• Published 3rd Feb 2012
  • 41,590 Views, 1,767 Comments

A Slice of Life - Twilitbook



Surely the End of Equestria. Lock the cupboards and barricade the fridge! It's the Royal Diet!

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Chapter 1

Brrrrrrrinnnnnng! Brrrrrrrinnnnnng! Brrrrrrii-CRACK!

Celestia gave a sleepy glare at the remains of her alarm clock before turning over in her bed, yanking the sheets over her head as she nestled back into the drowsy warmth of her bed. With a peaceful smile on her face, the goddess yawned and let her eyelids sink shut as her mind chased after the dream that she had been so rudely interrupted from.

Buck it.

The morning could wait another five minutes.

Turns out, that was all it was willing to wait.

Brrrrrrrinnnnnng! Brrrrrrrinnnnnng!

Celestia cringed as the piercing ringing of the alarm clock shattered the last remnants of silence. With a unwilling sigh to greet the new day, Celestia climbed out of the sanctuary of comfort that was her bed and trudged over to the dresser at the far end of the room. She opened one of the drawers and her hooves fumbled with the smooth surface of her back-up snooze alarm clock tucked amidst the folded clothing.

Brrrrrrrinnnnnng! Brrrrrrr-click.

Ah. There. Blissful silence again.

Celestia pressed her hoof against her mouth as it stretched into another yawn. The goddess shook her head, tousling her pink locks in a vain attempt to wake up. It was pointless. With heavy lidded eyes she looked towards the still dark horizon. There was only one thing that could truly help her wake up now.

Her horn aglow with pale light, Celestia prepared her still tired body for the most sacred of her duties as princess. A breeze began to stir and tousled the curtains as the alicorn sought to bend the world around her to her whim. To reenact the same motion she had done so for countless mornings before. The very stability of Equestria hung in the balance from this holy routine, for without it, Celestia’s and every other pony’s morning could not begin. A flash of light filled the room as Celestia unleashed her magic, the cosmos obeying her touches and-

-the gentle sound of china clacking against each other as it landed was like music to the goddess’s ears.

Celestia gave a tired smile at would could only be the most beautiful thing in the world right now. On the rug before her, sitting on a small porcelain plate, was a mug filled to the brim with a steaming dark, almost black, liquid.

The goddess Celestia then sat on her haunches and picked the mug up with both hooves, bringing it close to mouth. As the warm, rich scent of dark roasted coffee reached her nostrils, the synapses in her brain began to finally turn on one by one in earnest. The scent alone elicited the craving even further, only to be finally satisfied as she pushed the rim of mug to them. Without further ado, she took a long, greedy sip of the drink.

Scalding hot coffee rushed over her tongue and down her throat. Her body barely noticed the heat. Instantly she felt the coffee beginning to take effect, and she gave a muffled moan of pleasure. She felt her magic return to her, warmth spreading through each of her white limbs. The effects were almost instantaneo-

‘POOMPF’

Celestia’s eyes turned to her dresser mirror, curious to see her reflection. Her hair, merely pink strands of silk only seconds ago had once again exploded into it’s usual multi-hued ethereal form and was proceeding to gently blow in the solar wind her body was creating.

Finally, the need to breathe overcame her desire for the brew and Celestia was forced to come up for air. She gave an amused smile at the mirror once again, before turning her gaze back to her coffee.

Could anypony understand that the wellbeing and prosperity of Equestria was currently held firmly in the hooves of their princess?

She couldn’t understand it.

She had tried, oh, how she had tried. Millions and millions of bits poured into various research centers and projects to try to unlock its mystery. But still its secretes remained elusive.

Maybe this was one of the things the gods themselves weren’t supposed to know. But there was no denying the magic of coffee… and caffeine.

Celestia gave a wry look at the mug and stuck her tounge out. If only it didn’t have to taste so bitter.

Celestia walked over to the large windows that took dominance over the far wall. Sipping her coffee, the goddess quietly watched the sunrise, taking the rare pleasure of having this moment to herself. Said moment, like all others, was swiftly ruined.

The door to her bedroom opened almost impossibly quiet but Celestia could hear the nervous hoofsteps on the carpet. Celestia murmured a string prayers to her ancestors. Maybe she was just dreaming again. Maybe she was actually still completely asleep and this was a horrible nightmare and the actual thing was still hours away and-

“How are you doing this fine morning, princess!”

