The Princess of the Night looked down at the small sea pony inspecting her mane. The outer garden of Canterlot Castle was quiet save for the occasional guard, the Princess and the pony at her side.
“Pardon us, but who might you be and why are you staring at our mane?” Luna asked.
“I’m Ruby Shell, sister to the ambassador of the sea pony nation, but we have a more serious matter at hoof,” the red-coated pony said. “You appear to have something in your mane.” Luna examined the sea pony and her oil-stained blue overalls. Her green eyes inspected Luna’s mane with microscope lenses on a pair of goggles. She raised the magnifier and nodded. “Yep. I’m afraid to say this, but Luna: you have a sentient race inside your mane.”
The Princess stared. She started to laugh. “Ah, dear subject, you are quite the entertainer. How could a race of anything live inside our mane? It is composed of a magnificent field of stars, galaxies and nebulae all swirling around inside a cosmic mass of light and solar waves.”
“Yes, all of that is true,” Ruby Shell said, “but that is also why we’re dealing with a very serious situation, because if I’m correct, this race has spacefaring capabilities.”
Luna chuckled. “How interesting. We see no reason why there would be anything…”
A small explosion ripped apart a star inside Luna’s mane. The ensuing detonation sent a miniature shockwave into the surrounding space as the color of her hair turned from deep blue to darker purple with the blast of light and energy. Luna stood open-mouthed.
“WHAT WAS THAT?” she yelled.
“Looks like an orbital pulse cannon ripped apart a nearby star. Luna, not only do you have a race of interstellar beings inside your mane, but they appear to be at war.”
“AH!” Luna grabbed her mane and eyed the remnants of the small particle explosion. “Who is doing this?”
“Don’t know, but I can figure out some details about this race if you’re willing to answer a few questions.”
“How often do you wash your mane?”
Luna put her hair down and turned away. Her face grew red. “Uh…”
“When was the last time you washed it?” Ruby asked.
Luna scratched the ground in front of her with a hoof. “Our mane does not take to water very well. It’s made of space! Why would we need to attend to it? Space attends to itself!”
Ruby raised an eyebrow. “Luna, you’re over one thousand years old and you’ve never washed your mane?” Luna looked away. Then nodded. “No wonder this race has had all this time to move beyond their simple biology and into the space age! You’ve given them the perfect opportunity to adapt over a long period of time so they can become a spacefaring civilization.”
“Remove them AT ONCE!”
“How?” Ruby asked. “They seem really cozy in there. Except that one star they blew up.”
“NO! My ManeVerse!” Luna yelled. Ruby looked at the edge of Luna’s hair as it blew without the need for wind.
“They appear to have set up a wealth of mining colonies on a green-hued star near the end of known space.”
“They found mineral ore inside Ulysses?” Luna said as she turned to inspect the tip of her hair.
“You named the stars in your mane?” Ruby asked. They both stared as a tiny explosion tore through one of the mining ships as it made its way out of the star of Ulysses. Ruby gasped. “Sabotage!”
“GET OUT OF OUR MANE!” Luna bellowed as the Royal Canterlot Voice echoed through her mane and shook each ship in its place. The fleet of mining vessels turned as small points of light opened up nearby. They shot into the wormhole as it closed behind them, leaving nothing but bits of debris floating in Luna’s hair. “Hah! Even this small race respects the authority of the Princess of the Night!”
A circle of light opened up in Luna’s tail. The company of ships exited into the surrounding space and disappeared within a nearby star.
Ruby inspected it closely. “They appear to have opened a warp gate into your TailVerse.”
“Not the Southern Universe!” Luna yelled as she spun wildly, nipping at her own tail. One guard stood and watched with wide eyes as the Princess grunted and screamed at her own hair. “BE GONE, VILE INTERLOPERS!” She turned to the guard, who gasped in surprise. “Ah, Nuby Gold! Go fetch Celestia at once! Tell her there is a matter of internal security that needs attending to! GO!” The guard nodded in confusion and galloped off. “Ruby, get them out!”
“Hold on just a bit. Maybe your sister has some ideas on what to do about this.”
