Half an hour later, Rarity was sitting on her throne. The voice had become mostly quiet, but only because it seemed to know it didn’t have to keep going non-stop.
In the middle of the night, the throne room was quiet. Most of the staff was asleep, and the palace was officially closed, so there were no official royal duties to fulfill. No disputes, no contracts, no diplomacy. Nothing to distract her from the fact that she had just shot down a pony who... who...
Who was in love with you.
“Shut up,” she hissed and cursed the voice.
Well, it could be worse, the voice of her self-loathing quipped. You could have reacted the way Blueblood reacted to your proclamation of love. At least you didn’t laugh in her face and mock her! ...oh wait, you did.
“Shut up shut up shut up!” Before the voice had a chance to speak up again, she got up from the throne and walked over to the two sisters, who were - of course - still smiling expectantly. She gave Celestia a glare. “You told me she was this amazingly intelligent pony who was willing to face evil tyrants just to find her special somepony! I... I expected better! I wanted her to make me swoon! I wanted her to break me! Or to submit to me! Anything but this weak resistance that brought out the worst in me! That allowed me to hurt her! But she’s... she’s so...”
Rarity’s eye twitched. “You... you can hear me?” she asked Celestia and gave her an experimental nudge. The former Princess of the Day was still frozen solid. “Oh no, is this the point where I’m seriously starting to hallucinate?”
“Hardly,” the voice spoke up again, and this time, Rarity realized that it was not Princess Celestia who had spoken. She turned around. “Hey,” Shining Armor muttered.
“Oh.” Rarity paled. I’m dead. He knows I hurt his sister. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Short of incinerating him, I won’t be able to make him stop. “Hello.”
“So. How’s the romance going?”
“Captain, please listen to me,” she whispered. Yes, remind him of his rank, maybe that’ll make him snap out of his rage and act professionally! “I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
“You keep saying these things right after hurting her,” he said and slowly started to pace around her. She could see that he wasn’t armed, but she also knew that he didn’t have to be.
She let out a long sigh and started to slowly head back to her throne, allowing him to adjust his pacing accordingly. “Yes, I’m to blame here. I hurt her. She confessed her love to me, and I... I laughed. Looked her straight in the eyes and laughed at her.”
“You mean just like Prince Blue-”
“YES, EXACTLY LIKE PRINCE BLUEBLOOD!” Her outburst made him pause, and for a moment, she could see concern in his eyes. He... cares? He... cares. Not so much about me, but... “You’re not here to kill me, are you?”
He gritted his teeth and huffed angrily. “No,” he finally muttered and trotted over to her. “I’m really mad at you, but I know that Twily wouldn’t forgive me if I acted on my big brother instincts.”
“Also, you pledged your allegiance to the crown.”
“Don’t push your luck.”
They smiled weakly at each other for a moment.
“I’m well aware of the hypocrisy here,” she finally admitted. “Twilight is so much like I had been back then. She had fallen in love with an ideal, she had made these grand plans, and then... then she realized that her dream date was nothing but a conceited pile of garbage.”
“Here’s the thing, though.” Shining Armor gave her a look. “Blueblood is a flawed jerk, but he’s a good pony at heart. And I think you’re the same.”
“You mean I should’ve given romancing him another shot back then?” She frowned. “You’re saying I’m a flawed jerk?”
He shrugged. “Well, your immediate reaction to being shot down by him was to go to Tartarus to get the power you’d need to overthrow the entire kingdom. And your reaction to a confession of love was to mock her even though you seem to feel the same. I’d say calling you a ‘flawed jerk’ is me being nice.”
“...when you put it that way...” Rarity looked away. “She’s not what I imagined.”
“Of course not. You never got to actually know her.” When she gave him a questioning look, he sat down next to her throne. “At her peak, Twily effectively ran both the day court and the night court. She is used to being in control of this entire kingdom on a much more involved level than you currently are. Now add to this all her fantasies about how her special somepony should be seduced, and you got yourself a scheming pony under immense pressure to orchestrate the perfect performance.”
“Well, I know that.”
“Yes, but there is a young mare behind all this hype. A young mare who would constantly bicker with her older brother. A young mare who would spend hours freaking out about scientific books contradicting each other and then going on a day-long research trip into the library to determine whether one superseded the other.”
