Because I love you guys that much edition.
Yeah I know I said I'd wait a week. I couldn't help it! I got quite a response and I knew what I had to do. I just HAD to do it. But first a little news.
A lot of you have probably heard of Hurricane Irene, but if you haven't, it's a big storm slamming most of the east coast. My area has been warned we could potentially lose power for a week
. We're not in the frontline, we haven't evacuated, but anything could happen. So I may disappear for quite a while. Or maybe not, fingers crossed. Er....hooves crossed or something.
Okay, so I did it. I just had to.
deserve it. Yeah, you guys got it. RariShy. It actually took me a little while. I didn't want to write anything too easy and cutesy. It's actually kind of hard to ship them both with a deeper storyline because... I don't know, they're just so cutesy together but not really heroes. I'm not sure. So anyway I maybe overdid it. This was what I came up with. I'm not entirely happy with it, but I think it's pretty cool.
It's come to Celestia's attention there's a dragon living in the Everfree (there is, anypony remember "Owl's well that ends well") and since Twilight and friends had such success last time they're sent off again to try some diplomacy - or yelling, whichever works - to send the dragon on his way. Even if he's not napping he provides a serious threat to Ponyville. The group is somewhat off-put by having to head into the Everfree, and they have a surprising leader - Fluttershy. Fluttershy's been spending more time along the outskirts of the Everfree (she's well inside it in "Feeling Pinkie Keen") and she's got some self-confidence remembering how the last event went, though if Dash goes "boo" she does tend to squeak and curl up into a ball - but only briefly. The group reaches the caves and have a bit of trouble locating the dragon - there's many more passages than Twilight remembers, and she realizes that without Owlowicsious' unerring sense of direction she and Spike would've likely been lost for days. It's not a comforting thought for anypony. Rarity's spells are called upon to guide them via gemstones. They find the dragon's horde, but no dragon. Then there's a rather booming voice behind them welcoming them.
This dragon, recognizing Twilight Sparkle, is a bit less... diplomatic than the last one. They're immediately scattered by flames, and Fluttershy tries to pipe up but has to keep running, and soon primal fear overtakes any sense of using the "Stare", especially since it's her own life at stake as well this time (before, she was coming to her friends rescue - now she needs rescuing!). The dragon's blocking the main exit but Rarity discovers a smaller side passage that looks safe. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie are nearest her, but as they head for the exit the dragon starts hurling rocks at them. It's not just to try and kill them, they realize too late, but block the entrance. The three of them - Pinkie, Fluttershy and Rarity - manage to make it through right before a giant boulder lodges in the entrance, shutting it completely. Pinkie Pie is frantic for her friends (even she can get upset!) and Fluttershy is basically catatonic, but Rarity manages to keep at least a somewhat level head. She gets Pinkie to calm down and listen. The dragon is still roaring, and seems to be as far away from them as he can be, though the muffling effect of the rock makes it hard to tell. Furthermore, occasional thumps can be heard. Rarity guesses that their friends got away, or at least haven't been killed given how frustrated the dragon sounds. The thumps could be him trying to cause a cave in - which leads her to suggest they move on before he tries to dislodge the rock and come after them. She nudges at Fluttershy, and slowly gets the pegasus up. Fluttershy's teary-eyed but not crying, and with Pinkie's help (Pinkie naturally assumes the best, especially with a "smarty-magicpants" like Twilight around) manages to sort herself out enough to walk. The tunnel they're in is wide enough for ponies but not for dragons, so there's no worries about the beast doubling around somewhere in this maze and cutting them off. Rarity's attention to detail is again invaluable, as she manages to note that they're heading downwards, which means that they're possibly heading back towards the base of the mountain, and that they're at a right angle to the way they came in. She uses the gem-rich rock to help light their way, and leads the other ponies out. As they continue though they note just how well-lined the walls are with gemstones. Something about the tunnel begins to take on an eerie feel, Rarity finding that the gems aren't taking kindy to her magic - they keep flickering despite the spell's call for luminence, so that it's like they're passing by multicolored torches threatening to sputter out and plunge them into darkness at any moment. Then Rarity finds something strange and gem-like that's resisting her spell. She tries to force it to light up to get a good look at it - and suddenly the walls burst into a bluish light for the length of the tunnel. Thoroughly freaked out, the three run through the tunnel - they have no choice - and thank their lucky stars as they finally find an exit. The bluish light has left them all with a headache and a strange taste in their mouth. Then they notice where they are.
