Wealth Granted from Generosity

Third main installment in the Tutelary Spirit universe. Recommended reading order: Loyalty, Honesty, Generosity, Kindness, Laughter, and Friendship.
In an urban metropolis, many ages after the original adventures of the Elements of Harmony, a young unicorn finds the Element of Generosity. And as the living embodiment of her Element, Generosity, like the rest of her friends, is always willing to guide and teach a pony of Equestria.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/229682/wealth-granted-from-generosity

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4. The Mare of Generosity

"Now," said the longma, turning his head back to eye Thrift, "when you go inside: follow me, be quiet, be courteous," sharp teeth were revealed in a devious grin, "and don't forget to breathe."

With that, he opened the door and stepped into the room, while Thrift nervously gulped once in hesitation before quickly following after.

The room was lavish, as to be expected of the hotel's best. Its floor was covered in velvet carpet, luxurious furniture placed over it like the rich mahogany coffee table in the room's center. Paintings of green, open landscapes were placed spaciously on the vacant areas of the suite's walls, and marble statues of ponies forever frozen in dramatic poses occupied the corners of the room. Opposite the door to the suite was a balcony hidden behind billowing drapes.

At the far end of the room, toward the right from the suite's entrance, three cushioned couches were placed face-forward of the burning hearth in the wall; its contained fire crackling over the entrapped wood. Centered between the hearth and the three couches that circled it, there was a small, round stand elevated a few inches above the floor. On this stand, a black-furred thestral, or a batpony as they were more commonly called, was poised upon it in a lace, yellow dress; its curtly folds draping over the mare's legs teasingly. Behind ocean-blue locks of mane, the thestral's yellow eyes widened in sudden fright at the sight of Thrift.

"Who is this?" she demanded, flustered, her leather wings splaying over her body in an attempt to cover her dress. Turning an indignant gaze toward the longma guard, she called, "Knight! There was supposed to be no pony here! I requested privacy!"

On the couch between the flustered threstral and the two stallions, a paw, like that of a wolf's, gripped the cushions and pulled up another mare who glanced at the stallions curiously. She had a pearl white coat, different colored eyes of green and red, two small antlers upon her head with a brown fedora between them, and a blue scarf wrapped around her neck.

"Calm yourself, Duchess Rhea," replied the longma as he casually trotted through the room and directed Thrift to sit in the couch on the right, "He has important business here."

After laying himself on the luxurious couch he was directed towards, which, after trudging through the city alleys, made him feel like some sort of stray dirtying up something beautiful, Thrift looked at the longma guard in surprise and couldn't help but stutter out, "I-I do?"

Having stayed quiet in a dignified pose for the entire time she rode upon one of her master's servants, Opalescence decided that this was now the time to switch her steed. The golden-pawed cat suddenly leaped from the guard's back and onto Thrift's own, who stiffened at the unexpected contact, before curling into a ball and purring softly.

The guard showed off a toothy grin after witnessing the golden-pawed cat's move, "Yes," he said, his tone smug, "you do." The guard's eyes glanced up before returning to Thrift, "And you can set the basket down now."

Distracted from the familiar that could turn blood into gold with a casual swipe of its claws now resting on his back, Thrift looked back at the guard with a startled, "What?" before realizing that the basket of assortments that the old mare from the apartment block had given to him was still floating in the air in his teal aura, "Oh! Right," he said as he brought it down to rest on the couch he sat on.

"Whether or not he has business here, this is still highly intrusive," argued Duchess Rhea impetuously, her leathery wings flaring out slightly, "Can't you make him wait outside until my dress fitting is done?"

"Apologies, Duchess Rhea, but I must follow the doctrine of my Order, which includes following the requests of my Lady," replied the longma, his tone smug, "and she has requested that I bring her familiar, and anypony with her familiar, before her at her most available time."

Yellow eyes narrowed at the longma, "And her 'most available time' includes my being here?" Duchess Rhea's calm voice had an undertone of warning in it.

