Twilight now had a plan, and plans were good for the studious mare. She knew what to do; woo Princess Celestia. The mare knew that it would take a lot of work and dedication and that’s why she had spent the last few hours pacing around her chambers with a scroll and a quill levitated next to her in her magic.
See, Twilight was gifted in multiple fields of study, magic, science, friendship, but she had neglected one part of her studies which many ponies, especially her former foal sitter, would argue was more important: Love.
Love, to her was an incalculable equation that refused to spill its secrets, no matter how hard she tried to crack its code. It made less sense than her friend’s Pinkie Sense, yet it was everywhere.
Twilight could look outside of her window and spot numerous couples sharing their love for each other in plain view. Yet, no matter how much she observed and put in the time, she never understood it. Until now.
As she paced around her chambers, entering and leaving the various rooms in her quest to find some peace to the everlasting beating of her heart, she felt as if she had been in another fight. Her heart was racing, her hooves grew sweaty and she could feel a lump in her throat at the mere thought of asking the Princess, either Princess, out on a date.
Of course, the mare could only blame herself. As soon as she arrived back, she had begun to craft a list that she would use to build the perfect date for the Princess.
Holding the scroll in front of her, Twilight hesitated as her quill’s tip pressed against the paper, staining the pristine surface. She didn’t actually know what the Princess liked. Sure, Celestia enjoyed cake, but that’s really the extent that Twilight knew about her. Despite all of their time as a student and teacher, she hadn’t learned a single thing that wasn’t already public.
Twilight nodded to herself and smirked with self-determination. All of her years of study would be put to good use; she would learn all that she could about the Princess.
Drawing a checkbox with her quill, she wrote down next to it: Ask Pri Celestia out.
Twilight blew gently on the ink to help it dry, before scrolling it up and placing down on a nearby table. She didn’t really need the scroll, it was more symbolic for herself. Plus, she really just enjoyed making lists.
Taking a deep breath as she trotted over to the door, she thought about the best way to go about doing this. Going all 'stealth mode' in the castle would be rather difficult; partly on account of all of the guards, as well Celestia having meetings most of the time.
Suddenly the realization hit her; she was a Princess as well. She could just ask Celestia for some more training in her Princess duties. That way, she would be able to spend time with her former mentor and actually get some work done.
Exiting her chambers with a renewed vigour, Twilight wandered around the castle, deliberately taking the long way around and even bypassing through the gardens to miss the guard station. After several minutes, she ended up outside of the solar mare's chambers, worry etched onto her face.
Twilight could feel herself growing more and more reluctant to knock, even while her hoof was raised and ready. Though, she didn't need to wait for long to decide as Princess Celestia's doors opened by themselves, the handles being held within her golden magical aura.
Twilight's eyes widened and she jumped to the side, only to press up against the wall to try and hide from the mare. She bit down on a hoof to stop herself from breathing too loud as the first few inches of Celestia's horn could be seen passing through the threshold of her chambers and into the brightly lit hallway.
Quickly though, Celestia had exited and turned, unfortunately for Twilight, down the same hallway and nearly launched herself several hooves into the air at the sight of her former student up against the wall. The paper's in Celestia's magical aura burst into the air and scattered across the hallway while Celestia herself fell back onto her rump, looking horrified at the grown mare that spooked her.
Twilight had simply been spooked from watching the normally graceful mare of the sun fall back. Her ears folded back in regret and she set about gathering up the papers into a small bundle next to the Princess.
"I'm so sorry, Princess!"
Celestia pulled herself to her hooves and picked up her papers in her magic. While she didn't scowl or even give Twilight an angry look, she was visibly tense.
"Twilight, what brings you to my door?" she asked, ruffling her wings.
Despite the scare, she actually leaned down and nuzzled the young Princess, albeit with slightly less affection than the Twilight would like.
"I wanted to ask if you would teach me how to attend to more duties. I want to get more involved!" Twilight asked, before rubbing a leg and glancing away, a mix of nerves and worry evident. The affection only helped to increase her worry, not mitigate it.
"More duties?" Celestia pondered, tapping a hoof on the marble floor. "I guess it couldn't hurt to give you more responsibility. Luna could use the break."
Turning back to Celestia, Twilight grinned. "You won't regret it! I'll make you proud!" she squeaked, taking a step forwards.
