I watched as my faithful student Twilight Sparkle read over the problem once more before definitively writing down an answer. I knew it would be correct before looking, but I checked it anyways, as a teacher must.
"How did I do Princess Celestia?" she asked me, looking up.
"A+ as always Twilight," I said, gracing her with a smile. She beamed back at me, and my heart skipped a beat. What? No, that couldn't be. My smile slipped from my face, as I analyzed my feelings.
"Is there something wrong Princess?" Twilight asked me, a concerned frown taking over her face, sending another twinge through my heart.
"Nothing serious," I lied, forcing a smile back on my face. "Just some work I remembered that I've left undone. Now if you excuse me Twilight, I'll leave you to relax now that you've finished your exercises." I got up and prepared to leave.
"Can I help?" Twilight asked, standing up and staying beside me.
"No. You've done enough work for today deserve time to relax and have fun," I said. She frowned and nuzzled me, sending another pang through my heart.
"Alright, Princess. If that is what you wish then I'll relax," Twilight said, clearly pouting.
"It is," I said, smiling softly at Twilight, to cheer her up. I made my good byes, and left, heading to my private chambers. Once inside I sealed the doors, ensuring that nopony would be able to enter and interrupt my deliberations. I immediately started to pace, hoping to burn off some of the nervous energy inside my legs. I couldn't be having feelings for my student! Well, obviously I could, but it wasn't right. Twilight wasn't even fully grown yet, sure she was an adult physically, but mentally she still had a while to go. It would be so easy to exploit such a young mind and- No! I am not the sort of mare who would take advantage of anypony, particularly one as close to me as my own student.
Wait, that was it. When was the last time I was close with one of my students? A century? More? Even then I hadn't been as close to them as I was with Twilight. This was simply a...a momentary weakness brought on by loneliness and affection. With time my interest would fade, particularly when Twilight got a special somepony of her own. Still perhaps it's a sign that I should distance myself from Twilight a little. No, I dare not. She is the one I'm sure of it, and she must be ready. Equestria is counting on her, and I must do my duty to make sure she is prepared. There's only a few more years to go now, I can wait.
I watched carefully from the distance. Nightmare Moon was too powerful for me to confront directly, and only Twilight had the power to restore the Elements of Harmony. I winced as I watched my sister attempt to kill and dishearten my little ponies, but I forced myself to not intervene. My presence would do nothing but infuriate Nightmare Moon and escalate the matter. For now, at least, my sister was holding back. She could easily appear in front of them and crush them with wing, hoof, and horn, but she was fighting indirectly instead.
Perhaps she was saving her strength to fight me, or perhaps she was just enjoying herself after a millennium of imprisonment. Or perhaps...perhaps she didn't want to hurt them? Dare I hope that a spark of goodness still existed within Nightmare Moon? My sister might be redeemed and restored to me. I tugged at the sun, but my sister's power easily kept the dawn at bay. No, I couldn't let myself relax and get my hopes up. Nightmare Moon may not be seeking the deaths of my ponies personally, but eternal night would be their doom regardless. I must be vigilant and wait for my chance to strike Nightmare Moon down, or for my faithful student to be successful in using the Elements of Harmony.
Oh, but it is so hard to wait. Harder still to send Twilight into such danger. I sighed. I had hoped it wouldn't come down to this. At first, I took a hooves off approach to Twilight's social life. I knew from Cadence that she was a friendly enough pony, and I thought it would be inevitable for a mare of her calibre to attract a close group of friends. But no, she rejected every advance anypony made to her. She had Cadence, her brother, Spike, and me, and that seemed to be all the ponies she wanted to know. So, I was forced to take a more direct hoof in matters, I sent Twilight on errands to other ponies' houses, took her to meet professors at the top of their field, and even told her to make sure Spike got lots of socialization with other ponies then just herself and I. It didn't work. She'd meet new ponies sure, but at the first possible chance she'd retreat to her books. Finally, I had to resort to directly ordering her to make some friends.
