• Published 25th Aug 2018
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Sunset Shimmer Hunts the Undead - Rune Soldier Dan

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Pleasant (if Passively Petulant) Ponified Principals Partaking in Princess Parties

It was no chance or magic that made this vacation to Equestria wonderful beyond the sisters’ expectations. Though the land might seem a Utopian paradise, the carefree indulgence they enjoyed was in fact bankrolled by their princess doppelgangers. Smiling pony hosts had dodged Celestia’s financial questions, but surely the equivalent of thousands of dollars in services had been provided so they might enjoy their stay.

All the good princesses asked in return was that they visit Canterlot Castle for dinner one day.

One single dinner, on one single day. “Absolutely,” Celestia had said, smiling politely to the messenger.

Luna whined. Of course she did, but at least she stopped by the time they arrived in Canterlot. Even she could feel grateful to Princess Celestia for all they received.

...Perfect Princess Celestia.

The principal gave a low sigh, causing her sister’s ears to perk up. Luna’s gaze finally moved from the castle – massive, gaudy, and closer with every step.

“You okay?”

“Fine.” Celestia painted on a smile. “How’s my hair?”

Luna didn’t look. “Floaty and weird. Also, you never ask me about your hair, so what’s up?”

“It’s stupid.” Celestia let the facade fall, turning to their destination with a wry frown.

“It’s not stupid to you, so that means it’s not stupid.” Luna kept pace with Celestia. “And yes, I did steal that from your Momset Shimmer quote book. Now tell me what’s up. I thought you got on fine with Celestia-Two.”

“Be nice,” Celestia chided. Then she mumbled, “If anyone’s Celestia-Two, it’s me.”

“I’m sure she doesn’t see it that way.”

Celestia shuffled, slowing and putting her eyes to the ground. “Of course. It’s still...”

Another sigh. “Hard to describe. What are you supposed to do about someone who is better than you in every way that matters so you can’t help but be jealous, but they’re so good and kind that you know your jealousy is immature and misplaced?”

Blue vanished from the corner of her vision. Celestia turned to see Luna stopped in her tracks, meeting her gaze with a flat frown and utterly nonplussed expression.

After a few seconds of impasse, it was Luna’s turn to give a long, deep-breath sigh before walking past Celestia. “You suck it up for twenty years.”

“Luna!” Celestia ran to catch up. “I’m sorry.”

Luna released a shaky chuckle. “I’m not; jeez, don’t apologize. What do you think I’ll do, throw a jealous hissy-fit and try to destroy civilization because my sister’s more popular?”

Celestia pursed her lips to a thin line. “You can joke like that with me, but not one word of it inside. This evening will be long enough without–”

“Greetings, mine sisters from another plane!”

Another Luna in crown and jewelry bound towards them from the palace steps, audible from a half-block away. Time enough for them to plaster on grins before she tackled them to the ground.

“We bid thee welcome to regal Canterlot! Celestia-Two, tis so good of you to come partake in the festivities.”

“Our pleasure,” Celestia said, managing to keep her serene expression. “But… festivities? I thought this was just dinner.”

“A dinner party,” Princess Luna clarified, rising to let them stand. “The cream of the Canterlot nobility, all here for the Sapphire Social.”

Moving her swan-length neck deftly, she planted a kiss on each of Human-Luna’s cheeks. “Mine twin! We hope thy charming lack of manners has not diminished, else it may be difficult to tell us apart.”

There was no time to respond. The exuberant princess hugged the displaced humans tightly around their necks, bursting out in song for exactly two lines before the hug brought Celestia’s horn into her sister’s eye.

The damage was minimal, thankfully. Human-Luna lowly informed Celestia it was less painful than her singing voice, so the result was a win. And their trip to the castle infirmary let the hesitant sisters arrive after the party was in full swing, thus making a ripple instead of a splash.

Discretion proved out of the question, of course. The assembled nobles and royalty mingled with bizarre creatures – neon bug-ponies, griffons, and God-damned Queen Chrysalis over by the bar – but there could be no missing a pair of princess clones. Ponies descended from all sides, questions on their lips…

...Then moved on, to other friends and gossips. Maybe a dozen intercepted the principals, each giving introduction and a few words of chat before continuing their evening. Polite questions found polite answers. The sisters gathered drinks at the bar…

“Can I touch your butt?”

“No, Miss Chrysalis, you may not.”

...and sandwiches from the backs of well-dressed waiters. A mare in glasses joked that they could substitute for the princesses one day, and Celestia obligingly laughed.

