Private The Bird and the Axe

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A glance at the retreating guard and Iron was refixed upon the princess.  Oh how below this he was...  What happens now?  Was he supposed to compliment her again?  Or maybe act graciously towards her own?  No, he should bid her farewell!  Then the thought kicked in that she was going absolutely nowhere.  She had handed her garments to that guard, she was starring into his own and she was smiling.




"Well-well-well, uhllo there!"  The thick accent of Barney errupted from behind Bass, draining his colour instantly.  The pegasus stallion was halfway down a bottle and looked rather amused by the sight of the two ponies.  He stopped himself in a swaying swoop of a hoof, giving the princess a look of recognisation.  He spoke in a slight drawl, "That- was really something... you should be famous by now surely?  Perhaps even that princess of song could take you- you... oh wait that's you!"  He chuckles a bit, taking another swig from the bottle in his wing.


Iron froze to the floor, gulping the air like soup as he craned his neck to regard the newcomer.  Failing a smile, he said in hopelessness, "Barney... mate.  What- what are you doing back here still?  I mean, I know you love the stage and it all... but... bloody hell how much of that have you had?!"

"Enough for me to- to notice this!"  He indicated toward the mare, with a wobbly, green hoof.  "You're catching on, mate"

He began to trot off before anypony could reply, but shouted back, "Be gentle, love!  He's as virgin as you can get nowadays!".  He chuckled loud and heartily before disappearing.

Iron just flushed.

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Ebony's ears pricked up in surprise when the Pegasus stepped out. She raised an eyebrow slightly, more curious than anything else. She laughed quietly when he recognized her, murmuring a quiet "charmed" under her breath, amusement in her voice.


She looked up to Iron when he addressed the Pegasus, taking in his horrified expression. She looked back to the Pegasus, now known to her as Barney, when he indicated her with his hoof. She glanced away, blushing slightly, but looked up again when he left and shouted over his shoulder.


Ebony half smirked and called after him. "I suppose we have that in common, then!" She laughed quietly after a few seconds and looked up at Iron, still blushing slightly. "You and I are alike, it seems." She grinned at him, leaning her head a bit to the right, letting her mane cover her one eye again.


She looked at the ground and giggled quietly again. "Sorry. Now.." She straightened up again, looking at the snow covered street. "Mm..I'm in the mood for a warm beverage. How about you, Iron Bass? You may join me, if you wish." She looked back up at him and half smiled.

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Iron shook it off, feeling the colour return to him.  Somepony would be having words later, it seemed.  The stallion gave a warming smile, "Sure, I'd love that."  Iron trotted arond to Ebony, head hung ever so slightly.


After all, Barney had not been all too wrong.  The very words echoed through his mind, bouncing back to a time about a year ago...




"Well, lads!  Another ship sunk..."


"Another gig done," came the reply.


Bass trotted alongside Shade, who was actually smiling, down the corridor of the hotel they were staying in.  Caerfilly had been a great show, bringing many ponies to the ground in that little pub.  The music hammered like hornets and brought about a decent bonus from the establishment owner.  It was quite simply their best gig so far in their year-long career.

It was nearing the midnight hour and the sounds of the evening were lost to the inky night.  The hotel was not that bad for eighty quid a night and provided many an opportunity to explore the town dripping with heritage (Iron was particularly interested in seeing the castle a mere mile away).  The corridors lay in a crimson silence up to the rooms which the band shared.  Iron slept with Shade and Chunk, leaving Biff and Barnesworth to the other room. 


Before the members reached their respective door, Biff spoke up, "I just want to wish you the best of nights, colts... It's been a great evening so far so lets finish it with a... bang."  The pony pushed his way into the room, followed closely by (an excited?) Barney.  Iron dismissed the odd words, leading the trio into room 12. 


It had been a loud, hot, tiring gig and bed was the only place that the earth pony wanted to be.  With the lights off, he simply flopped into the semi-soft mattress of his bed, feeling at peace.  He heard the other two clop towards their beds, allowing the door to swing shut behind them with a soft click.  Finally, Iron was able to sleep.

Then there was the feeling of another solid form stirring behind him, followed by a drawn out sound.  Then came the placment of hooves on his shoulders.  Then a sultry whisper, "My, aren't we the tall one?" 