Rarity smiled weakly. “I’d love to meet this mare some day... could you introduce us?”
Shining Armor smiled gently. “I doubt she’d be interested in meeting the Queen Empress right now. But maybe she would be interested in talking to the young mare who keeps bickering with time-frozen princesses at late hours and who has rather unique ideas about what ‘tactical’ means in terms of clothing?”
“Heh...” Rarity took off her crown and inspected it. Like the throne, it felt too large right now.
“I know she can be difficult to deal with, especially when both sides are trying to be in charge, but I think both of you are smart enough to be able to work out a solution.”
“Maybe you’re right... thank you, Shining Armor.”
“Thank me after you made it work.”
Rarity smiled. Let’s see if I can still salvage this or if it’s too late to prevent my karmic punishment.
The last time Rarity had felt this underdressed had been when she had infiltrated the cultist headquarters. Her brain told her that that had been just a day ago, but it somehow felt much longer. Taking Shining Armor’s advice to heart, she had left her crown and dress in her room. Aside from the Dominator Amulet, she was just Rarity, plain and simple. Let’s just hope that that will be enough for her...
She wasn’t even sure why she was sneaking through her own dungeon. It somehow just felt appropriate, given her self-imposed incognito status. The effect was slightly diminished by her guards not only noticing, but also standing at attention for her.
However, her efforts paid off when she reached Twilight’s cell block.
“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” The prison cells were highly traditional, with the entire front, including the door, being of the iron bar type. Highly stable bars, too, judging from the way they resisted the angry kick coming from inside one of the cells.
Rarity smiled to herself and kept to the wall, staying out of sight of the cell as she crept closer.
“Oh, I wield the most powerful magic!” Twilight groaned before moving her self-deprecation an octave higher. “The magic of looooove!” Another kick aimed at the door. “Ugh! Seriously, Twilight? Seriously? You had years to prepare for this moment, and that’s what you went with?”
Well, this is about as far away from the cool master planner as you can get... Rarity bit her lower lip and smiled widely - this rant was rather cute!
“I swear, that was the corniest, most idiotic declaration of love EVER!”
“Oh, I could think of at least one that topped yours,” Rarity remarked and stepped into view.
Twilight’s reaction was worth all the sneaking: with a startled yelp, the unicorn jumped straight out of her depressed crouch, causing her to slip and stumble backwards. Only the bed behind her prevented her from completely falling to the floor. “NO, THAT-... I-I MEAN-...” She tried to make it look as if the last ten seconds hadn’t happened and haphazardly leaned against the bed. “What do you want?” she asked coolly.
Instead of answering directly, Rarity unlocked the door with the key a guard had given her. She didn’t bother to lock it behind her after she entered Twilight’s cell. Studying the other mare for any subtle sign of movement, she waved at the copy of the Dominator Amulet that was still wrapped around Twilight’s neck, causing it to hiss and crumple. Finally, she took off the ring that suppressed Twilight’s magic. “Better?”
She expected Twilight to be relieved, maybe even thankful. Instead, Celestia’s former student gave her a look of suspicion. “Is this the part where you shoot me in the back and claim that I tried to escape?”
About an hour earlier, this pony was unconditionally in love with me, Rarity reminded herself and tried not to curse. “Ahem. As I was saying, I can think of at least one declaration of love that topped yours.” When Twilight merely raised an eyebrow, she posed dramatically. “As infinite as the stars above the horizon, as eternal as the sun that grants us life, as deep as the blackest of all seas, hitherto is all my love for you!”
Much to her credit, Twilight didn’t laugh. That was, however, all the credit she deserved. “Wow, that was terrible! I don’t even think the word ‘hitherto’ makes any sense in that context. What idiot said that?”
“I did,” Rarity hissed through gritted teeth.
There was a pause. “...right...” Twilight lowered her eyes, inspecting the floor between them. Then she motioned at the door without looking up. “Would you like me to run first, or are you just going to pose my corpse wherever?”
