Sunset strolled into the departure hall with a tired groan. “I still don’t get why we had to wake up so early.”
“It’s a rule, Sunset. We have to be at the airport 2 hours before our flight.” Twilight explained as she tightened the straps in her backpack.
“Seems like a pointless rule.”
Twilight sighed. “Sunset, this is our honeymoon.”
“I know. Sorry, babe. It’s just that it’s so early,”
“Right, I forgot you’re used to waking up at 11. Or noon.”
“Hey, the latest I woke was 11:45!” Sunset declared proudly.
“Oh yeah, big difference,” Twilight spoke with a smirk on her face.
Sunset rolled her eyes and gazed at the shops surrounding her. She had always imagined airports to be dull, grey and boring. Yet around her stood stores of all kinds. From simple eateries to branded goods, ‘overwhelmed’ would have been a mild way to describe what Sunset was feeling.
“Come on, let’s grab a bite to eat before our flight. There’s a great sandwich shop near Gate 13.” Twilight beamed, grabbing Sunset’s hand before jogging off.
“Wah- hey! Twilight slow down! I’m still drowsy!” Sunset shouted as she was dragged off racing through the airport.
With a mischievous glint in her eye, Twilight spoke, “well, what better way to wake you up?”
Sunset peered past the line, watching person after person put their bag on a conveyor belt before walking through an odd metal archway.
“So… what are they doing?”
“They’re checking your bag and scanning for metal objects.”
“What!? Why?” Sunset exclaimed, drawing several stares from the people nearby.
“Safety.” Twilight gestured for Sunset to lower her volume.
“But what if I have something personal?”
“Sunset, they aren’t going to take the contents out of your bag. They’re just going to scan it.” Twilight took a step forward. She lifted her bag onto the conveyor belt and deposited the contents of her pocket onto a tray before stepping through the metal detector.
Sunset took a deep breath and mimicked Twilight’s actions as best she could. Her heart was racing and she didn’t quite understand why. She had tangled with large mythical beasts from Equestria several times before and defeated them with ease. Yet the thought of the staff checking her bag made her stomach twist. She stepped through the metal detector, her mind racing a million thoughts a second. What if they found something illegal? How would she explain it? She hadn’t done anything that would warrant an arrest but what if…
“Okay go collect your things.” The attendant gestured to where Twilight stood.
Sunset remained stunned at her spot for a second. “T-that’s it?”
“Umm… yeah? You okay kid?”
“Yup yup! Totally fine!” Sunset grinned and rushed off to Twilight, who had her palm slapped against her face. Sunset scooped her bag off the belt and walked with Twilight to the departure gate.
Sunset squirmed in her seat, tapping her fingers nervously on her armrest.
“Hey, you okay?” Twilight rested her hand on Sunset’s palm, grasping it softly.
“O-of course!” Sunset took several rapid breaths. “I’m just in a giant metal tube about to fly around the Earth for 10 hours. Where my very life depends on everything working correctly and-”
“Sunset, deep breaths. I know it’s scary when it’s your first time, but it’s all going to be okay,”
“Are you sure? What if something goes wrong?” Sunset felt the plane pull away from the gate and a wave of regret had started to set in.
“It won’t.” Twilight allowed her head to rest on Sunset’s shoulder. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around Sunset’s right hand.
Twilight’s actions granted Sunset a slight peace of mind. She leaned back into her chair, drawing slow deep breaths in an attempt to calm her nerves. Suddenly, the plane began to rock violently and she could feel it speed forward. Gradually, it began to lift off the ground.
Twilight said it’ll be okay. Twilight said it’ll be okay! Sunset repeated the phrase like a mantra in her mind. She tightened her grip on the armrests, shutting her eyes tight. She attempted to drift her mind away from where she was and found herself thinking back to their wedding. The ceremony, their friends, the stunning dress Twilight wore. It had already been a week since she had been wed to her best friend, yet it only seemed like yesterday.
Sunset could only smile when she thought about her favorite part of the wedding: the dance. She imagined holding Twilight’s hand as they gracefully flowed across the dance floor. Their friends and family watching in awe as she leaned in for a soft kiss. Soon, they erupted into a deafening applause. And-
“Sunset? You can relax now. We’re done taking off.”
Sunset shot her eyes open, having already forgotten her fear. She took several quick glances around, spotting the morning light peeking through the airplane windows.
“Right.” Sunset realized she was beaming, no doubt looking like a crazed goof while she was absorbed in her memory. She quickly softened the smile, blushing softly.
“Thought about the dance again?” Twilight asked, taking her head off Sunset’s shoulder.
“You know me way too well.”
Twilight giggled. “You're such a nerd.”
Sunset playfully punched Twilight’s shoulder, causing the latter to yelp in surprise. “Takes one to know one.”
Twilight was the first to exit the airport. She tapped her foot and scratched her chin. “That’s odd. The cab waiting area was here just a year back.”
