• Published 31st Jan 2014
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How to Court Alicorns: A Human's Guide - little big pony



A cutsie little love story between a human and best princess

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Step Five: Get that Kiss!

“You really think she’d like these yellow roses?”

“Oh I’m sure that your date will love them! They’re pretty, they taste great, and they smell divine! In fact they’re so great that I should probably charge more than I do for them! Why just the other day I was—”

Anny couldn’t help but smile in amusement as he listened to the flower pony try her very hardest to ham up her wares. It might have been adorable to see the little mare in front of him waving her hooves around like a crazy person and darn near screaming at him at the top of her lungs, but she might have been hamming up her flowers a bit past the point of sensibility. Theses roses weren’t that cheap as she kept insisting they were; in fact Anny had a pretty good case to argue that she might have been charging just a little too much for them. They were, after all, just a bunch of plants that just so happened to look pretty.

But what did he know? He couldn’t eat flowers without immediately spitting them right back out or getting sick. And he could admit with no shame that he didn’t really have an eye for “pretty things”; the Princess he was dating excluded. For all he knew the yellow roses in front of him were the greatest looking and best tasting things in the world. Probably not but Anny always liked to give people, or in this case ponies, the benefit of the doubt. But all that didn’t even matter-- not the hamming up not the highish price not any of that-- because both Anny and the florist pony knew that he was going to buy a dozen of these flowers.

He was going to bite the bullet and buy these slightly too expensive for his taste flowers because today was a very, very important day. It was a day that may very well decide his and Princess Celestia’s relationship with each other. And not the public one or the one that they had as friends, this was the kissy-datey-I like-like-you relationship that he had been doing his very best to make sure that grew and hopefully bloomed into something beautiful and long-lasting.

After months and months of wooing the Princess of the Sun and weeks and weeks of them going on their dates and becoming closer and closer together Anny was finally taking the princess on their third date; otherwise known as the date you should probably, maybe, sorta-kinda-definitely ask her out. And, after one or two sleepless nights and a bit of soul searching, Anny decided that he cared enough about the wonderful, loving, and caring mare that was Princess Celestia and he thought he knew enough about her to guess that it would, in fact, be a good idea to try to ask her out-out. But sweet mother Teresa on the hood of a Mercedes Benz was he nervous about it. A third date, after all, could be considered one of the most nerve-wracking. But Anny knew, even though his stomach was doing flips because of the pre-date jitters, that nothing would go wrong with this date.

The two of them weren’t going out to some fancy restaurant (hopefully), nor were they so nervous around each other that they were jumpy and jittery and second guessing themselves about every single thing they did. Both the human and the princess had experienced some of the most… unique dates imaginable, they had had their ups and downs; their good moments and their bad ones , and they had come out on top and better off for it. Heck, they may as well have been dating already with how much they were around each other; holding hands/hooves, talking and laughing, cuddling up to and hugging each other, all of that mushy, lovey-dovey stuff!

But… Anny still wanted to make it official. He wanted to look the Princess in the eyes, hold her hoof and say that he lo--liked her a lot and that he’d be honored if she’d be his special somepony. And he may have also wanted to get his first kiss from the mare on this particular date. Not that he had been eagerly awaiting such a thing, nor did he practice kissy faces in front of a mirror! Nope. No sir!

That would be weird!

Giving his head a shake, Anny focused his attention back on the florist. “Alright, I’m sure they’re great and all, and you did help me out with buying flowers the last time.” The mare’s chest puffed out and she grinned. “So how about I give you… fifteen bits for a dozen and we can call it square.”

The mare’s smile slowly vanished from her face and was replaced with a frown. “Sir, I know you’re trying to get a deal but I have mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay!” She poked his shin with a hoof. “I can’t go lower than twenty-eight bits!”

Anny crossed his arms. “I’ll go eighteen.”

“Twenty-five.”

“Twenty.”

“Twenty-three”

Anny found himself frowning, plucking a flower out of its protective case and carefully inspecting it. “These flowers are too small and I don’t think they’re fragrant enough for twenty-three bits. You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to rip me off.”

