"Miss Sparkle, we have arrived."
Twilight's chin rested upon the railing of the chariot, her front hooves leisurely dangling over the edge of the cart. A light snoring was coming from the lavender mare, who had fallen asleep some time during her long trip to Canterlot.
"Miss Sparkle?" the deep but polite voice asked again, gently nudging her shoulder with his armored hoof.
"Mmmhmm... let me sleep... just a little longer," Twilight mumbled to the white stallion standing in front of her, her eyes still closed, unaware of the current situation.
"I'm afraid I cannot," the guard calmly replied. "The Princess awaits you, and we have to return to our sentries. I must ask you to please disembark from the chariot." The guard was waiting for Twilight's response, which came almost instantly. The stallion didn't know that the sleepy unicorn in front of him would comply soon enough just by his mention of the princesses.
"What!?" Twilight shot up, wrenching her eyes wide open.
The Princesses! "No!" she shouted, "Uh, I mean, thank you for bringing me here to Canterlot, I guess. I... I'll just be on my way then!" Twilight hastily said.
The guard, yet shortly surprised, nodded at the unicorn and trotted away, retreating to his assigned post. Twilight got up from her half-seated position, quickly turned and hopped out of the cart, landing on her still feeble hooves.
Looking across the wide square where numerous ponies trotted from left to the right, she saw the biggest building in the whole capitol -- Canterlot Castle. She was standing just a few dozen hoofsteps away.
"I'm here." she whispered, gazing upon the huge white construction, as she realized what she just said.
"I'm... here?! But, but, but, but I still haven't learned anything yet!" Twilight said aloud, startling a group of ponies around her. She didn't mind though, her concerns didn't belong to them now. I fell asleep, again! I can't believe it!
Twilight was lost in her thoughts. Since she received the letter of her mentor, she felt troubled. She was torn between being glad to see the princesses after such a long time and her fear of failure and disappointment. Though the latter was clearly overshadowing her anticipation to meet the royal sisters.
The lavender mare noticed another guard approach her from the castle.
Okay Twilight, keep it together now. She frowned. They're the princesses! They'll understand! Though I'm afraid that I have no clue how to explain...
The guard had made his way to the unicorn, ans was now standing to attention in front of the ambivalent mare.
"Miss Twilight Sparkle?"
She inhaled, then sighed out a deep breath. "Yes?"
"Would you please follow me? I was told to accompany you to Princess Celestia."
"C-Certainly," she answered nervously. "Please, go ahead."
The golden-armored guard turned, heading back towards the castle, and Twilight quietly followed the stallion across the square. Their hooves clacking on the cobbled ground, they came to the entrance, where two other stallions guarded the gate. The guard on Twilight's side just nodded at them, and gained permission to enter.
Twilight and her escort trotted briskly through the castle, taking turns and paths that would lead them to the throne room, where the princess was fulfilling her duties. Their steps echoed through the silent, with orange and blue banners hung hallways, as they progressed further into the fortress.
Twilight glanced out of a window she passed, seeing that the sun had already begun to set. It turned the sky a beautiful orange, which the white walls inside the castle almost reflected, illuminating the corridors in an indescribable warm colour only the dusk could call forth. As she was briefly looking at the sun, her mind went back to the sunset she watched yesterday back at her balcony in Ponyville, the subsequent rising of the moon, and the clear starlit night sky thereafter.
Before long, they came to a halt. The guard cleared his throat and thus brought her back to reality.
"We're here," the guard said.
"Oh," was the only answer Twilight could muster.
They stood in front of the huge, dark-golden entrance doors to the throne room. Another two unicorns were guarding them, and once more the guard in front of Twilight nodded, gaining entrance upon doing so. The unicorn guards encased the doors in a light blue aura, and opened the large doors with their magic.
What am I going to do? Twilight asked herself, looking down at the ground.
The doors swung completely open.
She slowly glanced up into the room, and as she had imagined, she saw Princess Celestia sitting upon her throne. She had turned to the side, and was dealing with a crowd of various ponies. Guards were standing in front of several pillars distributed to the left and right of the hall. A red carpet was outspread on the floor, leading to the throne of the sun goddess.
"The princess said she was eager to see you, Miss Sparkle," the stallion in front said all of a sudden, his expression now carrying a small smile. Of course, he wouldn't understand why this could ever be a bad thing for anypony, but he didn't know Twilight Sparkle.
