“I must say, Twilight, this tea is delicious!” Rarity’s horn sparkled, an answering sparkle glowing around the teacup she held to her lips. “What is it called?”
Twilight looked up from her book at the rest of the table. Her mouth opened to speak, but the words caught in her throat. All of her friends were there with her at Applejack’s dining room, sharing the dusky orange pony’s hearty cooking. It was the Harvest Feast: a night of thanksgiving for the blessings of the summer and a prayer to the Sisters Celestial. Applejack had insisted that they all spend it at her house to celebrate a year of friendship.
She closed her jaw and smiled at them. “It’s a blend I made while I was studying in Canterlot. It’s not quite the same, since that was supposed to keep me up all night, but I think I’ve kept the flavor just right.”
“You simply must tell me whe-urrp.” Rarity put a hoof to her mouth, eyes wide in surprise. “Oh my, pardon me. How unladylike!”
Applejack looked up from the pie she had been sectioning and preparing to serve. “Why Rarity, I didn’t know you had it in ya. I thought you’d be too girly-girl to even be able to burp.” She tilted her hat back and smirked.
Rarity’s cheeks colored. “I’ve already apologized for the breach of conduct! There’s no need to rub it in.”
Applejack nudged her with an elbow and grinned wider. “Oh I weren’t rubbin’ it in. I was gonna say if’n you’re gonna burp, at least take some pride in it, like me! I’ll show ya.” She sucked down a few short breaths, then opened her mouth and let out a satisfying belch. “*Byeeerroup* There. Y’see! That’s how ya get it done.”
“EWWW! Applejack that is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard from you!” Rarity covered her nose with a hoof. “And point away from me when you do that!”
Rainbow’s head shot between the two ponies. “Ha! You call that a burp!” She wrapped both forelegs around the necks of her friends and hugged them close. “You haven’t heard a burp until you’ve heard one of mine!”
“I haven’t and don’t want to, Rainbow! You’re both being disgusting! Get away from me!” Rarity shoved at the two.
“Too late! I’m gonna show you ladies how it’s really done!” Rainbow took a step backward and stood squarely on all four hooves, her nose flaring as she inhaled deeply. She opened her mouth and leaned forward, straining. Her stomach gurgled, but all that came out was a tiny squeaker. “*uhp* …huh?”
Rarity tittered into the back of her hoof. “Is that all? Even I have done better than that, though never on purpose. Could it be that there’s something The Dash isn’t good at?”
Rainbow glared at her friends and flopped on her haunches, arms crossed. “Hmph. So what? I’ve done way better ones. Just not here. And now you’re never gonna hear ‘em, so there!”
Pinkie leaped on her friend’s back and hugged her around the neck. “Oh Dashie! There’s no need to be mad! I’m no good at burping either!”
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Y’know, I somehow doubt that. As much as you put away, I can’t believe you ain’t let a gut-rumbler or two go.”
Pinkie Pie shook her head and hugged Rainbow tighter, who responded by sulking even harder. “Nope! I’ll show you.” She stood up, her hooves against her friend’s shoulder, and gulped back a deep breath. Her rear end spoke first, rumbling before she could even open her mouth. *tooooot* Her tail rustled as the wind broke through it.
Rainbow yelped and shrugged out from under Pinkie, holding her nose. “Oh my gosh! Pinkie! You did it right on me!”
Rarity and Applejack leaned against each other and laughed helplessly at them, while Pinkie turned a brilliant shade of scarlet. “I-I’m sorry, Dashie, I told you I’m no good at burping.” She shrunk down into her shoulders and hugged her mane around her head.
Fluttershy nuzzled into Pinkie’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Pinkie Pie. It doesn’t smell that bad. And I’m no good at it, either. I tried, once, and nothing could come out!” She leaned into Pinkie’s side and smiled. “So don’t feel bad.”
Pinkie blinked at her friend. “Were you standing behind me when I… ‘went off’?”
“Well… yes. But it’s okay, I forgive you. My mouth wasn’t open or anything this time.”
Rainbow bit her lip to keep from laughing. “Oh man. I almost feel bad for ya, Flutters.”
Pinkie tugged her mane down over her beaming red face. Applejack and Rarity were holding each other now, gasping desperately for air in between helpless guffaws.
“It’s okay. If you’ve been around animals as long as I have, you get hit with worse things. One time, I was helping a moose with a tummy bug and was absolutely covered in—“
“FLUTTERSHY!” Rainbow clapped her hooves over her ears. “Too much information, girl!”
Twilight sat back and watched her friends with a quiet smile. A year or so ago she would never have believed she would be in a place like this. Good friends surrounding her with good food and wonderful times, even if it was just something as silly as being gross around each other and teasing. She’d never have been able to do this in the Palace, especially not with Princess Luna’s fragile nerves. She wondered idly; what would Princess Luna sound like when she burped?
“Twilight!” A hoof shook her.
“Huh? What? What’s going on?” She blinked and looked around. All of her friends were looking expectantly at her. Rainbow Dash was shaking her.
