Is It Real?

by Majin Syeekoh

Chapter 1: Well, is it?

Twilight sipped the last of her tea and let out a sigh. “It’s nice that you two finally get to meet,” she said, looking at Princess Celestia and Starlight Glimmer in turn.

Celestia smiled, her own tea remaining untouched. “Yes, it’s nice to see the little troublemaker with my own eyes.”

Starlight blushed and looked away. “I swear, you enslave one village…”

“I was referring to where you almost irrevocably altered Equestria’s timeline over petty revenge,” Celestia said with a snicker as she stirred her tea, “I personally would have had you locked in a dungeon and thrown away the key, but I’m deferring to Twilight’s judgment on this matter.” She took a delicate sip as an ephemeral bolt shot through Starlight’s spine. “I’m not the Princess of Friendship, after all.”

Twilight’s cheeks turned roseate as she bowed her head. “T-thank you, Princess Celestia. I won’t let you down.”

“I trust you won’t, Princess Twilight,” Celestia said. “I have the utmost of faith in you.” She looked off to the side. “It can’t turn out any worse than Discord…”

“Discord saw the magic of friendship in the end, though.”

Celestia pursed her lips. “True, although the path there was rather… rocky."

“It worked out, though.” Twilight stood up. “Does anyone want dessert?”

Celestia nodded. “Yes, that would be lovely.”

“And you, Starlight?”

Starlight didn’t say much of anything. Twilight trotted over to her and waved a hoof in front of her face. “Starlight, do you want dessert?”

Starlight snapped to attention. “Yeah, sure!”

Twilight smiled and nodded. “Alright, I’ll get you two some dessert!” Twilight looked at Celestia. “Princess Celestia, you haven’t finished your tea. Are you feeling alright? You usually get through it so quickly.”

Celestia swirled the tea around in its cup. “Best to savor it when among new friends.”

“That sounds like a good idea, Princess Celestia! I’ll have to remember that,” she said with a grin before walking off, leaving Celestia and Starlight alone.

The sounds of breathing and shuffling hooves punctuated the silence for a few moments.

Celestia leaned in. “Hey, Starlight?”

Starlight inhaled sharply. “Y-yes, Princess?”

“Do you like tea?” Celestia whispered.

“W-well, it’s not my favorite drink, but it’ll do in a pin―”

Celestia levitated her teacup and saucer to Starlight’s place setting. “Here. Finish it before Twilight gets back.”

Starlight looked at Celestia, then quickly poured the tea down her throat and grimaced. Celestia took the teacup back when Starlight was done with it.

“I see why you didn’t want it,” Starlight said.

“Yeah.” Celestia looked at the door. “Twilight isn’t the best at making tea.” She shook her head. “I don’t know how you mess up tea, but Twilight found a way.”

Starlight raised an eyebrow and smirked. “I never expected such deception from you.”

“I’m also not the Element of Honesty,” Celestia said with a snort. “Never was.”

The two giggled over that statement, then sighed.

Starlight hummed. “You know, I don’t think I’ll ever have another opportunity like this. Can I ask you a question?”

“You just did,” Celestia said while grinning.

“I suppose.” Starlight snickered. “Anyway, you’re really old, right?”

A warm chuckle escaped Celestia’s lips. “That’s one way of putting it, yes.”

“Like, Hearth’s Warming old, right?”

“One could assume as much.”

Starlight looked down at the table. “So… did it really go down like that?”

“You mean,” Celestia said before exhaling, “did windigos really freeze the founders of Equestria solid before the fires of friendships disintegrated them… although I feel like you’re asking another question.”

Starlight looked up. “If I’m overreaching―”

“Not at all, my little pony.” Celestia smiled at Starlight. “Nothing wrong with an inquisitive mind who wishes to fray the tangles of legend.”

Starlight grinned. “So it’s not true.”

“I never said that.” Celestia kept her smile trained on Starlight.

Starlight grunted. “But you just said it was a legend.”

Celestia clapped her hooves together. “So was the tale of Nightmare Moon, and I exchanged presents with her before coming here.”

Starlight leaned in across the table. “You’re not answering my question.”

Celestia leaned in to mirror Starlight. “Let me ask you this: would it matter if I did?”

“Well,” Starlight said as she pulled back, “it’d be nice to confirm the historical accuracy of the matter.”

“Let me ask you another question: Did you celebrate Hearth’s Warming Eve tonight?”

Starlight shrugged. “I was resistant at first, but I eventually came around.”

Celestia nodded. “Did you enjoy it?”

“Well, yeah, but that’s not what I’m asking.”

Celestia lounged back. “Would it affect your enjoyment of the holiday if you knew for a fact that you were observing it under threat of Equestrian destruction and not simply as an excuse to bond with your friends?”

Starlight locked eyes with Princess Celestia, glancing over her stonelike countenance. The sounds of breathing punctuated the air once again.

Starlight exhaled. “... I’m not entirely sure.”

“Then wouldn’t it be best if it remained a mystery?”

Starlight blinked, then pursed her lips as she pulled away. “Well played, Princess Celestia.”

Celestia chortled. “I didn’t realize this was a game.”

“You’re horrible,” Starlight said after groaning.

Celestia righted herself in her seat. “I have been called that on occasion.”

Twilight entered holding three Crème Brûlées and set them in front of their place settings. “And dessert has just been served.” She glanced at Celestia’s teacup as she sat down. “It’s nice to see you finished your tea, Princess Celestia! How did you like it?”

Celestia smiled warmly at Twilight. “It was up to your usual standard.”

“Really? I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!” Twilight said. “Now, let’s eat this before it gets cold!”

Celestia and Starlight exchanged a glance as Twilight shoveled the dessert into her mouth. Celestia winked at Starlight as she carefully started eating.

Starlight shook her head as she dined on her own portion.

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