• Published 13th Feb 2015
  • 14,626 Views, 1,099 Comments

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.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
37: Courtship

For a moment, neither mare moved. The butterflies flew within Twilight’s stomach, whipped into a frenzy at the mere sight of Luna.

The Princess of the Night and Matron of the Arts stood before her as the very picture of her domain’s beauty. Those gorgeous teal eyes seemed to shine like the stars in her night sky and her smile made the tingly feeling of fluttering butterflies migrate up to Twilight’s chest.

Luna stepped forward and brushed their snouts together. “You look radiant this evening, my dear,” she whispered, then pecked Twilight’s lips. The tiger lilies floated forth, held aloft in the teal glow of her magic. “For you.”

Twilight tried her best to ignore the heat spreading throughout her face as she wrapped a tendril of magic around the flowers and brought them in close. She drew in a deep breath and sighed in content. Their scent soothed her nerves and sent a feeling of calmness through her body. “I love tiger lilies,” she murmured.

“Cadence told me so,” Luna replied softly. “I hope you do not find it too intrusive that I asked, but I wished to offer you a token of my affection. Something you would enjoy, but without going too far.” Pausing a beat, she shifted from hoof to hoof. “I believe she said they remind you of the setting sun, yes?”

“My favorite color,” Twilight confirmed. Her tail swished merrily. She felt her heart skip a beat and her entire body felt as if electricity coursed through her veins. By Celestia’s grace, I take back every time I rolled my eyes at Cadence’s lectures on love. “Um …” Her eyes darted around in search of a vase. There were none nearby. The only one she had was tucked away in the storage closet. With a sheepish grin, she turned to Luna. “Do you mind waiting while I get a vase for these?”

“Not at all. We have more than enough time for that.”

“Thank you. Oh! Come inside!” Twilight pinned her ears. “Sorry for being rude!”

Luna chuckled and leaned in to steal another kiss. “You need not apologize, my dear. I am gratified to see my gift has pleased you. A moment or two in my night’s chill is hardly trouble.” Her teal eyes shone with affection and a hint of teasing. “Especially when I have the chance to savor the color in your cheeks.”

Twilight squeaked and teleported over to the storage closet in a flash of magenta. She threw the door open and hid her face behind it while she searched the shelves for any sign of her vase. All the while pointedly ignoring the snickers sounding from within the kitchen.

Leave them to it her left hind hoof! The next time she saw Rainbow Dash, that mare would find herself dyed neon pink and her voice changed to sound posh! Just like Octavia!

That would teach her.

She returned to her search. There, resting on the second shelf beside a few rolls of paper towels and her supply of window cleaner, was her vase. It was a simple slender glass vase painted blue with white floral print, something her mother had sent over as a housewarming gift when she moved to Ponyville. With Luna’s gift in one tendril, Twilight wrapped a second around the vase and gently lifted it off the shelf. She stepped back and nudged the door shut, then trotted into the kitchen to fill it with water.

The second she stepped through the doorjamb, Twilight found five mares and one baby dragon huddled against the wall to her immediate right, each with ears perked and teasing grins nearly splitting their faces—well, except for Fluttershy, who simply smiled and tried to hide behind her hooves, her eyes shining with naked glee.

“Oh, shut up,” she mumbled out of the side of her mouth so only they could hear.

Rainbow’s cheeks puffed. She snorted and clapped her hooves over her mouth, her shoulders shaking with barely restrained mirth.

Rolling her eyes, Twilight stepped over to the sink and turned the knob. Water flowed forth from the faucet with a hiss and spilled into the vase. She waited until the bottom third had filled, then turned the water off. That should be enough to last for the night and most of the next day.

She unwrapped the flowers and tossed the paper into the waste bin before gently sliding the flowers into the vase. There! Perfect! With a satisfied smile, Twilight stepped away from the sink and trotted back to Luna, though not without shooting a sidelong glare at Spike as he waggled his brows and made kissy faces at her.

It seems a certain baby dragon has forgotten that he lives in a glass house. He’d get his later.

As Twilight made her way back into the sitting-room-slash-main-library, she found Luna idly perusing the arts section. Her immortal girlfriend tilted her head and furrowed her brows at one of the titles. Her lips wrapped around the beginning of a silent question as though she wished to ask the book itself.

Twilight smiled and set the vase down at the center of her reading table, then asked, “Is there something I can help you with?”

Luna flicked an ear toward her, then turned. “I am trying to understand what sort of relevance this Age of Disco Fever has to music. Are you certain it has not been placed in the wrong section?”

Twilight had to suck in her lips. “No, that’s where it belongs. Disco is a genre of music. One I’m not quite sure you’d find all that enjoyable.”

