• Published 13th Feb 2015
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Twilight, Good Night - Carapace

To better herself, Luna has studied Twilight's actions and friendship reports. She never expected to find herself under the microscope in turn.

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34: The Night's Favored Mare

Luna’s silver horseshoes glinted in the soft light as she drummed her hooves on her wooden desk. Before her laid a book she had one of her most trusted guards sneak from the library on her behalf. Truth be told, she was no stranger to courtship by any means. Why, it was only fifteen hundred years ago that she had a strapping young stallion named Mountain Shaker tucked snug beneath her wing, and a beautiful mare by the name of Will o’ Wisp the century before that!

However, as her family had been so wont to beat into her head, times had changed. Courtship, too, would have changed somewhat. So, it fell upon her, the pursuer, to study and discern how best to go about courting the lovely young mare with whom she’d been so smitten.

But she couldn’t shake the feeling that this particular … book her ever-faithful Night Guard has supplied her was simply lacking in substance. It was just so very …

Unsatisfying? Was that the word she was looking for? Whatever it was, it wasn’t what the book was trying to peddle.

Looking to land the mare of your dreams? Trying to get that special somepony you’ve been pining over to notice how you feel?

Well, friend, you’re not alone!

Believe it or not, hundreds of thousands of mares and stallions alike go through the exact same thing. Feeling a little uneasy about asking somepony out, or unsure about how to go about setting up a first date is completely normal. There’s no need to go way out of your comfort zone—or, more importantly, theirs—to have a good time. A first date is supposed to be more of a feeling out period these days, rather than the extravagant shows of love of old. So, relax. Don’t be afraid to just let your mane down and be yourself.

Let’s start with the basics …

Luna tried to keep from scowling. She closed the book with a sharp snap and pushed it away, wrinkling her snout as though she smelled something foul.

What ever happened to proper courting? When had this less demonstrative way come into practice? Perhaps something she could take up with Tia. Or would that be something to pester Cadence about? Either way, this wouldn’t do at all.

She sighed and brought her hooves up to rub at her temples. How was she to figure out how to court Twilight in a way that made her comfortable if modern courtship practices were so very different?

An amused snort made her swivel an ear. Frowning, Luna turned to fix Erebos with a flat stare. “Is there something you wish to share, Erebos?”

He shook his head. “No, Your Highness,” he replied, his eyes dancing with mirth. “I just couldn’t help but notice how you were glaring at that book. Like you were hoping to make it burst into flames without magic.”

Despite her mood, Luna felt the corners of her mouth twitch. He always knew how to make her smile, no matter how angry she might be. “I have been known to make enemies freeze in place, though burning would be a new one, I think.”

“Duly noted, Your Highness. Is there any particular reason why the book deserves your ire, then?” Erebos grinned and waggled his ears. “I could fetch Sleepless if he failed to meet your expectations.”

Luna shook her head. “I think it less our dear Sleepless Night’s failure and more the subject itself,” she said, tapping a hoof against the cover. “This is a book for beginners. I asked for something more along the lines of a guide for modern courtship.”

Erebos sucked in a breath through his teeth. “I see. Would you like me to speak with him about properly obeying orders?”

“No, I do not believe he did so deliberately.” Smiling, Luna heaved a sigh. “He has been one of my most faithful Night Guards since my return, and your prior reports indicate similar dedication to his work. I would loathe to tarnish his record over a misunderstanding.” She gave a playful grin. “I believe he mistook my request and assumed I wished to read something he perused to meet that girlfriend of his.”

“Ah, yes. Miss Dreamweaver.” Chuckling, Erebos shook his head. “Lucky stallion managed to catch himself a beauty, really. If Princess Cadence knew of them, I’d wager she would make them her little pet project.”

Oh, if only. Luna rubbed her chin. “That would be a rather good way of keeping her out of my mane …”

Another snort. “With respect, Your Highness, I don’t think you have a chance of that happening.” His fangs glinted in the flickering candlelight. “She’s as close to Miss Twilight as Princess Celestia, though not quite in the pseudo-motherly way.”

