Pony POV Series
"Adventures in Sightseeing"
Written by LZ0291 and Kendell2
...And that's why we store the fireworks in the arsenals and magazines now.
(Interviewers Notes (Pegasus): Uh, we... we meant the thing with the ambassador...)
That was it.
(Interviewers Notes (Pegasus): The other thing, with the punch.)
Well, my father punched an ambassador once, is that what you mean?
(Interviewers Notes (Pegasus): No...maybe we can hear that one later, we meant the...)
Thing I don't want to talk about?
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Maybe you can just tell us more about foalsitting Twilight?)
Well, what would you like to know? I was her 'sitter until she became Auntie's student and I sometimes helped her study even after that, though as we both got older I had more royal duties and she was getting more tutoring. We still saw each other around the castle though.
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): What about Shining?)
He was usually busier than me actually. I only ever really saw him in passing or waving a few times after Twilight became Auntie's student. You probably know more about what he was up to then than I do.
Still, you asked about Twilight... Hm, there was that time a new Daring Do book came out and Twilight wanted to be there at a midnight launch...
(Interviewers Notes (Earth Pony): Temple of Wolfenstein?)
No, I think it was...
(Interviewers Notes (Earth Pony): The Catacombs of Hayris?)
(Interviewers Notes (Earth Pony): The Secret of Scones?)
That's a Con Mane book. Look, I think it was the one where they dug up some old rusty iron coffins and when the Hooviets opened them up something inside made them all melt.
(Interviewers Notes (Earth Pony): Oh, The Demon Spheres.)
Please, DO NOT ask Captive Audience about that one, he has an essay on the factual inaccuracies he wrote. It's nearly longer than Twilight's essay and half of hers was a review as well. It's probably why his mom started advising the author.
Anyway, to say Twilight was excited was an understatement....
"Twiley... If you keep bouncing around you'll fall asleep before the book goes on sale," Shining warned.
As adorable as it was, he had a point.
"Your brother is right, everypony else in line is..." I looked down the line.
Most of the other foals were bouncing around too.
"...Okay, never mind, but the big ponies are... Hang on, are those Royal Guards?"
"Yep, and I think some of those colts are in my class at the academy."
Twilight continued bouncing as we pondered this.
"Maybe we should bounce as well?" I thought.
"Er, well, I'm here for a different book anyway, Cadence."
We weren't bothering to pretend it wasn't me, with such a large crowd waiting there were Guards anyway.
"...Wait, you're getting a different book?!" Twilight said, shocked.
"Oh hey, you stopped bouncing!"
"Er, Shining, that's not the important part..."
"Oh, right, uh... Y-yeah, I, uh... Can't buy both and uh, I'll read the Daring Do book later!" He fumbled.
"But it's Daring Do! You should want to read it yesterday!" And there went the puppy dog eyes. Why is it all foals seem to know how to do that?
"Well... if I buy a copy as well, then it means one less pony might get to read it tonight because I bought one!"
She pondered this.
"Dang it all, she's bouncing again."
As it turned out, Twilight, and apparently a few of other ponies, had decided to get themselves a lot of sugary snacks to help stay up...which meant lots of energy to work off.
Eventually, they went on sale. We hadn't been first in line, and we'd declined offers to move up for obvious reasons.
"...There's a lot of ponies in front of us, what if they sell out?" A foal behind us worried.
A look of fear crossed Twilight's face, and for a moment I felt the same concern.
"What if they do sell out?" Twilight whimpered.
"Don't worry, they're well stocked," I said, partly to reassure myself.
It didn't work. Twilight became more anxious as we neared, fearing we'd be last in line when they announced they'd run out. They'd taken away a box that they'd been removing books from, and I saw no other boxes...
Finally, it was just a stallion with a gavel and hammer cutie mark ahead of us. I presumed he was a judge or something at first. Then he spoke.
"I'll take ten Daring-Do," He said.
The sign clearly said 'limit of one per pony on Daring-Do'.
"It's one per pony..." The seller said.
"I'm collecting for nine friends who have pre-orders."
