Tough Love: Luna vs. Celestia
Part 10: Egg and Cake
Luna moaned in pain, which pulled Twilight Sparkle out of her slumber. It had been almost twenty-four hours since the dark alicorn had moved, and the Lunar Stallions she’d brought with her were not much better. Unfurling herself from Big Macintosh’s massive, quiet embrace, she snuck out of the bedroll she’d been in. The floor was covered with sleeping ponies, all of her friends plus Big Mac, and the Princess and her two guardians lay on a bed and couches.
Twilight squinted at the light from her own horn, leaning over Luna. She looked just as rumpled and bruised as when she’d arrived. They’d tried to groom her, but the alicorn had whimpered and shrunk away. As a result, she still looked terrible. “Luna?” Twilight whispered, putting a tender hoof on her shoulder.
Luna’s unbruised eye slitted open and she looked up at the mare. “Twilight Sparkle? Is that you?” she whispered. Twilight nodded, smiling in a painful way. “Ohhh good, I was frightened my sister might’ve--”
“Shhh…” Twilight soothed her, leaning down and tucking her Princess’ head under her chin for a long and quiet moment. “It’s alright. I heard you moaning, just checking on you.”
“Thank you…” Luna nuzzled Twilight quietly, like a foal seeking solace at its mother’s breast during a thunderstorm. Just an extra little tidbit to add to the pile of excellent acting she’d been laying on so thickly since she’d arrived. She’d refused food, limped, refused healing spells for fear of more pain while knitting, and even asked after her guards whenever she could. She played the part of wounded Princess so, so well. While yes, her bruises and blood were real, it would take a beating ten times that to fell her thus. But truth be told she was fine. She’d only wanted to be marked up for Twilight Sparkle’s benefit. Just an extra little nudge to pull the purple mare to her side and point her powerful magicks at Celestia.
While Twilight stroked Luna’s mane comfortingly, tender, the dark alicorn once again peered at the strange golden spell wrapped around her. It looked much like an egg, cracked under the stress of emotion and magical presence. She probed gently, touching it with her magic. It rejected her lunar magic, letting it slide off like oil. But, there was something strange about it. It was pulsing quietly, like a heartbeat. The itching desire to see it break, just because it was Celestia’s spell, grew irresistible. Now was a good of a time as any. “What’s wrong?” Twilight whispered, seeing Luna’s expression change.
“Twilight, what is that light?” Luna whispered, pawing at her chest a little. “That light, coming off of you?” She tried to sit up, but her caretaker wouldn’t let her.
“That’s my horn, Princess. It’s just a light spell, I promise.” Twilight crooned, pressing the Princess down to rest.
“No no, that golden light…” Luna feigned ignorance. “The one wrapped around you.” She made a vague all-of-her gesture. Twilight frowned, looking at herself. “It’s wrapped around you so tightly… like an egg.” She whispered weakly. Luna reached up to stroke Twilight’s cheek, like she were trying to rub something off of her. Twilight turned her head, looking at a mirror mounted on the wall. She didn’t see anything.
Applejack stirred a little, so Twilight lowered her voice. “Princess there’s nothing there, I promise.” She whispered, smiling gently. She took Luna’s hoof, kissed it tenderly, and pressed it down to her chest. Luna’s hoof insisted up to her cheek again, though, and the black magic of her horn ignited quietly.
“Then why does it hurt when I do this?” Luna whispered, prodding at Twilight’s egg-prison with her spell. There was a crackle of magic on the ethereal plain. The egg shuddered, cracking just a fraction more. The whole structure vibrated, and a little pinprick of light emerged out of one sight.
Twilight recoiled with a squeak, then slapped her hoof over her mouth so she wouldn’t wake anypony. She rubbed hard at her temples. “What is that?” she whispered, furrowing her brow. “I saw it, I saw it just for a second!” she whispered.
“I don’t know.” Luna whispered. “I think it’s some sort of inhibiting spell, wrapped around you like a shell.” Twilight stared at her uncomprehendingly. “Has your magic ever gotten too powerful, or out of control?” she asked.
“…Once, when I was small.” Twilight said embarrassedly. “I was taking an entrance exam to enter Celestia’s school for gifted unicorns, and I… I shorted out.” She tried to explain. “My powers were raging out of control, turning ponies into potted plants, shooting lightning and growing Spike into a giant dragon right after he’d been born!”
Luna listened with barely disguised grand interest. “And what happened to all that power?” she whispered, eyes glittering.
