“And where were you the morning of the Longest Night in Equestria?” the detective asked, his eye bearing down on a blond maned stallion. “Writing some loathsome tome of evil to benefit the moon tyrant?” His breath was a mask of alcohol, a goblet of his self-described manliest drink in his hooves. The pony opposite him was midnight blue in coat, seemingly disgruntled at the drunk dick. Taking another drink of his Fuzzy Navel, Squeak leaned close to the stallion. “I’m on to you!”
“Excuse me, but I’m an artist- I don’t exactly write demonic tomes,” the artist sighed, pushing a hoof against Squeak to remove him from his bubble.
The tan detective pony drummed the table with his hoof in thought, before shaking his head incredulously. “This here party is for writin’ ponies. What the hay is a fancy pancy.... panty pants...” The pony continued to droll off without direction for a good half minute before slamming his hoof into the bar. “Why do we have a word for pants. Ponies don’t wear pants!” Squeak’s eyes narrowed as he prodded the artist. “Y’see, Canvas, that’s what I’m sayin’... this detective stumbles onto the biggest.... the biggest mystery of his career!”
“Everything alright over here?” The more gruff tone cut through the two stallions’ dialogue like a knife, the giant and a half of Pony Joe rising over them as he approached them. “You all having a good time?” The panicked shake of the head from the midnight blue pony beside Squeak was all the big guy needed to give the tan detective a stern look. “I think you’ve had enough, sir.”
“Had enough? Had enough!?” Looking down at his empty glass, and the seven glasses next to it, Squeak hiccuped a moment before turning to Joe with a lazy smile. “I guess you could say that.” Giggling like a school colt, the tipsy pony removed himself from the bar, Joe’s horn quickly cleaning up the area that he had occupied. As he did, the seat was soon filled once again by a bookish lavender unicorn, a tired expression and a soft smile gracing her features.
“Get me a Bloody Marey. Extra Bloo.... Mare.... More alcohol than normal, please,” Twilight breathed, her head lazing over the table. “I’ve had a long day.” The large pony chuckled, refilling the stallion’s drink beside Twilight Sparkle. Her eyes tracked the brown liquid pouring from the glass as if trying to drink it with just her vision. “How’ve you been holding up here, Joe?”
Pony Joe shrugged his massive shoulders and slid the mare’s drink to her, a content smile on his face. “Just reveling in my old skills, Sparkle. Did you know I was a bouncer for the Blue Mare back in Canterlot for awhile?” he chuckled, sliding a donut over to Twilight as he did. The mare gave him a confused glance, but the older stallion gave her a wink and a smile. “Free advertisement for my business. Figure ‘bunch a lonely writers might need a place to sit and mope, they might as well do it at my store while buying donuts and coffee.”
“Shrewd,” Twilight said, but a smile remained on her lips as she took a surprisingly long drought from her drink. Spinning on her chair, the purple pony took full view of the room before her. Her eyes parsed the scene, locating Fluttershy across the room speaking with the mare that had been with Butterscotch Sundae. Twilight couldn’t shake the feeling she knew her from somewhere outside the convention. Her minty green natural socks and delicious looking mane were so very unique, and just looking at her made Twilight a little hungry. Absentmindedly licking her lips, the student startled herself as she violently shook her head, her cheeks flushed at the signals she was presenting.
“Well, who’re you checking out, Twilight?” a familiar voice called, belonging to her gray dappled friend. “I’ve never seen you so lax about it.”
Spinning round, the midnight pony had gone and been replaced with Dapples, who at the moment was wearing the most smug smile on his face. Every fiber of Twilight’s being wanted to wipe it from his stupid mug. “I wasn’t- I don’t....” Her stomach grumbled almost instantly, and the free donut Joe had provided slammed into her mouth in a wash of red magic, the pony sadly unable to finish explaining herself.
“Right, say no more, Twilight, I can appreciate a good mare as well as the next pony,” Dapples chuckled, taking a long draft from his drink, tactfully ignoring the icy glare Celestia’s student was giving him. Removing his lips from the magically floating mug, he recoiled as the full extent of the alcohol gripped him. Keeping his composure as well as he could, Dapples slammed a hoof into his chest multiple times in a vain effort to make the alcohol go down easier.
“Yeah, well, you enjoy stallions as much... as the next pony too,” the purple pony managed, her words stumbling as they fell out of her mouth.
Dapples slid Twilight a mildly incredulous look. “Rapier wit as ever, Twilight.”
Disgruntled, the unicorn prodded the stallion’s side a little harder than what was friendly and kept a hoof on his arm. “Hey, you’re in here ‘cause I let you, so if you don’t want to be kicked out, you better be nice to me-” Twilight’s tirade was cut short as Pony Joe slid her drink in front of her, the pony’s earlier distaste evaporating as she launched herself towards the glass. “Oh sweet Celestia, sustenance!” In a manner unfitting a mare, the purple pony downed the glass in mere seconds, her face contorting as the burn slid down her throat and dappled the sides of her mouth.
There was a moment’s silence as Dapples looked at his half finished drink, before sliding it telepathically over to Twilight’s empty glass. “I... think you need this more than I do, Twi.” The dappled pony couldn’t help but feel unsafe in the vicinity of the hastily drinking mare and left the table, but couldn’t help but smile as he trotted off, scouting for a good place to watch the evening’s theatrics.
Twilight entertained herself for a while between the open bar and the hastily thinning room as the night waxed on, only breaking from the beergasm to check on her two friends. Every subsequent trip into the open room revealed a Twilight whom was increasingly becoming the social butterfly her friends Rarity and Pinkie Pie were while sober. However, years of being a major in the studies of all magics revealed Twilight Sparkle’s other special talent, almost unknown to everypony but Celestia and some choice guards.
