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    Once upon a time, a gray Sunday afternoon, a little girl visited Lady Celestia’s gardens.

    “One hour,” her mother had said, giving the girl a meaningful look. “One hour. The gardens close at six.”

    And in that hour, the girl made the mansion her castle, and the gardens her forest.

    The maze of hedges, she decided as she walked through them, were the Lost Labyrinth of Mirceille, where many brave soldiers had fought terrible beasts. Not all of them had survived, unfortunately, though she went back and forth on how many.

    Eighteen, she decided after picking a few berries from a nearby bush. It felt like an important number. Not too close to twenty, not too far from fifteen.

    Now, why had those poor soldiers fought those awful beasts? Well, for a chance to meet the beautiful ruler of the Kingdom: Princess Beautiful the Pretty.

    …Who admittedly was not the most creative or humble child to walk the land.

    Inspecting her gardens, however, was a much more tiring affair than she’d expected. She’d decided that every tree in the estate was a living being and thus needed her royal blessing, but she quickly discovered that giving each and every one her royal blessing wasn’t particularly thrilling after the fifth.

    “I’ll bless you later!” she yelled out to the remaining trees, hoping they wouldn’t be offended. Which they wouldn’t because they were trees and she was Princess Beautiful the Pretty and they should be honored regardless.

    Her next goal was to find a Royal Grassy Area upon which to sit, but this too was thrown away when her eyes caught sight of the teensiest white kitten glaring at her from behind a tree.

    “Kitty!” she gasped, clapping her hands together and rushing towards it.

    To her great dismay, the cat did not seem fond of little children running up to play, and as soon as she tried to reach out towards it, it let out a frightening hiss and greeted her hands with a swipe of its sharp claws.


    Princess Beautiful quickly took back her hand, tears welling up in her eyes at the sight of the crimson-tinted scratches on it.

    “Dumb cat,” she told it, and when the cat seemed all but offended, still glaring at her from behind the tree, the princess stalked away with her wounded pride and hand.

    After a minute of wandering, she found a small bench on which to sit on. The years had not been kind on that poor bench, most of its painting faded away, but that did not bother her in the least.

    All she cared for was that it was the perfect place to sulk.

    “I just wanted to pet it,” she muttered with a sniffle, brushing her fingers on the scratch and smearing her own blood over the cut.

    “Hello,” said an almost angelic voice.

    With a start, Princess Beautiful turned around on the bench and saw the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen standing behind her in a yellow summer dress, her auroral colored hair neatly tucked behind a white hat. What truly struck her, however, were the woman’s stunning crimson-colored lips.

    She was a fairy, the girl decided. The Fairy of the Forest.


    The fairy gestured to the bench. “May I sit with you?”

    Knowing one did not deny a fairy’s request, the child remained silent, watching as the fairy walked around the bench and sat down next to her.

    The fairy folded her hands on her lap and looked around, no doubt looking for the wicked witch that used to live in the castle.

    “Where are your parents?” asked the fairy.

    “I don’t have parents,” replied the child. “I’m a Princess.” After a moment’s thought, she added, “But if I had a mommy, she would come pick me up from the market at six.”

    The fairy, bless her, did not comment on the fact that being a princess did not exempt one from having parents. Instead, she peered down at the child with wide eyes.

    “A princess?” she asked.

    The child nodded. “I’m Princess Beautiful the Pretty,” she informed her newly acquired subject, who immediately commited the highest of treasons when she giggled. “Why are you laughing?” asked the princess, cross.

    “I’m not,” replied the fairy, even though she had. “It reminded me of another princess with a similar name! Princess Pretty the Beautiful.”

    Princess Beautiful frowned. “That’s not similar!” she protested, her extraordinary originality suddenly threatened.

    “No,” said the fairy. “I suppose it isn’t! And tell me, Princess Pretty, what kingdom are you from?”

    “This kingdom,” stated the princess, gesturing to the gardens. “It’s mine.”

    “Yours?” asked the fairy, surprised. “That house, too?”

    “It’s a castle. And yes, it’s mine too.”

    “Won’t you invite me in?” asked the fairy. “It seems like a lovely castle.”

    The girl faltered at this, and the fairy quickly noticed.

    “Is something wrong?” she asked.

    “We-Well, we can’t go in there right now,” said Princess Beautiful, and she lowered her voice as she leaned in and whispered, “or we might run into the evil witch.”

    The fairy gasped. “The evil witch?” she whispered back, pretending to be alarmed. “What evil witch?”

