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Distant Shores · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
“BBBFF! You’re back!”

“Hey Twily!” Shining Armor grinned at the purple filly bouncing up and down at his hooves. “The exercises got cut short, so I was able to come back earlier than expected." He swept her up in to a hug as she squealed. “How’s my LSBFF?”

A throat was cleared in the next room, and he paused long enough to see a matronly pegasus regarding the two of them with an amused glint in her eyes.

He set Twilight down before turning to the mare. “Ms. Starseeker! Good afternoon, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

She smiled at him warmly. “Velvet and and Night Light are out tonight, so I was keeping an eye on Twilight until Cadence could come by later this evening.”

"Oh, right. The conference. Wait, Cadence is coming?" Shining stood up a little straighter, a silly grin sprouting on his muzzle.

"I know that look." Starseeker’s eyes glinted mischievously, as she leaned over to him and and lowered her voice.

"And she is an awfully cute mare. A candlelight dinner works wonders at this stage, you know." She winked. "Just tire the little one out first – Cadence wasn't supposed to come by until later, and you can impress her with your foal handling skills."

Shining's cheeks had taken on a rosy hue as he sputtered. “That's – I don't know what you're talking about.”

“I’m sure you don’t.” Starseeker laughed as she sashayed to the door. "Okay then! Have a fun evening!"

Shining made no move to reply, staring at the door with an odd look on his face.

The moment stretched out, until Twilight nudged his leg. “So what should we do now? Do you want to help me study cantrips?”

He gave a shiver as if he’d just been hit by some cold water. “It’s a really nice day – let's play a game outside instead.”

Two player tag quickly got old, but Twilight did win at least one of their laps around the house, even if she did suspect that Shining might not have been trying his hardest. The water fight was better, and he never could beat her at hide and seek. The sun was low in the summer sky when he finally called an end to their afternoon.

“Okay Twily, time go in and make some dinner.”

Her stomach growled. “I am really hungry! But I thought Mom and Dad had leftovers.”

“Well, you can have those you want, but I feel in the mood for something else. Yes, you can help,” he said, noticing her excited look.

He set out the ingredients and started chopping up veggies while she started mixing the dough as he directed. Before long, two steaming plates of pasta sat on the table.

Twilight wolfed down an enormous plate, pausing only to look questioningly at his meager portion.

“You’re not hungry?”

“I ate before I got back,” he said, though he was cleaning his plate quite thoroughly.

“There’s still a lot left on the stove, though.”

Shining shrugged. “I’ll just put it away – I can have more if I get hungry later.” He took a look at the clock. “It’s about time that good little fillies should be getting to bed.”

“Aww.” she pouted. “Can’t I have a cookie, first?”

He grinned. “Fine, but just one.”

One chocolate chip oatmeal cookie vanished in a disappointingly short period of time, but Shining was adamant. Even after giving him the most mournful gaze in her arsenal, she still found herself being hustled upstairs.

“Okay, now time for you to go to bed.”

“But I’m not sleepy yet,” she pouted.

"Just lay down and relax for a bit and you'll fall asleep."

"But I wanna study. Or play some more. You could show me some magic.”

He looked at her seriously. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple. It’s…” He paused for a few minutes, before he suddenly grinned. “It’s not safe – the floor is lava.”

“Lava!” she gasped, eyes widening as she looked down at the suddenly treacherous surface. Then her face scrunched up as she turned her focus to him. “Then how can you still be standing in it?“

He looked at her slyly. “I’m a grown up pony, and my special guard training protects me. You’re just a little filly, though. It’s not safe for you.”

She stuck her tongue out at him and pouted for a few moments, at least until he made a funny face, and she couldn’t help but laugh.

“That’s no fair!” she protested, between giggles.

“Even the guard isn’t always fair“ He grinned, planting a kiss on her cheek, before tucking her in and quietly closing the door.

She snuggled into her blankets and tried to relax as he had suggested, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get comfortable. Her hooves ached a little, but she wasn’t really tired, and as the minutes passed, she just kept tossing and turning.

