Philomena woke up gradually. Nowadays it seemed like a three step process. Step one: Open eyes. Step two: Regain control of thought. (This particular process sometimes took Philomena an hour.) Step three: Be forced to listen as Celestia rants on about her plans for the day.
Unfortunately for Philomena, step three came first today.
"Good morning, Philomena. Did you sleep well?" Philomena was hoping that the princess was being sarcastic. "We've got a big day today, so get up!" As she said this, she went into her drawer, searching for her tiara. Philomena wondered why she wore the stupid thing. It would be so much easier to fly without it, but she insisted on wearing it every day.
"Oh, lighten up, Philomena. Today we're heading down to Ponyville. Pinkie Pie has put together a nice, casual get-together for us, and we don't want to be late!" Philomena was wondering why the princess was using words like "We" and "Us", when the princess called in a couple of her guards. Sheesh. "Guards". Sometimes the difference between Royal Guards and Servants became difficult to tell.
As if Celestia knew what Philomena was thinking, she said, "I'm bringing you along, by the way. Twilight has mentioned that her friend Fluttershy enjoys the company of animals, and I think she would be delighted to see you." Philomena wondered why Princess Celestia was so intent on bringing her, even if this "Fluttershy" did like animals. Why, of all days, would a get-together be held today?
Why would this "Pinkie Pie" hold the get-together on shedding day?
Today was the day that, instead of looking majestic and awe-inspiring, Philomena would just look like a mess. Why doesn't anypony know when that is? It was natural to her, why not to anypony else? This question constantly nagged at Philomena, but usually she could just push it aside.
Today, she would be humiliated in front of a crowd of ponies. Today, she would lose all of her feathers. Now, a pheonix is pretty much nothing without her feathers. In fact, a pheonix looks just plain ridiculous without her feathers. Philomena just sat with her wings crossed as the two guards picked up her cage. "Don't worry, Philomena. I doubt anypony will make fun of you."
Yeah, sure. As if something as majestic as a pheonix being turned into something resembling a chicken wasn't something to laugh at. Just thinking about what she would look like today sent a chill down Philomena's spine. Getting a chill was fairly uncommon in a pheonix, and this appeared to surprise the princess. However, instead of yielding like she normally did, Celestia just said, "Come on now. I'm sorry, but you have to go."
Philomena hadn't personally seen the princess so assertive before. She guessed that it had shown on her face, as the princess let out a small chuckle. "Come along, guards. We shouldn't be late." Philomena let out a groan. She honestly did not want to go. On a normal day she would be perfectly happy to be out there, strutting her stuff. But, today wasn't a normal day. It was shedding day. Shedding day has never been just normal. It's always been a day in which Philomena despised, the day a blot on her reputation always seemed to surface. In Philomena's mind, that didn't need any assistance in utterly humiliating her.
Philomena woke just as the carriage landed. Just how long had she been sleeping? Casting a glance at where the sun was, she guessed that she had been out for about 3 minutes. The guards always did have a reputation for going places insanely quickly. Though, nopony seemed to be as fast as that blue-and-rainbow colored pegasus, but that was a whole different story.
Philomena noticed a building nearby that appeared to be built out of...food? No, on further inspection, it looked like a normal building up until the roof. The roof of the building was brown and had frosting on it, not unlike a gingerbread house. She noticed a great deal of ponies inside the building, and jumped down to the bottom of her cage to remain out of sight. Philomena had lost many of her feathers on the trip. She sighed. It was going to be a long day.