What Princesses Need
Part 6: Help
Twas a rare thing indeed to see the solar Princess Celestia running. She was a dainty thing, and she never really rushed anywhere. Teleported, sure, but the fact that she felt the need to run down a hall and burst into a room spoke volumes to her guards. “Twilight Sparkle!” she cried, slamming open the double doors and then snapping them shut behind her. The scene before her was a sad one. Twilight Sparkle shook like a leaf on a grand four-poster bed, and Shining Armor stood very near, stroking her back. “I came as soon as the messenger reached me.” She told the Captain, sweeping across the room and up onto the bed. Twilight wordlessly whimpered, turning and clinging to her, hiding under her great wingspan. Celestia could feel the poor mare shaking. “Tell me what happened.” She bade the guard Captain.
Shining Armor saluted, outlining very briefly what he’d seen. After stopping in Ponyville to look for Twilight and learning from Spike that she’d gone camping in the mountain’s former dragon lair. He went up the mountain and ran into the Lunar Stallions. After getting past them (rather easily), he’d found Princess Luna about to molest his sister in a cave at the summit. After rescuing Twilight and besting the Lunar Stallions again he’d teleported back with her in tow, finding an empty royal apartment and sending a squire to fetch the Princess.
“I was afraid of this. I thought perhaps Luna still had some control…” Celestia sighed, leaning under her wing to nicker and press her muzzle comfortingly into Twilight’s mane. The mare shivered, pressing up against the Princess like a frightened foal to her mother. “Twilight, it’s alright. You’re safe now.” She coo’d softly. “I won’t let anything bad happen to you,” she looked up at Shining. “And neither will your brother.”
Slowly, Twilight’s face emerged from behind her hooves and she gave them the most soft-eyed and pathetic look of overt fear either of them had ever seen. “I-I know,” she said in a small voice. “I-I’m safe here with you two.” She gave a small, heart-wrenching smile. Shining Armor came to the side of the bed, leaning and nuzzling her mane comfortingly. She smiled a little wider.
“Twilight, my sister Luna is very sick.” Celestia said in the most gentle, motherly manner she could. “I won’t make excuses for her darker half, but I must tell you that that is what you saw: her darker half.” She was stroking her student’s mane and back with her long muzzle to help her cool down. Twilight shivered a little under her wing. The Princess’ body, she’d known since she was a filly, was always much warmer than a normal pony’s. Probably since she was the goddess of the sun or something, she retained heat much better than everypony else. But, it was comforting.
“She was Nightmare Moon, then… then she wasn’t.” Twilight Sparkle said in a troubled way. At Celestia’s gentle prompting, she told them everything that had happened. “—And then Shining Armor showed up to rescue me. I-I should’ve been able to get away on my own…” she trailed off, sagging and very disappointed in yourself.
“Twilight,” said Celestia with a small and patient smile. “Do you truly think you could hide from a goddess?” the purple mare looked up at her, soft-eyed. “It’s very hard, I assure you.” She nuzzled her again to soothe her. “I should have gone myself, I sent Shining to serve as your bodyguard, not to rescue you from my sister.” She sighed softly. “I’m so sorry for what happened, my most faithful student.” She whispered quietly. Twilight Sparkle smiled in a small way, pressing up against Celestia and hiding under her wing like a filly. She felt safe there, where it was dark and very warm. The solar alicorn smiled quietly. Her poor faithful student… she could be so strong, but so frail at the same time, sometimes.
“I’m sure you two need to rest a bit, I’ll return to my duties.” Shining Armor volunteered when he saw the goddess and mare sharing a tender moment.
“Thank you, Captain.” Celestia smiled as he saluted.
“W-Wait!” Twilight called softly, poking her head out. She searched with her eyes to find the right thing to say. “Thank you, big brother.” She said, mewling a little. “I’d probably still be back there if not for you.” Shining Armor smiled encouragingly, then turned and left them alone. “What should we do now, Princess?” Twilight stuck her head out of the warm, safe spot under Celestia’s wing.
“I’m going to give my sister a good talking to.” Celestia frowned. “She won’t come near you anymore, Twilight, I promise. And if she does,” there was a mild, sterile-white flicker in the solar goddess’ eyes. A terrible, protective glitter that only lasted a split second. “Well… she won’t. Let’s leave it at that.” She smiled oh-so-gently, leaning and kissing the top of Twilight’s head. She knew she was a grown mare, but even simple gestures like that could do a world of good. Sure enough, Twilight Sparkle smiled again, a bit more genuinely.