“Twilight are you sure we took the right plane?”
Twilight strolled along the pavement, straining her head to catch sight of any signs that would point her in the right direction. “Sunset, they allowed us on the plane. We flew 10 hours. Trust me, we’re here.
“But I don’t see the Eiffel tower.”
Twilight paused in her tracks. She gave a wide eyed look towards Sunset, who gave several clueless blinks in return. “B-babe, the Eiffel Tower isn’t some towering monument looking over the whole of France.”
“It isn’t!?” Sunset exclaimed loudly. Twilight stood, dumbfounded for a second before resuming her search.
“Cabs! Come on, let’s get one and get to our hotel!” Twilight raced forward to the row of yellow cars. Sunset followed close behind, a camera in her hand.
“Twi wait! We need to get a photo with you and the drivers!”
The morning sun shone brightly down onto the streets of Paris. The roads were roaring with cars of every shape, size and color while the pavements were filled with locals and tourists.
Twilight took her first steps out of the hotel, taking in a breath of fresh air. “Beautiful first day of our honeymoon huh Sunset?” She waited for a reply, but none came. “Sunset?” She turned her head back, and the sight made her jaw drop in shock.
Oh you have got to be kidding me.
Sunset emerged from the glass doors dressed in a beret and a black and white striped shirt. In her right hand gripped a baguette and a fake cigarette hung from her mouth.
“Bond jar Twilight!”
Twilight’s mouth hung open for several seconds, a blatant look of disbelief in her eyes.
“Wow Twilight, what’re you wearing?” Sunset scanned her eyes up and down Twilight’s form, spotting the loose summer dress that draped over her body. “How’re you going to blend in with the locals like this?”
Twilight shook her head to break herself out of her trance. She glanced around, noticing that the passing locals had started to stare at them. A few showed signs of mild amusement but most seemed confused at what they were witnessing.
"W-what am I wearing? What about what are you-" Twilight took a breath to quell her anger. "If my blood pressure gets any higher I might explode."
"You need to calm down, Twilight! We're on holiday!" Sunset tore a piece of the baguette off, putting it into her mouth. However, merely a few chews in, she spat it out. "F-forgot it was fake."
"Why would you get a fake baguette!? There are real ones just around the- you know what? Forget it. Sunset, just come with me.” Twilight whispered under her breath as she slinked off back into the hotel with Sunset in tow.
“Wait! I haven’t greeted the locals with bond jar yet!”
Hmm… eggs benedict? Twilight flipped her menu. Jam toast? So many choices!
Sunset licked her lips as she scanned the choices in front of her. Twilight had forced her to change out of her previous outfit and into a more appropriate attire. Now she sported a teal tank top with a pair of blue bermudas reaching just past her knees. While two pairs of sleek, black sneakers covered her feet. “I’m really considering that cheese omelette.”
“Alright! So, ready to order?”
Twilight raised her hand and almost immediately, a waiter arrived at their table, dressed smartly in a black vest over a white shirt.
“Order?” The waiter asked in a heavy French accent. At that moment, it was immediately clear to Twilight that English wasn’t his first language.
“Oui!” Twilight replied with a grin. The waiter’s eyes opened wide in shock and he nodded happily, as he whipped out his pen and notepad. “Un les escargots.”
The waiter gave a nod and turned to Sunset, who sat in a state of confusion.
“Umm…” Sunset wracked her brain attempting to think of a way to order her food. She tapped her head for an answer. Any answer. When suddenly, she remembered a show she used to watch a long time ago. Glancing up, she spoke confidently, “omelette du fromage!”
Twilight smacked her hand against her head so hard, she swore she gave herself a concussion.
The waiter cocked his head to the side with furrowed eyebrows. “Excusez-moi?”
Sunset opened her mouth to repeat her phrase when Twilight quickly interjected, “Elle aimerait une omelette au fromage”
“Ah! Oui!” The waiter took a bow before heading off.
“Didn’t I say it right, Twilight?” Sunset stared at her, a look of crushing disappointment on her face.
“N-not exactly,” Twilight spoke with a sheepish smile. “I’ll give you some lessons later.”
“Oh…” Sunset replied, a red hot blush on her face she quickly changed the subject, hoping to take her mind off that embarrassing moment. “Well, I didn’t know you spoke French!”
“Well, I fly to a different country every school break, even if just for a week. So I figured I might as well learn the language of the countries I visit often.”
“Wow. So what other languages do you know?”
“Not many. Let’s see, I know Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian and German.”
“Eh heh… y-yeah. Not many at all!” Sunset coughed. She grabbed her camera and began snapping pictures of the area around her.
“So, how’s Paris? Everything you thought it would be?”
“More than that actually. It’s… weird, not being held up in Canterlot High.”
Twilight giggled. “Time to brighten your horizons outside of that tiny town.”
“What better way than to start with food right?” Sunset joked as she aimed her lens towards Twilight. “Say cheese!”
