Thy Words...

by Lady Grey

Chapter 1: Social Tea, Princess Tea

The Moonlit Pavilion, where the lunar princess met her guests, was hardly moonlit at three in the afternoon. But the late summer air was so open and pleasant that this casual misnomer bothered no one, not even the newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria. And so she was free to focus all her attention on not throwing her teacup out the window.

She had been warned that her magic would be more powerful now that she was an alicorn, but she had sort of expected to feel that more on the fantastic-feats-and-miracles end of the spectrum. Instead, the difference between “off” and “elephant toss” had become so slight that even her daily routines were clumsy and required concentration. It was like an earth pony trying to read a book with hooves the size of tree trunks. Slowly, gingerly, lifting the teacup to her mouth, she tried not to imagine smashing it into the starry muraled ceiling, sending shattered bits and tea raining down on both their heads. That would certainly not be appropriate behavior for a princess.

“Thou art woefully quiet Twilight Sparkle.” Princess Luna said, taking a jam-cake from the plate. "Is the Saddle Arabian spice tea not to thy liking?"

"Oh, no, it's quite delicious." She said, catching herself as the tea sloshed violently toward the rim. "I was just a bit... surprised by your invitation."

"I thought thou wouldst enjoy a social occasion on such a lovely day, as thou wast already in Canterlot."

The table had been set up near the open edge of the pavilion, where it looked out over the palace, Canterlot and then Equestria stretching off into the distance. It was the perfect height to observe from and not be observed. They were, effectively, alone.

Luna certainly had a sweet tooth fit for royalty: every kind of teacake and preserve was piled three layers high on shiny silver tea stands. Twilight didn’t dare try and partake of anything though. There’s no telling how her teacup would react to that extra drop of magic she needed to incorporate something new into the spell. If one drip threatened to bombard the ceiling, two might send it to the moon. No, the food was simply... out of the question. Tea would have to do. How she regretted that. She had not eaten much at all today. And all of her favorites were just so close. A jar of daisy marmalade stood surrounded by plates of barley biscuits less than two hooves from her right. The duffleberry wheatcakes were just a hair's width from her saucer. And the cream--oh the cream! Placed precisely two thirds of the radius toward her along the central axis, nothing looked more inviting than simply reaching out and tasting it. But no. No. Alicorn princesses do not eat with their hooves.

The sound of clinking porcelain brought her back.

"Oh! I … uh...I guess I didn't know you did this sort of thing during the day."

Luna cocked her head slightly. "With what would I occupy my days if not leisure?"

Twilight looked down into her cup as her face flushed. "...Sleeping?"

Luna carefully chewed her bite of daffodil scone before speaking. "We do not need a great deal of sleep, Twilight Sparkle, one day thou may find thyself the same."

"Oh I didn't mean, I mean, I've seen you around before, during the daytime that is, but I guess I just thought that those were, er, the exceptions rather than the rule. So I guess you don't really have any princess duties right now, do you? That's--"

"Twilight Sparkle!"

The forcefulness of the tone sent Twilight's cup clattering back to the saucer. "Yes?"

"Now that we are of the same station, We--I believe it is no longer appropriate for thee to address me so formally." Luna’s firm posture softened and her voice dropped to a mumble. "...Since we are friends."

"Oh no! I called you Princess didn't I? Pri--Celestia keeps telling me I don't have to anymore but it's just so awkward and I guess it slipped out.” Twilight’s teacup wobbled violently, flecks of tea blossoming into spots on the white tablecloth. “I'm so sorry Luna! I really didn't mean to upset you--"

"That is not what we meant!"

Luna shifted back onto her haunches in the silence that followed. Her hoof came up to her chest and then down and out with a long, deep breath. When Luna seemed calm Twilight leaned forward across the table. "Are you okay?"

Immediately she stiffened, then she turned to look out the window. "Thou didst it again."

"What do you mean?"

"Thou art doing it now."

"I am?" Twilight mentally flipped through every possible meaning of her sentence. "Are you sure?"

"Twilight Sparkle, there is simply no need for this ‘you’ nonsense anymore! Thou art my friend and equal."

"What?" Twilight blinked. "Oh--oh!" Twilight’s head spun with sudden flashes of archaic grammatical treatise. Of course! She had grown so used to Luna’s verbal quirks, their origin never even occurred to her. "Oh Luna, nopony uses 'thee' or 'thou' anymore in Equestria--even best friends call each other 'you'."

Luna looked taken aback. “Why would one be so cold and distant with one’s friends?”

“Actually, these days most ponies think ‘Thee’ and ‘thou’ are stuffy and distant. You see, over time our language as a whole became more informal, and the need for an intimate second case decreased. The less people used it, the more archaic it became, until eventually it became inextricably linked to the stiff, formal past. Aren’t linguistic shifts fascinating?” Twilight laughed with relief. Crisis smoothly avoided! And neatly done by Princess Twilight Sparkle.

Luna did not smile. "Oh. I see." She said, looking down into her teacup.

“I’m glad we worked that out. How silly would it be to get all worked up over such a simple mistake?”

