Twisted laughter and scared ponies filled her sight and sound. The laughter wasn't her own, yet it echoed forth from her muzzle. Her wings flapped lazily as she was kept aloft, drinking in the fear of the crowd like a pony who hadn't had any water in a week. Inside, she begged them to run, but her face defiantly twisted into a wicked grin as an unearthly white pony flew up to her. It was happening again.
When I was a little filly and the sun was going down...
Everything changed before her teal eyes, the cowering mass and enraged white mare blurred and spun, turning around before coming to a stop. In front of her rested the body of a large alicorn, slumped on the bed, eyes closed as a final breath passed her yellowed lips. She could not help but let a tide of tears slip as she realised that the pony was gone... that her suffering was over.
The darkness and the shadows, they would always make me frown...
It shifted again, the dead pony stretching out and turning everything a sickening shade of grey. Before her stood massive pillars of grey rock, under a veil of stars. She was so lonely here, a fact made worse by the sickening blue marble dangling in front of her. Oh how it teased her so, reminding her how much of how no pony needed her. In their insolent eyes, she was less then worthless to them.
I'd hide under my pillow, at what I thought I saw, but Granny Pie said that wasn't the way to deal with fears at all...
The blue marble suddenly became impossibly bright, the colour deluding and spreading across her field of vision. A familiar shape rested in the middle of the oppressive glare, wings flared in triumph before it slipped from the sky. She was awed beyond all compare, and overjoyed that, one day she too would be able to pull of such a feat, if only in her own unique way.
She said "Pinkie, you gotta stand up tall; learn to face your fears. You'll see that they can't hurt you, just laugh to make them disappear..."
A final scene danced across her vision. Two young foals, one white with a pink mane and the other, blue with a lighter blue mane frolicked in the grass and flowers of an ancient, yet homely castle, their adoring parents watching over them as they took a break from the routine. The smaller pony tried to jump onto the older foal's back, but missed and face planted into the dirt. Emerging from the bed of flowers, the little pony smiled and laughed at how silly she looked.
So, giggle at the ghostie, guffaw at the grossly, crack up at the creepy, woof it up with the weepy, chortle at the kooky, snortle at the spooky...
The rest of the ethereal music faded into the blackness as she found herself coming to from a long, restful night's sleep. Her Royal Highness, Princess Luna of Equestria, Regent of the Moon yawned as she stretched out her forehooves , the light of her sister's sun dancing across her new chambers. She frowned a little to herself, having obviously been too tired to wake up and lower the moon with her.
It had been nearly a year since her return to Equestria, and still visions of her time as Nightmare Moon haunted her dreams. Thankfully, the pink pony's song would come to her mind at the right moment and spare her from the nightmare. Getting out of bed, Luna walked into the bathroom to begin her new daily ritual. So much had changed in such a brief time that the younger princess found it all almost completely overwhelming.
A new capital, the creation of Parliament, and indoor plumbing topped up her list of the most radical changes to the country during her interrment in the moon. Since the days of the creator, the capital for all the nation had been a modest little town and castle named Equira, now only known as 'The Ancient Castle of the Pony Sisters'. Canterlot, however, was much larger and far more grand than their ancient home.
Luna emerged from her room feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. Celestia had insisted that she change her sleeping habits to better integrate herself into modern society. In some ways, the younger princess missed her night, but became relieved when she saw the ponies no longer lived by the old 'sunrise to sunset' standard. Now, ponies stayed up until all manners of time in the night, and this made her feel a little more appreciated.
"Good morning, your highness," chirped a friendly voice as the princess of the moon made her way down to a late breakfast. It was a small, wine-red unicorn mare with a darker red mane and rosy red eyes, wearing a maid's uniform, like many others in the castle.
"Ah, good morning, Sable," Luna nodded to her bow. Sable was one of the few ponies who actively tried to socialize with her. Sometimes she thought her sister had put her up to it, at first anyway. Over time, the princess had to admit they had grown as close as a servant and royalty could, and in some ways, more. The unicorn was one of her only friends.
"I trust you slept well, princess?" She smiled when Luna nodded in a reply. "Excellent, I'm glad to hear that. Princess Celestia sent me to get you, since she received a new letter from her student. If you feel like reading it with her, of course." A good morning suddenly became great to the midnight princess as she trotted down the halls, changing course to her sister's chambers. Any time to spend with Celestia was golden time to her, even if she found Twilight's letters a little on the boring side.
