Princess Celestia: A Brief History

by Amber Spark

Grateful in the Garden

        Thankfully, it hadn’t taken Sunset long to find one of the servants and request a couple warm towels. Still, Twilight was still shivering, her mane damp and her eyes locked squarely on the ground. At least the contents of her saddlebags were dry. Both bags had powerful waterproofing wards Twilight had performed herself. Sunset was a bit impressed with that. It was solid spellwork.
“I can reschedule, if you want,” Sunset offered as the maid left. Another servant came in with a fresh bowl for the phoenix. “I’m sure the Princess won’t mind.”
“I’m not going to dump water all over the Princess’s floor, be late and then reschedule.” Twilight stomped a hoof. “I’ll probably regret this, but it’s not like anything else could go—”
She stopped.
“I’m so glad you didn’t finish that sentence,” Sunset commented dryly.
There was no response.
Twilight’s shivering got worse as they headed out of the Hall of History and into the maze of corridors and hallways beyond. Eventually, they cantered toward a set of glass double doors that overlooked immense western gardens.
“Twilight, are you okay?”
“I’m such an idiot,” she muttered. She plodded along in Sunset’s wake, shoulders slumped and ears flat against her head. “I can’t believe I freaked out like that. You must think I’m a total… total… madmare.”
“I think it’s just fair,” Sunset pointed out. “After all, you got to find out I fain—passed out when Moon Dancer stood up for me.”
“Yeah, but passing out and freaking out are two very different things.” Twilight sighed. “And that was years ago. I should just go back to the Archives and never show my face again. To anypony. Ever.”
“Waste of a pretty face,” Sunset commented.
Then she realized what she had said. She heard the long, slow clap from the depths of her mind.
Sunset hoped Twilight hadn’t heard that. Of course, because the universe hated her, her hopes were in vain. Twilight actually looked up at Sunset, her eyes enormous and her pupils tiny pinpricks of shock.
“You… you think I have a pretty f-face?”
Only direct divine intervention could have prevented the blush from exploding on Sunset’s face. She rubbed the back of her head and fiddled with a strand of her mane. However, the closest thing to the divine was in the garden. And she would have probably laughed instead of offering to help. Not out loud, of course, but her eyes would be laughing. For the Princess, it was practically the same thing.
“Well… yes,” Sunset mumbled. “I… know for one that… um… Moon Dancer would be very disappointed not to see it again!”
Sunset did the mental equivalent of a gesture she would never let Celestia see her do.
“Oh.” Twilight blinked a few times at her. “Um… thank you?”
“You’re welcome?”
Why are we talking in questions?
Sunset was saved from further inquiries by their arrival at the doors to the garden. With a flare of her horn, the two doors swung open, unleashing the chilly autumn air into the castle hallway. Twilight shivered again. Sunset did the only thing she could think of: she moved closer to the other unicorn. Close enough to touch.
Twilight stiffened and almost shied away, but seemed to think better of it.
“T-thank you. I don’t k-know how much of this is from the w-water and how much is from me just being scared witless right now.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Please, please, please don’t mention it. To anypony. Ever.
Despite the crisp air, the sun was high in the sky and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. In fact, save for a few flights of pegasi guards, there was only one thing in the sky: a brilliant streak of crimson and gold spiraling up into the air before bursting with blinding sunlight.
Twilight shielded her eyes from the spectacle, but she lowered her hoof just in time to see the phoenix dive for the ground like a living firework in reverse. There was another burst of sound and light from behind a large hedgerow, and Sunset could hear the faint clopping of hooves in applause. The sound could only be from Princess Celestia. Only the Princess’s applause, echoed by her horseshoes, had that bell-like quality.
“Come on. This is what you’ve been waiting for, right?”
Twilight nodded, and they moved past one of the many immense fountains dotting the landscape. Twilight suddenly stopped, still shivering. Sunset took a few more steps before turning to face her with a cocked eyebrow.
“What is it now, Twilight?”