“I am more than aware, yes.” She frowned. “This still leaves me at a disadvantage, though. I was hoping to figure out something to indicate what manner of courtship Twilight might be comfortable with. Not a beginner’s guide.”

Erebos hummed to himself. “Maybe you could just do without the books,” he offered.

Her ears perked up. “Elaborate, please.”

“Well, if I might be so bold, you’ve already sort of done the ‘first date’ routine, if you want to count your friendly get-togethers. The idea of learning a bit about one another for dating isn’t all the much different from learning about a new friend. Just with the prospect of, well, romancing one another on the table.” He shifted in place and gave a crooked grimace. “So, you can really skip that portion of it.”

Luna beamed. “Oh, excellent! Then I can move on to something a bit more affectionate?” She brought a hoof to her chin, furrowing her brows in thought. Her wings fluttered excitedly. “Erebos, I just may have an idea.”

“Oh? I’m glad to hear.” He smiled back at her. “What did you have in mind?”

Turning to face her desk again, Luna levitated a sheet of parchment to sit before her, then dipped her quill in ink. She gave her starry tail a swish and began to concentrate, she closed her eyes and let her thoughts wander until Twilight’s face floated into view. Millennia’s worth of knowledge and artistic brilliance focused on the mare she held most dear.

“How do you think she would like poetry?”

Twilight tried her best to ignore the stares and whispers that followed her as she trotted through Ponyville’s marketplace. Her ears splayed back against her scalp, she hunched her shoulders and tried to get lost within a crowd that just wasn’t there.

No matter which stall she approached, the customers and stall owners would just gape at her in slack-jawed awe. As though she’d grown two heads overnight.

Perhaps that would be preferable. At least then they’d have something to talk about that didn’t involve what had simply come to be known as “the kiss.”

“Can you believe it? Princess Luna and Twilight!

“I still can’t! I mean, right in front of all of us!” Out of the corner of her eye, Twilight noticed Daisy beckoning Roseluck and Lily closer. “How long do you think they’ve been … you know?”

Lily glanced between them. “Who would know? I mean, that’s the first I’ve seen of them acting like a couple! Do you think they’ve been sneaking about? Princess Luna is the Princess of the Night, after all. And those Night Guards of hers are supposed to be masters of stealth from what Lyra and Lemon Hearts say.”

“Could they?”

“If she asked, why not? She’s their mistress, isn’t she? All it takes is an order and who knows how fast they can have Twilight whisked away to some secret get away for two? Or one of Canterlot’s finest restaurants, reserved for a royal guest plus one?”

The trio burst into excited squeals. Twilight felt fire burn within her cheeks. She shook her head and hurried past their stall as quickly as she could. Anything to get away from them before they caught sight of her and started trying to prod her for all the juicy details.

All she had to do was pick up a few things, avoid any odd questions, and get out. Simple. Easy. As long as she could avoid her friends.

A shudder ran down her spine. Only her quick thinking and a teleport spell saved her after Golden Harvest’s party. She saw how their eyes lit up as bright grins nearly split their muzzles, Rarity and Pinkie both stepped forward, eager to drag her off for questioning before she popped out of existence and shut herself in her library.

Unfortunately, she had neglected to plan ahead for Luna’s little trick, or she would’ve made sure to stock up on all the necessities for a possible extended stay locked away in the safety of Golden Oaks’ warm, comfortable tree.

And if she sent Spike, she was just asking for him to come back with his tiny arms laden with more sweets than he’d been sent out for.


Twilight brought a hoof to the bridge of her snout to stem the oncoming headache. “Just relax, Twilight,” she muttered. “You just need a few groceries. Just keep everything casual, no pony will bat an eye. It’ll all die down soon enough, and everything will go back to normal.”

“Back to normal? Why would you ever wanna go back to plain, boring, normal when you’ve got a girlfriend?” Pinkie cried out from just behind her.

Yelping, Twilgiht stumbled a few steps to her left and bumped straight into the dairy stand. “Pinkie!” she gasped, clutching her breast.

