“Which way is it again?” called Dash.
“Up th’ stairs, sugarcube, second door on th’ left!” called Applejack. “Ya need me to come back? Some speedy pony you are, fallin’ behind like that!” Her voice teased, fondly.
“Carry!” chirped an itty-bitty filly voice. “Spy tired!”
“You are not!” objected Rainbow Dash. “I can tell. Stairs are good for you, Northern Spy, now come this way!”
“Good how?” demanded Spy, truculently.
“You want to be fast, don’tcha?”
Applejack rolled her eyes, and turned at the top of the stairs. She looked around. The Palace at Canterlot sure was fancy, and it seemed a shame to bring a passel of balky little ponies in there and turn the place upside down, which was the inevitable result, she reckoned.
But then, that was the whole reason they were invited, and with or without the Apple-Dash family, soon there’d be two more foals wrecking the joint anyway. Applejack considered that perhaps Princess Luna wanted to get a head start, so she’d know what she was in for. Between Dashie and Spy, she’d learn right quick!
Applejack headed downward again, to rejoin Dash and her filly Spy at the foot of the stairs.
“Now then, what are y’all doing sittin’ around here? Miss Lyra and Princess Luna are upstairs waitin’ for us!”
“Carry!” demanded Northern Spy, pouting woefully. “Stairs big! Spy little!”
“Ya ain’t little in mischief,” suggested Applejack.
“Tell her to go up, Applejack!” said Rainbow Dash. “Look, I’ll show you. Like this, Spy!”
She hopped into the air, and flew up to the top of the stairs in the blink of an eye. There had been a time when Northern Spy was entranced with the abilities of her wonderful, flying Mom. Now, she was a bit more jaded than that.
Dash flew down, with a big expectant smile. Spy reached her little hooves up at her hovering Mom.
“FLY an’ carry!” she squeaked, stubbornly, and Dash’s face fell.
Applejack chuckled, as they glared at each other. “Uhh… that’s progress, ain’t it?”
“She is the most infuriating, adorable, stubborn little…” seethed Dash.
“Remind you of anypony?” teased Applejack.
“Applejaaaack!” wailed Dash.
Applejack burst out laughing. “Take it easy! I got this. Hey, short stuff?”
Northern Spy immediately turned a beaming, radiant smile to Applejack, after sticking her tongue out at her other Mom. Applejack ignored this for the moment, and addressed her. “You can’t be settin’ like that, girl! Come by me, we’ll git you up them stairs quick as a wink.”
Northern Spy hesitated, dropping her gaze shyly, an air of suspicion coming over her.
“Come on, girl!” commanded Applejack. “Would Ah lie?”
The tiny apple-green filly considered this, and then hopped to her hooves and trotted around beside Applejack, ready to be picked up and deposited on her earth pony Mom’s sturdy back.
Northern Spy squeaked shrilly, and dashed up the stairs almost quicker than the eye could see, to stand wide-eyed and quivering at the top. Applejack had flicked her tail sharply like the cracking of a whip, and caught Spy across her diminutive rump, and Spy had reacted with all the overabundant energy she usually displayed, and also all the speed she’d inherited from Dash.
Applejack smirked cheerfully. “Did Ah lie?”
Rainbow Dash cracked up. “BAAhahahaha! eep!”
“C’mon, darlin’,” grinned Applejack, “our progeny done preceded us!” Then her eyes widened, for Spy turned around at the top of the stairs and marched right back down, step by step, to turn and sit exactly where she’d begun.
“Carry!” she demanded.
Rainbow Dash’s ears were back. “Now come on, Spy! We know you can do it, and it’s good for you, makes you strong and fast. I happen to know racing earth ponies run up and down stairs all the time! And we know you’re not tired, now.”
“Uhhhh…” said Applejack.
“Just a minute, Applejack. Really, Spy, all I want you to do is climb the stairs! Please? For blue Mom?”
“She jes’ did,” said Applejack, and both Dash and Spy stared at her.
“She did, didn’t she?” blinked Dash.
“And you know what else?” added Applejack. “She came back down. By my reckonin’ that’s two stair-climbs for th’ price of one.”
Spy boggled at her, totally surprised by the news that she’d done twice the requested exercise. She knit her brow, figuring it out. Then, she rolled her eyes, and waved a little green hoof in the air.
“Spy TIRED!” she wailed pitifully, and toppled over with a very tiny thump and a flail of powder-blue mane and tail.
