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Celestia's Grand Birthday (Open - see OOC)

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Celestia rose from her bed, and went to her balcony. The moon was already sinking down, so Luna was ahead of her today. Celestia smiled softly, and her horn lit up in that glittering golden magic color. The sun slowly began to rise over the horizon, bringing light to the world and awakening it from the peaceful slumber of the gentle night. She loved the sweet night time her sister made.Tia slowly finished raising the sun into place and moved to the desk in her room. As she sat to look at the calendar, something came to her. It was her birthday. While most of her subjects had long forgotten it, many ponies near her still remembered. It was always a fun day, and she enjoyed the often festive like celebrations they held in the gardens for her. She let them do as they pleased, it was more fun that way. 

 

As she began putting on her finery, she paused to look in the mirror. Setting the gold trappings aside, she stood in front of her mirror and looked at herself. No. Today she was going without them. Her subjects knew her well enough to know it was her. She didn't need all the finery of a princess to be a happy pony. Taking one last look at herself, she nodded and moved to her door. Today was a day to be happy and she strolled the halls slowly. She looked out the windows at the guards as they went about their daily tasks and patrols. She could see that there was already a banner announcing it was her birthday, and that court was canceled. Moving down the hall she went to the dining hall. The table was massive, made to accommodate over two dozen ponies at once. But on mornings like this, it was just her and her sister. Taking a seat at the end of the table, she leaned a hoof on the wood to wait. She was pondering what was for breakfast. Maybe Luna would make pancakes, or the chefs would make something sweet and fruity. While the first attempt of her sibling to cook was not that great, Luna had kept practicing, and she got really good at it. Celestia herself was no good in the kitchen, she knew that. The best she could do was make a salad, and even then it was bland. 

 

As she waited, she started to hum softly. Her eyes drifted over the room, lit only by the light from the windows. It was lavish, and set with all manner of finery. Celestia had come to just accept it, though secretly she wanted to get rid of it all. She had come to miss the simpler time when it was just she and her little sister, dining on a picnic blanket in a flower field and enjoying the simple foods nature provided them. 

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The morning saw Princess Luna leaning on the marble railing of her balcony, watching the last silver slivers of her moon sink below the horizon, the sky lightening and the stars fading out. A part of her hated to see them go, hated to see the moon yet again inevitably replaced in the sky by the sun. A soft sigh left the younger diarch as she pulled her eyes away from the brightness of the approaching morning to look down at Canterlot below, the colors of its buildings becoming more clear in the pale golden sunlight that only ever shone in the morning.

 

She knew what day it was today. It was perhaps the second time that she would get to celebrate her sister's birthday with her after a thousand years imprisoned in the moon and.. despite all her hidden feelings and slight grievances, Luna looked forward to it. Both she and Celestia would get to spend time with each other- truly spend time with each other that didn't involve a great threat against Equestria or some grand public event like the Grand Equestrian Pony Summit, or the Friendship Festival, to name a few.

 

This day also meant she could cast aside her regalia too. Heavy was the crown upon her head, and under the weight of all her past sins. Today, without it, she could set it all aside, out of mind, and simply enjoy a day with her elder sister. Luna looked up to the castle towers around her, pondering something while she lingered on that balcony, her forelegs curled over the railing and her deep blue mane of stars falling down her neck in waves that were stirred every so often by the wind. If today should continue to remain different from all other days, Luna felt that she could.. fly down, rather than take the stairs. All the more quicker to reach the ground floor.

 

She immediately settled on the decision and withdrew from the balcony, only to leap over the railing and soar down to the lower levels of the castle, landing on one of the outer walkways and heading inside, making a quick stop along the way to the dining room where she knew her sister would be by now. She soon breezed into the large room on silent hooves unburdened by the silver shoes and did her best to get as close to Celestia as she could before she could be noticed. Once in a while, Luna did like to surprise her.

