Luna versus Communication
By Andrew J. Talon
- - - - - - - -
The early morning was cool and beautiful, as Celestia’s sun slowly rose up over Equestria. Luna, having just finished setting the moon, was at the kitchen table in Sundance’s apartment and had buried the surface in books and manuscripts. Wearing her glasses she scribbled her way through several journals, her abacus clicking away happily. With another sip of tea, Luna felt herself at total and complete peace.
Sundance came into the kitchen, not so much trotting as dragging herself to the table. She blinked at the books and journals and looked up slowly at Luna through a matted mane.
“I’m starting to wonder if I ever had a table,” She mumbled.
“I could bring in a new desk if you wanted,” Luna said. Sundance shook her head.
“Nah... I don’t have that much room,” Sundance said. She dragged herself over to the refrigerator and opened it, rummaging around. She closed her eyes and took the milk in hoof. She then turned it up and drank it.
“Gmmph?! PFFWAH!” She spat it out. “Wha-What’s with...” She looked over at Luna. “Weren’t you supposed to get new milk... Princess Luna?” She added in a more polite tone.
Luna winced. “Oh... Um... Sorry, I must have lost track of time.”
What was it this time? Her mind asked tiredly. Out loud, and in a far more polite tone: “You did?”
Luna coughed. “Well, um...”
“Yes? What?” Sundance asked intently, trotting up to her side. Luna flushed, and gingerly held up one of her books.
“...’Zoning Regulations?’” Sundance asked in disbelief. Luna flushed.
“Well, there’s some considerable dispute currently in Fillydelphia over reconstruction following the Parasprite plague, so I was trying to understand the roots of the council’s problems... And then I needed to look at the local history, the local politics, the construction histories...”
“... So you’re telling me this entire mess is just a single issue?” Sundance asked. Luna sighed. “Not that that’s a big problem,” Sundance immediately said.
“I got a bit carried away...” Luna smiled. “But it’s so interesting! I mean, all these rules, all these fascinating overlapping laws with laws with compromises...” Luna sighed happily. “It’s like archaeology through books...”
Sundance spotted a letter in the pile marked Sweet Apple Farms, right on top of a book on truth potions. She eyed it and smirked a bit, but at Luna’s look she resumed her placid expression.
“From Big Macintosh?” She guessed. “I mean, it’s none of my business but...”
“We have exchanged letters,” Luna explained. “He is suffering from an injury and his sister must see to the farm for the time being. Their harvest is coming up soon.”
That’s not all that’s coming up soon, Sundance thought, the image of the elegant Grand Galloping Gala already playing out in her mind. Luna had been so strange over the past few weeks she hadn’t been able to bring the subject up.
She had wished about it but... Uh oh.
“Um... Have you been listening in to any wishes lately? Just... Just out of curiosity,” Sundance asked.
“Well, since that night I’ve tried to avoid listening in on you two,” Luna admitted. “I-I don’t want to embarrass you...”
“You didn’t-” Sundance began automatically, but at Luna’s look she said instead, “yes, yes you did.”
“I am sorry about that,” Luna said. “As well as embarrassing Hoyden.” Sundance snorted.
“He does that himself,” she muttered. Luna cocked her head. Sundance flushed. “Ah, sorry. I mean that in a different way... Actually, it’s kind of his job.”
“His job?” Luna asked. “I have not inquired into what he does for a living. I will admit, his cutie mark is very strange... A skull and a pair of crutches? Does it aid in his vocation?”
- - - - - - - -
“Ready Hoyden?” Asked his boss. Hoyden grinned and pulled his goggles down.
“All right... LET ‘ER RIP!” Shouted the boss pony. “PULL!”
The trebuchet was released and Hoyden went flying as the massive ballistic launcher threw him into the air. “YEE HAAAAAAAA!”
“Boss, I gotta ask,” his assistant began. “Why do you insist on testing all these things on Earth ponies? Why not pegasi?”