She wanted so badly to just tear off the Princess's chest-plate and nuzzle deep against her fluffy coat. She wanted to feel those strong legs wrapped around her body. But most of all, she wanted to learn everything there was about the Princess.
Celestia let out a twinkling giggle and placed her hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "Twilight, you couldn't make me any prouder," she stated, her warm smile causing Twilight's thoughts to become fuzzy. "Would you like to sit in with me for day court?"
Even with her cheeks having burst to life, Twilight's eyes widened. "Sit in with you?" she began, her eyes sparkling as she gazed up at her Princess. "Yes! I would love to!"
"I'm happy you're so enthusiastic, Twilight. I doubt you will be by the time our time is up," Celestia chuckled, using a wing to motion for Twilight to follow.
While they slowly made their way over to the throne room, Twilight quickly realized that the Princess was leading her past one of the Guard stations and gestured to the bright and sunny day. Maybe the Princess wouldn't notice anything strange?
"Can we take the long way around?" she asked, looking up at the mare. "It's such a nice day, after all."
Celestia slowly nodded then turned around to find a door that would lead outside to the gardens. She took one last glance back at the guard station, before leaving with Twilight.
Twilight felt so much better outside and let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding. Even if Discord had told her that no pony had actively died, it didn't sit right with her that she had gone back and changed the past. What if it didn't stop with some castle guards she knew? What if it had been one of her friends that she had changed?
Would the Cutie-Map prevent another apocalypse-level event? Twilight doubted that. It only helped last time when Starlight had used the map as a catalyst. This time, Twilight was on her own and anything she changed would most likely be permanent. That terrified her.
Suddenly, the mare was broken out of her thoughts by a gentle feather brushing down her neck and across her back. Looking over to Celestia, Twilight could see the mare looking down at her, worry on her face.
"Is everything okay, Twilight?" Celestia asked, placing a hoof to Twilight's soft chest. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"
Twilight nodded. "Of course, Princess. I've just had a lot on my mind lately, that's all," she replied, hoping Celestia bought it. She really didn't want to worry the Princess more than she was, considering her already immense workload.
Celestia stared down at Twilight for a second longer, before nodding. "If you're sure." The mare quickly resumed her pace through the gardens with Twilight beside her.
Twilight wasn't sure, but she thought she could see Celestia's wings droop slightly.
The walk to the throne room was beginning to weigh heavily on Twilight's withers, considering that she could feel that something was different with the Princess. Instead of Celestia asking her questions about her day or about what her friends had been up to, she had kept quiet, forcing Twilight to wonder if she had actually hurt the mare by not answering her question. Did she expect her to tell her everything there and then?
Stopping in front of the grand chamber, Twilight watched as a series of ponies were lined up outside of the doors, each waiting patiently to have their chance in front of the Princess of the sun. There were ponies from all walks of life; nobles, Gryphons, Kirin, farmers.
Trotting into the throne room, Celestia's horn lit up and the doors closed, locking behind them, leaving them alone. Slowing to a stop in front of the dais, Celestia turned around smiled warmly down at Twilight. "It's been a long while since I've stepped back and allowed another to hold my court," she admitted, watching Twilight's eyes widen, "but, I think today would be an excellent chance to see you in action, Princess."
Twilight shook her head, taking a step back. "Oh, no. I couldn't possibly! I haven't even studied Equestrian law yet!" she gasped, biting her lip as her wings fluttered anxiously.
Celestia held her golden hoof to her mouth and let out a soft laugh. "How do you think I learned. Sometimes it's not about the law; it's about doing what's right. Citizens come here to voice their concerns with our rule. One of the most important parts of being a ruler is listening."
Twilight still looked quite a bit worried but had felt her anxiousness drift away once Celestia had started talking. Though, she was only half listening, having been distracted by the obvious beauty that the Princess held, she nodded having caught the general teaching.
"Of course, Princess, listen to them," she muttered, averting her eyes once Celestia's own stole a glance.
Celestia raised her brow but said nothing as her magic flowed over her regalia. With a click, her chest-piece slowly drifting off her and coming to rest beside the throne. The mare let out a soft sigh and rolled her neck while she stepped out of her hoof-shoes, before floating them over to join her chest-piece.
"That's much better," she purred, closing her eyes and fluttering her wings as a more relaxed smile appeared on her face.
Twilight stared at the mare, unsure of what to do. She had never seen Celestia do such a thing. In her own chambers, maybe, but never in the throne room.