What? That's just... perfect! This only increases the disappointment after I can't be any help at all. This is getting worse every second!
Twilight was standing on the treshold only looking at the preoccupied princess, not realizing that the guard had already entered the throne room without her.
Princess Celestia. Soon I will be talking to her, but what do I say? Excuses won't work, the Princess would look through them right away. She wouldn't believe that I had no time to study, because it's simply not true! I had the whole fore morning! But I can't just say that I was too preoccupied with sleeping! Why did she have to send the letter so late, anyway? No, the Princess is not to blame... Urgh! She grunted inwardly. Wait... Where is the guard?
Twilight frightened as she noticed that the guard had already begun to walk. She quickly caught up to the stallion, who hadn't notice her absence at all.
Their hoofsteps were muffled by the soft, red carpet, as the stallion leaded the purple unicorn to the Princess of the Sun. The princess, however, didn't notice Twilight and her guard approaching, as she was still occupied in what appeared to be an extremely boring discussion.
"I am very sorry, but I can't change the whole wheather-plan on such short notice. The pegasi plan it years ahead to optimize the harvest in every way, and two weeks of rain could do severe damage to some of the fields. Not to mention that there are not enough pegasi free at the moment."
Inaudible mumbling was starting all over again.
The guard and Twilight had meanwhile arrived at the bottom of the few stairs leading to the throne, and he cleared his throat once more to gain attention.
"Princess?" The crowd in front of the throne went silent, their as well as the Princess's head turned to him.
"I apologize for interrupting you, your highness. Twilight Sparkle here has safely arrived, as you can see. If there is nothing else you wished, I would return to my post."
The princess's gaze shifted to the lilac mare standing behind the guard.
"Ah, Twilight, my most faithful student. It's good to see you! I'm so glad you could make it," Celestia said, a cheerful smile appearing on her clearly tired face. She had feared the possibility of Twilight not coming, but for no good reason, as it turned out. She was more than happy that her student hadn't denied her request. She could always rely on Twilight whenever she was needed.
"Princess!" Twilight managed to stutter, "yes, I... I am glad, too!" she tried to hide her nervousness before the princess, faking a grin over her frown.
"Would you excuse me for a short moment?" she said, facing the crowd in front of her and receiving a quick agreement in response.
Twilight, was slowly losing the rest of her already fragile composure. What am I going to say? How can I explain to her?
Celestia stepped down the stairs to her faithful student, coming to a halt several hoofsteps away from the crowd. She nodded at the guard who still awaited orders, "Thank you for bringing her here to me. I have to discuss important matters with my student, so please inform the ponies present here, and accompany them to the exit. Ask them if they wouldn't mind coming back tomorrow. Thank you, that would be all."
Important matters? Twilight's anxiety increased.
The guard nodded silently, making his way to take care of the crowd of ponies.
Celestia, now standing calmly in front of her pupil, gently smiled at Twilight.
"Well Twilight, it has been quite a while since we've last met and talked. Why don't we catch up on that? Please, come with me," Celestia turned, waiting for Twilight to follow. The lilac unicorn quickly trotted to the side of her mentor, the false smile still plastered onto her features, inwardly wondering why Celestia wanted to go to an other place to talk.
The solar princess looked at Twilight in the corner of her eyes. Why had I even doubts in the first place? Twilight has never disappointed me. I'm so glad she has come. After all those years being her mentor, since the time when Twilight was still just a little filly, her student had become like a daughter to her. They shared a bond nopony could ever explain. And that is why Celestia had turned to Twilight Sparkle. She knew, only she was able to help her and, more importantly, her sister.
"Wh- where are we going, princess?" Twilight nervously asked, as she began to step in the same pace beside her mentor.
"You have never been there before, Twilight. To be honest, just few ponies have ever been there, but I won't tell more for now. See it as a surprise!"
Twilight swallowed nervously. Great, more secrets? A place where only few ponies have ever been before... I - I don't know! What and where could it be?
They stepped through an archway located behind the throne. Celestia smiled, not knowing about the concerns troubling her pupil cantering beside her through arced doors and hallways.
She has come, and that is all that matters now. Still, I don't know why I was even silly enough to think she wouldn't.
The walk was nothing special for Celestia, for she had walked this way almost every day in her entire life time. For Twilight however, the walk in silence, trotting side-by-side with the princess through the huge castle, gave her some peace of mind. She didn't know why, or how, but the princess was formally emanating calm. Her thought's about failure and causing disappointment somehow seemed to lessen.
