Chapter 11: Learning how things works

A few days later Luna was at Dream Castle, it was early in the morning and Luna was sound asleep in her big bed. Stardust walked in her room, wearing a golden crown and a golden collar. He stood at her bedside and shook her awake.
"Get up, Luna."
"Mmm?" Luna quietly mumbled.
"Luna, get up."
Luna opened her eyes and saw her father smiling at her.
"Come on, Luna get up," Stardust repeated. "You're as bad as Starfire in the mornings."
Luna smiled at his comment.
"Get up and come downstairs for breakfast. There's a lot I've got to show you afterwards."
"Show me?" Luna asked.
"Yes. I have to take you around the castle and show you how this castle runs," Stardust explained.
"Show me around? But didn't we already do that?" Luna asked while she sat up in bed.
"We showed you around the hall but I'm talking about showing you the servants or maids as they liked to be called. Then there's the garden and the trading and...There's just a lot. So hurry out of bed and join me in the dining room."
"What about Mom? Is she coming?" Luna asked.
"She's going to be in the throne room for a while but I'll see if I can get Skyview and Starfire to take her place for a while." Stardust left her beside and walked out her room.
Luna jumped out of bed and went to her dresser to brush her long white hair. Then she sat the brush on the dresser and left her room.

After breakfast, Skyview and Starfire left the dining room heading for the throne room while Royal heart and Stardust took Luna around the castle. Royal heart had her mane up with her tiara wrapped around it. Her silver collar sparkled in the sunlight at they passed the windows. Luna walked next to her mother and followed her father up stairs.
"Luna," Stardust began to say. "The servants, or maids as they're called, clean our rooms first while we have breakfast."
"Our room?" Luna asked.
"Mine, yours, Skyview and Starfire. Once the maids are done they clean the other rooms in the rest of the castle. We also have servants that just clean windows called window washers," Stardust explained.
"They wash every window in the castle?" Luna asked surprisingly.
"Yes, every window, every day," Stardust replied.
"Why?" Luna asked.
"We have to keep the castle spotless," Royal Heart explained.
Stardust went to the first floor and found a room half opened. He quietly opened the door, just enough for Luna to see the maid dusting the room.
Stardust left and took her down the hall hoping to find another servant.
"She was dusting," Luna observed.
"Yes she was. The maids clean and dust every room," Royal heart explained.
"Is that someone's room?" Luna asked.
"No, in fact most of the rooms in the castle are empty. No one stays in them." Stardust explained.
"Then why clean them at all?" Luna asked.
"It'll get dusty and smelly after awhile," Royal Heart explained.
Royal Heart smiled greatly at her.
They walked until Stardust found a another servant dusting the paintings on the wall. When the servant saw Stardust, he quickly stopped and bowed, "Your Majesty. I didn't see you."
"It's ok, please continue with what you were doing," Stardust told him. The pony nodded his head and continued dusting.
"More dusting?" Luna asked.
"The paintings are old and need to be kept dust free if they're to last long," Stardust explained. He continued past the servant and went into a room that had a large balcony. Luna stood on her hind legs leaning on the railing.
"Do you see the garden?" Royal Heart asked.
Luna looked down over the railing and saw the large garden. In the center was the gate. She had never seen that gate up close.
"Do you see the ponies in the garden?" Royal Heart asked.
Luna looked again and noticed a few ponies near the wall, "Yes."
"Those are the gardeners. They take care of the garden."
"There just two though," Luna replied.
"There's four in there. Two of them are probably right below us," Stardust replied.
Royal Heart laughed. "You don't have to say oh every time you understand something."
"Oh...I mean ok."
Her parents laughed.
Stardust turned and left with Luna and Royal Heart behind him.
"Luna, do you know how we get our food?" Stardust asked.
"You buy it?" Luna asked.
"No...well, not entirely. Our food is mostly grown here in Ponyland. We have farmers who work for us and the foods that we don't get we trade for them. The cooks receive the cart loads and store them in the storage."
"What do you trade?" Luna asked.
"Foods that they don't have or something in that might interest the other Kingdoms," Royal Heart replied.
"So what do you do all day?" Luna asked her father.
"I make all the decisions for Ponyland. When ponies comes to my land and want to move in. I decide where they shall live and I require tax up front."
"Tax?" Luna asked.
"Tax is what keeps this castle running and pays the workers. I own Ponyland, Luna. If they wish to live here then they must pay," Stardust explained.
"Oh, so do you have a treasure room or something?" Luna asked.
"Yes I do. It's hidden in the throne room. I'll show you sometime," Stardust replied.
They walked downstairs to the throne room and stopped at the throne room doors where two soldiers stood guard.
"Luna, if I decide I don't want you in, then those guards will not let you in. Do not try and wink in. I have my reasons for not letting you in if I choose to. There are other soldiers in the castle standing guard."
"Like the crystal ball?" Luna asked.
"Yes. They will not let you in without me, your mother, Skyview or Starfire," Stardust explained.
Stardust continued through the door with Luna and Royal Heart. As soon as Stardust walked out from behind the wall, Skyview and Starfire stood up from the two thrones.
Stardust and Royal Heart walked down the steps while Luna hurried to see the large water fountain.
"Anything happen while we were gone?" Stardust asked.
"Just a few problems in town but that's about it," Skyview replied.
Just then a soldier walked in. "Your Majesty. There's a King here to see you."
"Bring him in!"
The soldier left and a minute later a dark green pony with white hair, wearing a golden crown walked to the steps. He followed the red carpet to he thrones and nodded his head, "Hello King Stardust. I am King Rainfall. I'm just passing through to go to another Kingdom and I was wondering if I could stay here for the night. My soldiers need a place as well."
"You and your soldiers are welcome to stay here," Stardust answered. "Starfire will you show him and the soldiers a place that they may sleep for the night?"
"Yes," Starfire replied, "Please follow me."
As King Rainfall turned to follow Starfire he immediately noticed Luna gazing at the rippling water in the water fountain.
"That is my daughter, Princess Luna," Stardust quickly said noticing his stare.
"I heard she was a winged unicorn but I...didn't think it was true. I am sorry King Stardust for thing such a thing," King Rainfall replied.
"I understand. Most still don't believe it and won't until they see her," Stardust replied.
"Please excuse me King Stardust. I'm very tired and it's been a long walk from my kingdom."
Stardust nodded his head and watched as King Rainfall turned and left.
Stardust and Royal Heart joined her at the water fountain and laughed with her.