Her warning went ignored by the guard, who flashed sharp teeth in his grin, "Well, she was quite vague on what that phrase specifically constituted, so I had to use my own judgement," he replied.

"Then you're a poor judge."

"Then it's a good thing that I don't work for Equestria's judiciary."

This prompted a giggle from the antlered mare. Now that she was no longer blocked by the back cushions of the couch she sat on, Thrift could see that the antlered mare, on top of her antlers and two wolf paws, also had a thicker coat of black fur around her chest area and a green, serpentine tail. Her form, while definitely equine, also appeared slimmer and curvier than what was normal for ponies.

"Just let it go, Rhea," said the antlered-mare, her tone casual, "the guard's assigned to a Mare of Harmony, so it's her problem, not yours," she grew a smirk, "besides, what are you so worried about? That ponies are going to believe this guy when he says that he was in the same room with both of Celestia's and Luna's daughters?" with a giggle, she placed the tip of her wolf paw over her mouth, "Ooh, you're right, how scandalous."

"Keep your mind out of the gutter, Canis, it's dirty enough already," Rhea replied in a sideways glance to her cousin before focusing back on the guard, "and what business of his is so important that it needs to interrupt my dress fitting?"

"Why business with the dressmaker of course," replied the guard as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. The smugness never left his face, even as the thestral gritted her teeth enough to show off her elongated fangs, a loud hiss escaping between them.

Just as it seemed that the bat was going to bite the head off of the dragon in fury, did a voice speak up.

"Now Rhea, is that anyway for a proper lady to act? Let alone a duchess?"

And just like that, Duchess Rhea pulled herself back into a more dignified pose, her face flustered red from her actions, while the longma guard's smug grin finally dropped from his face as he stood straighter at attention. Simply put, a duchess and a knight had been completely reigned in by just a single voice; a voice that, even when mixed together with a chastising and teasing tone, still sounded very eloquent.

And Thrift knew who that eloquent voice belonged to.

Past the couches and the stand that they all gathered around, at the far end of the room, there was the balcony that looked out over the nighttime city. The glass doors that allowed one to enter upon the balcony were laid open, although Thrift was only able to notice this by the silk drapes that billowed from the open wind.

And behind these thin drapes, barely perceivable through the silk linen, stood a silhouette; a graceful silhouette of a unicorn mare who stood poised as she looked out over the balcony's view. Even obscured as she was behind the silken drapes, Thrift could tell that the mare had a more luscious mane and stood distinctively taller than most. Before and slightly above the mare, an azure glow, wrapped around what looked like a tiara, floated in front of her, magically gyrating in the air as she casually examined it; a glimmer occasionally shining over it.

Then from out between the drapes, floated the azure-wrapped tiara, revealed to be composed of silver with a yellow gemstone grafted in the middle of it. It levitated across the room, before stopping over Duchess Rhea. Slowly, the tiara began to lower onto her head, but just as it was about to rest on her crown, it suddenly lurched upwards and quickly floated into a glass display case that was situated over the hearth, which snapped shut.

"Hey!" called out Duchess Rhea, annoyance clearly evident on her face.

A giggle, "Now don't fret, dear. You'll get your chance to wear it soon enough," came the mirthful response, which was soon accompanied by soft hoofsteps.

Thrift could see the silhouette approach the billowing drapes.

An azure aura wrapped around the silk drapes, parting them.

...And Thrift's breath hitched at the sight of beauty being revealed.

Like curtains drawing back to reveal a glittering gem, the mare that was presented by the parted drapes was revealed to be even more beautiful than any gemstone yet found by civilized ponies now or ever. She was the epitome of cultured beauty; her features were elegant, her form was slim, and her natural poise seemed refined to a sophisticated degree. Her glamorous coat was a pure white, like that of a rare pearl shimmering brightly under fluorescent lighting; so brightly was her coat that she seemed to magically have this shining radiance that attracted the attention of all eyes to her.

