"You sure about this?" Sweetie Belle nervously asked.
"Of course she's sure!" Scootaloo responded, a determined look in her eyes. "If she wasn't why would she have set all this up?"
"Yeah, uh, 'ah think..." Applebloom added, cautiously looking over the set-up once more.
"This ought to be fun..." Celestia thought, admiring her own work a bit.
Once more, the land was graced (or rather cursed) by the sight of several young fillies all clamoring into a wicker basket, its form containing a simple large cotton blanket for a parachute and a few ropes for restraints. This time however, the rig was much more complex and powerful, the design coming from Celestia's knowledge of ancient machinery and her now-overactive imagination.
Three young trees had been bent over similarly to the original one the crusaders had used before and tied into the ground with several large ropes. A pulley system connected all the ropes together, binding the threaded cords into a single massive cable that was tied to a much thicker tree. A sanded plank of wood served as a launch ramp and a half-dozen steel stakes pierced into the ground behind the basket, the wicker structure now bearing the insignia of the small group.
"Uhh... Right... Let's hang on now." Applebloom advised, grabbing onto the basket's side.
"Huh? Oh, right." Sweetie Belle replied, mimicking Applebloom's grip on the wicker.
"This is gonna be awesome!" Scootaloo confidently laughed. "If this doesn't count towards a talent for bravery, I don't know what will! Hit it, Comet!"
"You've got it." Celestia smiled, doing her best to keep up her own alter-ego's bravado. "One, two..."
Before the third number left the princess's lips, a rope was pulled, and the restraining stakes were out of the ground. The large rope cable released from the grand old tree behind them, and the pulley system spun like a whirlwind, gray smoke flying out of the old wheels as the rope tore through their metal forms. The three sapling trees sprung forward, returning to their upright position with a groan that could only be compared to the sigh of an Ursa Major. As the trees snapped back upright, the basket rocketed forward, the wicker form (fillies and all) racing up the launch ramp and into the sky.
From the ground, the sounds of cheerful shrieks and shouts could be heard as a small brown container darted through the sky above. The fillies inside laughed with delight as the air, clouds, and land unfolded around them, their small basket soaring through the heavens.
"THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE!" Scootaloo shouted over the wind.
"Yeah! I haven't felt this much excitement in ages!" Celestia laughed.
"I can see all of Ponyville now! This WAS a good idea!" Sweetie Belle giggled.
"YEAH, AND BEST OF ALL," The orange pegasus filly went on, "NO DUMB DUCKS TO GET IN OUR WAY THIS TIME!"
Applebloom opened her mouth to speak, but her eyes went wide as she looked beyond the basket's edge.
"INCOMIN'!" the farm pony yelled, pointing a hoof out in front of them.
The other fillies' jaws dropped as the turned towards their friend's warning. Ahead of them was none other than the Equestrian Post's mail team, a familiar gray-coated, blonde-maned pegasus leading them.
Celestia thought fast, the regal filly pulling out the parachute and tossing it to the wind. The fabric unfurled and the lines held tightly. Barely missing the delivery group by a nose, the basket started to slowly descend, the wind causing it to drift slowly into the town below.
"Oh Celestia..." Luna worried, her thoughts turned towards her sister. "If only I hadn't made that wish, none of this would have happened..."
It was about noon now, and the mid-day heat coupled with the exhaustion of keeping up a disguise spell long-term was taking its toll on the princess of the moon. The more she thought about the situation, the more it started to frustrate her. Having fun with her sister was one thing, in fact, it was one thing she wanted quite a lot, but running off into broad daylight like she did was far too much. On top of that, she was going through all this trouble just to find her, part of which was having to put up with the bad reputation her alter-ego had gained in the last visit to this town. Once she found Celestia, she'd have a few harsh words for that pony, and better yet...
"Whoa, calm down, Luna!" The princess said to herself. "It's that kind of thinking that turned you into Nightmare Moon in the first place! Oh... I just hope Celestia's okay..."
Her anger dissolving away, Luna once more felt a bit downtrodden. Her search had turned up fruitless thus far, and the trail seemed to have gone cold. Her sadness was quickly interrupted though as a small voice echoed from the sky.
