• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 19,838 Views, 186 Comments

Sizable Differences - Karrakaz

Being turned into a fully grown alicorn was bad enough. But having to contend with a sudden interest from her mentor that reawakens long forgotten feelings? Twilight's life just got a whole lot more complicated.

  • ...

Large Problems

Breathing techniques. Used as meditative tools to help relax the body and focus the mind by magicians and shamans alike, they were said to bring clarity and help anypony to find peace within themselves.

Whether they be expansive routines which were designed to come into contact with one's own body or corral one’s thoughts, or as simple as counting the breaths one took in order to help still the mind, they had one thing in common: They were deceptively simple.

After her narrow escape from Rarity’s collapsing boutique, however, Twilight was having a lot of trouble getting even one of them to do what she wanted. She didn’t blame Sweetie Belle for the trouble her aging spell had caused, she herself had done worse at that same age. Yet it was hard not to be a little overwhelmed by her new looks.




“Please, darling, hold still. Making a suitable dress is hard enough without your constant fidgeting.”

Twilight let out the last breath in a sigh and fluffed her wings.“Sorry, Rarity,” she replied, only half paying attention to her friend. Even while occupying a body three times the size she was used to, she still didn’t know what to do with all of her nervous energy. Not at all helped by the fact that she was supposed to remain motionless.




A small stinging sensation made the muscles in her flank ripple and would have been lost on her had she not consciously been trying to keep herself from moving. She looked over her shoulder and came face to face with an incensed fashionista holding a ripped dress form.

“That’s the fifth one you’ve torn today,” Rarity said dryly, tossing it onto an ever growing pile of dressmaking materials that Twilight had ruined.

All Twilight could do was let out another sigh and mumble another apology while watching Spike run around doing Rarity’s bidding out of the corner of her eyes.

The unicorn sisters had quickly acclimated to their new living quarters in the library. Rarity shared a room with Twilight, and had finally taken to using the bed after Twilight had convinced her that she herself no longer fit in it anyway. For Sweetie Belle and Spike, they had cleared out a spare room that had been filled with all manner of junk. Twilight had obstinately refused to classify a single piece in it as anything other than ‘research materials’ but Rarity’s need for cleanliness had won out in the end.

“Why am I your eniquin again?” she asked irritably. “I'm much too big for anypony else to comfortably wear the dresses you're making, and I should be preparing for when Princess Celestia arrives.”

“Well, it’s funny, that. Normally I try not to bother you girls unduly to model for me. I have a rather nice set of eniquins back at the shop... or at least I did,” Rarity replied nonplussed, clasping another dress form around her barrel.

Twilight folded back her ears. The fund Celestia had set up for her ‘accidents’ would more than cover replacing everything Rarity had lost, but it was going to take time. Time that Rarity spent going stir-crazy in the library, and since she lacked a rather important part of the dress design toolkit... Twilight found herself filling that role. “Rarity, I don’t know how else I can say I’m sorry—”

“I know, darling. I am just trying to stay busy...” Rarity stopped working for a brief moment so she could look Twilight in the eyes. “Trying not to think about my lovely home in ruins. Forgive me for imposing on you.”

“I...” Twilight hung her head. “Nevermind, forget I said anything.”

Rarity smiled briefly before returning to her dressmaking. “Already forgotten. So, what do you think she’s going to say?”

Twilight cringed. The reply to her letter to the princess had amounted to a terse: ‘Expect me in a week’, and ever since then she’d been beset by anxious self-doubt. What if Celestia disapproves of what I did? What if she decides that I’m too reckless to be a princess?

Rarity laid a hoof along her friend’s barrel. “I’ve seen that look before. Don’t get too wound up, darling. I’m sure she won’t be very upset. I mean yes, technically this was your fault, but it’s hardly the worst thing you’ve ever—” Rarity shut her mouth with a snap. “Um... well I just mean... I doubt it will be as bad as you think.”

While Twilight appreciated the attempt, it wasn’t helping at all. Rarity was right, this was ultimately her fault. To make matters worse, she hadn’t exactly told the princess that she’d been the one that got hit with an aging spell. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem. A week should have been more than long enough to find a counterspell, but she hadn’t taken into account the fact that Rarity needed her help for most hours of the day. It had made doing a little research on the side all but impossible.

