“I get it Rainbow, I really do. This is boring work but I need you to help me with this.”
Rainbow groaned and rolled over unto her back, splaying her hooves out over the sides of her cloud. “Ugh.”
With a roll of her eyes Rainbow lifted the map over her head. “You already know where you’ve been. I don’t even get what you’re doing with the map.”
Groaning Twilight rubbed her temples. “For the hundredth time. Your map is just a city map but if we mark the spots where I can feel the edges of the spell from Ponyville I will know where to cast it.”
“The more you help the faster this will go.” Twilight glared at Rainbow.
Irritated Rainbow snatched the marker Twilight held out to her and marked an ex on the map. “There now we know that you felt the edge of the spell here by the opera house.”
Smiling warmly Twilight gently took the map from Rainbow and overlaid it with a topographical map of the area. Several tools Rainbow couldn’t identify were pulled from Twilight’s saddle bag as she kept scribbling on the maps, switching back and forth between them both. Rainbow rolled her eyes and flopped onto her stomach and lazily started pushing herself down the street with short flaps of her wings.
“Stupid Twilight, stupid menial task. She just wants to keep an eye on me because she thinks I’ll screw everything up again.” Rainbow moved her cloud around a corner and smiled. A donut shop was just a few doors down from her.
“Rainbow, I’ve got it.”
Her shoulders slumped and she spun the cloud around. “Coming Twilight.” Rainbow eyed the donut shop one more time before flying her cloud back the way she had come. She snatched some ponies hat from his head as she went, replacing it with a haydog from the food cart he was in front of.
Turning the corner Rainbow saw Twilight in the same spot but now she was smiling. “Aw, there you are. We are off to Liberty Island. Somewhere around her torso we need to cast the spell....I think.”
“Ok.” Rainbow swiveled her cloud to face down another street. “Let’s meet up in an hour at Rarity’s shop.”
Rainbow nodded. “You don’t need me, I’m gonna go have some fun.”
Twilight rolled her eyes and gathered up her supplies. “Fine, but you're taking all of this, except for,” She rummaged through her bag for a bit before pulling out a piece of chalk. “This.” With a smile she tossed the bags to Rainbow after stuffing the maps into it. “One hour, and for the love of fate, don’t do anything stupid.”
“I think you mean fun.”
“Whatever. One hour, Rarity’s shop. We’ll get dinner after that, don’t be late.”
“Peace out Twilight, have fun being boring.”
Twilight and Rainbow looked out over the cityscape, lights frozen in mid flicker all across the city looked like the first stars of evening coming to life as the sun dipped beneath the horizon. Here, so far from Ponyville, the sun was slightly lower on the horizon casting out red and orange hues that reflected in the glass skyscrapers. Alongside the frozen lights it created a fiery twilight sky beneath them. Between Rainbow and Twilight was a loaf of bread, some cheese and some wine. Twilight was smiling gaily while Rainbow was laughing out her loud barking laugh.
Rainbow wiped a tear from her eye and took a sip of her wine, finishing her tale.
“...And I shit you not, the teacher asked for more.” She laughed a boisterous laugh while Twilight shook her head and giggled. “So,” she continued, “what about you and Celestia? I bet you have some really embarrassing stories about her.” Rainbow’s smile was full of mischief. She wiggled her eyebrows at Twilight suggestively.
“Hmm, well her cake habit is pretty famous, but have you ever wondered why she only drinks tea?”
Rainbow cocked an eyebrow at Twilight, beckoning her to go on.
“So,” Twilight began, “this was my mistake, but after an all night study binge for one of my classes, Celestia came to visit and I served her coffee. I didn’t have any tea at the time. Not wanting to offend me she drank the coffee, and then three more cups.”
Twilight paused, chuckling into her hoof at the memory. “After the third cup she politely gets up and strips off her regalia. Needless to say I was horrified as she stood there, completely bare in front of me.”
Rainbow held out a hoof. “Wait, wait, she stripped in front of you?” Her jaw dropped as Twilight nodded. “Please tell me what I think happened next happened, please.”
Twilight shook her head and sighed wistfully. “Sadly, no. What happened next was she vanished with a teleportation spell. No one saw her for the rest of the day or most of the next day, along with several guards. None of them will speak of what happened, and she remains in complete denial of that day.”
“None of them, you don’t think?” Rainbow looked hopefully at Twilight.
Twilight swished her wine around and chewed on her lip. “Part of me has the same train of thought as you. Another part of me worships the ground she walks on, and screams in utter horror at the thought. I honestly don’t know what happened, I just know that Celestia and coffee don’t mix, and very well might be a scandal waiting to happen.”
“Most of the time I try not to think about it, but sometimes I can’t help but remember how she looked without her regalia on.” A dopey smile crossed Twilight’s face and she fell silent.