Applejack burst out laughing again. “You heard her! Dashie, plunk our lil’ varmint on my back. She’s gonna be no trouble th’ rest of the evening, on account of being so very tired. Ain’t that right?”
Rainbow didn’t comment. She was too busy scooping up her ostentatiously limp little foal in loving cerulean forelegs, and depositing her with tender solicitousness upon Applejack’s back. Her eyes glowed with motherly love. Her nose wrinkled in vexation and amusement as Spy opened an eye and stuck her filly tongue out at blue Mom. Dash nipped her ear reprovingly, but Northern Spy just smirked, untroubled, and snuggled against Applejack’s mane.
The two mares ascended the stairs together, Dash’s wing enfolding not only Applejack but also their precious burden.
The door was ajar, but there was no sound from inside. Dash cleared her throat. “Hello?” she called.
“Come in!” replied Princess Luna. “Our apologies for not greeting you? We are, ah, entwined. Entangled?”
Applejack’s eyebrows lifted almost enough to dislodge her hat. “That mean what it sounds like? We got our kid, honey, so’s you know. Course you know, you asked for her yourself! Should we come back later?”
“No, no, come in!”
Rainbow Dash nudged her progeny, lolling on Applejack’s back. “C’mon, walk in yourself. You’re in the presence of a Princess.”
Spy yawned nonchalantly and nuzzled deeper into Applejack’s mane.
Applejack shot Rainbow a questioning glance, and Rainbow’s gaze in return pleaded with her. Applejack coughed, and Spy’s ears perked up instantly.
“NORTHern Spy,” declaimed Applejack sternly.
In a flicker of motion, the tiny green filly tumbled off Orange Mom’s back and stood, straight and tall. Dash lined up beside her, tousling her little blue mane with a hoof affectionately, getting no complaint from Spy.
The three marched proudly into Princess Luna’s private room, and stopped as soon as they saw what Luna was doing with her consort.
“Oh, my,” gasped Applejack. Spy giggled. Dash ooohed.
Princess Luna, and Lyra, were curled up in a cozy knot, noses to tails, hard at work. The nature of the work was obvious.
They were combing out each other’s tails. Unicorn and alicorn horns glowed, magic helping to straighten the billows of horsehair as they gripped combs in their teeth and worked them patiently from base to tip. Lyra’s ear flicked as her face was immersed in the magic field that animated her Princess’s tail, but she seemed to enjoy it.
Applejack stared. “Huh. Alrighty then. Heh!”
Rainbow’s own tail flicked as she watched. “Dawwww!”
“Yep,” grinned Applejack. “Finally, Dashie, we found it.”
“Somethin’ that’s cuter than you,” explained Applejack.
“…mmmmaybe,” said Dash. “Yeah—you got me there. But it took a unicorn-Princess team to do it!”
“Nothin’ cuter than Spy!” vowed Northern Spy.
Dash giggled and swept her foal up into a quick snuggle, which also involved a quick loop-de-loop. “Right, you win! But this is super adorable all the same, and almost cuter than you!”
“Nuh-uhhh!” giggled Spy. She dropped to the ground, and ran over despite cries of protest from Dash and Applejack, and jumped up to stand on Princess Luna’s side.
“Awk!” cried Luna. “Prithee, desist!”
Lyra cracked up. “Get used to it, Looney!”
“Looney!” squeaked Spy, bouncing up and down on the Princess. “Looney, looney!”
Dash gave a little shriek and swooped down upon her incorrigible spawn, seizing her and carrying her off. “Sorry! She’s just a little excited. She’s never stayed the night in Canterlot before! Much less in your awesome palace!”
“Super excited! Excited Spy!” squeaked Spy.
Dash beeped her nose. “That’s you, silly!”
“Excited Me!” corrected Spy, happily.
“And we are delighted to have you,” replied Princess Luna.
Dash took a deep breath, puffing out her chest and readying a boastful remark, then wilted at Applejack’s glare. Princess Luna had indeed ‘had her’, and Applejack couldn’t help notice Dash staring at the Princess’s mighty wings. For all of Applejack’s devotion, there were still some things she couldn’t offer her pegasus.
“Um, yeah,” mumbled Dash, “likewise!”
“Oh!” blinked Luna. “We hasten to add, as our esteemed guests for the evening! We meant nothing untoward!”
“Not this time, anyway!” said Dash, who then eeped and shut her mouth with another quick glance at Applejack. Northern Spy was watching her avidly and listening to everything she said, but she’d managed to restrain herself and not make either lewd remarks or innuendos for Spy to happily parrot while galloping around Sweet Apple Acres.