“Is there anything else you need, Rarity?” Spike asked, entering the room with a roll of fabric that was proving difficult for him to handle.

He had been helping Rarity out for the better part of the day, which, in and of itself, was not a bad thing. He had, however, taken Rarity’s side and refused to provide Twilight with any of the tomes she could have used to solve her predicament. It made him just as much of a tormentor as Rarity was, and Twilight had quietly cursed him on more than one occasion.

“Nothing for now, darling, thank you,” Rarity replied, giving him a friendly nuzzle before turning back to Twilight’s wing. “Right now it is simply a matter of making sure that Twilight stays still while I start on the dress. Perhaps you could help Sweetie Belle clean up the library?”

Spike snapped to a salute. “You can count on me, Rarity.” He sprinted off towards the cleaning cupboard, leaving Twilight in Rarity’s capable, if somewhat ruthless, hooves.

Twilight smiled shakily. For everything he had done, Spike had at the very least broken her out of her introspection, which was something she found she could still be grateful for. “If only he was that eager whenever I ask him something.”

“Simply a matter of rewarding him for the right behaviour,” Rarity replied absently while she tugged a few primary feathers back into alignment, making Twilight wince. “Now hold still, darling.”

Sweetie Belle was bored. Between not being allowed to see her friends, and the fact that Rarity insisted she help Spike clean the library every day, she was ready to declare this the worst time of her life. Ever. The only consolation she had was that Twilight was still willing to teach her magic, and even that was hampered by Rarity’s constant demands on Twilight’s time.

She listlessly dusted the spines of the books, barely paying any attention to what was going on at the other end of the room. For all the all practicing she did, there was little to no change in her magical stamina, nor the difficulties she had with the simplest spells, which frustrated her greatly. She had just about cleaned the non-fiction section when Spike showed up next to her, carrying his own duster and wearing an apron.

“Hey, Sweetie Belle. How's it going?”

“How do you think it's going?” she groused, before realising that he probably wasn't asking about her magic lessons.

Spike nevertheless frowned sympathetically and asked, “Being grounded is the worst, right?”

“Yeah.” It wasn't what Sweetie had been grousing about, but she nodded emphatically all the same.

She got a wry smile from the young dragon, who simply began dusting books right beside her. “So, what else is Rarity making you do?”

“Nothing. That's the problem—” The duster she had been holding with her magic unceremoniously dropped to the floor when her spell unexpectedly cut out, and her horn refused service when she tried to pick the duster up again “—and my magic is useless as well…”

Spike arched an eyebrow and made short work of the bookshelf he was dusting before turning back to her. “Could you do that again?”

“No.” Sweetie replied dejectedly. “And even if I could, it's not like I'd do any better than the last fifty times.”

Spike hummed thoughtfully while he, without magic, cleaned two bookcases in the time it had taken Sweetie to clean just one. “Do you practice those breathing exercises before you go to bed?”

Sweetie shook her head. “Not really. The book Twilight gave me made them look so silly, and when I asked the girls about it, they said that it’s important for physical exercises but not so much for magical ones.”

“And they’re better at magic than Twilight is?” Spike asked, rolling his eyes. The dragon never seemed to stop moving during their conversation and had already dusted off most of their side of the library, working his way back towards her in what Sweetie suspected was merely a way to keep the conversation going.

“Do you really think I should?” she asked, finally picking up the duster in her mouth and following Spike’s lead, not wanting to appear lazy. “How mutf of a differenf could it make?”

Spike shrugged, putting away his duster and climbing the ladders to run a cloth over the top of the shelves. “Back when we lived in Canterlot, Twilight used to do them all the time. Once before breakfast, once before bed, and twice before every time she had a lesson with the princess,” he said indifferently. “Not saying that it’s the best, or only way to do it, but... y’know... it worked for Twilight.”

Sweetie thought about his suggestion while she went from bookcase to bookcase, quickly realising that there really wasn’t anything left for her to dust off; not only had Spike done a better job than she could have, he had done it in a fraction of the time as well. Great, another thing I’m useless at. At least he had said a few things worth keeping in mind, and she resolved to at least try the homework Twilight kept giving her.

Her ears, and those of Twilight and Rarity, perked up when the loud shouting of military commands reverberated through the wood of the tree. Sweetie was the first one at the windows and her gloomy thoughts were quickly replaced by a foal-like enthusiasm when she saw the chariot and the guards outside. “It’s the princess!” she yelled, running back to her sister and looking up at her with gleaming eyes and a wide smile.