I inspected the ponies that accompanied Twilight. Two I recognized, the distinctive hair of the pegasus proving an easy reminder of the young filly who had performed a legendary sonic rainboom on that fateful day. The apple cutie mark was all the clue I needed to induce that the Stetson wearing mare was of the Apple clan. Their presence was a slight comfort, as the pegasus was obviously skilled beyond her years, and the Apple clan had long been famous for being steadfast and brave. Still this wasn't some ordinary monster they were preparing to fight. This was Nightmare Moon, a being so powerful that even I didn't dare to face her openly. My stomach twisted as my heart ached with a familiar pain.
Yes, despite my best efforts my attraction to Twilight had not yet faded. The cruel irony was that it was clear that a relationship would be a horrible idea. Twilight's devotion to me was growing stronger every day. She followed my every request with a fanatical fervour that worried me. I needed to put some distance between us, but I knew that any perceived rejection would be devastating for her. I was letting myself get distracted, focusing on the possible future rather then the immediate threat of Nightmare Moon. I sighed and focused, preparing to intervene if necessary.
I can't believe it! My beloved sister is back! And it's all thanks to my beloved student Twilight. For a second there I thought all was lost, but then she managed to figure out how to restore the artifacts. I was relieved that I didn't have to fight Nightmare Moon, but I never dreamed that the Elements would redeem her. I was so happy I almost kissed Twilight when she came over for a hug. I managed to resist, and I'm glad I did, because the next thing I know Twilight is telling me she doesn't want to abandon her friends in Ponyville. Such a perfect opportunity and it just drops in my lap. I'm so glad she's finally managed to make some friends of her own, and they already have such a strong bond. Hmm, I wonder...Twilight has already achieved things with the Elements that I didn't think possible. Perhaps she'll be able to complete the ritual Starswirl started and failed. Well, she still has a long way to go. I'm sure that the weekly friendship reports she'll send will give me a good idea on her progress, but I'll keep an eye on her all the same.
Wait, I do need to be careful not to neglect Luna again. I will not make the same mistake as I did last time. For now, my focus must be on my sister. But that's alright. I can wait for Twilight to grow on her own, I can wait.
I cried softly, my tears silently running down my face as I watched the devastation that Discord caused my little ponies. Without the Elements all I could do is silently pray for the success of Twilight and her friends as they searched the maze desperately. And watch in horror as one by one they fell to Discord's evil, becoming warped parodies of themselves. Worst of all I knew this was just the beginning if Twilight failed. Discord wouldn't be content with ruining the lives of only a few ponies, and he wouldn't rest until all of Equestria bowed to his every twisted whim.
"Sister why do you stand here and do nothing?" Luna asked, trotting up to my side, her mane and coat still not having recovered to its full glory yet.
"Because there is nothing I can do," I said, not bothering to turn and meet her gaze.
"Surely there must be something we can do other then cower in this palace like helpless sheep," Luna said, scorn and self hatred filling her voice.
"And what would you have me do? Without the Elements we'd fall victim to him just as easily as did our Royal Guard," I said, gesturing to a group of geese in golden armour.
"At least we would fight with honour," Luna argued.
"Ha! Honour is the privilege of those who don't have lead nations," I said. "If we went out there now, all we would accomplish is sending Twilight into the depths of despair or provide Discord with hostages. Probably both."
"And so, we wait," Luna said bitterly.
"Yes, we will wait until Twilight has either failed, or she has succeeded. If she fails, then all hope is lost, and we might as well fight one last battle before our defeat. If she succeeds then everything will be fine," I said.
"It does not look like things are going well," Luna said, as our hedge maze disappeared into the ground and Discord appeared in front of Twilight. "I will go prepare, call me when Twilight Sparkle has fallen as well," Luna added, walking off. I sighed, as much as I hated to admit it Luna had a point. Things weren't looking good and at this rate Twilight would end up falling under Discord's influence as well. I needed to help somehow, but direct intervention was out. As soon as I showed up anywhere near Twilight, Discord would intercept me...somehow. I didn't really want to think about what he would do if I did intervene. Anything I did had to be from the palace, and I didn't even have a way to contact Twilight.