The Next Day, After Luna Had Returned to the Palace…
“You put that down right now or as Celestia as my witness I will give you such a thrashing!” The ninety year-old mare, Dusty Tome, was beating a Lunar Stallion over the head with a rolled up newspaper. He and his comrades had commandeered an entire bookshelf and were bearing it away to some unknown corner of the Royal Library. WHY they’d decided to just pick up the entire shelf and move away with it, well, that was classified and none of the librarian’s business. She hadn’t bought that for a second. “Put! That! Down!” she shrieked shrilly.
All fifteen Lunar Stallions turned as one, “SHHHHH!” they said, taking the old mare very much off guard. She stopped, slapping a hoof over her mouth. She was being loud in her own library, how unprofessional was she?! She stood there, stunned and mortified at herself. Meanwhile, the Lunar Stallions got away with the entire bookshelf and she never saw where they went. She stood there, helpless, mouth agape. How was she ever going to explain this to anypony? Yeah, sorry that entire section is gone. Where did it go? I have no idea, a bunch of Lunar Stallions came in and took the whole thing.
The Lunar Stallions, moving as a group holding the heavy bookshelf, took the thing down a hall to a series of study rooms. Looking around, they checked that nopony was around. Knocking three times, they had the door opened and they shuttled the thing inside. Nightmare Moon sat at a very large, book-covered table. They stood the bookshelf up, books still entact in their rows and threw out their chests for praise. “Well done, my stallions.” Nightmare Moon said, poring over a thick tome and working her abacus. She peered at the prize over her half-moon glasses, pulling them off and standing. Reaching out to a random stallion, she rubbed his forehead and muzzle with one huge hoof. He murred a little, ooooh head rubs… the rest of them jittered jealously, but they’d done their sacred duty. “Let us see now…” she walked to the shelves and ran her hoof across the books. Plucking one, she flipped it open. “Dating the Modern Mare: Everything You Need to Know About Courting But Were Afraid to Ask.” She read off the long title. “Oddly specific…” she frowned, flipping through it. Apparently, the ‘modern mare’ meant ‘a mare with a job, perhaps a child, and an independent lifestyle’. Why, that was everything she liked about Twilight Sparkle! Well, she didn’t have a foal… and really the attraction was rather physical at the moment. But clearly her early era approach had been off-target. “In my time a Princess need merely show interest, and we would receive any lover we desired.” She told her Lunar Stallions, who chuckled and nodded encouragingly. She turned, book levitating in front of her, going back to the large table. She scribbled a few notes. “Bring me that copy of Cosmarepolitan.” She gestured vaguely, and a stallion brought it forth in his mouth. “Hrm, Twenty-five subtle hints to get her thinking about the bedroom. Perfect!” Nightmare Moon grinned with all her fangs, flipping to the article and scanning it. She mumbled the words while she focused, very serious face. “Melancholy!” she snapped, looking over at a specific Lunar Stallion. “Did thou find the book of romantic poetry we asked for?” she demanded. The stallion came forth, nodding and giving her the bright pink book. Nightmare Moon flipped it open and read a haiku aloud. “Teats are very nice. Creamy mounds beneath her dress. Smile, it’s cold today.” She cocked an eyebrow when the Lunar Stallions broke into uncontrollable laughter. The dark goddess threw the book across the room with a red-faced, embarrassed snarl. “We said romantic poetry, not bawdy poetry! If we are to seduce Twilight Sparkle, we must do it properly!” Melancholy nodded quickly, returning to the bookshelf they’d commandeered to find something more romantic. Nightmare Moon sat down, stroking her chin. Courting had become much more complicated than it used to be. Dowries did not exist anymore. Arranged marriages were rare and far between. Sex was all but taboo to even talk about aloud. Some ponies even insisted on waiting until marriage before losing their virginity. Admirable, but not what Nightmare Moon had in mind. In her time, ponies made love because it felt good, because the population was unstable and needed more foals, or simply on the whim of instinct. Now it was so… so complicated! She adored the beautiful Twilight Sparkle, but this was just a great big mess. How had society become so stuck up its own flank about something so simple? The dark goddess frowned deeply, resolved to learning the new customs of courting and seduction. Her forward mannerisms of interest had scared the purple mare away. This would need more tact.
“Do we need more, your Majesty?” Captain Stalwart Hide wanted to know.
“Yes.” Nightmare Moon nodded firmly. “Go. Commandeer the Sociology section.” She pointed towards the door, and the twenty-four stallions stampeded out of the room, eager to do her bidding. She smiled, shaking her head and flipping a few pages in her books.