Luna’s eyebrows furrowed, she started to say something once or twice. But each time stopped and drank some tea. Finally she set down her teacup and turned to look at the horizon. "All right. I do not wish to sound distant with...you. Because you are my very close friend. That is simple enough."

Twilight froze. The thought that came next was not creeping, or subtle, but rather hit her square in the face without an apology. In that moment Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria nearly dropped the remainder of her tea, cup and all.

“Uh...Luna? Do you often invite people here for tea?”

Luna frowned up at a passing cloud.

“We do not receive many guests, since we have been back. One historian, two diplomats... our sister, always.” The mention of Celestia was accompanied with a ruffle of feathers and a small shrug. Luna shifted her gaze up to the ceiling with a sigh. “It seems Canterlot is naught but parties and Galas and Weddings these days. Too often we find ourselves as much fixture as participant. We have always preferred more intimate gatherings, but there are not many ponies left with whom we feel…” Luna’s shrug quietly filled in the word “comfortable.” Then she added: “This is our first social tea in sixteen months.”

The bottom fell out of Twilight’s already empty stomach and suddenly she felt altogether too hot inside her own skin.

Luna sipped tea and chuckled into it nervously. “We were, perhaps, over excited in our preparations.” She gestures a hoof at the silver tea trays. “It is a bit much. We are a bit single minded. Th--you have been most polite for not mentioning it.” Luna nodded to herself quietly. Then looks up with decisive purpose. “In the future we may have tea only, if you prefer.”


Luna caught Twilight’s teacup as it flew through the air.

Twilight continued shouting “I love sweets! I could eat the whole tray of duffleberry wheatcakes! I keep fantasizing about drinking the cream straight! I-I hate drinking tea black, I take it with three spoonfuls of sugar--minimum!” Twilight gestures wildly. “I’ve just been so scared of making a fool of myself that I’ve too frightened to touch anything! Oh Luna I’m such an idiot!”

She slumped to the table, wings reaching up as though to cover her face in shame.

Luna stared for a moment, clutching the thousand year old porcelain between her hooves. Then, quietly, “Twilight Sparkle? Are you okay?”

“Stop saying that!”

“Saying what?”


“But you asked me too--”

“I know!” Twilight buried her face in her hooves. “I know…”

...art thou okay?”

Twilight looked up at Luna and she laughed through her tears. “No… no I’m not. To tell you the truth Luna, I don’t think this Princess thing is going to work. Princess Celestia said I became an alicorn because I’ve mastered the magic of friendship, but I don’t feel like a master at all. I’m having trouble feeding myself, and getting dressed in the morning, there’s no way I could run a country.” Twilight wiped her eyes but the tears didn’t stop pouring out. “I’m just terrified I’m going to screw it up all the time. Here you are inviting me to tea, and being so polite, and… and even changing the way you talk… all just to make me more comfortable and all I can worry about is being proper and princess-y, like that even matters. I’m so sorry. I’m a terrible friend.”

“Our most sincere apologies, Twilight Sparkle. We had no idea that a simple Tea Party would cause such stress.” Luna said, returning Twilight’s teacup to its saucer.

Twilight sniffed. “No! I mean--This was very thoughtful of you, Luna. You are really nice--I really ap-appreciate…. Y-you just shouldn’t have to change your way of doing things just to suit me.” Twilight looked up, realizing this is not what she meant at all. “I mean, it’s not wrong to be nice to people. Or even your friends. Just that it’s sort of a two-way street and I guess…I’m the one who’s not, you know...” The thoughts fell through her grip one by one and spilled out her mouth, never quite right. Twilight took a deep breath and things seemed to center. “I guess what I’m trying to say is... if this is important to thee, I shall try to meet thee halfway. Thy friendship is a gift, and I hope I haven’t ruined it."

Luna smiled. It was a gentle, infectious smile. A friend’s smile. "I thank thee, Twilight Sparkle." After all, what was more important than a few words between friends? “Thy fears are vain, thou art a most precious and valued friend to everypony thou meetest. To me most of all. No one asks that thou be reborn in a night a perfect princess also.”

“Can we try this again when I come back to Canterlot? Having a social tea I mean. Maybe without the waterworks next time?”

“The Moonlit Pavilion shall always be open for thee, Twilight Sparkle.”

“Thanks. I look forward to it.” Twilight reached for her teacup with her front hooves, retrieving a scone to her plate as she did. "And Luna?"

"Speak--I mean--yes?"

"Please call me Twilight. Just Twilight."

"Twilight?" Luna looked down unsure, as though she was tasting the name. Then she picked up her cup between her hooves and held it out over the table. "Cheers… Twilight."

They clicked their cups together and drank.

Author's Notes:

This was first written eight months ago as barely 300 words of entirely funny dialogue about the meaning of second person plural in the context of Luna's speech. I finished it around the same time I wrote my other fic, then called "An Illustrated History of Equestria." For five months it has been sitting in a google doc with everything except the key turning point in place. I kept coming back to and having no idea how it was all going to shake out. I almost gave up on ever getting around to finishing this story.


I don't understand Brain. I just don't.

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