“SISTER! WE HAVE JOYOUS NEWS!”
The Canterlot Castle dining room shook with the force of Princess Luna’s exclamation, Royal Canterlot Voice in full force. It wasn’t the first time the no longer newly returned princess of the night had slipped into the Royal Canterlot voice (this month), nor was it likely to be the last (this week), ever to the dismay of the royal dining staff.
Completely ignoring the shattered plates and ruined vittles now smattering the floor, Princess Luna quickly trotted across the opulent hall, past the ornate tapestries and the unoccupied mahogany chairs. She stopped next to her sister’s seat at the head of the table.
Celestia slowly levitated her teacup down to its saucer and let her golden shield fall now that the projectiles had stopped. She gave her younger sister a kind smile as she raised her eyes to meet her sister’s gaze. “Lulu, whatever has you so excited as to use the Royal Canterlot Voice in the dining hall? Have they finished installing the spider-toss court in the palace grounds?”
While she was indeed excited at the prospect of all the fun she could have with her new spider-toss court, that is not what had the lunar diarch so excited. No, this was potentially much better. “Neigh, dearest ‘Tia! We have just received news from thy faithful student from Ponyville. Once again there is fun to be had!” Princess Luna sat back on her haunches and clapped her forehooves together in excitement.
The princess of the sun beamed at her sister. Ever since Nightmare Night her sister and the Elements of Harmony would occasionally get together and engage in ‘fun’ as her sister so lovingly called it. It made her swell with pride that her faithful student and her friends were helping Lulu acclimate to modern customs.
Celestia too ignored the bustle of the kitchen staff in the background as they swept up the plates, scrubbed off the splattered food, and put up the (third) spare set of tapestries. “Oh that’s wonderful Lulu. What kind of fun is it this time?”
At this, Princess Luna seemed to revert back into the shy mare that emerged just after the Elements of Harmony had cleansed her of the Nightmare, demurely scuffing a forehoof along the ground and unrolling a poster she had until now levitated behind her and presented it to Celestia. “Well, ‘Tia, we were hoping that we, that is you and I, could have fun together this time.”
The celestial sisters did not often get to leave the palace for flights of fancy, especially not together. For Lulu to ask her to do just that the princess of the night must have really wanted to do this. Princess Celestia took hold of the poster and moved it into reading distance. The poster had a mare and filly pair at the starting line to an obstacle course and the tagline “Sisterhooves Social: come on down to Sweet Apple Acres and compete to see who the best sisters are!”
Celestia remembered Rarity and Sweetie Belle’s friendship report from the year before on how the event brought the two of them closer together. She could see why her sister would want to go watch it with her this year. It would do her heart good to see her little ponies working together in friendship. “Why Lulu, this looks like an excellent idea. I’d love to go watch our little ponies as they display the strength of their sisterly bonds.” The warm smile she gave her sister could have melted butter.
“Neigh ‘Tia! We do not wish to watch others have sisterly fun. We wish for us to participate. As sisters!”
Princess Celestia, supreme ruler of Equestria and raiser of the sun raised an inquisitive eyebrow at her sister. “Lulu, you are saying you wish for us, the princesses of Equestria, to participate in this ‘Sisterhooves Social’ against our little ponies?”
“Yes! Think of all the fun we shall have!” said Princess Luna, no longer demurely gazing down, but instead starting right into Celestia’s rich pink eyes.
Celestia kept her face passive as she mulled over whether or not this was a good idea. She didn’t like the idea of competing against her student’s friends and perhaps crushing their hopes of winning. On the other hand, she did want to find a way to spend some sisterly bonding time with Lulu, their relationship still not back to where it was before her sister’s...vacation. And Lulu did look like she really wanted this.
“Are you sure that is a good idea Lulu? I’m not sure that us competing would be entirely fair,” said Princess Celestia, stressing her last word. She’d long ago learned that participating in the competition of her subjects wasn’t always the best of ideas. Many would purposely throw their game or hold back for fear of upsetting their princess should she lose. Celestia gave a mental eyeroll at silliness of it all. Like she would be offended if she lost a game. She was more worried that her and Luna’s stature would be more than a bit of an advantage in a competition that would have school age fillies in it.
Princess Luna gave a small snort. “Nonsense ‘Tia. We are sure there will be obstacles where fillies will have an advantage. Besides, when the others see their princesses compete it will only inspire them them to try harder.”
