Much Ahoof About Nothing starring Princess Celestia and her faithful student Twilight Sparkle
Twilight watched the little white starlike flowers swirl about in her cup of elderflower tea and sighed.
Rarity put down her own cup and looked at her in sudden concern from across the table. The two of them were sitting at their favourite table at the Dandelion Clock Café and enjoying a little afternoon tea together, but Rarity for some time now had noticed that Twilight, although moody at the best of times, was especially moody today for some reason.
"Darling!" she said. "That's the third time you've sighed in as many minutes! Now I know something is most definitely wrong."
Twilight lifted her face from observing the tea to look at her friend. The white-coated unicorn's eyes were regarding her with concern, but somehow Twilight didn't feel like talking to her.
"Oh Rarity. I'm fine, really," she said, and then straightaway her eyes dropped back down to the tea and its dancing flowers once more.
"Well, you most certainly do not seem fine to me!" Rarity leaned forward and slid a forehoof across the table to touch Twilight's. "Please, Twilight, I'm your friend. You can tell me anything!"
"Anything?" asked Twilight.
"Anything," replied Rarity.
"Augh!" groaned Twilight, slumping her head on the table. "That's just the problem! I have absolutely no idea what's wrong! I just have this overwhelming feeling of
. bluh." She levitated her cup up to her lips, but then thought better of it and let it float gently back down onto the table. "It's not even as if I feel sad or angry or
. Well, any emotion at all really. Just
"'Bluh'?" repeated Rarity, raising a forehoof to her chin. "That's most unlike you, Twilight. You're very seldom
"I know!" Twilight's voice was suddenly anxious. "Maybe I'm sick?"
"Perhaps you should make an appointment with Nurse Mercy for a check-up," said Rarity, but there was no conviction in her voice.
Twilight sighed again. "Oh, what's the use! I know I'm not sick. It's
it's just such a strange feeling! Like I've forgotten something, or lost something, or something's missing."
Rarity nodded and took another sip of tea, and together the two of them sat in silence for a few moments until Rarity's eyes suddenly flashed in inspiration "Oh, I have the perfect idea! A nice make-over will surely do you the world of good. Finish your tea and we'll go to Luxury Lotus's spa and have you pampered like a princess!"
At the word 'princess', Twilight felt an immediate and painful tightening in her chest. Wait, the Princess? Princess Celestia?
Oh, don't tell me! Had she forgotten to write a report to Princess Celestia again? Was that the thing that had been distracting her these past few days?
She feverishly reviewed her actions over the past few days and then breathed a sigh of relief. No, her report was sitting on her table in her study, next to the telescope, double-triple-quadruple checked and ready to send once Spike returned from his boys-only camping trip with Pipsqueak, Snips and Snails.
But if it wasn't her report, then what in Equestria was it?
Her mind slipped back to the last time she'd been in Canterlot, when she'd attended the Grand Galloping Gala with her friends. She smiled ruefully at the memory. The Gala had certainly not gone according to plan! Each of her friends had met with disappointment in one way or another that evening and even Twilight herself had had her expectations dashed. She'd been looking forward to spending some private time with Princess Celestia, but the two of them had instead been stuck endlessly meeting and greeting noble ponies Twilight had never met before. It had been absolutely frustrating! It was true that after the Gala had imploded spectacularly thanks to the behaviour of her friends she'd been able to spend a precious hour talking with the Princess when they'd all gone out for donuts, but straight away after that it'd been back to good old Ponyville and dealing with the usual assortment of disasters and adventures that occurred in the crazy little berg like clockwork. Since then she'd only been able to see Celestia for a moment or two on the few occasions she'd visited the town and they hadn't always been pleasant ones!
