Eventide Falls by errant

The moon had only just risen, but the unicorn Twilight Sparkle was already in her bed, her physical and magical energies utterly exhausted. I could have done without a lesson in the realities of pneumonia, if its all the same to you, she thought tiredly to herself. She had been released from the hospital just days ago, after her fever broke. She had been recovering at home ever since, under the watchful eye of whichever of her friends had been selected for "Twilight-watch" that day. Today it had been Rarity's turn, and she had proven herself a redoubtable caretaker despite her chronic obsession with cleanliness, always ready to help her friend with whatever task was currently an obstacle to the greatly-weakened Twilight. The purple-hued unicorn snuggled more comfortably under new blankets of the softest cotton she had ever felt, a gift from the hooves of the very same Rarity, who had spent most of the day working on it to pass time while Twilight slept. Her last thought, as sleep crept up on her, was gratitude for the concern of the friends she had made.

She did not wake until well after dawn, and as she stirred sleepily she became aware of another presence in the room with her. She cast her gaze about the room, till she found the familiar face of Applejack smiling down at her.

"Good mornin' sugarcube," she greeted Twilight with her usual sunny demeanor.

"Good morning to you too," the unicorn returned. "Have you been here all night?"

"Sure have. I camped out on the couch downstairs for most of the night."

"I wish you girls wouldn't do that. I've told you that you don't need to worry about watching me all night. I'll be all right as soon as I go to bed."

"No can do, Twilight," Applejack replied with a toss of her mane. "We won't leave you alone till you're back to your old self."

"I promise you all that I'll make it up to you. I feel so guilty, with you all giving up your time to stay here and nurse me."

"Ah, ponyfeathers. That's what friends are for, Twilight. But, well, I have to ask yah somethin'."

"What is it, Applejack?"

"Well, yah see, its like this: Princess Celestia sent a letter yesterday asking that we all meet her at Canterlot Castle today. We can't ignore a royal summons, but we don't want to leave yah alone either," she trailed off, looking at Twilight with obvious embarrassment.

"Applejack! Don't beat yourself up over it. I'll be perfectly fine here. How much harm can I come to in a library? Besides, I won't be alone. Spike is here too, you know."

"Well, if you're sure you're ok with it…"

"I am perfectly fine with it! Did the Princess say what she wanted you for?"

"Nah, just that she wanted our help with something. She also said that she would have liked for you to come too, but she knows you aren't well yet and she wants you to stay here and rest."

"I certainly will," Twilight replied as she adjusted her blankets. "Tell everyone I said 'hello' and you can tell me all about it when you get back."