“Um…” Twilight muttered. “Before… you know… I just wanted to say thank you. For everything.”
Sunset rolled her eyes. “Would you stop stalling? She’s actually looking forward to meeting you.”
“She is?”
Sunset nodded. “We talked about you for a while last night at my lesson.”
“What… what did she say?”
“Nope. No more stalling.”
With that, Sunset turned around and headed toward the opening in the hedgerow. Twilight let out a squeak of protest and cantered after her. Sunset picked up the pace and trotted just fast enough to get around the corner before Twilight could make it. Just enough so that Twilight wouldn’t be able to delay again.
Sunset immediately dropped to a simple walk when she came in sight of Princess Celestia.
“Good afternoon, Sunset,” the Princess said warmly. Philomena let out a little musical hoot of greeting.
“Good afternoon, Princess,” she replied just as Twilight rounded the corner and stopped dead.
Twilight was just staring. Sunset didn’t blame her. Celestia could make snoring look regal if she had a mind to.
The Princess sat in a small open stone gazebo surrounded by tulips, daisies and jasmine. Philomena was perched on her back, looking regal and majestic—and impish—as always. Princess Celestia herself was adorned in her usual golden regalia, each piece glittering in the afternoon sunlight. Her multicolored mane swayed in a magical nonexistent breeze. The perfect white coat seemed to reflect the sun, drawing the eye to the symbol of her charge on her flank.
More than anything though, it was the simple fact she looked happy that warmed Sunset in a way only seeing the Princess could.
The Princess’s eyes turned from Sunset to Twilight.
Something odd happened. Sunset thought she saw a moment of something approaching confusion and… something else Sunset couldn’t identify.
In a flash, the expression was gone, replaced by her traditional serene gaze and small, welcoming smile.
“And I presume this is Miss Twilight Sparkle?”
“Uh…” Sunset frowned and shook her head a little. “Yes. Yes it is.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Sparkle,” Celestia said, getting to her hooves. Philomena hopped off her back and onto one of the corners of the open stone gazebo.
Twilight’s mouth finally snapped shut after Sunset made a gesture. As if she suddenly realized who was speaking to her, the other unicorn instantly buried her head in the grass in a desperate bow. She let out a little grunt of pain from the impact. Sunset gave a sympathetic wince, and managed to stifle a laugh.
She did, however, share a look with the Princess. An entire conversation occurred within that single look, one borne of knowing a pony for so many years.
At its core, the conversation went something like this:
She does this sort of thing a great deal, doesn’t she?
“Rise, my little pony,” Celestia intoned—using her overly dramatic voice for some reason—her wings folded and her eyes gazing fondly upon the cowering unicorn before her. “You have been invited here as a friend of Sunset. There is no need for such bowing and scraping before me.”
“I’m s-sorry, Your Highness!” Twilight squeaked as she stumbled her to hooves.
Sunset had to turn away and bite her hoof to keep from laughing. Twilight had grass on her muzzle. There was a little bit of sod on the top of her horn.
“There’s no need to apologize, Miss Sparkle.”
“Sorry, Your Majesty!” Twilight blushed, realized what she said and squeaked again. “Sor—um…”
The Princess laughed lightly. “Come now, you are a friend of Sunset, are you not? That makes you an honored guest. You have nothing to fear from me.”
“Twilight, we’ve talked about this,” Sunset said, trying to keep the strain out of her voice. “Just take a deep breath. She’s not going to bite you.”
Celestia nodded in that serene, ethereal way of hers.
Sunset couldn’t help herself. She was only a pony after all. “However, Philomena might if you ask politely.”
The bird hooted.
Twilight went scarlet, and looked like she was about to bolt. Princess Celestia chuckled softly.
“Looks like you had a run-in with—considering how much you’re shivering—one of Philomena’s water dishes.” The Princess looked Twilight up and down. “The autumn air isn’t good for a wet coat. I’m surprised Sunset didn’t offer to assist you.”
“Um, Princess?” Sunset cocked an eyebrow at the Princess. “Do you remember the last time I tried a drying spell on myself?”