“Can you stop talking about me shooting you for a moment?” Rarity gently reached out with one hoof and gently raised Twilight’s chin until they were looking at each other. For a long moment, she imagined just gazing into those violet eyes for hours while Twilight talked about something smart. Or something dumb. Or anything, really. And I tossed away the easiest path to that future because of some inane fear of not having complete control? I was a fool... “Unless you really force my hoof, nopony will ever hurt you again, darling.” When Twilight relaxed a bit, Rarity smiled. Okay. Now all you need to do is make some smalltalk. Get to know her! She’s obviously smart, resourceful and into you, so this should be trivial! She opened her mouth. And then she closed her mouth again when her brain completely missed its cue. Oh come on, just ask her something! Anything! Her brain finally tossed her a prompt, and she smiled. “Tea or coffee?” Wait, what?
Twilight gave her a baffled look of disbelief. “...wow,” she finally muttered. “Princess Celestia must really miss me if you managed to ask her about me, and her first words weren’t a rant about me preferring coffee over whatever herbal garbage she enjoys.”
Rarity grinned widely. “Now that’s an answer I can work with!” She gave the door a nod. “Come on, darling!”
“...is this the part where-”
I really made a terrible first impression on her! “For the last time, nopony is going to shoot you in the back, so could you please stop tempting me?” She gave the door another, more forceful nod. “I would like to get to know the real you better, and I would like to do it in a more... comfortable setting. We’re not that good at playing the roles of captor and captive. It brings out the worst in us.” She paused. “I mean... in me. I said some terrible things back there. Ugly things. Things I once condemned when they were used against me. I should know better. I should be better. And yet...” She shook her head and sighed. “I know the damage has been done, but I want you to know that I’m... I’m sorry, darling.”
“I...” There was a slight pause as Twilight seemed to wrap her head around the fact that the Queen Empress had just apologized to her. “I mean... we both know that I’m not without blame here,” she finally whispered. “We wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t decided that I’d need to think of a stupid, overly complicated plan in order to get you where I thought I wanted you, so I should be the one to apologize.” She suddenly seemed hopelessly lost. “A-and then my plan... it didn’t work out towards the end and I screwed up and I made you say these things and I’m sorry and it made me look silly and then you laughed and-”
“Yes, yes, yes...” Rarity gently placed her hoof on Twilight’s lips to stop her from descending into complete madness. “It’s not about the plan, but the intent. Your heart is in the right place.” She smiled encouragingly. “Maybe next time, just skip the part where you brainwash hundreds of ponies to impress me and send me flowers instead?”
Twilight averted her eyes. “I... didn’t know which ones you like...”
Don’t giggle. Don’t laugh. This isn’t funny, so don’t make fun of her. Rarity struggled to keep her features under control in a desperate attempt not to jinx her current streak of good luck. “Just... ah... when you need to guess blindly, pick something that goes well with my coat or mane color?”
The advice seemed to do little to help. In fact, Twilight was looking more lost than before. “You mean... uh... something like...?”
Rarity let her stammer on for far too long without even meaning to. It was just so impressive to have found a subject which Twilight Sparkle, mastermind par excellence, apparently knew NOTHING about. “On second thought, go on and brainwash ponies. If in doubt, play to your strengths, right?” She gave her a completely unconvincing smile.
“My... strength... isn’t... brainwashing,” Twilight mumbled, clearly discouraged by her sudden display of ignorance.
You could be chained to an altar by now, but noooo, you had to make things complicated and insist on getting to know her! She forced herself not to laugh at the absurdity of what counted as a positive scenario. Then she frowned. “...where is that blasted thing, anyway?”
“Hm?” Twilight perked up. Clearly, questions and riddles were her thing. Also, she probably welcomed any distraction from Rarity accidentally pointing out her flaws.
“The altar. I didn’t really think about it before, but you moved it, and I don’t know where it went. Some warehouse, maybe?”
“Oh!” Twilight’s mood improved visibly. She opened her mouth to answer, but then stopped herself and touched the spot where the Dominator Amulet used to be. “Actually... why don’t I show you?” she asked and smiled.
“I-I didn’t want to use it right now, darling!” Rarity croaked and smiled sheepishly. “My mother told me not to offer myself for carnal rituals before the first date, after all.”
