Light from the morning sun poured through the window, shining down on to the purple unicorn laying in her bed. She rolled back and forth in a vain attempt to stay asleep, but eventually gave up and opened a bloodshot eye. “I really need to get a better sleeping schedule,” mumbled Twilight. After yawning and stretching, she got up off her bed.
Her number one assistant was still snoring away, to no one’s surprise. “Spike, time to get up.” She gently poked the baby dragon, to no avail. She leaned in closer, took a deep breath and yelled, “Spike!”
Spike bounced up off his bed, clutching his chest and breathing heavily. “Geeze Twi. Was that necessary?”
“Apparently, yes. It was. Come along, Spike. Let’s get some breakfast.” Twilight’s horn glowed and her bedroom door opened. The pair walked down the steps and then froze in shock with an audible gasp.
A large white alicorn with multi-colored hair sat in the front room of the library, reading a book. “Good morning my faithful student. I hope you slept well.”
Twilight took a moment to shake of the shock before responding. “I, um, yes. I slept fine.”
“I hope that you don’t mind me letting myself in.”
“Of course not your majesty,” responded Twilight with a slight bow. “I just wish you would have told me you were coming. I would have tidied up a bit.”
“Oh, it’s quite alright. Please, relax.”
“Um… alright.” Twilight’s mind raced through all the possible reasons why the Princess would pay her a surprise visit. ‘Maybe she’s upset that I haven’t sent a letter recently. Or maybe she’s making sure I’m doing all my research.’ Twilight’s pupils constricted into small dots as one last fear shot through her mind. ‘Maybe she’s here to tell me she’s gotten a new student.’
“Equestria to Twilight. You there?” Snapping back to reality, she saw Spike waving his in front at her.
“Sorry about that.” Her cheeks turned red. “So, your highness, what brings you to Ponyville?”
“I’m merely here to visit my favorite student.” Celestia’s horn began to glow, bringing forth a large bowl she was hiding under her wing. “I even brought a little gift for Spike.” The little dragon’s eye lit up at the sight of all the gems in the bowl.
Without hesitation, he ran up to the alicorn. “Thanks Princess.” She handed him the bowl and he happily began to eat the gems. Reaching in to grab another handful, he pulled out a large spider. “Ah!” he screamed as he threw the arachnid into the air and jumped back.
Celestia laughed and caught the offending creature. “Gotcha.” She removed the illusion spell, revealing the spider to simply be a gummy treat in the shape of a spider.
Spike joined in her laughter. “Good one your majesty.”
The Princess turned her attention to Twilight. “Would you like to eat out for breakfast? My treat.”
Twilight’s stomach rumbled. A reminder to her that she forgot to have dinner the night before. “That would be great princess.”
“I think I’ll stay here and clean up after Twilight’s mess from last night. I’ll never understand how she manages to get books everywhere from just studying.” The little dragon quickly got to work on returning the books to their rightful spots.
Princess Celestia and Twilight left the library and were greeted by a pair of familiar white, pegasi guards. They took their positions alongside the princess and her student. “Good morning sirs.” The guards nodded in acknowledgement before returning to their typical stoic expressions. “So your majesty, where do you want to eat?”
“Well, it’s been a while since I’ve had a plain meal. The Apple family sells their fruit in the market, correct?”
“Alright, then that’s eat there.” The four strolled through the streets. Every pony that passed them immediately stopped what they were doing and bowed to the princess. For a moment, Celestia’s normal, stoic smile faded. She wondered if it was really too much to ask to be treated like a regular pony while spending time with those closest to her.
“Are you alright Princess? You seem quiet.”
Her smile returned. “It’s nothing my student. I was simply lost in thought for a moment.”
“Your majesty,” said the orange farmer mare as she bowed. “It’s an honor to have you come to mah stand.”
“Well from what I’ve heard your apples are quite delicious. I’ll take five. Twilight, how many do you want?”
“Two will be fine.”
“So Applejack, how much will that be?”
“Oh I couldn’t possibly charge…” Celestia raised her hoof cutting off Applejack. She knew exactly what the earth pony was going to say. ‘I couldn’t possibly charge you, your majesty.’ A common response she received from many businesses around her kingdom.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I simply can’t take this many apples from you without paying.” She placed her hoof upon her chin, and acted like she was seriously thinking. “I suppose I could only take five apples without paying, but then my poor student would have nothing to eat. You wouldn’t want her to go hungry, would you?” Twilight just stood there with a confused expression.
“Alright, alright. Ah get it. That’ll be fourteen bits.” One of the guards stepped forward and put the money on AJ’s cart. As Celestia, Twilight and Applejack made small talk, along came a hopping pink pony.
“Hi girls,” said Pinkie. She enthusiastically waved. “So, princess what are you doing here? Wait, I bet I know.” She was now grinning from ear to ear. “You heard about the super amazing, bearers of the elements slumber party. That’s it isn’t it?”
Applejack interjected, before Pinkie could continue. “Now Pinkie, I’m sure that Celestia has more important matters than our little get together.”
“Actually, I’ve already rescheduled all official business for today. The only thing I have to do is set the sun, which can be done anywhere. So, it would me my pleasure to join you.”
“There might be a problem with that,” said Applejack. “While Pinkie’s room is just fine and dandy for six ponies, but it’ll get a might cramped with nine ponies. Particularly when one of them ponies is more than twice the size of a regular pony. Err, no offense your majesty.”
Pinkie pie froze and her expression became serious, or at least serious by Pinkie Pie standards. “Need more room…” She instantly went back to smiling. “I got it. Applejack’s barn. There’ll be plenty of room there. We can even invite a couple more guests. Oh and then Applejack can share some of that extra special cider. She calls it hard cider but it seems as soft as normal cider to me.”