Iron leapt to his hooves, hitting himsef blindly into the wall and almost falling to the floor.  His heart rose into his mouth, causing him to panic.  "The fuck?!"  He blurted.  Ruffles and giggles started layering around him, closing in on the young stallion.  He made for what he thought was the door, luck siding with him.  He left the unknown, unseen and confused pony behind to watch him leg it out of the building, streaming tears of fear.

Not like this...



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Ebony walked quietly beside Iron. She glanced up at him, noticing his hanging head. She bit her lip and looked away, her mane creating a curtain between them.


She was torn. She could say something, but it didn't feel like her place to ask. At the same time, she didn't want him to feel bad in any way. But-


Ebony stopped suddenly when she heard a crunch under her hoof and looked down. The snow had crunched differently; she lifted her hoof from the snow, revealing pieces of a broken teacup, a smudge of her blood on one of the shards. She set her hoof down again, the glassy crunch sounding again, and her head hung down, her eyes staring into the snow.


She tried her best to push against the piece of the carriage, her small hooves crushing the glass she was scrabbling against, the crunching filling her ears.






"I can''s too heavy.."


The filly tried pushing on the carriage again, more glass crunching around her.




She sobbed once quietly, her tiny head hanging. The tears rolled off her face and onto the ground, a few tiny droplets hitting the glass shards.


Ebony blinked, a few tears escaping her eyes. They rolled off her face and fell silently into the snow.

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((Sorry for the slight GodMod.. I think the RP needs it))

The two trotted silently for a few moments, slowly returning to reality almost simultaneously.  Bass looked about the clearing grounds of the concert, seeing the mass of ponies filter out like a liquid and into downtown Canterlot.  Tech team and staff members left heir work for a moment, basking in the silver glow of Luna's moon over the glassy snow which had risen to nearly two inches on the gound in some places.  It was quite remarkable.


The stallion perked up as the acivity slowly encompassed them, forcing them to walk a little closer together.  The feeling was strangely pleasant to him; a mix between a gentle warmth and a cold spike.  He mental noted to watch himself during this little sortie, blinking to clear his head as he followed the princess from the grounds altogether.


The silence had not been awkward in the slightest, but speaking for the first time still seemed rather daunting.  "Now, where would this establishment be, Pri- damnit... Ebony?"  Iron shook his head with a slightly mirthless grin.  He would have to get used to this...

Edited by Ballistic456

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//no worries, you do a good job with it//


Ebony blinked the watery glaze away from her eyes and looked up at him. "It's..a few stores down, actually." She looked away from him and indicated with her head, her mane falling in front of her eye again. She stopped beside the door to the cafe and pulled the door open with her magic, raising a hoof and letting Iron enter first.


She stepped in the cafe after him, pulling the door shut as she did so, the chill from outside wrapping around her legs for a few seconds, as if trying to attach itself to her before the warmth of the cafe took over.


Ebony looked around. A cute little cafe; cozy with weathered brick walls, dark hardwood flooring, no 2 chairs alike or any matching tables; purposely, of course. It added to the uniqueness of the cafe, as well as the staff, who picked everything out for a reason. For example, one of the chairs was wooden and plush, stationed beside a small table that had an old map of Equestria under the glass; an interesting thing to gaze upon while one sipped their tea.


Ebony looked to the pony at the counter, who'd perked up instantly when they walked in. Apart from a pony cleaning the tables, she was alone, and had been waiting for someone to walk in for at least 20 minutes. Ebony smiled and dipped her head, and got a grin and a wave in return.


"Hello, Ebony!" The brown unicorn waved a hoof over her head, the grin still alight in her pale green eyes. Her golden brown mane bobbed around her shoulders as she leaned on the counter towards them.


Maple Harvest was a master in her trade, making the most delicious beverages, sneaking Maple Syrup into coffee for those she knew would enjoy it. If anypony would ever gain 2 cutie marks, it'd be Maple; she grew up on a Maple farm, and earned her cutie mark there for her freaky ability to make the sweetest syrup. She met Half Bean, now her husband, at the Canterlot Desserts competiton, who's Mochas and Chocolate Coffee Bean cake had blown her away. She stayed in Canterlot with him, and discovered a freaky knowledge for coffee products. The 2 now ran a cafe together, becoming known for its sweet pastry and astounding drinks.


"Good evening, Maple. Quiet night?" Ebony asked, walking to the counter, beckoning Iron with her.