Twilight’s enigmatic smile faltered, and she was struggling visibly not to laugh. Her resolve lasted six long seconds, but finally, she let out a girlish laugh. “That was mean! Why must I always fall for these silly jokes?”
Okay, I definitely prefer her happy and with some confidence. Rarity relaxed slightly. “So... where is it?”
“I could tell you, but you wouldn’t believe me anyway, so I’ll have to show you.”
“Try me.” Rarity put her weight on her right front hoof and gave her the cockiest smile she could muster.
Twlight flashed her a grin. “It’s in the throne room.”
Again, Rarity couldn’t hold back her mocking laugh in time. “Yeah, right!” NO, NO, NO, NOT AGAIN! WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THAT!?
This time, fortunately, Twilight wasn’t fazed. “See, I told you. Come on.” She boldly walked out of her cell without turning around.
“I thought you were worried about me shooting you in the back, darling!” Rarity shouted as she hurried after her.
Twilight flashed her a grin over her shoulder. “Aha! I am holding myself hostage with the power of my superior intellect!”
“Okay, that was simultaneously the smartest and dumbest thing I heard today,” Rarity informed her while they were jogging up a flight of stairs. Also the cockiest.
Twilight just laughed and turned around a hard-to-see corner without even looking. It struck Rarity just how at home the other mare seemed to be. This castle is her home more than mine...
“Ahhhhhhh, castle, sweet castle...” Twilight pirouetted into the throne room, and Rarity half expected her to sit down on the throne. Instead, she went to the two princesses. “Princess Celestia!” she said and fell to her knees. “Your faithful student has returned.”
Rarity gave Kibitz a look and smirked. “You have to unfreeze her first,” both said in perfect unison.
Twilight looked up. Then she slowly, carefully poked Celestia. “...wow, that...” She sat upright in front of her old mentor and tilted her head. “This is a time-stop, isn’t it?” She nodded without waiting for an answer and walked over to Rarity. “Is that Melody Mageghost’s Twisted Talker Temporal Thaumaturgy spell?”
“Ah... uh... yes, yes, that’s exactly it!” Rarity nodded eagerly.
She stopped nodding when she saw Twilight’s annoyed expression. “I just made that spell up,” she hissed. “You cast temporal magic without properly researching it!? Gah, why is everypony except for me always so careless when wielding magic that can potentially reset spacetime?” She huffed and shoved Rarity aside. “Minor miracle this place hasn’t been sucked into a void dimension yet,” she muttered. “Kibitz, please tell me you took note of whatever tome she got this spell from.”
“I believe it was a volume by Smallfox the Lazy,” Kibitz replied after just a moment of hesitation. “I believe the spell had the word ‘deadlines’ in it? Shall I send somepony to retrieve the book?”
Instead of answering, Twilight closed her eyes and quietly recited something. It took Rarity a moment to wrap her mind around what exactly she was whispering. “...did you commit all those spell names to memory, darl-”
“Divine Deadline Domination?” Twilight sighed when Kibitz and Rarity slowly nodded. “Okay, good. Smallfox was cautious and thorough the few times he got around to actually doing anything. So that spell’s not too bad. Bit on the wasteful side, but it doesn’t have any negative-” She blinked and gave Rarity a sudden smile. “Most fascinating! You simply must tell me how you worked around the spell’s restriction! That’s astounding!”
“...restriction?” You could be cuddling, you could be chained to an altar... but instead, the conversation derailed, and now you’re getting a lecture on time magic. She truly is Celestia’s student.
“Yeah, the restriction he mentioned in his book.” Twilight gave her a searching look. “Because you worked around it, didn’t you?”
Rarity suddenly felt reminded of her old school days. Especially the school days when she had forgotten to do her homework. “Um... could you... maybe... be a bit more... specific?”
Twilight’s look was so far into disbelief territory that she didn’t even seem mad at Rarity for abusing the fabric of the universe without completely reading the manual. “The restriction that you can only cast it on a single object or creature.”
“I... just did it? I suppose Smallpox-”
“-just didn’t... could you please stop interrupting me, darling?”
“Sorry, force of habit,” Twilight admitted and briefly avoided her eyes.