The florist gasped, stomping her hoof, her lips then drawing back into a snarl. “These are the best tasting, juiciest, best smelling flowers in the city, buster brown! I’m practically giving you them for twenty-three!”

The two glared at each other for a long moment, daring the other to blink.

“…Alright. How about we meet each other halfway and say the price is twenty-one?”

The florist looked him up and down. “Say it’s twenty-one and a half and I’ll call us even,” she answered with another stomp of her hoof. Though there was a good chance she was trying her hardest to look intimidating, all Anny saw was a three foot tall light blue mare stomping around on her hoofsies with her nose scrunched up. And that was adorable. Adorable enough for him to take her deal.

Anny looked away from the mare, stroking his chin and adopting a thoughtful expression. “…Alright,” he said, offering the florist a hand. “You got yourself a deal.”

The mare’s agitated, almost angry, expression vanished almost instantly, and once again she was the happy, smiling pony that she had been a few minutes ago. “Great! I’ll get you all set up then!”

Anny couldn’t help but grin as the mare trotted away with a little skip. And Twilight said that I was awful at haggling, he thought smugly. Hah, I got these suckers down like six bits!

“Do you want your bouquet all wrapped up or are you taking it to go, Sir?”

Anny shrugged, pulling out his bag of bits. “I’ll take it to go if you don’t mind,” he said. “I don’t have that far to go.”

After counting out his bits, the mare once again smiled up at him. “Thank you for your business! I’m sure that your date will love these roses!”

Anny smiled, grabbing the roses from the mare. “Well, I hope you’re right… Well, you have a lovely evening.”

“You have a wonderful one as well!” she answered with a wave.

The florist watched as Anny left her store, waving until the door closed behind him. “Ha!” she cackled, tossing a bit into the air and catching it. “I can’t believe that I managed to get him to buy ten bit a dozen roses for twice the price! Thank Celestia for ponies that can’t haggle their way out of a paper bag!”





~_~_`_~_`_~_~_





In another part of Canterlot, both Shining Armor and Princess Cadance were making their way through the city streets, the royal couple on a mission as it were. The last “mission” that they’d probably have in Canterlot.

Even though the two of them had been having a lovely time here at the castle with their loved ones the royal couple’s vacation was nearing an end. It might have been fun for the two of them to play matchmaker with Anny and Celestia, and seeing aunt Luna and the Sparkles was wonderful like always, but the Empire needed its rulers, and Cadence was starting to get letters from her advisors about the happenings and the problems that were going on in her little kingdom. Problems and happenings that needed to be addressed by her and her alone. And since it seemed that Anny and Celesta were getting along just fine, Cadence didn’t see the need for staying any longer than they already had.

But that didn’t mean they couldn’t enjoy their last few days of vacation! No, they were going to enjoy their last few days here to their fullest; which, for Cadance, meant going to every single shop in the city to play with do-dads, trying on and maybe buying dresses, and just generally running around and having a good time.

And that was what they were doing; Cadance trotting merrily ahead while Shining, who had a mountain of baggage on his back, lugged behind her trying his very best to look like he was having as good of a time as she was.

“So where do you want to go next, Shiny?” the pink princess asked with a happy little skip. “We could go to Laffy Taffy’s Workshop or maybe Prim and Proper’s Wondrous Wardrobes or—“

“Just keep moving you hooves, old boy,” Shining muttered as he listened to his back and knees protest with each step he took. “It’ll be all over soon. It’ll be all over soon. Your knees can take it and your back… well, uh…”

“Do you need some help there Sir?”

Shining, sweat dripping from his muzzle his every muscle in his body screaming, looked up to see two guards looking back at him blankly. The ex-captain’s eyes grew wide and his spirit soared. These guards had offered to help him! The prince sniffled at the selfless action, his back and knees already thanking him, and he was about to thank them, but then he stopped. Something seemed… off about these guards. Their expressions seemed too robotic, too stiff.

It might have just been a gut feeling, but Shining couldn’t help but look the two over carefully. “Well… I’d really appreciate it, guys, but... aren’t the two of you still on guard duty?” He nudged his head at their armor. “The two of you are still in uniform.”