“Can we take a break now, sis?”

Rarity resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Sweetie had been complaining all day about having to clean the library, and Rarity decided that both her sister and Spike could use a break anyway. “Of course, Sweetie. Thank you for all your hard work today.” she said, leaning down to give her sister a friendly nuzzle. Before Sweetie could break out in cheering however, Rarity continued, “Although I must insist that you stay in the library.”

Sweetie frowned. “Awhh... but, Rarity!”

“Ah-ah-ah.” Rarity held up a hoof, waving it back and forth admonishingly. “No buts, Sweetie Belle. You’re still grounded.”

Her little sister sighed, but eventually nodded. “Okay, sis,” she said, hanging her head.

Spike was enthusiastic about getting some time off from helping Rarity, for once. “Don’t worry, Sweetie Belle,” he said, “I got the latest comics of Daring Do, and the Power Ponies the other day, and I have a lot more you probably haven’t read.”

His enthusiasm brought a small smile back to Sweetie’s face as well and she nodded to him.

Rarity watched both youngsters disappear through the door leading to the former storage closet and chuckled softly. Already well on their way to ignoring everything and anything that isn’t on a page, no doubt. When she turned back to the pedestal Twilight had been standing on, however, she found that empty as well. Her quarry couldn’t have gotten far; it was hard to hide when one was that big, after all.

Sure enough, when she let her gaze drift along the inside of the library, she caught a flowing tail that held every colour of the sunset disappear up the stairs towards the bedroom she and Twilight shared. And if that hadn't tipped her off, the trail of discarded pieces of fabric that were supposed to have become Twilight’s dress would have. Rarity tsked and followed her friend up the stairs while picking up the pieces; she was going to complete the dress, one way or another.

When Rarity stepped into the room, she found that very same tail inexpertly sticking out of Twilight's closet. It was an impressive feat, all things considered. Rarity had seen the inside of the closet, and she wouldn’t have thought it anywhere near big enough to fit a fully grown alicorn, especially one as big as Twilight was.

“Really now, darling,” she said with a sigh. “You’re worse at hiding than Sweetie Belle is, and her I could find with my eyes closed.” Twilight flinched when Rarity opened the closet doors, dragging her out by her tail—Rarity was certainly stronger than she looked—and huffing after she had set Twilight down in the center of the room. "And you really need to watch your weight.” She pulled her friend upright and gave her another slap on the flank. “Come now, darling. I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you think, and it’s terribly rude to keep guests waiting at the door.”

Twilight bit her lip while she looked from Rarity to the door and back again, before letting out a long-suffering sigh and trudging back down the stairs. No matter how much her mind was telling her that opening the door for an angry princess was a bad idea, she knew that Rarity was right.

Princess Celestia of Equestria was distracted. It had taken her three weeks of playing mediator in the carousel diplomacy between the Minotaurs and the Saddle Arabians before they had finally come to an agreement, which hadn’t left a lot of time or thought for anything else. Now, standing in front of the library, she realised she could not remember even the basic premise of the letter she had received the previous week, aside from the fact that it was from Twilight; a little tidbit she only remembered because the scroll had appeared in the middle of a heated discussion, which provided just enough of a distraction for her to help soothe tempers.

The chariot ride had barely given her enough time to come up with an excuse and even then, she still could not recall if Twilight's letter was idle banter, a request for help, or something more personal. if it wasn't, I can always say that I simply needed some time away from court. she thought with a small smile. If nothing else, that much at least, was true.

The door opened and she widened her smile in preparation of greeting her student, only for her breath to be taken away by the pony that appeared in the doorway. It was an Alicorn. An Alicorn she had never seen before; with long shapely legs, a royal purple coat that did little to hide the soft blush she sported, and a flowing mane that shared its colors with sunrise, Celestia's favorite time of day. It did not end there, however. The Alicorn was a head bigger than Celestia herself (A rare treat for a mare that could look the bipedal minotaurs in the eye) and though they weren't first thing Celestia took note of, the Alicorn had deep lavender eyes which seemed to have been created specifically to pierce any defences she put up.

"H-hello, princess."