“I was sayin’ that yer the only challenger to mah throne, now.” Applejack was smirking at her, hoofs behind her head. “I’m th’pony t’beat if’n you want the crown of ‘Finest Eructator This Side of Canterlot’. Rarity tried, but can’t muster nothin’ more than a lady-like burp, an’ Rainbow is even worse than Fluttershy. Pinkie can’t stop crop-dustin’ her tail everytime she tries, so yer the last one.” She leaned forward onto an elbow and tilted her hat forward, chin held high in challenge. “So. Think you’ve got what it takes t’beat me?”
Twilight swallowed. “Erm, I couldn’t, really. It’d be too impolite of me.”
“Oh come, darling. If both Fluttershy and I can summon up the courage to drop our decorum for an evening, then I’m certain you can, too. You have to try, or else Applejack will be unbearable!” Rarity folded her hooves together. “Pleeeaaaase? For moi?”
“Yeah, come on, Twilight! I bet you’ve got a set of pipes that’d knock the block off of a manticore!” Rainbow grabbed Twilight around the shoulders and grinned. “Now stop being a ‘fraidypony and get to it!”
Twilight took another quick look around and sighed. “Alright. But if it gets too loud, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fluttershy, I’d recommend getting some earplugs for everyone.” She shrugged her friend off and stepped into the middle of the dining room, head down and mouth open.
Applejack and Rainbow smirked at eachother. “This is gonna be good. Can’t wait t’see what a little bitty pony like yerself is capable of.”
Twilight ignored her and simply took a great gulp of air, then another, and a third. Her stomach gurgled and growled loud enough to drown out Pinkie’s giggling. The pink pony quieted when she heard the unholy noise rumbling in her friend’s gut.
“Oh my. She’s going for it!” Rarity’s eyes widened as she watched her friend.
Twilight’s eyes bulged and reddened as she took another breath through bared teeth. Her legs shook as she settled her rear on the floor and readied herself.
“Twilight? You okay over there? You look like you’re going to hurt yourself.” Rainbow reached out to nudge her.
Applejack’s eyes widened. “Oh Dear Celestia. Ah think she’s gonna pop a vessel!” She rushed forward to help her friend. “Twilight! Stop! Yer gonna hurt yerse--”
Finally, it was ready. Twilight’s lips quirked up in a grin, then opened wide.
“*O BEEAAAUT-IFUL, FOR SPAAAACIOUS SKIES, FOR AM-BER WAAAAAAVES OF GRAAAAAAAAAAIN. FOR PURRRRPLE MOOOUUUNTAIIIIN’S MAAAAJESTY, ABOVE THE FRUUIII-TEEEED PLAAAAAAAAIN!*”
Twilight put a hoof to her chest as she sang, lips flapping around the force of the air being expelled.
“*E-QUEEEEESTRIA! E-QUEEEEESTRIA! SUN SHED YOUR LIGHT ON THEEEEEEE. AND CROOOOOWN THY GOOOOOOD, WITH SIIIIIIS-TERHOOD, FOR EV-ER-Y-POOOONYYYYYYYEEAAAAAHRRRRUUUUHPUHP. BUR-LAP.*”
She sat back and gasped, patting her chest with her hoof, then looked up at her friends sheepishly. “I guess this means I win?”
The table had been completely overturned by the force of her gastric blast, scattered plates and ponies piled in a heap just beyond it. Rarity was the first to recover, and quickly extricated herself from the pony-pile. She stood shakily, then fell back on her haunches and stared wide-eyed at her friend. “...my ...word... Twilight, that was... the most utterly repulsive thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Applejack and Pinkie tumbled out of the pile a moment later. Applejack’s hat was missing, and her mane had been blown back away from her face, bits of food stuck to it. “T-Twilight... That...”
“Whoo!” Pinkie threw her forelegs around her friend’s neck and hugged her tight. “That was awesome, Twilight!”
Fluttershy’s hooves wrapped around Twilight’s and lifted it high over her head. “The winner, and your new champion burper,” she said with a giggle. “Twilight Sparkle! Whoooo~” She joined Pinkie in hugging Twilight a moment later.
Rarity shook her head and helped Rainbow to her hooves. “Twilight, where ever did you learn such a marvellously disgusting skill? You can’t have used magic, or I’d have felt it.”
Twilight blushed brightly and leaned into the hugpile. “Well, Spike had to have a practice partner when he was growing up, so I had to teach him.”
“Well, Twi. I have ta take my hat off to ya. That was the finest display of gastric expulsion Ah’ve ever heard anywhere.” Applejack bowed low. “Ah surrender, O Queen of Gas.”
Rainbow shook her head and ran a hoof over her mane to straighten it. “But you never did say where you learned it from. I don’t think somepony’d ever write a book on burping.”
Twilight shrugged. “Where I learned nearly everything else in Canterlot.”
Rarity goggled. “You can’t mean...”
Twilight smirked. “Yep.”
In the highest room of the tallest tower of Canterlot Castle, Princess Celestia’s window exploded outward, sending shards of glass tinkling out into the night.