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Iron's mouth perked warmly at the sight of the welcoming room through the misty glass.  Moreover, the flood of caressing heat that spilled forth from the door sent a lovely shudder up Iron's flanks, eliciting a audible huff.  The place seemed rather homely, with mis-matched furniture being the most noticeable feature.  Stepping inside gave Iron a firm bump on he head as he walked in through the door, a little unsettled with him going first but he smiled politely all the same as Ebony marched in after him.

As much as he did not mind the cold, the warmth was most welcome to the grey stallion.  Each whisper of it went gliding under his shirt rather nicely, as if filling him with cosiness.  It turned out that cities could provide home-like comfort... well, how about that.  Even more exciting was the emptiness of the place.  Somehow it just added to that sense of closeness provided by the large room.

Having stopped to admire the place a little more, Iron padded over quietly to the counter, showing a friendly face to the mare talking with Ebony.  Did this mare know about Ebony's royalty?  Was it important?  He pushed the questions into the corner of his mind for a moment, taking the time to study a few delectable treats that lay just in sight...

Iron surpressed a cakegasm.

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Maple groaned loudly. "So quiet. How was the festival?" She asked, wiping the counter down with a slightly damp cloth. She glanced at Iron and looked back at Ebony, raising an eyebrow and smirking.


Ebony laughed quietly. "It was delightful. Cutter made me sing," She shrugged, raising an eyebrow back at her.


Maple giggled. "Well, you are the Princess of Song for a reason." She winked at her and put the cloth away. "Can I get you and your stallion friend a beverage? And perhaps some cake, as well?" She asked, noting how Iron was gazing at the pastries displayed on the counter.


Ebony looked at Iron and smiled, also glancing at the assorted cakes and pastries. "That sounds delightful. I'll have..a mocha and.." She made a thoughtful noise and scanned the chalkboard menu. "..A slice of the chocolate coffee bean cake."


Half Bean, still wiping down tables, looked up at the mention of his signature dish. "Always a good choice!" He grinned at her and continued working away.


Ebony laughed quietly and looked up at Iron. "Get whatever you want, Iron Bass." She smiled at him, and looked back to Maple, who had started to prepare the drink, as well as get a piece of cake neatly onto a plate using her magic. Maple looked up and looked over her shoulder to where her husband was. "Would you like a cup of coffee, Bean?"


Half Bean glanced up, pausing for only a second. "Oh, just a half for me."


Maple smirked and got another cup out. She turned to Iron and smiled. "What would you like?"

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Something that the pony behind the counter said niggled at Iron, but was released immediately as Ebony addressed him.  For once, Iron felt spoilt for choice.  There was practically nothing here that he would not be willing to give up the entire world for!  He paused, assessing each cake like a soldier on inspection parade until Iron gave up.


"Eenie-meenie...", he continued.  "There, that... chocolate, mint and walnut one, please."  Iron was pleased with his choice, though inside he was practically burning to try each one out.  Maybe next time.  "Oh, and just a tea for me please, milky and no sugar if you don't mind."


The steely stallion scratched the back of his head with a hoof, looking around for a second time.  The cafe was extremely homely and possessed quite a warming feel to it.  This was emulated by the rather happy looking mare who was preparing a drink for the stallion just across the room.  She was quite an attrative pony, with very deep colours in her mane and coat, probably relating to her name. 


He returned to Ebony, polite smile on display again, "Though I insist that I pay for my own."

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Maple smiled. "You got it." She pulled out a teapot and assorted teas, as well as a single teacup. She put them all on a slightly worn wooden tray, then levitated a small pitcher of milk onto it as well. She cut a slice of the cake and set it down gently on a plate, then placed it beside the empty teacup on the tray. She put Ebony's cake on the tray as well, then turned back to the various coffee machines. "Find a seat somewhere, I'll bring this over once your coffee is ready and the water is boiled." She called over her shoulder.


Ebony dipped her head to Iron in response, and lifted a hoof slightly as Maple addressed them. She turned her head away and looked around the cafe, her eyes settling on the plush chairs beside the frosted window near the front of the cafe. "Window seats sound good to you?" She asked, looking back up at him.


Maple glanced over at the 2 of them and half smiled slightly to herself. "Iron Bass, you go make yourself comfortable. I to discuss with the princess." She shooed him away in a friendly manner, and gave Ebony a look when he was far enough away. "You have explaining to do, princess."


