The Traveling Tutor and the Royal Exam

This story is a sequel to The Traveling Tutor and the Diplomats Daughter

A simple test with an unexpected result sends Princess Twilight Sparkle’s life in an unexpected direction, accelerating a high-speed collision course with the young magic tutor she met and fell in love with just over a year ago. But angry Griffons, arrogant Royals, in-laws and other mighty forces from Canterlot and beyond seek to tear the young lovers apart and enforce their own will upon their future regardless of either Twilight or Green Grass’ plans for a life together.

Too bad for them.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/246733/the-traveling-tutor-and-the-royal-exam

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14. Chapter 14 - Diplomatic Measures

Twilight Sparkle regarded her first solo diplomatic reception as a Princess with the wan comfort that at least it could have gone worse, and that there was nothing in any of her huge collection of protocol books that she had read that could have prepared her.

For starters, Princess Sun Shines had vaulted out of the carriage the moment it touched ground, proceeding in great, long, wing-assisted bounds to launch herself at Green Grass in a stunning impact that knocked them both back onto the pine-needle covered yard. Even covered in needles and pine cones, the little griffon chattered at full speed, filling in her somewhat-less-fuzzy-since-his-trim green friend on every single thing that had happened to her in the Crystal Empire with ‘Uncle’ Shining Armor and ‘Aunty’ Cadence, but mostly Cadence.

Her father, Ambassador Sharp Feather, had stepped out of the griffon chariot next, striding to the appropriate distance in front of Twilight and making the appropriate bob of the head that signified “I’m not a subject of your kingdom but I appreciate the sun and the moon, so I’m going to give you a certain degree of respect.” However, his introduction of the griffon emperor was being drowned out by the growing volume from Gilda and Rainbow Dash, who had progressed from idle threats to promises of extreme violence.

She almost swallowed her own tongue when the huge form of the griffon emperor slipped silently up behind the two arguing idiots and ‘thwacked’ them both upside the head with a massive wingtip each.

And then when Rainbow Dash predictably pointed a hoof at Gilda and pronounced, “She started it—” he added a second, more forceful ‘thwack’ to the back of both heads again.

She made a mental note on Function Number 38 for Wings. Highly effective on Rainbow Dash. Practice frequently.

The huge griffon moved effortlessly despite his bulk, aligning himself up behind the diplomat and fixing Twilight Sparkle with enormous golden eyes that were overflowing with friendship. He maintained his warm gaze while Ambassador Sharp Feather rattled through a genealogy and lineage that tracked him back to the First Egg, as well as detailed every one of his many titles and responsibilities. It was an impressive display of the griffon’s acute memory, but Twilight was more focused on trying to make sense of the elderly griffon’s expression. It seemed to conceal something disturbing as if he were wearing a mask, but that easily could just be explained by his unfamiliar body language. She had only met a few griffons over the years, mostly at school and diplomats at the castle. When she was a little filly, many of them towered over her nearly as much as Emperor Ripping Claw did now, even if they were not this warm and welcoming.

The emperor seemed to be taking dropping out of the sky on top of Fancy Pants’ vacation house as a grand jest, worthy of thunderous belly laughs and bone-popping back slaps. It seemed to be a natural charisma effect, not forced at all, and Rarity even blushed when she was introduced and complimented on her soft silver dress that looked suspiciously new and matched the chalet curtains to a convenient degree. No gentlestallion could have kissed her proffered hoof more gently, or complimented Fancy Pants on his wife’s similar glimmering outfit with greater flair, and even Green Grass was subjected to a stunning blast of his personality. Apparently, he had been deeply impressed with the stories told by Third Heir Sunny, and extended an invitation for both him and Twilight to visit the High Nest across the ocean in Great Griffon at his personal expense for their honeymoon, first class all the way on the fastest and most luxurious airships that soared in the sky.

The sky that belonged to all griffons, of course.