I watched as Twilight and her friends slowly made their way to Ponyville. Her friends were tormenting Twilight, and I could see that it was getting to her. She was managing to hold onto her temper for now, but she'd snap sooner or later. They eventually reached the library where they met up with Spike. That's it! I can send Twilight some advice through Spike. But what should I tell her? Wait, what's she doing? Twilight, you should know that the Elements won't work without Rainbow Dash, even if Spike would be a good fit for the Element of Loyalty. Even if Rainbow Dash was there, I doubt that the Elements would activate with it's wielders in such strife with each other.
That's what I can tell her. I need to remind Twilight about how much the friendship of her friends means to her. And I know just how to do so. I quickly ran to my chambers, where I found my collection of socks planning a revolt against my rule. I incinerated the rebellious fabric, focusing instead on where I stored the collection of friendship lessons Twilight had sent me over the past months. "Sorry Spike," I whispered, before casting the spell that would send the scrolls back to Twilight. Looking back to my observational portal, I saw Twilight reading through them one by one, and how the memories drove out Discord's influence.
"Luna, Luna come quick," I shouted, not looking away for a second. My sister trotted up to me, clad in her battle barding.
"What is it? Has Twilight fallen?" Luna asked, looking into the portal alongside me.
"Just the opposite. Luna, she's winning," I said, grinning like a loon. Before us Twilight had just performed the memory spell on Rainbow Dash. The Bearers then quickly headed to Discord and confronted him. I nearly had a heart attack when he grabbed them with his magic, but thankfully Twilight intervened. I cheered as the Elements activated, and quickly moved to a window so I could see the wall of rainbow light spread over all of Equestria. Seconds later it was all over, all the chaos Discord had wrought had been undone and normality had been restored.
"I must admit, I'm impressed by how capable of a warrior Twilight Sparkle has proven to be," Luna said, smiling.
"She's so wonderful. That's twice she's saved Equestria from certain destruction," I gushed.
"Indeed. Twilight Sparkle and the other Bearers are quite the effective force," Luna said.
"This calls for a celebration! Quickly Luna, let's get our ponies to work. Our hero deserves a banquet for her efforts. And certainly, another stained glass window. Do think a medal would be going to far? There's so much to do, let's get started," I said, prancing around like a filly. Luna gave me an odd look but smiled as she helped me prepare the celebration.
Afterwards when I had finally managed to stop smiling, I had tea with Luna. Sadly, Twilight wasn't in attendance, but after the long day or however long Discord had taken over, combined with the party afterwards had left Twilight exhausted.
"So, what do you think of Twilight?" I asked, drinking the bitter tea with relish.
"Mmm?" Luna mumbled, before swallowing the bite she had taken of her scone. "I'm not sure what you are asking Sister. She is a hero, one of the greatest we've ever seen. She has proven herself quite worthy of your favour, and of the honours you have bestowed upon her."
"That's not what I mean, I was more thinking, well you know," I said.
"The ritual? Surely you jest, Celestia. Do you truly think Twilight can accomplish what we have failed to do? And do not forget, the ritual is a risky spell. If Twilight fails, her life, and perhaps those of her friends will all be at risk," Luna said.
"You're right. Twilight isn't ready for the ritual and might never be. But I think it's still too early to tell one way or the other, but that's alright. We can wait."
My hooves seemed to grow heavier with every step I took. I wasn't looking forward to this conversation and I even thought about ignoring what had happened and just pretending it was all part of my 'master plan' as I was all too sure Twilight was thinking. But no, I had requested to speak with Twilight, and I knew that we both needed to talk about what had happened. I had made a mistake, such a horrible mistake, and I needed to make amends.
"Twilight? Can I come in?" I said, softly knocking on the door to her room.
"Of course," Twilight said, opening the door with her magic. "How can I help you Princess?" she asked, smiling.
