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Star Swirl the Bearded's Guide to Parties

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At the doorway to Twilight’s castle, Luna surveyed the party that was taking place around her. Twilight Sparkle, the birthday pony of the hour was deep in conversation with Moon Dancer and Lemon Drop next to a table with a book-shaped cake on it (“Star Swirl the Bearded’s Guide to Parties”, the hoof-piped frosting read); Rainbow Dash was in mid-brag with Fluttershy and Spitfire attentively hanging on her every word; and nearer the great table in the center of room, Rarity showed off her new wardrobe creation to an incredulous group of Cutie Mark Crusaders. “Are you sure all those ruffles will help any-pony gain their cutie marks?” Sweetie Belle tentatively asked, her voice muffled by laughter, clinking glasses, and music in the background.

Pinkie Pie appeared next to Luna, a group of brightly colored balloons tied around her pink hoof. “Hiya, Princess Luna! Enjoying yourself?”

“You put on a most wonderful celebration,” Luna answered. “Twilight Sparkle seems to be the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”

“Well, that is the idea.” Pinkie stared, eyes narrowed, in Twilight’s direction. “Something’s not quite right, though.”

“Not right?” Glancing furtively around the room, Luna turned to Pinkie in surprise. “Whatever can you mean? Every-pony is greatly—“

“Nope! I’ve seen Twilight way, way happier than this. This is good, but… she could be enjoying herself a lot more. What did I miss?” The pink pony’s frown deepened.

Luna cleared her throat, unsure of how to proceed. Pinkie Pie was the most confusing of all of Twilight’s friends. Often, Luna had very little understanding of where Pinkie got all of her ideas, or even any of her energy. This time was no exception, as Pinkie improbably stared suspiciously at the otherwise joyful events unfolding around them. Before Luna could begin to form a question, Pinkie’s tail started to vibrate, and she quickly stepped aside as Rose Luck appeared at the door with a large, potted cactus with a bow tied around it.

“Oops, sorry,” Rose Luck exclaimed, pulling the plant away. “I almost popped your balloons!”

“No problem-o!” Pinkie cheerfully waved Rose Luck inside, but her scowl quickly returned. “When was the last time you saw Twilight happy?”

Caught by surprise, Luna coughed. “I—I suppose… it was just a few days ago, when she discovered that the shipment of books I’d ordered for her birthday had come early.”

Pinkie nodded. “That’s right. A week ago, I thought she was going to cry when the post pony came with some lost history book she needed to complete a set. And then she disappeared for the rest of the day.”

“Indeed, she often does. I didn’t see her again that day, even at dinner time.”

Pinkie’s eyes widened. “That’s it! Princess Luna, I need your help!”

“Whatever for?”

“To make Twilight’s birthday extra special!”

~~~

That night, Twilight dreamt of her tree house library, unharmed and untouched. Comfortable chairs and cushions were everywhere, and quills and parchment were ready and waiting. A plate of sandwiches and snacks awaited her, along with a note, which read:

“Take as long here as you like. It will always be available in your dreams when you want it.

--Your friends, P & L”

Twilight’s eyes widened in understanding, and a true smile spread across her face. She looked around, half expecting her friends to appear, but the library was quiet. Sighing happily, she settled down to read.

~~~

“That was perfect!” Pinkie stretched, waking up from their mutual dream. “Thank you, Princess Luna.”

“On the contrary,” Luna replied. “It is I who should thank you.”

“How come?”

Luna started to speak, but stopped for a moment, shaking her head. “You have made me understand why Twilight values your friendship so. That knowledge is precious to me.”

Pinkie shook her head. “Aw, it was nothing. I’d do the same for any-pony!”

Luna smiled. “I’m certain you would.”

“Speaking of which… when’s your birthday?” Pinkie asked, and the two of them laughed together.