The sisters found a quiet corner and compared notes. “This is more like a PTA meeting than a royal event.”

Celestia nibbled at a snack, while Luna crammed hers down, swallowed, and spoke. “Fine by me. It’s way less awkward than some formal dinner.”

“And I’m sure Princess Celestia planned it that way,” Celestia said lowly.

“Yeah, maybe.” Luna plucked another sandwich from a table three meters away. Her magic pulped the food upon lifting it to the air, then compressed it until the once-proud sandwich appeared more like a potato chip.

Luna shrugged and popped it in her mouth. “Right now I’m just happy we’re not being treated like zoo animals. You know, center of attention, ‘Come see these shitty bootleg versions of your princesses! They’re here to tell us how much their world sucks compared to ours!’ Maybe Princess Perfect briefed them to play it cool.”

Celestia sipped at her wine – it felt like minor treason after staying alcohol-free all her life. She always had Luna to care for, and then Sunset.

But Luna was here too, and was far more responsible than either of them once believed. And Sunset was a million light-years or whatever away, living the college high-life. Studying, playing, perhaps finding love.

The sip turned to a gulp. The wine was delicious. Light like a fruity soda, but giving a pleasant burn as it slid down her throat.

Breath fled in a contented gasp as Celestia pulled the empty glass from her lips. “Perhaps we’re not the strangest things here. Look around.”

They looked, and took turns pointing out events unfolding across the hall. Chocolate rain pattered on windows, and the shiny bug-ponies were playing some game where they would take a new form and ponies guessed who it was. A strange bipedal cat kissed Princess Celestia’s hoof, while Chrysalis watched, gnawed a pillow, and growled. On an upper level, two affronted nobles dueled with foam swords and pies. A baby giggled somewhere in the crowd, then unleashed a golden yellow blast through a wall.

The pair resumed their wanderings. A second glass of wine, and then – why not? – one more. They sampled hay and alfalfa recipes, then some sugary crystals which the bug ponies said were solidified love. Gossip sprung up – apparently the bugs were evolved changelings or somesuch, and a few had been with Chrysalis during her battle with the human hunters.

...In which Celestia and her friends ruthlessly murdered most of them. One got a touch bitter, Luna got a touch snippy, and they moved on.

Celestia took the lead, steadily guiding them down stairs to a lower section of the hall. Luna froze when she saw what was at the bottom, though Celestia nudged her forwards.

“At least say hello,” Celestia whispered before moving ahead with a pleasant smile. This was a small, secluded area, far cozier than the sprawling hall around. A few tables held food and drink so its occupants need not depart, and a half-dozen enormously cushioned sofas fanned out along the walls. White and blue alicorns reclined atop the largest, cuddled together and now extracting themselves to stand for the newcomers.

“Celestia and Luna, welcome!” Princess Celestia beamed bright as her magic. The humans bowed, and she laughed and waved down a jeweled hoof. “No, not that. This is the right way to greet me.”

Her great pinions stretched and embraced the sisters’ necks, caressing them both with a radiance of warmth. She drew them back slowly, eliciting feathered giggles. “Come, recline with us. This is a place to escape attention and questions, though I ask you please endure my own.”

“My question first,” Human-Luna cut in. “Why is Chrysalis out there? I figured you guys would lock her in a dungeon or something.”

Her pony twin tittered mirthfully, sauntering up to the conversation. “No dungeon, but she is locked with a strong chain indeed. Chrysalis and my sister have a...binding agreement.”

A frosting-pink blush rose to the pony Celestia’s cheeks. The human Luna took it in with a raised eyebrow and smirked. “Huh. Did you get it in writing, or was everything oral?”

Pony-Luna matched the expression. “Not everything. Do not fear, though. I hear they spanked out the details.”

She leaned in, grinning sadistically as her sister’s blush deepened. “And believe me… I heard.”

“Are you allowed to talk about it, or is there a gag order?”

“There is. Suffice to say, my sister dominates the conversations.”

“‘Gag order…?’” Principal Celestia squinted, thinking, before opening her eyes in red-faced shock. “Luna!”

“Yes?” Princess Luna replied innocently.

“Not you, my Luna!” Celestia bumped her sister with her horse-butt, and Luna defiantly bumped her back. “Bite your hair.”

“Whatever does that mean?” Princess Celestia asked quickly.

Pink eyes found each other, allied in purpose, and Human-Celestia answered just as fast. “An in-joke. The… ah, taste of my my hair has not changed since coming here. Cotton candy. But Luna’s hair now tastes like rich blackberries, so that’s a little phrase we made for when we want the other to please shut up.”

