The night sky above was warm and welcoming.
With its princess to guide the stars they sat in their heavenly observatory and twinkled joyfully for the wishes of the souls which dwelled beneath.
It was noisy in Canterlot, but it was anything but unpleasant. From a large garden beside the castle sounds of cheerful voices could be heard, and the occasional sound of clinking glass and pleasant conversation.
The band on stage had gone back to simpler, background numbers after the stallion singing had taken his leave. Coated in sweat he had leapt down from the stage to where a thoroughly impressed moon princess had a glass of chilled punch ready for her dashing date.
“You are quite something Cuff Links.” She remarked, flicking some of the worst of the drenching sweat from his mane. It looked good on him she had to admit, the rugged working look.
“After that performance I’m quite surprised you haven’t got something singing related for your cutie mark.” Luna giggled ash he turned and gave her a dirty look.
“Actually,” he began, his voice was surprisingly deep and solid, yet soothing. The princess of the moon was surprised at that, but even more surprised that she was surprised. If that made sense? Surely they’d had conversations before? Right? Why was she not so sure she had heard him speak all of a sudden?
“Are you ok princess?” Links was looking into her face, trying to understand her look of consternation.
“Ah yes I’m fine. You were saying?” Luna smiled down at him, intrigued.
“Yes...well, I took up singing as a hobby long after I got my cutie mark.” Links explained, scratching the back of his head with a fore-hoof in embarrassment. “I was never really all that.”
The moon princess chuckled, “Oh I quite disagree, you really were all that. I don’t think I’m the only one to think so though.”
While the tailoring pegasus put on a look of confusion the dark alicorn turned and gestured to the knot of mares over in the corner of the stage. Fluttershy was propping up a blubbering Rainbow Dash who was looking up at her brother with her light rose eyes.
“Go on, we can talk another time,” she put a slender leg to his rump and gave a soft shove. “Right now, you have some catching up to do.”
Rainbow wasn’t the only one to find the night’s events overwhelming.
Rarity had decided to slip away to cry in a corner and Fancypants had slipped off to make sure she was all right. Pinkie Pie seemed to be broken, having not picked her jaw off the floor the whole time, staring into empty space, and Applejack was waving a hoof in front of her face in a vain attempt to snap her out of whatever stupor she was stuck in.
Twilight Sparkle herself couldn’t help but be in a daze. There she was bearing witness to the the reunification of siblings after a ten year separation.
“It’ll make quite the report won’t it?” The lavender unicorn nearly jumped right out of her skin, having totally forgotten the solar goddess was just behind her. While the white alicorn chuckled her student visibly pulled her frayed thoughts back together.
“Uh, yes I guess it would. Should I get right on that?” The thought had sparked that wild look the little unicorn sometimes got, the one which experience said could lead to big big problems if let out of control.
Celestia giggled at her student’s discomfort. “Not now Twilight, I was kidding.” The relief her student let off at that was palpable, with several stray and frizzy strands of mane spontaneously resetting themselves in reflection of their owner’s mood. Now the solar alicorn was outright laughing. Seeing Twilight go from frazzled to relived like that was too cute.
“Just relax Twilight, enjoy the party,” She gave the purple student a slight nudge with her hip towards the group by the stage. Rainbow Dash seemed to have stopped crying and had stopped hugging the poor stallion long enough for him to breath again.
“It seems the intimate personal talk is over, why not go and join your friends, lighten the mood?”
Twilight turned her face up to her mentor, her eyes soft and kind, smiling along with her mouth.
“I think I’ll do just that. Thank you Princess.”
Celestia watched as her student turned to go, wondering quietly. So much had changed in little Twilight Sparkle since she went to live on her own in Ponyville. Perhaps it was time to get reacquainted with her protege.
As ponies began to move in to talk to their ruler and solar goddess, many of them noticed an odd little kind of smile playing across her face.
“Are you all right there Rarity?”
Fancypants had been a little concerned for his friend ever since she had hastily escaped from the stage area during the second headline song. He’d found her by the drinks table pouring glass after glass of what seemed to be pretty hard spirits. Judging from how erratic her telekinesis had become he’d arrived several glasses too late.
“I’m f-fine.” She croaked, knocking back another glass. “Just need some.....liquid courage.”
The stallion frowned before taking both glass and bottle from her grip.
“I think you’ve had enough courage without that my dear.”
She turned and swatted at him weakly with a fore-hoof. “Nonsense!” she cried, a little too loudly for decorum, “I’ll need all I can get to face nobility after all those years of looking down on her.”
The alabaster unicorn was surprisingly lucid, with no hint of a slur in her voice. Her hooves however were another matter entirely and Fancypants moved to sit her down before she collapsed all over the drinks table.
“I mean, sure I was Rainbow’s friend...but that didn’t stop me from looking down on her for being such a.....ruffian all the same. Now it turns out she’s a Dashton!? How do I make that up to her?” The mare turned and looked him in the eyes, a look which despite her inebriation unnerved him a little, or maybe it was causing him disquiet because she was more than a little well oiled.
“And to top it off, did you see those dresses her brother made? He’s as important as she is, he’ll draw all the nobility with skills and reputation like that.”
This was getting silly. More than silly, Rarity was beginning to wear on Fancypant’s famously tolerant nerves. How anypony like her could sit there and wallow in self pity and dengration was beyond his ability to simply cope with.
“Now you listen to me young lady.” Using his own telekinetic aura the stallion hauled her to her limp hooves and held her there, eye to eye as he bore into her.
“You are not a bad friend for not knowing about Miss Dash. She didn’t tell anypony about it, and from what I know of the Dashtons with good reason too. If even half the things which are said about that family are true it comes as no surprise to me that their children would want to escape that name.” The last was almost spat with disgust. The Dashtons were well known for abusing their name and position in the most unpleasant of ways.
He was shaking her a little by now, subconsciously trying to shake some sense into her limp form.
“So you shouldn’t feel a single lick of guilt about that. As for Mr Links’ dressmaking he certainly has a lot of skill and flair, but have you seen what Princess Celestia is wearing tonight? Isn’t it the most fantastic thing? A perfect match for her and complement to her sister. I hear a certain mare from ponyville made it, she must have quite the fantastic talent herself.”
This drew a weak smile from the fashionista.
“So stop this nonsense right now. You are neither a bad friend or a bad designer. You are neither bad company nor unbecoming either before you start.” he finished, cutting off something the white mare before him was about to say. Instead she closed her mouth and looked down sheepishly.
“Now, since you asked so nicely and my dear wife was indisposed I agreed to accompany you tonight, but all you’ve done so far is mope,” now he was teasing her, a tone of mock affront to his voice.
Taking the bait Rarity stood and turned, her eyes full of their usual spark once more.
“Well then Sir Fancypants,” she giggled, linking a foreleg with his and leaning into him slightly. He didn’t move to distance himself, she wasn’t being familiar (at least, he hoped not) but she simply couldn’t stand upright yet without help.
“I’ll need to see about making that up to you.” she crooned quietly into his ear.
Turning a rather bright shade Fancypants started towards the group of Rarity's friends as a matter of minor urgency. Maybe it would be a good idea to get a little distance, at least until she sobered a little.