"Hello Luna. I'm Midnight Flare," Flare said, trying to speak casually, "how did you find our cave?"
Luna looked confused by the word "our" for a moment, then she realized the context of it. "We received a report of a dragon and offspring from the town below. Princess Celestia has informed me that your mother was going to be entering hibernation soon. I had hoped to arrive before it began...it appears I was too late." Luna said, gesturing to the colossal sleeping form behind Flare.
"Yes, you were. But don't try to reawaken her, I doubt she would be in a very good mood." Flare could not believe the words coming out of his mouth. What he wanted more then anything at that moment was to see his mother open her sapphire eyes and be with him again. No, this is the way it must be.
"And what exactly did you plan to do with me?" Flare asked as he became more suspicious.
"We were going to take you back to Canterlot with us for Princess Celestia to decide what to do with you." Luna said, and made a gesture to her guards. They moved in response. Flare extended his claws fully for an instant and barred his fangs, expecting opposition. All of them froze, including Luna, who watched Flare cautiously with wide eyes.
"We do not mean to harm you, the guards were simply moving to go prepare the chariot," She said in a soothing voice and Flare felt himself begin to relax. He reluctantly retracted his claws and closed his mouth, but did not take his eyes off of the guards as they cautiously made their way out of the cave.
"Please forgive me, I forgot how sensitive the situation was," Luna said, slowly moving over to Flare, unsure of his response, "You do not need to come with us if you do not want to, but it will be better if you do."
Flare simply looked into Luna's aqua eyes, but saw no malevolence in them. "Fine...I will go with you. Can I just have a few moments to say goodbye?" Flare asked in a weak voice.
"Yes, take all the time that you need, the chariot will be awaiting atop the mountain." And with that, Luna turned and left Flare with his parents.
"I know you both can't hear me," Flare said, addressing both of them, "but thank you, for everything. I wish you two could have stayed with me for longer, but the time we did have was worth every second. Things will be getting better, and I will never forget you." And with that, Flare turned and left the cave that had been his home and the spot of so much pain over the past few days. A fast goodbye is always the best, he thought as he worked his way up the mountain. When he reached the top he saw one of the most magnificent things he had ever seen.
It was a chariot, as Luna called it, but it was colossal. It had room in the front for the four guards to secure themselves and extend their wings, so Flare assumed they pulled it. The main area, where Luna was waiting, had a half circle area of what appeared to be some kind of padding, like a large sofa. Behind this was a cargo area that had been refitted with bars so it looked almost like...a prison cell. What were they planning to do with me? Flare though as he looked at this. Luna spotted this, and was quick to save the situation.
"Don't mind that, we use this chariot for many things. It was used recently for crime prevention," She said, indicating a point beside of her on the front of the chariot, "Climb in up here and we can be going."
Flare hesitantly climbed aboard, partially from uncertainly and also because he suddenly felt awkward around Luna. Luna nodded to the guard with the black pauldron, and he in turn barked an order to the other three and they were off. The chariot began rolling towards the edge and Flare was worried it wouldn't make it, but just as they reached the edge, the chariot lifted from the ground and began to fly off.
"How long will this trip be?" Flare asked looking over to Luna.
"About 5 or 6 hours, it's a long way to Canterlot, plus I don't want to wear out the guards by making them go at full speed." But Luna was not paying attention to Flare or the guards. She was watching the moon and the night sky, and for an instant Flare saw his mother a few nights ago, watching the moon before creating his father's glass tomb. Flare was breathless for a moment.
"I do that too," Flare said, joining Luna in her stargazing, "I used to climb to the top of the mountain sometimes to watch the stars on a clear night. It really is beautiful."
Luna smiled, "I know," she said, "I have had much experience with...space. It really is magnificent. Only nopony ever stops to enjoy it anymore," she said as her smile faded and sadness made it's way onto her face.
"The most beautiful things in this world are rarely seen by the common eye," Flare said, even though it was his father who told him this, "you have to look closely at the world around you to see the things truly worth cherishing."
Flare hadn't noticed that both he and Luna had stopped watching the sky and were now looking at each other. They both looked away, blushing and smiling. They both resumed their stargazing, talking idly about nothing, simply enjoying the company. Flare was leaning against the comfortable padding of the chariot and soon found himself being enveloped by sleep.
"There they go, Twi." Spike said, moving away from the telescope to allow the purple unicorn to look through it.
"Wow, that dragon is older then I thought. I was expecting something the size of you," she said waving a hoof in Spike's general direction, "but this dragon is the size of Princess Celestia."
Almost as if on cue, Spike belched loudly and Twilight felt a letter bounce off of her. She looked down at it before levitating it back to her to read aloud.
I have a strange suspicion about this 'dragon'. It seems to be a completely new species. I am unsure of what to make of it, so I shall probably keep it here with myself and Luna until I can decide if it is a threat or not. Tell Spike I am sorry that he won't be getting dragon company anytime soon.
Spike looked hurt, completely missing the fact that this thing probably wasn't even a dragon. "I never really expected her to send him here anyway," he said glumly.
"Oh cheer up, at least there won't be anypony else to eat your ice cream," she said with a wink. Spike smiled at the joke but did not laugh.
The chariot rotated slightly, something shifted, and Flare felt a warm weight against his side.
Opening one eye, Flare peered down at the sleeping form of Luna lying against his side. His heart skipped a beat. She must have fallen over when the chariot shifted. He doubted that Luna was aware of who she was lying against, but Flare didn't do anything to stop it.