It's the everfree... but nothing's familiar. The trees are sparser here, and they're all pretty small comparatively. Now that Rarity's lost her sense of direction, she begins to panic at the prospect of being lost in the everfree. Pinkie manages to nudge Fluttershy into using her skill set. She flies up to get her bearings, and while she can't see Ponyville she can see the edge of the forest. They set off, and Rarity's extremely dissatisfied. She's getting muddy, the strange forest being muckier than she's used to because there aren't any trees to soak up the rainwater. Fluttershy goes out of her way to find them drier patches and some fresh water, as it's slow going and somehow they seem to be much further inside the forest than they should be. Add to that how long they were in the mountain and they don't have a lot of daylight to burn. Rarity wants to believe that they'll make it back to Ponyville, but can't deny it for long. Pinkie Pie helps get firewood and then a lot of supplies, having a slightly uncanny ability to find just what they need. Fluttershy talks to animal companions and finds some good broad leaves for bedding and a little more food. Rarity's left feeling somewhat helpless, but Pinkie mollifies her by pointing out they wouldn't have gotten this far without her. Soon they're settling down for a night in the Everfree.
The three ponies try to settle around a campfire (which took several attempts to make and was eventually lit by Fluttershy, since Rarity had no applicable magic) as they listen to the noises of the Everfree at night. It may be different but it's definitely still treacherous. Pinkie suggests they tell stories to calm their nerves and pass the time until they're ready to sleep. Ghost stories are quickly shot down to her dismay, and so they trade stories of their past. Pinkie Pie starts with an interesting story about how she came to live with the cakes, and then Rarity tells a tale about one of her first dress commissions. When it comes to Fluttershy's turn, she claims she's got no tales to tell. Nothing exciting happens to her unless she's forced into it, and she spends her days in safety and routine. Rarity tells her this is nonsense, and to prove it, brings up the time the two of them just met.
It was just over three years ago, in the summer. Rarity admits that something about Fluttershy stood out to her from the beginning. She had Opalescence as a kitten, stuck up in a tree, and for the life of her she couldn't get them down. She thought she noticed somepony in the bushes, but no pony was there when she turned to look. Rarity went inside, hoping she had some treats left to lure Opal down. When she came back, Opal was lying there on her doormat, looking happy and sedate. Rarity didn't know it was Fluttershy then, but she tells Fluttershy that she failed to hide the trail of her pink tail as she hid in the bushes. A couple days later she lost a hat in the wind, only to find it hanging on her doorknob when she gets back... again, she caught just a glimpse of a certain yellow pegasus. Rarity doesn't notice as Fluttershy becomes pinker and pinker, but Pinkie Pie does, though she says nothing. Rarity then found out that a party a certain pink acquaintance of hers was throwing that promised to have every pony. Rarity asks the two of them if they remember the party - specifically she asks if Fluttershy remembers trying to hide under the table as Rarity approached. Rarity's laughing, Fluttershy's blushing and Pinkie is watching both as Rarity tells about how she had to introduce herself to Fluttershy with her head stuck under the table. By the end of the party Fluttershy had still barely said a word, but Rarity found her so easy to talk to and her timidness just served to makie her endearing. After that, Rarity wraps up, she recalls how they'd meet a few times more before she'd invite Fluttershy to the spa and really kick off their friendship.
Rarity's tale has brought them deep into the night, and they all agree it's time to try to get some sleep. As they're settling down, Rarity finally notices Fluttershy staring at her hooves and looking small for herself. A thought occurs to Rarity to ask Fluttershy why she went out of her way to get to know Rarity, in her own way. Fluttershy mumbles something incomprehensible and makes as if going to sleep, leaving Rarity to wonder as she tries to get some sleep.