“Why?” The boss asked. Hoyden pulled the ripcord on his parachute and descended rapidly. He landed in the nearby lake with a terrific splash. “Because that would take all the fun out of testing the safety gear,” he said with a grin. “HOYDEN! YOU STILL ALIVE?!”
“Pfft!” Hoyden said as he surfaced. He waved his hooves in acknowledgement. The boss grinned. The assistant checked “ALIVE” on his clipboard.
“GOOD! Let’s move onto the rocket car!”
- - - - - - - - -
“... Yes. Yes it does,” Sundance grumbles. Helps him to get himself killed... She saw Luna looking and smiled. “But you know, from now on it’s okay to talk about star wishes... Just not in public, all right?”
Luna nodded. “All right... Then I would like to ask a question.”
“Well, certainly Princess Luna,” Sundance said.
“You complain about him a great deal, yet you continue to date and wish for his well being,” Luna mused. “You also struggle for dominance actively while he is more passive about it. It’s very fascinating to observe.”
“Um, yes, very,” Sundance mumbled, wondering where Luna was going with this. At Luna’s look, she smiled back. Luna frowned.
“Is something wrong?”
“No! No, nothing at all,” Sundance said.
“Are you sure? Because if there’s anything I can do to make things easier, you just have to ask,” Luna said. Sundance shook her head.
“No! No, everything’s fine.”
Luna frowned. “I see... Well, just so you know, I’m going to do something that will hopefully make things easier on both of us.”
“Easier in what way?” Sundance asked. Luna smiled.
“Easier for us both to be honest with each other...”
“Your Majesty?” Sundance asked. Luna shook her head.
“It will be fine... I think it’s time we both try to be more genuine with each other. And there are many ways to make sure we have honest reactions... Right?” She asked with a smile.
“Um... Sure,” Sundance smiled back, but her eyes drifted to the hallway where the recently repaired holes left by the alarm clock were. The differently colored plaster stood out in the early morning light.
- - - - - - -
“I’m telling you Hoyden, she’s been acting really weird ever since that night,” Sundance said with a sigh, staring at her daisy sandwich on the cafe table before her. Hoyden was eating his spicy oats on the other side, chewing thoughtfully before answering.
“Well, with her it’s kind of hard to tell,” he pointed out. He held up his hooves defensively as Sundance shot him a look. “I’m just saying!”
Sundance dropped the glare, and adopted an expression of resignation. “Yeah... I just thought that with the meteor shower and Big Mac we’d kind of, maybe, hit it off somewhat. Then she goes back to hiding behind her books and treating her abacus like her baby.”
“Oh come on, I’m sure it’s not that-”
“She got it a little hat and it’s own little bed, and I saw her tucking it in with a bedtime story,” Sundance said flatly. Hoyden’s jaw dropped. He covered his mouth with his hooves to contain his laughter.
“It’s not that funny,” Sundance mumbled. She sighed and bit into her sandwich. “I don’t know Hoyden... It’s just that, I thought we were making progress since that night but for the past few weeks she’s just...”
“Well, she was in the moon for a thousand years,” Hoyden pointed out. “And lived that way for a long, long time before.” He added more hot sauce to his oats, and held the bottle above the table so that in the mid-day sun would cast no shadow. “I had enough trouble breaking the habit of drinking the milk from the bottle.”
“You haven’t broken the habit,” Sundance said with a smile. Hoyden nodded.
“Well, um, there you go,” he said. “I’m more interested in this ‘being more honest’’ thing though. What do you think she’s going to do?”
“I don’t know,” Sundance said. “I mean... I don’t think she’ll do anything particularly big. Right? She’s been doing a lot of potions and research in the last week...”
“Yeah, but you know her Sundance,” Hoyden emphasized, leaning over the table and looking into her eyes. “What if she reads a... A filly mag and decides to hang out with the wrong crowd?”
“Princess Luna I-Huh?” Sundance stopped at the door to the kitchen. Luna looked up with a huff, wearing tight black leather and heavy makeup. Around the table were several other oddly-dressed ponies.