He was clearly planning to sell them on at a higher price when demand was scarce. The shop worker was smarter than him though...
"What are their names?"
"Um... Bright Shine... Rain Shower... Feather Spring... Bobby Corwen..."
"That's not even a real name," The salespony didn't even bother checking the list.
"Darn. Just one then. And five of that other book you launched tonight."
He moved on, but Twilight had been terrified the whole time to the point we had to nudge her forward.
And we heard a small explosion from a nearby alley, followed by the stallion cursing up a storm (I covered Twilight's ears). I looked to the salespony.
"Anti-duplication spell on all your books?"
He gave a somewhat amused nod.
"Causes the mana to go up in a small explosion. He'll be fine...just probably will be seeing stars for a few days."
"Nice one...Alright, Twilight, tell the nice stallion what you want."
"Oh, uh... one, please. If there's any left..."
"Daring Do I presume?"
"There's plenty left, we have two more crates full in the back! But if we'd sold lots of copies to lots of ponies, we'd run out a lot faster, then some ponies won't get to read it."
She stood to the side as I bought mine, and Shining asked for his book.
"A copy of The Fifth Heffalump please."
"You're in luck, this is the last copy!" The salespony said.
"BBBFF, if that's the last copy of your book nopony else gets to read it!" Twilight gasped.
"You should get the Daring-Do book instead then, since that way if somepony really wants the other book they get it but you still have a book!"
"That's... a fair point," He sighed, and asked for Daring-Do instead.
"Cheer up, Shining, we can always try find your book somewhere else," I whispered as we left.
"I have a pre-order for Daring-Do."
"Certainly, sir, what is your name?"
"Bobby Corwen. And it is a real name with Griffins. The other names that guy was using were probably fake though."
"Um... Did I just hear what I think I thought I heard?" I asked.
Ironically, Twinkle Shine actually has a relative named Bright Shine.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): So, did Shining ever get his book?)
Eventually, yes. We all went looking on a saturday, checking as many book shops in Canterlot as we could - Twilight was unsurprisingly very enthusiastic about the idea of visiting numerous book shops in one day. It took us quite a while to actually find a shop with a copy or two left, though almost all had slightly overstocked on the Daring Do book.
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Anythin' else fun ya remember?)
Pretty much all of it, really! The problem is trying to think of something specific... And useful to mildly tease certain siblings with, heh...
Well, actually, Shining's book sort of inspired something. It was a sort of sci-fi and technology story, like all the books in that series. They're quite good actually, they usually have a technological or sci-fi parody of real world magic or social issues.
But when it inevitably worked itself in Twilight's direction she started pondering various matters on related subjects, and somehow that led to 'I need to see if UFOs really exist or not'.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Where of course, black triangles are just hallucinations.)
Back then it was silver darts being reported mostly I think, but yes. Shining wanted to help her investigate and suggested further books, culminating in her trying to use a telescope to scan the night sky.
However, Canterlot has a lot of light pollution around Bahamut's Rest. The night sky wasn't too clear back then for seeing anything but brighter stars. It's better now - Auntie Luna is able to make her night sky shine through the light pollution somehow (an improvement if you ask me). But back then only one place we could get to easily (according to Twilight) was the observatory.
She came up with this idea when her parents were both working, and deployed puppy dog eyes in order to convince us to go there and then to ask if she could come to the observatory some night.
"I'm not sure this isn't going to get us in trouble..." Shining tried to resist.
He failed, of course (only thing more effective than puppydog eyes is puppydog eyes performed on you doting big brother), so fifteen minutes later we were walking to the Royal Observatory, a number of domed buildings and office blocks near the castle.
It was their father that came down to greet us: I was briefly surprised by the fact he knew we were coming until I remembered A) Radios existed B) there were Royal Guards here and C) I was a princess with incognito Royal Guards following me around.
"Hello, kids. I was surprised to see you were coming this way, is something wrong?"
"Er, nothing's wrong, Mister Sparkle, it's just Twilight had some questions and she was... persuasive in asking," I explained.
