Best Night Ever (Extended Edition) Part 4
Luna looked around the table. "You don't know just how good it's been to be here, talking to you all. It's inspired me...I look at all of you, what you've accomplished, what you're going to accomplish, and I'm more determined than ever to get back up to full moon-raising status. It's past time I made that Princess tag on the front of my name mean something."
She looked over to Celestia. "Big sis, do you think I'll be ready to solo by the winter solstice?"
"If you work diligently with Twilight Sparkle, I believe so. I feel the power inside you, what you still lack is the finesse to fully exploit it. Twilight has considerable power of her own, and in learning to control it, she's worked hard on training methods that I think would benefit you."
"I'll help in any way I can, of course!" Twilight quickly added.
Celestia smiled. "If you want an example of her work, cast your vision back about three months, to two days after the new moon."
Luna's eyes fixed on something only she could see. After a few seconds she winced. "Ow! Why didn't I feel a magical spike like that, especially from somewhere as near as Ponyville... Oh, I remember, I put too much effort in to helping with the lunar loft that night, and went to bed with a horn-ache and a sleeping draught. Let's see..."
She blinked a couple of times, and then frowned.
"An Ursa Minor!" She shook her head, "What is that idiot unicorn doing, not you Twilight, that... Trixie? Using physical attacks against a magical beast? Give her credit for having the horn to try and do something, but she clearly doesn't have a clue! Aha... The main event... a Wind Whistler spell, looks like you _did_ do the research. Mind affecting spells are far more likely to succeed..."
"Magical beasts have good reflex and fortitude saves, but poor will saves." Pinkie whispered to Dash, who just looked at her confused. You could tell she was about to comment on Pinkie's randomness, but Luna started speaking again.
"Why the water tower... oh, now that's elegant, I see what big sis means about finesse, and with the milking done blind too... No way! You did not just loft a couple of hundred tons of creature and haul it all the way back to a cave halfway across the Everfree Forest!"
She stopped replaying the vision, and looked right at Twilight Sparkle instead. "Are you sure you're not hiding a pair of wings under that cloak? I wouldn't have believed any-pony short of an alicorn could shift that much mass, and so gently."
Twilight was blushing furiously under the praise. "But I didn't mention any specifics in my report. How did Princess Celestia know... oh, gee, the Mayor again?"
Celestia smiled. "She did indeed. When I felt that magical pulse, it woke me out of a sound sleep. I could feel it was your magical signature, but as Luna has taken back that part of her portfolio, I couldn't watch for myself. The mayor's flame mail told me what had happened. I though about sending you a letter, but I wanted to wait until I had time to say directly how proud I was of you that night. There was also another reason..."
Luna looked up to see the white alicorn's gaze on her. "You thought I might get jealous?" her first words were angry, but then, she stopped herself and said more slowly. "Maybe... maybe you're right. I do so want you to be proud of me. Not being able to take on my full duties, then having some-pony else get praised..."
"You might have thought you were being replaced." Celestia's eyes held only sympathy. "The two of you have a lot in common."
"I don't like admitting I could be so petty." Luna sighed. "Especially as I agree. That was something to be proud of."
"The fact that you're willing to admit something like that does make me proud, very proud indeed. You are my sister, and no matter who else I care for, and nothing can change how I feel about you. Despite what I had to do to protect Equestria, and protect you from falling deeper into Nightmare Moon, I never stopped loving you. No-pony can replace you in my heart."
There was something unguarded about the Sun Princess, as if she'd dropped some wall or barrier that was normally always there. "I asked you that day, in front of these same ponies, if you would accept my forgiveness. I wanted to wait until you'd... healed before I asked for your forgiveness, for what I did to you."
Luna snagged another doughnut and head lowered appeared to be inspecting it carefully. At least that was at first glance, but the distant look in her eyes told a different story. "You did what you had to do, to stop Nightmare Moon from doing anything irreversible..."
She looked up, and her gaze was directly on her sister. "Of course I forgive you! You saved me from permanently turning into some-pony I did not want to be. If my foalishness had actually killed some-pony.. Learning a thousand years of missed history and magic is a small thing compared to that."
The Fellowship of Harmony to a pony felt an unaccountable lump in their throats as the two Princesses touched muzzles again. This was the second time that night they'd seen a pony peek out from under the diadem Celestia wore. Twilight Sparkle in particular was starting to realise just what it must mean to be the Princess and not the pony, for a thousand years without a break.
