but they have a kingdom to run. So, even though they insist we keep the party going for as long as we want, we’re going to have the last dance now for them and then let them go. Scratch? A little soul if you please.”

Bean stood and dipped his head towards Celestia as soft and slow music began to play. “May I have this dance, my fair princess?”

“I would be delighted to,” she replied cheerfully. He offered a hoof and she gladly took it, and the crowd parted to allow both sets of Royals to the middle of the floor.

“You’re going to have to give me some dancing lessons, too,” he remarked. “All I can do is shuffle my feet.”

“Sometimes that’s all you need to do,” she softly replied, and he smiled as she nuzzled him and then rested her head across his.

“Did you ever regret becoming the Princess?” he gently asked while they moved with the other dancers.


“Yeah. Did you ever say to yourself, ‘Self, I wish I had just left well enough alone and remained a unicorn?’”

“No. If I had, we’d be under fifty feet of ice and snow.”

“Okay, bad example. Let me rephrase the question. Did you ever want to be a commoner, provided everything else in the kingdom was taken care of?”

“Did I ever want to step away,” she offered. “Leave it all, be just a normal pony, with normal problems and regular dreams and—”

He waited for a moment.

“—and to possibly find my own special somepony. Well, the simple answer is no.”


“I never wished to give up the lot I was given. We may not have a choice on the role we play on the stage of life, but we can choose how we perform as the actors. There are some scenes I would redo but, on the whole, I am pleased and grateful for what I have.

“But I have contemplated how things would have been if I had not been a Princess. I’ve mused about the things I might have done, or the employment I might have had. I did, once or twice, wonder if I might have found a special somepony in that life.”

She then moved in closer to his ear. “If I had changed any of the details of my life, I might not have ever found you, and that, my dear Bean, would have been the greatest tragedy I would have never known. My lot has now led me to you, and you to me. It is irrelevant to me if I found you by fate, destiny, or sheer dumb luck. What matters is that I did find you.”

“And despite everything, you want to keep me,” he whispered back. “That is the most incredible part of all this to me. Of all the potential suitors, you hold me dear.”

“Ask Cadence sometime about the unpredictability of love.” She chuckled. “It is true that there are a thousand other ways I could have fallen for a thousand other ponies, but from here and forever more, I will want you.”

His whole body shivered with delight as he heard that sentence. “Then I do believe I shall stay for quite some time. I have found in you something I don’t think I could ever find anywhere else.”

“You had better stay,” she replied with a playful nip to his ear. “Someone has to help me torment Luna.”

“We shall be relentless and unstoppable then! Torments untold for the sister!” They laughed together while swirling around one more time on the dance floor before their return to Canterlot.

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