The unicorn could seriously hold her liquor.
Striding confidently through the crowds, the maneuverable mare came upon Fluttershy, who calmly, if a bit tipsily, was chatting up some rogue blue stallion with a stringy mustache, which held a plastic sheen in the right light. “And I take care of all the animals. It’s pretty lonely, but I have the besssstest and most cuddly wuddly assistant anypony could eve-” Fluttershy hiccuped, spilling a little drink on her hoof. She eyed the wet spot cautiously, but then her smile returned as she locked eyes with the indigo-maned pony, who was sporting a handlebar mustache. “Ever.” Looking over to Twilight, the pegasus smiled lazily as her head slightly cocked to one side. Twilight, however, was certain this was not of her own accord. “Hey Twilight, have you met my friend.... Patty?” she burbled, a giggle escaping her throat as she giggled at the stallion. “That’s a mare’s name...!”
Twilight raised an eyebrow towards her friend, cautiously adjusting the pink mane away from the cream colored pony and straightening her head. Turning towards the blue stallion, whose bushy mustache she quite admired, she smiled politely. “Well, nice to meet you, um...”
“Pacce. Or Patty, I’m not sure!” His smile was huge, and Twilight had the strangest urge to call it a failed attempt at being threatening. Looking away a moment, Fluttershy was squeaking and hiccuping at the same time, sending herself into a fit of raucous giggles.
“Your fillyfriend here was just telling me about the time she fought off a dragon.” Pacce stroked his fu manchu, his giant smile replaced with a small grin. Twilight began to mumble something about her relationship status before Fluttershy cut her off.
“Snapped its neck!” Fluttershy shouted, giving Twilight a start. Draining the rest of her glass in one go, the pegasus made a motion of spinning her hooves in a way that looked completely benign. “Turned its tail an... and left Equestria.”
“Fascinating. With a broken neck?” Pacce egged on, much to Twilight’s chagrin. However, the lavender pony let it go with a smile and nod.
“Didn’t she tell you? I was turned to stone the whole time,” Twilight continued, Fluttershy slowly becoming limp in her hooves. Turning away from the blue stallion, Twilight confirmed that the pegasus was quickly losing consciousness. Smiling up at Pacce, the unicorn’s horn sparked to life a little slower than usual as yellow hooves slowly pushed themselves off the floor. “Well, I’m sure she’ll regale you some other time, Mr. Patty.”
Pushing a piece of his purple hair away from his eyes, the Earth pony guffawed as he rubbed his horseshoe ‘stache with great interest. “Perhaps she will! Now, if you excuse me I am off to save the Muffin Empire from a blueberry unicorn. Take care of your fillyfriend!”
“She’s not my...” Twilight murmured, but shook her head, shaking the word off her like water. Twilight was starting to really feel the drinks hit her as the full weight of the pegasus dragged on her mental state. Struggling to keep the light frame suspended in air, the unicorn brought her charge towards one of the towering windows behind the bar, stowing Fluttershy behind one of the great tapestries that lined the wall. Sighing over the sleeping form of her friend, Twilight caught a look from Pony Joe as he examined her cargo. “I’ll keep her safe, Twilight, you keep havin’ fun.”
Smiling up at the towering figure, the lavender unicorn opted to lay next to the mare, a pained expression on her face. “Just gonna rest my hooves a moment, Joe.” Twilight wished nothing more than to stereotypically drift off to sleep and leave the night behind her, but her buzzed mind would have nothing of it. The deep recesses of her analytical mind was having a field day with a wonderful new term that Pacce had oh-so-ignorantly given her. Fillyfriend. It didn’t seem like Fluttershy to just tell a pony she was a fillyfriend with somepony she wasn’t. Unless...
Twilight cursed her buzzing brain for being so slow. Slowly getting to her feet, the pony returned to her mentally claimed seat at the bar and gave her old friend a long, sad smile. “Oh Joe... can I get a coffee? I need something to curb the alcohol before it gets any worse.”
Joe looked over the bar, his eyes on the lookout for anything that even began to resemble a coffee maker, but in the end he approached Twilight with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Sparkle, I didn’t carry anything like that with me. ‘Sides of which, that stuff don’t work, believe me.” Looking at the large compliment of empty glasses that adorned the purple pony’s designated area, he chuckled despite his customer. “If it did, I don’t think anything this side of Manehatten is gonna cut into the buzz you’re going to get.”
Twilight took this as a compliment as she dislodged herself from her seat, the pony taking small pride in her ability to keep mobile. Scanning the room, she was proud and partly gratified with how well her duties in organizing this event had gone over. As she dwelt on it further, though, the image of the sleeping pegasus crossed her mind’s eye, interrupting her self-congratulations. Sighing, the pony spotted the bushel of pink in the corner of the room, Pinkie Pie. Trotting towards the pink Earth pony, Twilight greeted her and her discussion partner. Another blue stallion, this one was the color of the sky on a cloudless day, and his mane was a stark white, which matched the streaking white comet adorned on his flank.
“And then Twilight went foosh and she was on fire! But then she calmed down and she was okay, and her mane was still there and everything! Can you believe that? Most ponies would go bald if their hair was set on fire, and hers became fire!” Pinkie chatted, the lavender pony rolling her eyes as she set hoof closer to the pair. “Anyway, that’s how we saved Froggy Bottom Bog.” Whilst being in typical Pinkie fashion, Twilight had to give her points for at least getting the general location right for once.