“It’s Selly, thank you,” she sniffed. “Selly the Barbarian Queen! My motorcycle sword will destroy the evil Hippies with a single blow!” With that pronouncement, she held up a pair of dice and threw them onto the table.
“I don’t believe it! Perfect twenty!” A pony wearing a cloak and a bone-like mask gasped behind a large book and a series of notes. “This is unreal!” Luna smirked.
“Now now Dungeon Master, you are working with greatness, after all...”
Sundance covered her mouth with her hoof to stifle a giggle. “I-I think we’re okay on that end... It is Luna, after all. Do you really think she’d hang out with anyone really... Offensive?”
“We are talking about the former Nightmare Moon,” Hoyden pointed out. “That evil dominatrix look didn’t come from thin air. And we know she’s got some issues.”
“Evil dom-What?” Sundance asked. Hoyden nodded.
“Oh yeah, Big Mac knows a guy who got a snapshot of her when she was in her full evil glory.” He pulled out a picture from his saddlebag and hoofed it over to her. Sundance stared in disbelief.
“Geez... You’re right...”
“I can totally see it now,” Hoyden said as he held his hooves up to frame the imaginary scene...
“Lick my hooves, worm!” Luna commanded, wearing tight, silvery leather as she cracked a whip over the back of Sundance.
“N-No, please Mistress Luna, spare me!” She begged. “AH!”
“This is your just punishment, slave,” purred Luna. “Beg properly!” CRACK!
“AH! M-My Goddess, please, have mercy! I love youuu!” Sundance cried. Luna smirked and took hold of her chin with her hoof, raising her lips.
“Show me that love,” she crooned. “Worship your goddess~...”
“Hoyden... Hoooyden... HOYDEN!”
“Huh? What? What?” Hoyden asked quickly, shaken out of his revery. Sundance scowled at him.
“You’re drooling,” she said suspiciously. With a very guilty look, Hoyden coughed and looked down at his food.
“This food is just... So good?” He offered weakly. Sundance sighed.
“You were thinking about something naughty, weren’t you?”
“Well... Yes, I was,” Hoyden said. “But it is possible she’d try something of that nature to get you to really respond.”
“Yeah, but given how she acts around Big Mac I don’t think she’d jump right to... To...” Sundance searched for the right mental image, and looked carefully at Hoyden as he took a drink of sarsaparilla. “Tight leather and a whip.”
“PFFT!” Hoyden spat out his drink, eyes wide. Sundance smirked.
“Y-Yeah... You’re probably right,” Hoyden coughed with a blush. Sundance looked back down at her sandwich with a thoughtful hum.
“I think the worst we have to worry about is her taking something a little too far,” Sundance said. “More out of ignorance of the world than anything else. Like maybe she just decides to... To get a wardrobe change or something.” She glared at Hoyden. “That doesn’t involve leather.”
“I didn’t say anything!” Hoyden said quickly. “And yeah, I guess that is more likely. A little change in her image...”
“Yee haw! Ride ‘em, me!” A Luna decked out in cowhorse paraphernalia greeted, kicking her hooves up with a bright smile.
“Yeah... Nothing big,” Sundance said.
“Unless she decides to just defy our expectations and go postal on her greatest nemesis,” Hoyden said.
“Her greatest nemesis?” Sundance asked.
“Now the world shall never know the terror of baseball again! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!” Luna cackled as she stood atop a burning Manehattan Field, baseballs turning to ash at her feet.
“That’s stupid!” Sundance huffed. Hoyden shrugged.
“Oh, this isn’t getting us anywhere,” Sundance sighed.
“Maybe you should just relax. I mean, come on. She likes you a lot,” Hoyden said. He shrugged. “Of course, if you get out of line she might... punish you a little...”
“Hoyden, your eyes are glazing,” Sundance said flatly.
“Damn hot sauce...”
“Riiight...” Sundance sighed.