“Lost on us ponies, I’m afraid.” The white princess smoothly carried the conversation further from its origin. “Hair with a taste is a common feature among Equestrians.”

Human-Luna shrugged. “Not humans. My freak sister is the only one.”

Her princess mirror tilted her head. “Odd. Perhaps you have a pony ancestOW!”

Princess Celestia jabbed her with a hoof and pointed excitedly. “Look, there’s Discord! Discord, come over and introduce yourself.”

The sisters turned, with Principal Celestia wearing a befuddled expression. “Discord? How strange.”

“Wow. Most ponies don’t come out and say it.” The mismatched creature accepted Human-Luna’s hoof, but cocked his eyebrows at Celestia.

“No-no-no! My apologies.” Celestia clapped a hoof to her mouth, instantly finding regret as it banged her lips and teeth. “It’s just that my daughter has a professor named Discord on our side of the mirror. I don’t suppose you are one as well?”

“I substitute teach at a school,” Discord said, puffing out his chest to form masculine abs. A pink unicorn on one of the sofas slowly moved a pillow over her head. “But another Discord, you say… where are you two from? Some alternate universe, of course. One of the ones where everyone’s an animal, or something?”

The sisters shared a glance before Celestia shook her head. “No, we’re human. From Earth.”

“Right, what did I say?” Discord’s eagle claw idly began poking his abs, popping them like balloons. “Where does your daughter go to school?”

Celestia enthusiastically began digging into the purse around her neck. “Canterlot College. I have pictures of her. Her name’s Sunset, and she’s studying nursing with the intent to–”

“Nobody actually wants to see pictures of other people’s kids.” Discord held up a paw and checked a watch that appeared on his wrist.

“Be nice,” Princess Celestia chided.

“I’ll do you one better, I’ll be gone.” Discord began counting on his talons. “Much to do today. And frankly, despite your unusual and suspicious happiness to see me, one Celestia is hard to stomach at a time. Tolerating two is well beyond what can be reasonably expected of any sane individual.”

An extra talon sprouted to accompany his fifth count. “Earth, Canterlot… anyway, have fun sipping tea and being distantly polite to each other.”

Princess Celestia held up a hoof. “Before you leave, it’s sticky and hard to clean so can you please stop the chocolate...”

“...rain,” she finished as Discord snapped his paw and vanished.

Comparative silence fell, somehow made poignant by murmurs and laughter from the upper floors. The four shuffled in place, adrift until Princess Celestia raised a silver pot from a table. “Tea?”

“Thank you,” Celestia said, and they exchanged polite smiles.

“Feh and double-feh to thy tea!” Princess Luna called boisterously. A blue wing snaked out and pulled her twin to her side. “We Lunas shall relax and enjoy our company, not merely pretend to do so. We shall cuddle, snuggle, eat, and drink.”

Princess Celestia pursed her lips. “Human culture is not as intimate as ours. You should ask permission first.”

With far less grace, Human-Luna raised her wing and returned the hug. “She has it.”

She smirked at Principal Celestia’s incredulous look. “What? I’m soft, warm, and adorable. Besides, you’ve been pulling that ‘When in Rome’ line on me all month.”

They sauntered to one of the couches, whispering and nibbling each others’ hair, leaving the Celestias behind.

An awkward fidget came from each before Princess Celestia broke the quiet. “I won’t make you stand at attention. Wander if you like, eat, or recline. I shall do the latter.”

The polite smile wavered, shrinking to something small and shy. Like an embarrassed student. “You are welcome to join me.”

Like with an embarrassed student, Celestia gave a kindly expression. “I believe I shall.”

The shy smile flickered, just for an instant. “You must not feel pressured.”

“I don’t,” Human-Celestia promised. “‘When in Rome,’ and so forth. Cuddling is like a handshake for ponies, isn’t it?”

Princess Celestia placed herself on a sofa, folding her legs beneath. “More like a thing to be shared with friends. Which is...”

The pink eyes fell away, and a white wing raised to offer room beside her. “...What I would like us to be.”

Principal Celestia sidled alongside. The cushion was so soft that her legs sunk easily beneath her weight, and the downy wing that fell over chased away a chill she didn’t know she had.

She lit her magic and took a sip from her tea. It wasn’t until much later that Principal Celestia made the connection between the sudden ease with which she held the delicate porcelain and the soft yellow glow around her mirror’s horn.

“Would you like to hear about Sunset?”

“Yes,” Princess Celestia said. “And I do want to see your pictures. But first, I would like to hear about you.”

There was a cool draft upon her face, but the rest of her body was warm. As Principal Celestia rose to consciousness, she dimly realized the background noise had vanished, and the room was dark beyond her eyelids.

The downy feathers were still around her, and the warm body still alongside.

How long had they talked? An hour or more. About Sunset and her hopes… but also Celestia’s. The creeping middle age she joked so desperately about. Her romance, and lack thereof. Of course Princess Perfect was sympathetic, but also… something else. She seemed happy, in a strange, unrehearsed kind of way. Like she was scared to show just how happy she was.

“What time is it?”

“Late.” Princess Celestia’s melodic voice fell from above. “Our sisters are upstairs eating a second dinner.”

“I’m really sorry.” Celestia opened her eyes, beholding her twin once again. She made to get up, but the wing resisted.

The response was serene. The smile… nervous. Almost pained. “Leave if you must, but stay as long as you like. I am very grateful you spent this time with me.”

“Not at all.” Principal Celestia scooted closer, hoping to reassure. “We’re the ones who should be grateful. This was a wonderful vacation and…”

We didn’t want to visit you.

“...Sunset planned and Twilight organized, but you and Princess Luna made it possible. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Somehow, Princess Celestia looked sad behind her smile. “You are most welcome. And you must know the offer holds true even if you do not wish to see Luna and I.”

“We were happy to come,” Principal Celestia said automatically.

“I don’t like it when ponies feel they have to lie.”

The phrasing and tone took all hint of condemnation from the words. Princess Celestia looked off to the distance and swallowed. “You see a you that is all you are not. Ruler from the mountaintops, immortal and cloaked in power and alleged wisdom. How could there not be resentment in even the most worthy soul? What can one do with such feelings?”

Principal Celestia raised her head from its slumbered position. She cast a slow gaze over her twin, and slower still came the smile across her face.

She whispered, lending the words an air of mystery. “I know what one can do.”

The princess turned her head to look, and Celestia’s expression took a cheeky twist. “One can suck it up.”

Her twin began to speak: doubtless a polite rebuttal, and Principal Celestia didn’t give her the chance. “One can accept those feelings exist, and refuse to let them make decisions for her.”

“You are wise,” Princess Celestia said, and a cheerful twinkle crept to her eyes.

“I stole it from my sister,” Celestia confessed.

The princess released the tiniest of giggles. “Accepting imparted wisdom hardly qualifies as theft. But she is wise as well, and I believe I shall tell her. If she is anything like my own dear Luna, it will do her good to hear.”

An idea found Principal Celestia’s mind, and she spoke it without thought. “I know we’re on vacation, and you’re not. And we only have five days left. But if you want to do something together on those days, I would love to have you. Whatever you do for fun.”

“I would like that.” The princess scratched her chin with the free wing. “On Saturday mornings, Luna and I sometimes fly to a designated mountain in the Horseshoe Range and practice our battle magic. The lessons will do you good, and I can guarantee it will be exhilarating.”

Celestia beamed. “I think my Luna can get on board with that.”

“Shall we tell them?” Princess Celestia made to rise, but this time it was her twin’s white wing that did not budge from above.

“When they return.” Principal Celestia leaned into the white warmth beside her. “For now... I would like to hear about you.”

Author's Note:

Other events occurring during the sisters’ visit to Equestria:

-Alicorns shit actual daisies, terrifying the sisters on their first day.

-Principal Celestia’s butt itches and she’s not sure how to scratch it as a pony. Her hind legs don’t go up high enough to scratch like a dog, and she sure as hell doesn’t trust her magic or Chrysalis' offer to scratch with teeth and tongue ("It's how all ponies do it!"). With Luna’s prompting she finds a corner to scratch it against just as the press corps arrives.

-Chrysalis bothers Princess Celestia to arrange a threesome with them and the other Celestia at least once a day for the entire vacation, each time using a different method to try and trick/wheedle her into complying. “It’ll count for my birthday AND Hearth’s Warming!”

-In an introspective evening, Celestia comments that even the dirt in Equestria somehow felt warm and friendly. She expressed an interest in being buried here when her time comes, then immediately apologized for being a downer. Luna dryly notes that she's followed Celestia all her life, and didn't much care where their corpses ended up so long as they stayed together.

Anyway, action resumes next chapter. Thank you for reading.

...And yeah, it's confusing as heck to write two Celestias and two Lunas in one room, so if there was any point you were confused as to who was talking, let me know and I'll try to fix.

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