As they walked, the princess glanced through a doorway, felled columns and worker ponies inside, attempting repairs. Luna chuckled as she continued on her way at the memories of her sister recalling the night to her just last week. Her small smile spread into a full grin, remembering how she told her sister that a boring event like that needed some way to liven it up. Just as the memory finished playing out, the princess of the moon found herself at her sister's chamber door.
It was a glorious and sunny spring afternoon in Ponyville. Birds chirped happily in the trees, and critters ran across the ground, searching for shelter from the lingering cold nights. Unfortunately for the resident tailor, this also meant a tide of vermin swarming into her boutique, threatening her schedules as well as her dresses... and her sanity to boot. Rarity was at the end of her rope as she walked the cobbled streets of town towards the library. She needed help and who better than the town's librarian?
Twilight had to have some sort of book on getting rid of the vermin who recently decided to take up residence in her business. She didn't care so much as to the how, so much as the results. Of course, she couldn't tell Fluttershy if the only course would be to... exterminate them. Walking into the library, the white unicorn saw what could only be defined as simply ghastly!
Books were strewn about the floor, not exactly unusual considering the librarian, but what did shock her was the thick coat of dust on some of the piles. Obviously, the purple unicorn never heard the words 'spring cleaning' in her life. In fact, Rarity wouldn't have been surprised if she found out Twilight had a vermin problem as well, under all that mess.
"Twilight!" the unicorn exclaimed. "You simply must do some cleaning around here! This is a library, not a book depository!" A trapdoor down to the basement opened suddenly in front of her, the back end of the purple unicorn emerging from the blackness, coated in an equally thick layer of dust.
"Sorry, Rarity," the mare replied, another stack of books floating lazily behind her. "I woke up this morning and noted the change of pitch when my hoof hit this spot. I was reading a book about musical tones, you see, so I didn't notice it before. Anyway, I found this trapdoor and the hundreds of books under it! Some of these are ancient, see?" Twilight trotted over to a dusty pile and withdrew a black and tattered tome after placing the new pile safely on the floor.
"This is the diary of Ponyville's first mayor! It tells so much about the early history of the town before it was incorporated and how the settler ponies came from across the forest! I've only had time to skim it so far, but I'm sure it will be utterly fastening! Oh, and, before I forg-"
"Twilight, I'm here on business!" Rarity spoke with some annoyance. Sometimes her fellow unicorn could blather on for ages and ages without seemingly taking a pause to breathe when something excited her. So, she asked her friends to simply nudge her when she began to talk too much. "I'm having a vermin problem at my shop and need a spell to get rid of the pests. I already have Rainbow and Pinkie helping me clean up."
"Oh!" Twilight replied happily. "I know plenty of spells to remove household pests. Thankfully, most of them do it without injuring them! I'd be happy to come over and help. I'm in a cleaning mood today." She smiled at her friend, elated by a hard night's study followed by a peaceful night's rest and good breakfast. As much as Rarity protested, saying she only needed the spell, the purple unicorn insisted on helping her, partially as payback for her beautiful Gala dress.
The two unicorns walked back in silence... well, as silent as you could get when Twilight Sparkle was on a roll with something, at any rate. Rarity did her best to try and stop it, but in the end, she figured it would be better to grin and bear it, allowing her newest obsession to fade away on its own. Soon enough the two unicorns met with their friends at the boutique, the cleaning effort already well underway as they cleared out piles of old boxes and tossed away unusable tools.
"Ha!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed when her friend Rarity returned. "I bet you five bits I can get this entire shop cleared out i-"
"Ten seconds flat," Twilight finished. "We know, Rainbow." The sky blue Pegasus landed on the ground in a huff, pouting at being denied using her favourite phrase. Rarity shot her a dark glance as well.
"Honestly, Rainbow, these aren't clouds. It's delicate equipment," the white unicorn started. "I don't want you to whip them out quite that fast, darling. You could break something important." Rainbow scowled again as she was led inside, following a bouncing Pinkie Pie who decided to make a game of it.
The rules were simple, different items of importance were worth different points. Finding a needle was only one point, while finding a critter and taking it outside was worth one thousand points. The pony with the most points at the end would have a small party thrown in their honour. Naturally, none of the other ponies really wanted to play, but they decided to at least feign interest.