"Well that didn't quite go as planned." Scootaloo crossed her front legs, a disappointed frown on her face.
"It was still fun though," Sweetie Belle encouraged, "...even though we didn't get our marks..."
"Aheh, sorry about that, girls." Celestia apologized. "I guess I should have checked ahead..."
"Nah, t'weren't none of your fault, Comet." Applebloom smiled sympathetically. "Besides, look where we're landin'!"
From the ground, 'Trixie' looked up as a small basket descended slowly out of the sky, the wicker structure carried down by a thick, large blanket. It drifted and swayed in the wind slightly, heading steadily towards the popular Sugar Cube Corner candy store. Four fillies peered out from the wicker structure's side, their eyes still wide with excitement as their ride drew to a close.
"What the hay?" Luna said aloud, watching the basket drift.
The disguised alicorn was almost dumbfounded as she watched the container of fillies drift in through the top-most window of the sweets shop. Curiosity getting the better of her, Luna made her way in through the building's front door, the princess shocked as a now-familiar pink form jumped out from behind the cash register.
"Hi again!" Pinkie Pie smiled.
"Wha... how..." Luna stammered. "How did you get here before me?"
"Oh, I just took my usual way back." Pinkie began. "It's a lot faster than the way you took I mean the way you took was the long way back here from Fluttershy's cottage and the way I went..."
After listening to the hyperactive mass of pink drone on for several minutes, 'Trixie' had listened to about enough. Quickly raising a hoof to Pinkie's mouth, the magician squinted at the earth pony and sighed, partially in frustration.
"Look, I don't care how you and your non-magical self managed to get back here." 'Trixie' sneered. "I just wanted to know if you happened to see that BASKET OF FILLIES drift in through your top window."
"You mean those fillies right there?" Pinkie pointed.
Startled once again, the magician jumped slightly as she noticed the four fillies directly behind her. Turning to face them, she looked over each, trying to see if they were the same ones who had drifted in through the window just moments ago.
"Hey, 'ah know you." Applebloom said flatly, a slightly annoyed look on her face. "You're that no-account show-pony who showed up a while back an' made fun of 'mah friend Twilight."
"Hey, yeah, I remember you." Scootaloo joined in, her voice just as peeved. "You even tried to make fun of Rainbow Dash. That was NOT COOL AT ALL."
"Who is she again?" Sweetie Belle asked, her head tilted in confusion.
"Remember that whole 'green hair' thing 'yer sister went through a while back?" Applebloom said to her friend. "Meet the one behind it."
"Hey, yeah." Sweetie Belle glared. "Rarity was really upset over that."
"Aheh..." Luna backed up, slightly nervous. "T-the Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't recall those, er... incidents... at the moment. Ahem, I'm just looking for someone, a filly about your ages for that matter."
Behind the cutie mark crusaders, the disguised Celestia watched, a mischievous grin slowly spreading across her face.
"Oh... Wow... Who'd have thought she'd go this far? 'Trixie' again, huh?" Celestia felt like bursting into laughter. "Ha ha! Lu-Lu must want to play 'hide and seek' or something. Wow, she looks tired. She must have been keeping up that disguise all day long. Heh, alright sis, this could be fun..."
"And further more..." Luna paused as she saw the fourth filly sitting calmly behind the other three. "Who are you?"
"Me?" Celestia responded, a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "I'm Comet Corona, fastest flier in my class at Fillydelphia Young Fliers School!"
"Comet, hm?" 'Trixie' stared down at the filly.
A gasp from behind suddenly broke Luna's concentration.
"Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!" Pinkie squealed, ecstatic as ever. "You're new here aren't you? OH THIS IS AWESOME! THIS CALLS FOR A PARTY!"
"Huh?" The disguised Celestia questioned.
"Alright, now that's what I'm talking about!" Scootaloo remarked. "Pinkie does this for all the new ponies in town. After all, she's the one to go to for a party planner."
"Yeah!" Sweetie Belle added. "You'll love this; it'll be one of the best parties you've ever been to!"
"'Ah can vouch for that." Applebloom joined in. "Just about all of Equestria loves a Pinkie Pie party. 'Shoot, even princess Celestia herself showed up for one of these here shin' digs a while back."