“Right. Well, as I was saying, he probably didn’t have the magical power I currently wield. Because I did cast it on two ponies.”
Twilight frowned. “But... this isn’t a power restriction. Spacetime just doesn’t work like that when you’re following the spell mechanics Smallfox leveraged. You can only freeze a single pony or object. If you try to go beyond that number, the universe effectively rolls dice to decide which one remains frozen.”
“Pah!” Rarity smirked. “That’s laughable! I mean, if that was true, then one of these two would-” She froze in mid-taunt as a horrible truth was starting to dawn on her. “No... no...”
Nightmare Moon’s frozen smile started to widen.
“NO!” Rarity screamed when she realized that the longest game of freeze tag in the history of Canterlot was coming to an end. “YOU HAVEN’T ACTUALLY BEEN FROZEN!?”
“YOU SHOULD SEE THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE RIGHT NOW!” Nightmare Moon nearly fell over laughing. “OHHHhhh Celestia is going to be so mad when she realizes she missed this!”
“I-... BUT-... ARGH!” Rarity stomped the ground, forcing herself not to throw anything or anypony out through the window. “HOW? HOW EVEN?”
“Well, most of the times, Celestia happened to stay unfrozen. Which also explains why she arranged to be frozen while sitting still.” Nightmare Moon waved her hoof. “Of course, I was the one who had to hold still while covered with tea.”
“...covered with tea?” Twilight asked, giving first Nightmare Moon, then Rarity a look.
“Oh, where are my manners!?” Nightmare Moon leaned down and gave Twilight a quick hug. “It’s good to see you again, Twilight Sparkle.”
“Pleasure’s all mine. It seems that I’m not a day too soon.”
Rarity gritted her teeth, barely bothering to contain the anger that was building up in her. “YOU KNOW WHAT?” she snapped, ignoring the tiny voice at the back of her head that pointed out that this situation was completely her own fault for not reading the notes that had come with the spell. “GO TO TARTARUS, ALL THREE OF YOU!” Whoa, hold on, darling, Twilight’s the least to blame for this, don’t drag her into- “I’LL LOOK UP A BETTER SPELL AND THEN I’LL FREEZE ALL OF YOU AND THEN I’LL PLACE YOU IN THE PALACE GARDENS WHERE THE PIGEONS WILL POOP ON YOU. FOREVER.” She turned around and stomped towards the exit.
“Yes, it’s good that you’re back, Twilight,” Nightmare Moon quipped. “Also, she’s not usually this high-strung. Probably just excited that you’re seducing her.” A pause. “How is that going, by the way?”
“...it’s an uphill battle to say the least.” Twilight sighed. “Love is hard.”
“OHHH, LOVE IS HARD, PITY MEEE!” Rarity screamed, still making her way through the unreasonably long throne room. WHO EVEN DESIGNED THIS ROOM? She yanked the main door open and entered the throne room through one of the side entrances. PROBABLY CELESTIA, WITH HER STUPID LONG LEGS. She had almost reached Celestia, Nightmare Moon and Twilight again before she realized that something was amiss.
Nightmare Moon was looking simultaneously impressed and annoyed. “You know, you could have just talked to her instead of warping the space around the throne room,” she pointed out to Twilight.
“...you make that sound like talking is easier,” Twilight muttered.
“Did-...” Rarity looked over her shoulder. She could see the door leading out of the throne room, and beyond that she saw... herself... standing in the throne room.
“Just try to look at it like a diplomatic inquiry. A request for parley, if you will.” Nightmare Moon was clearly not fazed by the fundamentals of Euclidean geometry being out for lunch.
“Did you-...” The large main entrance of the throne room was somehow connected to one of the side entrances, as if the universe had somehow forgotten how doors were supposed to work.
“That was always Blueblood’s specialty. I was the one who-”
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
Nightmare Moon gave Rarity a look of disapproval. “Again with the shouting...” When the latter just waved frantically at the door, she gave Twilight a pointed look.
“Yes, yes...” Twilight’s horn flashed up, and Rarity saw the doorway flickering briefly before the regular corridor appeared again. “Okay... I’m starting to see our problem,” she said quietly, and Rarity turned to face her. “I mean, I knew this would be an issue, but I was really hoping that-... no, that was selfish, I see that now...”