Princess Celestia couldn’t help but give a small smile at her sister’s enthusiasm. She levitated her teacup to her muzzle and took a dainty sip before lowering it gently back down and nodding.“Alright Lulu, you win.I can see how much this means to you. We can go over to Ponyville and compete in the Sisterhooves Social,” said Celestia as she leaned over to give her sister an encouraging nuzzle.
Princess Luna, once again unable to contain herself, lapsed back into her old manner of speech. “HUZZAH! WE CAN NOW HAVE FUN. AND AS SISTERS. THE FUN HAS BEEN DOUBLED!”
Sweetie Belle was excited. Really excited. Excited enough to be mistaken for Pinkie Pie if her coat and mane were the right color. She was excited enough to be bouncing along side her elder sister Rarity as they made their way through Ponyville toward Sweet Apple Acres.
Rarity couldn’t help but let the ghost of a smile touch her lips at his sister’s antics. Sweetie Belle had been absolutely ecstatic ever since Rarity had said they could participate together this year. After all, this was the first time Sweetie Belle would get to compete against Applebloom and Applejack.
Passing by Sugarcube Corner, Rarity spared a glance toward her rambunctious sister. “Sweetie, dear, shouldn’t you save your energy for the event? You don’t want to tire yourself out before we even get there, do you?”
Not slowing her bouncing in the slightest, Sweetie Belle turned her head to face her big sister, excitement radiating from her light green eyes. “But Rarity, I’m just so excited! I know we got to compete together last year, even if you tricked me, but this time we get to compete against Applebloom and her sister! I’ll show them who the best big sister ever is.” Sweetie Belle stopped her energetic bouncing just long enough to run over and give Rarity an almost bone crushing hug before starting right up again.
Rarity gave a slightly mirthful smile once again at her sister’s antics. If it wasn’t obvious just how excited the white filly was from her unusually energetic gait and the way her words ran together as if she just couldn’t get them out fast enough, the way her voice was cracking every few sentences or so was proof enough for anypony. “Just remember Sweetie, you promised we could go to the spa together this year after we finish. Even if I don’t plan on submerging myself in, eugh, mud, again this year, there is still plenty of dust in the air to warrant a relaxing soak at the spa.”
Sweetie glanced back to face Rarity just long enough to make sure her big sister saw her eye roll. “Don’t worry Rarity, I promised. But, sis, I still don’t get it. You’re just going to get covered in mud again at the spa anyway. Why does it matter if it’s Applejack’s mud or the spa sisters’ mud?”
By this time, the duo had made it to the outskirts of Sweet Apple Acres, just in time for Rarity to catch a glimpse of some of the farm’s pigs wallowing in some mud as Sweetie Belle brought up clingy substance. She gave an involuntary shudder. “Sweetie, dear, there is a big difference between the kind of filthy mud the common animal would wallow in and the exotic, cleansing mud the spa sisters specially order.”
The white filly didn’t even spare the time to face her sister for her second eye roll. This was a argument they’d had before, and she knew that Rarity wasn’t going to change her mind any time soon. It wasn’t long before the duo came upon the obstacle course and saw the throng of other contestants and spectators as they milled about, played the array of games or just killed time until the main event later that day. Sweetie Belle and Rarity had arrived early so they could hang out with Applebloom and Applejack before the race started.
It wasn’t long before the two white unicorns caught sight of the Apple sisters as they finished up chatting with Carrot Top and her little sister. “Hi Applebloom! Hi Applejack! Are you ready for the big race?” exclaimed the energetic filly as she trotted up to her fellow Cutie Mark Crusader.
“Oh heya Sweetie, glad ya could make it,” said Applebloom as she waved a forehoof at the approaching duo. “It sure it great that Rarity agreed to let ya come back this year. I can’t wait ta battle it out with ya.”
“I can’t wait Applebloom. This is going to be so much fun!” shouted Sweetie Belle, voice cracking at the end in excitement.
Applejack gave a soft chuckle as she turned from the fillies to face Rarity. “I knew Sweetie was excited. I just didn’t know she was that excited ta participate with ya again this year. Reminds me of the first time AB over there got ta give it a go.”
Rarity smiled warmly at the orange apple farmer. “I was a bit surprised as well, darling. Sweetie and I have become a lot closer since her first time competing, and I just think the little dear wants to relive the activity that brought us closer together as sisters again. Well, that and she wants to, and I quote, ‘kick the apple family’s flanks at their own game’ if I recall correctly.” Rarity just managed to keep her smile from getting too smug as she batted her eyelashes at Applejack.