One day of Spy repeating, “Get your mare juice flowing ‘cos here comes your pony thunder!” had been more than enough. Especially when Spy said it, as Dash had, to Applejack. And then to Apple Bloom, and Diamond Tiara, who’d found it hysterically funny. And then to Granny Smith… who hadn’t.
Dash marvelled at how her little foal could rebel so thoroughly against Blue Mom, yet still soak up so much of her influence in good ways and bad. She’d found herself trying to improve her attitude when she saw her own facial expressions echoed in tiny and adorable form on Northern Spy’s face. They’d learned so much, so quickly.
And wasn’t that part of the reason they’d been asked to stay at the palace, as the Princess’s guests?
“Yeah,” said Rainbow seriously, “thanks. You know I was just thinking about why you asked us here. There’s a lot to learn. Fortunately you invited the greatest pony Moms in all Equestria, especially me, so you’re in good hooves. Now what can I do ya for?” She glanced hastily at Applejack. “That’s allowed! It’s a saying! First lesson, when you do have your foals they act like little sponges soaking up how you are. The quicker you learn that the better off you’ll be.”
She winced. Spy was chewing on her ear. “Agh! What I mean is, this kid seemed to pick up all my crap… sorry, Applejack! All my stuff. She got to be like Mom real quick. And Mom IS real quick. Unfortunately,” admitted Dash, “Mom’s also kind of rude, know what I mean?”
“Mom is cool!” chirped Northern Spy, and tried to chew on Dash’s ear again.
Rainbow snorted with laughter. “Hah! Yeah, Spy’s not going to lack for coolness, we can tell that already…”
“Uh, Dashie?” suggested Applejack. “They ain’t had no foals yet. Maybe they want to hear about the bearin’ of ‘em, first.”
Lyra jumped up. “Yes! I’m scared. I didn’t plan for this and now I’m really in for it, tell me what I have to do!”
Applejack’s eyes widened. She studied Lyra. “Ya don’t say. Are you okay with this, honey?”
“What?” squeaked Lyra.
“Well,” said Applejack, “best to know now, is what Granny would say.”
“Know what, Applejack?” blinked Dash.
Applejack gulped. “Um. Wull. Thing is, if a mare is real stressed-out, like… she might lose th’ foal. And if such a thing happens…”
Northern Spy’s eyes bugged out. She reared, waving her forelegs. “Spy right here! Not lose!”
“Whoa! Gotcha!” cried Dash, immediately snuggling her foal. Spy quieted, soothed right away, and Dash turned to Applejack. “Stressed out? Really? How the buck did I ever have Spy then?”
“Guess you’re one tough lil’ pony,” said Applejack fondly. “But you hear what I’m sayin’? Safer for th’ mare if it happens early. Let’s not spell it out, but Ah would like to know where Lyra stands on th’ matter. You sayin’ you don’t want it?”
Lyra had gone pale. “I didn’t say that, Applejack. I said I didn’t plan for it. And that I was scared. Which I am, even more now. I’m gonna LOSE my foal, maybe?”
“Spy will find!” chimed the filly voice, determinedly.
“No, no, sport!” laughed Rainbow Dash. “I can find that foal for ya in two shakes of a filly’s tail, how about that?”
Spy frowned in concentration. Her powderblue tail shook, and then she squeaked, for Rainbow Dash had pounced and lifted her up by it before it could shake twice.
“Mrrf…” she mumbled, Spy dangling from her toothy grip.
“Don’t worry,” said Applejack hastily, “they play like this a lot. Spy inherited Dashie’s only form of brakes. You know sometimes you gotta grab that rainbow tail to stop her!”
Dash ignored the commentary, and cast about. “Hmmm, I th’nk it’s… th’re!”
She dropped Spy, who tumbled in an ungainly sprawl of tiny limbs and then looked frantically about for the missing foal. But Blue Mom was only nuzzling the belly of the green unicorn, Lyra.
“Found it!” boasted Dash. She gazed into Lyra’s vivid gold eyes. “And you’re not gonna lose it, cutie. If I had Spy okay, there’s no chance anything will go wrong here, so don’t be scared. We’ll take care of you. I’m gonna teach you everything you need to know, and then Applejack’s gonna teach you everything else and Granny Smith will come attend you when it’s your time and she never lost a foal, ever!”
Lyra’s eyes were wide. Applejack said, “Uh, actually she told me once…”
Dash glared at her, and Applejack shut up.
“Ever!” vowed Dash, her eyes defying Lyra to doubt her.
