The Party lasted until early in the morning until only a small number of Ponyville party ponies remained behind. The after-party-cleanup party in the barn was in it's late stage as the cleaning had finished and post party unwinding had begun.
The six Mares and Princess Celestia had gathered outside for what Pinkie Pie was calling a post-after-party-sunrise-picnic-party.
The weather was only a touch chilly in the pre-dawn twilight and as the stars faded only a few clouds could be seen lazily drifting along waiting for the morning weather patrol to direct them somewhere more useful.
DJ pon3 had left her booth on auto, leaving a soft chill-out music to set the mood and joined the Poniville Party Ponies in the hayloft from where a murmur of conversation and the occasional squeal of laughter could be heard.
Seven mares sat on a picnic blanket and chatted to pass the time. Fluttershy looked peaky and Pinkie was encouraging her to eat a shugary confection. Rainbow Dash was trying to teach a slightly tipsy Applejack to bend her front hooves like a robot. Rarity was observing these antics while nibbling on some cake and restraining laughter.
Twilight nervously glanced at the princess who was lying comfortably between her and Pinkie. The somewhat larger alicorn looked so relaxed and content that Twilight was having trouble connecting this alien looking Princess beside her with her mentor. Also... If her calculations were correct.
“Is there something wrong, Twilight?” Celestia inquired gently.
“Well. Um. The sunrise is supposed to start any second now.” Twilight said nervously.
“Indeed it is.” Celestia said as she stood up, stretched, walked forwards a few steps and then promptly laid down the comfy looking hay pile that was there to provide shelter from the breeze, smiling to herself and looking towards the far away hills where dawn was supposed to break.
Twilight gaped at her for a moment and then sunlight spilled across the land and she glanced away to look at the majestic, rising sun and then back at her Princess whose horn was completely dormant.
“You need to relax more Twilight.” Pinkie needled the purple mare and nudged her towards where Celestia watched the spectacular sunrise with fascination.
Twilight sighed and then joined the princess, laying down on the hay and letting her analytical mind quiet down for a moment to just enjoy the sunrise.
Celestia spared her student a glance and a friendly nuzzle before looking towards the hills once again.
“It is my first sunrise in a thousand years where I can just admire it in stead of scrying far away and balancing planetary rotation and angle with orbital and planetary lay lines.” She explained softly, her voice brimming with emotion. "The colours. I had forgotten the colours."
“Luna does good work.” Twilight remarked with a whisper enjoying the hues of the sunrise and the oddly intimate moment.
“You are almost at the level where you could learn the magic yourself, My Faithful Student.” Celestia quietly noted, deciding on a whim to spring this on her student now, anticipating the confusion this statement would cause.
Twilight started and looked at the Princess her eyes wide, spectacular sunrise forgotten.
“Isn't this kind of magic the domain of... well...” She trailed off. She had always been uncomfortable reminding herself that her flesh and blood mentor was one of their...
“Gods?” Celestia asked gently. “You forget this about Us and Our Sister and it is your greatest gift to me. Think on this question for a time and get back to me. What are your limits as the Element of Magic? And what are your limits as Twilight Sparkle.”
Celestia touched Twilight's hoof gently and with a small glow of her horn a pair of slender tomes popped into existence.
“This is the complete Rite Of The Sun and it's counterpart The Rite of The Moon. Take no rush and study them, over the next few days, months or years, think on my question and let me know, when you think you know the answer: Just how far are you as Twilight Sparkle from casting them.” She proclaimed. Goddess or not Celestia was unsure herself of her students limits. Technically, the spark of her divinity that imbued in all her little ponies and granted their cutie marks when some threshold into adulthood was passed had no limits and heeded not any boundary.
Twilight sat in stunned silence and held the tomes closely to her chest, staring at the rising sun.
“Do not experiment with them without me there to supervise and remember that magic should be about learning, and fun.” Celestia cautioned softly, knowing her students propensity for all-nighters. Hey eyes widened in surprise as Twilight leaned and pressed her head against her divine neck and sighed. Celestia's ears twitched as faintly murmured and delightfully blasphemous words graced her ears.
She looked down at her student and smiled. It had been a long time since any pony had used the old tongues for an promise-oath to her, let alone referring to her as a person in stead of a goddess. She wondered if Twilight knew she had whispered that out loud. Probably not.
Her little scholar would probably faint if she knew Celestia had heard her craft from the aether a possessive use of the title Σολάρι.
"I Better stop her before she accidentally utters a marriage proposal in the language of magic." She chuckled internally.
"So how are your studies in expansion of touch spells onto groups and areas going?" Celestia questioned. Twilight was always eager to discuss magic.
“What do you think they are talking about.” Asked Rainbow Dash curiously as the rest of the girls lay on blankets, around the small picnic spread enjoying the first rays of sunlight on their skin.