The alicorn cocked her head to one side, and a sly smile bloomed on her face. The expression of innocence may have worked on Twilight, but it didn’t have a chance on Sunset. And Celestia knew it.
“Oh, yes. If I remember, you had to move to a different room for about a week afterwards. And throw out the curtains. We could never get the smell out.”
Thank you ever so much, Princess.
“It’s really no t-trouble,” Twilight protested. “It’s my own fault and—”
“Nonsense!” The Princess interrupted. “It would take but a moment.”
Magic appeared around the Princess’s horn as she reached out with her power and wrapped Twilight in her glowing golden aura. There was a brief flash of light and the glow faded, revealing a fully dry Twilight Sparkle. She even had her hair done up in her usual bangs and bun. Twilight blinked a few times, adjusted her glasses and stammered out a thank you.
“Please, think nothing of it,” Princess Celestia replied. “If you don’t mind, why don’t we walk in the gardens for a time? After spending the morning on the throne, I needed to stretch my legs.”
Sunset fell into step beside the much larger alicorn. Twilight fell into step beside Sunset, as if she was using Sunset as a shield against the Princess of the Sun. Sunset would have facehoofed if she hadn’t been trying to get Twilight to calm down.
“As Sunset may have told you, Miss Sparkle,” Celestia said as they stepped onto the packed dirt path that wound through the gardens. “We spoke at length about you last night. Sunset has had some difficulty in maintaining relationships in the past. I’ve asked her to give me regular reports on any notable new interactions with others.”
Philomena flew over their heads, and did a couple somersaults in the air. Twilight’s eyes widened, watching the majestic bird. It took Twilight a moment to remember she was being addressed by the ruler of Equestria.
“I-I’m not sure why I would be anything notable, Your Highness,” Twilight murmured, her eyes still on the phoenix. “I’m just a librarian.”
“You give yourself far too little credit, Miss Sparkle,” Celestia scoffed. “It is a rare thing for a pony to graduate from my School a year early. It is far rarer for the Head Archivist to take a student directly from academia and into the Royal Canterlot Archives.”
“I just… I enjoy books, Your Majesty.” Twilight’s eyes finally fell from Philomena as they rounded a bend. They entered a tunnel made from branching ivy and faintly glowing flowers. “I’m good with books.”
Sunset almost didn’t hear Twilight’s last few words.
“Books are safe.”
Celestia paused and turned to study one of Sunset’s favorite flowers with a hoof. Moon Lanterns were just one of the dozens of magical flora Celestia had cultivated over the years. If a pony were to walk through this tunnel at midnight, she would be surrounded by eerie green and blue light in a tunnel of shadows, as if she were wandering through a corridor of stars.
It didn’t hurt that they also tasted like angel food cake mixed with peaches.
“And ponies are not?” Celestia asked.
Sunset watched Twilight. She could practically see the gears turning in the unicorn’s head as she tried to process what to say to the Princess. As Celestia was ‘distracted’ by the flower in her hoof, Sunset leaned forward to Twilight.
“Just be honest,” she whispered into Twilight’s twitching ear. “No matter what.”
Twilight turned to Sunset. Her eyes were the largest she’d ever seen on a pony’s face. They darted left and right as if she was searching for an escape route. For a few seconds, Sunset could feel the beginnings of what could have been a teleportation spell begin to manifest, but it faded before Sunset could be sure.
“I can’t do this,” Twilight pleaded. “I can’t do this.”
“Try?” Sunset asked.
There must have been something in Sunset’s face, because the look of panic faded slightly from Twilight’s own expression. She gave a barely perceptible nod and Sunset backed away.
“Ponies are… complicated,” Twilight admitted.
To Sunset’s surprise, this elicited a faint laugh from the Princess. “My dear little pony, you do not know the half of it.”
The Princess turned and smiled at Twilight. Her horn was glowing and one of the Moon Lantern bulbs floated over to rest in Twilight’s hair. The stem was placed just right to snuggle the unicorn’s right ear. Twilight’s ear twitched, but to Sunset’s surprise, the other unicorn didn’t flinch away from the contact.
