• Published 7th Feb 2017
  • 2,719 Views, 63 Comments

Friendship 101 - BlazzingInferno

Twilight Sparkle’s cute-ceañera is on Friday. Finding some guests is proving harder than Twilight Velvet expected.

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Emergency Negotiations

The door creaked open as soon as Twilight Velvet knocked on it, and a surprised but sufficiently regal “ooh, who’s there?” escaped through the gap.

She pushed open the door and bowed, catching only a glimpse of an overly tall desk laden with paperwork as she did so. “Good morning, Princess Celestia. I’m sorry for disturbing you like this, but I’m afraid I need to meet with you for an emergency parent-teacher conference.”

Princess Celestia chuckled. “Welcome, Mrs… Velvet, isn’t it? What brings you here in the middle of summer break?”

Twilight Velvet rose, her business smile still in full force. Princess Celestia looked surprisingly mundane, seated behind a desk with paperwork before her and framed awards on the wall behind her. Everything was larger than normal, of course; the desk reached Twilight Velvet’s nose. Equating this oversized office pony with the shining beacon of Princesshood she’d seen during the summer sun celebration took some effort. “I’m here about my daughter, Twilight Sparkle.”

A smile crossed Princess Celestia’s face, and not the kind Twilight Velvet expected; she’d seen and given her share of friendly façades to push a book deal through, but this looked different. The Princess actually looked happy about being accosted by a meddling, busybody parent. “Please, have a seat. I hope Twilight isn’t too nervous, especially when she still has so much time off ahead of her.”

The chair wasn’t like anything Twilight Velvet had seen before. It looked more like a series of oversized, padded steps, each one as wide as a seat cushion. The lowest one was at a normal chair’s height, and the next two taller still. She climbed up the second step, which put her on level with Princess Celestia. The topmost step, which was just a few inches taller, would’ve been perfect for a foal to sit eye to eye with the Princess of Equestria. “This is an… interesting chair.”

“One of my former students made it for me, a little something to help students and parents see me for what I am in this office: a teacher. Now, what’s so urgent that you needed to invoke the ‘emergency conference’ rule before Twilight’s even been through her first day?”

Twilight Velvet took a deep breath. “I’ll get right to the point, your majesty. Twilight’s cute-ceañera is this Friday at one, and we’d very much like for you to make an appearance.”

The warmth drained out of Princess Celestia’s smile; now she was all business. “While I’m flattered that you’d invite me, I’m afraid I can’t come. Surely you understand how many graduations, parties, and other social events parents routinely ask me to attend. I don’t have time to go to them all, and it would hardly be fair to select just a few. I can’t make an exception, not even for Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight Velvet expected this. She’d expected this from the moment she’d suggested this crazy idea to her husband a week ago. “I can respect that, Princess, so long as you understand why I’m asking. Will you give me that, at least? I won’t waste your time.”

Princess Celestia nodded. “Go on.”

“Twilight earned her cutie mark during her entrance exam for your school, well after her public school let out for the summer. The handful of acquaintances she has are either out of town like Princess Cadence, or have some other excuse to not come to the ‘weird kid’s’ party, the kid that always has her nose in a book.”

Princess Celestia’s smile vanished. “I don’t understand.”

“Please forgive me for being so blunt, but you’ve spent five minutes with my daughter, Princess. You’ve seen that she’s very talented, but you haven’t seen how she spends every waking moment studying magic. I wanted her to come to your school so she’d meet some fillies and colts her age that she’d actually identify with… maybe that can still happen with her being your personal student, but it isn’t about to happen by Friday. I’ve already gone down the entire first-year class roster and sent out invitations… nobody else can make it… or wants to, anyway, considering I offered to push the party back another week.”

Twilight Velvet leaned forward, her hooves on the desk and her business façade crumbling under a flood of genuine worry. “My daughter doesn’t have friends, Princess Celestia. She doesn’t even expect anyone to show up to her cute-ceañera, and what’s worse is she doesn’t care! She’s perfectly happy to sit around eating cake with her parents and big brother because she doesn’t know what having actual friends is like. She deserves better than a cute-ceañera with no friends, even if she doesn’t expect it. What could show her the value of healthy social interaction more than seeing it demonstrated by the Princess she idolizes?”

Princess Celestia opened her mouth slightly, as if she was voicing the uncomfortable silence that hung in the air for seconds on end. “Of course she deserves better… and during her studies with me, I’ll ensure she has every opportunity to interact with other students. I’ll make sure of it.”

“That sounds suspiciously like ‘making an exception’ to me, Princess, just like when you publicly stated you’d take a single filly under your wing for private lessons. You’re already going to be present for plenty of her life events simply because you’re her teacher, so why not this one? She’ll have plenty of birthdays and other celebrations, but only one cute-ceañera.”

A frown crossed Princess Celestia’s face, which made Twilight Velvet’s smile all the harder to maintain. “Tell me, Twilight Velvet, what do you do for a living? Are you a corporate executive, or a lawyer?”

“I… write children’s books. Publishing is a lot more cut-throat than most ponies suspect.”

“And what if Friday comes and goes without me? Would your next book be the tale of the solar tyrant that steals the dreams of little fillies?”

Twilight Velvet’s already unsteady smile turned into a gasp. “This isn’t blackmail or politics, your highness.”

“Would you pull Twilight Sparkle out of my school?”

“Not if she’s going to be happy here, and nothing in the whole world would make her happier than learning from you directly.”

“You do realize how big what you're asking for is, don’t you? While it might just be a cute-ceañera to Twilight Sparkle, for me it’s a show of apparent favoritism that could tarnish my relationship with the other students, and lead to many well-to-do parents demanding—and I do mean demanding—that I devote just as much personal time to their families if I ever want to have the privilege of educating their children again, to say nothing of their political support.”

“I-I understand that. I do. I still won’t take back my request. I can’t. You said you’re a teacher; can’t you give her an early lesson about friendship or something?”

A quick knocking rattled the door, and a guard’s deep voice came through the gap. “Princess Celestia? Your afternoon court is set to begin in five minutes.”

Twilight Velvet dove across the desk and grabbed one of the Princess’s hooves. “Please, Princess. This isn’t for me, and I swear nopony ever has to know about it.”

Princess Celestia extracted herself from her embrace and stood. They stared at each other for multiple seconds, devoid of façades and pretenses. “I won’t promise anything, but…”

“Please consider it. That’s all I ask.”

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