They had left the throne room behind long ago, turning many different directions through the maze-like arrangement of corridors.
Once again Twilight found herself in high, arched hallways that were illuminated by the light coming in from the windows above. She looked up. The formerly orange sky had turned darker, a beautiful violet was now mingling with it, even if it was less intense in colour. The sun near the horizon created the so-familiar shade that indicated the upcoming night.
I still wonder where she is taking me. I have never been in this section of the castle before... but - it's beautiful.
One last turn, and they stood at the beginning of a long corridor, leading to two huge doors. A sun, an exact replica of Celestia's cutie mark to be exact, covered both the doors in the center. The walls of the passageway were white, yet in the descending light they seemed to shine a light lavender. The orange banners from before were extending along the walls, too, small white suns embroidered in the cloth. Other than that, the corridor was indeed abstract, but that didn't make it less amazing to the purple mare.
They went on, Twilight turning her head to the left and the right, not knowing where to look. Soon, they arrived in front of the large doors.
"Here we are, Twilight," Celestia spoke softly to her protegé.
Twilight nodded once at her mentor, her curiousity and nervousness increasing simultaneously. Celestia accurately gripped the doors with her magic, a light yellow aura appearing around the edges of the frame. The shade was not wavy as it would've been if other unicorns used their magic, it was a straight line exactly surrounding them. It showed Celestia's great ability and experience with magic, but also served another purpose: it was primarily a security mechanism, that meant no pony other than Princess Luna or herself could enter the room without notice or permission.
Celestia gave a light push, and the large doors opened smoothly.
Twilight watched the spectacle, but already in thoughts again. The Princess's cutie mark on the doors... few ponies have ever been there... no. It can't be.
"Princess... are - are these... your chambers?" Twilight hesitantly asked, fearing she might had taken the wrong guess.
"As always, nothing escapes your notice. Yes they are, Twilight. Please, come on in," the sun goddess calmly replied.
Twilight sighed out a breath of relief, but instantly perked up again as she realized what Celestia had just confirmed. She was getting overwhelmed by her nervousness and curiousity.
The Princess's chambers! I am really going to see them?!
In the interest of time...
"A very special pony to visit me - that's what my sister said. Twilight Sparkle, to be exact." Princess Luna was lying on her dark silken bed, blindly playing with the pages of an old, outworn book. "It was so nice being around her..."
Slowly, excitement was building up inside the princess. She could only think of seeing the lavender mare again. "She is such a kind pony."
The sound of the turning paper filled the otherwise silent room. Occasionally, Luna's eyes flew over a line on the yellowed pages as she lost herself in thoughts. Shallow words not worth remembering were entering her head, but thus would soon be forgotten. Even so, she smiled, lying on the warm, blue sheets. She was not able to think of anything different than the purple unicorn.
Her joy lessened, however, as she remembered. "Though, she is just coming at the behest of my sister," the lunar princess said to herself. "Can I even consider her my friend? I haven’t had one in such a long time. We didn’t state that clearly back then, I think."
A small pout formed upon her muzzle. "Just because of my sister, not because of me."
But her memories about back then were leading her thoughts anew to Twilight. The time spent together, how she had helped her to become accepted, their laughter and the fun they had last Nightmare Night. In that night, Luna felt happy being liked. She felt happy being with Twilight Sparkle.
"I haven't even thanked her yet... for everything. I need to catch up on that."
And time passed, seconds, minutes, hours, with Luna deep in her thoughts: about herself, about what was going to happen, about Twilight. She again had lost track of time, as she shifted through the yellowed pages. It was happening her a lot recently. Her mind was too foggy. Sometimes it seemed she would need a map to find out of her thoughts.
After a while, she turned her empty gaze from the book, up to the glassy doors leading to the balcony; it was more accidental then intentional. The lunar princess noticed the shady sky forming over Equestria.
"Has it already gotten that late again?" She glanced to the golden hands of a clock hanging on the wall. "This means... Twilight must be here by now!" The gloominess faded, instead, excitement, happiness, joy, every positive emotion was once more building up deep within her by the thought of seeing the one unicorn that changed her life.
No matter how much she wanted to see Twilight, though, she knew that she had also to play her part as one of the royal princesses.