“Right...” The blue pegasus forced a smile, beads of sweat pearling around his forehead. Whoever he was, it was apparent that he had been here awhile. Twilight pitied the poor pegasus; he couldn’t have been much older than the Equestrian drinking age. His eyes flashed toward Twilight, a small glimmer of hope shining behind his neon orbs. “Hello there! Have you met Pinkie?” he gasped, gesturing towards Twilight’s friend.
Feeling charitable, or at least to allow the cute stallion to walk away with some pride, the unicorn only smiled warmly as Pinkie’s brilliant sapphire eyes took notice of her. “We’ve met, yes. Pinkie, can I talk to you?” She gave the sky blue colt a look, before returning her gaze toward her friend. “Privately?”
“Oh um, I was talking to Windchaser here, but,” she spun her head towards the stallion, but the comet-cutie marked pony had already began his retreat, causing Pinkie to furrow her brow. “Well, I guess I’m free to talk.”
“Good!” Twilight blurted quickly. Some unknown sense of urgency had taken hold of the unicorn, placing a hoof on Pinkie’s back as she brought the pink pony close. “Okay, so the party is winding down, and we’re gonna-” Twilight hiccuped something fierce, melting the pony’s face into a bashful smile as she continued, “have to make sure everypony leaves by... Oh Luna what time is it?”
“About two seventeen in the morning,” Pinkie responded automatically with nary a clock in sight. Twilight nodded numbly, prompting Pinkamina to give Twilight a once over. “Twilight, have you been drinking?” Her nose scrunching up as she spoke, Pinkie added, “You smell awfully funny.”
“Of- of course I have. Everypony drinks at these parties,” Twilight mused in a matter-of-fact.
Pinkie shook her head, a brilliant smile on her face. “I don’t.” At this Twilight spun about, her mouth in a wide gape. Pinkie giggled at her reaction, waving her hoof around. “I don’t drink, silly! Granny Pie said all that stuff was a depressant, and this pony wants none of that! How can you be bubbly and cheerful when you’re depressed? I mean, come on, Twilight.” Despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, Pinkie’s depiction of alcohol only served to somehow... make sense. There was no way for Pinkie to be any more friendly than the next pony, so she had no where to go but down.
Twilight’s mind immediately added, in more ways than one. Internally chiding herself for the crude opinion, the mare shook her head about, whipping Pinkie’s muzzle with her loose locks. “H-hey Twi, cut it out, that tickles!” Scrunching up her nose, the Earth pony backed away, intent on not undergoing one of her rocket powered sneezes. As she stepped back, Twilight’s hoof slipped off the pony’s back, sending the increasingly inebriated pony to the floor with a yelp.
As Twilight hit the ground, she soon found herself the object of a red-orange aura. “Oh dear,” a green stallion muttered nearby, stepping in and helping the poor mare to her feet. As Twilight returned to four hooves, the assisting unicorn recognized the mare. “Ah, you again!” The pony smirked as he caught sight of the Twilight’s face, the mane and coat apparently not a dead giveaway.
Twilight peered confusedly toward the strange auburn haired pony, who merely gestured to the wall. Her eyes tracked towards the extended hoof, only to notice he was pointing toward the passed out pegasus in the corner of the room, just barely visible from where they stood. It took the unicorn a moment to realize the same stallion had done exactly the same thing not too long ago. “O-oh, right!” she exclaimed, a sheepish smile crossing her face. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t get your nam-”
“Think nothing of it,” the stallion interrupted, adjusting his tie with a glow from his horn. “Somepony has to be a gentlecolt. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to prepare a light tea to help alleviate a mare’s hangover. Toodles.” Giving a short wave toward the girls, the stallion turned tail and trotted off, Twilight’s tongue too slow to stop him to finish her question.
“Why is Flutters over there by herself?” Pinkie interrupted, pointing her hoof where the stallion had moments prior. Twilight focused her attention on the pony’s persona, finding it much sharper than normal. However, Twilight reasoned that her current inebriation was only fooling herself into believing that Pinkie was making more sense. “Is she okay?”
Twilight didn’t make much of a response at first, her mind working the situation out in her head. Fluttershy didn’t seem all that sick, just sleepy, so she was practically the image of health. Except for the likely copious amounts of social lubricant she had partaken in, which Twilight guessed didn’t mean she was all that right in the head at the moment. Waving her hoof about, she remembered that Fluttershy had been talking about Twilight as if they were fillyfriends, she stressed, and at about this moment did the unicorn realize that she was saying all this out loud for everypony within earshot to hear.
“It’s always the quiet ones,” Butterscotch smirked, her attention drawn to the mares nearby. The filly Twilight had glued her eyes on earlier was with her- the same pair that had so very embarrassed the yellow pegasus at the start of the night. Levitating next to both ponies were their own drinks, which the lavender unicorn recognized as some serious top shelf stuff.
A snickering pony caught her ear as she saw Dapples nearby, shaking his mane as he looked toward the chocolate colored mare. “Oh no, trust me, that one,” he motioned toward Twilight, “is anything but quiet.”
“Oh really?” Butterscotch smiled, her eyes sparkling as she looked between the other two unicorns. “Tell me more.”
Twilight’s mind was trying to keep up with the two as they spoke, barely realizing that they were talking about her. “Wha-hey, not like that. Well, not that I know of, anyway,” she heard Dapples say, trying to piece together what they were talking about.
Oh please, you’re not that innocent, a voice cried in her head. To her own surprise, Twilight realized it was herself, and suddenly the context was hers to own. And that didn’t please her. “W-wait a minute.” The other ponies slowed their discussion, Butters cutting herself off in the middle of some adult themed quip. “Why is everypony suddenly talking about my personal life?”