Northern Spy looked perplexed. “Where baby?”
Rainbow poked Lyra’s belly, as yet only slightly swollen. “In there, where it’s safe! Just like you started out inside ME!”
Spy’s eyes were wider than ever. “In tummy? Mommy EAT for safe keeping?”
“And we’re gonna keep Lyra safe and teach her about being a Mom,” vowed Dash, “and then she’s not gonna be scared at all!”
Spy didn’t look scared, but she did look utterly shocked. “Then,” she breathed softly in wonder, “what eat Mommy to keep safe? And, and…” Spy fell silent, naive filly head spinning with strange recursive images.
“And she’s gonna have Princess Luna’s foal,” added Applejack, “which technical-like is gonna be my very own niece or nephew, on account of Big Macintosh.” She blinked. “Still cain’t hardly believe that part. You got real ambitious real quick, din’tcha, honey?”
She glanced over toward the Princess, though their attention had been all on fretful Lyra.
Applejack’s jaw dropped. The Princess’s expression was startling.
Luna stared at the little group of ponies, lip quivering, tears in her eyes, a great yearning flooding them. She looked absolutely defenseless as she gazed upon Applejack and Rainbow Dash rallying around fearful Lyra, their foal Northern Spy wide-eyed and adorable as she tried to comprehend the miracle before her and mixed it up completely, and Lyra full of hope and nervousness and innocence and trusting in the more experienced mares to help her.
“Princess?” said Applejack, and Rainbow looked up as well.
Princess Luna gulped.
“Your precious little lives are so beautiful,” she said, and then choked up again. As Applejack rushed forward to hug her, Luna forced out more words. “A part of me will love all of you forever. Ah! By the Sun and Moon, you are the most precious of ponies!”
“Easy, now, Princess,” soothed Applejack. “Ah’m here for ya. Y’all gettin’ emotional more lately? Dashie had some of that.”
Luna gazed tearfully at her, lip still quivering, taking in her earth pony friend’s staunch support.
She did not say ‘yes, you’re here… for now’.
Neither did Lyra, though she recognized that look. As Luna had fallen in love with her unicorn consort, she’d grown more vulnerable to the pain of loving a mortal pony. As she’d resolved to foal with her beloved, she’d opened herself to that fate more deeply. And now, as she looked upon her mate and her unborn foal and her devoted friends and their foal, all being adorable as only ponies could be, Luna felt all the pangs of loss that she would one day experience: outliving all of them and their children and her own children, and going on with only bittersweet memories to remind her that she had once merged with the flow of mortal ponykind and shared her body and heart with them.
Lyra took one look and pounced upon Princess Luna, cordially shoving Applejack aside in her fierce compassion.
“Breathe, Looney! We’ve had this conversation!”
Dutifully, Princess Luna took deep breaths, her wings shuddering in a way that made Dash lay her ears back.
“Hey,” said Dash. “Hey! What’s wrong? Hey, she’s really upset, like really really upset…”
“Shh!” snapped Lyra, and returned to her hugging. She turned her head, and explained, “She loves us, Rainbow. Very much. And she loves me very much, and you guys, and your kid is super adorable. And you know we’re not like her. Remember?”
Applejack’s eyes widened. “Ohhhh. Oh, gosh. Ya know we’re gettin’ so used to Twilight doing the alicorn thing it’s easy to forget. Alicorning bein’ forever, I mean. Aw, hell. Should we go?”
“No!” squeaked Northern Spy. She zipped over, and hugged Luna’s foreleg. “Nuh cry! Spy fix!”
This made Luna’s lip quiver, and her eyes brim, even worse. She gulped, with a big sloppy sniffle, and then wailed, “Thou miraculous beauty! Ah! There shall NEVER be a beauty to rival this that we are privy to, ah my heart!”
Rainbow Dash and Applejack shared a dumbfounded look.
“Of course she’s talking about me,” quipped Rainbow Dash, irrepressibly.
“O’ course,” agreed Applejack wryly.
With that, they rushed forward and joined the group hug, loving their Princess with all their faithful pony hearts, and understanding what she had chosen to face, even if they couldn’t very well explain it to Northern Spy. Princess Luna had chosen to open her heart to ponies locked in the stream of Time, and where her own days and nights could be innumerable, by that very nature she had to look upon the lives of her beloveds as a limited number of moments. Blink, contemplate the infinities of galaxies for a while, and they would be gone, forgotten by their world.