Pinkie beamed. “Twilight! Are we playing the surprised name shouting game? I like that game!” She turned to the mare behind the dairy stand, gave a big, fake gasp. “Milky Way!”

Her heart raced, Twilight glanced left and right, searching for an escape route while Pinkie was distracted with the milk mare. All she had to do was just back away quietly and let her friend babble her silly pink head off, she could always stop by and get milk later.

Why, oh why did Spike have to pick this morning to go off to help the Crusaders with their silly games? Sure, it was summer and they were out of school, but couldn’t it have waited until afternoon?

Well, no. Logically, a young colt—er, dragon, in his case—needed to get out and spend time with foals his age. If only there were a few dragons for him to play around with …

Food for thought. Right now, though, was time to make her escape.

She caught Milky Way’s eye and gave a big, smile as she mouthed “sorry.” For a moment, the mare glanced between her and Pinkie, her brows knitted in confusion. As Twilight took her first step back, her eyes went wide in horror.

Twilight froze for just a second, just long enough for Pinkie to turn and fix her with a wide grin and say,” So, anyway, are we done playing? Because somepony owes another somepony an explanation about their secret-but-no-longer-a-secret relationship with a certain someprincess!” She paused a moment, then added, “I mean you telling me about how you’re dating Princess Luna. That is what I meant.”

“I figured as much.” Sighing in defeat, Twilight brought a hoof up to cover her eyes. “What do you want to talk about?”

Only as the words left her mouth and Pinkie’s grin grow wide enough to nearly split her muzzle did Twilight realize her mistake. No sooner did the proverbial lightning bolt hit was she caught in a rib cracking hug and dragged down the dirt street by her hyperactive friend. As Ponyvill blurred around her, she tried to figure out just where Pinkie was taking her.

Her heart sank as she saw the familiar pink rooftops and soft lavender walls of Rarity’s prized Carousel Boutique. The door was already open for them, with Rarity standing just to the side with a smirk gracing her muzzle and her sapphire eyes shining with a great hunger for gossip.

“Twilight, dear,” Rarity simpered as though she weren’t the mastermind behind her sudden abduction. “So good of you and Pinkie to drop by. Please, come right in, the three of us have so much to talk about!”

Oh, sweet, merciful Celestia, what have I gotten myself into?

Twilight couldn’t help but feel a bit like a naughty foal sitting before the school principal. Under Rarity’s piercing gaze, she squirmed in her seat, her ears splayed back to lay against her scalp. Her eyes flitted left and right in search of an escape route, each seemed more and more unlikely as she took note of how Pinkie grinned and bounced in place to her left.

“No need to be so shifty, dear,” Rarity chided. A blue glow wreathed her horn as she set about pouring tea for each of them. “There’s no harm in a little gossip between friends, right?”

“R-Right.” Twilight forced a smile as she picked up her teacup and brought it to her lips. “What were you hoping to talk about? I mean, there’s the weather, which has been just wonderful, hasn’t it? We should really thank Rainbow and the weather team for—”

Pinkie burst into a fit of giggles. “No, silly! We wanted you to tell us alllllllll about how you’re dating Princess Luna now! I didn’t even see it coming! My Pinkie Sense failed me!” She paused a moment to think. “Though, there was that thing a few nights ago where my tail went twitchy-twitch-a-twitch, my chest felt fuzzy, and my knees felt wobbly, which is how it felt when Sweetie Belle was showing Scootaloo her new ribbon …”

Rarity glanced at Pinkie out of the corner of her eye. “I want details,” she said. “But later.” Her gaze fell upon Twilight once more. “Back to you, Twilight. I simply must know how this came about. When did you start seeing each other? Or, perhaps more prudent …” She folded her hooves neatly and laid them on the table. “When did you first realize you had feelings for her?”

Twilight made to reply, but stopped to think. Really, she hadn’t thought it through before Luna’s kiss and the day that followed. On the whole, she’d just been operating under the assumption that Luna was a close friend up until then.

She looked down at the steaming tea in search of an answer. None came.