“Well, about the time you made it public knowledge, Twilight.” The mint and peanut butter maned pony held a forgiving smile, prompting Twilight to focus in on her face while returning a sheepish smile towards her. As she did, Twilight’s ears folded against her head; the pony seemed really familiar to her. The pony raised a hoof, giving a sidelong glance towards Butterscotch. “Don’t feel bad! I know I’ve gotten a bit loud and open when I’ve had a few.” Suddenly Butterscotch’s gleaming eyes were locked on to hers, a smile spreading across her face.
“Gee, you all sure do tend to talk a lot more,” Pinkie said, cutting the mood with a knife. Looking towards Twilight, Pinkie gave a lopsided smile as she hopped towards the corner. “I’m gonna go check up on Flutters, be back in a bit.”
“You do that, Pinkie,” Twilight fumbled out, her mouth trying desperately to slow down for her head to catch up.
Butterscotch extended a yellow hoof forward, suddenly deeming that the conversations had melded enough to warrant further discussion. “Well, I’m just happy to have a little steamy discussion on our plates. Twilight, you organized a terrific party but it’s been such a bore with some of these writers- present company excluded, of course,” she added, giving the white unicorn beside her a seductive wink, prompting a furious blush.
“Yes, well,” Twilight started, her eyes darting from side to side as she tried to form a coherent sentence. “I really don’t see how it’s any business of anypony but mine... minus that one mistake. I didn’t mean to say all that aloud.”
The ice-cream flavored pony clicked her tongue as she shook her head sadly. “Oh you poor dear,” she expressed, a sad smile on her face. “I think that means you need our help- you practically cried out for it.”
“She did cry out for it,” Dapples corrected. He shot Twilight the biggest manure-eating grin, uncaring of the righteous retribution he’d find back in Ponyville.
“Sunset Rose and I were talking about this earlier.” Twilight’s ear twitched as Butterscotch continued, her cheeks flaring at the realization that these ponies were not going to stop anytime soon. Not to mention that the name of the delicious looking filly seemed awfully nostalgic to her. “A mare introduced to the sudden knowledge that she is the subject of adoration from another mare.”
Twilight cocked an eyebrow. “You ran a panel on fillyfooling literature, don’t you talk about that kind of thing enough?”
Sunset Rose chuckled, her eyes rolling just slightly. “We went over a lot of things about marefriends and fillyfooling... but mostly things like February Fiction and stuff like that.” Dapples raised an eyebrow and an awaiting hoof in question, but Rose cut him off. “It’s when a writer has two ponies, one struggling to tell the other how she feels, and when it finally comes out, her feelings are returned and they have a happy ending.” Rose locked eyes with Twilight a moment before averting her gaze, her cheeks reddening as she tried to keep her attention off the purple mare.
Dapples coughed uneasily, his eyes averting against the wall hard as if the pictures on the stained glass windows had suddenly become the most interesting thing in the world to him. Butters smiled offhoofedly, but looked back towards Twilight, who was having difficulty relating this situation back to her own. “What does this have to do with me? It’s not even February.”
“Twilight, settle your adorable heiney down.” Twilight awkwardly shuffled her hooves at the rare compliment, and quieted down as Butterscotch took the reigns. “Thing is, a lot of the time, crushes are one-sided, but that’s because, especially with mares to mares and stallions to stallions, the other party just isn’t, y’know, privy to that sort of thing.” Licking her lips, the chocolate unicorn sat her haunches down as she raised both hooves, intent on talking with them. “So if it ever comes to light, you get a lot of shock and awe.”
“And drunken ponies shouting in the middle of a crowded room,” Dapples smirked; however, his expression turned more serious as he looked over towards Twilight.
“W-wait,” Twilight threw a hoof up, the gears in her head clicking into place. “You’re talking about me, then?” She felt a bit dumb in saying it, but it wasn’t somewhere her head usually went. She sometimes thought about romance and... other stuff like that, but this was coming too hard and fast for her to comprehend all at once. “A-and...” The slow realization that was building all night finally started to seep in as Twilight put
“Oh, Rosie, you’re right, she is so adorably naive sometimes.” Butters laughed, Sunset’s cheeks turning a fierce red that complimented her green socks. “Really, Twilight, put two and two together.”
The thing that had just been words started to take shape as meaning as Twilight closed her eyes. The running away before the panel, the hiding, Twilight being the absolute last pony she had wanted to see after that mishap... that strange blue stallion saying Fluttershy was her fillyfriend.
Fluttershy had a crush on her. Romantic. A mare. Her friend. “O-oh dear.”
“There’s the shock...” Butters mentioned, a cool expression on her face. However, her demeanor quickly changed when in the next instant the purple pony took up a massive red aura around her, and in a giant flash, only a smoking explosion of magic remained. Dumbfounded, the unicorn looked towards her companion and the stallion, the latter of which wore an expression of amusement.
“Aaaaand there’s the awe,” Dapples finished, the others looking about for the purple mare. “She does this when she’s overstressed. Give her a moment, she’ll be back.”
Sunset Rose blinked hard, parting one of her minty green locks from her eyes. “I didn’t think anypony could do that.” Sunset turned to the stallion, her expression blank. “I knew Twilight was powerful back in Canterlot...” Dapples chuckled in response, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly.
“You knew Twilight back in Canterlot, Rose?” Dapples ventured, his eyebrow raised curiously.
Sunset Rose wore a regretful smile, nodding her head. “Please, call me Rosie. And yes, although she didn’t really know me. Everypony knew her, though. I just saw her from time to time when I was working.”
Butterscotch smiled as Sunset Rose continued, before budding in herself. “Not to mention Rosie here had the biggest crush on that little mare back in the day,” the chocolate pony teased, Butters sticking her tongue out at her friend. “Mm, the stories she came up with.”