“Are you certain? I noticed a few other texts out of order.” A teal glow wrapped around her horn, and a familiar book bearing the title Poetry 101 floated up to hover beside her. “I found this poor poetry book lost in the gardening section, right next to a text on fertilizer. Is there some mischievous foal pulling pranks in town?” Her eyes flashed. “I could discipline them as I did Fortissimo and Sforzando, if you like.”

“No! No! That won’t be necessary!” Thinking quickly, she came up with a little fib to get out of the mess she’d unwittingly made. “It must’ve been Spike. He likes to do little things to let me know I’ve annoyed him or he thinks I’ve given him too many chores.”

The sounds of scuffling made her ears twitch. Twilight tried to keep her smile, but a loud thud drew a wince and a nervous laugh.

Fortunately, Luna accepted her excuse. “Ah, well, far be it from me to intrude in traditional sibling shenanigans, then. But if you should ever wish for ideas to avenge some of his antics … Well, I am not saying that I would help, but I am also not saying I would not.”

Twilight made sure to keep that in mind the next time Spike actually did try to rebel against her carefully crafted chores lists. In the meantime, she had a date with an immortal princess.

If her heart could stop racing, she would be most gratified.

Luna placed the poetry book back in its new home by a few texts on fertilizers and stepped away from the bookshelf. She trotted towards Twilight, her feathers fluffed and rustled eagerly. When she reached Twilight’s side, she laid a wing across the smaller mare’s back and kissed her cheek. “Are you ready to go, dear?”

Twilight ducked her head and nodded shyly. Her heart disobeyed her wishes and simply raced faster. This was, after all, her first real date. “I think so.”

“Excellent. Then let us depart. Our table is reserved, and I am eager to begin our first ‘date’ with you.”

“Likewise, Luna.” Twilight dared to lean up and steal a kiss for herself before Luna turned and led her out toward the obsidian chariot awaiting at the end of the path. She took a moment to pull the door shut, but didn’t lock it behind her. Spike and the girls would take care of that themselves.

Erebos greeted her with a polite smile and bow of his head. He stepped to the side of the chariot and gestured for them to step up onto the platform. Twilight returned the gesture with a nod of her own, then mounted the chariot and took her place at Luna’s right side.

Once they were seated, Erebos hopped on and gave the twins the order to depart. With quick salutes and affirmative calls in reply, they galloped down the path leading out of Ponyville and toward the Everfree Forest and began to flap their powerful, leathery wings. They lifted off and rose high into the air, then banked to turn away from the forest and alter course toward Canterlot.

The cool night air whipped through Twilight’s mane. It teased her coat and bit her nose, drawing a shiver from the young mare.

Luna wrapped her wing tighter, pressing Twilight against her side for warmth, with her feathery embrace shielding her from the cold onslaught. A gesture most appreciated.

With an thankful hum that was lost to the wind, Twilight laid her head against Luna’s shoulder. Content and secure at her side.

Twilight had only been to Don Cavalcanter’s twice before. The first time had been a celebration for her admission to Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, a rather lavish affair put on by Princess Celestia herself despite her parents’ insistence she was doing far too much and they couldn’t possibly accept. Princess Celestia replied, as she was so wont to do, by offering her sweetest smile and asking if they would prefer to dine with her in the main castle Dining Hall, surrounded by all of her faithful staff.

The second time had been one of the many incidents in which Cadence forcibly dragged her out of the library to join herself and Shining Armor for dinner while Princess Celestia was busy entertaining some dignitaries from one of the griffon kingdoms.

A quick glance around the foyer showed that it was much the same as the last time she visited—the walls were painted a creamy yellow and fashioned to look like the old mason work of Roam, complete with faux grape vines creeping down the walls as if to reach down and catch an unwary foal. It was touch Cadence loved so very much, and made her stare for several moments before finally turning away to lean against Shining.

Only now did Twilight realize she was likely remembering her first love, one of the few things of her lost homeland she still remembered.

Luna led her to the host’s stand, where a middle-aged stallion in a lavender button down shirt, bleach white coat, and graying mane met her with a bow. “Princess Luna,” he greeted, “it’s a pleasure to meet your face to face.”

“The pleasure is mine, sir.” Luna nodded in kind. She offered her hoof. “Might I ask your name?”

He accepted the hoof and kissed it gently, the very picture of courtly manners that would’ve had Rarity swooning and brought just a hint of unease to Twilight’s chest. “Risotto, Your Highness. You honor my humble restaurant with your presence.”

One of Luna’s eyebrows twitched as though to arch at his statement, but she schooled her expression. “My sister recommends your establishment quite adamantly, Risotto. I trust her judgement and look forward to the experience.”