“Sister.” A voice floated over her head, and Nightmare Moon looked up. “We must talk.” The look on her face was more than a little annoyed. It was outright angry. Princess Celestia swept into the room, shutting the door firmly behind her. “You traumatized my most faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.” She said accusingly.
“We merely showed a royal interest in her.” Nightmare Moon said snootily. Celestia’s frown deepened. “We shall revise our approach and try again.” She gestured to the dozens of books, magazines, and pamphlets laid out in front of her.
“No, you won’t.” Celestia said, opening her wings rather aggressively. “I forbid you.”
“Thou? Forbid ME?” Nightmare Moon stood from her chair so hard it toppled over backward. Celestia tensed for a moment, but no magical assault followed so she relaxed a hair. “First thou seals me away in the moon for a millennia, and now thou shalt tell me what mare I may or may not persue?!” she demanded, leaning forward with an angry hoof lifted.
“She is my protégé, and not for you to stake a Royal Claim on.” Celestia said rather angrily. She really was getting bent out of shape, her queen’s mask cracking into pieces to expose true anger. Nightmare Moon balked at her. “I’ll only warn you once, sister. It’s not appropriate, and clearly not wanted.”
“Not appropriate?” Nightmare snorted. “Do you not remember Starswirl, Tia?” she leaned and prodded Celestia’s chest with a hoof. A very real splash of pink touched the solar alicorn’s cheeks. “HE was your protégé and you certainly didn’t seem to mind him making you shriek like a springtime mare!”
“That was centuries ago!” Celestia said quickly, flushed and embarrassed. “Times have changed, and it is not accepted anymore. I FORBID you to touch Twilight Sparkle, ever again!” she leaned forward, scowling angrily. Her wings bannered out to their full span of aggressive posturing. Flecks of solar magic and raw, fiery embers snowflake’d from them. Nightmare was reminded very much of an angry peacock.
Nightmare Moon leaned into her face, smiling sweetly with all her fangs. “Nnnnnn-o’h.” she said smartly, batting her eyelashes.
Celestia frowned even more deeply, unused to feeling such anger. She shuddered slightly. “The moon will seem too kind, sister.” She whispered dangerously.
“Threaten us not with thy lies, sister.” Nightmare Moon scowled at her. “Thou art not powerful enough to do such a thing anymore. Sitting on a cushy throne for a thousand years of peace has made thee soft and weaker, unable to simply overpower me as you once could with the Elements of Harmony.” She went and sat down hard at the table again, surrounded by her books. “Tell you what, Celestia.” She put her hooves together in a business-like way. “We shalt make thee a deal.”
“What?” Celestia said with a frown, already disliking that her sister was steering the argument. She couldn’t exactly burst into holy fire and strike her sister down. She was only half evil, and Luna would not understand.
“I shalt continue my efforts to seduce Twilight Sparkle,” she paused and held up her hoof before Celestia could protest. “But! I shalt not physically or magically touch her. At all. Nor my Lunar Stallions.” She said. “It is clear such speed to a physical relationship is frowned upon in this era.” She gestured to the wide array of literature.
Celestia’s eyes narrowed. It wasn’t fair to simply strike down Nightmare Moon. Luna was still in there, and she didn’t understand what was happening. The solar Princess’ thoughts snapped back to Dr. Psyche. Perhaps she could fight this battle another way… “And in return, you will do something for me.” There was a bargain to be struck here, and she would have to be very, very careful about all this. Perhaps something could be salvaged.
“What?” said Nightmare Moon acidly, narrowing her eyes back at her sister.
“Luna will go to see Dr. Psyche on a regular basis, and you will cooperate.” Celestia said.
There was a long silence and the alicorns stared at each other, weighing their options. Nightmare Moon stroked her chin in thought, slowly rising from the table and going to her sister. There was ground to be gained here. Luna could lay on a couch and play the woe-is-me damaged princess, meanwhile Nightmare could devise more cunning plans for the seduction of Twilight Sparkle. After all, if the purple mare came to embrace her, the no-touching deal would be off. A wry and confident smile crossed the dark goddess’ muzzle. “Very well. Deal.” She lifted a hoof. Sun and Moon shook hooves. Celestia was very, very unhappy with all of this, but it was the best she could do at the moment without leveling Canterlot in a flash of fire and alicorn fury. She hated-- hated so much to use Twilight Sparkle like such a chess piece.
Then the Lunar Stallions crashed into the room with an entire bookshelf full of sociology books, spilling them across the floor. “Get her off me! Halp!” Melancholy cried, straddled by the angry old librarian while she beat his face over and over with a rolled up newspaper. "Aaah!"
End of Part 6