Chapter 2: The Nightmare
The whole of Canterlot seemed to be enveloped in an aura of anticipation for Luna’s arrival. Everypony in the citadel had it on their minds, even as they carried out their usual business. From inside her tower, Celestia gazed out at the land that lay outstretched beyond the window, watching for a sign of her sister approaching. Although this kind of thing is usually a very somber act, Celestia was relaxed, and simply looking forward to spending some time with Luna. Like Pinkie Pie had mentioned, reunions like this weren’t very common.
“Once again, Twilight Sparkle,” she said, for Twilight was standing beside her, “You don’t need to accompany me in welcoming Luna. It’s not like I’m going to be nervous or anything. After all, she is my sister.”
“Oh, I don’t mind,” Twilight insisted, “The same goes for me- the part about not being nervous, that is. I’ve had a chance to get to know Luna in the past, so it would be nice to see her again. I won’t get in the way, I promise.”
“Very well, then,” Celestia replied with a smile, “You may stand by me when she arrives, if you so wish. Just imagine,” she continued, looking back out the window, “My most faithful student and my dearest sister, together. You could say it’s a ‘when worlds collide’ situation. I’ll be a teacher, a leader, and a sibling at the same time. Of course, I’ve always, in a way, been such for Luna. Ever since… well, for a long time.”
Twilight smiled up at her teacher and leader. When she turned to the window, something caught her eye. “Is that her?” she asked.
“Yes, that would be her,” Celestia answered serenely. In the distance, a dark speck could be seen, quickly drawing nearer. Celestia rose from her seat and made her way out of the building, with Twilight following close behind.
Once they were outside, the scene was bustling with ponies readying for Luna’s arrival. Guards were assembling into neat regiments, while the rest of the ponies gathered on either side of the main road. Twilight waved at Spike, who was standing next to Rarity among the crowd. Rarity was engaged in a sophisticated chat with a fancily dressed pony next to her, she being fancily dressed herself. Soon, a fanfare started up. A posh-looking pony by the gates cleared his throat, and declared, “Announcing the arrival of Princess Luna, Maiden of the Moon, of Equestria, here from the region of Nocturnica!”
Just as the pony finished his announcement, a pair of dark, snake-eyed ponies trotted through the gates. They hauled in a chariot of magnificent and yet macabre design, seated in which was Luna. As the vehicle passed through, all of the ponies kneeled in respect. The ponies pulling it stopped once they were in the center of the square. Luna rose, beaming at the crowd, and proclaimed, “Citizens of Canterlot! I am pleased that you have all gathered here to welcome me! I, Princess Luna, have come from my dominion of Nocturnica to spend some time here, in this glorious city! However, this is not a formal visit, I am here for the cause of reunion, so…” she stopped to think, then finished, “You are all… erm… dismissed. Off with you.”
The ponies in the crowd looked at each other, shrugged, and dispersed, going back to their activities for the day. Luna trotted over to Celestia, who gave her a short hug when she was close enough. “It is wonderful to see you again, younger sister,” Celestia said warmly.
“The same goes for you,” Luna replied with the same amount of affection, “But did you really have to gather the whole city together to meet me?”
Celestia laughed lightly. “They congregated on their own,” she pointed out, “And you should be glad they did. It looks like they’ve all put the past behind them.”
“I only wish I could do so,” Luna sighed. When she finally noticed Twilight, she lightened up instantly. “Twilight Sparkle! ‘Tis a pleasure seeing you here!”
“The pleasure’s mine, princess,” Twilight said with a smile. Noticing Rarity and Spike approach, she added, “There’s a friend of mine who would love to meet you.”
Luna turned around just as Rarity reached her. “Princess Luna,” Rarity began elegantly, “Why, what an honor to finally meet her royal highness up close! I’m simply brimming with glee!” She gave a quick gesture similar to a curtsy, and Spike did the best he could to bow while holding a bag brimming with what appeared to be various clothing materials. “Twilight has told me all about you,” Rarity continued, “And might I say I love your style.”
“Here, why don’t we go inside?” Celestia offered. She headed into the castle, with Luna and Rarity following as they talked. Twilight waited behind for Spike, and walked alongside him. “So, you been doing some shopping with Rarity?” she teased, looking at the bag Spike was holding, “I see Rarity got her little dragon servant to carry around some stuff.”
“Oh, I don’t mind,” Spike replied, “In fact, I offered to carry this for her. She was quite flattered, and said I was ‘truly the best assistant anypony could ever have.’ I tell ya, it was awesome touring Canterlot with her. I managed to show her some places I was familiar with that she hadn’t been in before.”
“Sounds like you two had fun,” Twilight commented seriously.
That night, after a feast prepared in Luna’s honor, both princesses decided to retire for the night. Celestia showed Luna to her quarters then went to her own bedroom. After closing the door behind her, she walked over to her bed, using her unicorn magic to remove her tiara and necklace and place them on the nearby vanity table. Once she reached the side of her bed, she carefully pushed off her shoes. With a relaxed sigh, she climbed into bed, pulling the covers up to her neck. She laid her head on her pillow, and quickly fell asleep.
She suddenly found herself in a familiar setting: the ruins of the old castle. Luna lay on the ground before her, crouching. Celestia looked down upon her, and pity filled her heart.
“It’s time to put our differences aside,” Celestia implored, “We were meant to rule together, sister. Won’t you accept my friendship?”
Luna rose to her feet and looked up at Celestia. There was grief in her eyes. Celestia expected her to run up to her and ask for forgiveness. However, her expression changed from sorrow to fury. “No,” she stated defiantly, and stepped away from Celestia. “Never!” Her voice took on a tone of pure loathing. “NEVER!” As her cry rang throughout the ruins, she turned into a great black cloud and took to the skies. The sunny day became a stormy night in the blink of an eye. The roof of the castle was savagely torn off, revealing a swirling black cloud. It was headed for Celestia, gradually taking the shape of an alicorn as it grew nearer. Once it reached Celestia, it shrieked and lunged for her. After that, everything went dark.
Celestia opened her eyes quickly and silently. Slowly, she rose from her pillow, and looked around the bedroom. “It was… a dream…” she said to herself, “But was it only a dream?”
There came a knock at the door. Celestia cleared her throat and announced, “Come in.” The door creaked open, and Luna poked her head in.
“Did you have one, too?” she asked timidly as she entered the room. Celestia nodded curtly. “Did you see… her?” Luna further inquired, now at the foot of Celestia’s bed. Celestia nodded again. Luna sniffed. “Oh, Celestia,” she whimpered, as her eyes filled up with tears, “I’m scared.” At this point, Luna had lost all the majesty she had displayed earlier that day. Shaking, silently crying, she was nothing more than a frightened young filly who had had a bad dream.
“Oh, don’t cry, dear sister,” Celestia said reassuringly. She left her bed and stepped into her shoes. “Come, let’s take a walk through the palace garden,” she suggested, slipping a light silk robe over herself via unicorn magic, “We can talk about it there.” And with that, Celestia led her sister out of the room, looking very grave.