To put it simply, the boutique had two faces to it. On one side of the bit, you had the clean and proper store front that was kept in impeccable condition year-round. On the other side of the bit, however, the backrooms and storage were an utter nightmare, even to a pony like Twilight who was at least open about her messes. "... And you called the library dirty." The purple unicorn spoke sarcastically as she cast an acidic glance at the white mare.
"Well, it's no wonder you've got pests," Rainbow added, rolling her eyes.
"Yes, quite," Rarity observed, trying to move on from the subject. "Come on, between the four of us, we should be finished by supper time. Let's get going everypony!
True to her word, with the help of the others, the work to clear out the back rooms of Carousel Boutique took relatively little time for the quartet. During the titanic effort, they managed to find some of the vermin and shoo them outside into their natural habitat. It wasn't until late into the afternoon that they opened the door to the final closet in the store.
Like the others, it was dark and caked in a thin veil of dust, untouched behind a stack of boxes for years. Together, the friends slowly cleared out all the used needles and rotten thread, showing old issues of the Canterlot Courier and the Ponyville Express. Looking over the issues, Twilight noted how old even the latest issue was, some ten years older than her. Using her magic, she levitated the papers out of the closet.
"Rarity," Twilight spoke. "Do you mind if I keep these old newspapers? There might be some historical tidbit in them somewhere." The fussy unicorn rolled her eyes and nodded her head, knowing she would simply take the tattered old papers anyway. After Rarity fixed them all dinner, upon her insistence, Twilight took her new-found papers home with her, levitating them lazily behind her.
She would get to them first thing in the morning, as her muscles screamed at her for all the work she did that day to assist her friend. It was both mentally and physically taxing on the unicorn, but nothing worse than anything she experienced before. After a quick bath to shed off the layers of dirt, Twilight Sparkle returned to her quarters and settled into her bed, reaching to her side to continue reading the Mayor's Journal. It wouldn't be until the moon hung high in the night sky that she decided to go to sleep, bidding her pet owl, her junior assistant, a good night as she turned out the lamp on her bedside.
The next morning found the purple unicorn finishing off the journal over a bowl of cereal, discovering facts about the town she had never dreamed before, such as her library being the first building and the original town hall. Closing the book with a content sigh, Twilight decided to read through the newspapers she collected yesterday. Placing her old tome on top of a pile, the unicorn brought over the stack of news reports and began to skim though them one by one.
At first, the curious student figured the papers were arranged by date, but as she dug into the pile, she found they were in as chaotic a state as the closet she found them in. In the pages of one paper, she would find the pages of another, and sometimes even the front page of one. She let out an aggravated sigh, when it dawned upon her how much work it would take to straighten them out.
Frustrated, the purple pony sent some of the papers flying. At least, this way they would be more organized then they used to be! Now, call it fate, or call it chance, but a particular paper decided to float down right in front of her. It was the front page of a Canterlot Courier from about eight years before she was born. On the front was a picture of the princess, nothing unusual. However, just as she was about to brush it aside, Twilight noticed something in the background.
Her eyes widened and her heart raced in disbelief at what the paper told her. It had to be a misprint, it just had to be! Utterly dumbfounded by this turn of event, the filly found she spoke aloud instead of thinking. "What... are my parents doing... beside the Princess!?" Flanking Princess Celestia, on either side, stood two unicorns in black suits, a mare and a stallion. Although the photo was in black and white, Twilight could almost see their colours on the page.
Twilight's parents had never told her they worked for the princess before, never mind as bodyguards! In fact, they had always told her that they worked in a magic shop! What else had they lied to her about!? She had to know, for sure.
One thing was for certain; if Twilight Sparkle wanted to find something, you could bet your house that she would. Over the last couple of days, the unicorn had sunk her teeth into every facet of her life that she could find, eager to find more holes in her life story, just waiting to be found. Recently, she sent a request to the register's office in Canterlot, to inquire about some of the details on her records.
Spike, naturally, watched over the unicorn with some concern as she threatened to pace herself literally though the floor of the library. "Twilight," he spoke, rolling his eyes. "It'll get here when it gets here. Didn't you learn your lesson from the whole 'family tree' thing?" He tapped his claws impatiently on the wooden shelf beside the seat.