“B-B-Butterscotch! N-not here!” Cheeks red and flushed, the poor mare covered her face in a hoof, trying to hide the passing smiles from those around her.
Dapples chuckled, shaking his head in a long, sad fashion. “It’s alright, Rose. I have to admit I had a slight crush on her when I moved to Ponyville, too.” Looking about the room, he noticed Pinkie Pie bouncing over, a spring in her step despite the late hour. “I think we’re all weak to cute, bookish mares.”
“Hi everypony!” Pinkie Pie greeted, a smile on her face as she arrived. The others were about to greet her and attempt to explain the situation when the pink pony kept on bouncing, colliding with Dapples just enough to cause the pony to stumble away, a look of confusion plastered across his face.
“Hey-what?” he sputtered in indignation, but not a moment later Twilight reappeared where he had been standing moment’s earlier in an explosive flash of light and sound. “I-you-what?” Dapples dribbled out, his eyes plastered on the ground he was standing on moments prior that Twilight now occupied.
Twilight shot the stallion a confused look, but noticed Pinkie standing to her immediate left, and she drew two and two together. “Oh. Um. Thanks, Pinkie.”
“Dapples was already a bubble earlier,” Pinkie began, the expressions of the two other mares dropping into the incredulous. “I really didn’t want him to pop this time!” Pleased with her timely intervention, the pink mare looked about the rest of the assembled ponies. “So what’s shakin’?”
While Dapples slowly considered the thought that he could have been popped like a balloon when Twilight teleported in, the lavender unicorn herself wiped her brow with her hoof and smiled sheepishly. “Nothing, I was just... caught up in something.”
Butterscotch smiled, albeit a bit awkwardly, her hoof absentmindedly tapping her own horn as she looked to and fro. “I’ll say, Ms. Sparkle. I’d love to have a trick like that at my disposal. It’d get myself out of some sticky situations.”
“Well you work in an ice-cream parlor! Of course you deal in the sticky stuff!” Pinkie beamed, catching the others off-guard. “Could you imagine it, though? Boom, you’re at the chocolate, then bam! Mint chocolate chip! And then Blazamba! Rocky Road!”
Butterscotch smiled as Pinkie started naming flavors, shaking her flowing mane as she continued making up sound effects. “Oh Pinkie, it’s always a pleasure.” Pushing a hoof back through her hair, the pony-in-the-natural-socks returned her gaze towards Twilight. “Well, I do believe you’ve provided me much in decent writing material.”
Twilight blinked, her eyes shrinking as she considered the prospect. “I-I don’t know if I’m comfortable with...” she paused. The subject of erotica? The Princess’ pupil? She could hear Rarity now, ‘Oh dearest! The horror, the scandal! The... where exactly did you say it was on sale again?’ Twilight visibly cringed. “Nothing with or relating to me, please.” Twilight didn’t notice the pink color that showed up on Sunset’s face.
Butterscotch chuckled dryly as she shook her head. “Not you, but your magic. Teleportation- think of the possibilities!”
“Possibilities?” Twilight echoed. “Like, it’s useful and all, but- oh you mean in bed-” Twilight stopped herself, her brain freezing like ice. Why in the wide, wide world of Equestria was she even discussing this? Stomping a hoof down, Twilight’s sense of balance was thrown for a moment as she struggled to keep herself from tipping over. Sweet Luna, she could feel it now. “I don’t... want to.”
“Twilight? You don’t look so good,” Pinkie murmured, placing a hoof on her friend’s crest to keep her steady. “You wanna go lay down? I know when a partier is pooped and it’s quiet over where Fluttershy is-”
“No!” Twilight snapped, much to the surprise of herself. Pinkie reeled back, the sudden shift in weight throwing Twilight to the ground as she tipped forward onto her face. Sliding along her neck, the mare flopped over, scrambling to her hooves to save herself further embarrassment.
“Twilight, are you okay?” Sunset Rose asked, her eyes a mask of concern and merriment as she absently sipped at her drink.
“I’m fine.” Twilight breathed, rubbing her face with her hoof and slapping the side of her own cheek to wake herself up. “ I have to see this party through, and I’m gonna do just that.”
Sunset smiled, nodding her head sagely. “It is like you to try and stay awake as long as possible,” she reasoned, prompting Twilight to focus on her.
Sunset Rose... she worked at a bindery in Canterlot, Twilight remembered, her hoof stomping the ground in triumph. “And it’s... always like you to keep things together...” she mumbled out awkwardly in her attempt to show the unicorn that she remembered her. “Um, I mean, like books-” Twilight couldn’t make out the expression on the peanut butter mare’s face, but she guessed it wasn’t pleasurable.
Butterscotch leaned over and whispered something in Sunset Rose’s ear, who nodded in response. “Well, I think it’s high time Rosie and I got going- it’s been a blast, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie. Dapples, was it?” The gray pony nodded numbly off to the side, still staring at the blast mark left by Twilight’s exit and subsequent reentry. “It’s a bit late, and Rosie and I have to retire to our room.”
Rose perked up, looking over to her friend a moment. “But we have different room-” She was interrupted by a quick, alcohol fueled kiss from the other unicorn, her facial expression shifting from shocked to melted butter in a matter of microseconds. Oddly enough, the kiss was punctuated with a high pitched ‘Aww’ from Pinkie. Twilight merely stared in dumbfounded wonderment as the two seemed to be caught up in the moment, and her head slowly turned to look at the pegasus in the corner. Butterscotch let the mint and peanut butter mare go, Rose’s eyes were glazed over as she glanced back at Twilight. “Right, back to our room, see you later Twi. Dapples. Pinkie.”
