Happy Birthday, Twilight Sparkle
Twilight opened her eyes. The low winter Sun, with unerring and irritating accuracy, found its way through the gap in her curtains, illuminating the purple mare's face and consequently waking her up. Shielding her eyes from the harsh light, Twilight rolled over, groaning, and fell out of bed.
She removed herself from her blankets and picked herself up.
"Great start to the day," she muttered, trotting clumsily to the mirror that was on her dresser. As she hummed and dragged a brush through her mane, her eyes drifted to her calendar. The third of December.
"Oh, it's my birthday," she commented, continuing her ministrations. The brush however slowly came to a stop as the realisation hit her.
"It's my birthday. It's my birthday!" she squealed, dropping the brush and scrambling down the stairs, bursting into the kitchen where Spike was waiting for her with breakfast.
"Happy birthday, Twi-"
"It's my birthday!" she yelled, barrelling into Spike and knocking him to the floor.
"You don't say?" said the dragon, getting to his feet.
"Heh, sorry, I guess I got a little bit carried away."
"You don't say?" he repeated. "Anyway, happy birthday, Twilight! I made you your favourite breakfast!"
"Aww, Spike, that's sweet of you," she said, nuzzling the dragon affectionately and looking at her breakfast.
"You have a bowl of Canterlot Crunch, with the special milk, you know, the one with the gold top? Also, here are some pancakes, with plenty of syrup to spare, pineapple juice, and last, your favourite of the favourites-"
"This is just wonderful, thank you so much!"
"No worries, this is your day, Twilight. Oh, nearly forgot to mention, your family will be visiting soon to see you."
"Exfellenf!" she said, with difficulty, on account of having a mouth fit to bursting with pancakes and flapjack. Then a thought struck her. She swallowed painfully.
"Though why are they coming over here, and not just having me visit them in Canterlot later today? I'm going there anyway."
"Something about 'to keep the plot moving forward.' Didn't make any sense to me."
"Who's plot? Sounds a bit rude to me, you sure that's what they said?," asked a puzzled Twilight.
Twilight shrugged and returned to her breakfast.
Not long after Twilight had finished, there came a soft knock on the door.
Twilight got up from her armchair, setting down 'The Lord of the Horseshoes,' to answer the door.
"Happy birthday, kiddo!" said Shining Armour as he crossed the threshold.
"Thanks, Shining," said Twilight as they both reared up to hug.
"My lil' sis ain't so little anymore is she?"
"She'll always be our special little filly though, happy birthday dear," said Twilight's mother as she entered the library too, giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek.
"Make way!" called her father as he slowly backed into the library, levitating a large, spherical object wrapped in blue paper, adorned with a bright red bow on the top.
"Happy birthday, kiddo!" he said, dropping it in the middle of the room.
"Uh, dad, that's what I said," said Shining.
"Oh, I see, well, uh... Happy birthday, Twilight." he said with a grin.
"Thanks daddy," she said, nuzzling him. She turned her attention to the mysterious package. "Is this for me?"
"Sure is, honey," said her dad, "we're sure you'll love it."
Burning with curiosity, the unicorn pulled at the bow, and the wrapping fell away with it. She gasped as her gift was unveiled: it was a globe. But not just any old globe, it was made of colourful and valuable stone, inlaid together and polished to make a perfect sphere. She examined it and found Equestria, made of green jade, the Griffon Kingdoms, in black onyx, the Savannah, home of the zebras, represented in topaz, and the seas of lapis lazuli. It was suspended upon a mahogany axis, and Twilight gave it a few spins.
"It's fantastic! It's practical and looks good too!"
"Just like you dear," said her mother.
"Oh stop it mum, but seriously, thank you so much!"
"Our pleasure, Twily."
"Do-do you think Twilight will like our presents?" asked a timid Fluttershy, twisting her hoof nervously upon Ponyville's train station's platform.
"She better, mine took me a lot of trouble to get!" said Rainbow indignantly.
"And mine was very expensive I'll have you know," said Rarity.
"Calm down y'all, Twilight will love all this and you darn well know it, she ain't no ungrateful pony."
"AJ's right, these are all super presents for a super friend!" bubbled Pinkie, bouncing on her hooves.
"Okay, I feel a bit better now," said Fluttershy, checking her saddlebag again to ensure that her present hadn't run away.
Twilight meanwhile was saying goodbye to Spike.
"Right, Spike, your lunch is in the fridge for you, the books that need re-ordering are in the middle of my room, the returns are in a pile to the left, the books that I used last night are in the big pile on the right and-
"Twilight, stop! I'll be fine. Stop fretting and get going. Don't get too drunk though tonight eh?"
"Oh Spike, you do know who you're talking to right?"
"Yeah, I do. And I remember you collapsing on my bed that time, thinking it was yours, and you said the room was spinning..."
"Yes, well, ahem-"
"And then you threw up and-"
"Anyway! Look after the place while I'm gone won't you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I will- Ooh! Almost forgot, I got this for you. Didn't think you weren't gonna get a present off me did ya?"
He presented her with a large, elegant and fiery coloured phoenix feather quill.
"Happy birthday, Twilight," he said, a little embarrassed.
Twilight looked at the quill. To the average pony, it was just another feather that was useful for writing, just a little more colourful. But to a Twilight Sparkle, such a gift was beyond words. She ran through quills as fast as they bought more, but the phoenix quill would last her many years at the least. They were so incredibly rare that Twilight wondered how Spike had obtained it, but thought it better not to ask.
