• Published 3rd Jan 2017
  • 5,508 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 Nine - Hearth's Warming: Prelude to a Ball

My sisters had left for the night, and Sunshine and I had gone upstairs. We had stoked the fire upstairs just before Glory and Dew had arrived and now the bedroom was toasty warm. I went and lit a lamp, keeping it just bright enough to illuminate the room.

“I had fun tonight, Sunny,” Sunshine said as she fluffed the sheets we had brought. “Your sisters are really sweet.”

“You only say that about Glory because she reminds you of a combination of Rarity and Pinkie,” I quipped as I unfolded a quilt. “I love them both, and I almost forgot how much fun we have together.”

“The Hearth’s Warming Tale was fascinating,” she continued as she pulled the sheets tight on the bed. “So similar to Dickens’ 'A Christmas Carol', I couldn’t believe it. Snowfall Frost went through almost an identical process!”

“I couldn’t believe how you managed to avoid asking questions that would have broken your cover,” I said, pulling the blanket up onto the bed before hopping in. “I don’t know how’d we explain something like that to them in the first place without sounding crazy.”

Crawling into the bed, my marefriend frowned slightly. “I’m sure we could explain it in a reasonable way, somehow. They are pretty intelligent mares.”

“They are, but Glory also has a habit of running at the mouth. She doesn’t gossip, exactly, but I’m sure that half of Canterlot would know her little sister has a marefriend who makes great cookies and chooses great gifts by this time next week. I don't think the princess would want to risk the knowledge of the portal getting out like that.”

“I don’t pick great gifts,” she said, turning her face downward in shyness.

“I didn't get Glory the coupon for a free fitting at Canterlot Carousel, or those scarves for Dew with her and Hue’s cutie marks on them.” I smiled at her, brushing my horn across hers. “I bought a cookbook for Glory and a necklace for Dew. Which one do you think they’ll get more use of?”

She snuggled into me as I lowered the lamplight. “They give good gifts, too,” she said. “The portrait of the three of you Dew painted or the copies of your favorite books from when you were a filly from Glory? I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.”

I smiled as I pulled her a little closer. “Yeah,” I said. “And somehow they predicted that you’d like those Equestrian cartography and history books.”

“They're reference books,” she said as though it was an obvious thing. “Of course I’m going to like them.”

Laughing, I kissed the top of her head and laid down. “Good night, Twilight,” I said.

“Good night, Sunset,” she said.

“Happy Hearth’s Warming, ladies,” Rarity said as we walked into the boutique. “Are you ready to get the best gowns you’ve ever seen?”

“You really enjoy this, don’t you Rarity?” I smiled at the fashionista.

“Of course, darling!” she exclaimed, trotting forward. "And I’m going to give these two gowns extra TLC for two of my favorite customers.”

“TLC?” Sunshine asked.

“Time, Love, and Couture,” said a tall and slender mare as she stepped out of the back. She looked at Rarity. “I’m going to run down to the depot and see what’s keeping that shipment of the new fabric lines. I should be back before we officially open.”

“Take your time, Sassy,” Rarity said, looking Sunshine up and down, a measuring tape and her glasses flying over from her worktable wrapped in the blue aura of her magic.

“Today we are open by appointment only,” she finished as she rested the tape along Sunshine’s withers.

I thought I had seen the breadth of Rarity’s work while browsing the stock dresses she had in the boutique while she finished up Sunshine’s dress.

I was wrong.

When she stepped out from around the curtain, I was knocked speechless. The red bodice was strapped tight, the sleeves bound high with ribbons that matched her coat color, but flared down at the flank into a bell-shaped deep midnight blue skirt, contrasted by pinpoints of white light from small gemstones sewn into the fabric, creating a star-strewn landscape. Her glasses were gone, and her mane had been done up in a cascade of coils and braids that framed her face perfectly. She blushed when she saw me staring, turning her head away coyly.

“Say something,” she whispered, as I felt timidity and excitement growing through our bond.

“You look beautiful, Twilight,” I whispered.

“Ah, ah, ah,” Rarity said as she swept out behind her. “I do believe you mean Sunshine.”

“Right,” I said, still awestruck by the dazzling display before me.

Rarity smiled knowingly and motioned Sunshine back to the curtain. “Go ahead and change dear while I start on your marefriend, if I can get her brain firing again, that is.”

I had started speaking coherently again about halfway through my measurements, but Rarity beat me to the punch.

“I seem to recall the last time you were here saying that she was rather smitten with you,” she said as the double checked the measurement across my withers. “And now I think the comment has been reversed.” I could see her sly smile in the mirror in front of us. “Anything you want to share?”

I rolled my eyes. “What do you want to hear, Rare?” I kept my voice low. “That I love her? Confirmed. That I was amazed by how much you were able to bring out even more beauty with your skills? You are a master at what you do.” I turned to face her when she tossed the measuring tape across her shoulders. “Or are you digging to see if I’ve got deeper plans, possibly because Sunshine expressed curiosity as to what I was giving her for Hearth’s Warming?”

I caught the flash of embarrassment before she covered it with a toss of her mane and turning to levitate some cloth over. “A preposterous assumption,” she said. “I’m shocked that you would even ask such a…”

“I overheard her while you were helping her with her mane.” I smiled back. “And you have a tendency to squeal when you hear something adorable. Since I didn’t hear a squeal, I can also assume she didn’t tell you what she got for me, so I have no reason to disclose first.”

She fumed for a moment before going back to work. “It’s bad enough when Twilight can logic me out of gossip, but now I have three of you roadblocking me.”

A thought struck me as she mulled for a moment over some color choices. "Rarity," I said, horn lighting up. "What about this?"

She glanced at the image I was projecting and her eyes lit up instantly. "Why that's marvelous!" she cried as bolts of cloth started flying from around the room just as Sunshine stepped out from the changing room.

I smiled all the way through the fitting and mane treatment to step out in a light pink and white dress with gold accents in a similar cut to Sunshines, only instead of stars strewn across my skirt, she had run threads of orange, red, and yellow subtly through a guazy overlay, suggesting a sky at sunset. My mane was done in a series of tight braids and wrapped up in spiraled bun. I stepped out and was greeted to what I assume was the same slack-jawed look of amazement I had shown when she had stepped out.

I smiled lopsidedly. “Going to say something?” I said, a light blush rising to my cheeks.

“That looks like what you had on when you…” the blush darkened her face to almost the shade of her counterpart’s coat. She shook her head furiously. I knew the image she was seeing, the only items missing from the outfit were the glowing wings of lambent light and the light markings under my eyes.

I smiled and turned to Rarity.

“Rarity, thanks so much,” I stepped up to her. “And I know you told us not to worry about payment for these, but all the same, I do have something for you."

She frowned as I stepped up to her and whispered into her ear.

She was still squealing and prancing in place as I stepped into the dressing booth and changed out of the most beautiful gown I had ever owned.