The next day they manage to get out of the woods. Rarity is ecstatic at the idea of getting to the spa, but to their surprise there's no sign of Ponyville. Wandering around, they find a group of ponies milling around several scaffolds, all of them (without exception) earth ponies. Confused, they enter the "town" and immediately get strange looks. Fluttershy tries to hide behind the rest of the group, but Rarity takes the initiative and inquires after Ponyville. No pony knows what she's talking about, they've never heard of such a town, but a couple think that "Ponyville" is a good, straightforward name for a town... Rarity's getting incensed, as nopony has even heard of "Ponyville's premier fashion designer". She eventually brings up the Nightmare Moon incident, which leads some confusion as many of the ponies have grandparents who still remember Nightmare Moon... being banished to the moon by Celestia, about a hundred years ago.
It finally dawns on the group where they are. Why the forst itself seems to young. A little more asking around confirms it - they're about 900 years in the past, seeing the founding of Ponyville. They briefly panic, and no pony can help them, until Pinkie points out that if they're going to get back home they're going to need some unicorns to figure out that glowy-tunnel. A path for Canterlot is quickly agreed upon. The would-be town (that they've accidentally named) has few resources to spare the strange travelers but offer some warning that the path to Canterlot, while only a few days away, hasn't been safe recently. They're short a few caravans that were supposed to come, which explains why they have so little to spare. They're all given some travel gear at the least (Rarity immediately makes her cloak something a bit more dazzling) and pointed in the right direction. As they head out Pinkie wonders aloud if they can meet their ancestors, but since few ponies keep family names they'd have no way of knowing, any ancestor would be so far removed they'd have almost no relation, and it's soon generally agreed upon how stupid a plotline - er, idea - that would be.
Out on the road, Fluttershy seems to relax for the first time in the trip. The land is completely uncultivated but more tame than the Everfree. Amongst the wild animals she feels safe. Rarity can't understand it, seeing this as just as bad as before, barely a dirt trail to follow and underbrush common. Fluttershy tries to explain that she can talk to animals in a way she can't with ponies. Ponies use words, and words can mean so many things, or nothing at all, and they guard their hearts. An animal's heart is always open, and they comunicate in simple terms. Even amongst her friends, she can never be sure she hasn't upset somepony. She fears almost more than anything about upsetting somepony dear. Rarity tries to comfort her by reminding her how they promised to have no more secrets between them, but that doesn't seem to help... Fluttershy just grows quiet.
Further in the day, Pinkie gets her twitches and suddenly runs off into the words. Just moments later, before Rarity or Fluttershy can react to their friend's disappearance, the group is waylaid by bandits! They assume Rarity's fancy cloak implies wealth, and there's also the sentiment that unicorns are rare around these parts. Fluttershy locks up, and Rarity actually puts herself between herself and them, trying to defend the pegasus. As the bandits approach, Rarity prepares the only spell she can think of - she's used to creating illusions to backdrop her fashion shows, so she creates a flash of light and then does her best to make it look like they've disappeared. Fluttershy however doesn't understand, and one of the bandits steps through the illusion trying to investigate a nearby squeak. Rarity gets Fluttershy to run, and they make a break for the woods. The bandits are on their tails, and neither pony is so athletic as to shake them off. What's worse is that a couple of bandit pegasi mean that Fluttershy can't even escape to the air. Rarity can't make more illusions while she's running for her life, and she has to make a decision. Sacrifice is just extreme generosity after all. She tells Fluttershy she needs to keep running and find Pinkie Pie, then find help. Fluttershy clues in but tries to get Rarity to stop. She feels helpless, but Rarity just replies that Fluttershy's always been stronger than she thinks, much like she's always felt that she's stronger than everypony else thinks. She turns to face the bandits, and Fluttershy just keeps running as she sees more flashes.
Soon she's alone, in the middle of Whitetail Woods, with bandits an unknown distance behind. She nearly breaks down, completely at a loss. Everypony keeps telling her she's strong, but really they're just counting on her to fix it all. No pony ever considers how she feels. She's not going to find some hidden strength at the last minute and it'll work out. There are armed bandits between her and Rarity.
That's when Pinkie shows up, asking if that's all it takes. Confused, Fluttershy doesn't think to ask where she's been, and Pinkie repeats if all it's going to take to keep her apart from Rarity. Fluttershy tries clumsily to dodge Pinkie's insinuation, but the earth pony presses the issue. She says no pony thinks Fluttershy has "hidden" strengths - they can see them plainly. She also wonders at why Rarity has such faith in Fluttershy, which confuses the pegasus. Pinkie goes skipping off without another word, and Fluttershy follows, hoping to at the least get Pinkie to help her figure out what to do. However, she loses Pinkie shortly and finds herself just beyond a small bandit camp. Her heart's in her throat, and she has to talk herself down. She thinks back to the diamond dog incident and is sure that Rarity will be fine. A high, feminine scream convinces her otherwise. Without thinking Fluttershy rushes towards the camp. It takes about ten seconds for her to be captured.