Then there was her mane and tail. The beautiful mare's stylish coiffure draped over her form elaborately as her curving, long locks were tipped off in spiraling curls that poured over her head and down around her neck like an artistic interpretation of a dark, violet waterfall, while her spiraling tail swirled around like it had once been a grapevine that had at one time gripped an outreached branch. Both of her mane and tail enchantingly glittered as if the folds of her hair had been encrusted with minuscule shards of gemstones. Beyond that though, through some unknown magical means, the space around her mane and tail glittered fabulously just as well as her locks did.

The mare's connection to gemstones was an undoubtedly deep one as indicated by the three blue diamonds that served as her mark. But not only that, for atop her head, projecting upwards from above her azure eyes, was her horn. But this was no usual unicorn horn of bone and keratin, as instead the mare's horn appeared to be unbelievably composed entirely of crystalline material. Her horn was like that of white diamond; almost entirely transparent except for an inner snowy hue that glinted from the moonlight behind her.

Here was the Mare of Generosity; the tutelary patron of charity, selflessness, and many other aspects attributed to her for being the living embodiment of the Element of Generosity.

From the balcony, she trotted toward the quartet of ponies, the air glittering around her as if to celebrate just being near her presence. When she reached the ponies, she looked at Duchess Rhea on eye level, despite the fact that the duchess was elevated a few inches above the ground by the stand she stood on.

"Now Rhea, must you always hiss at ponies that get on your nerves?" questioned the glittering Mare of Generosity, mirthful teasing in her tone, "I swear, ten years I've been gone and when I return, I find that you're still hissing at ponies like how you were when you were just a little filly throwing tantrums."

Duchess Rhea's cheeks flustered more red than a strawberry at Generosity's words, "N-no, I did... uh, that-that is that I-I, I mean..." she stuttered out embarrassingly before quickly pointing a hoof at the longma guard, "He started it!" she shouted, and no sooner had she said those words did she immediately regret them as evident by her placing her hoof against her face, "Ugh! No—wait, that is not what I meant."

The Mare of Generosity raised a single chastising eyebrow, "I sincerely hope not."

On the couch, the antlered mare gave the Mare of Generosity a smirk, "Shifting the blame? She is clearly ready for the world of politics."

Generosity returned this smirk with a tender smile that absolutely unnerved Canis, "Are you suggesting that you are an expert on such things, Canis?" she replied sweetly.

Canis's smirk quickly fell at Generosity's words, and she rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly, "Er... yeah."

The Mare of Generosity's azure gaze fell on the longma guard, and despite his attempt to resolutely stand straight at attention, to Thrift, the way he curled his tail between his legs made him look similar to a foal about to be chastised. Perhaps the behavior was something instinctive for the longma species, attributed to being in the presence of their Ancestral Mother.

"Now Razor," began Generosity, her words as sweet as ever and containing no malice, "I'm not deaf, so I was quite capable of hearing your... conversation with dear Rhea, and while I do appreciate that you keep my business confidential, would you please make an effort to not purposefully antagonize the Duchess."

Looking like a guilty puppy trying to put on a straight face, the longma guard nodded once, "I will do my best, Lady Rarity," he replied in as even a tone as he could manage.

"Splendid!" she rejoiced with an uplifting smile.

And that was when the Mare of Generosity turned to look at the final occupant of the room. She then gained a look of very slight surprise, for there was Thrift Spender, a simple businesspony—a restaurateur, really—wearing a dirty, ragged suit, and sitting among royalty and divine spirits in the highest suite of one the most luxurious hotels in the city. Most ponies would say that he looked out of place.

But Rarity, the Mare of Generosity, was not most ponies. She gave him a small smile and simply said, "Ah, yes. I'll be with you in a moment. Just let me first see to these duchesses."