"I've got something important to say to you," I said, pathetically delaying.
"What is it?" Twilight asked, her eyes wide and concerned. When was the last time a pony had looked at me with such care in their gaze? I hesitated, and then decided to plunge right in.
"I've got to apologize Twilight. What I did at the wedding was horrible. I should have never turned you away like that, not after all you've done for me. I should have had faith in you and investigated Cadence after you accused her," I said, bowing my head.
"Princess, no! Chrysalis fooled us all, you've got nothing to apologize for," Twilight said, her eyes tearing up.
"But I do. You weren't fooled, not completely anyways. You saw that Cadence wasn't behaving normally, and called it to our attention," I said.
"I didn't think she was a changeling though, I just thought she was a horrible pony who shouldn't marry my brother. It was no wonder nopony believed me, when I came in ranting how Cadence was a horrible pony who was an evil witch. I didn't believe my friends when they accused Zecora, and I shouldn't have expected you to believe me either. I should have researched an actual headache spell, or perhaps an anti-mind control spell," Twilight argued, stubbornly stomping her hoof.
"That doesn't excuse my failure. You only acted that way because you trusted me to have the same faith in you that you have shown me. And I know a headache spell, I could have cast one and reassured that your accusations were baseless," I said, refusing to meet Twilight's gaze.
"No!" Twilight protested.
"Yes, and that wasn't the only way I failed you today. I lost to Chrysalis when we fought, and once again I put the burden of saving Equestria on your shoulders," I said, shutting my eyes to try and stem the coming tears.
"No, I refuse to hear you blame yourself for losing that fight," Twilight said, firmly.
"But I lost Twilight. I let you down, and I let down all of Equestria. When it came to protecting my ponies, once again I failed and had to leave it to others to save us all," I said, the tears leaking down my face despite my best efforts. Twilight jumped forward and hugged me.
"I don't care that you lost to Chrysalis. I wouldn't care if you lost a fight to Derpy. You're still my hero, even if I have to fight to protect you. Do you know why? Because I can't fight alone, Princess. And I'm not about to expect you to," Twilight said, fiercely.
"Twilight..." I whispered, hugging her back. I had to resist the urge to kiss the top of her head. It was so difficult, with her warmth pressed up against me, and her speaking so loyally on my behalf.
"I didn't blame Applejack when she couldn't fulfil her promise to Ponyville, I'm not going to start blaming you for your mistakes," Twilight said, squeezing a bit harder. For a few moments we stood there, wrapped up in our mutual embrace. I felt Twilight take in a deep breath.
"Princess Celestia, I-"
"Twilight, I-" we said, interrupting each other.
"I'm sorry, you go first," Twilight said, quickly.
"I..." I hesitated. Was I really going to confess my feelings to Twilight now? No, not like this. Not when I'm this distraught. If I was going to tell her it should be when I wasn't so vulnerable. "I just wanted to say thank you. I appreciate all you've done for Equestria and I since the Summer Sun Celebration," I said, releasing Twilight and taking a breath to steady myself.
"Oh, it was nothing," Twilight said, looking at me oddly. She seemed to argue with herself about something before going on. "I'm always glad to help." She said simply, smiling.
"Thank you again," I said, before bidding her a good night and heading off to my own rest. I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off of my wings. Yes, saying sorry and being granted forgiveness from Twilight were very welcome, and necessary. But more important was finally accepting the truth. I was in love with Twilight Sparkle, and that wasn't going to change. I thought it would pass, with time and distance, but that hadn't been the case. It was time I stopped lying to myself and admitted the truth. But a relationship would still be a bad idea at this time. Twilight still looked up to me far too much, and a such idol worship who spell the ruin of any relationship.
Still that should fade with time. Particularly if my plans for Twilight to ascend are successful. And after tonight I'm feeling very hopeful about that. I can wait a little longer.
