Rarity’s eyes blinked open several times, confused for a moment as unfamiliar surroundings came into focus. Violet curtains of Celestia’s bedchamber stirred suggestively in the morning breeze, the chirping of an single, all-too-enthusiastic bird told her it wasn’t late in the morning yet. The satin of the sheets tugged at her coat as she tried to rise, an unhappy groan broke the silence and a pair of forelegs snaked around her upper body. So many things around the room were broken or in pieces, pictures knocked off the wall, mirrors shattered; a vase hastily shoved off an out of place end table, which was now missing a leg. Then the memories of the previous night came flooding back. Moaning in embarrassment, she put both hoofs over her eyes.
“Oh Celestia take me…”
“mmm… didn’t you have enough already?” the voice behind her giggled coyly, hugging her close. It wasn’t until then that she realized her entire body ached: her horn felt like it had been chipped, her throat was sore, there were scratches along her front and underside, and her… er… posterior parts throbbed intensely.
“That wasn’t me, dear Princess … some demon from tartarus must have taken control of my body and ravaged you.”
“Would that make you ‘my little succubus?’” Rarity groaned.
“If I am to have a pet name, I would prefer it be anything other than that. You’re a faker, by the way.”
“Oh really?” there was a nibble at her ear, driving her mad.
“I thought you couldn’t use magic.” She asked quietly, breath a bit short at the memory.
“Well… it takes much more magic to raise the sun than it does to raise your dainty flank. I can’t say I was expecting you to raise me though. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting you to be so experienced; the ‘innocent and proper’ act had me completely fooled.” Rarity winced. It was true that she had been uncharacteristically aggressive; a mingling of fear, lust, and adrenaline had driven her to things she had never thought of in her most uncouth fantasies. She sniffed haughtily, not wanting the mare behind her to get the wrong impression.
“I’m not experienced, and find myself rather wounded by that implication. I just figured if I was going to bridge a several thousand year gap in experience I’d have to give it a little oomph.” Celestia started giggling wildly at that. Rarity turned around to glare at her. “What? What’d I say now?” Still giggling at her shamelessly, Celestia barely managed to speak.
“I’m sorry, -heehee- It’s just- hee- when you say ‘oomph’ like that -eheheh- it reminds me of that noise you were making when I-”
“Shut! Just. Shut up!” Leaping on top of her to cover her mouth with a hoof, Rarity glared at Celestia ferociously, ears splayed back, a fiery blush spreading throughout her face. When the alicorn looked sufficiently apologetic, she released her grip. Aware of their position, Rarity became more embarrassed, but didn’t move, in case Celestia started poking fun at her again.
“I do declare Ms. Belle, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the inside of a pony’s ears turn red before.” Rarity smirked down at her ruefully, rather fed up with only taking the teasing.
“Coming from such an old mare, I guess that means I’m special.” Celestia’s eyes narrowed, accompanied by the sudden spinning of the room. The royal seamstress found herself pinned on her back, an unamused alicorn holding her down.
“It’s called ‘vintage’ darling, and you’ll do well to remember it.” Being completely at the whim of the other mare almost took her ability to articulate from her, but she managed one final jab.
“Isn’t ‘vintage’ to ‘wine’ what ‘antique’ is to furniture-“
“ZIP THY LIP”
The grim undertone from the previous night was almost entirely drowned out by a cacophony of cheery morning reverberation: the clinking of silverware on fine china, the honey drizzled sound of Celestia’s laugh, and the echoing glory of the orchestra’s outdoors rehearsal all made the painful precedent of the previous night’s rendezvous all the more difficult to face. The gravity of the alicorn’s words were not lost on her, she simply refused to face the reality of them yet. Ignorance is bliss, and I will be blissful. With that in mind, Rarity dabbed her face with the napkin, gingerly, and put her most convincing smile.