Twilight, however, wanted to address the elephant in the room.
"...How'd you see us coming this way, Daddy?"
He pointed at the large telescope sticking out of the main dome.
"That's pointing at the sky."
"I used a different one." He lied.
It worked. Twilight then asked her question.
"Well, Twiley, we've actually done some studies into that ourselves as it happens! Though I'm afraid we haven't found any conclusive proof that UFOs are real, especially any that might have some kind of stealth technology!"
"I kept the conspiracy theory stuff away from her, Dad. You remember how she got when she heard the ones about the Fillydelphia Experiment!" Shining quickly whispered.
Their father's look told me I did not want to know. But I'd later learn it was some claim we'd tried to make the Corvette HHS Eldritch turn invisible. Oddly enough when it was decommissioned it was destroyed as a target by the Invincible, which judging by Auntie and the Admiralty's sense of humour, had to be a reference to that one. Still not sure what Twilight's 'research' on it entailed, just the family had filed it under 'we will never speak of it again.'
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): That explains Shining denying the stealth thing...)
"Oh... Point stands. Anyway, I'm sure you could take a look at our documents and see for yourself!"
It was a smart move. Twilight would likely spend the whole time there instead of trying to absorb all the other knowledge that she could. And then it went wrong.
"That's okay, Daddy, if you and Mommy already looked I won't have to!"
"...Well, that's... You came all this way, kids, maybe you should, uh, get a quick tour of the observatory..."
"You fool!" Somepony shouted from within the observatory.
"I think Mom hoped to try and keep her out, somehow..." Shining muttered.
Anyway, we went in, and sure enough, the quick tour involved a lot of questions from Twilight. Why was this bad? Because it probably meant another mountain of books on the subject. That thirst for knowledge could work out to be more expensive than videogames at times, Though that also meant more material for bookforts. Don't judge me, they're adorable.
The observatory had numerous types of telescope(so maybe Mr. Sparkle wasn't lying after all) and all sorts of star charts, meteorological charts, and so on. There was also a planetarium, and due to a small budgeting mixup, an aquarium. Full of starfish.
"...And this is our main telescope, saving the best for last. This telescope and the enchantments here are powerful enough to get through any light pollution, though the position of the observatory also helps give us one of the best views of the sky around!"
"Ooh... Would I be able to look through it?" Twilight asked with obvious excitement.
"Well, it's daytime just now, sweetie, all you'd see are clouds, pegasi, and maybe an airship."
"Aw... Maybe I could come back at nighttime some time?!" And cue puppydog eyes.
"Well, I'd need to check with... I'll try..." Twilight's father crumbled in seconds.
And so it was a week later, I found myself heading to an observatory at night. And Shining had been dragged along, of course. Though Mrs. Sparkle had also come along.
"Now, Twilight, when you're on the main telescope, remember that I need to operate it for you. And if you need a smaller telescope recalibrated, make sure to ask me - Some of them have been set up for specific roles, but others can be moved around. And what else are you and Mrs. Smartypants to remember?"
"To log every observation in our notebooks!"
"And what are you two to remember?"
"We're to help log observations as well," I replied.
We were also to help stop Twilight getting too excited if something interesting happened. Oh, and Shining was to act as the teapony, since he was a gentlecolt....
"Don't forget a cup for Mrs. Smartypants, BBBFF!"
"Of course not!" Shining grinned, but when he thought nopony else was looking, frowned and was clearly not too happy that he'd been relegated to fetching the tea.
Still, we spent much of the night simply stargazing, making notes of what Twilight spotted. She recognised most constellations, but one small bit of excitement occurred...
"I think I see something! It might be a UFO! Oh... No, that's just a light airship. It's not unidentified. I guess it's just an FO," Twilight sighed.
"What type?" Mrs. Sparkle asked.
"Um... I don't really know."
"Then it's not really identified, is it?"
"But it's just an airship. A boxy one with big side doors..."
"T-5 Firefly," Shining noted, happily preventing Twilight researching airships to figure out what she'd seen.