I’m thirsty. Her muzzle curled into a pout. And I still want another cookie. The picture sprung into her mind, unbidden. The jar a shining beacon atop the kitchen counter, beckoning in the distance. But the floor is lava. An endless sea of molten rock lay between her and her prize. She nosed her covers down just a bit and stared down at the blazing surface. The air shimmered and wavered above it, and even from her perch atop the bed, the heat on her face was enough to make her blanch.

She squirmed around further. He never said I couldn’t have a cookie, just that it was dangerous. She sat up, eyes shining. I’m a big filly. I can do it! I’ll get the cookies, and he’ll be so proud!

With that thought she tossed the covers aside and climbed to her hooves. She narrowed her eyes, peering across the room and tracing a route to the door. It wouldn’t be easy, but she was on a mission.

For the first step, she carefully climbed onto her nightstand, wary of its wobbly legs. From there it was just a short leap to the top of her desk, hooves scrabbling to keep her from slipping off.

Once there, she walked over to the center, where Captain Smarty Pants was scrutinizing her groundbreaking magical research.

“Captain Smarty Pants.”

Smarty Pants immediately stopped what she was doing, and gave Twilight her full attention.

“Good work on your checking, but I need your help on something else."

Smarty Pants waited patiently for her to explain further.

“I am on a mission to get the cookies. Will you come with me?"

Smarty Pants had no objection.

Twilight nodded happily and carefully seated Smarty Pants on her back, where she wobbled, but didn’t fall.

There was a rug in the hall outside, but she had to get over to the door, first. She plucked the cushion from the chair in her teeth, gave it a few swings, and then lobbed it at the door. It fell just short – but that was okay. She wasn't sure if she could jump the whole way anyhow.

She crouched down on all fours, shaking her haunches like a puppy as she gauged the distance. Once she had made her estimate and was sure that Smarty Pants had a good grip, she took a deep breath and leapt over the expanse of boiling stone.

She made it – just barely, and the sliding of the cushion was nearly her undoing, but she kept her balance, teetering on the edge of the cushion

She was just shifting to a more stable position when she heard a knock at the front door, followed by a quiet conversation downstairs.

Hoofsteps came up the stairs, and Twilight looked around her room frantically. Now that she was on the floor, her bed and desk were both too high to reach. She could make it to the closet, but there was no way to get back out and up to the bed. She bit her lip.

“Twilight, are you awake?” Cadence called out softly.

Nonono. She can’t see me like this.

"Yes. No. Wait! You shouldn’t come up here,” because? “...Because.”

A pause. “Really?”

“Uh. Uh-huh.”

Another, longer pause. “Well if you're sure. But there's just one thing I have to make sure of.”

Cadance started chanting and Twilight quickly joined in, "Sunshine sunshine ladybugs awake. Clap your hooves and give a little shake."

There was a giggle from outside. “Okay then, Twilight. Have it your way. Call if you need anything, okay?”

“Okay” Twilight said, listening as the hoofsteps moved away.

Only when they had faded completely did she let herself relax.

It was then that she saw the tragedy and stifled a gasp, lip quivering. Captain Smarty Pants! She almost cried out, but bit her tongue. No! I forgot all about her, and she lost her seating from the shake and now… She scrubbed at her eyes with a hoof. Her valiant sacrifice will be remembered, but she wouldn't want me to mourn now. I will not let her bravery be in vain!

She steeled herself and nudged open the door. There was a patch of carpet in the hallway as she had remembered, and beyond that the hallway was lined with low bookcases. Twilight climbed up carefully, threading her way among the various pictures and memorabilia. The route was treacherous, but she made it without incident

Ahead of her lay the stairwell, and she sat back and eyed it critically. The lava pooled and flowed down the steep incline, covering every square inch of the passage. The posts were set directly into the liquid flow, offering no help. That left… The rail.

Heart hammering, she walked over to it, gripping it tightly and scooting forwards.

Nothing happened.