Ebony blinked, then laughed quietly. "Oh, Maple. "Princess"?"


Maple stuck her tongue out at her and poured the boiling water into the teapot. "That's not what I mean. Since when do you go for coffee with someone that isn't yourself?"


Ebony pouted in defense. "I've gone with Cutter before."


"Exactly." Maple smirked, glancing over at Iron. "Music festival?"


Ebony sighed and nodded. "You know I love music."


Maple grinned triumphantly, and ruffled Ebony's mane. "Did you lure him along with your sweet, sweet voice?" She asked in a sing-song voice, batting her eyelashes.


Ebony laughed and pushed her away gently. "Oh, please. I ditched Cutter and asked if he wanted to come along. There's no luring or witchcraft here." She smirked back, stepping back from the counter. Maple laughed and turned back to the mocha she was making, humming quietly to herself.


Ebony shook her head to herself and walked to the table Iron was sitting at. "..We can sit somewhere else, if you wish." She said, a bit hesitantly.

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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Iron obediently made his way to the seats by the window.  They looked quite inviting, what with the night's glow flowing gently through the window and the smell of... well everything within the stallion's proximity!  He sat down on one of the chairs, taking a moment to peer through the window.  The outside was fairly bland, yet gave him an opportunity to see the relection of the scene at the counter.  He smiled, looking back at the two conversing mares.  Moreso, he was able to get a good look at the Princess.


Now, Iron was never exactly the most interested colt when it came to mares, but something made his brain click about Ebony.  Maybe it was the whole viewing her from behind, but he knew he was better than that.  Iron looked past it, looking more at her mane.  It was... slightly surreal and toy-like yet very elegant.  The way it obscured her one eye was very endearing, making her appear very cuddly.  Yet looking beyond that, he saw that she was actually a 'mare'; not a filly with experience, but a mare.  She seemed accepting, calm and above all, very polite. 


The steely stallion allowed himself a few brief moments to admire her, hoping each second for one more which he could spend just looking at her.  She was very pretty. 


Wait... calm it, Bass.  She's not only a bloody princess, but she's made no opening for you to start such relations.  Besides, it's not like she'd actually consider you.


I don't care...


It was settled, Maple may have looked nice, but had NOTHING on the divity standing before him.  Iron turned back to the window, gazing though the crystaline mist which lined it just in time for Ebony's return.


He was almost starled as he turned to regard her, "Oh no... I think this will be more than fine, don't worry".


Damnit... that trot...

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Ebony smiled at him and sat across from him at the table. She held her head up with one of her hooves and gazed out the window. "I really love winter." She mused quietly, shivering slightly from the sight of the snowy street. She blinked and found herself looking at Iron's reflection in the window. Into his eyes, no less. She closed her eyes, scolding herself in her mind.


You're not some love struck filly. You're a princess. He probably just came along to be polite. 'Nothing much to take interest in with you anyway.


But his eyes.. she thought to herself. They didn't seem restless to leave. Either that or she couldn't read emotions as well as she used to.


Ebony sighed quietly and opened her eyes, shifting from his reflection to Iron himself. "What do you think of Canterlot, Iron Bass?"


Maple set the mocha down on the tray and levitated it off the counter. She trotted over to the table and set the tray down in the middle, the teapot facing Iron, the coffee facing Ebony. "Here you are. If you need anything else, just ask." She smiled and trotted back to the counter, going into the back to start preparation for the next day.


Ebony's horn lit up with her red magic and levitated the mocha off the tray. She closed her eyes and took a small sip, her slightly tense position relaxing from the warm drink. She exhaled fainty as she placed the drink on the table, bringing a napkin to her mouth and wiping the coffee off her lips. She opened her eyes again and looked at Iron. "Is it everything it's all set up to be?"

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Iron failed to notice the mare opposite stare into his eyes through the reflection, instead focusing on a colt being let indoors by a rather warm-hearted-looking grandparent.  It reminded him of his own grandfather, Clockwork.  He had not seen him for months, yet everything he knew about the old stallion came flooding back to him in an instant.

Before he could respond to Ebony's question, food arrived.  The teapot was almost calling out to him.  Without hesitation, he gathered it in his hoof and shifted it to the one side, brining the cup toward him having done so.  The next bit would require some skill and mild lip burning so he paused in order to reply to Maple.