“You know, she might be planning on dosing you with a potion,” Hoyden suggested. Sundance started.
“Well yeah,” Hoyden said. “You said she had a book on truth potions out, right?”
“Yes, but... But I can’t believe she’d do something like that,” Sundance said.
“You can’t,” Hoyden said, “but I’ve done some research into her time. Using potions for casual conversation was common!”
“Really?” Sundance asked. “Wait, you’ve been doing research?”
“Well... Just to try and help out,” Hoyden said. He shook his head. “She might just think that potion use is the way to go at this point and she’s been looking for the right one.”
“Oh come on, she couldn’t, really,” Sundance said. “That’s not like her!”
“She did blow up a bar for a smack on the rump,” Hoyden said. Sundance frowned.
“And she keeps freaking out at things,” Hoyden went on. He held up his hooves. “I’m just saying that it’s weird she had that book out when she had stacks of stuff on zoning, that’s all.”
“No, no... She couldn’t,” Sundance muttered.
The weeks of odd behavior and her inability to get Luna to lighten up were wearing on Sundance. Her cutie-mark was that of a smiley face sun, it was her gift to make others happy. If Luna wasn’t happy though... What would she do?
- - - - - - -
Luna looked about, rearing back on her hind legs. Her foes surrounded her on all sides, their black eyes staring at her without an ounce of pity. They seemed to close in without even moving, their mighty bulk making her feel small and powerless. Luna shot them all a defiant glare. She was the Princess of the Moon, a living, breathing goddess! She would not be stopped!
She leaped forward and struck her nearest foe with a mighty strike of her hooves.
Luna sighed as the stuffed pink dragon barely moved from her “attack”, and looked up at her sister.
“Sister, must I really do this?” She asked. Celestia nodded with a smile.
“Oh yes... It’s very good practice for the real thing.”
“The real thing consisted of a half-dozen Crimson Dragons,” Luna said flatly. Celestia smiled.
“Yes, it did... We’re starting small. Come now, give it another try.”
“Fine,” Luna sighed as she struck the dragon plushie again. Squeak.
“Ah, adorable,” Celestia sighed.
“Sister!” Luna groaned. Celestia chuckled as Luna flew up to the balcony, looking very unhappy.
“Can I be blamed for wanting to see my sister do something cute?” Celestia asked. She gave her a mischievous look. Luna sighed.
“Besides, it’s good for stress relief,” Celestia added. “You seem a bit stressed.”
“It’s Sundance,” Luna explained. “She’s been acting very... Guarded around me. I don’t like it.”
“Oh?” Celestia asked. Luna nodded.
“Yes... So I want to make her reactions more honest. I don’t want to be treated like a princess.”
“I have much the same problem,” Celestia said. “Everyone is always so skittish around me regardless of how I act. It’s the price of power, I’m afraid.”
Luna nodded. “Yes... But we were acting so familiar before...”
“Relationships are not always constant... As you well know,” Celestia said, leaning forward to nuzzle her sister’s cheek. Luna flushed and nodded.
“Yes... I know... But there’s no darkness here. Just... Awkwardness.”
“Well then,” Celestia said, “do you have a plan to deal with it?”
Luna thought about it, and nodded. “Yes, I do.”
“Oh good,” Celestia said with a smile. “Do you need any help with it?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Luna said. “It’s perfectly scientific. I am very confident in it’s success.”
“Are you sure? I’m not too bad with plans myself,” Celestia said with a wink. Luna huffed.
“You don’t have to show off,” she groused slightly. Celestia giggled and kissed Luna on the cheek.
“It’s not showing off if it works, my dear sister,” Celestia told her.
- - - - - - - -
Sundance and Hoyden arrived at her apartment some time later. Sundance looked around carefully, trying to discern if Luna was about to leap out at them.
“You’re acting like she’s a dragon lying in wait,” Hoyden joked. Sundance scowled back at him.
“She’s a goddess. It pays to be cautious when she might cause something big.”