“Princess Celestia came in and… and…” the mare’s memory was foggy after that point, and she frowned in a troubled way. “And then… she tapped me on the shoulder…” she trailed off, trying to make sense of the thing she’d not thought about it in ages. “And it all just kind of stopped. I was never able to do that again.”
“My sister put an inhibiting spell on you. Like a ball and chain on a runner.” Luna said, gingerly sitting up and nursing a particularly nasty bruise on her ribs. “I can see it on you, wrapped around your soul like bindings.”
“Princess Celestia… inhibited me?” Twilight Sparkle said, looking crushed.
“She probably thought you were too young to control all of your raw powers at the time.” Luna said matter-of-factly. “But then, she never took it off of you. Not even when you reached marehood.” The Princess of the night couldn’t believe her luck. New and interesting arrows kept arriving in her quiver to fire at her sister. This one was by far the sharpest of the bunch. “Tiz a shame she’s letting you waste your potential in the prime of your life.” She sighed dramatically, wincing inwardly at how dramatic it had been. She really needed to reign in her acting.
“Can… you get it off of me?” Twilight asked, cocking her head. For a moment, she’d forgotten Luna had been brutally injured. She wanted to know more about what sort of inhibition Celestia had cursed her with.
“I’m not sure.” Luna sat up the rest of the way. “It’s cracked. Like I told you, it resembles an egg.” She tried to explain the metaphysical ideas of solar magic on the ethereal plain wrapped around the soul of a potent mortal pony… but it was difficult. It wasn’t a branch of magic mere unicorns could weave. It took an alicorn to do such sorcery. “Solar and lunar magic are like… oil and water.” Luna said softly. “My spells might just slip off of you.”
“Try?” Twilight said with dilated pupils, leaning forward.
“All right.” Luna took a deep breath and, reaching slowly with her magic, leaned and touched Twilight Sparkle with her horn. Journeying briefly into the ethereal plain with her mind, she peered at the unicorn’s soul. It burned very brightly, ripe with talent and raw potential. Luna smiled pleasantly, leaning to peer at it this way and that. Pulling back a bit, she observed the egg-like seal around it. Now that Twilight knew and had given her permission, she could take her time. Looking at it this way and that, she spotted a golden thread leading away from it all, and stretching towards the horizon. A hair-trigger, no doubt, for Celestia. If the seal broke, she would know. Licking her lips in careful thought, she mumbled nonsense and poked the egg with her horn. Twilight whimpered, squeezing her eyes closed and trying to sit still. Luna shifted on the couch a little, face screwing up with concentration.
There were many ways to break a seal spell, but an alicorn-grade seal would be far more difficult. Especially one that would reject most of her lunar magic to begin with. She pushed on it again. The structure shuddered, shimmering in the golden light of the ethereal plain. Luna walked in quick circles around it, studying the cracks and the patterns of how they’d occurred. Perhaps it had lesser structural integrity at certain points…? She felt it gently with a surgeon’s hooves, trying to find any obvious weaknesses. Then, she found it. There it was, for all to see. Well, for her to see.
“I think I found it.” Luna whispered.
“Well? Break it!” Twilight said impatiently, eager to see what would happen. “I’ve been held back all this time, I’ve gotta know what my magic is really like! Please!” she was struggling to keep her voice down.
Luna squinted, horn lighting up as she pulled on the cracks. She wormed Lunar magic in through the weak spots, trying to make it expand like ice in pavement. Anything to send the cracks further, to weaken and break the seal on the purple mare. Unless she missed her guess she was about to have a much, much more powerful little ally. And if that light peeking out between the cracks was any indication, she may not need to trick the Elements of Harmony after all.
Princess Celestia looked one way, then the other, suspicious. She sat in the white room all alone, eleven cheesecakes slathered with strawberry sauce sitting on the long table in front of her. One from Ponyville. One from Appleoosia. One from Manhatten. Another from Los Pegasus. All different places. She’d sent for them days ago, bidding that they arrive exactly at the same time. Cherry Ontop even redeemed himself by delivering his own, extra sauce on his to make up for his past mistakes. Celestia had granted him royal pardon for his little transgression in the past. Now, she sat alone, just DARING the universe to make something happen. She’d not gotten even one piece of the cake she so desired, and after so many attempts it was time to go overboard.
There were guards outside the dining room. Pegasi flying the night sky outside the window. The servant’s door was blocked and nailed shut. She checked all the corners, looking into all the shadows of the room. She’d even thrown out a Lunar Stallion that was, for some reason, playing hide and seek behind a column near the ceiling. There was nopony that was going to mess this up for her. Nopony.