“I don't know and it sure as hey ain't none of our business.・Apple Jack nudged her blue friend slightly.
“I know... It's just. Look at them, It's princess Celestia, The Rising Sun of our lullabies, The Wind In The Sky my Grandmother prays to, as much as we tend to forget it when she is being 'jus Celesia'. For Equestria's sake she is a goddess and Twilight is cozies up with her like, like... Anypony!" Rainbow Dash squirmed, her curiosity rearing it's head.
“'Ah admit that two years ago I would have called ya a liar if you told me any of what we all saw and lived through. And, when you think about it everypony needs companionship I think that all her power aside, deep inside even Celestia is just a pony who wants to have friends. I for one will never flinch from a friendly hoof, extended.” The farm pony concluded with a poetic finality that left the other stunned for a moment.
“We knew they were close, as mentor and student." Rarity agreed, staring at Apple Jack fondly. These moments of wisdom were why she was friends with that mare. Propensity for mud, sweat and all.
“Celestia was always like, super-friendly to all of us, writing back to us, doing us favors, being nice and lending us her hall for Twilight's birthday and stuff. And she's a good dancer too, which is the main thing. No pony had ever kept up with me in pony pokey before." Pinkie added her two bits.
“She is nice.” Whispered Fluttershy with a far away look in her eye and a wry smile. Something about the husky way she said it drew the attention of the rest of the mares.
“That was not a bad ni~ice!” Rainbow Dash grinned as she nudged her shy childhood friend. "Spill it Flutter-wonder!"
“ Um, It's nothing...” Muttered Fluttershy.
“Oh come on. You can't still be doing that. Take a deep breath and pretend you are cheering, and then say it.” Rainbow Dash encouraged her.
“It was when I was claiming Everfree Forest as my Guarded Lands as part of my Warden duties.” Fluttershy braved loudly, for her and a small blush spread across her face.
The rest of the mares looked at each other.
"Warden?" mouthed a confused Applejack at Rarity who just shrugged helplessly. She had never heard of that title.
"Go on, go on." The blue pegasus encouraged eagerly.
“She appeared during the ritual and... Kind of...” She muttered with diminishing loudness. Rainbow leaned closer trying to catch every word.
"Yeees?" the pushy pegasus prodded leaning precariously.
Fluttershy trailed off and lowered her head to the ground and covered her head with her hooves an mumbled quickly: “She gave the Everyfree Forest to me as my domain.”
“What was that sugah?” Apple Jack encouraged.
“Princess Celestia acknowledged that the Everfree Forest is my Magical Domain.” She rapidly fired off and then with a squeak covered her head again. Rainbow Dash fell on her face and groaned in disappointment. She had thought it was something juicy. A half remembered story niggled in the back of her head and she froze staring at her blushing friend.
“What the hey does that mean?” Applejack asked looking at her other friends. "Besides, you know, you being a super duper Nature pony we all know and love?"
“Hey Twilight whatsa magical domain?” Pinkie Pie called out as Rarity wondered if it Warden counts as a noble title or a professional moniker.
“Well Pinkie as you know everpony draws their magic from an aspect of the world. Now like how most pegasi draw from the air or the sky. Sometimes tho...”
As Twilight stopped up onto a nearby soeapbox to deliver an university level lecture on the nature of magic about this subject Rainbow Dash tuned her out and stared at her longtime best friend for a long moment considering a half forgotten Pegasus fairy tale and then lowered herself to whisper at her shy friend.
“Does that mean if I pray to you I can have spells?” Rainbow teased quietly with mischief in her eye.
With a squeak Fluttershy drew Pinkie's attention from Twilight's overly scientific explanations and waved her head no a small blush visible on her face.
“Aw, why not? Do I have to offer sacrifices first?” The pegasus teased her long time friend and touched a hind-leg to a yellow flank. “A virgin sacrifice perhaps?"
Twilight's lecture paused as she noticed her friend's attention being drawn to Rainbow and Fluttershy.
Crimson spread across Fluttershy's face, and down her neck as she blushed from the teasing. She knew that Rainbow was not really into fillies that much and was just teasing her but the entire concept of giving someone else a piece of something as intimate as a a breath of ones magic in exchange for... even more intimate favors like in one of the more adult oriented pegasus tales was really embarrassing and she just knew Dashie was doing this on purpose. She was about to plead for her to stop embarrassing her when her hind-leg twitched from Dash drawing a gentle hoof just below her cutie mark causing an involuntary shiver. Blue eyes narrowed and adrenaline surged through her veins in a sudden bout of anger. Enough is enough.
"Now listen here Missy!" Fluttershy growled as she hooked a hoof under Dashe's hind leg and pulled, lifting herself on her legs as the prankster pegasus toppled to the ground with a surprised oomph.
