• Published 16th Dec 2012
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Six Brides for Two Sisters - Equus Pallidus



After spending Nightmare Night in Ponyville, Luna decides on how to reward the six mares who defeated Nightmare Moon and saved her from herself: Marriage.

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Chapter 1

The blue-violet silk curtains twitched as the double doors were slowly, silently pulled open, and a cloaked figure carefully stepping through them into Princess Celestia’s private chamber. Four silver clad hooves carried their owner across lavender tinted stone floor, magic dampening the sound of metal against stone, leaving the sleeping form of the Princess of the Sun undisturbed as her uninvited guest approached the royal bed. The white alicorn slumbered peacefully, a contented smile on her face as she dreamt of simple things; of peace, of a life without the constant demands of leadership, of her faithful student, adorable in her over-eager rush to please. Only in sleep did Celestia allow herself to relax, allow herself to embrace her true joys… allow herself to lower her defenses. The cloaked figure smiled to herself as she gazed down on her quarry, so completely unprepared for what was about to happen to her.

Sister!” Luna said, choosing to employ the power of the Royal Voice for full effect. Celestia’s eyes shot open as the Princess of the Day suddenly found herself awake, bolting upright in her bed as she looked around her chambers in a panic. “Tia, I have had the most wonderful of nights, and I wished to inform you at once!” Her voice dropping to a more reasonable volume, Luna looked at her sister with a wide grin fixed to her face.

Groaning wearily and closing her eyes as she settled back into her bed, Celestia mentally checked the time via her connection to the sun before she spoke. “Luna, I’m glad that you enjoyed Nightmare Night, really. I’m also glad that you’re using a first-person singular pronoun. I’m guessing my student and her friends may have had something to do with both of those occurrences.” Had her eyes been open, she would have seen Luna's cheerful nod. As it was, she was more focused on keeping her voice even. “Now, sister, I promise you, I would love to hear all about your evening–”

“It was most enjoyable, Tia; beyond what I'd anticipated, to be sure! Dear Twilight Sparkle was most kind to us, and there were apples floating in communal water, and I threw spiders, and then I brought the spiders to life and swarmed the townsfolk with them, and then I pretended to eat a young child, and everypony was screaming…” Her own eyes closed as she recalled her evening, a slight tremor of excitement running through her as she recited the events of the night much like a filly recounting her first date.

“Luna, please, stop talking for a moment?” Celestia asked, one eye springing open at the recited events. She half-fixed her suddenly silent sister with a stern gaze, and took a deep, calming breath. “Luna, I’m going to ask you a few questions. Please, simply nod for yes, or shake your head for no. Is this swarm of spiders still terrorizing Ponyville?” She took a second deep breath, holding it until her sister shook her head. “Is the foal you pretended to eat traumatized for life now?” Another shake of the head, though oddly accompanied by a widening of the grin. “Okay, now the most important question: is Twilight Sparkle going to arrive by train in a few hours, her friends in tow, and request access to the Elements of Harmony because she thinks you’ve turned evil again?” A third, most emphatic shake of the head, and Celestia sighed in relief. “Excellent. In that case, Luna, as I was saying, I would love to hear all about your evening, at some point. As it is currently… nearly half past three in the morning and I’m trying to sleep, now is, unfortunately, not that point. Though I do appreciate that you didn’t burst in on my dreams to speak with me tonight.” Both princesses blushed slightly, recalling the first scene her younger sister had dream-walked into after her return. It was not something either wished to dwell upon.

The Princess of the Night nodded, her smile faltering only the slightest amount. “Apologies, sister. In my excitement, I allowed myself to act without thinking. I shall take my leave for now and speak with you further on the morrow.” Luna turned towards the grand doors linking Celestia’s chambers to the rest of the castle, quickly closing the distance between them as her sister settled back into her bed, sleep returning to her with surprising ease. Luna paused at the door, turning back to her drowsing sister with an odd twinkle in her eyes. “Sister, forgive me, but there was one other issue I wished to broach with you while I was here. I believe I have finally settled on a proper reward for the six mares who saved me, your student included." She paused, head tilted to the side in thought, considering if it would be better to wait for morning, then shook her head. “I believe it would honor them suitably if I were the one to marry each of them."