"Wow, really?" 'Comet' smiled widely, recalling that event. "Sounds like fun."
"Oh yes oh yes oh yes!" Pinkie started bouncing around like a fresh rubber ball. "There will be fun, and music, and candy, and games, and streamers, and..."
"And maybe some lights here and there, and a few decorations." Celestia added in, her mood quickly rising to almost equal Pinkie's own enthusiasm.
The other fillies laughed as their new friend fluttered around the room, following the rhythmic bouncing of the town's number one party pony. The disguised Luna sighed, slightly miffed that her search was getting dragged out even further by the spastic bouncing Pinkie Pie. It was true that she felt a huge amount of gratitude towards Twilight and her friends for freeing her of her thousand-year curse, but at the same time, just like every inhabitant of the land, Luna had her own set of pet peeves floating around her mind, and not being able to find her sister definitely made the list.
"Uh, you girls thinking what I'm thinking?" Scootaloo eventually said.
"Uh huh." Applebloom and Sweetie Belle joined in, ducking behind the nearest counter.
"What in the world are you fillies doing back..." 'Trixie' began.
Her question was halted as a flurry of pink and red darted around the room. The tornado of energy was fierce and quick, transforming the bottom floor of Sugar Cube Corner into a massive decorated dance hall. Confetti drifted through the air, various party games sat ready to be used in the room corners, a record turn table was suddenly standing at the ready on the back wall, and a series of lights and streamers clung tightly to the ceiling. Various sorts of foods and sweets were set out on tables across the room, and in the center of it all was a large cake (seemingly pulled from nowhere), garnished, colored, and baked to perfection.
The three hiding fillies peeked out from around the table and stared at the scene, the trio laughing to themselves as they saw the two still-spunky ponies in the room's center admiring their work.
Luna's eyes were wide as she struggled to take in what had just happened, bits of confetti and streamers dangling off her hat and cape. The disguised princess's eyes, still wide, twitched slightly at what she'd just seen. The living tornado of energy that her sister and Pinkie had conjured barely lasted a minute, but flowed with such a chaotic, and yet elegant, energy that left her dumbfounded as to just how such an incredible feat was possible. Still stunned, the magician watched as the happy pair bounced their way over to the table behind which the three fillies hid.
"Hey, wait wait wait wait wait, I've got an idea!" the energetic divine filly giggled. "If this party is good, how about we do the same thing for the whole town?! We could decorate all of Ponyville with streamers and lights and everything else!"
"Ooh yeah, that's a great idea!" Pinkie replied, gleeful as ever. "There could be dancing and singing too, ooh, and a buffet and a whole area for games..."
As the list of events droned on, the magician's disturbed expression became even more so; the thought of a torrent of pink and foalish sugar-fueled energy sweeping over the town filled her mind. It was almost too much to bear. That much energy unleashed upon the town would be...
"That's a great idea! Let's get started on it!" Celestia cheered, imitating Pinkie's bubbly way of speaking. "Let's go! Let's go!"
"NO!" 'Trixie' gasped, the blue unicorn wide-eyed in fear.
"Hmm... Yeah, maybe that's a bit too much party for town right now." Pinkie said.
"Yeah, this should do just fine after all." the disguised filly added. "Besides, now that I think about it, if we threw a party the size of the whole town, how would you see it all in one night?"
"Yeah, that'd be a real waste." Pinkie nodded.
"Hey, 'Ah've got an idea!" Applebloom said, jumping out from behind the table. "'Tisn't a party without anyone here. Come on girls, let's go 'round up the guests!"
"Yeah! Cutie Mark Crusaders Party-Throwers!" Scootaloo joined in, the young pegasus already waiting at the door.
"Sounds fun to me!" Sweetie Belle made her way towards her dull orange friend.
"Yeah, let's get to it!" 'Comet' called, she and Applebloom accompanying the others outside.
"Okie Dokie Lokie!" Pinkie called to them. "Just have them all here by sunset!"