Flare sat there for a few minutes, watching Luna to see if she would wake up. A cold breeze added itself to the wind chill off the night, and Flare felt Luna shiver against him. It was quite the cold night already, and the wind chill of the moving chariot did not help it much. Although Flare had no idea what possessed him to do it, he, careful not to wake sleeping alicorn at his side, slowly freed his wing from under her. He extended his wing back down and laid it over her like a leather blanket, much like his mother had. He felt her stir under his wing, but not to attempt to free herself. Instead, to Flare's surprise and satisfaction, she moved closer to him, savoring the sanctuary from the cold.
My, she must be as lonely as I am, Flare thought sadly to himself as he watched the sleeping pony beside him, if she will snuggle with a dragon that she had only just met. She had not yet seen his special...talent yet, so she probably simply thought of him as a dragon. But he didn't mind. It felt good to have something to comfort again.
A knock came from the door of the bedchambers. Celestia forced herself to rise. She hadn't gotten nearly enough sleep, but it would have to do. "Yes?" she called.
"The southern watch tower reports Luna's chariot approaching," the soldier replied.
"Thank you," Celestia said, opening the door enough to look the guard in the eye, "gather the appropriate amount of guards to attend to the throne room and to escort out arrivals, I will be down shortly. Go." And with that, the guard turned and purposefully walked back down the hall.
Celestia searched the night sky for the presence of her sister and the strange creature with her. She could still sense her sister fully at night because they were siblings, but she could only sense the other creature dully. But both of them were radiating comfort and happiness. This surprised and elated Celestia; Luna had never felt this happy since the defeat of Nightmare Moon.
Little sis, what are you doing? She thought as she left her chambers to go to her throne room.
The rest of the flight went on with Luna sleeping like a filly at Flare's side. Finally, though, it had to end.
The pauldron guard looked over his shoulder and stopped short of speaking when he saw what was happening behind him. He looked at Flare and all Flare could tell he was thinking Nice move, buddy. "We are almost to Canterlot," he said instead.
Flare nodded in acknowledgement. He slowly removed his wing from aside Luna and prodded her softly to stir her. "Luna, we are almost at Canterlot," he said softly. Luna opened her eyes and looked around. She looked up at Flare and when she realized what she had just done she blushed profusely and looked away. She finally regained her composure and stood. "Get up, then. We should look presentable for Princess Celestia."
Reluctantly, Flare stood, looked around and froze. Passing underneath them was Canterlot, and it was magnificent. So many lights and colors, Flare thought, looking down at the massive blurred city-scape. It was much larger then the town Flare had watched from his cave. But directly in front of them was a large castle. Farther up ahead, Flare saw a long, flat area with lights, and he assumed this is where they would be landing. He was correct.
The landing was a bit bumpy, but Flare didn't mind. As the chariot came to a halt, Flare saw two sets of guards approaching them from a nearby doorway. Both had gold plating similar to their comrades who pulled the chariot, but these guards were more colorful and robust with their armor. They also seemed to radiate power. Flare dismounted the chariot, then turned and courteously extended a hand back to help Luna, although it probably wasn't needed. She blushed slightly and accepted it, but as soon as she took her hoof from his hand, she turned to one of the pairs of guards with that stone-cold look on her face.
"Welcome back," one of them said with a very deep voice, but Flare doubted he was faking the voice, "Princess Celestia will see both of you at once."
"Very good," Luna said, before turning back to the chariot, "as for you four, park the chariot then go get yourself some food and rest, you deserve it." Luna turned back to Flare and the guards. "Come." She said, as she proceeded forward. One of the sets of guards followed on her heels, and the other two, one of which was Mr. Deepvoice, looked at Flare expectantly. "You heard her," Mr. Deepvoice said, and he pushed Flare slightly to get him moving. Flare glared over his shoulder with a look of "Don't do that again" and growled, Mr. Deepvoice got the message and backed off. Flare then followed Luna and her entourage through the doorway. Before he passed through the door, he saw the same guard from the chariot with the pauldron smirk at him again. At least I have a few allies here.
As they passed down the halls, Flare was taken aback by the sheer size and magnificance of the castle. Then a thought crossed his mind. I really should be a pony for this meeting, but I guess it's too late for that now, the guards are a bit jumpy around me, and I don't want top piss them off, he thought as he saw a large set of doors approach in front of them. They opened as the drew near, and when Flare entered he noticed several things. And his heart skipped another beat.
First, the room was huge. Mom would have had enough room to fly laps in here, Flare thought. Second, there were guards everywhere, all of which had the same expressionless look on their face, but Flare could tell they were all watching him. Third, and most striking was the two thrones sitting in front of Flare. One was golden and occupied by an alicorn the size of Flare, who he assumed was Princess Celestia. She was completely white, except for the sun mark on her flank. Her mane flowed like Luna's, but it was made up off pink, blue, and green, instead of the sparkling blue of Luna's. She had a similar chest piece and crown to Luna's, but her's was golden. Flare noticed the unoccupied, dark throne and only then did he begin to figure things out.
"Welcome back, sister. And welcome, drake," she said, but her face was not happy, it was as expressionless as the guards, except her's had questions in her eyes, like Flare was about to be interrogated, and he probably was. But he wasn't paying attention to her, he was stopped dead at the first sentence.
SISTER?! Flare thought, recounting the little "incident" on the way here, Oh buck.