"Thanks."  Then turned to Ebony, "Well, from what I've seen, it's rather lovely!  In fact, my late grandad (not Clockwork, he's still ticking) has left me a place here.  It's a modest size two-storey on the other side of the city.  So I'm staying here whether I like it or not to be honest!"  He chuckled a little, then corrected, "Not that... you know... I think is IS bad... I mean I love what I have seen, just can't be too sure."  He gave a nervous smile, admiring her dainty movements.

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Ebony half smiled back. "It's a lovely city to live in. It can be a bit big and..lonely, but it's beautiful here." She laughed quietly and took another sip of her coffee. "It'll be nice when Spring and Summer come. The Summer Sun Celebration, meteor showers, more festivals.." She trailed off, looking down at her coffee. 'The Gala.' She thought to herself.


The short maned filly looked at the mare sitting opposite to her. "Mother, why are we going to Canterlot?"

The mare smiled at her. "We're going to the Grand Galloping Gala, dearest. Princess Celestia insisted that we make an appearance."

The filly perked up. "Did you bring my red dress?"

"Of course."

"Yay!" The filly cried out, grinning widely.

The mare leaned on the stallion beside her.


"The best night ever.."


Cutter gazed at the portraits above him, his eyes hard. He sighed and took his helmet off, bowing his head, a few lamps the only light in the hallway. It was in a part of the castle that wasn't visited often, and was only lit if someone came along to look at the portraits along the walls. Usually the windows let lots of light in, but the snow had darkened the sky, the light from the street lamp not reaching far enough to light the hall.


Cutter levitated the lamp by his hoof off the ground, the light casting onto the portraits. He looked at the eyes of the mare, his eyes softening slightly and his voice quiet. "You would've loved it."


Ebony blinked a few times, bringing the cup back to her mouth. "It's all quite..nice." She murmured, taking another sip. "...What's it like? Traveling around to play music?" She asked, looking back into his eyes as she set the cup down.

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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Iron became drawn in, listening intently as he delicately poured the steaming liquid into the cup.  Ebony did have a point, the city was very much a remarkable place.  Despite not being a great fan of large, urbanised areas, Iron could really see the beauty in this place.  Perhaps, somehow, Equestrian cities were just better than the ones back in Britmane.  A comparisson would be worth the while, it seemed.


Having poured his beverage, Iron shuffled in his seat a little.  "It's full of quirks and surprises, some better than others..."  He drifted off a bit, "You just have to get on well with everypony, accept the banter and occasionally get drunk.  Not a fan of too much of that, but it's quite the treat, if I do say so!"  Iron smiled, taking a sip of the milky tea.

"Actually, it's a bit like..."  Iron's gaze drifted to her own, settling there.  He froze for a split second, took a short shaky breath and resumed, averting his eyes briefly, "...well, um... I suppose it's more of an adventure than simply going places to play.  Marelin was a bit like that.  We got up to all sorts, there!"  Iron smiled as his remanised, thinking back to the times when Chunk, the drummer, would attempt to speak the language.  That was going on tour!


He took another swig of tea.  "I mean, we're no shining stars- yet!"  He corrected. with a cheeky grin  "But what we get up to now is quite the experience.  This was the biggest gig we've played yet."  Iron waved his hoof to indicate.  "But surely being the princess of song, you wouldn't be interested in a low key performance group?"

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Ebony took another sip of her coffee as he spoke. She blinked when he looked away momentarily, taking note of the shaky breath he took afterwards. She half smiled when he said it was like an adventure. He must see so much..towns, cities, forests, rivers..everything.


Her half smile faltered when he mentioned her title. Her eyes dropped from his, and she stuttered when she spoke. "I.."


Cutter's eyes shifted to the stallion's portrait. He looked to the dark red eyes and half smiled. He saluted the portrait, then sighed and stared into the painted eyes.



The tall stallion looked to the guard who spoke to him. "Yes?"

"Packing up, I see." The guard removed his helmet.

The stallion smiled and nodded his head once. "Indeed. Should be fun..she'll get to see Canterlot at its best."

"Will she meet the Princess?"

"Yes. I thought it'd be a good chance for her to meet the Princess."

"Send her my regards, sir." The guard dipped his head.

"Of course, my friend."


Cutter levitated his helmet back onto his head, turned, and made his way back down the hallway quietly.