Twilight could have sworn she saw Risotto’s eyes go as wide as dinner plates for a fraction of a second before he managed to remember whose presence he was in. His ears, however, stood erect and the swish of his tail betrayed his glee. Who wouldn’t be happy to hear such praise from the Royal Family?

Then his attention turned to her, and the familiar claw of anxiety grabbed onto her unease like a lifeline and made its way into her chest. “Miss Sparkle, it has been some time,” he greeted warmly. “You keep exceptional company. Or are you studying with Princess Luna these days?”

Twilight fought the urge to duck and try to hide behind her girlfriend’s larger frame. Only Luna’s powerful wing still laid across her shoulders prevented such. She was effectively trapped.

Out of the corner of her eye, Twilight noticed the corner of Luna’s mouth tugging upward into a coy smile. This was no coincidence. It was quite deliberate. There was no escape, she had to stand there and either tell Risotto she was being courted, or let Luna do it herself.

She hesitated long enough to consider making a pro and con list for her answers. As it turned out, even that was too long.

Luna’s eyes danced with wicked glee. “Twilight and I are here on a ‘date,’ Risotto,” she replied in Twilight’s stead. “To my immense delight, this beautiful, wonderful mare has afforded me the opportunity to court her as she deserves.”

Idly, Twilight wondered if it were possible for a pony’s coat to spontaneously combust if they blushed too hard. Her face, neck, and ear tips all seemed as though they were competing to see which could burn hottest. She met Risotto’s gaze again and gave a nervous nod and smile. “Mhmm,” she squeaked.

Risotto’s eyebrows disappeared beneath his graying bangs. “Well, then,” he said, “I’ll inform my wait and kitchen staff to ensure your courtship starts off on the right hoof.” He beckoned them to follow him. “Your table is ready on the balcony, Your Highness. Your bits, I’m afraid, won’t be accepted, though.” Before Luna or Twilight could object, he raised a hoof. “The honor of hosting your first public date is enough. Truly.”

“Very well.” Luna pursed her lips. Twilight could almost see the gears turning in her head as she tried to think of a way around his refusal. Her midnight blue ears twitched. She had an idea. The tiny smile, one Twilight learned to be her tell for one of her tricks, betrayed it. Her feathers fluffed, she pulled Twilight closer and rubbed their shoulders together. “Lead on, Risotto.”

Luna wished with all her heart she had one of those modern picture taking devices her guards called a ‘camera.’

Her beloved Twilight sat across from her at the two-seater table, the bright blush coloring her cheeks a deep purple visible despite her fruitless attempts to hide behind the candle resting at the center of the table.

She was far too easy. “You seem uncomfortable,” Luna mused. “Do you not wish to drink some wine with me?”

“I wasn’t expecting you to lay our courtship out there so soon,” Twilight said with a hint of embarrassment in her voice. She added in a hushed whisper, “Or that you’d call me beautiful or wonderful!”

Luna tutted. What a silly mare. Had her lesson on accepting a princess’s compliments not sunken in yet? “Do you recall our discussion on how I wished you to accept my compliments, Twilight?” By the way Twilight squirmed in her seat, she did. “Consider this the next lesson.” She stood and leaned across the table, and planted a chaste kiss on Twilight’s lips. “We agreed to take things slowly,” she whispered, her lips brushing against Twilight’s. “We made no agreement that I would not compliment you, lavish my affections upon you, or hide our relationship from the public eye. Henceforth, my dear, you will simply have to get used to being at my side and at the center of attention.”

Twilight squirmed, a smile tugging at her lips despite the whine that sounded from the back of her throat. “You could’ve warned me, though.”

“I suppose. But I did not, so you will have to accept it.” Luna returned to her seat, then added, “You are beautiful and wonderful, Twilight. Not just tonight.”

“Thank you.” Twilight ducked her head and glanced up at Luna, biting her lip.

One of her nervous tells. “Is something the matter?” Luna asked.

“I should’ve said it earlier,” Twilight mumbled.

“Said what?”

The mare rubbed her shoulder. “The moment I opened the door tonight, I thought you were the most gorgeous thing I’d seen since you let me watch you paint the night sky. You were—you are stunning.”

Luna fluffed her feathers. For all her blustering, Twilight somehow stumbled her way into a wonderful compliment. “Thank you, my dear. You flatter me so.” With their pleasantries exchanged and her lesson imparted, Luna turned her attention to the thick brown booklet which bore the restaurant’s name. Curious, she flipped it open. A frown tugged at her lips, she glanced up at Twilight. “You may have to help me understand what certain dishes are.”

Twilight smiled in return, her unease finally washed away. “I’d be more than happy to.”

Menus were quite new to Luna. In the castle, either she or Celestia simply told the staff what they wished to have for their evening meal, and the kitchen staff provided it without fail. Unless, of course, something prevented them from acquiring the ingredients.