Even her voice was soft, melodious, and pleasantly lilted, and it wasn't until Celestia recognised the stammer and inflection in the sentence that she realized who she was looking at. "Twilight?" She asked incredulously, while her mind tried to equate what she knew of her student with the mare in front of her.

Two ears, which up till then had been plastered against Twilight’s skull, swiveled towards Celestia and their owner nodded hesitantly. “Yes?”

“You look—” Beautiful “—different.”

Twilight flashed her another awkward smile and stepped aside, allowing Celestia into the library, even if it meant stepping around one another. “I would have told you about it in my letter, but I sort of—” Twilight rubbed the back of her neck with a hoof. “—forgot.”

“I see...” Celestia didn’t even spare a glance for the rest of the library, her attention riveted on her former student.

If anything it only made Twilight look more uncomfortable. The purple alicorn fidgeted nervously and struggled to keep her wings from making tiny agitated flapping motions. “I’ll just... go... and... make us some tea! Would you like some tea, Princess?”

“Jasmine will be fine,” Celestia replied absently, her eyes lingering on Twilight’s rather sizable flank before, it, and Twilight, disappeared into the kitchen.

“She has become rather beautiful hasn’t she, your majesty?”

It took Celestia a moment to come to her senses. With Twilight gone, thought returned to her, and she quickly checked herself for any traces of a beguiling spell before turning to the, thankfully, normal sized Rarity who smiled up at her.

“Quite,” she agreed.

Rarity smiled and bowed. “In lieu of Twilight adhering to proper protocol when one is entertaining a Princess in one’s home, allow me: Welcome to the library, Princess. As you might be able to tell, it is a little crowded as of late.”

For the first time since she had set a hoof in the library, Celestia genuinely looked around. The first thing that immediately caught her attention was the fact that there was no litter of books spread out over the floor. Unusual enough for any place that Twilight inhabited, but even more so when each and every one of those had been replaced by either rolls of fabric, measuring tapes, or even the occasional dress sketch. It made her wonder if Rarity had taken over the library, and if so, why Twilight didn’t seem to mind.

“Did the two of you get married while I wasn’t looking?” Celestia asked with a curt smile. There was a tiny sting of jealousy, but it was expertly squashed under a mountain of logical enough reasons. Rarity was a fine mare in her own right, and Twilight had every right to choose whom she wanted to be with. Even if— No, especially with her new looks. Celestia had no right, or perhaps more accurately, no inclination to feel jealousy towards a mare that would be gone in a relative blink of an eye.

To her surprise—and relief— Rarity merely tittered. “Oh, heavens no, I’m spoken for by another I’m afraid. Please, sit.”

Talking to Rarity rather than Twilight posed a problem. While not quite as intelligent—Celestia doubted that anypony alive could really measure up—Rarity was a lot savvier when it came to social decorum and reading between the lines.

It was as if the unicorn had been waiting for Celestia to have that thought, because in the same moment she did, Rarity asked, “I thought Twilight had told you all about our problems in her letter; was I mistaken?”

“I fear that she may have left out a few crucial details...” Celestia replied, idly glancing at the kitchen. Whatever was happening in there was noisy, but hadn’t produced anything worth consuming just yet. “Like the fact that she seems to have grown a little.”

“A little might be understating things.” Judging by Rarity’s smile, she knew that there was more to Celestia’s words. Nevertheless, her voice was amicable enough and she didn’t press the issue. “Well then... where to start...I had just booked a marvelous three day trip up to the Crystal Empire. For some rest and relaxation, shall we call it? Anyway, it seems that my little sister was having some difficulty with basic levitation, and you know Twilight, the answer to everything is throw more magic at it! It went about as well as you could expect and before long my baby sister had both the power and the idea to try and cast high level magic...”

The atmosphere in the kitchen was a lot less relaxed than that of the living room. Mostly due to an agitated and aged alicorn, who was nervously trying to get her magic to cooperate long enough to make a cup of tea. Sadly, things weren’t going her way. She had already wrecked three kettles, two of which had simply crumpled under the pressure of her telekinesis rather than float over to the faucet like they were supposed to; water was dripping from... pretty much everywhere, due to her having switched tactics and tried to guide the water to the fourth and final teapot instead. It was probably the only reason the kitchen wasn’t on fire. Twilight herself was faring no better; though she no longer had a mane that could frazzle, the colors swirled and the unruly hair got in her face more than once, making her misstep or bump into things, though that may have been because she still wasn’t used to her size.