Twilight grimaced as she remembered the last time Princess Celestia had come to Ponyville. Oh, it had been awful to hear her beloved teacher's voice so strict and disapproving after she'd dealt with the chaos that Twilight's Want-It Need-It spell had caused in her apple-headed attempt at creating a problem to solve through the magic of friendship in order to impress the Princess. Luckily, her friends had helped her avoid punishment but the real punishment had been the thought that Celestia had been so disappointed and angry with her. It had felt like lump of ice congealing in the depths of her stomach, freezing her and weighing her down, and she cringed at the recollection.
Was that how it felt now? mused Twilight. No, this feeling was quite different. It felt like an itchiness or a dull ache, somewhere deep inside her inside her bones, maybe but If she tried to concentrate on it, her lip would start to tremble and her heart would start to beat fast like she was on the verge of panic. And then there was this strange desire like somepony had cast a Want-It Need-It spell on her the only problem was she had no idea what it was she wanted or needed!
Rarity had been watching Twilight's inner machinations closely and had started to hmmm to herself, resting her chin on her hoof in contemplation.
Twilight suddenly came out of her reverie and looked up at her friend. "Oh, I'm sorry Rarity. I
I guess I was just distracted for a second."
"For more than just a second I'm afraid, darling," replied Rarity kindly. "But I think I may have come up with the answer of what's bothering you. It just occurred to me that you seem to be pining for somepony."
"Pining?" repeated Twilight.
Rarity nodded. "It means that you wish a certain somepony was here with you right now."
Twilight frowned. "Oh, I know what the word means," she said. "But I don't think I'm pining. I mean, who could I possibly be pining for?"
A soft smile played across Rarity's face all of a sudden. "Well," she said. "Young Spike is away at the moment and they do say that absence makes the heart grow fond
" But she was interrupted by having to duck the sugar-cube that suddenly flew past her ear, aglow with telekinetic magic.
Twilight glared at the giggling unicorn through narrowed eyes, but then she started to giggle as well. "Oh, of course I miss Spike," she said. "We're right in the middle of sorting my entire collection of books on magical herbs and potions and there's a mountain of them waiting for him when he gets home, and the Library looks horribly cluttered. But I wouldn't call it 'pining' exactly. Besides, I was feeling this way even before he went off on his camping trip."
Rarity nodded in agreement, but then she suddenly put down her tea and looked at Twilight again. "Well, if it's not young Spike, then do you have any idea who it might be?"
Twilight shook her head. "I have absolutely no idea."
Rarity arched an eyebrow. "Well, I'm afraid that we have a mystery on our hands then." She finished her tea and looked at Twilight with sudden eagerness. "So shall we go have some makeovers anyway? I heard on the grapevine that Aloe just today had an entire barrel of the most exquisite seaweed fresh from the sapphire coast delivered to her. Oh, I simply cannot wait to feel how refreshing it will no doubt be against my coat!"
"I'm sorry Rarity," replied Twilight. "I need to go home and think about things for a little while."
Rarity was disappointed, but she nodded, her face soft with concern. "Of course, darling. You must do as you feel best. But if there's any way I can do to help you to feel better, please let me know straight away. I will be ready and waiting! Shall we get the bill?"
Soon after the two friends went their separate ways, Rarity disappearing down the street that led to the spa as Twilight made her way back to the Library. Overhead, the sky was the deep cerulean of a gorgeous clear spring afternoon, but Twilight didn't notice. Her shoulders were slumped and she stared at the ground, as she walked slowly along, totally oblivious to the other inhabitants of Ponyville going about their day. Over and over again she tried to catch hold of the thing that was making her feel this terrible 'bluh', but the harder she thought, the farther away the answer seemed to recede. It was infuriating!
She was still lost in thought when all of a sudden she felt a rock-hard something strike her head with such force that she fell back onto her rump.
"Ow!" she cried, rubbing her head and waiting for the stars that filled her vision to clear, and as soon as they did she saw that there was a little pink pony in front of her, also sitting on her rump and holding her head.
"Pinkie Pie!?" she cried.