In a short amount of time, Fluttershy finds herself bound and sitting next to Rarity in a certain tent. It turns out Rarity was just screaming about the irritatingly tight ropes, but she admits that her usual tactics aren't working. Fluttershy feels so low for her failure, but Rarity tries her best to buck up her spirits. She says that she never expected Fluttershy to jump in after her, and is touched by the brave display. Still, Fluttershy feels that Rarity's trust was misplaced. But this Rarity's not hearing. After their talk this morning, she wants Fluttershy to know something - Rarity's faith in her is absolute, she knows as sure as Celestia raises the sun that her friend will be there for her, and nothing will change that fact. Rarity gets quite emotional, looking like she wants to say more. And Fluttershy believes her. She begins to think. She's not as smart as Twilight, or as strong as AJ, or even as brave as Dash... but maybe she can do something. Before she can figure out what however, a particularly tough looking earth pony enters their camp. His appearance draws a gasp from Fluttershy - over that terrible seeping wound on his leg! When ordered to explain her staring at "the boss", Fluttershy eventually manages to squeak out (with Rarity's help) that that wound will scar unless he treats it! The bandits are of course confused at the idea of a wound *not* scarring, and while they're initially weary of a trick Fluttershy manages to at least instruct him how to wash it in boiled (not boiling) water and bind it with cloth. The crew catch on that she's "one of them medicine ponies" and she is put to work. Once it comes to light how easily captured she was to begin with, the boss lets her be unbound, and she begins to treat the many, many injuries of the bandits. Typically it's washing cuts, though she does instruct a few on which plants to avoid that keep giving them rashes and which plants can sooth that pain, and she even (has someone) re-breaks a bad wing on one of the pegasi and sets it in a splint. She works late into the day, and manages to foster friendliness amongst the bandits, many of whom are simply glad to have a mare around (it's 900 years ago, what would you expect?) even if of course no one is stupid enough to make a move on her while everypony else is lining up to have their wounds tended to. They learn her name, and vice versa, and when she's asked she explains that she and her friends have no idea how to get home, are a bit lost and just hoping that they can find someplace with answers. Many of the bandits, she discover, were homeless long before they turned to crime, and there's an increasing feeling of regret amongst the camp for harming such a gentle creature. The boss admits that they've little use for a kidnapped pony, especially as neither of them have any valuables or apparently can be ransomed, but he wants Fluttershy to stay as the camp nurse. Fluttershy wishes she could, but she's still got friends out there she needs to get back to... at the end of the day, the boss has Rarity's binds undone and they walk out of camp, everypony wishing them luck and farewell.
Rarity's full of pride and self-satisfaction, saying that she knew Fluttershy could come up with something. To which Fluttershy replies that she doesn't know what Rarity means. It comes to light that Fluttershy had no plan, but was earnestly concerned over the state of a lot of those ponies. When Rarity asks just how then they were allowed to walk out of camp, Fluttershy simply says that that's the thing about kindness - giving it away only means you're making others kinder in return. Out of nowhere Pinkie's amongst them again, saying that Fluttershy "Kindness'd" her way out of that situation. Where asked where she's been, Pinkie responds that she was busy *not* being captured by bandits, and that ends that line of discussion.
It was almost dark when they left the camp, and it's night by the time they reach the road again, guided by Pinkie who took the time to figure out where they were in the forest and even create something of a campsite - she knew they'd be free by nightfall. Rarity laments the chafing the ropes gave her and what a mess she's in, but she takes a closer look at Fluttershy and declares her to be a much worse state - not only did Fluttershy run through the woods longer, but she got quite a bit dirty dealing with all those unhygenic bandits. Pinkie points them to a pond she found nearby for water, and Fluttershy finds herself dragged off for a bath. The water's quite cold, but not terrible once they get acclimatized, and quite clear. Rarity gets to work untangling Fluttershy's mane and tail - she can use magic, yes, but she has to unweave the hairs all the same. She notices how tense Fluttershy is and tries to get her to relax - this pond is no spa but she should still take this chance to unwind. Fluttershy, however, has got a lot on her mind, and wants to know if Rarity thinks they'll ever have a spa day again, ever get back to Ponyville... ever find their friends like they told the bandits they would. Rarity ensures her they will, but Fluttershy has a hard time believing it. She wishes aloud for Rarity's confidence, her self-assurance. Rarity pauses and tells Fluttershy that it's really quite easy. She fakes it.
