It was sunset in Canterlot, and the sun had fulfilled its job that day; flowers and creatures soaked and played in the daily rays, and bedtime was nearing as the silver moon began to slowly descend into the pastel sky. Many fillies were already in bed, and many candles had already stopped burning.
"Twilight Sparkle, it's getting late," Celestia pointed out, watching with pride as her star student levitated her entire dinner plate higher and higher into the sky. "You need some sleep, my student. Tomorrow is a big day; I want to take you to Ponyville sometime in the afternoon." She sighed as her words seemed to fall on deaf ears, the filly far too engrossed into her spell to hear her. Smirking slyly, the princess knew how to instantly get her pupil's attention. "You know, I'm very proud you've mastered this spell so quickly!"
"Really?" Twilight Sparkle didn't even flinch as the plate of food came crashing down on her head, only concentrated on drinking up every moment of praise from her beloved mentor. "Oh, really? Thank you so much, Princess Celestia! I really tried hard – I was studyin' all night!"
The princess smiled, rising with her food covered student and beginning to walk back to the palace. "Oh, I know, my student. You improve every day and I couldn't be any prouder." She beamed at the excited childish sparkle in the little mare's eyes. "Pretty soon, you'll be able to do the kind of spells I can do."
"Wow! Will I be able to raise the sun and moon?"
Her teacher chuckled awkwardly, not wanting to break her student's spirit. "Well...we'll see." They reached the entrance to the palace, trotting through the doors as the servants opened them. She noticed that every so often, Twilight Sparkle kept glancing back at the distant forest, wrinkling her tiny snout."What is it, dear?"
The filly hesitated, wondering if she should ask her teacher this. The forest had been forbidden for as long as she could remember, since Celestia was convinced that her magic just wasn't strong enough to take on the possible dangerous foes. Her confidence boosted with her teacher's words, the filly decided to let her eyes do the explaining: she looked at the direction of the forest.
"No, my student." Celestia shook her head, beginning to lead her disheartened pupil to the bath chambers.
"I said no, Twilight." Celestia's voice was a bit firmer now, but she was still lightly and sympathetically smiling. "You aren't ready yet."
The filly tried not to let frustration leak into her voice, firmly against giving her teacher any attitude, even the seldom days she was a bit mad at her. "But you always say that! And you just said I'm improving, so why can't I go? I could take the monsters in there! Didn't you say I have more magic than you ever saw in a filly?"
"That you do," Celestia agreed. "But I'm sorry, you aren't there yet. One day I will take you, I promise."
"No buts, my student." The tone in the princess's voice hinted that there was no more discussion, so the irritated foal left it at that. "Now go..." Celestia giggled, looking at the apple sauce dripping off her student's mane. "..have a bath, dear. I'll see you first thing in the morning. Make sure you go to bed early tonight."
Begrudgingly, the filly nodded and gave a respectful bow to her teacher, bidding her a good night as she was escorted into the royal bathroom by a servant.
She crawled, careful to keep her body low to the ground and out of the range of a servant's – or worse – the princess's watching eyes from the palace windows. The last thing she needed was to be caught and taken back to the palace, where she'd probably have to endure a long lecture from the princess, and a scolding. In all honesty though, Twilight rarely disobeyed, and when she did it was only small enough to earn her a light scolding or perhaps a privilege to be taken from her. This was one of the first real misdeeds to her teacher.
The Everfree Forest was deadly calm this time of night, a far cry from its busy chirping of birds; screeches and growls of animals, and the babbling brook in the day. Twilight Sparkle was thankful she had the moon to accompany her tonight; it made spotting nature's obstacles – like trees and rocks – so much easier.
"I wonder if I'll find a manticore.." Wouldn't that be something to bring back to the princess! It wouldn't be too hard to wrangle, like a giant kitty cat...only with needle sharp fangs and claws. She knew exactly what manticores looked like from the many books she had read and the ones her teacher had read to her. "I'd be able to take a manticore hooves down! I could wrangle it in seconds with a good levitat-"
-she slammed into something hard. Bristles seemed to bury into her face a bit before the filly toppled onto her back. Grimacing, she brushed away the tufts of fur from her face and mane. The tufts of...fur? The filly suddenly found herself staring straight at the thick golden paws; the curved silver claws, and the growing puddle of saliva by its feet. Adrenaline pumping, Twilight Sparkle hopped eagerly, her horn already glowing with excitement.
"Wow, you're so much bigger than I thought you'd be!" Wasting no time, she channeled the magic like a lasso, which wrapped around the manticore's paws and bound them tightly. The filly then proceeded to envelope the livid creature with a purple haze, lifting it higher into the air. It was working – she was doing it!...Not for long. Twilight quickly realized that lifting a thousand pound magical lion was a little different than lifting a dinner plate or a basket of fruit.
