• Published 14th Dec 2020
  • 3,890 Views, 164 Comments

Of Dragons and Maternity - SymphonicSync

When Twilight visits Ponyville to prepare for the summer sun celebration, her assistant Spike develops a crush.

  • ...

(2) By Morning's Light

Twilight lightly stepped up the last step onto the balcony of the town hall. She knew the room she needed to go to, she’d hung up the sign for her princess earlier that day. It was just down the hall and around the corner.

Twilight stayed standing at the top of the stairs.

She could feel the weight pressing down on her, the looming dread of the conversation to be had. She’d never been the best speaker, and she didn’t know if she’d be able to put her thoughts to voice. Maybe that’s why the roll of paper in her saddlebag had felt so heavy on her walk here. Her eyes drifted past the balcony railing to the ponies below.

They stood in clumps, talking and drinking punch. It seemed like they would occasionally glance up to the balcony and continue their hushed conversation. Were they looking at her or towards where Celestia would stand in just a few minutes? A dry patch formed in her throat as the idea of standing there and giving a speech passed through her mind.

“Enough stalling Twilight,” she muttered to herself, “You need to talk to her.”

She looked forward and toward one step after the other towards Celestia’s waiting room. Out of her sight, the conversations below picked up and more ponies glanced her way.

One mare pointedly avoided most of the conversations the groups started. Rarity walked between them and dropped the occasional “Of course dear,” and “No darling,” as ponies tried to address her with questions about a few hours prior. She had an itinerary to hold to, it was merely a casual miracle that it gave her the perfect excuse to avoid really speaking to anypony. Rarity looked up to see the purple mare round the corner to the back rooms of the upper floor. It wouldn’t take Shadow Spade to figure out where she was going and why.

“Best of luck, Miss Sparkle” she whispered.

Above, Twilight hesitated with a hoof raised to the door. A knock and she would be invited in. Or would Celestia turn her away, her speech about to arrive? A brief request to talk and she’d be sat down while tea was brewed. Or would Celestia send her to some new backwater town, another assignment for stepping out of line?

She lowered her hoof and went to bite the letter from her saddlebag. This was her decision, after all. She didn’t need to speak to Celestia about it, after all. Her heartbeat quickened in the same way it always did when she saw a problem without an immediate answer.

She froze as she heard “I can wait all night, Twilight, come in when you’re ready.”

She left the letter where it was as she pushed the door open and peeked her head inside.

“I’m sorry, Princ-”

“Come now, Twilight,” Celestia chastised softly as she poured tea, “You can skip that part.”

“I’m sorry, Celestia, I was just wondering if we could talk,” without a pause, Twilight’s faced donned a look of confusion. “Were you expecting me?” The flame was already doused as Celestia returned the pot to the stand over it.

Celestia answered as she slid a plate across the almost comically undersized table before her large frame. “How could I not hear you halfway across town? You get so stompy when you’re anxious.” She chuckled as she waved a hoof towards the empty stool. “And if I’m being honest, I expected to see you before the sunrise.”

“Yes, Ma’am, well” ignoring her teacher’s glance of Ma’am was my mother eyes, Twilight continued, “I was hoping to speak to you about earlier. I don’t know why you sent me here but”

“Oh, thank you so much for all your help today. It’s been such a long week arranging all of this. I never get the time to meet the preparation ponies in person. It was such a stroke of luck you were available to meet those lovely mares.” A faint smile crossed Celestia’s lips, ignored by Twilight.

“But I’m,” Twilight swallowed back a cough and spoke “I’m considering staying.”

“Oh?” Celestia asked in almost a laugh, “Have you made some friends?”

Twilight ducked her head. “Yes, I have. That’s the problem. I’ve made friends up in Canterlot, Minuette, Twinkle, Moon Dancer.” She didn’t see Celestia’s frown, the same one she wore whenever one of her students missed the point of her lectures. “But I never noticed how I was the one making friends.”

