It was early in the evening, and the family was departing from the Ponyville Cafe after a delicious meal of hash browns and daffodils. It was surprisingly filling for everypony and their Dragon. Their stomachs felt like balloons, so much so that Cadence was worried if her figure had changed. It wasn't until they reached the inside of Golden Oak Library that someone finally spoke up about it.
"Man, I'm stuffed!" Spike exclaimed.
"I never knew small town food could be that delicious!" Shining commented.
"Oh, you haven't even tried their grass pancakes," Twilight said.
"I just hope I didn't get fat from eating all that," Cadence said.
Shining scoffed. "Dear, quit worrying about that. You look as slender as Luna. Besides, even a dinner as big as that one won't cause somepony to gain too much weight."
The pink Alicorn blushed blushed at the "slender" compliment.
"But it has been known to cause other problems," Twilight added.
"Yeah, like-" Spike started to say, but couldn't finish because he suddenly released one of his signature fire belches.
The flame inadvertently shot at Shining, but he blocked it with a smaller version of his shield spell. Nothing was scorched, thankfully, but Spike still received a glaring eye from his boss.
"Spike, I told you to be careful!" she scolded.
"Sorry," the Dragon apologized. "I've been holding that in ever since the main course."
Twilight's scorning face disappeared as she held a forehoof on her stomach. "Now that you mention it, I've been feeling kinda queezy too."
She suddenly felt relief as the pain in her belly moved forwards through her throat and out of her mouth.
The Unicorn quickly pressed her hooves over her lips as her cheeks glowed pink. Twilight had never burped when she meant to before, not even in front of her closest friends. She's always had trouble with it in the past, and this little slip up caused everybody else in the room to burst out in laughter.
"Nice one Twilight!" Spike laughed.
"I haven't heard you belch like that since you were really tiny!" Cadence laughed.
"Excuse me," Twilight apologized, still blushing.
Everypony and Spike had exhausted out their laughter after just a few seconds. The two eldest of the group saw the embarrassment on Twilight's face, and Shining decided to comfort her.
"Come on, Twiley, it's nothing to be ashamed of," he said. "Cadence and I used to do that all the time."
Twilight's expression changed to one of surprise, with an arched eyebrow and a half-open frown.
"Huh?" she said.
"In fact," Shining continued, "we even had contests together."
"I taught him how to burp on command myself," Cadence added. "He ended up winning when it came to loudness, though."
Both Twilight and Spike were speechless. The very idea of royals teaching somepony how to do something as crude as belching was new to them, even if they had seen the other Princesses do other crude things. An example would be catching Celestia sneaking cake slices every now and then. What really caught Twilight and Spike off guard was that their two older siblings apparently decided to do a demonstration of their prowess, with Shining going first.
Shining's belch was robust, manly, and came out all at once. It seemed his wife was right about the loudness.
Cadence's belch was deep and had a flow to it, or rather was controlled a little bit more than her husband's.
"Good ones," Spike said, still confused.
"Wait," Twilight raised her hoof, "You two have been having burping contests ever since you first met?"
"You're shocked, aren't you?" Shining Armor asked. "I was too, when I found out that a Princess knew how to burp like a pig."
"Hey, Celestia was the one who taught me!" Cadence shouted, blushing as much as Twilight was.
"Celestia did?!" Twilight's dumbfoundedness reached it's zenith. Spike, however, now only felt interest.
"Cool!" he exclaimed. "Can you show me too, Cadence? I've been wanting to improve my belching skills for a long time now."
The Princess still blushed, but for a different reason this time. She raised her eyebrow at the little Dragon while her husband and her sister shared the same expression.
"Really?" she asked. "You want me to teach you?"
"Yeah," Spike replied. "I wanna learn how to make them longer, like you just did."
Cadence didn't know what to say. She never thought she would follow in her Aunt's footsteps by having a student of her own, even if it was just for something fun. After a few seconds, Cadence gave a final "okay" and Spike happily came over. Before she could say anything else, Twilight spoke up.
"Wait! Shining, can you teach me how to burp like you did?"