The manticore went crashing down into the bushes, shaking the land as it did. The filly felt her chest tighten with a sudden panic as the great beast rose, its fur bristling with rage, eyes smouldering with fire. It roared, but Twilight was frozen rigid. It was only when the beast began to charge for her, did the filly finally break from her trance and run off, screaming.
"Princess Celestia! Princess! Princess Celestia – help me!" Shrieking desperately and running blindly – too blindly; the unicorn's face smacked into the ground. Trembling, she looked back, watching her approaching demise helplessly. The manticore pounced, claws outstretched and prepared to rip into her flesh. She barely felt the ghost of the tip of his claws before she was suddenly swooped up into the sky. Even if she didn't know who had saved her, the flowing rainbow mane confirmed it.
Celestia ascended higher and higher into the sky, avoiding every attempt of the manticore's attacks. The beast's wings could be seen fluttering from below and it rose from the trees, hot on their tail. Celestia spun around, sending a blast of energy – which slammed into the manticore's face, sending it hurtling to the ground below. Their predator was nowhere in sight, but Celestia knew they weren't out of the woods yet. (Literally.) She flapped insistently, using the moon as a guide through the ebony black darkness, finally finding a clearing to land.
The filly curled up into a shaking ball as she was stood back on the ground. She waited for the most likely hour long lecture. But it didn't come. Grim faced Celestia's head was high, standing on one of the taller rocks from the brook and listening intently.
Maybe I can slip by without her noticing...
"Twilight Sparkle, get over here right now, young lady." The filly jumped back in alarm at the sudden sharpness to Celestia's tone, not daring to sneak by another step. Her mentor did not ever yell, and she did not ever snap. Though this was only a deeply stern tone, it still frightened the filly; she was so accustomed to Celestia's maternal nature. Little did she know, she'd be seeing a lot more of that maternal side tonight.
The purple mare was quick to scurry through the fallen leaves, hopping over a few logs too. She kept her head down, too frightened to meet her teacher's stone cold disappointed gaze. Still, the filly stayed right in front of her teacher, averting her eyes towards Celestia's golden shoes, that gleamed with a luminous sparkle in the night.
"Twilight, what in the world did you think you were doing?" Celestia demanded. Her voice was notably shaking slightly – in fear – of what she had almost witnessed. "I come and find you deep into the forest in the middle of the night, prepared to catch a MANTICORE? Prepared, no – you aren't prepared – you just run right into the woods with the intention of wrangling a manticore! What on earth were you trying to accomplish?"
Tears were already making their way into Twilight Sparkle's pretty and quivering little eyes. A lump formed in her throat, making even forcing out a few words excruciatingly difficult. She wasn't a crier, not when it came to pain or a lot of situations, but this was the first time she had truly disappointed her beloved mentor and idol. "I...I just wanted to t-try a spell. I thought I-I could do it..."
The princess was silent for a few minutes, letting her young pupil weep and sniffle in shame. From above, the moonlight shifted its dim silver rays over the land, illuminating a tree nearby. Celestia's eyes were fixed on the tree as she contemplated the dreadful decision. The princess sighed as she slowly made her way to the tree, dreading the thought even more than her oblivious little pupil would be.
"Pr-princess?" Twilight sniffled, confused as Celestia bucked off a small branch from the tree. The wood was very thin and long, decorated with a few bright leaves – which Celestia stripped off. The apprehensive filly stepped back, puzzled. Was this a lesson? Was she supposed to levitate this branch? Her teacher walked up to her, switch in mouth, looking like she was the one that had just behaved so terribly.
"Princess?" The confused little mare rubbed at her eyes, blinking, completely confused as Celestia's hoof gently wrapped around her middle, and pressed her into her leg. Puzzled and worried, the tiny unicorn lightly clutched to her teacher's leg. She looked up, and her eyes widened twice their size when she saw her teacher reluctantly raise the switch, and realization suddenly hit.
So did the switch. The mare let out a high pitched gasp and a yelp as she felt the hard wood smack against her little rump. She wrapped her hooves around the princess's leg, crying out as the next swat landed. The spanks were not terribly hard, but well enough to sting and cause her flanks to quickly turn pink.
Twilight Sparkle started sobbing, instinctively fighting against the princess's loving, but firm hold. Her tail flicked around and her little hind legs squirmed; her front legs kept hugging her teacher's leg for dear life. After five swats, the wood was quickly thrown into the brook. The hiccuping and sobbing little mare buried into the grass and into her teacher's leg. Celestia made no movement, ears and head high, tracking the manticore's distant growl from the forest. Hastily, she picked up the weeping filly with her mouth, darting through the trees and bushes, never looking back. The only sound now was her scrapping hooves, rustling leaves, and her student's cries. The princess finally halted after several minutes, unable to properly pant with the foal in her mouth. She contemplated setting Twilight down, but looking down at the weeping mare and her marked up bum, and she thought better of it.