One of the cupboards had a neat circular hole near the top and would probably have to be repaired at the least, while another had been ripped from the wall in its entirety and would have to be replaced. Twilight’s attention was scattered at best.

All she could think about was the look on Celestia’s face when she’d seen her.

She’s never looked at me like that! Not even when I blew up the north tower! Twilight thought, trying to regain her calm. Her mentor hadn’t looked angry so much as... bemused. Had she finally done something stupid enough to stump even the princess?

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Calm down, Twilight, calm down. She was just shocked by the way you look.” She quelled the panic rising in her stomach as best as she could and, rather than risk the last teapot, picked up an individual cup which she placed on the tray; or at least... would have placed on the tray.

Seconds later she was staring at the wall, where the cup had neatly embedded itself into the wood. At least it hadn’t shattered. She bit her lip and once again carefully tried to extract the cup from its resting place, only for it to hit her square in the muzzle. The pain was negligible—courtesy of Alicornian pain tolerance—but this time the glass had shattered.

What the hay is wrong with me? She knew the answer even while asking herself that question: Seeing the princess after she had done something wrong always stressed her out, and while her control over both her body and her magic had remained mostly the same, the power and size of both, hadn’t.

Another deep breath preceded trying to pick up a cup with her hooves, which, in turn, preceded a yelp and Twilight finding herself on the floor of the kitchen.

Back in the living room, Rarity had finished her tale about the boutique being blown up with the necessary drama. There were no longer any tears; she had accepted what happened, but nopony could blame her for a little bit of theatrics, could they? “So as you can probably tell, Twilight and Sweetie Belle made quite the mess,” she concluded. “And it could all have been avoided if Sweetie Belle just learned some patience...” She stopped for a moment, hoof covering her own mouth in shock. “Heavens, I sound like my mother.”

Celestia smiled indulgently. Letting Rarity talk was amusing enough, and it gave her some time to think. “Do you mean to say that you never wished for your cutie-mark when you were a filly?”

“Well... yes, of course. I doubt that there is anypony who hasn’t,” Rarity admitted. “But I did not go running around causing havoc every day of the week, and I certainly did not try my horn at a spell that was clearly beyond me!”

“Perhaps you would have if you’d had access to spellbooks,” Celestia replied. Her mind had been on Twilight which, when mingled with Rarity’s retelling of Sweetie’s activities, brought to mind some amusing, or at least interesting anecdotes. “Though I think it has more to do with impetuousness of the youth. Twilight already had her cutie mark, and she made bigger blunders than this.”

“Oh?” Rarity perked up and scooted forward on her seat. “Please, do tell.”

“While I did the best I could to restrict her access to the truly dangerous spells, Twilight learned to teleport fairly quickly. I had guards posted, of course, but for her I had to create an entirely separate layer of magical wards.” Celestia smiled in fond remembrance. “In any case, Twilight somehow got her hooves on a tome dealing with animation spells. It took us three weeks to find all the statues she had used in her impromptu hide and seek game, and another week to get them all repositioned properly.”

Rarity hid a smile behind her hoof, trying to remain stern. “If you ask me, she shouldn’t have had access to a spell that makes other unicorns more powerful at all. Then maybe all of this could have been avoided.”

Celestia smiled weakly. “That is the problem with Twilight, I’m afraid.”

Rarity looked at her for a moment before softly shaking her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

Once more, Celestia looked over at the kitchen for a second, trying to determine what Twilight could be doing that was causing such a racket. “Such a spell does not... or did not exist, as far as I can recall.” At Rarity’s baffled look she smiled and continued. “Ever since she learned that the rules of magic are not carved in stone, the archive holding dangerous spells has all but doubled in size. We’ve had to expand the tower it was housed in, simply because of Twilight. She really is a savant when it comes to magic and keeps coming up with the craziest ways to modify spells to suit her needs.”

“Like... say... a spell that makes Parasprites eat houses instead of apples, for example?” Rarity asked, a smile blooming on her face as she too recalled some of the antics that Twilight’s magic had gotten them into.

“Exactly like that. Though granting another unicorn more power...” Celestia hummed thoughtfully. “I’ll be honest, I had no idea that was even possible. It sounds more... sophisticated than anything Twilight has crafted previously.”