"What are you thinking sister? The Crystal Empire has returned, and our Royal Guard have reported that Sombra's Shade is on the move. And your only action is to send Twilight Sparkle and her friends to save the city? Without the Elements of Harmony?" Luna said, glaring at me.
"It's the perfect opportunity sister," I replied, calmly. "We defeated Sombra in the prime of his magic, despite his many defences and traps. Sombra's shade is weaker, and if he somehow manages to defeat Princess Cadence and Twilight, he still won't have time to rebuild his defences by the time we intervene."
"You are still putting a city a risk, and for what? We failed the last time we faced Sombra, for all that he suffered for it. You should not be so quick to underestimate him," Luna said.
"The risk is well worth the reward. This test will prove if Twilight is ready or not," I said, smiling.
"How so? Twilight and her friends have thwarted threats that are far greater then Sombra. What will beating him prove?" Luna asked.
"It's not the vanquishing of Sombra that matters, but the how. I told Twilight to defeat Sombra by herself," I said.
"What? But then why did you send her friends with her?" Luna asked.
"Because Sombra should be a tough enough opponent that Twilight can't obey my orders. At some point she will have to choose between saving the Crystal Empire or failing the 'test'," I explained.
"And what will that prove?" Luna asked.
"Two things hopefully, one that she is ready to act independently instead of just doing what I say. Secondly, it will prove that she is willing to do what is right, even if it means trouble for herself," I said.
"I see. That is a worthy test I suppose, but is that really why you are taking such an unnecessary risk?" Luna asked, raising an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" I asked, blinking.
"I think you've sent Twilight off so eagerly, because you know that if she learns the lesson you hope she does, she'll stop admiring you so much and the two of you can finally have a romantic relationship," Luna said, shaking her head in disapproval.
"No! This is a prime opportunity and we'd be fools to not take this chance," I protested, faintly blushing.
"Nonsense. Yes, the situation with the Crystal Empire and Sombra's shade will serve to test if Twilight is ready to move on. We are also likely able to defeat Sombra's shade if Twilight should fail. But a similar opportunity would've developed in the future, and likely without risking an entire city of ponies if we underestimate our opponent," Luna said, staring directly into my eyes. I glanced away and she continued. "There is no need to rush Celestia. And there is certainly no need to wait for Twilight to change. Just confess how you feel to her already."
"I can't do that. I know she'd say yes, but she'd only do so because I'm her idol and she'd hate to disappoint me," I replied, shaking my head.
"Or perhaps she idolizes you so much because she's already in love with you," Luna argued. "And other relationships have overcome greater issues."
"It's not a chance I'm willing to take Luna. It's like you said, I can wait for a more ideal time. I should wait for a more ideal time. I admit that I made a mistake with sending Twilight to deal with Sombra's Shade, but it's not one I'm willing to repeat with any potential relationship the two of us have. I can wait for the right moment," I said. Luna rolled her eyes but dropped it.
I couldn't keep the smile off of my face as I stood before the crowd. After all of this time, my hopes and dreams had finally been realized. Twilight would soon walk down the aisle, resplendent in her gown, as the ponies sing their praises of this joyous occasion. I quietly cleared my throat as I prepared to speak.
"We are gathered here today in celebration of a momentous occasion. My most faithful student, Twilight Sparkle, has done many extraordinary things since she's lived in Ponyville. She even helped reunite me with my sister, Princess Luna," I said, turning my smile to Luna, who smiled back. "But today, Twilight Sparkle did something extraordinary. She created new magic, proving without a doubt that she is ready to be crowned Equestria's newest Princess. Fillies and gentlecolts, may I present for the very first time, Princess Twilight Sparkle!"
The ceremony went perfectly. Afterwards we walked out onto the balcony and smiled and waved to the crowd below.
"Say something Princess," I said, the words sweet on my tongue Twilight stammered a little, before giving out a heartfelt speech to her new subjects. My heart ached a little as the pride I felt in that moment overwhelmed me. She headed off to her parade and I took the opportunity to get some privacy. Finally, free from the public view I giggled and pranced in place.