"This is important, Spike!"The unicorn retorted with indignation, the stress beginning to become visible.
The baby dragon sighed, knowing a stressed Twilight could be a real pain in the scales. "Whatever," he stood, heading to the door. "When you flip your lid and start thinking the walls are talking to you, I'll be at the Shake's." Years of being her 'assistant' had steeled the young dragon from Twilight's brand of insanity. For the unicorn, she would start hearing things and formulate elaborate and impossible plans in order to relieve the source of the stress.
He'd long since learned to not pay it any mind and just go with the flow. Sure, hearing voices concerned him a little bit, but so far they'd never tried to give her advice. Still, he urged her to talk to him about it if they came back. The most recent case being during the whole Parasprite Incident when she insisted every pony create an exact replica of the town in under a minute.
Twilight resumed her incessant pacing until the door knocked to a familiar tune. Elated, she jumped to the door and hastily took the mail from Derpy, leaving the blonde pegasus stupefied and wall-eyed at the door. She simply didn't have time for her friend today, as much as that might have hurt her. The information continued in this yellow envelope was just too important to the unicorn to be ignored.
Using her magic, she hastily opened the large parcel and produced a number of papers. Wasting no time, Twilight dug into the contents, ignoring a small note for the Head Register. The Register's Office in Canterlot was charged with processing all certificates in the land of Equestria. Be it death, birth, marriage, divorce, or any papers involving the courts, the Register's Office processed and stored them all for a maximum of one hundred and fifty years.
After seeing all the copies of her various papers, Twilight simply could not find any more holes to prod in. Her ears drooped in disappointment, frustrated that she made a big deal over, literally, nothing. Her parents probably didn't tell her so that she didn't think that the princess owed her anything. The unicorn sighed as she tucked the papers away, only spying the small note then.
"What's this about?" Twilight spoke in surprise. Hungry for information, she tore through the note in no time at all. It was about an oddity on her birth certificate. The listed doctor present, quite simply, never existed. Yet somehow it got pushed through regardless and put into storage. Any attempt at an investigation was quelled by the previous Head Register. The unicorn's eyes narrowed upon the name, speaking aloud, "Dr Whooves!?"
If there was ever an unassuming pony in town, it would have to be the brown stallion with the hourglass mark on his flank. His very appearance screamed 'uninteresting' and his mark was one of the most common in pony history. The fact of the matter was that he didn't want to generate any interest. With interest came too many questions, specifically what he was a doctor of. Only Celestia herself knew, and she wanted it kept between the two of them.
Going about his usual day, the good doctor picked up his groceries and was on his way home, saddle bag filled with produce when a familiar, purple unicorn stopped him in his way. "Oh, uh... good morning, miss...?" He'd never talked to the filly before, but the colt knew her as the princess's prized student.
"Twilight Sparkle," the filly replied. "I need to talk to you, Dr Hooves... or should I call you... 'Head Register' Hooves?" His eyes narrowed in shock. He had no idea how she knew, but he had a suspicion as to the why. It was a day the princess told him to plan for, should it ever occur. He just wished it didn't happen so soon, or that he was in such a position to not refuse.
"Follow me," the doctor voiced, leading her back home. He began to sweat visibly, trying to recall the story that the princess told him to repeat to her in this event. The weight of his bags began to dig into his back, granted he didn't know the entire story, but he knew enough to possibly be on the receiving end of a magical temper tantrum. The idea made him shiver, especially as he recalled the Ursa Incident with stunning clarity.
Eventually the duo arrived at his unassuming house, the mare wasting no time. "Spill it," she spoke indignantly. "Why are you obscuring the existence of this doctor!?" Using her telekinetic magic, she shoved the copy of the certificate in front of his face, irritated.
The doctor sighed, unable to remember the story the princess told him. He needed to answer her, and to answer her now, before she became violent. "This goes much deeper then you think. I'm not sure how exactly, but here's how it was explained to me," the good doctor started. "As far as you or the courts are to know, you were born to your parents. However..." he took a deep breath before continuing. "All the princess told me is that your parents... adopted you. I tried to get her to go into more detail, but all she told me was that it was my duty to prevent any investigations into it. I'm sorry for my part in this deception."