But she would not forget them so easily. She’d made it personal. She’d even offered a hostage to Time, and ended up with a second hostage through misadventure. She carried a foal from Lyra and Dash and Derpy and Big Macintosh, and Lyra carried her foal and Big Macintosh’s.
“Breathe!” ordered Lyra, sternly. “You’re fine! You told me this would happen!”
“Is this really what she wants?” said Dash, alarmed. “She’s freaking out so hard core…”
Then, she squeaked, and Applejack oofed. Luna had suddenly begun returning the hug, and wrapped them tightly in her great trembling wings, and for a moment they were the ones who could hardly breathe.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you…” stammered Princess Luna.
“Waugh!” cried Rainbow, flapping disheveledly and wriggling. All at once, Luna realized what she was doing, blushed, and released the little group of ponies. Rainbow staggered back a couple paces, panting, her wings bolt erect.
They stared at each other, as Luna blushed a rather charming rosy purple.
Dash began to grin. “Wow. Thank you, Princess. ‘Cos now I know exactly what I’m going to think about the next time I clop myself senseless…”
Applejack cuffed her, and she squeaked and dodged the earth pony’s hoof. “Sorry!”
“Better now?” asked Lyra, studying her so-magical beloved. “Are we good? No no,” she added, as Luna’s eyes glowed with adoration. “I mean are YOU good. We’re awesome, yeah yeah, I get it. I mean the royal we, which would be you.”
Luna took another deep breath, and nodded humbly. “You are so good to me.”
“Of course,” said Lyra dismissively. “Applejack? You asked if I was okay with having Looney’s baby.”
“Din’t put it THAT way!” replied Applejack.
Lyra tossed her mane, her horn making a cute little arc in the air. “You know what I mean! I need to tell you, the answer is yes, so very much yes! I just never considered it an option, but I would fantasize like crazy every time Luna made me, you know, light right up, from taking her magic-gasm. I can’t tell you how good it is to just take it and take it! I always imagined that making me pregnant, which was the best part of all. It makes us fertile, us unicorn mares, so from Looney you know I would be the most fertile mare ever because it’s so intense! I would pretend just that was enough to make me pregnant to her, especially when a bit was involved. Soooo exciting!”
Applejack’s eyes widened at the green unicorn’s frank hedonism, when talking about these very intense and private experiences.
“And then that HUGE COCK was right there…”
“Ahem!” said Applejack hastily, and Lyra stopped, noticing that Spy was watching in fascination.
Northern Spy chirped, “And then that HUGE…”
“Baaaahahaha!” went Rainbow Dash, and tackled her incorrigible foal before she could finish the newly learned sentence.
“Fuck!” cried Lyra, going red in the face.
Northern Spy squealed with laughter, as Dash tickled her. She left enough breath to emit a fillyish, “Fuck!”
Applejack began laughing, too. “Don’t panic, Lyra honey. She’s heard that one before. About that new sentence?”
“…yes?” quavered Lyra, scarlet rather than green.
“We’ll tell ‘em we got a new giant chicken,” smirked Applejack.
Luna snorted with laughter, gazing fondly on the adorable sight of Rainbow Dash tickle-wrestling a giggling filly, and snuggled Lyra to her. “We shall proclaim the wonders of your giant chicken to all corners of Equestria! Fear not, dear foolish lusty Lyra, all is well.”
“Ah reckon Miss Lyra knows th’ wonders of our giant chicken already!” grinned Applejack. “Crazy ravenous critter, he is! No mare’s safe from th’ giant chicken!”
Rainbow Dash giggled. “Heck, you’re the only mare in the room who hasn’t had the giant chicken!” she added, and then quickly added, “Sorry!”
“That’ll do,” grumbled Applejack, but without any real anger. She’d come to terms with Northern Spy’s conception.
“Spy want giant chicken!”
Applejack choked. “Dear Celestia, no!”
Dash cracked up again, and distracted Spy with more tickling.
“Speakin’ of which,” added Applejack hastily, “where is the other Princess? Ain’t seen her in a little while. I hear tell she got caught with that Chaos and some earth pony feller. She doin’ okay?”
“Oh!” said Princess Luna. “We forgot in all the excitement. She is out. Pray do not be distressed, fair Applejack! My sister has taken the betrayal of Discord poorly, but lest ye forget, we spent thousands of years contemplating just such a betrayal. I shall not judge my beloved sister for being softhearted. I will only strengthen her resolve to abandon the wretch and his wicked, hurtful pranks.”
“Dang,” said Applejack helplessly. “Well, if there’s anything we can do, y’all need only ask it.”