With that, she turned her attention to the still-flustered thestral and gave her a big, yet still lady-like grin, "Now tell me darling," she said as she circled around the duchess, eyeing her like how a mason eyes a sculpture, "how is the dress? Is it not just perfectly fabulous?"

Quickly recovering from her flustered state, Duchess Rhea took a moment to look herself over in her dress, "It's... great," she replied, giving Generosity an appreciative smile, "It's very comfortable and I love the design of it."

Returning the appreciative smile, the Mare of Generosity wore an expression of serenity. Holding this calm expression, she leaned forward, her smile so knowing, and simply said in an expectant tone, "But..."

Biting her bottom lip like she bit Generosity's bait, Duchess Rhea looked at her with an unsure expression and said, "but... yellow?" As if to showcase her point, her leathery wings slightly splayed open to better showoff the bright yellow dress that contrasted with her black coat. "I mean, don't you have something... you know, darker?"

"Why?" asked the Mare of Generosity in a humoring sense of way, "Do you believe that you are unsuited for bright clothing?" Rarity turned her head up and away from the duchess in a pompous manner, "Ugh!" she scoffed, melodramatically, "and here I thought that you were trying to rise above expectations. Yet here you are, wanting to be dressed in the same gloomy attire that ponies expect all thestrals to wear."

Canis chuckled, "You're not falling into the gothy batpony stereotype, are you Rhea?" she asked in a teasing tone.

"Now Canis, you surely are not one to talk," responded Rarity in a sideways glance, "A Kirin acting like a hipster? Somepony inform the Equestria Daily newspaper immediately!" she commented in a light-hearted, sardonic tone.

"Hey now," replied Canis indignantly, "I am not a—"

"Scarf and fedora," interjected Rarity pointedly.

"...hipster," finished Canis lamely, before turning away with a blushing face, her wolf paws twirling the ends of her scarf distractedly.

Smiling a small, smarmy smile at her little brush off, Rarity turned back toward Rhea, "Now Rhea, there is no need for you to wear a darker dress. The yellow one you're wearing now matches your eyes beautifully," a white, shimmering hoof raised Rhea's chin up, "which are just as beautiful, dear."

Under Rhea's yellow irises, her cheeks blushed red, "That's... that's nice of you to say," she replied, stammering, "but the yellow still contrasts with the rest of me."

"Which is a good thing," emphasized Rarity happily, "the contrast will help you stand out, which I'd say is the entire point of the coronation, besides..." a small, knowing glint appeared in Rarity's azure gaze, "contrast is in."

Duchess Rhea scrunched her eyebrows in thought, before looking back at the Mare of Generosity in confusion, "But... it isn't?"

Wearing a small, bright grin, Rarity's diamond horn lit up with magic; her horn's crystalline structure glimmering from the azure color, where then the silver tiara with the yellow gem settled onto Duchess Rhea's head to her sudden surprise, "On the day of your coronation," said Rarity smoothly, "it will be."

Yellow irises looked upwards at the tiara in surprise, and Duchess Rhea started instinctively pawing at the ground awkwardly, "Oh! Um... wow! Thank you, that's... very nice of you to say, but you know I'm not supposed to wear it before the coronation, right?"

"I won't tell if you won't," replied Rarity with a wink, before allowing her horn to light up with magic again and remove the tiara, "But I suppose you should get out of that dress. It's getting late and you'll need to wake up early if you want to catch the train to Canterlot on time. But first, do you remember your oath?"

"Of course," responded Rhea; closing her eyes, she then incited, "I, Rhea, Daughter of Luna, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Their Majesties of Equestria, according to law," she opened her eyes, "Not exactly the hardest oath to remember, you know? I'm more worried about the speech I'm going to give."

"Speech?" spoke up Canis questioningly, "I thought that the coronation didn't require a speech?"

"It—ugh—doesn't," grunted Rhea as she tried to delicately remove herself from the dress, "once the coronation of my peerage is finished and I'm granted my dukedom, I'll be heading toward my duchy where I'll go through an enthronement ceremony, which will end with me giving a speech to the assembled citizens of the territory."