The word lodged itself in Luna's mind as the four fillies headed out. With Celestia in the state she was, wherever she was, she might not be able to focus her power; the sun would stay forever hung in the sky, its path halted by the lack of a controller. It was true that just one of the sister alicorns could control both day and night, but Luna had never taken up the task before; the younger sister having never gotten the chance to learn the arcane magics behind mastering two celestial bodies at once.
The disguised princess paced the floor as Pinkie Pie watched, the regal alicorn almost unaware of the earth pony's gaze.
"You still looking for that filly?" Pinkie asked.
"Aw, cheer up, gloomy mcgloom! You'll find her eventually, I'm sure of it!" Pinkie reassured as she bounced back to the kitchen.
"Yeah," one of the four fillies leaned back in through the door, "if you're looking for someone, you'll eventually find them, especially if you're very close."
"Yeah, what Sweetie Belle said." Scootaloo added.
"As 'mah big brother would say, 'EYUP." Applebloom smiled.
'Comet' nodded, grabbing a box of invitation cards as she and her friends turned to go. As the three other fillies continued on ahead, the red-coated, silver-maned pegasus leaned back in the doorway, she stared at 'Trixie' with a calm expression that, for some reason, brought peace to the alicorn's troubled mind. It was a gaze she'd seen on only one other before; her sister Celestia.
"Yes, I'm sure my new friends are right. You'll find her eventually..." 'Comet' spoke, and then added with a pause. "Luna."
For the second time that day, Luna found herself having to raise her jaw off the floor. Not once, but TWICE had somepony seen through her illusions. As the pegasus flew off towards her friends, the princess of the moon stepped out the door to the sweets shop, her mind still boggled.
"B-but how... How could a filly, a non-magical pegasus at that..." she stammered, her eyes going wide once more.
As she watched the four head off into town, a thought fluttered its way into Luna's mind. It couldn't be... It just couldn't be, or could it? Checking herself, Luna found that her illusion was flawless; no one without magical assistance could tell that she was indeed the princess of the moon. The only way anyone could know is if they somehow defied reality itself (which she pondered if Pinkie just might be able to do), or they knew her secret before-hoof, and the only one who knew that...
"Oh... No..." Luna said in alarm. "Drat... Celestia!"
The disguised alicorn darted off in the last direction she'd seen the four go. She couldn't believe it; she'd been right near her sister the whole time and didn't even realize it until now. The princess shook the thought of embarrassment from her mind and gave chase, pursuing the fillies as they darted through the town handing out invitations.
"Hey!" Scootaloo said to the group. "I've got an idea; let's split up and cover more ground!"
"Yeah, 'Ah reckon we'll hand out more of these invite cards this way." Applebloom agreed.
"Sounds good to me." Sweetie Belle spoke.
"Alright, let's do it!" 'Comet' laughed.
Just as 'Trixie' turned the corner to the town square, she sighed in frustration as she saw the fillies each take a different street, the group dispersing before she could figure out just which of the four was which. The magician shook her head, confused as to which to follow. Picking one of the paths they'd taken, 'Trixie' darted off after the group, hoping to find the disguised divine filly.
A flurry of hoof-beats echoed through the streets as the four fillies ran. They darted left and right, handing out the enclosed paper invitations to everyone they knew, a quick reminder of the event's starting time emblazoned on the front of each envelope. The disguised Celestia moved the fastest, the princess darting around the streets with the speed of a startled zebra. Behind them, 'Trixie' tried to keep pace, the concealed alicorn changing directions whenever she saw one of the four out of the corner of her eye.
All their movements didn't go unnoticed, and soon the pegasus teams above stopped to watch the eager fillies dart around the town below.
"Hey, Dash!" one called. "Come have a look at this!"
"Yeah, it looks like the Cutie Mark Crusaders are at it again." A second laughed.
"Huh? Outta my way, I've gotta see this." Rainbow Dash chuckled, peering down from the clouds.
Dash laughed as the fillies darted about. Their eagerness was definitely one of their more comical aspects, and the rainbow-maned pegasus couldn't help but smile as they ran. Her amusement was interrupted as a certain blue coat galloped around the streets, the unicorn following the fillies as they raced about.
"Hey, wait a minute." Dash scowled. "What the? Oh great; Trixie again."