As the two mares walked very close to each other towards the door, one of the guards let them pass as he himself entered the room, looking over the remaining ponies. Dapples, on the other hoof, finally looked up from the burned rug and gave Twilight a fearful look. “Wha-what would have happened if I had been standing where you were teleporting in?”
Before Twilight could answer, Pinkie threw herself over Twilight’s back, leaning on her hooves as she smiled at Dapples. “I dunno, but I think the scientificary term is you would have exploded.”
“Scientificary?” Twilight echoed, the added weight to her hooves at least keeping her from losing balance. “Pinkie, that’s not even a word.”
“E-e-e-exploded?” the stallion chattered, his eyes widening. “Like... boom?”
Twilight sighed, her patience waning as she looked over towards her friend. “Ugh, no. The spell would have failed and I’d have ended up somewhere close by,” she confirmed, much to Dapples’ relief.
“Well then... Pinkie, why did you hit me away?” he asked.
Pinkie shrugged and gave a lopsided grin. “Well, obviously I didn’t know that!”
“But then how did you know she was going to appear there anyway!?”
Twilight made to stick a hoof in one of their mouths, but with Pinkie already on her back, the mare only let out a strangled grunt. “Look, I’m perfectly happy with you two talking, but Pinkie, can you please get off me.” The party pony obliged, leaping the rest of the way above Twilight and landing neatly next to Dapples. “Thank you. Now, I have a pegashy to talk to. I mean a ponysus. Pettershy-” Annoyed, Twilight grunted again, deciding just to walk away from the conversation.
Slowly making her way toward the cream colored pony in the corner, Twilight felt her knees starting to give out from under her as she reached her friend. Leaning down, Twilight fell to her stomach, feeling a tingling sensation travel down her hooves as she rested her laurels. It was high time the unicorn properly sat down, and she let the feeling distract her for a few more fleeting moments as her eyes eventually started to follow the pink mess of hair up to the sleeping pegasus’ face.
Fluttershy seemed content, which pleased Twilight- at least she wasn’t awash in nightmares when sleeping while intoxicated, like someponies she knew. The pit of her stomach fell as she considered the prospect of Fluttershy having nightmares. Putting a hoof on her chin, Twilight mused that her friend should be above nightmares- such a kind pony should never suffer from them. As she stared, however, Twilight noticed a small green teacup near her friend’s hoof, a light scent filtering in and out of the pegasus’ nose as she slept.
Eyes falling, the unicorn sighed, her memory recalling the green unicorn who had mentioned the tea earlier. There was a lot of things she didn’t want to impose upon the pegasus, so she decided not to try and jostle the drink from her friend’s hooves. Crossing her own hooves, Twilight rested her head on her hooves, her eyes going unfocused. She felt... confused and conflicted. There was some element she never noticed to Fluttershy all this time- shouldn’t something like this have been seen? Did Rarity ever guess it? Maybe it was just something that was focused on fiction, and that she didn’t actually like mares at all!
“No, that doesn’t make any sense. She said she was my filly... fillyfriend.” Twilight squeaked, covering her eyes with her hoof. In hindsight, she really should have never given the poor mare something to drink. Fluttershy was a lightweight, and removing that shyness... of course she’d do something so unlike her.
Removing her hoof from her eye, Twilight had to admit it was at least a better change than when Discord had his way. The Fluttershy she dealt with then was so different. In a way, the kind words and graceful nature was something Twilight missed and needed the most when everypony was going crazy. Twilight let a laugh escape her- if not for Celestia’s own kind words, Equestria would still be in the throes of chaos. Perhaps that’s why she missed Fluttershy the most- she was such a parallel to the Princess. She had unending kindness, grace that belonged to nopony else, endlessly attempting to lend a helping hoof...
Twilight blinked, shaking her head. She needed all her friends back then, not just one. Hiccuping harshly, Twilight’s thoughts were jumbled as she clapped a hoof to her mouth, not intending to wake her friend from her peaceful slumber. Before she had time to even question why she even came over here in the first place, the pony opposite her fluttered her eyes open, wincing only slightly as she took stock of her surroundings.
“O-oh my...” Fluttershy murmured, putting a hoof to her head. Closing her eyes, Twilight smiled lamely as the pegasus failed to get on to her hooves. Flapping her wings in a useless fashion, Fluttershy soon noticed that she was not alone behind the curtain, throwing the unicorn an embarrassed smile. “Oh, um... Hello there Twilight. How are you this evening?”
Twilight shook her head, recalling that it was only a few hours until Celestia would raise the sun. “Fine,” she bleated, her words forceful. Fluttershy’s ears dropped to the side of her head as Twilight spoke, which immediately shamed the unicorn. “I mean, I’m a little tired is all. There aren’t many ponies left here so I thought I’d get you up...” she lied.
Fluttershy looked around, which behind the curtain wasn’t very much, and treated Twilight with a very confused glance. “I-if you don’t mind me asking, why are you, um, laying down then?” Her eyes fluttered and looked at the ground, looking at the lukewarm tea beneath her. “Tea?”
“A stallion brought it, I think. Said it helps with hangovers.” Twilight sighed, wishing she had such a boon for herself. “As for me... I stumbled a little. A bit too much to drink, ha ha ha...” Twilight’s ears fell back as she heard her own fake laugh. “Smooth, Sparkle. Real smooth,” she whispered under her breath as she looked away.