Rainbow meanwhile stared at Twilight, amusement written on her face as she watched the purple alicorn go from a dopey smile to a bashful blush as she slowly came back to reality. Twilight tried to hide her blush with a cough as Rainbow grinned coquettishly.
“Got a thing for teacher eh?”
Twilight obstinately kept her face turned away and didn’t respond.
Rainbow reached out and poked her. “Come on, you can tell me! Who else am I gonna tell?”
Twilight deflated subtly, and looked back at Rainbow. “I guess that’s true.” Her ears drooped and she looked forlornly at her wine. “If I told you a secret now who else would you tell?” She sighed and looked up at the sky. Then she halted, taking a firm stance and a deep breath. She opened her mouth, and at the top of her lungs cried:
“I think Celestia is the hottest piece of flank on this continent and I don’t care who knows it anymore!”
Her voice echoed through the silent streets below, fading out in the distance. A kind of serene look fell over Twilight and she shook her head. A frown flickered on her lips when the echo never came back, but it faded quickly, she was getting used to that.
“Wow, um, just wow.”
Rainbow stared at Twilight with surprise before she started giggling. Finally she stopped giggling. She braced herself and let out her own revelatory scream.
“I love dressing in girly dresses at home where no one can see!”
Her scream made Twilight jump a little. “Sorry, I figured if you’re gonna share a secret like finding Celestia hot, I might as well give you something equally embarrassing.”
Twilight couldn’t help herself and burst into a fit of giggles. “You in a dress. Hmmm...a little purple number. Hugs your curves as you walk.” Her giggling grew into laughter.
“No no, Rainbow in a frilly Rarity number with more frills than fabric.” The laughter devolved into straight up guffaws as Twilight rolled onto her back clutching her stomach.
“Sure laugh it up, Twily.” Rainbow smirked and Poked Twilight in the ribs. “You think Celestia, the oldest mare in Equestria is hot stuff. Like ’em a little older, do we?”
Twilight's laughter slowly came to an end as she let her limbs sprawl out to the sides. “It’s not about age, it’s about the connection we shared. Sure, I always knew she was beautiful, but it wasn’t until I joined her as a princess and alicorn that I truly realized it. It’s dumb I know, it could never happen, but hey, we all have our little fantasies.”
Rainbow just shook her head and the two fell into companionable silence for a while. It was weird to not hear the sounds of the thriving city below but somehow it was oddly comforting. They were the only ones in the world and somehow that was okay.
Rainbow was the first to break the silence. “So if this is the edge of the spell you cast in Ponyville, where to next?”
Twilight sighed. “Well, thanks to your wonderful help, I think I have the math down.”
Rainbow frowned. “I did what you asked me to.”
“And nothing else.”
Sighing heavily Rainbow rolled her eyes. “We both know I’m not good with all that egghead stuff, you make do me it anyway.”
Twilight huffed and pulled her saddlebags close. “Maybe because things are just easier with an assistant, and my usual assistant isn’t much help right now, thanks to a certain pegasus who refuses to help me out.” She glared at Rainbow with squinted eyes as she started pulling things from the saddle bag. “This pegasus knows the meaning of hard work— she managed to get into the Wonderbolts, so she must—but she just seems to avoid it at all costs.”
She lapsed into silence. Pulling a globe and a piece of paper from her saddlebag, she began scratching a few calculations, laying out their next destinations. The quiet lasted for several minutes while Twilight worked and Rainbow fidgeted uncomfortably. Slowly twelve red pins were placed into the globe at equidistant points.
“There we are, every location, or at least a rough estimate of each one.” Twilight spun the globe looking at the red pins as they passed before she stopped it on the pin that stuck out of Manehatten. “We can head north, passing near the poles, or we can head east.” She chewed her lip and spun the globe. “I think it would be best to head east from here, since we were heading that way initially. It will make the shortest distance to our next stop.”
Rainbow looked at the pin Twilight pointed to and sighed. “That’s in the middle of the ocean. We’re gonna need a compass and a few clouds.” Twilight nodded and Rainbow wrapped the bread and cheese up, leaving the empty wine bottle alone. “I can go collect some clouds if you want to grab the supplies.”
“Is that initiative I hear? I like it. You collect the clouds, I’ll go pick up some supplies from the general store..”
Rainbow opened her mouth and then closed it, biting back her retort.
Twilight stood up and stretched herself. “Meet back here when we’re done.”
Rainbow nodded and took off, while Twilight jumped over the edge and opened her wings to glide down through the streets of Manehattan.
“What’s the point of all this if we can’t live a little,” Rainbow mumbled to herself as she went off to collect the clouds they would use from the local weather factory.