When they separated, Luna relaxed a bit. She finally took a bite of her contemplation doughnut, and said nothing, for her mouth was full. Then she chewed, and swallowed, and spoke. "Speaking of learning, we're back to Twilight Sparkle."
She gazed over at the purple unicorn. "My pegasus chariot team are going to be busy. And so are you. It doesn't seem quite fair to ask you to put in all that time, and get so little in return."
"That doesn't matter, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. To work with you..."
"Still, I can't help but remember that this was supposed to be your time with my sister. I've rather messed it up, we all have. I was hoping you'd accept something to make it up to you." Luna looked up at Celestia. "Our next one was at the quarter moon..."
Celestia actually looked surprised. "Luna, you can't mean..."
"I know how limited your free time is. And I get to see you every day. I'm sure I can survive missing one of our private sessions to let Twilight finally get the chance she's been wanting to talk to you. She'll probably have be horn-lofting Ursa Majors for training about then."
Twilight started. "Luna, you don't need..."
Luna gave a shake of her head, whipping her mane back and forth. "Yes I do. I need to prove, to myself most of all that I won't be jealous, that I can share my sisters attention with others without feeling threatened. And if there's one other pony I owe more than I can ever repay, it's the one who pulled the Elements of Harmony together, found the way to bring me back. Please, accept it in the spirit that it's offered."
"I'm humbled." Twilight bowed her head. "Of course, if Princess Celestia is willing, then I'd love to!"
The Princess in question nodded, beaming, which wasn't surprising, considering her portfolio. She was both surprised and pleased with the way her sister was going above and beyond anything she'd expected so soon. Even she hadn't expected the magic of friendship to have this big an effect. "As you wish, my dearest Luna."
"Actually, there was something else I wanted to ask about... the reason why I want to get up to bringing up the moon on my own by winter solstice." Luna had turned almost as shy as she'd started out.
"I'd like to have a party, an official re-introduction, not just the court but every-pony You have the summer solstice celebration, and I was thinking, for the longest night of the year, I can put on a really special night sky. I want to make it clear I'm back and doing my part."
Pinkie Pie perked up at the suggestion of the party, then remembering what the Gala had been like calmed down.
Celestia gave an indulgent chuckle. "Why do I suspect you have more than one motive?"
"Because you know me too well." Luna grinned back. "I was sort of thinking that rather than a big formal ball, we make it more of a festival, a carnival, all through the night. Games and music you can dance to, and dancing to the music you can dance to. All the things the Gala isn't."
Celestia raised her eyebrows. "A Canterlot party that's about enjoying yourself rather than showing off how rich and powerful you are? It might be worth trying, just for the shock value. Of course, as this is a once in a lifetime event, I'm sure all my regular guests at the Gala will be eager to be there..."
Both of them were failing to hide identical smirks. Luna continued.
"And they'll welcome, as long as they're willing to accept, my party, my rules! Such as a dance floor is for dancing, not standing around talking. Of course, if the Gala's anything to go by, the staff at the palace seem to have forgotten a party's supposed to be fun. We're going to need outside help, some-pony who's an expert in parties, and fun... But where in Equestria would we find some-pony?"
"Oh, oh, oh, I know!" Pinkie Pie was threatening to take out the lighting with her bouncing. "Me! Me! For I am the best at parties, everybody will agree! If it's in winter, you could have snowball fights and hot chestnuts and mulled apple-juice and ice skating outside, and fancy dancing and funny dancing and funky dancing and karaoke inside..."
"Alright, alright..." Luna waved a hoof. "You invited me to one of your parties in Ponyville. If I enjoy it, and I'm sure you will, you've got the job."
"Yay! This is the greatest night ever!" Pinkie Pie was so excited, she looked like she was about to explode... twice. "I won't fail you Princess! This party will be the party to end all parties, except that it won't because that would be a bad thing, instead it will inspire parties... forever!"
"That sounds about right." Luna giggled. "But that still leaves me with another problem. I don't have a thing to wear..."
Rarity was not stupid, and could see what was coming, though she was holding her breath through sheer force of will.
"Would you have any ideas, Rarity?" Luna asked.
"yes!" she squeaked, then managed to repeat herself in a more normal voice. "Yes! I'm sure I can make you a dress befitting your status, and the dignity of the occasion."