Adopted? Did she just hear him right? She was adopted and the princess knew about it!? The unicorn desperately asked him... no, demanded he tell her where she came from, but the colt either had formidable acting skill, or he simply didn't know. Either way, the mare stormed out of the room, leaving the colt shaking in a corner whilst she muttered darkly under her breath.
"I know this is upsetting you, Twi," Spike spoke as the unicorn fumed with a book levitating in front of her. "But does it really matter? From what you've told me, it sounds like your parents both loved you very much."
"Normally, I'd agree with you, Spike," Twilight started, not looking over the lip of the book. "But I wrote Princess Celestia a week ago and I haven't heard a thing since!" It was true that the princess never took this long to write back, but Spikes urges fell on deaf ears. He kept insisting that the only reason for the lack of reply could only be that she was simply too busy at the moment.
Spike knew better then to bring the idea up again, but a tickle in his throat and a narrowing of his eyes told him he didn't have to worry anymore. A belch of green smoke filled that air in front of the dragon, a scroll bearing the royal seal appearing in front of him. Twilight looked up at him, giddy with excitement. He sure hoped it was good news.
"Dear Twilight Sparkle," Spike started.
"If you haven't guessed by the hoofwriting, this is not Princess Celestia writing to you, but Princess Luna."
"Princess Luna?" Twilight repeated, somewhat dumbfounded. Why hadn't Celestia written to her? Not that the lunar princess wasn't good enough for her, but still. Spike nodded his head and continued to recite the letter.
"I just wanted to let you know that we both received your last letter, and we're both rather concerned at the tone of it. I tried to ask my sister what exactly is going on, but she either doesn't have the time, or the will to tell me. You see, we are in Northern Equestria right now, presiding over a border dispute with our neighbour. Frankly, Celestia has been too busy and she said she wanted to write to you herself. I know for a fact that she has, at least, started the letter.
"While it is a startling revelation, Twilight, I urge you not to take it to heart. I'm sure your parents, adopted or not, love you as though you were their own, or else they would not have taken you in. However, I can confirm for you that they did indeed serve my sister as personal bodyguards during an assassination scare.
"On an unrelated note, I never really got the chance to express my gratitude to you, or your friends for freeing me from my inner darkness. If any of you ever need a favour, I will do all in my power to aid you.
"HRH, Princess Luna of Equestria."
Although it answered a question; about what her parents were doing in the picture with the princess, it still left many open to her. Princess Celestia had never been too busy to write to her before, even if she was swamped with work, she would never take longer than a couple of days to reply, never mind an entire week. Twilight appreciated the letter from Princess Luna, but it wasn't enough for her.
"I'm going out for a walk, Spike." The purple unicorn muttered as she stood up. Her hooves carried her to the door of the library, her mind overwhelmed, shutting the door behind her in an angry slam, quite inadvertently. What had she done to be distrusted so much? Surely, she could have penned out a letter while taking notes on the dispute, or before going to bed. Why hadn't the princess written herself?
Before she even knew it, Twilight found herself at the edge of town, her friend Fluttershy's cottage right in front of her. The unicorn never planned to see any of her friends today, but she decided she needed some pony to talk to. She quietly approached the door and knocked lightly, knowing how timid the yellow Pegasus was. "Come in," came a light voice from inside.
"Oh, howdy, Twi," came the voice of her good friend Applejack. The two ponies looked at her, briefly with joy, but it quickly turned into worry. "You okay, sugarcube? Seems ta me, like you've got somethin' on yer mind."
"Oh!" The purple mare spoke in surprise, not expecting Fluttershy to already have company. "I can come back another time if you've already got visitors."
"No, no, come on in, Twilight," the yellow pony replied softly. "You're no bother to any of us. In fact, we were just talking about you. We're all concerned about you." She'd already told her friends what Dr Whooves told her, and they all supported her and gave her advice much like Spike did. Still, it simply wasn't enough for her. The unicorn needed to know why Celestia knew and never told her.
Twilight dived into the details of her day, upon her friends' insistence. When she would slip into a rant on how she felt the princess didn't trust her, the two of them would gently bring her down and back to her senses. After a cup of tea, and getting those feelings off her back, the unicorn already felt much better about the circumstances. Until, however, after hearing a funny joke from the farmer she paused in mid-laugh and suddenly went wide-eyed, a look of shock on her face.