“He’s a big meanie-head!” vowed Dash. “Right, Spy?” She tickled on.
Spy shrieked with laughter. “Big meaniehead! Heeheeheehee!”
Luna continued, “She is seeking privacy for her meditations, as she feels rather exposed now when speaking to the palace nobles, and even the staff and servants. It has been a very long time since Canterlot nobility gathered to witness a Princess… penetrated.”
Applejack boggled. “Dang! Poor thing. Anything we can do to help her, you just say th’ word. Will she be back soon? Spy wanted to watch her raise the sun in the morning.”
“Oh, yes! My Lyra enjoys that as well, and Celestia has grown nearly as fond of her company as I am. My sister is nothing if not orderly,” said Luna. “We will join her for her morning solar duties. She will be back by then.”
Lyra studied her Princess closely. “Looney? You said it’s been a very long time since Canterlot nobility watched… you know.”
“Well,” said Lyra intelligently, “you didn’t actually specify which Princess, did you?”
“Shh,” said Princess Luna.
The balcony gleamed in white marble… or would have, if the sun was up. Instead, it glimmered in magic torchlight, that illuminated the eyes of the gathered ponies and tiny, yawning filly.
“Sister!” called Luna, fretfully.
“You think she’s flying around here somewhere?” suggested Dash. “I can go look!”
“So could I,” replied Princess Luna, but Dash scoffed.
“Ten seconds flat!” she boasted, and in a rainbow-colored streak she was gone, zipping around the palace and looking every which way.
She returned, panting slightly from her enthusiastic exertions. “Not here! Now what?”
“She must raise the sun quickly!” cried Princess Luna, who then hesitated and added, “I mean, promptly. Soon! I do not mean to suggest she will fling the sun into the sky, far from it…”
“Princess Twilight!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “She’ll think of something. I’ll get her!” She zipped off.
“Or we could wait upon her return,” said Princess Luna, too late.
“Dashie!” called Applejack. “Dang it, she’s gone. Guess we’re about to see Twilight bed-mane!”
“Oh, dear,” said Luna. “We shall hope she is not offended by the imposition.”
Lyra rubbed her sleepy eyes with a hoof. “But what do we need Twilight Sparkle for anyway? We’ve got Princess Luna, and the pony we need here is Princess Celestia. And personally I wouldn’t mind a few more minutes of night-time. It took me forever to get to sleep.”
Luna narrowed her eyes in a stern look. “And whose fault is that, prithee, my consort?”
“Yours, of course,” said Lyra blithely. “For being too royal all night.”
“Moving right along!” said Applejack, who had no wish to explain the giggles and squeaks that had come from behind Luna’s bedroom door once the royal couple had retired.
Fortunately, Spy had conked out hours earlier than that. Unfortunately, she was currently wide awake, eagerly awaiting the Sun Princess’s Dawn, and batting her tiny eyelashes in confusion at Lyra’s remarks. “What royal?”
“Very royal,” explained Lyra solemnly. “But still up for a dare. Kind of like your Mom, Northern Spy! That is, if your Mom gets into secret unicorn fun.”
“What secret unicorn fun?” demanded Spy, as Applejack’s eyes widened.
Lyra caught the glances in time. “Uhh… it wouldn’t be a secret if I told you, silly!” She pouted. “I was only going to say widening. Hmph!”
“Been there, done that, no more please!” snapped Applejack, tartly.
“What?” squeaked Lyra. “When? Who? You make it sound like a bad thing!”
Applejack gulped. “Happens it was. Ah’m jes’ sayin’, we’d like to keep Spy away from too much unicorn crazy an’ my experiences got kind of disturbing.”
Lyra blinked. “Oh! Trixie.”
“Rarity!” guessed Lyra. “In that case I forgive you. Did you know I tried to date her myself? I just could not handle Rarity, though she’s so elegant and beautiful. You might have a point about unicorn crazy, we can be pretty intense. Looney knows that! It’s because of how very magical we are, I think. Unicorns live closer to the true heart of magic.”
Applejack shook her head. “That ain’t what I meant, honey. Don’t you think ill of Rarity, I still love her dearly though dang if I know who kin handle her. Apparently our Derpy suits her a treat, who’d have thought? Still makes me nervous foolin’ around with her.”
“Then what are you talking about?” demanded Lyra.
“Twilight Sparkle…” began Applejack.
The voice was cranky and ragged, and came from above. Down into the light of the magical torches came Twilight herself, complete with a raging case of bed-mane and very ruffled wings. Rainbow Dash followed, landing neatly on all four hooves and furling her impeccably preened wings decorously while trying not to gawk at the lavender Princess’s.