Rarity asks them to take a look at their friends. AJ, Rainbow Dash, Twilight... if they had been on this adventure, they'd be fine. Even Pinkie seems to be doing alright. But Rarity's barely eaten, this pondwater bath is hardly cleaning her, and her hooves ache from all the walking. She has no idea if they'll find answers in Canterlot, or if they'll ever get home. But she's always been the kind to refuse to sit around and wait for things to change, and she refuses to let down her friends.
Fluttershy takes this in and after a moment's thought brings up their promise to never keep secrets from one another. She starts to (try to) say something, but Rarity interrupts by hugging Fluttershy. The waterworks come out as Rarity admits that even having said all she just did, she's frightened out of her mind. She wouldn't have been able to escape those bandits without Fluttershy - she can outsmart diamond dogs easily but the bandits were proving more resilient, and she feared what they might do to her if left long enough. Fluttershy responds by telling Rarity that she has complete faith in the unicorn, just like Rarity said to her earlier. Together they can... Fluttershy can't say more, but the sentiment makes its way across. She tells Rarity that if Rarity can be strong for her, she can be strong for Rarity. That's why she was even able to jump into a bandit camp to begin with.
When Fluttershy and Rarity return from their bath, Pinkie's grinning at them but won't say why. They're tired enough from their ordeal that they go pretty much straight to sleep, only allowing a meager fire so they're not in complete darkness. Unable to properly dry herself, Fluttershy's now quite cold, her cloak doing nothing for her while wet. She shivers to herself and tries to shift closer to the meager fire. Then out of nowhere, somepony's beside her. She makes out Rarity in the darkness, but the unicorn says nothing. She's wet and cold too, and settles down right against Fluttershy. Soon Fluttershy is relaxed, nestling against Rarity and feeling Rarity shift their cloaks so they're both covered by both layers. Scared and worn as she is, she goes to sleep with a smile on her face.
The next day, Canterlot is in sight, and the group's in high spirits. Neither Rarity nor Fluttershy say anything to each other, but they walk side by side. Pinkie's giggly and bounces ahead, and when the two of them turn the corner they find she's found a crossroads with a trader going their way - a bookseller, who's received a huge order from none other than Princess Celestia herself. He's an amiable earth pony stallion, and seeing "three lovely young mares" on a trip on their own he invites them along since they're all headed the same way. He gets the group to talk about themselves, curious in part because there's much less integration in this era and an earth pony, pegasus and unicorn all traveling together is itself a novelty. He assumes something along the lines of Rarity returning to Canterlot with two handmaidens. Rarity originally delights in being mistaken for some minor nobility, but then the trader makes a comment over what kind of lord what let his lady go with such little protection. Pinkie's trying to stifle laughter as it comes to light that in order to be a lady Rarity has to have a husband, and furthermore she's assumed to be quite dainty and helpless. Rarity immediately dispels this notion, and furthermore comes to her friends' defense, claiming both have proven to be quite strong-willed and capable. The bookseller decides he has to hear this, and Rarity begins to tell about the bandits. That leads backwards to why they're on this road, and before she knows it she's having to explain their origins, as crazy as it sounds. After listening to this, the bookseller decides that if they're telling the truth - and not completely bonkers - they ought to see an old friend of his. Galileo Sparkle.