The alicorn squinted around with a rather vengeful expression, the golden knife next to her lighting up and lifting itself by magick. Selecting the cheesecake from Apploosia, she pulled it towards herself and sat down daintily. Her golden eyes twinkled with excitement, pure unadulterated glee on her features. Pushing her pink mane behind her ears, she gently sliced the cake and teased herself with the knife she used. She let it glide messily across her tongue. The taste of heaven kissed her mouth and she moaned audibly, as though a stallion were having his way with her. Shivering, she lifted the slice from the platter to her plate. She dropped the knife unceremoniously, lifting her fork and cutting off a mouthful-sized slice.
She’d been looking forward to this. She’d just written a scholarship protocol to favor foals from low income families. She’d held the Noon Day court and put away a thief or two for stealing from somepony’s gardens. She’d patiently counted down the hours. She’d bested Luna in training, and here was her promised reward. Celestia trembled, waving the little morsal under her muzzle. She teased herself rather erotically, letting the chilled treat touch her muzzle. She sniffed deeply, letting the chill of the treat numb the tip of her nose. She licked her chops, lifting it happily to her—
Wh-BAM! The doors of the dining hall flew open and struck the walls they hinged on. Celestia’s fork fell. She let out a bitter chuckle, half-crazed, turning to see who it was. “Captain Grey.” She said, one of her eyes twitching a little. “This… had better be good.” She said with a measure of venom. Of course it was Captain Grey. He was the only pony that could just walk through the ranks of the fifty solar guards she’d placed outside the dining room.
“Good enough to get my ears twisted by a pair of mares, your majesty.” He said painfully, showing her the pink things sticking up out of his helm. Celestia leaned curiously, her expression shocked. “I’m here to report that your bath may be a bit late this evening. Your entire bathhouse team quit their jobs just minutes ago.”
“What? All of them? That’s five ponies, Captain. They all quit?” Princess Celestia stood slowly. The Captain nodded solemnly, knowing how sacred the royal bathhouse was to her Majesty. Bath time in the royal bathhouse was one of her most sacred pasttimes, where she could truly relax and not have to worry about anything. Without the team of ponies that ran it, it would fall to disrepair. Worse, there would be no team of mares to preen her vast wings in the hard to reach spots. What about Bubble Bath? She would miss him most of all. Celestia cast an eye over the table, over all the treats she’d gone through such lengths to get. She whimpered, then turned from them. Her… little… ponies… were more important. It was like walking through cement, walking away from that table. Maybe just one bite? No no, if she started she wouldn’t be able to stop. She had to see to this first. They were cakes, they wouldn’t go anywhere.
“This way, maybe we can still catch them.” Said Captain Grey, walking quickly.
Princess Celestia stopped on the threshold of the dining room, then stepped out into the hallway. The massive group of solar guards in the hall looked at her expectantly. “This room is now off limits. This door does not open.” She smiled pleasantly with thinly veiled malice. “If one pony finds his way into this room while I am away,” she walked among them, then turned with BURNING GOLDEN EYES OF DOOM. “I shall personally geld you all!” Her voice vibrated the hall with all the fiery hatred of a thousand suns. The massive group shuddered backward a few feet, looking at her in wild terror. The doors to the dining room slammed themselves shut, and a massive sun-symbol emblazoned itself on the wood, scorched with pure magical heat. The doors were ruined, but Celestia would know if somepony opened them while she was away. She turned and cantered quickly down the corridor. The solar guards looked at each other, aghast at what they’d just heard. Th-their P-Princess! So mean! What had she become lately?!
The pink-maned alicorn arrived in the royal bathhouse as quickly as her hooves could carry her with dignity. She found the five ponies, nicknamed ‘Bubble Bath’s Crew’, scrambling this way and that to gather their things. Shampoo bottles, brushes, combs, all sorts of supplies were being put in bags and boxes while they moved quickly around the place. Towels were being mounded up to one side, and Celestia saw her very favorite loofa get tossed in the trash. “Princess!” one of the mares squeaked when she saw her in the doorway. Everypony froze, turning with fear in their eyes and backing away from her.