The other winged ponies ducked into the clouds as Rainbow Dash took off with a blast of wind. Her gaze locked on the troublesome magician, the fastest pegasus in Ponyville aimed straight downward before pulling up into an acrobatic spin. Her speed increasing, Dash pointed directly at 'Trixie', the cyan flier taking aim. To her surprise, the blue unicorn turned to the side; Dash missing her target completely and careening out of control.
"Oh not again..." the pegasus coughed, crashing into the mailbox for the second time that day.
"Where are they now?" Luna thought, still chasing the ever-energetic fillies.
A flash of red and silver moved through her peripheral vision as the cloaked princess continued along. Craning her head around, 'Trixie' watched as her disguised older sister raced in and out of several open shops, invitations dropping into the hooves of several ponies as she went. The disguised Luna pursued and followed the other incognito princess into a large building, its shape similar to that of a carousel.
"Now where is she?" thought Luna.
Looking around, 'Trixie' saw many elegant gowns and outfits hung neatly about. Mannequins sported several pieces on display, their inanimate forms seeming almost prideful in their poses. The princess felt like she'd seen this before; the boutique seeming all too familiar...
"Hey Luna!" A red filly called, dashing out the door.
"Huh? Hey you!" 'Trixie' responded, turning back toward the exit.
"My word, that filly is sure in an awfully big hurry." an elegant voice said from behind. "Ah, a customer! Welcome to the Carousel Boutique!"
Turning around, Luna found herself looking at a snow-white unicorn, a dark purple mane and tail flowing around her porcelain-hued body. Luna felt slightly relieved as her vision took in Rarity's image, remembering how the bearer of the element of generosity had saved her from the curse of Nightmare Moon. Luna's mind snapped back into focus as a slightly angry glare made its way over Rarity's face, the unicorn in front of the concealed princess remembering full well what trouble 'Trixie' had caused her in the past, especially regarding her mane.
"Oh, you! You... ah! How dare you show your face in my place of business." Rarity sneered. "I don't know what you're up to this time, miss 'great and powerful', but I'll have nothing of it, and simply will not tolerate any of your mischievous tricks in my boutique!"
"Hi, sis!" a small voice called as the door to the shop swung open. "Did Comet give you your invitation yet?"
"Oh, hello Sweetie Belle!" Rarity's expression changing to a smile as she met her sister's gaze. "No need to worry, dear, your friend has already delivered it. I'll see you and the others tonight!"
"Okay! Just making sure!" Sweetie Belle darted out the door.
"Hey! Wait a minute!" 'Trixie' sped after the filly. "Where is that friend of yours anyway?"
"What? Oh no! No! This will not do at all!" Rarity chased after the blue unicorn. "I will not have the likes of you around my younger sister!"
The increasingly loud sound of hoof-beats echoed through the streets as the chase began. The young fillies, down to their last invitation, headed towards the last place in town they hadn't been; the Ponyville library. 'Trixie' followed as close as she could, the princess focusing on her disguised sister. Rarity tried to keep pace as well, the white unicorn not wanting to imagine what might happen if that show-pony managed to get anywhere near her younger sister.
Up above, two more pairs of eyes watched as the miniature stampede made its way through town. One set of eyes glared in annoyance.
"See? What did I tell you?" Rainbow Dash grumbled. "It's that no-good Trixie again, and just what is she up to this time?"
"Well, um... She might just be playing a game with them." Fluttershy's quiet optimism drifted through the air.
"Yeah right..." the cyan pegasus responded. "This is Trixie here; she's always up to no good. She made me crash into a mailbox for crying out loud!"
"Um... Twice today, right?" the quiet flier asked.
Rainbow's anger had just about reached a climax, the hot-headed flier's temper finally boiling over as she darted off the cloud.
"That's it! I've had it with her!" Rainbow yelled as she darted into the town below.
"Oh my..." Fluttershy followed, not wanting her friend to get hurt.
Glancing backward, 'Trixie' broke into a worried sweat as a pair of pegasi joined the chase. The princess was getting exhausted, and this was far beyond any of her pranks; this was no joke, it was just mean to her friends now and the thought of making them this upset and angry hurt inside.
