• Published 3rd Jan 2017
  • 5,474 Views, 277 Comments

The Wooing of Sunset Shimmer - Rose Quill

Sunset and SciTwi continue to explore the depths of their relationship.

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Chapter Thirteen - Under the Leaves

“Stop fussing,” Rarity said as she put another set of pins in my hair, holding the last small braid in place. “I’m almost done.”

“Sorry,” I said, trying to hold still as she worked the last few inches of hair into a bun, holding it in with another pair of pins and setting a comb of Mom’s that had been left in the house between two rows of braids. “I’m just not used to sitting still this long and having my mane messed with.”

“Honestly, Sunset, you’ve been antsy all evening,” she said, stepping back and eyeing her work carefully. She was dressed as I was, ball gown in royal blue silk with emeralds gleaming at the neckline. Its skirt was a bit tighter than mine, but still flowing. “If I didn’t know better I’d think you wouldn’t want to go to the ball.”

“It’s not that,” I said, looking at the comb in my hair. It was a stylized sun rising over a river, my mother’s cutie mark. I could see bits of Mom in my face, subtle but there all the same as they were on my sister’s faces. “I’m still thinking about Sunshine’s parents and how to explain to them that their daughter is dating a unicorn. They'd have to find out eventually, after all. The sheer amount of scientific explanations I’d have to do alone would take all day.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself, you know,” said Sunshine as she came in, gown on and hair in a half-up style with gentle waves cascading over her shoulders. “They’re my parents, after all.”

“You were the one that was worried about them getting overly excited,” I said, leaving certain words unsaid in front of the easily excitable Rarity.

She nodded. We had talked things through during a long soak in the hot tub at the spa and had decided that for now announcing an engagement would be a little premature. But the thought was there now, ever present, a splinter in my mind’s eye. I wouldn’t say it was an unpleasant thought, but the issue of coming clean about my origins also became a concern and that made the thought more nerve-wracking.

Sunshine came over and touched horns, some peace and love flowing through. “We’ll figure it out. We’ve got a week or so.”

Rarity cleared her throat. “If you two are quite ready, I think we should get ready to head out. The ball starts at in about an hour.”

I stood, levitating a thick shawl over my shoulders. “How do we look?” I asked as Sunshine slid in beside me.

Rarity beamed. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll turn some heads,” she said.

As we walked in, I was amazed at the way the ballroom looked. It had been transformed into a veritable winter wonderland, snow drifts along the walls and some very realistic pines dusted with the white powder. But there was none of the cold, rather there was a cool warmth that filled the room. A line of tables occupied one wall, punch bowls, and plates of food filling the available surface space. Wreaths and garlands were strung along the upper moldings and the pillars, giving the entire place a welcoming aura, magelight glinting off the spherical decorations woven into the green trimmings.

As the attendant took my shawl, I looked around and saw a host of ponies of all tribes present, Pegasi hovering about chatting amicably, Unicorns with plates of hors d'oeuvres or glasses of punch hovering near them in multi-hued auras. Earth Ponies milled about, laughing gaily and everyone seemed at ease. I also spotted quite a few Griffons standing about, one talking to Rainbow Dash and another chatting animatedly with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Everyone was dressed in fine clothing, most hewing to the traditional colors of the season; green, white, red, or some combination of the three. A wind quintet was playing off to one side, led by an azure-coated unicorn with a bamboo flute.

Sunshine looked around, taking in the decorations and smiled. “Phoradendron Leucarpum,” she said. “I’ll have to drag you over soon.”

I looked at her. “Phora what?” I wasn't good at Latin.

She nodded towards a pair of pillars, a strand of leaves hanging between. White berries gleamed between the green leaves. “Mistletoe,” she said with a matter of fact manner, a warm smile in her eyes.

I smirked. “You need the excuse?” I asked, giving her a peck on the cheek as a small fanfare sounded from the far end of the room.

All four of the Princesses's of Equestria stepped onto the platform at the far end of the hall, a middle-aged Griffon and a strange looking creature that appeared to be somewhere between equine and insectoid sharing the stage. I glanced around and noticed that several Changelings were entering the hall, their colorations as varied as the ponies.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts, I’d like to welcome you to the this year's Yule Ball, the first of a joint event held in the interests of fostering peace and greater relations with both Griffonstone and the Hive.” She gestured to the two dignitaries standing just behind her. “Kings Gregor and Thorax are gracious enough to have helped with setting up the decor of the room.” She paused for a moment to allow the applause to slow. “So please, enjoy your night and a very happy Hearth’s Warming to you all.”

We were walking towards the buffet when a flash of pink darted in front of us. “Sunny! Shiny! Welcome to the bestest party so far today!”

I smiled at Pinkie. “Are there going to be more parties tonight, then?”

“Not that I know of,” she said before gasping, eyes going wide. “I could throw an after-ball party!”

Sunshine smiled and put a hoof on the excitable party planner’s shoulder. “Let’s see how late this one goes first, Pinkie.”

“Okie Dokie Lokie!” she turned and grabbed a canape from the table and gulped it down before bouncing away, her fluffy dress not fluttering at all with her motion. I surveyed the choices, wondering at some of the more unfamiliar choices when Sunshine whispered to me.

“I thought ponies couldn’t eat meat,” she said. “Those dishes at the far end are definitely meat-based.”

I glanced at the indicated dishes, seeing what could only be described as antipasto if we had been in the human world. “We can eat some kinds of meat, but it isn’t a large portion of our diet. Those are probably more for the griffons.”