“Did you know these flowers come from zebra lands?” Celestia commented. “They are tricky to cultivate and maintain. Indeed, the flowers are rather finicky and temperamental. Among some of the most difficult things I have tried to grow. However, the leaders of the zebra nation were once kind enough to gift a series of seedlings to me, as they knew I enjoyed tending my own gardens. After planting, I admit I became frustrated. I was used to working with difficult creatures, but to have a plant defy me was… vexing, to say the least.”
Celestia began to trot through the dim tunnel filled with luminescent flower bulbs. Sunset and Twilight followed.
“You never told me this, Princess,” Sunset commented.
“Sunset, if I were to tell you about everything that’s occurred in my life, by the time I was halfway through, you would be far too old and frail to put any of it to good use.”
Sunset snickered despite herself. When she was sure Celestia and Twilight weren’t looking, she fired up her magic briefly.
“Your Majesty, if I m-may, how did you learn how to get the flowers to grow?”
“Ah, and therein lies the misconception.” Sunset could hear the smile in Celestia’s voice. “I learned two things when the zebra envoy visited once more. The first was Moon Lanterns pick up on the emotions of those tending to them. They will not bloom for those who are frustrated or angry. They only bloom for those who are relaxed and at peace. The more I struggled, the less likely they were to bloom.”
Sunset couldn’t help herself. “And what was that second thing?”
As they reached the end of the tunnel, the Princess turned to look at both of them. Her eye held that unique twinkle once more.
“That they never bloomed in sunlight.”
Sunset blinked.
“But… you’re… you’re the Princess of the Sun!” Twilight balked. “How could they…”
“The zebras have an odd sense of humor,” Celestia commented dryly. “They found it most amusing. More than one was all but rolling on the ground when they heard the Princess of the Sun had been bested by a flower.”
Sunset giggled as the Princess smiled at them. Twilight simply blinked in confusion a few times. She tried to say something, but couldn’t get the words to come out. This only made Sunset giggle harder.
“Tell me, Miss Sparkle, can you think of any applications to this particular story? Perhaps one that may pertain to yourself and Sunset Shimmer here?”
Twilight managed to find her voice again and stole a look at Sunset. “That sometimes things that appear complicated aren’t as complicated as they appear?”
“A worthwhile thought, but not precisely what I had in mind.” Celestia inclined her head. “To speak to your earlier point, ponies are indeed complicated, as was cultivating the flower that now resides in your mane. Even with the knowledge they gave me, Moon Lanterns still required much work, and having to do it at night was quite taxing.”
Celestia’s eyes turned to Sunset, and she cocked an eyebrow.
So class is in session for both of us. Thought so.
“That, even though it was very difficult, it was worth it in the end?” Sunset suggested.
“Precisely, my dear student. You can attest to this, considering how much I know you adore the taste of these flowers.”
Sunset froze. She’d only had a petal… or three. Celestia’s lips twitched into a tiny smirk.
Sunset let out a grunt, her ears pasted back. However, she did hear an echo of a giggle from Twilight behind her. That was enough to lift something inside of Sunset. Maybe there was a glimmer of hope this afternoon might not turn into a complete disaster.
They left the shade of the Moon Lanterns tunnel—Sunset being sure to finish the rest of her purloined petals before she left the shadows—and headed for a series of fountains lining either side of the walkway. Benches sat in front of each fountain, made of alternating black and white marble. It had always reminded Sunset of some strange game of chess. The fountains themselves spat water into one another and Philomena danced and twirled around the jets of liquid, showboating—as usual—for her audience.
Princess Celestia leisurely strolled underneath the flying bursts of water. Sunset just smiled at the bird, and glanced behind her to make sure Twilight was still with them. She was, her eyes darting between Sunset and the phoenix.