"W...where am I?" Twilight spoke with some fear in her voice. "Last thing I remember... Spike was reading a letter to me from Princess Luna."
Fluttershy and Applejack looked at each other with concern etched upon their faces. "Well, lucky ya told us all about it, Twi.' The orange pony started.
"Yeah," the pink maned pony continued. "You told us how Spike read you the letter from the princess, and then you wondered off for a walk and came here. You then told us about how you felt that the princess doesn't trust you and we comforted you about it."
"Oh, right," the unicorn responded. "Well, look at the time. I'd better get going home." Seeing the look on her earth pony friend's face, she added in, "No, don't worry. I'll be just fine, Applejack." Without another word to either pony, Twilight turned tail and left, slowly walking back to the library, the sun just beginning to set beyond the horizon. How could she suddenly forget almost four hours like that?
This wasn't a new occurrence to her, as she had lost some time before. It happened especially when studying for important tests, or when she found a very interesting book... but never had she lost more then a couple of minutes before. It disturbed her a little bit, but she felt like there was no pony she could talk to about it, not if the princess didn't trust her. Not if she didn't have the time to even write to her.
Sure, she knew she sounded selfish, but she never asked much of her teacher. In fact, this was probably the biggest thing she ever asked of her. Before she even knew it, the purple unicorn had arrived back home to find the library dark. Opening the door quietly, the young mare slowly worked her way upstairs and into her bedroom. Inside, nestled in his bed on the opposite side of the room, lay Spike, fast asleep already. Twilight rolled her eyes and sighed, following suit. The whole day had left her emotionally drained.
Over the next few days, Twilight became progressively worse in terms of mood. Spike warned her friends about how she would get this way. Symptoms of 'Test Stress', as Spike called it, often included short-term memory loss and irritability. However, the events of the previous day had pushed her over the edge, prompting great worry from her five friends when she went ballistic at them over petty little things.
Twilight Sparkle started the day as usual, dragging herself out of bed a little before ten in the morning and into the bathroom to take care of her usual chores. Afterwards, she dragged herself down to breakfast, the cheerful morning light a stark contrast to her mood. Spike had woken up uncharacteristically early for some unknown reason. Nothing short of Rarity could get him up at this time of day, which had the surly unicorn pondering his chipper mood.
"Morning, Twilight," he spoke as he passed her some wheat pancakes and syrup. "I was wondering if you'd come with me to Sugarcube Corner this afternoon. Pinkie said she had something she wanted to show everyone! She sounded pretty excited too, which really has me wondering."
"Uh-huh," the purple unicorn replied, absent minded. It was still too early for her to process just exactly what he said, but she heard 'afternoon' and 'Sugarcube Corner'. It could only be some sort of party with some weird new game she wanted to show them all. She decided to humour her pink friend, at the very least, as she needed a distraction from the anxiety of awaiting the princess' letter.
In the meantime, the student took to doing what she did best: study and research. Today, she would browse through some of the books she brought out of the cellar a few days ago. There had to be a book in there with interesting, unknown spells in it somewhere. Perhaps the next time they met, she could show them off to the princess? She always loved to hear and see her progress on pony magic and the magic of friendship.
Spike decided to stick around, just to make sure she had everything she needed, but that was only part of the reason. As much as he hated being around Twilight when she was like this, her friends asked him to keep her in sight at all times so that she didn't miss the appointment that afternoon. They wouldn't tell him what it was; just the time and place she needed to be.
"Come on, Twi! I wanna see what it is!" Spike whined a few hours later as the duo slowly walked to the shop, the baby dragon riding on the unicorn's back. The mare rolled her eyes, unsurprised at the little dragon's enthusiasm, but not really in the mood to humour him today. She groaned to herself as she approached the bakery, having wanted to stay in her library all day, but her assistant wouldn't have any of it.
"Surprise!" Came a cry from all of her friends the very instant she walked inside. Twilight was a little taken aback by the streamers and balloons. It quickly became apparent to her just what exactly they planned to do.
"Let me guess," the purple mare spoke sarcastically. "You're all throwing me a surprise party to help cheer me up." She had to admit that Pinkie Pie really went all-out this time. The entire shop was caked in a thin layer of confetti, streamers dripping from the ceiling like broken spider webs. On a long table sat a bowl of purple punch, a three-layer cake and an assortment of party snacks. Looking on one of the walls, she could even see a game of 'pin the tail on the pony.'