They reach Canterlot, which is smaller than it is today but still grand. The castle looks fresh, and before the trader parts ways with them he notes that it is fairly newly built, with expansions coming for the new university Princess Celestia has commissioned. He points them on their way and wishes them luck. Rarity makes a dry comment that she's always wanted to visit Canterlot, but not quite like this. They manage to make their way to the lower level of a tower where a bluish-purple unicorn stallion is buried in books. They introduce themselves, and explain they were told to seek him out about an issue of magical... transportation. Galileo's not sure if he can help - he's got a wide breadth of magical knowledge but he's just a librarian. They tell their story all the same, even explaining some background information, including their friendship with one Twilight Sparkle. Galileo's naturally suspicious, but says that they're story makes more sense as truth than fantasy, even if he's never heard of such time traveling. He agrees to investigate their case, even if he isn't sure what to do. The best thing to do would be try to activate the magic tunnel again, but they'd need some way of making sure it was linked to their time, otherwise they could be sent randomly through time again. Pinkie laments how there's no way they could get a message that far in the future! What could guarantee it would reach the future, what could they get that would get to the right people at the right time? Who could they trust with such a message, who could they possibly turn to to get a message 900 years in the future?! Yeah, she makes it pretty obvious (purely by accident of course) they need to turn to Princess Celestia.
Galileo agrees, and says he'll do his best to get an audience with the princess. In the meantime, there's room for them in what's technically a storage room but is disused with everything being shuffled to the newer buildings. They're put up and even promised a good meal, and in return Galileo wants to hear more about the future and this supposed descendant of his. For now they're left to roam, though warned to try not to muddle up the past too much. Pinkie Pie jumps at the chance, and Rarity's right behind her before noticing Fluttershy isn't following. This is the first time they've had somewhere safe, with a roof over their head, and Fluttershy is reluctant to lose it even temporarily. So amongst the dusty books she finds a spot of sunlight from a window and settles down. She tells Rarity to go on, she doesn't want to hold Rarity back. Rarity laughs the idea off and decides to stay. She's never as relaxed as she is around Fluttershy, she lets slip. Rarity settles nearby, but Fluttershy manages to force herself to scooch over so they're as close as they were last night. She has a confession to make.
Fluttershy brings up how they met again. She can barely get it out, but she's bolstered both by their promise not to keep secrets and the absolute trust Rarity has stated is between them. The truth was, Fluttershy was a little intimidated of Rarity. Rarity can be loud, pushy, and more than a bit of a snob... but all that is just part of how she always seems confident in herself, always got her way... Fluttershy wished for such confidence, and part of her hoped that perhaps if she was friends with Rarity, some of that confidence would rub off on her. Furthermore, Fluttershy claims it has. Rarity responds gently that in some ways she feel the same. Fluttershy's one of her longest friends, and it's thanks to her Rarity's avoided being a total high-class snob and remembered that a little bit of kindness goes a long way, be it through generosity or not. She may have been confident enough to talk herself into high-class parties or haggle with customers, but she never could have gone on an adventure like this before. But she can do it for her friends... for Fluttershy. She wonders if they'll ever get home... but if not, she imagines that as long as it's the two of them, they'll be fine. Rarity tries to go on, but a look from Fluttershy silences her. Fluttershy's smiling, in full agreement with Rarity. As long as it's the two of them. She tells there's one more thing.... another reason she sought Rarity out. She always thought Rarity was, well... rather beautiful.
Pinkie Pie comes back to find her friends snuggled up with their cloaks beneath them, not even really trying to hide. Pinkie's brought back several goodies (despite having no money) and they're all happy for a grab-bag of muffins. Shortly after, Galileo comes and gathers them - his request for an audience with the princess has been answered, which has him slightly concerned because he was expecting days of waiting. They're all brought to the throne room, Celestia looking pretty much exactly like they were expecting. She's heard their plight, and believes them, but brought them here for another reason. If they are truly from 900 years in the future.... she wants them to tell her about her sister. Does she come back? What happens? Does she ever see Luna again? Rarity isn't sure how much to say to the princess, so Pinkie Pie decides it's her turn to tell the story.
One crazy (and slightly colored) story later, it's revealed that the three of them are bearers of the elements themselves, Nightmare Moon returns but is ultimately defeated by Celestia's own protege, and Luna returns. Celestia says nothing when they're done, and Rarity pipes up, asking Celestia what she'll do with this information. She's worried about altering the future, but Celestia smiles at her and asks her a question. If this 'Twilight' means half as much as she suspects she will to Celestia, why would the princess risk her on such a long shot? She wouldn't - she'd only go through with such a plan if she knew it was successful, like if some ponies from after the fact told her it'd work. In short, she thanks the three element bearers for setting in motion the events that will free her sister, and that she can hold out for these 900 years knowing Luna will return to her. She promises to help them, and that's when Galileo pipes up, saying he's dug up some possibly relevant tomes. Celestia agrees to consult with him, and in the meantime gives the element bearers accomodations.