Looking at Twilight, Rarity realized that she found Twilight’s little moments of self-doubt extremely endearing. Oh, why can’t I stay mad at her? “Anything you wish to share with the rest of the class, darling?” She asked softly and tried to ignore Nightmare Moon’s knowing smile.
“Hm?” Twilight’s head jerked up, as if she had just realized that her soliloquy had actually been a monologue. “Oh! Um.” She took a deep breath. “I... I mean... we both are used to being in charge, in control, however you would like to phrase it. That makes it... ah... not without complications when we try to interact... especially romantically...” She started fidgeting, and Rarity felt reminded of Fluttershy’s mannerisms for a moment.
Okay, she’s probably right. I mean, this is what Shining Armor also tried to tell me, isn’t it? Now... let’s try to not screw this up. We’re making progress, after all. “So...” She sat down and considered her options before settling on one she normally wouldn’t have considered. “What do you suggest?”
Twilight blinked in surprise - she probably hadn’t anticipated Rarity ceding control so easily. “I... um...” She shot Nightmare Moon a look, but the alicorn just shrugged, clearly happy to sit this one out.
“Don’t act so surprised, darling,” Rarity teased her. “You want to establish yourself as my advisor, so try to act like one.”
Twilight narrowed her eyes, but Rarity could tell that it was an act of concentration, not annoyance. “Well,” she finally said, “reviewing our interactions so far, we both tend to struggle for control whenever we feel challenged or unsure on how to proceed. This clearly sabotages our capabilities of properly engaging in flirtatious behavior.”
“Would you like me to fetch you a blackboard?”
“Oh, that would be rather help-” Twilight blinked, and Rarity could barely hold back her grin. “Funny.”
“Sorry, darling, I just couldn’t help it! You just seem so in your element when you’re being overly analytical.”
“I... suppose so...” To her credit, she managed to snap out of her embarrassed phase quickly. “Anyway. This is hopefully something we will sort out intuitively as we get to know each other. Love is a constant give and take, anyway. As a short-term solution, I suggest that we decide now who gets to be the one to call the shots until sunrise.” She smirked. “Or, if you prefer the phrasing, who gets to be on top for the rest of the night.”
Rarity glanced briefly at the windows - it was somehow getting warmer in the throne room again. “V-very well, then,” she replied, praying that Twilight hadn’t noticed her slight increase in pitch. “And how should we decide who gets to... ah... call the shots?”
There was an intensity in Twilight’s look that Rarity hadn’t seen since their first meeting. “Kissing,” she husked. “Last mare standing wins.”
The temperature seemed to jump another ten degrees or so as Rarity recalled the last time Twilight had kissed her. Yes, that had been a pretty good kiss... but I know what’s coming now, and I have read plenty of novels. I know how a passionate kiss should work. She smiled confidently. Yeah. She just got lucky last time and caught me by surprise. “Fine, we have a deal.”
“This is almost unfair,” Twilight pointed out as the two mares moved towards each other. “You win either way.”
“I intend to win all the way,” Rarity whispered, trying to find the mystical middle ground between sounding menacing and cute. “I will get the best kiss you can muster, and then I will show you how it’s really done. And once you’re floored by my passion, I will-”
“READY, SET, JUST KISS ALREADY!” Nightmare Moon snapped, and they giggled sheepishly before closing the distance.
Rarity’s faint smile as their lips met was short-lived: Twilight had anticipated her intent to be the one on top and immediately lowered her body to give in, making Rarity almost stumble forwards. Oh, she’s not bad! At this distance, Twilight’s scent was incredibly strong, and she broke the kiss to let out a quick gasp.
It was her first mistake.
Twilight changed her position with the speed and determination of a predator that had smelled blood, and before she could react, Rarity could feel Twilight’s hoof gently brushing her neck, starting just below the jaw and working its way down with agonizing slowness. At the same time, she could feel Twilight’s lips moving downwards at the same, glacial pace. Inch after inch of her throat was covered with kisses, and Rarity’s right hind leg trembled and twitched helplessly. Wh-wh-whaaaaa-...? Thinking was much harder than it should have been, and Rarity moved a step away to prepare for her own attack.