“Do you still believe you aren’t ‘notable,’ Miss Sparkle?” Princess Celestia asked as she studied a bronze plaque at the base of one of the marble benches. “You’ve done quite a lot with your unique talents.”
“My… talents, Your Majesty?” Twilight asked. Her brow wrinkled at the words as she stared at the Princess. “My talent is nothing more than books. Your student’s talent is far more impressive than mine, Your Highness.”
Sunset flushed.
“Sunset does indeed have a very unique talent,” Princess Celestia conceded. “However, from what she told me of your expedition into the stacks of the archives, you found the lost tome within minutes of beginning the search. I know how extensive those stacks are, Miss Sparkle.”
“I just read a lot, Your Highness. Scrollwork likely could have done it in half the time.”
“Archivist Scrollwork is a wonderful member of the Royal Canterlot Archives.” Celestia lifted a foreleg and Philomena immediately flew down to perch on the outstretched hoof. The bird puffed herself up, trying to look regal, which only earned her a snicker from Sunset. “However, I have read his reports on you. I’m afraid you underestimate your skill. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you discover it?”
“How did I discover… discover my special talent?” Twilight gaped at her, apparently shocked the Princess would want to know anything personal about her. “Your Majesty, are you asking… you want to know my cutie mark story?”
“Well, you could either tell me that, or your feelings on the latest hoofball teams to rise to prominence. I’m willing to be somewhat flexible this afternoon.”
Sunset was barely able to stop herself from breaking down into a full chortle.
“Princess, if the head of the Equestrian Gaming Commission heard you say that…” Sunset laughed. “Oh, she would completely spit her bit.”
“Precisely why I keep such humor away from her,” the Princess pointed out. “As well you know, my dear student.”
“Uh… am I missing something?”
Princess Celestia glanced back at Sunset and gave her a little nod.
“Despite her best intentions, a lot of Equestrian society takes their cues from the Princess. Why do you think Equestria has such a monopoly on teas across the world?” Sunset smiled. “There are elements of society she doesn’t particularly enjoy. Hoofball being among them.”
“Croquet is a far more entertaining pastime,” Celestia commented. Philomena nodded in agreement. “I’ve even seen a new game called ‘buckball’ I believe has some potential.”
“So, every year, the Princess is all but required to play ‘the rabid fan’ for one day in order to keep the industry afloat.” Sunset’s cheeks were starting to hurt from her grin. “Once, she tried to delegate it to me but…”
“It took six months to stop the player strikes.” The Princess sighed with a particularly overdramatic heavy heart. “I wonder what Equestria might do if I—Harmony forbid—ever decide to try and take a vacation.”
“Chaos, anarchy, mayhem and bedlam,” Sunset commented. “Not necessarily in that order.”
Sunset caught a hint of something a bit darker in the Princess’s voice as if this was actually a real concern for her. Then again, in all the time she had been the Princess’s student, she’d never seen the Princess take a single day off, let alone anything that might resemble an actual vacation.
Could the living avatar of the sun even take a vacation? Was that even physically possible?
The Princess of the Sun then shifted the conversation once more with the air of practiced diplomat with over a millennium’s worth of experience.
“I apologize, Miss Sparkle.” After a little nuzzle from the alicorn, Philomena took to the air once more. “It is rude to make inside jokes in the presence of a third party. To answer your question, yes, I would like to hear how you acquired your cutie mark.”
“Uh…” Twilight was going red again. “It’s really nothing special. I just… I was helping somepony with some books one day and it appeared.”
Princess Celestia did something Sunset had only seen a hoofful of times.
She let out an audible sigh and rolled her eyes. In front of the pony she was talking to. Who was looking right at her.
Twilight looked horrified while Sunset was simply too stunned to speak.
The Princess walked over to Twilight and looked down at her.
Twilight was actually shaking at this point. This time, it was definitely fear, not cold, making her shiver. It seemed like the sun had faded somewhat as the Princess looked down on Twilight Sparkle. Sunset wanted to say something, something to defend her friend, but her voice had been stolen. She didn’t have a clue what to say. Princess Celestia had become exasperated with her more times than she could count, but she’d never seen her act like this around another pony—especially one like Twilight. Especially for something so minor.