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Celestia looked at the window, unaware of Luna's approach. Her humming was interrupted by a few soft words. "Oh Luna... How I missed our days together. When we could just have fun and run through the flower fields. At least we still have a few days like these to enjoy." She circled a hoof on the table slowly, still humming as she thought about simpler times when she and her sister were so young and didn't know a thing about the world.  All the while she was looking away from Luna, watching the main door in hopes of seeing her sister. She had forgotten Luna's love of playing tricks and pranks. 

 

As that thought crossed her mind, she had to giggle softly. Remembering some of the times in their old castle. They had set it up so perfectly. Luna could play any number of pranks upon any visiting pony, all the while Tia could feign innocence and neither could be blamed. It was always good fun and Tia wished they could just do that again. As she turned her eyes to the window again, she noticed the pegasi moving the clouds in place today. It was to be a pleasant day, with some clouds to provide shade at times. She remembered how much fun it used to be to bounce from cloud to cloud, chasing Luna through the sky and back to the meadow. 

 

As she sat day dreaming, she could hear the clank and clatter in the kitchen, where the chefs were making a bit of a bigger breakfast than usual. That was going to be good. Celestia wanted to pig out a bit. A giggle passed her lips again as she thought about just sticking her face into a plate of cookies and eating. 

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It wasn't difficult for Luna to move so carefully, whether she had rich carpet beneath her hooves or a forest floor. Moving silently had something she'd gotten good at when she once used to explore the Everfree Forest with Melvin, but it didn't quite seem to matter here. It'd become apparent to her that Celestia's mind was elsewhere, and so were her eyes, focused on the main doors to the dining room where she seemed to think Luna would enter.

 

The lunar princess had to come to a halt to bite down on her lower lip, trying to keep herself from the sudden laughter that'd bubbled up. Unless Celestia was faking, as she often would where she'd pretend not to notice something, her sister was far too oblivious in this moment! Once she'd had a firm grip on her unshed giggles, Luna crept forward again, within earshot of Celestia's wistful murmuring. She paused, one forehoof a few inches away from the carpet, touched by what she'd heard and what Celestia might have never tried to honestly express face to face. It wasn't that Luna thought Celestia didn't miss such simpler times.. it was just an entirely different thing to hear it.

 

It'd successfully subdued a little of her excitement to surprise her sister, but it wouldn't stop her from going through with it regardless. Luna waited until Celestia had finished giggling to herself and fallen still again before she moved, quickly stepping forward and flared out her wings with a whispery snap of feathers. "Happy birthday, sister!" The younger alicorn exclaimed loudly, a wide smile across her muzzle in anticipation of her sister's surprise. She wasn't entirely intending to frighten Celestia, just.. sneak up on her.

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Celestia's wings flared suddenly in surprise, throwing feathers everywhere as she yelled out. She tried to jump from her seat, accidentally falling forward and landing on the table. Looking back she saw it was Luna and began laughing. "Well hello there sister!" she said as she got up and turned to Luna. Hugging her close and wrapping her wings around her little sister, the solar princess nuzzled her cheek. "Still sneaking up on me are you?" She then proceeded to noogie Luna softly as she chuckled. "Well I will teach you a lesson!" She began to tickle her sister, laughing as they played. 

 

It was with loving gentleness that she played, having a wonderful time. The older princess finally let her sister go, hugging her again and speaking softly. "Thank you Luna," she whispered as she leaned back to look at her sister. No matter what happened, there was never a greater gift in the universe than her younger sibling. As she looked at Luna, she could see the stars in her mane. It was something Celestia envied. But to day was not a day for that. Today was a day to have fun and enjoy. 

 

As they were hugging, the chef came out, pushing the cart. It was loaded today, full of toast and fruits and many other things. Celestia sniffed the air and smiled. Coming with her sister to the table she smiled and took a seat, patting the one beside her for Luna to sit. As much pomp and circumstance ruled their lives, Celestia loved the times where they could just relax and play around some. After the Chef left the food on the table for them, Tia watched him go. Once he was gone, Celestia smiled and got a plate for herself and Luna. "You get first pick sister," she said softly.