Celestia yawned. “Well, I already promised Twilight that I’d marry her when she decided she was ready. I don’t suppose she’d mind if we both did, though.” She twisted her head against the pillow, recalling her promise to preside over her student’s wedding ceremony, whenever that ceremony happened to take place. Twilight had blushed adorably and thanked her, prancing in place. To have your marriage officiated by the ruling princess was no small honor, and even a mare not particularly inclined to romance was certainly aware of that. She hardly doubted that Twilight would be even more pleased to learn she would be the first in more than a millennium to have two ruling princess fulfill the role, especially if Luna’s evening in her company had been mutually enjoyable. “As for the others, it sounds like an excellent reward. Well, in addition to the statues and windows you’ve already commissioned.” She smiled as she recalled her sister’s grand designs and adorably archaic idea of debts.

“I am most gladdened you agree, sister, and sharing your student shall be no issue. I shall make the necessary arrangements at once.” Her smile restored, Luna opened the door and stepped through, closing it quietly behind her. Celestia slept peacefully once more, her dreams of weddings and stained glass unburdened by her sister’s somewhat cryptic talk of ‘arrangements,’ unheard by an alicorn already once more embraced by sleep.

****

Celestia awoke, as was her normal custom, slightly before dawn. Or, more accurately, she awoke slightly before it was scheduled to be dawn. It was, after all, difficult to sleep past dawn when you were at least partially responsible for said dawn. She unenthusiastically rose from the soft, warm haven of her bed, flexing her stiff wings as her horn flared with a golden light, summoning her regalia from her dresser. Once she was dressed, she strode purposefully across the room and stepped through the opening doors onto the balcony. She inhaled deeply, letting the chill autumn air help clear away some of the lingering vestiges of sleep, and stretched out her magic through the twilight. She felt the moon’s position low in the sky as she awakened her connection with the sun waiting just beyond view. She waited a moment, letting the vast power of the star reinvigorate her until, at the proper time, she willed it to cross the horizon, bringing dawn once more to the land. Satisfied, she nodded, and in a flash of light, vanished from the balcony.

There were few times the Princess of the Day had completely to herself. Most of her day was spent ruling, surrounded by ponies who wanted something from her, be it time to hear a proposal, or funding for some project or another, or permission to undertake some personal scheme. She didn’t, in the strictest sense, mind other ponies, but even an immortal being needed some private time. To that end, she made certain that every member of the royal staff understood there were times she was not to be disturbed, save for the greatest of emergencies. No pony was to disturb the sanctity of her private chambers while she slept, and when Twilight had still lived at the palace, their sessions together were sacrosanct. Most importantly, no being, be they pony, gryphon, dragon, minotaur, or ancient god of primal chaos, disturbed her breakfast if they valued their continued presence on this plane of reality. As the palace staff half-joked to new hires, if the entire palace was on fire before their princess finished her breakfast, they were to extinguish the fire and inform her of it after breakfast.

Thus, Celestia was only mildly surprised to find the royal dining hall empty when she rematerialized there. She had expected Luna to be waiting to regale her with the previous night’s events while she ate, but there would be other opportunities. Clicking her tongue at her little sister’s good cheer earlier, the Sun Goddess smiled and took her seat at the head of the table. Two cups, one of coffee and one of tea, were already poured for her, the pots off to the side. An assortment of fruit and pastries were set on the table, and a newspaper was rested atop her white plate. She grasped the coffee mug in her telekinetic aura and lifted the hot, dark beverage to her lips to take a sip, smiling around the lip of the mug. It was perfectly made, as she’d come to expect from her staff. Without releasing the mug, she lifted the paper and smiled as she read the headline.

A Royal Wedding! the paper proclaimed in enormous letters. Celestia had been well aware of the romance between her "niece" and her Captain of the Guard, and had lately wondered when wedding bells might begin to ring. It was somewhat sooner than she’d expected, and she’d thought Shining Armor would have had the decorum to ask her blessing. Still, she couldn’t bear him too much ill will. He was an excellent captain on his own merits, and by all measure a fine match for Cadence, even ignoring the connection both had to her student.

'Wait a second,' she thought as she read further. Princesses To Wed Within the Week! a smaller, sub-heading proclaimed. 'That was an odd mistake to make,' Celestia thought to herself as she noticed the plural, her smile faltering, then fading completely. 'Why is there a picture of Luna, grinning madly and holding a bouquet below the heading?' Concerned, she began to read the article itself. She gently set the mug of coffee on the table as she began to shake, eyes widening with each word she read.