“Yeah, but you’re just going to talk, right?” Hoyden asked. Sundance nodded.
“Yes... We are... I’m just not sure how to break the ice though.”
“Well, we could always do something to pass the time,” Hoyden said, coming up beside her to nuzzle her. Sundance giggled and shook her head.
“Come on, knock it off.”
“I just want a kiss,” Hoyden said, looking hurt. Sundance sighed and then smiled.
“Well...” Their lips drew closer together, and just before contact...
“Hello!” Luna cried.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” Luna said.
“Hello Princess Luna... Don’t think of it,” Sundance said. “Actually I wanted to talk to you.”
“Well, can it wait? I’m making dinner,” Luna said. She trotted back into the kitchen, adjusting her apron that clovered her forelimbs. On top of the stove, she had several pots bubbling as their contents were cooked. Sundance blinked. Her eyes went over a series of cookbooks on the counters.
“Er, Princess, isn’t it a little early?” She asked. Luna shook her head.
“I don’t think so... The books said it was going to take a while, so I started early!” She smiled cheerfully as she used her magic to set the spoons in the pots stirring. “Just sit back and relax, all right?”
Luna’s tail bumped the table, and a book fell off. Sundance caught it with her mouth, and placed it back on the table. Her eyes caught the title:
101 Truth Potions: Truly and Honestly.
She felt a chill go down her spine and she slowly looked up at the smiling Luna.
“Ah... No,” Sundance said. She turned to Hoyden. “Hoyden and I have something to discuss in my room. We’ll be right out.”
“Sure... Take your time!” Luna said, reading through the cookbook. Sundance pulled Hoyden into her room and kicked the door shut behind them. Hoyden blinked.
“Er... Am I missing something? Isn’t this a good thing? She’s just cooking dinner.”
“Yes. Just. Cooking. Dinner,” Sundance said. “With a truth potion book out?”
“Well, maybe she just forgot to put it away,” Hoyden suggested. Sundance shook her head.
“No, no, she’s been acting so weird lately... She wants me to be more honest... Maybe she’s just going to use magic to fix her problems instead of talking about them!”
“Uh huh?” Hoyden asked. “That sounds a little paranoid-”
“Well what am I supposed to think?! Luna hasn’t cooked at all for weeks, or done anything... Oh Celestia, there have been so many books out...” Sundance rubbed the top of her head worriedly. “I haven’t gotten anything right, she’s going to ensure I do it this way!”
“Or maybe she’s just cooking dinner,” Hoyden suggested. Sundance shook her head, looking a bit paranoid.
“No, no! She’s been mopey and weird for weeks and now she wants me to be more assertive and honest and now she’s all smiles? No, she’s got this planned out! Why?”
“Mares are crazy,” Hoyden said. Sundance hit him. “OW! What?”
“No... It just feels wrong,” Sundance said.
“So why not confront her?” Hoyden suggested.
“With what? ‘Hey Princess Luna, are you going to dose me with an honesty potion?’” Sundance asked flatly.
Hoyden slowly looked over at the baseball pennant for the Canterlot Knights Sundance had posted up in her room. Sundance looked with him. She then shook her head.
“Oh no... No! That’ll be sure to blow up the house.”
“Not if you were a little subtle about it,” Hoyden suggested. “The baseball just out of sight, slowly revealed to get what you want... It works in police books!”
“I don’t know,” Sundance mumbled. Hoyden shook his head.
“Look, you’re the one who was scared about what she’s up to... It’s up to you.”
Sundance looked guiltily over at the dresser drawer where she kept her lucky baseball. She bit her lower lip.
- - - - - - - - - -
Right, now add the chives... And the roots, after cutting, Luna thought to herself. She was very pleased with herself for learning how to cook. In the end it wasn’t much different from simple chemistry or potions making.
A wonderful, subtle art that... She thought to herself.
The door to Sundance’s room opened up quietly. Luna didn’t notice as she continued reading the book.
Boil for just ten minutes...