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There was a mischievous glint in Luna's eye as she got the reaction she was looking for. Although a little part of her wondered how much of it was an act just for her own benefit.. She banished the thought easily and allowed herself to get swept up into Celestia's warm embrace, closing her eyes in the small moment of peace she had. Being hugged by her sister felt like such a soft and healing thing.. up until Celestia broke it that peace by 'noogie'ing her. A strange word, and a strange action that was decidedly annoying; she was sure that was the point. Snorting, but unable to hide the smile on her muzzle, Luna struggled to escape the trap that was her sister's long forelegs that messed with her mane and sought to tickle her.

 

The alicorn squirmed, no longer able to fight the giggles that the tickling evoked. To her relief, it came to an end and she got to hug her sister for a second time and hear the gratitude in Tia's voice. A small smile still played around her muzzle and Luna nuzzled Celestia's cheek with one of her own, uncertain of what to say in response to that thank you. She withdrew then, hearing the doors to the kitchens opening and the approach of a pony. "Ah, breakfast," she commented casually, as if they hadn't just been goofing off.

 

"Now, sister, I am sure you thought that I would attempt to cook something for you again, but I am still not entirely confident in that ability as of yet. I thought t'would be better to have the kitchen staff cook something instead so that you might actually enjoy it," Luna piped up, moving to the seat closest to Celestia's and sitting down, using a forehoof to smooth her glittering mane back down into something more presentable.

 

Luna waited until the chef had left with the cart, back into the kitchen, though any chance to say something in the privacy that they now had was interrupted by Celestia's offer. "First pick? I thought you were the birthday mare here," the nightbringer teased gently, picking out some fruits for herself. "So, ah, what is it that you wish to do today?"

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Celestia had to pause. What did she want to do today? Anything was alright, but she had put no actual thought into what she really wanted. Though to be honest, as long as she got time with Luna, it was worth it. "Perhaps... just a day to relax together?" She said, hesitantly. She had no honest idea what she wanted. It was going to be interesting to say the least. However what else was there was that she forgot to think up what she wanted. 

 

Every year the big celebration the public threw her was always full of gifts she had almost no use for. Things she already had dozens of. It was the simple things, cake and ice cream, time with friends, being lazy, and just getting to goof off with her sister that she wanted. After a moment a smile crossed her face and she looked at Luna. "How about a little celebration. Just pick some ponies. Not the usual ones, but regular ponies. Bring them to the gardens and just celebrate like we used too? You know, send out random invitations and see who shows up! No gifts required. Just plain old fun and laughter."

 

After that she levitated an apple slice and nibbled at it, looking at Luna to see what she thought of the idea. She knew they couldn't have back the time they lost. But they could make time now. and Celestia wanted her free time to be with the only pony that really knew her. And the one she loved most in the world. 

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Luna ate a few pieces of honeydew, giving Celestia time to think about what it was that she wanted to do on a special day like this. She had her own little hopes, but it was ultimately up to Tia. Her head tilted up towards the sound of her elder sister's voice and she hummed softly in thought. "A day to relax together sounds lovely," Luna replied. Although.. what could they do?

 

The dark alicorn let herself mull over that particular question while her sister voiced suggestions and she propped her chin atop the lower half of a front leg. "I am uncertain about involving other ponies, despite how much I know you do like to mingle with them. Your daily schedule tells me as much. Your birthday, from what I remember from last year when I got to celebrate with you for the first time in a thousand years, was very.. festive. I had not expected so many ponies would come to give you gifts and well wishes." A lot may have changed over the years, but some things just didn't change. She just didn't know what it was about her sister that made ponies love her so much to the point that they would do that.. then again, the one excuse ponies might not like her as much was because of what she'd done in the past. Eternal night, sowing nightmares..

 

Luna stared down at her plate with a slight frown tugging at the corners of her mouth. "We could still have a little time to spend together by ourselves.. maybe go on a flight together. We haven't done anything like that that hasn't involved battling something dangerous. We could always scatter a few invitations in the city afterward when we fly over it, and see who shows up to the gardens." The lunar princess couldn't deny Celestia a few regular ponies to be a part of her birthday, as much as she might like to spend time with her sister alone and a regular day in town doing.. whatever they wanted to do, what they couldn't do when they were managing an entire kingdom. "It would be.. fun, no matter what you wish to do today."