Celestia reached across the table and placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “What’s troubling you?” she asked in a comforting tone.

“Spike has,” Twilight placed a hoof over Celestia’s as she answered, “You entrusted him to me, and I’ve done such a poor job.”

Celestia’s face blanked and she blurted “What?”

“You made me his guardian and I never noticed how alone he was. I thought he was fine because he always seemed so happy working with me,” Twilight began to gesture thoughtlessly with her forelegs, almost spilling her tea with every other word. “Did you know that the foals are mean to him, up in Canterlot? Because he’s a dragon, and they think that he’s scary- I’ve failed.” Twilight’s voice dropped. “We came here today, Spike met one nice filly, and he had no idea how to talk to her, like a kid. Like a friend.” Twilight’s shoulders sank as she set down her tea cup.

Her voice quivered. “I need to care for him. Really care. I’ve been there since he was hatched and I’ve been doing a good job.” She sniffled as she ran a hoof over her nose. “I don’t think I can do that as your stude-”

Her words were cut off by Celestia leaning forward, reaching past her, and pulling her over the table into a hug. The teacup clattered out of the way, barely spilling before a gold aura surrounded and settled it. A moment passed before Celestia spoke “Twilight Sparkle, you are and always will be my best pupil. Of course you can stay.”

Twilight gulped once. Then twice. Then the tears fell. She cried and melted into Celestia’s embrace, the faint pink coat emanating a gentle midday heat. After some time, a muffled question came through a patch of fur. “Will I still be your student?”

Celestia pulled her tighter and said “Of course.”

Twilight sat back into her seat and straighting her mane. “How will I keep up with my lessons?”

“Keep up? Celestia let out a laugh. “You’ve been ahead in the curriculum for years.” A broad smile crossed her face. “You could take off a semester or two and I doubt I’d be able to keep up with you.” She finished her tea in one sip and grabbed the pot to refill her cup.

Twilight stammered “But there’s still so much left! I’m barely halfway through Starswirl’s Vowels and Invocations and I then I need to start Mystical Compendiums Appendexxies 4-7 and-”

Celestia shook her head as she set down the pot. “My dear, there is a different kind of magic to be learned in a place like this. You’ll find it soon enough.”

Twilght opened her mouth but closed it when Celestia raised her hoof.

“You can continue your readings as you wish, Twilight. I merely asked that you write me about your time here as you do. Before and after you send me any letters about your studies. That is your new assignment.”

Twilight stood from her seat, placed her hooves at her side, and bowed her head. “Of course, Pr- Ceslestia. I’m sorry for taking so much of your time. I’ll leave you to ready for the ceremony.”

“It’s really quite alright, Twilight.” Celestia smirked, “I can raise the sun all day long.”

“Thank you.”

“Of course.”

Twilight cantered towards the door, pulling it open. Just before she walked out, Celestia called to her. “Oh, and Twilight?”

“Yes?” Twilight asked as she turned to face her mentor.

“Do let me know how Spike takes to a small town. They can be such friendly places.”

“Of course, ma’am.” Twilight answered as a smile beamed across her face.

As the door closed, Celestia slowly drank another cup of tea before filling it again. She had a pot made for two mares to finish on her own now that Twilight had left her’s untouched. A cup that had been poured for her from a pot that had not been made for her, but for someone just as dear to Celestia, but for a far different reason. “I’m sorry,” She apologized to the empty room. “It seems like this will not be the year after all.”

The moon shone softly through the window.

“Maybe by next celebration. This isn’t how I hoped today would turn out, but it’s still remarkable progress. I’m quite proud of her.”

A cloud passed by, darkening the room.

“I can use the elements one last time, just to undo what was done before, and I need it to be perfect for you to find your way back to being yourself. I can go on missing you for another year.”

As the light returned to the room, it illuminated a tear upon Celestia’s cheek.

“Til evening, sister. It’s time for dawn.”

Celestia stood and left the room.

The Mare in the Moon continued to brighten the night.