“I... I see,” Fluttershy said, her voice tinged with... what? Twilight couldn’t catch it right, but it seemed like... disappointment? Twilight raised her head slightly and turned back toward her friend. “How’d I get over here? I remember a lot, but I don’t-”
Twilight’s brain kicked into panic mode as Fluttershy started to talk about what she remembered, and the mare quickly hopped to her feet- an action that failed her as her blood immediately vacated the premises of her head and the unicorn’s woozy and intoxicated steps soon left her back on the ground. “Ow!” she cried, but soon waived a hoof in the air. “I’m fine, no worries. I put you over here. Or. Pony Joe did, after I-”
“I, um, didn’t say or do anything embarrassing, did I?” Fluttershy interrupted. Twilight’s mouth hung open still. Now was the time to lie and save her friend the embarrassment of knowledge- she didn’t seem to remember everything. But then again, she also could remember, and then the lie would be shown and... Fluttershy trusted her.
“Oh, well....” Twilight began, not wishing silence to fill the pegasus with dread. “I wasn’t around you all night, there was some time there...” Twilight trailed off. This was getting her nowhere in a hurry. “A little bit. Tiny, nothing you need to be worried about. I mean, you might have said something about somepony here and there, but nothing like declarations of romantic intent or anything, nooooo why would you even think that. That’d be silly, I mean, who would you even call your fillyfriend?” Twilight threw a hoof over her head and slammed it hard against her face. “Once again Twilight, you are the paragon of subtlety,” she grumbled into her hoof.
Fluttershy stared dumbly at Twilight for a good long while as she absorbed what the unicorn was really saying. “I... oh my, I don’t...” Her hooves kneaded at the ground in front of her as she slowly looked away. “O-oh dear.”
Looking at her friend as she tried to scrunch herself up smaller and smaller, Twilight felt a cold grip on her heart as she reached a hoof out to comfort her friend. “H-hey now, it’s not so bad, Fluttershy! I mean, I think only two ponies really heard you claim that, and one of them is crazy!” Twilight made a mental note never to explain which one she thought was more sane between herself and the blue pony with the fake mustaches.
“Twilight, I... oh dear I shouldn’t... I can’t even... I’m so sorry!” Hidden behind pink locks of hair, Twilight quickly noticed the wet spots that were appearing on the floor. “I can’t believe... You must think I’m awful... I’m so sorry!” In an instant Twilight felt tears threaten her own eyes, and throwing caution to the wind, the mare quickly moved to wrap her hooves around her friend.
“Shh.... Shshshh...” Twilight cooed, her hooves holding her friend up. “Come on Flutters, it’s not so bad. I’m still here. No tears, I’m still here.” Nuzzling the side of her friend’s face, Twilight silently cursed the name of alcohol, not for putting her in this position but for putting Fluttershy in such pain and making her so ill-equipped to help. “I’m not going anywhere, Fluttershy.”
Silence reigned between the two ponies as time passed. Twilight’s quiet tears went unnoticed by Fluttershy, who continued to be caught up in her friend’s embrace. Fluttershy didn’t want to see her face, feared some retribution that would be brought down on her the moment she looked into those lavender eyes.
Slowly, ever so softly, Twilight began to let Fluttershy go, just so much as to look at her straight on. Twilight finally rubbed her eyes free of salty debris as she smiled at her friend. “See? I’m still here...!” she tried, her smile genuine, and her throat just a little sore.
Fluttershy sniffed loudly, her arms refusing to leave her friend’s shoulders as she closed her eyes, still refusing to look directly at Twilight’s. “I-I’m so sorry, I didn’t... I wasn’t thinking and...”
“Alcohol makes fools of us all,” Twilight squeaked out a strangled chuckle, her cheek nuzzling against her friend’s face. “I just need to know you’re okay.” She rubbed a hoof down her friend’s back, trying to soothe the pegasus, but never loosening her hug. She didn’t respond, so Twilight let her eyes glance over what parts of the room she could to give Fluttershy time to answer.
Pinkie was helping take down decorations, which was surreal in itself, having help from Pony Joe, who was slowly moving about with his horn, bags under his eyes from the long hours working the bar. Dapples was talking to the blue pegasus from earlier- Windchaser, Twilight recalled. As they spoke, she noticed one of the pegasus guards from the scuffle Dapples had before sneak up and whisper something in the gray unicorn’s ear.
It wasn’t long before Dapples said a hasty goodbye to the blue pegasus stallion and soon trotted after the guard, Twilight giving a pained grin as her mind filled in the holes of what probably took place. The kid pegasus soon offered to help Pinkie in mid-flight, much to the unicorn’s surprise- the kid seemed so keen on getting as far from the pink blur as possible. Still, they made nice and the pegasus was soon cleaning the high up decorations.
“T-Twilight?” Fluttershy’s voice broke the studious pony from her distractions, the feeling of hooves leaving her back prompting Twilight to release her own hold from the pegasus, who slowly backed off. “I... I’m okay. Just... embarrassed.”
Shooting back a soft smile, Twilight’s eyes closed slightly as she nodded. “I know that’s hard for you, Fluttershy. But I don’t want you to feel bad, okay? You did nothing wrong.”
Fluttershy huffed, catching Twilight by surprise. Averting her gaze, Fluttershy looked hard and angry at the floor.“I’d hardly say that acting like your fillyfriend and telling everypony that behind your back would be considered ‘right,’” she shot back.
Drat. Twilight reflected, realizing Fluttershy had a point. “That’s hardly anything, Fluttershy,” Twilight recovered, shaking her head, “It’s not like you tried forcing yourself on me or anything. You just... lived out something.” Twilight was choosing her words as best she could. The reality of the moment had basically stolen her buzz, sadly, but still left her incapacitated.
“I betrayed your trust. I-I...” Fluttershy’s voice died in her throat, unable to continue. Twilight could see her wings itching to take flight, so she stepped forward, prompting Fluttershy to look up in surprise.