"Well, it's got to be something I can dance in as well." Luna added. "And it would be two dresses, since you'd be making one for my big sister as well."
"She would?" Celestia asked, amused.
"Well I hope so." Luna replied. "I know there's a whole 'official appearance' thing going on with the Royal regalia, but I'd love to see you in something different. When's the last time you got yourself a new dress anyway?"
"It has been a number of centuries." The sun princess admitted with a sign. "They seem to keep falling to pieces within a few decades, no matter how they're cared for. It's probably why I no longer have an official dressmaker. It's rather expected of me to appear like this for official functions. I suppose I have got rather set in my ways."
"Then this is the perfect chance for you to do something different, have some fun with it! We can put it down to my party, my rules again." Luna said excitedly.
Celestia thought about it. "Very well, but there will need to be three dresses. One for you, one for me, and one for Sunny Day Skies."
"You're not going to stay as yourself?" Luna asked, then looked around the table.
"It's alright. I know Pony Joe is trustworthy, I'm sure if we asked them to, they'll all keep the secret." Celestia reassured her.
Pinkie Pie nodded furiously. "Absolutely! Not keeping some-pony's secrets is the fastest way to loose a friendship..."
"Forever!" the rest of the fellowship finished in chorus, and burst out in giggles.
At the princesses odd looks, Twilight added. "It's a long story, involving Fluttershy, Rarity, a modelling contract, and apple-cide. Uh... so what is the secret we're going to be keeping?"
Celestia appeared to shrink, and in a few seconds a regular pegasus pony stood in her place. She was sky blue, though she retained her unique mane and tail striping but in brighter colours, tied in a pony-tail. A simpler version of the solar cutie-mark shone on her flank. She still spoke in Celestia's voice.
"My alter-ego. Although we can know what happens under the sun, or moon in my little sister's case, there are still times we wanted to go among our subjects incognito, to find out things in person. Though I admit, I haven't done it for... over two hundred years, has it really been that long? My goodness, I have been slacking off." There was a humourous tone to her last sentence.
"I have Selene." Luna changed slightly, and was a unicorn pony with her hair tied up in a bun and large wire rimmed glasses.
Twilight was looking hard. "But those aren't illusions, they're real shape changes! Self-transformation is the hardest of all magic to do! Um...if you don't mind me asking Luna, if you could do something this hard, why would you need the Moonlight Shadow, and why the cloak when you came here?"
"I can only do this easily because I'm not my full size, so the changes are minimal. Of course, if I was my full size, I'd be my full power and holding this form would be simple. As for the cloak, big sis asked me to come as myself." Luna shifted back to normal.
"I guess that makes sense... and Selene is another name for the moon, but Sunny Day Skies... unless..." She wrinkled her muzzle. "It's a Sunny dis-guise, isn't it?"
"Well done." Sunny said approvingly. "My own small pun. I usually just go by the name Sunny Skies."
"Begging your pardon princess, but won't every-pony recognise your voice?" Applejack asked.
"They would, if it was the one I used." She gave a cough, and continued, in a faster and more casual sounding voice, tapping out a best with a hoof. "Sunny Skies, pleased to meet-cha. I think my wings are my best feature. They send my through the skies just like a meteor, and if you try to race me then I'm gonna beet-cha!"
The ponies all goggled at the sight of Princess Celestia rapping.
She continued in her normal voice. "I don't believe any-pony would assume I'm Princess Celestia in disguise. Sometimes being obvious and unusual is the best kind of invisible. Which is what I'll need to be for most of this celebration. I'll be there officially at the start, but if I stay, it will attract attention away from Luna."
Luna added. "Not to mention you can have more fun this way!"
"There is that." Sunny agreed. "So, do you think you can do the job?"
"Oh my, yes..." Rarity was clearly about two seconds from a Rainbow Dash style geek-out. "I wish I had some of my portfolio, so you could see what you might like..."
She looked around the room. "Maybe I can do something about that. Pardon me, Mr Joe, but could I borrow the other side of the café for a few minutes? I promise nothing will be damaged."
"Go ahead." Pony Joe grinned. "You folks have been pretty entertaining so far."
"Twilight? Do you remember the cues for the fashion show? And would you be a dear and put up some curtains?" Rarity was already trotting around, touching her horn to the various costumes. Tears magically sealed up, dirt and cake vanished, bows re-tied themselves.