The guards looked at each other, and one looked like he was about to say something, when Cadance popped beside them with a smile.

“Shining what’s taking you—“ She stopped when she saw the two guards. “Oh, hello gentlecolts,” she said politely. “Is something the matter?”

Other than bowing slightly the guard’s may as well have been made out of stone. “We were just wondering if the Prince needed any help carrying all of those bags,” one said.

“We do not want him to injure himself and we’d be more than happy to help,” the other added.

Cadance smiled sheepishly as she looked up at the stacks of bags heaped on her husband’s back. “…Oh, I didn’t realize that I had gone that overboard…”

Before Cadance could say anymore one of the guards started pulling bags from Shining’s back and putting it on his own. “We assure you that it’s no problem, your highnesses.”

Following his comrade’s led, the other guard started removing some bags as well. “And if you’d like we’d be more than happy to lead you around town to some of the more out of the way shops. The two of us have been living here long enough to know the places that most ponies had never heard about.”

Cadance looked at the two uncertainly before a little smile came back to her face. “Well… I’d appreciate if you helped my husband at least…”

Shining just continued to look at the two stallions as they lightened his load, warning signs blaring in his head, with a small frown on his face.There isn’t something right with these two…

The unicorn had been in the guard since he had graduated magic school at the age of fifteen. He knew how a guardpony usually acted, how they conducted themselves around their fellow, or in this case ex-fellow, guards, and how they spoke. And these “guards” didn’t fit any of the criteria.

His wife seemed to think so too, looking at him for a long moment before eyeballing the stallions discreetly.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen them at the castle before either, Shining thought as Cadance started to lead them through the streets at a leisurely pace. And I know everypony in the Day and Night guard…

He could have been wrong, these two stallions might have just gotten out of boot camp and were still nervous around royalty, and that was why they were acting so stiff and odd… But, for some reason, Shining felt that that wasn’t the case.

“How about we go down this street, Shiny?” Cadance asked, stopping at a crossroads and pointing down one of the streets. “There’s an ice cream place that I’ve wanted to try since it opened!”

Shining looked up at the street name before smiling back at his wife. “Ice cream sounds great, honey,” he said, nudging both of the guards in front of him. “We can buy these two some ice cream as a thank you for volunteering to be our pack mules.Then the four of us can go back to the castle to put all of this away.”

The guards seemed to brighten up slightly at that, what could have been a smile coming to both of their faces. Cadence, once again looking back at Shining, started to lead the little group down the street.

While getting ice cream might have seemed like something that would end this hard day of shopping on a high note there were a couple of problems with that. There wasn’t an ice cream shop down this street was one major one, a fact that both of the guards should have known if they had lived here all of their lives. Another was that all guards in uniform were forbidden from eating or drinking in public, a rule that Shining had had pounded into his head when he was going through training and a rule that was beaten into every guard for the last few hundred years.

But the street did have something going for it. It was as bare as could be; not a single mare or stallion was in sight. This made it perfect for anypony that would just so happened to be suspicious of a pair of mystery stallions that had popped out of nowhere. Since there was no one else around to get in the way or may a scene one would be able to have a… aggressive discussion with said ponies about how in the hay they got their hooves on guard property and why they were harassing the royal couple.

If the two “guards” had bothered to pay attention they would have seen Shining quietly teleporting the bags on his back away to places unknown. They would have also noticed Cadance slowing her already leisurely pace to a near crawl, her horn glowing ever so slightly with an offensive spell. But since these two obviously weren’t guards they didn’t notice that they were being lead to their doom by the pink princess.

“Come on,” the Princess of Love said, suddenly turning into an alley. “This way is a shortcut to the castle.” She turned back to smile at her little group but the smile seemed less joyful and more predatory. “We need to get back to the castle soon for… reasons…”




~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_




While the city of Canterlot, and most of the country itself, was running around working and frolicking and everything else little marshmallow ponies did with their time there was one pony in particular that found herself sleeping this beautiful, sunny day away. The mare was none other than the co-ruler of Equestria: Princess Luna.