Tilting her head slightly to her right, she attempted to smile as best she could. Sunset tapped the button, a ‘click’ coming from a camera.
“You look adorable, babe.”
Twilight’s cheeks went a bright red. She darted her gaze away from Sunset and combed a few falling strands of hair from her face.
A few minutes later, the waiter arrived back with two plates of food.
“Oh that smells delicious!” Sunset clapped her hands together, taking a deep whiff of her omelette.
“Mmhm! Dig in!”
Sunset stared oddly at Twilight. “What did you order?”
“Escargot!” Twilight sucked the open end of the shell, chewing it with a large grin on her face.
“....I’m sorry. I thought you said snails.”
Sunset blinked exactly once during the silence.
“Snails, Sunset. They’re delicious! Wanna try one?”
A disgusted glare was Twilight’s answer.
“Okay, have it your way.” Twilight picked up yet another snail shell, sucking the contents when she heard a snap. Glancing up, she spotted Sunset with her phone in hand. “D-did you just take a photo of me?”
“Yup. Hold on…” Sunset retracted her phone and began typing something in it.
Twilight’s phone gave a soft buzz. Picking it up, she spotted a post on Sunset’s blog. On it was the picture she had just taken accompanied by a caption that read ‘Ew my wife eats snails. What a weirdo.’ Her eyes fell and a mouth frowned unimpressed. She gave a heavy sigh before resuming her attack on her lunch.
“Just eat your omelette of cheese, nerd.”
Most of the day went by in a blink of an eye. They visited the Arc de Triomphe followed by tea at a nearby cafe. It was a calming day for the couple. And they had decided to save the best for last.
“Whoa…” Sunset gazed at the towering metal structure in front of her. It rose high into the night sky, like a beacon for the city of Paris. Even though she and Twilight had passed it several times during the day, seeing it up close and at night was a different feeling altogether.
“Pretty cool huh?” Twilight spoke with a tinge of pride on her face when she spotted Sunset’s expression of wonder. “Wait till we get to the top!”
“We can get to the top!?”
“Come on!” Twilight gestured with a wave of her hand. She sprinted forth towards the looming structure as Sunset trailed close behind. One lift ride later, both of them arrived at the top of the Eiffel Tower. And upon taking a step into the caged dome, Sunset felt her breath stolen by the view in front of her.
Her eyes caught sight of the large square grass patches that led straight to the École Militaire. Scuttering beside them were tiny creatures that Sunset initially mistook for ants. But upon closer inspection, she realized just what they were.
Those are… people?
Sunset had never understood the phrase ‘they look like ants’, but now she did. She could find no other suitable word to describe the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people that were moving around on the streets below, exactly where she was no more than ten minutes ago. Returning her view to Paris, she could only smile in silent awe. The buildings that once stood tall above her now looked no larger than toys. She was sure that she could’ve plucked them from the ground if she just reached her hand forward and tried.
However, there was one thing that Sunset truly loved about the view: the lights.
Thousands of tiny glowing orbs scattered themselves throughout the city. From the top of buildings to the windows just below them, it made Sunset realize just how small her home town, and to a lesser extent Equestria, was.
All this time I thought I was free. Now it feels like I just broke out of the cage.
The view of the flickering lights underneath shimmering stars resembled the fireflies she spotted back at Camp Everfree. Or the sight she would catch back at Canterlot Castle when she was just a filly, gazing out her room window to the streets of Canterlot, hours past her bedtime. Both memories incited a warm, joyful feeling within her, coaxing a stray tear from her eye.
“Pretty spectacular isn’t it?”
“I…” Sunset started to speak, but found her mind blank when she attempted to find the words to continue. She leaned upon one of the railings, turning her head to give Twilight a soft smile.
“I know. That was my reaction when I first came up here too,” Twilight said with a giggle as she stepped forward. She held Sunset’s hand tightly, leaning her head upon Sunset’s shoulder. “Though it feels… different when you’re up here with someone you love.”
The word sent Sunset’s heart fluttering. She wanted to reply, to say something that would convey what she was feeling. However, if there was a way to describe it, she definitely hadn’t learned it yet. Eventually, she settled on the view to say what she couldn’t.
“No pictures?” Twilight asked, glancing at the camera that hung around Sunset’s neck.
Pictures! Sunset darted her free hand down to her trusty device. She slid it off her head and prepared to snap several photos. However, just as she was about to look through the lens, she froze.
To Twilight’s surprise, Sunset swiftly stashed the camera in her bag and zipped it closed. Wrapping her arms around Twilight, she whispered softly in her ear.
“Let’s just enjoy this moment.”
Twilight melted into Sunset’s embrace, her grin reaching from ear to ear. She hugged back and this time, she was the one that was speechless.
The couple turned to stare at the view in front of them, holding each other lovingly in their arms. And though no words were shared between the two, they both agreed.
The silence said more than they ever could.