"I think so." Twilight's horn glowed, and a set of stage curtains in a frame manifested, blocking off the other side of the café beyond the door. "But you're the one who guides the music and effects, I just got behind what you were doing and pushed."
"And it worked marvellously..." The white unicorn looked down at her fore-hooves. "If only I had my other slipper. My ensemble won't look right without it."
"Here you go!" Pinkie Pie dropped a dustpan full of bits of crystal on the table in front of her.
"But... where did you get this?" Rarity exclaimed.
"From the Palace steps of course!" Pinkie replied. "I was worried some-pony might hurt themselves, and I thought you might need it, and you did, so here it is."
Rainbow Dash gave her a look. "And do you always carry a dustpan and brush to royal balls?"
"So far, yes, because I've only been to this one, and I brought a dustpan and brush to it."
"Why?" Rainbow asked, perplexed.
"In case I needed to sweep something up silly, why else?" Pinkie shook her head as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Rainbow looked about to continue, then shrugged her wings and settled down to watch Rarity. She levitated some glasses out of an inside pocket, and they now perched on her muzzle.
Her horn glowed gently, and the pieces down to the motes of crystal dust floated up in mid air in front of her, like a miniature snow-storm frozen in mid-billow. A small diamond hovered at the centre of it, drawn from another inside pocket. The glow of her horn increased, and larger parts started floating together, smaller motes swirling around them, trying to find places to fit.
The cluster of glass fragments shrunk in on itself, accreting around the diamond which seemed to melt into the glass. As pieces fit together, lines of light formed along the cracks, until the completed shoe was covered in a delicate tracery of light. It brightened until the entire shoe was glowing, and then faded, leaving an intact shoe that floated gently down to the table, landing with a gentle 'ting'.
Rarity raised her bare fore-hoof and placed it in the shoe. It fit perfectly, and stayed on when she put her hoof back on the floor. "Much better!"
Twilight was as impressed as every-pony else. "Gosh, I'm not sure even I could duplicate that, certainly not without a lot of work. I can see you used the law of sympathy to guide it back into the shape it had, but why the diamond?"
"Something I found out by accident, darling. I use magic to fuse the gems to a dress, much more secure than gluing or weaving. So one day I found that I could fuse a gem all the way, infuse it rather, and the fabric or whatever would take on the qualities of the gem. Adding a diamond makes it very tough and resistant to damage. The only reason I could shatter it was because I made it in the first place."
"Wow!" Twilight sounded fascinated, and Luna did too. "I want to see if I can learn that spell, work out the arithmancy and dynamics behind it. If you don't mind sharing. Think of the applications!"
"I want in on that!" Luna added eagerly. "If it isn't a trade secret, as Twilight said."
"Of course not." Rarity replied breezily. "My dresses are the finest because of my creative skills, not because of some technical trickery, as you'll soon see."
In a moment, all the fellowship was shuffled behind the curtains, and the show began. Rarity stepped out, apparently without her dress, and lit up her horn. Music started to play, the chords from 'Also Spake Zathura' and visible illusions wove themselves around the watchers, creating effects that really shouldn't have fitted in a diner.
Two minutes of awesome later, the six members of the fellowship stood framed by the fully open curtains, with Rarity in the middle,horn still glowing.
"Marvellous!" said Celestia. "Bravo!"
Luna shook her head. "You had me at the repaired shoe, but big sis is right. That was amazing! Looks like Applejack's farm isn't the only place that's going to get a 'By Royal Appointment' on their letter-head."
"Oh thank you!" Rarity exclaimed, looking about ready to faint. She steadied herself and asked. "So, is there anything you particularly wanted?"
Luna mused. "I did like Twilight's but Dash's was really great too... Actually all of them, but an astronomical theme would be good."
Twilight's horn glowed again, and the stage setting vanished. "I suggest you just give Rarity a general idea and some measurements , then let her get on with it. We tried to micro-manage the designs originally, and they turned out to be disasters. These are all her. She's the fashion genius."
"Then I'll do that." Luna nodded, and looked over at Celestia, who'd shifted back to normal. "What do you think?"
The princess of the sun smiled back at her sister. "I think I'm going to have a new dress very shortly. By all means, oh, this is going to be such fun!"
Pinkie Pie looked around the happy faces of her friends. "Fun is my middle name, well actually it's Diane, but if it wasn't, it would be fun. And it looks like we've had that, and we're all going to have much more fun now that Luna's our friend too!"