"I guess you're happy," Luna said behind me, making me jump. She laughed as I blushed and playfully bumped her head against my shoulder. "There's nothing to be ashamed of sister. This is a happy day! Live it up a little and relax, you were right about Twilight after all. Now I guess you can finally start dating her."
"I suppose..." I said slowly, a sinking feeling appearing in my chest.
"You suppose?" Luna asked, arching an eyebrow.
"Did you see how nervous Twilight when she was giving her speech?"
"Yes, but she's new and she'll get over it soon enough," Luna said, eyeing me oddly.
"That's true, I imagine she'll get used to things pretty quickly," I said, nodding slowly.
"So, what does that have to do with anything?" Luna asked.
"I think it would be best if I waited a little bit. Twilight has just become a princess and is still adapting. Trying to start a relationship right now would just be needlessly hard on her," I said, with a little sigh.
"Please tell me you're kidding," Luna said flatly, staring at me.
"No. There's no rush, and it'll only be until Twilight gets used to her new role," I said.
"I can't believe this," Luna said, shaking her head.
"All of your plans have come to fruition, Twilight has exceeded our wildest expectations, and you've finally equalized her position with yours, which I still think was a ridiculous reason to wait by the way, but now you've decided to wait even longer?" Luna shouted, her hoof shattering the stone beneath her feet as dark clouds began to form around her. I sighed, and caught her wild magic, dispersing it with my own before I found myself in the middle of a thunderstorm.
"Luna, calm down. You are making a bigger deal out of this then it is. I'm only waiting for a little longer."
"When you don't need to. You're procrastinating Celestia, and you should know better! There is no real reason for you not to pursue this relationship. Otherwise you'll just keep putting it off and putting off and it'll never happen, and you know why? Because there is never a 'perfect' time for romance," Luna yelled.
"You're being ridiculous. Waiting a little longer doesn't mean I'll never seek a relationship. There's no rush and I'm just taking my time," I said. Luna shook her head in frustration, and I sighed. "Alright, I promise that I'll confess my feelings to Twilight after the Summer Sun Celebration. That's a couple months away, but that should be long enough for Twilight to get over her nervousness. Until then I shall wait."
"Now that was a great party," Luna said, yawning.
"That it was," I said, smiling. We walked down the palace halls, keeping each other company after the vine attack. It was a little terrifying to think about how easily our home had been infiltrated, and how vulnerable even it was to Discord's power. Particularly since Discord had recently been released. Yes, he said he was redeemed, and he said this was a plot he concocted way back when Luna and I defeated him the first time, but I couldn't quite bring myself to believe him. I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable around him until he proved that his redemption was real, particularly now that the Elements of Harmony had been returned to the tree.
"What are you thinking about?" Luna asked, bumping her hip into mine playfully.
"About Discord and those vines he used to imprison us," I said.
"Wrong answer! You should have said you were thinking about Twilight! You made a promise after all," Luna said, bumping into me again.
"Luna, are you drunk?" I asked, sniffing her and smelling cider. "You are! Why are you drunk?"
"My ponies put forth a challenge and I accepted. Many a pony fell before the legions of cider but in the end, we proved victorious," Luna said, swaying a little and bumping into me once again. "But enough about me, you have a confession to say to your Princess."
"I suppose I do. But, do you really think this is the best time? I'm exhausted," I said, yawning.
"No excuses. You promised and it's time you stopped procrastinating," Luna said, suddenly grabbing me with her hooves and making me stare her in the eye. "Tell me that you're going to talk to Twilight after this conversation. Promise me," she demanded.
"I promise, I promise. Now go to bed," I said, feeling a small twinge in my chest as I spoke.