Silently, Sundance and Hoyden crept towards Luna. Hoyden was holding the baseball in his mouth, ready to give it to Sundance at the right moment.
“Hmm... Now, with the rate of heat expansion, times the relative temperature...” Luna mused. She frowned and turned around. “I need my-”
Hoyden tried to move to cover at the same time Sundance did. They slammed into each other and the jolt knocked the baseball from Hoyden’s mouth. It flew up to the nearby cabinet and bounced off it, just in time for Luna to turn around at the sudden noise and see it heading right for her face. Her eyes widened and her horn glowed.
A blast of energy left her horn and sent it shooting off into a random direction while breaking the sound barrier. Unfortunately, said direction was right into the oven, smashing the gas lines and letting the heat take over from there.
“ACK!” Luna cried as the entire stove went up in flames. Sundance, seeing this, grabbed the mop bucket and began filling it up with water. Luna was far more practical-She ripped the plumbing of the sink right out with telekinesis and directed the water over the fire.
The flames now doused, Luna looked mournfully at the destroyed kitchen, and over at Sundance. Sundance had dropped the bucket out of shock, and she found herself gaping in disbelief at Luna.
“You-I-Why?! Why did you do that?! You didn’t have to rip everything out! It’s just a baseball! I didn’t mean to-You-I mean-!”
The fire alarm went off, and very late, the sprinklers in the apartment came on and doused them all. Sundance looked up, looked back at Luna, and sighed.
“Are... Are you all right?” Luna asked timidly. Sundance shook her soaking wet mane as she looked down at the floor.
“No... No I’m not.”
- - - - - - - -
Maybe I should just move next to the fire department, Luna thought miserably as she, Sundance and Hoyden sat outside as the fire department gave the kitchen a look over. Sundance in particular looked unhappy, staring down at the ground.
“... Sundance? Whatever I did to make you upset, I am very sorry,” Luna said.
“No... No, I’m sorry,” Sundance said with a sigh. “I was the one who had the baseball...”
“Why though?” Luna asked. Sundance looked away, ashamed.
“You had been acting so weird over the last few weeks that I... I thought you might have been planning to dose me with a truth potion,” Sundance mumbled. Luna’s eyes widened in shock.
“Wh-What? No! I would never-I just forgot to put that book away, really!” She reached over and rested a hoof on Sundance’s shoulder. “I thought you were unhappy with my presence, but whenever I asked you about anything you said you were fine. I didn’t listen in on your wishes because I didn’t want to embarrass you... Again.”
“So if we’d just talked about this... None of this would have happened,” Sundance sighed. “I’m really sorry Your Majesty.”
“I’m sorry too,” Luna said. Both ponies looked at Hoyden, who blinked.
“Okay okay,” Hoyden sighed. “I’m sorry for suggesting we use the baseball to get the truth out of you, Princess Luna... And the casual potion use thing.”
“It’s all right,” Luna said quickly. “I mean, I can pay for all this damage.”
“Why don’t we just split it?” Sundance suggested with a smile. “Since we both contributed...”
“But Sundance-” Luna tried but her roommate interrupted.
“No! We’re both paying for it and that-that’s final!” Sundance said. She shrunk back a little at Luna’s shocked look, but recovered when she smiled.
“All right... It’s final,” she said. Sundance smiled back.
“So, now that you’ve made up,” Hoyden said, raising a hoof. “One question: Where are you going to live while the house is repaired?”
“Well... We could just share my room,” Luna suggested. Sundance smiled.
“Oh no, I couldn’t-”
“Yes you can, and yes you will,” Luna said. “It’s the least I can do.”
“Well... All right,” Sundance said with a nod.
“Yeah,” Hoyden said. “What’s the worse that could happen? OW!”
- - - - - - - -
I don't really consider this a great chapter but I think it's worth at least a chuckle or two. Thanks for reading, please comment.
And yes, Sundance too was basically suffering from Cutie Mark Failure Insanity Syndrome. If you don't know what that is, look it up on TVTropes.