Twilight calmly continued to kiss her throat, completely unfazed by the fact that Rarity was well out of reach and that what she was doing was clearly impossible.
Whuuuu-...? It took Rarity a moment that she apparently hadn’t moved an inch despite clearly instructing her body to move. A confused whimper escaped her throat, and she decided to focus on what Twilight was doing.
It was her last mistake.
So far, she had managed to maintain at least the faintest pretense of mental distance from the action, even if her body was starting to betray her. Now, however, she allowed herself to feel everything, to take in every detail. Twilight’s hoof had left a trail of fire down the side of her neck, and each small kiss along her throat made her shudder.
There was no possible way to fight back, Rarity finally realized. Even if she had been able to think of how to kiss Twilight in a way that would allow her to push back, her body was clearly not under her full control anymore. I already lost this contest, and we both know it. This here is just her showing off.
After what felt like months, kisses finally reached her chest, and Twilight took a step back to appreciate her handiwork. Rarity stood on trembling legs, with her right hind leg still kicking uselessly. Her eyes were focused on something miles above the roof of the palace and her breaths were coming in short, desperate gasps. Twilight gently reached out and pushed Rarity’s head slightly downwards until they were looking into each other’s eyes again. “All hail the Queen Empress,” Twilight whispered, and all of a sudden, Rarity’s mind was catapulted back to their first night, their first kiss, the urge to know this mare better, the urge to beg her to chain her to the altar, the urge to submit. But even if her body had obeyed her enough to talk in coherent sentences, Rarity would not have known how to put all of her desires into words.
Thankfully, she didn’t have to.
Twilight moved in for the kill, and Rarity couldn’t help but whimper in gratitude when their lips touched again. A hoof gently nudged the side of her neck and she obeyed blindly, letting her legs give out. A warm field of magic expertly caught her and guided her to the floor. All the while, Twilight kept kissing her, breaking contact only when Rarity was lying on the floor.
The cool tiles of the throne room floor helped Rarity to slowly regain control over her senses. Twilight gave her all the time she needed, and both mares just looked at each other, catching their breath and grinning like idiots. “Take it slow,” Twilight advised her when she finally tried to get up again, helping a little bit with her magic.
“I’m fine, darling,” Rarity told her even though she found herself leaning into the warmth of Twilight’s magic. “But goodness, where did you learn to kiss like that?”
“Oh, there are plenty of tips in ‘The Six Constellations of Enlightenment.’ I mean, there’s an entire chapter on-...” She suddenly blushed. “ANYWAY. I also decided to bring in some knowledge of the nervous system and associated reflexes, taking advantage of the fact that you wouldn’t mind me stroking your neck. Just to make sure you wouldn’t interrupt me.”
“That’s borderline cheating, you know?”
“Would you like to go for a second round with more specific rules?”
The offer seemed genuine, which startled Rarity. Shouldn’t she be more defensive about this? Or is she just so sure that she would win without this extra insurance? She sighed. She probably is. And she is probably right. “It’s fine, darling. You get to call the shots for the next couple of hours.”
“Great!” Twilight’s horn flashed up briefly, and a scroll appeared out of nowhere. “I took the liberty of compiling a list of things we should wrap up for maximized peace of mind and-”
“Wait, hold on!” Rarity gestured at the scroll. There were indeed several items on it. She tried not to openly admire the impeccable hoofwriting. “When did you have the time to write this? And don’t tell me you predicted this entire evening!”
There was a brief flash of annoyance on Twilight’s face, but she eventually just shrugged. “A) I’m very efficient at creating lists. B) You just allowed me to call the shots tonight, and I’m invoking said authority now to postpone this discussion.”
Well, that was blunt. “Very well, Dictator,” she muttered and stuck out her tongue.
“Okay, first of all, I am not Dictator Twilight Sparkle. I am Royal Advisor Twilight Sparkle, and I would appreciate it if you called me that.”
“Let me guess, it tested better with the focus groups?” Rarity asked, indulging her sense of déjà vu.
“Secondly, you literally gave me this authority a minute ago, so shush.” Twilight huffed playfully and made a show of consulting the list. “First item: the altar’s location.”