It had been a long couple of days for the Princess of the Night. She had had to entertain a pair of diplomats that had come all the way from the Gryphon Empire, she had had to deal with some squabbles that had broken out among the nobles, and she had spent the last few nights setting up a brand new constellation in her sky. And, while the Princess was not a mare that usually needed all that much sleep to get her through the day, even she was starting to feel the lack of sleep over these past few days.

So, deciding to do the right thing so that she could be in tip-top shape and in the right state of mind for governing her little ponies, Luna had cancelled all of her morning meetings to get some much needed shut-eye. And, since she was a mare that liked to be as comfortable as possible whenever she managed to get away from her work to get some sleep, Luna had a bedroom that was more than up to the task of whisking her off to dreamland.

The drapes on her bedroom windows and the tint covering her balcony door had been magically altered to negate light one hundred percent so she could get some sleep without being bothered by the sun, her pillow and bed were made from the feathers of volunteering Pegasi and her blankets and pillowcases were made out of the finest silk available, and to top it all off her walls had been soundproofed and the room’s temperature stayed at a constant and comfortable sixty-eight degrees.

Luna’s bed chamber was not just a simple place where one could rest their heads and go to sleep for eight hours. No, this room was nothing short of a sleeping mecca, a room that was truly worthy for one that called herself the Mistress of Dreams.

A dainty, princess-y snore could be heard from underneath a mountain of blankets as Luna adjusted herself, grabbing a pillow and squeezing it tightly against her chest. “We are… the… night,” she murmured before going back to her snoring.

Luna rolled around a bit more, throwing a few blankets off of the bed in the process before grumbling. Though her bed’s softness could have been compared to the softest clouds in all of creation she couldn’t just get herself comfortable, something that rarely happened but when it did it always put her in a bad mood.

Luna tossed and turned a bit more before she found herself fully awake, disorientated and grouchy. “Accursed pillow,” she growled, rolling onto her stomach to look up at the pillow that had failed to bring her comfort on this day. “Thy feathers are poking at our face and thy side is no longer cool to the touch!”

Belatedly blinking, she picked up the offending pillow, her mane all tangled up and her fur disheveled, and inspected it with a frown. “Thou hast shamed thy person and thy creators for thine failure!”

Grumbling a bit more she tossed it off the bed and reached over and grabbed a new one. “We banish thee off the bed to an everlasting existence on our floor.”

Yawning, she fluffed her new pillow that he had off to the side of her bed for just such a travesty before placing her head on it and closing her eyes again. “Take heed of thy predecessors fate, new pillow, for it will be yours it thou displease me.”

The pillow, too frightened to speak (or perhaps too focuses on the task at hand?) stayed silent as Luna nuzzled into it, ready once again to return to her dreamland filled with dancing candy people and mountains made of ice cream and moon pies. She would have slipped into this wonderful world too, if not for the sounds that suddenly and unexpectedly started to come from her balcony.

Luna’s eyes snapped open and she lifted her head up to regard her balcony door with confusion, suspicion, and irritation. The only ponies that were supposed to have access to her balcony were her and her sister. All others, no matter what was happening, were supposed to speak to the guards at the door of her chambers so they could then relay the information to her.

“So why in the name of our Moon is somepony—“ Luna stopped when she heard what could only be described as buzzing coming from the other side of the glass door. Her confusion turning into shock, and that shock then turning into anger and just a touch of glee.

“Oh happy day,” she murmured, rolling out of her bed as quietly as she could. “Ever since our sister’s failure in fending off these demons We hath wished to test our might against them…”

The intruders on the other side of her balcony door no longer seemed content with trying to quietly break into her room as the sounds of bodies hitting the glass with significant force could be heard echoing throughout the room. Whether or not the sudden spur to action on the invaders part was because they somehow knew that Luna was awake and watching them or they had found out that her door was locked up tight was a moot point at the moment. All that door needed to do was stay in tack for a little longer until Luna could—


CRACK!


Cursing, Luna charged toward her closet.