Once again, everypony and the one Dragon went back to their raised eyebrows, only this time with wider eyes. Shining hadn't been this surprised since he learned of Cadence's burping ability. In all the time he knew her, Twilight had never once been good at burping on her own, nor did she seem interested in it.
All he could make out in response was a bunch of stutters that ended with a real word. "I...uh...you...why?"
Twilight expected as much of a reaction from him. Truthfully, it was very awkward for her to ask for something like that. Nevertheless, she had her reason.
"I know it seems weird," Twilight explained, "but a while back, I somehow got into a burping contest with my friends. When it was my turn, I couldn't get anything to come out until after everypony else had gone. I ended up winning by belching loud enough to wake the dead, even though I never felt it in me. If that's something I can do without trying, then I wanna learn how to control it to see what it's capable of."
"So in other words, you're just curious?" Shining assessed.
His little sister nodded and continued, "Yeah, but if me and Spike are gonna learn how to burp on command, shouldn't we go somewhere where Spike's breath won't burn something?"
Spike put his index claw on his chin, considering what Twilight said. Being a Dragon, making a belch of his intended caliber in a tree filled with books was not a good idea.
"You're right," he said, "it'd be better if we did it in an open area, like the fields on the outskirts of town."
"That'll work," Cadence commented, before gasping. "Hey! I just had an idea! Why don't we have a contest after we finish? Twilight, since Shining's going to teach you how to belch loudly, why don't you see if you can outdo him?"
Twilight had something of a grimace across her cheeks. She wasn't expecting a test for a lesson that wasn't study-related.
"Hey, don't worry, Twiley," Shining Armor said, putting his hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "With me teaching you, you'll be burping like a volcano in no time!"
"Thanks," Twilight sighed. "I think I wanna stay in here and practice, if that's alright with you guys."
"Suit yourself," Spike said. "I don't really wanna be heard by other Ponies either."
Twilight smiled as Spike guessed her fear spot on. Cadence opened the door with her magic and let her scaly pupil pass. She then shut the door and allowed Spike a seat on her back for the flight to the Ponyville fields, where it was nice and quiet. Thankfully, it was now nighttime, so most Ponies were asleep in their homes, and those who weren't, Cadence made sure to avoid.
Pretty soon, the duo landed in the middle of a flat-looking hill. Spike hopped down from Cadence's back and felt the soft cool grass between his foot claws, while the latter partner stretched her wings back and forth, feeling good to have unfolded them and flown after a long while of staying on the ground.
"Oh, it feels so good to be flying again!" she exclaimed.
The Alicorn turned and found her little companion looking at her, smiling and bouncing on his toes anxiously.
"Can we start now?" he asked.
Cadence smiled back and said, "Of course. Sit down, and I'll tell you how to belch your heart out!"
Spike did as she said and waited eagerly for her explanation.
Shining Armor looked down on Twilight as he would one of the trainees at the Royal Guard. Twilight responded with a look of a student who had just been caught doing something inappropriate in class. From the way he was staring at her, she could swear that Shining meant business, and his expression then bore a smile.
"So, li'l sis, you think you have what it takes to be a belcher like me or Cadence?"
The poor girl was silent for a moment, thinking of an answer, and all she could say was "I can try".
"Oh, you won't be 'trying' when you're under my guidance," Shining rebutted, sending Twilight back in her seat. "You'll have to do if you want to beat me."
"Okay," his pupil said, before doing a salute motion. "I will do my best, sir!"
Seeing her gesture made Shining lose his serious expression and regain the expression that Twilight was familiar with, that of a brotherly figure. He giggled through his nose, seeing his sister act the way she did when they were young, pretending to be a guard while he pretended to be a captain. Twilight also started to giggle, getting the joke her brother was putting on.
"Seriously, though," Shining warned. "Doing this stuff takes lots of practice. Don't be disappointed if you don't beat me tonight."
"Shining," Twilight said. "I was told that same sentence by Princess Celestia many times. If me or Spike lose, we'll take it."
"Good, let's begin."