"My, my, my, a duchy!" spoke up Rarity enthusiastically as she placed the tiara back into the glass cabinet, "I had no idea that little Rhea grew up to be such a leader. Tell me, where is this domain of yours that you'll be governing?"

"It's the Chimera Islands in the Eastern Sea," answered Rhea, finally slipping herself wholly out of her dress, "and don't worry, despite the name only one of the islands actually has a population of chimera on it. Which is mostly unsettled anyways."

Turning away from the small glass cabinet, Rarity levitated the yellow dress from off of the ground, "I would be more worried about the distance, darling," she informed in a distracted manner as she floated out a mannequin from another room to wrap the dress around, "the Chimera Islands are quite a ways away from Canterlot. It will make time spent with your family sparse."

Finally stepping off of the stand she had stood on for so long, Duchess Rhea set her eyes on the cackling fire of the burning hearth, "It's not as bad you think," she reassured, "I'm required to travel to Canterlot for a whole month once every year to discuss policy, and mother can always visit me in my dreams, so it's not like I'll never see them again."

The hearth's fire let out a particularly loud snap! as one of the logs crumbled.

"...I suppose that is true," responded Rarity neutrally, before turning to Canis with a smile, "and what about you, Canis? Are there any duchies in your future?"

Casually leaning against the couch looking bored, Canis let out a snort, "Yeah, no thanks. When I come of age, I'll just stick to gaining a seat in the House of Nobility as my right of dukedom. I saw the required test my mom gave Rhea when she was requesting sovereignty over the Chimera Islands, and I'd rather not have to memorize the name and location of every single plant, animal, and settlement in the territory on top of learning every significant pony, event, and any other little detail in the territory's history."

Rhea let out a painful groan not too dissimilar to a veteran moaning about old battle wounds, "Ugh! Don't forget about the three required essays," she moaned miserably, "one about the territory's current economic situation, another for its cultural traditions and attitudes, and finally one about my intentions and plans for the territory as its ruler. Each of which had to be about ten pages long."

"Ah, yes," said Rarity fondly, a faraway look in her eyes, "The Official Test of Requirement for the Royal Governance of Equestrian Territories, written and enacted by Princess Twilight Sparkle," she stated naturally before allowing a hint of humor into her tone, "and approved by Princess Celestia and Princess Luna after extensive editing—or as Rainbow Dash and Applejack called it: dumbing down—of the original test by the Council of Harmony."

Rhea stared up at Rarity, her jaw hanging slack, "Are... are you telling me that the test that I got was the dumbed down version?!" she asked, horror-stricken.

"We also lowered the percentage standard required for approval. It used to be ninety-eight percent; we lowered it to just eighty," replied Rarity casually before giving Rhea an eyes-closed, innocent smile, "You're welcome for that, by the way," she said sweetly.

"...Mother's Mane," Rhea muttered under her breath, "I was just four points away..."

"Anyways," continued Rarity, "the test has proven to be an excellent way of preventing the less... capable side of the nobility from abusing such power, as plenty of territories have done well by themselves without the added oversight of a noble lord," Rarity gave Rhea an inquisitive look, "which does want me to raise the question of why you believe that you should lay claim over these islands."

"It's because I can help," Rhea replied, "I love the Chimera Islands, have so since mom took me there for a family vacation. The islands are beautiful, the ponies there are welcoming, and they've got this awesome cave system that—um," she looks away, her face blushing in embarrassment, "...well, anyways the islands are also poor and suffering from some local shipping problems. As a duchess and the daughter of a princess I can transfer some of the royal funds to the local economy, not to mention promote local trade and—"

"Alright, alright, that's quite enough, dear," interrupted Rarity with a smile, "I can clearly see that you've got your heart in the right place, that's in no doubt," trotting past Rhea, Rarity gestured for her to follow, "but like I said before, it's getting late and you're going to need to look your best at your coronation, so go and get some well-deserved beauty sleep."