“Sophisticated enough to destroy my boutique at least.” Rarity kept her expression neutral, but it was easy to tell that she was having a hard time of it.

“Speaking of which, have you given any thought to how you wish to rebuild it?” Celestia asked, idly adding the costs of the boutique to the running tally of Twilight’s lifetime destruction list in her head.

Rarity nodded. “A lot of thought, actually. I was thinking of expanding my inspiration room, and perhaps have an extra guest room on the ground floor and a few other trifles, though I’m afraid construction won’t be starting anytime soon.”

“Oh?” Celestia let her face show surprise, a hard thing to do on command, one that had taken her many centuries to perfect, but saved her a lot of headaches. She knew of several reasons why it wouldn’t but chose to let Rarity answer instead. “And why is that?”

“I’ve been to see several contractors—” Rarity well and truly frowned then. “—but they each have a safety clause built into their contract, stating that they can refuse to work on a site where potentially dangerous magic has been used in the last quarter.”

“I’m sorry to hear about that.”

“Please, there’s no need. I must admit that I rather like staying in the library.” Rarity shot a meaningful look at the podium Twilight had been standing on. “There is something about having somepony to talk to while I work that’s unmatched in getting my creativity flowing. And that’s not even mentioning the colors in her mane, have you ever seen anything like it?” The sound of something exploding in the kitchen, and the low groan that followed sounded more comedic than alarming, nevertheless, Rarity sighed, got up, and made for the kitchen. “Please excuse me, I do believe that dear Twilight needs some help getting the tea ready.”

After Rarity had disappeared into the kitchen, Celestia sorted through her thoughts, trying to figure out which she was most interested in; Twilight, or the spell she had created. This has certainly proven to be an interesting visit. From the corner of her eyes she watched a young filly come through a door near the stairs. Twilight’s very own student, she thought. Melancholy washed over her, remembering a time when Twilight was still a filly. Things move so very fast. The filly made her way over to one of the bookcases, stuck out her tongue, and strained herself trying to lift a simple book.

That too reminded Celestia of Twilight, in more ways than one, although Twilight had been trying to lift something a few magnitudes heavier. “Try feeling it in your stomach,” she said idly. “Putting undue strain on your body only makes magic that much more difficult.” The filly startled, dropping the book with a dull thud. Celestia picked it up with her magic and held up for her with a soft smile. “Try not to focus too much on how the magic works.”

The filly nodded cautiously. “Okay,” she said before lighting up her own horn again. Her magic sputtered and fluctuated for a few seconds before it coalesced into a weak aura which tentatively touched the book through Celestia’s own.

Celestia slowly released her hold on the book, watching both it and the filly become still as a statue. “Breathe.” The book wobbled dangerously when the filly took an exaggerated deep breath, but it didn’t fall. “Don’t think about what you’re doing, just do it.” It took a few moments, but eventually the filly cracked open an eye, looking at the book in disbelief. Celestia smiled. It felt good to help somepony without the endless bickering that plagued politics. “Very good,” she said, “your posture looks much better already.”

The filly squealed and reared up briefly before composing herself and coughing in a way that made her look a lot like her sister. What was her name again...

“Thank you, princess,” The filly chirped, “but... how did you know?” She set the book down, intentionally this time, and regarded Celestia with the same open minded curiosity all children shared.

It was too good to pass up. “I know many things,” Celestia replied cryptically, hiding a small smile when the filly looked frustrated with herself for just a moment.

“No... I meant... ugh...” The filly nodded towards the book. “How did you know I was thinking about the spell?”

Celestia finally let her smile show and said, “Because your teacher was the same way.”

It took a moment before the filly— Sweetie Belle, that was it. —made the connection. Apparently she had never really thought of Twilight as a teacher. She looked up at Celestia in awe and asked, “Twilight had trouble with levitation, too?”

Celestia laughed softly. “Not quite, for her it has always been quite natural to think about the spells she’s casting. It makes her very good at what she does, but she did make the same mistake you are making.”

“What mistake?”

Lighting up her horn, Celestia picked up the book and levitated it over to the table where she leafed through its pages idly. “You are trying to cast spells in the same way you’ve seen your sister and Twilight use their magic.”

Sweetie nodded eagerly. “uh-huh.”