"Little one..I wish we were meeting under better circumstances.."


Ebony shook her head slightly. ", I find interest in it." She looked back up and into his eyes, smiling apologetically. "Being a Princess isn't much fun." She shrugged and looked out the window. "Can't really go anywhere unless it's for some sort of "royal business". I mainly stay in the castle, there's nothing much for me to do." She laughed quietly and looked back to him. "Traveling sounds delightful.." She trailed off, and her eyes drifted away from his again. She blinked and looked back up at him. "I'm sure you'll make it big soon. It seemed everyone loved your performance." She smiled, lifting her half empty mug to her mouth again.

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Iron listened with curiousity.  Surely, it was not all that bad?  Bass had known that royalty was not what it was cracked up to be, but being a princess of music...  Iron shook it off, gauging it best not to pursue that line anymore. 


He gushed a little at Ebony's compliment, brining the cup between them in his forehooves to break eye contact a little.  Though it was true; Canterlot was the best gig they had ever done as a band.  Granted, Biff had won them some favours with certain crowd members...

"Thanks," he smiled, "though I'm a little concerned as to my education too... Or rather, my parents are concerned thus I am too."  Iron returned his cup to the table, scratching his chin a little.  "Personally, I would love to study here; much better than some of the academies back home that's for sure.  I'd be living in that place my grandad left me so it's ideal."


Iron chook his head empathetically, "Don't want to think about that now, it's 'enjoying myself time'!"  He mused.

The snow had picked up again, this time falling in little billows of ethereal fluff.  He only spared a short glance out the misty panes, but from what was visible, it could well be a challenge getting home tonight...

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Ebony's eyes slipped from his again, levitating her coffe mug off the table. It hovered for a few seconds until she put it down, then she looked up ag him again. "Canterlot is a wonderful place for study. I don't recall much of it, but I used to live in Trottingham before Princess Celestia invited me to stay in Canterlot. My parents taught me to be "a proper Princess" there." Her voice shifted to an accent different from her own, (basically Rarity's) and she sat straight and lifted her head slightly, closing her eyes and lifting a hoof above the table. "A Princess always wears her crown. She stays in the company of guards and other royals. She only responds if one calls her "Princess" or "Miss". "


She flicked her hoof and opened her eyes again. "A Princess stays in proper posture and doesn't hide behind her mane." Her voice faded back to normal on the last sentence, smiling slightly to herself. She relaxed again, the stiff posture disappearing. "I always got scolded for how I had my mane." She said quietly, flicking her mane away from her eye.



Cutter knocked quietly on the door, and entered when he heard the gentle "come in" from behind the doors. He walked in and shut the doors behind him again with his magic, and bowed. "Princess."


Celestia bowed her head to him and smiled. "Hello Cutter. How did the festival go?"


Cutter lifted his head again and offered a polite smile back. "It was good, Princess. Got her to sing, at least."


Celestia let out a thoughtful noise, and looked outside. "Good." She was silent for a few moments, watching the snow sail past the frosted frames. "..Which song?"



Ebony sighed and shook her head to herself, levitating the cup to her lips and sipping the coffee. "Canterlot is a good place to study though. Celestia involves herself, if she can help it. She loves helping out when she can." She murmured, setting the cup on the table once more. She looked out the window as well, though rather stared past the window rather than through it.

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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Bass kept an interested face.  Studying in Canterlot had been on his mind for what seemed an eternity.  Even the thought of merelybeing here sent sparks sizzling through his spine.  The cities of Equestria haunted him, yet graced him at the same time with differing means of doings so.  Cantelot was one of those graceful ones, being a lot less commercially centred. 


He paused in thought, gazing out of the glass pane.  Perhaps it was simply the patterns the snow made as it fell, but he could have sworn he saw... something.  Nothing phyically there, but still something.  Glancing either way, he huffed a little.  A moments silence could do wonders for clearing the head when employed correctly.


He looked back at Ebony, this time a little more directly.  Something was going on.  Whether it be something inside his head or a part of whatever being conjured by whoever, it made his something... something.  His gaze was not piercing, but it was fairly strong.  It seemed for what he lacked in his body mass he made up for in is line of sight. 


His mouth pulled up to one side.  He recalled her adjusting her mane from seconds ago.  Oh boy...