Princess Celestia swept into the room, looking around with a rather blatant frown. “I was told that all of you were quitting your jobs here at the bathhouse.” She said, measuring her patience before she spoke. She was an alicorn, she was bigger than this, she didn’t need to scare them away. She was better than them, she just needed to rein them back in to do their little jobs for her. “Would somepony explain why? Please?” she sprinkled the please on the end like an afterthought, though it wasn’t really necessary. She was the Faust-damn Princess, and they would tell her anything she asked them or else.
Bubble Bath suddenly emerged from the store room, squaring his shoulders. The team of four mares crowded around and behind him, looking to him for their strength. He swallowed, coming forward with a brush in his mouth. He looked up at her, scanning for the Princess he’d spent so many nights grooming to perfection. But no, he couldn’t find her. That pink mane, those golden eyes, that self-righteous saunter and cruel gaze… he couldn’t find her at all. Suddenly, his chest began to inflate a bit more, Celestia could see his frame shudder a bit. The mares gathered around him backed up a little. Was he going to explode? He worked his mouth a little, and then the mute stallion SPOKE, “You should be‘shamed uh yerself. Turnin’ into all this-- this monster uh yers. You think you’re so big and powerful? You’kin wash yerself.” He threw down the brush in front of her. It clattered across the tile and stopped at her hooves. “C’mon girls.” His chest deflated back into his bored-faced muteness, getting several of the bags and heading slowly for the door. Celestia, Captain Grey, and the gaggle of she-ponies stared at him like he’d grown an extra head. Who knew Bubble Bath actually had a voice?! The mares looked up at Celestia with sorrowful eyes, then grabbed their things and followed. The last one paused before they rounded the corner, soft in the eyes, then rushed away to be with her companions. Bubble Bath’s Crew would have to find business elsewhere. They only hoped there was a spa with FIVE openings somewhere out there.
Celestia stood there, stunned. She was angry at first, but it wasn’t as though she could force them to stay. If there were ponies you didn’t want mad at you, it included ponies like your cook and your groomer. They could get terrible revenge on you. And since she’d just redeemed one of her chefs, she would have to settle with bathing alone. Celestia sighed. She’d spend weeks trying to find a new bath house crew, especially when word got around that the last crew had all quit on the same day. Ah well. Mortal ponies were perfectly replaceable, at the end of the day. Time had no meaning when one was practically immortal.
Captain Grey pushed the door closed gently, locking it so the Princess could have a moment. “They… drew you one more bath.” He nodded towards one of the Jacuzzi-like structures. “And I uh… made off with this.” He smiled bashfully, turning sideways. Balanced on the armored stallion’s back was a slice of heaven. When… how…? She didn't care. It was there, in front of her, and she could have it.
Princess Celestia slowly smiled, and eyed him hungrily. “Captain… since there are no ponies attending my bath anymore, I shall need some help.” Celestia levitated the plate and cake to herself with a tinkling chuckle. Who needed those ponies anyway? She could best her sister in combat! She ruled the biggest nation in the world! Millions of ponies counted on her to raise and lower the sun every day! She was the peak of all things in of ponydom! She shouldn’t be sad! She’d finally come back to the way things were, when she was more beautiful and powerful than anything else in the land! She should be celebrating herself! And she knew just how. No. More. Delays. Taking the plate in her hoof, she greedily wolfed down the cake slice. She moaned incoherently, getting it all over her face and not giving a damn about it. She licked the plate like a foal, then enthusiastically broke it upon the ground with a flourish. The Captain laughed a little nervously at her display, watching her hop into the water with a splash. She squealed at the heat, but refused to let it best her. Sinking in up to her neck, she turned about to look up at him. She licked her lips a bit. “Come and attend to me, Captain.” She whispered in a sultry way. It was easy to see she wasn’t talking about preening her wings or brushing her fur. Her wings rose seductively up out of the water for him to see.
“Er…” Captain Grey gulped a little. He could not deny it. He had red blood like every other stallion alive. Ever since the day Celestia had licked his nose, had flirted with him a little here and there… he’d been fantasizing in his cot at night. “Yes, your Majesty.” He found himself grinning. He loved powerful mares. He loved his Princess too. He started to unclasp his armor and toss it unceremoniously to one side.
“Mhmhmhm…” Celestia leaned on the edge of the pool while she watched the handsome stallion get naked. She licked her chops, trying to get the rest of the cake from around her muzzle. When he approached, though, she suddenly had something more interesting to look at. A lot more interesting. “Mhhh, Luna was right,” Celestia purred as he pressed her aggressively over the lip of the baths and pushed her tail aside..“It's been too long. I did need this.” She shivered in anticipation. He mounted her.
End of Part 10