Hmmm, not very quick on the uptake. Celestia thought, biting back a sigh. “Different ponies cast magic in different ways. Some think about it—”

“Like Twilight.”

Celestia nodded. “Some, like your sister, visualise it happening, and their magic takes care of the rest. And some... like you, have to feel the magic in their gut— stomach, before they can get it to work.”

Sweetie was silent for a while after that, walking over to the table and sitting down opposite Celestia. “I wonder why Twilight didn’t tell me any of that?” she wondered aloud.

All Celestia could do was shrug. “Perhaps she simply hadn’t realised it was a problem.”

“But you said she is good at what she does, didn’t you? Twilight has been teaching me magic for months while you only saw me lift one book one time...”

Celestia nodded thoughtfully. “While I think Twilight will become a great teacher, she doesn’t have a lot of experience yet.” she poked the filly on the nose with her magic. “I have had over a thousand students to make mistakes with and learn from. You are Twilight’s first student, she hasn’t had that chance yet.”

Another silence fell between them, leaving Celestia to wonder if what she’d said had been another mistake. It was never a good idea to undermine the authority of a teacher in any way, no matter how good the intentions. It always made the students either question if what they were being taught was correct, or—

“Maybe you could teach me magic instead?”

Celestia sighed. Or it made them question whether or not they should have a different teacher. “I don’t think that would be a good idea, Sweetie Belle.”

“Why not?” There was an honest ruthlessness to foal-like curiosity. Young ponies never seemed to think about how their actions might hurt others; In their black and white view of the world, things were so much simpler, and yet harder to deal with.

“For one thing, you would have to move to the castle in Canterlot so you wouldn’t be able to see your sister or your friends very often,” Celestia said, watching the filly deflate. “And it wouldn’t be fair to Twilight. From what I have read, she is doing everything she can to make it easier for you to learn magic.” She smiled slyly and winked. “Although something tells me that you aren’t doing all the lessons she assigned to you.”

Sweetie flushed with embarrassment and looked down at the table. “I know... it’s just so... boring.”

That made Celestia laugh once again. “Yes, sometimes it is. But boring doesn’t mean that it is not important.”

When Rarity stepped into the kitchen, it was all she could do not to turn away in abject horror. At the center of the room stood a miserable Alicorn, flanked on all sides by shards of broken glass, dented kettles, and at least two broken cupboards. It was as if a tornado had come through the library, but had been obliging enough to leave most of it unexploded.

“Heavens, darling, what happened?”

Twilight merely shrugged, continuing her staring contest with the floor with as much zeal as she usually reserved for research and the reading of books. “Just nervous, I guess.” Her voice sounded even more morose than she looked, and Rarity suppressed her self thought cleanliness balking at the mess in favour of giving her a heartfelt hug.

After she cleared a path anyway. Getting glass stuck in one's hooves was unpleasant to say the least.

The glass gathered itself together in neat little piles and was then swiftly consigned to the trashcan, immediately followed by the kettles. That is going to make preparing tea significantly more difficult... With most of the debris out of the way, Rarity walked up to her friend and gave her a friendly nuzzle, once again admiring just how much presence contributed to a pony’s stature. When she was happy and in control, Twilight’s new size could be very overwhelming to anypony that didn’t know her like Rarity did. Right now however... the young Or perhaps not so young? Alicorn looked like more like a lost child than anything imposing.

Rarity huffed softly when Twilight didn’t respond. If she was going to be like that, Rarity would simply have to do something about it. “I’ll take care of tea, darling,” she said, walking over to the counter and opening cupboards, looking for any glasses that had survived Twilight. “You go gawk at the princess. Go on.”

That finally earned her a reaction, in the form of Twilight jumping on the spot and making another dent in the ceiling. “I-I wasn’t gawking!” she stammered, turning red with embarrassment.

"Of course you weren't, darling," Rarity titered, finding the third kettle to be just as broken as the other two, or perhaps even moreso as it had ruptured rather than merely crumpled in on itself. It soon joined its brethren in the trash. "No furious blushing. You didn’t stammer a greeting when she so much as looked at you..." She finally found a small pot to boil water in, which didn't shed any light on why Twilight even possessed three kettles. Questions for another time, Rarity. Focus. "Have I told you about my lovely trip?"