"Right, yes, have to sleep," said Rhea as she followed Rarity to the suite's door, "just... thank you so much for the dress, the tiara, and everything else on such short notice. You didn't have to do that, everything was already set up for the coronation, and you only just came back."

Opening the door for the duchess, Rarity let out a small laugh, "That's one way to put it," raising her hoof, she made an exaggerated motion of brushing her shimmering coat, "Why, I don't think I even had the time to brush off any remaining dust from that statuette replica of me before I heard of your coronation and decided that you simply must have the finest attire for the occasion. Speaking of which..." Rarity turned her head toward the longma guard, "Razor, did that art exhibit receive those donations I sent them?"

The maroon-scaled guard was not facing her, but instead directing his attention toward Thrift, who was currently brushing Opalescence's fur. "You're not doing it right," said the guard, "Your brushstrokes need to be longer and slower."

Thrift removed the hairbrush from the golden-pawed cat's fur and gave the guard an annoyed look, "Seriously?" he asked incredulously, accentuating his point by pointing the brush at the longma's lack of a mane, "I mean, seriously?"

On the couch next to them, Duchess Canis giggled into her paws.

The guard's answer to that was to give a roll of his draconic eyes before turning his attention to the Mare of Generosity and nodding once, "They did indeed, Lady Rarity, and they kept insisting that your arrival there was more than enough of a contribution, despite the loss of one of their marble statues."

"Yes, I suppose my dramatic return brought the exhibit plenty of attention," commented Rarity with a small laugh, "still, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't make an effort to compensate them for the loss of such exquisite art," she made a practically pompous motion of bobbing her glittering mane back before focusing back on Rhea, "and do not worry at all, darling, I'll make sure that your dress and tiara make it to Canterlot on time."

"What about you?" asked Rhea hopefully, "Will I see you at my coronation?"

Rarity paused and looked slightly away from the duchess, her beautiful face hidden behind a violet, glittering waterfall of mane, "...I have a summit to attend to at Twilight's castle with the rest of the girls," she finally replied regrettably, "it's an old tradition of ours where we all meet together in the Hall of Harmony after we... well, return."

"...Oh," muttered Rhea emptily, a frown forming on her muzzle.

A white, shimmering hoof tenderly raised the thestral's chin up and quickly cast off the frown, "Which I'm sure will be rescheduled when the rest of the girls are informed of your coronation," continued Rarity with a reassuring smile.

Duchess Rhea returned the smile, "Thank you, Rarity, you're too generous."

The Mare of Generosity let out soft chuckles, "Darling, I don't know the meaning of that phrase."

After saying their goodbyes, Rarity gently closed the door and returned back to the circle of furniture. She raised an eyebrow at the sight of the kirin still casually relaxing on the couch; a bottle of red liquor in her wolf paws, which most likely popped out from her personal pocket of space that were granted to all kirin by their Ancestral Father.

"Canis, you should follow your cousin's lead and get some rest," spoke Rarity casually as she trotted past the kirin, "you too will be in attendance of her coronation and I'm sure she wouldn't want you snoring through it."

Canis waved her off, "Don't worry, I'm a natural early-riser," she replied with a smirk, "besides, I'll be out of your mane soon enough. I just need to give you this," with that, she floated off of the couch with nary the aid of any wings and presented the bottle of wine to the Mare of Generosity, who bore a look of intrigue on her features as she grasped the bottle in her azure aura. Turning toward the floating kirin to express her befuddlement, she was instead surprised to find the young duchess presenting to her a sealed envelope that had popped into her paws from thin air.

When she wrapped the envelope into her aura, she took notice of the purple emblem of a dragon outline sealed onto the envelope's cover and allowed a cool smile to grow on her face.

"Why that big charmer," she acclaimed pleasantly, more to herself than to anypony in the room, before focusing back onto Canis with a quirky, knowing smile, "he got you to deliver this for me, didn't he?"