“Heh. Don’t that just beat all Rares. I seem ta remember AB saying something just like that, ‘cept it was closer to ‘just wait ‘till we show those prissy ponies how we do it on the farm.” Applejack did give a good natured chuckle after that. “I’m sure whatever happens the two of them will have a darn tootin’ good time.
“On that we can agree Applejack. Why don’t we go find Twilight and let the girls chat? She is helping out after all and did say she would cheer us on this year. The least we could do is say hello before we start.”
Applejack tipped her hat to Rarity. “That sounds mighty fine ta me Rares.” Applejack turned toward where her little sister and Rarity’s were excitedly chatting. “Girls, Me and Rarity are going to go find Twilight and say hi before the race. Make sure ta be at the starting line on time.”
The two fillies nodded their assent before diving back into their conversation.
It wasn’t long before Applejack and Rarity found their studious friend, a clipboard suspended near her head and surrounded by a fuschia glow. Twilight looked up as her friends approached and spared them a hearty smile. “Hey girls. Thanks so much for letting me help out this year Applejack. It’s great that you decided to participate again this year Rarity. Sweetie Belle seemed really excited the last time I saw her.”
Applejack let out a small chuckle. “Well shoot Twi, it’s us who should be thanking you for helping out, not the other way ‘round. Thanks again for doing that. Granny Smith said that she aint never seen this here event run so smooth.”
Twilight beamed at the compliment, happy that her efforts had made a difference. She’d asked if she could help out with this year’s Sisterhooves Social when she’d found out it was coming up. The Apple family had gladly accepted her help. With her assistance, the event was more popular than ever, the number of competitors nearly doubling and a few new events being added upon her suggestion.
“No problem AJ, I’m just happy to help out. I even wrote Princess Luna about it. I was kind of hoping she could make some time to come by and watch. She seemed to really enjoy the other modern events she came to.”
“It would be simply fabulous if she could find the time. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with the princesses. Maybe she could spare the time to pay my boutique a visit this time.” Just as the fashionista was finishing up, the sound of a rather out of breath dragon could be heard running toward the group. Spike ran up to the trio and stood there panting as he clutched a scroll in his claws.
“Twilight! The princess just sent you a letter. I came as fast as I could.”
“That’s great Spike.” Twilight levitated over the scroll from the dragon’s grasp and unfurled it so she could read it out loud.”
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
We very much enjoyed our last correspondence. This ‘Sisterhooves Social’ thou spoke of seems like great fun. We do so love to have fun when our schedule permits. We have convinced our dear sister that such an event would be a most grand endeavour and so we shall shortly be arriving in Ponyville so that we may partake in the fun. We look forward to seeing thou and thy friends soon Twilight Sparkle.
Her Royal Majesty Princess Luna of Equestria
The three mares looked at each other as Twilight finished reading the letter. “Well don’t that just beat all. Luna, Princess Luna, wants to take part in our little old Sisterhooves Social.”
Rarity gave a tepid smile as she ran a hoof through her smartly styled mane. “Yes, well I certainly did not see that coming. This...complicates this slightly. I was prepared to compete against you Applejack dear, but I’m not sure about the princesses. They are the princesses of Equestria after all.”
“Wow girls. I didn’t expect this when I wrote to Princess Luna. Can they even do that Applejack?” said Twilight, as she shifted her gaze from the scroll to the orange mare.
“I don’t rightly see why not. Nothin’ in the rules says they can’t. Sure it’s a might unusual, but I ain’t about to say no to the princesses if they want to try their hooves at it.” Applejack gave a mirthful snort. “Heck, they might even spice things up like we did with the gala that one time. Nothing’s ever dull when Princess Luna gets involved.”
“Yes darling, that is precisely why I am worried.”
“We may as well head on over to where the chariot will land and get ready to meet the princesses,” said Twilight.
A short time later found the three Elements of Harmony attending the Sisterhooves Social standing in a line as a gleaming chariot pulled by a pair of royal guards touched down in front of them. A rather excited princess of the night gaily trotted over to the gathered mares with a more sedate Princess Celestia trailing behind. The Elements each gave a short bow as the princesses approached.
“Greetings friends. We are very excited to have more fun this day.”
Princess Celestia slowly trotted over to Twilight and gave the lavender mare an affectionate nuzzle as Twilight smiled up at the princess. “Twilight Sparkle, it’s so good to see you and your friends. I’m sorry this was on such short notice, but Lulu really wanted for us to come.”
“It’s alright princess. I’m just happy you could come, although I was a bit surprised that you actually wanted to compete and not just watch,” said Twilight as she tilted her head slightly and gave Princess Celestia a quizzical look.