CRACK!


The sounds of angry chattering could be heard clearly now, as could the buzzing of insect wings.


CRACK!!!


With one last mighty tackle the glass door shattered into a million pieces, the intruders flying in a moment later, their crooked and misshapen horns glowing and their teeth bared. Soon there were twenty Changelings in Luna’s bedchamber, twenty sets of eyes scanning the small room for the Princess of the Night.

COME FACE US, CRETINS!

Every Changeling in the room turned to look at the closet door, each of them growling at the odd-looking light that was coming from the other end of it. One of the soldiers was about to take a step forward when something big and metal slammed against the other side of the door.


BOOM!


WE ARE LUNA: PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT, MISTRESS OF DREAMS, AND LADY OF THE MOON!


BOOM!


OUR MIGHT IS WITHOUT EQUAL! OUR FURY IS THE STUFF OF LEGEND! WE ART A PROTECTOR OF OUR PEOPLE AND ONE THAT DESTROYS ALL OF THOSE THAT SEEK TO HARM THEM!


BOOM!


Each of the Changelings found themselves very quickly retreating to the other side of the room as the wooden door very quickly became bowed and splintered.

WE DO NOT KNOW HOW OR WHY THY KIND HAST REARED ITS UGLY HEAD ONCE MORE BUT WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SHOW THEE THE EXIT ONCE MORE!


BOOM!!!


With a chorus of screeches, the Changelings scrambled over each other to get out of the way as the door was knocked from its hinges and sent flying to the adjacent wall with enough force to crack it. If one had bothered to look one could have seen that the side of the closet door that had been facing the wall was blackened and smoking, almost as if it had been licked by flames. Not a single Changeling saw it though, instead looking at a furious Princess Luna, who was looking at each of them with an unsettling look of excitement and joy.

The Princess of the Night took a step out of her closet, the door frame groaning in protest as she forced herself out of it, the weapons strapped to her back and sides scratching and ruining the wooden frame. Each of the Changelings hissed, the entire group retreating back as she took another step forward, each of them crouching low with horns pointed at her and their wings extended.

With deliberate slowness Luna drew her weapons, what appeared to be a chainsaw welded onto three other chainsaws and a mace with continuously spinning sharp pointy bits. Bits which were on fire and electrified at the same time. Widening her stance Luna looked at the intruders one more time before bellowing:


“PREFERABLY IN THE MOST PAINFUL WAY POSSIBLE!”




``--~_~_~_~_~_~--``




“Spike, honey, could you be a dear and pass your dear old mother that bag of sugar?”

Spike sighed, waddling over and grabbing a big bag of sugar. Looking down at the bag with a sour expression he carried it over to Velvet, who leaned down and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you my sweet, sweet little stallion,” she said before once again becoming a whirlwind of cooking and baking.

Rubbing his cheek Spike took a moment to look around the Sparkle kitchen, marveling at the utter chaos that he saw all around him. Cake batter and icing looked like it had been just thrown onto the table and floor, cookie dough was mashed against the walls and ceiling, and everything had so much food coloring all over it that the young dragon suspected that it was going to be near impossible to clean it all up even if they used magic. Spike wasn’t even going to bother looking down at himself. He knew that it was going to take a heck of a lot more than a quick soak in the tub to clean all of the gunk off of his body. Heck, he might even need to get Twilight to fly him to somewhere where he could get a lava bath!

The kitchen looked like a war zone; no, the damage and destruction in this room could only be compared with a natural disaster. And, in the middle of it all, humming a happy little tune and without a single bit of icing or a crumb of cookie dough (somehow) was Velvet Sparkle.

Though it didn’t take a genius to figure out the mare was happy. Her daughter and two darling baby boys had come up to Canterlot and she had had the absolute pleasure of babying the three of them until they were at wits end, Twilight and Spike had brought up a wonderful young man that, over these past few months, had become a Sparkle in all but name, and right now she had one of her boys helping her bake her world famous Desert Decker Supreme. So, in layman’s terms, all that was good and right with the world was happening to her and she was terribly happy about it.