It takes a couple of days, and the three have nothing to occupy themselves with. They stop by Celestia's study often, and find her pouring over tomes with Galileo, who is clearly responsible for Twilight's bookishness all those generations later. However, he's a bit less of an introvert, and more than once regal, joyous laughter comes from the study. Fluttershy and Rarity spend some time first in the garden, Fluttershy finally getting the chance she missed at the gala - nine hundred years isn't enough to change the animals after all, and the gardens are already quite settled. Rarity and she also talk, and Rarity's already thinking about all the designs she has in mind when they get home, inspired by the old styles she's seen here. All the nature has also colored her imagination, and she's thinking of a nice au natural line. One she claims would be perfect for Fluttershy, who's always had such natural eloquence she needs only minimal additions to make shine.
Their presence however is becoming more noticeable to the court, who are wondering about these strange guests the Princess treats with such informality. Pegasi and Earth Ponies in Canterlot are in this era as common as non-Earth Ponies in Ponyville. Celestia invites them to the formal dinners she holds with more frequency than in their era, but this earns them disdain from many nobles. When rumors spread about Rarity's queer habits (As a unicorn of high style, she quickly puts up an appearance that makes most assume she's some kind of minor nobility) towards her "pegasus hoofmaiden", Rarity finds open disdain from many. Someone brings this up to her face at one dinner, trying to embarrass her, but to everyone's surprise Rarity denies nothing. She turns the tables, tearing the snob down verbally, and goes on to call out that these stuffshirts wouldn't know what love was if it hit them with a dead fish (okay so she probably doesn't word it like that) and they can't do anything but sneer as she goes about living quite the fulfilling life. She's of course dismissed by many, but typical Rarity talked her enemies into submission, meaning that no one brings it up again or tries to verbally combat. Her rant also earns her some praise from Celestia, who in her time has already seen things stranger than unconvential love and admits that perhaps pony society would benefit from a little more mixing of those from different walks of life.
Soon after, their work is done. Celestia builds a gemstone gate and states that this should bring them back to their time. When they ask how they can be sure it'll be linked to the right time, Celestia tells them that she'll simply remember the exact time the gate opened, and nine hundred years later link the gate then to the gate now.... basically, time travel shenanigans. She and Galileo bring the gate to life, the entire thing glowing a bright blue like the first time. Rarity sees the way the princess and unicorn look at each other, and remarks quietly to Fluttershy that she's always noticed how Celestia treats Twilight like a daughter. Or perhaps a great-great-great-great-great....
They step through the gate, blinded this time as the glowing gets much, much brighter - it's a shorter space so it's more condensed magic. Then they're exactly where they left, a room in the castle... and Pinkie's already hugging Twilight and Dash, with AJ to the side! They look around and find Celestia welcoming them back. They made it! Celestia gives them a moment to all catch up, and the three find out that their friends went down a similar tunnel... that took them 400 years in the future. They promise to trade adventures some time. Pinkie mentions Twilight's ancestor (which Rarity notices brings a nearly-imperceptible blush to Celestia's face) and asks if they met Twilight's descendant in a crazy parallel journey or something. Twilight blushes and stammers that she's fairly sure she's not going to have descendants. She didn't mean to say that, and is quite red, until a gentle nudge from Rainbow Dash brings a smile to her face. Rarity and Fluttershy trade a knowing glance and Rarity promises they'll trade stories.... once somepony gets them to a spa!
EDIT: Oh man I completely forgot a couple of things!
First off, another bonus round is open, give me ships! Wild ships, crazy ships, gay ships, other gay ships, whatever! If I didn't choose yours last time refresh my mind! Maybe it's now the best thing out there, who knows?
Also, I'm looking for editors. I don't have any fics in need of editing right now, but I'd like to have a few bronies to go to when the time comes. If I can trust you with my unedited works, and you have some sort of word program or some system of commenting another's works, we can chat. I don't need credentials but I need people who are going to seriously tear apart my works when the time comes. Fans be wary.