Her wings snapped up in a display of dominance that was completely unlike her normal timid self. Lightning arced along her wingtips stabbing at the the nearby cloud turning it dark and heavy. Fluttershy pinned her prankster friend to the ground and displayed her teeth for all to see while sinister wind picked up across the Apple farm and stirred her mane.
Lighting dropped from the rapidly spreading cover of dark an heavy clouds and struck the weather mane as a localized storm rapidly spread across the sky.
“Rainbow Danger Dash! You will stop that kind of talk this instant! I am not a mythical Goddess of The Everfree Forest! I just protect it and embody it's magic and I most certainly do not want Virgin Sacrifices!” She shouted in the blue mare's face even while her eyes were tearing slightly in equal measure anger and embarrassment at what would everypony think of what Rainbow had been saying about her.
Rainbow stared at her trembling friend with wide eyes. Oh rainbow Dash you really stepped into it this time.
"I'm sorry Fluters." She muttered closing her eyes. "I took it too far, you can punish me whichever way you want."
Fluttershy's anger cleared like mist and and the howling winds died down to a dull roar and faded, but not before it stole Applejacks hat right off her head.
"Hey shugarcube. You may not be a goddess but you sure as heck have the Royal Canterlot Voice down.” Apple Jack finally spoke into the stunned silence.
“What was that about virgin sacrifice?” Yelled Dj Pon3 from up in the loft and a few cheers and a whistle were heard from the Ponyville Party Ponies in the back.
Fluttershy looked around for a moment, looking horrified and then squeaked and covered her head with her hooves, landing on top of Rainbow Dash who stared at her supposedly timid friend for a moment and then wrapped her limbs around her and gave her a big hug.
“I'm sorry Flutterwonder. I was just teasing. I'm sorry. I didn't think you were stressing about it. Forgive me? Ple~ease."
Fluttershy stiffened and then melted into her friend's embrace, resting her head on her shoulder and the budding storm died down like it hadn't happened leaving just a few leaves gently fluttering down to the ground.
“'S 'Kay.” She muttered tiredly, still trembling from the emotional turmoil. “Just don't... say those things again. It was... Just a story... I wouldn't... You know. It's not nice. 'f you are in the forest and need me just ask you know. Praying is for gods." She half whispered
“'M not a goddess. I just take care of the animals.” She whispered closing her eyes.
As Fluttershy dozed off a complete silence descended on the farm cut only by the soft rhythms of Pon3 chill-out track
Everypony just looked at each other at a loss for words. Finally Applejack stood up and walked over to where her hat had been blown off.
"What the hey just happened?" She asked as she picked up her hat from the ground and returned to the slightly ruffled friends. Pinkie Pie shrugged and made some room for her, looking slightly worried while Rarity was just frozen staring at Fluttershy.
Everyone looked at Twilight who was staring at the sky and the few stray clouds fading like mist in the morning. She looked at Applejack and then shrugged.
"I got nothing. What just happened is..." the Purple unicorn trailed off and shook her head. "All i can possibly think of is a timed stunt by a team of Pegasi hiding in the clouds to set everything on cue. I never studied weather magic much. Dash how did she do that?"
Rainbow shrugged while she pushed away a stray hair from Fluttershy's face and then just rested her left arm on Fluttershy's shoulder and laid back, staring at the sky.
"I dunno. I could do it in about twelve seconds by preforming a rapid, condensed cloud manipulation in conjunction with some thermal finagling. But I'd have to be flying and work my flank off to pull it off. I have no clue how she did it. But I'll be her servant for a year if she says she can teach me. That was awesome." She smiled and hugged Fluttershy a little tighter. Fluttershy mewled and murmured ”Dashie. Not so hard.” before she sighed and settled more comfortably into her Rainbow-pillow.
Rainbow Dash froze and then blushed like a tomato.
“No pony talks about this EVER.” She growled at her friends who all wore silly grins on their faces.
Celestia opened her mouth to comment and Rainbow cut her off.
“That goes for you to miss sunny side up!” She ordered and then blanched in a sudden color reversal from blushing purple to pale blue.
“Um. If you don't mind. Your highness.” She Rainbow retreated verbally in a rapidly diminishing tone of voice reminiscent of a certain yellow colored Pegasus.
Celestia's mouth fell open as she stared at the mercurial mood of the pegasus and then her eyes glittered like sun filled dew drops as she let out a completely girly giggle and wiped a tear from her eye. With that a dam burst through and the rest of the girls collapsed into laughter and chuckles at the role reversal the two pegasi just went through.
As always, I have no beta and no pony loving pre-reader friends. Tell me what sucks and what's cool so I can make the story better.
Also I have some other projects so you can expect weekly updates at best..