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Celestia smiled. Luna made a point, and she loved the idea of just stretching their wings for a long while. "A flight sounds lovely. Where should we go? Over the forests? Maybe the snowy mountains or the little villages? See the world from the cloud tops and make silly shapes in the clouds?"

 

The idea Luna had made Tia sparkle with excitement. She hasn't thought of it herself. And now she latched onto that idea. A long flight in the open sky was a treat she had not had in years. 

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Seeing how much her sister glowed at the thought of flying over Equestria was enough to bring a smile back to Luna's face. "Wherever you wish to go, my sister. We can even visit the old castle in the Everfree forest again. I know that it now holds both good and bad memories, but I'd had the thought that we could.. perhaps, have it rebuilt. It could become a nice little vacation home of sorts, whenever we need a break from being princesses."

 

Luna picked up a cherry and turned it over in the silvery blue of her magic, staring at it thoughtfully. "It might be nice, to take back a bad memory and make anew something better," she murmured. Looking up, her fading smile made a return. "It is up to you, and a project for another time should you wish to rebuild it."

 

 

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Celestia paused from her food, thinking on their old home. "Perhaps so. Twilight and her friends have made efforts to explore and restore parts of it. Their interest in the historic value may also prove beneficial. If the castle were brought back, it could be our little home away from work, and when we aren't there it can be a place of learning. So that ponies never forgot the past, lest it be repeated." She leaned over, nuzzling her sister's cheek softly.

 

She was affectionate more openly with her sister now, wanting to always be there for her and give her the support she needed. "But I like the idea of roaming those halls again. Seeing out old library and maybe running down the halls like when we were younger. Laughing and giggling. playing in the gardens or chasing each other around the towers while we fly. Oh you remember that game? It was so fun and you were always so good at catching me," she said softly. as she started on a few tarts, the solar princess smiled as a giggle passed her lips. Remembering the days when they would fly through the towers and over the walls. 

 

Then a thought came to her. "Remember the slides under our thrones there? They would shoot us right out into the lake by the castle! Oh I wonder if they still work? A lovely flight and a gentle swim would be so nice." She said with a smile. The dreamy look in her eyes of those days past. She used to love swimming in the lake with Luna. diving down to the bottom in search of fresh water clams to see if they had pearls or chasing the otters playfully through the water. She smiled and looked to Luna, flicking her mane back and whispering, "or we could steal away to the private library, and read those spooky stories you used to read to me and make me jump at every shadow."

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Luna her agreement and ate her cherry, pausing to politely remove the pit and drop it on her plate. A flicker of warmth rose up in her chest as Celestia nuzzled her cheek and the younger alicorn couldn't help leaning into it. "Indeed. It may be worth knocking down and replacing the worst of it, and rebuild it from there. We can have the builders retrieve more stone from the quarry below the cliff so that the castle will still entirely be made of the same stone."

 

Her closed wings fluttered a little at her sides, hearing Celestia speak so fondly of their days alone in their shared castle. The games they'd played, and the joy they took out of all the tricks and hidden passages Luna had thought of to add to the castle, to make it more theirs, rather than just another stone castle. Theirs was unique, with a certain life and personality to it. It was what Luna had loved so much about it. "I do remember," the younger alicorn replied warmly. "All of it. I imagine they still may work, as well as the organ used to control quite a few of the trick traps and the doors to the secret passageways.." She chuckled softly and nodded.

 

"I remember that too, and the secret nook in our library that we had, where we wrote our journal together about the beginning of our experiences as newly crowned princesses. It would be nice to have it all back, made anew for our current lives. There is much more we'd be able to do, and I imagine I can still make you jump at those shadows. I doubt I have lost my touch," Luna mused, the smile on her muzzle turning playful. "Perhaps, after today when we get a chance to, we could get started on it! Start drawing up the plans and figuring out who will help us rebuild."