Twilight’s first mention of discomfort at his abrupt unannounced arrival triggered a veritable tidal wave of apologies combined with sincerest wishes for peace between their nations and offers of recompense that included gifts of a personal airship and crew. He even offered to throw in one of his sons, who was ‘Just about Your Highness’ age.’

She quickly turned his gifts down and accepted his apology, thankful that at least he had been the first important royal of any species who had not offered to host their wedding.

Although he had been strangely sincere about the offer of one of his sons.

~ ~  ~ ~

It was very quiet inside Crosswind’s bedroom except for the sound of frustrated rapid breathing and the rustle of bedsheets, until a very timid knocking at the door made the pegasus roll off the back of the bed and snarl, “What? I’m busy!”

The door creaked open, and a small brown bottle (with spoon) floated into the room, suspended in the silver light of Papercut’s magic. It wandered a bit blindly as if the propulsion source had his eyes closed, eventually bumping into the bed stand where Crosswind grabbed it.

“Oh, thank Celestia!” She ripped the protective film from the top of the bottle and twisted the lid off with her teeth, but stopped before drinking any of it. “Thanks, Horn-Head.”

“You’re welcome, Featherbrain. But thank Fleur de Lis instead. She was very generous.”

The door started to glide closed, but stopped as Crosswind darted across the open area and stuck a hoof in it. “Wait a second, stupid. You’re not supposed to be using your magic. Where’s your restrictor ring?”

“It fell off, but one of the guards returned it,” came the muffled reply. “I’ve got it in a pocket in case I need it.”

“You need it,” she replied instantly. “You don’t have enough spare brain function to let any of it get wasted. Come in and let me get it on… I mean I want to stick… Just get your plot in here!” She scowled as the meek green unicorn shuffled into the room, a spare shirt held over his nose and mouth with his magic. “Sit!” she commanded, still holding the bottle. “Let me take a swig to get medicated up and we’ll see about…”

She trailed off as the spoon floated over to her and Papercut looked away. “Two tablespoons, and no drinking out of the bottle. You’re supposed to only double up the dose if you’ve missed a day, not just chug it like some barmaid.”

“Yeah, I suppose.” She measured out her medicine, drinking it with a slight grimace before sitting it to one side and holding out a hoof. “Give me the ring and I’ll stick… fasten it onto your horn correctly.” After looking at the shocked expression on Papercut’s face as he regarded a somewhat sticky hoof that had last been put to a rather personal use, she darted into the bathroom, only returning after she had washed both forehooves to near scrub-room cleanliness.

“Better,” he mumbled, pulling the ring out of his pocket and hoofing it over with great care not to touch her hooves.

“Now hold still,” she muttered while sitting down. “This is a very delicate… procedure and requires a very gentle… touch and will you please stop breathing on my chest?”

“Sorry.”

The original adhesive that held the suppressor ring onto his horn had gotten a little dirty, and she picked off the lint while trying not to think of just what else his horn reminded her of, and how long it would be until the medicine took effect.

“So, what’s going on w-with the griffon e-emperor” she muttered, fighting to keep from burying her nose in his mane and nibbling her way to more interesting places.

“Emperor Ripping Claw and Princess Twilight Sparkle are currently having breakfast,” said Papercut with a flick of his ear that brushed along her cannon and nearly made her drop the ring. “They are having—” he paused, taking a deep breath through the muffling shirt still pressed against his nose “—waffles. Would you like me to bring you any, Miss Crosswind?”

Only in bed with lots of syrup and strawberries smeared over—

“No!” She rearranged the ring and slid it over his horn, carefully not-thinking about anything except her perfectly innocent action that had nothing to do with sex at all. The muscles along her belly twitched anyway in response, and she was grateful that she was sitting on her rump so that her rebellious tail was pinned to the ground. “Their schedule for the rest of the day?”