Luna's worry was offset slightly as Rarity drew near. The princess tried to increase her speed, Luna hoping to get closer to the other disguised princess as well. Rainbow Dash pursued, the fast pegasus flying as close to 'Trixie' as she could without getting in Rarity's way.
"Hey!" the flier called. "Just what are you up to this time?!"
"Rainbow Dash!" Rarity looked at her friend. "Don't tell me this piece of riff-raff has been a bother to you too."
"You bet she has." Rainbow frowned. "She made me crash into a mailbox... twice!"
Continuing along, the 'herd' caught the attention of a certain pink party pony, her bouncing form just exiting the door of Sugar Cube Corner. She spied the cluster of ponies running through the streets, her excitement building as she saw all of them.
"Hi everyone! You having a race?!" Pinkie called, running after the group. "This could be fun! Whee!"
"Oh great..." the disguised Luna rolled her eyes.
The library was coming into view now, the four fillies ahead already sliding a folded envelope into the door's letter slot. Applebloom spied the incoming group behind them and motioned for the others to get out of the way. At the very last second, the four took a brisk, seemingly impossibly wide, step to the right. The group of older ponies crashed through the front door as the fillies grimaced at the resulting crash.
Inside the library, a flurry of paper fluttered through the air as the stampede came to a halt against the back wall of the room. As the ponies stood up and moved out of each other's way, a small reptilian form made its way down the stairs.
"What the?" Spike questioned, looking at the clamor of ponies below. "What's going on around here?"
"I... haven't the foggiest idea..." a dizzy, purple-coated unicorn said, making her way out of the mess of books and paper.
"Hey, Twilight, 'Ah have that book y'all wanted." an orange earth pony said, heading down the stairs. "What the hay? What's goin' on?"
"It's... ugh... wait..." Dash said, wiping a book off her forehead. "It's Trixie again! This good-for-nothing show-pony has been nothing but trouble all day."
"Um, well, I don't know... she did scare me a bit earlier, but it wasn't really her fault... and... oh... um..." Fluttershy muttered.
"I think what she means to say," Rarity interrupted, "was that this... nuisance has been causing mischief all over town today, and we are quite tired of it."
"Well she did pop in unexpectedly over at Fluttershy's and she did follow the Cutie Mark Crusaders into Sugar Cube Corner saying she was looking for some filly and she did start that big chase that wound us all up here and..." Pinkie began, a motion to stop from Fluttershy ending her rant.
"'Ah thought somethin' might be up." Applejack made her way down the stairs, stopping in front of the magician pony. "'Ah saw her this morning. Didn't think much of it at the time, but now 'Ah'm starting to second-guess that."
"Trixie," Twilight said, the last of her dizziness fading away, "just what are you doing here again anyway?"
"Yeah," Spike said, glaring at the disguised alicorn, "after what you did last time, what makes you think you can just show up here?"
Backing into a corner, 'Trixie' covered her face as the group stared her down. The creak of a door followed as a small red form flew in, the filly hovering up above the annoyed group of ponies as the door slammed shut once more.
"Stop!" a surprisingly commanding voice echoed from the red pegasus filly. "That's enough out of everyone; this has gone a little too far."
Everyone looked up as the red filly hovered over the group, surprised at just how loud and commanding the young pony could be; her voice authoritative, yet surprisingly calm and gentle.
"Listen sugar-cube," Applejack began, "'Ah can see ya' mean well, but this here matter needs to be figured out."
"I already know the totality of the situation at hand, Applejack." the filly proceeded. "It's quite alright; I think it's time to reveal just what's been going on today."
"If I didn't know any better..." Twilight stared at the pegasus. "I'd swear that was... No... it can't be..."
The group was shocked as a flash of light enveloped the young flier, her coat, mane, and tail taking on a brilliant hue that only the sun could compare to. Her coat's red color vanished into a blinding, brilliant white that made even Rarity's exquisite coat seem pale by comparison. A sun-shaped mark graced her flank, and her mane and tail glowed with hue of a rainbow, the colors almost neon in their appearance. A long horn grew from her head, and her wings grew longer to their original fully-grown length; her feathers glistening more elegantly than the glass crystals of a chandelier.
"P-princess Celestia?!" Twilight stammered.