"You're very beautiful-"



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Ebony's eyes snapped back into reality when he spoke, the rusted gears in her mind turning slowly. She blinked a couple times and looked over at him, her eyes throwing question marks at him.


Beautiful? Her?


"I-I.." She stammered, breaking it off into a nervous laugh. She blushed profusely, bowing her head slightly so her mane covered her one eye. She bit her lip and looked back up at him, her cheeks still ablaze with a rosy hue.


"You think I'm beautiful?.."


She'd never been called beautiful before. Not just her in general. Not just as she was.

If her mane was up, she'd get a "Your mane looks beautiful like that."

If she wore something to bring out the colour of her eyes, she'd get a "Your eyes look beautiful with that colour, Miss."

If she wore a dress for any reason, she'd get a "That dress is beautiful on you, Princess."


But never just a straight out "You're beautiful."



Cutter turned his gaze out the window as well. "Silver Bells, Princess."


Celestia smiled. "Did everypony like it?"


"Started a sing-a-long."


She laughed quietly and turned away from the window. "Good." She looked into Cutter's eyes, and her smile softened a bit. "I miss them too."



Ebony let out another quiet, nervous laugh, and closed her eyes, her cheeks still red. She opened her eyes after a few seconds and looked up at him, smiling shyly. "Thank you.."

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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Iron was about to follow up the flux of mind speaking with something polite when his eyes went wide, hoof clamping onto his mouth.  Why the hell had done that?  That's not supposed to happen!  You're supposed to say words that you choose to say not let... gah!


The grey stallion screwed his eyes up in an instant, tapping the other hoof rigidly on the table as if supressing some thought.  His teeth went bare, cringing in the endless, horrific wait to hear a response.


"I-I...  You think I'm beautiful?.."


Something in his mind was screaming a loud, throaty 'yes', desperate for it to sound on the physical lips of the stallion.  He loosened his face, bringing his hooves together in front of him.  Lifting his head a little, he began to make an apology.


"Thank you..."-

mmmmmmm -"I'm so sorry, Princess- I... not what..."


He stopped, eyes daring to open.  There they were, cheeks ablaze, a gorgeous timid smile greeting him and the eyes which seemed so much more now.  He felt something creep up his face.  He was half expecting for it to be a slap. 


He smiled back, amazed.


What was that Biff had told him?  "Never how you feel, just make 'em feel like their gettin' it with a prince or summin'"


Was this meant to happen?  Biff always had success his way.   Was this different?  Yes, Iron wasn't particularly posing or on top of this pony.  Should he be scared?




He had to admit it (and he had done so already but it needed second mention), Ebony was indisputably and utterly pure in his mind's eye.  Never before had he been so drawn to such a figure, yet alone get a... reaction...


"Y-y-uh", he coughed.  "Yes.  Yes you are."  He had best come out with the lot of it now; besides, it's seeming harmless enough!  "I mean, I think you are- you-you are anyway but," his face dropped, "that was uncalled for and reckless and..."


The last thing he wanted was to seem like some kind of mare magnet who lacked any sense of respect.  He had seen that happen too many times.


Oh dear oh dear...

Edited by Ballistic456

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Ebony blinked again, then giggled. She smiled at his "yes"s, taken by the compliment. She brought a hoof to her cheek, feeling the slight warmth from her blushing, and she giggled again.


"Uncalled for indeed. Making me blush, how awfully rude." She laughed, closing her eyes and turning her head away from him. She coughed a couple times, trying to get the stupid grin off her face, and turned to him again. "My apologies..that was rude." She cleared her throat and shook herself, though she was still blushing.


"And please, don't apologize. You have nothing to apologize for." She half smiled at him gently, her eyes looking into his.


How intrigued she was. This stallion, which she met only that day, had given her quite an interesting reaction. From just 1 sentence.

Not even that. Part of a sentence.


Her half smile grew into a full one. She looked away again, laughing quietly, trying to compose herself. "I'm sorry, I-" she bit her lip and used her hoof to brush her mane fully away from her eye. She scolded herself in her mind. 'Get a hold of yourself, you idiot.'


'It's just words.'

'Awfully kind ones..'


She looked back to him and smiled apologetically. "Sorry. And Cutter was right." She levitated her coffee to her mouth again, taking a drawn out sip. "I do admire your formality, though it's unnecessary. Don't apologize for a compliment." She put the cup down and smiled at him again.