"Why do I feel a song bearing down on us?" Twilight asked, rhetorically.
"Because while it started out pretty badly, we really have had the best night ever!" Pinkie exclaimed as music rose up around them.
She started singing, and the others joined in on the chorus.
"At the Gala, when we got there,
We had such sparkling hopes,
For what we'd do and see there at the Gala!"
"At the Gala!" they all sang.
Pinkie Pie continued.
"When we tried to, realise them,
They had us on the ropes,
All our wishes fell to pieces,
Right there at the Gala."
"All our dreams they crashed and burned,
Right there at the Gala!
At the Gala!"
"But then after, when we got here, our night it didn't end,
We found the worst night's better, When you share it with your friends,
As we shared tales of disaster, right after the Gala!"
"Though our dreams and our hopes,
Had gotten pretty mangled,
Talking through them with our friends,
Made things seem less tangled."
"With some doughnuts!" Pinkie Pie added.
Rarity took up the song. "I had hoped for, a Prince Charming, instead I got a chump. "
Applejack went next. "My appletastic treats they just weren't selling."
Rainbow Dash continued. "I was hanging, with my idols, but it seemed like I'd got dumped."
Pinkie Pie finished. "And if there was a party, no-body was telling!"
"This was what we'd waited for,
To have the best night ever.
But it wasn't working out,
It didn't seem so clever.
At the Gala!"
"But then Princess, Celestia,
came and joined the party,
Told us that, our disaster,
Came out right there in the end,
We'd livened up the Gala,
Although we'd wrecked her parlour,
But now she needed our help talking to a new friend!"
"Then came a pony, in a cloak,
It was the Princess Luna,
Got to help her with a problem,
Should have happened sooner!
That got the Princess giggling.
"When we put our heads together,
And with Princess Luna's help,
Fluttershy will meet her critters, Applejack's pies they will sell,
Rainbow Dash will get her try out with the Wonderbolts as well,
Twilight Sparkle, Rarity too,
Both will say it worked out quite well!"
"This is we'd hoped for, at the Gala,
At the Gala!"
Twilight took over,
"This is we'd hoped for, at the Gala,
At the Gala!"
Twilight took over,
"And we've got more, than we'd hoped for,
When we started out this night,
I will work on Luna's magic,
and we'll bring new things to light,
Granny Smith gets her new hip, Blueblood learns to be more polite."
"This is now the best night EVER!" They chorused.
"After the Gala, we must go;
We're ready now, we're all aglow.
Each of now we have something,
to work on for the future,
Working together as a team,
Unstoppable, we're all agleam,"
Fluttershy sang up. "On to the gardens, meet new friends!"
Applejack was next. "Sweet Apple Acres, plant new orchards!"
Rarity sang elegantly. "For the Princesses, make new dresses!
Rainbow Dash rocked her line. "Prove I can do all a Wonderbolt can!"
"To meet!" "To grow!" "To craft!" "To show!" "Party!" "Research!"
"After the Gala,
Out of the Gala
We've now had the BEST NIGHT EVER...
At the Gala!"
Then they had more doughnuts.
Author's Notes: Oh, by all that's sweet made of apples and goes well with custard, that was a toughie! Trying to match lyrics with someone as talented as Daniel Ingram is a losing proposition to start with. I also hope that my mangling of it still scans. If you want the full effect there's a beautifully done Karaoke version on Youtube done by the incredibly talented Infinitydash. Just search for 'at the gala karaoke'.
I apologise for the wait, I had a LARP downtime to go in, and then I had a severe case of cold feet. I hope that this last part is even close to as good as what people were hoping for. Now I'm finished with this, I can move on to other projects.
I have a one-shot 3.5 RP to write, based on the 'Mare in the Moon part 2', and I have to finish the next chapter of Cerinia Chronicles, not to mention Training Tails. I may also put up a teaser for the next long pony project I have in mind, 'Cutie Mark Adventures'. What if the terrible trio used a spell to take them where they could find their cutie marks? What if that was a lot further than they expected? D&D 3.5 worlds are so much fun!
I hope to do more for 'Celestia's Workbook', but I was hit by another idea that has been taking up my lunch times. How would a pony by the name of Applejack fare on the planet of New Texas? Bravestarr / Friendship is Magic crossover anyone? Of course, she'd need some upgrades...