Almost every jaw in the room hit the floor as Celestia revealed herself. Although still a filly, there was no doubt that she was indeed the regal ruler of Equestria. She slowly floated down with the grace of a swan, landing without so much as a single hoof-beat as she touched the floor.
The gathering of ponies stepped aside as the princess trotted forward, stopping several feet away from the disguised Luna.
"Alright, dear sister, I think that's enough now." Celestia laughed, smiling at Luna.
"Sister?" Dash leaned towards them, a puzzled expression spreading over her. "Wait, are you telling me?!"
"Aheh heh..." Luna put on a sheepish smile as her disguise faded away. "Umm, hello everyone."
"W-w-what the?!" Dash exclaimed.
"Now that's something 'Ah didn't expect." Applejack said, somewhat shocked.
"Told you so! Told you so!" Pinkie bounced around Fluttershy, the yellow pegasus nodding with a sigh.
Rarity raised a hoof to her forehead, and promptly fainted as Spike rushed to her side eager to help her back up.
"Wait... What? Your highness, if I may ask, what's going on here?" Twilight said, sounding obviously confused.
"Oh my, Luna, I think you should explain this." Celestia sighed. "Then again, we both have some explaining to do here."
With a nod from Luna, the two sisters told the story of their day. Celestia told of her rambunctious adventures with the Cutie Mark Crusaders as Luna explained the wish she'd thought the night before, and her many attempts to find her sister and keep this transformation a secret. The six ponies (and one dragon) in the room listened, and soon their expressions of confusion and anger were replaced with understanding grins and smiles. As the story ended, Luna sighed, some guilt still filling her mind.
"Luna," Celestia reassured, "you don't need to feel bad over this. In all, I had a lot of fun today. I'm just sorry that you went through such trouble to find me."
"T-thanks, sis." Luna hugged her sister. "I just don't get how you transformed in the first place... I'm sure my wish had something to do with it, but... I don't know how."
"Tell me, Luna," Celestia began, letting go of her sister, "did you, by any chance, happen to sing that old lullaby last night; you know, the one we learned so long ago?"
"I did," Luna nodded, "but why do you ask?"
Celestia leaned over to Twilight, the filly whispering something in her student's ear. Twilight sighed and shook her head as she approached the center of the group.
"According to the princess," Twilight spoke, "that lullaby was actually part of an ancient spell. Apparently, if you speak the spell with a truly good intention in your heart, it comes true. However, it takes a powerful source of magic to pull it off."
"Which would explain why Luna was able to do it." Fluttershy added.
"Well yeah," Pinkie jumped in, "only one of the princesses would have the magic to pull off a spell as big as that!"
"Oh dear... I didn't realize..." Luna worried.
"Luna, don't fret over it. It's all over and done with." Celestia smiled. "If anything, I should be thanking you, my sister; this has been one of the most fun days I've had in nigh a thousand years!"
"Yeah, all's well that ends well." Twilight added. "Uh, if you don't mind me saying so, your highness."
"Quite alright, Twilight." Luna grinned back. "Oh, speaking of ending well, what about the sun? It's still stuck up there in the sky, and..."
"You're quite right, it's supposed to be around sunset now." Twilight looked at her wall-mounted clock. "Princess Celestia, do you think that you can still lower the sun, well, in the state you're in?"
"No, unfortunately not in my current form." Celestia replied, a worried response floating up from her audience. "However..."
Another meteoric burst of light filled the room, the ponies covering their eyes as the glow receded. As their eyes adjusted, they saw Celestia, her normal, fully-grown form restored.
"I think this should do." The princess chuckled, staring out the window.
Luna walked up to her sister and their regal horns began to glow. Twilight and her friends watched outside as day turned to night, the sun sinking below the horizon and the moon taking its place in the sky; the night as pristine and pure as the one before.
"Whew, that's a relief." Applejack sighed.
"Yeah, a never-ending day would be almost as bad as a never-ending night!" Pinkie exclaimed.
"Well, I suppose that takes care of that." Celestia said, turning away from the window.
"Wait, sister," Luna said, stopping the elder princess, "how long did you know how to break that spell?"