“Tell me, Miss Sparkle, have you spent much time around the nobility?”
It was not the question Sunset had been expecting.
“Um… some, Your Majesty.” Twilight eyes were transfixed upon the Princess of the Sun as the words tumbled out of her. “I have served several nobles in the course of my duties at the Royal Canterlot Archive, and I also have several interactions with them during my final year at your School for Gifted Unicorns though of course nothing serious since it’s not as if they invited me over for tea or cup—”
“And what of your family?”
“M-my family?” Twilight squeaked. “I’m so sorry, Your Majesty! They taught me the basics of how to act properly but please don’t punish them because I have caused offense Your Highness because I swear that any fault in my behavior is mine and mine alone!”
Twilight’s muzzle snapped shut.
“So, most of your knowledge about the nobility comes from lessons and books, correct?”
Finally, her eyes couldn’t take the strain and her head dropped, followed shortly by her entire body. In a flash, Twilight Sparkle was literally cowering before Princess Celestia.
“Y-yes, Your Majesty.”
“Then it has come to my attention an area of your education has been overlooked. To be precise, the proper method in interacting with the Princess of Equestria.”
The Princess leaned down to the unicorn and flared her wings. Her horn glowed once more, but this time she gently lifted Twilight’s muzzle until the wide-eyed unicorn was staring the Princess of the Sun squarely in the eye once more. Twilight tried to look away, but the Princess’s gaze held her firm.
“The first and more important rule when speaking to the Princess of Equestria is to stop acting like she’s going to exile you to the Dragon Lands if you use the wrong fork.”
Twilight blinked.
Finally, Celestia dropped the act, folded her wings and unleashed the full might of her kindest smile.
“My dear pony, all day I am surrounded by those who do nothing but play their silly little games, and prance around pretending they are the most important thing in all creation. I have been in a situation like this for many centuries. It is my lot in this life. I do my best to enjoy it as much as I can, but being surrounded by politics, ambassadors, and servants gets rather dull after several centuries.”
Celestia glanced at Sunset with a fondness she had rarely seen.
“One of my favorite aspect of your new friend, Miss Sparkle, is that she often does not show the decorum so many ponies believe I am due. Sunset Shimmer is often brash, impulsive, temperamental and on occasion, even aggravating.”
Sunset tried to think of a response. Something intelligent. Even something witty.
“Thanks?” was the only thing that flopped out of her mouth.
Celestia’s eyes twinkled.
You’re brilliant, Sunset.
“Every day, I am surrounded by ponies who either try to play me, or outright fear me.” The Princess turned her attention back to Twilight. “Those few who can speak to me as a pony, not as a Princess, are ones I cherish the most. Sunset is among those unique few, as are her friends. While they may not do it as often as I would like, they are often a breath of fresh air in an otherwise excessively stuffy room.”
Twilight blinked a few times as Celestia’s magic faded from Twilight’s muzzle. The unicorn’s jaw dropped open for a few seconds before she managed to regain some kind of composure.
“Your Highness, are you s-saying… are you saying that…” Twilight was obviously having trouble processing what the Princess was telling her. “You want me to be disrespectful?”
“There is a difference between respect and familiarity. I daresay Sunset’s friends are quite familiar with her, and they enjoy teasing her a great deal. Is that not right, Sunset?”
“Uh… yeah?”
I so don’t like where this is going.
“In fact, I believe it has recently become a sport among your friends to attempt to match you up with various other mares they think you are compat—”
Princess!” Sunset all but shrieked.
Celestia’s smile was like a second sun. “I have a very deep respect for Sunset, Miss Sparkle. I think even Sunset knows this, though I don’t think she could put it in so many words. But I am also familiar with her. I consider her to be a friend as well as my student. Her friends also respect her as well, though Sunset would likely deny that outright.”
“I’m standing right here, you know!” Sunset protested, though it was halfhearted at best.