‘Whump’

Ah. That would be the paperwork. The ancestors had failed her again. Steadying herself with another sip of coffee, Celestia braced herself and turned to face the beaming face of her maid.

“Same as before, Feather Duster. Last time I checked I was an old mare who was still single and working a thankless job.” Celestia remarked, and at the sight of the paperwork the maid had set before her, chose to finish the last of her coffee in a single gulp. “Oh, and the coffee is horrible, as usual.”

Feather Duster frowned. “Your highness, you say that every morning. If you’re unhappy with your coffee, why don’t you replace the Royal Coffee Maker?”

“Are you talking about the machine that makes the coffee, or the stallion who works the machine.”

“Soggy Grounds. We replaced the previous coffee maker last week.”

Celestia's eye twitched. Yet another piece of unnecessary paperwork she’d have to deal with.

“Why would I want to get rid of him?” she asked as Feather Duster used her magic to banish the mug away.

“Why do you keep him?” asked the maid. Celestia gave the same old response.

“Because he can make a terrible cup of coffee, that’s why.” Feather Duster could only blink in bewilderment at the princess.

‘Just let me gripe me about my cup of coffee. Just give me this one thing.’ Celestia thought to herself. She relaxed as her maid gave up trying to make sense of that, and began to list off what the day’s agenda would be.

Celestia wished she could complain about that. Part of her wanted to throw herself on the floor and flail her white limbs about in a temper tantrum, just so she wouldn’t have to deal with hours upon hours of paperwork, bickering between nobles, and of course... the Equestria Tax structure.

Celestia gave an involuntary shiver at that last horror.

But it got even better. Could she complain about it? Nooooo. Her life was perfect! The palace staff made it so, and obeyed her every whim above and beyond. She was treated like… well… a princess!

For Celestia, hiring Soggy Grounds was like finding a jewel in a pig trough. The pony’s special talent was making horrible cups of coffee for goodness sake! It didn’t matter if you had acquired the finest beans and spices from the trade routes of Saddle Arabia, or if you even used the finest microcarbon filter. If you gave it to Soggy Grounds to make, it always came out tasting like mouse droppings.

It at least gave her something to complain about in her life. That, alone, was a wonderful thing.

Somewhere in Celestia’s mind, it finally clicked that Feather Duster had stopped speaking and was looking at her expectantly.

“Yes… I ‘ahem’ will deal with them as soon as I am able.” Celestia feigned. The maid looked up at her with an understanding grin.

“…..you didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” Feather Duster asked.

“Not a single word.” Celestia said with a guilty smile. Feather Duster bowed with a small smile.

“It’s still early in the morning your highness. I’ll try again once you’ve eaten. I’ll be seeing you in the dining hall.” She said, as she bowed. She carefully backed out of the room, and it wasn’t until Celestia heard her door click shut that the princess let out an audible sigh. She sent a death glare to the mound of paperwork.

She had a brief fantasy about throwing it into the fireplace, dancing around and chanting as the fire consumed it. Oh if it was only that easy…

“At least it can wait till after breakfast.” Celestia said to herself as she trotted over to the side of her bedroom and opened her bathroom door. Or at least tried to. The handle refused to budge when she attempted to turn it. The goddess pressed her ear against the wood, the sound of running water reaching her.

‘Oh not again.’

“Luna.” Celestia called. No response. “Luna, open the door.”

Celestia tapped one of her rear hooves in irritation as her sister refused to even acknowledge her presence. She knocked on the door loudly.

“Luna, this isn’t funny. Open the door.”

“Who if zit?” Luna’s muffled voice came from behind the door. Celestia was just able to make it out.

“It’s me, Luna!” Celestia responded.

“Mmur not Woona. Ay em!”

‘Oh ancestors, it is too early in the morning for this.’

“Come on, I need to use the bathroom.”

“Mi'me using zit.”

“I don’t care if you’re busy, I need to use it now! At least shut the water off!”

“Saury!” There was the familiar squeak of the faucet as Luna turned the water on more. “Ay caff ear yu!”

“Luna,” Celestia said, her eye twitching as she spoke with every last iota of self control. “Get. Out. Of. The. Bathrooom.”