"Yeah," nodded Canis, "he woke up a little before me and Rhea went on this little excursion of ours and told me to hold onto that stuff for somepony important. Considering he only wakes up from that ten-year nap of his when all of you return, we assumed that it was for you. Not sure how he would know that you would be in this city in particular though."

"Oh, he has his ways," commented Rarity as she unsealed the envelope and took out the contained slip of paper, "let's just say that deep dreams take dragons far." The letter before her, her azure eyes shifted from side-to-side downwards as she read its contents, cooing out a heartwarming, "Aww," as she finished it.

"Ugh," groaned out Canis, "could you not do that whole talking vaguely and speaking in riddles thing that all you immortal, divine beings do? I've had to live my entire life surrounded by ponies that did that and quite frankly it's getting far too familiar for my tastes."

Glazing her eyes over Canis, Rarity only looked amused, "Really? Well, if my vague meanings are what typecast me as being simply divine," she released a short giggle at her pun, "then I see no reason to stop, especially when you've grown so used to them."

Canis rolled her red and green eyes exasperatedly, "Whatever," she replied dismissively before floating over to Rarity's shoulder with a smirk, "so what does the letter say?"

In the Mare of Generosity's magical aura, the letter folded closed before Canis had a chance to read it, "Please, Canis, it's rude to peek over one's shoulder like so. But if you simply must know, it is one of his lovely haikus," she informed.

"A haiku? I didn't know the big guy was so literary minded," commented the floating kirin.

"He was raised by Princess Twilight and lived most of his early life in a library, so yes, he is quite well-versed in the written word," replied Rarity, letting a mirthful smile grow on her muzzle, "which, of course, he's been using to woo me for centuries upon centuries to profound effect. Now, he's so prideful of his literary and lingual skills that I swear he takes my many suitors aside just to give them pointers on how to," with a clearing of the throat, she raised a foreleg up and held her head high in a dignified pose before continuing in an overly aristocratic tone, "court a cherished diamond like me properly."

"...Wow," exclaimed Canis, "his pampering must get pretty overbearing sometimes."

With the delivered bottle of wine in her magical grasp, the Mare of Generosity effortlessly uncorked it and brought it under her nose to better take in its delightful aroma, "...Hmm?" she responded distractedly with a sideways glance to Canis, "Ah, right. Overbearing, yes. Quite overbearing indeed..." she uttered noncommittally as she focused back on the opened bottle.

Which she then tilted over to allow the red liquor to pour out of it.

"Whoa! What are you doing?" asked a startled Canis, "You're going to make a mess on the floor."

But the red wine did no such thing as it never had the chance to even reach the suite's velvet floor. Instead it pooled in the middle of the air, captured as it was by the Mare of Generosity's azure aura. After awhile, Rarity receded the now half-filled bottle and brought up the collected sloshing mass of red liquid before her.

"Have some faith, Canis. I would never purposefully dirty up such a lavish room like this one," responded Rarity unpretentiously. Keeping her eyes focused on the floating liquid, she continued, "I'm only crafting a gift."

As the Mare of Generosity finished uttering those words did a glowing energy of white light traverse upwards and throughout her diamond horn, causing its crystalline material to glimmer brightly throughout the room. This arcane energy, radiating from dense power, wrapped around the captured liquor and enclosed it, where it then began to compress inward, forcing the liquid to condense in of itself. This went on for a few brief moments, before finally the white arcane power shrouded the red liquid entirely from sight.

Then, with a sudden flash, the glowing energy disappeared.

And in the Mare of Generosity's azure aura was a sparkling red ruby the size of a foal's hoof.

"There we are," affirmed Rarity, holding up the gem at eye level to give a casual examination, "I'm sure he'll love the taste of this sweetie. Marvelous work, don't you think?" she turned toward the trio of ponies, who each stared wide-eyed in silent awe at the unbelievable transmogrifying that had happened before them.