"Well, ahem..." Celestia's grinned, her expression as sheepish as Luna's had been. "It's sunset now, so... all day."
"Wha..." Luna breathed, the night alicorn dumbfounded. "Why didn't you tell me then?"
"I... was having too much fun." the sun princess laughed.
After a brief pause, the room burst into laughter, Luna also giggling at her sister's response. Their jubilation was interrupted as a knock came from the door, their attention diverted to three faint voices coming from the other side.
"Hey, is everything alright in there?" Scootaloo called through the wooden door.
"Uh, everything's fine!" Twilight called back. "We're just... getting some things ready."
"Yeah, it totally wasn't like Celestia and Luna showed up here in disguise or anything!" Pinkie shouted, a worried, and somewhat shocked, look sticking itself to every other pony in the room. "Hey, why don't you three head over to Sugar Cube Corner! The party's about to start!"
"Alrighty then, we'll do that!" Applebloom replied.
"Yeah, see you all there!" Sweetie Belle added.
Leaning out the window, Spike saw the crusaders head off towards the sweets shop, a sigh of relief leaving the dragon's mouth.
"Hey, that's right!" Luna said. "Celestia, your party's supposed to start soon."
"Oh my goodness, yes." Celestia agreed. "I'll have to disguise myself again."
With another flash, the princess shrunk in size, her horn once again becoming invisible as her coat turned an apple red.
"Alright then!" Celestia smiled, putting up her alter-ego's enthusiasm once again. "Let's get going!"
A group nod signaled everyone's agreement, and the mass of ponies started towards the door, Spike agreeing to watch the library while they were away (as long as a few gemstones were in it for him). About half way out the door, Applejack looked back at Luna, the princess still appearing as she normally would.
"Hey, speakin' of disguises," the farm pony began, "Princess Luna, was it you who was Trixie the first time that show-pony showed up?"
Luna froze in her tracks, and embarrassed smile coming over her face.
"Oh my, your highness, was it really you who... turned my mane... green?!" Rarity gasped.
"And spun me around with my own rainbow trail?" Dash added.
"Aheh..." Luna grinned, regretting the prank already.
"Come to think of it," Celestia grinned, "I think it was. Twilight, do you remember that one spell I taught you before?"
The purple unicorn nodded as her horn began to glow. Luna cringed as a bright light enveloped her, the radiance flowing through the night sky briefly as the glow quickly faded. Luna found herself looking up at the rest of the group (literally). The others were taller now, save for the disguised Celestia.
Luna looked at herself and found that she was much smaller; the size of a filly. Her coat and cutie mark were similar to that of her alter-ego, and her wings were once again invisible. The main difference that she found was her mane and tail; they were now a shade of midnight blue instead of Trixie's normal near-white coloration.
"Alright," Luna sighed, "I get it."
"Payback..." Celestia said with a sing-song, sarcastic tone.
Luna laughed as the rest of the ponies nodded. This seemed to be plenty enough for them.
The group headed off to the festivities, the party going even better than Pinkie had planned. Celestia masqueraded as her alter-ego, Comet Corona, all night, and even invented a story to explain Luna's current disguise as 'Trixie's younger cousin'; the filly the magician had been trying to find all day. As the night went on, they all had a grand time, Celestia enjoying herself more than ever. Luna enjoyed it all as well, the two sisters finally getting a night to relax and play together.
At around midnight the festivities drew to a close, and Celestia and Luna secretly headed home to Canterlot castle after the rest had gone to bed. Arriving there, the princess of the sun undid the spell on both of them, the two reigning alicorns taking back on their normal appearances. With a smile and a hug, the two began going about their normal routines; Luna supervising the night and Celestia heading to her room.
Before going to bed, the regal alicorn of the sun levitated out a piece of paper and a quill pen; she had a letter to write.
"To my faithful student, Twilight Sparkle," Celestia's note began, "today it seems that I have a report for you for a change, for your town, friends, and you too, have taught me something valuable. No matter how old one may become, and how much responsibility one might take on, there still needs to be some time to relax and be with the ones you care about, however it would be wise to not over-do it. I'll conclude this letter with this; thank you, and thank all your friends as well.
H.R.H. Princess Celestia."