“I’ve never found pancakes to be a particularly stimulating, but these are absolutely divine.” The alicorn beside her nodded in agreement, still cutting hers into more ‘princess’ appropriate pieces. Usually, when they ate together, they sat across from each other in one of the more private, smaller dining halls. They both were famished, however, and had agreed on a change to of pace, their ‘adventure’ taking them on a detour to the nearby mess hall. They must have looked ridiculous, sitting so close together at such a long stone table, one large enough to feed an entire garrison of the guard.
Naturally, it had not taken time for the castle staff to locate them, and attempt to ‘beautify’ their surroundings. Tablecloths, candles, and a shinier variety of silverware was all placed and exchanged before Celestia reached her limit and shooed them off.
“Aria always loved them as well. According to her, the syrup was key.” Aria again. It wasn’t that Rarity was ungrateful for the Royal Seamstress’ support; she just didn’t really understand why Celestia had to constantly reference her. She’d avoided mentioning their most imminent problem to keep the atmosphere in high spirits. As her spirits were already dampening, she decided it was best to address the issue at hand.
“Celly, Twilight and Princess Luna will be arriving later this afternoon, correct?
“Indeed. I received a letter from Luna while you were freshening up. They plan to arrive a bit before the evening” Listlessly, the princess’ fork lightly clinged against the plate as she maneuvered extraneous syrup to the top of the pancakes. “She was almost paranoid at my lack of anger, which I found to be a bit ungrateful. I’m not sure why she’d feel that way; I’ve never been particularly harsh with her.” Rarity almost choked on the pancake, hiding her disbelief in a series of polite, though unpleasant, coughs. Celestia gave her a flat look, eyes slit in suspicion, but declined to comment.
“Goodness. That strawberry nearly killed me. Do we have plans for their arrival?” She was getting better and understanding the alicorn, though there were still moments where it was incredibly difficult to discern whether or not the princess was indulging the more deadpan side of her humor, or being completely serious. When those occasions arose, the seamstress had found it was better to just pretend the comment went over her head.
“Yes, we’re going to meet them, and tell them everything, up front. Sneaking around would be seen as a further affront to Twilight’s intelligence” Rarity was glad she had just finished her pancakes; otherwise she might have choked again.
“Yes. Honesty is the best policy, after all.”
More borderline deadpan humor. Now it was Rarity who glowered at the alicorn with slitted eyes. “Don’t leer at me so over a joke, Ms. Belle. We’ll inform the two of them of our relationship alone; after all, they’re hardly in a position to judge us. Luna isn’t certain, but she’s under the impression Twilight didn’t pick up anything during their bonding.” Her ire from the previous day was not present, though she still spit the last part out like an obscenity.
“Is there a reason why you find it so distasteful, other than its rushed nature?” Celestia looked at her thoughtfully, as if measuring the pros and cons of responding honestly to the query.
“It’s hard to explain. Normally I’d put it in terms of equivalency or biological diffusion.” She had predicted Rarity’s blank expression, inclining her head “You would understand it as an issue of baggage. It’s not something that should be done with anypony other than another alicorn.
“I daresay that sounds alarmingly elitist, Celly.” The princess waved her hoof, disregarding the statement
“No more than making the observation that an earth pony cannot raise the sun.”
“A false disqualifier. An earth pony can literally not raise the sun, while, from my understanding, anypony can form the bond, if the other party is an alicorn.” She hid a smile at catching the hole in Celestia’s logic, knowing without looking that the alicorn was studying her carefully. “You did say at one point that it’s my job to crosscheck you.”
“Full of surprises, as always.” The princess fidgeted, looking increasingly uncomfortable. “Like I said, it’s an issue of baggage. An average pony only accumulates so many scars in a lifetime. An alicorn is… an entirely different matter.” Rarity watched in curiosity as the alicorn pushed her plate away, gazing into the amalgamation of left over syrup and batter. “Imagine all the hardships you have to go through in a lifetime, all the dirty secrets, every betrayal and mistake. Now imagine a thousand lifetimes where the same sorts of horrible things repeat themselves. For a mortal, it’s easy to take a bad experience, and after repressing it, reveling in it, or learning from it; tell yourself it’s something that’s very unlikely to happen again. And on average, that would not be incorrect. Nonetheless, that ‘baggage’ accumulates in your mind, and stays with you to the day you die. Alicorns are not so blessed: the first ten thousand years or so, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay positive.” Celestia was beginning to look like she was in another plane of existence, her moodiness growing alongside the increasingly complicated explanation.