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Celestia smiled and leaned into her sister. "That sounds wonderful," she whispered as she nibbled. "We can take a couple hours every evening and work on the plans together. Bring our home to life again." As they ate, she hummed to herself, like she used too. As they finished the meal, she burped softly into her hoof and giggled. She felt like they were so young again. Slowly getting up, she bumped Luna with her flank playfully and winked at her. Stretching her wings, she moved to a window, looking around a bit before smirking.

 

"Hey Luna, wanna sneak out? Remember how we used to take off from a window and shoot off as fast as we could?" She grinned in a mischievous way as she opened the window with her magic. The look in her eye was pure childishness. She was almost giggling with glee as she thought about performing such a thing. As she stood there, waiting on her sister, the sun came over her mane like it used too, glittering on the floor around her. She had that youthful appearance back. 

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Feeling Celestia's brief weight lean against her left Luna with a soft and warm contentment, soothing that part of her that'd gone a thousand years without any sort of contact or affection at all. She closed her eyes for a moment and nodded her silent agreement with Celestia's suggestions. It was only after Celestia's weight left her side that she returned to eating her breakfast of fruit.

 

Her sister rising from her seat told her that it was time for them to go. They'd both eaten their fill, and Luna found herself terribly excited to get to fly with her sister. Pushing her seat back and pulling herself to hooves that were wonderfully bare, Luna pranced across the room. "Indeed I do," she replied with another little mischievous glint in her eye. "See if you can catch me!" the younger alicorn blurted as her canter sped up to a gallop towards the window. She hadn't missed, in that moment, how her sister looked in the sunlight. Bright and beautiful- that she was the bringer of the sun had been no mistake. Her sister embodied it.

 

The moment passed, and Luna turned the focus of her magic onto the window, flinging it open so that she could dart past the taller mare and leap out, her wings tucked close to her sides until she was out into open air. She felt a moment of weightlessness before gravity took hold and she spread her wings, snapping them down and thrusting herself towards the open sky.

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"Oh I will!" Celestia called out as she took a step back and jumped, shooting off after her sister. Her larger wings allowed her greater thrust, but she still weighed more than Luna, so she was still slower. Luna was faster and more agile, and Celestia gave chase, laughing the whole time. She shot after her sister, trailing behind her and spiraling up into the sky with her sibling. Today, they weren't princesses. They were ponies again. They could play and be happy. 

 

As Celestia shot through a cloud, she missed a pegasus guard by inches. "SORRY!!!" She called out as she shot up higher and higher. Seeing how high above Luna she was, she dove. She wanted to use the speed to close the gap, but she knew she cast a large shadow doing this. She just wondered if she could catch up to her sister. Luna was the better flyer, always had been. But Celestia still enjoyed the game. It was fun to just cut loose and enjoy their time together. 

 

As she spread her wings to slow her decent a bit, she tried to angle her flight so that she might just get close to Luna and tap her on the flank. She forgot she was supposed to be royalty, she forgot that they were respectable and looked up to. Right then, all that was on Celestia's mind, was that she and her sister were having a game of chase and no one could stop them this time. No wizard to get in their way, no tutors to call them to lessons, and no guards to pull them away from 'dangerous' stunts. It was all about them. 

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Luna heard her sister's answer fading behind her as she ascended towards open sky, and she was already reveling in the freedom of it, of being shed of her regalia. It'd been worn regularly for centuries and now, without it she felt so light; it reminded her of how used to its weight she'd grown. She closed her eyes to the wind that blew back her long, star-flecked hair, simply enjoying the moment, though they snapped open again when she heard her sister's approaching laughter and a shouted apology.

 

Leveling out her flight, Luna prepared against her sister's attempt to catch up. She knew that Celestia had to have grown slower than herself in flight, especially when her sister had grown so tall over the past millennium, so she would give her a small chance to catch up. Her wings beat the air every so often, and her head kept level with her shoulders. Her ears, however, were facing back towards the approaching sound of her sister's wingbeats, and soon, Luna caught her sister's great shadow cast down on her and clouds below. Luna smirked and twisted in the air, getting a brief glimpse of Celestia diving towards her before she pulled her wings in and let herself free fall. It was exhilarating, something she loved to do for the thrill it brought her.