Twilight had been silently muttering, trying to come up with some way to refute Rarity's claims beyond 'it isn't what it looks like' no doubt. The sudden non-sequitur took her by surprise and she gape at Rarity for a few seconds. "Six times, Rarity," she replied dourly.

Right... Rarity laughed a little awkwardly. "So I have... Forgive me, darling." She opened the faucet and waited for the pot to fill with water. "My question was rhetorical, as it were. I haven't told anypony what actually happened during the trip and—"

"But you have! You didn't stop praising the mineral baths you'd had for a full day, and after that it was about the 'unique'—" Twilight made the air quotes with her hooves. "—Seaweed wrap they had, or the—."

She petered out when she saw the look Rarity was giving her. The unicorn had halted her tea making activities and looked to be quite cross with her. "Twilight Sparkle, darling... I know you’re a little rattled right now, but could you please let me finish?"

Her ears had been folded back against her skull so many times that day that it almost felt comfortable. "Sorry, Rarity."

Rarity coughed politely, and did not comment on it further. "As I was trying to say, while I enjoyed the trip immensely, Fluttershy did not exactly share those sentiments."

"Oh? I thought she—"

"Ah ah ah ah!" Rarity all but glared at her conversational partner.

Twilight folded in on herself a little further. "Uhh... Sorry."

"As I was saying—" Rarity glared at Twilight again, daring her to interrupt, but the Alicorn had sat down on the spot and busied herself with the floor. "—Fluttershy wasn't exactly jubilant about our trip at first. She was constantly blushing and stammering— yes I know that isn't all that strange for her." She said when Twilight looked up, halfway towards forming a sentence already. "However, she was also making the same faces that you are when you look at Celestia."

“What kind of faces?”

How Rarity could fill her eyes with longing on command, Twilight would never know. But combined with the small, almost shy smile and the simultaneous floppy ears that conveyed both embarrassment and a hint of regret, she had captured the face she was talking about perfectly.

“What...” Twilight swallowed heavily. “What does that have to do with anything?

Rarity dropped the dopey smile and snorted. “Don't play games with me, Twilight. I might not have been completely sure about my observations before, but I am now. You are completely and hopelessly—"

“—What happened during the trip?” Twilight asked quickly, trying to postpone the revelation she knew was coming, but didn’t want to admit to herself. It only made everything that much more complicated. A few seconds passed during which Rarity scrutinised every inch of her face. Not the most pleasant experience, but still preferable over hearing somepony else say what she already knew deep down.

At last, Rarity sighed and returned to her task of making tea, lighting up her horn and casting a simple heating spell on the pot. "At first I wasn't quite sure whom she was making those faces at. It was always in a public place when she thought I didn’t notice, so I assumed she had seen one handsome stallion or another. But in those very same mineral baths I was 'praising' Fluttershy finally found the courage to tell me that she liked me.”

Twilight swallowed nervously. “You mean like-like?”

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Don't argue semantics, darling, you know very well what I mean.”

“So, are you going to go on a date with her?”

Finally, Rarity smiled, albeit deviously, and said, “I already have been, darling. Two of them in fact.”

“What?” Twilight wracked her brain but couldn’t remember any time when Rarity would have had the time to do such a thing, or even when she had left the library in the last week. “When?”

“Once during the trip,” Rarity replied with a smile and eyes that looked through Twilight and saw something in the past. “It sadly had to be cut short because we ran into some injured animals, and you know how Fluttershy gets when that happens.”

Twilight nodded.

“The other one was a few days back. Nothing more than a simple picnic, mind you, but very enjoyable none the less.”

“But you haven’t even left the library since the boutique was destroyed!”

Rarity’s smile grew and she laughed, which made Twilight feel even more self conscious than she already had been. “Really now? Darling, with the way you lose yourself in a book, I could replace every book in the entire library with fudge replicas and you wouldn't even notice.” She began arranging the glasses that remained on the tray and nodded towards the living room. “Enough stalling, darling. Shoo. Go talk with your princess.”

Twilight moved slowly; Her relief at not actually having to tell Rarity that she was in love with Celestia, was overshadowed by actually having to be in the room as her mentor. Especially after Celestia had taken a very keen interest in her. She must have lingered too long for Rarity’s liking, because she could feel Rarity’s magic on her flank a split second before it pushed her through the door and out into the living room.