Princess Celestia’s mouth twisted into the tiniest bit of a smirk. “That’s what I originally thought we were going to do when Lulu brought up this event, my faithful student. I agreed to participate after she convinced me that she really wanted to do this for some sisterly bonding time, something that we sadly don’t get enough of these days.”
“Indeed Twilight Sparkle! Rarely do we get to leave the castle and enjoy fun with our sister. This is an event we simply couldn’t pass up.”
Applejack gave the princesses a genuine smile at their enthusiasm. “Well shucks Your Majesties, I’m real honored that you want to participate in our little event. It isn’t every day the princesses of Equestria want to be a part of something a regular old pony like myself puts on.”
Princess Celestia walked over to Applejack and put a gentle hoof on her withers. “Nonsense Applejack. You’ve done much for Equestria and I’m honored to call you a citizen and even more so a good friend.”
Applejack gave a shy grin at the solar princess. “Thank ya kindly princess. It’s an honor ta call you a friend as well.”
“Darlings, as much as I’d love to stay and chat, we really ought to get ready for the main event. We wouldn’t want to be late.”
Twilight spared a glance at her clipboard once again reaffirming the start time of the event. “Rarity’s right. You should meet up with Applebloom and Sweetie Belle and, eh heh, let them know that the princesses are going to compete as well. I’m sure they’ll be surprised.”
The group wandered through the crowd of ponies that were heading to the stands, the later bowing when they caught sight of the princesses. Applebloom and Sweetie Belle sat at the starting line and were facing the opposite direction of their incoming sisters and didn’t notice their approach until they were almost upon the fillies.
“Heya AJ. Hi Twilight. Howdy princesses. Everypony ready for the big race?” said Applebloom as the group approached.
“Oh Sweetie Belle, we’re back. And we, uh, we’ve brought some more competition for the race.”
“Hiya big sis!” Sweetie Belle trotted over and gave Rarity a big hug. “Hey Princess Celestia, Princess Luna. And what do you mean more competition? All I see are the princesses and Twilight. And we all know that Twilight only has a brother.”
“Yeah, I don’t see anypony but Twi and the princesses,” said Appblebloom.
“Yes, about that dear, the princesses are, well, they’re going to be competing as well. They are sisters after all.” Rarity gave a sheepish smile to Sweetie Belle as she finished explaining.
“Um, Rarity, these are the princesses we’re talking about. Besides, can they even do that? Aren’t the princesses, you know, too old to participate?”
Twilight gave a chuckle that may have just slightly bordered on nervous. “There’s actually nothing in the rules that says they can’t Sweetie. So as long as the princesses want to enter there is not stopping them.” Twilight gave the princesses an encouraging smile. “It’s not like being a princess means you can’t have fun Sweetie. They just, uh, are a bit busy running the kingdom most of the time.”
Princess Luna and Princess Celestia shared a slightly pained look. Being a princess did have its perks and the respect of their loving subjects was always nice, but Twilight was right. The princesses rarely got the opportunity to let their manes down and just have fun like the regular ponies did.
Princess Luna gave a small sigh. “What Rarity said tis true Sweetie Belle. We are indeed participating this year. As Twilight Sparkle said, even if we are a bit old,” the princess gave a rather unprincess-like eye roll, “that is no bar for our participation.” The midnight blue alicorn directed a small smile at the white filly. “Besides, one is never too old to have fun.”
Sweetie Belle gave a small giggle and beamed up at Princess Luna. “If you say so princess.” The white filly narrowed her eyes and her smile slipped into a pointed smirk. “But if you think we’re going easy on you then you’ve got another thing coming! Rarity and I’ll show you who the best sisters are. We’re going to win this year, isn’t that right big sis?”
Rarity gave a nervous laugh as she glanced at the two alicorns towering over her little sister. “I’ll do my best Sweetie, but I cannot guarantee anything.” The alabaster unicorn directed a critical gaze at the two alicorns, noting their significantly taller stature and long legs. “The competition seems to a bit more...stiff this year.”
“I’m sure we’ll all do great my little ponies.” Princess Celestia leaned over and gave her sister a light nuzzle. “Just remember, we are all here to have fun.”
“Well I’ll leave you girls to get ready,”said Twilight as she turned around. “Good luck and have fun.” She gave the assembled ponies all a small smile before trotting off to join the other ponies gathered in the stands.
Granny Smith came on over a megaphone and gave her pre-race speech. The audience in the stands all cheered and stomped their hooves when she was done and the contestants had all lined up.