"Spike, I- Come here."
She reared onto her hind legs and gestured for a hug, Spike leapt up and the two tumbled over laughing.
"Thank you, my little number one assistant," she said, kissing him on the cheek.
"No problem, Twi."
"Urgh, what's taking her so long?" said a bored Rainbow Dash, pacing in circles around Applejack.
"She's only one minute late," remarked the earth pony. They heard hurried hoofsteps behind them,
"I'm here!" said Twilight, panting slightly.
They all spun around and said as one:
"Happy birthday, Twilight!"
Several other ponies who were on the platform turned their heads in curiosity at the noise they were making.
"Oh my, thank you so much, girls."
"Wait till you see your presents!" said Pinkie excitedly.
"That'll have to wait for now, train leaves in five," said Applejack.
They boarded the train together, and got into an empty compartment.
"Have you had a good day so far, Twilight?" asked Fluttershy, shutting the door.
"As a matter of fact I have, my family visited me earlier, which was lovely."
"Why?" asked Rainbow, and everypony looked at her indignantly. "I mean, why didn't they just come up to the Castle while we were there?"
"Something about somepony's plot."
"Who's plot?" asked Rainbow interestedly. "'Cause if it's your brother's-"
"Rainbow!" scolded Rarity, "That's no way to talk about Shining in Twilight's presence! Though I do have to admit, he does have a ni-"
"Can you please talk about this while I'm not around instead?" said Twilight awkwardly.
"I'm with Twi on this," said Applejack, "I'm not very fond of when you gals talk about Mac that way as y'all know."
"He's pretty hot too," said Pinkie blatantly.
"Anyway," said Twilight hurriedly, before Applejack could answer back.
"Yes," said Rarity, "you have presents waiting for you! Open mine first!"
She passed Twilight a small velvet box.
Curious, Twilight took the box and prized it open with her hooves. Inside was an elegant silver horn ring, inlaid with a single sparkling sapphire.
"I thought the colour would go well with your eyes and coat, looks like I was right," she said as Twilight tried it on.
"It's beautiful, Rarity; thank you!"
"The pleasure is all mine darling," said the fashionista graciously.
"Me next, me next!" squealed Pinkie.
With mingled feelings of curiosity and trepidation, Twilight took the large and neatly wrapped box that Pinkie was proffering.
"Oh wow, Pinkie, these look delicious!" said Twilight, looking at the six cakes that the pink pony had baked herself, each one iced with the cutie marks of the six girls. The spaces between the cakes were stuffed with brightly coloured candy of all descriptions.
"They are delicious! I had some batter left over and made an extra one, it was super yummy, that's how I know you'll love them."
"I'm sure I will, thank you Pinkie."
She beamed as Fluttershy leaned over, an expression of thinly veiled worry etched on her face.
Twilight opened the box and gave an 'ooooh' as she picked up an elegant and very shiny new pair of binoculars, along with a beautifully illustrated and extensive book on birds. The pegasus sighed and smiled when she saw Twilight liked it.
"Thank you Fluttershy, this will come in handy for when I study aviary animals in a few weeks, it will also be useful if I ever want to know what a certain bird is!"
Fluttershy nodded happily. Applejack picked up the basket by her hind hooves the contents of which were covered by a cloth.
"Haffeh birffay Tifighf!" she said, placing the basket in her lap.
Twilight lifted the fabric manually and looked inside. There were apples of course, one of each type the family grew, there were two large apple pies that looked as though much care and effort had gone into baking them. There were also several differently shaped bottles. Applejack noticed the slightly puzzled look on Twilight's face as she tried to differentiate them.
"This here's good ol' apple juice," she explained, "these three are sweet apple cider, 'cause I know ya like it. That one's a lil' stronger, and this..." she pulled out a cuboid bottle. "This here is a well kept secret, but I trust you girls with my life, so ah can certainly trust ya with this. This is Sweet Apple Acres Whiskey. We only ever distribute it amongst the family, or Princess Celestia, but ah am making an exception for the birthday gal today. Hope you enjoy it, sugar cube."
"Saving best till last I see," said Rainbow jokingly, passing Twilight a heavy stack of something that looked suspiciously like books. Twilight tore open the wrapping and unveiled the smart gilded covers of a complete special edition set of Daring Do novels.
"Look on the inside of one!" said Rainbow excitedly.
Twilight examined the inside cover of one of them and read, in curly writing:
To Twilight Sparkle, always believe in yourself, because you are awesome. This was followed by the author's signature.
The purple mare took volume two, and this one read:
To Twilight Sparkle, the most magical of friends and awesomest of ponies.
"Each one says something different, you have no idea how difficult this was, but that doesn't matter."
"Rainbow... I... This is... All of you."
Tears began to form in the unicorn's eyes.
"Oh darling, are you alright?" said Rarity, placing a comforting hoof on her shoulder.
"Yes," Twilight sniffed. "Yes, I'm fine. I'm just so touched by the kindness you have all showed me. You've all gone out of your way just for me."
"It's your birthday, Twilight," said Fluttershy, "you deserve it."
The others nodded in assent, and Twilight burst into happy tears. The others gathered around her and embraced her tightly.
"Hey, Twilight," whispered Rainbow, who's mouth happened to be right next to Twilight's left ear, which flicked when Rainbow spoke, "can I have your old Daring Do books? Seeing as you won't need them anymore."
The purple mare nodded as best she could.
"Thanks, Twi," she whispered, hugging all the tighter.