"Princess..." Twilight mumbled, letting it drift.
Celestia's eyes slowly opened and drifted down to stare at Twilight. "I don't get many chances to take them off, so I like to savour the feeling. You'll understand in a few hundred years."
She turned and made her way up the dais, before laying down beside the throne. "Are we ready to begin day court, Princess?" she asked, a playful grin having appeared, causing Twilight to feel her cheeks heat up.
"Uh," Twilight replied, coughing into a hoof awkwardly. "Yes, yes. I suppose so."
With a short walk up, she sat down on the, surprisingly warm, solar throne and lit up her horn to pull the doors open. Six guards wandered in, then froze at the sight of the Princess laying down with Twilight sitting on her throne.
A quick nod from Celestia relaxed them and they took up their places on either side of the room, spaced out so they could protect both Princesses. Once in place, the nearest guard to the door raised their spear then thumped it down on the tiles, before stating, "The Princess will see you now!"
It only took a couple of seconds for a Gryphon to nervously wander into the throne room, claws clicking loudly on the floor. His front half was a light aqua, while his back half was a darker blue, mixing between his fur in the middle. The Gryphon constantly looked around at the guards as he walked forwards, before staring up at the Princess. Upon seeing which Princess was residing on the throne, he let out a muffled gasp and bowed.
Twilight smiled down at him, before leaning forwards and getting comfortable. she didn't know who should greet first, so she simply did her best to follow what Celestia usually did.
"Princess!" he shouted, causing the guards around him to tense up. Twilight blinked and leaned back, her heart quickening, while Celestia turned to gaze up at Twilight, a smirk on her face.
Placing a talon over his chest, he continued. "Sir Grizzletooth, my younger brother, has tarred my honour and must be punished!"
Staring down at the Gryphon while he stated his intent, Twilight quickly turned to Celestia, a pained look on her face. It was clear she didn't know what to do. "Princess," Twilight hissed, her voice quiet.
Celestia responded with a quick shake of her head, then turned back to the Gryphon, who was now waiting impatiently.
Twilight winced as she sat back and turned her attention back to the Gryphon, opening her mouth to question him.
"How dare you!" another light blue Gryphon hollered from the door, before stomping in towards the first. "This is all your fault!"
Twilight clamped her mouth shut, then gasped as the gryphons reared up, clearly about to attack each other. Her horn flared and caught the pair in her magic, pulling them apart.
"Now, will one of you tell me what this is about?" Twilight asked, rising off the throne and walking down the dais to stand in front of the pair of floating Gryphons. She glanced over the second Gryphon to enter and continued, "You must be Sir Grizzletooth?"
"Yes, Princess," he replied, placing a talon across his chest. "Let me apologize for my actions. They were rather uncouth, yet my little brother has driven me to do such terrible acts."
That drew a growl from the other Gryphon and Twilight glanced over to him, causing him to look away.
"What's your name?"
"Grizzletalon, your majesty," he replied, mimicking the bow of his brother. "I did not think that my little brother would follow me here and act so heinously in front of two Princesses!" he commented, narrowing his eyes over to Grizzletooth.
With a sigh, Twilight lowered the pair to the floor. "If I let you go, you won't attack each other again, will you?" she asked, moving her eyes between them and receiving shakes of their head. "Good."
Her magic aura faded from around the pair, letting them move freely once again. It was clear that they wanted nothing more than to pounce, but a frown from Celestia, which Twilight didn't notice, made sure to keep them in place.
"Now, tell me what this is all about."
Grizzletooth was the first to talk. "Grizzletalon has been flying around town telling everyone that I'm the younger brother, when everyone knows that I'm older than him!"
"Why you- Everyone knows that I'm older!"
Twilight blinked and raised a brow at them. "You're fighting over whether one of you is older?" she asked, unable to believe it. Celestia had to put up with this for a thousand years?! "Why does it mean so much to you two?"
"It's not about who is older; it's about who believes is older!" Grizzletalon retorted, flaring his wings. "The older brother inherits our father's company. Our father has become ill, so this traitor swooped in to try and take it away from me."
"As is my right! I am older, after all," Grizzletooth said, a smug grin on his face as Grizzletalon growled over to him.
Twilight went to speak, but stopped herself, before tapping her chin in thought. "Do you love your father?" she openly asked, giving them a disappointed look.