Having a set list presented quite the interesting dilemma: she wanted to sample all of it. Everything sounded interesting when Twilight so kindly took the time to tell her what she knew of certain dishes. Of course, there were others she’d never tried, so she could only offer ingredient information if she even had it.

If not for the way Twilight tittered behind a hoof like a gossiping filly, Luna very well might have told their server to bring the lot so she could sample all the fare she could. “Alicorns,” she explained, hoping to end Twilight’s amusement with a switch to informative lecture, “possess higher metabolism than the average pony because of our greater depth for magic. We must eat and process more food in order to grow into and maintain our power and connection with our domains.”

It worked like a charm. Twilight rattled off a few dozen questions at blinding speed, only stopping when their waitress showed up to take their order, then resuming again until their meals came out.

Dinner was every bit as lovely as Celestia promised. They started with a bruschetta appetizer, then worked their way to the entrées. Twilight was happy to tuck into a bowl of linguini and fried zucchini while Luna opted to try a spaghetti dish with tomatoes, capers, and olives they called the Mediterraneighn Pasta. The name, Twilight explained, came from the fact that all the ingredients were found in the Mediterraneighn area and used as parts of most traditional dishes.

Thinking back, Luna realized she spent very little time in Roam—or Istallia, as it was called in the modern age—while she led her Night Guard. She had been too busy focusing on objectives to protect ponies near the dark forests and boarders with the Griffon Kingdom and Diamond Dog caves. No wonder she felt so unfamiliar with some of the cuisine.

Once they’d finished their meal, they moved to sit by the edge of the balcony where they could look out over the sprawling gardens on the property. Lanterns glowed a bright orange, illuminating verdant bushes and trees and flowers all colors of the rainbow. Luna noticed a few couples taking the time to walk along the paths together, each standing close enough that their shoulders brushed against one another with every step and wearing bright smiles and blushes as they gazed into each other’s eyes.

A small part of her wanted to ask if Twilight might like to venture down and take such a walk with her. Luna stole a glance to her right, smiling as she found her girlfriend tucked snugly under her wing and leaning against her side while she sipped at her last glass of wine.

This, she decided, was as good as a walk.

Luna finished off her glass and floated it over to rest on the table, then leaned to rub her cheek against Twilight’s. “This,” she began, “has been a wonderful evening.”

“I agree wholeheartedly,” Twilight replied with a bright smile. She set her glass down on the ledge and turned so she could face Luna. “The food is just as good as I remember. And there’s something about standing out here over the gardens on a date that just makes it … something more.” Her eyes twinkled like the stars in Luna’s night sky. “And your company made it special. Perfect, even.”

“Despite the teasing?” Luna asked coyly, fighting to keep from squealing in delight.

“Yes. Though, that does make me wonder …” Twilight arched a brow. “You’re not going to let Risotto get away with treating us to a meal, are you?”

“Heavens no. I’ll have Erebos double back later this evening and leave him a nice sum of bits as a token of my appreciation.” After a moment’s thought, she added, “Perhaps I should have him leave a message that the sum will be doubled if Risotto attempts to return it, or have anypony return it on his behalf. What do you think?”

“I think you might just make him faint.”

“Splendid. He will learn as you have that a princess’s compliments are to be accepted. Monetarily or otherwise.”

Twilight hummed an affirmative, though not without ducking her head at the little shot at herself. Her lips tugged into a contented smile, she laid her head against Luna’s shoulder and closed her eyes for a few seconds. When she opened them, Twilight looked up to the sky.

Her eyes went as wide as dinner plates. She let her jaw drop. “Luna,” she breathed, “the stars!”

Curious, Luna glanced up at her sky. What ever could make her beloved gape so?

Her answer came in the form of her thousands upon thousands of stars twinkling back at her as though they were a herd of foals beaming at their mother, laughing and cheering in their own way. She could almost feel their glee, how excited they were. And all for her.

“I’ve never seen them shine this bright,” Twilight murmured. “Not even that first time you let me watch.”

Luna turned to face Twilight. Their eyes met again. She licked her lips and said, “They are happy.”


“Yes. I am connected with all of them. They are shining because …” she trailed off, licking her lips again. She drew in close and whispered, “Because I am happy to be with you.”

Their lips met in a soft, sweet kiss. Luna wrapped her forelegs around Twilight’s smaller frame and pulled her in close, just as she ran her tongue along her beloved’s lips.

Twilight gasped, stiffening for a split second before she obliged and parted her lips, an invitation Luna was happy to accept.

Their first date was simply perfect. A night shared between they and Luna’s many, many children watching from her sky.

PreviousChapters Next