Less than one minute later, Princess Celestia leapt off the highest tower and sailed to a rest next to Princess Luna. “Yes, my dear sister? You spoke of an urgent matter?”
“There is a war going on!” Luna said.
Celestia’s eyes widened. “Oh no. I have feared this. Where is this war?"
“INSIDE OUR MANE!”
Celestia did not move for a few moments. Her eyes were expressionless and her gaze was unreadable. She blinked a few times at the sight of her sister’s constant dancing in place as she turned, nipped at her hair and then stared back at Celestia with ears down and eyes full of sorrow. “They blew up Sophocles,” Luna said pitifully.
“Who?” Celestia asked.
Ruby stepped forward. “I think that’s the name of one of the stars inside her mane.”
“You named the stars inside your mane?” Celestia glanced at the Northern Universe that was Luna’s hair.
“And now they’re in our tail!” Luna fell to the ground and began rolling around in the dirt. Ruby immediately rushed to her side.
“Careful, your majesty! Such an aggressive tactic may be considered an act of war.”
“What is going on inside your hair?” Celestia asked.
Ruby walked up to the Celestia as Luna continued rolling on the ground behind the sea pony. A great wall of dust formed as Ruby spoke. “Apparently, your sister has never washed her hair and as a result, a race of sentient microbeings have taken up residence, researched and perfected the use of space travel and now started an interstellar conflict where they are using orbital pulse cannons to battle across the depths of her ManeVerse. They’ve already destroyed one star and attacked a mining colony on Ulysses. If they don’t come to a peaceful solution soon, the entire universe in Luna’s hair may be at stake.”
“They’re bombing Juno!” Luna said as small black puffs of smoke stood suspended in space within the center of her tail. She began to roll on the ground ever more furiously.
“Is there no way to come to peace talks?” Celestia asked the sea pony.
“I’m not sure,” Ruby Shell said. “The fighting is intense and I’m sure the mining colony at Ulysses was a civilian target. The two sides of this conflict may already be attempting such talks.”
“Wash them out! Flood the universe with torrential shampoo showers!” Luna yelled amidst a dust cloud.
Ruby turned to the Princess. “Their ships may be coated against such an assault and we might end up wiping out civilian targets in the process. Such a maneuver would hinder our options at peace.”
“Right,” Celestia said. “And I don’t think the extermination of an entire race would sit well with anypony.”
“THEY’RE LICE!” Luna yelled. “They don’t count! AHHH!” A small black hole opened near the edge of known space in Luna’s tail.
“They’ve activated a doomsday weapon!” Ruby said as she inspected the growing darkness at the tip of Luna’s Southern Universe. “We have to act fast!”
“Dear sister,” Celestia said as she approached, “I can’t destroy them without harming an entire race, but we can sever the problem from you. We’re going to have to remove all the hair on your mane and tail.”
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Luna yelled as she turned to stare at the baseball-sized black hole now making its way further across her TailVerse.
“It must be done,” Celestia motioned to the guard, Nuby Gold, as he ran into the castle and came out with a pair of diamond scissors. “These can cut the hair of anypony. Even mine,” Celestia said. “Hold still, Luna…”
Luna stared at the night sky as Celestia stood next to her. The bald head and hairless tail nub of the Princess of the Night made her tear-filled eyes all the more sad. Celestia sat next to her sister and hugged her close.
“I’m sorry war was declared inside your hair,” the ruler of Equestria said.
Luna said nothing and did not turn to look at her sister.
“I have a present for you,” Celestia said. She presented a gilded gold box to her sister and placed it in front of her. Luna looked down, opened it and peered in shock. She turned to her sister, whose mane and tail were now half their length, though she smiled brightly. Luna picked up the replacement mane and tail made of every hue of the sunrise and put them on. The tail sat loosely on a small, nearly invisible belt.
“I feel…strange. Wait,” Luna asked. “Did you wash…?”
“Yes,” Celestia said. “Every day. It’s not that hard, really.” She hugged her sister as Luna suddenly looked up.
“Where’s my old hair?”
“Somewhere in space. Far past the moon by now. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Luna gazed at the night sky and thought of her stars.