“I … didn’t,” she confessed. “Not until Luna kissed me while I was in Night Court. Well, not even then, really.” Fiddling with her hooves, she gave an awkward flick of her tail. “It took me a bit of thinking, but I decided it might be worth a try.”

Blinking, Rarity set her teacup down on the table. “Forgive me, but that doesn’t at all match what we saw at the party. The two of you had such wonderful chemistry together all night, and that kiss was positively stunning!” She leaned forward, her eyes wide and full of silent plea. “Surely there’s something you can tell me! You can’t just up and get a girlfriend—a princess, no less!—and keep details from me!”

Twilight raised a hoof to object, but Rarity cut her off.

“Within reason, of course,” she relented. “I’m not going to ask what happens—hang on, you haven’t, have you?”

Cheeks burning, Twilight shook her head so fast her mane whipped back and forth. “No! Celestia, no! We’re taking this slow!”

To her left, Pinkie burst into a fit of giggles. “Golly, Rarity! If I’d known we were playing the make Twilight blush really red game, I’d’ve had Spike send for her foal pictures!” Her eyes shone with mischievous glee. “Can we?”

“No, Pinkie, we’re not embarrassing Twilight with her photo album.” The corners of Rarity’s mouth twitched. “Not today, at least.”

“Aw, nuts!” Pinkie folded her hooves over her chest. “You’re no fun!”

Rolling her eyes, Rarity returned her attention to Twilight. “Well, I must say I’m a bit at a loss then. And here I was, thinking you two had a lovely little confession shared in private.”

The burn in her cheeks grew into a raging inferno. Twilight ducked her head. Oh, there was a confession, alright. Private, though? She thought back, her ears pinned at the memory of all those guards she saw when Luna led her into Night Court. Not at all.

She bit her lip. “Luna told me first,” she mumbled. “After she, um …” Her eyes went wide.

Oh, dear. How would Rarity and Pinkie react to news that her first kiss came as a complete surprise before Luna made her feelings known?

“After she what, darling?” Rarity pressed, her eyes glinting. “Don’t just dangle the juicy bits in front of me like that and just leave me waiting. It’s rather rude.”

“And even less fun than Rarity’s being by not letting me get your foal pictures,” Pinkie added.

Twilight fought the urge to groan and smack herself. Walked right into that. She heaved a sigh, then said, “Luna kissed me. And then she told me that I was precious to her.”

Twin gasps made the rosy hue in her cheeks spread to the tips of her ears. Twilight laid her head down on the table and covered herself with her hooves.

Rarity, though, was having none of it. She prodded Twilight’s head, squealing like an excited school filly. “Tell me more! I have to know what she said!”

She lost the battle, a groan escaped her lips. Twilight mumbled into her hooves, then, after another prod, she sat up and fixed Rarity with an exasperated glare. “She told me that I was precious, more precious than all the stars in the sky, and it was nice, even though I was completely caught off guard and panicking, and I was hoping to keep that private!”

It came as some relief when the grin on Rarity’s muzzle faltered slightly, a pang of guilt flashed across her features.

“I do apologize,” Rarity began, “I had no idea that you wished to keep things private. I was just excited for you, dear—dating a princess is big news! The whole nation will know your name before long!”

Another groan. Twilight buried her face in her hooves. “I knooowwwww!” she whined. “And I’m trying not to think of that so I can just think of it as Luna and I dating like normal ponies—as normal as we can be!” she hastily added before Rarity could counter.

Pouting, Rarity sipped at her tea. “I suppose that’s fair enough. I, personally, would love the attention, but we are rather different in that respect.” She paused a beat, her eyes softened. “I truly am happy for you, Twilight. You’ve got yourself a girlfriend, and a lovely mare at that. I’m sure you and Luna will make a lovely couple.”

A smile spread across Twilight’s muzzle. “Thank you. I hope so, too.”

There was a moment of silence. Then, Pinkie raised a hoof. “Soooooo … am I not allowed to plan a ‘Twilight is Making Smoochy Faces with Princess Luna’ party? Because I was really hoping to do that.”