"Luna, duty comes first!" she said to herself, determined yet already looking forward to seeing the lilac unicorn.
She closed the book with a faint thud, and jumped off the bed. With a smile on her face again, she trotted towards her balcony to fulfill her duty as the Princess of the Night.
Back in front of Celestia's chambers...
Twilight hesitantly peeked into the room beyond. She didn't believe she would ever see, let alone gain entrance to the Princess's own suite. She slowly walked forward, watching her every step. Though, she still couldn't see much. The room was not lit, and despite that it still wasn't night, the princess's chambers seemed rather dark. Twilight looked up at her mentor, who began to trot inside.
And as the Princess before her had entered completely, the dim room suddenly brightened up, an unknown source illuminating light in every corner of the chambers.
"Princess," the lavender mare was simply speechless.
"It is quite useful not to have to rely on the sunlight," Celestia said, chuckling at Twilight.
Big, white cushions with a orange seams lay on the ground, on the sofa, and in front of a large stone fireplace. A huge, pale rose canopy bed, that held enough space to fit three ordinary ponies, stood at the left end of the room. Pictures of the princess and other ponies Twilight didn't know, hung between light orange curtains adorning the walls.
Both the Princess and Twilight stepped further in, with the doors closing behind them shortly afterwards. The purple mare stood agape in the middle of the room, again not knowing where to look first. She turned several times in the room, astonished by the ancient yet beautiful furnishings.
What should I have expected? These are the princess's chambers!
In the end, the most interesting sight for her was something entirely different - an old, huge bookshelf packed with books and scrolls, full of knowledge and magical spells, spread over a whole section of the wall.
Twilight galopped to the bookshelf, looking across every title. "Princess, this room is... just amazing!" The lavender mare had almost forgotten why she was here with the Princess in the first place.
"Thank you, dear Twilight, I decorated it myself," Celestia replied. She stepped in front of two other golden-framed doors, big enough that she could slip through, but not too high either.
Twilight skipped over the book titles, inwardly reading it to herself. The Art of Magic - The Everfree: An unsolved Mystery - The Elements of Harmony - The Mare in the Moon... Twilight's excitement dropped instantly. She remembered why she was here in the first place.
"I must ask you something, Princess," she slowly began.
"What is it?" Celestia answered in a cheerful tone.
"Why... why have you brought me here?" Twilight asked, concern leaking into her voice.
"A reasonable question, my student. I wanted to show you something. Over here." She tilted her head from Twilight towards the doors. Twilight understood the gesture immediately, and hopped over a cushion to catch up to the alabaster alicorn.
Celestia slowly raised her hoof and put it on the old doors, after Twilight was standing next to her in anticipation.
"Careful now, the view can be quite dazzling for the first time." Celestia pushed the doors open.
Before Twilight could answer, she was blinded by a sudden incoming glare that shone through the just created gap between the doors. Swiftly, her reflexes pulled up her hoof in front of her eyes to block the blinding light. Even if it was bright as day in the room, the flash still blinded her.
After a moment, when her eyes had gotten used to it, she lowered her hoof again. Princess Celestia had already stepped forward, seemingly unaffected by the light at all. Gazing at the setting sun, she stood on her balcony. Just at that very moment it was on the same level as the flaming orb in the sky, that seemed even nearer than ever before.
Twilight dared to step forward onto the balcony, her head low as she didn't want to look at the source of the light just yet. Just because of this, she spotted a stunning, big emblem of Celestia's cutie mark, her orange sun, that had been embedded into the white marble.
"Princess, this is..." She stepped further, coming to a halt beside the princess, the place where she had been the entire evening. Resting her front hooves on the thick, marble railing of the balcony, she raised her head, allowing her to gaze into the distance. She continued, "The... the view is amazing!"
"It truly is, my faithful student."
Twilight could see almost half of Equestria. Green hills with apple trees, grassy fields, snowy mountains, the Royal Garden with its arranged flowers, all this could be seen on this balcony.
What could this mean? Why did the Princess bring me here, why did she want to show me this?
Twilight turned her gaze to the princess, a frown had formed on her face. Celestia caught the movement in the corner of her eye, and looked down at her pupil, noticing the purple unicorn's depressed expression. "My faithful student. You seem troubled? What's the matter?"
"I... I... you see," Twilight began in a hushed tone, but turned anxious as she foresaw herself disappointing the princess. Her world was falling apart. She couldn't bear it anymore.