"You're very handsome as well, if I may." Her smile turned into a playful smirk. "And for that, I'm not sorry."

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His mind was still on fire.


He had only gone and made this lovely chat a blubbering mess of incoherent tos and fros of apologies and compliments.  He sincerely hoped that the ponies working here were not having a cheeky eavesdrop.  it felt as if a drystone wall had landed inches from his face and the entire thing blamed on him.


Of course, this was a little bit different.


Iron could only cringe slightly as the mare before him began to speak.  But it all eased off quite nicely; a lot of it due to that cute little laugh!  But he did have something to apologise for.  He should have sealed his lips better and just... just stopped where he was going.  He felt so shallow for saying what he said, but somehow, somehow it was having a more positive impact.


Then she said something that really shocked the stallion.  Ok, maybe a few times certain folk may have attempted a run on his case, but all of them simply got bored.  In the back of his head he still felt the uneasiness of the encounters, wriggling around like an agitated foal.


Honestly, it served him right for bursting like that.


He stiffled a guffaw.  "Well..."  His face now resembled hers.  "I'm sorry for not being in agreement.  But, thanks anyway, it does mean... quite a lot."  Bloody hell it meant more than that!  The steely stallion took a moment, looking a little in disbelief at the turn of events.


Currently, a battle was being fought within his mind between; what he should do versus what he desperately wanted to do.

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Ebony half smiled as she raised her cup to her mouth again. "Oh, I don't agree either. I do thank you for the compliment, but.." She laughed quietly and drank the rest of her coffee, setting the empty mug down gently. "I don't really have any traits that actually belong to me." She said a bit quietly.


And that was true, in her mind. She did like her mane; only because it was exactly like her mother's. Her mother was beautiful.

She liked her coat colour; only because it was like her father's. He was handsome.


Her parents were specimens of beauty. She just saw herself as exactly what she was; their child. She was a combination of the 2 of them, taking their traits as her own.


But she didn't think it made herself beautiful. The traits weren't hers. They belonged to her parents.

She only had her eyes.



"Where is she now?"


Cutter frowned slightly. "In the city still, I believe. She took off with some stallion."


Celestia smiled. "Why so grim? That's a good thing."


"For now."



Ebony looked out the window. The snow was coming down heavily; she couldn't see very far down the street. "My my." She murmured. "I love winter, don't get me wrong. I love the snow also,'s a bit of an inconvenience sometimes."

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Bass felt an urge to ask Ebony what she meant by that.  It sounded a bit melancholic to say the least, but he left it.  Something about the way Ebony spoke just deemed him to listen intently.  It was like listening to a teacher give a lecture you were that you were actually interested in.


He paused for thought at the mare's words.  It sounded as if Ebony was actually repressing her 'traits' as inferior or something.  Whatever it was, it sounded unhealthy.  Not that Bass could say much; he was completely guilty of such things as well!  Nevertheless, it struck the stallion quite bluntly.


He gave a shudder, realising that he still had at least three mouthfulls until his mug was empty.  He braved the searingly hot liquid for a second, taking a slightly too large a gulp to keep hidden.  His face almost exploded and a hoof barely made it to his mouth just as his mug was placed skew-if back on teh table.  He swallowed painfully, chuckling a little at his animation.


He made quick of it, regarding the princess' words with keen ears again.  There was indeed an influx of snow as the street nigh disappeared before their very eyes!  Oh, how he loved winter: the snow; watching it fall almost infinitely, the cool temperatures; a lot easier to bear than the heat of the summer, and especially the hot drinks!  He also remembered the feeling of a warmth against him.  Occasionally Iron would simply curl up with a hot water bottle, hugging it like a life-float, infront of the fire back home.


His eyes drifted to the side at that thought, but Iron quickly banished it to the back of his mind. 


"Oh I love it anyway, no matter what it throws my way!"  He mused.  "Snow is just too pretty to hate..."  He contemplated returning to his tea, but decided better.  "Actually, it may present a problem getting home later, now that you mention it.  We'd have to make a move sometime soon if we want to head elsewhere...  You know, so I can," he leant closer to her, "walk you home."  He finished with a bit of heat.

Iron was honestly enjoying himself, it was hardly ever when he got to flirt.  Even then, it wasn't normally his thing.  But Ebony was so hard to miss with it.  She made it easy for him.

((Sorry if this appears rushed, as in plot not quality ;) ))

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