“Nuh.”

Something snapped in Celestia. Screw decorum. This was a birthright. The goddess pounded on the door with both hooves.

“LUNA, OPEN THE BUCKING DOOR! I NEED TO GET READY FOR THE DAY!” Celestia shouted, her royal voice echoing around her bedroom as she slammed her hooves against the door.

“GIFF VIE FIVUH MOAR MINTS!” Luna shouted back.

“YOU HAD ALL NIGHT TO DO THIS! ALL BUCKING NIGHT! NOW YOU ARE GOING TO LET… ME…. IN!” Celestia’s horn flared with light as she wrenched the door off it’s hinges, forcing it to fall inwards. Her eyes locked onto her sister’s form which was standing in front of the marble sink, a familiar toothbrush between her teeth the source of her mangled words.

“…and you’re using Mister Scrubby…” Celestia said numbly, and Luna dropped the toothbrush. Luna spit into the sink and wiped her mouth on a nearby towel.

“Thy device is most pleasant and hygienic on mine teeth, dear sister.” Luna offered weakly with a white smile.

She gave a small shriek as Celestia’s magic picked her up and flung her out into the bedroom. Luna landed with a gentle bump on the plush carpet and stuck her tounge out at her sister.

"I cannot be treated as such! I am a royal princess of Equestria!"

"Word of advice, oh sister of mine."

"Yes?"

Celestia gave Luna the same look she had given to countless others right before she did something horribly unspeakable to them.

"One, I can treat you however I want. Two, my kingdom, MY bathroom. Use it again, and it'll be considered an act of war..." Celestia's eyes flashed white. "...and another thousand years on the moon."

Luna giggled at the empty threat and Celestia gave a snort of irritation. "Okay, on second thought. Not punishment enough. You're banned from my room. Again. Good Morning, Luna." Celestia trudged back into the bathroom.

Luna gaped at her. "Sister, thou ist being most unfair! I shalt seek my vengeance for this indeceny. The injustice--"

Somewhere in the back of Celestia’s mind, she faintly acknowledged Luna’s complaining, which was quickly muffled as the goddess fixed the door to her bathroom. She turned off the water which a certain alicorn had left running and stared down mournfully at her toothbrush.

Part of Celestia wanted to cry. Never again would she savor the minty flavor of its soft bristles. Or the rubber pick that she used to massage her gums.

The goddess’s eyes narrowed at the empty tube that lay next to it. That cursed sister of hers had even used to last of her favorite toothpaste! Well… that was at least another thing to gripe about today.

“No, it’s not like she has her own toothbrush, or can possibly use any other of the hundred or so bathrooms in this palace. Nope! She just has to use mine!” Celestia cursed to herself as she contemplated any way to save Mister Brushy.

It was a lost cause.

“You will be missed…” Celestia whispered gently as she dropped her toothbrush into the small trashcan by the sink. She would later have to have a conversation with her sister about personal possessions. AGAIN.

After a hot shower (which had surprised Celestia, who had expected Luna to drain all the hot water for the fifth time that week) and with a new Mister Scrubby out of its packaging and in hoof, Celestia found she was calmer and less likely to send her sister back to the lunar surface when she next saw her. The goddess finished the last of her bathroom routine and set her toothbrush back down onto the sink. Celestia gave herself one final look over in her mirror, her reflection returning her critical eye.

On second thought, maybe things weren’t so horrible this morning. Her coffee was still horrible. Instead of her sister bringing about night time eternal, she only had to worry about Luna hogging the bathroom... and contaminating her toothbrush. Plus, in the end, she was still the same eternally youthful and beautiful mare that would the envy of other fillies for centuries to come.

Celestia gave her reflection a glistening white smile, courtesy of her new Mister Scrubby. Thing were looking pretty after all.

She could even punish Luna by making her deal with today’s paperwork… oh that would be so worth all of this.

Just as the goddess was about to step out of her bathroom, something caught her eye near the door. A plastic step scale, just wide enough to accommodate a mare of her size and raised just a few inches up off the tile, sat gathering dust. Celestia walked over to it, a slight frown across her features and she wiped a hoof across the surface of the scale, taking immeasurable amounts of dust with it. The face of the dial was primarily white with tiny black numbers written on it, with just a tiny section of red at the very end.