Pinkie blinked at her. "Oh, hi there Twilight!" She went to move forward, but then she grimaced in pain and put a forehoof against her head, falling back onto her rump again. "Hey, did you see that train that just hit me?"
"It was me, Pinkie," Twilight replied, annoyed. She wasn't really in the mood for her friend's bubbly craziness today, but it was already too late. Pinkie was already hopping over to her.
"Oh! Were you chasing dandelion seeds as well?" asked Pinkie as she helped a still-unsteady Twilight back onto all four hooves "It's soooooo much fun, isn't it? Look, there goes one now! I called it!" And she was about to leap away after it when she suddenly noticed the deep frown on Twilight's face and stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh, is something wrong, Twilight?"
Twilight shook her head. "Nothing's wrong, Pinkie. It's just that
" She sighed.
"Uh oh, I know what that sigh means!" said Pinkie.
Twilight blinked at her. "Wait, Pinkie what does it mean?"
"It means somepony needs a delicious vanilla-frosted cupcake!" Beaming, she grabbed the unicorn's foreleg and started her drag her off in the direction of Sugarcube Corner.
Twilight found she barely had the energy to struggle. Maybe a cupcake would cheer me up, she thought. Actually, now that she thought about it, it did feel like she had an empty spot inside her maybe she was just hungry after all? But it wasn't cupcakes that she wanted, she realised, but donuts.
Wait, donuts? Why in Equestria did she want donuts?
Twilight slipped out of Pinkie's grasp. "Thanks for the offer, Pinkie Pie. But I think I'll have to give you a raincheck. I've got some
" thinking to do "
.things to do back in the Library."
Pinkie smiled. "Okie dokie lowkie! Just don't brain so hard that you give yourself a brainache, OK?" And with that she bounced away down the path towards the bakery, looking about here and there in her usual state of cheerful Pinkie Pie distraction.
Twilight watched her go. At that moment she felt especially jealous of the little pink pony's carefree spirit. But the thought of her studies back home had put a little spring back in her step. Maybe if she threw herself whole-heartedly into her work, she'd be able to shake the bluhs! And best of all, tonight was Friday night
...and that meant star-gazing!
What was left of the gorgeous spring sunshine was also being enjoyed by two others, far away from Ponyville. Just off one of the inner courtyards of Canterlot Castle was an exquisite little garden with a fastidiously tended little lawn in its centre where in ancient times the nobles of Canterlot had played the most elegant of all games: croquet. As it was, it had been barely been played in hundreds of years but Canterlot had a special visitor whose love of games, recently kindled, had led her to bring it back from the history books.
Princess Luna, her croquet mallet floating beside her, was sizing up the next shot. "I told you, did I not, dear sister, that this game was fun? Now watch this drive!" And with that she swung the mallet with all her telekinetic might. The ball flew straight up into air, ricocheted of the south-western tower, flew over the south-eastern courtyard, rebounded off the helm of a Pegasus guard (whose name was Firewing), then went skittering along the eastern battlements until it finally bounced back into the garden and rolled right back to touch the tip of Luna's mallet.
Luna looked at the ball with undisguised irritation while Celestia, beside her, stifled a laugh.
"I meant to do that," sniffed Luna. "I'm merely giving you a fighting chance is all."
Her older sister smiled at her indulgently, but then she looked out across the western wall where the ball had gone flying. Far off in the distance she could see the sunshine sparkling off the Lake and the river as it meandered its way through little patchwork fields and there, nestled in the middle of them, the town of Ponyville with its criss-cross streets and tiny thatch-roofed houses. It was a beautiful spring day, just as she had intended when she'd raised the sun this morning.
If only it had done the job of gladdening her heart as she'd intended it to!
Come to think of it, she had been a little distracted recently. Just this morning she'd almost been late raising the sun her, the Princess of the Sun! She'd been staring out the window of her room, just looking into the darkness, not even realising that time had gotten away on her, and Luna had had to come find her and remind her what time it was, and she'd made a joke about her getting old.