“But at the dinner, you specifically asked for a vegetarian sampling.” She looked confused.

“I suffer from a rare allergy,” I said. “Something in most meat causes me to break out in hives and have difficulty breathing. Fish doesn’t affect me, but I find it easier to just go vegetarian full time. Makes it easier for everypony concerned.”

She nodded, a light starting to shine in her eyes. “Is it something acquired, maybe through genetic background? Or is it a regularly occurring type of allergy here? Of course, it isn’t, you just said it was a rare allergy. I wonder what the chemical composition is that triggers the histamine reaction, after all there are so many…”

I silenced her with a kiss. “You’re rambling,” I said before turning and levitating a glass of punch over to her. “I’ve talked with an allergist on both sides of the mirror and it there is no known reason for it unless I was bitten by a certain type of tick as a foal or simple genetics.”

Sunshine sipped the punch, a blush filling her face. "Sorry," she whispered.

"Don't be," I said. "You're adorable when you start talking science."

She blushed again, harder if possible.

The band started playing a slow waltz, and I stepped towards the floor, holding out a hoof. “Shall we?”

She looked around the room, a nervous look appearing on her face. I stepped back up to her and leaned in close.

“Take my hand, Twilight,” I whispered. “I won’t let you go.”

She grinned and followed me out to the floor. I wasn’t used to leading, but with Sunshine, I was willing to look foolish. If you can’t tolerate being a little silly with somepony you love, then you aren’t ready for love.

As the band slowed and ended the song, we stood there looking into each other's eyes. I felt my heart beating quickly and not from the dancing. I could also see that Sunshine was breathing a little heavy too. I dimly saw behind her Cadence turn and tap Twilight on the shoulder, tossing her head towards us. I blushed really hard and lead Sunshine off the floor and after my heart slowed, I headed towards the Alicorns, who were sitting and enjoying some of the dishes. Celestia turned and smiled at us as we approached.

“Ah, Sunset, how nice to see you again,” she said, stepping forward and giving me a comforting nuzzle. She looked at Sunshine, her warm smile never fading. “And you must be Sunshine.”

The blue unicorn was staring intently at her hooves, dipping in a shallow bow. “Your Highness,” she said softly.

Celestia reached out with a wing and tilted Sunshine’s face up. “While I appreciate the show of respect, this is a party. Don’t make me observe the formalities.” She leaned in closer. “Plus, Twilight, you don’t have to hide who you are with me.”

Sunshine looked shocked at being called her true name, but the Alicorn smiled. “I am privy to my Twilight’s confidence, and she told me of your being here when she asked for two extra tickets. And do you really think I would mistake the voice of one of my students?”

I smiled. “Never could slide anything by you, Princess.” I glanced over at Sunshine, then back at the Alicorn. “I wanted to introduce her to you and Luna,” I finished. “You both have had a large bearing on who I am now.”

Celestia smiled, then turned her head. “Luna?”

The midnight Alicorn raised her head. “Yes, Celie?”

Celestia stepped aside, revealing us to her. She stepped forward. I dipped my head slightly, as did Sunshine.

“Sunset Shimmer,” she said, her voice still holding that regal bearing that Celestia was able to shed like a coat.

“Princess Luna,” I returned. “I wish to present Sunshine, a good friend of mine.” I hesitated. “I also wanted to thank you for your help three moons ago.”

Luna smiled, something that looked better on her than the grave look she normally held. “I see that you have fared better since. I greet you as well, Twilight Sparkle.”

Sunshine recovered faster from this one, though I saw Princess Twilight had glanced up at hearing her name. “I thank you and your sister for your hospitality.”

“You are both welcome at any time,” Celestia said, a knowing smile on her face. “You and any that accompany you.”

I looked at her with a questing glance, confused. Who else would I bring here that didn’t already have access?

After excusing ourselves, we took our leave, and I slowly angled Sunshine towards an alcove so we could talk quietly.

“They are so different from the Principal and Vice-Principal,” she said. “They seem more laid back and caring.”

“They've had a couple centuries to practice being at ease with their title and authority,” I said. I opened my mouth to say something else when she touched my shoulder, staring intently to one side.

“Why is Rarity staring at us?” she asked.

I looked over, seeing the fashionista looking at us with a look of adoration. I also noticed Pinkie looking with her grin wider than her face. Fluttershy had blushed fiercely but didn’t look away. I couldn’t see any of our other friends from my vantage point, but I did see my sisters walk in and immediately smile at us.

“I’m not sure,” I said. A prickling sensation caused me to look up.

At a large sprig of mistletoe being held by Rainbow Dash.

“Like I wasn’t going mess with you two tonight,” she said, wings giving a gentle flap to keep her aloft. Her gown was light and high on the flank to prevent drag while flying, I guessed.

I facehooved as my face started to burn, but Sunshine smiled. “Well, Dashie,” she said. “Instead of waiting for us to kiss following the archaic rules of that particular piece of flora, why don’t you find someone to hold it over you? I see the Wonderbolts are here."

The Pegasus blushed and dropped the plant. “If I knew anypony awesome enough, don’t you think I would have already?” she said, a little too quickly before gliding off to grab a glass of punch, a tint of red on her cheeks.

I glanced around, seeing my sisters and Rarity still watching intently. I looked at my marefriend and smiled.

“Well, she did get us under the mistletoe,” I said.

Sunshine leaned in close. “Like I need the excuse,” she breathed before kissing me.

I dimly heard Rarity’s excited giggling over the sound of our hearts, breathing, and the flow of shared love that exploded through our bond.