Chapter 24: The Royal Family returns

Stardust and his army of soldiers walked through the forest, they could see glimpses of Dream Castle through the trees. The sun shined brightly on the light pink castle, the gold design and trims sparkled. The windows on the balcony reflected the sun's rays. The wind cold wind howled through the forest.
"Looks like the doors on the balconies finished," Stardust commented.
"Just in time for winter," Skyview added.
"Winter?" Luna asked, "What do you mean? I haven't seen it snowing and it's not cold enough for it."
"Winter is just around the corner. The nights are getting colder, at this rate, it could snow any day," Stardust explained, "With the windows installed at the castle, it should feel much warmer."
"I can't wait till it snows. The castle always looks so pretty in the snow," Luna commented.
Royal Heart smiled, "It sure does."

They walked for what seemed like hours, neither one of them took their eyes off the castle. Luna was feeling back to normal, Buster only had a cut on his head that was healing well. Royal Heart was anxious to get home and lay on her soft bed instead of the hard ground she had been sleeping on for a few weeks.

They soon came to a field with only a few trees, the castle walls was within their sight. The soldiers on the wall could be seen standing and watching. As the royal family approached a soldier ran into the castle to alert Star Cluster and his parents.
When Stardust came close to the wall, the soldiers quickly opened the gates. The royal family walked through the gates and the soldiers went to the walls to rest except for two soldiers who carried the royal family's blankets and crowns.
Once they had entered the castle they were quickly greeted by Ribbon Lock, Sunlight, Star Cluster, Amaryllis and Peaches who stood in front of the stairs. Sunlight quickly hugged Luna and welcomed Blizzard home.
"Your just in time for Dinner," Ribbon Lock said.
"Good, I'm hungry and we have a lot to talk about," Stardust replied. He turned and took a white box from the soldier's back that had his crown and went upstairs, "I'll be down soon."
Royal Heart took her white box and went upstairs then Luna took her box as well.
"Star Cluster could you in form the cooks that Stardust and his family has returned and send a maid here to take care of the blankets," Ribbon Lock told him.
Star Cluster nodded and left, heading down another hallway.
Blizzard, Skyview and Starfire followed Ribbon lock and Sunlight to the dinning room.

Luna climb the stairs to the fourth floor and down several hallways till she came to her room. She entered and sat the box on her bed, then she sat down and rested. She was glad to be off her feet and on her soft bed. She looked at the balcony and noticed the new doors her father talked about. She stood up and approached the doors. They were white and gold with a large window and a light purple curtain tied to the sides.
Luna smiled, she opened the doors and went on her balcony. It was windier and colder than it was on the ground. She went inside and closed the doors, then she went to her dresser, brushed her hair and tied it up on her head. Then she went to her bed and place her crown on her head.
Luna looked in the mirror one last time and then she left the room. She walked to the stairs and was quickly joined by her parents who also wore their crowns and collars.
"Ready to eat?" Royal Heart asked.
"I'm starving," Luna answered.
Her parents smiled and led the way down the stairs.

