Heat of the Summer's Sun

by Rocinante

Chapter 1: Twinkle Twinkle Little Sun

Applejack cocked her head in confusion. It was a bright summer morning, but the library was shuttered up for a storm. She’d just picked up the week’s weather schedule from town hall—no rain was planned for days.

Seeing the open sign hung on the door, Applejack opened it just enough to stick her head in. “Twilight?”

“Come in. Close the door behind you,” Twilight's bright voice answered.

Walking in, Applejack closed the door behind her and looked around. Every curtain was drawn tight. Not one speck of sun could intrude into the building between the shutters and the curtains. It was far from dark or gloomy however. The whole place glowed with candles and lamps, and somewhere in the back of the library, Twilight was half singing, half humming a happy tune.

Following the merry hum, Applejack found Twilight waltzing among a dozen floating books. The levitated books danced in rhythm to Twilight’s tune, every now and then leaving her levitation to fill an empty spot on the shelves.

“Everything okay, sugar?” Applejack asked. Hiding from the sun was Twilight’s normal reaction to estrus, but she was far too chipper to be in heat.

“Yep,” Twilight said, not interrupting her work.

“What’s up with all your windows being blacked out?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Twilight sang.

Slotting two last books into their home, Twilight turned to face Applejack. “Want some tea? I’ve got a vegetable tray too.”

Applejack blinked, but followed her to the kitchen. “You sure you don’t want to talk about it, Twi? Love ya and all, but you don’t do well when you bottle things up.”

Setting the kettle on the stove, Twilight pulled some food from the ice box. “Applejack, what was the sun doing before you came in?”

“Umm... The same thing it does every day? Well, except it’s a bit wobbly today, so Celestia must be in heat.” Applejack’s confusion at Twilight’s question vanished in a moment of realization. “Oh! Maybe you know. Is it summer because of Celestia’s heats, or the other way around?”

Twilight hung her head a little. The age old question: Celestia’s four heats, and the four months of summer; which caused which? Sad thing was, Celestia would gladly answer the question if you asked her, but to date only one filly had been brave enough to ask.

“Her heats bring the Summer.”

“Ha! I guessed it ... but I still don’t get why you’re shuttering yourself inside. It’s a beautiful day.”

“When I asked what the sun was doing, I meant how was it wobbling. Is it still twinkling, or has it started to sway?”

Applejack scratched her head. “Can’t say I’ve ever noticed the difference.”

Casting her magic over the window, Twilight pulled back the curtain on the kitchen window and opened the shutter a crack, allowing a single ray of sun to stream into the room. Applejack followed Twilight’s gaze to the kitchen floor, where the beam of light swayed back and forth.

“She’s on the hunt,” Twilight said, tracing the light path on the floor with her hoof. “Soon it’ll start making a figure eight pattern.” Twilight traced a figure eight in rhythm to the wobbling beam of light.

“What’s that mean?” Applejack asked.

“It sways when she’s on the prowl, it figure eights when she focuses on a particular stallion. Unless she’s in the mood for feminine company, then it’ll go in a circle. It’ll hold that pattern till she has her target alone, or they reject her.

“On the rare occasion where they reject her, it goes back to the sway; otherwise it will begin to make a swishing arc. That usually lasts about an hour, then we’ll see an asterisk-like pattern for fifteen or so minutes before it makes a spiral and returns to the twinkling phase.”

Applejack stared dumbly at the light dancing on the floor. “Wow, Twilight, that’s kinda disturbing. How long did it take you to figure that out?”

“Not long. Wish it had taken longer.” Twilight looked to Applejack, hoping for once that she wasn’t going to have to launch into a lecture, but the confused and curious look on Applejack’s face snuffed out that hope.

“My first summer staying at the castle, I decided to take observations of the sun with a camera obscura, and compare the sun’s activity to Celestia’s. When Celestia started a heat, the dancing sun fascinated me, so I recorded its motions as best I could. I’d seen minor motions and changes before, but never anything that pronounced.

“After a bit of reading, I learned about Celestia’s heats and their effect on the sun’s movement. As you would guess, there wasn’t much written about the topic, so I started my own research... Lets just say I learned a lot, and saw something that can not be unseen.”

Applejack kept her gaze on the light, soaking in what Twilight had just told her. That was a lot to know about Celestia’s intimate life. For a moment the two watched the light in silence, before its swaying pattern began to drift into a circular orbit.

Celestia had her eye on a mare. Applejack blushed at the mental image of Celestia intertwined with another mare. What would it be like if all the apples in town tattled on her when she was in the heat of passion? Actually, that was a funny thought, all the apples on the trees turning blue when she was frustrated. She couldn’t help but wonder who the lucky mare was.

The harsh whistle of the tea kettle snapped the two out of their trance; Applejack closing the window back up as Twilight tended the tea.

“Guess that’s a bit awkward for you to know what the princess is up to like that,” Applejack said, taking a seat at the table.

“She’s like my mother. Imagine Granny Smith hanging a sign on the farm gate.”

Applejack shuddered at the thought. “Eww...”

“Yea. Eww,” Twilight repeated, setting the tea and some fresh vegetables on the table.

“So, Breezies, what all have you learned about them?” Applejack asked, turning her attention to her lunch.

“Quite a bit, actually,” Twilight answered, taking Applejack’s change of topic and running with it. “They're really very interesting. I’ve figured out...”

- - -

Leaving Twilight to her books, Applejack ventured back into the day. The circular wobble of a shadow caught her eye as soon as she’d adjusted to the brightness. She was still after that mare, but they hadn’t started anything yet. Jerking her eyes away from the tattle-tale shadow, Applejack made a point to not watch the dancing shadows on her way back to the farm.

Leaving the beaten path of the farm, Applejack walked beneath the shadows of her trees. Warm air and cool shade made for a perfect stroll. It was tempting to take a nap right there; all the chores were done, and the weather was so nice. Stopping to pick one of the hard green apples, she examined it for any disease or parasites. It was a beautiful fruit, hardly a spot on it.

“There is something about an Apple in the summer, isn't there?” a voice asked.

Spinning around, Applejack dropped the apple. Half hidden behind a tree Celestia’s bright eyes studied her every move.

“Umm... Hello, your highness,” she said, giving a quick bow with nervous laughter. “What brings you out to the farm?”

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