The two Gryphons glanced at each other, then to Twilight. "Of course," they both replied, looking shocked she would even ask such a thing.
"So, do you think he'd want you two fighting like this?" she continued, closing her eyes. "His two children attacking each other; I wouldn't think so."
The pair grimaced, then looked away from the Princess, wings lowering by their sides.
"Call me Twilight, please," she interrupted, placing a hoof on Grizzletooth's shoulder.
He returned the gesture with a forced smile. "Twilight," he whispered, glancing to his brother. "While it won't do to let my brother have the company, I will not let our father spend his last days hearing us fight."
Grizzletalon sighed and shook his head. "We should at least wait until he passes over before squabbling like cubs."
The pair closed in, reached out and shook each other's talons with a firm grip.
Grizzletooth turned to Twilight and bowed, being matched by his brother quickly after. "Thank you, Pri- Twilight. We shall let father die with dignity, before continuing," he stated, then he turned and walked out.
Grizzletalon quickly rushed out after him, leaving the throne room. Twilight stared at the pair in disbelief, not sure if that was a joke.
Returning to the throne, she looked over to Celestia and asked, "What the buck just happened?!"
Celestia smirked for a second, then burst out laughing, not expecting Twilight to use such language. "Your words hold weight now, Twilight. Every pony and everything will look to you for guidance. Not every problem can be neatly solved with friendship, but," she paused, "you can always try."
For Twilight, it was several hours of absolute confusion. She had gotten to see a side of Equestria that had been rather hidden from her and she was beginning to think it was for a good reason. She had only finished one day and was already wanting to give up her title; she couldn't imagine how Celestia felt.
Walking out of the throne room, Twilight could see a noticeable pep in Celestia's hooves as they left the area and turned towards the dining hall. Rolling her eyes, she asked, "I can see you're happy about not dealing with them, for once?"
Celestia shot a look back at the mare, her regalia levitating behind her. "I haven't had a proper day off in forever, Twilight. Chances to relax don't come by very often."
Slowing, Twilight looked out of the window, seeing Celestia's sun inching its way down towards the horizon. She stared out thoughtfully, then turned to the Princess. "I know that I'll need training but let me take a couple days of court from you and Luna," she asked, trotting back up to the mare that had stopped to watch her.
"That's a lot of work, Twilight. Are you sure you can do that?" Celestia asked, placing a bare hoof on her shoulder, causing the smaller mare to shiver, then up to her cheek.
Leaning into the hoof, Twilight closed her eyes and nodded. "I do, Princess. If it'll help you."
Celestia held a rather neutral expression as she held her hoof there, until her lips curled into her loving smile. "Then it shall be. You will have to convince my sister," she told, before giggling. "Though, something tells me it won't be too hard; night court isn't exactly as lively."
Twilight opened her eyes to see Celestia glancing back at her, having moved away. Her smile faltered slightly, only now noticing the subtle cold of the hallway without the Princesses touch. There had only been a hoof-full of times where the Princess had acted so intimate, but Twilight wanted more. She wanted an eternity filled with them.
Rushing up to fall in line with the Princess, Twilight looked up and asked, "Will we see Luna tonight?"
Celestia replied with a shrug. "I'm not sure. Maybe it's best if you go and rouse her from her sleep?"
Twilight's eyes widened. "Wait, me? I- I couldn't possibly go and wake her!"
"Why not? She's comfortable around you," Celestia retorted, playfully smiling down at her. "Besides, I'm sure she'd love the surprise."
After a little calming exercises, Twilight was directed to go and wake the Lunar Princess. Now, she found herself standing outside of Luna's chambers and staring at the intricately designed oaken door. It was a strange feeling, considering that the only time she had been in the room she had used the wrong entrance. Still, the stares of Luna's pair of guards didn't help her nerves much as she used her magic to softly push one of the doors open and inch her way in.
Peeking her head through into the darkened room, she found the Princess lying in her bed. The soft rising and falling of her silk covers the only indication that she was asleep.
Moving further inside and pulling the door closed, Twilight resisted the urge to call out her name, instead deciding to savour the moment. She didn't get many chances to gaze upon Luna, let alone her sleeping. As usual, Twilight was awestruck and felt her heartbeat quicken from simply look at the mare.
Luna herself was laying on her side facing Twilight, her wings having fallen limp sometime during her sleep. The Princess's covers had been partially kicked off her, showing off her top half and impressive wingspan that draped across the bed.