 

Luna didn't realize she was laughing until she spread her wings and tried to use her momentum to swoop back up towards the sky in an attempt to get away from her sister, one that would fail to work when it came to Celestia's longer legs. She felt the brush of a hoof against her black-splashed flank and squawked with an indignation that was feigned. Her sister had better get away as soon as possible, or else she'd have no chance in this game of chase.

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Celestia laughed like a foal, and felt her hoof touch her sister's flank. After a moment she banked left, the right, and then chose to loop up in the air and fly upside down. This way she could look down toward the sky and keep track of her sister and still look forward to the area she was flying. Though it did slow her down and she had to roll back over. Looking back to the ground she saw the fields below and a smile crossed her lips. 

 

Celestia dove, only leveling out just feet from the ground. She flew over the grass so close she could touch it, using the small hills and bushes to her advantage. She knew Luna had her beat for speed and maneuverability, however this close to the ground her power was a tiny advantage. She knew she couldnt stay this close the ground for long. She had to get more height, and after a few minutes she saw a hill coming up and was forced to slow down and climb higher. As she flew back up into the sky, she lost sight of her litter sister. Luna was good at hiding in the clouds, and Celestia slowed down, trying to figure out her sister's approach. 

 

As she did, she noticed one of the clouds swirl and prepared herself. Much to her surprise however, a bird came through the cloud and she was taken aback. She looked left and right to find Luna, but her sister had quiet flight. She was so stealthy!

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Princess Luna rose up while her sister flew off and turned in the air so that she'd be able to face the direction Celestia was flying. The mare in question looked like she was doing her best to avoid making herself an easy target to Luna's swifter wings. It was enjoyable, to watch her sister flitting away in this game of theirs, as if everything had been forgotten and that they were simply fillies again. She hardly ever got to see Celestia so full of life anymore, as burdened as they were by the duties of a princess- duties that'd become far more shackling over the millennium after her own banishment, no doubt because ponies wanted Celestia to be there for them more because they were afraid.

 

It was a sobering thought, but Luna had no time for it this day. She had plenty of time the rest of the year to mull and brood over it.

 

Luna arched her flight down to soar after Celestia, letting gravity pull her while she still defied it in order to catch up to her sister, who'd gone far below to the hills below the mountain Canterlot sat on. She could see the white shape of her against the green. Her flight was brought around in a slow curve to position herself some distance over where Celestia flew, coming close to the clouds. The nightbringer caught a glimpse of Celestia's pale shape dart up, and she lost sight of her. An eyebrow arched and Luna pushed herself further up over the clouds, skimming their damp, puffy surfaces as she sought to find her way closer to Celestia so that she could 'get the drop on her' as the mortals phrased it. What Celestia might lack in speed in such games as these, she made up for in cleverness, so Luna felt she'd have to surprise her.

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As Celestia looked around for her sister, she began to get the feeling Luna was toying with her again. Tia grinned and shot up higher, above the clouds and into the clear sky. it was warm and clear up here, but still she could not spot Luna. Celestia wondered if Luna was using an invisibility spell. While she mulled the thought over, she flew on, headed toward the Everfree Forest. 

 

Celestia knew there was no way she would beat Luna in a race, but in this open game of flying chase she might get close to beating her. As she looked around, she paused and hovered in the air. her wings beat slowly as she looked around grinning. "You cant hide forever Luna. I will spot you before you catch me!" she yelled playfully. She dove again, headed for the clouds. There was little the white mare could do now but try to keep ahead of Luna, though as she flew she almost ran into her. Pulling up at the last second she let out a surprised yell. Hovering there she looked at Luna, before bursting into giggles. 