    “Lady Celestia,” replied the Princess, and the fairy’s alarm was now anything but fake.

    “Lady Celestia is a witch?” she asked, leaning back with an expression so severe, the little princess feared she’d upset the grand fairy. “Why do you say that?”

    “She only lets children play in her gardens on Sunday. And she’s always in her mansion.”

    “I see…” The fairy looked back towards the mansion, lost in thought until she spoke up again, her voice as soft as a child’s. “If she were to open the gates more often, would she still be an evil witch?”

    The princess hummed, tapping her chin with a finger. She intended on replying that she might be nice enough to deem the evil witch free of her ‘evilness’, but whatever reply she had was interrupted when the fairy reacted to the scratches on the child’s hand.

    “What happened to you?” she asked, eyeing the still-fresh wound with concern.

    “A kitten,” said the girl, somewhat embarrassed. “It was jealous of me, so it scratched me. Because it was jealous.”

    The fairy reached out with her hand. “May I?”

    When the fairy took the princess’s hand, the very first thing the child noticed was how warm it was. What a soft and gentle touch from hands so perfect, the princess told herself the fairy must have been carved from a statue first.

    “This shouldn’t hurt,” said the fairy.

    She was lying, however.

    Not that she knew she was. Not that the child knew. Not that they would ever know until much, much later.

    The tips of her fingers lit up with white magic, and the child stared with fascination and fear as the fairy brushed the surface of the scratch like a brush on canvas, and slowly but surely, the wounds began to heal.

    A minute later, the only thing left was a faint scar and a child whose entire life had changed.

    As I sat there on the bench, staring up at this mesmerizing lady, my mouth ever so slightly ajar, I realized instantly that I wanted to be just like her.

    I was convinced my life’s purpose was to somehow emulate this woman I’d just met.

    “What are you?” I asked with the childlike wonder that excuses such a blunt question. “Are you a fairy?”

    “No,” she said. “I’m a lady.”

    “I want to be one!” I gasped, driven by righteous determination. I stood up on the bench and was the opposite of ladylike as I shook her quite desperately. “Please teach me!”

    She laughed at this. She laughed with as much delight then as she would further on during some of the hundreds of times I visited her mansion, like for instance that one time as a teenager when I stayed the night while my parents were away for the weekend, and the Lady caught me trying on her many beautiful dresses.

    Stars, they were beautiful.

    “A lady,” she said between laughs, “does not stand on benches, to begin with.”

    Chastised, I immediately sat down and tried to look as proper as a child could hope to look.

    “Are ladies always as pretty as you?” I asked. “Do they always have lips as red as yours?” I gasped and clutched her with my small hands. “Will I have lips all red like that?! Is it because you’re a fairy?!”

    “Oh no,” she said and took out a small golden tube from her bag, which revealed itself to be lipstick when she put it on. “It’s a custom-made lipstick from the western lands.”

    Before I could reply, the voice of my mother interrupted me.

    “Rarity!” she called out, standing under the distant gate. “Let’s go, sweetie!”

    Though I was utterly devastated to part ways with the lady, I did not want to upset my mother and risk a scolding. With some reluctance, I jumped off the bench and turned to my new friend.

    “Promise me you’ll be here next Sunday!” I begged her.

    “Next Sunday? You can always come tomorrow,” she said and then lowered her voice. “I’ll have a talk with the evil witch.” She cleared her throat and waved to my mother, calling out, “She’ll be right there!”

    Delighted, I held out my hand to shake hers. “Goodbye, miss lady,” I said, and what a surprise when instead of shaking my hand, she took it and delicately kissed the back of it.

    “Goodbye, Princess Beautiful.”

    “Oh!” I exclaimed, looking down at my hand and finding a very different result than the many times my aunties kissed me on my cheeks. “It didn’t paint my hand!”

    “It wouldn’t,” said Lady Celestia with a wink. “A lady never leaves a mark.”

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    1. platinumSKIES
      Jul 6, '22 at 11:49 am

      OOOOOH, now this is a spicy meatball.
      The fact that Rarity holds OPINIONS about Celestia now doesn’t bode well.

    2. Pinky102368
      Jan 26, '22 at 12:00 pm

      Oh how I wish Lady Celestia would delicately hold my hand and gently kiss it.

      I’m in love with the childlike wonder of this chapter. The way present day Rarity describes little Rarity here actually reminded me of imagination games my little sister used to play.

      1. @Pinky102368Jan 30, '22 at 3:46 pm

        I looooved writing this chapter so much… Honestly, I just love writing Rarity and Celestia interacting period lmao