"Mmm, I shall take that as a 'yes,'" Rarity noted with a distinctively amused smile.

Canis floated up to Rarity, her eyes on the ruby, "May I?" she asked. At Rarity's nod, she took the newly-made ruby into her wolf paws, "Wow," she uttered, amazed as she felt up the gemstone, "and I thought my father could do some crazy stuff with his magic."

"Oh pshaw, Canis. Don't act so amazed," playfully waved off Rarity in a humble tone of only the most barest sense, "after all, all I did was just turn wine into crystal."

"The Mare of Generosity, ladies and gentlecolts," deadpanned Canis with a smirk, "truly a paragon of humility." Her lighthearted jab aside, Canis let the ruby return to Rarity's azure aura, "So..." she began semi-smoothly, "You and the Guardian, huh?"

Placing both the wine bottle and the wine ruby over onto the coffee table, Rarity glanced over to Canis with an eyebrow meticulously raised, "Yes, but it's not just 'him and I,' for either of us."

"Yes, yes, I'm aware of how it is with you spirits and gods. I mean, just look at my parents," accentuated Canis with a laugh, "they're not exactly the Love Princess and Sentinel equivalent of Canterlot that's for sure," she admitted with a chuckle, "that said, considering this whole 'romantic gift exchange' you've got going, you guys seem to hold a special place in each other's heart."

"Of course we do, dear, all of our lovers hold a special place in our hearts," casting her gaze away from the kirin, Rarity's smile was small and genuine, "though some do hold a bigger place than others," she said, before focusing back on Canis, "But anyways, this 'romantic gift exchange,' as you so eloquently put it, is actually a centuries-old tradition we share between us when I return with the rest of the girls."

"When you return, huh? So that's what? Once every sixty years?" asked Canis.

"Seventy, darling."

"Ah, right. The ten years in the afterlife thing," said Canis, before looking back at Rarity more attentively, "Speaking of which, I've been meaning to ask you about that. Why are you and the rest of the Mares of Harmony only around for some sixty years? Why not a more complete lifespan?"

"Because our time here is taken from the years of our original lives," answered Rarity casually.

"Wait," said Canis as she put her paws up in front of her, her expression alarmed, "you mean you guys were only alive for sixty years?"

"Hmm? Oh! Oh heavens no," quickly rectified Rarity, "we all reached the ripe old age of ninety before we passed on."

Canis stared blankly at Rarity. She opened her mouth, closed it, then opened it again, "Okay, you're going to have to help me with the math on that one."

Obliging, Rarity pointed a shimmering hoof upwards, "Ten years spent in Paradise," she pointed the hoof to the floor, "sixty years spent here," laying her hoof down, she bobbed her glittering mane behind her and struck a dramatic pose that showed off her form, "and twenty years spent on the body," she ended with a light chuckle, "because as much as we nostalgically look back on our foalhood, we would rather not have to go through puberty once again, let alone multiple times."

Canis let out a laugh, "As somepony who just finished that phase in her life, I can wholeheartedly say that I understand where you're coming from." Settling down from her laugh, Canis stretched out her limbs and let out a yawn, "Anyways, it's getting late, so I'll head to my own suite now and get some sleep."

"It was nice seeing you again, Canis" spoke Rarity who subtly gestured toward the longma guard to open the door for the kirin duchess, "you've grown into a fine, beautiful mare. And despite the hipster comment, I do think that your attire is quite fashionable."

Giving the guard a slight nod of thanks as she passed the door frame, Canis took a moment to paw at the scarf around her neck, "I'm not really wearing this for looks, but... thank you," she replied, a small blush adorning her cheeks, "See ya at the coronation."

"I will see you then," replied back Rarity, a charitable smile on her. With that said, the longma guard closed the door behind the duchess and Rarity trotted back to the circle of furniture, setting her eyes on the only other unicorn within the suite.

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