Perhaps I am getting old, she decided. But she was only two thousand years old barely a moment in the lifetime of an alicorn. It was just Luna's characteristic cheekiness she really shouldn't take it so seriously. Perhaps if she were to go to bed a little earlier rather than sitting up and reading over Twilight's friendship reports
Celestia sighed. She looked at Luna standing beside her. She'd grown so much recently with the reassumption of her powers her mane, even in the bright sunshine, was a dark rent in the air, and the tiny stars contained within it, the outward expression of the magic of the night that flowed through her, twinkled with new-found power but she would always and forever be younger and more spirited than her, her eternally youthful little sister. Perhaps that was why she'd started to feel so old?
Luna had long since been examining her big sister's face, seeing if she could divine the reason for this current reverie. Luna had noticed how distracted she'd been recently and it was part of the reason why she had asked her to cancel her audiences this afternoon and come and play a nice sisterly game of croquet. Of course she knew that neither of them would be good at it, but it was a nice way for her and sister to reconnect after their millennium of estrangement. Besides, after Twilight Sparkle had introduced her to that wonderful thing called 'fun', Luna was keen to make up for lost time by trying to indulge in every kind of 'fun' she could find. This croquet was excellent 'fun', although she was still not very good at it.
"It is your shot, sister," Luna said at last.
"So it is!" Celestia smiled apologetically and, sizing up her own shot, sent the ball flying almost as hard as Luna had. It streaked through the air, rebounded off the north eastern tower, flew through the eastern window of the Royal Kitchens where a chorus of angry shouts and breaking crockery could be heard, rocketed out of the western window across the courtyard and into the lawn maze, where it bounced off the statue of Discord and then spiralled straight back onto the lawn, rolling the final few feet to coming to a stop at last at the tip of her mallet.
Luna began to giggle, but at the look of uncharacteristic annoyance on her sister's face she quickly went quiet.
"I must be distracted," said Celestia, lifting her gaze from the offending ball at last.
"That is not like you," said Luna. "Is everything alright?"
Celestia sighed. "I wish I could give you an answer to that question, Luna."
"I do not enjoy seeing you like this," said Luna. "Perhaps we should finish our game another day?"
Celestia nodded. "I'm sorry. I really was enjoying myself this was a wonderful idea."
"You should take tomorrow morning off from your duties," said Luna. "All of those petty problems of the Canterlot aristocracy will have to sort themselves out." She clucked her tongue in annoyance. "Sometimes I wonder why you don't just send every single horn of them to the moon!"
"Oh, I may just have to follow that advice one day!" Celestia said, laughing.
Luna was smiling. "Your laughter pleases me, sister."
Celestia looked at her little sister as if seeing her anew. She was so different from the Luna of millennia past! She had never been one for smiling back then, but now, here, in a Canterlot Castle garden surrounded by the sunshine she had once hated, she was smiling. Truly Twilight Sparkle and her friends had done an amazing thing by freeing her from the shackles of her guilt and resentment, something that Celestia had never been able to do herself.
At the thought of Twilight, Celestia was suddenly drawn back from these happy thoughts and the smile slipped from her face. She wondered what Twilight was doing right now in this gorgeous spring sunshine she'd chosen for her. Ever since the incident with the Need-It Want-It spell, Celestia had been worried that she'd been too harsh in the way she'd dealt with the situation and she'd wanted to make it up to her. Of course, she hadn't had the heart to punish her the silly dear had thought she was going to send her back to Magic Kindergarten! and everything had come right in the end, but the more she'd thought about it, the more Celestia had come to the conclusion that the whole situation had been her own fault. She'd been pushing Twilight too hard of course she'd gotten stressed and acted out!
So for that reason Celestia had decided to send her fewer messages than usual recently to give Twilight some space. She had her new friends now, ponies her own age, and the last thing she needed or wanted was to have to deal with a constant barrage of messages from her teacher! Besides, if Celestia hovered around her too much she might scare off all of her potential dates what stallion would dare to try and date her if he was worried that he had to pass the muster of the Princess of Equestria herself?