She didn’t make it more than halfway through the first paragraph before she vanished back to her chambers. She had a letter she needed to have sent several hours ago, and she feared she was already far, far too late to avert the coming disaster.

****

Twilight Sparkle was roused from her deep, pleasant sleep quite suddenly by the shaking hands of a certain baby dragon. Without opening her eyes, she spoke, her voice low and husky. “Spike… it is that day after Nightmare Night. I was up very late with my friends, including my newest friend, who happens to also be my teacher’s sister, co-ruler of Equestria, and a physical goddess of untold power. With that in mind, it was understandably a very strange night. Now, you remember the ‘Morning-After-Very-Strange-Night' rule, don’t you, Spike?”

“Yeah, yeah, extinguish fire, report fire afternoon,” the dragon answered, shivering at his sister/mother/boss’s dark tone. “I’m not happy about being up either, but Celestia sent a letter. Three red ribbons!” Spike jumped back as Twilight leaped up, eyes springing open.

“Three red ribbons? Oh, oh no, this is bad, Spike. Really bad. Even Discord only warranted two ribbons! What in Equestria could be bad enough for three?” A letter from the Princess bound by a red ribbon meant some kind of emergency; the more ribbons, the more she needed to panic. Her anger faded, replaced by panic as she snatched the letter from Spike’s clawed grip with her magic, ignoring the sense of exhaustion and the accompanying headache as she snapped the seals open and unrolled the scroll.

Normally, Celestia’s letters were eloquent, detailed, finely written things, no matter the situation or content. She was as controlled and attentive to the little things when she wrote a short missive inquiring how Twilight’s day had been as she was in a formal response to her student’s reports. And she always, always addressed them to ‘My Most Faithful Student.’

This letter, by comparison, was clearly rushed. The strokes of the pen were harsh and jagged instead of the Princess’ normal gentle, curved hornwriting. “Twilight – Gather friends. Run. Bring Spike, avoid cities. Will explain soon. – Celestia.” That was it. No details, no further instructions, just a command to run. A normal pony might question such an odd missive. A normal pony might wonder why she should run, or why the Princess seemed to have abandoned all semblance of composure. Twilight Sparkle was not, in this particular regard, a normal pony. She snatched Spike in her aura, along with an emergency saddlebag she kept handy for just such a situation, threw them both on her back, and dashed down the stairs, screaming as she ran across the library to the door. She didn’t know what was happening to have so shaken the unshakable Princess of the Sun, but she didn’t intend to wait and find out. Finding her friends was the only thing on her mind as she opened the front door.

And was immediately blinded by the flashes of dozens of cameras as twice that number of ponies pressed up towards her door, all shouting at once.

“Miss Sparkle, how long has this been in the works?” one pony, a mare by the sound of it, asked as Twilight blinked, trying to recover her vision.

“Do you have any comments to the ponies who object to that kind of arrangement?” another pony, probably a stallion, inquired.

“Isn’t it true that one, or both of them, is really your mother? How does that enter into the equation?” a third, another stallion, asked.

“How does it feel to be simultaneously engaged to both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna?” a mare standing right next to Twilight asked. “Follow-up question,” she continued, her voice dropping suggestively. “Have the three of you, and the other five ponies involved, worked out the… sleeping arrangements yet?” Somehow, she managed to make a wink audible.

Twilight stepped back into the library, slamming the door telekinetically closed once she was safely inside. She stared at the door for a long moment, her brain locking itself down defensively as it tried to process what in Equestria was happening. She barely noticed when Spike belched up another scroll. Noticing the unicorn’s present state, he tore open the scroll himself, revealing another hastily penned, if longer, letter, which he promptly read aloud.

Twilight – Luna has publically announced that she intends to marry you and your five friends. Also, you and I are to be married as well. Sorry, should have mentioned that in first letter. Watch out for the press. Recommend prayer as best hope – Celestia." There was a slight pause as the pair both processed the information he'd just read. "Well, at least that explains all the ponies outside, huh, Twilight?” He nodded to himself, satisfied that at least one mystery had been solved.

Twilight Sparkle continued to stare at the door for a moment longer, before she settled on the best course of action, and shouted, as loudly as her lungs would allow, “What!?”