Twilight glanced at Rarity, who simply smiled and held up a hoof as if to say “not my decision.”


“Fine,” she said with a rueful sigh. “We can have a small party.”

With a happy squeal, Pinkie wrapped Twilight in a tight embrace, babbling a mile a minute about how she had everything planned out already. From midnight blue and soft purple streamers intertwined together, to a cake with matching icing, and everything and anything she could think of in that sugar hyped mind.

The sound of hooves and claws scampering against the floor made the trio of mares flick an ear. Twilight turned toward the door to find Spike leaned against the banister, panting for breath, with the Crusaders by his side. But Twilight’s attention was on the scroll she saw clutched in his claws.

“Letter for you … Twi …” He panted for breath. “It’s got … Luna’s cutie mark on it.”

In a flash of magenta, Twilight teleported out of her seat and appeared before him. She wrapped her magic around the scroll and plucked it from his grasp, pausing a moment to tussle his headfin. “Thank you, Spike,” she muttered low enough that only he would hear. Stealing a quick glance at the Crusaders and her friends, she flicked her tail. “Did you already read it?”

He ducked his head, his gaze fell to the floor. “Uh, kinda.” A rather strange smile played upon his lips, his shoulders seemed to shake as he added in a straining tone, “Just to see if it was important.”

Something about how earnestly he avoided her gaze gave Twilight pause. She fixed the scroll with a critical stare. What in the wide, wide world of Equestria had Luna put into her letter that made him so fidgety?

Twilight raised an eyebrow and unfastened the seal. She unrolled the scroll, her eyes skimmed over Luna’s elegant, flowing cursive. It was written rather beautifully, like the Night Princess was trying to use letters to paint a picture rather than simply write her.

Her absentminded note faded, though, as she realized what the words actually formed. Twilight sucked in her lips, her eyes went as wide as dinner plates. She felt the burn in her cheeks return in full force as she read through it again. Then again.

And once more just to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating.

Nope. Not hallucinating at all. The words staring back at her, Luna’s own writing, were very real. Luna had put all that together with great deliberation and care, as a little reminder of how much she mattered.

A part of her wanted to let out a happy squeal and prance in place—the way Luna wrote about her was like something out of one of the stories Cadence used to read to her, straight from those old tales of brave knights rescuing frightened ponies from wicked dragons or greedy diamond dogs. But the more awkward side, that nagging little voice in the back of her head, whispered a reminder that she was standing in front of two of her best friends, their little sisters, and her de facto little brother.

“Well?” Rarity prompted, her eyes alight with curiosity. “What does it say?”

“She’s getting awfully blushy again!” Pinkie pointed out.

Twilight let her tail tuck between her legs. She pressed the letter against her chest and clasped her hoof over it. “Oh, um, well, it was a very nice letter,” she stammered. The world around her seemed to spin, darkness tinged the edges of her vision.

Spike glanced up, the smile ran away from his face. “Uh, Twilight? Are you okay? You’re looking … really red. Not in a funny way, either.”

She blinked. Twilight thought a moment and made to reassure him, but her mouth felt dry. The words wouldn’t come forth. Her hoof trembled as her thoughts began to race faster than she could keep up with.

Hoof steps from the showroom sounded as though they came from a mile away. Twilight looked up, almost absentmindedly, to find Rainbow Dash and Applejack entering, with Fluttershy close behind.

“See?” Rainbow said, nudging Applejack with her elbow. “I told you we’d find her if we followed Spike with how he ran off with that scroll.”

“Yeah, yeah, shut up, ya mouthy feather duster.” Applejack rolled her eyes, then fixed her gaze upon Twilight. She frowned. “Uh, Twi? You alright, sugarcube? You look like you’re fixin’ to—Rainbow, catch her!

Twilight lilted to her right, then toppled over. Her world faded to black, the end line of Luna’s letter the last thought that flitted through her mind.

Are you free for dinner this Friday? I hope to see you again soon, my dear.

With all my love,


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