But why did the thought of Twilight dating fill her with such terrible, creeping dread?
Celestia laughed. It was the fretting of a would-be mother, that was all.
The fact that Celestia's gaze had once again been drawn to that sleepy little village called Ponyville was not lost on Luna. She was catching her doing it more and more often these days. She would find her sister looking out the window of her bedroom, from the battlements late at night, even, when she should be asleep! just like she was right now, her eyes straying to that funny little town with its silly little ponies.
Oh but of course! Her favourite student Twilight Sparkle was there. She was probably thinking about her.
And at the thought of Twilight Sparkle, something clicked over deep in Luna's head, and her eyes went impossibly wide. She grinned to herself, delighting in the having solved the puzzle that had been so irking her, and then turned the smile on Celestia herself.
"Perhaps next time we could invite your favourite student to play?" suggested Luna, cocking her head mischievously.
Celestia was taken aback. "Who? Twilight?"
Luna nodded. "I'm sure she knows all about the game after all, she was most correct regarding the costume of Starswirl the Bearded. She had it correct right down to the bells, you know."
Celestia laughed. "Oh, the last thing Twilight Sparkle would want to do is be called away from her friends to play some ancient game with her ancient teacher!"
"Oh, you may be surprised." Luna flew up onto a statue of the Lady Aurora, the hero of the Second Great War against the Griffins, and smiled down at her sister, a coquettish and teasing smile. "Perhaps next time I'm in Ponyville I shall pay her a visit and invite her myself." She looked out across the landscape towards the little town which was already starting to light up as the sky started to darken towards nightfall. Soon she would have to go and awaken the moon and raise it into the sky to bring light to the ponies of Equestria
Suddenly Luna's eyes went wide. Oh but of course! Why had she not thought of this earlier? It was just too perfect!
She flew down off the statue and cantered up to her big sister, her eyes alight. "I have just arrived at a much better idea, big sister. Would you like to hear it?"
Celestia looked at the cheeky smile on the blue-coated alicorn's face and she frowned. "Are you planning some kind of prank, Luna? Because if you are
"Oh, no pranks," she said, the smile refusing to be dislodged from her face even despite the stern look on her big sister's face. "I just remembered that the Spring Moon Festival is almost upon us. As you know, it's the festival in honour of my most beautiful moon. We were planning to have a little soiree, were we not?"
Celestia nodded. "But just a small thing. After all the excitement at the Grand Galloping Gala, I'm afraid that the nobles might be a little nervous about coming to another gala with the memories of that excitement so fresh in their minds."
Luna sighed. "I'm sorry to have missed the Gala it sounded as though it was a most delightful spectacle!"
Celestia smiled despite herself. "Spectacle? Oh yes it was." She looked at her little sister's eager face. No doubt she'd enjoy having Twilight with her during the party her faithful student had proven herself to have been a wonderful aid in helping Luna acclimatise herself to modern Equestria. She sighed. And Luna had missed out on the Gala.
"Oh, why not!" she said at last.
Luna began to skip around the lawn happily, kicking her knees up and flapping short little distances in the air in delight. "Huzzah!" she cried, clopping her forehooves together." It is decided then! I shall go to Ponyville at once."
Celestia looked at the prancing alicorn severely. "Luna, I don't want you alarming Twilight. I'll invite her myself."
"It's not your place to invite ponies to my celebration," sniffed Luna. "I shall extend my invitation to Twilight Sparkle in person." And then she unfurled her wings and leaped into the air.
"Luna, please! No pranking!"
Oh Sister, Luna giggled as she flew away in graceful pirouettes across the darkening blue sky. In a thousand years you haven't changed one little bit! But I hope this is one prank that you will forgive me for. I only want you to be as happy as you have made me.