"Good," Luna said, nodding a few times. "I'm going to bed now. And I want all the details tomorrow evening," Luna said, before slowly walking off. I bide her good night and headed my own way, my thoughts now turning to Twilight. I had almost forgotten my promise after the last few months. Making Twilight a Princess had been easy, actually integrating her into the government of Equestria was much more difficult. Tons of paperwork and ponies to talk to. And it all had to be done slowly, in order to not overwhelm Twilight. Plus, there was the abduction by Discord's vines, and the restoration of the Elements of Harmony to the Tree of Harmony. Then there was that mysterious box. I wonder if Twilight had any ideas on how to open it yet? Actually, that's probably consuming all of her attention right now. And that's how it should be. Finding an alternative to the Elements of Harmony is of utmost importance, another threat may be along soon and quite frankly I wasn't comfortable without some means of controlling Discord if necessary.
So, springing a romance on Twilight right now wouldn't be appropriate. She had more important matters to deal with, and I shouldn't distract her. But that's alright, I'm sure she'll solve this latest puzzle soon. I can-
"Prin-, I mean Celestia?" A voice said from behind, startling me out of my thoughts. I looked around and smiled as Twilight trotted up to me.
"Yes, Twilight? How can I help you?" I said, warmth flooding my voice, even as my heart ached.
"Um, for now can you wait quietly? I've, um, I've got something to say, and if you interrupt, I-I don't know if I'll be able to keep talking. So...please, just hear me out?" Twilight asked.
"Of course, Twilight. Take however long you need," I said, smiling softly. I looked at her, she was clearly nervous, her stance was uneasy, and she wasn't meeting my gaze. Oh dear, whatever she had to tell me must be bad. Perhaps she's decided that she doesn't want to be a princess? Perhaps she hates being an alicorn and blames me?! No, calm down Celestia, and listen to what she's saying. I focused, and noticed that Twilight was still stuttering, completely tongue twisted. That wouldn't do, I needed to calm her down first. "Perhaps you'd like to talk over some tea?" I suggested.
"No! No, thank you. No more procrastinating, not for a second. I've been putting this conversation off for far too long," Twilight said, before taking a deep breath and going through the relaxation exercise Cadence taught her.
"You promised to hear me out," she reminded me, before closing her eyes and taking one last deep breath. "I love you. I've loved you for a long time now, but I've always been too scared of driving you away that I kept my feelings deep inside. Then you sent me away to Ponyville and for a while I was able to put my love for you aside, as I got to know my friends. But I never stopped loving you, and I resolved to one day tell you so. I was going to tell you at the Grand Galloping Gala, but, well you know what happened. And then everything got so busy. There was Discord, and the changlings, and well, things just never seemed to calm down long enough for me to confess to you. I almost confessed when you came to apologize, but it just didn't feel right. Like I would be taking advantage of your regret.
"But today, today I almost lost you. You were gone, and it really hit me that I might never get to see you again. That I might never get to tell you how I feel. And I promised myself that if I got you back safe and sound, I wouldn't delay any longer. So, I love you Celestia! And-and that's what I wanted to say," Twilight said, audibly gulping as she stared up at my face. For a second, I was shocked into stillness as I processed what Twilight had just told me. She loved me. She loved me!
"Oh, Twilight you can't believe how happy it makes me to hear that," I said, beaming and sweeping Twilight up in a tight hug. "I've felt the same way for such a long time. But I was always worried that bringing it up wouldn't be fair to you."
"How so? I've wanted this for so long," Twilight said happily as she nuzzled my neck. I giggled at the ticklish sensation.
"You were always so busy protecting Equestria. I didn't want to stress you out by putting additional demands on your time," I said.
"You should know better Celestia," Twilight chided me, giving me a soft kiss on the lips. She kept speaking, but I couldn't hear her over the sound of my heart. My face lit up as I blushed and softly kissed her back. Twilight giggled and grinned, "so what now?" she asked.
"Well there's this museum exhibit of Saddle Arabia art I've been meaning to go see. Are you interested?" I ask.
"Of course," Twilight says happily, giving me one last kiss before slipping out of my hooves. "Sweet dreams, Celestia," she said as she trotted off to her bed.
"Good night," I reply as I trot off to my own bed, giggling as I prepare to brag to Luna about my plans for tomorrow.