"Yep!" Pinkie chirped as she bounced out from behind the cake, many more ponies emerging from the woodwork. "We've all been so worried about you, especially after what happened yesterday when you yelled at every pony, and I know you're not exactly a party pony, but how could you not enjoy yourself here with your friends and a whole bunch of other ponies who only care for your well-being? I mean, come on, every pony in town has been talking and I figured if you were surrounded by friends, you'd feel better!"
In one corner of the room stood a familiar grey Pegasus who nodded her head when pinkie finished her spiel. "Crabs chirp at dawn, Twilight!" Derpy spoke, somewhat surprised she managed to say her friends name on command. She smiled at her in a broad grin, telling the purple mare that even a pony as brainy as the mailmare could enjoy a good party every now and then.
"Fine," Twilight replied, defeated in logic by the pink party pony and her other friends.
Overall, once she got over the initial awkwardness, the purple unicorn really began to enjoy herself at the party. She drank some punch, ate some cake, and even watched a weird game called 'spin the bottle' where a pony would spin a bottle lying on the ground. Then, the pony would have to kiss whatever pony it pointed to who sat in the circle. Twilight couldn't help but laugh when Pinkie spun it and it landed on Rarity, whom she swept off her hooves and planted a quick one on the mare.
Celestia's day quickly turned into Luna's night, and before long, ponies began to leave the festivities for a night of rest. Derpy was one of the first to go, since she had to wake up at dawn to collect mail, which caused Twilight to tense up a little more without her intellectual superior. Before long though, she found Spike passed out on the table, just inches from the large cake. She smiled to herself, feeling a lot better as the din of the party died down.
"I'm going to have to go now, Pinkie," Twilight smiled to her friend. "Poor Spike's fast asleep, and it's not fair to keep him from his bed."
"Aww," Pinkie whined. "Well... as long as you had fun, I guess that's okay!"
"I did, Pinkie.... Thank you," the purple mare spoke sincerely. "I feel a lot better already!" With a smile, she picked up the unconscious dragon and put him on her back before leaving the shop. The stars in the sky twinkled beautifully as a streak whipped across the sky. Ever since the Nightmare Moon Incident, Twilight always tried to show appreciation for the night sky whenever she could. Princess Luna deserved every bit of respect that her sister got.
Before long, the two returned to the library, the pony shutting the door behind her before carrying her friend up the stairs and into their bedroom. Tucking the sleeping dragon into his bed, the unicorn let a smile slip across her face as he slept peacefully. However, that image was quickly shattered as he belched loudly, a wisp of green smoke coming from his mouth, forming into a letter. "The Princess?!" Twilight asked softly as she levitated the letter over to her desk to read it by candle light.
"My Faithful Student," the letter opened.
"I beg you to please forgive the lateness of my reply. I trust my dear sister Luna told you I've simply been too busy to respond until now, but I wish that wasn't the case. I know how much you worry when things don't happen like they should, it is a trait I am humble enough to say that we share. That said; the tone of your missive surprised me and my sister greatly. I understand you must feel betrayed; that I don't trust you enough with the truth. This is not the case.
"Yes, it is true that your parents adopted you and that they served me some years ago as my personal bodyguards. However, when it comes to your story, here is all I know. One night, some pony abandoned you at the gates of the castle. Alas, Canterlot Castle simply doesn't have the resources to deal with a newborn foal, so I was forced to give you away. Naturally, I chose your parents because I knew that they would take you in and raise you like their own.
"As for falsifying your birth certificate, I am afraid the whole thing was my idea. I didn't want you to face such a truth at such an early age. I planned on telling you one day, especially when you came under my tutelage, but I am afraid I became complacent with the lie. I should have told you a long time ago, instead of letting you find out like this. Please, Twilight, forgive this old mare for not being honest with you.
Twilight smiled at the letter her dear teacher had written. She didn't think the princess would be so open with her, or admit how wrong she was and how sorry it made her to lie like that. The unicorn suddenly felt as if the weight of the world had suddenly lifted off her haunches. Taking a deep breath, the student sighed and climbed into her bed, quickly dozing off to sleep. Once more, all was right with the world... for now.