All we saw were stars really. But Twilight was happy enough with that. Shining, however, evidently hadn't had much fun, so I decided to try figure out something that both the Sparkle siblings might enjoy to try soon. Believe me, I've been subjected to enough kiddy radio dramas I couldn't stand to know how boring it was to be in Shining's horseshoes.
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): What'd ya come up with?)
Well, Twilight likes Museums, Shining was in the academy planning to go to Officer College and become a Guard. It was a pretty simple choice.
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Swimming pool.)
Ye- no! And not a toy store either, Twilight wasn't the kind of foal that found toys interesting except for extremely detailed model kits. Toy museum maybe... But no, I decided to try arrange a trip to the Royal Guard Museum.
Though the museum was within the grounds of the castle it wasn't restricted in any way, much like the Gardens, the Maze, and a fair few other places. Oh, there were still Guards, naturally, but all that meant was my personal guard detail got to relax a bit while we were there. The castle itself required tours for members of the public, but the museum did not.
We still managed to get a tour of sorts, purely by accident though.
Apparently, Shining had made a few friends already (yeah, Shining and Twilight have a good many things in common, but being an introvert isn't one of them). When he'd heard that we were going to Guard Museum, he called one of his friends who he thought would enjoy it that you may know. Since I was disguising myself again, this was much less of a problem than it could have been.
"Cady, Twiley, this is my friend Captive Audience," said Shining, introducing me and Twilight to a light blue furred colt with a crossbow laying over top an abacus as his Cutie Mark.
Yes, I know, if I didn't know them, I'd think Thunderchild was Shining's oldest friend, but he and Captive go way back. Captive actually lives near Bahamut's Rest and his father introduced them when he heard Shining lived around there. I think he and Thunderchild get along a lot better, but I think that's because he and Thunderchild ended up in the same squad early on, while Misfit is the first time he and Captive were in a squad together.
Oh, and you know how even the current professional Captive Audience has his 'adorkable' moments? This was before the 'professional' part.
"Catapults are incredibly old weapons, they go all the way back to the first age. It's believed to have been invented by the Pegasi to enable longer ranged firing...They also developed several sports involving launching themselves out of it. Those are fun to watch!"
Twilight politely raised her hoof.
"Um...yes? Shining's sister?" asked Captive, standing in front of the old catapult.
"Mr. Audience, was this a pegasi catapult?"
"No, actually, this catapult was built by the Earth Ponies - Notice that the bowl is like a giant pie dish, that's because it was used to hurl giant custard pies during mock battles between nobles about six hundred years ago."
I honestly kinda prefered when nobles solved their solutions by starting mock battles involving pies. At least it'd be more entertaining than watching them spend a few hours shouting at each other like grown up foals. Maybe I should suggest to Auntie to reinstate that.
"And, er, I'm not actually a tour guide, I've just been here a lot..." Captive continued.
I think Twilight had mistook him for a professor. I think Captive had been trying to act like his mother giving her lectures. Which, given it was coming from an eight year old colt, was pretty adorable.
He was of course only a couple years older than Twilight. That's a pretty big gap amongst foals, of course, but at the same time, Shining was a few years older than him and they were friendly.
Still, Twilight was still her introverted little self at the time and Audience was an older colt, so she and Audience really never got to know each other.
We moved onwards, Audience explaining a type of Earth Pony slingshot (stab it into the ground, one pony pulls back, you stick a pumpkin or a pie in the pocket and release) as well as explaining a scale model of the original Earth Pony Turtle Tank...
(Interviewer's Notes (Unicorn): Tortoise.)
...No, they called it a turtle to differentiate it from the tortoise formation of shields. Though it was pretty much a bunch of shields on a wooden frame pushed by earth ponies with a bunch of catapults and slingshots throwing pies over the mobile shield wall.
"The idea of the tank has come a long way, the war in Dalmasca nearly ten years ago showed just how strong they can be," Captive said.
Twilight raised her hoof again.
"Twiley, you can just ask you know," Shining said gently.