“What I’m saying, Miss Sparkle, is you do not require perfect decorum around me. If you count yourself among Sunset’s friends, then I will accord you the same treatment I’ve accorded them. Our relationship is still relatively new, but it will grow with time. Even if you don’t count yourself as Sunset’s friend, you were invited here as one, and you will still be given that treatment. Tell me, do you consider yourself Sunset Shimmer’s friend?”
Twilight’s eyes locked onto Sunset’s own. Sunset could see Twilight didn’t know how to react. The thoughts were practically written on the other unicorn’s face. Sunset doubted that anything like this had been covered in Princess Celestia: A Brief History.
Then, the moment they’d shared in the stacks came back. Apparently, they had come back to Twilight, too.
“Yes.” It was the first time Twilight had said anything around the Princess with any conviction. Her next words didn’t have the same emphasis, however. “If… if that’s okay with her.”
The Princess’s gaze turned to Sunset. There was no pressure or judgment, only curiosity. But Sunset could see behind the veil.
Class is still in session. However, this is one of those times when I need—as Rara would say—to ‘play it straight.’ Thank Harmony the truth and the ‘right answer’ are the same this time.
“Yes,” Sunset answered. “It’s definitely okay with me.”
The gratitude pouring from Twilight was like a reflection of Celestia herself. Sunset found herself turning red.
“So, Miss Sparkle,” Celestia said, standing up straight once more. “I don’t expect you to suddenly overcome your hesitation and nervousness around me after a single conversation, but I hope you will believe me when I say I have no intention of exiling you, punishing you, throwing you in a dungeon, or any manner of discipline for some perceived slight.”
Philomena let out a questioning hoot.
“No, Philomena,” Princess Celestia said with a faint laugh. “Not even if she dumps a bucket of water on your head. And you know full well you had that coming after what you did to Sunset that morning.”
The phoenix let out an indignant squawk and fluttered atop Sunset’s head. Sunset rolled her eyes.
“Do you understand, Miss Sparkle?”
“Um… about what Sunset did to your phoenix, Your Majesty or the… um… other thing?”
Another smile. “The other thing.”
“I… um… think so,” Twilight scuffed a hoof against the ground. “But, Your Highness, if you… if you’d like me to be more… well, that is to say…”
Sunset let out a soft sigh as Twilight squeezed her eyes shut.
The other unicorn spat out the words in a rush. “Do you think you could call me Twilight instead of Miss Sparkle?”
Celestia beamed as only the Princess of the Sun could.
“Only if you call me Princess. I won’t force you to use anything more informal.”
Twilight froze up for a bit, but eventually, the words seemed to start working in her brain once more.
“I’ll try, P-Princess.”
“Excellent.” Celestia glanced up at the sky as a cool wind ruffled the leaves of the hedges around them. “Now that the matter is settled, I would very much like to hear that story. However, why don’t we retire to my private study? I believe we would be far more comfortable there. The wind is going to be picking up and it would not do to have you chattering your teeth away out here, especially when you are telling a story.”
“Your private study?” Twilight’s voice went into a squeak again. “Your—Princess, I don’t deserve—”
“Twilight,” the Princess interrupted as if speaking to a forgetful foal. “What did we just discuss?”
“I… ah… okay.”
Sunset smiled at Twilight. Finally.
“And before you concern yourself, please don’t worry about the time. I’ve closed the Day Court early so we have the entire afternoon.”
Twilight would probably have liked to know that before the incident in the hall, Sunset thought with a grin.
“T-thank you, Your—Princess.”
Celestia nodded approvingly. “Also, there is another matter I wish to discuss with the two of you.”
Philomena flew ahead as Celestia began to walk down a path leading to the Castle itself.
“What’s that, Princess?” Sunset asked. She fell into step beside Celestia.
Twilight once again put Sunset between herself and the Princess.
“Some theories as to why you saw unified harmony magics in action last night.”
Sunset froze and glanced at Twilight. Twilight was already staring at her.
They both looked away at the same time.