Twilight had to look away, for fear of finding herself thinking impure thoughts, but she couldn't help but notice just how soft and fluffy Luna's chest looked from above. Stopping just next to the bed, she sat down and leaned in, having unconsciously held a breath as she gently rocked the mare. Twilight hoped that she wouldn't spook her, like she had done with Celestia.
It only took a second or so before Luna's eyes fluttered open and gazed upon Twilight sitting next to her bed. She didn't jump, nor yelp, but she did look rather confused.
"Twilight, why are you in my chambers?"
Pulling her hoof back, Twilight moving one back to rub her neck awkwardly. "The Princess sent me to wake you, plus..." she answered, a sheepish smile appearing, "I kind of want to ask you something."
Luna seemed to perk up somewhat at hearing that. "Oh? Pray tell. What do you wish to ask?" she herself asked, leaning up, her full attention on the mare now.
Twilight could swear that she saw Luna's eyes twinkle, which only helped to improve her already happy mood. "Well, your sister allowed me to host day court and I was wondering, because I'm taking some of her days now, to let her have some time off, I was wondering if you'd allow me to take some of your night courts, just so you could have some days off?"
While Luna listened, her ears slowly inched down and the lustre from her eyes faded upon realizing what Twilight was asking. "Oh," was her only reply.
Twilight simply sat there, worried that she might have offended the Princess by asking to, basically, steal some of her days in night court. "I don't have to, of course! I know I'd need a pony to train me, most likely you," she rambled. "But I doubt you'd even have time, what wi-"
She was cut off with a tender hoof pressing against her lips, then felt her face heat up from realizing it was Luna's own.
"Twilight, stop," she commanded. "I do not mind spending time to train you in our night court. But it will be long, gruelling hours with little sleep."
The mare felt her entire body warm up from those words and her mind simply could only hear the double meaning.
Leaning forwards, Luna whispered into Twilight's ear, her warm breath washing over the frozen mare's cheek. "We'll be in close contact all night long as I show you how it all works."
Twilight didn't know if she was in Elysium or Tartarus from the way she was feeling. Luna was acting just like she was back in the past and it was causing her head to grow fuzzy.
"I-" she squeaked, "I don't mind."
"I'm glad to hear you say that," Luna cooed, climbing off of the bed and walking past the mare, her tail brushing across Twilight's neck. "I'm sure my sister is waiting, Twilight- wouldn't want to keep her waiting, do you?" she asked, pulling the door open, then turning back to the frozen mare with a smug grin.
Twilight felt light headed but still, mostly instinctively, did as the Princess insinuated and walked over to the door. She was unable to look at the Princess, in fear of her face giving her away. She passed through the door then further past the knowing looks of the guards as she and Luna began their march to the dining hall.
Luna kept close to the young Princess as they walked, her grin turning into a warm smile.
"So, Twilight," she began, brushing the tips of her feathers along Twilight's withers. "Been up to anything fun lately?"
To her credit, Twilight only flushed half as much as before when she felt those wingtips touch her. Flicking her eyes up to the Princess, Twilight shook her head. "Not really," she stammered, inwardly wincing at the lie.
"Oh?" Luna pondered, "a shame." With a shrug of her withers, Luna hummed. "I'm sure that, in time, you'll find something fun to do."
It wasn't long before the pair had arrived at the dining hall. The walk had left Twilight free to mull over the Princess's incessant teasing and if it meant anything more than she was letting on. Sure, Luna was known to tease, but nothing like that. Heat entered her cheeks simply thinking about it.
Entering the hall let them see that Celestia had already sat down, but instead of her normal seat, she instead sat off to the side of the head of the table, leaving it empty. Looking up, the mare smiled and rose off the seat to wander over, meeting the pair halfway.
"Sister, it is good to see you. I see Twilight managed to rouse you. Lesser ponies would have failed," she teased, leaning in to nuzzle her sister.
Luna returned the affection, before rolling her eyes. "I don't mind getting roused by such a mare," she chuckled, brushing past the surprised Alicorn and taking a seat opposite Celestia's.
Twilight looked between them, then to the table. She could guess where she had been chosen to sit and did so, sighing as she realized it was between the two sisters. There was no getting around it, this was no doubt going to be rather awkward for her.
Celestia sat back down. "I do hope it wasn't too early for you," she asked, using her magic to idly shift the cutlery to match on both sides.
