“And that concludes our lesson on the dietary habits of ogres,” Princess Celestia said, smiling as she closed the book.
Twilight shivered in her seat. It had been many years since she brought Smarty Pants to one of Princess Celestia’s private sessions, and she wished in that moment that she had never dropped the habit.
The princess chuckled and set the book down on her desk. “Of course, this is not likely to ever be relevant. Ogres live very far from Equestria.”
“R-right,” Twilight said, a strained grin spreading across her face as she chuckled.
“Is something the matter, Twilight?” Princess Celestia asked.
“Well, I’ve just been thinking,” Twilight said, rubbing one of her hooves against the carpet idly. “You keep teaching me about all these… creatures. And all of them ‘live very far away.’ But I just worry sometimes. I feel like there are so many things right on our doorstep that could come in and destroy us any time.”
She blushed and looked down at the floor, feeling like a foal for admitting her fear to the princess. But she only smiled back at Twilight with that same compassionate expression as always.
“I’ve met an ogre once, you know,” Princess Celestia said.
Twilight’s eyes were wide as she stared back at the princess. “W-what? Really?!”
Celestia nodded. “It came out of the Everfree Forest.”
Twilight leapt up to her feet and leaned in closer. “There are ogres in the Everfree Forest?! You said they lived far away!”
Celestia laughed and shook her head. “The forest is a nexus in spacial anomalies. Much of the time, creatures that emerge from it actually came from elsewhere and were warped there by a variety of means.”
With a heavy sigh Twilight sat back down, blushing again at her outburst.
“When the ogre suddenly emerged from the Forest it terrified the ponies of Ponyville, who were occupied by wrapping up winter at the time,” the princess said, continuing her story. She looked down at Twilight. “You know of Ponyville, right?”
Twilight’s face brightened and she nodded. “Yes! Their main export is apples, and it was founded in the year-“
“Yes, Twilight,” Celestia interrupted, smiling. “In any case, I was informed and I flew down myself to deal with the ‘threat.’ She was a towering thing, at least twice my height, and likely several times my mass. But when I arrived I found that the ogre was mostly confused. She didn’t know how she arrived in the forest and didn’t know where she was.”
Twilight nodded, and Celestia continued. “I explained to her that she was in Equestria, but she had never heard of it by that name. So I answered all the questions she had about ponies, our land, and myself.”
Twilight was suddenly in the strange position of being jealous of an ogre. She couldn’t help wondering what questions she had asked of Celestia, and what answers she received.
“She eventually asked what everypony was doing, and I explained that they were cleaning up winter to prepare for spring,” Celestia said. “And she suddenly had a look of awe and horror on her face.”
“Awe? Horror?” Twilight asked, tilting her head.
Princess Celestia chuckled and nodded. “Though she had never seen one, she knew what ponies were. She had heard stories of us, in rumor and legend, and of how we manage the weather and seasons. In her part of their world they have a name for us. Do you know what it is?”
Twilight shook her head.
“The Little Gods,” Celestia said.
“G-gods?!” Twilight asked, staring at the princess with her jaw hanging open. A moment later she closed it and leaned back, trying to keep herself composed before her teacher.
Celestia’s smile got just slightly wider and she nodded. “She pleaded with me for my forgiveness that she trespassed upon Paradise, and promised that she would depart from Equestria as quickly as possible. I offered her an escort and a ship to sail her back to her homeland in exchange for getting some time to spend with her to talk, so I could learn about her people.”
Then Celestia patted the book in front of her with her hoof and for a moment Twilight’s jaw dropped again. She started wondering how many of these books were written by the princess herself.
“So I hope you won’t worry too much, Twilight,” Celestia said. “Equestria is in no danger. And if it ever is, we have a means to defend ourselves.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Really? And what’s that?”
Princess Celestia stared at Twilight for a moment, and for a moment Twilight thought her perpetual smile softened.
“We’ll talk about that another time.”
Norse Pony’s comments: Oh jeez, I really liked this. The worldbuilding here makes me all tingly. I love the idea of the Everfree as a nexus, because that opens it up as a handy narrative device to bring anything you like into Ponyville. And I especially love the idea that the ponies’ weather management echoes out over the world and is perceptible to creatures everywhere.
The ending lines were really solid, leveraging what the reader knows to stir emotion while still having an air of mystery.