Once they had reached the first floor, they went into the dinning room and sat at their original seats. Ribbon Lock and Sunlight sat at the end next to Star Cluster and Amaryllis. The servants walked in with trays and placed them on the tables then they left. Luna wasted no time eating, Royal Heart had more on her plate than Luna.
Amaryllis looked around and was happy to have the rest of the family home, the castle was starting to be a lonely and quiet place to live. Then she noticed something strange about Blizzard, he had his usual blank look and his golden collar but he wasn't wearing his golden necklace. Amaryllis had never seen Blizzard without his golden necklace on.
"Umm...Blizzard. How come your not wearing your necklace?" Amaryllis asked curiously. She immediately saw a sad look on his face, it was an expression she had not seen on him.
"It's gone," Blizzard flatly answered, not wanting to explain anything more.
"That is part of what I wanted to talk about during dinner," Stardust told her.
"What happened?" Star Cluster asked.
"Ever since we left Dream Castle someone had been following us. It wasn't till we were close to King Birming's Castle that we found out who it was. Teriney had been following us. He attacked and was going after Royal Heart but thanks to Buster he didn't get her," Stardust paused and looked at Luna, "Teriney went after Luna instead and caught her. He almost squeezed the life out of her. Blizzard traded his necklace for her life. His necklace was what Teriney was after all this time. He knew Blizzard wouldn't just hand over the necklace so he tried to blackmail him with someone's life. Luna was very sore and bruised for almost a week. She is fine now."
"Oh Luna," Sunlight muttered, "That must have felt...awful."
Luna sighed sadly at the thought of being squeezed and couldn't gasp for air.
"Please don't ask her about it," Blizzard suddenly said which surprised everyone, "I know how it feels not to breath when your being crushed. It's not something you want to remember again."
"I'm sorry Luna. I can't imagine how it must feel," Sunlight quickly said.
Luna looked at her, "I...I just.." Luna paused, she could describe how she felt back then.
"Luna you don't need to say anything about it. I saw the look on your face back then and I can imagine how it must feel," Royal Heart whispered to her, she then stroked her white mane and smiled.
"Well, we had a great time at the Ball and was able to return home safely," Stardust quickly said hoping to change the subject, "Amaryllis how is the school doing?"
Amaryllis smiled greatly, "It's doing wonderfully. The parents love it and the little ponies always beats me to school in the mornings. At first when the school had opened, non of the parents would allow their children come to school because of my relationship to Star Cluster."
"That of course all changed," Star Cluster added, "three little boys took Peaches and left her in the forest because they thought they were doing their parents a favor on my behalf. It made their parents realize what they were doing to their children, they were turning out to be just like me or what I used to be. The fathers of those children helped me save Peaches and every pony in Ponyland heard about it. They have all decided to give me another chance. After that, ponies seemed nice and even realized I have in deed changed."
"Wow and to think we missed all the fun," Starfire muttered.
"Sounds like it all worked out for the best," Stardust said, "I do need letters from the parents. I need to send letters to the other Kingdoms as soon as possible. I also noticed that the doors and windows have been installed which is great. The nights are getting colder and our rooms will be much warmer, even the workers in the castle will love it this winter."
"Yes, they're excited about it. They can't wait to see how it work out for winter," Ribbon Lock explained.
Blizzard had been quiet, his mind continued to remember Luna in Teriney's claws. It reminded him how it felt to be crush and stepped on. He looked up at Luna and saw her staring at her plate as she ate, she obviously was thinking about the something.

After dinner, Luna and Blizzard roamed the castle halls like they usually do. Blizzard was quiet as always. Luna had trouble reading his face, it was always blank and he always stared as if his mind wasn't there. She looked at him and stared trying to guess what he was thinking. Blizzard caught her staring at him.
"What?" Blizzard asked.
"Your quiet and you haven't said a word to me since early this morning," Luna answered.
Blizzard stopped, "I'm sorry Luna. I guess I was thinking," Blizzard turned and looked out the window, "That necklace was all I had."
Luna stood at his side and rested her head on his neck, "I know."
"I didn't think about my necklace when we got home, it wasn't till Amaryllis asked about the necklace."
"Don't even bring it up, the feeling of...being squeezed...," Luna quickly said.
"The feeling will go away soon. Being squeezed is nothing like having a dragon trying to crush you. He stepped on me and didn't even had his whole body weight on me. Trust me the feeling will go away soon," Blizzard nuzzled her and then looked out the window again, "That necklace was going to help me find out who my parents were."
Luna looked up at him and smiled, "Your special. You don't need that necklace to find out who your parents are. How many ponies can make ice or cause a blizzard like storm?"
Blizzard smiled at her and nuzzled her. He didn't want to tell her that he deeply wanted his necklace back but he never once regretted trading it for her life. He knew Luna was trying to cheer him up and help him forget about his necklace but it didn't seem to be helping him much.

As night fell, the stars appeared brightly in the sky, the half moon shined brightly. The royal Family slept soundly in their soft warm beds, Luna was happy to be home and in her warm bed. Blizzard slept comfortably in bed as he dreamt. Star Cluster was sound asleep but continued to feel a burning sensation. The felling eventually woke him up and the burning stopped immediately. Star Cluster sat up in bed feeling his head with his hooves but he was hot. He could have sworn he was feeling hot. Star Cluster yawned, "I guess I was dreaming it."
Then he laid down and fell fast asleep.
Skyview was sound asleep wearing ear plugs. He too was glad to be home in bed where he can block out sounds while he slept.
Royal Heart cuddled up neck to Stardust as she slept. She wasn't able to do that on their journey with all the soldiers watching, she too was glad to be home and her private room with Stardust.