Celestia mouth hung open, ready to shout again, but by now her little sister was a tiny dot receding towards the eastern horizon where the moon waited to be raised into the night sky. She looked across at her own orb of the sun and sighed. She couldn't go after her now the sun needed to be brought to a rest safely behind the mountains of the West.
"Oh Luna," she whispered. But for some reason her heart felt a little lighter than it had before their game of croquet, and she stood there until the lengthening shadows of the statues in the garden told that it was time to go.
It would be nice to have Twilight home again, she thought, even if it's just for a little while.
"Applejack, may I speak with you for a moment?"
The sun was low in the sky over Sweet Apple Acres and Applejack, along with Big Mac and Caramel and the other pony-hands, were in the process of finishing up the yearly planting of the apple tree seedlings. Applejack quickly finished digging the hole she'd been in the middle of, then set the shovel aside and turned to her waiting friend, wiping the sweat from her eyes.
"Why sure, Rarity," said the earth pony, looking at her friend with sudden concern. 'Is everything alright? Nothin' untoward's happened, has it?"
Rarity shook her head. "Oh no, nothing of the sort!" She came closer and whispered in her ear. "It has to do with dear Twilight. I've been thinking things over all afternoon and I do believe I understand what's troubling the poor dear."
Applejack's ears pricked up. "So yer finally worked out what's been on Twi's mind? She's been awful distracted lately."
"Oh yes, yes," said Rarity. "That's exactly what I've been talking about. I think I know who, or what, has been on that mind, so to speak." She came up closer to Applejack, but then she suddenly sniffed the air and turned up her nose with a frown. "Oh darling, is that
perspiration I can smell?"
Applejack snorted. "If by perspiration yer mean good old fashioned 'sweat', then yes." She glared at the unicorn. "Ya got a problem with that?"
"Oh no, no," said Rarity. "But perhaps we can discuss things a little later once you've had a chance to shower?" She raised a delicate eyebrow.
Applejack stamped her foot. "Nah if that ain't just the rudest
" But Rarity was already trotting away to talk with Caramel, who as usual had spent most of the day making sure his mane was kept absolutely perfect and barely dug a single hole.
Let the two o' them stand about discussin' the latest Canterlot fashion then! Applejack snorted in annoyance and stormed into the homestead muttering to herself. That arrogant unicorn pony! How would she feel like it if she went and pulled her out of her precious boutique while she was in the middle of designin' or cuttin' fabric or who knows what else! But then she remembered that Rarity had said she'd worked out what was troubling Twi and Applejack sighed in defeat. Might as well do as she says to avoid the fuss an' finally get to the root o' the problem!
Applejack slipped her hat onto the back of the old beaten-up armchair that Granny Smith liked to sleep in then opened the door to the homestead's bathroom. It was an especially spartan room, the one part of the house that had seen no renovation at all, but it suited Applejack just fine. 'No need to add no sugar when the apples are sweet enough as is,' as her pappy used to say!
Applejack slipped into the shower and turned on the tap. The rapid flow of piping hot water from the shower head soon filled the little room with clouds of steam which felt refreshing against her tired neck and back. Well, maybe it'd be nice to get clean after all it sure was hard work diggin' holes, even under the gentle spring sun!
She slid her head under the water with a gasp and kept it there until her mane was sopping, and then she stepped forward into the stream, letting the water fall over her entire body.
"Now where in tarnation did Ah leave that washcloth?" With her sodden mane drooping over her eyes and the steam obscuring even the walls of the shower recess, she felt around with her mouth for it but it was somepony's soft lips that she touched instead of the rough material, and she yelped and skittered away in surprise, madly pushing her mane out of her eyes.
Rarity stepped out of the billowing steam, her usually curly mane hanging straight down over her glistening neck and back, giggling at Applejack's surprise.
"Oh, I'm so sorry darling," said the unicorn, doing a very poor job of stifling her laughter. "I simply couldn't resist! When I came into the house and saw your hat on the armchair and imagined you looking so
." Her eyes ran over the earth pony's glistening body. "
so naked, I suddenly felt the urge to join you."