She inched ahead a little further and eased up her grip, enough that she finally began to inch down. This is kind of fun, she thought, feeling the smooth wood slide beneath her fur. She relaxed a little further, and gained speed, sliding faster and then faster still. Too fast!

A shriek threatened to squeeze its way up her throat, but she clamped down on it just as she did her best to squeeze the rail again. It might have helped, but the end of the railing was still coming up far, far too quickly. She spotted salvation off to her side, leaned over and let go.

There was an instant of vertigo, and then a whump as she impacted the overstuffed recliner she’d been aiming for. The room spun around her as she felt the chair totter back on two legs before bouncing up against the wall and rebounding with a thud, followed immediately by another crash as the chair righted itself.

“What was that?”

With not a second to spare, Twilight burrowed down into a throw blanket, as the overstuffed armchair continued to rock guiltily. Two pairs of hoofsteps approached.

Cadence sounded concerned. "Is somepony here?"

Shining replied with more confidence. “It looks like one of the pictures fell down and hit the armchair."

"Oh. I hope it’s not broken.”

“No I’m sure it’s fine.” Shining sounded nonchalant. “That happens whenever somepony leans back too far in it. Dad should have moved the painting a long time ago – I’m not surprised the hook finally gave way. Don’t worry, I’ll explain it to them.”

“Should we check on Twilight?”

“Hmm. She might have woken up, but if she hasn’t, we should let her sleep.”

There was a long pause – Twilight tried to hold her breath.

Finally Shining broke the silence. “I don’t hear anything. We can check on her and clean up after dinner.”

After a few moments the hoofsteps retreated and Twilight poked her head out of the blanket.

The living room was empty, with the lights turned low. A brighter, flickering light spilled out from the dining room, along with the low voices of Cadence and Shiny.

Twilight advanced on the doorway, moving from chair to coffee table to couch, wincing at every betraying creak.

She peeked in in on the dining room, eyes widening at the sight. The room was lit by a brace of flicking candles, with Shining and Cadance were both there, and Shining was eating dinner again! He wasn’t eating much this time either, though.

They were talking in low tones, but she could watch his ears dance with any of Cadence's statements, and his hooves kept fidgeting. Twilight almost giggled at how silly he looked.

One of Cadence’s ears twitched in her direction and Twilight froze. Fortunately, Shining said something else that distracted her long enough for Twilight to pull her head back.

She pondered her predicament. She was safe, but it would be impossible to get to the kitchen through the dining room. She’d have to circle back and go through the other door.

The route was long, but not difficult – with the large rug proof against the churning magma below, she made it up to the opposite couch easily. From there she could cross on the windowsill to where another low couch abutted the hallway to the back door.

There the back mat still held firm against the molten tide, long enough for her to clamber up onto a footstool at the entryway to the kitchen, at least.

She leaned out from the stool, her face screwed up in concentration as her horn lit up. An answering glow encased the handle of the kitchen drawer and with another grunt of effort, the drawer inched open. She repeated the effort twice more, before sitting back and smiling at her handiwork, the partially open drawers forming an impromptu staircase up to the top of the counter. Taking a careful step onto the first drawer, she crept up.

The dining room was just barely visible from here. Shining was still seated at the table, though Cadance was nowhere around. More importantly, the cookie jar was mere inches away. She reached out her hooves and-


“Eeep!” all her muscles locked up as a teal glow lifted her up into the air, rotating her to face an amused babysitter.

“But you’re standing in the lava.” Twilight pointed helpfully.

“Oh I am, am I?”

“Uh-huh. Shining said so.”

“I guess that makes me a lava monster then!” she declared, darting in at the helpless filly.

“Oh noooo nono hehehe,” she squealed before her protests dissolved into sputtering giggles as Cadance blew raspberries on her stomach.

She finally came up for air, quieting enough for another noise to register. Twilight looked over to see Shining regarding them both with some consternation. He made to get up, but Cadance gasped and held up a hoof.

“No, stop! What are you doing?”

He froze in confusion.

Cadance grinned mischievously.

“The floor is lava.”
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