Luna shook her head, then levitated her glass of water over to her lips. "Not at all, sister. The call of the moon would have woken me."
Twilight turned to Luna, eager to move the topic. "I hosted day court! It was," she paused, "fun, I guess. I didn't expect so many petty questions though."
Celestia couldn't help but nod in agreement.
"I could not imagine dealing with incessant pestering all night," Luna said, placing her glass down. "While 'Tia receives many times more citizens than me, our requests are more often than not security related."
"Security?" Twilight asked, tilting her head. "What do you mean?"
"She means that our citizens sometimes have problems with the local fauna, especially out near The Wilds and the Forsaken Forest. Ponies can come and ask her for help removing pests," Celestia explained, just as a waiter entered to take their orders.
"Does that mean, by taking over some night courts, I'd have to help deal with them as well?"
Luna nodded. "Indeed, Twilight," she replied, giggling. "But I shall train you in the proper ways of dealing with such things. Plus, we have a whole bat-tallion of soldiers to help you."
Celestia let out a groan and rolled her eyes. "As much as that hurt, Luna is right. You are a remarkable mare and a capable combatant, but even you will need training."
Twilight couldn't help but smile from the praise, then quickly frowned from the idea of what the Princesses meant. "What sort of things? What's worse than what I've already faced?" she asked.
"Everything you have dealt with has held back in some way. Even Cozy, Tirek and Chrysalis didn't try and destroy you with their entire being. The creatures that dwell on the edge of my night have no such qualms. We're lucky that most are mere beasts, and those that are not cannot live in my sister's light."
Twilight listened to Luna's explanation, her smile turning into worry. "I didn't know," she muttered, glancing between the Princesses.
"Not many do, Twilight. We aim to keep it that way," Celestia stated. "That's partly why Luna deals with that side of the country. While I don't like admitting it, Luna is a capable fighter than I am and has no issue with dealing with such matters."
Luna beamed as soon as Celestia said that, then turned to Twilight. She let out a soft giggle and reached over, taking the mare's hoof in her own. "I can't wait to train you. We have a very rigorous training process!"
Celestia's brow raised slightly from seeing Luna hold Twilight's hoof but said nothing as the food began to filter in, easing a hard rumble from the Solar mare's stomach and causing the other two to giggle.
Twilight found the crossover to be rather pleasant. The awkwardness which she thought would occur was absent during their dinner and breakfast, allowing her to relax around the pair.
Unfortunately, Luna had to retreat for night court and to filter through the multitude of paperwork which she had been neglecting. With she quickly nuzzled her sister, then pulled Twilight into a hug, brushing her muzzle through the mare's mane, before squeezing her.
"We're going to have lots of fun!" she chirped, letting the frazzled mare stumble back, shocked that Luna would do such a thing, let alone in front of Celestia.
"I, uh, hope so too..." she mumbled, looking over to Celestia for guidance, but finding her fighting back a laugh.
With a grin, Luna cantered off down the hall and back to her room, as Twilight watched, her heart skipping at seeing how happy the lunar mare had become.
"It's a rare sight, isn't it?" Celestia asked, wrapping a wing around Twilight's withers. "You should wake her up more often."
Twilight's gaze shot up in shock. "I didn't do anything! She's just happy she gets to kill me with her training."
"Kill you? Twilight, you're an alicorn," Celestia laughed, rubbing her back. "I don't doubt she'd try though."
Celestia's smile widened and she leaned down. "Come walk with me," she whispered into Twilight's ear, causing the mare to heat and squirm.
Celestia was quick to pull away, leaving the younger alicorn without her source of warmth. Not even a second later, Twilight's hooves clacked across the floor to get back under that wing, which Celestia happily returned to its rightful place atop Twilight's back.
The sun had set, and the moon was inching its way up past the horizon to fill the sky with uncountable galaxies and nebula that seemed to burst to life under Twilight's gaze.
Celestia led Twilight around and towards her Chambers, keeping a soft grip on the mare's withers as she periodically looked down to see what the mare was thinking.
Twilight kept her eyes focused on the night sky through the windows they passed, managing to find more and more complexity to Luna's sky the more she stared.
Unfortunately, she was pulled out of her focus by Celestia brushing a feather across her cheek. "Twilight, we're here."
Blinking and taking a look around, Twilight found that they had stopped outside of Celestia's chambers, the doors opening slowly under her golden aura.