"Oh, um, how strong can tanks be?"
"Well, they're pretty hard to stop and have powerful weapons, so you need really powerful weapons to stop them or some kind of trap. The old ones like that one were pretty tough too, though they were meant to stop splashes of custard and flour really."
"Can tanks today stop custard and flour?"
Captive gave a surprised blink.
"...Ironically they might have problems, the engines need to take air in to cool off, that might clog the intakes come to think of it."
There was a large amount of barding from numerous ages including modern stuff, a display on shield magic (guess who was fascinated by that? And yes, a soapbox was involved), and I was honestly surprised to discover the museum had a small shooting gallery, using foam-dart crossbows.
"BBBFF, how'd you get a dart up there?"
I wasn't commenting, I was a terrible shot myself. Though I must admit, I was as perplexed as Twilight, particularly considering Shining had been aiming somewhat too low according to Captive... Captive of course, was doing well, though even at the time he knew how to use the real thing for archery contests.
(Interviewer's Notes (Earth Pony): Was Twilight a good shot?)
Well, she kept her darts in the area of the targets, not in the roof. We moved onwards, though basically all that remained was the gift shop and a small cafe. None of which were of any military historical importance, but the cafe at least sold food (three guesses what Shining got to drink). Fortunately not field rations though - have you ever tried any of those? If not, don't. And if that paranoid survivalist in Canterlot offers you one-day-operational rations, make sure you don't eat the toilet paper instead of the food.
The gift shop, and this may surprise you, sold gifts. Stuffed guardspony plush dolls, action figures, model kits, and of course, books.Twilight bought some of the latter two, or rather, Shining bought some of the latter two for her. Captive got a few books as well (he got a discount since his dad was Colonel Observant Audience). I however couldn't help noticing they seemed to sell a range of costumes with barding patterns - pyjamas, winter bodysuits, romper suits, and just plain old cloth garments meant to resemble barding. I had a feeling that they'd probably look adorable.
Twilight was also interested in something else.
"...It says this telescope has charms to keep excess light out, will it work better than the one we have at home?" She wondered.
"Um, no, Twiley. There's just too much light pollution around our house to really see much more than bright stars," Shining said softly.
"And this is a more portable telescope, your one at home is pretty heavy," I said.
It was true - the Sparkles telescope was a fairly bulky one, actually an old one from the observatory that had been replaced (yes, Twilight got a professional grade telescope as a gift, and her parents wondered why she's such a bookworm). It was a little bit more powerful, except for the lack of working magic charms - and charming it just seemed to never work any more.
"There's a few good spots around with no light pollution that scopes like that are great in. Dad takes me out to them sometimes to teach me the stars for navigation and let me practice my archery skills," Audience spoke up.
"...Whereabouts?" Shining wondered.
A few moments later, Twilight had figured it out.
"If we went to those places with a portable telescope I could look at the stars again!" She grinned.
"Not looking for UFOs?" I joked.
"Um, there's no such thing, the Royal Observatory have done studies and the Air Navy...." Audience began, but Shining had him stop.
"Captive, trust me, Cady knows, somepony read into the subject a lot."
"Oh, okay. There's definitely none with some kind of stealth technology though."
(Interviewer's Notes (Pegasus): Okay, all these denials are just getting suspicious...)
I thought so too, so when I was trying to arrange a camping trip to one of the better spots Audience advised, I asked.
"...First I've heard of it," Auntie said.
"It's the first time I've heard any stories of UFOs with stealth technology. I know there are some mana-based hallucinations that don't appear to exist when scanned magically, but that's because, well, they don't exist."
"Oh, I see. Thank you for clearing that up, Auntie."
"You're welcome, my niece. Somehow I have a feeling this might be a story started in the tabloids..."
In hindsight, though? Auntie probably started it.
But anyway, a camping trip was on the cards! However, even as a foalsitter, I was still a Princess, and a teenager. We needed at least one responsible adult with us.
We got Shining's uncle and another couple of guards, which added up to about ninety-seven percent of a responsible adult, so close enough!