“Touring the chalet, general discussion, and examining the prospects of a commercial ski slope in this locale. Fancy Pants now has both a financial backer and political clout with the nearby Misty Mountain griffons to ensure proper snow coverage once it becomes operational. It seems well-worth moving a portion of my retirement fund into the project.” Papercut cleared his throat and rearranged the shirt across his muzzle with one awkward hoof. “I’m finding it much more conducive to proper conduct around you if I limit my thoughts to numbers, Miss Crosswind. And thank you. For both your ministrations in my time of need and your assistance with my recovery now.”

“You owe me dinner, at least,” she grumbled through gritted teeth. “Agreed?”

“Ma’am, can you ask me that question sometime when I’m not surrounded by your fertile hormones, and in your bedroom?”

She finished situating the restrictor ring and considered her position. “I’m sorry for trying to jump your bones. Well, not really. Maybe later. Now all I can think about is—” A sharp shudder went through her entire body as Papercut began to lift his head. “Don’t look up!”

“Why?”

The shudder repeated, and she found herself holding his head with both hooves until the aftershocks had died away. “You look up and I’ll kiss you, right on the lips and not stop.”

There was a fairly long silence in response, but Papercut did not lift his head as she so wanted him to do and not do at the same time. Instead, he responded with just the slightest bit of levity in his voice, “A horrible fate, I’m certain.”

“Darned straight. We wouldn’t get out of here for hours—” Another shudder swept through her body and she clutched Papercut’s head to her chest regardless of what it would look like if anypony walked in on them. When the spasm finally died down, she quickly added, “Go tell Princess Twilight I’ll assume my position—” Narrowly avoiding another shudder by the expedient of snorting in a quick breath from Papercut’s mane and sneezing at the tickling sensation inside her nose, she continued “—I mean I’ll be CALM by noon once the medication cuts in.” She kissed him right on top of his mane and let go of his head. “Now get out.”

Keeping his shirt-covered nose down, Papercut backed away and looked up through his thin eyebrows with what could have been a sparkle in his eyes. “Is the kiss part of the treatment? Because I’m fairly certain the physician failed to—”

“I mean get out now. Or else.” Behind her, she could feel her wings rise slowly as Papercut bolted for the doorway, somehow managing to escape her room without slamming the door. Once she flipped the latch closed, Crosswind turned for the bathroom and the long, cold, cold bath that would occupy her every thought for the next few hours until the medicine cut in.

Well, most of her thoughts.

~ ~  ~ ~

The chalet kitchen was a spacious warm area filled with the magic of bubbles and clean towels as the process of turning syrup-sticky breakfast dishes into clean was interrupted by a rather agast appointment secretary. Papercut spluttered in consternation, watching Spike and Twilight Sparkle in an apron at the sink, doing servant work. Dirty dishes proceeded through wash, rinse, and dragonfired dry in her magic field before Spike tucked them away for later use, or at least until Papercut darted to the dirty dish pile and put one hoof down in the sticky center of a plate before calling out, “Your Highness, stop!”

“Oh, Papercut. Is everything all right with Crosswind? Fleur told me she forgot her—” Twilight glanced at Spike, who was stacking the last of the dry dishes “—medication.”

“She’s in heat,” said Spike, waving one claw at him. “Big deal. So that’s what took you so long.”

“Spike!” Twilight picked the little dragon up in her magic and chivvied him out the kitchen door. “Go see if Fleur and Rarity need any help with Princess Sunny. Go on.” She stood and waited while the pitter-patter of little dragon feet faded into the distance. “I swear Greenie’s rubbing off on him.”

“He has a tendency to do that, Ma’am,” said Papercut, looking at his syrup-sticky hoof with disdain.

“So.” Twilight’s face lit up with a smile. “Are you and Crosswind—”

“No!” Papercut dunked his sticky hoof in the water and nearly splashed suds over the floor. “She’s taking a… different path to reducing her physical needs.”