Twilight Sparkle hiccuped and sobbed, covering her face with shame. She so badly wished that her teacher would say something – anything. It didn't even cross her mind at the fact that Celestia wasn't able to speak to her right now. The filly was just desperate to make the silence end. She needed to know that her teacher still cared about her. What if she didn't? What if she was planning on sending her home tomorrow? Banish her from the palace?
Celestia's hooves quietly clopped up the porcelain steps of the palace as she made her way through the heavy doors. Her hooves took on a softer tone as they walked over a plush carpet stretching over the steps that led to the bed chambers.
Tears still dripping from her muzzle, the filly expected to be put down at the entrance to the chambers. This was where student and teacher normally bid each other good night and parted until the sun once again rose. Here is where Twilight was usually escorted to her quarters by a servant, and the filly waited miserably to be set down. She wouldn't be surprised if Celestia left her without a good night.
The princess did something that confused the little foal: she turned through the bed chambers and began walking to her student's bedroom with the sniffling filly's scruff still in between her teeth. Twilight blinked and watched through wet eyes as Celestia continued walking silently to her bed. A candle had been lit and was burning in a glass holder on the filly's bedside table. The covers had been pulled back by a servant, awaiting their owner's arrival.
Very very gently, Celestia lowered her head and softly laid the hiccuping filly on her tummy, before stepping up and settling onto the soft bed herself. Her student was still weeping with shame, refusing to look at her. Celestia still said nothing as she drew the trembling little mare close to her with her wings. She lowered her head and gently nuzzled the crying little foal with her snout, preening through Twilight's soft mane with a mother's touch.
Twilight Sparkle had long since abandoned her formalities, her tough facade having shattered the moment she realized she disobeyed her dear teacher. She snuggled into the alicorn, really just needing to feel her mentor and surrogate mother's soothing touch as she cried. Celestia's wings draped around her like a thin white veil of love, holding her close.
Feeling the filly snuggling under her chin, Celestia continued to wordlessly nuzzle her, smiling gently and letting her melodious tone drift through the room.
"The moon rises
In the stillness of the night...
Little darling, it's time to turn out the light..."
Rubbing her wet eyes, Twilight barely peeked out from behind her hooves, bringing her face out of her teacher's side just enough to tilt up an ear in confusion.
"So sleep, and let your head be filled with dreams...until you wake..
The moon watches down on your smiling face.."
The princess's head flowed with fragments of memories; sounds of the past resonating through her head and heart. She could see everything so clearly, in such vivid images. She remembered walking up through the bed chambers, a sobbing little indigo bundle held securely between her teeth. She remembered laying her crying little sister down on the soft purple blankets, climbing under the covers as she'd envelope her in her wings.
"Listen to my words;
they're filled with love I have for you..."
Luna's sweet blue eyes would watch her, wiping away the stray tears as she'd listen to the soft lullaby.
"Stay close to my heart
And your deepest wish will come true..."
Celestia felt her student's weight become heavier and she peered down, smiling when the tiny little filly yawned, pawing at her sleepy eyes; a soft smile across the tear stained face. She softly nuzzled the wet purple face before it flopped down onto the blankets.
Smiling, eyes creased with dew, the princess rubbed a gentle hoof over her sleeping student's back.
"And play, in the twinkling stars above that surround you..."
She turned her head silently, gazing at the moon with longing, feeling its cool beams through the window as she sung.
"No matter where you go..."
She extinguished the candle.
"...the moon will bring me back to you..."
(I wrote that song in the shower. At first, I was going to use Fluttershy's Lullaby, but then I realized I wanted a special one that Celestia maybe sung to Luna when she was little, and perhaps Twilight in situations like this. So although the notion of Trollestia is hilarious, I must admit, I don't see her that way and never will, especially with Twilight. I see Celestia as being a kind teacher and very motherly with Twilight at times, like when the filly endangers herself, gets hurt, bad dream, etc. You know, the kind of situations that would bring a maternal side out in someone. Also, if you enjoy this, please check out "Wayward Encounter" and my mini fic coming up: "Broken Spirit" (centered Discord, Fluttershy, and Twilight. Plot synopsis: Twilight accidentally badly injures Discord, and it falls to her and Fluttershy to nurse the spirit of chaos back to health.)
So although the notion of Trollestia is hilarious, I must admit, I don't see her that way and never will, especially with Twilight. I see Celestia as being a kind teacher and very motherly with Twilight at times, like when the filly endangers herself, gets hurt, bad dream, etc. You know, the kind of situations that would bring a maternal side out in someone.
Also, if you enjoy this, please check out "Wayward Encounter" and my mini fic coming up: "Broken Spirit" (centered Discord, Fluttershy, and Twilight. Plot synopsis: Twilight accidentally badly injures Discord, and it falls to her and Fluttershy to nurse the spirit of chaos back to health.)