“Oh!” said Applejack. “Uh, howdy?”
“Why did Rainbow Dash wake me up and tell me Princess Celestia is gone, and make me rush over here?” demanded Twilight.
“Uh, ‘cos she is?” said Applejack. “Leastways, we cain’t find her this mornin’ and Dashie, she thought you might be able to think of somethin’ to help…”
“Did you look around? Is she visiting other kingdoms?” said Twilight, fretfully. “Why are you asking ME?”
“Our pardon, Princess Twilight,” said Luna. “Young Rainbow is perhaps impulsive…”
Rainbow Dash broke in. “Well, excuse me, but since we do have a special magic princess to use, I just thought…” She blinked, and looked again at Luna. “Oh. Right. Anyway, since we have you, have you seen her? Can you, like, use your Princess-sense and sort of smell her out?” Dash wiggled her butt like a cat, and pounced on nothing, to demonstrate the procedure for Twilight.
Twilight gritted her teeth. “We have a routine that you are disrupting, and for this?” She stamped a forehoof, her expression alarmingly fierce. Luna frowned, and Dash looked hurt and offended.
Applejack felt something touch the hocks of her hind legs. She looked back, and saw that it was Northern Spy. Spy, normally fearless, had sensed something in Twilight’s mood that caused her to shy away and take cover behind Orange Mom. She peered around Applejack’s rump with wide, impressed eyes.
Applejack turned to face Twilight, holding her head high and proud.
“Now see here! Ah apologize for us draggin’ y’all out of bed. Dashie flew off th’ handle and no mistake. Or I guess it was a mistake, huh? But it was only a mistake, and missy, I git up earlier than this every day. We are sorry for disturbin’ your sleep. Now what the hay’s got you so fired up, Twilight Sparkle? You ain’t got no business bein’ this mad!”
Twilight whinnied shrilly in outrage, and Applejack laid her ears back. “Ah’m a-waitin’!”
Visibly, Princess Twilight Sparkle controlled herself. “It’s just… Applejack, I don’t even know what you expect of me! I have no idea where Princess Celestia went. I can’t raise the sun, in case that’s what you were thinking. There’s nothing I can do here, and you’re taking me away from something important!”
“Well, we din’t mean to!” retorted Applejack, emboldened by the sensation of her foal hiding behind her. “What’s so all-fired important that you do in the morning? If it’s so dang great, maybe Ah’ll take to doin’ it myself!”
“For your information,” hissed Twilight, “I always wake before dawn so I can spend a few special moments in meditation, and it’s no concern of yours, it’s personal!”
Luna quirked her ears, puzzled. She’d tried meditation, but had never heard of Twilight Sparkle attempting it. Applejack cleared her throat.
“Well, your luck is in,” she said. “Happens we ain’t found Princess Celestia yet. We’re out here ‘cos Spy wanted to watch the Princess raisin’ the Sun. So if you’re gonna be cranky-pants Sparkle, missy, how about you fly off home and cool your hooves? You got plenty of time, dawn ain’t keepin’ its usual schedule this mor… this m… huh.”
She trailed off. The horizon was glowing. No Princess Celestia appeared, but all the same the sun was being raised.
In its burgeoning light, Twilight Sparkle bore a look of tragic dismay that completely overwhelmed her anger. There might have been an enormous flashing sign over her, reading ‘TOO LATE’.
Her obvious misery stole all of Applejack’s fire. Applejack felt Spy peeking in confusion from behind her. She lowered her head, shaking it gently.
“Ah got no idea why your meditation is so dang important, honey,” she said, “but we’re a pack o’ fools and Ah apologize sincerely, from all of us, for messin’ up your mornin’. Go on home, honey. We’re awful sorry. Least we got us a dawn, huh?”
“Indeed we do,” said Princess Luna. “Oh, Twilight! Our sincerest apologies. Pray feel free to resume whatever activities you are accustomed to, at this time. We meant no harm.”
Twilight looked like she was about to cry. Then, she whirled, and she was off—racing home with Rainbow Dash-like speed.
“Sorry?” said Rainbow Dash, her ears flattened in chagrin.
Applejack hugged her, and ruffled her mane without a word of reproach. Then she turned to Lyra. “Do I really need to explain what I was talkin’ about, earlier? I think you kin guess.”
Lyra nodded, impressed. “I see what you mean about unicorn crazy. Poor Twilight. I wonder what in Equestria was bothering her?”