“Ah, she’s Patting the Pink Pony, then.” At Papercut’s embarrassed blush, Twilight continued, “What, do you prefer one of the less decorative euphemisms? Rubbing One Out? Riding the Plastic Stallion? Making Hoofie Nookie? Playing a Horn Solo? Oh, that’s fairly unicorn specific.”

“There’s a spell for that?” blurted out Papercut.

Twilight scoffed. “Of course. I can understand why you didn’t know it. Female unicorns mostly use—”

Splattering soapy water over the kitchen, Papercut crammed his hooves over his ears and repeated, “Not listening! Not listening! Can we discuss something else, please?”

“If you’re going to be pursuing an intimate relationship with my friend, you’re going to need to know some of the basics. My mother provided a very effective set of instructions and reading materials to educate me when I was much younger. I’d be happy to loan them to you. Admittedly the material is biased towards female reproduction, but—”

“Schedules!” gasped Papercut.

“Mostly every thirty days,” said Twilight. “But mine have always been a little erratic, which is one reason I always carried a bottle of Chill Time with me. Well, ever since I met Greenie. Just a teaspoon a day whenever you feel that fire coming on, and it’s all better. It doesn’t work all of the time, though.”

“Oh, sweet Celestia, no,” moaned Papercut.

Twilight patted her still-trim tummy. “Princess Celestia says she uses it too, but at a higher dosage. Only to control her hormones, that is. Not that she has to worry about getting pregnant. I just wish I knew why it didn’t work for me.”

Despite both hooves over his ears, the disconcerting words still trickled through to his rebellious brain, which insisted on the traitorous task of connecting the dots. Far, far more dots that it should have connected. “Does Princess Luna use it?” he asked in a very small voice.

“I don’t know. I never asked.”

After a brief swallow to build up his nerve, Papercut swallowed again and said, “The instructions on Chill Time said to use a tablespoon a day, Your Highness. Not a teaspoon.”

“Oh,” said Princess Twilight.

There was a very long silence in the kitchen, during which Papercut dug himself out from under layers and layers of embarrassment. A small spark of courage somewhere in his head made a mental note to find some private time to speak with Princess Luna about her paramour, and to emphasise the importance of using the proper measure when administering any medication. After all, one pregnant alicorn from a scion of House Chrysanthemum was bad luck. Two would be a disaster of epic proportions that would shake the foundations of Equestria. Or three… He gritted his teeth and tried not to think about it.

“Oh,” said Princess Twilight again.

Or at least the second possible pregnancy would spell a very bad end for a castle servant who failed to inform a certain Princess of the Night after he had discovered a possible hole in her fertility planning. The phrase “Nothing left but smoking horseshoes” was a favorite among the servants for indicating the top of the scale of royal admonishment. He had a sneaky suspicion that Luna would use that as a starting place.

“I think I need to go lie down,” said Princess Twilight.

After a stern glance at the remaining sticky dishes that condemned them to the category of Other Ponies’ Problems, Papercut scurried over to the pregnant princess. “Please, allow me to escort Your Highness. You should get some rest before the guests return.”

“I suppose,” said Twilight. “But I can’t help thinking I’ve forgotten something.”

 *

High above the green mossy carpet that covered the arctic ground, the summer winds were almost pleasant, but to the wave of Royal Guards proceeding east at their top speed, the wind barely managed to evaporate the thick film of perspiration resulting from their efforts. Prince Consort Shining Armor lay almost flat against the windscreen of the Royal Guard chariot, trying not to think of the relative few guards he had at his side and the sheer numbers of griffons his scout had reported directly over the tiny wooden vacation chalet housing his baby sister. There was supposed to be peace between the griffons and the Crystal Empire, and for the last several months while Princess Sun Shines had been a guest at their castle, it had been almost too quiet and friendly. Now he knew what they were up to: a sneak attack to capture Princess Twilight Sparkle and as many of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony as possible.

They had to be stopped.

   
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