 

It was so much like they were little again. She put a hoof to her face and laughed. "Oh my. You are good at this. I fear I have lost my touch." Hugging Luna she nuzzled her cheek softly and smiled. Her violet eyes were gentle, full of happiness again. Not dulled with the day to day court proceedings or trappings of princess matters. She was alive inside and full of energy. The solar mare sighed with a smile and tapped her nose again Luna's softly, "I love our games of chase. Never was here a more fun day than one spent with you."

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Luna navigated as best she could towards the last direction she'd seen her sister in, using the gaps in between the clouds to get a bearing on where she was. Celestia may have flown off in a different direction entirely after she lost sight of her, which would make this part of their game difficult. It changed the game, somewhat, but made it no less fun. At one point in her flight, she saw movement up ahead.

 

It was Celestia, emerging from beneath the clouds. Luna darted behind one while her sister's back was still turned and hid there, listening to Celestia call out with a wide smile on her face. She didn't know! Mouthing I highly doubt it in answer to Celestia's playful challenge, Luna waited until she heard the beat of her sister's wings before she emerged and flew in the direction she'd last seen the taller mare, trying to keep track of her amidst all of the white. Her attempt to keep her wing beats as quiet as possible seemed to have worked out rather well, so much so that neither of them knew that the other was near.

 

Celestia bursting up through the clouds surprised Luna as much as she had surprised her elder sister, and she brought her wings forward to slow herself so that she wouldn't end up crashing into the sunbringer. Laughter escaped Luna as she landed on the clouds before the other alicorn and leaned into the mare's hug. "Is that so? Perhaps you should get out of the castle more often! Who should truly care about what competitor's flowers smell best, or what event they should host? They can think for themselves, Tia; you shouldn't pile on their need for your approval on top of what you already need to deal with as a ruler," the younger blurted out.

 

It was just so nice to see her sister like this, so happy and carefree. Luna leaned up to return the small bump of noses before she threw her forelegs around Celestia's shoulders, pulling her back into a second hug that she'd chosen to instigate this time. "I am glad to hear it. I think we should spend time like this more often, as I've missed this." Her voice was soft, full of emotion. She really did feel like a filly again before.. everything had gotten in the way.

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Celestia hugged her sister back happily. She let out a gentle sound, a soft mmm at the hug and wrapped her forelegs around the mare. "I missed it too little moonbeam." AN old pet name, from a time well before crowns and ruling. When it was just them in their little lives. As she held her sister, a shadow passed over head, and a falcon flew by. Celestia watched it go, seeing how it circled the air and flew so freely. After a bit, Celestia drew back an an idea came to her. "what if... What if we took a vacation. just a week. Just left the kingdom in Twilight's hooves for a while. We wouldn't go far, and could return in an emergency. But just some time for ourselves. No disguises either? Just us. We can still raise the sun and moon, but other than that we think of ourselves for a while? Spend time rebuilding our castle, or maybe just laying on a sandy beach and enjoying the sounds of the ocean?" 

 

Celestia looked at her sister with the eyes she used too. The kind of look they would give each other when they were deciding what games to play for the day, or what was to be their lunch. She softly stroked Luna's cheek, smiling at her little sibling and looking into those soft eyes of hers. Luna had never lost her youthful curiosity. Just hid it away when they had to really be princesses. Celestia had lost her long ago, having practically everything told to her. She saw what damage that did when she got too curious. But she wanted to be curious again, and to discover what that curiosity could bring. 

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Luna's breath caught in her throat. Moonbeam. She hadn't heard that little pet name in a very long time. Far before she'd ever begun to grow bitter and jealous, Celestia would sometimes call her by that name with affection. Her forelegs tightened around the pale mare and Luna held her face against Celestia's fur until she was certain she wasn't going to tear up. The last thing she wanted was to get emotional on her sister's birthday and shift the focus of it away from Celestia's day.