Applejack looked at Rarity, anger flashing in her eyes. But when the unicorn sidled up to her and rubbed her moist cheek against hers, her huge blue eyes glistening doe-like as she muttered "Oh pleasepleaseplease don't be mad!" Applejack's face softened into an indulgent smile.
She sighed as she slipped her forelegs over Rarity's neck and ran her lips across her moist white coat. "Ah thought we agreed to stop this kinda messin' around in case we get caught," she said. "Sooner or later somepony's gonna walk in on us."
"Oh let them," muttered Rarity as she arched her neck and felt her hindlegs start to wobble as Applejack changed from soft kissing to sharp nibbles. "I'm so sick of keeping secrets from everypony!"
"You know there'd be hell ta pay if anypony found out," said Applejack seriously.
"Oh darling, you worry far too much," Rarity replied. "Besides, don't you think the clandestine nature of our relationship adds a certain piquancy to our encounters?"
Applejack pulled away. "Clandestine? Piquan-what?" She shook her head. "Yer always like this after havin' lunch with Twi full o' those big words she loves to use! What's wrong with jus' saying 'sneaky'?"
"'Clandestine' is a far more appropriate word to use when speaking of dalliances of this nature," sniffed Rarity. She threw her forelegs around Applejack and drew her back under the still-flowing water. "Oh, I do so love you, rough edges and all, dear Apple-jack, but sometimes you have such a limited understanding of romance!"
"Hey now," said Applejack, her blood catching fire under the touch of the unicorn's wet coat. "Ah'll let you know that ah can be as romantic as the next pony! Now shut up and kiss me, lil' miss perfect!"
And with that she brought her lips against Rarity's and drew her down onto the slick floor of the shower, the water flowing over the two lovers for whom washing themselves clean was the last thing on their minds.
"Hey Rarity," said Applejack as the two ponies dried themselves with the big fluffy towels that were one of the few luxuries that graced the Apple family homestead. "Yer were saying somethin' earlier about working out what's been botherin' poor Twi?"
Rarity blinked, and then she said "Oh my yes! How forgetful of me. I'm afraid those lips of yours are far too distracting, my dear." She nuzzled Applejack's side and the earth pony skittered away from her, but she soon came back, her face serious.
"So what's the story?" she asked.
Rarity sighed. Applejack never seemed to want to play after making love it was always straight back to business for her! But the matter could wait no longer, after all.
"Well," she said. "As you know Applejack, Twilight has been most out of sorts lately. I thought she was just missing somepony, but when I started to think about it, I came to the conclusion that she's... well, in love!"
"In love?" Applejack's eyes narrowed in disbelief. "Twi? Our Twi? In love with books Twi?"
Rarity nodded. "Now, as you know I understand better than most the torment of an unrequited love
Applejack face softened as the memory of Rarity's own tear-felt confession all those months ago in the Swayback Mountains came flooding back to her. "Ain't that the truth," she said simply, her green eyes growing moist, but she quickly wiped the towel across her face so that Rarity wouldn't notice.
But then the earth pony's face turned suddenly eager. "So who is it? Now don' tell me! Is it-?"
Rarity pouted. "Oh, Applejack! Let's not turn this into one of Pinkie Pie's ridiculous guessing ga-"
"It's Fluttershy, right?"
Rarity stared at her as if apple trees had started sprouting out of her ears. "Fluttershy? What in Equestria makes you think it's Fluttershy, darling?"
"Well, it's jus' that
" Applejack was about to say that it was because Fluttershy was so attractive, but the look of annoyed confusion on Rarity's face, like gathering storm clouds, made her change the subject. "Nah, never mind. So who do you think it is, then?"
Rarity laughed. "Why it's elementary, darling! Who's the only one of our number that's missing at the moment?"
Applejack's eyes went wide. "Ya can't mean-!"
To be continued