"I wish to spend some time with my friend, if you'll oblige an old mare?"
Twilight nodded and stepped inside with the Princess.
Celestia's Chambers were warm and homely. Cushions dotted the floor, mainly focused around the lightly crackling fireplace and the writing desk that was filled with reports and papers. A thick rug stretched across the entirety of the floor, perfect for Twilight's hooves after an entire day of walking on marble.
Celestia's bed sat on one side of the room, looking rather imposing, along with her dresser and some ornate wardrobes.
As Twilight made her way in, she realised the air had a slight hint of lavender, the same as her shampoo, and tried her best to hide the growing blush on her face.
Celestia, in the meantime, had closed the door and took a deep inhale, before placing her regalia down on a nearby manikin. She made her way over to the fire and placed another log on, letting it blossom and fill the room with a light warmth.
Twilight couldn't take her eyes off of the mare as the shadows danced over her bare frame. She walked over, digging her hooves into the rug, not having realised how sore they actually were, and finding a cushion to levitate over. She placed the cushion down next to Celestia's own and plonked herself down on top of it.
Celestia soon joined her, then loosely wrapped a wing around Twilight once more, an investigative look on her face.
"Twilight?" she asked, almost hesitantly, "What happened with the guards the other day?"
Instantly, Twilight tensed up.
"The guards reported you were looking for two stallions?"
Twilight wanted to move away but knew that would cause Celestia to become ever more concerned than she already was. She knew that she was considered 'kooky' to most of the ponies in the castle, hell, even Equestria, but the Princesses didn't see her that way.
"I," she whispered, "I thought I knew them from somewhere. Turns out I didn't."
Celestia leaned down and brush her muzzle against the back of Twilight's head, causing her to sigh.
"Can you help me with a problem, Princess?" Twilight asked, deciding it would be better to get Celestia to focus on something else, even if it could backfire.
Pulling back, Celestia raised a brow. "I can surely try, but I'm not sure how much use I'll be. You've been solving all my problems for a while now."
Shaking her head, Twilight pulled away and stood up. Her wings were restless by her sides and it was obvious something concerned her.
"How," she began, sighing. "How do I ask some pony out?"
Celestia was taken aback by such a question and sat up.
Twilight quickly added on, turning around to face Celestia, "I can never get the words out."
Blinking, the Princess stretched her back for a second, then nodded.
"Perhaps you need to work yourself up to it. Tell me about the pony?"
Twilight blushed and rubbed her hoof across the rug as she looked away.
"Ponies," she corrected, flushing crimson.
Celestia took a second and felt her own cheeks darken, although considerably less than Twilight's. "I see. Well, tell me about them. What do you like about them?"
Twilight was dreading this. She'd have to try and make it sound like some pony else, but then it wouldn't be the embodiment of warmth and radiance sitting in front of her.
"Okay," she stammered, rubbing her front leg nervously. "Every time I see them happy, it makes my heart race and my head go fuzzy."
Twilight turned and began to pace back and forth.
"Every time they smile at me, I can't help but feel like I'm the luckiest mare alive, yet I'm not, as I don't get to be held in their legs. I'm so close, but I may as well be on the moon for all it matters."
Twilight had moved over and stared at the moon, letting its light wash over her. It wasn't warm, like the sun, but it felt safe, perhaps more comforting.
Celestia watched as Twilight stood there, staring up at the moon, her own wings rustling anxiously at her sides.
"They don't even know it, but I would do anything to keep them safe; I already have."
With a sigh, Twilight sat down and closed her eyes, prompting Celestia to rise up and began to slowly walk over.
"I know I'd never be good enough for either of them. I'm just Twilight."
Celestia stood behind Twilight, before sitting down. Her legs wrapped around the mare's barrel and pulled her back against her own, forcing Twilight to let out a squeak.
"You're not just Twilight. You're the saviour of Equestria and the most courageous pony I know," she stated, giving no room. "All you have to do is ask: Would you like to go on a date with me."
Looking down, she took in the Princess's praise, not noticing a sly grin on the mare's face. She finally pulled up and stepped away, instantly regretting it as the warmth left her. Turning around, she nodded, a determined look in her face.
"Okay," she sighed, nodding once more to psych herself up. Twilight could feel herself beginning to sweat and her heartrate spike as she stared deep in her former mentor's eyes. "Celestia, would you like to go on a date with me?"