 

It was only until the younger alicorn was certain she had herself together again that she straightened up and pulled away a little when she felt Celestia move. "A vacation? I think that sounds wonderful, Tia. We can use that time in any way we wish, without the weight of a kingdom on our shoulders. Most of all, on yours. You still play the bigger part, after all, and it seems to have only grown more busier, and more ridiculous, over these past years. I.. fear it is my fault, what I've done, that pushed them to put you in that position to start with." She ended her soft sigh with a snort, a faint smile on her muzzle in an attempt to lessen the effect of her words so that Celestia didn't think she was feeling down on herself about it. In a small way, she was. Perhaps later, alone, that bitter part of her might try to voice itself again, but now with the way that the older alicorn was looking at her, she couldn't feel it.

 

Leaning into the hoof stroking her cheek, she closed her eyes. "I am glad we have gotten to have a day like this. I've been looking forward to trying to find some time to spend with you, without it having to involve our kingdom being in peril, or some.. flashy party."

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Celestia nodded softly, looking in the direction of the forest. Looking back to Luna she smiled and motioned for her sister to come. 

 

Taking a slow flight she spoke softly. "I know how you feel Luna. I even grow tired of the Gala. So many ponies are so uptight. Honestly, I no longer want to even host such a boring event. All they ever do is drink champagne until they go cross eyed and talk about who has more wealth."

 

Making a face, Tia showed her disgusted feelings by sticking her tongue out. "Besides, I would rather have an evening where we can mingle with the normal ponies of Equestria, the citizens that aren't born into wealth. What about you sister?"

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Her ears twitched back and Luna withdrew, standing up shortly after Celestia. She followed her sister's gesture and leapt up effortlessly into the sky with a single, powerful stroke of her wings. She noticed what her sister chose to respond to, but she still listened, sympathizing with her elder. "I imagine it is because they're always the ones who receive the Gala tickets. They have some sort of.. delusion of importance, all because they live in Canterlot and get to interact with you, as well as the wealth their family has accumulated over the years. Why not allow others to attend the Gala too? If it is made less exclusive.."

 

She trailed off, thinking. The nobles would certainly not be happy about it, to be 'forced' to interact with 'commoners'. "I feel they could stand to get to know ponies who have not been fortunate enough to be born into rich families like they were. If the event were more open, perhaps they'd get to gain a better perspective outside of their little echo chamber. It's been fortunate for me that I haven't bothered to attend a Gala yet- I cannot imagine their reactions to me being there. It hasn't escaped my notice that ponies still look to you more.. It's probably best that I haven't come to the event; they would either fake fawning over me, or ignore me. I am not sure which I would hate more."

 

Luna rolled her eyes and beat her wings, rising further up so that she could fly directly beside her sister, with enough distance for their wings. "I do think that would be an idea. Mingle with the normal ponies so that they do not feel as if we've forgotten them and only care about the nobility. I don't want them to think such a thing- no pony is worth more than another."

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Celestia smiled, and nodded to her sister. Luna had sage advice to offer, and this time Tia would heed it. Then an idea dawned on her. A positively evil, outlandish, horrifying idea that would bring the nobility down a peg or two. Looking at her sister, she glided along on her wings and spoke, "What if... we sold the tickets for only 3 bits per pony, and foals got in for free. No dress code this time. No fancy foods, make it a bring your own dish type of thing. And put ticket vendors in the small towns instead of the big cities? Right were the ponies can find them. That way every pony can have an equal chance to come to the Gala. Open the gardens and the ballroom, Have the dining room open for the food. And, perhaps set up some festivities in the hedge maze? So that the foals have something entertaining to do?" Celestia was guessing, trying to grasp what normal ponies might like. 

 

As they flew over the edge of the forest, Celestia looked down and let out a sigh. Even if it was dangerous, the forest was beautiful. "Remember when you used to sneak out and wander in the forests? When we were little? I sometimes tried to follow you and would always get my mane and tail tangled up in the vines and thorns," She giggled softly. "It took me hours to get myself free. And you were always a mile ahead of me. I usually ended up having to take a bath for an hour when I got back." She laughed openly, remembering the times back then. 

 

As she looked at her sister, she smiled softly at her. Glad to have her with her for the day. There was nothing to bother them, and all day to enjoy themselves. 

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