“Fifty-thousand years later, it’s practically impossible to separate, the negative influence becomes the focus, traumatic experiences begin to serve as desensitizing landmarks; a way to keep things straight. ‘This particular war took place just before half my blood relatives died out from disease, or ‘this change in geography occurred when my students banded together to overthrow me,’ or ‘this period of peace started right after I banished my-‘” the rest caught in her throat as she pursed her lips and looked away: “…My dearest friend. Anyway, my point is that, eventually, it’s almost too much for any alicorn to deal with. The bond doesn’t just open two individuals minds, it links them intimately, almost melding them together. If a normal pony were to get even a fraction of an adolescent alicorn’s memories, it would batter all at once, warping his or her psyche, possibly beyond repair.
Rarity’s heart was beating rapidly, beginning to panic at the most relevant implication. “But- What about Twilight!” The princess, realizing her gaffe, put a soothing foreleg around the seamstress and pulled her close.
“My theory is that you, along with the other elements of harmony destroyed the manifestation of Luna’s darkness when Nightmare Moon was vanquished. I had already purged a great deal of it myself… in the conflict that preceded her banishment. The intervention of both parties is likely why the bonding process did not harm twilight.” A flash of contempt mingled in jealously played behind Celestia’s eyes, fading as quickly as it had appeared. “Luna was really the lucky one.”
Trotting together out of the mess hall, Rarity realized she had caught Celestia in a lie. On their first meeting, the alicorn had frankly stated that neither she, nor Luna, could remember past three thousand years. Apparently, that had been massively off the mark. It led her to an unpleasant conclusion: If Celestia’s memory encapsulated such a massive amount of time, than it implied that the great library fire was also a fabrication. Rarity was beginning to suspect that Celestia knew exactly what her condition was. Her thoughts would have continued to even more dangerous musings if Celestia hadn’t roused her with an equally dangerous announcement.
“Oh, I sent your parents and invitation to the Festival a few days ago, by the way. “
“YOU DID WHAAAAAAT?” Celestia, uncharacteristically shaken, backpedaled at the explosive reaction, ears lowering slightly.
“I- you- As my date to the festival- I thought it would be rude not to invite your parents… did I misunderstand?”
On the edge of hyperventilating, Rarity slid down the hallway wall. It wasn’t Celestia’s fault, how could she know? Rarity once had every intention of taking that day to her grave, but this left her no choice. She closed her eyes, numbly preparing herself to recount one of the darkest moments of her life.
AN: As you might have guessed, this chapter got split in two. This damn story keeps getting longer when I’m not looking. Ending this chapter with the flashback I had in mind was pushing 5k words towards the end of the scene, and would have dwarfed the more… er… ‘happy’ things that happened in this chapter. Also, yeah, the pillow talk: unexpectedly awkward to write; that one scene took me a surprisingly long time to push through. I did my best to be suggestive, as opposed to blatantly lewd, but feel free to let me know if you think I pushed it too far. I went ahead with that scene not only because there was a metric-%^&*-ton of sexual tension already, but mainly because I didn’t want sex to be associated with the climax of the story. If it feels rushed, it’s meant to. As a new reader recently pointed out, Twi/Luna, without any sort of physical contact, are in a much healthier place relationship-wise than Cel/Rar is at the moment. Rushing things will come back to bite them. But if Cel/Rar was already in a perfect place, the story would be over, and they could both die in the proper Shakespearian fashion
...Totally kidding on that last bit
Constructive criticism is always welcome.