“Here’s hoping we never have to find out,” said Applejack earnestly.
As Twilight Sparkle approached her treehouse, racing against the rays of dawn, she forced herself to slow down. It wouldn’t be the same if she made a racket and woke her. That wasn’t the magic of the moment.
Twilight forced herself not to pant for breath, took a moment to wonder if she could somehow slow her pounding heart, and crept back into her house and upstairs to her bed and her window.
She was just in time, though her emotions were dreadfully far from what she knew they should be.
Twilight watched, keeping totally silent, as the first rays of dawn broke through the window, casting themselves across the relaxed, sleeping body of Trixie Lulamoon. She stared with a sort of desperate, tender ravenousness, as the sweet golden light gradually bathed and illuminated the mare she loved.
Her heart gradually slowed, but seemed to thump all the more heavily as she drank in the sight.
There were two reasons Twilight had begun to obsessively keep this vigil, seizing every opportunity to watch her beloved in the first light of dawn, cursing fretfully when weather stole the moment from her.
One was that it was such a quiet and beautiful moment. Trixie was so passionate and alive that, were she awake, she would be devoting herself to Twilight’s wishes and galloping off to cook breakfast, or if she’d known watching gave Twilight such pleasure, she would pose and wink and put on a big show. Only in sleep did Trixie relax and forget herself and the brightly burning devotion she had for her Princess. Her hunger to please usually prevented Twilight from basking in this sort of peace.
It was hard come by. Ponies didn’t sleep all the time, and Trixie seemed not to want to sleep at all, and that also worked to steal these magical moments from Twilight. Of course, if Trixie was up late pleasuring her Princess it meant she’d sleep like a stone through the dawn, so that helped.
The other reason Twilight needed to experience every possible moment spent watching the love of her life snoring cutely in the light of dawn, was the same reason Trixie didn’t want to sleep at all.
They could be counted, these moments—but they could not be replaced. One day there would be no more.
Twilight stared at Trixie, lip quivering, tears in her eyes, a great yearning flooding them. She looked absolutely defenseless as she gazed upon the unicorn she’d have given her very life for, the crazy, brilliant mare who was a part of her forever and had sworn eternal devotion.
Her poor precious darling was going to have some trouble with the ‘eternal’ part, Twilight knew.
Trixie breathed deeply, limp in slumber, untroubled.
Twilight watched silently, second after second after second after second, cherishing every last one…
…as they passed.
The light had been pouring into the cave for some time. Chaos stirred, coming awake with a delightful snuggled sensation. For a moment, she breathed more quickly, remembering certain misadventures. Then, she relaxed, melting into Crowbar’s embrace. This time, neither of them were having interesting dreams, so there would be no need of frantic chaos-magicking. Her vagina could stay normally sized for breakfast.
Not that she’d be consuming breakfast that way! Even if the big dumb lunk was impressively good at injecting protein! No, a bit of simple grass would suffice. One thing about Ponyville and its surrounding areas was its great pastures. Chaos yawned, wriggling delicately until she’d extricated herself from her stallion’s forelegs.
She considered bringing him back some grass, for breakfast in bed. Well, in cave.
No… not grass. Firstly, that was just forage, without any real style at the best of times. Secondly, it was better absolutely fresh, especially with the morning dew on it. Any pony, of any sort, knew that.
Chaos glanced out the cave entrance, ruffling and stretching her wings. The sun was up! She’d better get out there before the dew burned off the flowers. Flowers, that was it! She resolved to grab a quick snack, and then bring Crowbar some flowers. The tastiest ones! She corrected herself. Among the tastiest ones! He wouldn’t mind if she snapped up the yummiest blossoms, but all the same she vowed to bring him back some treats. He was one in a thousand, a million. Generations hadn’t produced a pony of his gifts—or his wonderful sweetness, when the situation was right.
The tastiest ones, Chaos decided. No holding back—she’d find him something special, and not eat the best flowers herself, even though she could. She’d do it right, even if he never knew. She’d know.
She wandered quietly out of the cave, nibbling grass, sampling the daisies, and turned to climb the hill.
Silhouetted by the light of the rising Sun, a vision presented itself to Chaos, radiant in the dawn of its own creation.
Chaos’s jaw dropped, and a flower petal fluttered from her dainty lip to the ground.
“We have to talk,” said Princess Celestia.
Chaos couldn’t even blink, or speak. She stood, dumbfounded. Celestia stamped a gold-shod forehoof.
“Specifically… YOU have to talk,” she said.