Though all of her babies were going to have to leave her in the upcoming days— Twilight and Spike wanted to return to Ponyville and Shining and Cadance had to return to their subjects in the empire— Velvet still couldn’t keep a smile off of her face no matter how hard she tried. She had gotten to see her babies after so longer and she had gotten a new family member in Anny. And, if what Twilight and Cadance had told her had any truth in it, she just might be introducing a new member to her little family, one of the alicorn variety, if Anny and Princess Celestia started to go steady.

Oh sure, some ponies might say that jumping to those conclusions this early in the two’s budding relationship might be a little… fast but Velvet knew better. What Anny had done with the princess was the same thing that Night Light had done with her all of those years ago. She had tried turning him down, he had ground her down until she let him take her on a date, and now the two were happily married with kids (and hopefully grandkids very soon) and as in love as they had been since Night had asked her hoof in marriage.

Oh, she could see it now! Night Light walking the princess down the aisles while she would hold poor, nervous Anny’s hand and tell him that everything was going to go fine, the wedding would go off without a hitch and Anny would talk about the mare who was his rock, the mare that helped plan the wedding, helped cook the food for the catering, comforted him on those sleepless nights before the wedding; his mother in all but blood: her! And then—

“...Um, Mom? Are you alright there?”

Blinking, Velvet looked down at an absolutely messy Spike, who was looking up at her with a slightly worried expression on his face.

“You’ve been staring at that same bit of wall for about five minutes making these weird… sounds.”

Oh sweet stars above look how messy my widdle Spikey-Wikey is after helping his mommy bake, Velvet thought with a smile, reaching down to fuss with his messy face. Somepony’s going to need a bath as soon as these cookies are finished and the brownies are put in the oven.

Though Spike tried to shuffle away Velvet’s mom strength was too much for the young dragon as she licked her hoof and began to gently clean the cookie dough off of him. “Oh, your momma was just thinking, honey,” she cooed, patting his cheek after she was finished. “Now what else do we need to do to finish up the Desert Decker Supreme?”

Stepping away from his mother with a frown, Spike rubbed his face with a clean(ish) claw, muttering to himself in embarrassment, before pulling out a notebook. “Well, we finished making the sugar cookies and we decorated all of them, the caramel and chocolate dressing is cooling over there on the counter, and those chocolate chip cookies will be done any minute,” he said, his eyes scanning the list. “All we need to do is boil some sugar and bake those brownies and—“

A scratching sound made Spike pause mid sentence, his ears perking up. “Hey, mom, did you—“

Velvet, staring out her window with her ears pinned against her head, gently pushed Spike toward the living room. “Honey, I need you to do something very important for mommy.”

Spike watched as his mother very slowly magick a pair of frying pans over as she shoved him back again. The young dragon, confused as to why his mom suddenly seemed so tense and strung up, followed her gaze to the window she was looking at. Like Velvet he immediately stiffened when he saw what was looking back at them.

There, looking through their window with hate-filled eyes, was a trio of Changelings, their wings buzzing and their teeth bared, as they pawed at the glass. Both Velvet and Spike took a step back as one of the changelings reached back and slammed one of its hooves against the glass as hard as it could.

Velvet looked down at her little boy. “I’m going to need you to tell your sister and father that we’re about to have some company.”


CRACK!


“The unwanted kind.”




~_~_~_~_~_~_~





“Are we there yet?”

“No.”

“Are we there yet?”

“No, Anny, now be quiet and let me led--”

“Could you at least let me take off this blindfold?”

“Hush or I’m sending you to the moon for the night, Mister.”

After walking to the castle and greeting his date, who had decided to wear a lovely white sun dress, and after giving Celestia her flowers, which had been put in a vase so that she could snack on them later, Anny had, somehow, found himself blindfolded and being led around to lord knows where by a giggling Celestia.

“At least make sure you don’t run me into anything.”

From behind him, Celestia snorted. “If you don’t stop trying to take off that blindfold--” Anny yelped as she slapped his hand down with a spell. “--I’ll make sure that you’ll be hitting every tree branch and tripping over every rock, buster brown. Now be quiet so I can remember the way.”