"I'm so sorry! I came here not to let you down and disappoint you, but... that's going to happen!"
Celestia was visibly perplexed. "What do you mean, Twilight?"
"Please, Princess! Don't... don't you see? I didn't learn anything about how to deal with... your request! Not to mention that I was even tardy coming here. And I am afraid that I'm not able to help Princess Luna at all. I don't know what to do! If you were not able to help her, how could I? I... I'm so sorry, Princess."
A short moment of silence passed, before the princess leaned closer to her student.
"What are you saying, Twilight? Do you think I made you my personal protegé for no good reason? You are a very gifted unicorn Twilight, and you have a very special ability to make friends, to see past other's prejudices and approaching ponies without fear. In all honesty, you are the only pony to help my sister now."
What? "B-but I don't know how!" she almost shouted at the solar princess, tears forming in her eyes.
"Twilight, listen. You don't need to know, you will find out yourself. Don't worry yourself too much, I'm sure you can do it."
"But I was tardy again!"
"Oh, my dear student. Forget these minor details. In fact, you arrived half an hour earlier than I had expected. That's why I was still preoccupied when you showed up."
Twilight shifted her gaze back to the horizon. She couldn't look at her mentor. "I was not... tardy? So... does that mean... you won't lock me away or banish me?"
Celestia chuckled. "How do you always come up with these ideas of me banishing you? I neither could, nor would I ever do that."
"Thank you, Princess," she whispered, gushed with relief. Still, her mind wasn't at peace yet. "Though I'm uncertain..."
A slight chuckle came from the Princess of the Sun, interrupting the unicorn. "Uncertain about what? Tell me, what's on your mind?"
"How can you be so sure that I won't... fail?"
"Twilight," Celestia said, the gentle smile on her face directed at the younger mare, "do you trust me?"
"Wh- what do you mean? Of course I trust you, Princess!" Twilight replied, rather confused.
"Then let me tell you this. Not everything about friendship is written down in books, you will come to learn that. You also cannot learn everything just by studying. Sometimes, you have to explore for yourself. Do you remember? Through you, the real Luna could return, and you were the first and only pony to approach her on Nightmare Night, when everypony turned their backs on her. She told me about that. You wanted to help her from deep in your heart, not because she was a princess, but because she was a pony like everypony else in your eyes. And you didn't study that matter, did you?"
Twilight was speechless. She had gazed into the Princess's bright magenta eyes during her whole explanation. No doubt was held in them, only truth - and faith.
Once again she sat there agape. "Princess... so you mean... I am the only pony? But why?"
The sparkling eyes of the princess rested upon the lavender mare, a small smile crossing her face. "Because you possess the heart, my faithful student. And no further 'but's', allright?"
Twilight hadn't come any closer to her answer. "I don't understand! What are you trying to tell me, Princess?"
Celestia chuckled and calmly replied, "I think you'll have to find out yourself, Twilight."
The lilac unicorn, despite all her intelligence, couldn't comprehend what her mentor said. At least, not yet. Never before had the Princess been so mysterious with her.
"Twilight," the princess began again after several moments.
"Yes, prince.. ehh....eheheh.... achoo!" Twilight, fast enough to raise her leg, sneezed into her hoof.
"I'm sorry, Princess. Please, continue," Twilight said, sniffing and rubbing her forehoof against her nose.
"My, that was adorable! I don't think I've ever heard you sneeze before!" Celestia exclaimed, a grin on her face. Twilight began to blush, but a small smile was crawling up her face. Fortunately, the crimson reddening was hidden under her lavender coat.
"Uhm... thank you, I guess. But that was certainly not what you wanted to say, was it?"
"No, you're right," Celestia's smile lessened, as she paused for a moment. "Can you see the balcony over there? It lies a little lower than ours." The alabaster goddess pointed with her hoof over the railing to the balcony of an other tower.
It was similar in size to the one they were standing on. As on Celestia's, the cutie mark of the rightful owner was embedded into the marble floor. A white moon, yet not completely full, lying on a deep blue background. Luna's symbol seemed to shine in the light of dusk.
"Yes, I can see it," Twilight slowly answered. "So that is Princess Luna's balcony, then."
"Why are you showing this to me, Princess?"
"Recently, my sister... she has been lying there all alone during these cold nights. She even sleeps on it. I am sure she will do so again tonight." Celestia paused again. "Twilight, would you mind keeping her company this night?"