Twilight didn’t know what to say, but she had to keep something going. “I don’t care about that. Fluttershy... how long?”
“How long?” the pegasus echoed, but she quickly understood. “I... don’t remember. A week. Month.” There was a silence. “Year...” she murmured, her face shrinking behind her mane as her eyes drifted to the floor. “Maybe two...”
Sweet Celestia, that’s almost as soon as we met, Twilight thought. To hold such a crush for two years.... “Does... anypony know?”
Fluttershy paused, her eyes trembling. “I-I couldn’t tell anypony. I can’t believe I’ve... I should just go!” she stumbled back. Cursing her decision, Twilight moved forward, not wanting Fluttershy to go. If she did, Twilight felt she was liable to disappear. A pit of unimaginable fear opened up in her chest as Fluttershy turned away, her hooves beginning to work their way away from the unicorn.
“Fluttershy, stop!” Twilight ordered. The pegasus froze, her hooves trembling as her wings stopped at half-mast. She turned slowly, her eyes barely seen behind her flowing hair. Elsewhere in the room, Pinkie noticed the two, and systematically began shooing everypony out of the room.
“Please, don’t go,” Twilight choked out. “I know you made a mistake and you feel bad, but don’t run from me, Fluttershy.” Twilight blinked back tears, but she couldn’t stop all of them. “I don’t care if you... like mares.” Bowing her head, Twilight felt her hooves turn to jelly as she considered her friend actually leaving due to some phantom schism. “I don’t care if you even like- if you even like me.” She could feel pressure on her face as she said it, her eyes glued shut. “But I can’t forgive myself if I let you run from this and we grew apart as a result.”
“Twilight...” Fluttershy mumbled, her wings returning to her side. “I-I’m sorry.” Hot tears streaked her cheeks as she let her head drop down. “I don’t ever want to make you feel sad.”
“Stay here,” Twilight muttered.
“Stay with me.” Twilight’s back legs gave out, he bloodshot eyes pleading for the pegasus to come to her. “I thought... I felt, for a second, you were going to leave me, and I don’t want that. I never want that. Don’t leave me, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy’s hooves tied to the floor, her expression a mix of fear and hope. “Twi.... Twilight, do you mean that... maybe you....?”
“I don’t know,” Twilight blurted, her hoof gingerly wiping her face. She swore her cheeks would be raw soon. “I’ve never thought of romance, it was nothing more than words in my books,” she admitted. “I didn’t think it was for me, but...” She laughed despite herself, her eyes searching the ceiling for an answer. “I used to wonder what friendship could be. I had no idea what it was, or how magical it was until you all shared it with me.
“Fluttershy, all I have is... some wild preconceptions of what love and romance is supposed to be,” Twilight muttered, sniffing loudly as she looked down at the pegasus. “But I’ve been wrong, so wrong before. You’re my friend, Fluttershy.” There was a shock of pain that seemed to run down the pegasus’ form as Twilight spoke, but she looked pleadingly at the mare. “Please, Fluttershy, if losing love is anything as painful as what I felt when I thought you were going to leave, than I can’t let you do that to yourself. I-I can’t let you do that to me. Not now.”
Fluttershy’s wings were at full span, but instead of taking flight, the mare’s sapphire eyes were sparkling as her fears were melting away. “So, you’re saying...”
Twilight sniffed, a small giggle escaping her lips. “I’m saying, for you, for friendship, for romance, and for me, I want to try this. With you. Fluttershy.”
Covered in cream-colored wings, Twilight shared her first kiss with a pony of immeasurable kindness and grace.
“It’s been said that the greatest Equestrian scholars, scholars with access to great magic cannot fathom the true power of emotions. Even when brought up to the Royal Sisters, the most they can glean from the giggling alicorns is that it is one of the highest magics available to the world, and that emotions should never be played with, but always explored. In light of the recent events involving two attempts on Equestria’s sovereignty, it has been thought that Honesty, Kindness, Loyalty, Generosity, and Laughter were the gateways to the highest of all Magic, Friendship.
“But that is not truly the case.
“Friendship is, as few would say, the occupational hazard of the real magic. Friendship is a counterpart, a force unlocked that, while potent and powerful, is just a tip of the iceberg. Twilight Sparkle, studious unicorn scholar and one of the brightest minds Canterlot’s School for Gifted Unicorns ever produced, and by far the most powerful mage in all of Equestria bar the Sisters themselves, expresses this notion in her almost weekly reports to Princess Celestia. Such is the nature of her life in Ponyville; to observe and report the real magic of friendship.
Many fables attempt to explain the true magic that the Elements of Harmony unlock. Its true form is something so simple that it is scoffed at by the elite as common tripe. However, these stories, these works of art forged in fires of these warriors of words- soon grew into stories that taught foal and stallion alike. They were full of wise lessons. They were dashed with the flames of adventure. They dealt in the drummings of the very soul. These writers, at their core, would often focus on what they knew in the deepest fathoms of their heart.”
“That Harmony can not exist without Love.”
A solitary phoenix feather landed lazily upon the weathered surface of a common desk, a faint, red-orange glow releasing it. A tea-cup, dark green with a solid stream of steam coming from it, levitated through the air, the unicorn taking a long draught from the mug. Placing the tea down with his hoof, the auburn haired pony smirked as he adjusted his bow tie. Horn sparkling, the scroll rolled itself up, placing itself next to a large pile of similar papers, all rolled up and sealed. As his horn glowed, it encompassed the reports in a red, translucent bubble. Opening the window, the stallion smiled as he cast his spell, the bubble popping in a flash of light and red sparkles flew out the window, flying off in the direction of Canterlot. Sighing contentedly, Hyde smiled. “Can’t wait for next year.”