Celestia wondered how all the dust had gotten here. Why, it was only yesterday that she had... no, she had been in a rush that morning and had rushed through her routine. Alright, well the day before that- no, that was when the Mayor of Stalliongrad had arrived. She barely had enough time for her coffee. Surely sometime in the last week... the last month!

The alicorn wondered when was the last time she had used it. Okay, maybe it had been a couple of months... but it couldn't hurt to check now. It wasn't like it would be a big difference.

Celestia made the fatal mistake of stepping on the scale.

They say when a pony's life is about to end, their life flashes before their eyes in slow motion. For Celestia, it was less of a flash and more of a feature length movie. A very very long movie.

Definitely bucket of popcorn worthy.

The moment her hooves settled on the contraption, Celestia realized how royally pissed the ancestors were at her.

“No. Nononononono No NO!” She watched the needle swing too far too fast to the right. But it couldn't land there. It wouldn't. It would stop in time, it would-

-the needle came to rest just a hairline within the red zone. A red light began to silently blink on the scale.

Celestia briefly wondered if it was too late to start jogging.

Nah.

Equestria was screwed.

*****

It is a dark and well-kept secret, known only by those who live and serve under the Royal Pony sisters. One that everyone, from the highest politician to the lowest janitor, knew of but never dared to breathe a word of to any outsider. It was a simple truth: Equestria was a country divided unto itself.

This knowledge wasn’t gleamed by these ponies listening in on any sort of secret war meetings the generals might have held. The princess never breathed a word of it to any pony, not even to her closest advisors except in simple passing. The only reason any of the castle staff knew of this rogue nation was for one horrifying reason: this rebel state was located within the bowels of the Canterlot Palace itself.

Its name was The Kitchens and it was ruled with an iron cloven hoof by none other than it’s God-King, Head Chef Ram Sea.

“NO! This is all wrong!” the chef shouted. He threw the skillet of burnt mush with a loud clang back onto the stove and directed his wrath upon the cowering cook before him. “What happened?”

“I-I-I…” the pony stammered, his eyes wide with fear.

“Ay-Ay-Ay Ah asked ye a buckin' question in Equestrian! Are ye tay stupid tae answer it in anythin' but useless gibberish?” Ram Sea sneered, getting into the pony’s face. The cook’s legs were quaking, frozen by the head chef’s piercing glare.

Around them, the royal kitchens were a hustle and bustle of activity, ponies dressed in white rushing around the kitchens. Some were pushing trollies and unloading crates of food, while other stood over cooking spits and simmering pots, preparing the day’s meal for staff and solider alike. Some of them sent glances of pity at the inexperienced chef before quickly returning to their own work.

It was a sheep-eat-pony world in these kitchens.

“Here, since ye seem tae ‘appen tae 'ave mair wool atween yer lugs than Ah do, lit me answer 'at question for ye.” Ram Sea swore, as he pressed his hoof into the pan of blackened crisps. “This pan is as hot as Celestia’s sun. No wonder ye burnt it. Och, and here’s a more important question: WHY ARE YE MAKING OATMEAL IN A PAAAAAAAAAAN TO BEGIN WI'?” Ram Sea bleated. The cook only let out a few unintelligible meeps. “Well? Are ye gonnae answer or am Ah going tae have tae send ye baaaaaaaaaa-ck to Cookin' Kindergarten ye useless glue-stick!”

Chef Ram Sea could only watch in disgust as the pony’s eyes swung to the top of his head before passed out. As though by unseen command, two nearby ponies dropped what they were doing to drag their comrade out the great swinging doors of the kitchen and away from the chef’s fury.

The ram readjusted his poufy hat to sit more comfortably between his curved horns, giving a bleat of contempt for the novice before yet another affront to cuisine assaulted his kitchen. His beady eyes found his next target.

An orange unicorn was hard at work whisking into a bowl, a variety of ingredients and cooking suspended in the air around him. Ram Sea silently took up his favorite position, just behind the pony, and cast a critical eye on the unicorn’s work.

“Copper Kettle, whit is this?”

“An eggplant omelet with caraway and coriander for a member of Parliament, Head Chef.” The unicorn answered promptly, not taking his eyes or concentration off of his work. The sheep behind him gave a steely smile.