‘I guess she probably would make good drinks. After all, she is named after alcohol. I wonder…’ “Applejack, by chance, is the cider strong?”
“Well Princess, it does have a good kick to it. Though Ah also have regular cider if you’d rather have that.”
“The hard cider will be just fine.” ‘Ruling alone for a thousand years would teach anyone to enjoy a nice stiff drink from time to time.’ Celestia decided that last part was better left unsaid.
“Alright then. But Twilight…” AJ pointed her hoof at the unicorn. “I hope you learned your lesson from last time. Pace yourself and for the love of Celestia, don’t let RD talk you into things again.”
Celestia looked down at her, now blushing, student. “Twilight, what did you do?”
“I may have let Rainbow talk me into pranking Rarity.”
“She turned Rarity into a stallion. While he… she… whatever, was demanding to be changed back, Twilight threw up on Rarity’s hooves. Then she went and passed out.”
The day passed quickly and before long the slumber party was in full swing. The guards stood at opposite ends of the roof. Inside the barn, Celestia, the element bearers, Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were all enjoying the party.
Along one of the walls sat chilled gallon jugs of cider. Applejack just finished fetching another glass for herself and turned around to see three young fillies staring at her. “No.”
“Ya’ll are too young to be drinking the hard stuff. If Ah had some weaker type I’d consider it, but Ah don’t. So the answer is no.”
Near the center of the barn, Celestia was finishing her second gallon jug of cider, and let out a small belch. “Eschcushe me,” she slurred. Rarity watched the vulgar display with a look of horror.
Rainbow Dash on the other hand, had been cheering the princess on. “Woo, way to go princess. Not even Big Mac can go through two gallons that quickly.”
“There, *hic* are some good parts of being a goddess. Like not having to worry about liver damage.”
“Princess, you’ve been around Twilight since she was a little filly right?” Celestia nodded. “So, got any embarrassing stories?”
“Hey.” Twilight pointed at the grinning pegasus. “Didn’t you embarrass me enough the last time.”
“For the record, you embarrassed yourself,” countered Rainbow Dash.
“Oh, I would love to hear about Twilight as a filly,” said Pinkie.
“Not you too.”
“Oh, I have quite a few stories you all would like. What do you say, my student, should I tell them of the bathtub incident.”
Twilight’s cheeks turned bright red.
“If you must.”
“Oh, this should be good,” said Rainbow Dash.
“Well, you see *hic* Twilight didn’t take moving into the castle too well. She became really attached to me and would get upset when I wasn’t around. One day in particular *hic* she was throwing a tantrum while the servants were giving her a bath. Royal court ran late, so I couldn’t be there to do it. Wait, since when is everything in the barn standing at an angle.”
She paused her story to ponder this question, not realizing that she was the one that was leaning. Pinkie pushed her back into an upright position. “Much better. Now, where was I… oh, right. So Twilight was throwing a tantrum in the tub and kept asking where I was. Naturally the servants told her I was in the throne room. Apparently there was suddenly a bright light surrounding Twilight. Imagine my surprise when right after dealing with my last appointment, a bathtub’s worth of water and a little purple filly fall on top of me.”
All the ponies laughed. Except for one unicorn that was now absent from the barn. In her drunken state, it took Celestia a few more minutes to realize her student had left. Celestia walked out of the barn and spotted Twilight sitting nearby, staring at the sky.
“*hic* Hey Twilight, you aren’t upset about me telling that story, are you?”
“Hm?” Twilight turned to look at the princess. “No. Of course not. I just needed some fresh air. And to sober up a little.” Celestia sat down beside her student and looked up at the stars. “I think they’ve gotten brighter since Luna’s return. It’s really pretty.”
Celestia smiled at the thought of how happy her sister would be to hear someone say that. “Yes, it is. She does a great job.” A silence followed for several minutes, before Celestia continued the conversation. “Twilight, there’s something I’ve wanted to ask you for a long time now. But before I do, I want you to promise me you’ll give an honest answer.”
“Of course your highness. I would never lie to you.”
“Twilight… are you afraid of me?” No answer came. Celestia looked down at Twilight to see the unicorn staring at the ground. “I see.” ‘Of course she would fear me. Just like all the others.’ Celestia stood up and began walking back to the door. She could certainly use another drink right about now.
“Celestia, wait. Please.” Twilight’s voice was soft and barely above a whisper. “I swear, I’m not afraid of you.”
“Really? So you aren’t afraid that I’ll throw you into a dungeon in the place that I banish you to? Yes, I know that you are where Fluttershy got that idea.”
“Ok, so I say stupid things when I panic, but I’m not scared of you.” Now her voice had more conviction.
“It’s obvious that something about me scares you. So what is it?”
“I’m scared that I’ll disappoint you. I’m scared that… that you’ll finally realize there are better students and that it was a mistake to pick me.” A couple tears ran down Twilight’s face.
Celestia turned back towards Twilight and wrapped her in her wings. “Twilight, I’ll never replace you. And as long as you’re trying, I’ll never be disappointed in you. You’ve become like a second little sister to me.”
Celestia nuzzled her student. “Yes. Now let’s get back to the party, before they start looking for us.” Twilight happily agreed and followed the princess back in.
Behind the barn were three young fillies, who each managed to get a glass of cider and sneak away during Celestia’s story. Sweetie Bell lay on her back staring at the stars. She silently prayed that Luna would stop spinning the constellations.
Next to her sat Scootaloo. “*hic* Sweetie, that sister of yours, *hic* I say that sister of yours is hot. Not as hot as Dash, but still pretty hot.”
A few feet away Apple Bloom was emptying the contents of her stomach.