“Yes, the one you allegedly hid in this very room.” Instead of answering, Twilight just looked at the throne and pulled a hidden lever on its side with her magic. “What did you-” Rarity started to ask when she realized that a large part of the floor in the middle of the room was sliding to the side. “What-”
The altar slowly rose out of its hidden space.
“...why is there a lever on my throne to make a sacrificial altar rise out of the floor!?” Rarity asked nopony in particular.
“Well, normally, that’s where we keep the strategic map of Equestria,” Nightmare Moon explained. “You know, in case of war, you can plan troop movements there.”
“Which we won’t be doing anytime soon if I can help it,” Twilight muttered. “I specifically ordered the altar in the same size as the map table, by the way, because yes, hiding it here was indeed part of my plan. All bow before my supreme intellect or something.”
Rarity tried desperately not to look at the altar. She knew her willpower well enough to not test it any further. “How did you manage to get it in here between our first meeting and the raid, though?”
Again, Twilight made a show of checking her list. “Ahhhh, I’m afraid that’s not on the list.” She flashed her a quick grin. “Besides, I enjoy to keep a few secrets to myself if I can.” When Rarity just pouted, she glanced at the list again. “Next, you will order Kibitz to prepare my contracts to reinstate me as Royal Advisor as well as Her Majesty’s star student. Same conditions as the previous ones. You’ll get a chance to inspect them once they’re drafted.”
Goodness, she really doesn’t kid around when it comes to formalizing her power here. Rarity gave Kibitz a quick look and waved her hoof. “What she said, yes, yes, yes...”
“Great! We’re making excellent progress!” Twilight checked off list items with a quill that hadn’t been there a moment before. “Third item... Kibitz, how much sleep did you get during the last couple of nights?”
“Significantly less than the recommended amount,” Kibitz replied diplomatically.
“Then your vacation will start tomorrow. Let’s say a week off, full pay, and the kingdom will take care of your travel expenses. Priority booking, first-class, the works.”
“Um, darling...” Rarity timidly held up a hoof. I sort of need this guy, so could you not just give him a week off? I don’t like to admit it, but he pretty much ran this kingdom beyond the sweeping changes I decreed.
“Oh, of course, you’re right!” Twilight grimaced. “What was I thinking? Two weeks off! I mean, what can you really do in just a week, right?”
“Two weeks? Are you mental? I rely on his schedules and-”
“Your Majesty,” Kibitz spoke up and smiled gently. “You fail to realize two things. First of all, Miss Sparkle is both capable and eager to assist you in managing the day-to-day tasks. I very much look forward to her taking this particular burden off my back. And secondly, I believe your to-do lists will have only one item on them for the next couple of days, and that item is standing in front of you.”
Rarity looked at Twilight, and both mares blushed crimson. “F-fine, enjoy your vacation...”
“Your Majesty is too kind,” Kibitz bowed slightly.
“Okay, only two items left, wonderful!” Twilight tapped her list. “Kibitz, since you will technically be on vacation by then, please tell Shining Armor to wake Rarity up when it’s time to raise the sun. She will be in the Celestial Sitting Room.”
“Celestial Sitting Room?” Rarity hadn’t bothered to familiarize herself with the various rooms the castle had to offer - to her, the most important locations had been the throne room and her personal chambers.
“Large room, mood lighting, several dozen pillows, and around-the-clock room service.” Twilight beamed.
When Rarity just blinked in confusion, she showed her the last item on the list: “Getting to know my love.”
“You said it yourself, we should get to know each other better and without the masks we tend to wear. I will be happy to answer any question you have, and I hope you will return the favor when you feel like it.”
“Well, this is a plan I can get behind, darling.” Rarity held out her hoof, and the other mare gently placed hers on it.
Twilight was gently steering her towards one of the side exits when Nightmare Moon coughed. “And what about me?”
Rarity looked over her shoulder. “Please don’t do anything bad, dear! Enjoy your night off!” Goodness knows I will...
“Your wish is my command!” Nightmare Moon bowed dramatically before flashing Rarity a knowing smile. “All hail the Queen Empress!”
No, Rarity thought and smiled back, all hail my most faithful student.