It's raining outside... · 1:20am
And I'm still working on the next chapter. Want proof? Here's a little sneak peak:
Sunset Shimmer, the prodigious student of Princess Celestia – as well as the smartest, most beautiful, and greatest pony of them all – trotted merrily along the glistening halls of Canterlot Castle. Her saddlebags – stitched by the finest craftsponies in Canterlot – swung against her sides as she moved, loudly informing everyone of her oncoming presence. The sunlight streaking through the castle's many windows seemed to dance within her mane and coat, making her look less like a pony and more like a piece of fine art brought to life by a brilliant sorcerer. The guards could barely gaze upon as she passed by, as her very presence radiated the power and superiority that was at her core.
Not too shabby for a filly about to turn eight years old.
After an eternity of walking, Sunset finally reached her target: the grand double doors leading to Princess Celestia's private library. A guard, decorated in the type of armor worn only by the most elite of Equestria's military, pushed one of the doors aside. With a grateful harrumph and properly upturned snout, Sunset crossed the threshold into one of the land's most secure and secluded places of learning. The bookshelves were packed with tomes dating back to before Equestria's founding, treatises on magic and the universe itself, the histories of countries long since lost to time – all of which were open to only two ponies.
And now that Sunset was there, both of those ponies were in that room.
Next to a gently burning fireplace stood Princess Celestia, the country's proud ruler and most powerful pony. Most importantly, however, she was Sunset's personal teacher. As Celestia greeted Sunset with a warm smile, the filly's conceited exterior cracked just a bit, allowing her to smile back less out of superiority and more out of genuine respect and admiration.
“Good morning, Sunset Shimmer,” said Princess Celestia.
“Morning,” Sunset said in response. Her horn lit up as her saddlebags flew open, a feat that was followed by a glowing stack of papers floating out and landing gracefully at Celestia's hooves. “I finished Chapter V of Galaxy's Guide to the Magic Arts. And I hope it's okay, but I went ahead and finished the drills for Chapter VI and VII, too.”
Princess Celestia smiled and nodded. “Very good, Sunset Shimmer. You are truly the most wonderful pupil I have ever taught!” Sunset puffed up with pride at her teacher's praise. “But enough about lessons for the moment.”
Sunset continued smiling as she deflated. “What?”
“I know a certain very special day is coming up for you,” said Celestia.
Sunset nodded along. “My birthday?”
“Do you remember last year?” Celestia asked. “We spent the day together, studying and reading and practicing magic.”
More nods from the Magnificent and Dynamic Sunset Shimmer. “Of course I remember! That day was perfect.” She tilted her head just a bit. “Same thing this year?”
Sunset's heart skipped a beat.
“Because this is your eighth birthday, I have something special planned.”
Now two beats.
“I have had my messengers send an invitation to everypony in your classes, inviting them to a little get-together.”
“G-Get-together?” Sunset croaked. Her breathing was seizing up just a bit, and her brain was struggling to keep things running.
“Yes. A birthday party!”
Sunset's jaw dropped. Inside, a voice screamed. The world seemed to shatter like glass around her...
And while you're waiting, here's Sunset wearing Twilight Sparkle as a hat: