• Published 4th Nov 2020
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Another Side of Friendship: Pony Tails - The Great Twixie



The continued adventures of Twilight and her new friends.

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Luna's Day Out

Princess Luna stood on the balcony of the tallest tower in her castle, humming a little song while her horn’s magic raised the sun for the day. It always put a strain on Luna whenever she had to drag the celestial body over the horizon since it was five times heavier than the moon. She amusingly recalled the early days of her rule where she spent an entire week trying to pull the sun up; history called it “The Longest Night of Equestria.” Thankfully, she had many centuries of practice and could now properly raise it when needed.

“Another successful sunrise,” Luna said proudly to herself.

She walked back inside and paused, gazing sadly at the large, round bed in front of her. Celestia was still lying in a deep, dreamless sleep, breathing softly as she had been for the past week. The royal physicians made certain that she received plenty of nourishment while she slept, so her complexion was healthier than when she had been Daybreaker. Though there were still deep circles under her eyes that were unlikely to ever go away.

Luna steppeded quietly to her bedside and ran a hoof softly through her sister’s ethereal mane.

“Hopefully you’ll be able to raise it yourself soon, sister,” Luna whispered softly.

Luna silently stepped out of the room, closing the door behind her quietly, and made her way down the spiraling staircase. A pair of pegesai guards saluted her when she reached the bottom with the princess reminding them that no one other than herself and authorized ponies are allowed entry. She continued down the corridors where the various servants of the castle bowed and greeted her in a friendly manner. The alicorn princess greeted them in kind, but did not stop to speak; she was a busy princess, after all.

Finally, she reached the pair of double doors emblazoned with her Cutie Mark and threw them open to enter her office space. Just like every morning since she was hired, Twilight was already waiting off to the side of her desk, taking a quill to a roll of parchment like she was engaged in an epic duel. The princess chuckled, which snapped the lavender unicorn of out her personal fantasy.

“Good morning, Princess Luna!” Twilight greeted merrily with a respectful bow.

“Good morning, Twilight Sparkle,” said Luna, taking her seat behind the desk. “So, what’s on the schedule for today.”

“Oh, there’s no schedule,” said Twilight was a proud smile. “Your entire day has been completely cleared."

“What?” Luna jumped up, alarmed. “Is something wrong? Did something happen?”

“No, I –“

“Did something go wrong the ambassador? Is the mayor of Ponyville ill? Are the royal guards rebelling?” Luna questioned erratically. “No, wait, has somepony sent a declaration of war? Is it Saddle Arabia? I knew those ponies couldn’t be trusted! Alert the guard! Sound the war horn! Bring me my sword and armor!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, Princess Luna!” Twilight yelped, flailing her hooves in a panic. Luna calmed down slightly, though her eyes were still searching suspiciously around the room. “Nopony is declaring war on us. You just have the day off.”

“Day…off?” Luna repeated strangely like she speaking a different language. “Explain, Twilight Sparkle.”

“You’ve been working tirelessly for a thousand years to guide and protect Equestria,” said Twilight, “all without ever taking time just for yourself. So I thought If anypony deserved to have a day to themselves, it’s you. And as your royal scheduler, I worked a bit of my time management magic to make it happen. You’re clear for the entire day.”

“What about the ambassador from Griffinstone?” asked Luna.

“Got arrested for fighting with a rainbow-maned speed junkie in Cloudsdale,” Twilight answered casually.

“The mayor of Ponyville?”

“Agreed to reschedule for tomorrow.”

“The royal guards?”

“Shiny – I mean, Shining Armor has it well in hoof."

“What about my paperwork?”

“Raven Inkwell is taking care of it,” Twilight stated. Luna couldn’t help but feel impressed by Twilight’s preparation skills. Then again, that was the reason she was hired. “Everything has been taken care off. You don’t have to worry. Equestria can handle itself for one day.”

“Oh…well…this is most generous of you, Twilight Sparkle,” said Luna, smiling lightly. “I must admit, it has been quite a while since I had a break from pushing papers. Thank you, and thank the others as well.”

“It’s the least we could do, your majesty,” said Twilight with a bow, then pranced out the door “I’ll just leave you to yourself. Enjoy your day off, Princess Luna!”

“I will, Twilight Sparkle!” Princess Luna called out before Twilight disappeared around the corner. “Well, looks like I have the day all to myself. Free to do whatever I want…all day…for twenty-four hours….”

While the prospect of not having to worry about running the kingdom was very appealing to the princess, it took only three seconds before Luna came to a startling realization: she didn’t know what to do. She had spent the last millennium with a daily schedule that it never occurred to her what would happen if she suddenly had free time.

Luna sat quietly (Read: awkwardly) at her desk, tapping her hooves to some random beat, but then stopped and her office fell into an uncomfortable silence. She instinctively reached a hoof to start her paperwork, only to remember that she didn’t have any. She tapped her hooves again, and stopped. She nudged her feather quill so that it was parallel to her inkwell, then nudged said inkwell at least two inches to the left. She tapped her hooves again, and stopped. Somewhere in the distance, she could hear the ticking of a grandfather clock. She tapped her hooves again –

- and slumped across her desk with a defeated moan.

“I never realized how boring having free time would be,” Luna groaned. “Maybe I could ask Raven to send some documents to my office…. No, no, Luna, don’t.” she told herself, sitting up and shaking her head. “Twilight went through a lot of effort to give you this time off, so the least you can do is make the most of it…. But what am I supposed to do if I’m not running the kingdom…?”

She put her hooves to her skull, as if willing ideas to her brain. Then, she heard somepony humming in the hallway. Twilight had left the doors open, and who just happened to be passing by Luna’s office than her own student. Sunset Shimmer was singing a tune to herself and she leisurely strolled by, levitating a book in front of her. Luna stared at her student until she was out of sight and her humming got further and further away….

The princess blinked…then slowly rose from her desk.


Sunset shuffled between the shelves of the palace library, running a hoof across the bindings as she read the title of each one. She found the book she was looking for and pulled it off the shelf with her horn, satisfied. But when she turned around, Sunset found herself coming face-to-chest with Princess Luna; the midnight alicorn hovering over her student like a silent shadow.

Sunset predictably jumped with a frightened yelp, tossing her book into the air, only for it to come back down and bop her on the head. Luna seemed unbothered while Sunset tried to regain control of her erratically heartbeat.

“Prin – Princess Luna,” Sunset gasped between breathes. “What – what a surprise. I…wasn’t expecting to see you there. Did you need something?”

“Oh no, nothing at all,” said Luna, smiling brilliantly.

“Oh…,” said Sunset awkwardly. A moment of uncomfortable silence passed. “Well, um, good to see you.”

Luna said nothing in return, just smiling in an admittedly creepy way. Sunset awkwardly stared back, retrieving her dropped book, and walked around the princess hesitantly.

Sunset took a seat at one of the long tables of the library, using her horn to flip the book open. The sunny mare read quietly to herself until she heard the cringe-inducing sound of a chair scrapping against the floor. Sunset turned to her left, somehow unsurprised that Luna was sitting beside her, staring down at Sunset like she was something fascinating. The alicorn didn’t even look ashamed, just politely waving at Sunset. The sunny mare tried to pretend her mentor wasn’t there and went back to reading, but Luna did not seem intent on leaving her be.

“What’re reading?” she asked innocently.

“….’The Art of War by Sunny Sue’” Sunset answered shortly, determined to keep reading.

“Oh,” said Luna simply. “…is it good?”

“…I don’t know; I’m still on the first page,” said Sunset, sounding annoyed.

“I see...,” said Luna. Another awkward pause. “Do you always read this early?”

“Yeah,” Sunset answered, scowling. “You’re the one who taught me to study early, remember?”

“Oh, that’s right, I did do that, didn’t I?” Luna muttered to herself. Another bout of silence. “So…is there anypony you like – “

“OKAY!” Sunset screamed, slamming the book shut and rounding on her mentor. “Not to be rude or anything, your majesty, but is there a reason you’re being unusually annoying this morning? Shouldn’t you be in your office right now, filing paperwork or something?”

“Normally, yes,” answered Luna. “But Twilight Sparkle was kind enough to schedule me a ‘day off’” She made quotation gestures with her hooves. “So I’m completely free for the day.”

“Gee, that was nice of her,” Sunset grumbled. She was going to have some words for Twilight later. “Well, I’m sorry, your majesty. You may have the day off, but I don’t. I have a lot of studying to do on top of magic training and diplomacy lessons with Raven Inkwell.”

“Oh…right…yes, that’s right, I’m the one who made your lesson plan…,” Luna mumbled disappointedly.

Sunset felt a twinge of guilty at Luna’s saddened face and said, “H-Hey, don’t feel bad. If you have the day off, why don’t you go visit your friends?”

“My…friends?” Luna parroted.

“You do have friends, right?” asked Sunset, worried.

“Well, there was a time when I used to friends,” said Luna, looking up at the ceiling in thought.

“What happened?” Sunset questioned curiously.

“They grew old and died a few centuries ago,” Luna said bluntly.

“Okay, I can see where that could be a problem,” said Sunset, tapping her chin. “Well…why don’t you take this opportunity to make some new friends?”

“Make some new friends?” asked Luna like she had never considered such a concept.

“Yeah,” Sunset nodded. “I met Twilight and the others by accident – well, an accident you caused – and now we’re best friends. I bet there are tons of ponies just waiting for you to be their friend. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be pals with the princess of Equestria.”

“That does sound nice,” said Luna, frowning in uncertainty. “But where do I even start?”

“How ‘bout around the castle,” Sunset suggested. “Everypony here already knows you on a professional level. Why not make a personal relationship. And before you even think about it, try asking somepony other than Twilight or Tempest. You should make your own friends.”

“My own friends, huh?” Luna hummed, smiling. “Yes. Yes, I think I will. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Sunset Shimmer.”

“I learned from the best,” said Sunset proudly.

Luna stood up and walked out of the library with her head held high. When she was gone, Sunset’s expression morphed into a scowl as her horn flared up. A moment later, Twilight popped into the room beside the sunny mare, blinking astonishingly, and leaned back when Sunset jabbed a hoof in her chest.

“You and I need to have a little talk…,” Sunset said menacingly.

Twilight made a loud gulping noise.


Luna continued to wander the castle, pondering on her student’s words. She grew tired of the restrictive corridors and decided to take a stroll through the courtyard. She passed the royal garden, waving to the four gardener ponies as they worked. It suddenly occurred to Luna that she had talked to the servants almost daily, but she never stopped to chat, what with her busy schedule always keeping her occupied. Maybe one of them could be her friends….

“Hmm, but how does one go about making friends,” Luna muttered to herself as she entered the sculpture garden, shooting a menacing glare at one statue in particular. “Do I just walk up to them? Should I start a conversation, or wait for them to say something? What if I have nothing to say? Then what should I – “

Before the princess could spiral any deeper, she perked up at the sharp noise of tearing cloth nearby. Something flew over the tall hedges on her left and rolled on the ground at her hooves. She picked the item up curiously. It looked like the clothed head of a training dummy Luna has seen used in training by the royal guards. Why would this –

The hedges rustled and the princess looked around as somepony emerged through the foliage. A cream-colored mare with a curled mane of cobalt and fushia poked her head through the leaves, looking for something on the ground. When she noticed Luna’s hooves, her eyes wandered up to the royal alicorn and greeted her with a friendly smile.

“Princess Luna,” she said cheerfully, prying herself from the bushes, shaking off the stray leaves. “Good morning.”

“Good morning, Agent Swee – “Luna started, but is taken back by surprise when the mare suddenly slaps her hooves over the princess’s mouth. She cast a conspiratorial glance around the garden, sighing when the coast was clear.

“Princess, you can’t say my codename is public like that,” the mare whispered secretively. “Call me Bon Bon.”

“Right, of course, apologies, Bon Bon,” Luna corrected herself, then offered the dummy head. “I believe this belongs to you.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Bon Bon chuckled sheepishly. “I sometimes get so heated during my work out, I forget to hold back. You wouldn’t believe how many of these I’ve gone through. Shining Armor’s threatening to ban me from the training dummies.”

“What exactly does your ‘work out’ entail?” asked Luna.

“Here, I’ll show you,” Bon Bon offered excitedly.

Bon Bon gestured for the princess to follow and walked back through the bushes. Luna, being blessed with wings, simply flew over and landed on the other side before Bon Bon appeared through the hedge. The midnight alicorn scanned the area, equally shocked and surprised by Bon Bon’s training space.

A row of dummies lined the hedges with one of them missing its head for obvious reasons. To the left of them was three bull’s-eye targets embedded with all sorts of sharp objects from arrows to darts to knives to throwing stars. A well-worn punching bag hanged next to a set of weights that looked like that could snap Luna’s hoof if she tried to lift them. The rest of the space was taken up by an obstacle course that contained, but was not limited to, a barbwire crawl, a rope swing over mud, a wall climb, and the Fiery Flaming Hoops of Death™.

“Wow…,” said Luna in astonishment. “That’s pretty hardcore.”

“Heh, thanks,” Bon Bon giggled, casually tossing the dummy head aside. She walked over to the punching bag, rising to her hind legs, and started beating into the bag. “I always work out first thing in the morning. A member of the princess’s secret service must always be fit and ready for action. And I need to be doubly prepared when I routinely fight my archenemy.”

“I thought you and Dr. Hoofenshmirtz were quite friendly with each other,” Luna commented.

“Well…we are…but we’re still enemies, you know,” said Bon Bon awkwardly. “It’s a complicated relationship.”

“Sounds like it,” Luna chuckled.

“So what’re you doing here, your majesty,” Bon Bon asked, bucking the sandbag and tearing it in half. “Shouldn’t you be in your office slaving away over paperwork.”

“Twilight Sparkle gave me the day off,” answered Luna.

“Nice,” Bon Bon grinned.

“It would be,” said Luna, rubbing her hoof uncertainly. “Except I have no idea what I should do with myself? I’ve been working on a tight schedule well over a thousand years, and this is the first time I’ve had been free for a while. Suffice to say, I’m a little out of my element.”

“Hmm…,” Bon Bon hummed, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. “Well…how ‘bout you join me in a work out?”

“Pardon?” Luna questioned, taken aback by the offer.

“Yeah, you can run the obstacle course with me,” Bon Bon suggested enthusiastically. “I always feel great after a strong work out. Your heart is racing, your blood is pumping, endorphins flaring, the adrenaline rushing through your veins. And when you’re finished, you feel happy and confident with all the stress and anxiety flushing from your body. What better way to start the day, huh?”

“That does sound enticing,” said Luna, feeling a little bit of excitement welling up in her chest. “Where do we start?”

“We take our positions behind the white line,” said Bon Bon, pointing to the chalk marking at the start of the course. Both mares walked over and crouched into a ready position. “This course can be a little brutal for beginners, so take it easy and take your time getting through it.”

“I’ve been in over a hundred battles in the last one thousand years,” Luna proclaimed boldly. “This will be a piece of cake.”

And, as you would expect, Luna immediately came to regret her words.

They started at the barb wire crawl where Bon Bon practically glided through the dirt and mud on her belly like a slippery snake and moved on to the next section. Luna, being twice as tall as the average pony, couldn’t get low enough to safely crawl underneath. When she tried to force her way through, her wings got caught in the wire, prompting a very painful session in getting them loose.

Bon Bon approached the rope swing, leaping to grab the line, swinging safely over to the other side, and pressing on without missing a beat. Luna grounded herself to a stop at the edge of the mud pit, contemplating. With her wings, she could easily glide to the other side, but that wouldn’t be fair to Bon Bon, who didn’t have the advantages of wings or a horn to help. Luna crouched low and jumped high, grabbing the rope with her hooves…. She immediately slipped off and splashed in to the mud pit, covered from hoof to horn.

Next came the wall climb. Bon Bon gripped her hooves in the tiny spaces between the boards and climbed up the wall like a spider monkey, coming out on the other side in less than five seconds. And Luna…actually, she did okay on this one. Her superior height allowed her to climb the whole thing in two hoofsteps. It felt a bit like cheating, but Luna could use a win right now.

And finally, the Fiery Flaming Hoops of Death™ - three rings lined up in a row, coated in fire. Bon Bon sprinted at the hoops and launched herself into the air, flying through them with a graceful spin and landed safely on the other end without touching a single ring. The curly-maned Earth pony looked back just as Luna took her own leap and –

CRASH!

Bon Bon turned her head away with a wince. After a moment of silence, she looked back slowly and found the princess lying on the ground, the three rings tangled up around her body. They were thankfully extinguished from the crash, but there was a small tuft of fire in her mane that the princess couldn’t bring herself to snuff out.

“Well…feeling the blood pumping yet?” Bon Bon asked, giggling nervously.

“I’m certainly feeling something,” Luna grumbled. She untangled herself with Bon Bon’s help when she felt a sharp pain in her flank. “Gah! I think I just pulled something!”

“Yeah, I did say this was brutal for beginners,” aid Bon Bon sympathetically.

“Well, as…exciting as this was,” said Luna, “I don’t think this is the right exercise for me.” She tried to stretch her wings, groaning and wincing as she held the sore spot on her back. “Oh yeah, I think I definitely threw something out. I don’t suppose realigning spines is included in your impressive repertoire?”

“I’m more of a back breaker than a fixer,” Bon Bon admitted openly. “But do know somepony who could help.”


Roughly twenty minutes later, Bon Bon was leading Princess Luna through Canterlot’s commercial district. The midnight alicorn was concealed by a dusty old cloak that Bon Bon had found lying around the castle. If anypony knew the princess was walking around Canterlot, it would cause a huge fuss that would attract all kinds of unwanted attention, especially from the paparazzi. Though Luna found it concerning that nopony even batted an eye to the towering cloaked figure casually walking down the street. These ponies need to work on their survival instincts, Luna thought.

Bon Bon suddenly stopped in front of a building, making Luna look up. Nestled between a vintage record store and an ice cream parlor was a humble-looking studio with a hoofpainted sign hanging over the door that read “Blossoming Lotus” with a picture of a pony sitting in a meditative pose. Bon Bon opened the door for Luna – a tiny bell jingled overhead – and gestured the princess inside, looking up and down the street once before shutting the door behind her.

The princess nearly slipped on the polished wooden floor, but steadied herself and chanced a look around. The studio was very minimalist by design, possessing very little in terms of furniture other than the desk that made up the reception area. Beyond that, the entire studio had a number of colorful plants hanging from the ceiling, giving off various soothing fragrances that already made Luna’s body feel more relaxed. One wall was made entirely of mirrors, reflecting the dozens of mats laid out on the floor in neat rows. A bunch of equipment was stacked against the opposite wall such as foam blocks, elastic bands, and giant rubber balls.

Based on her observation, Luna assumed this was a yoga studio.

The studio was occupied by a single pegasus mare with a light-colored coat and a mane streaked with pinks and greens. She was lying on her chest with her eyes closed, her hind legs raised above her head and twisted in a way that should not be anatomically possible. Bon Bon padded across the studio toward the mare and Luna followed. The mare must have heard their hoofsteps, but she spoke to them while keeping her eyes closed:

“The next class isn’t for another hour. Please come back later.

“I’m sure you won’t mind making a special exception for us, Blossomforth,” said Bon Bon casually.

The pony, Blossomforth, opened her eyes and broke out into a huge grin.

“Hey, Bon Bon, haven’t seen you around in a while,” she said cheerfully. “How’ve you been.”

“You know, keeping busy,” said Bon Bon nonchalantly, then pointed at Luna. “Hey, do you think you could give my friend here a private session? She thinks she might have thrown something out of whack earlier.”

“You put her through your insane training course?” Blossomforth asked knowingly.

“She did,” Luna answered bluntly.

“Well, I’m sorry, Bons,” Blossomforth apologized. “We may be friends, but I can’t give out private sessions to just anypony. Otherwise, other ponies will start making private requests, too. And my schedule’s busy enough as it is.”

“Not even for…,” Bon Bon paused for dramatic effect before grabbing Luna’s cloak and whipping it off, “The princess of Equestria?”

Blossomforth gasped like a fish out of water, her eyes practically popping out of her skull. Luna greeted her with an awkward smile and wave when Blossomforth toppled sideways, tangled in her own limbs. The flexible Pegasus unraveled herself, hopping to her hooves, and bending at the knee for a courteous bow.

“Princess Luna!” Blossomforth yipped. “Th – this is unexpected! I’m honored that you would visit my humble studio!”

“There’s no need to bow,” Luna waved her off. “I’m not the princess today. You can just call me Luna.”

“O-okay…Luna,” Blossomforth stammered like she was afraid lightning would suddenly rain down and smite her.

“The princess threw her back out during training like an old lady,” Bon Bon explained teasingly; she could feel Luna’s glare burning in the back of her head. “Think you could do something for her.”

“Hmm…well, there are some techniques that are good for relieving back pain,” Blossomforth hummed. “Grab a mat while I lock things up so that the princess can have some privacy. Can’t be too careful.”

While Blossomforth went about locking the door and closing the curtains, Luna and Bon Bon stepped over to the two mats in front facing the mirrors. Bon Bon was already stretching her hooves out while Luna shuffled awkwardly on the narrow mat, her hooves barely able to find space due to her size.

“You’re free to take another if you’d like Prin – I mean, Luna,” said Blossomforth as she came back. Luna sighed in relief and pushed two mats together to make a wider space. “Now, normally I like to take my classes through a specified routine that covers all bases of the body, but since you’ve come with a specific problem, we can skip ahead to the more immediate poses.

“First position is the cat-pony pose.” Blossomforth got down on her knees and elbows, inhaling as she tilted her head up and dropped her stomach down. She exhaled as she lowered her head and arched her back up. She repeated these motions like a fluid wave. “This position stretches and mobilizes the spine while also stretching your torso, shoulder’s and neck. Make sure to breath accordingly."

Luna and Bon Bon got down on their knees and mimicked the form, breathing in and out with the motions. At first, Luna felt a sharp stab when she arched her back, but when she lowered her body and raised it back up again, the pain felt duller. It became easier than longer she performed the pose….

“Next position is the downward-facing pony,” Blossomforth continued a minute later. She rose to her hooves, raising her tail to the ceiling while lowering her head to the mat, keeping her back straight. “This is a traditional pose that helps relieve back pain and flank muscles. It helps to work out imbalances in the body and improves strength.”

Luna and Bon Bon followed her example. As she lowered herself to the mat, Luna reflexively stretched her wings, which sent a nice shiver up her spine. She was staring to feel a pleasant tingle in her brain….

“Now for the sphinx pose,” Blossomforth continued. She laid her hind legs flat against the back while curving her body backwards, keeping her front hooves on the floor. “This technique strengthens your spine and flank while also stretching your chest, shoulders, and stomach. Be sure to keep your hooves firmly on the mat.”

The princess’s mind started to wander blissfully as she mimicked the pegasi’s form, notably feeling more relaxed than she had ever been in a thousand years. It’s like centuries of stress was being brushed away. Blossomforth moved on to their next form and Luna followed, but to the princess, in her hyper relaxed state, her voice was muffled like she was underwater. Luna let out a content sigh. She never knew such a simple exercise could be so…soothing. She should consider doing this more often….

…ess…pri…ss…ncess…

“PRINCESS!”

“Bwah?” Luna mumbled incoherently, snapping her eyes open.

It took several seconds for her brain to wake up, then found herself staring up at Bon Bon and Blossomforth, who were staring down at her with a mixture of concern and amusement. That’s when Luna realized that she was lying down on her chest with her hind legs stretched towards the ceiling, tangled up around one another while her wings had somehow founded themselves knotted together. When she tried to move her front hooves, she became aware that she was lying on top of both of them and they had gone numb.

“Um…how did I end up like this?” Luna asked curiously.

“We’re not exactly sure ourselves,” Bon Bon admitted.

“Would you mind getting me out?” Luna pleaded.

Blossomforth tapped her chin thoughtfully, looking the princess up and down. She stretched a hoof at Luna’s knotted wings and gave them the tiniest push. All of Luna’s limbs instantly came undone, springing out like a pony-in-a-box. The princess rose to her hooves, her front legs tingling like they were on pins and needles, but ultimate felt like a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

“Are you okay, Princ – er, Luna?” Blossomforth asked, concerned.

“Oh, I feel fine,” said Luna happily, stretching out her wings; they felt fresh as a foal’s. “In fact, I haven’t felt this good since I was a filly. Thank you, Blossomforth.”

“It was my pleasure,” Blossomforth smiled proudly with a bow. “I take great pride in my practice.”

“Now that you’re feeling better,” said Bon Bon, nudging the princess playfully. “How ‘bout another run through the obstacle course? I was thinking of adding flying arrows to the routine.”

“I may be immortal, but I don’t have a death wish,” Luna rejected. “I think it would be better if we just spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, don’t you?”

“Well, if it’s relaxation you want,” Blossomforth interjected, “I always find that calming music soothes the weary soul.”

“Ooh, yes, I do enjoy a nice bit of music,” said Luna, delighted. “I am particularly fond of the classics. Why, I remember attending nearly all of Beethooven’s performances back in the day.”

“Well, you’re in luck,” said Blossomforth cheerfully. “I know just the pony.”


Blossomforth knocked aggressively on the door of a seemingly random house in Canterlot’s middle-class residential district with Bon Bon and Luna (donning her cloak) waited behind her. While many ponies believing that only the rich and elite lived in Canterlot, the truth was that the city still had its own social classes with most ponies of lower status being pushed into the background. Luna has spent several centuries trying to fix this, but even the ruler of Equestria had her limits.

After several seconds of nonstop pounding, the door finally opened and Blossomforth accidentally bopped the nose of the pony on the other side. The gray-coated Earth pony with an even darker gray mane yelped and moaned, tenderly rubbing her poor nose. From the way she dressed in a formal white collar and bowtie to her treble cleft Cutie Mark, Luna made the assumption that this was the classical pony player that Blossomforth was eager to introduce.

Speaking of whom, the dual-toned pegasi chuckled nervously as the gray Earth pony shot her with a sharp glare.

“Uh…oops,” said Blossomforth, shrugging. “Sorry, Octavia.”

“Blossomforth, what are you doing banging at my door this late in the afternoon?” The mare named Octavia grumbled. “If this is about my monthly membership fee, I’ll give it to you when I take your class on Thursday like I always do.”

“Oh no, I’m not here for that – although, I wouldn’t mind getting it in advance,” Blossomforth commented.

“Is it something important?” Octavia questioned. “My wife is going to be home soon, and it’s my turn to cook dinner, so I don’t have time to entertain guests.”

“Oh, I think you’ll want to make time for this guest,” said Blossomforth with a mischievous grin.

She gestured a hoof back to Luna, who took her cue to lift her hood enough to reveal her face to Octavia. The gray mare exhaled a dramatic gasp, her jaw dropped and her eyes bulging, her face frozen in a silent scream. Before she could stop herself, she started screaming, “PRINCESS LU – “ She was quickly cut off by Bon Bon, who suddenly appeared behind the musical mare quick as lighting, one hoof over Octavia’s mouth and the other around her throat. The secret service pony dragged Octavia back inside the house, effectively holding her hostage. Luna and Blossomforth didn’t bat an eye at their antics and followed them inside, kicking the door shut behind them.

The inside of Octavia’s home was something that made Luna do a double take. The house had been split completely down the middle. One side gave the essence of refinement with lacquered wood floors and fancy furniture arranged neatly next to the beautiful grand piano. The other half looked like something out a of music club from its tiled floors, to the amps and stage lights hanging from the ceiling, to the assortment of instruments splayed around a grandiose turntable set. Whoever Octavia’s wife was certainly had contrasting tastes.

Speaking of the mare, Bon Bon released Octavia once the room was secure and the gray mare immediately shouted, “PRINCESS LUNA, IT’S REALLY YOU!”

“Yes, it is me,” said Luna with a hint of amusement.

“Oh my, this is so unexpected!” Octavia cried, flailing her hooves frantically. “What an honor it is to have you in our home! Please, take a seat! Can I get you some tea! Oh, blast! I forgot to tell Vinyl to buy more tea! Um – um – I’ll just pop over to the store for a spell and – “

“Please, please, there is no need,” Luna waved her off. “You don't have to go out of your way for me.”

“But you’re the princess!” Octavia yelped.

“Not today, she isn’t!” Blossomforth announced cheerfully. “She has the day off.”

“I…see…,” said Octavia strangely. “Do princesses take days off?”

“According to my aide, they can,” said Luna jokingly. “Blossomforth tells me you play the cello? Is that true?”

“Well, yes, it is,” Octavia replied with a little blush. “I mean, I am first seat in the Canterlot Philharmonic, but I’m not anything special.”

“You’re terrible at this modesty thing, you know that?” Bon Bon teased.

“If you wouldn’t mind playing, I’d love to hear it,” Luna requested.

“Well…I suppose there’s no harm,” said Octavia, her skittishness swiftly turning to excitement. “Please, take a seat on the couch. Give me a moment to get everything ready.”

Luna walked over and plopped her flank in the middle of Octavia’s sofa while Blossomforth took the cushion on the princess’s right, but Bon Bon hopped up and draped herself casually across the armrest. Octavia rolled out a large case tucked away in the corner of the room, setting it down gently before undoing the locks. The gray mare lifted her instrument out like she was cradling a newborn foal. Luna noticed that the instrument was freshly polished and the stings sparkled like they were brand new. Octavia took great care in her cello.

The musical mare lifted herself onto her hind legs, composing herself proper with bow in hoof.

“For your pleasure, your majesty,” Octavia announced in a formal voice, “I will be performing Buck’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major.”

Octavia gently glided the bow across the strings and the house soon echoed with the sound of smooth chords. Luna closed her eyes, letting the melody wash over her. Octavia was talented – that much she could say for certain – and she had an eye for reading the audience. This was exactly the type of music that would sooth Luna on her more restless days.

It reminded Luna of her foalhood, when she and Celestia would attend those stuffy formal parties. To keep them from dying of boredom, they would make a contest to see who could prank the most people without getting caught; Celestia would always win with that goody-four-shoes routine of hers. Mother and Star Swirl would always be so furious with them –

But the calm was shattered by the sound of the front door being kicked open and slammed shut again, drawing everypony’s attention. A white unicorn mare with a spiked mane of striped blues bopped her head to the beat of whatever was playing on her headphones, which Luna could hear herself, though muffled. They assumed she had her eyes closed behind her royal-purple sunglasses because she walked by the couch without even glancing at the princess.

Octavia coughed loudly into her hoof. The unicorn stopped in her tracks, pulling down her headphones with a curious tilt of the head. How she could hear the mare over the ear-thrashing music, Luna couldn’t understand.

“Vinyl, we have guests,” Octavia explained, gesturing to their visitors, who gave a friendly wave. “This is Princess Luna, Blossomforth, and uh…I’m sorry, I never got your name,” she said apologetically to Bon Bon.

“It’s Bon Bon,” she answered.

“Right, Bon Bon,” Octavia nodded, then waved a hoof to the edgy unicorn. “Everypony, this is my wife, Vinyl Scratch. Though you might know her as – “

“DJ Pon-3!” Bon Bon and Blosssomforth exclaimed excitedly, taking Luna by surprise.

“Who?” she asked.

“Only one of the greatest music artists in all of Equestria!” Bon Bon claimed enthusiastically. “She makes a ton of hit singles like ‘License to Wub’ and ‘Keep Calm and Wub On!’”

“And her balled remix – ‘A Heart Full of Wub’ – was sooo romantic,” Blossomforth swooned.

“Vinyl made that one for our anniversary,” Octavia giggled.

“Sounds like you have quite the reputation,” Luna said to Vinyl. The unicorn DJ bowed silently. Not much of a talker, huh? “After hearing such praise, I would be most grateful to hear some of your music, if you don’t mind?”

“Are you sure about that, your majesty,” Octavia asked with a worried tone. Vinyl had already trotted to the other side of the house, disappearing behind the turntables. “Vinyl’s music can be a little…intense for some ponies.”

“I’m the princess of Equestria,” Luna reminded her. “I think I can handle a little music.”

“Oka-a-ay,” said Octavia, shaking her head and – did she just put on earmuffs?

Vinyl rose from behind the turntables, shaking her hooves and cracking her neck, before replacing the headphones over her ears. Luna noticed Bon Bon and Blossomforth leaning forward on either side of her, tapping their hooves together in anticipation. Vinyl flipped one of her records onto the turntable and slipped the needle on top. She stretched her hoof to the first button dramatically slow –

WUUUUUUUUUUB – WUB-WUB – WUB-WUB - WUB-WUB-WUB – WUUUUUUUUUUB

It felt like being slammed repeatedly by a stampede of Windigos! Luna clung to the couch cushions as if they were her last lifeline. Her wings flailed uncontrollably behind with her starry mane, her gums flapping like a dog in the wind, and her eyeballs sinking back into her skull. Blossomforth was completely blown away and slammed flat into the wall, leaving a sizable imprint in the plaster. Bon Bon tried holding on to the armrest, but she lost her grip and was launched through the window with a crash!

And the whole time, Octavia was just sitting nonchalantly, filing her hooves.

The DJ bopped her head to the wubs, unaware that the majority of her audience had been sent flying. Luna was on her way to joining them when the front door slammed open, a blue-and-orange blur zooming across the room. The power to the turntables was suddenly cut off, Luna thanked herself. Vinyl pressed several buttons on her turntables with no luck, then bent down to check the power cord. She followed it to the plug, which was in the hooves of a very annoyed pegasus mare. This pegasus Luna recognized both as the captain of her Wonderbolts team and sister to her student.

“I’ve told you a thousand times!” Spitfire yelled, throwing down the plug aggressively. “Keep – the wubs – down! The soundwaves keep throwing our flight patterns off!”

Vinyl shrugged her shoulder with a small grin and gave a playful salute.

“Thank you, Spitfire,” Luna said gratefully, sighing with relief. “Your timely rescue likely saved me from intensive ear surgery.”

“Whoa, hey, Loony,” Spitefire greeted the midnight alicorn casually, pushing up her goggles. “Didn’t see you there.”

Octavia gasped horrifically, “What is the matter with you?! You can’t call the princess that! She’s the princess!”

“It’s quite all right,” Luna brushed it off. “Her sister is my student. We’ve had many informal encounters in the past.”

“The princess has the day off from princess-ing,” Bon Bon informed as she walked through the front door, picking glass shards out of her mane.

“So we’re showing her how to have fun and relax,” said Blossomforth, ripping herself from the wall.

“And you think that’s fun and relaxing?Spitfire asked strangely, gesturing to the DJ.

“It got a little out of hand,” said Luna, chuckling sheepishly.

“Well, if you wanna have some real fun,” Spitfire said eagerly, flapping up to Luna and throwing a friendly arm around her neck, “I’ve got the perfect thing for you.”


Being a princess, Luna was accustomed to getting special privileges. So getting the entire Cloud Stadium for themselves was more for her growing group of tagalongs, which now included Octavia and Vinyl. Luna chuckled as she glanced sideways at the little ponies whooping and cheering their little hearts out. She then rolled her eyes skyward to where the real action was taking place.

A team of eight pegasi was flying in a diamond formation, trailing streams of stormy clouds in their wake; Luna had yet to figure out how they did that. Spitfire’s fiery mane could be seen at the front of the pack. When Spitfire curled back and blasted higher into the sky, the rest of the team followed in perfect sync; not a single pony broke rank. As they climbed above the height of the Canterlot Mountain peak, the Wonderbolts split off into two teams of four in opposite directions. They streaked several yards from each other, then did a hairpin turn back. The audience watched anxiously as the Wonderbolts intersected with one another, coming dangerously close to colliding, but thankfully no one had crashed. When they were done, their stormy trails had melded seamlessly together to make a giant flower-shaped cloud.

Bon Bon, Blossomforth, and Octavia cheered while Vinyl gave them a sharp whistle; Luna remained dignified with a polite hoofclap.

Spitfire broke away from the rest of the Wonderbolts while they took a water break and asked, “Well, whaddya think?”

“Impressive as always, Spitfire,” Luna complimented.

“That wasn’t just impressive; it was amazing!” Blossomforth gushed. “I wish I could fly half as good as you ponies do.”

“Kinda makes me wish I had wings,” said Bon Bon. “Can you imagine what a rush that would be? The tension, the danger, the thrill of risking life and limb, knowing one mistake could cost you everything?”

“See! This mare gets it!” Spitfire exclaimed enthusiastically, giving Bon Bon a playful shoulder punch. “There’s nothing better than being able to soar through the air and just feel the wind running through your mane as you fly hundreds of miles per hour.”

“Aren’t you ever scared?” asked Octavia.

“Every time,” Spitfire admitted honestly. “We’re risking our necks to give the best performances we can, and sometimes thinks don’t go the way we like. But that’s why we practice, to reduce the chances of injury. I trust my team to make the right call, and they trust me do the same.

“So how ‘bout it?” Spitfire offered her hoof to Luna. “Wanna give it a try?”

“I don’t think I should,” said Luna uncertainly. “I don’t know any of the routines.”

“You just saw us pull off the Sky Daisy,” said Spitfire, shaking her hoof temptingly. “It’s the easiest maneuver there is. Just follow the lead of the pony in front of you, and everything will work out fine. Plus, everypony is a professional. If things look like they might go sideways, they’ll know when to stop. So, c’mon! You know you wanna!”

Bon Bon and the others yelled words of encouragement until the midnight alicorn rolled her eyes amusing and said, “All right, all right, I’ll try it! Peer pressure wins again.”

The ponies cheered as Luna stretched her wings and glided behind Spitfire. They flew over to join the Wonderbolts, which caused a lot of heads to turn; Soarin unconsciously squeezed his water bottle too hard and sprayed Misty Fly, who didn’t even notice because she was so dumbstruck by the princess. Luna unconsciously rubbed her hoof.

“All right, everypony, listen up!” Spitfire yelled gruffly. “Loony’s gonna be flying with us for the next formation – “ The others started breaking out in excited chatter. “Hey! Hey! HEY! Settle down, or it’s back to reserve status!” That silenced them quickly; Spitfire coughed importantly in her hoof. “Anyway, as I was saying, Loony’s flying with us! We’ll be doing the Sky Daisy maneuver again, but this time, keep in mind that the princess doesn’t have as much experience as us! So be careful when you fly! We only need eight fliers for the formation, so you’re benched, Blaze!”

“Why me?” Blaze complained.

“Because you’re basically a rip-off of me!” Spitfire snapped.

Blaze grumbled under her breath, but decided against talking back to her captain and flapped away to the stands, crossing her hooves in a pout.

“All right, everypony, line up!” Spitfire shouted, clapping her hooves insistently. “Come on, let’s move it, move it, move it!”

The Wonderbolts jolted in every direction while Luna remained floating in place, having no idea where she was supposed to be. In seconds, the Wonderbolts had all taken their places in the diamond formation with Spitfire once again in the lead, leaving only one space open.

“Loony, take the rear!” Spitfire commanded, not at all concerned she was yelling at royalty. Nevertheless, Luna flapped into position at the back of the group. “All right, everypony ready?! On my mark! Three! Two! One! BOLT!

The Wonderbolt’s took off like rockets, leaving Luna to stumble awkwardly after them. Her larger wingspan allowed her to catch up with them in only a few flaps, returning to her position in the pack. Luna could only imagine how strange it must look from the other’s perspective, watching the princess of Equestria chasing down a flock of little ponies –

RISE!” Spitfire shouted.

The captain curved skyward and the Wonderbolt followed. Luna reacted too late and flew farther than intended, flapping her wings to stop herself before chasing after them. She had returned to her position by the time they reached the height of the Canterlot Mountain peak –

SEPERATE!

The Wonderbolts split off into two groups; Spitfire went in one direction while Luna lagged behind Soarin in the other –

TURN!

The Wonderbolts swooped around in a sharp hairpin turn back the way they came. Luna was glad that she had taken Blossomforth’s yoga class before coming here; she had to be very flexible to pull it off.

CROSS!

Now had come the part that Luna had been dreading: the intersections. Luna was in the last line of her group, so she would be the last one to make the cross, but that made her more nervous than relieved. She watched Spitfire and Misty Fly pass unharmed; Surprise and Thunderlane made it through safely; Soarin and High Winds succeeded without a hitch.

Now it was just her and Fleetfoot. Luna made a dramatic gulping noise, flapping her wings furiously in an unconscious effort to increase her speed. They were moving in closer…. Thirty hooves…twenty hooves…ten…five…. Luna wanted to close her eyes before the imminent crash, but she forced herself to look ahead. When their paths finally crossed, Fleetfoot skillfully twisted herself into a corkscrew, flying underneath the princess’s larger form and flashing a cocky grin before moving on.

Relief washed over Luna as she let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. She twisted around to inspect the finalized version of their work. They had made a successful Sky Daisy minus one petal due to Luna’s lack of a trail, but the princess didn’t mind this. The important thing was that they pulled off the maneuver and everypony came out of it unharmed.

Luna glided back to the stands where she was welcomed by the enthusiastic cheers of Bon Bon, Blossomforth, Octavia, and the mute head-bopping of Vinyl.

“That was incredible, your majesty!”

“You looked so majestic out there!”

“I never doubted you for…well, maybe one or two seconds.”

“So what’d you think, Loony?” Luna turned her head sideways at Spitfire flapping in the air beside her. “Was that a rush or what?”

“To be perfectly honest,” said Luna thoughtfully, “it was the most terrifying, heart-pounding, and…invigorating thing I’ve ever done!” She shouted with glee. “I haven’t felt this energized in centuries! We simply must do another one! Please! Pretty please!”

“Hah! We’ll make an adrenaline junkie out of you yet!” Spitfire guffawed, then screamed at her team. “All right, you slackers, line up! We’re going again! And yes, Blaze, you can join in, too, so stop sulking!”

Bon Bon and the other mares giggled amusingly as Luna shot after Spitfire, looking like a filly with a new toy.


It was getting close to the evening hours, but the Sun had not started to set because the princess had not returned from her outing. That’s why Twilight was pacing up and down the castle corridors, biting her hoof nervously. Sunset, on the other hoof, was casually leaning against the wall with ‘The Art of War’ across her lap, flipping a page.

“What if she’s been hurt, or fell in a ditch, or got lured away by strange ponies with candy,” Twilight had been going on this tangent for forty minutes now; Sunset had been counting. “Should we call the guards? I think we should call the guards! Order an all-pony bulletin! Interrogate everypony in Equestria if we have to!”

“Thank Luna you don’t have the authority to give those orders,” Sunset remarked. “Twilight, you need to relax. I’m sure she’s fine. Princess Luna is immortal, so it’ll be hard to hurt her. And I don’t see how she could get stuck in a ditch with those wings. And I think she’s smart enough not to follow strange ponies with candy.”

“But Princess Luna has been missing for twelve hours!” Twilight shrieked.

“You gave her the day off, remember?” Sunset pointed out.

“Yeah, but I thought she would be doing something that involved staying in the castle!” said Twilight. “Like reading the encyclopedia! Or organization her office supplies! Or making checklists! Checklists are fun, right?!”

“…We seriously need to get you a better hobby,” said Sunset.

Twilight opened her mouth to retort when she heard something strange coming from down the hall. It sounded like laughter.

Sunset and Twilight craned their heads as Luna came around the corner, letting out a great bellowing laugh. And to the mares’ surprise, she wasn’t alone either. She was accompanied by a strange assortment that consisted of two Earth ponies, two pegesi, and one unicorn – and Sunset’s sister was one of them. They all seemed engrossed in conversation that they didn’t notice Twilight and Sunset ahead.

“And I said ‘oatmeal, are you crazy?’” Blossomforth said amidst a giggling crowd. “And then she said – “

“Princess Luna!” Twilight cried. Luna and the ponies stopped in the middle of the hallway as Twilight and Sunset ran up to them. “Thank goodness you’re all right! I was getting so worried about you!”

“Greetings, Twilight Sparkle,” Luna waved cheerfully. “You would not believe the day I’ve had. First I got crushed underneath an obstacle course, got twisted into a pretzel, had my eardrums were nearly shattered, and came dangerously close to crashing into other ponies at breakneck speeds.”

“Oh…really?” Twilight winced, lowering her head fearfully.

“And it has been…one of the best days I’ve had in centuries!” Luna proclaimed, throwing up a hoof in cheer.

“Really?” Sunset blinked, surprised.

“Twilight Sparkle, thank you for giving me the day off,” Luna told the lavender mare gratefully. “I hope you will schedule some more free time in the future.”

“Oh, um, yeah, sure, I can do that,” said Twilight. It didn’t look like she was getting fired, which was a huge relief. “I’ll get started right away.”

“Thank you,” said Luna before turning to Sunset. “Oh, and Sunset, could you tell the servants to add a few more settings at the dinner table tonight.” She looked around at the mares that gathered around her, smiling happily. “I’m inviting a few…friends.”

Author's Note:

This chapter ended up being longer than normal, but I had a lot of ground I wanted to cover.

As I told a past reviewer, background characters are going to be featured more prominent in this story, while not entirely taking away the importance of the Mane 6. Most notably Luna and her personal group of friends. Everypony has story they deserve to tell and I want to bring it to life where I can.

PS. Notice anything familiar about Luna’s group? :trixieshiftright:

Next time: A bitter rival from Trixie’s past has come to challenge her for the title of Great and Powerful. Will Trixie shine on stage, or will her performance be a flop?