“Ah. An omelit. I see.” Ram Sea said in a pleasant voice as he took note of the ingredients Copper Kettle had assembled. He then tilted his wooly head to the side and stared at the mixture in confusion. “Correct if I’m wrong, but don’t omelets usually have, Och Ah don’t know… EGGS in them?”

The whisk landed with a small rattle as Copper Kettle dropped it in surprise. Ram Sea pressed a cloven hoof to his own wooly forehead in disbelief.

“Dear Celestia… You’re makin' an omelit without onie eggs… Laddie, how is 'at e'en possible…“ he murmured, looking skyward. Considering the kitchens were located on the first floor of the castle, it was as close to as anypony begging heaven for a miracle could get.

“Fix it. NOW.”

“Yes, head chef!”

Ram Sea gave a small frown of disappointment before returning to his own station, picking up a knife in his mouth as he went. It was an amateur mistake that shouldn’t have happened. Infact, it was borderline idiotic. If there was one thing he couldn’t stand, it was idiotic mistakes.

Copper Kettle had at least gotten the rest of the ingredients right.

Chef Ram Sea glanced at the clock and grimaced. Five after seven. The princess would be sitting down to breakfast as precisely quarter after seven, just as she did every morning. He still had time.

With an artists precision he neatly split his way through a small mound of strawberries, keeping his eyes at all time on the work in front of him, with occasional glances at the bumpkins working the rest of the kitchens.

They were nearly useless. Oh sure, they could stir up decent enough grub for the staff and soldiers and their own miserable faces, but none of them knew squat about cooking for royalty… and they were supposed to be royal cooks in the Royal Kitchen.

The hiss of the skillet was music to Ram Sea’s ears as he gently turned and tilted it to help spread the batter thin. When his intuition told him it was right, he peeled off the crepes and set them onto two warm platters, satisfied to see them perfectly browned on one side. A sprinkle of powdered sugar later, he had folded the pastries neatly around a core of fresh strawberries, and had completed it with a garnish of jam on the side.

It was perfection fit for perfection.

Ram Sea secretly hoped the Princesses would appreciate the dash of brandy he had snuck into the batter. The alcohol itself had burned off, but the chef was positive it would leave behind an almost caramel-like flavor. Mix that with a hint of vanilla and loads of fresh strawberries and you ended up with a breakfast fit for a princess. Or two.

If he had been a pony, it would be undeniable that Ram Sea’s cutie mark would be something related to cooking the food of the gods. Instead, only his pristine white wool served as his uniform for domination in the kitchen. How a sheep from Coltland became the one to wear the chef’s hat in these kitchens was anypony’s guess. But there was no denying that the ram knew what he was doing.

“You there!” Ram Sea shouted to one of the ponies. “Help me load these ontae th' trolley an' gie it up tae th' dinin' hall. Drop a single buckin' plate an' Ah will personally -“

AAOOOOOGGA! AAOOOOOOOGA! AAOOOOOOGA!

Ponies all around the kitchen were forced to press their hooves to their ears in a futile attempt to block out the alarm as it blared through the kitchen. Red lights flashed and spun, glinting off the white tile and counters as ponies tried to shout over the din. The only voice that could be heard was the tremulous roar that dwarfed all others.

“BUCK! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE BUCKING KIDDING ME! OF ALL TIMES?!” Chef Ram Sea shouted. "Ah haud yer weesht ye flashy piece ah junk. Yer maw was a flashlight an' yer faither was a whistle. Except yer maw cheated oan yer faither wi' anither whistle, an' eleven months later, ye waur born!" He picked up the plate of crepes and flung it at the flashing red lights. The plate shattered, sending strawberries flying in an explosion of fruit. "You've a face like a chickie layin' razors, ye clype."

Copper Kettle winced as he crouched under a table, glancing at the cook next time him.

“What’s going on?” he tried to say over the noise, “Did somepony set off the fire alarms?”

“Even worse!” the cook responded. He kept a wary eye as Ram Sea began flinging knives. “We’ve gone to Code Red! Operation Drop is in effect!”

“What are you talking you talking about?”

“It’s the end of the world!”

“What?!”

“It’s the Royal Diet!”