A white unicorn in royal robes and sparkling crown stood atop a snow-spotted peak. The blizzard responsible for it had been thwarted a full week prior--and hopefully, forever--but from her vantage point, its effects could still easily be seen across the horizon.
In its half-melted state, the snow highlighted the flora of the land below, causing several colors of the rainbow to shine under the moonlight.
Princess Platinum smiled. They almost hadn't done it. Heaven knew she hadn't contributed all that much to their cause.
At that moment, however, she at last heard the hoofsteps of one who had.
"Ahh, Clover the Clever," Platinum greeted the brown-robed violet unicorn who had just traversed the peak's leading trail. "Thank you for showing. I... did not wish to inconvenience you whilst you were napping."
Clover nodded with a light, airy smile. "I appreciate it. Still, I came as soon as I read your note. Is anything the matter?"
Platinum allowed a small, peaceful smile of her own to cross her muzzle at Clover's words. "Not in a negative sense, if such a possibility worries you."
Clover blinked in mild confusion. "Your Highness...?"
Platinum beckoned with one hoof. "Come hither, Clover--gosh, you so often keep your distance. Probably my fault. Nevertheless, please: stand by me."
Clover did so, whereupon the two looked out over the shining colors in the moonlit night. "It's beautiful," she said. "From here you get the sense that all we went through was worth it in the end."
Platinum nodded. "We stand on the cusp of a new world, Clover. Even as we speak, ponies the world over are migrating to Equestria, with plans for its resources and renewed hope for the future. So long as we remember the lessons which allowed us to survive to this point, I see no reason why we should not prosper for generations to come."
"I agree," said Clover. "Part of me wishes we could live long enough to see it happen."
"Immortality comes in many forms, Clover." Platinum turned to her comrade, allowing her smile to grow as she did so. "None of this would be possible without your wisdom and capacity for compassion. History has been made. Books will be written of these times; songs will be sung.'' She gestured across the landscape below them. "When one lingers in memory, they never truly fade. Such will be the fate of you, I, and the rest of Equestria's founders. Your mentor, Star Swirl the Bearded, would be proud of you... perhaps even as proud as I have always been to have you in my service." She let out an overdrawn sigh. "I should say as such more often, I suppose."
A mild tinge of red shaded Clover's cheeks. "Y-Your Highness..."
"Given what we've been through, Clover, the time for formal titles has long since passed. Please... simply call me Platinum."
Startled by its sheer boldness, Clover the Clever outright gasped at the Unicorn Princess's declaration. To be on a first-name basis with royalty? "Oh, Princess, I could never... I mean that's just not done, is it?..."
The white unicorn chuckled. "It wasn't until five seconds ago. One of the perks of being part of the ruling class, you see, is that you can change those rules." She stepped in front of Clover, speaking in reassuring tones. "The privilege is now yours. Abuse it to your heart's content. In fact... try it now. No titles. Just my name. It would bring me joy to hear it from your lips."
"I..." Reddening even more, Clover closed her eyes. "All right... Platinum."
"Yes, excellent!" said the princess, squeaking in triumph and clopping her hooves on the ground in soft applause. "Come, now, tell me... how did that feel?"
"Honestly?" said Clover. "It still feels strange. Nice, but strange..." Then, in a softer voice, "...as if above my station."
Platinum sighed and shook her head. "Humility to a fault. Clover, if ever you had an all-confusing character flaw, that would be it."
"Why would it be confusing?" Clover asked.
"Because you of all ponies deserve to be proud, especially when...'' Platinum hesitated before continuing. "...especially when compared to unicorns like myself who have spent far too long atop their ivory towers. How many times have I taken advantage of my station, mistreated you and others, pranced about as a pony of worth but behaved myself as just the opposite?'' She lifted her crown and hovered it before the both of them. "When I think upon my past transgressions... I'm afraid I have done this crown little justice."
Silence ruled their air for several moments, until Clover broke it. "I disagree."
Platinum did a double-take. "You... you do? How could you ever-"
"I know you have always had tremendous pressure put on you to perform as heiress to the Unicornian throne--and if I may speak freely, you have performed your role admirably. It's true that before we embarked on our journey, you may have behaved in a manner..." Clover chose her words carefully as she paced around the princess. "...often expected of your rank. However, throughout Equestria's founding and development, I have seen you learn and grow in your own way, with not even a mentor to guide you. Before, you had the power and the will; now, you have the heart to accompany it. I can think of none better suited to lead our race in the times ahead." She used her own magic to place the crown back on Platinum's head. "We need you, Princess.'' After giving it another moment's thought, she added, "I need you."
Princess Platinum choked back the lump in her throat, and willed away the mistiness of her vision. "Then, if it is your wish... you shall have me," she said.
And as both unicorns drew closer, an elated Clover the Clever felt increasingly flush and warm...
...until, with a gasp, the intensity of the moment overwhelmed Twilight Sparkle, snapping her out of her role.
"R-... Rarity?" she said breathlessly, while doing her best to calm down.
Rarity followed suit. "Y-yes, Twilight?"
"We... we've been ad-libbing for quite some time now, don't you think?"
Rarity replied with a sly smile. "Was it not your suggestion to have a method-acting rehearsal to help us get into character?''
"Well, yes, but..." Twilight visibly redoubled her efforts in fighting her fluster. To Rarity, the sight was adorable... but ultimately futile.
"Then so long as we simply play our parts to the full extent of our abilities, I see no reason to stop until either of us are satisfied." Rarity ran her the tip of her hoof relaxedly along the length of Twilight's chin, making the violet unicorn shiver independent of the winter weather's effects. "However, the decision ultimately lies with you, Oh Clever One..."
"I..." Under Rarity's nigh-hypnotic gaze, Twilight finally stopped fighting it. "Perhaps... a few more minutes? Just to let this scene play out. I liked where it was going... from a writer's perspective, of course."
"Of course," said Rarity. "And what a coincidence: I enjoyed where things were going as well..."
"Then," said Clover, "if things are to continue along their present path... I suppose there's only one matter left to address."
"Indeed. Happy Hearth's Warming, Clover," said Platinum, sidling up next to her companion.
"And to you, Princess,'' said Clover. "May we... spend many more together?"
"I see absolutely no reason why not," Platinum replied, moments before the two shared the warmest of cuddles under the stars.