She looked almost concerned at her pupil. "Just talk, and be with her. That is all I'm asking you."
"O-of course I wouldn't mind." Twilight gazed into Celestia's shimmering eyes. "I wouldn't mind at all!"
To be honest, I'd be glad to.
"I haven't seen Princess Luna since last Nightmare Night." The dark blue princess briefly flashed up in her mind. Well, not here at least.
Celestia's frown turned into a happy smile after hearing the answer she had hoped for.
"Thank you, Twilight. It's good to know that I can always rely on my faithful student. I owe you. Not only for this, but for everything you have done thus far. I don't know where we'd be today without you."
Twilight heavily blushed, this time clearly visible on her purple fur. "Please, stop that Princess. You owe me nothing, really. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have found the friends I have in the first place. My life would still only circle around books, without having anypony to really share my time with. If somepony would owe something to anypony, it would be me."
The mares began to giggle at each other. It has been a long time since Twilight had really talked with her mentor and they basked in each other's their company.
After a while, the giggling died down, and the princess looked at the flaming orb.
"I have to lower the sun, Twilight."
"Oh, of course! I'll just be... back in your chambers then, if that is okay with you, Princess."
"You can stay, if you want. Feel free to watch."
"Are you sure, Princess?"
"Yes, I am."
"I'd be glad to watch."
Celestia raised her head high, closing her eyes. She focused her magic, and with it, she touched the image of the sun in her mind. She set the path for the sun, allowing it to lower every second. After the path was set, and she knew the sun would follow it, Celestia opened her eyes again.
"You don't set the sun completely?" Twilight asked, seemingly unimpressed.
"No. It's enough to lead it the way."
"Ah, I see."
Soon the night would set in, summoning the lunar princess to her duty.
"When should I go, Princess?" Twilight asked later after a few minutes of companionable silence.
"Definitely not yet, my faithful student," Celestia replied, smirking at her pupil.
"You... might want to take a bath, first. I'm sure some time for yourself will do you good, and maybe you can tidy your mane in the meantime, too."
A bath? Again? It would be nice to have a little time to settle down... but on the other hoof, do I want to risk being late again? No. Not this time. This is just too important!
Wait... did she say 'tidy my mane'?
Twilight raised her hoof to her forehead. Usually she would've felt her blue, purple-pink-striped mane pressing against her hoof and her coat, but there was nothing. The lilac unicorn hesitantly slid her hoof further up her head.
She began to panic, as she tapped across her head with her hoof. Twilight didn't feel her straight, smoothed mane on top of her head; instead, it had turned into a curly scrub, expanding in every possible direction.
"My mane! I'm so sorry, Princess, I just didn't have enough time to tidy-"
"It's alright, Twilight, don't worry. I was just joking. Though I would recommend a brush or two." Celestia began to giggle.
"Heh, thanks for the advice," Twilight shyly replied.
Thoughts came up in her mind as she looked at her smiling mentor, the solar princess. The giggling just now, the smirks, her almost informal attitude, the previous melancholy and desperation in her voice, and in her sparkling eyes. It was true, never, in all the time they had spent together, had she seen the princess so emotional before.
"Twilight, do you still remember your tower here in Canterlot Castle?" Celestia asked out of nowhere.
"Of course I do. How could I forget that?"
"It has remained as it was when you left for Ponyville. I had it cleaned a few times, but nothing was changed otherwise. You are free to reside there while staying here in the castle."
"Thank you, Princess. I've somehow missed my old home here in Canterlot."
"No need to thank me," her look turned to the dusky sky, the sun had almost vanished. "It's getting quite late. Do you want me to show you the way to Luna's tower before you get yourself at home in your old tower? I've unlocked the entrance door, but only you should be able to enter."
"That would be quite helpful," Twilight sheepishly answered.
"Very well. Follow me," the solar princess said, her calm and gentle gaze returning to her face.
One last glance at the red, setting sun, and they trotted alongside each other off the balcony, heading to corridors that led to the Nocturnal Spire.
The Princess must be really relieved. Probably more than I am.
As they stepped through the room, Celestia lowered her head to Twilight's.
"Thank you, Twilight," she whispered in the unicorn's ear, gently nuzzling her most faithful student.
A slight blush appeared on Twilight's cheeks, and a smile followed right away.
"No need to thank me."