“Remember the way? So does that mean you have no idea where we’re going?”

“No, it means that I’m not as familiar with this part of the castle gardens as I’d like to be.”

Oh, so we’re still at the castle, Anny thought with a hum. ...How big is this place then? I mean it’s not like--

“Oh! Oh! We’re here!” Anny almost lost his feet as Celestia darted around him and raced off to wherever the heck she was running to. “Come on and take that silly thing off so we can enjoy our date, Anny!”

“You’re the one that put this dumb blindfold on me in the first place…” Anny muttered, though it did as he was told.

Blinking a few times, Anny noticed that there were trees all around him. Looking ahead he noticed a tree that dwarfed the others standing alone on top of a little rise in the ground. The tree must have been twice as thick and two and a half times taller than any of the other trees around him, with leaves of deep blue and a bark that looked oddly reddish.

“...What the heck kind of tree is that?” Anny muttered, just looking at the thing. “And how the heck are we still on castle grounds? There’s no way--”

“Yooho! Anny, up here!”

Sure enough Celestia was sitting under the giant freaky tree, a bright smile on her face and what looked like a picnic basket by her side.

Hurrying over to her while not taking his eyes off the tree, Anny walked past his date to place a hand on the tree’s bark. “Celestia, what the heck kind of tree is this?”

The Princess giggled, spreading out a wing and gently guiding him back toward her. “A very old and mysterious tree that has been here since long before I even thought of building Canterlot on top of this mountain.

Letting himself be pushed down onto a sitting position, Anny nodded. “Huh.. that’s neat.” He looked up at the canopy shielding both him and Celestia from the sun. “So do you know why it looks so freaky then? Or maybe what kind of tree it is?”

Still smiling, the Princess of the Sun leaned herself on her date and looked up at the big old tree. “I, nor anypony that has studied this living giant know how it got so big, why its the color that it is, or why it’s still alive considering how old it is, but we so know that it’s some kind of maple tree.”

Anny squinted. “A maple huh?... Alright then.” Though what he was sitting under was an admittedly neat thing that he would have liked to know about a little bit more, Anny had more important matters to deal with at the moment.

“Alright then,” he said with a clap of his hands. “So whatcha got for us to do today, Celestia?”

Nuzzling herself against Anny’s side, Celestia reached over and grabbed her picnic basket. “Oh, I thought that the two of us could laze around for a bit eating and drinking--” Opening the basket, Celestia pulled out a book. “--And maybe we could read to one another?”

His eyebrows rising in surprise, Anny looked down at the book in Celestia’s hooves. “Daring Do and the Blundering Bandidos of BogsBerry?” He looked over at her. “You want us to read Daring Do books together?”

With a faint blush, Celestia looked away from him. “W-Well, I thought that since we both enjoy reading the books what better than to sit here and--”

If Celestia had been looking at Anny she would have seen the man’s face light up. “I’d love to listen to you read this!” he said, excited. “I’ve never heard anyone read these out loud before, and you’d have a great voice for it!”

Celestia blinked, the blush on her face reddening. “O-Oh? You think so?”

Anny nodded. “Yeah! You have a lovely voice and--” Anny froze for a second. “...But then you’d have to listen to me read it and I know for a fact that I’m not the best reader in the world…”

Snorting, Celestia lightly smacked him with a hoof. “Nonsense! All that you need is a bit of practice and you’ll be a better speaker than I, Anny,” she said encouragingly.

Anny still looked a little unsure about the whole thing. “...Do you really think so?”

Celestia nodded, poking his chest with a hoof before opening her book. “I know so! Now, how about if I read a chapter then you read a chapter so the two of us won’t talk our throats raw?”

Wrapping an arm around his date, Anny nodded. “That sounds good to me.”

Her smiling widening, Celestia spread a wing and wrapped it around her human. Wiggling around a bit to get herself a bit more comfortable, the Princess loudly cleared her throat. “Alrighty then, I shall start. Once upon a time there was a bandit whose wealth and fame were known all throughout the land…”

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